31 Aug 2019

Fogarty Global Health Fellowship 2019/2020 for Researchers from US and Developing Countries

Application Deadline: 1st November 2019 by 11:59pm

Eligible Countries: U.S. pre- and post-doctoral students, as well as postdoctoral fellows from Lower and Middle Income Countries (LMICs).

To Be Taken At (Country): HBNU Fogarty Fellowship projects must be hosted by one of twenty-one training sites across fifteen countries in Africa, Asia, and South America available through the Harvard-BU-Northwestern-UNM Consortium.

About the Award: The program provides opportunities to generate a new cadre of global health researchers, educators, and professionals who will be prepared to address the new challenges in global health. The program provides fellows with a 12-month, mentored research fellowship in innovative global health research to promote health equity for populations around the world.

Type: Fellowship, Training

Eligibility: Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

1.  U.S. Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
a.    U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
b.    Enrolled in accredited doctoral level program (MD, PhD or equivalent) in public health, government, business, design, engineering,    education, medicine, nutrition, law, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, or nursing.
c.    Health-professional students who wish to interrupt their studies for a year or more to engage in full-time research training before completing their formal training programs are also eligible.
d.    Available to dedicate 40 hours per week to the research fellowship for 11-12 months at the international site, beginning in July.

2.  U.S. Post-Doctoral Fellowship
a.    U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
b.    Received, as of the beginning date of the training period, a PhD, MD, DDS, or comparable doctoral degree from an accredited       institution. Comparable doctoral degrees include, but are not limited to, the following: DMD, DC, DO, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, DrPH, DNSc, DPT, PharmD, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), DSW, PsyD, as well as a doctoral degree in nursing research.
c.    Available to dedicate 40 hours per week to the research fellowship for 11-12 months at the international site, beginning in July.

Note: U.S. applicants affiliated with universities that are not part of an FIC Global Health Program Consortium (HBNU, GloCal, GHES, UJMT, NPGH, VECD) are welcome to apply through this consortium. Applicants who are affiliated with a university that is part of an FIC Global Health Program Consortium should apply through their university’s consortium.

3.  LMIC Post-Doctoral Fellowship
a.    Citizen of one of HBNU’s collaborating LMICs. LMIC postdocs must be affiliated with the site of their proposed research project.
b.    Received, as of the beginning date of the training period, a PhD, MD, DDS, or comparable doctoral degree from an accredited institution. Comparable doctoral degrees include, but are not limited to, the following: DMD, DC, DO, DVM, OD, DPM, ScD, EngD, DrPH, DNSc, DPT, PharmD, ND (Doctor of Naturopathy), DSW, PsyD, as well as a doctoral degree in nursing research.
c.    Available to dedicate 40 hours per week to the research fellowship for 11-12 months at the international site, beginning in July.

Preference is given to any applicants with co-funding from their institution’s NIH T32, D43, MEPI or other grants.

Number of Awards: Not specified

Value of Award: 
– Monthly stipend for 12 months. All stipends are potentially taxable under U.S. and international law.
– Funding for research support (lab supplies, software…)
– International health insurance for U.S. applicants
– Required vaccinations for U.S. applicants
– Visa and passport fees
– Roundtrip overseas travel to the training site for U.S. applicants
– Travel and accommodation to attend the orientation at NIH in July

Duration of Programme: Applicants must commit to dedicating 40 hours per week for an 11-12 month period at the international site.

How to Apply: Apply Here

Visit Programme Webpage for Details

Award Providers: Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Northwestern University, University of New Mexico (HBNU) Consortium.

Government of Mexico Undergraduate, Graduate and Specialisation Scholarships 2020 for International Students

Application Deadline: 27th September 2019 at 15:00 (Local Time in Mexico City).

Offered annually? Yes

Eligible Countries: See list below

To be taken at (country): Mexico

About Scholarship: For decades, the Mexican cultural diplomacy has worked in different successful programs, such as the human capital training through scholarships for academic degrees awarding and research work performing in different areas of knowledge.
The Directorate-General for Educational and Cultural Cooperation, through the Academic Exchange Department, designs and manages the Ministry of Foreign Affairs´ Scholarship Program for Foreigners. The scholarships of the Mexican Government present two programs: the scholarship for academic studies and the scholarship for special programs.
The scholarships for academic studies are offered to take complete programs for Specialization, Master´s or PhD Degrees, and Postgraduate Researches. Likewise, the offer includes academic mobility for Bachelor´s and Postgraduate Degree. On the other hand, the scholarships for special programs are offered to take short-term fellowships addressed to Visiting Professors, Researchers in Mexico´s issues, Media Contributors, Art Production Fellowships, etc.

