Solomon: Climb Down From The Summit Of Hostile Propaganda

Authored by Norman Solomon via,

Throughout the day before the summit in Helsinki, the lead story on the New York Times home page stayed the same: “Just by Meeting With Trump, Putin Comes Out Ahead.” The Sunday headline was in harmony with the tone of U.S. news coverage overall. As for media commentary, the Washington Post was in the dominant groove as it editorialized that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is “an implacably hostile foreign adversary.”

Contempt for diplomacy with Russia is now extreme. Mainline U.S. journalists and top Democrats often bait President Donald Trump in zero-sum terms. No doubt Hillary Clinton thought she was sending out an applause line in her tweet Sunday night: “Question for President Trump as he meets Putin: Do you know which team you play for?”

A bellicose stance toward Russia has become so routine and widespread that we might not give it a second thought—and that makes it all the more hazardous. After President George W. Bush declared “You’re either with us or against us,” many Americans gradually realized what was wrong with a Manichean view of the world. Such an outlook is even more dangerous today.

Since early 2017, the U.S. mass media have laid it on thick with the rough political equivalent of a painting technique known as chiaroscuro—“the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition,” in the words of Wikipedia. The Russiagate frenzy is largely about punching up contrasts between the United States (angelic and victimized) and Russia (sinister and victimizer).

Countless stories with selective facts are being told that way. But other selectively fact-based stories could also be told to portray the United States as a sinister victimizer and Russia as an angelic victim. Those governments and their conformist media outlets are relentless in telling it either way. As the great journalist I.F. Stone observed long ago, “All governments lie, and nothing they say should be believed.” In other words: don’t trust, verify.

Often the biggest lies involve what remains unsaid. For instance, U.S. media rarely mention such key matters as the promise-breaking huge expansion of NATO to Russia’s borders since the fall of the Berlin Wall, or the brazen U.S. intervention in Russia’s pivotal 1996 presidential election, or the U.S. government’s 2002 withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, or the more than 800 U.S. military bases overseas—in contrast to Russia’s nine.

For human survival on this planet, an overarching truth appears in an open letter published last week by The Nation magazine:

“No political advantage, real or imagined, could possibly compensate for the consequences if even a fraction of U.S. and Russian arsenals were to be utilized in a thermonuclear exchange. The tacit pretense that the worsening of U.S.-Russian relations does not worsen the odds of survival for the next generations is profoundly false.”

The initial 26 signers of the open letter “Common Ground: For Secure Elections and True National Security” included Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, writer and feminist organizer Gloria Steinem, former UN ambassador Gov. Bill Richardson, political analyst Noam Chomsky, former covert CIA operations officer Valerie Plame, activist leader Rev. Dr. William Barber II, filmmaker Michael Moore, former Nixon White House counsel John Dean, Russia scholar Stephen F. Cohen, former U.S. ambassador to the USSR Jack F. Matlock Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning writers Alice Walker and Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel, former senator Adlai Stevenson III, and former longtime House Armed Services Committee member Patricia Schroeder. (I was also one of the initial signers.)

Since its release five days ago, the open letter has gained support from petition already signed by 45,000 people. The petition campaign aims to amplify the call for protecting the digital infrastructure of the electoral process that is now “vulnerable to would-be hackers based anywhere”—and for taking “concrete steps… to ease tensions between the nuclear superpowers.”

We need a major shift in the U.S. approach toward Russia. Clearly the needed shift won’t be initiated by the Republican or Democratic leaders in Congress; it must come from Americans who make their voices heard. The lives—and even existence—of future generations are at stake in the relationship between Washington and Moscow.

Many of the petition’s grassroots signers have posted comments along with their names. Here are a few of my favorites:

*  From Nevada: “We all share the same planet! We better learn how to do it safely or face the consequences of blowing ourselves up!

*  From New Mexico: “The earth will not survive a nuclear war. The weapons we have today are able to cause much more destruction than those of previous eras. We must find a way to common ground.”

*  From Massachusetts: “It is imperative that we take steps to protect the sanctity of our elections and to prevent nuclear war anywhere on the earth.”

