Archive | April 23, 2015

The Pressure Cooker under Baltimore*

The Pressure Cooker under Baltimore*

As Baltimore surfaces closer to the media limelight, many outsiders are unaware as to what has been bubbling behind the scenes. Is Baltimore another New Orleans, Detroit, Ferguson or a witch’s brew of all three?

Baltimore and Columbus, Ohio – Jet Magazine, October 8, 1953

By Conor Friedersdorf

In Baltimore, where 25-year-old Freddie Gray died shortly after being taken into police custody, an investigation may uncover homicidal misconduct by law enforcement, as happened in the North Charleston, South Carolina, killing of Walter Scott. Or the facts may confound the darkest suspicions of protestors, as when the Department of Justice released its report on the killing of Michael Brown.

What’s crucial to understand, as Baltimore residents take to the streets in long-simmering frustration, is that their general grievances are valid regardless of how this case plays out. For as in Ferguson, where residents suffered through years of misconduct so egregious that most Americans could scarcely conceive of what was going on, the people of Baltimore are policed by an entity that perpetrates stunning abuses. The difference is that this time we needn’t wait for a DOJ report to tell us so. Harrowing evidence has been presented. Yet America hasn’t looked.

I include myself.

Despite actively reading and commenting on police misconduct for many years, I was unaware until yesterday that the Baltimore Sun published a searing 2014 article documenting recent abuses that are national scandals in their own rights.

A grandmother’s bones were broken. A pregnant woman was violently thrown to the ground. Millions of dollars were paid out to numerous victims of police brutality.

And almost none of us noticed!

So I join all who say that protests in Baltimore should remain peaceful, and I will continue to withhold judgment about Gray’s death until more facts are known.

But I also insist that Baltimore protests are appropriate regardless of what happened to Freddie Gray, as is more federal scrutiny and intervention. Although much was rightly made of Ferguson’s racially unrepresentative local leadership, the presence of a black mayor and a diverse city council has not solved Baltimore’s police problem, partly because the DOJ responded to revelations of epidemic brutality with less than the full-scale civil rights probe that some residents requested and because Maryland pols have thwarted reform bills urged by city leaders.

There are so many good reasons for locals to be outraged.

The Baltimore Sun’s article shows why in detail. And a few choice excerpts are the best beginning in this attempt to contextualize the ongoing protests within recent history.

Let’s start with the money.

$5.7 million is the amount the city paid to victims of brutality between 2011 and 2014. And as huge as that figure is, the more staggering number in the article is this one:

Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil-rights violations.”

What tiny percentage of the unjustly beaten win formal legal judgments?

If you’re imagining that they were all men in their twenties, think again:

Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant who had witnessed a beating, a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson. Those cases detail a frightful human toll. Officers have battered dozens of residents who suffered broken bones — jaws, noses, arms, legs, ankles — head trauma, organ failure, and even death, coming during questionable arrests. Some residents were beaten while handcuffed; others were thrown to the pavement.

The 87-year-old grandmother was named Venus Green. A former teacher with two college degrees, she spent her retirement years as a foster parent for needy children. She was on her porch one day when her grandson ran up crying for an ambulance.

He’d been shot.

The article goes on to tell her story from a legal document in her successful lawsuit:

Paramedics and police responded to the emergency call, but the white officer became hostile. “What happened? Who shot you?” Green recalled the officer saying to her grandson, according to an 11-page letter in which she detailed the incident for her lawyer. Excerpts from the letter were included in her lawsuit. “You’re lying. You know you were shot inside that house. We ain’t going to help you because you are lying.”

“Mister, he isn’t lying,” replied Green, who had no criminal record. “He came from down that way running, calling me to call the ambulance.”

The officer, who is not identified in the lawsuit, wanted to go into the basement, but Green demanded a warrant. Her grandson kept two dogs downstairs and she feared they would attack. The officer unhooked the lock, but Green latched it. He shoved Green against the wall.

