Global Research Editor’s Note

We bring to the attention of our readers the following text of Osama bin Laden’s interview with Ummat, a Pakistani daily, published in Karachi on September 28, 2001. It was translated into English by the BBC World Monitoring Service and made public on September 29, 2001.

The authenticity of this interview remains to be confirmed. It is available in recognized electronic news archives including the BBC. Its authenticity has not been questioned.  

The interview tends to demystify the Osama bin Laden persona.

Osama bin Laden categorically denies his involvement in the 9/11 attacks.  Bin Laden’s statements in this interview are markedly different from those made in the alleged Osama video tapes.

In this interview, Osama bin Laden exhibits an understanding of US foreign policy. He expresses his views regarding the loss of life on 9/11. He focusses on CIA support to the narcotics trade.

He also makes statements as to who, in his opinion, might be the likely perpetrator of  the September 11 attacks.

This is an important text which has not been brought to the attention of Western public opinion.

We have highlighted key sections of this interview.

It is our hope that the text of this interview, published on 28 September 2001 barely a week before the onset of the war on Afghanistan, will contribute to a better understanding of the history of Al Qaeda, the role of Osama bin Laden and the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

This interview is published for informational purposes only. GR does not in any way endorse the statements in this interview.

Michel  Chossudovsky, September 9, 2014


Full text of September 2001 Pakistani paper’s “exclusive” interview with Usamah Bin-Ladin

Ummat (in Urdu)

translated from Urdu

Karachi, 28 September 2001, pp. 1 and 7.

Ummat’s introduction

Kabul: Prominent Arab mojahed holy warrior Usamah Bin-Ladin has said that he or his al-Qa’idah group has nothing to do with the 11 September suicidal attacks in Washington and New York. He said the US government should find the attackers within the country. In an exclusive interview with daily “Ummat”, he said these attacks could be the act of those who are part of the American system and are rebelling against it and working for some other system. Or, Usamah said, this could be the act of those who want to make the current century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. Or, the American Jews, who are opposed to President Bush ever since the Florida elections, might be the masterminds of this act. There is also a great possibility of the involvement of US intelligence agencies, which need billions of dollars worth of funds every year. He said there is a government within the government in the United States.

The secret agencies, he said, should be asked as to who are behind the attacks. Usamah said support for attack on Afghanistan was a matter of need for some Muslim countries and compulsion for others. However, he said, he was thankful to the courageous people of Pakistan who erected a bulwark before the wrong forces. He added that the Islamic world was attaching great expectations with Pakistan and, in time of need, “we will protect this bulwark by sacrificing of lives”.

Following is the interview in full detail:

Ummat: You have been accused of involvement in the attacks in New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this? If you are not involved, who might be?

Usamah [Osama bin Laden]: In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. Praise be to Allah, Who is the creator of the whole universe and Who made the earth as an abode for peace, for the whole mankind. Allah is the Sustainer, who sent Prophet Muhammad for our guidance. I am thankful to the Ummat Group of Publications, which gave me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin true Muslim people of Pakistan who refused to believe in lie of the demon.

I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people.

Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel.

There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as a silent spectator. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia?

Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Put a glance all around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies of Muslims .

The US has no friends, nor does it want to keep any because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates.

However, our case is different. We have pledged slavery to God Almighty alone and after this pledge there is no possibility to become the slave of someone else. If we do that, it will be disregardful to both our Sustainer and his fellow beings. Most of the world nations upholding their freedom are the religious ones, which are the enemies of United States, or the latter itself considers them as its enemies. Or the countries, which do not agree to become its slaves, such as China, Iran, Libya, Cuba, Syria, and the former Russia as received .

Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed.

According to my information, the death toll is much higher than what the US government has stated. But the Bush administration does not want the panic to spread. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive. They can be any one, from Russia to Israel and from India to Serbia. In the US itself, there are dozens of well-organized and well-equipped groups, which are capable of causing a large-scale destruction. Then you cannot forget the American Jews, who are annoyed with President Bush ever since the elections in Florida and want to avenge him.

Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This funding issue was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger.

They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usamah and Taleban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of 40bn dollars. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance.

Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US president, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks.

Ummat: A number of world countries have joined the call of the United States for launching an attack on Afghanistan. These also include a number of Muslim countries. Will Al-Qa’idah declare a jihad against these countries as well?

Usamah: I must say that my duty is just to awaken the Muslims; to tell them as to what is good for them and what is not. What does Islam says and what the enemies of Islam want?

Al-Qa’idah was set up to wage a jihad against infidelity, particularly to encounter the onslaught of the infidel countries against the Islamic states. Jihad is the sixth undeclared element of Islam. The first five being the basic holy words of Islam, prayers, fast, pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving alms Every anti-Islamic person is afraid of it. Al-Qa’idah wants to keep this element alive and active and make it part of the daily life of the Muslims. It wants to give it the status of worship. We are not against any Islamic country nor we consider a war against an Islamic country as jihad.

We are in favour of armed jihad only against those infidel countries, which are killing innocent Muslim men, women, and children just because they are Muslims. Supporting the US act is the need of some Muslim countries and the compulsion of others. However, they should think as to what will remain of their religious and moral position if they support the attack of the Christians and the Jews on a Muslim country like Afghanistan. The orders of Islamic shari’ah jurisprudence for such individuals, organizations, and countries are clear and all the scholars of the Muslim brotherhood are unanimous on them. We will do the same, which is being ordered by the Amir ol-Momenin the commander of the faithful Mola Omar and the Islamic scholars. The hearts of the people of Muslim countries are beating with the call of jihad. We are grateful to them.

Ummat: The losses caused in the attacks in New York and Washington have proved that giving an economic blow to the US is not too difficult. US experts admit that a few more such attacks can bring down the American economy. Why is al-Qa’idah not targeting their economic pillars?

Usamah: I have already said that we are not hostile to the United States. We are against the system, which makes other nations slaves of the United States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom. This system is totally in control of the American Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States. It is simply that the American people are themselves the slaves of the Jews and are forced to live according to the principles and laws laid by them. So, the punishment should reach Israel. In fact, it is Israel, which is giving a blood bath to innocent Muslims and the US is not uttering a single word.

Ummat: Why is harm not caused to the enemies of Islam through other means, apart from the armed struggle? For instance, inciting the Muslims to boycott Western products, banks, shipping lines, and TV channels.

Usamah: The first thing is that Western products could only be boycotted when the Muslim fraternity is fully awakened and organized. Secondly, the Muslim companies should become self-sufficient in producing goods equal to the products of Western companies. Economic boycott of the West is not possible unless economic self-sufficiency is attained and substitute products are brought out. You see that wealth is scattered all across the Muslim world but not a single TV channel has been acquired which can preach Islamic injunctions according to modern requirements and attain an international influence. Muslim traders and philanthropists should make it a point that if the weapon of public opinion is to be used, it is to be kept in the hand. Today’s world is of public opinion and the fates of nations are determined through its pressure. Once the tools for building public opinion are obtained, everything that you asked for can be done.

Ummat: The entire propaganda about your struggle has so far been made by the Western media. But no information is being received from your sources about the network of Al-Qa’idah and its jihadi successes. Would you comment?

Usamah: In fact, the Western media is left with nothing else. It has no other theme to survive for a long time. Then we have many other things to do. The struggle for jihad and the successes are for the sake of Allah and not to annoy His bondsmen. Our silence is our real propaganda. Rejections, explanations, or corrigendum only waste your time and through them, the enemy wants you to engage in things which are not of use to you. These things are pulling you away from your cause.

The Western media is unleashing such a baseless propaganda, which make us surprise but it reflects on what is in their hearts and gradually they themselves become captive of this propaganda. They become afraid of it and begin to cause harm to themselves. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people. It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing that. You can understand as to what will be the performance of the nation in a war, which suffers from fear and helplessness.

Ummat: What will the impact of the freeze of al-Qa’idah accounts by the US?

Usamah: God opens up ways for those who work for Him. Freezing of accounts will not make any difference for Al-Qa’idah or other jihad groups. With the grace of Allah, al-Qa’idah has more than three such alternative financial systems, which are all separate and totally independent from each other. This system is operating under the patronage of those who love jihad. What to say of the United States, even the combined world cannot budge these people from their path.

These people are not in hundreds but in thousands and millions. Al-Qa’idah comprises of such modern educated youths who are aware of the cracks inside the Western financial system as they are aware of the lines in their hands. These are the very flaws of the Western fiscal system, which are becoming a noose for it and this system could not recuperate in spite of the passage of so many days.

Ummat: Are there other safe areas other than Afghanistan, where you can continue jihad?

Usamah: There are areas in all parts of the world where strong jihadi forces are present, from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan, and from Burma to Kashmir. Then it is not the problem of my person. I am helpless fellowman of God, constantly in the fear of my accountability before God. It is not the question of Usamah but of Islam and, in Islam too, of jihad. Thanks to God, those waging a jihad can walk today with their heads raised. Jihad was still present when there was no Usamah and it will remain as such even when Usamah is no longer there. Allah opens up ways and creates loves in the hearts of people for those who walk on the path of Allah with their lives, property, and children. Believe it, through jihad, a man gets everything he desires. And the biggest desire of a Muslim is the after life. Martyrdom is the shortest way of attaining an eternal life.

Ummat: What do you say about the Pakistan government policy on Afghanistan attack?

Usamah: We are thankful to the Momin and valiant people of Pakistan who erected a blockade in front of the wrong forces and stood in the first file of battle. Pakistan is a great hope for the Islamic brotherhood. Its people are awakened, organized, and rich in the spirit of faith. They backed Afghanistan in its war against the Soviet Union and extended every help to the mojahedin and the Afghan people. Then these are the same Pakistanis who are standing shoulder by shoulder with the Taleban. If such people emerge in just two countries, the domination of the West will diminish in a matter of days. Our hearts beat with Pakistan and, God forbid, if a difficult time comes we will protect it with our blood. Pakistan is sacred for us like a place of worship. We are the people of jihad and fighting for the defence of Pakistan is the best of all jihads to us. It does not matter for us as to who rules Pakistan. The important thing is that the spirit of jihad is alive and stronger in the hearts of the Pakistani people.

Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001

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THE 9/11 READER. The September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks

September 11th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

 

Note to Readers: Remember to bookmark this page for future reference.
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[scroll down for I-BOOK Table of Contents]

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GLOBAL RESEARCH ONLINE

INTERACTIVE READER SERIES

GR I-BOOK No.  7 

THE 9/11 READER

The September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks

9/11 Truth: Revealing the Lies,  Commemorating the 9/11 Tragedy

Michel Chossudovsky (Editor)

August 2012


The 911/ Reader is part of Global Research’s Online Interactive I-Book Reader, which brings together, in the form of chapters, a collection of Global Research feature articles, including debate and analysis, on a broad theme or subject matter.  To consult our Online Interactive I-Book Reader Series, click here.


 

INTRODUCTION

The tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute a fundamental landmark in American history. a decisive watershed, a breaking point. Millions of people have been misled regarding the causes and consequences of 9/11.

September 11 2001 opens up an era of crisis, upheaval and militarization of American society.

A far-reaching overhaul of US military doctrine was launched in the wake of 9/11.

Endless wars of aggression under the humanitarian cloak of “counter-terrorism” were set in motion. 

9/11 was also a stepping stone towards the relentless repeal of civil liberties, the militarization of law enforcement and the inauguration of “Police State USA”.

September 11, 2001 marks the onslaught of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), used as a pretext and a justification by the US and its NATO allies to carry out a “war without borders”, a global war of conquest. 

At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the Bush administration had already announced that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion was made prior to the conduct of an indepth police investigation.

CIA Director George Tenet stated that same morning that Osama bin Laden had the capacity to plan  “multiple attacks with little or no warning.”

Secretary of State Colin Powell called the attacks “an act of war” and President Bush confirmed in an evening televised address to the Nation that he would “make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them”.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey, without mentioning Afghanistan, pointed his finger at “state sponsorship,” implying the complicity of one or more foreign governments. In the words of former National Security Adviser, Lawrence Eagleburger, “I think we will show when we get attacked like this, we are terrible in our strength and in our retribution.”

That same evening at 9:30 pm, a “War Cabinet” was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. And at 11:00 pm, at the end of that historic meeting at the White House, the “War on Terrorism” was officially launched.

The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required justification to wage war on Afghanistan on “humanitarian grounds”, with the full support of World public opinion and the endorsement of the “international community”.  Several prominent “progressive” intellectuals made a case for “retaliation against terrorism”, on moral and ethical grounds. The “just cause” military doctrine (jus ad bellum) was accepted and upheld at face value as a legitimate response to 9/11. 

In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement was completely isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Afghanistan, an impoverished country in Central Asia of 30 million people.

The myth of the “outside enemy” and the threat of “Islamic terrorists” was the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s military doctrine, used as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the repeal of civil liberties and constitutional government in America.

Amply documented but rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet- Afghan war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous sources including official documents of the US Congress, which the mainstream media chose to either dismiss or ignore. The intelligence community had time and again acknowledged that they had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War: “he turned against us”.

The 9/11 Commission Report has largely upheld the “outside enemy” mythology, heralding Al Qaeda as the “mastermind” organization behind the 9/11 attacks.

The official 9/11 narrative has not only distorted the causes underling the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, it has also erased the historical record of US covert support to international terrorism, while creating the illusion that America and “Western Civilization” are threatened.

Without an “outside enemy”, there could be no “war on terrorism”. The entire national security agenda would collapse “like a deck of cards”. The war criminals in high office would have no leg to stand on.

After 9/11, the campaign of media disinformation served not only to drown the truth but also to kill much of the historical evidence on how this illusive Al Qaeda “outside enemy” had been fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.

Click to view video

VIDEO: AFTER 9/11: TEN YEARS OF WAR

Special GRTV Feature Production
- by James Corbett – 2011-09-08

***

The 911 Reader is composed of a carefully selected collection of key articles published by Global Research in the course of the last eleven years.

9/11 was an important landmark for Global Research. Our website was launched on September 9, 2001, two days prior to 9/11. Our coverage of 9/11 was initiated on September 12, 2001.

Within this collection of more than 60 chapters, we have included several important reports from our archives, published by Global Research in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. These articles provide a focus on issues pertaining to the 9/11 Timeline, foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, the attack on the Pentagon, the issue of insider trading on Wall Street in the days preceding 9/11 pointing to foreknowledge of the attacks.

What prevails is a complex web of lies and fabrications, pertaining to various dimensions of the 9/11 tragedy. The falsehoods contained in the official 9/11 narrative are manifold, extending from the affirmation that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind, to the assertion by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that the WTC buildings collapsed due to the impacts of fire. (see Part III).

Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?

Is there any proof to the effect that Osama bin Laden, the bogeyman, coordinated the 9/11 attacks as claimed in the official 9/11 narrative?

According to CBS news (Dan Rather, January 28, 2002), “Enemy Number One” was admitted to the urology ward of a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 10, 2001, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan. He could have been arrested at short notice which would have “saved us a lot of trouble”, but then we would not have had an Osama Legend, which has fed the news chain as well as presidential speeches in the course of the last eleven years.

DAN RATHER. As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.

This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

CBS News has been told that the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan. (transcript of CBS report, see http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CBS203A.html , see also http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/28/eveningnews/main325887.shtml

CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]

 

CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11.

CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]

The foregoing CBS report which  is of utmost relevance indicates two obvious facts:

1. Osama bin Laden could not reasonably have coordinated the 9/11 attacks from his hospital bed;

2. The hospital was under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Armed Forces, which has close links to the Pentagon. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts were known to both the Pakistani and US military.

 U.S. military and intelligence advisers based in Rawalpindi. were working closely with their Pakistani counterparts. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed, at the time, that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden were unknown. According to Rumsfeld:  “Its like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.

October 7, 2001: Waging America’s 9/11 War of Retribution against Afghanistan

The immediate response of the US and its allies to the 9/11 attacks was to the declare a war of retribution against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban government was protecting “terror mastermind” Osama bin Laden. By allegedly harboring bin Laden, the Taliban were complicit, according to both the US administration and NATO, for having waged an act of war against the United States.

Parroting official statements, the Western media mantra on September 12, 2001 had already approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in Afghanistan. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.

This decision was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.

On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan, invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.

An act of war by a foreign nation (Afghanistan) against a member of the Atlantic Alliance (the USA) is an act of war against all members under NATO’s doctrine of collective security. Under any stretch of the imagination, the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon cannot be categorized as an act of war by a foreign country. But nobody seemed to have raised this issue.

Meanwhile, on two occasions in the course of September 2001, the Afghan government –through diplomatic channels– offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US Justice. These overtures were turned down by president Bush, on the grounds that America “does not negotiate with terrorists”.

The war on Afghanistan was launched 26 days later on the morning of October 7, 2001. The timing of this war begs the question: how long does it take to plan and implement a major theater war several thousand miles away. Military analysts will confirm that a major theater war takes months and months, up to a year or more of advanced preparations. The war on Afghanistan was already in the advanced planning stages prior to September 11, 2001, which begs the question of foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.

The repeal of civil liberties in America was launched in parallel with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan, almost immediately following 9/11 with the adoption of the PATRIOT legislation and the setting up of a Homeland Security apparatus, under the pretext of protecting Americans. This post-911 legal and institutional framework had been carefully crafted prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Al Qaeda is a US Intelligence Asset

Important to the understanding of 9/11, US intelligence is the unspoken architect of “Islamic terrorism” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war.

Bin Laden was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerrilla training camp. Education in Afghanistan in the years preceding the Soviet-Afghan war was largely secular. With religious textbooks produced in Nebraska, the number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrasahs) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000.

“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the [Islamic] Jihad.” (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)

 ”The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings….The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..”, (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)

Under the Reagan administration, US foreign policy evolved towards the unconditional support and endorsement of the Islamic “freedom fighters”. This endorsement has not in any way been modified.

In a twisted irony, throughout the post 911 era,  US intelligence in liaison with Britain’s MI6, an Israel’s Mossad, continues to provide covert support to the radical Islamist organization allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda and its various affiliated groups including the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and factions within the Free Syria Army (FSA) are directly supported by the US and NATO.

In a bitter irony, the US and its allies claim to be waging a “war on terrorism” against the alleged architects of 9/11, while also using Al Qaeda operatives as their foot-soldiers.


Front row, from left: Major Gen. Hamid Gul, director general of Pakistan’s
Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Willian Webster; Deputy Director for Operations Clair George; an ISI colonel; and senior CIA official,
Milt Bearden at a Mujahideen training camp in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan in 1987.
(source RAWA)


Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)

VIDEO (30 Sec.)

The Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings

Based on the findings of  Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings was not caused by fire resulting from the crash of the planes:

In more than 100 steel-framed, high-rise fires (most of them very hot, very large and very long-lasting), not one has collapsed, ever. So it behooves all of us, as your own former chief of NIST’s Fire Science Division, Dr. James Quintiere, said, “to look at real alternatives that might have been the cause of these collapses.”

Let’s start with temperatures – 1,340° F. temperatures, recorded in thermal images of the surface of the World Trade Center rubble pile a week after 9/11 by NASA’s AVIRIS equipment on USGS overflights. Such temperatures cannot be achieved by oxygen-starved hydrocarbon fires. Such fires burn at only 600 to 800° F. Remember, there was no fire on the top of the pile. The source of this incredible heat was therefore below the surface of the rubble, where it must have been far hotter than 1,340 degrees.

Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Inc., who was hired for the Building 7 cleanup, said that “molten steel was found at 7 WTC.” Leslie Robertson, World Trade Center structural engineer, stated that on October 5, “21 days after the attacks, the fires were still burning and molten steel was still running.” Fire department personnel, recorded on video, reported seeing “molten steel running down the channel rails… like you’re in a foundry – like lava from a volcano.” Joe O’Toole, a Bronx firefighter, saw a crane lifting a steel beam vertically from deep within a pile. He said “it was dripping from the molten steel.” Bart Voorsanger, an architect hired to save “relics from the rubble,” stated about the multi-ton “meteorite” that it was a “fused element of molten steel and concrete.”

Steel melts at about 2,850 degrees Fahrenheit, about twice the temperature of the World Trade Center Tower 1 and 2 fires as estimated by NIST. So what melted the steel?

Appendix C of FEMA’s BPAT Report documents steel samples showing rapid oxidation, sulfidation, and intergranular melting. A liquid eutectic mixture, including sulfur from an unknown source, caused intense corrosion of the steel, gaping holes in wide flange beams, and the thinning of half-inch-thick flanges to almost razor-sharpness in the World Trade Center 7 steel. The New York Times called this “the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.”

NIST left all of this crucial forensic evidence out of its report. Why? Because it didn’t fit in with the official conspiracy theory.

Last year, physicist Steven Jones, two other physicists, and a geologist analyzed the slag at the ends of the beams and in the samples of the previously molten metal. They found iron, aluminum, sulfur, manganese and fluorine – the chemical evidence of thermate, a high-tech incendiary cutting charge used by the military to cut through steel like a hot knife through butter. The by-product of the thermate reaction is molten iron! There’s no other possible source for all the molten iron that was found. One of thermate’s key ingredients is sulfur, which can form the liquid eutectic that FEMA found and lower the melting point of steel.

In addition, World Trade Center 7′s catastrophic structural failure showed every characteristic of explosive, controlled demolition. … The destruction began suddenly at the base of the building. Several first responders reported explosions occurring about a second before the collapse. There was the symmetrical, near-free-fall speed of collapse, through the path of greatest resistance – with 40,000 tons of steel designed to resist this load – straight down into its own footprint. This requires that all the columns have to fail within a fraction of a second of each other – perimeter columns as well as core columns. There was also the appearance of mistimed explosions (squibs?) at the upper seven floors on the network video recordings of the collapse. And we have expert testimony from a European demolitions expert, Danny Jowenko, who said “This is controlled demolition… a team of experts did this… This is professional work, without any doubt.”

Fire cannot produce these effects. Fire produces large, gradual deformations and asymmetrical collapses. Thermate can produce all of these effects used in conjunction with linear shaped charges. If the thermate is formed into ultra-fine particles, as has been accomplished at Los Alamos National Laboratory, it is called super-thermate, and is very explosive.(Richard Gage, January 2008)

The following AE911Truth Video provides irrefutable evidence that the WTC center towers were brought down through controlled demolition.

According to David Ray Griffin: “The official theory of the collapse, therefore, is essentially a fire theory, so it cannot be emphasized too much that fire has never caused large steel-frame buildings to collapse—never, whether before 9/11, or after 9/11, or anywhere in the world on 9/11 except allegedly New York City—never.” (See David Ray Griffin).

According to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, based on solid scientific analysis and evidence, the collapse of the WTC towers was engineered through controlled demolition. While AE11Truth does not speculate on who might be behind the conspiracy to bring down the WTC buildings, they nonetheless suggest that the carrying out such an operation would require a carefully planned course of action with prior access to the buildings as well as an advanced level of expertise in the use of explosives, etc.

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven

The most grotesque lie pertains to the BBC and CNN announcement in the afternoon of September 11, that WTC Building Seven (The Solomon Building) had collapsed. The BBC report went live at 5.00pm, 21 minutes before the actual occurrence of the collapse, indelibly pointing to foreknowledge of the collapse of WTC 7.  CNN anchor Aaron Brown announced that the building “has either collapsed or is collapsing” about an hour before the event. (See WTC7.net the hidden story of Building 7: Foreknowledge of WTC 7′s Collapse)

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven.

CNN anchor Aaron Brown seems to struggle to make sense of what he is seeing one minute after announcing that WTC Building 7, whose erect facade is clearly visible in his view towards the Trade Center, has or is collapsing.

Coverup and Complicity

The 911 Reader presents factual information and analysis which points to cover-up and complicity at the highest levels of the US government.

This body of articles by prominent authors, scholars, architects, engineers, largely refutes the official narrative of the 9/11 Commission Report, which is reviewed in Part IV. It  dispels the notion that America was attacked on September 11, 2001 on the orders of Osama bin Laden.

This is a central issue because US military doctrine since 9/11 has been predicated on “defending the American Homeland” against Islamic terrorists as well as waging pre-emptive wars against Al Qaeda and its various “state sponsors”.  Afghanistan was bombed and invaded as part of the “war on terrorism”. In March 2003, Iraq was also invaded.

War Propaganda

Fiction prevails over reality. For propaganda to be effective, public opinion must firmly endorse the official 9/11 narrative to the effect that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks. A well organized structure of media disinformation (Part XI) is required to reach this objective. Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend also requires defying as well smearing the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Throughout the post 9/11 era, a panoply of Al Qaeda related events and circumstances is presented to public opinion on a daily basis. These include terrorist threats, warnings and attacks, police investigations, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, country-level regime change, social conflict, sectarian violence, racism, religious divisions, Islamic thought, Western values, etc.

In turn, 9/11, Al Qaeda – War on Terrorism rhetoric permeates political discourse at all levels of government, including bipartisan debate on Capitol Hill, in committees of the House and the Senate, at the British House of Commons, and, lest we forget, at the United Nations Security Council.

September 11 and Al Qaeda concepts, repeated ad nauseam have potentially traumatic impacts on the human mind and the ability of normal human beings to analyze and comprehend the “real outside World” of war, politics and the economic crisis.

What is at stake is human consciousness and comprehension based on concepts and facts.

With September 11 there are no verifiable “facts” and “concepts”, because 9/11 as well as Al Qaeda have evolved into a media mythology, a legend, an invented ideological construct, used as an unsubtle tool of media disinformation and war propaganda.

Al Qaeda constitutes a stylized, fake and almost folkloric abstraction of terrorism, which permeates the inner consciousness of millions of people around the World.

Reference to Al Qaeda has become a dogma, a belief, which most people espouse unconditionally.

Is this political indoctrination? Is it brain-washing? If so what is the underlying objective?

People’s capacity to independently analyse World events, as well as address causal relationships pertaining to politics and society, is significantly impaired. That is the objective!

The routine use of  9/11 and Al Qaeda to generate blanket explanations of complex political events is meant to create confusion. It prevents people from thinking.

All of these complex Al Qaeda related occurrences are explained –by politicians, the corporate media, Hollywood and the Washington think tanks under a single blanket “bad guys” heading, in which Al Qaeda is casually and repeatedly pinpointed as “the cause” of numerous terror events around the World.

The Alleged Role of Iraq in the 9/11 Attacks

9/11 mythology has been a mainstay of war propaganda. In the course of 2002, leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003,  “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” statements circulated profusely in the news chain. While Washington’s official position was that Saddam Hussein was not behind the 9/11 attacks, insinuations abounded both in presidential speeches as well as in the Western media. According to Bush,  in an October 2002 press conference:

The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime’s own actions — its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. .,..  We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September the 11th, 2001, America felt its vulnerability — even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source [Iraq], that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America. President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, October 7, 2002)

Barely two weeks before the invasion of Iraq, September 11, 2001 was mentioned abundantly by president Bush. In the weeks leading up to the March invasion, 45 percent of  Americans believed Saddam Hussein was “personally involved” in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. (See . The impact of Bush linking 9/11 and Iraq / The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor.com, March 14, 2003)

Meanwhile, a new terrorist mastermind had emerged: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

In Colin Powell’s historic address to the United Nations Security Council, in February 2003, detailed “documentation” on a sinister relationship between Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was presented, focussing on his ability to produce deadly chemical, biological and radiological weapons, with the full support and endorsement of the secular Baathist regime. The implication of Colin’s Powell’s assertions, which were totally fabricated, was that Saddam Hussein and an Al Qaeda affiliated organization had joined hands in the production of WMD in Northern Iraq and that the Hussein government was a “state sponsor” of terrorism.

The main thrust of the disinformation campaign continued in the wake of the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. It consisted in presenting the Iraqi resistance movement as “terrorists”. The image of “terrorists opposed to democracy” fighting US “peacekeepers” appeared on television screens and news tabloids across the globe.

Iran: Alleged State Sponsor of 9/11

In the wake of the Iraq invasion, the same alleged “state sponsorship” of terrorism accusations emerged in relation to Iran.

In December 2011, the Islamic Republic of Iran was condemned by a Manhattan court, for its alleged role in supporting Al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks.

The investigation into Tehran’s alleged role was launched in 2004, pursuant to a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission “regarding an apparent link between Iran, Hezbollah, and the 9/11 hijackers”. The 91/11 Commission’s recommendation was that the this “apparent link” required  “further investigation by the U.S. government.” (9/11 Commission Report , p. 241). (See Iran 911 Case ).

In the December 2011 court judgment (Havlish v. Iran)  “U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ruled  that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case”.

According to the plaintiffs attorneys “Iran, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda formed a terror alliance in the early 1990s. Citing their national security and intelligence experts, the attorneys explained “how the pragmatic terror leaders overcame the Sunni-Shi’a divide in order to confront the U.S. (the “Great Satan”) and Israel (the “Lesser Satan”)”. Iran and Hezbollah allegedly provided “training to members of al Qaeda in, among other things, the use of explosives to destroy large buildings.” (See Iran 911 Case ).

This judicial procedure is nothing more than another vicious weapon in the fabricated “War on Terror” to be used against another Muslim country, with a view to destabilizing Iran as well as justifying ongoing military threats. It also says a lot more about the people behind the lawsuit than about the accused. The expert witnesses who testified against Iran are very active in warmongering neocon circles. They belong to a web of architects of the 21st century Middle-Eastern wars, ranging from high profile propagandists to intelligence and military officers, including former U.S. officials.

But what makes this case absurd is that in September 2011, a few months before the judgment, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has questioned the official 9/11 narrative, was accused by Al-Qaeda leaders of  “spreading conspiracy theories about the 9/11 attacks”. The semi-official media outlet of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, insisted that al-Qaeda “had been behind the attacks and criticised the Iranian president for discrediting the terrorist group.” (See Julie Levesque, Iran Accused of being behind 9/11 Attacks. U.S. Court Judgment, December 2011 (Havlish v. Iran), Global Research,  May 11, 2012)

Al Qaeda: US-NATO Foot-soldiers

Ironically, while Washington accuses Iran and Afghanistan of supporting terrorism, the historical record and evidence indelibly point to the “state sponsorship” of Al Qaeda by the CIA, MI6 and their counterparts in Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Al Qaeda death squads have been recruited to wage America’s humanitarian wars throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

In Syria Al Qaeda units were recruited by NATO and the Turkish High command: “Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels.” (http://www.debka.com/article/21255/  Debkafile, August 31, 2011).

In Libya, jihadists from Afghanistan trained by the CIA were dispatched to fight with the “pro-democracy” rebels under the helm of “former” Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj:

Western policy makers admit that NATO’s operations in Libya have played the primary role in emboldening Al Qaeda’s AQIM faction (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). The Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel in his article, “The New Al Qaeda Menace,” admits that AQIM is now heavily armed thanks to NATO’s intervention in Libya, and that AQIM’s base in Mali, North Africa, serves as a staging ground for terrorist activities across the region. http://www.globalresearch.ca/al-qaeda-and-natos-pan-arab-terrorist-blitzkrieg/

Table of Contents of the 9/11 Reader

In Part I, the 911 Reader provides a review of what happened on the morning of 9/11, at the White House, on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, at Strategic Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM), What was the response of the US Air Force in the immediate wake of the attacks?  Part II focusses on “What Happened on the Planes” as described in the 9/11 Commission Report.

Part III sheds light on what caused the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. It also challenges the official narrative with regard to the attack on the Pentagon.

Part IV reviews and refutes the findings of the 9/11 Commission Report.

Part V focusses on the issue of foreknowledge by Western intelligence agencies. Part VI examines the issue of how foreknowledge of the attacks was used as an instrument of insider trading on airline stocks in the days preceding September 11, 2001. The bonanza financial gains resulting from insurance claims to the leaseholders of the WTC buildings is also examined.

Part VII focusses on the history and central role of Al Qaeda as a US intelligence asset. Since the Soviet-Afghan war, US intelligence has supported the formation of various jihadist organizations. An understanding of this history is crucial in refuting the official 9/11 narrative which claims that Al Qaeda, was behind the attacks.

Part VIII centers on the life and death of 9/11 “Terror Mastermind” Osama bin Laden, who was recruited by the CIA in the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war. This section also includes an analysis of the mysterious death of Osama bin Laden, allegedly executed by US Navy Seals in a suburb of Islamabad in May 2011.

Part  IX  focusses on “False Flags” and the Pentagon’s “Second 9/11″. Part X examines the issue of “Deep Events” with contributions by renowned scholars Peter Dale Scott and Daniele Ganser.

Part XI  examines the structure of 9/11 propaganda which consists in “creating” as well “perpetuating” a  “9/11 Legend”. How is this achieved? Incessantly, on a daily basis, Al Qaeda, the alleged 9/11 Mastermind is referred to by the Western media, government officials, members of the US Congress, Wall Street analysts, etc. as an underlying cause of numerous World events.

Part XII focusses on the practice of 9/11 Justice directed against the alleged culprits of the 9/11 attacks.

The legitimacy of 9/11 propaganda requires fabricating “convincing evidence” and “proof” that those who are accused actually carried out the attacks. Sentencing of Muslims detained in Guantanamo is part of war propaganda. It depicts innocent men who are accused of the 9/11 attacks, based on confessions acquired through systematic torture throughout their detention.

Part  XIII focusses on 9/11 Truth.  The objective of 9/11 Truth is to ultimately dismantle the propaganda apparatus which is manipulating the human mindset. The 9/11 Reader concludes with a retrospective view of 9/11 ten years later.


PART  I

Timeline: What Happened on the Morning of September 11, 2001

Nothing Urgent: The Curious Lack of Military Action on the Morning of September. 11, 2001
- by George Szamuely – 2012-08-12
Political Deception: The Missing Link behind 9-11
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2002-06-20
On the morning of September 11, Pakistan’s Chief Spy General Mahmoud Ahmad, the alleged “money-man” behind the 9-11 hijackers, was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
9/11 Contradictions: Bush in the Classroom
- by Dr. David Ray Griffin – 2008-04-04
9/11 Contradictions: When Did Cheney Enter the Underground Bunker?
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-04-24
VIDEO: Pilots For 9/11 Truth: Intercepted
Don’t miss this important documentary, now on GRTV
- 2012-05-16

PART II

What Happened on the Planes

“United 93″: What Happened on the Planes?
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-05-01
  Phone Calls from the 9/11 Airliners
Response to Questions Evoked by My Fifth Estate Interview
- by Prof David Ray Griffin – 2010-01-12
Given the cell phone technology available in 2001, cell phone calls from airliners at altitudes of more than a few thousand feet, were virtually impossible
Ted Olson’s Report of Phone Calls from Barbara Olson on 9/11: Three Official Denials
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-04-01
Ted Olson’s report was very important. It provided apparent “evidence” that American 77 had struck the Pentagon.

 

PART III

What Caused the Collapse of

The WTC Buildings and the Pentagon?

The Destruction of the World Trade Center: Why the Official Account Cannot Be True
- by Dr. David Ray Griffin – 2006-01-29
The official theory about the Twin Towers says that they collapsed because of the combined effect of the impact of the airplanes and the resulting fires
Evidence Refutes the Official 9/11 Investigation: The Scientific Forensic Facts
- by Richard Gage, Gregg Roberts – 2010-10-13
VIDEO: Controlled Demolitions Caused the Collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) buildings on September 11, 2001
- by Richard Gage – 2009-09-20
VIDEO: 9/11: The Myth and The Reality
Now on GRTV
- by Prof. David Ray Griffin – 2011-08-30
Undisputed Facts Point to the Controlled Demolition of WTC 7
- by Richard Gage – 2008-03-28
VIDEO: 9/11 Explosive Evidence: Experts Speak Out
See the trailer for this ground-breaking film on GRTV
- 2011-08-03
9/11: “Honest Mistake” or BBC Foreknowledge of Collapse of WTC 7? Jane Standley Breaks Her Silence
- by James Higham – 2011-08-18
The Collapse of WTC Building Seven.
Interview. Comment by Elizabeth Woodworth
- by David Ray Griffin – 2009-10-17
  Building What? How SCADs Can Be Hidden in Plain Sight: The 9/11 “Official Story” and the Collapse of WTC Building Seven
- by Prof David Ray Griffin – 2010-05-30
Besides omitting and otherwise falsifying evidence, NIST also committed the type of scientific fraud called fabrication, which means simply “making up results.”
VIDEO; Firefighters’ Analysis of the 9/11 Attacks Refutes the Official Report
- by Erik Lawyer – 2012-08-27
VIDEO: Pentagon Admits More 9/11 Remains Dumped in Landfill
- by James Corbett – 2012-03-01
The Pentagon revealed that some of the unidentifiable remains from victims at the Pentagon and Shanksville sites on September 11, 2001 were disposed of in a landfill.
9/11: The Attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001
The Official Version Amounts to an Enormous Lie
- by Thierry Meyssan – 2012-08-16

PART IV

Lies and Fabrications: The 9/11 Commission Report

A National Disgrace: A Review of the 9/11 Commission Report
- by David Ray Griffin – 2005-03-24
The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571 Page Lie
- by Dr. David Ray Griffin – 2005-09-08
September 11, 2001: 21 Reasons to Question the Official Story about 9/11
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-09-11
911 “Conspiracy Theorists” Vindicated: Pentagon deliberately misled Public Opinion
Military officials made false statements to Congress and to the 911 Commission
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-08-02
The 9/11 Commission’s Incredible Tales
Flights 11, 175, 77, and 93
- by Prof. David Ray Griffin – 2005-12-13
9/11 and the War on Terror: Polls Show What People Think 10 Years Later
- by Washington’s Blog – 2011-09-10

PART  V

Foreknowledge of 9/11

  VIDEO: The SECRET SERVICE ON 9/11: What did the Government Know?
Learn more on this week’s GRTV Feature Interview
- by Kevin Ryan, James Corbett – 2012-04-10
9/11 Foreknowledge and “Intelligence Failures”: “Revealing the Lies” on 9/11 Perpetuates the “Big Lie”
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-09-14
“Foreknowledge” and “Failure to act” upholds the notion that the terrorist attacks (“act of war”) “waged by Muslims against America” are real, when all the facts and findings point towards coverup and complicity at the highest levels of the US government.
Foreknowledge of 9/11 by Western Intelligence Agencies
- by Michael C. Ruppert – 2012-08-21

PART VI

Insider Trading and the 9/11 Financial Bonanza

9/11 Attacks: Criminal Foreknowledge and Insider Trading lead directly to the CIA’s Highest Ranks
CIA Executive Director “Buzzy” Krongard managed Firm that handled “Put” Options on UAL
- by Michael C. Ruppert – 2012-08-13
The 9/11 Attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC): Unspoken Financial Bonanza
- by Prof Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-04-27
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001: Insider Trading 9/11 … the Facts Laid Bare
- by Lars Schall – 2012-03-20
Osama Bin Laden and The 911 Illusion: The 9/11 Short-Selling Financial Scam
- by Dean Henderson – 2011-05-09

PART VII

9/11 and the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT)

Political Deception: The Missing Link behind 9-11
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2002-06-20
On the morning of September 11, Pakistan’s Chief Spy General Mahmoud Ahmad, the alleged “money-man” behind the 9-11 hijackers, was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
9/11 ANALYSIS: From Ronald Reagan and the Soviet-Afghan War to George W Bush and September 11, 2001
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2010-09-09
Osama bin Laden was recruited by the CIA in 1979. The US spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings.

 

  The Central Role of Al Qaeda in Bush’s National Security Doctrine
“Revealing the Lies” on 9/11 Perpetuates the “Big Lie”
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2007-07-12
NATO’s Doctrine of Collective Security
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2009-12-21
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2010-08-30
What is now unfolding is a generalized process of demonization of an entire population group
Osamagate
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2001-10-09
The main justification for waging this war has been totally fabricated. The American people have been deliberately and consciously misled by their government into supporting a major military adventure which affects our collective future.
The “Demonization” of Muslims and the Battle for Oil
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2007-01-04
Muslim countries possess three quarters of the World’s oil reserves. In contrast, the United States of America has barely 2 percent of total oil reserves.
  Was America Attacked by Muslims on 9/11?
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-09-10
Much of US foreign policy since 9/11 has been based on the assumption that America was attacked by Muslims on 9/11.
  New Documents Detail America’s Strategic Response to 9/11
Rumsfeld’s War Aim: “Significantly Change the World’s Political Map”
- by National Security Archive – 2011-09-12

PART VIII

The Alleged 9/11 Mastermind:

The Life and Death of  Osama bin Laden

Who Is Osama Bin Laden?
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2001-09-12
  VIDEO: The Last Word on Osama Bin Laden
- by James Corbett – 2011-05-24
Osama bin Laden: A Creation of the CIA
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-05-03
Interview with Osama bin Laden. Denies his Involvement in 9/11
Full text of Pakistani paper’s Sept 01 “exclusive” interview
- 2011-05-09
Where was Osama on September 11, 2001?
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2008-09-11
On September 10. 2001, Osama was in a Pakistan military hospital in Rawalpindi, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan
Osama bin Laden, among the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted Fugitives”: Why was he never indicted for his alleged role in 9/11?
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-09-17
Osama bin Laden: Already Dead… Evidence that Bin Laden has been Dead for Several Years
- by Prof. David Ray Griffin – 2011-05-02
The Mysterious Death of Osama bin Laden: Creating Evidence Where There Is None
- by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – 2011-08-04
The Assassination of Osama bin Laden: Glaring Anomalies in the Official Narrative
Osama was Left Handed…
- by Felicity Arbuthnot – 2011-05-11
The Assassination of Osama Bin Laden
- by Fidel Castro Ruz – 2011-05-07
Dancing on the Grave of 9/11. Osama and “The Big Lie”
- by Larry Chin – 2011-05-05

PART  IX

 ”False Flags”: The Pentagon’s Second 9/11

The Pentagon’s “Second 911″
“Another [9/11] attack could create both a justification and an opportunity to retaliate against some known targets”
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-08-10
The presumption of this military document, is that a Second 911 attack “which is lacking today” would usefully create both a “justification and an opportunity” to wage war on “some known targets
Crying Wolf: Terror Alerts based on Fabricated Intelligence
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2006-08-20
This is not the first time that brash and unsubstantiated statements have been made regarding an impending terror attack, which have proven to be based on “faulty intelligence”.

PART X

“Deep Events” and State Violence

The Doomsday Project and Deep Events: JFK, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11
- by Prof. Peter Dale Scott – 2011-11-22
The Doomsday Project is the Pentagon’s name for the emergency planning “to keep the White House and Pentagon running during and after a nuclear war or some other major crisis.”
JFK and 9/11
Insights Gained from Studying Both
- by Dr. Peter Dale Scott – 2006-12-20
In both 9/11 and the JFK assassination, the US government and the media immediately established a guilty party. Eventually, in both cases a commission was set up to validate the official narrative.
Able Danger adds twist to 9/11
9/11 Ringleader connected to secret Pentagon operation
- by Dr. Daniele Ganser – 2005-08-27
Atta was connected to a secret operation of the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in the US. A top secret Pentagon project code-named Able Danger identified Atta and 3 other 9/11 hijackers as members of an al-Qaida cell more than a year before the attacks.
9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics
- by Prof. Peter Dale Scott – 2008-06-11
The unthinkable – that elements inside the state would conspire with criminals to kill innocent civilians – has become thinkable…
Al Qaeda: The Database.
- by Pierre-Henri Bunel – 2011-05-12

PART XI

Propaganda: Creating and Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend

September 11, 2001: The Propaganda Preparation for 9/11: Creating the Osama bin Laden “Legend”
- by Chaim Kupferberg – 2011-09-11
THE 9/11 MYTH: State Propaganda, Historical Revisionism, and the Perpetuation of the 9/11 Myth
- by Prof. James F. Tracy – 2012-05-06
  Al Qaeda and Human Consciousness: Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda…. An Incessant and Repetitive Public Discourse
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2012-03-24
9/11 Truth, Inner Consciousness and the “Public Mind”
- by James F. Tracy – 2012-03-18

PART XII

Post 9/11 “Justice”

IRAN ACCUSED OF BEING BEHIND 9/11 ATTACKS.
U.S. Court Judgment, December 2011 (Havlish v. Iran)
- by Julie Lévesque – 2012-05-11
U.S. Court Judgment, December 2011 (Havlish v. Iran)
American Justice”: The Targeted Assassination of Osama Bin Laden
Extrajudicial executions are unlawful
- by Prof. Marjorie Cohn – 2011-05-10
ALLEGED “MASTERMIND” OF 9/11 ON TRIAL IN GUANTANAMO: Military Tribunals proceed Despite Evidence of Torture
- by Tom Carter – 2012-05-30
Self-confessed 9/11 “mastermind” falsely confessed to crimes he didn’t commit
- by Washington’s Blog – 2012-07-15
911 MILITARY TRIAL: Pentagon Clears Way for Military Trial of Five charged in 9/11 Attacks
- by Bill Van Auken – 2012-04-06
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s trial will convict us all
- by Paul Craig Roberts – 2009-11-25

PART XIII

9/11 Truth

Revealing the Lies,  Commemorating the 9/11 Tragedy

VIDEO: Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of 9/11
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-09-01
VIDEO: AFTER 9/11: TEN YEARS OF WAR
Special GRTV Feature Production
- by James Corbett – 2011-09-08

*   *  *

Read about 9/11 in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller America’s “War on Terrorism”

According to Chossudovsky, the  “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

Order Directly from Global Research

America's War on Terrorism

Salafism and the CIA: Destabilizing the Russian Federation?

September 14th, 2012 by F. William Engdahl

Part I: Syria comes to the Russian Caucasus

On August 28 Sheikh Said Afandi, acknowledged spiritual leader of the Autonomous Russian Republic of Dagestan, was assassinated. A jihadist female suicide bomber managed to enter his house and detonate an explosive device.

The murder target had been carefully selected. Sheikh Afandi, a seventy-five-year old Sufi Muslim leader, had played the critical role in attempting to bring about reconciliation in Dagestan between jihadist Salafi Sunni Muslims and other factions, many of whom in Dagestan see themselves as followers of Sufi. With no replacement of his moral stature and respect visible, authorities fear possible outbreak of religious war in the tiny Russian autonomous republic.[1]

The police reported that the assassin was an ethnic Russian woman who had converted to Islam and was linked to an Islamic fundamentalist or Salafist insurgency against Russia and regional governments loyal to Moscow in the autonomous republics and across the volatile Muslim-populated North Caucasus region.

Ethnic Muslim populations in this region of Russia and of the former Soviet Union, including Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and into China’s Xinjiang Province, have been the target of various US and NATO intelligence operations since the Cold War era ended in 1990. Washington sees manipulation of Muslim groups as the vehicle to bring uncontrollable chaos to Russia and Central Asia. It’s being carried out by some of the same organizations engaged in creating chaos and destruction inside Syria against the government of Bashar Al-Assad. In a real sense, as Russian security services clearly understand, if they don’t succeed in stopping the Jihadists insurgency in Syria, it will come home to them via the Caucasus.

The latest Salafist murders of Sufi and other moderate Muslim leaders in the Caucasus are apparently part of what is becoming ever clearer as perhaps the most dangerous US intelligence operation ever—playing globally with Muslim fundamentalism.

Previously US and allied intelligence services had played fast and loose with religious organizations or beliefs in one or another country. What makes the present situation particularly dangerous—notably since the decision in Washington to unleash the misnamed Arab Spring upheavals that began in Tunisia late 2010, spreading like a brushfire across the entire Islamic world from Afghanistan across Central Asia to Morocco—is the incalculable wave upon wave of killing, hatreds, destruction of entire cultures that Washington has unleashed in the name of that elusive dream named “democracy.” They do this using alleged Al-Qaeda groups, Saudi Salafists or Wahhabites, or using disciples of Turkey’s Fethullah Gülen Movement to ignite fires of religious hatred within Islam and against other faiths that could take decades to extinguish. It could easily spill over into a new World War.

Fundamentalism comes to Caucasus

Following the dissolution of the USSR, radical Afghanistani Mujahadeen, Islamists from Saudi Arabia, from Turkey, Pakistan and other Islamic countries flooded into the Muslim regions of the former USSR. One of the best-organized of these was the Gülen Movement of Fethullah Gülen, leader of a global network of Islamic schools and reported to be the major policy influence on Turkey’s Erdogan AKP party.

Gülen was quick to establish The International Dagestani-Turkish College in Dagestan. During the chaotic days after the Soviet collapse, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation officially registered and permitted unfettered activity for a variety of Islamic foundations and organizations. These included the League of the Islamic World, the World Muslim Youth Assembly, the reportedly Al-Qaeda friendly Saudi foundation ‘Ibrahim ben Abd al-Aziz al-Ibrahim.’ The blacklist also included Al-Haramein a Saudi foundation reported tied to Al-Qaeda, and IHH, [2] a Turkish organization banned in Germany, that allegedly raised funds for jihadi fighters in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, and was charged by French intelligence of ties to Al Qaeda.[3] Many of these charities were covers for fundamentalist Salafists with their own special agenda.

As many of the foreign Islamists in Chechnya and Dagestan were found involved in fomenting the regional unrest and civil war, Russian authorities withdrew permission of most to run schools and institutions. Throughout the North Caucasus at the time of the Chechyn war in the late 1990’s, there were more than two dozen Islamic institutes, some 200 madrassas and numerous maktabas (Koranic study schools) present at almost all mosques.

The International Dagestani-Turkish College was one that was forced to close its doors in Dagestan. The College was run by the Fethullah Gülen organization.[4]

At the point of the Russian crackdown on the spread of Salafist teaching inside Russia at the end of the 1990’s, there was an exodus of hundreds of young Dagestani and Chechyn Muslim students to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other places in The Middle east, reportedly to receive training with the Gülen movement and various Saudi-financed organizations, including Salafists. [5] It is believed in Russia that the students trained by Gülen supporters or Saudi and other Salafist fundamentalist centers then were sent back to Dagestan and the North Caucasus to spread their radical strain of Islam.

By 2005 the situation in the Caucasus was so influenced by this Salafist intervention that the Chechen Salafist, Doku Umarov, cited by the UN Security Council for links to Al-Qaeda,[6] unilaterally declared creation of what he called the Caucasus Emirate, announcing he planned to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law encompassing the entire North Caucasus region including Dagestan. He modestly proclaimed himself Emir of the Caucasus Emirate. [7]

*  *  *

WWIII Scenario

*  *  *

 

Part II: Salafism at war with Sufi tradition

Salafism, known in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism, is a fundamentalist strain of Islam which drew world attention and became notorious in March 2001 just weeks before the attacks of September 11. That was when the Salafist Taliban government in Afghanistan willfully dynamited and destroyed the historic gigantic Buddhas of Bamiyan on the ancient Silk Road, religious statues dating from the 6th Century. The Taliban Salafist leaders also banned as “un-islamic” all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.

Afghani sources reported that the order to destroy the Buddhas was made by Saudi-born jihadist Wahhabite, Osama bin Laden, who ultimately convinced Mullah Omar, Taliban supreme leader at the time to execute the act.[8]

Before and…After Salafist Taliban …

While Sufis incorporate the worship of saints and theatrical ceremonial prayers into their practice, Salafis condemn as idolatry any non-traditional forms of worship. They also call for the establishment of Islamic political rule and strict Sharia law. Sufism is home to the great spiritual and musical heritage of Islam, said by Islamic scholars to be the inner, mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam, going back centuries.

As one Sufi scholar described the core of Sufism, “While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and will become close to God in Paradise–after death and the ‘Final Judgment’– Sufis believe as well that it is possible to become close to God and to experience this closeness–while one is alive. Furthermore, the attainment of the knowledge that comes with such intimacy with God, Sufis assert, is the very purpose of the creation. Here they mention the hadith qudsi in which God states, ‘I was a hidden treasure and I loved that I be known, so I created the creation in order to be known.’ Hence for the Sufis there is already a momentum, a continuous attraction on their hearts exerted by God, pulling them, in love, towards God.” [9]

The mystical Islamic current of Sufism and its striving to become close to or one with God is in stark contrast to the Jihadist Salafi or Wahhabi current that is armed with deadly weapons, preaches a false doctrine of jihad, and a perverse sense of martyrdom, committing countless acts of violence. Little wonder that the victims of Salafist Jihads are mostly other pacific forms of Islam including most especially Sufis.

The respected seventy-five year old Afandi had publicly denounced Salafist Islamic fundamentalism. His murder followed a July 19 coordinated attack on two high-ranking muftis in the Russian Volga Republic of Tatarstan. Both victims were state-approved religious leaders who had attacked radical Islam. This latest round of murders opens a new front in the Salafist war against Russia, namely attacks on moderate Sufi Muslim leaders.

