Sunday, 30 August 2020

"I can say what I want, Trumpettes my, clap still much!"

'I think I've done more for the black community than any other president,' Trump told Fox News Channel's Harris Faulkner in an interview that aired Friday. 'And let's take a pass on Abraham Lincoln, because he did good although it's always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result.'

Dixit the next POTUM...

Daily Mail.

Read up on the truth of Trump's outlandish claim.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Is there a G-d after all?

Former Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon, triple-amputee Air Force vet Brian Kolfage and two others have been arrested and charged with defrauding hundreds of thousands of donors with their ‘We Build the Wall’ online fundraiser.
Bannon, Kolfage, Andrew Badolato and Timothy Shea are accused of scamming over $25 million under the guise of raising funds to build a wall on the US’ southern border with Mexico in an indictment unsealed Thursday in Manhattan federal court.
While donors to the crowdfunding campaign were told Kolfage, the public face of We Build the Wall, “would not be paid a cent,” the quartet allegedly funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to themselves, concealing the transactions with phony invoices and accounts.


However, the former Trump strategist’s troubles may have only begun. GTV Media Group, a media company he launched earlier this year with exiled Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, is under investigation by state and federal authorities over a $300 million private offering, according to a Wall Street Journal report published Wednesday. Multiple banks have reportedly frozen accounts associated with the round of fundraising.
Earlier this week, Kolfage announced We Build the Wall would be moving from GoFundMe, saying it was because the platform “supports the racist attacks by #BlackLivesMatter.” He nevertheless congratulated donors on “the largest GoFundMe campaign in history.”
Kolfage’s latest fundraiser, “Black Lives Matter is now a Racist Hate Group,” had been deleted from the crowdfunding platform.


To answer my own title question: probably NOT! Bannon et al will probably get off with a slap on the wrist due to 'Very Expensive Lawyer Syndrome'. I mean, Bannon: a finer 'man of the people' you never saw, right?

Monday, 17 August 2020

Why we are resigning from the Labour Party

July 24, 2020

We are women of colour active in non-party grassroots organising for social justice for many years. Like thousands of others, we joined the Labour Party (2015) when Jeremy Corbyn stood for the leadership, calling together a movement to fight for an anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-austerity, anti-war government to be elected. Such a government, alongside a strong grassroots movement, could have been transformative.

We got to know old and new members who helped us find our way in a rigid party structure, and were elected officers in our branch, our CLP, and as delegates to conference. We joined Momentum and organised community meetings. We focused on bringing grassroots justice issues to the fore – detention centres, Windrush, racist attacks including on Mosques, anti-rape, police violence, poverty and housing. We were part of a team of canvassers who increased the Labour vote in 2017 and 2019 in our multi-racial and immigrant neighbourhood and in some other constituencies. Our communities have been among the most loyal Labour voters but are the least respected.

We support Palestine and Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS), and faced a bullish core of white mainly male defenders of Israeli apartheid, some of them councillors, determined to suppress the membership’s support for Palestine by stating or implying it was antisemitic. We made official complaints within our CLP and to London Region about the treatment we and other women, including Jewish women, experienced from these men. There has been no response from HQ. On a recent webinar evaluating the leaked report that exposed gross racism, sexism and sabotage by HQ, a woman councillor reported that similar treatment was going on in constituencies up and down the country: “It’s as if they are protected.” A woman council leader resigned recently citing similar misogyny and bullying from inside the Party.

