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
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
Read about Osama Bin Laden in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller
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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”.
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.
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.
Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)
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 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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
Timeline: What Happened on the Morning of September 11, 2001
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,  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. 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.
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.  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, 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. 
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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.
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.” 
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.” 
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. 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. 
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.
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. 
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.” 
“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.” 
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.
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, and are documented to be financing the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council against President Bashar al-Assad. 
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.
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.” 
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.
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.”  Under behind-the-scenes machinations the Libyan government is dominated by Jihadists and by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, as in Tunisia and Egypt. 
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. 
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.
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,  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. 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 ofFull Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order
 Dan Peleschuk, Sheikh Murdered Over Religious Split Say Analysts, RIA Novosti, August 30, 2012, accessed in
 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).”
 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?”
Citizens across the globe are feeling the blade of austerity measures and corporate greed as they lose their jobs and their wages are reduced. Families worldwide are under increasing pressure as social services such as education are being eroded. We face an age of economic transformation, where the poor are becoming poorer and the rich are becoming richer. The middle class is shrinking and under increasing attack, too.
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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.
“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.
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.
Developed in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme and the UN’s World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just published [in 2013] its Fifth Assessment Report and maintains its silence on military weather modification applications which continue to skew the data.
First published by International Action Center and Global Research in September 2014. The US military machine, is the world’s biggest institutional consumer of petroleum products and the world’s worst polluter of greenhouse gas emissions.
Discussion of ENMOD is taboo. It is an unspoken truth. Scientists dare not address it as part of the debate on climate change. ENMOD technologies not only exist, they are fully operational. Confirmed by US military documents, a typhoon, a tsunami or an earthquake can be triggered by the use of ENMOD technologies.
“(w)e are not that dishonest as to buy oil from terrorists. If it is proven that we have, in fact, done so, I will leave office. If there is any evidence, let them present it, we’ll consider (it).” (Turkey’s President R. Erdogan)
In Paris at the climate conference, President Vladimir Putin minced no words, saying: “(w)e have recently received additional reports that confirm that [stolen] oil from ISIL-controlled territories is delivered to the territory of Turkey on an industrial scale.” (emphasis added)
“We have all grounds to suspect that the decision to down our plane was motivated by the intention to secure these routes of delivering oil to ports where it is loaded on tankers. Defending Turkmen is just a pretext” – terrorists allied with Ankara.
Washington knows what’s ongoing, doing nothing to stop it, permitting its ISIS foot soldiers to have a key revenue source. Sergey Lavrov acknowledged it, saying:
“Let us operate with facts. There have been many reports that god knows who is living off the oil wells illegally seized by the Islamic State.”
“When our aviation started flying in the Syrian airspace at the request of [Syrian president] Bashar al-Assad, we saw the whole picture of that illegal business from above.”
“Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about that on several occasions, including yesterday’s news conference and the G20 summit in Antalya where he had shown space and aerial images – very eloquent and very convincing – to his colleagues.”
“The US-led coalition started flying over Iraq and Syria, without the Syrian government’s consent by the way, more than a year before the [legal] Russian military operation.”
“I am convinced that they saw all that but did not do anything for some unknown reason.” Putin, Lavrov and other Russian officials know why. They diplomatically stop short of explaining, including about Washington’s involvement.
“Russian warplanes started bombing that criminal industry when they began operati(ng) in that area,” Lavrov added.
“(I)f the United States is so much concerned (about) who is benefitting from” stolen oil sales, why is it doing nothing to stop them.
Erdogan was caught red-handed, including by former Turkish officials. Courageous Ankara-based journalists exposed his weapons smuggling to ISIS terrorists.
Turkey’s leader lied, saying:
“(w)e are not that dishonest as to buy oil from terrorists. If it is proven that we have, in fact, done so, I will leave office. If there is any evidence, let them present it, we’ll consider (it).”
He failed to comply with Russia’s request to act against terrorists “emerging on Turkish territory,” infiltrating into parts of Russia, including the northern Caucasus, Putin explained.
“(W)e have traced some located on the territory of the Turkish Republic and living in regions guarded by special security services and police that have used the visa-free regime to return to our territory, where we continue to fight them.”
Putin urges world unity against the scourge of terrorism – impossible “while (some nations, notably America, Turkey and rogue allies) use several terrorist organizations to reach their immediate goals.”
The closing of the Bosphorus Straits by Turkey would constitute an Act of War directed against the Russian Federation
A recent report by Sputnik states that in this regard:
In times of war, the passage of warships shall be left entirely to the discretion of the Turkish government, according to the document.
From a legal perspective, Turkey has no legal grounds to create obstacles for Russian vessels carrying cargo, including military cargo, Russian lawyer Vladimir Morkovkin told RBK. Turkey can ban non-friendly vessels from navigating through the Straits only if at war, the expert explained.
After World War II, Ankara made several efforts to gradually strengthen its control over the Straits. In 1982, Turkey tried to unilaterally expand the regime of the Istanbul port over the entire area of the Straits. The decision was harshly criticized by neighboring countries, and Turkey stepped back.
We are at very dangerous crossroads. Russia’s maritime access to the Mediterranean is largely controlled by NATO countries and their allies (i.e. 1. Bosphorus and Dardanelles; 2. Suez canal, 3. Strait of Gibraltar)
GR Editor, Michel Chossudovsky, December 1, 2015)
* * *
Turkey has begun a de facto blockade of Russian naval vessels, preventing transit through the Dardanelles and the Strait of Bosporus, between the Black Sea and Mediterranean.
According to the AIS tracking system for the movement of maritime vessels, only Turkish vessels are moving along the Bosphorus, and in the Dardanelles there is no movement of any shipping at all.
At the same time, both from the Black Sea, and from the Mediterranean Sea, there is a small cluster of ships under the Russian flag, just sitting and waiting. The image below shows the situation with the ships using the GPS transponder onboard each vessel:
In addition, shipping inside the Black Sea from Novorossiisk and Sevastopol in the direction of the Bosphorus, no Russian vessels are moving. This indirectly confirms the a CNN statement that Turkey may have blocked the movement of Russian ships on the Dardanelles and the Strait of Bosporus.
There is a Treaty specifically covering the use of these waterways by nations of the world. That Treaty is the Montreux Convention Regarding the Regime of the Straits.
It is a 1936 agreement that gives Turkey control over the Bosporus Straits and the Dardanelles and regulates the transit of naval warships. The Convention gives Turkey full control over the Straits and guarantees the free passage of civilian vessels in peacetime. It restricts the passage of naval ships not belonging to Black Sea states. The terms of the convention have been the source of controversy over the years, most notably concerning the Soviet Union‘s military access to the Mediterranean Sea.
Signed on 20 July 1936 at the Montreux Palace in Switzerland, it permitted Turkey to remilitarise the Straits. It went into effect on 9 November 1936 and was registered in League of Nations Treaty Series on 11 December 1936. It is still in force today, with some amendments.
The Convention consists of 29 Articles, four annexes and one protocol. Articles 2–7 consider the passage of merchant ships. Articles 8–22 consider the passage of war vessels. The key principle of freedom of passage and navigation is stated in articles 1 and 2. Article 1 provides that “The High Contracting Parties recognize and affirm the principle of freedom of passage and navigation by sea in the Straits”. Article 2 states that “In time of peace, merchant vessels shall enjoy complete freedom of passage and navigation in the Straits, by day and by night, under any flag with any kind of cargo.”
The International Straits Commission was abolished, authorizing the full resumption of Turkish military control over the Straits and the refortification of the Dardanelles. Turkey was authorized to close the Straits to all foreign warships in wartime or when it was threatened by aggression; additionally, it was authorized to refuse transit from merchant ships belonging to countries at war with Turkey.
Turkey has now invoked its power, but has not publicly stated whether they are blocking Russian Naval Vessels because Turkey is “threatened with aggression” or whether Turkey considers itself to be “at war.” Last week, Turkey shot down a Russian military jet over Syria and this has caused a major rift between the two nations.
This latest development of blockading Russian naval vessels is a massive and terrifyingly dangerous development. Blockading Russia and preventing its Black Sea fleet from traveling to the rest of the world, or back to its home port, is something that will not sit well with the Russians.
Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of 150,000 Russian troops and equipment into Syria, but then ALSO ordered the deployment of 7,000 additional Russian Troops, tanks, rocket launchers and artillery, to the Russian Border of Turkey at Armenia, with orders to be “fully combat ready.”
It is important to note two things:
1) Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as is the United States and most of Europe, AND;
2) Turkey took the first shot at Russia when they intentionally shot down a Russian jet last week.
It is important to remember these facts because, as a NATO member, Turkey can invoke Article 5 of the NATO Treaty which requires all NATO members to come to its defense if Turkey is “attacked.” So if Russia decides to fight back against Turkey downing its military jet, the Turks might call NATO and claim they’ve been “attacked” thereby calling-up NATO forces to go to war against Russia.
It bears remembering, however, that Turkey shot first. Turkey was the nation which “attacked.”
Before NATO and the world get dragged into a war between Russia and Turkey, the citizens of the world must be ready to remind our leaders that Turkey Shot First.
Why did the Turks shoot? Because Turkey has been allowing the terrorist group ISIS to sell the oil it has stolen from countries it is conquering. The oil is transported from the wells in countries where ISIS has seized power, is taken by truck to Turkey, and is then sold at cheap prices on the black market.
This black market selling results in over 1 Million dollars per DAY flowing into ISIS to keep it equipped and supplied for its ongoing terrorist activities. Only a fool would think that all this is going on through Turkey, without some Turkish officials having their hands out for money from the illegal oil sales. Put simply, Turkey appears to be in business with ISIS and Russia is harming that by attacking ISIS in Syria.
So Turkey shot down one of the Russian planes that was attacking ISIS. Russia is quite furious; with the Russian President stating the shoot down was “a stab in the back of Russia” and was carried out by “accomplices to terrorism.”
It would be shocking if NATO were to defend Turkey under such circumstances because by its actions, Turkey is providing material support to the terrorist group ISIS. For NATO to defend that would make all of us accomplices to terrorism.
A prominent Iraqi official says his request from the United States to target Daesh trucks that carry the Iraqi and Syrian oil for sale out of the countries has failed to bear any result as Washington considers them “civilian targets.”
Amid Moscow’s recent objections to Turkey’s role in the sale of the oil stolen by the Takfiri terrorists, Mowaffak al-Rubaie, made the remarks to Sputnik Monday, suggesting that the US intentionally ignores the illegal oil sale.
“I have personally contacted US representatives asking them to target ISIL trucks transporting Iraqi and Syrian oil to Turkey only to be told that those were civilian targets so they could not attack them,” said Rubaie, a leader of the State of Law Coalition party in the Iraqi parliament and former national security adviser.
Rubaie said earlier that the militant group had made over $800 million dollars in black market oil sales in Turkey over the last eight months, signifying the move has been ignored by the so-called US-led coalition for a long while.
This is not the first time Ankara is being implicated in support for Daesh, whose militants have been committing crimes against the lives and heritage of people in Iraq and Syria.
Moscow, however, broke the silence on Turkey’s role in the oil sale after a Russian jet, engaged in bombing Takfiri positions, was downed by the Turkish air force, putting Moscow-Ankara ties under tension.
Since August 2014, the United States and some of its allies have been conducting airstrikes against what they say are Daesh positions in Iraq. Since last September, some members of the US-led coalition have also been pounding purported Daesh positions inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.
However, the airstrikes have not dislodged the Daesh terrorists and have reportedly caused huge collateral damage, and civilian deaths.
Il missile Aim-120 Amraam lanciato dall’F-16 turco (ambedue made in Usa) non era diretto solo al caccia russo impegnato in Siria contro l’Isis, ma a un obiettivo ben più importante: il Turkish Stream, il progettato gasdotto che porterebbe il gas russo in Turchia e, da qui, in Grecia e altri paesi della Ue. Il Turkish Stream è la risposta di Mosca al siluramento, da parte di Washington, del South Stream, il gasdotto che, aggirando l’Ucraina, avrebbe portato il gas russo fino a Tarvisio (Udine) e da qui nella Ue, con grandi benefici per l’Italia anche in termini di occupazione. Il progetto, varato dalla russa Gazprom e dall’italiana Eni e poi allargato alla tedesca Wintershall e alla francese Edf, era già in fase avanzata di realizzazione (la Saipem dell’Eni aveva già un contratto da 2 miliardi di euro per la costruzione del gasdotto attraverso il Mar Nero) quando, dopo aver provocato la crisi ucraina, Washington lanciava quella che il New York Times definiva «una strategia aggressiva mirante a ridurre le forniture russe di gas all’Europa». Sotto pressione Usa, la Bulgaria bloccava nel dicembre 2014 i lavori del South Stream affossando il progetto. Contemporaneamente però, nonostante Mosca e Ankara fossero in campi opposti riguardo a Siria e Isis, la Gazprom firmava un accordo preliminare con la compagnia turca Botas per la realizzazione di un duplice gasdotto Russia-Turchia attraverso il Mar Nero. Il 19 giugno Mosca e Atene firmavano un accordo preliminare sull’estensione del Turkish Stream (con una spesa di 2 miliardi di dollari a carico della Russia) fino alla Grecia, per farne la porta d’ingresso del nuovo gasdotto nell’Unione europea.
Il 22 luglio Obama telefonava a Erdogan, chiedendo che la Turchia si ritirasse dal progetto. Il 16 novembre Mosca e Ankara annunciavano, invece, prossimi colloqui governativi per varare il Turkish Stream, con una portata superiore a quella del maggiore gasdotto attraverso l’Ucraina. Otto giorni dopo, l’abbattimento del caccia russo provocava il blocco, se non la cancellazione, del progetto. Sicuramente a Washington hanno brindato al nuovo successo. La Turchia, che importa dalla Russia il 55% del gas e il 30% del petrolio, viene invece danneggiata dalle sanzioni russe e rischia di perdere il grosso business del Turkish Stream. Chi allora in Turchia aveva interesse ad abbattere volutamente il caccia russo, sapendo quali sarebbero state le conseguenze? La frase di Erdogan «Vorremmo che non fosse successo, ma è successo, spero che una cosa del genere non accada più» implica uno scenario più complesso di quello ufficiale. In Turchia ci sono importanti comandi, basi e radar Nato sotto comando Usa: l’ordine di abbattere il caccia russo è stato dato all’interno di tale quadro. Qual è a questo punto la situazione nella «guerra dei gasdotti»? Usa e Nato controllano il territorio ucraino da cui passano i gasdotti Russia-Ue, ma la Russia può fare oggi meno affidamento su di essi (la quantità di gas che trasportano è calata dal 90% al 40% dell’export russo di gas verso l’Europa) grazie a due corridoi alternativi. Il Nord Stream che, a nord dell’Ucraina, porta il gas russo in Germania: la Gazprom ora lo vuole raddoppiare ma il progetto è avversato nella Ue dalla Polonia e altri governi dell’Est (legati più a Washington che a Bruxelles). Il Blue Stream, gestito alla pari da Gazprom ed Eni, che a sud passa dalla Turchia ed è per questo a rischio. La Ue potrebbe importare molto gas a basso prezzo dall’Iran, con un gasdotto già progettato attraverso Iraq e Siria, ma il progetto è bloccato (non a caso) dalla guerra scatenata in questi paesi dalla strategia Usa/Nato.
The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.
“To initiate a war of aggression…,” said the Nuremberg Tribunal judges in 1946, “is not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
Had the Nazis not invaded Europe, Auschwitz and the Holocaust would not have happened. Had the United States and its satellites not initiated their war of aggression in Iraq in 2003, almost a million people would be alive today; and Islamic State, or ISIS, would not have us in thrall to its savagery. They are the progeny of modern fascism, weaned by the bombs, bloodbaths and lies that are the surreal theatre known as news.
Like the fascism of the 1930s and 1940s, big lies are delivered with the precision of a metronome: thanks to an omnipresent, repetitive media and its virulent censorship by omission. Take the catastrophe in Libya.
In 2011, Nato launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. Uranium warheads were used; the cities of Misurata and Sirte were carpet-bombed. The Red Cross identified mass graves, and Unicef reported that “most [of the children killed] were under the age of ten”.
The public sodomising of the Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi with a “rebel” bayonet was greeted by the then US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, with the words: “We came, we saw, he died.” His murder, like the destruction of his country, was justified with a familiar big lie; he was planning “genocide” against his own people. “We knew … that if we waited one more day,” said President Obama, “Benghazi, a city the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.”
This was the fabrication of Islamist militias facing defeat by Libyan government forces. They told Reuters there would be “a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda”. Reported on March 14, 2011, the lie provided the first spark for Nato’s inferno, described by David Cameron as a “humanitarian intervention”.
Secretly supplied and trained by Britain’s SAS, many of the “rebels” would become ISIS, whose latest video offering shows the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian workers seized in Sirte, the city destroyed on their behalf by Nato bombers.
For Obama, Cameron and Hollande, Gaddafi’s true crime was Libya’s economic independence and his declared intention to stop selling Africa’s greatest oil reserves in US dollars. The petrodollar is a pillar of American imperial power. Gaddafi audaciously planned to underwrite a common African currency backed by gold, establish an all-Africa bank and promote economic union among poor countries with prized resources. Whether or not this would happen, the very notion was intolerable to the US as it prepared to “enter” Africa and bribe African governments with military “partnerships”.
Following Nato’s attack under cover of a Security Council resolution, Obama, wrote Garikai Chengu, “confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of an African Central Bank and the African gold backed dinar currency”.
The “humanitarian war” against Libya drew on a model close to western liberal hearts, especially in the media. In 1999, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair sent Nato to bomb Serbia, because, they lied, the Serbs were committing “genocide” against ethnic Albanians in the secessionist province of Kosovo. David Scheffer, US ambassador-at-large for war crimes [sic], claimed that as many as “225,000 ethnic Albanian men aged between 14 and 59″ might have been murdered. Both Clinton and Blair evoked the Holocaust and “the spirit of the Second World War”. The West’s heroic allies were the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), whose criminal record was set aside. The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, told them to call him any time on his mobile phone.
With the Nato bombing over, and much of Serbia’s infrastructure in ruins, along with schools, hospitals, monasteries and the national TV station, international forensic teams descended upon Kosovo to exhume evidence of the “holocaust”. The FBI failed to find a single mass grave and went home. The Spanish forensic team did the same, its leader angrily denouncing “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machines”. A year later, a United Nations tribunal on Yugoslavia announced the final count of the dead in Kosovo: 2,788. This included combatants on both sides and Serbs and Roma murdered by the KLA. There was no genocide. The “holocaust” was a lie. The Nato attack had been fraudulent.
Behind the lie, there was serious purpose. Yugoslavia was a uniquely independent, multi-ethnic federation that had stood as a political and economic bridge in the Cold War. Most of its utilities and major manufacturing was publicly owned. This was not acceptable to the expanding European Community, especially newly united Germany, which had begun a drive east to capture its “natural market” in the Yugoslav provinces of Croatia and Slovenia. By the time the Europeans met at Maastricht in 1991 to lay their plans for the disastrous eurozone, a secret deal had been struck; Germany would recognise Croatia. Yugoslavia was doomed.
In Washington, the US saw that the struggling Yugoslav economy was denied World Bank loans. Nato, then an almost defunct Cold War relic, was reinvented as imperial enforcer. At a 1999 Kosovo “peace” conference in Rambouillet, in France, the Serbs were subjected to the enforcer’s duplicitous tactics. The Rambouillet accord included a secret Annex B, which the US delegation inserted on the last day. This demanded the military occupation of the whole of Yugoslavia — a country with bitter memories of the Nazi occupation — and the implementation of a “free-market economy” and the privatisation of all government assets. No sovereign state could sign this. Punishment followed swiftly; Nato bombs fell on a defenceless country. It was the precursor to the catastrophes in Afghanistan and Iraq, Syria and Libya, and Ukraine.
Since 1945, more than a third of the membership of the United Nations – 69 countries – have suffered some or all of the following at the hands of America’s modern fascism. They have been invaded, their governments overthrown, their popular movements suppressed, their elections subverted, their people bombed and their economies stripped of all protection, their societies subjected to a crippling siege known as “sanctions”. The British historian Mark Curtis estimates the death toll in the millions. In every case, a big lie was deployed.
“Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.” These were opening words of Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address. In fact, some 10,000 troops and 20,000 military contractors (mercenaries) remain in Afghanistan on indefinite assignment. “The longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion,” said Obama. In fact, more civilians were killed in Afghanistan in 2014 than in any year since the UN took records. The majority have been killed — civilians and soldiers — during Obama’s time as president.
The tragedy of Afghanistan rivals the epic crime in Indochina. In his lauded and much quoted book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of US policies from Afghanistan to the present day, writes that if America is to control Eurasia and dominate the world, it cannot sustain a popular democracy, because “the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion . . . Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilisation.” He is right. As WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden have revealed, a surveillance and police state is usurping democracy. In 1976, Brzezinski, then President Carter’s National Security Advisor, demonstrated his point by dealing a death blow to Afghanistan’s first and only democracy. Who knows this vital history?
In the 1960s, a popular revolution swept Afghanistan, the poorest country on earth, eventually overthrowing the vestiges of the aristocratic regime in 1978. The People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) formed a government and declared a reform programme that included the abolition of feudalism, freedom for all religions, equal rights for women and social justice for the ethnic minorities. More than 13,000 political prisoners were freed and police files publicly burned.
The new government introduced free medical care for the poorest; peonage was abolished, a mass literacy programme was launched. For women, the gains were unheard of. By the late 1980s, half the university students were women, and women made up almost half of Afghanistan’s doctors, a third of civil servants and the majority of teachers. “Every girl,” recalled Saira Noorani, a female surgeon,
“could go to high school and university. We could go where we wanted and wear what we liked. We used to go to cafes and the cinema to see the latest Indian film on a Friday and listen to the latest music. It all started to go wrong when the mujaheddin started winning. They used to kill teachers and burn schools. We were terrified. It was funny and sad to think these were the people the West supported.”
The PDPA government was backed by the Soviet Union, even though, as former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance later admitted, “there was no evidence of any Soviet complicity [in the revolution]“. Alarmed by the growing confidence of liberation movements throughout the world, Brzezinski decided that if Afghanistan was to succeed under the PDPA, its independence and progress would offer the “threat of a promising example”.
On July 3, 1979, the White House secretly authorised $500 million in arms and logistics to support tribal “fundamentalist” groups known as the mujaheddin. The aim was the overthrow of Afghanistan’s first secular, reformist government. In August 1979, the US embassy in Kabul reported that “the United States’ larger interests … would be served by the demise of [the PDPA government], despite whatever setbacks this might mean for future social and economic reforms in Afghanistan.” The italics are mine.
The mujaheddin were the forebears of al-Qaeda and Islamic State. They included Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who received tens of millions of dollars in cash from the CIA. Hekmatyar’s specialty was trafficking in opium and throwing acid in the faces of women who refused to wear the veil. Invited to London, he was lauded by Prime Minister Thatcher as a “freedom fighter”.
Such fanatics might have remained in their tribal world had Brzezinski not launched an international movement to promote Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and so undermine secular political liberation and “destabilise” the Soviet Union, creating, as he wrote in his autobiography, “a few stirred up Muslims”. His grand plan coincided with the ambitions of the Pakistani dictator, General Zia ul-Haq, to dominate the region. In 1986, the CIA and Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI, began to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad. The Saudi multi-millionaire Osama bin Laden was one of them. Operatives who would eventually join the Taliban and al-Qaeda, were recruited at an Islamic college in Brooklyn, New York, and given paramilitary training at a CIA camp in Virginia. This was called “Operation Cyclone”. Its success was celebrated in 1996 when the last PDPA president of Afghanistan, Mohammed Najibullah — who had gone before the UN General Assembly to plead for help — was hanged from a streetlight by the Taliban.
The “blowback” of Operation Cyclone and its “few stirred up Muslims” was September 11, 2001. Operation Cyclone became the “war on terror”, in which countless men, women and children would lose their lives across the Muslim world, from Afghanistan to Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. The enforcer’s message was and remains: “You are with us or against us.”
The common thread in fascism, past and present, is mass murder. The American invasion of Vietnam had its “free fire zones”, “body counts” and “collatoral damage”. In the province of Quang Ngai, where I reported from, many thousands of civilians (“gooks”) were murdered by the US; yet only one massacre, at My Lai, is remembered. In Laos and Cambodia, the greatest aerial bombardment in history produced an epoch of terror marked today by the spectacle of joined-up bomb craters which, from the air, resemble monstrous necklaces. The bombing gave Cambodia its own ISIS, led by Pol Pot.
Today, the world’s greatest single campaign of terror entails the execution of entire families, guests at weddings, mourners at funerals. These are Obama’s victims. According to the New York Times, Obama makes his selection from a CIA “kill list” presented to him every Tuesday in the White House Situation Room. He then decides, without a shred of legal justification, who will live and who will die. His execution weapon is the Hellfire missile carried by a pilotless aircraft known as a drone; these roast their victims and festoon the area with their remains. Each “hit” is registered on a faraway console screen as a “bugsplat”.
“For goose-steppers,” wrote the historian Norman Pollock, “substitute the seemingly more innocuous militarisation of the total culture. And for the bombastic leader, we have the reformer manque, blithely at work, planning and executing assassination, smiling all the while.”
Uniting fascism old and new is the cult of superiority. “I believe in American exceptionalism with every fibre of my being,” said Obama, evoking declarations of national fetishism from the 1930s. As the historian Alfred W. McCoy has pointed out, it was the Hitler devotee, Carl Schmitt, who said, “The sovereign is he who decides the exception.” This sums up Americanism, the world’s dominant ideology. That it remains unrecognised as a predatory ideology is the achievement of an equally unrecognised brainwashing. Insidious, undeclared, presented wittily as enlightenment on the march, its conceit insinuates western culture. I grew up on a cinematic diet of American glory, almost all of it a distortion. I had no idea that it was the Red Army that had destroyed most of the Nazi war machine, at a cost of as many as 13 million soldiers. By contrast, US losses, including in the Pacific, were 400,000. Hollywood reversed this.
The difference now is that cinema audiences are invited to wring their hands at the “tragedy” of American psychopaths having to kill people in distant places — just as the President himself kills them. The embodiment of Hollywood’s violence, the actor and director Clint Eastwood, was nominated for an Oscar this year for his movie, American Sniper, which is about a licensed murderer and nutcase. The New York Times described it as a “patriotic, pro-family picture which broke all attendance records in its opening days”.
There are no heroic movies about America’s embrace of fascism. During the Second World War, America (and Britain) went to war against Greeks who had fought heroically against Nazism and were resisting the rise of Greek fascism. In 1967, the CIA helped bring to power a fascist military junta in Athens — as it did in Brazil and most of Latin America. Germans and east Europeans who had colluded with Nazi aggression and crimes against humanity were given safe haven in the US; many were pampered and their talents rewarded. Wernher von Braun was the “father” of both the Nazi V-2 terror bomb and the US space programme.
In the 1990s, as former Soviet republics, eastern Europe and the Balkans became military outposts of Nato, the heirs to a Nazi movement in Ukraine were given their opportunity. Responsible for the deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles and Russians during the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian fascism was rehabilitated and its “new wave” hailed by the enforcer as “nationalists”.
This reached its apogee in 2014 when the Obama administration splashed out $5 billion on a coup against the elected government. The shock troops were neo-Nazis known as the Right Sector and Svoboda. Their leaders include Oleh Tyahnybok, who has called for a purge of the “Moscow-Jewish mafia” and “other scum”, including gays, feminists and those on the political left.
These fascists are now integrated into the Kiev coup government. The first deputy speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Andriy Parubiy, a leader of the governing party, is co-founder of Svoboda. On February 14, Parubiy announced he was flying to Washington get “the USA to give us highly precise modern weaponry”. If he succeeds, it will be seen as an act of war by Russia.
No western leader has spoken up about the revival of fascism in the heart of Europe — with the exception of Vladimir Putin, whose people lost 22 million to a Nazi invasion that came through the borderland of Ukraine. At the recent Munich Security Conference, Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Victoria Nuland, ranted abuse about European leaders for opposing the US arming of the Kiev regime. She referred to the German Defence Minister as “the minister for defeatism”. It was Nuland who masterminded the coup in Kiev . The wife of Robert D. Kagan, a leading “neo-con” luminary and co-founder of the extreme right wing Project for a New American Century, she was foreign policy advisor to Dick Cheney.
Nuland’s coup did not go to plan. Nato was prevented from seizing Russia’s historic, legitimate, warm-water naval base in Crimea. The mostly Russian population of Crimea — illegally annexed to Ukraine by Nikita Krushchev in 1954 — voted overwhelmingly to return to Russia, as they had done in the 1990s. The referendum was voluntary, popular and internationally observed. There was no invasion.
At the same time, the Kiev regime turned on the ethnic Russian population in the east with the ferocity of ethnic cleaning. Deploying neo-Nazi militias in the manner of the Waffen-SS, they bombed and laid to siege cities and towns. They used mass starvation as a weapon, cutting off electricity, freezing bank accounts, stopping social security and pensions. More than a million refugees fled across the border into Russia. In the western media, they became unpeople escaping “the violence” caused by the “Russian invasion”. The Nato commander, General Breedlove — whose name and actions might have been inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove — announced that 40,000 Russian troops were “massing”. In the age of forensic satellite evidence, he offered none.
These Russian-speaking and bilingual people of Ukraine – a third of the population – have long sought a federation that reflects the country’s ethnic diversity and is both autonomous and independent of Moscow. Most are not “separatists” but citizens who want to live securely in their homeland and oppose the power grab in Kiev. Their revolt and establishment of autonomous “states” are a reaction to Kiev’s attacks on them. Little of this has been explained to western audiences.
On May 2, 2014, in Odessa, 41 ethnic Russians were burned alive in the trade union headquarters with police standing by. The Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh hailed the massacre as “another bright day in our national history”. In the American and British media, this was reported as a “murky tragedy” resulting from “clashes” between “nationalists” (neo-Nazis) and “separatists” (people collecting signatures for a referendum on a federal Ukraine).
The New York Times buried the story, having dismissed as Russian propaganda warnings about the fascist and anti-Semitic policies of Washington’s new clients. The Wall Street Journal damned the victims – “Deadly Ukraine Fire Likely Sparked by Rebels, Government Says”. Obama congratulated the junta for its “restraint”.
If Putin can be provoked into coming to their aid, his pre-ordained “pariah” role in the West will justify the lie that Russia is invading Ukraine. On January 29, Ukraine’s top military commander, General Viktor Muzhemko, almost inadvertently dismissed the very basis for US and EU sanctions on Russia when he told a news conference emphatically: “The Ukrainian army is not fighting with the regular units of the Russian Army”. There were “individual citizens” who were members of “illegal armed groups”, but there was no Russian invasion. This was not news. Vadym Prystaiko, Kiev’s Deputy Foreign Minister, has called for “full scale war” with nuclear-armed Russia.
On February 21, US Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, introduced a bill that would authorise American arms for the Kiev regime. In his Senate presentation, Inhofe used photographs he claimed were of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine, which have long been exposed as fakes. It was reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s fake pictures of a Soviet installation in Nicaragua, and Colin Powell’s fake evidence to the UN of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
The intensity of the smear campaign against Russia and the portrayal of its president as a pantomime villain is unlike anything I have known as a reporter. Robert Parry, one of America’s most distinguished investigative journalists, who revealed the Iran-Contra scandal, wrote recently,
“No European government, since Adolf Hitler’s Germany, has seen fit to dispatch Nazi storm troopers to wage war on a domestic population, but the Kiev regime has and has done so knowingly. Yet across the West’s media/political spectrum, there has been a studious effort to cover up this reality even to the point of ignoring facts that have been well established ….If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three – much as it did into world war one a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness over Ukraine that has proved impervious to facts or reason.”
In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media:
“The use made by Nazi conspirators of psychological warfare is well known. Before each major aggression, with some few exceptions based on expediency, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack …. In the propaganda system of the Hitler State it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.”
In the Guardian on February 2, Timothy Garton-Ash called, in effect, for a world war. “Putin must be stopped,” said the headline. “And sometimes only guns can stop guns.” He conceded that the threat of war might “nourish a Russian paranoia of encirclement”; but that was fine. He name-checked the military equipment needed for the job and advised his readers that “America has the best kit”.
In 2003, Garton-Ash, an Oxford professor, repeated the propaganda that led to the slaughter in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, he wrote, “has, as [Colin] Powell documented, stockpiled large quantities of horrifying chemical and biological weapons, and is hiding what remains of them. He is still trying to get nuclear ones.” He lauded Blair as a “Gladstonian, Christian liberal interventionist”. In 2006, he wrote, “Now we face the next big test of the West after Iraq: Iran.”
The outbursts — or as Garton-Ash prefers, his “tortured liberal ambivalence” — are not untypical of those in the transatlantic liberal elite who have struck a Faustian deal. The war criminal Blair is their lost leader. The Guardian, in which Garton-Ash’s piece appeared, published a full-page advertisement for an American Stealth bomber. On a menacing image of the Lockheed Martin monster were the words: “The F-35. GREAT For Britain”. This American “kit” will cost British taxpayers £1.3 billion, its F-model predecessors having slaughtered across the world. In tune with its advertiser, a Guardian editorial has demanded an increase in military spending.
Once again, there is serious purpose. The rulers of the world want Ukraine not only as a missile base; they want its economy. Kiev’s new Finance Minister, Nataliwe Jaresko, is a former senior US State Department official in charge of US overseas “investment”. She was hurriedly given Ukrainian citizenship.
They want Ukraine for its abundant gas; Vice President Joe Biden’s son is on the board of Ukraine’s biggest oil, gas and fracking company. The manufacturers of GM seeds, companies such as the infamous Monsanto, want Ukraine’s rich farming soil.
Above all, they want Ukraine’s mighty neighbour, Russia. They want to Balkanise or dismember Russia and exploit the greatest source of natural gas on earth. As the Arctic ice melts, they want control of the Arctic Ocean and its energy riches, and Russia’s long Arctic land border. Their man in Moscow used to be Boris Yeltsin, a drunk, who handed his country’s economy to the West. His successor, Putin, has re-established Russia as a sovereign nation; that is his crime.
The responsibility of the rest of us is clear. It is to identify and expose the reckless lies of warmongers and never to collude with them. It is to re-awaken the great popular movements that brought a fragile civilisation to modern imperial states. Most important, it is to prevent the conquest of ourselves: our minds, our humanity, our self respect. If we remain silent, victory over us is assured, and a holocaust beckons.
The data supports Putin’s assertion that the shoot-down was prepared in advance due to Russian bombing of Turkey-linked rebels in Syria.
The United States and its NATO allies offered a ritual of NATO unity after Turkish officials presented their case that the shoot-down of a Russian jet occurred after two planes had penetrated Turkish airspace.
The Turkish representative reportedly played a recording of a series warning the Turkish F16 pilots had issued to the Russian jets without a Russian response, and US and other NATO member states endorsed Turkey’s right to defend its airspace.
US Defense Department spokesman Colonel Steve Warren supported the Turkish claim that 10 warnings had been issued over a period of five minutes. The Obama administration apparently expressed less concern about whether Russian planes had actually crossed into Turkish airspace. Col Warren admitted that US officials have still yet to establish where the Russian aircraft was located when a Turkish missile hit the plane.
Although the Obama administration is not about to admit it, the data already available supports the Russian assertion that the Turkish shoot-down was, as Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted, an “ambush” that had been carefully prepared in advance.
The central Turkish claim that its F-16 pilots had warned the two Russian aircraft 10 times during a period of five minutes actually is the primary clue that Turkey was not telling the truth about the shoot-down.
Close analysis of both the Turkish and Russian images of the radar path of the Russian jets indicates that the earliest point at which either of the Russian planes was on a path that might have been interpreted as taking it into Turkish airspace was roughly 16 miles from the Turkish border – meaning that it was only a minute and 20 seconds away from the border.
Furthermore according to both versions of the flight path, five minutes before the shoot-down the Russian planes would have been flying eastward – away from the Turkish border.
If the Turkish pilots actually began warning the Russian jets five minutes before the shoot-down, therefore, they were doing so long before the planes were even headed in the general direction of the small projection of the Turkish border in Northern Latakia province.
In order to carry out the strike, in fact, the Turkish pilots would have had to be in the air already and prepared to strike as soon as they knew the Russian aircraft were airborne.
The evidence from the Turkish authorities themselves thus leaves little room for doubt that the decision to shoot down the Russian jet was made before the Russian jets even began their flight.
The motive for the strike was directly related to the Turkish role in supporting the anti-Assad forces in the vicinity of the border. In fact the Erdogan government made no effort to hide its aim in the days before the strike. In a meeting with the Russian ambassador on 20 November, the foreign minister accused the Russians of “intensive bombing” of “civilian Turkmen villages” and said there might be “serious consequences” unless the Russians ended their operations immediately.
Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was even more explicit, declaring that Turkish security forces “have been instructed to retaliate against any development that would threaten Turkey’s border security”. Davutoglu further said: “If there is an attack that would lead to an intense influx of refugees to Turkey, required measures would be taken both inside Syria and Turkey.”
The Turkish threat to retaliate – not against Russian penetration of its airspace but in response to very broadly defined circumstances on the border – came amid the latest in a series of battles between the Syrian government and religious fighters. The area where the plane was shot down is populated by the Turkmen minority. They have been far less important than foreign fighters and other forces who have carried out a series of offensives in the area since mid-2013 aimed at threatening President Assad’s main Alawite redoubt on the coast in Latakia province.
Charles Lister, the British specialist who was visiting Latakia province frequently in 2013, noted in an August 2013 interview, “Latakia, right up to the very northern tip [i.e. in the Turkmen Mountain area], has been a stronghold for foreign fighter-based groups for almost a year now.” He also observed that, after Islamic State (IS) had emerged in the north, al-Nusra Front and its allies in the area had “reached out” to ISIL and that one of the groups fighting in Latakia had “become a front group” for ISIL.
In March 2014 the religious rebels launched a major offensive with heavy Turkish logistical support to capture the Armenian town of Kessab on the Mediterranean coast of Latakia very close to the Turkish border. An Istanbul newspaper, Bagcilar, quoted a member of the Turkish parliament’s foreign affairs committee as reporting testimony from villagers living near the border that thousands of fighters had streamed across five different border points in cars with Syrian plates to participate in the offensive.
During that offensive, moreover, a Syrian jet responding to the offensive against Kessab was shot down by the Turkish air force in a remarkable parallel to the downing of the Russian jet. Turkey claimed that the jet had violated its airspace but made no pretence about having given any prior warning. The purpose of trying to deter Syria from using its airpower in defence of the town was obvious.
Now the battle in Latakia province has shifted to the Bayirbucak area, where the Syrian air force and ground forces have been trying to cut the supply lines between villages controlled by Nusra Front and its allies and the Turkish border for several months. The key village in the Nusra Front area of control is Salma, which has been in jihadist hands ever since 2012. The intervention of the Russian Air Force in the battle has given a new advantage to the Syrian army.
The Turkish shoot-down was thus in essence an effort to dissuade the Russians from continuing their operations in the area against al-Nusra Front and its allies, using not one but two distinct pretexts: on one hand a very dubious charge of a Russian border penetration for NATO allies, and on the other, a charge of bombing Turkmen civilians for the Turkish domestic audience.
The Obama administration’s reluctance to address the specific issue of where the plane was shot down indicates that it is well aware of that fact. But the administration is far too committed to its policy of working with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to force regime change to reveal the truth about the incident.
Obama’s response to the shoot-down blandly blamed the problem on the Russian military being in part of Syria. “They are operating very close to a Turkish border,” he declared, and if the Russians would only focus solely on Daesh, “some of these conflicts or potentials for mistakes or escalation are less likely to occur.”
Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of the newly published Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.
Photo: Turkey shot down a Russian military jet near the Turkish/Syrian border (AA)
No one will give me credit for this, so I will claim it for myself. I wrote many columns about the Russian government’s insouciant toleration of Washington’s Fifth Columns operating against them. And some of these Fifth Columns are still present in the Russian media and in the neoliberal central bank.
One day, perhaps, the Russian government will come to its full senses.
For the past few weeks the world has been and still is focussing all attention on Syria, the NATO-Turkey downing of a Russian SU-24 fighter jet, the bombing of a Russian airliner over Sinai (224 dead), the alleged ISIS-Daesh Paris massacre (132), the Islamic terror attack on the Bamako (Mali) Radisson Blu hotel (27) – plus the endless fear mongering of more terror in Brussels, Berlin, Rome, Paris, Copenhagen — you name it. The mainstream media is in over-drive. And the neoliberal European (non)-Union uses the shock doctrine to cut civil rights and install police states with ‘temporary’ Martial laws – mind you, they are basically asked for by the populace – for their protection, they are made believe.
Absorbed by their own fate and fear, Europeans have hardly eyes to see beyond their Continent, their sphere of self-interest. The neoliberal coup d’état in Argentina happened almost unnoticed. Never mind that it is just about bringing some 42.5 million people (2015 pop. estimate) under Washington’s rule.
Argentina’s general election 2015 ended on Sunday 22 November in a run-off – the first in Argentina’s history – between Daniel Scioli, the incumbent Governor of Buenos Aires Province, a Kirchnerite from the ruling Front for Victory Party (FPV – Frente para la Victoria), and Mauricio Macri, a neoliberal multi-billionaire and Mayor of Buenos Aires from the right-wing Cambiemos party. Against all odds, Macri won with 51.4% against Scioli’s 48.6% – a margin of 2.8%. A margin small enough no to raise many questions of fraud.
And here are the odds: Two days before the 25 October ballot The Guardian polls predicted an 8.5% lead for Scioli (38.41%) vs. Macri (30.07%). Nevertheless, the 25 October real election results reduced Scioli’s lead to a mere 2.4% (36.8% vs. 34.4%).
At the end of July, three months before the first election run, Scioli was leading with a 13.6% margin (38.8% vs. 25.2%). The outcome of the 9 August Primaries left Scioli still with a more than 12 point lead (36.8% vs 24.7%).
There is definitely something fishy with a deterioration of a candidate’s lead so crass as to convert an almost 14 point lead into a 3 point loss in 4 months, a 17% percent difference. This is not a typical pattern of error for pollsters, nor an indication for a public opinion change, a public that has benefitted from their government to the extent Argentinians did within the last 15 years, since the economic collapse in 2001: An average annual growth of between 6% and 8%, a highly distributive economic development, helping reducing poverty from 65% in 2002 to less than 10% in early 2015 and with a massive increase in countrywide free education and health services, including in rural areas; not to mention the elimination of foreign debt.