Whether or not Dagestan now descends into internal religious civil war that then spreads across the geopolitically sensitive Russian Caucasus is not yet certain. What is almost certain is that the same circles who have been feeding violence and terror inside Syria against the regime of Alawite President Bashar al-Assad are behind the killing of Sheikh Afandi as well as sparking related acts of terror or unrest across Russia’s Muslim-populated Caucasus. In a very real sense it represents Russia’s nightmare scenario of “Syria coming to Russia.” It demonstrates dramatically why Putin has made such a determined effort to stop a descent into a murderous hell in Syria.

Salafism and the CIA

The existence of the so-called jihadist Salafi brand of Islam in Dagestan is quite recent. It has also been deliberately imported. Salafism is sometimes also called the name of the older Saudi-centered Wahhabism. Wahhabism is a minority originally-Bedouin form of the faith originating within Islam, dominant in Saudi Arabia since the 1700’s.

Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism give the following description of Saudi conditions under the rigid Wahhabi brand of Islam:

Women living under Saudi rule must wear the abaya, or total body cloak, and niqab, the face veil; they have limited opportunities for schooling and careers; they are prohibited from driving vehicles; are banned from social contact with men not relatives, and all personal activity must be supervised including opening bank accounts, by a male family member or “guardian.” These Wahhabi rules are enforced by a mutawiyin, or morals militia, also known as “the religious police,” officially designated the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) who patrol Saudi cities, armed with leather-covered sticks which they freely used against those they considered wayward. They raid homes looking for alcohol and drugs, and harassed non-Wahhabi Muslims as well as believers in other faiths.” [10]

It’s widely reported that the obscenely opulent and morally-perhaps-not-entirely-of- the-highest-standards Saudi Royal Family made a Faustian deal with Wahhabite leaders. The deal supposedly, was that the Wahhabists are free to export their fanatical brand of Islam around to the Islamic populations of the world in return for agreeing to leave the Saudi Royals alone.[11] There are, however, other dark and dirty spoons stirring the Wahhabite-Salafist Saudi stew.

Little known is the fact that the present form of aggressive Saudi Wahhabism, in reality a kind of fusion between imported jihadi Salafists from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the fundamentalist Saudi Wahhabites. Leading Salafist members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were introduced into the Saudi Kingdom in the 1950’s by the CIA in a complex series of events, when Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood following an assassination attempt. By the 1960’s an influx of Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia fleeing Nasserite repression, had filled many of the leading teaching posts in Saudi religious schools. One student there was a young well-to-do Saudi, Osama bin Laden.  [12]

During the Third Reich, Hitler Germany had supported the Muslim Brotherhood as a weapon against the British in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. Marc Erikson describes the Nazi roots of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood thus:

…as Italian and German fascism sought greater stakes in the Middle East in the 1930s and ’40s to counter British and French controlling power, close collaboration between fascist agents and Islamist leaders ensued. During the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence, sent agents and money to support the Palestine uprising against the British, as did Muslim Brotherhood founder and “supreme guide” Hassan al-Banna. A key individual in the fascist-Islamist nexus and go-between for the Nazis and al-Banna became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini.[13]

After the defeat of Germany, British Intelligence moved in to take over control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ultimately, for financial and other reasons, the British decided to hand their assets within the Muslim Brotherhood over to their CIA colleagues in the 1950s. [14]

According to former US Justice Department Nazi researcher John Loftus,  “during the 1950s, the CIA evacuated the Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood to Saudi Arabia. Now, when they arrived in Saudi Arabia, some of the leading lights of the Muslim Brotherhood, like Dr Abdullah Azzam, became the teachers in the madrassas, the religious schools. And there they combined the doctrines of Nazism with this weird Islamic cult, Wahhabism.” [15]

“Everyone thinks that Islam is this fanatical religion, but it is not,” Loftus continues. “They think that Islam–the Saudi version of Islam–is typical, but it’s not. The Wahhabi cult has been condemned as a heresy more than 60 times by the Muslim nations. But when the Saudis got wealthy, they bought a lot of silence. This is a very harsh cult. Wahhabism was only practised by the Taliban and in Saudi Arabia–that’s how extreme it is. It really has nothing to do with Islam. Islam is a very peaceful and tolerant religion. It always had good relationships with the Jews for the first thousand years of its existence.” [16]

Loftus identified the significance of what today is emerging from the shadows to take over Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, and the so-called Syrian National Council, dominated in reality by the Muslim Brotherhood and publicly led by the more “politically correct” or presentable likes of Bassma Kodmani. Kodmani, foreign affairs spokesman for the SNC was twice an invited guest at the Bilderberg elite gathering, latest in Chantilly, Virginia earlier this year.[17]

The most bizarre and alarming feature of the US-financed  regime changes set into motion in 2010, which have led to the destruction of the secular Arab regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muhammar Qaddafi in Libya, and the secular regime of President Ben Ali in Tunisia, and which have wreaked savage destruction across the Middle East, especially in the past eighteen months in Syria, is the pattern of emerging power grabs by representatives of the murky Salafist Muslim Brotherhood.

By informed accounts, a Saudi-financed Sunni Islamic Muslim Brotherhood dominates the members of the exile Syrian National Council that is backed by the US State Department’s Secretary Clinton and by Hollande’s France. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is tied, not surprisingly to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood of President Mohammed Morsi who recently in a meeting of the Non-Aligned in Iran called openly for the removal of Syria’s Assad, a logical step if his Muslim Brothers in the present Syrian National Council are to take the reins of power. The Saudis are also rumored to have financed the ascent to power in Tunisia of the governing Islamist Ennahda Party,[18] and are documented to be financing the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council against President Bashar al-Assad. [19]

Part III: Morsi’s Reign of Salafi Terror

Indicative of the true agenda of this Muslim Brotherhood and related jihadists today is the fact that once they have power, they drop the veil of moderation and reconciliation and reveal their violently intolerant roots. This is visible in Egypt today under Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi.

Unreported in mainstream Western media to date are alarming direct reports from Christian missionary organizations in Egypt that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has already begun to drop the veil of “moderation and conciliation” and show its brutal totalitarian Salafist colors, much as Khomeini’s radical Sharia forces did in Iran after taking control in 1979-81.

In a letter distributed by the Christian Aid Mission (CAM), a Christian Egyptian missionary wrote that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood “announced they would destroy the country if Morsi didn’t win, but they also said they will take revenge from all those who voted for [his opponent Ahmed] Shafiq, especially the Christians as they are sure we did vote for Shafiq. Yesterday they began by killing two believers in el Sharqiya because of this,” the missionary added, speaking on condition of anonymity.[20]

This report came only weeks after Egyptian State TV (under Morsi’s control) showed ghastly video footage of a convert from Islam to Christianity being murdered by Muslims. The footage showed a young man being held down by masked men with a knife to his throat. As one man was heard chanting Muslim prayers in Arabic, mostly condemning Christianity, another man holding the knife to the Christian convert’s throat began to cut, slowly severing the head amid cries of “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”), according to transcripts. In the letter, the Egyptian missionary leader added that, “soon after Morsi won, Christians in upper Egypt were forcibly prevented from going to churches.” Many Muslims, the letter claimed, “also began to speak to women in the streets that they had to wear Islamic clothing including the head covering. They act as if they got the country for their own, it’s theirs now.” [21]

Already in 2011 Morsi’s Salafist followers began attacking and destroying Sufi mosques across Egypt. According to the authoritative newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm (Today’s Egyptian), 16 historic mosques in Alexandria belonging to Sufi orders have been marked for destruction by so-called ‘Salafis’. Alexandria has 40 mosques associated with Sufis, and is the headquarters for 36 Sufi groups. Half a million Sufis live in the city, out of a municipal total of four million people. Aggression against the Sufis in Egypt has included a raid on Alexandria’s most distinguished mosque, named for, and housing, the tomb of the 13th century Sufi Al-Mursi Abu’l Abbas.[22]

Notably, the so-called “democratically elected” regime in Libya following the toppling of Mohamar Qaddafi by NATO bombs in 2011, has also been zealous in destroying Sufi mosques and places of worhip. In August this year, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova expressed “grave concern” at the destruction by Islamic Jihadists of Sufi sites in Zliten, Misrata and Tripoli and urged perpetrators to “cease the destruction immediately.” [23] Under behind-the-scenes machinations the Libyan government is dominated by Jihadists and by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, as in Tunisia and Egypt. [24]

The explosive cocktail of violence inherent in allowing the rise to power of Salafist Islamists across the Middle East was clear to see, symbolically enough on the night of September 11,th when a mob of angry supporters of the fanatical Salafist group, Ansar Al-Sharia, murdered the US Ambassador to Libya and three US diplomats, burning the US Consulate in Bengazi to the ground in protest over a YouTube release of a film by an American filmmaker showing the Prophet Mohammed indulging in multiple sex affairs and casting doubt on his role as God’s messenger. Ironically that US Ambassador had played a key role in toppling Qaddafi and opening the door to the Salafist takeover in Libya. At the same time angry mobs of thousands of Salafists surrounded the US Embassy in Cairo in protest to the US film. [25]

Ansar Al-Sharia (“Partisans of Islamic law” in Arabic) reportedly is a spinoff of Al-Qaeda and claims organizations across the Middle East from Yemen to Tunisia to Iraq, Egypt and Libya. Ansar al-Sharia says it is reproducing the model of Sharia or strict Islamic law espoused by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq. The core of the group are jihadists who came out of an “Islamic state”, either in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, or among jihadists in Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003.[26]

The deliberate detonation now of a new round of Salafist fundamentalist Jihad terror inside Muslim regions of the Russian Caucasus is exquisitely timed politically to put maximum pressure at home on the government of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Putin and the Russian Government are the strongest and most essential backer of the current Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, and for Russia as well the maintenance of Russia’s only Mediterranean naval base at Syria’s Tartus port is vital strategically. At the same time, Obama’s sly message to Medvedev to wait until Obama’s re-election to evaluate US intent towards Russia and Putin’s cryptic recent comment that a compromise with a re-elected President Obama might be possible, but not with a President Romney, [27] indicate that the Washington “stick-and-carrot” or hard cop-soft cop tactics with Moscow might tempt Russia to sacrifice major geopolitical alliances, perhaps even that special close and recent geopolitical alliance with China.[28] Were that to happen, the World might witness a “reset” in US-Russian relations with catastrophic consequences for world peace.

F. William Engdahl*  is the author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order

Notes:

[1] Dan Peleschuk, Sheikh Murdered Over Religious Split Say Analysts, RIA Novosti, August 30, 2012, accessed in

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120830/175517955.html.

[2] Mairbek  Vatchagaev, The Kremlin’s War on Islamic Education in the North Caucasus, North Caucasus Analysis Volume: 7 Issue: 34, accessed in http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=3334

[3] Iason Athanasiadis, Targeted by Israeli raid: Who is the IHH?, The Christian Science Monitor, June 1, 2010, accessed in http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0601/Targeted-by-Israeli-raid-Who-is-the-IHH.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mairbek Vatchagaev, op. cit.

[6] UN Security Council, QI.U.290.11. DOKU KHAMATOVICH UMAROV, 10 March 2011, accessed in http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQI29011E.shtml. The UN statement reads: “Doku Khamatovich Umarov was listed on 10 March 2011 pursuant to paragraph 2 of resolution 1904 (2009) as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of”, “recruiting for”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” and “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” the Islamic Jihad Group (QE.I.119.05), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (QE.I.10.01), Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSRSBCM) (QE.R.100.03) and Emarat Kavkaz (QE.E.131.11).”

[7] Tom Jones, Czech NGO rejects Russian reports of link to alleged Islamist terrorists al-Qaeda, May 10, 2011, accessed in http://www.ceskapozice.cz/en/news/society/czech-ngo-rejects-russian-reports-link-alleged-islamist-terrorists-al-qaeda?utm_source=tw&utm_medium=enprofil&utm_campaign=twennews.

[8] The Times of India, Laden ordered Bamyan Buddha destruction, The Times of India, March 28, 2006.

[9] Dr. Alan Godlas, Sufism — Sufis — Sufi Orders:

[10] Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz, Wahhabi Internal Contradictions as Saudi Arabia Seeks Wider Gulf Leadership, Center for Islamic Pluralism, May 21, 2012, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/2040/wahhabi-internal-contradictions-as-saudi-arabia

[11] Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz, Wahhabi Internal Contradictions as Saudi Arabia Seeks Wider Gulf Leadership, May 21, 2012, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/2040/wahhabi-internal-contradictions-as-saudi-arabia.

[12] Robert Duncan, Islamic Terrorisms Links to Nazi Fascism, AINA, July 5, 2007, accessed in http://www.aina.org/news/2007070595517.htm.

[13] Marc Erikson, Islamism, fascism and terrorism (Part 2), AsiaTimes.Online, November 8, 2002, accessed in http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/DK08Ak03.html.

[14] Ibid.

[15] John Loftus, The Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al-Qaeda,  Jewish Community News, October 11, 2006, accessed in http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/loftus101106.htm

[16] Ibid.

[17] Charlie Skelton, The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking?: The media have been too passive when it comes to Syrian opposition sources, without scrutinising their backgrounds and their political connections. Time for a closer look …, London Guardian, 12 July 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/12/syrian-opposition-doing-the-talking.

[18] Aidan Lewis, Profile: Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, BBC News, 25 October 2011, accessed in http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15442859.

[19] Hassan Hassan, Syrians are torn between a despotic regime and a stagnant opposition: The Muslim Brotherhood’s perceived monopoly over the Syrian National Council has created an opposition stalemate, The Guardian, UK, 23 August, 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/23/syrians-torn-despotic-regime-stagnant-opposition.

[20] Stefan J. Bos, Egypt Christians Killed After Election of Morsi, Bosnewslife, June 30, 2012, accessed in http://www.bosnewslife.com/22304-egypt-christians-killed-after-election-morsi.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Irfan Al-Alawi, Egyptian Muslim Fundamentalists Attack Sufis, Guardian Online [London],

April 11, 2011, accessed in http://www.islamicpluralism.org/1770/egyptian-Muslim-fundamentalists-attack-sufis

[23] Yafiah Katherine Randall, UNESCO urges Libya to stop destruction of Sufi sites, August 31, 2012, Sufi News and Sufism World Report, accessed in http://sufinews.blogspot.de/.

[24] Jamie Dettmer, Libya elections: Muslim Brotherhood set to lead government, 5 July, 2012, The Telegraph, London, accessed in http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/9379022/Libya-elections-Muslim-Brotherhood-set-to-lead-government.html.

[25] Luke Harding, Chris Stephen, Chris Stevens, US ambassador to Libya, killed in Benghazi attack: Ambassador and three other American embassy staff killed after Islamist militants fired rockets at their car, say Libyan officials, London Guardian, 12 September 2012, accessed in http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/12/chris-stevens-us-ambassador-libya-killed.

[26] Murad Batal al-Shishani, Profile: Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen, 8 March 2012, accessed in  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17402856.

[27] David M. Herszenhorn, Putin Says Missile Deal Is More Likely With Obama, The New York Times, September 6, 2012, accessed in http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/world/europe/putin-calls-missile-deal-more-likely-if-obama-wins.html. According to an interview Putin gave on Moscow’s state-owned RT TV, Herszenhorn reports, “Mr. Putin said he believed that if Mr. Obama is re-elected in November, a compromise could be reached on the contentious issue of American plans for a missile defense system in Europe, which Russia has strongly opposed. On the other hand, Mr. Putin said, if Mr. Romney becomes president, Moscow’s fears about the missile system — that it is, despite American assurances, actually directed against Russia — would almost certainly prove true.

“Is it possible to find a solution to the problem, if current President Obama is re-elected for a second term? Theoretically, yes,” Mr. Putin said, according to the official transcript posted on the Kremlin’s Web site. “But this isn’t just about President Obama. “For all I know, his desire to work out a solution is quite sincere,” Mr. Putin continued. “I met him recently on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, where we had a chance to talk. And though we talked mostly about Syria, I could still take stock of my counterpart. My feeling is that he is a very honest man, and that he sincerely wants to make many good changes. But can he do it? Will they let him do it?”

[28] M.K. Bhadrakumar, Calling the China-Russia split isn’t heresy, Asia Times,  September 5, 2012, accessed in http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/NI05Ad01.html.

 

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December 30th, 2012 by Global Research News

A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France’s military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME’s article, “The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?” decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome “War on Terror” narrative.TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop “Islamist” terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:

“…there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they’ve identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack.”

What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO’s 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya – providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya’s government.

As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote “Algeria will be next to fall,” where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:

Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis.

And thanks to NATO, that is exactly what Libya has become – a Western sponsored sanctuary for Al-Qaeda. AQIM’s headway in northern Mali and now French involvement will see the conflict inevitably spill over into Algeria. It should be noted that Riedel is a co-author of “Which Path to Persia?” which openly conspires to arm yet another US State Department-listed terrorist organization (list as #28), the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to wreak havoc across Iran and help collapse the government there – illustrating a pattern of using clearly terroristic organizations, even those listed as so by the US State Department, to carry out US foreign policy.Geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar noted a more direct connection between LIFG and AQIM in an Asia Times piece titled, “How al-Qaeda got to rule in Tripoli:”

“Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda’s number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same – and Belhaj was/is its emir. “

“Belhaj,” referring to Hakim Abdul Belhaj, leader of LIFG in Libya, led with NATO support, arms, funding, and diplomatic recognition, the overthrowing of Muammar Qaddafi and has now plunged the nation into unending racist and tribal, genocidal infighting. This intervention has also seen the rebellion’s epicenter of Benghazi peeling off from Tripoli as a semi-autonomous “Terror-Emirate.” Belhaj’s latest campaign has shifted to Syria where he was admittedly on the Turkish-Syrian border pledging weapons, money, and fighters to the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” again, under the auspices of NATO support.

Image: NATO’s intervention in Libya has resurrected listed-terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate, LIFG. It had previously fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now has fighters, cash and weapons, all courtesy of NATO, spreading as far west as Mali, and as far east as Syria. The feared “global Caliphate” Neo-Cons have been scaring Western children with for a decade is now taking shape via US-Saudi, Israeli, and Qatari machinations, not “Islam.” In fact, real Muslims have paid the highest price in fighting this real “war against Western-funded terrorism.”

….

LIFG, which with French arms, cash, and diplomatic support, is now invading northern Syria on behalf of NATO’s attempted regime change there, officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007 according to the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). According to the CTC, AQIM and LIFG share not only ideological goals, but strategic and even tactical objectives. The weapons LIFG received most certainly made their way into the hands of AQIM on their way through the porous borders of the Sahara Desert and into northern Mali.

In fact, ABC News reported in their article, “Al Qaeda Terror Group: We ‘Benefit From’ Libyan Weapons,” that:

A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials.”We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”

It is no coincidence that as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then, using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali, Algeria, and Syria with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.

French involvement may drive AQIM and its affiliates out of northern Mali, but they are almost sure to end up in Algeria, most likely by design.

Algeria was able to balk subversion during the early phases of the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011, but it surely has not escaped the attention of the West who is in the midst of transforming a region stretching from Africa to Beijing and Moscow’s doorsteps – and in a fit of geopolitical schizophrenia – using terrorists both as a casus belli to invade and as an inexhaustible mercenary force to do it.

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Perché gli Stati Uniti, Israele e l’Unione europea reagiscono così aspramente verso la consegna da parte della Russia dei missili S-300 alla Siria? In realtà, una o più batterie di missili antiaerei non possono mutare il corso della guerra civile in Siria. Soprattutto con la decisione di UE, Gran Bretagna, Francia e altri Paesi della NATO di fornire ai ribelli siriani simili sistemi d’arma. Allora, perché i russi non vogliono in nessun caso, rinunciare a dotare l’esercito siriano degli S-300? Per capire cosa significhi per l’occidente l’invio di queste armi, si deve notare che il segreto del successo delle campagne militari di Stati Uniti e Israele negli ultimi 20 anni, si basa sul possesso e l’uso del sistema di contromisure universale chiamato ESM/ELINT (sistema di supporto elettronico). Questo tipo di apparecchiature permette la registrazione e l’analisi delle emissioni radar e del controllo dei sistemi d’arma nemici, neutralizzandoli con le interferenze. Ciò permette alle loro aviazioni massima libertà di azione e la possibilità di operare senza perdite, nelle missioni d’attacco contro obiettivi aerei, marittimi e terrestri. L’elemento di novità nel classico scenario occidentale è che la Russia ha fornito all’esercito siriano dei lanciamissili S-300 dotati di un complesso sistema integrato C4I di rilevazione dei bersagli e gestione automatizzata del tiro. Prima di gestire il lancio e la guida dei missili S-300, il sistema garantisce un efficace controllo dello spazio aereo siriano e oltre, attraverso una rete di telecamere fisse a bassa frequenza di ultima generazione, resistente alle interferenze e agli attacchi con missili anti-radar. A ciò si aggiunge un’ulteriore rete di telecamere mobili, del tipo-1L119 Nebo, che operano sulla frequenza VHF. Oltre a queste due reti di monitoraggio automatizzato dello spazio aereo, si aggiunge un altro elemento per la rilevazione, il monitoraggio e il contrasto a qualsiasi fonte d’interferenza ESM/ELINT occidentale montato su velivoli o navi da guerra.

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In pratica, con l’esportazione mondiale di queste nuove armi da parte della Russia, i sistemi degli Stati Uniti e dei loro alleati della NATO e Israele non possono più imporre la cosiddetta “no-fly zone”, come fecero in Jugoslavia, Iraq e Libia. Senza correre il rischio di un’invasione terrestre  impiegando la flotta e la fanteria di marina. Quando i russi riuscirono a progettare e a realizzare questo tipo di tecnologia, durante il collasso e il declino economico dell’URSS, il vantaggio tecnologico degli Stati Uniti contro la Russia consentì all’esercito statunitense di condurre delle guerre vittoriose in Jugoslavia, Iraq e Afghanistan contro forze armate dotate di equipaggiamenti sovietici? Quale poteva essere l’elemento che diede alle armi statunitensi tale supremazia? La risposta è il C4I (Comando, Controllo, Comunicazioni, Computer e Intelligence). Il C4I è un concetto moderno, l’unico modo attuale di moltiplicare fino a 10 volte mobilità, velocità di risposta, efficienza e precisione tecnica nelle guerre convenzionali, basato sul vasto uso di microprocessori di ultima generazione per le apparecchiature di comunicazione, compresi i sistemi di rilevazione e di puntamento delle armi. Per recuperare il ritardo con gli statunitensi, la Russia ha istituito una agenzia di ricerca per la difesa simile alla Defense Advanced Research Projects del Pentagono (DARPA, creata nel 1958 a seguito del lancio dello Sputnik dell’Unione Sovietica), che gestisce la ricerca scientifica e lo sviluppo delle più recenti scoperte dell’industria militare russa.

Se esaminiamo attentamente come, il 27 marzo 1999, è stato abbattuto un aereo “stealth” statunitense F-117, a Budanovci in Jugoslavia, da parte di un sistema S-125 (Neva/Pechora), vediamo che l’Agenzia per la Ricerca della Difesa russa ha trovato ed implementato una soluzione tecnica per la rilevazione e la distruzione di tali velivoli e missili da crociera. Ma per raggiungere le prestazioni tecnologiche degli Stati Uniti, si dovrà attendere il 2008, con la guerra in Georgia. Prima del conflitto, l’esercito georgiano ricevette dalla statunitense L-3 GCS (leader nelle apparecchiature elettroniche miniaturizzate) e dagli israeliani i sistemi C4I più moderni. In seguito alla guerra del 2008, l’esercito russo entrò in possesso di gran parte del materiale C4I dell’esercito georgiano che poi analizzò, copiò e riprodusse. I loro componenti ad alta tecnologia furono in gran parte integrati nella produzione di nuove armi o nell’aggiornamento dei sistemi esistenti.

Il sistema modulare C4I permette la creazione di reti di comunicazione tattica integrata su piattaforme come veicoli militari in movimento. Permette la visualizzazione e l’aggiornamento automatico della situazione tattica su console con mappe digitali, controlli di gestione, rapporti di combattimento e stato della logistica (fabbisogno di munizioni, carburante, ecc.), o di monitorare lo stato di preparazione e operatività dei sistemi d’arma. Il sistema C4I permette inoltre di garantire la raccolta, la trasmissione via satellite e l’analisi delle informazioni nel formato standard della NATO  in tempo reale, utilizzando sensori posizionati negli avamposti della prima linea, e attraverso sistemi di AGS (Alliance Ground Surveillance) per l’osservazione/controllo elettronico del terreno attraverso droni e satelliti efficienti. Tutte le informazioni vengono dirette ai posti di comando mobili di compagnia, battaglione e brigata. Così, è possibile conoscere la situazione sul piano tattico, gestire il campo di battaglia, facilitando il processo decisionale del comando. Il C4I consente anche di trasmettere e ricevere con dispositivi wireless, in condizioni di sicurezza, dati audio e video ad alta velocità e in grande quantità, come voci e dati digitali, anche in presenza di interferenze. I suoi elementi dispongono di sistemi di memoria, accesso a propri server gestiti da potenti processori di ultima generazione che coprono l’intero spettro delle frequenze e sono protetti da sistemi di crittografia digitale.

 

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Les missiles S-300 russes et la neutralisation de la suprématie militaire américaine

Traduzione di Alessandro Lattanzio – SitoAurora

Valentin Vasilescu, pilota ed ex-vice comandante delle base di Otopeni, laurea di Scienza Militare presso l’Accademia di Studi Militari di Bucarest nel 1992.

In quick time after Obama declared a prolonged war on Iraq and Syria, the Department of Justice partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center to launch a new domestic surveillance program. This program seeks to expand the surveillance dragnet by training “community leaders” to monitor their communities for signs of “radicalization.” The imperialists are using manufactured fear of ISIS, the proxy jihadists of America’s own creation, as a means to justify such surveillance. The DOJ’s new program is another reinforcement of Washington’s ”War on (of) Terror,” which has provided the ideological foundation for white supremacist, imperialist warfare since 2001. Under the guise of fighting “terror,” the imperialists have waged an all out war on the poor, working class, and those who stand against Empire.

In doing so, the “War on Terror” has made it impossible for the ruling class to hide the national security-state apparatus of US imperialism. The passage of the Patriot Act and National Defense Authorization Act, as well as the maintenance of Guantanamo Bay, has sent a clear message that the imperialists are waging permanent war all over the planet for control and plunder. However, the expansion of the national security state is supported by the racist, deceptive narrative of “terrorist” prevention. In reality, imperialism’s erasure of Constitutional law through mass repression stems from a deep fear of popular rebellion. The purpose of the national security state’s illegal wire-taps, search and seizures, raids, and collections of private information is to neutralize any potential threat to the corporate and military dictatorship of US imperialism.

In the book Still Black Still Strong, Dhoruba Bin-Wahad defines the national security state as the network of intelligence agencies, local police departments, and the military institutions used to suppress resistance to imperialism. Dhoruba explains that the national security state was fathered into existence during Washington’s war against socialism and the Black liberation movement. The movement for Black self-determination, most militantly fought for by the Black Panther Party, prompted the Johnson and Nixon Administrations to “neutralize” Black political opposition in the US. The FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) focused most of its efforts on the Black Panthers. The repression was extensive, ranging from the use of informants to disrupt Party efforts and collect information, military-style raids on Panther headquarters, and targeted assassinations and arrests of Panther leadership.

The intensification of the war on the Panthers allowed Washington and local police departments to build the technological and military capacity necessary for the present day “War on Terror.” Dhourba argues that the counterinsurgency tactics employed on the Black Panther Party have expanded to encompass the whole US population. In other words, Washington has broadened its war to include all US citizens. Obama’s kill list, the Patriot Act, and all forms of mass surveillance must be placed in this context. The connection between the mass surveillance conducted by the national security state and the repression of the Black liberation movement cannot be understated, especially when COINTELPRO agents are still employed by Washington.

Enter Al Sharpton. Sharpton is Washington’s top “community leader.” Last spring, the corporate press revealed Sharpton’s involvement in the FBI as an informant on mafia and “drug” cases. However, Sharpton has been accused of being a more sinister type of rat during his period of employment for the FBI. Before Sharpton was Obama’s darling Black servant, he worked tirelessly to catch Black liberation heroine Assata Shakur. According to Black liberation movement activists Ahmed Obafemi and Kwame Brathwaite, Sharpton offered a donation on behalf of two former Black Panthers to Assata and requested to set up a meeting with her. He did so with knowledge of how dangerous such an encounter would be for Assata, who was on the run after escaping from political imprisonment.

Al Sharpton’s work as an informant for Washington is no longer secret. In this period, Sharpton is committed to degrading Black America and defusing potential Black rebellion on behalf of the Obama Administration. Besides this, Sharpton is a top Black spokesman for the privatization of education. Sharpton teamed up with Newt Gingrich in 2009 to promote “school reform.” In each city, Sharpton and Gingrich preached Arne Duncan and Obama’s doctrine of erasing public education from existence to make way for charter schools. Sharpton exhibits an energy few stooges have in promoting imperialism’s exhaustive dual agenda of Black exploitation and repression, while at the same time maintaining the image of “community leader.”

Just as Sharpton is now a public agent for Washington, the surveillance state as a whole is too massive to hide the crimes it was once only able to commit in secret. The newly announced DOJ program claims it will train “community leaders,” such as teachers and social service workers, in the art of identifying “radicals” of the ISIS boogeyman variety. If imperialism were an honest system, the ruling class would explain to the people that it teamed up with its imperial allies to create ISIS, making the move to ”spot” ISIS radicals in the US is nothing more than an excuse to rollback civil liberties and ramp up the domestic police state. In a very real way, the best case scenario for Washington’s imperial agenda is the creation of as many ”snitches” for Empire as possible. The imperialist ruling class has declared the need for informants with a public face. The Sharpton-ization of the US imperialism’s national security state has officially begun.

Danny Haiphong is an activist and case manager in the Greater Boston Area. Danny can be reached at [email protected].

In March of 2011 I accompanied Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide on his trip home to Haiti following years of forced exile in South Africa. I did so in support of Haitian democracy and Aristide’s civil rights, and in protest against my country’s role in illegally removing him from power in 2004 and then preventing him from returning to his native land for seven long years. Today, Haitian democracy and the rights of Aristide are again under threat and the U.S. government appears to be turning a blind eye.

Since returning to Haiti, Aristide has focused his energy on rebuilding and reactivating a medical university that he founded in 2001 and that had been closed down during his time in exile. Though he hasn’t been directly involved in politics, he remains a popular figure and is the leader of Fanmi Lavalas (FL) – a political party that has won the majority of votes in every election in which it has participated. However, FL has been kept off the ballot by Haiti’s authorities ever since the 2004 coup that led to Aristide’s forced exile.

Haiti’s parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for 2011, are now three years overdue and the UN and other foreign entities have repeatedly called for them to take place before the end of the year. With Aristide back in Haiti it would appear to be more difficult this time around for the government to prevent FL from participating. This is perhaps why the deposed president is once again under attack.

Last month, a Haitian judge reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Aristide. The case being mounted against him reeks of political persecution directly tied to efforts to suppress a popular alternative to the current administration of Michel Martelly, who is supported by conservative Haitian elites and the U.S.

The charges against Aristide stem from an investigation conducted by the illegal government established by the 2004 U.S.-backed coup. Under that government, human rights researchers found that some 4,000 people were killed for political reasons, while many others were imprisoned on bogus charges. Despite his powerful enemies’ best efforts, and a grand jury investigation in the U.S., no evidence has been produced that could support criminal charges against Aristide. In the meantime, the persecution of Lavalas and human rights defenders continues. On August 20, Lavalas activist Clifford Charles was killed following a protest demanding the release of fellow activist Louima Louis Juste.

The judge who issued the warrant for Aristide’s arrest has been disbarred from practicing law for 10 years – as soon as he steps down from his position as judge – for his role in the arrest last year of Andre Michel, an attorney investigating corruption within the Martelly administration. Lawyers for Aristide contend that they never received the initial summons from the judge and that when they did go to the court at the required time, the judge himself was a no-show. Now, in an apparent attempt at saving-face, the judge has ordered house arrest for Aristide, something that is not even legal in Haiti. The National Network for the Defense of Human Rights, Haiti’s most prominent human rights organization, has pointed out that these are not the actions of a neutral third-party.

On the night of September 11th, Haitian authorities went a step further, removing the security detail that had been with Aristide since his return from exile, a move that put him, his family, and his supporters at risk. Haitian press reports indicate that the command came not from the National Police, who have been reluctant to act against Aristide, but straight from the National Palace. The message was chilling and clear: the government can and will stop offering protection to the former president whenever it chooses to do so.

Is the government scared of facing Fanmi Lavalas in a free and fair election? President Martelly was elected in 2011, but only after intervention by the U.S. and its key partners, who arbitrarily overturned the results of the first round, thereby putting Martelly into the run-off election. Voter participation barely reached 20 percent.

The U.S. government was one of the main funders of those flawed elections and a major funder of the elections of 2006 and 2009, all of which excluded Fanmi Lavalas. The U.S. is also expected to provide key funding for the next elections, if and when they end up taking place. If elections aren’t held by the end of the year, terms will expire for the majority of the senate and the entire chamber of deputies, effectively letting the president rule by decree. My country’s government is a de facto, if not active supporter of this rampant curtailing of democracy.

It’s time to end the campaign of attacks against Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas once and for all. Aristide, like all Haitian citizens, must be allowed to participate in politics without fear and intimidation being the norm. My government has been complicit in undermining Haitian democracy for many years now – from the 1991 CIA-backed coup against the first Lavalas administration to the U.S. Administration’s last-ditch effort to prevent Aristide from returning to Haiti in 2011.

This needs to change. The U.S. government should stand by its professed support for democracy and development and stop standing in the way of the popular will of the Haitian people.

Danny Glover is an actor, producer and humanitarian activist.

On Aug. 21, Haitian police wearing black masks and carrying heavy arms appeared in front of the home of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide as a Haitian judge issued calls to arrest him. Hundreds of people courageously surrounded the house to protect him.

One week before, President Aristide was summoned to court on false corruption charges. This is the fourth time since his return to Haiti in 2011 that he has been the target of a politically motivated legal case. (Previous charges were dropped before he could even challenge them in court.) The judge in this case, Lamarre Bélizaire, has been suspended for ten years from practicing the law by the Port-au-Prince Bar Association for using the court to persecute opponents of the present regime. His suspension is due to begin once he steps down as judge.

President Aristide, a former priest, was Haiti’s first democratically elected president. He is loved and trusted by the majority of Haitians. While in office he built schools and hospitals, encouraged agriculture, and doubled the minimum wage. He was removed and forced into exile with his family in 2004 by a U.S.-backed military coup. Thousands of members of his Lavalas movement were killed, raped or falsely imprisoned in the aftermath of the coup.

In 2011, after seven years of grassroots organizing in Haiti backed up by an international campaign, President Aristide and his family returned home. Tens of thousands of people welcomed him. He promised to work for education and the inclusion of all Haitians in the democratic process. He has done just that – reopening the Aristide Foundation’s university, UNIFA, where today over 900 students from all sectors of society, including those who cannot afford higher education, are training to become doctors, nurses and lawyers.

Legislative elections due to take place in Haiti in October are triggering a new chilling wave of repression aimed at President Aristide and his supporters. Lavalas has overwhelming won every election in which it has participated, but since the 2004 coup the party has been barred from elections. As a result, fewer than 20% of Haitians turned out for the flawed election that brought the current President Michel Martelly to power in 2011. The Martelly government has not held an election since, and legislative elections are now three years overdue. Determined to consolidate dictatorial power, the Martelly government has systematically attempted to defame Lavalas, throwing out one set of accusations after another against President Aristide and other respected Lavalas leaders such as former Senator Myrlande Liberis-Pavert.

While President Aristide is being threatened with arrest, former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier – who is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Haitians during his rule – is living freely in Haiti, and has been openly embraced by Martelly.

Since the devastating earthquake and the cholera epidemic, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals training at UNIFA are needed more than ever. President Aristide must be able to carry on with his vital work as an educator.

The last time President Aristide was summoned, thousands of people surrounded the courthouse, chanting: “If they call our brother, they call all of us.” We echo their voices. Enough is enough. It is time for food, housing, health care and education. It is time for free, fair, and inclusive elections in Haiti, not dictatorship, so the urgent needs of the population can be addressed. The arrest warrant and other false charges aimed at President Aristide and his supporters should be dropped once and for all.

Signers:

Danny Glover, Actor and Human Rights Activist

Selma James, Author and International Coordinator, Global Women’s Strike (GWS)/UK

Pierre Labossiere, Co-founder, Haiti Action Committee

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Rev. Francis Ackroyd, Minister of Vine Reformed Church, Ilford, UK

Jerry Acosta, Senior National Representative, Utility Workers Union of America

Kali Akuno, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM)

ALBATV (Venezuela)

Jack Albert, Windsor Peace Coalition, Windsor, Ontario

Alexandria House, Los Angeles, CA

Bilal Mafundi Ali, Organization of African American Unity

Jahahara Amen-RA Alkebulan-Ma’at, Founder, Africans Deserve Reparations

Tayo Aluko, Playwright, actor, singer

Akubundu Amazu-Lott, Central Committee AAPRP

A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition - Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (U.S.)

Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)

Dr. Adrianne Aron, Liberation Psychologist

Dr. Nancy Arvold

Dr. Andrew Asibong, Author & lecturer in French studies, UK

Ayuko Babu, Pan African Film Festival

Patricia Barthaud, Ed.D candidate, University of San Francisco

Michael Bass, School of the Americas Watch

BAYAN-USA

Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Committee (BALASC)

Richard Becker, A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition – (U.S.)

Professor Joel Beinin, Stanford University, Department of History

Herman Bell, US political prisoner

Miranda Bergman, Artist and educator

Lincoln Bergman, Educator and poet

Dennis J. Bernstein, Executive Producer KPFA/Flashpoints

Johanna Berrigan, House of Grace Catholic Worker, Philadelphia, Pa.

Roy Birchard

Diana Block, California Coalition for Women Prisoners

Diana Bohn, Nicaragua Center for Community Action, Berkeley, CA

Blase and Theresa Bonpane, Directors, Office of the Americas

China Brotsky and Dan Roth

Richard Brown, San Francisco 8/Committee for Defense of Human Rights

Dr. Siri Brown, Chair of Ethnic Studies, Merritt College

Paul Burke, Filmmaker

Peter Burke, Esalen Institute, Big Sur, California

Mark Burton, Visiting Professor, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK

Reverend Richard Meri Ka Ra Byrd

Joey Cain, SF LGBT Pride Celebration Committee Board Member

Sara Callaway, Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike, UK

Rossana Cambron, member of Military Families Speak Out

Theresa Cameranesi, SOAWatch SF

Graham Campbell, Convener, Africans for an Independent Scotland

Dolores Canales, Organizer and activist

Jean Candio

Laura Carlsen

Pedro Pla Casaldáliga, Bishop Emeritus of São Félix do Araguaia – MT

Andrea Casher, PsyD, ABPP

Claudia Chaufan, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, University of California San Francisco

Chiapas Support Committee – Los Angeles

Claudio Chipana G, Encuentros Latinoamericanos, London, UK

CIP Americas Program

Terry Collins, KPOO

Comite Oscar Romero - Sicsal Chile

Brian Concannon, Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti (IJDH)

David A. Coolidge, Lay Servant, United Methodist Church

William Crossman

Robert Cruise, Unifor Local 195 Human Rights Committee, Windsor

Luke Daniels, President of Caribbean Labour Solidarity, UK

Shandre Delaney, Human Rights Coalition-Fed Up and Abolitionist Law Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Susan Dembowski

Manuel De Paz, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant

Jacques Depelchin, Historian

Dignity and Power Now – Los Angeles

John & Sara Donnelly, Sonoma, CA

Seth Donnelly, Teacher, Los Altos High School

Emory Douglas, former Minister of Culture, Black Panther Party

Helen Duffy & William Chorneau, Oakland, CA

Sister Maureen Duignan, Executive Director, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant

Carolina Dutton, Bay Area Latin America Solidarity Coalition (BALASC)

Derethia DuVal, PhD, MFT, SFSU Director of Counseling & Psychological Services Center

Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC

Joe Emersberger, Writer

Mia Engberg, Documentary Filmmaker, Sweden

Yves Engler, Author and activist

Arla S. Ertz, MSW

Linda Evans, Organizer, All Of Us Or None

Leslie Fleming, Director, Anthropology Program, Merritt College, Oakland, CA

Laura Flynn, Author

FMLN - Northern California

Adrienne Fong

Terry Forman, Artist

Cindy Forster, Professor, Scripps College, California

Frente Nacional de Resistencia Popular (Honduras)

Jose Frias, Comite Oscar Romero de Chile

Tova Fry, Workers World Party

Cynthia Fuentes, Educator

GABRIELA Philippines

Julisa Garcia

Mattias Gardell, Professor Comparative Religion, Uppsala University, Sweden

Anna-Maria Gentili, Professor History and Politics, Bologna University, Italy, retired

David Gespass, former President, National Lawyers Guild

David Gibson, Peacehome Campaigns

Eric Gjertsen & Dean Kendall, Payday men’s network

Andy Griggs, LA Laborfest

Deeg Gold, LAGAI Queer Insurrection

Sister Stella Marie Goodpasture, OP, Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, CA

Guerilla Food Not Bombs

Ben Guillory

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, Archdiocese of Detroit

Prof. Shadrack Gutto, PhD, University of South Africa

Peter Hallward, Professor of Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University, UK

Johanna Harman, Artist

Sue Harris, Co-Director, Peoples Video Network

Roxana Hart, Berkeley Women in Black

Maureen Hartmann

David Hartsough, Director, PEACEWORKERS, San Francisco

Daletha Hayden, RN and activist

Genesy Hernandez, Union Salvadorena de Estudiantes Universitarios, UC Berkeley

Charles Hinton, Inkworks Press, worker-owned collective

Marcus Holder, ILWU Local 10 delegate to San Francisco Labor Council

Hondurans in Resistance – NorCal

Julie H. Hoover

Gerald Horne, Historian

Phil Hutchings, Civil Rights activist (SNCC)

Nehanda Imara, AAPRP Organizer & Faculty at AFRAM Merritt College

Dr. Nia Imara, Harvard University

International Action Center

Carolyn Trupti Israel, Santa Cruz WILPF

Timoteo Jeffries

Kokayi Kwa Jitahidi, Campaign Director LAANE (Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy)

Sister Gloria Marie Jones, OP, Congregational Prioress Dominican Sisters of Mission, San Jose

Hank Jones, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights

Phoebe Jones, PhD, Quaker, Global Women’s Strike

James Jordan &  Chuck Kaufman, National Co-Coordinators, Alliance for Global Justice

William Joyce, Chair, Fr. Bill O’Donnell Social Justice Committee

Malaika Kambon, Photojournalist

Michelle Karshan, Haiti Dream Keeper Archives

Susan Roberta Katz, Professor, International and Multicultural Education, University of San Francisco

Willow Katz, Sin Barras; Santa Cruz, CA Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Kathy Kelly, Co-Coordinator, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

Sara Kershnar, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network

Nadine Khoury-Quesada, RN, Trauma Nurse, San Francisco General Hospital

Nunu Kidane, Director, Priority Africa Network

Marcus Kryshka, Executive Vice President, National Lawyers Guild

Julian Kunnie

Eusi Kwayana, Caribbean Activist Without Borders

Tchaiko Kwayana, Educator

Labor Community Strategy Center (Los Angeles)

Michael Ladson, Auckland, New Zealand

Regina Day Langhout, PhD, Provost, Oakes College, University of California at Santa Cruz

Marilyn Langlois, Richmond CA Planning Commissioner

Gloria La Riva, National Committee to Free the Cuban Five

Rev. Dr. Phil Lawson, Pastor Emeritus, Easter Hill United Methodist Church

Carlos Manuel Alejos Levano, Callao, Peru

Richard Lichtman, Professor Emeritus, Philosophy, The Wright Institute, Berkeley, CA

George Lippman, Vice-Chair, Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission [for identification only]

Rev. Dr. Lewis E. Logan, II

Jose Lopez, Executive Director, Puerto Rican Cultural Center, Chicago

Nina Lopez, Coordinator Latin America working group GWS/Argentina, UK

Jean Robert Pierre Louis, Miami, Florida

Jacqui Lovell, PhD Candidate, York St. John University, U.K

Barbara Lubin, Director, Middle East Children’s Alliance

M. Brinton Lykes, Associate Director, Center for Human Rights & International Justice, Boston College

Jeff Mackler, National Secretary, Socialist Action

Robert Majzler, University of California at Santa Cruz

Claude Marks, Freedom Archives

May 1st Coalition for Worker & Immigrant Rights, NYC

John McDonnell, Member of Parliament, UK

Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor, City of Richmond, CA

Anita Schrader McMillan, Warwick Medical School, Coventry, UK

David McPhail, Ruling Elder, St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Berkeley, CA

Judith Mirkinson, San Francisco Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Wazir Mohamed, Associate Professor, Sociology

Alejandro Molina, National Boricua Human Rights Network

Movimiento Cumbe Afrosalud Barlovento (Venezuela)

Leslie Mullin, Co-founder, San Francisco Dyke March

Michael Neocosmos, Director UHURU program, Rhodes University, South Africa

Robert Nixon, School of the Americas Watch – Oakland, East Bay

Kwazi Nkrumah, Co-Chair, Martin Luther King Coalition of Greater Los Angeles

Douglas Norberg

Carlie Numi

Kiilu Nyasha, Host/Freedom is a Constant Struggle

Oakland-Santiago de Cuba Sister Cities Association

Ofraneh (Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña, Honduras)

Catherine Owen, Human Rights Committee & District Labor Council, Windsor, Ontario

Tanalis Padilla, Professor of History, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, U.S.

Rosa Peñate, FMLN – Northern California

Peter Phillips, PhD, President Media Freedom Foundation/Project Censored

Kevin Pina, Documentary Filmmaker

Richard Pithouse, Professor Politics and International Studies, Rhodes University

Suyapa Portillo, Comité Solidario Graciela Garcia

Randall Potter

Margaret Power, Professor of History, Illinois Institute of Technology

Margaret Prescod, Host “Sojourner Truth,” Pacifica Radio & Women of Color/GWS/US

Myra Quadros, Principal, Sutro Elementary School, San Francisco

James Quesada, PhD, Chair and Professor, Department of Anthropology, San Francisco State University (SFSU)

Porfirio Quintano, Coordinator, Honduran Resistance FNRP Northern California

Kate Raphael, Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT), KPFA Women’s Magazine

Mary Ratcliff, Editor, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper

Dr. Willie Ratcliff, Publisher, San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper

Michael Ratner, President Emeritus Center for Constitutional Rights

Barbara Rhine, Attorney

Aimee Riechel, Teacher, Mission High School, San Francisco

Wilson Riles, Oakland C.A.N.

Walter Riley, Attorney, Chair of Board, Haiti Emergency Relief Fund

William I. Robinson, Professor of Sociology, University of California-Santa Barbara

Marvin Roman, Windsor Peace Committee

Susan Rosenberg, former US political prisoner

Didi Rossi, Queer Strike

Robert Roth, Co-founder, Haiti Action Committee

Alex Sanchez, Executive Director, Homies Unidos

Carolyn Scarr, Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC

Laurence Schechtman, The Neighborhood Village, Berkeley, CA

Peter Schey, President and Executive Director, Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law

Jane Segal

Suzanne Seitz

Azadeh Shahshahani, President, National Lawyers Guild

Jeanie Shaterian

Haleh Sheikholeslami, MD, United States

Dan Siegel, Attorney, Oakland, CA

Judy Siff, Psychotherapist

Dr. Vito Signorile, Professor Emeritus, Windsor, Ontario

Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, National Council of Elders

Sin Barras, Santa Cruz

Kevin Skerrett, Trade unionist and member, Canada Haiti Action Network (CHAN)

AJ Smith, Artist, Windsor, Ontario

Bob Smith, Brandywine Peace Community

Susan Gold Smith, Professor Emerita, Windsor, Ontario

SOAW-East Bay

SOA Watch – San Francisco

Dale Sorensen, Director, Marin Interfaith Task force on the Americas

Phoebe Sorgen, BFUU Social Justice Committee

Jeb Sprague, Author and Instructor, UCSB

Rev Kristin Stoneking, Executive Director Fellowship of Reconciliation

Patricia St. Onge, Seven Generations, Nafsi ya Jamii: The Soul Community

Dr. Paul Sutton, Professor in Caribbean Studies (retired), UK

Nancy Taylor, Justice Activist, Oakland, CA

Ruth Todasco, Every Mother is a Working Mother Network

Clarence Thomas, member ILWU Local 10

Willie Thompson, Professor Emeritus Sociology, City College of San Francisco

Walter Turner, President, Board of Directors, Global Exchange

Akinyele Umoja, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of African American Studies, Georgia State University

Lisa Valenti, US Cuba Sister City Association

Sister Judy Vaughan, CSJ

Max Ventura, San Leandro, CA

Gloria Verdieu

Margaret Villamizar, Chair, Windsor Peace Coalition, Windsor, Ontario

Eleanor Walden, Gray Panthers of Berkeley/East Bay CA, Board of Directors, Housing Chair

Ernest Wamba dia Wamba, Congolese Historian, Philosopher

Kristin Wartman, Author and Journalist

Mary Watkins, Professor, Pacifica Graduate Institute

Tom Webb, Oakland Catholic Worker

Jane Welford, Berkeley, CA

David Welsh, delegate, San Francisco Labor Council

Michel Wenzer, Documentary Filmmaker, Sweden

Maureen Wesolowski, Peace and Social Justice Committee, St Mary Magdalen Parish, Berkeley, CA

Rose Marie Whalley

Laura Whitehorn, former political prisoner

Tobey Wiebe

Arlene J. Williamson

Witness For Peace Southwest

Michael Wong

Workers World Party

Pauline Wynter

Mario Zelaya, Father Bill O’Donnell Social Justice Committee, Berkeley, CA

Vivian Zelaya, Women in Black and Ecumenical Peace Institute

Zbu Zikode, President of Abahlalibase Mjondolo Movement, Durban, South Africa

Daniel Zwickel ben Avrám – PeaceHost.net

Affiliations listed for identification purposes only

A recently retired, senior General in the British armed forces, who reported directly to the Defence Ministry, has this week stated that a major strategic understanding between the West and Iran is actively worth pursuing.

It must, the General said, be in the long-term interests of Britain and the West to bring Iran back into the international community of nations. Iranians are a proud, sophisticated people with a great history going back hundreds of years – many of which, as a strong ally of the West.

The West, including Britain, should seek to resume business with the Iranian government, for the potential benefits far outweigh any risk. Iran is a nation of 80 million and it is of extreme irritation that it is treated as a pariah state by a lobby-controlled U.S. Congress on the direction of the Israelis who are the only people in the world who operate a covert, nuclear-weapons program

Iraqi Pilots “Mistakenly” Drop Food, Ammo to ISIS Terrorists

October 1st, 2014 by Global Research News

The Iraqi Air Force mistakenly dropped food, water and ammunition to militants from the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS), thinking they were their own soldiers, US television NBC reported Tuesday.

The channel quoted Hakim al–Zamili, an Iraqi MP from the fervently Shiite Sadrist bloc, saying that an investigation is underway.

NBC said the supplies were supposed to help besieged Iraqi army officers and soldiers who had been fighting Islamist extremists for one week in Shaqlawah and the village of Al-Sijar in the country’s western Anbar province.

“Some pilots, instead of dropping these supplies over the area of the Iraqi army, threw it over the area that is controlled by ISIS fighters,” said al-Zamili, who is also a member of the parliament’s Security and Defence committee.

“Those soldiers were in deadly need of these supplies, but because of the wrong plans of the commanders in the Iraqi army and lack of experience of the pilots, we in a way or another helped ISIS fighters kill our soldiers,” al-Zamili said.

The channel also quoted a brigadier-general in Iraq’s Defense Ministry, who did not want to be identified, confirming the incident and saying it took place last week.

“Yes, that’s what had happened,” the officer said, adding that some air force pilots “do not have enough experience… they are all young and new.”

Baghdad is trying to rebuild its military after it collapsed before an IS onslaught that has captured a third of the country since June.

In desperate need of soldiers, the government has granted an amnesty for army deserters who return.

