Author: ben-norton

Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a reporter for The Grayzone, and the producer of the Moderate Rebels podcast, which he co-hosts with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

US Backs Coup in Oil-Rich Venezuela, Right-Wing Opposition Plans Mass Privatization and Hyper-Capitalism

The US has effectively declared a coup in Venezuela. Trump recognized unelected right-wing opposition leader Juan Guaidó as new “president,” who plans mass privatization and neoliberal capitalist policies.

By Ben Norton

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Obama Admits Bipartisan Capitalist ‘Washington Consensus’ Fueled Far-Right and Multiplied Inequality

Former US President Barack Obama admitted that the neoliberal capitalist policies he and his predecessors supported fostered the rise of the far-right and grossly exacerbated inequality.

By Ben Norton

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NY Times Columnist Ross Douthat Defended Murderous Dictator Pinochet in His Harvard Days

Conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat is one of numerous corporate media figures to have defended Augusto Pinochet, Chile’s murderous US-backed capitalist dictator

By Ben Norton

Back in his Ivy League college days, right-wing New York Times columnist Ross Douthat wrote an op-ed defending the US-backed dictator Augusto Pinochet, whose military junta murdered and disappeared thousands of dissidents and tortured tens of thousands more.

Intellectual historian Timothy Barker dug through columns that Douthat penned for Harvard University’s right-wing student newspaper The Harvard Salient between 1998 and 2002.

Barker found a slew of articles in which Douthat echoed explicitly racist talking points that are popular among the so-called alt-right today, including the idea that white Europeans are “vanishing” and being replaced through immigration by supposed “barbarians” like Turks, Africans, and Arabs.

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Every Single Member of US Congress Approved Crushing Sanctions on Nicaragua

After defeating a violent US-backed coup attempt, Nicaragua’s elected government faces the NICA Act. The bill aims to force the Sandinistas from power by ratcheting up economic despair.

By Ben Norton

Every single member in both chambers of the US Congress approved legislation that will impose sanctions and financial restrictions on Nicaragua in an explicit effort to weaken its government.

Known as the NICA Act, the bill is now on its way to the desk of President Donald Trump, who will almost certainly sign it into law. Its passage was spearheaded by neoconservative lawmakers centered around the Miami lobby of right-wing Latin American exiles dedicated to eradicating any iteration of socialism in the Western hemisphere.

The United States has spent decades trying to topple Nicaragua’s government, now led by the left-wing Sandinista movement. In April, US-backed opposition figures launched an unsuccessful and exceedingly violent coup attempt in the Central American country — one of the last bastions of leftist politics in an increasingly right-leaning Latin America.

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NATO-Backed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Poses with Pro-Nazi Soldier

Ukraine President Poroshenko promoted a photo of himself posing next to a soldier wearing a Nazi SS totenkopf patch.

By Ben Norton

Petro Poroshenko, the staunchly pro-NATO president of Western ally Ukraine, posed for a photo op with a soldier wearing a Nazi symbol.

On December 6, the Ukrainian billionaire oligarch leader posted a photo on multiple social media accounts that shows him standing with armed troops. One of these Ukrainian soldiers is wearing a patch with a skull-and-bones design called the totenkopf. This is a symbol closely associated with Nazi Germany, and specifically the Third Reich’s genocidal paramilitary the Schutzstaffel  (SS).

This photo op came while Poroshenko is imposing martial law and requesting a NATO military buildup in the Black Sea.

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At elite gala with ex-Bush official, Obama implores Wall Street to thank him for making them so much money

“Just say thank you, please,” former President Obama told a room full of bankers, and boasted of making the US the world’s largest oil producer at an opulent gala with James Baker.

By Ben Norton

Barack Obama urged bankers to thank him for helping make them so much money during his tenure as president. He also boasted of turning the US into the world’s largest oil producer, while surrounded by wealthy Republicans in tuxedos.

Obama made these appeals for elite adulation at a lavish gala hosted by former Secretary of State James Baker. His comments came just a few hours after he met with former Republican President George H. W. Bush at his home in Texas.