She hit the wooden floor. “Bitch, you ain’t no better than any of the other old black bitches I have locked up,” Green recalled the officer saying as he stood over her. “He pulled me up, pushed me in the dining room over the couch, put his knees in my back, twisted my arms and wrist and put handcuffs on my hands and threw me face down on the couch.”

After pulling Green to her feet, the officer told her she was under arrest. Green complained of pain. “My neck and shoulder are hurting,” Green told him. “Please take these handcuffs off.” An African-American officer then walked in the house, saw her sobbing and asked that the handcuffs be removed since Green wasn’t violent. The cuffs came off, and Green didn’t face any charges. But a broken shoulder tormented her for months.

When pondering the fact that Baltimore paid out $5.7 million in brutality settlements over four years, consider that the payout in this case was just $95,000. (For the story of the pregnant woman and many others, the full article is here.)

Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James warms up before an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in New York.

Lest anyone imagine that this investigation was the only tipoff of egregious misconduct among Baltimore police, more context is useful. The period covered in the brutality investigation came immediately after the FBI caught 51 Baltimore police officers in a scheme that resulted in at least 12 extortion convictions.

Shortly after the investigation was published this happened on a Baltimore street:

This year a detective who retired from the police force last year demonstrated a violent streak—he allegedly took part in a motorcycle-club brawl that left a man hospitalized. Also in 2014,

“a city police officer was charged with felony assault after he stormed into a home in full uniform Monday and threatened to kill his wife with his service weapon.”

And Baltimore police tased a hospitalized meningitis patient 5 times in the course of ten minutes. He died soon after. Prosecutors did not file charges.

Another cop was charged with an assault on a 14-year-old boy.

Even animals couldn’t escape the brutality of the Baltimore police last year. In July,

“Officer Thomas Schmidt, a 24-year veteran assigned to the Emergency Services unit, was placed on paid administrative leave after police say he held down a Shar-Pei while a fellow officer, Jeffrey Bolger, slit the dog’s throat.”

A month later, a Baltimore police officer plead guilty “to a felony animal cruelty charge after he fatally beat and choked his girlfriend’s Jack Russell terrier,” an August 5 article noted. The very same year, even one of Baltimore’s good cops couldn’t escape the horror show of dead animals:

“Four investigators from agencies outside Baltimore are working to determine who left a dead rat on the car windshield of an officer who was cooperating with prosecutors on a police brutality case.”

What about the prior year?

There was a murder-suicide, with a policeman killing a fire-fighter, his girlfriend, and himself. There was a different officer who killed himself in jail after being charged with killing his fiancée. In yet another case,

“Abdul Salaam, 36, says he was beaten in July 2013 after a traffic stop by officers Nicholas Chapman and Jorge Bernardez-Ruiz and that he never got a response to his complaint filed with internal affairs,”

The Sun reported.

“Those officers would be implicated less than three weeks later in the death of 44-year-old Tyrone West while he was in police custody.”

Citizens and groups such as the Justice League of NYC protest following the death of Freddie Gray, on Sunday, April 19, 2015, in Baltimore. Photo: ALGERINA PERNA/BALTIMORE SUN/ASSOCIATED PRESSAlso in 2013, a jury acquitted an off-duty police officer on manslaughter charges after he chased down and killed a 17-year-old boy who may or may not have thrown a rock that thumped harmlessly into his front door. And that’s not even getting into serious corruption that wasn’t brutality.

I could go on, but I’ve long since started to skim past stories like “Baltimore police officer pimps out his own wife” and thinking, meh, I’ve seen worse from cops there. The cop who shot himself and lied about it to get worker’s comp benefits? Meh, at least he didn’t shoot someone else and then lie about what happened. There is just a staggering level of dysfunction in the department, and residents of Baltimore, a city that could use a professional crime-fighting force if ever there was one, have suffered under it year after year after year. Pick one. (Take 2008! A Baltimore cop shot a man twice in the back. He was acquitted, too.)

