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 footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]
CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]
The foregoing CBS report which is of utmost relevance indicates two obvious facts:
1. Osama bin Laden could not reasonably have coordinated the 9/11 attacks from his hospital bed;
2. The hospital was under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Armed Forces, which has close links to the Pentagon. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts were known to both the Pakistani and US military.
U.S. military and intelligence advisers based in Rawalpindi. were working closely with their Pakistani counterparts. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed, at the time, that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden were unknown. According to Rumsfeld: “Its like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.
October 7, 2001: Waging America’s 9/11 War of Retribution against Afghanistan
The immediate response of the US and its allies to the 9/11 attacks was to the declare a war of retribution against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban government was protecting “terror mastermind” Osama bin Laden. By allegedly harboring bin Laden, the Taliban were complicit, according to both the US administration and NATO, for having waged an act of war against the United States.
Parroting official statements, the Western media mantra on September 12, 2001 had already approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in Afghanistan. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.
This decision was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.
On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan, invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
An act of war by a foreign nation (Afghanistan) against a member of the Atlantic Alliance (the USA) is an act of war against all members under NATO’s doctrine of collective security. Under any stretch of the imagination, the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon cannot be categorized as an act of war by a foreign country. But nobody seemed to have raised this issue.
Meanwhile, on two occasions in the course of September 2001, the Afghan government –through diplomatic channels– offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US Justice. These overtures were turned down by president Bush, on the grounds that America “does not negotiate with terrorists”.
The war on Afghanistan was launched 26 days later on the morning of October 7, 2001. The timing of this war begs the question: how long does it take to plan and implement a major theater war several thousand miles away. Military analysts will confirm that a major theater war takes months and months, up to a year or more of advanced preparations. The war on Afghanistan was already in the advanced planning stages prior to September 11, 2001, which begs the question of foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.
The repeal of civil liberties in America was launched in parallel with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan, almost immediately following 9/11 with the adoption of the PATRIOT legislation and the setting up of a Homeland Security apparatus, under the pretext of protecting Americans. This post-911 legal and institutional framework had been carefully crafted prior to the 9/11 attacks.
Al Qaeda is a US Intelligence Asset
Important to the understanding of 9/11, US intelligence is the unspoken architect of “Islamic terrorism” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war.
Bin Laden was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerrilla training camp. Education in Afghanistan in the years preceding the Soviet-Afghan war was largely secular. With religious textbooks produced in Nebraska, the number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrasahs) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000.
“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the [Islamic] Jihad.” (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)
”The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings….The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..”, (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)
Under the Reagan administration, US foreign policy evolved towards the unconditional support and endorsement of the Islamic “freedom fighters”. This endorsement has not in any way been modified.
In a twisted irony, throughout the post 911 era, US intelligence in liaison with Britain’s MI6, an Israel’s Mossad, continues to provide covert support to the radical Islamist organization allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda and its various affiliated groups including the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and factions within the Free Syria Army (FSA) are directly supported by the US and NATO.
In a bitter irony, the US and its allies claim to be waging a “war on terrorism” against the alleged architects of 9/11, while also using Al Qaeda operatives as their foot-soldiers.
Front row, from left: Major Gen. Hamid Gul, director general of Pakistan’s
Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Willian Webster; Deputy Director for Operations Clair George; an ISI colonel; and senior CIA official,
Milt Bearden at a Mujahideen training camp in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan in 1987.
Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)
VIDEO (30 Sec.)
The Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings
Based on the findings of Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings was not caused by fire resulting from the crash of the planes:
In more than 100 steel-framed, high-rise fires (most of them very hot, very large and very long-lasting), not one has collapsed, ever. So it behooves all of us, as your own former chief of NIST’s Fire Science Division, Dr. James Quintiere, said, “to look at real alternatives that might have been the cause of these collapses.”
Let’s start with temperatures – 1,340° F. temperatures, recorded in thermal images of the surface of the World Trade Center rubble pile a week after 9/11 by NASA’s AVIRIS equipment on USGS overflights. Such temperatures cannot be achieved by oxygen-starved hydrocarbon fires. Such fires burn at only 600 to 800° F. Remember, there was no fire on the top of the pile. The source of this incredible heat was therefore below the surface of the rubble, where it must have been far hotter than 1,340 degrees.
Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Inc., who was hired for the Building 7 cleanup, said that “molten steel was found at 7 WTC.” Leslie Robertson, World Trade Center structural engineer, stated that on October 5, “21 days after the attacks, the fires were still burning and molten steel was still running.” Fire department personnel, recorded on video, reported seeing “molten steel running down the channel rails… like you’re in a foundry – like lava from a volcano.” Joe O’Toole, a Bronx firefighter, saw a crane lifting a steel beam vertically from deep within a pile. He said “it was dripping from the molten steel.” Bart Voorsanger, an architect hired to save “relics from the rubble,” stated about the multi-ton “meteorite” that it was a “fused element of molten steel and concrete.”
Steel melts at about 2,850 degrees Fahrenheit, about twice the temperature of the World Trade Center Tower 1 and 2 fires as estimated by NIST. So what melted the steel?
Appendix C of FEMA’s BPAT Report documents steel samples showing rapid oxidation, sulfidation, and intergranular melting. A liquid eutectic mixture, including sulfur from an unknown source, caused intense corrosion of the steel, gaping holes in wide flange beams, and the thinning of half-inch-thick flanges to almost razor-sharpness in the World Trade Center 7 steel. The New York Times called this “the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.”
NIST left all of this crucial forensic evidence out of its report. Why? Because it didn’t fit in with the official conspiracy theory.
Last year, physicist Steven Jones, two other physicists, and a geologist analyzed the slag at the ends of the beams and in the samples of the previously molten metal. They found iron, aluminum, sulfur, manganese and fluorine – the chemical evidence of thermate, a high-tech incendiary cutting charge used by the military to cut through steel like a hot knife through butter. The by-product of the thermate reaction is molten iron! There’s no other possible source for all the molten iron that was found. One of thermate’s key ingredients is sulfur, which can form the liquid eutectic that FEMA found and lower the melting point of steel.
In addition, World Trade Center 7′s catastrophic structural failure showed every characteristic of explosive, controlled demolition. … The destruction began suddenly at the base of the building. Several first responders reported explosions occurring about a second before the collapse. There was the symmetrical, near-free-fall speed of collapse, through the path of greatest resistance – with 40,000 tons of steel designed to resist this load – straight down into its own footprint. This requires that all the columns have to fail within a fraction of a second of each other – perimeter columns as well as core columns. There was also the appearance of mistimed explosions (squibs?) at the upper seven floors on the network video recordings of the collapse. And we have expert testimony from a European demolitions expert, Danny Jowenko, who said “This is controlled demolition… a team of experts did this… This is professional work, without any doubt.”
Fire cannot produce these effects. Fire produces large, gradual deformations and asymmetrical collapses. Thermate can produce all of these effects used in conjunction with linear shaped charges. If the thermate is formed into ultra-fine particles, as has been accomplished at Los Alamos National Laboratory, it is called super-thermate, and is very explosive.(Richard Gage, January 2008)
The following AE911Truth Video provides irrefutable evidence that the WTC center towers were brought down through controlled demolition.
According to David Ray Griffin: “The official theory of the collapse, therefore, is essentially a fire theory, so it cannot be emphasized too much that fire has never caused large steel-frame buildings to collapse—never, whether before 9/11, or after 9/11, or anywhere in the world on 9/11 except allegedly New York City—never.” (See David Ray Griffin).
According to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, based on solid scientific analysis and evidence, the collapse of the WTC towers was engineered through controlled demolition. While AE11Truth does not speculate on who might be behind the conspiracy to bring down the WTC buildings, they nonetheless suggest that the carrying out such an operation would require a carefully planned course of action with prior access to the buildings as well as an advanced level of expertise in the use of explosives, etc.
The Collapse of WTC Building Seven
The most grotesque lie pertains to the BBC and CNN announcement in the afternoon of September 11, that WTC Building Seven (The Solomon Building) had collapsed. The BBC report went live at 5.00pm, 21 minutes before the actual occurrence of the collapse, indelibly pointing to foreknowledge of the collapse of WTC 7. CNN anchor Aaron Brown announced that the building “has either collapsed or is collapsing” about an hour before the event. (See WTC7.net the hidden story of Building 7: Foreknowledge of WTC 7′s Collapse)
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?”
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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.
Today the U.S. ordered Swiss police to raid, incarcerate and extradite to the U.S. six FIFA officials for alleged corruption. The raid, with obviously pre-alarmed New York Times reporters on the scene, comes shortly before a FIFA vote to expel Israel from the association.
This Friday the world football association FIFA is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, for its 65th regular World Congress. One of the votes on the agenda (pdf) is about the “Suspension or expulsion of a member”. There is also an “Update on Israel-Palestine”.
The Palestinian Football Association has called for a vote to suspend Israel from FIFA:
The Palestinian group objects to Israeli teams playing in the West Bank. They also say Israel restricts movements of Palestinian players between the West Bank and Gaza as well as for international matches.”They keep bullying here and there, and I think they have no right to keep being the bully of the neighborhood,” Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub said of Israel. “If the Israelis are using the issue of security, I can say that their security concern is mine. I am ready to fix parameters for security concerns, but security should not be used … as a tool in order to keep this racist, apartheid policies.”
He declared the situation in the West Bank far worse than apartheid that existed in South Africa because right-wingers and extremists in Israel want to “delete Palestine.” In the 1960s, FIFA suspended South Africa for decades after it failed to comply with the association’s nondiscrimination policies. The nation was also expelled from FIFA a month after the Soweto Youth Uprising of 1976.
“I am not asking for the suspension of the Israeli association; I am asking to end the suffering of the Palestinian footballers,” Rajoub said. “I am asking to end the grievances, the humiliation we are facing.”
The vote requires a 75% majority of the 209 FIFA members. There was a good chance that it was going to be successful.
But now, just by chance, the U.S. government ordered the Swiss police to raid the hotel where the main FIFA functionaries are residing to arrest some of them on corruption charges going back to the early 1990s. The U.S. wants these to be extradited to face a U.S. court.
Also, just by chance, reporters and photographers of the New York Times happen to be in that very Swiss hotel lobby, at 6 am, to capture the incident live:
As leaders of FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, gathered for their annual meeting, more than a dozen plain-clothed Swiss law enforcement officials arrived unannounced at the Baur au Lac hotel, an elegant five-star property with views of the Alps and Lake Zurich. They went to the front desk to get keys and proceeded upstairs to the rooms.
The charges allege widespread corruption in FIFA over the past two decades, involving bids for World Cups as well as marketing and broadcast deals, according to three law enforcement officials with direct knowledge of the case. The charges include wire fraud, racketeering and money laundering, and officials said they targeted members of FIFA’s powerful executive committee, which wields enormous power and does its business largely in secret.
While some of the indicted persons are U.S. citizens one wonders what contorted maneuvers the U.S. justice department will make to claim jurisdiction over foreign national FIFA functionaries:
United States law gives the Justice Department wide authority to bring cases against foreign nationals living abroad, an authority that prosecutors have used repeatedly in international terrorism cases. Those cases can hinge on the slightest connection to the United States, like the use of an American bank or Internet service provider.
Is there corruption involved when FIFA decides to run the World Championship in this or that country? Are there kickbacks when it sells media rights? Might there be gambling going on in the casino?
Rick: How can you close me up? On what grounds? Captain Renault: I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here! [a croupier hands Renault a pile of money] Croupier: Your winnings, sir. Captain Renault: Oh, thank you very much.
Additional to their U.S. ordered raid the Swiss also feel compelled to open criminal proceedings around the 2018 and 2022 World Cup FIFA votes. The U.S. lost out against Russia and Qatar in its bid for those games and U.S. hawks still want to change that. It is not that paying bribes to be chosen for world games is unfamiliar to the U.S., but being rejected necessitates regime change at the top of the responsible organization.
In the United States it is legal to bribe politicians, via campaign financing, in practically unlimited amounts. Not one U.S. banker has been indicted for the massive Wall Street fraud that brought the world economy to a halt. The world is aware of this and it does not like the U.S. to lecture it about moral outrages. FIFA, while certainly corrupt, is also the soul of world football and the organizer of the most beloved championship in the world. If the U.S. believes that using something similar to terrorism charges against FIFA will have a positive echo in the world it is very mistaken.
Especially as the just by chance motive for this is pretty obvious.
The fall of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province, to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has provoked a series of charges and counter-charges over who is responsible.
The debacle reprised the collapse of Iraqi security forces in the fall of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, nearly a year ago. Nearly 10 months of US air strikes, stepped-up aid to the Iraqi military, and the deployment of over 3,000 US troops in support of Baghdad have apparently done little to contain, much less defeat, ISIS.
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter was the most blunt, declaring that the Iraqi forces who melted away in the face of the ISIS offensive lacked the “will to fight.” Similarly, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey commented that the Iraqi security forces were “not driven out of Ramadi. They drove out of Ramadi.”
From within the Iraqi government and security forces as well as from Iran, there has been another explanation for the failure of the US intervention launched in August of last year to defeat ISIS: Washington has no real desire to annihilate the Islamist forces, its “war on terror” rhetoric notwithstanding.
The widespread acceptance of this explanation was indicated last week in a speech given by the senior commander of US Special Operations forces in Iraq, Army Brig. Gen. Kurt Crytzer. Speaking before the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference, a forum for the military industrial complex held in Tampa, Florida, he reported that it is widely believed in Iraq, including within its security forces, that the Pentagon is “re-supplying” ISIS.
“Without an effective counter-narrative, this quickly took traction, resonating with many throughout Iraq,” Crytzer said. “It’s not just the poor and uneducated that believe it.” The result, he added, was that US forces were at risk of attack from Iraqis fighting ISIS. He cited an attempt to shoot down a US helicopter believed to be ferrying arms to the Islamists and friction between American troops and their Iraqi counterparts.
Crytzer gave no indication why such a “narrative” would resonate so broadly among the people of Iraq, while the media covering his address referred to the charge of US support for ISIS as an Iraqi “conspiracy theory.”
There are no doubt “conspiracy theories”—which explain history as merely the working out of plots hatched by cabals at the pinnacle of society—but there also exist well-documented conspiracies by US imperialism in the Middle East. These conspiracies, which have not always produced the desired results, have decimated entire societies over the last decade.
As if to substantiate the Iraqi suspicions cited by General Crytzer, the US government has—in response to a Freedom of Information Act filing by the right-wing Judicial Watch group—declassified a series of documents, including one secret report produced by the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) dated August 12, 2012.
While Judicial Watch has focused entirely on the documents’ supposed substantiation of Republican claims that the Obama administration—and Hillary Clinton, in particular—“lied” about the armed attack on the Benghazi consulate and CIA facility in 2012, it and similar right-wing outfits studiously ignore the far deeper implications of the August 2012 report.
The heavily redacted seven-page DIA document states that “the Salafist [sic], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,” while noting that “the West, Gulf countries, and Turkey” support the opposition; while Russia, China and Iran “support the [Assad] regime.”
The document accurately predicts that “If the situation unravels, there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria… And this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime…”
As for Iraq, the secret report continues:
“This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi… ISI [Islamic State of Iraq] could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”
It should be recalled that this document was issued amid steadily escalating US support for the so-called “rebels” in Syria, with the CIA setting up a secret station in Turkey near the Syrian border to coordinate the funneling of arms, money and supplies to these forces, which, as was clearly known at the time, were dominated by Islamist elements such as Al Qaeda.
The report indicates that Washington and its allies were supportive of these forces carving out an Islamic state in Syria. And, while they saw the spread of such a state to neighboring Iraq as a likely danger, they considered this a chance worth taking in order to prosecute their proxy war for regime-change directed against Damascus and Syria’s backers—Iran, Russia and China.
It also should be recalled that this document was issued precisely at the moment that the entire international coterie of middle-class pseudo-left organizations—from the International Socialist Organization in the US, to the New Anti-capitalist Party in France, the Socialist Workers Party in Britain and the Left Party in Germany—was hailing the US proxy war in Syria as a “revolution,” and even crafting justifications for the US arming of the Islamists.
If Washington is pulling its punches in its supposed war on ISIS, it is not, as the New York Times absurdly suggested this week, out of concern for killing civilians. The US has butchered hundreds of thousands over the course of the last dozen years. Rather, it wants to preserve the Islamist gunmen, who constitute the principal fighting force in its proxy war to topple Assad, just as it employed similar forces to overthrow and murder Libya’s Gaddafi.
The US military/intelligence complex, along with its front-man, Barack Obama, is indifferent to the immense human suffering such polices inflict upon the peoples of the region. They are making their decisions based on strategic calculations in which elements such as Al Qaeda and ISIS are merely pawns in a far wider drive to assert US hegemony by means of aggression and war.
In the lead-up to this weekend’s Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter yesterday bluntly declared that the US would continue its military provocations against China in the South China Sea.
The Pentagon deliberately inflamed tensions with Beijing last week by allowing a CNN news crew to fly on board a navy reconnaissance flight near Chinese-controlled atolls. The CNN report was designed to put a spotlight on China’s land reclamation activities. It also featured the warnings of Chinese authorities as the aircraft approached what China regards as its territory.
China issued a formal protest to the US on Monday. Its spokesperson condemned American actions as “utterly dangerous and irresponsible” and “highly likely to cause miscalculation and untoward incidents in the waters and airspace.”
Speaking in Hawaii yesterday, Carter again called for an immediate halt to China’s land reclamation activities, which the US insists are for military purposes. He made clear that the US would continue its “freedom of navigation” operations to challenge China’s territorial claims.
“There should be no mistake about this,” Carter declared, “the United States will fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world.”
In other words, under the pretext of “freedom of navigation,” the US will keep sending warships and warplanes near Chinese-administered islets, risking a clash that could rapidly escalate into conflict between the two nuclear-armed powers. Even more recklessly, the Pentagon is planning “freedom of navigation” missions to enter the 12-mile territorial limit around Chinese islets.
Carter accused China of being “out of step with both international norms that underscore the Asia Pacific’s security architecture and the regional consensus in favour of a non-coercive approach to this and other longstanding disputes.”
The cynicism involved in Carter’s remarks is breathtaking. Since 2010, the Obama administration has systematically exploited the maritime disputes in the South China Sea to drive a wedge between China and its South East Asian neighbours. Carter’s references to “international norms” are particularly hypocritical. Unlike China, the US has not ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Having encouraged Vietnam and the Philippines to aggressively pursue their claims against China, the US is now flying military missions, thousands of kilometres from any American territory, aimed at provoking a response from China and a major international crisis to force Beijing to back down.
The US military intervention in the South China Sea is part of the broader “pivot to Asia”—a diplomatic, economic and military strategy directed against China, aimed at securing American hegemony throughout the region. Carter declared yesterday: “We will remain the principal security power in the Asia Pacific for decades to come.”
Carter’s remarks are a prelude to a showdown with Chinese officials at the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, which starts tomorrow. At last year’s gathering, Carter’s predecessor, Chuck Hagel, rebuked China for “destabilising, unilateral actions” in the South China Sea and warned that the US would “not look the other way.”
Over the past year, the US has rapidly ratcheted up its pressure on China in the South China Sea, securing a basing arrangement with the Philippines, urging Japan to send its own patrols to the tense region and beefing up access to military bases in northern Australia. Last week’s navy surveillance flight left from the Clark Air Force base in the Philippines.
The foreign policy and military establishment in Washington is well aware that US actions in the South China Sea could lead to war.
Writing this week on the Daily Beast website, Gordon Chang identified the South China Sea as “history’s next great war zone.” Portraying China as the aggressive threat to peace, he concluded: “China’s challenge to the United States in the South China Sea sets up the classic zero sum confrontation.
“Beijing has declared that its South China Sea claims are a ‘core interest’ that cannot be negotiated. Washington, which has plied the seas from its very first days as a nation, cannot compromise its defence of the global commons. Each side can make tactical retreats, but neither can abandon its position for long.”
Chang warned: “There are two competing visions of the world, and only one can prevail.”
In reality, the “zero sum confrontation” is of Washington’s making. The Obama administration is demanding the unfettered “right” of access for the US military throughout the South China Sea, including in Chinese-controlled territory, and is also dictating the terms of China’s activities in these strategic waters. The US would regard similar actions by China in waters near Hawaii or California as an act of war.
China has already signalled that it might respond to US provocations by declaring an Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea. In an interview published yesterday in the Chinese press, Ouyang Yujing, director of boundaries and oceanic affairs for the foreign ministry, declared: “China has the right to establish ADIZs.”
While downplaying the immediate likelihood, he declared: “Whether or not China will establish a South China Sea ADIZ will depend on factors such as whether China’s air safety is under threat and the seriousness of the threat.”
Such a move would dramatically intensify the South China Sea confrontation. In November 2013, when China announced an ADIZ covering the East China Sea, including disputed islands administered by Japan, the US reacted by immediately flying nuclear capable B-52 bombers into the zone.
While the responsibility for the mounting crisis lies with Washington, there is nothing progressive about the Chinese regime’s response. Incapable of making any appeal to the working class in China or internationally, the Chinese Communist Party leadership is expanding its own military apparatus, playing directly into the hands of US imperialism. This only heightens the danger of humanity being dragged into a devastating world war.
In George Orwell’s oft-quoted and insightful book 1984, we clearly see how this work of fiction has become reality, and in turn how reality is turned back into fiction through the manipulative, inaccurate and deceptive reporting of mainstream media. As Orwell accurately wrote:
“Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.”
Indeed, this is the “reality” we face when we turn to mainstream news networks, a reality coloured and created through corporate interests which reflect their own agendas instead of the truth.
For example, political leaders and the mainstream media continue to explain to us that the reason for NATO’s armed interventions is to bring freedom and democracy to the subjugated masses. However, as Global Research has been consistently pointing out through deep analysis and on-the-ground reporting, the concept of “humanitarian war” is a gross oxymoron. As Prof. Michel Chossudovsky wrote about the 2011 intervention in Libya:
Now the West and its Middle Eastern antidemocratic allies are waging a renewed “War on Terror” in Iraq and Syria against an enemy they created, once again in the name of democracy:
We are dealing with a diabolical military agenda whereby the United States is targeting a rebel army which is directly funded by the US and its allies. The incursion into Iraq of the Islamic State rebels in late June was part of a carefully planned intelligence operation.
Turning the lens to Europe and North America, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts minces no words in describing the bleak state of the economy, with people living in poverty while funds are directed into the coffers of inflated corporate and defense funds. And true to form, the mainstream media employs distraction techniques to keep people in the dark about where their money is really going and how it is being mishandled:
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Newly disclosed Pentagon documents prove what we’ve known for a while now: the Obama administration knew as early as 2012 that weapons were being sent from Benghazi, Libya, to rebels in Syria.
The U.S. government also knew at the time that:
“the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and [Al Qaeda in Iraq were] the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”
But did they just “know” or was it part of the plan?
These official documents of the Obama administration add to the large amount of evidence proving that the actual chaos and havoc wreaked by extremist groups in the Middle East was deliberately created by the U.S. and its allies and is not the result of a “failed foreign policy”.
Judicial Watch recently revealed:
The DoD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:
Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.
During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo.
Although the documents do not reveal who was responsible for sending weapons to Syria, it is quite obvious from the language used in the documents that it was a US initiative and the CIA presence in Benghazi at the time suggests that US intelligence was behind this gun-running operation.
Libyan Terrorists in Syria
On September 11, 2012, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked. Four people were killed, including the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and two CIA officers.
In August 2013, Business Insider reported :
The Agency, for its part, doesn’t want anyone knowing what it was doing in the Libyan port city.
Sources told CNN that 35 Americans were in Benghazi that night — 21 of whom were working out of the annex — and that several were wounded, some seriously.
One source said: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”
Among the questions are whether CIA missteps contributed to the security failure in Benghazi and, more importantly, whether the Agency’s Benghazi operation had anything to do with reported heavy weapons shipments from the local port to Syrian rebels.
Last January, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi concluded that the “Obama White House and the State Department under the management of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ‘changed sides in the war on terror’ in 2011 by implementing a policy of facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-dominated rebel militias in Libya attempting to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power”, WND reported.
Even CNN reported back in 2012 that rebels were being trained by defense contractors to handle chemical weapons:
The US and some of its European allies “are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria,” according to “a senior US official and several senior diplomats,” CNN reports.
Another official document from 2012 revealed by Judicial Watch indicates that the “growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:
This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory. (Judicial Watch, op., cit.)
The U.S. did exactly what was needed to create “the ideal atmosphere” for Mosul and Ramadi to fall and for ISIS to declare an “Islamic state”.
With the fall of Mosul last June, the recent fall of Ramadi in Iraq and numerous reports about the U.S. delivering weapons and ammunition to ISIS, the recently disclosed official documents show once more that the U.S. gun-running operation created “the ideal atmosphere” for Al Qaeda Iraq and “the rise of ISIS” in the region. The war against the so-called Islamic State can thus only be a flatout lie.
The following articles pertain to the U.S. delivery of weapons to ISIS while it was supposedly fighting it:
As a solution to the problem they created, with full knowledge of the consequences, the U.S. and its allies offered a military intervention with the stated intent of fighting the enemy they had created while covertly supporting it in order to sustain the war, for the greatest benefit of defense contractors and Israel, which has the a lot to gain in the dismantlement of neighboring states.
The purpose of this “constructive chaos” is nothing less than to redraw the map of the region and create a “New Middle East.”
As Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya explained back in 2006:
The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.”
This shift in foreign policy phraseology coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term and conceptualization of the “New Middle East,” was subsequently heralded by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice had informed the international media that a project for a “New Middle East” was being launched from Lebanon.
This announcement was a confirmation of an Anglo-American-Israeli “military roadmap” in the Middle East. This project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.
The “New Middle East” project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that Lebanon would be the pressure point for realigning the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of “constructive chaos.” This “constructive chaos” –which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region– would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East in accordance with their geo-strategic needs and objectives. (Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”, Global Research, November 2006)
Note: The above map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006, Peters is a retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy. (Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006). Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, has most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles (Mahdi D. Nazemroaya).
All the evidence is there to prove ISIS and their ilks are instruments of U.S.-NATO-Israel foreign policy.
How long can the Western mainstream media ignore this overwhelming evidence that the U.S. and its allies are supporting the entities they claim to be be fighting in the Middle East without totally losing the very little credibility it has left?
Looking at the situation, Joachim Hagopian argues that the war on ISIS is just for show since its “enemy” is only gaining territory:
The US led coalition air strikes in Syria and Iraq have failed to stop the Islamic State’s expansion. Four months ago it was noted that since the US air campaign began last August, the Islamic State has doubled its space in Syria, controlling more than one third of the country’s territory. In the same way that the US predator drone warfare policy has only caused more hatred against America in the nations it’s been deployed against in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, the same reverse effect is occurring in Syria where residents are increasingly sympathetic to Islamic State. Additionally, Syrian opposition groups bitterly complain that the US led coalition forces fail to coordinate dropping bombs with the rebels, thus not permitting them any tactical advantage in driving IS back. It’s as if the air strikes are more for show than to actually neutralize the enemy. (Joachim Hagopian,The US-Islamic State Dance: One Step Forward and Two Steps Back – By Design, Global Research, May 19, 2015)
This war on ISIS is just another disastrous endeavor for populations in the Middle East, another military intervention under a false pretext, another lie to divide and conquer. And once more, the Western mainstream media has failed to report the truth.
The destruction caused by Israel in the Shujaiya neighborhood of Gaza during July 2014. (Anne Paq /ActiveStills)
An Israeli military commander has been recorded ordering troops to shell medical facilities during the 2014 attack on Gaza.
Nerya Yeshurun, a lieutenant colonel, instructed that a clinic in the Shujaiya neighborhood be fired upon on 23 July last year to “honor” an Israeli soldier who had been killed a day earlier. His statement amounts to a clear, though perhaps unintended, admission of war crimes.
Targeting civilians as an act of revenge is strictly forbidden by international law. Although Yeshurun’s orders were broadcast by the Israeli media at the time, they have not been translated before now. It is remarkable that they did not elicit comment either within Israel or internationally.
In an address over an internal army communications network, Yeshurun told his troops to “shoot a fusilade to honor and salute” Dima Levitas, a 26-year-old captian allegedly killed by sniper fire the previous day. Yeshurun instructed that the “fusilade” be directed “at the clinic from which the villains shot at him [Levitas] and took his life.”
“Prepare for shooting in memory of Dima,” Yeshurun added. “May his soul be bundled up in the bundle of life, Amen.” The funeral of Levitas was taking place at the military graveyard in Mount Herzl, Jerusalem, that day.
Yeshurun’s address was uploaded the next day by NRG, a news website owned by the US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
According to names and figures collected by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rightsand reported by the media, at least five people were killed, four of whom were civilians, and 45 injured during the afternoon of 23 July in Shujaiya. However, it is unclear if their deaths were a direct result of the army’s ceremonious shelling.
The attack on the clinic took place while medics and civil forces in Shujaiya were still retrieving bodies of Palestinians who had been killed by Israel in an overnight massacre three days earlier. The bodies were mangled and badly charred; some victims’ identities impossible to determine. The number of people killed in that massacre has beenestimated at more than 120.
“No military necessity”
Shawan Jabarin, director of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq, told The Electronic Intifada he was not surprised to read the interview with Yeshurun. “But here we see the policy they have and orders they make. We are speaking about a commander shelling a clinic indiscriminately in order to participate in the funeral of his friend,” Jabarin said.
“In my opinion it is a war crime. It is clear, from the intention, the mental element, and the material element: there was no military necessity. They wanted to participate in their friend’s funeral. But they are targeting a civilian and medical object, which has special protection,” Jabarin added.
Yeshurun was the regimental commander of the Gaash unit in the Israeli military’s Seventh Armoured Brigade.
In October 2014, Bayabasha (“On Land”), an Israeli military journal, published an interview with him. In it, Yeshurun confirmed that he had instructed the unit to shell the clinic: “Personally, I loved Dima dearly … I was sorry that his company and I could not be at [the military graveyard on] Mount Herzl when he was being brought to burial, so we decided to fire a fusilade of shells toward the spot through which he lost his life during the funeral.”
According to the Bayabasha report, Palestinian militants fired back after the Israeli unit unleashed their cannons. Israel expert Dena Shunra, who translated the NRG dispatch and Bayabasha article for The Electronic Intifada, analyzed the interview and said the soldiers expressed “surprise” that shots were returned after their “funerary fusilade.”
The Electronic Intifada was unable to locate reports corroborating Yeshurun’s claims that the shot that killed Levitas came from the clinic. Even Israeli reports haven’t alleged that sniper fire from a clinic killed a soldier on 22 July.
In its report about activities by Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza last summer, the Israeli foreign ministry makes no mention of such an attack.
And in a report specifically alleging that Hamas and other militant organizations were using medical facilities and ambulances for “terrorist” purposes, Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (an Israeli think tank) makes no mention of Palestinian fighters shooting from a clinic in Shujaiya.
The article in which the interview with Yeshurun appeared is a profile of the Gaash unit, a division of the Israeli military that trains soldiers for warfare. According to Shunra, Gaash is generally dedicated to training, but once war breaks out the soldiers are reassigned to combat missions. The article’s narrative presents the shelling of Shujaiya as the ultimate battle “experience” for these cadets, calling the neighborhood “the most challenging fortress of all.”
In the same article, Mordechai Kahane, a colonel in the Gaash unit, said: “We don’t go into the operation to gain experience. The operation is a necessity, forced upon us, but every time it happens, it is necessary to include as many warriors as possible, emphasizing commanders or those who are about to be commanders, so they will have this operational experience.”
Kahane is the nephew of Meir Kahane, the founder of the extreme right-wing political party Kach, which advocated for and committed violence against Palestinians. It is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel.
Using a civilian population for military training purposes is considered a violation of international humanitarian law. “But I don’t think the main point of the act was training,” Jabarin said. “The main purpose of what they did, as I understood when I read this interview, is how to terrorize and teach Palestinians a lesson. How to use civilians to pressure the resistance, without taking care of any legal principles or international laws.”
Deborah Hyams, an Amnesty International researcher on Palestine, commented: “Deliberate attacks on civilians, including medical professionals, are absolutely prohibited under international humanitarian law (IHL) and amount to war crimes. Attacks on hospitals and medical facilities are prohibited under IHL, unless the location is being used to make an effective contribution to hostilities. Even in such cases, attacking a hospital or medical facility without warning is prohibited. Furthermore, attacks conducted to exact revenge are absolutely prohibited under IHL.”
Hyams added that all incidents where there is “credible information” that international humanitarian law has been abused “must be investigated independently, impartially, promptly, thoroughly and effectively.”
This reporter contacted the Israeli military, requesting a comment about the order to attack the Shujaiya clinic. A spokesperson replied: “The incident is known by the IDF [Israeli military] and is currently under investigation.”
According to the World Health Organization, 17 hospitals and 56 primary healthcare centers were either destroyed or damaged during Israel’s 51-day attack on Gaza.
Mor Efrat, a representative of the group Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, told The Electronic Intifada that the organization documented attacks on medical teams in Shujaiya between 20 and 23 July and on 30 July, but did not document a clinic being shelled. However, Efrat said that did not mean the clinic wasn’t struck.
“The number and scale of medical facilities and teams that were attacked during the war — it’s not something that just happens. All the specific coordinates of medical facilities were given to Israelis at the beginning of war, and this information was totally ignored,” Efrat said.
Earlier this month, the organization Breaking the Silence released harrowingtestimonies from Israeli soldiers, detailing atrocities they committed during the Gaza assault. The confessions — made under the protection of anonymity — garnered widespread attention from the international media.
However, as Yeshurun’s statement and the actions of his unit make clear, officers much further up the chain of command had already admitted to, endorsed, and boasted of their war crimes. Israel has enjoyed utter impunity for its actions against Palestinians, so much so that a high-ranking commander is willing to publicly revel in the crimes he directed.
The value of medical journals in providing physicians, researchers and other medical professionals an honest glimpse of the latest relevant, peer-reviewed medical science has greatly diminished in recent years. An extensive review published in the journal PLOS Medicine shows that medical journals today serve as little more than marketing platforms for pharmaceutical companies to push their drugs with little in the way of unbiased science.
Richard Smith, who served as an editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal (BMJ) for 25 years before resigning in 2004, warns that a bulk of the studies published in medical journals are pioneered by drug companies. More often than not, these studies push the agenda of the companies that launched them, procuring positive results that were cunningly derived through industry sleight of hand.
We’re not talking about pharmaceutical advertising here, which is also highly endemic in terms of conflicts of interest. We’re talking about studies — mainly randomized clinical trials — launched by drug companies that arrive at predetermined outcomes and are widely perpetuated in the medical literature to create the illusion that drugs and vaccines are safe and effective.
“Journals have devolved into information laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry,” wrote Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet journal, back in March 2004, just one year before Smith published the review in question.
It’s not so much drug advertising as it is sponsored trials that corrupt medical journals
Although pharmaceutical advertising renders the quality of what’s been published in a given medical journal questionable, at least readers of that journal can see these advertisements and determine how seriously to take the contained studies. However, when the studies themselves are industry-sponsored and this is not disclosed, things get messy.
“A large trial published in a major journal has the journal’s stamp of approval (unlike the advertising), will be distributed around the world, and may well receive global media coverage, particularly if promoted simultaneously by press releases from both the journal and the expensive public-relations firm hired by the pharmaceutical company that sponsored the trial,” writes Smith.
“For a drug company, a favourable trial is worth thousands of pages of advertising, which is why a company will sometimes spend upwards of a million dollars on reprints of the trial for worldwide distribution. The doctors receiving the reprints may not read them, but they will be impressed by the name of the journal from which they come. The quality of the journal will bless the quality of the drug.”
Up to 75% of clinical trials published in major journals like JAMA, Lancet, NEJM, and Annals of Internal Medicine are industry-sponsored
Then there’s the issue of what’s actually being published in many of the world’s most well-respected medical journals. Upon investigation, Smith found that upwards of 75 percent of what is being published today in journals like Annals of Internal Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) are trials that have been directly funded by industry.
Smith’s systematic review uncovered that drug companies have become very adept at reaching the conclusions they desire by manipulating randomized trials. This is not necessarily accomplished through direct fraud (although that happens as well), but instead it occurs by engaging in what Smith says is “asking the ‘right’ questions.”
“The companies seem to get the results they want not by fiddling the results, which would be far too crude and possibly detectable by peer review, but rather by asking the ‘right’ questions,” Smith writes.
• Conducting a trial of a given drug against a treatment known to be inferior
• Conducting a trial against too low of a dose of a competitor drug
• Conducting a trial against too high of a dose of a competitor drug, making the drug in question seem less toxic
• Conducting a trial that is too small to show differences from competitor drugs
• Using multiple endpoints in a trial and selecting for publication only those that provide favorable results
• Conducting multi-center trials and selecting for publication only those that reach favorable results
• Conducting subgroup analyses and selecting for publication only those that are favorable
• Presenting results that are most likely to impress, such as showing a reduction in relative as opposed to absolute risk
KIEV — The Ukrainian Agriculture Business Association (UCAB) on Tuesday urged the government to lift its ban on farmland sales so as to spur the development of the agro-food sector.
“We suggest establishing the market of agricultural land starting from January 1, 2016 through selling state-owned farmland by auction,” Alex Lissitsa, head of the UCAB, told a press conference.
Lissitsa said that the sales of private farmland should be launched as the second phase of the land market reform.
