EIR – Executive Intelligence Review – Press Release

 

EIR – FACT SHEET

 

Western Powers Back
Neo-Nazi Coup in Ukraine

by an EIR Research Team

[PDF version of this fact sheet]

Feb. 2, 2014—Western nations, led by the European Union and the Obama Administration, are backing an outright neo-Nazi regime-change coup in Ukraine. If the effort succeeds, the consequences will extend far beyond the borders of Ukraine and neighboring states. For Russia, such a coup would constitute a casus belli, coming as it does in the context of NATO missile defense expansion into Central Europe and the evolution of a U.S.-NATO doctrine of “Prompt Global Strike,” which presumes that the United States can launch a pre-emptive first strike against Russia and China and survive the retaliation.

The events in Ukraine constitute a potential trigger for a global war that could rapidly and easily escalate to a thermonuclear war of extinction. At this weekend’s Munich Security Conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had a heated public exchange with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, in which the latter accused Russia of “bellicose rhetoric” and Lavrov responded by citing the European missile defense program as an attempt to secure a nuclear first-strike capability against Russia.

In his formal remarks at Munich and a week earlier at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, Lavrov also assailed Western governments for supporting neo-Nazi terrorist organizations in their zeal to place Ukraine under European Union and Troika control to tighten the NATO noose around Russia.

If anything, Lavrov understated the case.

Nazi Hooligans Take the Lead

Ever since President Viktor Yanukovych announced that Ukraine was withdrawing its plans to sign the European Union’s Association Agreement on Nov. 21, 2013, Western-backed organizations made up of remnants of the wartime and immediate postwar Nazi collaborationist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) and their successors have launched a campaign of provocations aimed at not only at bringing down the government of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, but at overthrowing the democratically elected President Yanukovych.

The EU Eastern Partnership was initiated in December 2008 by Carl Bildt and Radek Sikorski, the foreign ministers of Sweden and Poland, in the wake of Georgia’s military showdown with Russia in South Ossetia. The Eastern Partnership targeted six countries that were formerly republics within the Soviet Union: three in the Caucasus region (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia) and three in East Central Europe (Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine). They were not to be invited to full EU membership, but drawn into an EU vise through so-called Association Agreements, each one centered on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA). The prime target of the effort was Ukraine. Under the Association Agreement negotiated with Ukraine, but not signed, the industrial economy of Ukraine would have been dismantled, trade with Russia would have been savaged (with Russia ending its free-trade regime with Ukraine, to prevent its own markets from being flooded via Ukraine), and the European markets’ players would have grabbed for Ukraine’s agricultural and raw materials exports. The same deadly austerity regime as has been imposed on the Mediterranean states of Europe under the Troika bailout swindle would have been imposed on Ukraine.

Furthermore, the Association Agreement mandated “convergence” on security issues, with integration into European defense systems. Under such an upgraded arrangement, the long-term treaty agreements on the Russian Navy’s use of the crucial Crimean Black Sea ports would have been terminated, ultimately giving NATO forward basing on Russia’s immediate border.

While Western news accounts promoted the demonstrations in Kiev’s Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnesti, or Euromaidan as it is now called), as initially peaceful, the fact is that, from the outset, the protests included hardcore avowed neo-Nazis, right-wing “soccer hooligans” and “Afghansy” combat veterans of the wars in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Georgia. According to Ukrainian parliamentarian Oleh Tsaryov, 350 Ukrainians returned to the country from Syria in January 2014, after fighting with the Syrian rebels, including al-Qaeda-linked groups such as the al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Already, on the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 1, 2013, rioters were throwing Molotov cocktails and seized the Kiev Mayor’s Office, declaring it a “revolutionary headquarters.” Protesters from the opposition Svoboda Party, formerly called the Socialist-Nationalists, march under the red and black flag of Stepan Bandera’s Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B), the Nazi collaborators who exterminated Jews and Poles as an adjunct of the Nazi war machine, and in fulfillment of their own radical ideas on ethnic purity, during World War II.

The slogan of the Svoboda Party, “Ukraine for the Ukrainians,” was Bandera’s battle cry during the OUN-B collaboration with Hitler following the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. It was under that slogan that mass executions and ethnic cleansing were carried out by Bandera’s fascist fighters. Ukrainian sources have reported that the Svoboda Party was conducting paramilitary training during the Summer of 2013—months before President Yanukovych made his decision to reject the EU Association Agreement.

The neo-Nazi, racist and anti-semitic character of Svoboda did not deter Western diplomats—including U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland—from publicly meeting with the party’s leader Oleh Tyahnybok, who had been kicked out of the Our Ukraine movement in 2004 for his speeches railing against “Muscovites and Jews”—using offensive, derogatory names for both.

The Bandera fascist revival has been underway in plain sight since the “Orange Revolution” of 2004, when Viktor Yushchenko was installed as President of Ukraine through a foreign-backed street campaign heavily financed by George Soros’s International Renaissance Foundation and more than 2,000 other non-governmental organizations from Europe and America, after he had been officially declared the loser in a tight presidential contest with Viktor Yanukovych. On Jan. 22, 2010, one of Yushchenko’s last acts as President, after losing his reelection bid to Yanukovych by a wide margin, was to name Stepan Bandera a Hero of Ukraine, which is a high state honor. Yushchenko’s second wife, Kateryna Chumachenko, was herself a member of the youth group of the Banderist OUN-B in Chicago, where she was born, according to news accounts. In the 1980s, Chumachenko headed the Washington offices of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (in which OUN-B influence was great at that time, according to the Internet Encyclopedia of Ukraine) and the National Captive Nations Committee, before moving over to the State Department Bureau for Human Rights. In January 2011, President Yanukovych announced that Bandera’s Hero of Ukraine status had been officially revoked.

The OUN-B: A Bit of History

The Bandera OUN-B legacy is critical to understanding the nature of the armed insurrection now unfolding in Ukraine. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists was founded in 1929, and within four years, Bandera was its head. In 1934, Bandera and other OUN leaders were arrested for the assassination of Bronislaw Pieracki, the Polish Minister of Internal Affairs. Bandera was freed from jail in 1938 and immediately entered into negotiations with the German Occupation Headquarters, receiving funds and arranging Abwehr training for 800 of his paramilitary commandos. By the time of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Bandera’s forces consisted of at least 7,000 fighters, organized into “mobile groups” that coordinated with German forces. Bandera received 2.5 million German marks to conduct subversive operations inside the Soviet Union. After he declared an independent Ukrainian state under his direction in 1941, Bandera was arrested and sent to Berlin. But he maintained his Nazi ties and funding, and his “mobile groups” were supplied and given air cover by the Germans throughout the war.

