Aug 22, 2017
Aug 22, 2017
At least 100 civilians, including many women and children, have been killed in US airstrikes from Sunday to Tuesday.
August 23, 2017
— Escalating US airstrikes are taking a growing toll on the population of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS which is presently being invaded by US-backed forces. Reports out of the area are that at least 100 civilians have been killed in US-led airstrikes in a 48 hour span from Sunday to Tuesday.
Monday’s airstrikes were the deadliest incident of that span, with 55 civilians killed in two of the city’s eastern neighborhoods, including at least 19 children. The attacks, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, hit a particularly densely populated area.
“These are buildings full of civilians that are trying to get away from the front lines,” the Observatory’s director noted, adding that US-led coalition airstrikes seem to be targeting any building with any hint of ISIS activity in the city.
This appears to be a recurrence of the same problem that plagued the later months of the Iraqi invasion of Mosul, where US warplanes caused massive civilian tolls by attacking buildings they claimed ISIS was forcing civilians into, but which in practice were densely populated by locals because they were the only buildings still standing that were seemingly out of the direct line of fire.
Yet in the ever-escalating US war against ISIS, no building, no matter how civilian in nature, is ever really out of the direct line of fire. Such large civilian death tolls have severely harmed morale of forces on the ground, and fueled outcry from human rights groups. Officially, however, the Pentagon’s figures on how many civilians they killed are rarely more than 10% of the actual toll documented by independent NGOs, which so far has allowed the Pentagon to dismiss calls to stop targeting civilians.
To be fair to Canada, I am Canadian, this vote was made by our ex-Prime Minister Harper’s who was and is a repulsive right-wing dinosaur. He was a USA boot licker.
With permission from
On 21 November 2014, in a vote at the United Nations on a Resolution opposing a resurgence of the racist-fascist ideology (opposing the ideology that’s commonly called «nazism») which Resolution was titled «Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-nazism and other practices that contribute to contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance», 115 nations voted «Yes» to pass the Resolution, 3 voted «No» to reject it, and 55 voted «Abstain», meaning they didn’t want to express a view on the resolution. An additional 19 didn’t vote at all on it (decided to absent themselves from that roll-call, for whatever reason — basically, not even saying whether they were neutral on it by voting «Abstain» — just said nothing at all on it).
The document that they were voting on had been posted complete on 17 November 2014, and is still posted in its entirety here. As can be seen there, it had been proposed by the following 29 nations: Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burkina Faso, Brazil, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, the Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkmenistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), and Viet Nam.
Each of its component 48 paragraphs was entirely moderate, such as these paragraphs, this core passage, from it (and a «Yes» vote on the Resolution meant that the given nation agreed with all 48 of its paragraphs, and so the Resolution was drafted to be extremely non-extreme throughout):
7. Expresses concern about recurring attempts to desecrate or demolish monuments erected in remembrance of those who fought against Nazism during the Second World War, as well as to unlawfully exhume or remove the remains of such persons, and in this regard urges States to fully comply with their relevant obligations, inter alia, under article 34 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949;
8. Notes with concern the increase in the number of racist incidents worldwide, including the rise of skinhead groups, which have been responsible for many of these incidents, as well as the resurgence of racist and xenophobic violence targeting, inter alia, persons belonging to national, ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities;
9. Reaffirms that such acts may be qualified to fall within the scope of the Convention, that they may not be justified when they fall outside the scope of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association as well as the rights to freedom of expression and that they may fall within the scope of article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights2 and may be subject to certain restrictions, as set out in articles 19, 21 and 22 of the Covenant;
10. Condemns without reservation any denial or attempt to deny the Holocaust;
11. Welcomes the call of the Special Rapporteur for the active preservation of those Holocaust sites that served as Nazi death camps, concentration and forced labour camps and prisons, as well as his encouragement of States to take measures, including legislative, law enforcement and educational measures, to put an end to all forms of Holocaust denial;…
No nation was named — far less condemned or criticized at all — anywhere in the entire document. This was done so as to welcome support from each and every nation.