Type: Specialization, Bachelor’s, Master’s or PhD Degrees, and Postgraduate Researches including short-term fellowships

Selection Criteria and Eligibility: The scholarships will be awarded on academic excellence.
  • Applicants must hold a Bachelor’s, Master’s or Ph.D. Degree, as required by the program for which the scholarship is requested. Technical and / or commercial degree titles are not accepted. For the cases of mobility at the Bachelor’s level, it will not be necessary to submit a diploma, only proof of studies of the last academic period completed, issued by the institution of origin.
  • Candidates cannot be living in Mexico at the time of application.
  • Applicants must have achieved a minimum grade point average of
    eighty (80), on a scale of 0 to 100, or the equivalent, for the last academic degree received. Applications with a lower grade point average will not be considered
  • The scholarships are not transferable and cannot be deferred to future years.
Number of Scholarships: Several

Value of Scholarship:
-Enrollment fees  and tuition
-Health Insurance
-Transportation from Mexico city to the Host Institution
-Monthly Stipend

Duration of Scholarship:
  • -Undergraduate and graduate academic mobility programs- one academic term (quarter, trimester or semester)
  • Undergraduate: 4 years
  • -Graduate research and postdoctoral fellowships-12 months (1 month minimum)
  • -Specialization – 1 year
  • -Master’s degree – 2 Years
  • -Doctorate- 3 or 4 years
  • -Medical specialties and subspecialties- 3 Years
Eligible Countries

  • Africa: Algeria ,Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Nambia, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Saharawi, Arab Rep., Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe
  • North America: United States, Canada and Canada / Province of Quebec
  • Latin America: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela)
  • Caribbean: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico (Commonwealth), Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago
  • Europe: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and Ukraine)
  • Asia: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Kingdom of China, People’s Rep., India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Democratic Rep., Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea, Pakistan, Islamic Rep. of Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Thailand, Kingdom of Timor – Leste, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Socialist Rep. of
  • Pacific: Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Independent State, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu
  • Middle East: Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestinian National Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, and
  • Non-self Governing Territories: American Samoa, Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Guam, Montserrat, New Caledonia, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Tokelau, Turks and Caicos Islands and United States Virgin Islands
How to Apply: Only applicants from Cuba, Saint Lucia, the Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, Barbados, Suriname, Guyana, Jamaica, Haiti, Nicaragua, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Turkey, Venezuela, New Zealand, the Palestine and the countries of the African continent may submit paper or online applications.
  1. Download Application Form (only for “Paper Applications”)
  2. Applications must be submitted online through the Academic Cooperation Management System (SIGCA (https://sigca.sre.gob.mx), during the duration of the Call.
  • It is important to go through ALL application requirements in the Award Webpages (see Links below) before applying.
Visit Award Webpage for details on how to apply and PDF

Sponsors: Mexican Government

Important Notes: Candidates will be informed of the results by the corresponding Mexican embassy or designated Mexican institution.