We are leaving the Labour Party because:·

Starmer’s grovelling apology and the Party payment of hundreds of thousands of members’ money to staff who attacked members and conspired against winning elections, despite legal advice that the Party had a strong defence, is the last straw·

Sabotage, and gross racist, sexist abuse and bullying by HQ are rife but Starmer is more concerned with who leaked the report than what’s in it.·

The 850-page report exposes how staff in charge of complaints, including on antisemitism, were themselves routinely abusive, especially to Black women MPs. HQ undermined Corbyn’s leadership and pursued witch-hunts against members. We were shocked and furious to find out that the 2017 election was lost by a mere 2,500 votes because of sabotage by HQ and right-wing Labour MPs, some of whom are now in Starmer’s shadow cabinet. Starmer’s first response to the report was to get those who leaked it.·

Antisemitism is being misused and elevated above every other form of discrimination, including racist attacks against Muslims and people of colour. False accusations of antisemitism were manufactured and used by Labour’s right-wing to discredit Jeremy Corbyn and launch a witch-hunt within the party where anyone on the left could be attacked for saying what was disapproved of by a small clique. Keir Starmer has said that he supports “Zionism without qualification” and that his “first priority” is “to tackle anti-Semitism” in the Party. Not the hostile environment, and structural and life threatening racism that Black, Asian, Muslim, immigrant and asylum seeking people, and people of colour generally face daily; not the causes of the Grenfell fire that killed 72 people, overwhelmingly immigrant and/or of colour, as if their lives didn’t matter; not poverty which 4.5 million children, disproportionately children of colour, suffer turning up at school hungry; not climate change which threatens all our lives; not Covid-19 and Tory negligence, indifference or worse that has killed tens of thousands, again disproportionately people of colour.·

Black Lives Matter. Starmer, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, told the BBC:

“I worked with police forces across England and Wales bringing thousands of people to court, so my support for the police is very, very strong.”

As people of colour and antiracists rise up against police violence and racism in every sphere, Starmer’s response is to belittle BLM as a “moment”, condemn the toppling of statues of slavers, and dismiss calls to defund the police as “nonsense”. As DPP he refused to prosecute police officers who killed Jean Charles de Menezes in a terrifying extra-judicial execution and then lied about the victim to justify the killing. Starmer’s disrespect for Black lives has already caused resignations from the Labour Party—it is worthy of Boris Johnson and points to a political affinity between them.·

Starmer is putting supporters of Israeli apartheid in charge of Labour’s disciplinary procedures and of who members are allowed to associate with. All the leadership candidates, except Richard Burgon and Dawn Butler, endorsed the 10 pledges of the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BOD). The BOD defends Israeli apartheid, ethnic cleansing and the bombing of Palestinian civilians. How can such an organisation be given power over the membership? The aim, it seems, is to move on from the antisemitism row and increase Labour’s electability. We refuse the racist presumption that treats Palestinians (and pro-Palestinian members) as collateral damage to Labour’s electability.·

Palestinian Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter supports Palestinian rights because there can be no liberation for any of us unless the boot of racist occupiers is taken from our necks everywhere. To allow anyone to be treated as expendable by a party seeking power, opens the way to many more of us being expendable, if that party wins power. To put the BOD (which has attacked Black Lives Matter for supporting Palestine) and the Jewish Labour Movement (which told people not to vote for Corbyn) in charge of the membership gives carte blanche to the Israeli government – a foreign apartheid power aligned with Trump and other reactionary forces worldwide – to take charge of the Labour Party. Already Black women MPs have been reprimanded for participating in a zoom meeting where two Jewish anti-racists, one of them a Black Jewish woman, who had been hounded out of the Party by the vicious witch-hunt, were present. Another Black woman MP is facing verbal abuse and physical threats for supporting BLM; the leadership response has been faint.·

Starmer claims to be a “human rights advocate” but unilaterally reversed a policy decision passed overwhelmingly at Conference to support self-determination in Kashmir. He gives a green light to occupation by Modi’s racist, sectarian violence against Muslim people, with Muslim women on the front lines.

BAME officers were invited to a zoom meeting with Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner on 15 June. Astonishingly, the Windrush scandal, the tragic Grenfell fire, racism against immigrants and asylum seekers, were never mentioned. BAME officers were prevented from seeing or hearing each other and our questions. BAME elections to the NEC were flawed, making it almost impossible for independent accountable candidates to be nominated much less elected.

We won’t campaign for a party where people of colour and anti-racists, and our movements, are maligned and attacked, and where we would be silenced. We resign with immediate effect. We will continue to work with anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-capitalist members in the Party. We need each other to build a strong movement to win the changes we have all been fighting for.