The roll-call on the vote, along with each nation’s vote on it, is posted here.
These are the 55 nations that Abstained: Albania, Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Chad, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mali, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Sudan, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, United Kingdom, Yemen.
These are the 3 nations that voted «No»:
Canada, Ukraine, United States.
Among the 115 «Yes» votes on it, were: Argentina, Brazil, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Syria, Thailand, Uganda, UAE, Venezuela, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and many others.
The reason there were 55 who voted «Abstain» is that the US was dead-set against this Resolution (for the reason explained here). Some allies of US, such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, had sufficient control over the US Government so that they were free to vote whatever way they wanted on this or on just about any other U.N. Resolution. (Those two nations, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are ‘allies’ of the US not in the sense that they’re vassal-nations of the US Empire, but instead that the US is their vassal-nation — so, they were free to vote however they wished.) Furthermore, if Israel had voted not to condemn nazism and Holocaust-denial, then Israel’s existing leader would have become replaced because of that scandal; and, so, Prime Minister Netanyahu, for domestic political reasons, had to vote (or to have his Government vote) «Yes» on it. The Sauds could vote any way they wanted, because that royal family own their country and because the only entity specifically condemned in the Resolution was «Nazism during the Second World War», meaning Germany’s Nazi Party, which the Saud family (having been vassals of the US during WW II, not masters of the US Government like today) hadn’t ever supported. The fact that Austria and Germany, now under US control, voted «Abstain» instead of «Yes» on condemning the Nazi Party, means that even the two Nazi-controlled nations that FDR’s America had fought against in WW II are now on-the-fence as regards the Resolution that was presented to the U.N. General Assembly for a vote on 21 November 2014 to condemn the Nazi Party. The Obama Administration gave each of its vassals the option to «Abstain», but pressed to vote «No» any nation that it demanded to vote «No», which nations turned out to be only two: Ukraine and Canada.
The United States Government, under President Barack Obama, was actually leading the opposition against this Resolution.
Prior reporting, by me, about this matter, has included:
21 June 2015, «America’s U.N. Ambassador Continues Standing Up for Nazis».
20 August 2017, «Trump’s Fascism versus Obama’s Fascism».
The only mainstream US newsmedium that covered this matter at all was CBS, which headlined, on 17 November 2014, four days prior to the vote on it, «US votes against anti-Nazi resolution at U.N.», and reported that:
The United States says it was one of three countries to vote against a U.N. resolution condemning the glorification of Nazism over freedom of speech issues and concerns that Russia was using it to carry out political attacks against its neighbors.
The resolution entitled «Combating glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance», was approved by the U.N.’s human rights committee on Friday with 131 in favor, 3 against with 48 abstentions.
Ukraine and Palau were the other no votes.
That was reporting only a preliminary vote, even before the Resolution was presented for an actual floor-vote of the entire Assembly. (Obama lost Palau, which ended up reversing totally and voting «Yes» on it, but then he gained Canada as their replacement third «No» vote on it.) That news-report received little exposure at CBS or elsewhere. At CBS News online, there were only 25 reader-comments to it. Typical was: «So we voted against anti-Nazism because it would deprive the Nazis the freedom of expression to demand banning the freedom of expression.» Readers accepted at face-value what was being said. CBS issued no subsequent news-report on the matter, to correct nor even to clarify anything in their cryptic report. However, that reason which had been represented as having been given to CBS for America’s intended vote against the Resolution was not the actual reason that America’s U.N. Ambassador gave for it, as I reported, after the vote, on 24 November 2014:
Samantha Power, the US Representative at the U.N., gave as her reason for voting against the resolution, its unacceptability to the Government of Ukraine. «Her delegation was concerned about the overt political motives that had driven the main sponsor of the current resolution. That Government had employed those phrases in the current crisis in Ukraine. That was offensive and disrespectful to those who had suffered at the hands of Nazi regimes. Therefore, the United States would vote against the resolution.» In other words: the US opposed this resolution, supposedly, because it was offensive to Ukraine, even though the very term «Ukraine», and all other conceivable references to Ukraine, were and are entirely absent from it.