Billionaires are a Sign of Economic Failure

Max Lawson

The New York Times published an editorial comment on its front page in January 2019, provocatively entitled “abolish billionaires.” The editorial raised a serious question: what if instead of being a sign of economic success, billionaires are a sign of economic failure?  In what ways can the boom in billionaires, and the dramatic increase in extreme wealth generally, be harmful?
To answer this question, we need to understand the origins of billionaire wealth, and to understand how that wealth is used once it is gained. The answer to both these questions I think rightly casts doubt on the value of the super-rich in our society.
Approximately one third of billionaire wealth comes from inheritance. It is very hard to make the case for the economic utility of inherited wealth, and instead there is a strong case for the fact that it undermines social mobility and economic progress. It creates instead a new aristocracy who are rich simply because their parents were rich which is hard to see as a good thing.
Whether inherited or secured in other ways, extreme wealth takes on a momentum of its own.  The super-rich have the money to spend on the best investment advice, and billionaire wealth has increased since 2009 by an average of 11 percent a year, far higher than rates ordinary savers can obtain.
Bill Gates is worth nearly $100 billion dollars in 2019, almost twice what he was worth when he stepped down as head of Microsoft.  This is despite his admirable commitment to giving his money away.  As Thomas Piketty said in his book Capital in the 21st Century, “No matter how justified inequalities of wealth may be initially, fortunes can grow beyond any rational justification in terms of social utility.”
My Oxfam colleague Didier Jacobs calculated a few years ago that another third of billionaire wealth comes from crony connections to government and monopoly.  This could be for example when billionaires secure concessions to provide services exclusively from government, using crony connections and corruption.  The Economist has developed a similar measure of crony capitalism with similar findings. What is clear it seems to me is that corruption and crony connections to governments are behind a significant proportion of billionaire wealth.
Almost all sectors of our global economy are also now characterized by monopoly power, as is detailed by Nick Shaxson in his great new book, the Finance Curse. Whether food, pharmaceuticals, media, finance, or technology, each sector is characterized by a handful of huge corporations.
Decades of largely unquestioned mergers and acquisitions, where corporations have bought up competitors, have led to this.  Historically, and especially in the United States in the early part of the 20th century, monopoly power was rightly viewed as a serious threat to the economy and to society, and steps were taken to break up monopolies.  It was President Franklin Roosevelt who famously said that “government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.” However, in recent decades, neoliberal economics has led a much more benign view of monopoly power, and very little action is now taken to dismantle them. I think this is a key distinction between neoliberalism and classical liberal economics.  These monopolies impose hidden monopoly taxes on every consumer, as it enables these companies, and their wealthy shareholders, to extract excessive profits from the market, directly fueling the growth in extreme wealth at the expense of ordinary citizens.
The actions of corporations, including the move towards monopoly, are driven by a relentless focus on ever-increasing returns to shareholders — shareholders who are primarily the very same extremely wealthy people.  Our new Oxfam paper on the “Seven Deadly Sins” of the G7, released this week, shows how returns to shareholders have increased dramatically whilst real wages have barely increased.
Behind corporate power and corporate actions is increasingly the power of super-rich shareholders.
Once billionaire wealth is accumulated, the way it is used also casts doubt on how useful it is to have billionaires.  The super-rich use their wealth to pay as little tax as possible, making active use of a secretive global network of tax havens, as revealed by the Panama Papers and other exposes.
One ground-breaking study that made use of this leaked information showed that the super-rich are paying as much as 30 percent less tax than they should, denying governments billions in lost tax revenue, that could have been spent on schools or on hospitals.  The super-rich are supported in this by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), a secretive organization of over 20,000 wealth managers that actively pressures governments to reduce taxes on the richest.
Billions are not just used to ensure lower taxes. They can also be used to buy impunity from justice, to buy politicians, or to buy a pliant media.  The use of “dark” money to influence elections and public policy is a growing problem all over the world. The Koch brothers — Charles and the recently deceased David — two of the richest men in the world, have had a huge influence over conservative politics in the United States.
Another recent Oxfam study  showed the many ways in which politics has been captured by the very rich in Latin America.  Many of today’s new breed of nationalist, racist leaders have substantial financial backing.
This active political influencing by the super-rich directly drives greater inequality, by constructing reinforcing feedback loops, in which the winners of the game get even more resources to win even bigger next time.
For all these reasons, I think there is a strong case to be made that rather than being celebrated, as one U.S. commentator recently said,“every billionaire is a policy failure,” and that in particular if we are to end poverty and build fairer societies, we need to bring an end to extreme wealth.