In 1943, Bandera’s OUN-B carried out a mass extermination campaign of Poles and Jews, killing an estimated 70,000 civilians during the summer of that year alone. Although Bandera was still running the OUN-B operations out of Berlin, the ethnic cleansing program was run by Mykola Lebed, the chief of the Sluzhba Bespeki, OUN-B’s secret police organization. In May 1941, at an OUN plenary in Krakow, the organization issued a document, “Struggle and Action of OUN During the War,” which stated, in part, “Moskali, Poles, Jews are hostile to us and must be exterminated in this struggle.” (“Moskal” is derogatory Ukrainian slang for “Muscovites,” or Russians.)

With the defeat of the Nazis and the end of the war on the European front, Bandera and many leaders of the OUN-B wound up in displaced person camps in Germany and Central Europe. According to Stephen Dorrill in his authoritative history of MI6, MI6: Inside the Covert World of Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service, Bandera was recruited to work for MI6 in April 1948. The link to the British was arranged by Gerhard von Mende, a former top Nazi who had headed the Caucasus Division of the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories (Ostministerium). Von Mende recruited Muslims from the Caucasus and Central Asia to fight with the Nazis during the invasion of the Soviet Union. At the close of World War II, he worked for the British through a front company, Research Service on Eastern Europe, which was a recruiting agency for principally Muslim insurgents operating inside the Soviet Union. Von Mende was instrumental in establishing a major hub of Muslim Brotherhood operations in Munich and Geneva.

Through von Mende, MI6 trained agents from the OUN-B and dropped them inside the Soviet Union to carry out sabotage and assassination operations between 1949 and 1950. A 1954 MI6 report praised Bandera as “a professional underground worker with a terrorist background and ruthless notions about the rules of the game.”

In March 1956, Bandera went to work for the German equivalent of the CIA, the BND, then headed by Gen. Reinhardt Gehlen, the head of German military intelligence on the Eastern Front during World War II. Again, von Mende was one of his sponsors and protectors. In 1959, Bandera was assassinated by the KGB in West Germany.

Bandera’s top OUN-B killer, Mykola Lebed, the on-site commander of the group’s secret police, fared even better at the close of World War II. Lebed was recruited by the U.S. Army’s Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) in December 1946, and by 1948, was on the CIA payroll. Lebed recruited those OUN-B agents who did not go with Bandera and MI6, and participated in a number of sabotage programs behind the Iron Curtain, including “Operation Cartel” and “Operation Aerodynamics.” Lebed was brought to New York City, where he established a CIA front company, Prolog Research Corporation, under the control of Frank Wisner, who was the head of the CIA s Directorate of Plans during the 1950s. Prolog operated well into the 1990s, getting a big boost when Zbigniew Brzezinski was President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor.

In 1985, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into Lebed’s role in the wartime genocide in Poland and Western Ukraine, but the CIA blocked the probe and it was eventually dropped. Nevertheless, in 2010, after the release of thousands of pages of wartime records, the National Archives published a documentary report, Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence, and the Cold War, by Richard Breitman and Norman Goda, which included a detailed account of Bandera’s and Lebed’s wartime Nazi collusion and involvement in mass executions of Jews and Poles.

It is this Bandera-Lebed legacy, and the networks spawned in the postwar period, which are at the center of the current events in Ukraine.

Speaking Out

On Jan. 25, 2014, twenty-nine Ukrainian leaders of political parties, civic and religious organizations, including former presidential candidate and parliamentarian Natalia Vitrenko, sent an open letter to the United Nations Secretary General and leaders of the EU and the United States, decrying the Western support for the neo-Nazi campaign to carry out a bloody coup against a legitimately elected government.

The open letter read, in part: “You should understand that, in supporting the actions of the guerillas in Ukraine … you yourselves are directly protecting, inciting, and egging on Ukrainian neo-Nazis and neo-fascists.

“None of these oppositionists (Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, and Tyahnybok) hide that they are continuing the ideology and the practices of the OUN-UPA…. Wherever the Euromaidan people go in Ukraine, they disseminate, besides the slogans mentioned above, neo-Nazi, racist symbols…. Also confirming the neo-Nazi nature of the Euromaidan is the constant use of portraits of the bloody executioners of our people, Bandera and Shukhevych—agents of the Abwehr.”

The open letter posed the question to Western leaders: “Have the UN, the EU, and the U.S.A. ceased to recognize the Charter and Verdict of the International War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremburg, where the Hitlerite Nazis and their henchmen were convicted? Have human rights ceased to be a value for the countries of the EU and the world community? Is the Ukrainian nationalists’ devotion to Hitler and his mass murders of civilians now considered democracy?”

Only in the recent days, with scenes of mass violence by armed protesters finally breaking through the propaganda fog, has the Western media taken up the neo-Nazi character of the ongoing destabilization. Time magazine, on Jan. 28, headlined its coverage from Kiev “Right-Wing Thugs Are Hijacking Ukraine’s Liberal Uprising,” profiling one group of neo-Nazi hooligans called Spilna Sprava (“Common Cause,” but the Ukrainian initials spell “SS”), as being near the center of the protests.

The next day, Jan. 29, the Guardian headlined “In Ukraine, Fascists, Oligarchs and Western Expansion Are at the Heart of the Crisis,” with the kicker: “The story we’re told about the protests gripping Kiev bears only the sketchiest relationship with reality.” Guardian reporter Seumas Milne candidly wrote, “You’d never know from most of the reporting that far-right nationalists and fascists have been at the heart of the protests and attacks on government buildings. One of the three main opposition parties heading the campaign is the hard-right anti-Semitic Svoboda, whose leader Oleh Tyahnybok claims that a ‘Moscow-Jewish mafia’ controls Ukraine. The party, now running the city of Lviv, led a 15,000-strong torch-lit march earlier this month in memory of the Ukrainian fascist leader Stepan Bandera, whose forces fought with the Nazis in the second world war and took part in massacres of Jews.”