*  From Kentucky: “Secure elections are a fundamental part of a democratic system. But this could become meaningless in the event of thermonuclear war.”

*  From California: “There is only madness and hubris in talk of belligerence toward others, especially when we have such dangerous weapons and human error has almost led to our annihilation already more than once in the past half-century.”

Yet a wide array of media outlets, notably the “Russiagate”-obsessed network MSNBC, keeps egging on progressives to climb toward peaks of anti-Russian jingoism. The line of march is often in virtual lockstep with GOP hyper-hawks like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The incessant drumbeat is in sync with what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism.”

Meanwhile, as Dr. King said, “We still have a choice today: nonviolent coexistence or violent coannihilation.”

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50 Tunisia lawyers file bribery charges against PM

Some 50 Tunisian lawyers filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Head of Government, Youssef Chahed, over suspicion that he receiving money from the UK to improve his image and distort the country’s recent social protests.

Nizar Boujalal, coordinator of the group of 50 lawyers, said during a news conference in the capital Tunis that “the complaint concerns the Tunisian government’s receipt of funds from Britain outside the legal framework to hire an advertising company that would distort the peaceful protests in the country.”

He added that if its is proved that the funds were obtained illegally, “the penalties may reach capital punishment.”

“The British parliament decided to open an investigation into the matter, and the Tunisian parliament has also set up a committee to investigate the case,” Boujalal added.

Tunisia’s Ennahda reiterates call to Chahed not to run in presidential elections

In early July, the British newspaper the Guardian reported that the British government had paid money to an international advertising company to run a campaign to support the Tunisian government, following protests against increasing prices across the country.

The British Embassy in Tunisia denied the claims.The embassy clarified: “We were disappointed with manipulated media reports, which distorted the Kingdom’s position. The British government provides technical assistance to Tunisia through development programmes that help the public sector deal with the Tunisian people in a transparent manner.”

In a previous press statement, Tunisian government spokesman Iyad Dahmani denied the report and stressed that the Tunisian government “has never contracted with any advertising company in connection with the country’s social protests.”

Tunisia is set to hold elections next year in which Chahed is expected to run for the post of prime minister and the son of the current President Beji Caid Essebsi is expected to for president.

Tunisia’s president says PM should quit if crisis continues

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Watch: Drone Flies Dangerously “Feet Away” From An Airbus A380

Fresh off the internet, an incredible video shows the moment an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flies into the path of the world’s largest passenger airliner.

Video of the incident was first reported by HelicoMicro, which has since circulated many drone and photography forums. The video shows just how stupid someone can be while operating a recreational drone near an airport.

According to Oliver Kmia, a photo analyst for Fstoppers, he confirms the A380 airliner belongs to the Dubai-based company Emirates, which took off from runway 14 at Plaine Magnien Airport located on the Mauritius Island in the Indian Ocean. As the jumbo jet gains altitude, “the pre-positioned drone films the plane passing dangerously close at about 200 feet from the tip of the left wing,” Kmia said.

The A380 is a double-deck, wide-body, four-engine jet airliner manufactured by Airbus. It is the world’s largest passenger airliner, and can carry more than 500 passengers in a typical three-class seat configuration and up to 850 passengers in a densified all-economy cabin version.

Kmia mentions that there is no information about the identity of the pilot. However, he did indicate the video was initially posted on Facebook by Thierry Paris who describes himself as an A380 captain for Air France.

Paris wrote in the video caption: “That’s what a little crazy guy managed to do with a drone in Mauritius. Hello flight safety!!!”

The Airbus A380 of Emirates flight EK702 gaining altitude after takeoff from runway 14 in Mauritius Island. (Source: Facebook video)

The Airbus A380 of Emirates flight EK702 comes “feet away” from the drone. (Source: Facebook video)

The Airbus A380 of Emirates flight EK702 passing the drone as it was on route to Dubai airport. (Source: Facebook video)

While the drone pilot and drone manufacture of the craft is unknown, Kmia speculates the pilot used a Parrot Anafi.

“Unlike DJI, the Parrot drones are not equipped with geofencing capabilities. However, the DJI no-fly zone in the area is very small (see the map below) and the drone was flying just outside this perimeter anyway. Finally, flight restrictions can easily be hacked on consumer drones,” he said.