Behind Islamophobia Is a Global Movement of Anti-Semites

Nafeez Ahmed

The global rise of white nationalist violence proves that the threat of fascism is not just about one community — it threatens all communities: white people, black people, Muslims, Jews, and beyond.
The spate of mass shootings at the end of July comes head on the heels of an escalating epidemic of U.S. gun violence. Since the beginning of the year, there have been at least 257 mass shootings, which have killed 9,080 people. This is nearly triple the number of people that died on 9/11, the terrorist attack which justified U.S.-led wars that have killed at least a million people.
Over the last decade, nearly three quarters of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil have been linked to domestic right-wing extremists, with just a quarter linked to Islamists. And in 2018, every terrorist murder in the U.S. was linked to the extreme right.
The ideology of extreme white nationalism is now a bigger U.S. national security threat, and a bigger cause of death, than Islamist terrorism or immigration. Yet millions of white Americans have been brainwashed into believing the exact opposite.
How could this happen?
There is an unmistakeable line of transmission between the white supremacist views that helped inspire the California and El Paso attacks, burgeoning anti-Muslim hysteria around the world, and the traditional bedrock of anti-Semitic neo-Nazism that is normally associated with the far-right. Yet this nexus between Islamophobia and anti-Semitism is little understood.
Digital tipping points into mass violence
The El Paso shooter, Patrick Crusius, posted his white nationalist manifesto online in the 8chan message board. The manifesto not only railed against the “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” it also praised the Christchurch mosque massacre. Since January, Trump’s re-election campaign has funded 2,199 Facebook ads characterizing immigration as an “invasion.” The ads were viewed by at least a million, and as many as 5.6 million, people.
There is now compelling research suggesting a link between social media and spikes in racist violence. Last month a joint study by academics at Princeton University and the University of Warwick found “a clear pattern” in data correlating Trump’s tweets about Muslims with a higher frequency of anti-Muslim hashtags on Twitter, and increased actual hate crimes against Muslims.
The study found that the start of Trump’s presidential campaign preceded a shift in anti-Muslim sentiments on pro-Trump Twitter accounts and a rise in the rate of hate crimes. In more quantitative terms, a one standard deviation higher social media use was associated with a 38 percent larger increase in hate crimes against Muslims.
Trump has personally gone out of his way to amplify far-right anti-Muslim figures. Within the last few months, he has repeatedly retweeted racist British commentator Katie Hopkin, who has a long track record of denigrating blacks, Muslims, immigrants, and Jews.
Last month, Trump retweeted Hopkins multiple times, including her attacks on London’s Muslim Mayor Sadiq Khan over knife crime in the capital, her endorsement of crowds at a Trump rally shouting “send her back” in relation to a Muslim American Congresswoman, and a description of the majority black city of Baltimore as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.”
Trump’s engagement with Hopkins is revealing. Although he does not follow her, nor have her on any Twitter lists, he is consistently able to locate her choice racist tweets and amplify them — suggesting that far from merely being an accident of Trump’s personality, amplifying these tweets is a deliberate strategy of his White House communications team.
The shared ideology of global white nationalism
In one of these tweets, Hopkins openly endorsed the rise of extreme nationalist politicians around the world, including Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, and leader of the Polish Law and Justice party (PiS) Jaroslaw Kaczynski.
All four politicians have promoted divisive, xenophobic policies.
Bolsonaro has promised to “disappear” minorities that do not “bend to the majorities,” granted the police a “carte blanche to kill” criminal suspects, which potentially includes leftists and opposition forces, and described black activists as “animals” who should “go back to the zoo.”
Salvini has called for “ethnic” shops to be forced to close at 9pm because they are “managed by foreign citizens” that harbor “drunks and drug dealers” who “piss and shit” on the doorstep; and threatened to “bulldoze” the home of a woman he called a “dirty gypsy” on the eve of the Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, commemorating the murder of 3,000 Romani and Sinti people in Auschwitz gas chambers.
Orban has promoted the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Jewish philanthropist George Soros is orchestrating the mass migration of millions of Muslims to Europe, accused the EU of having “secretly launched a programme to breed a Soros-like human race,” and declared that “we do not want our own color… to be mixed with those of others.”
Kaczynski has claimed that migrants from the Middle East could trigger “epidemics” in Europe as they carry “various parasites and protozoa, which don’t affect their organisms, but which would be dangerous here.” He has also been accused by Polish Jewish leaders of covering up and failing to address their concerns about growing hostility to minorities and Jews in the country, and his ruling party is closely aligned with neo-Nazi movements in Poland.