Lifting a moratorium on farmland sales will increase competition in the market and open new opportunities for agro-businesses, Lissitsa said.
Ukraine, with around 42 million hectares of agricultural land, imposed a moratorium on farmland sales in 1992, which expires on Dec. 31 this year.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian Agricultural Minister Olexiy Pavlenko said that the moratorium could be further extended as the crisis-hit country needs at least 100 million U.S. dollars to carry out the farmland market reform. After land privatization in 1996, Ukrainian land owners work with farmers under lease agreements.
As the saying goes “Follow the money” and you will likely find the root of the matter.
In the case of GMOs, the manufacturers that own and patent the seeds and chemicals that have overtaken our food supply seem to have only one primary objective: money.
I’m a capitalist at heart, but what GMO manufacturers are doing is not capitalism. It’s crony capitalism at best, bullying, corruption and legislative manipulation at worst.
Beth Beisel: In 1996 genetically modified foods were first allowed into our food supply in America.
Patrick Gentempo, D.C.: The GMO machine has been extraordinarily effective in squelching the conversation.
Nancy Weiser: The biggest problem with genetically modified organisms or genetically engineered foods is that we don’t know the long-term outcome.
Patrick Gentempo, D.C.: And to show how strong the agenda is, how could anyone argue against at least labeling foods GMO?
If they have nothing to hide, if GMOs are safe and effective or propose any threat to individuals who consume them, why would you be worried about putting it on the label of the food that you sell?
Nancy Weiser: There’s something that seen kinda sneaky about people manufacturing food and researching it and engineering it and marketing to us and for some reason or other they don’t want to tell us what’s in it?
I find that odd. I know that if you buy, you know, a shirt or a pair of pants, it has to say that it’s 90% cotton and 10% lycra. So I wanna know what’s in my food if I know what in my pants.
Patrick Gentempo, D.C.: We have supposedly some parts of our government that are designated to protect our interests these people are paid with our tax dollars to safeguard our well-being in these realms. Yet it’s not happening.
So now let’s look at the FDA, let’s look at the FTC, let’s look at our regulators.
Beth Beisel: I think it’s because most the FDA and EPA and USDA are infiltrated with appointed, very high level executives that came from the biotech industry.
Patrick Gentempo, D.C.: It’s the wealth of the force behind the GMO initiative that’s causing this to occur. What’s for sale?
It can be bought. The hearts and minds of the culture and the compulsion to force them into behaviors can be bought.
Nancy Weiser: So we have a huge challenge on our hands to re-educate people from the top down and from the bottom up.
You know, from their gut and from their head.
Patrick Gentempo, D.C.: The reality is there are other countries who have said no to GMOs.
They’ve looked at it and said “this is disturbing there’s not enough evidence we’ve made a choice not to do this”. But we’re supposed to be in the United States, the land of the free where those types of things don’t happen but this is such a issue as far as saying “this is scary, this is disturbing, this is unknown”, but other countries who technically might be less free as far as individual rights are concerned are saying no to GMOs until their’s more data.
Yet here we say yes.
It’s indefensible, obviously there is something to hide, obviously there is a concern, obviously they think that individual consumers given the choice would prefer not to buy that food. So what is their solution?
Don’t let them know they’re buying that food.
That to me as I feel even the hairs on the back of my neck standing up is evil personified.
Beth Beisel: What I would like to say to the biotech industry and the food industry is stop messing with my children’s health, with my husbands health, with my family’s health.
Enough is enough, let’s go back to real food, conventional farming without GMOs and taking care of the people and putting the people first, not profits.
Reports indicate Netanyahu proposed establishing boundaries on settlement blocs – on the one hand to justify continuing illegal construction on stolen Palestinian land.
On the other, for Israel to annex under any peace agreement. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said the proposal was always Netanyahu’s position – so “nobody should be surprised.”
“(E)veryone in the Likud knows if there will ever be a partner for peace, it is clear there will be territorial concessions” – code language for grand theft with Palestinians having no say whatever over what’s rightfully theirs.
Israel already controls over 60% of West Bank land and much of East Jerusalem. Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel called Netanyahu’s proposal “dangerous and precedential.”
It contradicts government guidelines for Jews to have all Judea and Samaria, he said.
Netanyahu’s proposal is little more than a PR stunt. He publicly rejected peace talks as a waste of time. He fundamentally opposes Palestinian statehood. He wants unlimited settlement construction.
“It’s a request to continue illegal settlement construction with Palestinian consent. This looks like one state and two systems rather than two sovereign and democratic states.”
“If Mr. Netanyahu wants to have meaningful negotiations ending the occupation that began in 1967, he should recognize a Palestinian State on the 1967 border and honor Israel’s obligations including a halt of settlement construction and the release of the Palestinian prisoners.”
PLO official Hanan Ashrawi blasted Netanyahu calling his scheme a “disingenuous and manipulative exercise of political and legal deception.”
“All settlements are illegal and in flagrant contravention of international law and consensus, and any efforts to annex and to legalize the settlement blocs is a blatant attempt to steal more Palestinian land and to legitimize Israel’s ongoing system of apartheid, land theft and expansion.”
Talks with Israel should be based on international law with a binding timetable for ending occupation and removing settlements, she stressed. Nothing less is acceptable.
In nearly 50 years of occupation, Israel never negotiated in good faith. Why expect a new leaf under the most ruthless regime in its history.
Israel steals Palestinian land regularly for exclusive Jewish development. Entire Palestinian villages are destroyed to ethnically cleanse Arabs.
Homes are lawlessly bulldozed. Families are uprooted. When Israel wants Palestinian land, it steals it.
On May 26, Haaretz reported one example, saying “Israel Defense Forces’ Civil Administration transferred hundreds of meters of private (Palestinian) land…to the West Bank settlement of Shim’a.
The Samsaras family lost their property. Their High Court petition to halt construction was rejected. Justice Anat Baron said work in the area stopped so there was no need for court intervention.
A Final Comment
While Netanyahu pretended to turn a new leaf, his security force thugs critically injured a 10-year-old Palestinian boy.
Fishermen and farmers were attacked. Palestinian communities were terrorized. Gaza remains repressively besieged for political, not security reasons.
Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Aziz Dweik was sentenced to one year in prison and a 6,000 shekel fine for belonging to the wrong political party.
Children continue being tortured during interrogations for the alleged crime of stone-throwing.
Noor Muhammad Hilmi Hamamrah is one of countless victims. His mouth was forced open. Interrogators began prying off his braces. He was threatened with having all his teeth ripped out if he didn’t confess to throwing stones at Israeli cars.
On May 26, the Al Haq human rights group said Palestinian land annexation is increasing. Settlements are expanding. Settlers attack Palestinians with impunity – on average multiple times weekly.
Abuses on Netanyahu’s watch are horrific. The only new leaf he’ll turn is making them worse than ever.
Is there more to what’s going on than meets the eye? In January 2011, FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Russian Sports minister Vitaly Mulko signed a declaration on Russia’s official status as 2018 World Cup host nation.
At the time, Vladimir Putin said Russia would “use the experience…already gained in preparing for the Sochi Olympics in 2014.”
Blatter expressed “certain(ty) that the World Cup (would) be held at the highest level and…turn into a truly magnificent event.”
Russia won out over Britain, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. It plans to host the event in 13 cities. It intends making it first-class world event.
In April, 13 US influential senators wrote Blatter “strongly encourag(ing)” him to replace Russia with another host country,” saying:
“Allowing Russia to host the FIFA World Cup inappropriately bolsters the prestige of the Putin regime at a time when it should be condemned and provides economic relief at a time when much of the international community is imposing economic sanctions.”
FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer responded, saying:
“History has shown so far that boycotting sport events or a policy of isolation or confrontation are not the most effective ways to solve problems.”
The World Cup “can achieve positive change in the world, but football cannot be seen as a solution for all issues, particularly those related to world politics.”
Blatter said “the World Cup in Russia will be able to stabilize all the situation in this region of Europe that is suffering now.”
Is charging 14 current and former FIFA officials with various criminal offenses a thinly veiled scheme to continue bashing and trying to isolate Russia?
Everything done so far failed. Master chess player Putin outmatches his US counterpart. However charges against current and former FIFA officials are resolved, expect Russia to remain 2018 World Cup nation likely matching its successful 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Another issue is Israel. Palestinian officials want it suspended from FIFA participation because of systematically violating Palestinian footballer rights – including harassment, travel restrictions, lawless arrests, and other racist apartheid actions.
Last March, the Palestinian Football Federation (PFA) submitted a motion to FIFA calling for Israel’s suspension until it complies with the following conditions:
letting football participants and all equipment related to the sport move freely in, out and within Palestine;
no longer obstruct or otherwise prevent the building and maintenance of Palestinian football facilities;
banning football clubs in illegal Israeli settlements from Israeli Football Federation (IFA) competitions;
requiring IFA to take firm action to eliminate racist, apartheid practices within its own leagues; and
requiring IFA to recognize the PFA as the sole governing body for football within Palestine.
These conditions address longstanding grievances – so far without resolution. Palestinian officials say suspending Israel is needed to change things.
Instead of going after war criminals, CIA and Pentagon torturers, banker mega-crooks, other corporate thieves, corrupt politicians on the take, dirty cops, and other major US offenders demanding prosecution, Washington targeted the Zurich, Switzerland-based International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) outside its jurisdiction.
It’s pressuring Swiss authorities to extradite FIFA officials to America to face criminal corruption charges.
The timing of the indictments and arrests wasn’t coincidental – two days before FIFA’s annual general meeting with its officials in one place at a luxury Zurich hotel.
Blatter is up for reelection. So far he’s not charged. According to US officials, he’s not cleared yet. Whether what’s ongoing affects his reelection remains to be seen.
A 47-count indictment charges 14 individuals with racketeering, bribery, wire fraud and money laundering among other offenses as part of “a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer,” according to the Justice Department.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch said “(t)he indictment spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”
“Today’s action makes clear that this Department of Justice intends to end any such corrupt practices, to root out misconduct, and to bring wrongdoers to justice – and we look forward to continuing to work with other countries in this effort.”
America and Switzerland have an extradition treaty. A Swiss judge will decide what happens next. Even if extradition is ordered, individuals affected can appeal.
So-called “dual criminality” is a requirement many countries observe – namely that crimes alleged by one nation are recognized as such by the other before extradition can be considered.
The legal process in this case is expected to take months to work its way through Switzerland’s judicial process – maybe much longer if appeals are made.
Some earlier cases dragged on for years. If extradition is rejected, Washington would likely issue so-called “red notices” to authorities in other countries – meaning individuals charged would risk arrest and extradition to America if they travel abroad.
According to international law experts, Switzerland is one of the world’s toughest places to win extradition cases – especially on tax related charges.
Some high-profile individuals successfully contested US extradition requests – notably film director Roman Polanski.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded sharply to Washington’s indictments – saying it extended its legal authority improperly “far beyond its borders.”
“Without going into the details of the accusations…this is clearly another case of illegal extraterritorial use of US law.”
“We hope that this will not in any way be used to cast a shadow on the international football organization as a whole and its decisions.”
“Once again we are calling on Washington to stop attempts to make justice far beyond its borders using its legal norms and to follow the generally accepted international legal procedures.”
Putin called FIFA indictments “an obvious attempt to spread (US) jurisdiction to other states (and) prevent Mr. Blatter’s reelection…which is a gross violation of the principle of functioning international organizations.”
“(T)he United States has no relation to” FIFA affairs. The individuals charged “are not US citizens, and if some event has taken place, it happened not on US soil…”
FIFA and Olympic competition are more about profiteering, exploitation and corruption than sport. Yet little is done to change things.
So why now? Why target FIFA – especially at this time? Draw your own conclusions.
Over many decades, Israel’s self-serving deceptions about the Nakba in 1948 have been exposed for the lies Palestinians already knew them to be.
It was long accepted in the west that, as Israel claimed, Palestinians left their homes because they had been ordered to do so by neighbouring Arab leaders. The lie usefully distracted diplomats and scholars from the much more pertinent question of why Israel had refused to allow 750,000 Palestinian refugees to return to their homes after the war finished, as international law demanded.
The myth about the Arab leaders’ order, which had been steadily undermined by the work of the “new historians” of the late 1980s, was decisively punctured two years ago by an Israeli scholar who was given the wrong file by Israeli army archivists. It showed the story of the Arab leaders’ order was concocted by Israeli officials.
The same files should also have ended an equally diverting and lengthy debate about how many Palestinian villages Israel ethnically cleansed in 1948. Most Palestinian scholars were agreed it was well over 500; Israeli experts variously claimed it was between 300 and 400. Not that hundreds of ethnically cleansed villages was not bad enough, but Israel was happy to engage in a debate designed to make Palestinians look like inveterate exaggerators. Again, Israel’s archives confirmed the Palestinian account, with 530 villages razed.
Now another, related deception has been exposed. For decades Israel’s supporters have been arguing that Haifa, one of Palestine’s most important cities, was not ethnically cleansed of its population. The tens of thousands of Palestinians who fled under Israeli attack in April 1948 were later urged to return, according to Israel’s supporters, but they chose not to. Further proof, it seemed, that the Palestinians had only themselves to blame for losing their homeland. They chose to stay away.
Strangely, none of Israel’s propagandists ever seriously tried to suggest that the other 700,00 or so Palestinian refugees had been invited back home. It seemed as if the welcome supposedly extended in Haifa was reason enough for all Palestinians in exile to put aside their fears of Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy at its new borders and make the journey home.
But now a letter signed by David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister and the engineer of its ethnic cleansing policy in 1948, shows that, far from Haifa’s doors being thrown open, Ben Gurion ordered that the refugees be barred from returning.
Written on 2 June 1948, the letter was sent to Abba Khoushy, soon to become Haifa’s mayor. It states:
“I hear that Mr. Marriot [Cyril Marriot, the British consul in Haifa] is working to return the Arabs to Haifa. I don’t know how it is his business, but until the war is over we don’t want a return of the enemy. And all institutions should act accordingly.”
Of course, that policy was not reversed after the war, as Ben Gurion hinted it might be. And one can wonder how much more specific his orders were to his army commanders if this was what he was telling civilian administrators.
The myth about Haifa was encouraged by Golda Meir, who wrote in her autobiography that Ben Gurion told her:
“I want you to immediately go to Haifa and see to it that the Arabs who remain in Haifa are treated appropriately. I also want you to try and persuade the Arabs who are already on the beach to return home. You have to get it into their heads that they have nothing to fear.”
Meir added: “I went immediately. I sat on the beach there and begged them to return home… I pleaded with them until I was exhausted but it didn’t work.”
Heartbreaking – if only it were true.
How much longer must we wait to explode all the other myths associated with the Nakba, and much of Israel’s history ever since?
Originally published in December 2011: Progressive Eclipse – Chapter Ten: Sandia, Citizens United, and Smart Meters
Everyone was talking about the one percent, the few with most of the wealth. The inequality that Bernie Sanders had railed against since his first campaign was becoming indisputable. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising that he was one of the first elected officials to back the Occupy Wall Street movement. Sanders offered practical proposals to address some of its complaints and praised protesters for “shining a national spotlight on the most powerful, dangerous and secretive economic and political force in America.”
Occupy Wall Street Protest, October 2011
He was also leading the charge to have Congress consider a Constitutional Amendment to address a radical Supreme Court ruling. On Jan. 21, 2010, in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, the nation’s High Court said that corporations are “persons” with First Amendment rights and can’t be prevented from spending unlimited funds on political campaigns.
The case had begun in 2008 with a dispute over the right of a non-profit corporation to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton, and whether the group, Citizens United, could promote their film with ads featuring Clinton’s image – an apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, also known as McCain–Feingold. The Supreme Court struck down the McCain–Feingold provision that prohibited corporations – both for- and non-profit, as well as unions – from broadcasting “electioneering communications” within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. It did allow for disclaimer requirements and disclosure by sponsors of advertisements.
The problem went back to the 1970s, when Congress amended the Federal Election Campaign Act in an attempt to regulate campaign contributions and spending. After that, in the controversial 1976 Buckley v. Valeo case, the Supreme Court ruled that spending money to influence elections is constitutionally protected speech and struck down parts of the law. It also ruled that candidates could give unlimited amounts of money to their own campaigns.
Prior to Citizens United, however, a century of US election laws prohibited corporate managers from spending general treasury funds in federal elections. Instead, they could expend on campaigns through separate segregated funds, known as corporate political action committees. Shareholders, officers and managers who wanted a corporation to advance a political agenda could contribute funds for that purpose. But the Supreme Court’s new rulingsaid that corporations had the same First Amendment rights to make independent expenditures as natural people, and restrictions prohibiting both corporations and unions from spending their general treasury funds on independent expenditures violated the First Amendment.
According to Robert Reich, a public policy expert and former Secretary of Labor, Citizens United would extent corporate control and drive up the cost of future presidential races. “All this money is drowning out the voices of average Americans,” he noted. “Most of us don’t have the dough to break through. Giving First Amendment rights to money and corporations has hobbled the First Amendment rights of the rest of us.”
The growing influence of corporations made the emerging relationship between Sandia Laboratories and Bernie Sanders somewhat perplexing. Sandia was managed by Lockheed Martin for the Department of Defense, had roots in the Manhattan Project and a history of turning nuclear research into weapons. Most of its revenue still came from maintaining and developing defense systems. Beyond that, as Sanders himself had frequently charged, Lockheed Martin ranked at the top of the heap in corporate misconduct. Between 1995 and 2010 it was charged with 50 violations and paid $577 million in fines and settlements. Sanders, an opponent of the Iraq war and wasteful military spending, had been a vocal congressional critic for more than a decade. It exemplified corporate excess and the one percent.
In the mid-1990s, he’d led the charge against $92 billion in bonuses for Lockheed Martin executives – nearly $31 million of that received from the Department of Defense as “restructuring costs” – after the corporation laid off 17,000 workers. He called that “payoffs for layoffs.” In September 1995, after his amendment to stop the bonuses passed in the US House, Lockheed launched a campaign to kill the proposal. When the amendment came back to the floor, Sanders decided that it still contained too much for the military and opposed it himself.
In 2009, he was still going after Lockheed in the Senate, calling out its “systemic, illegal, and fraudulent behavior, while receiving hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money.” By then, however, he had visited Sandia headquarters and come away eager to have a satellite lab in Vermont.
Learning to love Sandia
In January 2010, Sanders led a delegation to Sandia’s New Mexico lab for a closer look. The group included the CEO of Green Mountain Power, the state’s leading private utility; the vice president for research at the University of Vermont; the co-founder of successful alternative energy companies; and the head of the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, which runs Efficiency Vermont.
At the end of the same year, ten days after the mini-filibuster that jump-started the “draft Bernie” for president campaign, Mayor Bob Kiss announced the results of his own Lockheed negotiations, begun at billionaire Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room. It took the form of a “letter of cooperation” to address climate change by developing local green-energy solutions.
Lockheed’s proposal to the city focused on “the economic and strategic challenges posed by our dependence on foreign oil and the potential destabilizing effects of climate change.” Their partnership would “demonstrate a model for sustainability that can be replicated across the nation.” Meanwhile, the Vermont Sandia lab, simultaneously being developed at UVM with Sanders help, would focus on cyber security and “smart grid” technology. Yet Kiss and Sanders denied knowing about the partnership being negotiated by the other. Both Burlington’s Progressive mayor and its famous former mayor-turned-Senator apparently saw no need to consult. Yet somehow everyone was on the same page.
By 2011, Sanders was also supporting the Pentagon’s proposal to base Lockheed-built F-35 fight jets at the Burlington International Airport. Despite his past criticisms of the corporation’s serial misconduct and excess, he joined with Vermont’s most enthusiastic booster, Senator Patrick Leahy, signing on to a joint statement of support. If the fighter jet, widely considered a massive military boondoggle, was going to be built and deployed anyway, Sanders argued that some of the work ought to done by Vermonters, while Vermont National Guard jobs should certainly be protected. Noise impacts and neighborhood dislocation were minimized, while criticism of corporate exploitation had given way to pork barrel politics and a justification based on protecting military jobs.
Still, his position hadn’t changed that much. Sandia’s nuclear associations were never a major obstacle; Sanders had once been pro-nuclear power, and his criticisms were restrained. His stalwart alliance with labor had always outweighed his skepticism about military spending. And his corporate criticism, which focused on fairness and inequality, rarely prevented him from making an alliance that furthered “bold” initiatives or burnished his record of leadership.
Pushing the partnership: Sandia’s Rich Stulen presents, Powell, Shumlin and Sanders listen.
When Vermont’s partnership with Sandia was ultimately announced, Governor Peter Shumlin didn’t merely share the credit for bringing the Center for Energy Transformation and Innovation to Vermont. He joked that Sanders was “like a dog with a bone” on the issue. They had agreed to co-host a press conference on December 12 to outline the initiative, which now included Sandia, UVM, Green Mountain Power, several Vermont energy businesses and state government. The ambitious goal, announced the Senator, was to create “a revolution in the way we are using power.” At this point the “Draft Bernie” for president campaign was underway and running as a Democrat, most likely in 2016, was on the table.
For the next three years, Sandia’s new outpost would have up to $15 million to research energy efficiency, develop renewable and “localized sources” and, according to Sanders, make Vermont “the first state to have near-universal smart meter installations.” Shumlin meanwhile announced a Sandia pledge to invest $3 million a year, along with $1 million each from the Department of Energy and state coffers.
Several enthusiastic backers – Sandia VP Richard Stulen, GMP’s Mary Powell, and UVM’s Acting President John Bramley – joined the governor at Sanders’ Burlington office for the launch. For Sandia, it was “a way to understand all of the challenges that face all states,” Stulen explained. Vermont’s size simply made it more possible “to get something done,” especially since “integration” had already begun with the university, utilities and other stakeholders.
It didn’t hurt that Vermont’s reputation for energy innovation had also attracted $69.8 million in US Department of Energy funding to promote a rapid statewide conversion to smart grid technology. This would be matched by another $69 million from Vermont utilities. The goal was to “turn the grid from a one-way into a two-way street,” Stulen announced. Another focus would be to ensure reliable service. That meant “anticipating any cyber challenges that may be opened up, or vulnerabilities that may be opened up as we move to this new future,” he explained. “Sandia is very much in the forefront of cyber research.”
Sanders’ statement stressed the more provincial point that although the US had 17 national labs doing “cutting edge research,” none of them were yet located in New England. “It occurred to me,” he explained, “that we have the potential to establish a very strong and positive relationship with Sandia here in the State of Vermont.” Thus, his intention was to turn the three-year arrangement into “a long-term presence.” By implication, Lockheed Martin had gone from corporate scofflaw to valued research partner.
Vermont as testing ground
“From an environmental, global warming and economic perspective, it is enormously important that we transform our energy system away from fossil fuel to energy efficiency and sustainable energy,” Sanders argued at the launch. “And working with Sandia and their wide areas of knowledge – some of the best scientists in the country – we hope to take a state that is already a leader in some of these areas even further.”
For many activists and progressives, it sounded more like corporate “greenwashing” than a bold step forward.
Shumlin called it “a really exciting development” for the state.
“We have an extraordinary opportunity to show the nation how to use smart grid, how to use energy efficiency to save money for businesses, and for consumers. And how to insure that Vermont is the leader in getting off our addiction to oil.”
He noted that when people asked him how Vermont had snagged so much money for the project, his answer was the partnership the center would represent. “It’s a huge opportunity and a huge accomplishment.”
On the other hand, there was little dispute that having so many interactive devices on two-way networks would create new risks. In fact, Kenneth van Meter, Lockheed’s manager of energy and cyber services, admitted it, predicting that by 2015 there would be “440 million new hackable points on the grid. Nobody’s equipped to deal with that today.”
Asked about cyber threats, Stulen acknowledged that “more portals” certainly did create more potential threats, but countered that “we think this is a manageable situation. In fact, the benefits far outweigh the risks.” The main benefit was the potential for lower utilities bills by monitoring home energy use. But security would also be a focus. “We don’t see it as an overriding issue right now, but as a national laboratory our job is to anticipate the future,” he said.
Smart Meters, the basic unit of a smart grid, are digital, usually wireless utility meters with the ability to collect information and transmit it to a central location. Supporters claim their widespread use will improve energy efficiency, service reliability, and the environment. Critics counter that they also make the power grid more vulnerable to hacking, have potential radiation-related health effects, and don’t really reduce energy consumption. They also charge that “time-of-use” pricing penalizes people who can least afford it, while a centralized grid threatens privacy and gives corporations more access to private data.
Smart meters have also been linked to fires and other damage, but aren’t covered by homeowners insurance because the devices haven’t been industry-approved. Needless to say, such problems and potential side effects didn’t come up at Sanders’ press conference.
Instead, the Senator explained that
“the federal government has invested $4 billion in smart grid technology, and they want to know that we’re going to work out some of the problems as other states follow us. So Vermont, in a sense, becomes a resource for other states to learn how to do it, how to overcome problems that may arise.”
Another way to put that: Vermont would be a testing ground, Sandia’s smart grid guinea pig.
It was a good example of Sanders’ style and pragmatism, leveraging Vermont’s assets in a privately negotiated arrangement, a public-private partnership with PR value and short-term economic benefits – but unknown long-term consequences. And justifying the high-level deal on the grounds of leading the nation, a transparent appeal to state chauvinism.
“In many ways, we are a laboratory for the rest of this country in this area,” Sanders crowed. “With Sandia’s help, I think we are going to do that job very effectively.” But in another way, it suggested that being a corporate predator wasn’t always disqualifying, especially when weighed against the mainstream acclaim and leadership role such a partnership would confer.
Despite the confident presentation, however, the launch ended abruptly after a single question was asked about the city’s aborted partnership with Lockheed Martin. Before a TV reporter could even complete his query Sanders interrupted and challenged it. Lockheed is not “a parent company” of Sandia, he objected.
Then, as often the case when fielding unwelcome questions, he declined to say more – about Lockheed Martin or the climate change agreement Mayor Kiss had signed, the standards adopted by the City Council, the mayor’s veto, or Lockheed’s subsequent withdrawal from the deal. Instead, he turned the question over to Stulen, the man from Sandia, who offered what he called “some myth-busting.”
It was more like a clarification. All national laboratories are required to have “an oversight board provided by the private sector,” he said. “So, Lockheed Martin does provide oversight, but all of the work is done by Sandia National Laboratories and we’re careful to put firewalls in place between the laboratory and Lockheed Martin.”
In other words, trust us to respect the appropriate boundaries, do the right thing, and follow the rules. Moments later, the press conference was over.
Greg Guma, a Vermont writer and activist, is the author of The People’s Republic: Vermont and the Sanders Revolution. He ran for mayor of Burlington in 2015. This article is a chapter from Progressive Eclipse, developed for the Campaign for Preservation & Change.
Image: A car is engulfed by flames during clashes in the city of Ramadi (Reuters / Stringer)
It’s been a bad time for foes of ISIS. Islamic State scored a neat hat-trick by invading strategic Ramadi in Iraq’s mainly Sunni Anbar province, occupying Syria’s historic gem Palmyra, and taking over Al-Tanf, the last remaining border crossing with Iraq.
The multinational, American-led ‘Coalition’ launched last August to thwart Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS) march across Syria and Iraq…did nothing.
And so Baghdad and Washington are pointing fingers, each accusing the other of being asleep on the job.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter struck a low blow on Sunday in a CNN interview:
“What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They vastly outnumbered the opposing force. That says to me… that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight and defend themselves.”
Carter must have forgotten that Iraqis staved off an ISIS occupation of Ramadi for almost 18 months. He also forgot that it was Iraqis who defended and/or recovered Amerli, Suleiman Beg, Tuz Khurmatu, Jurf al-Sakhar, Jalula, Saadiyah, Khanaqin, Muqdadiyah, Baquba, Udhaim Dam, Tharthar Dam, Habbaniyah, Haditha, Al-Baghdadi, Mosul Dam, Mount Sinjar, Zumar, Erbil, Gwer, Makhmur, dozens of Christian villages in the Nineveh Plains, Tikrit, Samarra, Balad, Dhuluiya, Dujail, Ishaqi, Al-Alam, Al-Dour, Albu Ajil, Awja, Al-Mutassim, Mukayshifa, Ajil and Alas oilfields, Hamrin mountains, Baiji oil refinery, scores of villages in the provinces of Salaheddine, Diyala, Kirkuk, Anbar, and Babil – and the capital city, Baghdad.
The Iraqis have shot back. Key MP Hakim al-Zamili blames Ramadi’s collapse on the US’s failure to provide “good equipment, weapons and aerial support” to troops.
Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq, himself a Sunni from Anbar Province, concluded that the Americans were coming up short in all areas. “The Coalition airstrikes are not enough to eliminate IS.” Furthermore, the US policy of recruiting Sunni tribes for the fight, he added, was “too late” – it is “important but not enough.”
If ever there was an understatement, this is it.
Washington’s long-stated objective of rallying together a vetted Sunni fighting force – or its equivalent in the form of a National Guard – has always served as a placeholder to avoid facing realities.
One thing we have learned from IS gains in small and large Sunni towns alike, is that the extremist group prides itself on sleeper cells and alliances inside of these areas. Sunni tribes and families, both, are divided on their support of IS. And the militants ensure that everyone else falls in line through a brutal campaign of inflicting fear and pain indiscriminately. So the likelihood of a significant, anti-IS, well-trained and equipped Sunni fighting force emerging anytime soon is just about nil.
So too is the idea of a US-led Coalition air force that can cripple the Islamic State. Washington has run fewer sorties over Syria and Iraq in the nine months since inception of its air campaign, than Israel ran in its entire three-week Gaza blitz in 2008-09.
Where were the American bombers when Ramadi and Palmyra were being taken? And why does the US Air Force only seem to engage in earnest when their Kurdish allies are being threatened – as in Kobani (Ain al-Arab), Syria, and Erbil in Iraq?
US calculations for Syria & Iraq
If actions speak louder than words, then Washington’s moves in the Mideast have been deafening.
Forget talk of a ‘unified Iraq’ with a ‘strong central government’. And definitely forget loudly-proclaimed objectives of ‘training moderate forces’ to ‘fight off IS’ across the Jordanian and Turkish borders in Syria. That’s just talk.
An objective look at US interests in the region paint an entirely different picture. The Americans seek to maintain absolute hegemony in the Mideast, even as they exit costly military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. Their primary interests are 1) access to low cost oil and gas, 2) propping up Israel, and more recently, 3) undermining Russian (and Chinese) influence in the region.
Clinging on to hegemony would be a whole lot easier without the presence of a powerful, independent Islamic Republic of Iran, which continues to throw a wrench in many of Washington’s regional projects.
So hegemony is somewhat dependent on weakening Iran – and its supportive alliances.
With the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the US inadvertently extended Iran’s arc of influence in a direct geographic line to Palestine, leaving the Israeli colonial project vulnerable. Former President George W. Bush immediately took on the task of destroying this Resistance Axis by attempting to neuter Iranian allies Hezbollah, Syria and Hamas – and failed.
The Arab Spring presented a fresh opportunity to regroup: the US and its Turkish and Persian Gulf allies swung into action to create conditions for regime-change in Syria. The goal? To break this geographic line from Iran – through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon – to Palestine.
When regime-change failed, the goalpost moved to the next best plan: dividing Syria into several competing chunks, which would weaken the central state and create a pro-US ‘buffer’ along the border with Israel.
Weakening the central government in Iraq by dividing the state along Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite lines has also been a priority for the Americans.
You only have to look at recent US actions in Iraq to see this unspoken plan in action. Washington’s most intensive airstrikes to date were when Kurdish Erbil and its environs came under threat by ISIS. Congress has breached all international norms by ushering through legislation to directly arm Sunni and Kurdish militias and bypass the central government in Baghdad. And despite endless promises and commitments, the Americans have failed at every hurdle to train and equip the Iraqi Army and security forces to do anything useful.
A weak, divided Iraq can never become a regional powerhouse allied with Iran and the Resistance Axis. Likewise a weak, divided Syria. But without US control over these central governments, the only way to achieve this is 1) through the creation of sectarian and ethnic strife that could carve out pro-US buffers inside the ‘Resistance states’ and/or 2) through the creation of a hostile ‘Sunni buffer’ to break this line from Iran to Palestine.
A member of the Iraqi security forces stands guard during a patrol in the city of Ramadi (Reuters / Stringer)
Today, America’s ‘Sunni buffer’ is the Islamic State
General Walid Sukariyya, a Sunni, pro-resistance member of Lebanon’s parliament, agrees. “ISIS will be better for the US and Israel than having a strong Iran, Iraq and Syria…If they succeed at this, the Sunni state in Iraq will split the resistance from Palestine.”
While Washington has long sought to create a buffer in Iraq on the Syrian border, it has literally spent years trying – and failing – to find, then mold, representative Sunni Iraqi leaders who will comfortably toe a pro-American line.
An example of this is the Anbar delegation US General John Allen handpicked last December for a DC tour, which excluded representatives of the two most prominent Sunni tribes fighting IS in Iraq – the Albu Alwan and Albu Nimr. A spokesman for the tribes, speaking to Al-Jarida newspaper, objected at the time: “We are fighting ISIL and getting slaughtered, while suffering from a shortage of weapons. In the meantime, others are going to Washington to get funds and will later be assigned as our leaders.”
But why ignore Sunni groups who are unreservedly opposed to IS? Aren’t they America’s natural constituents inside Iraq?
The Takfiri extremist groups serve a purpose for Washington. IS has had the ability – where competing Sunni factions, with their ever-growing lists of demands from Baghdad, have not – to transform the US’ ‘buffer’ project into a physical reality. And Washington has not needed to expend blood, treasure or manpower to get the job done.
Last week, the government watchdog group Judicial Watch published a secret (now declassified) 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) document that sheds light on American calculations in Syria.
Written just 16 months into the 50-month-long Syrian conflict, the highly-redacted DIA document discloses the following key revelations:
“The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI (Al-Qaeda in Iraq) are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”
“The West, Gulf countries and Turkey support the opposition.”
The Syrian government has focused its priorities on securing pro-government areas and major transportation routes, which means “the regime decreased its concentration in areas adjacent to the Iraqi borders (al Hasaka and Der Zor).”
“Opposition forces are trying to control the eastern areas (Hasaka and Der Zor) adjacent to the western Iraqi borders (Mosul and Anbar)…Western countries, the Gulf and Turkey are supporting these efforts.”
“The deterioration of the situation…creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi…”
“If the situation unravels there is the opportunity of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist Principality in eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).”
The DIA brief makes clear that the escalation of conflict in Syria will create further sectarianism and radicalization, which will increase the likelihood of an ‘Islamic State’ on the Syrian-Iraqi border, one that would likely be manned by the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI).
So what did Washington do when it received this information? It lied.
Less than one month after the DIA report was published, US Secretary of State John Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this about the Syrian opposition:
“I just don’t agree that a majority are Al-Qaeda and the bad guys. That’s not true. There are about 70,000 to 100,000 oppositionists … Maybe 15 percent to 25 percent might be in one group or another who are what we would deem to be bad guys…There is a real moderate opposition that exists.”
Using the fabricated storyline of ‘moderate rebels’ who need assistance to fight a ‘criminal Syrian regime’, the US government kept the Syrian conflict buzzing, knowing full well the outcome would mean the establishment of a Sunni extremist entity spanning the Syrian-Iraqi border…which could cripple, what the Americans call, “the strategic depth of the Shia expansion.”
As US Council on Foreign Relations member and terrorism analyst Max Abrahms conceded on Twitter: “The August 5, 2012 DIA report confirms much of what Assad has been saying all along about his opponents both inside & outside Syria.”
Fakhreddin’s Castle (top), is pictured in the historical city of Palmyra, Syria (Reuters / Nour Fourat)
How to fight this American “Frankenstein”
Since last year, numerous Iraqi officials have complained about the US airdropping weapons to IS – whether deliberately or inadvertently remains disputed. Military sources, on the other hand, have made clear that the US-led Coalition ignores many of the Iraqi requests for air cover during ground operations.
If the US isn’t willing to play ball in Iraq’s existential fight against IS, then why bother with the Americans at all?
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is viewed as a ‘weak’ head of state – a relatively pro-American official who will work diligently to keep a balance between US interests and those of Iraq’s powerful neighbor, Iran.
But after the disastrous fall of Ramadi, and more bad news from inside Syria, Abadi has little choice but to mitigate these losses, and rapidly. The prime minister has now ordered the engagement of thousands of Hashd al-Shaabi (Shiite paramilitary groups, commonly known as the Popular Mobilization Forces) troops in the Anbar to wrest back control of Ramadi. And this – unusually – comes with the blessings of Anbar’s Sunni tribes who voted overwhelmingly to appeal to the Hashd for military assistance.
Joining the Hashd are a few thousand Sunni fighters, making this a politically palatable response. If the Ramadi operation goes well, this joint Sunni-Shiite effort (which also proved successful in Tikrit) could provide Iraq with a model to emulate far and wide.
The recent losses in Syria and Iraq have galvanized IS’ opponents from Lebanon to Iran to Russia, with commitments pouring in for weapons, manpower and funds. If Ramadi is recovered, this grouping is unlikely to halt its march, and will make a push to the Syrian border through IS-heavy territory. There is good reason for this: the militants who took Ramadi came across the Syrian border – in full sight of US reconnaissance capabilities.
A senior resistance state official told me earlier this year: “We will not allow the establishment of a big (extremist) demographic and geographic area between Syria and Iraq. We will work to push Syrian ISIS inside Syria and Iraqi ISIS inside Iraq.”