There is so much I haven’t included (example), and I’ve just trawled through the archives of The Baltimore Sun for a two-year period. They cover most police-involved deaths, but no newspaper covers more than a minuscule subset of use-of-force incidents.

So no wonder protestors are out in Baltimore after this latest death.

No wonder that a meeting on police brutality this week had to be moved to a bigger venue because so many Baltimore residents are concerned enough to come out in person.

“Dozens of residents—most of them black—inundated federal officials with their assertions that city police have been brutalizing residents with impunity,”

A just-published Baltimore Sun article reports. It includes a quote from a 35-year-old who asked the feds,

“When are you all going to help us?”

Source*

Related Topics:

The Watery Road to Serfdom: After Detroit, Baltimore*

Freddie Grey’s Spinal Cord Severed under Detention*

Katrina: A Reason to be Angry*

Chevron and Exxon: The Criminals Behind Katrina*

Detroit Residents Fight to Keep Homes They Own, But Developers are Trying to Sell*

The Road that Leads from Serfdom to Detroit*

It Didn’t Stop at Detroit: For Your Water Pay Up or Die *

Detroit: Your World under TPP*

Mass Incarceration: Behind the Ferguson Uprising*

KKK raising Funds for Officer Who Shot Brown in Ferguson*

In the Middle of the U.S.- A No-Fly Zone over Ferguson, Why?*

Soros Turned Ferguson from a Local Protest to a National Flashpoint*

A Communique From Ferguson*

Report Confirms Predatory System of Ferguson*

Helen Keller the Blind Activist*

Helen Keller the Blind Activist*

helen keller and who really governsBy Peter Dreier

Here’s what they don’t teach: When the blind-deaf visionary learned that poor people were more likely to be blind than others, she set off down a pacifist, socialist path that broke the boundaries of her time—and continues to challenge ours today.

“So long as I confine my activities to social service and the blind, they compliment me extravagantly, calling me ‘arch priestess of the sightless,’ ‘wonder woman,’ and a ‘modern miracle.’ But when it comes to a discussion of poverty, and I maintain that it is the result of wrong economics—that the industrial system under which we live is at the root of much of the physical deafness and blindness in the world—that is a different matter! It is laudable to give aid to the handicapped. Superficial charities make smooth the way of the prosperous; but to advocate that all human beings should have leisure and comfort, the decencies and refinements of life, is a Utopian dream, and one who seriously contemplates its realization indeed must be deaf, dumb, and blind.” —Helen Keller (letter to Senator Robert La Follette, 1924)

The bronze statue of Helen Keller that sits in the U.S. Capitol shows the blind girl standing at a water pump. It depicts the moment in 1887 when her teacher, Anne Sullivan, spelled “W-A-T-E-R” into one of her 7-year-old pupil’s hands while water streamed into the other. This was Keller’s awakening, when she made the connection between the word Sullivan spelled and the tangible substance splashing from the pump, whispering “wah-wah,”—her way of saying “water.” This scene, made famous in the play and film “The Miracle Worker,” has long defined Keller in the public mind as a symbol of courage in the face of overwhelming odds.

Less well known (but no less inspiring) is the fact that Keller, who was born in 1880 and died in 1968, was a lifelong radical who participated in the great movements for social justice of her time. In her investigations into the causes of blindness, she discovered that poor people were more likely than the rich to be blind, and soon connected the mistreatment of the blind to the oppression of workers, women, and other groups, leading her to embrace socialism, feminism, and pacifism.

Early Life

Keller was born on a plantation in Tuscumbia, Alabama, to Arthur Keller, a former Confederate officer and a conservative newspaper publisher, and Kate Keller, a descendant of John Adams. At nineteen months old, she lost her sight and hearing as a result of a fever. She became uncontrollable, prone to tantrums—kicking, biting, and smashing anything within reach. In that era, many blind and deaf people were consigned to an asylum. Some family members suggested that this was where Helen belonged.