If Ukraine, whose government the US had installed during the US coup in February 2014, had been instructed by the US to vote in favor of the Resolution, they would have done so. The government that the US coup overthrew, would probably have abstained on a Resolution such as this (because it was trying to be accepted both by the United States and by their own neighbor, Russia, which the US Government is obsessed to conquer), but the newly installed Ukrainian Government was being ruled by members and supporters of Ukraine’s traditional two nazi parties and thus would have voted for the Resolution only if the US Government had instructed them to do that. They might then have laughed in private about the matter, but they would nonetheless have done whatever they were instructed by Washington to do. After all, they had to — the US had placed them into power.
In fact, even prior to America’s takeover of Ukraine, Obama’s U.N. Ambassador had been one of only three nations voting «No» on a previous U.N. Resolution, titled «Elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance», which had passed the General Assembly on 20 December 2012, little over a year after the secret planning for the Ukrainian coup had started at the US State Department, and little over a year prior to the coup itself. The other two pro-nazi nations, on that occasion (since Obama hadn’t yet replaced Ukraine’s government by nazis), were Canada, and the Marshall Islands. (America’s U.N. Ambassador at that time was Susan Rice.) Ukraine, then under the President whom Obama was soon going to overthrow, was one of the 57 nations to vote «Abstain.» 120 nations voted «Yes», on that occasion.
The only international poll that has asked the question «Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?»found that by an overwhelming margin, the United States was mentioned by more people throughout the world than any other. But Americans chose Iran as being the most dangerous country. That was a scientifically sampled poll by WIN/Gallup, of 67,806 people in 65 countries, and was published on 30 December 2013.
Anyone who wants further, and up-to-date (as of August 18th), information on how nazism proceeds in our time, under US international leadership, will find that here.
By now, it seems clear that the leading feature of today’s nazism is its hypocrisy. George Orwell already had that figured out, in his prophetically futuristic dystopian 1949 novel, 1984. But the real version, of nazism in our era, fascinates me even more than does the fictional one. Not even Orwell’s genius could match it, in my book.
Yo Ukraine, guess who the real dumb ass is?
“Ukraine has proudly announced that it shall receive 700,000 tonnes of American coal this year.
At three times the price of Donbass coal, the hefty price of long-distance coal shipments is not just demonstrative of the Ukrainian regime’s detachment from economic realities, but a wider lesson in how ideology can warp any sense of logic and pragmatism.”
In the winter of 2017, the Ukrainian regime following the lead of neo-Nazi radicals, decided to ban all imports of coal from Donbass, one of the most abundantly coal rich places in the world. To add to the troubles, existing coal burning power stations in Ukraine had been designed specifically with Donbass coal in mind as Donbass coal has certain particles which make it unique to other varieties around the world.
The blockade of cheap local coal is said to have cost the regime $550, a figure which becomes all the more magnified when one considers that the regime is practically bankrupt.
The solution to the problem has been found and its an expensive one. Kiev has agreed to purchase large quantities of American coal, coal which has to be expensively shipped from Pennsylvania to the north-west Black Sea.
Ukraine has proudly announced that it shall receive 700,000 tonnes of American coal this year.
At three times the price of Donbass coal, the hefty price of long-distance coal shipments is not just demonstrative of the Ukrainian regime’s detachment from economic realities, but a wider lesson in how ideology can warp any sense of logic and pragmatism.