Right now, the key to pushing back Takfiri gains inside Syria’s eastern and northwestern theaters lies in the strengthening of the Iraqi military landscape. And an absolute priority will be in clearing the IS ‘buffer’ between the two states.
Eighteen months ago, in an analysis about how to fight jihadist militants from the Levant to the Persian Gulf, I wrote that the solution for this battle will be found only within the region, specifically from within those states whose security is most compromised or under threat: Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
I argued that these four states would be forced to increase their military cooperation as the battles intensified, and that they would provide the only ‘boots on the ground’ in this fight.
And they will. But air cover is a necessary component of successful offensive operations, even in situations of unconventional warfare. If the US and its flimsy Coalition are unable or unwilling to provide the required reconnaissance assistance and the desired aerial coverage, as guided by a central Iraqi military command, then Iraq should look elsewhere for help.
Iran and Russia come to mind – and we may yet get there.
Iraq and Syria need to merge their military strategies more effectively – again, an area where the Iranians and Russians can provide valuable expertise. Both states have hit a dangerous wall in the past few weeks, and the motivation for immediate and decisive action is high today.
Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah is coming into play increasingly as well – its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has recently promised that Hezbollah will no longer limit itself geographically, and will go where necessary to thwart this Takfiri enemy. The non-state actors that make up the jihadist and Takfiri core cannot be beaten by conventional armies, which is why local militias accustomed to asymmetric warfare are best suited for these battles.
Criticizing the US’s utterly nonexistent response to the Ramadi debacle yesterday, Iran’s elite Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani points out: “Today, there is nobody in confrontation with [IS] except the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as nations who are next to Iran or supported by Iran.” The Iranians have become central figures in the fight against terror, and are right next door to it – as opposed to Washington, over 6,000 miles away.
If the US has any real commitment to the War on Terror, it should focus on non-combat priorities that are also essential to undermine extremism: 1) securing the Turkish and Jordanian borders to prevent any further infiltration of jihadists into Syria and Iraq, 2) sanctioning countries and individuals who fund and weaponize the Takfiris, most of whom are staunch US allies, now ironically part of the ‘Coalition’ to fight IS, and 3) sharing critical intelligence about jihadist movements with those countries engaged in the battle.
It is time to cut these losses and bring some heavyweights into this battle against extremism. If the US-directed Coalition will not deliver airstrikes under the explicit command of sovereign states engaged at great risk in this fight, it may be time to clear Iraqi and Syrian airspace of coalition jets, and fill those skies with committed partners instead.
Sharmine Narwani is a commentator and analyst of Middle East geopolitics. She tweets @snarwani
Image: Israeli F-16Ls taxis toward the end of the runway at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The US funds them, builds their aircraft, and trains their pilots. Source: DOD
After weeks of provocation, one of the Palestinian resistance groups launched a solitary rocket into Israeli territory. The attack injured no one. Israel responded by launching a series of attacks from American-made F-16 fighters on military and civilian targets in Gaza. The Israeli Defense Force has stated that it will hold Hamas responsible for the attacks, even though their intelligence, Israeli news, and our reports say that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was behind the attack. The collective punishment is a clear violation of international law.
Yesterday began with the news that yet another Palestinian child had been struck by an Israeli settler’s car during a hit and run incident. It was the third such “accident” in less than a month. That was followed by news that a Palestinian in the West Bank was beaten and shot by a group of men suspected of being Israel settlers. Tensions are already elevated because of the orders to construct new Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory and the continuing news of a hunger striker who is now in his 24th day of a diet of only salt and water. Then the news came out that the United States will be increasing its subsidy of the Israel military by $300 million, which will further arm the military that has only used its weapons against Palestinians in recent memory.
All reports indicated and sources on the ground still believe that the Palestinian Islamic Jihad launched a single rocket into Israeli territory. The rocket produced zero injuries. Shortly after being questioned about the collective and punitive nature of their response, Israel began to float the story that it was an experimental Hamas rocket that landed near the city of Ashdod. Israel is likely sensitive to accusations about violating international law after a number of soldiers came clean about their war crimes during last summer’s war.
Israel responded to the attack by launching a series of assaults on the people of Gaza. Western readers should remember that the Palestinians in Gaza are unable to evacuate because Israel has walled in the entire region to create the largest open-air prison in the world. While the Israeli media is stating that only four military targets were attacked, sources on the ground state that well over 4 attacks occurred.
Farms East of Rafah, close to Gaza’s previously destroyed international airport, were hit by three missiles. Four missiles were launched at a legitimate military target near Rafah that was said to house resistance fighters, however civilian homes and buildings were damaged during that attack. Two more missiles struck south of Khan Younis and caused property damage but no casualties. The target of that attack is unknown. An unidentified number of missiles struck homes near the an-Nada Residential Towers, northwest of Gaza City. The Israelis launched a joint ground and air attack on a legitimate military target west of Rafah. That target was the home of the al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. West of Khan Younis, two more locations run by al-Quds Brigades were also attacked. Then a fourth al-Quds location in northern Gaza was targeted.
Not a single Hamas facility was targeted, though in an attempt to cover up the punitive nature of the attacks, the Israelis are now blaming the attack on the best-known group. This is a clear example of media manipulation by the IDF. Not just were there many more strikes than the four being admitted to, the media is passively complicit in blaming the attacks on the wrong group.
Mass surveillance under the Patriot Act is so awful that even its author says that the NSA has gone far beyond what the Act intended (and that the intelligence chiefs who said Americans aren’t being spied on should be prosecuted for perjury).
Specifically, the government is using a “secret interpretation” of the Patriot Act which allows the government to commit mass surveillance on every American.
So it’s a good thing that the Patriot Act may expire, but don’t get too excited …
Our sources say that the NSA is not too concerned, that it has secret interpretations of other authorities that give it much the same power that it would have had under the secret interpretation of 215 and other areas of the USA PATRIOT Act.
Under international human rights law, secret “law” doesn’t even qualify as “law” at all.
This includes not just the law itself, but the judicial and executive interpretations of written laws because both of those are necessary to ensure that people have clear notice of what will trigger surveillance.
This is a basic and old legal requirement: it can be found in all of the founding human rights documents. It allows people the fundamental fairness of understanding when they can expect privacy from the government and when they cannot. It avoids the Kafkaesque situations in which people … cannot figure out what they did that resulted in government scrutiny, much less clear their names. And it ensures that government officials have actual limits to their discretion and that when those limits are crossed, redress is possible.
To bring the U.S. in line with international law, it must stop the process of developing secret law and ensure that all Americans, and indeed all people who may be subject to its surveillance have clear notice of when surveillance might occur.
Top NSA whistleblower Bill Binney told us that nothing will change unless we fire all of the corrupt officials within the NSA and other government agencies.
Constitutional and civil rights attorney John Whitehead agrees:
It doesn’t matter who occupies the White House: the secret government with its secret agencies, secret budgets and secret programs won’t change. It will simply continue to operate in secret until some whistleblower comes along to momentarily pull back the curtain and we dutifully—and fleetingly—play the part of the outraged public, demanding accountability and rattling our cages, all the while bringing about little real reform.
Thus, the lesson of the NSA and its vast network of domestic spy partners is simply this: once you allow the government to start breaking the law, no matter how seemingly justifiable the reason, you relinquish the contract between you and the government which establishes that the government works for and obeys you, the citizen—the employer—the master.
Once the government starts operating outside the law, answerable to no one but itself, there’s no way to rein it back in, short of … doing away with the entire structure, because the corruption and lawlessness have become that pervasive.
Everyone, from political pundits in Washington to the Pope in Rome, including most journalists in the mass media and in the alternative press, have focused on the US moves toward ending the economic blockade of Cuba and gradually opening diplomatic relations. Talk is rife of a ‘major shift’ in US policy toward Latin America with the emphasis on diplomacyand reconciliation. Even most progressive writers and journals have ceased writing about US imperialism.
However, there is mounting evidence that Washington’s negotiations with Cuba are merely one part of a two-track policy. There is clearly a major US build-up in Latin America, with increasing reliance on ‘military platforms’, designed to launch direct military interventions in strategic countries.
Moreover, US policymakers are actively involved in promoting ‘client’ opposition parties, movements and personalities to destabilize independent governments and are intent on re-imposing US domination.
In this essay we will start our discussion with the origins and unfolding of this ‘two track’ policy, its current manifestations, and projections into the future. We will conclude by evaluating the possibilities of re-establishing US imperial domination in the region.
Origins of the Two Track Policy
Washington’s pursuit of a ‘two-track policy’, based on combining ‘reformist policies’ toward some political formations, while working to overthrow other regimes and movements by force and military intervention, was practiced by the early Kennedy Administration following the Cuban revolution. Kennedy announced a vast new economic program of aid, loans and investments – dubbed the ‘Alliance for Progress’ – to promote development and social reform in Latin American countries willing to align with the US. At the same time the Kennedy regime escalated US military aid and joint exercises in the region. Kennedy sponsored a large contingent of Special Forces – ‘Green Berets’ – to engage in counter-insurgency warfare. The ‘Alliance for Progress’ was designed to counter the mass appeal of the social-revolutionary changes underway in Cuba with its own program of ‘social reform’. While Kennedy promoted watered-down reforms in Latin America, he launched the ‘secret’ CIA (‘Bay of Pigs’) invasion of Cuba in 1961and naval blockade in 1962 (the so-called ‘missile crises’). The two-track policy ended up sacrificing social reforms and strengthening military repression. By the mid-1970’s the ‘two-tracks’ became one – force. The US invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965. It backed a series of military coups throughout the region, effectively isolating Cuba. As a result, Latin America’s labor force experienced nearly a quarter century of declining living standards.
By the 1980’s US client-dictators had lost their usefulness and Washington once again took up a dual strategy: On one track, the White House wholeheartedly backed their military-client rulers’ neo-liberal agenda and sponsored them as junior partners in Washington’s regional hegemony. On the other track, they promoted a shift to highly controlled electoral politics, which they described as a ‘democratic transition’, in order to ‘decompress’ mass social pressures against its military clients. Washington secured the introduction of elections and promoted client politicians willing to continue the neo-liberal socio-economic framework established by the military regimes.
By the turn of the new century, the cumulative grievances of thirty years of repressive rule, regressive neo-liberal socio-economic policies and the denationalization and privatization of the national patrimony had caused an explosion of mass social discontent. This led to the overthrow and electoral defeat of Washington’s neo-liberal client regimes.
Throughout most of Latin America, mass movements were demanding a break with US-centered ‘integration’ programs. Overt anti-imperialism grew and intensified. The period saw the emergence of numerous center-left governments in Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Honduras and Nicaragua. Beyond the regime changes , world economic forces had altered: growing Asian markets, their demand for Latin American raw materials and the global rise of commodity prices helped to stimulate the development of Latin American-centered regional organizations – outside of Washington’s control.
Washington was still embedded in its 25 year ‘single-track’ policy of backing civil-military authoritarian and imposing neo-liberal policies and was unable to respond and present a reform alternative to the anti-imperialist, center-left challenge to its dominance. Instead, Washington worked to reverse the new party- power configuration. Its overseas agencies, the Agency for International Development (AID), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and embassies worked to destabilize the new governments in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Paraguay and Honduras. The US ‘single-track’ of intervention and destabilization failed throughout the first decade of the new century (with the exception of Honduras and Paraguay.
In the end Washington remained politically isolated. Its integration schemes were rejected. Its market shares in Latin America declined. Washington not only lost its automatic majority in the Organization of American States (OAS), but it became a distinct minority.
Washington’s ‘single track’ policy of relying on the ‘stick’ and holding back on the ‘carrot’ was based on several considerations: The Bush and Obama regimes were deeply influenced by the US’s twenty-five year domination of the region (1975-2000) and the notion that the uprisings and political changes in Latin America in the subsequent decade were ephemeral, vulnerable and easily reversed. Moreover, Washington, accustomed to over a century of economic domination of markets, resources and labor, took for granted that its hegemony was unalterable. The White House failed to recognize the power of China’s growing share of the Latin American market. The State Department ignored the capacity of Latin American governments to integrate their markets and exclude the US.
US State Department officials never moved beyond the discredited neo-liberal doctrine that they had successfully promoted in the 1990’s. The White House failed to adopt a ‘reformist’ turn to counter the appeal of radical reformers like Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan President. This was most evident in the Caribbean and the Andean countries where President Chavez launched his two ‘alliances for progress’: ‘Petro-Caribe’ (Venezuela’s program of supplying cheap, heavily subsidized, fuel to poor Central American and Caribbean countries and heating oil to poor neighborhoods in the US) and ‘ALBA’ (Chavez’ political-economic union of Andean states, plus Cuba and Nicaragua, designed to promote regional political solidarity and economic ties.) Both programs were heavily financed by Caracas. Washington failed to come up with a successful alternative plan.
Unable to win diplomatically or in the ‘battle of ideas’, Washington resorted to the ‘big stick’ and sought to disrupt Venezuela’s regional economic program rather than compete with Chavez’ generous and beneficial aid packages. The US’ ‘spoiler tactics’ backfired: In 2009, the Obama regime backed a military coup in Honduras, ousting the elected liberal reformist President Zelaya and installed a bloody tyrant, a throwback to the 1970s when the US backed Chilean coup brought General Pinochet to power. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, in an act of pure political buffoonery, refused to call Zelaya’s violent ouster a coup and moved swiftly to recognize the dictatorship. No other government backed the US in its Honduras policy. There was universal condemnation of the coup, highlighting Washington’s isolation.
Repeatedly, Washington tried to use its ‘hegemonic card’ but it was roundly outvoted at regional meetings. At the Summit of the Americas in 2010, Latin American countries overrode US objections and voted to invite Cuba to its next meeting, defying a 50-year old US veto. The US was left alone in its opposition.
The position of Washington was further weakened by the decade-long commodity boom (spurred by China’s voracious demand for agro-mineral products). The ‘mega-cycle’ undermined US Treasury and State Department’s anticipation of a price collapse. In previous cycles, commodity ‘busts’ had forced center-left governments to run to the US controlled International Monetary Fund (IMF) for highly conditioned balance of payment loans, which the White House used to impose its neo-liberal policies and political dominance. The ‘mega-cycle’ generated rising revenues and incomes. This gave the center-left governments enormous leverage to avoid the ‘debt traps’ and to marginalize the IMF. This virtually eliminated US-imposed conditionality and allowed Latin governments to pursue populist-nationalist policies. These policies decreased poverty and unemployment. Washington played the ‘crisis card’ and lost. Nevertheless Washington continued working with extreme rightwing opposition groups to destabilize the progressive governments, in the hope that ‘come the crash’, Washington’s proxies would ‘waltz right in’ and take over.
The Re-Introduction of the ‘Two Track’ Policy
After a decade and a half of hard knocks, repeated failures of its ‘big stick’ policies, rejection of US-centered integration schemes and multiple resounding defeats of its client-politicians at the ballot box, Washington finally began to ‘rethink’ its ‘one track’ policy and tentatively explore a limited ‘two track’ approach.
The ‘two-tracks’, however, encompass polarities clearly marked by the recent past. While the Obama regime opened negotiations and moved toward establishing relations with Cuba, it escalated the military threats toward Venezuela by absurdly labeling Caracas as a ‘national security threat to the US.’
Washington had woken up to the fact that its bellicose policy toward Cuba had been universally rejected and had left the US isolated from Latin America. The Obama regime decided to claim some ‘reformist credentials’ by showcasing its opening to Cuba. The ‘opening to Cuba’ is really part of a wider policy of a more active political intervention in Latin America. Washington will take full advantage of the increased vulnerability of the center-left governments as the commodity mega-cycle comes to an end and prices collapse. Washington applauds the fiscal austerity program pursued by Dilma Rousseff’s regime in Brazil. It wholeheartedly backs newly elected Tabaré Vázquez’s “Broad Front” regime in Uruguay with its free market policies and structural adjustment. It publicly supports Chilean President Bachelet’s recent appointment of center-right, Christian Democrats to Cabinet posts to accommodate big business.
These changes within Latin America provide an ‘opening’ for Washington to pursue a ‘dual track’ policy: On the one hand Washington is increasing political and economic pressure and intensifying its propaganda campaign against ‘state interventionist’ policies and regimes in the immediate period. On the other hand, the Pentagon is intensifying and escalating its presence in Central America and its immediate vicinity. The goal is ultimately to regain leverage over the military command in the rest of the South American continent.
The Miami Herald (5/10/15) reported that the Obama Administration had sent 280 US marines to Central America without any specific mission or pretext. Coming so soon after the Summit of the Americas in Panama (April 10 -11, 2015), this action has great symbolic importance. While the presence of Cuba at the Summit may have been hailed as a diplomatic victory for reconciliation within the Americas, the dispatch of hundreds of US marines to Central America suggests another scenario in the making.
Ironically, at the Summit meeting, the Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), former Colombian president (1994-98) Ernesto Samper, called for the US to remove all its military bases from Latin America, including Guantanamo: “A good point in the new agenda of relations in Latin America would be the elimination of the US military bases”.
The point of the US ‘opening’ to Cuba is precisely to signal its greater involvement in Latin America, one that includes a return to more robust US military intervention. The strategic intent is to restore neo-liberal client regimes, by ballots or bullets.
Washington’s current adoption of a two-track policy is a ‘cheap version’ of the John F. Kennedy policy of combining the ‘Alliance for Progress’ with the ‘Green Berets’. However, Obama offers little in the way of financial support for modernization and reform to complement his drive to restore neo-liberal dominance.
After a decade and a half of political retreat, diplomatic isolation and relative loss of military leverage, the Obama regime has taken over six years to recognize the depth of its isolation. When Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, claimed she was ‘surprised and disappointed’ when every Latin American country opposed Obama’s claim that Venezuela represented a ‘national security threat to the United States’, she exposed just how ignorant and out-of-touch the State Department has become with regard to Washington’s capacity to influence Latin America in support of its imperial agenda of intervention.
With the decline and retreat of the center-left, the Obama regime has been eager to exploit the two-track strategy. As long as the FARC-President Santos peace talks in Colombia advance, Washington is likely to recalibrate its military presence in Colombia to emphasize its destabilization campaign against Venezuela. The State Department will increase diplomatic overtures to Bolivia. The National Endowment for Democracy will intensify its intervention in this year’s Argentine elections.
Varied and changing circumstances dictate flexible tactics. Hovering over Washington’s tactical shifts is an ominous strategic outlook directed toward increasing military leverage. As the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas advance toward an accord, the pretext for maintaining seven US military bases and several thousand US military and Special Forces troops diminishes. However, Colombian President Santos has given no indication that a ‘peace agreement’ would be conditioned on the withdrawal of US troops or closing of its bases. In other words, the US Southern Command would retain a vital military platform and infrastructure capable of launching attacks against Venezuela, Ecuador, Central America and the Caribbean. With military bases throughout the region, in Colombia, Cuba (Guantanamo), Honduras (Soto Cano in Palmerola), Curacao, Aruba and Peru, Washington can quickly mobilize interventionary forces. Military ties with the armed forces of Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile ensure continued joint exercises and close co-ordination of so-called ‘security’ policies in the ‘Southern Cone’ of Latin America. This strategy is specifically designed to prepare for internal repression against popular movements, whenever and wherever class struggle intensifies in Latin America. The two-track policy, in force today, plays out through political-diplomatic and military strategies.
In the immediate period throughout most of the region, Washington pursues a policy of political, diplomatic and economic intervention and pressure. The White House is counting on the ‘rightwing swing’ of former center-left governments to facilitate the return to power of unabashedly neo-liberal client-regimes in future elections. This is especially true with regard to Brazil and Argentina.
The ‘political-diplomatic track’ is evident in Washington’s moves to re-establish relations with Bolivia and to strengthen allies elsewhere in order to leverage favorable policies in Ecuador, Nicaragua and Cuba. Washington proposes to offer diplomatic and trade agreements in exchange for a ‘toning down’ of anti-imperialist criticism and weakening the ‘Chavez-era’ programs of regional integration.
The ‘two-track approach’, as applied to Venezuela, has a more overt military component than elsewhere. Washington will continue to subsidize violent paramilitary border crossings from Colombia. It will continue to encourage domestic terrorist sabotage of the power grid and food distribution system. The strategic goal is to erode the electoral base of the Maduro government, in preparation for the legislative elections in the fall of 2015. When it comes to Venezuela, Washington is pursuing a ‘four step’ strategy:
(1) Indirect violent intervention to erode the electoral support of the government
(2) Large-scale financing of the electoral campaign of the legislative opposition to secure a majority in Congress
(3) A massive media campaign in favor of a Congressional vote for a referendum impeaching the President
(4) A large-scale financial, political and media campaign to secure a majority vote for impeachment by referendum.
In the likelihood of a close vote, the Pentagon would prepare a rapid military intervention with its domestic collaborators – seeking a ‘Honduras-style’ overthrow of Maduro.
The strategic and tactical weakness of the two-track policy is the absence of any sustained and comprehensive economic aid, trade and investment program that would attract and hold middle class voters. Washington is counting more on the negative effects of the crisis to restore its neo-liberal clients. The problem with this approach is that the pro-US forces can only promise a return to orthodox austerity programs, reversing social and public welfare programs , while making large-scale economic concessions to major foreign investors and bankers. The implementation of such regressive programs are going to ignite and intensify class, community-based and ethnic conflicts.
The ‘electoral transition’ strategy of the US is a temporary expedient, in light of the highly unpopular economic policies, which it would surely implement. The complete absence of any substantial US socio-economic aid to cushion the adverse effects on working families means that the US client-electoral victories will not last long. That is why and where the US strategic military build-up comes into play: The success of track-one, the pursuit of political-diplomatic tactics, will inevitably polarize Latin American society and heighten prospects for class struggle. Washington hopes that it will have its political-military client-allies ready to respond with violent repression. Direct intervention and heightened domestic repression will come into play to secure US dominance.
The ‘two-track strategy’ will, once again, evolve into a ‘one-track strategy’ designed to return Latin America as a satellite region, ripe for pillage by extractive multi-nationals and financial speculators.
As we have seen over the past decade and a half, ‘one-track policies’ lead to social upheavals. And the next time around the results may go far beyond progressive center-left regimes toward truly social-revolutionary governments!
US empire-builders have clearly demonstrated throughout the world their inability to intervene and produce stable, prosperous and productive client states (Iraq and Libya are prime examples). There is no reason to believe, even if the US ‘two-track policy’ leads to temporary electoral victories, that Washington’s efforts to restore dominance will succeed in Latin America, least of all because its strategy lacks any mechanism for economic aid and social reforms that could maintain a pro-US elite in power. For example, how could the US possibly offset China’s $50 billion aid package to Brazil – except through violence and repression.
It is important to analyze how the rise of China, Russia, strong regional markets and new centers of finance have severely weakened the efforts by client regimes to realign with the US. Military coups and free markets are no longer guaranteed formulas for success in Latin America: Their past failures are too recent to forget.
Finally the ‘financialization’ of the US economy, what even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) describes as the negative impact of ‘too much finance’ (Financial Times 5/13/15, p 4), means that the US cannot allocate capital resources to develop productive activity in Latin America. The imperial state can only serve as a violent debt collector for its banks in the context of large-scale unemployment. Financial and extractive imperialism is a politico-economic cocktail for detonating social revolution on a continent-wide basis – far beyond the capacity of the US marines to prevent or suppress.
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont might be the most progressive of all U.S. Senators — only two Senators are even contenders for that spot, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Elizabeth Warren of Massachussetts, and neither of them has campaigned at all for the Presidency.
Only Sanders even tested the waters. On 17 September 2014, Paul Heintz of Vermont’s weekly newspaper Seven Days, headlined, “‘Run, Bernie, Run’: In Iowa, Sanders Tests the Presidential Waters,” and opened: “The crowd went wild Saturday afternoon [13 Sep.] as Bernie Sanders ascended a makeshift plywood stage at the Sauk County Fairgrounds in Baraboo, Wisconsin. … ‘Run, Bernie, run! Run, Bernie, run!’” Heintz noted that, later on the same day, in Iowa, Sanders addressed students at Dubuque’s Clarke University. Then, the next day, on Sunday morning, he was at Waterloo Iowa’s Center for the Arts.
Already, he had tested the campaign waters in Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, New Hampshire, and other states, and received enthusiastic receptions everywhere, even in the deep South where Democrats rarely win. Heintz spoke to David Yepsen, a veteran political reporter in Iowa, who said, “I think he’ll run.” That was as of 17 September 2014.
All this while, Sanders was one of the leaders in the Senate in opposing Obama’s ‘trade’ deals, and, earlier, pressing Obama to support more strongly a public option in the healthcare exchanges, and on many other matters. He has hardly been an inactive Senator, such as Hillary Clinton was. Instead, he was always one of the leaders of the Senate’s progressives.
How much coverage were America’s supposedly ‘progressive’ magazines providing of this? Nothing before he started making noises about a possible Presidential run, and little even after that.
Here are the “Sanders” search-results as of 11 May 2015, at the magazines that claim to be ‘progressive’ — and this is everything, going back not only before 2015, but before 2014: it’s everything at every period. They ignored him up through 2013, and covered him little during 2014 and 2015, while he has been campaigning nationally.
He was the only progressive who was even testing the waters for a possible 2016 Presidential bid, and these were the 5 ‘progressive’ national political magazines, and so no wonder, then, why it was that as of his official kick-off date of 26 May 2015, he was so little known to the American public that he didn’t even show up at all in the 2016 Presidential polls.
He was an unknown even though he has more political experience than either of the other two Senate progressives, and even though he has been campaigning, already, for almost a year.
These five magazines are the only five national progressive political magazines; and, so, they’re the ones that should have been devoting major attention to him, both in the Senate and on the prospective campaign trail, yet only one actually did, and even that one started on 26 Jan. 2015, months after he had started “testing the waters.”
Where there is a natural disaster of epic proportion, Hollywood is bound to be around the corner seeking to lap it up. Salivating stars are propelled to misery, and big black holes become sites of opportunity for incandescent hope.
In January 2010, we saw the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt publicity machine give over $1 million to Doctors Without Borders for the Haiti appeal. At stages it even seemed that donors were seeking to outdo each other. The biggest wallets were meant to front up with heart and good will, outperforming others in a seedy corporate system of donations. There were the tweet challenges. There were the busy telethons. Call up, donate. Fork out, or be damned.
Actress Alyssa Milano, goodwill ambassador to Unicef, even went so far as to throw down the gauntlet to corporate America, a fascinating mirroring of values. “I cried and then I did the only thing I could do… I wrote a check to the US Fund for Unicef for $50,000.” Writing in the Huffington Post (Mar 18, 2010), Milano would speak of her work for Unicef as a series of tourist disaster gigs, a travel log of misery jottings. “I travelled to Angola in 2004, only two years after the peace treaty was signed ending a 27 year civil war. In 2005, I went to India for the 6-month anniversary of the tsunami.” Be on the scene; catch the gloom.
The effect of such disaster anticipation is cinematic – preparatory efforts are made to ready her for the jump into a land of mayhem and natural cruelties. Then come the usual symptoms of middleclass, or at the very least, actor’s guilt. “Sure, I had seen pictures from both places prior to my trips. I watched videos and tried to prepare myself.” Of course, she reminds readers, nothing every quite readies you for the authentic.
The latest round of gory sentimentalising from the Hollywood entertainment complex has issued forth from Susan Sarandon, who has been doing the rounds in devastated, earthquake ravaged Nepal.
The message? Tourism – and more of it. On CNN, she was featured with the expected human ornament heavy with tackiness – the news network’s anointed hero, Pushpa Basnet. Sarandon insisted that, despite whole areas being levelled, monuments could still be seen, museums visited.
As for donations themselves, Sarandon has been issuing a caveat haloed by her expertise.
“It is important that money is sent to places which need it. People are open-hearted but are not diligent enough to see if the stuff they are sending is actually needed.”
Not content with that summation, the thespian suggested that she had the local knowledge, an awareness about what exactly was going on the ground. “I have seen some groups here who are actually accomplishing things so I can help with that.”
Sarandon is also a serial visitor to places of acute devastation. One of her themes is that of the “familiar” house built in the aftermath. These are houses of some resistance, designed to resist the effects of the approaching monsoon. “I have seen this in New Orleans and New York, that you want to help people but with their dignity intact and find their personal objects and the things they have lost.” At a certain point, the paternalistic defender arches up to insist on protecting the dignitas of the subject. Blessed are the poor, because they will save us. Much like concerned adults over vulnerable children. “So they still have a sense of place and home. They are not constantly having things thrown at them and they participate.”
While she can hardly be blamed for some depictions of her, it is still striking that the thespian rarely leaves that allocated role in the popular imaginary. Nothing illustrated this convergence between the violence of natural disaster, and the contrivance of Hollywood sympathy, than the Daily Mail’s description of Sarandon’s fashion on site.
First, the necessary remarks about “two powerful earthquakes which killed thousands of people and posed a serious threat to the nation’s tourism industry, which many need to survive.” Then, a mention about the work with the non-profit outfit Live to Love, with the usual overview about her personal life – splitting up with “boyfriend of five years, 38-year-old filmmaker Jonathan Bricklin.” Proportion is everything in such commentary.
Props are needed, and nothing better presents itself for the camera than a disaster being shaped for popular consumption, with its staged faces, its desperation, its calling. Naturally, the actor shows empathy, a cruel suggestion given that acting, by its very nature, deceives one into envisaging such empathy. This is the catharsis of cruelty. “Empathetic: The Tammy star stopped to comfort a citizen of Ramkot Village, who lost her husband and daughter because of the earthquake.” She was also “caring” and keen to visit those who had lost homes. Plato’s suspicion about thespians and their calibre should never be forgotten.
The most interesting feature to the Daily Mail piece, however, lay in the realm of fashion. Priorities had to be noted. “Susan dressed comfortably for the trip, sporting a fitted black T-shirt and loose-fitting patterned black trousers.” When one travels to earthquake devastated areas, one’s wardrobe should be in good working order.
The fashion genie was particularly busy on this day, noting the coupling “with a coordinated white scarf, and finished off the laid-back look with a pair of black boots.” This is the fashion of the disaster zone, the land of suffering and misery, the saint of the wardrobe. Ultimately, it is all acting.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]
Last week, former NSA intelligence analyst John Schindler posted a rather disturbing tweet. With a statement that one could only assume to be a reference towards Russia, Schindler wrote “Said a senior NATO (non-US) GOFO to me today: “We’ll probably be at war this summer. If we’re lucky it won’t be nuclear.” Let that sink in.”
So who is John Schindler? As a ten-year veteran of the NSA, he was in the news a bit more when Snowden was making frequent headlines. He used to be a professor at the U.S. Naval War College, and is currently a frequent contributor to Business Insider. According to his biography on Business Insider, he used to teach classes on security, strategy, intelligence, and terrorism, and he has “collaborated closely with other government agencies who would probably prefer he didn’t mention them.” It’s safe to say that Schindler probably brushes shoulders with high-ranking officials from time to time, so his tweet should be taken seriously.
It’s frightening to think that members of NATO may actually be preparing for, and expecting a war with Russia this summer, but unfortunately it’s not all that surprising. Given some of the activity we’re seeing around the world, it’s safe to assume that superpowers like the US, Russia, and China, are preparing for something big. Infowars also reported on Schindler’s tweet, and noted some of the provocative moves that have been going on around the world lately.
NATO powers are also taking part in one of Europe’s largest ever fighter jet drills from today, with the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Finland, Norway and Sweden all involved in the 12 day exercise.
Tensions are also building between the U.S. and China, with The Global Times, a state media outlet owned by the ruling Communist Party, today warning that “war is inevitable” if Washington doesn’t halt its demands that Beijing stop building artificial islands in the South China Sea.
“If the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a U.S.-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea,” the newspaper said. “The intensity of the conflict will be higher than what people usually think of as ‘friction’.”
Last week, CNN revealed how China’s Navy has repeatedly issued warnings to U.S. surveillance planes flying over the South China Sea.
While these sorts of warnings come and go all the time, that in and of itself is kind of scary. The fact that we now live in a world where high-ranking officials just assume nuclear war is right around the corner, means we should be very concerned. Wars rarely, if ever, happen out of the blue. There are always quiet rumors of wars before the real deal comes to pass.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger .
Senate Intelligence chair Richard Burr: His bill, described by AP as a “compromise,” could put AP‘s sources away for 10 years.
The Associated Press(5/23/15) reported on what reporter Ken Dilanian called efforts by Congress “to prevent an interruption in critical government surveillance programs” by extending a section of the PATRIOT Act set to expire May 31.
If you’re more worried about the government spying on you than you are about the government losing “valuable surveillance tools”—well, I guess AP is not the news service for you, then.
One such PATRIOT Act preservation effort is labeled a “compromise” by AP—Senate Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr’s proposal to extend the NSA’s bulk collection of domestic phone records until 2017—in what AP calls a “transition.”
As Marcy Wheeler of Expose Facts (5/26/15) points out, Burr’s plan would actually not be a simple extension of the PATRIOT Act’s Section 215, but instead would be “a breathtaking expansion of surveillance authority, probably even bigger than the FISA Amendments Act passed in 2008.” Among the Burr bill’s special features, Wheeler writes:
The bill basically would create its own mini Espionage Act, just for Section 215, creating a 10-year prison term for anyone who knowingly communicates information about Section 215 collection to an “unauthorized person.”
That’s interesting, because before Dilanian wrote about Burr’s “compromise,” he put this passage into his story:
But if Section 215 expires without replacement, the government would lack the blanket authority to conduct those searches. There would be legal methods to hunt for connections in US phone records to terrorists, said current and former US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. But those methods would not be applicable in every case.
So “current and former US officials” spoke without authorization to Dilanian about Section 215—thereby committing the very crime that this “compromise” bill would punish with a 10-year prison sentence.
Wheeler points out that the anonymous officials who talked to Dilanian, while not legally authorized to do so, probably had the unofficial sanction of their superiors:
If the earlier reports were based on a sanctioned leak, there’s little chance US intelligence officials sharing information they clearly identified as classified would be sent to prison for 10 years. But sources who might provide the kind of information that would make this debate useful would face prison terms. For journalists to deem such a bill a “compromise” would be to suggest they’re okay working exclusively with one-sided official leaks.
Gentrification – the displacement of Black and brown urban residents by more affluent whites – is a function of the same forces that emptied the cities of much of their white populations, generations ago: the movement of capital. Capital wants the cities back, and clears spaces for whites. “The system is stacked in favor of moneyed interests and white people.”
There is no city in this country where black people are safe from the current method of displacement known as gentrification. Washington, DC, once had a majority black population and was known as Chocolate City. Perhaps it is now the Café au Lait city as the black population has fallen below 50%. That dynamic gathers steam in New York and other cities and continues to push people out of their homes, deprive them of needed services and erode their quality of life.
The situation in New York City is illustrative of this phenomenon. According to census data the city’s black population dropped by 5% between 2000 and 2010. Brooklyn alone lost 50,000 black residents during that time while the white population grew by 37,000 people. The impact of money is the explanation for this reversal of fortune. The same sources of capital that took money out of the cities in decades past are now changing course. These market manipulations determine where black people can and cannot live and create a cascade of negative impacts.
East New York was always one of New York’s poorest neighborhoods with a median income of only $32,000. Its majority black population and location in far eastern Brooklyn near the border of Queens had deemed it undesirable. That designation is now forgotten as big money sets its sights on new places to conquer. Now an area once thought to be too far from Manhattan is touted as being a 30 minute commute via public transportation. This formerly sneered upon and forgotten part of town is now “hot” and its residents have been identified as displaceable.
The phrase “prime real estate” can mean anything the market manipulators want it to mean. As the many headed hydra keeps sprouting heads, any place can suddenly be declared “hot” or “hip.” The inhabitants are pushed aside to make way for transplants who may come from the suburbs, another state or even from another country.
Gentrification is inherently racist, and Brooklyn shows the rest of the country how the dirty deeds are done. A recent article in New York Magazine included an interview with Ephraim, a pseudonym for a Brooklyn landlord and developer. He candidly described how black people facing foreclosure give him deeds to their homes or how renters are enticed to move out of rent regulated apartments in exchange for small sums of money.
“If there’s a black tenant in the house—in every building we have, I put in white tenants. They want to know if black people are going to be living there. So sometimes we have ten apartments and everything is white, and then all of the sudden one tenant comes in with one black roommate, and they don’t like it.”
Much has been made about this story but the outrage misses some important points. The emphasis for advocates should not just be that illegal practices should be stopped. The most important thing to remember is that black people have little stake in a system that will always find a way to disadvantage them. There can be no use for tired nostrums about black people making bad choices or not using their paltry “buying power” to better effect. The system is stacked in favor of moneyed interests and white people, no matter how well black people strive to behave in ways they are told will protect them.
The lack of assets means that even when black people own real estate they often do so precariously. Job loss or any other setback can mean financial crisis and foreclosure. That is where Ephraim comes in and gets these distressed home owners to give him their deeds.
Individual effort is no match for the rule of money. Black people who had money to buy and develop properties were prevented from doing so by redlining which prevented mortgages, bank loans and even insurance from being utilized in black neighborhoods across the country. Urban areas had large black populations because white people fled. White people left to get away from black people and capital paved the road to the suburbs. The tide is now turning because there is once again money to be made in the cities. Perhaps in the future the 1% will make different choices and make new determinations about where black people will live.
