How Russia and China are Creating a New World Order

by Federico Pieraccini

Strategic Culture Foundation (June 20 2017)

The last thirty days have shown another kind of world that is engaging in cooperation, dialogue and diplomatic efforts to resolve important issues. The meeting of the members of the Belt and Road Initiative (“BRI”) laid the foundations for a physical and electronic connectivity among Eurasian countries, making it the backbone of sustainable and renewable trade development based on mutual cooperation. A few weeks later, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (“SCO”) meeting in Astana outlined the necessary conditions for the success of the Chinese project, such as securing large areas of the Eurasian block and improving dialogue and trust among member states. The following Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (“AIIB”) meeting in the Republic of Korea (“ROK”) will lay out the economic necessities to finance and sustain the BRI projects.

The SCO and the BRI have many common features, and in many ways seem complementary. The SCO is an organization that focuses heavily on economic, political and security issues in the region, while the BRI is a collection of infrastructure projects that incorporates three-fifths of the globe and is driven by Beijing’s economic might. In this context, the Eurasian block continues to develop the following initiatives to support both the BRI and SCO mega-projects. The Collective Security Treaty Organization (“CTSO”) is a Moscow-based organization focusing mainly on the fight against terrorism, while the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (“AIIB”) is a Beijing-based investment bank that is responsible for generating important funding for Beijing’s long-term initiatives along its maritime routes (ports and canals) and overland routes (roads, bridges, railways, pipelines, industries, airports). The synergies between these initiatives find yet another point of co nvergence in the Eurasian Economic Union (“EEU”). Together, the SCO, BRI, CTSO, AIIB, and EEU provide a compelling indication of the direction in which humanity is headed, which is to say towards integration, cooperation and peaceful development through diplomacy.

On the other side, we have the “old world order” made up of the IMF, the World Bank, the European Union, the UN, Nato, the WTO, with Washington being the ringmaster at the centre of this vision of a world order. It is therefore not surprising that Washington should look askance at these Eurasian initiatives that threaten to deny its central and commanding role in the global order in favour of a greater say by Moscow, Beijing, New Delhi and even Tehran.

One of the most significant and noteworthy events in the last month, or even in recent years, has been the admission into the SCO of India and Pakistan, two nuclear powers with a history of tension and conflict between them. These two countries are critical to the peaceful and fruitful integration of Eurasia. The slow, two-year process of India and Pakistan’s admission into the SCO benefited greatly from China and Russia’s mediation, culminating in the historical agreement signed by Modi, Sharif, Putin, and Xi. This is not to mention Afghanistan’s Ghani being at the same table with Modi and Sharif, representing one of the most infamous locations where Eurasian powers have clashed with each other, acting as an obstacle to the integration and development of the region. The main goal of the new SCO organization is a peaceful mediation between New Delhi and Islamabad, and certainly to reach a wider agreement that can include Afghanistan. Kabul is a good example of how the SCO can offer the ideal framework for achieving a definitive peace settlement. This reflects the sentiment that was expressed during the meeting that took place a few weeks ago in Moscow between Pakistan, India, China, Russia, and Afghanistan over the complicated situation in the country. Clearly, there are conflicting interests, and it is only through the mediation of Beijing and Moscow that it will be possible to reach a wider agreement and end the sixteen-year-old conflict.

Afghanistan is a good example of how the SCO intends to support the BRI. In this sense, it is important to note that Moscow and Beijing have decided to engage in a partnership that looks more like an alliance with long-term projects planned deep into 2030. The extent to which Russia and China are committed to common initiatives and projects can be seen in the BRI, SCO, AIIB, and CTSO.

Security and Development

Beijing is fully aware that it is impossible to defeat terrorism without laying the foundation for economic growth in underdeveloped countries in Africa, Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. Terrorist organizations are generally better able to recruit from populations suffering from low income and poor schooling. The SCO is required to manage and control its members’ most unstable areas (Central Asian republics, Afghanistan, India-Pakistan border, Beijing-New Delhi relations) and mediate between parties. The BRI and SCO go hand in hand, one being unable to operate without the other, as Xi and Putin have reiterated.

The SCO and BRI are both capable of meeting the challenges of economic growth through development and progress. Just looking at the BRI’s major projects helps one understand the level and extent of integration that has been agreed. The Eurasian Land Bridge begins in Western China and ends in Western Russia. The China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor begins in Northern China and arrives in Eastern Russia. Central Asia will be connected to Western Asia, which practically means China linking with Turkey. The China-Indochina corridor runs from Southern China to Singapore, and the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar corridor starts in Southern China and arrives in India. The nearly completed China-Pakistan corridor starts in south-western China and reaches Pakistan. Finally, the maritime route running from the Chinese coast through to Singapore will reach the Mediterranean in Greece or, in the future, Venice.

What is evident is that countries like India, Singapore, Turkey, and Myanmar, just to name a few, do not wish to miss the opportunity to join this initiative that promises to revolutionize trade and globalization as we know it. Today’s main economic problems, as well as the problem posed by terrorism, stem from the lack of economic growth brought on by a globalization that enriches the elites at the expense of ordinary people. The BRI aims to reinvent globalization, avoiding the protectionist drift that many countries today adopt in response to an aggressive and failed approach to globalization. Beijing intends to bring about a radical change to its industries by restructuring its production and boosting its investment in technology, generating more internal consumption, and becoming a country that offers services and not only manufacturing. For this process to be successful, it will be fundamental to reorganize the regional supply chain by transferring production to more competitive countries that will play important roles in sectors such as agriculture, energy, logistics, and industry. Southeast Asia, in particular, seems to offer ideal destinations for transferring Chinese industries.

In this process of transforming a good part of the globe, some countries currently outside of the SCO organization are nevertheless fully part of the integration schemes and will play a decisive role in the future. In particular, Iran, Turkey, and Egypt are the main focus when one looks at their geographical position. The importance of these three countries vis-a-vis the SCO arises mainly from the need of the organization to pursue its work of political expansion and, in the future, to counter militarily the problem of terrorism and its spread. Naturally, countries like Iran and Egypt already devote a large part of their resources towards counteracting the terrorist phenomenon in the Middle East and North Africa. Their entry into the SCO would be seen by many protagonists of the BRI, especially China, as providing the opportunity to expand their projects in areas in North Africa and the Middle East that are currently tumultuous.

This should not come as a surprise since even countries like Jordan and Israel have been taken into account by Beijing for important infrastructure projects related to the transport of desalinated water to regions with a high rate of drought. With Israel, the Chinese partnership is stronger than ever, counting on various factors such as technological development and the expansion of several Israeli ports to connect more Chinese maritime routes with destinations in the Mediterranean like Piraeus in Greece and probably Venice in Italy. Turkey’s entry into the SCO is mainly aimed at gathering the region’s major oil and gas suppliers and consumers under a single umbrella guaranteed by the SCO. These operations take time and a degree of cooperation that is hard to maintain, although the resolution of the situation in Syria, in addition to the crisis in the Gulf between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, could accelerate synergies and easily facilitate them.

