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Fri, 22 Feb 2019
The World for People who Think


An Eccentric Tradition: The Paradox of 'Western Values'

moses painting
© Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn / Getty Images
Western values?
It is no secret that former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a fan of Western values.

On more than one occasion he has lamented what he calls "the great Australian silence" - the neglect of "the Western canon, the literature, the poetry, the music, the history and above all the faith without which our culture and our civilisation is unimaginable."

Abbott's predecessor, John Howard, is also known as a stout defender of the Western tradition and its values, and he too worries that we are losing our connection to it: "When we think of our civilisation, we lack an integrated understanding of the contribution of the early Romans and Greeks, the framework of what is frequently called the Judaeo-Christian ethic."

Further afield, former UK Prime Minister David Cameron has preached the importance of Christian values for Britain.

More recently, and perhaps unhelpfully for the cause, Donald Trump has jumped on the bandwagon. In a rare moment of coherence, Trump delivered a speech ahead of the 2017 G20 summit in Poland, urging the defence of "our values" and "our civilization."


Is there really such a thing as the "Judeo-Christian tradition"?

Ten commandments movie film drive-in
© J. R. Eyerman/Life Magazine/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Charlton Heston as Moses in The Ten Commandments, in 1958.
The notion of a "Judeo-Christian tradition" conceals the Western history of anti-Judaism, even when seeming to extol the virtue of Jewish identity.

These days, the term "the Judeo-Christian tradition" is most often meant to evoke "those religious, ethical, or cultural values or beliefs regarded as being common to both Judaism and Christianity." Obvious enough, perhaps. But then, when asked to specify what these religious, ethical, or cultural values or beliefs really are, we quickly find ourselves struggling.

So before asking what the term "Judeo-Christian tradition" means or what its particular "values or beliefs" are, we first need to ask what work the term "Judeo-Christian" is doing in the modern West?

It may come as a surprise to many that it has a very short history. In its current dominant meaning, it is virtually unknown before the Second World War, only really coming into vogue in the mid-1940s. If we look at the peaks and troughs of the usage of "Judeo-Christian" on Google Ngram ― which is useful here simply as a heuristic device ― we can see that from 1800 to 1935 the term is virtually non-existent. Then, we note two surges in its usage, from 1935 to 1951 and then again from 1962 to 2000, with peaks in 1942 and 1992. From 2000, its usage begins to climb again.


Germany Pulls Rank on Macron and American Energy Blackmail

macron may
It was billed politely as a Franco-German "compromise" when the EU balked at adopting a Gas Directive which would have undermined the Nord Stream 2 project with Russia.

Nevertheless, diplomatic rhetoric aside, Berlin's blocking last week of a bid by French President Emmanuel Macron to impose tougher regulations on the Nord Stream 2 gas project was without doubt a firm rebuff to Paris.

Macron wanted to give the EU administration in Brussels greater control over the new pipeline running from Russia to Germany. But in the end the so-called "compromise" was a rejection of Macron's proposal, reaffirming Germany in the lead role of implementing the Nord Stream 2 route, along with Russia.

The $11-billion, 1,200 kilometer pipeline is due to become operational at the end of this year. Stretching from Russian mainland under the Baltic Sea, it will double the natural gas supply from Russia to Germany. The Berlin government and German industry view the project as a vital boost to the country's ever-robust economy. Gas supplies will also be distributed from Germany to other European states. Consumers stand to gain from lower prices for heating homes and businesses.

Comment: Macron is siding with Trump on this because Trump's 'America First' agenda here coincides with the globalist agenda: against Russia. Macron is an Anglo-Saxon creature, a bankers' globalist, through and through. De Gaulle is rolling in his grave.


Totalitarianism: Investigation finds US police shoot 1,000 people dead every year

© Reuters / Elijah Nouvelage
A new investigation has revealed that no matter the circumstances, American cops shoot almost 1,000 people dead every year.

The line between life and death can be crossed in a split second, as was the case with 20-year-old Willie McCoy on Saturday night. Police came upon the amateur rapper sleeping in his car with a handgun on his lap outside a Taco Bell in Vallejo, California. Officers drew their weapons when McCoy stirred and woke up, and ordered him to "keep his hands visible."