Note the approximate position of the drone (X) and the trajectory of the A380 taking off from runway 14 and heading to the south-east. The red circle indicates the no-fly zone as seen on the DJI system but we don’t know what drone was used to film this video. (Source: Oliver Kmia/Fstoppers)

And, of course, law-abiding drone pilots erupted in anger over the video on social media: 

It seems like the unknown drone operator could have severely violated the Government Gazette of Mauritius’s Civil Aviation Act.

Earlier this year, we covered another drone incident, where someone dive-bombed a US passenger jet landing in Vegas.

Kmia concludes by offering an opinion on the drone industry and warns that new “regulations and restrictions won’t stop stupid people from” flying recreational drones into the flight paths of commercial airlines. So we ask the question: How long until a major incident occurs between a drone and jumbo jet?

“As usual, this type of story will surely fuel the fire of the anti-drone crowd. However, adding new regulations and restrictions won’t stop stupid people from doing this kind of things. Likes car and guns, drone are just objects that can be diverted by irresponsible people. All the homicide and DUI regulations don’t prevent certain people to commit murders and drive over the limits. Drones are here to stay and any attempt to ground them will fail. The main point is to work on the drone detection capabilities and the integration of these unmanned aircrafts in the national airspace. The business of drone detection is tricky but several companies are already offering solutions like the DJI AeroScope. Beyond that, drones will have to be properly identified and equipped with position reporting equipment such as miniature ADS-B and TCAS system (or based on GPS and cellular network). In the USA, the FAA is working on the issue but the federal government is not known for its decision speed. Hopefully, the official remote ID requirement system won’t be plagued by bureaucratic and technical non-sense otherwise, some drone pilots will continue to fly illegally. Let’s hope that the decision makers find the right balance between liberty and security.”

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“It’s Dire!” – Aussie Farmers Face Worst Drought In 100 Years

Authored by Mac Slavo via,

Farmers are saying the situation they’ve been presented with is “dire.” As they battle the worst drought they’ve faced in 100 years, farming families in central-western New South Wales in Australia are facing ruin.

According to The Guardian, the farmers in the affected region of central and western New South Wales continue to battle a crippling drought that many locals are calling the worst since 1902. In Warrumbungle Shire, where sharp peaks fall away to once fertile farmland, the small town of Coonabarabran is running out of water. The town dam has fallen to 23% of its capacity and residents are living with level-six water restrictions.

There are real fears the town will run dry. Unable to provide food would not only mean financial ruin for the farmers but also less food for those who need it.

“It’s a pretty tough old time,” says Coonabarabran farmer Ambrose Doolan. “But if you’re working with your family and everyone is looking out for each other, you count your blessings.”

Last year, the Doolan family recorded their fourth-lowest average rainfall and that poor year has been followed by even drier conditions this year. The family has begun selling whatever stock they can and spends their whole day at feeding the cattle that remain because the pastures have dried up.

Farmers in this part of NSW are importing almost all food for their livestock from as far away as South Australia as prices rise with demand. The continued cost of buying feed is causing many to question their future on the land. The NSW government recently approved an emergency drought relief package of $600m, at least $250m of which will cover low-interest loans to assist eligible farm businesses to recover. The package has been welcomed but, in the words of a local farmer, “it barely touches the sides”. With the prospect of a dry El Niño weather pattern hitting the state in spring, the longer-term outlook is dire. The Guardian

As the cost of trucking in food for cattle and sheep increases, so will the cost of the products created from them, hitting consumers’ wallets hard. 

Charities such as Buy a Bale, where people can purchase hay bales for local farmers, have been some assistance, but rain would offer the biggest relief.  While much of NSW experienced a wet start to winter, the darker skies over Coonabarabran have yet to deliver said relief.

And many farmers say they will reject the government’s offer of a loan simply because they are already in a dire amount of debt.

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Trump Slams Door On Putin’s Offer For Referendum In Eastern Ukraine

Perhaps Putin didn’t get the memo that democratic referendums don’t count unless the people can be counted on to vote “the right way”? And perhaps Trump is not actually doing Putin’s bidding? 