Instead, her mother contacted the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston, which recommended that a former student, the 20-year-old Sullivan, become Helen’s private tutor. In 1887 Sullivan—the daughter of poor Irish immigrants and nearly blind herself—moved to the Kellers’ home. She helped calm Helen’s rages and channel her insatiable curiosity and exceptional intelligence. She patiently spelled out letters and words in Keller’s hand. With Sullivan’s support, her student soon learned to read and write Braille, and by the age of ten she had begun to speak.

Her story became well known and she, a celebrity. Newspapers and magazines in Europe and America wrote glowing stories about the young Keller. Her family connections and fame opened up many opportunities, including private schools and an elite college education. Mark Twain, who admired Keller’s courage and youthful writings, introduced her to Standard Oil tycoon Henry Huttleston Rogers, who paid for her education. She later acknowledged, “I owed my success partly to the advantages of my birth and environment. I have learned that the power to rise is not within the reach of everyone.”

In 1894, at 14, Keller began formal schooling—initially at the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in New York and then at the Cambridge School for Young Ladies. Sullivan accompanied her, spelling into her hand letter-by-letter so she could read the books assigned in her classes. In 1900, at age 20, Keller entered Radcliffe College with Sullivan still at her side. At Radcliffe (from which she graduated magna cum laude in 1904), Keller was first exposed to the radical ideas that helped her draw connections among different forms of injustice. She began to write about herself and her growing understanding of the world.

“I Must Speak”

In a 1901 article entitled “I Must Speak” in the Ladies Home Journal, Keller wrote,

“Once I believed that blindness, deafness, tuberculosis, and other causes of suffering were necessary, unpreventable. But gradually my reading extended, and I found that those evils are to be laid not at the door of Providence, but at the door of mankind; that they are, in large measure, due to ignorance, stupidity and sin.”

She visited slums and learned about the struggles of workers and immigrants to improve their working and living conditions.

“I have visited sweatshops, factories, crowded slums,” she wrote, “If I could not see it, I could smell it.”

In 1908 Sullivan’s socialist husband, John Macy, encouraged Keller to read H. G. Wells’s New Worlds for Old, which influenced her views about radical change. She soon began to devour Macy’s extensive collection of political books, reading socialist publications (often in German Braille) and Marxist economists. In addition to giving inspirational lectures about blindness, Keller also talked, wrote, and agitated about radical social and political causes, making her class analysis explicit in such books as Social Causes of Blindness (1911), The Unemployed (1911), and The Underprivileged (1931). In 1915, after learning about the Ludlow Massacre—in which John D. Rockefeller’s private army killed coal miners and their wives and children in a labour confrontation in Colorado—Keller denounced him as a “monster of capitalism.”

Although she was universally praised for her courage in the face of her physical disabilities, she now found herself criticized for her political views.

In 1909 Keller joined the Socialist Party, wrote articles in support of its ideas, campaigned for its candidates, and lent her name to help striking workers. Although she was universally praised for her courage in the face of her physical disabilities, she now found herself criticized for her political views. The editor of the Brooklyn Eagle attacked her radical ideas, attributing them to “mistakes sprung out of the manifest limitations of her development.” In her 1912 essay “How I Became a Socialist,” published in the Call, a socialist newspaper, Keller wrote,

“At that time, the compliments he paid me were so generous that I blush to remember them. But now that I have come out for socialism he reminds me and the public that I am blind and deaf and especially liable to error.”

Women’s Suffrage, Civil Rights, and War

Keller was part of wide circle of reformers and radicals who participated in a variety of overlapping causes. She was a strong advocate for women’s rights and women’s suffrage, writing in 1916: “Women have discovered that they cannot rely on men’s chivalry to give them justice.” She supported birth control and praised its leading advocate, Margaret Sanger, with whom she had many mutual friends. Keller argued that capitalists wanted workers to have large families to supply cheap labor to factories but forced poor children to live in miserable conditions. “Only by taking the responsibility of birth control into their own hands,” Keller said, “can [women] roll back the awful tide of misery that is sweeping over them and their children.”