When McCoy allegedly moved his hands towards his weapon, the officers opened fire. McCoy died on the scene.

Saturday's shooting was just one of the almost 1,000 fatal police-involved shootings that take place in the United States every year, according to data compiled by the Washington Post. As everything else changes, that number remains the same. 998 people were shot and killed by cops last year, up from 987 in 2017. 963 people were shot and killed by police in 2016, and 995 in 2015.

45 percent of these victims were white males, while 23 percent were black males. 96 percent of the victims were armed, half of these with guns, and 25 percent were in "mental distress" at the time of their shooting. Only five percent were women.

Comment: For comparison, Chinese police officers kill about 4 people per year.

In 2017, US police actually killed 1,147 citizens, according to the Mapping Police Violence report. Officers were charged with a crime in just 13 of these cases - about 1% of all killings.

Just in case American readers don't know this: it's not normal...

Quenelle - Golden

More fake anti-Semitism? 'Spike' in neo-Nazi graffiti on streets of Paris blamed by French government on Yellow Vest protesters

© Reuters/Vincent Kessler
Strasbourg's Grand Rabbi inspects graves desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti in 2018.
France's interior minister has vowed to take a tougher stance on hatred, after multiple incidents of anti-semitic vandalism, and a spike in anti-Jewish hate crimes last year.

Parisians were greeted with crudely daubed anti-Semitic slogans on shop fronts last weekend, including swastikas sprayed over images of late politician and Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, and the German word for Jews ("Juden") sprayed on a bagel shop in the city center.

Comment: Interestingly, this happened in England last weekend: One naturally wonders if the fact that Jews have been caught committing 'acts of anti-Semitism' in the past might have anything to do with these recent 'spikes' in 'anti-Semitism':


"The Lobby - USA": Watch the film the Israel lobby has tried to suppress - UPDATE: Parts 3 & 4 released

Israel Lobby Congress
The Electronic Intifada has obtained a complete copy of The Lobby - USA, a four-part undercover investigation by Al Jazeera into Israel's covert influence campaign in the United States.

It is today publishing the first two episodes. The Paris-based Orient XXI has published the same episodes with French subtitles.

The film was made by Al Jazeera during 2016 and was completed in October 2017.

But it was censored after Qatar, the gas-rich Gulf emirate that funds Al Jazeera, came under intense Israel lobby pressure not to air the film.

Comment: Parts 3 and 4 promise to be even more revealing.

Update: Al Jazeera has released Parts 3 & 3 of The Lobby - USA. Electronic Intifada has the details.
In the first two parts of the censored documentary The Lobby - USA, released by The Electronic Intifada this week, Al Jazeera's undercover reporter "Tony" charmed his way into pro-Israel circles.

He discovered a network of organizations acting as fronts for the Israeli state to spy on, disrupt and sabotage US supporters of Palestinian rights - especially BDS, the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

In the final two parts of of the film, Tony gets a deeper look at Israel's covert influence campaigns during his internship for The Israel Project.

Watch parts three and four in the videos embedded above and below.

The Electronic Intifada is releasing the leaked film simultaneously with France's Orient XXI and Lebanon's Al-Akhbar, which have respectively subtitled the episodes in French and Arabic.

In part three, Al Jazeera interviews Bill Mullen, a professor of American Studies at Purdue University in Indiana, and a leading activist in the BDS movement.

As The Electronic Intifada reported in 2016, Mullen and his family found themselves targeted by an organized smear campaign, starting in March of that year.

Several anonymous websites sprang up, containing fabricated accounts of sexual harassment by Mullen, supposedly by a student.

In the film, Mullen describes the campaign as an attempt to destroy his marriage. His wife, also a professor, was sent a link to one of the sites.

The smear campaign seems to have been manufactured by Israel's agents in the US.

"These people will do anything"

"One of the [anonymous] accounts explains that in the process of supposedly putting my hand on her, I'd invited her to a Palestine organizational meeting. And I thought, you're sort of putting your cards on the table there," Mullen says, explaining how he came to realize that pro-Israel actors were behind the smears.

Mullen recounts how the anonymous websites also used the name of his daughter, which he says was the worst moment for him, when he realized "these people will do anything, they're capable of doing anything."