A day after President Vladimir Putin told Russian diplomats in a closed door meeting that he set a proposal before Donald Trump during their Helsinki summit that a resolution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine could be reached by holding an internationally monitored referendum in contested separatist regions, the White House has for the first time acknowledged it.

In comments reported Friday by Bloomberg, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council indicated Trump has rejected the plan, saying “The administration is not considering supporting a referendum in the eastern Ukraine.” 

“The Minsk Agreements are the process for resolving the conflict in the Donbas, and these agreements do not include any option for referendum,” the White House spokesman said in reference to the 2015 European-brokered truce deal which ultimately calls for full Ukrainian government restoration of control over the state border and throughout the conflict zone. And added, “Furthermore, to organize a so-called referendum in a part of Ukraine which is not under government control would have no legitimacy.”

Rebel coalitions in Donetsk and Luhansk held referendums on independence in May of 2014 which resulted in many towns coming under the control of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics; however the vote was rejected internationally with Kiev dismissing the move as a “farce”. Kiev has pushed a compromise of offering the war-torn region some degree of autonomy while remaining under the Ukrainian state. 

Four years of fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government troops have resulted in over 10,000 people killed and more than one-and-a-half million displaced

Thus far, much of the policy content that is rumored to have been discussed between Trump and Putin during their two hour one-on-one session in Helsinki on Monday has been kept tightly under wraps, with more description of what was considered coming from the Russian side. 

On Thursday when news first broke of the proposal, which reportedly involved Putin agreeing not to publicly disclose the plan in order to give Trump time to consider it, The Hill summarized what little that could be gleaned as follows:

The proposal reportedly calls for a vote in separatist regions of the country that would allow the areas to decide their own status as a way to resolve the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Such a referendum would almost certainly face intense pushback from Kiev and the European Union, which remain supportive of the 2015 Minsk II agreement to halt the fighting in Ukraine’s Donbas region.

It would also mark a change in Washington’s position, which calls for Russia to live up to its commitments under the Minsk agreement.

Or we could translate this more simply as given that some three quarters of the Donbas region identify Russian as their main language, and with Western media reports long acknowledging the multiple polls suggesting the majority in the region reject the EU/US-backed government in Kiev, a referendum on the future of the contested remains unconscionable for the Western alliance.

On Thursday Trump tweeted that his meeting with Putin was “a great success” and separately cited Ukraine among the areas discussed, but without providing details. Since Monday’s summit, Putin has warned of “serious risks of an escalation” in fighting in eastern Ukraine while also telling Russian state television he and Trump discussed “new ideas about ways of regulating the conflict in Ukraine”. 

“We agreed to work on this for now on the expert level. In my view, this is a positive element of movement forward,” Putin said.

Kiev has this week also been seeking clarification of what was discussed at Helsinki. Western and NATO leaders have shown heightened concern over potential future White House policy after last month Trump reportedly told fellow G7 leaders that the Crimean peninsula was part of Russia “because everyone there speaks Russian” (in reference to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea).

Though President Trump has been hounded by accusations of “treason” and “collusion” more than ever before in the wake of his controversial closed door meeting with his Russian counterpart, NPR on Friday seems to have deflated one of the key ‘Russiagate’ talking points bolstering this narrative.

In a rare moment of honest mainstream media commentary in response to Trump’s telling reporters on Wednesday, “There’s never been a president as tough on Russia as I have been,” NPR pointed out an obvious truth that’s long been missing in the mainstream

That might sound like hyperbole, but in this case, there’s actually some basis for the president’s boast.

“When you actually look at the substance of what this administration has done, not the rhetoric but the substance, this administration has been much tougher on Russia than any in the post-Cold War era,” said Daniel Vajdich, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.

This of course includes Trump’s consistently ramping up arms sales to Ukraine, increased sanctions on Russia, and aggressively lobbying NATO member countries to increase defense spending, among other measures. 