The entry of Iran, Egypt, and Turkey into the SCO is inevitable, receiving the strong encouragement of China and Russia, especially as regards the future connection between BRI and other infrastructure projects that are part of the EEU. The advantages are quite obvious to everyone, bringing about greater integration and infrastructure links, the increase of trade between nations, and general cooperation in mutual development. Products can travel from one country to another based on conditions determined bilaterally, something that often favours bigger nations rather than smaller ones. The intention of China’s Globalization 2.0, coupled with a Eurasian revival of the EEU, is to change the future of humanity by shifting the global pole of globalization and development towards the east. The BRI is immense and mind-boggling in its scope, given that it embraces realities ranging from Panama (focused on the extended channel and the Nicaragua project for a new channel) to Australia, passing through Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Persian Gulf.

Naturally, in this delicate balance, Europe is called on to play a decisive role in the future. The United States, with its “America First” policy, has already burned bridges with the Chinese BRI revolution, and indeed hopes to throw a spanner in China’s works. European countries including England, France, Germany, and Italy have already begun to sign onto various Chinese proposals. It looks as if America’s allies are no longer listening to their former boss. The European Central Bank has for the first time diversified $500 million into Yuan currency, and London, together with Rome, Berlin, and Paris, was present in Beijing for the launch of the BRI. France, Germany, and England sent high-level representations and delegations, Italy directly the Prime Minister. For Europe, the largest exporter to China and the second-largest regional block importing from China, it is inevitable that it will be an integral part of the BRI, looking to reach Iran, Turkey and Egypt for energy supplies and diversifying sources, all within the framework of the BRI.

In this process of Eurasian integration, there are some key countries to keep in mind, but the first steps have already been made with almost indissoluble ties having been made between Moscow and Beijing, as well as the monumental inclusion of Pakistan and India at the same table. With an understanding between India, Russia and China, as well as a lack of hostility to the project in Iran, Israel, Germany, England, Turkey and Egypt, it will be possible to speed up this global change, bringing it to the African countries, Gulf monarchies, South Asian countries, and even South and Central America. Even Washington’s historic allies like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the EU vacillate in the face of such an opportunity to broaden their horizons with significant gains. As far as their alliance with the United States, in this world rapidly heading towards a multipolar world order, not even Riyadh, Tel Aviv or London can afford the luxury of ignoring the project that perhaps more than any other will revolutionize the future of humanity in the near future. Not being a part of it is simply not an option.

The United States has two diametrically opposed options before it. It can operate alongside the BRI project, trying to fashion its own sphere of influence, albeit smaller than the countries residing within the Eurasian continent; but of course for Washington, simply being part of a grand project may not be enough, since it is used to getting its own way and subordinating the interests of other countries to its own. If the US decides to try and sabotage the BRI with their normal tools like terrorism, it is very likely that the countries historically aligned with Washington in these affairs (such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) will be subjected to Chinese economic pressure and encouraged to instead participate in a more positive manner.

Cooperation Against Threats

The main question is the extent to which Chinese economic persuasion will succeed in overcoming US military threats. In this respect, the SCO will be a decisive factor as it expands its influence beyond the Eurasian bloc into Africa and the Middle East. To date, the SCO cannot be considered a military bloc opposed to Nato. Everything will depend on the pressures that the United States will bring to bear on participating countries. Therefore, it is likely that the SCO will evolve to include a strong military aspect in order to counter American destabilization efforts.

It is difficult to predict whether the US will be neutral or belligerent. But considering recent history, American hostility is likely to force Moscow and Beijing into an asymmetric response that will hit Washington where it hurts most, namely its economic interests. Aiming at the dollar, and in particular, the petrodollar seems to be the best bet for advancing the BRI, threatening a massive de-dollarization that would end in disaster for Washington. This is the nuclear option that Beijing and Moscow are looking into, with more than a desire to accelerate this economic shift.

The future of humanity seems to be changing in exciting and unprecedented ways. The full integration of the Eurasian bloc will eventually end up changing the course of history, allowing nations that are currently weak and poor to withstand colonial pressures and broaden their cooperation and dialogue. Peace as a method for developing synergies and prosperity seems to be the new paradigm, contrasting with war and destruction as has been the case in the last decades.

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Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture Foundation on-line journal http://www.strategic-culture.org.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/06/20/leading-multipolar-revolution-how-russia-china-creating-new-world-order.html

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Security is Ruining the Internet

by Ted Rall

CounterPunch (May 17 2017)

Another major cyber attack, another wave of articles telling you how to protect your data has me thinking about European ruins. Those medieval fortresses and castles had walls ten feet thick made of solid stone; they were guarded by mean, heavily armoured, men. The barbarians got in anyway.

At the time, those invasions felt like the end of the world. But life goes on. Today’s Europeans live in houses and apartment buildings that, compared to castles of the Middle Ages, have no security at all. Yet: no raping, no pillaging. People are fine.

Security is overrated.

The ransomware attack that crippled targets as diverse as FedEx and British hospitals reminds me of something that we rarely talk about even though it’s useful wisdom: A possession that is so valuable that you have to spend a lot of money and psychic bandwidth to protect it often feels like more of a burden than a boon.

You hear it all the time: Change your passwords often. Use different passwords for different accounts. Install File Vault. Use encrypted communications apps. At what point do we throw up our hands, change all our passwords to “password” and tell malicious hackers to come on in, do your worse?

I owned a brand-new car once. I loved the look and the smell but hated the anxiety. What if some jerk dented it? Sure enough, within a week and the odometer reading in the low three digits, another motorist scratched the bumper while pulling out of a parallel parking space. I was so determined to restore the newness that I paid $800 for a new bumper. Which got scratched too. That was 13 years, 200,000 miles and a lot of dings ago. Still drive the same car. I don’t care about dents.

I’m liberated.

The Buddha taught that material attachments bring misery. He was right. During the 1980s crack epidemic addicts stole car stereos to finance their fixes. To avoid smashed windows, New Yorkers took to posting “No Radio” signs on their cars.

But the really smart drivers’ signs read “Door unlocked, no radio”. It worked.

Hackers, we’re told, are ruining the Internet. I say our reaction to hack attacks has ruined it. It’s like 9/11. Three thousand people died. But attacking Afghanistan and Iraq killed more than a million. We should have sucked it up instead.

Security often destroys the very thing it’s supposed to protect. Take the TSA – please! Increased airport security measures after 9/11 have made flying so unpleasant that Americans are driving more instead. Meanwhile, “civil aviation” flights out of small airports – which have no or minimal security screenings – are increasingly popular. So are trains – no X-ray machines at the train station, either. Get rid of TSA checkpoints at the airport, let people walk their loved ones to the gate so they can wave goodbye, and I bet more people would fly in spite of the risk.