By amplifying Hopkins’ tweet about these politicians, Trump demonstrated his affinity with these emerging proto-fascist movements across Europe and South America, as part of a global far-right network with converging aims and a shared ideology.
The making of the ‘great replacement’ mythology
It is now widely recognized that at the core of this shared far-right ideology is the so-called “great replacement” theory, which posits that a genocide of white people is being achieved through their replacement by migrants, mostly from Muslim countries (or, in the United States, from Latin America).
The overlapping xenophobic agendas of these politicians illustrates how latent anti-Semitism remains a driving force in this global movement, which nevertheless masquerades under the guise of anti-migrant and anti-Muslim sentiment as a mechanism to achieve mainstream reach.
In short, the focus on a “Muslim invasion” through a combination of mass immigration and birth rates allowed far-right groups inspired by neo-Nazi ideas to rehabilitate themselves and conceal their traditional anti-Semitic roots.
It is no surprise then to see that many of the groups that have played the biggest role in spreading the core tenets of the “great replacement” mythology through the scepter of a global Islamist conspiracy are simultaneously allied with longstanding white nationalist movements.
Among the most entrenched narratives that cross these different far-right groups is that Muslim citizens and civil society groups in the West represent “fronts” for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist group founded in Egypt in 1928.
Many of the same far-right think tanks which have promoted the white genocide thesis that has inspired recent terrorist attacks started off scapegoating Muslims as closet extremists attempting to takeover Western societies from within.
In the U.S., groups like the Gatestone Institute (formerly chaired by Trump’s current National Security Advisor John Bolton), Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, Robert Spencer’s JihadWatch, David Horowitz’s Freedom Center, Daniel Pipes’ Middle East Forum, Steve Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism, and Raphael Shore’s Clarion Project have made it their business to accuse prominent Western Muslim civil society networks of being hotbeds of extremism conspiring to conquer the West by stealth.
“With the massive migration of Muslims to Europe, the Brotherhood — with its history, organization, cadre, clear ideology, and international connections — was in the perfect position to affect their thinking and compete for their leadership,” claimed a Gatestone article earlier this year. “The Muslim Brotherhood has, over the last decades, also successfully implanted itself in the United States,” the article continues, concluding that: “In fact, nearly all prominent Islamic organizations in the United States are rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood.”
One organization that has repeatedly come under fire from this sort of far-right propaganda is the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT), the largest American Muslim philanthropic foundation, founded in 1981. Like many other ordinary American Muslim civil society groups, such as the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) or the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), IIIT is routinely portrayed as little more than a front for an Islamist conspiracy to infiltrate America and impose “Shariah Law.”
Yet the “fake news” playbook used to build up this picture is revealing — a close inspection reveals that the claim is built-up entirely from innuendo, non-sequiturs, and false generalizations.
Widening the net 
After 9/11, the U.S. government launched a major multi-agency investigation into terrorism financing across multiple agencies known as Operation Green Quest, focused on uncovering Muslim charities operating as “front organizations” for terrorists.
The problem was that U.S. government agencies like the Treasury Department, FBI, and many others had a nebulous and weak understanding of the Muslim world, often leading investigators to see connections and ties which were not there, and to read conspiratorial meaning into every association or relationship that might potentially link individuals or organizations to extremism — however tenuous.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the net of suspicion was thrown over virtually the entire American Muslim community. IIIT was just one venerable organization that found itself caught up in Operation Green Quest’s vast effort.
“All the major Muslim charities have had their assets frozen and raids have been conducted on homes and businesses around the country without any kind of accountability or redress,” noted the ACLU. “Raids were mounted in scores of cities across the country, with special attention given to convenience stores. Once a business, charity or other body was ‘flagged’ as having some kind of connection to ‘terrorism’ — no matter how tenuous — the investigation would proceed entirely in secret, giving the organizations no opportunity to clear their names.”
According to Michael Isikoff, reporting in Newsweek in late 2003, Operation Green Quest’s “most highly publicized case — its raids on the offices of a large network of Islamic charities and foundations in northern Virginia in March 2002” resulted in no charges or prosecutions relating to terror financing. “Customs agents, armed with federal search warrants, hauled away truckloads of documents and computer files. But so far the investigation, which created a ruckus within the American Muslim community, has yet to yield any criminal charges.”
