The End Game
Dedicated to fighting authoritarianism, bigotry, greed, corruption, climate change denial, white supremacy, racism, stupidity and general evil, as well as the exploration of interesting ideas and conspiracy theories including 9/11, UFOs, ET's, the paranormal and the general unknown.
Imagine the habitable world is a cruise liner that’s been sinking in the middle of the ocean. At first the leak was almost theoretical—only some who ventured into the bowels of the hull could even tell that something was amiss. But as the water keeps rising, the emergency becomes more and more apparent.
The people aboard have to decide what to do. Do we use our resources to repair the leak, tend to those already affected, and protect as many people as we can? Or it is every person for themselves?
Disaster experts can predict how most people will react: Most will try to work together to save the most people possible.
As Erik Auf Der Heide, a leading disaster expert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has written, “antisocial behaviors are uncommon in typical disaster situations.” I’ve observed this myself, in natural disasters in places as different as Haiti and Staten Island, for almost all people.
But there is a notable exception. The richest people on the ship are the least likely to cooperate. There is a formal term for this, based on a 2008 paper by the sociologists Caron Chess and Lee Clarke. It’s called “elite panic.”
As Rebecca Solnit has written, “Elites tend to believe in a venal, selfish, and essentially monstrous version of human nature.” And as such, they believe that only “their power keeps the rest of us in line.” If the ship—or human society—is disrupted, they think, “our seething violence will rise to the surface.”
We see it again and again in disaster—as police opened fire on unarmed black New Orleanians after Katrina, elite media emphasized “looting” in the aftermath of María in Puerto Rico, and resources were squandered on a security-led response to the Haiti earthquake, with disastrous results.
In his 2012 book Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence, the journalist Christian Parenti predicted that elite panic would soon manifest itself in the politics of climate change: There is a real risk that strong states with developed economies will succumb to a politics of xenophobia, racism, police repression, surveillance, and militarism and thus transform themselves into fortress societies while the rest of the world slips into collapse.
By that course, developed economies would turn into neofascist islands of relative stability in a sea of chaos. He called it “the politics of the armed lifeboat.”
The Westall Flying Saucer incident represents one of the best perhaps thebest of the category of UFO sightings described as daylight, mass-witness, school-based sightings and landings. And it all happened in Westall, in what was then the City of Oakleigh, but which is now the City of Kingston.
It was the Wednesday before Easter: April 6, 1966. Westall was, and is, a small community – a neighbourhood – within the larger suburb of Clayton South, 21 kilometres from the CBD of Melbourne. This was just ten years after the very successful Melbourne Olympics, but somehow the celebratory and optimistic vive of that time had given way to a certain torpor, as Australia – even with the tyranny of distance – felt keenly the ever-present threats of the Cold War, and sank ever deeper into the mire of the Viet Nam War.
So, on this Wednesday in April, with the first school term about to finish the following afternoon, followed by two weeks of school holidays, it's a fair bet that the students, and teachers, were focussed on their imminent vacations. At about 10:15 that morning, however, two groups of students were involved in Physical Education classes on the school’s playing field, where the kids learnt and played cricket, hockey and football.
One of the teachers, Miss Jeanette Muir, from New Zealand, was probably the first adult to notice the object, alerted to it by the cries – and shrieks – of her students. As the object had made no sound as it approached the school oval, it was right overhead when it was spotted. For several minutes about fifty Form 1 and Form 3 students, and their two teachers, watched as this silver/white, shiny, metallic-looking flying object, about the size of one or two cars, and shaped like an upside down bowl, flew low over their heads. It flew so low - as low as the tops of nearby gum trees and football goal posts - many students thought it was readying to land, or feared an imminent impact with the ground.
Some of the students reacted with panic, and many became distraught. Miss Muir and another male teacher attempted to gather the students and shepherd them back towards the safety of the school buildings. The sight of this strange craft was overwhelming for many. It had appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, but it seemed to be flying and hovering with intent, as if it was under control, indeed as if it was a vehicle with something inside.
Mystifying for those watching, however, was the fact that it was clearly not an aircraft or a balloon: there were no windows; no visible engines or propellers; no wings or fins; no flashing navigational lights; no markings, or letters or numbers of any kind; no ropes or strings. Its shape was clear, its lack of sound obvious, but both incongruous; it was flying, not floating. For others, something else was startling: there seemed to be one, perhaps two other objects just like it, but further up in the sky, keeping their distance.