A simple question of logic: Would a people of which 80% to 90% have massively benefitted from the ruling government policies vote with more than 50% against the continuation of such policies – and instead for a neoliberal politician, who promised to turn the clock back? Hardly. Unless they have been subjected to a massive media brainwashing and slander campaign, vote buying and other democracy-destroying measures, through foreign induced destabilization.
We know about the NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and other US based think tanks (sic), receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from the State Department to train and fund “NGOs” throughout the world, to infiltrate in counties’ internal affairs, where Washington wants to achieve soft regime change, as opposed to hard-core regime change – which involves the US military, proxy-armies, mercenaries and – of course – the ever present NATO. – So far the election fraud worked in Argentina without bloodshed.
Such destabilization movements, soft and less soft, abound around the globe during the last 20 years, coinciding with the ever stronger onset of the all controlling globalized neoliberal doctrine. Suffice it to mention the invented Arab Spring , the Color Revolutions of Central Asia and the former Soviet Republics. If propaganda alone doesn’t do the trick, the Washington imposed changes are being helped with false flags, inducing armed conflicts and ‘civil wars’. Recent cases in point are the Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, to name just a few.
Argentina’s Constitution does not allow for more than two consecutive presidential terms. Before the mid-term elections in 2013, the ruling FPV hoped for a two third majority to be able to amend the Constitution allowing unlimited re-elections. Due to strong resistance from the opposition parties, the FPV did not win the necessary supermajority.
The president is elected with a modified two-stage system, whereby a candidate wins when he / she receives at least 45% in the first run, or 40% with a margin of at least 10% to the runner-up. A run-off election, like the one on 22 November 2015, has never happened before in Argentina’s history.
With a lead of more almost 14 points by Scioli over Macri, the right-wing Cambiemos candidate, it was absolutely necessary for the Macri camp to reduce the lead difference by the first round of balloting to less than 10% to provoke a run-off, allowing more time to manipulate voter opinion and committing more election fraud. Despite the polls indicating an 8.5% lead for Scioli two days before the 25 October first election run, the actual election count resulted in Scioli winning with only 2.4%. Again, this is an unusual margin of error that should have attracted the attention of the election organizers and supervisors.
In 2011 Wikileaks revealed that Mauricio Macri asked the US Embassy in Buenos Aires to launch a strong anti-Kirchner campaign, slandering her and her political alliances, thereby massively discrediting Cristina Kirchner’s Presidency. It did not work for Macri in 2011, as Cristina Kirchner was re-elected. But the Washington-driven anti-Kirchner and anti-FPV campaign expanded massively until this past election. And it paid off.
The international investigative journalist, Estela Calloni, who followed the elections closely, concluded that there was not only massive manipulation with lies and defamation by an important media elite, but a brutal campaign against the Kirchner legacy – ‘putting the future of Argentina at risk.’ She went on saying that ‘our societies are being hammered by information coming from the United States and that they are worse than disinformation.’ She warned that Argentina should stay alert not to lose any of the progressive achievements made in the past 15 years.
Who is Mauricio Macri? – He was born in 1959 into a family of owners of the country’s most important industrial and economic groups. In 1975, the Macri family possessed 7 enterprises; at the end of the military dictatorship the Macri fleet of companies had grown to 46. The Macri family benefitted greatly from business relations with the totalitarian military government of Videla. In connivance with US banks, they built up false debt which later had to be assumed by the Argentine government.
Nevertheless, the new President-elect in one of his recent observations has insisted that the Kirchner Government reopen negotiations with the IMF and pay the infamous vulture funds in full.
As Mayor of the City of Buenos Aires, Macri leaves behind a highly questionable legacy; mismanagement of public funds, huge budget overruns and never ending public works. He has also allegedly diverted public funds into his political campaigns and accepted contributions from prostitution rings.
Mr. Macri is known as an extreme conservative, right-wing politician following neoliberal policies, who will most likely turn the wheel of progress of the Kirchner Administration back by seeking reduction of public expenditures to the detriment of labor, privatization of public services and ending fiscal policies aiming at redistribution of wealth.
As to Mr. Macri’s views on human rights, it can best be described by his observation in 2014, “Conmigo se termina el curro de los derechos humanos” – “with me the chants of ‘human rights’ will end;” – meaning that protests against his government will be repressed.
South America had proudly achieved over the past 20 years a degree of independence from its Washington masters, no other western region has reached – least the vassal states of Europe. With this neoliberal, largely unnoticed coup d’état in Argentina, the Subcontinent of South America, is, indeed, gradually turning into what President Obama calls his ‘backyard’. In the Center-North are Peru and Colombia, neoliberal strongholds of the US; and now the Southern Cone is gone.
All the while the Great Dictator and its paid foreign minions are diligently working at discrediting the Governments of Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela, and of Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil; the former with infiltrated and local mercenaries spreading unrest and violence; the latter with defamation of corruption linked to the oil giant Petrobras, all manufactured via henchmen and associated banks in Florida and New York. Corruption is always an easy accusation – difficult to prove, yet very effective with the common people – in discrediting their government. An accusation coming from the most corrupt, criminal rogue state of this globe – the United States of America.
Long term solutions to the crisis lies in building healthcare and educational infrastructures
Regional and international health officials are emphasizing that the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) crisis is not over with the appearance of three new cases in Liberia, one of the hardest hit West African states during 2014-2015, when over 11,000 people died from one of the most virulent forms of Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (VHF).
Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone were the most severely impacted states in the EVD outbreak which came to the broad knowledge of the international community during the early months of 2014. All three states have experienced internal conflict and unrest over the last three decades.
Nathan Gboetoe, who was 15-years-old, was taken by his father to the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in the Liberian capital of Monrovia on November 18. He was bleeding from his mouth but did not have a fever.
He was taken to the trauma ward and tested for EVD. Two days later the results returned as positive.
However, the delay in diagnosis and medical treatment led to Gboetoe’s death on November 20 shattering the notion that the country had finally eradicated the dreaded epidemic. Many are now asking: how could such a situation take place in light of the experiences of 2014-2015, when the largest outbreak of EVD had a profound impact on Liberia, a country with strong historic ties to the United States?
A recent article posted on the Foreign Policy website written by Claire MacDougall stated that “Gbotoe should have been fully checked by a triage at the entrance at the hospital where health workers screen for patients who may have Ebola and need to be isolated. The doctors and nurses who handled his case didn’t wear the correct equipment for treating possible Ebola cases that protects against the highly infectious virus.” (Nov. 26)
Nonetheless, others have disputed this claim of possible negligence with one being Dr. Francis Kateh, the chief medical officer and acting director of the Incidence Management System that monitors Ebola cases. Dr. Kateh emphatically denied there had been a violation of protocol.
“No one would walk around with full [personal protective equipment] in this climate,” he told Foreign Policy in a phone interview. Kateh contends that after the lag in the response, the mechanism for addressing an outbreak began.
All of the nine healthcare workers who interacted with Gbotoe have since been quarantined.
Approximately 150 people who came into contact with Gbotoe were identified, including patients and medical personnel, Kateh reported.
Guinea Discharges Last Known Case
In neighboring Guinea, which is a former French colony, the healthcare resources available to people are reported to be more limited than in Liberia. The first cases of EVD were identified there during late 2013.
On November 28, a one-month-old baby girl, who was Guinea’s last reported EVD case, left the hospital. The medical staff was delighted after experiencing one the most challenging periods in the modern history of the country which gained its independence in defiance of French imperialism in 1958.
It will take another six weeks absent of any new cases for the state to be considered “Ebola free.” The baby, named Nubia — perhaps the first infant to survive after being born to an infected mother, represented the hope of finally eradicating the outbreak inside the country.
Laurence Sailly, who directs the humanitarian Medecins Sans Frontieres’(MSF) emergency team in Guinea, told Reuters news agency that “this is a very happy day for us. It was very moving for us and the family to be able to touch her without gloves.” (Nov. 28)
Sailly believes that Nubia was able to overcome the disease due to experimental drugs as well intensive treatment provided by twenty healthcare workers. Nubia received Mapp Biopharmaceutical’s Ebola drug ZMapp in addition to an experimental anti-viral medication called GS-5734, which is being developed by the U.S. bio-pharmaceutical firm Gilead Sciences.
During the course of treatment, Nubia was connected to a monitoring system allowing physicians and nurses to track the infant’s breathing and heart rate making sure that procedures were utilized to prevent further infections. Periodically the medical staff had to enter the treatment area to change diapers and perform bottle-feeding. Sailly said that Nubia “is a symbol of what we are capable of doing at this stage of the epidemic.”
Worse Outbreak in Nearly 40 Year History
The 2014-2015 epidemic was the largest outbreak of EVD since it was first observed in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The recent case in Liberia underscores the importance of robust surveillance measures to ensure the rapid detection of any reintroduction or re-emergence of the disease in unaffected areas.
Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have each put surveillance systems in place to enable health workers and members of the public to report any cases of EVD and deaths from the illness.
Several other states in the West Africa region have not been impacted by the EVD outbreak or swiftly eradicated a limited number of cases which appeared in their countries. In Nigeria, Senegal and Mali, a small outbreak was immediately contained resulting in only few deaths.
The World Health Organization (WHO), an United Nations affiliated agency, came under severe criticism during 2014 for not taking decisive action during the first several weeks and months of the outbreak, has said that Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are not capable on their own to handle continuing cases.
“The response to Ebola – the national leadership, community engagement, so many people working so hard for such a long period of time with such dedication – if that can be translated into efforts beyond Ebola, then actually all there countries have a bright future ahead of them,” Peter Graaff, the UN Regional Inter-Agency Coordinator on Ebola, told the UN News Center. (Nov. 27)
This may be true in the short term but Africa cannot continue to rely on outside institutions and states to adequately monitor, prevent and treat EVD and a host of other infectious ailments. Internal structures must be developed and enhanced to bring about a healthy and productive life for the majority of citizens and residents.
In reaching this objective stronger emphasis must be placed on developing national and regional healthcare systems along with advanced educational and communication networks to eradicate the underlying causes for the outbreaks. The role of Cuba in providing assistance during the peak of the EVD outbreak provides an example of how underdeveloped post-colonial states can reverse the legacy of imperialist exploitation and alienation.
Cuba after the 1959 Revolution had to break with capitalist relations of production and move towards self-sufficiency. As a result of its relatively rapid development as a socialist state, Cuba is a beacon for international solidarity particularly towards the African continent.
Assistance provided by Cuba to Africa is viewed as a continuation of a decades-long process of reconnection with its ancestral and cultural roots as well as working towards a world where the value of human beings supersede the drive for profits and political domination. Cuba’s contribution to the international response to the largest EVD outbreak was even recognized by the U.S. through its corporate media.
African Union member-states have praised the response of the Cuban government to the EVD outbreak of 2014-2015. AU Commission Chair Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, visited Cuba recently to express gratitude and to discuss ongoing collaborative projects between the continent and the revolutionary Caribbean island-nation.
Russia is ready to coordinate practical steps to block the Turkish-Syrian border in cooperation with Damascus, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday after talks with his Syrian counterpart. Lavrov recalled that French President Francois Hollande earlier voiced same proposal. If Russia, Syria, France block the border, many terrorists groups in Syria, such as ISIS and al Nusra, will be cut from the supplies through Turkey.
On Saturday, the Syrian army spokesman, Brigadier General Ali Mayhoub, said, the Turkey military fired a number of mortar shells toward Syrian army positions from the Mount Jebel Aqra area, which is on the Turkish side. Apparently, it isn’t an act of support of the idea to block the border. According to Damascus Turkey has also increased weapon, ammunition and equipment shipments into Syria in exchange for oil and antiquities looted by ISIS.
The Syrian army and the National Defense Forces (NDF) and Hezbollah seized back the areas of al-Markashileh and Jab al-Ahmar in the Northern parts of Lattakia province on Saturday. The Syrian forces pushed back the militant groups and restored full security to al-Rahmalia and al-Khidr hills.
According to the field reportrs, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the NDF and Hezbollah backed up by the Russian Air Force launched an advance to capture the strategic town of Quayratayn form the ISIS in the Homs province on Saturday. Now, the pro-government forces took control of the villages of Muntar Armilah and Thaniyah and advancing on Quayratayn.
A number of pro-Syrian media outlets said Russia has vowed continued fight against terrorists in Syria using its warships. Moscow will reportedly launch massive operations codenamed ‘Total Destruction’ against the terrorists using 69 Sukhoi fighter jets, Tupolev 160 bombers, submarines and warships deployed in the Mediterranean Sea. The Russian grouping will be supported by S-400 missile defense systems in deployed Syria and the Moskva guided missile cruiser outfitted with S-300F Fort anti-air systems at the coast of Latakia.
Both the American and Turkish air forces halted their strikes on Syrian territory around the time Russia deployed S-400 air defense complexes at the Khmeimim airbase, from which it stages its own incursions against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
A spokesperson of the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) told Sputnik on Friday that the absence of anti-IS coalition airstrikes “has nothing to do with the S400 deployment” in Syria.
“The fluctuation or absence of strikes in Syria reflects the ebb and flow of battle,” the spokesperson said, adding that CJTF-OIR deliver airstrikes when and where it needs to, dedicating a lot of time to researching targets to ensure maximum effect and minimizing civilian casualties.
As CJTF-OIR reported on Friday, the US-led coalition had made no sorties against targets in Syria bsince Thursday, while airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq continued, with the coalition making 18 strikes on terrorist positions.
On November 24, a Turkish F-16 fighter jet shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber, which had been bombing IS positions. Moscow says the bomber was in Syrian airspace which the F-16 violated, while Turkey claims the Russian jet crossed the Turkish border and was repeatedly warned before the attack.
Both the pilot and the navigator of the Su-24 ejected. The pilot was killed by a militant group while parachuting to the ground, while the rescue operation for the Russian navigator was successful to a certain extent: a Marine died providing covering fire in the rescue team drop zone and a helicopter was lost after it was hit with an American-made anti-tank TOW missile the terrorists are armed with.
After the incident, Russia’s Joint Staff took the decision to enhance air defenses at the Khmeimim airbase south of the Syrian port of Latakia.
The following day, on November 25, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced the immediate deployment of S-400 misslies to Syria.
S-400 Triumph system missile launchers were airlifted to Syria by Antonov An-124 Ruslan super-jumbo aircraft 24 hours after the decision was announced on Wednesday.
According to open sources, the S-400 is capable of shooting down any existing aircraft, helicopter or missile traveling at speeds of up to 4.8 kilometer per second (over 17,000 km/h) The only target the system would have problems with is a nuclear warhead of intercontinental ballistic missile, which flies at speeds of up to 6-7 kilometer per second.
The S-400 engages targets at distances as far as 400 kilometers and heights of up to 27 kilometers (or higher with newer missiles). This is enough to cover at least 75 percent of Syrian territory, along with the airspaces of Lebanon, Cyprus, half of Israel and a vast part of Turkey.
The S-400’s radar has a range of 600 kilometers and is capable of discriminating even objects moving on the ground, such as cars and military vehicles.
S-400 radar covers Syria, western regions of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, nearly all of Israel and Jordan, Egypt’s northern Sinai, a large part of the eastern Mediterranean and Turkish airspace as far as the capital Ankara.
Important time period for retail profits in the United States challenged by anti-racist protests
All across the United States from Chicago, Minneapolis, San Diego, Cincinnati, Portland, Seattle, Burlington, etc., thousands took to the streets demanding an end to the police killings of African Americans.
In Chicago the Magnificent Mile was the target of demonstrations in the Loop, where like in other cities and suburbs, the capitalist retailers encourage mindless consumption during the period between late November and the beginning of the year.
Advertising agencies expend tremendous resources to encourage workers and oppressed peoples to enter the shopping fray offering purported “deals” on electronic merchandise, a substantial portion of which are marketed to children and teenagers. Major firms in the United States gauge their performance during this season as a barometer of the viability of the capitalist system overall.
Despite these monumental efforts by retailers, sales were down for the “Black Friday” and holiday weekend. Corporate media outlets that advance the notion of consumer confidence as a key aspect of the strength of the U.S. economy, reported the decline in revenue although attributing it to factors such as early shopping and online purchases.
According to Reuters press agency, “Data from analytics firm RetailNext showed overall sales for both days fell 1.5 percent on flat customer traffic, while average spending per shopper dropped 1.4 percent. Preliminary data from ShopperTrak showed sales at stores totaled about $12.1 billion on Thursday and Friday. The company said it is an ‘estimated decrease from last year’ but did not give the percentage decline due to an internal change in the way it calculates data. Last year, it reported sales of $12.29 billion for the same period.” (Nov. 28)
Corporate Spokespersons Attempt to Explain Away Declines
Obviously with a rising population and the often touted recovery translating into lower sales during the premiere time for showcasing new merchandise does not bode well for the future of capitalist retail markets. These results indicate that there are other factors which are leading to the fall in sales and consequent profits.
Numerous social media groups and individual pages advocated for a refusal to shop on Black Friday and that the day should be turned into one of protest. Nonetheless, this phenomenon was not taken into serious consideration by the corporate media when providing explanations for the declining performance.
The same article cited above goes on to say “The data highlights the waning importance of Black Friday, which until a few years ago kicked off the holiday shopping season, as more retailers start discounting earlier in the month and open their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Both firms said that despite the fall in sales over the two days, the performance must be interpreted as a good one for retail stores because sales held up amid rising competition from online shopping and were better than expected due to pent-up consumer demand and lower gas prices.”
Even capitalist publications such as Forbes report that the real measure of economy viability must take into consideration the size of the labor force and the labor participation rate. Since the beginning of the 2008 Great Recession the so-called “recovery” has been weaker than any such occurrence after the conclusion of World War II.
The size of the labor force has been almost flat over the last seven years. At the same time the labor participation rate is at its lowest in nearly forty years. This is a more accurate measure of the nature of the labor force than the current 5.0 percent jobless rate reported during the first week of November.
Forbes stated on November 30 that “Since the 2008 recession, the U.S. Civilian Labor Force has grown at an average annual rate of only 0.35%. In comparison, after the recession of 2001, the labor force grew at an average annual rate of 1.41%.”
Since the stock market crash of early 2000, described as the bursting of the “tech-boom”, the labor participation rate had peaked. Over the last decade-and-a-half, there has been a steady decline in this factor attributed as well to the Great Recession which triggered tens of millions of lay-offs and job eliminations.
The financial journal also noted in the same report in reference to the participation rate of workers within the economy that “it began a steady decline, which accelerated when the financial crisis began in 2008. As of October 2015, the Labor Force Participation Rate was 62.4 percent. We would have to go back 38 years to October 1977 to find a rate this low. A declining rate indicates that more individuals are dropping out of the job market.”
The National Question, the Labor Market and the Continuing Economic Crisis
Within the context of over one-third of the labor force being in a non-participatory status, a large segment of this population exists among African Americans. Even though the broader unemployment rate is tabulated at 5 percent, among African Americans in general it is officially 9.2 percent.
The latest unemployment figures among African-Americans were for October 2015 issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This jobless rate did not change since the month of September making it nearly twice the number of the national average.
African-American teenagers between 16-19 years old are plagued with a jobless rate of 25.6 percent, which officially declined from 31.5 percent in September. African American women over 20 are unemployed at 8.1 percent, constituting an increase from 8.0 percent in September. African American men over 20 are jobless at 9.2 percent level, an increase from 8.9 percent the previous month.
Forbes says “If the labor force is the economic engine, consumer spending is the fuel.”
Nonetheless, this mouthpiece for the status-quo continues to advocate the same failed policies of lessening regulations and lowering taxes for the ruling class although these measures have created an even wider gap between rich and poor as well as Black and White income and wealth levels.
These statistics indicate that recession level conditions exist within the African American communities. Therefore, this provides another factor in the rising anger against institutional racism and national oppression as manifested through mass demonstrations and urban rebellions such as in Ferguson and Baltimore during 2014 and early 2015.
In both Minneapolis and Chicago tensions reached enormous levels after the shooting of five protesters outside a police station in the former, and in the Windy City, where daily demonstrations have taken place demanding the firing of the police commissioner and chief over the video of the blatant killing of a 17-year-old last year.
Demonstrations during the initial weekend of the holiday retail season were in part carried out as solidarity actions with the people of Chicago and Minneapolis. In addition the spreading of anti-racist rallies, sit-ins and ideological struggles on university and college campuses led by African American students contributes immensely to a social atmosphere of defiance and immediacy.
One year ago in the aftermath of the rebellions in Ferguson and the subsequent expansion of the Black Lives Matter movement which began in 2012, African Americans and their allies escalated their demonstrations by marching into shopping malls disrupting business and blocking highways and thoroughfares to illustrate the urgency of the crisis of police abuse and killings and the refusal of the state apparatus to take remedial actions.
These manifestations will continue and expand due to the fact that the federal government and the capitalist ruling class has no plans for the African American people and other oppressed nations inside the U.S. beyond increased militarized repression and mass incarceration. A fundamental transformation of the political and economic system is the only hope for addressing these concerns and providing sustainable solutions.
If sanctioned, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would be the biggest trade deal ever seen. Yet the public continue to be kept in the dark about it. Large corporations have been granted privileged access to officials and have been allowed to shape the talks agenda from the outset. Throughout the process, organisations representing the public and civil society have been sidelined. The public has had to rely on leaks or resort to freedom of information law and heavily redacted documents to try to understand what is happening behind closed doors.
High-minded platitudes referring to protecting the integrity of industry and the sensitive nature of negotiations have been used in an attempt to prevent public scrutiny and secure the continued crucial influence that big business has held in the talks.
According to a recent report (Friends of the Earth, Corporate Europe Observatory, War on Want et al) public services in the EU are under threat from the proposed trade deal, which could endanger citizens’ rights to basic services. The study showed how the EU’s Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) deal with Canada and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could lock public utilities into irreversible commercialisation and remove governments’ ability to regulate services.
Exposing systemic collusion between big business and European Commission officials in drawing up CETA and TTIP, the report highlights how negotiators are doing the work of the EU’s most powerful corporate lobby groups in pushing an aggressive corporate agenda of far-reaching market opening in the public sector.
The consequences include proposals for excessive investor rights, which mean corporations could sue governments for implementing regulations that affect their profits, potentially leading to multi-billion euro taxpayer payouts in compensation. Even the fear of such action could lead governments to shelve plans in the first place. TTIP could eventually make it impossible for national governments to implement decisions for the common good.
Big business has successfully lobbied against the exemption of public services from CETA and TTIP as both agreements apply to virtually all services. This effectively limits the governmental authority exemption to a few core functions, such as law enforcement, the judiciary or the services of a central bank.There is also the real danger that the EC is following industry demands to lock in present and future liberalisations and privatisations of public services. This could threaten the growing trend of remunicipalisation of water services, energy grids and transport services.
A leaked EU document also shows the EC proposing an EU-US Regulatory Cooperation Council. Existing and future EU regulation would then have to go through a series of investigations, dialogues and negotiations in this body. This would move decisions on regulations into a technocratic sphere, whereby policies could be presented to the public as ‘done deals’, all worked out behind closed doors between pro-business officials and business leaders. There would also be compulsory impact assessments for proposed regulation, which will be checked for their potential impact on trade.
As if all of this were not bad enough, Deidre Fulton writes on the Common Dreams website that newly obtained heavily redacted documents reveal that EU trade officials gave US oil giant ExxonMobil access to confidential negotiating strategies considered too sensitive to be released to the European public. The documents have been by seen by The Guardian newspaper.
Director of War on Want John Hilary says the documents offer:
… an extraordinary glimpse into the full degree of collusion between the European Commission and multinational corporations seeking to use TTIP to increase US exports of fossil fuels. The commission is allowing the oil majors to write the proposed energy chapter of TTIP in their favour.
The Guardian goes on to state that officials asked one oil refinery association for ‘concrete input’ on the text of an energy chapter for the negotiations, as part of the EU’s bid to write unfettered imports of US crude oil and gas into the trade deal.
The documents also show that at a September 2013 meeting, EU trade officials gave a briefing on the state of TTIP talks to two trade groups and 11 oil and gas companies, including Shell, BP and ExxonMobil.
According to The Guardian, the EU is pressing for a guarantee that the US will allow free export of oil and gas to Europe, an undertaking that would require a $100 billion infrastructure investment.
War on Want campaigner Mark Dearn says:
A key aim of TTIP has been to destroy regulations that prevent high-polluting tar sand crude oil from entering Europe… [an] agenda that promises a high-carbon future unmasks the spin of rich country promises to phase out fossil fuels by the end of this century, highlighting the corporate nature of the deal and its devastating consequences for climate change.
Far from being a simple case of European interests versus US interests, the lines of demarcation in TTIP are between the mutually exclusive interests of transnational big business and people and the planet; if the deal passes, the former wins and the latter lose.
TTIP is too often presented by officials and sections of the corporate media as constituting a well thought out recipe for job creation and economic growth. This depiction forms part of the neoliberal globalisation paradigm that sanctifies the notion of ‘free trade’. In reality, however, what we actually have is trade and markets that are anything but ‘free’: markets are rigged, commodity manipulated and nationscoerced, destabilised or attacked in order that powerful players gain access to resources and markets under the banner of free trade and democratic freedoms.
The TTIP is a mandate for corporate plunder and, given recent revelations, for major polluters. It represents a pro-privatisation agenda that enshrines the privileges of the world’s most powerful corporations at the expense of ordinary people, the environment and the climate.The ultimate aim of TTIP is to draw Europe closer to the US and divide the European continent by side-lining Russia. If events surrounding Ukraine tell us anything, it is that the US has driven a wedge between Europe and Russia to prevent closer economic alignment between the two. TTIP is another piece of the global jigsaw that aims to cement US hegemony.
By using TTIP, it is now clear the US is attempting to drive its fossil fuel energy into Europe. At the same time, Washington is attempting to force Russia out from the European energy market. Russia has already had to abandon its South Stream pipeline project to Europe. Furthermore, by pushing for a pipeline to supply dollar-denominated energy from Qatar through Syria and on into Europe, the US can strengthen the dollar while further driving Russia from Europe. In the meantime, to remove Assad who is regarded as a barrier to this project, US-backed war and destabilisation has resulted in 250,000 Syrians being killed.
TTIP is clearly not about improving the lot of ordinary hundreds of millions of Europeans, just like events in Ukraine and Syria are not intended to benefit the mass of ordinary folk in those countries. Ultimately, TTIP must be viewed within the context of the wider geopolitical chess board that serves rich corporate interests.
On 25 November 2015, the High Court of Paris indicted Marc Fellous, former chairman of France’s Biomolecular Engineering Commission, for “forgery” and “the use of forgery”, in a libel trial that he lost to Prof Gilles-Eric Séralini. The Biomolecular Engineering Commission has authorised many GM crops for consumption.
The details of the case have not yet been publicly released but a source close to the case told GMWatch that Fellous had used or copied the signature of a scientist without his agreement to argue that Séralini and his co-researchers were wrong in their reassessment of Monsanto studies.
The Séralini team’s re-assessment reported finding signs of toxicity in the raw data from Monsanto’s own rat feeding studies with GM maize.
The sentence against Fellous has not yet been passed and is expected in June 2016.
The latest ruling marks a second court victory for Séralini’s team.
In September 2012, an article written by Jean-Claude Jaillette in Marianne magazine said that “researchers around the world” had voiced “harsh words” about the research of Séralini and his team on the toxic effects of a GMO and Roundup over a long term period – research that was supported by the independent organisation CRIIGEN. The journalist wrote of a “scientific fraud in which the methodology served to reinforce pre-determined results”.
Séralini, his team, and CRIIGEN challenged this allegation in a defamation lawsuit. They were assisted by the notaries Bernard Dartevelle and Cindy Gay.
On 6 November 2015, after a criminal investigation lasting three years, the 17th Criminal Chamber of the High Court of Paris passed sentence. Marianne magazine and its journalist were fined for public defamation of a public official and public defamation of the researchers and of CRIIGEN, which is chaired by Dr Joel Spiroux de Vendômois.
The trial demonstrated that the original author of the fraud accusation, prior to Marianne, was the American lobbyist Henry I. Miller in Forbes magazine.
Miller had previously lobbied to discredit research linking tobacco to cancer and heart disease on behalf of the tobacco industry. Since then he has tried to do the same in support of GMOs and pesticides, through defamation.
The long-term toxicity study by Séralini’s team was republished after the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology retracted it under pressure from lobbyists. Séralini’s team has just published a summary of the toxic effects of Roundup below regulatory thresholds.
Appeal for funding for CRIIGEN
These court actions have taken up an enormous amount of energy and funds. CRIIGEN cannot survive without public support.
IMF staff earlier this month proposed that the yuan be added to the basket of currencies used to value the SDR, a reserve asset created by the institution in 1969, and today that decision is confirmed (as expected).
The IMF’s Executive Board decision today means that the yuan will be included in the SDR basket from Oct. 1, 2016, effectively anointing the yuan as a major reserve currency and represents recognition that the yuan’s status is rising along with China’s place in global finance.
The IMF reviews the composition of the basket every five years. The fund rejected the yuan for inclusion during the last review, in 2010, saying the currency didn’t meet the necessary criteria. But now…
*IMF APPROVES ADDING YUAN TO RESERVE-CURRENCY BASKET
*IMF STATEMENT DOESN’T SPECIFY WEIGHTING OF YUAN IN SDR BASKET
*IMF SAYS CHINA IS EXPECTED TO HELP FACILITATE USE OF SDR
*LAGARDE: ADDING YUAN RECOGNIZES CHINA’S PROGRESS ON REFORMS
*LAGARDE SAYS CHINA TO IMPLEMENT MORE FINANCIAL REFORMS
*IMF: YUAN TRADING UP SIGNIFICANTLY IN 2 OF 3 MAJOR TIME ZONES
Reuters then reports,
CHINA’S RENMINBI TO HAVE WEIGHTING OF 10.92 PCT IN IMF’S BENCHMARK SDR CURRENCY BASKET
Which is less than the 14-16% expectation (but nationalistically greater than Japan’s Yen and Britain’s Pound)…
However, as politically-motivated as this decision may have been, now comes the hard part for China.
The inclusion puts new pressure on Beijing to change everything from how it manages the yuan, also known as renminbi, to how it communicates with investors and the world. China’s pledges to loosen its tight grip on the currency’s value and open its financial system will come under new scrutiny.
As The Wall Street Journal reports,“The actual inclusion of the yuan in the SDR is a nonevent for most investors. The sound you’ll hear is a collective yawn,” said David Loevinger, a managing director at fund manager TCW in Los Angeles and a former U.S. Treasury official focusing on China. “The lack of data and policy transparency remains a risk for investors.”
While IMF inclusion is largely symbolic, it could open Beijing to criticism of its financial policieswhen the fund conducts its five-year review of the currencies in its basket. Formally, inclusion would add the yuan to the IMF’s special drawing rights, or SDRs, a virtual currency IMF uses for emergency lending to its members and countries can use to bolster their reserves.
In the near term, inclusion would lead to a modest, less-than-$30 billion in new foreign demand for yuan-denominated assets, estimates Zhang Ming, a senior economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
“Domestically, it’s far from certain whether the SDR status could force other, structural overhauls,” Mr. Zhang said.
It has been a long path…
But, as Bloomberg details, there are 4 critical points…
SDR status doesn’t require central banks to hold yuan but could be a catalyst for portfolio reallocation.
Reserve managers for countries having strong trade and funding ties with China have the strongest incentive to increase yuan holdings.
Reallocations by central banks may be gradual to minimize disadvantageous market pricing.
Reallocations by private investors will be constrained until capital controls are lifted and transparency improves.
* * *
As we detailed earlier…
Note that there is already some notable divergences between actual reserve holdings and SDR weightings…
And Yuan’s addition may increase downward pressure on the dollar…
SDR weights since 1978 have been based on a country’s relative share in reserve holdings by monetary authorities and the value of exports of goods and services. Preliminary estimates in August from the IMF put the yuan share of the SDR basket in a range between 14% and 16% depending on whether the yuan would be added as a fifth currency or replace an existing currency. Based on the latest available data, the euro appears likely to lose the largest ground in the IMF’s new SDR basket.
The weights of the SDR basket create no formal obligation on the part of the IMF’s 188 members to hold a similar proportion of international reserves. Indeed, the IMF’s Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves report — a confidential survey on the composition of central bank reserve holdings — indicates a preference, in aggregate, to hold a much larger share of the dollar and pound.
Suggested 15% weighting – which The IMF has not released yet
The reduction in dollar portfolio allocations from the IMF’s recognition of the yuan as a reserve currency may prove larger over time than the change in the SDR basket would suggest. Dollar allocations may face greater downward pressure simply because they are so large relative to other currencies — more than three times the size of euro holdings, for example. Part of this disparity is valuation, a reflection that the dollar is trading at a 12-year high against the euro. The dollar has increased 21% in trade-weighted terms over the last five years, according to Bank for International Settlements’ calculations of nominal effective exchange rates.
However, as Bloomberg concludes, the ability (and risks) are near-term constraints on any major re-allocations.
The willingness to hold more yuan and less dollars is one thing; the ability to execute is quite another. At the moment, the ability of private foreign investors to increase their yuan allocation is limited by China’s capital controls. There are special arrangements for foreign central banks that give them enhanced access to China’s foreign exchange and interbank bond markets.
Another hurdle for expanding yuan holdings is the perception of a lack of transparency and market manipulation by the Chinese authorities. Until access and perceptions change, these factors will slow the flow into the yuan. The depth and security of U.S. government bonds may also constrain switches out of dollar assets.
Central banks tend to adjust reserve allocations slowly, so as not to pit market pricing against them. This suggests a steady gradual stream of demand for yuan assets over time. Until portfolio rebalancing is complete, dollar rallies may be short-lived as these may be seen as attractive opportunities for investors in both the public and private domain to trim dollar exposure.
As finally, before everyone gets too excited – The history of yen internationalization offers a cautionary tale on hopes for the yuan.
Japan’s experience suggests that a floating exchange rate, free cross-border flows and stable economic growth are all necessary for successful internationalization. The challenge for China will be hitting all three of those criteria.
Currency internationalization comes in three stages.The first is use in trade settlement and financial transactions. Second is providing a safe asset for investment by non-residents. Third is to serve as an anchor for the regional and — ultimately — global market. In the 1980s and 1990s, the yen made rapid progress from stage one to stage two. Since then, it has stalled and even started to retrace its steps in some respects.
Of course, Wall Street analysts are already getting excited, here are their initial reactions when The IMF hinted it was going to happen…
SDR inclusion would encourage China to stick to much- needed financial and capital-account liberalization, Paul Mackel, HK-based head of global research, writes in note dated Nov. 14
USD/CNH moved above 6.4000 on Friday, which could suggest that more flexibility on yuan is coming
Market players will want to see more volatility in the currency eventually; hence, inclusion in SDR doesn’t necessary mean that the RMB will be stronger
Knee-jerk reaction for yuan to strengthen should be temporary; will be interesting to see if PBOC decides to become more hands-off
China needs to show commitment to further opening up its capital account and accelerate domestic financial reforms, led by interest-rate liberalization, Zhou Hao, Singapore-based senior economist, writes in email
Country needs to improve policy transparency to attract global investors; that would build trust between global investors and Chinese authorities
PBOC should reduce frequency of intervention, allowing market forces to play a critical role
China should provide more hedging options to corporates and financial institutions, so they can prepare for greater financial-market volatility
China stepped up rates liberalization in run-up to SDR inclusion; now it may increase pace of financial reform, Nie Wen, Shanghai-based economist, says in phone interview
Onshore-offshore yuan spread is expected to narrow in coming days
PBOC’s monetary policy stance will still be the most important element for investors to gauge regarding the yuan’s trading direction
A more market-oriented system is crucial for Chinese capital markets; a “reasonable” pricing of domestic assets will reduce systemic risk
Inclusion will largely be a symbolic move because slowing economy and capital-outflow pressures may delay FX reforms, Fiona Lim, senior FX analyst, says in phone interview
SDR inclusion will improve “rationality” in investment and assets allocation, which will improve financial stability
Any positive reaction on yuan’s possible inclusion in IMF reserves to be short-term, given that the outcome was well priced in, says Jason Daw, head of Asia currency strategy at Societe Generale SA in Singapore.
Being added to SDR unlikely to speed up the pace of reserve diversification into Chinese assets, Daw says in Nov. 14 e- mail interview
“We continue to see an upward bias to USD/CNY over the coming months and expect it to reach 6.80 by mid-2016.”
* * *
It would be most ironic, however, if China achieves its ultimate objective, which is simply to find foreign buyers for its currency as an offset to domestic outflows, which in turn sends the Yuan soaring beyond its pre-devaluation levels, thereby slamming the Chinese economy even further and assuring that the unfolding Chinese hard landing becomes a full-blown global crash.
Finally we could not help but see the irony in the fact that today The IMF accepts the Yuan into the ‘free market’ currency basket just a day after what appeared to be a huge intervention in the offshore Yuan market…
Developed in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme and the UN’s World Meteorological Organization, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just published its Fifth Assessment Report  and maintains its silence on military weather modification applications which continue to skew the data.
“Extreme weather and climate events” are linked to climate change while no mention is made of government programs deliberately aimed at modifying the weather and inducing earthquakes, drought, rain, and tsunamis.
The modern weather modification program, at least in the US, is over 70 years old. Public service announcements printed in newspapers back in the 1960s warned of government intention to modify the weather.
Life Magazine, back in the 50s and 60s, continually covered US weather modification programs, including Project Stormfury which redirected and reduced hurricane intensity from 1962 to 1983. The IPCC’s continuing and absolute silence on such programs is deafening.
With insider knowledge, a chapter in the 1968 book, Unless Peace Comes: A Scientific Forecast of New Weapons, predicts the development of technologies that will use the planet itself as a weapon. The chapter, “How to Wreck the Environment,”  was penned by geophysicist and member of President Johnson’s Science Advisory Committee, Dr. Gordon J.F. MacDonald, wherein he states:
“The key to geophysical warfare is the identification of the environmental instabilities to which the addition of a small amount of energy would release vastly greater amounts of energy.”
The chapter envisions four planetary weapons which MacDonald predicted would be fully developed by the 21st century, based on the then-current state of research:
Tsunami generation and direction; and
Mass behavior control via electromagnetic manipulation of the ionosphere.
The idea is carried forward in several geoengineering schemes detailed in Eli Kintisch’s Hack the Planet, in a chapter entitled “The Pursuit of Levers,” explained as “small changes in Earth’s system that can have profound global effects.” 
As LBJ’s Science Advisor, MacDonald surely knew of the military’s weather modification program known as Operation Popeye, which ran from 1967 thru 1972 in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. By seeding clouds, the US military caused torrential downpours that inhibited enemy truck and troop movements. Initially exposed by investigative journalist Jack Anderson, the existence of the project was later corroborated in The Pentagon Papers.
In 1996, world renowned scientist Dr. Rosalie Bertell, who served on the Bhopal and the Chernobyl Medical Commissions, and was a recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, published “Background on HAARP,”  describing Dr. Bernard Eastlund’s brainchild, the US High Frequency Active Auroral Research Project, as follows:
“It would be rash to assume that HAARP is an isolated experiment which would not be expanded. It is related to fifty years of intensive and increasingly destructive programs to understand and control the upper atmosphere. It would be rash not to associate HAARP with the space laboratory construction which is separately being planned by the United States. HAARP is an integral part of a long history of space research and development of a deliberate military nature.”
In 2000, reports Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Dr Bertell told The Times of London, “US military scientists … are working on weather systems as a potential weapon. The methods include the enhancing of storms and the diverting of vapor rivers in the Earth’s atmosphere to produce targeted droughts or floods.” 
HAARP’s use of the ionosphere through radio frequencies, explains Dr. Nick Begich, co-author of Angels Don’t Play This HAARP, also triggers earthquakes and volcanoes.  Begich quotes Clinton’s Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, who said in 1997 at a conference on terrorism:
“Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves.” 
Pragmatically, the US wouldn’t be worried about such weapons unless they knew with certainty that they were feasible and had, in all likelihood, already developed them itself.
In “Atmospheric Geoengineering: Weather Manipulation, Contrails and Chemtrails,” which was named the 9th most censored story in 2012 by Project Censored, a brief history of known geoengineering events was published.  From that report, the IPCC’s co-founder, the World Meteorological Organization, complained six years ago, in 2007, that:
“In recent years there has been a decline in the support for weather modification research, and a tendency to move directly into operational projects.” 
But the IPCC remains mum on these projects, except to deny they exist, while at the same time urging in its Summary that they must continue or global warming will spike. The 2013 IPCC report states:
“Theory, model studies and observations suggest that some Solar Radiation Management (SRM) methods, if practicable, could substantially offset a global temperature rise and partially offset some other impacts of global warming, but the compensation for the climate change caused by greenhouse gases would be imprecise (high confidence).” [emphasis in original]
To claim that solar radiation management methods (which include chemtrails and HAARP-induced changes) are “unimplemented and untested” is patently absurd, and contradicts a library of evidence.
On March 26, 2013, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted a patent to Rolls-Royce PLC to prevent contrails from forming.  By using an electromagnetic wave generator, contrails would not be visible, nor would artificial clouds develop.
It’s not the first such patent. Back in 1962 the US Air Force wanted to add caustic chemicals to hide contrails and prevent unintentional cirrus cloud formation. Patent No. 3,517,505 was granted eight years later, in 1970. Patent, No. 5,005,355, granted in 1988 to Scipar, Inc., used various species of alcohol, which effectively lowered the freezing point of water to avoid contrail formation. The 2013 patent characterized both of these earlier patents as environmentally inappropriate for commercial purposes.
For a partial list of patents for stratospheric aerial spraying programs from 1917 thru mid-2003, see Lori Kramer’s “Patently Obvious: A Partial History of Aerosol and Weather Related Technologies.”  Weather Warfare by Jerry Smith also includes an appendix of HAARP-related patents. 
A Note on Persistent Contrails
What some see as chemtrails, the IPCC and others recognize as persistent contrails that are a normal effect of today’s jet exhaust.
In the 2006 book, Weather Warfare, Jerry Smith explains that persistent contrails are not necessarily chemtrails. From the 1990s on, he explains, all jet engines were modified with a “high bypass turbofan” which increased fuel efficiency and, as a side effect, left persistent contrails that hazed into cirrus clouds after several hours. This is the timeframe when chemtrail sightings begin.