Counterpunch also published a Jan. 29 article by Eric Draitser, “Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism,” which began with the warning: “The violence on the streets of Ukraine is far more than an expression of popular anger against a government. Instead, it is merely the latest example of the rise of the most insidious form of fascism that Europe has seen since the fall of the Third Reich…. In an attempt to pry Ukraine out of the Russian sphere of influence, the U.S.-EU-NATO alliance has, not for the first time, allied itself with fascists.”

Ukraine: This Time, West Sides With Nazis

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aid-convoy-ukraineRussian aid convoy consisting of nearly 300 white trailer trucks carrying 2,000 tons of supplies for besieged Ukrainians in the eastern province of Luhansk is being blocked by the regime in Kiev. The Guardian in its article, “Russian aid convoy ‘will not be admitted into Ukraine’,” stated:

A Ukrainian security spokesman has said that a humanitarian convoy Russia has dispatched to eastern Ukraine will not be admitted into the country.

The Guardian would also admit:

Thousands of people are said to be short of water, electricity and medical aid because of the fighting. The US president, Barack Obama, has said any Russian intervention without Kiev’s consent would be unacceptable and violate international law.

Despite both the regime in Kiev and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) already having agreed in principle to the aid mission, current dithering now seeks to delay the supplies from reaching desperate civilian populations encircled and bombarded by regime forces. Absent is the howling indignation that was voiced in Syria when Damascus leveled similar restrictions to international aid sent to terrorists now revealed to be Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra franchise and its founding organization, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) currently ravaging both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border in a rampage of unprecedented brutality and scale.

Demanding Aid in Syria, Blocking Aid in Ukraine 

The West struck a much different tone when Damascus, not Kiev, was blocking aid being sent across its borders. In the Associated Press article, “Syrian Government ‘Punishing’ Civilians By Blocking Aid: Human Rights Watch,” it stated:

An international rights group said Friday that Syria’s government was obstructing aid to war-torn areas by denying aid agencies permission to use rebel-held border crossings, affecting the lives of some 3 million Syrians living in tough-to-reach places.  

Human Rights Watch said Syria only allowed aid organizations to use the one border crossing with Turkey that remains in government hands near the far northern city of Qamishli. The crossing was opened to aid supplies earlier this month.

Kiev has likewise demanded that aid crosses only through regime held border checkpoints. The BBC would report in its article, “Ukraine may block Russian humanitarian aid convoy,” that:

Ukrainian officials have set conditions for receiving Russian aid in the east, after a huge convoy of food and medicine set off from outside Moscow.

Security council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said aid should pass through a government-controlled border post and be accompanied by Red Cross officials.

And while US President Obama claims, “any Russian intervention without Kiev’s consent would be unacceptable and violate international law,” it should be noted that NATO and several Persian Gulf regimes did the “unacceptable,” in violation of “international law,” and sent supplies to terrorist-held territory in Syria without Damascus’ approval.

AP’s article, “Nine aid trucks enter Syria from Turkey without government approval,” stated:

Nine trucks carrying food and other supplies crossed into Syria through a Turkish checkpoint Thursday — the first to do so under a UN resolution authorizing cross-border aid deliveries without Syrian government approval.

The article would also state:

The council unanimously approved a resolution on July 14 authorizing cross-border delivery of aid to Syrians in rebel-held areas without government approval through four crossings — two in Turkey, one in Jordan and one in Iraq.

Despite circumstances in Ukraine favoring the circumvention of Kiev’s approval more so than in Syria where it is now confirmed foreign terrorists, not “Syrian rebels,” were waging war against Damascus, it is unlikely that the United Nations will approve of doing so and will instead back the hypocritical dithering and denial of aid to civilians it itself admits are in desperate need.

The UN’s concerns were reported in a RIA Novosti article titled, “UN Voices Concern About Trapped Civilians in Ukraine, Calls for Political Solution,” which stated:

United Nations is deeply concerned with the situation in eastern Ukraine, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said. 

“Innocent civilians trapped in the fighting continue to lose their lives,” he said Friday. 

Ban added that “restoring vital infrastructure, not least for water and sanitation, is essential for a return to normal life” and that “the number of those who are fleeing the area continues to grow.”

UN humanitarian official John Ging said on august 5 at an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council, that in Donetsk and Luhansk “the water supply is reduced to a few hours a day. Health supplies are running low, and an estimated 70% of health personnel have fled.”

WW2 in Reverse 

Compounding the humanitarian crisis is the fact that Kiev’s punitive operations in eastern Ukraine are headed by literal Nazi militants raised by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry itself. The Azov Battalion is reportedly engaged in combat operations in civilian areas – a group of Nazis admittedly spearheading many of Kiev’s most crucial operations.

The London Telegraph would report in its article titled, “Ukraine crisis: the neo-Nazi brigade fighting pro-Russian separatists,” that:

As Ukraine’s armed forces tighten the noose around pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the western-backed government in Kiev is throwing militia groups – some openly neo-Nazi – into the front of the battle.

The Azov battalion has the most chilling reputation of all. Last week, it came to the fore as it mounted a bold attack on the rebel redoubt of Donetsk, striking deep into the suburbs of a city under siege.

The article would also admit:

Azov, with several thousand men under their command, are officially under the control of the interior ministry but their financing is murky, their training inadequate and their ideology often alarming.

The Azov men use the neo-Nazi Wolfsangel (Wolf’s Hook) symbol on their banner and members of the battalion are openly white supremacists, or anti-Semites.

Far from a “fringe group,” Azov was raised by the Ukrainian Interior Ministry itself, its directorates issued by Kiev. Russia attempting to send humanitarian relief to civilians encircled and terrorized by literal Nazis could not be a clearer cut case of a necessary humanitarian intervention and was in fact the underpinnings of the Allies in World War 2. That the West is actively attempting to block such an intervention shows that some of the Allies have clearly shifted ideologically, descending into previously unplumbed depths of human depravity.

Essentially WW2 in reverse – the West finds itself harboring the scourge of Nazism, not confronting it. Russia, as it did decades ago, finds itself once again confronting the horrors of bigotry, racism, and fascism menacing its borders and brutalizing people it considers “subhuman.”