The nexus of corruption is vast. Real estate developers call the shots and politicians follow. That is how rent regulations in New York were eviscerated beginning in the 1990s. Now a vacant apartment can be decontrolled and no longer subject to regulated pricing if the rent rises above $2,500. A welfare program for developers, known as 421a, provides tax abatements meant to incentivize construction of low and moderate income housing. Instead, a developer recently received a 95% tax abatement on a $100 million condominium in Manhattan.
The demographic change generated by manipulations from the rich mean losses other than housing. Neighborhoods already considered “food deserts” are losing the few supermarkets they have if a developer buys those properties. Even defendants and plaintiffs in court cases pay a price. Juries in Brooklyn now have more white people with higher incomes which means they are more likely to decide in favor of the police or against plaintiffs in civil cases. One attorney explained it this way. “There’s an influx of money, and when everything gets gentrified, these jurors aren’t pro-plaintiff anymore.”
So black Brooklynites have fewer affordable places to live, to buy food or even to get the little bit of justice they once had. Gentrification is a destroyer and just one of the ways black people in this country are kept at the bottom. The fight against it must be fought on many fronts. The racism which gives white people a perceived right to be free of black people must be called out. The laws which give the wealthy advantages over everyone else must end. Politicians have to be called to account. If they aren’t, cities will become theme parks for the upper classes and everyone else will be pushed to the outskirts and to jail, the ultimate form of displacement.
Gentrification is just one of the ways in which capitalism manifests itself and it must be thought of in that way. If it isn’t, black people will be fooled into short sighted thinking and ineffective tactics. We can start with a new adage. As long as money wins, black people will lose.
Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
This article was first published in January 2003, two months prior to the launching of the war on Iraq. It was subsequently included in my book entitled America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research, Montreal, 2005.
Since the publication of this article, the instruments of propaganda have gained in impetus and sophistication. The global campaign against Muslims has continued unabated with a view to creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
Suspected terrorists are arrested on trumped up charges. These arrests of individuals of Middle Eastern origin are not motivated by security considerations. Their main function is to provide legitimacy to the “Global War on Terrorism” and the Homeland Security State.
The ultimate objective is to justify a war of conquest.
Terrorist attacks by Muslims against the Homeland are said to be imminent. Counter-terrorism is intended to protect the Western World.
Much of the justification for waging this war without borders rests on the legitimacy of the US administration’s anti-terrorist agenda. The latter forms part of the propaganda campaign, which in turn is used to sway the US population into an unconditional acceptance of the war agenda.
Both the Bush and Obama administrations have covertly supported and financed international terrorism. They have used Al Qaeda as well as ISIS as their foot-soldiers, while also using the atrocities committed by the “Islamic terrorists” as a justification for intervening on humanitarian ground.
In Iraq, the Obama administration is supporting ISIS while at the same time waging a fake “war on terrorism” against ISIS. Without the support of media propaganda, the legitimacy of the “war on terrorism” would collapse like a deck of cards.
The ISIS brigades are integrated by US-NATO sponsored special forces, often recruited by private mercenary companies on contract to the Pentagon. These special forces which integrate the terror brigades are in permanent liaison with their US-NATO counterparts.
Michel Chossudovsky, May 27 2015
* * *
One of the main objectives of war propaganda is to «fabricate an enemy» . As anti-war sentiment grows and the political legitimacy the Bush Administration falters, doubts regarding the existence of this “outside enemy” must be dispelled.
As the date of the planned invasion of Iraq approaches, the Bush Administration and its indefectible British ally have multiplied the “warnings” of future Al Qaeda terrorist attacks. The enemy has to appear genuine: thousands of news stories and editorials linking Al Qaeda to the Baghdad government are planted in the news chain. Colin Powell underscored this relationship in his presentation to the Davos World Economic Forum in January. Iraq is casually presented in official statements and in the media as “a haven for and supplier of the terror network”:
“Evidence that is still tightly held is accumulating within the administration that it is not a matter of chance that terror groups in the al Qaeda universe have made their weapons of choice the poisons, gases and chemical devices that are signature arms of the Iraqi regime.”1
In this context, propaganda purports to drown the truth, and kill the evidence on how Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda was fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.
Meanwhile, “anti-terrorist operations” directed against Muslims, including arbitrary mass arrests have been stepped up. In the US, emergency measures are contemplated in the case of war. The corporate media is busy preparing public opinion. A «national emergency» is said to be justified because «America is under attack»:
« the U.S. and Western interests in the Western world have to be prepared for retaliatory attacks from sleeper cells the second we launch an attack in Iraq.» 2
Defence of the Homeland
Emergency procedures are already in place. The Secretary of Homeland Defence -whose mandate is to «safeguard the nation from terrorist attacks»– has already been granted the authority « to take control of a national emergency», implying the establishment of de facto military rule. In turn, the Northern Command would be put in charge of military operations in the US «war on terrorism » theatre.
The Smallpox Vaccination Program
In the context of these emergency measures, preparations for compulsory smallpox vaccination are already under way in response to a presumed threat of a biological weapons attack on US soil. The vaccination program –which has been the object of intense media propaganda– would be launched with the sole purpose of creating an atmosphere of panic among the population:
«A few infected individuals with a stack of plane tickets–or bus tickets, for that matter–could spread smallpox infection across the country, touching off a plague of large proportions …. It is not inconceivable that a North Korea or an Iraq could retain smallpox in a hidden lab and pass the deadly agent on to terrorists.»3
The hidden agenda is crystal clear. How best to discredit the anti-war movement and maintain the legitimacy of the State? Create conditions, which instill fear and hatred, present the rulers as “guardians of the peace”, committed to weeding out terrorism and preserving democracy. In the words of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, echoing almost verbatim the US propaganda dispatches:
“’I believe it is inevitable that they will try in some form or other,… ‘I think we can see evidence from the recent arrests that the terrorist network is here as it is around the rest of Europe, around the rest of the world… The most frightening thing about these people is the possible coming together of fanaticism and the technology capable of delivering mass destruction.’”4
The mass arrests of individuals of Middle Eastern origin since September 11 2001 on trumped up charges is not motivated by security considerations. Their main function is to provide “credibility” to the fear and propaganda campaign. Each arrest, amply publicised by the corporate media, repeated day after day “gives a face” to this invisible enemy. It also serves to drown the fact that Al Qaeda is a creature of the CIA. “Enemy Number One” is not an enemy but an instrument.)
In other words, the Propaganda campaign performs two important functions.
First it must ensure that the enemy is considered a real threat.
Second, it must distort the truth, –i.e. it must conceal “the relationship” between this “fabricated enemy” and its creators within the military-intelligence apparatus.
In other words, the nature and history of Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda and the Islamic brigades since the Soviet-Afghan war must be suppressed because if it trickles down to the broader public, the legitimacy of the so-called “war on terrorism” collapses like a deck of cards. And in the process, the legitimacy of the main political and military actors is threatened.
The “9/11 Foreknowledge” Scandal
On 16 May 2002, the New York tabloids revealed that “President Bush had been warned of possible high jacking before the terror attacks” and had failed to act.5
The disinformation campaign was visibly stalling in the face of mounting evidence of CIA-Osama links. For the first time since 9/11, the mainstream press had hinted to the possibility of a cover-up at the highest echelons of the US State apparatus.
FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, who blew the whistle on the FBI, played a key role in unleashing the crisis. Her controversial Memo to FBI Director Robert Mueller pointed to the existence of “deliberate roadblocks” on the investigation of the September 11 attacks:
“Minutes after the 9/11 attacks the SSA [David Frasca, Director of the Radical Fundamentalist unit in the FBI] said ‘this was probably all just a coincidence’ and we were to do nothing until we got their permission, because we might screw up something else going on elsewhere in the country” 6
In response to an impending political crisis, the fear and disinformation campaign went into overdrive. The news chain was all of a sudden inundated with reports and warnings of “future terrorist attacks”. A carefully worded statement (visibly intended to instill fear) by Vice President Dick Cheney contributed to setting the stage:
“I think that the prospects of a future attack on the U.S. are almost a certainty… It could happen tomorrow, it could happen next week, it could happen next year, but they will keep trying. And we have to be prepared.”7
What Cheney is really telling us is that our “intelligence asset”, which we created, is going to strike again. Now, if this “CIA creature” were planning new terrorist attacks, you would expect that the CIA would be first to know about it. In all likelihood, the CIA also controls the so-called ‘warnings’ emanating from CIA sources on “future terrorist attacks” in the US and around the World.
Propaganda’s Consistent Pattern
Upon careful examination of news reports on actual, “possible” or “future” terrorist attacks, the propaganda campaign exhibits a consistent pattern. Similar concepts appear simultaneously in hundreds of media reports:
they refer to “reliable sources“, a growing body of evidence –e.g. government or intelligence or FBI.
They invariably indicate that the terrorist groups involved have “ties to bin Laden” or Al Qaeda, or are “sympathetic to bin Laden”,
The reports often points to the possibility of terrorist attacks, “sooner or later” or “in the next two months“.
The reports often raise the issue of so-called “soft targets”, pointing to the likelihood of civilian casualties.
They indicate that future terrorist attacks could take place in a number of allied countries(including Britain, France, Germany) in which public opinion is strongly opposed to the US-led war on terrorism.
They confirm the need by the US and its allies to initiate “pre-emptive” actions directed against these various terrorist organizations and/or the foreign governments which harbour the terrorists.
They often point to the likelihood that these terrorist groups possess WMD including biological and chemical weapons (as well as nuclear weapons). The links to Iraq and “rogue states”(discussed in Part I) is also mentioned.
The warnings also include warnings regarding “attacks on US soil”, attacks against civilians in Western cities.
They point to efforts undertaken by the police authorities to apprehend the alleged terrorists.
The arrested individuals are in virtually all cases Muslims and/or of Middle Eastern origin.
The reports are also used to justify the Homeland Security legislation as well as the “ethnic profiling” and mass arrests of presumed terrorists.
This pattern of disinformation in the Western media applies the usual catch phrases and buzz words. (See press excerpts below. The relevant catch phrases are indicated in bold):
“Published reports, along with new informationobtained from U.S. intelligence and military sources, point to a growing body of evidence that terrorists associated with and/or sympathetic to Osama bin Laden are planning a significant attack on U.S. soil.
Also targeted are allied countries that have joined the worldwide hunt for the radical Muslim cells hell-bent on unleashing new waves of terrorist strikes. … The U.S. government’s activation of antiterrorist forces comes as the FBI issued a warning Nov. 14 that a “spectacular” new terrorist attack may be forthcoming – sooner rather than later. …
Elsewhere, the Australian government issued an unprecedented warning to its citizens that al-Qaeda terrorists there might launch attacks within the next two months. 8
Although CIA Director George Tenet said in recent congressional testimony that “an attempt to conduct another attack on U.S. soil is certain,” a trio of former senior CIA officials doubted the chance of any “spectacular” terror attacks on U.S. soil.9
“Germans have been skittish since the terrorist attacks in the United States, fearing that their country is a ripe target for terrorism. Several of the hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks plotted their moves in Hamburg.10
“On Dec. 18, a senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, briefed journalists about the ‘high probability’ of a terrorist attack happening ‘sooner or later.’… he named hotels and shopping centres as potential ‘soft targets’… The official also specifically mentioned: a possible chemical attack in the London subway, the unleashing of smallpox, the poisoning of the water supply and strikes against “postcard targets” such as Big Ben and Canary Warf.
The “sooner or later” alert followed a Home Office warning at the end of November that said Islamic radicals might use dirty bombs or poison gas to inflict huge casualties on British cities. This also made big headlines but the warning was quickly retracted in fear that it would cause public panic. 11
The message yesterday was that these terrorists, however obscure, are trying – and, sooner or later, may break through London’s defences. It is a city where tens of thousands of souls,… Experts have repeatedly said that the UK, with its bullish support for the US and its war on terror, is a genuine and realistic target for terror groups, including the al- Qaeda network led by 11 September mastermind Osama bin Laden.12
Quoting Margaret Thatcher: “Only America has the reach and means to deal with Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein or the other wicked psychopaths who will sooner or later step into their shoes.”13
According to a recent US State Department alert: “Increased security at official US facilities has led terrorists to seek softer targets such as residential areas, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, hotels, schools, outdoor recreation events, resorts, beaches and planes.”14
Actual Terrorist Attacks
To be “effective” the fear and disinformation campaign cannot solely rely on unsubstantiated “warnings” of future attacks, it also requires “real” terrorist occurrences or “incidents”, which provide credibility to the Administration’s war plans. Propaganda endorses the need to implement “emergency measures” as well as implement retaliatory military actions.
The triggering of “war pretext incidents” is part of the Pentagon’s assumptions. In fact it is an integral part of US military history.15 In fact in 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had envisaged a secret plan entitled “Operation Northwoods, to deliberately trigger civilian casualties to justify the invasion of Cuba:
“We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba,”
“We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington” “casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation.”
There is no evidence that the Pentagon or the CIA played a direct role in recent terrorist attacks. The latter were undertaken by organisations (or cells of these organisations), which operate quite independently, with a certain degree of autonomy. This independence is in the very nature of a covert intelligence operation. The «intelligence asset» is not in direct contact with its covert sponsors. It is not necessarily cognizant of the role it plays on behalf of its intelligence sponsors.
The fundamental question is who is behind them? Through what sources are they being financed? What is the underlying network of ties?
A recent (2002) classified outbrief drafted to guide the Pentagon «calls for the creation of a so-called « Proactive, Pre-emptive Operations Group » (P2OG), to launch secret operations aimed at “stimulating reactions” among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction — that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to “quick-response” attacks by U.S. forces.» 17
The P2OG initiative is nothing new. It essentially extends an existing apparatus of covert operations. Amply documented, the CIA has supported terrorist groups since the Cold War era. This « prodding of terrorist cells » under covert intelligence operations often requires the infiltration and training of the radical groups linked to Al Qaeda.
Covert support by the US military and intelligence apparatus has been channelled to various Islamic terrorist organisations through a complex network of intermediaries and intelligence proxies. Moreover, numerous official statements, intelligence reports confirm recent links (in the post Cold War era) between US military-intelligence units and Al Qaeda operatives, as occurred in Bosnia (mid 1990s), Kosovo (1998-99) and Macedonia (2001).18
The Republican Party Committee of the US Congress in a 1997 report points to open collaboration between the US military and Al Qaeda operatives in the civil war in Bosnia.19 (See US Congress, 16 January 1997, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/DCH109A.html )
Ties to Al Qaeda and Pakistan’s Military Intelligence (ISI)
It is indeed revealing that in virtually all post 9/11 terrorist occurrences, the terrorist organization is said to have “ties to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda”. This in itself is a crucial piece of information. Of course, the fact that Al Qaeda is a creature of the CIA is neither mentioned in the press reports nor is considered relevant.
The ties of these terrorist organizations (particularly those in Asia) to Pakistan’s military intelligence (ISI) is acknowledged in a few cases by official sources and press dispatches. Confirmed by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), some of these groups are said to have links to Pakistan’s ISI, without identifying the nature of these links. Needless to say, this information is crucial in identifying the sponsors of these terrorist attacks. In other words, the ISI is said to support these terrorist organizations, while at same time maintaining close ties to the CIA.
The Bali Bomb Attack (October 2002)
The Bali attack in the Kuta seaside resort resulted in close to 200 deaths, mainly Australian tourists. The bomb attack was allegedly perpetrated by Jemaah Islamiah, a group, which operates in several countries in South East Asia. Press reports and official statements point to close ties between Jemaah Islamiah (JI) and Al Qaeda. The JI’s “operational leader” is Riduan Isamuddin, alias Hambali, a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan war, who was trained in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to a report by UPI:
“The [Soviet-Afghan] war provided opportunities for key figures of these groups, who went to Afghanistan, to experience firsthand the glory of jihad. Many of the radicals detained in Singapore and Malaysia derived their ideological inspiration from the activities of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and Pakistan” 20
What the report fails to mention is that the training of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan and Pakistan was a CIA sponsored initiative launched under President Jimmy Carter in 1979, using Pakistan’s ISI as a go-between.
JI’s links to Indonesia’s Military Intelligence
There are indications, that in addition to its alleged links to Al Qaeda, Jemaah Islamiah also has links to Indonesia’s military intelligence, which in turn has links to the CIA and Australian intelligence.
The links between JI and Indonesia’s Intelligence Agency (BIN) are acknowledged by the International Crisis Group (ICG):
“This link [of JI to the BIN] needs to be explored more fully: it does not necessarily mean that military intelligence was working with JI, but it does raise a question about the extent to which it knew or could have found out more about JI than it has acknowledged.” 21
The ICG, however, fails to mention that Indonesia’s intelligence apparatus has for more than 30 years been controlled by the CIA.
In the wake of the October 2002 Bali bombing, a contradictory report emanating from Indonesia’s top brass, pointed to the involvement of both the head of Indonesian intelligence General A. M. Hendropriyono as well as the CIA:
“The agency and its director, Gen. A. M. Hendropriyono, are well regarded by the United States and other governments. But there are still senior intelligence officers here who believe that the C.I.A. was behind the bombing.”22
In response to these statements, the Bush Administration demanded that President Megawati Sukarnoputri, publicly refute the involvement of the U.S in the attacks. No official retraction was issued. Not only did President. Megawati remained silent on this matter, she also accused the US of being:
“a superpower that forced the rest of the world to go along with it… We see how ambition to conquer other nations has led to a situation where there is no more peace unless the whole world is complying with the will of the one with the power and strength.” 23
Meanwhile, the Bush Administration, had used the Bali attacks to prop up its fear campaign:
“President Bush said Monday that he assumes al-Qaeda was responsible for the deadly bombing in Indonesia and that he is worried about fresh attacks on the United States.” 24
The news [regarding the Bali attack] came as US intelligence officials warned that more attacks like the Indonesian bombing can be expected in the next few months, in Europe, the Far East or the US.”25
The links of JI to the Indonesian intelligence agency were never raised in the official Indonesian government investigation –which was guided behind the scenes by Australian intelligence and the CIA.
Moreover, shortly after the bombing, Australian Prime Minister John Howard “admitted that Australian authorities were warned about possible attacks in Bali but chose not to issue a warning.”26 Also In the wake of the bombings, the Australian government chose to work with Indonesia’s Special Forces the Kopassus, in the so-called “war on terrorism”.
Australia: “Useful Wave of Indignation”
Reminiscent of Operation Northwoods, the Bali attack served to trigger “a useful wave of indignation.”27 They contributed to swaying Australian public opinion in favour of the US invasion of Iraq, while weakening the anti-war protest movement. In the wake of the Bali attack, the Australian government “officially” joined the US-led “war on terrorism.” It has not only used the Bali bombings as a pretext to fully integrate the US-UK military axis, it has also adopted drastic police measures including “ethnic profiling” directed against its own citizens:
Prime Minister John Howard made the extraordinary declaration recently that he is prepared to make pre-emptive military strikes against terrorists in neighbouring Asian countries planning to attack Australia. Australian intelligence agencies also are very worried about the likelihood of an al-Qaeda attack using nuclear weapons.28
The Attacks on the Indian Parliament (December 2001)
The December 2001 terrorist attacks on the Indian Parliament –which contributed to pushing India and Pakistan to the brink of war– were allegedly conducted by two Pakistan-based rebel groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba (“Army of the Pure”) and Jaish-e-Muhammad (“Army of Mohammed”). The press reports acknowledged the ties of both groups to Al Qaeda, without however mentioning that they were directly supported by Pakistan=s ISI. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) confirms in this regard that:
“through its Interservices Intelligence agency (ISI), Pakistan has provided funding, arms, training facilities, and aid in crossing borders to Lashkar and Jaish…Many were given ideological training in the same madrasas, or Muslim seminaries, that taught the Taliban and foreign fighters in Afghanistan. They received military training at camps in Afghanistan or in villages in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. Extremist groups [supported by the ISI] have recently opened several new madrasas in Azad Kashmir.”29
What the CFR fails to mention is the crucial relationship between the ISI and the CIA and the fact that the ISI continues to support Lashkar, Jaish and the militant Jammu and Kashmir Hizbul Mujahideen (JKHM), while also collaborating with the CIA. Ironically, confirmed by the writings of Zbigniew Brzezinski (who happens to be a member of the CFR), the training of these “foreign fighters” was an initiative of US foreign policy, launched during the Carter Administration in 1979 at the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war. Coinciding with the 1989 Geneva Peace Agreement and the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, the ISI was instrumental in the creation of the militant Jammu and Kashmir Hizbul Mujahideen (JKHM).30 The timely attack on the Indian Parliament, followed by the ethnic riots in Gujarat in early 2002, were the culmination of a process initiated in the 1980s, financed by drug money and abetted by Pakistan’s military intelligence.
Dismantling the Propaganda Campaign, Building an Anti-War Consensus
We are at the juncture of the most serious crisis in modern history, requiring an unprecedented degree of solidarity, courage and commitment. America’s war, which includes the “first strike” use of nuclear weapons, threatens the future of humanity.
Much of the justification for waging this war without borders rests on the legitimacy of the Bush administration’s anti-terrorist programme. The latter forms part of the propaganda campaign, which in turn is used to sway the US population into an unconditional acceptance of the war agenda.
In the US, and around the world, the anti-war movement has gained in impetus. While millions of people have joined hands in opposing the war, the Bush Administration’s fear and disinformation campaign, relayed by the corporate media, has served to uphold the shaky legitimacy of the Bush administration.
At this critical crossroads, the anti-war/pro-democracy movement must necessarily move to a higher plane, which addresses the main functions of the Administration’s propaganda machine. The main purpose of propaganda is to sustain the legitimacy of the rulers and ensure that the rulers remain in power.
Undermining the Bush Administration’s « Right to Rule»
In other words, the mobilization of antiwar sentiment in itself will not reverse the tide of war.
What is needed is to consistently challenge the legitimacy of the main political and military actors, reveal the true face of the American Empire and the underlying criminalisation of foreign policy. Ultimately what is required is to question and eventually undermine the Bush Administration’s «right to rule».
Revealing the lies behind the Bush Administration is the basis for destroying the legitimacy of the main political and military actors.
Even if a majority of the population is against the war, this in itself will not prevent the war from occurring. The propaganda campaign’s objective is to sustain the lies which support the legitimacy of the main political and military actors, including Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft, Tenet, Armitage, Rice, et al. As long as the Bush Cabinet is considered a «legitimate government» in the eyes of the people and World public opinion, it will carry out the Iraqi invasion plan, whether it has public support or not.
In other words, this legitimacy must be challenged. Similarly in Britain, where a majority of the population is against the US-led war, actions must be launched which ultimately result in the downfall of the Blair Cabinet and the withdrawal of Britain from the US-led military coalition.
A necessary condition for bringing down the rulers is to weaken and eventually dismantle their propaganda campaign. How best to achieve this objective? By fully uncovering the lies behind the « war on terrorism» and revealing the complicity of the Bush administration in the events of 9/11.
This is a big hoax, it’s the biggest lie in US history. The war pretext does not stick and the rulers should be removed.
Moreover, it is important to show that « Enemy Number One » is fabricated. The terrorist attacks are indeed real, but who is behind them? The covert operations in support of terrorist organisations, including the history of Al Qaeda’s links to the CIA since the Soviet Afghan war, must be fully revealed because they relate directly to the wave of terrorist attacks which have occurred since September 11, all of which are said to have links to Al Qaeda.
To reverse the tide, the spreading of information at all levels, which counteracts the propaganda campaign is required.
The truth undermines and overshadows the lie.
And the truth is that the Bush administration is in fact supporting international terrorism as a pretext to wage war on Iraq.
Once this truth becomes fully understood, the legitimacy of the rulers will collapse like a deck of cards. This is what has to be achieved. But we can only achieve it, by effectively counteracting the official propaganda campaign.
The momentum and success of the large anti-war rallies in the US, the European Union and around the world, should lay the foundations of a permanent network composed of tens of thousands of local level anti-war committees in neighbourhoods, work places, parishes, schools, universities, etc. It is ultimately through this network that the legitimacy of those who “rule in our name will be challenged.
To shunt the Bush Administration’s war plans and disable its propaganda machine, we must, in the months ahead reach out to our fellow citizens across the land, in the US, Canada and around the world, to the millions of ordinary people who have been misled on the causes and consequences of this war, not to mention the implications of the Bush Administration’s Homeland Security legislation, which essentially sets in place the building blocks of a police state.
This initiative requires the spreading of information in an extensive grassroots network, with a view to weakening and ultimately disabling the Bush Administration’s propaganda machine.
When the lies – including those concerning September 11 – are fully revealed and understood by everybody, the legitimacy of the Bush Administration will be broken – Big Brother will have no leg to stand on, that is, no more wars to feed on. While this will not necessarily result in a fundamental and significant “regime change” in the US, a new “anti-war consensus” will have emerged, which will eventually pave the way for a broader struggle against the New World Order and the American Empire’s quest for global domination.
1. Washington Post, 25 January 2003.
3 Chicago Sun, 31 December 2002.
4 Reuters, 21 February 2003
5. See Ian Woods, Conspiracy of Silence, McKinney Vindicated, Global Outlook, No. 2, 2002.
6. Coleen Rowley, Memo To FBI Director Robert Mueller, quoted in Global Outlook, No. 3, 2003, p. 28.
7. The Boston Globe, 5 June 2002.
8. Insight on the News, 3 February 2003.
9. UPI, 19 December 2002.
10. New York Times, 6 January 2003.
11. Toronto Star, 5 January 2003.
12. The Scotsman, 8 January 2003.
13. UPI, 10 December 2002.
14. AFP, 3 January 2003.
15. See Richard Sanders, War Pretext Incidents, How to Start a War, Global Outlook, published in two parts, Issues 2 and 3, 2002-2003.
30. See K. Subrahmanyam, Pakistan is Pursuing Asian Goals, India Abroad, 3 November 1995.
Supporting evidence that successive US administrations have supported Al Qaeda is summarized below (references are provided to a selected bibliography):
The “Islamic Brigades” are a creation of US foreign policy. In the post-Cold War era, the CIA continues to support and use Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda in its covert operations. In standard CIA jargon, Al Qaeda is categorized as an “intelligence asset”.
The U.S. Congress has documented in detail, the links of Al Qaeda to agencies of the U.S. government during the civil war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as in Kosovo and Macedonia.
The evidence confirms that Al Qaeda is supported by Pakistan’s military intelligence, the Inter-services Intelligence (ISI). Amply documented, the ISI, allegedly played an undercover role in financing the 9/11 attacks. The ISI has a close working relationship with the CIA.
Pakistan’s ISI has consistently supported various Islamic terrorist organizations, while also collaborating with the CIA.
These various terrorist groups supported by Pakistan’s ISI operate with some degree of autonomy in relation to their covert sponsors, but ultimately they act in the way which serves US interests.
The CIA keeps track of its “intelligence assets”. Amply documented, Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts are known. Al Qaeda is infiltrated by the CIA. In other words, there were no “intelligence failures”! The 9-11 terrorists did not act on their own volition. The suicide hijackers were instruments in a carefully planned intelligence operation.
The Yemeni army, backed by popular committee forces, has destroyed four Saudi battle tanks after storming a base in Saudi Arabia’s southwestern city of Jizan. Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah satellite television network reported the development late on Monday. It also reported that the Yemeni army targeted three Saudi vehicles in the southwestern Saudi city of Najran, which is located near the border with Yemen, with rockets and artillery shells. Meanwhile, at least six people were killed and a woman sustained injuries in the US-backed Saudi airstrikes on a village in the district of Harad in Yemen’s western province of Hajjah early on Tuesday. We remember, Saudi Arabia is continuing its US-backed military aggression against Yemen since March 26, 2015.
The Syrian army has launched a major offensive against the ISIL Takfiri terrorists who recently overran the city of Palmyra in central Homs province. According to the military sources, the air force struck more than 160 Islamic State targets, killing and wounding terrorists and destroying weapons and vehicles equipped with machine-guns. Moreover, various military operations are also being carried out in the areas around the al-Suknah, the Arak, and al-Hail gas fields and all the roads leading to Palmyra. Over 50 ISIS militants have been killed during the offensive aimed at regaining the city from terrorists’ control, the Syrian state television reported.
Moscow has condemned the massacre of civilians in the city of Palmyra, urging the international community to denounce double standards in its approach to fighting terrorists, and unite against Islamic State aggression.
“Once again, we urge international and regional parties to abandon the vicious practice of using double standard approaches to fighting against terrorism, and launch efficient cooperation with the governments of Middle East countries, which are directly repelling the ISIS offensive,”
the ministry said in a statement. Moscow believes that US-led airstrike campaign against Islamic State positions in Iraq and Syria have not done enough to impede the jihadists’ advance in the two Middle Eastern states.
Monitors of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have confirmed that Russian representatives at the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination came under fire in Donbas on May 23.
“The Russian Federation Armed Forces Colonel-General said to the SMM that, on 23 May, his vehicle had come under AK47 fire. All passengers escaped unharmed but the vehicle suffered considerable damage and was abandoned on site,”
The Monday’s SMM daily update reads. On Sunday, spokesman for the defense ministry of the DPR Eduard Basurin told a briefing that a group of JCCC monitors had been attacked by Ukrainian subversives on May 23.
Twelve years after George W Bush initiated the illegal invasion of Iraq, ostensibly under the premise of preemptive self-defense, a stark majority — as many as 75% in 2014 — feel the so-called war was a mistake. As evidence rapidly accumulates that Bush’s yearning to launch an aggressive attack was likelier due to a personal grudge than anything else, that number will surely swell. This past Tuesday, the former president’s intelligence briefer lent yet more plausibility to that theory in an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball, making an admission that the Bush White House misrepresented intelligence reports to the public on key issues.
Michael Morell’s stint with the CIA included deputy and acting director, but during the time preceding the US invasion of Iraq, he helped prepare daily intelligence briefings for Bush. One of those briefings, from October 2002, is an infamous example in intelligence history as how not to compile a report. This National Intelligence Estimate, titled “Iraq’s Continuing Programs for Weapons of Mass Destruction”, was the ostensibly flawed intelligence cited continuously by Bush supporters as justification to pursue a war of aggression against Iraq. However, this claim is dubious at best, and serves more as a smokescreen to lend credence to a president who was otherwise hellbent on revenge against Saddam Hussein, as evidenced in his statement a month before the report, “After all, this is the guy who tried to kill my dad.”
In the Hardball interview, host Chris Matthews asked Morell about Cheney’s notorious statement in 2003:
“We know he [Saddam Hussein] has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.”
The following is the conversation that ensued:
MATTHEWS: Was that true?
MORELL: We were saying—
MATTHEWS: Can you answer that question? Was that true?
MORELL: That’s not true.
MATTHEWS: Well, why’d you let them get away with it?
MORELL: Look, my job Chris—
MATTHEWS: You’re the briefer for the president on intelligence, you’re the top person to go in and tell him what’s going on. You see Cheney make this charge he’s got a nuclear bomb and then they make subsequent charges he knew how to deliver it…and nobody raised their hand and said, “No that’s not what we told him.”
MORELL: Chris, Chris Chris, what’s my job, right? My job—
MATTHEWS: To tell the truth.
MORELL: My job—no, as the briefer? As the briefer?
MATTHEWS: Okay, go ahead.
MORELL: As the briefer, my job is to carry CIA’s best information and best analysis to the president of the United States and make sure he understands it. My job is to not watch what they’re saying on TV.
MATTHEWS: So you’re briefing the president on the reasons for war, they’re selling the war, using your stuff, saying you made that case when you didn’t. So they’re using your credibility to make the case for war dishonestly, as you just admitted.
MORELL: Look, I’m just telling you—
MATTHEWS: You just admitted it.
MORELL: I’m just telling you what we said—
MATTHEWS: They gave a false presentation of what you said to them.
MORELL: On some aspects. On some aspects.
And the host pushed just a little further:
MATTHEWS: That’s a big deal! Do you agree? If they claimed they had a [nuclear] weapon, when you know they didn’t.
MORELL: It’s a big deal. It’s a big deal.
He’s absolutely right, of course, and even further to that point, Morell made another admission of a direct misrepresentation: “What they were saying about the link between Iraq and Al Qaeda publicly was not what the intelligence community” had found. “I think they were trying to make a stronger case for the war.” Which the administration had to do, considering no such case existed. As a matter of fact, Cheney’s statement directly conflicts with what the NIE actually stated, which is that the intelligence community only found a “[lack of] persuasive evidence that Baghdad has launched a coherent effort to reconstitute its nuclear weapons program.” Which is in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency report that came to the same conclusion: “[W]e have to date found no evidence that Iraq has revived its nuclear weapons program.”
All of this solidifies what former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan resolutely stated about the US invasion of Iraq in 2004: “I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view and from the charter point of view it was illegal.”
The question most deserving an answer, and increasingly posed by the populace at large: If George W Bush, Dick Cheney, and others in the administration, deliberately misled the public on false pretenses, directly contradicted intelligence information through misrepresentation, and ultimately initiated a wholly illegal invasion of Iraq that led to the deaths of well over 1 million civilian, non-combatants; WHYhave they not been charged with war crimes?
It was the dying cry of Charlton Heston in the creepy 1973 film Soylent Green… and it could resemble our desperate near future.
The ocean is dying, by all accounts – and if so, the food supply along with it. The causes are numerous, and overlapping. And massive numbers of wild animal populations are dying as a result of it.
Natural causes in the environment are partly to blame; so too are the corporations of man; the effects of Fukushima, unleashing untold levels of radiation into the ocean and onto Pacific shores; the cumulative effect of modern chemicals and agricultural waste tainting the water and disrupting reproduction.
A startling new report says in no uncertain terms that the Pacific Ocean off the California coast is turning into a desert. Once full of life, it is now becoming barren, and marine mammals, seabirds and fish are starving as a result. According to Ocean Health:
The waters of the Pacific off the coast of California are a clear, shimmering blue today, so transparent it’s possible to see the sandy bottom below […] clear water is a sign that the ocean is turning into a desert, and the chain reaction that causes that bitter clarity is perhaps most obvious on the beaches of the Golden State, where thousands of emaciated sea lion pups are stranded.
Over the last three years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has noticed a growing number of strandings on the beaches of California and up into the Pacific north-west. In 2013, 1,171 sea lions were stranded, and 2,700 have already stranded in 2015 – a sign that something is seriously wrong, as pups don’t normally wind up on their own until later in the spring and early summer.
“[An unusually large number of sea lions stranding in 2013 was a red flag] there was a food availability problem even before the ocean got warm.”Johnson: This has never happened before… It’s incredible. It’s so unusual, and there’s no really good explanation for it. There’s also a good chance that the problem will continue, said a NOAA research scientist in climatology, Nate Mantua.
Experts blame a lack of food due to unusually warm ocean waters. NOAA declared an El Nino, the weather pattern that warms the Pacific, a few weeks ago. The water is three and a half to six degrees warmer than the average, according to Mantua, because of a lack of north wind on the West Coast. Ordinarily, the north wind drives the current, creating upwelling that brings forth the nutrients that feed the sardines, anchovies and other fish that adult sea lions feed on.
The warm water is likely pushing prime sea lion foods — market squid, sardines and anchovies — further north, forcing the mothers to abandon their pups for up to eight days at a time in search of sustenance.
The pups, scientists believe, are weaning themselves early out of desperation and setting out on their own despite being underweight and ill-prepared to hunt.
“These animals are coming in really desperate. They’re at the end of life. They’re in a crisis … and not all animals are going to make it,” said Keith A. Matassa, executive director at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which is currently rehabilitating 115 sea lion pups.
In the storm debris littering a Washington State shoreline, Bonnie Wood saw something grisly: the mangled bodies of dozens of scraggly young seabirds. Walking half a mile along the beach at Twin Harbors State Park on Wednesday, Wood spotted more than 130 carcasses of juvenile Cassin’s auklets—the blue-footed, palm-size victims of what is becoming one of the largest mass die-offs of seabirds ever recorded. “It was so distressing,” recalled Wood, a volunteer who patrols Pacific Northwest beaches looking for dead or stranded birds. “They were just everywhere. Every ten yards we’d find another ten bodies of these sweet little things.”
“This is just massive, massive, unprecedented,” said Julia Parrish, a University of Washington seabird ecologist who oversees the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a program that has tracked West Coast seabird deaths for almost 20 years. “We may be talking about 50,000 to 100,000 deaths. So far.” (source)
100,000 doesn’t necessarily sound large, statistically speaking, but precedent in the history of recorded animal deaths suggests that it is, in fact massive. Even National Geographic is noting that these die off events are “unprecedented.” Warmer water is indicated for much of the starvation faced by many of the dead animals.
Last year, scientists sounded the alarm over the death of millions of star fish, blamed on warmer waters and ‘mystery virus’:
Starfish are dying by the millions up and down the West Coast, leading scientists to warn of the possibility of localized extinction of some species. As the disease spreads, researchers may be zeroing in on a link between warming waters and the rising starfish body count. (source)
The epidemic, which threatens to reshape the coastal food web and change the makeup of tide pools for years to come, appears to be driven by a previously unidentified virus, a team of more than a dozen researchers from Cornell University, UC Santa Cruz, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and other institutions reported Monday. (source)
Changing temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, driven by the natural cycle of gyres over decades, shifts wildlife populations, decimating the populations of species throughout the food chain, proving how fragile the balance of life in the ocean really is.