Cristel Amiss & Sara Callaway, formerly Joint BAME officers, Hampstead & Kilburn CLP


Sunday, 16 August 2020

The US: A Mob looking for another globalist protection racket?

US senators threaten Germany's port town of Sassnitz over Nord Stream 2 gas project

Three US senators are threatening the ferry port on the island of Rügen with "crushing" sanctions to prevent the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Fearing financial ruin, the people of Sassnitz are defiant.

It smells of fried fish, the sun's reflection is glittering in the water and a few sailboats lazily amble along. It's still summer vacation in some German states, and here in Sassnitz on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen even more so. Even the mayor of the little town of 9,000 people is on holiday. Or he would be — if it wasn't for a threatening letter sent from the United States.

"It doesn't happen every day that Sassnitz moves from 0 to 100 in the world's political attention scale," says Frank Kracht, laughing. Then he immediately turns earnest again. "I must take these threats seriously. Because first and foremost, this is also about workers."

Read more: Can Nord Stream 2 pipeline be completed despite US sanctions?

He is talking about the employees of Fährhafen Sassnitz, the company that operates the local Port Mukran. It's the logistical hub for the completion of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is to transport gas directly from Russia to Germany. A good 150 kilometers (93 miles) of the pipeline are still under construction.

In the letter to Sassnitz earlier this month, three Republican US senators — Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin — threatened Port Mukran with "crushing" economic and legal sanctions if it continued to allow ships to be equipped for the pipeline project.

Criticism not new, but tone is

The US wants to do all it can to prevent the pipeline from becoming a reality, and such criticism from across the Atlantic is hardly new. The Americans argue that Germany is making itself dependent on Russian gas. President Donald Trump has accused Germany of wanting US military protection from a Russian threat, while at the same time providing Moscow with high revenues from gas exports.

Ukraine and Poland have insisted the Baltic Sea pipeline will mean they lose out on billions in transit fees from the pipelines that run through their countries.

But there may also be economic interests behind the Americans' tough stance, because they want to sell their own liquid gas in Europe.

There have been threats like this in the past: Senator Cruz sent a similar letter to the Swiss-based Allseas shipping company last December. The company's special ships are financed by international funds, two of which the shipping company subsequently withdrew from work on the pipeline almost immediately.

The Akademik Cherskiy, a Russian ship, is now to complete the work. It still needs to be technically equipped to bring the finished pipes, which are stored in Port Mukran, to the Baltic Sea. But this work is now at a standstill for the time being, which is where the threatening letter from the Americans comes in.

People of Sassnitz worried

The German Green party's Jürgen Trittin has called the letter an "economic declaration of war," while Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania's State Premier Manuela Schwesig has described it as "outrageous" and an "attempt at blackmail."

In Sassnitz, few locals have much interest in US politics. Susanne Bender has lived here for 50 years, running the smoked fish stall "Heimat" ("Home"). Bender sells fish rolls, which are apparently delicious because the queue is long.

"It's not at all right what Trump is doing. Why's he interfering with our business?" she says. "Not just me personally, but everyone here is worried. We all depend on the port." After the tourist trade, the industrial ferry port is the most important employer in the region.

"You build something up and now it's supposed to be torn down again from under your feet," says René Beinhoff, who sells ice cream on the Sassnitz promenade. "What nonsense!"

Mayor Kracht also points out that the permits have all been issued, the pipeline is as good as finished — at least 94% of it is — and they want to stick with it. "It's just a threat. There are no sanctions at the moment," he says. "We have to take it seriously, but we also have to reassure our people that they will not be drawn into this political banter in any way."

Threat may be effective

"The people of Sassnitz do not yet seem to have fully understood the abyss they are looking into," says Sascha Lohmann, a political scientist at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs who has been researching US sanctions for years.

According to Lohmann, the threatening backdrop of a mix of sanctions in the letter is enough to unsettle the financial market players, such as the ferry port's house bank. "The senators understand exactly what psychological effect these threats have," Lohmann points out.

