Global Research Editor’s Note

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

The authenticity of this interview, which is available in recognized electronic news archives, is confirmed.

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 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 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.

Michel  Chossudovsky, May 9, 2011

 

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

Ummat (in Urdu), Karachi, 28 September 2001, pp. 1 and 7.

Ummat’s introduction

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

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

Following is the interview in full detail:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Usamah: We are thankful to the Momin and valiant people of Pakistan who erected a blockade in front of the wrong forces and stood in the first file of battle. Pakistan is a great hope for the Islamic brotherhood. Its people are awakened, organized, and rich in the spirit of faith. They backed Afghanistan in its war against the Soviet Union and extended every help to the mojahedin and the Afghan people. Then these are very 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

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.

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

April 7th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

 

Note to Readers: Remember to bookmark this page for future reference.
Please Forward the GR I-Book far and wide. Post it on Facebook.



[scroll down for I-BOOK Table of Contents]

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GLOBAL RESEARCH ONLINE

INTERACTIVE READER SERIES

GR I-BOOK No.  7 

THE 9/11 READER

The September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks

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

Michel Chossudovsky (Editor)

August 2012


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


 

INTRODUCTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click to view video

VIDEO: AFTER 9/11: TEN YEARS OF WAR

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

***

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

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

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

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

Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Al Qaeda is a US Intelligence Asset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

VIDEO (30 Sec.)

The Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven

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

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven.

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

Coverup and Complicity

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

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

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

War Propaganda

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Alleged Role of Iraq in the 9/11 Attacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iran: Alleged State Sponsor of 9/11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Al Qaeda: US-NATO Foot-soldiers

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents of the 9/11 Reader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


PART  I

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

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

PART II

What Happened on the Planes

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

 

PART III

What Caused the Collapse of

The WTC Buildings and the Pentagon?

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

PART IV

Lies and Fabrications: The 9/11 Commission Report

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

PART  V

Foreknowledge of 9/11

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

PART VI

Insider Trading and the 9/11 Financial Bonanza

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

PART VII

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

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

 

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

PART VIII

The Alleged 9/11 Mastermind:

The Life and Death of  Osama bin Laden

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

PART  IX

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

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

PART X

“Deep Events” and State Violence

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

PART XI

Propaganda: Creating and Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend

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

PART XII

Post 9/11 “Justice”

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

PART XIII

9/11 Truth

Revealing the Lies,  Commemorating the 9/11 Tragedy

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

*   *  *

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

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

Order Directly from Global Research

America's War on Terrorism

Salafism and the CIA: Destabilizing the Russian Federation?

September 14th, 2012 by F. William Engdahl

Part I: Syria comes to the Russian Caucasus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fundamentalism comes to Caucasus

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

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

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

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

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

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

*  *  *

WWIII Scenario

*  *  *

 

Part II: Salafism at war with Sufi tradition

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

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

Before and…After Salafist Taliban …

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

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

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

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

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

Salafism and the CIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Part III: Morsi’s Reign of Salafi Terror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes:

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

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

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

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

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mairbek Vatchagaev, op. cit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[14] Ibid.

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

[16] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

[21] Ibid.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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December 30th, 2012 by Global Research News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ISIS: US-made Monster Running Amok in Middle East

August 28th, 2014 by Robert Bridge

In its desire to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, the US channeled arms and funds to the Syrian rebels, many of whom splintered off and formed the Islamic State, which is now giving the US far more problems than it had bargained for.

One year ago, it seemed certain that Washington would launch a military strike on Syria, bringing to its knees yet another undesirable government in the Middle East. However, at the eleventh hour, an incredible thing happened: President Barack Obama requested approval from Congress before using military force in Syria. While some were tempted to applaud the Democratic leader for doing something as radical as upholding the US Constitution, other factors played a role in the decision.

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AFP Photo / Ahmad AL-Rubaye

 AFP Photo / Ahmad AL-Rubaye

One of the most convincing reasons for Obama balking on war (aside from Britain politely excusing itself from the expedition) could be summed up by damning comments by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who famously remarked that the US military should not be serving as “Al-Qaeda’s air force.”

“We should be focused on defending the United States of America. That’s why young men and women sign up to join the military, not to, as you know, serve as Al-Qaeda’s air force.”

Suddenly, the American public was forced to fathom the unfathomable: In Syria the US was lending support to the rebels that were getting help from the same terrorist organization that attacked Manhattan and Washington on Sept. 11, killing some 3,000 citizens.

Needless to say, the political stakes involved in advocating on behalf of the Al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels suddenly got a lot riskier.

The Texas Senator said that of nine militant groups fighting against Syrian government forces “at least seven had direct connections to Al-Qaeda.” Arming and funding known terrorists in Syria “makes no sense whatsoever,” he said.
Cruz then reminded his colleagues on the basic rules of foreign policy.

“I’ll give you one of the simplest principles of foreign policy that we ought to be following: Don’t give weapons to people who hate you. Don’t give weapons to people who want to kill you.”

Reuters / Osama Al-dulaimi

Cruz’s comments attracted the wrath of American hawks, most notably from Republican Sen. John McCain, who last May secretly flew to Syria to meet with rebel leaders, including General Salem Idriss of the Free Syrian Army. McCain, suddenly characterized in the same league as Al-Qaeda, slammed Cruz’s claims as “totally uninformed.”

However, it was not only the Republicans, of course, beating the war drum for military action in Syria. Last year, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went on record as saying: “We will work with like-minded states to support the Syrian opposition to hasten the day when Assad falls.”

Ultimately, critics of America’s activities in Syria proved right. Supporting the Syrian rebels without understanding the true nature and character of these individuals marked yet another US foreign policy setback in the region.

Islamic State rising

Almost overnight, many of the Syrian rebels – some of them Al-Qaeda members – working to overthrow the Assad regime broke away and formed what has come to be known as the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant, or Islamic State (IS) for short.

The dramatic rise of this group almost defies belief, but apparently its willingness to use extreme forms of violence explains part of their sudden popularity.

On the other hand, IS is said to be so cruel and vicious that it managed to get disavowed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of Al-Qaeda, the very same group of terrorists that thought nothing of flying commercial aircraft into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

The latest victim of IS’ cruelty was James Foley, a freelance journalist who disappeared in Syria in November 2012. On August 19, a video briefly surfaced entitled, “A Message to America” that showed Foley kneeling at an unknown desert location. After delivering a brief statement that is critical of the United States government, the video fades out as an alleged IS militant is seen dragging a knife across Foley’s neck.

It should be mentioned that some analysts have questioned the legitimacy of the IS video on several accounts, namely the apparent censorship of the beheading: If IS is indeed so cruel and vicious why was the actual moment of the beheading concealed? Also, no Arabic is spoken in the video. Foley’s captor and apparent executioner delivers a brief address in the English language, which might be understandable since some IS members hail from Britain. And why is the video not of the grainy, shaky sort usually put out; why is it so polished? It is questions like these that have caused some to believe the video was a carefully staged event, although few doubt that Foley was indeed executed.

However, such questions are not hurting the membership drive of IS: according to one of Iraq’s most respected security experts the number of Islamic State recruits is much higher than that estimated by foreign observers – around 100,000. Foreign estimates put the figure between 20,000 and 50,000.

Meanwhile, the US government is tracking as many as 300 Americans reportedly in the ranks of Islamic State. Washington has expressed concern that these radicalized civilians could become a risk to the US if they return home with skills learned overseas to carry out attacks, anonymous US officials said, according to the Washington Times.

Reuters / Osama Al-dulaimi

“We know that there are several hundred American passport holders running around with ISIS in Syria or Iraq,” a senior US official said. “It’s hard to tell whether or not they’re in Syria or moved to Iraq.”

“ISIS now presents itself as an ideologically superior alternative to Al-Qaeda within the jihadi community and it has publicly challenged the legitimacy of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri,” said Charles Lister, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, in a paper last month. “As such it has increasingly become a transnational movement with immediate objectives far beyond Iraq and Syria.”

The reason for the surge is that IS is quite effective at swallowing up other insurgent groups.

“[The] Islamic State didn’t come from nowhere,” according to Hisham al-Hashimi, who advises Iraq’s intelligence services and analyzes information gathered on the ground. The organization “is an extension of groups that existed before – historically and ideologically,” al-Hashimi told Mashable.

If the Islamic State’s sensational rise to power sounds familiar, that’s because it is. Back in the 1970s, the United States armed and trained the mujahedeen in Afghanistan to help fight against Soviet troops in the decade-long Afghanistan War (Dec. 1979 to Feb. 1989). Those fierce fighters, under the leadership of Osama bin Laden, eventually morphed into Al-Qaeda, which turned out to be the first foreign adversary of the United States to launch a successful attack on the US mainland.

Now IS too has threatened to bring the war to America’s front door.

A backdoor to war into Syria?

Ironically, the explosive rise of IS across a wide swath of Iraq and Syria is handing the Obama administration an opportunity for doing what it could not do one year earlier: Open a military offensive in Syria. Following the reports of decapitated Christian babies, and the beheading of the American James Foley, it will be harder for critics like Ted Cruz to question a military operation against IS – even in Syria.

In fact, the US media seems to be priming the American public for yet another Syrian showdown: “The Pentagon began preparing options for an assault on Islamic State fighters after the militants last week posted a gruesome video showing the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley. Deliberations by Obama’s national security team on expanding the campaign against Islamic State from Iraq into neighboring Syria gathered pace in recent days,” Reuters reported on Thursday, quoting unnamed officials.

“From unmanned armed drones to powerful Stealth bombers, a wide range of U.S. airpower is at Obama’s disposal, including possible missiles fired from warships at sea or from aircraft flying outside Syria’s borders.”

The obvious question is: Will a US military attack on IS positions in northern Syria eventually snowball into a full-blown war with Syria? President Assad has already warned that any foreign military actions on the territory of his country will be considered an act of war.

And that may be exactly what the hawks in Washington want to hear.

Robert Bridge is author of the book, Midnight in the American Empire, which discusses the dangerous consequences of extreme corporate power in the United States.

When Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 went down on July 17, 2014, we were immediately inundated with base propaganda trying to convince us that the shootdown could be traced back to the Kremlin. But what was this rush to judgement based on? What have we learned about the crash since then? Why has MH17 completely disappeared from the news cycle? And who really stood to benefit from the disaster? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this week’s edition of The Corbett Report.

Absurdity beyond comprehension.

Washington supported the Free Syria rebels who aligned themselves with the terrorist group called Al-Nusra to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad,

Then the Syrian rebels and other groups in Iraq form another terrorist organization who call themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The consequences of Washington’s policies of aiding the Syrian rebels including ISIS have served a purpose. ISIS has spread to both Syria and Iraq gaining territory. ISIS has claimed it has executed 250 Syrian soldiers last weekend as they seized an airbase in the province of Raqqa.

Washington considers the advancement of ISIS a threat to its national security. As reported by the Associated Press, US surveillance planes were already deployed to pinpoint specific targets. The article titled ‘US surveillance planes fly over Syria, officials say’ stated that

“Two U.S. officials said Monday that Obama had approved the flights, while another U.S. official said early Tuesday that they had begun. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter by name, and spoke only on condition of anonymity.”

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey did not comment on surveillance flights currently in use but did say that “Clearly the picture we have of ISIS on the Iraqi side is a more refined picture,” said Dempsey, using one of the acronyms for the Islamic State group. “The existence and activities of ISIS on the Syrian side, we have … some insights into that but we certainly want to have more insights into that as we craft a way forward.” Obama’s rationale is that ISIS is a direct threat to American citizens after the public execution of photojournalist James Foley. Republicans are willing to give the Obama administration an authorization to take military action against ISIS in Syrian territory. Historically, Both Republicans and Democrats have always agreed on foreign policy issues, especially when war is on the agenda:

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said Tuesday the administration “has not yet shared with us what their plans are.” He said he hoped the White House would go to the Congress with a request for an authorization to act.

“I think it’s our responsibility as elected officials to let the American people know where we stand with respect to national security matters,” Corker told MSNBC. “For the American people’s sake, Congress should weigh in. Congress should be a part of it”

Rest assured, Congress would vote for military action against Syria. They have an agenda that is multi faceted. First, it supports weapon’s manufacturers such as Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon in a time of war. An online guide to campaign contributions that influence politicians’ called opensecrets.org states that there were 227 Republicans and 188 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 49 Democrats and 40 Republicans that received funding from the defense industry. Second, the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has an interest in removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because of his diplomatic relations with several of Israel’s enemies including Iran.

Washington also has a keen interest of having a military presence in the Middle East to control the natural resources including oil and gas. Washington and its corporate partners want its military to stay in the Middle East for the long term.  By supporting Israel (a U.S. watchdog in the region) and having their military bases in key areas in close proximity to oil producing facilities, it would guarantee the import of natural resources into US and European markets. China would then have limited capacity to obtain natural resources it needs for its economy. Now Washington’s favorite enemy, ISIS is in the picture. The Obama administration will obviously use this crisis as a way to prepare US forces for a future “blitzkrieg” against Assad’s forces. According to the Daily Beast, A mainstream media online news source stated the following:

One former senior U.S. diplomat who has consulted with the administration on the ISIS threat told The Daily Beast that he would expect Obama to be presented with an option similar to Vice President Joe Biden’s favored policy from 2010 for Afghanistan known then as counter-terrorism plus. This kind of approach would be a drone and air campaign against ISIS targets in Syria. The United States has conducted drone and airstrikes in Yemen, Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan. But in all of these cases the host government has requested them. This week, Syria’s foreign minister warned the United States not to enter Syrian air space

According to the Associated Press, Obama is concerned that if he orders airstrikes against ISIS, it would weaken the US position to topple the Assad government, because on the international stage it would solidify the fact that the U.S. and Syria has partnered to take out a common enemy “Administration officials have said a concern for Obama in seeking to take out the Islamic State inside Syria is the prospect that such a move could unintentionally help embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.”

But it would also become an act of aggression on Syrian territory. The Obama administration has publically stated that it would not ask the Syrian government for permission to enter its air space. Why? Maybe Washington wants to raise tensions with the Assad government? “A top Syrian official said Monday any U.S. airstrikes without consent from Syria would be considered an aggression” the AP report said. It also stated the fact that “The Islamic State is among the groups seeking Assad’s ouster, along with rebel forces aided by the U.S.” So ISIS and the U.S. government has a common enemy?

Now let get this straight. Originally the Obama administration has repeatedly called for the removal of the Assad government. The Obama administration has consistently supported the Syrian rebels to remove Assad, but has failed because the Syrian government defeated the Western backed Free Syrian Army (FSA). Another question is why would the Syrian government allow the US to battle ISIS on its territory? Syria is more than capable of defeating ISIS as it did with the Syrian rebels. The Obama administration will not ask the Assad government for permission to launch airstrikes in Syria. Now let’s see who the enemies of all parties involved are. First, the U.S. Government’s enemy is clearly the Assad government who was recently re-elected by a majority of the people. ISIS is an enemy of the U.S. and the U.S. is an enemy of ISIS, especially after the brutal beheading of James Foley made it somewhat clear. Syria’s enemy is the U.S. government who has destabilized many areas of Syria resulting in the deaths of at least 160,000 people. The US has aided the FSA which resulted in the creation of Al-Nusra and ISIS, all considered enemies of Syria. Now all terrorist organizations operating in Iraq and Syria are supposedly enemies of each other. Lebanon’s Daily Star reported this past May that:

Al-Nusra Front and ISIS have in recent months fought intense, bloody battles against each other, particularly in eastern Syria on the border with Iraq. “We will follow the orders of… Ayman al-Zawahiri… to stop any attack from our side against ISIS, while continuing to respond whenever they attack Muslims and all that is sacred to them,” Al-Nusra said in a statement.

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is hard to comprehend.  Syria is the enemy of the U.S. government and its terrorist organizations it has supported over the years. In this case, who is the enemy and who is the friend? The U.S. does not have a real friend in this fight because it already has what it wants, instability.  All parties are expendable as we clearly seen with U.S. airstrikes targeting ISIS in Iraq. Washington has friends in the Middle East, and that is Israel and the Gulf state dictatorships.  Syria is back in the spotlight. Washington is determined to oust the Assad government and create a fragmented state as they did to Libya. By supporting Israel and its Gulf states allies including Turkey and Jordan militarily and economically, U.S. interests would be secure. In a sense, it is order out of chaos.

The West is trying to turn the Russian humanitarian aid convoy “… into a duplicitous dangerous act because it would better fit with the kind of scenario that they have been putting forth about Russia being a predator or being the provocateur,” says renowned author Dr. Michael Parenti, a political scientist from Yale University, a historian, and a cultural critic, in an interview with Radio VR.

Dr. Parenti is the author of over 23 books whose works have been translated into 18 languages. He has given frequent lectures all over the world on a wide range of subjects and is the author of a college level political science textbook. Dr. Parenti’s working class roots may have figured into his motivation to be a defender of the little guy, the exploited and the victims of empire. He has proven himself to be a champion of the truth and a consistent defender of the underdog.

The Russian Federation recently sent a convoy of 270 trucks (with another convoy scheduled to depart in the near future) carrying more than 200,000 tons of humanitarian aid to provide much needed relief to the civilian population of the besieged Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Dr. Parenti stated that: “The caravan proved to be full of peaceful materials (food and medicine and things like that) and that doesn’t look good from their view. Their goal is to try to make the Russians look as bad as possible, to justify their own aggression against the eastern Ukrainian people and the Republic they tried to set up.”

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Russia's humanitarian aid convoy leaves Izvarino border crossing point, moves to Luhansk

The humanitarian mission and the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry (EMERCOM) met with an unprecedented icy reaction from the West. EMERCOM has even helped the United States on several occasions. The accusations levied at the relief trucks ranged from “covert weapons supplies” to “outright invasion”. Dr. Parenti believes that Kiev is attempting to “pacify” the eastern regions and “the way to pacify them is to terrorize them into submission.” All the while, the West has been saying: “… it is the Russians who are aggressing and who are threatening and who have these big terrible white trucks that may destroy us all!”

Russia’s humanitarian aid convoy leaves Izvarino border crossing point, moves to Luhansk

Members of the western media have even attempted to shed an ominous light on “empty space” in trailers, obviously showing their ignorance that trucks have a certain weight limit (approximately 40 metric tons). A trailer filled with toilet paper would be packed to the roof but one with baby food would only be loaded with pallets about waist high. Dr. Parenti shrugged off the idea that the trucks may be covertly supplying weapons, saying: “… the tanks and the artillery and the firepower and the white phosphate bombs, which burn people to pieces if they get touched by the stuff, all of that is being provided by Kiev.”

Dr. Michael Parenti, a political scientist from Yale University, a historian, and a cultural critic

While discussing the situation in Ukraine which he characterizes as the overthrowing of a “democratically elected government” with “a new government put in with Nazi and Right Wing groups playing a central role,” Dr. Parenti mentions

“… a memo from the Rand Corporation that was circulating among the Ukrainians and the Kiev Group that said things like: ‘… you move in on the people, cut off their electricity and water, try to discourage their food supplies and yes you may have to use and you will use non-conventional weapons.’”

Dr. Parenti says Kiev has done all of these things including the use of white phosphorous. He says:

“… the Rand Corporation is a ‘think tank’ that is in the pay of the Pentagon which comes up with suggestions and operational plans,” and that they (RAND): “… talked about what is to be done in this situation, and they have been doing it, using heavy artillery, heavy armor and they have been very destructive of various eastern towns.”

The reckless tactics of the Kiev military are touched upon by Dr. Parenti who says:

“They are not discriminating between armed soldiers and civilians and are rounding up any people who show signs of fighting, if they have any burns or bruises on their hands…”

He says we are seeing a “very mean spirited and brutal war against the Russian speaking eastern Ukrainians with almost 2,000 people having been killed and hundreds injured or made destitute after their homes have been blown up.”

The involvement of NATO in Ukraine is a topic which few talk about and in fact about which little is known and Dr. Parenti touchs on the issue by saying; “While this is going on (the punitive Kiev war) you have NATO waging a war of attrition against these people.”

Against the backdrop of the negative media campaign against the humanitarian convoys and the non-reporting of alternative narratives on the Ukraine crisis,

Dr. Parenti says that in the West

“We hear nothing from Putin. We never see a word of what he says, we never hear his statements or comments. All we have are these commentators speaking ironically and with alarm and disparaging tones” asks the question: “What exactly has Putin done that is so wicked and evil? He is not the one collaborating with Nazi groups. He isn’t the one who is killing eastern Ukrainians.”

Regarding Russian troops Dr. Parenti makes the point that if Russia was planning to invade there would be huge numbers not merely what is currently on the Russian border, as any country has the right to have troops on their own borders.

Dr. Parenti also says: “President Putin is not trying to dismember Ukraine but he has been giving some protection to people in eastern Ukraine, not just slaughtered out and out.”

The New York Times‘ Upshot section (8/26/14) put the headline “How Social Media Silences Debate” over a story about a new study that shows that the Internet “has diminished rather than enhanced political participation.”

Reporter Claire Caine Miller writes:

“Social media, like Twitter and Facebook, has the effect of tamping down diversity of opinion and stifling debate about public affairs.”

The study–or the Times recap, more to the point–is likely to get a lot of I-told-you-soattention from people who take a dim view of Twitter and the like. So it’s worth making two points.

For one, the study (Pew Research Internet Project, 8/26/14) is remarkably narrow, looking at whether people are hesitant about sharing differing political views with their family and friends. The survey asked about one topic–NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden–and apparently found that people said they were more likely to talk about government surveillance offline than online.

That’s right: There are people out there who might not want to talk on the Internet  about the NSA’s surveillance powers–which include the ability to monitor what people are saying on the Internet.

The study’s authors note that at the time of the survey, the Snowden revelations were only about phone/email metadata–not specifically about monitoring the content of online communications, which came out in subsequent Snowden documents–so they don’t think it had a serious impact on the findings.  They acknowledge, though, that “future research may provide insight into whether Americans have become more or less willing to discuss specific issues on- and offline as a result of government surveillance programs.”

In any event, I think it’s reasonable to say that it’s hard to draw very many conclusions from questions about this single topic.

But let’s ask the same question about a different kind of media–corporate media, such as the New York Times. What can we say about how it might be “tamping down diversity of opinion and stifling debate about public affairs”?

There’s plenty of evidence. In the run-up to the Iraq War, opponents of the warbarely registered on nightly newscasts. One cable channel fired its most popular host for his dissenting views.

FAIR’s recent study of cable news shows a stunning lack of diversity. Our 2012 study of Sunday morning chat shows a strong tilt towards conservatives, white men and Republicans.  The major op-ed pages strongly favor elite viewpoints.  Unquestionably, radio talkshows  are  overwhelmingly dominated by conservative voices.

Discussions about major  issues like immigration and the minimum wagealmost never include the people who are most affected by the policy debates. And that’s when they cover such issues at all; FAIR has found the major networks give scant time to covering issues like poverty.

We could go on like this for a while.

Protesters in Ferguson

Using Twitter to get the message out from Ferguson

A more reasonable way to think about the political dialogue that happens in social media is that it expands the discussion to include voices and perspectives that are marginalized from corporate media. The events in Ferguson became national news afterTwitterblack Twitter, more specifically–drew attention to the case. For a more firsthand and unfiltered look at the Israeli attacks on Gaza, one had to go to Twitter.

It’s not hard to think of many similar examples of stories that bubbled up from social media to so-called “old” media.

The ability to share and produce journalism on the Internet is what draws so many people to it, and it is what has made Net Neutrality a galvanizing issue. Many of the millions of people who want to protect Internet freedom are so motivated because they don’t want the Internet to become like corporate media. And I suspect many of them would find it downright strange to argue that these new tools of communication are stifling debate.

Though perhaps not too surprising–coming from corporate media.

CNN just dropped the bomb many of us have been waiting for: pure denial. They have been waiting patiently for the journal – Transactional Neurodegeneration – which published the historical study on the link between autism and MMR vaccine to retract, redact and otherwise deny the truth of the study.

For the record, we contacted the editor-in-chief of Transactional Neurodegeneration, Professor Shengdi Chen tonight, with this communication:

Professor Shengdi Chen,

Your recent decision to remove Dr. Hooker’s article published in your journalTransactional Neurodegeneration online has been cause of great concern among stakeholders in the scientific, journalistic and legal community here in the U.S., due to a top CDC vaccine safety expert — William Thompson – confessing under the advice of legal counsel today that the CDC manipulated and/or omitted data used in Dr. Hooker’s study that falsified a link between African-American children and the diagnosis of autism in those receiving the MMR vaccine before 36 months of age versus those receiving it after 36 months.While it is feasible that you made the decision for scientific, ethical, and precautionary reasons, as you state on your journal’s website:

“This article has been removed from the public domain because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions. The journal and publisher believe that its continued availability may not be in the public interest. Definitive editorial action will be pending further investigation.”

…the decision raises concerns as to your culpability in a cover-up.

You should know that your decision is being perceived as a threat to the credibility of your journal and career as an esteemed scientist.

Given the legal implications of your decision to potentially collude with a now verified cover-up involving the falsification of scientific data related to vaccine science and autism, would you be willing to make a statement to defend your decision?

I have copied a wide range of legal, journalistic and scientific stakeholders in this communication, and hope you can clear up what appears to be a precautionary decision on your part, which I hope can be clarified in detail on your part.

Sincerely,

Sayer Ji,
Editor-in-Chief of Greenmedinfo.com

The CNN report, which while disturbing, is entirely consistent with their stance on promoting misinformation about the clearly documented dangers of vaccines, verifies the true gravity of this debacle.

Watch the CNN Coverup Story here.

They waited, patiently, to spin the story in a way that advocates for widespread, lemming-like obeyance to the CDC’s one-size-fits-all vaccination schedule, that has been linked to the U.S.’s abysmal infant mortality rate, not to mention burgeoning autism incidence, now afflicting 1 in every 68 children born in this country.

Tonight, we also sent the following communication to the Cheautism listserve, addressing our concerns about the link between the MMR and autism, titled “Confirmed: Wakefield/Hooker’s whistle blower and others at the CDC did falsify vaccine/autism data”:

Today, a press release posted on the website of CDC whistle blower William Thompson’s legal representation, Frederick M. Morgan,Jr., Morgan Verkamprevealed that Andrew Wakefield and Dr. Hooker’s initial claims about malfeasance at the CDC are, broadly speaking, true. In William Thompson’s own words:

STATEMENT OF WILLIAM W. THOMPSON, Ph.D., REGARDING THE 2004ARTICLEEXAMINING THE POSSIBILITY OF A RELATIONSHIP  BETWEEN MMR VACCINE AND AUTISM

“My name is William Thompson.  I am a Senior Scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where I have worked since 1998.

I regret that my coauthors and I omitted statistically significant information  in our 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics. The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased  risk for autism.

Decisions were made regarding which findings to report after the data were collected, and I believe that the final study protocol was not followed…

My concern has been the decision to omit relevant findings in a particular study for a particular sub­ group for a particular  vaccine. There have always been recognized risks for vaccination and I believe it is the responsibility of the CDC to properly  convey the risks associated  with receipt of those vaccines.”

As those of you who have been following this unfolding story, covered only in the alternative media, are aware that there has not been a single mainstream or even hybrid media report on the topic thus far, adding to the growing suspicion that this coverup stretches far beyond the CDC to the global mainstream media. As revealed today, the very journal that published Dr. Hooker’s study on the 3.4 fold increase in risk of autism in African-American boys who received the MMR before 36 months of age vs. those who received it after 36 months – Transitional Neurodegeneration – removed the article entirely from its website, with the explanation:

This article has been removed from the public domain because of serious concerns about the validity of its conclusions. The journal and publisher believe that its continued availability may not be in the public interest. Definitive editorial action will be pending further investigation. [see journal comment]

Now that the link between MMR vaccine and autism has been thrust into public attention by one of the CDC’s own top vaccine scientists — at the very top of the evidence- and health authority food chain – and not just the growing number of parents who, after directly witnessing their infants or children undergo sudden neurodevelopmental regression during the most intense vaccination window in life (2-15 months) and who were subsequently slapped with an idiopathic, presumably genetically-based ‘autism’ or ‘autism spectrum disorder’ diagnosis by their pediatricians, the question must be refocused not on if but how the MMR vaccine causes autism.

Here are a few observations as to the cause:

MMR Vaccine May Cause Autoimmunity to the Central Nervous System: Since 2002, research began to emerge showing a clear link between MMR vaccine and the pathogenesis of autism, starting with a report published in the Journal of Biomedical Science showing that abnormal measles-mumps-rubella antibodies are linked to central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity in children with autism.[1]

The researchers hypothesized that autoimmunity to the CNS may play a causative role in autism, likely by causing the immune system to attack myelin basic protein (MBP) — the insulating sheath that protects the nerves — via a phenomenon known as molecular mimicry.

In order to prove this hypothesis, they took the blood serum of 125 autistic children and 92 control children who were tested for measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) and MBP autoantibodies – that is, antibodies that are directed not against pathogens but against self-structures. The study found the “presence of an unusual MMR antibody in 75 of 125 (60%) autistic sera but not in control sera.” This antibody was found to be immunopositive for a measles hemmagglutinin protein specific to the measles vaccine component of the MMR vaccine.  They also found a strong association between MMR antibodies and CNS autoimmunity, noting “over 90% of MMR antibody-positive autistic sera were also positive for MBP autoantibodies.” The study concluded that autoimmune-mediated CNS damage could explain how MMR causes autism:

Stemming from this evidence, we suggest that an inappropriate antibody response to MMR, specifically the measles component thereof, might be related to pathogenesis of autism.”

Both Wild Type and Vaccine Strain Measles Can Cause Brain Damage

In 2009, a study published in the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, analyzed the blood serum of autistic and normal children, as well as the cerebrospinal fluid of some autistic children.  The results were reported as follows:

Many autistic children harbored brain myelin basic protein autoantibodies and elevated levels of antibodies to measles virus and measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. Measles might be etiologically linked to autism because measles and MMR antibodies (a viral marker) correlated positively to brain autoantibodies (an autoimmune marker)–salient features that characterize autoimmune pathology in autism. Autistic children also showed elevated levels of acute-phase reactants–a marker of systemic inflammation.

The study clearly found that there is scientific evidence supporting virally driven (both via wild type and vaccine strain MMR) autoimmune mechanisms within a subset of autism patients – what they termed “autoimmune autistic disorder (AAD),” explained by the author’s speculative “neuroautoimmune (NAI) model for autism.” And that AAD can be identified through basic blood serum based immune tests.

MMR Vaccine May Cause Autoimmunity towards Gastrointestinal and Brain Targets

A 2003 paper published in Medical Hypotheses asked the question: “Does the MMR vaccine and secretin or its receptor share an antigenic epitope?”[2]  The researchers hypothesized that the MMR vaccine, which is believed responsible for causing a regressive autism-spectrum like condition in a subgroup of children, may produce autoantibodies that target secretin or its receptor, which is found in the gut as well as the brain, and would therefore cause both gastrointestinal distress and brain damage consistent with the “autistic entercolitis’ that Andrew Wakefield first identified in his subjects.

Obviously, this is only one of many potential mechanisms for MMR-caused or mediated autism pathogenesis. Another, commonly overlooked factor, which I would appreciate getting criticism or feedback on from the cheautism list community is:

  • Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs): the master seed stock for the MMR vaccine included cell lines – diploid and animal — which are now known to harbor a reservoir of proviruses capable of undergoing pathogenic reactivation into replication competent and virulent ERVs both through chemical (e.g. formaldehyde) and radiation exposure (e.g. gamma radiation) and through the attenuation process itself, which requires serial passage of the intended vaccine virulence factor – e.g. measles, rubella – through a wide range of biological fluids and cell types, providing ample opportunity for recombination, human cell line adaption and surreptitious activation of pathogenicity, including zoonosis — crossing over of an essentially benign ERV sequence in the native cell line to a cell from another species.

Indeed, when the original master vaccine seed stocks for many of the attenuated vaccines still in the present-day CDC vaccine schedule were being developed, the approximate 50% viral origin of the human and related animal genomes was not yet known, and reverse transcriptase was not even discovered until the 70′s. Publicly available WHO and CDC documents clearly reveal that a major concern at the time in vaccine development was the theorized existence of a ‘carcinogenicity factor’ in immortal cell (cancer) lines that, while being ideal candidates for vaccine development and manufacturing, due to the fact that they would not need to be replenished — as is the case for diploid cell lines that require refreshment with newly aborted fetal cells — and so, they made a conscious decision to use non-human animal cell lines to evade this perceived cancer threat. Since then, a wide range of oncogenic (and otherwise pathogenic) viruses have been discovered in simian (e.g. SV40), chicken (e.g. endogenous avian leukosis virus), mouse (e.g. mouse mammary tumor virus), pig (e.g. pig endogenous retrovirus; the major impasse towards porcine xenotransplanation in human medicine), and other animal species cell lines — all of which many presently contaminate live vaccines like the MMR, and any one of which may contribute to the pathogenesis of neurological conditions including ‘autism.’

Health Guide: Vaccine Research | GreenMedInfo | Health Guide

Clearly, there a widespread coverup is underway. if it were not for the CDC scientist’s own statement, we would not have reason to raise such a high level of concern. And yet, William Thompson himself admits culpability and points to others at the CDC who were in collusion with covering up the autism-MMR link. The truth will prevail.

Sayer Ji is the founder of GreenMedInfo.com, an author, educator, Steering Committee Member of the Global GMO Free Coalition (GGFC), and an advisory board member of the National Health Federation. 

He founded Greenmedinfo.com in 2008 in order to provide the world an open access, evidence-based resource supporting natural and integrative modalities. It is widely recognized as the most widely referenced health resource of its kind.

The claims concerning Russian troops entering Ukraine are groundless, Leonid Slutsky, the head of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, said Thursday.

“Lies have become habitual for the so-called Ukrainian authorities, so [Ukrainian President] Poroshenko is not going to surprise anyone in Russia, or in the West. I can only say that there are no grounds for such claims,” Slutsky told RIA Novosti.

According to the official, Poroshenko’s cancelation of his scheduled visit to Turkey under the pretext of Russian troops crossing into Ukraine is nothing but a publicity stunt.

“I think that very soon the international community will make an objective assessment of the Kiev junta’s actions, and many countries, members of the European Council, the representatives of which we are constantly in touch with, are beginning to realize that Kiev is leaking lies,” Slutsky said.

Earlier, the Ukrainian president canceled his trip to Turkey and called an emergency meeting with the country’s security council due to the aggravation of the situation in Donetsk Region, as “Russian troops were actually brought into Ukraine.”

Russia’s envoy to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Andrei Krelin, denied the claims that Russia had sent troops to help independence supporters in eastern Ukraine.

On August 24, Donetsk People’s Republic forces started to move south to the Sea of Azov on the Russian-Ukrainian border. Three days later, the republic claimed it had moved tanks into Novoazovsk on the Sea of Azov.

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon next to a wounded mercenary, Israeli military field hospital at the occupied Golan Heights’ border with Syria, 18 February 2014″ (Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2014. For more see Michel Chossudovsky, “Justified Vengeance”, The Pretext for Bombing Gaza: Was the Netanyahu Government behind the Killings of the Three Israeli Teenagers?)

The United Nations says 43 of its peacekeepers have been detained by “armed elements” fighting in the Golan Heights, the Associated Press reports.

An additional 81 UN soldiers are “currently being restricted to their positions in the vicinity of Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah,” according to the office of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

The “armed elements” in Syria consist almost exclusively of jihadist groups, most notably ISIS and al-Nusra. ISIS was trained by the United States and al-Nusra was armed by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

On Wednesday ISIS and al-Nusra took control of the Quneitra crossing point at the demarcation line on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The action puts the al-Qaeda inspired groups within 200 yards of territory captured by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967.

DEBKAfile, an Israeli intelligence asset, reports the ISIS and al-Nusra effort to wrest control of the border area away from the Syrian army was assisted by by Israel, Jordan and the United States:

Israel acted as a member, along with the US and Jordan, of a support system for rebel groups [ISIS, al-Nusra] fighting in southern Syria. Their efforts are coordinated through a war-room which the Pentagon established last year near Amman. The US, Jordanian and Israeli officers manning the facility determine in consultation which rebel factions are provided with reinforcements from the special training camps run for Syrian rebels in Jordan, and which will receive arms.

In December, it was reported by The National that a secret command center in Jordan, staffed by western and Arab military officials, provides support to jihadist groups fighting on Syria’s southern front. The intelligence center “channels vehicles, sniper rifles, mortars, heavy machine guns, small arms and ammunition to Free Syrian Army units.”

Large numbers of fighters from the Free Syrian Army have defected to al-Nusra over the last year. “Fighters are heading to al-Nusra because of its Islamic doctrine, sincerity, good funding and advanced weapons,” Abu Islam of the FSA’s al-Tawhid brigade in Aleppo told The Guardian in May, 2013.

In June, al-Nusra and ISIS joined forces.

The same month Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily reported U.S. instructors had trained members of ISIS in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region.

Issam Jouda mourns during the funeral of his wife and four children in Jabaliya, northern Gaza, on 24 August. (Ezz al-Zanoun / APA images)

An elder cousin daubed the blood that dripped from a wound near Thaer Jouda’s left eye Tuesday afternoon as the nine-year-old lay in a bed in Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital.

“He’s very good in English,” the cousin said. But Thaer, his face and body lacerated by shrapnel from an Israeli airstrike on Sunday and his right leg amputated at the knee, had little interest in talking.

The bombing, which injured Thaer and his eleven-year-old sister Rahaf, also killed his mother Rawiya (43 years old), his sisters Tasnim (14) and Raghida (13) and his brothers Muhammad (8) and Usama (6).

The five deaths made the Joudas, residents of Tal al-Zaatar in the northern Gaza Strip’s Jabaliya area, one of the hardest-hit of the 91 families counted by the Palestinian Ministry of Health who lost multiple members during single attacks during Israel’s 51-day military offensive.

An earlier list from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, including some casualties not yet confirmed by the Ministry of Health, counted 140 families that had lost three or more family members in a single incident by 20 August.

Many families were killed by Israeli strikes on almost 190 mosques, more than 140 schools and other civilian institutions, some used as shelters for Palestinians displaced from their homes by Israeli military operations near the barrier that separates Gaza from present-day Israel.

The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has recorded at least 990 people killed inside their homes in Israeli attacks, including 324 children. That’s almost half of all people killed in the Israeli assault. Israeli strikes affected at least 10,589 homes, 2,715 of which were completely destroyed, by 25 August.

“My ears broke”

In the hallway outside Thaer’s room, his father, Issam, recalled the airstrike that ended the lives of his wife and four children two days earlier.

“At 4:00 pm, I was inside the house,” he said. “All the rest of my family was sitting in the front hall. Their mother was standing in the middle of the boys. They were playing as they were accustomed. ”

“As Rahaf was coming inside, I heard a massive explosion. My ears broke. I saw a huge mass of dust in the area and shrapnel scattered all over the hall.”

“After the blast, my daughter Rahaf grabbed my neck. She was screaming ‘Father! Where is my mother? Where are my brothers?’”

“Shrapnel everywhere”

After checking his surviving daughter for injuries, Issam said, he told her to leave the house quickly. Looking at the rest of his family in the hall, he said, “They lay with shrapnel everywhere and a pool of blood around them. It’s like they were swimming in it. There were six of them, five killed.

“I heard the voice of my son saying, ‘Dad.’ The others were scattered everywhere. You couldn’t distinguish between them because of the heavy shrapnel wounds in their faces.

“The voice was Thaer. I carried him and left the house quickly. I felt my body cut from the shrapnel as I carried him. Then our neighbors took him and the rest of our family to al-Awda hospital.”

At the hospital, Issam said, Thaer was alert, asking him for water. “In another bed, I saw my little boy, Usama. He was smiling in his sleep. I tried to hug and kiss him. There was no response.

“I tried to convince myself that he had returned my smile. And I refused to listen to anybody saying that he was dead.”

On Saturday, Issam said in passing, he had bought his youngest son a track suit for the winter.

In another bed, he recalled, “I saw my wife covered by a sheet. I removed it quickly, and saw that she was also dead.”

His other three children had been transferred to a separate hospital, Kamal Edwan. By the time he arrived to identify them, he said, staff had moved them into the refrigeration units used to store the dead before burial. “You could not recognize the features of their faces and heads.”

“Incremental genocide”

In an interview with Rania Khalek, published by The Electronic Intifada shortly after a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian resistance groups was declared yesterday, Center for Constitutional Rights former executive director Michael Ratner called Israel’s ethnic cleansing and massacres of Palestinians “incremental genocide.”

Sitting outside his only surviving son’s hospital room, Issam said, “The international community must punish the Israeli war criminals and end the occupation as soon as possible.”

“Global society, which talks about justice and international law, must take responsibility to protect the Palestinian people from this massive destruction. These are war crimes.”

Joe Catron is a US activist in Gaza, Palestine. He co-edited The Prisoners’ Diaries: Palestinian Voices from the Israeli Gulag, an anthology of accounts by detainees freed in the 2011 prisoner exchange. Follow him on Twitter: @jncatron.

In a powerful 25 minute speech on his return home to Tromsø, Norway from 15 days treating the wounded in Gaza, the Norwegian emergency surgeon Dr Mads Gilbert said: “The heart of the Earth beats in Gaza now. It bleeds, but it beats.”

He went on to say: “The Palestinian people’s resistance in Gaza today is admirable, it is fair and it is a struggle for all of us. We do not want a world where raw power can be abused, to kill those who struggle for justice.”

Below is the first few minutes of the speech transcribed from the video which is subtitled in English. In an appeal to Norwegian citizens, he asks them to imagine what their country would be like today if they had not struggled for its liberation from German occupation.

 

I know you applaud for Gaza. I know you applaud for those who are there, the heroes of Gaza.

This will be no easy appeal to make, because I am now overcome by the mildness, the warmth, the safety, the absence of bombs, jets, blood and death. And then all that we’ve had to keep inside comes to the surface – so forgive me if sometimes I break.

I thought when I got home and met my daughters Siri and Torbjørn, my son-in-law and my grandkids Jenny and Torje, that it is such a mild country we live in.

It so good, with a kind of humanity in all relationships, because we actually built this country on respect for diversity, respect for the individual, respect for human dignity.

And imagine being back in 1945. And I beg to be understood when I say that I am not comparing the German Nazi regime with Israel. I do not.

But I compare occupation with occupation. Imagine that we in 1945 did not win the liberation struggle, did not throw out the occupier, could not see a bright future or believe our kids had a future. Imagine the occupier remaining in our country, taking it piece by piece, for decades upon decades. And banished us to the leanest areas. Took the fish in the sea, took the land, took the water, and we became more and more confined.

And here in Tromsø we were actually imprisoned, because here there was so much resistance to the occupation. So we are imprisoned for seven years, because in an election we had chosen the most resilient, those who would not accept the occupation.

Then after seven years of confinement in our city, Tromsø, the occupier began to bomb us. And they began to bomb us the day we made a political alliance with those in the other confined parts of occupied Norway, to say that we Norwegians would stand together against the occupier. Then they began to bomb us.

They bombed our university hospital, then the medical center, then killed our ambulance workers, they bombed schools where those who had lost their homes were trying to seek shelter. Then they cut the power and bombed our power plant. Then they shut off the water supply. What would we have done?

Would we have given up, waved the white flag? No. No, we would not. And this is the situation in Gaza.

This is not a battle between terrorism and democracy. Hamas is not the enemy Israel is fighting. Israel is waging a war against the Palestinian people’s will to resist. The unbending determination not to submit to the occupation!

It is the Palestinian people’s dignity and humanity that will not accept that they are treated as third, fourth, fifth-ranking people.

In 1938, the Nazis called the Jews “Untermenschen,” subhuman. Today, Palestinians in the West Bank, in Gaza, in the Diaspora are treated as Untermensch, as subhumans who can be bombed, killed, slaughtered by their thousands, without any of those in power reacting.

So I returned home to my free country – and this country is free because we had a resistance movement, because we said that occupied nations have the right to resist, even with weapons. It’s stated in international law.

You are permitted to fight the occupier even with weapons.

Nobody wants to be occupied!

Gaza: The Cruel Aftermath. The Mourning Hasn’t Begun

August 28th, 2014 by J. B. Gerald

Israel’s military operation against Gaza, “Protective Edge”, has brought a terrible awareness to the world. With a long-term truce declared August 27th, the horrifying effects of a war on their right to exist will remain indelible in the minds of Gazans. These operations against Gaza are periodic. The normalcy of destruction and Israel’s insistence on the right to oppress are not tolerable yet the people of Gaza endure the bombing of their homes and deaths in their families. Gazans are refusing extinction. However badly Hamas resistance is damaged, it continues. Israel’s right to exist is endangered by refusing that right to Palestinians. The lasting result of operation “Protective Edge” is that Israel’s policy toward Gaza and Palestine is becoming widely recognized as a genocide.

    The destruction of Gaza is slow to be processed as ‘genocide’ by most North American university programs or concerned NGO’s, who along with government policies are legally bound to the prevention of genocide. The destruction of Palestinian people continues to be ignored as it becomes more clear through these sixty years. Despite the policy implicit in Israel’s current operations, it’s difficult or impossible to find any mention of Israel or Palestine on the web pages of United to End Genocide, Canada’s All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Prevention of Genocide and Other Crimes Against Humanity, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Genocide Watch, The Sentinel Project, the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, the Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation, among other government allied or corporate organizations citizens with conscience might turn to.

The State of Palestine Ministry of Health reported Aug. 17th that since July 6, 2014 there have been at least 2016 martyrs and 19101 injured in Gaza. In an interview with Pernille Ironside of UNICEF’s Gaza field office, Democracy Now! reveals that of the 1.8 million residents of Gaza a million are children under 18, and these are permanently traumatized by Israeli actions. By Aug. 21, 2014 at least 467 children were killed, 3000 wounded, 1500 orphaned, and 25 schools destroyed. The United Nations Human Rights Council has opened an independent inquiry. Council President Baudelaire Ndong Ella of Gabon has appointed a panel of Canadian Professor William Shabas, Senegalese lawyer Doudou Diene, and Mary McGowan Davis, a New York judge, to investigate this recent round of war crimes.

There’s no public enthusiasm for this massacre from any quarter of the world. Operation “Protective Edge” was recognized as genocide by the President of Palestine. The Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif found the atrocities genocide. Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan , Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, and the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, publicly faulted Israel for genocide. Nicaragua’s Ortega noted to Globovision “El primer ministro Netanyahu parece que tiene el demonio adentro.”

Very few mainstream North American journalists and editors are finding their voices. Actress Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem signed an open letter by over a hundred notables in the Spanish film industry, to the European Union, finding the actions of Israel ‘genocide’. She’s threatened with not working again as Hollywood bitingly rushes to Israel’s defence. In an open letter printed in Haaretz, Archbishop Desmond Tutu addressed Israel’s civil society with the need for non-violence and the “boycott, sanctions and divestment,” used in South Africa’s rejection of apartheid.

Within Israel a group of Israeli citizens, Boycott from within! sent a letter to the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, demanding the office take action to stop the genocide destroying the Palestinian people. It joins a Palestinian call for boycott.

On August 2, Dr Joanne Maria McNally wrote a letter to the International Criminal Court notifying it of its obligations to prevent genocide of the Palestinian people.

In an advertisement in The New York Times over three hundred Holocaust survivors and their and victims’ descendants accused Israel of genocide and call for a full economic, academic and cultural boycott.

The Canadian Peace Movement and some socially conscious Americans openly refer to the Israeli actions as genocide. Chris Hedges ended his address to a NYC rally this way: “God weeps because the failure to condemn Israeli war crimes by our political establishment and our compliant media betrays the memory of those killed in other genocides, from the Holocaust to Cambodia to Rwanda to Bosnia. God weeps because we have failed to learn the fundamental lesson of the Holocaust, which is not that Jews are unique or eternal victims, but that when you have the capacity to stop genocide, and you do not, you are culpable.”

Andrew Abbass of Corner Brook Newfoundland filed a complaint with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in his town, charging Canadian Prime Minister Harper and Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird with genocide. A local RCMP officer explained to him that the Ottawa RCMP had refused to pursue what was considered a complaint against a ‘policy directive.’ According to a report by Newfoundland’s The Telegram, the allegation addressed alleged hate propaganda and promotion of genocide in “Through Fire and Water,” a Conservative Party video which promotes Harper and Baird’s reasons for supporting Israel.

Canada’s New Democratic Party is losing support due to its ambivalence about the Israeli invasion. Ottawa NDP Minister Paul Dewar’s constituency office was occupied by protesters. A Montreal NDP Minister quit the Party.

Whatever North America’s well funded University ‘genocide’ programs and NGO’s are free to say, Israel is on a different footing now. It may be the murder of so many children. There’s a global shift to recognizing Israel’s unacceptable brutality as a policy for “final solution”. Hamas supports Palestine joining the International Criminal Court. Over the years the documentation of military actions reveals a pattern of annihilation. Of people. Documentation of statements of hatred by Israeli politicians, some rabbis and settlers, which have become more and more frequent, also may be subject to eventual prosecution under the Convention. The attack on Gaza is said to have support of Israel’s population as its peace community is being silenced.

Interviewed by Gidi Weitz for Haaretz (Aug.13, 2014), Prof. Zeev Sternhell who has written extensively about fascism, said “What we’ve seen here in the past few weeks is absolute conformism on the part of most of Israel’s intellectuals. They’ve just followed the herd. By intellectuals I mean professors and journalists. The intellectual bankruptcy of the mass media in this war is total.” Sternhell is an Israeli Prize laureate and in 2008 was wounded by a Shin Beth informant in a targeted bomb attack.

B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories has for weeks carried the names of the victim children at the top of its website.

Despite human moments of leaders and people saying no ! and despite the truce which leaves an imprisoned people amid ruins, it’s numbing to consider a tragedy where arrogance and impunity are so comfortable with the deaths of so many civilians. A culture which has often awakened the rights and value of humanity, has let a terrible crime occur, which will eventually be brought to justice by courts, or a consensus of humanity which is less restrained. For most North Americans this ongoing news story about death is at the mercy of madness, and the real mourning hasn’t begun.