The deceased American financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell were Israeli spies who used underage girls to blackmail politicians into giving information to Israel, according to their alleged Mossad handler.
The couple reportedly ran a “honey-trap” operation in which they provided young girls to prominent politicians from around the world for sex, and then used the incidents to blackmail them in order to attain information for Israeli intelligence.
The claims are being made by the alleged former Israeli spy Ari Ben-Menashe in a soon-to-be-released book “Epstein: Dead Men Tell No Tales” in which he said that he was the handler of Ghislaine’s father Robert Maxwell, who was also an Israeli espionage agent and was the one who introduced his daughter and Epstein to Mossad.
“See, f**king around is not a crime. It could be embarrassing, but it’s not a crime,” Menashe wrote in the book. “But f**king a fourteen-year-old girl is a crime. And he was taking photos of politicians f**king fourteen-year-old girls—if you want to get it straight…They [Epstein and Maxwell] would just blackmail people like that.”
The handler Ben-Menashe, himself an Iran-born Israeli businessman who says he worked for Mossad from 1977 to 1987, is a mysterious figure who was arrested in 1989 in the US on charges of arms dealing. He was acquitted in 1990, however, only after a jury accepted that he was acting on behalf of the Israeli state.
Israel then denied that Menashe has any links with its intelligence services and attempted to distance itself from him, despite the fact that other news reports both in the US and Israel confirmed he was acting on the country’s behalf.
The new book, which also speculates that Maxwell may have worked for other governments as a double or triple agent, says that despite reports Epstein and Ghislaine met in the early 1990s in New York, they in fact met earlier through her father who introduced Epstein to Mossad before Ghislaine joined in the activities later.
Jeffrey Epstein, who was facing charges for sex trafficking minors, was found dead in his New York prison cell on 10 August. According to official reports he committed suicide, but there has been much speculation and evidence put forward that he was in fact killed, with many stating he may have been assassinated due to his knowledge of the figures he blackmailed and the acts they committed.
The statements made by Ben-Menashe are so far unsubstantiated, but if proven true they would provide significant evidence of Israel being involved in the blackmail of senior and prominent politicians and figures in the US. This would only add to the state’s already-revealed track record of manipulating Western nations’ political systems, as was seen in the revelations of the Israeli lobby’s attempt to “take down” British and US politicians revealed in the past few years.
... as 2020 begins, the president* launches a unilateral military action to kill the second-most important figure in the Iranian government, the man who commanded the forces that the president* previously confused with our allies, the Kurds, whom he previously sold out on the battlefield.
So no, I have absolutely no confidence that the American government as it is currently run has the vaguest idea what to do next. (snip)
Soleimani is reckoned to have been a combination of Machiavelli, General Giap, Suleiman the Magnificent, and Lex Luthor. Which raises the question, so far unanswered, as to why a man with so many enemies other than the United States, operating with impunity in a volatile part of the world, survived as long as he did. The only logical answer is that these people carefully took the risk-reward calculations to heart and decided that killing Soleimani wasn’t worth what would ensue in the aftermath.
If these calculations were made by the current U.S. administration*, they are not yet obvious.
Instead, the president* tweeted out the image of an American flag.
An official Pentagon briefing pointedly said that the action had been taken at the order of the president*.
The State Department warned Americans to get the hell out of Iraq, but not to come to the massive American embassy. Americans are urged to leave by airplane if possible but, if necessary, to escape by land, although where the hell they’re supposed to go—Syria?—was left unexplained. But the Americans should get out of Iraq, a place that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN on Friday morning is safer now that Soleimani is dead.
(Pompeo also told CNN that the strike was undertaken to preempt an “imminent threat” to U.S. assets, a threat that Pompeo declined to identify, and, yes, we’ve all seen this movie before.)
So no, I have no confidence that anyone there can play this game. The president* is an ignoramus with little or no credibility on any issue, let alone war and peace.
His Secretary of State doesn’t seem to have any plan beyond sycophancy.