According to Lohmann, the real problem is secondary sanctions. In other words, the US prohibiting its own companies from doing business with companies affected by sanctions — in this case Port Mukran would lose all its US business partners.

Out of concern, the political scientist explains, many businesses prefer to forgo doing business with Mukran altogether, rather than risk their entire US business. "These financial players would then effectively render the port insolvent," he says.

Twinned ports

Nobody really wants to talk about what will happen next. The Akademik Cherskiy is still in the Mukran port. So far, the Germans are determined to stick to the project, while some politicians are calling on the German government to take a stand, even to issue counter-sanctions.

Kracht isn't convinced. "It's counterproductive to rattle back with the same sabers. I think a peaceful solution and cooperation would suit us well," he says. But what exactly this cooperation should or will look like is not entirely clear.

The only connection Sassnitz has with the US, says Kracht, is its twinning initiative with Port Washington, Wisconsin, where one of the senators behind the letter happens to be from. In fact, a group of young people was supposed to travel to Sassnitz from Wisconsin this summer. But then the coronavirus pandemic intervened and the visit had to be canceled. Instead of a happy group of teenagers on vacation, the only thing that came to Sassnitz was a threatening letter.


Thursday, 13 August 2020

"White women better vote for me or scary Black people will get you."

It's the candour that gets me, every time...

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Razors, Razors, Razors

How the United States abetted mass murder to save the world from communism

The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World by Vincent Bevins. PublicAffairs Books, 320 pages.

THE BALINESE VILLAGE OF PETULU is famous for herons—the Kokokan—that descend upon its trees at sunset. At the end of the day, thousands of brown-backed Cattle egrets and Javan pond herons take off from the adjacent rice fields before swooping down in a great avian free-for-all onto the branches that hang above the local temple. They first arrived in early November 1965, one month after the Indonesian army, gangsters, and paramilitary death squads began annihilating suspected members of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). While traveling in country in the early 2000s, I met a man there who claimed the Kokokan were the returning souls of the dead, cherished by locals for their supposedly apotropaic powers.

Between October 1965 and March 1966, around eighty thousand people were killed in Bali (about 5 per cent of the island’s population), along with at least another four hundred twenty thousand across the archipelago. The CIA called the massacre “one of the ghastliest and most concentrated bloodlettings of current times.” Victims were rounded up and shot, garroted, or hacked to death with machetes and iron bars. In Joshua Oppenheimer’s darkly surrealist film The Act of Killing (2012), an executioner from North Sumatra recalls the sadism of the rampage: “We shoved wood in their anus until they died. We crushed their necks with wood. We hanged them. We strangled them with wire. We cut off their heads. We ran them over with cars.” Bodies were tossed down wells, flung into rivers and lakes, or buried in shallow graves under banana trees. It is said that the Brantas River in East Java became clogged with headless corpses. As Vincent Bevins writes in The Jakarta Method, it was “an explosion of violence” against the PKI that amounted to “apocalyptic slaughter.”

Bevins’s book is a reckoning with the massacre of Indonesia’s communists—specifically, with U.S. complicity in the crimes. He is less interested in long descriptions of torture and death and more in understanding the geopolitics that lie behind them. The great originality and insight of the book is its emphasis on the international scale of 1965. Drawing on examples from Indochina to Latin America, Bevins reveals how Washington perfected a form of violent if invisible intervention, constructing an “international network of extermination” that targeted communist regimes and sympathizers in the developing world.

In that sense, The Jakarta Method is a history of 1965 as the Cold War’s peripeteia: the turning point at which an incipient, alternative “Third World” order was smashed by an aspiring hegemon. Following the historian Odd Arne Westad, Bevins views the Cold War as the “global circumstances under which the vast majority of the world’s countries moved from direct colonial rule to something else, to a new place in a new global system.” Indonesia in 1965 was the moment all this began.