A Students for Justice in Palestine activist who Mullen worked with, speaks anonymously in an interview with Al Jazeera.

She too was targeted by an anonymous smear site, which falsely claimed she engaged in "partying, drinking" and "promiscuity." She recounts how this led to tension and upset at home, with her parents telling her to end her SJP involvement.

Smear tactics have been common features of "advocacy" for Israel for decades. Israel lobbyists know they cannot win open debate on the actual issues.

Such attempts to target and sabotage activists' personal lives represent an escalation in tactics in recent years, led by Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

These tactics are more reminiscent of Israeli intelligence services' actions against Palestinian resistance organizations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with the usage of blackmail, disinformation, rumors and sabotage.

This is not entirely surprising considering that the Ministry of Strategic Affairs is largely staffed by Israeli spies.

"It's psychological warfare"

In undercover footage seen in episode one, the Israel on Campus Coalition's Jacob Baime admitted to coordinating with the Israeli ministry.

He described his approach as "modeled on General Stanley McChrystal's counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq," explaining that they "copied a lot from that strategy that has been working really well for us, actually."

Although Baime seems confused about the country - the US general's "counterinsurgency" effort was focused on Afghanistan, not Iraq - McChrystal's strategy emphasizes "offensive information operations."

In episode three, Baime explains how his organization applies this against "the anti-Israel people" by putting "up some anonymous website" along with targeted Facebook ads.

Baime explains that as a result activists "either shut down or they spend time responding to it and investigating it, which is time they can't spend attacking Israel."

"It's psychological warfare, it drives them crazy," he claims.

He later states that the Israel on Campus Coalition has a budget of some $2 million for "research" for such smear campaigns alone.

As previously reported by The Electronic Intifada, episode three also names convicted tax evader, and multimillionaire Israel lobby financier Adam Milstein as the founder of secretive blacklisting site Canary Mission.

It also reveals the Foundation for Defense of Democracies as another agent of Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

The foundation's Jonathan Schanzer admits in undercover footage that "anti-Semitism as a smear is not what is used to be."

"The foundation that AIPAC sat on is rotting"

Episode four reveals how Israel is working against the Black Lives Matter movement.

Israel's consul-general in Atlanta is seen in undercover footage complaining that "the major problem for Israel is with the young generation of the Black community."

The Israel Project's successful attempts to influence American mainstream media are also detailed, with former CNN journalist Jim Clancy describing it as "propaganda."

Also in episode four, Tony goes along for the ride with a comically unenthusiastic group of young, conservative think tank fellows, who are compelled by their bosses to join a protest against a Students for Justice in Palestine conference.

Max Blumenthal at the Grayzone Project previously released clips from these scenes, but all the footage can now be viewed on this page.

In the undercover footage, the fellows admit to Tony that what they are doing is "astroturfing" - a term for fake grassroots activism orchestrated or paid for by an interest group.

This feeds into the film's ultimate conclusion, in the words of Eric Gallagher, Tony's boss at The Israel Project.

Gallagher describes how the bipartisan consensus in support of Israel has seriously fractured in recent years, with polls consistently showing a slide in progressive and liberal support for Israel.

Gallagher admits that the fortunes of AIPAC, Washington's most powerful Israel lobby group, and his former employer, are not what they once were.

"The foundation that AIPAC sat on is rotting," he laments.

"There used to be actual widespread public support for Israel in the United States. So I don't think that AIPAC is going to remain as influential as it is."

He adds: "I don't think that AIPAC is the tip of the spear anymore, which is worrisome, because who is?"


New leaks show UK-funded Integrity Initiative project sought £5.5m for Balkans influence campaign

integrity Initiative headquarters
© Sputnik
Two Temple Place, the headquarters of the Institute for Statecraft
Hackers have released a sixth batch of Integrity Initiative leaks, this time focusing on how the project sought £5.5 million in funding from the British government to establish an influence campaign in the Western Balkans.

According to the leaks, Chris Donnelly, who heads the Institute for Statecraft (IfS) - the Integrity Initiative's parent organization - used his NATO contacts and extensive background in military intelligence to try to secure the money for the program.

