Category Archives: Geopolitics

Chris Hedges hosts a new show on Telesur

Telesur English is getting very interesting. In addition to weekly episodes of shows by esnl favorites Abby Martin and Laura Flanders, the Venezuelan broadcaster has added the inimitable Chris Hedges, former Mideast bureau chief for the New York Times.

In this latest episode of Days of Revolt, Hedges discusses the insidious nature of the Trans-Pacific Partnership [TPP] with attorney Kevin Zeese, co-director of and It’s Our Economy, an organization that advocates for democratizing the economy. Zeese is a political activist and former press spokesperson for Ralph Nader, and in an unsuccessful 2006 Senate run, he was the only candidate ever nominated simultaneously by the Green, Libertarian, and Populist parties.

From Telesur English:

The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History

An excerpt from the transcript, discussing the TPP’s provision for overturning the power of the American judiciary in the interests of the corporation:

HEDGES: And they’re not allowed to make any amendments, no changes, nothing.

ZEESE: No amendments. Up or down vote. That’s it. And in the Senate, there’s no filibuster, so it’s only 50 percent. You can’t force them to 60 votes. It’s only 51 they need. And so it’s a very restricted Congress.

And all these agreements, by the way, as Ralph mentions in that quote, greatly restrict each branch of government, and Congress [crosstalk]

HEDGES: Well, let’s talk a little bit about how they do that, this kind of–part of this kind of creeping coup d’état, corporate coup d’état that’s taking place.

ZEESE: And I just want to say one more thing about this coup d’état. This is just one aspect of it. We’re seeing the corporate power grow in the United States with Citizens United and the buying of elections and all that corruption. But we’re also–out of places like the World Economic Forum, they’ve come out with a working group called the–that’s redesigning, the Global Redesign Initiative that’s redesigning the way governance works to minimize the nationstate and maximize transnational–. They want the UN to become a hybrid government and corporate body. So that’s what the World Economic Forum is working on as this is all going on, too. So this is a big, big fight about where we go. This is the epic struggle of our times, corporate power versus people power.

Now, the way that they–what Ralph was talking about in that quote was one aspect of this, which is the trade tribunal system, which already exists, but this is expanded. For the first time, for example, financial services can use the trade tribunals to overrule legislation to regulate the big banks.

HEDGES: Now, these trade tribunals, they’re three-person tribunals. They’re made up of corporate lawyers. One of the things I think I was speaking with you that you told me is that if you’re a citizen or advocacy group, you’re excluded from even going to these.

ZEESE: Yeah. You know, in our federal court system, which is the third branch of government that–Ralph’s favorite branch, I think. He just opened the museum in his —

HEDGES: Right, a tort museum.

ZEESE: — in his hometown, a tort museum, which is a great museum. People should go to Winsted to see it, by the way.

But, anyway, in our federal court system, an individual can sue a corporation. They can find a lawyer who takes it on retainer, only get paid if they win. You get a jury of your peers to decide it. That’s a real court system. It has lots of weaknesses that need to be improved on. They’ve been cutting back on it is much as they could with so-called tort reform–as Ralph calls tort deform. And so it’s getting weaker. But it’s still an important branch of government.

This overrules that. Our courts cannot review what a trade tribunal does. The trade tribunal judges are three corporate lawyers who can also represent corporations in other cases. So there’s a real conflict of interest here, because if you’re a lawyer who’s filing suits on behalf of corporations at these trade tribunals, you want to broaden the power of the trade tribunal and the corporation. So as a judge, you can decide things that, say, corporations have this power, corporations have that power, no, that the security issue doesn’t matter, the corporation still wins. They can create legal fictions.

Israel threatens Palestinians with death by gas

An armored sound truck moves slowly down a village street, it’s speakers blaring a message: Stop resisting or we will gas you all to death. “The children, the youth, the old people, we won’t leave any of you alive.”

So where did it happen? And who was broadcasting the lethal warning?

If you guess that, perhaps, the message came from SS troops in a Russian shtetl in the summer of 1942 you would be wrong .

The warning came from the Israeli army on 29 October 2015, and the targets of the message were Palestinians in the Aida Refugee Camp, where youths had been throwing rocks at Israeli troops.

The stunning images are featured in the final seconds of the latest edition of Empire Files, Abby Martin’s show for Telesur English, featuring an interview with Max Blumenthal on the reason for rising Palestinian resistance in Israel and the lands under its occupation.

What is most chilling are the members of the rising Israeli neofascist Right, including a Minister of Justice who has openly called for genocide of Palestinians.

From Empire Files:

Max Blumenthal: Palestine’s Rebellion, Israel’s Fascism

Program notes:

Abby Martin interviews journalist and author Max Blumenthal on the current situation in Palestine and the Israeli occupation. This episode covers what is behind today’s rebellion, the rising dominance of far-right, ultra-racist ideology in Israel, eye-witness accounts of the aftermath of the Gaza war, and the Israeli government’s fear of Palestinian resistance.

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and author of the New York Times Best Seller “Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel”, and the recently-published “The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza.”

Headline of the day: A bloody silver lining

From The Intercept:

Stock Prices of Weapons Manufacturers Soaring Since Paris Attack

The private-sector industrial prong of the Military and Surveillance State always wins, but especially when the media’s war juices start flowing

Allen Dulles, America’s murderous spymaster

David Talbot is a veteran San Francisco journalist who founded Salon, served as a senior editor at Mother Jones and feature editor for the San Francisco Examiner. He’s written to the New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Time, and The Guardian, among others, and written four major books.

His latest book, The Devil’s Chessboard, focuses on one of the darkest figures of 20th Century American history, former Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles,

Aaron Wiener of Mother Jones offers a concise synopsis:

Talbot offers a portrait of a black-and-white Cold War-era world full of spy games and nuclear brinkmanship, in which everyone is either a good guy or a bad guy. Dulles—who deceived American elected leaders and overthrew foreign ones, who backed ex-Nazis and thwarted left-leaning democrats—falls firmly in the latter camp.