Partial online sources:

“Let My People Go,” Aug. 10, 2014, Truthdig; “Signs of fascism in Israel reached new peak during Gaza op, says renowned scholar,” Gidi Weitz, Aug. 13, 2014, Haaretz; “Comprehensive Data on Palestinian Deaths in Gaza (July 6 – August 17, 2014),” State of Palestine Ministry of Health, Aug. 17, 2014, Global Research; “Holocaust Survivors and their descendants accuse Israel of ‘genocide’,” Zachary Davies Boren, Aug. 24,2014, The Independent; “If Palestinians Were Human Beings,” Shourideh C. Molavi, Aug., 6, 2014, Socialist Project E-Bulletin No. 1019; “Deputy speaker of Israeli Knesset Call for Expulsion and Jewish Reoccupation of Gaza,” Max Blumenthal & Paul Jay, Aug. 7, 2014, The Real News; “My plea to the people of Israel: Liberate yourselves by liberating Palestine,” Desmond Tutu, Aug. 14, 2014, Haaretz; “Ortega: Netanyahu tiene el demonio adentro y necesita un exorcismo,” EFE, Aug. 25, 2014, Globovision; “A War on Gaza’s Future ? Israeli Assault leaves 500 Kids Dead, 3000 Injured, 373,000 Traumatized,” Gonzalez, Goodman, Ironside, Aug. 21, 2014, Democracy Now!; “Calls for genocide enter Israeli mainstream,” Jonathan Cook, July 21, 2014, Intifada; “RCMP quashes genocide complaint against PM,” & “Corner Brook man told Israel-Palestine position a policy directive, not a crime,” Andrew Robinson, Aug. 2, 2014, Aug. 23, 2014, The Telegram; “They aren’t Hiding It Anymore: Calls for Genocide, Rape of Palestinian Women enter Israeli Mainstream,” Jonathan Cook, July 22, 2014, Global Research; “Total War against Gaza: Israeli Genocide and its Willing Accomplices,” Prof. James Petras, Aug. 11, 2014, Global Research; “As civilian casualties rise in Gaza, UN Rights Council agrees probe into alleged ‘war cimes’,” UN News Service, July 23, 2014, United Nations News Centre.


Painting by George Maas

The Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation (NWF) and other green groups recently revealed that pipeline giant Enbridge got U.S. State Department permission in response to its request to construct a U.S.-Canada border-crossing tar sands pipeline without earning an obligatory Presidential Permit.

Enbridge originally applied to the Obama State Department to expand capacity of its Alberta Clipper (now Line 67) pipeline in November 2012, but decided to avoid a “Keystone XL, take two” — or a years-long permitting battle — by creating a complex alternative to move nearly the same amount of diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) across the border.

The move coincides with the upcoming opening for business of Enbridge’s “Keystone XL” clone: the combination of the Alberta Clipper expansion (and now its alternative) on-ramp originating in Alberta and heading eventually to Flanagan, Ill., the Flanagan South pipeline running from Flanagan, Ill. to Cushing, Okla. and the Cushing, Okla. to Port Arthur, Texas Seaway Twin pipeline.

Together, the three pieces will do what TransCanada‘s Keystone XL hopes to do: move dilbit from Alberta’s tar sands to Port Arthur’s refinery row and, in part, the global export market.

Environmental groups have reacted with indignation to the State Department announcement published in the Federal Register on August 18. The public commenting period remains open until September 17.

Jim Murphy, senior counsel for NWF, referred to it as an “illegal scheme,” while a representative from 350.org says Enbridge has learned from the lessons of its corporate compatriot, TransCanada.

“When we blocked Keystone XL, the fossil fuel industry learned that they have a much stronger hand to play in back rooms than on the streets,” said Jason Kowalski, policy director for 350.org. “They will break the law and wreck our climate if that’s what it takes for them to make a buck.”

But as the old adage goes, it takes two to tango.

That is, influential State Department employees helped Enbridge find a way to smuggle an additional 350,000 barrels of tar sands per day across the border without public hearings or an environmental review.

Thus far, those following the issue have described the Enbridge maneuver as some sort of bureaucratic snafu.

“If anyone who’s high up in the State Department actually knew about this, they’d be up in arms,” 350.org’s Kowalski said in a recent interview with EnergyWire in reaction to State’s decision.

The reality, though, is more sordid. That is, higher-ups made this call, not just “bad apples.”

One of them has a key tie to the oil and gas industry, while the other helped lay the groundwork for the controversial “extraordinary rendition” torture program as a Bush Administration State Department attaché.

Patrick Dunn’s Industry Ties

On July 24, State Department staffer Patrick Dunn signed off on a letter rubber-stamping Enbridge’s pipeline chess move. In giving Enbridge authorization on official State Department letterhead, Dunn claimed it was not a form of authorization.

“Enbridge’s intended changes…do not require authorization from the U.S. Department of State,” Dunn wrote in the letter. “[W]e will consider [your] letter and its attachments to amend and to be part of your Presidential Permit for the capcity (sic) expansion in Line 67.”

Dunn’s letter does not give his job title, perhaps leading NWF to write him off as simply a “mid-level State Department official” in an August 25 blog post. His current position and State Department background, however, tells a different story.

A February 2014 letter obtained by DeSmogBlog lists Dunn’s role as deputy office director for the Bureaus of European Affairs, the Western Hemisphere and African Affairs.

More specifically, Dunn heads up the three regions’ bureaus of energy resources, described as a “chief of staff” in an August 11 article published on Dominican Today. That article highlighted Dunn’s efforts — alongside Vice President Joe Biden — to cut deals with the Dominican Republic’s government, turning the country into an importer of gas obtained via hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in the U.S.

Before working his way up to the powerful Bureau of Energy Resources, Dunn helped lead numerous U.S. Embassies abroad, including in Honduras and Angola as top economic adviser, and Cape Verde as deputy embassy director.

What came before any of that, though, may go a long way in explaining how he came to oversee such an important cross-border pipeline project in the first place.

According to the Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association (PESA), Dunn graduated in 1997 from the Association’s Foreign Service Officer Energy Industry Training Program, which is funded in part by the State Department and has a Board of Directors stuffed with oil and gas industry executives.

“PESA’s Foreign Service Officer Energy Industry Training Program was created in 1993 to increase the practical knowledge of energy attaches and economic officers with responsibility for oil and gas issues stationed in American embassies in countries where energy is a major issue,” reads a Program description.

A glance at PESA’s website demonstrates that industry executives regularly serve as presenters at the Foreign Service Officer Energy Industry Training Program.

Deborah Klepp’s Ties to Rendition, Corrupt Contracting

Though Dunn wrote the July 24 letter to Enbridge, he is not the only senior level State Department staffer overseeing the Enbridge Alberta Clipper file.

Deborah Klepp, whose name is listed at the very bottom of the State Department’s August 12 announcement on the Alberta Clipper, currently serves as director of the Department of State’s office of environmental quality and transboundary issues.

In the past, she has helped to head up U.S. Embassies in Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Burkina Faso, as well as in Estonia and Poland.

While working as deputy director of the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on a two-year appointment starting in July 2001, Klepp knowingly or unknowingly got involved in what many would likely consider her most controversial work at the State Department: planting the seeds of the Bush Administration’s “extraordinary rendition” torture program.

“Finnish authorities identified a single Miami Air flight…that travelled back and forth between Helsinki and Manas U.S. Air Force transit base in Kyrgyzstan in a single day in December 2002,” explains a February 2013 Open Society Foundation report titled, “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition.”

The U.S. Embassy in Bishkek is only a 30-minute drive away from the Transit Center at Manas located at Manas International Airport, which served as a key U.S. military base from 2001-2009. After her time serving in Bishkek, Klepp wrote a paper for the National Defense University about how the U.S. established the base during her time working on the ground there.

Omitted from Klepp’s paper: the sheer amount of corruption and insider dealing involved in maintaining the base from the day that it opened. This resulted in a damning December 2010 congressional investigation on Manas and fuel contracting and other ownership issues.

Deborah Klepp and Guantanamo Bay

Beyond rendition and corruption at Manas, Klepp also had at least some knowledge of torture of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba.

In a document obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), then Secretary of State Colin Powell sent a cable in January 2002 to Klepp and James Boughner, at that time the deputy director of the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan and now head of economic affairs for the U.S. Embassy in Germany.


Image Credit: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Requesting the cable be passed onto then-U.S. assistant secretary of state for Europe and Eurasia, A. Elizabeth Jones and her executive assistant at the time, Karen Decker, the cable discusses Guantanamo Bay (“GTMO”), “access to the detainees” and three congressional delegations (“CODELs”) to GTMO going on at the time.

That cable also discusses International Committee of the Red Cross (“ICRC) “technical recommendations,” but the State Department redacted what those recommendations were.

Image Credit: American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

The New York Times revealed in 2004 that a confidential ICRC memo stated the “American military [had] intentionally used psychological and sometimes physical coercion ‘tantamount to torture’ on prisoners at Guantanamo.”

Klepp’s husband Mark B. Horowitz — determined by viewing property records — also formerly served as a senior-level State Department employee. A 2012 State Department telephone directory lists Horowitz as an employee of the Office of Information Resource Management, where he served as ”ISSO (For S/ES Only).”

In the tech world, “ISSO” is shorthand for Information System Security Officer or Chief Information Security Officer, who oversees institutional computer system networks and online infrastructure.

“Local Corrupt Practices”

An October 2008 State Department diplomatic cable provided to Wikileaks by whistleblower Chelsea Manning discusses what Columbia University political scientist Alexander Cooley describes as the “local rules” of doing business in Kyrgyzstan and the Central Asian region at-large.

“[O]ne businessman said that doing business here is ‘like doing business in the Yukon’ in the nineteenth century, i.e. only those willing to participate in local corrupt practices are able to make any money,” explains the cable.

But the latest wheeling and dealing by Enbridge raises a troubling question: have the “local corrupt practices” conducted by State Department diplomats abroad snaked their way home in order to help the tar sands export industry?

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Poland and Ukraine: History of Break-Downs

August 28th, 2014 by Yuriy Rubtsov

The ongoing crisis in Ukraine and unseemly role of Poland in its instigation and development makes us take another look at the historical context of the Polish-Ukrainian relations. We will focus on dramatic repressions of the Ukrainian minorities in Eastern Poland in 1921-1939 at the territories annexed by Jozef Piłsudski’s government from the Soviet Russia according to Peace of Riga 1921, which eventually triggered ultra-Nationalist Ukrainian terror against the Poles during the WWII (culminating in massacres in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia in 1943-1944).

Poland, which used to be a part of the Russian Empire, emerged in the European political map in November 1918 as a result of German’s defeat in WWI. The period of the so-called Polish Republic, which lasted until 1939, was characterized by the rampant Polish nationalism. The attempts of ethnic minorities – Ukrainians, Belarusians, Jews, Russians and Lithuanians – to preserve their national identity were quelled in the cruelest way. The regime of Juzef Pilsudski and its supports were reluctant to respect the basic minorities’ rights. It had greatly weakened Poland making it doomed to collapse as soon as Germany military delivered the first strikes in 1939. It suffered defeat not only due to military superiority of Wehrmacht over the Polish armed forces but rather because of internal divisions tearing up the Polish society from inside – only few were ready to offer staunch resistance to defend the country which was more like stepmother than motherland.

Here is the historical paradox. Winston Churchill made an apt remark calling Poland the «Greedy Hyena of Europe». For many Western historians this role of Poland paled once it became the victim of Hitler’s military intervention. The same way the crimes of German Nazism made pale the ethnic cleansings and rough treatment of dissidents that the regime of Pilsudski used to commit in its concentration camps.

Long before the notorious Nazi concentration camps where built in the Third Reich, Poland had acquired vast experience of getting rid of the dissenters who disagreed with the ruling regime. In 1934 the first concentration camp was organized in Bereza Kartuska (the territory of contemporary Belarus) to imprison those who were accused of «anti-state» activities: the activists of Ukrainian, Belarusian and Jewish national movements, Communists, members of underground groups and Orthodox Church clergymen…There were no clear rules about who to imprison – they were putting all dissenters without distinction into the camp. The «correctional education» included inhumane conditions, exhausting labor, harassing labor, beatings and tortures.

Adolf Hitler and Polish Foreign Minister Jozef Beck meet together in 1937.

Adolf Hitler and Polish Foreign Minister Jozef Beck meet together in 1937.

Polish “law enforcement” officers were closely linked to its Nazi German colleagues, the same way as their bosses, Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Göring regularly visiting Poland, foreign relations chiefs Joachim von Ribbentrop and Josef Beck were often seen together. Józef Kamala–Kurhański, the commandant of the camp in Bereza-Kartuska, had even received training in Germany. Ironically, he perished in Auschwitz in 1941. Germans were extremely pragmatic: when you are done, you can go.

Germany needed Poland to do what it wanted – ethnic cleansing in Kresy (today’s Western Ukraine, Western Belarus, as well as Lithuania) captured by Poland as a result of the 1920 war with the Soviet Russia. Nazis wanted those lands to be free from «aliens» like Ukrainians, Belarussians and Jews. The Polish regime coped with the task perfectly. Everyone non-Polish was forced to leave, the regime inspired Jewish pogroms in urban areas and coercive polonization was gaining momentum. No matter “aliens” accounted for 40 % of Kresy population with Orthodox Church parishioner prevailing, they were banned of their right to speak, read and teach children in their native tongues, as well as to pray in their churches. Only 37 Belorussian schools out of 400 remained in Western Belarus. 1300 Orthodox churches were demolished and plundered.

In order to increase the Polish population Piłsudski’s regime used to offer extensive land lots to the retired Polish military officers making them and their families settle down in Kresy (mostly in Volhynia). They were at the forefront of assimilation policy to evoke the feeling of hatred among non-Poles. Dr. Gennady Matveev argues that the regime made Poles hostages of their own ethnocratic policy leading to international strife, in particular the Volhynia massacre of 1943-1944, which claimed the lives of 80 – 100 thousand Poles and Jews killed by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA).

Another aspect is that UIA had its own Nazi ideology which left no place neither for Poles, nor Russians or Jews on the Ukrainian soil. Hitler used the gangs of Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych to cleanse the Volhynia-Podolian region, as well as some other areas of Reichskommissariat Ukraine, of Poles and Jews. Inhuman atrocities committed by Bandera followers became a routine matter. They formed special «instruments» to do the job – from battalion Nachtigall to Galicia Division. The Volyn massacre was not spontaneous, it was actually a paramilitary operation, thoroughly planned and “effectively” carried out by the UIA.

Ukrainian neo-Nazis are seeking historical revanche on both, Eastern and Western, fronts.

Ukrainian neo-Nazis are seeking historical revanche on both, Eastern and Western, fronts.

Today neither Warsaw nor Kiev seem to be willing to recall these stories. Moreover, they demonstrate rare solidarity when it comes to fighting the Russian national-liberation movement in Donbass. Polish involvement on the highest political level in punitive actions in Novorossia was repeatedly reported (e.g. check the cases of Othago private military company run by the former Internal Affairs Minister  Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz and Jerzy Dziewulski, the security advisor to ex-President Aleksander Kwasniewski).

Unsurprisingly, the Poles and Ukrainians who used to exterminate each other 80 years ago, today are united on the basis of Russophobia. Ideological descendants of Josef Piłsudski, disguised in democratic clothes, are using multiple rocket launchers and white phosphorus bombs against civilians in Donbass. Piłsudski and Poroshenko regimes are not exactly twins, but evidently birds of the feather flocking together.

It will hardly be a surprise if the Poles share their Bereza Kartuska experience with Poroshenko and Avakov. In June 2014 Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence came out with an initiative to build filtration camps for all adult people of Novorossia, including women, to find those who have ties with the «separatists». He suggested that others should be deported to other regions.

Again, as dozens of years ago, political leaders agitate people to make their wild instincts come out. The majority of Ukrainians and Poles are hardly prone to xenophobia and intolerance to another opinion, but they are directly incited to be hostile to the neighbors who want to speak another language and prey in different churches.

We don’t want to make open old and still hurting wounds; we’re not calling on the Polish people to always make Ukrainians remember that they were responsible for the Volhynia massacre. But the lessons of history should not be forgotten. Back then Hitler connived at Pilsudski supporters who were cleansing eastern Kresy of Ukrainians, Belarusians and Jews. Then Hitler’s special services were condescending when the UIA militants massacred dozens of villages to cleanse them of Poles. If Warsaw convinces itself that Russia is the main enemy and the Ukrainian ultra-Nationalists are their best friends, it will face another Volhynia tragedy. Perhaps it would be called differently but the consequences may be even more tragic.

No doubt if Poland admits its guilt and takes on responsibility for the deeds of the predecessors, the country situated between Western and Eastern Europe, would pave the way for new promising international prospects and play an important role defining the fate of the Old Continent.

The original text was adapted by ORIENTAL REVIEW.

The US has claimed it will begin reconnaissance flights over Syria – a tentative first step toward direct military intervention it has sought in attempts to overthrow the Syrian government since 2011. While the US is using the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) as a pretext to carry out these intrusions into Syrian territory, it was the US itself that created and to this day perpetuates ISIS and other extremist militant fronts amid a documented attempt to reorder the entire Middle East.

What is expected to follow is an incremental expansion of US military intervention in eastern Syria that will include further arming and funding of the very terrorist networks it claims it is violating Syria’s borders to attack, culminating in eventual military operations carried out against the Syria government itself.

The US’ justification for directly intervening in Syria however, only further undermines the very “international norms” it claims to champion, and opens the door for other nations it is menacing to use more direct means to confront its agenda of global military aggression, including along Russia’s border with Ukraine.

Untying Russia’s Hands 

In CNN’s report, “Obama authorizes reconnaissance flights over Syria, U.S. official says,” it states:

In a discussion about whether the United States military would need Syrian government approval to act against ISIS in Syria, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest referenced the assassination of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011. 

“The President has already demonstrated a willingness, where necessary, to protect the American people, has demonstrated a willingness to use military force to protect the American people, regardless of borders,” Earnest said Monday.

By exercising policy “regardless of borders,” the US has just hung itself politically in its efforts to protect the newly installed regime in Kiev, Ukraine, and prevent Russia from intervening against what are literally battalions of Neo-Nazi militants operating along Russia’s border with Ukraine. Citing the need to “protect the Russian people” resonates clearer in regards to legitimate concerns, considering Ukraine’s proximity to Russian territory, than America’s claims that a region on the other side of the planet, where one of its citizens voluntarily chose to put himself into harms way by covering an ongoing armed conflict, somehow now requires direct US military intervention.

ISIS is America’s Monstrosity 

49790Image1What is perhaps the most troubling aspect of all about America’s attempts to begin military intervention in eastern Syria using ISIS as a pretext, is the fact that it and its regional allies including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, created ISIS in the first place to use as a proxy mercenary force for the purpose of overthrowing the government in Syria and confronting pro-Iranian forces across the region from Lebanon to Baghdad. With Syria effectively containing ISIS in eastern Syria and routing them in the more heavily populated regions of western Syria, the West’s designs for regime change in Syria appear effectively defeated.

It was predicted, at the onset of ISIS’ incursion into northern Iraq, that it would be used as a pretext to effect regime change on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border. The West’s feigned surprise at the immense funding, armament, and organization of ISIS attempted to create ‘distance’ between itself and the mercenary force they themselves created.

In a June 2014 NEO Journal article titled, “NATO’s Terror Hordes in Iraq a Pretext for Syria Invasion,” it was explicitly predicted that:

The alleged territorial holdings of ISIS cross over both Syrian and Iraqi borders meaning that any campaign to eradicate them from Iraqi territory can easily spill over into Syria’s borders. And that is exactly the point. With ISIS having ravaged Mosul, Iraq near the Turkish border and moving south in a terror blitzkrieg now threatening the Iraqi capital of Baghdad itself, the Iraqi government is allegedly considering calling for US and/or NATO assistance to break the terror wave. Adding to the pretext, ISIS, defying any sound tactical or strategic thinking, has seized a Turkish consulate in Mosul, taking over 80 Turkish hostages - serendipitous giving Turkey not only a new pretext to invade northern Iraq as it has done many times in pursuit of alleged Kurdish militants, but to invade Syrian territory where ISIS is also based.

The report would also state (emphasis added):

Invading northern Iraq will allow NATO to then justify cross-border operations into eastern Syria. In reality what NATO will be doing is establishing their long desired “buffer zone” where terrorists can launch attacks deeper and more effectively into Syrian territory. With western Syria returning to peace and order after a series of victories for the Syrian government, the last front NATO’s proxy forces have is Al Qaeda’s arch of terror running along Turkey’s border and now, across eastern Syria and northern Iraq. NATO’s presence in northern Iraq would also provide an obstacle for Iranian-Syrian trade and logistics.

Indeed, the US claims that the Syrian government holds no control and therefor no jurisdiction over its eastern most territories, allowing the US and its partners to invade, occupy, and control the region. Under the pretense of fighting ISIS, the US has already declared it would provide greater funding, arms, and support for “moderates” who would then be able to seek refuge in eastern Syria with absolute impunity from Syrian forces, allowing the West’s terrorist proxies to operate deeper and more effectively in territory closer to Damascus.

In reality, these so-called “moderates” demonstrably never existed. The West has so far failed to explain how their funding, arms, training, and aid programs amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars and representing the collective resources of America, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey have somehow been “eclipsed” by ISIS forces. This is of course because the collective resources of the West and its regional allies were intentionally directed into the hands of ISIS and other extremists from the onset of the Syrian conflict.

Order Out of Chaos

By creating ISIS, directing it to this very day, while simultaneously using it as a pretext for direct military intervention, the West sets a dangerous precedent where in any nation that is able to create sufficient chaos within the borders of another nation, can then use this chao to reorder politically and economically any society they will.

What it also does, however, is untie the hands of Russia, who is currently managing a crisis along its borders not of its own creation, but tipped off by the successful US-backed violent overthrow of the elected government of neighboring Ukraine, resulting in a fascist regime coming to power and its subsequent waging of war against Ukrainians who refuse to recognize its illegitimate claim over Kiev.

If the US can invade Syria thousands of miles from its own shores, surely Russia can intervene in Ukraine. As America refers to “international norms” determining what is and isn’t acceptable, the “norm” it has established with its creeping intervention in Syria justifies all that it has denounced Russia for allegedly doing in neighboring Ukraine.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

While Libya lies in flames, with thousands of men, women and children, driven by desperation, trying every day to cross the Mediterranean — and many of them will lose their lives – Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano issues this warning: “Beware of the outbreaks all around us,” starting with the “persistent instability and fragility of the situation in Libya.” (aletheiaonline.it, July 12)

He forgets, and with him almost all the government officials and politicians, that Italy itself played a key role in 2011 in the “outbreak” of the war against Libya, of which the massacre of migrants is one of the consequences.

On the southern shores of the Mediterranean, across from Italy, there was a state — documented by the World Bank itself in 2010 — which maintained “high levels of economic growth,” with an average increase in GDP of 7.5 percent per annum, which recorded “high indicators of human development,” including universal access to primary and secondary education, and for 46 percent of the population, also at the university level. Despite income disparities among individuals, the standard of living of the Libyan population was significantly higher than that of other African countries. Bearing witness to this fact was that nearly two million immigrants, mostly Africans, were working in Libya.

This state, in addition to being a factor of stability and development in North Africa, had used its investments to facilitate the emergence of organizations that one day might have made the financial autonomy of Africa possible: the African Investment Bank, based in Tripoli; the African Central Bank, with headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria; the African Monetary Fund, based in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

After having funded and armed hostile tribal areas in Tripoli, which caused the “Arab Spring” in Libya to assume from the outset the form of armed insurrection, and thus provoking the government’s response, they waged a war that destroyed the Libyan state in 2011: in seven months the U.S./NATO Air Force carried out 10,000 attack missions, unleashing more than 40,000 bombs and missiles.

Italy participated in this war, using its bases and military forces, tearing up the Treaty of Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation between Italy and Libya. “In the memory of the liberation struggles and April 25” – President Napolitano declared on April 26, 2011, “we could not remain indifferent to the bloody reaction of Colonel Gadhafi in Libya: That’s why Italy adhered to the plan of action of the coalition under the aegis of NATO.” (Wall Street Italia, April 26, 2011)

During the war in Libya, its enemies infiltrated special forces, including thousands of Qatari commandos, and at the same time funded and armed Islamist groups, which up until a few months before had been called terrorists. It is significant that the Islamic militias of Misrata, which lynched Gadhafi, now occupy the airport in Tripoli.

In this framework, the first nuclei of ISIS formed, and moved to Syria, where they built the bulk of their strength before launching the offensive in Iraq. They acted as a de facto instrument of the U.S./NATO strategy to demolish these states through covert war.

“It is now clear,” said President Napolitano, “that every failed state inevitably becomes a center of accumulation and global spread of extremism and lawlessness.” (quirinale.it, June 18)

It only remains to be seen what the “failed states” really are. They are not nation-states such as Libya, Syria and Iraq, states located in areas rich in oil or with an important geo-strategic position, which are wholly or partly outside the control of the West, and which were then demolished by war. They are in fact the major states of the West, which, betraying their own constitutions, have failed as democracies and returned to nineteenth-century imperialism.

Il Manifesto, August 26, 2014

Translation : John Catalinotto

2,101 Gazans killed – UN estimates 70% of deaths are civilians

7 civilians killed in Israel

64 Israeli soldiers killed

 Figures as of 26 Aug 14. Sources: PMH, OCHA, IDF

UN states that more than 17,000 buildings in Gaza have been destroyed or severely damaged, and that there are at least 475,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), more than a quarter of the territory’s population.

When will those responsible for these atrocities be brought before the ICC on charges of war crimes?

The UN General Assembly needs to convene, in plenary session, to indict those alleged guilty. And it needs to act without delay.

With the Obama administration on the brink of launching yet another war in the Middle East, this time extending its resumption of the US intervention in Iraq across the border into Syria, the US media has gone into overdrive in churning out propaganda justifying military action. Exploiting the revulsion over the recent execution of American photojournalist Richard Foley, the attempt is being made to present the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which has overrun large swathes of both countries, as evil incarnate and an imminent terrorist threat.

The leading purveyors of war propaganda are to be found within the pages of the New York Times, the supposedly liberal “newspaper of record.” Among them, no one more exemplifies the integration of the corporate media into the state and the subordination of news and opinion to naked propaganda than the Times ’s foreign affairs columnist Roger Cohen.

In the August 25 edition of the paper, a column by Cohen appeared entitled “The making of a disaster.” While Cohen meant the headline to refer to the current situation in Iraq and Syria, it would not make a bad title for his own autobiography.

A self-described “liberal interventionist,” he has supported every US military intervention since the 1995 US-NATO war in Bosnia. Few have involved themselves so intimately with top US foreign policy and intelligence circles as Cohen, who has traveled the globe making the case for US aggression and provocations.

The ostensible purpose of Cohen’s column is to answer the question “What went wrong?” How is it that “the ‘war on terror’, it seems, produced only a metastasized variety of terror” in the form of ISIS.

It all comes down, according to Cohen’s narrative, to a series of “American errors.” He begins with what he calls “Bush’s ill-conceived and bungled war in Iraq.” Like everything in the column, this is nothing but a lie and an evasion.

The war wasn’t “ill-conceived and bungled,” it was a criminal act, a war of aggression. It was the result of a conspiracy hatched at the highest levels of the government and military and intelligence apparatus working in cahoots with supposedly independent journalists like Cohen himself. The aim was to foist onto the American people an aggressive war aimed at militarily asserting US hegemony over Iraq and its oil wealth using lies about “weapons of mass destruction” and non-existent ties between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda.

Cohen doesn’t bother sharing with his readers the fact that he supported and promoted this “ill-conceived” war, defending it even as it became clear that it had destroyed an entire society along with hundreds of thousands of human lives. Writing in 2009, he proclaimed, “I still believe Iraq’s freedom outweighs its terrible price.”

The “price” included the deliberate stoking of sectarian tensions between the Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish populations as part of a divide-and-rule strategy pursued by the occupation. The imposition of a Shiite sectarian regime under Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who was hand-picked by US authorities, created the conditions in which Al Qaeda, which never existed in Iraq prior to the invasion, found a base of support within the disgruntled Sunni population.

Second among the “errors” enumerated by Cohen is “a failure to deal with the fact that two allies, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, have been major funders of violent Sunni extremism.” Who does he think he is kidding? Saudi Arabia’s and Pakistan’s funding and promotion of “violent Sunni extremism” was carried out in direct collaboration with the CIA in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Moreover, Washington has utilized precisely these “extremists” as proxy forces in its wars for regime change in both Libya and Syria. In both countries, the US provided arms, funding and training to these forces, acting as a principal sponsor of the forces that have emerged under the banner of ISIS.

Cohen, it should be recalled, was an enthusiastic supporter of the US-NATO war in Libya, casting it as a “humanitarian” intervention and backing the policy of using the Islamist militias as NATO’s ground troops. After the toppling and murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, he hailed the war in a column entitled “Score One for Interventionism.” Today, three years later, the Islamists have overrun Tripoli, and the country is descending into bloody civil war.

The heart of Cohen’s indictment of US errors, however, comes down to the failure of the Obama administration to launch a war on Syria a year ago, using the phony pretext that the government of President Bashar al-Assad had used chemical weapons in the civil war with the Islamist-led “rebels.” Ample evidence has since emerged that it was the “rebels” themselves who staged the chemical weapons attacks in an attempt to provoke a US intervention.

Cohen denounces “a prolonged spate of dithering over the Syrian war during which Obama declared three years ago that ‘the time has come for President Assad to step aside’ without having any plan to achieve that; a lack of resolve in Syria that saw Obama set a red line on the use of chemical weapons only to back away from military force when chemical weapons were used; an inability to see that no one loves an Arab vacuum like jihadi extremists, and a bloody vacuum was precisely what Obama allowed Syria to become.”

He concludes that “ISIS grew through American weakness—the setting of objectives and red lines in Syria that proved vacuous.”

When Obama threatened to launch air strikes against Syria a year ago and then backed away from them in the face of overwhelming popular opposition and the failure of either the US Congress or the British Parliament to support the policy, Cohen used his column to counsel defiance of the antiwar sentiments of the American people. “War fatigue,” he wrote in “Make Assad Pay,” is “not an excuse for the surrender of a commodity of enduring strategic importance—national credibility—to an ephemeral one—public opinion.”

Out of such logic grow the twin forces of militarism and dictatorship.

The rehashing of Obama’s “errors” in not going to war a year ago in Syria has an obvious purpose—that of preparing a war today. Having failed to drag the American people into another imperialist bloodbath based on lies about “weapons of mass destruction,” Washington and its propagandists like Cohen will attempt to do so once again by invoking the threat of “terrorism.” The same lies used to justify the invasion of Iraq are being recycled.

More than a decade after the invasion of Iraq, no one has been held accountable for the so-called errors—more accurately defined as war crimes—cited by Cohen. The principal crime committed by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and other top US officials, that of aggressive war, was the main charge leveled against the surviving leaders of Hitler’s Third Reich in the Nuremberg Trials.

Among those prosecuted were the Nazi regime’s chief media propagandists, who were charged with “the false presentation of facts…. The dissemination of provocative lies and the systematic deception of public opinion,” all to promote aggressive war. This indictment speaks with equal force to the role played by Cohen and the other willing war propagandists of the US media.

NATO Steps Up Military Preparations Against Russia

August 28th, 2014 by Kumaran Ira

The US and European powers are stepping up their reckless military escalation against Russia, citing the crisis in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea as a pretext to deploy troops to new bases throughout Eastern Europe.

Ahead of next week’s NATO summit in Cardiff, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen bluntly accused Russia of destabilizing eastern Ukraine and all but threatened Russia with war. According to the Guardian, he indicated that the NATO summit would agree to “new deployments on Russia’s borders—a move certain to trigger a strong reaction from Moscow.”

Rasmussen explained, “We will adopt what we call a readiness action plan with the aim to be able to act swiftly in this completely new security environment in Europe. We have something already called the NATO response force, whose purpose is to be able to be deployed rapidly if needed. Now it’s our intention to develop what I would call a spearhead within that response force at very, very high readiness.” This would “involve the pre-positioning of supplies, of equipment, preparation of infrastructure, bases, headquarters. The bottom line is you will in the future see a more visible NATO presence in the east.”

NATO’s base on the Baltic Sea coast in the Polish city of Szczecin is likely to be the hub for the new deployments.

NATO’s decision to deploy troops in Eastern Europe blatantly violates promises made by numerous Western officials to the USSR during the process of German reunification in 1990. Then-US Secretary of State James Baker, for instance, pledged that there would be “no extension of NATO’s jurisdiction for forces of NATO one inch to the east” after the Soviets agreed to let a reunified Germany join NATO.

Diplomatic and military sources also reported that two NATO warships will enter the Black Sea next week. “Two NATO warships at once will arrive in the Black Sea on September 3. They are the US Navy’s destroyer USS Ross and the frigate Commandant Birot of the naval forces of France,” an unnamed source told RIA Novosti news agency.

To fund their confrontation with Russia, NATO powers are also discussing a massive increase in military spending, which could only be funded by carrying out deep social cuts against the working class. “Since the end of the cold war we have lived in relatively good weather,” Rasmussen said. “Now we are faced with a profound climate change. That requires more investment. Politicians have tried to harvest the peace dividend after the end of the cold war. That’s understandable. But now we are in a completely new security situation.”

Former NATO supreme commander General Sir Richard Shirreff also said that European nations had to put their “hands in their pockets to spend more money on defence.” He added that the “security framework” in Europe had changed as a result of Russia’s annexation of the southern Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March.

The warmongering propaganda of the NATO powers stands reality on its head. In fact, it is NATO that stirred up conflict in Ukraine, backing the fascist-led coup that ousted pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych in February. The aim of the US and its European allies is to turn Ukraine into a forward operating base, threatening war with Russia, a nuclear-armed power.

In an extraordinarily reckless move, NATO is preparing to unofficially but effectively bring Ukraine into the NATO alliance, using it as a proxy force to threaten Russia. Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko will be the sole non-NATO head of state attending the NATO summit next week. According to theGuardian, “Four ‘trust funds’ are to be established to finance Ukraine’s military logistics, command and control structures, and cyber defences, and to pay the armed forces’ pensions.”

Rasmussen said, “It is actually what we will decide to do at the summit, to help them build the capacity of their security sector, modernise it.”

It appears that this policy is being pursued despite significant internal opposition inside NATO, which is rarely reported in the major media and never in detail.

Although the European powers backed the fascist coup in Kiev, some reportedly oppose setting up permanent bases in Eastern Europe, fearing this will hurt Europe’s economic ties with Russia. According to the Guardian, “The French, Italians and Spanish are opposed while the Americans and British are supportive of the eastern European demands. The Germans, said a NATO official, were sitting on the fence, wary of provoking Russia.”

The Kremlin, for its part, is taking an accommodating position to the Western powers in Ukraine, effectively recognizing the Western puppet regime in Kiev by holding its first direct negotiations with it.

On Tuesday, Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in Minsk after both attended a meeting among the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Union, the European Union and Ukraine. Though it was reported that both countries are working for a peace plan, no agreement came out of the summit.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told reporters the talks at the summit were “tough,” but avoided saying that they had failed. He said, “Sadly, the situation there [in Ukraine] has gone so far that in the absence of agreements in principle, any steps or technical accords are not going to lead to settlement.”

In his opening statement, Putin expressed concern over Ukraine’s decision to sign an association agreement with the EU, as it undermines Russian interests. Ukraine is set to ratify the EU association agreement next month.

Putin said, “Not all of our arguments are accepted by our colleagues, but at least we were heard and we have agreed to intensify the exchange of views, and try to find some solutions,” adding that in the absence of a final agreement Russia will have to “take measures” to protect its economy.

However, Putin called the meeting with Poroshenko “positive,” while Poroshenko called it “very complicated and difficult.”

Putin’s main concern seems to be to leverage his role as the EU’s energy supplier to reach some sort of deal, asserting that the two sides “have also agreed that a resumption of gas and energy talks is urgently needed.”

As NATO escalates its military threats against Russia, fighting between pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian army and its allied fascist paramilitary units is continuing in eastern Ukraine.

The area around the city of Novoazovsk, strategically positioned on roads linking Russia with Crimea, which Moscow annexed in March, has come under heavy artillery firing in the past days. Novoazovsk lies on the Azov Sea on the road that runs from Russia to the major Ukrainian port of Mariupol and west to Crimea.

The fighting in eastern Ukraine has killed over 2,249 and wounded 6,033, according to the United Nations. The flood of refugees has now reached crisis proportions, with 190,000 internally displaced Ukrainians and 207,000 seeking refuge in Russia.

On Monday, a Ukrainian official said a column of Russian tanks and armoured vehicles entered southeastern Ukraine. The Kiev government said it captured 10 Russian soldiers around Amvrosiivka, a town near the Russian border. Later, Moscow admitted that they were Russian soldiers patrolling the border, claiming that they probably crossed it inadvertently.

The Russians Are Coming Big Lies

August 28th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

Anti-Russian lies keep repeating. So many proliferate, it’s hard keeping up. The latest is over-the-top and then some.

It accuses Russia of launching a major offensive against Ukrainian forces.

Accusations without evidence are made. Kiev sources are cited. They’ve been caught red-handed lying many times.

Nothing they say is credible. It doesn’t matter. Major mainstream media repeat their rubbish like gospel. More on this below.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki claimed unsubstantiated reports “indicate a Russian-directed counteroffensive is likely underway in Donetsk and Luhansk.”

“(W)e’re also concerned by the Russian Government’s unwillingness to tell the truth even as its soldiers are found 30 miles inside Ukraine,” she said.

“Russia is sending its young men into Ukraine but are telling – are not telling them where they’re going or telling their parents what they’re doing.”

Asked why she said “likely” instead of saying a Russian invasion is underway, Psaki said she “decided to say likely.”

“But why,” she was asked? “(L)ikely implies…some uncertainty because there is a possibility that it’s not.”

Psaki ducked the question. She merely cited “a range of (unsubstantiated) reports.”

“Well, is it an invasion,” she was asked? “(A)re we seeing, like, brigades or divisions crossing the borders into Ukraine?”

“I don’t have any other details to read out for you at this point in time,” she said.

Facts

-Washington’s dirty hands are involved in Ukraine’s war without mercy.

-Obama officials support and encourage it.

-Intelligence and material support are provided.

-Parts of the Ukrainian/Russia border aren’t clearly demarcated.

-Nationals and military personnel on both sides often cross over unwittingly.

-Ukrainian soldiers did recently.

-They’ve done it before.

-Russian authorities send them home without incident.

-If Moscow’s intent was hostile, large numbers of heavily armed forces would have invaded.

-Nothing of the kind happened.

-No evidence suggests it.

-No verifiable satellite images exist.

It doesn’t matter. Big Lies proliferate.

On Wednesday, The New York Times first headlined “Ukraine Says Russian Forces Lead Major New Offensive in East,” saying:

“Tanks, artillery and infantry have crossed from Russia into an unbreached part of eastern Ukraine in recent days, attacking Ukrainian forces and causing panic and wholesale retreat not only in this small border town but also a wide section of territory, in what Ukrainian and Western military officials described on Wednesday as a stealth invasion.”

The report was then replaced by one headlined ”Ukraine Reports Russian Invasion on a New Front.”

Five armored personnel carriers replaced tanks, artillery and infantry. According to The Times, it’s Moscow’s attempt to blunt “the momentum of Ukrainian forces…”

Both reports lacked verifiable evidence. Ukraine, Washington, other Western countries and NATO have every incentive to lie. Times and other MSM reporters repeat them like gospel.

Numerous earlier anti-Russian accusations were false. Moscow is discretely neutral.

It urges both sides settle things diplomatically. Military solutions won’t work, it stresses.

It wants friendly relations with Ukraine. Putin and Ukrainian president Poroshenko just held official bilateral talks for the first time.

Putin said “Russia will do everything to promote this peace process if it is launched, and in our view, this process needs to be launched as soon as possible.”

Why would Russia invade Ukraine hours after Putin stressed the urgency of pursuing peace? For what benefit?

What sense would it make? What credibility would Putin, Sergey Lavrov and other top Russian officials have left?

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeatedly denies claims about Russian military activity on Ukraine’s borders.

On Wednesday, he said they have “nothing to do with reality.” Claims about an alleged Russian build-up aren’t new, he added.

“Such speculations are uttered regularly.” They’re false. “Russia regularly refutes (them).”

Washington, rogue NATO allies and Ukraine gain greatly by proliferating Big Lies. Mainstream media repeat them ad nauseam.

Truth is suppressed. It’s systematically buried. John Pilger is right. He calls journalism the first casualty of war.

It’s a weapon of war, he stresses. It’s virulent censorship. It’s deception.

It’s repeating one Big Lie after another. They substitute for honest reporting.

When America goes to war, plans one, or supports an aggressor ally, it’s entirely absent. Managed news misinformation rubbish substitutes.

According to The Times, Russia’s alleged incursion involved “five armored personnel carriers” and unnamed weapons.

It claimed “(e)vidence of a possible turn…in the panicky retreat of Ukrainian soldiers…”

Facts

-Ukraine has thousands of heavily armed forces waging war.

-Would they fear confronting five Russian armored personnel carriers if they did cross Ukraine’s border?

-Would they retreat in panic?

-Answers are self-evident.

Don’t expect Times or other MSM reports to explain. Instead, The Times quoted an unnamed “senior American official” claiming without proof:

“Russia is clearly trying to put its finger on the scale to tip things back in favor of its proxies.”

“Artillery barrages and other Russian military actions have taken their toll on the Ukrainian military.”

Previous articles explained Ukrainian soldiers are notoriously underpaid, poorly fed and clothed, as well as deplorably retreated.

Morale is low. Many are forced to serve involuntarily. Many others oppose fighting Ukrainian citizens.

Some defect. Most prefer being home. Some seek refuge in Russia. Many young men cross over to avoid military service altogether.

Even The Times described them as “(e)xhausted, filthy and dismayed.” Many are “unwilling to fight,” do so reluctantly or back off “in full retreat.”

In contrast, self-defense forces show remarkable courage, resilience and strength. In recent days, they achieved impressive gains.

According to RIA Novosti, they took “control of checkpoints and strongholds in the outskirts of Mariupol…”

They hold “the bridge across the Gruzsky-Yelanchik River.” They “moved tanks into Novoazovsk on the Sea of Azov” on the Russian/Ukrainian border.

They captured dozens of Ukrainian border guards and soldiers. According to Itar Tass, “Ukrainian troops suffer(ed) heavy losses in southeast Ukraine.”

Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) self-defense forces said their counteroffensive killed or wounded around 750.

Overnight Wednesday, over 150 voluntarily surrendered. Dozens more crossed into Russia for asylum.

According to DPR Prime Minister Alexander Zakharchenko, around three to four thousand Russian volunteers are aiding self-defense forces.

“Many of them have left the republic, but the majority stayed here,” he said.

“Today very many questions are asked how this could have happened that the DPR army grew from scattered guerrilla units in a strong military organization which can not only resist Ukrainian armed forces, but also defeat them on the battlefield.”

“Kiev and the West stated repeatedly about Russian military invasion to justify somehow massive defeats which Ukrainian army has been suffering already for several months.”

“We have never concealed that many Russians are fighting in our ranks without aid of which we would be in a very difficult situation and this would be much heavier for us to fight.”

Many retired Russian servicemen are involved, said Zakharchenko.

“Current servicemen are also fighting in our ranks (voluntarily), as they came to us to struggle for our freedom…” Moscow didn’t send them.

Public anger is growing in Ukraine. According to Itar Tass:

“Hundreds of protesters blocked one of Kiev’s thoroughfares on Thursday demanding the resignation of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and urgent deployment of military hardware in the combat area in eastern Ukraine.”

“The protesters who gathered near the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s headquarters are also seeking the resignation of Minister Valery Geletei and commanders of the military operation in the southeast.”

Others “rall(ied) with similar demands near the presidential administration…”

Meanwhile, US-led NATO intends a “readiness action plan.” It plans one to counter a nonexistent Russian threat.

For the first time, it will establish military “reception facilities” in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.

According to Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen:

“We have something already called the NATO response force, whose purpose is to be able to be deployed rapidly if needed.”

“Now it’s our intention to develop what I would call a spearhead within that response force at very, very, high readiness.”

“In order to be able to provide such rapid reinforcements you also need some reception facilities in host nations.”

“So it will involve the pre-positioning of supplies, of equipment, preparation of infrastructure, bases, headquarters.”

In other words, US-led NATO intends a hostile Eastern European presence encroaching on Russia’s border. Asked if it’ll be permanent, Rasmussen said “yes.”

“(F)or as long as necessary,” he stressed. He lied claiming:

“We have seen artillery firing across the border and also inside Ukraine. We have seen a Russian military buildup along the border.”

“Quite clearly, Russia is involved in destabilizing eastern Ukraine.”

“You see a sophisticated combination of traditional conventional warfare mixed up with information and primarily disinformation operations.”

In response, Russia’s permanent mission to NATO said Moscow “will react to NATO moves eastward with a view to ensure its security.”

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin called NATO’s threat serious. They come from “the secretary-general level,” he said.

“They have probably already come up with some plan while moving NATO eastward” to confront Russia.

Doing so advances US-led recklessness to a new level. It increases chances for direct confrontation.

So do anti-Russian Big Lies. According to Rasmussen:

“Since the end of the Cold War we have lived in relatively good weather. Now we are faced with a profound climate change.”

Washington bears full responsibility. Weeks earlier, Putin said “(n)o matter what our Western counterparts tell us, we can see what’s going on.”

“…NATO is blatantly building up its forces in Eastern Europe, including the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea areas.”

“Its operational and combat training activities are gaining in scale.”

Plans are to incorporate Ukraine into NATO unofficially. Western funding will finance its military.

At issue is targeting Russia. The threat of direct confrontation grows.

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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

The 2014 global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) by researchers at the University of Oxford covers 108 countries: 31 Low-Income Countries, 67 Middle-Income Countries and 10 High-Income Countries. These countries have a total population of 5.4 billion people, some 78% of the world’s population.

The MPI assesses poverty at the individual level. If someone is deprived in a third or more of ten weighted indicators, the global index identifies them as ‘MPI poor’, and the extent – or intensity – of their poverty is measured by the number of deprivations they are experiencing. Those indicators and based on health, education and living standards and comprise the following factors: years of schooling, school attendance, levels of nutrition, child mortality, access to cooking fuel, sanitation (open defecation, for example), access to water, ownership of assets, access to electricity and flooring material (eg, dirt).

Based on a rural-urban analysis, of the 1.6 billion people identified as MPI poor, 85% live in rural areas. This is significantly higher than estimates of 70-75% in poverty, where income is used as the basis for determining poverty.

Poverty reduction is not necessarily uniform across all poor people in a country or across population subgroups. An overall improvement may leave the poorest of the poor behind. The highest levels of inequality are to be found in 15 Sub-Saharan African countries and in Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia.

The researchers have paid special attention to the situation of the destitute, or what they term the poorest of the poor. Over half of the world’s poor are classed as destitute.

Countries which have reduced MPI poverty and destitution the most in absolute terms were mostly Low Income and Least Developed Countries, with Nepal making the fastest progress.

The situation in India

Eradicating poverty in India requires every person having access to safe drinking water, sanitation, housing, nutrition, health and education. According to the MPI, out of its 1.2 billion-plus population, India is home to over 340 million destitute people and is the second poorest country in South Asia after war-torn Afghanistan. Some  640 million poor people live in India (40% of the world’s poor), mostly in rural areas, meaning an individual is deprived in one-third or more of the ten indicators mentioned above (malnutrition, child deaths, defecating in the open).

In South Asia, Afghanistan has the highest level of destitution at 38%. This is followed by India at 28.5%. Bangladesh and Pakistan have much lower levels. The study placed Afghanistan as the poorest country in South Asia, followed by India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal.

India had the second-best social indicators among the six South Asian countries (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan) 20 years ago. Now it has the second worst position, ahead only of Pakistan. Bangladesh has less than half of India’s per-capita GDP but has infant and child mortality rates lower than that of India.

Writing this week in India’s Deccan Herald, Prasenjit Chowdhury notes that according to two comparable surveys conducted in Bangladesh and India in 2006, in Bangladesh, 82% of children are fully immunised, 88% get vitamin A supplements and 89% are breastfed within an hour of birth. The corresponding figures for Indian children are below 50 per cent in all case and as low as 25%t for vitamin A supplementation.

Moreover, over half of the population in India practices open defecation, a major health hazard, compared with less than 10% in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has overtaken India in terms of a wide range of basic social indicators, including life expectancy, child survival, enhanced immunisation rates, reduced fertility rates and particular schooling indicators.

What has gone wrong?

In recent times, India has experienced much publicised high levels of GDP growth. So what is going wrong? Amartya Sen and the World Bank’s chief economist Kaushik Basu have argued that the bulk of India’s aggregate growth is occurring through a disproportionate rise in the incomes at the upper end of the income ladder. To use Arundhati Roy’s term, the poor in India are the ‘ghosts of capitalism’: the ‘invisible’ and shoved-aside victims of a now rampant neoliberalism.

The ratio between the top and bottom 10% of wage distribution has doubled since the early 1990s, when India opened up it economy. According to the 2011 Organisation for Cooperation and Economic Development report ‘Divided we stand’, this has made India one of the worst performers in the category of emerging economies. The poverty alleviation rate is no higher than it was 25 years ago. Up to 300,000 farmers have committed suicide since 1997 due to economic distress and many more have quit farming.

Assets such as airports, seeds, ports and other infrastructure built up with public money or toil have been sold off into private hands.

Secretive Memorandums of Understanding have been signed between the government and resource extraction-related industries, which has led to 300,000 of the nation’s poorest people being driven from their lands in tribal areas and around 50,000 placed into ‘camps’. As a result, naxalites and insurgents are in violent conflict with the state across many of these areas.