US jets have been targeting IS positions in Iraq since last month, and a coalition of some 50 nations has gathered to defeat IS forces fighting there and in neighboring Syria.

Copyright Rudaw, October 2014

Ebola Outbreak: The Latest U.S. Government Lies

October 1st, 2014 by Jason Kissner

We begin with the Public Health Agency of Canada, which once (as recently as August 6) stated on its website that:

“In the laboratory, infection through small-particle aerosols has been demonstrated in primates, and airborne spread among humans is strongly suspected, although it has not yet been conclusively demonstrated (1613). The importance of this route of transmission is not clear. Poor hygienic conditions can aid the spread of the virus.”

No more; the “airborne spread among humans is strongly suspected” language has been cleansed:

“In laboratory settings, non-human primates exposed to aerosolized ebolavirus from pigs have become infected, however, airborne transmission has not been demonstrated between non-human primates

Footnote1 Footnote10 Footnote15 Footnote44 Footnote45.

Viral shedding has been observed in nasopharyngeal secretions and rectal swabs of pigs following experimental inoculation.”

Are we to suppose that very recent and ground-breaking research was conducted that indicated there is no longer reason to “strongly suspect” that airborne Ebola contagion occurs? Surely, the research was done three weeks ago, and we only need to wait another couple of days until the study is released for public consumption. Feel better now?

If not, perhaps the 9/30 words of the Centers for Disease Control accompanying the Dallas Ebola case will provide some solace. Or, perhaps those words just contain another pack of U.S. Government lies. Let’s investigate.

Before addressing the CDC’s Statement, we should articulate some pivotal Ebola Outbreak facts we’re apparently not supposed to mention or even think about, since they’ve been buried by the Government/MSM complex. So, consider this from an earlier Global Research contribution by this author, drawn from a 2014 New England Journal of Medicine article:

“Phylogenetic analysis of the full-length sequences established a separate clade for the Guinean EBOV strain in sister relationship with other known EBOV strains. This suggests that the EBOV strain from Guinea has evolved in parallel with the strains from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon from a recent ancestor and has not been introduced from the latter countries into Guinea. Potential reservoirs of EBOV, fruit bats of the species Hypsignathusmonstrosus, Epomopsfranqueti, & Myonycteristorquata, are present in large parts of West Africa.18 It is possible that EBOV has circulated undetected in this region for some time. The emergence of the virus in Guinea highlights the risk of EBOV outbreaks in the whole West African subregion…

The high degree of similarity among the 15 partial L gene sequences, along with the three full-length sequences and the epidemiologic links between the cases, suggest a single introduction of the virus into the human population. This introduction seems to have happened in early December 2013 or even before.”

The take-home message is that we now confront a brand spanking new genetic variant of Ebola. Furthermore, we still have no idea at all how the “single introduction of the virus in the human population” of West Africa occurred. And, the current Ebola outbreak appears to be orders of magnitude more contagious than previous outbreaks. It also presents with a fatality count that far exceeds all previous outbreaks combined. But it’s certainly not airborne, so who cares about nit-picking details such as these!

In spite of the above facts, we are supposed to believe that all questions regarding the current Ebola outbreak can be answered with exclusive reference to what has occurred in connection with previously encountered—in terms of genetic composition—and known—in terms of initial outbreak source—Ebola episodes.

Here are a couple of questions. When was the last time an Ebola outbreak coincided with instructions to U.S. funeral homes on how to “handle the remains of Ebola patients”? Not to worry, since Alysia English, Executive Director of the Georgia Funeral Homes Association, is quoted (click preceding link) as saying “If you were in the middle of a flood or gas leak, that’s not the time to figure out how to turn it off. You want to know all of that in advance. This is no different.” So it’s just about being prepared, you see. Of course, nothing resembling this sort of preparation has ever transpired alongside any other Ebola outbreak in world history, so what gives now?

“Oh, it’s because we now have that Ebola case in Dallas.” True, but this response suffers from two fatal defects. First, we’re not supposed to worry about one tiny case as long as it’s in America, right, since according to the CDC on 9/30:

…there’s all the difference in the world between the U.S. and parts of Africa where Ebola is spreading. The United States has a strong health care system and public health professionals who will make sure this case does not threaten our communities,” said CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “While it is not impossible that there could be additional cases associated with this patient in the coming weeks, I have no doubt that we will contain this.”

If the U.S.’ strong health care system (which is apparently far superior to hazmat suits) is so effective at containment, what explains the funeral home preparations again? If U.S. containment procedures are so superb and the virus is no more contagious than before, what difference does it make whether the case is in Dallas, Texas or Sierra Leone? To be sure, maybe the answers to these questions are simple, and it’s just about corrupt money and the like.

However, the corrupted money explanation isn’t very plausible (at least on its own) either, for the very simple, and extremely disturbing, reason that the “funeral home preparations” article was first published on 9/29 at 3:36 PM PST—a day before the Dallas case was confirmed positive. Of course, this makes the following language at the very head of the article all the more eerie:

“CBS46 News has confirmed the Centers for Disease Control has issued guidelines to U.S. funeral homes on how to handle the remains of Ebola patients. If the outbreak of the potentially deadly virus is in West Africa, why are funeral homes in America being given guidelines?”

If the rejoinder is that “well, people thought the Dallas case might turn out positive”, the reply must be that there were several other cases, in places like Sacramento and New York, that might have turned out positive, but resulted in neither funeral home preparations nor a rash of CDC “Ebola Prevention” tips (wash those hands, since they’re running low on hazmat suits!)

Hopefully, you are in the mood for two more big CDC lies, because they really are quite important. From the 9/30 CDC statement: “People are not contagious after exposure unless they develop symptoms.” This is a lie for three basic reasons. First, the studies that inform the CDC’s professed certainty on this issue relied upon analyses of previous outbreaks of then-known known Ebola variants. The current strain, as stated here early on, is novel—genetically as well as geographically. Second, the distinction between “incubation” and “visible symptoms” is a continuum, not discrete in nature; a few droplets might not be rain, but they’re not indicative of fully clear skies either—so the boundary drawn by the CDC is, like nearly everything else the U.S. government does, arbitrary. Third, as even rank amateurs at statistics know, previous outbreaks have consisted of too few cases to confidently rule out small but consequential probabilities of asymptomatic transmission—completely leaving aside the fact that we have a new genetic variant of Ebola to deal with.

The last major CDC lie mentioned in this article is the claim, repeated ad nauseam, that “infrastructure shortcomings” and the like is wholly sufficient to explain the exponential increase in the number of cases presented by the current outbreak. We should believe that only when presented with well-designed multivariate contagion models that properly incorporate information about Ebola outbreaks and generate findings that socioeconomic differences as between West Africa and other regions of Africa (such as Zaire) alone can fully explain observed differences associated with the current outbreak. It seems to this author that we should strongly doubt that the current contagion can be fully explained without at some point invoking features of the novel genetic strain.

Dr. Jason Kissner is Associate Professor of Criminology at California State University. Dr. Kissner’s research on gangs and self-control has appeared in academic journals. His current empirical research interests include active shootings. You can reach him at crimprof2010[at]hotmail.com   

Since the global financial crisis in 2008 and the ensuing Great Recession, innumerable reports on the world economy have appeared from official bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the OECD, as well as academic institutions, seeking to ascertain when a “recovery” might begin.

Released this week, the 16th annual Geneva Report, commissioned by the International Centre for Monetary and Banking Studies, and written by prominent economists, differs in one major respect.

Earlier studies, while pointing to the ongoing problems of the world capitalist economy, have tried to find at least one “bright spot.” This report finds none. In fact, its basic theme is that any number of economic scenarios in one or other region of the world could set off another financial disaster.

The report’s main focus is what the authors call “debt dynamics.” Contrary to the widely-held belief that debt has come down since the global financial crisis, they point out that the overall world debt (public and private) ratio to gross domestic product (GDP) is still growing and has reached new highs. Excluding financial sector debt, it has risen by 38 percentage points since 2008 and now stands at 212 percent of GDP.

The authors point to a “poisonous combination” of lower world growth and lower inflation. When inflation is relatively high, debt burdens are easier to pay off because the real value of money is lower. In today’s world of lower inflation and even outright deflation, however, deleveraging becomes much more difficult. At the same time, debt reduction lowers growth, setting in motion a “vicious loop.”

The report also notes that the events of 2008 impacted on longer-term processes. Potential output growth in the developed economies had been on the decline already since the 1980s. The financial crisis “has caused a further, permanent, decline in both the level and growth rate of output.”

A measure of the decline is seen in the growth projections contained in the IMF’s annual World Economic Outlook reports. “Each successive IMF forecast was marked lower … for developed economies and for emerging economies.” Consequently, “the furthest-ahead forecast for the level of real GDP made in 2008, which was for 2012, is currently not expected to be achieved until 2015.”

The report casts a critical eye over the US economy. “[C]ontrary to the widespread perception and self-congratulations of public officials,” it remains heavily indebted as a consequence of the near 38 percentage point increase in federal debt relative to GDP. Much of the increase in public debt resulted from financial bailouts.

The most striking result of state intervention to prop up the US financial system is the expansion of the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve. Its holdings of financial assets have gone from less than 6 percent of GDP in 2007 to 25 percent today.

The Fed’s increase in asset purchases, known as quantitative easing, coupled with its low-interest rate regime, has encouraged the non-financial corporate sector to take on more debt. This borrowing has not been used for real investment and increased production but to build up cash buffers, lift dividends and buy back stock to boost share values.

Keeping interest rates low made investors “stretch for yield,” the report states. “In effect, the Fed has been ‘recruiting’ investors to purchase risky assets. The problem is that not all investors may appreciate the extent of the risk they acquire in the bargain.”

In other words, in a bid to counter the effects of the last crisis, the Fed, which has overall responsibility for the financial system’s stability, is acting as a kind of master procurer for the next one.

Surveying the European economy, the report says that on the “current projection for inflation and potential output growth, the eurozone finds itself in a situation of great fragility.” While the European Central Bank’s policies prevented a collapse of the banking system, “they were neither adequate to deal with the solvency problems of the banks, nor sufficient to avoid a fully-fledged credit crunch.”

In particular, high levels of debt in the so-called euro periphery made this group of countries “vulnerable to the normalisation of global long-term interest rates”—that is, to a return to supposedly better economic conditions. At the same time, they were “exposed in the event of a future disruption in international financial markets.” This means, in effect, that these countries, including Spain, Greece and Portugal, have no way out.

With its focus on debt, the report notes that while China and so-called emerging economies were less vulnerable than the developed economies to the 2008 crisis, they may be the source of the next one.

A number of emerging economies, most notably China, reacted to the 2008 breakdown by switching from export-led growth to domestic growth, promoted by a large expansion of credit. Across all emerging markets, the result has been an increase in the ratio of total debt, excluding financial firms, to GDP by a “staggering” 36 percent since 2008.

China is “one of the candidates for the next episode of the debt crises that have plagued the world since the early 1990s.” Since 2008, Chinese total debt, excluding the financial sector, has increased “by a stunning 72 percent of GDP,” equivalent to 14 percent per year. This was double the rate experienced in the US and the UK in the years preceding 2008.

Before the global financial crisis, investment in China was concentrated in the manufacturing and export sectors. Since then, as a result of the credit boom, the chief boost to the economy has come from investments in housing and infrastructure. This has led to overcapacity in some sectors of the economy and downward pressure on prices.

“As a consequence, China is facing a poisonous combination of high, fast-growing leverage and slowing nominal GDP. This, in turn, suggests growing difficulties in servicing and repaying debt in a number of sectors in the future are likely.”

Summing up the present situation, the report says the legacy of the crisis was a major issue for a number of developed countries, while there were “early signs already visible” in China and some emerging markets of “the next financial crisis.”

The path for “successful” debt reduction “looks quite narrow” and “there is a high likelihood of either a prolonged policy of very low growth or even another global crisis.”

Of course, the authors of this report, and others like it, remain staunch defenders of the capitalist system, presenting it as the only possible form of socio-economic organisation. The facts and figures they produce, however, provide an overwhelming case for the socialist reconstruction of the entire world economy.

Mass Protests Continue in Hong Kong

October 1st, 2014 by Peter Symonds

Thousands of protesters remained on the streets of central Hong Kong overnight in anticipation of far larger demonstrations today, China’s National Day—a holiday in both Hong Kong and mainland China. The protests have already drawn in tens of thousands during recent days to demand the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and open elections for his post in 2017.

The immediate trigger for the protests was last month’s announcement by China’s National People’s Congress that the 2017 election, while under a new system of universal suffrage, would be restricted to candidates vetted by a nomination committee stacked with pro-Beijing appointees. The decision was widely regarded as a breach of the promise of a fully-elected chief executive by 2017, made when China took over the former British colony in 1997. Currently the chief executive is chosen by a 1,200-member committee dominated by Beijing loyalists.

Opposition legislators from the broad grouping known as the pan-Democrats criticised the plan and threatened to veto it in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council. Occupy Central, an organisation founded last year by a collection of academics, church leaders and professions, announced a civil disobedience campaign that was due to start today to force Beijing to withdraw its decision. These parties and groups represent layers of the Hong Kong elites who, while concerned that Beijing’s control will undermine their interests, are even more fearful of a mass movement of the working class that could destabilise bourgeois rule.

The cautious approach of the pan-Democrats and Occupy Central, holding out for a compromise with Beijing, was pre-empted when the Hong Kong Federation of Students and other student organisations called for a boycott of classes and protests last week. Clashes between students and police outside the government headquarters on Friday provoked larger demonstrations over the weekend. The Hong Kong administration attempted to break up the protests using riot police, but failed.

Image:  The protest in Hong Kong [Credit: FlickrUser Pasu Au Yeng]

A tense standoff continues after riot police were withdrawn from the protest sites on Monday. Chief Executive Leung has refused to resign, declaring that Beijing will not back down from its election plan and urging Occupy Central leaders to call off the protests. He pointed out that the “Occupy Central founders had said repeatedly that if the movement is getting out of control, they would call for it to stop.”

Occupy Central, however, only stepped into the protests late Saturday. Its leaders, along with various pan-Democrats, are clearly seeking to bring the rather heterogeneous movement under its control, but their influence, particularly over younger layers of protesters, is far from certain. The diffuse and confused political character of the protests is reflected in their limited demands, along with their vague slogans of “democracy” and chants of “love Hong Kong” and “we want a real vote.”

At this stage, the involvement of the working class appears to be limited. A call by the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, which is aligned with the pan-Democrats, for a general strike yesterday went largely unheeded. Some teachers and social workers stopped work, according to the South China Morning Post. On Monday, about 200 workers from a Coca-Cola distributer walked out.

Image: Protest outside government headquarters

Nevertheless, the opposition is being fuelled by broader democratic and social concerns that reflect the deepening social divide in Hong Kong. The New York Times yesterday noted that polls over the past year indicated that

“the most disaffected and potentially volatile sector of Hong Kong society is not the students, the middle-aged veterans or even the elderly activists who have sustained the democracy movement for decades. Instead, the most strident calls for greater democracy—and often for greater economic populism, as well—have come from people in the 20s and early 30s who have struggled to find well-paying jobs as the local manufacturing sector has withered away, and as banks and other service industries have hired mainland Chinese instead of local college graduates.”

Hong Kong analyst Michael DeGolyer told the New York Times that these layers paid more attention to student leaders than Occupy Central or the pan-Democrats. “There’s a large number of people who are disaffected and alienated who are not students, who are not affiliated with any political party and who are angry,” he said.

Beijing is deeply concerned that the protests in Hong Kong could spiral out of control and spark unrest in the Chinese mainland amid a deepening economic slowdown and rising social tensions. Beijing has heavily censored news in the Chinese media and on the Internet about the protests and could resort to force to suppress the opposition in Hong Kong.

To date, Chinese authorities have adopted a cautious attitude, leaving the public handling of the situation to the Hong Kong administration and hoping that the protests will fizzle out. An editorial in yesterday’s state-run Global Times dismissed the demonstrations as “merely noise” and predicted that “tide will turn against the oppositionists” once Hong Kong people see that “the Central government will not change its mind.”

A more strident tone was sounded by the official People’s Daily on Monday. It denounced pro-democracy leaders who sought support from “anti-China forces” in Britain and the US, raising the spectre of a US-engineered colour revolution in Hong Kong. However, the protest movement bears none of the hallmarks of the putsch engineered and financed by the US and Germany in February to oust elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The carefully-staged, anti-Yanukovych protests in Kiev, which were dominated by extreme right-wing and fascist organisations, had no democratic content whatsoever.

At present, the response of the US and Britain to the events in Hong Kong is decidedly low key by comparison to mind-numbing deluge of anti-Russian propaganda that accompanied the Kiev coup. In comments on Monday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest declared that the US was “closely watching the situation in Hong Kong” and appealed to local authorities to “exercise restraint.” British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg called for a meeting with the Chinese ambassador to express his “dismay and alarm” over the situation.

While the Ukrainian coup was aimed at integrating Ukraine into the European Union and imposing drastic austerity measures, the US appears to be more concerned at present with preserving the status quo in Hong Kong. Assuming the bogus mantle of defending democracy in Hong Kong, Earnest said: “We believe that an open society with the highest possible degree of autonomy and governed by the rule of law is essential for Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity.”

That is not to say that the US and Britain will not be using their close ties with elements in the Hong Kong political and corporate elite to try to exploit the protests for their own advantage. As part of its “pivot to Asia”, the Obama administration has mounted a concerted diplomatic offensive throughout the region to undermine China’s influence.

The danger that the major powers could manipulate the pro-democracy demonstrations arises from the present confusion and lack of political perspective. While the protesters are hostile to the police-state methods of the Chinese regime, they must also oppose any intervention by imperialism. The US and its allies are certainly no defenders of democratic rights—either at home, or in their brazen interventions and wars around the globe. A genuine struggle for democratic rights is completely bound up with the development of an independent movement of the working class in Hong Kong, China and internationally in the struggle for socialist internationalism.

You have heard of the “No Fly List”, right?  Well, now the Tories are pledging that if they win the next election in the UK they will establish a list of “extremists” that will have to have their social media posts “approved in advance by the police” before they post them.  There are also plans to ban “extremists” from broadcasting and speaking at public events.  The stated goal of these proposals is to crack down on terrorism, but in the process the civil liberties of the British people are going to be flushed down the toilet.  And the American people need to pay close attention to what is going on in the UK, because whatever police state measures are implemented over there usually also get implemented over here eventually.  For those that believe that we need to do “whatever it takes” to fight terrorism, there is a very important question that you need to ask yourself.  What if the government decides that you are an “extremist” because of what you believe?  What will you do then?

When I saw a report in the Telegraph today entitled “Extremists to have Facebook and Twitter vetted by anti-terror police“, I could hardly believe it.

Do the British people actually want a “no social media list” that will essentially ban people from using Facebook and Twitter even though they haven’t actually been convicted of doing anything wrong?

The following is a brief excerpt from that article

Extremists will have to get posts on Facebook and Twitter approved in advance by the police under sweeping rules planned by the Conservatives.

They will also be barred from speaking at public events if they represent a threat to “the functioning of democracy”, under the new Extremist Disruption Orders.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, will lay out plans to allow judges to ban people from broadcasting or protesting in certain places, as well as associating with specific people.

The plans — to be brought in if the Conservatives win the election in May — are part of a wide-ranging set of rules to strengthen the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy.

This sounds like an Orwellian nightmare for the British people.

And who is an “extremist” anyway?

We are being told that those that belong to ISIS are extremists, and nobody would argue that.

But the article in the Telegraph makes it sound like any group “that spreads or promotes hatred” would be considered extremist.  And under these new proposals, even belonging to such a group could get you thrown into prison for up to 10 years

The Home Secretary will also introduce “banning orders” for extremist groups, which would make it a criminal offence to be a member of or raise funds for a group that spreads or promotes hatred. The maximum sentence could be up to 10 years in prison.

So what does all of that exactly mean?

Would anti-abortion groups be considered “extremist”?

Would groups promoting traditional values be considered “extremist”?

Would groups protesting against the abuses of the British government be considered “extremist”?

Would Christian churches ultimately be considered “extremist” because they don’t agree with the radical liberal agenda of the central government?

Essentially what the Tories propose to do is to tightly regulate all speech.  And there is no way to do that without turning the entire United Kingdom into a totalitarian hellhole.

Meanwhile, the United States continues to march down a similar road.

For example, we now live in an environment where a 16-year-old kid can be suspended from school and arrested by the police for writing a story “about using a gun to shoot a dinosaur”

In another case of school officials adhering to ridiculous zero tolerance policies, a student from South Carolina was suspended and arrested by police recently after writing an imaginative story about using a gun to shoot a dinosaur.

The offender, 16-year-old Alex Stone of Summerville High School in a suburb of Charleston was in the course of completing an assignment where students were asked to write something brief about themselves, much like Facebook status updates.

Stone told reporters that he found himself in hot water with teachers for being over imaginative and mentioning the word ‘gun’.

This is utter insanity, and it is getting worse with each passing day.

And it is not just kids that have to deal with this kind of thing.  A Big Brother police state control grid is being slowly constructed all around us.  And authorities are preparing for the day when they will have to use lethal force to keep the population in line.  Just check out the following excerpt from a recent Infowars report

A document released by the U.S. Army details preparations for “full scale riots” within the United States during which troops may be forced to engage in a “lethal response” to deal with unruly crowds of demonstrators.

The appearance of the document amidst growing unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, with the National Guard now being called in to deal with the disorder, is an ominous coincidence.

The 132-page document, titled U.S. Army Techniques Publication 3-39.33: Civil Disturbances (PDF), was written in April 2014 and recently obtained by Public Intelligence.

The document makes it clear that the techniques detailed therein are to be applied both outside and inside the “continental United States (CONUS)” in the event of “unruly and violent crowds” where it is “necessary to quell riots and restore public order.”

The training manual outlines scenarios under which, “Civil unrest may range from simple, nonviolent protests that address specific issues, to events that turn into full-scale riots.”

So precisely who is the government so concerned about anyway?

If ISIS and other Islamic terror groups are the problem, why train them to fight against Americans?

Sadly, the truth is that much of the focus in the “war on terror” has been turned inward during the Obama administration.  Many officials in the federal government now insist that “homegrown terror” is the greatest threat that we face.

And you may be quite surprised to learn who the government considers “potential terrorists” to be.  The following is an extended excerpt from my previous article entitled “72 Types Of Americans That Are Considered “Potential Terrorists” In Official Government Documents“…

*****

Below is a list of 72 types of Americans that are considered to be “extremists” and “potential terrorists” in official U.S. government documents.  To see the original source document for each point, just click on the link.  As you can see, this list covers most of the country…

1. Those that talk about “individual liberties”

2. Those that advocate for states’ rights

3. Those that want “to make the world a better place”

4. “The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule”

5. Those that are interested in “defeating the Communists”

6. Those that believe “that the interests of one’s own nation are separate from the interests of other nations or the common interest of all nations”

7. Anyone that holds a “political ideology that considers the state to be unnecessary, harmful,or undesirable”

8. Anyone that possesses an “intolerance toward other religions”

9. Those that “take action to fight against the exploitation of theenvironment and/or animals”

10. “Anti-Gay”

11. “Anti-Immigrant”

12. “Anti-Muslim”

13. “The Patriot Movement”

14. “Opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians”

15. Members of the Family Research Council

16. Members of the American Family Association

17. Those that believe that Mexico, Canada and the United States “are secretly planning to merge into a European Union-like entity that will be known as the ‘North American Union’”

18. Members of the American Border Patrol/American Patrol

19. Members of the Federation for American Immigration Reform

20. Members of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition

21. Members of the Christian Action Network

22. Anyone that is “opposed to the New World Order”

23. Anyone that is engaged in “conspiracy theorizing”

24. Anyone that is opposed to Agenda 21

25. Anyone that is concerned about FEMA camps

26. Anyone that “fears impending gun control or weapons confiscations”

27. The militia movement

28. The sovereign citizen movement

29. Those that “don’t think they should have to pay taxes”

30. Anyone that “complains about bias”

31. Anyone that “believes in government conspiracies to the point of paranoia”

32. Anyone that “is frustrated with mainstream ideologies”

33. Anyone that “visits extremist websites/blogs”

34. Anyone that “establishes website/blog to display extremist views”

35. Anyone that “attends rallies for extremist causes”

36. Anyone that “exhibits extreme religious intolerance”

37. Anyone that “is personally connected with a grievance”

38. Anyone that “suddenly acquires weapons”

39. Anyone that “organizes protests inspired by extremist ideology”

40. “Militia or unorganized militia”

41. “General right-wing extremist”

42. Citizens that have “bumper stickers” that are patriotic or anti-U.N.

43. Those that refer to an “Army of God”

44. Those that are “fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)”

45. Those that are “anti-global”

46. Those that are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”

47. Those that are “reverent of individual liberty”

48. Those that “believe in conspiracy theories”

49. Those that have “a belief that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack”

50. Those that possess “a belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism”

51. Those that would “impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists)”

52. Those that would “insert religion into the political sphere”

53. Anyone that would “seek to politicize religion”

54. Those that have “supported political movements for autonomy”

55. Anyone that is “anti-abortion”

56. Anyone that is “anti-Catholic”

57. Anyone that is “anti-nuclear”

58. “Rightwing extremists”

59. “Returning veterans”

60. Those concerned about “illegal immigration”

61. Those that “believe in the right to bear arms”

62. Anyone that is engaged in “ammunition stockpiling”

63. Anyone that exhibits “fear of Communist regimes”

64. “Anti-abortion activists”

65. Those that are against illegal immigration

66. Those that talk about “the New World Order” in a “derogatory” manner

67. Those that have a negative view of the United Nations

68. Those that are opposed “to the collection of federal income taxes”

69. Those that supported former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr

70. Those that display the Gadsden Flag (“Don’t Tread On Me”)

71. Those that believe in “end times” prophecies

72. Evangelical Christians

*****

Are you starting to understand?

When government officials speak of the need to crack down on “extremists” and “potential terrorists”, that is a very dangerous thing.

The truth is that they could be talking about you.

by Asia-Pacific Journal

I. The Hunt for Terrorists and Ethnic and Religious Profiling

In societies governed by the rule of law, what limitations should apply to police surveillance? What protections should be accorded to religious and ethnic minorities who may be subject to police profiling? Does police profiling of members of minority groups unfairly discriminate against them or violate fundamental rights such as the right to privacy or to practice religion? Questions like these are at the heart of ongoing litigation in Tokyo concerning police surveillance of Japan’s Muslim community.

In recent weeks, two separate United Nations human rights treaty bodies expressed their concern that ethnic and religious profiling by Japan’s police violate fundamental rights. In typically restrained diplomEthnic and Religious Profilingatic language, the UN Committee to Eliminate Racial Discrimination wrote that “profiling based on stereotypical assumptions that persons of a certain ‘race’, national or ethnic origin or religion are particularly likely to commit crime may lead to practices that are incompatible with the principle of non-discrimination.” The Committee urged the government of Japan to “ensure that its law enforcement officials do not rely on ethnic or ethno-religious profiling of Muslims.”1

Contrary to these recommendations, in a decision rendered in January of this year, Tokyo District Court approved police action based on Muslim profiling, on the ground that it is “necessary and inevitable” in order to protect Japan against the threat of international terrorism.2 The court made no reference at all to international human rights law embodied in treaties ratified by Japan, even though there is no doubt that such law is binding in Japan.

Police surveillance of Muslims was brought to the attention of the U.N. human rights panels by the team of Japanese attorneys who represent the plaintiffs in the Tokyo litigation.3 Their U.N. submission includes a summary statement by the attorneys, samples of police documents showing details of the surveillance campaign and the text of the Tokyo Court decision. All of these documents were either prepared originally by the attorneys’ team or translated by them from Japanese originals.4 This Asia-Pacific Journal report is based primarily on their English translation of the Tokyo court decision and other documents and references included in the UN submission.

II. The Police Surveillance Campaign Against Japan’s Muslim Community

The case began with the October 2010 leak of more than one hundred documents from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department that detail comprehensive and highly intrusive police surveillance of Japan’s Muslim community.5 This material provides a rare view into the inner workings of Japan’s public security police, charged with protecting the state against subversive threats.

Seven months after leak of these documents, seventeen Muslim plaintiffs residing in Japan, including Japanese citizens and individuals from Tunisia, Algeria, Iran and Morocco, filed suit seeking a judgment holding that the police profiling revealed in these documents is unlawful. Their complaint asserted that the police action violated three separate provisions of Japan’s Constitution: Article 13, which guarantees a right to privacy, Article 14, which prohibits discrimination based on “race, creed, sex, social status, or family origin,” and Article 20, which guarantees freedom of religion.6 They also claimed the police action violated other laws and regulations that protect personal information.

In a judgment issued on January 15, 2014, the Tokyo court dismissed their claims, holding that the intrusive police surveillance was “necessary and inevitable” in order to protect Japan against the threat of international terrorism.

The court dismissed all constitutional claims. Although the court upheld the legality of the police surveillance, it also found that the police were negligent in protecting the information they collected, thereby allowing its leak into the public domain. The court ordered payment of a total of approximately 90 million yen in compensation for injury to the plaintiffs resulting from disclosure of their confidential information. Both sides appealed the court judgment. The case is now pending before the Tokyo High Court.

III. Details of the Surveillance Campaign

The Tokyo district court judgment establishes a firm factual record which shows a) thorough police surveillance of Muslims and systematic collection of personal information, and b) police selection of surveillance targets solely on the basis of their religion and ethnicity, without reference to any concrete evidence indicating any of the targeted individuals might be connected to potential terrorist acts or other criminal activity.

The Tokyo Mosque, Japan’s largest

According to the court, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police launched their campaign with formation of a “mosque squad” composed of 43 agents in June 2008. The leaked documents showed that police stationed agents at mosques, followed individuals to their homes, obtained their names and addresses from alien registration records, and compiled databases profiling more than 70,000 individuals. The documents also showed that the police obtained bank account information, including balances, income and expenses and other personal information and stationed agents at Islam-related non-profit organizations, halal shops and restaurants, and other places that might be frequented by members of Tokyo’s Muslim community. In some cases, the police actually installed surveillance cameras at mosques and other venues.

Despite this conclusive record of highly intrusive surveillance, the court nonetheless absolved the police of any wrongdoing. The court’s judgment was based solely on its concern over the hypothetical risk that the targeted individuals present a threat of a violent terrorist attack. In the Court’s words, police surveillance was “necessary and inevitable” in order to protect Japan against the threat of international terrorism.

The Court reached this conclusion even though government lawyers failed to present any concrete evidence of a) a present risk of a terrorist incident, or b) that any of the subjects of government surveillance were connected to such a risk.

IV. Evidence Relied on by the Tokyo Court to Find Police Surveillance Lawful

As justification for the police surveillance campaign, the Court cited three types of evidence: 1) occurrence of violent terrorist attacks in foreign countries, 2) general statements by al-Qaeda leaders listing Japan among US allies that should be punished, and 3) evidence that an al-Qaeda officer had once lived in Japan. The court’s list of terrorist attacks commenced with the 9/11 incident and included terrorist bombings in Bali, Madrid, London and elsewhere. There was no mention of such an attack in Japan. General statements cited by the court included 2004 statements by al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Zawahiri listing Japan among other US allies that should be punished and a 2007 statement made by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed while in U.S. custody indicating that he had been involved in a plot to destroy the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

The court made only one reference to individuals who appeared in Japan that it identified as members of an international terrorist organization. The court described a French national named Lionel Dumont who had resided in Niigata in 2003 as an al-Qaeda officer. The court judgment also states that another unnamed individual stayed with Dumont and opened an account “under a false name at the Japan Post (and) had received a few dozen transfers of several thousand to one million yen, and he is suspected to have been raising finances for terrorism and procuring supporters during his time in Japan.”

The court attached special significance to Japan’s status as an ally of the United States and its policies in the Middle East: “Japan has been identified by multiple leaders of radical Islamic organizations as a target that is a US ally, participant in the occupation of Iraq etc., and supporter of the existence of the Israeli state.”

After describing this evidence of a threat to Japan, the court summarized as follows:

“Thus, given the real risks of international terrorist attacks taking place in Japan, the seriousness of the damage once such an act of international terrorism happens, and the complications in early detection and prevention due to its covert nature, assessing the current circumstances of mosque attendees through the Mosque Monitoring Activities and other Information Gathering Activities should be regarded as necessary activities for the police, whose duty is to maintain public safety and order, including the deterrence of crime, to prevent the occurrence of international terrorism.”

V. The United Nations Study on Protection of Human Rights While Countering Terrorism

The question of how to balance police investigations of potential terrorists against protection of individual rights confronts governments all over the world. To provide guidance, in 2005 the UN Human Rights Council appointed an expert to serve as “Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.”

Martin Scheinin, a Finnish professor of public international law, served in this position for two three-year terms, from 2005 through 2011.7 In a report issued in January 2007, Scheinin assessed the compliance of terrorist-profiling practices with human rights standards and set out permissible forms of terrorist profiling and possible alternatives to the reliance on terrorist profiles.8

Professor Scheinin wrote that he believes profiling is a permissible means of law enforcement activity. According to his report, “Detailed profiles based on factors that are statistically proven to correlate with certain criminal conduct may be effective tools better to target limited law-enforcement resources.” (Paragraph 33)

When law-enforcement agents use broad profiles that are not focused on such factors, but reflect unexamined generalizations, however, he wrote that they may violate fundamental human rights.

Regarding the right to non-discrimination, protected by both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Scheinin concluded:

In particular, profiling based on stereotypical assumptions that persons of a certain “race”, national or ethnic origin or religion are particularly likely to commit crime may lead to practices that are incompatible with the principle of non-discrimination.” (Paragraph 34, emphasis added)

Regarding the right to privacy, he wrote that “data-mining initiatives based on broad terrorist profiles that include group characteristics such as religion and national origin may constitute a disproportionate and thus arbitrary interference with the right to privacy, guaranteed by article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).” (Paragraph 38)

The Scheinin report includes descriptions of profiling programs used by authorities in various countries. In particular, it describes a program “initiated by the German authorities in the wake of 11 September 2001 to identify terrorist ‘sleepers’. The German police forces collected personal records of several million persons from public and private databases. The criteria for the search included: being male; age 18-40; current or former student; Muslim denomination; link through birth or nationality to one of several specified countries with a predominantly Muslim population. Approximately 32,000 persons were identified as potential terrorist sleepers and more closely examined.”9 (Paragraph 35)

Applying article 17 of the ICCPR, the German Constitutional Court ruled that the program violates the right to privacy. The Court held that the preventive use of this profiling method would be lawful only “if it were shown that there was a ‘concrete danger’ to national security or human life, rather than a general threat situation as it existed since 11 September 2001.” (Paragraph 38)

The factual record provided by Tokyo District Court shows a general threat at best, with no evidence whatever of the “concrete danger” required by the German Constitutional Court to support legality of such surveillance. The Scheinin report and citations such as the German decision clearly support the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination recommendation that Japan “ensure that its law enforcement officials do not rely on ethnic or ethno-religious profiling of Muslims.”

Final Comments

As Japan prepares to host the 2020 Olympics and otherwise present itself as a respected member of the international community, the country must demonstrate that it is an honorable host to visitors and residents from abroad where anyone can expect and receive fair treatment from government authority. The kind of behavior detailed in the Tokyo court’s judgment presents the picture of a police establishment that is insensitive to foreign residents and religious minorities and out of step with fundamental principles of international law. The court’s apparent eagerness to condone discriminatory exercise of police power poses a fundamental question about the role of the courts as guardians of fundamental rights. It remains to be seen how Japan’s appellate courts will handle these issues.

Recommended citation: Asia-Pacific Journal, “Police Surveillance of Muslims and Human Rights in Japan,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 12, Issue 39, No.1, September 29, 2014.

Related articles

Andre Vltchek, Intolerance, Religious Lynchings and the Future of Indonesia

Arudou Debito & Higuchi Akira, Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan

Kawakami Yasunori, Local Mosques and the Lives of Muslims in Japan

Notes

Concluding Observations” of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination (CERD Committee), August 29, 2014 (Advance Unedited Version). The CERD Committee was created pursuant to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination.

In a completely separate proceeding conducted by the UN Human Rights Committee, it issued concluding observations that included the following statement: “The Committee is concerned about reports on widespread surveillance of Muslims by law enforcement officials (arts. 2, 17 and 26)”, and the recommendation that the Japanese government should “(a) train law enforcement personnel on cultural awareness and the inadmissibility of racial profiling, including the widespread surveillance of Muslims by law enforcement officials, and (b) Ensure that affected persons have access to effective remedies in cases of abuse.” United Nations Human Rights Committee, “Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Japan” (Advance Unedited Version). The United Nations Human Rights Committee was created pursuant to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

2 Tokyo District Court Decision, January 15, 2014. In this article, all English expressions are derived from the translation in the UN submission by the attorneys’ team.

3 The website of the “Attorney Team for Victims of Illegal Investigation Against Muslims” is located at http://k-bengodan.jugem.jp

4 The full submission is available on the website of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and also check Extensive and Systematic Surveillance and Profiling of Muslims: Japan’s Violation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination

5 For a 2010 report on the leak, see David McNeill, “Muslims in shock over police ‘terror’ leak — Japan residents named in documents want explanation — and apology — from Tokyo police force,” The Japan Times, November 9, 2010.

6 An English translation of Japan’s Constitution is available. Article 13 does not expressly mention a “right to privacy,” but many of Japan’s constitutional scholars interpret the broad language of Article 13 to encompass such a right.

7 “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (Mr. Martin Scheinin).”

8 See A/HRC/4/26, “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism (Mr. Martin Scheinin).”

9 The Scheinin report notes that the German profiling program (the so-called “Rasterfahndung programme”), failed to identify any significant suspects.

Copyright Asia Pacific Journal, 2014

The World Jewish Congress, an international organization that represents Jewish communities and organizations in 100 countries around the world, has written a letter to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church expressing deep concern about the Church’s participation in neo-Nazi ceremonies in Ukraine. The letter, addressed to Patriarch Filaret of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, strongly condemned a recent ceremony near Lviv marking the 70th anniversary of the creation of the Galician division of the Waffen SS, in which Ukrainians fought on the side of Nazi Germany. From the WJC website

In late July, Ukrainians wearing SS uniforms were photographed trudging through trenches and fire rifles in a reconstruction of a key battle against the Soviets during World War II. An Orthodox priest led a ceremony for fallen soldiers of the Nazi unit, sprinkling his blessing over several men sporting swastikas who lowered a coffin in a ritual reburial.

In his letter, [World Jewish Congress president] Lauder expressed hope that Filaret would use his “moral authority to prevent any further rehabilitation of Nazism or the SS, and that you will call on the clergy of your Church not to participate in any future ceremonies or events that glorify or legitimize a uniform that epitomizes the evil of genocide.”

Lauder also mentioned that Oleg Pankevich, a lawmaker for the extreme-right Svoboda party, took part in the reburial ceremony.

“As you know, leaders of Svoboda, like their counterparts in Jobbik in Hungary and Golden Dawn in Greece, frequently engage in anti-Semitic rhetoric that has ominous implications,” Lauder wrote the church leader.

Unfortunately for the World Jewish Congress — and the rest of the world — Svoboda is now a leading player in Ukrainian politics.

Copyright Russia Insider 2014

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan

“It also gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them.”– Adolf Hitler

“What good fortune for those in power that the people do not think.”– Adolf Hitler
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”– Joseph Goebbels, German Nazi “Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment”

“Propaganda must always be essentially simple and repetitious. The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly… it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”—Joseph Goebbels 

The question posited by the title of this three part series explores the dilemma faced by truth-seekers who have the facts that totally refute the Big Lies about 9/11/01.

These so-called “9/11 Truthers” or “conspiracy theorists” (pejorative terms designed to demean them) have been attempting to inform individuals and institutions that have chosen to disregard and/or disbelieve the overwhelmingly provable and documentable truths about the pre-planted controlled demolitions that pulverized into fine dust the three WTC towers on 9/11/01 could not have been accomplished by anybody other than insiders.

It is obvious to many that 9/11/01 was a false flag event that has successfully destabilized the world and has started a state of perpetual US-led wars all around the world, wars that have destroyed and are continuing to destroy the lives of soldiers (and their families), unarmed innocents abroad, women and children, tribes, cultures, religions, economies (including our own) and the very planet we live on. And, it must be mentioned, our illegal, ill-advised and stupid military aggression has raised up billions of mortal enemies all around the world whose enmity and justified desire for revenge will never be appeased until “the Great Satan” is finally beaten.

The dilemma raised by the title question, “Why Do Good People Remain Silent”, has been faced throughout the history of the world by a multitude of truth-seekers and truth-tellers long before 9/11/01. A short list of American examples that have shaped world history was enumerated in last week’s column, available at (http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-cias-invention-of-the-conspiracy-theorist-smear-campaign-to-discredit-dissenters/5403876).

The “bamboozle quote” from Carl Sagan should help us understand one of the psychological reasons why both human and non-human entities (such as corporations and the corporate-controlled news media) so readily accept – and even promote – Big Lies and then, when the truth comes out that disproves the lies, refuse to admit that they have been bamboozled. Nobody likes to admit that they were duped.

The quotes from Hitler and Goebbels (which could have been made by J. Edgar Hoover, long-term, dictatorial head of the FBI and his neo-fascist minion from Wisconsin, GOP Senator Joe McCarthy) should help us understand how the misleaders of militarily powerful empires are able to manipulate their “Good Germans” (both civilians and soldiers of every nationality) into believing Big Lies.

Psychologist Frances Shure, who was an early skeptic of the official White House conspiracy theories about what happened on 9/11/01 has experienced her share of criticism from those who tend to implicitly trust their leaders. Her story, in a 9 part series on the subject, discusses the psychological background about how public opinion and beliefs can be manipulated. The series can be found athttp://www.ae911truth.org/faqs/821-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911-.html, Shure says:

“It is my firm belief that 9/11 skeptics—and true skeptics of any paradigm-shifting and taboo subject—who publicly expose lies and naked emperors are heroes …They have suffered the ridicule and wrath of those emperors, their minions, and the just plain frightened.

 “In our American society, many of our (authority figures) routinely lie to us, but nonetheless, many citizens continue to look to them for truth and safety—especially when fear is heightened. This strong tendency to believe and obey authority is another obstacle with which skeptics of the official 9/11 account must contend.

“By unquestioningly believing and obeying authority, we make very bad decisions, which often negatively affect others. This can be equally true for the four human proclivities studied by social psychologists: doublethink, cognitive dissonance, conformity, and groupthink.”

There are a number of psychological realities that can explain what motivates otherwise normal people to believe or act in a certain way when they are confronted with a crisis situation and find themselves needing to form an opinion that must be based on their life experiences. Issues of abandonment, shunning, isolation, loneliness, bullying, shaming or any number of other forms of neglect, abuse or violence can result in psychological wounding that shapes one’s ability to believe what one is told. Whether one “fights, flees or freezes” in response to a crisis, for example, and whether one responds violently or nonviolently, depends a lot on one’s ethical upbringing.

Shure’s point about the adverse effects of authoritarian parenting above is an important one to comprehend.

Shame and Humiliation as Motivating Factors

Adults who have been harshly parented, shamed or punished into submission as children tend to obey the orders that they receive from their political, media and religious leaders.

The desire to avoid experiencing shame and humiliation also motivates humans.  Achieving glory, praise, pride, self-esteem, power, fame, wealth, good looks, high fashion, hero status or being an accepted part of a group are powerful factors that motivate human behavior.

It is painful being an artificially demeaned and unfairly criticized “conspiracy theorist” about 9/11. Even though the 9/11 Truth-tellers have the scientific truth behind them, they have been mistreated by the mass media as a despised out-group for the past 13 years.

Being an accused 9/11 “conspiracy theorist” feels like being a Vikings fan among rabid Packers hooligans at a game in Green Bay when the purple and gold are losing badly. Being an out 9/11 truth-teller is probably like being a black-listed anti-fascist author, writer or musician during the proto-fascist McCarthy era. I sympathize with Galileo who was persecuted by the authoritarian church when he proved that the earth revolved around the sun but 99% of the world believed that the sun revolved around the earth because it said so in the bible.

People who have developed critical thinking skills – and therefore are less likely to be bamboozled by Big Lies – tend to be those lucky few who had parents or parent figures who did not harshly discipline them as children. They were, by and large, raised by parents who were not punitive, authoritarian or dictatorial types that demanded unconditional obedience – or else. Their parents gently obtained obedience from their children by strict but loving, non-punitive parenting methods that consistently fostered mutual love, respect and understanding.

Obedience to Authority

There have been any number of psychological observations and experiments that have been done that proves the connections between mental ill health, violence, fascism, nationalism, racism and susceptibility to false beliefs.

One of the most important was Stanley Milgram’s seminal work that was published in his book Obedience to Authority. Milgram and his colleagues did a number of experiments on a large variety of volunteers, all of whom thought that they were in an experiment that was about learning theory. In actuality, the volunteers themselves were being tested on how far they would go in torturing a subject with electric shocks every time a question was answered wrong (the subject was actually an actor who was only pretending to be electroshocked by the volunteer subjects). The subjects were supervised by an “authority figure” who was wearing a white coat and who gently urged that the experiment continue, even if and when some of the subjects objected.

The disturbing conclusion of the experiment (which was replicated many times across the country) was that 2/3rds of normal Americans would continue the incremental electroshocking of the “subject” even after he started screaming with pain and even after he eventually lapsed into unconsciousness and couldn’t answer, thus prompting ever more powerful shocks with each unanswered question.

Milgram’s experiments proved that a majority of otherwise normal Americans would trust the authority figure by inflicting torture on another human – as long as they felt that they could blame the authority figure for the acts. (Think Auschwitz, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and agents torturing terrorism “suspects” in CIA black site prisons overseas).

The final chapter of Milgram’s book makes the connections between the atrocities committed by American troops against hundreds of innocent and unarmed women and children at My La, Viet Nam on March 16, 1968 and the willingness to torture and kill if orders were given (obediently learned at the hands of brutal drill sergeant parent figures during basic training). Of course, most of the soldiers who had participated in the massacre, if they ever regained their lost consciences, would eventually experience nightmares, flashbacks, depression, sleep deprivation and guilty consciences because of what they had done. Another sobering fact about the My Lai Massacre is that none of the higher-ups in the chain of command – where the buck is supposed to stop – were ever court-marshalled, reprimanded or even accused of those obvious crimes against humanity.

Cognitive Dissonance and 9/11

Another psychological factor that helps explain why the Cheney/Bush White House’s  official conspiracy theory has become so ingrained is the concept of cognitive dissonance. A good YouTube discussion of the title question – by a number of psychologist colleagues of Frances Shure – can be seen at: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zP0FU46PcE). I highly recommend watching it.

I wrote a Duty to Warn column devoted to the subject of cognitive dissonance a year ago. It has been archived at (http://www.globalresearch.ca/duty-to-warn-911-and-cognitive-dissonance/5347923).

Here is the essence of the article:

Cognitive dissonance refers to the psychological or emotional discomfort felt when one is confronted with new information or a new reality that contradicts one’s deeply held beliefs. It appears to be especially common among people who have been inundated with television commercials, repeated claims from a “Trusted” talking head on TV of radio and in those who have been indoctrinated by charismatic, deceptive religious cult leaders who profess to have acquired the “truth” by a literal interpretation of selected portions of their “sacred” texts.

“When there is are conflicting, mutually exclusive beliefs, intelligent, open-minded and thoughtful people that have not been victimized by cruelty during their childhood, are usually willing to change their minds by re-evaluating their prior stances, looking carefully and honestly at the new evidence, reassessing the credibility of both positions and then making a decision to adopt or reject the new information, depending on the evidence before them.

“Close-minded, distracted, uninformed, ignorant, too-busy, overly obedient, uber-patriotic, addicted, co-opted or intensely conservative people may not have the time, inclination, intelligence or political will (or courage) to look at the available new evidence that runs contrary to their old, ingrained beliefs. Therefore they may unconsciously or reflexively reject the new information, even if the evidence is overwhelmingly and provably true.”

Shure quotes folks who have experienced cognitive dissonance over the 9/11 issue.

“If what you are saying is true, I don’t want to know about it!”

“If what you are saying is true, I would become very negative. Psychologically, I would go downhill.”

“I know we were lied to. But my work in the world is very important to me, and if I am to continue it, I can’t have my taxes audited!”

 “I am aware that our government does bad things, but not this! Not those towers! They would not be that evil.”

“I find your statement that our government orchestrated 9/11 very disturbing and offensive.”

“Well, we are surrounded by the official story; it’s everywhere—the TV, the newspapers, our teachers, friends at school and work. What am I to do?!”

“I admit that I seriously resist anyone messing with my worldview.”

“Obama surely did not know about this 9/11 evidence before he was elected. Maybe he knows now, but he can’t say anything to us. If the country knew the truth about 9/11, there would be chaos; the stock market would plummet. He would probably like to tell us, but he cannot.”

“You can’t expect someone to listen to information that turns their world upside down.”

“I wouldn’t believe that even if it were true!”

And one I remember a telling statement from a local politician: “Don’t tell me about the real facts about 9/11. I don’t want to be thought of as a wing-nut.” And one from the leader of a local organization when it was suggested that the 9/11 issue be discussed:“We don’t want to touch that one!”

Not too many folks seem to want to become dissenters or whistle-blowers, especially in an era of perpetual war where one does not want to be seen as unpatriotic and when recent administrations have been going after them so vigorously. Fascist leaders such as Hitler and Goebbels would have whole-heartedly concurred with how Obama and Bush have been dealing with them. Hitler understood that his military campaigns would eventually result in backlashes, and not too many Good Germans were willing to do the right thing and resist.

Not too many folks who live in punitive, militarized Empires have the courage to do what the whistle-blowing boy did when he saw that his emperor had no clothes on. Not too many folks want to be truth-tellers in a nation that imprisons, expels or executes truth-tellers and suppresses every truth that threatens national/corporate prestige, national/corporate security or national/corporate pride.

Hitler got his timid Good Germans who lived outside the concentration camp fences to believe the Big Lie that “Arbeit Macht Frei” (work makes one free). Relatively free, moderately democratic societies are told that “The Truth Shall Make You Free”, that “The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword” and that “The Arc of History Bends Towards Justice”.

Without enough courageous dissenters, whistle-blowers and people of conscience (like the millions of 9/11 truth-seekers), the spiritual progeny of the conscienceless fascists, militarists, racists, colonialists, economic exploiters, bankers and corporatists that almost took over the world during World War II – will probably continue to grow in power and influence – fouling our planetary nest as they go. I would hate to see them have the last laugh.

Dr Kohls writes regularly about a variety of issues that includes corporatism, militarism, economic oppression, racism and fascism. He is a member of Medical Professionals for 911 Truth.

Although UN Security Council Resolution 2178 about a global initiative against foreign terrorist fighters was passed unanimously by the UN Security Council, the countries gathered were divided on the role that the US has played in supporting international terrorism. One needs to get past the diplomatic jargon and the framework of the consensus to hear it. The crux of the matter is that the world faces an inquisitional mentality and that even dissenting UN members were forced to operate under the narrative and  consensus that Washington has spun.

The United Nations Security Council held a high-level meeting on terrorism on September 24, 2014. UN Security Council Resolution 2178, which underscored the need to prevent the travel and funding of foreign terrorists, was unanimously approved and passed by its five permanent and veto-holding members — Britain, China, France, Russia, and the US — and its elected non-permanent members — Argentina , Australia, Chad, Chile, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Nigeria, South Korea, and Rwanda — which have chairs for two-year terms.

The Syrian government hailed the passing of the resolution as verification of its claims about the nature of the anti-government forces that the US, Britain, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Israel, and Lebanon’s perfidious Hariri-led March 14 Alliance have been supporting. Syrian Information Minister Omran Al-Zoubi hailed Resolution 2178 as a political victory for Syria on September 28, 2014.

The September 24 meeting was chaired by the US, which since the start of the month of September received the rotating UN Security Council presidency from Britain. Moreover, US President Barack Obama was personally chairing the situation while US Secretary of State, US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, and US National Security Advisor Susan Rice all sat behind him. The resolution had been circulated before the session and approved before opening remarks and statements were made.

Australia, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Chad, Chile, France, Jordan, Kenya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, Rwanda, South Korea, Turkey, and Trinidad and Tobago were all represented by either their head of state or head of government. Archbishop Pietro Parolin, Vatican City’s Secretary of State (which is the equivalent of a prime minister) was also present, as was Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the EU’s European Council. Albania, Algeria, China, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Senegal, Serbia, and New Zealand were represented at the ministerial level while Egypt, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Spain, and the UAE were represented by cabinet advisors, special envoys, and lower ranking representatives. Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Al-Jaafari was also in attendance.