Even in relation to a number of successful indictments, Isikoff noted that “it is still unclear whether these connect to the financing of terror groups or simply involve networks of Middle Eastern immigrants attempting to send money home to relatives.”
Eventually, Operation Green Quest did yield some results. But IIIT and its most senior founders and officers — such as Jamal al-Barzinji and Hisham al-Taib — having fully cooperated with U.S. investigators, were eventually exonerated completely when it became clear there was simply no meaningful evidence whatsoever they had ever organized or facilitated terrorist financing.
Much of the “evidence” cited by far-right groups implicating IIIT in a terrorist-Brotherhood conspiracy is based on cherry-picking documents that came to light from Operation Green Quest, including alleged Muslim Brotherhood documents as well as FBI files relating to inquiries at the time.
Yet innocent Muslims were regularly caught up in this sweeping process. A 2004 report by the U.S. government’s General Accounting Office pointed out that having provided a list of 30 suspected terrorists to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement identified from July to October 2003, the FBI went on to find that only “10 of the approximately 30 subjects had a confirmed nexus to terrorism or terrorist financing.”
Far-right penetration of the FBI 
Indeed, part of the problem is that for years the FBI has suffered from institutional Islamophobia.
FBI training manuals obtained by Spencer Ackerman for Wired revealed that after 9/11 the agency was teaching its counterterrorism agents that “main stream” [sic] American Muslims are likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a “cult leader”; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a “funding mechanism for combat.” And “combat” can include numerous techniques including “immigration” and “law suits”. Thus, a Muslim who immigrates to the U.S. or sues the FBI for harassment is seen as just another agent of the jihad.
One FBI training manual instructed its agents that Islam “transforms country’s [sic] culture into 7th century Arabian ways,” and that “It is characteristic of the Arab mind to be swayed more by words than ideas and more by ideas than facts.”
Most surprisingly, many FBI anti-Muslim briefings were inspired by the same nexus of far-right anti-Muslim bigots promoting conspiracy theories about the Muslim Brotherhood and, more recently, elements of the “great replacement” theory. For instance, among this FBI manual’s recommended reading materials are two books by Robert Spencer, whose JihadWatch website portrays IIIT and other American Muslim groups as terrorist-supporting Brotherhood fronts.
Many other FBI anti-Muslim briefings were drafted by intelligence analyst William Gawthrop, who had previously given an interview to WorldNetDaily (WND) blaming the Prophet “Muhammad’s mindset” as “a source for terrorism” and calling on counter-terrorism efforts to focus on getting Muslims to abandon the Qur’an. WND, of course, is a notorious extreme right website which has promoted numerous conspiracy theories such as the “birther” theory denying Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship.
It is no surprise then to see that some FBI files used by these far-right groups to justify their claims wrongly painted IIIT’s founder as Muslim Brotherhood members, when this was simply never the case.
The Brotherhood did, of course, have its own agenda and as such was trying to insert its members into groups like IIIT and many other American Muslim networks. However, the very Brotherhood documents cited by far-right ideologues as “proof” of the alleged conspiracy actually confirm not only that the Brotherhood had no real control over IIIT and other American Muslim groups, but was increasingly losing whatever presence it once had among American Muslims.
Now, under Trump, Islamophobia inside the FBI is reportedly at record levels, and even Muslim special agents and intelligence analysts — sorely needed in the fight against Islamist terrorism — are being discriminated against and hounded at the agency purely due to their faith and ethnic backgrounds.
Suppressing American Islam
By defaming and denigrating organizations like IIIT, the far-right are ironically disempowering the very forces among Western Muslims that are on the frontlines of the fight against Islamist extremism.
Over the years, IIIT has harnessed research and education with the goal of improving Muslim societies and building the next generation of American Muslim leaders. This has included publishing ground-breaking theological work undermining the core narratives of Muslim extremists.
IIIT’s research has encompassed work on ‘tajdid’ and ‘islah’ covering the need for Islamic scholarship to continually renew and reform itself; developed the ‘maqasid’ approach to interpretations of Islamic law around questions of Islamic reform focusing on universal ethical principles and values; challenged extremist claims that apostates should be put to death and established an Islamic basis for freedom of religion and belief; pioneered new Islamic approaches to understanding ‘jihad’ which engage critically with the classical tradition while delegitimizing extremist interpretations that promote terror; demonstrated how Islam underpins “liberation and the equality of women” as fundamental; promoted Islamic grounds for Muslim minorities in the West to become integrated, active citizens that contribute to their host societies based on a “humanistic vision.”
