Saturday, December 9, 2017

Today's links

WSWS on the "Me Too"  

"Genuine revolutions are not launched by the New York Times, backed by the Democratic Party, and honored by Time magazine. Nor do they legitimize the suppression of core democratic rights...", David North, wsws

1--Operation Paperclip: Nazi Science Heads West, Cockburn and St Clair

By 1946 a rationale based on Cold War strategy was becoming more important. Nazis were needed in the struggle against Communism, and their capabilities certainly had to be withheld from the Soviets. In September 1946 President Harry Truman approved the Dulles-inspired Paperclip project, whose mission was to bring no less than 1,000 Nazi scientists to the United States. Among them were many of the vilest criminals of the war: there were doctors from Dachau concentration camp who had killed prisoners by putting them through high altitude tests, who had freezed their victims and given them massive doses of salt water to research the process of drowning. There were the chemical weapons engineers such as Kurt Blome, who had tested Sarin nerve gas on prisoners at Auschwitz. There were doctors who instigated battlefield traumas by taking women prisoners at Ravensbrück and filling their wounds with gangrene cultures, sawdust, mustard gas, and glass, then sewing them up and treating some with doses of sulfa drugs while timing others to see how long it took for them to develop lethal cases of gangrene....

One of the more despicable cases was that of Nazi aviation researcher Emil Salmon, who during the war had helped set fire to a synagogue filled with Jewish women and children. Salmon was sheltered by US officials at Wright Air Force Base in Ohio after being convicted of crimes by a denazification court in Germany.

Nazis were not the only scientists sought out by US intelligence agents after the end of World War II. In Japan the US Army put on its payroll Dr. Shiro Ishii, the head of the Japanese Imperial Army’s biowarfare unit. Dr. Ishii had deployed a wide range of biological and chemical agents against Chinese and Allied troops, and had also operated a large research center in Manchuria, where he conducted bio-weapons experiments on Chinese, Russian and American prisoners of war. Ishii infected prisoners with tetanus; gave them typhoid-laced tomatoes; developed plague-infected fleas; infected women with syphilis; and exploded germ bombs over dozens of POWs tied to stakes. Among other atrocities, Ishii’s records show that he often performed “autopsies” on live victims. In a deal hatched by General Douglas MacArthur, Ishii turned over more than 10,000 pages of his “research findings” to the US Army, avoided prosecution for war crimes and was invited to lecture at Ft. Detrick, the US Army bio-weapons research center near Frederick, Maryland...

There was an inconvenient hiatus when Blome was arrested and tried at Nuremberg for medical war crimes, including the deliberate infecting of hundreds of prisoners from the Polish underground with TB and bubonic plague. But fortunately for the Nazi man of science, US Army Intelligence and the OSS withheld incriminating documents they had acquired through their interrogation. The evidence would not only have demonstrated Blome’s guilt but also his supervising role in constructing a German CBW lab to test chemical and biological weapons for use on Allied troops. Blome got off...

Pash pored over the work of the Nazi doctors at Dachau for useful leads in the most efficient methods of extracting information, including speech-inducing drugs, electro-shock, hypnosis and psycho-surgery. During the time Pash headed up PB/7 the CIA began pouring money into Project Bluebird, an effort to duplicate and extend the Dachau research. But instead of mescalin the CIA turned to LSD, which had been developed by the Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman....

More than 7,000 US soldiers were the unwitting objects of this medical experimentation. The men would be ordered to ride exercise cycles with oxygen masks on their faces, into which a variety of hallucinogenic drugs had been sprayed, including LSD, mescalin, BZ (a hallucinogen) and SNA (sernyl, a relative of PCP, otherwise known on the street as angel dust). One of the aims of this research was to induce a state of total amnesia. This objective was attained in the case of several subjects. More than one thousand of the soldiers who enlisted in the experiments emerged with serious psychological afflictions and epilepsy: dozens attempted suicide....

Few examples of the readiness of US intelligence agencies to experiment on unknowing subjects are more vivid than the foray of the national security establishment into researches on the effects of radiation exposure   Among such fieldwork thus classified as secret were five different experiments overseen by the CIA, the Atomic Energy Commission and the Department of Defense involving the injection of plutonium into at least eighteen people, mainly black and poor, without informed consent. There were thirteen deliberate releases of radioactive material over US and Canadian cities between 1948 and 1952 to study fallout patterns and the decay of radioactive particles...

The story of the recruitment of Nazi scientists and warfare technicians by the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency is told in two excellent but unjustly neglected books: Tom Bower’s The Paperclip Conspiracy: the Hunt for the Nazi Scientists and Linda Hunt’s Secret Agenda. Hunt’s reporting, in particular, is first rate

2--Trump's Decision on Israel Will Torpedo US Influence in Muslim World

The expected announcement by President Trump that the US recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move the US embassy there could mark a critical stage in the reduction of US influence in the world. Seldom, if ever, has such an important US policy initiative been so universally criticized or condemned by almost every country in the world.