UN Security Council Resolution 2178 is described by the US Department of State, in a factsheet it released on the same date (September 24, 2014), as a legally binding document that requires all countries to prevent foreign terrorist fighters from either entering or transiting their territories and to establish domestic laws to prosecute these foreign terrorists domestically.

UN Security Council Resolution 2178, itself, states that the UN Security Council “through the resolution, decided that all States shall ensure that their legal systems provide for the prosecution, as serious criminal offences, of travel for terrorism or related training, as well as the financing or facilitation of such activities.” It goes on to say that it has been decided that all member states of the UN “shall prevent entry or transit through their territories of any individual about whom that State had credible information of their terrorist-related intentions, without prejudice to transit necessary for the furtherance of judicial processes. It called on States to require airlines to provide passenger lists for that purpose.”

Although it is de-contextualized as Argentina, China, and Russia would all stealthily point out in diplomatic terms, the content of UN Security Council Resolution 2178 in principle was sound. Therefore, it got the unanimous support of the entire UN Security Council. In practice, it is a totally different story.

Liars in High Office: A Pageantry of Dishonesty

Almost the entire meeting about UN Security Council Resolution 2178 was a pageantry of hollow rhetoric and beautiful lies. The room was filled with soulless poets. Most the noble words by the gathering of careerists had no bearing with reality. The biggest state-sponsors of terrorism were in attendance in the chamber presenting themselves as champions of justice and as adversaries of terrorism. Aside from a few comments by countries like Argentina, Russia, and Syria, the entire meeting was almost totally a fiction.

Listening to the session, one could see which countries and governments were truly independent and which countries and governments were proxies and clients of Washington. The US vassals in the chamber all catered to Washington and Obama’s ego. Washington’s vassals took turns to acknowledge Barack Obama’s leadership ad nauseum. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Australia, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Jordan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Norway, Qatar, South Korea, and the FYR of Macedonia all thanked Obama for his leadership like subordinates paying homage to their overlord. If Obama did not have to leave before they talked, the representatives of the Netherlands and Morocco would have most probably saluted him for his leadership too like the leaders of Norway and Canada did in his absence. Algeria, Chad, Pakistan, Senegal, and a few other countries also thanked Obama for calling for the high-level UN Security Council meeting, but their tone was not as obsequious as those of countries like Jordan, Qatar, and NATO member Bulgaria.

Washington’s puppets and subordinates all used the same talking points that the US Department of State had been pushing for days. Their statements could have very well have been written for them by the US Department of State. This was very clear in the case of the speech made on behalf of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan by King Abdullah II. Using trademark US Department of State dramatic language, he started by calling what was happening was “the fight of our times.” The Jordanian dictator pushed the US points of global reach and—using the latest catchphrase that the US Department of State has taken a shine to— called for “a holistic approach” to fighting the ISIL and other terrorist organizations. Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane also called for the same “holistic approach” that King Abdullah II was promoting. These statements were following in John Kerry’s footsteps after he had called for a “holistic global campaign” during an earlier UN Security Council meeting on September 19, 2014.

Abdullah II pushed for absolute submission and capitulation to Washington’s new crusade in his speech. With a ridiculously somber tone, he demanded immediate action and said that “there has to be a zero tolerance policy to any country, organization, or individual that facilitates, supports, or finances terror groups or provides weapons or promotes propaganda, whether through media outlets or misusing religious clerics, that incites and helps recruits fighters to these terrorist groups.” “Countries cannot comply in one theater while making mischief in another,” he added.

While the UN Security Council made several made statements about stopping the purchase of stolen oil from Iraq and Syria, one of the key facilitators, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, sat in the room. Like Obama and Cameron, Erdogan pretended that NATO member Turkey had no role in the theft of Iraqi and Syrian resources. Instead, President Erdogan took the opportunity to claim that the Syrian government was behind the creation of the ISIL death squads. The next day, on September 25, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Muallem would state that Turkey had not even stopped training and arming the death squads or stopped them from passing through the Turkish border into Syria.

Erdogan would also call for a no-fly zone in Syria. It would later be reported that this topic was discussed between Erdogan, Obama, and US Vice-President Joseph Biden.

Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani would speak after Erdogan. He too would not flinch throughout the meeting whenever the ISIL death squads and their funding were mentioned. Instead when it was his turn to speak, he pointed his finger at both Syria and Iraq as the sources of the terrorism problem. Ignoring the role that Qatar and its allies have played, the Qatari autocrat blamed both Damascus and Baghdad by saying that Syrian state repression and Iraqi state repression is what created the problems of terrorism.

Gjorge Ivanov, the president of the FYR of Macedonia, used the meeting to advocate for Euro-Atlantic expansion. President Ivanov called for the swift entry of his country and the entire western portion of the Balkans — meaning Albania, Bosnia, the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo, Montenegro, and Serbia — into NATO and the European Union as soon as possible.

When it was Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s turn to talk, he brought up sanctions. The Dutch official used the UN Security Council meeting to emphasize the importance of sanctioning states that do not comply.

Argentina Exposes the Dirty Hands at the UN Security Council

Using somewhat of a Socratic approach, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner questioned the hollowness and double-standards in the room. She did so diplomatically and in a very polite way without mentioning the US directly most the time, but she was clearly challenging the US and revealing its dirty hands. Along with the Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Al-Jaafari, her statements were the harshest. She pointed out how Washington was creating international instability and that its campaigns to fight terrorism were really not showing any results and only feeding a cycle of violence. It is worth noting that anything she said that would indicate the guilt of the US in fueling terrorism and nurturing the ISIL was not included in the UN Department of Information’s text on the meeting.

Once she took the microphone, President Kirchner explained that Buenos Aires saw merits in UN Security Council Resolution 2178, but said that Argentina had several important questions and hesitations. Her questions were really criticisms of the US, at least partially. She started off by pointing out how in 2013 there was pressure on Argentina from the US Congress when it signed an agreement to cooperate with Iran to address the 1992 and 1994 terrorist attacks inside her country. She explained how Argentine dialogue with Tehran in 2013 was deemed unacceptable and that her country was slandered as a terrorist state, but how it has been okay for Washington itself to talk to the Iranians. After this Kirchner mentioned that Al-Qaeda did not emerge overnight and was trained to fight against Moscow. Then she said that the Arab Spring was spearheaded by the same type of militants that have formed the ISIL, but that these combatants were presented to the world by the US as “freedom fighters” in 2011. Perhaps she was trying to point out how ISIL’s strength and reach has been deliberately exaggerated to justify US intervention, but she then told the entire UN Security Council that Argentina did not take the ISIL threats to kill her seriously.

Kirchner went on to point out how the US has presented one new threat after another. The threat to the world was Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction a decade ago, the threat then became the Iranian nuclear energy program, then it eventually turned into Syria, and it was the ISIL death squads at the current juncture of the UN Security Council’s meeting.

Very importantly, President Kirchner told Obama that Washington’s methodology and methods for fighting terrorism are not right and that military force is not the answer. She said it defies logic to use the same methods that are constantly failing and making things much worse instead of solving the problem. The US approach to fighting terrorism has only made terrorism proliferate and violence spread. Cristina Kirchner then said that Israel is also a part of the problem, pointing out that the Israeli massacres of civilians has only created anger and militancy in the Middle East. She then reminded the UN Security Council that the government of Syria in 2013 was presented as a great enemy, while the people fighting it were presented as “freedom fighters” by the US. The world, however, became aware and one one year later openly admits that those so-called “freedom fighters” are terrorists she added. President Kirchner additionally asked President Obama and the UN Security Council who had armed these groups fighting inside Syria — an answer that everyone in the room knew the answer for — and then asked about the ISIL’s oil revenues and who is providing it with arms.

She concluded that Argentina will help fight global terrorism, but it had to be done in a legal framework and with respect for human rights — all of which were shots at Washington again. Looking at Obama, Kirchner concluded by pointing out that Argentine had a lot of untapped energy, but said she wondered if it was a curse because it seemed to her that all the countries with oil are riddled at problems — this was another hit at the US for its interference in the affairs of energy-rich nations.

It would be Syria that would partially answer some of Cristina Kirchner’s questions. Syrian Ambassador to the UN Bashar Al-Jaafari would point out that it was several of the member states gathered in the room that were disingenuously denouncing terrorism that in reality were the parties financially, technically, and diplomatically supporting the terrorists and death squads inside his country. He also pointed out how the Israeli ally of the US had downed a Syrian jet that was on a mission against the same terrorist forces that many of the gathered UN members claimed to be fighting.

Russia and China Diplomatically Point the Finger at the US

Although Russia and China approved UN Security Council Resolution 2178, they have very different agendas and made it clear that a global campaign on terrorism has to be led by the United Nations and the UN Security Council and not by the US government and Pentagon.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called for an end to double-standards. Lavrov also called for an end to the illegal trade of stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil and an end to the dissemination of weapons from post-Jamahiriya Libya. The Russian official called for a UN forum to be convened for the task of honestly analyzing how terrorism has proliferated in North Africa and the Middle East. He pointed to the NATO bombing of Libya and the support that some of the members of the UN provided for the anti-government fighters in Syria.

Sergey Lavrov’s point was simple. Russia was asking for the United Nations to look at the roots of terrorism and not just to respond to their symptoms by fighting terrorist groups militarily after they emerge as threats. Foreign Minister Lavrov was asking the UN Security Council to examine how the ISIL was created. In other words, he wanted the UN to acknowledge the role of the US and its allies in creating the death squads and terrorist movements ravaging Iraq and Syria.

Like his Russian counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also called for looking at the root causes of terrorism. Foreign Minister Yi emphasized that the United Nations and the UN Security Council had to coordinate the “global war on terror.” Although he did not state it explicitly, what Yi meant was that Washington should not call the shots, because it would misuse the campaign for its own interests.

Taking a diplomatic jab at Washington like his Russian counterpart did before him, Wang Yi called for consistency and an end to double-standards. China’s main position was that international law and norms must be followed.

Who is a terrorist and who is not? Like so many international agreements and documents, such as the Geneva Communiqué concerning Syria (which was created on June 30, 2012), there will be different interpretations of Resolution 2178. The US and other members of the UN will use it to suit their own interests. There are no universal and categorical definitions of what foreign terrorist fighters are. For example, Washington could use Resolution 2178 to designate Hezbollah fighters inside Syria as foreign terrorist fighters while Russia and China will use it contest support for the militant separatists in the North Caucasus and East Turkistan.

The Beginning of a New Phase in the post-9/11 Inquisition?

South Korean president Park Geun-hye — the daughter of South Korean dictator, military strongman, and US puppet Park Chung-hee — stated that the US and its allies need to go after “cyber and nuclear terrorism” when it was her turn to address the UN Security Council. She advocated for tighter controls over the internet as a means of fighting terrorism. Prime Minister David Cameron also said that internet content and websites must be controlled, blocked, and removed. There was what appeared to be a general call for policing social media in the chamber for combating terrorism.

Rehashing the main points and entire sections of his speech to the UN General Assembly from two days earlier, on September 22, Cameron said that those he described as preachers of hate needed to be dealt with firmly. He clarified that this included “non-violent” people who believed that Muslims were being persecuted and said that the roots of the problems included the worldviews that the tragic events of 9/11 and the London 7/7 attacks were staged. Schools and universities would need to be cleared of groups and individuals that had these views.

David Cameron also declared that a new security regime was being put into place in Britain to seize passports, force restraints of movement on people evaluated as risks, and even keep citizens from returning to their own homelands. Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper also said that Canada was doing the same thing and revoking citizenship.

Not only are the steps that Prime Minister Cameron and Prime Minister Harper presented unconstitutional in their own countries, they will be used by these self-declared democracies to hold their own citizens in undisclosed conditions or indefinite detention and imprisonment once they have their citizenships removed. Citizenship will be removed to evade and get around the legally guaranteed rights of citizens for due justice—non-citizens are not treated equally under the law. The revoking of citizenships can also be used to push dissidents opposing and challenging government policies.

The so-called defenders of “freedom of speech” are also opening the door for more intrusive censorship, especially when Cameron advocates for going after individuals that believe that the US and British governments are involved in the murder of their own citizens. Moreover, David Cameron advocated for the removal of the beheading videos being uploaded onto the internet by the ISIL.

Cameron’s demands were made purportedly, because of the violent nature of these videos. For many years, videos of this nature have been uploaded onto the internet and it has never been questioned by either the US or Britain or many of their allies? Why now, after all these years? Could it be because enough people are asking embarrassing questions about the videos and the circumstances behind them? This is why a campaign had started earlier in the US to prevent US citizens from watching the videos. The Times even conceded on August 25, 2014 in an article by Deborah Haynes that the video of James Foley was staged by writing it “was probably staged, with the actual murder taking place off-camera, according to forensic analysis.”

Believe or think otherwise that the beheading of Foley, which was seen on the video, was not his actual death, the point is that there is more to the demands for this type of censorship. Nothing was demanded when Nicholas Berg was executed in 2004 or after years of videos being posted of hundreds of Syrians being beheaded.

What is happening is a new phase of the inquisition or inquisitorial mentality that emerged after the tragic events of September 11, 2001 (9/11). No one is allowed to question the legitimacy of the witch hunts and increasing control over movement and lives that is being done in the name of fighting terrorism and security. “Fear and insecurity prevail over common sense,” is the way that Michel Chossudovsky fittingly describes the inquisitorial process.

While the whole structure of this post-9/11 inquisition is based on warped narratives and lies, everyone has to pay lip service to the same lies; everyone is forced to work within the boundaries of the consensus and boundaries drawn by the inquisition. This is exactly what happened on September 24, 2014 at the UN Security Council. The gathered world leaders paid lip service to the fight against terrorism without addressing those really behind it and supporting the death squads, which is why the meeting was truly a pageantry of lies and disregard. Even those that are opposed to US foreign policy were forced to criticize and challenge Washington within the framework of the consensus, never directly pointing the finger at it for being the author of the instability and death squads in Iraq and Syria.

Hypocrisy prevails in the United Nations and inside the UN Security Council. Only Argentina, China, Russia, and Syria raised their voices to challenge the false record being created to carry on the global inquisition. Buenos Aires, Beijing, and Moscow, however, all had to, more or less, challenge the US within the framework of the consensus that Washington was navigating and heavily influencing. While Syria was more open in its criticism, President Kirchner, Foreign Minister Lavrov, and Foreign Minister Ye were more subtle and diplomatic.

This article was originally published by the Strategic Culture Foundation in Moscow on September 30, 2014.

The file is packed, and weighed down by layers of history that unfolded over almost six years of the Obama administration. Eric Holder Jr. may be going, vacating the position of Attorney-General once a replacement is found, but he last left a patchwork legacy for what is one of the country’s most onerous yet powerful positions.

With Holder putting in his marching notice, the reaction from such individuals as Josh Earnest, White House Press Secretary, seemed to resemble a diagnosis of bowel trouble.

“The president accepted his decision without putting up much of a fight simply because it’s clear to anybody who’s been paying attention that General Holder has confronted a large number of issues, many of them complicated, some of them even controversial, over the course of the last five and a half years.” Naturally, such troubles were met in “a way that he can be proud of and a way that the country is appreciative of.”

Holder has been in the thick of things, some of it thrust upon him, others a matter of his own doing. History is ever the nasty tussle between bind and freedom, between escaping a predicament, causing one or solving one.  His decision was made even as the Justice Department’s investigation into the use of force by police in Ferguson, Missouri is taking place.  The ghost lingers.

Holder did much to reverse the Bush administration’s policies on civil rights, a nightmarish constriction that wound back the clock of reform with feverish enthusiasm.  (No surprise there, given George W. Bush’s gratitude for dubious voting regulations behind his own election.)  Holder also ventured into the area of voting and sentence reform, at all times keeping an eye on the race issue.  Crime and incarceration rates have also fallen.  This prompted Obama to term him, at a stretch, “the people’s lawyer”.

Critics such as Eric Posner regard the civil rights tag as a misunderstood, even exaggerated one.  Holder’s achievement was not negligible, but overall proved “incremental”, be it in such matters as refusing to allow the Justice Department to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, or launching investigations into instances of police brutality.  “Most of the gains in these areas in recent years have come from private litigants, state legislatures, and courts.”[1]

The Attorney-General was, however, a foot dragger in other areas.  He proved reluctant to prosecute the big end of town when the US economy went belly up.  White collar criminality did not inspire him to take out the prosecutor’s gown, and the blatant perjury demonstrated by Lloyd Blankfein and his colleagues at Goldman Sachs before Congress was wistfully ignored.  The bigger the bank, by Holder’s own curious admission before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2013, the less likely it would be prosecuted.[2]

“Basically,” suggested Matt Taibbi, “if someone backs a dump truck up to the DOJ and unloads the entire case, gift-wrapped, a contrite and confessing criminal included, a guy like Eric Holder might, after much agonizing deliberation, decide to prosecute.”[3]

His refusal to yield documents connected with the “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation in 2012 infuriated the Republican-led House.  A vote to hold Holder in criminal contempt was passed.  None of this featured in the resignation speech last Thursday.

When it came to the issue of cleaning up the mess left by the Bush administration’s heavy flirtation with torture, he also proved reluctant to throw a legal brief at those behind the program.  That it was endorsed by the highest echelons in the administration, insidiously finding comfort in the White House itself, put Holder and Obama in the largest of pickles.  Not even practitioners of it at the CIA got a look into the dock, suggesting that its repetition is not something that would necessarily trigger the wheels of justice.

The dark chapter on waterboarding, and the deaths of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq, remain unaccounted for, even as Bush continues to work, ever amateurishly, at his easel.  With fashioned perverseness and irony, the only person to be prosecuted and convicted arising out of the torture program was a former CIA officer John Kiriakou, who exposed its use. He received over two years for his efforts.

For a man keen on civil liberties, Holder was happy to ignore them at other points.  Indiscriminate, warrantless surveillance, as exposed by Edward Snowden, and the assassination policy regarding American citizens, suggested a dysfunctional world at work.  The latter point was perplexing, given the skimpiest of justifications and absence of legal precedent in a blatant undermining of the due process clause of the constitution.  In the words of Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), he “placed ideological commitments over a commitment to the rule of law.”

Holder, for that reason, leaves the rule of law in something of a tattered state, and his successor is not likely to do much of a restoration work.  This, suggests Ryan Cooper, may be as much a matter of personal flaw as systemic problem.[4]  Truly, an altogether illustrative statement about the Obama administration.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected]

Notes 

[1]http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/view_from_chicago/2014/09/eric_holder_resigns_the_attorney_general_s_legacy_will_be_about_civil_rights.html

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/06/eric-holder-banks-too-big_n_2821741.html

[3] http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/ag-eric-holder-has-no-balls-20120815

[4] http://theweek.com/article/index/268854/eric-holder-blew-it-as-attorney-general-his-replacement-will-too

As the United States continues its shrouded assault on the Syrian government, new targets for the U.S. airstrikes have emerged. This time, it is not oil refineries, but grain silos.

In an airstrike campaign that took place Sunday night, “coalition” aircraft struck “mills and grain storage facilities in Manbij,” a town in Northern Syria which was controlled by Western-backed death squads.

Manbij is located slightly northeast of Aleppo, the largest city in Syria which is itself the scene of fierce fighting between the NATO-directed ISIS forces and the Syrian government. The SAA began focusing on Aleppo intently in the last few months.

The attack on grain facilities by NATO/GCC forces is yet one more example of how the bombing of Syria is not aimed at destroying the West’s ISIS proxy army but at crippling and destroying the Assad government.

Just like the bombing of Syrian oil refineries, the effect of bombing Syrian grain silos is to prevent the Assad regime from retaking much needed resources to provide for its citizens or its military after long fought battles with ISIS.

The elimination of the grain silos would, of course, do nothing to stop ISIS but it will go quite some distance in adding to the burdens of an already oppressed and hungry people barely surviving under the rule of the so-called “moderate rebels” also known as ISIS.

Interestingly enough, when Bashar al-Assad’s forces have blockaded ISIS controlled areas in the past, no matter how lenient the blockade may have been in terms of food shipments, the West has responded with claims that he was “starving his own people.” Yet, when death squads banned food and baby products from being shipped in to areas that they themselves controlled, the West ignored and silenced the reports. When the West directly bombs food storage, it is presented as bombing for democracy and freeing the people from ISIS.

Unsurprisingly, no death squad fighters were killed in the attack on the Manbij grain stores, only civilians. Even death squad supporter Rami Abdulrahman, the director of the propaganda outfit called Syrian Observatory For Human Rights, was forced to admit the results of the U.S. bombing only produced civilian casualties.

‘These were the workers at the silos. They provide food for the people.’ The airstrikes ‘destroyed the food that was stored there,’ said Abdulrahman.

The United States military, typically, refused to acknowledge the fact that any civilians were killed.

While any unintentional killing of Syrian civilians by the Assad government was presented to American audiences as premeditated slaughter against innocent people, American airstrikes continue to be presented as manna from heaven, designed to rid the world of Islamic terror and brutal dictators at the same time.

Of course, in the twilight zone of American media, the truth is that the United States has created, funded, armed, and directed the Islamic terror for decades and that the “brutal dictator” is actually fighting for the survival of Syria. Little details like facts and reality, however, have never gotten in the way of Western media outlets.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 300 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

Jan Dhan Yojana (People’s Wealth Plan) – an ambitious financial inclusion program – was launched amid much fanfare in India on 28th August, 2014. The initial target of Jan Dhan Yojana is to cover 75 million unbanked households by 26th January, 2015. The government claims that on the inaugural day, a record 15 million bank accounts were opened across the country under this initiative. Nowhere else in the world, such a large number of bank accounts have been opened on a single day. In less than a month, nearly 40 million accounts have been opened under this initiative.

The Jan Dhan Yojana (JDY) would be implemented in two phases. In the first phase, the aim is to provide universal access to banking facilities through a business correspondent or bank branch, zero-balance bank accounts with overdraft facility of Rs.5,000 after six months and RuPay debit card (domestic card payment network which competes with MasterCard and Visa) with inbuilt insurance cover of Rs.100,000. Those who open accounts by January 26, 2015will be given life insurance cover of Rs.30,000. In the second phase starting from 15th August 2015, the focus of JDY would be to provide additional financial services such as micro insurance and pension schemes meant for unorganized workers.

The government claims that the JDY is a major departure from the earlier initiative launched in 2005 which was primarily aimed at promoting financial inclusion in the rural areas with focus on the coverage of villages. Whereas the JDY aims to provide banking services in both rural and urban areas with focus on the coverage of individual households. One of the new features of JDY is the creation of local monitoring committees and a web-portal to monitor its implementation at the national level. The JDY is being run in a mission mode with the Finance Minister as head of the mission.

What is Financial Inclusion?  

Even though there is no universally accepted definition of financial inclusion (FI), it has become a buzzword in development circles lately. From Queen Maxima of the Netherlands to World Bank to G20, everyone espouses the concept of financial inclusion. In simple terms, financial inclusion means delivery of banking services (such as savings accounts, loans, remittance and payment services) at an affordable cost and in a convenient manner to the poor and marginalized sections of society.

For India, financial inclusion has become a key policy concern as there are over 600 million citizens who lack basic banking and financial services. In India, financial exclusion has strong linkages with poverty and is predominantly concentrated among the vast sections of disadvantaged and low income groups. One of the important factors behind rising farmer suicides in the countryside is the lack of access to cheap credit from banks and institutional sources.

In India and elsewhere, financial exclusion is not merely restricted to rural population. A large number of urban dwellers, migrants and informal sector workers also lack access to banking and other financial services.

The JDY is not the first major initiative to promote financial inclusion in India. It should be rather viewed as financial inclusion 3.0 – as two policy initiatives on FI were launched previously.

Financial Inclusion 1.0

After independence, the first initiative on financial inclusion was launched in July 1969 when 14 of the largest privately-owned banks were nationalized. The bank nationalization marked a paradigm shift as the policy aim was to take the banking services to poor people. Before nationalization, privately-owned banks were located in metropolitan and urban areas. Much of bank lending was concentrated in a few organized sectors of economy and limited to big business houses and large industries. Whereas farmers, small entrepreneurs, laborers, artisans and self-employed were totally dependent on informal sources (mainly traditional moneylenders and relatives) to meet their credit requirements. The share of agriculture in total bank lending was a meager 2.2 percent during 1951-67.

There were several policy objectives behind the bank nationalization strategy including the transformation of “class banking” into “mass banking,” expanding geographical and functional spread of institutionalized credit, mobilizing savings from rural and remote areas and reaching out to neglected sectors such as agriculture and small scale industries. Another policy objective was to ensure that no viable productive business should suffer for lack of credit support, irrespective of its size.

Rapid Expansion of Branch Network in Unbanked Locations

At the time of nationalization, scheduled commercial banks had 8,187 branches throughout the country. But in 1990, the branch network increased to 59,752. What is even more important is that out of 59,752 bank branches, 34,791 (58.2 percent) were located in the rural areas. In contrast, the share of rural branches was 17.6 percent in 1969. Such a massive expansion of bank branches in the rural areas was the result of 1:4 licensing policy under which banks were given incentive to open one branch in metropolitan and one branch in urban areas, provided they open four branches in the rural areas.

In the early 1970s, the concept of priority sector lending (also known as directed lending) was evolved to ensure that adequate credit flows to the vital sectors of the economy and according to social and developmental priorities.

In addition, the establishment of regional rural banks (RRBs) in the mid-1970s also widened the reach of banking services. The RRBs were jointly owned by the central government, the state government and the sponsor bank. Between 1975 and 1987, 196 RRBs were established in the rural India. The mandate of RRBs was to serve small and marginal farmers, agricultural laborers, artisans and small entrepreneurs in the rural and remote areas. Further, banks were directed to maintain a credit-deposit ratio of 60 percent in the rural and semi-urban branches in order to ensure that rural deposits are not used to increase urban credit.

In rural areas, there was significant rise in bank deposits and credit. According to official data, the share of rural deposits in total deposits increased more than five times, from 3 percent in 1969 to 16 percent in 1990. The share of agriculture credit in the total bank credit increased from 2.2 percent in 1968 to 13 percent in 1980 and further to 15.8 percent in 1989. The share of small-scale industry in the total bank credit which was negligible before nationalization reached 15.3 percent in 1989, a significant achievement by international standards.

There is no denying that the banking system under the nationalization regime was not perfect as it could not reach out to each and every household but at least a serious effort was made to spread banking services: geographically, socially and functionally. There are very few parallels in the history of banking in the world where such large-scale geographical expansion and functional diversification of the banking system (with social and developmental orientations) took place within a span of two decades.

Admittedly, there were cumbersome lending procedures, inadequate supervision, corruption and political interference which affected functional efficiency and profitability of the banking system. Nevertheless, the bank nationalization drive was inspired by a larger objective to promote social and development banking in India.

The Neglect of Financial Inclusion under Banking Sector Reforms

One of the adverse consequences of banking sector reforms launched in the 1990s was the steady decline in the number of bank branches in the rural India. During 1994-2006, bank branches in rural areas were closed down to meet the profitability criteria and to achieve higher efficiency levels. In absolute terms, the total number of rural bank branches declined from 35,329 in 1994 to 30,119 in 2006. In other words, as many as 5,210 bank branches in the rural India were closed down during 1994-2006. On an average, two bank branches were closed down on each working day during this period.

On the other hand, a rapid expansion of branches in the metros and urban areas has been witnessed in the post-liberalization period. According to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) statistics, 5,960 new branches were opened in the six metros during 1994-2006.

In 1994, the share of rural branches was 57.16 percent but it declined to 37.18 percent in 2013, indicating the worsening of the rural-urban ratio of bank branches in the post-liberalization period.

In the 1990s, the banking sector witnessed a secular decline in agricultural credit. This is in sharp contrast to the 1970s and 80s when a significant shift in bank lending in favor of agricultural sector took place. The proportion of bank credit to agriculture and small sector industries declined from 30 percent in 1994 to 18 percent in 2013, despite several initiatives launched by the government to revive bank credit to these sectors which generate largest employment opportunities in the rural areas. The share of deposits raised from rural areas declined from 15 percent in 1994 to 9 percent in 2012. All these statistics reveal a sheer neglect of the banking needs of people living in rural and semi-rural areas during the post-liberalization period.

Financial Inclusion 2.0

Concerned over these adverse developments, another initiative towards FI was launched in 2005 with greater emphasis on branchless business correspondent model to provide last mile connectivity to unbanked villages.

In 2005, the RBI pushed banks to provide a “no-frills” zero-balance account with minimum charges for other services. Other major policy initiatives under this drive included relaxation in know-your-customer (KYC) norms, easier credit facility, introduction of General Purpose Credit Card (GCC) and support to microfinance institutions and Self Help Groups.

The focus on FI was further intensified in 2009 when the RBI directed banks to draw up a road map to cover nearly 74,200 villages with more than 2,000 population with one banking outlet by 2012. To achieve this target, several new regulatory measures were introduced. For instance, the domestic banks (both public and private) were given freedom to open branches in Tier-2 to Tier-6 centers without prior approval from the RBI. In order to encourage banks to open branches in the predominantly unbanked North-East region, domestic banks were allowed to open the branches in rural, semi-urban and urban centers without the prior approval from the RBI. Later on, banks were mandated to open at least 25 percent of their new brick-and-mortar branches in the unbanked rural areas.

Under the financial inclusion plans adopted by banks, 7,459 new branches were opened in rural areas in three years during 2010-13. However, this period saw the domination of banking correspondents (BCs) to provide banking services to unbanked population. Most of the villages covered under this drive were through BCs. As discussed in more detail below, the BC model failed to adequately accomplish its intended purpose despite a rapid increase in its outreach.

Misplaced Emphasis on BC Model

A business correspondent is a representative of bank who provides doorstep banking services through the use of smart card handling devices which are connected to the main servers of the bank. The handheld device can identify the bank customer through finger prints and facilitates basic transactions such as depositing and withdrawing cash. The RBI has allowed banks to use the services of NGOs, microfinance institutions, non-banking finance companies and post offices as BCs.

Since 2006, the policymakers have supported the expansion of banking services through BC model on the pretext that it provides services at the doorstep of customers living in unbanked locations and reduces the costs involved in putting up and operating a brick-and-mortar branch.

There is no denying that the BC model has expanded its reach across the country in the last eight years. The RBI’s annual report for 2013-14 notes that “nearly 248,000 BC agents had been deployed by banks as on March 31, 2014 which are providing services through more than 333,000 BC outlets.” Close to 117 million zero-balance accounts have been opened up by the BCs as on March 31, 2014. In addition, there were 60,730 BC outlets in urban locations as on March 31, 2014.

These are pretty impressive numbers. But empirical evidence from Sundergarh in Orissa to Surendranagar in Gujarat suggests that access to bank accounts has not translated into use.  More than 80 percent of zero-balance bank accounts are dormant.

In cases where customers receive wages under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), they simply withdraw the entire amount immediately after the NREGA disbursement. Not even 5 percent of zero-balance account holders make deposits into their bank accounts. If people are not actively using their bank accounts, it defeats the very purpose of financial inclusion.

Banks, on their part, are not interested in promoting awareness activities on the usage and benefits of formal banking services as they lose money on zero-balance accounts due to few transactions and low balances. Most banks view zero-balance accounts as a corporate social responsibility thrust upon them by the government. For banks, serving poor clients is a social obligation rather than a viable business opportunity. With the result, the potential benefits of access to formal banking services are not fully realized.

The Inherent Weaknesses of BC Models

Some caution is obviously warranted because the JDY relies heavily on the BC model for expanding banking network in both rural and urban areas. One of primary reasons behind the unsatisfactory performance of BC model is the poor remuneration (Rs.2000-3000 per month) paid to business correspondents. For such a meager amount, it is unfair to expect a BC to visit villages or slums at regular intervals, open new bank accounts for poor people, process financial transactions, educate customers about banking services and answer all queries of the customers. With the result, there is a high attrition rate among BC agents across the country. Surveys have found that more than half of BC agents are untraceable.

Under the JDY, the BCs will get a minimum compensation of Rs.5000 per month. This is a welcome move but there are several other important factors which act as a barrier in the delivery of banking services through BC model. Some of these factors include inordinate delay in issuing of smart cards to customers (three to six months); limited utility of smart cards as services such as remittance are not loaded; inadequate cash handling limit given to BCs; devices not working properly due to technical problems or poor network connectivity; lack of trust in BCs; lack of customer-centric banking products and services; poor governance and inadequate supervision of BCs; and absence of a comprehensive strategy for financial education.

If these impediments are not addressed, the JDY may turn out to be another government program under which ambitious targets of opening millions of bank accounts are achieved on paper but very little meaningful financial inclusion is actually accomplished on the ground.

It is imperative that the policy focus should shift from the quantity of inclusion to the quality of inclusion. The success of the JDY should not be measured only on the basis of number of new accounts opened. The measure of success should also include clearly defined targets for usage and transactions.

The JDY Should Emphasize on Physical Branches

Given the unsatisfactory outcomes of the BC model, the JDY should give greater emphasis on brick-and-mortar branches which enjoy a high degree of trust and acceptability among the rural people. Besides, there are several transactions (e.g., loans) require physical branches and direct interaction with the bank officials.

In a rural setting, a mini-branch (consisting of two staff persons) can easily serve 4-5 villages and provide a full range of banking services. This would ensure that the villagers will no longer have to take substantial travel and expense to visit a mini-branch. A mini branch linked with a nearest large branch could function as a hub-and-spoke system. In Andhra Pradesh, for instance, HDFC bank has recently established several mini-branches and found it to be a commercially viable model to offer full banking services to rural people.

The last-mile connectivity is very crucial for the success of JDY. Given the large outreach of post offices across the country, postal networks could be explored to provide banking products and services at a low cost.

Like “Post Office on Wheels” which provides a variety of postal services through a mobile van in the country, the mobile van banking is another credible delivery model which could be used to serve large customers located in the far-flung rural areas at regular intervals.

Other Pertinent Questions

During a recent visit to my bank located in East Delhi, I found that many low-income customers enrolled under the JDY already had zero-balance accounts in another bank. They have opened new accounts under the JDY scheme to avail special privileges of overdraft facility, insurance covers and a RuPay debit card. While they had opened bank accounts last year to receive LPG subsidy under the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme. Currently there is no system in place to ensure that one person does not open multiple bank accounts.

In another bank, I found that the bank staff is demanding a minimum deposit of Rs.500 for opening an account under the JDY. If such practices are widespread in a metropolitan city, one can well imagine the actual implementation of JDY in the rural and remote areas.

The JDY will be spearheaded by domestic banks (both state-owned and private) though the bulk of task would be carried out by state-owned banks which have over 43,000 branches in the rural and semi-urban areas. It is heartening to note that the government has realized the importance of state-owned banks in promoting inclusive development despite a strong anti-statist slant.

But why there is no participation of foreign banks in JDY? Why foreign banks have not been directed to join the JDY initiative? There are 43 foreign banks operating in India with 332 branches and 1207 ATMs. Since 95 percent of their branches are located in the metros and urban locations, foreign banks should be given targets to serve the urban poor. This would induce foreign banks to tweak their niche banking model as they “cherry-pick” the most profitable businesses and affluent customers residing in the metros and urban areas.

Will JDY Cause a Financial Burden?

Some commentators have questioned the financial feasibility of the JDY on the grounds that the estimated costs involved in its implementation will be a drain on the entire banking system. Such concerns are unconvincing on four counts. Firstly, banks in India have not accurately worked out the per account cost. As K C Chakrabarty (former deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of India) has pointed out, costing is opaque in the banking services and therefore it is very difficult to determine the exact cost of maintaining a zero-balance account.

Secondly, a cost sharing model could be worked out between banks and various government agencies as the government is considering cash transfers of subsidies and welfare payments directly into the bank account of beneficiaries under the DBT scheme. Banks can levy a transaction fee in the range of 0.5 to 2 percent on the value of each payment made to the beneficiary’s account.

Thirdly, the adoption of appropriate and affordable technology can bring down transaction costs over time. The introduction of low-cost smartphones provides a unique opportunity to deliver affordable banking services to poor people. The M-PESA in Kenya, GCash in Philippines and Celpay in Zambia are notable examples of providing a variety of financial services to low-income households in cheap and convenient ways.

Lastly, the total annual cost of the JDY estimated at Rs.150 billion is just one-tenth of total operating expenses of Rs.1566 billion incurred by banks in 2012-13. If the domestic banking system can spend Rs.1566 bn to provide banking services to 600 million people, can’t it spend Rs.150 bn to serve another 600 million people? Many studies in India and elsewhere have proved beyond doubt that poor are bankable and trustworthy. If 50 percent of country’s population joins the mainstream banking system, it can vastly improve the lives of the people in the base of the pyramid and contribute to inclusive economic growth.

If Rs.80 trillion Indian banking system can bear huge losses due to bad loans given to big corporate willful defaulters, can’t it share the costs involved in providing affordable banking services (a public good) to millions of poor people?

Hence, the contentious issue is not the financial viability of JDY but its design and actual implementation.

No Silver Bullet to Financial Inclusion

More than four decades of experience tells us clearly that there is no single silver bullet approach towards FI given the sheer scale of financial exclusion in India. To ensure sustainable universal financial inclusion under the JDY, both supply-side and demand-side challenges have to be addressed simultaneously in a systematic manner.

The government should develop a holistic framework and infrastructure support focused on four core dimensions of financial inclusion – affordable products; reliable and viable delivery models; diverse customer needs; and multilingual financial education programs. The key to the success of the JDY will lie in the government’s ability to address these challenges in a coordinated, coherent and collaborative manner with banks and other stakeholders.

It is widely known that financial inclusion is a means to an end and not an end in itself. Financial inclusion alone cannot lift millions of poor Indians out of poverty but the regular usage of banking products and services can provide them with an opportunity to overcome poverty and improve their lives. The real challenge is to encourage poor people to actively use a variety of formal banking services (including savings, credit and remittance) so that their dependence on informal sources is greatly reduced.

Kavaljit Singh is Director of Madhyam, a policy research institute based in New Delhi (www.madhyam.org.in).

The climate action weekend built around the People’s Climate March proved that the climate movement has broad popular support and millions are ready to mobilize. These are two ingredients necessary to achieve climate justice. Also needed is a strategy that is widely understood so people recognize their work is connected to a larger movement and their actions are more effective.

Governments are sold out to big corporate interests who profit from dirty energy and false market-based climate change ‘solutions.’ Climate justice advocates must stop the government from doing more damage while creating new systems that allow us to stop participating in the dirty energy economy. A great power of social justice movements is noncompliance, but to not comply we need to be able to live in ways that are consistent with climate justice.

Thus, the climate justice movement needs to proceed on two paths at the same time. One is to stop government and big business from worsening the climate crisis. The other is to create new systems so people can disengage from the climate-catastrophe economy. Government and business have shown themselves incapable of responding to the climate crisis, making the second track particularly important.

The climate justice movement is already doing many of the things that need to be done. The purposes of this climate justice strategy is to build on those efforts, create synergy between our actions, make them more powerful and show people there is a plan for success.

Stop Making Climate Problems Worse

Government and big business are taking actions that need to be stopped by the climate movement. Tremendous damage will come from the corporate trade agreements that are designed to create massive profits for transnational corporations, especially from dirty energy.

Leaked chapters of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) show that its environmental standards are even worse than agreements negotiated by President George W. Bush and are unenforceable. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TAFTA) will drive an increase in fracking and off-shore oil drilling in the US for export to Europe. In addition, these agreements undermine the ability of communities to protect themselves because they give transnational corporations the legal power to sue governments if laws interfere with the profits corporations expect to make.

We can stop these trade agreements. For the past several years, a growing movement of movements which includes food safety, health, environmental, worker rights, anti-imperialist and Internet freedom advocates among others has successfully prevented the passage of fast track trade promotion authority for President Obama. Fast track would allow the President to sign trade agreements with minimal Congressional review. Fast tracks failure in Congress has weakened US negotiators so smaller countries are empowered to stand up to US trade negotiators who are pushing an extreme corporate agenda. If the climate justice movement makes stopping corporate trade agreements a priority, it will be the tipping point that will stop passage of these harmful agreements.

If we succeed in stopping corporate trade, it will be a tremendous victory over transnational corporate power. We can build on this victory to transform trade so that it serves people and the planet rather than the profits of global polluters. We will be building our power and taking power away from corporate interests.

Corporate trade is a huge global battle, but there are hundreds of battles we must fight at the local level as well. These include the expansion of tar sands mining, the increased use of trains to transport oil and coal, new pipeline infrastructure, off-shore oil exploration and drilling, mountain-top removal for coal, hydrofracking for methane gas, and excavation for uranium as well as the development of new nuclear power plants.

A comment is needed on that last point; some in the climate justice movement have remained silent or have even supported nuclear energy. Nuclear energy is too expensive and takes too long to come on-line. Nuclear power creates pollution nightmares from the excavation of uranium through processing and the radioactive waste that is produced. The limited time and money we have to make necessary changes is better used to increase efficiency and develop clean, sustainable energy. The climate justice movement must recognize that nuclear power is a false, unnecessary ‘solution’ and work for a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy.

Another important issue that has not gotten enough attention is the US military’s role in the emission of greenhouse gases. Carbon emissions from the military, the largest institutional carbon polluter on the planet, are not counted when the US’ emissions are calculated by international bodies. The climate justice movement needs to speak out against war, not only because of its inherent evil, but also because it is very destructive to the planet.

Understanding that our issues are connected is essential for achieving climate justice. Imperialism and the global neoliberal economy are related to climate justice and vice versa. When climate justice advocates join efforts to oppose expansion of wars and stop rigged corporate trade and when those who work for peace and fair economies stand with climate justice advocates, we are all stronger. We can all work on the issues about which we are passionate but when we plan specific activities, if we cast a wide net and join together, it moves all of our work forward.

Creating The World We Want To See

One of the most powerful weapons that civil society has is refusing to participate. Non-participation robs the status quo of its power. When people disengage from destructive economic and political systems, it weakens them. But, how do we not participate when the society is built around carbon and nuclear fuels, capitalism and a mirage democracy?  In order to do so, people need to build new systems and create new lifestyles that operate outside of current systems.

Instead of waiting for elected leaders and international bodies, we must take action outside of these bodies. This is already happening around many issues and in many places where new approaches are being tried. It’s important to understand that when we do this work we are connected to a global movement and for us to share what we are learning with each other.

Moving to a carbon-free nuclear-free energy existence can be achieved by making homes more energy efficient and reducing energy use. We can use public transportation or low consumption methods of individual transportation with electric cars, scooters and bikes. We can install wind mills, solar panels and geothermal energy either individually, with our neighbors through cooperatives or push our local utilities to use renewables. Ideally, we will municipalize our energy utilities so that we withdraw support from Wall Street.

We can plant individual and community gardens, develop farmer’s markets, local food networks and compost our biodegradable waste. In Seattle, residents created a community food forest after years of meeting to decide what should be planted. We can stop using plastics and reduce our use of metals. We can fix things rather than throw them away and find new functions for used items.

We can build our local economies so that more of what we produce and use comes from our surroundings and supports our neighbors. Complementary currencies and cooperative or public financial institutions allow us to operate outside of the market system. We can rebuild the commons by expanding our public spaces and institutions and by sharing knowledge openly.

These are only a few suggestions. There are many people and communities doing amazing things. More powerful than individual action is community action. Talk to people in your community to find out what you can do together. These constructive programs are a key piece of nonviolent resistance.

A powerful next step for the climate justice movement would be to have an international day (or week) of activities where communities came together to decide how they can break from planet-polluting energy.  Each community around the world can decide their own path toward the goal of reducing and ending dependence on carbon and nuclear fuels that is consistent with their conditions. In some a community-based solar energy system will make sense while others develop wind. And still others will focus on decreasing waste and increasing efficiency or making bike lanes to decrease the use of automobiles.

The benefits of taking action together to achieve these goals are numerous:

-We learn from each other. Communities can report on the steps they are taking, the challenges being facing and their successes.

-We build community power as we take our future in our own hands, educate ourselves and connect with each other.

-Coordinated action sends a message to corporations and investors to follow the people and move their investments to clean energy.

-It sends a message to the government: if you want to be relevant follow the people.

-Working together moves us quickly forward, not just as one community but as a global community acting locally.

Regular global days or weeks of action can be scheduled annually so communities keep moving toward efficient use of clean energy and creating other sustainable systems.

Many Hands Make Light Work

None of us can shoulder the responsibility of solving the climate crisis alone and no single solution will be adequate. We are building a mass ‘movement of movements’ which understands the ways we are all connected and operates under a common strategy. Within that strategy, there are many tactics that work together synergistically.

The resistance parts of the work are crucial. Global neoliberal trade agreements that undermine sovereignty and democracy have been stopped before. We must stop them again or they will make our work more difficult. The expansion of US Empire burns carbon and pollutes the planet while killing innocents and fomenting insecurity. It also squanders money which would do more societal good when used to build the green energy economy.

Brave resistance actions of all types are necessary to stop the march toward greater extraction and burning of fossil fuels. If they build it, it will be used and we must keep carbon in the ground to mitigate the climate crisis. Resistance actions are having an impact, making extreme extraction of energy less profitable and stopping projects.

But resistance alone will fail. If extreme energy extraction halts and there is nothing to fill the need for energy and other basic necessities, many people will suffer. We must build alternatives to fill the gaps. The success of alternative systems will draw people to them and make the current dysfunctional systems less relevant. As market demand decreases, dirty power plants will close.

There are many tasks, but if we act together strategically, we can do this. The climate crisis is an opportunity to think boldly and reshape our world so it is better than what we have now. We will build connections to each other, to our global community and to the Earth. We will create a society that is healthier for ourselves and for future generations. The power is in our hands when we link them in solidarity and refuse to leave anybody behind. This is our path forward and there are ways for everyone to travel on it.

Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese are organizers with Popular Resistance, which provides daily movement news and resources. Sign up for their daily newsletter; and follow them on twitter, @PopResistance.

Originally published by Who What Why 

by Bryson Hull

The pair of recent White House security breaches was shocking enough in terms of the laxity of the Secret Service they exposed.

But re-examined in light of the revelation that a man with an assault rifle shot out a White House window in 2011—and the Secret Service didn’t find out that bullets hit the building until four days later—it almost beggars belief that the recent incidents could ever have been allowed to happen.

In the first place, it’s hard to believe anyone could sprint across the heavily guarded White House lawn and get inside before being taken down. Yet that’s what Army veteran Omar Gonzalez, 42, did. It turns out that he got even further inside than previously known.  A day after the Gonzalez foray, another man managed to drive up to a non-public entrance of the White House and refused to leave.

Those two incidents pierced any perception that the White House is the impregnable fortress we’re always told that it is, protected by the most loyal of government samurai.

September 24 marked the 50th anniversary of the Warren Commission report—which failed to seriously probe the Secret Service’s deficient performance in protecting the life of John F. Kennedy. It’s surprising how little the Service seems to have improved after all these years. These most recent incidents demonstrate just how important it is for the agency’s record to finally get the scrutiny it warrants.

No Impregnable Fortress

So let’s rewind to Nov. 11, 2011. On that night, Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez parked his car on a closed street near the presidential residence, stuck his semi-automatic assault rifle out the window and fired eight shots at the White House. At least seven struck the building, including one that broke a window. He was caught, pleaded guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

He was then all but forgotten, cast off as another in the long list of “lone nuts” who try to attack the president. That’s until the Washington Postreported on a stunning series of failures by the Secret Service surrounding the Ortega-Hernandez incident.

Among the revelations:

  • -  After the shots rang out, a Secret Service supervisor declared them to be the noise of a car backfiring and ordered agents to stand down
  • -  The Secret Service didn’t know the White House had been hit until four days afterward, when a housekeeper spotted a broken window and a chunk of white concrete. A later FBI sweep of the area involved turned up $97,000 in damage
  • -  Ortega-Hernandez got away undetected, and was only identified after crashing his car and leaving the gun inside
  • -  Police questioned Ortega-Hernandez the day after the shooting at a park in Arlington County, Va., but let him go because there was no national lookout yet issued for him. He would not be arrested until Nov. 16, five days after he shot at the White House.
  • -  The Secret Service at the time had no cameras that would let them remotely view the White House perimeter
  • -  They could not use the Shot Spotter gunfire detection system that is used in the capital to pinpoint the shots, because the nearest sensor was more than a mile away

Apparently, the Secret Service isn’t too swift with Twitter, either. An eyewitness in a taxi behind Ortega-Hernandez posted the following on Twitter as it happened: (Editor’s Note: the original tweet has been taken down, so what follows is a retweet of the original)

“@ShankarSharanya: ‘Driver in front of my cab, STOPPED & fired 5 gun shots at the White House on Constitution and 17, at 8:55 PM.’”

— JoJeanne B. Lown (@JLownLaw) November 12, 2011

The agency later got around to finding the witness via the social media site, by which time it had already figured out that bullets had in fact been fired. It just hadn’t found the evidence that they had struck the White House. That discovery turned Ortega-Hernandez’ fusillade into a presidential assassination attempt in the eyes of the government.

Since the review of the 2011 incident, the White House apparently has upgraded its security systems to include perimeter cameras—presumably better than those in use at businesses and homes. So why did another intruder—Omar Gonzalez—get by this month?

He, too, had already been questioned by the police and let go. Unbelievably,he was freed despite carrying a hatchet while strolling the White House perimeter in August. This is a month after Virginia State Police stopped him for reckless driving and found in his car numerous weapons, including a sawed-off shotgun—and a map of Washington with the White House circled in red.

Somehow, none of this tripped the Secret Service’s radar, although the Virginia State Police said they reported it to president’s protection unit.

Three Times the Threats

There is one even more crucial revelation in the Washington Post, all but buried in the details:

“President Obama has faced more than three times as many threats as his predecessors, according to people briefed on the Secret Service’s threat assessment.”

That statistic alone should be a big wake-up call that the Secret Service needs to up its game which, so far, has been very sloppy with its current charge.

The latest two events triggered an internal Secret Service review which willnow encompass the 2011 failures. After the 2011 shooting, the agency won’t have to make too many improvements to surpass the dismal results of its earlier self-evaluation. Congress is getting into the act, too, starting with a Sept. 30 grilling of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson.

How far the Secret Service goes to improve its vigilance this time around bears watching. Especially by the president himself.

More Washington Lies. Hong Kong, ISIS, Ebola, Afghanistan …

October 1st, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Hong Kong:

Whatever is occurring in Hong Kong, it bears no relation to what is being reported about it in the Western print and TV media. These reports spin the protests as a conflict between the demand for democracy and a tyrannical Chinese government

Ming Chun Tang in the alternative media CounterPunch says that the protests are against the neoliberal economic policies that are destroying the prospects of everyone but the one percent. In other words, the protests are akin to the American occupy movement.

Another explanation is that once again, as in Kiev, gullible westernized students have been organized by the CIA and US-financed NGOs to take to the streets in hopes that the protests will spread from Hong Kong to other Chinese cities.  The Chinese, like the Russians, have been extremely careless in permitting Washington to operate within their countries and to develop fifth columns.

ISIS:

Americans are forever deceived.  Remember the b****sit about “Mission Accomplished!”

The only mission that has been accomplished is the enrichment of the military/security complex and the creation of the American Police State.  After eight years of the US military battering Iraq, Patrick Cockburn, one of the last front line reporters, tells us:

“ISIS at the Gates of Baghdad.”

What is ISIS?  There are a number of offered explanations.  One from Washington and its puppet states is that it is a demonic threat to the West that cuts off people’s heads.

Another is that it is a CIA recruited and funded operation that is carrying out the neoconservatives plan to overthrow the governments in the Middle East.

My tentative explanation is that ISIS consists of Sunnis who are tired of existing in artificial states created by the British and French after World War I when the Western colonialists seized the territories of the Ottoman Empire.  They are tired of being suppressed by Shia majorities or by secular dictators who use suppression to control conflict between Sunni and Shia. They are tired of being murdered, plundered, and raped by the Americans and Europeans.  They are tired of being displaced and dispossessed.  They are tired of the immoral Western culture imposed on them by modern technology. The Islamic State is redrawing the artificial boundaries that the Europeans created, and they are establishing an Islamic government free of the moral corruption of Western materialism and sexual promiscuity.

In short, they are tired of being dictated to and having their culture suppressed.