Where have the benefits been accrued from the 8-9% year on year GDP growth in recent times?

 Sit down and read the statistics. Then step outside and see the islands of wealth and privilege surrounded by the types of poverty and social deprivations catalogued by the MPI.

Global Finance Integrity has shown that the outflow of illicit funds into foreign bank accounts has accelerated since opening up the economy to neoliberalism in the early nineties. ‘High net worth individuals’ (ie the very rich) are the biggest culprits here. Crony capitalism and massive scams have become the norm. It is not too hard to see what is going wrong.

 India’s social development has been sacrificed on the altar of greed and corruption for bulging Swiss accounts, and it has been stolen and put in the pockets of the country’s ruling class ‘wealth creators’ and the multinational vultures who long ago stopped circling and are now swooping.

Me-first acquisitiveness is now pervasive throughout the upper strata of society. Run out and buy some useless product because Kareena, Priyanka or another icon of deception says ‘because you’re worth it’… but never ever let this narcissism give way to contemplate why the rivers and soils have been poisoned and people are being been made ill in places like Punjab, agriculture is being hijacked by the likes of Monsanto, land is being grabbed on behalf of any number of corporations, the great nuclear power money fest is in full swing or why ordinary people are violently opposing state-corporate power. Much of this acceptance results from deals hammered out behind closed doors. Much of it results because too many are conditioned to be ignorant of the facts or to accept that all of the above is necessary.

This is a country where the majority sanctify certain animals, places, rivers and mountains for being representations of god or for being somehow touched by the hand of god. It’s also a country run by Wall Street sanctioned politicians who convince people to accept or be oblivious to the destruction of the same.

Many are working strenuously to challenge the selling of the heart and soul of India. Yet how easy will it be for them to be swept aside by the corrosive impacts of a rapacious capitalism and its hugely powerful corporations that colonise almost every area of social, cultural and economic life and encourage greed, selfishness, apathy, irretrievable materialism and acquisitive individualism, as well as the ignorance of reality ‘out there’ – what lies beyond the narrow concerns of spend and buy middle class India?

Western capital had known that India has always been ripe for the taking. Consumerism’s conspicuous purchasing and consumption draws on and manipulates the pre-existing tendency to buy favour, the perceived self importance deriving from caste, the sense of entitlement due to patronage, the desire nurtured over the centuries to lord it over and seek tributes from whoever happens to be on the next rung down in the pecking order. Lavish, conspicuous displays of status to reinforce difference and hierarchy have always been important for cementing social status. Now icons of capitalism, whether renowned brand products, labels or product endorsing celebrities, have also taken their place in the pantheon of Indian deities to be listen to, worshiped and acquiesced to.

And the corporations behind it all achieve hegemony by altering mindsets via advertising, clever PR or by sponsoring (hijacking) major events, by funding research in public institutes and thus slanting findings and the knowledge paradigm in their favour or by securing key positions in international trade negotiations in an attempt to structurally readjust retail, food production and agriculture. They do it by many methods and means.

Before you realise it, culture, politics and the economy have become colonised by powerful private interests and the world is cast in their image. The prevailing economic system soon becomes cloaked with an aura of matter of factuality, an air of naturalness, which is never to be viewed for the controlling hegemonic culture or power play that it really is.

 Seeds, mountains, water, forests and the biodiversity are being sold off. The farmers and tribals are being sold out. And the more that gets sold off, the more who get sold out, the greater the amount of cash that changes hands, the easier it is for the misinformed to swallow the lie of Wall Street’s bogus notion of ‘growth’ – GDP. And India suddenly becomes capitalism’s poster boy ‘economic miracle’.

India is suffering from internal hemorrhaging. It is being bled dry from both within and without. Too extreme a point of view? Tell that to the 340 million destitute who make up over half of India’s poor.

First published July 13, 2014

The pretext for bombing and shelling Gaza was the death of three Israeli teenagers allegedly killed by Hamas.

‘Operation Protective Edge (OPE)  directed against Gaza is reminiscent of the infamous 2001 Dagan Plan entitled “Operation Justified Vengeance” in which the deaths of innocent Israeli civilians had been envisaged and foreseen by IDF military planners.

The deaths are then used to muster the support of the Israeli public as well as provide a justification for a “legitimate” counter-terrorism operation in the eyes of the international community directed against the Palestinian occupied territories.

Contrived behind closed doors in July 2001, the Dagan Plan (named after Mossad chief Meir Dagan) was slated by its IDF and Mossad architects to be “launched immediately following the next high-casualty suicide bombing, would last about a month and is expected to result in the death of hundreds of Israelis and thousands of Palestinians.” (See Ellis Shuman, “Operation Justified Vengeance”: a Secret Plan to Destroy the Palestinian Authority, Intelligence Ploy behind the “Suicide bombings”, Global Research, February 01, 2004)

‘Operation Protective Edge (OPE) directed against Gaza was planned well in advance of the kidnapping and murder of the three Israeli teenagers. Prime Minister Netanyahu has called up 40,000 reservists. In the wake of the shelling and bombing raids, a major ground operation scenario is envisaged.

Moreover, similar to the logic of the Dagan Plan, the head of Israeli intelligence (Mossad) had “predicted” the kidnapping of the three teenagers. Under the title Mossad chief’s chillingly prescient kidnap prophecy, Haaretz confirms that

“Mossad chief Tamir Pardo had “outlined a scenario that was spookily [sic] similar to the kidnapping of three teens missing in the West Bank” (Haaretz, July 13, 2014, emphasis added)

Israeli civilian deaths are blamed on Hamas without evidence to justify military action against Gaza. The ultimate objective of “Operation Protective Edge” is to break the institutional base of the Hamas leadership and destroy Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, with a view to eventually carrying out the annexation of the Gaza Strip to Israel.  As of July 13, Israel is reported to have struck 1,320 sites within Gaza, resulting in 167 deaths and more than 1,000 injured (Maan News, July 13, 2014)

Were the three boys killed by Hamas?

Israeli press reports intimate that the three teenagers could have been executed by the Al Qaeda affiliated jihadist entity the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) which just so happens to be supported “covertly” as well “overtly” by the State of Israel.

Under the title Jihadist group takes credit for teens’ killings, the Times of Israel confirms that:

A new Palestinian jihadist group pledging allegiance to the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIL) has claimed responsibility for the killing of three Israeli teenagers last month in the West Bank, … as well as other recent deadly attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians…..

The actions were carried out in honor of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed “caliph” of the Islamic State, the reincarnation of the Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL)declared last month, the statement said.”(Times of Israel, July 3, 2014)

The ISIL (renamed the Islamic State) (see image) constitutes the main Al Qaeda rebel fighting force in Syria directed against the government of Bashar Al  Assad. More recently, ISIL brigades have entered Iraq, confronting government forces.

While ISIL is an Al Qaeda affiliated entity funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, retribution by Israel for the deaths of the teenagers was directed against Gaza rather than Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

The supportive role of the US and Israel to the Al Qaeda affiliated entity is not limited to the realm of covert operations. The Israeli military (IDF) is supporting the jihadist entity out of the occupied Golan Heights. Moreover, amply documented, there are Western and well Israeli Special Forces within ISIL rebel ranks.

In March, an Austrian military officer of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the occupied Golan Heights “confirmed that Israel has provided large-scale logistical and military support to the [ISIL and Al Nusrah] terrorists and rebels in different parts of Syria”

The UNDOF official confirmed the existence of “a joint operation room” between Israel and the Al Qaeda rebels pertaining to “the delivery of [Israeli] assistance to the terrorists.”

This assistance is not limited to logistics:

“According to the Israeli Channel 1 television, ‘security sources’ informed of a new missile system named ‘Mitar’, established in Golan for giving backup coverage to anti-Syria militant groups.

The system includes middle-range and long-range missiles, according to the report.” (Al Alam May 3, 2014 emphasis added)

An IDF military hospital in the occupied Golan Heights was established to treat wounded Al Qaeda rebels.

In February, The Jerusalem Post reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visited the IDF field hospital in the occupied Golan heights, which was set up in support of the jihadist rebels operating in Syria. The hospital was set up to treat wounded Al Qaeda rebels.

The Jerusalem Post acknowledges that the hospital is being used to support the jihadist insurgency. Netanyahu referred to the Hospital as the place which  “separates the good in the world from the evil in the world.”

“The good”, according to Netanyahu “is Israel”, which in a bitter irony wholeheartedly supports the Al Qaeda “freedom fighters” in Syria;  “the bad” refers to Iran which supports Bashar Al Assad.

The good, the prime minister said, is Israel, which “saves lives from the daily slaughter taking place in Syria. This is the true face of Israel.”

The evil, he continued, is Iran, which is arming those carrying out the slaughter. (Jerusalem Post, February 19, 2014)

While the IDF field hospital was established to support Al Qaeda in an operation coordinated by IDF Special Forces, Netanyahu casually accuses Iran for  “its support of terrorist groups around the world”. (JP, February 19, 2014)

Netanyau does not deny his government’s support of the jihadists. The IDF top brass tacitly acknowledged that  “global jihad elements inside Syria” are supported by Israel:

Netanyahu toured the Golan Heights with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz.

At a lookout point overlooking the Syrian border, OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan briefed Netanyahu on the presence of global jihad elements inside Syria, as well as on the work being done to fortify the Israeli-Syrian border fence. (Ibid)

Inline images 1Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Shakes Hand with an Al Qaeda Terrorist 

Is the wounded terrorist an Israeli intelligence asset? In the image below:

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon next to a wounded mercenary, Israeli military field hospital at the occupied Golan Heights’ border with Syria, 18 February 2014″ (ibid, emphasis added)

Who killed the three Israeli teenagers?

Ironically, the same jihadist group which is reported to have kidnapped and killed the three teenagers is supported by Israel’s IDF out of  the occupied Golan Heights.

A mere coincidence.

The ISIL-Mossad Connection

Update, July 16, 2014

It has now been confirmed that the leader of ISIL  and cleric Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, who allegedly ordered the kidnapping and murder of the 3 Israeli teenagers “took intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech.” (Gulf News, July 15, 2014)

The former employee at US National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, has revealed that the British and American intelligence and the Mossad worked together to create the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Snowden said intelligence services of three countries created a terrorist organisation that is able to attract all extremists of the world to one place, using a strategy called “the hornet’s nest”.

NSA documents refer to recent implementation of the hornet’s nest to protect the Zionist entity by creating religious and Islamic slogans.

According to documents released by Snowden, “The only solution for the protection of the Jewish state “is to create an enemy near its borders”.

Gli «Stati falliti»

August 27th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Mentre dalla Libia in fiamme migliaia di uomini, donne e  bambini, spinti dalla disperazione, tentano ogni giorno la traversata del Mediterraneo, e molti vi perdono la vita, il presidente Napolitano avverte «Attenti ai focolai che ci circondano», a cominciare dalla «persistente instabilità e fragilità della situazione in Libia». Dimentica, e con lui la quasi totalità dei governanti e politici, che è stata proprio l’Italia a svolgere un ruolo determinante nell’accendere nel 2011 il «focolaio» di quella guerra di cui l’ecatombe di migranti è una delle conseguenze. Sulla sponda sud del Mediterraneo, di fronte all’Italia, c’era uno Stato che – documentava la stessa Banca mondiale nel 2010 – manteneva «alti livelli di crescita economica», con un aumento medio del pil del 7,5% annuo, e registrava «alti indicatori di sviluppo umano» tra cui l’accesso universale all’istruzione primaria e secondaria e, per il 46%, a quella di livello universitario. Nonostante le disparità, il tenore di vita della popolazione libica era notevolmente più alto di quello degli altri paesi africani. Lo testimoniava il fatto che trovavano lavoro in Libia circa due milioni di immigrati, per lo più africani. Questo Stato, oltre  a costituire un fattore di stabilità e sviluppo in Nordafrica, aveva favorito con i suoi investimenti la nascita di organismi che un giorno avrebbero potuto  rendere possibile l’autonomia finanziaria dell’Africa: la Banca africana di investimento, con sede a Tripoli; la Banca centrale africana, con sede ad Abuja (Nigeria); il Fondo monetario africano, con sede a Yaoundé (Camerun). Dopo aver finanziato e armato settori tribali ostili a Tripoli, facendo sì che la «primavera araba» assumesse in Libia sin dall’inizio la forma di insurrezione armata provocando la risposta governativa, lo Stato libico fu demolito con la guerra nel 2011: in sette mesi, l’aviazione Usa/Nato effettuava 10mila missioni di attacco, con oltre 40mila bombe e missili. A questa guerra partecipò l’Italia con le sue basi e forze militari, stracciando il Trattato di amicizia, partenariato e cooperazione tra i due paesi. «Nel ricordo delle lotte di liberazione e del 25 aprile – dichiarava il presidente Napolitano il 26 aprile 2011 – non potevamo restare indifferenti alla sanguinaria reazione del colonnello Gheddafi in Libia: di qui l’adesione dell’Italia al piano di interventi della coalizione sotto guida Nato». Durante la guerra venivano infiltrate in Libia forze speciali, tra cui migliaia di commandos qatariani, e allo stesso tempo finanziati e armati gruppi islamici fino a pochi mesi prima definiti terroristi. Significativo è che le milizie islamiche di Misurata, che linciarono Gheddafi, occupano ora l’aeroporto di Tripoli. In tale quadro si sono formati i primi nuclei dell’Isis che, passati poi in Siria, hanno costruito il grosso della loro forza lanciando quindi l’offensiva in Iraq.  Svolgendo un ruolo di fatto funzionale alla strategia Usa/Nato di demolizione degli stati attraverso la guerra coperta. «E’ ormai evidente – dichiara il presidente Napolitano – che ogni Stato fallito diviene inevitabilmente un polo di accumulazione e diffusione globale dell’estremismo e dell’illegalità». Resta solo da vedere quali sono gli «Stati falliti». Non sono gli Stati nazionali come Libia, Siria e Iraq che, situati in aree ricche di petrolio o con una importante posizione geostrategica, sono del tutto o in parte fuori del controllo dell’Occidente, e vengono quindi demoliti con la guerra. Sono in realtà i maggiori Stati dell’Occidente che, tradendo le loro stesse Costituzioni, sono falliti come democrazie, ritornando all’imperialismo ottocentesco.

Manlio Dinucci

CDC scientists who conspired to commit scientific fraud in order to obscure the link between the MMR vaccine and autism knew that they might have been engaged in criminal acts as far back as 2002, documents now show.

Natural News has acquired an email sent by CDC whistleblower William Thompson to the following recipients: Melinda Wharton, Walt Orenstein, Kim Lane, Kevin M. Malone, Beverly Dozier, Robert Chen, David Shay, Coleen Boyle and Roger Bernier. The email focused on a Department of Justice investigation of the CDC, where the DoJ had requested “a broad range of documents associated with MMR, Thimerosal and Autism.”

Back in 2002, William Thompson was already aware of study results linking the MMR vaccine to a very large increase in autism risk among African-American children. See Brian Hooker’s published paper here, with a full analysis of the CDC’s own data revealing a 340% increased risk of autism in African-American children following the MMR vaccine.

The CDC’s Dr. Thompson was fully aware of this increased autism risk from MMR vaccines. He refers to these results as “sensitive results.” The smoking gun in this letter is Dr. Thompson’s admission that CDC scientists and decision makers are trying to decide which documents to turn over to the Dept. of Justice and which documents to suppress.

“I have also tried to bring your attention to some potentially sensitive legal issues surrounding what documents we should provide for this study,” Thompson wrote in an email dated Friday, October 18, 2002 at 4:43 AM. The email was addressed to Melinda Wharton and cc’d to the recipients listed above.

Even to this day, the CDC has deliberately withheld documents sought by members of Congress. Rather than disclosing the so-called “science” used by the CDC to promote mass vaccination programs, the agency buries evidence and lies to both Congress and the American public.

Dr. Thompson hires a personal attorney in 2002

“I don’t think anyone has broken the law,” Thompson writes, “but I was extremely uncomfortable when Dr. Coleen Boyle, a coauthor on our paper, was required to testify before Congressman Dan Burton’s Committee in April of 2002 regarding MMR and Autism. I became more concerned regarding legal issues surrounding the MADDSP MMR/Autism Study when individuals from the NCBDDD began to cc Beverly Dozier, an attorney, on e-mails regarding discussions we were having surrounding the provision of appropriate documents to satisfy the DOJ request.”

The letter goes on to say that attorney Beverly Dozier was consulting Dr. Coleen Boyle on what documents to provide (and therefore also what documents to withhold).

Dr. Thompson then concludes by saying “I will be hiring my own personal attorney…” and even adds, “[I will] seriously consider removing myself as an author on the draft manuscript.”

Click here to read the full email sent by Dr. Thompson in 2002.

Twelve years later, Dr. William Thompson admits to scientific fraud at the CDC

The MMR vaccines / autism cover-up continued for twelve more years. The DoJ investigation petered out, and the scientists who participated in the cover-up were granted prestigious awards by Health and Human Services.

For twelve years, this cover-up haunted Dr. Thompson, who has now decided to clear his conscience and admit to the fraud. He now says:

Oh my God, I did not believe that we did what we did, but we did. It’s all there. This is the lowest point in my career, that I went along with that paper. I have great shame now when I meet families of kids with autism, because I have been part of the problem. - Dr. William Thompson

Now, this MMR vaccine-autism cover-up continues to be perpetrated by the mainstream media which has so far run a total media blackout on the story, hoping to suppress the truth about MMR vaccines and autism for as long as possible.

Consider how extraordinary it is today that Natural News, a small independent media organization, would now be out-reporting the New York Times on one of the most explosive medical fraud stories in U.S. history. There is not a single mainstream media source in America today which has published a single article on this extraordinary turning point in the history of the CDC and its scientific fraud. What you are witnessing today is the total collapse of the illusion of credibility across the mainstream media and the rise of the only free press remaining in America: the independent media.

This is obvious in the fact that this story has widespread implications for public health and yet no one from the mainstream media is asking any questions at all. If the press won’t ask questions, then it’s not the press at all. It’s just a propaganda outlet for corporate and government disinfo.

This CDC whistleblower admitting to scientific fraud regarding MMR vaccines is one of the biggest stories in medical history. I feel honored to be one of only a handful of truth-telling independent journalists in America who has the credibility and courage to bring it to you. Spread the truth. Share this story.

Justice and Law Enforcement: America’s Corrupt Institutions

August 27th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Every public institution in the United States and most private ones are corrupt.

To tell this story would be a multi-book task.  Lawrence Stratton and I have written one small volume of the story.  Our book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, now with two editions and multiple printings, documents the corruption of law in the United States and has been cited in rulings by Federal District and Appeal Court judges. 

 Law is just one public institution, but it is a corner stone of society. When law goes, everything goes.

 Only about 4 percent of federal felony cases go to trial.  Almost all, 96 percent, are settled by negotiated plea bargains. Law & Order Conservatives condemn plea bargains for the wrong reason.  They think plea bargains let criminals off easy.

 In fact, plea bargains are used by prosecutors to convict the innocent along with the guilty.  Plea bargains eliminate juries and time-consuming trials, that is, plea bargains eliminate all work on the part of prosecutors and police and lead to high conviction rates for prosecutors, the main indicator of their career success. Once upon a time, prosecutors pursued justice. They carefully examined police investigations and only indicted suspects whose conviction they thought could be obtained by a jury.  Sloppy police work was discarded.

 No more.  Once indicted and provided with a lawyer, the defendant learns that his lawyer has no intention of defending him before a jury.  The lawyer knows that the chances of getting even a totally innocent defendant found not guilty is slim to non-existent. Prosecutors, with the consent of judges, suborn perjury for which they are permitted to pay with money and dropped charges against real criminals, and prosecutors routinely withhold evidence favorable to the defendant. If a prosecutor detects that a defendant intends to fight, the prosecutor piles on charges until the defendant’s lawyer convinces the defendant that no jury will dismiss all of so many charges and that the one or two that the jury convicts on will bring a much longer sentence than the lawyer can negotiate.  The lawyer tells the defendant that if you go to trail, you will be using up the time of prosecutors and judges, and the inconvenience that you cause them will send you away for many a year.

 In some state and local courts it is still possible on occasion to get an almost fair trial if you can afford an attorney well enough connected to provide it.  But even in non-federal courts the system is stacked against the defendant.  Many prisons have been privatized, and privatized prisons require high incarceration rates in order to be profitable.  The same holds for juvenile detention prisons.  Not long ago two Pennsylvania judges were convicted for accepting payments from private detention prisons for each kid they sentenced.

Judges prefer plea bargains despite the fact that plea bargains amount to self-incrimination, because plea bargains dispense with time-consuming trials that cause backed-up and crowded court dockets.  Trials also demand far more work on the part of a judge than accepting a plea bargain.

The fact of the matter is that in America today you are expected to convict yourself. Even your lawyer expects it.  The torture is not physical; it is psychological.  The system is severely biased against the defendant.  Conviction by a jury brings a much heavier sentence than conviction by a deal that the defendant’s attorney negotiates with the prosecutor’s office.  All the prosecutor wants is a conviction.  Give him his conviction for his record as an effective prosecutor, and you get off lighter.

The injustice lies in the fact that the rule applies to the innocent as well as to the guilty.

The prosecutor and often the judge do not care whether you are innocent or guilty, and your lawyer knows that it does not matter to the outcome.

The police have learned that such a small number of cases go to trial that their evidence is seldom tested in court. Consequently, often police simply look for someone who might have committed the crime based on past criminal records, select someone with a record, and offer him or her up as the perpetrator of the crime. This police practice is one explanation for high recidivism rates.

 In the totally corrupt American criminal justice (sic) system, anyone indicted, no matter how innocent, is almost certain to be convicted.

 Let’s take the case of Alabama Democratic Governor Don Siegelman.  Judging by the reported evidence in the media and testimony by those familiar with the case, Don Siegelman, a popular Democratic governor of Alabama was a victim of a Karl Rove operation to instruct Democrats that their political party would not be permitted a comeback in executive authority in the Republican South.

There is no doubt but that the Alabama Republican newspapers and TV stations are political tools. And there is little doubt that former Republican US Attorneys Alice Martin and Leura Canary and Republican US federal district court judge Mark Fuller were willing participants in Karl Rove’s political campaign to purge the South of popular democrats.

Republican US district court judge Mark Fuller was arrested in Atlanta this month for beating his wife in an Atlanta hotel.  The judge, in whose honor courts must rise, was charged with battery and taken to the Fulton County jail at 2:30AM Sunday morning August 10. If you look at the mug shot of Mark Fuller, he doesn’t inspire confidence.  http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10748 and  http:/www.informationclearinghouse.info/article39493.htm  Fuller was a bitter enemy of Siegelman and should have recused himself from Siegelman’s trial, but ethical behavior required more integrity than Fuller has.

Among many, Scott Horton, a professor of law at Columbia University has provided much information in Harper’s magazine involving the corruption of Fuller and the Republican prosecuting attorneys, Alice Martin and Leura Canary.

See: http://harpers.org/blog/2008/02/another-abusive-prosecution-by-alice-martin/  and 

http://harpers.org/blog/2008/02/cbs-more-prosecutorial-misconduct-in-siegelman-case-alleged/  and 

http://harpers.org/blog/2007/08/judge-fuller-and-the-trial-of-don-siegelman/  and 

http://harpers.org/blog/2007/06/siegelman-sentenced-riley-rushes-to-washington/  and 

http://harpers.org/blog/2007/10/karl-rove-linked-to-siegelman-prosecution/   and 

http://harpers.org/blog/2007/12/karl-rove-william-canary-and-the-siegelman-case/  and

http://harpers.org/blog/2008/02/rove-and-siegelman/   and 

http://harpers.org/blog/2007/08/the-pork-barrel-world-of-judge-mark-fuller/   and 

see OpEdNews February 6, 2012, “Why did Karl Rove and his GOP Thugs target Don Siegelman in Alabama?”  and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bennett-l-gershman/why-is-don-siegelman_b_3094147.html

Google the case and you will see everything but justice.

The Republican frame-up of Siegelman is so obvious that various courts have overturned some of the bogus convictions. But the way “justice” works in America makes courts fearful of discrediting the criminal justice (sic) system by coming down hard on an obvious frame-up.  To make the fact obvious  that federal courts are used for political reasons is detrimental to the myth of justice in which gullible Americans believe.

Siegelman’s innocence is so obvious that 113 former state attorneys general have come out in his support.  These attorneys general together with federal judges and members of Congress have written to Obama and to US attorney general Eric Holder urging Siegelman’s release from prison.  Instead of releasing the innocent Siegelman, Obama and Holder have protected the Republican frameup of a Democratic governor.

Remember, what did President George W. Bush do when his vice president’s chief aid was convicted for the felony of revealing the name of a secret CIA operative?  Bush wiped out the sentence of Cheney’s convicted operative.  He remained convicted, but served no sentence.

 Remember, President George H. W. Bush’s administration pardoned the neoconservative criminals in the Reagan administration who were convicted by the Reagan administration for crimes related to Iran-Contra.

So why hasn’t the Obama regime pardoned former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman who unlike other pardoned parties is actually innocent? Siegleman was bringing the Democratic Party back in the corrupt Republican state of Alabama. He was a successful governor who would have been US senator, and Karl Rove apparently exterminated him politically in order to protect the Republican hold on the South.

It is extremely ironic that the formerly solid Democratic South, plundered, looted, and raped by Republican armies, votes Republican.  If anything shows the insouciance of a people, the South’s Republican vote is the best demonstration.  The South votes for a party that destroyed the South and its culture.  There is no greater evidence of a people totally ignorant of, or indifferent to, their history than the Southern people who vote Republican.

Obama can’t pardon Siegelman, which Justice requires, because Obama cannot confront the self-protective mechanism in the Justice (sic) Department.  Obama is too weak of a person to stand up for Justice.  Obama has acquiesced to the Republican and DOJ frame-up of a popular Democratic Governor.

Justice in America?  It is not worth 5 cents on the New York stock exchange.

If you want to stand up for justice, click here: http://www.gofundme.com/Railroading-Don-Siegelman

Police are as remote from concerns of justice as are prosecutors. Generally speaking, while there might be a few exceptions, the ranks of the police seem to be filled with violent psychopaths.  The police seldom show any self-control and their violent nature makes police a great threat to society.  Invariably, police bring violence to the scene:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlY9C6pzxKc

Killing unarmed black men seems to be a police specialty. http://truth-out.org/news/item/25815-lapd-refusal-to-release-information-on-in-custody-deaths-feeds-community-mistrust

Assaults and killings by police seldom make it beyond the local news. The lack of national coverage of crimes committed by police against the public leaves Americans with the incorrect impression that the use of excessive force by police is an occasional and unfortunate result but not a real problem.  Police apologists say that an occasional mistake is the price of being safe. But police violence is an expression of police culture, not an unfortunate mistake, and what we hear is only the tip of the iceberg.  http://rare.us/story/5-reasons-the-police-brutality-in-ferguson-is-just-the-tip-of-the-iceberg/

The large number of violent acts that police commit against members of the public are not entirely the fault of the police.  It is well known that bullies and psychopaths are attracted to the power over others conveyed by a police badge.  Considering this known fact, police should receive training in anger management.  Instead, they are trained to

regard the public as an enemy against whom the police should take no chances.  Police are trained to subdue a suspect with violence and question the suspect later when the suspect is under control in jail.  This procedure means that even those who are totally innocent bear all the risks of being confronted by police.

Governments, media, and citizens are also responsible.  They have allowed police to be militarized and to be inappropriately trained.  Indeed, city, county, state, and federal governments have removed all barriers to the use of excessive force by police.  Handed such power, the police use it.

In response to my column about Ferguson, former police officers wrote to me to report that they left the police force because they could not accept the culture of violence that is now ingrained in police departments.  What these former police officers could not accept causes no problem for the Fox “News” talking heads.  http://rare.us/story/jon-stewart-returns-with-powerful-ferguson-monologue-aimed-at-fox-news/

Can police departments be cleansed of their violent culture?  Can prosecutors serve justice instead of career?  Can Fox “News” talking heads cease being racists?  Don’t hold your breath.

“The ISIS Menace”: Just What We Need: Another War

August 27th, 2014 by Danny Schechter

Sound the bugle! Get the press to march along; we are going to war.

Again!

Enemies r ‘us, and for a long time with the killing of bin Laden, a Jihadi fatigue hadset in. With the apparent shriveling up of the Al Qaeda menace, America’s threat-defining and refining machinery was somewhat adrift. What had been so simple, turned too complex to fuse into one soundbite.

Former Intelligence official Thomas Fingar, now of Stanford University, describes his own frustration in finding out what US policy priorities should be in national intelligence. He asked his colleagues to share the threats they worried about. He was soon inundated.

“When I was given responsibility for the process known as the National Intelligence Priorities Framework, almost 2300 issues had been assigned priorities higher than zero, “ he explained. “My first instruction was, “Reduce the number.”

He knew they needed only one bad-ass enemy to focus fears and attract appropriations to fight. He had too many threats to respond to. They had to go.

Now, he and the Administration have that new bad guy.

Political scientist/analyst Michael Brenner says Washington is in an ISIS panic:

“The grotesque beheading of James Foley is stirring passions in Washington policy circles. From the highest levels of the Obama administration to the media pundits, emotions are flaring over what the United States should/could do. The act in itself has changed nothing insofar as IS’ threat to the United States and its significance for Middle East politics are concerned. It is the mood that has been transformed. Irresistible impulse is displacing cool deliberation. The flood of commentary, as usual, reveals little in the way of rigorous logic but much in the way of disjointed thinking and unchecked emotion.”

The response? Give us a war plan, and not just against ISIS, let’s throw in Syria too. Money is apparently no object.

Breaking Defense.com reports:

“US operations against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (or whatever we’re calling it these days) have probably cost the country about $100 million so far, according to one of the top defense budget experts. It’s difficult to come up with a precise estimate for what current operations in Iraq are costing…”

Don’t forget, as Glenn Greenwald didn’t, before the current focus on ISIS, the US was bombarding Syria’s Assad with calls that he step down amidst threats of overthrowing him.

“It was not even a year ago,” he writes,

“when we were bombarded with messaging that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a Supreme Evil and Grave Threat, and that military action against his regime was both a moral and strategic imperative. Now the Obama administration and American political class is celebrating the one-year anniversary of the failed “Bomb Assad!” campaign by starting a new campaign to bomb those fighting against Assad – the very same side the U.S. has been arming over the last two years.”

Recall: that campaign was undercut when public opinion in the US turned against it. We negotiated instead, and accomplished something, eventually destroying Syria’s stash of chemical weapons. Why emulate a success when you can make more mistakes?

That was then, and this is now. ISIS is the new boogieman.The next stage of our assault is underway as we can deduce from a build up of recent press reports:

Daily Beast: Obama Wants New ISIS War Plan, ASAP

President Obama wants to make a decision by the end of this week whether or not to expand his war against ISIS into Syria, report Josh Rogin and Eli Lake. However, nobody knows yet how we can do it, or what will happen next.

Syria and Isis committing war crimes, says UN

Alawites prepare as IS, Jabhat al-Nusra close in on regime areas

Drones a Step Toward Expanding War Into Syria

U.S. Mobilizes Allies to Widen Assault on ISIS 

Specialops.org (Elite Magazine for Elite Warriors) reports:

“Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIS, were trained in 2012 by U.S. instructors working at a secret base in Jordan, according to informed Jordanian officials. The officials said dozens of ISIS members were trained at the time as part of covert aid to the insurgents targeting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. The officials said the training was not meant to be used for any future campaign in Iraq.

The Jordanian officials said all ISIS members who received U.S. training to fight in Syria were first vetted for any links to extremist groups like al-Qaida.”

Now, there are reports that the CIA is forming new hit squads to use ISIS tactics against ISIS with an ISIS-like assassination offensive, to “cut off the head of the snake.” (Sounds like beheading doesn’t it?)Shh!

Sounds like we are headed back to the dark side with killings, torture, renditions, secret sites etc. Will that long awaited CIA report be nowbe seen as a manual for more of the same?

The last time the US organized assassination teams in Iraq,it didn’t work out that well, And guess who else was involved?



 Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/dec/09/iraq.israel

“Israel helping train US special forces in aggressive counter-insurgency (CI) operations in Iraq, including the use of assassination squads against guerrilla leaders, US intelligence and military sources said yesterday…The new CI unit made up of elite troops being put together in the Pentagon is called Task Force 121, New Yorker magazine reported… One of the planners, highly controversial ..Lt. Ge. William “Jerry” Boykin…with calls for his resignation after he told an Oregon congregation the US was at war with Satan who “wants to destroy us as a Christian army”.

Ten Years later, the German magazine Der Spiegel reported U.S. training Syrian rebels in Jordan.
3/10/13 http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/10/us-syria-crisis-rebels-usa

And so it goes, as once again, around and around, we become more and more like the enemy we warn against.

Back to Michael Brenner’s take on how our media hysteria is not helping,  “There is a more general lesson to be learned from this latest exercise in ad hoc policy-making by press conference. The insistence of senior officials to speak at length in public on these complex, sensitive matters when there is no set policy is inimical to serious planning and diplomacy. If they feel compelled to react to events to satisfy the media and an agitated populace, they should just say a few well-chosen words and then declare themselves on the way to an important meeting – preferably not in Martha’s Vineyard.

“Silence, though, is taken to be tantamount to death in the egocentric media age where image is all – confusing random motion with focused action.”

Amen.

Why look back? No one wants to learn anything!  Iraq 2 was a disaster. Can we expect Iraq 3 to be any better?  Afghanistan is a disaster. Israel failed in its aims in Gaza, whatever bloody “urban renewal” was imposed at a high human toll. Libya is a mess.

Knock, knock: raise your hand if you think Syria will become our next miracle?

News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at Newsdissector.net and works on Mediachannel.org. Comments to [email protected]

The Ukrainian Government that the Obama Administration installed after Obama’s successful coup d’etat in Ukraine is now crashing and burning in the process of the newly installed Government’s ethnic-cleansing program to get rid of the people in Ukraine’s southeast, the area of Ukraine that had voted overwhelmingly for the President whom the Obama Administration (the State Department and the CIA) had overthrown in February.\

The residents there rejected this new Government; this new Government is trying to exterminate them; and the local rebel-fighters against that are winning, and are decimating thousands of troops who were sent in to kill them and their families, and are shooting down many of the bombers that have been sent in to bomb them.

The Ukrainian Government prior to the coup had been economically sustained by borrowing both from Russia to the east, and also from the EU and U.S. to the west (with a substantial portion of the U.S. portion of that debt consisting of IMF loans — the U.S. Government is the major donor to the IMF). These loans were, ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union, largely being pocketed by the well-connected former communist nomenklatura or insiders who had been given formerly state-owned industries during the Harvard-designed privatization program throughout the former U.S.S.R.

These new oligarchs (such as the current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who received the Leninska Kuznya shipyard and some state-owned chocolate factories, as well as a few other companies in retailing and news-media) got the benefits of those loans and socked away much of their consequent accumulating wealth in offshore tax-havens, so that the mounting sovereign debt of Ukraine is already crushing the Ukrainian population by severe cutbacks in Government expenditures for social services, road maintenance, and other government services, while those oligarchs have palatial residences in Western Europe.

The public, in other words, suffer the debts, while the “oligarchs” or aristocrats (the former communist insiders) are now multi-billionaires; and one of them, Ihor Kolomoysky, was assigned a crucial Governorship, from which post he has largely masterminded and overseen the ethnic-cleansing campaign, which is clearing away the local residents in the land-area of the gas-fields  Furthermore, in order for Ukraine to pay its debts, it is selling off the assets that had formerly produced income for Ukraine (largely for Ukraine’s skimming oligarchs) such as selling off the gas pipelines that carry gas from Russia to Europe. The biggest portion of Ukraine’s income was the transit-fees from these pipelines, and now these fees will go to investors in Europe and America, instead of to Ukraine. But Ukraine needs this money desperately right now, because the EU won’t extend more credit, and the U.S. is already beginning to wake up to its disaster in Ukraine.

So: this costly war will leave behind a failed-state in northwestern Ukraine, and a separatist southeast, which will likely seek and receive membership in the Russian Federation. The perhaps more than a million refugees from Obama’s ethnic-cleansing program in the southeast will probably return to and rebuild their bombed-out land, and likely receive a kind of Russian Marshall Plan to assist in that effort.

Looking back, it won’t be any sort of feather in Obama’s cap, but instead a black mark that will be comparable to, and perhaps even bigger than, George W. Bush’s catastrophe in Iraq.

Already, Obama’s economic legacy is economic stagnation for all but America’s richest 1%, who gained in income 31.4% while the bottom 99% flatlined a mere 0.4% during the Obama Administration’s first three years. To call that flatlining for the bottom 99% an “economic recovery” is to lie, which is what Obama and professional economists routinely do. And, normally, in an economic recovery after a crash, the bottom 99% do far better than do the top 1%, not far worse. This was the direct result of Obama’s continuing Bush’s policies of a bailout for the banksters, and a failout for the borrowers and investors. Also, the peddle-to-the metal at the Fed was and is a huge upward redistribution of wealth. So, President Obama’s liberal rhetoric on his claimed concern about “equality in America” rings hollow, if not fraudulent.

A President like this will be rated at or near the bottom by historians. Perhaps he’s just a less honest version of George W. Bush, the latter having made no bones about his conservatism. At least Bush was honest about that. Obama has lied about the most basic things of all: what he believes, what he actually cares about, as shown by the decisions that he has made in office. His policies display him as being like George W. Bush but a better liar from the standpoint of liberals, who have been taken in by his lies.

The disaster of his Presidency is now likely to produce electoral losses for the Democratic Party in November, which result will then be a certain kind of poetic justice for a Party whose principles are so fraudulent that not even a single  Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced a bill of impeachment to remove him from office. That failure is equivalent to the entire Democratic Party accepting the deep stain on the Democratic Party’s progressive brand, a stain that means: “We’re all fakes. Obama’s policies, his actual record, reflect our conservative values. He’s not a Republican-in-verbal-disguise. He really is  one of us, even after his having been the first U.S. President to place outright nazis into control of a foreign government.”

The only thing that can significantly reduce the mounting cynicism in this country is for a House Democrat to introduce a bill of impeachment against perhaps the worst President in American history. It would be to say: “He’s not really a Democrat, at heart; he’s just a very effective liar.” If Democrats want to retain control of the Senate, they’ll need to disown and remove this stain upon it. For the 2014 elections, and the 2016 Presidential election, this will signal the end of the corrupt Clinton-Obama “Democratic” Party, and the rebirth of the FDR Democratic Party, a Party that truly was  progressive and anti-fascist.

It would end the Clinton-Obama one-Party, conservative-Party, corporate-Party, U.S. political system. But without that change, the U.S. has no realistic hope. If Obama continues to be accepted as a Democrat, then the final two years of his Presidency will be spent signing into law numerous far-right bills that have passed both houses of Congress — a Republican House and a Republican Senate. He’ll have a field day signing so many fascist bills into law. It will be the most conservative Government in American history. The Democratic Party will be dead. And democracy in America will be just a nostalgic memory for Americans who are old enough to remember what it was like. What it was like was progress for and in America. What we will have ever afterwards is dictatorship for and in America. The choice is up to each and every current Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Even before the Ukrainian junta-Government’s collapsing, Americans are more favorable toward impeachment of Barack Obama than they ever were toward impeachment of Bill Clinton, or even of George W. Bush – and no House Democrat even introduced a bill to impeach even him. (Does the Democratic Party not stand for anything at all?) The demand for Obama’s impeachment will only grow, if there turn out to be two Republican-controlled Houses of Congress – and, then, the bill to impeach will inevitably be a Republican one, with Republican (not Democratic) reasons. The only opportunity for the Democratic Party to restore itself and America, will have been missed.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Number of Ukrainian Refugees in Russia close to 1 million

August 27th, 2014 by Global Research News

Ukrainian refugees should be given the right to live where they want – Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the Seliger-2014 all-Russian youth forum

The number of Ukrainian refugees in Russia has nearly reached 1 million, Russia’s top diplomat said Wednesday.
Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said at the Seliger-2014 all-Russian youth forum in the Tver Region northwest of Moscow that Ukrainian refugees should be given the right to live where they want.
-

“The situation of people who fled Ukraine’s southeast to other regions of the country is very difficult. Ukraine has no laws on internally displaced persons, that is why they do not obtain documents confirming their status, and if there are no documents they cannot get a job, obtain loans and sustenance,” Lavrov said.

“It is necessary to push for people to be able to reside where they want to,” he said.

The minister cited UN data in line with which more than 22,000 people left Donetsk and Lugansk last week, adding that refugees are afraid to use the so-called humanitarian corridors provided by Kiev as they are unsafe.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday citing the latest statistics released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) that the number of fatalities from the armed standoff in the embattled east of Ukraine has reached 2,249 and added that another 6,033 were injured as of August 19.

Troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums and now call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.

During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled southeast.

Three weeks to go and the debate over the Scottish Referendum gets no better. Reason goes down the drain. The large number of anti-independence people giving their views can do nothing but issue gloom and doom warnings for Scotland’s grim fate if it casts itself adrift from the United Kingdom.

The No side, or Better Together as it likes to be called (it was going to change that to “No Thanks” but that seems to have been quietly forgotten) focuses almost entirely on money – sorry – “economy”. It produces some totally inane statements, such as “Pakistan is richer than Scotland”. Do they really think that will persuade the Scots to stay within the UK?

According to the Independent, “a table in the No campaign document Key Facts You Need to Know includes a table that shows the gross domestic product of the world’s major nations, with the UK ranked sixth behind France. The table suggests that Scotland would be 45th, behind Finland and Pakistan. The reason Scotland is so far down the table is that its 5.3 million population is small by the standards of most major nations, and less than a thirtieth of Pakistan’s population.”

In the televised debate between Alex Salmond and ex-UK Chancellor Alastair Darling on 25 August, Darling kept trying to push the debate onto the economy, regardless of what they were debating. There was a lot of angry exchange over whether Scotland could keep the pound and Salmond got Darling to finally admit that nothing, but nothing, can stop Scotland from keeping the pound sterling, should it so wish. But, said Darling, you won’t get an agreement with the rest of the UK about that. “And what is your Plan B?” he demanded.

There are well over a hundred nations that have a currency union agreement, replied Salmond. Why should Scotland be denied what so many others have? And, among three Plan B options was this: “let us keep the pound with a currency union agreement, and Scotland will take on its share of the UK national debt, (now standing at over £1.27 trillion). But deny us an agreement over the pound and the debt is all yours.” It seems a pretty generous offer to me.

And, as someone in the audience pointed out, Darling (Scottish) and his predecessor, former Chancellor and then Prime Minister Gordon Brown (also Scottish) were responsible for much of that debt. And don’t forget that under the current Prime Minister David Cameron (with Scottish forbears and pretensions) the debt has increased. Scotland could hardly do worse, and may very well do better on its own.

There is a constant downplaying and denigration of the Scottish economy by the No campaign. Have they nothing better to say? Not once have I heard, “Please, Scotland, stay with us. We need you. You are a valuable part of the UK and we will be poorer in many ways without you.” All they can do is attack, sneer, belittle and insult.

Take the issue of Scotland’s scientists. Scotland’s scientific research would suffer from a loss of funding if there was a Yes vote. In a letter to the Times, the presidents of the Royal Society, British Academy and the Academy of Medical Sciences wrote that “Scotland has long done particularly well through its access to UK research funding.” Scotland, they say, would find it hard to maintain the levels of funding needed.

But, they added, “We believe that if separation were to occur, research not only in Scotland but also the rest of the UK would suffer.” Indeed it would. Scottish scientists have long had an enviable world reputation. And really, if Russian and American scientists can work together in the International Space Station, why not researchers either side of the border?

As Professor Bryan MacGregor, a spokesman for Academics for Yes, said: “The simple truth is that Scotland does well in open competition for funds but poorly where funds are allocated by other means.” In other words, the funding might be somewhat better under independence.

How about this for a scare story? Nobel Prize-winning scientist Sir Paul Nurse, having praised the “wonderfully innovative biomedical teams” working in Scotland, warned that cancer research could be harmed by a yes vote. And doctors would leave, according to a top surgeon at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital. But why? Unless, perhaps, pay is more important than patients.

When the No campaign, so very Westminster -managed, isn’t spreading bad news about the possible loss of financial security, it switches to another kind of “security” – the importance of keeping the Trident missile at its base in Faslane. Actually, it would rather not talk about Trident at all but needs must, as it is an important cornerstone of the Independence campaign.

Alastair Darling said removing Trident would mean a loss of 8000 jobs. But, replied Salmond, we plan to keep Faslane as the base for Scottish Defence, with all the jobs that implies. Darling countered with the Royal United Services Institute’s claim that Trident couldn’t be moved until 2028. Salmond came back with the fact that RUSI actually said that setting up all the infrastructure elsewhere for Trident and its submarines would take that long. The removal of Trident could easily be accomplished in the proposed 5½ years. The fact that no one could use it for several more years would be to everyone’s benefit.

So where could it go? This is the one post-independence issue that has been discussed south of the border. The answer – the Royal Naval base at Devonport. I think the good citizens of Plymouth and Devon would have something to say about that. So would all the shipping. Devonport is on the pretty narrow English Channel. To have one of the busiest of the world’s shipping lanes trying to cope with nuclear-armed submarines sailing in and out doesn’t bear thinking about. Particularly when one takes into account the Trident fleet’s record for bumping into things.

Salmond in this instance is right – the world would be a better place without weapons of mass destruction. Darling asked why, if Salmond was so opposed to nuclear weapons, he was willing for Scotland to seek to join NATO? After all, NATO is a nuclear-armed organisation. It seemed a good question until Salmond kindly pointed out that NATO has 28 members and only three, the US, the UK and France, have nuclear weapons.

The debate didn’t go well for Darling. His whole stance, his talking down of the SNP’s plans for life after a Yes vote, spoke of an MP wedded to Westminster, no matter how Scottish his blood. He kept dragging the debate back to money, as though that is all Scotland is about. Yes, Scotland would have to work hard to get a post-independence economy but it could be done. And Salmond threw in a cherry-on-the-cake suggestion. Get Trident out of Faslane, he said, and Scotland could open up the Firth of Clyde for oil and gas exploration.

The Scots are going to find it hard to forget the insults. Even more, they are right to question what will happen if they vote No. As one woman said in a radio debate, “There is no certainty as to what will happen to us afterwards if we vote No.” Westminster simply isn’t saying, apart from vague promises of the election-related, easily-forgotten kind. Nor is it making any plans for what it will do if there is a Yes vote. But voters are quite naturally seeking certainty, and sometimes there seems to be a feeling that England will take its revenge for this referendum.

The Scots, however they vote, will also be unhappy to learn that, although a majority of the English want Scotland to stay within the UK, they think that “we” give far too much to Scotland; Scotland is a drain on “our resources”. The latest research shows that “the English overwhelmingly oppose sharing the pound with an independent Scotland” and that “they want the Government to take a “hard line” with the Scots regardless of the referendum result.”

England and Westminster have conveniently forgotten just how much money the UK has made over the years from North Sea oil. And we would lose that revenue if Scotland became independent. Salmond may well be depending too heavily on money from the North Sea to fund some of his plans post independence, but whatever his opponents claim, it will still be a valuable source of income.

Salmond and the Scottish National Party have made various commitments as to what they would do after a Yes vote, affecting major areas such as the Health Service, Pensions & Social Security and Education. People worry about these aspects of their lives and some efforts have been made to show how Scotland could afford to implement those commitments. Some plans may work and some may not, but for Westminster-based politicians to pooh-pooh the Yes campaign’s proposals when, apart from the wealthy, the whole of the UK is currently suffering from the poor economic reconstructions of the current government is shaming.

The polls say the No campaign is leading but the gap is closing. In the first debate between Salmond and Darling, polls said Darling had won. The last debate went to Salmond – decisively. 73% gave him the thumbs up, and he certainly stirred up national pride in the audience. Curiously, although the English, of which I am one, are said to “overwhelmingly” want Scotland to stay in the UK, I have not actually come across anybody holding that opinion, and I live in a very conservative area.

Just as the Scots must feel insulted by all the negative and arrogant campaigning against independence, the greater part of it from people who do not live in Scotland and will not vote, I feel embarrassed and angry to be governed by such people. And each time another stupid and insulting reason is given for voting against independence makes more Scots decide to vote Yes, I find myself cheering them on.

I have honestly tried to be impartial, because this referendum is for Scotland to decide. But the more utter nonsense I hear from Better Together the more I feel Scotland would be Better Apart. I wish I could join them.

As F. William Engdahl wrote in “Death of the Birds and the Bees Across America“:

Birds and bees are something most of us take for granted as part of nature. The expression “teaching about the birds and the bees” to explain the process of human reproduction to young people is not an accidental expression. Bees and birds contribute to the essence of life on our planet. A study by the US Department of Agriculture estimated that “…perhaps one-third of our total diet is dependent, directly or indirectly, upon insect-pollinated plants.”[1]

The honey bee, Apis mellifera, is the most important pollinator of agricultural crops. Honey bees pollinate over 70 out of 100 crops that in turn provide 90% of the world’s food. They pollinate most fruits and vegetables — including apples, oranges, strawberries, onions and carrots.[2] But while managed honey bee populations have increased over the last 50 years, bee colony populations have decreased significantly in many European and North American nations. Simultaneously, crops that are dependent on insects for pollination have increased. The phenomenon has received the curious designation of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), implying it could be caused by any number of factors. Serious recent scientific studies however point to a major cause: use of new highly toxic systemic pesticides in agriculture since about 2004.

If governments in the EU, USA and other countries fail to impose a total ban on certain chemical insecticides, not only could bees become a thing of the past. The human species could face staggering new challenges merely to survive. The immediate threat comes from the widespread proliferation of commercial insecticides containing the highly-toxic chemical with the improbable name, neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are a group of insecticides chemically similar to nicotine. They act on the central nervous system of insects. But also on bees and  small song birds. Recent evidence suggests they could also affect human brain development in newborn.