3--America’s latest “Scarlet Letter” moment

The “Me Too” campaign is reactionary to the core. It has no progressive content. There are many forms of sexual harassment, which extend from the annoying to the legally actionable to the outright criminal. But a vast range of activities, including many that reflect the ambiguities and complexities of human interactions, is being described as malevolent and even criminal.
The all-inclusive and reckless use of the term “sexual harassment” has the effect of obscuring the chasm between the amorphous catch-all called the “unwanted advance” (request for a date, complimenting another person for his or her looks, and, heaven forbid, indicating sexual interest) with a physically violent assault.

Senator Al Franken announced his resignation Thursday after coming under immense pressure from the Democratic Party. Even Senator Joseph McCarthy was not forced out of the Senate, although his anti-communist witch-hunt violated the Constitution and claimed hundreds of victims. The Senate took the exceptional decision to censure McCarthy for his crimes, but left the Wisconsin Republican at his seat until his death in 1957....

Progressive social movements have certain essential characteristics, of which the most significant is their broadly egalitarian and democratic content. In the modern world, they are invariably and inseparably connected with the struggle of the working class against capitalist exploitation. Progressive movements strive to elevate, rather than debase, popular consciousness. When fighting injustice, they direct attention toward the underlying social causes of that which is being fought.

The “Me Too” movement exhibits none of these characteristics. Its social base is not the working class, but the more affluent sections of the middle class. As the World Socialist Web Site has often explained, there is dissatisfaction within these layers with the distribution of wealth at the top. They want access to privileges and wealth, and are prepared to use any means to obtain it. This accounts for the contempt for elemental democratic rights and sheer vindictiveness that finds expression in the statements of the Post, the Times and other leaders of this campaign....

The “Me Too” movement has not brought to the discussion of sex an iota of intelligent discourse. Determined to introduce as much distrust and fear as possible into human relationships, it offers only stupid and malicious denunciations of “men in general”—“predators”—and their supposedly raging and uncontrollable beast-like passions. ...

It has nothing to say about imperialist wars, the suppression of democratic rights and poverty. Aside from the occasional and palpably insincere invocation of working women, the “Me Too” movement is concerned not with what is happening on the factory floor, but, rather, with the power politics of the executive suite. As the Guardian’s Hadley Freeman recently declared: “Or, hey, here’s another idea! How about if only women get the big top jobs for the next, let’s say, 1,000 days?”
What about the concerns of working women? Access to health care and abortion, childcare facilities, decent schools, affordable housing, safe neighborhoods, freedom from deportation? These issues are ignored because they cut across the pro-capitalist agenda of the “Me Too” scam....

Genuine revolutions are not launched by the New York Times, backed by the Democratic Party, and honored by Time magazine. Nor do they legitimize the suppression of core democratic rights...

What is all but obvious—that the “Me Too” campaign is embedded in the identity politics strategy of the Democratic Party—is somehow not noticed. The connection with the “fake news” campaign,” the anti-Russia hysteria and the calls for Internet censorship is missed. The fate of Julian Assange—the victim of a set-up using fraudulent allegations of rape—has been all but forgotten. Despite the many examples of false accusations of rape, the absurd claim that the woman accuser must always be believed is accepted.

Franken’s resignation has prompted a series of self-congratulatory comments that display a striking absence of democratic consciousness.
The Washington Post’s Ana Marie Cox wrote an article December 7 titled “Al Franken isn’t being denied due process. None of these famous men are.”
“Let’s not dither about the dangers of proclaiming guilt or innocence,” she writes, arguing that only the guilty, the complicit, or the political right-wing hide behind claims of due process violations.

The New York Times editorial board celebrated Franken’s resignation Thursday afternoon, writing: “We are in the middle of a stunning and welcome cultural shift… We are witnessing a long-overdue moral reckoning that—dare we hope?—could drive real change.”

4--US jets tried to hinder victory over Daesh in Syria: Russia's military

5--When Washington Cheered the Jihadists

Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better, explains Daniel Lazare.

6--Mueller should step down, WSJ


8--Collusion Conspiracy Continues To Collapse - Rep. Nunes Cleared In Russian Leak Probe

9--Confidence in Institutions, Gallup

10--New allegations of bias dog Mueller Russia probe, Tucker

11--Conflicts within US ruling class intensify following Flynn guilty plea

Even as they have intensified their efforts to brand Trump a traitor and a Russian agent, the Democrats have avoided any opposition to his right-wing domestic policies. As Congress moves to pass Trump’s tax bill—a handout to the financial elite that will set the stage for major cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—the Democrats have done nothing to oppose its passage. They have held no hearings on its contents and called no demonstrations.
Rather, the Democrats’ dispute with Trump is centered on their concern that his administration has undermined the fundamental foreign policy interests of US imperialism....

The eruption of ferocious conflicts within the states is the expression, however, of a deeper disease, for which the ruling class has no solution. If Trump’s ruling class critics were to succeed in removing him, it would not resolve the crisis of class rule that is engulfing the United States. It would place in power a government even more firmly under the control of the military-intelligence apparatus, committed to continuing the offensive against the working class and escalating the military confrontation with Russia....