The PKI was once the third largest communist party in the world after those in Soviet Russia and China; in 1965, it had 3.5 million members and 20 million others in affiliated organizations. It took up arms against Dutch colonialism in the 1930s, then against the Japanese occupation in 1945, and against the Dutch one last time between 1945 and 1949. But the PKI emerged from the fighting as a party of parliamentary politics, as a second generation of leaders committed themselves to institutions, community organization, and elections.

The result was that by 1965, the PKI—led by the forty-two-year-old D.N. Aidit—was unarmed and had no plan for revolution. It was a mass-based, ideologically flexible movement which frequently ignored edicts from Moscow and postponed the advent of socialism “until the end of the century.” Vice President Richard Nixon encapsulated the feeling in Washington during the 1950s when he said that “a democratic government was not the best kind for Indonesia” since “the Communists could probably not be beaten in election campaigns because they were so well organized.”

The PKI and army made up two of the three major power bases in post-independent Indonesia. The third, and most significant, was the country’s president, Sukarno, who had led the struggle against the Dutch and Japanese. Charismatic, egotistical, and distracted (or directed) by an extraordinary libido, he adhered to a hybrid ideology called “NASAKOM”— one of his trademark acronyms—an eccentric mixture of nationalism, Islam, and Marxism. Sukarno was also a committed internationalist. Like the nineteenth-century Italian revolutionary Giuseppe Mazzini, he believed that internationalism “cannot flourish if it is not rooted in the soil of nationalism.” Nor could nationalism “flourish if it does not grow in the flower garden of internationalism.”

This Mazzinian vision of national independence and international solidarity was shared by other leading figures in the Global South, such as Burma’s president U Nu and Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah. It was temporarily realized in the 1955 Asian-African Conference in Bandung. Although coined in 1952 by the French economist Alfred Sauvy to describe the downtrodden of the Global South, the “Third World” was more of a promise than a place— the promise to cast off the dead hand of colonialism and transform the liberated nations of Africa and Asia into new worlds of justice, freedom, and creativity. While it followed a series of similar conferences—The League Against Imperialism (1927), Pridi Phanomyong’s Southeast Asian League (1947), and the Bogor Conferences (1949 and 1954)—Bandung was the revolutionary acme of the Third World. In his opening speech, Sukarno declared: “I hope that [this conference] will give evidence that Asia and Africa have been reborn, nay, that a New Asia and a New Africa have been born!”

For a while, the United States judged Sukarno’s Third World nationalism to be sufficiently anti-communist to tolerate it. But such forbearance could not last, and under Lyndon Johnson, U.S. policy towards this lodestar of Afro-Asian solidarity hardened into something less forgiving. As economic aid to Indonesian dried up, Sukarno became more anti-American, going so far as to establish ties with Ho Chi Minh’s government in Vietnam. He spoke of a “Jakarta-Phnom Pen-Hanoi-Peking-Pyongyang axis,” and suspended Indonesia’s participation in the UN.

Washington’s growing alarm at his actions has to be understood against the backdrop of its geostrategic ambitions. After the Second World War, the United States looked to construct a world safe for capitalism, guarded and administered under a global canopy of supreme firepower. That required meeting the Soviet threat wherever it appeared. U.S. strategists realized that the theater of operations against communism stretched beyond Western Europe and that the scene of victory could just as likely be in Africa, Asia, or Latin America. From 1948, as Marshall Plan dollars revived Europe’s economies and undermined support for communist parties, Southeast Asia emerged as the critical frontier in America’s confrontation with the Soviet foe. George F. Kennan, the architect of U.S. containment policy, said that “the most crucial issue at the moment in our struggle with the Kremlin is probably the problem of Indonesia.”

Containment was never intended to impede the advance of the Soviet Union by “the vigilant application of counterforce,” as Kennan put it in 1991. The purpose, rather, was to confront and annihilate. According to the historian Anders Stephanson:

A battle to the death the Cold War certainly was, but to a kind of abstract death. Elimination of the enemy’s will to fight—victory—meant more than military victory on the battlefield. It meant, in principle, the very liquidation of the enemy whose right to exist, let alone equality, one did not recognize. Liquidation alone could bring peace. Liquidation is the “truth” of the Cold War.