Some five to six years back, reports began to circulate from around the world, especially out of the United States, and then increasingly from around the EU, especially in the UK, that entire bee colonies were disappearing. Since 2004 over a million beehives have died across the United States and beekeepers in 25 states report what is called Colony Collapse Disorder. In winter of 2009 an estimated one fifth of bee hives in the UK were lost, double the natural rate.[3] Government authorities claimed it was a mystery. Continue reading “Death of the Birds and the Bees Across America” by F. William Engdahl

Today more than ever, the world’s food resources are being hijacked by giant corporations that are turning farms into factories and replacing natural resources with genetically modified “food-like” substances.

F. William Engdahl is a leading researcher on the destruction of the planet’s food system and the profit-driven enterprises that are driving this devastating process.

To learn more, pick up your copy of “Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation“, published by Global Research.

Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation
by F. William Engdahl

ISBN Number: 978-0-937147-2-2
Year: 2007
Pages: 341 pages with complete index

Global Research Price: US $18.00
(List price: US $25.95)
CLICK TO BUY

 

 

Ordering from Canada or the US? Find out about our special bulk offers for North American customers!
3 copies for $40.00
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This skilfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”

This is no ordinary book about the perils of GMO.  Engdahl takes the reader inside the corridors of power, into the backrooms of the science labs, behind closed doors in the corporate boardrooms.

The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.

Engdahl’s carefully argued critique goes far beyond the familiar controversies surrounding the practice of genetic modification as a scientific technique. The book is an eye-opener, a must-read for all those committed to the causes of social justice and world peace.

Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation
by F. William Engdahl

ISBN Number: 978-0-937147-2-2
Year: 2007
Pages: 341 pages with complete index

Global Research Price: US $18.00
(List price: US $25.95)
CLICK TO BUY

Ordering from Canada or the US? Find out about our special bulk offers for North American customers!
3 copies for $40.00
10 copies for $120.00

Place your order online by credit card, through PayPal, by mail or by fax!

So much of our discussion of public policy consists of absurd accusations from the right matched with self-serving justifications from the somewhat-less-right. The most obvious example of this is the perennial think piece on Obama’s foreign policy, which is invariably analyzed as being either foolishly pacifistic or prudently diplomatic. The reality that the Obama administration has used military force on a large scale in many countries is not acknowledged, because it’s not something either major party likes to point out (FAIR Blog7/16/138/30/13,3/18/148/12/14).

The latest installment in this genre comes from the Washington Post(8/22/14), where Zachary Goldfarb presents a classic false dichotomy:

Obama’s detractors revived criticism that his foreign policy is based on retreat from the world, typified by the withdrawal of US forces from Iraq three years ago, a lack of direct action in Syria and an economics-first approach to driving Russia’s military back from Ukraine.

His supporters argue that his approach has been consistent with his strategy of returning the United States–after post-September 11 wars–to a foreign policy built around economic engagement rather than military intervention.

US troop levels in Afghanistan (NPR)

Obama’s forgotten Afghan surge (graphic: NPR)

How do you write a sentence like this one–”In place of the large military deployments, Obama has relied on smaller operations to manage, rather than resolve, many of the conflicts that have arisen during his time in office”–without mentioning that Obama sent nearly 70,000 extra troops to Afghanistan, tripling the deployment there? Since then, 1,700 US troops have died, and at least 13,000 Afghan civilians, along with an unknown number of Afghan combatants; surely this has a bearing on whether you can characterize Obama’s presidency as a “retreat from the world”?

But the only mentions of Afghanistan, Obama’s biggest single military engagement, in Goldfarb’s piece are in a passage in which Obama adviser Ben Rhodes is allowed to claim that Obama policy there is the exact opposite of what it actually was:

At the same time, he said, Obama is not reconsidering his view that Iraq–and Afghanistan–must be primarily responsible for their own security.

“The basic premise still holds that we’re transitioning from wars in which the United States was on the ground in big numbers fighting to secure Afghanistan and Iraq to Afghans and Iraqis fighting on the ground to secure their own countries,” Rhodes said.

In Afghanistan, Obama has mostly been “transitioning” from the “big numbers” of troops that he sent there himself (FAIR Blog11/25/13)–but that’s an inconvenient detail that interferes with the story Goldfarb is trying to tell.

To get another viewpoint that is essentially the same viewpoint, only with a frowny face, Goldfarb goes to Cheney-era State Department official David Kramer, who says things like, “The problem for Obama is he often sets up these false choices between essentially doing nothing and sending in the 82nd battalion.”

Zachary Goldfarb/Washington Post

The Washington Post’s Zachary Goldfarb

This would have been a good time to mention that in numerous countries, rather than doing nothing or sending in the 82nd, Obama has chosen to use drones to assassinate some 2,400 people, including several hundred civilians and at least 168 children (Huffington Post, 1/23/14).  But, remarkably, the word “drone” never appears in an article ostensibly about whether Obama has done a “retreat from the world” or not.

After setting up his fake dichotomy between Obama as namby-pamby pacifist and Obama as wise diplomat, Goldfarb writes:

The question, though, is whether he is contradicting the pledge embraced in his 2009 Nobel Prize lecture: “to face the world as it is,” not as he would like it to be.

No one who writes an article like this one is any position to give lectures about facing the world as it is.

The increasing tendency of the Central Intelligence Agency and other U.S. intelligence agencies to disregard previous prohibitions against the use of journalists as agents puts every legitimate reporter around the world in jeopardy. The CIA has a checkered past in the use of journalists as intelligence agents. The practice was common in the 1960s and early 70s but was banned by Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. However, when President Ronald Reagan helped reignite the Cold War, the CIA again began using journalists as intelligence agents. The practice put a number of journalists in jeopardy, especially those taken captive by guerrillas groups during the Lebanese civil war. There is nothing to suggest any president since Reagan has discontinued the practice of using journalists as agents.

Intelligence agents operating under journalistic cover can take a number of forms:

- Journalists who openly work for media operations linked officially to past and current CIA operations. These include Radio Free Europe / Radio Free Liberty, Radio Free Asia, Alhurra, Radio Sawa, Radio and TV Marti, and to some extent, the Voice of America.

- Journalists who work for work for accredited news media companies who agree to work covertly for U.S. intelligence. Such journalists have been known to work for The Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, and President Barack Obama’s one-time employer, Business International Corporation of New York City, publisher of executive business and political newsletters. CIA director Richard Helms had previously worked as a reporter for United Press International.

- Journalists who work for start-up publications linked to the CIA or CIA fronts, including the the Kyiv Post, Cambodia Daily, Burma Daily, Kabul Weekly, and Lidove Noviny of Prague.

- Freelance journalists who become embedded with U.S. military and paramilitary forces and work for one or more media operations having very low profiles.

Journalists working for media operations financed by the U.S. government’s Broadcasting Board of Governors have been known to leave legitimate media organizations, where they have already established strong journalistic credentials and high-level contacts, to join government operations like Radio Free Europe and the others to carry out assignments for U.S. intelligence.

One of the CIA’s favorite nesting grounds for its journalist-agents during the Cold War was the International Herald Tribune, formerly the Paris Herald Tribune, based in Paris. The paper was eventually jointly owned by The Washington Post and New York Times. The managing editor of the Herald Tribune News Service, Nathan Kingsley, left the paper’s Paris headquarters to be the head of Radio Free Europe’s news service in Munich. Kingsley replaced Gene Mater who became the public affairs spokesman for the Free Europe Committee in New York. Radio Free Europe and the Free Europe Committee were both connected to the CIA.

Publisher of the International Herald Tribune John Hay Whitney, a former U.S. ambassador to Britain, was involved in setting up a CIA media operation called Kern House Enterprises, a CIA proprietary firm registered in Delaware. The British branch of Kern House, not surprisingly located at Kern House in London, ran a CIA news service called Forum World Features (FWF), which, in turn, was linked to another CIA front, the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) in Paris. The CCF published, on behalf of the CIA, two periodicals,Encounter and Information Bulletin. FWF sold its news stories to 50 newspapers around the world, including 30 in the United States. FWF, which was established in 1965 and overseen by Kermit Roosevelt, the CIA’s architect of the overthrow of Iran’s democratic government in 1953, also published Conflict Studies, a scholarly journal that was among the first to hype the «threat» of global terrorism in the early 1970s. FWF could tap any of its agents as FWF journalists and send them on assignment. One such agent-journalist was assigned to the CIA station in Bangkok.

For years, the CIA operated the Rome Daily American in Italy. The English-language paper’s editor was a former reporter for the Associated Press. The paper was published by the same press that printed the small Italian-language newspaper representing the views of the Italian Social Democratic Party. The Daily American folded in 1986.

Another newspaper operated by the CIA was the South Pacific Mail,headquartered in Santiago, Chile and operated by CIA agent David Atlee Phillips. The English-language South Pacific Mail was distributed in Chile and several South Pacific nations and territories, from New Zealand and the Samoan isles to the New Hebrides and Tonga. Phillips, who would later be identified as a key facilitator of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, said that he and some 200 other journalists with whom he was familiar eagerly signed secrecy agreements with the CIA upon their recruitment as agents. Among those who signed such agreements was Arthur Hays Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times.

Operation Mockingbird was a CIA operation to influence the coverage established news media organizations gave to news events. Included in the CIA news media influence operations were Time magazine, Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, The Washington Post, The New York Herald-Tribune, Saturday Evening Post, The Miami Herald, The Washington Star,and Copley News Service.

Austin Goodrich was a freelance journalist who wrote for the CIA’s favorite newspaper, the Paris Herald Tribune, CBS News, and the Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor has become, over the past six years, an ardent supporter of the Obama administration’s and CIA’s «Responsibility to Protect» (R2P) interventionist foreign policy. Even after Goodrich was identified as a CIA agent he continued working as a journalist in Stockholm, Amsterdam, Bangkok, and West Berlin.

A manifestation of the R2P policy was the CIA’s training and arming of Syrian Islamist rebels who eventually kidnapped U.S. photo-journalist James Foley in 2012. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the group that kidnapped Foley, whose reporting experience included being embedded with U.S. military units in Afghanistan and Iraq and CIA-supported rebels in Libya and Syria, eventually executed him in a gruesome videotaped beheading. But questions remain over whether the CIA’s continued use of journalists as agents and the embedding of journalists with CIA-trained insurgents runs the risk of journalists being mistaken as CIA operatives, especially in war zones.

Stuart Loory, who worked as the New York Herald-Tribune’s correspondent in Moscow in the 1960s before joining the Los Angeles Times and CNN, has said that the CIA’s use of journalists as spies calls into question the status of every journalist. He said, «If even one American overseas carrying a press card is a paid informer for the CIA, then all Americans with those credentials are suspect». Loory emphasized that «journalists must be willing to focus on themselves the same spotlight they so relentlessly train on others».

However, the caution urged by Loory has, in some cases, fallen on deaf ears. In 2012, New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti forwarded an advance copy of a column written by his colleague, columnist Maureen Dowd, to the CIA’s spokesperson Marie Harf. Dowd’s column concerned a CIA leak to Hollywood that involved the production of a movie called «Zero Dark Thirty». Harf has since been promoted to deputy press secretary for the Department of State where she is undoubtedly still fronting for her old CIA colleagues in spotting willing journalists, particularly foreign correspondents, eager to cooperate with the CIA.

With a number of print publications folding their operations, there has been a mushrooming of web-based news outlets. The Global Post, based in Boston, was able to send freelancer Foley to costly assignments in Libya and Syria. A subscription-based news website, which once only had 400 subscribers, is not only able to send someone like Foley off to cover wars but is able to maintain an international correspondents’ staff of 65 in high-cost cities ranging from Moscow and Jerusalem to Tokyo and Nairobi. Some uncomfortable questions must be asked. For example, from where does Global Post actually receive its funding? And, why does it find it advantageous to embed its freelancers with U.S. military units and CIA-financed Islamist insurgent groups? Looking back over the last 65 years encompassing the CIA’s use of journalists as agents, the answers to these questions become all too apparent.

As Palestinians tweeted advice on how to safely deal with tear gas to Black Ferguson residents, President Barack Obama spewed garbage rhetoric typical of his Administration. Obama dismissed Black existence by confirming that it is never acceptable to exact violence on the police. This anti-Black comment came after Michael Brown, an 18 year-old Black male, was murdered by a local police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was shot multiples times (at least six) despite having his hands up. He only ran for his survival after being shot once at point blank range. In a matter of minutes, “Big Mike” was added to the list of Black Americans murdered every 28 hours by law enforcement in the United States.

The Black community of Ferguson has responded to the state-sanctioned murder of “Big Mike” with a weeks-long resistance. In defiance of corporate media clamor for peace and Black respectability (subservience), Black Ferguson’s presence in the streets has displayed for everyone to see the true character of 21st century US imperialism. Sights of militarized SWAT teams and Pentagon weaponry surrounding Black Ferguson have placed the US imperial police state under serious critique. The ruling class complimented its military siege with “soft power,” sending a Black state police officer, Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, and CNN’s Don Lemon to diffuse the peaceful rebellion. But, despite the disturbance of the Black misleadership class, the rebellion shows no signs of dissipating any time soon and deserves serious attention from organizers and activists wherever they are.

Lasting solidarity with Black Ferguson needs to develop from the organization of the oppressed. One of the most important tasks of left organizers and activists is to build an anti-imperialist spirit that unites oppressed people in the US to the struggles of people fighting Obama’s imperialist ventures abroad. This will take a concerted effort to strip Emperor Obama of his left-flank veneer generously awarded to him by the ruling class. Luckily, history is the perfect guide to unmasking US imperialism’s agenda that lies at the root of the Ferguson rebellion.

Black Americans in Ferguson are coming into direct confrontation with police officers and national guardsmen armed to the teeth with military weaponry and technology. The root of police militarization stems from the relationship between US imperialism’s domestic anti-Black policy and its international policy of plunder. In 1969, President Richard Nixon began his administration by deploying the first SWAT team operation to annihilate the Los Angeles branch of the Black Panther Party, headquartered on 41st and Central. The LAPD’s SWAT team engaged in a five-hour shootout, injuring three Panthers. 41st and Central’s shoot-out indicated a new precedent, one where police departments could tap into Washington for helicopter rifles, grenades, and armaments typically used by the military. After the raid, SWAT teams arose all over the nation and sported the insignia “41st” as a symbol of white racial solidarity for the true role of the police as an army of occupation in the Black community.

1969 was the year the US ruling class planned to completely annihilate the Black Panther Party. The Panthers’ Black liberation politics included a principled commitment to internationalist solidarity. Black Panther opposition to the Vietnam War infuriated the US establishment. Panther ideology related the Black struggle in the US to anti-imperialist struggles abroad, making them a direct threat to the American ruling order. This forced the US ruling class to declare a domestic war on the Panthers. The head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, labeled the Black Panther Party the greatest threat to the internal security of the country in ’68. In 1969, the murders of John “Bunchy” Carter, Fred Hampton, Mark Clark, and scores of other Panthers made the FBI’s joint efforts with local police to destroy the revolutionary organization painstakingly clear.

The US imperialist siege on Black resistance continued with the Reagan Administration’s ”War on Drugs.” By this time, Black Panther leadership had dissipated, weakened by domestic reform and repression. The US ruling class sought to use the opportunity to criminalize the Black community as a mechanism of social control. Millions of dollars of federal aid and military equipment was transferred to local police departments to conduct military-style “raids” and “drug busts.” The purpose of the “War on Drugs” was to control Black resistance and warehouse surplus Black labor further displaced by deindustrialization. Nation-wide criminalization of Black America has transformed the US into a prison state, holding nearly three million mostly Black prisoners behind bars.

As the US occupation army (police) terrorized the Black working class, the ruling class has used the same “War on Drugs” policy to exert its interests in Latin America and the Middle East. The Central Intelligence Agency and Washington sponsored the Contras in Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador. The Contras were a US imperial project, a US-sponsored group of bandits whose mission was to destabilize Central America. CIA intelligence also created a jihad terror network to overthrow the secular Afghan government in 1979. This exported chaos all over the world to make way for US geopolitical and corporate domination.

Journalist Gary Webb unearthed the CIA’s dual imperial role in the ”War on Drugs.” In his 1996 investigation, Webb found that cocaine was being smuggled into the US and sold in Los Angeles by Contra terrorists fighting a US proxy war against Nicaragua’s Sandinista movement. The smuggled cocaine was sold in its crack form and intentionally distributed in the Black community to provide justification for rampant policing and imprisonment, including the mandatory 100 to 1 difference between crack powder cocaine prison sentences. Profits from the US sponsored drug trade were funneled back to the Contras to help pay for arms from US coffers. Both on the domestic and international front, Webb’s findings revealed that the US imperial “War on Drugs” was a dual war on the Black community and the oppressed peoples of the world.

No relief from US imperialism’s dual assault has come during the last three Presidential Administrations despite two of the three being led by the Democratic Party. Clinton, Bush, and Obama all have played a role in accelerating the war on the Black community at home and the war on anti-imperialist forces abroad. Clinton continued the unpopular militarized “drug raids” and supplied police forces with 1.2 million in military items under his administration. This included 3,800 M-16s, 185 M-14s, 73 grenade launchers and 112 armored personnel carriers. Clinton’s Administration also expanded the use of NATO to achieve US imperial objectives, unleashing the Jihad terrorist network to dismember Yugoslavia. A similar model was employed on the African continent, where the Clinton Administration supported genocidal proxies in Rwanda and Uganda to loot the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Clinton Administration set the tone for the Bush Administration’s “War on Terror,” a US imperial strategy that sprung into creation after the 9-11 debacle in 2001.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was formed with billions in US-tax dollars used to accelerate the erosion of domestic civil liberties. Since 2001, the federal government has distributed 34 billion dollars in grants to police departments, many of which have come directly from DHS.  These grants have been used to purchase military armaments, especially those that have gone unused in US imperialist ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. DHS opened the door for the creation of a lobby of police departments, military contractors, and federal administrators whose very careers are tied to the profits accrued from police militarization.

Ferguson protesters have rightfully scorned President Obama and Al Sharpton, saying ”You haven’t changed shit, f*ck y’all.” Since Obama was first elected in 2008, the “hope and change” President has overseen the largest number of Pentagon arms and intelligence giveaways to local police in US history. Obama’s Administration re-booted the Byrnes program with 2 billion dollars, an initiative largely responsible for warrantless SWAT team raids of US citizens. Anti-Terror grants from DHS have increased and so have raids of marijuana growers. Black prisoners continue to grow into the largest imprisoned population in the word and pitiful attempts at amnesty and ratio reduction between crack and cocaine are inconsequential at best. The exacerbation of US imperialist policy has been the only change wrought in the Obama era, this time from the left-flank of the US ruling class.

The left’s criticism of the Obama Administration has been infrequent and inconsistent, so Ferguson’s Black rebellion is leading the way on an important task. Much of the left became caught in the corporate media’s obsession with symbolism when Obama rose to the Presidential scene in 2008. In quick time, the successor to Bush Jr. represented a “lesser evil,” “progress” or some other liberal, delusional catchphrase that gave Obama’s imperialism impunity. Movement forces sat dormant, even as the Obama Administration capitulated to finance capital, clamped down on dissent through police militarization and Black mass incarceration, and wreaked havoc on the planet with its ”humanitarian” interventionist impulse.

Ferguson’s rebellion, however, continues to build strength and has already taught an important lesson to the anti-imperialist struggle. The courage being displayed by the rebellion is a testament to Huey Newton’s conclusion that “the walls, the bars, the guns and the guards can never encircle or hold down the idea of the people.”  Ferguson’s Black community is standing up to the National Guard and militarized police forces sent out to lynch dissent. Ferguson is demanding justice for Mike Brown and the Black community he represents. A sound, long-term strategy for the anti-imperialist movement can build upon Ferguson’s resistance by dropping Obama-mania for good and taking the streets in solidarity with Ferguson, everywhere oppression exists.

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

CRISTIANISMO : História , mitos y leyendas

August 27th, 2014 by Miguel Urbano Rodrigues

Releyendo  Os Primeiros Cristãos, Páginas de História, de Irina Sventsitskaya,* medité durante dias  sobre la milenária busca de dios por el hombre. Fue tan intensa esa reflexión que dediqué las ultimas semanas a releer el Antiguo Testamento y el Nuevo Testamento.

Habia leído el ensayo de la historiadora soviética cuando fue editado en Portugal  hace un cuarto de siglo; pero entonces no le presté la atención que merecia.

En su importante trabajo Irina Sventistskaia se ocupa de mitos y leyendas  que en Occidente  surgieron sobre los primeros cristianos .

Su estudio comparativo de los llamados Evangelios Sinópticos o Canónicos (Marcos,Mateo ,Lucas y Juan ) sacralizados por la Iglesia y de los apócrifos ( Pedro,Tomé,Tiago, Filipe, André y otros)no reconocidos por Roma ,asi como de las Epístolas de Pablo y sentencias de muchos profetas hebreos, sigue actualísimo.

La autora subraya que la dificultad de reconstruir la predicación  inicial de la doctrina de Jesus depende mucho de las fuentes conocidas pero también de disputas y conflictos antes que la Iglesia elaborara sus dogmas.

Irina alerta para el significado de la absorción por el cristianismo primitivo de multiplas concepciones religiosas y éticas ampliamente difundidas en el espacio del imperio Romano.

Décadas después de la muerte de Jesus, el cristianismo propagado por sus discípulos y apóstoles, se había difundido ampliamente en Oriente cuando los evangelios canónicos empezaron a ser escritos. Pero  entonces ya generaban polémicas las contradicciones y omisiones de los textos sinópticos relativos a las actividades y  predicas  de Jesús.

En lo fundamental los evangelios de Marcos, Mateo y Lucas coinciden. Sin embargo, Marcos es omiso sobre el nacimiento del Mesias y la virgindad de la madre. Mateo y Lucas atribuyen al carpintero José, el padre, una genealogía que lo hace descendiente de David. Hay que recordar que según la religión hebraica el Mesias seria de la estirpe del rey David.

Marcos cita los nombres de cuatro hermanos de Jesus: Tiago, José,Simon y Judas. Según Marcos, Mateo y Lucas, la Galilea fue el escenario principal de la predica de Jesus; para Juan ,el Mesias predicó sobretodo en Judea.

La temática de la esencia de Jesus –humana o divina ,o las dos- generó incontables polémicas, originando rupturas que dividieron los primitivos cristianos. Los nestorianos , que han introducido el cristianismo en Iraq, Iran ,Asia Central y en el Extremo Oriente, atribuyen a Jesus (el Mesias, o sea Cristo)dos naturalezas ,la humana y la divina, que se fundían. Pero los monofisitas ,que influenciaron mucho las iglesias de Arménia y Georgia y la copta de Egipto, definían su naturaleza como una e indivisible.

El dogma de la Santisima Trinidad (unidad de dios en el padre, el hijo y en el espíritu santo),impuesto en 381 por el Concilio de Constantinopla, no puso fin a las disputas sobre el nacimiento de Jesus.

Para muchos, Maria concebió Jesus por la intervención del Espiritu Santo, sin relación sexual. Los hermanos del niño

serian hijos de una compañera  anterior de José. Segun otros, eses hermanos eran en realidad primos.

Las cuestiones linguísticas influyeron en las polémicas entre cristianos. Jesus pregó en arameo, el idioma hablado en Palestina (el hebreo era solamente una lengua religiosa), y los evangelios sinópticos ,según la mayoría de los historiadores, fueron redactados en griego. Discrepancias insanables serian  resultantes de las traducciones.

Las sentencias de Jesus, sus discursos y predicas  tambien diferen de evangelio para evangelio, tal como el papel

del romano  Poncio Pilatos, del rey Herodes y del sacerdote Caifás en los acontecimientos que precedieron la crucifixion del Mesias.

Los historiadores romanos escribieron poco sobre Jesus y su martirio. Fue solamente cuando esa religión desconocida llegó a Roma que mereció su atención para condenarla.

Los judíos la exorcizaron. Para Celso, un filósofo del siglo II, Maria era una hilandera ignorante y el  padre de Jesus no fue el carpintero José  pero el amante de la falsa imaculada, un soldado romano, desertor .

Tampoco existe unanimidad sobre la motivación del emperador Constantino para conceder protección a los cristianos antes de oficializar su religión.
La mayoría admite que tomó esa decisión por haber comprendido que la organización religiosa de los cristianos,  entonces ya numerosos, le podía proporcionar un apoyo político más importante que lo de los sacerdotes del panteón greco-romano.

A ser asi no se equivocó.

De perseguida, la cristiandad pasó a perseguidora cuando nombrada religión oficial. Empezó inmediatamente a dirigirse al emperador y al aparato de estado para resolver sus problemas internos y punir los adeptos de otras religiones.

Un ejemplo: los obispos de Gália, reunidos en Arles ,en el siglo IV, amenazaron de excomunión los cristianos que desertasen del exército imperial.

Simultaneamente, la iglesia ortodoxa de Constantinopla,que se autointitulaba entonces  «universal», declaró heréticas todas las  religiones cristianas que no aceptaban sus dogmas.

Contra convicciones comunes fue muy lenta la formación de la jerarquia de la Iglesia. Inicialmente, los obispos (al tiempo llamados presbíteros) no teniam funciones religiosas, eran meros funcionarios administrativos, sin poder sobre los  feligreses. Podian incluso casarse. Los apostoles ,con la excepción de Juan, fueron todos casados. El celibato solamente fue impuesto  en la iglesia católica después del Concilio de Trento, en el siglo XVI.

Pablo contribuyó decisivamente para el ascenso de los obispos. En sus epístolas repetia que la gracia de los apostoles pasara para los obispos. Los cristianos debían seguirlos «como ovejas».

La tradiccion cristiana hace remontar la sucesión de los obispos al apóstol Pedro. Pero se trata de una inverdad. Los nombres de los primeros son falsos. Fue ya en el cuadro de divergencias con la Iglesia Ortodoxa de Bizancio que tuvo inicio la tradiccion de que el Papa, jefe de la cristiandad católica , sea el obispo de Roma.

Irina afirma que la posición de Jesus ante la riqueza y la pobreza fue enmarcada por muchas contradicciones. Dirigiendose sobretodo a los pobres, repetió insistentemente que era dificil a un rico entrar en el reino de los cielos. Pero la renuncia a la riqueza le aparecia como un medio para recibir la recompensa del Señor. Sin embargo, nunca la condenó explícitamente, ni al sometimiento a un poder extranjero. Su celebre respuesta a una pregunta sobre el pago del tributo a Roma- dad a César lo que es de César y a dios lo que es de dios –continua suscitando controversia; incomoda los cristianos.

Igualmente incómoda para la cristiandad es la tentación que Jesus sintió en el desierto. Como profeta podía sentir tentaciones, pero no como ser divino.

La actitud de Jesus frente a la religión mosaica (pre judaísmo) fue también ambigua . Su conflicto con los sacerdotes del Templo no  apaga su respeto por algunos rituales hebreos. Su herencia judía transparece de una sentencia famosa encontrada en un papiro:«si no guardas el sábado no verás al padre». La ruptura total del cristianismo con el judaísmo fue posterior a las epístolas de Pablo.

En lo que concierne al culto mariano se olvida que surgió como fenómeno tardío a fines del siglo IV.

En el Nuevo Testamento son escasas las informaciones sobre la madre de Jesus. Los primeros cristianos le han prestado atención minima. En las Epistolas de Pablo siquier es mencionada. Fueron los evangelios apócrifos que han difundido la imagen lendária de la Virgen Maria.

El llamado Evangelio de los Hebreos atribuye a Jesus una afirmación polémica : «El espíritu santo es mi madre». En

las parábolas ,metáforas y alegorias de Jesus no hay referencias a Maria.

El culto de Maria fue instituido por la Iglesia a partir del fin del siglo IV, pero la «imaculada» solamente fue reconocida oficialmente como «madre de dios» en 431;las fiestas en su honor han sido introduzidas bien más tarde ,coincidiendo con fechas de fiestas paganas. Con el tiempo el culto mariano adquirió una expansión impresionante. Hoy  la Virgen Maria es adorada en decenas de paises con nombres diferentes. En Portugal tenemos , entre otras, la milagrera  Nuestra  Señora de Fátima.

Los manuscritos gnósticos encontrados en Egipto después de la segunda guerra mundial fueron considerados heréticos por las Iglesias católica y ortodoxa e por diferentes iglesias protestantes, mas dejaron huellas en la dogmatica cristiana abriendo nuevas polémicas sobre la vida y mensajes de Jesus.

Irina Svenstskaia enunció una evidencia al afirmar que nunca existió una doctrina cristiana única y armoniosa y que los cristianos discutieron permanentemente unos con los otros sobre los dogmas, la ética y los rituales de su religión, divergiendo incluso sobre el nacimiento y la muerte de Jesus, el Mesias.

El lucido ensayo de Irina nos hace recordar que el cristianismo fue creado por «hombres que pretendian encontrar una salida ilusoria para el impase sociopsicologico»  en  que se encontraba la sociedad arcaica de Palestina.

Fueron los arquitectos de una religion que tuvo iufluencia decisiva en el rumbo de la humanidad. Pero su ambiciosa meta  no podía ser alcanzada.

Transcurridos 20 siglos, el balanzo de la participación de la Iglesia como institución – nombradamente  la católica- es muy negativo. Apoyando los opresores contra los oprimidos, asumiendo los intereses de los poderosos, sobretodo el alto clero, negó el mensaje y el pensamiento de Jesús.

Miguel Urbano

Vila Nova de Gaia, 20 de Agosto de 2014

El original portugués de este articulo se encuentra en

odiario.info

*Os Primeiros Cristãos-Páginas de História, Irina Sventsiskaia, Editorial Caminho,315 págs., Lisboa, Fevereiro de l990.

Gaza Ceasefire: Hold the Cheers

August 27th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

On Monday, both sides agreed to open-ended ceasefire terms. Peace talks will resume in Cairo within a month.

Terms agreed on include opening border crossings, “enabl(ing) the rapid entry of humanitarian aid,” as well as construction supplies for rebuilding.

Monitoring will ensure reconstruction is solely for civilian purposes.

Effective immediately, coastal fishing waters will expand from three to six nautical miles. They’ll gradually increase to 12 miles by year end.

Israel agreed to halt targeted assassinations. Days earlier, Netanyahu called Hamas leaders legitimate targets.

Israeli hardliners want Hamas and other resistance groups entirely crushed. They reject peace out of hand.

Terms largely replicate how both sides ended Israel’s November 2012 Pillar of Cloud aggression.

Hamas stuck to the letter of the deal. Israel violated it straightaway. It blamed Hamas for its crimes. Expect nothing different this time.

Israel’s agenda excludes good faith. Decades of conflict, repression and occupation harshness attest to its dark side.

Expect no change enough to matter this time. Promises made are broken. It’s longstanding Israeli policy. Major issues remain unresolved.

They include Hamas wanting Gaza’s siege entirely lifted, permitting an airport and seaport to facilitate imports and exports, and releasing Palestinian political prisoners.

Israel wants Gaza demilitarized. It wants resistance groups defenseless against certain future IDF onslaughts.

It wants overall siege harshness maintained. It largely prohibits Gazan product sales to its two primary markets – the West Bank and Israel. They amount to 2% of pre-2007 levels.

It permits minimal exports overall. It restricts imports. Israeli policy perpetuates dependency on outside aid.

It prevents economic development. It leaves almost half the working-age population unemployed. Youth unemployment tops 60%.

Free movement of people is more myth than reality. Restrictions are unrelated to security.

Exit permits are hard to get. Adults with them can bring children under age six. Older ones are excluded.

Israel’s blockade has nothing to do with security. In June 2010, McClatchy newspapers headlined “Israeli document: Gaza blockade isn’t about security,” saying:

“McClatchy obtained an Israeli government document that describes the blockade not as a security measure but as ‘economic warfare’ against the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory.”

In response to a Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement lawsuit, documents obtained said Israel called blockading Gaza “economic warfare.” According to a government statement:

“A country has the right to decide that it chooses not to engage in economic relations or to give economic assistance to the other party to the conflict, or that it wishes to operate using ‘economic warfare.’ “

Nations may indeed decide whether or not to have relations with other states. It may not interfere in their internal affairs. Doing so violates core international law.

Blockading Gaza is illegal. Doing so is an act of war. It’s a crime against humanity. Israel remains unaccountable.

Monday’s ceasefire is a temporary respite. Hold the cheers. Expect no substantive change in Israeli policy.

It prioritizes violence and instability. It excludes peace and good will.

It’s just a matter of time before more conflict. Pretexts are easy to invent. Blaming victims is longstanding Israeli policy.

Washington supports its worst crimes. It doesn’t give a damn about Palestinian rights. It never did. It doesn’t now.

On August 26, John Kerry lied saying Washington is “fully committed…to work with our international partners on a major reconstruction initiative…to ensure (it’s) for the benefit of the civilian population in Gaza…”

He turned truth on its head calling Hamas and other legitimate resistance groups “terrorist organizations.”

Throughout 50 days of conflict, Washington supported Israel’s killing machine. According to Gaza’s Health and Interior ministries, one of its many high crimes included murdering 89 entire families.

Israel bears full responsibility for well-planned naked aggression.

Launching it had nothing to do with Hamas rockets. It had everything to do with maintaining business as usual.

On the day both sides halted hostilities, Israeli forces terrorized West Bank and East Jerusalem residents.

Twelve Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) activists were arrested. Their whereabouts remains unknown.

Days earlier, Israeli soldiers targeted Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) member Khalida Jarrar in Ramallah.

They ordered her deported to Jericho for six months. They gave her 24 hours to leave.

Nonexistent secret information claims she “poses a threat to the security of the region, so she must be put under special monitoring.”

Jarrar is a senior Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) member. She’s an Addameer Prisoner Support group board member.

She’s banned from traveling abroad. Freedom fighting comes with a price.

During Monday ceasefire discussions, Israel kidnapped two Palestinians in Hebron, three in Bethlehem, six in Nablus, nine in Jenin, and one in Jerusalem.

Homes were invaded, searched and ransacked. Property was damaged or stolen.

Amjad Abu ‘Asab heads the Jerusalemite Family Committee of Palestinian political prisoners. He said Israeli soldiers went on a rampage.

Former political prisoner En’am Qalanbo was arrested for participating in a solidarity with Gaza march.

‘Asab expects many arrests following Monday’s ceasefire deal. He believes Israel wants Jerusalem and other West Bank Palestinians punished for supporting Gazans and resisting occupation harshness.

According to the Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center,  Israeli police attacked Palestinians marching for liberation with tear gas, concussion grenades and rubber-coated steel bullets.

On Tuesday, other marches and demonstrations occurred in Shu’fat refugee camp, al-Eesawiyyam, Wad al-Jous, al-Jabal, Silwan, al-Mokabber Area, Hizman and East Jerusalem.

Israeli soldiers and police responded violently. Scores were injured. Arrests were made. Israel prohibits public demonstrations. It calls legitimate resistance terrorism.

On August 27, Maan News said “Palestinian communities in Jerusalem are experiencing the largest upsurge in detentions since the Second Intifada, with a marked increase in Israeli police brutality and the collective punishment of entire neighborhoods, local organizations say.”

Since Israel murdered teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir, over 770 East Jerusalemites were arrested.

After three Israeli youths were abducted on June 12, up to 1,000 West Bank Palestinians were detained.

Collective punishment is official Israeli policy. Hamas leaders were unjustifiably blamed for the June kidnapping/murder of three Israeli youths.

Operation Protective Edge followed preemptively.  It bears repeating. It had nothing to do with Hamas rockets. Firing them responded to Israeli aggression.

Jeff Halper heads the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). He calls motivation for Operation Protective Edge twofold.

It was an effort to “get Israel off the hook for massive” human rights and international law violations.

It sought to “help other governments overcome similar (‘asymmetrical warfare,’ counterinsurgency’ and ‘counter-terrorism’) constraints…against peoples resisting domination.”

Israel calls it “lawfare.” It followed “notable legal setbacks and challenges Israel incurred” since 2001.

For his involvement in the Sabra and Shatila massacres, Ariel Sharon was indicted. It didn’t matter. He wasn’t tried.

In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Israel’s Separation Wall illegal. Enforcement didn’t follow. Construction continues.

Israel considers civilians legitimate targets. Its policy violates core international humanitarian law.

Israel circumvents it by “creat(ing) new categories of combatants.” They call them “non-legitimate actors.”

They include anyone Israel calls “terrorists,” “insurgents,” or “non-state actors.” An entire population is held hostage.

Israel claims it warrants no protection and other fundamental rights for resisting repression.

Obama and other Western leaders support Israel’s right to self-defense. Victimized Palestinians are denied the same right.

Israel’s lawfare strategy considers them villains. It’s a “new doctrine of military ethics.” It’s based on a “Just War Doctrine of Fighting Terrorism.”

It bears repeating. Terrorists include adversaries and others legitimately resisting Israeli repression.

Its lawfare strategy uses “new military ethics” to justify lawlessness.

It’s based on the notion that wrongdoing repeated often enough unaccountably will get nations worldwide to accept it or do nothing to stop it.

It lets Israel get away with high crimes against peace. It assures business as usual.

It’s just a matter of time before Israeli rampaging repeats. Expect Palestinians to be blamed for its crimes like always.

Expect Western leaders to support them. Expect no change in long denied justice. Palestinians remain isolated on their own.

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. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Is Modern Life Making Us Dumber?

August 27th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

Scientists say that we have much smaller brains than our ancestors had 20,000 years ago … and we might have gotten stupider since agriculture became widespread.

Huffington Post reports that we’ve probably gotten dumber than even our Victorian ancestors:

A provocative new study suggests human intelligence is on the decline. In fact, it indicates that Westerners have lost 14 I.Q. points on average since the Victorian Era.

******

As for Dr. te Nijenhuis and colleagues, they analyzed the results of 14 intelligence studies conducted between 1884 to 2004, including one by Sir Francis Galton, an English anthropologist and a cousin of Charles Darwin. Each study gauged participants’ so-called visual reaction times — how long it took them to press a button in response to seeing a stimulus. Reaction time reflects a person’s mental processing speed, and so is considered an indication of general intelligence.

***

In the late 19th Century, visual reaction times averaged around 194 milliseconds, the analysis showed. In 2004 that time had grown to 275 milliseconds. Even though the machine gauging reaction time in the late 19th Century was less sophisticated than that used in recent years, Dr. te Nijenhuis told The Huffington Post that the old data is directly comparable to modern data.

Other research has suggested an apparent rise in I.Q. scores since the 1940s, aphenomenon known as the Flynn Effect. But Dr. te Nijenhuis suggested the Flynn Effect reflects the influence of environmental factors — such as better education, hygiene and nutrition — and may mask the true decline in genetically inherited intelligence in the Western world.

This new research was published in the April 13 issue of Intelligence.

The Daily Mail notes that we’ve gotten dumber since the 1950s:

Richard Lynn, a psychologist at the University of Ulster, calculated the decline in humans’ genetic potential.

He used data on average IQs around the world in 1950 and 2000 to discover that our collective intelligence has dropped by one IQ point.

Dr Lynn predicts that if this trend continues, we could lose another 1.3 IQ points by 2050.

There are several theories for why we are getting dumber, including the following:

(1) Toxic chemicals in the environment can reduce intelligence. Examples include flame retardantlead(found in many lipsticks), certain pesticides (and see this and this),  fluoride (more) and radiation(radiation can reduce brain sizeand “Many epidemiologic studies show that extremely low doses of radiation increase the incidence of  … diminished intelligence”).

Modern man is surrounded by toxic chemicals …

(2) Humans evolved to eat a lot of Omega 3s:

Wild game animals have much higher levels of essential Omega 3 fatty acids than domesticated animals. Indeed, leading nutritionists say that humans evolved to consume a lot of Omega 3 fatty acids in the wild game and fish which they ate (more), and that a low Omega 3 diet is a very new trend within the last 100 years or so.

In other words, while omega 3s have just now been discovered by modern science, we evolved to get a lot of omega 3s … and if we just eat a modern, fast food diet without getting enough omega 3s, it can cause all sorts of health problems.

So something just discovered by science can be a central fuel which our bodies evolved to use.

Omega 3s – in turn – boost intelligence and help prevent cognitive decline.

(3) Similarly, Science Daily notes:

Exposure to specific bacteria in the environment, already believed to have antidepressant qualities, could increase learning behavior, according to research presented at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego.

“Mycobacterium vaccae is a natural soil bacterium which people likely ingest or breath in when they spend time in nature,” says Dorothy Matthews of The Sage Colleges in Troy, New York, who conducted the research with her colleague Susan Jenks.

***

“We found that mice that were fed live M. vaccae navigated the maze twice as fast and with less demonstrated anxiety behaviors as control mice,” says Matthews.

In a second experiment the bacteria were removed from the diet of the experimental mice and they were retested. While the mice ran the maze slower than they did when they were ingesting the bacteria, on average they were still faster than the controls.

Obviously, we don’t get in as much soil as our ancestors did.

(In addition, some bacteria in our gut greatly influence brain function. Most native cultures ate fermented foods containing healthy bacteria.)

(4) Exercise boosts intelligence … and our ancestors got a lot more exercise than we do!

“Even our most highly trained athletes pale in comparison to” farmers  7,000 years ago.

(5) In addition, high levels of cortisol – the chemical released when one is under continuous, unrelenting stress – and poverty can physically impair the brain and people’s ability to learn.

Hunter-gatherers had more leisure time – and a more playful attitude – than we do today.

(6) [For this and the next theory, we quote from HuffPost.] Dr. Jan te Nijenhuis points to the fact thatwomen of high intelligence tend to have fewer children than do women of lower intelligence. This negative association between I.Q. and fertility has been demonstrated time and again in research over the last century.

(7) “The reduction in human intelligence … would have begun at the time that genetic selection became more relaxed,” Dr. Gerald Crabtree, professor of pathology and developmental biology at Stanford University, told The Huffington Post in an email. “I projected this occurred as our ancestors began to live in more supportive high density societies (cities) and had access to a steady supply of food. Both of these might have resulted from the invention of agriculture, which occurred about 5,000 to 12,000 years ago.”

Postscript:  Relaxing activities like meditation and prayer have been shown to increase brain mass and connectivity in certain areas of the brain.  And sex makes you smarter and causes brain growth.

Obama Vows Protracted Military Campaign in Iraq, Syria

August 27th, 2014 by Bill Van Auken

President Barack Obama delivered a militarist speech Tuesday to the annual convention of the American Legion in Charlotte, North Carolina amid reports that US spy drones are already operating over Syria and air strikes could begin there by the end of this week.

Obama told the veterans’ organization that “the United States is and will remain the one indispensable nation in the world,” a boast that is belied by the bloody debacle unleashed throughout North Africa and the Middle East by a string of US military interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Turning to the present intervention in Iraq following the overrunning of much of the country by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a split-off from Al Qaeda, the US president reiterated the formal pretexts for US military action: protecting “our diplomats and military advisors who are there,” and humanitarian assistance.

He vowed that “American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq,” and declared that the “answer is not to send in large-scale military deployments.” Both formulations leave open the deployment of thousands of US “advisors” and Special Operations troops, which are not defined in military terminology as “combat troops,” a term reserved for full regular Army brigades and Marine expeditionary units.

Since launching the first US air strikes in Iraq last month, the Obama administration has already rushed another 1,000 US troops into the country. The US Central Command reported two more air strikes on Tuesday near the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Irbil. The targets were reported to be ISIS armored vehicles, likely captured from the US-supplied Iraqi Army stockpile. Thus far, the US has carried out roughly 100 air strikes in Iraq.

Obama spoke Tuesday of “a broader strategy” that would supposedly include arming local forces, including the Iraqi government, the Iraqi Kurdish militia and the “moderate opposition in Syria,” and forging an “international coalition.” But he vowed that his administration “will continue to take direct action where needed to protect our people and defend our homeland.” He invoked the barbaric execution of American photojournalist James Foley as a pretext for American military action, declaring that “justice will be done.”

Obama went on to warn that “rooting out a cancer like ISIL [an alternate name for ISIS] won’t be easy and it won’t be quick,” indicating that Washington is preparing for an expanding and protracted military intervention in the region.

The US president provided no specifics on the escalating US operations, but government officials who spoke on condition of anonymity said Tuesday that US spy planes were already deployed over Syria in preparation for US air strikes.

NBC news reported Tuesday that the spy flights involved both manned aircraft and unmanned drones. It cited US officials as saying that, while no decision had yet been made, Obama could authorize air strikes by the end of this week.

Meanwhile, Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters onboard a military plane en route to Afghanistan that, while he believes at present ISIS represents a “regional threat” and not a direct threat to the US, he is prepared to shift this assessment. Once the general “determines that the Islamic militants in Iraq have become a direct threat to the US homeland,” the Associated Press reported, “he will recommend that the US military move directly against the group in Syria.”

The clear implication is that the United States is just one purported “terrorist plot” away from a direct military intervention in yet another Middle Eastern country.

The evident political complication confronting the US administration as it prepares to extend its military action in Iraq into neighboring Syria is that it is proposing to bomb forces it previously supported as “rebels” against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Just one year ago, Obama was seeking congressional approval to bomb Syrian government forces on the fabricated pretext that the Assad regime had crossed a “red line” by using chemical weapons in the civil war with ISIS and other Sunni Islamist forces. He was compelled to back down from this threat in the face of massive popular opposition as well as the failure of either the US Congress or the British Parliament to back direct military intervention.

Now, utilizing the atrocities committed by ISIS, including the beheading of Foley, the administration does not expect to encounter significant opposition in Washington or London or even demands that it seek congressional authorization for a bombing campaign.

There were reports Tuesday that the US is already collaborating indirectly with the Assad regime by providing intelligence from US spy flights to the Syrian military, which conducted dozens of bombing raids on ISIS strongholds in eastern Syria on Tuesday. According to the AFP news agency, “The cooperation has already begun and the United States is giving Damascus information via Baghdad and Moscow.”

The only direct official response to the report was a tweet from State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf asserting that “the claims in that story are false.”

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem declared on Monday that the Syrian government was prepared “to cooperate and coordinate” with other countries in combating ISIS, but warned that any unilateral air strikes carried out without the approval of Damascus would be “considered aggression.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Tuesday, “There are no plans to coordinate with the Assad regime” on any military action within Syria.

The clear implication is that, while Washington is preparing to intervene in Syria on the pretense of defeating ISIS, its goal remains regime-change—the toppling of what would be a third secular Arab head of state, following the overthrow and killing of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi.

Behind the rhetoric about protecting Americans and combating terror, US imperialism is prepared to unleash an even more catastrophic regional war to further its drive to break up the current state structures and assert its hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East.

The Intercept was already getting the intelligence community excited with its revelations that the National Security Agency had decided to mimic inspector Google.  Through creating a search engine in the manner of those pro-transparency pioneers, the intelligence community was turning the tables on the very idea of searchable information.  Why keep it the operating preserve of the public?  The search engine has, as it stands, over 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats.[1]

The revelations have a few implications, the most obvious one confirming the seamless transition between intelligence work on the one hand, and the policing function on the other. The distinction between intelligence communities whose interests are targeting matters foreign to the polity; and those who maintain order within the boundaries of a state in a protective capacity, prove meaningless in this form.  The use of ICREACH makes it clear that the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are regular clients and users of the system.

A 2010[2] memorandum from the Chief of Liaison Support Group at the CIA titled “CIA colleagues enthusiastically welcome NSA training” speaks with praise about those “NSA-ers embedded in CIA’s workspaces”.  Indeed, it speaks very highly of the “information sharing” ethos of the NSA within the Intelligence Community, channelling Google’s operating rationale within more secret spaces. Furthermore, in 2010, the relevant data base provided the NSA “and second Party telephony metadata events to over 1000 analysts across 23 US Intelligence Community agencies.”

Those keen on squirreling information into such a data base are no doubt thrilled by the prospects that it can be made available to the “appropriate” sources.  ICREACH has become one of the largest, if not largest system for the internal processing and sharing of surveillance records within the United States.  It is not, according to The Intercept, connected with the NSA database that stores data on Americans’ phone calls pursuant to s. 215 of the Patriot Act.

The difference between the two accumulated pools of data is one of scope: ICREACH is mammoth in reach, and positively defiant in its push against the law; the database gathered under s. 215 guidelines is minute in comparison, confined to the dangerously pertinent idea of combating terrorism and like threats. ICREACH exists outside the system of court orders, being a creature of Executive Order 12333.  The document, instituted by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, was intended to add robustness to the intelligence gathering capabilities of the US intelligence community.

John Tye[3], formally of the US State Department, has wrestled with the way EO 12333 is used.  He accepts its premise that it is primarily “to target foreigners abroad, and collection happens outside the US.”  However, “My complaint is not that they’re using it to target Americans, my complaint is that the volume of incidental collection on US persons is unconstitutional.”

The idea of restraining intelligence gathering to pertinent, specific targeting has gotten increasingly old fashioned in the information banquet of the modern NSA community.  Farming modern metadata provides a diet positively rich in carbohydrates, a deficient diet when it comes to nutrition, but excessive when it comes to those fats a lean intelligence, and policing service, should avoid.

The true fat stripping agent here is the law, with its targeted formulae that keeps intelligence agencies focused and relevant in their activities. The most humble analyst will use the law as a tool for gathering, and analysing good data.  The slothful gatherer will prefer the short cuts, including the magical search term that avoids as much as it captures.  Bugger the law and type in the search term.

The progenitor of this system was retired NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander.  In a 2006 letter to John Negroponte, then Director of National Intelligence, Alexander outlined his ideas of a search tool that would “allow unprecedented volumes of communications metadata to be shared and analysed”.  To what end?  Prizing open a “vast, rich source of information”.  Superbly dim in a sense – information is not knowledge; and knowledge is not, on its own accord, information.  The glaring point here is that the higher ups in the intelligence community have gotten the wrong end of the stick.

In 2007, ICREACH was launched, its purpose being to deliver “the first-ever wholesale sharing communications database within the US Intelligence Community.”  It became, as spokesman from the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence Jeffrey Anchukaitis suggested, part of a fundamental “pillar of the post-9/11 intelligence community” – the principle of sharing information between.  Authorities, irrespective of legal distraction or distinction, could obtain data that would otherwise be “stove-piped in any single office or agency.”