The reason today’s jets now form persistent contrails, explains Marshall Smith, a former NASA-Ames aeronautical engineer, is that the sooty particulates in older jet exhaust provided a nucleus around which ice crystals would form (giving us a contrail). But because of its dark color, the sooty particulate absorbed solar energy which melted the ice crystals, dissipating the contrail. Today’s cleaner and thus clearer jet exhaust allows solar energy to pass right through it, and so contrails persist and spread into high cirrus clouds lasting 24-36 hours.
Smith admits that this development does not disprove chemical, biological or metallic dispersants from jets, and he also states that such dispersants can be sprayed without leaving a chemtrail, depending on the particulate, and on the humidity and atmospheric temperature. But, later, in 2009, he published the following:
“‘Chemtrails’ theory then, is that ‘normal’ jet aircraft contrails disappear in a few minutes, whereas ‘chemtrails’ persist for hours, and therefore are not ‘normal’ and must contain some covert element to make them persist…. Persistent jet contrails can be entirely explained by science without having to resort to a ‘conspiracy theory’ scenario. They appear to be no more than the natural result of the introduction of the hi-bypass turbo fan, improved jet fuel (JP-8) and ‘global warming.’” 
The transition to more efficient jet fuel and cold-flow additives supports this explanation, but none of that can explain the following image, taken earlier this year in Raglan, New Zealand:
The dot-dash effects seen in the sky, Smith explains, are the result of the jet exhaust passing thru sections in the atmosphere that are warmer, creating a broken line or dotted contrail. The following image makes that explanation implausible. Instead, it illustrates that as the plane passed, an on-off switch was thrown several times. It’s hardly likely the ambient temperature and humidity uniformly varied where the plane traveled.
The IPCC specifically addressed the impact of global aviation on the atmosphere in a 2000 report, noting that aircraft were then responsible for up to a half a percent of all of Earth’s cirrus cloud coverage, and that cirrus clouds tend to warm the surface of the planet. 
However, the high-bypass turbo fan and better grade fuel do not explain the grid pattern often seen which is clearly not normal air traffic lanes. Below are two images showing the grid pattern. The first, a generic one found on the web , is one of many such images uploaded by concerned citizens who reasonably fail to recognize a normal set of flight lanes.
This next image is a satellite view looking down at the Celebes Sea, showing chemtrails and their shadows. (NASA)
Finally, the fine dusting of web-like filaments referred to as chemwebs can be explained by a natural arachnid phenomenon known as Gossamer Showers or Gossamer Filaments. Spiders are known to balloon, spreading their webs over the land for miles. Referred to throughout history, naturalist Henry Christopher McCook wrote about them in his 1890 book, American Spiders and Their Spinningwork. 
Unless lab results prove otherwise, these webs are natural and should remain outside the chemtrails discussion.
Impossible to Regulate?
Weather Warfare also spends a good deal of time covering the international agreements against environmental modification (ENMOD). The first major one came in 1978, after the US was exposed for weaponizing weather during the Vietnam War. Smith points out that none of these agreements cover “national defense” which is how governments are able to avoid the ban.
That 1978 agreement specifically objected to hostile use of ENMOD. In 2010, the UN banned friendly ENMOD.  The 193-member Convention on Biodiversity agreed by consensus to a moratorium on geoengineering projects and experiments, which governments promptly ignored. With no teeth to that moratorium, it’s not too surprising that such programs continue unabated.
Not two months later, in Cancun, Mexico, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the IPCC opened the 2010 conference by promoting geoengineering options. 
On a practical level, notes the International Risk Governance Council:
“Countries and firms routinely fly various aircraft in the stratosphere, or send rockets through the stratosphere into space. These activities release significant quantities of particles and gases. A requirement for formal prior approval of small field studies, just because they are directed at learning about SRM and its limitations, is probably unenforceable because judging intent is often impossible.” 
In Hack the Planet, Kintisch opposes an outright global ban on geoengineering, fearing that governments will simply go underground with it. This is bad, he stresses, because it will “worsen perceptions that [geoengineering is] a quasi-military strategy or a technocratic means of control.” Going further, he states:
“A vibrant community of conspiracy theorists is under the belief that geoengineering is already being deployed by governments by releasing so-called chemtrails in the sky.”
But de facto moratoria already exist for such projects, as mentioned above, and Kintisch lists some others, including the London Protocol, the London Convention and a German restriction limiting iron-seeding to coastal waters only. The only element missing in Kintisch’s reasoning is his refusal to believe that governments have already gone underground with it and that geoengineering is already underway.
Kintisch, like all government propagandists, wields the “conspiracy theorist” label like a club, without once offering any logical counter-argument to explain what thousands of sky watchers have observed and documented with photographs, videos, and soil and water tests.
Conspiracies are argued and decided by the thousands in courts all over the world, every day. Most crimes are not committed by lone actors, yet condemning those who recognize a conspiracy pattern has become a simple and lazy way to crush investigation into inconsistencies in government position statements. Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and Wikileaks, along with Daniel Ellsberg, Karen Hudes and W. Mark Felt, certainly prove that governments are the most dangerous conspirators facing humanity today.
Though he offers dozens of reasons why geoengineering the planet would be a bad idea, Kintisch comes out in support of the notion, likening it to a terrarium, “an enclosed controlled garden,” leaving the reader with a sense that planet hacking is a necessary evil that should be regulated.
Modifying the Weather for Profit
In related news, the ecocidal giant, Monsanto, just dropped nearly a billion dollars to get into the weather insurance game, buying Climate Corporation. Forbes reports, “The idea is to sell more data and services to the farmers who already buy Monsanto’s seed and chemicals.” 
Already closely tied to the military, how easy would it be for Monsanto to know in advance of a geoengineered drought or deluge? Monsanto expects its climate insurance business to generate $20 billion in revenue beyond its seed and chemical business.
Likewise, how easy would it be for a nation with decades of experience in modifying the weather and in triggering geophysical events to create the problem of climate change (or exaggerate its significance) to induce the world into approving, even demanding, geoengineering? With decades of patents providing a history of capabilities, could this entire drama, including “extreme weather events” be orchestrated for the simple pursuit of profit?
Isn’t this precisely how the Hegelian Dialect works? Problem→Reaction→Solution (Thesis→Antithesis→Synthesis). In other words, those in a position of power invent a problem, anticipating the public’s reaction to it, and use that reaction to generate demand for the “solution” which was the intended program power-holders wanted to implement in the first place.
At the very least, while the veil may be lifting on geoengineering practices, there is still an apparent effort to conceal the extent to which the planet is already being engineered.
 William S. Cohen, “Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction, and U.S. Strategy,” Sam Nunn Policy Forum, Conference on Terrorism. University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. 28 April 1997. Speech. Available at http://www.fas.org/news/usa/1997/04/bmd970429d.htm
 M. Granger Morgan and Katharine Ricke, “Cooling the Earth Through Solar Radiation Management: The need for research and an approach to its governance,” International Risk Governance Council, 2010. Available at http://www.irgc.org/IMG/pdf/SRM_Opinion_Piece_web.pdf
First published by International Action Center and Global Research in September 2014.
The US military machine, is the world’s biggest institutional consumer of petroleum products and the world’s worst polluter of greenhouse gas emissions. The role of the US military is not on the agenda of the Paris COP21 Climate Conference.
There is an elephant in the climate debate that by U.S. demand cannot be discussed or even seen. This agreement to ignore the elephant is now the accepted basis of all international negotiations on climate change.
It is well understood by every possible measurement that the Pentagon, the U.S. military machine, is the world’s biggest institutional consumer of petroleum products and the world’s worst polluter of greenhouse gas emissions and many other toxic pollutants. Yet the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements.
Ever since the Kyoto Accords or Kyoto Protocol negotiations in 1998, in an effort to gain U.S. compliance, all U.S. military operations worldwide and within the U.S. are exempt from measurement or agreements on reduction. The U.S. Congress passed an explicit provision guaranteeing U.S. military exemptions. (Interpress Service, May 20, 1998)
The complete U.S. military exemption from greenhouse gas emissions calculations includes more than 1,000 U.S. bases in more than 130 countries around the world, its 6,000 facilities in the U.S., its aircraft carriers and jet aircraft. Also excluded are its weapons testing and all multilateral operations such as the giant U.S. commanded NATO military alliance and AFRICOM, the U.S. military alliance now blanketing Africa. The provision also exempts U.S./UN-sanctioned activities of “peacekeeping” and “humanitarian relief.”
After gaining this giant concession the U.S. government still refused to sign the Kyoto Accord, thus sabotaging years of international effort at an agreement.
The provisions of the Kyoto Protocol nevertheless became the basis of all future proposed international meetings on a climate treaty, including Copenhagen 2009, Cancun, 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012 and the United Nations upcoming 21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change meeting in Paris in 2015.
In all past international conferences it was again and again the U.S. government that sabotaged the meetings and refused to be bound by any treaty. The Obama Administration on Aug. 27 again confirmed that at the UN meeting in New York in September to prepare for the 2015 Paris meeting that only a non-binding agreement could be put forward.
Role of grassroots activists
Unless the climate activists at the grassroots level challenge this exemption of the U.S. military and begins to focus a laser light on the most dangerous source of global warming and climate change, the movement will become will be lost in vague generalities, utopian hopes and toothless accords.
The only hope that the mass outpouring in September in New York will have an impact is if independent voices can begin to consciously challenge the greatest global polluter.
Exposing the horrendous social costs of U.S. militarism must also be part of the challenge. Washington’s military role acts to constantly reinforce at every level the repressive state apparatus.
For decades, and at an accelerated pace since 2001, the military has provided an endless stream of free war equipment to local city and state police, National Guard units and sheriffs’ offices. Youth of oppressed nations within the U.S. become targets of a vastly expanded police state. The fresh images of tanks and armored police in Ferguson confirmed for millions the results of this racist policy.
Exposing the devastation of U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya is essential. These U.S. wars have contaminated the soil and water of vast regions under U.S. occupation with depleted uranium, benzene and trichloroethylene from air base operations and Perchlorate, a toxic ingredient in rocket propellant.
More than 1,000 military sites in the U.S. are filled with these toxins, topping the Superfund list of contaminated sites. The poorest communities, especially communities of color, are the most severely impacted by this continuing military poisoning.
It is essential to connect the Pentagon exemption from international negotiations to its primary role as the protector and expander of corporate power on a global scale. The most powerful and profitable corporations are the oil and military corporations; these are the other primary polluters.
Pentagon admits climate change
Unlike the climate change deniers, the Pentagon’s own published studies confirm the danger to the planet. But U.S. officer corps is committed to what they call full spectrum dominance. So every study of climate change by the military planners is based on evaluating how to take advantage of the future crisis to more firmly entrench U.S. corporate power and protect the irrational capitalist system that has created this crisis.
The Pentagon studies are not on plans to deliver emergency aid in the face of climate disasters such as floods, droughts, famines, epidemics, typhoons, tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, water shortages and damage to infrastructure. Their war colleges and think tanks’ plans are on how to extract political concessions on docking rights and future military access during a besieged countries’ hour of greatest emergency need.
For example the U.S. Department of Defense releases every four years a. This is a broad outline of U.S. military strategy.
The 2014 Defense Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review describes the threat of climate change as “a very serious national security vulnerability.” This QRD discusses how to maintain global U.S. military hegemony in the face of ever worsening global climate disruptions. (tinyurl.com/pn4awm8)
The military officer caste is focused on maintaining Wall Street rule and capitalist property relations during a crisis. There is concern with preserving the authority of their puppets, allies and collaborators.
“Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating.”
“The impacts of climate change may increase the frequency, scale, and complexity of future missions, including defense support to civil authorities… The Department’s operational readiness hinges on unimpeded access to land, air, and sea training…”
Military and corporate planning is callously focused on how to take advantage of the life-threatening changes.
A most frightening example is the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. This White House Report opens by praising the Arctic as “an amazing place.” But then quickly defines the need for focusing on strategic priorities to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.
The essence of the report is that the melting of the polar ice cap and the “new Arctic environment” means “ocean resources are more readily accessible as sea ice diminishes.” This is an opportunity to access the vast untapped oil, gas and mineral resources and increase the flow of fossil fuels — big profits for big oil. (tinyurl.com/cw2dvhk)
In 2014 Defense the Center for Naval Analysis issued a study titled: “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.” This report, a follow-up report to their 2007 report, prepared by eleven retired generals and admirals sees climate change as the source of international instability and the greatest threat to the established capitalist order.
This study is not on how to use the enormous technological ability of the U.S. military machine to provide solutions or emergency assistance. Everything is posed in terms of national security in the face of alleged potential terror threats.(tinyurl.com/lreswx8)
Based on these reports and on the U.S. role in every climate meeting in over 20 years it is clear that U.S. corporate power and the monstrous military machine it has funded must become a focus of class-conscious climate activists. This would contribute greatly to an understanding of the source and the real solutions to this global crisis.
This article first published in December 2013, documents the failure of the Climate Change COP19 Conference in Warsaw. What prospects for Paris COP21?
The sharply increasing scientific indicators of impending disastrous global climate change have failed to motivate the principal developed countries, led by the U.S., to accelerate the lackluster pace of their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
This was the principal conclusion of several key environmental groups attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) Nov. 11-23 in Warsaw, Poland. The meeting lasted a day and a half longer than scheduled to resolve a dispute about new greenhouse emission targets. About 10,000 people attended the 19th annual meeting of the so-called Conference of Parties (COP19) that drew nearly all the UN’s 193 member states.
Environmental organizations walk out of UN meeting to protest lack of progress.
About 800 attendees associated with environmental groups walked out of the conference Nov. 21, protesting the lack of progress. In a joint statement on the day of the walkout, the World Wildlife Federation, OxFam, Friends of the Earth, Action Aid and the International Trade Union Federation declared:
”Organizations and movements representing people from every corner of the Earth have decided that the best use of our time is to voluntarily withdraw from the Warsaw climate talks. The conference, which should have been an important step in the just transition to a sustainable future, is on track to deliver virtually nothing.”
According to Professor Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics and a leading British expert on climate change:
“The actions that have been agreed are simply inadequate when compared with the scale and urgency of the risks that the world faces from rising levels of greenhouse gases.”
There were also street protests and marches in Warsaw composed largely of younger conference attendees and local youth. One slogan, referring to climate disasters, was
“The Philippines, Pakistan, New Orleans: Change the System, not the climate.”
On Nov. 18, delegates from 133 developing countries — under the umbrella of the G77 group plus China — walked out temporarily “because we do not see a clear-cut commitment by developed countries to reach an agreement” to financially help poor countries suffering the effects of climate change for which they are not responsible. The U.S., for instance, was reluctant to help developing countries adapt to sea level rise, droughts, powerful storms and other adverse impacts, even though it is historically the greatest emitter of greenhouse gases.
By the end of the conference, perhaps encouraged by the walkout, the world body agreed to set up a “Loss and Damage” process for “the most vulnerable countries” experiencing losses from global warming. The details remain vague.
A distressing aspect of the conference came when four major developed countries took actions in contradiction to fighting global warming.
• Japan — the fifth largest carbon polluter — announced it was breaking its pledge to reduce greenhouse gases by 25% of 1990 levels by the year 2020, blaming the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster.
• Canada and Australia recently declared they would not support the Green Climate Fund — the UNCCC program to transfer money from the developed to the developing countries to assist them in dealing with climate change.
• Conference host Poland, a major coal producer, worked with the World Coal Association to simultaneously host the International Coal and Climate Summit in Warsaw. (Greenpeace and others protested outside the coal meeting.)
COP19 was permeated with corporate lobbyists from “fossil fuels, big business groups, carbon market and financial players, agribusiness and agrofuels, as well as some of the big polluting industries,” according to the oppositional “COP19 Guide to Corporate Lobbying.” Corporations appeared at previous COP meetings but witnesses say never in such large number.
Obviously, one of the most important issues confronting the world community is reducing greenhouse carbon emissions to impede global warming. This is a perennial UNCCC goal but hardly sufficient so far to prevent substantial increases in carbon dioxide levels in the Earth’s atmosphere, now exceeding 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in at least 3 million years since the Pliocene era.
Greenhouse reductions hark back to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which obligated developed countries to specific — and in the main incongruously low — emissions reduction targets while developing countries were encouraged to reduce emissions without a binding requirement. Since 1997, despite Kyoto, emissions have increased substantially. According to a new report from research teams coordinated by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, “The gap between where emissions are and where emissions would need to be in order to keep climate targets within reach is getting bigger and bigger.”
Kyoto, which the U.S. refused to join because of its so-called “bias” toward developing countries, has in effect been extended from 2013 to 2020 when new emissions targets will go into effect. Unless these new targets are far greater than the old, CO2 ppm will jump much higher.
At issue during COP19 was a proposal by the EU, U.S. and a number of developed countries to eliminate Kyoto’s nonbinding reductions for developing countries. Under this plan, each and all countries would set specific targets over next year. These targets would then be inspected by the other countries to assure they are adequate for the mission at hand. The final targets would be published in early 2015 and presumably approved by that year’s COP, and implemented in five years.
Protest inside hall of climate meeting.An intense 36-hour struggle between a group of developing countries and most developed countries over this proposal went into an extra session lasting throughout Nov. 22 and into the early hours of the 23rd. Opposing removal of the distinction between developed and developing countries was a group called the “Like-Minded Developing Countries on Climate Change” (LMDC), including such countries as China, India, Venezuela, Bolivia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Thailand.
According to an account in the mass circulation Indian newspaper The Hindu:
“India, China and other countries in the LMDC group take the position that the new climate agreement must not force developing countries to review their volunteered emission reduction targets. Setting themselves up in a direct confrontation with the developed countries, the LMDC opposes doing away with the current differentiation between developing and developed countries when it came to taking responsibility for climate action.”
In other words, the developing countries will do what they can to reduce emissions, but the principal task by far belongs to the developed countries. They argue that developed industrial countries have been spewing fossil fuel-created greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for 100 to 200 years or more, and most of these pollutants have yet to dissipate. The carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere could warm the planet for hundreds of years.
The richer countries reject this argument, pointing to the increasing industrialization taking place in the developing world. Writing in the Guardian Nov. 25, Graham Readfearn points out: “Rich countries are desperate to avoid taking the blame for the impacts of climate change…. The developed countries won’t let any statements slip into any UN climate document that could be used against them in the future” in terms of financing mitigation, adaptation and compensation costs.
Most developing countries are very poor and have contributed miniscule emissions, but a few of them — China, India, and Brazil, among others — have become major industrialized powers in relatively recent years. China, now the largest annual contributor to global warming, has been seriously industrialized for less than 30 years and also functions as a global factory for many nations, including the U.S. These recently industrializing developing states, most of which are former exploited colonies of the rich countries, argue that the developed states became major powers based on burning fossil fuels and thus have the major responsibility to take the lead in reducing emissions.
China points out that while it has recently displaced the U.S. as leading producer of Greenhouse gas emissions, its population is three times greater. On a per capita basis, Beijing notes, the average American in 2011 produced 17.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide; the average Chinese, just 6.5 tons. (A metric ton is 205 pounds heavier than a 2,000 pound ton.) The U.S. rejects these arguments.
The developed-developing conflict over emissions was finally resolved when China and India withdrew demands for including Kyoto’s exception for developing countries, in return for which “commitments” to a specific target were changed to “contributions.” Clearly this is a vague stopgap measure that will eventually change. The important matter is the total of emissions reductions to be agreed upon in 2015.
The U.S., as the most influential developed country, has taken hardly any action at all to significantly reduce CO2 emissions when it was the number one emitter of carbon in the atmosphere or now when it is number two, tut-tutting about China’s smokestacks while President Obama boasts about expanding drilling for oil and fracking for gas. Ironically, though China is a mass polluter today it is investing far more heavily than the U.S. in renewable resources such as solar and wind energy. This may eventually pay off, but not before an unacceptable level of CO2 continue.
Given the number of drastic reports about climate change from the scientific community in the last several months, the accomplishments at COP19 are useful but hugely disproportionate to what is needed. In addition to the agreement on contributions to lower greenhouse emissions this also happened: The countries agreed on a multi-billion dollar program to combat global deforestation. The Loss and Damage project was passed, and developed states were urged to increase levels of aid to poorer countries. A plan was hammered out to monitor emissions reductions.
A few of those recent drastic reports include these facts:
Greenhouse gas emissions are set to be 8-12 billion tons higher in 2020 than the level needed to keep global warming below 3.6 Fahrenheit, the UN Environment Program said. (Above 3.6 F, the world’s people will begin to experience extreme effects)….
According to the American Meteorological Society, there is a 90% probability that global temperatures will rise 6.3 to 13.3 degrees Fahrenheit in less than 100 years….
According to the Associated Press, a leaked report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change means that “Many of the ills of the modern world — starvation, poverty, flooding, heat waves, droughts, war and disease — are likely to worsen as the world warms from man-made climate change”…..
The U.S. is likely to become the world’s top producer of crude oil and natural gas by the end of 2013 due to increased oil drilling and fracking for gas….The U.S. is pumping 50% more methane into the atmosphere than the government has estimated, reports Science News….
In a new study, the team of researchers reports a global loss of 888,000 square miles of forest between 2000 and 2012 and a gain of only 309,000 square miles of new forest.
Summing up the Warsaw conference, an observer for Christian Aid, Mohamed Adow, declares: “In agreeing to establish a loss and damage mechanism, countries have accepted the reality that the world is already dealing with the extensive damage caused by climate impacts, and requires a formal process to assess and deal with it, but they seem unwilling to take concrete actions to reduce the severity of these impacts.”
“We did not achieve a meaningful outcome,” said Naderev Sano, the head of the Philippines delegation who had been fasting throughout the meeting in solidarity with the victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
Samantha Smith, representing the World Wildlife Fund at COP19 declared: “Negotiators in Warsaw should have used this meeting to take a big and critical step towards global, just action on climate change. That didn’t happen. This has placed the negotiations towards a global agreement [on emissions] at risk.”
The next major UNCCC conference, COP20, will take place in Lima, Peru, in December 2014. The extremely important 2015 meeting, when the countries will decide on new emissions targets, will be in Paris.
There is positive news as well as the negative.
• A majority of the American people now seek to limit global warming, according to a recent report from Grist Environmental News. Stanford University Professor Jon Krosnick led an analysis of more than a decade’s worth of poll results for 46 states. The results show that the majority of residents of all of those states, whether red or blue, are united in their worries about the climate. At least three-quarters of residents are aware that the climate is changing. Two-thirds want the government to limit greenhouse gas emissions from businesses. At least 62% want regulations that cut carbon pollution from power plants. At least half want the U.S. to take action to fight climate change, even if other countries do not.
• The walkout by environmental NGOs is highly significant. They are clearly “mad as hell” and presumably are “not going to take this anymore!” to evoke the famous line from the film Network. Their unprecedented action in Warsaw undoubtedly reflects the views of millions of people back in the United States who have been following the scientific reports and want Washington to finally take dramatic action.
• At issue is mobilizing these people to take action in concert with others to force the political system to put climate sanity and ecological sustainability on the immediate national agenda. Two things are required. 1. A mass education program is called for because the broader and deeper implications of reforms must be understood and acted upon. 2. Unity in action is necessary to bring together many constituencies to fight for climate sanity and justice with a view toward protecting future generations from the excesses of the industrial era.
• There are up to a score of major environmental organizations in the U.S. Some, like Greenpeace and 350.org are willing to offer civil disobedience; some are important education and pressure groups; and some — far fewer — are too cautious and compromising, such as those advocating for nuclear power or natural gas. There must be many hundreds and more small and medium size environmental groups throughout our country, with anywhere from 5 to 50 or even 100 local followers. And then there are the numerous progressive and left organizations that basically agree with the environmental cause. None have to give up their individual identities, but they can come together around specific global warming and ecological issues and fight the power of the 1% to 5% who essentially rule America.
• The actions of the developing societies at COP19 were important, too, particularly their brief walkout. The majority of these countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America are not only vulnerable to the consequences of climate change but rarely possess the economic wherewithal to adequately survive. They will struggle for their demands in future global conferences.
• Despite the foot-dragging of many developed countries, all of them contain environmental and progressive/left organizations. They, too, are “mad as hell” and will grow stronger.
• Time may not be on sanity’s side, but as the CO2 ppm rises and the hopes for significant reductions in greenhouse gases falls in the next few years, conditions will be ripe for a global climate justice uprising.
At this point it seems that only a mass mobilization of the U.S. and world’s peoples will be able to provide the strength to stand up to the fossil fuel interests, the corporations, big business, banks, financiers and the weak or corrupt politicians who stand in the way of building an equal and ecologically sustainable society including rational conservation of resources and reduction of excess consumption.
While it hearkens back to earlier Thanksgivings in St. Augustine in 1565 and Plymouth in 1621, this is an essentially imperial document than gives only vague lip service to giving “thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us.” When his proclamation gets specific, in the third sentence, the President gives the highest place of grateful honor to the source of global American imperial dominance:
We also honor the men and women in uniform who fight to safeguard our country and our freedoms so we can share occasions like this with loved ones, and we thank our selfless military families who stand beside and support them each and every day.
This is, of course, fatuous pandering and a patent lie that is widely and unthinkingly shared by much of a preoccupied populace. Our country and our freedoms have needed no serious military defense for decades. Even amidst the popular revival of terrorism hysteria these days, our country and our freedoms need no military protection, because they face no credible military threat.
It is a nice thought to imagine Americans quietly sharing an inclusive and comforting community in which we express gratitude for our gifts and share them with others wherever in the world they meet our military. That might actually achieve the aspiration of showing “appreciation for all we hold dear.” But the sad reality seems to be that, as a nation, we no longer know what we hold dear, or even what we once believed we held dear.
Our country and our freedoms are unthreatened by others around the world despite our well-cultivated baseless fear. At home, our country and our freedoms are daily attacked by the cold dead hand of the unelected corporate state. Our country and our freedoms are daily attacked by the shrill, vicious demagoguery of divisive factions that are as dedicated to the dominance of minority views as any Taliban or ISIS or other monomaniacal evangelist. Our country and our freedoms go daily undefended by a feckless, reckless government that would rather control a cowed population than seek conciliation and general well-being for all.
As things now stand in a nation more exceptional for its fragmentation than its collective sense of confidence and purpose, a more honest sampling of appreciation for what some Americans hold dear might include:
Almost all American people can be thankful that their nation is not involved in any serious wars, just turkey-shoots in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, much of Africa, and other places that produce few American casualties while maintaining the constant expense of ordnance to no useful purpose, but steady profit to the international arms industry.
President Obama and his administration can be thankful that almost none of their totalitarian surveillance and permanent-war-making powers face serious challenges, not even the President’s assassination-by-drone terrorism.
American Muslims can be thankful that they have not been rounded up and confined to internment camps (yet), for the duration of the preferred endless hostilities.
All minority-Americans can be thankful if no one in their family was hurt or killed by police this year. Black families in that category can be super grateful. Even white families can be a bit grateful, since cop brutality isn’t as completely bigoted as it sometimes seems.
Media-American performers can be thankful that they will never be held accountable as journalists for their culturally destructive and dishonest hucksterism.
Police-Americans can be thankful for their special above-justice status, since even the most violent among them typically goes unpunished.
The American prison complex can be thankful for another year of high profits at the expense of decent people jailed for non-violent crimes by a judiciary that has lost its sense of justice (with the significant assistance and insistence of Congress claiming to act for an infantilized and fearful American majority).
Women-Americans can be thankful that it is still mostly lawful to be a woman.
American terrorists can be thankful that they can go on assassinating doctors, torching clinics, executing church congregations, or shooting up mosques without fear that anyone will call them “terrorists.”
The American public in general can be thankful that it remains generally undisturbed by these or other American realities and that it lacks a widespread feeling that it has any personal responsibility to fix anything.
Ben Carson and the rest of the Republican field can be thankful that they have yet to be deemed a danger to themselves or others, and have not been forcibly hospitalized.
Any Americans still nurturing the hope of living in an advanced, civilized nation can be thankful that we have two presidential candidates, a man and a woman, who actually have credible records of espousing humane values with regard to at least some of the critical problems we face. Obviously one of them is Bernie Sanders. The other, better one is Jill Stein.
Upper-income Americans can be thankful for the country that cares for them and neglects others, making sure, year after year after year, that people who could learn are not educated, that people who could work are not hired, that people who could eat are not fed, that people who could be free are not.
Any Americans who feel no shame for the state of their country can be grateful for their psychic numbness and failed humanity.
As some were wont to say back in the day: “Things are going to get a whole lot worse before they start getting worse.”
So we can be thankful that things aren’t worse already.
The idea that the United States has “interests” abroad is an affront to democracy and geography. How can a country have interests, and not only that, but vital ones, in every corner of the world, unless we ignore geography and the idea that the people who live in a place ought to own it, and organize their own affairs? All the same, US leaders regularly pronounce that the United States has vital interests abroad, and that the possession of these interests warrants the “projection of power,” which is to say the establishment of a military presence in a region to intimidate its people and governments to acquiesce to US demands.
Rarely, if ever, do the mass media explore what these “vital interests” are. They simply exist, and must be defended. Occasionally, their nature is at least superficially glimpsed, as in the idea that the Middle East is a vital US interest owing to its vast reserves of oil, and that if these reserves were to come under the control of a “hostile” power, the world could be held to ransom. Elements of this view can be traced to the Carter Doctrine and form much of the basis of what is presented as US strategy in connection with the Middle East.
To members of the general public it is likely that this thinking translates into the idea that the United States must interfere in the Arab world to guarantee the security of oil supplies, and thus the US way of life. What this overlooks, however, is that Canada is by far the largest foreign supplier of oil to the United States, accounting for 43 percent of all imports , versus just 22 percent in 2012 from six Persian Gulf suppliers,  and that the United States itself, is a major producer of oil, third ranked in the world, behind only Saudi Arabia and Russia . Moreover, the United States is on track to become the world’s leading oil producer in just five years . “[I]ncreasing production and declining consumption have unexpectedly brought the United States markedly closer to a goal that has tantalized presidents since Richard Nixon: independence from foreign energy sources” . “The chimera of ‘energy independence’,” observes The New York Times, has begun “to look more tangible” .
As a major producer of oil, the United States has never been as dependent on Persian Gulf oil as it is popularly believed—and indeed, has never been dependent on the Persian Gulf for supplies of oil to any significant degree. It wasn’t until the mid-1970s, when consumption began to outstrip domestic supply, that the United States began to import oil from the Persian Gulf. An observation made by the sociologist Albert Szymanski in 1983 is still relevant today. “Much has been made of supposed US reliance on the Persian Gulf area for petroleum. But while tremendous profits are made by US-based petroleum corporations that continue to dominate the petroleum industry in this region, the United States is not in fact especially reliant on petroleum imports from the Gulf.”  Indeed,
“until the mid-1970s, very little Middle Eastern petroleum was imported into the United States, even though US transnational corporations had controlled the petroleum consortiums in the area for a generation. During this time, US transnational corporations took the oil out of the ground and sold it to Europe and Japan (as well as to the less developed countries) making tremendous profits, which they in good measure repatriated to the United States.
“In 1976…US petroleum companies in the Middle East exported less than 7 percent of their output to the United States while selling 82 percent to third countries.” 
Despite the minimal role the Persian Gulf has played in satisfying North American oil requirements, figures central to US foreign policy have justified US military intervention in the Middle East on the grounds of safeguarding security of supply. Bernard Lewis, an intellectual attached to the enormously influential US foreign policy organization, The Council on Foreign Relations, outlined the reasons for the US military intervention in the Persian Gulf in 1991 in the Council’s magazine Foreign Affairs, with reference to the need to protect the security of the world’s oil supply:
“If Saddam Hussein had been allowed to continue unchecked he would have controlled the oil resources of both Iraq and Kuwait. If the rest of the region observed that he could act with impunity, the remaining Persian Gulf states would sooner rather than later have fallen into his lap, and even the Saudis would have had either to submit or be overthrown. The real danger was monopolistic control of oil—which is a very large portion of the world’s oil.” 
Richard B. Cheney, then the US vice-president, invoked a similar rationale in August 2006 to explain the US invasion of Iraq in 2003: “Armed with an arsenal of…weapons of mass destruction, and seated atop 10 percent of the world’s oil reserves, Saddam Hussein could then be expected to seek domination of the entire Middle East [and] take control of the world’s energy supplies.”  (Note the false conflation of Persian Gulf oil with the “world’s” energy supplies.)
Since not all of the world’s oil lies in the Persian Gulf, and much of it is found in Russia and North America, the idea that Saddam Hussein could control the world’s oil supply—and threaten the economy and living standards of North Americans—is transparently false. Lewis and Cheney had engaged in deliberate fear-mongering to mobilize public support for illegitimate interventions in the Middle East to bring about the political and economic domination of the region by the United States. The real motivation was not to safeguard the security of energy supplies, but to eliminate a threat to the profits of US petroleum corporations posed by Arab nationalists. In his book Devil’s Game, Robert Dreyfuss paints a picture that doubtlessly agitated the minds of US foreign policy planners.
“The oil monarchies are ruled by royal kleptocracies whose legitimacy is nil and whose existence depends of outside military protection. Most Arabs are aware that the monarchies were established by imperialists seeking to build fences around oil wells. Arabs would gain much by combining the sophistication and population of the Arab centers, including Iraq, with the oil wealth of the desert kingdoms. At the center lies Egypt, with its tens of millions of people and Saudi Arabia with its 200 billion barrels of oil. Uniting Cairo and Riyadh would create a vastly important Arab center of gravity with worldwide influence.” 
It is fairly certain that were Arabs to unify, overcoming the artificial political divisions imposed on them by the British Sykes and French Picot after WWI, and overcoming the sectarian cleavages that outsiders have sought to deepen, that more of the benefits of the sales of their petroleum resources would be retained at home, available for their own development, and less would be transferred to accounts of the capitalist class in the United States. There’s no danger that a pan-Arab power in possession of its own resources would blackmail those countries that depend on Middle Eastern oil. Cutting off the supply of oil would destroy the economy of the pan-Arab state, since it would depend on oil sales to earn revenue to import goods and services from the same countries it would presumably be seeking to hold to ransom.
Because underdeveloped countries typically rely on the developed world to supply them with a wide range of goods and services, which they pay for with a few agricultural or resource goods, “historically it has been the advanced countries that have been able to effect disciplined boycotts against the poorer countries, far more than the reverse.”  What “the less developed countries…are interested in,” observed Szymanski, is “securing significantly better terms of trade for themselves.”  But, of course, significantly better terms of trade for themselves means leaner profits for US shareholders and investors. And therein lies the motivation for the United States’ hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East, namely, preventing the natives from throwing of their exploitation by US corporations.
Who Rules America?
Szymanski and others, among them Ralph Miliband (The State and Capitalist Society), G. William Domhoff (Who Rules America?), Thomas Ferguson (Golden Rule) and Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page (“Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Internet Groups, and Average Citizens”), have made that case that US society is dominated politically by a wealthy class of billionaire bankers, investors, and corporate titans. Gilens and Page, reviewing a vast empirical literature on the political influence of various sections of US society, have summarized the research this way: “[E]conomic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.”  The Gilens and Page analysis comes from academe, but a careful reading of major newspapers furnishes scores of instances that resonate with the duo’s conclusion. For example, The New York Times of October 10, 2015 reported that just 158 families and the companies they own and control, mostly in finance and energy, have contributed half the funds to Democratic and Republican presidential candidates in the 2016 presidential race , from which the not unreasonable conclusion can be drawn that just 158 families and the companies they own and control, have an impact on US politics far in excess of their numbers (but not their wealth)—another way of saying that the United States is more a plutocracy than a democracy.
The enormous wealth commanded by members of the US capitalist class allows them to use their money to shape electoral contests, spending just a small fraction of their income. For example, Chicago hedge fund billionaire Kenneth C. Giffen has contributed $300,000 to Republican presidential candidates in the 2016 race, well beyond the capabilities of an average citizen. But Giffen’s contribution represents less than one percent of his monthly income of $68.5 million.  The titles of the following articles further point out the role of wealth in shaping US politics: “Hillary, Jeb and $$$$$$” (New York Times, February 21, 2015); “Bloomberg starts ‘Super PAC’, seeking national influence” (New York Times, October 17, 2012); “The businessman behind the Obama budget” (Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2012); “Which millionaires are you voting for?” (New York Times, October 13, 2012); “Close ties to Goldman enrich Romney’s public and private lives” (New York Times, January 27, 2012); “Conservative non-profit acts as stealth business lobbyist” (New York Times, April 21, 2012); “Number of millionaires in Congress: 261” (CBS News, November 17, 2010); “White House opens door to big donors, and lobbyists slip in” (New York Times, April 14, 2012); “Obama sends pro-business signal with adviser choice” (New York Times, January 21, 2011); “Wall Street ties linger as image issue for Hillary Clinton” (New York Times, November 21, 2015); “Obama’s not-so-hot date with Wall Street”(New York Times, May 2, 2012). The last article appears to indicate that limits exist on Wall Street’s influence in Washington (the not-so-hot date) but in point of fact describes US politics as a contest between various factions of the capitalist class to persuade average voters to back their favored candidate. This calls to mind the wry observation that the art of politics is to enable the wealthy to persuade the rest of us to use our votes to keep the representatives of the super-rich in power.
However, the influence of the dominant economic class on politics extends well beyond the electoral arena. Szymanski offers a concise summary of the mechanisms the wealthy use to dominate US politics.
Szymanski on the Theory of the State 
There is a wealthy class that dominates the US state and the US government and runs the state in its interest and against the interests of the vast majority of people. There are various ways that the wealthy class is able to dominate the US government even though there are elections in which everyone is eligible to vote. There are at least seven different ways by which the wealthy are able to control the US government. The first four are instrumental mechanisms. The last three are structural mechanisms. Instrumental mechanisms refer to ways in which the rich directly intervene in the US government. Structural mechanisms refer to those conditions that constrain the decision-making process. They operate independent of instrumental mechanisms. Hence, even if wealthy people don’t influence the government, the government is compelled by the ideological environment, the imperative of maintaining business confidence to avert economic crises and military intervention to make decisions in the interests of big business.
There is a wealthy class that dominates the US state and the US government and runs the state in its interest and against the interests of the vast majority of people.
The direct mechanisms are:
• The placement of wealthy individuals or elite corporate executives in the top policy-making positions in the state.
• The pressure exerted on elected representatives and regulatory commissioners by lobbyists to legislate and rule in favor of business interests.
• Campaign funding. Politicians have to do the bidding of business if they want to receive the campaign funds they need to seriously contest elections.
• The role of key policy-formation groups, including the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Business Council—very powerful, exclusive, private organizations that formulate public policies and are able to transmit them to the government, by putting their people in top positions, holding regular conferences, and sending reports to the government.
There are 7-8 full-time lobbyists in Washington DC for every elected member of Congress. Virtually all work for big business.
Congress people, heads of regulatory commissions, and top generals are recruited by large corporations at the end of their public service careers to work as lobbyists, usually earning more money than they make in public service. Aware of the lucrative possibilities for their post public service careers, they ingratiate themselves with their prospective employers by acting in their interests while in politics, to ensure that they’re later offered remunerative positions.
There are no teeth in laws aimed at limiting the role of money in election campaigns. Consequently, the wealthy are able to spend as much as they want to get politicians who are sympathetic to their interests elected.
Policy-formation organizations are generally composed of two-thirds elite business people and one-third academics and major intellectuals and other influential people. They hold seminars and meetings with government officials, as well as transmit many policy recommendations to the government.
The structural mechanisms:
• Ideological hegemony: The ability of business to put ideas in our heads, so that we think like them, and thereby act the way they want us to act.
• Business strikes: Business’s ability to move outside a jurisdiction if the state’s policies are not conducive to profit-making. Businesses’ freedom to invest their capital as they see fit limits what governments can do.
• Military hegemony: If a government gets out of line and encroaches on business interests the military can take over.
Most people get their news and political values from the major media and educational system. Major media are major private corporations interlocked with major banks. But not only are they major private businesses themselves, they depend on advertising from major businesses. They are, then, doubly dependent on big business. If the media’s content becomes anti-business, sponsors cancel. So how we get our ideas is doubly controlled by big business.
The boards of trustees of universities are generally dominated by business people. Business people also make the major contributions to universities and therefore are in a position to influence what academics study.
Hence, schools and mass media are dominated by big businesses. We get our political values and ideas from the mass media and schools—hence, from big business.
We think our decisions about who we vote for are freely made, but our political ideas and values have been instilled by big business through the institutions of the mass media and education system which it dominates. All mass media and all universities are pro-business.
Suppose a state tripled the minimum wage and gave corporations six months to stop polluting. Business would move to another jurisdiction where wages were lower and there were no laws against pollution. Massive employment would ensure. In the next election, the government would be blamed for the economic crisis. It would lose the election to a right-wing party that would promise to bring jobs back by passing business-friendly legislation. It might propose to abolish the minimum wage altogether and to rescind all laws against pollution.
As long as business is free to invest or not invest—as long as it makes the economic decisions—the government has to structure the environment to serve businesses’ profit-making imperative; otherwise it will face a serious economic crisis. The only way to circumvent this structural constraint is to deny private business the freedom to make economic decisions, which is to say to nationalize them, so that capital cannot be relocated or made idle and is mobilized in the interests of a majority of people, rather than a wealthy minority of owners.
There are only eight countries in the world of say 160 capitalist countries that unremittingly had elections and parliamentary forms from about 1940: Britain, Ireland, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Sweden. All others had a dictatorship or military government at some point. Hence, the normal state for capitalist economies is to have military rule. Only the wealthiest capitalist states haven’t had military rule. But when a capitalist country encounters a severe crisis that challenges capitalist rule, it resorts to military rule.
Often the military takes over, and then relinquishes power. When this happens, civilian governments know that if they implement anti-business policies, the military will intervene once again. Hence, they are careful to remain within the bounds of acceptable big business policy. If ever there were a deep crisis in the United States that threatened capitalist rule, US generals would act as their counterparts in other capitalist countries have.
The Council on Foreign Relations
Szymanski cites the elite policy-formation organization The Council on Foreign Relations as one of the principal organizations through which US capitalist class policy preferences are transmitted to the US government. Laurence H. Shoup has recently written a major treatise on the Council, titled Wall Street’s Think Tank, an update of an earlier analysis he co-authored with William Minter, titled Imperial Brain Trust. Shoup argues that the Council is the major organization through which the US capitalist class establishes its agency and direction, becoming a class for itself. As such, it is worth a closer look.