In the annals of American aggression wreaked upon the Global South, it was in Indonesia where the doctrine of liquidation achieved its radical climax. Having conducted similar “black ops” against undisciplined regimes that had tried to assert economic independence in Iran (1953), Guatemala and the Philippines (1954), and Iraq (1963), American and British intelligence agencies began ramping up plans to undermine Sukarno’s government. By the early-mid 1960s, Washington and London had even discussed the idea that a premature coup by the PKI could be the casus belli that would allow the army to move against it.

On September 30, 1965, a group of army officers named G30S kidnapped and murdered six Indonesian generals in what appeared to be an attempted coup. General Suharto, an obscure military leader from Central Java, blamed the assassinations on the PKI and took control of the armed forces before seizing the country. There are a number of competing theories about who launched the coup and why. The most plausible was presented in the 1966 “Cornell Paper” by Benedict Anderson and Ruth McVey, who argued that it was an internal army affair. Neither the PKI nor Sukarno were involved; instead, they were the victims.

The killing of the generals, and the fake stories that it was communist women who had mutilated them, were used to stoke anti-communist feelings. In a matter of days the army and local death squads—gangsters and members of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organizations— began seizing anyone associated with the PKI. When darkness fell, those arrested would then be taken outside and shot or beheaded in what was called “Operation Annihilation.” Aidit and the other leaders of the party were executed.

Most Indonesians had never heard of Suharto, but the CIA had earlier identified him as an ally in the anti-communist cause. He was part of a network that linked the Indonesian army to the commanding heights of the U.S. military-intellectual complex: diplomats and intelligence agents in the CIA, modernization theorists such as Walt Whitman Rostow, technocrats at Berkeley and the RAND Corporation, and military advisors at Fort Leavenworth, where more than one thousand Indonesian officers had been trained by 1962. The upshot from all these connections was that the army learned to set its immediate task—liquidating communists—in the service of a greater mission to lead Indonesia’s techno-authoritarian development and bring the country into the gradualist kingdom of American capital. When the time came, the CIA helped the army more directly too, blackening the PKI’s name through propaganda and providing the army with lists of suspected communist sympathizers. Bevins’s verdict on American involvement is damning: “Washington shares guilt for every death. The United States was part and parcel of the operation at every stage.” As for Sukarno, his reaction to the killings was one of resignation. “Over and over it’s the same thing,” as he told one group of journalists, “Razors, razors, razors, razors, razors, a grave for a thousand people, a grave for a thousand people!”

For the Johnson administration, the butchery was cause for celebration. It took the edge off the unfolding disaster in Vietnam and seeded a fresh market for corporate return. (In 1967, two years after the worst of the massacres had passed, General Electric, American Express, and other U.S. firms flocked to the archipelago to peddle their wares). The sense of relief was registered in the vast web of diplomatic cables that criss-crossed between Washington, its embassy in Jakarta, and the chancelleries of Europe. Not long after the killings began, Howard Green, the U.S. ambassador in Indonesia, sent a communique to the State Department informing it that the army was “working hard at destroying the [the] PKI and I, for one, have increasing respect for its determination and organization in carrying out this crucial assignment.” “The Indonesian business is developing in a way that looks encouraging,” wrote Undersecretary of State George Ball. “If . . . the PKI is cleaned up . . . we will have a new day in Indonesia.”

Green’s enthusiasm was widely shared in the U.S. media, still high on the bipartisan atmosphere of the Cold War. In a June 1966 article titled “A Gleam of Light in Asia,” the celebrated New York Times columnist James Reston welcomed “the savage transformation of Indonesia from a pro-Chinese policy under Sukarno to a defiantly anti-Communist policy under General Suharto.” Time magazine described the liquidation of the PKI as “the West’s best news for years in Asia.” US News & World Report went further: “Indonesia: Hope . . . Where Once There Was None.”