It’s not just government. Individuals obsess over security to the point that it makes the thing they’re protecting useless.

For my twelfth birthday, my dad gave me a ten-speed road bicycle. I still have that Azuki. It weighs a ton but it runs great. It’s worth maybe $20.

Bike theft is rife in Berkeley and Manhattan, but I tooled around both places on that banana yellow relic of the Ford Administration without fear of anything but the shame of absorbing insults from kids on the street. I often didn’t bother to lock up my beater. Never had a problem.

In my early forties and feeling flush, I dropped $2400 on a royal blue Greg LeMond racing bike. Terrified that my prize possession might get stolen, I only ride it to destinations I deem ridiculously safe or where I’ll only have to leave it outside for a few minutes. So I hardly use it.
I’m an idiot.

Nice things are, well, nice to have. But they’re also a pain in the ass. In college one of my girlfriends (who I am not suggesting was a “thing”, obviously, and whom equally obviously I never thought I “had” in any ownership-y sense) had dazzling big blue eyes and golden blonde hair down to her waist and was so striking that guys literally walked into lampposts while gawking at her. Being seen with her was great for my ego. But every outing entailed a risk of violence as dudes catcalled and wolf-whistled; chivalry (and my girlfriend) dictated that I couldn’t ignore all of them. I sometimes suggested the 1980s equivalent of “Netflix and chill” (Channel J and wine coolers?) rather than deal with the stress. (We broke up for other reasons.)

So back to the big ransomware attack. What should you do if your ‘puter locks you out of your files unless you fork over $300? Wipe your hard drive and move on.

Back up regularly, Internet experts say, and this threat is one reason why. With a recent backup, you can usually wipe your hard drive and restore your files from a backed-up version that predates the virus. Take that, villains! But no one does.

Meanwhile, our online lives are becoming as hobbled by excessive security as the airlines. Like the countless locks on Gabe Kaplan’s Brooklyn apartment door in “Welcome Back Kotter”, two-step authentication helps – but at what cost? You have to enter your password, wait for a text – if you’re travelling overseas, you have to pay a dollar or more to receive it – and enter it before accessing a site. Tech companies force us to choose a new password each time we forget the old one. Studies show that makes things worse: most users choose simpler passwords because they’re easier to remember.

The only thing to fear, FDR told us, is fear itself. What if we liberated ourselves from the threat of cyber attack – and a ton of work maintaining online security – by not having anything on our Internet-connected devices that we care about?

This would require a mental shift.

First, we should have fewer things online. When you think about it, many devices are connected to the Internet for a tiny bit of convenience but at significant risk to security. Using an app to warm up your house before you come home is nifty, but online thermostats are hardly worth the exposure to hackers who could drive up your utility bills, start a fire or even cause a brownout. Driverless cars could be remotely ordered to kill you – no thanks! I laugh at the Iranian nuclear scientists who set back their nation’s top-secret research program for years because their desire to cyber commute opened their system to the Stuxnet attack. Go to the office, lazybones!

The Internet of Things needs to be seriously rethought – and resisted.

As for your old-fashioned electronic devices – smartphones, tablets and laptops – it might time to start thinking like a New Yorker during the 1980s. Leave the door unlocked. Just don’t leave anything in your glove compartment, or on your hard drive, that you wouldn’t mind losing.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/17/security-is-ruining-the-internet/

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Major Developments Strongly Suggest

 

 
… the End of Unipolar World Order

by Federico Pieraccini

Strategic Culture Foundation (May 14 2017)

With Moon Jae-In’s victory in South Korea, the period of tension on the Korean Peninsula is likely to end. With the rise to power of the new president, South Korea can expect a sharp decline in hostilities with North Korea as well as a resumption of dialogue with China.

An expected and highly anticipated victory was confirmed in South Korea on May 9, with candidate Moon winning South Korea’s presidential race over his rivals Hong Joon-pyo (Liberty Korea Party) and Ahn Cheol-soo (People’s Party). After the resignation and arrest of former President Park Geun-hye over an immense corruption scandal, public opinion turned away from her party in favour of the main opposition representative, a center-left lawyer specializing in humanitarian issues.

Moon spent several years in the opposition party advocating for greater cooperation in the region and dialogue with Pyongyang as well as with Beijing, representing quite a contrast to Guen-Hye’s pro-Americanism. Along the lines of Duterte in the Philippines, Moon intends to resume dialogue with all partners in order not to limit his options in the international arena. Such an approach reflects the essence of the multipolar world order: cooperation and dialogue with all partners in order to achieve a win-win outcome.

Looking at the situation in the region, the victory of a politician who seems to have every intention of negotiating an agreement rather than supporting military escalation seems to provide for a hopeful future for China and her neighbors. The level of cooperation and trade between South Korea and China is fundamental to the economy of both countries, so a return to the negotiating table over the issues surrounding the deployment of THAAD are a hopeful sign that the business communities of China and South Korea value deeply.

Duterte Strategy

The United States is again faced with a Filipino-like scenario. Historically, South Korea and the Philippines have always been two fundamental US allies, more concerned with Washington’s interests than their own national political agendas. Over the last few decades, both countries have been governed by politicians careful not to upset the sensibilities of US policy makers. South Korea and the Philippines are at the heart of the political strategy Obama called the Asian Pivot, more explicitly, a policy aimed at containing China and its expansion as a regional hegemon in Asia.

Following the Trump administration’s focus and threats against North Korea in recent weeks, war has seemed more likely on the peninsula. But with Moon’s victory, it has probably been permanently excluded as a possibility. In several interviews weeks prior to the election, Moon stated that a war between the US and the North Korea would constitute an impossible burden for South Korea to sustain. Moon is very realistic about the conventional deterrence that North Korea possesses, maybe even more so than the nuclear development.

Even though Trump has said he is willing to meet with Kim Jong-un, most of his decisions seem to depend on the hawks surrounding him. Looking at the first hundred days of the Trump administration shows a remarkable departure from electoral promises, with the influence of generals he nominated, leading to various escalations in the hot regions of the world. Bottom line is, Trump’s intentions and words matter to a certain extent as US posture in the region seems to be guided by military generals and inner circle family members. Fortunately for the world, the tentative moves in Syria and Afghanistan have not amounted to much, such as with the bombing of the Shayrat airbase or the show in Afghanistan involving the MOAB.

THAAD to Divide

The deployment of the THAAD system continues as part of a belligerent attitude towards North Korea. The strong and firm rhetoric of Pyongyang is justified and not surprising given the context and the threats facing the country in wake of US provocations. The deployment of THAAD has had consequences, such as increasing tensions between South Korea and China. Moon’s victory goes contrary to the goal of the US policy-makers in Washington to isolate China. In this light, the hurried deployment of THAAD before the South Korean election obliged the probable winner, Moon, to be faced with an accomplished fact. This first step makes it clear what Washington’s attitude towards the new South Korean president will be.