The Integrity Initiative (II) had been positioning itself as an "independent" anti-disinformation charity until hackers began dumping batches of internal documents last November which revealed its government funding and the fact that it was running Europe-wide anti-Russia influence campaigns using "clusters" of cooperative journalists, academics and politicians. In response to the leaks, the II wiped all content from its website and claimed that while some of the documents were "genuine," others were "falsified" - but did not provide any proof that this was the case.

The latest leaks show that the Balkan program would be run in conjunction with global marketing and communications firm Edelman, which Donnelly said could help produce "advertising campaigns on TV promoting change," English-language training promoting the "right messages" and even "a TV soap opera looking at the problem of corruption."



Bigotry & xenophobia about 'the Russians' is the only kind PC culture allows

© Getty Images / Sean Gallup
Corruption is in the Russian DNA. Sharing is not a Russian trait. The Russians are genetically driven to lie. In an increasingly politically-correct media landscape, "the Russians" are still fair game.

The three statements above have been made with various alterations by journalists, expert analysts, and US officials in recent years - and each time, the overt xenophobia within them flies almost completely under the radar, in a media culture which is otherwise hyper-vigilant of real or perceived slights against any one group of people. The Russians, however, are an exception. Their very existence offers a convenient outlet for pent-up hateful, racist, and xenophobic rage.

Go on, try it. I promise, you can say nearly anything you want about the Ruskies without any repercussions at all. Take journalist Josh Barro - always my favorite example. On Twitter - a veritable cesspit of anti-Russian sentiment - he mused a few years ago that Russia has been a "dystopic shithole since the dawn of history" and offered that Russian national pride was a peculiarity, "given how little they have to be proud of."

It's hardly necessary to ask readers to imagine the swift condemnation (and possible loss of a job) that would have followed those tweets, had Barro been spouting off about any other group of people. Say, "Jews," or "Asians," or "Hispanics."


'Prison time for fraudsters': Salvini calls for elimination of Italy's Central Bank

Matteo Salvini

Matteo Salvini
On Friday, in a moment of predictive insight, Bank of America correctly warned that the greatest threat to EPS - i.e., markets - in the next 3 years "is an acceleration of global populism via taxation, regulation & government intervention." Just one day later, this warning to the financial establishment was starkly manifest in that ground zero for Europe's populist revolt, Italy, where the country's coalition government hinted at where the global populist wave is headed next when he slammed the country's central bank leadership and stock market regulator, escalating its attacks on establishment figures ahead of the European parliamentary vote in May.

Matteo Salvini, the outspoken head of the anti-immigrant League party, said the Bank of Italy and Consob, the country's stock market regulator, should be "reduced to zero, more than changing one or two people, reduced to zero", or in other words eliminated, and that "fraudsters" who inflicted losses on Italian savers should "end up in prison for a long time."

Comment: The casino banking collapse in 2008 brought much of the world to its knees and robbed citizens of immense public wealth, and the insidious reverberations are still being felt today. And so when democracy has evidently been usurped by finance, Salvini is right to want to bring back some balance, and it's likely that many citizens throughout Europe, from France's Yellow Vests to 2010's Occupy movements, would themselves welcome such changes:

For an idea on just how massive and common crimes by the transnational banking groups are, check out these recent cases: And check out SOTT radio's:


How to tell if someone is controlled opposition

cia unmasked scooby-doo
Every day in my article comments and social media I get people warning me that this or that journalist, activist or politician is "controlled opposition", meaning someone who pretends to oppose the establishment while covertly serving it. These warnings usually come after I've shared or written about something a dissident figure has said or done, and are usually accompanied by an admonishment not to ever do so again lest I spread their malign influence. If you've been involved in any kind of anti-establishment activism for any length of time, you've probably encountered this yourself.

Paranoia pervades dissident circles of all sorts, and it's not entirely without merit, since establishment infiltration of political movements is the norm, not the exception. This article by Truthout documents multiple instances in which movements like the 1968 Chicago DNC protest and Peter Camejo's 1976 anti-establishment presidential campaign were so heavily infiltrated by opaque government agencies that one out of every six people involved in them were secretly working for the feds. This trend of infiltration is known to have continued into the current day with movements like Occupy and Black Lives Matter, and we'd be ignorant not to assume that this has been at least as rampant in online circles where people organize and disseminate ideas and information.