A Win For Russia Regardless 

Hypocrisy in the West more breathtaking could not be invented by the Kremlin. Indeed the US will claim that sending humanitarian aid into communities besieged by literal Nazis where the regime in Kiev has intentionally destroyed infrastructure to break the populations’ will is unacceptable and a violation of international law, while sidestepping Damascus in Syria and sending weapons, cash, equipment, and supplies to terrorists now at the center of a regional conflagration.

While the civilians Russian aid is destined for may never receive it, Russia’s attempts to intervene with unarmed convoys of aid instead of airstrikes and terrorist proxies as NATO did in Libya in 2011, exposes once again the astounding hypocrisy of the West and the double standards that constitute the unifying principle of all its says and does on the global stage.

The continued denial of aid will only justify more drastic measures from Moscow, while further undermining the legitimacy of both the regime in Kiev, and its NATO sponsors. While the US claims authority to conduct airstrikes in Iraq, thousands of miles from its own shores in a nation that has no common thread, history, or relevance to America, it denies Russia the right to exhibit concern for a nation directly on its border, for a people who speak Russian, share a common history and culture, and at many points throughout history, shared common borders.

It will only become increasingly difficult for the US to hide what is naked imperialism as it wears down the tenuous pretexts its hides its otherwise illegitimate intentions behind. Russia, as it has continued to do, has committed to a less confrontation strategy. Sending an “invasion” of humanitarian supplies instead of the military invasion NATO has attempted to bait Russia into could not have been a bolder and strategically superior move. The ball is in the West’s court – and the West has decidedly dropped it once again.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Kiev Neo-Nazi Junta’s ethnic cleansing of Donestsk’s Russians

Topic: Ukraine Turmoil

‘White rain’: Donetsk residents record alleged phosphorus shelling (VIDEO)

 

 

 

 

Донецк бомбят белым фосфором 14.08 Ukraine military dropped incendiary bombs on Donetsk

 

Over 10,000 killed in Kiev’s punitive op – Ukrainian MPs

 

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Residential buildings in Shakhtyorsk, destroyed by a Ukrainian military artillery attack. (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

 

More than ten thousand people have been killed in Kiev’s punitive operation in southeastern Ukraine since April, said a Ukrainian parliamentary group. The MPs addressed the president urging to declassify information on citizens killed.

Kiev’s bloody eastern Ukraine campaign LIVE UPDATES

The Ukrainian parliamentary group “For peace and stability” said on Friday that the figure was given by volunteer groups working in the east of the country, ITAR-TASS reported.

We have estimated that just in the first two weeks of July nearly 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the area of the ‘anti-terrorist operation’,” the group said in a statement in the Verhovnaya Rada (Ukraine’s parliament).

The number of wounded during the same period was more than 5,000 people. Thousands of civilians fell victim to military actions. Most of them died from shrapnel wounds. Thus, the preliminary number of the Ukrainians killed during the anti-terrorist operation, is more than 10,000 people according to our estimates,” said the co-chairman of the parliamentary group, Sergey Gorokhov.

The MPs also addressed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and the government, urging to “declassify the official data on the amount of people – civilians, Ukrainian soldiers, and everyone who took part in the anti-terrorist operation – who were killed.”

 

Donetsk update

A dental clinic in downtown Donetsk shelled by Ukrainian forces.(RIA Novosti/Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

Gorokhov stated that the president receives a report on the people killed in the operation every day, but it is classified. Meanwhile, the families of those missing in the military operation zone petition the government each day in the “hope that their close ones will be found,” he added.

According to local residents of the eastern regions, the bodies of Ukrainians are loaded into vehicles and taken to an unknown destination each day. We demand to tell the Ukrainian people the truth – bitter, heavy, but the truth,” he urged.

DRAMATIC: Ukraine army and self-defense militia exchange bodies (VIDEO)

Earlier on Friday, spokesman for Ukrainian Security Council, Andrey Lysenko, stated that fifteen Ukrainian soldiers have been killed over the last 24 hours.

Over the last 24 hours, seven armed forces personnel and eight border patrol agents have been killed, while 79 were injured,” Lysenko said.

Kiev’s military operation has been intensifying since May. According to the Security Council’s estimates, over 400 soldiers have died in the operation, while 1,600 have been injured.

Donetsk update

Medical workers help a woman wounded during the artillery shelling of Donetsk by Ukrainian forces. (RIA Novosti/Mikhail Voskresenskiy)

According to the UN, as of Tuesday there have been over 1,300 civilian deaths, more than 4,000 have been injured and at least 100,000 people have been forcibly displaced.

Moscow has called numerous times for a unilateral ceasefire and negotiations between the two conflicted sides.

“Instead of giving those people a helping hand, inviting them to the negotiating table, and agreeing on how to live in the country, the military operation is going on,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Russia’s TVC television channel in June.

He called for the start of a dialogue that should be based on the Geneva Statement of April 17, 2014, and the roadmap that was developed by the Swiss representatives of the OSCE at the beginning of May.

One Nation Under SWAT: The Militarization of U.S.’s Police

Topic: Civil Liberties

 

Micheal Brown

18 yr-old Micheal Brown

The man who squeezed multiple deadly shots into 18-year-old Michael Brown last Saturday is police officer Darren Wilson, Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson said at a press conference Friday morning.

Officer Wilson, who has been with the force for six years, was responding to an armed robbery at a convenience store before his encounter with Brown, Chief Jackson said. Wilson is on paid administrative leave. The FBI and the Justice Department have begun independent investigations into Brown’s shooting.

Brown was walking home when when he was shot last weekend. Refusal to release the officer’s name earlier sparked frustration in the St. Louis suburb, leading to protests and distruction of property.

But law enforcement’s reaction to the unrest reflected a military response similar to that of a war zone. Police used armored vehicles and officers with crowd control dogs confronted the peaceful protesters, until Governor Jay Nixon ordered the Missouri Highway Patrol to take over security. Almost immediatedly, the situation became calmer, the New York Times reports.

What was disturbing about the press conference was how the police took the opportunity to criminalize Brown. According to a police report tweeted by Huffington Post reporter Ryan J. Reilly, Brown allegedly stole a pack of Swisher Sweet cigars at a store. Dorian Johnson, Brown’s friend and witness to his fatal shooting, is also suspected of helping in the alleged robbery. Police also released photos of a large man at the store where a robbery took place. It is not confirmed if that man was the 18-year-old Brown.