The problems of such data-sharing processes is the mechanical presumption that they take place in a legal vacuum. On the one hand, members of the intelligence community are becoming the lounge lizards of bureaucracy. They hug metadata the way a viewer of cable channel television surfs the package of channels.  Nothing is actually processed. What matters is having the package to begin with.

The other consequence is dangerous – such sharing practices distribute sensitive material of citizens, both American and non-American, in a manner that mocks any legal restraint. According to Brian Owsley, who presided as federal magistrate judge between 2005 and 2013, “there shouldn’t be this buddy-buddy system back-and-forth.”  Time, it would seem, to burn the fat off the obese operator that is the modern US intelligence community.

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

Notes

It is funny that at the talks between the leaders of the Eurasian Customs Union and Ukraine the European troika will be in attendance, whereas the real policy for Kiev is being drawn up in Washington, foreign affairs analyst Srdja Trifkovic told RT.

“So far Washington has been playing a game of geopolitical encirclement of Russia which cannot be in the European interest, and which in the long-term can only result in the kind of civilizational catastrophe that we have seen exactly a hundred years ago in 1914”, Trifkovic added.

RT: Today’s is the first major meeting between the new Ukrainian president and Vladimir Putin. What’s the significance?

Srdja Trifkovic: I greatly fear there is less than meets the eye, because neither Poroshenko has a great deal of leeway in the proceedings, he has opted for a military solution in the east and he cannot backtrack on that one without losing credibility with his base particularly in the west of the country, nor does Vladimir Putin have any motivation to offer anything now that the negotiations are stalled and federalization and the protection of Russian language rights are a non-issue. So I think this will be an exercise in futility, it will be used for propaganda purposes by both sides but the elephant missing from the room is John Kerry and Victoria Nuland, because it is rather funny that there will be the European troika in attendance from Brussels whereas the real policy and agenda for Kiev is being drawn up in Washington DC.

RT: Angela Merkel said in a recent interview that she doesn’t expect these talks to bring about a breakthrough. Do you think she’s right?

ST: The Germans have effectively abdicated their role in determining European policy by joining the sanctions two weeks ago. The Germans could have had an opportunity to display statesmanship and display a genuine role in meeting the two poles of policy in Washington DC and Moscow, and by failing to do that and effectively joining the American bandwagon they have become irrelevant. Angela Merkel’s weight in Moscow used to be much greater a month ago than it is now.

 

Ukraine's President-elect Petro Poroshenko (R) walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day in Ouistreham, western France, Friday, June 6, 2014.(Reuters / Christophe Ena)

Ukraine’s President-elect Petro Poroshenko (R) walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day in Ouistreham, western France, Friday, June 6, 2014.(Reuters / Christophe Ena)

RT: Senior EU representatives will be present on Kiev’s side at the talks. What do they want to come out of those talks? Are they perhaps worried about gas?

ST: If they were truly worried about gas transit and they certainly have a reason to be worried, in the past form we have seen Ukraine up to no good in 2006 and again in 2009, they would at least exert some pressure on Poroshenko to reach a political solution of the conflict in east. That solution has been on offer all the time, it simply means decentralization and language rights, it is nothing particularly remarkable, and they are certainly not stabbing the back of the Ukrainian state. But so far unfortunately, we have seen nothing but following up the American lead in Europe on a very hard-line, very stiff and uncompromising line that Kiev has followed for the past five months. If we see some readiness for compromise, I am certain that Vladimir Putin and his national security team will be all too happy to take it, but at the moment there is none of it on the horizon.

RT: Do you think the united efforts of Ukraine and the EU will be enough to make President Putin submit to their demands?

ST: The Russian side has said repeatedly that this is a political problem that requires a political solution. If there is a degree of decentralization that would take into account the particular interests of Donetsk and Lugansk and also places like Odessa, Nikolaevsk and even Kharkov, I am sure that the Russian leadership would be eager to embrace it. It is not in the interest of Moscow to prolong this conflict. They want a settlement that will take into account the interests of the inhabitants of Eastern Ukraine, they do not want secession, but at the same time the hard line from Kiev, supported unfortunately by some of the worst elements in the country such as the Right Sector and the Svoboda party, does not bode well for a political solution. If there is a readiness in the West to prompt Kiev in the direction of a political solution, we indeed could have it today in Minsk.

RT: Chancellor Merkel also believes Ukraine should strike a balance between its European leanings and good relations with Russia. Can Poroshenko do that?

ST: In geopolitical terms it is absolutely essential that the formula be found that would guarantee Ukraine’s military neutrality and balance its economic needs between the East and the West. But at the same time, unfortunately, Washington has been pressing a zero-sum game and I am pretty certain that the Europeans would really like to resolve this one because it is a minus-sum game for all concerned, certainly for both the Germans and the Russians. The problem is that Washington has been up to no good, Washington has been playing the game of geopolitical encirclement of Russia which cannot be in the European interest and which in a long term can only result in the kind of civilizational catastrophe that we have seen exactly a hundred years ago in 1914.

PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN: Colleagues,

First, I would like to thank Minsk and Belarus for the opportunity to meet here. The format we are using here – the Customs Union-Ukraine-EU – gives us a good opportunity to discuss issues pertaining to the impact of signing by Ukraine of the EU Association Agreement within the context of its cooperation with the Customs Union states.

Russia has always respected the sovereign choice of any nation to organise its political life and make all sorts of unions, both military and economic, and we will continue to do so. However, we hope that this will not be detrimental to other participants in international communication, and not at our cost. As you may know, Ukraine is deeply integrated into the CIS economic space. Alongside Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, it is actually an inseparable part of the largest economic complex in the world, which took ages, rather than years or decades, to create – and this is no exaggeration.

At a meeting of the Heads of State of the Customs Union with President of Ukraine and representatives of the European Union. Photo: the Presidential Press and Information Office Full caption

Our countries’ companies have developed close ties in all the basic industries: in the fuel and energy sector, which includes nuclear power, in chemical production, in aviation and machine building, space, metallurgy and metals processing, in construction and agriculture. We have developed unique production chains and created technological alliances. Russian capital represents about 32 percent of the Ukrainian banking system.

The Customs Union states are Ukraine’s key foreign trade partners. In 2013, mutual trade turnover came up to $50 billion. This is comparable to what is going on the western track. In the first six months of 2014, our trade turnover reached $22.7 billion. The Customs Union accounts for 30 percent of Ukraine’s exports. We have to openly state that the Russian market takes up most of this volume.

We have developed a good legal basis for our cooperation. In 2011, a free trade zone agreement was signed within the CIS framework. I would like to stress here that Ukraine took a very active stance in this respect. It actually insisted on signing this agreement.

We are still drafting agreements on free trade in services, on state purchases and on pipeline transit. We believe that it would be expedient not only to maintain, but also to significantly step up our cooperation. However, the question arises of whether this would be possible if the Ukraine’s association agreement with the EU really starts to work.

Russia has stated on numerous occasions that full acceptance by our Ukrainian friends of all the tariff liberalisation requirements and the adoption of the European Union technical, sanitary and veterinary norms will have a negative impact on the scope and dynamics of trade and investment cooperation in Eurasia.

Not to mention the fact that all these norms – the EU sanitary norms and regulations that we do not apply or apply only partially, and the technical regulations will actually close the Ukrainian market for our goods, for goods from the Customs Union and Russia.

The rejection of common CIS technical norms and adaptation to EU standards will cost Ukraine billions of euros. It will lose its partnerships with the Customs Union states in industry, finance, agriculture and transportation. As soon as Ukraine introduces zero import duty on goods from the EU, a step envisaged right after the ratification of the agreement that would apply to 98 percent of all the goods, there will obviously be a sharp increase in the supply of European goods to the Ukrainian market. We understand our European partners; they have already developed the Ukrainian market rather well, and would like to get hold of whatever is left and squeeze out everyone else. Besides, less competitive Ukrainian produce will also be squeezed out from its own market. Where to? Primarily to Russia and the other Customs Union states, but primarily to us.

We should not rule out the risk of illegal re-export to the Customs Union market of goods from the EU under the guise of Ukrainian produce, either. Technical regulations and ways of establishing the country of origin are very important here. Nobody ever discussed this with us. Nobody, actually, ever discussed with us any of the issues I have just mentioned. I believe we will take this up in detail later, without press coverage. At some stage, we were simply told that this was none of our business, that they do not, for instance, discuss our relations with China or Canada. However, let us bear in mind that China and Canada are far away, while economic relations between Russia and Ukraine are a completely different story. Besides, Russia is not the least of our EU friends’ partners. I believe it would be appropriate to have an open discussion of this matter. There has been nothing of the kind, unfortunately. However, we pin great hopes on this meeting, in the sense that it would be frank and substantive.

By very conservative estimates, the total loss for the economy of Russia alone may amount to 100 billion rubles on the first stage, that is $3 billion. This will affect entire sectors of our economy and agriculture, with all the consequences for economic growth and employment rates. Belarus and Kazakhstan will also incur losses, of course. And of course, Russia cannot lie by in this situation. I would like to stress that we would be forced to reciprocate, to protect our market. In full compliance with the provisions of the CIS agreement on the free trade zone and with WTO norms, I would like to stress this, we would be forced to cancel preferences for imports from Ukraine.

I would like to note here that we do not intend to discriminate against anyone, and we will not do it. I simply wanted to make this perfectly clear. We will simply be forced to introduce a regular trade regime for Ukraine. The same one that applies to trade between Russia and the European Union. It is called the most-favoured nation treatment. Sounds good and is exactly to the point. However, no preferences that are now envisaged by the CIS free trade zone regulations.

We will of course take a very careful look at the application by our Ukrainian friends of the phyto-sanitary norms envisaged by the EU Association Agreement and we will mirror them. Our regulations in this area are very flexible now. We will introduce the exact same norms for Ukraine; and as regards the industry, one of the major components here, as I have said, is establishing the origin of the goods. We have a strong suspicion, as I have already said, and there is a great threat that European goods will be brought in through Ukraine. Mr Poroshenko will say what he thinks about this when he makes his address, I can see him disagreeing. Even within the Customs Union, we are already receiving goods from the EU that are banned for import in Russia. In this case, unfortunately, they are coming through Belarus.

The label reads: the country of origin – Belarus. You remove it: Poland. With Ukraine this would increase manifold. We will be flooded, you see? I know that both the President and the Government of Belarus are trying to prevent this negative illegal practice. We at least have an agreement, which we do not have with Ukraine.

We expect today to have a constructive discussion, during which our partners will hear our arguments. Overall, we are in favour of establishing closer cooperation between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union, of searching for ways to combine the two integration processes. I hope that all the participants in today’s meeting support the strategic goal of creating a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

I would like to stress that we are ready to consider any cooperation scenarios that are based on the consideration of mutual interests. We are ready to have an exchange on the critical situation that has developed in Ukraine, which, I am certain, cannot be resolved through further escalation of force without due consideration of the vital interests of the country’s southeast regions and without a peaceful dialogue with these regions’ representatives.

Thank you for your attention.

One of the roles of leading politicians and top officials of the state is to enlist public support for policies which serve the goals of the upper stratum of the population from whose ranks they sometimes come and whose interests they almost invariably promote. When these policies are at odds with the interests of the majority, as they often are, the mobilization of public consent is possible only through deception. The deception is carried out through prevarication, equivocation, and fear-mongering, crystallized into misleading narratives which the mass media can be reliably counted on to amplify. So it is that Western officials have ramped up a campaign of deception to provide a pretext for military intervention in Syria to combat ISIS but which may very well serve as a Trojan horse to escalate the war on the Syrian government.

The foundations of the campaign were laid in March, when US officials began warning that Islamists bent on launching strikes against Europe and the United States were massing in Syria. [1] The campaign kicked into high gear with ISIS’s territorial gains in Iraq and the organization’s beheading of US journalist James Foley. Now US officials say they are contemplating air strikes against ISIS targets in Syria.

To justify the possibility of an air-war in Syria, US officials employ nebulous language about safeguarding US “security interests,” but neglect to spell out what those interests are or how they’re threatened. US defense secretary Chuck Hagel calls ISIS an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding that ISIS “is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” [2] Hagel doesn’t say how ISIS is a threat to even one US interest, let alone all of them, while his elevation of ISIS to a threat “beyond anything that we’ve seen” is transparent fear-mongering. Clearly, ISIS’s brutality in Iraq, its beheading of Foley, and its ability to seize and control territory, have been no more shocking than what has transpired in Syria, where ISIS and its fellow Islamists have carried out equally bloody displays of depraved cruelty, while seizing and controlling sizeable swaths of Syrian territory, amply assisted by members of the US-led Friends of Syria.

Hagel also invokes 9/11, suggesting that ISIS “is more of a threat than al Qaeda was before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.” [3] Invoking 9/11 invites the conclusion that without airstrikes on Syria to eliminate ISIS, that an attack on the United States on an order greater than 9/11 is a serious possibility, if not inevitable. France’s foreign minister, Laurent Fabius, also points to 9/11 to buttress the case for airstrikes, noting that “The attacks in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, cost $1 million. Today, we estimate the Islamic State has several billions.” The obvious conclusion Fabius wants us to draw is that ISIS will launch thousands of 9/11s. [4] The implied conclusion, however, is no more credible than the implied conclusion that the United States is on the brink of vaporizing the planet because it now has a nuclear arsenal that is vastly greater than the tiny one it had when it atom-bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Capability does not necessarily equate to motivation or action.

General Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered his own contribution to the emerging campaign of fear-mongering. Dempsey observed that ISIS aspires to absorb “Israel, Jordan, Kuwait and Syria into its caliphate.” [5] This is manifestly beyond ISIS’s capabilities, and merits no serious discussion. Dempsey nevertheless adds that if ISIS “were to achieve that vision, it would fundamentally alter the face of the Middle East and create a security environment that would certainly threaten us in many ways.” [6] This is tantamount to saying “If Haiti had an arsenal of 200 thermonuclear weapons and an effective anti-ballistic missile defense system it would certainly threaten us in many ways.” What’s important here is the word “if.” If Barack Obama was a woman he would be the first female US president. If ISIS has the capability of absorbing a large part of the Middle East into a caliphate, it would be a threat to US control of the Middle East. But ISIS does not have this capability. Still, even if it did, it would not be a threat to US security, but to the security of Western oil industry profits.

For its part, The Wall Street Journal suggested that James Foley’s beheading was reason enough to warrant US airstrikes on Syria. [7] Yet beheadings, carried out by ISIS and other Islamists in Syria, and those carried out by US-ally Saudi Arabia against its own citizens, have hardly galvanized Washington to action. Washington’s Saudi ally “beheaded at least 19 convicted criminals since Aug. 4, nearly half of them for nonviolent offenses, including one for sorcery.” [8] These beheadings have been passed over by Western leaders in silence. They certainly haven’t been invoked as a reason to launch air strikes on the Saudi tyranny.

Also passed over in silence by the same Western states is the brutal, misogynist, medieval character of the anti-democratic Saudi regime, one of the principal “Friends of Syria.” In contrast, The New York Times reported that “The president and his top cabinet officials have all denounced the Islamic State as a medieval menace,” adding that US “Secretary of State John Kerry said the group should be destroyed.” [9] What the newspaper didn’t point out was that Saudi Arabia is just as much a “medieval menace” yet no US president or secretary of state would ever use this language to describe their ally, nor, more importantly, undertake a campaign to eliminate the medieval regime. This underscores the reality that Washington bears no animus toward medieval menaces—not when, as in the case of Syria, they operate against the government of a country targeted for regime change, not when they govern a source of immense petrochemical profits on terms favourable to Western oil companies, and not when, as in Afghanistan in the 1980s, they fight against a progressive, pro-Soviet government.

Washington’s campaign to mobilize public opinion for air strikes on Syria, then, has nothing whatever to do with eradicating medieval menaces. Nor has it anything to do with preventing the rise of a caliphate in the greater part of the Middle East, since ISIS hasn’t the capability to accomplish this aim. Even if it did, the rise of a caliphate is a matter for the people of the Middle East to decide, not Western powers. Lastly, until ISIS achieved startling territorial gains in Iraq, Washington was perfectly willing to allow, indeed, even to foster (what it now calls) “the cancer” of ISIS to “metastasize” throughout Syria. It expressed no apprehensions then about ISIS launching 9/11-style attacks on the United States, and did nothing to stop the flow of money to the anti-Assad group from supporters based in countries that make up its Friends of Syria (read Friends of US Imperialism) coalition. Warnings of an ISIS-engineered 9/11-style attack are, therefore, pure fear-mongering.

In light of the above, we ought to ask whether, once launched, a US air-war in Syria will expand its target list from ISIS to Syrian government forces? Is the campaign to mobilize public support for an air war against ISIS in Syria a Trojan horse to escalate the war on the Assad government, and on a broader level, against the interlocked Hezbollah-Syria-Iran resistance against US domination of Western Asia?

Notes

1. Eric Schmitt, “Qaeda militants seek Syria base, U.S. official say”, The New York Times, March 25, 2014.

2. Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper, “U.S. isn’t sure just how much to fear ISIS,” The New York Times, August 22, 2014.

3. Dion Nissenbaum, “U.S. considers attacks on ISIS in Syria”, The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2014.

4. David Dauthier-Villars, “France calls for action to cut off ISIS money supply”, The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2014.

5. Mazzetti and Cooper.

6. Mazzetti and Cooper.

7. Nissenbaum.

8. Rick Gladstone, “Saudi Arabia: Executions draw rebukes”, The New York Times, August 21, 2014.

9. Nissenbaum.

First published by GR on June 14, 2014.

Update, August 9, 2014

President Barack Obama has initiated a series of US bombing raids in Iraq allegedly directed towards the rebel army of the Islamic State (IS).

The Islamic State terrorists are portrayed as an enemy of America and the Western world. Amply documented, the Islamic State is a creation of Western intelligence, supported by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad and financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

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.

The rebels of the Islamic state, formerly known as the ISIS, were covertly supported by US-NATO-Israel  to wage a terrorist insurgency against the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad.  The atrocities committed in Iraq are similar to those committed in Syria. The sponsors of IS including Barack Obama have blood on their hands.

The killings of innocent civilians by the Islamic state terrorists create a pretext and the justification for US military intervention on humanitarian grounds. Lest we forget, the rebels who committed these atrocities and who are a target of US military action are supported by the United States.

The bombing raids ordered by Obama are not intended to eliminate the terrorists. Quite the opposite, the US is targeting the civilian population as well as the Iraqi resistance movement.

The endgame is to destabilize Iraq as a nation state and trigger its partition into three separate entities.

* * *

The creation of the US sponsored Islamist Caliphate has been announced.  The Islamic State of Iraq and Al Cham (ISIS) has been replaced by the Islamic State (IS).  The Islamic State is not an independent political entity. It is a construct of US intelligence.

The Western media in chorus have described the unfolding conflict in Iraq as a “civil war” opposing the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham against the Armed forces of the Al-Maliki government.

(Also referred to as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS))

The conflict is casually described as “sectarian warfare” between Radical Sunni and Shia without addressing “who is behind the various factions”.  What is at stake is a carefully staged US military-intelligence agenda.

Known and documented, Al Qaeda affiliated entities have been used by US-NATO in numerous conflicts as “intelligence assets” since the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war. In Syria, the Al Nusrah and ISIS rebels are the foot-soldiers of the Western military alliance, which oversees and controls the recruitment and training of paramilitary forces.

The Al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) re-emerged in April 2013 with a different name and acronym, commonly referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The formation of a terrorist entity encompassing both Iraq and Syria was part of a US intelligence agenda. It responded to geopolitical objectives. It also coincided with the advances of Syrian government forces against the US sponsored insurgency in Syria and the failures of both the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and its various “opposition” terror brigades.

The decision was taken by Washington to channel its support (covertly) in favor of a terrorist entity which operates in both Syria and Iraq and which has logistical bases in both countries. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham’s Sunni caliphate project coincides with a longstanding US agenda to carve up both Iraq and Syria into three separate territories: A Sunni Islamist Caliphate, an Arab Shia Republic, and a Republic of Kurdistan.

Whereas the (US proxy) government in Baghdad purchases advanced weapons systems from the US including F16 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham –which is fighting Iraqi government forces– is supported covertly by Western intelligence. The objective is to engineer a civil war in Iraq, in which both sides are controlled indirectly by US-NATO.

The scenario is to arm and equip them, on both sides, finance them with advanced weapons systems and then “let them fight”.

US-NATO is involved in the recruitment, training and financing of ISIS death squads operating in both Iraq and Syria. ISIS operates through indirect channels in liaison with Western intelligence. In turn, corroborated by reports on Syria’s insurgency, Western special forces and mercenaries integrate the ranks of ISIS.

US-NATO support to ISIS is channeled covertly through America’s staunchest allies: Qatar and Saudi Arabia. According to London’s Daily Express “They had money and arms supplied by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”

“through allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the West [has] supported militant rebel groups which have since mutated into ISIS and other al‑Qaeda connected militias. ( Daily Telegraph, June 12, 2014)

While the media acknowledges that the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of supporting ISIS, it invariably fails to mention that both Doha and Riyadh are acting on behalf and in close liaison with Washington.

Under the banner of a civil war, an undercover war of aggression is being fought which essentially contributes to further destroying an entire country, its institutions, its economy. The undercover operation is part of an intelligence agenda, an engineered process which consists in transforming Iraq into an open territory.

Meanwhile,  public opinion is led to believe that what is at stake is confrontation between Shia and Sunni.

America’s military occupation of Iraq has been replaced by non-conventional forms of warfare. Realities are blurred. In a bitter irony, the aggressor nation is portrayed as coming to the rescue of a “sovereign Iraq”.

An internal “civil war” between Shia and Sunni is fomented by US-NATO support to both the Al-Maliki government as well as to the Sunni ISIS rebels.

The break up of Iraq along sectarian lines is a longstanding policy of the US and its allies. (See map of Middle East below)

“Supporting both Sides”

The “War on Terrorism” consists in creating Al Qaeda terrorist entities as part of an intelligence operation, as well as also coming to the rescue of governments which are the target of  the terrorist insurgency. This process is carried out under the banner of counter-terrorism. It creates the pretext to intervene.

ISIS is a caliphate project of creating a Sunni Islamist state. It is not a project of the Sunni population of Iraq which is broadly committed to secular forms of government. The caliphate project is part of a US intelligence agenda.

In response to the advance of the ISIS rebels, Washington is envisaging the use of aerial bombings as well as drone attacks in support of the Baghdad government as part of a counter-terrorism operation.  It is all for a good cause: to fight the terrorists, without of course acknowledging that these terrorists are the “foot soldiers” of the Western military alliance.

Needless to say, these developments contribute not only to destabilizing Iraq, but also to weakening the Iraqi resistance movement, which is one of the major objectives of US-NATO.

The Islamic caliphate is supported covertly by the CIA in liaison with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkish intelligence. Israel is also involved in channeling support to both Al Qaeda rebels in Syria (out of the Golan Heights) as well to the Kurdish separatist movement in Syria and Iraq.

More broadly, the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) encompasses a consistent and diabolical logic: both sides –namely the terrorists and the government– are supported by the same military and intelligence actors, namely US-NATO.

While this pattern describes the current situation in Iraq, the structure of “supporting both sides” with a view to engineering sectarian conflict has been implemented time and again in numerous countries. Insurgencies integrated by Al Qaeda operatives (and supported by Western intelligence) prevail in a large number of countries including Yemen, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Mali, the Central African Republic, Pakistan. The endgame is to destabilize sovereign nation states and to transform countries into open territories (on behalf of so-called foreign investors).

The pretext to intervene on humanitarian grounds (e.g. in Mali, Nigeria or the Central African Republic) is predicated on the existence of terrorist forces. Yet these terrorist forces would not exist without covert US-NATO support.

The Capture of Mosul:  US-NATO Covert Support to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

Something unusual occurred in Mosul which cannot be explained in strictly military terms.

On June 10, the insurgent forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) allegedly (according to press reports) captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, with a population of over one million people.  While these developments were “unexpected” according to the Obama administration, they were known to the Pentagon and US intelligence, which were not only providing weapons, logistics and financial support to the ISIS rebels, they were also coordinating, behind the scenes, the ISIS attack on the city of Mosul.

While ISIS is a well equipped and disciplined rebel army when compared to other Al Qaeda affiliated formations, “the capture” of Mosul, did not hinge upon ISIS’s military capabilities. Quite the opposite: Iraqi forces which outnumbered the rebels by far, equipped with advanced weapons systems could have easily repelled the ISIS rebels.

There were 30,000 government forces in Mosul as opposed to 1000 ISIS rebels, according to reports. The Iraqi army chose not to intervene. The media reports explained without evidence that the decision of the Iraqi armed forces not to intervene was spontaneous characterized by mass defections.

Iraqi officials told the Guardian that two divisions of Iraqi soldiers – roughly 30,000 men – simply turned and ran in the face of the assault by an insurgent force of just 800 fighters. Isis extremists roamed freely on Wednesday through the streets of Mosul, openly surprised at the ease with which they took Iraq’s second largest city after three days of sporadic fighting. (Guardian, June 12, 2014, emphasis added)

The reports point to the fact that Iraqi military commanders were sympathetic with the Sunni led ISIS insurgency intimating that they are largely Sunni:

Speaking from the Kurdish city of Erbil, the defectors accused their officers of cowardice and betrayal, saying generals in Mosul “handed over” the city over to Sunni insurgents, with whom they shared sectarian and historical ties. (Daily Telegraph,  13 June 2014)

The report is misleading. The senior commanders were largely hardline Shiite. The defections occurred de facto when the command structure collapsed and senior (Shiite) military commanders left the city.

What is important to understand, is that both sides, namely the regular Iraqi forces and the ISIS rebel army are supported by US-NATO. There were US military advisers and special forces including operatives from private security companies on location in Mosul working with Iraq’s regular armed forces. In turn, there are Western special forces or mercenaries within ISIS (acting on contract to the CIA or the Pentagon) who are in liaison with US-NATO (e.g. through satellite phones).

Under these circumstances, with US intelligence amply involved, there would have been routine communication, coordination, logistics and exchange of intelligence between a US-NATO military and intelligence command center, US-NATO military advisers forces or private military contractors on the ground assigned to the Iraqi Army in Mosul and Western special forces attached to the ISIS brigades. These Western special forces operating covertly within the ISIS could have been dispatched by a private security company on contract to US-NATO.

Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria

Yaser Al-Khodor/Courtesy Reuters

In this regard, the capture of Mosul appears to have been a carefully engineered operation, planned well in advance. With the exception of a few skirmishes, no fighting took place.

Entire divisions of the Iraqi National Army –trained by the US military with advanced weapons systems at their disposal– could have easily repelled the ISIS rebels. Reports suggest that they were ordered by their commanders not to intervene. According to witnesses, “Not a single shot was fired”.

The forces that had been in Mosul have fled — some of which abandoned their uniforms as well as their posts as the ISIS forces swarmed into the city.

Fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaeda offshoot, overran the entire western bank of the city overnight after Iraqi soldiers and police apparently fled their posts, in some instances discarding their uniforms as they sought to escape the advance of the militants. http://hotair.com/archives/2014/06/10/mosul-falls-to-al-qaeda-as-us-trained-security-forces-flee/

A contingent of one thousand ISIS rebels takes over a city of more than one million? Without prior knowledge that the US controlled Iraqi Army (30,000 strong) would not intervene, the Mosul operation would have fallen flat, the rebels would have been decimated.

Who was behind the decision to let the ISIS terrorists take control of Mosul? Who gave them the “green light”

Had the senior Iraqi commanders been instructed by their Western military advisers to hand over the city to the ISIS terrorists? Were they co-opted?

Source: The Economist

Was the handing over of Mosul to ISIS part of a US intelligence agenda?

Were the Iraqi military commanders manipulated or paid off into allowing the city to fall into the hands of the ISIS rebels without “a single shot being fired”.

Shiite General Mehdi Sabih al-Gharawi who was in charge of the Mosul Army divisions “had left the city”. Al Gharawi had worked hand in glove with the US military. He took over the command of Mosul in September 2011, from US Col Scott McKean. Had he been co-opted, instructed by his US counterparts to abandon his command?

(image left) U.S. Army Col. Scott McKean, right, commander, 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Armored Division, talks with Iraqi police Maj. Gen. Mahdi Sabih al-Gharawi following a transfer of authority ceremony on September 4, 2011

US forces could have intervened. They had been instructed to let it happen. It was part of a carefully planned agenda to facilitate the advance of the ISIS rebel forces and the installation of the ISIS caliphate.

The whole operation appears to have been carefully staged.

In Mosul, government buildings, police stations, schools, hospitals, etc are formally now under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In turn, ISIS has taken control of military hardware including helicopters and tanks which were abandoned by the Iraqi armed forces.

What is unfolding is the installation of a US sponsored Islamist ISIS caliphate alongside the rapid demise of the Baghdad government. Meanwhile, the Northern Kurdistan region has de facto declared its independence from Baghdad. Kurdish peshmerga rebel forces (which are supported by Israel) have taken control of the cities of Arbil and Kirkuk. (See map above)

UPDATE [June 17, 2014]

Since the completion of this article, information has emerged on the central role played by the Sunni Tribes and sections of the former Baathist movement (including the military) in taking control of Mosul and other cities. The control of Mosul is in the hands of several Sunni opposition groups and the ISIS.

While these forces — which constitute an important component of the resistance movement directed against the al-Maliki government– are firmly opposed to ISIS, a de facto “relationship” has nonetheless emerged between the ISIS and the Sunni resistance movement.

The fact that the US is firmly behind ISIS does not seem to be a matter of concern to the Tribal Council:

Sheikh Zaydan al Jabiri, leader of the political wing of the Tribal Revolutionary Council, told Sky News his organisation viewed ISIS as dangerous terrorists, and that it was capable of taking them on.

“Even this blessed revolution that has taken place in Mosul, there may be jihadist movements involved in it, but the revolution represents all the Iraqi people – it has been brought about by the Sunni tribes, and some baathist elements, it certainly does not belong to ISIS,” he said.

But Mr Jabiri,  [based in Amman]… also made a clear threat that without Western help, the tribes and ISIS may be forced to combine efforts targeting their shared enemy – the Shia-dominated Iraqi government. (Sky News, emphasis added)

An exiled leader of the Iraqi resistance movement calling for “Western help” from the aggressor nation? From the above statement, one has the distinct impression that the Tribal Revolutionary Council has been co-opted and/or infiltrated.

Moreover, in a bitter irony, within sectors of the Sunni resistance movement, US-NATO which supports both the Al Maliki government and the ISIS terrorists– is no longer considered the main aggressor nation.

The Sunni resistance movement broadly considers Iran, which is providing military assistance to the al-Maliki government as well as special forces- as the aggressor alongside the US.

In turn, it would appear that Washington is creating conditions for sucking Iran more deeply into the conflict, under the pretext of joining hands in fighting ISIS terrorism. During talks in Vienna on June 16, US and Iranian officials agreed “to work together to halt ISIS’s momentum—though with no military coordination, the White House stressed”.(WSJ, June 16, 2014)

In chorus The US media applauds:  “The US and Iran have a mutual interest in stemming the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS)” (Christian Science Monitor,  June 13 2014).  An absurd proposition knowing that the ISIS is a creature of US intelligence, financed by the Western military alliance, with Western special forces in its ranks.

Is a regional conflict involving Iran in the making?

Tehran is using the ISIS pretext as an “opportunity” to intervene in Iraq: Iran’s intelligence is fully aware that ISIS is a terrorist proxy controlled by the CIA.

Concluding Remarks

There were no Al Qaeda rebels in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion. Moreover, Al Qaeda was non-existent in Syria until the outset of the US-NATO-Israeli supported insurgency in March 2011.

The ISIS is not an independent entity. It is a creation of US intelligence. It is a US intelligence asset, an instrument of non-conventional warfare.

The ultimate objective of this ongoing US-NATO engineered conflict opposing the al-Maliki government forces to the ISIS insurgency is to destroy and destabilize Iraq as a Nation State. It is part of an intelligence operation, an engineered process of  transforming countries into territories. The break up of Iraq along sectarian lines is a longstanding policy of the US and its allies.

The ISIS is a caliphate project of creating a Sunni Islamist state. It is not a project of the Sunni population of Iraq which historically has been committed to a secular system of government. The caliphate project is a US design. The advances of ISIS forces is intended to garnish broad support within the Sunni population directed against the al-Maliki government

Through its covert support of  the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, Washington is overseeing the demise of its own proxy regime in Baghdad. The issue, however, is not “regime change”,  nor is the “replacement” of the al-Maliki regime contemplated.

The division of Iraq along sectarian-ethnic lines has been on the drawing board of the Pentagon for more than 10 years.

What is envisaged by Washington is the outright suppression of the Baghdad regime and the institutions of the central government, leading to a process of political fracturing and the elimination of Iraq as a country.

This process of political fracturing in Iraq along sectarian lines will inevitably have an impact on Syria, where the US-NATO sponsored terrorists have in large part been defeated.

Destabilization and political fragmentation in Syria is also contemplated: Washington’s intent is no longer to pursue the narrow objective of “regime change” in Damascus. What is contemplated is the break up of both Iraq and Syria along sectarian-ethnic lines.

The formation of the caliphate may be the first step towards a broader conflict in the Middle East, bearing in mind that Iran is supportive of the al-Maliki government and the US ploy may indeed be to encourage the intervention of Iran.

The proposed re-division of both Iraq and Syria is broadly modeled on that of the Federation of Yugoslavia which was split up into seven “independent states” (Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia (FYRM), Slovenia, Montenegro, Kosovo).

According to Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, the re division of Iraq into three separate states is part of a broader process of redrawing the Map of the Middle East.

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”. (See Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East” By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, November 2006)

The barbaric murder of American journalist James Foley, and his apparent beheading by a masked British man, is being used to move the UK towards direct military participation in Iraq and Syria.

Prime Minister David Cameron responded to Foley’s murder by returning from holiday and chairing a meeting of the governmental emergency COBRA committee. A few days earlier Cameron had described the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as an “exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement”. Using the humanitarian crisis facing Yazidis trapped by ISIS on a mountain in northern Iraq, he pledged that Britain would use “all the assets we have”, including our “military prowess”.

The nationality of Foley’s suspected killer has highlighted the large number of British Muslims who have travelled to Syria, since the beginning of that country’s civil war in 2011, to fight alongside other jihadists against the regime of Bashar Al-Assad.

British MP Khalid Mahmood said that official government estimates that 400 to 500 Britons have gone to fight in Syria were “nonsense”. Speaking toNewsweek, Mahmoud estimated at least 1,500 Britons were in Syria. “If you look across the whole of the country, and the various communities involved, 500 going over each year would be a conservative estimate.” This equates to more than twice as many Muslims than are serving in the British Army, he said.

Since Foley’s death, the British media has been filled with the names and photographs of those suspected to be “Jihadi John”–the nickname given to Foley’s killer. Didier François, a former French hostage held for a year in the Syrian town of Raqqa, told the Guardian that the man who carried out Foley’s murder was one of three British born jihadists whose role was to guard hostages. Hostages referred to them as John, Paul and Ringo, after the Beatles.

The Guardian noted, “The militant who appeared on the Foley video, who called himself John and is believed to be from London, was said to be the main rebel negotiator during talks earlier this year to release 11 Islamic State hostages—who were eventually handed to Turkish officials after ransom demands were met.”

The press also cited the case of Khadijah Dare, originally from Lewisham in south east London. The 22-year-old mother moved to Syria in 2012 with her Swedish husband, Abu Bakr, an ISIS fighter. Posting under an assumed name, she wrote on Twitter after Foley’s murder that she wanted to be the first woman to kill someone from the US or UK.

Dare’s biographical details were made public alongside those of dozens of Britons declared to be potential suspects in the “race” and “manhunt” to identify Foley’s killer.

Yet the media’s own coverage suggests strongly that the identity of “Jihadi John” must already be known to the security services—like that of so many others who have gone to fight alongside ISIS. Indeed, within days of Foley’s death the Guardian reported that a source “with knowledge of the work of the intelligence agencies” said “it was highly likely that they [intelligence bodies] knew about ‘John’ and the two British guards of hostages in Syria….” The source added, “I am willing to pay money that the services knew one or all of them.”

Britain’s intelligence agencies, MI5, MI6 and GCHQ, have invested billions of pounds in order to spy on every man, woman and child in the UK and have special units dedicated to all those deemed “extremists”. Following each act of terrorism committed by Islamic fundamentalists in the UK, it has soon emerged that the intelligence services knew the perpetrators in advance. This was the case in the London bombings of July 2005 and the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in May last year.

The closest relations were developed with the radical Islamist preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri, who was protected for years by the secret services before being tried and sentenced to jail in 2006. The Finsbury Park mosque in London, where Hamza preached, was heavily infiltrated by intelligence agents.

The reality is that many of those Britons who travelled to Syria to fight against Assad were allowed to do so by the British government, which was then preparing for war against Syria in alliance with the United States. The jihadists were used as the key detachment of an “internal opposition” to Assad’s regime, to destabilise Syria in preparation for a direct military intervention.

With the turn by ISIS into Iraq and its capture of large swathes of territory, this strategy was thrown into crisis. The death of James Foley is only one tragic expression of this.

As a result, sections of the ruling elite have publicly criticised British imperialism’s Middle East strategy. Prominent political and military figures have now even called for an alliance with yesterday’s erstwhile opponent, Bashar al-Assad, in order to defeat ISIS and resume Britain’s role as the main military ally of the US.

The former chief of the general staff Lord Sir Richard Dannatt said of Assad, “I think whether it’s above the counter or below the counter, a conversation has got to be held with him.”

Dannatt’s comments were followed by those of Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the Conservative chairman of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee and a former foreign secretary, who said, “Sometimes you actually have to make an arrangement with some nasty people in order to get rid of some even nastier ones”.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Sir Christopher Meyer, a former British ambassador to the United States, said, “As the great Victorian foreign secretary, Lord Palmerston, once said, we have no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests.”

Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond replied that Britain will not work with Assad, but added, “We may very well find that we are fighting, on some occasions, the same people that he is but that doesn’t make us his ally.”

Collaboration between the US and Germany and the Assad regime is already underway, according to an article in Friday’s Independent. It reported, “The US has already covertly assisted the Assad government by passing on intelligence about the exact location of jihadi leaders through the BND, the German intelligence service…”

The previous day, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington, said, “Can they [ISIS] be defeated without addressing that part of the organisation that resides in Syria? The answer is no.”

Once again, the invocations of humanitarian concerns employed by the government and its allies to legitimise the planned war in Syria have been exposed as lies, as the immediate target for military aggression shifts to Iraq.

The domestic threat from ISIS-related terrorism, for which the ruling elite is entirely responsible, is once again being used to justify further attacks on democratic rights. Home Secretary Theresa May wrote in the Telegraph, “We will be engaged in this struggle for many years, probably decades. We must give ourselves all the legal powers we need to prevail. I am looking again at the case for new banning orders for extremist groups that fall short of the legal threshold for terrorist proscription, as well as for new civil powers to target extremists who seek to radicalise others.”

Lord Howard, a former leader of the Conservatives, called for Control Orders first introduced by a Labour government in 2005, to be restored—a form of house arrest preventing any form of contact not explicitly authorised by the state.

What is the explanation for the brainwashing of so many Americans when it involves the nefarious, unspeakable deeds of their government? Why are so many so easily duped time and again? Why is there such a vast ignorance of the truth behind national and international affairs?

I would suggest that the answer lies not just with the specific issues themselves and the lies and propaganda used to befuddle the American people, but with the cultural and social background that frames Americans’ thinking. The latter serves to cut to the root people’s belief in their own power to think freely and clearly about the former. Invade people’s minds over many years with an ongoing series of interconnected memes, occupy their minds with alleged facts that induce a frenzied depression, and then fooling them on specific issues — e.g. Ukraine, Iraq, Syria, etc. – becomes much easier.

I am a sociology professor, and my students always laugh when during a discussion of memory, social and personal, I ask them about their forgetties (the actual word is forgetteries, but the shorter rhyme gets more laughs). They think I’m joking. Maybe you do, too. I’m not.

But when I suggest that if they “possess” the faculty to remember, then they must “possess” the faculty to forget, they are astonished. You can’t forget, they reply, you just don’t remember; you can’t retrieve the memories that are stored in your brain. In other words, there are no forgottens, just temporarily unavailable memories. From there we are onto a discussion of retrieving (I think of dogs), processing (their word for thinking and mine for making American cheese), and all the computer lingo that has been the surround of their lives. Like fish in water, the mechanistic computer memes have been their environment since birth. They are shocked at the suggestion that there might be more outside the cultural water, and that they could go there.

And they have a lot of company.

This may sound flippant, but it’s crucial for understanding why so many Americans can’t comprehend and pay attention to the ways their minds are scrambled and confused about life and death issues, how their country has fallen victim to the military-industrial-intelligence apparatus that operates deep in the shadows, and oftentimes right in the open.

If we examine the social and cultural context of the last twenty-five years, we can see a number of issues that have dominated Americans’ “thinking.” These issues have been promulgated and repeated ad infinitum by the corporate media, professional classes, and schools at all levels. We have been swimming in these issues for years. I suggest the following five are key: the inability to concentrate or pay attention (ADD/ADHD), memory/forgetting (dementia, Alzheimer’s, technological memory devices), people’s lack of time and constant busyness (a recent email I received from a publisher read: “crazy-busy? use our power-point decks”), drugs legal or illegal as problems or solutions (over 4 billion prescriptions written in the U.S.A. yearly), and technology as our savior.

Together with shopping and the weather, these five topics have been the stuff of endless conversations and media chatter over the years.

When people are questioned about major issues of war and peace; political assassinations, such as those of JFK, MLK, or RFK; the alleged war on terror; the downing of Malaysian airlines; the overthrow of elected governments in the Ukraine or Egypt; the events of 9/11; government spying; economic robbery by the elites — the list is long, it’s common for people to echo the government/corporate media, or, if pressed, to say, I don’t know, I can’t remember, no one knows for sure, it’s impossible to know, we’ll never know, etc.. The confused responses are replete with an unacknowledged despair at ever arriving at clear and certain conclusions, not to say being able to do anything about them. On many issues they bounce between the twin absurdities of Democratic and Republican talking points, thinking they are being perceptive.

Why?

If we set aside the substantive issues, and examine the aforementioned cultural memes, the answers are not hard to find. Here most people speak as if they are certain. “Of course there isn’t a forgettery.” “Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance.” “Memories are all stored in the brain.” “I really am so busy all the time.” “Facts are just opinions.” Americans have internalized the ethos presented to them by the elites. At the core of this is the propaganda of scientific materialism and biological determinism that we are not free but are victims of our genes, neurotransmitters, brain/computers and chemicals, technology, etc. Having lost our minds and fixated on our brains, we have been taught to be determined to be determined, not free. And whether consciously or unconsciously, most have obliged. The linkages between memory, attention, distraction, drugs, technology all point to the brain and the obsessive cultural discussion of brain matters.

We have been told interminably that our lives revolve around our brains (our bodies) and that the answers to our problems lie with more brain research, drugs, genetic testing, etc. It is not coincidental that the U. S. government declared the 1990s the decade of brain research, followed up with 2000-2010 as the decade of the behavior project, and our present decade being devoted to mapping the brain and artificial intelligence, organized by the Office of Science and Technology Project and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. How convenient! George H. W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama — what a difference! But this is science and the welfare of the world.

For years we have been fed philosophical presuppositions smuggled in as fact. It’s an old trick, ever young. Tell people over and over and over again that life is in essence a mindless material/biological trap and over time they will believe it. Of course there are unspoken exceptions — those who are the masters of this con-game, the few, the elite, those who make and reinforce the case. And even some of them are too ignorant to comprehend their questionable presuppositions. They hoist themselves by their own petards while cashing in at the bank.

My students can’t forget because they don’t believe in it. But they can’t remember either. They don’t know why. So, like the older generation, they fall into the careless habit of inaccuracy, to turn Oscar Wilde on his head. They have downloaded their memories, uploaded their trifles, and been tranquilized by trivia.

As the great American sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote over fifty years ago, “Nowadays people often feel that their private lives are a series of traps.” That is truer today than then. A sense of entrapment and determinism pervades our culture. And it extends to public issues as well. We are told either to accept official explanations for public events or be dismissed as crazies.

I would suggest that for people to break through to a true understanding of the important public events of our time, they must also come to understand the false memes of their culture, the way they have been mindwashed to believe that at the most rudimentary level they are not free.

Maybe the first best step toward free thought and out of the propaganda trap would to accept that you “possess” a forgettery . Listen to the American philosopher Paul Simon sing, “When I think back to all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.” Use your forgettery and forget the crap. Make haste slowly to question everything. Remember that the corporate media works hand in glove with the ruling elites on two levels of propaganda — cultural and political, and it is necessary to understand how they are intertwined. Freedom is indivisible.

That’s worth remembering.

For AIPAC, it is crucial to appeal across the  political spectrum. But Israel has become an increasingly divisive issue with the public.

On July 23rd, officials of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee—the powerful lobbying group known as AIPAC—gathered in a conference room at the Capitol for a closed meeting with a dozen Democratic senators. The agenda of the meeting, which was attended by other Jewish leaders as well, was the war in the Gaza Strip. In the century-long conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, the previous two weeks had been particularly harrowing. In Israeli towns and cities, families heard sirens warning of incoming rockets and raced to shelters. In Gaza, there were scenes of utter devastation, with hundreds of Palestinian children dead from bombing and mortar fire.

The Israeli government claimed that it had taken extraordinary measures to minimize civilian casualties, but the United Nations was launching an inquiry into possible war crimes.

Even before the fighting escalated, the United States, Israel’s closest ally, had made little secret of its frustration with the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “How will it have peace if it is unwilling to delineate a border, end the occupation, and allow for Palestinian sovereignty, security, and dignity?” Philip Gordon, the White House coördinator for the Middle East, said in early July. “It cannot maintain military control of another people indefinitely. Doing so is not only wrong but a recipe for resentment and recurring instability.”

Although the Administration repeatedly reaffirmed its support for Israel, it was clearly uncomfortable with the scale of Israel’s aggression. AIPAC did not share this unease; it endorsed a Senate resolution in support of Israel’s “right to defend its citizens,” which had seventy-nine co-sponsors and passed without a word of dissent.

AIPAC is prideful about its influence. Its promotional literature points out that a reception during its annual policy conference, in Washington, “will be attended by more members of Congress than almost any other event, except for a joint session of Congress or a State of the Union address.” A former AIPAC executive, Steven Rosen, was fond of telling people that he could take out a napkin at any Senate hangout and get signatures of support for one issue or another from scores of senators.

AIPAC has more than a hundred thousand members, a network of seventeen regional offices, and a vast pool of donors. The lobby does not raise funds directly. Its members do, and the amount of money they channel to political candidates is difficult to track. But everybody in Congress recognizes its influence in elections, and the effect is evident. In 2011, when the Palestinians announced that they would petition the U.N. for statehood, AIPAC helped persuade four hundred and forty-six members of Congress to co-sponsor resolutions opposing the idea.

During the Gaza conflict, AIPAC has made a priority of sending a message of bipartisan congressional support for all of Israel’s actions. Pro-Israel resolutions passed by unanimous consent carry weight, but not nearly so much as military funding. During the fighting, Israel has relied on the Iron Dome system, a U.S.-funded missile defense that has largely neutralized Hamas’s rockets. Although the U.S. was scheduled to deliver $351 million for the system starting in October, AIPAC wanted more money right away. On July 22nd, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had sent a letter to Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, seeking an immediate payment of $225 million.

In the conference room, the senators sat on one side of a long table, the Jewish leaders on the other. Robert Cohen, the president of AIPAC, justified Israel’s assault, agreeing with Netanyahu that Hamas was ultimately responsible for the deaths of its own citizens. At one point, Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, asked about conservative trends in Israel, a participant recalled. “He said that he supports Israel, but he’s concerned that Israel is headed toward a one-state solution—and that would be so damaging and dangerous for everyone involved.”

Charles Schumer, the senior Democrat from New York, interrupted. Turning to address the room, he said, “It troubles me when I hear people equate Israel and Hamas. That’s wrong, that’s terrible!” Kaine protested, “That’s not what I meant!” Cohen simply repeated that Hamas was to blame for everything that was happening.

The Senate, preparing for its August recess, hastened to vote on the Iron Dome funding. At first, the appropriation was bundled into an emergency bill that also included money to address the underage refugees flooding across the Mexican border. But, with only a few days left before the break began, that bill got mired in a partisan fight. Reid tried to package Iron Dome with money for fighting wildfires, and then offered it by itself; both efforts failed, stopped largely by budget hawks. “If you can’t get it done the night before recess, you bemoan the fact that you couldn’t get it done, and everybody goes home,” a congressional staffer said. Instead, Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, the Republican leader, decided to stay over, even if it meant missing an event at home. The next morning, with the halls of the Senate all but empty, an unusual session was convened so that McConnell and Reid could try again to pass the bill; Tim Kaine was also there, along with the Republicans John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

“There were five senators present and literally no one else!” the staffer said. “They reintroduced it and passed it. This was one of the more amazing feats, for AIPAC.”

In a press conference, Graham, who has been a major recipient of campaign contributions connected to AIPAC, pointed out that the funding for Iron Dome was intended as a gesture of solidarity with Israel. “Not only are we going to give you more missiles—we’re going to be a better friend,” Graham said.

“We’re going to fight for you in the international court of public opinion. We’re going to fight for you in the United Nations.”

The influence of AIPAC, like that of the lobbies for firearms, banking, defense, and energy interests, has long been a feature of politics in Washington, particularly on Capitol Hill. But that influence, like the community that AIPAC intends to represent, is not static. For decades, AIPAC has thrived on bipartisanship, exerting its influence on congressional Democrats and Republicans alike. But Israel’s government, now dominated by a coalition of right-wing parties led by Likud, has made compromise far less likely than it was a generation ago. Prime Minister Netanyahu, the leader of Likud and an unabashed partisan of the Republican view of the world, took office at about the same time as President Obama, and the two have clashed frequently over the expansion of Israeli settlements and the contours of a potential peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Although both men repeatedly speak of the unshakable bond between the U.S. and Israel, their relationship has been fraught from the start. In 2012, Netanyahu made little secret of the fact that he hoped Mitt Romney would win the election. Time and again—over issues ranging from Iran to the Palestinians—AIPAC has sided strongly with Netanyahu against Obama.