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Bitcoin ETF Decision Gets an Overwhelming Amount of Public Opinion

Bitcoin ETF Decision Gets an Overwhelming Amount of Public Opinion

A great deal of cryptocurrency proponents are hoping for a positive outcome when the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) decides on whether or not they will approve the latest bitcoin-based ETF application file by Cboe. The US regulator had asked for public opinion concerning the ETF again, and this time around the number of responses sent to the regulator is 10X the amount that was sent this past April.

Also Read: Bitcoin Futures Volume Spike As Cboe Awaits ETF Decision 

SEC Receives 10X the Number of Responses for the Upcoming Bitcoin ETF Decision

Bitcoin ETF Decision Gets an Overwhelming Amount of Public OpinionVirtual currency enthusiasts really want a bitcoin-based exchange-traded fund (ETF) approved by US regulators. Over the past few weeks, since Cboe filed an application with the SEC, so it can list shares backed by the Vaneck Solidx Bitcoin Trust (“the Trust”), the SEC office received a large swathe of opinion letters from more than 90 individuals according to recent reports. The number of responses sent was 10X the amount of opinions written last April during a prior bitcoin ETF decision.

Reports also detail that Cboe’s bitcoin-based ETF has been so popular that the SEC has pushed another cryptocurrency related listing off until this September. The attempted Cboe ETF has been a popular discussion among cryptocurrency enthusiasts and some speculators believe digital asset prices will rise in anticipation of the SEC’s decision. Cryptocurrency markets have seemingly already reversed their bearish trend and a good amount of proponents believe this decision will cause a spike either before and after the ruling if it is positive.

SEC Decision Date Discrepancy and a Possible Crypto-Bull Run if the Ruling Is Positive  

There’s also been a discrepancy on when the official decision would be made as many people and publications assumed the verdict would be on August 10. However, according to a Reddit user, who claims to be a securities lawyer, on the forum r/cryptocurrency, an August 10 decision is impossible.

“The way this works is that the SEC issues a notice, which is then published in the Federal Register — As you will find stated clearly in the notice, the period is within 45 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register — not the date the notice is released by the SEC (edit: failure to understand this distinction is the source of the incorrect August 10th date),” explains the post.  

The date of publication in the Federal Register was July 2nd — This means they have until August 16th. Bear in mind that it can be extended, and even once the period ends, the SEC may “initiate proceedings” to assist in making a decision.

Bitcoin ETF Decision Gets an Overwhelming Amount of Public Opinion

A Possible Crypto-Bull Run if the SEC Ruling Is Positive

If an ETF judgment is made on August 16 there is well over a month until that date, so a lot could happen to cryptocurrency spot markets between now and that time. People who hope this ETF will happen believe it might be approved because of Cboe’s previous experience with bitcoin futures markets introduced this past December. So far the derivatives markets offered by both Cboe and CME Group have done well, and growing volumes show there is interest in these mainstream cryptocurrency investment vehicles. Arthur Hayes the co-founder and CEO of Bitmex exchange explains on the CNBC broadcast Fast Money that a positive ETF ruling could prime the next massive bull run.

“We’re one positive regulatory decision away — maybe an ETF approved by the SEC — to climb through $20,000 and even to $50,000 by the end of the year,” the Bitmex CEO states.

What do you think about the SEC being swamped with letters about the bitcoin ETF decision? Do you think a positive decision will cause a cryptocurrency bull run to happen? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

Images via Shutterstock, Wiki Commons, and Pixabay

At there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even look up the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

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The Schizophrenic Deep State Is A Symptom, Not The Disease

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines.

If we consider the state of the nation from 40,000 feet, several key indicators of profound political disunity within the elites pop out:

1. The overt politicization of the central state’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies: it is now commonplace to find former top officials of the CIA et al. accusing a sitting president of treason in the mainstream media. What was supposed to be above politics is now nothing but politics.

2. The overt politicization of the centralized (corporate) media: evidence that would stand up in a court of law is essentially non-existent but the interpretations and exaggerations that fit the chosen narrative are ceaselessly promoted–the classic definition of desperate propaganda by those who have lost the consent of the governed.

The nation’s elites are not just divided–they’re exhibiting signs of schizophrenic breakdown: disassociation and a loss of the ability to discern the difference between reality and their internal fantasies.

