On Ukraine, it is extremely difficult to get any airing for anti-war opinions. On the mainstream media, it is simply impossible to get a hearing,” Craig Murray said. The human rights campaigner and former diplomat sat with “MintPress News” to discuss forever wars, whistleblowing and a future conflict with China. “There’s a universal media consensus on stoking the proxy war, pouring in billions and billions of dollars, pouring in more and more advanced weapons systems. And anybody on social media who attempts to counter that narrative is marked as disinformation or a Russian state asset,” Murray lamented, noting that even during the Iraq War, there was more space for dissenting opinions.
Pepe and Michael and I are going to discuss the apparently unending series of summits and read their tea leaves to see what they tell us about how the world is changing. And that summitry has been pretty exhausting. There was the fateful NATO summit in July, where much to his chagrin, President Zelensky failed to get even a timetable to get into NATO after having prostrated his country before NATO and having long ago so faithfully let NATO into Ukraine. And then there was the BRICS summit in Johannesburg in August, where the organization defied pessimistic predictions and admitted six new members.
The 20th Century saw a great global uprising against European imperialism as the former colonial countries shook off their shackles and rose up for independence. More than a half century later, global inequality is sharper than ever before. To understand the current predicament of the vast majority of the world’s people, we must understand the intervening decades. Matt Kennard and Claire Provost‘s book, Silent Coup: How Corporations Overthrew Democracy, looks inside the international architecture of global corporate governance that exists to flout and crush any attempts by the former colonial world to enact development on their own terms. Matt Kennard joins The Chris Hedges Report for a look at this intriguing and essential history.
Six members of the Australian parliament landed in Washington D.C. on Tuesday armed with a bi-partisan agenda and the backing of an entire nation as they try to convince Congressmen and State and Justice Department officials that the American pursuit of Australian publisher Julian Assange is wrong and must be stopped. The cross-party delegation is spending two days in the U.S. capital arguing Assange’s case ahead of Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s state visit to the White House at the end of October, where it is expected that Assange will be brought up (as well as Australia being used to test U.S. hypersonic missiles).
The US government has admitted that severe accusations it made against China were just a lot of hot air. The highest-ranking official in the US military has clarified that a Chinese balloon that crossed into US territory in February 2023 was not spying; it was likely blown off course by wind. CBS News published an interview this September with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, who stated, “The intelligence community, their assessment – and it’s a high-confidence assessment – [is] that there was no intelligence collection by that balloon”. Milley conceded that the large rubber object was probably pushed off track by powerful wind.
As Julian Assange continues to fight extradition to the United States to face prosecution under the Espionage Act, a growing chorus of voices is rising to demand an end to his persecution. Hounded by US law enforcement and its allies for more than a decade, Assange has been stripped of all personal and civil liberties for the crime of exposing the extent of US atrocities during the War on Terror. In the intervening years, it’s become nakedly apparent that the intent of the US government is not only to silence Assange in particular, but to send a message to whistleblowers and journalists everywhere on the consequences of speaking truth to power.
As three Native women Water Protectors prepared for trial next week in Aitkin County, Judge Leslie Metzen dismissed all remaining criminal charges against Winona LaDuke, Tania Aubid and Dawn Goodwin late Thursday afternoon, September 14, 2023. The nearly three-year-old charges stemmed from a peaceful and prayerful gathering on the banks of the Mississippi River on ceded Anishinaabe land as Enbridge began construction of its Line 3 tar sands pipeline. Joined by several dozen other Water Protectors, the three women wore ceremonial jingle dresses, and sang, danced, and prayed for the water as heavy construction equipment tore into the earth.
Prison is always a political tool, and in the case of whistleblowers like Julian Assange, the use of incarceration to suppress, discourage, and silence dissent is self-evident. Since being imprisoned, Assange has married and even started a family—but has been kept apart from his wife and children. In the second part of a two-part conversation, Stella Assange and Chris Hedges discuss the conditions of Julian’s incarceration, and how it offers a glimpse into the overall brutality of the prison system.
Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro took a historic trip to China this September. There, the two nations signed 31 comprehensive agreements and formally “upgraded” their relations to an “all-weather strategic partnership”, one of Beijing’s highest designations. China and Venezuela jointly blasted the “hegemonism” of the Western powers. Beijing formally condemned the illegal sanctions that Washington has imposed on Caracas. Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasized this his government will “firmly support” Venezuela’s “just cause against external interference”. The global political and economic order is changing rapidly.
The US government has hounded Julian Assange since WikiLeaks first revealed the extent of US war crimes in 2010. In the process of persecuting Assange, the federal government has used every tool at its disposal and even pushed beyond the boundaries that supposedly restrict state power in defense of civil liberties. One of the most insidious tactics is the use of the Espionage Act, which had not been used for against whistleblowers and journalists for almost a century before Assange’s case. In the first part of a two-part conversation, lawyer and human rights defender Stella Assange, spouse of Julian Assange, joins Chris Hedges for a look at the vast and vicious campaign by the US to silence Julian Assange, and what it all portends for our democracy.
Western sanctions are backfiring: The European Union is now importing Russian liquified natural gas at record levels, and China has made high-tech breakthroughs despite US export restrictions. Washington’s and Brussels’ economic warfare is, ironically, strengthening the economic sovereignty of Beijing and Moscow while blowing back on Europe. The world is living through a new cold war: Cold War Two. And one of the main ways in which this war has been waged is through economic means. Sanctions are the principal instrument of economic warfare. When they are imposed unilaterally by a country, without the support of the United Nations, they are referred to as “unilateral coercive measures” and are illegal according to international law.
There are very few intellectuals who have been as attacked, censored, and blacklisted as long and as ruthlessly as the Middle Eastern scholar, Norman Finkelstein. He has been hounded out of universities, denied speaking engagements, and had his books and scholarship either ignored or dismissed. It is surprising, perhaps, that Professor Finkelstein’s latest book, I’ll Burn That Bridge When I Get to It! Heretical Thoughts on Identity Politics, Cancel Culture, and Academic Freedom is a savage attack on identity politics. He likens the current woke culture of the left to red-baiting when his heroes, Paul Robeson, Pete Seager, Rosa Luxemburg, Paul Sweezy, and Annette Rubinstein were marginalized, and in the case of Luxembourg, assassinated.
In its summit in Johannesburg, South Africa this August, BRICS invited six new members: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The bloc now represents 37% of global GDP (measured at purchasing power parity, or PPP), as well as 40% of global oil production and roughly 1/3rd of global gas production. The inclusion of top oil producers like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have long priced their crude in dollars, is a direct challenge to the US petrodollar system. All of the invited nations have indicated that they will officially join the extended BRICS+ bloc on 1 January 2024.
It’s quite possible that the BRICS may well become the institutional foundation of the world majority, as the global South and Russia are increasingly being called. They have done more things. The Western press has also sought to portray these countries, the BRICS countries, as little more than a bunch of autocracies or very iffy democracies. But in fact, despite such propaganda, what we’ve seen in the BRICS summit is that they have been focused on presenting a very different vision of the world order, one based on development, on people-centered development. And this has been expressed in a direct confrontation with the Western conception of the world order, which has, of course, been dressed up in the garb of human rights and democracy, but for decades has brought only poverty and exploitation to much of the world.