If Ukraine accepted the peaceful, democratic self-determination of the Donbass republics and if indeed it accepted the will of other regions to do the same, Kiev could realistically save a great deal of money. There is no chance that the industrial parts of Donbass will ever return to Kiev’s rule and the over all inefficiency of tax collection in Ukraine means that cutting costs is more important and more realistic than trying to find ways to increase revenue. According to many reports, one of the best options Kiev has come up with in order to raise revenue is by selling Soviet made rockets to North Korea.
In trying to save face by pretending that expensive American coal is somehow a better option than cheap coal from a nearby place, Ukraine is doing what all ideologues eventually do: they are putting fanaticism before common sense.
This is what led Hitler to invade Russia in the winter and it is also what has led Donald Trump to think it is possible to ‘win’ a war in Afghanistan.
The move also serves as a lesson to Europe that in paying for expensive imports of US natural gas as Lusitania just did and as Poland is set to do, they are not harming their former Russian suppliers, they are only harming themselves.
It’s not the ‘bad hombres’ but the middle-class white guys who are the baddies of this US crime drama.
“Ozark is a shift in the representation of the drug trade and its attendant violence to a new realisation of the complex systems that keep it in place. The Mexican cartel’s activities provide motivating action that impels the narrative forward – but it is the white characters’ willingness to participate for personal gain that is fundamentally at question.”
Reader in Latin American Studies, University of Liverpool
Aug 23, 2017
The recent violence in Charlottesville and the ever-shifting statements by Donald Trump about national identity bring to the fore the dangers of the recurrent narratives of “us” versus “them” and the threats posed to American values by the omnipresent other – such as Trump’s “bad hombres” from Mexico.
This is a narrative that has become familiar fodder in popular US crime dramas, such as Breaking Bad and Sicario. But the recent Netflix series, Ozark, is a welcome shift from the dominant paradigm of the beleaguered and fundamentally decent white man struggling to survive in world full of threatening others.
Ozark has received mixed reviews. For some it falls short when compared to Breaking Bad, because rather than follow the protagonist’s downward spiral, in this series not only is the protagonist a middle-class white man but he is crooked from the start.
What Ozark shares with both the Sopranos and Breaking Bad is the way it brings home the consequences of criminal activity and shines a spotlight on the practical – even mundane – difficulties involved in multi-million dollar crime. Ozark focuses on a white-collar bureaucrat operating on behalf of a cartel.
To understand the significance of Ozark it must be considered in the context of a proliferation of series about the cartels, which are indelibly tied to current US-Mexican border policy and attitudes to race in the US.
Ozark shares with Narcos the technique of having an opening voiceover which, in this case, establishes financial adviser Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) as the show’s – flawed – hero. But the shift in protagonist from Narcos’ heroic law enforcement officer, Steve (Boyd Holbrook), to a crooked money manager, reflects the key recognition that backroom people – bean counters even – are integral to the operation of criminal enterprises.
After it emerges that his business partner, Bruce Liddell (Josh Randall), has been siphoning off money from an unnamed Mexican cartel, Marty uproots his wife Wendy (Laura Linney) and children to the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. Marty knows nothing about the Ozarks beyond a page from a brochure – but the move is Marty’s idea – a deal struck with the angry cartel bosses in exchange for his life.
Del (Esai Morales), the cartel leader, accepts the deal on condition that Marty retrieves and then launders the $US8m that his partner stole. So the family travels to Missouri. Marty and Wendy’s relationship has broken down before we meet them, but they are now forced to cooperate for their own safety and that of their children. But they soon discover that the majority white town they move to is full of corruption and criminality – as evidenced in the sadistic and murderous local drug dealers.
Marty and his family are superficially ordinary and respectable – a point that the series frequently casts ironic shade on through dialogue. For example, in a typically barbed exchange, Wendy asks Marty what he has done for the family today. His response is that he has “bought a strip club”, thus upending the heavily loaded righteousness of the premise of the question. In this way, the series presents the machinations of the drug war as something that permeates all aspects of society right down to family relations. Unlike Breaking Bad and The Sopranos, where family is only in danger when systems break down, in Ozark being involved in criminality is inherently a permanent state of crisis.