The THAAD has also been deployed to antagonize the most frustrating point between Seoul and Beijing: North Korea. The measure was intentionally taken by Washington to pressure Seoul. THAAD has all the characteristics of a Trojan horse. Placed to reassure an ally (Seoul) against a fake-threat (Pyongyang), it becomes a weapon against China that puts in place a system, only a few hundred miles from its border, potentially able to affect China’s strategic nuclear forces. The US military accelerated the deployment of THAAD in the knowledge that this would immediately place the future president in a difficult situation, in that removing THAAD would not be easy in the face of huge American pressure. This may perhaps be Moon’s first challenge; to use the dismantling of THAAD as a means of exchange with Beijing to return to a normal relationship of co-operation. If Beijing wants to believe Moon’s goodwill in eliminating the THAAD system, it may begin to loosen some of the measures imposed on Seoul as retaliation for the deployment of the US system.

Multipolar World to the Rescue

In this scenario, one must not make the mistake of believing that Moon’s victory means that a major US ally will cease its support for Washington. As always, in this era of transition from a unipolar to a multipolar world, the pressure that Washington will decide to apply to South Korea will affect the nature of the US-ROK alliance. The United States will have to abandon the warlike posture so dear to Mattis, McMaster and Admiral Harris (the commander of the US Pacific Fleet). In this Tillerson as a realist might be the right man at the right place to negotiate with Moon. Potentially it could be possible to solve the problem in whole by dealing with North Korea, although that seems unlikely given the pressures the deep state will put on the administration to continue using North Korea to create instability in the region.

This is why much of the region’s future will remain subordinated to potential negotiations between Beijing, Pyongyang and Seoul on the Korean peninsula, especially after Moon’s victory. If these three nations succeed in finding common ground on which to set upon a path of reconciliation, the region will benefit greatly. Of course, in this context, the one most likely to lose influence is the United States. If Washington wants to remain relevant, it should abandon the Chinese containment plan through the Korean peninsula by exploiting North Korean problems. If they instead decide to try to sabotage any peace agreement in the peninsula, this will only push Seoul and Pyongyang even closer together, to Beijing’s great pleasure.

Recent years have seen a mounting showdown between the old world order configuration based on chaos and destruction and led by Washington, and the new multipolar order that focuses on win-win opportunities, dialogue and sincere cooperation. If Washington decides not to accept the new rules of the game, where it can no longer dictate the law, it will end up producing more damage against itself than any foreign country could actually do, in actual fact accelerating the formation of the multipolar world and putting to bed the unipolar world order for good.

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/05/14/major-developments-strongly-suggest-the-end-of-unipolar-world-order.html

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The Global RansomWare Attack

… and the Crimes of the US Spy Agencies

by Andre Damon

World Socialist Web Site wsws.org (May 16 2017)

Over the past four days, some 350,000 computers have been infected by the so-called “WannaCry” malware, including 70,000 devices such as MRI scanners, blood storage refrigerators and operating equipment used by Britain’s National Health Service. As a result of the attack, the NHS was forced to turn away emergency room patients and divert ambulances, potentially resulting in serious illnesses and even fatalities.

The worm is a piece of “ransomware” that encrypts users’ data until the creators receive a payment. It uses “exploits” developed by the US National Security Agency as just a small part of the NSA’s catalog of hacking tools.

When NSA researchers discovered the vulnerability in the Windows operating system targeted by “WannaCry”, they refused to inform Microsoft. The company found out about the existence of the vulnerability only shortly before the general public, when it was leaked by the Shadow Brokers hacker group on April 14 of this year.

On Saturday, Microsoft President Brad Smith, in a tersely worded blog post, faulted the NSA for failing to share its knowledge of the exploit. “This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem”, he wrote, adding that “this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today – nation-state action and organized criminal action”.

He concluded, “We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits”.

Microsoft is far from blameless when it comes to the NSA’s operations. It has established a standing practice of reporting bugs to the US government before they are repaired and publicly acknowledged, allowing the NSA to use these vulnerabilities to break into systems.

Regardless, Smith’s statement represents a stinging indictment of the operations of the US intelligence apparatus, implying that its actions are only once removed from those of criminals.

The hacking tools used in the “WannaCry” malware serve an even more malevolent purpose than any ransomware: illegal spying on the population of the whole world as part of a systematic practice of subversion and cyber aggression.

In May 2013, NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the US intelligence apparatus collects, processes, reads and catalogues a vast quantity of private communications, both in the United States and internationally. Snowden explained that the stated aim of the NSA, the “signals intelligence” arm of the US intelligence apparatus, is unfettered access to all private information. Its mottos are, according to a leaked internal presentation, “Collect it All”, “Process it All”, “Exploit it All”, “Sniff it All” and “Know it All”.

Illegal domestic surveillance operations authorized by the Bush administration after 9/11 resulted in the vastly expanded scale of government spying that was exposed by Snowden. With the collaboration, both voluntary and coerced, of the major telecommunications companies, the US government was able to vacuum up nearly all phone conversations, email and chat messages exchanged on digital devices.

In subsequent years, common communications platforms substantially improved their security capabilities, with nearly all Internet communication systems enabling encryption by default. These developments prompted US intelligence officials to complain of the Internet “going dark” to the NSA and CIA, prompting repeated calls by politicians, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, to criminalize the use of encryption.

The NSA responded by vastly expanding its use of “Tailored Access Operations”, the arm of the NSA devoted to “computer network exploitation”, commonly known as hacking. The agency adopted the slogan, “Your data is our data, your equipment is our equipment – any time, any place”.

The NSA worked to build up a catalogue of cyber weapons, known as “exploits”, which allow it to easily break into almost any Internet-connected device. One internal NSA document from 2012 claimed that the NSA worked with the largest telecommunications and technology companies in the world to “insert vulnerabilities into commercial encryption systems, IT systems, networks and endpoint communications devices used by targets”.

The NSA’s massive team of security researchers – the largest in the world – also worked to discover and exploit vulnerabilities within existing products, keeping these bugs a secret from manufacturers in order to allow the NSA to exploit them to gain access to computers, networks and Internet-connected devices before other researchers could discover them and recommend fixes to manufacturers.

In addition to using these tools to carry out mass surveillance, the NSA weaponized them in order to carry out cyberattacks against Washington’s geopolitical adversaries. The most notorious of these efforts was the release of the Stuxnet worm in 2010, which ruined some 1,000 Iranian nuclear centrifuges. The cyberattack was coordinated with a series of car bomb murders, attributed by the media to the US and Israel, which killed at least three Iranian nuclear physicists.

The fact that over seventy percent of the initially reported “WannaCry” infections took place in Russia raises the very real possibility that the current disaster is the result of a Stuxnet-like cyberattack by the United States. The other country disproportionately affected was China.