She donated money to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)—then a young and controversial civil rights organization that focused on opposition to lynching and job and housing discrimination against African Americans—and wrote for its magazine. At an antiwar rally in January 1916, sponsored by the Women’s Peace Party at New York’s Carnegie Hall, Keller said, “Congress is not preparing to defend the people of the United States. It is planning to protect the capital of American speculators and investors. Incidentally this preparation will benefit the manufacturers of munitions and war machines. Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought! Strike against manufacturing shrapnel and gas bombs and all other tools of murder! Strike against preparedness that means death and misery to millions of human beings! Be not dumb, obedient slaves in an army of destruction! Be heroes in an army of construction!”

In 1918 she helped found the American Civil Liberties Union, which was initially organized to challenge the U.S. government’s attempts to suppress the ideas of and jail or deport radicals who opposed World War I, including Socialists and members of the Industrial Workers of the World.

The following year she wrote a letter, addressed to “Dear Comrade” Eugene Debs, the Socialist labour leader and presidential candidate, in jail for advocating draft resistance during World War I. She wrote,

“I want you to know that I should be proud if the Supreme Court convicted me of abhorring war, and doing all in my power to oppose it.”

In 1924, while campaigning for Senator Robert La Follette, the Wisconsin radical and anti-war stalwart who was running for president on the Progressive Party ticket, Keller wrote him a note:

“I am for you because you stand for liberal and progressive government. I am for you because you believe the people should rule. I am for you because you believe that labour should participate in public life.”

After 1924, Keller devoted most of her time and energy to speaking and fundraising for the American Foundation for the Blind, but still supported radical causes. Even as feminism began to ebb, she continued to agitate for women’s rights. In 1932, she wrote an article for Home magazine, “Great American Women,” praising the early suffragists Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. She also penned a humorous article for the Atlantic Monthly, “Put Your Husband in the Kitchen.”

Between 1946 and 1957 she visited 35 countries on five continents. In 1948, Keller visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki, cities destroyed by American atomic bombs at the end of World War II, and spoke out against nuclear war.

In 1955, at the height of the Cold War, she wrote a public birthday greeting and letter of support to Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, a leading Communist activist, then in jail on charges of violating the Smith Act. In response, some supporters of the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), for which Keller was the national face, threatened to withdraw their support. The AFB’s executive director wrote to one of his trustees,

“Helen Keller’s habit of playing around with communists and near communists has long been a source of embarrassment to her conservative friends.”

The FBI kept Keller under surveillance for most of her adult life for her radical views. But Keller, who died in 1968, never saw a contradiction between her crusade to address the causes of blindness and her efforts to promote economic and social justice.

Keller is well known for being blind, but she also deserves to be heralded for her progressive social vision.

Source*

Related Topics:

Malcolm X: The Truth Seeker*

The Truth Behind the Emancipation Proclamation!*

Court Order: The Re-Education of Lauryn Hill for Speaking the Truth!

Robin Williams Raised 50,000K for a Food Bank and Nobody Knew*

As Actor and Singer Could be Charged for Treason, a Leak inside Sisi’s Office Take the Truth Further*

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings*

State Terrorists Re-Write the Script on the Man they Once Branded a Terrorist*

Lennon, Marley and Michael Jackson on Those Who Control Us*

Israel Deported Them. Then ISIS Cut Off Their Heads*

Israel Deported Them. Then ISIS Cut Off Their Heads*

Three of the Ethiopian Christians beheaded by ISIS were living in Israel—until the government got them to leave.

African migrants clash with Israeli soldiers after they left Holot detention center in southern Israel and walked towards the Border with Egypt near the southern Israeli Kibbutz of Nitzana. In a report issued Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, Human Rights Watch says Israeli authorities have coerced almost 7,000 Eritrean and Sudanese to return to their homes, where they may face serious abuse.In a scene that’s become all too familiar, the self-proclaimed Islamic State has executed a group of individuals it deems infidels.