There is an irony in the presentation of the Ozarks as an ideal space for drug activity when its rural setting would normally bring with it a presumption of idyllic retreat and its location so far north should distance it from the trade to the south. This led to criticism by Missouri opinion writer, Kevin Horrigan, who objected to the portrayal of the Ozarks. Some of this is because the series was shot in Georgia, but there is also an awareness that the series’ stories of corruption do not reflect local versions of white-collar crime, which tends more typically to consist of tax evasion and embezzlement.
The lake shore, an artificial construct in itself since the lake was created in 1931 by damming Missouri’s Osage River stands as a clear signal of the impossibility of policing borders because its porous border makes it a perfect locale for dealers and other illegal activity. This internal frontier challenges the idea presented by Trump that building a wall between the US and Mexico will somehow ensure that those he calls “bad hombres” will be kept out. The Mexicans Trump is referring to are for the most part a distant shadow in Ozark. Instead, it is the well-established white majority residents, who prove to be the most dangerous criminals.
Ozark is a shift in the representation of the drug trade and its attendant violence to a new realisation of the complex systems that keep it in place. The Mexican cartel’s activities provide motivating action that impels the narrative forward – but it is the white characters’ willingness to participate for personal gain that is fundamentally at question.
As a result it is “us” who are suspect not “them” in this story – and hopefully that signals a shift in direction for popular long-form narrative.
“What makes the Pentagon’s response to Swastika-flag-waving American Nazis rather bizarre is that this week the US Defense Secretary, General James Mattis, is reportedly traveling to Ukraine where he is to sign over shipments of lethal weapons to the armed forces of the Kiev regime. That regime openly glorifies Ukrainian regiments that collaborated with the Nazi Third Reich during the Second World War.”
With permission from
Aug 22, 2017
In the wake of violent protests involving white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in the US, the Pentagon’s top military brass issued unprecedented condemnations of «racists and extremists». One veterans spokesman said: «Anyone waving a Nazi flag must be rooted out of our society».
What makes the Pentagon’s response to Swastika-flag-waving American Nazis rather bizarre is that this week the US Defense Secretary, General James Mattis, is reportedly traveling to Ukraine where he is to sign over shipments of lethal weapons to the armed forces of the Kiev regime. That regime openly glorifies Ukrainian regiments that collaborated with the Nazi Third Reich during the World War Two.
Mattis, the top Pentagon official, is due to authorize the transfer of $50 million-worth of military gear to the Kiev regime. This will mark the first official delivery of lethal equipment from the US. Previous military aid to Ukraine was reportedly «non-lethal». Among the inventory Mattis is signing over are Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Modern-day regiments under the control of the Kiev regime, such as the Azov Battalion, publicly self-identify with Nazi-collaborating descendants and former pro-Nazi Ukrainian leaders like Stefan Bandera. This Neo-Nazi ideology of the Kiev-run military is a central impetus in why these forces have waged a three-year war on the ethnic Russian population of the breakaway Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine. The latter refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the Kiev regime which seized power in February 2014 in a coup d’état against an elected government. The American CIA backed that violent coup.
Political and financial support from Washington and the European Union has underpinned the Kiev regime led by the dubiously elected President Petro Poroshenko. This is in spite of the fact that the Kiev regime continues to wage a war on the people of Donbas in violation of a peace deal – the Minsk Accord – brokered by Russia and the EU in 2015. Western governments and media accuse Russia of sponsoring the breakaway Donbas republics and their militia, and of infiltrating its troops into the region. Russia denies direct military involvement, but is believed to be supporting the self-declared Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk.
The Pentagon’s supply of weaponry to Kiev forces will no doubt embolden their regiments to step up violations of the truce which was supposed to be implemented under the Minsk Accord. Hundreds of breaches are reported on a weekly basis in which towns and villages in Donestk and Lugansk come under fire from heavy artillery. Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, has recently remarked that his defense forces «are not fighting Ukrainians, but rather Banderites» – that is, Neo-Nazi militia who adulate their Third Reich hero Stefan Bandera for assisting the German SS exterminate thousands of fellow Ukrainians deemed to be «sub-human».