Speaking in Beijing on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “As for the source of these threats, Microsoft’s leadership stated this directly. They said the source of the virus was the special services of the United States.”

White House Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert declared that finding those responsible for cyberattacks is “something that sometimes eludes us. Attribution can be difficult here.”

Bossert’s statement contrasts sharply with the declaration by the director of national intelligence in October 2016 that the US spy agencies were “confident that the Russian Government directed … recent compromises” of emails related to the Clinton campaign.

That declaration was part of a vast campaign by the Democratic Party, the media and much of the political establishment aimed at demonizing Russia by claiming it had “hacked” the 2016 US elections. As part of that campaign, media outlets, led by The New York Times, sought to present Russia as a global hacking powerhouse, subverting the spotless US electoral system.

One can only imagine what would have happened if, instead of the current malware attack mainly affecting Russia and largely bypassing the US in its initial stages, the situation had been reversed. The media would be up in arms about Russian “hackers”, with demands that the Trump administration retaliate with sanctions, cyberattacks and more menacing military moves. The Democrats would be in the forefront of calls for new war-mongering resolutions in Congress.

An examination of the facts exposed by the “WannaCry” attack, however, show that the world’s biggest band of cyber criminals by far is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Copyright (c) 1998-2017 World Socialist Web Site – All rights reserved

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/05/16/pers-m16.html

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Theresa May is the most incompetent leader in all the UK elections I’ve seen.

Joyce Brand

The Guardian

May 30, 2017

The Conservative manifesto assault on pensioners bore all the hallmarks of Thatcherism – without the competence. Even the U-turn on the “dementia tax” will do little to win back pensioners who’ve been thrown under the bus – the one with £350m a day for the NHS emblazoned on the side – once too often.
Theresa May’s intervention was designed to mollify us oldies, but it did nothing of the sort. There was nothing that made me feel more secure in my home than I had before the whole sorry mess had started.
That the Tories would come after their most loyal supporters wasn’t a shock to me. We’re vulnerable and compliant and, in the past at least, voted Tory out of habit. Even with the extortionate charges for residential care and the drive to force people into buying their hip replacement surgery, pensioners were still set to vote Tory. But the election’s triple whammy – scrapping the triple lock guarantee on our pensions, attacking the winter fuel allowance, and the social care plans that mean vulnerable pensioners could be made homeless – has changed that.
This attack came in a context in which pensioners are increasingly scapegoated. The headlines would have us believe that it’s “bed-blockers” making the NHS grind to a halt. Not Tory cuts. There’s a constant, nasty subtext that, in times of austerity, old people are living too long which is damned inconvenient because we’re expensive to maintain.
The fact that May thought she could get away with this flagrant attack on her most steadfast supporters shows just how out of touch she is. But blaming the vulnerable is a strategy that has worked for the Tories. Deflecting the financial crash away from financial institutions and political failings, and on to the poor, the sick and the old, has allowed the Tories to justify austerity, to say: “It’s not bankers’ bonuses we should be cutting back, it’s the welfare state.”
The elderly, disabled and mentally ill are portrayed in much of the media as shirkers and spongers, so it’s no wonder we’re seen as easy prey.
Pitting the elderly against the young has been a growing and divisive tactic. Our protected state pensions and our dominance in the housing market are cited as causing the financial misery of the younger generation. We have our great big madeira cake and we’re jolly well going to eat it.
The reality is quite different; 1.9 million pensioners live below the poverty line, one in four people over 65 struggle to survive to the end of each month, the waiting list time for elective surgery is anything up to a year, and now, should we need nursing home care, our own homes will be sold to pay for it. Old people are not the cause of the problems of today’s younger generation, they are scapegoats for a social care system that has been made bankrupt by reckless cuts and Tory incompetence.
May’s dementia tax betrayed the underbelly of the nasty party. It has not only abandoned but attacked a generation of citizens, many of whom lived through the second world war and the dire austerity that followed. She would rather steal from her loyal pensioners than ask her friends in the city to pay their fair share. The curtain has been lifted, and we see May as she really is – a reverse Robin Hood, stealing from the palms of the poor to line the pockets of the rich.

This gigantic own goal will be followed by days of grovelling promises to “look after” older people. I may be old but I’m not stupid. Who on earth would trust anything Theresa May now says? I’ve lived through many an election but never in my life have I seen a U-turn on a manifesto pledge before an election has even been won. Incompetence on this scale is unprecedented. If Theresa May can’t get this right, how can we possibly trust her to handle complex Brexit negotiations?
If we want a strong and stable leader, someone who will protect our pensions and homes, someone who offers our grandchildren a future of hope instead of fear and debt, there’s only one contender – Jeremy Corbyn. In light of the Tories’ misery manifesto, I doubt I’ll be the only OAP voting for the Labour party, under the principled stewardship of their leader on 8 June.

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The Universal Empire (Part Four of Four)

The Final Stage of the Machiavellian Elites’ Takeover of America

by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Truthdig (April 27 2017)


Cover of the 1550 edition of Machiavelli’s The Prince (1532) and “The Life of Castruccio Castracani” ({1})

Editor’s note: This article is the last in a four-part series on Truthdig called “Universal Empire” – an examination of the current stage of the neocon takeover of American policy that began after World War Two.

The recent assertion by the Trump White House {2} that Damascus and Moscow released “false narratives” to mislead the world about the April 4 sarin gas attack in Khan Shaykhun, Syria, is a dangerous next step in the “fake news” propaganda war launched in the final days of the Obama administration. It is a step whose deep roots in Communist Trotsky’s Fourth International must be understood before deciding whether American democracy can be reclaimed.

Muddying the waters of accountability in a way not seen since Senator Joe McCarthy at the height of the Red Scare in the 1950s, the “Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act” {3} signed into law without fanfare by Obama in December 2016 officially authorized a government censorship bureaucracy comparable only to George Orwell’s fictional Ministry of Truth in his novel 1984 (1949). Referred to as “the Global Engagement Centre” {4}, the official purpose of this new bureaucracy is to “recognize, understand, expose, and counter foreign state and non-state propaganda and disinformation efforts aimed at undermining United States national security interests”. The real purpose of this Orwellian nightmare {5} is to cook the books on anything that challenges Washington’s neoconservative pro-war narrative and to intimidate, harass or jail anyone who tries. As has already been demonstrated by President Trump’s firing of Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian government airbase, it is a recipe for a world war, and like it or not, that war has already begun.