Yet the far-right would never know this body of work exists, because it is irrelevant to their goal of portraying Islam and Muslims as a civilizational threat to the West.
More insidious is that the narrative of “Muslim invasion,” propped up by suppressing authentic visions of American Islam produced by the likes of IIIT, is in reality not just about Muslims.
Rather the “Muslim invasion” narrative is central to the goal of legitimizing a broad, xenophobic agenda rooted in anti-Semitic movements historically aligned with neo-Nazism.
The alliance between Islamophobes and anti-Semites
That is why so many of the same groups promoting Islamophobic myths play a lead role in amplifying white nationalist concepts.
Bolton’s Gatestone has published material claiming that white people could go extinct thanks to Muslim birth rates and mass migration; Clarion Project has featured far-right politicians like Geert Wilders insisting that Muslims should be deported en masse from Europe; Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy has called for naturalized American Muslims who practice their faith to be deprived of their citizenship and deported.
Yet these groups frequently cultivate ties with anti-Semites. In 2016, I was commissioned to investigate the trans-Atlantic networks behind the rise of the far-right as a global movement by the London-based hate crime charity Tell Mama UK. Among the most shocking findings of our reportReturn of the Reich: Mapping the Global Resurgence of Far Right Power, was that anti-Muslim groups were often rooted in political movements that were traditionally anti-Semitic, and often worked closely in secret with active neo-Nazi movements.
I described this alarming phenomenon as a form of “reconstructed-Nazism,” “indicating that the core ideology [of the global far-right] embraces core Nazi principles, but embeds them in a range of cosmetic narrative adjustments which allow those principles to function subliminally in a new postwar, anti-Nazi, and post-9/11 global cosmopolitan context.”
Part of the strategy for this movement has been to brand itself precisely as fighting against “foreign invaders” who are themselves depicted as “Nazis” or “fascists,” thus cementing the movement’s self-portrayal as an “anti-Nazi” movement defending freedom and civilization. In this case, the specter of Muslims as tentacles of a near omnipresent Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy has functioned as an ideal bogeyman against which far-right groups can legitimize their existence, and distract from their own fundamentally fascist goals.
For instance, in 2017 Gatestone partnered with Rebel Media to produce a video series featuring racist bigots like Daniel Pipes and Geert Wilders. Yet Rebel Media is a far-right Canadian website with what reporter Eli Clifton describes as “a history of bigotry and anti-Semitism that once published a ‘satirical video’ titled ‘Ten Things I Hate About Jews.’”
Rebel Media has not only released materials defending Holocaust denial, its staffers have disturbing connections to white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups. The website has, for instance, hired former Trump advisor Sebastian Gorka, who was belatedly fired after being outed for ties with Hungarian Nazi collaborators.
Similarly, Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy has a long established partnership with the International Free Press Society in Denmark, an anti-Muslim coalition whose senior staff are affiliated with the neo-Nazi Belgian Vlaams Belang party. The party, described by Professor Etienne Vermeersch at the University of Ghent as racist “in the Nazi sense of the word,” was born out of the Flemish Legion — a German Waffen-SS division recruited from Flemish volunteers.
Vlaams Belang’s leader Filip Dewinter once admitted that the party’s rebranded focus on Muslims and migrants was entirely tactical. His party, in turn, sits within the Identity and Democracy Group in the European parliament (formerly Europe of Nations and Freedom), whose members include far-right parties accused of neo-Nazi sympathies, including the Freedom Party of Austria, Poland’s Congress of the New Right, and France’s National Rally, which has been unable to shake off revelations about the pro-Nazi attitudes of several Marine Le Pen associates.
Both Gatestone and CSP have direct ties to the Trump administration. Their advancement of Islamophobic ideology has provided them ideal cover to not only sanitize “white genocide” and “great replacement” theory, but to conceal their anti-Semitic heritage and ongoing partnerships with neo-Nazi political parties in Europe.
The upshot of this is clear: Jews and Muslims cannot afford to be at loggerheads in the fight against fascism. Both communities are in the firing line of a global far-right agenda advanced by groups and political parties forged in the historic bowels of Nazism.
Whatever their political differences and disagreements, both communities need to forge bonds of solidarity in the struggle against racism. If they are to survive, our communities have no choice but to resist being distracted by efforts to divide us and turn us against each other, which is a deliberate far-right strategy to debilitate both Jewish and Muslim communities. Instead, we need to identify new lines of strategic cooperation to resist and disrupt a global far-right movement which threatens not only our communities, but the very foundations of our democracies.
This means that no matter what our political leanings might be, the struggles against Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are fundamentally about the same thing: protecting diverse, inclusive, and free societies.