The Council on Foreign Relations is the major organization through which the US capitalist class establishes its agency and direction, becoming a class for itself.
The Council is a private organization with a chairman (for years David Rockefeller, who remains the honorary chairman) and board members (typically billionaires or near billionaires) and approximately 5,000 members, who are selected by the board. The raison d’être of the organization is to bring together intellectuals, prominent business people, leading members of the media, state officials, and top military leaders, into an exclusive club which formulates foreign policy recommendations and promotes them to the public and government. The Council’s interlocks with the US state are extensive. Beginning with the Carter Administration and moving forward to the Obama Administration, Shoup found that 80 percent of the key cabinet positions, which he defined as State, Defense, Treasury, National Security Adviser, and US Ambassador to the UN, were filled by Council members. Presidents (George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton) and vice-presidents (George H.W. Bush and Richard Cheney) were members at the time they were elected to these posts. One president, Carter, became a member after leaving the presidency.
The table below shows how many current Council members have filled key positions in the US state. They were usually members of the Council before they were appointed to these posts:
Secretary of Treasury, 10
National Security Adviser, 10
US Ambassador to the United Nations, 9
Secretary of State, 8
Secretary of Defense, 8
CIA Director, 8
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, 4
Head of the Federal Reserve, 4
World Bank President, 3
Director of National Intelligence, 2
Director of the National Security Agency, 1
Seventeen key current and former members of Obama’s administration are members of the billionaire-directed private club: James Jones Jr. (national security adviser); Thomas Donilon (national security adviser); Susan Rice (national security adviser, US ambassador to the UN); Timothy Geithner (treasury); Jack Lew (treasury); Robert Gates (defense); Chuck Hagel (defense); Ashton Carter (defense); David Petraeus (CIA); Robert Zoellick (World Bank); Janet Napolitano (homeland security); John Bryson (commerce); Penny Pritzker (commerce); Ernest Moniz (energy); Sylvia Burwell (health and human services); Mary Jo White (securities and exchange); and Michael Froman (US trade representative.) John Kerry, while not a Council member, is married to near billionaire Teresa Heinz Kerry, who is.
On top of placing its members in key state positions, the Council also directly influences policy by dominating external advisory boards established to advise the secretaries of state and defense and the director of the CIA. The Foreign Affairs Policy Board acts “to provide the Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretaries of State, and the Director of Policy Planning with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning matters of U.S. foreign policy.” It consists of 20 advisers, 18 of whom belong to the Council as members. The Defense Policy Board provides “the Secretary of Defense, Deputy Secretary of Defense and the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy with independent, informed advice and opinion concerning major matters of defense policy.” Fourteen of its 22 members belong to the Council. On September 10, 2009 then CIA Director Leon Panetta announced the establishment of an external advisory board of “distinguished men and women” who would visit CIA headquarters “periodically and offer their views on managing [the CIA] and its relationships with key customers, partners, and the public.” Ten of the 14 advisers Panetta named to the board—the majority—were Council on Foreign Relations members.
The Council is interlocked with other influential foreign policy-related organizations, including the Trilateral Commission (an international version of the Council, reaching beyond the United States to include counterparts in Canada, Western Europe, and Japan), Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group.
Human Right Watch’s co-chair Joel Motley; vice-chair John Studzinski (global head of the investment firm Blackstone); board member Michael Gellert; executive director Kenneth Roth; and deputy executive director Carol Bogert, are all members of The Council on Foreign Relations. A major source of funding comes from Council member George Soros’ Open Society Institute.
The International Crisis Group has extensive overlaps with the Council. ICG Chairman Emeritus, George J. Mitchell, is a Council member, as are the following trustees: Mort Abramowitz; Samuel Berger; Wesley Clark; Thomas R. Pickering; Olympia Snowe; George Soros; and Lawrence Summers. Council members who serve as senior ICG advisers include Zbigniew Brzezinski; Stanley Fischer; Carla Hills; Swanee Hunt; James V. Kimsey and Jessica T. Mathews. Soros and Rockefeller are major sources of funding.
The Council membership includes an assortment of billionaires and prominent business people, including Peter Ackerman (supporter of non-violent overthrow movements and head of the CIA-interlocked Freedom House); Bruce Kovner; Henry R. Kravis; Penny Pritzker; David M. Rubenstein; Frederick W. Smith; George Soros; Leonard A. Lauder; Mortimer B. Zuckerman; Eric E. Schmidt; Stephen Schwarzman; John Paulson; Lloyd Blankfein; Edgar Bronfman Jr.; Jamie Dimon; Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.; and a number of Rockefellers, a Roosevelt, and members of other wealthy families. It also includes a media mogul, Rupert Murdoch, and prominent journalists: Tom Brokaw; Leslie H. Gelb; Robert W. Kagan; Charles Krauthammer; Nicholas D. Kristof; Lewis H. Lapham; Judith Miller; Peggy Noonan; Walter Pincus; John Podhoretz; Dan Rather; David E. Sanger; Diane Sawyer; George Stephanopoulos; and Barbara Walters. Not only does the Council place its members in key positions in the state and in influential civil society organizations, it also co-opts leading media figures to promote the Council’s views to the public.
Antipathy to Public Ownership
Joseph Stalin is reputed to be a monster for causing innumerable deaths What category of monster, then, are former US presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, who, in the absence of a security threat from Iraq, chose to sacrifice the lives of numberless Iraqis
Significantly, every country in which the United States has intervened militarily either directly or through proxies, or threatened militarily, since WWII has had a largely publicly owned economy in which the state has played a decisive role, or has had a democratized economy where productive assets have been redistributed from private (usually foreign) investors to workers and farmers, and in which room for US banks, US corporations and US investors to exploit the countries’ land, labor, markets and resources has been limited, if not altogether prohibited. These include the Soviet Union and its allied socialist countries; China; North Korea; Nicaragua; Yugoslavia; Iraq; Libya; Iran; and now Syria. We might expect that a foreign policy dominated by a wealthy investor class would have this character. It would react to the restrictions of communists, socialists and economic nationalists on US profit-making as obstacles to overcome, even at great cost to the lives of others. For example, asked in 1996 about a UN estimate that US-led sanctions had killed 500,000 Iraqi children under the age of five, then US secretary of state Madeleine Albright (a Council member) told 60 Minutes that “It’s a hard choice, but I think, we think, it’s worth it.”  Italian philosopher and historian Domenico Losurdo has pointed out that the Clinton administration’s murder through sanctions-related hunger and disease of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis is a crime far in excess of any of which Soviet leader Joseph Stalin can been accused, since the deaths attributed to Stalin were the consequences of decisions he took as defensive responses to a permanent state of emergency the USSR faced during his years in power, including the aggressions of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan and the Cold War, aggressions which threatened the very existence of the Soviet Union.
By contrast, the United States faced no security threat from Iraq. Even so, then US president Bill Clinton chose to sacrifice the lives of numberless Iraqis in pursuit of the foreign policy goal of establishing US hegemony in the Middle East to facilitate the accumulation of capital by his country’s economic elite.  If Stalin is portrayed as a monster, then by what greater category of monster must we describe Clinton, or for that matter, George W. Bush, leader of the trumped-up 2003 war on Iraq? It is one thing to take decisions which lead to innumerable deaths in response to significant threats against one’s country, and quite another to kill numberless people in the absence of a threat in pursuit of foreign policy goals related to the profit-making interests of bankers, investors and oil companies.
US Foreign Policy Goals in Syria
We need not tarry too long on the idea that the intervention of the United States and its allies in the struggle in Syria is motivated in any way by considerations of human rights and democracy, since (a) the United States counts as its principal allies in the Middle East, despotic regimes whose disdain for human rights as elemental as the right of women to drive automobiles (in the case of Saudi Arabia) knows no parallel, and yet Washington is perfectly comfortable to dote on these anti-democratic monarchies, emirates and dictatorships, selling them arms, establishing military bases on their territory and protecting them against condemnation in international forums and from the opposition of democratic forces at home; and (b) these same tyrannies are the major supporters, along with the United States, of barbaric, sectarian Sunni jihadists who have butchered their way across Syria for the last four years.
When their attacks are directed at Syrians, the brutality of these sectarian fanatics is mechanically noted then passed over quickly by the Western news media, in contrast to the copious coverage afforded to equivalent butchery aimed at Western targets. Hence, the ISIS attack in November of 2015 in Paris was given wide-ranging coverage and elevated to an event of earth-shattering proportions, while similar attacks carried out almost daily in Syria and Iraq, and in Syria by “rebels”, including the non-ISIS Sunni Islamists dubbed “moderates” by the US government, are largely ignored. For example, in August 2013, ISIS, the Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and other Islamist fanatics slaughtered more than 200 Alawite villagers, and at the same time kidnapped more than 100 women and children.  There was no Western media-orchestrated outpouring of grief for these victims of Sunni Islamist terrorism.
There is a confluence of factors that seem to have conduced to making the Syrian government a target for US-sponsored regime change through militant Sunni Islamist proxies, but two appear to be primary.
The first is the status of the Syrian government as the last bastion of Arab nationalism. Arab nationalism threatens the ability of the US corporate class to draw a Himalaya of profits from the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf, the traditional range of the Arab nation. Instead of a free flow of profits to the United States, facilitated by Arab kings and emirs who have no legitimacy with their own people and rely on Washington’s support to continue their despotic rule, the proceeds of the sale of the region’s petroleum resources would be used for the region’s own internal development, if Arab nationalist aspirations were brought to fruition. The carriers of the Arab nationalist contagion must, from the point of view of US foreign policy planners, be eradicated.
The second is the existence in Syria of a major role for the state in the ownership and control of the economy. The idea of state control of industry and enterprise is an anathema to the US foreign policy establishment, as well we would expect it to be, given the enormous influence of bankers, investors and major corporations in Washington, in no small measure exercised through The Council on Foreign Relations. US capital is looking for places to export to and invest in. It is no accident that one of the first tasks undertaken by the dictator Washington initially installed in Iraq in 2003, L. Paul Bremer (not surprisingly, a member of the Council), was to remove most restrictions which the toppled Arab nationalist government in Baghdad had imposed on US investors and exporters. Tariffs and duties were abolished; scores of Iraqi enterprises were put on the auction block; much of the economy was opened to foreign investment; foreign investors were allowed to repatriate 100 percent of their profits; and a 15 percent flat tax was established. 
Likewise, much of the growing US hostility to China, signaled in the Obama’s administration’s military pivot to the Asia-Pacific region, and the Council’s call for Washington to “balance the rise of China” (which is to say eclipse its economic growth), is based on opposition to the significant role the Chinese Communist Party plays in China’s economy. Saying that Washington is opposed to state economic control is another way of saying that the US foreign policy establishment bristles at restrictions which prevent US investors and businesses from fully realizing the profit potential of Chinese land, labor, resources, and markets. US investors, US business people and US bankers want China as a wonderful source of profits, an aspiration that fails to comport fully with China’s own development strategy.
Similarly Damascus’s significant management of Syria’s economy at the expense of US investors and US corporations has very likely been a major consideration (among others) behind the decision taken by the big business-dominated US foreign policy establishment to attempt to engineer the ouster of Assad’s Arab nationalist government.
It is said that countries have interests, not friends, but is there any democratic or geographically legitimate sense in which they have economic interests on someone else’s territory? Only imperialists have economic interests beyond their own borders, enforced through threat and coercion, and that US state officials regularly invoke the phrase “our vital interests” in other countries in order to justify interventions is a measure of how unabashedly imperialist US foreign policy is. The vital interests the United States claims to have in the Middle East, Asia and Europe are no more valid than the vital interests Nazi Germany claimed to have in Europe, fascist Italy claimed to have in Africa, Imperial Japan claimed to have in East Asia, and Britain claimed to have in Asia and Africa.
An analysis of who exercises sway over public policy making in Washington leads to an inescapable conclusion: US foreign policy has a class content. It is that of bankers, investors and major shareholders of the United States’ key corporations who, through instrumental and functional mechanisms, dominate US public affairs. This class has an interest in unimpeded access to the land, labor, resources and markets of the entire world (and beyond ) for purposes of making itself ever wealthier. For this reason, US foreign policy is, and has always been, hostile to the threat posed by the economic self-determination of foreign populations which aspire to control their own wealth-producing assets for their own purposes. This is no less true in connection with Syria, whose government represents the last bastion of an Arab nationalism which is against US corporate control of the Arab heartland, and which plays a significant role in the country’s economic affairs at the expense of private US investors. By contrast with the imperialist character of US foreign policy, the thinking of the Syrian president is democratic and geographically valid: “Syria,” he has said, “is an independent state working for the interests of its people, rather than making the Syrian people work for the interests of the West.”  US foreign policy seeks to turn this on its head. In the view of US foreign policy planners, Syria ought to be a US client state which colludes in making the Syrian people work for the economic interests of a parasitic elite of billionaires, wealthy investors, and major shareholders who sit atop US society and aspire to sit atop the entire world.
1. Amy Harder and Colleen McCain Nelson, “Obama administration rejects Keystone XL pipeline, citing climate concerns,” The Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2015.
2. Juan Forero, “Center of gravity in oil world shifts to America,” The Washington Post, May 25, 2012.
3. Juliet Eilperin, “Canadian government overhauling environmental rules to aid oil extraction,” The Washington Post, June 3, 2012.
4. Benoit Faucon and Keith Johnson, “U.S. redraws world oil map,” The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2012.
5. Clifford Kraus and Eric Lipton, “U.S. inches toward goal of energy independence,” The New York Times, March 22, 2012.
6. Daniel Yergin, “Who will rule the oil market?” The New York Times, January 23, 2015.
7. Albert Szymanski, The Logic of Imperialism, Praeger, 1983, p. 167.
8. Szymanksi (1983), p. 166.
9. Bernard Lewis, “Rethinking the Middle East, Foreign Affairs,” September 1, 1992.
10. Laurence H. Shoup, Wall Street’s Think Tank: The Council on Foreign Relations and the Empire of Neoliberal Geopolitics, 1976-2014, Monthly Review Press, 2015, p. 215.
11. Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam, Holt, 2005, p. 99.
12. Szymanksi (1983), p. 165.
14. Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Internet Groups, and Average Citizens”, Perspectives in Politics, Fall, 2014.
15. Nicholas Confessore, Sarah Cohen and Karen Yourish, “The families funding the 2016 presidential election,” The New York Times, October 10, 2015.
17. Transcript of audio file containing lecture by Albert Szymanski. The audio file is no longer available on the internet.
18. 60 Minutes, May 12, 1996.
19. Domenico Losurdo, “Flight from history? The communist movement between self-criticism and self-contempt,” Nature, Society and Thought, 2000, 1393): 457-514.
20. Sam Dagher and Raja Abdulrahim, “Russian fighter jet downed in region with diverse mix of rebel groups,” The Wall Street Journal, November 24, 2015.
The bill, which can be found on the US Congress website, reads: Sec. 202) This bill directs the President, acting through appropriate federal agencies, to: ….promote the right of U.S. commercial entities to explore outer space and utilize space resources, in accordance with such obligations, free from harmful interference, and to transfer or sell such resources.
This article was first published in November 2012. Issues pertaining to weather modification are not part of the COP21 UN Sponsored Climate Change Conference in Paris
Over the past decade evidence has increasingly emerged indicating how geoengineering and weather modification programs designed to inflict major impacts on the atmosphere and environment are fully operational.
Despite such developments the CO2-specific anthropogenic theory of global warming touted by foundation-funded environmental groups and public relations dominates much of popular discourse and the prevailing worldview of intellectuals.
By drawing attention away from actually existing efforts of atmospheric experimentation and manipulation, such coordinated efforts are complicit in the impending environmental catastrophe they profess to be rallying against. The repeated claim of CO2-driven climate change without acknowledgment of geoengineering-related environmental intervention is a severe perversion of both meaningful scientific inquiry and public opinion with overwhelming implications for all life on earth.
“While scientists continue research into any global climatic effects of greenhouse gases, we ought to study ways to offset any possible ill effects. Injecting sunlight-scattering particles into the stratosphere appears to be a promising approach. Why not do that?”—Edward Teller
“To accept opinions in their terms is to gain the good solid feeling of being correct without having to think. “—C. Wright Mills
For anyone who looks up in the sky every so often while fostering some recollection of what a sunny day used to resemble, the reality of geoengineering—what are often referred to as “chemtrails”—can no longer be easily dismissed. For over a decade military and private jet aircraft have been spraying our skies with what numerous independent researchers, journalists, and activists observe to be an admixture of aluminum, barium, strontium, and other dangerous heavy metals. Such substances distributed into the atmosphere as microscopic subparticulates eventually descend to earth where they are breathed by living things and absorbed by the soil and plant life.
“A glimpse into new death technologies” intended to modify weather and the environment “is in legislation introduced by Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich,” investigative writer Amy Worthington wrote almost a decade ago. Kucinich’s
unsuccessful Space Preservation Act of 2001 was intended to ban space deployment of:
*electronic, psychotronic and information weaponry
*high altitude ultra low frequency weapons
*plasma, electromagnetic, sonic and ultrasonic weapons
*strategic, theater, tactical or extraterrestrial weapons
*chemical biological, environmental climate or tectonic weapons
*chemtrails (this term was stricken from a later version, suggesting duress)
In their quest to remain top dog in the kill chain, the purveyors of perpetual war have deliberately dimmed earth’s life-giving sunlight, and reduced atmospheric visibility with lung-clogging particulates and polymers. This ecological terrorism has severely compromised public health, according to thousands of testimonials.
A recently discovered NASA document from 1966 indicates that weather modification efforts have been underway since the 1940s. “There is … great motivation to develop effective countermeasures against the destructive measures of weather,” the paper observes,
and, conversely, enhance the beneficial aspects. The financial and other benefits to human welfare of being able to modify weather to augment water supplies, reduce lightening, suppress hail, mitigate tornados, and inhibit the full development of hurricanes would be very great.
According to the report, in 1964 the National Science Foundation formed a Special Commission on Weather Modification. Thereafter, weather weapons in the form of cloud seeding were used to flood North Vietnamese supply lines during the Vietnam War. More recent documentation points to private and government bodies’ active pursuit of weather modification, including the US Department of Homeland Security’s Hurricane Aerosol and Microphysics Program. And in mid-2012 scientists proposed a $5 billion geoengineering plan to potentially unleash one million tons of particulates in the upper atmosphere each year to “cut world greenhouse gas emissions.”
Since this is such an open program—taking place in plain sight directly over our heads—why is there almost complete silence about it in academic circles as well as mainstream and “alternative” progressive media outlets, particularly if one is to conclude that academe and the press are where disinterested inquiry and the dissemination of information and ideas in the public interest are allegedly anticipated and guaranteed? Indeed, geoengineering and weather manipulation are “a scientific taboo,” Michel Chossudovsky points out.
The possibility of climatic or environmental manipulations as part of a military and intelligence agenda, while tacitly acknowledged, is never considered as relevant. Military analysts are mute on the subject. Meteorologists are not investigating the matter, and environmentalists are strung on global warming and the Kyoto protocol.
In this way such a condition is also attributable to the deleterious effect of intellectual disengagement and naivete originating within scholarly and journalistic communities that, combined with well-funded public relations efforts promoting the CO2-specific theory of global warming, eventually compromises the reasoning and communicative capacities of the broader public sphere.
The Trouble with Normal
When individuals share certain understandings and rationalities about themselves, their profession, and the broader society and culture, as is the overwhelming case in academe or journalism, they possess a binding ideology, and thereby a basis where certain perceptions and beliefs may become readily embraced or dismissed. Concepts inimical to such firm convictions are verboten. Moreover, the heavy reliance on foundation funding combined with rigid hiring and peer review processes ensure that ideas and research challenge this institutional matrix and the broader order of things in only playful and generally non-threatening ways.
Speaking as someone who works in the academy, the fear of being rejected as a crackpot also plays a large role in self-censorship. I never wholly dismissed the chemtrail phenomenon or the reports of chemtrail activists. Yet the very idea of such a nefarious program was so disturbing and surreal that several years ago I half-heartedly sought out a variety of what appeared to be conflicting information of both chemtrail activists and skeptics via online sources to placate and thereby suppress my concerns. After all, I thought, if there was anything to such claims they would be interrogated and ferreted out by university research itself and the independent progressive-left news media and intelligentsia that I relied on so heavily to form my worldview. The real problem, clearly articulated by United Nations agencies, Noble laureates and from seemingly every corner of our mediated environments is the abundance of carbon dioxide and the threat it poses in the form of melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and severe weather events.
Not until 2010, when I happened across the documentary What in the World Are They Spraying? (WITWATS) did I become more fully convinced that coordinated geoengineering programs not only exist, but that they are far-reaching in scope and have major implications for life on earth. Perhaps alongside the alleged scourge of CO2-induced global warming, geoengineering programs that are purportedly in place to “curb” such processes actually pose the greatest threat to humanity and the environment. Like Monsanto, which seeks to control all facets of agriculture and thus our physiological makeup, the US military’s self-admitted objective is to “control the weather” through atmospheric manipulation by 2025.
Living in a tropical climate and spending much of the time outdoors I eventually became something of a novel “skywatcher.” Upon closer observance it has become increasingly difficult to ignore the activity of numerous high altitude aircraft leaving plumes that over the course of several hours expand and coalesce to make massive cloudlike formations that could be easily mistaken for overcast above sometimes naturally-occurring cumulus clouds. I recognized how throughout most of the year this was an almost daily phenomenon initiated by planes with sometimes bizarre and inconsistent flight paths.
When I contacted to Federal Aviation Administration in Fort Lauderdale on a day with high aerial activity of this nature, I was consoled by an overly polite FAA agent that the trails were merely “water vapor,” and that dispersal of any substances several miles overhead would have but negligible effects at ground level. While it is true that jet engines can briefly produce plumes akin to cirrus clouds resulting from the exhaust process, the prevalence of this activity once I became aware of it struck me as highly unusual, and geoengineering activists contend that the inexplicable and often dangerous admixture of microscopic heavy metal particulates now common in our air—particularly aluminum—originate in the persistent contrails. A variety of air samples, most recently by activists at losangelesskywatch.com, confirm this phenomenon.
In late 2011 my six year old daughter had a long-running respiratory ailment which prompted me to send off a small sample of her hair for lab analysis. The results indicated a high level of aluminum. This was disturbing especially given that she had received an abbreviated vaccine regimen, drank water run from a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis filter, and ate only organic food. Her pediatrician expressed some astonishment, asking whether we use aluminum cookware. Apart from this he could offer no explanations and merely prescribed a popular antibiotic for the cough. While there may have been no correlation between the symptoms, it seemed as if the often obscure and bizarre government projects pointed to by “conspiracy theorists” had now struck home in a most intimate way.
It was around this time that I proposed to my department chair we invite WITWATS co-director Michael Murphy to screen his film and give a public talk on campus. Earlier that year a colleague hosted De Franklin Lopez, the director of EndCiv, a provocative documentary profiling the ideas of radical environmental activist and writer Erick Jensen that compares CO2-producing activities with the severest forms of colonial exploitation and Nazi war crimes while advocating violence and vandalism to save the earth. The screening was well-attended by faculty and graduate students.
At the time our department also included on faculty a talented documentary filmmaker whose work has become a platform for proselytizing on anthropogenic global warming and the many lifestyle changes necessary to thwart it. I took for granted that the university was a place where a variety of ideas, however controversial, could be presented, scrutinized, and pondered. However, after emailing the WITWATS YouTube link to my superior I was told in no uncertain terms, “That’s far right propaganda.”
Following a lengthy and good-natured exchange (which included an apology) there was no moral or monetary support forthcoming, which prevented me from approaching other university-related funding sources. Aided by Murphy’s honest willingness to forego an honorarium, I helped to support his campus visit to speak to one of my classes and present the film to the broader public. The screenings and question and answer sessions were very well-received by the students especially, all of whom can detect baloney a mile or two away. Yet despite publicity for the screening and personal invitations to colleagues I found it instructive that none were in attendance.
The story provides a microcosmic demonstration of the limited parameters for the exchange of information and ideas, that are at least as constrictive in the academy—which asserts a license on what constitutes truth and knowledge—as they are in the broader public sphere that is typically policed by ideas and assumptions that have legitimacy and rootedness in academic circles. Along these lines, within mainstream and specifically progressive media the hypothesized ecological dangers of CO2 have become the default line of reasoning for environmental issues. And, as public discourse in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy suggests, such notions overwhelmingly constitute the precognitive conditions and informational frames through which “extreme weather” events are interpreted.
The CO2 Noise Machine
A significant portion of the underlying research and public relations maneuvers of conventional environmental groups alleging CO2’s baneful and poisonous nature are funded almost entirely by major philanthropic foundations, and this goes a long way in drowning out other arguably more clear-cut and well-documented explanations of weather events, above all geoengineering and weather modification programs.
A foremost reason for the CO2 climate change theory’s endurance is the perceived legitimacy of its proponents, a widescale uncritical acceptance of its assumptions by mainstream and purportedly “alternative/progressive” media figures and outlets, and a limited understanding of the dubious science often based on drastically tortured and opaquely-constructed measurements and data. That a minority of climate scientists and seemingly impartial United Nations entities such as the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have apparently managed to convince a wide swath of opinion leaders and policy makers that the atmosphere is heating up because of genuinely miniscule increases in carbon dioxide is a feat that takes substantial resources and coordination.
A passage from “economic hitman” John Perkins’ second semiautobiographical book provides an illustrative example how the CO2 theory of climate change becomes a deep-seated component of an ostensibly well-informed individual’s outlook and belief system.
I checked the clock on the bookcase and, aware that I had dallied too long, headed for the shower. As I passed the radio I flicked it on the local NPR station … Then suddenly the words of the radio announcer caught my attention.
“Within less than a hundred years,” she said, “all the maple trees—and the fall foliage—will be gone from Massachusetts. According to a recent scientific study, global warming will make our climate here similar to North Carolina’s. So” she sighed, “enjoy this year’s display. We may not have many more like it.” I stood there for a moment staring through the bathroom window. Outside, the old red maple next to the house bowed in the wind, its branches scrapping against the wall. The familiar sound now seemed foreboding, a death rattle. I felt absolutely devastated.
Scratching the veneer of some of the major climate change movers and shakers one finds a very well-financed assemblage of entities with major philanthropic foundation ties. Indeed, the Rockefeller Foundations alone are major players behind the anthropogenic global warming “activism” and propaganda. For example, in 2009 the Rockefeller Family Foundation gave $3,500,000 to Grace Communications Fund, an organization that “builds partnerships and develops innovative media strategies that increase public awareness of the relationships among food, water, and energy systems.” Also in 2009 Rockefeller gave $775,000 to the Natural Resource Defense Council, whose foremost agenda is “curbing global warming” and “creating a clean energy future.” Another $650,000 was channeled to the World Wildlife Federation, $350,000 to the Center for Climate Strategies, and $200,000 to the Sierra Club.
As bizarre as it may seem, such organizations are funded to such a degree because of their express intent on austerity and even depopulation programs. Toward this end they speak in one powerful voice that climate change is caused by the CO2-specific consumptive practices of human beings. Curiously, however, these extremely well-funded groups completely ignore actually existing or impending environmental upheavals brought about by geoengineering, dangerously designed nuclear power plants, the wanton disbursal of depleted uranium, and the proliferation of genetically modified organisms throughout the food supply.
A leading mouthpiece of the CO2 global warming hysteria is science author and journalist Bill McKibben, who oversees the popular 350.org publicity outlet. Through this effort McKibben has succeeded in convincing young and old alike to draw attention to the “scientific” assertion that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are advancing from the low 300s to 400 parts per million of overall atmospheric gases—an ominous .01 percent—by sending in money, buying 350.org paraphernalia, partaking in civil disobedience and even hiking across the United States. This is an impressive public relations accomplishment. More importantly, however, such antics cleverly lend themselves toward authenticating the notion that most every extreme weather event is attributable to dangerous CO2 levels. This conjecture has become as central part a part of the powerful liberal and progressive opinion generating apparatus as the declarations of eugenicists seeking to build a master Nordic race a century ago—an assemblage of scientists and publicists who were, uncoincidentally, funded by some of the same interests.
McKibben’s 350.org project is the public face of his 501(c)(3) 1Sky Education Fund, which between its founding in 2007 and 2009 took in close to $5,000,000 in foundation money and “public contributions.” In 2010 the Rockefeller Brothers Fund gave 1Sky $200,000. The key “scientific” paper McKibben points to as support for his dire warnings on climate change, “Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim,” coauthored by NASA scientist James Hansen, was partially funded through Rockefeller Foundation money.
The piece is not so much a scientific report as it is a set of mandates calling for drastic social and political action to avert continued CO2 “buildup.” “Preservation of a climate resembling that which humanity is accustomed,” the authors assert, “requires that most remaining fossil fuel carbon is never emitted to the atmosphere.” Independent researchers and journalists assert that such proposed policies based on tying carbon emissions to atmospheric decay, many of which are already underway in some US states at the local level, will inevitably curtail further industrial development (and consequently economic growth) of almost every type and circumvent existing property rights while ushering in a new age of near-feudal hardship.
McKibben and 350.org are an especially proficient example of the many foundation-supported promotional outlets that, in the tradition of Edward Bernays, have since the late 1990s fundamentally altered public perception and discourse on weather and the climate. This is particularly the case among members of the intelligentsia who disturbingly accept the pronouncements of calculating figures such as McKibben and Vice President Al Gore—individuals that routinely demonstrate their contempt for science and the public interest by trumpeting the assumed inevitability of an uncertain theory. As a result the CO2 explanatory phantom dominates center stage and wholly removes from consideration far more probable causes of unusual and extreme weather.
Piece of Mind through Conformity
The established intellectual communities’ uncritical acceptance of the CO2-specific description of climate change has far less to do with its plausibility or scientific soundness—the “science” is too opaque for pedestrian comprehension and its accompanying shortcomings and qualifications are routinely and fraudulently downplayed—than it does with the overall ubiquity of the notion and an especially naïve faith in the fair and equitable production and dissemination of scientific knowledge.
The reasoning goes something like this. If non-CO2-related explanations of unusual weather patterns existed, the benevolent and impartial foundations would recognize their significance and fund such countervailing scientific research. As the histories of modern medicine, psychiatry, eugenics, and public education suggest, however, the reality is that the dominant paradigm is not the one that is ultimately the most valid and principled, but rather the one that is best funded. In this regard the foundations’ wealthy benefactors call the tune and run the show.
The overall effort has been a public relations coup of immense proportions not because it has seized the hearts and minds of the general public, many of which remain skeptical of the theory, but rather among educated opinion leaders who through personal mystification with their own credentials and titles are the most steadfast in the beliefs they are inured to accept. Even the few who have misgivings about the prevalent explanation of climate change and less examined yet entirely conceivable causes will seldom speak their minds for fear of incurring the wrath of their colleagues and peers, thus perpetuating a professional sphere that more closely resembles a Stalinist inquisition than one where free and open debate are fostered.
In order to preserve ones sanity, reputation and specialized status one need recognize the importance of alignment with an unexamined belief in what one has been told by the “experts” and their spokespersons while simultaneously assuming excessive skepticism toward the readily apparent phenomena of everyday life, however well-documented and alarming they may be. We may seldom have any more clear, sunny days, storms may be of mainly synthetic derivation and direction, and in less than a generation children could be developing Alzheimer’s by their late teens, but are these sufficient reasons to jeopardize one’s professional and social standing?
To broach the topic of weather control and geoengineering programs not only indicates an unhealthy lack of faith in overwhelmingly powerful yet poorly understood institutions and their guiding rationales. It also runs counter to that “good solid feeling of being correct without having to think.” Such dialogue suggests bad taste, especially when one can discuss Paul Krugman’s latest column or where to buy the best arugula. For these reasons I’ve tentatively resigned myself to a fate befitting a well-educated and properly conditioned member of the intellectual class. Realizing that my destiny and that of my loved ones can no longer be considered exclusively our own, I’ve finally learned to stop worrying and love chemtrails.
Erdogan is an international outlaw. He’s supporting ISIS, US proxy foot soldiers in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, directly involved in their oil smuggling, refining and sales worth hundreds of millions of dollars on the black market.
“In the last eight months ISIS has managed to sell … $800 million dollars worth of oil on the black market of Turkey. This is Iraqi oil and Syrian oil, carried by trucks from Iraq, from Syria through the borders to Turkey and sold …[at] less than 50 percent of the international oil price,”Mowaffak al Rubaie said in an interview with RT.
As Prime Minister David Cameron attempts to persuade Parliament to back another illegal assault on a country posing no threat to the UK, Syria, it transpires that Britain may anyway face war crimes charges for arms sales to Saudi Arabia, arms being used to decimate civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen.
Two Turkish generals and a colonel were detained on Saturday for intercepting Syria-bound trucks that belonged to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), the newspaper Today’s Zaman reported.
Two Turkish generals and a colonel were detained on Saturday for intercepting Syria-bound trucks that belonged to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), the newspaper Today’s Zaman reported.
In January 2014, Ankara Gendarmerie Major-General Ibrahim Aydin, former Adana Gendarmerie Brigadier-General Hamza Celepoglu and former Gendarmerie Criminal Laboratory Head Colonel Burhanettin Cihangiroglu stopped Syrian-bound trucks in southern Turkey after they received information from an anonymous source that the trucks were illegally carrying weapons to militants in Syria.
When the information about the trucks became public, MIT officials and high-ranking Turkish politicians, including President Recep Teyyip Erdogan, who was Prime Minister back then, and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, then the country’s foreign minister, were furious that the gendarmes stopped the trucks and said the Syria-bound trucks were carrying “humanitarian aid” to Turkmen living just south of Turkey, the newspaper said:
“Yes, I’m saying this without any hesitation. That aid was going to the Turkmens. There will be a war next door and we will watch our Turkmen, Arab and Turkish brothers being massacred,” Davutoglu said, as cited by Today’s Zaman.
However, members of opposition parties and some Turkish media said the trucks were indeed transporting weapons to Islamic extremists in Syria.
The gendarmes involved in the interception confirmed that the Syria-bound trucks weren’t going to an area where the Turkmen lived, but to an area populated by radical groups, the Turkish newspaper said.
When an investigation into the MIT case was launched, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) called the probe as “treason and espionage” on the part of prosecutors.
New Twist in the Story
New developments on the issue took place recently. Last Tuesday, Erdogan answered claims previously made by critics, who said the trucks were filled with weapons, by sarcastically asking them: “What if the MIT trucks were filled with weapons?”
Then on Saturday, contrary to his earlier claims that the MIT trucks were carrying humanitarian aid to Turkmen, Erdogan said the trucks were actually heading on their way to help the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
“They [the gendarmes who revealed the transfer] also exposed those going to the FSA in that way,” Erdogan said on Saturday while addressing his supporters in Balikesir, as cited by Today’s Zaman.
Well, that’s getting pretty confusing — were the trucks delivering “humanitarian aid” to the Turkmen or the FSA then? Just make up your mind, Mr. Erdogan. Where the trucks were heading and what were they carrying after all?
Meanwhile, some very high-ranking Turkish officials, including then-president Abdullah Gul, revealed that the Syria-bound trucks were a “state-secret,” leading to more speculations that the trucks were indeed filled with weapons.
The recent developments are taking place in the wake of a major government crackdown on two Turkish journalists of the Cumhuriyet newspaper, Can Dunbar and Erdem Gul, who we arrested for covering a story and releasing pictures, claiming that Turkish trucks provided weapons to Syrian opposition rebels.
The reason why the Turkish government arrested the journalists is because Erdogan and his ruling party don’t want reporters to write about certain things, such as the government’s support of Syrian rebels, corruption and other important things that people should actually know about, human rights activist Arzu Geybulla said.
Following the arrest of the journalists, who covered Erdogan’s “tender” topic, it looks like the Turkish President is trying to eliminate everyone who’s willing to speak up or reveal the fact that the Turkish government was helping out Islamic extremists in Syria.
All of this comes amid the political scandal involving the downing of the Russian Su-24 by a Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet on Tuesday.
After the incident Russia said Turkey was one of the countries which cover the actions of Islamic terrorists in Syria.
In the early-1950s, when it became widely known that smoking caused cancer, giant tobacco companies formed the Tobacco Industry Research Council (TIRC). Its main goal was to deny the harmful effects of tobacco and confuse the public.
Realizing that the tobacco corporations were obstructing progress, the WHO finally built a firewall between public health officials and industry lobbyists. Only then was it possible to better control tobacco.
Flash forward to Paris and the 21st annual UN Climate Conference, November 30 to December 11 The 190 participating countries are charged with trying to hold carbon emissions to liveable limits between the years 2020 and 2030.
But – just like when the tobacco lobby was powerful – the fossil fuel lobby is strongly influencing decisions to be made in Paris.
The corporations oppose government regulations, and their main goal is to have the marketplace determine the amount of carbon emissions. However, public interest groups believe that industry will serve its own interests for profits instead of prioritizing the reduction of carbon emissions.
The public interest group Corporate Europe Observatory, located in Brussels, has compiled information on the agenda the corporations will be pushing at COP21:
Instead of governments taxing emitters – a simple and inexpensive system to operate – corporations want to create a world market where polluters and investors can buy and sell carbon credits. They claim the system would help spur investments in low-carbon energy However, this system has worked poorly in Europe and is vulnerable to abuse.
The fossil fuel industry wants governments and the public to acknowledge natural gas as a “clean energy source.” This would result in significant increases of fracking in many parts of the world. It’s true that gas, when burnt, has low emissions, but the fracking process leaks methane into the atmosphere, which is 80 times worse than carbon.
The ‘net zero’ proposal: Rather than attempting to reduce emissions to zero, ’net zero’ means that some emissions can keep rising. The industry says this would be offset in the future via the removal of emissions from the atmosphere when yet-to-be developed technologies make the removal possible.
According to Shell, going to net zero would allow them to keep burning fossil fuels for the rest of this Century. This would be balanced off by the – so far – theoretical removal of carbon from the atmosphere at some point in the future.
While public interest groups will be kept mainly on the sidelines, corporations are being allowed to hold at least 10 special events for government officials. Names of some of the sessions: “Business and Climate: A positive revolution for companies?”; “The Future is Looking Up”; and “Energy for Tomorrow.”
Some of the very corporations driving global warming will be represented in Paris. Included will be Shell, BP, Volkswagen, Monsanto, Total, Dow Chemical, Monsanto, Syngenta, Nestles, McDonalds, Walmart and others.
Fossil fuel companies have not managed to get a much coveted seat at the actual negotiating table during COP decision-making. But they are lobbying so hard that they hope politicians will come up with pro-industry solutions.
NGOs have launched a campaign, Kick the Polluters Out and are planning demonstrations in Paris. Close to a half-million people signed the protest document over a short period of time.
But, at the present time at least, it would be very difficult to get the fuel lobby organizations out of the climate change process.
The corporations are so powerful in the UN climate talks process they appear to be the proverbial tail wagging the dog. Christiana Figueres, head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), scolded those who claim the fossil fuel industry is not part of the solution, telling them to “stop demonizing oil and gas companies.”
In what critics consider a betrayal of the climate control effort, after a few years inside the system, UN experts move over to the private sector. According to the Corporate Europe Observatory, this revolving door helps business to control the process in the COP process.
At the national level, because oil, coal and other fossil fuel corporations are so wealthy and so important to national economies, corporations are able to intimidate governments from taking the best possible carbon reduction pledges to Paris. Energy corporations are successful in compromising the policies of the U.S. government.
In October, the European Parliament expressed concern that an early analysis government pledges indicated the temperature would increase between 2.7 and 3.5 degrees Celsius. An increase within this range would be disastrous for humankind.
The European Parliament has now called on governments to agree in Paris to revise the projections downward before 2020 to keep the increase to 2 degrees Celsius, which is the target recommended by scientists.
The government of the state of Israel has used the EU decision on mandatory labelling of goods from the Occupied Territories, as an excuse to abort any peace initiatives from Europe or any UN member state.
In a clear move to further his aim of a Greater Israel, ethnically cleansed of all indigenous Arab communities, Binyamin Netanyahu is in danger of not only losing Israel its primary export market but also the receipt of millions of euros in research and development aid.
In his refusal to dismantle all illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Netanyahu is playing a dangerous game that could see Israel revert to being just another insignificant Mediterranean state dependent on US aid and arms for survival.
But that support is by no means guaranteed as Israel’s geopolitical significance dramatically weakens in favour or more stable and economically successful states such as the UAE which has now become strategically far more important. Already, the huge American military supply base at Jebel Ali port, in Dubai, is vital to satisfying the whole US armed forces requirement in the Middle East.
‘Israel has said it is suspending contact with EU officials involved in peace efforts with the Palestinians. The move follows the bloc’s decision to label goods from Jewish settlements in the West Bank.’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “ordered suspension of diplomatic contacts with the institutions of the European Union ..”
The Wampis nation of the Peruvian Amazon declares the creation of the first autonomous indigenous government in Peru to defend the totality of their ancestral territory covering 1.3 million hectares of tropical forest.
29th November 2015, Soledad, river Santiago, Perú: The Wampis nation has declared the formation of its autonomous territorial government with the election of the first representatives and the approval and publication of its Statute, the legal framework which they will use to govern the territory. In a historic moment for the indigenous Peoples of Latin America, they issued their first Resolution which declared the totality of their ancestral territory, an area that covers more than 1.3 million hectares, as an integrated territory.
The announcement was made during the first ever Wampis Summit in front of almost 300 representatives from 85 communities. Andres Noningo Sesen, one of the Waimaku, or Wampis visionaries, explained why they had reached this decision.
“We have taken this decision partly as a strategy of territorial defence; in response to the efforts to divide us into communities. We will still be Peruvian citizens but this unity will give us the political strength we need to explain our vision to the world and to those companies and governments who only see the gold and oil in our rivers and forests much less the spirit beings of Nunkui and Tsunki, who look after our earth and water. It will also enable us to promote our own vision for our future that we want, a future that is healthy and in harmony with the natural world”.
The Wampis Statute is built strictly on the obligations of the Peruvian state to respect the rights and autonomy of indigenous peoples and nations. Amongst other principles, the statute requires that any activity that could affect Wampis territory secure the free, prior and informed consent of the Wampis nation.
Their Magna Carta also promotes their own vision of their future. It prioritises their well-being and food security and the promotion of economic alternatives that respect their vision for a healthy and harmonious relationship with the natural world. These include the promotion of small scale fish farming and the production of cocoa and banana.