Commercial fishing for sardines off of Canada’s West Coast is worth an estimated $32 million – but now they are suddenly gone. Back in October, fisherman reported that they came back empty-handed without a single fish after 12 hours of trolling and some $1000 spent on fuel.
Sandy Mazza, for the Daily Breeze, reported a similar phenomenon in central California: “[T]he fickle sardines have been so abundant for so many years – sometimes holding court as the most plentiful fish in coastal waters – that it was a shock when he couldn’t find one of the shiny silver-blue coastal fish all summer, even though this isn’t the first time they’ve vanished.” [emphasis added]
“Is it El Nino? Pacific Decadal Oscillation? [La] Nina? Long-term climate change? More marine mammals eating sardines? Did they all go to Mexico or farther offshore? We don’t know. We’re pretty sure the overall population has declined. We manage them pretty conservatively because we don’t want to end up with another Cannery Row so, as the population declines, we curb fishing.” said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) official Kerry Griffin. (source)
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the worst events have wiped out 90% of animal populations, falling short of extinction, but creating a rupture in food chains and ecosystems.
And environmental factors are known to be a factor, with pollution from chemicals dumped by factories clearly tied to at least 20% of the mass die off events of wildlife populations that have been investigated, and many die offs implicated by a number of overlapping factors. TheDaily Mail reported:
Mass die-offs of certain animals has increased in frequency every year for seven decades, according to a new study.
Researchers found that such events, which can kill more than 90 per cent of a population, are increasing among birds, fish and marine invertebrates.
The reasons for the die-offs are diverse, with effects tied to humans such as environmental contamination accounting for about a fifth of them.
Farm runoff from Big Agra introduces high levels of fertilizers and pesticides which createoxygen-starved dead zones which fish and aquatic live is killed off. Also preset in agriculture waste are gender bending chemicals like those found in Atrazine, used in staple crop production, and antibiotics and hormones, used in livestock production, which creates hazardous runoff for fish populations:
Livestock excrete natural hormones – estrogens and testosterones – as well as synthetic ones used to bolster their growth. Depending on concentrations and fish sensitivity, these hormones and hormone mimics might impair wild fish reproduction or skew their sex ratios. (source)
Pharmaceutical contaminants are also to blame for changing the sex of fish and disrupting population numbers, while a study found that the chemicals in Prozac changed the behavior of marine life, and made shrimp many times more likely to “commit suicide” and swim towards the light where they became easy prey.
Fish farms also introduce a large volume of antibiotic and chemical pollution into oceans and waterways:
The close quarters where farmed fish are raised (combined with their unnatural diets) means disease occurs often and can spread quickly. On fish farms, which are basically “CAFOs of the sea,” antibiotics are dispersed into the water, and sometimes injected directly into the fish.
Unfortunately, farmed fish are often raised in pens in the ocean, which means not only that pathogens can spread like wildfire and contaminate any wild fish swimming past – but the antibiotics can also spread to wild fish (via aquaculture and wastewater runoff) – and that’s exactly what recent research revealed. (source)
Mass die offs of fish on the Brazilian coastline have linked to pollution from the dumping of raw sewage and garbage.
In the last few days it was reported that a massive die off of bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico was connected by researchers to BP’s Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Evidence was found in a third of the cases of lesions in the adrenal gland, an otherwise rare condition linked with petroleum exposure. More than a fifth of the dolphins also suffered bacterial pneumonia, causing deadly lung infection that is likewise rarely seen in dolphin populations.
Bloomberg says in a post today that the “confrontation between Russia and the US” over Ukraine was “provok[ed]” by Putin’s annexation of Crimea:
“…Putin annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea last March, provoking the biggest confrontation between Russia and the U.S. and Europe since the Cold War.”
That’s odd, though, because the reintegration of Crimea into Russia (after a vote in favor – but remember democracy is what we say it is) happened, as Bloomberg says and BBC confirms, in March, 2014, about five months after violent, US-backed protests began in November 2013, and ended in the the elected Ukrainian president, Victor Yanukovych, being driven out of the country by, as BBC put it, “radical groups”, including neo-Nazis: see BBC’s “Neo-Nazi Threat in Ukraine“, Feb. 28, 2014. (“BBC Newsnight’s Gabriel Gatehouse investigates the links between the new Ukrainian government and Neo-nazis.” Later articles covering the topic were published by, among many others, Glenn Greenwald, Robert Parry, and even, albeit 8 or 9 months too late to make a difference, NBC)
It’s also strange that BBC would say the following (even in a piece rife with the British state-run outlet’s typical pro-Western spin):
Pro-Russian forces [ie the Russian troops already stationed in Crimea by agreement] took control of Crimea in February. They moved in after Ukraine’s pro-Moscow president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted after street protests.
So, they reacted to the US-backed overthrow of elected Yanukovych. To be precise, Russian troops began the process of, in US political-speak, liberating and securing Crimea on “February 23rd, 2014“.
Yet, again oddly, here is Time on February 22nd, 2014:
“Ukraine protesters seize Kiev as President flees”
“Yanukovych fled to the eastern city of Kharkiv where he traditionally has a more solid base of support…”
It is noted in Wikipedia that Yanukovych had “won election in 2010 with strong support in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and southern and eastern Ukraine.”
Here is US historian William Blum, March 7, 2014, on these events:
The Ukrainian insurgents and their Western-power supporters didn’t care who their Ukrainian allies were in carrying out their coup against President Viktor Yanukovych last month … thugs who set policemen on fire head to toe … all manner of extreme right-wingers, including Chechnyan Islamic militants … a deputy of the ultra-right Svoboda Party, part of the new government, who threatens to rebuild Ukraine’s nukes in three to six months. … the snipers firing on the protestors who apparently were not what they appeared to be – A bugged phone conversation between Urmas Paet, the Estonian foreign minister, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reveals Paet saying: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.” … neo-Nazi protestors in Kiev who have openly denounced Jews, hoisting a banner honoring Stepan Bandera, the infamous Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.
And who could forget the pictures of Victoria Nuland and John McCain meeting with Ukrainian neo-Nazi and extremist leaders who use terms like “cleanse” and “kike”, or Nuland’s bragging to Chevron that the US had put billions and billions of dollars into these events, highly reminiscent of the US investment in overthrowing Iran’s democracy in 1953 after Iran nationalized its oil.
To the untrained eye, it would certainly seem that, in “liberating” Crimea, Russia was, very understandably, reacting to the above-mentioned series of events (not to mention the encroachment of a hostile, US-led, nuclear military alliance, NATO…).
So why would Bloomberg publish a piece that says the confrontation between Russia and the US was provoked by the annexation of Crimea, when it was provoked by a US-backed overthrow (one of about 60) of an elected president, who had strong ties to the highly ethnic-Russian east (including Crimea)?
We cannot credibly postulate that the Bloomberg author is unaware of the events prior to the “annexation of Crimea”, so we are forced to assume that he has a desire to paint Russia as the aggressor in the West/East standoff, as do so many working for the Western information systems.
This time, he has taken the easy way out by just pretending that nothing happened before Crimea, but other Western outlets have risen to the challenge, with impressive results.
When forced to acknowledge events that show the West as current aggressor in the (now perhaps winding down) West/East conflict, Western outlets have done what they do best: spin crackpot conspiracy theories about how everyone is trying to destroy the “free world” (the US happens to imprison more of its own people than any country in history, but in the free world we are smart enough to know that doesn’t count).
The New York Times, for example, attempted to explain the events that provoked Russia’s actions in Crimea (the US-backed protests and violent overthrow of an elected leader), by claiming Putin orchestrated all of that, too.
Robert Parry reports on the Times’ fanciful effort:
Is the New York Times really suggesting that Putin pulled the strings on the likes of Merkel and Nuland, secretly organized neo-Nazi brigades, and ruthlessly deployed these thugs to Kiev to provoke violence and overthrow Yanukovych, all while pretending to try to save Yanukovych’s government – all so Putin could advance some dastardly plot to conquer Europe?
…the Times’ narrative is something that would make even the most dedicated “conspiracy theorist” blush. Yet, the Times not only asserts this crazy conspiracy theory but calls it “incontrovertible.”
True to form, another times article recently proclaimed:
In all likelihood no one in the Kremlin actually ordered the killing [of Nemtsov]… The Kremlin has recently created a loose army of avengers who believe they are acting in the country’s best interests, without receiving any explicit instructions.
If someone in the US were to insist that Obama or Bush created a “loose army of avengers” who went around killing people “without receiving any explicit instructions”, he or she would be told to take off the tinfoil hat, leave mom’s basement, and get a job.
But when discussing the dark, ruthless, senseless forces of pure evil outside of our huddling “free world”, we are *free* to boldly rewrite history in our favor, concoct wild-eyed conspiracy theories to our hearts’ content, and use our new and improved histories and our nut-job theories to promote mass-violence against the bad people conspiring against “our freedoms”, and then kill millions of them.
There is little doubt that they have to come down. But how will priorities be decided? Who will pay? Then how will the formidable task of securing Nepal’s homes, schools, hospitals and offices proceed? In Kathmandu valley and beyond, new medical and business complexes, government centers, police posts, universities halls and libraries, temples and monuments, and high rise dwellings –from the most prized heritage sites to model rural medical centers –are badly damaged and marked for demolition. Some structures are visibly disfigured and non-functional; some lie folded into heaps of rubble; some appear serviceable although they are not. Whatever their appearance, the task of demolition and clearing rubble is immense, its implementation hard to grasp, despite the great urgency.
Although the most widespread damage is in rural areas across the 13 districts (of 75 nationwide) adjacent to Kathmandu, debris removal and reconstruction may be easier there. Rural dwellings are by and large constructed by farmers from local materials and are one and two stories only.
Across Kathmandu one occasionally passes cranes at work. The most colossal machines that ever treaded the lanes and tracks of the valley, they methodically attack 4-story villas that once stood confidently in purple, red or blue coats but now offer less protection than a 5 mm thick tarpaulin pinned in a clearing beyond a local temple or strapped to an unsteady tree.
Those lumbering orange giants claw at brick walls of traditional modest dwellings; they batter glass facades of grand modern offices like Kantipur Publications; they hover above half-buried villas jabbing at their roofs. Heaps of rubble spill into roadways as the professional crews and soldiers move on, leaving residents to await teams who’ll somehow remove these piles of detritus. (Forget about rebuilding for now.) Somehow, in the confusion and clutter that is Nepal today, from their tented ministry offices, bureaucrats fashion plans about
how reconstruction will proceed. Proposals seem awfully tentative to this observer; neither do they convince most citizens that a viable scheme exists, although some really believe that demolitions will proceed responsibly.
Not waiting for the engineers to visit them and eager to resume some normality, private householders are one-by-one reoccupying their rooms and shopkeepers are buttressing their dwellings with 12 foot bamboo, wood or iron poles. (It’s temporary, they say.) Others (residents or the army, we’re not sure) set a few boulders and bricks on the pavement to warn vehicles and pedestrians that something uncertain hovers not far above them. Occasionally a road is blocked by a rope with a bold red warning hanging from it.
Engineers are out in force. (The Nepal Engineer’s Association lists its phone number in city dailies.) Local ward officials have invited house owners to fill forms requesting an inspection. May 20th The Himalayan Times (http://www.epapersland.com/nepal/himalayan-times.html) reports that since May 4th 2,500 of its engineers are engaged with 25 international counterparts to assess buildings inside and beyond Kathmandu Valley.
One NGO working with these respected, and incorruptible NEA engineers is US-based GFI who found that only 20% of 1,500 houses inspected were uninhabitable and due for destruction while 40% are safe to live in and 40% in need of repair http://www.ekantipur.com/the-kathmandu-post/ May 21, 2015. (In which localities the survey was done is unspecified). An earlier NEA preliminary investigation (May 9, The Himalayan Times) indicated that 70% of houses in Kathmandu Valley (with several million residents) were safe. May 18, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declared it could not handle the multi-story demolitions due to inadequate equipment and was thus reaching out to others for help. Whatever the figures, it’s a daunting concern.
Meanwhile commentaries are offered in the press and anecdotally about conditions responsible for these many collapsed structures: buildings are constructed on soft land without proper foundations; illegal wells are bored under large dwellings destabilizing their foundations; shoddy, cost-cutting materials are used by cheating contractors. Much blame is reserved for landlords who build-to-rent and thus skirt the rules (supported by permits from corrupted officials). These rumors are now endorsed by newly published investigative research by Himal (www.himalkhbar.com May 24-30, 2015) the Nepali language weekly run by the notable journalistic team of Kunda and Kanak Dixit). This excellent report names names, prints photos of rows of crumbling apartment complexes together with doctored building permits.
Reconstruction is manageable, but only if more quakes and the approaching monsoon rains don’t further destabilize shaky neighborhoods, create more havoc and halt work in progress. Regardless, it will take years for life to return to normal which is uncertain at best, and for most citizens, perennially desperate. In their foreseeable future, they have no sign that– although millions of them will move out of their tents and settle into new homes and offices– a stable and just government will do its part. END
Before beginning her journalistic work in the Arab lands, anthropologist Barbara Nimri Aziz spent several decades conducting research in the Himalayan areas. Her books include “Tibetan Frontier Families”, “Soundings in Tibetan Civilization”, (both reprinted in 2011) and “Heir to a Silent Song: Two Rebel Women of Nepal” (2001) all available through Vajra Books, Kathmandu (vajrabooks.com.np). Her latest book is “Swimming up The Tigris: Real Life Encounters with Iraq”, U. Press Florida, 2007.
Israel already gets at least $3 billion annually from Washington – plus a whole lot more. US taxpayers fund its killing machine.
It wants a 50% increase for more wars and ruthless daily persecution of millions of Palestinians – plus terror-bombing Syria, Yemen and southern Lebanon at its discretion as well as regional destabilizing activities.
On May 24, Defense News headlined “Israel Seeks Surge in US Security Support,” saying:
“(W)orking bilateral groups have (been) assess(ing) Israel’s projected security needs in (preparing) a new 10-year foreign military financing (FMF) deal” to begin when the current one expires in 2017.
According to an unnamed security source, Israel wants up to $4.5 billion annually besides additional amounts on request, resupplying its killing machine as needed, increasing amounts of US weapons and munitions in Israel for “emergency use,” and nearly $500 million annually for so-called anti-rocket/missile defense.
Washington’s House approved 2016 national defense authorization funding calls for financing an Israeli anti-tunneling defense system to deal with so-called subterranean threats.
Washington is expected to provide Israel with additional billions of dollars of aid if a nuclear deal with Iran is consummated.
Israel’s only enemies are ones it invents. Not according to AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr claiming it may need $160 billion for “defense” through 2025 – a big increase over current budgeted amounts.
Israeli military spending is for offense, not defense. It wants state-of-the-art weapons for maximum killing machine effectiveness.
According to Kohr, US military aid for Israel “is an essential component of America’s national security strategy” – code language for waging imperial wars of conquest and domination.
Earlier in May, the Al Mezan Center for Human Right reported escalated Israeli attacks on Gaza. The IDF fired on border areas at least six times.
They attacked farmers in their fields. Israeli naval forces assault Gazan fishermen regularly for the crime of fishing.
Palestinian children too close to Israel’s imposed buffer zone are shot at with live fire. Deaths and injuries result.
Gaza remains an active war zone. Overnight Wednesday, Israeli warplanes terror-bombed multiple sites outrageously claiming “Hamas’ territory is used as a staging ground to attack Israel…”
According to Press TV, Israel attacked Gaza despite Hamas and Islamic Jihad denying firing rockets into Israeli territory as its military claims.
Multiple strikes targeted the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, Rafah on Egypt’s border, Khan Younis and Beit Lahia.
The attacks followed a rocket fired by an unknown source striking southern Israel, causing no casualties or damage.
Israel’s Shin Bet security service claims Tuesday’s rocket attack was the third since last summer’s war.
The UN Special Coordinator (UNSCO) called Gaza’s ceasefire “perilously fragile.” Israeli border, air and sea attacks risk renewed war.
Hardline Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said
“if there won’t be quiet in Israel, Gaza will pay a very heavy price, which will cause all who plan to challenge us to regret their actions.”
“Hamas is advised to restrain any attempt to fire rockets at Israel or provoke it, otherwise we will be forced to act with greater power. I would not advise anyone to test us.”
Political analyst Talal Okal believes multiple Israeli attacks are in preparation for more war. Israel wants Palestinian resistance groups disarmed and weakened, he said.
When its provocative attacks are responded to in self-defense, it claims terrorism as justification for naked aggression.
Since December 2008, it waged three premeditated wars without mercy on Gaza. Is a fourth in prospect?
A Final Comment
Netanyahu maintains a steady drumbeat of anti-Iranian hate-mongering. He addressed his latest Big Lies to visiting US Senator Bill Cassidy (D. LA) claiming a nuclear deal with Iran
“paves (its) path to the bomb (and) fills (its) coffers with tens of billions of dollars to pursue its aggression throughout the Middle East and Israel’s borders.”
“Once Iran, the preeminent terrorist state of our time, acquires nuclear weapons, it will be a hundred times more dangerous, a thousand times more dangerous and more destructive than IS.”
His hyperventilating Big Lies wore thin long ago. Israel and America are the greatest threats to world peace, stability and security.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
Do you know how many of us cried with joy when you were elected that heady day, in January 2008, when you held the goodwill and hopes of most everyone, everywhere throughout the United States and Europe – and even in Moscow and Beijing? It seemed like the long overdue beginning of a New Age with an imposing, young, erudite, black JFK.
Do you realise what a profound liability you have since become? A tragic disappointment to both Americans and Europeans, Republicans and Democrats, Christians and Jews, Hindus and Muslims, black and white, to those rich and poor, well or sick?
Do you know the bitterness that now abounds amongst those who trusted you to act for peace, security and civil rights but whom you have failed so spectacularly? Do you know of the millions of Palestinians now left abandoned and dispossessed?
Are you not aware of a dangerously destabilised Middle East and an Israel now more threatened that at any time since 1948 plus North Africa with its valuable oil deposits in the grip of insurgents?
Do you know of the black Americans still being harassed, and sometimes killed, by renegade, racist state police up and down America? Do you even realise the ridicule heaped upon a White House made impotent by a congress that despises your lack of leadership?
Do you appreciate that you have shattered the image of the once powerful American ship of state that now flounders in the shallows amongst dangerous rocks when it needed an experienced captain and crew to chart a well-planned and secure course so as to arrive at its destination with its valuable cargo for the people of the world, on time and in good order?
Instead, America and the world has now to try to deal with a slow-motion shipwreck … and the international community continues to suffer from having you still on board the bridge as captain, but in name only. A captain who never has been a naval officer capable of commanding a great, trans-oceanic vessel!
A tragically wasted presidency that could have achieved so much but, in nearly seven years, gained nothing for anyone, at any time, anywhere. Your sole achievement – if it be that – was the locating and elimination of one man, Osama bin Laden, in his Pakistani hideout. Now even your role in that is being questioned.
There has been, sadly, nothing else of interest during your overlong presidency. We now live in a world with little or no advance in either human or civil rights nor even in the field of sound economic governance.
A resignation could now be your only legacy of any value and I would be the first to wish you well in your early retirement.
Within three days of a judge’s ruling acquitting a Cleveland cop who brutally murdered two unarmed people, the Obama administration announced a settlement with the city that holds no one accountable for a string of police murders and leaves the existing apparatus of violence and terror intact.
These developments taken together reveal a basic reality of social and political life in America: the categorical defense by the entire political establishment and all official institutions of a paramilitary police force that has been granted a license to kill.
The court ruling exonerated Officer Michael Brelo of manslaughter charges stemming from the deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, who were killed November 29, 2012 after police fired more than 130 rounds into their car. Forty-nine of those shots were fired by Brelo, who jumped onto the hood of the car and shot the unarmed occupants directly through the windshield 15 times.
Brelo was one of over a hundred cops who participated in a high-speed chase through Cleveland that culminated in a fusillade of bullets comparable to the killings of unarmed civilians at military checkpoints that became a common feature of the US military occupation of Iraq.
Judge John O’Donnell acquitted Brelo on the pseudo-legal grounds that the prosecutors had not proven that Brelo’s bullets were the ones that actually killed the two victims. Providing a judicial imprimatur for police to act as judge, jury and executioner, he declared, “Brelo’s entire use of deadly force was a constitutionally reasonable response to an objectively reasonably perceived threat of great bodily harm from the occupants” of the car.
Meanwhile, no charges have been brought against a Cleveland cop who last November shot twelve-year-old Tamir Rice for holding a toy gun, and then failed to provide first aid as the child lay dying on the ground.
The same glaring disparity between homicidal police violence and the official response is expressed in the Obama Justice Department’s toothless settlement with the Cleveland police. The settlement stems from a Justice Department investigation that cited multiple cases of wanton and unconstitutional police violence and concluded that the Cleveland police department engaged in a pattern of “unnecessary and excessive use of deadly force, including shootings and head strikes with impact weapons,” as well as “the unnecessary, excessive or retaliatory use of less lethal force including Tasers, chemical spray and fists.”
The agreement, signed by the city authorities, mandates a handful of trivial “reforms,” including the hiring of more minority officers and the creation of a Community Police Commission to give the appearance of oversight. It also calls for additional funding for the police.
Far from being an aberration, Cleveland is one of at least 19 cities where the Justice Department has since 2000 found a “pattern or practice of excessive force.” Just over the past three years, Justice Department inquiries have reported systematic brutality and violations of democratic rights by police in Ferguson, Missouri; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle, Washington.
This has not prevented President Obama from declaring that the murder last August of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Ferguson cop Darren Wilson is “not typical of what happens across the country.” Wilson was exonerated by a rigged grand jury, as was New York City Officer Daniel Panteleo for the choking death of Eric Garner.
In working-class communities throughout the United States, police function as de facto death squads, treating workers and youth as an occupied population to be held in check with brutality and even murder. The methods of military violence developed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the so-called “war on terror” have been brought home for use against the US population.
Brelo personifies the convergence between the police and the military. An Iraq war veteran, Brelo told police investigators that he used his Marine training in deciding to “elevate” himself onto the hood of his victims’ car and “push through the target.”
So far this year, police have killed 455 people in the United States, putting them on track to take significantly more lives in 2015 than the 1,100 they killed last year. Every year, cops kill more people in the United States than the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq in 2004, at the height of the conflict, and police killings account for one out of every 16 homicides in the US.
The wave of police violence in the United States is not some excrescence of American “democracy.” It is deeply embedded in the structure of American society and rooted in the capitalist system and its irreconcilable class antagonisms. These have been immensely heightened by the unprecedented growth of social inequality, itself bound up with the deindustrialization of cities such as Cleveland, the impoverishment of the working class, and the obscene enrichment of a new financial aristocracy.
The buildup of a militarized police force to occupy the cities is the ruling class’s response to the growth of popular opposition to its policies of war abroad and austerity at home. Far from doing anything to ameliorate mass poverty and inequality, America’s financial elite responds to any sign of opposition with overwhelming and murderous violence.
FIFA, world football’s governing body, is due to meet this Friday in Zurich to decide whether to back a Palestinian motion to suspend Israel for its systematic violations of Palestinian footballers’ rights in the occupied territories, including preventing practice sessions and games, arresting players, denying entry to other teams, and bombing grounds, as well as for endemic racism towards non-Jewish players in Israeli football itself. I have written about this in the past: here and here.
Although a 75% majority is needed for the Palestinian motion to carry, there has been a growing sense that the mood at FIFA is shifting the Palestinians’ way. Israel and the US are, of course, deeply worried. Such a move would have strong overtones of the sports boycott against South Africa and further reinforce the idea that the description of Israel as an apartheid state holds. It would also disrupt FIFA tournaments Israel is due to host in the coming months, causing great embarrassment to Israel and FIFA’s president, Sepp Blatter.
Meanwhile, almost everyone quietly acknowledges that FIFA is corrupt from head to toe, and has been for as long as the game has been another branch of the big-business entertainments industry. Just think how impossible it would have been for a body not profoundly infected with corrupt practices to have backed desert emirate Qatar’s bid to host the 2022 tournament – in the middle of its stifling summer.
Today, however, the US decided it was time to call a halt to FIFA’s corruption. It ordered the high-profile arrest and extradition of six senior FIFA officials on corruption charges dating back to the early 1990s. The operation at the FIFA officials’ Zurich hotel, as they waited for Friday’s vote, was covered in detail by leading US media organisations after they were tipped off beforehand. Apparently it has taken the US the best part of 20 years to get round to doing the paperwork to make the arrests.
Doubtless, none of this was designed to have – or will have – the slightest effect on FIFA officials as they contemplate whether to infuriate Israel and the US by booting Israel out of world soccer.
In the meantime, you can try to shore up FIFA’s resolve by signing a petition here.
Anyone who doubts how seriously Israel is taking the threat of being ousted from FIFA and how actively its supporters are working behind the scenes at the world body should read the comments of Avi Luzon, Israel’s representative to UEFA, European football’s governing body. Ominously, he says UEFA’s support for Israel is sown up and suggests that UEFA will prevent Israel’s suspension whatever the outcome of the vote.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: UEFA will not let Israel be harmed, especially as there is no reason for it. An agreement has been reached on a four-point draft that is acceptable to [Israeli PM Benjamin] Netanyahu, [UEFA president Michel] Platini, [FIFA president Sepp] Blatter and now [Palestinian soccer chief] Jibril Rajoub.
In the worst case scenario, if the Palestinians do not agree to pull the proposal and the congress is held as planned, UEFA will prevent the suspension of Israel in a very clear way. From the conversations with important people, face to face here in Warsaw, I can say without a doubt that concern over Israel’s suspension through a vote will not happen.
Japanese protesters gathered outside the parliament building in Tokyo on Sunday to demand the removal of a US base on the island of Okinawa. Numerous rallies have been held recently, both on the island and the Japanese mainland, to oppose the US military’s presence in the country.
An estimated 15,000 people took part in Sunday’s protest, denouncing plans to move the US Marine Corp Air Station Futenma base to a new location at Henoko, which is currently being constructed. Futenma is located in the city of Ginowan, while Henoko sits along a less populated coast in Okinawa. Many people held banners reading, “No to Henoko.” They demanded the base be removed from the prefecture altogether.
One protester, Akemi Kitajima, told the press: “We must stop this construction. The government is trying to force the plan, no matter how strongly Okinawa says ‘no’ to it.” The demonstrators also expressed opposition to US plans to deploy CV-22 Ospreys to the Yokota Air Base in Tokyo.
A larger protest took place on the previous Sunday, when 35,000 people gathered on Okinawa to oppose the base relocation plan. The protests began that Friday and continued throughout the weekend. On the Saturday, demonstrators marched around the Futenma base and were joined in other cities across the country by approximately 2,600 others. Besides their opposition to the base, people shouted slogans, such as “Oppose enhanced Japan-US defense ties,” directed against Japan’s turn to militarism.
Plans to move the Futenma base have been in the works since 1996, following the 1995 brutal kidnapping and rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by three US servicemen, which resulted in widespread anti-US protests. Other, less publicized crimes by US personnel have also stoked anti-US sentiment.
Okinawa, however, is on the front lines of any conflict with China. A majority of the 47,000 American troops stationed in Japan are on the island, strategically located in the East China Sea adjacent to the Chinese mainland. Okinawa plays a key role in Washington’s “pivot to Asia,” designed to surround China militarily and economically subordinate it to US interests.
There is little chance the Obama administration would agree to relocate the Marine base off the island, especially at a time when it is engaged in provocations with China. The relocation of the base, which was outlined in a 2006 agreement between the US and Japanese governments, has provoked persistent protests. The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) came to office in 2009 promising to revise the agreement, but the Obama administration refused point blank to discuss the issue with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, and worked to undermine him. He was forced to accept the 2006 deal, then resigned in June 2010. His DPJ replacement, Naoto Kan, quickly reaffirmed his full support for the US alliance.
The current Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) government has not only made clear that the base relocation will proceed. It has stepped-up the remilitarization of Japan, acting in concert with Washington as part of the US “pivot” against China.
The recent demonstrations have been organized by citizens groups with ties to the Okinawan prefectural government. Governor Takeshi Onaga was elected last November as an independent, largely on his opposition to the Futenma base and its relocation. He is formerly of the ruling LDP and draws support from the conservative Shinpukai faction that left the LDP due to its support for the Okinawan bases.
Onaga is not opposed to the military alliance with the United States, nor to Japanese militarism. His is simply making the limited, parochial demand that the Marine base be moved to another location in Japan. Onaga recently declared: “I fully understand (the importance) of the Japan-US alliance. You should never break it down.”
At the same time, the governor has fostered illusions in the possibility of a shift by Washington. Onaga said recently: “Only Okinawa is burdened with this heavy load, and I want to let the United States, a democratic nation, know about this unfair situation.”
Despite his explicit backing for US militarism, Onaga has been backed by the Japanese Communist Party and the Social Democratic Party, both of which posture as opponents of Japanese re-militarization. They function as a political safety valve. The protests allow people to blow off steam while the governor plays to Okinawans’ sense of mistreatment at the hands of the mainland.
For politicians like Onaga, the battle over the bases also provides a pretext for land grabs. Nearly one-fifth of Okinawa is covered in US military bases, taking up territory that the wealthy elite would rather use to turn a profit. The governor views the bases as the “biggest impediment” to increased business opportunities.
Onaga hopes to turn the island into a hub for tourism, which means more hotels, restaurants, and other businesses to cater for visitors, as well as construction deals. In 2013, a record 6.58 million tourists visited Okinawa while the number of overseas visitors jumped 64 percent to 630,000 over the previous year. In total, tourism accounted for 448 billion yen ($US3.87 billion) in revenue during the 2013 fiscal year.
Onaga is seeking to attract foreign investment. He visited China in April as a delegate for the Association for the Promotion of International Trade Japan. Before the visit, an Okinawa prefectural government spokesperson stated:
“We would like to take this opportunity [of Onaga’s visit] to promote economic exchanges between Okinawa and China. We hope companies use special economic zones in China and Okinawa to trade with each other.”
Onaga is offering up the Okinawan people as a source of cheap labor. Okinawa is the poorest prefecture in Japan with an unemployment rate twice as high as on the mainland. “Companies were attracted by subsidies, low labor costs, and the abundant workforce,” Takehide Kinjo told the Wall Street Journal last November. Kinjo is president of Dinos Cecile Communications Company, based in Uruma City, an hour north of Naha, Okinawa’s capital.
Local investors are eager to get their hands on the land now occupied by the Futenma base. “Expectations are rising for redevelopment projects on the land after it is vacated,” an Okinawan bank official told the Asahi Shimbun. “Futenma has good transport connections, and the average land price there can rise higher than that in Naha’s new city center.” Naha’s city center, once the site of residences for US military personnel, now hosts shopping malls and duty-free shops offering luxury brands.
Okinawans have for decades had a strained relationship both with Japan and the United States. Known as the Ryukyu Kingdom until it was annexed by Imperial Japan in 1879, the island saw heavy combat at the end of World War II, during which more than 100,000 civilians were killed. Following the war, Okinawa remained under direct US control until 1972, two decades after the US occupation ended in the rest of Japan.
Now that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death for his involvement in the Boston Marathon Bombing, and the lengthy inevitable Death Row appeals process begins, the investigative work for conscientious journalists continues as well.
As readers of WhoWhatWhy know the case is chock full of unresolved issues, inconsistencies, and anomalies that cast doubt on whether we learned even the most basic truths of what happened on April 15, 2013, or why. Perhaps most troubling is the FBI’s successful effort to minimize its prior relationship with Tsarnaev’s dead older brother, Tamerlan—a relationship that demands focused attention because of the Bureau’s long, documented history of placing its own assets inside violent plots as infiltrators or informants. A cast of “highly interesting” secondary characters have behaved oddly enough that any serious inquiry would focus on them.
One in particular draws our attention: a Chechen native who immigrated with his family to Chelsea, MA in 2004, Viskhan Vakhabov. He received a telephone call from Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the bombings’ alleged senior conspirator, at an incredibly important moment: right after Tsarnaev allegedly shot an MIT patrol officer and was about to commit a carjacking.
Yet federal authorities have bizarrely shown almost no interest in Vakhabov. Indeed, the FBI and Justice Department seemed only too glad to let the man avoid testifying in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial. It is hard to see why those seeking the truth could possibly not consider Vakhabov crucial. The government appears to be shielding a man who may have crucial knowledge about the case, which supposedly was a “lone wolves” operation limited to the two brothers.
“I don’t have any comments or anything to talk about,” Vakhabov told WhoWhatWhy via phone.
Earlier, the government said that Vakhabov lied to the FBI about “matters of great import” relating to the Boston bombing investigation, according to a court transcript. But when Vakhabov refused to testify in court, citing his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, the prosecution fought to keep his FBI statements from being admitted into evidence.
Reporters line up outside the courthouse in Boston where the Marathon bombing trial took place. None have yet spoken with Viskhan Vakhabov, who declined to testify at the trial though he received a phone call from the convicted bomber immediately following the attacks. Photo credit: Jill Vaglica
What could possibly be self-incriminating about Vakhabov’s statements to the FBI, if the Tsarnaevs (as the government claims), acted alone? Vakhabov spoke with the Tsarnaev brothers on their secret cell phones two hours before the carjacking on Brighton Avenue. Could Vakhabov have been in any way involved? If so, why hasn’t he faced any criminal charges?
Particularly interesting is that the government heavily redacted Vakhabov’s FBI 302 interview summary form. It could contain crucial and “self-incriminating” information relating to the bombing investigation—and specifically, the carjacking allegedly perpetrated by the Tsarnaevs after video with their images was released by the FBI three days after the bombings.
In order to justify that Vakhabov should be dismissed as an unreliable witness, prosecutor William Weinreb revealed in court some tantalizing facts about him. “I think it’s undisputed that Tamerlan Tsarnaev contacted him on April 18th, I believe, between the time that Officer Collier was murdered and the time that Dun Meng was carjacked,” Weinreb said. “And he has given quite inconsistent statements about what that conversation was about and about what Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have asked him or said to him.”
Why would Tamerlan Tsarnaev contact this man—or any person—while subject to an intense manhunt? Obviously, that call should have been important to investigators, perhaps even a crucial indicator of a larger conspiracy.
That phone call wasn’t even the only significant interaction between the two. According to phone records released by the DOJ last month, Weinreb failed to mention that the Tsarnaevs called Vakhabov from the prepaid “burner” cell phone account they opened in order to coordinate the bombings. Vakhabov is the only person they spoke with using the “burner” phone. Why did the brothers deem it acceptable to contact Vakhabov with this cell phone? If he had nothing to do with their actions, why not just call his number on their regular cell phones?
Last month, FBI Special Agent Chad Fitzgerald testified that Dzhokhar, or at least the phone registered under the name “Jahar Tsarni,” placed an 88-second call to someone at a number in the 617 (Boston) area code. This number traces back to Vakhabov. It was the first call Dzhokhar made on this burner cell phone since the day of the bombings. And, according to phone records released in court, Vakhabov’s number is the only one Dzhokhar called on this phone (other than his brother Tamerlan) since he opened the account on April 14.
*857-928-4634 is Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s cell phone
Vakhabov has registered numerous websites to the address of 26 Park Vale Avenue, Allston, which is more or less a five-minute walk from the spot where Tamerlan allegedly carjacked Dun Meng’s Mercedes at 60 Brighton Avenue.
Given his proximity in time and location to the Brighton Avenue carjacking, could Vakhabov know more about the brothers’ plans or in some other way be connected?
Despite the wave of arrests, brutal profiling, and harsh crackdown on Tsarnaevs’ former friends for the slightest infraction in the FBI’s Boston bombing investigation, the government decided to let Vakhabov go. It also heavily objected to admitting his 302 FBI interview report into evidence at Tsarnaev’s trial, despite the fact that this report contains statements of “great import,” according to the government itself. Why?
Vakhabov remains free, and the government has acted to keep his “self-incriminating” statements to the FBI from being admitted into evidence at court. This kid-glove treatment is in sharp contrast to the way the feds have treated Khairullozhon Matanov and Robel Phillipos, two former friends of the Tsarnaev brothers who have been charged with lying during a terrorism investigation.
Matanov allegedly called the Tsarnaevs 40 minutes after the bombing, and invited them to dinner. He initially lied to the FBI about the fact that he had driven the Tsarnaevs to dinner, downplayed the extent to which he shared a similar philosophical justification for jihad as the suspected bombers, and deleted his computer history during the week of the bombing, according to his indictment. Downplaying one’s religious and philosophical views does not violate any laws; indeed, it’s a First Amendment right. Through these actions, the government claims Matanov intentionally misled investigators and destroyed evidence. But was Matanov’s computer history as important to the Boston bombing investigation as Vakhabov’s misleading statements to the FBI?
Where are the witnesses?
Other potentially important witnesses seem to have vanished from public view. One is the man who attended the Wai Kru gym with the brothers three days before the attack. He is now identified as Magomed Dolakov. After meeting Tamerlan Tsarnaev at a mosque in August 2012, one month after the elder Tsarnaev returned from a six-month trip to Russia, Dolakov regularly discussed radical Islam with him. Is this not a matter of great import?
Tsarnaev’s defense had hoped to utilize Dolakov’s 302 report, but it too is unavailable, according to the court trial transcript. Neither the government nor the defense can locate Dolakov, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense attorney Miriam Conrad told the court.