The huge sums of money taken from the gullible American taxpayers, people who, unlike ISIS, are willing to accept any imposition, for training the Iraqi army went entirely into the coffers of the American firms that got the training contracts. As Patrick Cockburn reports, the American trained and equipped Iraqi Army defending Mosul nominally numbered 60,000, but only one-third were actually present. The rest had kick-backed half their salaries to their officers in order to stay at home or to work a better paying job.

When the Islamic State attacked, the Iraq army collapsed.

Afghanistan:

The new “president” of Afghanistan has agreed to Washington’s demands to which even the corrupt Karzai would not agree.  The new bought-and-paid-for-puppet president has agreed for US troops to remain in Afghanistan.   We will see what the Taliban have to say about this.

Ebola:

We now have the first ebola case in the US. A person in a hospital in Dallas, Texas, has brought ebola from Liberia to the US.  The CDC says that the virus can be contained, like ISIS, and that no one is in danger. This remains to be seen.  Because of the years of transparent lies emanating from Washington, many Americans already believe that the importation of ebola is part of the one percent’s plan to destroy the rest of us so tha they have the country to themselves.

This is what comes of a government and a media that serves only the One Percent and that inflicts endless lies and disinformation on the rest of us.

Continental people have sex lives: the English have hot water bottles. -George Mikes, How to be an Alien (1946)

So much fuss about nothing, which is the perfect storm for a British political scandal.  Even as the British Prime Minister David Cameron was readying for the Tory Party conference in Birmingham, his minister for civil society handed in his resignation over a sex scandal.  To make matters more baffling for the Prime Minister, the UK Independence Party’s siren song proved impossible for another Tory MP to resist.  In a matter of hours, Cameron had a resignation and a defection.

In what is surely a comic miscasting, Mark Reckless, MP for Rochester and Strood, decided to add credence to his name by leaping over to Ukip, whose anti-EU message has spoken in moving volumes.  This followed in the wake of Douglas Carswell’s move to the same party for similar reasons.  The Eurosceptic group among the Conservatives, which has been a bone of contention for years, is assuming serious proportions with the presence of a proudly fashioned anti-EU party.  “I promise to cut immigration while treating people fairly and humanely. I cannot keep that promise as a Conservative; I can keep it as Ukip.”

The optimists in Cameron’s camp might be relieved that there is finally a beacon to draw away the rabble rousing anti-Europeans, who have had a habit of sabotaging the conservatives at vital moments of their political fortunes.  But such departures do bring their inevitable costs.

The strategists will be worried whether the Ukip temptation may convert the Tories into mere mimicry, an anti-European, populist echo keen to smash welfare and don the John Bull attire.  In the words of Home Office minister Damian Green, “We must at all costs and at all times resist the temptation to become Ukip-lite.”[1]  Critics such as The Guardian’s Polly Toynbee are convinced that the push to the right is entirely self-inflicted and conscious, a very clear, all out strategy to begin with. “Out of Europe is not just a policy, it’s a proxy for all they hate, form human rights to welfare.”[2]

That brutal fight for the inner Tory has proven a dysfunctional, and disorienting one.  No one is genuinely conservative enough, just as no one is clear what exactly a modern conservative looks like, however much welfare is slashed.  “As with so many things,” surmises John Harris, “it’s ultimately Margaret Thatcher’s fault.”[3]

The good tradition of Tory turncoats has been well complemented by that of titillating sleaze.  The Reckless defection was complemented by the resignation of the MP for Braintree, Brooks Newmark, who proved he was not the sharpest knife in the conservative drawer in sending “inappropriate messages” on the WhatsApp to a journalist.  Such inappropriateness involved a “girl snap of his willy” as a tabloid so unflatteringly called it.  The Sunday Mirror decided to make it less graphic, but the suggestion was unmistakable: “As a part of a series of exchanges, he sent a graphic picture exposing himself while wearing a pair of paisley pyjamas.”  Such taste from the founder of the Women2Win campaign group!

The male journalist was ever so cheeky in posing as online alter-ego and party activist “Sophie Wittams”, someone Newmark wanted to bag and shag.  The conservative magazine, The Spectator, decided that such behaviour was not reprehensible to require expulsion from Parliament.  “But it doesn’t help a ministerial career: Newmark is out as a civil society minister.”[4] Nor did it help Malin Sahlen, a Swedish model whose photo was used to cover for Wittams.  While Newmark was a rank amateur relative to his Tory predecessors of the “Back to Basics” era of John Major, he paid the expected price.

Those selling the paisley pyjamas were the only ones to cheer at this story of entrapment.  “It seems that the suburbs of England are now feeling the ‘paisley effect’ as the classic pyjama design has now sold out at M&S.”[5]

Cameron’s calculations have been thrown out given his reluctance to continue with the Liberal Democrats in a coalition arrangement.  The Tories have been doing much effacing and removal of their Lib Dem counterparts, much of it in anticipation of cutting them away like irritating impedimenta.  In the view of the prime minister, “I’m more keen than ever to lead a government that can really deliver, unencumbered by the Liberal Democrats. We can take it from here now.”[6]

The threat posed by the Tory vote eating organism that is becoming Ukip may well force the Tories into an arrangement they otherwise despise.   Much of that may well be academic – the British voter is unlikely to spare the Lib Dems for their spineless performance in the coalition bedroom.  But even as such manoeuvres take place, it is touching to see the tradition of Troy sleaze, but more importantly reaction to it, being upheld with a touching diligence.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected]

It has become abundantly clear, thanks especially to excellent reporting and analysis by Glenn Greenwald and Justin Raimondo, that the “Khorasan Group” threat used as the pretext for the US bombing of Syria was totally fabricated by the US government. The purpose was an attempt to legitimize what would otherwise be an illegal US attack.

In the immediate run-up to the US bombing of Syria, unnamed sources in the US government began leaking to the obedient US press corps ever-more fantastic tales about a new group of terrorists that were far more terrifying than ISIS (which we had just been told was far more terrifying than al-Qaeda). This new group, dubbed the “Khorasan Group” by the US government, was said by US officials to post a “direct and imminent threat to the United States.”

The US strikes on Syria thwarted an “imminent attack“ on the US homeland by the Khorasan Group, the US administration claimed, as reported by CNN.

For the moment, as the US attacked Syria, we heard almost nothing about ISIS, the originally stated reason for the US strikes in the first place. The US administration had to hit ISIS immediately, “before we all get killed here at home,” as Sen. Lindsey Graham put it at the time.

Yet suddenly the real threat was Khorasan, not ISIS. Why is that?

Clearly White House lawyers were burning the midnight oil looking for some way to apply a legal fig leaf to what would be illegal under US and international law. The US president is not permitted to launch a military attack without Congressional action unless to defend against an “imminent” attack on the United States. That would not include ISIS, which was busy taking over territory 6,000 miles from Washington, D.C.

What to do? Invent an attack. And that is what the administration did. But as soon as the bombs fell, the story had to change very quickly once again. And it did.

Writes Greenwald:

But once it served its purpose of justifying the start of the bombing campaign in Syria, the Khorasan narrative simply evaporated as quickly as it materialized. …

Literally within a matter of days, we went from ‘perhaps in its final stages of planning its attack’ (CNN) to ‘plotting as ‘aspirational’ and ‘there did not yet seem to be a concrete plan in the works’ (NYT). …

Even more remarkable, it turns out the very existence of an actual ‘Khorasan Group’ was to some degree an invention of the American government. NBC’s [Richard] Engel, the day after he reported on the U.S. government’s claims about the group for Nightly News, seemed to have serious second thoughts about the group’s existence, Tweeting that ‘Syrian activists they’ve never heard of Khorasan or its leader.’

President Obama and his administration lied the US into a war on Syria every bit as much as the Bush administration lied us into a war on Iraq. Were the US media not still every bit as compliant with the US government as they had been in 2002, they would be all over this story.

How many people were fooled once again into supporting US military action based on US government lies hyped by the US mainstream media? This time, we were told, we had to believe the US administration. We had to act! And again they lied.

The idea that we have an independent US media acting as a watchdog for the common good is one of the greatest myths of our time.

The Globalization of Poverty: Deconstructing the New World Order

September 30th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

In these unprecedented economic times, the world is experiencing as a whole what most of the non-industrialized world has experienced over the past several decades. For a nuanced examination of the intricacies of the global political-economic landscape and the power players within it, pick up your copy of:

The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order
by Michel Chossudovsky

Michel Chossudovsky takes the reader through an examination of how the World Bank and IMF have been the greatest purveyors of poverty around the world, despite their rhetorical claims to the opposite. These institutions, representing the powerful Western nations and the financial interests that dominate them, spread social apartheid around the world, exploiting both the people and the resources of the vast majority of the world’s population.

As Chossudovsky examines in this updated edition, often the programs of these international financial institutions go hand-in-hand with covert military and intelligence operations undertaken by powerful Western nations with an objective to destabilize, control, destroy and dominate nations and people, such as in the cases of Rwanda and Yugoslavia.

To understand what role these international organizations play today, being pushed to the front lines and given unprecedented power and scope as ever before to manage the global economic crisis, one must understand from whence they came. This book provides a detailed, exploratory, readable and multi-faceted examination of these institutions and actors as agents of the ‘New World Order,’ for which they advance the ‘Globalization of Poverty.’

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Synopsis

Click here read the Preface to the Second Edition

In this expanded edition of Prof. Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller, the author outlines the contours of a New World Order which feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the environment, generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife and undermines the rights of women. The result as his detailed examples from all parts of the world show so convincingly, is a globalization of poverty.

This book is a skillful combination of lucid explanation and cogently argued critique of the fundamental directions in which our world is moving financially and economically.

In this updated and enlarged edition – which includes ten additional chapters and a new introduction – the author reviews the causes and consequences of famine in Sub-Saharan Africa, the dramatic meltdown of financial markets, the demise of State social programs and the devastation resulting from corporate downsizing and trade liberalization.

“This concise, provocative book reveals the negative effects of imposed economic structural reform, privatization, deregulation and competition. It deserves to be read carefully and widely.”
- Choice, American Library Association (ALA)

“The current system, Chossudovsky argues, is one of capital creation through destruction. The author confronts head on the links between civil violence, social and environmental stress, with the modalities of market expansion.”
- Michele Stoddard, Covert Action Quarterly

Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), which hosts the critically acclaimed website www.globalresearch.ca. He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Get your copy “The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order” today!

Global Research Price: US $18.00
(List price: US $27.95, Canada C$34.95)
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Also available: purchase the PDF version of The Globalization of Poverty sent directly to your email, and cut on mailing expenses!
PDF Version: US $9.50

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3 copies for $45.00
10 copies for $125.00

Global Research Publishers, 2003 | ISBN 978-0973714708 | 400 pages with complete index



Occupy Central: Hong Kong’s Fight against Neoliberalism

September 30th, 2014 by Ming Chun Tang

As protesters flood the streets of Hong Kong demanding free elections in 2017, the international media puts on its usual spin, characterizing the struggle as one between an authoritarian state and citizens who want to be free. The left, meanwhile, has remained notably silent on the issue. It’s not immediately clear if that goes down to an inability to understand the situation, to an unwillingness to stand for supposedly liberal values, or to a reluctance to criticize China.

As stories on Occupy Central flood the front pages of the mainstream news media, both the BBC and CNN have published handy “explainers” that confuse more than they explain, making no real effort to dig into the economic roots of discontent. The “Beeb” went as far as to ask whether “Hong Kong’s future as a financial centre” was “threatened” – giving us some insight into where the global establishment’s priorities lie.

But regardless of what the BBC wants the world to believe, Occupy Central isn’t so much a fight for democracy as a fight for social justice. It’s true that Hong Kongers are angry over Beijing’s interference in domestic affairs, whether these be immigration from China, encroachments on the freedom of the press, or the nationalistic-propagandistic “moral and national education” program. These issues, while serious, pale in comparison to the increasingly difficult realities of everyday life in Hong Kong. As City University of Hong Kong professor Toby Carroll points out, one in five Hong Kongers live below the poverty line, while inequality has risen to levels among the highest in the world. Wages haven’t increased in line with inflation – meaning they’ve fallen in real terms. The minimum wage, only introduced in 2010, is set at HK$28 (US$3.60) an hour – less than half of that even in the United States. There are no collective bargaining rights, no unemployment benefits and no pension. The average workweek is 49 hours – in case you thought 40 was rough. Housing prices are among the highest in the world. Even the neoliberal Economist placed Hong Kong top of its crony capitalism index by some distance.

The list of people who have spoken out against Occupy Central is particularly revealing – oligarch Li Ka-shing, HSBC, the world’s four largest accounting firms, among others in business circles. The main issue with CY Leung’s administration isn’t the fact that it wasn’t democratically elected, but that it serves two main groups: Beijing on one hand, and local elites on the other – in other words, far from democratic in its representation. It’s not hard to see why big business and the oligarchs are terrified of Occupy Central: any movement towards real democracy would see them losing power and losing their grip over the territory. The status quo, on the other hand, serves them well.

Hong Kongers are not an ideological bunch. We’ve never had a vote – not under 17 years of Chinese colonial rule, nor under a century of British colonial rule before that – yet we were good colonial subjects and we stayed quiet because we were making a living just fine. But as the middle and working classes start to feel the crunch, the ruling class is starting to realize that it cannot simply let them eat cake. The battle for democracy isn’t a battle for the vote, but a battle for real democracy: for the right of the people to govern themselves. The vote is merely the starting point to a long process of reform that takes the power out of the hands of Hong Kong and Chinese elites and, for the first time, into those of ordinary people.

Ming Chun Tang is a Hong Kong-born writer and a student at Hamilton College (New York), currently at the London School of Economics. He blogs at http://clearingtherubble.wordpress.com

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September 30th, 2014 by Global Research

De-dollarization has been an ongoing theme hidden just below the surface of the mainstream media for more than a year as Russia and China slowly but surely attempt to “isolate” the US Dollar. Until very recently, direct trade agreements with China (in other words, bypassing the US Dollar exchange in bilateral trade) had been with smaller trade partners.

On the heels of Western pressure, Russia and China were forced closer together and de-dollarization accelerated from Turkey to Argentina as an increasing number of countries around the world realize the importance of this chart.

However, things are about to get even more dramatic. As Bloomberg reports, China will start direct trading between the yuan and the euro tomorrow as the world’s second-largest economy seeks to spur global use of its currency in a “fresh step forward in China’s yuan internationalization.” With civil unrest growing on every continent and wars (proxy or other) at tipping points, perhaps, just perhaps, the US really does want rid of the weight of the USD as a reserve currency after all (as championed here by Obama’s former right hand economist)… now that would be an intriguing ‘strategy’.

As Bloomberg reports, China will start direct trading between the yuan and the euro tomorrow as the world’s second-largest economy seeks to spur global use of its currency…

The euro will become the sixth major currency to be exchangeable directly for yuan in Shanghai, joining the U.S., Australian and New Zealand dollars, the British pound and the Japanese yen. The yuan ranked seventh for global payments in August and more than one-third of the world’s financial institutions have used it for transfers to China and Hong Kong, the Society for Worldwide International Financial Telecommunications said last week.

“It’s a fresh step forward in China’s yuan internationalization,” said Liu Dongliang, an analyst with China Merchants Bank Co. in Shenzhen.

The move will lower transaction costs and so make yuan and euros more attractive to conduct bilateral trade and investment, the People’s Bank of China said today in a statement on its website. HSBC Holdings Plc said separately it has received regulatory approval to be one of the first market makers when trading begins in China’s domestic market.

China’s trade with European Union nations grew 12 percent from a year earlier to $404 billion in the first eight months of 2014, according to data from the Asian nation’s customs department. That compares with just $354 billion with the U.S. during the period.

French and German companies lead among countries outside of greater China in the use of the yuan, according to a July report by HSBC that was based on a survey of 1,304 businesses in 11 major economies that have ties with mainland China. Some 26 percent of French corporates and 23 percent of German companies were using the currency to settle trade, the highest proportions apart from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“Given the appointments of renminbi clearing banks in Frankfurt and Paris, today’s announcement is largely expected,” Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.’s economists led by Liu Li-gang wrote in a research note today. The agreement marks a “significant milestone” in yuan internationalization as the euro is the only G3 currency that has not had direct conversion with the yuan, Liu said.

The chart below suggests the increasing push for de-dollarization across the ‘rest of the isolated world’ may be a smart bet…

 

The internationalization of the Yuan (or implicit de-dollarization by the rest of the world) appears to go unnoticed by the administration (and mainstream media)… which makes one wonder – is this the strategy after all? As Obama’s former chief economist noted:

what was once a privilege is now a burden, undermining job growth, pumping up budget and trade deficits and inflating financial bubbles.

To get the American economy on track, the government needs to drop its commitment to maintaining the dollar’s reserve-currency status.

As Deutsche Bank previously concluded:

Given this analysis it strikes us that today we are in the midst of an extremely rare historical event – the relative decline of a world superpower. US global geopolitical dominance is on the wane – driven on the one hand by the historic rise of China from its disproportionate lows and on the other to a host of internal US issues, from a crisis of American confidence in the core of the US economic model to general war weariness.

This is not to say that America’s position in the global system is on the brink of collapse. Far from it. The US will remain the greater of just two great powers for the foreseeable future as its “geopolitical multiplier”, boosted by its deeply embedded soft power and continuing commitment to the “free world” order, allows it to outperform its relative economic power. As America’s current Defence Secretary, Chuck Hagel, said earlier this year, “We (the USA) do not engage in the world because we are a great nation. Rather, we are a great nation because we engage in the world.”

Nevertheless the US is losing its place as the sole dominant geopolitical superpower and history suggests that during such shifts geopolitical tensions structurally increase. If this analysis is correct then the rise in the past five years, and most notably in the past year, of global geopolitical tensions may well prove not temporary but structural to the current world system and the world may continue to experience more frequent, longer lasting and more far reaching geopolitical stresses than it has in at least two decades. If this is indeed the case then markets might have to price in a higher degree of geopolitical risk in the years ahead.

Since the night of September 22/23, US fighter planes have been carrying out strikes with missiles and drones against targets in and around Raqqah, the city in the Northern part of Syria where are located the headquarters of ISIS’ self-proclaimed ‘Islamic state’. Four of the US’s Middle Eastern allies are known to be taking part in these aerial strikes. They signify not just an extension in the warfare the US had previously launched against ISIS positions in Northern Iraq, but herald a decisive break with President Obama’s past efforts to wind down and bring to an end the US’s involvement in Middle Eastern wars. Once again, as when the US had started its aggression for the overthrow of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussain (2003), – the current air strikes are clearly illegitimate. 

They have neither been authorized by the Syrian government, nor by the UN’s Security Council. Although the start of the bombardments inside Syria was preceded by efforts to craft a broad international coalition – at meetings held in Great Britain (NATO), in France and in Saudi Arabia – some of the US’s European allies have expressly stated that the bombardments of Syrian targets lack a legal basis. Meanwhile, leading spokespersons of the US’s Military Industrial Complex, such as army chief Dempsey and Defense Secretary Hagel, have speculated on an another imperial ground war, aimed at dislodging ISIS from Syria and Iraq.

To bring out the fact that the US’s war on ISIS is controversial from the beginning, it is useful to look at the nature of Middle Eastern governments that have committed support to the US. Towards recruiting participants for its war plans, gaining logistical support and financial backing, the US in the first part of September held a meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where 10 countries took part. In an editorial published in the US’s most respectable daily on the very day the air strikes over Syria started, the coalition resulting from this Saudi meeting was described as ‘the unlikeliest of coalitions!’ This in view of the huge funding and other backing ISIS has been receiving from countries that joined the same Saudi meeting.

Yet only a few months back one had a hard time tracing reliable data in Western media or at internet on the history of ISIS’ funding. Some researchers of US think tanks such as the Brookings Institution were quoted as stating that ISIS has been mobilizing support from Gulf states for years. Only recently has the world’s mainstream press woken up to the fact that Wahhabi clerics and other backers have been voicing pro-ISIS propaganda on t.v. channels in Qatar, and that the Saudi and Kuwaiti government have not hindered, but allowed ISIS-sympathizers to publicly canvass for donors. Worse – Turkey, Syria’s neighbor, has been facilitating oil exports from areas ISIS controls. Indeed, one wonders for how long Western intelligence agents active in the Middle East have been asleep.

US officials, pressed by these media reports, now argue that Gulf state governments should curb any funding of ISIS from their territories. But is the matter merely one of a lax attitude by Gulf states towards Sunni extremism? How come this issue is being addressed only now, whereas the rise of ISIS and other new ‘al-Qaida’-type forces started way back in the middle of the previous decade, when US forces were battling against  Sunni extremist groups in the context of their Iraq occupation?  The point is of course that cooperation with Wahhabism, Sunni fundamentalism´s leading current, has been built into the very strategy which the hegemonic Western powers -, first Great Britain, then the US – have been pursuing for long.

The UK did so from well before the founding of Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi kingdom (1932). Further, Western allies such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states may finally been seen to distance themselves from ISIS, – but the reality is that the ideology and practices of these countries’ rulers and their Wahhabi clergy closely resemble those of ISIS’s top leadership! Just as in ISIS’  ‘Caliphate’, people who don’t conform to the country’s strict laws are regularly beheaded in Saudi Arabia. Just as in areas ‘liberated’ by ISIS in Iraq, numerous Sufi shrines have been demolished here in the past. Saudi rulers have pledged to the US that they will help train fighters against ISIS, and have proposed that Saudi clerics inculcate these combatants with proper Islamic views. Yet is there any sharp line of demarcation between Saudi Wahhabism and ISIS’s extremism?

Clearly, after over a decade of unsuccessful efforts to combat international ‘terrorism’,  US foreign policy is enmeshed in a web of self-inflicted internal contradictions. But then there may be other, hard reasons explaining the US decision to forge an alliance with cousins of ISIS’s Sunni extremism. Here Qatar is probably the most telling example right now. Though Qatar’s rulers profess their own variety of Wahhabism and have been enthusiastic supporters of Sunni fundamentalist forces operating throughout the Middle East for years, – the tiny Gulf state’s air base Al Udeid hosts the regional headquarters of CENTCOM,  the command centre of US military personnel and hardware in the Middle East. Given the controversy over Qatar’s role in helping ISIS get funding from people who have amassed oil wealth, – its rulers have now been told to keep a low profile and tone down their international role. Yet no incriminating revelations by US think tanks or press reports prevent the US from maintaining the closest possible arms’ trade-ties with the government of Qatar. In the middle of July last, US officials announced that negotiations had been concluded towards the sale of Patriot missiles, Apache helicopters, and other weapons, valued at 11 Billion US Dollars! And this deal was stated to be the ‘very biggest’ arms’ trade-deal of the US in 2014.

Some six years back, Obama was elected  the US’s President by the American people on an anti-war ticket. Yet being put under huge pressure from the side of the US’s transatlanticized Military Industrial Complex, he has launched air strikes that are causing massive devastations and further disruption of life in both Syria and Iraq. Just a year ago, in September of 2013, Obama felt compelled to call off air strikes planned against Syria’s government of Assad. The evidence over the use of chemical weapons was shaky, and Russia mediated a sensible compromise.

This time round, the relentless, nightly aerial bombardments are ostensible directed against Assad’s jihadi opponents, meaning the barrel of Obama’s gun is now pointing in reverse direction. Surely, the current air strikes were preceded by a publicity offensive that was well orchestrated, and a significant part of the public in the West believes the strikes are justified. Yet as the above story on the new war alliance the US has crafted with Arab states indicates, – by no stretch of imagination can it be argued that the current war systematically aims at weakening the international influence of intolerant forms of Islam. Already, critics argue that the air war only threatens to prolong, nay vastly increase the suffering of people all over the Middle East. As did the wars initiated in 2001 and 2003, respectively against the Taliban in Afghanistan and against Saddam’s Iraq. The UN should immediately take the US to task, demand it halt its unjust war waged with intolerant Wahhabi regimes, and take its own responsibility.

Dr. Peter Custers is internationally reknowned as Bangladesh and South Asia specialist. He is a theoretician on the production/exports of arms and the world economy, and the author of ’Questioning Globalized Militarism’ (Merlin Press/Tulika, 2007)

www.petercusters.nl

petercusters.wordpress.com/

[email protected]

US Openly Approves Hong Kong Chaos it Created

September 30th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

The “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong continue on – destabilizing the small southern Chinese island famous as an international hub for corporate-financier interests, and before that, the colonial ambitions of the British Empire. Those interests have been conspiring for years to peel the island away from Beijing after it was begrudgingly returned to China in the late 1990′s, and use it as a springboard to further destabilize mainland China.

Behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests, which masquerade as a “pro-democracy” movement seeking “universal suffrage” and “full democracy,” is a deep and insidious network of foreign financial, political, and media support. Prominent among them is the US State Department and its National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as well as NED’s subsidiary, the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

Now, the US has taken a much more overt stance in supporting the chaos their own manipulative networks have prepared and are now orchestrating. The White House has now officially backed “Occupy Central.” Reuters in its article,”White House Shows Support For Aspirations Of Hong Kong People,” would claim:

The White House is watching democracy protests in Hong Kong closely and supports the “aspirations of the Hong Kong people,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday.”

The United States supports universal suffrage in Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law and we support the aspirations of the Hong Kong people,” said Earnest, who also urged restraint on both sides.

US State Department Has Built Up and Directs “Occupy Central”

Image: The US through NED and its subsidiaries have a long history of
promoting subversion and division within China. 

-

Earnest’s comments are verbatim the demands of “Occupy Central” protest leaders, but more importantly, verbatim the long-laid designs the US State Department’s NDI articulates on its own webpage dedicated to its ongoing meddling in Hong Kong. The term “universal suffrage”and reference to “Basic Law” and its “interpretation” to mean “genuine democracy” is stated clearly on NDI’s website which claims:

The Basic Law put in place a framework of governance, whereby special interest groups, or “functional constituencies,” maintain half of the seats in the Legislative Council (LegCo). At present, Hong Kong’s chief executive is also chosen by an undemocratically selected committee. According to the language of the Basic Law, however, “universal suffrage” is the “ultimate aim.” While “universal suffrage” remains undefined in the law, Hong Kong citizens have interpreted it to mean genuine democracy.

To push this agenda – which essentially is to prevent Beijing from vetting candidates running for office in Hong Kong, thus opening the door to politicians openly backed, funded, and directed by the US State Department – NDI lists an array of ongoing meddling it is carrying out on the island. It states:

Since 1997, NDI has conducted a series of missions to Hong Kong to consider the development of Hong Kong’s “post-reversion” election framework, the status of autonomy, rule of law and civil liberties under Chinese sovereignty, and the prospects for, and challenges to democratization.

It also claims:

In 2005, NDI initiated a six-month young political leaders program focused on training a group of rising party and political group members in political communications skills.

And:

NDI has also worked to bring political parties, government leaders and civil society actors together in public forums to discuss political party development, the role of parties in Hong Kong and political reform. In 2012, for example, a conference by Hong Kong think tank SynergyNet supported by NDI featured panelists from parties across the ideological spectrum and explored how adopting a system of coalition government might lead to a more responsive legislative process.

NDI also admits it has created, funded, and backed other organizations operating in Hong Kong toward achieving the US State Department’s goals of subverting Beijing’s control over the island:

In 2007, the Institute launched a women’s political participation program that worked with the Women’s Political Participation Network (WPPN) and the Hong Kong Federation of Women’s Centres (HKFWC) to enhance women’s participation in policy-making, encourage increased participation in politics and ensure that women’s issues are taken into account in the policy-making process.

And on a separate page, NDI describes programs it is conducting with the University of Hong Kong to achieve its agenda:

The Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL) at the University of Hong Kong, with support from NDI, is working to amplify citizens’ voices in that consultation process by creating Design Democracy Hong Kong (www.designdemocracy.hk), a unique and neutral website that gives citizens a place to discuss the future of Hong Kong’s electoral system.

It should be no surprise to readers then, to find out each and every “Occupy Central” leader is either directly linked to the US State Department, NED, and NDI, or involved in one of NDI’s many schemes.

 

Image: Benny Tai, “Occupy Central’s” leader, has spent years associated with
and benefiting from US State Department cash and support.

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“Occupy Central’s” self-proclaimed leader, Benny Tai, is a law professor at the aforementioned University of Hong Kong and a regular collaborator with the NDI-funded CCPL. In 2006-2007 (annual report, .pdf) he was named as a board member – a position he has held until at least as recently as last year. In CCPL’s2011-2013 annual report (.pdf), NDI is listed as having provided funding to the organization to “design and implement an online Models of Universal Suffrage portal where the general public can discuss and provide feedback and ideas on which method of universal suffrage is most suitable for Hong Kong.”

Curiously, in CCPL’s most recent annual report for 2013-2014 (.pdf), Tai is not listed as a board member. However, he is listed as participating in at least 3 conferences organized by CCPL, and as heading at least one of CCPL’s projects. At least one conference has him speaking side-by-side another prominent “Occupy Central” figure, Audrey Eu. The 2013-2014 annual report also lists NDI as funding CCPL’s “Design Democracy Hong Kong” website.

Civic Party chairwoman Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, in addition to speaking at CCPL-NDI functions side-by-side with Benny Tai, is entwined with the US State Department and its NDI elsewhere. She regularly attends forums sponsored by NED and its subsidiary NDI. In 2009 she was a featured speaker at an NDI sponsored public policy forum hosted by “SynergyNet,” also funded by NDI. In 2012 she was a guest speaker at the NDI-funded Women’s Centre “International Women’s Day” event, hosted by the Hong Kong Council of Women (HKCW) which is also annually funded by the NDI.

 

Image: Martin Lee and Anson Chan belly up to the table with US Vice President Joseph Biden in Washington DC earlier this year. During their trip, both Lee and Chan would attend a NED-hosted talk about the future of “democracy” in Hong Kong. Undoubtedly, “Occupy Central” and Washington’s support of it was a topic reserved for behind closed doors.

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There is also Martin Lee, founding chairman of Hong Kong’s Democrat Party and another prominent figure who has come out in support of “Occupy Central.” Just this year, Lee was in Washington meeting directly with US Vice President Joseph Biden, US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, and even took part in an NED talk hosted specifically for him and his agenda of “democracy” in Hong Kong. Lee even has a NED page dedicated to him after he was awarded in 1997 NED’s “Democracy Award.” With him in Washington was Anson Chan, another prominent figure currently supporting the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong’s streets.

“Occupy Central’s” Very Unpopular Agenda 

If democracy is characterized by self-rule, than an “Occupy Central” movement in which every prominent figure is the benefactor of and beholden to foreign cash, support, and a foreign-driven agenda, has nothing at all to do with democracy. It does have, however, everything to do with abusing democracy to undermine Beijing’s control over Hong Kong, and open the door to candidates that clearly serve foreign interests, not those of China, or even the people of Hong Kong.

Image: The National Endowment for Democracy and its various subsidiaries including the National Democratic Institute, are backed by immense corporate-financier interests who merely couch their hegemonic agenda behind “promoting democracy” and “freedom” worldwide. Above is a representation of the interests present upon NED’s board of directors. 

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What is more telling is the illegal referendum “Occupy Central” conducted earlier this year in an attempt to justify impending, planned chaos in Hong Kong’s streets. The referendum focused on the US State Department’s goal of implementing “universal suffrage” – however, only a fifth of Hong Kong’s electorate participated in the referendum, and of those that did participate, no alternative was given beyond US-backed organizations and their respective proposals to undermine Beijing.

The BBC would report in its article, “Hong Kong democracy ‘referendum’ draws nearly 800,000,” that:

A total of 792,808 voters took part in an unofficial referendum on universal suffrage in Hong Kong, organisers said.

The 10-day poll was held by protest group Occupy Central.

Campaigners want the public to be able to elect Hong Kong’s leader, the chief executive. The Hong Kong government says the vote has no legal standing.

About 42% of voters backed a proposal allowing the public, a nominating committee, and political parties to name candidates for the top job.

For a protest movement that claims it stands for “democracy,” implied to mean the will of the people, it has an unpopular agenda clearly rejected by the vast majority of Hong Kong’s population – and is now disrupting vital parts of the island, holding the population and stability hostage to push its agenda. All of this is being orchestrated and supported by the United States, its State Department, and its network of global sedition operating under NED and its subsidiary NDI.

While the Western media shows mobs of “thousands” implying that “the people” support ongoing chaos in Hong Kong’s streets, “Occupy Central’s” own staged, illegal referendum proves it does not have the backing of the people and that its agenda is rejected both by mainland China and the people of Hong Kong.

Exposing the insidious, disingenuous, foreign-driven nature of “Occupy Central” is important. It is also important to objectively examine each and every protest that springs up around the world. Superficiality cannot “link” one movement to another, one group to hidden special interests. Rather, one must adhere to due diligence in identifying and profiling the leaders, following the money, identifying their true motivations, and documenting their links to special interests within or beyond the borders of the nation the protests are taking place in.

By doing this, movements like “Occupy Central” can be exposed, blunted, and rolled over before the destruction and chaos other US-backed destabilization efforts have exacted elsewhere – namely the Middle East and Ukraine – can unfold in Hong Kong.

Want to know what corporate media look like when they’re reporting for duty?

On the most recent CBS‘sFace the Nation(9/28/14), host Bob Schieffer previewed the guests who would be appearing on the show:

We will get the latest on the mission and what it entails from Deputy National Security Adviser Anthony Blinken, retired General Carter Ham, former Pentagon official Michele Flournoy and former Deputy Director of the CIA Mike Morell.

So that’s a current government official, a retired general, and retired Pentagon and CIA officials. Now that‘s a diverse line-up.

On ABC‘s This Week (9/28/14), Martha Raddatz was reporting from Bahrain to give viewers a close look at a US aircraft carrier. The segment couldn’t have appeared more like an infomercial for the US Navy:

These sailors understand their jobs are critical. We watched these men and women assemble bombs, putting together a 500-pound precision-guided weapon capable of leveling a building, and above them, the bombs were loaded onto aircraft bound for the war zone.

Raddatz also told viewers that “the deck of an aircraft carrier is an incredibly dynamic place,” and that

throughout this deployment there has not been a single serious mishap, and well over 250 missiles and bombs have been dropped on Iraq and Syria.

This Week also tapped former military officials for analysis; here’s Raddatz introducing her guest:

And now our ABC contributor, former Marine Corps fighter pilot and State Department official Colonel Steve Ganyard, is here to help break down these new developments.

And, for the sake of diversity, the former military official was balanced later on by throwing softballs to a current military official:

RADDATZ: And we are now back on land, and joining us now is Vice Admiral John Miller, who is the commander of US naval forces for Central Command and the commander of Fifth Fleet here in Bahrain. Admiral Miller, let’s start with what you really have accomplished with those air strikes.

When government officials launch an ill-defined war based on dubious claimsabout a threat to the “homeland,” you might hope that would be the time for reporters to aggressively examine and question government claims. But corporate media see things differently; war time is when TV screens are full of former generals and hawkish politicians, and reporters are busy transmitting official claims. As CBS Evening News reporter Bob Orr (9/24/14) told viewers last week:

 Pentagon officials said, in fact, the bombs and missiles hit every intended target.

When have they ever said any different?

“Build it and they will come. Build a false narrative and people will come in droves.” The Underground, Jon Rappoport

When a researcher or an investigator suspects he is looking at an artificial narrative, a storyline that is floated to achieve a hidden agenda, he has to deal with one overriding question:

How deep does he want to go, in order to root out the potential lies and false material?

Into how basic a level of the narrative does he want to cut, to see what leaks out?

Case in point: the current Ebola storyline.

Many lies can be found there. I have written about them. But one statement in the Ebola narrative is almost universally accepted.

It is accepted in the case of Ebola, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, SARS, and West Nile.

Most recently, the story began this way: “In three West African countries, there has been an outbreak of Ebola.”

This is the crux: “the Ebola virus is killing people.”

The audience automatically accepts that premise.

Whatever else they may or may not accept, they buy that premise.

So many consequences, official and unofficial, can flow from the basic premise, you would think alert people would probe it—but they don’t.

They go for it hook, line, and sinker.

They don’t know whether it’s true, they don’t have any idea about the reality of the assumption, but they grab it and cling to it.

Then they say, “Since we know the Ebola virus is killing lots and lots of people, what else can we infer?”

Effective narratives work that way: slip in a basic idea, watch people buy it and build on it.

What about the kids in Denver now being reported with “muscle weakness?” Must be a virus, the experts say; just not sure which one. Really? Then how do they know it’s a virus at all? Or any germ?

Why is “the mystery illness that’s sweeping the US” caused by a germ? How do we know it’s one illness? The general symptoms that are always reported in these “outbreaks” could be caused by 6 different germs—or none at all.

I remember when Jim West, a fine independent researcher, correlated a so-called outbreak of West Nile with centers of spewing industrial pollution in the US.

Back in 2003, I discovered that at least a quarter of the cases of SARS in Hong Kong, one of the “epicenter” cities, were coming from the Amoy Gardens apartment complex, where feces were leaking into the internal water supply—a plumbing problem.

And “Swine Flu” was an environmental/corporate problem in La Gloria, Mexico, on a large commercial pig farm, where lagoons of pig feces were baking and festering in the sun—and then, on top of that, outside contractors were called in to spray the area with toxic chemicals, which made the local workers even sicker.

In three or four articles about Ebola, I’ve listed all the endemic, chronic, and long-term horrific conditions in West Africa which have been killing people—and none of those conditions is related to Ebola.

I’ve demonstrated, on many occasions, how the most frequently used tests for diagnosing viral diseases—the antibody and PCR tests—are totally unreliable, deceptive, and useless.

I’ve explained that when it comes to germs, the factor that determines health or illness in a human being is the strength of his immune system—not the germ itself.

Ever since 1988, I’ve been writing about the toxic effects of vaccines, which of course involve direct injection of germs, toxic metals, and chemicals into the body, bypassing channels of immune defense—and causing illness.

In West Africa, as elsewhere, vaccination campaigns have been standard operating procedure for decades.

But no. It has to be Ebola, Ebola, Ebola. That’s the narrative and people buy it.

Just as it has to be HIV, HIV, HIV in Africa. In that case, not only are the widely used diagnostic tests useless, but there are quite serious questions about whether HIV exists at all.

That’s right. At primitivism.com, you can read a long interview, by journalist Christine Johnson, with biophysicist Eleni Papadopulos Eleopulos of The Perth Group: “Does HIV exist?”

It tackles somewhat complex technical questions and makes them understandable for the lay reader. It is one of the best interviews on virus hunting I have ever read—a remarkable achievement.

Selling the “the germ and only the germ causes disease” narrative is one of the great propaganda triumphs of modern medicine. Well, if you had a few billion dollars, an army of compliant media journalists, tens of thousands of doctors, and the federal government at your beck and call, you could sell the idea that tomatoes are the preferred fuel for space travel.

In these narratives, always go back to the beginning. Root out the most basic assumptions, and investigate them.

You’ll be surprised.

And when it comes to medical narratives, remember that horror stories about germs are absolutely necessary in order to sell drugs and vaccines.

Some of the major propagandists on the planet ply their trade in that arena.

They succeed because they maintain that the “tiny terrorists” are invisible—except to the experts.

It would be comparable to asserting that data interception and spying are such technical matters that only the NSA and other official professionals are able to understand it—and therefore the public should never question the particulars.

There are untold thousands of capable people taking apart the NSA narrative these days—but how many are taking apart the statement, “The germ XYZ caused the outbreak?”

Jon Rappoport is the author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails athttp://www.nomorefakenews.com

Daughter of the late Hugo Chavez, Maria Gabriela Chavez is the alternate ambassador to the United Nations for Venezuela. (Presidential Press)

Los Teques – After the failed 2006 bid for a coveted seat on the United Nation’s Security Council, Venezuela has unanimous backing from Latin American and Caribbean countries to win a two-year term, giving the Bolivarian Republic a likely chance to weigh in on international matters such as peacekeeping, military actions and sanctions.

Hugo Chávez made world headlines when he famously referred to George Bush as the Devil during a 2006 speech at the United Nations in New York. At that time the United States government used their clout to block Venezuela’s bid for one of the 10 non-permanent member seats on the UN Security Council.

This prompted a deadlock among Latin American countries, whose votes were split between Guatemala and Venezuela in a grueling 47 rounds of voting. To break the deadlock, the nations eventually chose Panama as the compromise candidate for the region.

However, this time there is unanimous support for Venezuela’s bid and those closely following the story, such as British newspaper the Guardian, estimate that “chances of its candidacy being derailed are slim.”

Even countries that have not been aligned with Venezuela in the past, such as Chile and Colombia, are supporting its bid. This type of regional cooperation was recently cemented last Thursday at the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Summit and last Wednesday at the celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the Bolivarian Alternatives for the Americas (ALBA), a regional bloc organized around principles of solidarity and cooperation.

Venezuela still must win two-thirds of the votes of member countries during the UN General Assembly meeting next month. As long as Latin American and Caribbean nations stay unified in their support for Venezuela, prospects for a seat on the Security Council look promising. Venezuela will be competing with Spain, New Zealand and Turkey for the two seats that are currently occupied by Australia and Luxemburg. The current permanent members of the UN Security council include the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.

According to various analysts, the United States will not likely mount a campaign against Venezuela’s bid for a seat on the Council, but last-minute attempts are still a possibility. Some attribute this to the current bid moving much more quietly under the radar than the infamous 2006 proposal spearheaded by Chavez.

Venezuela previously served on the Security Council in 1962-1963 and 1992-1993, but if Venezuela assumes its two year term in January, Maria Gabriela Chávez, the daughter of Hugo Chavez and Venezuela’s alternate ambassador to the United Nations will have a platform to weigh in on international affairs and military action. Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, told the Guardian “having Venezuela on the security council could serve as a counterweight to the US when debating the use of force.”

The UN Security Council is the only body of the United Nations that has the power to implement binding resolutions to its member nations, this includes the use of international sanctions, peacekeeping operations and the authorization of military action. While Venezuela will not have veto power, they would have a much more visible platform within the international community.

Venezuela’s participation on the security council could potentially offer some support to ally Russia, and provide a more prominent platform for the nation’s ongoing criticisms of US military action abroad.

While votes have yet to be cast, it appears as though one of Chávez’s dreams, for Venezuela to hold a seat on the UN Security Council, will likely be a reality in the coming months.

Academics and Diplomats Contest the Washington Post’s Propaganda on Venezuela

September 30th, 2014 by Council on Hemispheric Affairs

By Larry Birns COHA Director; Frederick B. Mills, COHA Senior Fellow and Professor at Bowie State University; and Ronn Pineo, COHA Senior Fellow and Professor at Towson University

I) The Washington Post gets it Wrong About Venezuela

The Washington Post editorial, “Venezuela doesn’t deserve a seat on the UN Security Council,” combines ad hominem attack with misinformed smears. ThePost’s views appear to have been formed by uncritically accepting all of the propaganda offered up by the right-wing opposition press in Venezuela.

It should be beneath the Post to denigrate the recently elected Venezuelan president, Nicolás Maduro, as an “economically illiterate former bus driver.” Despite his lack of training in economics, Maduro is right that Venezuela is facing what amounts to internal economic warfare, with business hoarding, currency fraud, and contraband trading. The economic policies of Maduro, and those of former President Hugo Chávez, have certainly been experimental, even trial and error, but these policies have also reduced poverty by half and expanded access to the social goods long denied to millions of ordinary Venezuelans. These are real gains in terms of human development that are all too easily dismissed by the Post.

The Post might have mentioned that some of the “economic pragmatists” it champions are precisely those whose ideologically driven bad advice sent the global economy in its recent free fall. Deregulation of the financial sector was an epical disaster, in the United States, in Latin America, and around the world, yet orthodox economic advisors continue to call for free market solutions to any and all economic problems. This is really bad advice, and people around Latin America realize it: three-quarters of the region is governed by left-wing governments, which appropriately see a larger role for the state in guiding their economic fortunes.

The Maduro administration faces serious economic challenges, and it is moving to address them. The present tiered currency exchange system is still conducive to a black market in U.S. dollars and the Venezuelan government is keenly aware that this system is in need of further reform. Venezuelan authorities are presently waging a stepped up battle against the flow of contraband. There also appears to be a consensus, on the left and on the right, that there is a need to diversify the productive base of the country and continue to step up agricultural production. The Post editorial has not taken into account Venezuela’s great debate over the scope and form of such reforms that has been recently taking place within the Bolivarian project; this debate includes the question of whether to introduce a number of market oriented measures, to stay the course towards more social control over the economy, or to implement a combination of these approaches.

The Post describes the “exit now” strategy of the ultra-right as having called for “peaceful street demonstrations under the slogan ‘the way out.’” This view is inaccurate. The hard-line right’s strategy has involved repeated violent attacks on state institutions, public transportation, and the symbols of Bolivarian social investment. So while there were peaceful opposition demonstrations, the ultra-right wing elements were not peaceful, not at the barricades they built, not when they shot at police and passersby, and not when they fired home-made mortars and tossed incendiary bombs. These actions are not mentioned by the Posteditorial, perhaps because they do not play into the opposition’s preferred narrative. The Post refers to the 40 persons killed as though they were all victims of government security forces. The best available evidence, however, indicates that as many as five of the deaths were due to the actions of government forces; the Post fails to mention those killed and injured by the extremist elements of the opposition. Meanwhile, Maduro’s government has brought criminal charges against law enforcement officials who have been implicated in homicides.

Venezuela, the Post argues, does not deserve a seat at the United Nations Security Council. But, it actually does deserve a seat. Venezuela is a leader in today’s Latin America. Venezuela has wide backing in the region, due to the generous extension of its subsidized oil export program, benefitting many small, oil importing states in the Caribbean and beyond. Venezuela has been likewise generous in providing aid packages for health and education reforms in fellow Latin American states, including especially Bolivia and Ecuador. Better still, the aid does not come with nettlesome mandates, such as launching a war on coca production, or a forced march implementation of widespread economic deregulation. And this is why all the Latin American nations support putting Venezuela on the Security Council. The opposition of the Post to something that most Latin Americans see as a good idea, says rather too much about the blinkered outlook of the Post. The Post’s remaining readers will once again have to look elsewhere if they want to understand Venezuela and Latin America. We suggest they turn to www.Coha.org.

II) Misrepresenting Venezuela, A Country Committed to Peace

Maximilien Sánchez Arveláiz - Chargé d’affaires at Venezuela’s U.S. Embassy in Washington. Letter published in the Washington Post, 24 September 2014.

The Sept. 21 editorial “Persecuted in Venezuela,” opposing Venezuela’s bid for a non­permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, distorted reality by accusing authorities of persecuting political prisoners and jailing Leopoldo López for his role in instigating “peaceful” protests this year. The protests demanding the extra­constitutional removal of the government led to more than 40 deaths, including individuals killed trying to remove protesters’ barricades. The “irresistible pressure for change” expected by the editorial never came because the majority of Venezuelans resolve political differences through elections and direct democratic participation, not violence.

The Post’s scare-mongering around Venezuela’s candidacy harkened to the Cold War mind-set that animated a similar campaign in 2006. Venezuela is not an advocate for other countries at the United Nations: It is a determined advocate for peace, as demonstrated by its commitment to regional stability and strong support for the Colombian peace process.

The Post stated that Venezuela may be on the verge of suffering “a catastrophic economic collapse” and supported such a claim by offensively referring to our head of state as an “economically illiterate former bus driver.” Venezuelans are proud to belong to a democracy that allows former blue-collar workers to rise to the top.

Several global energy companies are interested in oil resources in Western Sahara (AA)

Kosmos Energy, a US oil and gas exploration firm, along with UK oil exploration company, Cairn Energy, are planning to begin searching for oil reserves off the shores of a territory known as Western Sahara.

However, according to Sahrawi representatives, the companies have no authorisation from the people of Western Sahara, a United Nations designated non-self-governing territory larger than the UK that has been subject to occupation by neighbouring Morocco since it invaded in 1975. The Moroccan government maintains that its civilians peacefully reclaimed Western Sahara by marching into the territory, but scholarly work has long since falsified this account.

The UN has been planning to organise a referendum on self-determination in Western Sahara since 1991 but for now Morocco has successfully blocked the plans and retains control of the territory which it claims as its “southern provinces” and calls Moroccan Sahara.

Kosmos has held rights to explore Western Saharan waters since 2006, when it signed an agreement with Morocco’s state oil company, the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM).

The agreement was renewed in 2011 and, at Kosmos’s direction, a drill ship named Atwood Achiever is currently on its way from South Korea to Western Saharan waters in order to commence oil exploration in a block known as Cap Boujdor in November.

In a letter dated 19 September and addressed to Kosmos’s Senior Vice President, William Hayes, which has been seen by Middle East Eye, the Sahrawi Centre for Media and Communication – a campaigning group made up of indigenous Sahrawi and based in the territory’s capital Laayoune – condemned international energy companies planning to drill for “joining hands with Morocco” and “consolidating its sovereignty over Western Sahara.”

“Formally, it is illegal for international companies to operate in the land and coastal waters of Western Sahara without the consent of its people and without them being consulted and benefiting from these business operations,” the letter stated.

“Such illegal business is also a direct threat to the whole peace settlement as it puts at stake the right of self-determination by ignoring international law and legality,” the Sahrawi group claimed.

However, the Sahrawi are not alone in believing that oil exploration in Western Sahara without authorisation from the Sahrawi would be illegal under international law. In 2002, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs, Hans Corell gave a legal opinion which agreed with the Sahrawi.

“If further exploration and exploitation activities were to proceed in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara, they would be in violation of the international law principles applicable to mineral resource activities in non-self-governing territories,” Corell wrote.

A number of previous attempts by oil companies to drill in Western Saharan waters have been abandoned, due to the legal status of the territory and subsequent divestment by shareholders. Kosmos, however, appears resolute and French oil major Total also has plans to drill next year.

Kosmos has defended its decision by arguing that while it does not have the authorisation of the Sahrawi, its activities will be beneficial to them.

“We believe that, if exploration is successful, responsible resource development in Western Sahara has the potential to create significant long-term social and economic benefits for the people of the territory,” Kosmos wrote in a statement on the issue in February.

But the UN’s Corell has made clear on multiple occasions that this is not sufficient to make the drilling lawful. In 2008, he issued a clarification of his original legal opinion that described it as “formulated in such a manner that it would be crystal clear that Morocco had no authority to engage in exploration or exploitation of mineral resources in Western Sahara if this was done in disregard of the interests and wishes of the people of Western Sahara.”

Speaking to the Financial Times on 17 September, Corell said that “the more resources are found in Western Sahara and its maritime zone, the less will be the incentive for Morocco to fulfil the UN resolutions and international law.”

Neither Morocco’s ONHYM nor the Moroccan government responded to requests for comment.

The Sahrawi population is divided into those still living in the occupied territory, and the thousands who fled from the Moroccan army in 1975 and became refugees living in camps in South-West Algeria.

Sahrawi living in the refugee camps are also highly critical of the drilling.

“Kosmos and Cairn plan to participate in the looting of our country,” said Kamal Fadel a representative of the Sahrawi government in the camps, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

“This is a shameful act by Kosmos and Cairn that puts their greed before the respect of legality and human rights, and it helps perpetuate the illegal occupation of our homeland, encouraging Morocco to continue to obstruct UN efforts to resolve the conflict,” Fadel told MEE.

International firms in other sectors besides energy have also engaged in potentially illegal resource exploitation in occupied Western Sahara.

Last October, the Canadian agricultural firm Agrium Inc. organised a deal with the Moroccan state phosphate company Office Chérifien des Phosphates (OCP) for Western Saharan phosphate.

Despite international pressure, more than $10 mn of phosphate rock mined by Morocco’s OCP in Western Sahara were loaded onto a freighter and shipped to Vancouver for use by Agrium as a result of the deal.

In December, the European Union also approved a four-year accord with Morocco, allowing EU boats – the majority of them Spanish – to fish in Western Saharan waters. Demonstrations were held in Laayoune by some Sahrawi but were met with a harsh response from Moroccan security forces.

“A significant oil or gas find in Western Saharan waters will only increase Morocco’s unwillingness to recognise the territory’s international right to self-determination,” said Jacob Mundy, assistant professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University, in New York.

“The danger in all of this is the Security Council’s lack of interest in the Western Sahara situation generally,” Mundy told MEE.

“Having watched Morocco plunder the territory’s fisheries and minerals for years, it is difficult to imagine the Western Saharan independence movement remaining passive in the face of these new offshore developments.”