Johnson has said neither he nor Brown committed any crime.According to several journalists reporting from Ferguson, no information in the report deals with the shooting or Wilson’s interaction with Brown.

Though it is hard to believe that a teenager who was set to start college in a few days would steal cigars, it really doesn’t matter if he did. Cops are suppose to use deadly force only when lives are in danger. No one should lose their life for being a robbery suspect.

The only thing that is suspect so far is the withholding of information being released about Wilson’s final interaction with Brown before the shooting. And instead of releasing a photo of Wilson, police released photos of a large black man allegedly assaulting someone at a store.

A Google search of “Darren Wilson” shows the photos of the man who supposedly committed a robbery.

That is not a coincidence.

 

Amidst the outrageous police presence in Ferguson, a look at how local law enforcement is turning communities into war zones.

Think of it as a different kind of blowback.  Even when you fight wars in countries thousands of miles distant, they still have an eerie way of making the long trip home.

Take the latest news from Bergen County, New Jersey, one of the richest counties in the country.  Its sheriff’s department is getting two mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles, or MRAPs — 15 tons of protective equipment — for a song from the Pentagon.  And there’s nothing special in that.  The Pentagon has handed out  600 of them for nothing since 2013, with plenty more to come.  They’re surplus equipment, mostly from our recent wars, and perhaps they will indeed prove handy for a sheriff fretting about insurgent IEDs (roadside bombs) in New Jersey or elsewhere in the country.  When it comes to the up-armoring and militarization of America’s police forces, this is completely run-of-the-mill stuff.

The only thing newsworthy in the Bergen story is that  someone complained.  To be exact, Bergen County Executive Kathleen Donovan spoke up in opposition to the transfer of the equipment.  “I think,” she  said, “we have lost our way if you start talking about military vehicles on the streets of Bergen County.”  And she bluntly criticized the decision to accept the MRAPs as the “absolute wrong thing to do in Bergen County to try to militarize our county.”  Her chief of staff offered a similar comment: “They are combat vehicles. Why do we need a combat vehicle on the streets of Bergen County?”

Sheriff Michael Saudino, on the other hand,  insists that the MRAPs aren’t “combat vehicles” at all.  Forget the fact that they were developed for and used in combat situations.  He suggests instead that one good reason for having them — other than the fact that they are free (except for postage, gas, and upkeep) — is essentially to keep up with the Joneses.  As he pointed out, the Bergen County police already have two MRAPs, and his department has none and, hey, self-respect matters!  (“Should our SWAT guys be any less protected than the county guys?” he asked in a debate with Donovan.)

striking recent report from the American Civil Liberties Union indicates that, as in Bergen County, policing is being militarized nationwide in all sorts of unsettling ways.  It is, more precisely, being SWATified (a word that doesn’t yet exist, but certainly should).  Matthew Harwood, senior writer and editor for the ACLU, as well as  TomDispatch regular, offers a graphic look at just where policing in America is heading. Welcome to Kabul, USA.

 

To Terrify and Occupy 
How the Excessive Militarization of the Police is Turning Cops Into Counterinsurgents 

Jason Westcott was afraid.

One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott’s handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.

According to the  Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”

Around 7:30 pm on May 27th, the intruders arrived. Westcott followed the officers’ advice, grabbed his gun to defend his home, and died pointing it at the intruders.  They used a semiautomatic shotgun and handgun to shoot down the 29-year-old motorcycle mechanic.  He was hit three times, once in the arm and twice in his side, and pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s Why Activists Are Blocking an Israeli Ship From Docking Anywhere on the West Coast

A coordinated “Block the Boat” solidarity action will leave Israel looking elsewhere to unload its goods.

Amidst the terror Israel has unleashed on Gaza, activists on the West Coast have organized a Palestinian solidarity action that is not only politically symbolic, but economically hits Israel where it hurts.

2010_protestStarting Saturday, activists in Oakland, Los Angeles, and Seattle plan to block an Israeli ship from unloading goods at their city’s ports as part of a larger boycott, divestment and sanctions movement. These “Block the Boat” actions come as a response to the Palestine General Federation of Trade Unions’ call for supporters to “educate and build awareness among the labor movements of the U.S., and urge them to condemn the Israeli aggression and to boycott Israel.”

On Saturday, organizers in Oakland will march to the port and form a picket line in front of its gates early in the morning before the port workers, who are members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, are scheduled to begin their shift. Organizers are hoping to stop workers from unloading a ship owned by Zim Integrated Shipping Services, which is the biggest cargo shipping company in Israel and has ties to the Israeli government and military via stock ownership.

More than 1,000 protesters are expected at the Oakland action, said Reem Assil of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, which is one of the more than 70 groups endorsing the event.

“Symbolically for Oakland we can say, ‘not in our name,’” Assil said. “We’re not going to be complicit and an accomplice to the ongoing genocide and massacres going on.”

Oakland organizers have coordinated with supporters in Long Beach, CA, and the ports of Tacoma and Seattle in Washington in hopes that Zim can’t reroute to another port on the West Coast like it did four years ago. In 2010, in response to Israel’s attack on a flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza, Oakland activists and port workers made history by being the first to ever block an Israeli ship in the United States. That ship, however, re-docked in Los Angeles a day after, and unloaded there.

“This time, we want to make sure there’s a disruption to Israel commerce all over the West Coast,” Assil said, adding that this would cause a sustained economic burden on the company.

The Oakland organizers’ biggest coordination efforts, however, have been with the labor movement. In fact, the event, which was originally scheduled for August 2, was postponed in order to do more outreach to the ILWU workers.

“We don’t want workers to be alienated, we want workers to be part of the fight,” Assil said. “And so we have spent the last few weeks really honoring that commitment and building with the workers themselves.”

Assil said Block the Boat organizers and active members of the ILWU have been flyering and talking to members about the Saturday action in terms of “worker power”—especially because they are currently under negotiation for a new contract.

But these negotiations have made the action this year more complicated than in the past. For one, ILWU is unable to take an official stand on the action. Also, during negotiations there is no arbitrator who can evaluate the port during the Block the Boat action and deem working conditions unsafe; this happened in 2010, leaving workers with no option of crossing the picket line.