I’ve been writing about the divided Deep State for a number of years, for example, The Conflict within the Deep State Just Broke into Open Warfare. The topic appears to be one of widespread interest, as this essay drew over 300,000 views.

It’s impossible to understand the divided Deep State unless we situate it in the larger context of profound political disunity, a concept I learned from historian Michael Grant, whose slim but insightful volume The Fall of the Roman Empire I have been recommending since 2009.

As I noted in my 2009 book Survival+, this was a key feature of the Roman Empire in its final slide to collapse. The shared values and consensus which had held the Empire’s core together dissolved, leaving petty fiefdoms to war among themselves for what power and swag remained.

A funny thing happens when a nation allows itself to be ruled by Imperial kleptocrats: such rule is intrinsically destabilizing, as there is no longer any moral or political center to bind the nation together. The public sees the value system at the top is maximize my personal profit by whatever means are available, i.e. complicity, corruption, monopoly and rentier rackets, and they follow suit by pursuing whatever petty frauds and rackets are within reach: tax avoidance, cheating on entrance exams, gaming the disability system, lying on mortgage and job applications, and so on.

But the scope of the rentier rackets is so large, the bottom 95% cannot possibly keep up with the expanding wealth and income of the top .1% and their army of technocrats and enablers, so a rising sense of injustice widens the already yawning fissures in the body politic.

Meanwhile, diverting the national income into a few power centers is also destabilizing, as Central Planning and Market Manipulation (a.k.a. the Federal Reserve) are intrinsically unstable as price can no longer be discovered by unfettered markets. As a result, imbalances grow until some seemingly tiny incident or disruption triggers a cascading collapse, a.k.a. a phase shift or system re-set.

As the Power Elites squabble over the dwindling crumbs left by the various rentier rackets, there’s no one left to fight for the national interest because the entire Status Quo of self-interested fiefdoms and cartels has been co-opted and is now wedded to the Imperial Oligarchy as their guarantor of financial security.

The divided Deep State is a symptom of this larger systemic political disunity. I have characterized the divide as between the Wall Street-Neocon-Globalist Neoliberal camp–currently the dominant public face of the Deep State, the one desperately attempting to exploit the “Russia hacked our elections and is trying to destroy us” narrative–and a much less public, less organized “rogue Progressive” camp, largely based in the military services and fringes of the Deep State, that sees the dangers of a runaway expansionist Empire and the resulting decay of the nation’s moral/political center.

What few observers seem to understand is that concentrating power in centralized nodes is intrinsically unstable. Contrast a system in which power, control and wealth is extremely concentrated in a few nodes (the current U.S. Imperial Project) and a decentralized network of numerous dynamic nodes.

The disruption of any of the few centralized nodes quickly destabilizes the entire system because each centralized node is highly dependent on the others. This is in effect what happened in the 2008-09 Financial Meltdown: the Wall Street node failed and that quickly imperiled the entire economy and thus the entire political order, up to and including the Global Imperial Project.

Historian Peter Turchin has proposed that the dynamics of profound political disunity (i.e. social, financial and political disintegration) can be quantified in a Political Stress Index, a concept he describes in his new book Ages of Discord.

If we understand the profound political disunity fracturing the nation and its Imperial Project, we understand the Deep State must also fracture along the same fault lines. There is no other possible output of a system of highly concentrated nodes of power, wealth and control and the competing rentier rackets of these dependent, increasingly fragile centralized nodes.

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Mole Inside Russian Hypersonic Weapons Lab Smuggles Top Secret Files To West: Report

Russia’s domestic intelligence agency, the FSB, conducted a raid of two hypersonic weapons laboratories on Friday after it was discovered that top secret files were leaked to Western intelligence, according to Russian newspaper Kommersant.

FSB operatives raided the employee quarters of the TSNIIMASH (the Central Research Institute of Machine Building) and the URSC (United Rocket and Space Corporation) – both of which are a part of Russian Space Agency Roscosmos and are involved in the development of the country’s hypersonic weapons program. 

Specifically targeted in the raid was Dmitry Paison, the head of the URSC’s research facility whose office was separately searched as part of the raid.