If there was any single event that captured Obama’s centrist, neoliberal capitalist politics, it was the former Democratic president’s oligarch lovefest in Houston on November 27.

At this sumptuous black-tie gala, Obama talked the 1,100 elite guests into raising a staggering $5.4 million, in just one night (at an average donation of nearly $5,000), for Rice University’s centrist, pro-corporate Baker Institute for Public Policy, the honorary chair of which is James Baker.

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Violent Ukrainian Neo-Nazi Speaks at US Govt Org, Helps Kiev Police ‘Purge’ Roma

An activist from violent Ukrainian neo-Nazi gang C14 spoke at the US government’s America House Kyiv, and worked with Kiev police to “purge” Roma citizens.

By Ben Norton

A prominent activist from the violent Ukrainian neo-Nazi gang C14 spoke at an event at a US government organization in Ukraine‘s capital Kiev.

This young fascist leader has also boasted of working with Kiev police to “purge” Roma citizens from a train station, according to a Ukrainian human rights organization.

The Grayzone Project has previously reported on how the US government has armed the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, which is embedded in Ukraine’s National Guard, and which has met with US military advisers.

C14 is even more notorious than Azov. This Nazi gang has carried out a slew of violent attacks on ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities in Ukraine. C14, whose name is a direct reference to the white supremacist “14 words” slogan, has specifically targeted Roma communities in a series of pogroms — and has enjoyed the help of local cops.

C14 has also received funding from the Ukrainian government, in the form of a Ministry of Youth and Sport grant for “national-patriotic education projects.”

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Saudi Arabia Kills Yemeni Civilians with Another US-Made Raytheon Bomb

Saudi Arabia attacked Yemenis in Hodeidah with a laser-guided bomb made by US military contractor Raytheon, as a civilian is killed every three hours on average.

By Ben Norton

A bomb used by Saudi Arabia to attack civilians in Yemen has been identified as a US-made laser-guided bomb manufactured by military contractor Raytheon.

The deaths — the latest in a long pattern of Saudi bombings of Yemeni civilians with US-made weapons — came amid reports that fighting kills one Yemeni civilian every three hours, on average, in the US-backed Saudi and Emirati war on their country.

On October 24, US-supported Saudi forces launched a series of airstrikes on the major Yemeni port city of Hodeidah.

One of these airstrikes struck several cars in the city, reportedly killing three civilians, including a child.

Local journalist Hussain Albukhaiti published a photo of a bomb fragment recovered at the scene of the airstrike:

The bomb fragment has text written in English, which indicates that it was manufactured in the United States. The CAGE code on the fragment, 96214, clearly identifies it as a part made by Raytheon.

Analysts on social media traced the serial code on the fragment, and found it to be part of the wing assembly from a GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb.

The text says it was made “for use on MK82” — a reference to the unguided Mark 82 bomb designed by US military contractor General Dynamics. The GBU-12, which is manufactured by both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, is based on the Mk 82, but is guided and has additional parts.

yemen hodeidah us raytheon bomb
A fragment from a US-made Raytheon GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb, used by Saudi Arabia in Hodeidah, Yemen (Credit: Hussain Albukhaiti)

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Imperial-Hipster Bible VICE Did Paid Propaganda for Saudi Arabia

Hipster media giant VICE worked with Saudi Arabia’s regime mouthpiece SRMG to create a video promoting tourism and a camel festival.

By Ben Norton

The hipster corporate media giant VICE did paid propaganda for Saudi Arabia, according to a British report on Saudi astroturf efforts.

Jim Waterson, the media editor for The Guardian, reported that VICE has worked with a soft-power arm of the Saudi royal family to generate public relations material for Saudi Arabia.

According to internal VICE sources contacted by The Guardian, the Brooklyn-based media company assembled a team to make pro-Saudi content in collaboration with the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), a regime mouthpiece that is closely linked to the royal family.

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) Praises Extreme War Hawk John McCain

Human Rights Watch (HRW) praised the extreme war hawk John McCain, while it has refused to oppose US military intervention in numerous countries.

By Ben Norton

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