The American military support for the Kiev regime and its Neo-Nazi death squads attacking the people of Donbas is a monumental contradiction to what the US Joint Chiefs of Staff were declaring last week about extremists on American soil.
All five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and National Guard – issued public condemnations of the violence perpetrated by assorted white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in the state of Virginia. The latter groups were protesting the proposed removal of American Civil War statues commemorating Confederate military leaders like Robert E Lee. Counter-demonstrators claim the statues are icons of racial prejudice and white supremacy. Many of the pro-Confederate protesters were carrying Nazi flags and other fascist icons. In a deadly incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, a suspected Neo-Nazi man rammed his car into a crowd killing a woman.
US President Donald Trump came under intense public criticism for being slow to condemn the violence and for appearing to lay blame on both sides, thereby equating Neo-Nazis with anti-fascist protesters.
Prominent news media organizations, like the Washington Post, New York Times and CNN, ran editorial comments lambasting Trump for his equivocal position, which allegedly afforded the Neo-Nazi groups a degree of legitimacy. CNN ran the headline: «Trump is who we feared he was».
A New York Times oped piece declared: «The Test of Nazism That Trump Failed». Adding: «There can be no ‘two sides’. If the president is not against Hitlerism, he is for it».
The Washington Post editorial board said that Trump had «brought the international image of the US into disrepute».
Then there were numerous resignations by business CEOs from White House consultative panels, again in protest over Trump’s alleged association with racists and bigots. Even though to be fair to the president he did explicitly condemn such groups.
The national controversy appeared to be catharsis for politicians, media, business leaders and public alike in which it was proclaimed that «America is not like that» – meaning, not a supporter of Nazis and fascsim. In almost ritualistic fashion, the evils of racism, fascism, white supremacy and Nazism were exorcised from the body politic – or at least supposedly exorcised.
Joining in the catharsis were the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The New York Times reported: «In an unusually public move, the nation’s top military leaders, who typically try to steer clear of social controversy, have come out strongly against racism and extremism in the wake of violent protests over the weekend. Five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, representing the Navy, the Marines, the Army, the Air Force and the National Guard, posted messages on social media condemning hatred and Neo-Nazis, saying that the extremist violence in Charlottesville, Va., on Saturday went against the military’s core values».
As the NY Times noted, the public condemnations by the Pentagon top brass were an extraordinary rebuke to President Trump who, as titular Commander-in-Chief, is their superior.
Its report also quoted Charles E Schmidt, the national commander of the American Legion, who said: «Americans fought fascism and crushed the Nazis in World War Two, and anyone who waves a Nazi flag on our soil is, by very definition, anti-American. The disgusting displays of hatred and bigotry on display in Charlottesville dishonor all veterans who fought and died to stamp out fascism».
The public outpouring is classic American cognitive dissonance. Condemning Nazis at home while at the same time arming Nazis abroad. How does Nazism at home offend «our core values» when «our core values» involve politically, financially and militarily supporting Nazis in Ukraine?
To be sure, there is a long history of such American support for Nazis in Ukraine going back to the end of World War Two, when the Pentagon and CIA covertly backed the Gehlen Organization of former Third Reich General Reinhard Gehlen and his Ukrainian Nazi partisans in their sabotage operations against the Soviet Union.
In explaining American cognitive dissonance there are at least two factors. One is the lack of US media reporting on what is actually going on in Ukraine. How can so many ordinary Americans be alarmed by Neo-Nazis at home while seemingly insouciant about the same kind of fascists in Ukraine? That disconnect is due to ignorance, owing to the lack of US media coverage about what is really happening in Ukraine. US media seem more concerned to report claims that Russia is the culprit for destabilizing Ukraine. Which is all part of the ongoing Russophobia in the US media distorting the reality of international relations.