A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles fly over northern Iraq after conducting airstrikes in Syria, in this U.S. Air Force handout photo taken early in the morning of September 23, 2014. (Reuters/U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Matthew)

The US-led military operation against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants has likely so far cost between $780 and $930 million, according to an estimate by Washington-based think tank specializing in defense issues.

The estimate is part of a report attempting to forecast how much the operation might cost in the future. It was published on Monday by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), that’s influential with the US Department of Defense.

The think tank’s defense experts, many of whom are military veterans, have used a figure given by the Pentagon itself, which said that the military operations against the Islamic State cost $530 million through August 26.

The group’s own estimate covers the period from August 27 through September 24 and is based on “what is publicly known about the number of targets struck, the types of aircraft and munitions used, the basing options available to US forces in the region, and the number US ground forces in the region.”

The various costs associated with the military actions against the IS have been reflected in a graphic, issued by the CSBA.

The total cost to date from mid-June through September 24 is likely between $780 and $930 million,” the report says.

It further comes up with possible estimates of three scenarios of the way the military operation will develop in the region.

Assuming a moderate level of air operations and 2,000 deployed ground forces, the costs would likely run between $200 and $320 million per month,” the study says.

If the airstrikes moderately intensify and 5,000 ground forces are deployed, the cost would be driven to $350 and $570 million per month.

Finally, if the military campaign “expands significantly” and 25,000 US troops are deployed, the monthly cost of the operation might grow to $1.1 to $1.8 billion.

Annually the first scenario would cost the American budget $2.4 to $3.8 billion per year, while the third, highest-intensity, one would require the US to spend $22 billion.

The US started the military operation against the Islamic State in June 2014 by increasing support to Iraqi and Kurdish forces fighting the extremist group.

The US airstrikes against the Islamic State targets in Iraq were launched August 8 and in Syria September 23. President Obama made a decision on the airstrikes without the authorization of the US Congress. Lawmakers might not vote on the move until next year, congressional aides told Reuters on Monday.

Members of Congress left Washington in mid-September to campaign for upcoming elections. They will return in mid-November and will likely be reluctant to vote on authorization for the use of military force in Iraq and Syria in the last weeks of the current Congress.

President Obama announced crackdown on the Islamic State group in a landmark September 10 speech. He specified that American ground troops would not be involved in the fight against the militants.

Senior US military officials have, however, not excluded the ‘boots on the ground’ option. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said in mid-September that should Obama’s current strategy not yield the desired results, he would recommend deploying American troops on the ground.

Estimates on the possible cost of the military campaign have varied. Last week, a defense spending expert, Gordon Adams, a professor of US foreign policy at American University, told Huffington Post he estimated the United States’ war on the militant group could be costing taxpayers up to $1.5 billion a month.

Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem, delivered a speech on Monday at the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly, in which he affirmed that Syria supports any international effort to combat terrorism as long as it fully preserves civilians’ lives and national sovereignty and is carried out according to international accords.

Following is the full text of the speech:

H. E. Sam Kutesa,

President of the General Assembly,

I would like to congratulate you and your friendly country, Uganda, on your election as President of the General Assembly at its current session, and to wish you success in leading the work this session for the enhancement of the important and neutral role of the President of the General Assembly. I would like to thank your predecessor, Mr. John Ashe for his presidency of the previous session.

Mr. President,

Many events and significant transformations have taken place since I stood hare last year. Those events and transformations surprised many of the countries present here with us, but they didn’t surprise us, because we have been, over the past three and a half years, warning and reiterating our warning in order to avoid what we have come to now.

Speeches from this platform were about economic and political crises that we have been waiting for the international community to solve them, but, maybe speaking about these issues now is no longer a priority. What we are witnessing for few months is much more dangerous than all the political and economic crises that have happened in the world.

We have spoken on more than one occasion and on more than one international platform about the grave danger of the terrorism striking Syria. We said that this terrorism will not be confined within the borders of my country because terrorism recognizes no boundaries. This extremist ideology does not acknowledge anything but itself, and does not recognize anything but slaughter, murder and torture. You are witnessing today what the ISIS, the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world at all in terms of funding and brutality, is doing to Syrians and Iraqis of all spectra and religions. This terrorist organization is enslaving women, raping them and selling them in slave markets; it is cutting heads and limbs, and it is teaching children slaughter and murder, besides destroying historical and cultural monuments, as well as Islamic and Christian Symbols.

All of this is happening before the entire world and the countries that have always said they are fighting terrorism. Furthermore, some of them have tasted the scourge of terror.

Today, I stand here to ask the following: is it not due time, ladies and gentlemen, for all of us to stand as one in the face of this serious menace of terrorist takfiri ideology worldwide? Has not the moment of truth arrived for us all to admit that ISIS, Al-Nusrah Front and then rest of the Al-Qaeda affiliates, will not be limited within the borders of Syria and Iraq, but will spread to every spot it can reach, starting with Europe and America? Should we not learn the lesson from what happened in previous years and bring together full international efforts to stand in the face of those organizations? Those organizations, themselves, rallied extremists from all corners of the earth and brought them to one spot to train and arm them, and later to re-disseminate their ideology and terrorism through those extremists back to wherever they originated from.

Someone might say that, recently, a resolution under Chapter VII was passed unanimously to stop the expansion of this, and other, terrorist organizations, and to eliminate them.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is true that to arrive late is better than never. Indeed, this UN resolution, adopted on 15/08/2014, came too late, but the question asked here is whether everyone is serious and resolute about its implementation? But since its adoption, we have not seen any serious move to implement this resolution. Furthermore, we have not felt any real sense of the danger to work on its basis on the part of the regional states that were and are still providing all kinds of support to these terrorist organizations. On the contrary, what we see on the part of the US administration is a double standard policy and alliances to score certain political agendas, particularly through supporting with money, weapons and training of groups they call moderate. This is a real recipe for the increase of violence and terrorism, shedding of Syrian blood, prolonging of the Syrian crisis and demolishing of the political solution at its basis. This behavior creates a fertile ground for the growth of these terrorist groups that commit the most heinous crimes on the Syrian territory, which requires all of us to seriously and effectively address and eradicate terrorism, and re-establish security and stability in Syria and the region.

Today, the enslaved women are looking forward to us to see what we will do for them, their sisters and their children. The sons and daughters of the victims beheaded by ISIS are waiting for our actions, and for our reaction in the face of the atrocities committed daily by this terrorist organization, “Al-Nusrah Front” and others.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Combating terrorism cannot be done through unimplemented UN resolutions. Intentions here no longer have a place. Fighting terrorism is achievable through actual implementation of resolutions, and it is certainly possible through military strikes. But most importantly, to do so through stopping states that arm, support, train, fund and smuggle those terrorist groups. We have also to drain the resources of terrorism. Striking terrorism militarily while some states are continuing their support of terrorist groups, this will create a whirlpool of which the international community will not exit in decades.

Military strikes should coincide with the implementation of Security Council resolution Number 2178 adopted on September 24th, 2014 under Chapter VII. We have also to put pressure on countries that render all multifaceted support to these terrorist organizations; these countries are well known to all of us. Most importantly, to pressurize those countries that exported and are still exporting extremist and takfiri ideology that poses a grave danger to international peace and security. The ISIS is an ideology metamorphosed into an organization supported, armed and trained in order to be unleashed like a monster against Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Let us together stop this ideology and its exporters, let us, simultaneously, exert pressure on the countries that joined the coalition led by the United States to stop their support of armed terrorist groups. Only then combating terrorism militarily becomes viable. Otherwise, our presence here will not amount to the level of tears of the captives, women and children, who are victims of the ISIS, and Al-Nusrah Front and others.

Once again, the Syrian Arab Republic reiterates that it stands with any international effort aimed at fighting and combating terrorism, and stresses that this must be done in full respect of the lives of innocent civilians and within the frame of full respect of national sovereignty, and in conformity with international conventions

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is due time to pool all our efforts against this terrorism, since imminent danger is surrounding everyone and no country is immune to it. My country was and it is still firm in its position that was announced in the eighties of the last century, regarding fighting terrorism, before this terrorism goes rampant as it is currently. Mr. President, we, in Syria, respect our commitments and honor our promises and pledges. This was what we confirmed on more than one occasion, particularly since the beginning of the crisis in Syria.

Syria agreed unconditionally to attend Geneva 2 Conference, and participated in its deliberations with an open mind, although we were convinced that the solution of the crisis should be a Syrian one taking place on Syrian territory. However, and as a goodwill gesture, and to stop bloodshed of Syrians’ blood, we went to Geneva only to find a delegation that does not negotiate on behalf of Syrians. Originally, that delegation has no influence on the ground in Syria and neither popularity nor legitimacy among the Syrian people. It was a delegation negotiating with the Syrian government while following the orders of its western masters. A delegation that does not believe in combating terrorism or confronting it. Furthermore, it was a delegation that does not respect Syria’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity. A delegation that verbally refuses to ask terrorist groups to end their terrorism. We know that this opposition would not even be able to pressurize anyone, neither the armed groups nor any Syrian faction on the ground.

We went to Geneva with a priority based on combating terrorism because we believed, and continue to believe, that we cannot start any political solution while terrorism is still rampant in Syria. There were some who opposed us in Geneva in recognizing that combating terrorism is a priority, although it is a paramount part of Geneva Declaration provisions, but the delegation of the so-called “Coalition” continued to reject any point tackling or renouncing terrorism. Now, we all see the international community adopting our perspective that fighting terrorism tops all priorities, and that nothing at all could be done as long as terrorism is brutally striking against everything that comes in its way and as long as those terrorists will return to the countries where its members came from.

Once again, we emphasize that we are ready, and even are striving, for a political solution in Syria and in dialogue with all honorable national opposition members opposing terrorism in Syria, and among Syrians themselves and on Syrian territory.

The presidential elections, that took place before the sight of the world, put everyone before their responsibilities. The will of the Syrians is above all those who tried to suppress it for more than three years now, and it was manifested when Syrians inside and outside Syria said their word for the whole universe to hear.

Now, after the presidential elections, we would like to tell everyone who wants and looks forward to a political solution in Syria that they must firstly respect the Syrian people’s will, which was manifested explicitly, clearly, strongly and most loudly. They chose their President, for the first time in Syria’s modern history, in multi-party elections, with the international monitors from several countries that witnessed the integrity, transparency and the enthusiasm of the people to participate in these elections.

Mr. President, I would like to emphasize that the Syrian people has made its choice, and those who want to speak on behalf of the people’s must, first, be representatives of the people, and, secondly, they should respect the will of the Syrian people and its decisions.

Therefore, any dialogue must be based on foundations that should respect the will of the Syrian people and its decision. Accordingly, we are open to a political solution in Syria, with a real opposition that seeks the prosperity, stability and security of Syria, an opposition that does not depend on the outside and does not speak on behalf of the outside. An opposition that has an impact on the Syrian territory, and has deep roots inside Syria, not in hotels and Western capitals. A national opposition that upholds fighting terrorism as its priority, as well as, an opposition that encourages the ongoing local reconciliations, paving the way for the success of the political solution.

Mr. President,

The continuation of terrorist attacks in Syria increase the humanitarian needs in many of the basic areas, the inhuman sanctions, imposed by the European Union and the United States, aggravated the living conditions of Syrian civilians. In collaboration with the United Nations and its humanitarian agencies, and within the framework of humanitarian response plans agreed upon them with the Syrian government, my government is working to meet the basic needs of citizens, especially those forced by the terrorist acts to flee their homes. We should note that a great number of our people were forced to resort to some neighboring countries, and regrettably, some of those countries put the displaced Syrian in military training camps, or in what resembles places of detention. I stress, from this platform, that the Syrian state guarantees for those citizens who are willing, the safe return and decent life away from the inhuman conditions they are suffering in those camps. I would like to assure Syria’s readiness to exert all efforts to deliver aid from international organizations to all Syrian citizens without any discrimination wherever they are, and within the framework of respecting the national sovereignty.

The Syrian Arab Republic confirms its adherence to the full restoration of the occupied Syrian Golan until the line of June 4th, 1967. It also emphasizes its rejection of all actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, to change its natural, geographical and demographic characteristics, in clear violation of relevant Security Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 497 of 1981 and 465 of 1980. Syria confirms, also, that the Palestinian issue is the central issue of the Syrian people, which supports the inalienable and legitimate rights of the brotherly Palestinian people, particularly, the right to return and self-determination, and to establish its independent state on its land, with Jerusalem as its capital.

Last September, Syria accepted the initiative of the President of the Russian Federation, H.E. Mr. Vladimir Putin, and joined the Convention of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based on the need to establish in the Middle East a free zone of nuclear weapons and all weapons of mass destruction. It also wanted to prove to the whole world its commitment to stand against any use of chemical weapons.

Syria fulfilled its obligations resulting from its accession to the Convention, and completed its commitments despite the prevailing difficult situation. Were it not for the Syrian cooperation with the UN-OPCW Joint Mission, it would have not been possible to complete the tasks of the Mission. The Special Coordinator of the Mission, Ms. Sigrid Kagg, expressed her happiness and gratitude for the fruitful and constructive cooperation of the Syrian Government, which led to the completion of the unprecedented work.

Syria is committed to the full implementation of the provisions of the Convention as a state party, and within the frame of the OPCW. The big question that remains is whether those who are supplying the terrorists with this, and other types of weapons, will stop their actions and abide by international law, in particular the Convention of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Security Council resolutions related to terrorism?

Syria stresses that establishing a zone free from all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East is unachievable without the accession of Israel, the only nuclear power in the region, to all treaties banning such weapons, and to put its nuclear facilities under the supervision of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). At the same time, we emphasize the right of all countries to acquire and develop nuclear technology for peaceful uses.

Mr. President,

Imposing unethical unilateral coercive economic measures by the United States and the European Union contradicts the rules of international law and the principles of free trade. On this basis, we call for the lifting of the blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for decades, as we renew our call to lift and stop all the unilateral coercive measures imposed on Syria and the peoples of other countries such as Iran, DPRK, Venezuela and Belarus.

Mr. President,

Finally, we look forward to the United Nations to be able to achieve the aspirations of our peoples to live in dignity, development and food self-sufficiency, far away from all forms of terrorism, tension and confrontation, in implementation of the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations, in particular the safeguarding of the sovereignty of states and their equality in rights and obligations. Also we believe that priority should be given to work on the concerted efforts of the international community to combat the terrorism of the ISIS and Al-Nusrah Front, and other al-Qaeda affiliates, and drain its resources in order for security and stability to prevail in our region and the world.

This article was published  in 2005, but is still relevant today, especially in the context of the current military intervention in Iraq and Syria.

In June 2005 I attended the National Media Reform Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. While there I visited the historic St. Louis courthouse and the huge Gateway Arch by the Mississippi River that symbolizes St. Louis as the gateway to the west. It was here that US corporate agribusiness, the US occupation of Iraq and the Dred Scott decision intersected in reality as well as symbolically.

The St. Louis courthouse is famous for the deliberations of Dred Scott in the mid-1800′s and displays in the courthouse feature the historic documents of this renowned court case. Scott was a slave and sued for his freedom, which was denied by the Missouri Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision in 1857. The court ruled that Scott was not a citizen and therefore could not bring a case to a federal court. In the same case, the court also ruled that the Missouri Compromise that forbade slavery in new territories was unconstitutional as it denied the rights of slave property owners. The decision had sweeping consequences, not the least of which being yet another catalyst for the initiation of the Civil War. Interestingly, two months after Supreme Court decision, Scott’s present owner freed him anyway.

Standing under the Gateway Arch, and looking west, one sees the old St. Louis courthouse, and to the east, the Mississippi River. As I looked across the river there was, to my amazement, a warehouse-like building with a huge rather crass sign reading “Cargill”. It was obviously a decadent marketing ploy by the agribusiness giant, the Cargill Corporation, that is the largest grain trader in the world. The Cargill sign was, therefore, in a direct path, underneath the arch, to the courthouse. I mentioned this disturbing image across the river to one of the park stewards. She said, “Yes, there are times I would like to bomb East St. Louis.” I thought that was a rather interesting comment.

As is now well known, oil is but one of the major interests the US has in Iraq. Because wars are invariably a pretext for economic expansion and opportunities for corporate greed, I knew that US corporate agribusiness was not about to be left out of the picture. My concerns were realized when, in April of 2003, Bush’s Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman appointed Daniel Amstutz, formerly an executive of the Cargill Corporation, to oversee the “rehabilitation” of agriculture in Iraq. With Cargill having the reputation of being one the worst violators of the rights and independence of family farmers throughout the world, I knew Iraqi farmers were doomed.

Cargill is massive. This corporate agribusiness grain trader has 800 locations in 60 countries and more than 15 lines of business. It is the largest private company in the US and the 11th largest public or private company in terms of sales.

Cargill is renowned for receiving huge subsidies from the US government to then dump vast amounts of grains in poorer countries where Cargill is trading. This process, in effect, undermines small farmers, helps to destroy the local food production systems and forces dependence of small farmers and local rural economies on corporate agribusiness.

Amstutz, however, brought additional corporate and international trade qualifications to the table. He was undersecretary for international affairs and commodity programs from 1983 to 1987 for the Reagan administration; ambassador and chief negotiator for agriculture during the Uruguay Round General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) talks 1987-1989; and past president of the North American Grain Export Association. None of these qualifications were encouraging for the well being of the small family farmers in Iraq.

Oxfam’s policy director Kevin Watkins said “Putting Dan Amstutz in charge of agriculture reconstruction in Iraq is like putting Saddam Hussein in the chair of a human rights commission. This guy is uniquely well placed to advance the commercial interests of American grain companies and bust open the Iraqi market, but singularly ill equipped to lead a reconstruction effort in a developing country.”

I also knew that, as the US was poised to invade Iraq, US corporate agribusiness companies engaged in producing and promoting genetically modified organisms (GMO’s) throughout the world would be salivating.

Why would corporate agribusiness be salivating??? Some history here. It is thought that agriculture started 13,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent – in the area now called Iraq – where the Tigress and the Euphrates rivers intersect. The Iraqi ancestral farmers and this fertile land brought us major crops such as wheat, barley, dates and pulses (see Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies”). The area is hugely important in world history. Given they are considered the initiators, for thousands of years the contributions of the Iraqi farmers to the world’s agriculture production system have been unquestionably profound.

It is also likely that women were the initiators of agriculture. Women were the gatherers in hunting and gathering pre-agricultural societies. As women were the ones gathering nuts and roots for their communities, they would have been the observers of seeds and their growth patterns. This is likely why the majority of the African farmers today are women and throughout our human history the world’s farmers have largely been women.

Now comes the corporate connection. Food is something everyone needs. There is no question about this and no need for a survey – the market is a given. Huge profits are in the offing. Controlling all aspects of food ­ its production, packaging, distribution and commodity markets – is the dream world of corporate agribusiness.

The major impediment to corporate agribusiness controlling all aspects of food and then reaping all of the profits, however, is competition from the independent family farmer in the US and throughout the world.

Throughout our history, the family farmer’s controlling interest has been protected by two of the most important components of agriculture ­ the two “s’” ­ soil and seeds.

Soil is not monolithic. It is amazingly and thankfully diverse. It’s components and minerals differ everywhere and farmers historically have always adjusted to this through crop rotations that will add or remove certain nutrients to the soil, and/or farmers will let the soil rest and lay fallow for a specified time. Traditional farmers will also use natural nutrients like compost and manure to replenish the soil. In this way the soil remains “alive” with organic nutrients, earthworms and the like. Seeds and plants are also selected for the type of soil and farmers themselves have performed, and still perform, this selection since the beginning of agriculture.

Seeds are also not monolithic, of course, even within the same plant family. They are amazingly diverse and the diversity of seeds is our lifeblood. Like humans, plants are vulnerable to disease. The more diverse our plants, the safer we humans are. The more diverse our plants, the less vulnerable they will be to an all-encompassing disease that could and has wiped out some crops within days or less. Without diversity there is virtually no resistance to disease. The great Irish potato famine in 1845, for example, resulted from a uniform potato production that had no resistance to the potato blight.

How have farmers maintained this diversity and therefore protected our food supply? As mentioned, they have always adjusted seeds to the type of soil in their area by selecting and saving the seeds of successful plants. This is a very “local” process. By doing so, for thousands of years, farmers have thankfully maintained the diversity of our food chain. As Martin Teitel and Kimberly Wilson note in their excellent book “Genetically Engineered Food: Changing the Nature of Nature” (1999):

“Appreciation of the importance of biodiversity dates back a hundred centuries to the beginning of the agriculture process.Farmers remained powerless, however, when it came to the interaction between crops and their environments. No one could predict whether a season would be wet or dry. Consequently, farmers quickly learned the importance of diversity: maintenance of various crops that thrived under a variety of conditions to avoid entire crop failures and starvation.”

Also, farmers have always historically saved seeds for next year’s crop. Most farmers in the world don’t go to the store and supply warehouse to buy seeds. The seeds are their on their farm and their grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great grandparents likely grew versions of the same seed stock.

The mission of farmers historically and around the world has always been to grow food for family and community sustenance, and not competition against each other – a mission that is much to the ire of western capitalists. Invariably, farmers will also share their seeds with their neighboring farmers. This collective and cooperative spirit of the farming community is legendary.

Vandana Shiva refers to the importance of local agriculture production in a sustainable environment and the threat of removing it from local control in her book “Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development ” (1989) where she writes:

“The existence of the feminine principle is linked with diversity and sharing. Its destruction through homogenization and privatization leads to the destruction of diversity and the commons. The sustenance economy is based on a creative and organic nature, on local knowledge, on locally recycled inputs that maintain the integrity of nature, on local consumption for local needs, and on marketing of surplus beyond the imperatives of equity and ecology..”

It is well known and documented that small farmers everywhere are the best stewards and sustainers of the land. They are closer to itthey know what it takes to feed it and care for it. I’ve seen farmers lift soil in their hands and know exactly what is needed in the soil. In this sense, small family farmers are also the most efficient farmers in terms of crop yields, as virtually every foot on that farm is known to them. To be sure, millions of farm families ­ women, men and children – throughout the world from the Philippines to the US are sophisticated homegrown agronomists who work the fields.

I can easily be accused of romanticizing the farming profession, but I’ve seen farmers with a glow in their eye when talking about being involved in one of the most sacred of all professions ­ the practice of nurturing and witnessing the flowering of crops from small seeds and, consequently, sustaining all of us through the production of food.

The world’s family farmers now and historically are our unsung heroes!

So what has corporate agribusiness done to disrupt the powerful soil-seed mantra and erode the independence of family farmers? Chemicals were employed that neutralize and invariably have polluted and poisoned our soil, which destroys its diversity. Seed patents have been intensified, coupled with the development of genetically modified organisms (GMO’s). Corporations have attempted to make farmers dependent on all of these interventions.

After WWII there were vast amounts of nitrogen left over from making bombs. Dow, Shell and Dupont decided they could sell the nitrogen to farmers for profit and thus began the now infamous “green revolution” leading to huge amounts of chemical poisons in agriculture. The complicity of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the green revolution is also a major factor. The result has been a devastating farmer dependency on chemical poisons along with the destruction of our soil and leading to us humans ingesting more chemicals (read Al Krebs’ excellent “The Corporate Reapers: the Book of Agribusiness” – 1992). The chemical and poison additives in soil make it easier for seed business’ to disregard the diversity of our fertile soil which then paves the way for less diverse and genetically altered seed stocks.

Farmers who have used these poisons, and are now attempting to veer away from this dependency, describe their soil as “dead”. It can become alive again, but it takes a few years.

GMO’s are seeds composed of DNA from an altogether different species. Historically when we have bred our plants we have done so with the same plant family. The long- term health consequences of the GMO produced crops that we now ingest are unknown at this point, yet we do know that this science leads to an irreversible erosion of genetics and encourages monoculture. As Teitel and Wilson explain:

“The genetic engineering of our food is the most radical transformation in our diet since the invention of agriculture (thousands of years ago). Genetic engineering has allowed scientists to splice fish genes into tomatoes, to put virus genes in squash, bacterium genes in corn, and human genes in tobacco (to”grow” pharmaceuticals).Normally the boundaries between species are set by nature. Until recently, those biological barriers have never been crossed. Genetic engineering allows these limits to be exceeded ­ with results that no one can predict.”

Companies will then patent the GMO seeds and encourage farmers to grow them. Once seeds are purchased farmers are required to sign contracts specifying they what cannot do with these seeds such as save them or share them. To further complicate matters, companies, citing legal priorities due to patent rights, will prosecute farmers who save seeds rather than purchase the seeds from the seed company the next year. The major GMO crops grown since GMO soy was first commercialized in 1996 are corn, soy, cotton and canola. According to the Center for Food Safety, the Monsanto corporation, headquartered in St. Louis, “provides the seed technology for 90 percent of the world’s genetically engineered crops.”

There’s a vicious war against family farmers right now that is relentless. Companies will even sue if farmer’s non-GMO crops have been polluted by GMO pollen and are planted without permission (see the 2005 report by the Center for Food Safety entitled “Monsanto vs. U.S. Farmers”).

What corporate agribusiness is attempting to do to independent family farmers is not quite slavery but becoming close. It is attempting to take away the independence of farmers through basically contract farming. This harkens back to the oppressive sharecropping or tenant farmer relationships set up by southern plantation owners for freed slaves and poor white farmers in the South. Plantation owners wanted to keep freed slaves under their yoke and make use of their labor. So they set up a sharecropping and tenant systems of farming with various types of contractual arrangements that invariably benefited the plantation owners rather than the aspiring freed slaves. So, too, it’s the consolidated corporate agribusiness companies that benefit in today’s scenario rather than the farmers.

Throughout southeast Asia, destabilization of traditional farming practices from corporate agribusiness intervention has been rampant. In the late 1980′s, for example, I spent time with rice farmers in the Philippines. They told me that they were encouraged to grow a new higher yielding rice plant developed by the International Rice Institute, and it’s affiliated corporate agribusiness companies. They were excited about growing and potentially exporting more rice. It made no sense to them that they could not set the seed aside for next year’s crop, as Filipino farmers have done for hundreds of years. It also made no sense that the only way the crop would be fertile was through use of fertilizers supplied by agribusiness companies. Such chemical use was also an unknown practice for these farmers.

The next year, hundreds of the small rice farmers went out of business because they couldn’t afford to purchase the seed or fertilizer. I asked them why they didn’t go back to planting their old rice crops. They told me they couldn’t because they didn’t have the seeds anymore as the seed had always been set aside for the next year’s crop. As a result they were dependent on agribusiness for their seeds ­ there was no option. Most of the traditional Filipino rice seeds are now in U.S. seed banks.

In the late 1990′s there were reports of some 4,000 Filipino rice farmers who died due to pesticide (chemical poison) use. The speculation, I was told by Food First in California, was that the higher yielding rice plant attracted a pest the farmers had never before encountered and they were then told to use chemical poisons that they also had never used. It’s thought that either they didn’t know how to use the poisons or they used it to commit suicide.

Most of the world has resisted, in some way, the wholesale invasion of GMO crops. No country in their right mind would turn over their food sovereignty to US corporate agribusiness. Not to be defeated, corporate agribusiness has sought loopholes in vulnerable areas in the world. They seek regions where the implementation of their insidious schemes is virtually a given and from which they can force the world to accept their devastating and destabilizing agricultural model. Currently, the US military occupied Iraq is a prime area and the continent of Africa is another.

Corporate agribusiness is enormously dangerous and the increased, sometimes forced, dependency of the world’s farmers on corporate agribusiness is a threat of major proportions. Think of it ­ virtually all of our ancestors were farmers and for 13,000 years we humans have fed ourselves quite well without the likes of Cargill and Monsanto that evolved just decades ago. We don’t need them! To further exacerbate the problem, they make us all vulnerable for their short-term corporate greed. As Jim Hightower, the populist and former Agriculture Commissioner of Texas, once said, “We need to place our nation’s growth not on the Rockefellers but on the little fellers because is we do it will be based on genius and not greed.” This should be the message for every nation!

Of necessity, most agriculture advocates would agree that agriculture should remain primarily local and not global. This is the essence of food security – locally controlled and produced food.

The symbolism, much less the reality, of making Iraq’s fertile crescent into one of the major areas for GMO production would be altogether too tantalizing for corporate agribusiness companies like Cargill and Monsanto. Dan Amstutz obviously had input into the disastrous “transfer of sovereignty” policies developed by the former Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) administrator L. Paul Bremer III in Iraq. Of the 100 orders left by Bremer, one is Order 81 on “Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, Integrated Circuits and Plant Variety”. Most are saying that this order, if implemented, is a declaration of war against the Iraqi farmers.

As the Grain and Focus on the Global South (www.grain.org) reported in October 2004

“For generations, small farmers in Iraq operated in an essentially unregulated, informal seed supply system.This is now history. The CPA has made it illegal for Iraqi farmers to re-use seeds harvested from new varieties registered under the law. Iraqis may continue to use and save from their traditional seed stocks or what’s left of them after the years of war and drought, but that is not the agenda for reconstruction embedded in the ruling. The purpose of the law is to facilitate the establishment of a new seed market in Iraq, modified or not, which farmers would have to purchase afresh every single cropping season.Eliminating competition from farmers is a prerequisite for these companies (i.e. major international corporate seed traders such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow Chemical).The new patent law also explicitly promotes the commercialization of genetically modified seeds in Iraq.”

Upon reflection, I decided this lineup of US corporate agribusiness and the Dred Scott decision is appropriate. It is appropriate that they face each other as they are obviously in league. To combine this with the US military occupation of Iraq and the attempts at corporate agribusiness abuse and control of Iraqi agriculture is mind-boggling. All three represent a combination of greed, unjust ownership (humans, seeds etc.) and violations of immense dimensions that impact the integrity and safety of the planet and its inhabitants.

We managed to legally end slavery in the United States but it took a war to do so. Today, the world’s independent farmers also need to be freed from the oppressive yoke of corporate agribusiness and the on-going efforts to intensify and expand this control.

Regarding our food system overall, it is too important to be handed over to unfettered capitalists and food should not be treated like any other commodity. Agriculture and small farmers are just too important to us. Let the corporate capitalists perhaps make shoes or combs or computers, although they are probably making a mess of that as well by destroying competition. But by all means we need to keep their slimy hands off the substance of life – the world’s agriculture production system.

Heather Gray produces “Just Peace” on WRFG-Atlanta 89.3 FM covering local, regional, national and international news. She has been a part of the food security movement for 16 years in Africa, Asia and the United States. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia and can be reached at [email protected].

Do people in Europe want the likes of Monsanto determining policies in secretive meetings in Brussels? Would they like Unilever, Kraft or Nestle determining what is allowed in their food? Do they want big business removing or weakening health and safety standards and undermining consumer and workers’ rights?

In other words, do they want their parliaments to be sidelined by powerful corporations that determine policies behind closed doors with bureaucrats and officials in Brussels?

Decades of hard work to ensure policies are open to democratic accountability and to guarantee ordinary people’s rights are in danger of being swept away at the behest of wealthy private concerns.

The great corporate heist continues today in Washington. Shrouded in secrecy and granting privileged access to powerful corporations, the 7th round of negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will take place amid growing civil society protests at the dangers of the proposed deal for democracy and essential regulations in the areas of public health, safety, the environment and the financial sector.

Dozens of civil society groups from all across Europe have denounced EU plans for ‘regulatory cooperation’ as well as the continued secrecy surrounding the talks. While EU negotiators have repeatedly claimed that protection levels are not under threat and that standards will not be lowered as a result of the TTIP talks, these statements have been consistently disproved by documents leaked from the negotiations.

In particular, the implications of the proposals for regulatory cooperation at the horizontal level or on specific sectors, such as the EU proposals on chemicals and financial regulation, all suggest that current protection levels (and the possibility for legislators to improve these in the future) will be undermined through the TTIP.

The leaked EU proposal for horizontal cooperation in the field of regulation bears strong resemblance to proposals tabled by a handful of powerful corporate lobby groups.

Kenneth Haar from Corporate Europe Observatory has said:

“The Trade Commissioner has said on various occasions that protection levels, be they on food or chemicals or other areas, will not be lowered as a result of the negotiations. The problem is that everything he does points in a different direction.”

Big business continues to dominate the discussions, while the majority of the public is being left in the dark about the exact direction of the talks. Instead, they must rely on leaked documents to get information about what is being negotiated on their behalf.

Natacha Cingotti from Friends of the Earth Europe says:

“The leaked EU plans for regulatory cooperation fuel concerns about the negative impact of TTIP on essential protections for citizens and the environment. All the signals lead us to believe the talks are a Trojan horse which risks undoing decades of progress to protect citizens and our environment and benefits only big business.”

The negotiators should allow full transparency around the negotiations.

Max Bank from Lobby Control calls for wide public debate about an issue that will affect all Europeans because regulatory cooperation in TTIP is a covert attack on democracy and regulation.

Corporate interests are driving the TTIP agenda, with the public having been sidelined. Pro-free-trade bureaucrats from both sides of the Atlantic are facilitating the strategy [1]. Despite claims by the European Commission (EC) that the talks are transparent [2], the notes of EC meetings with business lobbyists released to CEO under the EU’s freedom of information law were found to be heavily censored. The documents showed that the EC invited industry to submit wish lists for ‘regulatory barriers’ they would like removed during the negotiations. There is no way for the public to know how the EU has incorporated this into its negotiating position as all references had been removed [3].

Under the banner of ‘regulatory cooperation’, the US wants all so-called barriers to trade, including controversial regulations such as those protecting agriculture, food or data privacy, to be removed. Even the leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, in a letter to US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, have made it clear that any agreement must reduce EU restrictions on genetically modified crops, chlorinated chickens and hormone-treated beef.

The TTIP could also empower corporations to legally challenge a wide range of regulations which they dislike [4]. Even the threat of litigation whereby corporations sue governments for massive amounts of cash could result in the shelving of legislation.

A leaked EU document [5] from the winter of 2013 shows what is at stake with the EC proposing an EU-US Regulatory Cooperation Council, a permanent structure to be created as part of the TTIP deal. Existing and future EU regulation will then have to go through a series of investigations, dialogues and negotiations in this Council. This would move decisions on regulations into a technocratic sphere, away from democratic scrutiny. There would also be compulsory impact assessments for proposed regulation, which will be checked for their potential impact on trade. This would be ideal for big business lobbies: creating a firm brake on any new progressive regulation in the very first stage of decision-making, driving decision making underground and granting both US and European businesses even greater sway over decisions than currently exists.

Ideas that favour powerful business interests could be presented as a done deal without room for change based on the premise that business lobby groups, the EU and US authorities and a restricted group of officials have already agreed on them [6].

The official language talks of “mutual recognition” of standards or so-called reduction of non-tariff barriers. For the EU, that could mean accepting US standards in many areas, which are lower than those of the EU and for instance the eradication of Europe’s ‘precautionary principle’ [7] regarding genetically modified food and the eventual flooding of GMOs onto the commercial market.

The talks amount to little more than a series of backroom deals, while striving to give the appearance of somehow being democratic. If it goes through, this treaty would effectively constitute a vital part of cementing the ongoing restructuring of economies in favour of financial-corporate interests [8,9]. The trade deal is a unique opportunity to achieve through closed and non-transparent negotiations what hasn’t been possible so far in a transparent and democratic way.

No sector has lobbied the EC more during the preparation phase for the negotiations on the proposed deal than the agribusiness sector [10]. Food multinationals, agri-traders and seed producers have had more contacts with the Commission’s trade department (DG Trade) than lobbyists from the pharmaceutical, chemical, financial and car industries put together.

Of the 560 lobby encounters that DG Trade held to prepare the negotiations, 520 (92 percent) were with business lobbyists, while only 26 (four percent) were with public interest groups. For every encounter with a trade union or consumer group, there were 20 with companies and industry federations.

Pia Eberhardt, trade campaigner with Corporate Europe Observatory recently stated that:

“DG Trade actively involved business lobbyists in drawing up the EU position for TTIP while keeping ‘pesky’ trade unionists and other public interest groups at bay. The result is a big-business-first agenda for the negotiations which endangers many achievements that people in Europe have long struggled for, from food safety rules to environmental protection.”

The TTIP must be stopped.

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Notes

The Jerusalem Post reports that an ISIS fighter says that Turkey funds the terrorist group. Turkey is a member of NATO and a close U.S. ally.

A German news program – with English subtitles captions – shows that Turkey is sending terrorists into Syria:

Opposition Turkish lawmakers say that the government is protecting and cooperating with ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorists, and providing free medical care to their leaders.

According to a leading Turkish newspaper (Today’s Zaman), Turkish nurses are sick of providing freemedical treatment to ISIS terrorists in Turkish hospitals.

According to Pulitzer-prize winning reporter Seymour Hersh and leaked phone calls between top Turkish officials, Turkey also carried out the chemical weapons attack which has been blamed on Assad, and has planned other “false flag attacks” within Turkey.

Foreign Policy documents that Israel is also treating ISIS terrorists for free in its hospitals:

Israel is  …  providing medical care and other unidentified supplies to the insurgents ….

In the past three months, battle-hardened Syrian rebels have transported scores of wounded Syrians across a cease-fire line that has separated Israel from Syria since 1974, according to a 15-page report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the work of the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF). Once in Israel, they receive medical treatment in a field clinic before being sent back to Syria, where, presumably, some will return to carry on the fight.

U.N. blue helmets responsible for monitoring the decades-old cease-fire report observing armed opposition groups “transferring 89 wounded persons” from Syrian territory into Israel, where they were received by members of the Israel Defense Forces, according to the report. The IDF returned 21 Syrians to armed opposition members back in Syria, including the bodies of two who died.

“Throughout the reporting period, UNDOF frequently observed armed members of the opposition interacting with the IDF across the cease-fire line,” according to the report. “On one occasion UNDOF observed the IDF on the Alpha side [inside Israel] handing over two boxes to armed opposition on the Bravo side [inside Syria].”

***

The Israeli government has been providing medical assistance to Syria’s wounded for more than a year. In February, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid a visit to a military field hospital in the Golan Heights.

http://syrianfreepress.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/israhell-snake-visiting-terrorists.jpg

IDF

The Times of Israel reported last month:

A Free Syrian Army commander, arrested last month by the Islamist militia Al-Nusra Front, told his captors he collaborated with Israel in return for medical and military support, in a video released this week.

In a video uploaded to YouTube Monday … Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Haramein Battalion, admitted to having entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms. Safouri was abducted by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front in the Quneitra area, near the Israeli border, on July 22.

“The [opposition] factions would receive support and send the injured in [to Israel] on condition that the Israeli fence area is secured. No person was allowed to come near the fence without prior coordination with Israel authorities,” Safouri said in the video.

***

In the edited confession video, in which Safouri seems physically unharmed, he says that at first he met with an Israeli officer named Ashraf at the border and was given an Israeli cellular phone. He later met with another officer named Younis and with the two men’s commander, Abu Daoud. In total, Safouri said he entered Israel five times for meetings that took place in Tiberias.

Following the meetings, Israel began providing Safouri and his men with “basic medical support and clothes” as well as weapons, which included 30 Russian [rifles], 10 RPG launchers with 47 rockets, and 48,000 5.56 millimeter bullets.

In March, Haaretz reported:

The Syrian opposition is willing to give up claims to the Golan Heights in return for cash and Israeli military aid against President Bashar Assad, a top opposition official told Al Arab newspaper, according to a report in Al Alam.

***

The Western-backed militant groups want Israel to enforce a no-fly zone over parts of southern Syria to protect rebel bases from air strikes by Assad’s forces, according to the report.

Other close U.S. allies – including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar back ISIS – back the ISIS terrorists as well.

What’s really happening?  It’s all about pushing for regime change in Syria … AGAIN.

Illustrative photo of an Israeli settlement’s civilian security coordinator. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

The IDF grants arrest and other powers to civilians in West Bank settlements and outposts but fails to ensure they are held accountable. In essence, the army has privatized law enforcement.

Privatizing the state’s use of force should be a source of concern to us all. Such a process – and particularly when the powers are transferred to a body with a clear political agenda – creates uncontrolled militias. This is the process that has occurred in the West Bank due to the army’s policy of delegating some of its law enforcement powers to civilian security coordinators, as discussed in Yesh Din’s new report, “The lawless zone.”

The institution of the civilian security coordinator in itself is not new; it is part of a spatial defense approach that predates the establishment of the State of Israel. This function was formalized in the Local Authorities Law (Arrangement of Guarding), 1961. That law established that the security coordinators and guards were to be accountable to the police or the army. In the West Bank, where this mechanism was introduced by a military order in 1971, is more complex.

Read the full Yesh Din report here

The security coordinators — and the guards accountable to them — enjoy quasi-military and law enforcement powers, such as the power to detain or search a suspect and to arrest him if he resists. Despite this, supervision over their actions is remarkably vague. In official terms, security coordinators derive their powers from appointment by the IDF’s Central Command. In practice, however, they are appointed by the settlements in which they work. In official terms, security coordinators are accountable to the army, which grants them their powers and provides training programs, and to military law. In practice, there is not even a single documented instance in which a security coordinator has been prosecuted for deviating from his authority, despite the fact that the new report itemizes a number of documented violations. In official terms, the security coordinator receives instructions from the army brigade; but he receives his salary from the settlement where he operates. The security coordinator is not an employee of the Defense Ministry and coordinators who have filed suits for compensation against the ministry have been unsuccessful for this reason.

While we were preparing the report, the IDF Spokesperson was forced to admit that there is no document establishing procedures for the supervision and assessment of security coordinators, along the lines of the procedures relating to army officers, for example. The Spokesperson also confirmed that it has no information about disciplinary proceedings against coordinators or against members of their guarding units. Yet according to an Operations Division order, the security coordinator bears a “responsibility to soldiers undertaking a guarding function in the area, including briefing them on their arrival, monitoring the execution of their task, and attending to their welfare.” It is also worth noting that then-deputy state attorney Shai Nitzan stated in an official letter that commander-commandee relations are not applicable to the relationship between security coordinators and soldiers. This claim is contradicted by the experience of many soldiers who have reported such relations.

The transfer of military powers to civilians is particularly serious when it is to a group of civilians with a distinct ideological viewpoint, who are motivated by an aspiration to seize additional Palestinian land and who refuse to recognize Palestinian land rights in the West Bank. The transfer of quasi-military powers to an ideological group, some of whom do not recognize the State of Israel and some of whose leaders have called for the elimination of the democratic regime, can only be seen as the army waiving its authority to exercise power. Or in other words – privatization.

Been there – done that. When the Finance Ministry attempted to privatize Israel’s prisons and build the first prison managed by a private company, the High Court struck down the law. Justice Ayala Procaccia explained that such privatization creates the clear potential for the violation of human rights: “the private body that receives a governmental authority carrying the potential to violate the core of individual rights is not rooted in the framework of rules of action and criteria that dictate the standards of use of the institution power of authority and guide the actions of state organs. It did not grow up and was not educated in this framework; it is alien to its concepts, and it has never internalized the theory of balances in the use of governmental power.”

Anyone seeking a practical example of all these defects need look no further than the security coordinators. By the way, we should note that the state is currently attempting to privatize another arm of the law enforcement system, namely the prosecution: it is proposing to employ attorneys from the private sector as prosecutors who will decide whether or not to serve indictments. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has asked the attorney general to halt this further attempt at privatization: responsibility for the penal process must remain entirely in the hands of the state.

To sum up: when the state – and remember that in the West Bank, the Israeli army acts as the sovereign – transfers any of its powers to use force to private individuals who are accountable not to the army but to their settlement, it damages its own standing, the ability to enforce the law, and above all – the occupied population whose person and property it is obliged to protect. Accordingly, Yesh Din’s report urges the army to correct this flaw and to appoint security coordinators who are not settlers but officers in the standing army; and to ensure that they are accountable to the army and not to the settlements. In a nutshell: the army should take back its monopoly on the use of force.

Written by Yossi Gurvitz in his capacity as a blogger for Yesh Din, Volunteers for Human Rights. A version of this post was first published on Yesh Din’s blog.

A special session at the 69th United Nations General Assembly discussed the spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in several West African states. Numerous world leaders including the African Union (AU) Commission Chair Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Margaret Chan spoke to the worsening crisis and the need for assistance from the international community to effectively address the burgeoning impact of the disease which has killed over 3,100 people since March.

As an outcome of the meeting a United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) was initiated. The agency was set to establish an office in Accra, Ghana on Sept. 29 which is designed to coordinate relief and assistance programs aimed at the three most effected states Sierra Leone, Guinea-Conakry and Liberia.

Cases of the disease have been reported in Senegal and Nigeria as well. Nonetheless, both governments of these states say that the Ebola outbreak is under control. Other infected persons were reported in the northern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) although it was claimed that the outbreak there is unrelated to the strain of the virus that has spread so rapidly in West Africa.

Epidemic Could Impact Millions

During the same time that the UN General Assembly was convening in New York City, the United States based Center for Disease Control (CDC) sounded the alarm saying that if the Ebola outbreak was not seriously addressed there could be up to 1.4 million cases by the early months of 2015. Despite the reports involving the most recent epidemic of the potentially deadly disease, the response from the western industrialized states has not been rapid or robust. (CDC Report, September 23)

By Sept. 29 the Associated Press would write that:

“The needs of the outbreak have continually outstripped projections: WHO says around 1,500 treatment beds have been built or are in the works, but that still leaves a gap of more than 2,100 beds. Between 1,000 and 2,000 international health care workers are needed, and they and local doctors and nurses will require millions of disposable protective suits to stay safe. Thousands of home hygiene kits are also being flown in to help families protect themselves at home.”

The address by Nkosazana-Dlamini, the AU Commission Chair, reported on efforts already underway to provide healthcare professionals and logistical support recognizing the humanitarian organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, the International Committee of the Red Cross, among others. She noted that an AU Ebola Outbreak in West Africa (AUEOWH) group had been established.

 Nonetheless, much more needs to be done to prevent the spread of the virus and to effectively treat the thousands who have already been infected. As a result of the high mortality rates among those infected, support services will be needed for the affected families where many children will be left as orphans.

Medical Assistance Must Be Related to Development

What is obvious about the spread of this disease is the lack of medical personnel and infrastructure in the impacted states. Both Liberia and Sierra Leone have undergone civil wars over the last two decades displacing millions and leaving tremendous social problems which the subsequent governments have not been able to effectively stem.

Guinea, after breaking with French imperialism between 1958-1984 under the Democratic Party (PDG) led by President Ahmed Sekou Toure, fell victim to neo-colonialism after the death of its founder when a military coup placed the country back under the complete dominance of Paris and Washington. Periodic outbreaks of unrest and successive military coups have hampered the mineral-rich nation from providing resources aimed at building its internal infrastructure.

Dlamini-Zuma in her speech said more medical personnel from AUEOWH would be deployed to the three most severely struck states. “This includes medical specialists from countries such as Uganda and the DRC that have dealt with Ebola before. We shall be sending further teams to Sierra Leone and Guinea, but it is yet a drop in the oceans, we need hundreds more volunteers.” (AU Statement on Ebola Crisis, Sept. 25)

Moreover, the AU Commission Chair stated clearly that the immediate crisis must be approached within the context of medium and long term objectives related to the necessity of developing African healthcare systems and research institutions. Methods for treatment and identifying trends within disease transmissions are essential in the fight to eradicate the outbreak.

 “The Global Coalition to be launched today must look at all these immediate and urgent issues,” Dlamini-Zuma said. “At the same time, effective disease control is about having strong public health systems in place, with access to health care for all and institutions at national, regional and continental levels to share information on diseases.”

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla in his statement before the UN General Assembly session on the Ebola crisis also stated firmly that “The General Assembly’s unanimous approval of Resolution A/RES/69/1 on September 19, is a clear demonstration of a universal awareness of the need to provide an immediate response to this disaster using all necessary resources, in order to prevent it from becoming a humanitarian crisis with unpredictable consequences for a continent which has been historically ignored and in which presents serious social problems and underdevelopment which have allowed for the emergence and spread of the disease. Human, material and financial resources are required to tackle Ebola, but also to ensure the development of Africa.” (Granma International, Sept. 26)

Medical Apartheid

In a blog published by the Washington Post, Karen Attiah pointed out how no African physicians infected with Ebola have been evacuated for treatment to the United States. However, several white medical personnel were immediately sent back to the U.S. for treatment where all have recovered.

Attiah stresses that these West African states are already suffering from huge shortages of medical personnel. The deaths and sickness of some of the leading physicians in Sierra Leone and Liberia is serving to worsen the overall crisis.

“Very recently, Dr. Olivet Buck, a Sierra Leonean doctor, died after the World Health Organization denied a request that she be transported to Germany for treatment. In July, Dr. Sheik Humaar Khan, an eminent physician that headed up Sierra Leone’s Ebola response, died after negotiations for his evacuation,” Attiah said.

In addition to these contradictions, complaints have already been leveled against western institutional responses to the crisis.

“The U.S. Agency for International Development came under fire briefly after it was reported that the field hospital it was setting up in Monrovia (Liberia) was intended to treat only foreign workers. The agency now says that the facility will treat health workers of all nationalities,” Attiah noted.

She continued pointing out that “On Sunday (Sept. 28), health officials reported that Liberia’s chief medical officer, Dr. Bernice T. Dahn, has been placed under quarantine after her assistant died from Ebola on Thursday. Sierra Leone officials have criticized the WHO for its sluggishness on decisions to evacuate their country’s infected doctors.”

This same author called for the rejection of travel bans and other forms of isolation regarding the impacted West African states.

She said “Health workers must be provided with adequate protective gear. We cannot allow ‘medical apartheid’ to characterize the international treatment of the African medical personnel and health workers from Europe or the United States.”

The writer then says and rightly so, that:

“After all, the African doctors will be the ones to be on the front lines to help their countries against malaria, child mortality, malnutrition and other diseases that threaten African nations but not foreign workers. The African doctors fighting Ebola are heroes, just as much as any foreign volunteers. We cannot leave them behind to die.”

Even the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. military response to the outbreak has not proven yet to be effective. In an article published on Sept. 29, its reveals that “The American military effort against history’s deadliest Ebola outbreak is taking shape in West Africa, but concerns are mounting that the pace isn’t fast enough to check a virus that is spreading at a terrifying clip.”

In the same article it says that the initial teams are working on airport runways and not supplying medical treatment. They have been cutting down grass for the construction of a field facility, however, “While this team levels the earth, superiors hash out the still-uncertain details of the American intervention here.”

International Mobilization Required

The problem of the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak must be brought to the top of the agenda in the U.S. and other countries. Unless organizations concerned about the liberation and sovereignty of the oppressed former colonial states come to the fore with a program of action to address the crisis, the outcome will result in many more deaths.

As with the HIV epidemics of the 1980s and 1990s, multi-national firms will attempt to profit from the medical disasters that primarily impact the working class, oppressed and poor of the world. The supply of protective gear, patents for medications and vaccines will provide the pharmaceutical firms with opportunities to reap billions in sales.

This crisis must be approached from the perspective of the most impacted being those states in West Africa which have been the victims of centuries of slavery, colonialism and neo-colonialism. The genuine liberation of Africa is essential for eradication of infectious disease and the construction of adequate healthcare infrastructures in the immediate future.

In a ruling Monday, US bankruptcy judge Steven Rhodes threw out a motion to stop mass water shutoffs in Detroit, declaring that city residents had no “fundamental right” to water service. The ruling sanctioned the city’s brutal policy, which has terminated service to nearly 50,000 low-income households since January 2013 and continues at the pace of 400 households a day.

Rhodes dismissed a lawsuit filed by victims of the water shutoffs, which argued that the city’s policy was doing irreparable harm to residents and threatened to create a public health disaster. The residents argued that the city’s policy violated the 14th Amendment’s prohibition against a state “depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law” and the principle of “equal protection” under the law, since service to major corporations, which failed to pay, had not been discontinued.

On this basis, the plaintiffs sought a six-month moratorium on shutoffs and the restoration of service to households without water. This time was needed, the coalition of liberal and Democratic Party-affiliated groups behind the lawsuit argued, to craft a plan with the city to reduce rates for low-income families.

In throwing out the due process claim, the judge said the plaintiffs could not “plausibly allege that they have a liberty or property interest in receiving water service, let alone water service based on ability to pay.” Nothing in city or state law, he said, “establishes property or liberty interests,” he declared, specifically leaving out any mention of the right to “life” contained in the US Constitution.

Similarly Rhodes tossed out the plaintiff’s claim over equal protection, citing a 1996 US Supreme Court ruling that said the constitution’s promise of this protection had to “coexist with the practical necessity” that most legislation results in “disadvantage to groups or persons.” Large enterprises had far more “complex connections” to the water and sewerage system and “more complex disconnections” would have to take place, Rhodes declared in an alibi for corporations like General Motors, which have refused to pay millions in water and sewerage bills.