Bevins is not the first to describe and analyze America’s violent imperialism in the Cold War. A school of historians descending from William Appleman Williams in the 1950s to the likes of Bruce Cummings and Greg Grandin today has sought to capture the essential truth of U.S. foreign policy as an aggressively expansionist force in the world. But more than anyone else, Bevins shows that what linked communists across borders was not so much a belief in international revolution but their shared experience of murder and defeat. Beyond Indonesia, the Jakarta method found its most devout practitioners in Brazil and Chile.

In both countries, the word “Jakarta” took on a specific meaning for the far right, becoming a synonym for the extermination of communists. In the days leading up to the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew Salvador Allende in 1973, the phrase “Jakarta is coming” was graffitied on the walls of Santiago—a terrifying declaration of the assault about to be unleashed on the left. Meanwhile in Brazil, then under the brutal military dictatorship of Emilio Garrastazu Médici, “the Jakarta Operation” was secretly being planned for the elimination of the country’s communist party in collaboration with far-right gangs.

Neither of these operations were “orchestrated” entirely from Langley. Rather, the CIA exploited pre-existing divisions within a country, and then cultivated triggermen on the ground—local agents whose anti-communism could be backed with clandestine funds and materiel. This was the “Jakarta method” that was perfected in Southeast Asia in 1965. Since the mid-1950s, as the historian Jeremy Kuzmarov has shown, the International Cooperation Administration had provided Indonesian police with jeeps, patrol boats, and CIA training manuals, such as Covert Paramilitary Training Course (1952) and The Sabotage Manual (1954). Security advisers who had experience in Greece, the Philippines, and Korea established a communications center in Jakarta and a code room at the National Police headquarters to gather intelligence on the PKI. Inspired by European colonial practices, the 1290-d program set up by the Eisenhower administration to train other Southeast Asian police forces in counter-subversion also helped to funnel money to Islamic extremists and Provisional Reconstruction Units; “hunter-killer” teams were recruited from gangs, disaffected minorities, and renegade police and army officers.

Over time, Washington would provide national militaries and police forces across Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Africa with logistical support and counter-insurgency training, as well as help with propaganda campaigns against local communists and the left. Although Bevins describes this as a “loose” international network, those who were engaged in violence against communists were nonetheless united by a common paymaster, as well as their admiration for what transpired in Indonesia in 1965.

The influence of Jakarta was not just confined to right-wing anti-communist violence. Bevins shows how the destruction of the PKI influenced the strategic decisions of communist parties throughout the world. In Cambodia, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge studied the collapse of the PKI, concluding that the party’s decision to disarm and trust the democratic process had been disastrous. Pol Pot vowed that his movement would hold on to power through violence and force of arms—to diabolically murderous consequences. In China, the war waged on Sukarno and the left helped inspire the mobilization of Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution in 1966. In the Philippines, the founder of the Maoist Communist Party, José Maria “Joma” Sison, saw what had happened to the unarmed PKI and decided that his party would rely on armed tactics in the countryside. (Today, Maoist guerrillas still operate in jungle camps across the archipelago). And the genocide spurred the dictatorships in Taiwan and South Korea to found the World Anti-Communist League.

By the middle of the 1960s, the Third World and its dreams of a radically different order—free, equal, pacific, and fraternal—were all but gone. The leaders of the postcolonial movement, such as Nehru in India, Sukarno in Indonesia, Nkrumah in Ghana, and U Nu in Burma, had either died or been deposed. Most symbolically, the internationalism of the “Bandung Spirit” was supplanted in 1967 by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN): a group of nations united not in the cause of peace and justice, but in loyalty to the technocratic and authoritarian imperatives of capital and American-style globalization. An interaction between Bevins and the head of Sekretariat Bersama 1965, a survivors group from the Indonesian genocide, captures the moral of the story with devastating simplicity:

“The United States won. Here in Indonesia, you got what you wanted, and around the world, you got what you wanted.” . . .
How did we win, I asked.
stopped fidgeting. “You killed us.”’