There is not, however, an ounce of democratic or progressive content to this campaign. The conflicts in Washington are conflicts within the ruling class, pitting the Trump administration—which is increasingly relying on far-right and fascistic forces—with powerful elements of the military and intelligence apparatus with which the Democratic Party is aligned.
Significantly, Democratic Congressman Al Green on Thursday moved a vote in the House of Representatives to bring articles of impeachment against Trump, which was overwhelmingly rejected by congressional Democrats and unanimously by Republicans. Unlike Mueller’s investigation, Green’s proposal was based on the president’s defense of white supremacists in Charlottesville and his re-tweeting of anti-Muslim videos previously posted by British fascists

12--Trump White House Weighing Plans for Private Spies to Counter “Deep State” Enemies

13--Trump tax cut plan will devastate public education

Random Notes and links:  senate takes aim at SS

Nunes originally had given the agencies until “close of business” on Monday to “fully” comply with the panel’s demands. Otherwise, he threatened to move a contempt of Congress resolution against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Strzok is a focus of their efforts. House investigators have long regarded him as a key figure in the chain of events when the bureau, in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump "dossier" and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.

Nunes has sought documents and witnesses from the DOJ and FBI to determine what role, if any, the dossier played in the move to direct the surveillance

Strzok briefed the committee on Dec. 5, 2016, sources said. But within months of that session, House Intelligence Committee investigators were contacted by an informant suggesting that there was “documentary evidence” that Strzok was purportedly obstructing the House probe into the dossier.
In early October, Nunes personally asked Rosenstein – who has overseen the Trump-Russia probe since the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions – to make Strzok available to the committee for questioning, sources said.
When a month had elapsed, House investigators – having issued three subpoenas for various witnesses and documents – formally recommended to Nunes that the DOJ and FBI be held in contempt of Congress. Nunes continued pressing the DOJ, including a conversation with Rosenstein as recently as last Wednesday.
Responding to the revelations about Strzok’s texts, Nunes said Saturday he was directing his staff to draft contempt-of-Congress citations against Rosenstein and Wra
strzok tucker
using the criminal justice system to attack political enemies

Mueller knew, for instance, that Vice President Dick Cheney’s claims connecting 9/11 to Iraq were bogus yet he remained quiet. He also never responded to my email.
Beyond ignoring politicized intelligence, Mueller bent to other political pressures. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Mueller directed the “post 9/11 round-up” of about 1,000 immigrants who mostly happened to be in the wrong place (the New York City area) at the wrong time. FBI Headquarters encouraged more and more detentions for what seemed to be essentially P.R. purposes. Field offices were required to report daily the number of detentions in order to supply grist for FBI press releases about FBI “progress” in fighting terrorism. Consequently, some of the detainees were brutalized and jailed for up to a year despite the fact that none turned out to be terrorists....

Current media applause omits the fact that former FBI Director Mueller was the top official in charge of the Anthrax terror fiasco investigation into those 2001 murders, which targeted an innocent man (Steven Hatfill) whose lawsuit eventually forced the FBI to pay $5 million in compensation. Mueller’s FBI was also severely criticized by Department of Justice Inspector Generals finding the FBI overstepped the law improperly serving hundreds of thousands of “national security letters” to obtain private (and irrelevant) metadata on citizens, and for infiltrating nonviolent anti-war groups under the guise of investigating “terrorism.”
For his part, Deputy Attorney General James Comey, too, went along with the abuses of Bush and Cheney after 9/11 and signed off on a number of highly illegal programs including warrantless surveillance of Americans and torture of captives. Comey also defended the Bush Administration’s three-year-long detention of an American citizen without charges or right to counsel.

Up to the March 2004 night in Attorney General John Ashcroft’s hospital room, both Comey and Mueller were complicit with implementing a form of martial law, perpetrated via secret Office of Legal Counsel memos mainly written by John Yoo and predicated upon Yoo’s singular theories of absolute “imperial” or “war presidency” powers, and requiring Ashcroft every 90 days to renew certification of a “state of emergency.”

Mueller was even okay with the CIA conducting torture programs after his own agents warned against participation. Agents were simply instructed not to document such torture, and any “war crimes files” were made to disappear. Not only did “collect it all” surveillance and torture programs continue, but Mueller’s (and then Comey’s) FBI later worked to prosecute NSA and CIA whistleblowers who revealed these illegalities...

the two close confidants and collaborators merely proved themselves, along with former CIA Director George “Slam Dunk” Tenet, reliably politicized sycophants, enmeshing themselves in a series of wrongful abuses of power along with official incompetence.
It seems clear that based on his history and close “partnership” with Comey, called “one of the closest working relationships the top ranks of the Justice Department have ever seen,” Mueller was chosen as Special Counsel not because he has integrity but because he will do what the powerful want him to do.
Mueller didn’t speak the truth about a war he knew to be unjustified. He didn’t speak out against torture. He didn’t speak out against unconstitutional surveillance. And he didn’t tell the truth about 9/11

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