This, along with a loss of double-time pay for workers, presents difficulties for a successful action. An ILWU port worker named Anthony, who is spreading the word about Block the Boat, said he responds to co-workers’ financial concerns by talking about the bigger picture.

Anthony said, “I ask them, ‘Are you okay with innocent people being killed?’’’

The ILWU, however, has a track record of taking a stand on social justice issues and not crossing community pickets, Assil said. Furthermore, the union’s historic fight against South African apartheid has been one of the major talking points organizers are using in an attempt to convey the Palestinian struggle to a largely African American workforce at the port. In 1984, ILWU workers made history when they refused to unload a South African ship, sparking other port workers to follow suit worldwide.

While Zim ships currently unload every Saturday in Oakland, Assil said the Block the Boat action is just the beginning of their long-term plan of educating and organizing port workers with the goal of permanently boycotting Israeli goods in the future.

“While direct actions are really amazing and they do cause one-day disruptions, we know that the real work of the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement is really to garner ground up support,” she said. “And part of that support has to come from the workers.”

The other part has to come from community members. Assil advises anyone concerned about the U.S.’s role in killing innocent people to come to the Saturday action. She said the blockade will send a message to the Obama administration to end its support of Israel, as citizens are no longer willing to have atrocities committed against Palestinians in their name. But Assil said this action is more than just protesting U.S. militarization overseas.

“The police forces here in the U.S. are actually being trained by the Israel Defense Forces,” she said. “The police shootings of unarmed black civilians here in the U.S. is not much different than what the occupation forces are doing in Palestine. So we need to make those connections.”

As a Palestinian-American whose family members were active in the Palestinian struggle, Assil said another reason she will be blocking the boat is to inspire youth to recognize the importance of continuing the fight.

“Palestine is a long and hard fight. I know this all too well,” Assil said. “I flash back to when I was young saying, ‘Why do we continue to fight? The monster, it seems so big.’ But these are the moments when I truly believe the tides are turning and things are shifting, and the movement to free Palestine is growing. We have to seize this moment.”

Follow the links for more information on Block the Boat actions in Oakland, Long Beach and Seattle/Tacoma. There will also be solidarity actions in New York City and Miami

Why the Iraqi Badass Jihadis in Black Are a Dream Come True for the CIA – By Pepe Escobar

ISIS is the perfect tool to keep the Global War on Terror in Enduring Freedom Forever mode.

 

ASIAN TIMES ONLINE

By Pepe Escobar

Let’s cut to the chase. As in chasing that Zara outdoor summer collection, complete with state of the art assault rifles, brand new white Nike sneakers and brand new, unlimited mileage white Toyotas crossing the Syrian-Iraqi desert; the Badass Jihadis in Black.

cf8905b9e1935bee0000c99427db83e1a232346eOnce upon a (very recent) time, the US government used to help only “good terrorists” (in Syria), instead of “bad terrorists”. That was an echo of a (less recent) time when it was supporting only “good Taliban” and not “bad Taliban”.

Iraqi Shiite tribesmen brandish their weapons to show their willingness to join security forces in the fight against Jihadist militants on June 17, 2014 in Najaf

 

So what happens when Brookings Institution so-called “experts” start blabbering that the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) is really the baddest jihadi outfit on the planet (after all they were cast out of al-Qaeda)? Are they so badass that by warped newspeak logic they’re now the new normal?

Since late last year, according to US government newspeak, the “good terrorists” in Syria are the al-Qaeda spinoff gang of Jabhat al-Nusra and (disgraced) Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush, the Islamic Front (essentially a Jabhat al-Nusra multiple outlet). And yet both Jabhat and ISIS had pledged allegiance to Ayman “the doctor” al-Zawahiri, the perennial gift that keeps on giving al-Qaeda capo.

That still leaves the question of what Men in Black ISIS, the catwalk-conscious beheading stormtroopers for a basket of hardcore tribal Sunnis and Ba’ath party “remnants” (remember Rummy in 2003?) are really up to.

We interrupt this desert catwalk to announce they will NOT invade Baghdad. On the other hand, they are busy accelerating the balkanization – and eventual partition – of both Syria and Iraq. They are NOT a CIA brainchild (how come Langley never thought about it?); they are in fact the bastard children of (disgraced) Bandar Bush’s credit card largesse.

The fact that ISIS is NOT directly in Langley’s payroll does not imply their strategic agenda essentially differs from that of the Empire of Chaos. The Obama administration may be sending a few marines to protect the swimming pools of the largest, Vatican-sized embassy on Planet Earth, plus a few “military advisers” to “retrain” the dissolving Iraqi Army. But that’s a drop of Coke Zero in the Western Iraqi desert. There’s no evidence Obama is about to authorize “kinetic support” against ISIS, even though Baghdad has already green-lighted it.

Even if Obama went ballistic (“targeted military action”), and/or manufactured a new kill list to be itemized by his drones, that would amount to no more than a little diversion. What matters is that the confluent ISIS/Beltway agenda remains the same; get rid of Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki (not by accident the new meme in US corporate media); curb Iran’s political/economic influence over Iraq; fundamentally erase Sykes-Picot; and promote the “birth pangs” (remember Condi?) of vast wastelands bypassing centralized power and run by hardcore tribal Sunnis.

For the Empire of Chaos, ISIS is the agent provocateur that fell from (Allah’s?) Heaven; the perfect ski mask-clad tool to keep the Global War on Terror (GWOT) in Enduring Freedom Forever mode.

The icing in the (melted) cake is that the House of Saud has  officially denied support of ISIS. So this means it’s true, even over Bandar Bush’s carcass. Cue to the official House of Saud and House of Thani narrative about ISIS: they are not in charge of what’s happening in Iraq. It’s all organized by the Ba’athist “remnants”.

Bring on more regime change 
Now for the all-encompassing Iranian angle, because the whole drama, as usual, is mostly about “containment” of Iran. We just need to endure  this to confirm it; the same old regurgitation about “evidence” that “Iran and its Syrian allies” have “cooperated” with ISIS and that Bashar al-Assad in Syria has a “business partnership” with ISIS. And don’t forget the scaremongering; what’s ahead is a “nuclear Iran” against a “Sunni Arab world” in which the great bogeymen remains al-Qaeda.

Neo-con propaganda denouncing the US government for being in bed with Tehran against ISIS is, once again, disinformation.