In its treatment of the events in Indonesia, Bevins leans on academic studies from the last decade or so, such as Geoffrey B Robinson’s The Killing Season: A History of the Indonesian Massacres, 1965–66 (the most forensic), Bradley R. Simpson’s Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960–1968 (the most interesting), and Jess Melvin’s The Army and the Indonesian Genocide: Mechanics of Mass Murder (the most revelatory). But The Jakarta Method is a deft and necessary reckoning with 1965 from its own perspective, determined by the author’s career as a journalist in Brazil for the Los Angeles Times and then in Indonesia for the Washington Post. Bevins spent a lot of time with people who had lived through these events; this was what prompted him to write a history that would present the more unsettling truth to Western readers about what the Cold War was really like for those at the spear tip of American power.

We all still live in the shadow of Jakarta. In Indonesia, the defense of communism is still outlawed and the genocide of 1965 is a taboo subject: an unspoken nightmare that sits like an incubus upon the collective conscience of the nation. In Brazil, Bolsonaro is the lodestar of contemporary anti-communism—and a vestige of America’s murderous past. In the United States itself, the story of 1965 and its afterlives is barely known. The question is whether the bitter backwash of imperial ambition has returned to the homeland. For one lesson of Jakarta is that the United States may have triumphed in the Cold War, but the carnage needed to win it could never be controlled or reined back in. Violence, and the massive complex of bases, special forces, private security firms, clandestine operations, and surveillance systems needed to sustain it, acquired a logic and momentum of its own, seeking out fresh parts of the world to tame and render in its own image.

It now looks like the imperial machine has turned on its architects. A frustrated presidency, warrantless mass surveillance, the hyper-militarization of police forces, the cultural and political demonization of progressives, and the description of urban centers as “battle spaces.” Two worlds that were once separate—the violent frontiers and domestic peace—now collide on America’s streets.

Gavin Jacobson @TheBaffler.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Berlin "antisemitism Tsar": SCREAM if you hear someone mention Palestine!

The state government of Berlin, Germany’s capital, has appointed a new official to combat anti-Semitism.

But far from a champion in the fight against bigotry, political science professor Samuel Salzborn is deeply intolerant of Palestinians.

When you’re sitting in the train and the people next to you start talking about ‘Palestine’ without any apparent reason, it means it is time to either get off the train, put on your headphones, or scream at them,” Salzborn tweeted last October.

He followed up with the word “anti-Semitism.”

Unhinged and intolerant: professor Samuel Salzborn

Source: Electronic Intifada

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Google (Blogger), please don't implement the 'new UI': it's AWFUL!

Logging in yesterday I felt like I'd been locked out of my own house (apartment?) Google had, without prior notification (or at least I hadn't seen one), moved me over to the new user interface (boo-hiss!), leaving behind the so-called 'Legacy UI'.

I'm not opposed to... erm, progress, so I decided to give it a go, struggling for the next hour with how to...bold a piece of text! I managed, not without initial difficulty, to scramble back to safety and the Legacy UI!

A quick search soon showed I wasn't alone: the new UI seems almost universally despised/feared, see for example here.

Above: Legacy UI. It's what we WANT, Blogger!

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

We dont need no furren brains in Ingerland!

A new study has revealed that Brexit has been the “dominant driver” in the exodus of Britons to EU countries. Emigration is up 30 percent since the 2016 Brexit vote, with the authors warning the UK faces a “potential brain drain.”

Analysis by a joint research team consisting of an Oxford-in-Berlin partnership and the WZB Social Science Centre, also in Berlin, has found that migration from the UK to EU states rose by an average of 73,642 a year between 2016 and 2018.

In stark contrast, the average between 2008-2015 was 56,832 people a year, according to the researchers. Explaining the huge wave of migration, the co-authors of the study – Daniel Tetlow and Daniel Auer – said that the 2016 Brexit referendum had been the “dominant driver.” They likened the migration flow to one caused by a serious economic or political crisis, and warned it would likely have serious consequences for academia in the UK.


Sunday, 2 August 2020

A Socialist Trump?