AIPAC’s spokesman, Marshall Wittmann, said that the lobby had no loyalty to any political party, in Israel or in the U.S., and that to suggest otherwise was a “malicious mischaracterization.” Instead, he said, “we are a bipartisan organization of Americans who exercise our constitutional right to lobby the government.” For AIPAC, whose stated mission is to improve relations between the U.S. and Israel, it is crucial to appeal across the political spectrum. In recent years, though, Israel has become an increasingly divisive issue among the American public. Support for Israel among Republicans is at seventy-three per cent, and at forty-four per cent among Democrats, according to a poll conducted in July by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press; the divide is even greater between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans.

This difference represents a schism among American Jews—AIPAC’s vital core. For decades, the Jewish community was generally united in its support for Israel. Today, a growing number of American Jews, though still devoted to Israel, struggle with the lack of progress toward peace with the Palestinians. Many feel that AIPAC does not speak for them. The Pew Center’s survey found that only thirty-eight per cent of American Jews believe that the Israeli government is sincerely pursuing peace; forty-four per cent believe that the construction of new settlements damages Israel’s national security.

In a Gallup poll in late July, only a quarter of Americans under the age of thirty thought that Israel’s actions in Gaza were justified. As Rabbi Jill Jacobs, the executive director of the left-leaning T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, told me, “Many people I know in their twenties and thirties say, I have a perfectly good Jewish life here—why do I need to worry about this country in the Middle East where they’re not representing who I am as a Jew? I’m not proud of what’s happening there. I’m certainly not going to send money. ”

This is precisely the kind of ambivalence that AIPAC adherents describe as destructive. And yet even Israeli politicians recognize that AIPAC faces a shifting landscape of opinion. Shimon Peres, who served as Prime Minister and, most recently, as President, says, “My impression is that AIPAC is weaker among the younger people. It has a solid majority of people of a certain age, but it’s not the same among younger people.”

For AIPAC, the tension with the Obama Administration over Gaza comes amid a long series of conflicts. Perhaps the most significant of these is over the question of Iran’s obtaining a nuclear weapon. Last October, Iran and the consortium of world powers known as P5+1—Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States—met in Geneva to begin talks. For two decades, AIPAC has been warning that if Iran acquired nuclear arms it would pose an existential threat to Israel, which has had a nuclear capacity since the late sixties.

Netanyahu has insisted that the United States—or Israel alone, if necessary—must be prepared to take military action against Iran. The Obama Administration, too, has said that a nuclear Iran is unthinkable and that “all options”—including military options—“are on the table.” But Netanyahu fears that Obama is prepared to settle for too little in the negotiations, and, when they began, he launched an uninhibited campaign of public diplomacy against them. In early November, after meeting in Jerusalem with Secretary of State John Kerry, he proclaimed a tentative proposal “a very, very bad deal. It is the deal of the century for Iran.” A photo op for the two men was abruptly cancelled, and Kerry returned to Switzerland.

Later that month, Ron Dermer, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., met with a bipartisan group of two dozen congressmen in the offices of John Boehner, the House Speaker. Dermer, who comes from a political family in Miami, worked in the nineties for the Republican consultant Frank Luntz as he shaped Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America campaign. A few years later, Dermer emigrated to Israel, where he worked as a political consultant and wrote columns for the Jerusalem Post, a conservative daily, in which he referred to Jews who denounced the occupation as “self-haters.” When Netanyahu took office in 2009, he brought in Dermer as a top adviser, and the two became virtually inseparable. “Whenever we met with Bibi in the last several years, Dermer was there,” a former congressional aide said. “He was like Bibi’s Mini-Me.” In Boehner’s offices, a senior Democrat recalled, “Dermer was very critical of the proposed Iran nuclear agreement. He talked about how Reagan would never have done anything like this.” Finally, one of the other politicians in the room had to advise him, “Don’t talk about what Reagan would do. He’s not very popular with Democrats.”

The great incentive that the P5+1 could offer Iran was to reduce the sanctions that have crippled its economy. As the talks proceeded, though, Israel’s supporters in Congress were talking about legislation that would instead toughen the sanctions. Dermer didn’t say specifically that he favored such a law—representatives of foreign governments customarily do not advocate for specific U.S. legislation—but it was clear that that was what he and the Israeli leadership wanted. A former congressional staff member who attended the meeting said, “The implicit critique was the naïveté of the President.”

Obama’s aides were alarmed by the possibility that AIPAC might endorse new sanctions legislation. They invited Howard Kohr, the group’s chief executive officer, and officials from other prominent Jewish organizations to briefings at the White House. Members of the Administration’s negotiating team, together with State Department officials, walked them through the issues. “We said, ‘We know you guys are going to take a tough line on these negotiations, but stay inside the tent and work with us,’ ” a senior Administration official recalled. “We told them directly that a sanctions bill would blow up the negotiations—the Iranians would walk away from the table. They said, ‘This bill is to strengthen your hand in diplomacy.’ We kept saying, ‘It doesn’t strengthen our hand in diplomacy. Why do you know better than we do what strengthens our hand? Nobody involved in the diplomacy thinks that. ’ ”

In late November, the negotiators announced an interim Joint Plan of Action. For a period of six months, Iran and the six world powers would work toward a comprehensive solution; in the meantime, Iran would limit its nuclear energy program in exchange for initial relief from sanctions. Netanyahu blasted the agreement, calling it a “historic mistake,” and, within a few days, the leadership of AIPAC committed itself to fighting for new sanctions. A senior Democrat close to AIPAC described to me the intimate interplay between Netanyahu’s circle and the lobby. “There are people in AIPAC who believe that it should be an arm of the Likud, an arm of the Republican Party,” he said. Wittmann, the lobby’s spokesman, disputed this, saying, “AIPAC does not take any orders or direction from any foreign principal, in Israel or elsewhere.”

For the Israeli leadership and many of its advocates, the Iran negotiations presented an especially vexing problem of political triangulation. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s previous President, had been a kind of ideal adversary, attracting widespread outrage by questioning whether the Holocaust had taken place and by challenging Israel’s right to exist. Danny Ayalon, a former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., once described Ahmadinejad’s hateful rhetoric to me as “the gift that keeps on giving.” But Iran’s new President, Hassan Rouhani, was carefully presenting himself as a relative moderate. Netanyahu would have none of it, calling Rouhani “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”

“I come from a hundred years in the future to warn you that nothing really changes in the next hundred years.”

AIPAC worked to mobilize its friends in Congress. Mark Kirk, a Republican senator from Illinois and a major beneficiary of AIPAC-related funding, began pressing to pass a new sanctions bill. “He was saying, ‘We’re in negotiations with a wolf in sheep’s clothing!’ ” a former Senate aide recalled. The bill, co-sponsored by Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, was drafted with considerable input from AIPAC. This was the first time in decades that the lobby had challenged the sitting U.S. President so overtly.

The Obama Administration was furious. “It’s one thing to disagree on some aspect of the peace process, on things that are tough for Israel to do,” the senior Administration official told me. “But this is American foreign policy that they were seeking to essentially derail. There was no other logic to it than ending the negotiations, and the gravity of that was shocking.”

AIPAC was incorporated in 1963, fifteen years after the State of Israel came into being. Its leader, Isaiah (Si) Kenen, had been a lobbyist for American Zionist organizations and an employee of Israel’s Office of Information at the United Nations. In that job, Kenen had been obligated to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which had stringent disclosure requirements about financial expenditures and communications with the U.S. government. The journalist M. J. Rosenberg, who volunteered at AIPAC in 1973 and is now a critic of it, recalled Kenen’s saying that the foreign-agent model was too restrictive. AIPAC would lobby Congress for aid to Israel, but its members would be Americans, taking orders from an American board of directors. Rosenberg told me that Kenen was “an old-fashioned liberal” who liked to say, “AIPAC has no enemies, only friends and potential friends.” When asked which politicians he hoped to elect, he said, “We play with the hand that is dealt us.” Congress must lead, he said, and “our job is to help it lead.”

Kenen retired in 1974, and by the late eighties AIPAC’s board had come to be dominated by a group of wealthy Jewish businessmen known as the Gang of Four: Mayer (Bubba) Mitchell, Edward Levy, Jr., Robert Asher, and Larry Weinberg. Weinberg was a Democrat who gradually moved to the right. The others were Republicans. In 1980, AIPAC hired Thomas Dine, a former diplomat and congressional staffer, as its executive director. Dine set out to develop a nationwide network that would enable AIPAC to influence every member of Congress. This was a daunting challenge. Jews made up less than three per cent of the American population, concentrated in nine states, and they voted overwhelmingly Democratic. How could AIPAC, with such a small base, become a political force in both parties and in every state?

Dine launched a grass-roots campaign, sending young staff members around the country to search for Jews in states where there were few. In Lubbock, Texas, for instance, they found nine who were willing to meet—a tiny group who cared deeply about Israel but never thought that they could play a political role. The lobby created four hundred and thirty-five “congressional caucuses,” groups of activists who would meet with their member of Congress to talk about the pro-Israel agenda.

Dine decided that “if you wanted to have influence you had to be a fund-raiser.” Despite its name, AIPAC is not a political-action committee, and therefore cannot contribute to campaigns. But in the eighties, as campaign-finance laws changed and PACs proliferated, AIPAC helped form pro-Israel PACs. By the end of the decade, there were dozens. Most had generic-sounding names, like Heartland Political Action Committee, and they formed a loose constellation around AIPAC. Though there was no formal relationship, in many cases the leader was an AIPAC member, and as the PACs raised funds they looked to the broader organization for direction.

Members’ contributions were often bundled. “AIPAC will select some dentist in Boise, say, to be the bundler,” a former longtime AIPAC member said. “They tell people in New York and other cities to send their five-thousand-dollar checks to him. But AIPAC has to teach people discipline—because all those people who are giving five thousand dollars would ordinarily want recognition. The purpose is to make the dentist into a big shot—he’s the one who has all this money to give to the congressman’s campaign.” AIPAC representatives tried to match each member of Congress with a contact who shared the congressman’s interests. If a member of Congress rode a Harley-Davidson, AIPAC found a contact who did, too. The goal was to develop people who could get a member of Congress on the phone at a moment’s notice.

That persistence and persuasion paid off. Howard Berman, a former congressman from California, recalled that Bubba Mitchell became friends with Sonny Callahan, a fellow-resident of Mobile, Alabama, when Callahan ran for Congress in 1984. Eventually, Callahan became chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations. “Sonny had always been against foreign aid,” Berman said. “Then he voted for it!”

Republicans knew that they would never get more than a minority of the Jewish electorate, but AIPAC members convinced them that voting the right way would lead to campaign contributions. It was a winning argument. In 1984, Mitch McConnell narrowly beat AIPAC supporters’ preferred candidate, the incumbent Democrat Walter Huddleston. Afterward, McConnell met with two AIPAC officials and said to them, “Let me be very clear. What do I need to do to make sure that the next time around I get the community support?” AIPAC members let Republicans know that, if they supported AIPAC positions, the lobby would view them as “friendly incumbents,” and would not abandon them for a Democratic challenger. The Connecticut Republican senator Lowell Weicker voted consistently with AIPAC; in 1988, he was challenged by the Democrat Joe Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew. Lieberman won, but Weicker got the majority of funding from Jewish donors.

In the early days, Howard Berman said, “AIPAC was knocking on an unlocked door.” Most Americans have been favorably disposed toward Israel since its founding, and no other lobby spoke for them on a national scale. Unlike other lobbies—such as the N.R.A., which is opposed by various anti-gun groups—AIPAC did not face a significant and well-funded countervailing force. It also had the resources to finance an expensive and emotionally charged form of persuasion. Dine estimated that in the eighties and nineties contributions from AIPAC members often constituted roughly ten to fifteen per cent of a typical congressional campaign budget. AIPAC provided lavish trips to Israel for legislators and other opinion-makers.

Nevertheless, the lobby did not endorse or rank candidates. “We made the decision to be one step removed,” Dine said. “Orrin Hatch once said, ‘Dine, your genius is to play an invisible bass drum, and the Jews hear it when you play it.’ ” In 1982, after an Illinois congressman named Paul Findley described himself as “Yasir Arafat’s best friend in Congress,” AIPAC members encouraged Dick Durbin, a political unknown, to run against him. Robert Asher, a Chicago businessman, sent out scores of letters to his friends, along with Durbin’s position paper on Israel, asking them to send checks. Durbin won, and he is now the Senate Majority Whip. (Findley later wrote a book that made extravagant claims about the power of the Israel lobby.) In 1984, AIPAC affiliates decided that Senator Charles Percy, an Illinois Republican, was unfriendly to Israel. In the next election, Paul Simon, a liberal Democrat, won Percy’s seat. Dine said at the time, “Jews in America, from coast to coast, gathered to oust Percy. And American politicians—those who hold public positions now, and those who aspire—got the message.”

As AIPAC grew, its leaders began to conceive of their mission as something more than winning support and aid for Israel. The Gang of Four, a former AIPAC official noted, “created an interesting mantra that they honestly believed: that, if AIPAC had existed prior to the Second World War, America would have stopped Hitler. It’s a great motivator, and a great fund-raiser—but I think it’s also AIPAC’s greatest weakness. Because if you convince yourself that, if only you had been around, six million Jews would not have been killed, then you sort of lose sight of the fact that the U.S. has its own foreign policy, and, while it is extremely friendly to Israel, it will only go so far.”

 In the fall of 1991, President George H. W. Bush decided to delay ten billion dollars in loan guarantees to Israel, largely because of the continuing expansion of settlements. In response, AIPAC sent activists to Capitol Hill. The lobby was confident. Its officials had told Yitzhak Shamir, the Israeli Prime Minister at the time, that Bush did not have the political desire to take on AIPAC, according to a memoir by former Secretary of State James Baker. But Bush proved willing to fight. The former AIPAC official recalled that Bubba Mitchell was summoned to the White House for a meeting: “When he came back to the AIPAC boardroom, an hour after the meeting, he was still shaking—because the President of the United States yelled at him!” Soon afterward, Bush remarked that he was “one lonely little guy” fighting “something like a thousand lobbyists.”

The Senate lined up behind him, and voted to postpone consideration of the loan guarantees. For AIPAC, this marked the beginning of a difficult period. The next June, Israeli voters ousted Shamir and his Likud Party and voted in Labor, headed by Yitzhak Rabin. After a career of military campaigns and cautious politics, Rabin began a transformation, offering to scale back settlement activity. In response, Bush asked Congress to approve the loan guarantees. Afterward, Rabin admonished the leaders of AIPAC, telling them that they had done more harm than good by waging battles “that were lost in advance.” Daniel Kurtzer, then the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, told me, “Rabin was furious with AIPAC. He felt they were allied with Likud and would undermine him in what he was trying to do.”

In September, 1993, Rabin and Arafat signed the Oslo Accords, which were aimed at building a formal peace process with the Palestine Liberation Organization. AIPAC officially endorsed the agreement, and still does. But many members were uncomfortable with it, according to Keith Weissman, a former analyst for the lobby. “AIPAC couldn’t act like they were rejecting what the government of Israel did, but the outcry in the organization about Oslo was so great that they found ways to sabotage it,” he said. (In 2005, Weissman was indicted, along with Steven Rosen, for conspiring to pass national-defense information to a reporter and an Israeli government agent, and AIPAC fired them. The charges were ultimately dropped.) As part of the agreement, the U.S. was to make funds available to the Palestinians, Weissman said. “The Israelis wanted the money to go to Arafat, for what they called ‘walking-around money.’ But AIPAC supported a bill in Congress to make sure that the money was never given directly to Arafat and his people, and to monitor closely what was done with it. And, because I knew Arabic, they had me following all of Arafat’s speeches. Was he saying one thing here, and another thing there? Our department became P.L.O. compliance-watchers. The idea was to cripple Oslo.”

In 1995, AIPAC encouraged Newt Gingrich, the new Speaker of the House, to support bipartisan legislation to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This put Rabin in a political corner. On one hand, he knew that such a move would infuriate the Arab world and endanger the Oslo process. On the other, as Yossi Beilin, then an official in the Labor government, pointed out, “You are the Prime Minister of Israel and you are telling American Jews, ‘Don’t ask for recognition of Jerusalem as our capital’? Nobody can do that!” At a dinner with AIPAC leaders, Rabin told them that he did not support the bill; they continued to promote it nonetheless. In October, the bill passed in Congress, by an overwhelming majority. President Bill Clinton invoked a national-security waiver to prevent its enactment, and so has every President since.

In 1999, Ehud Barak, also of the Labor Party, became Prime Minister, and, as Rabin had, he grew friendly with Clinton. “AIPAC flourishes when there is tension between Israel and the U.S., because then they have a role to play,” Gadi Baltiansky, who was Barak’s press spokesman, told me. “But the relations between Rabin and Clinton, and then Barak and Clinton, were so good that AIPAC was not needed. Barak gave them courtesy meetings. He just didn’t see them as real players.” Still, the lobby maintained its sway in Congress. In 2000, Barak sent Beilin, who was then the Justice Minister, to obtain money that Clinton had promised Israel but never released. Beilin went to see Sandy Berger, Clinton’s national-security adviser. “He said this money is tied to two hundred and twenty-five million dollars in assistance to Egypt,” Beilin recalled. “We cannot disburse the money to Israel unless we do to Egypt, so we need to convince Congress to support the whole package. I said, ‘I am speaking on behalf of my Prime Minister. We want Egypt to get the money.’ He said, ‘Yossi, this is really wonderful. Do you know somebody in AIPAC?’ ”

 Beilin was astonished: “It was kind of Kafka—the U.S. national-security adviser is asking the Minister of Justice in Israel whether he knows somebody at AIPAC!” He went to see Howard Kohr, the AIPAC C.E.O., a onetime employee of the Republican Jewish Coalition whom a former U.S. government official described to me as “a comfortable Likudnik.” Kohr told Beilin that it was impossible to allow Egypt to get the money. “You may think it was wrong for Israel to vote for Barak as Prime Minister—fine,” Beilin recalled saying. “But do you really believe that you represent Israel more than all of us?” By the end of Barak’s term, in 2001, the money had not been released, to Israel or to Egypt. “They always want to punish the Arabs,” Beilin concluded. “They are a very rightist organization, which doesn’t represent the majority of Jews in America, who are so Democratic and liberal. They want to protect Israel from itself—especially when moderate people are Israel’s leaders.”

 In the spring of 2008, AIPAC moved from cramped quarters on Capitol Hill to a gleaming new seven-story building on H Street, downtown. At the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Howard Kohr introduced Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate who had been a generous donor to AIPAC since the nineties, and who had helped underwrite congressional trips to Israel (paying only for Republican members). On this bright spring day, according to someone who was in the audience, Adelson recalled that Kohr had telephoned him, asking him to have lunch. Adelson remembered wondering, How much is this lunch going to cost me? Well, he went on, it cost him ten million dollars: the building was the result. He later told his wife that Kohr should have asked him for fifty million.

Netanyahu became Prime Minister the following year. AIPAC officials had been close to him since the eighties, when he worked at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, and stuck with him when, in 1990, he was banned from the State Department for saying that U.S. policy was built “on a foundation of distortion and lies.” As Prime Minister, Netanyahu had a difficult relationship with Bill Clinton, largely because Clinton found him unwilling to stop the expansion of settlements and to meaningfully advance the peace process—a sharp contrast with the approach of Rabin, who was assassinated in 1995. Then as now, Netanyahu displayed a vivid sense of his own historical importance, as well as flashes of disdain for the American President. After their first meeting, Clinton sent a message to another Israeli, wryly complaining that he had emerged uncertain who, exactly, was the President of a superpower.

But, even if Netanyahu had trouble with the executive branch, AIPAC could help deliver the support of Congress, and a friendly Congress could take away the President’s strongest negotiating chit—the multibillion-dollar packages of military aid that go to Israel each year. The same dynamic was repeated during Barack Obama’s first term. Israeli conservatives were wary, sensing that Obama, in their terms, was a leftist, sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. They took note when, during the 2008 campaign, Obama said, “I think there is a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel that you’re opposed to Israel, that you’re anti-Israel, and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.”

At Obama’s first meeting with Netanyahu, in May, 2009, Dermer came along, and found himself unable to observe the well-established protocol that one does not interrupt the President. As Obama spoke, Dermer’s hand shot up: “Excuse me, Mr. President, I beg to differ!” Obama demanded a full settlement freeze, as a means of convincing the Palestinians that Netanyahu was not merely stalling the Americans. Netanyahu was incensed, and AIPAC rallied members of Congress to protest. At an AIPAC conference, Dermer declared that Netanyahu would chart his own course with the Palestinians: “The days of continuing down the same path of weakness and capitulation and concessions, hoping—hoping—that somehow the Palestinians would respond in kind, are over.” Applause swept the room.

 In a speech at Bar-Ilan University, in June, 2009, Netanyahu seemed to endorse a two-state solution, if in rather guarded terms. Leaders of the settler movement and even many of Netanyahu’s Likud allies were furious at this seemingly historic shift for the Party, though, with time, many of them interpreted the speech as a tactical sop to the United States. No less significant, perhaps, Netanyahu introduced a condition that could make a final resolution impossible—the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state. “It was a stroke of political brilliance,” the former Senate aide, who had worked closely with Dermer, told me. “He managed to take the two-state issue off the table and put it back on the Palestinians.”

In March, 2010, while Vice-President Joe Biden was visiting Israel, the Netanyahu government announced that it was building sixteen hundred new housing units for Jews in Ramat Shlomo, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem. Biden said that the move “undermines the trust we need right now.” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Netanyahu to upbraid him. But, while Obama and his team viewed the move as a political insult and yet another blow to a potential two-state solution, AIPAC went into defensive mode, sending an e-mail to its members saying that the Administration’s criticisms of Israel were “a matter of serious concern.” Soon afterward, a letter circulated in the House calling on the Obama Administration to “reinforce” the relationship. Three hundred and twenty-seven House members signed it. A couple of months later, when the U.S. tried to extend a partial moratorium on construction in settlements in the West Bank, AIPAC fought against the extension. Obama eventually yielded.

 In May, 2011, Obama gave a speech about the Arab Spring, and, hoping to break the stalemate in the peace talks, he said, “The borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.” The 1967 borders, with some adjustments, had long been recognized as the foundation for a peace agreement, but Obama was the first President to utter the words so explicitly. The next day, Netanyahu arrived in Washington and rebuked him in the Oval Office, saying, “We can’t go back to those indefensible lines.”

A veteran Israeli politician was aghast at Netanyahu’s performance. “This is the President of the United States of America, and you are the head of a client state—let’s not forget that!” he said. “AIPAC should have come to Bibi and said, ‘You don’t talk to the President the way you do! This is not done, you have to stop it!’ Instead of reflecting almost automatically everything the Israeli government is doing and pushing in that direction.”

AIPAC officially supports a two-state solution, but many of its members, and many of the speakers at its conferences, loudly oppose such an agreement. Tom Dine has said that the lobby’s tacit position is “We’ll work against it until it happens.” After Obama endorsed the 1967 borders, AIPAC members called Congress to express outrage. “They wanted the President to feel the heat from Israel’s friends on the Hill,” a former Israeli official recalled. “They were saying to the Administration, ‘You must rephrase, you must correct!’ ” When Obama appeared at an AIPAC policy conference three days later, he was conciliatory: “The parties themselves—Israelis and Palestinians—will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. That’s what ‘mutually agreed-upon swaps’ means.” AIPAC had e-mailed videos to attendees, urging them not to boo the President; they complied, offering occasional wan applause. The next day, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress and received twenty-nine standing ovations.

Fifty years ago, before Israel became an undeclared nuclear power and its existence was under threat, any differences it had with the U.S. were usually aired in private. Today, the political dynamics in both countries—and the particulars of the relationship—have evolved. A majority of Israelis still favor the idea of a two-state solution, but the political mood has shifted markedly to the right. The reasons range from the deeply felt notion that the Palestinians were “offered the world and rejected it” to the rise of Hamas in Gaza, from the aftershock of terror attacks a decade ago to the instability throughout the Middle East. Likud has rejected relative moderates like Dan Meridor and Benny Begin; Netanyahu himself is considered a “dove” by some leaders of his coalition and members of his party. The consensus deepens that Oslo was a failure, and that, as Netanyahu says, “there is no partner for peace.” The Palestinians, for their part, argue that the settlements in the West Bank and Jewish expansion into East Jerusalem have created a “one-state reality.” They point out that members of Netanyahu’s coalition reject a two-state solution—“The land is ours!”—and endorse permanent Israeli control, or outright annexation, of the West Bank.

Netanyahu prides himself on understanding the American political climate. But his deepest relationships are with older, often wealthy members of the establishments in New York and Los Angeles, and he is less conscious of the changes in American demographics and in opinion among younger American Jews. Assaf Sharon, the research director of Molad, a progressive think tank in Jerusalem, said, “When Israelis see House members jump like springs to applaud every lame comment Bibi utters, they think he is a star in Washington. Then they are told by the local pundits that everything else is just personal friction with Obama. My sense is that the people surrounding Bibi—and the Prime Minister himself—don’t appreciate the significance of the shift.”

Yet the rhetoric of Netanyahu’s circle has never been more confident. In a recent talk, Dermer argued that Israel is a regional superpower, with much to give in its relationship with the U.S. “America’s most important ally in the twentieth century was Great Britain,” he said. “Your most important ally in the twenty-first century is going to be the State of Israel.” In a meeting with young Likud supporters last spring, which one of them transcribed online, Netanyahu boasted of defying Obama’s pressure to halt settlements; 2013 was a record year for settlement construction in the West Bank. He preferred to “stand up to international pressure by maneuvering,” he said. “What matters is that we continue to head straight toward our goal, even if one time we walk right and another time walk left.” When one of the Likudniks asked about peace talks with the Palestinians, Netanyahu is said to have replied, as the audience laughed, “About the—what?”

AIPAC’s hold on Congress has become institutionalized. Each year, a month or two before the annual policy conference, AIPAC officials tell key members what measures they want, so that their activists have something to lobby for. “Every year, we create major legislation, so they can justify their existence to their members,” the former congressional aide said. (AIPAC maintains that only members of Congress initiate legislative action.) AIPAC board meetings are held in Washington each month, and directors visit members of Congress. They generally address them by their first names, even if they haven’t met before. The intimacy is presumed, but also, at times, earned; local AIPAC staffers, in the manner of basketball recruiters, befriend some members when they are still serving on the student council. “If you have a dream about running for office, AIPAC calls you,” one House member said. Certainly, it’s a rarity when someone undertakes a campaign for the House or the Senate today without hearing from AIPAC.

In 1996, Brian Baird, a psychologist from Seattle, decided to run for Congress. Local Democrats asked if he had thought about what he was going to say to AIPAC. “I had admired Israel since I was a kid,” Baird told me. “But I also was fairly sympathetic to peaceful resolution and the Palestinian side. These people said, ‘We respect that, but let’s talk about the issues and what you might say.’ The difficult reality is this: in order to get elected to Congress, if you’re not independently wealthy, you have to raise a lot of money. And you learn pretty quickly that, if AIPAC is on your side, you can do that. They come to you and say, ‘We’d be happy to host ten-thousand-dollar fund-raisers for you, and let us help write your annual letter, and please come to this multi-thousand-person dinner.’ ” Baird continued, “Any member of Congress knows that AIPAC is associated indirectly with significant amounts of campaign spending if you’re with them, and significant amounts against you if you’re not with them.” For Baird, AIPAC-connected money amounted to about two hundred thousand dollars in each of his races—“and that’s two hundred thousand going your way, versus the other way: a four-hundred-thousand-dollar swing.”

The contributions, as with many interest groups, come with a great deal of tactical input. “The AIPAC people do a very good job of ‘informing’ you about the issues,” Baird told me. “It literally gets down to ‘No, we don’t say it that way, we say it this way.’ Always phrased as a friendly suggestion—but it’s pretty clear you don’t want to say ‘occupied territories’! There’s a whole complex semantic code you learn. . . . After a while, you find yourself saying and repeating it as if it were fact.”

Soon after taking office, Baird went on a “virtually obligatory” trip to Israel: a freshman ritual in which everything—business-class flights, accommodations at the King David or the Citadel—is paid for by AIPAC’s charitable arm. The tours are carefully curated. “They do have you meet with the Palestinian leaders, in a sort of token process,” Baird said. “But then when you’re done with it they tell you everything the Palestinian leaders said that’s wrong. And, of course, the Palestinians don’t get to have dinner with you at the hotel that night.”

In early 2009, after a brief truce between Israel and Hamas collapsed in a series of mutual provocations, Israel carried out Operation Cast Lead, an incursion into Gaza in which nearly fourteen hundred Palestinians were killed, along with thirteen Israelis. Baird visited the area a few weeks later and returned several times. As he wrote in an op-ed, he saw “firsthand the devastating destruction of hospitals, schools, homes, industries, and infrastructure.” That September, the U.N. Human Rights Council issued a report, based on an inquiry led by the South African jurist Richard Goldstone, that accused Israel of a series of possible war crimes. AIPAC attacked the report, saying it was “rigged.” A month later, an AIPAC-sponsored resolution to condemn the report was introduced in the House, and three hundred and forty-four members voted in favor. “I read every single word of that report, and it comported with what I had seen and heard on the ground in Gaza,” Baird said. “When we had the vote, I said, ‘We have member after member coming to the floor to vote on a resolution they’ve never read, about a report they’ve never seen, in a place they’ve never been.’ ” Goldstone came under such pressure that threats were made to ban him from his grandson’s bar mitzvah at a Johannesburg synagogue. He eventually wrote an op-ed in which he expressed regret for his conclusions, saying, “Civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.” Other members of the council stood by the report.

In 2010, Baird decided not to run again for the House; he is now the president of Antioch University Seattle. Few current members of Congress are as outspoken about AIPAC as Baird. Staff members fret about whether AIPAC will prevent them from getting a good consulting job when they leave government. “You just hear the name!” a Senate aide said. “You hear that they are involved and everyone’s ears perk up and their mood changes, and they start to fall in line in a certain way.”

Baird said, “When key votes are cast, the question on the House floor, troublingly, is often not ‘What is the right thing to do for the United States of America?’ but ‘How is AIPAC going to score this?’ ” He added, “There’s such a conundrum here, of believing that you’re supporting Israel, when you’re actually backing policies that are antithetical to its highest values and, ultimately, destructive for the country.” In talks with Israeli officials, he found that his inquiries were not treated with much respect. In 2003, one of his constituents, Rachel Corrie, was killed by a bulldozer driven by an Israeli soldier, as she protested the demolition of Palestinians’ homes in Gaza. At first, he said, the officials told him, “There’s a simple explanation—here are the facts.” Or, “We will look into it.” But, when he continued to press, something else would emerge. “There is a disdain for the U.S., and a dismissal of any legitimacy of our right to question—because who are we to talk about moral values?” Baird told me. “Whether it’s that we didn’t help early enough in the Holocaust, or look at what we did to our African-Americans, or our Native Americans—whatever! And they see us, members of Congress, as basically for sale. So they want us to shut up and play the game.”

In 2007, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, two leading political scientists of the realist school, published a book called “The IsraelLobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.” The book, a best-seller, presented a scathing portrait of AIPAC, arguing that the lobby had a nearly singular distorting influence on American foreign policy, and even that it was a central factor in the rush to war in Iraq. While the authors’ supporters praised their daring, their critics argued that they had neglected to point out any failures of the Palestinian leadership, and painted AIPAC in conspiratorial, omnipotent tones. Even Noam Chomsky, a fierce critic of Israel from the left, wrote that the authors had exaggerated the influence of AIPAC, and that other special interests, like the energy lobby, had greater influence on Middle East policy.

A broader political challenge to AIPAC came in 2009, with the founding of J Street, a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” advocacy group. Led by Jeremy Ben-Ami, a former Clinton Administration aide whose grandparents were among the first settlers in Tel Aviv, J Street was founded to appeal to American Jews who strongly support a two-state solution and who see the occupation as a threat to democracy and to Jewish values. J Street has only a tiny fraction of AIPAC’s financial power and influence on Capitol Hill, but it has tried to provide at least some campaign funding to weaken the lobby’s grip.

AIPAC and its allies have responded aggressively. This year, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations voted not to admit J Street, because, as the leader of one Orthodox alliance said to the Times, its “positions are out of the mainstream of what could be considered acceptable within the Jewish community.” Danny Ayalon, the former Israeli Ambassador, told me, “When Jewish organizations join the political campaign to delegitimatize Israel, they are really undermining our security collectively. Because I do believe that, if Israel’s security is compromised, so is that of every Jew in the world.”

 Many Israeli and Palestinian leaders have taken note of the rise of J Street and, without overestimating its capacities, see that it represents an increasing diversity of opinion in the American Jewish community. At the last J Street convention, in Washington, Husam Zomlot, a rising figure in Fatah, the largest faction in the P.L.O., delivered a speech about the Palestinian cause and got a standing ovation. “AIPAC is not as effective as it was,” Zomlot said. “I wouldn’t say J Street is the mainstream representative of Jewish Americans, but it is a trend that gives you some sense of where things are and what is happening. Though it has limited funding, it is the first organized Jewish group with a different agenda in Washington since Israel was established. It’s worth noticing.”

Some politicians in Washington have indeed noticed, and not always to their benefit. Soon after J Street got started, it endorsed Robert Wexler, a Democratic congressman who represented a South Florida district. “Some AIPAC people told me they would not support me anymore if I went to a J Street event or took their support,” Wexler recalled. “I called them and said, ‘You’ve supported me for twelve years. You’re not going to support me because somebody from J Street endorsed me?’ ” Wexler added, “AIPAC is still by a factor of a hundred to one the premier lobbying organization for the Jewish community. I’ll never understand why they care one iota about J Street—but they have this bizarre fixation on it.”

Jan Schakowsky, who has represented a liberal Chicago district since 1999, was another of J Street’s first endorsees. For years, she had maintained good relations with AIPAC, whose members* gave money to her campaigns and praised her positions. She voted to condemn the Goldstone report and signed a 2010 letter urging the Administration to keep any differences with Israel private. But in her 2010 race, she was challenged by Joel Pollak, an Orthodox Jew, who argued that she was insufficiently supportive of Israel. “We were very much aware that AIPAC-associated people were fund-raising for Jan’s opponent,” Dylan Williams, the director of government affairs for J Street, said. A small but vocal contingent of AIPAC members were behind Pollak. But he was also backed by the Tea Party, which J Street believed might drive away other Jewish voters. The new lobby raised seventy-five thousand dollars for Schakowsky (through its PAC, whose financial contributions are publicly disclosed), and she won by a wide margin. “It was exactly the type of race we had hoped for!” Williams said. “A lot of the power of AIPAC is based on this perception, which I believe is a myth, that if you cross their line you will be targeted, and your opponent in your next race will receive all this money, and it will make a difference.” Still, Schakowsky told me, the process was painful. “Getting booed in a synagogue was not a pleasure,” she said. “This is not just my base—it’s my family!” She added, “Increasingly, Israel has become a wedge issue, something to be used against the President by the Republicans, and it can be very unhelpful.”

AIPAC is still capable of mounting a show of bipartisanship. At this year’s policy conference, Steny Hoyer, the House Democratic Whip, appeared onstage with Eric Cantor, then the Republican House Majority Leader, and together they rhapsodized about the summer trip they routinely took, leading groups of mostly freshmen on an AIPAC tour of Israel. “Few things are as meaningful as watching your colleagues discover the Jewish state for the very first time,” Cantor said.

Cantor and Hoyer have been steadfast supporters of AIPAC, and its members have held at least a dozen fund-raisers for them each year. But last December AIPAC’s efforts to implement sanctions against Iran were so intense that even this well-tempered partnership fractured. When Congress returned from its Thanksgiving recess, legislators in the House began discussing a sanctions bill. According to the former congressional aide, Cantor told Hoyer that he wanted a bill that would kill the interim agreement with Iran. Hoyer refused, saying that he would collaborate only on a nonbinding resolution.

Cantor sent Hoyer a resolution that called for additional sanctions and sought to define in advance the contours of an agreement with Iran. “The pressure was tremendous—not just AIPAC leadership and legislative officials but various board members and other contributors, from all over the country,” the former congressional aide recalled. “What was striking was how strident the message was,” another aide said. “ ‘How could you not pass a resolution that tells the President what the outcome of the negotiations has to be?’ ” Advocates for the sanctions portrayed Obama as feckless. “They said, ‘Iranians have been doing this for millennia. They can smell weakness. Why is the President showing weakness?’ ” a Senate aide recalled.

AIPAC was betting that the Democrats, facing midterms with an unpopular President, would break ranks, and that Obama would be unable to stop them. Its confidence was not unfounded; every time Netanyahu and AIPAC had opposed Obama, he had retreated. But Obama took up the fight with unusual vigor. He has been deeply interested in nonproliferation since his college days, and he has been searching for an opening with Iran since his Presidential campaign in 2008. As the Cantor-Hoyer resolution gathered momentum, House Democrats began holding meetings at the White House to strategize about how to oppose it.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the Democratic National Committee, attended the meetings, at some political risk. Wasserman Schultz represents a heavily Jewish district in South Florida, and has been a reliable signature on AIPAC’s letters and resolutions; she has boasted of concurring with a hundred per cent of its positions. Now the lobby e-mailed out an “AIPAC Action Alert,” including the text of a story about the meetings in the conservative Washington Free Beacon, in which she was described as “siding with the Mullahs over the American people.” The alert asked AIPAC’s executive-council members to contact her office, ask if the story was true, and challenge her opposition to Cantor-Hoyer. Stephen Fiske, the chair of the pro-Israel Florida Congressional Committee PAC, sent a similar alert to Wasserman Schultz’s constituents, setting off a cascade of calls to her office. (Fiske told the Free Beacon that the callers included a team of young students: his son’s classmates at a Jewish day school in North Miami Beach.) Wasserman Schultz was furious. Soon afterward, she flew to Israel for the funeral of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. On the trip, she remarked to a colleague, “They’re doing this to me?”

But as the meetings continued Democrats began to build a consensus. In December, Ester Kurz, AIPAC’s director of legislative strategy, went to see Nancy Pelosi, the Minority Leader, to urge her to pass the resolution. Pelosi resisted, pointing out that many members of Hoyer’s caucus strongly opposed it. David Price, a Democrat, and Charles Dent, a Republican, had written a letter to the President, urging him to use the diplomatic opening that followed Rouhani’s election to attempt a nuclear agreement; it garnered a hundred and thirty-one signatures. Pointing to the letter, Pelosi demanded to know why AIPAC wanted this resolution, at this time.

The members of Hoyer’s caucus pressed him, and, on December 12th, just as the language of the resolution became final, he asked to set aside the effort, saying that the time was not right. His demurral—from someone who had rarely disappointed AIPAC—was a sign that the lobby might be in uncharted terrain. Two weeks after local AIPAC activists pressured Wasserman Schultz, a national board member issued a statement that called her “a good friend of Israel and a close friend of AIPAC.”

Copyright The New Yorker, 2014

The Death Grip of Neoliberalism. Keynes is Dead; Long Live Marx!

August 26th, 2014 by Prof. Ismael Hossein-Zadeh

Many liberal economists envisioned a new dawn of Keynesianism in the 2008 financial meltdown. Nearly six years later, it is clear that the much-hoped-for Keynesian prescriptions are completely ignored. Why? Keynesian economists’ answer: “neoliberal ideology,” which they trace back to President Reagan.

This study argues, by contrast, that the transition from Keynesian to neoliberal economics has much deeper roots than pure ideology; that the transition started long before Reagan was elected President; that the Keynesian reliance on the ability of the government to re-regulate and revive the economy through policies of demand management rests on a hopeful perception that the state can control capitalism; and that, contrary to such wishful perceptions, public policies are more than simply administrative or technical matters of choice—more importantly, they are class policies.

The study further argues that the Marxian theory of unemployment, based on his theory of the reserve army of labor, provides a much robust explanation of the protracted high levels of unemployment than the Keynesian view, which attributes the plague of unemployment to the “misguided policies of neoliberalism.” Likewise, the Marxian theory of subsistence or near-poverty wages provides a more cogent account of how or why such poverty levels of wages, as well as a generalized predominance of misery, can go hand-in-hand with high levels of profits and concentrated wealth than the Keynesian perceptions, which view high levels of employment and wages as necessary conditions for an expansionary economic cycle [1].

Deeper than “Neoliberal Ideology”

The questioning and the gradual abandonment of the Keynesian demand management strategies took place not simply because of purely ideological proclivities of “right-wing” Republicans or the personal preferences of Ronald Reagan, as many liberal and radical economists argue, but because of actual structural changes in economic or market conditions, both nationally and internationally. New Deal–Social Democratic policies were pursued in the aftermath of the Great Depression as long as the politically-awakened workers and other grassroots, as well as the favorable economic conditions of the time, rendered such policies effective. Those favorable conditions included the need to invest in and rebuild the devastated post-war economies around the world, the nearly unlimited demand for U.S. manufactures, both at home and abroad, and the lack of competition for both U.S. capital and labor. These propitious circumstances, along with the pressure from below, allowed U.S. workers to demand respectable wages and benefits while at the same time enjoying higher rates of employment. The high wages and the strong demand then served as a delightful stimulus that precipitated the long expansionary cycle of the immediate post-war period in the manner of a virtuous circle.

By the late 1960s and early 1970s, however, both U.S. capital and labor were no longer unrivaled in global markets. Furthermore, during the long cycle of the immediate post-war expansion U.S. manufacturers had invested so much in fixed capital, or capacity building, that by the late 1960s their profit rates had begun to decline as the enormous amounts of the so-called “sunk costs,” mainly in the form of plant and equipment, had become too high [2].

More than anything else, it was these important changes in the actual conditions of production, and the concomitant realignment of global markets, which occasioned the gradual reservations and the ultimate abandonment of the Keynesian economics. Contrary to the repeated claims of the liberal/Keynesian partisans, it was not Ronald Reagan’s ideas or schemes that lay behind the plans of dismantling the New Deal reforms; rather, it was the globalization, first, of capital and, then, of labor that rendered Keynesian-type economic policies no longer attractive to capitalist profitability, and brought forth Ronald Reagan and neoliberal austerity economics [3].

It should be emphasized that Keynesian stabilization policies were not abandoned for purely ideological reasons; i.e., because, as many critics of neo-liberalism argue, a laissez-faire animus spread from Chicago, infecting politicians of all parties and persuading them of the benefits of free markets. . . . Keynesian systems of financial regulation (capital controls and managed exchange rates) could not withstand the growing pools of unregulated international credit, the Euromarkets, which came to dominate international finance [4].

When financial regulations, capital controls and a new international monetary system were established at the Bretton Woods (NH, New England) Conference in the immediate aftermath of WW II, international financial or credit markets were effectively non-existent. The U.S. dollar (and to lesser extent gold) was, by and large, the only means of international trade and credit. Under those circumstances, international credit took place largely through the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the central banks of the lending/borrowing countries—hence, the enforceability of controls.

This picture of international credit/financial markets, however, gradually changed; and by the late 1960 and early1970s, those markets had grown to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars, thereby allowing international credit transactions outside of the IMF–central banks channels. The two major factors that significantly contributed to drastic inflation of international financial markets were (a) the computer-generated international credit, and (b) the immense proliferation of Eurodollars, i.e. U.S. dollars deposited in overseas banks. The footloose-and-fancy-free global finance/credit has grown so big during the past several decades that it has made domestic or national controls and regulations virtually ineffectual:

Critics of international finance have made various proposals to stabilize the system and make it more appropriate to the purposes of economic and social development. The most common suggestion has been a return to the cross-border capital controls that existed during the 1940s and the 1950s. Such controls, in many cases, were not eliminated until the 1990s. However, international bank deposits and financial assets held abroad are now so large that it would be difficult to enforce such controls. Indeed, the main reason for getting rid of such regulations was precisely because they could not be enforced [5].

It is obvious, then, that the weakening or undermining of control and/or regulatory safeguards was brought about not so much by purely ideological tendencies of certain politicians or policy makers as it was by the actual developments in international financial markets.

It Started Long Before Reagan Arrived in the White House

The claim that the abandonment of Keynesian policies in favor of neoliberal ones began with the 1980 arrival of Ronald Reagan in the White House is factually false. Indisputable evidence shows that the date on the Keynesian prescriptions expired at least a dozen years earlier. Keynesian policies of economic expansion through demand management had run out of steam (i.e., reached their systemic limits) by the late 1960s and early 1970s; they did not come to a sudden, screeching halt the moment Reagan sat at the helm.

As Professor Alan Nasser of Evergreen State College points out, arguments that “policies of economic equity represented costly trade-offs in terms of efficiency” were made by economic advisors of the Democratic administrations long before Reaganomics solemnized such arguments. Arthur Okun and Charles Schultze had each served as chair of the Council of Economic Advisors to Democratic presidents. In his Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff, Okun (1975) argued that “the interventionist goal of greater equality had inefficiency costs that injured the private economy.” Schultze (1977) likewise claimed that “government policies which impact markets in the name of fairness and equality are necessarily inefficient,” and that such policies were “bound to disadvantage the very people policymakers intended to protect, and to destabilize the private economy in the process” [6].

Jerome Kalur also points out, “Chamber of Commerce and Business Roundtable efforts to gain control of government regulatory decision-making were initiated at least nine years before” the election of Ronald Reagan to presidency, “when corporate attorney Lewis Powell submitted to the Chamber his now well-known memorandum ‘Attack of American Free Enterprise System’” [7]. In concert with Powel’s legal offensive against labor and regulatory standards, big business moved swiftly to “impede union organizing” and “to eliminate regulatory controls via streams of think-tank propaganda from the likes of The American Enterprise Institute (1972), The Heritage Foundation (1973), and the Cato Institute (1977)” [8]. Kalur further writes:

When Powell handed his memorandum to the Chamber, American business had 175 registered lobbyist firms at its service. By 1982, the number of K Street corporate financed arm-twisters had grown to 2,500. Corporate supported PACs numbered 400 in the early 70s and 1,200 by 1980. In short, big business was already causing a decline in union memberships, strongly influencing federal agencies and laws, and mastering the SEC long before the advent of the Reagan presidency. With Powell elevated to the Supreme Court corporate America was by 1978 advancing toward its goal of un-restricted campaign contributions through clandestine vehicles [9].

While theoretical turnaround from New Deal–Keynesian economics by the luminaries of the Democratic Party pre-dated President Carter, policy implementation of such theories began under the Carter administration. Reagan picked up the Democrat’s copy of gradual agenda of neoliberalism and ran with it, replacing the rhetoric of capitalism-with-a-human-face with the imperious, self-righteous rhetoric of rugged individualism that greed and self-interest are virtues to be nurtured. Neither President Clinton eased the supply-side economic policies of the Reagan years, nor is President Obama hesitating to carry out such policies.

The Role of the State: Hopes, Myths and Illusions

The Keynesian view that the government can fine-tune the economy through fiscal and monetary policies to maintain continuous growth is based on the idea that capitalism can be controlled or manipulated by the state and managed by professional economists from government departments in the interest of all. The effectiveness of the Keynesian model is, therefore, based largely on a hope, or illusion; since in reality the power relation between the state and the market/capitalism is usually the other way around. Contrary to the Keynesian perception, economic policy making is more than simply an administrative or technical matter of choice; more importantly, it is a deeply socio-political matter that is organically intertwined with the class nature of the state and the policy making apparatus.

The Keynesian illusion has been nurtured or masked by two major myths. The first myth stems from the perception that attributes the implementation of the New Deal and Social Democratic economic reforms that followed the Great Depression and WW II to the genius of Keynes. Evidence shows, however, that implementation of those reforms, and therefore the rise of Keynes to prominence, were more a product of the fierce class struggles and overwhelming pressures from the grassroots than the brains of experts like Keynes. Indeed, beyond narrow academic circles, Keynes was not even heard of in the United States when most of the New Deal reforms were put in place.

The second myth stems from the view that attributes the long economic expansion of the 1948–68 period in the U.S. to the efficacy or success of Keynesian policies of demand management. While it is certainly true that expansive government policies of the time played a big role in the fantastic economic developments of that period, additional favorable conditions or factors also contributed to the success of that expansion. These included the need to invest and rebuild the devastated post-war economies around the world, the need to supply the vast post-war global demand for consumer as well as capital goods, lack of competition for U.S. products and capital in global markets—in short, the fact that there was enormous room for growth and expansion in the immediate post-war period.

Harboring these myths and illusions, Keynesian economists envisioned a silver-lining in the 2008 financial meltdown and the ensuing Great Recession: an opportunity for a new dawn of Keynesian economics. Nearly six years later, it is abundantly clear that Keynesian policy prescriptions are falling on deaf ears.

Shunned, Keynesian hopes and illusions have turned into disappointment and anger. For example, using his New York Times’ column, Professor Paul Krugman frequently lashes out at the Obama administration for ignoring the Keynesian policies of economic expansion and job creation:

The truth is that creating jobs in a depressed economy is something government could and should be doing. . . . Think about it: Where are the big public works projects? Where are the armies of government workers? There are actually half a million fewer government employees now than there were when Mr. Obama took office [10].

At the heart of Keynesian economists’ frustration or disappointment is the unrealistic perception that economic policies are intellectual products, and that policy making is primarily a matter of technical expertise and personal preferences. What these economists overlook is the fact that economic policy making is not simply a matter of choice, that is, of “good” vs. “bad” policy. More importantly, it is a matter of class policy.