A recently released video shows the latest victims of the extremist group, initially thought to be solely Ethiopian Christians, being beheaded in what appears to be Libya.

But there’s a catch: At least three of the victims were Eritrean refugees who had been deported from Israel. An Eritrean named Mesi Fashiya who works as a translator for The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, an Israeli NGO that advocates for Israel’s estimated 46,000 refugees, identified the victims.

Sadly, one was her relative.

Fashiya told the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz that her cousin, identified as “T.,” was deported from Israel “back to Uganda or Rwanda—I think Rwanda—where they are not accepted. From there he went on to Sudan, and from Sudan to Libya.”

“I recognized my relative, T., from the photos published by ISIS that appeared on Facebook before the video was released,” Fashiya told +972 magazine.

I was sent abroad in a program that Israel initiated to deal with its burgeoning refugee problem. In a brochure obtained by The Daily Beast, the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority “offers foreign nationals from [Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, and Guinea Conakry], who entered Israel illegally, the option to leave the country voluntarily, in a fair and dignified manner.”

In the brochure, Israel offers to assist in the “arrangement of travel documents, purchase of airline tickets, and a financial grant in the amount of $3,500 per person, including children,” to asylum seekers who agree to leave.

While this may seem a fair deal, Israel’s record with asylum seekers and migrant workers is, for lack of a better word, awful.

“During the past few years we see that government policy is becoming worse towards asylum seekers,” Hagar Shechter, head of public relations at Assaf, an Israeli NGO that provides legal assistance to refugees, told The Daily Beast.

In a brochure obtained by The Daily Beast, the Israeli Population and Immigration Authority “offers foreign nationals from Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, and Guinea Conakry the option to leave the country voluntarily, in a fair and dignified manner.”

Assaf recently released a report detailing not only the extreme difficulties refugees face in deportation from Israel to third countries but also the “fear of arbitrary detention and other inappropriate means are utilized by the State of Israel to pressure asylum seekers to agree to leave” the holy land.

For Schecter, this is part and parcel of Israel’s policy toward refugees, which she says consists “mostly of inaction,” except for intimidation. The Israeli government has granted “0.17 percent of the requests for recognition of refugee status,” the aid worker added. “This means that out of thousands and thousands of people, only four got a positive answer.”

Even worse, the Israeli government has chosen to round up and imprison a portion of the refugees.

“Last year, the Israeli government built a detention camp to lock them up,” she continued. Holot, the camp, is in the middle of Israel’s Negev desert, and conditions there are dire.

“About 2,000 people are imprisoned in this camp, placed in the middle of the desert, far from any public transport,” she said.

There is something that does not ring quite true about the images…T., one of the Eritreans executed, served time in Holot.

According to Fashiya, the experience discouraged T. from continuing his struggle for refugee status in Israel, and he was further persuaded by Israeli authorities. “They told him he would be better off if he flies. I asked him not to. He didn’t tell us he had signed [papers] to leave,” Fashiya told Ha’aretz.

In another crushing twist, Fashiya told Ha’aretz that she believes T. wanted to reach Europe from Libya by boat.

On Saturday, a vessel carrying 950 migrants from North Africa capsized, and only 28 are thought to have survived. It is the latest in a long line of catastrophes involving the drowning of people from embattled nations.

This particularly gruesome event has stirred a strong reaction from the European Union, which is scrambling to come up with a comprehensive strategy to deal with the flood of refugees reaching the shores of Mediterranean E.U. nations.

On Sunday, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called an emergency cabinet meeting to discuss a plan to deal with these disasters, along with the arrival of more than 11,000 people from Libya over a 10-day period.

There’s no way of knowing whether T. or the other two Eritreans who died with him would have made it onto the boats bound for Europe—or whether they would have died in the warm waters that many Westerners enjoy every summer.