Commander of Iran’s Basij, General Mohammad Reza Naqudi, was very close to the mark when he said, “Takfiri and Salafi groups in different regional states, especially in Syria and Iraq, are supported by the US”, and that “the US is manipulating the Takfiri terrorists to tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims.” The same applies to Speaker of the Majlis Ali Larijani; “It is obvious that the Americans and the countries around it have made such moves … Terrorism has grown into an instrument for the big powers to advance their goals.”

What this all implies is that Tehran has identified the ISIS catwalk parade for what it is; a trap. Moreover, they are also convinced Washington won’t break with its vassals at the House of Saud. Translation: Washington remains committed to old school GWOT. What Tehran is already, practically, supporting – also with “advisers” on the ground – is a myriad of Shi’ite militias who are being deployed to secure Baghdad and especially the Shi’ite holy cities, Najaf and Karbala.

US Return of the Living Neo-Con Dead, meanwhile, insist on regurgitating their favorite theme; Maliki Maliki Maliki. Nothing of what’s goin’ on in Iraq has anything to do with Shock and Awe, the invasion, occupation and destruction of most of the country, Abu Ghraib, or the vicious, totally Washington-instigated sectarian war (Divide and Rule, all over again). It’s all Maliki’s fault. So he must be booted out. When everything fails – to the tune of trillions of dollars – the neo-con playbook always resets to default; regime change.

Slouching towards Hardcore Sunnistan
It’s all extremely fishy about ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Abu Dua, born in Samarra in 1971, a Saddam “remnant” but – crucially – a former prisoner of the US government in Camp Bocca from 2005 to 2009, as well as a former leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. It’s no secret in the Levant that ISIS Men in Black were trained in 2012 by US instructors at a secret base in Safawi, in the northern desert of that fiction disguised as a country, Jordan, so they would later fight as Western-approved “rebels” in Syria.

It was al-Baghdadi who sent a batch of Men in Black to set up Jabhat al-Nusra (“good terrorists”, remember?) in Syria. He may have split from Jabhat in late 2013, but still remains in charge of a vast desert wasteland from northern Syria to Western Iraq. He’s the new Osama bin Laden (the gift that keeps on giving, again), the all but certain Emir of an Islamically correct desert Caliphate in the heart of the Levant.

Forget about Osama in the Hindu Kush; this is so much sexier.

A hardcore Sunnistan between Iraq’s Kurdish north and the Shi’te south, swimming in oil, extending all the way to Aleppo, Rakka and Deir ez-Zor in Syria, between the two rivers – the Tiger and the Euphrates – with Mosul as capital, back to its ancestral role of pivot between the twin rivers and the Mediterranean. Sykes-Picot, eat your heart out.

Obviously, al-Baghdadi could not have pulled that awesome feat off all by himself. Enter his top Saddam “remnant” sidekick, Ba’ath party theorist extraordinaire Izzaat Ibrahim al-Douri, who happens to be from strategic Mosul. And most of all, enter the General Military Council for Iraqi Revolutionaries – an awesomely “secret” organization which has had the guile to dribble, like an infernal composite of Lionel Messi and Luiz Suarez, the whole Western intel apparatus, Orwellian-Panopticon NSA included.

Well, not really, because this ISIS-Ba’athist coalition of the willing was brokered by none other than Bandar Bush – while he was still in action, with crucial, lateral input from Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan. No way to trace it all back to the Beltway.

What the General Military Council managed to assemble was no less than all the “remnants” of the good old early 2000s Iraqi resistance, top tribal sheiks, merge it with ISIS, and create what might be dubbed a “Resistance Army” – those Badass Jihadis in Black in their white Toyotas, now the stuff of legend, performing the miracle of being untrackable by the NSA’s satellite maze. They’re so hip they even have their own  Facebook page, with over 33,000 “likes”.

Balkanize or bust
Meanwhile, the agenda of the Empire of Chaos proceed unabated. Balkanization is already a fact. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, crucially a Kurd, pledged Kurdish Peshmerga “cooperation” with the Iraq army to keep oil-rich Kirkuk away from ISIS. Like clockwork, the Peshmergas for all practical purposes annexed Kirkuk. Grand Kurdistan beckons.

Grand Ayatollah Sistani, also for all practical purposes, launched a Shi’ite jihad against ISIS. For his part, the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, Sayyid Ammar al-Hakim, all but resurrected their formidable paramilitary, the Badr Corps – very close to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. These are real badasses, against which ISIS does not stand a chance. And Muqtada al-Sadr is launching “Peace Brigades” to protect the Shi’te holy cities and also Christian churches. Civil war rules.

Meanwhile, in the Land of Oz, the Pentagon will certainly be able to extract extra funds for its perennial crusade to save Western civilization from Islamist terror. After all, there’s a (ski masked) neo-Osama bin Laden in da hood.

Although the majority of Iraqis reject balkanization, Sunnis will keep accusing Shi’ites of being Iranian pawns, and Shi’ites will keep accusing Sunnis of being the House of Saud’s fifth column. ISIS will keep getting loads of cash from wealthy Saudi “donors”. The US government will keep weaponizing Sunnis in Syria against Shi’ites and (perhaps) conducting soft “targeted military strikes” for Shi’ites against Sunnis in Iraq. Welcome to Divide and Rule run amok.

Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His latest book is “Obama Does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).” He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

‘Who the F&^% Is Flume’ and How Did He Beat One Direction on the Charts?

image

Harley Streten aka “Flume”

 

The Aussie electronic producer is already huge in his home country. Now it’s time for the world to meet him.

 

Austin, Texas is approximately 8,463 miles from Sydney, Australia, but Harley Streten, known to the world as Aussie electronic producer/DJ Flume, will know it well over the next four days. It’s the first day of South by Southwest and Streten is still fighting jetlag from the night before, preparing for what seems like 438 different shows and showcases.

He’s already huge in his native country, with a 2011 EP and last year’s self-titled album both getting wide acclaim (and the latter beating out One Direction on the charts, but more on that later). Now it’s time to “conquer,” to borrow a phrase so liberally used, America, as the DJ is in the midst of a cross-country tour before touring his home country.

We caught up with the 21-year-old to discuss clueless record label execs, living with your parents and the horrors of working at Hard Rock Cafe.

Your album came out in Australia on the same day as One Direction last year and you beat them out of the No. 1 spot. This had to be a career highlight, right?