It is not enough to have a good heart or a compassionate soul; it is equally important not to lose sight of how public policy is made under capitalism. It is not enough to repeatedly bash Ronald Reagan as a wicked king and praise FDR as a wise king. The more important task is to explain why the ruling class ousted the wise king and ushered in the wicked one. As Professor Peter Gowan of London Metropolitan University puts it, “Keynesians make an essentially false argument in favor of re-regulation when they fail to see the oneness of the State and the Wall Street” [11].

Growth and Employment: Keynes vs. Marx

Not only is the liberal economists’ account of the actual developments that led to the demise of Keynesianism and the rise of neoliberalism inaccurate, so is their explanation of the ongoing problems of unemployment and economic stagnation. By blaming the persistently high rates of unemployment on “neoliberal capitalism,” instead of capitalism per se, proponents of Keynesian economics tend to lose sight of the structural or systemic causes of unemployment: the secular and/or systemic tendency of capitalist production to constantly replace labor with machine, and to thereby create a sizeable pool of the unemployed, or a “reserve army of labor,” as Karl Marx put it.

The fundamental laws of demand and supply of labor under capitalism are heavily influenced, Marx argued, by the market’s ability to regularly produce a reserve army of labor, or a “surplus population.” The reserve army of labor is therefore as important to capitalist production as is the active (or actually employed) army of labor. Just as a regular and timely adjustment of the level of a body of water behind an irrigation dam is crucial to a smooth or stable use of water, so is an “appropriate” size of a pool of the unemployed critical to the profitability of capitalist production:

The industrial reserve army, during the periods of stagnation and average prosperity, weighs down the active labour-army; during the periods of over-production and paroxysm, it holds its pretensions in check. Relative surplus population is therefore the pivot upon which the law of demand and supply of labour works. It confines the field of action of this law within the limits absolutely convenient to the activity of exploitation and to the domination of capital [12].

In the era of globalization of production and employment, the reserve army of labor has drastically expanded beyond national borders. According to a recent report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), between 1980 and 2007 the global labor force grew by 63 percent. The report further shows that, due to worldwide urbanization and/or de-peasantization, the ratio of the active to reserve army of labor is less than 50%, that is, more than half of the global labor force is unemployed [13].

It is this vast and readily available pool of the unemployed, along with the relative ease of moving production anywhere in the world—not some “evil intentions of right-wing Republicans or wicked neoliberals,” as many Keynesians argue—that has forced the working class, especially in the core capitalist countries, into submission: going along with the brutal austerity schemes of wage and benefit cuts, of layoffs and union busting, of part-time and contingency employment, and the like.

This also explains why repeated Keynesian calls of the recent years for embarking on Keynesian-type stimulus packages in order to help end the recession and alleviate unemployment continue to sound hollow. Under the changed conditions of production from national to global level, and in the absence of overwhelming political pressure from workers and other grassroots, there are simply no refills for Dr. Keynes’s prescriptions, which were issued under radically different socioeconomic conditions, under national circumstances or frameworks, not international or global ones.

Theoretically, the Keynesian strategy of a “virtuous circle” of high rates of growth and employment is both simple and reasonable: massive government spending in the face of a serious economic downturn would raise employment and wages, inject a strong purchasing power into the economy, which would, in turn, spur producers to expand and hire, thereby further raising employment, wages, demand, supply . . . ad infinitum. But while the strategy sounds relatively simple and fairly reasonable, it suffers from a number of flaws.

To begin with, it implicitly assumes that employers and government policy makers are genuinely interested in bringing about full employment, but somehow do not know how to achieve this goal. Full employment production, however, may not necessarily be the ideal or profit-maximizing level of capitalist production; which means it may not be a real objective of business and/or government decision makers. As noted earlier, a sizeable pool of the unemployed is as essential to capitalist profitability as is the number of workers needed to be actually employed. In its drive to keep the labor cost as low as possible, by keeping the working class as docile as possible, capitalism tends to often prefer high unemployment and low wages to low unemployment and high wages.

This explains why, for example, the stock market often tends to rise when there is a report of rising unemployment, and vice versa. It also explains why, taking advantage of the long (and ongoing) recessionary cycle, the ruling business–government policy makers in the core capitalist countries have embarked on an unprecedented austerity program of spending cuts and public-sector downsizing whose main objective is to weaken the labor and reduce the labor cost.

Secondly, the Keynesian argument that a “virtuous circle” of high employment, high wages and high growth is relatively easily achievable only if it were not due to the “bad” policies of neoliberalism or opposition of employers is based on the assumption that employers/producers are somehow oblivious to their own self-interest. If only they were mindful of the benefits of the proverbial “Ford wages” to their sales, the argument goes, could they help both themselves and their workers, and bring about economic growth and prosperity for all. The well-known liberal professor (and former Labor Secretary under President Clinton) Robert Reich’s view on this issue is typical of the Keynesian argument:

For most of the last century, the basic bargain at the heart of the American economy was that employers paid their workers enough to buy what American employers were selling. . . . That basic bargain created a virtuous cycle of higher living standards, more jobs, and better wages. . . . The basic bargain is over. . . . Corporate profits are up right now largely because pay is down and companies aren’t hiring. But this is a losing game even for corporations over the long term. Without enough American consumers, their profitable days are numbered. After all, there’s a limit to how much profit they can get out of cutting American payrolls [14].

There are two major problems with this argument. The first problem is that it assumes (implicitly) that U.S. producers depend on domestic workers not only for employment but also for sale of their products—as if it were a closed economy. In reality, however, U.S. producers are increasingly becoming less and less dependent on domestic labor for either employment or sales as they steadily expand their production and sales markets abroad: “On both the supply [employment] side and the demand side, the U.S. worker/consumer is perceived as incrementally inessential” [15].

The second problem with the argument is that wages and benefits are micro- or enterprise-level categories that are decided on by individual employers or corporate managers, not by some macro or national level planners of aggregate demand (as in a centrally-planned economy). Individual producers (large or small) view wages and benefits first, and foremost, as a major cost of production that needs to be minimized as much as possible; and only secondarily, if ever, as part of the national aggregate demand that may (in roundabout ways) contribute to the sale of their products.

Marx characterized capitalism’s willingness and ability to create a big pool of the unemployed (in order to create a largely poor and meek working class) as “immiseration” and submission of labor force—a built-in mechanism that is essential to the “general law” of capitalist accumulation:

It follows therefore that in proportion as capital accumulates, the lot of the labourer, be his payment high or low, must grow worse. The law, finally, that always equilibrates the relative surplus population, or industrial reserve army, to the extent and energy of accumulation, this law rivets the labourer to capital more firmly than the wedges of Vulcan did Prometheus to the rock. It establishes an accumulation of misery, corresponding with accumulation of capital. Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole, i.e., on the side of the class that produces its own product in the form of capital [16].

Conclusion

The Marxian theory of unemployment, based on his theory of the reserve army of labor, provides a much robust explanation of the protracted high levels of unemployment than the Keynesian view that attributes the plague of unemployment to the “misguided” or “bad” policies of neoliberalism. Likewise, the Marxian theory of subsistence or poverty wages provides a more cogent account of how or why such poverty levels of wages, as well as a generalized or nationwide predominance of misery, can go hand-in-hand with high levels of corporate profits and/or stock markets than the Keynesian perceptions, which view a high level of wages as a necessary condition for an expansionary economic cycle.

Perhaps more importantly, the Marxian view that meaningful, lasting economic safety-net programs can be carried out only through overwhelming pressure from the masses—and only on a coordinated global scale—provides a more logical and promising solution to the problem of economic hardship for the overwhelming majority of the world population than the neat, purely academic and essentially apolitical Keynesian stimulus packages on a national level. No matter how long or loud or passionately the good-hearted Keynesians beg for jobs and other New Deal-type reform programs, their pleas for the implementation of such programs are bound to be ignored by governments that are elected and controlled by powerful moneyed interests. The fundamental flaw of the Keynesian demand-management prescription is that it consists of a set of populist proposals that are devoid of class politics, that is, of political mechanisms that would be necessary to carry them out. Only by mobilizing the masses of workers (and other grassroots) and fighting, instead of begging, for an equitable share of what is truly the product of their labor can the working majority achieve economic security and human dignity.

Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics (Drake University). He is the author of Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis (Routledge 2014), The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave–Macmillan 2007), and the Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser’s Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989). He is also a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press 2012).

References/Notes

[1] This article is essentially a (significantly) shortened version of Chapter 5 of my book, Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis: Parasitic Finance Capital (Routledge 2014).

[2] Anwar Shaikh, “The Falling Rate of Profit and the Economic Crisis in the U.S.,” in Robert C. et al. (eds.) The Imperiled Economy, Book I, New York, NY: Union for Radical Political Economy, 1987.

[3] Harry Shutt, The Trouble with Capitalism: An Enquiry into the Causes of Global Economic Failure, London: Zed Books, 1998.

[4] Jan Toporowski, Why the World Economy Needs a Financial Crash and Other Critical Essays on Finance and Financial Economics, London: Anthem Press, 2010, P. 18.

[5] Ibid., p. 25.

[6] As quoted in Alan Nasser, “New Deal Liberalism Writes Its Obituary,” <http://www.counterpunch.com/nasser09212009.html>.

[7] Jerome S. Kalur, Review of Andrew Kliman’s The Failure of Capitalist Production, <http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A1WTYY0ETLH4VQ/ref=cm_pdp_rev_more?ie=UTF8&sort_by=MostRecentReview#R2ZKCGGBY64VF3>.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Paul Krugman, “No, We Can’t? Or Won’t?” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/11/opinion/11krugman.html?_r=0.

[11] Peter Gowan, “The Crisis in the Heartland,” in M. Konings (ed.) The Great Credit Crash, London and New York: Verso, 2010.

[12] Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1, New York: International Publishers, 1967, p. 639.

[13] International Labor Organization (ILO), The Global Employment Challenge, Geneva, 2008; as cited in John Bellamy Foster, Robert W. McChesney and R. Jamil Jonna, “The Global Reserve Army of Labor and the New Imperialism,” http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27549.

[14] Robert Reich, “Restore the Basic Bargain,” <http://robertreich.org/post/13469691304>.

[15] Alan Nasser, “The Political Economy of Redistribution: Outsourcing Jobs, Offshoring Markets,” <http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/12/02/outsourcing-jobs-offshoring-markets/>.

[16] Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1, New York: International Publishers, 1967, p. 645.

Criticizing Israel is the third rail in American politics, the major media and academia.

Cynthia McKinney twice lost her congressional seat in 2002 and 2006. Supporting Palestinian rights was costly.

DePaul University denied Norman Finkelstein tenure for his outspokenness and books like “The Holocaust Industry.”

It did so despite calling him “a prolific scholar and an outstanding teacher.” It went further. It cancelled his classes.

It placed him on administrative leave. He became persona non grata. He resigned following his academic lynching.

Bard College fired Joel Kovel for writing “Overcoming Zionism” and comments like calling Israel “a machine for the manufacture of human rights abuses.”

The University of Ottawa fired internationally recognized physics and environmental science expert Denis Rancourt.

He was a tenured professor. His students loved him. It didn’t matter. Criticizing Israel cost him his job.

Injustice targeted other US and Canadian academics for the same reason. America’s First Amendment and Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms don’t matter.

Nor other rule of law principles. Or fairness. Or justice. Or other democratic values.

Dissent is an endangered species. Fundamental freedoms are fast disappearing.

Supporting Palestinian rights is verboten. Daring to criticize Israel virtually assures academic lynching. It’s a career-ender for professors deserving much better.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-champaign (UIUC) fired Steven Salaita. He was Arab-American Professor of American Indian Studies.

On August 6, Inside Higher Ed said his job offer was “revoked.” He was “informed by Chancellor Phyllis Wise that the appointment would not go to the university’s board, and that he did not have a job to come to in Illinois…”

At issue were his Twitter comments about Israel before and during Operation Protective Edge.

A knowledgable source said Salaita was fired. Documentation proved it. He resigned his Virginia Tech professorship.

Criticizing Israel cost him his job. UIUC at first remained silent.

On August 22, it shamelessly claimed Salaita’s firing was “not influenced in any way by his positions on the the conflict in the Middle East nor his criticism of Israel.”

UIUC Chancellor Phyllis Wise effectively attacked Salaita unjustly, saying:

“What we cannot and will not tolerate at the University of Illinois are personal and disrespectful words or actions that demean and abuse either viewpoints themselves or those who express them.”

“We have a particular duty to our students to ensure that they live in a community of scholarship that challenges their assumptions about the world but that also respects their rights as individuals.”

“As chancellor, it is my responsibility to ensure that all perspectives are welcome and that our discourse, regardless of subject matter or viewpoint, allows new concepts and differing points of view to be discussed in and outside the classroom in a scholarly, civil and productive manner.”

“A Jewish student, a Palestinian student, or any student of any faith or background must feel confident that personal views can be expressed and that philosophical disagreements with a faculty member can be debated in a civil, thoughtful and mutually respectful manner.”

“Most important, every student must know that every instructor recognizes and values that student as a human being.”

“If we have lost that, we have lost much more than our standing as a world-class institution of higher education.”

Salaita’s firing got over 3,000 scholars in numerous disciplines to boycott UIUC. They pledged not to visit Urbana-Champaign campus to lecture or attend conferences until he’s reinstated.

A general petition demanding reinstatement has over 16,000 signatures as of August 24. Salaita’s friends and colleagues began a supportive campaign, saying:

He “now has no job nor does his wife who quit her job in Virginia to support the family’s move, no personal home to live in, and no health insurance for their family, including their two year-old son.”

The Organizing Collective of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (USACBI) expressed outrage over his firing.

It called doing so “a blatant violation of (his) academic freedom and an insidious assault upon him and those who uphold the right of honest and ethical critique in the academy.”

“We are gravely concerned about this attack on a  leading scholar in Arab American studies and ethnic, indigenous, and American studies, whose brilliantly pathbreaking and highly prolific scholarship has put him at the forefront of these fields.”

USACBI called his firing “politically motivated.” It demanded “he be reinstated and allowed to continue with his academic pursuits and his teaching duties and that the university protect his rights to engage in political discourse on and off campus.”

UIUC’s American Studies Program faculty cast a vote of no confidence in Chancellor Wise.

On August 24, its web site said its “sentiment is based on Wise’s decision to effectively fire Prof. Steven Salaita, whose de facto hir(ing) had been properly vetted…and approved by the college through standard academic procedure.”

“This process culminated in the signing of a good-faith contract between Prof. Sailata and our college, and only awaited customary rubber-stamp approval by the UIUC Board of Trustees.”

“In clear disregard of basic principles of shared governance and unit autonomy, and without basic courtesy and respect for collegiality, Chancellor Wise did not consult American Indian Studies nor the college before making her decision.”

Her action is a clear First Amendment and academic freedom violation, AIS added.

On August 22, UIUC students staged a sit-in outside a Board of Trustees meeting. On Facebook, they demanded Salaita’s “immediate reinstatement as a tenured faculty member in the Department of American Indian Studies.”

“Full and fair compensation to Dr. Salaita for time missed during which he would otherwise have been working.”

“Immediate increased transparency in the faculty hiring process – as a public university. UIUC has the responsibility to make public all intended faculty changes as well as take public comment in regards to any change.”

A Tuesday follow-up action is planned. Expect others ahead. A supportstevensalaita.com web site was established.

“Fight Back!, it states.

“Help support Steven Salaita’s case against the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign for its unethical and unconstitutional firing of him only 3 weeks before his scheduled classes were to begin, for speaking out against war and violence on Twitter.”

Saliata was a tenured professor. He signed an October 2013 UIUC contract. He resigned his Virginia Tech position to do it.

Weeks before classes begin, he was told he no longer had a job. Among other reasons cited was a disingenuous claim about lacking Board of Trustees approval.

Interim College of Liberal Arts and Sciences dean, Brian Ross, wrote Salaita’s job offer letter, saying:

“The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers a wonderfully supportive community, and it has always taken a high interest in its newcomers.”

“I feel sure that your career can flourish here, and I hope earnestly that you will accept our invitation.”

On August 25, Mondoweiss headlined “Salaita’s hire set off fundraising alarm at U of Illinois, per emails to chancellor,” saying:

Wise “was lobbied by 70 pro-Israel folks, including donors, who were upset by Salaita’s comments on Twitter about Gaza.”

UIUC “fundraisers were alarmed and sought a meeting with Wise.”

Salaita was hired to teach American Indian Studies. No evidence suggests he’s anti-Semitic.

He criticizes Israel justifiably. His Twitter comments said nothing about Jews. They’re insightful, forthright and important. Examples include:

“Israel is a great example of how colonization impairs ethics and compels people to support shameful deeds in the name of atavistic ideals.”

“Hamas is the biggest red herring in American political discourse since Saddam’s ‘weapons of mass destruction.’ ”

“When will the attack on Gaza end? What is left for Israel to prove? Who is left for Israel to kill? This is the logic of genocide.”

“Hamas makes us do it! This logic isn’t new. American settlers used it frequently in slaughtering and displacing Natives.”

“Forget biting the hand. Israel just devoured Obama’s arm to the shoulder blade.”

“Pro Tip: when a majority of a state’s prime ministers were born in another country, that state is a settler colony.”

“Only Israel can murder around 300 children in the span of a few weeks and insist that it is the victim.”

Salaita is the latest academic lynching victim for criticizing Israel justifiably. He won’t be the last.

He deserves immediate reinstatement. An unequivocal apology from Chancellor Wise and Board of Trustee members is warranted.

He’s entitled to full compensation for pay and benefits lost. He merits more for pain and suffering.

Salaita has the courage of his convictions. He deserves universal support.

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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Africa and America: Why Ferguson is the Congo

August 26th, 2014 by BK Kumbi

As Africans, our eyes are often turned towards America because for some of us there is an illusion that attracts us – but for others the eye focuses on how the Black man is staged in the American reality.

For many Black Americans, as for the majority of Americans, Africa is a land of savages; and this idea has a particular resonance among the Afro-American population because it shows how they were taught to hate themselves through the figure of the so-called original man, one that is sub-human.

 

This elder came to Mike Brown’s funeral on Aug. 25 to demonstrate to the corporate media that the Black community in St. Louis supports the youth, who demand justice and demand to be seen as human beings. She and many others had to stay outside the church, which was filled to capacity with 4,500 mourners. Inside, speaker after speaker emphasized the humanity, the dignity of Michael Brown and all Black people seen by police as targets. – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report

This elder came to Mike Brown’s funeral on Aug. 25 to demonstrate to the corporate media that the Black community in St. Louis supports the youth, who demand justice and demand to be seen as human beings. She and many others had to stay outside the church, which was filled to capacity with 4,500 mourners. Inside, speaker after speaker emphasized the humanity, the dignity of Michael Brown and all Black people seen by police as targets. – Photo: JR Valrey, Block Report

However, when we look at things more closely, one has to ask whether there is a real difference in the way we are treated. Imperialist policies affecting African populations are the same as those applied to the Black population in the United States – precisely because the underlying principle is that the Black body shall be exploited alive or dead. It must generate profit.

Though Congolese women have suffered profoundly as the Congo is raped for its riches in natural resources, they do not see themselves as mere victims. They are well aware that the reason 6 million Blacks have been killed and many women raped is the lust for profit by white-owned multinational corporations.

 The Black body shall be exploited alive or dead. It must generate profit.

I come from a country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where more than 6 million people were murdered and where the killings continue so that the world benefits from the wealth of this country, especially from the coltan, a mineral used to make cell phones. It is also used to manufacture weapons that kill other Blacks thousands of miles away from my land.

Media coverage of this tragedy in the Congo is absent from the majority of the American channels. When it is presented, it is to demonstrate that there are Blacks who kill Blacks. There is no question raised about the people or the countries who arm those Blacks – and for what purpose. Instead, the corporate media prefer to broadcast stories on gang leaders of our region that the United States has hired to do the job and fuel the Black on Black killing theory at an international level.

When the media covers the tragedy in the Congo, it is to demonstrate that there are Blacks who kill Blacks. There is no question raised about the people or the countries who arm those Blacks – and for what purpose.

 What is striking here is how the story is structured – or the fact that often there is no narrative at all about this issue, just silence. What I want to point out here specifically is the question of how our bodies became objects of spectacle. While silence generally surrounds the Congolese tragedy, there is nevertheless one aspect of this conflict that is portrayed more than the others.

The issue of rape used as a weapon of war is the beloved subject of a certain American “intelligentsia” and it has helped raise the image of some American “celebrities.” The mutilated bodies of Congolese women have become an image that is made pornographic and that it is diffused freely under the banner of a feminist fight and the narrative of this tragedy is assumed by white feminists who actually fight for their own rights in a capitalist environment.

Patrice Lumumba

This is not done to help Congolese women. It is also done to spread the idea that this is a femicide and not a genocide. The story of Congolese women is a way to raise funds for these organizations to write and produce documentaries that will also generate money and – and this is perhaps the most important – it’s a way to reaffirm the idea that the Black man is a savage, a predator whose violence is atavistic, mad. He is therefore the sole instrument of the eradication of his own Black being.

Is this not also the narrative that is used to explain to Afro-Americans that they are the very instruments of their own annihilation and their own poverty? Is that not what is said when the corporate media uses false images to claim that Mike Brown had stolen something in a store and that was the reason for his death?

We all need to have our eyes open about the way we are treated and portrayed, and I say “we” because the image that is conveyed of the African man in Africa necessarily affects the way the Afro-American man is perceived.

For those who are looking at us, as if we were in a cage like Patrice Lumumba said, there is no difference between a Black African and an African-American. (Lumumba, the first democratically elected prime minister of the Congo, wrote in 1960, in his last letter to his wife before his assassination at age 35: “Dead, living, free or in prison on the orders of the colonialists, it is not I who counts. It is the Congo, it is our people for whom independence has been transformed into a cage where we are regarded from the outside.” – ed.)

 In the Congo, Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba noted shortly before his assassination, “independence has been transformed into a cage where we are regarded from the outside.”

We are the ones making this difference because we think that for the white man there are good Blacks and there are bad Blacks. We don’t look at ourselves through our own eyes but through the eyes of another person who has defined us as not human.

When Rep. John Lewis said that Ferguson is not the Congo,* he shows how he is very much inhabited by this idea. He shows that for him there are good and bad Negroes. When one really reflects on what is happening in Ferguson, one sees precisely that Ferguson is the Congo.

The lesson of this tragedy is how we must all rebuild our own histories, how we must teach our children to see their lives and the lives of those who look like them as valuable, how we must teach them that they are human beings and that they are part of this world even though some want to deny them this right.BK Kumbi

BK Kumbi is a Congolese historian and activist who lives in Geneva, Switzerland. She can be reached at [email protected].

*On Aug. 14, Congressman John Lewis, hero of the Civil Rights Movement, said “People have a right to protest. They have a right to dissent. They have a right to march in an orderly, peaceful, nonviolent fashion. Ferguson, Missouri, is not the Congo, not China, not Russia. We can do better.”

What do rigged corporate trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Treaty, an international climate agreement to be signed in 2015, have in common? They are both tools being pushed by the power elite to rip away our hopes for democracy and to commodify all things to monetize them for profit.

It is this drive by multinational corporations to patent and control even living beings such as plants and animals and to privatize even elements that are essential to life such as water which connects all human beings on the planet. We are in a global battle of the people versus the plutocrats and this battle has a ticking timer called the climate crisis.

 The global financial elites meet regularly to plan their strategy and tactics. If they can’t push their agenda through the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organization, they move to secret massive trade agreements. The Obama Administration is negotiating three such agreements right now: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TAFTA) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), those agreements are stalled thanks to a movement of movements coming together to stop Congress from giving Obama fast track trade promotion authority.

Similarly, in response the climate crisis, the United Nations has been involved in what is called the Conference of the Parties (COP) which is part of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Big corporations have taken over this process and turned it into a method of their relentless drive to plunder the planet and exploit its living beings knows no limits. It will take people power to apply the brakes.  Once the public understood the implications of the TPP the people created a movement of movements to stop it and the other trade agreement.

Now, with the Paris Treaty, a binding international climate agreement, set to be concluded in December of 2015, we must build a similarly unified movement that stops this rigged corporate agreement and puts in place real solutions to the climate crisis. We must understand that the climate change affects and connects all of us – the connection to climate change to every issue should be evident as the health of the planet will dominate the future. We must be as organized as the opposition to false solutions and the advocates for real solutions.

The United Nations Climate Summit in New York this September 23rd provides an opportunity to further build this unified movement in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of activists are planning to come to New York City for a march on September 21. In the days prior to that, the Global Climate Convergence in partnership with System Change not Climate Change will host a conference to discuss real solutions and obstacles to change, share skills and connect our sub-movements. This will be another step in the growing moving seeking real climate solutions in the face of the corruption and dysfunction of the United Nations and United States which have failed to address the climate crisis in meaningful ways.

Driven by profit, not real solutions

The United Nations’ statements on the climate crisis and the Obama administration’s rhetoric about its climate strategy make it sound like real actions are being taken to mitigate climate change. But the reality is that both the United Nations and the US government are acting on behalf of the industries that are vying to profit from the climate crisis even as they make it worse.

The UNFCCC began in 1992 as an international treaty to coordinate action around climate change. It is responsible for the Kyoto Protocol which is set to expire in 2020. The UNFCCC currently includes 195 member states which make decisions through the COP. The COP usually meets yearly, although currently it is meeting more frequently to prepare for the Paris Treaty which will be discussed at the COP 21 in December, 2015.

Sounds great, right? Wrong. According to Anne Petermann of the Global Justice Ecology Project which sends observers to the COP meetings and provides opportunities for frontline groups to get media attention for their work, the COP meetings are really just industry trade shows. She writes: “They block any forward process in stopping catastrophic climate change while creating new and diabolical schemes for making money off of false solutions.” Petermann refers to the UNFCCC as the “World Carbon Trading Organization” and describes it as a body that promotes neoliberal economic models as do the World Bank and World Trade Organization.

Friends of the Earth describes the COP process as captured by corporate power to the extent that there are corporate logos everywhere. At the COP 19 in Poland, a concurrent meeting was held by the World Coal Association to promote the use of coal and false solutions like ‘clean coal.’he extent that there are corporate logos everywhere.

A major false solution adopted at the COP 19 meeting in Warsaw, Poland is REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). While on the surface, REDD+ sounds like a positive step by paying countries to leave their forests intact, in reality, Petermann writes that local communities and advocates see REDD+ “as a Trojan Horse that will lead to enclosure of forests, erosion of rights, and big loopholes for polluting industries.”

 In addition to false solutions, the COP meetings are becoming increasingly restrictive and repressive. Like the WTO, they take place behind barriers where access and activity are tightly controlled. There is no tolerance of dissent even as civil society sees the COP trading away the future of humanity and the planet as well as delaying real solutions.

 The same things are happening within the United States. Although the Obama Administration claims to take the climate crisis seriously, their actions are actually making it worse. The Administration is promoting false and dirty solutions such as methane (a potent Greenhouse Gas euphemistically called ‘natural’) gas and nuclear energy and taking ineffective steps to curtail emissions. Obama’s ‘all of the above’ energy strategy allows for carbon polluting and nuclear energy to continue while investing inadequately in efficient use of energy, as well as development of solar, wind, tidal and other sustainable energy solutions. Obama’s Office of Management and Budget has also been intervening to weaken pollution standards.

Treaties like the TPP and TAFTA  being negotiation by Obama will increase fracking and the export of coal, oil and gas. The US is in preparation to excavate land for tar sands extraction in Utah and Alabama even though that will permanently decimate the land and harm local communities while pouring more carbon into the air. The administration has approved the southern half of the Keystone Pipeline which is bringing tar sands from Alberta, Canada to the Gulf of Mexico for processing and export. And the Obama Administration has approved seismic testing for off-shore oil drilling even though the testing will maim and kill marine mammals and the drilling will set the stage for more disasters like the BP leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

The recent EPA rules proposed by Obama which have been applauded by Big Green non-profits are totally inadequate. Ken Ward writes in Truthout that “the emissions scheme is near-to-useless as policy and comes embedded in a pro-gas and oil plan….” And Sean Sweeney of the new Trade Unions for Energy Democracy reports that progress in implementing sustainable energy is also inadequate. At a time when the climate crisis is here and we must mobilize quickly to mitigate and adapt to it, drastic and coordinated actions are necessary.

It’s all connected

This is where the need for a ‘movement of movements’ to stop the Paris Treaty from being a boon to industry and a death blow for all living things comes in. There are solutions to the climate crisis, but like all other real solutions they will have to come from organized and mobilized people at the grassroots level.

Over the last several decades, there has been growing awareness of the climate crisis but somehow it was relegated to being an environmental issue and was ignored by groups working on other issues. This was a mistake and it’s time to correct it. The climate crisis has its roots in the same soil as all of the other crises we face – corporate domination of public policy and promotion of neo-liberal economic models that seek to own and enclose all things, goods and services for profit despite the harm this causes to people and the planet.

The climate crisis affects everything we care about beginning with the water we drink and the food we eat. According to the National Climate Assessment Report of 2014, water shortages are expected to worsen and the quality of water will be diminished. Cities particularly in the Southwest are draining their aquifers at unsustainable levels. Combined with the push to privatize municipal water, we can expect the price of water to rise and public access to decrease. Water shutoffs like we are seeing in Detroit will become more widespread. And climate change will lead to more crop failures, especially if Big Ag continues to dominate the food system and employ unsustainable practices that strip the soil of resiliency and plant mono-crops.

The climate crisis is already affecting human health from injuries and deaths due to extreme weather events, poor air quality and greater spread of infectious diseases. In addition, the Climate Report states that the climate crisis will lead to more stress and anxiety. The communities that are and will be most affected are those with fewer resources and political power – low income and people of color including Indigenous communities.

The assault on our civil liberties and increasing militarization are connected to the climate crisis. The Pentagon is studying the effects of climate change on civil unrest including how to predict and control such unrest. No doubt, we are seeing some of their tactics unfold in Ferguson, MO in the wake of the police killing of Michael Brown. From police in full military attire in heavily armored vehicles shooting tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets at demonstrators to undermining the right to peaceful protest and press freedom.

The NSA, its allies and private corporations are engaged in widespread spying on people in the US, especially activists. This spying can be used to control the population. This year through the Pentagon’s Minerva Program, experiments were conducted to manipulate the public through social media. And investigative reporter Dr. Nafeez Ahmed recently exposed new tools that are being developed to track and possibly kill activists.

Military conflicts are largely driven by access to dwindling fossil fuel reserves and other resources. Rather than promoting the development of sustainable energy sources which would be produced locally and would reduce Greenhouse Gases, Big Oil’s influence is fueling military escalation in Gaza, Iraq and Ukraine. We can expect future wars over water and arable land.

Project Censored reports that the US military is the biggest polluter on the planet through its “uninhibited use of fossil fuels, massive creation of greenhouse gases, and extensive release of radioactive and chemical contaminants into the air, water, and soil.” The US military also consumes the greatest portion of our federal spending, money that would create more jobs and be put to better use if it was spent on building a truly green economy.

This is just a surface examination of the ways in which these issues are related to the climate crisis. Perhaps the greatest connector of all is that if we don’t act now to take real action to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, our future existence on this planet is threatened.

The climate convergence

The future is literally in our hands. Left unchecked, the global financial elite blinded by greed will take full control.  The people must organize and put forward real solutions while preventing big business interests from taking advantage of and worsening the climate crisis. Popular Resistance is supporting the New York City march and will form a contingent marching with the global climate convergence (join us, here).

And, we have been working with other groups to develop the Global Climate Convergence which puts people, planet and peace over profit. The objective of the Convergence is to build and strengthen a movement that addresses the root causes of the climate crises; a social-economic system that values profits over destruction of the ecology of the planet. As the corporate captured UN proposes false solutions like carbon trading and sets meager greenhouse reduction targets, we will show the world what tackling global warming from the bottom up looks like. To get more information on this event see here.

At the Copenhagen climate conference in December 2009, the people marched under a massive banner that read:

Another World Is Possible
Another World Is Coming
Another World Is Reality

The truth of that banner can be made real as together we write the future history of humankind. We do not underestimate the forces aligned against the transformation that is a necessity, but nor do we underestimate the power of a mobilized people in times of crisis. This September is another step in the march to a new reality.

Join us at the People’s Climate March New York City this September.

This article is produced by Popular Resistance in conjunction with AlterNet.  It is a weekly review of the activities of the resistance movement.

Follow us on twitter @PopResistance and sign up for our daily news summary here.

Kevin Zeese, JD and Margaret Flowers, MD are organizers of PopularResistance.org; they co-direct It’s Our Economy and co-host Clearing the FOG.

Some of the original detainees jailed at the Guantanamo Bay prison, as put on display by the U.S. military.

The U.S. news media regularly engages in selective outrage, piously denouncing some adversary for violating international law yet hypocritically silent when worse abuses are committed by the U.S. or allied governments, as the New York Times has shown again.

The New York Times has taken deep umbrage over an unseemly parade staged by ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine featuring captured Ukrainian soldiers. The Times noted that the Geneva Conventions prohibit humiliation of POWs, surely a valid point.

But the Times – in its profoundly biased coverage of the Ukraine crisis – apparently feels that other aspects of this nasty civil war are less newsworthy, such as the Kiev government’s bombardment of eastern Ukrainian cities sending the death toll into the thousands, including children and other non-combatants. Also downplayed has been Kiev’s dispatch of neo-Nazi storm troopers to spearhead the urban combat in ethnic Russian towns and cities in the east.

When the Times finally noticed this street-fighting role of neo-Nazi militias, that remarkable fact – the first time armed Nazis were dispatched by any government to kill people in Europe since World War II – was consigned to the last three paragraphs of a long article on a different topic, essentially a throwaway reference.

Similarly, the Kiev regime’s artillery fire on residential areas – killing many civilians and, over the weekend, damaging a hospital – has been treated by the Times as a minor afterthought. But Times’ readers are supposed to get worked up over the tasteless demonstration in Donetsk, all the better to justify more killing of ethnic Russians.

Though no one was killed or injured during Sunday’s anti-Ukrainian march – and rebel troops protected the captured soldiers from angry citizens – the Times led its Ukraine coverage on Monday with the humiliation of the POWs. The article by Andrew E. Kramer and Andrew Higgins made a point of contrasting the ugly scene in Donetsk with more orderly celebrations of Ukrainian independence elsewhere. The story began:

“On a day when Ukrainians celebrated their independence from the Soviet Union with parades and speeches, pro-Russia separatists in the eastern part of the country staged a grim counter-spectacle: a parade that mocked the national army and celebrated the deaths and imprisonment of its soldiers.

“Leading the procession was an attractive young blond woman carrying an assault rifle, followed by several dozen captured Ukrainian soldiers, filthy, bruised and unkempt, their heads shaved, wearing fetid camouflage uniforms and looking down at their feet.

“Onlookers shouted that the men should be shot, and pelted the prisoners with empty beer bottles, eggs and tomatoes as they stumbled down Artyomovsk Street, Donetsk’s main thoroughfare. … People in the crowd shouted ‘fascists!’ and ‘perverts!’ and separatist fighters held back a man who tried to punch a prisoner.”

The Times then noted: “The Geneva Conventions’ rules for treating prisoners of war prohibit parading them in public, but the treatment of the wounded, disheveled prisoners seemed to offend few of those watching, who in any case had turned out for the promise of seeing a ghoulish spectacle. ‘Shoot them!’ one woman yelled.”

Kiev’s Abuses

While it’s certainly true that POWs shouldn’t be mistreated, it should be at least equally newsworthy when civilians, including children, are being killed by indiscriminate artillery fire directed into cities – or when right-wing storm troopers under Nazi banners are attacking and occupying eastern Ukrainian cities and towns. But the Times’ bias in favor of the Kiev regime has been most obvious in the newspaper’s selective outrage.

At the start of the crisis last winter, the Times sided with the “pro-democracy” demonstrators in Kiev’s Maidan square as they sought to topple democratically elected President Viktor Yanukovych, who had rebuffed an association agreement with the European Union that included harsh austerity measures prescribed by the International Monetary Fund. Yanukovych opted for a more generous offer from Russia of a $15 billion loan.

Along with the entire U.S. mainstream media, the Times cheered on the violent overthrow of Yanukovych on Feb. 22 and downplayed the crucial role of well-organized neo-Nazi militias that surged to the front of the Maidan protests in the final violent days. Then, with Yanukovych out and a new coup regime in, led by U.S. hand-picked Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the IMF austerity plan waspromptly approved.

Since then, the Times has behaved as essentially a propaganda organ for the new regime in Kiev and for the State Department, pushing “themes” blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for the crisis. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine, Though the US ‘Looking Glass.’”]

Some of the most egregious New York Times reporting has been its slanted and erroneous summations of the Ukraine narrative. For instance, immediately after the violent coup (from Feb. 20-22), it was reported that among the 80 people killed were more than a dozen police officers. But, as the Times’ pro-coup sympathies hardened, the storyline changed to: “More than 80 protesters were shot to death by the police as an uprising spiraled out of control in mid-February.” [NYT, March 5]

Both the dead police and the murky circumstances surrounding the sniper fire that inflicted many of the casualties simply disappeared from the Times’ narrative. It became flat fact: evil “pro-Yanukovych” police gunned down innocent “pro-democracy” demonstrators.

Whose Life Matters

Just as the deaths of those early demonstrators were played up by the Times – and even spun to create a more black-and-white narrative – the more recent deaths of thousands of ethnic Russians have been played down. And, the anger of eastern Ukrainians over the brutal assaults on their cities – as displayed in Sunday’s Donetsk demonstration – is then used by the Times to, in effect, justify Kiev’s continued “anti-terrorist” operation. In other words, it seems that the Times places a greater value on the lives of the Maidan demonstrators in Kiev than the ethnic Russians in the east.

The Times also displayed this bias after dozens of ethnic Russian protesters were killed by arson and other violence in Ukraine’s southern port city of Odessa on May 2. The victims had taken refuge in a trade union building after a clash with a pro-Kiev mob.

Even the neocon-dominated Washington Post led its editions with the story of “Dozens killed in Ukraine fighting” and described the fatal incident this way:  “Friday evening, a pro-Ukrainian mob attacked a camp where the pro-Russian supporters had pitched tents, forcing them to flee to a nearby government building, a witness said. The mob then threw gasoline bombs into the building. Police said 31 people were killed when they choked on smoke or jumped out of windows. [The death toll later grew.]

“Asked who had thrown the Molotov cocktails, pro-Ukrainian activist Diana Berg said, ‘Our people – but now they are helping them [the survivors] escape the building.’” [In actuality, some of the survivors who jumped from windows were beaten by the pro-Kiev mob.]

By contrast, here is how the New York Times reported the event as part of a story by C.J. Chivers and Noah Sneider which focused on the successes of the pro-coup armed forces in overrunning some eastern Ukrainian rebel positions.

“Violence also erupted Friday in the previously calmer port city of Odessa, on the Black Sea, where dozens of people died in a fire related to clashes that broke out between protesters holding a march for Ukrainian unity and pro-Russian activists. The fighting itself left four dead and 12 wounded, Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said. Ukrainian and Russian news media showed images of buildings and debris burning, fire bombs being thrown and men armed with pistols.”

Note how the Times evades placing any responsibility on the pro-coup mob for trying to burn alive the “pro-Russian activists” who had sought refuge in the building. From reading the Times, you wouldn’t know who had died and who had set the fire.

Embarrassing Lapses

In the Times’ haste to perform its propaganda function, there also have been some notable journalistic embarrassments such as the Times’ front-page story touting photographs that supposedly showed Russian special forces in Russia and then the same soldiers in eastern Ukraine, allegedly proving that the popular resistance to the coup regime was simply clumsily disguised Russian aggression.

Any serious journalist would have recognized the holes in the story – since it wasn’t clear where the photos were taken or whether the blurry images were even the same people – but that didn’t bother the Times, which led with the scoop. However, only two days later, the scoop blew up when it turned out that a key photo – supposedly showing a group of soldiers in Russia who later appeared in eastern Ukraine – was actually taken in Ukraine, destroying the premise of the entire story.

There’s also the issue of U.S. selectivity in defending the principle of not parading or otherwise humiliating POWs. That issue arose last decade during the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq when the U.S. news media showed little outrage over the treatment of “war on terror” captives who were displayed in humiliating postures at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, or when Iraqi soldiers were paraded before U.S. cameras to demonstrate American military success in Iraq.

By contrast, there was a firestorm during the early days of the U.S. invasion of Iraq when five U.S. POWs were questioned by Iraqi television reporters in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya.

U.S. officials immediately denounced the brief televised interviews with the prisoners as a violation of the Geneva Conventions, a charge that was repeated over and over by U.S. television networks. “It’s illegal to do things to POWs that are humiliating to those prisoners,” declared Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Yet, the mainstream U.S. media stayed silent about the obvious inconsistency between its outrage over the footage of the American soldiers and the U.S. media’s decision only a few days earlier to run repeated clips of Iraqis identified as prisoners of war.

In that case, Iraqi POWs were paraded before U.S. cameras as “proof” that Iraqi resistance was crumbling. Some of the scenes showed Iraqi POWs forced at gunpoint to kneel down with their hands behind their heads as they were patted down by U.S. soldiers. Yet neither U.S. officials nor U.S. reporters covering the war for the major news networks observed how those scenes might be a violation of international law.

Nor did the U.S. media see fit to remind viewers how President George W. Bush had stripped prisoners of war captured in Afghanistan of their rights under the Geneva Conventions. Bush ordered hundreds of captives from Afghanistan to be put in tiny outdoor cages at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay.

The prisoners were shaved bald and forced to kneel down with their eyes, ears and mouths covered to deprive them of their senses. The shackled prisoners were filmed being carried on stretchers to interrogation sessions. Their humiliation was broadcast for all the world to see but the treatment was accepted by the U.S. press as just fine. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “International Law a la Carte.”]

That selective outrage was on display again on Monday in the New York Times.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

Salafis are the most violent, crazed fundamentalist Muslims. For example, both ISIS and Al Qaeda are Salafis.

ISIS and other salafi terrorists represent a very small percentage of Muslims. PBS estimates Salafi jihadists constitute less than 0.5 percent of the world’s 1.9 billion Muslims (i.e., less than 10 million).

As we’ve been warning for more than a year – long before the old crazies re-branded as “ISIS”  – Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other American allies have been supporting the crazed extremists who are persecuting Christians.

Indeed, the majority of the world’s Salafis are from Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia. Salafis make up:

  • 46.87% of Qatar
  • 44.8% of the United Arab Emirates
  • 22.9% of Saudis
  • 5.7% of Bahrainis
  • 2.17% of Kuwaitis

These are the closest allies of the U.S. in the Middle East. In other words, we are backing the most violent, extremist Muslims in the world … and overthrowing the more moderate Arabs.

No strings attached? Yeah, right. Here’s a rundown of some of the major ways that international loans are used to control entire populations.

Those seeking dominance wield control in modern society largely through the manipulation of finance and economics. Power over entire countries comes not only through the debts themselves, but through the conditionalities tied to the financial agreement, as is done regularly by the IMF, World Bank and other aid programs. Notoriously, many locales – free in name – have been brought under the yoke of international domination, altering the shape of its development and its population.

Here’s a look at how the dangerous agendas tied to these loans have been used to takeover regions around the world for the benefits of the ruling global corporations.

From: Truthstream News #2: How the Globalists Are Raping Africa (and the Rest of the World, Too):

One overt example comes from John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, who claims that he was as an international agent of influence, to convinced leaders of developing nations to accept enormous development loans from institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF, USAID and others. These loans then gave leverage that effectively forced leaders to capitulate to political pressure and outside meddling. According to Perkins, these economic hitmen use “extortion, sex and murder” as well as the manipulation of documents, elections or official data to tilt the outcome desired by the lenders.

GMO food aid

In 2002, several needy nations in southern Africa – including Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique – controversially rejected food aid, despite being in the middle of a famine, because it was comprised of genetically modified crop staples. Leaders in these countries questioned the safety of biotech foods, expressed suspicions about hidden risks as well as contamination. The diplomatic row stirred emotions, with one supposedly anonymous USAID official telling the Africans “beggars can’t be choosers.” But should even the poorest nations be forced to accept food they consider tainted?

In U.S. occupied Iraq, an agricultural program was instituted under Paul Bremer’s 100 Orders that essentially forced farmer’s to use registered seeds controlled by biotech. It mandated a policy of Plant Variety Protection (PVP) that clearly favored corporate giants like Syngenta and Monsanto, while making it difficult or impossible to use heirloom seeds traditionally saved by farmers since the early days of the Fertile Crescent – threatening the biodiversity and heritage of the region’s rich agricultural history.

This was complicated by the Inma Agribusiness Program, overseen by USAID and operated by members of Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture of the Texas A&M System, who implemented new CAFO lots (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) to bring red meat cattle industries to the war torn nation, along with new fisheries and other mass produced food facilities. Monocrops of corn and soy were raised in Iraq to feed these livestock, much of which was genetically modified. USAID program guides (dated 2007) even advised Iraqi farmers on the use of Syngenta brand pesticides.

Economic shock therapy

Shock therapy was implemented on various economies through Latin America, Russia and Eastern Europe under the banner of neo-liberalization, where sudden shifts to a market economy caused severe disruption and destabilization in the lives of the poorest.

According to Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, the hallmarks of economic Shock Therapy were implemented under warped, hyper-capitalism where transitioning markets were effectively pirate-ized (rather than privatized). Actions included “structurally adjusted mass-privatizations, government deregulation, unrestricted free market access for foreign corporations, and deep cuts in social spending with repressive laws, harsh crackdowns and torture.”

Her colleague, Nobel Prize winner in economics, Joseph Stiglitz, who has held top positions at the World Bank, said:

There was another kind of shock therapy, which was a dramatic change in society, changing from a socialist economy, a communist economy, into a market economy by overnight privatizing, liberalizing, changing the rules of the game overnight rather than the gradual approach of changing one thing after another.

You had asset stripping. You had the undermining of the basic social fabric of society. You didn’t have growth; you had decline. You had increase in poverty rather than the fruits that capitalism was supposed to bring.

For Argentina, in the late ’90s and early 2000s, it was hyper-inflationary debt, exacerbated by sharply increased rates by the Federal Reserve, at a time when wage drops led to government revenue drops and subsequent debt shortfalls. This was all complicated by IMF loans and their associated agenda.

IMF riots

Greece: The consequences of the 2008 global economic crisis forced governments to bailout banks over risky loans and other side effects; many countries were devastated, with some of the worst fell on Greece, which not only threatened to drag down the rest of Europe’s economy with it, but led toviolent unrest, new draconian leadership, and austerity, heavy debt and pushbacks in the average living standard for the population. IMF agreements controversially set in place job cuts, particularly in the public sector, a drop in the minimum wage and severe slashing to the budget for retirement and other benefits, all of which triggered shock and anger in the society.

Debt traps for struggling countries

Jamaica + IMF Debt: The documentary Life + Debt profiled Jamaica’s long struggle to overcome a first, a struggling developing economy, then sagging debt under an IMF loan, and further by the crippling conditions under the loan that forced it to import food, adjust agriculture to global preferences while out pricing Jamaica farmers, creating factory jobs with sweatshop conditions and even importing pools of cheap Chinese labor to the island’s semi-autonomous “Free Trade Zone.”

The effects of this crushing debt and its draconian influence over development has stunted opportunity for ordinary people in Jamaica for decades to come. Yet, these patterns of exploitation mirror the loans given to developing countries across the globe.

Read more: The Center for Economic and Policy Research – The Multilateral Debt Trap in Jamaica

Privatizing water, putting a price on life

Bolivia 2000Protests and riots resulted in the major metropolitan area of Cochabamba as a result of IMF and World Bank orders to privatize the municipal water supply. A contract was handed over to the firm Aguas del Tunari (owned in part by the San Francisco-based contractor Bechtel) who denied people access to water, and even reportedly used militarized riot police to prevent the collection of rain water during its harsh transition to a (corporatized and captured) market economy.

Even after immense backlash, the World Bank supported corporate privatization of the water, stating that “no subsidies should be given to ameliorate the increase in water tariffs in Cochabamba” also stating that “poor governments are often too plagued by local corruption and too ill equipped to run public water systems efficiently. …[and that the use of private corporations] opens the door to needed investment and skilled management. Aguas del Tunari was eventually forced to give up and leave the country.

Spread of disease during disaster relief

Haiti – Post-earthquake relief in 2010 by international organizations led by UN peacekeepers resulted in the spread of cholera to Haitian residents, killing thousands. Vengeful and suspicious of the source, lynchmobs killed Voodoo priests and angrily protested the United Nationsencampments, casting blame on these sources. A scientific investigation indeed proved that a UN camp had supposedly-unintentionally spread the disease through a contamination wastewater source, resulting in lawsuits. As of April 2014, the U.N. is still struggling to contain the spread of cholera, making for a volatile destructive force in the already poverty stricken and disaster ravaged island nation.

In wake of polio vaccine, 47,500 cases of non-polio paralysis

Pakistan, India and Polio Vaccines – Despite the fact that the World Health Organization recorded no new cases of polio in India for 2012, signaling its rapid disappearance as a major threat, the private foundations led by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation were aggressively vaccinating millions upon millions of children in India and Pakistan.

Doctors Pulliyel and Vashisht conducted a study finding that in 2012 – with no cases of polio –approximately 47,500 children were diagnosed with non-polio acute flaccid paralysis (NPAFP), which is twice as deadly as polio, in the areas where the oral polio vaccine was administered.

Suspicion, backlash against vaccines: Beware of those bearing gifts

With distrust and concerns about Western-led vaccination efforts in Pakistan following revelations that U.S. intelligence used a “fake vaccination program” in a sting to “hunt Osama bin Laden,”Pakistan Taliban groups were blamed for killing several vaccine workers and bombing vaccination vans in 2012.

In 2013, at least 9 vaccine workers were shot in Nigeria. These deaths closely followed reports thatat least 40-50 children were paralyzed in Chad, Africa from Gates-foundation backed Meningitis shots in late 2012.

Covert infertility from vaccines?