What is known is that before ISIS’s blade met the necks of these three Eritreans who had been fleeing conflict for a large portion of their lives, they were in a wealthy nation that sees itself as an oasis of human rights in a storm of atrocities.

Israel and many nations in the E.U. need to address their extreme mismanagement of the many crises in the region. Until they do, there will be no shortage of reasons for outrage coming out of nations with Mediterranean coastlines.

Source*

Related Topics:

Israel admits to Birth Controlling Ethiopian Women*

Israel, Ebola and Black Genocide*

Israel to Detain Migrant Children*

Rabbi Admits Jewish Role in the African Slave Trade*

The Talmudic Roots of Jewish Supremacism*

Islamic Council to Expand Social Services in Ethiopia*

Russia Says No to One-World Government*

Russia Says No to One-World Government*

Prominent American conservative thinker and author William Lind explains why the West is ganging up on Russia

By Victor Olevich

Victor Olevich: Almost a quarter century has passed since the end of the Cold War. Yet, both Russia and the West once again find themselves at the precipice of a new Cold War. Why did Washington choose to pursue an aggressive foreign policy towards Moscow after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991? Could these developments have been prevented?

William Lind: The Washington establishment, which is bipartisan, thought that now we could rule the world. It could dictate to everyone and it could force its ideology, which is sometimes called globalism or liberal democracy, but is in fact the soft totalitarianism of Brave New World, on everyone in the world. If necessary, with military force. This is the classic hubris that has destroyed one great power after another. There is nothing new about it.

Victor Olevich:  Why has Washington chosen Ukraine as a battleground in its new Cold War against Russia?

William Lind: Russia under President Putin represents the state system and the way states normally act within the state system, based on their interests. The ideology of the Washington establishment says that is not how the world is going to work anymore.  It is instead going to be essentially a one world government based in Washington. This ideology includes such concepts as the feminist definition of women’s rights, devaluation of all religions, so called gay rights, and the belief that this must be universal.  Russia is saying no to this.  It is saying that it still believes in the state system and is going to pursue its own interests on the world stage.  So when Russia asserted its interests in the face of Ukraine threatening to join NATO, then Washington reacted very strongly.

Victor Olevich: The White House and the State Department frequently criticize Russia and other nations around the world for undermining democratic norms. Yet, Washington did not think twice about fomenting the overthrow of a democratically elected president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovich and supporting a government that came to power in Kiev as a result of a coup. How do you explain these double standards? What do they say about values inherent in US foreign policy today?

William Lind: The Washington establishment defines democracy as a system of elections that elects the people it wants to be elected.  If an election in another part of the world does not put in power the government that Washington wants, then Washington refuses to recognize the election. We saw this most dramatically in the Gaza Strip, where the freest and fairest election ever held in the Arab world resulted in a Hamas government coming to power. And Washington immediately announced that it would not recognize it or deal with it.

Victor Olevich: What is the role of neoconservatives in sparking the current confrontation with Russia?

William Lind: The neoconservatives have never gotten over the Cold War and in truth they represent the thinking that was anti-Russian long before the Soviet Union that was anti-Russian in the 19th century. Unfortunately for America and the rest of the world, they have had an enormous impact on American foreign policy. There is no reason they should have that influence, since all of their adventures have proven disastrous. Of course, they gave us a completely unnecessary and failed war in Iraq. Nonetheless, people continue to listen to them. This may have something to do with the fact that they have a great deal of money behind them.

The neocons and the neoliberals are very similar and work together. The Washington establishment is bipartisan. You have elements on both the left and the right who dissent from it, particularly senator Rand Paul, but the two represent pretty much a consensus within the establishment, though they pretend to be opposed to one another, but they really are not. Hillary Clinton, for example, is a neoliberal. As president her policies would hardly be different from that of the neocons.

Victor Olevich: Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov recently stated that the goal of the sanctions imposed by the US and the EU against Russia is regime change in Moscow. Can Washington’s campaign against Putin backfire?