This latest attack on Russia’s supposed false narrative takes us right back to 1953 and the beginnings of the cultural war between East and West. Its roots are tied to the Congress for Cultural Freedom, to James Burnham’s pivot from Trotsky’s Fourth International to right-wing conservatism and to the rise of the neoconservative Machiavellians as a political force. As Burnham’s The Struggle for the World {6} stressed, the Third World War had already begun with the 1944 Communist-led Greek sailors’ revolt. In Burnham’s Manichean thinking, the West was under siege. George Kennan’s Cold War policy of containment was no different than Neville Chamberlain’s policy of appeasement. Detente with the Soviet Union amounted to surrender. Peace was only a disguise for war, and that war would be fought with politics, subversion, terrorism and psychological warfare. Soviet influence had to be rolled back wherever possible. That meant subverting the Soviet Union and its proxies and, when necessary, subverting Western democracies as well.

The true irony of today’s late-stage efforts by Washington to monopolize “truth” and attack alternate narratives isn’t just in its blatant contempt for genuine free speech. The real irony is that the entire “Freedom Manifesto” employed by the United States and Britain since World War Two was never free at all, but a concoction of the CIA’s Psychological Strategy Board’s (“PSB” {7}) comprehensive psychological warfare program waged on friend and foe alike.

The CIA would come to view the entire program, beginning with the 1950 Berlin conference, to be a landmark in the Cold War, not just for solidifying the CIA’s control over the non-Communist left and the West’s “free” intellectuals, but for enabling the CIA to secretly disenfranchise Europeans and Americans from their own political culture in such a way they would never really know it.

As historian Christopher Lasch wrote {8} in 1969 of the CIA’s cooptation of the American left,

The modern state … is an engine of propaganda, alternately manufacturing crises and claiming to be the only instrument that can effectively deal with them. This propaganda, in order to be successful, demands the cooperation of writers, teachers, and artists not as paid propagandists or state-censored time-servers but as “free” intellectuals capable of policing their own jurisdictions and of enforcing acceptable standards of responsibility within the various intellectual professions.

Key to turning these “free” intellectuals against their own interests was the CIA’s doctrinal program for Western cultural transformation contained in the document PSB D-33/2 {9}. PSB D-33/2 foretells of a “long-term intellectual movement to break down worldwide doctrinaire thought patterns” while “creating confusion, doubt and loss of confidence” in order to “weaken objectively the intellectual appeal of neutralism and to predispose its adherents towards the spirit of the West”. The goal was to “predispose local elites to the philosophy held by the planners”, while employing local elites “would help to disguise the American origin of the effort so that it appears to be a native development”.

While declaring itself as an antidote to Communist totalitarianism, one internal critic of the program, PSB officer Charles Burton Marshall, viewed PSB D-33/2 itself as frighteningly totalitarian, interposing “a wide doctrinal system” that “accepts uniformity as a substitute for diversity”, embracing “all fields of human thought – all fields of intellectual interests, from anthropology and artistic creations to sociology and scientific methodology”. He concluded: “That is just about as totalitarian as one can get”.

Burnham’s Machiavellian elitism lurks in every shadow of the document. As recounted in Frances Stoner Saunder’s The Cultural Cold War,

Marshall also took issue with the PSB’s reliance on ‘non-rational social theories’ which emphasized the role of an elite “in the manner reminiscent of Pareto, Sorel, Mussolini and so on”. Weren’t these the models used by James Burnham in his book The Machiavellians? Perhaps there was a copy usefully at hand when PSB D-33/2 was being drafted. More likely, James Burnham himself was usefully at hand.

Burnham was more than just at hand when it came to secretly implanting a fascist philosophy of extreme elitism into America’s Cold War orthodoxy. With The Machiavellians, Burnham had composed the manual that forged the old Trotskyist left together with a right-wing Anglo/American elite. The political offspring of that volatile union would be called neoconservatism, whose overt mission would be to roll back Russian/Soviet influence everywhere. Its covert mission would be to reassert a British cultural dominance over the emerging Anglo/American Empire and maintain it through propaganda.

Hard at work on that task since 1946 was the secret Information Research Department of the British and Commonwealth Foreign Office known as the IRD.

Rarely spoken of in the context of CIA-funded secret operations, the IRD served as a covert anti-Communist propaganda unit from 1946 until 1977. According to Paul Lashmar and James Oliver, authors of Britain’s Secret Propaganda War {10},

the vast IRD enterprise had one sole aim: To spread its ceaseless propaganda output (that is, a mixture of outright lies and distorted facts) among top-ranking journalists who worked for major agencies and magazines, including Reuters and the BBC, as well as every other available channel. It worked abroad to discredit communist parties in Western Europe which might gain a share of power by entirely democratic means, and at home to discredit the British Left.

IRD was to become a self-fulfilling disinformation machine for the far-right wing of the international intelligence elite, at once offering fabricated and distorted information to “independent” news outlets and then using the laundered story as “proof” of the false story’s validity. One such front enterprise established with CIA money was Forum World Features, operated at one time by Burnham acolyte Brian Rossiter Crozier {11}. Described by Burnham’s biographer Daniel Kelly as a “British political analyst”, in reality, the legendary Brian Crozier functioned for over fifty years as one of Britain’s top propagandists and secret agents {12}.

If anyone today is shocked by the biased, one-sided, xenophobic rush to judgment alleging Russian influence over the 2016 presidential election, they need look no further than to Brian Crozier’s closet for the blueprints. As we were told outright by an American military officer during the first war in Afghanistan in 1982, the US didn’t need “proof the Soviets used poison gas” and they don’t need proof against Russia now. Crozier might best be described as a daydream believer, a dangerous imperialist who acts out his dreams {13} with open eyes. From the beginning of the Cold War until his death in 2012, Crozier and his protege Robert Moss {14} propagandized on behalf of military dictators Francisco Franco and Augusto Pinochet, organized private intelligence organizations to destabilize governments in the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa and worked to delegitimize politicians in Europe and Britain viewed as insufficiently anti-Communist.

The mandate of his Institute for the Study of Conflict (“ISC”) set up in 1970 was to expose the supposed KGB campaign of worldwide subversion and put out stories smearing anyone who questioned it as a dupe, a traitor or Communist spy. Crozier regarded The Machiavellians as a major formative influence in his own intellectual development, and wrote in 1976 “indeed it was this book above all others that first taught me how [emphasis Crozier] to think about politics”. The key to Crozier’s thinking was Burnham’s distinction between the “formal” meaning of political speech and the “real”, a concept which was, of course, grasped only by elites. In a 1976 article, Crozier marveled at how Burnham’s understanding of politics had spanned 600 years and how the use of “the formal” to conceal “the real” was no different today than when used by Dante Alighieri’s “presumably enlightened Medieval mind”.

The point is as valid now as it was in ancient times and in the Florentine Middle Ages, or in 1943. Overwhelmingly, political writers and speakers still use Dante’s method. Depending on the degree of obfuscation required (either by circumstances or the person’s character), the divorce between formal and real meaning is more of less absolute.

But Crozier was more than just a strategic thinker. Crozier was a high-level covert political agent {15} who put Burnham’s talent for obfuscation and his Fourth International experience to use to undermine detente and set the stage for rolling back the Soviet Union.