“We trust that the Peruvian state will support our initiative as it will help them to comply with their own obligations to respect the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples and nations to determine their own future. In addition, our historic decision will help them to meet their commitments to protect the Peruvian Amazon as part of its objective to address global climate change” said Mr Wrays Pérez Ramírez, during his first address after being elected as the first Pamuk, or president, of the Autonomous Territorial Government of the Wampis nation.
At the same time he also added that the event is being held on the eve of COP21 in Paris where the governments of the world will announce their commitments to address climate change and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In previous climate conferences the Peruvian government announced its objective to reduce net deforestation to zero by 2020 and their commitment to secure legal recognition of indigenous peoples ‘ ancestral territories that remain without legal security.
“Despite the commitments of the Peruvian government to reduce deforestation and guarantee the legal security of indigenous territories, the State continues to give away our territories to companies exploiting oil and gas, timber and palm oil without any consultation and deforestation continues to grow. While the Peruvian government and other governments are in Paris talking about how to protect tropical forests and reduce contamination, we are taking concrete actions in our territory to contribute to this global goal,” said the Pamuk.
The government’s first Resolution recognises and reaffirms that the territory of the Wampis nation is an integrated territory and establishes the mechanisms for its use and administration. “Our territory cannot be divided into communities or into water, forest or subsoil, it is one territory. This resolution will serve us as a tool to defend our territory which remains untitled and confront the diverse threats that surround us, like the oil lot 116 and the mega dam planned for the Manseriche rapids” said Alan Encinas Tserem, the PAMUKA AYATKE, the Vice-president of the new Autonomous Government.
The formal declaration is the result of a long process over many years in which the Wampis nation has held over 50 community meetings and 15 general assemblies to elaborate and debate the Statute in addition to conducting anthropological, legal and biological studies that reinforce the creation of the Autonomous Territorial Government.
“Today, we are very happy to have realised out dream. We have united here all the communities of the river Kankaim (Morona) and Kanus (Santiago) to come together and defend our territory. Now, we will be one single force” said local leader, Veronica Sharip.
“This achievement has been realised thanks to the struggles of our historic heroes including Sharian and Tsamaren and our present day leaders who, day after day, have worked tirelessly to defend our territory” said Mr Shapion Noningo Sesen.
Erdogan is an international outlaw, He’s supporting ISIS, US proxy foot soldiers in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere, directly involved in their oil smuggling, refining and sales worth hundreds of millions of dollars on the black market.
America and other Western nations are well aware of what’s going on, doing nothing to stop it, aiding it by inaction and/or direct support – Russia alone intervening by bombing ISIS’ truck pipeline, transporting oil along with its facilities in Syria,
Mowaffak al Rubaie is a former Iraqi Governing Council member/national security advisor. Interviewed by RT International, he explained “(i)n the last eight months (alone), ISIS (sold) $800 million dollars worth of (stolen) oil on the black market of Turkey.”
“This is Iraqi oil and Syrian oil, carried by trucks from Iraq, from Syria through the borders to Turkey and sold (at) less than 50 percent of the international oil price.”
“Now this either gets consumed inside, the crude refined on Turkish territory by the Turkish refineries, and sold in the Turkish market or it goes to Jihan and then in the pipelines from Jihan to the Mediterranean and sold to the international market.”
“Money and dollars generated by selling Iraqi and Syrian oil on the Turkish black market is like the oxygen supply to ISIS and it’s operation. Once you cut the oxygen then ISIS will suffocate.”
Al Rubaie stressed “no shadow of a doubt” about Turkey’s full knowledge and involvement in what’s ongoing. Responsibility goes right to the top. Reports suggest that Erdogan’s son, Bilal, is actively engaged in illegal smuggling, selling and profiting from stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil, facilitated by Turkey’s security apparatus and intelligence.
Erdogan’s regime treats wounded ISIS terrorists in Turkish hospitals in border areas and Istanbul. Daesh recruits are trained in Turkey by CIA operatives and US special forces. They move freely cross-border to and from Syria and Iraq.
Al Rubaie said “no terrorist organization…can stand alone without a neighboring country helping it.” Complicit with Washington, Turkey is directly involved along with other NATO countries, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Israel.
Without this type backing, ISIS and other terrorist groups couldn’t exist. America bears full responsibility for creating them – complicit nations aiding its imperial enterprise.
Putin prioritizes crippling ISIS’ oil smuggling operations, destroying its ability to generate enormous revenues from black market sales. None of this could go on without direct Erdogan regime involvement.
Russian pilots and drones observed and photographed a “living oil pipeline” – transporting vehicles moving as far as the eye can see and beyond the horizon, round-the-clock, heading for Turkey, returning empty to reload and head out again.
Since Russian air operations began targeting ISIS’ financial lifeline, over 1,000 oil transporting trucks were destroyed along with with depots and other facilities in Syria.
Assad’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said “Turkey continues to maintain export and transportation of oil stolen in Iraq and Syria by ISIL militants. Then, the oil is transported to ports abroad.”
Sergey Lavrov explained high-level Turkish officials “carefully protect any information about their oil smuggling deals. (It’s) transported (in) the area where the Russian plane was shot down, and (where) the terrorist infrastructure, arms and munitions depots and control centers” are located.
Retired French General Dominique Trinquand accused Turkey of “either not fighting ISIL at all or very little, and does not interfere with different types of smuggling that takes place on its border, be it oil, phosphate, cotton or people.”
On Saturday, Turkish police arrested Ankara Gendarmerie Regional Commander Major General Ibrahim Aydin, former Adana Gendarmerie Regional Commander Brigadier General Hamza Celepoglu and former Gendarmerie Criminal Laboratory Head Colonel Burhanettin Cihangiroglu on charges of treason and espionage – for revealing information about regime authorities transporting weapons cross-border to ISIS terrorists in Syria.
Charges relate to a January 2014 incident when they were involved in intercepting weapons-filled trucks belonging to Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT).
In May 2015, Turkish Cumhuriyet media published information about it, posting photos of MIT trucks being inspected by security officers.
Large amounts of heavy and other weapons were heading cross-border to Syria. The publication’s editor-in-chief and Ankara bureau chief now face treason and espionage charges for exposing regime criminality.
“In the last eight months ISIS has managed to sell … $800 million dollars worth of oil on the black market of Turkey. This is Iraqi oil and Syrian oil, carried by trucks from Iraq, from Syria through the borders to Turkey and sold …[at] less than 50 percent of the international oil price,” Mowaffak al Rubaie said in an interview with RT.
“Now this either get consumed inside, the crude is refined on Turkish territory by the Turkish refineries, and sold in the Turkish market. Or it goes to Jihan and then in the pipelines from Jihan to the Mediterranean and sold to the international market.”
“Money and dollars generated by selling Iraqi and Syrian oil on the Turkish black market is like the oxygen supply to ISIS and it’s operation,” he added. “Once you cut the oxygen then ISIS will suffocate.”
The Iraqi MP said there is “no shadow of a doubt” that the Turkish government knows about the oil smuggling operations. “The merchants, the businessmen [are buying oil] in the black market in Turkey under the noses – under the auspices if you like – of the Turkish intelligence agency and the Turkish security apparatus,” he said.
Citing Iraqi intelligence services, Mowaffak al Rubaie also accused Turkey of providing medical treatment to terrorists in hospitals along the border and at times even in “Istanbul itself.”
“There are security officers who are sympathizing with ISIS in Turkey,” the Iraqi politician believes. “They are allowing them to go from Istanbul to the borders and infiltrate … Syria and Iraq.”
“There is no terrorist organization which can stand alone, without a neighboring country helping it – in this case Turkey,” Rubaie said, urging Ankara to come clean and join the international efforts to destroy the terror group.
Russia considers ISIS oil smuggling operations to be one of the highest priority targets in crippling the terror group’s finances and capabilities. Moscow has long been requesting that Ankara properly addresses reports of its alleged involvement with ISIS oil smuggling.
President Putin himself noted that it was “hard to believe, but it is theoretically possible” that the Turkish leadership knows nothing about oil flowing into Turkey illegally. However he noted that the operations are too daring and obvious to ignore.
“Vehicles, carrying oil, lined up in a chain going beyond the horizon,” said Putin, comparing the views seen by Russian pilots and drones to a “living oil pipe” stretched from ISIS and rebel controlled areas of Syria into Turkey. “Day and night they are going to Turkey. Trucks always go there loaded, and back from there – empty,” Putin said earlier this week.
A six-month investigation finds that the revolving door between government and the chemical industry has led the EPA to rely on easily manipulated toxicology research carried out entirely on computers – and this ‘in silico’ science often trumps both biology and epidemiology when it comes to regulatory action, or lack of it. The result? Toxic substances remain in everyday products.
Scientists are trained to express themselves rationally. They avoid personal attacks when they disagree. But some scientific arguments become so polarized that tempers fray. There may even be shouting.
Such is the current state of affairs between two camps of scientists: health effects researchers and regulatory toxicologists.
Both groups study the effects of chemical exposures in humans. Both groups have publicly used terms like “irrelevant”, “arbitrary”, “unfounded” and “contrary to all accumulated physiological understanding” to describe the other’s work.
Privately, the language becomes even harsher, with phrases such as “a pseudoscience”, “a religion” and “rigged”. The rift centers around the best way to measure the health effects of chemical exposures.
The regulatory toxicologists typically rely on computer simulations called ‘physiologically based pharmacokinetic‘ (PBPK) modeling. The health effects researchers – endocrinologists, developmental biologists and epidemiologists, among others – draw their conclusions from direct observations of how chemicals actually affect living things.
The debate may sound arcane, but the outcome could directly affect your health. It will shape how government agencies regulate chemicals for decades to come: how toxic waste sites are cleaned up, how pesticides are regulated, how workers are protected from toxic exposure and what chemicals are permitted in household items.
Those decisions will profoundly affect public health: the rates at which we suffer cancer, diabetes, obesity, infertility, and neurological problems like attention disorders and lowered IQ.
The health impacts are real and dangerous
The link from certain chemicals to these health effects is real. In a paper published earlier this year, a group of leading endocrinologists concluded with 99% certainty that environmental exposure to hormone-disrupting chemicals causes health problems. They estimate that this costs the European Union healthcare system about $175 billion a year.
Closer to home, Americans are routinely sickened by toxic chemicals whose health effects have been long known. To cite one infamous example, people exposed to the known carcinogen formaldehyde in FEMA trailers after Hurricane Katrina suffered headaches, nosebleeds and difficulty breathing. Dozens of cancer cases were later reported.
Then there are workplace exposures, which federal government estimates link to as many as 20,000 cancer deaths a year and hundreds of thousands of illnesses.
Yet chemical regulation in the United States has proceeded at a glacial pace. And corporate profit is at the heart of the story.
That the chemical industry exerts political influence is well documented. What our investigation reveals is that, 30 years ago, corporate interests began to control not just the political process but the science itself. Industry not only funds research to cast doubt on known environmental health hazards. It has also shaped an entire field of science-regulatory toxicology – to downplay the risk of toxic chemicals.
Digital modelling allows risks to be systematically downplayed
Our investigation traces this web of influence to a group of scientists working for the Department of Defense (DOD) in the 1970s and 1980s – the pioneers of PBPK modeling. It quickly became clear that this type of modeling could be manipulated to minimize the appearance of chemical risk.
PBPK methodology has subsequently been advanced by at least two generations of researchers-including many from the original DOD group – who move between industry, government agencies and industry-backed research groups, often with little or no transparency.
The result is that chemicals known to be harmful to human health remain largely unregulated in the United States-often with deadly results.
For chemicals whose hazards are just now being recognized, such as the common plastics ingredient bisphenol A (BPA) and other endocrine disruptors, this lack of regulation is likely to continue unless the federal chemical review process becomes more transparent and relies less heavily on PBPK modeling.
Here we lay out the players, the dueling paradigms and the high-stakes health consequences of getting it wrong.
The dawn of PBPK simulation
The 1970s and 1980s saw a blizzard of environmental regulation. The Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Toxic Substances Control Act, along with the laws that established Superfund and Community Right-to-Know Programs, for the first time required companies- and military bases – using and producing chemicals to account for their environmental and health impacts.
This meant greater demand for chemical risk assessments as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began to establish safety standards for workplace exposures and environmental cleanups.
Of particular concern to the DOD were the many compounds used by the military to build, service and maintain aircraft, vehicles and other machinery: fuels and fuel additives, solvents, coatings and adhesives. The military is responsible for about 900 of the approximately 1,300 currently listed Superfund sites, many of which have been contaminated by these chemicals for decades.
In the mid-1980s, scientists at the Wright-Patterson Toxic Hazards Research Unit began using PBPK simulations to track how chemicals move through the body. Known as in silico (in computers) models, these are an alternative to testing chemicals in vivo (in live animals) or in vitro (in a test tube).
They allow scientists to estimate what concentrations of a chemical (or its breakdown products) end up in a particular organ or type of tissue, and how long they take to exit the body. The information can then be correlated with experimental data to set exposure limits-or not.
Making testing fast, cheap, and wrong
PBPK simulations made testing faster and cheaper, something attractive to both industry and regulators. But the PBPK model has drawbacks. “It tells you nothing about effects”, says Linda Birnbaum, director of both the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and National Toxicology Program (NTP).
Observational studies and laboratory experiments, on the other hand, are designed to discover how a chemical affects biological processes.
Even regulatory toxicologists who support PBPK acknowledge its limitations: “[PBPK models] are always going to be limited by the quality of the data that go into them”, says toxicologist James Lamb, who worked for the NTP and EPA in the 1980s and is now principal scientist at the consulting firm Exponent.
The late health effects researcher Louis Guillette, a professor at the Medical University of South Carolina famous for studies on DDT’s hormonedisrupting effects in Florida alligators, put it more bluntly: “PBPK? My immediate response: Junk in, junk out. The take-home is that most of the models [are] only as good as your understanding of the complexity of the system.”
Many biologists say PBPK-based risk assessments begin with assumptions that are too narrow, and thus often fail to fully capture how a chemical exposure can affect health.
For example, a series of PBPK studies and reviews by toxicologist Justin Teeguarden of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA, and his colleagues suggested that BPA breaks down into less harmful compounds and exits the body so rapidly that it is essentially harmless.
Their research began with certain assumptions: that BPA only mimics estrogen weakly, that it affects only the body’s estrogen system, and that 90% of BPA exposure is through digestion of food and beverages.
However, health effects research has shown that BPA mimics estrogen closely, can affect the body’s androgen and thyroid hormone systems, and can enter the body via pathways like the skin and the tissues of the mouth. When PBPK models fail to include this evidence, they tend to underestimate risk.
Because of its reliance on whatever data are included, PBPK modeling can be deliberately manipulated to produce desired outcomes. Or, as University of Notre Dame biologist Kristin Shrader-Frechette, who specializes in human health risk assessment, says: “Models can offer a means of avoiding the conclusions derived from actual experiments.”
In other words, PBPK models can be customized to provide results that work to industry’s advantage.
That’s not to say PBPK itself is to blame. “Let’s not throw the baby out completely with the bathwater”, says New York University associate professor of environmental medicine and health policy Leo Trasande. “However, when you have biology telling you there are basic flaws in the model, that’s a compelling reason that it’s time for a paradigm shift.”
Case study: methylene chloride
That PBPK studies could be used to make chemicals appear safer was as clear in the 1980s as it is now. In a 1988 paper touting the new technique, Wright-Patterson scientists explained how their modeling had prompted the EPA to stop its regulation process for a chemical of great concern to the military: methylene chloride.
Methylene chloride is widely used as a solvent and as an ingredient in making plastics, pharmaceuticals, pesticides and other industrial products. By the 1990s, the US military would be the country’s second greatest user. Methylene chloride was – and remains – regulated under the Clean Air Act as a hazardous air pollutant because of its carcinogenic and neurotoxic effects.
Between 1985 and 1986, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimated that about 1 million workers a year were exposed to methylene chloride, and the EPA classified the compound as a “probable human carcinogen.” A number of unions, including United Auto Workers and United Steelworkers, also petitioned OSHA to limit on-the-job exposure to methylene chloride.
In 1986, OSHA began the process of setting occupational exposure limits. Stakeholders were invited to submit public comments.
Among the materials submitted was a PBPK study by Melvin Andersen, Harvey Clewell-both then working at Wright-Patterson – and several other scientists, including two employed by methylene chloride product manufacturer Dow Chemical. Published in 1987, this study concluded, “Conventional risk analyses greatly overestimate the risk in humans exposed to low concentrations [of methylene chloride].”
Later that year, the EPA revised its previous health assessment of methylene chloride, citing the Wright-Patterson study to conclude that the chemical was nine times less risky than previously estimated. The EPA “has halted its rulemaking on methylene chloride [based on our studies]“, wrote Wright-Patterson scientists in 1988.
OSHA, too, considered the Wright-Patterson study in its methylene chloride assessment – and its rulemaking dragged on another 10 years before the agency finally limited exposure to the chemical.
A very useful tool for industry
The usefulness of PBPK modeling to industry did not escape the Wright-Patterson researchers. “The potential impact”, wrote Andersen, Clewell and their colleagues in 1988, “is far reaching and not limited to methylene chloride.”
Using PBPK models to set exposure limits could help avoid setting “excessively conservative” – that is, protective – limits that could lead to “unnecessary expensive controls” and place “constraints on important industrial processes.” In other words, PBPK models could be used to set less stringent environmental and health standards, and save industry money.
So far, they’ve been proven right. The work done at Wright-Patterson set the stage for the next 30-plus years. Results obtained using PBPK modeling – especially in industry-funded research, often conducted by former Wright-Patterson scientists – have downplayed the risk and delayed the regulation of numerous widely used and commercially lucrative chemicals.
These include formaldehyde, styrene, tricholorethylene, BPA and the pesticide chlorpyrifos. For many such chemicals, PBPK studies contradict what actual biological experiments conclude. Regulators often defer to the PBPK studies anyway.
A web of influence …
At the time that PBPK modelling was being developed, the chemical industry was struggling with its public image. The Bhopal, India, disaster-the methyl isocyanate release that killed and injured thousands – happened in 1984. The following year, a toxic gas release at a West Virginia Union Carbide plant sent about 135 people to hospitals.
In response to these incidents, new federal regulations required companies to account for the storage, use and release of hazardous chemicals. The minutes from a May 1988 Chemical Manufacturers Association (CMA) meeting show industry was feeling the pressure. Noting the federal scrutiny and the growing testing requirements, the CMA recommended that industry help “develop exposure data” and “explore innovative ways to limit required testing to that which is needed.”
This period also saw the rise of for-profit consulting firms like Environ (1982), Gradient (1985), ChemRisk (1985) and K.S. Crump and Company (1986), with which industry would collaborate advantageously in the following decades.
“Our goal was to do the science that would help the EPA and other regulatory bodies make the policies”, explained William Greenlee, Hamner president and CEO, in an interview for a business website. Indeed, over the past 30 years, Hamner and these consultancies have produced hundreds of PBPK studies, often with the support of chemical companies or trade groups. Overwhelmingly, these studies downplay or cast doubt on chemicals’ health effects-and delay regulation.
“I have seen how scientists from the Hamner Institutes can present information in a way that carefully shapes or controls a narrative”, says Laura Vandenberg, an assistant professor of environmental health sciences at University of Massachusetts Amherst.
She explains that Hamner scientists often use narrow time windows or present data in a limited context, rejecting information that does not conform to their models. “These are the kinds of tactics used to manufacture doubt”, she says.
A close look at the authors of studies produced by these industry-linked research groups reveals a web of influence traceable to Wright-Patterson (see chart, above right). At least 10 researchers employed at or contracted by Wright-Patterson in the 1980s went on to careers in toxicology at CIIT/Hamner, for-profit consulting firms or the EPA.
About half have held senior positions at Hamner, including the co-authors of many of the early Wright-Patterson PBPK studies: Melvin Anderson, now a chief scientific officer at Hamner, and Harvey Clewell, now a senior investigator at Hamner and principal scientist at the consulting firm ENVIRON. “I’m probably given credit as the person who brought PBPK into toxicology and risk assessment”, Andersen told In These Times.
… Extending deep into government
A revolving door between these industry-affiliated groups and federal regulators was also set in motion. More than a dozen researchers have moved from the EPA to these for-profit consultancies; a similar number have gone in the other direction, ending up at the EPA or other federal agencies.
Further blurring the public-private line, CIIT/Hamner has received millions of dollars in both industry and taxpayer money. The group stated on its website in 2007 that $18 million of its $21.5 million annual operating budget came from the “chemical and pharmaceutical industry.“
Information about its corporate funders is no longer detailed there, but Hamner has previously listed as clients and supporters the American Chemistry Council (formerly the CMA, and one of the most powerful lobbyists against chemical regulation), American Petroleum Institute, BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow, ExxonMobil, Chevron and the Formaldehyde Council.
At the same time, over the past 30 years, CIIT/Hamner has received nearly $160 million in grants and contracts from the EPA, DOD and Department of Health and Human Services. In sum, since the 1980s, these federal agencies have awarded hundreds of millions of dollars to industry-affiliated research institutes like Hamner.
But the federal reliance on industry-linked researchers extends further. Since 2000, the EPA has signed a number of cooperative research agreements with the ACC and CIIT/ Hamner. All involve chemical toxicity research that includes PBPK modeling. And in 2014, Hamner outlined additional research it will be conducting for the EPA’s next generation of chemical testing-the ToxCast and Tox21 programs. Over the past five years, Hamner has received funding for this same research from the ACC and Dow.
Meanwhile, the EPA regularly contracts with for-profit consultancies to perform risk assessments, assemble peer review panels and select the scientific literature used in chemical evaluations. This gives these private organizations considerable sway in the decision-making process, often with little transparency about ties to chemical manufacturers. The upshot: Experts selected to oversee chemical regulation often overrepresent the industry perspective.
These cozy relationships have not gone unnoticed; the EPA has been called to task by both its own Office of Inspector General and by the US Government Accountability Office. “These arrangements have raised concerns that ACC or its members could potentially influence, or appear to influence, the scientific results that may be used to make future regulatory decisions”, wrote the GAO in a 2005 report.
Asked for comment by In These Times, the EPA said these arrangements do not present conflicts of interest.
Decades of deadly delay – methylene chloride remains in use
PBPK studies have stalled the regulation of numerous chemicals. In each case, narrowly focused models developed by industry-supported research concluded that risks were lower than previously estimated or were not of concern at likely exposure levels.
Take, for example, methylene chloride, the subject of the 1987 paper Wright-Patterson scientists bragged had halted the EPA’s regulatory process. Despite the chemical being identified as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the UN International Agency for Research on Cancer, a “reasonably anticipated” human carcinogen by the US National Toxicology Program, and an “occupational carcinogen” by OSHA, the EPA has yet to limit its use.
EPA researchers noted this year that the 1987 PBPK model by the Wright-Patterson scientists remains the basis for the agency’s risk assessment.
Today, methylene chloride remains in use – to produce electronics, pesticides, plastics and synthetic fabrics, and in paint and varnish strippers. The Consumer Product Safety Commission, OSHA and NIOSH have issued health warnings, and the FDA bars methylene chloride from cosmetics – but no US agency has totally banned the chemical. The EPA estimates that some 230,000 workers are exposed directly each year.
According to OSHA, between 2000 and 2012, at least 14 people died in the United States of asphyxiation or heart failure after using methylene chloride-containing products to refinish bathtubs. The Center for Public Integrity reports that methylene chloride exposure prompted more than 2,700 calls to US poison control centers between 2008 and 2013.
Case study: formaldehyde
Another telling example of industry-funded PBPK studies’ influence is formaldehyde. This chemical remains largely unrestricted in the United States, despite being a well-recognized respiratory and neurological toxicant linked to nasal cancer and leukemia, as well as to allergic reactions and skin irritation.
The EPA’s toxicological review of formaldehyde, begun in 1990, remains incomplete, in no small part because of delays prompted by the introduction of studies – including PBPK models conducted by CIIT/Hamner – questioning its link to leukemia.
If that link is considered weak or uncertain, that means formaldehyde – or the companies that employ the sickened workers – won’t be held responsible for the disease. The chemical industry is well aware that “more people have leukemia … than have nasal tumors”, says recently retired NIEHS toxicologist James Huff.
Some of this CIIT/Hamner research was conducted between 2000 and 2005 with funding from an $18,750,000 EPA grant. In 2010, Hamner received $5 million from Dow, a formaldehyde product manufacturer, for toxicity testing, including PBPK modeling. The ACC, which opposes formaldehyde restriction, also supported this research.
Consequently, apart from a few state regulations and a pending EPA proposal to limit formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products like plywood, companies can still use the chemical – as in the FEMA trailers.
Cosmetics and personal care products can also be sources of formaldehyde exposure. This made headlines in 2011 after hair salon workers using a smoothing product called Brazilian Blowout reported nausea, sore throats, rashes, chronic sinus infections, asthma-like symptoms, bloody noses, dizziness and other neurological effects.
“You can’t see it … but you feel it in your eyes and it gives you a high”, salon owner and hair stylist Cortney Tanner tells In These Times. “They don’t teach this stuff in beauty school”, she says, and no one warns stylists about these products or even suggests using a ventilator.
OSHA has issued a hazard alert for these products and the FDA has issued multiple warnings, most recently in September, but regulations prevent federal agencies from pulling the products from store shelves. So, for formaldehyde, as in the case of the paint strippers containing methylene chloride, exposures continue.
BPA rings alarm bells
The chemical currently at the center of the most heated debates about consumer exposure is BPA. The building block of polycarbonate plastics, BPA is used in countless products, including the resins that line food cans and coat the thermal receipt paper at cash registers and ATMs.
While scientific evidence of adverse health effects from environmentally typical levels of BPA mounts, and many manufacturers and retailers have responded to public concern by changing their products, federal regulatory authorities still resist restricting the chemical’s use.
BPA does not produce immediate, acute effects, like those experienced by salon workers exposed to formaldehyde or machinists working with methylene chloride. But in laboratory tests on animals, BPA is a known endocrine disruptor. Structurally similar to natural hormones, endocrine disruptors can interfere with normal cellular processes and trigger abnormal biochemical responses.
These can prompt numerous health problems, including cancer, infertility, and metabolic and neurological disorders. BPA has also been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
To promote the idea that BPA is safe, the chemical industry routinely lobbies policymakers and ‘educates’ consumers. What has not been widely discussed, however, is how industry has backed PBPK studies that marginalized research showing risks from environmentally typical levels of BPA.
Many of these doubt-inducing studies have been conducted by researchers whose careers can be linked to the PBPK work done at Wright-Patterson. In published critiques, health effects researchers-among them Gail Prins and Wade Welshons-have detailed the many ways in which these PBPK models fail to accurately reflect BPA exposure.
PBPK and endocrine disruption
Over the past several decades, our evolving understanding of our bodies’ responses to chemicals has challenged previous toxicological assumptions- including those that are fed into PBPK models. This is particularly true of endocrine disruptors.
‘Cause and effect’ relationships between endocrine disruptors and health problems can be hard to pinpoint. We now know that early – even prenatal – exposure to endocrine disruptors can set the stage for adult disease. In addition, a pregnant woman’s exposures may affect not only her children but also her grandchildren.
These transgenerational effects have been documented in animal experiments. The classic human evidence came from victims of DES, a drug prescribed in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s to prevent miscarriages. Daughters of women who took the endocrine disruptor developed reproductive cancers, and preliminary research suggests their daughters may be at greater risk for cancer and other reproductive problems.
“The transgenerational work raises an incredible specter”, says Andrea Gore, who holds the Vacek Chair in Pharmacology at the University of Texas at Austin and edits the influential journal Endocrinology. “It’s not just what you’re exposed to now, it’s what your ancestors were exposed to.”
Complicating PBPK modeling further, hormone-mimicking chemicals, just like hormones, can have biological effects at concentrations as low as parts per trillion. In addition, environmental exposures most often occur as mixtures, rather than in isolation. And each individual may respond differently.
“PBPK doesn’t come close” to capturing the reality of endocrine disruption, the late developmental biologist Louis Guillette told In These Times, in part because modelers are “still asking questions about one chemical exposure with one route of exposure.” Even for health effects researchers, understanding of mixtures’ effects is in its infancy.
The debate over how endocrine disruption can be represented in PBPK models has intensified the unease between regulatory toxicologists and health effects researchers. That tension is particularly well-illustrated by a recent series of events that also reveal how some journal editors privilege the industry’s point of view.
A life-and-death debate
In February 2012 the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) published a report intended to inform regulation worldwide. The authors were an international group of health effects researchers with long experience studying endocrine disruption.
“There is an increasing burden of disease across the globe in which [endocrine disruptors] are likely playing an important role, and future generations may also be affected”, said the report.
These diseases, it continued, are being seen in humans and wildlife, and include male and female reproductive disorders, changes in the numbers of male and female babies born, thyroid and adrenal gland disorders, hormone-related cancers and neurodevelopmental diseases.
The backlash from toxicologists was immediate. Over the next few months – as the EU prepared to begin its regulatory decision-making on endocrine disruptors – the editors of 14 toxicology journals each published an identical commentary harshly criticizing the WHO/UNEP conclusions.
The commentary included a letter from more than 70 toxicologists urging the EU not to adopt the endocrine disruption framework. The letter said that the WHO / UNEP report could not be allowed to inform policy because its science is “contrary to all accumulated physiological understanding.” This commentary was followed by further attacks. One critique, published in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology, was funded and vetted by the ACC.
These commentaries infuriated health effects researchers. Twenty endocrine journal editors, 28 associate editors and 56 other scientists – including several WHO / UNEP report authors-signed a statement in Endocrinology, saying in part:
“The dismissive approach to endocrine disruption science put forth … is unfounded, as it is [not] based on the fundamental principles of how the endocrine system works and how chemicals can interfere with its normal function.”
Endocrinology editor Andrea Gore tells In These Times that she and other health effects researchers don’t think the scientifically demonstrated dangers of endocrine disruptors are subject to debate. “There are fundamental differences between regulatory toxicologists and what I refer to as ‘people who understand the endocrine science.’ “
The outcome of this debate and the structure of future regulatory toxicity testing in the United States and Europe is not yet clear. The EPA appears to be attempting to incorporate endocrine disruption into PBPK models, but many scientists are skeptical the process will produce reliable results, given the models’ limitations and the complexity of endocrine effects.
From science to activism
Although couched in complex language, these arguments are not academic, but have profound implications for public health. Disorders and diseases, increasingly linked to exposure to endocrine disruptors – including metabolic, reproductive, developmental and neurological problems – are widespread and increasing.
About 20% of US adults show at least three of the five indicators of metabolic syndrome: obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease. Neurological problems, including behavioral and learning disabilities in children as well as Parkinson’s disease, are increasing rapidly. Fertility rates in both men and women are declining. Globally, the average sperm count has dropped 50% in the last 50 years.
Scientists typically shy away from activism, but many now believe it’s what’s needed to punch through the machinations and inertia regarding chemical regulation. Shanna Swan, Mount Sinai professor of preventive medicine, obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive medicine, notes that some of the biggest reductions in chemical exposures have happened in response to consumer pressure on both industry and policymakers. Or, as the University of California’s Bruce Blumberg says, “I think we need to take the fight to the people.”
The Endocrine Society stressed the urgency of addressing these public health impacts in a statement released September 28. Not surprisingly, industry disagreed, calling this science “unsupported” and “still-unproven.”
Meanwhile, PBPK studies continue to succeed in sowing doubt about adverse health effects of endocrine disorders. Their extremely narrow focus leads to narrow conclusions that often result in calls for more research before regulation. In regulatory decisions, “the assumption is that if we don’t know something, it won’t hurt us”, says University of Massachusetts, Amherst professor of biology R. Thomas Zoeller.
In other words, the burden of proof remains on health effects researchers to prove harm, not on industry to prove safety – and proving harm is difficult, especially when other scientists are seeding doubt.
But the clock is ticking. As Washington State University geneticist Pat Hunt told In These Times, “If we wait [to make regulatory decisions] for ‘proof’ in the form of compelling human data, it may be too late for us as a species.”
Valerie Brown is a journalist specializing in environmental health, climate change and microbiology. In 2009 she was honored by the Society of Environmental Journalists for her writing on epigenetics. Follow here on Twitter @sacagawea.
Elizabeth Grossman is an award-winning journalist specializing in science and environmental issues. She is the author of Chasing Molecules: Poisonous Products, Human Health, and the Promise of Green Chemistry, High Tech Trash: Digital Devices, Hidden Toxics, and Human Health, Watershed: The Undamming of America, Adventuring Along the Lewis & Clark Trail, and co-editor of Shadow Cat: Encountering the American Mountain Lion.
GR Editor’s Note: the sources of this article are not indicated
If you are a policymaker in Washington; it has to be a difficult week for you, as the U.S. backed “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) and their Islamist allies fight the U.S. backed “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) in the northern Aleppo countryside.
Perhaps, what is even more odd about the U.S. backed rebels fighting the U.S. backed rebels in northern Aleppo is the fact that at least two parties from the opposing sides are factions of the Free Syrian Army; this means the rebels combatting both the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) are actually fighting one another with the same weapons transported to them from the Gulf States and the west.
Instead of fighting ISIS in northern Aleppo like they were originally propagated to do, the SDF and the FSA are fighting one another, while ISIS attempts to regroup and relaunch their offensive on the rural city of Mar’e.
On Saturday morning, the SDF declared they control 9 new villages in northern Aleppo after a series of firefights with the Islamist rebels of the FSA, the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra”, and Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham.
The villages captured by the SDF in the last 48 hours are the following:
As part of its collective punishment policy against the Palestinian people, Israel has refused to deliver the bodies of 38 Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Since the beginning of what some are calling a new Palestinian Intifada (uprising), Israel has held the bodies of 48 slain Palestinians, 38 of which remain at the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute morgue in Israel.
Maisa al-Khateeb is the mother of 17-year-old slain Palestinian Mustafa Al-Khateeb, who was executed in cold blood by the Israeli army near the El-Isbat (Lions) Gate in East Jerusalem last month.
She told Anadolu Agency that she has not been able to see her son since he was killed.
“My heart is bleeding everyday when I realise that I am warm and my love Mustafa is cold inside a morgue,” Maisa said. “This fact wrenches my heart.”
“I want the body of my son to be returned so I can bury him with dignity,” she said, with tears flowing down her face. “I want to hug and kiss my baby, who was stolen from me by the human monsters.”
The Palestinian National Committee for Retrieving Bodies of Martyrs said Israeli authorities are refusing to hand over the bodies under the pretext that their families will hold funerals for them, which will serve as a catalyst for “Palestinian violence.”
“Israel is using a humanitarian issue for political gains and that reflects the racism of the Israeli occupation amid the silence of the international community,” Salem Khalleh, the group’s coordinator, said. “The world has to pressure Israel to adhere to international human rights laws and the Geneva Convention, which obliges contracting states to respect war victims and to ensure they are honourably interred by family members.”
According to official Palestinian figures, Israel is still holding the bodies of 325 Palestinians and Arabs killed during several wars, in addition to the 38 bodies of Palestinians killed in recent weeks.
The dead are buried in two Israeli facilities, each known as the Cemetery of Numbers. The first, located in the Galilee area in northern Israel, holds 243 bodies. The second facility in the Jordan valley holds 92 bodies.
The Israeli government considers the cemeteries closed military areas and prevents Palestinian and Arab families from accessing them.
The Israeli cabinet last month approved Likud-Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s proposal to refuse to return the bodies of Palestinians killed by the Israeli army.
The Palestinian families realise that Israel may want to use the bodies of their loved ones in future negotiations in exchange of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers held by Hamas since the last Gaza war.
Mahmoud Ellian, father of 22-year-old Baha Ellian, who was killed last month, told Anadolu Agency that the “Israeli occupation is mistaken in thinking that it can blackmail us by using this card.”
“All the families of detained slain Palestinians are in agreement to sacrifice the corpses of their loved ones if the price is the freedom of Palestinian prisoners,” Ellian said. “We will fight and win our battle against the racist Israeli occupation and we will retrieve the bodies of our sons.”
As Prime Minister David Cameron attempts to persuade Parliament to back another illegal assault on a country posing no threat to the UK, Syria, it transpires that Britain may anyway face war crimes charges for arms sales to Saudi Arabia, arms being used to decimate civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen.
“Advisers to Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, have stepped up legal warnings that the sale of specialist missiles to the Saudis, deployed throughout nine months of almost daily bombing raids in west Yemen … may breach international humanitarian law”, states a report in the Independent. (1)
“Since March this year, bombing raids and a blockade of ports imposed by the Saudi-led coalition of Sunni Gulf states have crippled much of Yemen … thousands of Yemeni civilians have been killed, with schools, hospitals and non-military infrastructure hit. Fuel and food shortages, according to the United Nations, have brought near famine to many parts of the country.”
Moreover: “The UN estimates that twenty one million people are now without basic life sustaining services and over 1.5 million are displaced. Unicef estimates that as many as ten children a day are being killed.”
Given that the population of Yemen is just over twenty four million, the figures demonstrate that almost the entire population is experiencing unimaginable devastation in an onslaught on which the governments of “international community” has simply turned it’s back – except those bombing with US and UK supplied missiles.
In a statement laughable was the situation not so devastatingly tragic:
… there is concern within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that the Saudi military’s attitude to humanitarian law is careless. Officials fear that the combination of British arms sales and technical expertise used to assist bombing raids on Yemen could result in the UK being hauled before the International Criminal Court on charges relating to direct attacks on civilians.
“Pot calling kettle back” comes to mind. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and British government’s attitude to humanitarian law has been arguably been beyond criminally “careless” in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and they now aim to attack Syria in retaliation for an action in France, committed by French and Belgian born terrorists of North African descent, some of whom had been equally terrorizing in Syria and then allowed to return home, seemingly untroubled by law enforcement agencies – as their British counterparts.
Highlighting this “carelessness”, Oliver Sprague, Amnesty International’s arms trade director, told The Independent:
“There is a blatant rewriting of the rules inside the (Foreign Office). We are not supposed to supply weapons if there is a risk they could be used to violate humanitarian laws and the international arms trade treaty – which we championed. It is illogical for (Foreign Secretary) Philip Hammond to say there is no evidence of weapons supplied by the UK being misused, so we’ll keep selling them to the point where we learn they are being used.”
Last July a transfer of Paveway IV missiles was authorized from the (Royal Air Force) to Saudi, boosting the order book of arms manufacturer Raytheon UK.
The near £200 million contract: “ secured the supply of hundreds of the air-launched missiles to the Saudi air force over the next two years.” The Raytheon bombs will be dropped on Yemen by Typhoon and Tornado fighter jets, supplied by Britain’s BAE Systems.
“The (contract) ensured that the Saudi arsenal, depleted through multiple daily bombing raids on Yemen over the past nine months, would not be exhausted.” So much for “humanitarian laws.”
Away from Foreign Secretary Hammond it seems there are deep concerns in parts of the Foreign Office, which are being compared to the crisis over legality during the period before the invasion of Iraq which led to the resignation of senior legal advisor Elizabeth Wilmshurs, concerned at the legality of such action.
The Independent asked the Foreign Office: “whether the UK government regarded relations with the Saudis as too important to risk by asking awkward questions about the bombing of Yemeni civilian targets.” An adviser responded: “There are many Elizabeth Wilmshursts around here at the moment. Not all are being listened to.”
A government spokeswoman responded, depressingly predictably, relating to a State which has beheaded more souls than ISIS:
(Her Majesty’s Government) takes its arms export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. We rigorously examine every application on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. Risks around human rights abuses are a key part of our assessment.
Given also the filing cabinets stuffed also with cases of alleged British human rights abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan in lawyers’ offices in the UK such as Birmingham’s Public Interest Lawyers and London’s Leigh Day, the latter comment defies derision.
This latest issue of legal embarrassment for David Cameron’s government relates to a Report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (2) issued on 25th November alleging that: “The Saudi Arabia-led coalition used a British-made missile to destroy” Yemen’s Radfan Ceramics factory, “a civilian object, on 23 September, 2015.”
The findings were based: “on field research and interviews with eyewitnesses at the scene.”
This strike, using a British missile … undermines the claim of Ministers that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s use of UK military equipment is consistent with (International Humanitarian Law) and that the UK monitors such compliance ‘very carefully.’
“The UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond claims he favours ‘proper investigations’ into possible breaches of the laws of war in Yemen. This strike provides a perfect test case – the UK should urgently press the Saudi Arabia-led coalition to open a credible investigation into this strike, as well as others that appear to have violated the laws of war,” said Lama Fakih, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International.
“The latest revelations show UK policy to be both misleading and seriously ineffective. Despite multiple, well-documented cases of violations of the laws of war by the Gulf coalition in Yemen, UK Ministers have consistently refused to acknowledge this. The UK should suspend further sales of aerial munitions to coalition members pending a thorough investigation into this case, and other apparently unlawful air strikes,” said David Mepham, UK Director at Human Rights Watch.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch examined the weapon used in the 23rd September destruction of the ceramics factory: “and identified the munition used as a PGM-500 ‘Hakim’ air-launched missile … manufactured by the UK firm Marconi Dynamics.”
Marconi markings are clearly visible on a component part recovered from the Sana’a strike site. Stocks of this missile are in service with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force, which has the capability to fire them from both Mirage 2000s and F-16F aircraft.
Ibrahim Ghaleb Mohammad al-Sawary, the son of one of the factory Directors, who was in the vicinity during the attack, told Human Rights Watch: “ … suddenly I heard whizzing followed by a very loud explosion. I started running away but less than two minutes later we heard the second explosion. I saw people running away from their homes – kids, older people and young people – all of them scared like us and running away without knowing where.”
Ali Ahmad al-Faqih, 55, who was injured in the attack, said that he had been on a motorbike trying to check on his family who live next to the factory during a brief lull between airstrikes – not realizing the attack had not finished: “I heard a whizz and knew it was a rocket coming,” he said. “I lay down and prayed out loud. I saw all my body covered in blood.” He underwent surgery to remove shrapnel from his chest.
A fourteen year old girl, Elham Hussein Hussein Taher, was also injured in the attack, according to locals.
No evidence of any military usage of the factory was evident or found. The factory, opened in 1994, was the only one of it’s kind in the country, employing around 330 people. It had already suffered one tragedy, having had to suspend operations in April, due to security fears from bombing for the employees – and difficulty in obtaining fuel for the machines. Now it lies mostly in ruins.
“Such attacks are serious violations of International Humanitarian Law and … can constitute war crimes”, states the Amnesty Report.