Rhodes acknowledged the shutoffs had caused irreparable harm, noting that the lack of water produced serious life-threatening medical problems for seniors and disrupted children’s education and employment for adults. “It cannot be doubted that water is a necessary ingredient for sustaining life,” he declared.

Nevertheless, the judge declared,

“It is necessary to emphasize these findings of irreparable harm do not suggest that there is a fundamental enforceable right to free or affordable water. There is no such right in law. Just as there is no such affordable right to other necessities of life such as shelter, food and medical care.”

In this the judge summed up the priority given to the profit interests of the corporate and financial elite over the social rights of the working class, which the capitalist courts uphold and enforce.

While insisting that citizens in Detroit and by implication throughout the United States have no right to the necessities of life, the judge declared that the banks and big bondholders who control the Detroit Water and Sewerage System had every right to make billions in profits.

Nearly 50 cents out of every dollar in revenue generated by the DWSD is used for debt servicing. The mass water shutoffs were demanded by the big bondholders and credit rating agencies and have been used as a means of increasing the flow of money to the super-rich investors who essentially control publicly-owned utilities like the DWSD.

In response to an “unreasonable amount of delinquencies,” the judge said, the city had “quite properly and justifiably embarked on its program to terminate service in order to motivate payment by those who could afford to pay.”

Rhodes praised the economic terror used to squeeze payments out of low-income households, saying there had been a high “correlation between shutoffs and collections.” A six-month moratorium, he said, would cause “substantial damage” to the city because it would “increase its customer default rate and seriously threaten its revenues.”

He continued,

“Detroit cannot afford any revenue slippage, and its obligations to its creditors require it to take all reasonable and business-like measures to collect the debt that is owed to it as it prepares to show the court that its plan is feasible… The last thing that it needs is the hit to its revenues that would inevitably result from this injunction…”

Any delay in collections, Rhodes said, would also endanger plans to establish regional control over the city’s water system through the setting up of the Great Lakes Water Authority. Rhodes hailed this plan, which is a prelude to outright privatization of the water system.

In justifying his reactionary ruling, the judge made the specious claim that the federal bankruptcy court could not “interfere with the choices a municipality makes about what service it will provide,” under Section 904 of the federal bankruptcy code. This section upholds the separation of powers between cities and municipalities on the one hand and the federal government on the other.

The court, Rhodes said, “does not have authority to require the DWSD to stop mass water shutoffs, refrain from implementing a program of mass water shutoffs or require the DWSD implement procedures involving rate setting or water affordability.”

In making this argument, Rhodes was turning upside down the original intent of the municipal bankruptcy laws, which was to hold creditors and bondholders at bay in order allow cities to continue to provide essential services while they got back on their feet. Therefore it was up to the cities—not the federal courts or the big bondholders—to determine what essential services would have to be maintained.

Instead of holding the creditors at bay at the behest of the population, the entire bankruptcy process has held the interests of the people of Detroit hostage to the looting operation of the big banks and bondholders. All of the legal players in the case—including the corporate lawyers appointed by Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr to “represent” the city and Judge Rhodes himself—speak for the powerful financial interests behind the bankruptcy conspiracy.

The judge’s supposed concern for the sanctity of state and city laws has been demonstrated with his rubber-stamping of city worker pension cuts—which are direct violation of Michigan’s state constitution—and the selloff and privatization of public assets and services in violation of city ordinances requiring a public vote.

Monday’s ruling once again underscores the incompatibility of the social rights of the working class with the domination of society by a financial elite whose singled-minded drive for enrichment is imperiling the life and safety of hundreds of millions. If the capitalist system cannot provide such essentials of life as water, shelter and food—and it cannot—this is only an argument for the working class to reorganize economic and political life on the basis of securing the social needs of the vast majority of the people, not private profit of a few.

As one of its first official acts, the new “national unity” government of President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is set to sign a Bilateral Security Agreement with Washington allowing 10,000 US occupation troops to operate with impunity on Afghan soil after the formal end of US-NATO combat operations at the end of this year.

White House counselor John Podesta, who headed up a decidedly low-ranking US delegation to Ghani’s inauguration ceremony Monday, made the announcement on the troop deal, which is to be signed formally by the US ambassador and an Afghan government official in Kabul today.

Washington had been working for nearly two-and-a-half years to secure such an agreement, which would guarantee the Pentagon continued use of Afghan military bases and, crucially, ensure that US personnel remain immune from prosecution in Afghan courts for any crimes carried out against the Afghan people.

Despite threats of a complete pullout and cutoff of aid, President Hamid Karzai, who headed a puppet government in Kabul for 13 years after being installed by Washington, refused to sign the deal. He insisted that the US would have to agree to end aerial bombardments and special forces night raids, which have claimed the largest share of civilian casualties inflicted by the US-led occupation forces.

In a farewell speech to government officials last week, Karzai, who owed his position entirely to the US intervention, said, “This is not our war, it is a foreigners’ war; it is based on their goals.”

Ghani, a former World Bank economist who spent 24 years abroad, most of them in the US, before the American invasion of Afghanistan, apparently has failed to raise any such criticisms or demands.

While the Obama administration has stressed that the 10,000 troops will be engaged in advising and training the 350,000-member Afghan National Army, the reality is that special operations forces will remain in the country, continuing to direct air strikes and assassination raids against elements deemed hostile to the US and its puppet regime in Kabul.

In the run-up to the 2012 US election, President Barack Obama had promised that he was “bringing our troops home from Afghanistan” and that he would “have them all out of there by 2014.” This new deal, however, sets the stage for an open-ended military presence in the impoverished country, even as the US administration is launching a new war in Iraq and Syria and beefing up military forces for confrontations with Russia and China.

If anything, the new Afghan government has even less credibility than the last. It is the product of an election held earlier this year that is universally acknowledged as rigged, with ballot stuffing on an industrial scale. It is widely believed that Ghani’s supposed victory is the result of some two million fraudulent ballots being added to the total.

After the refusal of Ghani’s rival, former Karzai foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah, to accept the outcome of the runoff election last July, Washington brokered a deal to carry out a recount. As the European Union’s election inspection team concluded in a report issued last week, however, the recount was “inconsistently and hastily applied under high political tension,” leading to “an imperfect effort to separate fraudulent votes from clean votes.” In less diplomatic terms, the recount was just as rigged as the vote itself.

With the threat that Ghani and Abdullah would form two rival ethnically based governments, posing the threat of a new civil war on top of the ongoing insurgency by the Taliban and other armed anti-occupation groups, Secretary of State John Kerry issued an ultimatum demanding that the two form a national unity government or face the cutoff of all US aid. Foreign assistance, the largest share of which comes from Washington, accounts for two-thirds of the Afghan regime’s funding.

This deal has Ghani installed as president. Though it is widely believed he actually lost the election, his World Bank background made him a favorite of the US and its Western allies. Abdullah has been named to an extra-constitutional position of “chief executive officer” created in a decree signed by Ghani Monday. This ill-defined post has been described as something akin to a prime minister, but with some executive functions.

Abdullah reportedly almost skipped the inauguration because of anger over the violation by Ghani’s supporters of an agreement not to make public the vote totals tallied in the rigged recount, awarding Ghani a 55 percent majority.

Abdullah reportedly enjoys considerable support in the predominantly Tajik officer corps of the Afghan military as well as from the warlords of the Northern Alliance. Should these layers prove dissatisfied with their share of the power and the spoils, Ghani’s tenure may prove short-lived.

Prospects for the new “national unity” regime appeared grim even at the outset. As the new president was being sworn in, Taliban bombers struck at a checkpoint on the Kabul airport road leading to the US Embassy, killing four members of the Afghan security forces and three civilians. In a separate attack, a suicide car bomber struck a government compound in Paktia, killing at least eight people, including several security personnel. Just three days earlier, Taliban forces overran a strategic district in the central eastern province of Ghazni.

Nationally, the Taliban has mounted its most aggressive offensive since its government was toppled by the US invasion of 2001, taking control of large swaths of territory in the south and east of the country that had previously been held by US-led occupation troops. The attacks by the group have claimed the lives of more than 2,000 members of the Afghan security forces just since spring, double the number killed during the same period a year ago.

While Ghani in his inauguration speech urged the Taliban and other armed groups to negotiate a peace agreement, a Taliban spokesman rebuffed the appeal, declaring that the movement viewed Ghani’s government as a “project of the United States.”

Meanwhile, the government’s fiscal crisis was made clear by an announcement from the finance ministry on the eve of the inauguration that it is unable to pay the salaries of hundreds of thousands of government employees this month because there is not enough money in Afghanistan’s treasury.

The Afghan government has asked for $537 million in emergency funds from Washington to enable to continue operations. According to Reuters, the US ambassador, James Cunningham, said that any such allocation would be borrowed from next year’s donations and be contingent on the government implementing austerity measures along with plans to increase revenue collections. “There isn’t going to be new money,” he told the news service.

The US government has poured in more than $104 billion over the past decade with little to show for it. Amelioration of grinding poverty is marginal at best, and there are widespread fears that the Afghan security forces will prove no more capable than their Iraqi counterparts. The lion’s share of the cash has gone into the pockets of corrupt Afghan officials and US military contractors.

In a pessimistic analysis issued last week, Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a former Pentagon official and adviser, wrote that Afghanistan

“has become the forgotten war at a time when the Taliban is making steady gains, civilian casualties are rising, there is still no effective Afghan government, the Afghan economy is in crisis, and there still are no clear plans for any post-2014 aspect of transition.”

Cordesman argues that in the absence of such plans, there is a threat of a “power vacuum” that would plunge not only Afghanistan, but neighboring Pakistan and Central Asia, into crisis. He voiced the demand, undoubtedly shared by large sections of the US military brass, for the Obama administration “to make a fundamental shift in US plans and to provide adequate advisors and enablers for as long as it takes on a conditions-based timetable.”

In other words, what is envisioned is an open-ended continuation of the 13-year-old US war and occupation.

La Nato dietro il piano Erdogan

September 30th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Si è formato «underground» negli ultimi due anni, approfittando del  «caos della guerra civile in Siria»: così il presidente Obama ricostruisce in una intervista a 60 Minutes la genesi dell’Isis, dicendo di averlo «sottostimato» e di aver «sovrastimato» la capacità dell’esercito iracheno di combatterlo. Ragione per cui gli Stati uniti «riconoscono che la soluzione sta divenendo militare». Obama prende così due piccioni con una fava: da un lato si assume la falsa colpa di aver sottovalutato l’Isis, non quella reale di averne agevolato lo sviluppo armando e infiltrando gruppi islamici in Siria e Iraq, dall’altro presenta l’immagine di una amministrazione dalle mani pulite oggi costretta a ricorrere alla forza militare per proteggere dall’Isis i civili siriani, curdi e iracheni.

Gli attacchi Usa si concentrano sugli impianti petroliferi siriani, con la motivazione che sono sfruttati dall’Isis: il piano è sicuramente quello di demolire l’intera rete delle restanti industrie e infrastrutture siriane per far crollare il governo di Damasco.  Esse vengono colpite non solo dall’aria ma anche dal mare: due navi da guerra Usa, la Uss Arleigh Burke e la Uss Philippine Sea, stanno lanciando dal Mar Rosso e dal Golfo Persico centinaia di missili da crociera sugli impianti siriani. Contemporaneamente,  mentre vengono armati e addestrati «gruppi ribelli siriani moderati», si sta preparando l’operazione di terra sotto il paravento del cosiddetto «piano Erdogan».

Il piano, ufficialmente proposto dal presidente turco, prevede la creazione di una «zona cuscinetto» in territorio siriano lungo il confine con la Turchia, rafforzata da una «no-fly zone» stabilita sulla Siria nord-orientale formalmente per proteggere i civili dagli attacchi degli aerei governativi siriani (che di fatto già oggi non possono sorvolare la zona, dominata dalla U.S. Air Force). Il piano è in realtà frutto della strategia Usa/Nato: lo confermano il segretario Usa alla difesa Hagel e il generale Dempsey, la massima autorità militare Usa, che si sono detti «disponibili a considerare la richiesta del presidente Erdogan». La creazione di una zona cuscinetto è «divenuta una possibilità», ha dichiarato il generale Dempsey, aggiungendo che essa richiederebbe «attacchi aerei per mettere fuori uso il sistema di difesa aerea del governo siriano» (The New York Times, 27 settembre).

La Turchia è l’avamposto dell’operazione militare contro la Siria:  qui la Nato ha oltre venti basi aeree, navali e di spionaggio elettronico, rafforzate nel 2013 da 6 batterie di missili Patriot statunitensi, tedesche e olandesi, in grado di abbattere velivoli nello spazio aereo siriano.  A queste basi si è aggiunto uno dei più importanti comandi dell’Alleanza: il Landcom, responsabile di tutte le forze terrestri dei 28 paesi membri, attivato a Izmir (Smirne) (v. il manifesto del 16 luglio 2013). Lo spostamento del comando delle forze terrestri alleate dall’Europa alla Turchia – a ridosso del Medio Oriente (in particolare Siria, Iraq e Iran) e del Caspio – indica che, nei piani Usa/Nato, si prevede l’impiego anche di forze terrestri in quest’area di primaria importanza strategica. Il Landcom, agli ordini del generale Usa Hodges, fa parte del Jfc Naples, la Forza congiunta alleata con quartier generale a Lago Patria, agli ordini dell’ammiraglio Usa Ferguson, che è allo stesso tempo comandante della Forza congiunta alleata, delle Forze navali Usa in Europa e delle Forze navali del Comando Africa. Un gioco strategico delle tre carte, che permette al Pentagono di mantenere sempre il comando.

Come documentano anche inchieste del New York Times e del Guardian, nelle province turche di Adana e Hatai, confinante con la Siria, la Cia ha aperto centri di formazione militare di combattenti da infiltrare in Siria, nei quali sono stati addestrati  gruppi islamici (prima bollati da Washington come terroristi) provenienti da Afghanistan, Bosnia, Cecenia, Libia e altri paesi. Le armi arrivano soprattutto via Arabia Saudita e Qatar. A bordo di navi Nato nel porto di Alessandretta c’è il comando delle operazioni. Quello che sta preparando il «piano Erdogan».

Manlio Dinucci

The UK’s new Watchkeeper drone has finally been sent to Afghanistan.  Well over three years late and just weeks before UK forces are due to be withdrawn, the MoD announced that Watchkeeper had become “fully operational.” However it is not clear what this means especially as all remaining UK troops in Afghanistan have been withdrawn to Camp Bastion and with the MoD announcing last month that all UK “offensive operations” have ceased.   The MoD refused to tell journalists how many Watchkeepers have actually been sent to Afghanistan.

The Watchkeeper drone has been developed under a £900m MoD contract by Thales UK and Israeli company Elbit Systems. It should be noted that while Reaper drones are operated by the RAF, Watchkeeper is operated by the British Army and specifically the Royal Artillery. Its purposes is to target in artillery and rocket strikes although the MoD states as always that its drones are ‘to protect British troops lives’.

Watchkeeper is based on the Israeli Hermes 450 drone which the UK has been renting for use in Afghanistan since 2007.  In December 2013 War on Want argued in its Killer Drones report that the UK was complicit in Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people by “in effect, buying technology that has been ‘field tested’ on Palestinians.”  The MoD reported in October 2012 that eleven of the Hermes drones flown by UK forces had crashed.

Given how much money has been spent on Watchkeepers, there are now desperate efforts to sell the drone to other countries to try to recoup some of the near £1 billion costs. Watchkeeper has been offered to the French as part of the ongoing UK-French co-operation on drones and  Thales UK announced at Farnborough airshow that it is willing to sell – or even lease them – to civil customers.

Shockingly Defence News reported in June that around half of the 54 Watchkeepers being built will be mothballed even before being used.

Video released by Ministry of Defence

by Ayre

Journalist Giulietto Chiesa is sure that the information about the burial places of civilians’ bodies found near Donetsk, despite its sensational nature, will not go beyond the Russian media. In his article, he drew a parallel between the events going on now and the tragic events of May 2 in Odessa when dozens of people were burned alive. According to the journalist, in the same way as that time, now European media will ignore the crime and the world community will remain in ignorance.


Giulietto Chiesa
Italian journalist and writer Giulietto Chiesa assayed the information about the burial places of dead civilians found near Donetsk on September 23. He said that of this tragedy the whole world should know.

“The information about the burial places of civilians’ bodies in Donbas is sensational, if confirmed, of course, and Russia, as well as the leaders of the militia and the leaders of the Donetsk and of the Lugansk Republics should speak about it for everyone to hear”, said the journalist to “Izvestia”.

Speaking about the terrible discovery, Chiesa compares what is happening now to the events of May 2 in Odessa, emphasizing the necessity of doing everything possible for such crimes to cause the strongest public and international response:

“These facts are not only Ukrainian, but international matter. It is necessary to attain that not only Donbas and Russia would speak of shooting civilians, but also the European Council and the European Parliament, that OSCE representatives would speak of it too”.

The writer is convinced that those who have not been in the east of Ukraine, in particular, in Donbas, know little about what is actually going on there and “what kind of affairs so called National Guard was involved in, which actively participated in the punitive operations against the self-proclaimed republics”.

Commenting “horrific” rumors Chiesa suggests that casualties of civilian in the east of the country were “huge”. In this connection, the journalist marks the Russia’s call for an international investigation which should be heard abroad.

“It is obvious that it may not be investigated only on behalf of the Ukrainian government, which itself may be involved in the deed and therefore will try to cover their tracks – it should be just an international investigation”, the journalist said.

However, in his opinion, “there is little hope for starting the investigation, and even less for it yielding any kind of objective result”. Ukraine does not want an unbiased investigation, like before in May, the foreign media are silent, as if nothing happened.

Chiesa draws a parallel with Odessa. According to him, then, in the spring, the European media simply “ignored the information about the people’s death” – “the extent of omission in European media is huge”.

“I often meet with people, and once I had been at a meeting in northern Italy, where I told the audience about the situation in Ukraine. And so, of the 400 people who came to the meeting, no one knew about what happened in Odessa”, the writer says.

Chiesa makes a disappointing prediction: “the shooting of civilians will not be reported even with a question mark. This fact will be simply ignored in the same way as the information was ignored about the death of people in Odessa.”

The most populated US state confirmed its first batch of cases of the disease that has been spreading across the country, causing severe respiratory problems in infants and young children, according to the state’s chief health official.

Four children, ranging in age from 2 to 13 and all from Southern California, have confirmed cases of enterovirus D68 (EV-D68). One of the patients is from Ventura County; the others are from San Diego County.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from mid-August to September 18, 2014, a total of 153 people from 18 states were confirmed to have respiratory illness caused by EV-D68, which has forced dozens of children to be hospitalized.

Enteroviruses are a group of viruses made up of more than 100 different varieties of strains, and only a handful affect humans. EV-D68 is one of them.

The disease is of particular concern for children – especially those with respiratory problems, like asthma.

Enterovirus symptoms are similar to the common cold, however, the variant now reported in 18 US states has caused wheezing and difficulty in breathing.

“There will definitely be more. It’s just a matter of time. This will spread across the entire country,” Dr. Pia Pannaraj, an infectious diseases specialist at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, told KTLA.

Children who contract the virus may experience difficulty breathing and wheezing, particularly youngsters with asthma problems.

“These children start with what seems like a normal cold on the first day — runny nose, a little bit of cough – but by the second day, they can’t breathe at all. They come in and they need a tube to help them breathe,” Pannaraj said.

More cases are anticipated in the coming weeks.

“We are not surprised to find EV-D68 causing some illnesses in California given the apparent widespread nature of this virus in other parts of the country,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Parents have been advised by CDPH to consult a doctor immediately if they have children who are experiencing breathing difficulties (wheezing, difficulty speaking or eating, belly pulling in with breaths, blueness around the lips).

There is no specific treatment for EV-D68 sufferers, nor is there a vaccine to prevent it.

Eight people were arrested on Sept. 28 as unrest continued in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. People reportedly threw rocks and bottles at police during the evening amid escalating tensions over the failure of a Missouri state grand jury to file charges against white police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of an African American youth on Aug. 9.

Just five days before demonstrations flared again on Sept. 23 when one of the people’s memorials to slain 18-year-old Michael Brown was destroyed by fire. Crowds quickly gathered at the scene prompting a police response that later sparked a small-scale rebellion.

Windows were broken and several fires were set in protest. The incident thrust Ferguson, a town of 21,000 people, the majority of whom are African American, back into the national and international spotlight.

Subsequently on Thurs. evening Sept. 25 another demonstration was held outside the police headquarters in Ferguson. Earlier that day, the police chief Tom Jackson issued a belated apology to the family of Michel Brown as well as members of the public who felt they were mistreated by law-enforcement in the days following the killing.

During the protest outside police headquarters Jackson attempted to march alongside the crowd which was demanding his resignation. Soon a scuffle erupted with police resulting in further arrests.

On Sat. evening Sept. 27 a Ferguson police officer was reportedly shot in the arm by an unknown assailant. The authorities were quick to claim that the wounding of the cop had nothing to do with the mass demonstrations and rebellion that has been ongoing for nearly two months.

An extensive hunt for the gunman was undertaken. Press reports indicated that the wound was not life-threatening and the officer was treated at a local hospital and released on the same day.

Media agencies who requested a copy of the video from the police-mandated cameras that each officer is supposed to carry at all times, were told that that this particular officer’s camera was not on during the incident. Later the police provided their own version of what happened in the shooting which took place at a “city building.”

Ferguson police chief Jackson was quoted as saying that “The officer was conducting a routine building check of a city building that had closed for the night. A routine building check ensures

that the building is properly secured for the night. At that time, the building was supposed to be empty. He was not expecting to have interaction with anyone and did not have his body camera activated for the routine building check.”

Jackson went on to say in the statement that “He (the wounded officer) was suddenly attacked after interrupting a burglary attempt and sustained an injury from a gunshot. Generally, the body cameras are utilized with any interaction with members of the public and in any situation when an officer feels it is necessary, and has the opportunity to activate the camera.”

Since there was no video documentation of the incident and no eyewitnesses have been reported, it will remain to be seen what the actual circumstances were involving this shooting. There have been previous reports of police being fired on since the beginning of the mass demonstrations and rebellions which erupted after the death of Michael Brown.

Police Defend Wilson Drawing Justice Department Response

Support among some within the white community, including the police department which is overwhelmingly Euro-American, is strong for not charging or prosecuting Wilson.

Demonstrations have been held in St. Louis County in defense of Wilson and a bracelet saying “I am Darren Wilson” has been seen on the wrists of police officers.

The United States Justice Department is currently in Ferguson investigating civil rights issues related to the shooting of Brown. Two letters from an investigator urged police officials to prohibit their personnel from wearing the bracelets while on duty patrolling the majority African American community and to always make their name plates visible to civilians.

Excerpts from the letters stressed that “Officers wearing name plates while in uniform is a basic component of transparency and accountability,” wrote Christy E. Lopez, deputy chief of the Special Litigation Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The failure to wear name plates conveys a message to the community that, through anonymity, officers may seek to act with impunity.”

Nonetheless, the people of Ferguson are determined to win some semblance of justice for Michael Brown. Demonstrations are continuing with the specific demand that Wilson be indicted and that reforms be instituted involving police-community relations.

During Oct. 9-13 a series of demonstrations are planned that will attract people from throughout the country. The unrest in Ferguson further exposed the continuing national oppression and state repression so prevalent in the U.S.

Although President Barack Obama was forced to mention the disturbances in Ferguson before the General Assembly within the context of his main goal of prompting yet another imperialist war in the Middle East, neither his administration or the Congress provide any programs and policies aimed at eradicating racism and economic exploitation. Unemployment and poverty remain disproportionately high within African American communities throughout the U.S.

Any real program of action for the elimination of national oppression must emerge from the mass struggles in Ferguson and other municipalities across the country. The organization and mobilization of the masses provides the only real solution to the escalating repressive and exploitative capitalist system.

Why Syrians Support Bashar al Assad

September 30th, 2014 by Prof. Tim Anderson

The sudden reversion of Washington to a ‘war on terror’ pretext for intervention in Syria has confused western audiences. For three years they watched ‘humanitarian intervention’ stories, which poured contempt on the Syrian President’s assertion that he was fighting foreign backed terrorists. Now the US claims to be leading the fight against those same terrorists.

But what do Syrians think, and why do they continue to support a man the western powers have claimed is constantly attacking and terrorising ‘his own people’? To understand this we must consider the huge gap between the western caricature of Bashar al Assad the ‘brutal dictator’ and the popular and urbane figure within Syria.

If we believed most western media reports we would think President Assad has launched repeated and indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas, including the gassing of children. We might also think he heads an ‘Alawi regime’, where a 12% minority represses a Sunni Muslim majority, crushing a popular ‘revolution’ which, only recently, has been ‘hijacked’ by extremists.

The central problem with these portrayals is Bashar’s great popularity at home. The fact that there is popular dissatisfaction with corruption and cronyism, and that an authoritarian state maintains a type of personality cult, does not negate the man’s genuine popularity. His strong win in Syria’s first multi-candidate elections in June dismayed his regional enemies, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey; but it did not stop their aggression.

Syrians saw things differently.  Bashar was thought to maintain his father’s pluralist and nationalist tradition, while modernising and holding out the promise of political reform. Opinion polls in Syria had shown major dissatisfaction with corruption and political cronyism, mixed views on the economy but strong satisfaction with stability, women’s rights and the country’s independent foreign policy. The political reform rallies of 2011 – countered by pro-government rallies and quickly overshadowed by violent insurrection – were not necessarily anti Bashar.

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and other sectarian Islamist groups did hate him, along with the secular state. Yet even these enemies, in their better moments, recognised the man’s popularity. In late 2011 a Doha Debates poll (created by the Qatari monarchy, a major backer of the Muslim Brotherhood) showed 55% of Syrians wanted Assad to stay.

Armed Islamists went further. In 2012 Reuters, the UK Guardian and Time magazine reported three ‘Free Syrian Army’ (FSA) leaders in Aleppo saying the Syrian President had about ‘70 percent’ support; or that the local people, ‘all of them, are loyal to the criminal Bashar, they inform on us’; or that they are ‘all informers … they hate us. They blame us for the destruction’.  Unpopularity, of course, is fatal to a revolution; to a religious fanatic it is merely inconvenient. All three FSA groups were Islamists on good terms with al Qaeda.

None of these revelations changed the western media reliance on Muslim Brotherhood-aligned sources, ‘activists’ or ‘moderate rebels’. They relied, in particular, on the UK-based Rami Abdul Rahman, who calls himself the ‘Syrian Observatory of Human Rights’. Such sources kept ‘Bashar the Monster’ alive, outside Syria.

Central to the Bashar myth are two closely related stories: that of the ‘moderate rebel’ and the story that conjures ‘Assad loyalists’ or ‘regime forces’ in place of a large, dedicated national army, with broad popular support.  To understand the Bashar myth we have to consider the Syrian Arab Army.

At over half a million, the Army is so large that most Syrian communities have strong family links, including with those fallen in the war. There are regular ceremonies for families of these ‘martyrs’, with thousands proudly displaying photos of their loved ones. Further, most of the several million Syrians, displaced by the conflict, have not left the country but rather have moved to other parts under Army protection. This is not really explicable if the Army were indeed engaged in ‘indiscriminate’ attacks on civilians. A repressive army invokes fear and loathing in a population, yet in Damascus one can see that people do not cower as they pass through the many army road blocks, set up to protect against ‘rebel’ car bombs.

Syrians know there were abuses against demonstrators in early 2011; they also know that the President dismissed the Governor of Dara for this. They know that the armed insurrection was not a consequence of the protests but rather a sectarian insurrection that took cover under those rallies. Saudi official Anwar el-Eshki admitted to the BBC that his country had provided weapons to Islamists in Dara, and their rooftop sniping closely resembled the Muslim Brotherhood’s failed insurrection in Hama, back in 1982. Hafez al Assad crushed that revolt in a few weeks. Of the incident US intelligence said total casualties were probably ‘about 2,000’ including ‘300 to 400’ members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s elite militia. The Brotherhood and many western sources have since inflated those numbers, calling it a ‘massacre’. Armed Islamists posing as civilian victims have a long history in Syria.

Quite a number of Syrians have criticised President Assad to me, but not in the manner of the western media. They say they wanted him to be as firm as his father. Many in Syria regard him as too soft, leading to the name ‘Mr Soft Heart’. Soldiers in Damascus told me there is an Army order to make special efforts to capture alive any Syrian combatant. This is controversial, as many regard them as traitors, no less guilty than foreign terrorists.

What of the ‘moderate rebels’? Before the rise of ISIS, back in late 2011, the largest FSA brigade, Farouk, the original ‘poster boys’ of the ‘Syrian Revolution’, took over parts of Homs city. One US report called them ‘legitimate nationalists … pious rather than Islamists and not motivated by sectarianism’. The International Crisis Group suggested that Farouk might be ‘pious’ rather than Islamist. The Wall Street Journal also called them ‘pious Sunnis’ rather than Islamists. The BBC called them ‘moderately Islamist’.

All this was quite false. Syrians in Homs said Farouk went into the city with the genocidal slogan: ‘Alawis to the grave, Christians to Beirut’. Shouting ‘God is Great’ they blew up Homs hospital, because it had been treating soldiers. The churches blamed Farouk for the ethnic cleansing of more than 50,000 Christians from the city, and for the imposition of an Islamist tax. Journalist Radwan Mortada says most Farouk members were sectarian Salafis, armed and funded by Saudi Arabia. They later happily worked with the various al Qaeda groups, and were first to blame their own atrocities on the Army.

Let’s consider some key accusations against the Syrian Arab Army. In May 2012, days before a UN Security Council meeting set to debate possible intervention in Syria, there was a terrible massacre of over 100 villagers at Houla. Western governments immediately blamed the Syrian Government, which in turn accused the foreign-backed terrorists. Western officials at first blamed Army shelling, changing their story when it was found most had died from close quarter injuries. One UN report (UNSMIS) was shelved while another (CoI), co-chaired by US diplomat Karen Koning AbuZayd, blamed un-named pro-government ‘thugs’. No motive was given.

Although the Houla massacre did not result in a Libyan-styled intervention, because of opposition at the UN from Russia and China, controversy raged over the authors of this atrocity. German and Russian journalists, along with the Mother Superior of a Monastery, managed to interview survivors who said that a large Farouk battalion, led by Abdul Razzaq Tlass, had overwhelmed five small army posts and slaughtered the villagers. The gang had sought out pro-government and Alawi families, along with some Sunni families who had taken part in recent elections.

One year later a detailed, independent report (by Correggia, Embid, Hauben and Larson) documented how the second UN Houla investigation (the CoI) was tainted. Rather than visiting Syria they had relied on Farouk leaders and associates to link them to witnesses. They ignored another dozen direct witnesses who contradicted the ‘rebel’ story. In short, they tried to bury a real crime with identified perpetrators and a clear motive. As Adam Larson later wrote, the ‘official’ Houla massacre story was shown to be ‘extremely ambiguous at best and at worst a fairly obvious crime of the US-supported Contras’.

Houla set the tone for a series of similar ‘false flag’ massacre claims. When 245 people were murdered in Daraya (August 2012), media reports citing ‘opposition’ activists’ said that ‘Assad’s army has committed a massacre’. This was contradicted by British journalist Robert Fisk, who wrote that the FSA had slaughtered kidnapped civilian and off-duty soldier hostages, after a failed attempt to swap them for prisoners held by the army. Similarly, when 120 villagers were slaughtered at Aqrab (December 2013) the New York Times headline read ‘Members of Assad’s Sect Blamed in Syria Killings’. In fact, as British journalist Alex Thompson discovered, it was the victims who were from the President’s Alawi community. Five hundred Alawis had been held by FSA groups for nine days before the fleeing gangs murdered a quarter of them. Yet, without close examination, each accusation seemed to add to the crimes of the Syrian Army, at least to those outside Syria.

Another line of attack was that there had been ‘indiscriminate’ bombing of rebel held areas, resulting in civilian casualties. The relevant question was, how did they dislodge armed groups from urban centres? Those interested can see some detail of this in the liberation of Qusayr, a town near the Lebanese border which had been occupied by Farouk and other salafi groups, including foreigners. The Army carried out ‘surgical attacks’ but, in May 2013, after the failure of negotiations, decided on all-out assault. They dropped leaflets from planes, calling on civilians to evacuate. Anti-government groups were said to have stopped many from leaving, while an ‘activist’ spokesman claimed there was ‘no safe exit for civilians’. In opportunistic criticism, the US State Department expressed ‘deep concern’ over the leafleting, claiming that ‘ordering the displacement of the civilian population’ showed ‘the regime’s ongoing brutality’.

As it happened, on June 5 the Army backed by Hezbollah, liberated Qusayr, driving the remnants of Farouk FSA and their al Qaeda partners into Lebanon. This operation, in principle at least, was what one would have expected of any army facing terrorist groups embedded in civilian areas. At this point the war began turning decisively in Syria’s favour.

Accusations of ‘indiscriminate bombing’ recur. In opportunist questioning, more than a year later, British journalist John Snow demanded of Syrian Presidential adviser Dr Bouthaina Shaaban why the Syrian Army had not driven ISIS from Aleppo? A few questions later he attacked the Army for its ‘indiscriminate’ bombing of that same city. The fact is, most urban fighting in Syria is by troops on the ground.

The most highly politicised atrocity was the chemical attack of August 2013, in the Eastern Ghouta region, just outside Damascus. The Syrian Government had for months been complaining about terrorist gas attacks and had invited UN inspectors to Damascus. As these inspectors arrived ‘rebel’ groups, posted videos on dead children online, blaming the Syrian Government for a new massacre. The US government and the Washington based Human Rights Watch group were quick to agree. The UN investigation of Islamist chemical attacks was shelved and attention moved to the gassed children. The western media demanded military intervention. A major escalation of the war was only defused by Russian intervention and a proposal that Syria hand over its chemical weapons stockpile; a stockpile it maintained had never been used.

Saturation reporting of the East Ghouta incident led many western journalists to believe that the charges against the Syrian Government were proven. To the contrary, those claims were systematically demolished by a series of independent reports. Very soon after, a Jordan-based journalist reported that residents in the East Ghouta area blamed ‘Saudi Prince Bandar … of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaeda linked rebel group’. Next, a Syrian group, led by Mother Agnes Mariam, provided a detailed examination of the video evidence, saying the massacre videos preceded the attack and used ‘staged’ and ‘fake’ images. Detailed reports also came from outside Syria. Veteran US journalist Seymour Hersh wrote that US intelligence evidence had been fabricated and ‘cherry picked … to justify a strike against Assad’. A Turkish lawyers and writers group said ‘most of the crimes’ against Syrian civilians, including the East Ghouta attack, were committed by ‘armed rebel forces in Syria’. The Saudi backed FSA group Liwa al Islam was most likely responsible for the chemical attack on Ghouta. A subsequent UN report did not allocate blame but confirmed that chemical weapons had been used on at least five occasions in Syria. On three occasions they were used ‘against soldiers and civilians’. The clear implication was that these were anti-government attacks by rebels. MIT investigators Lloyd and Postol concluded that the Sarin gas ‘could not possibly have been fired … from Syrian Government controlled area’.

Despite the definitive nature of these reports, combined, neither the US Government nor Human Rights Watch have retracted or apologised for their false accusations. Indeed, western government and media reports repeat the claims as though they were fact, even falsely enlisting UN reports, at times, as corroboration.

——————-

When I met President Assad, with a group of Australians, his manner was entirely consistent with the pre-2011 image of the mild-mannered eye doctor. He expressed deep concern with the impact on children of witnessing terrorist atrocities while fanatics shout ‘God is Great’. The man is certainly no brute, in the manner of Saddam Hussein or George W. Bush.

The key factor in Syria’s survival has been the cohesion, dedication and popular support for the Army. Syrians know that their Army represents pluralist Syria and has been fighting sectarian, foreign backed terrorism. This Army did not fracture on sectarian lines, as the Takfiris had hoped, and defections have been small, certainly less than 2%.

Has the Army committed abuses? Probably, but mainly against the armed groups. There is some evidence of execution of foreign terrorists. That is certainly a crime, but probably has a fair degree of popular support in Syria, at the moment. The main constraint on such abuses seems to be the army order from ‘Mr Soft Heart’, to save the lives of Syrian rebels.

However, despite the repeated claims by sectarian Islamists and their western backers, there is no convincing evidence that the Syrian Army has deliberately bombed and gassed civilians. Nor would there be a motive for it.  Nor does the behaviour of people on the streets support it. Most Syrians do not blame their army for the horrendous violence of this war, but rather the foreign backed terrorists.

These are the same terrorists backed by the governments of the USA, Britain and France, hiding behind the fig-leaf of the mythical ‘moderate rebel’ while reciting their catalogue of fabricated accusations.

The high participation rate (73%) in June’s presidential elections, despite the war, was at least as significant as the strong vote (88%) Bashar received. Even the BBC could not hide the large crowds that came out to vote, especially those that mobbed the Syrian Embassy in Beirut.

Participation rates are nowhere as near in the US; indeed no western leader can claim such a strong democratic mandate as this ‘dictator’. The size of Bashar’s win underlines a stark reality: there never was a popular uprising against this man; and his popularity has grown.

Tim Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He has researched the Syrian conflict since 2011 and visited Syria in December 2013.

Guantanamo and the Case of Omar Khadr

September 30th, 2014 by Michael Welch

The story of Omar and Guantanamo Bay reflects the failure of civil society, its institutions, and its people to speak out in ensuring our shared values of a just society are carried out.”  — DENNIS EDNEY

 

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Omar Khadr is a Canadian born of Egyptian and Palestinian parents. As a child, he had moved to Jalalabad Afghanistan with his family.

At 15, ten months after 9/11, Khadr was captured following a battle with US forces in the village of Ayub Kheyl, Afghanistan. Injured during the melee, he was accused of throwing a hand grenade and planting bombs targeting US Troops.

In October, Khadr was transferred to Guantanamo Bay, suspected of being an enemy combatant. He would reside at that facility for a decade before being released based on a plea bargain.

Khadr’s lawyer is Dennis Edney. Edney has taken on the Khadr case pro-bono and has been involved since 2003 representing his client at the Supreme Court of Canada and at the United States Supreme Court. Dennis Edney is recipient of the 2008 National Pro Bono Award and of the 2009 Human Rights Medal awarded by the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia for work that “has helped to promote and further human rights”.

The Global Research News Hour contacted Edney during his visit to Winnipeg, Canada on the occasion of the Grand opening of that city’s brand new Human Rights Museum. It also follows a dinner held in his honour.

 


video footage courtesy of Paul S. Graham

Edney discusses meeting Omar Khadr for the first time, the facts around the case, the rationale behind the Canadian government’s neglect of this young man, and what the young man’s decade-long incarceration says about the state of human rights in Canada.

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

The show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario – Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border. It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario. Tune in Wednesdays from 12am to 1am.

Dear Mr Cameron

I write this open letter to you in response to your recent speech at the United Nations calling for military intervention in Iraq and Syria over the threat of ISIL.  In particular I would like to make mention of your reference to the so called threat to society of what you have termed ‘non-violent extremists’, including those who are attempting to bring forward information and evidence about 9/11 which contradicts the official version of events.

Putting aside the direct issue of ISIL for a moment, I find this position on 9/11 evidence to be quite incredible.  It is a position that is either extremely ignorant, or it is a position that goes against freedom and democracy in British society to such an extent that it is scarcely believable.  Huge numbers of extremely credible and professional people across the world are now bringing forward incontrovertible facts and evidence showing us that the events of 9/11 have been systematically covered up, and that the public has been deceived and manipulated on this issue at a quite incredible level.  Just like the public was deceived and manipulated about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

While you are labelling these people who bring this evidence forward about 9/11 as ‘non-violent extremists’, are you aware of what is currently happening in New York City regarding 9/11?

Are you aware that more than 100,000 New York residents have just signed the petition calling for a new investigation into the collapse of World Trade Centre Building 7 through the ‘High Rise Safety Initiative’?

Are you aware that through the fundraising efforts of public groups in the US, there is currently a massive digital screen in the centre of Times Square showing rolling video footage of the controlled demolition of World Trade Centre Building 7 to three million New Yorkers?  This is footage of a collapse of a massive 47 story building (not hit by a plane) that most people have not even been aware of or seen before now.  How can this level of information cover-up be possible in this day and age?

 Are you aware that many members of US Congress are now demanding that President Obama release the 28 redacted pages of the  9/11 Commission Report because there is information in those pages that will shock the nation, according to the two members of Congress who have been authorised to view the pages?

But yet you have just stated to the world that you consider members of the public to be ‘non-violent extremists’ and a part of the ISIL challenge if they merely wish that these facts, evidence, and information about 9/11 be made available to the wider public and that appropriate investigations are held.

I repeat my previous point.  To make that statement to the world as you did, you are either extremely ignorant about this issue, or you are attempting to take a position which is so at odds with a decent, free society that it beggars belief.  I find it difficult to believe that the Prime Minister of Britain would be unaware of what I have stated here, and therefore I have to believe that it is the latter scenario that is most likely.

Just to reinforce my point here, according to what you have said, because of their views on 9/11, or because of the evidence they have brought forward, you consider the following people to be ‘non-violent extremists’ who are a part of the challenge that society faces with the ISIL threat:

·         Members of US Congress who have called for the 28 redacted pages of the 9/11 Commission Report to be released

·         100,000 members of the New York public for formally supporting and requesting a new investigation into the collapse of World Trade Centre Building 7 on 9/11

·         Dozens of first responder fire fighters who risked their lives on 9/11 and who lost 343 of their colleagues that day, including those who formed the organisation ‘Fire Fighters for 9/11 Truth’

·         More than 2,200 professional architects, engineers, and demolition experts from the organisation ‘Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth’

·         Norman Minneta – US Secretary of Transport during 9/11 who had his formal testimony to the 9/11 investigation panel stricken from the record

·         Richard Clarke – US Head of Counter Terrorism during 9/11

·         Numerous family members of the victims of 9/11

The above list is just a very quick start, but gives a feel for the type of people who you are now labelling as ‘non-violent extremists’ and a part of the battle against ISIL because of their views about 9/11 or the evidence they are bringing forward.  According to your speech to the United Nations, we now need to bring in legislation that will be able to shut down internet sites that bring forward the information and the evidence that the people listed above have been trying to highlight for investigation.  That to me sounds like extremist behaviour.  In fact, that sounds to me like the words of someone who is supporting an attempted cover up of monumental proportions.

It seems that everyone now acknowledges that we were deceived and manipulated on the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq in order to take us to war.  It also looks like we have been deceived and manipulated on a grand scale regarding the true facts about 9/11.  So, on this basis, why should you or anyone else believe one word about what the United States is saying about the threat of ISIL?

You have already attempted to take the UK to war in Syria on the basis of alleged evidence against the Assad government that has since proven to be inconclusive at best. Now just a few months later you are once again attempting to take the UK to war with Syria, this time because you now have conclusive evidence of a new and different threat.  Meanwhile, you consider anyone who holds views about 9/11 that are contrary to the official story to be ‘non-violent extremists’.

Putting aside the direct issue of ISIL, which seems to be clouded in uncertainties in terms of exactly who they are, who and how they have been created and supported, and what their wider threat is to the world, I find your comments at the United Nations about the other aspects of this issue to be quite incredible.

9/11 is the event that launched the so called global war on terror and military action in the Middle East.  It is now incontrovertible that we have been deceived and manipulated on a large scale about the true facts of 9/11.  Getting the true facts about 9/11 runs right to the heart of all the issues we currently see in the Middle East and the so called war on terror.  For you to label ordinary, caring, and patriotic members of the public as ‘non-violent extremists’ simply for asking these questions about 9/11 and bringing forward this evidence, and to state that these types of internet sites should be censored, then I have to say that it is you who are the extremist, in the extreme.

The truth facts and evidence about 9/11 are now coming forward and there is a tidal wave of growing awareness as people are now getting to see this information, as shown by what is happening in New York City as we speak.  It cannot be covered up by any crude efforts by the UK government to censor the internet or to give these people an extremist label.  It is far too late for that.  For anyone in office to continue to support the attempted suppression of this information will simply result in them being positioned on the wrong side of history.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Drew – MSc

UK Facilitator – Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth

Turn the Tables: Stopping Western Aggression in Syria

September 29th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

As the US begins token airstrikes on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border, the fighting capacity of the “Islamic State” or “ISIS,” has seen no visible setbacks. This is because ISIS is in fact the very proxy mercenaries intentionally created to fight the West’s proxy war against Iran and its arc of influence stretching from neighboring Iraq, through Syria, and into Lebanon.

As early as 2007 – a full 4 years before the 2011 “Arab Spring” would begin – Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article titled, “”The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” would warn specifically (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

After the West’s flooding of the region with billions of dollars worth of weapons, equipment, vehicles, training, and cash for the purpose of bolstering “moderate rebels,” what has emerged is precisely the “extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam” and are “sympathetic to Al Qaeda” Hersh warned about in 2007. The West has thus far otherwise failed to explain who else besides extremists could have received the aid, or who is funding extremists above and beyond the collective support provided by the US, Europe, and the West’s Middle Eastern partners, that have allowed these extremists to dominate the battlefield so decisively.

Now the US claims it must raise another army of “moderate” ground troops to augment its aerial bombardment of “ISIS.” But in reality, attacks on phantom enemies in the desert serve the singular purpose of creating a no-fly zone and no-drive zone for Syria’s military, preventing the final annihilation of the West’s terrorist mercenaries in Syrian territory and in fact giving them a second chance to finally march on the gates of Damascus with US airpower in tow.

For all intents and purposes, the US through its airstrikes has carved out a defacto buffer zone protected by US airpower. The ground troops it seeks to deploy “against ISIS” are intended instead for Damascus, the overthrow of the Syrian government, and the handover of Syria to sectarian warlords for the same genocidal conflagration still being suffered in Libya after a similar “intervention” by the US and its NATO allies.

Turning the Tables 

Despite this diabolical, criminal conspiracy unfolding before the world’s eyes – a verbatim repeat of the crimes against humanity committed by NATO in Libya – there still exists an opportunity to turn the tables on the West, using its propaganda and the precedents it has set against it and its insidious agenda.

While in all actuality ISIS and other extremist factions already constitute the ground component of the West’s campaign against Damascus, now enjoying sanctuary under the cover of US airpower, the general public neither knows this, nor would ever accept this should they find out. The rhetorical hysteria surrounding the “awesome threat” ISIS suddenly poses to the world still has considerable momentum.

In a move of geopolitical redirection, Syria’s allies can cite that “awesome threat” of ISIS as impetus for their own actions in Syria – and more specifically – an overt, wide-ranging, arming, training, and funding regiment for forces already on the ground, already guaranteed not to be extremists, and the only legitimate force in Syrian territory - the Syrian Arab Army.

The Syrian Arab Army or More “Moderates?” – A Clear Choice 

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Indeed, the biggest quandary facing the West’s next attempt to overthrow Syria is the creation of its “ground force.” These troops would by necessity need to be indeed “moderates,” and not simply “more moderate” than the boogeymen Western propaganda has created under the name “ISIS.” Already, terrorists factions confirmed to have been armed with heavy weapons by the US have condemned airstrikes on ISIS and have openly admitted they fight alongside and within the ranks of Al Qaeda itself.

The Daily Beast would report in its article, “Al Qaeda Plotters in Syria ‘Went Dark,’ U.S. Spies Say,” that (emphasis added):

One Syrian rebel group supported in the past by the United States condemned the air strikes on Tuesday. Harakat Hazm, a rebel group that received a shipment of U.S. anti-tank weapons in the spring, called the airstrikes “an attack on national sovereignty” and charged that foreign led attacks only strengthen the Assad regime.The statement comes from a document, purportedly from the group, that has circulated online and was posted in English translation from a Twitter account called Syria Conflict Monitor. Several Syria experts, including the Brookings Doha Center’s Charles Lister, believe the document to be authentic. The Daily Beast would report in its article, “Al Qaeda Plotters in Syria ‘Went Dark,’ U.S. Spies Say,” that (emphasis added):

Before the official statement, there were signs that Harakat Hazm was making alliances in Syria that could conflict with its role as a U.S. partner. In early Septemeber a Harakat Hazm official told a reporter for the L.A. Times: “Inside Syria, we became labeled as secularists and feared Nusra Front was going to battle us…But Nusra doesn’t fight us, we actually fight alongside them. We like Nusra.”

Harakat Hazm is the rule, not the exception. Beyond the nebulous title “moderates,” the West has thus far failed to name any of these actual groups – because they do not exist. Weapons and cash it is pouring into Syria have ended up “alongside” Al Qaeda’s al-Nusra front and ISIS, just as groups like Harakat Hazm have.

Russia, China, and Iran have an opportunity to cite the Syrian Arab Army as the most capable and appropriate force in the region with which to fight ISIS - a task the Syrian Arab Army has been demonstrably doing since at least 2011. It was the US State Department itself that stated in their official designation of Jabhat al-Nusra as a foreign terrorist organization that Al Qaeda and other hardcore sectarian terrorists had been fighting the Syrian government, spearheading the violence in Syria since the conflict began in 2011.

The US State Department’s official press statement titled, “Terrorist Designations of the al-Nusrah Front as an Alias for al-Qa’ida in Iraq,” stated explicitly that:

Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.

It is no stretch then to characterize Syria’s conflict as one between a secular government and a menagerie of foreign-backed sectarian extremists. Without even mentioning these extremists’ foreign sponsors, Syria’s allies can use the current hysteria created by the Western media itself to offer overt and wide-ranging military and political support to the Syrian government and above all, the Syrian people. Beyond the buffer zone the West is struggling tactically, strategically, and politically to establish and maintain, will be a Syrian nation-state backed with the resources necessary to stop further aggression in its tracks and roll back the terrorist hordes the West is clearly perpetuating within Syria’s borders and all along them.

The US is Not the Only Nation Entitled to “Defend” Itself Against ISIS 

The US appears to believe it is entitled to unilaterally attack, invade, and even occupy nations to “defend” itself against supposed threats. In the case of Syria, it is clear that after multiple failed attempts to sell regime change under the pretext of supporting “democracy,” multiple manufactured “humanitarian” pretexts, and the threat of “chemical weapons,” neutralizing ISIS is simply the latest excuse in a long line of verified, increasingly desperate lies being used to advance the West’s agenda in the Middle East.

Russia - threatened explicitly by ISIS terrorists - and China are both demonstrably facing sectarian extremists within their own borders – many of whom are directly linked to Al Qaeda. Both could easily make a case for assisting the Syrian government in eliminating the “ISIS threat.” Moscow and Beijing – and many others – could argue that clearly the West’s strategy of arming “moderates” has failed, and their latest plan to arm and train between 5,000-15,000 more is a disaster in the making.

Instead, the secular nation-state of Syria should be given the resources and support it needs to finally bury the threat of extremism it itself has warned the world of since the West began disingenuously both stoking and perpetuating the conflict in 2011. If the West can unilaterally begin military operations within a sovereign nation and without a mandate from either Syria or the UN, surely Syria’s allies can offer substantial and overt material and political support if given Damascus’ approval.

For the so-called “moderates” – if any in fact exist – an opportunity to join the Syrian government in its fight and broker a truce with government forces could be an attractive alternative to the zero-sum and zero-gain scenario Washington has planned for Syrians on both sides of the conflict.

A Syrian soldier needs only look at the current state of Libya to understand the necessity to continue fighting on, and any genuine rebels there may be can do likewise, understanding the ploy against their own nation they have been used and abused for, and the ignoble end their fight is leading toward.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.
First appeared:http://journal-neo.org/2014/09/29/turn-the-tables-stopping-western-aggression-in-syria/

Una «risoluzione storica»: così l’ha definita il presidente degli Stati uniti Obama, dandosi la parola in veste di presidente del Consiglio di sicurezza dell’Onu. La risoluzione 2178 sui «combattenti terroristi stranieri» (il cui testo è stato anticipato dal manifesto martedì scorso), adottata dal Consiglio di sicurezza all’unanimità, è «legalmente vincolante» per tutti gli Stati membri dell’Onu. Essi sono obbligati a «prevenire il reclutamento, l’organizzazione, il trasporto e l’equipaggiamento di individui che si recano in altri Stati allo scopo di pianificare, preparare o attuare atti terroristici, oppure di fornire o ricevere addestramento terroristico e finanziamenti per tali attività». A tale scopo tutti gli stati dovranno varare apposite legislazioni, intensificare i controlli alle frontiere, perseguire e condannare i terroristi (o presunti tali), accrescendo la cooperazione internazionale, anche attraverso accordi bilaterali, e lo scambio di informazioni per identificare i sospetti terroristi.