Given the extensive surveillance and even harassment of the Tsarnaevs’ former friends and associates by the the FBI, the inability of the government to learn Dolakov’s whereabouts is striking. Investigators used a single spy drone to monitor Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s friend Khairullozhon Matanov at his home in the Boston suburb of Quincy for over a year after the bombing. This surveillance led to his arrest in May 2014, and to his guilty plea to the charge of making false statements in a federal terrorism investigation. Clearly, the authorities have the surveillance resources to locate Dolakov, if they wanted to. So why the hands-off treatment? If Dolakov had any prior knowledge of the marathon attacks from his regular discussions about jihad with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, why would the FBI not be interested in him? Could he have been an informant for the FBI? Given that Dolakov met Tamerlan Tsarnaev at the mosque right after his return from six months in Russia, odds say it’s possible.
Is the government really unable to locate these witnesses? Are they under any sort of protection? If yes, from whom, and for what purpose?
Who is the third friend?
Dolakov reportedly told the FBI that he and Tamerlan Tsarnaev hung out with an unnamed third friend and discussed topics relating to Islamic terrorism.
In August 2012, according to Boston.com, “Dolakov said he and Tamerlan went to a Quincy mosque together, after which they relaxed on a nearby beach with a third friend and discussed a recent suicide bombing.”
Khairullozhon Matanov lived and worked in Quincy. Could he be that unnamed “third friend”? If yes, what could he know about the relationship between Magomed Dolakov and Tamerlan Tsarnaev? Why did the FBI monitor Khairullozhon for over a year after the bombings before arresting him? Were they afraid Matanov would blow the whistle on matters of great import?
Historically, the FBI has targeted Muslim immigrants like Matanov to recruit informants. Refusing such recruitment is often a choiceless choice, with some recorded instances of the FBI torturing those who refuse.
After refusing to wear a wire for the FBI to speak with a former friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, another Chechen friend of Tamerlan, Konstantin Morozov, was detained. Morozov told the Boston Globe that the FBI offered to accept his application for political asylum if he cooperated.
Crackdown on Tsarnaevs Friends
Despite the official narrative adamantly claiming that the Tsarnaevs were lone wolves, the specifics of the FBI’s investigation show evidence to the contrary. There have been eight reported instances in which the Tsarnaevs’ friends and associates have faced charges for allegedly helping the brothers and misleading the FBI in its investigation.
Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov were charged in May 2013 with obstruction of justice and conspiracy after Kadyrbayev allegedly removed from the younger Tsarnaev’s dorm room and threw away a Jansport backpack that had shortly before been emptied of illegal fireworks. But, Assistant US Attorney B. Stephanie Siegmann said neither of the friends’ DNA was found on it.
Dzhokhar’s friend Phillipos denied knowledge that Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov had removed the Jansport backpack from Tsarnaev’s UMass Dartmouth dorm room. Phillipos now faces up for 16 years in prison for these statements to the FBI.
If Vakhabov lied to the FBI about matters material to the investigation, why does the government refuse to prosecute him, while expending great time, effort and expense to imprison all these other men on what appear to be petty matters?
Correction: An earlier version of this article was incorrectly edited to include an erroneous reference to an additional call to Mr. Vakhabov. In fact, Tamerlan Tsarnaev called Vakhabov only once (using Dzhokhar’s phone)—on April 18.
By Jens Jerndal, spokesman for the political party Unity (Enhet)
The present Swedish debate about war refugees from the Middle East is an example of peer restricted expression. In the name of political correctness or perceived decency, any questioning of maximum generosity in opening Swedish borders for the refugees is indignantly rejected by the official mainstream. We have a humanitarian duty towards those who are forced to flee from areas ravaged by war, and there is no excuse for not opening our borders to them. – Sure.
BUT, what about exercising our brains and identifying the root of the evil? What about trying to stop the refugee problem from arising in the first place? – What about applying an overall holistic perspective to detect the real, original cause of the problem? – And demand that those who caused the problem also take care of its consequences? – And that they immediately stop causing any more of it?
Our politically mandated media will not discuss who is ultimately responsible for the endless stream of refugees. OK, they have us believe that it is all caused by terrorist organizations, by Muslim fanatics, against whom all the military might of the world is powerless.
And yet, we don´t need to be very brilliant or dig very deep to clearly see who and what is the real cause of today´s refugee problem.
Who caused the devastation of Iraq with a million dead and many more mutilated, disabled, bereaved, and homeless? – Admittedly without reason or provocation.
Who caused the same thing in Libya, and now in Syria?
Not to mention Afghanistan and several more countries in Africa.
A dozen years before his recent sentencing to a 42-month prison term based on a jury’s conclusion that he gave classified information to a New York Times journalist, former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was in the midst of a protracted and fruitless effort to find someone in Congress willing to look into his accusations about racial discrimination at the agency.
ExposeFacts.org has obtained letters from Sterling to prominent members of Congress, beseeching them in 2003 and 2006 to hear him out about racial bias at the CIA. Sterling, who is expected to enter prison soon, provided the letters last week. They indicate that he believed the CIA was retaliating against him for daring to become the first-ever black case officer to sue the agency for racial discrimination.
As early as 2000, Sterling was reaching out toward Capitol Hill about his concerns. He received a positive response from House member Julian Dixon (D-Calif.), a former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, who expressed interest in pursuing the matter of racial discrimination at the CIA and contacted the agency about his case, Sterling says. But the 20-year member of Congress died from a heart attack on Dec. 8, 2000.
Sterling recalls getting special firing treatment in early 2002 from John Brennan, then a high-ranking CIA executive, now the agency’s director and a close adviser to President Obama: “He personally came down to the administrative office to tell me that I was fired. Someone told me that, ‘Well, you pulled on Superman’s cape.’”
Soon after the CIA fired him, the New York Times, People magazine and CNN reported on Sterling’s lawsuit charging the CIA with racial discrimination. But Sterling found no support from civil rights organizations.
In a letter dated Jan. 9, 2003, to Al Sharpton’s National Action Network, Sterling recalled joining the CIA in 1993 “to serve my country” — “but the clubby and racially exclusive atmosphere in the Agency denied me such an opportunity.”
The letter went on:
“The Agency taught me Farsi and I was trained as an expert against Iranians and terrorists. I proved my abilities as a case officer, however, when the time came for my use in the field or to move up in the ranks of officers, I was ‘too big and too black.’ That and other discriminatory treatment I received during my time at the Agency are the impetus behind my suit.”
In an interview for the new documentary “The Invisible Man: NSA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling” (which I produced on behalf of ExposeFacts), Sterling told the film’s director Judith Ehrlich that CIA leaders quickly focused on him when they learned about a leak of classified information to Times reporter James Risen in the early spring of 2003. (At the emphatic request of the Bush White House, the story was spiked by the Times leadership and did not reach the public until a book by Risen appeared in January 2006.)
“They already had the machine geared up against me,” Sterling says in the film. “The moment that they felt there was a leak, every finger pointed to Jeffrey Sterling.” He added: “If the word ‘retaliation’ is not thought of when anyone looks at the experience that I’ve had with the agency, then I just think you’re not looking.”
His letters to members of Congress, being reported here for the first time, show that Sterling was anticipating severe retribution as early as mid-2003 — more than seven years before he was indicted on numerous felony counts, including seven under the Espionage Act, for allegedly informing Risen about the CIA’s Operation Merlin. That operation had given flawed design material for a nuclear weapon component to the Iranian government in early 2000. According to Risen’s reporting, Merlin “may have been one of the most reckless operations in the modern history of the CIA.”
While the prosecution put on 23 witnesses from the CIA during Sterling’s trial in January this year, negative comments about his actual job performance at the CIA were rare during their testimony. An exception was David Cohen, who headed the CIA’s New York office when Sterling worked there. Cohen — a notably hostile witness who called Sterling’s job performance “extremely sub-par” — booted Sterling from the New York office in 2000.
Shortly after 9/11, Cohen left the CIA to head up a New York Police Department program that drew strong criticism and opposition from civil liberties groups. In 2002, as my colleague Marcy Wheeler wrote, Cohen
“got a federal court to relax the Handschu guidelines, which had been set up in 1985 in response to NYPD’s targeting of people for their political speech. … After getting the rules relaxed, Cohen created teams of informants that infiltrated mosques and had officers catalog Muslim-owned restaurants, shops, and even schools.”
The CIA fired Sterling in January 2002 after many months of administrative limbo. His letters the following year reflected escalating disappointment and anger at an absence of interest from members of Congress as well as from civil rights organizations including the Rainbow Push Coalition and the NAACP. Sterling says that none answered his letters.
“It has … become apparent there is a general fear of taking on the CIA,” said a June 26, 2003 letter from Sterling to the then-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).
“As a result, I have been engaged in a solitary and completely one-sided battle against the Agency that has left me ruined. There has been no one to stand with me either out of fear or ignorance. At every turn, the Agency has attempted to denigrate me and get rid of my case.”
(Sterling’s lawsuit was to continue along a convoluted judicial path for over two more years, until a court finally dismissed it on grounds that a trial would reveal state secrets.)
Sterling says he never got a reply from Rep. Cummings.
“Congressman Cummings does not recall receiving such a letter,” his press secretary Trudy Perkins told me this week.
Sterling’s letter to Cummings came two months after the White House had succeeded at persuading the Times management not to publish Risen’s story on Operation Merlin. Meanwhile, the government was searching for someone to blame for the leak. “Now it seems I am part of a leak investigation being conducted by FBI,” Sterling’s letter said. “Apparently, information related to very sensitive operations I was instrumental in conducting was leaked to the press thereby causing the FBI to launch an investigation.”
The letter added:
“As I have absolutely nothing to hide, I agreed to meet with the FBI to show my veracity and assist in their investigation. During that meeting, it was apparent that CIA has been instrumental in pointing the finger directly at me as a source of this leak. Though the FBI Agents conducting the session emphasized that I was not the target of their investigation, it was more than obvious to me that I will be the one to eventually take the fall.”
The indictment of Jeffrey Sterling came seven and a half years later, at the end of 2010.
Testimony at Sterling’s trial showed that the FBI did little or no investigation of other individuals who had extensive knowledge of Operation Merlin. For instance, the then-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Pat Roberts (R-KS), shielded the committee’s chief of staff by successfully insisting that the FBI not interview him about the leak — even though, or perhaps because, investigators viewed the committee’s chief of staff as a key suspect. Trial testimony showed that the FBI had initially suspected that the leak came from the Senate committee staff.
On July 17, 2003 — four months after the U.S. invasion of Iraq — Sterling sent a letter to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), who had recently been chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and remained its ranking member. “Given the courage you have displayed along with a few other Senators in speaking out about the current intelligence controversy related to Iraqi WMD,” Sterling wrote, “I feel that you would be an appropriate Senator to reach out to. What I have to say is substantially related to the current debate about WMD intelligence.”
At Sterling’s trial four months ago, Judge Leonie Brinkema effectively barred defense efforts to present information related to Sterling’s concerns about such matters. But those concerns are evident in Sterling’s letter to Sen. Levin, which addressed issues of CIA activities related to weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East region.
Sterling’s letter to Levin stated that “since April 2000” — just two months after Operation Merlin gave flawed nuclear weapon design information to Iran —
“I have been reaching out to numerous members of Congress including both intelligence committees to bring to their attention my concerns about the CIA’s efforts directed at terrorism (focus on pre 9/11) and dangers of certain operations, particularly involving WMD in the Middle East. My efforts all fell upon deaf ears.”
The letter continued:
“Finally, after close to three years of trying, I gained an audience with the Senate Intelligence Committee — more specifically, Committee staffers this past March. I told them my concerns and provided necessary details and specifics. I pointed out though I had extensive experience in Iranian operations, the WMD information had significant impact on intelligence related to Iraq.”
(Sterling had gone through legal channels to meet with Senate Intelligence Committee staffers. A dozen years later, testimony at Sterling’s trial revealed that only negligible action had resulted. A high-ranking committee staff member told of asking the CIA if its Operation Merlin was problematic, and predictably the CIA replied that the operation was just fine.)
Shortly after he met with Senate committee staff, Sterling’s letter to Sen. Levin said,
“in early April the information was evidently leaked to the press. I have no idea what the staffers did with the information, but it is difficult for me to assume that the leak did not somehow originate from the Senate Intelligence Committee. From the frantic way the CIA threatened my attorney with sanctions and threats to send their security folks to pay me a visit, it was clear that CIA automatically assumed I was the source of the leak without even confirming that I had talked with individuals cleared to hear the information. …
“I have been trying to do the right thing, and I found myself in the middle of a firestorm involving the [Bush] Administration and the highest levels of CIA and FBI. Given the current debate on intelligence and the credibility of the President, I can certainly understand the attempts to make me just ‘go away.’ Despite the great personal risk I am undertaking reaching out to you, I feel it my duty to bring to your attention information that is vital to the national security of this country. I feel this especially given the way the President and the administration has skewed the truth with regard to WMD intelligence.”
Sterling’s letter to Levin noted that “as a Senator, you should have the proper clearance for me to discuss intelligence matters with you,” and closed with a one-sentence paragraph: “I do hope to hear from you soon.”
Sterling told me that he never heard from Sen. Levin.
Likewise, Sterling says, he received no reply to the October 2, 2006 letter that he sent to Rep. Mel Watt (D-NC), who then chaired the Congressional Black Caucus. (Watt, like Levin, is no longer in Congress.) That year had begun with publication of Risen’s book “State of War,” followed by an FBI raid on the home near St. Louis that Sterling shared with his then-fiancee and current wife Holly. “Now there is a federal grand jury sitting attempting to come up with something to indict me on,” Sterling wrote. Recalling how his discrimination suit was tossed out of court on “national security” grounds, he added: “I think it is deplorable how I am denied the opportunity to utilize the courts to defend my civil rights, yet they can use the same system to most likely charge me with a supposed crime.”
Like his going through channels to file an internal complaint with the CIA and then a court lawsuit alleging racial discrimination at the agency, Sterling’s going through channels to express concerns to the Senate Intelligence Committee was to be repeatedly used against him during the January 2015 trial that resulted in a prison sentence of three and a half years. Inside the courtroom, in front of the jury, the prosecution often cited his lawsuit and his contact with Senate Intelligence Committee staffers as clear indications of bitterness, vengefulness and motive for taking the actions alleged in the indictment.
At the CIA and the Justice Department, authorities routinely depicted Jeffrey Sterling as a “disgruntled” employee. During interviews for “The Invisible Man,” he addressed how that depiction has played out for him:
“I think the label ‘disgruntled’ came from the moment that I complained, in any aspect. I was not being part of the team. … People say that individuals play the race card. What about the other side of that? The race card was certainly being played with me. And you can say it was the white race card because I wasn’t white. They had all those cards. … And if there isn’t going to be a true, real, honest investigation with any veracity, the natural conclusion is going be ‘disgruntled.’ It’s a very easy label to place.”
Norman Solomon’s books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He is executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy and coordinates its ExposeFacts project. Solomon is a co-founder of RootsAction.org, which has encouraged donations to the Sterling Family Fund. Disclosure: After the guilty verdict four months ago, Solomon used his frequent-flyer miles to get plane tickets for Holly and Jeffrey Sterling so they would be able to go home to St. Louis.
Image: Judge James Boasberg (photo Diego M. Radzinschi-National Law Journal)
A federal judge has thwarted an attempt to force the release of the Senate report on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture program.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s full report on the CIA interrogation program. The executive summary of the report was previously made public, albeit with numerous redactions.
But U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg rejected the ACLU’s request, ruling the report remains a congressional record and thus isn’t subject to the FOIA. When Congress created FOIA in 1966, it made sure to exempt the legislative branch from its provisions.
Boasberg, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, appears to be the go-to judge if you don’t want something released to the public. Judicial Watch filed an FOIA request in 2011 to force the release of images of Osama Bin Laden’s death and burial, but Boasberg ruled (pdf) against the group.
“A picture may be worth a thousand words. And perhaps moving pictures bear an even higher value. Yet, in this case, verbal descriptions of the death and burial of Osama Bin Laden will have to suffice, for this Court will not order the release of anything more,”
Boasberg wrote to begin his decision.
In his latest ruling, Boasberg said letters sent to the CIA in 2009 and last year by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), the former Senate intelligence chairman, revealed Congress has not relinquished control over the report, according to Josh Gerstein of Politico.
“Her  letter does not evince Congressional intent to surrender substantial control over the Full SSCI report,” Boasberg wrote.
“While it does bestow a certain amount of discretion upon the agencies to determine how broadly to circulate the Report, such discretion is not boundless. Most significantly, the dissemination authorized by the letter is limited to the Executive Branch alone. It plainly does not purport to authorize the agencies to dispose of the Report as they wish — e.g. to the public at large.”
Feinstein has said she has no objections to the report being released, but she’s no longer in charge of the Senate intelligence panel, which now is led by Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. Burr opposes the report’s release to the public and has fought to have copies that were sent to federal agencies returned to his committee.
While many eagerly await the day when China will finally reveal its latest official gold holdings, a number which when made public will be orders of magnitude higher than its last 2009 disclosure of just over 1,000 tons, or less even than Russia, China continues to plough ahead with agreements and arrangements to obtain even more gold in the coming years.
Exhibit A: two weeks ago, Xinhua reported that China National Gold Group Corporation announced it has signed an agreement with Russian gold miner Polyus Gold to deepen ties in gold exploration. The companies will cooperate in mineral resource exploration, technical exchanges and materials supply, the largest gold producer of China said.
Polyus Gold is the largest gold producer in Russia and one of the world’s top 10 gold miners.
The agreement between the two gold miners is one of many deals signed between China and Russia in energy, transportation, space, finance and media exchanges during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia from May 8 to May 10.
“China’s Belt and Road Initiative brings unprecedented opportunities for the gold industry. There is ample room for cooperation with neighboring countries, and we have advantages in technique, facilities, cash, and talents,” said Song Xin, general manager of China National Gold Group Corporation.
In light of such developments, it is little wonder there has been increasing chatter in recent months that Russia and China are setting the stage for a gold-backed currency, in preparation for the day the Dollar reserve hegemony finally ends (a hegemony whose demise is accelerating with every incremental physical gold repatriation such as those of Germany, the Netherlands, and now Austria).
And now, Exhibit B: overnight Xinhua also reported that a gold sector fund involving countries along the ancient Silk Road has been set up in northwest China’s Xi’an City during an ongoing forum on investment and trade this weekend. (read more about the “New Silk Road” which could change global economics forever here). The fund, led by Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE), is expected to raise an estimated 100 billion yuan (16.1 billion U.S. Dollars) in three phases. The amount of capital allocated to nothing but physical gold purchases (without plans for financial paper intermediation a la western ETFs) will be the largest in the world.
The billions of dollars in allocated funding will come from roughly 60 countries that have invested in the fund, which will in turn facilitate gold purchase for the central banks of member states to increase their holdings of the precious metal, according to the SGE.
As Xinhua notes, China is the world’s largest gold producer, and also a major importer and consumer of gold. Among the 65 countries along the routes of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, there are numerous Asian countries identified as important reserve bases and consumers of gold.
“China does not have a big say in gold pricing because it accounts for a small share of international gold trade,” said Tang Xisheng of the Industrial Fund Management Co. “Therefore, the Chinese government seeks to increase the influence of RMB in gold pricing by opening the domestic gold market to international investors.”
As a reminder, the reason why China has been aggressively building out and expanding its Shanghai Gold Exchange is precisely that: to shift the global gold trading center away from London (and certainly the US where only paper gold is relevant these days) and to its own native soil: China’s ambition is nothing short of becoming the world’s new gold trading hub.
In other to do that, it is already setting up the regional infrastructure to facilitate such a goal: according to Tang, the fund will invest in gold mining in countries along the Silk Road, which will increase exploration in countries such as Afghanistan and Kazakhstan.
The good news for China is that with the BIS and virtually all “developed” central banks in desperate need of keeping the price of gold as low as possible while they debase their own paper currencies to unprecedented levels over fears of faith in fiat evaporating, China’s gold fund will be able to procure gold for its members at a very reasonable price until such time as the lack of physical gold supply can no longer be swept away by mere paper shorting of the yellow metal.
Gary Null has been a popular, longtime radio host with the longest running health talk show which airs on Progressive Radio Network. He has authored and directed dozens upon dozens of books and documentaries.
A few weeks ago, he was asked as an honored guest on Bonnie Faulkner’s show, Guns and Butter which talks about the politics of economics and airs on Pacifica KPFA public radio stations. In the spirit of truth, Bonnie wanted listeners to hear the other side of the vaccine talk, not the “case closed” version. What you’re not being told about vaccines. And specifically SB277, the California bill to mandate vaccines for virtually all Californian school children. Who better to ask then Null, an alternative health expert, medical activist and Pacifica veteran?
When it came time to air, however, they were told they weren’t allowed – or rather, they were outright censored and the show was cut – the first time for Guns and Butter in over 11 years. But Bonnie could not let this breach of truth rest…
Bonnie went on the Gary Null Show and they did a “reverse interview.” Bonnie then interviewed Gary and they both shared the Sound Cloud file to their listeners. Listen to the banned talk with updated information on SB277 and the censorship here, while you read what happened next…
Over the years we’ve advanced the discussions and told the truth about historical moments of political impasse, racial tensions and economic inequality.
But not if it’s politically incorrect or goes against what’s popular, eh? Not very public radio-y of them… Listeners did not donate to have hard-hitting info yanked from their ears.
To make matters worse, KPFA Program Director, Laura Prives, publicly declared [bottom of page] her reasons for the cut and aired her ignorance as a result. It is clear that she must have done a lazy Google search as she is quoting directly from propagandist Website Quackwatch run by anti-alternative therapy psychiatrist Stephen Barrett – always somehow #1 on Google. Or maybe she found Null’s Wikipedia entry which is only a harsh, heavily skewed rehash of…Quackwatch. Without knowing anything about Null’s work, she declares he has no credentials, has unsound theories and his work is only a vehicle to hawk products.
She says the station has a “serious responsibility to provide its listeners with accurate, science-based information on public health, most especially on issues that could potentially cause harm to people.” She says it’s not censorship but “protecting the airwaves from mis-information and from people who stand to profit by offering dubious remedies to sick and vulnerable listeners.” !!! Because pharmaceutical companies who have the media on a short leashnever do that…
Lewis Hill [founder] would have been appalled at the blatant censorship imposed upon Bonnie Faulkner and myself, especially in light of the California senate’s recent passage of a bill that destroys Californians’ freedom of health choices for their children. Had I been allowed the opportunity to present the independent science opposing Big Pharma’s spurious claims for vaccine efficacy and safety, there might have been enough support from KPFA listeners to have delayed or thwarted the bill’s sponsors from passing it.
In the spirit of uncensored info-sharing, Guns and Butter blog also shared the following resource links:
The title is of course a little misleading because China has many options, none of which except one in my opinion will actually work. Options to what exactly you ask? Options to a collapsing global economy and an imploding financial system which will surely affect China as much as anywhere else, but with one caveat. I take these events as a given, others do not but betting against an outright panic and global bankruptcy is betting against pure mathematics itself.
Let’s back up a little bit and look at where China is currently. They are the second largest economy in the world (maybe the largest, we can’t really know because the numbers here, there, and everywhere are made up). China is by far THE largest manufacturer in the world and also an enormous exporter. China is also in a three horse race as to who owns the most U.S. Treasuries with Japan and unbelievably the Federal Reserve itself. They have an oversized shadow banking system which has already been shown as fraudulent in several cases regarding copper, zinc and lead as “collateral” (or not).
The Chinese also have a stock market bubble boiling that makes the tulip craze look tame. Because of sheer size of the country, they are opening something like four million brokerage accounts per month. In recent days they have had several stocks hit new highs only to drop 50-60% or more in just one day. In fact, they had one company stock hit a new high and then go to ZERO the following day because it was discovered their books were cooked to a crisp.
We also know China is a huge importer of gold AND the largest producer of gold in the world. NONE of their production ever leaves their borders. There have been estimates of gold tonnage held by many. Alisdair Mcleod believes they may have 25,000 tons or more, I personally believe it is possible if you include legacy or “elders” gold. Others believe the number is closer to the 5,000 ton range. My belief is that 10,000 tons is a justifiable number and very easily proven, if this is true, much of it had come from the U.S. and other Western sources and thus depleting the reserves.
I assume the number is 10,000 tons or more, this is a safe number in my mind. I think it is also a safe bet to say the U.S. has sold a minimum of one half of “our” gold which would leave about 4,000 tons. If this is the case, there is already a new world order where China has as much gold as numbers 2, 3 and 4. Looking backwards in time, after the Bretton Woods agreement, the U.S. had every incentive to keep the “price” of gold down at $35. This is so and evidenced by the old saying “it’s as good as gold”. The saying originally came about as a description of the dollar. As it turns out, the dollar was NOT as good as gold, in fact it was not as good as anything, even a cup of coffee. The dollar was overprinted and abused (inflated) by politicians (the Fed) in order to hide anything and everything “bad”. This worked until we hit the wall, let’s call this wall “debt saturation”. Now, the process is reversing and will end in a massive deflation versus real money while fiat currencies follow their issuers into insolvency.
Getting back to China, whenever they do make an announcement of how much gold they have, the yuan will appreciate greatly versus all fiat currencies. Many will pooh pooh this thought because “China will never do that, they will kill their own manufacturing base”. Let me answer this before moving forward. The Chinese are very smart people, they can see the West is hitting the debt wall. They also know that as the wall is hit and markets begin to implode, their “customers” are going to have an even harder time buying Chinese produced goods. In fact, they already know this. They already know this is happening and can see it in their trade figures …which is why they recently formed the AIIB and are working feverishly to open the “old silk road” trade route! They are simply lining up new customers from one end of the silk road to the other!
I have hypothesized many times in the past, China has built out their infrastructure and even “ghost cities” using credit. Once the credit markets begin to default, they will be left with “stuff”, in place and will last for the next 50 to 100 years. Roads, bridges, buildings, airports, ports, etc., you name it they have already built it. And yes, their stock market will crash, their real estate market is already softening, in reverse and declining. I am not saying it will be all rosy, to the contrary, there will be bankruptcies galore in China… with a caveat. The “government” of China will go through this liquidation phase with the most gold in the world.
Moving forward, since China will be hurt badly as investments default, I believe they will re price their gold higher initially. I believe marking their gold higher in terms of yuan will be their only option. They will be forced to in order to “recapitalize” themselves (and their banking system) and begin to fill in the black holes created by defaulted U.S. Treasuries and other “assets” held. You see, not only is the old saying “he who owns the gold makes the rules” true, it is also true that he who owns the gold has the ability to PRICE IT.
This has been true for so many years as the U.S. (the West) has wanted low gold prices as a show or display that their fiat currencies were “good”. Now, as the curtain goes down on the West, China will want a very high gold price in yuan for when the curtain rises again. A gold price maybe even higher than it should be will give the PBOC more power initially AND will allow them some room to inflate and grow. Please notice I am only talking about China in this paragraph. As for the dollar and other Western currencies, they will be revalued downward versus the yuan which gives gold priced in dollars a double whammy of re pricing.
Let’s tie this all together and look at the old silk road and the trade route China is focusing on. It goes from Asia, through the Middles East and into Europe. Could this be why various European nations are repatriating their gold? Not only because they have lost trust in their custodian but they also know China will put an emphasis on gold holdings in the future? What do many Asians hold as money? Yes, Gold. Indians? Gold. Arabs? Again gold. The point I am trying to make is the “old silk road” might as well be called the “yellow brick road” and one paved with gold from beginning to end! It seems to me, the only ones who don’t understand this or even disagree are Westerners and in particular, Americans. Our standard of living is about to pulled right out from under us while violently proclaiming “it can never happen”. I would say, it should have already happened but has not because we still had a few kilos left to supply the paving crew of the “Wizard of OZ paving company”.
The above was finished midday on Saturday, since then two new pieces of news have come out. First, China announced it is setting up “the world’s largest gold fund” . They will earmark $16 billon to purchase physical gold. If you do the math, this is around 500 tons or about 20% of global production. By calling it “the world’s largest gold fund”, maybe China is saying they do not believe “GLD” is real? Just an observation.
In the latest piece of news, http://rt.com/business/261289-brics-new-development-bank/ RT ran an editorial piece pointing out that China already lends more to Africa and Latin America than the World Bank and IMF combined. Is this posturing “for” the Chinese before the IMF readjusts the SDR? Seemingly disconnected pieces to the puzzle, don’t bet on it!
There’s a vicious war taking place in South America, and the weapon of choice is none other than Monsanto’s glyphosate herbicide, the primary active ingredient in the company’s nefarious Roundup formula. Reports indicate that the Colombian government’s “war on drugs”, which in that country means actively fighting the cultivation of the coca plant (which is used to manufacture cocaine), involves spraying glyphosate and other deadly chemicals from aircraft in order to forcibly kill the plants.
Little-known to the rest of the world is the fact that glyphosate is right now being used in the same way as military machine guns to target and destroy nature in one of the most bio-diverse regions of the world. And in the process, thousands of indigenous Colombians are being exposed to a chemical that the World Health Organization (WHO) recently admitted is a “probable human carcinogen,” meaning it causes cancer.
The Guardian‘s David Hill recently wrote about his experience investigating the goings on of this coca-rich region of the world, accounting how many locals there have been forced to make a lifestyle out of avoiding routine glyphosate sprayings for their own health. Aircraft blasting Monsanto’s death poisons on fields are not only damaging other crops and polluting groundwater, but they’re ultimately making the people that live in and around these areas deathly ill.
“Many people, both in Colombia and abroad, have condemned and protested the fumigations for years,” he writes, noting that Colombia has been actively using glyphosate as a weapon in the U.S.-promulgated war on drugs for more than 20 years.
“The state reasons – aside from the fact they haven’t succeeded in eradicating coca cultivation – are legion. One such reason is that they have killed 1,000s of hectares of legal crops belonging to 1,000s of campesinos, Afro-Colombians and indigenous people, and because of devastating environmental impacts including destroying soil fertility, contaminating water, and pushing coca cultivation deeper into particularly environmentally sensitive, biodiversity-rich regions like the Amazon.”
The “war on drugs” needs to end, and so does Monsanto
Similar to the disastrous consequences of “the war on drugs” that continue to plague the U.S., Colombia’s aggressive actions against a natural plant have also spurred the growth of paramilitaries, guerrillas, and violent cartels throughout Colombia, which are spreading to Ecuador and other nearby countries. The war on drugs has also vastly increased the poverty rate while contributing to widespread disease.
“We find significant effects of spraying campaigns on the probability of occurrence of dermatological problems (skin irritations, highlight burnings, etc.) and abortions,” revealed a recent study co-written by Daniel Mejia, president of the Colombian government’s Advisory Commission on Narcotics Policy, which looked at glyphosate fumigations between 2003 and 2007.
“Our results corroborate some of the results in the medical literature (e.g., the negative effects of exposure to glyphosate on dermatological problems and abortions).”
So what can we do to stop these heinous crimes against humanity? The first and most logical step would be to immediately stop “the war on drugs” and stop waging combat against nature, which ultimately amounts to endless aggression against people like you and me. Colombia has proposed removing glyphosate from its spraying endeavors based on the WHO report, but the sprayings themselves also need to stop.
You can also sign the following two petitions to have Roundup removed from the home improvement chains Home Depot and Lowe’s.
A Palestinian child from occupied East Jerusalem has lost an eye after being shot in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet fired by an Israeli soldier.
Yahiya al-Amudi, 10, was struck by the bullet as he walked near an Israeli military checkpoint in Shuafat refugee camp on Thursday last week. The boy was subsequently hospitalized “with a fractured skull, jaw and left ear and had surgery to remove his left eye,” Ma’an News Agencyreports. Al-Amudi was described as being in a critical condition.
Although Israel promotes rubber-coated and sponge-tipped bullets, tear gas and stun grenades as “non-lethal,” they “are dangerous weapons that can cause death, severe injury or damage to property if improperly used,” a B’Tselem report notes.
Between 2005 and January 2013, at least ten Palestinians were killed by “less fatal” weapons, according to the group’s statistics.
Much like al-Amudi, Suliman al-Tardi, 20, also lost his eye after Israeli forces shot him in the face with a sponge-tipped bullet last month in the Issawiyeh neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
Children and adolescents are at particular risk of severe injury from weapons like rubber-coated steel and sponge-tipped bullets.
Between January 2011 and December 2013, more than 1,500 of the estimated 8,500 Palestinians injured by weapons other than live ammunition were children, according to a report published by Amnesty International in March 2014.
In December last, a five-year-old boy, Muhammed Obeid, was shot in the face with a sponge-tipped bullet fired by an Israeli police officer as police forces clashed with local residents in the Issawiyeh neighborhood.
“From our documentation, we have discovered that Israel doesn’t abide by its own military regulations for the use of firearms and weapons like rubber-coated bullets,” he told The Electronic Intifada by telephone. “According to Israel’s rules, these weapons should not be used against women and children, but the evidence suggests that they are regularly used against them.”
Israeli forces’ use of live ammunition against Palestinians, among them children, also continues unabated. At least 35 children have been injured by live ammunition since the beginning of this year, Abu Eqtaish said.
“The most important issue is that Israeli authorities do not open legitimate investigations into these violations, so Israel shows soldiers that they are immune from any responsibility,” he added.
A September 2014 report published by the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din found that only 1.4 percent of complaints submitted to Israeli military authorities between 2010 and 2013 resulted in an indictment.
At least eleven children were killed by live ammunition in the occupied West Bank throughout 2014, according to DCI-Palestine’s statistics.
The Israeli authorities claimed he attacked them with a knife, but his family rejects the assertion and insists he was killed “in cold blood,” as The Electronic Intifada reported at the time.
Electronic Intifada Editor’s note: an earlier version of this story erroneously referred to “steel-coated bullets” in two places where it was meant to state “rubber-coated steel bullets” and “sponge-tipped bullets.” The story has since been corrected.
The New York Times‘ vision of women in the workplace. (Anna Parini)
Familiar, frustrating construction from today’s New York Times (5/26/15):
It turns out that generous maternity leave and flexible rules on part-time work can make it harder for women to be promoted — or even hired at all.
That’s one way to put it, and the article, by “Women at Work” columnist Claire Cain Miller, puts it that way repeatedly. Women are paid less in Chile as a “result” of the law that requires employers to provide childcare for working mothers. Maternity leave measures “have meant that” European women are less likely to achieve powerful positions at work. Policies intended to mitigate the penalty women pay for their traditional “dual burden,” the Times says, “end up discouraging employers from hiring women in the first place.”
The workplace repression of women is described as the “unintended” impact of family-friendly policies. Sure, such impacts weren’t intended by the policies’ drafters, but that makes it sound as though there were no conscious human beings behind decisions to pay working mothers less or not to hire women. It isn’t the policies that “make it harder” for women, but the male-centric management structure’s unwillingness to integrate those policies into the way work is done. Why not say that?
The Times suggests it might be better if employers didn’t have to pay for policies that make it possible for caregivers to earn a living, or maybe they should be “generous but not too generous.”
Finally, it floats the idea that making family-supportive measures gender-neutral might alleviate some of employers’ punitive responses. This at least starts to broach some of the societal questions—like the idea of making workplaces that support family and community life, rather than the other way around—that, in a better world, might form the starting point for such an article.
On May 26, China’s official press agency Xinhua headlined “China rolls out military roadmap of ‘active defense’ strategy,” saying:
An official white paper issued by the State Council Information Office titled “China’s Military Strategy” pledged “closer international security cooperation.”
It stressed “the principles of defense, self-defense and post-emptive strike.” It said China isn’t aggressive. It will “counterattack” if attacked.
Focus will be placed on “winning informationized local wars.” International security cooperation will be stressed “in areas crucially related to overseas interests.”
Four “critical security domains” were highlighted – “ocean, outer space, cyberspace and nuclear force.”
China’s navy will defend offshore and “open seas” waters. Cybersecurity will be prioritized.
Beijing opposes weaponizing space. It “vowed to secure its space assets.” It pledged no nuclear arms race with other countries.
It stressed a commitment to world peace and stability. It won’t “pursue military expansion.”
It fundamentally opposes hegemonism and power politics in all forms. It faces multiple complex security threats – including “illegal, military presence on China’s territory, and outside parties involving themselves in South China Sea affairs,” a clear reference to US regional meddling.
Beijing considers US South China Sea surveillance flights unacceptable provocations. The Pentagon admits flying its most advanced P-8A-Poseidon spy plane regularly in the area – monitoring Beijing activities primarily.
A May 25 state-run Global Times editorial bluntly warned:
“If the United States’ bottom line is that China has to halt its activities, then a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea.”
“China will have no choice but to engage” in response to US provocations. Beijing’s waters are its own. Its message says it won’t tolerate US intervention where it doesn’t belong.
China is concerned about America’s increasing Asia/Pacific presence as well as Japan’s intent on “overhauling its military and security policies” cooperatively with Washington.
“(A)nti-China forces have never given up their attempt to instigate a color revolution” against Beijing, the white paper said. The risk of potential conflict is real.
Hawkish US senators want a comprehensive anti-China strategy adopted. In a letter to Defense Secretary Carter, they said “longstanding interests of the United States, as well as our allies and partners, stand at considerable risk.”
They want Beijing challenged in its own part of the world – perhaps belligerently. On the one hand, they slam China’s legitimate military presence in its own territory.
On the other, they ignore menacing US bases, nuclear-armed navy and tens of thousands of US combat troops close to China’s borders – a direct threat to its security.
Last week, US Pacific Command (PACOM) hosted military officials from 22 Asia/Pacific countries in Hawaii. China notably was excluded.
