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Interesting Articles: Early May, 2023
A little self compassion, the future of Europe, Media Freedom Day/Julian Assange, touring Crimea, benching Tucker Carlson and post de-dollarized world financial systems
[Image: an annotated frame from C-SPAN’s coverage of the Washington Post sponsored event to celebrate World Press Freedom Day to which they invited the CIA and the head of the State Department and a few inept goons. Medea invited herself.]
A brief summary of each "article" is provided. In the case of Patrick Lawrence's article I have some extended commentary at the end. I do go on a bit about the events of World Press Freedom Day beyond Hedge’s article. Therein is provided a reference (with time offsets) to the C-SPAN footage. A frame from it is the basis for the article headline graphic.
Caitlin reminds us that the upper levers of power are inhabited by psychopaths, sociopaths and others who have so internalized manufactured narratives that their cognitive dissonance is internally endemic. Perhaps we should be more gentle with ourselves and others given the pressure, chaos and propaganda under which we currently live.
Patrick Lawrence riff's off Yanis Varoufakis's introduction to the DiEM25 meeting which this newsletter referenced a few days back. Despite his respect for Varoufakis he writes that the former Greek Finance Minister, and one of the founders of DiEM25, has missed a few points in his comments to introduce the meeting.
Mr. Lawrence then provides us with an edited version of a speech he gave in Switzerland recently to an audience, presumably of authors and publishers, organized by a publisher. His recommended approach to reading three significant publications by the Chinese Foreign Ministry is helpful and informed. He then moves on to considering how Europe can re-position itself in our changing world.
I have more to say on this excellent piece by Lawrence at the end of this article.
Chris Hedges gathers his skills as a writer and rhetorician to summarize the abuse which the current USA regime continues to inflict on the world’s most famous journalist Julian Assange, and uses World Press Freedom Day to highlight the hypocrisy of the USA regime.
During the pantomime of "CIA as journalist" David Ignatius interviewing bloviating Blinken on the topic of press freedom, the ever courageous and tenacious as a terrier Medea Benjamin of CODEPINK makes a familiar appearance. She slips onto the stage and calls out the elephant in the room, shouting for the freedom of Julian Assange. I accuse the event organiser's security detail of being absolute idiots. Who let Medea in? I mean, how dumb do you have to be?
Another person, who I believe was Tighe Barry, dressed in a pink shirt and tie mentioned the Israeli point blank murder of Palestinian-American journalist Shirren Abu Akleh before also mentioning Assange.
Secretary Blinken on World Press Freedom Day, C-SPAN, 2023-05-03
the fun starts at 01:07:12 at which point you will see the back of Medea's head as she begins her assent to the stage. Barry then partially appears in the background until C-SPAN cut to a room wide camera. The party continues until 01:07:53 until the goons have cleared the stage, when normal programming resumes.
Later in the day, State Department dissembler Vedant Patel could not answer when asked by AP’s Matt Lee whether he considers Julian Assange a journalist. Needless to say, these events a covered in an article by the dedicated Dave DeCamp at Antiwar.
Unmentioned in Dave’s short article are a follow up question at the State Department and a question denial by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
The follow-up question at the State Department is issued by Accuracy.org's Sam Husseini who cleaves the hypocrisy open quite directly by mentioning the Collateral Murder video released by Wikileaks which shows US soldiers murdering two Reuters employees, a photo-journalist and driver.
At the White House, CBS’s Steven Portnoy questions the hypocrisy (he used that word) of the regime crowing on about Gershgovich while maintaining the charges which continue to imprison Assange. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s response is to declare the question a non-question by refusing to answer it.
All of the above are accurately covered by Caitlin Johnstone’s article on the events of the day.
So, of the thousands of journalists in the US, three get the prize for having raised the obvious hypocrisy: Matt Lee, Sam Husseini and Steven Portnoy.
Needless to say, the biggest prize goes to CODEPINK’s Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry for stealing the headlines.
The ever reliable Consortuim News published an article highlighting protests against Assange’s imprisonment, including videos from Washington DC, New York City, San Francisco, Sydney, and a webcast from India (by Vijay Prashad’s Tricontinental).
[Image: Medea attends a Free Assange rally outside the National Press Building in Washington DC following a march from the rally’s initial gathering outside the Dept. of Justice which maintains the charges against Assange.]
This is a little over an hour after Medea was ejected from the World Press Freedom Event hosted at The Washington Post. Having lead one protest and been man handled out, she then attends another. Medea’s dedication is impressive.
Canadian lawyer Dimitri Lascaris has been touring Russia to speak with the people and gain an understanding of their attitude to the conflict in Ukraine. He has published several articles and videos of his trip. Videos include a presentation and discussion with students at Moscow's premier tertiary institution for international relations, and an interview with a senior man who brings a perspective from the Soviet era to today. He published an audio recording during which a sloppy hack from a Canadian journal tries, and fails, to have Lascaris admit that he is spouting Russia talking points or other rubbish. Lascaris calmly schools him on not being an idiot.
The article linked describes part of his tour of Crimea providing those interested with an independent assessment of the territory and some of its people.
The "benching" of Fox News' star, Tucker Carlson, generated quite a response across the independent media, including from this newsletter. Jonothan Cook, an experienced journalist provides his assessment of the escapade, including an update section to include later developments.
(See sources for the video)
Professors Desai and Hudson consider what world financial systems and trade economies will look like after the current wave of de-dollarizations. They are both essentially blacklisted and offer their expertise on macro- and geo-economics via Ben Norton's rebranded Geopolitical Economics site.