A second factor for American cognitive dissonance is that the outpouring of condemnation of white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in the US by many public figures is simply a cynical PR exercise. Of course, the hate-filled mobs with Nazi regalia in Virginia and other US states are damaging the «American brand» of supposed liberal democracy in the eyes of the world. Therefore the imagery must be swiftly expunged from public view with vigorous condemnations. But the cynical disingenuousness is betrayed by the fact that the US is arming and bankrolling the same hate-filled Nazis in Ukraine.
The arms dealing trip by Pentagon boss James Mattis to the Neo-Nazis in Ukraine this week is the reality check on what the Washington establishment and the American military-industrial complex really think about Nazism and extremists.
We could also add to the list the American arms dealing to fundamentalist regimes like Saudi Arabia and the covert arming of head-chopping Wahhabi terrorists. All of them are welcome clients for American militarism, in the service of US hegemonic world dominance.
Official US condemnation of Nazis, fascists and extremists is just American public relations rhetoric. Evidently, the condemnation has no credibility in terms of objective reality.
The US Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed sanctions on six Chinese-owned firms, and one Russian, one North Korean, and two Singapore-based entities as well as six individuals —four Russians, one Chinese and one North Korean — for facilitating trade ties with Pyongyang.
Russia and China have reacted strongly to new US sanctions targeting Chinese and Russian companies and individuals for allegedly “supporting” North Korea’s weapons program by doing business with the country.
The targeted firms and figures are accused of working with blacklisted individuals, assisting the development of the North Korean energy sector, helping it place workers abroad, or move money from abroad. Their US assets were frozen and Americans were barred from conducting business with them.US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement that it was “unacceptable” for the designated entities to “enable North Korea to generate income used to develop weapons of mass destruction.”
‘Russia preparing response’
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov reacted to the new US sanctions by expressing disappointment and warning Washington that Moscow was preparing a response.
“The lip service from American representatives about the desire to stabilize bilateral relations [with Russia] is extremely unconvincing,” Ryabkov said in a statement.
“In recent years, Washington in theory should have learned that for us, the language of sanctions is unacceptable, and the solutions to real problems are only hindered by such actions. So far, however, there doesn’t seem to be an understanding of such obvious truths,” he said.
“In the meantime,” he added, “we are beginning to work out the inevitable response to this situation.”
The Russian official also expressed hope that “our American colleagues will be aware of the futility and detrimental nature of further sliding down the spiral of sanctions.”
Russian Senator Andrey Klimov also reacted to the unilateral US sanctions by calling them illegitimate and urging due counteraction.
Saying that the only sanctions recognized by international law are the ones approved by the UN Security Council, he said, “We must react in principle to this insane and confrontational policy. The toolbox is rich; let’s hope that we will act consistently, reasonably, professionally and effectively.”
China says bilateral cooperation at stake
China, for its part, said that Washington should “immediately correct its mistake” of imposing unilateral sanctions on Chinese firms and individuals to avoid denting bilateral cooperation.
Beijing “opposes unilateral sanctions out[side] of the UN Security Council framework,” said a Chinese government spokesperson. “We strongly urge the US to immediately correct its mistake, so as not to impact bilateral cooperation on relevant issues.”
The US is opposed to the North Korean missile and military nuclear programs. Pyongyang says it needs them to deter potential US aggression.
Earlier this month, China and Russia had voted in favor of a US-drafted sanctions resolution against North Korea in a rare move that signaled willingness to cooperate with Washington.
Among the Chinese names targeted with the new sanctions are three coal companies, including one of the country’s largest importers, Dandong Zhicheng. The three firms are collectively responsible for having imported nearly half a billion dollars’ worth of North Korean coal between 2013 and 2016, the US Treasury Department claimed.
Moscow-based company Gefest-M was among the Russian entities singled out by the Treasury Department.