This was noticed and could not be allowed to stand so the site (or its pages) were stifled further. Where the previous baseline of page views from Facebook had been 50,000 a month, it now became just 16,000 a month, and gradually just 8,000 a month.[caption id="attachment_44959" align="alignnone" width="550"]
Before March 2019 the site wasn't a full-time project. The October 2019 200K spike was due to a single viral article. The July-August 2019 low-point was due to traveling and not being able to post to FB.[/caption]
The only time before visits from Facebook had been this low was in July and August 2019 when I was traveling and overwhelmed and did not publish links to Facebook at all.
In other words, this site now receives fewer views from Facebook than when it was not even posting to Facebook. This after it had proved itself very popular on the platform, despite an already existing throttling.
So then the price of dissent on COVID lockdowns has been to be just about removed from Facebook.
The Anti-Empire Facebook page has 9000 followers, the Checkpoint Asia page has 29000, the Russia Insider page that the former employer lets me use to this day has 245000. If I link an Anti-Empire article on all three it will appear in the feeds of about 2000 people if I'm lucky (500 if I'm not). (That's about 0.7% to 0.2% of the combined followers.)
I found software that posts to FB automatically and this is why AE articles will keep being reposted there, otherwise I would no longer bother.
By some measure, pageviews originating on Google are more than 90 percent down from where they were back in 2019:
It was bound to happen. Google does not hide it has employees check news sites and manually assign them “authoritativeness” and “trustworthiness” ratings, which then determine if Google will promote you, or suppress you.
The American Empire is not America. It's not even the United States Government
The hegemon of our day, the American Empire, is powered by American power and run from Washington. But it is not synonymous with the USA — not with the country, nor with its people, or even its government.
Obviously a sales lady in a Milwaukee donut shop or a mechanic in Topeka are in no way the Empire. Their taxes may help fuel the Empire's war machine but taxes ultimately rest on coercion and are not freely given.
To a lesser extent, even the taxes extracted from a Romania shepherd go toward aiding Empire's adventures yet it would be absurd to claim he is part of the Empire as opposed to merely living under it.
Our Milwaukee sales lady and Topeka mechanic are in fact victims of the Empire, albeit the level of their victimization is infinitely smaller than for example that of a Yemeni child withering away from cholera under a US-Saudi blockade.
Aside from being coerced into paying taxes the pair is spied upon and propagandized to. Moreover, the Empire needlessly amplifies their exposure to the danger of terrorism and forces them to live under the constant background threat of a mushroom cloud.
The American people are not the American Empire, but neither is the United States Government. You may have a positive or negative view of government, but there is no doubt that for example the US National Park Service or municipal councils — albeit part of the American state — are not imperial institutions.
Of course, there are other branches of the United States Government which are very much institutions of the American Empire: the Presidency, the State Department, the Pentagon, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, Congress, the CIA, the DHS, the DEA, the FBI and the Department of Energy.
Most of these started out as national institutions and for a few (eg the DEA, the FBI, Energy) that is still the majority of what they do. Still others, chiefly the military, and the diplomatic service, have been almost completely hijacked and they now almost exclusively serve the Empire, to the near-total exclusion of serving the nation. (The CIA has the dubious distinction of having been founded from the start as an instrument of the Empire.)
But it's not only government institutions which form the American Empire. Equally important are the defense industry, the mercenaries (Blackwater, Halliburton...), the think-tanks, the lobbies, the Democratic and Republican parties, the oil companies, and the press.
All of these are ostensibly private institutions but only in the sense that they're not part of US government. In fact, their fate is intertwined with the fate of the American Empire of which they are an integral part. Much like the East India Company of yore, they are not the government, but they are the Empire.
A number of international organizations dominated by the US are likewise aspects of the American Empire. Chief among them are NATO, the IMF, and the World Bank.
Moreover, the US is often able to co-opt otherwise benign international organizations and make them into appendages of the Empire. For example the IAEA, the OPCW, OECD, even WADA, and sometimes even the UN.
Many of the client states of the Empire, chiefly the NATO members, time and time again voluntarily and eagerly share in the adventures, the saber-rattling, and the atrocities of the Empire. Nonetheless, their governments and their private pro-Imperial constituencies are not proper internal components of the Empire because their influence on its decision-making is non-existent.
The Europeans, the Canadians, and the Australians may be invited to lend additional bodies and an impression of legitimacy to Washington's global interventions but they do not get to set or influence the agenda.
At the very most they may be permitted by Washington to take on some particularly unimportant part of the world and run it as they please. Thus France today gets to impersonate an empire in its former colonies in the Sahel, and the running of Bosnia has been outsourced to the EU.
They remain as they were in the Cold War, client states, dependents, auxiliaries.
There are two exceptions however. The governments of Israel and Saudi Arabia.
These two wield enough influence in Washington that the Israeli cabinet and the Saudi court are able to influence the course of Empire's actions. They are not mere dependents on the Empire, but a part of its brain. Their influence should not be overstated since they are only two decision-making centers out of dozens, but unlike the NATO Europeans, the Israelis and the Saudis are players in the Imperial Capital.
Moreover, it does not follow these are any more nefarious than the native power centers of the Empire. True enough, the Saudis and the Israelis do not care an iota about the interest of the American nation, but then neither does any American imperial institution.