G7 – The Cost of Uselessness

Peter Koenig

The G7 Summit is an obsolete, useless talking shop, as Finnian Cunningham so adroitly says. RT calls it The Unbearable Pointlessness of G7. Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, and the United States constitute the G7 gang. It should strike any logical thinker as extremely odd that the world’s largest economy (by purchasing parity-based GDP), China, is not part of the club. Why is that? – It’s clear, the club is for western turbo-capitalist ideologues only; the self-proclaimed world hegemons.
Yes, the G7 are, no doubt, a useless talking shop – and much worse. These seven self-nominated leaders of the world are also among the greatest war criminals of the globe. They are involved in and initiate conflicts and wars that have in the last 20 years – roughly since 9/11 gave them a ‘free pass’ to raise in the name of fighting endless terrorism havoc around the globe – killed an estimated 15 to 20 million people, either directly or by proxy and mercenary armies.

That is of course much worse than uselessness.

Does anyone ever talk about the value and cost, of these ‘summits’? – The value, i.e. the output, is at best zero – and in most cases negative. These conferences highlight conflicts, create new ones and add to the fire what was just smoldering. And I am not talking about the Brazilian amazon fires. This was the case of the G7 in Biarritz. The high-ranking delegates were insulting each other, plus, as this was not enough, barbs were thrown back and forth across the Atlantic between Macron and Bolsonaro. That just shows about what level of human consciousness we are talking.
Trump was confusing the lot, or those who paid any attention to the outbursts of the creator of pure chaos, more tariffs on Chinese goods, then not, then again, levying tariffs for French wines, new sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, threats of new aggressions and even war with Iran; and surprise-surprise “Kim Jon-un, North Korea’s President, is a friend”. Peace talks were not even on the back-burner. So, it would be fair to say, the benefits or values of this summit were less than zilch, they were negative. It was a laughable propaganda stint, but an expensive one at that.
Defining the costs of the event is a rather complex algorithm. However, any cost for an event that produces a sum of negative values, is money thrown into a bottomless pit. The costs, of course, do not just amount to travel, lodging, good food and drink – they include for starters also the entire entourage of the megalo-politicians, police and military security. Biarritz alone was protected by about 20,000 police and military troops combined, they shielded the worldly leaders (sic) from anti-G7 / anti-establishment demonstrators.
Protests are widely justified against this clan of smiling tyrants and despots, with the audacity to appoint themselves to the world’s rulers. No UN or other international body has selected or ratified them. Their arrogance with impunity is meant to irradiate power around the globe. Their smoke of grandeur emanating from their heads can most likely be seen from space. The sad story is that the vast majority of this world, especially the western world, takes them seriously. They bow to the G7 nonsense; they accept their often-criminal decisions for wars, conflicts and killer-sanctions, as God-given. – The G7 decide over the fate of sovereign nations, like Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Syria, Afghanistan – and who is next? – If it wasn’t for Russia and China the damage, they cause would indeed be unbearable.
They selected themselves as rulers of the universe. Unheard of, only half a century ago, that something so aberrant like the G7, the G20, the WEF (World Economic Forum that meets every January in lush Davos, Switzerland), are able to assemble many of the same rulers to hold the scepter of power over the planet. How come the peoples of this world allow their supremacy with impunity? – One can but shake one’s head about this lunacy – what has humanity become?
The Trump delegation usually travels with a flock of aids, journalists, advisors, let alone his bodyguards – and the blinded cars he brings from Washington by special air carriers. And all the others? Maybe slightly less, as they are – as vassals of the Great US Emperor – bound to be a bit more modest. Nevertheless, the total cost must be in the hundreds of millions – all counted, including shadow costs, environmental damage, CO2 emissions, and ‘externalities’ – which includes everything that establishment economists don’t want you to know, say a total cost of 200 to 300 million dollars?
Maybe that’s an underestimate. The published figure on what Biarritz alone spent on this illustrious event is around US$ 41 million equivalent, 15,000 police and about 5,000 troops, but not counting for the damage caused by the authorities fighting peaceful protesters. Add to this the cost of all the other attendants. Never mind the exact cost – the sheer fact that a grotesque amount of money in the range of 200 to 300 million dollars, is spent for nothing, zilch, for the bolstering of egos of some megalos, is an absurdity of our western civilization.
Hundreds of millions of dollars – a fiat currency produced at will and whim by the Federal reserve (The FED – the entirely privately owned US Central Bank) – nevertheless a currency that still drives much of the world, is used to pay for basics, like food, housing, clothing, health care and what’s left of education  – meaning what the world rulers are still allowing young people to be educated with.
Just think about it – who pays for all these hundreds of millions of dollars, euros, yen, or whatever other fiat currency? – You – the tax payer. So, you, the tax payer have something to say about how your money is spent. Don’t you think?
Therefore, we the people have to stop this arrogant nonsense – that leads to less than zero, or worse, but costs hundreds of millions that could be spent on education and health services and other public services, including taking care of refugees – in the G7 countries, or alternatively in countries to be rebuilt after the destruction by wars for greed and hegemony by the very G7.
So far – and every time more – the money spent on G7 and similar events, is like negative interest – destructive. You the citizen and tax-payer, spend money for something that has a negative return. It is as nefarious as if you deposit your savings in a bank and the bank, instead of giving you an interest on your savings, charges you interest for keeping your money, then lends it to, say, a corporation, but the corporation has to pay back less than it borrowed. In other words, you the ‘small saver’ subsidize the big corporation, or anybody who can afford and is considered ‘eligible’ and solvent enough by the bank to borrow money. – It’s a new form of transferring resources from the bottom to the top.
The money spent on the G7 – or other comparable events – is similar. The event rulers take your money (taxes) and transfer it upstairs, where you will never see it again. Not only do you get nothing for it, but it costs you more, as the G7 foment wars and conflicts which kill millions, annihilate entire countries’ infrastructure, housing, schools, health facilities and generate an influx of refugees, for all of which you pay again.
Let’s see – a year of primary education, say in Africa, costs about US$ 400 / per student, and about US$ 650 for high school education (2017). Providing decent health care, preventive and curative, per person in Bangladesh amounts to about US$ 650 per year. Assuming the money spent on the G7 Biarritz summit was about 250 to 300 million, you could provide education for a year to about 550,00 students in, say, Kenya, or provide a year of decent health care to about 430,000 Bangladeshi. – Or – the G7 funds could build drinking water and sanitation facilities for about 2.5 million people in developing countries. These figures may have a margin of error of plus or minus 20%. But you get the picture.
Or closer to home – how many refugees could xenophobic Europe, especially France and Italy,  take care of – refugees driven from their countries, precisely for wars started and sustained by the G7s, to line their weapons industries with huge profits, to dominate the world’s natural resources and eventually put all the people under one hegemonic, globalized roof – one culture, one currency, and only one kind of thinking and ideology allowed – their final goal.
Well, these refugees streaming to Europe, children without parents, divided families, sick people, people dying in the ditches, on the sides of roads in self-built camps, camps exposed to the climate elements, camps that are eventually erased by bulldozers – these human beings – put into misery by the very G7 – why not use the money spent on such nefarious fora to impress the lot of the well-off populations on either side of the Atlantic, instead on a little humanitarian act – act of consciousness, what’s left of it – taking care of the trans-Mediterranean refugees?
Mr. Macron, you are besieged by the Yellow Vests, who will not go away – what do you think canceling the event and instead pledging the funds for humanitarian shelter for refugees, and lobbying with the remaining G6 to do the same – would have done to your Presidency, to your ever-sinking popularity? – Maybe some uplifting? – You could badly need it. But the image – that’s what it is, the image of grandeur, rubbing elbows with the so-called “leaders” of the world, is of all-overarching importance. Isn’t it? – Never mind the unbearable suffering of many of the people you claim to democratically represent.