“All countries have legal responsibilities under international law to control the transfer of weapons and to restrict or prohibit their transfer in certain circumstances. The UK is a party to the Arms Trade Treaty which came into force in late 2014 … article 7 of the ATT requires that States assess the potential that the arms being exported could be used to commit a serious violation of international human rights or humanitarian law; if there is an overriding risk of this, their export shall not be authorized.”
The Amnesty Report concludes:
An independent international inquiry should be established to investigate alleged violations by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, establish the facts, and identify those responsible for violations with a view to ensuring that they are held accountable.
As Prime Minister Cameron contemplates committing more war crimes in Syria, he might perhaps ponder on those he may already have on his plate and reconsider.
He may already be set to follow his admired “mentor” Tony Blair in having to consult a lawyer before he boards a flight, lest he be arrested. And as someone remarked over another atrocity in another land, the Yemen bomb seemingly “has a British accent.”
The world leader of Syria’s besieged Christians has issued a heartfelt plea to the West to “stop arming and supporting terrorist groups that are destroying our countries and massacring our people.”
The Patriarch of Antioch, Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, said he was not asking the West for military intervention to defend Christians.
If the West wants to do something about the present crisis, the most effective thing would be to support local governments, which need sufficient armies and forces to maintain security and defend respective populations against attacks.
“State institutions need to be strengthened and stabilised. Instead, what we see is their forced dismemberment being fuelled from the outside,” he told Vatican Insider.
Patriarch Aphrem, head of the Syrian Orthodox Church, said the most blasphemous thing a person can do is to call suicide bombers “martyrs”.
“Throughout its journey through history the Church has also been a suffering Church,” he added. Speaking in the days after meeting the Pope in Rome, he had just returned from Qamishli, his home town, where he met thousands of new Christian refugees who fled after Islamic State jihadists attacked Hassake, in Jazira province.
Islamic State terrorists who die while carrying out their atrocities regard such deaths as martyrdom. They believe it secures them passage to paradise.
The Patriarch contradicted this view. He said: “Martyrdom is not a sacrifice offered to God, like those sacrifices which are offered to pagan gods. Christian martyrs do not seek martyrdom to demonstrate their faith. And they do not wilfully shed their blood in order to obtain God’s favour or some other prize, like Paradise.”
Along with bishops of his church he recently had talks with President Assad of Syria. “President Assad urged us to do everything in our hands to prevent Christians from leaving Syria. ‘I know you are suffering,’ he said, ‘but please don’t leave this land, which has been your home for thousands of years, even before Islam came.’ He said that Christians will also be needed when the time comes to rebuild this devastated country.”
He said the majority of Syrian citizens support Assad’s government and have always supported it.
We recognise legitimate rulers and pray for them, as the New Testament teaches us. We also see that on the other side there is no democratic opposition, only extremist groups. Above all, we see that in the past few years, these groups have been basing their actions on an ideology that comes from the outside, brought here by preachers of hatred who have come from and are backed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt. These groups receive arms through Turkey too, as the media have shown us.
He said Islamic State was not the Islam that Syrians have learned about andlived alongside for hundreds of years. “There are forces that fuel it with arms and money because it is useful in what Pope Francis calls the ‘war fought piecemeal’. But all this also draws on a perverse religious ideology that claims to be inspired by the Koran.”
This article first published in November 2013 coincided with the Warsaw Climate Summit.
The 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris opens November 30th. An international binding agreement on fighting climate change is slated to be adopted.
The centre of attention will be largely be focusing on greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.
Debate on geo-engineering and environmental modification techniques for military use remains a taboo, not to mention the discussion pertaining to the environmental impacts of global warfare.
In the course of the 1990s, the HAARP program was developed. The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) based in Gokona, Alaska, has been in existence since 1992. While it was officially closed down in 2013, the technology is nonetheless fully operational. HAARP is part of a new generation of sophisticated weaponry under the US Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI).
Operated by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, HAARP constitutes a system of powerful antennas capable of creating “controlled local modifications of the ionosphere” [upper layer of the atmosphere]
The irony is that the impacts of ENMOD techniques for military use were documented by CBC TV in the early 1990s.
The CBC TV report acknowledged that the HAARP facility in Alaska under the auspices of the US Air Force had the ability of triggering typhoons, earthquakes, floods and droughts:
Directed energy is such a powerful technology it could be used to heat the ionosphere to turn weather into a weapon of war. Imagine using a flood to destroy a city or tornadoes to decimate an approaching army in the desert. The military has spent a huge amount of time on weather modification as a concept for battle environments. If an electromagnetic pulse went off over a city, basically all the electronic things in your home would wink and go out, and they would be permanently destroyed.”
We invite our readers to carefully view this documentary.
Why is climate change for military use no longer an object of debate? Why is it not on the agenda of the Paris Summit?
The more substantive question is:
Are Environmental Modification Techniques (ENMOD) part of the US arsenal of “covert” military technologies to destabilize sovereign countries?
The US Military has acknowledged that ENMOD it is part of its military arsenal (See statements below).
There are unconfirmed reports but no firm evidence that it has been used.
In this regard, the US military acknowledges that climatic warfare has the added advantage of being be used to trigger climate disasters without the enemy nation knowing about it.
The unspoken truth is that Geo-engineering and Environmental Modification Techniques (ENMOD) constitute potential Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, November 30, 2015
CBC DOCUMENTARY (14 MINUTES)
* * *
Politicians, NGOs, scientists and business executives at previous climate summits have failed to acknowledge the fact, amply documented, that climate can be manipulated as a result of environmental modification techniques (ENMOD).
Discussion of ENMOD is taboo. It is an unspoken truth. Scientists dare not address it as part of the debate on climate change. While ENMOD is firmly documented, these same scientists will readily assert without evidence that global warming (resulting from excess CO2 emissions) is the cause of tropical storms.
ENMOD technologies not only exist, they are fully operational. Confirmed by US military documents, a typhoon, a tsunami or an earthquake can be triggered by the use of ENMOD technologies. The issue, therefore, must be addressed by climate specialists.
What we are suggesting is that in investigating the underlying causes of extreme weather events the issue of climatic manipulation can by no means be excluded.
The Convention defined ENMOD as “any technique for changing – through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes – the dynamics, composition or structure of the Earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space.” What is at stake is “the intentional modification or manipulation of the natural ecology, such as climate and weather, earth systems”. In removing ENMOD from the debate on climate change, the UNFCC is a blatant violation of the 1977 UN Convention.
Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’. During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
Since the heyday of the Vietnam war, ENMOD technologies for military use have evolved significantly. We are dealing with highly sophisticated weapons systems.
The possibility of climatic or environmental manipulations as part of a military and intelligence agenda, while tacitly acknowledged, is never considered as relevant. Military analysts are mute on the subject. Meteorologists are not investigating the matter, and environmentalists are strung on global warming and the Kyoto protocol.
It is worth noting that barely two months prior to the The Philippines Typhoon disaster, CBS This Morning in an interview with Dr. Michio Kaku, a physics professor at City College New York, confirmed the existence and use of ENMOD technologies, while casually downgrading their significance and disregarding their strategic and military applications (the video report has since then been removed by CBS):
The Involvement of the CIA in Climate Change Technologies
Back in July 2013, MSN news reported that the CIA was involved in helping to fund a project by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) focusing on geo-engineering and climate manipulation. The report not only acknowledged these technologies, it confirmed that US intelligence has been routinely involved in addressing the issue of climatic manipulation:
The CIA is helping fund the research because the NAS also plans to evaluate “the national security concerns (that could be) related to geoengineering technologies being deployed somewhere in the world,” Kearney said.
In an emailed statement, Christopher White, a spokesman for the CIA’s office of public affairs, told MSN, “On a subject like climate change, the agency works with scientists to better understand the phenomenon and its implications on national security.”
Although the CIA and the NAS are tight-lipped about what these concerns might be, one researcher notes that geoengineering has the potential to deliberately disrupt the weather for terrorist or military goals.
John Pike, the director of GlobalSecurity.org, a Washington-based firm that specializes in addressing emerging security concerns, says that worries about the potential impact of geoengineering aren’t as paramount as the potential security issues that could arise if the United States doesn’t use the technology.
“A failure to engage in geoengineering could impact the political stability of other countries, and that could lead to trouble for the U.S.,” he said.
The NAS project is supported by the U.S. intelligence community, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Energy.
“historical examples of related technologies (e.g., cloud seeding and other weather modification) for lessons that might be learned about societal reactions, examine what international agreements exist which may be relevant to the experimental testing or deployment of geoengineering technologies, and briefly explore potential societal and ethical considerations related to geoengineering. This study is intended to provide a careful, clear scientific foundation that informs ethical, legal, and political discussions surrounding geoengineering.
While geoengineering and weather warfare are nothing new, they are rarely the object of media attention. Weather-modification for military use has been acknowledged by the US Air Force in document AF 2025 Final Report:
‘[ENMOD] offers the war fighter a wide range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary’, [including] the triggering of floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes… The ability to generate precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather… and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of [military] technologies.”
In the course of the 1990s, the HAARP program was developed. The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) based in Gokona, Alaska, has been in existence since 1992. [It was closed down in 2013] It is part of a new generation of sophisticated weaponry under the US Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Operated by the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Space Vehicles Directorate, HAARP constitutes a system of powerful antennas capable of creating “controlled local modifications of the ionosphere” [upper layer of the atmosphere]
We bribed parties and politicians who have enticed hate between the nations. Our ultimate goal was to enslave you! WebTribune publishes their interview with former CIA agent Robert Baer during his promotion tour in Quebec for upcoming book “Secrets of the White House” last week.
It has been said “truth” is a funny concept. What is truth to one may not be to another because opinions vary from one person to another. “Truth” in this context consists of one’s opinion or point of view. By this definition truth can be altered, changed or even “made”. For example, the truth believed and espoused by MSNBC is far different than that of FOX News, both by the reporters themselves and by viewers. Real truth however cannot be “made”, massaged or opined as it is mathematical in origin and more an issue of black and white.
The global financial system has gone awry where economic truth must be masked and hidden to cover the reality. Somehow our central planners think if the people “believe” something …then it “is”. I am here to tell you, no it is not. A perfect example of something completely out of whack but melded into the new “normal” are negative interest rates throughout much of Europe. These negative interest rates are no longer for only short dated maturities. Rates are negative in some cases out past 7-10 years!
How can this be? Investors are willing to lock in a guaranteed loss for 10 years or more? Rates have been pushed negative of course because the central planners want people to spend their money rather than save it.
You see, “velocity” has crashed because people have tightened their belts in a move toward austerity …something the sovereign treasuries and central banks cannot even spell. Please keep in mind whether it be euros, yen or dollars, the central banks have the ability to print as many of these currency units as they choose to. Negative interest rates guarantee less “units” returned upon maturity and give less than zero risk compensation to offset the “printing” that has already been promised. In essence, savers are PAYING for the privilege to lose “units” even when central banks are promising to do their best to reduce the value of these units. The madness of crowds I guess?
Another example “truth” just does not add up is in the area of “swaps”.
Just as GOFO rates in gold should never ever be negative, this also holds true for the swaps market. Currently, rates have gone negative which means the bankers and brokers perceived credit quality is actually rated higher than the issuing Treasury. Common sense would tell you if the U.S. Treasury were to default then no bank or broker with Treasuries in their portfolio would be left standing. I do not believe swaps have gone negative out of value “judgment”, I believe unencumbered collateral has become so scarce that mathematical insanity has become reality. Six months ago we were given a tip off this was coming. I wrote about it here titled “The Mother of all Margin Calls” http://silverseek.com/commentary/mother-all-margin-calls-14328 …and now the ugly truth has arrived!
I would of course be remiss commenting without including the farce in the gold and silver markets. Yesterday’s post Thanksgiving and illiquid trading day saw some 18,000 contracts sold at the COMEX within a 30 minute timeframe.
In fact, there were 4 single minutes which saw a total 7,000 contracts dumped on the market. For perspective, 18,000 contracts represents 1.8 million ounces of gold …while COMEX claims to have a grand total of 150,000 ounces available for delivery! 1.8 million ounces of gold is equal to well over one week’s production of every gold mine on the planet, 150,000 on the other hand is just over 16 hours! For further perspective, China has been importing over 1.3 million ounces of real physical gold each and every week and amounts to nearly 80% of all gold produced. Why is this important? China is importing each week nearly 10 times the total amount of gold COMEX has for delivery in total. Put another way, COMEX gold “pricing” rests on a foundation 10 times smaller than what China imports each and every week! How is it credible that COMEX can sell 12 times as much “gold” …in just 30 minutes as they claim to have available for delivery?
COMEX currently has a problem in my opinion. Their registered (dealer deliverable) category has not received any gold over the last two plus months and has done nothing but shrink to a level equal to just 16 hours of global production. First notice day for December gold is this coming Monday. With just one day left there are still 24,000 contracts open. If history is any guide, Monday will see a drop of 12,000 contracts and a 40% bleed down during the month. If this were to occur, we will see over 600,000 ounces standing with only 150,000 ounces available for delivery. We have seen this potential situation several times over the last couple of years but never with an available inventory as feeble as it is now.
My point to writing about the current COMEX conditions is simple. Though COMEX currently “prices” gold, they have little to no inventory to back them up. China imports more in a single day than what COMEX claims they have to deliver. Nearly any Black Swan, be it a financial, geopolitical or military event will strip the COMEX of any ability or credibility to continue as “manipulator in charge”. I have asked in several writings why the CFTC has allowed the pricing mechanism to be so corrupt after each blatant raid such as this past Friday’s. They found “nothing actionable” in the silver market which in my opinion is code speak for “we can’t arrest the government” …therefore “not actionable” in the interest of national security.
As for COMEX, I would ask this. Why is it allowed for any institution or group of institutions to sell in 30 minutes, twelve times the amount of paper contract gold than is claimed to exist for delivery? The December month alone looks to be quite problematic, why is this practice allowed as a failure to deliver could be created by a mere 1,500 contracts? Is the final solution a force majeure and just go on down the road?
As for you as an individual investor, can you see the danger here? A failure to deliver or a “caused” failure ending in a force majeure will be catastrophic. The candy store will be closed …and then what? Do you really believe metal will be available for you to purchase at any price even resembling the current? I have said all along, the entire game will change when the last ounce available for delivery is gone. When I say the “entire game” I am speaking to ALL of it.
When the fraud in gold is exposed and understood, do you understand that the confidence in the entire financial system of dollars, Treasuries and all the rest will be broken for our lifetimes?
To finish, much of what we see in our daily lives is nothing more than a fraudulent mirage. Our way of life and standard of living depends entirely on this mirage and collective madness to continue. However, some very ugly truths that come naturally as a gift from Mother Nature herself have been appearing. These “ugly truths”, each and every one of them should be an impossibility in logical nature but they exist and are appearing with more frequency. Can you handle the ugly truth?
Press statements and answers to journalists’ questions following meeting with President of France Francois Hollande.
GR editor’s Note: Selected Text in Bold are Highlights contained in the original transcript
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, good evening.
The President of France and I have just completed substantive talks, which were held in a trust-based, constructive tone. Naturally, we gave the greatest attention to the issue of jointly combating international terrorism.
The barbaric attack on Russia’s airplane over the Sinai Peninsula, the horrible events in Paris and the terrorist attacks in Lebanon, Nigeria and Mali have left many people dead, including hundreds of Russian and French citizens. This is our common tragedy and we stand united in our commitment to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
We have already intensified the Russian Armed Forces operation against terrorists in Syria. Our military actions are effective; militants from the so-called Islamic State and other radical groups are suffering heavy losses. We have disrupted the extremists’ operating mechanisms, damaged their military infrastructure and significantly undermined their financial base – I am referring first and foremost to illicit trade in oil, which generates immense profits for the terrorists and their sponsors.
COMPLETE VIDEO, WITH ENGLISH VOICE OVER (small pause at beginning)
Those who apply double standards when dealing with terrorists, using them to achieve their own political aims and engaging in unlawful business with them, are playing with fire. History shows that sooner or later such actions will backfire against those who abet criminals.
Russia and France know what it means to act in the spirit of alliance; we have come together more than once throughout our history. Today, we agreed to step up our joint efforts on the anti-terrorist track, to improve the exchange of operational information in the fight against terrorism and establish constructive work between our military experts in order to avoid overlapping incidents and to focus our efforts on ensuring that our work in fighting terror is more effective, avoiding any strikes against territories and armed forces that are themselves fighting terrorists.
The barbaric attack on Russia’s airplane over the Sinai Peninsula, the horrible events in Paris and the terrorist attacks in Lebanon, Nigeria and Mali have left many people dead. This is our common tragedy and we stand united in our commitment to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
Mr Hollande and I are looking at this kind of cooperation as concrete and practical input towards forming a broad anti-terrorist coalition, a broad anti-terrorist front under the auspices of the United Nations. I will note that the number of nations sharing this initiative is growing.
We are confident that eradicating terrorism in Syria will create the necessary conditions for achieving a final and long-term settlement of the Syrian crisis. We agreed to continue working together very actively within the framework of the International Syria Support Group and promote the fulfilment of all agreements reached within this group, first and foremost with regard to the deadlines and parameters for holding intra-Syrian talks.
In today’s talks, we could not ignore the situation in Ukraine; in this context, we discussed prospects of cooperating in the Normandy format. We will continue to insist on the implementation of all provisions of the Minsk Agreements of February 12.
The Russian Armed Forces operation against terrorists in Syria is effective; militants from the so-called Islamic State and other radical groups are suffering heavy losses. We have significantly undermined their financial base – I am referring first and foremost to illicit trade in oil, which generates immense profits for the terrorists and their sponsors.
In conclusion, I would like to thank Mr President and all his French colleagues for an open, substantive dialogue. We agreed to continue our discussion in Paris within the framework of the UN Climate Change Conference.
Thank you for your attention.
President of France (retranslated): Ladies and gentlemen, I wanted to meet with Mr Putin as part of the diplomatic and political initiative that I made the following day after the terrible terrorist attacks in Paris.
I would like to thank Mr Putin and the Russian people for their expression of condolences, sympathy and friendship towards the victims and their families, as well as towards the entire French people.
I personally told Mr Putin again that he can count on my support following the attack on the Russian airliner over the Sinai that took over 220 lives.
We all suffer from terrorism. Terrorism can strike in any part of the world, so it is critical to act. And this is the whole point of our meeting in Moscow. We must respond together.
Last week, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution that all countries in the world should take the necessary measures to coordinate their efforts to eliminate the Islamic State, and we must pursue this process.
Press statements and answers to journalists’ questions following meeting with President of France Francois Hollande.
This is the most important reality in today’s world, that is, a broad coalition, to which France will also be a party, a global coalition in the fight against terror. This consensus is essential, but it is not enough. We also need to assume responsibility.
This is precisely what France is doing when it attacks ISIS operations centres, when it attacks the oil wells that the terrorists use to smuggle oil and obtain financial resources.
We intensified our efforts. We deployed the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to the Mediterranean and we’ve done everything we can to ensure that our military will be actively involved in eliminating ISIS.
We agree with Mr Putin that it is essential to cut this evil off. Since 2011, the chaos in Syria has created a huge wave of refugees, over 300,000 people have been killed, and so now we must find a political solution to this crisis, but there are requirements for this that should be followed.
We believe that the following conditions should be met if we are to ensure a political transition process. A coalition government, an independent government, should be formed during a transition period.
This transitional period should lead to the adoption of a new constitution, elections should be held with the participation of all political factions, groups and members of the expatriate community. And it goes without saying that Assad does not have any role to play in the future of his country.
However, in order to achieve this, it is imperative that Russia should play the main, one of the main roles in this process. I’ve told Mr Putin that France is ready and willing to work with Russia hand in hand towards our common objective, which is to fight terrorist groups, above all ISIS. It is for this reason that I believe our meeting today to be of outmost importance. Mr Putin and I have agreed on three main points.
First, we intend to step up the exchange of intelligence and any other information between our respective forces.
Second, we will intensify strikes against ISIS and coordinate them so as to enhance their efficiency.
Third, as Mr Putin has also pointed out, we must make sure that our air strikes concentrate on the Islamic State and terrorist groups.
Let me emphasise that Europe is about to mobilise its forces to combat terrorism. I would like to ask defence ministers from across Europe to take the necessary decisions for coordinating their actions. The United Kingdom will also participate. I spoke with Mr Cameron about this. I also discussed a number of issues with Ms Merkel yesterday. Mr Putin and I have also agreed that we will exchange information and specific actions as regards another important issue – the developments in eastern Ukraine. We will continue to work on that within the Normandy format.
Last time we met in Paris, all four of us, we touched upon the Syrian issue and spoke about the need for coordinated actions. Today, we took this issue even further. Our fight against terrorism in Syria does not affect France’s commitment to find a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis.
We must fully implement all the measures that are stipulated in the Minsk Agreements. This is why I wanted to come to Moscow today to meet with Mr Putin. Mr Putin will come to Paris on Monday to participate in the Climate Change Conference. I think the current situation and the fight against terrorism required my visit to Moscow today.
Question (retranslated): Good evening. A question for Mr Putin. Mr President, do you agree that Mr Assad remaining in office hinders the achievement of your common goals? Have you agreed about which groups should and should not be the targets of air strikes?
Vladimir Putin: I believe that the fate of the President of Syria should be entirely in the hands of the Syrian people.
Moreover, we all agree that it is impossible to successfully fight terrorism in Syria without ground operations, and no other forces exist today that can conduct ground operations in the fight against ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist organisations aside from the Syrian government army.
We are confident that eradicating terrorism in Syria will create the necessary conditions for achieving a final and long-term settlement of the Syrian crisis.
In this respect, I feel that President Assad’s army and he himself are our natural allies in the fight against terrorism. There may be other forces there that talk about their readiness to fight terror. We are currently attempting to establish ties with them, have already done so with some of them, and as I have said many times, we will be prepared to support their efforts in the fight against ISIS and other terrorist organisations, as we support Assad’s army.
We agreed – I feel this is a very important part of our agreements with Mr President today – that just as with certain other countries in the region, we will exchange information on which territories are occupied by healthy opposition groups, rather than terrorists, and will avoid air strikes there. We will also exchange information when we – France and Russia – are absolutely certain that particular territories are occupied by terrorist organisations and we will coordinate our efforts in those areas.
Question: I have a question for the President of Russia. Mr President, we are currently talking about a broad-based coalition and in this regard, I have a question about Turkey’s particular place in this story. Today, for example, the Russian military reported that they intensified strikes on the Syrian quadrant where the Russian plane was downed.
At the same time, the Turkish media are practically accusing Russia of bombing a humanitarian convoy. In this context, did you discuss Turkey during your talks with Francois Hollande? And what can you say about Turkey’s role in this whole story and in our relations with it?
Vladimir Putin: As you know, Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation; France is also a NATO member, so we understand France’s position in this situation. But Mr President expressed his condolences following the death of our servicemen, and we are grateful to him for that.
It is impossible to successfully fight terrorism in Syria without ground operations, and no other forces exist today that can fight on the ground aside from the Syrian government army. President Assad’s army and he himself are our natural allies in the fight against terrorism.
As for the territory you mentioned, where our servicemen died, indeed, Syria’s armed forces used multiple rocket launchers which we supplied recently to the Syrian army, in coordinated actions with our Air Force, and intensified strikes in this area right after we received credible information that one of our servicemen was killed and we were able to save the second one. How could it be otherwise? That is how it should be.
In this regard, I want to comment on what we are hearing about certain tribes close to Turkey, the Turkmens and so on. First of all, a question arises: what are representatives of Turkish terrorist organisations, who show themselves on camera and post themselves all over the Internet, doing in these territories?
Second, what are nationals of the Russian Federation, whom we are seeking because of their crimes and who are clearly classified as international terrorists, doing in that territory? Our servicemen were working in this quadrant to prevent the possible return of these people to Russia’s territory to commit crimes; they were fulfilling their duties to their Fatherland, to Russia directly. Directly! Question: what are these people doing there? And we feel it is absolutely justified to intensify the efforts of our aviation there and support the intensification of the Syrian forces’ efforts.
As for shelling a humanitarian convoy, as far as I know, the humanitarian organisation that the Turkish authorities are referring to has already stated that its convoys and representatives were not in that area at the time. There may have been some sort of convoy there, but it certainly wasn’t peaceful. If there was some sort of convoy, then I suppose, in accordance with international law, it was necessary to determine what kind of convoy it was, where it was headed and what it was doing. And if none of this was done, then we suspect that this convoy was not carrying a purely humanitarian cargo. This serves as another piece of evidence of abetting international terrorists.
Question(retranslated): Good evening, I’m addressing both presidents. Mr Putin, why have you deployed S-400 multiple launch rocket systems? Mr Hollande, is the deployment of the S-400s in keeping with the spirit of the international coalition’s efforts?
Vladimir Putin: S-400 is not a multiple rocket launcher system but an anti-aircraft missile system. We did not have these systems in Syria because our aviation is working at heights where the terrorists’ criminal hand cannot reach. They do not have the corresponding military technology that is capable of taking down planes at a height of more than three or four thousand metres. It had never occurred to us that we could be hit by a country that we considered our ally.
Press statements and answers to journalists’ questions following meeting with President of France Francois Hollande.
After all, our planes, flying at a height of five to six thousand metres, were absolutely unprotected; they were not protected against possible attacks by fighter jets. If we had even thought this might be possible, then first of all, we would have long ago established systems there to protect our planes against possible attacks.
Moreover, there are other forms of technology and military protection, for example, fighter escorts, or at least technical means of defence against missile attacks, including thermal guards. Experts know how this can be done.
I repeat, we did not do any of this because we believed Turkey to be a friendly state and simply did not expect an attack from that country. That is precisely why we consider what has happened to be a treacherous blow.
Now we have seen that this is possible; we have lost people there. We are obligated to ensure the safety of our aircraft. So we have deployed a modern S-400 system there. It operates at a long distance and is one of the most effective systems in the world of its kind.
But we will not limit ourselves to that. If necessary, we will complement the activity of our aircraft by fighters and other means, including electronic warfare. There are actually many kinds, and now we will be applying them.
This does not in any way contradict what we are doing with the coalition headed by the United States. We are exchanging information with it, but we are very concerned by the nature of the exchanges and the results of our joint work.
We believed Turkey to be a friendly state and did not expect an attack from that country. That is precisely why we consider what has happened to be a treacherous blow.
Just look: we warned our US partners in advance about where our pilots would be operating, when, and at what flight levels. The American side, which heads the coalition that includes Turkey, knew about the location and time of the flights. And that is precisely where and when we were hit.
So I ask you: why did we provide this information to the Americans? Either they cannot control what their allies are doing, or they are handing out the information left and right, without understanding the consequences. Naturally, we will need to have some serious consultations with our partners on this matter. But the air defence system is not in any way directed against our partners, with whom we are fighting terrorists in Syria.
Francois Hollande(retranslated): If I may, I’d like to comment on the incident that took place on Tuesday as a result of which a Russian bomber was shot down by Turkey. This is a very serious incident, and I regret that it happened. I’ve said this to President Erdogan and to the Russian President.
It is absolutely clear that it is necessary to avoid any risk and any possible repetition of this sort of thing at this time and place. It is critical that we refrain from escalating the situation. The only goal that we should all set for ourselves is the fight against ISIS and the elimination of the terrorists. We have no other goals.
Therefore, we should draw the following conclusions. We must enhance coordination between our countries so that the armed forces present in the region and the aircraft capable of conducting air strikes do not interfere with each other so as to prevent any encounters leading to deplorable consequences and collisions. We must do our outmost to prevent this from happening again. It is for this reason that I have taken initiatives aimed at stepping up joint efforts and cooperation. I have been doing it for the very purpose I’ve just stated.
Finally, what have President Putin and I agreed upon? This is a very important point: we have agreed on the need to carry out strikes against terrorists only, only against ISIS and jihadist groups. It is crucial in this respect that groups that are also combating terrorists are not targeted by air strikes. It is in this area that we intend to share information with each other, as was discussed during the meeting.
We have to understand who can fight and who can’t, who should or should not be targeted. Consequently, our current objective is to try to avoid any incidents of this kind between the countries that are engaged in counter-terrorist efforts in Syria. Second, we must identify goals that would be clear to everyone.
Question: You spoke of the need to establish a broad coalition. Is this the kind of coalition you spoke about at the UN conference, or will competition continue between coalitions? If competition does continue, we would have to wonder about just how effective such coalitions can be, especially after the incident with the Russian plane. Or do you envisage a new common coalition, and if so, is it possible that such a coalition could potentially act in other countries also under threat from ISIS, and not just in Syria?
Coming back to the incident with the Russian plane, just a few hours ago, the Turkish President said in an interview that if the Turkish Air Force had known that the plane was Russian, they would not have acted as they did. He also said that the Turkish forces destroy all oil shipments they seize from ISIS, and that if Russia has other information and can prove otherwise, the President is ready to step down. I would like to hear your comments on these statements.
Vladimir Putin: Regarding the coalition, President Hollande and I discussed this issue today. We respect the coalition the United States is heading and are ready to work with this coalition. We think it would be best to establish a unified, common coalition. This would make it simpler and easier, and, I think, more effective to coordinate our common efforts in this situation. But if our partners are not ready for this… In fact, this was what I spoke about at the UN. But if our partners are not ready for this, fine, we are ready to work in other formats, in whatever format our partners would find acceptable. We are ready to cooperate with the US-led coalition.
We are obligated to ensure the safety of our aircraft and have deployed a modern S-400 system there. It operates at a long distance and is one of the most effective systems in the world of its kind.
But of course, incidents such as the destruction of our plane and the death of our servicemen – the pilot, and a marine who was attempting to rescue his brothers in arms – are completely unacceptable. Our position is that this must not happen again. If this is not the case, we do not need such cooperation, with anyone, any coalition or country.
I discussed all of this in detail with the President of France. We agreed to work together over this coming time, in bilateral format, and with the US-led coalition in general.
The question is one of delineating the territories that are targets for strikes and those where it is better to refrain from launching strikes, exchanging information on these and other matters, and coordinating action in the combat zone.
As for the oil question and the assertion that it is destroyed on Turkish territory, at the G20 summit, which took place in Turkey as it happens, in Antalya, I showed a photograph (I had already spoken publicly about this) taken by our pilots at a height of 5,000 metres. Vehicles transporting oil made a long line that vanished over the horizon. It looks like a living oil pipeline. These are industrial-scale oil supplies coming in from parts of Syria now in the terrorists’ hands. This oil comes from these regions, not from other places. We see from the air where these vehicles are heading. They are heading for Turkey day and night. I can imagine that perhaps Turkey’s senior leaders are not aware of this situation. It is hard to believe, but theoretically, it is possible.
This does not mean that the Turkish authorities should not attempt to put an end to this illegal trade. The UN Security Council passed a special resolution that bans direct purchase of oil from terrorists, because these barrels coming in are filled not just with oil but with our citizens’ blood, and because terrorists use the money from this trade to buy arms and munitions and then carry out bloody attacks such as those against our plane in the Sinai, and the attacks in Paris and other cities and countries.
Incidents such as the destruction of our plane and the death of our servicemen are completely unacceptable. Our position is that this must not happen again.
If the Turkish authorities are destroying this oil, why do we not see smoke from the fires? Let me say again that this is oil supply on an industrial scale. You would need to build entire special facilities to destroy this oil. Nothing of this sort is taking place. If Turkey’s senior leadership is not aware of the situation, let them open their eyes to it now.
I would be willing to believe that some corruption and shady deals might be involved. Let them sort out just what is going on there. But there is absolutely no question that the oil is heading for Turkey. We see this from the air. We see that loaded vehicles are heading there in a constant stream and returning empty. These vehicles are loaded in Syria, in territory controlled by the terrorists, and they go to Turkey and return to Syria empty. We see this every day.
Regarding the question of whether or not the Turkish President should step down, this is absolutely no concern of ours but is the Turkish people’s affair. We have never meddled in others’ affairs and will not do so now. It is a great pity though to lose the unprecedented level of bilateral relations that we developed with Turkey over these last years. We really did reach a very high level of relations and we looked at Turkey not just as our neighbour but also as a friendly country and practically an ally. It is very sad to see this so heedlessly and brutally destroyed.
Francois Hollande (retranslated): If you’ll allow me, Mr Putin, I’d like to respond to the question that was addressed to you, but from the French perspective.
There is a coalition. It has been around for several months. France is a member of it. The coalition’s main field of activity was Iraq. Together with the Iraqi government, we’ve sought to provide essential support to all those fighting ISIS and terrorism, which, unfortunately, is bleeding the country dry – that is, Iraq.
Then the geographical scope of the coalition’s operations expanded to include Syria’s territory. France is also operating in Syria in keeping with coalition policy and the decision that I made in September. At first, we conducted reconnaissance flights and now we’ve moved on to air strikes. This is being done under the right to self-defence. And we have this right because we know for a fact that the terrorists who acted in Paris and in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis were trained in Syria and, unfortunately, were trained very well to carry out these heinous terrorist attacks.
Now we want coordination. This is critical. We absolutely need it. First, to avoid these kinds of incidents, and second, to fight ISIS, terrorism more effectively. This coordination should be a form of collaboration – the sharing of intelligence and the exchange of information regarding terrorist concentration areas. All of this will enable us to act effectively. The UN Security Council resolution calls for this kind of action, and I welcome the European countries that have assumed responsibility for this as part of their commitment.
Regarding further action on our part, it is necessary to attack ISIS, its training centres, the centres where this terrorist army is being trained, but most importantly, attack its sources of financing, the sources of its livelihood – primarily oil.
If there is some other way of improving cooperation it is difficult to think of one without effectively engaging the trucks carrying oil that goes to those who’ve appropriated the right to buy it, thus providing ISIS with uncountable amounts of money. We don’t want to stop and will continue to attack these convoys and the oil processing plants or refineries – oil that, without a doubt, serves as the main source of financial income for ISIS.
Finally, I cannot help but reiterate that we should support the groups that can reverse the situation on the ground and recover this territory. It is very important for France, as well as for the other coalition members, to support such groups in fighting ISIS. They have the same goal – to fight ISIS and destroy this terrorist group.
Vladimir Putin: As for the idea that the Turkish air force did not recognise our plane, this is simply not possible. It is out of the question. Our planes have identification marks that are easily visible. They were obviously our planes and not anyone else’s.
At the G20 summit in Antalya I showed a photograph taken by our pilots. Vehicles transporting oil made a long line that vanished over the horizon. These are industrial-scale oil supplies coming in from parts of Syria now in the terrorists’ hands. These vehicles are heading for Turkey day and night.
Furthermore, let me say again that in accordance with our agreements with the Americans, we always gave prior information on where our planes will operate, on the formations, locations and times. Our position is that this is a working coalition, and Turkey, as a member of this coalition, should have known that Russian aircraft were operating in this location at that moment. Who else’s planes could they have been? What would they have done if they discovered that it was an American plane? Would they have fired at an American plane? This is all a load of nonsense, just an attempt to make excuses. It is a shame that instead of making a thorough investigation of the situation and taking steps to make sure such things never happen again, we hear from them these unclear explanations and statements to the effect that there is nothing even to apologise for. Well, this is not our choice, but Turkey’s choice.
This article was first published by The Ecologist in December 2007. I summarizes several in-depth and detailed articles written by the author on the HAARP program.
The debate on climate change does not acknowledge the role of climatic warfare, namely the deliberate manipulation of climate for military use.
“HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction, capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems globally.”
“‘Climatic warfare’ potentially threatens the future of humanity, but has casually been excluded from the reports for which the IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.” It has also been excluded from the November 2015 Paris Climate Summit.
* * *
Rarely acknowledged in the debate on global climate change, the world’s weather can now be modified as part of a new generation of sophisticated electromagnetic weapons. Both the US and Russia have developed capabilities to manipulate the climate for military use.
Environmental modification techniques have been applied by the US military for more than half a century. US mathematician John von Neumann, in liaison with the US Department of Defense, started his research on weather modification in the late 1940s at the height of the Cold War and foresaw ‘forms of climatic warfare as yet unimagined’. During the Vietnam war, cloud-seeding techniques were used, starting in 1967 under Project Popeye, the objective of which was to prolong the monsoon season and block enemy supply routes along the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
The US military has developed advanced capabilities that enable it selectively to alter weather patterns. The technology, which is being perfected under the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), is an appendage of the Strategic Defense Initiative – ‘Star Wars’. From a military standpoint, HAARP is a weapon of mass destruction, operating from the outer atmosphere and capable of destabilising agricultural and ecological systems around the world.
Weather-modification, according to the US Air Force document AF 2025 Final Report, ‘offers the war fighter a wide range of possible options to defeat or coerce an adversary’, capabilities, it says, extend to the triggering of floods, hurricanes, droughts and earthquakes: ‘Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather… and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of [military] technologies.’
In 1977, an international Convention was ratified by the UN General Assembly which banned ‘military or other hostile use of environmental modification techniques having widespread, long-lasting or severe effects.’ It defined ‘environmental modification techniques’ as ‘any technique for changing –through the deliberate manipulation of natural processes – the dynamics, composition or structure of the earth, including its biota, lithosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere, or of outer space.’
While the substance of the 1977 Convention was reasserted in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) signed at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, debate on weather modification for military use has become a scientific taboo.
Military analysts are mute on the subject. Meteorologists are not investigating the matter and environmentalists are focused on greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. Neither is the possibility of climatic or environmental manipulations as part of a military and intelligence agenda, while tacitly acknowledged, part of the broader debate on climate change under UN auspices.
The HAARP Programme
Established in 1992, HAARP, based in Gokona, Alaska, is an array of high-powered antennas that transmit, through high-frequency radio waves, massive amounts of energy into the ionosphere (the upper layer of the atmosphere). Their construction was funded by the US Air Force, the US Navy and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Operated jointly by the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research, HAARP constitutes a system of powerful antennas capable of creating ‘controlled local modifications of the ionosphere’. According to its official website, www.haarp.alaska.edu , HAARP will be used ‘to induce a small, localized change in ionospheric temperature so physical reactions can be studied by other instruments located either at or close to the HAARP site’.
HAARP Program, Alaska
HAARP array of antennas
But Rosalie Bertell, president of the International Institute of Concern for Public Health, says HAARP operates as ‘a gigantic heater that can cause major disruptions in the ionosphere, creating not just holes, but long incisions in the protective layer that keeps deadly radiation from bombarding the planet’.
Physicist Dr Bernard Eastlund called it ‘the largest ionospheric heater ever built’. HAARP is presented by the US Air Force as a research programme, but military documents confirm its main objective is to ‘induce ionospheric modifications’ with a view to altering weather patterns and disrupting communications and radar.
According to a report by the Russian State Duma: ‘The US plans to carry out large-scale experiments under the HAARP programme [and] create weapons capable of breaking radio communication lines and equipment installed on spaceships and rockets, provoke serious accidents in electricity networks and in oil and gas pipelines, and have a negative impact on the mental health of entire regions.’*
An analysis of statements emanating from the US Air Force points to the unthinkable: the covert manipulation of weather patterns, communications and electric power systems as a weapon of global warfare, enabling the US to disrupt and dominate entire regions. Weather manipulation is the pre-emptive weapon par excellence. It can be directed against enemy countries or ‘friendly nations’ without their knowledge, used to destabilise economies, ecosystems and agriculture. It can also trigger havoc in financial and commodity markets. The disruption in agriculture creates a greater dependency on food aid and imported grain staples from the US and other Western countries.
HAARP was developed as part of an Anglo-American partnership between Raytheon Corporation, which owns the HAARP patents, the US Air Force and British Aerospace Systems (BAES).
The HAARP project is one among several collaborative ventures in advanced weapons systems between the two defence giants. The HAARP project was initiated in 1992 by Advanced Power Technologies, Inc. (APTI), a subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield Corporation (ARCO). APTI (including the HAARP patents) was sold by ARCO to E-Systems Inc, in 1994. E-Systems, on contract to the CIA and US Department of Defense, outfitted the ‘Doomsday Plan’, which ‘allows the President to manage a nuclear war’.Subsequently acquired by Raytheon Corporation, it is among the largest intelligence contractors in the World. BAES was involved in the development of the advanced stage of the HAARP antenna array under a 2004 contract with the Office of Naval Research.
The installation of 132 high frequency transmitters was entrusted by BAES to its US subsidiary, BAE Systems Inc. The project, according to a July report in Defense News, was undertaken by BAES’s Electronic Warfare division. In September it received DARPA’s top award for technical achievement for the design, construction and activation of the HAARP array of antennas.
The HAARP system is fully operational and in many regards dwarfs existing conventional and strategic weapons systems. While there is no firm evidence of its use for military purposes, Air Force documents suggest HAARP is an integral part of the militarisation of space. One would expect the antennas already to have been subjected to routine testing.
Under the UNFCCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has a mandate ‘to assess scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of climate change’. This mandate includes environmental warfare. ‘Geo-engineering’ is acknowledged, but the underlying military applications are neither the object of policy analysis or scientific research in the thousands of pages of IPCC reports and supporting documents, based on the expertise and input of some 2,500 scientists, policymakers and environmentalists. ‘Climatic warfare’ potentially threatens the future of humanity, but has casually been excluded from the reports for which the IPCC received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
The four USAF military drone operators who recently blew the whistle and exposed the callousness and complete lack of concern for civilian casualties of the US drone assassination programme, (and received very little mainstream media exposure), yesterday found their bank accounts and credit cards all blocked by the US government. The effects of that on daily life are devastating. My source is their lawyer, Jesselyn Radack, through the Sam Adams Associates (of which we are both members).
No criminal charges have been brought against any of the men, despite numerous written threats of prosecution. Their finances appear to have been frozen by executive action under anti-terrorist legislation. This is yet a further glaring example of the use of “anti-terror” powers against people who are not remotely terrorist.
More whistleblowers have been jailed under Obama than under all previous US Presidents combined. Even so, the US authorities seem wary of the publicity that might surround prosecution of these servicemen, who only spoke of the effect upon their own health of having repeatedly to carry out heartless and often untargeted killings.
So their lives are being destroyed in other ways. You will forgive me for recalling that I know how they feel because I have been through just the same thing myself.
When I blew the whistle on UK complicity in torture and extraordinary rendition, I received numerous written threats from the FCO under the Official Secrets Act, and for a while I lived in daily expectation of arrest. Still more hurtful were the constant denials from Jack Straw and his repeated assertion that the UK was never complicit in torture, that there was no such thing as extraordinary rendition, together with the frequent imputations to journalists and politicians that I was in poor mental health and an alcoholic. I never had my bank account suspended, but there were interventions with prospective employers that prevented my getting another job.