Dulles killed with impunity, sending his officers and agents out to plot, overthrow, and murder politicians and activists in other lands who failed to hew the Washington line.

And it’s an open question as to whether or not he did the same thing much closer to home.

Perhaps the most controversial claim Talbot makes is one long familiar to esnl, namely that Allen Dulles, fired from his post by President John Kennedy after the failure of the Bay of Pigs, the CIA-planned invasion of Cuba in 1961, played a direct role in Kennedy’s assassination two years later.

Before you dismiss the contention out of hand, esnl heard similar allegations from two sources in the intelligence community more than thirty years ago, and absent convincing evidence to the contrary, Talbot’s contention is certainly well within the realm of possibility.

With that, here’s an extended interview with Talbot by RT America’s Alexey Yaroshevsky:

‘Allen Dulles did whatever he wanted to do,’ whether presidents knew or not – David Talbot

Program notes:

The Devil’s Chessboard, author David Talbot’s new book, presents new insights into the activities of CIA head Allen Dulles during the 1950s. New findings include US Intelligence’s cooperation with Nazis during WWII, CIA targeting of governments such as the Congo, Guatemala, Iran and even allied governments like France. Talbot discusses his book with RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky in this extended interview.

Abby Martin on U.S. press subservience to Israel

No other foreign power exercises so tight a hold on American news media as does Israel, as we have learned firsthand [and previously].

So we were pleased to see that Abby Martin has devoted the latest edition of her Telesur English series the Empire Files to a look at how the media spins the conflict between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people.

From the Empire Files:

The Distortion & Death Behind Israel/Palestine Coverage

Program notes:

A crisis in Palestine is again all over the headlines. From stabbings and Molotov cocktails, to killing of protesters and anti-Arab lynch mobs — how much of the mass media coverage can we really trust?

Abby Martin takes a look at how the so-called “Israel-Palestine conflict” has been covered by the mainstream press during the last crisis in the region, and the variety of tactics employed by the state of Israel to control the narrative: from its Hasbara propaganda machine, to outright killing of journalists.

Featuring interviews with Dan Cohen (@DanCohen3000), investigative journalist who just returned from 7 months of reporting from Gaza and the West Bank, and Rania Khalek (@RaniaKhelek) writer and editor with Electronic Intifada.

The Empire Files: Refugees, class, and warfare

Not so very long ago in historical terms, a wave of xenophobic alarm flooded American media, triggered by a wave of immigrants seen as offering allegiance not to the duly elected government in Washington but to a foreign religion.

That alarm was raised by Christians [Protestants with British and Northern European ancestors] against fellow Christians [Irish Catholics].

Nowadays, new waves of religious xenophobia are sweeping both Europe and the U.S., this time aimed at the flood of immigrants fleeing sectarian violence that directly caused by the ravages of the needless wars launched in the wake of the 9/11 attacks delivered by nationals of the one country the U.S. and Europe wouldn’t think of bombing.

And would-be refugees die in their hundreds, swamped at sea in overladen boats and suffocating in trucks on Europe’s highways, all because the dangers they faced at home were event worse. Meanwhile, their rich compatriots suffer no such dangers as they emigrate freely from the Mideast and North Africa to Europe and North America.

And once in their countries of refuge, poor immigrants are becoming targets of violence directed by rising numbers of the populist far Right.

In this latest edition of Telesur’s The Empire Files, Abby Martin looks at the story behind the latest exodus, a story mainstream media are reluctant to present in its full nuance.

From The Empire Files:

Who Is To Blame For The Refugee Crisis?

Program notes:

Today 60 million human beings are displaced from war and extreme poverty. Many European countries are responding to the crisis with racist hysteria, polices and police state measures.

Abby Martin exposes the facts that are left out of the mainstream reporting: the role of criminal wars, disastrous neoliberal economics and why mass displacement is a permanent feature under this system.

Featuring interviews with:

  • Atossa Abrahamian, journalist and author of the new book “The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen” (Twitter: @atossaaraxia)
  • Professor Saskia Sassen, sociologist and expert on human migration, currently serving as co-chair of Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. She just published her latest book on the subject, “Expulsions.” (Twitter: @SaskiaSassen)

Turning the video tables on Abby Martin

Abby Martin, who launched her career as a public affairs journalist on Berkeley Community Television, moved on to RT America, first as a reporter and then as host of Breaking the Set, and now hosts the weekly Empire Files on Telesur English, becomes the interviewed rather than the interviewer in this video from MintPress News.

Martin offers her perspective on the world and her role in conversation with MintPress Editor-in-Chief Mnar Muhawesh.

From the MintPressNews video channel:

Abby Martin: Rise Of A US Corporate Empire & Global Resistance Bringing It To Its Knees

Program notes:

The U.S. empire gives all its predecessors a run for their money, especially in terms of human and resource exploitation. But is resistance building that could bring the U.S. empire to its knees, MintPress Editor-in-Chief Mnar Muhawesh asks Abby Martin, host of “The Empire Files.”

The swords and horses of the empires of antiquity have been replaced with shiny metal guns, drones and tanks. And our rulers are made up of a 1% elite and multinational corporations aiming to totally dominate the world — a world where they own 60% of the wealth.

The tentacles of empire today stretch throughout the world via U.S. military alliances with institutions like NATO. The U.S. works with the U.N. and big banks like the IMF and World Bank to exploit resources and wealth, and to topple democratically-elected governments and prop up dictators instead.

Yet the corporate media will never refer to the United States as an empire, nor will it cover the horrors of exploitation at home and abroad.