A source familiar with the FSB investigation described the investigation as “unprecedented,” while revealing to Kommersant that “it was established that the leak came from TSNIIMASH employees who were in touch with Paison.” The source added that the FSB won’t go easy on the perpetrator.

Many heads will roll, it won’t be limited to people being dismissed,” added the source. Following the raid, a Roscosmos spokesman confirmed that the searches took place, adding that the head of the corporation, Dmitry Rogozin, instructed “our security division to offer maximum support to the investigation.”

As we reported in May, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a conference with military officials that the country’s new array of hypersonic missiles along with the latest in nuclear technology will secure the country’s security for many decades.

Speaking in Sochi, Putin said the brand-new weapon systems unveiled this year will significantly expand Russia’s military capabilities and “ensure a strategic balance for decades” with the United States.

Putin used his state-of-the-nation speech in March to deliver a stern warning to Washington that Moscow possesses hypersonic weapons that can render NATO’s U.S.-led missile defense system completely “useless.”

Underwater drones, hypersonic warheads, balls of fire, “menacing” ICBMs – the peak of Putin speech at the state-of-the-nation address in March. (Source: Tom Parfitt) 

“Efforts to contain Russia have failed, face it,” Putin announced in a two-hour speech at his annual state of the nation address in Moscow, which included computer simulations of new weapons including hypersonic systems, intercontinental missiles, and underwater drones.

In May, CNBC validated Putin’s claim of a hypersonic weapon the U.S. is currently unable to defend against, which the report indicates will be ready for war by 2020, according to sources with vast knowledge of American intelligence reports, who added that Moscow successfully tested the hypersonic glide vehicle in 2016, which was configured to carry nuclear warheads. Sources said a third test was completed in October 2017 and resulted in a mishap seconds before obliterating its target.

The hypersonic glide vehicle, dubbed “Avangard” (also called ‘Objekt 4202′, Yu-71 and Yu-74), is fastened onto an intercontinental ballistic missile using scramjet engine technology. Once launched, the Avangard reaches speeds of Mach 20 with the capacity to carry both nuclear and conventional payloads.

Avangard video demonstration from Putin’s speech in March.

Sources said it is still unclear whether the hypersonic glide vehicle will carry explosives, due to the fact that Mach 20 capabilities alone can pack enough force to annihilate targets. In March, Putin said the Avangard strikes “like a meteorite, like a fireball.”

Putin added that Russia’s hypersonic program to produce the world’s most advanced weapons would remain a high priority. He mentioned in March that the missile entered series production.

“These kinds of boost-glide vehicles attack the gaps in our missile defense system,” Thomas Karako, director of the Missile Defense Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told CNBC.

“There’s no time like the present to modify our current missile defense posture,” Karako added, saying it was “unfortunate that we have let Russia come this far.”

Sources familiar with Russia’s hypersonic program asses that the hypersonic glide vehicles equipped with “onboard countermeasures,” can defeat NATO’s U.S.-led missile defenses. The weapon is capable of sharp evasive maneuvers — making it virtually undetectable to radar.

The intelligence reports, which were released for government officials this spring, estimate that Russia’s hypersonic glide vehicles could be on the modern battlefield by 2020, a significant move on the geopolitical chessboard that would surpass Washington and Beijing in their capacity to yield an operational hypersonic weapon on the modern battlefield.

Also in March, the commander of the United States Strategic Command told the Senate Armed Services Committee that U.S. forces are unable to shield against a hypersonic weapon attack.

“We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Both Russia and China are aggressively pursuing hypersonic capabilities,” he added, noting that the U.S. has “watched them test those capabilities.”

Hyten suggested that the U.S. is powerless against hypersonic weapon threats and has to rely on increased deterrence to counter the threat.

Hyten added, “so our response would be our deterrent force which would be the triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat.” In other words, if Russia launches a hypersonic missile attack on the U.S., the Pentagon will respond with nuclear war.

On the geopolitical chessboard, it seems as Moscow declared checkmate with Washington via the development and rapid fielding of hypersonic weapons that render NATO’s U.S.-led missile defense system entirely worthless. America’s military-industrial complex recognizes this as a crisis and is willing to bankrupt the United States with unprecedented amounts of military spending to counter this threat. 

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