Still, I had it easy. Chelsea Manning will celebrate her birthday in jail on 17 December.
It is worth recalling what these drone operators told us:
Bryant said the killing of civilians by drone is exacerbating the problem of terrorism. “We kill four and create 10 [militants],” Bryant said. “If you kill someone’s father, uncle or brother who had nothing to do with anything, their families are going to want revenge.”
The Obama administration has gone to great lengths to keep details of the drone program secret, but in their statements today the former operators opened up about the culture that has developed among those responsible for carrying it out. Haas said operators become acculturated to denying the humanity of the people on their targeting screens. “There was a much more detached outlook about who these people were we were monitoring,” he said. “Shooting was something to be lauded and something we should strive for.”
The deaths of children and other non-combatants in strikes was rationalized by many drone operators, Haas said. As a flight instructor, Haas claimed to have been non-judicially reprimanded by his superiors for failing a student who had expressed “bloodlust,” an overwhelming eagerness to kill.
Haas also described widespread alcohol and drug abuse among drone pilots. Drone operators, he said, would frequently get intoxicated using bath salts and synthetic marijuana to avoid possible drug testing and in an effort to “bend that reality and try to picture yourself not being there.” Haas said that he knew at least a half-dozen people in his unit who were using bath salts and that drug use had “impaired” them during missions.
There are some inside Hollywood, who are trying to wake up the world – Donald Sutherland is one of them.
The young people who see this film must recognize that for the future ‘blind faith in their leaders,’ as Bruce Springsteen said, ‘will get you dead.’
Hollywood actor, Donald Sutherland just dropped a bombshell on the military industrial complex. Sutherland, who plays President Coriolanus Snow in the blockbuster movie series Hunger Games, was recently asked what the movie was really about – he held no punches in his answer.
If there’s any question as to what it’s an allegory for I will tell you.
It is the powers that be in the United States of America.
War is for profit. It’s not “to save the world for democracy” or “for king and country.”
It’s for the profit of the top 10%, and the young people who see this film must recognize that for the future ‘blind faith in their leaders,’ as Bruce Springsteen said, “will get you dead.
Those who are awake to the war machine, and have watched the movies or read the books, have undoubtedly seen the underlying anti-establishment theme within. However, those who do not notice it should heed Sutherland’s words.
It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.
A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.
In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.
How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?
Sutherland does get one thing wrong, however, and that is the percentage that he assigns to those who profit from war. It is nowhere near 10% as he states. Those who profit from war, as Smedley Butler points out above, are a tiny group of people. The ruling elite.
It’s the weapons manufacturers, the arms dealers, the inside politicians, and the state itself. Everyone else involved in war, including those who die for it, are merely pawns. They are cogs in the machine whose only purpose is to spread death and destruction.
Please share this article and video so that others, who may have missed the point of this movie series, may see its true purpose – calling out the elite for the criminals that they are.
According to the story, the plummeting living standards forced on the Greek people by German chancellor Merkel and the European banks have forced large numbers of young Greek women into prostitution.
The large increase in the number of women offering sexual services has dropped the price to 4 euros an hour. According to this cynical report in The London Times, that’s $4.24, enough for a cheese pie or a sandwich, the value that bankster-imposed austerity has placed on an hour’s use of a woman’s body.
When one reads a story such as this, one hopes it is a parody or a caricature. Although the London Times has fallen a long way, it is not yet the kind of newspaper that can be purchased at grocery store checkout counters.
The story gains credence from the websites in the US on which female university students advertise their availability as mistresses to men who have the financial means to help them with their expenses. From various news reports, mistress seems to be a main occupation of female students at high-cost universities such as NYU.
The NYU girls have it far better than the Greek ones. The mistress relationship is monogamous and can be long-lasting and loving. Prudes make an issue of the disparity in ages, but disparity in age was long a feature of upper class marriages. Prostitutes have large numbers of partners, each possibly carrying disease, and they receive nothing in return except cash. In Greece, if the report is correct, the payment is so low that the women cannot survive on the money beyond lunchtime.
This is capitalism at work. In the US the hardship comes from escalating tuition costs, with 75% of the university budget spent on administration, rather than on faculty or student aid, and from the lack of jobs available to graduates that pay enough to service the student loans. These days your waiter in the restaurant might be an adjunct or part-time university professor hoping to get a full-time job as an actor. As mistresses, the NYU girls will be doing better.
In Greece the hardship is imposed from outside the country by the European Union, which Greece foolishly joined, giving away its sovereignty in exchange for austerity. The banksters and their agents in the EU and German governments claim that the Greek people benefitted from the loans and, therefore, are responsible for paying back the loans.
But the loans were not made to the Greek people. The loans were made to corrupt Greek governments who were paid bribes by the lenders to accept the loans, and the proceeds often were used for purchases from the country from which the loan originated. For example, Greek governments were paid bribes to borrow money from German or other foreign banks in order to purchase German submarines. It is through this type of corruption that the Greek debt grew.
The story told by the financial media and neoliberal economists who shill for the banksters is that the Greek people irresponsibly borrowed the money and spent it on welfare for themselves, and having enjoyed the fruits of the loans don’t want to repay them. This story is a lie. But the lie serves to ensure that the Greek people are looted in order to make good the banks’ own mistakes in overlending. The banks got both the loan fees and the kickbacks from the submarine producers. (I am using submarine producers as a generic for the range of outside goods and services on which the loans were spent.)
In Greece the loans are being paid by money “saved” by cutting Greek pensions, education and social services, and public employment, and by money raised from selling off public assets such as ports, municipal water systems and protected islands. The cutbacks in pensions, education, social services and employment drain money from the economy, and the sale of public assets drains money from the government’s budget. Michael Hudson tells the story brilliantly in his new book, Killing The Host.
The result is widespread hardship, and the result of the hardship is that young Greek women have to sell themselves.
It is just as Marx, Engels, and Lenin said.
One would think that people everywhere would be outraged. But to most of those who commented on Zero Hedge (and who represent the vaunted “Western Values”) they see nothing to be outraged about.
The war drums are getting louder in the aftermath of ISIS attacks in Paris, as Western countries gear up to launch further airstrikes in Syria. But obscured in the fine print of countless resolutions and media headlines is this: the West has no legal basis for military intervention. Their strikes are illegal.
“It is always preferable in these circumstances to have the full backing of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) but I have to say what matters most of all is that any actions we would take would…be legal,” explained UK Prime Minister David Cameron to the House of Commons last Wednesday.
Legal? No, there’s not a scrap of evidence that UK airstrikes would be lawful in their current incarnation.
Then just two days later, on Friday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2249, aimed at rallying the world behind the fairly obvious notion that ISIS is an “unprecedented threat to international peace and security.”
“It’s a call to action to member states that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures against (ISIS) and other terrorist groups,” British UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft told reporters.
The phrase “all necessary measures” was broadly interpreted – if not explicitly sanctioning the “use of force” in Syria, then as a wink to it.
Let’s examine the pertinent language of UNSCR 2249:
The resolution “calls upon Member States that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular with the United Nations Charter…on the territory under the control of ISIL also known as Da’esh, in Syria and Iraq.
Note that the resolution demands “compliance with international law, in particular with the UN Charter.” This is probably the most significant explainer to the “all necessary measures” phrase. Use of force is one of the most difficult things for the UNSC to sanction – it is a last resort measure, and a rare one. The lack of Chapter 7 language in the resolution pretty much means that ‘use of force’ is not on the menu unless states have other means to wrangle “compliance with international law.”
What you need to know about international law
It is important to understand that the United Nations was set up in the aftermath of World War 2 expressly to prevent war and to regulate and inhibit the use of force in settling disputes among its member states. This is the UN’s big function – to “maintain international peace and security,” as enshrined in the UN Charter’s very first article.
There are a lot of laws that seek to govern and prevent wars, but the Western nations looking to launch airstrikes in Syria have made things easy for us – they have cited the law that they believe justifies their military intervention: specifically, Article 51 of the UN Charter. It reads, in part:
Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security.
So doesn’t France, for instance, enjoy the inherent right to bomb ISIS targets in Syria as an act of self-defense – in order to prevent further attacks?
And don’t members of the US-led coalition, who cite the “collective self-defense” of Iraq (the Iraqi government has formally made this request), have the right to prevent further ISIS attacks from Syrian territory into Iraqi areas?
Well, no. Article 51, as conceived in the UN Charter, refers to attacks between territorial states, not with non-state actors like ISIS or Al-Qaeda. Syria, after all, did not attack France or Iraq – or Turkey, Australia, Jordan or Saudi Arabia.
And here’s where it gets interesting.
Western leaders are employing two distinct strategies to obfuscate the lack of legal justification for intervention in Syria. The first is the use of propaganda to build narratives about Syria that support their legal argumentation. The second is a shrewd effort to cite legal “theory” as a means to ‘stretch’ existing law into a shape that supports their objectives.
The “Unwilling and Unable” Theory – the “Unable” argument
The unwilling and unable theory – as related to the Syria/ISIS situation – essentially argues that the Syrian state is both unwilling and unable to target the non-state actor based within its territory (ISIS, in this case) that poses a threat to another state.
Let’s break this down further.
Ostensibly, Syria is ‘unable’ to sufficiently degrade or destroy ISIS because, as we can clearly see, ISIS controls a significant amount of territory within Syria’s borders that its national army has not been able to reclaim.
This made some sense – until September 30 when Russia entered the Syrian military theater and began to launch widespread airstrikes against terrorist targets inside Syria.
As a major global military power, Russia is clearly ‘able’ to thwart ISIS –certainly just as well as most of the Western NATO states participating in airstrikes already. Moreover, as Russia is operating there due to a direct Syrian government appeal for assistance, the Russian military role in Syria is perfectly legal.
This development struck a blow at the US-led coalition’s legal justification for strikes in Syria. Not that the coalition’s actions were ever legal – “unwilling and unable” is merely a theory and has no basis in customary international law.
About this new Russian role, Major Patrick Walsh, associate professor in the International and Operational Law Department at the US Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Virginia, says:
The United States and others who are acting in collective defense of Iraq and Turkey are in a precarious position. The international community is calling on Russia to stop attacking rebel groups and start attacking ISIS. But if Russia does, and if the Assad government commits to preventing ISIS from attacking Syria’s neighbors and delivers on that commitment, then the unwilling or unable theory for intervention in Syria would no longer apply. Nations would be unable to legally intervene inside Syria against ISIS without the Assad government’s consent.
In recent weeks, the Russians have made ISIS the target of many of its airstrikes, and are day by day improving coordination efficiencies with the ground troops and air force of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and its allies -Iran, Hezbollah and other foreign groups who are also in Syria legally, at the invitation of the Syrian state.
Certainly, the balance of power on the ground in Syria has started to shift away from militants and terrorist groups since Russia launched its campaign seven weeks ago – much more than we have seen in a year of coalition strikes.
The “Unwilling and Unable” Theory – the “Unwilling” argument
Now for the ‘unwilling’ part of the theory. And this is where the role of Western governments in seeding ‘propaganda’comes into play.
The US and its allies have been arguing for the past few years that the Syrian government is either in cahoots with ISIS, benefits from ISIS’ existence, or is a major recruiting magnet for the terror group.
Western media, in particular, has made a point of underplaying the SAA’s military confrontations with ISIS, often suggesting that the government actively avoids ISIS-controlled areas.
The net result of this narrative has been to convey the message that the Syrian government has been ‘unwilling’ to diminish the terror group’s base within the country.
But is this true?
ISIS was born from the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in April, 2013 when the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a short-lived union of ISI and Syria’s Al-Qaeda branch, Jabhat al-Nusra. Armed militants in Syria have switched around their militia allegiances many times throughout this conflict, so it would be disingenuous to suggest the Syrian army has not fought each and every one of these groups at some point since early 2011.
If ISIS was viewed as a ‘neglected’ target at any juncture, it has been mainly because the terror group was focused on land grabs for its “Caliphate” in the largely barren north-east areas of the country – away from the congested urban centers and infrastructure hubs that have defined the SAA’s military priorities.
But ISIS has always remained a fixture in the SAA’s sights. The Syrian army has fought or targeted ISIS, specifically, in dozens of battlefields since the organization’s inception, and continues to do so. In Deir Hafer Plains, Mennagh, Kuweires, Tal Arn, al-Safira, Tal Hasel and the Aleppo Industrial District. In the suburbs and countryside of Damascus – most famously in Yarmouk this year – where the SAA and its allies thwarted ISIS’ advance into the capital city. In the Qalamun mountains, in Christian Qara and Faleeta. In Deir Ezzor, where ISIS would join forces with the US-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA): al-Husseiniyeh, Hatla, Sakr Island, al-Hamadiyah, al-Rashidiyah, al-Jubeileh, Sheikh Yasseen, Mohassan, al-Kanamat, al-Sina’a, al-Amal, al-Haweeqa, al-Ayyash, the Ghassan Aboud neighborhood, al-Tayyim Oil Fields and the Deir ez-Zor military airport. In Hasakah Province – Hasakah city itself, al-Qamishli, Regiment 121 and its environs, the Kawkab and Abdel-Aziz Mountains. In Raqqa, the Islamic State’s capital in Syria, the SAA combatted ISIS in Division 17, Brigade 93 and Tabaqa Airbase. In Hama Province, the entire al-Salamiyah District – Ithriyah, Sheikh Hajar, Khanasser. In the province of Homs, the eastern countryside: Palmyra, Sukaneh, Quraytayn, Mahin, Sadad, Jubb al-Ahmar, the T-4 Airbase and the Iraqi border crossing. In Suweida, the northern countryside.
If anything, the Russian intervention has assisted the Syrian state in going on the offensive against ISIS and other like-minded terror groups. Before Russia moved in, the SAA was hunkering down in and around key strategic areas to protect these hubs. Today, Syria and its allies are hitting targets by land and air in the kinds of coordinated offensives we have not seen before.
The role of propaganda and carefully manipulated narratives should not be underestimated in laying the groundwork for foreign military intervention in Syria.
From “the dictator is killing his own people” to the “regime is using chemical weapons” to the need to establish “No Fly Zones” to safeguard “refugees fleeing Assad”…propaganda has been liberally used to build the justification for foreign military intervention.
Article 2 of the UN Charter states, in part:
All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations.
It’s hard to see how Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity has not been systematically violated throughout the nearly five years of this conflict, by the very states that make up the US-led coalition. The US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and other nations have poured weapons, funds, troops and assistance into undermining a UN member state at every turn.
“Legitimacy” is the essential foundation upon which governance rests. Vilify a sitting government, shut down multiple embassies, isolate a regime in international forums, and you can destroy the fragile veneer of legitimacy of a king, president or prime minister.
But efforts to delegitimize the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have also served to lay the groundwork for coalition airstrikes in Syria.
If Assad is viewed to lack “legitimacy,” the coalition creates the impression that there is no real government from which it can gain the necessary authority to launch its airstrikes.
This mere ‘impression’ provided the pretext for Washington to announce it was sending 50 Special Forces troops into Syria, as though the US wasn’t violating every tenet of international law in doing so. “It’s okay – there’s no real government there,”we are convinced.
Media reports repeatedly highlight the ‘percentages’ of territory outside the grasp of Syrian government forces – this too serves a purpose. One of the essentials of a state is that it consists of territory over which it governs.
If only 50 percent of Syria is under government control, the argument goes, “then surely we can just walk into the other ‘ungoverned’ parts” – as when US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and US Senator John McCain just strolled illegally across the border of the sovereign Syrian state.
Sweep aside these ‘impressions’ and bury them well. The Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad is viewed by the United Nations as the only legitimate government in Syria. Every official UN interaction with the state is directed at this government. The Syrian seat at the UN is occupied by Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari, a representative of Assad’s government. It doesn’t matter how many Syrian embassies in how many capitals are shut down – or how many governments-in-exile are established. The UN only recognizes one.
As one UN official told me in private: “Control of surface territory doesn’t count. The government of Kuwait when its entire territory was occupied by Iraq – and it was in exile – was still the legitimate government of Kuwait. The Syrian government could have 10 percent of its surface left – the decision of the UN Security Council is all that matters from the perspective of international law, even if other governments recognize a new Syrian government.”
Countdown to more illegal airstrikes?
If there was any lingering doubt about the illegality of coalition activities in Syria, the Syrian government put these to rest in September, in two letters to the UNSC that denounced foreign airstrikes as unlawful:
If any State invokes the excuse of counter-terrorism in order to be present on Syrian territory without the consent of the Syrian Government whether on the country’s land or in its airspace or territorial waters, its action shall be considered a violation of Syrian sovereignty.
Yet still, upon the adoption of UNSC Resolution 2249 last Friday, US Deputy Representative to the United Nations Michele Sison insisted that “in accordance with the UN Charter and its recognition of the inherent right of individual and collective self-defense,” the US would use “necessary and proportionate military action” in Syria.
The website for the European Journal of International Law (EJIL) promptly pointed out the obvious:
The resolution is worded so as to suggest there is Security Council support for the use of force against IS. However, though the resolution, and the unanimity with which it was adopted, might confer a degree of legitimacy on actions against IS, the resolution does not actually authorize any actions against IS, nor does it provide a legal basis for the use of force against IS either in Syria or in Iraq.
On Thursday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron plans to unveil his new “comprehensive strategy” to tackle ISIS, which we are told will include launching airstrikes in Syria.
We already know the legal pretext he will spin – “unwilling and unable,” Article 51, UN Charter, individual and collective self-defense, and so forth.
But if Cameron’s September 7 comments at the House of Commons are any indication, he will use the following logic to argue that the UK has no other choice than to resort to ‘use of force’ in Syria. In response to questions about two illegal drone attacks targeting British nationals in Syria, the prime minister emphasized:
These people were in a part of Syria where there was no government, no one to work with, and no other way of addressing this threat…When we are dealing with people in ISIL-dominated Syria—there is no government, there are no troops on the ground—there is no other way of dealing with them than the route that we took.
But Cameron does have another route available to him – and it is the only ‘legal’ option for military involvement in Syria.
If the UK’s intention is solely to degrade and destroy ISIS, then it must request authorization from the Syrian government to participate in a coordinated military campaign that could help speed up the task.
If Western (and allied Arab) leaders can’t stomach dealing with the Assad government on this issue, then by all means work through an intermediary – like the Russians – who can coordinate and authorize military operations on behalf of their Syrian ally.
The Syrian government has said on multiple occasions that it welcomes sincere international efforts to fight terrorism inside its territory. But these efforts must come under the direction of a central legal authority that can lead a broad campaign on the ground and in the air.
The West argues that, unlike in Iraq, it seeks to maintain the institutions of the Syrian state if Assad were to step down. The SAA is one of these ‘institutions’ - why not coordinate with it now?
But after seven weeks of Russian airstrikes coordinated with extensive ground troops (which the coalition lacks), none of these scenarios may even be warranted. ISIS and other extremist groups have lost ground in recent weeks, and if this trend continues, coalition states should fall back and focus on other key ISIS-busting activities referenced in UNSCR 2249 – squeezing terror financing, locking down key borders, sharing intelligence…”all necessary measures” to destroy this group.
If the ‘international community’ wants to return ‘peace and stability’ to the Syrian state, it seems prudent to point out that its very first course of action should be to stop breaking international law in Syria.
Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Middle East geopolitics. She is a former senior associate at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University and has a master’s degree in International Relations from Columbia University. Sharmine has written commentary for a wide array of publications, including Al Akhbar English, the New York Times, the Guardian, Asia Times Online, Salon.com, USA Today, the Huffington Post, Al Jazeera English, BRICS Post and others. You can follow her on Twitter at @snarwani
For years, NATO has granted impunity to convoys packed with supplies bound for ISIS and Al Qaeda. Russian airstrikes have stopped them dead in their tracks. If a legitimate, well-documented aid convoy carrying humanitarian supplies bound for civilians inside Syria was truly destroyed by Russian airstrikes, it is likely the world would never have heard the end of it.
Instead, much of the world has heard little at all about a supposed “aid” convoy destroyed near Azaz, Syria, at the very edge of the Afrin-Jarabulus corridor through which the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) and Al Qaeda’s remaining supply lines pass, and in which NATO has long-sought to create a “buffer zone” more accurately described as a Syrian-based, NATO-occupied springboard from which to launch terrorism deeper into Syrian territory.
At least seven people died, 10 got injured after an apparent airstrike, reportedly by Russian jets, targeted an aid convoy in northwestern Syrian town of Azaz near a border crossing with Turkey on Wednesday.
Daily Sabah also reported:
Speaking to Daily Sabah, Serkan Nergis from the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) said that the targeted area is located some 5 kilometers southwest of the Öncüpınar Border Crossing.
Nergis said that IHH has a civil defense unit in Azaz and they helped locals to extinguish the trucks. Trucks were probably carrying aid supplies or commercial materials, Nergis added.
Daily Sabah’s report also reveals that the Turkish-Syrian border crossing of Oncupinar is held by what it calls “rebels.” The border crossing of Oncupinar should be familiar to many as it was the scene of Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle’s (DW) investigative report where DW camera crews videotaped hundreds of trucks waiting at the border, bound for ISIS territory, apparently with full approval of Ankara.
The report was published in November of 2014, a full year ago, and revealed precisely how ISIS has been able to maintain its otherwise inexplicable and seemingly inexhaustible fighting capacity. The report titled, “‘IS’ supply channels through Turkey,” included a video and a description which read:
Every day, trucks laden with food, clothing, and other supplies cross the border from Turkey to Syria. It is unclear who is picking up the goods. The haulers believe most of the cargo is going to the “Islamic State” militia. Oil, weapons, and soldiers are also being smuggled over the border, and Kurdish volunteers are now patrolling the area in a bid to stem the supplies.
The report, and many others like it, left many around the world wondering why, if the US is willing to carry out risky military operations deep within Syrian territory to allegedly “fight ISIS,” the US and its allies don’t commit to a much less riskier strategy of securing the Turkish-Syrian border within Turkey’s territory itself – especially considering that the United States maintains an airbase, training camps, and intelligence outposts within Turkish territory and along the very border ISIS supply convoys are crossing over.
Ideally, NATO should have interdicted these supply convoys before they even crossed over into Syria – arresting the drivers and tracking those who filled the trucks back to their source and arresting them as well. Alternatively, the trucks should have been destroyed either at the border or at the very least, once they had entered into Syria and were clearly headed toward ISIS-occupied territory.
That none of this took place left many to draw conclusions that the impunity granted to this overt logistical network was intentional and implicated NATO directly in the feeding of the very ISIS terrorists it claimed to be “fighting.”
Russia Steps In
Obviously, any nation truly interested in defeating ISIS would attack it at its very source – its supply lines. Military weaponry may have changed over the centuries, but military strategy, particularly identifying and severing an enemy’s supply lines is a tried and true method of achieving victory in any conflict.
Russia, therefore, would find these convoys a natural target and would attempt to hit them as close to the Syrian-Turkish border as possible, to negate any chance the supplies would successfully reach ISIS’ hands. Russian President Vladmir Putin noted, regarding the Azaz convoy in particular, that if the convoy was legitimately carrying aid, it would have been declared, and its activities made known to all nations operating military aircraft in the region.
The trucks hit in the recent airstrikes, just as they were during the DW investigation, were carrying concrete and steel, not “milk and diapers” as the West would lead audiences to believe. That the supplies were passing through a “rebel” controlled crossing means that the supplies were surely headed to “rebel” controlled territory – either Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra Front in the west, or ISIS in the east.
Russian airstrikes insured that the supplies reached neither.
Strangling NATO’s Terrorists at the Border
Russia’s increased activity along the Syrian-Turkish border signifies the closing phases of the Syrian conflict. With Syrian and Kurdish forces holding the border east of the Euphrates, the Afrin-Jarabulus corridor is the only remaining conduit for supplies bound for terrorists in Syria to pass. Syrian forces have begun pushing east toward the Euphrates from Aleppo, and then will move north to the Syrian-Turkish border near Jarabulus. Approximately 90-100 km west near Afrin, Ad Dana, and Azaz, it appears Russia has begun cutting off terrorist supply lines right at the border. It is likely Syrian forces will arrive and secure this region as well.
For those that have criticized Russia’s air campaign claiming conflicts can’t be won from the air without a ground component, it should be clear by now that the Syrian Arab Army is that ground component, and has dealt ISIS and Al Qaeda its most spectacular defeats in the conflict.
When this corridor is closed and supplies cut off, ISIS, Nusra, and all associated NATO-backed factions will atrophy and die as the Syrian military restores order across the country. This may be why there has been a sudden “rush” by the West to move assets into the region, the impetus driving the United States to place special forces into Syrian territory itself, and for Turkey’s ambush of a Russian Su-24 near the Syrian-Turkish border.
What all of this adds up to is a clear illustration of precisely why the Syrian conflict was never truly a “civil war.” The summation of support for militants fighting against the Syrian government and people, has come from beyond Syria’s borders. With that support being cut off and the prospect of these militants being eradicated, the true sponsors behind this conflict are moving more directly and overtly to salvage their failed conspiracy against the Syrian state.
The following text is Chapter IV of Professor Anderson’s forthcoming book entitled The Dirty War on Syria, Global Research Publishers, Montreal, 2016 (forthcoming).
Image. Arms seized by Syrian security forces at al Omari mosque in Daraa, March 2011. The weapons had been provided by the Saudis. Photo: SANA
“The protest movement in Syria was overwhelmingly peaceful until September 2011”- Human Rights Watch, March 2012, Washington
“I have seen from the beginning armed protesters in those demonstrations … they were the first to fire on the police. Very often the violence of the security forces comes in response to the brutal violence of the armed insurgents” – the late Father Frans Van der Lugt, January 2012, Homs Syria
“The claim that armed opposition to the government has begun only recently is a complete lie. The killings of soldiers, police and civilians, often in the most brutal circumstances, have been going on virtually since the beginning”. – Professor Jeremy Salt, October 2011, Ankara Turkey
A double story began on the Syrian conflict, at the outset of the armed violence in 2011, in the southern border town of Daraa. The first story comes from independent witnesses in Syria, such as the late Father Frans Van der Lugt in Homs. They say that armed men infiltrated the early political reform demonstrations to shoot at both police and civilians. This violence came from sectarian Islamists. The second comes from the Islamist groups (‘rebels’) and their western backers. They claim there was ‘indiscriminate’ violence from Syrian security forces to repress political rallies and that the ‘rebels’ grew out of a secular political reform movement.
Careful study of the independent evidence, however, shows that the Washington-backed ‘rebel’ story, while widespread, was part of a strategy to delegitimise the Syrian Government, with the aim of fomenting ‘regime change’. To understand this it is necessary to observe that, prior to the armed insurrection of March 2011 there were shipments of arms from Saudi Arabia to Islamists at the al Omari mosque. It is also useful to review the earlier Muslim Brotherhood insurrection at Hama in 1982, because of the parallel myths that have grown up around both insurrections.
US intelligence (DIA 1982) and the late British author Patrick Seale (1988) give independent accounts of what happened at Hama. After years of violent, sectarian attacks by Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, by mid-1980 President Hafez al Assad had ‘broken the back’ of their sectarian rebellion, which aimed to impose a Salafi-Islamic state. One final coup plot was exposed and the Brotherhood ‘felt pressured into initiating’ an uprising in their stronghold of Hama. Seale describes the start of that violence in this way:
At 2am on the night of 2-3 February 1982 an army unit combing the old city fell into an ambush. Roof top snipers killed perhaps a score of soldiers … [Brotherhood leader] Abu Bakr [Umar Jawwad] gave the order for a general uprising … hundreds of Islamist fighters rose … by the morning some seventy leading Ba’athists had been slaughtered and the triumphant guerrillas declared the city ‘liberated’ (Seale 1988: 332).
However the Army responded with a huge force of about 12,000 and the battle raged for three weeks. It was a foreign-backed civil war, with some defections from the army. Seale continues:
As the tide turned slowly in the government’s favour, the guerrillas fell back into the old quarters … after heavy shelling, commandos and party irregulars supported by tanks moved in … many civilians were slaughtered in the prolonged mopping up, whole districts razed (Seale 1988: 333).
Two months later a US intelligence report said: ‘The total casualties for the Hama incident probably number about 2,000. This includes an estimated 300 to 400 members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s elite ‘Secret Apparatus’ (DIA 1982: 7).
Seale recognises that the Army also suffered heavy losses. At the same time, ‘large numbers died in the hunt for the gunmen … government sympathizers estimating a mere 3,000 and critics as many as 20,000 … a figure of 5,000 to 10,000 could be close to the truth’ He adds:
‘The guerrillas were formidable opponents. They had a fortune in foreign money … [and] no fewer than 15,000 machine guns’ (Seale 1988: 335). Subsequent Muslim Brotherhood accounts have inflated the casualties, reaching up to ‘40,000 civilians’, thus attempting to hide their insurrection and sectarian massacres by claiming that Hafez al Assad had carried out a ‘civilian massacre’ (e.g. Nassar 2014). The then Syrian President blamed a large scale foreign conspiracy for the Hama insurrection. Seale observes that Hafez was ‘not paranoical’, as many US weapons were captured and foreign backing had come from several US collaborators: King Hussayn of Jordan, Lebanese Christian militias (the Israeli-aligned ‘Guardians of the Cedar’) and Saddam Hussein in Iraq (Seale 1988: 336-337).
The Hama insurrection helps us understand the Daraa violence because, once again in 2011, we saw armed Islamists using rooftop sniping against police and government officials, drawing in the armed forces, only to cry ‘civilian massacre’ when they and their collaborators came under attack from the Army. Although the US, through its allies, played an important part in the Hama insurrection, when it was all over US intelligence dryly observed that: ‘the Syrians are pragmatists who do not want a Muslim Brotherhood government’ (DIA 1982: vii).
In the case of Daraa, and the attacks that moved to Homs and surrounding areas in April 2011, the clearly stated aim was once again to topple the secular or ‘infidel-Alawi’ regime. The front-line US collaborators were Saudi Arabia and Qatar, then Turkey. The head of the Syrian Brotherhood, Muhammad Riyad Al-Shaqfa, issued a statement on 28 March which left no doubt that the group’s aim was sectarian. The enemy was ‘the secular regime’ and Brotherhood members ‘have to make sure that the revolution will be pure Islamic, and with that no other sect would have a share of the credit after its success’ (Al-Shaqfa 2011). While playing down the initial role of the Brotherhood, Sheikho confirms that it ‘went on to punch above its actual weight on the ground during the uprising … [due] to Turkish-Qatari support’, and to its general organisational capacity (Sheikho 2013). By the time there was a ‘Free Syrian Army Supreme Military Council’ in 2012 (more a weapons conduit than any sort of army command), it was said to be two-thirds dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood (Draitser 2012). Other foreign Salafi-Islamist groups quickly joined this ‘Syrian Revolution’. A US intelligence report in August 2012, contrary to Washington’s public statements about ‘moderate rebels’, said:
The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISIS] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria … AQI supported the Syrian Opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media (DIA 2012).
In February 2011 there was popular agitation in Syria, to some extent influenced by the events in Egypt and Tunisia. There were anti-government and pro-government demonstrations, and a genuine political reform movement which for several years had agitated against corruption and the Ba’ath Party monopoly. A 2005 report referred to ‘an array of reform movements slowly organizing beneath the surface’ (Ghadry 2005), and indeed the ‘many faces’ of a Syrian opposition, much of it non-Islamist, had been agitating since about that same time (Sayyid Rasas 2013). These political opposition groups deserve attention, in another discussion (see Chapter Five). However only one section of that opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Salafists, was linked to the violence that erupted in Daraa. Large anti-government demonstrations began, to be met with huge pro-government demonstrations. In early March some teenagers in Daraa were arrested for graffiti that had been copied from North Africa ‘the people want to overthrow the regime’. It was reported that they were abused by local police, President Bashar al Assad intervened, the local governor was sacked and the teenagers were released (Abouzeid 2011).
Yet the Islamist insurrection was underway, taking cover under the street demonstrations. On 11 March, several days before the violence broke out in Daraa, there were reports that Syrian forces had seized ‘a large shipment of weapons and explosives and night-vision goggles … in a truck coming from Iraq’. The truck was stopped at the southern Tanaf crossing, close to Jordan. The Syrian Government news agency SANA said the weapons were intended ‘for use in actions that affect Syria’s internal security and spread unrest and chaos.’ Pictures showed ‘dozens of grenades and pistols as well as rifles and ammunition belts’. The driver said the weapons had been loaded in Baghdad and he had been paid $5,000 to deliver them to Syria (Reuters 2011). Despite this interception, arms did reach Daraa, a border town of about 150,000 people. This is where the ‘western-rebel’ and the independent stories diverge, and diverge dramatically. The western media consensus was that protestors burned and trashed government offices, and then ‘provincial security forces opened fire on marchers, killing several’ (Abouzeid 2011). After that, ‘protestors’ staged demonstrations in front of the al-Omari mosque, but were in turn attacked.
The Syrian government, on the other hand, said there were unprovoked attacks on security forces, killing police and civilians, along with the burning of government offices. There was foreign corroboration of this account. While its headline blamed security forces for killing ‘protesters’, the British Daily Mail (2011) showed pictures of guns, AK47 rifles and hand grenades that security forces had recovered after storming the al-Omari mosque. The paper noted reports that ‘an armed gang’ had opened fire on an ambulance, killing ‘a doctor, a paramedic and a policeman’. Media channels in neighbouring countries did report on the killing of Syrian police, on 17-18 March. On 21 March a Lebanese news report observed that ‘Seven policemen were killed during clashes between the security forces and protesters in Syria’ (YaLibnan 2011), while an Israel National News report said ‘Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed … and the Baath party headquarters and courthouse were torched’ (Queenan 2011). These police had been targeted by rooftop snipers.
Even in these circumstances the Government was urging restraint and attempting to respond to the political reform movement. President Assad’s adviser, Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, told a news conference that the President had ordered ‘that live ammunition should not be fired, even if the police, security forces or officers of the state were being killed’. Assad proposed to address the political demands, such as the registration of political parties, removing emergency rules and allowing greater media freedoms (al-Khalidi 2011). None of that seemed to either interest or deter the Islamists.
Several reports, including video reports, observed rooftop snipers firing at crowds and police, during funerals of those already killed. It was said to be ‘unclear who was firing at whom’ (Al Jazeera 2011a), as ‘an unknown armed group on rooftops shot at protesters and security forces’ (Maktabi 2011). Yet Al Jazeera (2011b) owned by the Qatari monarchy, soon strongly suggested that that the snipers were pro-government. ‘President Bashar al Assad has sent thousands of Syrian soldiers and their heavy weaponry into Derra for an operation the regime wants nobody in the word to see’, the Qatari channel said. However the Al Jazeera suggestion that secret pro-government snipers were killing ‘soldiers and protestors alike’ was illogical and out of sequence. The armed forces came to Daraa precisely because police had been shot and killed.
Saudi Arabia, a key US regional ally, had armed and funded extremist Salafist Sunni sects to move against the secular government. Saudi official Anwar Al-Eshki later confirmed to BBC television that his country had sent arms to Daraa and to the al-Omari mosque (Truth Syria 2012). From exile in Saudi Arabia, Salafi Sheikh Adnan Arour called for a holy war against the liberal Alawi Muslims, who were said to dominate the Syrian government: ‘by Allah we shall mince [the Alawites] in meat grinders and feed their flesh to the dogs’ (MEMRITV 2011). The Salafist aim was a theocratic state or caliphate. The genocidal slogan ‘Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave’ became widespread, a fact reported by the North American media as early as May 2011 (e.g. Blanford 2011). Islamists from the FSA Farouq brigade would soon act on these threats (Crimi 2012). Canadian analyst Michel Chossudovsky (2011) observed: ‘The deployment of armed forces including tanks in Daraa [was] directed against an organised armed insurrection, which has been active in the border city since March 17-18.”
After those first few days in Daraa the killing of Syrian security forces continued, but went largely unreported outside Syria. Nevertheless, independent analyst Sharmine Narwani wrote about the scale of this killing in early 2012 and again in mid-2014. An ambush and massacre of soldiers took place near Daraa in late March or early April. An army convoy was stopped by an oil slick on a valley road between Daraa al-Mahata and Daraa al-Balad and the trucks were machine gunned. Estimates of soldier deaths, from government and opposition sources ranged from 18 to 60. A Daraa resident said these killings were not reported because: ‘At that time, the government did not want to show they are weak and the opposition did not want to show they are armed’. Anti-Syrian Government blogger, Nizar Nayouf, records this massacre as taking place in the last week of March. Another anti-Government writer, Rami Abdul Rahman (based in England, and calling himself the ‘Syrian Observatory of Human Rights’) says:
‘It was on the first of April and about 18 or 19 security forces … were killed’ (Narwani 2014). Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad, himself a resident of Daraa, confirmed that: ‘this incident was hidden by the government … as an attempt not to antagonize or not to raise emotions and to calm things down – not to encourage any attempt to inflame emotions which may lead to escalation of the situation’ (Narwani 2014).
Yet the significance of denying armed anti-Government killings was that, in the western media, all deaths were reported as (a) victims of the Army and (b) civilians. For well over six months, when a body count was mentioned in the international media, it was usually considered acceptable to suggest these were all ‘protestors’ killed by the Syrian Army. For example, a Reuters report on 24 March said Daraa’s main hospital had received ‘the bodies of at least 37 protestors killed on Wednesday’ (Khalidi 2011). Notice that all the dead had become ‘protestors’, despite earlier reports on the killing of a number of police and health workers.
Another nineteen soldiers were gunned down on 25 April, also near Daraa. Narwani obtained their names and details from Syria’s Defence Ministry, and corroborated these details from another document from a non-government source. Throughout April 2011 she calculates that eighty-eight Syrian soldiers were killed ‘by unknown shooters in different areas across Syria’ (Narwani 2014). She went on to refute claims that the soldiers killed were ‘defectors’, shot by the Syrian army for refusing to fire on civilians. Human Rights Watch, referring to interviews with 50 unnamed ‘activists’, claimed that soldiers killed at this time were all ‘defectors’, murdered by the Army (HRW 2011b). Yet the funerals of loyal officers, shown on the internet at that time, were distinct. Even Rami Abdul Rahman (the SOHR), keen to blame the Army for killing civilians, said ‘this game of saying the Army is killing defectors for leaving – I never accepted this’ (Narwani 2014). Nevertheless the highly charged reports were confusing.
The violence spread north, with the assistance of Islamist fighters from Lebanon, reaching Baniyas and areas around Homs. On 10 April nine soldiers were shot in a bus ambush in Baniyas. In Homs, on April 17, General Abdo Khodr al-Tallawi was killed with his two sons and a nephew, and Syrian commander Iyad Kamel Harfoush was gunned down near his home. Two days later, off-duty Colonel Mohammad Abdo Khadour was killed in his car (Narwani 2014). North American commentator Joshua Landis (2011a) reported the death of his wife’s cousin, one of the soldiers in Baniyas. These were not the only deaths but I mention them because most western media channels maintain the fiction, to this day, that there was no Islamist insurrection and the ‘peaceful protestors’ did not pick up arms until September 2011.
Al Jazeera, the principal Middle East media channel backing the Muslim Brotherhood, blacked out these attacks, as also the reinforcement provided by armed foreigners. Former Al Jazeera journalist Ali Hashem was one of many who resigned from the Qatar-owned station (RT 2012), complaining of deep bias over their presentation of the violence in Syria. Hashem had footage of armed men arriving from Lebanon, but this was censored by his Qatari managers. ‘In a resignation letter I was telling the executive … it was like nothing was happening in Syria.’ He thought the ‘Libyan revolution’ was the turning point for Al Jazeera, marking the end of its standing as a credible media group (Hashem 2012).
Provocateurs were at work. Tunisian jihadist ‘Abu Qusay’ later admitted he had been a prominent ‘Syrian rebel’ charged with ‘destroying and desecrating Sunni mosques’, including by scrawling the graffiti ‘There is no God but Bashar’, a blasphemy to devout Muslims. This was then blamed on the Syrian Army, with the aim of creating Sunni defections from the Army. ‘Abu Qusay’ had been interviewed by foreign journalists who did not notice by his accent that he was not Syrian (Eretz Zen 2014).
US Journalist Nir Rosen, whose reports were generally critical of the Syrian Government, also attacked the western consensus over the early violence:
The issue of defectors is a distraction. Armed resistance began long before defections started … Every day the opposition gives a death toll, usually without any explanation … Many of those reported killed are in fact dead opposition fighters but … described in reports as innocent civilians killed by security forces … and every day members of the Syrian Army, security agencies … are also killed by anti-regime fighters (Rosen 2012).
A language and numbers game was being played to delegitimise the Syrian Government (‘The Regime’) and the Syrian Army (‘Assad loyalists’), suggesting they were responsible for all the violence. Just as NATO forces were bombing Libya with the aim of overthrowing the Libyan Government, US officials began to demand that President Assad step down. The Brookings Institution (Shaikh 2011) claimed the President had ‘lost the legitimacy to remain in power in Syria’. US Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman said it was time ‘to align ourselves unequivocally with the Syrian people in their peaceful demand for a democratic government’ (FOX News 2011). Another ‘regime change’ campaign was out in the open.
In June, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton dismissed the idea that ‘foreign instigators’ had been at work, saying that ‘the vast majority of casualties have been unarmed civilians’ (Clinton 2011). In fact, as Clinton knew very well, her Saudi Arabian allies had armed extremists from the very beginning. Her casualty assertion was also wrong. The United Nations (which would later abandon its body count) estimated from several sources that, by early 2012, there were more than 5,000 casualties, and that deaths in the first year of conflict included 478 police and 2,091 from the military and security forces (OHCHR 2012: 2; Narwani 2014). That is, more than half the casualties in the first year were those of the Syrian security forces. That independent calculation was not reflected in western media reports. Western groups such as Human Rights Watch, along with US columnists (e.g. Allaf 2012) continued to claim, even after the early 2012 defeat of the sectarian Farouq-FSA in Homs, and well into 2012, that Syrian security forces had been massacring ‘unarmed protestors’, that the Syrian people ‘had no choice’ but to take up arms, and that this ‘protest movement’ had been ‘overwhelmingly peaceful until September 2011’ (HRW 2011a, HRW 2012). The evidence cited above shows that this story was quite false.
