Empire Files: Abby Martin Exposes Steve Bannon

  • Steve Bannon

    Steve Bannon | Photo: AFP

Published 15 March 2017 (2 hours 15 minutes ago)
Bannon’s journey “from right-wing media outlier to top propagandist of the U.S. empire,” shows how his “economic agenda and racism go hand in hand.”

The latest episode of Abby Martin’s “Empire Files” examines the professional and ideological trajectory of perhaps the most powerful person in the White House, Steve Bannon.

‘Very Dangerous’: Trump Gives Racist Steve Bannon More Power

While much of Bannon’s story is well known, Martin argues that it is essential to map Bannon’s political development because “we need to understand the ideology behind [Bannon’s] policies in order to best defeat them.”

The episode examines Bannon’s almost 40-year rise through the darkest corners of the U.S. far-right, quoting the former head of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, who says that with Bannon “you have an individual who’s basically creating the ideological aspects of where we’re going. And ideology is ultimately the most important aspect of any government.”

Martin traces Bannon’s journey from young navy officer “in love with war” and disappointed the U.S. didn’t invade Iran to prevent the 1979 revolution, to a leading propagandist for the far-right fringes of the Republican party, to chief policy maker for the Trump administration where his “most outlandish fantasies have been put into action.”

While Bannon’s stops along the way included a well-known six-year stint at Goldman Sachs and several years as editor and chief of the “alt-right platform” Breitbart News, Martin explores some of the more obscure and creepy moments in Bannon’s development connecting a “lack of ethics in his professional life” — raising funds for an internet company run by a group of accused pedophiles — to his “disturbing history of alleged domestic abuse” — noting that the mother of his twin daughters requested that Bannon’s visitations take place in public after he allegedly hit his then 17-month-old daughter.

Before taking over Breitbart News in 2010 Bannon used his personal wealth to become — in the words of colleagues at Breitbart News referring to the notorious Nazi filmmaker — “the Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea-Party movement,” by making films which, Martin notes, portrayed “an array far-right dystopian fantasies which depict a society in collapse, invaded by criminal armies.”

Steve Bannon: Abusive, White Nationalist, Alt-Right Media Baron

While those films were never successful, they brought him to Breitbart News where he also founded a right-wing think tank, the Government Accountability Institute, to mainstream his brand of anti-Black, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant “economic nationalism.”

After Trump declared his candidacy for the presidency in 2015, Breitbart’s readership more than doubled from 8 million a month to almost 18, and Bannon found his path to real power.

“A new relationship was born,” says Martin. “Trump had something Bannon always wanted — a bigger megaphone for his right-wing dreams of transforming U.S. society — and Bannon had something Trump cherished too: a doting audience.”

Martin roots Trump’s success in Bannon’s brand of narrowcast populism, which “appeals to [White] people because he’s pointing out actual problems in society” — such as the neoliberal assault on the middle class with both establishment Democrats and Republicans have been unwilling to address — yet blaming them on a racialized Other.

While Martin notes that there is little new in this strategy — “throughout history rulers have rallied the white working class against other poor people to avert blame for systemic crisis” — she concludes that Bannon’s rise is symptomatic of much larger systemic ills.

“The fact that someone like Steve Bannon could attain such a high seat of power shows how illegitimate the system really is, how quickly steps towards progress can be reversed.”


Mexico ‘Paramilitary Police’ Accused of Torture, Killings: UN

  • CNDH President Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez

    CNDH President Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez | Photo: EFE

Published 14 March 2017 (10 hours 45 minutes ago)
The state governor and the state human rights commission are accomplices for keeping silent, said the United Nations official.

The state police of Tamaulipas was accused of torture, rape, forced disappearances, arbitrary detention and extrajudicial killings, among other abuses, in a joint report issued Sunday by the U.N. Human Rights Committee’s branch in the Nuevo Laredo state and Amnesty International.

More Than Half of Mexican Rivers Severely Contaminated: Report

The U.N. investigation documents 15 complaints reported in the past two months to state Governor Francisco Javier Garcia Cabeza de Vaca, State Attorney Irving Barrios Mojica and the head of the state’s Commission on Human Rights, that went without investigation.