In a secret meeting at a City of London bank in February 1977, he even patented a private-sector operational intelligence organization known at the Sixth International (“6I”) to pick up where Burnham left off: politicizing and privatizing many of the dirty tricks the CIA and other intelligence services could no longer be caught doing. As he explained in his memoir Free Agent (1994), the name 6I was chosen

because the Fourth International split. The Fourth International was the Trotskyist one, and when it split, this meant that, on paper, there were five Internationals. In the numbers game, we would constitute the Sixth International, or “6I”.

Crozier’s cooperation with numerous “able and diligent Congressional staffers” as well as “the remarkable General Vernon (‘Dick’) Walters, recently retired as Deputy Director of Central Intelligence”, cemented the rise of the neoconservatives. When [President Jimmy] Carter caved in to the Team B and his neoconservative National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski’s plot to lure the Soviets into their own Vietnam in Afghanistan, it fulfilled Burnham’s mission and delivered the world to the Machiavellians without anyone being the wiser. As George Orwell wrote in his “Second Thoughts on James Burnham”:

What Burnham is mainly concerned to show [in The Machiavellians] is that a democratic society has never existed and, so far as we can see, never will exist. Society is of its nature oligarchical, and the power of the oligarchy always rests upon force and fraud … Power can sometimes be won and maintained without violence, but never without fraud.

Today, Burnham’s use of Dante’s political treatise “De Monarchia” to explain his medieval understanding of politics might best be swapped for Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, a paranoid comedy of errors in which the door to Hell swings open to one and all, including the elites regardless of their status. Or as they say in Hell, Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate. Abandon hope all ye who enter here.

_____

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story {16}, Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire {17} and The Voice {18}. Visit their websites at invisiblehistory.com {19} and grailwerk.com {20}.

Links:

{1} https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archivo:Machiavelli_Principe_Cover_Page.jpg

{2} https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/11/world/middleeast/russia-syria-chemical-weapons-white-house.html

{3} http://www.zerohedge.com/print/582834

{4} https://www.state.gov/r/gec/

{5} https://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/24841-critics-slam-congress-for-creating-an-orwellian-ministry-of-truth

{6} https://archive.org/details/struggleforworld00burn

{7} https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP80R01731R003400010025-1.pdf

{8} http://www.longpauses.com/the-agony-of-the-american-left/

{9} https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP80R01731R003200050006-0.pdf

{10} https://www.amazon.com/Britains-Secret-Propaganda-Paul-Lashmar/dp/0750916680

{11} https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Brian_Crozier

{12} http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/brian-crozier-intelligence-and-security-expert-who-fought-communism-and-founded-his-own-spy-network-8036652.html

{13} http://www.invisiblehistory.com/the-books/mystical-imperialism/

{14} https://wikispooks.com/wiki/Document:Robert_Moss,_extract_from_The_%22Terrorism%22_Industry

{15} https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/aug/09/brian-crozier

{16} http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100741260

{17} http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100739330&fa=description

{18} https://www.createspace.com/1000237174

{19} http://www.invisiblehistory.com/

{20} http://www.grailwerk.com/

(c) 2017 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_final_stage_of_the_machiavellian_elites_takeover_of_america_20170427/

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The Universal Empire (Part Three of Four)

How the CIA Created a Fake Western Reality for “Unconventional Warfare”

by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Truthdig (April 26 2017)

“The Evil Spirits of the Modern Daily Press”, a cartoon from Puck magazine in 1888. ({1})

Editor’s note: This article is the third part of a four-part series on Truthdig called “Universal Empire” – an examination of the current stage of the neocon takeover of American policy that began after World War Two.

The odd, psychologically conflicted and politically divisive ideology referred to as neoconservatism {2} can claim many godfathers. Irving Kristol (father of William Kristol), Albert 1Wohlstetter, Daniel Bell, Norman Podhoretz and Sidney Hook come to mind. And there are many others. But in both theory and practice, the title of founding father for the neoconservative agenda of endless warfare that rules the thinking of America’s defense and foreign policies today might best be applied to James Burnham {3}.

His writings in the 1930s provided a refined Oxford intellectual’s gloss to the Socialist Workers Party, and as a close adviser to Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his Fourth International {4}, he learned the tactics and strategies of infiltration and political subversion firsthand. Burnham revelled in his role as a “Trotskyist intellectual”, pulling dirty tricks on his political foes in competing Marxist movements by turning their loyalties and looting their best talent.

Burnham renounced his allegiance to Trotsky and Marxism in all its forms in 1940, but he would take their tactics and strategies for infiltration and subversion with him and would turn their method of dialectical materialism against them. His 1941 book, The Managerial Revolution {5}, would bring him fame and fortune and establish him as an astute, if not exactly accurate, political prophet chronicling the rise of a new class of technocratic elite. His next book, The Machiavellians, confirmed his movement away from Marxist idealism to a very cynical and often cruel realism with his belief in the inevitable failure of democracy and the rise of the oligarch. In 1943 he put it all to use in a memo for the US Office of Strategic Services (“OSS”) in which his Trotskyist anti-Stalinism would find its way into the agency’s thinking. And in his 1947 book, The Struggle for the World, Burnham expanded his confrontational/adversarial dialectic toward the Soviet Union into a permanent , apocalyptic policy of endless war.

By 1947 James Burnham’s transformation from Communist radical to New World Order American conservative was complete. His “Struggle for the World” had done a French Turn {6} on Trotsky’s permanent Communist revolution and turned it into a permanent battle plan for a global American empire. All that was needed to complete Burnham’s dialectic was a permanent enemy, and that would require a sophisticated psychological campaign to keep the hatred of Russia alive for generations.

The Rise of the Machiavellians

In 1939 Sidney Hook, Burnham’s colleague at New York University and fellow Marxist philosopher, had helped to found an anti-Stalinist Committee for Cultural Freedom as part of a campaign against Moscow. During the war Hook, too, had abandoned Marxism and, like Burnham, somehow found himself in the warm embrace of the right wing of America’s intelligence community during and after World War Two. Hook was viewed by the Communist Party as a traitor and “counter-revolutionary reptile” for his activities and by 1942 was informing on his fellow comrades to the FBI.

Selling impoverished and dispossessed European elites on the virtues of American culture was essential to building America’s empire after the war, and Burnham’s early writings proved the inspiration from which a new counterculture of “freedom” would be built. As veterans of internecine Trotskyist warfare, both Burnham and Hook were practiced at the arts of infiltration and subversion, and with Burnham’s The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom {7} as their blueprint, they set out to colour anything the Soviets did or said with dark intent.