In fact, the political reform movement had been driven off the streets by Salafi-Islamist gunmen, over the course of March and April. For years opposition groups had agitated against corruption and the Ba’ath Party monopoly. However most did not want destruction of what was a socially inclusive if authoritarian state, and most were against both the sectarian violence and the involvement of foreign powers. They backed Syria’s protection of minorities, the relatively high status of women and the country’s free education and health care, while opposing the corrupt networks and the feared political police (Wikstrom 2011; Otrakji 2012).
In June reporter Hala Jaber (2011) observed that about five thousand people turned up for a demonstration at Ma’arrat al-Numan, a small town in north-west Syria, between Aleppo and Hama. She says several ‘protestors’ had been shot the week before, while trying to block the road between Damascus and Aleppo. After some negotiations which reduced the security forces in the town, ‘men with heavy beards in cars and pick-ups with no registration plates’ with ‘rifles and rocket-propelled grenades’ began shooting at the reduced numbers of security forces. A military helicopter was sent to support the security forces. After this clash ‘four policemen and 12 of their attackers were dead or dying. Another 20 policemen were wounded’. Officers who escaped the fight were hidden by some of the tribal elders who had participated in the original demonstration. When the next ‘demonstration for democracy’ took place, the following Friday, ‘only 350 people turned up’, mostly young men and some bearded militants (Jaber 2011). Five thousand protestors had been reduced to 350, after the open Salafist attacks.
After months of media manipulations, disguising the Islamist insurrection, Syrians such as Samer al Akhras, a young man from a Sunni family, who used to watch Al Jazeera because he preferred it to state TV, became convinced to back the Syrian government. He saw first-hand the fabrication of reports on Al Jazeera and wrote, in late June 2011:
I am a Syrian citizen and I am a human. After 4 months of your fake freedom … You say peaceful demonstration and you shoot our citizen. From today … I am [now] a Sergeant in the Reserve Army. If I catch anyone … in any terrorist organization working on the field in Syria I am gonna shoot you as you are shooting us. This is our land not yours, the slaves of American fake freedom (al Akhras 2011).
Abouzeid, Rania (2011) ‘Syria’s Revolt, how graffiti stirred an uprising’, Time, 22 March
Haidar, Ali (2013) interview with this writer, Damascus 28 December. [Ali Haidar was President of the Syrian Social National Party (SSNP), a secular rival to the Ba’ath Party. In 2012 President Bashar al Assad incorporated him into the Syrian government as Minister for Reconciliation.]
Truth Syria (2012) ‘Syria – Daraa revolution was armed to the teeth from the very beginning’, BBC interview with Anwar Al-Eshki, YouTube interview, video originally uploaded 10 April, latest version 7 November, online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoGmrWWJ77w
Seale, Patrick (1988) Asad: the struggle for the Middle East, University of California Press, Berkeley CA
Dr Tim Anderson is a Senior Lecturer in Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He researches and writes on development, rights and self-determination in Latin America, the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. He has published many dozens of chapters and articles in a range of academic books and journals. His last book was Land and Livelihoods in Papua New Guinea (2015).
The United States has launched a new phase of training of Ukrainian servicemen, a fact, which may have negative consequences for the future of the Donbas truce, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.
She recalled that 300 US instructors from the 173rd US airborne brigade had trained three battalions – 780 people – for Ukraine’s National Guard in a period from April to November. “It is noteworthy that the training completed at a time when the situation on the line of contact in Donbas started getting worse and the newly trained people were apparently sent there,” Zakharova said.
“Now the Americans and their NATO colleagues, including the Lithuanians and Canadians, will train a new group of Ukrainian troopers. It is clear that such preparations are unlikely to deescalate tensions and may have a negative impact on the fragile truce in the country’s southeast,” the Russian diplomat stressed.
“The presence of foreign paratroopers and their weapons on the Ukrainian soil means gross violation of the Minsk package of measures, point 10 in particular, by the Kiev government,” Zakharova said adding that point 10 provides for the OSCE-monitored withdrawal of all foreign units, military vehicles and mercenaries from the Ukrainian territory.
“It does not say that this provision applies exclusively to (Ukraine’s) eastern provinces. The Kiev authorities unequivocally took a commitment which does not contain any reservations and concerns the entire territory under their control,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
US Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a spokesperson for the US Department of Defense, has recently said that the United States is starting a second phase of training of the Ukrainian army and is planning to train and equip six army battalions, including one special operations unit.
Ukrainian troopers will undergo training according to the US Fearless Guardian program launched in 2014. At its first stage, the United States trained and equipped the National Guard units, which are subordinate to Ukraine’s Interior Ministry. Now, the US instructors will train army battalions.
Three hundred military instructors of the 173rd airborne brigade of the United States Army based in Vicenza, Italy, will undergo training at the Yavorovsky testing ground in the Lviv region, Western Ukraine. A special operations battalion will be prepared in the West Ukrainian city of Khmelnitsky.
On Tuesday, Nov. 24 the Turkish air force shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber in Syria’s Bayır Bucak region.
The Turkish president’s administration has claimed that the plane was shot down because it violated Turkish airspace.
In a letter to the UN Security Council and the UN Secretary General dated November 24, the Turkish Permanent Representative office notes that a SU-24 “violated Turkish national airspace to a depth of 1,36 miles and 1,15 miles in length for 17 seconds from 9,24’05” local time“:
We should thus presume that during these 17 seconds the Turkish military command and civil administration managed to:
– warn the Russian pilots 10 times about violation;
– take off a F16 jet and launch a missile;
– bring a TV crew to the location.
Conclusion: this echelon was used by the Russian jets on daily basis and the attack was intentional and well-prepared.
This incident is clearly the thorniest issue that has arisen between Russia and Turkey in the last 15 years.
Of course, the destruction of the Russian plane was no accident.
In that area the local terrain and the contour of the Turkish-Syrian border is very complicated. It would be entirely possible for a Su-24 bomber traveling at high speed to accidentally veer off course for a few hundred meters. For example, it is equally difficult to precisely determine the boundaries of the airspace around the Greek islands that surround Turkey in the Aegean Sea: Greek sources report that Turkish aircraft violate their borders fairly often, however no one shoots down the culprits. This was a clear provocation intended to escalate the conflict in Syria.
So why did the Turks decide to shoot down the Russian jet?
The operations jointly carried out by the Syrian Army & Russian air forces for the last days were targetted against “Sultan Abdulhamid Han Brigade” along with the other Jabhat al-Nusra-linked groups. That brigade is made up of Syrian Turkmen who enjoy the strong support of the Turkish government. According to the Turkish press, the members of that brigade had to send their families into Turkey and then returned to battle the Syrian Army. Last Friday Ankara have even summonedRussia’s ambassador in protest over the intensive bombing of “Turkmen villages” in northern Syria.So this incident could be seen as Turkey’s revenge for the deaths of its clients.
Turkmen “villagers” from Sultan Abdulhamit Han Brigade. In the centre is their commander, Ömer Abdullah
Turkey will try to milk the situation for all it is worth. Immediately after the incident, they attempted to sort out the mess, not by contacting Russia, but by reaching out to NATO, counting on assistance from their allies should Moscow respond in kind. Apparently the Turks are once again raising the issue of a no-fly zone on their border, where the militants with whom they are allied – the Turkmen and the Free Syrian Army – will be able to take shelter from attacks launched by the Russian AF and SAA.
If the US dares to establish a no-fly zone, that might create a precedent for a partition of Syria – what the Western coalition is actually seeking for. Thus the militants might be able to obtain bases not vulnerable to attack by the Syrian army, in which they could rest and replenish their troops, and this would prolong the civil war indefinitely.
We should take a close look at who was behind the Turkish decision to shoot the Russian planes out of the Syrian sky. The country’s current political elite, who decided to fight in neighboring Syria down to the last opposition fighter in order to overthrow Bashar al-Assad, is responsible for this incident. They are still not backing down from this goal, although they have had at least five years to review their policy on supporting revolutions and terrorism in the Middle East. So far this stubbornness resulted in an economic crisis, millions of Syrian refugees passing through Turkish territory and a serious tensions inside society and ruling groups.
Of course, after what has happened some cooling of Russian-Turkish relations is inevitable. This would seem to doom any hope of success for the negotiations over the Turkish Stream pipeline or the completion of the nuclear power plant in Akkuyu. The Russian tourists are already advised not to travel to Antalya or Marmaris and Iran will most likely replace Turkey as a supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables to Russia.
Bilal Erdogan ( centre), son of Turkish president, with his “business partners” Istanbul.
And there is little Turkey can do in response. Should it join the European sanctions against Russia? Those are not having a very adverse effect on the Russian economy. Nor would they be able to significantly reduce their imports of Russian gas any time in the foreseeable future (before 2018), because their closest neighbors do not possess large working gas fields. Many experts claim the Bosporus could be closed. But the 1936 Montreux Convention would rule out any such possibility. That convention continued to govern all traffic through the straits even during WWII and the Cold War.
Here it is worth to recall how violently Turkey reacted when Israeli commandos stormed the MV Mavi Marmara, which was en route to Gaza on a humanitarian mission. That resulted in a significant chill in relations with Israel, and Turkey recalled its ambassador. In the end, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to apologize. The next day, posters depicting his sad, remorseful face were plastered all over Turkey, and Recep Erdoğan portrayed this as a personal victory.
In this recent event, there has been an attack on a Russian military plane that was carrying out its mission at the invitation of the legitimate Syrian government. To mitigate the negative consequences of this provocation,
Turkey should offer an official top-level apology to Moscow and pay compensation to the families of the dead.
Alexander Sotnichenko is the Russian Turcologist, Associate Professor of the St.Petersburg University. He holds the Ph.D. in History.
The growing number of violations of the ceasefire regime in Donbass is caused by the lack of Kiev’ control over the territorial battalions, head of the DPR delegation at the Minsk talks, Denis Pushilin stated on Friday. The peaceful settlement of the conflict “are not the aim of the radicals in the territorial battalions and some political entities of Ukraine.” Kiev forces shelled the northern suburb of Donetsk, including the embattled airport area, overnight to Friday. The number of violations is growing.
Russian and Syrian military have killed terrorists in the search area of the downed Russian Su-24 jet. “The moment our pilot was in safety the area was heavily bombed by the Russian Air Force and shelled by Syrian government forces artillery,” ministry spokesman General-Major Igor Konashenkov told a media briefing. He stressed that terrorists and other “mysterious groups” were killed in the assault. He added the Turkish General Staff had denied Russia access to any materials related to the downing of the Russian Su-24 jet by a Turkish F-16. Turks also aren’t able to provide any recording of the radio communications between the pilots. Russia suspended all channels of the military cooperation with Turkey on Thursday.
Commercial-scale oil smuggling from ISIS controlled territory into Turkey must be stopped, Putin said after meeting French President Francois Hollande in Moscow. ISIS’ daring and impudent oil smuggling into Turkey should become a high-priority target in order to cripple the terrorist group. Hollande backs this aim agreeing that the source of terrorist financing must be hit first and foremost.
Germany has agreed to support the French aerial campaign against ISIS. Germany will send between four and six Tornado reconnaissance planes and a frigate to protect France’s Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier stationed in the Mediterranean. Germany also plans to share its satellite intelligence data on ISIS with France. The announcement comes as the French president visits Moscow. During the visit he agreed with the Russian leader that the two countries would unite their efforts against the “common enemy” and will share data on terrorist in Syria.
The downing of the Russian Su-24 bomber cast the spotlight on Syrian Turkmen rebels and particularly Alparslan Celik, who boasted of killing the pilots of the aircraft which took part in Moscow’s counterterrorism campaign in Syria.
It was Celik, the second-in-command of the Turkmen Coastal Division, who confirmed that militants fired at the two Russian pilots as they were descending to the ground. He also claimed that both were killed, although this allegation was later disproved.
“Both of the pilots were retrieved dead. Our comrades opened fire into the air and they died in the air,” he told reporters shortly after the incident took place, showing what appeared to be a piece of a parachute as proof.
Celik, according to RT, is not a Turkmen but a Turkish national, who appears to be a son of the mayor of Keban, a small town in the province of Elazig. Celik is also said to be a member of the Grey Wolves, a youth organization often described as ultranationalist or neo-fascist.
The Grey Wolves “have tried to export their Pan-Turkish ideology and Neo-fascist propaganda to other countries like Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, to reunite all the Turkic people, but have been banned. The reason for the ban is simple: the Grey Wolves have been responsible for a series of crimes, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. Members of the organisation have killed hundreds of people in Turkey, and their willingness to resort to violence has always been pretty obvious,” International Business Times reported in June.
The organization is linked to the far-right The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the third party in the country. The MHP received nearly 12 percent of the vote in the latest parliamentary elections held in November.
On Tuesday, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Su-24, claiming that the aircraft had violated its airspace. Russian officials and the Su-24 pilot, who survived the crash, insist that the plane did not cross into Turkey. The crew, according to the pilot, did not receive any warning prior to the attack.
We bribed parties and politicians who have enticed hate between the nations. Our ultimate goal was to enslave you!
WebTribune publishes their interview with former CIA agent Robert Baer during his promotion tour in Quebec for upcoming book “Secrets of the White House” last week.
My boss, who was formerly a US Senator, stressed repeatedly that some kind of scam would go down in Bosnia. A month before the alleged genocide in Srebrenica, he told me that the town would be headline news around the world and ordered us to call the media.
Robert Baer, a former CIA officer, has authored many books which disclosed the secrets of both the CIA and the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. He has been arrested and detained several times. Mitt Waspurh, a personal friend who worked at the Senate and shared information was killed at gunpoint. As a senior CIA operative, Baer worked in Yugoslavia during the 1991-94 period and in the Middle East. He has worked on several documentaries on National Geographic, accusing the Bush administration of waging war for oil.
The interview was conducted live in Canada, during my trip a few days ago. Robert Baer is currently promoting his book “The Secrets of the White House” in Quebec, where we talked. In an interview we spoke of the background of the war in Yugoslavia.
Where and when was your first job in Yugoslavia?
I arrived by helicopter with three agents. We landed on 12 January 1991 in Sarajevo. Our job was to keep an eye on alleged terrorists of Serbian nationality, who were expected to attack Sarajevo.
Who were the terrorists in question and why were they supposed to carry out these attacks?
They gave us files about a group called “Supreme Serbia” detailing plans to conduct a series of bomb attacks on key buildings in Sarajevo in opposition to Bosnia’s ambition to leave former Yugoslavia.
Did that group ever exist and what exactly you were doing in Sarajevo under CIA command?
No such group ever existed! Our headquarters lied to us. Our mission was to alarm and spread panic among politicians in Bosnia, simply to fill their heads with the idea that Serbs would attack. To begin with, we accepted the story, but after a while we started to wonder. Why were we raising such hysteria when the group clearly did not exist?
How and when did the mission end and did it have a name?
For me it ended after two weeks, I landed a new job in Slovenia. The operation lasted a month and had the name “Istina” (i.e. “truth”) although it was anything but!
Why did you go to Slovenia?
I received instructions that Slovenia was ready to declare independence. We were given money, a few million dollars, to fund various NGOs, opposition parties and various politicians who have inflamed hatred.
Did you have an opinion about the CIA propaganda and did your colleagues think?
Of course, no one turns down a CIA mission, especially when we were all nervous and prone to paranoia! Many CIA agents and senior officers disappeared simple because they refused to conduct propaganda against the Serbs in Yugoslavia. Personally I was shocked at the dose of lies being fed from our agencies and politicians! Many CIA agents were directed propaganda without being aware of what they are doing. Everyone knew just a fraction of the story and only the one who create the whole story knew the background – they are politicians.
So there was only propaganda against the Serbs?
Yes and no. The aim of the propaganda was to divide the republics so they would break away from the motherland Yugoslavia. We had to choose a scapegoat who would be blamed for everything. Someone who would be responsible for the war and violence. Serbia was chosen because in some ways it is a successor to Yugoslavia.
Can you name the politicians in the former Yugoslavia were paid by the CIA?
Yes, although it is somewhat delicate. Stipe Mesic, Franjo Tudjman, Alija Izetbegovic, many counselors and members of the government of Yugoslavia, were paid as were Serbian generals, journalists and even some military units. Radovan Karadzic was being paid for a while but stopped accepting help when he realised he would be sacrificed and charged with war crimes committed in Bosnia. It was directed by the American administration.
You mentioned that the media was controlled and funded, how exactly did that happen?
This is already known, some CIA agents were responsible for writing the official statement that the announcers read on the news. Of course the news presenters were oblivious to it, they got the news from their boss and he got it from our man. Everyone had the same mission: to spread hatred, nationalism and the differences between people through television.
We all know of Srebrenica, can you say about it?
Yes! In 1992 I was in Bosnia again, but this time we were supposed to train military units to represent Bosnia, a new state that had just declared independence. Srebrenica is an exaggerated story and unfortunately many people are being manipulated. The number of victims is the same as the number of Serbs and others killed but Srebrenica is political marketing. My boss, who was formerly a US Senator, stressed repeatedly that some kind of scam would go down in Bosnia. A month before the alleged genocide in Srebrenica, he told me that the town would be headline news around the world and ordered us to call the media. When I asked why, he said you’ll see. The new Bosnian army got the order to attack homes and civilians. These were of course citizens of Srebrenica. At the same moment, the Serbs attacked from the other side. Probably someone had paid to incite them!
Then who is guilty of genocide in Srebrenica?
Srebrenica should be blamed on Bosnians, Serbs and Americans – that is us! But in fact everything has been blamed on the Serbs. Unfortunately, many of the victims buried as Muslims were Serbs and other nationalities. A few years ago a friend of mine, a former CIA agent and now at the IMF, said that Srebrenica is the product of agreement between the US government and politicians in Bosnia. The town of Srebrenica was sacrificed to give America a motive to attack the Serbs for their alleged crimes.
Ultimately why do you think Yugoslavia collapsed and why did your government want to do it?
It is all very clear, the people who incited the war and dictated the terms of the peace now own the companies that exploit various mineral resources and the like! They simply made slaves of you, your people work for nothing and that produce goes to Germany and America…they are the winners! You will eventually have to purchase and import what you have created yourself, and since you have no money, you have to borrow, that’s the whole story with the whole of the Balkans!
You were never in Kosovo as a CIA agent, but did you feel any pressure from America?
Of course! Kosovo has taken for two reasons, first because of mineral and natural resources, and secondly, Kosovo is a military base of NATO! In the heart of Europe is their largest military base.
Do you have a message for the people of the former Yugoslavia?
I have. Forget the past, it was staged and false. They manipulated you, they got what they wanted and it is stupid that you still hate one another, you must show that you are stronger and you realise who has created this ! I sincerely apologise! That’s why I have for a long time disclosed the secrets of the CIA and the White House!
France is not alien to the notion of emergency powers. The French revolutionary state was very much an ongoing child of emergency, one safeguarded by the notorious and suppressing parent known as the Committee of Public Safety. In such swaddling clothes, it was inevitable that concepts of siege and crisis would be woven into the Republic’s legal political theory.
In time, French law came up with the concept of état du siège (state of siege), which only superficially shares ties with its Anglo-American cousin, martial law. Its motivating force is that of emergency. The current French legal system can resort to three sources of emergency powers. The French Constitution of 1958 and the statutory law of May 3, 1955 (Public Law 55-385) provide two of them. The use of enabling laws characterised by delegations of vast power by parliament to the executive arm of government has also been another historical measure used.
The May 3, 1955 law was invoked by President François Hollande in declaring a nationwide emergency which came into effect the midnight of November 14, a state of affairs that promises to last for three months, with possible extension. It is notable for covering the entire country, going beyond Jacques Chirac’s 2005 emergency measures to combat mass riots, which were more localised. The President may, in consultation with his Council of Ministers, declare a state of emergency in cases where “grave attacks on the public order” arise or where there is demonstrable “personal calamity”.
There was no preliminary constitutional review. Much like the Patriot Act passed in the aftermath of September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, combing scrutiny was the last thing on the minds of France’s political establishment. The French Parliament voted 336 to 0 to adopt the law, with 12 abstentions. The National Assembly’s figures acme in at 556 to 1, with 1 abstention.
The function a state of siege declaration is one of transfer from formal civilian authorities to those of a military nature. Parliament effectively divests itself of keeping order by granting it to security authorities, or what is otherwise termed those powers concerning the “maintenance of order”. The state of emergency, however, sees the transfer taking place upon civilian based police authorities, which gives the somewhat deceptive impression that martial law has been entirely avoided.
As the historical record shows, this transfer of power to military or police authorities has taken different forms, notably in the Algerian context. The 1955 law came into effect to exert control over the press and insinuate the security establishment into the judicial system during the FLN insurgency.
The French State proper has witnessed a few such dramatic measures. On August 2, 1914, in anticipation of what would be imminent conflict, a state of siege covering the entire country by presidential decree was passed. It was one which was further prolonged “for the duration of the war” by a law three days later. The lead-up to World War II in 1939 saw the use of enabling laws to facilitate what were, essentially, expansions of state power in times of crisis.
The use of the emergency power provisions over the de-colonisation period tended to be externalised affairs, in so far as they applied to French territories. As legal authorities Fionnuala Ní Aoláin and Oren Gross point out in a useful discussion inJust Security, “This means that in fact, unlike many democracies who have made ample use of emergency practice at home, France is somewhat exceptional, having used ordinary French law to deal with the threats it faced over many decades.”
The move by Hollande, one that sits comfortably within the more conservative ranks of French politics rather than the Socialist creed, is itself exceptional in that regard. It is not a measure that will not sit well with individuals in the legal fraternity concerned that a mammoth razor for civil liberties is being readied.
The state of siege concept has its fans, certainly in a theoretical context. William Feldman has argued in the Cornell International Law Journal (2005) that the concept “is better to handle domestic emergencies than American martial law, in terms of its ability to strike an effective balance between protecting the nation and its interests without too greatly sacrificing the nation’s underlying values and the fundamental rights of its people.”
Whether such rights have such flexible survival properties is open to doubt before the dictates of the police state. The government has already shown such a streak by banning demonstrations on public roads in Paris while closing stadiums, cinemas and various public facilities.
And for such a robust response, France, no longer exclusively sovereign, operates within a European framework of human rights its officials sometimes find inconvenient. The expected counter-argument will go that a State, placed under such strain, can engage in certain permissible rough conduct short of violating the non-derogable rights (life, torture).
Heeding a few of those concerns, the drafters felt that “all measures to control the press and publications” would be dropped, and military tribunals not authorised. An oversight measure, making the government accountable to Parliament for actions during the state of emergency, has been included. But these shy away from the most significant changes that have changed Madame Liberty into Madame Counter-Terrorism.
The law itself permits a range of restrictions: targeting rights of assembly (disbanding groups and associations); controlling public movement; imposition of curfews; conducting warrantless searches around the clock (though not those concerning parliamentary duties, lawyers, magistrates and journalists) and initiating house arrests as long as the government has “serious reason to think that the person’s conduct threatens the security or the public order”. Violations can lead to prison terms not exceeding two months, a fine amounting to 3,750 Euros, or both.
The government also shows itself to be an enthusiast for electronic searches which were not covered by the 1955 law. Computer systems or devices found on premises may be accessed in their entirety, including cloud data.
In the same technological vein, controlling the Internet takes centre stage, with the Minister of the Interior empowered to take “any measure” to block social networks and sites “inciting or glorying terrorist attacks” outside the ambit of judicial scrutiny. This goes one step further than the previous year’s anti-terrorism laws, which permit the blocking of internet sites, but only after a request is made to the ISP to restrict access on their own volition.
The looming question in such instances is whether security goals can be achieved under existing laws rather than invoking extreme measures that have the effect of slamming the effigy of accountability against the wall. Previously intrusive measures have failed to keep the terrorist genie in the bottle, let alone detecting its escape. Concentrations of power in a few offices at the expense of others tends to repel scrutiny and conceal breaches. It is precisely that pattern that should be feared, however grave the threat posed is deemed.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]
It started as a reaction to the attitude of the Left during the 1999 Kosovo war, which was largely accepted on humanitarian grounds and to the rather weak opposition of the peace movement before the 2003 invasion of Iraq: for example, many “pacifists” have accepted the policy of sanctions at the time of the 1991 first Gulf war and even after it, and were favorable to inspections in the run-up to the war, without realizing that this was just a maneuver to prepare the public to accept the war (this became even public knowledge through later leaks, like the Downing Street memos).
It seemed to me that the ideology of humanitarian intervention had totally destroyed, on the left, any notion of respect for international law, as well as any critical attitude with respect to the media.
Àngel Ferrero: What do you think it has changed in this last 10 years?
A lot of things have changed, although, I am afraid, not because of my book. It is rather reality that has asserted itself, first with the chaos in Iraq, then in Libya and now in Syria and Ukraine, leading to the refugee crisis and a near state of war with Russia, which would not be a “cakewalk”.
The humanitarian imperialists are still busy pushing us towards more wars, but there is now a substantial fraction of public opinion that is against such policies; that fraction is probably more important on the right than on the left.
Àngel Ferrero: The role of the intellectuals in legitimizing Western interventionsand interferences is heavily criticized, as well as their symbolic actions (signing public letters or manifestos). Why?
The problem with “intellectuals” is that they love to pretend that they are critics of power, while in reality legitimizing it. For example, they will complain that Western governments do not do enough to promote “our values” (through interventions and subversions) which of course reinforces the notion that “our side” or “our governments” mean well, a highly dubious notion, as I try to explain in my book.
Those intellectuals are sometimes criticized, but by whom? In general, by marginal figures I think. They still dominate the media and the intellectual sphere.
Àngel Ferrero: Another of the preoccupations of your book is the degradation of the public discourse. Do you think that the situation worsened? How do you assess the impact of social media?
The public discourse goes from bad to worse, at least in France. This is related to the constant censorship, either through lawsuits or through campaigns of demonization, of politically incorrect speech, which includes all the questioning of the dominant discourse about the crimes of our enemies and the justifications for wars.
The social media is the only alternative left to “dissidents”, with the drawback that there, anything goes, including the wildest fantasies.
Àngel Ferrero: Some commentators point that Russia is now using their own version of the “human rights’ ideology” to justify their intervention in Crimea or the air campaign in Syria against the Islamic State. Is it fair?
I don’t think that Russia even claims to intervene on humanitarian grounds. In the case of Crimea, it bases itself on the right of self-determination of a people which is basically Russian, has been attached to Ukraine in an arbitrary fashion in 1954 (at a time when it did not matter too much, since Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union) and had every reason to be afraid of a fanatically anti-Russian government in Kiev.
For Syria, they respond to the request for help of the government of that country in order to fight foreign supported “terrorists”. I don’t see why it is less legitimate than the intervention of France in Mali (also requested by the government of that country) or of the more recent intervention of the U.S. in Iraq, against ISIS.
Of course, those Russian moves may prove to be unwise and maybe debatable from a “pacifist” point of view. But the fundamental question is: who started the total dismantling of the international order based on the U.N. Charter and the premise of equal sovereignty of all nations? The answer, obviously, is the U.S. and its “allies” (in the old days, one used to say “lackeys”). Russia is only responding to that disorder and does so in rather legalistic ways.
Àngel Ferrero:Let’s stay in Syria. Several European politicians demand a military intervention in Syria and Libya to restore the order and stop the influx of refugees to the European Union. What do you think of this crisis and the solutions proposed by the EU?
They do not know how to solve the problem that they have created. By demanding the departure of Assad as a precondition to solving the Syrian crisis and by supporting so-called moderate rebels (the label moderate meaning in practice that they had been chosen by “us”), they prevented any possible solution in Syria. Indeed, a political solution should be based on diplomacy and the latter presupposes a realistic assessment of forces. In the case of Syria, realism means accepting the fact that Assad has the control of an army and has foreign allies, Iran and Russia. Ignoring this is just a way to deny reality, and to refuse to give diplomacy a chance.
Then came the refugee crisis: this was probably not expected, but occurred at a time when European citizens are increasingly hostile to immigration and to the “European construction”. Most European governments face what they call “populist movements”, i.e. movements that demand more sovereignty for their own countries. The flux of refugees could not come at a worst moment, from the European governments’ point of view.
So, they try to fix the problem as they can: having peripheral countries like Hungary build walls (that they denounce in public but are probably happy about in private), reinstall border controls, pay Turkey to keep the refugees etc.
There are of course also calls to intervene in Syria to solve the problem “at the source”. But what can they do now? More support for the rebels, trough a no-fly zone for example, and running the risk of a direct confrontation with the Russians? Help the Syrian army fight the rebels, as the Russian do? But that would mean reversing years of anti-Assad propaganda and policies.
In summary, they are hoisted by the own petard, which is always an unpleasant situation.
Àngel Ferrero:Why do you think that the Greens and the new left are so adamant in defending the humanitarian interventions?
Ultimately, one has to do a class analysis of the “new left”. While the old left was based on the working class and their leaders often came from that class, the new left is almost entirely dominated by petit-bourgeois intellectuals. Those intellectuals are neither the “bourgeoisie”, in the sense of the owners of the means of production not are they exploited by the latter.
Their social function is to provide an ideology that can serve as a lofty justification for an economic system and a set of international relations that are based ultimately on brute force. The human rights ideology is perfect from that point of view. It is sufficiently “idealistic” and impossible to put consistently into practice (if one had to wage war against every “violator of human rights”, one would quickly be at war with the entire world, including ourselves) to allow those defenders the opportunity to look critical of the governments (they don’t intervene enough). But, by deflecting attention from the real relations of forces in the world, the human rights ideology offers also to those who hold real power a moral justification for their actions. So, the petit-bourgeois intellectuals of the “new left” can both serve power and pretend to be subversive. What more can you ask from an ideology?
Àngel Ferrero: In the conclusions of your book you recommend a sort of pedagogy for the Western audience, so they accept the end of the Western hegemony and the emergence of a new order in the international relations. How can we contribute to this?
As I said above, it is reality that forces the Western audience to change. It was always a pure folly to think that human rights would be fostered by endless wars, but now we see the consequences of that folly with our own eyes. There should be a radical reorientation of the left’s priorities in international affairs: far from trying to fix problems in other countries through illegal interventions, it should demand strict respect of international law on the part of Western governments, peaceful cooperation with other countries, in particular Russia, Iran and China, and the dismantling of aggressive military alliances such as NATO.
Àngel Ferrero:I would like to ask you about the other book that made you known to the general public, Fashionable Nonsense. This book, co-written with Alan Sokal, is a critique to postmodernism. What is the influence of postmodernism amongst scholars and the public opinion today? It fades away or is it still alive and kicking?
It is difficult for me to answer that question, because it would require a sociological study that I do not have the means to undertake. But I should say that postmodernism, like the turn towards humanitarian interventions, is another way that the left has self-destructed itself, although this aspect has had less dramatic consequences than the wars and the damage was limited to “elite” intellectual circles.
But if the left wants to create a more just society, it has to have a notion of justice; if it adopts a relativist attitude with respect to ethics, how can it justify its goals? And if it has to denounce the illusions and mystifications of the dominant discourse, it better rely on a notion of truth that is not purely a “social construction”. Postmodernism has largely contributed to the destruction of reason, objectivity and ethics on the left and that leads to its suicide.
This interview was conducted by Àngel Ferrero for the Spanish newspaper, Publico.
It is fascinating to watch the game afoot between Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President François Hollande. Here is a ‘partnership’ that defies conventional politics.
Both nuclear-armed nations, also both permanent members of the UN Security Council, are engaged in their own idea of a ‘war against ISIS’, but with very different strategic views.
The Russian President has been more straight-forward, backing long-standing ally Syria and eventually moving serious air power into the Levant, in coordination with the Syrian Government, consistent with international law. The French President, on the other hand, who has long backed armed Islamist groups against the Syrian Government, now finds himself looking for support in his quest for revenge on the terrorists who carried out the November 13 massacres in Paris.
Many, not least President Bashar al Assad, have said that France has now tasted the bitter medicine it has been feeding Syria for the past five years. As well as arming Islamist groups France has contributed a high proportion of the Europeans who have gone to Syria for their ‘jihad’. Yet Hollande is now compelled to act.
For his part, President Putin is clearly using the NATO rhetoric (pretending that they oppose the same Islamists they have armed and funded) to isolate and limit direct confrontations. He has done this with Israel and perhaps thought he had done it with Turkey. Drawing France into the Russian camp would imply greater respect for the Syrian state and army, while dividing and weakening NATO strategy in the region.
France was already a member of the ineffective US-led coalition against ISIS, which has become notorious for only moving against the terrorist group when it suits US interests. So, for example, the US herded the ruthless jihadists away from some Kurdish areas in north Iraq and Syria, but allowed large ISIS convoys to advance on and take over Palmyra, and allowing ISIS to drive hundreds of oil tankers, with stolen Syrian oil, up into Turkey.
Hollande clearly feels he has to distinguish himself from this game, in the wake of the Paris attacks. But what can he do? His position, as stated in the 26 November press conference (video link below) is still to demand a Syrian transitional government which excludes President Assad (most recently re-elected in June 2014) yet, at the same time, to engage with Russia (since October clearly the most powerful foreign force against ISIS) and to admit that the Syrian Army must be part of any anti-ISIS coalition. Those last two elements distinguish the French position from that of Washington.
France has not abandoned its neo-colonial view of Syria, the country it in fact colonised between the 1920s and 1946. Back then France also tried to treat Syrian communities as sectarian entities, but faced a series of national independence wars, the first led by Sultan Pasha al Atrash in 1925.
When France itself was occupied and humiliated by Nazi Germany, between 1940 and 1944, it sought refuge in an Atlantic Charter (August 1941) which proclaimed ‘the right of all people to choose the form of government under which they live’. But the big powers always practised double standards. US President Roosevelt’s secretary told French General Henri Giraud in 1942 ‘it is thoroughly understood that French sovereignty will be re-established as soon as possible throughout all the territory over which flew the French flag in 1939’. That of course included Syria.
In the current context Hollande seems to be drawing on a French mythology of semi-independence within the NATO-European context, a sort of French ‘third way’. He engages with Washington (the undisputed leader of NATO) but tries to reconcile that position with Moscow. Hollande has said he will ‘coordinate air strikes’ on ISIS with Russia (a step further than the US) and even that he will ‘reconcile the west’ with Russia.
Given the deep differences and limited French power, can he do this? Will the Putin-Hollande two-step be as fragile as the Putin-Erdogan accord? Watch the body language and reactions of these two in their most recent joint press conference.
“The stakes are very high for the United States…they have this agenda. I think that certain factions of the United States seem to be willing to risk World War in order to achieve it!” -Christopher Black (from this week’s interview.)
In recent days, a NATO member country fired on and shot down a Russian jet for the first time in the almost 66 year history of the Western military alliance.
The Turkish government claimed initially it was defending the nation’s airspace in the wake of an incursion by the Russian jet. The Russian government categorically refuted the claim that their Russian SU-24 jet had entered Turkish airspace, accused the Turks of being “accomplices of terrorists” and warned of “serious consequences” in the wake of the incident.
So what was the point of Turkey’s action? Was it intended to protect the Islamic State militants? Will this incident spark an escalation that could lead to a major theatre war?
This week’s Global Research News Hour focuses on the Syrian crisis in the context of the recent attack.
In the first half hour we hear from Christopher Black. He is an international criminal lawyer and member of the law Society of Upper Canada. He has contributed several articles for New Eastern Outlook which are re-published at the Global Research News site. Mr Black discerns the meaning of Turkish assault, the deceptions around the “campaign against ISIS” the prospects of an imminent war on Syria, and the problems of the modern anti-war movement.
In the final half hour, we are joined by Tim Anderson. He is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney in the Department of Political Economy. He is the author of a soon to be released book about the Dirty War on Syria. In this interview, Anderson outlines the sophistication of the Western propaganda campaign against Syria, the resilient social factors within Syrian society, the dynamics of the 2011 political revolt which led to the current conflict, and some of the players both inside and outside Syria impacting on the situation.
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.
Alexis Tsipras who led the “left wing” SYRIZA movement against neoliberalism has revealed his true face in his recent visit to Israel. He has joined the pro-Israeli EU political bandwagon, which pays lip service to Netanyahu.
It’s rare to see physics being used as an effective tool to comment on current events, but astrophysicists Tom van Doorsslaere and Giovanni Lapenta of the Belgian KU Leuven used some simple Newtonian mechanics to show that both the Russian and Turkish accounts of what happened with the downed jet can’t be right.
Earlier today, Russia made a very explicit demonstration of the deployment of at least two S-400 batteries at Syria’s Khmeimim airbase, with the Russian Ministry of Defense promptly publicizing the arrival with the following clip.
In the spirit of the New Cold War and following on its success in snuffing out South Stream, the US has prioritized its efforts in obstructing Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline, and for the most part, they’ve regretfully succeeded for the time being.
Se está desarrollando una guerra discreta que podría involucrar una confrontación militar directa entre EU-OTAN y Rusia
Regeneración, 27 de noviembre de 2015.- El derribo de un avión ruso que sobrevolaba Siria fue ejecutado por Turquía en consulta con Washington y Bruselas. Turkía no emprendió esta acción sin la luz verde del Pentágono.
¿Es esto una venganza contra Rusia por bombardear al Estado Islámico, financiado por Estados Unidos, en Siria?
La verdad no dicha es que Rusia está debilitando las operaciones terrestres de la OTAN y Estados Unidos en Siria, que están compuestas por diferentes grupos afiliados a Al Qaeda. Estos grupos son los soldados de a pie de la alianza occidental.
Chossudovsky afirma que el Estado Islámico y el Frente Al-Nusra están dirigidas por operativos de inteligencia y fuerzas especiales occidentales, muchas de las cuales son desplegadas por compañías privadas de mercenarios contratadas por EU y OTAN.
El derribo del avión Ruso es un acto de provocación, pero ¿con qué propósito?
Se está desarrollando una guerra discreta que podría involucrar una confrontación militar directa entre EU-OTAN y Rusia.
Meeting with the Israeli leadership, opening a two day tour in Jerusalem and Ramallah, Tzipras praised the importance of the relations between Israel and Greece and showed that the partnership has survived the political change.
While in Jerusalem for a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Tsipras took an opportunity to sign the President’s guestbook, writing, “ With great honor to be in your historic capital and to meet your excellencies.”
Because of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and dispute over Jerusalem, many countries refuse to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, much to Israel’s displeasure.
A former Israeli diplomatic official said that Tzipras’ reference to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was “unprecedented, especially for a European leader.”
Tal Shalev/ i24news “Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras signed President RIvlin’s guest book”
During talks with Rivlin, Tsipras also addressed the global rise in terrorism saying “in the wake of European terror, we must send a message from here in Jerusalem that cooperation can banish extremism and hatred.” (emphasis added)
The issue of Israel’s State supported terrorism against Palestine was not mentioned.
Rivlin responded saying, “ISIS is not only in Syria and Iraq, but spreading to the whole western world, who must take responsibility and say that we cannot live in a world in which ISIS exists.”
In a press conference following the meeting between the two leaders Netanyahu said, “we have a growing and enduring partnership between Greece and Israel. We are two countries with ancient roots.”
Tsipras echoed Netanyahu’s sentiments and addressed additional topics important to both nations.
“There is, as you said, a natural affinity between the Israelis and the Greeks. It’s very obvious when you go to either country,” Netanyahu said to Tsipras.
(Tal Shalev, diplomatic correspondent of i24news, i24news, November 26, 2015)
Alexis Tsipras has a short memory. He remains mum on the issue of Israeli crimes against humanity. He tacitly endorses Netanyahu’s stance which casually equates the Palestinians with terrorists. He endorses Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
According to the i24news report: “If Jerusalem had any concerns about the the Left-wing Syrizan regime, Tzipras’ smiles appear to indicate there is no need to worry”. (emphasis added). According to WSWS analyst Jean Shaoul:
Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is using the terrorist attacks in Paris to ramp up tensions in pursuit of Israel’s geostrategic interests.
“Israel stands shoulder to shoulder with France in the battle against radical Islam,” he declared in the aftermath of Friday’s killings. “All terrorism must be condemned and fought equally with unwavering determination. It’s only with this moral clarity that the forces of civilization will defeat the savagery of terrorism.”
Netanyahu is once again seeking to equate the Palestinians with terrorism. This, after all, is the man who said, following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001, that the attack was “very good” because it would “generate immediate sympathy” for Israel and its war against the Palestinians. (Jean Shaoul, WSWS and Global Research, November 18, 2015)
The situation is continuing to develop fast in Syria. Since the start of full-scale military operation in late October, the pro-government forces have gained a number of success in the Aleppo province. It allowed the Assad government to strengthen its diplomatic position and encouraged its allies. Hezbollah and Iraqi Shia militias led by Iranian military advicers are main supporters of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in this area. The Russian Aerospace Defence Forces are playing a crucial role in the pro-government forces’ military operations there.
The Syrian forces have been advancing through 3 main axis. First is the Latakia countryside. The Syrian forces have captured the strategic city of Gamam at this axis. It allows the SAA and allies to prevent the terrorist groups located at the Turkmen and Kurdish Mountains from creating a joint force there. It also allows the pro-government forces to threat the terrorist positions at the borders with Idlib and Hama.
Second axis is the city of Aleppo. The Syrian forces are advancing on it from the South East. In November the SAA lifted the ISIS siege from the Kuweires air base, deblocked the Damascus-Aleppo road and cut the ISIS supply line between Raqqa and Aleppo. Now the Syrian forces are advancing on the Eastern part of Aleppo. ISIS and the Jaish al-Fatah military operations coalition led by Al Nusra are main opponents of the pro-government forces in this axis.
Third axis are areas located at the Homs-Hama border. The SAA and allies have gained main successes at the South East part of the Hama province where ISIS militants operate. The Homs-Hama-Aleppo road is a main aim of the military operations there.
After the incident with a Russian Su-24 downed by Turkey, the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces have raised their activity in Syira. The areas at the border with Turkey controlled by Turkey-backed militants and al Nusra became a first target of the intensified air raids. Nonetheless, there is no background to expect that Russia will calm down its Air Force’s activity.
Meanwhile, Moscow deployed S-400 missile defense systems to its air base near Latakia. Russian guided missile cruiser «Moskva» joint with escort ships is taking location at the shore zone of Northern Latakia near the Turkish border. The Russian military will likely continue to intensify its operations in Syria. Ongoing crisis with Turkey is one of the main reaons for this step. We could expect that foreign supporters of terrorist groups such Al Nusra and ISIS will also intensify their actions in Syria. Thus, the stakes are rising up in the Syrian conflict.