The Israelis and the Saudis still do however — just like the Pentagon or Congress — very much welcome the expansion of American power (since they get to influence how it is applied).
So in fact, the functional difference for American citizens is none. Either way, their interest falls second to the interest of the institutions which form the Empire's brain.
All of this to say that the Empire is the American Empire, but that does not mean it is synonymous with America, the US or even just its government. The Empire is both less and more than the United States Government.
So yeah, Saudi Arabia's MBS and NATO's Jens Stoltenberg are the Empire. A Milwaukee donut lady or even a US park ranger are not.
Anti-Empire — Best on Syria (When There's Stuff Going Down)
When it comes to the war in Syria and the corresponding US-Russian-Turkish-Israeli-Iranian-Saudi-European shoving contest it represents I would divide media outlets into three distinct groups.
1.) First, you have the vast majority of media which almost never reports on it. Not because the Syria is not interesting or critically important (what could be more important than a US-Russian or a Turkish-Russian shoving match??) but because they are clueless and do not know where to start. When events absolutely force them to nonetheless cover it they fall back to doing stenography for the Pentagon and the State Department. A distinct subset of this clueless brigade are the supposedly bleeding-heart liberals who raise their heads every couple of months to call for the West to bomb Syria so they can have the cheap feel-good thrill of “doing something” against an imaginary Hitler.
2.) Secondly, you have specialized alt-media outlets like South Front and Al-Masdar which report on the war daily and know their stuff. They, however, focus on the tactical level and report every minute detail, but without giving the context or the political dimension. They’re good for someone who already knows everything about the war (or thinks he does) and is only following along as it develops further. However, they’re poor entry points for someone who is still learning or doesn’t have the inclination to wade through headlines about every minor airstrike or clash.
3.) Thirdly you have places like Moon of Alabama and Sic Semper Tyrannis which leave out the daily tactical stuff and instead deliver insightful analysis and commentary which provide that much-needed context to make sense of it all. However, these outlets are not so much in the ‘covering Syria’ business as they are in the ‘making insightful comments’ business which means their coverage is understandably spotty. Often something very important will take place in Syria but they won’t have a post about it because perhaps that day or week they’re occupied with another topic. They’re good places to seek additional analysis and interesting opinion but you can’t be certain you’re staying on top of things just by following them.
Finally, there’s Anti-Empire. I’ve compiled news on it and written about developments there since 2015, first for Russia Insider (back in the days of the US-Russian Race for the Euphrates and the deadly Standoff at Al-Tanf) and now on here. And I do it in a unique style where I leave out the mundane tactical stuff. Instead, Anti-Empire will have something on Syria only when it has a wider strategic or political implication, but here’s the catch — it will have all such events.
Even when the site has nothing on the conflict there, because there’s nothing that rises above the threshold of the tactical, I’m still staying on top of what’s happening there. If something happens that reaches beyond that you can be sure Anti-Empire will cover it, and will do so with the context necessary to understand the political and strategic dimension rather than pester you with the recitation of standalone facts.
It’s an outlet which if you’re following you can be sure you’re on top of all the really important stuff even when there hasn’t been a Syria headline in weeks or even months. Yet when things heat up all the context to enable even a relative newbie to begin to understand what is going on will be there.
All that without sacrificing any of the depth but instead giving the complete story with all its twists and turns as it happens (and always big on maps). If you have followed Anti-Empire’s coverage of the recent escalation that has now led to what has to be called a Turkish-Syrian war and may yet lead to a Turkish-Russian (and even NATO-Russian one) this is the journey you would have taken:
According to the Article 8/A of Law numbered 6639 and dated 15/04/2015 amending Law numbered 5651 “on regulation of publications on the Internet and combating crimes committed by means of such publications”, within the scope of non-delayable cases, removing and access blocking of below mentioned content has been decided at the request of competent authorities.
According to the Article 8/A, paragraph 1, the decision must be implemented immediately, at the latest within 4 hours (as of) sending moment of the notification.
Therefore, removing the below mentioned content immediately, at the latest within 4 hours is notified; otherwise access to your web site will be blocked and legal and administrative proceedings will be initiated.
We would like to cooperate with you and solve the problem with Notice and Takedown procedure.
Information and Communication Technologies Authority
Will do as you ask as soon as Turkey recognizes the Armenian, Assyrian and Greek genocides.
As of now, Turkey has yet to comply with Anti-Empire’s counter-demand thus the article stays up. The Turkish government has responded by carrying out its threat of blocking its citizens from accessing Anti-Empire (without the inconvenience of a VPN):
I’d like to take this opportunity to say Anti-Empire is open to negotiations on the matter. If Turkey wants the article down but does not wish to recognize the genocides, Anti-Empire might be satisfied with Turkish cessation of support for jihad in Syria’s Idlib. Heck for that I’ll unpublish the whole darn site and swear never to pick up a pen again.
Until then here is another photo of the shelling aftermath that wasn’t available when the piece went up originally:
As well as a new video of the incident:
You have to understand Erdogan. He got seven Turkish soldiers killed playing human shields for Al-Qaeda and would rather the Turkish public quickly forgot about that. Images of the grim aftermath are a reminder he would rather not have as he wades deeper into Idlib. However, if there are no consequences he’ll never learn.
Honestly, if Anti-Empire wasn’t banned in Turkey it would mean it was doing something wrong.
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