In much the same way as military strategists focus on logistics rather than weapons systems or troop number, geopolitical analysts are well advised to examine global economics for this is where power really lies. The recent rise in Chinese diplomatic influence is enabled by their economic influence.
Europe's Fate; Some further comments
Just as Lawrence expresses respect for Varoufakis and then addresses points he believed Varoufakis had missed, I will return the favour. I believe Lawrence to be an excellent writer and considered, informed commentator. He does however mis-state on paragraph.
As he considers how Europe can position itself as a "third block" alongside the USA and the BRICS/SCO, he sees Europe's alignment with the USA over the handling of the Minsk Accords as a failed opportunity. Lawrence writes:
Europe missed a great opportunity to play such a role when it so hastily followed the U.S. into the proxy war in Ukraine. It should have insisted vigorously that Russia’s security interests be acknowledged when the reckless fools in the Biden administration insisted they could be ignored.
An enduring settlement of benefit to all sides slipped through the West’s fingers. Europe could have grasped it. This is a great shame. It is easy to see what an immense difference Europe could have made for itself, for Ukrainians who now suffer — for the course of history altogether.
I take umbrage with "slipped thorugh the West's fingers". It, the prospect of taking leadership and controling the Ukraine conflict to a better outcome, did not "slip through" anyone's fingers. They opened their fingers.
The mechanism was there, Minsk II, and we now know that this was undermined not only by Ukraine but also by France (Hollande) and Germany (Merkel). Europe could only have "grasped" it if its leadership had leadership rather than being compliant vassals. They do not. Why?
A lack of taking responsibility for Europe’s own security is a key reason. That is how Europe has been dominated by NATO and thus the USA. Col. Douglas Macgregor recently expressed this exact point. Europe's "leadership" now knows what the USA will do if it loses its influence, as demonstrated by the attack on the Nord Stream pipelines. This is not a reason to cower, but reason to begin the process of establishing its defense and if needed protest against USA unilateral, illegal, aggressive actions which eventuate because of a re-assertion of Europe's strategic autonomy backed by its own security forces.
NATO is the problem. The upcoming defeat of NATO backed forces in Ukraine is an opportunity to begin this new trajectory. It will be fraught will challenges and the USA will undermine it at every opportunity. However, Europe does have allies in the USA who also see the broken nature of the USA's behaviour since the Libyan intervention. The USA should have learned a few things following the 2002 invasion of Afghanistan and the disaster of the 2003 Iraq war. It has not, as demonstrated by the Libya intervention and many other events since, with the current war in Ukraine being further evidence. NATO has moved from being a defensive alliance into becoming an expeditionary force, initially justified under the spurious "Right to Protect" doctrine. It has now become a naked military intervention mechanism. Europe needs to reflect on its role in this military adventurism, from the Balkans conflict in the 1990's onwards.
Lawrence acknowledges this in the following paragraph to those quoted above:
In this same line, Europe still has a chance to admit the truth about NATO and act according to this truth. This alliance is outdated, it is in no way to be described as defensive, and proves now to be an incalculably destructive force.
Not to be a constant critic, here is a fantastic idea which Lawrence raises, asking for re-examination of work done by the German Foreign Ministry in 2014 under then minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier:
Some years ago, while he was Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier developed quite an elaborate plan within the ministry for the renovation of German policy abroad. This was called “The 2014 Review.” It was finished in the autumn of that year, and Steinmeier presented it in the Bundestag in the early months of 2015.
There were many dimensions to this plan, but the one that seemed to me most original was Steinmeier’s proposal to subject foreign policy to direct democratic review and assent, so dismantling the traditional wall that separates foreign policy from the will and aspirations of the citizenry.
I don’t know where “The 2014 Review” sits in German discourse today. Some scholarly papers have been written on it, I discovered when I looked it up before joining you. But it seems an excellent idea.
To put this another way, it makes no sense whatsoever that foreign policy is not debated in parliament by representatives. Obviously, it must be if legislation is required to enact the foreign policy, but that is not inclusive of all policy decisions and will generally be constrained to the law rather than that law as a component of a larger foreign policy strategy.
Should we not expect a government to put a general position before the parliament for review. As they have formed a government they will be able to pass this "policy declaration". The value of it is that the opposition can protest loudly where and when the government strays from its policy without seeking an alteration to accommodate the deviation.
[Image: Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry, carrying the same hand-painted banners, back outside The Washington Post building from which they were ejected a couple of hours earlier .]
This and the above image are taken from the video of the protest shot by Ford Fisher of News2Share.
You're Not Deficient, You're Just Ruled By Assholes, Caitlin Johnston, her newsletter, 2023-04-30
Europe's Fate, Patrick Lawrence, Consortium News, 2023-05-03
Julian Assange and World Press Freedom Day, Chris Hedges, ScheerPost, 2023-05-03
On the Edge of the Warzone, Dmitri Lascaris, re-published at Natylie's Place: Understanding Russia, 2023-04-18
The article published at Lascaris' own site comes with additional video footage (which plays poorly). There are additional imagersy (which is good). His site also comes with left and right overlays (to other articles) which obscure the text and annoy the hell out of me, which is why I refer you to the article at Natylie's Place.
Tucker Carlson’s firing reveals how afraid the media is of independent journalists, Jonothan Cook, his newsletter, 2023-04-25
De-dollarization is about more than currencies: As dollar system declines, what comes next?, Desai and Hudson, Geopolitical Economics, 2023-04-29
Get Up Stand Up (Official Fan Video 'Legend 30th') - Bob Marley, Bob Marley and the Wailers (from the 1973 album Burnin'), Bob Marley youtube channel, uploaded 2014-09-11 (interesting choice of date)
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