As Burnham articulated clearly in The Machiavellians, his version of freedom meant anything but intellectual freedom or those freedoms defined by America’s Constitution. What it really meant was conformity and submission. Burnham’s freedom only applied to those intellectuals (the Machiavellians) willing to tell people the hard truth about the unpopular political realities they faced. These were the realities that would usher in a brave new world of the managerial class, who would set about denying Americans the very democracy they thought they already owned. As Orwell observed about Burnham’s Machiavellian beliefs in his 1946 “Second Thoughts”: “Power can sometimes be won or maintained without violence, but never without fraud, because it is necessary to use the masses”.

By 1949 the CIA was actively in the business of defrauding the masses by secretly supporting the so-called non-Communist left and behaving as if it was just a spontaneous outgrowth of a free society. By turning the left to the service of its expanding empire, the CIA was applying a French Turn of its own by picking the best and the brightest {8}, and the creation of the National Security Act of 1947 institutionalized it. Assisted by Britain’s Information Research Department (”IRD”), the CIA recruited key former Soviet disinformation agents trained before the war who had managed non-Communist front groups for Moscow and put them to work. As Frances Stoner Saunders writes in her book The Cultural Cold War {9}, “these former propagandists for the Soviets were recycled, bleached of the stain of Communism, embraced by government strategists who saw in their conversion an irresistible opportunity to sabotage the Soviet propaganda machine which they had once oiled.” ;

By its own admission, the CIA’s strategy of promoting the non-Communist left would become the theoretical foundation of the agency’s political operations against Communism for over the next two decades. But the no-holds-barred cultural war against Soviet Communism began in earnest in March 1949 when a group of 800 prominent literary and artistic figures gathered at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel for a Soviet-sponsored “Cultural and Scientific” conference that would sue for peace. Both Sidney Hook and James Burnham were already actively involved in enlisting recruits to counter the efforts of Moscow’s Communist Information Bureau (“Cominform”) to influence Western opinion. But the Waldorf conference gave them an opportunity for dirty tricks they could only have prayed for.

Demonstrators organized by a right-wing coalition of Catholic groups and the American Legion heckled the guests as they arrived. Catholic nuns knelt in prayer for the souls of the Communist atheists in attendance. Gathered upstairs in a ten-floor bridal suite, a gang of ex-Trotskyists and Communists led by Hook intercepted the conference’s mail, doctored official press releases and published pamphlets challenging speakers to admit their Communist past.

In the end, the entire conference became a twisted theatre of the absurd, and Hook and Burnham would use it to sell Frank Wisner {10} at the CIA’s Office of Policy Coordination on taking the show on the road.

The Congress for Cultural Freedom: By Hook or by Crook

Drawing on the untapped power of the Fourth International, the coming-out party came on June 26 1950, at the Titania Palace in occupied Berlin. Named for Hook’s 1939 concept for a cultural committee, The Congress for Cultural Freedom’s fourteen-point “Freedom Manifesto” was to identify the West with freedom. And since everything about the West was said to be free, free, free, then it went without saying that everything about the Soviet Union wasn’t.

Organized by Burnham and Hook, the American delegation represented a who’s who of America’s postwar intellectuals. Tickets to Berlin were paid for by Wisner’s Office of Policy Coordination through front organizations and the Department of State, which helped arrange travel, expenses and publicity. According to CIA historian Michael Warner, the conference sponsors considered it money well spent, with one Defence Department representative calling it “unconventional warfare at its best”.

Burnham functioned as a critical connection between Wisner’s office and the intelligentsia moving from the extreme left to the extreme right with ease. Burnham found the congress to be a place to inveigh not just against Communism but against the non-communist left as well and left many wondering whether his views weren’t as dangerous to liberal democracy as Communism. According to Frances Stoner Saunders, members of the British delegation found the rhetoric coming out of the congress to be a deeply troubling sign of things to come:

Hugh Trevor-Roper {11} was appalled by the provocative tone … There was a speech by Franz Borkenau {12} which was very violent and indeed almost hysterical. He spoke in German and I regret to say that as I listened and I heard the baying voices of approval from the huge audiences, I felt, well, these are the same people who seven years ago were probably baying in the same way to similar German denunciations of Communism coming from Dr Goebbels in the Sports Palast. And I felt, well, what sort of people are we identifying with? That was the greatest shock to me. There was a moment during the Congress when I felt that we were being invited to summon up Beelzebub in order to defeat Stalin.

The Congress for Cultural Freedom didn’t need Beelzebub. It already had him in the form of Burnham, Hook and Wisner, and by 1952, the party was just getting started. Burnham worked overtime for Wisner legitimizing the congress as a platform for the Machiavellians alongside ex-Communists and even Nazis, including SS General Reinhard Gehlen {13} and his German army intelligence unit, which had been brought into the CIA after the war intact. E Howard Hunt, Watergate “plumber” {14} and famous CIA dirty trickster, remembered Burnham in his memoirs: “Burnham was a consultant to OPC on virtually every subject of interest to our organization … He had extensive contacts in Europe and, by virtue of his Trotskyite background, was something of an authority on domestic and foreign Communist parties and front organizations”.

In 1953 Burnham was called upon again by Wisner to reach beyond Communism to help overthrow the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in Tehran, Iran, apparently because Wisner thought the plan needed “a touch of Machiavelli”. But Burnham’s greatest contribution as a Machiavellian was yet to come. His book, The Machiavellians: Defenders of Freedom, would become the CIA’s manual for displacing Western culture with an alternative doctrine for endless conflict in a world of oligarchs. In the end, it opened the gates to an Inferno from which there would be no return.

_____

Part Four of “Universal Empire” will look beyond Soviet Communism into the creation of the sophisticated doctrinal campaign that led to the final stage of the Machiavellian elites’ takeover of America.

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story {15}, Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire {16} and The Voice {17}. Visit their websites at invisiblehistory.com {18} and grailwerk.com {19}.

Links:

{1} https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Puck112188c.jpg

{2} http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-22/russia-did-it-last-stand-neoconservatism

{3} https://wikispooks.com/wiki/James_Burnham

{4} http://www.marxistsfr.org/history/etol/document/fi/index.htm

{5} https://www.amazon.com/Managerial-Revolution-What-Happening-World/dp/0837156785

{6} https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Turn

{7} https://archive.org/details/TheMachiavellians

{8} http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/03/15/home/halberstam-best.html

{9} http://www.thedivineconspiracy.org/Z5286U.pdf

{10} http://spartacus-educational.com/JFKwisner.htm

{11} http://www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk/culture/poetry-creative-writing/hugh-trevor-roper-portrait-historian

{12} http://spartacus-educational.com/SPborkenau.htm

{13} http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB146/

{14} https://www.maryferrell.org/pages/Confession_of_Howard_Hunt.html

{15} http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100741260

{16} http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100739330&fa=description

{17} https://www.createspace.com/1000237174

{18} http://www.invisiblehistory.com/

{19} http://www.grailwerk.com/

(c) 2017 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/how_neocons_created_fake_western_reality_cultural_displacement_20170426/

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