William Lind: Yes, of course. The United States and the EU are being hurt by the sanctions also. Russia has very strong foreign currency reserves, and it owes about 800 billion dollars to Western banks, with much of that starting to come due. Now, because of the sanctions, Russia is not going to be able to roll that over by borrowing more in the West. Obviously, what Russia can do in that case is say that it is suspending payment on all loans due to institutions in countries that are participating in the sanctions until the sanctions are lifted. Suddenly, the sanctions will hurt Europe much more than they hurt Russia, because Europe will have another massive banking crisis on its hands. There was a news flash last week about Russia and China buying a great deal of gold.  This points to another way the sanctions can backfire. The rest of the world, and not just Russia, is getting tired of the United States trying to dictate to institutions, particularly banks, in their own countries, on what they will do, as if they were American institutions in complete disregard for their national sovereignty. One way to destroy this entire sanctions tool, not just in the case of Russia but also in regards to other countries, is to move trade to a gold basis instead of a dollar basis. The role of American banks will become irrelevant, because trade will be completed in gold.

Victor Olevich: Is Europe able to act on its own, independently of U.S. foreign policy goals?

William Lind: No, Europe at this point is still very much in Washington’s orbit.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that the EU is an American satellite. Europe is too afraid of American wrath to take any Russian offers. It is rather a matter of taking logical steps dictated by the situation. The debt problem I talked about before will certainly get Europe’s attention and bring home to them that an anti-Russian policy could have much greater consequences for them than it’s likely to have for Washington. In this sense, Europe’s interests and America’s interests are divergent.

Victor Olevich: Russia has warned about the dangers of toppling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the beginning of Washington’s campaign against his government.  Has Putin been proven right by the latest events surrounding ISIS?

William Lind: Yes, absolutely, he has been proven right.  The United States policy in the Middle East is so stupid that there is a very real danger that we may find ourselves simultaneously fighting all three parties – the Islamist rebels in Syria, the Assad government and Iran. It takes real talent in foreign policy to fight everybody at the same time, despite the fact that they are all fighting each other. The only chance for stability in Syria and for the preservation of the state in Syria is the Assad government.  The Washington policy makers want Assad overthrown because he is not part of their globalist scheme.  We witnessed a similar situation in Libya, where the overthrow of Muammar Qaddaffi led to the disintegration of the state and a permanent state of chaos.

genderVictor Olevich: What is behind the massive LGBT rights propaganda campaign in the West? Why is this topic given so much attention, while more pressing subjects are ignored?

William Lind: This is part of the ideology of the ruling class here, which in fact is a variant of Marxism.  It is the Marxism of the Institute of Social Research, of the Frankfurt School, which translated Marxism from economic into cultural terms. This, of course, is completely different from the Marxism of the old Soviet Union, which was economic rather than cultural. The goal of cultural Marxism since 1919, when it was conceived independently by Lukacs in Hungary and Gramsci in Italy is the destruction of Western culture and the Christian religion. Lukacs, when he became deputy Comissar of Culture in the Bela Kun government introduced sex education into Hungarian schools, because he knew that if you destroy the sexual mores of a society, then you have taken a giant step towards destroying its culture as a whole. The Hungarian working class was so outraged by what Lukacs did that when Romania invaded, it refused to fight and the Bela Kun government was overthrown. Cultural Marxism has developed further in the 1930-1950s and is very much the state ideology now in the West. The fact that President Putin is causing Russia to re-emerge as the most conservative of the great powers, as Russia was in the 19th century, enrages cultural Marxists and makes Russia their number one enemy.

Victor Olevich: What can Russia do to support healthy conservative forces in the West that oppose cultural Marxists?

William Lind: I think Russia should do what it is doing right now – showing people in the West that you can resist cultural Marxism, that you do not have to think that it is the inevitable way of the future, and that a country can decide to retain its traditional way of living and believing.

Source*

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