A symposium discussed amphibious military strategies, tactics and capabilities. A US marines amphibious assault demonstration was featured.
Washington aims to integrate amphibious operations with Pacific area nations and ally them against China’s growing regional strength and influence.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said Washington may expand military patrols in Pacific rim waters – including around China’s Spratly Archipelago land reclamation project involving construction of artificial islands atop coral reefs.
US Pacific fleet commander Admiral Harry Harris accused Beijing of building a “great wall of sand” in disputed waters.
He claimed “the scope and pace of building man-made islands raises serious questions about Chinese intentions.”
The area involved is 1.5 square miles. “How China proceeds will be a key indicator of whether the region is heading towards confrontation or cooperation.” Harris said.
America’s belligerent presence risks the former. Apparently nothing was learned from lost Korean and Southeast Asian wars.
China justifiably claims the right to build in its own territorial waters – “indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha (Spratly) Islands and adjacent waters,” it says.
Washington has no right to meddle in a part of the world not its own. China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said America should avoid “risky and provocative approaches to maintain regional peace and stability.”
She stressed China will defend its territorial sovereignty. Unauthorized intrusions will be challenged.
Longstanding US overreach may lead to direct confrontation with China. The risk of potential conflict is real.
Experts on Sunday warned of a potential military conflict over heightened US surveillance in the South China Sea and cautioned that both sides should try their best to avoid miscalculation in the world’s most important bilateral relations.
Analysts believe that recent US military activity is another example of how the US is struggling to maintain the status quo while coping with the rise of China as a global power. They urge the US to face up to the reality that China is becoming a maritime power and that China’s determination to protect its sovereignty should not be underestimated.
“The South China Sea issue makes up a small portion of Sino-US ties,” wrote Cen Shaoyu, an international relations commentator. “Leaders from both countries should understand that the future of China and the US, as well as the future of Asia, are far beyond just that.”
China electronically jammed Global Hawk long-range surveillance drones spying on China’s Nansha Islands, a possible attempt to capture a Global Hawk by causing one to crash in shallow waters, or to snatch one in flight using a manned aircraft, The Washington Free Beacon reported on Friday.
Disclosure of the jamming came as a US P-8A anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft flew over waters off China’s Nansha Islands for reconnaissance activities on Wednesday.
It is the US that travelled thousands of miles to China’s doorstep to force China to safeguard national territorial sovereignty and maritime interests, Peng Guangqian, a specialist in military strategy at the PLA Academy of Military Science, told the Global Times.
“China’s responses were justified acts of self-defense when the US flights approached China’s territory and were in accordance with international practice,” Tao Wenzhao, a research fellow with the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times.
China will very likely strike back if the US comes within 12 miles of the islands, Peng said, adding that the US was deliberately provoking China.
“The US provocation has boosted the chance of military confrontation between Beijing and Washington,” Zhu Feng, director of the Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea Studies under Nanjing University, told the Global Times.
Once China dispatches aircraft to drive away the US fighters, both sides are likely to exchange fire due to high flight speed, Zhu said.
“The reconnaissance conducted by the US military aircraft poses a potential threat to the security of China’s maritime features, and is highly likely to cause miscalculation, or even untoward maritime and aerial incidents,” Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told a regular press conference on Friday.
The presence of the US military in the South China Sea also encouraged countries neighboring the waters to increase military build-up, making the region more unstable and deterring peaceful settlement through dialogue, said Jin Canrong, vice director of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China.
The Pentagon’s moves came after US Secretary of State John Kerry finished his two-day visit to China on May 17. Kerry reaffirmed the US government’s stance of not taking sides on the South China Sea issue and said the same stance will apply to other parties involved in the dispute, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
“The conflicting attitudes adopted by the US government and its military demonstrated the disunity within the US,” Jin said.
“Of course the involvement of great powers outside the region complicates the South China Sea situation. However, the involvement of major countries also means more convoluted interests are at stake when it comes to making the decision to enter military conflicts,” said Xue Li, a research fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
There is a common misconception in the West that there is only one war in Ukraine: a war between the anti-Kiev rebels of the East, and the US-backed government in Kiev. While this conflict, with all its attendant geopolitical and strategic implications has stolen the majority of the headlines, there is another war raging in the country – a war to crush all dissent and opposition to the fascist-oligarch consensus. For while in the West many so called analysts and leftists debate whether there is really fascism in Ukraine or whether it’s all just “Russian propaganda,” a brutal war of political repression is taking place.
The authorities and their fascist thug auxiliaries have carried out everything from physical intimidation, to politically motivated arrests, kidnappings, torture, and targeted assassinations. All of this has been done under the auspices of “national unity,” the convenient pretext that every oppressive regime from time immemorial has used to justify its actions. Were one to read the Western narrative on Ukraine, one could be forgiven for believing that the country’s discontent and outrage is restricted solely to the area collectively known as Donbass – the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as they have declared themselves. Indeed, there is good reason for the media to portray such a distorted picture; it legitimizes the false claim that all Ukraine’s problems are due to Russian meddling and covert militarization.
Instead, the reality is that anger and opposition to the US-backed oligarch-fascist coalition government in Kiev is deeply rooted and permeates much of Ukraine. In politically, economically, and culturally important cities such as Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, and Kherson, ghastly forms of political persecution are ongoing. However, nowhere is this repression more apparent than in the Black Sea port city of Odessa. And this is no accident.
Odessa: Center of Culture, Center of Resistance
For more than two centuries, Odessa has been the epicenter of multiculturalism in what is today called Ukraine, but what alternately was the Soviet Union and the Russian Empire. With its vibrant history of immigration and trade, Odessa has been the heart of internationalism and cultural, religious, and ethnic coexistence in the Russian-speaking world. Its significant populations of Russians, Jews, Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, Greeks, Tatars, Moldovans, Bulgarians and other ethnic and national identities made Odessa a truly international city, a cosmopolitan Black Sea port with French architecture, Ottoman influence, and rich Jewish and Russian/Soviet cultural history.
In many ways, Odessa was the quintessential Soviet city, one which, to a large extent, actually embodied the Soviet ideal enumerated in the state anthem – a city “united forever in friendship and labor.” And it is this spirit of multiculturalism and shared history which rejects the racist, chauvinist, fascist politics which now passes for standard political currency in “Democratic Ukraine.”
When in February 2014, the corrupt, though democratically elected, government of former President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a US-backed coup, the people of Odessa, just as in many other cities, began to organize counter-demonstrations against what they perceived to be a Western-sponsored oligarch-fascist alliance seizing power over their country. In the ensuing weeks and months, tens of thousands turned out into the streets to air their discontent, including massive rallies held in February, March, and April.
This inchoate movement against the new dispensation in Kiev, handpicked by the US and its European allies, culminated in two critical events: the establishment of an anti-Maidan movement calling for federalization and greater autonomy for the Odessa region, and the massacre at the Trade Unions House carried out by fascist thugs which resulted in the deaths of more than fifty anti-fascist activists and demonstrators. As a protest organizer and eyewitness recounted to this author, “That was the moment when everything changed, when we knew what Ukraine had really become.”
The brutality of the pogrom – an appropriate word considering the long and violent history of this region – could hardly be believed even by hardened anti-fascist activists. Bodies with bullet wounds found inside the burned out building, survivors beaten on the streets after their desperate escape from the flames, and myriad other horrific accounts demonstrate unequivocally that what the Western media dishonestly and disgracefully referred to as “clashes with pro-Russian demonstrators,” was in fact a massacre; one that forever changed the nature of resistance in Odessa, and throughout much of Ukraine.
No longer were protesters simply airing their grievances against an illegitimate government sponsored by foreigners. No longer were there demonstrations simply in favor of federalization and greater autonomy. Instead, the nature of the resistance shifted to one of truly anti-fascist character seeking to get the truth about Ukraine out to the world at large. Where once Odessa had been the site of peaceful demands for fairness, instead it became the site of a brutal government crackdown aimed at destroying any semblance of political protest or resistance. Indeed, May 2, 2014 was a watershed. That was the day that politics became resistance.
The Reality of the Repression
The May 2, 2014 massacre in Odessa is one of the few examples of political repression that actually garnered some attention internationally. However, there have been numerous other examples of Kiev’s brutal and illegal crackdown on dissent in the critical coastal city and throughout the country, most of which remain almost entirely unreported.
In recent weeks and months, the local authorities have engaged in politically motivated arrests of key journalists and bloggers who have presented a critical perspective on the developments in Odessa. Most prominent among them are the editors of the website infocenter-odessa.com, a locally oriented news site that has been fiercely critical of the Kiev regime and its local authorities.
In late 2014, the editor of the site, Yevgeny Anukhin, was arrested without any warrant while he was attempting to register his human rights organization with the authorities. According to various sources, the primary reasons for his arrest were his possession of video evidence of illegal shelling by Ukrainian military of a checkpoint in Kotovka, and data on his computer which included a compilation of names of political prisoners held without trial in Odessa. With no evidence or warrant, and in breach of standard legal procedures, he was arrested and charged with recruitment of insurgents against the Ukrainian state.
In May 2015, the new editor of infocenter-odessa.com Vitaly Didenko, a leftist, anti-fascist activist and journalist was also arrested on trumped up charges of drug possession which, according to multiple sources in Odessa, are entirely fabricated by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) secret police in order to create a pretext upon which to detain him. In the course of his arrest, Didenko was seriously injured, incurring several broken ribs and a broken arm. He is currently sitting in an Odessa jail, his case entirely ignored by Western media, including those organizations ostensibly committed to the protection of journalists.
Additionally, just this past weekend (May 24, 2015) there was yet another sickening display of political repression on the very spot of the May 2, 2014 massacre. Activists and ordinary Odessa citizens had been taking part in a memorial service for the victims of the tragedy when the demonstration was violently dispersed by armed men in either military or national guard uniforms (see here for photos). According to eyewitnesses, the military men instigated violence at the gathering and broke it up, all while both local police and OSCE monitors stood aside and watched. Naturally, this is par for the course in “Democratic Ukraine.”
Aside from journalists, a large number of activists have been detained, kidnapped, and/or tortured by Ukrainian authorities and their fascist goons. Key members of the Borotba (Struggle) leftist organization have been repeatedly harassed, arrested, and beaten by the police. One particularly infamous example was the detainment of Vladislav Wojciechowski, a member of Borotba and survivor of the May 2nd massacre. According to Borotba’s website,
“During the search of the apartment where he lived, explosives were planted. Nazi “self-defense” paramilitaries participated in his arrest. Vladislav was beaten, and it is possible that a confession was beaten out of him under torture. Currently, he is in SBU custody.”
He was ultimately charged with “terrorism” by the authorities after having been beaten and tortured by both Nazi goons and SBU agents.
Upon his release more than three months later in December 2014 in a “prisoner exchange” between Kiev and the eastern rebels, Wojciechowski defiantly stated,
“I am very angry with the fascist government of Ukraine, which proved once again with its barbaric acts that it is willing to wade through corpses to defend its interests and those of the West. They failed to break me! And my will has become tempered steel. Now I’m even more convinced that it is impossible to save Ukraine without defeating fascism on its territory.”
Wojciechowski was also the editor of the website 2May.org, a site dedicated to disseminating the truth about the Odessa massacre.
It should be noted though that Wojciechowski was arrested along with his comrades Pavel Shishman of the now outlawed Communist Party of Ukraine, and Nikolai Popov of the Communist Youth. These arrests should come as no surprise to observers of the political situation in Ukraine where all forms of leftist politics – the Communist party, Soviet symbols and names, etc. – have been outlawed and brutally repressed.
Kiev is not only engaged in an assault on political freedoms, but also a class war against the working class of Odessa and Ukraine generally. That the events leading up to the massacre took place at Kulikovo Field – a famous staging area for Soviet era demonstrations of working class politics – and the massacre itself took place in the adjacent Trade Unions House, there’s a symbolic resonance, the significance of which is not lost on the people of Odessa. It is the attempt to both erase the legacy of working class struggle and leftist politics, as well as the sacrifices of previous generations in a place where historical memory runs deep, and the scars of the past have yet to heel.
Aside from these shameful attacks on leftist formations, multicultural institutions too have been repressed under the pretext of “Russian separatism.” A multiethnic, multi-nationality organization known as the Popular Rada of Bessarabia (PRB) was founded in early April 2015 in order to push for regional autonomy and/or ethnic autonomy in response to the legal and extralegal attacks on minorities by the Kiev authorities. It was reported that within 24 hours of the founding congress, Ukraine’s SBU had detained the core leaders of the organization, including the Chair of the organization’s presidium Dmitry Zatuliveter whose whereabouts, according to this author’s latest information, remain unknown. Within two weeks 30 more PRB activists were arrested, including founding member Vera Shevchenko.
While the Western media and its armies of think tanks and propaganda mouthpieces steadfastly deny that an organization such as PRB can be anything other than “a project of Russian political consultants,” the reality is that such moves have been a reaction to repressive legislation and intimidation by the US-backed regime in Kiev which has done everything from outlawing the two most popular political parties of the Russian-speaking South and East (The Party of Regions and the Communist Party), to attempting to strip the Russian language of official status within Ukraine, a move interpreted by these groups as a direct threat against them and their regions where Russian, not Ukrainian, is the lingua franca.
“In the spirit of preventive action, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies have arrested some 20 members of a centrifugal organization in Odesa [sic] province..The timely intervention also stopped the publicity bandwagon that had just started rolling from Moscow in support of the Odesa [sic] group.”
Interestingly, the author deceptively frames his apologia for so called “preventive detention” as merely a “timely intervention,” conveniently glossing over the blatant illegality of the action by Kiev, which has eschewed the rule of law in favor of brute force and repression.
And what is the PRB’s great crime in the eyes of Mr. Socor and the US interests for which he speaks? As he directly states in the article with typical condescension:
[BPR’s program and manifesto] include demands for: greater representation of ethnic groups in the administration of Ukraine’s Odesa [sic] province; promotion of the ethnic groups’ cultural identities and schools; conferral of a “national-cultural special status” to Bessarabia; a free economic zone, with specific reference to local control over Ukraine’s Black Sea and Danube ports; no integration of Ukraine with the European Union, the “enslavement practices of which would ruin the region and its agriculture”; and reinstatement of Ukraine’s [recently abandoned] international status of nonalignment, or else: “In the event of Ukraine moving close to NATO [the North Atlantic Treaty Organization], we reserve the right to implement the self-determination of Bessarabia.”
A careful reading of these demands reveals that these are precisely the demands that any right-minded anti-imperialist position should espouse, including rejection of NATO integration, rejection of EU integration, rejection of opening up Ukraine’s agricultural sector to the likes of Monsanto and other Western corporations, and protection of ethnic, religious, and cultural minorities, among other things. While Socor writes of these demands derisively, the reality is that they constitute precisely the sort of program that is essential for defending both Ukraine’s sovereignty, and the rights of the people of Odessa and the region. But of course, for Socor, this is all just a Russian plot. Instead, he kneels to kiss the chocolate ring of Poroshenko…and perhaps other parts of Victoria Nuland and John Kerry, while vigorously cheer-leading further political repression.
A Message for the Left
The question facing leftists internationally is no longer whether they believe there are fascists in Ukraine, or whether they are an important part of the political establishment in the country; this is now impossible to refute. Rather, the challenge before the international left is whether it can overcome its deep-seated mistrust of Russia, and consequent inability to separate fact from fiction, and unwaveringly defend its comrades in Ukraine with the conviction and aplomb of its historical antecedents.
There is a whole history that is under assault, a whole people being oppressed, a leftist tradition being ground to dust under the heel of an imperialist agenda and comprador oligarch bourgeoisie. Some on the left choose to snicker derisively at this struggle, aligning themselves once again with the Empire just as they so often have in Libya, Syria, and elsewhere. And then there those who, like this author, refuse to be cowed by the baseless slur of “Russian apologist” and “Putin puppet”; those of us who choose not to look away while our comrades in Ukraine are beaten, kidnapped, tortured, imprisoned, and disappeared.
For while they speak out in the face of reprisals, in the midst of brutal repression, under threat of prison and death, the least we can do is speak out from our comfortable chairs. Anything less is moral cowardice and utter betrayal.
A growing segment of the American population is waking up to the implications of the Jade Helm 15 military operation to be conducted by Special Forces in conjunction with local law enforcement, the FBI, DHS, the DEA and Border Patrol across the entire Southwest. This massive unprecedented exercise will also commence in June sooner than first announced and last for 10 weeks through the summer till September 15.
The risk of it triggering civil unrest or that it may coincide with a potential false flag scenario followed by another possibly timed crisis situation is both feasible and real, despite mainstream media’s ridicule dismissing any such possibilities as pure paranoid conspiracy theory. What we do know for sure is this nation has turned into a militarized police state and that both the military and the government lie all the time.
We also are aware of the globalists’ long planned agenda of a national crisis that would induce Obama to quash civil unrest by declaring martial law. A recent poll of Americans found that near half (45%) see Jade Helm as imposing more control over the states. If martial law doesn’t actually come to pass this time around, it certainly sets the stage for next time in this incrementally increasing militarization of America.
We also know that a specific Department of Defense manual FM 3-39.40 has existed since 2010 delineating how the federal government in cooperation with the UN will respond to civil disturbance that includes FEMA camp roundups to fill waiting empty Haliburton-refurbished prison camps after a $385 million no bid contract during the former CEO Cheney’s vice presidency. We also know that each prison camp includes a tribunal section and a mortuary section along with psychological officers responsible for reprogramming US detainees. Despite this layout presented so matter-of-fact and by-the-book, Americans will be killed. During the upheaval of a national crisis, a lethal outcome is also most probable. Meanwhile, countdown to global war appears to be ticking away as troops from virtually every nation are busily training in preparation for a likely West versus East endgame scenario of World War III.
But to those of us aware enough to study and learn from history, there are no accidents and no surprises here. Armed with the latest technology, the global elitists in control have done their homework, long in advance manipulating everything in its Orwellian place for these shuttering events and developments to unfold. From the overreaching CIA grooming their Manchurian Candidate president to his unqualified meteoric rise to puppet power, Obama was the perfect made man for the job. Obscured by a shadowy, made over past that includes a fake birth certificate, he was steeped in Communist ideology and socialist collectivism by his deep connection with ex-terrorist Bill Ayers (who also was the Common Core architect responsible largely for dumbing down public education) and fellow mentor Saul Alinsky. Obama displayed dazzle as an early orator on the big stage of big politics, wore the right skin color to prey on people’s hope for change and progress, appearing as a different kind of leader who many thought would represent the common people, a unifier and uplifter for the downtrodden. Boy were they dead wrong!
Once elected, Obama became the Manchurian Trojan Horse presidential imposter occupying the White House. This is the same man as presidential candidate who bragged and promised as a former constitutional law professor for over 10 years that he’d be the most open and transparent president in US history after the criminal Bush regime. Then once Obama became president, he only demonstrated that he is the most secretive and closed off president in history. Even worse, in the same speech he denounced Bush and Cheney for violating America’s rule of law, he proposed to develop “an appropriate legal regime for indefinite prolonged detention of American citizens” prior to ever breaking the law based purely on the government’s suspicion that they may become a future threat to national security. This statement uttered early in his first term ominously spelled out his sinister agenda to lock up and throw away the key to any citizen that he and his minions believe might become a future threat.
Based on Obama and his administration’s subsequent actions, their definition of “future threat to national security” is simply anyone who disagrees with his treasonous policies, DHS declaring them a greater threat than even ISIS, which is really quite telling. Those citizens honest and brave enough to expose the criminal truth about his evil agenda betraying our Constitution, nation and people have been singled out and targeted on dissident watch lists.
Americans believing in our Constitution who object to the feds’ criminality of constantly violating the nation’s rule of law that used to protect citizens with privacy rights over unlawfully invasive surveillance and search and seizure, the right to peaceful assembly to public protest, the right to own a gun, the right to freedom of speech and religion, the right to due process, the right to habeas corpus dating back to the 1066 Magna Carta, all these previously guaranteed civil liberties under Bush-Obama were usurped and denied Americans. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act was a traitorous package deal depriving us of all these rights, as well as violating and repealing the 1878 Posse Comitatus law prohibiting US military from involvement in civil matters that fall under state National Guard and law enforcement jurisdiction.
This president and his DHS in one fell swoop have equated US patriots who are returning veterans from warfronts(regardless of war) as potential home grown terrorists. So after placing their life on the line for their nation in combat, risking and often incurring serious life threatening injuries while experiencing the trauma of witnessing their comrades die sacrificing their lives for their nation, upon return home from US Empire’s blood for oil wars, their nation turns on them in betrayal, calling them terrorist threats and developing a criminally subversive plan to remove not only their private weapons violating their Second Amendment right, but physically removing them from society by locking them away in prison or worse killing them under false suspicion they might become homegrown terrorists. This is how our diabolically treasonous and insane government led by our current commander-in-chief repays our veterans. It’s unbelievably despicable that America’s come to this.
When Obama came to power everything was in place for the globalist war machine to continue uninterrupted, unleashing the same imperialistic US Empire aggression launched by the war criminal invaders and occupiers Bush and Cheney. Following his globalist marching orders, Obama seamlessly maintained the Empire’s role as world policeman and murderous bully around the globe. He prolonged the war in Iraq for another three years in time to claim credit for ending the Iraq War during his reelection campaign. In the other decade-long war he ensured the fighting in Afghanistan would continue unabated for another half dozen years. Then with the help of Israel and Saudi Arabia, he created ISIS, which conveniently provided the fine print disclaimer ensuring the US-NATO military presence in both war ravaged nations would be on an as needed, permanent basis.
In the meantime hidden from public view, Obama guaranteed the proliferation of new, sneakier kind of lower intensity, out of sight, out of mind wars around the world fought by none other than the killer elite Special Forces. Now Americans cannot even tell you who the US is at war with because it’s all a deep state secret. Did I mention Obama’s the most secretive prez in history? Investigative reporter and author Nick Turse has determined the exponential growth of US Special Operations at last count over a year ago is deployed in more than 134 nationsaround the globe with the highest concentration throughout most of Africa and much of Central and East Asia. That’s most nations on earth along with a thousand US military posts around the world.
Expanding the presence of US proxy wars, Obama refined a new and improved formula for churning out the most barbaric, savage, seemingly unstoppable monster enemy of them all – the Islamic State (IS). Pretending IS jihadists are the most evil enemy since Russian Communists, complicit in showcasing their staged youtube beheadings to horrify the world for effect, Obama secretly engineered their expanding global dominance in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and possibly just eight miles from the US border near El Paso in Mexico where reports from Judicial Watch recently claimed a high ranking Mexican police and a military officer stated ISIS is currently undergoing joint training operations with the drug cartel ostensibly to potentially terrorize Americans on US soil during Jade Helm. Of course the US government vehemently denies the presence of Islamic State in Mexico yet speculation still lingers based on US FBI and DHS meetings with Mexican authorities. In any event, the bottom line if the US really wanted to destroy ISIS, as the most lethal killing force on earth, it could eliminate Islamic State forces within a month.
Apparently it was two homegrown ISIS fighters from Arizona that showed up in Dallas bent on a shooting spree at a cartoon contest lampooning Islam earlier this month in what seemed a staged event, the same state deemed “hostile” by the Jade Helm game plan. Then came the bizarre mass biker gang shootout killing 9 in Waco, Texas a week ago. Evidence is coming to light that hidden ISIS recruiters are presently embedded in US, UK and Canada college campuses around those Western nations attempting to entice non-Muslims to join their cause. Based on a recent UN report almost two months ago, more than 25,000 new recruits did join from most countries in the world just since June last year. Whether ISIS is really here in North America amongst us or not, Washington’s been hyping the eminent dangers posed by right wing domestic terrorists lurking to kill government authorities like police, almost as if to prep us for an upcoming false flag that could occur during Jade Helm.
As the US-created hired gun, after training, arming and financing Obama’s secret ally that holds a calling card reading “Terrorism-R-Us-Will-Travel,” Obama and his globalist puppet masters have been increasingly outed with incontrovertible evidence of newly declassified documents that the so called ISIS enemy is actually a mere extension and creation of the US, its Western allies and their oligarch masters. It was just released that the Pentagon had devised a plan back in August 2012 for the rise of ISIS (that we never even knew existed then) to later take over two key Iraqi cities Mosul and Ramadi. Is it any wonder that Iraqi security forces simply cut and ran without a fight from both cities?
The latest disturbing revelations surfacing are disclosures from whistleblowers inside the military high command and a recently retired Homeland Security officer. One recently purged lieutenant general among the 270 high ranking military officers Obama has forced out of the service has just revealed in an email that this summer’s Jade Helm will in fact bring not only dissident extraction but the start of “a ground war, city by city, street by street” to America. The anonymous retired three star general went on to write:
Additionally what is coming will be unlike any civil war in history, it will be very personal, the government will call the Patriots forces terrorists and traitors, they will arrest, intern, torture and murder suspected terrorists families, this will result in bloody reprisals which will start a vicious cycle lasting for years.
Lending credibility to his dire prediction was the general’s assignment in 2012 to be part of a Pentagon study assessing the rank and file personnel in all the US armed forces on whether they would be willing or not to fire upon and kill US citizens in a civil war scenario. He revealed that 80% of the National Guard would side with the American people, 90% of the Marines also, 60% of the Army would, the Navy would remain on active patrol in defense to interdict any possible foreign intervention and only the Air Force will side with Obama’s government at 75%. So from his email he believes the majority of US military would fight right alongside Americans against the government oppressors. It was alluded that a number of veterans up and down the ranks would also be armed as patriots actively resisting the government attack on its own citizens, which would far outnumber the treasonous government forces. But the bottom line according to this high ranking flag officer, an all-out civil war is fast approaching where many US citizens are likely to die and be imprisoned.
Preparations have been finalized to respond to a crisis of unprecedented magnitude within the United States. The response will include the use of lethal force against US citizens under the instructions of Barack Obama.
The whistleblower described the atmosphere inside the DHS mega-bureaucracy as forebodingly paranoid where no one trusts anyone and workers are leaving in droves. Afraid of information leaks, conditions have become so oppressive to create an ultra-hostile, toxic work environment. The DHS retiree maintains that the upcoming crisis will be “rooted in an economic collapse.” He said a key precursor just before the crash to look for will be falling gold and silver prices. The orchestrators behind it are the Wall Street bankers who of course like with every fixed crash in the past will be busily buying up all the precious metals for untold illegal profiteering. The insider maintains that America’s already sliding into crash mode though most people don’t realize it yet, adding:
The ‘big bang’ comes at the end, when people wake up one morning and can’t log in to their bank accounts, can’t use their ATM cards, and find out that their private pension funds and other assets have been confiscated.
He states that the above scenario of a cyberattack on the US banking system is but one possible plan he was privy to. Though the whistleblower admitted that DHS, the NSA and IRS are all militant, totalitarian arms of the White House, he doubly emphasized that it’s not Obama pulling all the strings:
[Obama] is a creation of the globalists who have no allegiance to any political party. He is the product of decades of planning, made for this very time in our history. He was selected to oversee the events I just disclosed. Who has that ability? He’s a product of our own intelligence agencies working with the globalists. He should be exhibit ‘A’ to illustrate the need to enforce the Logan Act.
Unlike the whistleblowing general, the former Homeland Security employee said he did not know the exact timing of when he foresees the plan being executed with high probability of two near simultaneous false flags triggering martial law and the violence directed against US citizens. But the general did, feeling certain that Jade Helm would go live in response to government induced crises. Because we live in an interconnected global economy, the disaster that will soon afflict the US will reverberate with ripple effects around the globe. And though many Americans will refuse to believe any such malevolent harm can possibly come to the United States that relative to most of the world has had it so good for so long, the globalists responsible are heartless evildoers who have no compassion or guilt for the atrocities and suffering they directly inflict on humankind. Bringing down America puts them one huge step closer to one world government. It will be up to us patriots like the revolutionaries of our War of Independence to fight for our liberty and life for a rebirth of a new nation fashioned after what originally was our Founding Fathers’ lasting legacy.
Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/. He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and a syndicated columnist at Veterans Today.
There are no free financial markets in America, or for that matter anywhere in the Western word, and few, if any, free markets of any other kind. The financial markets are rigged by the big banks, the Federal Reserve, and the Treasury in the interests of the profits of the few big banks and the dollar’s exchange value, which is the basis of US power.
There is a contradiction between a strong currency on one hand and on the other hand massive money creation in order to sustain zero and negative interest rates on the massive debt levels. This inconsistency is revealed by rising gold and silver prices.
When gold hit $1,900 an ounce in 2011 the Federal Reserve realized that the precious metal market was going to limit its ability to provide enough liquidity to keep the thoughtlessly deregulated financial system afloat. The rapid deterioration of the dollar in terms of gold and silver would sooner or later spill over into the exchange value of the dollar in currency markets. Something had to be done to drive down and to cap the gold price.
The Fed’s solution was to take advantage of the fact that the prices of gold and silver are determined in the futures market where paper contracts representing gold and silver are traded, and not in markets where the physical metal is actually purchased by people who take possession of it. The Fed realized that uncovered short sales provided enormous leverage over the prices of the metals and that it would be profitable for the bullion banks, such as JPMorgan, Scotia, and HSBC, to short the market heavily and then cover their shorts at lower prices produced by selling as a result of triggering stop-loss orders and margin calls.
Dave Kranzler and I have shown on numerous occasions that the bullion banks and the Federal Reserve make profits and protect the dollar by suppressing the prices of gold and silver. They do this by illegally selling huge numbers of uncovered shorts in the futures market. This illegal operation is supported by the so-called “regulatory authorities” who steadfastly refuse to intervene.
It has just happened again. Dave Kranzler describes it in detail here:
If memory serves, Matt Taibbi explained a few years ago how Goldman Sachs got position limits removed from speculators, so that now speculators can dominate market forces.
Neoliberal economists in service to the financial sector have created a rationale for why interest rates can be negative in the face of massive debt and money creation and a slew of troubled financial instruments from corporate junk bonds to sovereign debt. The rational is that there is too much saving: The excess of savings over investment forces down interest rates. The negative interest rates will discourage people from saving and encourage them to spend, because the price of consumption in terms of foregone future income from saving is zero. It even pays to consume, because saving costs more than it earns.
Economists argue this even though the Federal Reserve reported that a majority of Americans are so low on savings that they cannot raise $400 without selling personal possessions.
That economists would concoct such an absurd explanation for negative interest rates, an explanation obviously contradicted by empirical evidence, shows that economists are now prostitutes just like the media. The economists are lying in support of a Federal Reserve policy that benefits a handful of mega-banks at the expense of the rest of the world.
The absence of integrity in Western institutions and politicized professions is proof that Western civilization has declined into total decadence just as Jacques Barzun said.
It is amazing that there still are some Russians and some Chinese who want to be part of the sordid decadence that is the Western world.
It is just as amazing that Americans and Europeans are so trapped in The Matrix that they have no inkling that their future has been destroyed.
As the US government comes up with ever more creative stall tactics, Sri Lanka’s newly elected president, Maithripala Sirisena, has announced that the import of Monsanto’s favorite killing-tool, glyphosate, will no longer be allowed in the country.
Sirisena is a farmer and ex health minister, and blames glyphosate for rising rates of chronic kidney disease (CKD) throughout the Sri Lankan farming community.
Not only has the Sri Lankan president banned glyphosate herbicide, but stocks of already-imported Roundup will be stopped.
CKD has already affected 15% of people working in the northern part of Sri Lanka which amounts to around 400,000 patients and a death count, directly related to Monsanto’s chemicals, of 20,000.
This may seem shocking, but these numbers simply relay a truth that another study previously stated: that kidney disease is five times higher in countries that are over-run with glyphosate chemicals. Though this is due in part to the fact that farmers in these countries often where very little in the way of protection when they are spraying Roundup on their rice fields, there is no excuse for such an abominable number of preventable deaths.
If you aren’t convinced of the reality of this problem, there are two short documentaries: “Mystery in the Fields” and “Cycle of Death,” both of which can shed light on this unfortunate phenomenon happening throughout the world.
Sri Lanka decided to ban glyphosate, not after the World Health Organization announced that the chemical was ‘probably carcinogenic,‘ but after seeing the results of two scientific studies led by Dr. Jayasumana. These detail how drinking water from abandoned wells, where concentrations of glyphosate and metals are higher, along with spraying farms with glyphosate, increased the risk of the deadly chronic kidney disease (CKDu) by up to 5-fold.
The decision by Sri Lanka’s new president to ban glyphosate this time around is expected to stand.
Sri Lanka now becomes the second country to fully ban the sale of glyphosate herbicides. Bermuda has also issued a temporary ban on glyphosate imports and is holding a review to determine whether or not to make it permanent.
Over the past months, the level of intense cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia in targeting Iran has become clear. I’ve posted here about secret meetings between top Israeli and Saudi intelligence figures which have allowed coordination of the campaigns involving both Syria and Iran. But Shalom Yerushalmi, writing in Maariv, dropped an even more amazing bombshell. Saudi Arabia isn’t just coordinating its own intelligence efforts with Israel. It’s actually financing a good deal of Israel’s very expensive campaign against Iran. As you know, this has involved massive sabotage against IRG missile bases, the assassination of five nuclear scientists, the creation of a series of computer cyberweapons like Stuxnet and Flame. It may also conceivably involve an entire class of electronic and conventional weapons that could be used in a full-scale attack on Iran. Who knows, this might even include the sorts of bunker buster bombs only the U.S. currently has access to, which could penetrate the Fordo facility. It might include scores more super-tankers which could provide the fuel necessary for Israeli planes to make it to Iran and return. All of this is expensive. Very expensive. We can see just how expensive by examining Barry Lando’s October 2012 investigative piece also based on Israeli sources which says the Saudi funding may exceed $1-billion:
A friend, with good sources in the Israeli government, claims that the head of Israel’s Mossad has made several trips to deal with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia—one of the results: an agreement that the Saudis would bankroll the series of assassinations of several of Iran’s top nuclear experts that have occurred over the past couple of years. The amount involved, my friend claims, was $1 billion dollars. A sum, he says, the Saudis considered cheap for the damage done to Iran’s nuclear program.
Returning to Yerushalmi, he referred to Bibi’s recent Aipac speech and an implicit reference in it to Saudi Arabia:
Netanyahu spoke there, for the first time in his life, about the benefits of peace, the prosperity that will follow, about the possibility that Arab states, which today maintain better relations with us than those in the European Union, but in private, will do so publicly if we only reach an agreement with the Palestinians. Netanyahu referred almost certainly to Saudi Arabia, which finances the expenses of the enormous campaign which we are conducting against Iran.
In the past, I’ve noted that George Bush allocated $400-million in 2007 for just such sabotage directed against Iran. I presumed that a good deal of that funding might end up supporting similar sorts of Israeli efforts. It’s possible that the new Obama administration cut off this funding after assuming office in 2008. Whatever the reason, Saudi Arabia is now a critical funder of Israel’s military effort against Iran.
The question is how far is Saudi Arabia willing to go. If Bibi ever decided to launch an attack, would the Sunni nation fund that as well? The answer seems clearly to be yes.
The next question is, given there is airtight military censorship in Israel, why did the censor allow Maariv to publish this? Either someone was asleep at the switch or the IDF and Israel’s political and intelligence officials want the world to know of the Saudi-Israeli effort. Who specifically do they want to know? Obama, of course. In the event the nuclear talks go south, Bibi wants Obama to know there’s a new Sugar Daddy in town. No longer will Israel have only the U.S. to rely on if it decides to go to war. Saudi Arabia will be standing right behind.
This isn’t the first time that foreign sources played a major role in subsidizing critical Israeli efforts to develop such game-changing weapons systems. In the early 1960s, Abraham Feinberg, a wealthy American Jew whose name now graces a building a Brandeis University, coordinated a major fundraising effort on behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Ben Gurion. As a result, American Jews played an instrumental role in paying for Israel’s first nuclear weapons.
Frankly, I don’t think this news substantially alters the military calculus. Israel, even with unlimited funding, still can’t muster the weapons and armaments it would need to do the job properly. That will take time. But Israel isn’t going to war tomorrow. This news reported in Maariv is presumably Bibi playing one card from his hand. It’s an attempt to warn the president that the U.S. is no longer the only game in town. Personally, it’s the sort of huffing and puffing that I can’t imagine plays well in Washington. But it’s the way Bibi plays the game.
The Globalization of War is undoubtedly one of the most important books on the contemporary global situation produced in recent years.
In his latest masterpiece, Professor Michel Chossudovsky shows how the various conflicts we are witnessing today in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Palestine are in fact inter-linked and inter-locked through a single-minded agenda in pursuit of global hegemony helmed by the United States and buttressed by its allies in the West and in other regions of the world. Dr Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST)
The “globalization of war” is a hegemonic project. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The U.S. military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.
Under a global military agenda, the actions undertaken by the Western military alliance (U.S.-NATO-Israel) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Ukraine, Syria and Iraq are coordinated at the highest levels of the military hierarchy. We are not dealing with piecemeal military and intelligence operations. The July-August 2014 attack on Gaza by Israeli forces was undertaken in close consultation with the United States and NATO. The actions in Ukraine and their timing coincided with the onslaught of the attack on Gaza.
In turn, military undertakings are closely coordinated with a process of economic warfare which consists not only in imposing sanctions on sovereign countries but also in deliberate acts of destabilization of financial and currencies markets, with a view to undermining the enemies’ national economies.