La risoluzione esprime in generale «preoccupazione per la costituzione di reti terroristiche internazionali», lasciando ogni Stato libero di stabilire quali siano i gruppi terroristici da combattere: da qui  il voto favorevole di Russia e Cina. Subito dopo, però, la risoluzione sottolinea «la particolare e urgente esigenza di prevenire il sostegno a combattenti terroristi stranieri associati allo Stato islamico dell’Iraq e del Levante (Isis)». Il ministro degli esteri russo Lavrov, pur senza nominare gli Stati uniti, ha dichiarato al Consiglio di sicurezza che le organizzazioni terroristiche si sono rafforzate in Medio Oriente, Africa e Asia centrale «dopo l’intervento in Iraq, il bombardamento della Libia, l’appoggio esterno agli estremisti in Siria», accusando di fatto Washington di aver favorito la formazione dei gruppi terroristi e dello stesso Isis (come abbiamo ampiamente documentato su questo giornale). Il ministro degli esteri cinese Wang Yi ha sottolineato che «le azioni militari devono conformarsi alla Carta delle Nazioni unite» e che «devono essere evitati i doppi standard» (ossia i due pesi e le due misure). Approvando la risoluzione, Mosca e Pechino hanno però di fatto permesso a Washington di usarla quale motivazione «legale» per l’azione militare lanciata in Medio Oriente che, diretta formalmente contro l’Isis, mira alla completa  demolizione della Siria, finora impedita dalla mediazione russa in cambio del disarmo chimico di Damasco, e alla rioccupazione dell’Iraq. Lo conferma il fatto, che gli attacchi aerei lanciati in Siria dagli Stati uniti, con il concorso di Arabia Saudita ed Emirati Arabi Uniti, si concentrano sulle raffinerie modulari e altri impianti petroliferi siriani, con la motivazione che sono sfruttati dall’Isis. In base alla stessa motivazione, gli Usa possono distruggere l’intera rete di industrie e infrastrutture siriane per far crollare il governo di Damasco.

Dietro l’apparente unanimità con cui è stata approvata la risoluzione al Consiglio di sicurezza, si nasconde un confronto sempre più acuto Ovest-Est innescato dalla strategia statunitense. Nel discorso pronunciato all’Assemblea generale dell’Onu, prima della riunione del Consiglio di sicurezza, il presidente Obama mette «l’aggressione russa in Europa» sullo stesso piano della «brutalità dei terroristi in Siria e Iraq», sottolineando che «le azioni della Russia in Ucraina sfidano l’ordine del dopo guerra fredda», riportandoci «ai giorni in cui le grandi nazioni calpestavano le piccole perseguendo le loro ambizioni territoriali» (da che pulpito viene la predica!).  . Per questo «rafforzeremo i nostri alleati Nato e imporremo un costo alla Russia per la sua aggressione». Ribadisce quindi, rivolgendosi indirettamente alla Cina, che «l’America è e continuerà ad essere una potenza del Pacifico», dove promuove «pace e stabilità». Dove in realtà sta spostando forze e basi militari in funzione di «contenimento» della Cina, che si sta riavvicinando alla Russia.

Un confronto tra potenze nucleari, accelerato dalla corsa al riarmo lanciata dal presidente Obama (v. il manifesto del 24 settembre), che riceve ora il sostegno di un altro Premio Nobel per la pace, Lech Walesa. Come salvaguardia contro la Russia, ha dichiarato mentre la Nato iniziava una grande esercitazione in territorio polacco, «la Polonia deve procurarsi armi nucleari».

Manlio Dinucci

It’s no secret that the Washington Post editorial page was quite alarmed by Venezuela’s shift to the left under former President Hugo Chavez. The Post–like the rest of elite US media (Extra!11/05)–was an unrelenting critic of Chavez’s policies.

Some things haven’t changed.

In a scathing editorial (9/20/14), the Post went after Chavez’s successor Nicolas Maduro, calling him an “economically illiterate former bus driver” because he “rejected the advice of pragmatists” and will continue to pursue policies that are ruining what was “once Latin America’s richest country.”

During the Chavez years, the most important economic story was the rapid gains by the country’s poor (FAIR Blog12/13/12); what the Post remembers as the good old days were when prosperity was not so widely shared.

The Post‘s real point is that the United States should do something significant to oppose the human rights abuses under Maduro–most especially the crackdown on anti-government protests earlier this year. The Post cites a Human Rights Watch report to make its case, and the solution was as clear as the editorial headline: “Venezuela Doesn’t Deserve a Seat on the UN Security Council.”

It turns out that Venezuela is a candidate for one of the rotating seats on the Security Council, and the Post thinks it’s time to block that from happening:

Next month Venezuela will stand for a seat on the UN Security Council, where it would be able to advocate for allies such as Syria, Iran and Cuba. Though unopposed, the Maduro government must win the votes of two-thirds of the General Assembly in a secret ballot. The Obama administration could help itself and send a message to Mr. Maduro by rounding up the 65 votes needed to keep Venezuela off the Security Council.

The Post‘s editorial page seems to reserve this kind of thing for Latin American leftists; as we noted last year (FAIR Blog, 6/25/13), the Post called Rafael Correa the “autocratic leader of tiny, impoverished Ecuador,” and recommended the United States use trade deals to punish that country “to demonstrate that Yanqui-baiting has its price.”

But if the Post‘s argument is that human rights abusers should be blocked from the Security Council, then one might assume the paper has made the same case against, let’s say, Saudi Arabia. That country was up for a spot last year; it surprised many observers by rejecting the position, and Jordan, another US-allied monarchy, took its place (Reuters12/6/13).

Both of those countries have records worth condemnation, if the Post were really interested in such matters. According to Human Rights Watch World Report 2014,  Jordanian law “criminalizes speech deemed critical of the king” and other government officials, its penal code offers “reduced sentences for perpetrators of ‘honor crimes,’” and police torture remains a serious problem.

Saudi Arabia’s deplorable record is probably better known; it’s been in the news recently because the Islamic State’s gruesome beheading videos are a reminder that the Saudi government still considers that to be an acceptable form of punishment; the UN (9/9/14) reports that at least eight people were beheaded in August “for nonviolent crimes including drug-smuggling and sorcery. Other offenses resulting in beheading have reportedly included adultery and apostasy.”

Did those countries’ deplorable human rights records prompt the Post to call for preventing them from a seat on the UN Security Council? Evidently concern for human rights is more important when the country in question is an Official Enemy, the kind of place where some lowly bus driver can be elected president.

P.S. The Post published a letter (9/24/14) from the charge d’affaires of the Venezuelan embassy, which noted that “Venezuelans are proud to belong to a democracy that allows former blue-collar workers to rise to the top.”

On the surface, The Nuremberg Tribunals were a court assembled by the victors which prosecuted the losers.  It is also true Axis war criminals were tried though Allied war criminals were not. But there was a greater concern at the time about stopping wars of aggression than prosecuting individual war criminals, since no one thought the world could survive one more world war.  The intent was not retribution but to find a new way forward.  The Tribunal in its Judgment said “Crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced.”

Nuremberg was starkly different from the typical case of victor’s justice of the time. With Nuremberg the victors turned away from the accepted vindictive punishment of the vanquished. The motivation to punish those who started a war which killed seventy two million, including sixty one million on the victor’s side, was immense.  Justice Robert Jackson, US Supreme Court Justice and the main architect of the Nuremberg Tribunals,  said in the opening statement of the Tribunals “The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant, and so devastating, that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored, because it cannot survive their being repeated.” Stalin proposed a suitable deterrent would be executing the top 50,000 living German leaders.  Given the wanton killing on the Eastern Front experienced by the Russians, it is easy to understand how he considered this to be appropriate.  Churchill countered that executing the top 5,000 would be enough blood to assure it would not happen again.

The victorious powers instead set a new path, one of criminal trials, the Nuremberg and Tokyo Tribunals. Justice Jackson declared “That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that Power has ever paid to Reason.”

Acknowledged as imperfect, Nuremberg was an effort to establish the rule of law to deal with  sociopathic and despotic leaders and their followers who would start wars of aggression. “This Tribunal, while it is novel and experimental, represents the practical effort of four of the most mighty of nations, with the support of seventeen more, to utilize international law to meet the greatest menace of our times – aggressive war.” said Jackson. The experiment provided that each defendant be indicted, have the right to a defense before a court, similar to a civilian court. And there seems to have been some level of justice since some were found completely innocent, some were only found guilty of some charges and most were not executed. Whether this was just a victor’s court dressed up in fancy trappings of justice or the first faulting steps of a new way forward would depend on what happened in the years after, even what happens now. Some of what is accepted as normal today comes to us from Nuremberg like the terms war crimes, crimes against humanity

Jackson said “We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well.” They knew they were only writing the first part of the story of Nuremberg and that others would write the ending. We can answer this question about victor’s justice by looking just at 1946. Or we can take a broader perspective and answer it in terms of today and of the future, in terms of the long term results from Nuremberg.

Whether it was justice only for the benefit of the victors is our challenge.  Will we let international law be a tool only for the powerful? Or will we use Nuremberg as a tool for “Reason over Power”? If we let the Nuremberg Principles be used only against the enemies of the powerful it will have been victor’s justice and we will be “putting the poisoned chalice to our own lips.”  If instead we, we the people, work, demand and, succeed in holding our own high criminals and government up to these same laws it will not have been a victor’s court.  Justice Jackson’s words are an important guide today, “The common sense of mankind demands that law shall not stop with the punishment of petty crimes by little people. It must also reach men who possess themselves of great power and make deliberate and concerted use of it to set in motion evils.”

Going back to the original question – Were the Nuremberg Tribunals only victor’s justice? – that depends on us – that depends on you. Will we prosecute our own high war criminals?  Will we respect and use the obligations of Nuremberg to oppose our government’s crimes against humanity and crimes against peace?

Elliott Adams was a soldier, a politician, a businessman; now he works for peace.  His interest in international law grew out of his experience in war, in places of conflict like Gaza, and being on trial for peace activism.

War, Media Propaganda and the Police State

September 29th, 2014 by James F. Tracy

Modern propaganda techniques utilized by the corporate state to enforce anti-democratic and destructive policies routinely entail the manufacture and manipulation of news events to mold public opinion and, as Edward Bernays put it, “engineer consent” toward certain ends.

Such events include not only overt political appeals, but also acts of seemingly spontaneous terrorism and militarism that traumatize the body politic into ultimately accepting false narratives as political and historical realities.

Western states’ development and utilization of propaganda closely parallels the steady decay of political enfranchisement and engagement throughout the twentieth century. Upon securing a second term in 1916, the Democratic administration of Woodrow Wilson plunged the United States into the most violent and homicidal war in human history. Wilson, a former Princeton University academician groomed for public office by Wall Street bankers, assembled a group of progressive-left journalists and publicists to “sell the war” to the American people.

Prof James F. Tracy on GRTV at the  Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, August  2014

George Creel, Walter Lippmann, Edward Bernays and Harold Lasswell all played influential roles in the newly-formed Committee on Public Information, and would go on to be major figures in political thought, public relations, and psychological warfare research.

The sales effort was unparalleled in its scale and sophistication. The CPI was not only able to officially censor news and information, but essentially manufacture these as well. Acting in the role of a multifaceted advertising agency, Creel’s operation “examined the different ways that information flowed to the population and flooded these channels with pro-war material.”

The Committee’s domestic organ was comprised of 19 subdivisions, each devoted to a specific type of propaganda, one of which was a Division of News that distributed over 6,000 press releases and acted as the chief avenue for war-related information. On an average week, more than 20,000 newspaper columns carried data provided through CPI propaganda. The Division of Syndicated Features enlisted the help of popular novelists, short story writers, and essayists. These mainstream American authors presented the official line in a readily accessible form reaching twelve million people every month. Similar endeavors existed for cinema, impromptu soapbox oratory (Four Minute Men), and outright advertising at home and abroad.[1]

With the experiences and observations of these war marketers variously recounted and developed throughout the 1920s (Lippmann, Public Opinion, The Phantom Public, Bernays, Propaganda, Crystallizing Public Opinion, Creel, How We Advertised America, Lasswell, Propaganda and the World War), alongside the influence of their elite colleagues and associates, the young publicists’ optimism concerning popular democracy guided by informed opinion was sobered with the realization that public sentiment was actually far more susceptible to persuasion than had been previously understood. The proposed solutions to guarantee something akin to democracy in an increasingly confusing world lay in “objective” journalism guided by organized intelligence (Lippmann) and propaganda, or what Edward Bernays termed “public relations.”

The argument laid out in Lippmann’s Public Opinion was partly motivated by the US Senate’s rejection of membership in the League of Nations. An adviser to the Wilson administration, a central figure behind intelligence gathering that informed postwar geopolitical dynamics laid out at the Paris Peace Conference, and an early member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Lippmann increasingly viewed popular democracy as plagued by a hopelessly ill-informed public opinion incapable of comprehending the growing complexities of modern society. Only experts could be entrusted with assessing, understanding, and acting on the knowledge accorded through their respective professions and fields.

Along these lines, journalism should mimic the then-fledgling social sciences by pursuing objectivity and deferring to the compartmentalized expertise of established authority figures. News and information could similarly be analyzed, edited, and coordinated to ensure accuracy by journalists exercising similar technocratic methods. Although Lippmann does not exactly specify what body would oversee such a process of “organized intelligence,” his postwar activities and ties provides a clue.

Edward Bernays’ advocacy for public opinion management is much more practical and overt. Whereas Lippmann suggests a regimented democracy via technocratic news and information processing, Bernays stresses a privileged elite’s overt manipulation of how the populace interprets reality itself. Such manipulation necessitates contrived associations, figures and events that appear authentic and spontaneous. “Any person or organization depends ultimately on public approval,” Bernays notes,

“and is therefore faced with the problem of engineering the public’s consent to a program or goal … We reject government authoritarianism or regimentation, but we are willing to be persuaded by the written or spoken word. The engineering of consent is the very essence of the democratic process, the freedom to persuade and suggest.[2]

Bernays demonstrates an affinity with Lippmann’s notion of elite expediency when pursuing prerogatives and decision-making the public at large cannot be entrusted to interpret. In such instances,

democratic leaders must play their part in leading the public through the engineering of consent to socially constructive goals and values. This role naturally imposes upon them the obligation to use educational processes, as well as other available techniques, to bring about as complete an understanding as possible.[3]

Written in the early 1950s, these observations become especially apt in the latter half of the twentieth century, where the US is typically a major aggressor in foreign (and eventually domestic) affairs. Yet what does Bernays mean by, for example, “educational processes”? An indication may be found by noting his central role in the promotion of tobacco use, municipal water fluoridation, and the overthrow of the democratically-elected Arbenz regime in Guatemala.[4]

With the advent of the national security state in 1947, secret programs emerge where the people are as a matter of course intentionally left unaware of the state’s true rationales and objectives.

Indeed, a wealth of contemporary historical examples suggest how the “engineering of consent” is wholly calculating and anti-democratic, and where the crises requiring such drastic and immediate public relations and military measures are themselves the result of the same leadership’s policies and actions. The US economic provocation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the Tonkin Gulf incident precipitating US military occupation of Vietnam are obvious examples of such manufactured events.

Similar techniques are apparent in the major political assassinations of the 1960s, where to this day the public is prompted to partake in the false reality that Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole culprit in the murder of President John F. Kennedy, much as Sirhan Sirhan was responsible for the death of Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

In fact, in each instance overwhelming evidence points to Central Intelligence Agency involvement in orchestrating the assassinations while training and presenting Oswald and Sirhan as the would-be assassins.

The US government’s assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., probably the most influential African American public persona of the twentieth century, is not even open to debate, having been soundly proven in a court of law.[5] Yet as with the Kennedys, it is a genuine public relations achievement that much of the American population is oblivious to the deeper dynamics of these political slayings that are routinely overlooked or inaccurately recounted in public discourse.

Along these lines, in the historical context of Operation Gladio, the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing, the events of September 11, 2001, the London 7/7/2005 bombings, and lesser episodes such as the “shoe” and “underwear” bombers, the engineering of consent has reached staggering new heights where state-orchestrated terrorism is used to mold public opinion toward acceptance of militarized policing operations, the continued erosion of civil liberties, and major sustained aggression against moderate Middle Eastern nations to cartelize scarce resources and politically reconfigure an entire region of the world.

Again, the public is essentially compelled to believe that political extremism of one form or another is the cause of each event, even in light of how the sophistication and scope of the Oklahoma City and 9/11 “attacks” suggest high-level forces at work. If one is to delve beneath the public relations narrative of each event, the recent Newtown massacre and Boston Marathon bombing likewise appear to have broader agendas where the public is again purposely misled.

Conventional journalists and academics are reluctant to publicly address such phenomena for fear of being called “conspiracy theorists.” In the case of academe this has severely curtailed serious and potentially crucial inquiry into such deep events and phenomena in lieu of what are often innocuous intellectual exchanges divorced from actually existing social and political realities that cry out for serious interrogation and critique.

The achievements of modern public relations are further evident in the Warren and 9/11 Commissions themselves, both of which have spun the fantastic myths of Allan Dulles and Peter Zelikow respectively, and that today maintain footholds in public discourse and consciousness.

Indeed, the “conspiracy theory” meme, a propaganda campaign waged by the CIA beginning in the mid-1960s to counter criticism of the Warren Commission report, is perhaps as little-known as Operation Mockingbird, the CIA program where hundreds of journalists and publishers actively devoted their services to spread Agency disinformation. The overall effect of these combined operations has been an immensely successful program continues to shape the contours of American political life and mediated reality.[6]

The present socio-political condition and suppression of popular democracy are triumphs of modern propaganda technique. So are they also manifest in the corporate state’s efforts to engineer public acquiescence toward such things as the colossal frauds of genetically modified organisms masquerading as “food,” toxic polypharmacy disguised as “medicine,” and the police state and “war on terror” seeking to preserve “national security.”

Notes

[1] Aaron Delwiche, “Propaganda: Wartime Propaganda: World War I, The Committee on Public Information,” accessed September 28, 2014 at http://www.propagandacritic.com/articles/ww1.cpi.html; George Creel, How We Advertised America, New York: Harper and Brothers, 1920. Available at http://archive.org/details/howweadvertameri00creerich

[2] Edward Bernays, Public Relations, Norman OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1952, 159-160.

[3] Ibid. 160.

[4] “You can get practically any ideas accepted,” Bernays reflected on the campaign to fluoridate New York City’s water supply. “If doctors are in favor, the public is willing to accept it, because a doctor is an authority to most people, regardless of how much he knows, or doesn’t know … By the law of averages, you can usually find an individual in any field who will be willing to accept new ideas, and the new ideas then infiltrate the others who haven’t accepted it. Christopher Bryson, The Fluoride Deception, New York: Seven Stories Press, 2004, 159.

[5] William F. Pepper, An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King, New York: Verso, 2003.

[6] James F. Tracy, “Conspiracy Theory: Foundations of a Weaponized Term,” Global Research, January 22, 2013.

The New York State Intelligence Center — a known Fusion Center with the stated purpose to, “collect, evaluate, analyze, and disseminate information and intelligence data regarding criminal and terrorist activity relevant to New York State” — issued a Counter Terrorism Bulletin last June identifying Oath Keepers in addition to other liberty related groups as “far-right extremist group and/or a threat to law enforcement.”

Here is a portion of a statement released by Oath Keepers yesterday:

On August 11, 2014, the New York Oath Keepers sent out correspondence to both the Governor and the Superintendent of the New York State Police clearly pointing out the New York State Intelligence Center’s faulty logic and misstatements of fact that were used to politically demonize the New York Oath Keeper organization whose clearly stated nonpartisan mission is simply to encourage our Military and Law Enforcement Officers, and others, to honor their oaths to the United States and New York State Constitutions.

In that correspondence, we requested that the officials at the NYSIC issue a public correction, indicating their error in classifying New York Oath Keepers as a far-right extremist group and/or a threat to law enforcement. We also requested a meeting with the Governor, the Superintendent of the New York State Police and/or officials from other NYSIC member organizations, so we could address any misinformation and misunderstandings about the New York Oath Keepers mission. We told them that it is our goal to see this extremely prejudicial “far-right extremist” label retracted and the necessary corrections made to the Bulletin.

A month and a half has passed and neither the Governor nor the Superintendent of the New York State Police has seen fit to even reply to our original correspondence.

So, today the New York Oath Keepers, an organization consisting of thousands of active duty and retired military, police and fire personnel, who have at one or more times in their lives taken an Oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America, sent them a second letter. We also sent a letter to the Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Office of the FBI, as they are also key members of the NYSIC.

The full statement is up on the official Oath Keepers site here which includes copies of all letters (including the latest) sent to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Some 58 fusion centers were created by the Department of Homeland Security in the wake of 9/11, supposedly to help fight terrorism through local data intelligence gathering. This is not the first time that one of these fusion centers has criminalized anyone outspoken against tyrannical government control and the destruction of the Constitution of the United States and the rights of the American people.

The Missouri Information Analysis Center, or MIAC, which Fox News describes as, “a government collective that identifies the warning signs of potential domestic terrorists for law enforcement communities,” identified Constitutional militia members and even Ron Paul supporters as potential terrorists.

Oath Keepers, meanwhile, is a nonpartisan group made up of current and formerly serving military, police, and first responders who have pledged simply to fulfill the oath all military and police take — to “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” [emphasis added]

It’s that part about Oath Keepers standing up to defend the law of this land, our Constitution — something Homeland Security has been actively destroying since its inception with leaked DHS training videos referring to America’s founding fathers as domestic terrorists and ludicrous actions like the creation of “100-mile inland Constitution-free zone” checkpoints around the nation’s border, that seems to be the real issue here.

Branding liberty minded groups and those that would stand up for our rights and the Constitution as potential domestic terrorist threats is essentially branding them as criminals, setting them up under a dubious legal framework, and paving the way to make government dissent a crime.

Melissa Melton is a writer, researcher, and analyst for The Daily Sheeple, where this first appeared, and a co-creator of Truthstream Media with Aaron Dykes, a site that offers teleprompter-free, unscripted analysis of The Matrix we find ourselves living in. Melissa also co-founded Nutritional Anarchy with Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper, a site focused on resistance through food self-sufficiency. Wake the flock up!

The CIA Mainstream Media Contra-Cocaine Cover-up

September 29th, 2014 by Robert Parry

In 1996 – as major U.S. news outlets disparaged the Nicaraguan Contra-cocaine story and destroyed the career of investigative reporter Gary Webb for reviving it – the CIA marveled at the success of its public-relations team guiding the mainstream media’s hostility toward both the story and Webb, according to a newly released internal report.

Entitled “Managing a Nightmare: CIA Public Affairs and the Drug Conspiracy Story,” the six-page report describes the CIA’s damage control after Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series was published in the San Jose Mercury-News in August 1996. Webb had resurrected disclosures from the 1980s about the CIA-backed Contras collaborating with cocaine traffickers as the Reagan administration worked to conceal the crimes.

Although the CIA’s inspector general later corroborated the truth about the Contra-cocaine connection and the Reagan administration’s cover-up, the mainstream media’s counterattack in defense of the CIA in late summer and fall of 1996 proved so effective that the subsequent CIA confession made little dent in the conventional wisdom regarding either the Contra-cocaine scandal or Gary Webb.

In fall 1998, when the CIA inspector general’s extraordinary findings were released, the major U.S. news media largely ignored them, leaving Webb a “disgraced” journalist who – unable to find a decent-paying job in his profession – committed suicide in 2004, a dark tale that will be revisited in a new movie, “Kill the Messenger,” starring Jeremy Renner and scheduled to reach theaters on Oct. 10.

The “Managing a Nightmare” report offers something of the CIA’s back story for how the spy agency’s PR team exploited relationships with mainstream journalists who then essentially did the CIA’s work for it, mounting a devastating counterattack against Webb that marginalized him and painted the Contra-cocaine trafficking story as some baseless conspiracy theory.

Journalist Gary Webb holding a copy of his Contra-cocaine article in the San Jose Mercury-News.Image: Journalist Gary Webb holding a copy of his Contra-cocaine article in the San Jose Mercury-News.

Crucial to that success, the report credits

“a ground base of already productive relations with journalists and an effective response by the Director of Central Intelligence’s Public Affairs Staff [that] helped prevent this story from becoming an unmitigated disaster.

“This success has to be viewed in relative terms. In the world of public relations, as in war, avoiding a rout in the face of hostile multitudes can be considered a success. … By anyone’s definition, the emergence of this story posed a genuine public relations crisis for the Agency.”

[As approved for release by the CIA last July 29, the report’s author was redacted as classified, however, Ryan Devereaux of The Intercept identified the writer as former Directorate of Intelligence staffer Nicholas Dujmovic.]

According to the CIA report, the public affairs staff convinced some journalists who followed up Webb’s exposé by calling the CIA that

“this series represented no real news, in that similar charges were made in the 1980s and were investigated by the Congress and were found to be without substance. Reporters were encouraged to read the ‘Dark Alliance’ series closely and with a critical eye to what allegations could actually be backed with evidence. Early in the life of this story, one major news affiliate, after speaking with a CIA media spokesman, decided not to run the story.”

Of course, the CIA’s assertion that the Contra-cocaine charges had been disproved in the 1980s was false. In fact, after Brian Barger and I wrote the first article about the Contra-cocaine scandal for the Associated Press in December 1985, a Senate investigation headed by Sen. John Kerry confirmed that many of the Contra forces were linked to cocaine traffickers and that the Reagan administration had even contracted with drug-connected airlines to fly supplies to the Contras who were fighting Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government.

However, in the late 1980s, the Reagan administration and the CIA had considerable success steering the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major news outlets away from the politically devastating reality that President Ronald Reagan’s beloved Contras were tied up with cocaine traffickers. Kerry’s groundbreaking report – when issued in 1989 – was largely ignored or mocked by the mainstream media.

That earlier media response left the CIA’s PR office free to cite the established “group think” – rather than the truth — when beating back Webb’s resurfacing of the scandal in 1996.

A ‘Firestorm’ of Attacks

The initial attacks on Webb’s series came from the right-wing media, such as the Washington Times and the Weekly Standard, but the CIA’s report identified the key turning point as coming when the Washington Post pummeled Webb in two influential articles.

The CIA’s PR experts quickly exploited that opening. The CIA’s internal report said:

“Public Affairs made sure that reporters and news directors calling for information – as well as former Agency officials, who were themselves representing the Agency in interviews with the media – received copies of these more balanced stories. Because of the Post’s national reputation, its articles especially were picked up by other papers, helping to create what the Associated Press called a ‘firestorm of reaction’ against the San Jose Mercury-News.”

The CIA’s report then noted the happy news that Webb’s editors at the Mercury-News began scurrying for cover, “conceding the paper might have done some things differently.” The retreat soon became a rout with some mainstream journalists essentially begging the CIA for forgiveness for ever doubting its innocence.

“One reporter of a major regional newspaper told [CIA] Public Affairs that, because it had reprinted the Mercury-News stories in their entirety, his paper now had ‘egg on its face,’ in light of what other newspapers were saying,” the CIA’s report noted, as its PR team kept track of the successful counterattack.

“By the end of September [1996], the number of observed stories in the print media that indicated skepticism of the Mercury-News series surpassed that of the negative coverage, which had already peaked,” the report said.

“The observed number of skeptical treatments of the alleged CIA connection grew until it more than tripled the coverage that gave credibility to that connection. The growth in balanced reporting was largely due to the criticisms of the San Jose Mercury-News by The Washington Post, The New York Times, and especially The Los Angeles Times.”

The overall tone of the CIA’s internal assessment is one of almost amazement at how its PR team could, with a deft touch, help convince mainstream U.S. journalists to trash a fellow reporter on a story that put the CIA in a negative light.

“What CIA media spokesmen can do, as this case demonstrates, is to work with journalists who are already disposed toward writing a balanced story,” the report said. “What gives this limited influence a ‘multiplier effect’ is something that surprised me about the media: that the journalistic profession has the will and the ability to hold its own members to certain standards.”

The report then praises the neoconservative American Journalism Review for largely sealing Webb’s fate with a harsh critique entitled “The Web That Gary Spun,” with AJR’s editor adding that the Mercury-News “deserved all the heat leveled at it for ‘Dark Alliance.’”

The report also cites with some pleasure the judgment of the Washington Post’s media critic Howard Kurtz who reacted to Webb’s observation that the war was a business to some Contra leaders with the snide comment: “Oliver Stone, check your voice mail.”

Neither Kurtz nor the CIA writer apparently was aware of the disclosure — among Iran-Contra documents — of a March 17, 1986 message about the Contra leadership from White House aide Oliver North’s emissary to the Contras, Robert Owen, who complained to North: “Few of the so-called leaders of the movement . . . really care about the boys in the field. … THIS WAR HAS BECOME A BUSINESS TO MANY OF THEM.” [Emphasis in original.]

Misguided Group Think

Yet, faced with this mainstream “group think” – as misguided as it was – Webb’s Mercury-News editors surrendered to the pressure, apologizing for the series, shutting down the newspaper’s continuing investigation into the Contra-cocaine scandal and forcing Webb to resign in disgrace.

But Webb’s painful experience provided an important gift to American history, at least for those who aren’t enamored of superficial “conventional wisdom.” CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz ultimately produced a fairly honest and comprehensive report that not only confirmed many of the longstanding allegations about Contra-cocaine trafficking but revealed that the CIA and the Reagan administration knew much more about the criminal activity than any of us outsiders did.

Hitz completed his investigation in mid-1998 and the second volume of his two-volume investigation was published on Oct. 8, 1998. In the report, Hitz identified more than 50 Contras and Contra-related entities implicated in the drug trade. He also detailed how the Reagan administration had protected these drug operations and frustrated federal investigations throughout the 1980s.

According to Volume Two, the CIA knew the criminal nature of its Contra clients from the start of the war against Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government. The earliest Contra force, called the Nicaraguan Revolutionary Democratic Alliance (ADREN) or the 15th of September Legion, had chosen “to stoop to criminal activities in order to feed and clothe their cadre,” according to a June 1981 draft of a CIA field report.

According to a September 1981 cable to CIA headquarters, two ADREN members made the first delivery of drugs to Miami in July 1981. ADREN’s leaders included Enrique Bermúdez and other early Contras who would later direct the major Contra army, the CIA-organized FDN. Throughout the war, Bermúdez remained the top Contra military commander.

The CIA corroborated the allegations about ADREN’s cocaine trafficking, but insisted that Bermúdez had opposed the drug shipments to the United States that went ahead nonetheless. The truth about Bermúdez’s supposed objections to drug trafficking, however, was less clear.

According to Hitz’s Volume One, Bermúdez enlisted Norwin Meneses, a large-scale Nicaraguan cocaine smuggler and a key figure in Webb’s series, to raise money and buy supplies for the Contras. Volume One had quoted a Meneses associate, another Nicaraguan trafficker named Danilo Blandón, who told Hitz’s investigators that he and Meneses flew to Honduras to meet with Bermúdez in 1982. At the time, Meneses’s criminal activities were well-known in the Nicaraguan exile community. But Bermúdez told these cocaine smugglers that “the ends justify the means” in raising money for the Contras.

After the Bermúdez meeting, Contra soldiers helped Meneses and Blandón get past Honduran police who briefly arrested them on drug-trafficking suspicions. After their release, Blandón and Meneses traveled on to Bolivia to complete a cocaine transaction.

There were other indications of Bermúdez’s drug-smuggling tolerance. In February 1988, another Nicaraguan exile linked to the drug trade accused Bermúdez of participation in narcotics trafficking, according to Hitz’s report. After the Contra war ended, Bermúdez returned to Managua, Nicaragua, where he was shot to death on Feb. 16, 1991. The murder has never been solved. [For more details on Hitz’s report and the Contra-cocaine scandal, see Robert Parry’s Lost History.]

Shrinking Fig Leaf

By the time that Hitz’s Volume Two was published in fall 1998, the CIA’s defense against Webb’s series had shrunk to a fig leaf: that the CIA did not conspire with the Contras to raise money through cocaine trafficking. But Hitz made clear that the Contra war took precedence over law enforcement and that the CIA withheld evidence of Contra crimes from the Justice Department, Congress and even the CIA’s own analytical division.

Besides tracing the evidence of Contra-drug trafficking through the decade-long Contra war, the inspector general interviewed senior CIA officers who acknowledged that they were aware of the Contra-drug problem but didn’t want its exposure to undermine the struggle to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government.

According to Hitz, the CIA had “one overriding priority: to oust the Sandinista government. . . . [CIA officers] were determined that the various difficulties they encountered not be allowed to prevent effective implementation of the Contra program.” One CIA field officer explained, “The focus was to get the job done, get the support and win the war.”

Hitz also recounted complaints from CIA analysts that CIA operations officers handling the Contras hid evidence of Contra-drug trafficking even from the CIA’s analysts.

Because of the withheld evidence, the CIA analysts incorrectly concluded in the mid-1980s that “only a handful of Contras might have been involved in drug trafficking.” That false assessment was passed on to Congress and to major news organizations — serving as an important basis for denouncing Gary Webb and his “Dark Alliance” series in 1996.

Although Hitz’s report was an extraordinary admission of institutional guilt by the CIA, it went almost unnoticed by major U.S. news outlets. By fall 1998, the U.S. mainstream media was obsessed with President Bill Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky sex scandal. So, few readers of major U.S. newspapers saw much about the CIA’s inspector general admitting that America’s premier spy agency had collaborated with and protected cocaine traffickers.

On Oct. 10, 1998, two days after Hitz’s Volume Two was posted on the CIA’s Web site, the New York Times published a brief article that continued to deride Webb but acknowledged the Contra-drug problem may have been worse than earlier understood. Several weeks later, the Washington Post weighed in with a similarly superficial article. The Los Angeles Times, which had assigned a huge team of 17 reporters to tear down Webb’s work, never published a story on the release of Hitz’s Volume Two.

In 2000, the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee grudgingly acknowledged that the stories about Reagan’s CIA protecting Contra drug traffickers were true. The committee released a report citing classified testimony from CIA Inspector General Britt Snider (Hitz’s successor) admitting that the spy agency had turned a blind eye to evidence of Contra-drug smuggling and generally treated drug smuggling through Central America as a low priority.

“In the end the objective of unseating the Sandinistas appears to have taken precedence over dealing properly with potentially serious allegations against those with whom the agency was working,” Snider said, adding that the CIA did not treat the drug allegations in “a consistent, reasoned or justifiable manner.”

The House committee still downplayed the significance of the Contra-cocaine scandal, but the panel acknowledged, deep inside its report, that in some cases,

“CIA employees did nothing to verify or disprove drug trafficking information, even when they had the opportunity to do so. In some of these, receipt of a drug allegation appeared to provoke no specific response, and business went on as usual.”

Like the release of Hitz’s report in 1998, the admissions by Snider and the House committee drew virtually no media attention in 2000 — except for a few articles on the Internet, including one at Consortiumnews.com.

Killing the Messenger

Because of this abuse of power by the Big Three newspapers — choosing to conceal their own journalistic negligence on the Contra-cocaine scandal and to protect the Reagan administration’s image — Webb’s reputation was never rehabilitated.

After his original “Dark Alliance” series was published in 1996, I joined Webb in a few speaking appearances on the West Coast, including one packed book talk at the Midnight Special bookstore in Santa Monica, California. For a time, Webb was treated as a celebrity on the American Left, but that gradually faded.

In our interactions during these joint appearances, I found Webb to be a regular guy who seemed to be holding up fairly well under the terrible pressure. He had landed an investigative job with a California state legislative committee. He also felt some measure of vindication when CIA Inspector General Hitz’s reports came out.

However, Webb never could overcome the pain caused by his betrayal at the hands of his journalistic colleagues, his peers. In the years that followed, Webb was unable to find decent-paying work in his profession — the conventional wisdom remained that he had somehow been exposed as a journalistic fraud. His state job ended; his marriage fell apart; he struggled to pay bills; and he was faced with a forced move out of a just-sold house near Sacramento, California, and in with his mother.

On Dec. 9, 2004, the 49-year-old Webb typed out suicide notes to his ex-wife and his three children; laid out a certificate for his cremation; and taped a note on the door telling movers — who were coming the next morning — to instead call 911. Webb then took out his father’s pistol and shot himself in the head. The first shot was not lethal, so he fired once more.

Even with Webb’s death, the big newspapers that had played key roles in his destruction couldn’t bring themselves to show Webb any mercy. After Webb’s body was found, I received a call from a reporter for the Los Angeles Times who knew that I was one of Webb’s few journalistic colleagues who had defended him and his work.

I told the reporter that American history owed a great debt to Gary Webb because he had forced out important facts about Reagan-era crimes. But I added that the Los Angeles Times would be hard-pressed to write an honest obituary because the newspaper had not published a single word on the contents of Hitz’s final report, which had largely vindicated Webb.

To my disappointment but not my surprise, I was correct. The Los Angeles Times ran a mean-spirited obituary that made no mention of either my defense of Webb or the CIA’s admissions in 1998. The obituary – more fitting for a deceased mob boss than a fellow journalist – was republished in other newspapers, including the Washington Post.

In effect, Webb’s suicide enabled senior editors at the Big Three newspapers to breathe a little easier — one of the few people who understood the ugly story of the Reagan administration’s cover-up of the Contra-cocaine scandal and the U.S. media’s complicity was now silenced.

No Accountability

To this day, none of the journalists or media critics who participated in the destruction of Gary Webb has paid a price for their actions. None has faced the sort of humiliation that Webb had to endure. None had to experience that special pain of standing up for what is best in the profession of journalism — taking on a difficult story that seeks to hold powerful people accountable for serious crimes — and then being vilified by your own colleagues, the people that you expected to understand and appreciate what you had done.

In May 2013, one of the Los Angeles Times reporters who had joined in the orchestrated destruction of Webb’s career acknowledged that the newspaper’s assault was a “tawdry exercise” amounting to “overkill,” which later contributed to Webb’s suicide. This limited apology by former Los Angeles Times reporter Jesse Katz was made during a radio interview and came as filming was about to start on “Kill the Messenger,” based on a book by the same name by Nick Schou.

On KPCC-FM 89.3′s AirTalk With Larry Mantle, Katz was pressed by callers to address his role in the destruction of Webb. Katz offered what could be viewed as a limited apology.

“As an L.A. Times reporter, we saw this series in the San Jose Mercury News and kind of wonder[ed] how legit it was and kind of put it under a microscope,” Katz said. “And we did it in a way that most of us who were involved in it, I think, would look back on that and say it was overkill. We had this huge team of people at the L.A. Times and kind of piled on to one lone muckraker up in Northern California.”

Katz added, “We really didn’t do anything to advance his work or illuminate much to the story, and it was a really kind of a tawdry exercise. … And it ruined that reporter’s career.”

Now, with the imminent release of a major Hollywood movie about Webb’s ordeal, the next question is whether the major newspapers will finally admit their longstanding complicity in the Contra-cocaine cover-up or whether they will simply join the CIA’s press office in another counterattack.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

Photo: Natalie Becker

Israel is exploring ways to “lower the birthrate” of Palestinian Bedouins, its agriculture minister Yair Shamir has stated.

“We have to take all the Bedouin and get them out of the desert a bit and bring them closer to a normal state from the perspective of legislation, life expectancy, education and livelihood,” Shamir said, as reported by the Israeli daily Haaretz. “Perhaps we could even deal with the phenomenon of multiple wives to reduce the birthrate and raise the standard of living.”

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Naqab (Negev) region of present-day Israel is home to an estimated 160,000 Palestinian Bedouins who carry Israeli citizenship. During a recent tour of the region, Shamir lamented that the Bedouin population would grow to half a million by 2035.

“Only a suicidal country doesn’t recognize the Bedouin problem,” Shamir said. “The blindness is terrible.”

Shamir is a member of the Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) political party, founded by radical right-wing politician Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s current foreign minister. The party is known for its notoriously anti-Palestinian members, such as David Rotem and Uzi Landau, both members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

Racism with a smile: Yair Shamir regards the existence of indigenous people as a “problem.” (Gvahim)

Yair is also the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, a one-time member of the notorious Stern Gang (also known as Lehi), which violently attacked Palestinians and British colonial representatives during the British Mandate period (1920-1948).

The minister’s comments are “hardly even news in Israel,” explained Nadim Nashif, director of Baladna, a Haifa-based group campaigning for the rights of Palestinians in Israel.

“Astonishing”

“Obviously this is part of a broad pattern of incitement by Israelis, but sometimes it’s astonishing how racist politicians and ministers are,” Nashif told The Electronic Intifada. “In any country around the world, this would be compared to fascism, but in Israel it’s just daily news and not considered important.”

It is not the first time Israel has experimented in population control, either. In January 2013, Israel admitted that Jewish Ethiopian immigrants were being given long-acting contraceptives without their knowledge in order to decrease the community’s birthrate.

Bedouins in the Naqab are part of the estimated 1.7 million Palestinians who carry Israeli citizenship and live in cities, towns and villages across the country. According to the Haifa-based Adalah Legal Center, they suffer from dozens of discriminatory laws that muzzle their political expression and limit their access to state resources, most importantly land.

Israeli politicians have a long history of using racist and dehumanizing language when speaking about Bedouins, particularly during attempts to justify plans to forcibly relocate large parts of the indigenous population in the Naqab region.

Continued demolitions

“For years Israeli politicians have been talking about controlling Bedouin in certain geographical areas,” Nashif added. “We shouldn’t be surprised — the next step is controlling their birthrates, according to their logic.”

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel also estimates that some 80,000 Bedouins live in “unrecognized villages” in the Naqab, where they are denied access to state resources, including electricity, water, education and healthcare.

Though many of these communities predate the 1948 Nakba — the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and establishment of Israel — authorities have attempted to forcibly relocate them time and again.

The Prawer Plan, which aimed to relocate tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins into ghetto-like communities, was cancelled last December after sparking widespread outrage and protests among Palestinian communities in Israel and the occupied West Bank.

Yet, as recently reported by The Electronic Intifada, Israeli authorities have continued without pause to demolish homes in Bedouin communities across the Naqab.

Impunity

During Israel’s latest massacre of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip — which lasted 50 days and killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians — anti-Palestinian incitement skyrocketed.

Among the politicians calling for increased violence was Knesset member Ayelet Shaked of the Habeyit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party, who published on Facebook an article she accredited to the late settler leader Uri Elitzur.

Elitzur’s article labels “the entire Palestinian people [as] the enemy,” and calls for its destruction “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”

The article “is as relevant today as it was at the time,” Shaked wrote in a “status,” which received thousands of “likes” and was shared widely among Israeli Facebook users.

During the assault on Gaza, Moshe Feiglin, deputy speaker of Israel’s Knesset, called for Israel to “concentrate” and “exterminate” Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Writing on Facebook on 1 August, Feiglin said Israel should embark on the “conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and the annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters.”

In late August, the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens, a group that represents Palestinians in Israel, called for “immediate and effective legal action against the wave of violence, incitement, discrimination and racism targeted against the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel.”

Yet like Israeli soldiers and civilians who carry out violent attacks, politicians enjoy systematic impunity when their racist incitement is aimed at Palestinians.

For years, many people have suspected that the New York Fed is more or less controlled by the “too big to fail” banks.  Well, now we have smoking gun evidence that this is indeed the case.  A very brave lawyer named Carmen Segarra made a series of audio recordings while she was working for the New York Fed.  The 46 hours of meetings and conversations that she recorded are being called “the Ray Rice video for the financial sector” because of the explosive content that they contain.  What these recordings reveal are regulators that are deeply afraid to do anything that may harm or embarrass Goldman Sachs.  And it is quite understandable why Segarra’s colleagues at the New York Fed would feel this way.  As a recent Bloomberg article explained, it has become “common practice” for regulators to leave “their government jobs for much higher paying jobs at the very banks they were once meant to regulate.”  If you think that there is going to be a cushy, high paying banking job for you at the end of the rainbow, you are unlikely to do anything that will mess that up.

To say that the culture at the New York Fed is “deferential” to big banks such as Goldman Sachs would be a massive understatement.

When Carmen Segarra was first embedded at Goldman Sachs, she was absolutely horrified by what she was seeing and hearing.  But her superiors were so obsessed with covering up for Goldman that they actually pressured her to alter the notes that she took during meetings

The job right from the start seems to have been different from what she had imagined: In meetings, Fed employees would defer to the Goldman people; if one of the Goldman people said something revealing or even alarming, the other Fed employees in the meeting would either ignore or downplay it. For instance, in one meeting a Goldman employee expressed the view that “once clients are wealthy enough certain consumer laws don’t apply to them.” After that meeting, Segarra turned to a fellow Fed regulator and said how surprised she was by that statement — to which the regulator replied, “You didn’t hear that.”

This sort of thing occurred often enough — Fed regulators denying what had been said in meetings, Fed managers asking her to alter minutes of meetings after the fact — that Segarra decided she needed to record what actually had been said.

Needless to say, someone like Segarra that did not “go along with the program” was not going to last long at the New York Fed.

After only seven months, she was fired

In 2012, Goldman was rebuked by a Delaware judge for its behaviour during a corporate acquisition. Goldman had advised one energy company, El Paso Corp., as it sold itself to another energy company, Kinder Morgan, in which Goldman actually owned a $4-billion stake. Segarrra asked questions and was told by a Goldman executive that the bank did not have a conflict of interest policy. The Fed found some divisions of the bank did have a policy, though not a comprehensive one. The Fed pressured Segarra not to mention the inadequate conflict of interest policy at Goldman in her reports and, she alleges, fired her after she refused to recant.

If Segarra had not made the recordings that she did, we would have probably never heard much from her ever again.

After all, who is going to believe her over Goldman Sachs and the New York Fed?  A minority would, of course, but the general public would have probably dismissed her accusations as the bitter ramblings of an ex-employee.

But she did make those recordings, and they are causing chaos on Wall Street right now.

The following is how Michael Lewis summarized the importance of this audio…

But once you have listened to it — as when you were faced with the newly unignorable truth of what actually happened to that NFL running back’s fiancee in that elevator — consider the following:

1. You sort of knew that the regulators were more or less controlled by the banks. Now you know.

2. The only reason you know is that one woman, Carmen Segarra, has been brave enough to fight the system. She has paid a great price to inform us all of the obvious. She has lost her job, undermined her career, and will no doubt also endure a lifetime of lawsuits and slander.

The New York Fed says that it “categorically rejects” all of the allegations made by Carmen Segarra.

Of course they do.

But what is there to deny?  The evidence is right there in the audio recordings.

The New York Fed has been caught red-handed serving the interests of Goldman Sachs, and no number of strongly-worded denials is going to change that.

Sadly, this is not likely to change any time soon.  Employees of the New York Fed are going to continue to want to get hired by the big banks, and the big banks are going to continue to hire them.  So the incestuous relationship between the New York Fed and Goldman Sachs is probably not going to change in any meaningful way despite this bad publicity.

What this means is that Goldman Sachs is going to continue to do pretty much whatever it wants to do, and nobody is going to stop them.

But someone should be doing something.

As I wrote about the other day, Goldman Sachs has less than a trillion dollars in total assets, but it has more than 54 trillion dollars in exposure to derivatives.

When the derivatives crisis strikes, some of these “too big to fail” banks are going to go down very hard.

Goldman might be one of them.

And when Wall Street starts collapsing, it is going to plunge the entire U.S. economy into a complete and utter nightmare.

Much of this could have been avoided if we had good rules in place and we had regulators that were honestly trying to enforce those good rules.

But instead, the wolves are guarding the hen house and the big banks are going absolutely wild.

Ultimately, this is all going to end very, very badly.

As bankruptcy proceedings enter their final stages in Detroit, Michigan, the historic center of American auto manufacturing, the political establishment is moving to put in place mechanisms to ensure the permanent dictatorship of the banks over the city’s working class. As with the bankruptcy itself, the forms of rule pioneered in Detroit are intended as a model for the entire country.

In a deal worked out behind closed doors last week, Detroit’s Democratic Party-controlled City Council voted unanimously to allow the city’s unelected emergency manager, Kevyn Orr, to remain in power until a federal judge confirms his restructuring plan and the city exits from bankruptcy. Mayor Mike Duggan, another Democrat, immediately approved the plan.

The move makes a mockery of the talk about the “return to democracy” after Orr’s 18-month rule. Duggan and the city council members, who pledged during last year’s elections to get rid of Orr, have extended his term for months, if not longer. Moreover, when Orr finally departs, his dictatorial powers will essentially be adopted by a nine-member Financial Review Commission that will have the authority to tear up labor agreements and veto all spending decisions for the next 13 years.

As part of the deal, Duggan and Council President Brenda Jones will sit alongside Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s appointees on the financial oversight committee. Rather than exercising his power to appoint another emergency manager, Snyder is relying on his Democratic counterparts, including Duggan, a corporate “turnaround specialist,” to implement the restructuring plan.

Any semblance of democracy—state constitutional protections for pensions, city ordinances mandating a vote by Detroit citizens before the sale of public assets, etc.—are seen as unacceptable obstacles to the further enrichment to the financial powers that run society.

The Detroit News, long the mouthpiece for auto giants and other corporate interests in the city, gushed over the vote. “The unanimity of the vote indicates both a confidence in Orr’s ability, and the council’s willingness to make tough and unpopular decisions.”

Alluding to the broader strategy of which the Detroit bankruptcy is a part, the News continued, “It’s encouraging to see councilmembers value the unique talents Orr has brought to Detroit, particularly in seeing bankruptcy through in such a quick manner. He’s set a high standard for other cities that might also fall into Chapter 11.”

What are these “tough and unpopular” decisions?

Under the terms of the restructuring plan, the pensions and health benefits of more than 32,000 current and retired city workers will be gutted to pay off the banks and big bondholders. The city’s world famous art museum, the Detroit-Windsor tunnel, city-owned parking garages, the street lights and the water and sewerage system, along with hundreds of acres of land, will be handed to wealthy real estate developers and investors. Thousands of residents of low-income working class neighborhoods will be turned into urban refugees as water and other vital services are shut down as part of plan to “right-size” Detroit.

These are the “high standards” being set for other cities contemplating Chapter 11 bankruptcies. Democratic and Republican city officials from California to Illinois are looking to Detroit as the blueprint for similar attacks on supposedly “unaffordable” pensions and health care benefits. On the federal level, the Obama administration and both the Republican and Democratic parties are spearheading plans to slash trillions from Medicare, Social Security, public education and other vital necessities even as they make available limitless resources for Wall Street and the Pentagon military machine.

Such anti-social measures cannot be carried out of the basis of popular consensus. That is why the political establishment is relying on ever more authoritarian methods, from endless police shootings and the militarization of the police as seen in Ferguson, Missouri, to the measures of spying on the American people and the crack down on political dissent.

Whatever remains of democratic forms have been hollowed out under the pressure of the immense economic and political power of the financial oligarchy, which has only increased its wealth since precipitating the crash of 2008. Decisions are made through back-room deals involving a handful of political operatives in close collaboration with banks, bondholders and wealthy investors.

There is widespread popular opposition to what is taking place in Detroit and throughout the country. Orr alluded to this fact in praising the city council vote when he noted that “there’s still some folks out there who perhaps would have a pitchfork or two.”

This sentiment, however, is entirely excluded from official politics.

A key role in this process has been played by the executives who run the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the United Auto Workers and other city unions. In exchange for signing on to the so-called Grand Bargain and suppressing opposition to the attack on the jobs and living standards of their members, the AFSCME and UAW officials have been paid off with a half-billion-dollar slush fund.

At the same time, various organizations tied to the Democratic Party, have promoted illusions in the unions, the courts and Democrats like President Obama, US Congressman John Conyers Jr. and Council President Brenda Jones. The aim of these lies has been to confuse and undermine the opposition of the working class.

What the experience in Detroit shows is that the entire political structure of America, like the rest of the world, is controlled by the ruling elite. The interests of the vast majority of the population can only be advanced through an independent struggle by the working class to take political power.

The problem is not the lack of resources but the hoarding of society’s wealth by the corporate and financial elite. To free up these resources to rebuild Detroit and other industrially ravaged cities and guarantee the social rights of all working people to jobs, health care, education, housing and culture, what is needed is a workers government and the socialist reorganization of economic life.