During a visit to Nuevo Laredo, U.N. officials collected testimonies of residents describing thefts of belongings, harassment of minors, death threats, armed raids, extortion of local businesses, among other human rights abuses carried out by the state police.

“The state is integrating a new paramilitary police in order to extend the terror in the population, instead of guaranteeing security,” said U.N. Commission’s President Raymundo Ramos in an interview with Sanjuana Martinez for the daily La Jornada. He added that the commission held the governor as personally responsible for the abuses.

A 14-year-old girl told the newspaper how a hooded policeman raped her, saying, “this is how you treat a whore.” She was walking back home with a friend on Jan. 24, when the police patrol arrested them, tortured them for one hour at the police station, and raped them in a barren land plot after threatening them to hand them to the Gulf drug cartel.

The U.N. commissioners also collected evidence that a 25-year-old construction worker, Alejandro Contreras Rodriguez was tortured to death on Jan. 26, and that fireman Jose Antonio Rodriguez Martinez was killed on March 2.

Mexico Lawmakers Reject Gender Alert Despite
Rise of Femicides

Despite the 15 complaints filed with authorities, none of the policemen have been suspended nor probed, added Ramos, blaming the governor and Mexico’s Human Rights Commission in Tamaulipas for “keeping an accomplice silence.”

On Sunday, the same journalist spoke to investigative paper Sin Embargo, stating that Mexico’s Human Rights Commission, CNDH, was only spending 30 percent of its huge budget to investigate allegations of human rights abuses.

CNDH President Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez receives a monthly salary of about US$215,000, which partly explains why the commission has softened its criticism of the government in many cases of human rights abuses like in Ayotzinapa, Tanhuato, Apatzingan, Tlatlaya, Nochixtlan, among others, said Martinez.

The CNDH even stopped issuing an official record of complaints against the armed forces of human rights abuses like torture, arbitrary detention, extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances, expressing only “concerns” instead of firm recommendations to the state.


PFLP Won’t Run in Palestinian Elections, Condemns PA Repression

  • Palestinians take part in a rally organized by the PFLP to celebrate the 45th anniversary of its founding in Gaza City, Dec. 6, 2012.

    Palestinians take part in a rally organized by the PFLP to celebrate the 45th anniversary of its founding in Gaza City, Dec. 6, 2012. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 March 2017
Anger has grown against the Palestinian Authority, which people condemn for its increased coordination with the Israeli occupying state.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, PFLP, a Marxist liberation group, announced Monday they will not take part in local Palestinian elections, in protest of the Palestinian Authority’s violent suppression of demonstrations in the Israeli-occupied territories Sunday.

Israel Kills Prominent Palestinian Revolutionary Basel Araj

The demonstrations were in support of Basel al-Araj, the Palestinian revolutionary killed by Israel in early March.

As the Ma’an News Agency reported, PFLP politburo member and Palestinian Legislative Council MP Khalida Jarrar said that the left-wing party would not participate in the May 13 elections, denouncing the suppressive measures by PA police. She added that they would only consider rejoining if all PA officers that assaulted protesters were held accountable.

Palestinians have been increasingly angered by the PA, condemning the self-rule government’s increased coordination with the Israeli state. On Monday, hundreds demonstrated in Ramallah, calling for PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ resignation.

Marxist Palestinians in the PFLP Stand with Standing Rock

Many were also angered when it was announced that five Palestinian activists detained by the PA would still be tried for allegedly planning an attack on Israel. This, despite the fact that four of the men, upon being released by the PA, were detained by Israel.

PA police also cracked down on protesters in Ramallah Sunday, injuring 11 protesters who had been part of a contingent demonstrating against the murder of al-Araj, including al-Araj’s father.

The PA has also been criticized for its “revolving door policy,” which effectively funnels Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons, as part of its “escalating security collaboration” with Israeli authorities.

WATCH: Empire Files: Israeli Army Vet’s Exposé – “I Was the Terrorist”

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