We are hearing the echoes of 2002 and 2003 rising again, except this time on the part of an inferior breed of con artist. (snip)
The stated policy of this administration* is the utter disruption of the Iranian government as a prelude to regime change. We tried this in the 1950s and Iran got 20 years of a police state. Does anyone seriously believe that an Iranian regime that rises from American policy will have the faintest credibility with most Iranians?
We tried that in Iraq, which is why Qasem Soleiman found such a target-rich environment there. And any split in the current Iranian regime over the now-abandoned nuclear deal likely has been smoothed over. And god only knows what will happen in Iraq as a result of this. This policy is kick-over-the-hornet’s-nest at its worst. Maybe it’s all just to keep John Bolton from testifying to the Senate. That’s as good an explanation as any.
Considering the Trump Administration is angling to start an illegal, unjustified war with Iran, it's a good time to pass on some advice learned from living through the buildup to the Iraq War.
Things change and they change in a hurry. You need to be ready.
It starts completely out of nowhere. You're doing something one day, just living your life, and then it's there. As if it's always been there. You feel crazy, like everyone had a discussion you weren't included in and now you need to catch up.
All the shows will have it as a segment. Are we going to war? People are talking about war...I hear people talking. What people? What people are talking about war? It's the biggest open secret that war is now a possibility. It gathers its own momentum.
It gathers speed. It's not will there be war anymore. It's WHEN is the war going to happen? HOW will the war happen? This new war has become a certainty that we all just have to reckon with on our own time. It's not conjecture anymore, it's something different.
There will be speeches. And you'll start to notice poll-tested rhetoric. Nicknames for the enemy. It'll get drilled in your head. Axis of Evil. Axis of Evil. There so it's not here. The catchphrases will become chyrons. Everyone will say them. It'll seep into everyday life.
The people around you will start talking about war as an inevitability, as if it's a good, necessary thing. You'll hear family members and friends. They'll say things you never, ever imagined hearing from them. Even the most rational ones.
You'll hear family members say the most fascist things you could ever imagine. They'll talk casually about genocide. Flippantly they'll laugh about dropping nuclear bombs and wiping nations off the face of the earth. They'll fight you tooth and nail if you speak up.
One day, out of nowhere, you'll get called a traitor. You'll have questioned the war, not even in your loudest voice or even that aggressively. It'll be an offhand question. But someone close to you will literally call you a traitor and you'll realize the circle is shrinking.
Now that the war is a certainty, you'll ask what comes next. What's the plan? What happens AFTER the war? How do you WIN the war? There aren't answers. Everyone just assumes it'll be fine. You'll realize war is a means to an end, a reason for itself.
You'll go out in public. Grab a coffee. Pick up some groceries. See a movie. Something mundane. And you'll realize you're a stranger in your own town. There'll be propaganda somewhere. Scratched on a wall. An overheard conversation. You won't feel like you're home anymore.
The war starts on television. Like a dream you once had. Bombs. Long, glittery packages with stirring music and worshipping shots of weapons. Generals on every channel. Hosts talking about missions and directives without questioning anything or giving any context.
Once the war starts, the criticisms you have will just...dissipate like so much smoke. You'll walk through rooms mumbling to yourself while the TV plays the war in realtime. One battle and one day leads into the next. You'll feel like sleepwalking.
Meanwhile, to keep the war fever going, the government and politicians have to keep everyone terrified. Terror alerts. Rumors of potential terror attacks. Terror. Terror. Terror.
SOME NECESSARY ADVICE:
Keep a mental list of everyone who supported the illegal war. Everyone who supported fascism. When the war turns sour, when it becomes a quagmire, when it goes bad, they'll deny it and society will largely forget what they said.
More advice: Go to rallies. Go to teach ins. Go to poetry readings. Go to anti-war marches and events. Get to know the others. They'll form your community. You'll know some of them the rest of your life. Remind yourself you're not crazy, that you're existing in crazy times.
THE MOST IMPORTANT ADVICE:
Learn. Learn why the war is happening. Learn the history behind it. Learn the history of those who pushed for it. Learn the financial motives for the govt. and the media. Learn. Learn. Learn.
You have to learn because this WILL happen again. It always happens again. History teaches us it's one illegal war after another. Next time, you'll need to be one of the leaders. You'll need to educate those who don't know better. Because there's always a next time.