We knew it was coming out on the same day and we were just like, “Straight up, it’s not going to happen. There’s no way we’ll beat them. F-ck that. It’s impossible.” And then it hit No. 1 and it was nuts. I just sat there with a Maker’s Mark on the rocks to celebrate. I was shocked. It was funny because I’d get messages from all these tweens and 1D little girl fans like, “What the f-ck? Who the f-ck’s Flume and why is he No. 1?” That was the best part of it all.  I posted one girl’s tweet. It got a bit heated.

Your bio says you found your first music production program in a cereal box. Is that true or are you already creating some mythic backstory?

[Laughs] It’s totally true. I was shopping with my dad when I was quite young and there was a promotion going on with a CD inside a Nutri-Grain cereal box. It was a simple loop-based program and there was some competition like, “Make a song with this and you can win something.” I thought that sounded cool. The whole concept of how music was laid out in layers and can be broken down, but came out as one piece of music was really intriguing for me.

“If we’re going to work together, I need 100% creative control and your label bosses can suck a d-ck.”

You’re only 21. Do you have your own studio already?

My studio is my bedroom in my parents’ place still. I’m planning on buying a place and just renting it out whilst living at home. A lot of the ideas came about while I was traveling overseas with a friend backpacking around Europe for three months. I had just gotten my first-ever laptop, so I’d sit in a café for a few hours and write some tunes. I’d bring them home and make them into proper songs.

The album alternates between more electronic free-form tracks and more traditional verse/chorus pop structure. Was that the plan going on?

It really was a natural thing. I didn’t have a big concept like, “I want it to sound like this.” It was just me spewing out ideas. The Flume thing was always a side project. I was doing big-room house-y stuff under the name Heads. It never really went anywhere. A label picked up [the Flume tracks] and I realized there is some potential in this. The album came out of it. When I’m going for a chill track, it’ll come out chill, but you can still dance to it because my roots are in dance music.

Yet there’s still that pop structure in a lot of your work.

Yeah, when it comes to that, I like the idea of a pop structure. But I also like more progressive things. I always loved the “build a beat up and then drop it” concept. My first ever musical love was trance before I moved on to Moby and M83 and then the whole French electronic thing of Justice and Daft Punk. I bought my best friend Homework when I was 9 years old. It moved on to more house and techno-y stuff and finally it came to all the “weird” shit like Flying Lotus and Shlomo. Electronic has always been my main thing, but Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm is in my Top 5 of all time.

Flume – sintra

Are your parents supportive or do they scream at you to “Turn that sh-t off”?

[Laughs] We got the house renovated and they just put f-ckloads of insulation in my room. You could kill someone in my room and my parents wouldn’t know. They’re just glad I’m making money off this. When I went out of school, I had a phase where I’d just play computer games and smoke bongs.

I’ve never had a studio, but I really do want to get one just outside of my house. Then I can go to work. I can’t chill out at my home because now it’s, “F-ck, I have to do this and this.” If I could get up at 9 and be like, “I have to go to work” and go to the studio and get in my headspace, get my stuff done and leave, I can relax.

Do you see yourself producing for others in the future or just doing stuff for yourself?

I’ve gotten requests to work with some bigger, high-profile acts, but I don’t want to do that until I’ve established a really strong brand and name for myself. I’m thinking maybe after the second or third album is when I really want to start branching out and doing things like ghostwriting. That’s really interesting to me because it gives you boundaries and I find that boundaries inspire creativity. I also want to score a film; it’d be another challenge production-wise. It’s not just, “Time to write the best song you can.” It’s try and write to this image, which is a completely different headspace to write with.

Do you have any dream artists you’d want to work with?

People often ask, “Will you go down the pop road and want to work with the Christina Aguileras?” and I tell them, “Absolutely. But it’s not like I’d be writing what you normally hear them singing to. It would be music that I’m 100% happy with. It’d be like a killer tune like OutKast’s “Hey Ya”; it’s pop music, but ‘good’ pop music.

So If Christina gave you a suitcase full of money and said, “I want a beat like this,” what would you say?

I’d say, “Look, if we’re going to work together, I need 100% creative control and your label bosses can suck a d-ck because this is the way we’re going to do it. And if you’re not cool with that, that’s cool. We don’t need to work together ‘cause it’s just going to be a pain in the ass for me and I’m not going to enjoy it.” You have A&R dudes coming down like, “Hey man, can we get some more sparkle on the hi-hats?” I’ve heard that with remixes for major labels and from now on, if I’m ever doing a remix for a major label, they have to agree that I have 100% creative control.

Flume – “What You Need”

What’s the worst suggestion you’ve gotten back from a label?

It’s called a sh-t sandwich. It’s like, “Hey! Really nice! Love the track!” Then in the middle, it’s, “I think it would be cool if you could change this, this and this.” Then at the bottom, it’s, “But great work! We can do this and this with the track!”

What was your last full-time, non-music job?

I was a waiter at a Hard Rock Café in Sydney. I hated it; such sh-tty customers. The worst thing about it was whenever someone had a birthday, they’d tell you and you had to bring out a free dessert with a candle on it , get the whole restaurant to quiet down and yell, “Listen up everybody. It’s blah blah’s birthday and she’s turning f-ckin’ 18 so on the count of three, I need you all to say Happy Birthday.” This would happen four times a night. I just got so sick of it.

Last year was your first visit to the U.S. What was the most surprising thing?

Hollywood was a bit of a letdown. I expected it to be super-busy with glamorous shops and sh-t happening, but it’s actually a big, quiet place with not so much going on. It was way less glamorous than I had the perception of from the media and the movies. I live in Australia so that sh-t is a long way away, but it’s not that great [laughs]. But I had chili dogs and chili chips with cheese which was nice because no one does that in Australia.  Oh, and washed down with a Cherry Cola which is super American.

You’re playing the Ultra Music Festival, which has long been an epicenter for dance music. Do you feel lumped in with the whole EDM scene?

There’s a lot of copycats out there, especially with this whole EDM thing. I just did an interview and apparently I’m now an “EDM artist”. It’s weird, but I don’t mind it. The “EDM scene” isn’t even a thing in Australia or Europe. It’s only in the U.S. America discovered dance music and now it’s EDM.

 

Flume Boiler Room London LIVE Show