The United States and its allies have launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. As we go to press, U.S. and NATO forces have been deployed in Eastern Europe including Ukraine. U.S. military intervention under a humanitarian mandate is proceeding in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. and its allies are threatening China under President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”.
In turn, military maneuvers are being conducted at Russia’s doorstep which could potentially lead to escalation.
The U.S. airstrikes initiated in September 2014 directed against Iraq and Syria under the pretext of going after the Islamic State are part of a scenario of military escalation extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to Central and South Asia.
The Western military alliance is in an advanced state of readiness. And so is Russia.
Russia is heralded as the “Aggressor”. U.S.-NATO military confrontation with Russia is contemplated.
Enabling legislation in the U.S. Senate under “The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA) has “set the U.S. on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine.”
Any U.S.-Russian war is likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear war, since neither the U.S. nor Russia would be willing to admit defeat, both have many thousands of nuclear weapons ready for instant use, and both rely upon Counterforce military doctrine that tasks their military, in the event of war, to pre-emptively destroy the nuclear forces of the enemy.1
The Russian Aggression Prevention Act (RAPA) is the culmination of more than twenty years of U.S.-NATO war preparations, which consist in the military encirclement of both Russia and China:
From the moment the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the United States has relentlessly pursued a strategy of encircling Russia, just as it has with other perceived enemies like China and Iran. It has brought 12 countries in central Europe, all of them formerly allied with Moscow, into the NATO alliance. U.S. military power is now directly on Russia’s borders.2
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From the outset of the post World War II period to the present, America’s s global military design has been one of world conquest. War and globalization are intricately related. Militarization supports powerful economic interests. America’s “Long War” is geared towards worldwide corporate expansion and the conquest of new economic frontiers.
The concept of the “Long War” is an integral part of U.S. military doctrine. Its ideological underpinnings are intended to camouflage the hegemonic project of World conquest. Its implementation relies on a global alliance of 28 NATO member states. In turn, the U.S. as well as NATO have established beyond the “Atlantic Region” a network of bilateral military alliances with “partner” countries directed against Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. What we are dealing with is a formidable military force, deployed in all major regions of the World.
The “Long War” is based on the concept of “Self-Defense”. The United States and the Western World are threatened. “The Long War” constitutes “an epic struggle against adversaries bent on forming a unified Islamic world to supplant western dominance”. Underlying the “Long War”, according to a study by the Rand Corporation, the Western World must address “three potential threats”:
those related to the ideologies espoused by key adversaries in the conflict,
those related to the use of terrorism • those related to governance (i.e., its absence or presence, its quality, and the predisposition of specific governing bodies to the United States and its interests). … in order to ensure that this long war follows a favorable course, the United States will need to make a concerted effort across all three domains.3
Our objective in this book is to focus on various dimensions of America’s hegemonic wars, by providing both a historical overview as well as an understanding of America’s contemporary wars all of which, from a strategic viewpoint, are integrated.
Our analysis will focus on the dangers of nuclear war and the evolution of military doctrine in the post-9/11 era.
The central role of media propaganda as well as the failures of the anti-war movement will also be addressed. While the first chapter provides an overview, the subsequent chapters provide an insight into different dimensions of America’s long war.
Chapter I, Imperial Conquest: America’s “Long War” against Humanity provides a post World War II historical overview of America’s wars from Korea and Vietnam to Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. There is a continuum in U.S. Foreign Policy from the Truman Doctrine of the late 1940s to the neocons and neoliberals of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations.
Part II focuses on the dangers of nuclear war and global nuclear radiation.
Chapter II, The Dangers of Nuclear War Conversations with Fidel Castro consists of Conversations with Fidel Castro and the author pertaining to the future of humanity and the post-Cold War process of militarization. This exchange took place in Havana in October 2010.
Chapter III focuses on the doctrine of Pre-emptive Nuclear and the Role of Israel in triggering a first strike use of nuclear weapons against Iran.
Chapter IV, The Threat of Nuclear War, North Korea or the United States? focuses on the persistent U.S. threat (since 1953) of using nuclear weapons against North Korea while labeling North Korea a threat to global security.
Chapter V, Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War. The Unspoken Crisis of Worldwide Nuclear Radiation examines the dangers of nuclear energy and its unspoken relationship to nuclear weapons. Nuclear energy is not a civilian economic activity. It is an appendage of the nuclear weapons industry which is controlled by the so-called defense contractors. The powerful corporate interests behind nuclear energy and nuclear weapons overlap.
Part III illustrates at a country level, the modus operandi of U.S. military and intelligence interventions, including regime change and the covert support of terrorist organizations. The country case studies (Yugoslavia, Haiti, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Ukraine) illustrate how individual nation states are destabilized as a result of U.S.-NATO covert operations and “humanitarian wars.” While the nature and circumstances of these countries are by no means similar, there is a common thread. The purpose is to provide a comparative understanding of country-level impacts of America’s long war against humanity. In all the countries analyzed, the intent has been to destroy, destabilize and impoverish sovereign countries.
Chapter VI, NATO’s War on Yugoslavia: Kosovo “Freedom Fighters” Financed by Organized Crime examines the role of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) as an instrument of political destabilization. In Yugoslavia, the endgame of NATO’s intervention was to carve up a prosperous and successful “socialist market economy” into seven proxy states. The political and economic breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s served as a “role model” for subsequent “humanitarian military endeavors.”
Chapter VII, The U.S. led Coup d’Etat in Haiti against the government of Jean Bertrand Aristide was carried out in February 2004 with the support of Canada and France. In a bitter irony, the U.S. ambassador to Haiti James Foley, had previously played a central role as U.S. special envoy to Yugoslavia, channeling covert support to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). In Haiti, his responsibilities included U.S. aid to the Front pour la Libération et la reconstruction nationale (FLRN) (National Liberation and Reconstruction Front) largely integrated by former Tonton Macoute death squads. Closely coordinated with the process of regime change and military intervention, the IMF-World Bank macroeconomic reforms played a crucial role in destroying the national and impoverishing the Haitian population.
Chapter VIII, “Operation Libya” and the Battle for Oil: Redrawing the Map of Africa reveals the hidden agenda behind NATO’s 2011 humanitarian war on Libya, which consisted in acquiring control and ownership of Libya’s extensive oil reserves, that is, almost twice those of the United States of America. U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) played a key role in the war on Libya in coordination with NATO.
Libya is the gateway to the Sahel and Central Africa. More generally, what is at stake is the redrawing of the map of Africa at the expense of France’s historical spheres of influence in West and Central Africa, namely a process of neocolonial re-division.
Chapter IX, The War on Iraq and Syria. Terrorism with a “Human Face”: The History of America’s Death Squads examines U.S.-NATO’s covert war on Syria, which consists in creating Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist entities. The U.S.-led covert war consists in recruiting, training and financing Islamist death squads which are used as the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance. The ultimate military objective is the destruction of both Iraq and Syria.
Chapter X, War and Natural Gas. The Israel Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields focuses on Israel’s attack directed against Gaza with a view to confiscating Gaza’s offshore gas reserves.
In Chapter XI, The U.S. has Installed a Neo-Nazi Government in Ukraine, the structure of the U.S.-EU sponsored proxy regime in Kiev is examined. Key positions in government and the Armed Forces are in the hands of the two neo-Nazi parties. The Ukraine National Guard financed and trained by the West is largely integrated by Neo-Nazis Brown Shirts.
Part IV is entitled Breaking the American Inquisition. Reversing the Tide of War focuses on some of the contradictions of the antiwar movement.
Chapter XII, The “American Inquisition” and the “Global War on Terrorism” analyzes the central role of America’s “war on terrorism” doctrine in harnessing public support for a global war of conquest. The “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) is a fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the multi-billion dollar U.S. intelligence community.
Today’s “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) is a modern form of inquisition. It has all the essential ingredients of the French and Spanish Inquisitions. Going after “Islamic terrorists”, carrying out a worldwide pre-emptive war to “protect the Homeland” are used to justify a military agenda.
In turn, “The Global War on Terrorism” is presented as a “Clash of Civilizations”, a war between competing values and religions, when in reality it is an outright war of conquest, guided by strategic and economic objectives.
Chapter XII, “Manufactured Dissent”, Colored Revolutions and the Antiwar Movement in Crisis examines the role of corporate foundations in funding dissent and the inability of “progressive” civil society organizations and antiwar collectives to effectively confront the tide of media disinformation and war propaganda.
Michel Chossudovsky, Montreal, December 2014
The Globalization of War is an extraordinarily important book. It tags the origin of a long series of wars and conflicts, from the end of World War II to the present, as being direct products of U.S. Foreign Policy. Nothing happens by accident. U.S. provocateurs, usually agents of the CIA, incite one conflict after another in what Michael Chossudovsky labels America’s “Long War” against Humanity.
It comprises a war on two fronts. Those countries that can either be “bought,” or destabilized by a corrupt international financial system, are easy targets for effective conquest. In other cases insurrection, riots and wars are used to solicit American military intervention to fill the pockets of the military-industrial complex that General Eisenhower warned us about. The “End Game” is a New World Order embracing a dual economic and military dictatorship prepared to use atomic weapons and risk the future of the entire human species to achieve its ends.
Michel Chossudovsky is one of the few individuals I know who has analyzed the anatomy of the New World Order and recognized the threat to the entire human species that it is. The Globalization of War is a must read for anyone who prefers peace and hope to perpetual war, death, dislocation and despair. Hon. Paul Hellyer, former Canadian Minister of National Defence
Professor Michel Chossudovsky is the most realistic of all foreign policy commentators. He does not lie for money and position, and he does not sell his soul for influence. His book provides an honest appraisal of the extreme danger that hegemonic and demonic American neoconservatism poses to life on earth. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary, U.S. Treasury, former Wall Street Journal editor, former Wm. E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University.
At these moments when the threat of humanity’s extinction by the forces unleashed by the empire and its vassals, it is imperative that we grasp the nature of the beast that threatens us with its endless wars perpetrated in the name of the highest levels of freedom.
This vital work by an outstanding teacher will remain an enduring testimony of the author’s all-embracing humanism and scholarship that has always been inseparable from his political activism that spans several decades. It should be mandatory reading for those seeking to understand , and thus to contain and repel, the compulsive onslaughts of the hegemon’s endless wars with its boundless bestialities and crimes against humanity..Dr Frederic F. Clairmonte, award winning author and political economist, distinguished (former) economic analyst at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
The Globalization of War is undoubtedly one of the most important books on the contemporary global situation produced in recent years. It comes from the pen of one of the most insightful and incisive writers on global politics and the global economy alive today.
In his latest masterpiece, Professor Michel Chossudovsky shows how the various conflicts we are witnessing today in Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and Palestine are in fact inter-linked and inter-locked through a single-minded agenda in pursuit of global hegemony helmed by the United States and buttressed by its allies in the West and in other regions of the world. This Machiavellian, indeed, diabolical agenda not only centres around wars of conquest and subjugation but also seeks to dismember and destroy sovereign states. Russia, China and Iran are the primary targets of this drive for dominance and control. The underlying economic motives behind this drive are camouflaged in the guise of a civilized West fighting “barbaric Islamic terrorism” which as Chossudovsky exposes is sometimes sponsored and sustained by intelligent networks in the West.
Chossudovsky has aptly described this US helmed agenda for hegemony as a “long war against humanity.” It is an assertion that is backed by solid facts and detailed analysis in a brilliant work that should be read by all those who are concerned about the prevailing human condition. And that should include each and every citizen of planet earth. Dr. Chandra Muzaffar, President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) and former Professor of Global Studies at the Science University of Malaysia.
The media, political leaders, academics and the public at large often forget to put into historical perspective the spiral of daily news: we tend to concentrate on the latest events and crisis.
This may explain why the latest report of the US Senate on CIA’s rendition flights, detention places in black wholes and use of torture following 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Iraq has been received as a surprise and shocking news. Such practices have been well known by the international community and depicted, among others, in a number of United Nations documents as well as in Dick Marty’s reports to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
This CIA’s behavior has a long history including assassination plots of political leaders, coups d’Etat, terrorist attacks and other subversive actions that merge into a recurrent pattern.
The Pax Americana like the Pax Romana has been built through wars and domination. General Smedley D. Butler, a hero and the most decorated soldier of the United States had already denounced the US policy in his book “War is a racket”, written over 70 years ago.
Michel Chossudovsky’s book “The Globalization of Warfare” has the great merit of putting into historical perspective the hegemonic project that has been carried out by the United States through various centuries for the control and exploitation of natural resources. Jose L. Gomez del Prado, UN Independent Human Rights Expert, Former Member UN Group on the use of mercenaries
Michel Chossudovsky leads the world in communicating critical information that few or none know. He is a perfect guide for the East European to Russia war now in the making. John McMurty, professor emeritus, Guelph University, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada
Michel Chossudovsky ranks as the world’s leading expert on globalization – a hegemonic weapon that empowers financial elites and enslaves 99 percent of the world’s population. The Globalization of War exposes covert operations waging economic warfare designed to destabilize national economies deemed to be inimical to the USA and her NATO allies. The military dimension of western hegemonic strategies threatens to trigger a permanent global war. Chossudovsky’s book is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly. Michael Carmichael, President of the Planetary Movement
An endless sea of money flowing into the field of military technology creates constant advancements in new and terrifying ways to die, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is on the front lines in that mission. DARPA’s latest defense system, HELLADS, is one step closer to arming aircraft and drones with an exceptionally powerful and destructive, weaponized laser beam.
Set to begin testing at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico this summer, the High-Energy Liquid Laser Area Defense System program has been developing an electrically and optically efficient laser for output from a lighter and more compact platform through DARPA contractor, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA ASI). The Gen 3 High Energy Laser System (HEL) measures just 4.26 x 1.31 x 1.64 feet, and uses a compact lithium-ion battery to produce a beam of between 150-300 kW for“deployable tactical platforms.”
To understand how alarming this latest technology actually is, a comparison to current laser weaponry is in order. Already in use on board the USS Ponce, the Navy’s Laser Weapon System produces a beam of lightcapable of destroying the electronics systems and overheating the engines of drones, small boats, and small aircraft — and can even explode warheads. And those lasers are just 30 kW. Lasers to be used with the HELLADS system are up to ten times more powerful, and even when tested at 50 kW, were able to deliver a consistently high-quality beam for up to 30 seconds at a time, and then only limited in scope by battery life.
But there’s more. Remember the goal of putting this framework in the air? Well, the same contractor that streamlined the laser has also developed the jet-powered Avenger drone which generates enough energy in flight to continually recharge that battery — giving the weapon unlimited ammunition from an agile, unmanned aircraft, capable of speeds around 450 mph, that can stay aloft for up to 18 hours at a time. But not yet.
HELLADS will first be tested on the ground against “rockets, mortars, vehicles and surrogate surface-to-air missiles,”according to a DARPA statement. “The technical hurdles were daunting, but it is extremely gratifying to have produced a new type of solid-state laser with unprecedented power and beam quality for its size,” said program manager Rick Bagnell. “The HELLADS laser is now ready to be put to the test on the range against some of the toughest tactical threats our warfighters face.”
Though marketed primarily as a defense system, the statement adds, “Laser weapon systems provide additional capability for offensive missions as well—adding precise targeting with low probability of collateral damage […] Following the field-testing phase, the goal is to make the system available to the military services for further refinement, testing or transition to operational use.”
So, the question must be posed: When so many fight simply to survive, how gratifying can perfecting an obscenely destructive weapon of war really be?
by International Anti-Occupation Network on 25-05-2015
The Stockholm Appeal from the I.A.O.N.:
After decades of sanctions, war and occupation, attempts to dominate and control Iraq continue.
The destruction of the country´s infrastructure, its army and its middle class has left a failed state that leaves its people in social misery and chaos. This has resulted in the collapse of the health and education systems, the weakening of the social fabric and the collective memory and national identity of the Iraqi people. Foreign plans to divide Iraq threaten its very existence as a state.
1. The failure of the US-led occupation to achieve their goals has been followed by another war with massive bombings of civilians and the infusion of enormous amounts of military weapons.
2. The regime in Baghdad which resulted from the imposed sectarian Bremer constitution is incapable by its very nature of achieving the inclusiveness of the different ethnic, religious and political groups that is required to guarantee Iraq´s continued existence.
3. Outside interference and support to sectarian militia and terrorist groups has further worsened internal conflicts, giving birth to criminal ruling groups. It has led to serious violations of human rights and has caused widespread suffering for civilians.
4. The government policies of massive imprisonment, torture, forced displacement and the exclusion of many from the political process have together provided fertile ground for all forms of extremism and terrorism.
5. Millions of refugees have been caught between the US-led bombing and the attacks from the government and its militia allies as well as from the terrorist attacks by ISIS. A humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions continues to worsen with widespread sectarian ethnic cleansing .
We re-iterate our stand that peace cannot be restored until the underlying causes of the conflict have been dealt with. The Iraqi people continue to resist foreign domination. Only their unity can guarantee the sovereignty of Iraq and defeat of terrorism and separatism. Only their efforts can guarantee good relations with all their neighbours based on strict non-interference in each other´s internal affairs. Iraq is not a pawn to be offered in regional or religious conflict. Its sovereignty and independence must be respected.
In the present situation, our efforts should be intensified and co-ordinated to:
- spread information about the underlying political nature of the conflict and demand an end to all foreign intervention.
- support the efforts of the patriotic forces for unity against sectarianism and terrorism where all Iraqis are treated as citizens of one country rather than members of specific communities.
- mobilize international efforts to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people.
- demand an end to the bombing and military intervention in Iraq under the pretext of fighting terrorism.
- demand justice for the victims and accountability by those responsible for the crimes committed and their responsibility for reparations and the reconstruction of the country. The UN must uphold international law.
We call upon all anti-occupation, anti-war and peace loving people to maintain and continue solidarity with the people of Iraq and their struggle for an independent, unified and non-sectarian Iraq.
A Chinese state-owned newspaper said on Monday that “war is inevitable” between China and the United States over the South China Sea unless Washington stops demanding Beijing halt the building of artificial islands in the disputed waterway.
The Global Times, an influential nationalist tabloid owned by the ruling Communist Party’s official newspaper the People’s Daily, said in an editorial that China was determined to finish its construction work, calling it the country’s “most important bottom line.”
The editorial comes amid rising tensions over China’s land reclamation in the Spratley archipelago of the South China Sea. China last week said it was “strongly dissatisfied” after a US spy plane flew over areas near the reefs, with both sides accusing each other of stoking instability.
China should “carefully prepare” for the possibility of a conflict with the United States, the newspaper said.
“If the United States’ bottomline is that China has to halt its activities, then a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea,” the newspaper said. “The intensity of the conflict will be higher than what people usually think of as ‘friction’.”
Such commentaries are not official policy statements, but are sometimes read as a reflection of government thinking. The Global Times is among China’s most nationalist newspapers.
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims.
The United States has routinely called on all claimants to halt reclamation in the Spratlys, but accuses China of carrying out work on a scale that far outstrips any other country.
Washington has also vowed to keep up air and sea patrols in the South China Sea amid concerns among security experts that China might impose air and sea restrictions in the Spratlys once it completes work on its seven artificial islands.
China has said it had every right to set up an Air Defense Identification Zone in the South China Sea but that current conditions did not warrant one.
The Global Times said “risks are still under control” if Washington takes into account China’s peaceful rise.
“We do not want a military conflict with the United States, but if it were to come, we have to accept it,” the newspaper said. —Reuters
As Gizmodo’s Matt Novak points out, this attack started at the very birth of the internet:
In the 1970s, civilian researchers at places like IBM, Stanford and MIT were developing encryption to ensure that digital data sent between businesses, academics and private citizens couldn’t be intercepted and understood by a third party. This concerned folks inthe U.S. intelligence community who didn’t want to get locked out of potentially eavesdropping on anyone, regardless of their preferred communications method. Despite their most valiant efforts, agencies like the NSA ultimately lost out to commercial interests. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.
When the NSA got wind of the research developments at IBM, Stanford and MIT in the 1970s they scrambled to block publication of their early studies. When that didn’t work, the NSA sought to work with the civilian research community to develop the encryption. As Stowsky writes, “the agency struck a deal with IBM to develop a data encryption standard (DES) for commercial applications in return for full pre-publication review and right to regulate the length, and therefore the strength of the crypto algorithm.”
Naturally, in the Watergate era, many researchers assumed that if the U.S. government was helping to develop the locks that they would surely give themselves the keys, effectively negating the purpose of the encryption. Unlike IBM, the researchers at Stanford and MIT didn’t go along with the standard and developed their own encryption algorithms. Their findings were published (again, against the wishes of the NSA) in the late 1970s after courts found that researchers have the right to publish on the topic of cryptography even if it makes the government uncomfortable. According to Stowsky, the NSA retaliated by trying to block further research funding that Stanford and MIT were receiving through the National Science Foundation.
Novak also notes that – right fromthestart – people realized the potential of the internet as a tool for conducting mass surveillance on the public. And see this, this and this.
More than 4,000 troops from six NATO countries and three non-member states began a major air exercise over far northern Europe Monday in one of the largest military mobilizations of the year. Arctic Challenge is to last two weeks and involves more than 100 warplanes from the United States, Britain, Germany, France, Norway, and the Netherlands, all NATO members, plus Sweden, Finland and Switzerland.
The US Air Force will contribute 12 F-16 jet fighters as well as AWACS radar aircraft. The European countries are contributing their own F-16s as well as Eurofighter Typhoons and Tornado GR4 fighters. Norway’s Chief Brigadier General Jan Ove Rygg, in overall command of the exercise, said it would test “orchestration and conduct of complex air operations, in close relation to NATO partners.”
The exercise is clearly directed against Russia, which borders on Norway, the host country for the drills, as well as on Finland. Both Finland and Sweden have raised the alarm over alleged Russian submarine penetration of their coastal waters in recent months, and tensions have worsened throughout the region because of ongoing anti-Russian provocations over Ukraine and the Baltic states.
On May 20, only five days before the beginning of the drill, Swedish fighter jets intercepted two Russian Tu-22M “Backfire” bombers over the Baltic Sea. While Swedish officials said the bombers were heading toward the Swedish island of Land, south of Stockholm, they conceded that the planes had remained throughout in international airspace.
The military exercise, which lasts until June 5, will include operations over northern Norway, Sweden and Finland as well as the Arctic Ocean, all areas a short flying time from northern Russia and critical military bases such as Murmansk, headquarters of the Russian Northern Fleet.
The exercises could easily trigger a confrontation with Russian air force planes. According a report by journalist Ahmed Rashid in the New York Review of Books, a similar drill in Estonia in April brought Russian and American planes within 20 feet of each other over the Baltic Sea. The near-collision had a “high probability of causing casualties or a direct military confrontation between Russia and Western states,” Rashid wrote.
Arctic Challenge 2015 is the second such mobilization to include the two non-NATO Scandinavian countries and give NATO warplanes experience in operating in northern Swedish and Finnish airspace above the Arctic Circle.
It follows a series of operations testing the coordination of NATO forces against Russia on land, sea and air. There were NATO submarine detection drills off the Norwegian coast earlier this month, and two major ground exercises—Operation Hedgehog, in which 13,000 ground troops simulated a response to a Russian invasion of Estonia, and Operation Lightning Strike, involving 3,000 troops in Lithuania. Next month, the annual BaltOps exercise will bring a large number of NATO warships into the Baltic Sea.
The Washington Post wrote on May 16:
“Training efforts have swept the region, and in the past week alone separate exercises took place in Poland, Lithuania, Georgia, Estonia and the Baltic Sea. Military planners said they were a practical attempt to drill new lessons about how Russia wages war… US military trainers are also in Ukraine trying to strengthen that nation’s fighting forces even as a war burns in the eastern part of the country.”
Next to eastern Ukraine, the Baltic states remain perhaps the most dangerous flashpoint between NATO and Russia, since the right-wing governments of the three countries have escalated tensions with Russia, claiming that they are the imminent targets of Russian military aggression although nothing of the kind is actually in evidence. Moscow has repeatedly denied it has any designs on their territory.
On May 14, the three Baltic countries formally requested that NATO institute a permanent deployment of some 3,000 troops on their soil to reinforce the guarantee made by President Obama last year that he would invoke Article Five of the Atlantic Charter and go to war with Russia in the event of a military attack on Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania. Some NATO member countries are opposed to such a deployment, since it would violate a 1997 NATO-Russia agreement limiting the size of NATO forces stationed in the Baltics.
On May 22, the European Commission met in Riga, the Latvian capital, for discussions with the leaders of six former Soviet republics—Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus. It was the first such meeting of the European Union’s “Eastern Partnership” since November 2013, when the EU offered a deal for economic association to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. It was Yanukovych’s decision to reject the association agreement that prompted the campaign, backed by the US and the EU, which led to the overthrow of his government by the ultra-right elements who now hold sway in Kiev.
On the eve of the Arctic Challenge exercise, NATO defense chiefs from all 28 member countries met in Washington to discuss “challenges from Russia and from non-state actors,” according to a Pentagon press release. Danish General Knud Bartels, who chaired the May 22 gathering, said the NATO powers “are implementing the biggest reinforcement of our collective defense since the end of the Cold War.”
In addition to tensions with Russia over Ukraine, Bartels pointed to NATO playing a larger role in southern Europe, where refugee flows across the Mediterranean are being treated as a military issue.
NATO Supreme Commander Philip Breedlove said,
“To the south, we face a different set of challenges that involve multiple state and non-state actors. Our members are facing the consequences of instability in North Africa, Sahel and sub-Sahara as well as other regions, which is driving migration and proving fertile ground for extremism, violence and terrorism.”
In the fall, the Pentagon said, NATO will conduct one of its largest-ever exercises involving the southern European countries. Trident Juncture 15 will mobilize 35,000 troops from 33 countries, as well as personnel from international and non-governmental organizations.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday that the US had agreed to provide air support for so-called “moderate rebels” being trained in Turkey, once they cross the border into Syria.
Cavusoglu told the Daily Sabah that there was “a principle agreement” between the two governments for Washington to provide air cover for the proxy forces being trained in a US-funded program aimed at toppling the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Asked if there would be cooperation with the US in providing air support for the “train-and-equip army,” the foreign minister replied, “Of course. They have to be supported via air. If you do not protect them or provide air support, what is the point?”
Cavusoglu refused to give any details when asked if the air support would include armed American drones flown from Incirlik Air Base in the southern Turkish city of Adana. “These are technical details,” he stated. “There is a principle agreement on providing air support. How it is going to be provided is in the responsibility of the army.”
As of Monday evening, the US government had not officially responded to Cavusoglu’s statement, neither affirming nor denying its accuracy. Such an agreement would, however, mark a major escalation in the four-year-long US-instigated civil war that has devastated Syria, killing hundreds of thousands of people and turning millions more into refugees.
The Turkish claim comes at a point of mounting military successes against Syrian government forces by US-backed “rebels” in league with the Al Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front and by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The provision of air cover by the US for its proxy forces on the ground in Syria would follow the pattern of the 2011 US-NATO air war in Libya, which ended with the torture and assassination of deposed ruler Muammar Gaddafi and led in turn to the collapse of the country into bloody civil war between rival Islamist militias.
The US has been flying a fleet of four unarmed Predator surveillance drones over Syria and Iraq from Incirlik since 2011. Three additional Predator drones were deployed to the Turkish base in April.
While the drones reportedly remain unarmed, Turkish military officials agreed in principle last month to the deployment of armed drones at the air base, which is located approximately 360 miles north of the Syrian capital of Damascus and 250 miles northwest of the ISIS Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, well within the flight range of the Predator drones.
The US and Turkish governments are undertaking the military training operation as part of a $500 million program approved by Congress in September 2014 that also involves the training of Syrian “rebels” at camps in Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
According to the Hurriyet Daily News, approximately 123 US soldiers arrived in Turkey at the end of April to initiate the training and equipping program. Forty of these soldiers were deployed to the Hirfanli army base in central Turkey to train supposedly moderate anti-Assad forces. The remaining 83 were deployed to Incirlik to oversee the transfer of weapons to Syrian insurgent groups. Turkey has provided an equal number of soldiers to work alongside the US advisers.
According to Hurriyet, the fighters trained at Hirfanli will be transferred to Hatay province, where they will be armed with rifles, machine guns and anti-tank weapons before being sent back across the border into Syria.
The US has already initiated a similar program in Jordan, where some 400 soldiers from the US and 100 others from countries allied to the US have been training an initial group of approximately 100 Syrian fighters. Washington and its allies are planning to train 15,000 anti-regime Syrian fighters over the next three years.
While launched under the pretense of developing an effective force to fight ISIS, which has taken control of large swaths of Syria and Iraq, the training programs are aimed ultimately at the overthrow of Assad.
Cavusoglu made this clear in response to a question about his expectations for the operation, stating, “The opposition forces are fighting on both fronts. While the fight against ISIS is prioritized, the regime must be also stopped.”
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter told the New York Times earlier this month that Washington would be obligated to assist the “rebels” they trained if they came into conflict with the Syrian military. “If they are contested by regime forces, we would have some responsibility to help them,” he stated, adding, “We have not yet decided in detail how we would exercise that responsibility.”
Since last summer, when ISIS moved across the border from Syria to Iraq, seizing control of large portions of that country, the US has been gradually building up direct military operations against the extremist group inside Syria.
ISIS developed out of the civil war stoked up by the US and its imperialist allies as part of its effort to overthrow Assad, a key ally of Iran and Russia. The CIA and the US military have funneled massive quantities of weapons and ammunition as well as thousands of foreign fighters into Syria since 2011.
On September 10, 2014, US President Barack Obama announced the beginning of a consistent campaign of air strikes against ISIS targets throughout Syria. Since then, the US and its allies have carried out several thousand air strikes against targets in Iraq and Syria at a cost of more than $2.4 billion, or roughly $8.9 million per day.
US Special Forces carried out a raid in eastern Syria on May 17, killing 32 reputed members of ISIS, including a reportedly high-level ISIS officer. American Special Forces carried out their first attack inside Syria last summer in an unsuccessful raid against an ISIS complex in Raqqa, ostensibly to rescue US hostages who were later killed.
The US-led military operation in Iraq and Syria continued on Sunday and into Monday with 10 air strikes in Syria and 25 in Iraq. US strikes in Iraq hit ISIS targets near Fallujah, Baiji, Bahghdadi and Ramadi.
Shiite militias are preparing for a counter-offensive to retake Ramadi, which fell to ISIS forces last week after the Iraqi military was routed. On Monday, Shiite militia forces fighting alongside local Sunni tribal fighters took over part of Al Tash, a rural village 12 miles south of Ramadi.
Sunni fighters loyal to the Iraqi government were reported to be laying landmines on Monday to reinforce the defense of Baghdadi, which was retaken from ISIS forces in March. The city, 63 miles northwest of Ramadi, is the site of the Al Asad air base, where several hundred US military advisers are currently stationed.
Since June 2014, more than 3,000 US soldiers have been deployed throughout Iraq as part of anti-ISIS military operations.
FORTY years after the end of the Vietnam War this is a country which should be rising back to its feet.
Instead it is crippled by the effects of Agent Orange, a chemical sprayed during combat, stripping leaves off trees to remove enemy cover.
Its contaminant, dioxin — now regarded as one of the most toxic chemicals known to man — remains in Vietnam’s ecosystem, in the soil and in the fish people eat from rivers.
Nearly 4.8 million Vietnamese people have been exposed, causing 400,000 deaths; the associated illnesses include cancers, birth defects, skin disorders, auto-immune diseases, liver disorders, psychosocial effects, neurological defects and gastrointestinal diseases.
According to the Red Cross of Vietnam, up to one million people are currently disabled or have health problems due to Agent Orange, 100,000 of which are children.
In Ho Chi Minh City’s Go Vap orphanage, five-month-old Hong gazes serenely from her metal-barred cot, empty, save for a soft yellow teddy bear watching over her.
From her head grows a huge veiny mass — a rare neural tube defect known as encephalocele, which research suggests could be caused by Agent Orange exposure.
Without successful surgery, Hong’s future is bleak. She could suffer from paralysis of the limbs, vision impairment, mental disability and seizures.
Hong Tu, 5 months old, with Encephalocele — a rare neural tube defect characterised by sac-like protrusions of the brain and the membranes that cover it through openings in the skull. Photo: Ash Anand / NEWSMODO Source: Supplied
Phan Thanh Hong Duc, aged 19, suffering from microcephaly (an abnormal smallness of the head, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development). Photo: Ash Anand / NEWSMODO Source: Supplied
In the capital’s Tu Du Hospital, within the Children’s Agent Orange ward lives 13-year-old Tran, with Fraser Syndrome. A rare genetic disorder, it’s characterised by completely fused eyelids, partially webbed fingers and toes and genital malformations. Tran’s nurses explain how he spends hours each day crying out relentlessly, rocking himself back and forth in his cot.
Tran Huynh Thuong Sinh, aged 13, with Fraser Syndrome — a rare genetic disorder characterised (as in Tran’s case) with partial webbing of the fingers and/or toes, kidney abnormalities, genital malformations and complete fusion of the eyelids. Photo: Ash Anand / NEWSMODO Source: Supplied
Named Agent Orange after the coloured stripe on the barrels it was stored in, the US Army, supporting the South Vietnamese, spent a decade from 1961, spraying approximately 80 million litres over 30,000 square miles of southern Vietnam. The aim was to “smoke out” and weaken the Viet Cong enemy of the north, by decreasing their food supplies.
Studies have shown that dioxin still remains at alarmingly high concentrations in soil, food, human blood and breast milk in people who live near former US military bases.
Tra My, aged 9, with hydrocephalus, a condition where fluid accumulates in the brain, enlarging the head and causing brain damage. Photo: Ash Anand / NEWSMODOSource: Supplied
Nguyen Minh Anh, aged 21, born with ichthyosis (thought to be unrelated to Agent Orange) and mental illness (his scaly skin led him to be nicknamed Ca, the Vietnamese word for ‘fish’). Photo: Ash Anand / NEWSMODO Source:Supplied
But it’s not just families in Vietnam that are affected. Here in Australia, where almost 60,000 troops served in the war, a growing number of veterans, their children and now grandchildren believe they’re battling with the effects of Agent Orange exposure.
Hope White, 39, from the Sunshine Coast, suffers from fibromyalgia, spinal problems and infertility. In 1968, her father was deployed for a year in Vietnam’s Phuoc Tuy Province, which was widely sprayed with Agent Orange.
“I’ve had a number of health problems from a young age — especially with my spine forming. I’m only on my feet through heavy medication, lots of physiotherapy and treatments for my back. I feel like my body’s fighting itself all the time, some days I can’t even get out of bed,” she explains.
Huu Loc, aged three. Photo: Ash Anand / NEWSMODOSource: Supplied
Although statistics on the number of people affected by Agent Orange in Australia and their associated illnesses aren’t currently recorded, animal studies have shown that exposure to dioxin can lead to female infertility.
“I’ve found that childlessness is very common across the daughters of Vietnam veterans that I’ve spoken with”, says Hope. “It’s had a massive impact on my husband and me. Not having children has changed our lives significantly.”
Dr. Wayne Dwernychuk, a retired senior scientist, adviser with Hatfield and Agent Orange specialist, warns that “countless more generations could be affected in the future”. Research suggests that another six to twelve generations will have to pass before dioxin stops affecting the genetic code.
Truong Minh Hiep, aged 16, born with physical deformities feeds breakfast to Tran Thi Ngoc Nhu, aged 8, with Down ’s syndrome. Photo: Ash Anand / NEWSMODOSource: Supplied
Tran Thi Vy, aged 6, with cerebral palsy and limb stiffness. Photo: Ash Anand / NEWSMODO Source: Supplied
These pictures are of Hien whose 12 children have passed away from the effects of Agent Orange. He has built a shrine where his children are buried, on top of a dune beside his home. Photo: Ash Anand / NEWSMODO Source:Supplied
16-year-old Thao in Cu Chi is unable to walk unaided, his legs bound from birth. He practices twice a day on his father’s makeshift rehabilitation walkway, steadied by wooden rails — and waits for funding to come through for an operation. A quiet, timid boy who’s never been to school because of his disability, Thao sits beside his 15-year-old able-bodied brother, Hieu. Their grandfather fought in the war. As in Thao’s case, it’s common for Agent Orange illnesses to skip siblings and even entire generations within the same family. Photo: Ash Anand / NEWSMODO Source:Supplied
Support services, however, are steadily increasing for Agent Orange-affected families in Vietnam. In Da Nang, the NGO, Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange, operates two day centres for disabled children, offering vocational training, rehabilitation and the chance to make friends. It’s a safe haven for children often left on the margins of society because of their disabilities.
Charitable donations also help children like 16-year-old Thao in Cu Chi, who’s waiting for funding for an operation on his legs. Unable to walk unaided, his legs bound from birth, he practices twice a day on his father’s makeshift rehabilitation walkway, steadied by wooden rails.
A quiet, timid boy who’s never been to school because of his disability, Thao sits beside his 15-year-old able-bodied brother, Hieu. Their grandfather fought in the war.
“When I see my brother like this, I feel sorry for him”, says Hieu, “I help him at home, sometimes I feed him and we play marbles together around the house.”
“What do you usually do at home?” I ask Thao. “I just lay there. I don’t have anything to do. I don’t feel sad, I’m used to it”. He only has one wish. “I just want to be able to walk,” Thao says quietly.
To make a donation or volunteer your time to help Vietnamese families affected by Agent Orange, visit VAVA (Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange) or SJ Vietnam