1994-96 Philippines: Tetanus vaccines supplied by a World Health Organization-sponsored vaccine effort were found to be tainted with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), correlating with numerous reports of terminated pregnancies and spontaneous abortions. Necessary for a healthy pregnancy, hCG becomes an anti-fertility agent when “carried” by the tetanus vaccine, which produces antibodies against hCG when tetanus antibodies are also produced.

The BBC reported in 1995:

Women should have been told that the injection would cause miscarriage and, in the end, infertility. The Department of Health should have asked beforehand, so that only those who didn’t want to have children had the injection. I really hope and pray to God that I will still have a baby and get a normal pregnancy. And I am still hopeful that the Department of Heath will find an antidote to the antibodies as well.

It during the mid-1990s that an anti-fertility vaccine for women was announced that used human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) growth hormone in a tetanus vaccine to trigger an immunoresponse against the pregnancy. As Jurriaan Maessan uncovered, “The work on LHRH and HCG vaccines was supported by research grants of The Rockefeller Foundation.”

Food as a weapon of depopulation

In 1974, Henry Kissinger issued the then-secret NSSM 200, a National Security Memo identifying 13 key countries where the use of “food as a weapon” was desired to contain overpopulation (supposedly a top threat to U.S. national security). India was at the top of the list.

Food-for-coercive sterilization scandals: India’s great “emergency”

India: Food aid delivered to India through USAID since at least the Johnson Administration has included population control and family planning efforts.

This pressure peaked during the 1975-77 “Emergency” under Indira Gandhi where the government, backed by international aid organizations, forcibly sterilized more than 8.3 million low caste Indians – primarily women, but also many men – in notorious medical camps. Included in this horror, are reports of systematic abuse, with incentives for turning people in for sterilization and even grabbing people off the street. These efforts were led by Indira’s son Sanjay Gandhi (incidentally, these leaders were from the Nehru family and not related to India’s founding father Mohatma Gandhi, but used his name in the quest for power).

Please watch Melissa Melton’s intensely researched report on coercive population control measures in India, using “food [and other incentives] as a weapon.”

Further Reading: 

Aaron Dykes is a co-founder of TruthstreamMedia.com, where this first appeared. As a writer, researcher and video producer who has worked on numerous documentaries and investigative reports, he uses history as a guide to decode current events, uncover obscure agendas and contrast them with the dignity afforded individuals as recognized in documents like the Bill of Rights.

A Japanese child in the area affected by the Fukushima meltdown has her thyroid check. Photo credit: Fukushima-Diary.com

The impact of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear reactor meltdown on the region’s young people is starting to add up.

104 of the area’s 300,000 young people who were under 18 at the time of the disaster have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shinbun reportedyesterday. This form of cancer has been linked to radiation exposure.

But, government officials in Fukushima say they do not believe the cases of thyroid gland cancer diagnosed or suspected in the 104 young people are linked to the 2011 nuclear accident.

It helps their denial that experts disagree on whether these cases of thyroid cancer can be traced back to the meltdown, which released radiation over a large area. While the slow-developing cancer only appeared in young people four years after the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown in Ukraine, radiation biology professor Yoshio Hosoi told The Asahi Shinbun that better tests allow earlier diagnoses.

“Many people are being diagnosed with cancer at this time, thanks to the high-precision tests,” he said. “We must continue closely examining the people’s health in order to determine the impact of radiation exposure on causing thyroid tumors.”

Whatever the government believes at this time, scientists and public health experts are calling for ongoing studies.

The Ashai Shinbun reports:

Hokuto Hoshi, who chairs a panel that discusses matters related to the prefectural survey on the health impact from radiation on Fukushima’s residents, said the panel’s subcommittee will soon analyze the test results to determine the impact of the accident on the thyroid tumor rate. The prefecture also plans to continue medical checkups on residents in the prefecture and use the test results as a basis for comparison in the future, prefectural officials said.

“The rising number of thyroid cancer cases in Fukushima area children exposed to the meltdown is disturbing,” says Joseph Mangano MPH MBA, executive director of the Radiation and Public Health Project. “The 104 cases either confirmed or very likely to be confirmed is far greater than the expected number of seven for a population of children that size over a three year period. Thyroid cancer is only one of the many diseases whose risk increases after a meltdown, and researchers must conduct studies, both in Japan and other affected nations.”

The full extent of the risk from exposure to very high levels of radiation exposure is unknown. The high level of secrecy and denial over those impacts followed both the Chernobyl meltdown and the 1979 Three Mile Island  meltdown in Pennsylvania made the true human cost of the disasters hard to map.

“The massive releases of Iodine 131 spewed out by Fukushima guarantee a skyrocketing thyroid cancer rate among the children in the region,” says Harvey Wasserman, editor of Nukefree.org and author of SOLARTOPIA! “A parallel tragedy has been unfolding at Chernobyl for nearly 30 years, and at Three Mile Island since 1979. There is no doubt people—especially children—have been maimed and killed by these releases. But the nuclear industry has been very good at covering them up. Hopefully at Fukushima independent researchers can tell us the real story.”

Leszek Miller, former Prime Minister of Poland (2001-2004) and leader of the Democratic Left Alliance

In the recent weeks, the EU and Russia have enacted economic sanctions against each other as a result of the Ukrainian crisis. The measures taken by Russia in response to European restrictions have directly affected Poland, one of the biggest apple suppliers in Europe, cutting it off the Russian market.

Prominent Polish politician and the leader of the Democratic Left Alliance, Leszek Miller, told a RIA Novosti Leonid Sviridov correspondent in Warsaw what he thinks about the situation in the south-east of Ukraine, Polish policy towards Russia, Polish “hawks” and wise “owls”, Polish apples that now have to be throw away and the Ukrainian Right Sector movement.

Mr. Miller! Polish officials have repeatedly hinted at for several months and now they speak straightforward about forthcoming Polish aggression against Russia. Don’t you think it’s absurd?

Leszek Miller: Poland has more than those politicians and publicists who think that Russia threatens their country with aggression. Poland is a member state of EU and NATO. I can’t see any basis for such allegations.

Do you know why a Polish representative did not attend the recent talks in Berlin on resolving the Ukrainian crisis?

Leszek Miller: When Polish officials were told that Polish foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski had not been invited for the diplomacy chiefs meeting in Berlin, I came to the conclusion that the reason was the situation with Polish eavesdropping and Sikorski’s comments about US. But now, who can be sure that Sikorski tells the truth and that he speaks what’s on his mind after that incident with Americans? However, the Polish foreign ministry spokesman quickly undermined my concerns. He explained that no one intended to offend or humiliate Poland and it’s simply a talk – between diplomacy chiefs of Germany, Ukraine, France and Russia. It has also emerged that Poland has not commented on the format of talks and the situation beyond Poland’s eastern border in Ukraine. I think it was the last chance for Poland and the current Polish government to seriously think about our policy. This is further evidence that the statements made by Polish officials, who are commenting on the dramatic conflict in the east of Ukraine, should be more modest and calm. I will say this: Warsaw should have fewer hawks, and more wise owls and starlings. We need to tone down anti-Russian rhetoric against Polish MEP [Minister of European Parliament] Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, coming from the ruling Civic Platform party and Prime Minister Donald Tusk, and we need more balance and understanding of the situation from Stanislaw Ciosek, Poland’s former ambassador to the USSR and Russia from 1989-1996.

But Poland has always played the role of Ukrainian ambassador to Europe, with the phrase, “officials in Warsaw know very well what is best for Kiev…”

Leszek Miller: Warsaw naively believed it was a major player in this game, and obviously overestimated its own role in Ukraine, and now Warsaw looks grotesque in the eyes of the international community. It’s a pity that recent negotiations on the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis took place in Berlin, not Warsaw. Warsaw would be the ideal place for the dialogue, because Poland is the only EU member state that borders Russia and Ukraine. But in order to hold this kind of meeting in Warsaw, we should really be peacemakers and not party to the conflict. Unfortunately, persistent efforts by Poland’s right-wing party in Kiev, Maidan, led to Poland being ignored and pushed aside on an issue that is vitally important to it I would like to recall that Poland is not one of the parties involved in the Ukrainian conflict. Despite that the economic consequences for Poland are already destructive.

Do you mean Russia’s embargo in response to EU’s sanctions?

Leszek Miller: Yes, I have a feeling that Tusk’s government are being pressed down by hundreds of tons of Polish apples that are not allowed for export to Russia now. The pressed Tusk doesn’t know how to deal with this situation.

All the major Polish media took an active anti-Russian stance. You just turn on a TV…

Leszek Miller: It’s true. If a Polish politician or a publicist have an opinion different from the official one, he or she has a little chance to appear on TV or radio. The Russian threat and insisting on forcing a narrative of Russia’s inevitable attack on Poland has become a steady element of any political debate. All the more it is strange because it puts in doubt Poland’s membership in NATO.

Mr. Miller, you personally know Ukraine very well. I think you know it even better than Russia. How can we stop the war?

Leszek Miller: There are 8 million Russians living in Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine are fated to live together. Only Russians and Ukrainians themselves can agree and arrange their living. It’s needed to do everything to realize a ceasefire as soon as possible, because women and children are dying and horrifying crimes against civilians are being carried out. The south-east if Ukraine is on fire! People are losing everything they’ve built during their lives. There is no medicine, no water and no food. It’s a horrible humanitarian disaster. Actions are needed to stop this fratricidal war. Particularly Poland must help in reconciliation and provide humanitarian aid. I’m totally convinced that the only way to resolve this crisis is political. It’s impossible to resolve this conflict in a military way.

You’ve been to Ukraine for many times representing the office of the Polish prime-minister…

Leszek Miller: Yes. I’ve been to Kiev and Donetsk. I remember a beautiful leafy city of Donetsk, where matches of UEFA European Championship were held in 2012. The current events in the eastern Ukraine seem impossible, unreal! There is one thing we shamefully “forget” about here in Europe. And it’s the internal situation in Ukraine. Kiev has formally elected officials – a parliament, a government, a prime minister, and a president. At the same time the leader of the most radical, nationalist, openly fascistic Right Sector movement, Dmytro Yarosh, is demanding the authorities release all of his imprisoned men within 48 hours and return their confiscated weapons, threatening to withdraw Right Sector battalions from the east of Ukraine and march on Kiev. One of these battalions has recruited right-wing nationalists from several European countries that deem the European Union the same enemy as Russia. Dmytro Yarosh did not have to wait for 48 hours, the Ukrainian government immediately solved the issue. Yarosh happily announced that “our brothers have been freed.” All of this means that it is not Right Sector that is afraid of the Ukrainian authorities, but the Kiev government that fears the Right Sector. It is depressing when the authorities yield in such situations. At the same time, the officials in Poland pretend they do not see this problem. Their main goal is to do harm to Russia by whatever means necessary.

Thank you very much for the interview!

Leszek Miller is a well-known Polish politician, currently chairing the Democratic Left Alliance, and a member of Poland’s parliament in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 7th convocations. Miller was prime minister of Poland from 2001-2004. Hailing from a poor working-class background (born in 1946), he worked at flax mill, studied at technical school in his youth. The former prime minister did his military service in the navy on the ORP Bielik submarine. Miller was an activist in the Polish Socialist Youth Union and joined the Polish United Workers’ Party (PUWP) in 1969. He took part in the Round table where PUWP, labor-union “Solidarity” and church officials discussed issues of reforming Poland. On May 1, 2004, Miller’s government led Poland into the European Union. Polish weekly Wprost named Miller ‘Poland Man of the Year’ in 2001 and 2002.

Poland: Turn of History Through Camera Lenses

August 26th, 2014 by Yuriy Rubtsov

The documentary film True Story. Sharp Turn in Polish History by Radik Kudoyarov hit the silver screen five years after it was shot (Ren TV, August 2, 2014).

A word said or a film shot never fade away without a trace. The current events related to the fascist junta coming to power in Ukraine and the sanctions the West imposed on Russia, which opposes the ulcer of Nazism and xenophobia emerged in the heart of Europe, as well as the unseemly role of Poland negatively affecting the situation, have made the story described by the filmmakers relevant again. The film is as acute as ever today, it has become even more important for understanding what is actually happening in Eastern Europe.

The story tells about the period of Polish history comprising the 1920-1930s. Those were the days of rampant Polish nationalism. The attempts of ethnic minorities – Ukrainians, Belarusians, Jews, Russians and Lithuanians – to preserve their national identity were quelled in the cruelest way. The regime of Juzef Pilsudski and its supports were reluctant to respect the basic minorities’ rights. It had greatly weakened Poland making it doomed to collapse as soon as Germany military delivered the first strikes. It suffered defeat not only due to military superiority of Wehrmacht over the Polish armed forces but rather because of internal divisions tearing up the Polish society from inside – only few were ready to offer staunch resistance to defend the country which was more like stepmother than motherland.

Here is the historical paradox. Winston Churchill made an apt remark calling the Poland in the period between the two world wars the «Greedy Hyena of Europe». For many historians the importance of the role played by Poland those days paled before the fact that the country was the first to fall victim to Hitler’s intervention that sparked the world war. The same way the crimes of German Nazism made pale what the regime of Pilsudski did with its concentration camps, ethnic cleansings and rough treatment of dissidents.

The crimes against humanity committed by the Nazi regime of Germany cannot make forget the atrocities perpetrated by the Polish government those days. Actually that’s what the film is about. It offers facts and evidence to highlight the historic events that public at large has little knowledge of.

Few know that long before building concentration camps Poland had acquired rich experience of doing away with the dissenters who disagreed with the ruling regime.

In 1934 the first concentration camp was built in Bereza Kartuska (the territory of contemporary Belarus) to imprison those who were accused of «anti-state» activities: the activists of Ukrainian, Belarusian and Jewish national movements, Communists, members of underground groups and Greek Orthodox Church clergymen…There were no clear rules about who to imprison – they were putting all dissenters without distinction into the camp. The «correctional education» included inhumane conditions, exhausting labor, harassing labor, beatings and tortures.

Polish «human rights activists» were close to German colleagues, the same way as their bosses, for instance Goebbels and Herring often visited Poland, foreign chiefs Ribbentrop and Beck were often seen together. Józef Kamala–Kurhański, the commandant of the camp, had received training in German concentration camps. Strange coincidence, he spent the last days of his life in Oswiecim (Auschwitz).

Germans were extremely pragmatic: when you are done, you can go. They did not need the Polish state and its potential for repressions. Now it was to go.

Germany needed Poland to do what it wanted – ethnic cleansing in Kresy («Eastern Borderlands», or «Borderlands») captured by Poland as a result of the 1920 war with the Soviet Russia. Today these territories lie in western Ukraine, Eastern Belarus, as well as Eastern Lithuania with such major cities, as Lviv, Vilnius and Hrodna. They wanted those lands to be free from «foreigners» like Ukrainians, Belarusians and Jews. The Polish regime coped with the task perfectly. Everyone non-Polish was forced to leave, the regime inspired Jewish pogroms in urban areas and coercive polonization was gaining momentum. The film introduces to the impressive figures: no matter foreigners accounted for 40 % of Kresy population with Greek Orthodox Church prevailing, they were destitute of their right to speak, read and teach children in native tongues, as well as pray in their churches. Only 37 schools out of 400 remained in Western Belarus. 1300 Orthodox churches were demolished or plundered.

To increase the Polish population the regime used to give large land lots to retired military making them and their families settle down in Kresy (especially in Volyn). They were at the forefront of assimilation policy to evoke the feeling of hatred among non-Poles. The film shows G. Matveev, doctor of history, saying that the Pilsudski regime made Poles hostages of their own ethnocratic policy leading to international strife, in particular the Volyn massacre with 80 – 100 thousand killed by OUN-UPA (the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists – Ukrainian Insurgent Army).

This is only one aspect of the issue. The OUN-UPA had its own Nazi ideology which had no place neither for Poles, nor Moskali (a term for Russians in Ukraine), nor Yids (a slang Jewish ethnonym of Yiddish origin) on Ukrainian soil. Having made short work of Poland in August 1939 the Hitler regime used the creation of Bandera and Shukhevych to cleanse the Volyn-Podolian region, as well as some other areas of Reichskommissariat Ukraine, of Poles and Jews. Inhuman atrocities (the fact is corroborated in the film by documentary footages and interviews) committed by Bandera followers (Banderites) became a routine matter. They formed special «instruments» to do the job – from battalion Nachtigall to Galicia Division. The Volyn massacre was not spontaneous, it actually was an army operation thoroughly planned and almost perfectly conducted by OUN (B) Volyn command.

Today they don’t like to remember about those days neither in Warsaw nor in Kiev. Moreover, the two political regimes demonstrate rare solidarity when it comes to fighting the Donbass national-liberation movement. Even the leaders of Poland descend to playing the role of Kiev regime stooges. ASBS Othago is a private military contractor company created by former Polish Minister of Internal Affairs B. Sienkiewicz. The fact of its participation in the Ukraine’s so-called «anti-terrorist» operation has become public domain recently.

It appears to be unbelievable, but the forces that have fought each other join together now to pursue a common goal. It seems to be a paradox, but only at first glance. The matter is that today ethnocrats and Nazi unite on the basis of Russophobia. Poland made hunger and contagious deceases take their toll to exterminate dozens of thousands of Red army servicemen taken prisoner in 1920. It made its opponents rot in concentration camps and forcibly assimilated minorities. Now they put on a show and pretend to be democrats. The Kiev neo-Nazi regime that has come to power under Bandera banners uses multiple launch rocket systems and napalm to exterminate civilians, predominantly Russian, in Novorossia. Have a closer look at these two regimes: not exactly twins, but evidently birds of the feather flocking together.

It will hardly be a surprise if Poles will share their Bereza Kartuska experience with Poroshenko and Avakov. This experience has already been remembered. Ukraine’s former acting Minister of Defence came out with an initiative to build filtration camps for all adult people of Novorossia, including women, to find those who have ties with the «separatists». He suggested that others should be deported to other regions.

Again, as dozens of years ago, leaders agitate people making their wild instincts come out. The majority of Ukrainians and Poles are prone to xenophobia and intolerance to another opinion. They are directly incited to be hostile to the neighbors who want to speak another language and prey in different churches.

We don’t want to make open old and still hurting wounds; we’re not calling on the Polish people to always make Ukrainians remember that they were responsible for the Volyn massacre. But the lessons of history should not be forgotten. Back then Hitler connived at Pilsudski supporters who were cleansing eastern Kresy of Ukrainians, Belarusians and Jews. Then Hitler’s special services were condescending when the OUN-UPA militants massacred dozens of villages to cleanse them of Poles. If Warsaw convinces itself that Russia is the main enemy and the spiritual followers of Bandera and Shukhevych, who started to put their legacy in practice, are its friends with the friendship based on Stone Age Russophobia, it will face another Volyn tragedy. Perhaps it would be called differently but the consequences may be even graver.

The film True Story. Sharp Turn in Polish History inevitably leads to this conclusion; no matter it was shot long before the «democratic» Poland and the Neo-Nazi Kiev blended together in a warm embrace. The film of Radik Kudoyarov stands out for its relevance today.

No doubt if Poland admits its guilt and takes on responsibility for the deeds of the predecessors, the country situated between Western and Eastern Europe, would pave the way for new promising international prospects and play an important role defining the fate of the old continent.

There can be no solidarity with the Netanyahu government which has undermined moderate Palestinians, rejected offers of peace, and expanded settlements to make a two-state solution – impossible. 

Political Zionism emerged as a liberation movement in response to antisemitism and nationalism. The foundation of Israel included anti- colonial aspects. Yet the settlement of Palestine by European Jews was itself an act of colonization carried out with– and in opposition to– world powers. The project as it unfolded was based in ideas of Jewish supremacy and in a particular interpretation of our traditions and history. It turned on the violent exclusion of the region’s indigenous population.

 After 1967, Israel established an occupation in the West Bank and Gaza.  After 2005, it initiated a siege of Gaza, designed to undermine Palestinian statehood. I therefore cannot remain silent when people portray this month’s conflict in isolation from the context of forty-seven years of occupation, collective reprisal, settlement expansion, and siege. We can attribute each individual failure to achieve peace to one side, the other, or both. But we cannot ignore that despite any rationalizations, Israel has occupied Palestinians for nearly fifty years. Ask what else Israel could have done from its position of strength to pursue peace. Consider what it means to accept so many deaths and the destruction of a city as collateral damage. No matter how we judge Hamas, the assault on Gaza has demonstrated Israeli disregard for Arab life. This will not bring peace. The choices that may bring peace will present serious risks, but none more dangerous, physically and ethically, than preserving the status quo.

 This does not mean that Israelis lack the right to equality in their native land. It does not mean abandoning our ties to that land. However, we must pay attention to how legacies of power make certain forms of exclusion and subordination seem normal. We must remain vigilant against our own chauvinism and listen to others. Do not believe that Israel lacks partners for peace and do not stand with those who demonstrate to Palestinians that they lack such partners.

Jewish progressives can and do enjoy many ties to Israel, but Jewish progressives cannot value Jewish lives and freedoms over the lives and freedoms of Palestinians. Our self-realization cannot come at the expense of millions without citizenship, rights, and the same prospects for their children as our own. Progressives must stand against occupation, siege, and settlement expansion. There can be no progressive support for a wars of choice. There can be no solidarity with the Netanyahu government or its representatives like the Israeli Consul, which has undermined moderate Palestinians, rejected offers of peace, and expanded settlements to make a two-state solution–if that is desirable–impossible. There can be no progressive partnerships with organizations like AIPAC. Jewish unity cannot come at the expense of Jewish integrity.’

‘We made a mistake. There is a sickness inside our community’ — Jacob Ari Labendz

http://mondoweiss.net/2014/08/sickness-community-synagogue.html

Interview with Dr. Swee Ang Chai

Why was the Lancet letter which has 24 signatories of doctors and scientists published?

Dr. Swee Ang Chai: All the authors and signatories fear the worse at the beginning of this crisis which erupted in early July based on their previous experience. However the situation has got much worse since the publication of the letter. Gaza has already been declared a disaster area by the UK government. Despite the destruction of infrastructure, doctors and healthcare workers in Gaza continued to work despite severe conditions and their personal circumstances. Their own homes are being destroyed and families killed, and to be landed with more than 12,000 wounded is simply overwhelming for any medical system. That this is why Swee and her surgical colleagues wanted to assist by volunteering to go to Gaza.. As of yesterday (22 August 2014)  the death toll reached  2083, with 50% women and children.  Eighty five  families were annihilated, and 12,656 injured. Forty five clinics and fifteen hospital were destroyed (two of the hospitals completely flattened), 8 fire stations, 1 ambulance station. Health institutions should be protected as sanctuaries under international law for the wounded and sick people, but they were targeted.

You and your consultant surgical colleague have just been deported as you entered Israel to get to Gaza…elaborate.

They first gave me a three month Israeli visa of the B2 type when they thought I was a tourist. Then when they realized I was going to Gaza,  my colleague and I were taken aside and interrogated in a very humiliating way for three hours, following that we were detained, and deported after around 16-17 hours. But the personal humiliation,  detention and deportation is not the worst part. It is the realisation that this is part of the siege imposed on Gaza. The siege does not only apply to medical equipment and supplies for Gaza but also to  people who want to get to Gaza to assist. They can stop me from getting to Gaza but they cannot stop me from caring for and supporting the Palestinians, and they cannot stop the world from knowing about what they do to Palestinians. These crimes committed against Palestinians cannot be covered up. I will raise my voice and say what happened in Gaza. Gaza was shelled with tons of ammunition and depleted uranium which not only kill immediately but leave residues which emit radioactive rays causing malformations in utero and  miscarriages . And this will continue despite repeated ceasefires. Gazans want to rebuild their broken homes but building materials are blockaded. People have no choice but to rebuild their broken homes with rubble contaminated with radioactive uranium as the siege continues. What do you want them to do? They have no choice but to rebuild their homes over mounds of destruction and ‘nuclear’ waste. Even if the war stops, these rays will have an impact on people’s lives.

Is Britain and the USA complicit in this?

I will not say that all of Britain and the US are complicit. Some in high positions are. But I can tell you that within a week of having published the Lancet letter, we got 20,000 signatures endorsing the letter. But there are others who are protesting against the letter at the same time. And there are people who have been subjected to threats via email saying that if you continue to support Palestinians you will be killed. But we must say what we have to say, this is the truth. This is what is happening, massacres, and if we are silent in the face of massacres we would not be fit to be doctors and scientists. We have to be witnesses.  32 years ago, I was a doctor supporting Israel, and my family and I used to support Israel. But when Israel invaded and occupied Lebanon in 1982, and bombed Lebanon for ten weeks, I could not tolerate it anymore. I  decided not to support Israel  and volunteered to help the wounded in Lebanon. Later I went to Gaza. My life changed, when I went to Lebanon, I went to Sabra and Shatilla, and I did not find terrorists. I found a people who are patient, gentle  and generous and they welcomed me, amidst their enormous suffering. But they were labeled as terrorists. After the evacuation of the PLO, when they were defenceless, they were massacred.  I went back after the attack (1982), and I found that some of the patients I treated were killed. I went back to London, and continued with my work and it is impossible to say nothing. For 32 years, I decided not to be silent , and will speak up for Palestinians as a witness to what happened to them. I am also a friend of the Palestinians. So wherever I go I will talk about what happened to Palestinians and the injustice which they have been enduring, and I will do this until I die.

Interviewer: You have written a book: From Beirut to Jerusalem, but since that time, there has been no change for the Palestinians. You were very angry. Let me read a section of the Gaza letter (published by Lancet):

“We register with dismay that only 5% of our Israeli academic colleagues signed an appeal to their government to stop the military operation against Gaza. We are tempted to conclude that with the exception of this 5%, the rest of the Israeli academics are complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza. We also see the complicity of our countries in Europe and North America in this massacre and the impotence once again of the international institutions and organisations to stop this massacre” the letter is directed to Who?

Dr. Swee Ang Chai:  This paragraph refers to all people who are guilty of knowing that the massacre is going on and yet say nothing. They are complicit in the crime. There are also the people who deliberately cover it up. It is our duty and that of Mayadeen to inform the world of what is happening. But when we speak up, many attacked us because they were complicit in this crime , and tried to cover up what is happening by intimidating and silencing us. For example deporting doctors so that we do not see and witness what is happening. But they forget that the Palestinian doctors are still there, and they can tell the world what is going on because they are there. For the rest of the world, some do not take a stand because of lack of knowledge and it is our role to inform them. Others are worried about speaking up through fear, but we must support them to take a stand.

What do you think of Israel’s attack on people, children etc., why do you think they are killing them?

I am very sad because only 10%  of Israel want the massacre to stop and the rest want it to continue. In other words the other 90% of Israelis want Palestinians chucked out or killed, and this is compatible with ethnic cleansing and mass extermination, a strong word, but what is happening in Gaza is an attempted or incremental genocide..

Why do you decide to publish the letter in the Lancet?

As you know this is a strong letter. many editors have difficulty with it. But we know the Lancet is a prestigious journal, and Richard Horton took the risk in publishing this. He knows Palestine well, since several years. His conscience made him publish this letter. He is paying a high price for publishing the letter. There is a nasty campaign to get him fired.

Thank you Dr. Swee Ang Chai, founder of Medical Aid for Palestinians and for your voice as a medical doctor and humanitarian.


An open letter for the people in Gaza

Lancet letter

by Paola Manduca, Iain Chalmers, Derek Summerfield, Mads Gilbert, Swee Ange, on behalf of 24 signatories

We are doctors and scientists, who spend our lives developing means to care and protect health and lives. We are also informed people; we teach the ethics of our professions, together with the knowledge and practice of it. We all have worked in and known the situation of Gaza for years.

On the basis of our ethics and practice, we are denouncing what we witness in the aggression of Gaza by Israel.

We ask our colleagues, old and young professionals, to denounce this Israeli aggression. We challenge the perversity of a propaganda that justifies the creation of an emergency to masquerade a massacre, a so-called “defensive aggression”. In reality it is a ruthless assault of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity. We wish to report the facts as we see them and their implications on the lives of the people.

We are appalled by the military onslaught on civilians in Gaza under the guise of punishing terrorists. This is the third large scale military assault on Gaza since 2008. Each time the death toll is borne mainly by innocent people in Gaza, especially women and children under the unacceptable pretext of Israel eradicating political parties and resistance to the occupation and siege they impose.

This action also terrifies those who are not directly hit, and wounds the soul, mind, and resilience of the young generation. Our condemnation and disgust are further compounded by the denial and prohibition for Gaza to receive external help and supplies to alleviate the dire circumstances.

The blockade on Gaza has tightened further since last year and this has worsened the toll on Gaza’s population. In Gaza, people suffer from hunger, thirst, pollution, shortage of medicines, electricity, and any means to get an income, not only by being bombed and shelled. Power crisis, gasoline shortage, water and food scarcity, sewage outflow and ever decreasing resources are disasters caused directly and indirectly by the siege.1

People in Gaza are resisting this aggression because they want a better and normal life and, even while crying in sorrow, pain, and terror, they reject a temporary truce that does not provide a real chance for a better future. A voice under the attacks in Gaza is that of Um Al Ramlawi who speaks for all in Gaza: “They are killing us all anyway—either a slow death by the siege, or a fast one by military attacks. We have nothing left to lose—we must fight for our rights, or die trying.”2

Gaza has been blockaded by sea and land since 2006. Any individual of Gaza, including fishermen venturing beyond 3 nautical miles of the coast of Gaza, face being shot by the Israeli Navy. No one from Gaza can leave from the only two checkpoints, Erez or Rafah, without special permission from the Israelis and the Egyptians, which is hard to come by for many, if not impossible. People in Gaza are unable to go abroad to study, work, visit families, or do business. Wounded and sick people cannot leave easily to get specialised treatment outside Gaza. Entries of food and medicines into Gaza have been restricted and many essential items for survival are prohibited.3 Before the present assault, medical stock items in Gaza were already at an all time low because of the blockade.3 They have run out now. Likewise, Gaza is unable to export its produce. Agriculture has been severely impaired by the imposition of a buffer zone, and agricultural products cannot be exported due to the blockade. 80% of Gaza’s population is dependent on food rations from the UN.

Much of Gaza’s buildings and infrastructure had been destroyed during Operation Cast Lead, 2008—09, and building materials have been blockaded so that schools, homes, and institutions cannot be properly rebuilt. Factories destroyed by bombardment have rarely been rebuilt adding unemployment to destitution.

Despite the difficult conditions, the people of Gaza and their political leaders have recently moved to resolve their conflicts “without arms and harm” through the process of reconciliation between factions, their leadership renouncing titles and positions, so that a unity government can be formed abolishing the divisive factional politics operating since 2007. This reconciliation, although accepted by many in the international community, was rejected by Israel. The present Israeli attacks stop this chance of political unity between Gaza and the West Bank and single out a part of the Palestinian society by destroying the lives of people of Gaza. Under the pretext of eliminating terrorism, Israel is trying to destroy the growing Palestinian unity. Among other lies, it is stated that civilians in Gaza are hostages of Hamas whereas the truth is that the Gaza Strip is sealed by the Israelis and Egyptians.

Gaza has been bombed continuously for the past 14 days followed now by invasion on land by tanks and thousands of Israeli troops. More than 60 000 civilians from Northern Gaza were ordered to leave their homes. These internally displaced people have nowhere to go since Central and Southern Gaza are also subjected to heavy artillery bombardment. The whole of Gaza is under attack. The only shelters in Gaza are the schools of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), uncertain shelters already targeted during Cast Lead, killing many.

According to Gaza Ministry of Health and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA),1 as of July 21, 149 of the 558 killed in Gaza and 1100 of the 3504 wounded are children. Those buried under the rubble are not counted yet. As we write, the BBC reports of the bombing of another hospital, hitting the intensive care unit and operating theatres, with deaths of patients and staff. There are now fears for the main hospital Al Shifa. Moreover, most people are psychologically traumatised in Gaza. Anyone older than 6 years has already lived through their third military assault by Israel.

The massacre in Gaza spares no one, and includes the disabled and sick in hospitals, children playing on the beach or on the roof top, with a large majority of non-combatants. Hospitals, clinics, ambulances, mosques, schools, and press buildings have all been attacked, with thousands of private homes bombed, clearly directing fire to target whole families killing them within their homes, depriving families of their homes by chasing them out a few minutes before destruction. An entire area was destroyed on July 20, leaving thousands of displaced people homeless, beside wounding hundreds and killing at least 70—this is way beyond the purpose of finding tunnels. None of these are military objectives. These attacks aim to terrorise, wound the soul and the body of the people, and make their life impossible in the future, as well as also demolishing their homes and prohibiting the means to rebuild.

Weaponry known to cause long-term damages on health of the whole population are used; particularly non fragmentation weaponry and hard-head bombs.4, 5 We witnessed targeted weaponry used indiscriminately and on children and we constantly see that so-called intelligent weapons fail to be precise, unless they are deliberately used to destroy innocent lives.

We denounce the myth propagated by Israel that the aggression is done caring about saving civilian lives and children’s wellbeing.

Israel’s behaviour has insulted our humanity, intelligence, and dignity as well as our professional ethics and efforts. Even those of us who want to go and help are unable to reach Gaza due to the blockade.

This “defensive aggression” of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity must be stopped.

Additionally, should the use of gas be further confirmed, this is unequivocally a war crime for which, before anything else, high sanctions will have to be taken immediately on Israel with cessation of any trade and collaborative agreements with Europe.

As we write, other massacres and threats to the medical personnel in emergency services and denial of entry for international humanitarian convoys are reported.6 We as scientists and doctors cannot keep silent while this crime against humanity continues. We urge readers not to be silent too. Gaza trapped under siege, is being killed by one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated modern military machines. The land is poisoned by weapon debris, with consequences for future generations. If those of us capable of speaking up fail to do so and take a stand against this war crime, we are also complicit in the destruction of the lives and homes of 1·8 million people in Gaza.

We register with dismay that only 5% of our Israeli academic colleagues signed an appeal to their government to stop the military operation against Gaza. We are tempted to conclude that with the exception of this 5%, the rest of the Israeli academics are complicit in the massacre and destruction of Gaza. We also see the complicity of our countries in Europe and North America in this massacre and the impotence once again of the international institutions and organisations to stop this massacre.

Over the last two months, as Israel first cracked down on the West Bank and then launched a massive attack decimating the Gaza Strip, The New York Times has come under repeated and justified criticism, notwithstanding some occasional good reporting from Gaza. That criticism has focused on The Times bias and double standards, downplaying of Israeli attacks, and tendency towards stenography – uncritically repeating Israeli government talking points, however outlandish they may be.

Arnon Soffer, from the NYT

Arnon Soffer, from the NYT

The examples are too many to list, but most recently they include casting Hamas as the side that has repeatedly broken truces and extended the fighting, asserting that Israel carried out “targeted bombings with limited civilian casualties” in recent attacks that killed numerous Palestinian civilians, as documented by Peter Hart of FAIR. They include Ali Abunimah and Greg Mitchell ridiculing The Times for labeling an Israeli attack that collapsed a 12-story apartment building in Gaza “audacious,” as well as the Palestinian human rights organization Al Mezan’s repeated criticism of The Times for refusing to correct a factual error about civilian casualties, for undermining of human rights workers in Gaza and thus supporting Israeli impunity.

But as someone who criticizes The Times reporting regularly, I’m still occasionally taken aback by new examples of how far The Times bias on Israel and Palestine extends and how deeply embedded it is at the paper. A tweet yesterday from long-time Guardian reporter Chris McGreal provides another surprising indication of this phenomenon. McGreal tweeted, “The ‘featured expert’ of NYT readers trip to Israel-Palestine is Arnon ‘the Arab counter’ Soffer. So no bias there then.” Soffer is a politically influential Israeli professor whose views have helped to provide the “intellectual” justification for Israel’s policy of carrying out regular massacres in the Gaza Strip, as well as for ghettoizing and marginalizing Palestinians in other locations.

Arnon Soffer’s views

McGreal was referring to a new Times venture called “Times Journeys” which calls on people to “… Travel with The New York Times. Return Smarter. Gain Understanding. Return Inspired.”  One of its upcoming “journeys”, “The Israeli-Palestinian Conundrum,” set for November 7 – 15, 2014, features Arnon Soffer as one of the four “experts” for the journey. In a 2006 Guardian series on parallels between Israel and apartheid South Africa, McGreal described Soffer as a geographer who had “spent years advising the [Israeli] government on the ‘demographic threat’ posed by the Arabs.” Soffer’s views have been called racist by, among many others, Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti and Israeli Idan Lando, and Soffer’s been labeled a fascist by Israeli Haim Bresheeth.

Soffer is obsessed with treating Palestinians as a “demographic threat” to be crushed in order to maintain a Jewish state that must be preserved at all costs, including by unilaterally creating borders to separate Palestinians from Israeli Jews, then killing the trapped Palestinians, and by countering Palestinian population growth within Israel. Some of Soffer’s more frightening views have been outlined in 2004 and 2007 interviews with the Jerusalem Post’s Ruthie Blum.

In the 2004 interview, which is no longer available online but can be found here, Blum called Soffer “the originator of Ariel Sharon’s separation plan” and an advocate for Israel’s Gaza “disengagement.

Soffer explained, “When 2.5 million people live in a closed-off Gaza, it’s going to be a human catastrophe. Those people will become even bigger animals than they are today, with the aid of an insane fundamentalist Islam. The pressure at the border will be awful. It’s going to be a terrible war. So, if we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, every day.”

“If we don’t kill, we will cease to exist. The only thing that concerns me is how to ensure that the boys and men who are going to have to do the killing will be able to return home to their families and be normal human beings.”

He continued, “This is what will happen after separation. If a Palestinian cannot come into Tel Aviv for work, he will look in Iraq, or Kuwait, or London. I believe that there will be movement out of the area. Responding to Blum’s question, “Voluntary transfer?” he answered, “Yes.”

In the 2007 interview with Blum he argued that he had been misunderstood in 2004, explaining, “I didn’t recommend that we kill Palestinians. I said we’ll have to kill them.” Hardly better. Then he explained further, “Our government has woken up. The only ones making noise are leftists and so-called human rights lawyers who only care about the well-being of cats, dogs and Palestinians, but never about Jews.”

On the subject of Israel’s Palestinian citizens, 20% of Israel’s population, Soffer warned, “the Israeli Arabs are enclosing the country from the Upper Galilee all the way around… As for the Arabs of the South: They’re the bridge between Gaza and Judea-Samaria…  if we fail to keep that bridge closed, Katyushas will be launched from Kalkilya to Tel Aviv – right onto the Stock Exchange.” Soffer concluded, “we have to fortify ourselves with a fence. Then, whoever tries to cross it gets a bullet to the head.” And if we don’t shoot them, “then, we’ll cease to exist.”

A 2011 article in Israeli paper The Markertranslated to English by the Electronic Intifada which has documented Soffer’s views and analyzed their implications, outlined Soffer’s views on the threat posed by Israel’s Bedouin citizens. The article explained that, “Sofer added that the Bedouin population is managing to take over every clear plot of land.” He concluded, “The government must start taking action, and not flounder in the defense. We do not have another country. If I am not wrong about this terrible map, and I hope that I am wrong, Israel will simply be destroyed.”

Those who are unfamiliar with Israeli politics may be frightened to learn that in 2007 Soffer described himself, probably accurately, as “in the center, which is why both the Left and the Right attack me.” In light of Soffer’s depiction of Palestinians as “animals” who Israelis must “kill and kill and kill” “all day, every day,” against whom the Israeli government must act against urgently even within Israel, it is very disconcerting to imagine what “Times Journeys” participants who listen to Soffer might “return inspired” to do.

Subtle Echoes of Soffer’s Views in The Times’ Reporting

I was unable to figure out who at The Times does manage “Times Journeys,” though Times press release quotes “Michael Greenspon, general manager, The New York Times News Services and International.” An FAQ section on “Times Journeys” explains that, “Times Journeys is operated independently of the New York Times Travel desk or other departments and members of the newsroom.”

While there may be a clear management separation between “Times Journeys” with their endorsement of Soffer, and the newsroom, there are elements of The Times reporting that include disturbing echoes of some of Soffer’s views – his understanding of Jewish privilege as fundamental to Israeli identity, and his vision of Palestinians as demographic threats who must be countered militarily. This reporting suggests that the worldview that allowed The Times to select Soffer as an appropriate “expert” without blinking, permeates the newspaper as a whole.

Despite daily reporting on Israel and Palestine, Palestinian citizens of Israel (generally called Israeli Arabs by The Times) are very infrequently mentioned by the paper, though they make up 20% of Israel’s population. In The Times’ daily reporting on Israel’s war on Gaza over the last month-and-a-half, I was able to locate only two sentences in The Times about Israel’s Palestinian citizens. In contrast, The Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren twice reported on opinion polls of Israeli Jews only, showing what she described as very strong “Israeli” support for the assault on Gaza. In a July 26th article, she reported, “A poll of Israeli Jews conducted for Channel 2 News on Wednesday showed more than 8 in 10 were satisfied with Mr. Netanyahu, a 25 point jump from before the ground invasion began.” In an August 5 article, Rudoren again reported, “Several polls find that as many as nine out of 10 Israeli Jews back the prosecution of the war by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” Israeli Jewish views were all that The Times felt merited mention. The Times has not bothered to report on Israel’s Palestinian citizens opposition to the war, including, including for example, an opinion poll showing that at least two-thirds oppose the war.

The much-criticized August 5 Jodi Rudoren article analyzing Palestinian casualties in Gaza, which was also the subject of Al Mezan’s complaints, uses Palestinian demographic and casualty information to classify Palestinian civilian casualties by age according to their likelihood to be “terrorists” whose killing is therefore justified according to the Israeli government. As I reported previously, in that article, Rudoren puts aside research by the UN and organizations like Al Mezan, and classifies Gazan males between the ages of 20-29 as “the population most likely to be militants.” Palestinian children between the ages of 15-17 are called “men” and “women,” and Palestinian males from 15-60 who were killed by Israel are described as part of “a mix of male civilians and combatants, though breakdowns are disputed.”  This treatment of all Palestinian males aged 15-60 in Gaza as all suspect and guilty to varying degrees and thus appropriate candidates for assassination is only a few steps removed from Sofer’s depiction of Palestinians as “animals” who must be killed.

I have documented other examples of The Times recent reporting that serves to justify Israel’s wholesale killing and destruction in Gaza. Others have documented The Times reporters’ seeming thorough embeddedness within mainstream Israeli Jewish life that seems to contribute to generating that sort of reporting.

The bigger question for The Times

Some will probably try to assert that the inclusion of Nadia Hilou and Hanan Ashrawi, two Palestinians, among the four Times’ experts balances Soffer. But of course we all know that The Times would never endorse an “expert” who offers killing Israeli Jews as their overriding policy prescription.

I would like to believe, perhaps naively, that publicizing Soffer’s views and his selection as a Times “expert” may lead some right-thinking liberals at The Times and outside to actively oppose his involvement in “Times Journeys.” However, the much bigger and more appropriate question is whether or not The Times will take a deeper look at the related views and attitudes that seem to pervade the paper, that certainly inform aspects of the paper’s reporting on Israel and Palestine, and that led to Soffer being chosen, or whether his selection will simply be written off as a decision made by a new and less well-informed department of The Times.

Palestinian fishermen unload their catch at the harbour in Gaza City (AFP)

RAFAH – Parents of new-born babies would usually come to “al-Belbisi” for various infant supplies, from bodysuits and pajamas to bedcovers. The shop has become an icon, serving some 180,000 people, mostly refugees, of Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip.

But that is history. Omar al-Belbisi now stands dazed in front of what remains of his shop – one of 80 in Rafah Trade Centre that were destroyed by Israeli missiles on Saturday morning.

As a haze of smoke drifts out of Belbisi’s shop, he is taking a brief break, his face covered in ashes and smeared with soot, from digging through the ruins of his property, salvaging what he can despite still being in shock and frightened more missiles may fall.

At least six Israeli missiles were fired on the trade centre, smashing shops, a wedding hall and an attorney’s offices. Most people rented the shops from the local municipality after the shopping mall was built with US $2 million in Norwegian-Dutch support, in 1998, said the mayor’s office.

“We were not expecting this to happen, and what could be a threat to Israel’s security here, in a shopping centre, which only sells domestic products to ordinary families?” said Belbisi.

His shop employed several people – providing them with income that helped feed, and clothe about 40 people.

He looks around at what is left – not “rockets” or militia equipment. Just pairs of trousers for $30 each, other family clothing and household items, now burnt or  torn to shreds.

Belbisi had bought a large stock of clothes for the various seasons that occur in the course of two months: Eid, summer, and the new academic year. This was more than double his usual stock, and it had arrived before Israel launched its most recent 50-day attack. Now he has nothing left and must shut down for the rest of the season.

Normally anything he doesn’t sell, he can exchange or sell the next season for a discount, an option he no longer has. His business is ruined.

“The loss is too big, because I stocked up for three seasons. That is going to cost me triple losses – many thousands of dollars.”

Belbisi’s plight is heavier than most. He doesn’t buy with his own money directly; a merchant buys his stock, and the shop’s sales pay back the debt. His merchant will be looking for a check of about $39,500 come the middle of September.

Belbisi does not know what to do – but Majed Hadied of Gaza, who used to own the biggest carnations nursery in town, had a similar experience and said he knows what will happen.

Before Israel’s siege of Gaza in 2006, he travelled to the Netherlands to take part in the European Flower Exchange Market and enjoy seeing his products sold to different European Union countries.

For Hadied, Israel’s closure of commercial crossings to Gaza blocked the export for his carnations, and as they withered in the wait for Israel to release them, he could only feed them to his cows and camels. Then he had to face service-suppliers and merchants looking for their debts through the police or in the courts.

The immediate future for Belbisi looks very similar to Hadied’s – but this reality hasn’t dawned yet.

There is no-one to support Belbisi with his debts – he and his family can only pray that something will come up so they don’t have to starve.

Gaza economist Dr Maher Taba’a says the damage caused in this war is three times the damage caused in 2008-2009.

The mayor of Rafah, Subhi Radwan, inspecting the damage, said it was a horrendous image of destruction. As smoke still billowed from the trade centre, his staff tried to assess the value of the damage, thought to be around $10 million.

“This is an unjustified barbaric act, designed to crush what remains of the Palestinian economy,” said Radwan, seeing yet again the delivery of collective punishment Gaza and its residents.

Early on 1 August, Israeli F16s hit the same trade centre, but damaged mainly the roof. This time, Israeli intelligence called Fouad Zard, who lives next to the centre, to tell him he had eight minutes to evacuate.

“I called all the neighbours to evacuate immediately,” he said, but before the eight minutes passed, the first Israeli missile hit the shopping centre.

The Zard home was not apparently a target, but it was hit anyway, along with the “Amina Bint Wahb” and “al Khansa” UN Relief and Works Agency schools – both shelters for hundreds of families forced to flee their homes from Israeli attacks on the east of Rafah.

Rafah Trade Centre director Riad al-Holy said he cannot imagine any rational for this attack, other than just the deliberate destruction of the Palestinian economy. “There is no security pretext, and the loss among shop owners is massive.”

Meanwhile, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said about 42,000 acres of croplands had sustained substantial direct damage and half of Gaza’s poultry stock had been lost due to direct hits or lack of care due to reduced access to farmlands in border areas. Gaza’s fishermen have seen their annual catch reduced by almost 10%.

All this on top of the destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure, including water and electricity supplies. At least 360 factories and workshops have been damaged, including 126 that were completely wrecked, amounting to $47 million in damages.

The Palestinian Federation of Industries said the majority of industrial plants have halted production during the war, causing losses estimated at more than $70 million.

Holocaust Survivors Indict Israel’s Massacre in Gaza

August 26th, 2014 by Bill Van Auken

In a letter published as an advertisement Saturday in the New York Times, over 350 survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and descendants of survivors issued a stinging condemnation of “the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza and the ongoing occupation and colonization of historic Palestine.”

The statement went on to denounce the US government for funding Israel’s war machine and other Western states for protecting Israel diplomatically. “Genocide begins with the silence of the world,” it warned.

The Holocaust survivors pointed with alarm to disturbing parallels to Nazism emerging within Israeli society, including “the extreme, racist dehumanization of Palestinians,” open calls for genocide against the Palestinians by “politicians and pundits,” and the fact that “right-wing Israelis are adopting Neo-Nazi insignia.”

The correctness of this assessment found speedy confirmation in the form of Facebook postings by Israeli rightists telling those who had signed the declaration to “go back to Auschwitz” or “go die in the gas chambers,” and lamenting that “Hitler didn’t finish the job.”

Significantly, the statement was drafted as a repudiation of a vile advertisement published over the name of Elie Wiesel that compared Hamas, the Islamist ruling party in Gaza, to the Nazis, accusing it of engaging in “child sacrifice” by using civilians as “human shields.” This is the lie employed by the Israeli state to justify its slaughter of over 2,100 Palestinians, including 577 children, since July 7.

The signatories to the letter by Holocaust survivors declared themselves “disgusted and outraged” by Wiesel’s “abuse of our history… to justify the unjustifiable” mass killings in Gaza.

Wiesel, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, serves as a semi-official US state propagandist, specializing in exploiting the Holocaust as a means of justifying crimes against humanity carried out by Israel and US imperialism. Answering Wiesel’s moral hypocrisy in invoking the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis to defend Israel’s mass murder of Palestinians, the statement concluded, “‘Never again’ must mean NEVER AGAIN FOR ANYONE!”

The brutality of the latest Israeli war on Gaza has shocked and outraged people all over the world, including many Jews. The wanton killing of civilians and the massive destruction of homes, hospitals, schools, mosques and infrastructure such as water, electricity and sanitation give the impression of an Israeli regime that has lost its head.

This slaughter flows inexorably from the logic of Zionism and the principles upon which the Israeli state was founded. It is by no means an aberration, following a decades-long series of one-sided bloodlettings, from the Deir Yassim massacre of 1948 through to successive rounds of mass killing in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon.

The current military campaign against the 1.8 million Palestinians of Gaza, however, is among the most brutal, and it has been accompanied by a wave of right-wing hysteria and chauvinism that at times echoes the politics of the Nazi regime itself. This only serves to underscore that 66 years after the founding of the state of Israel, the Zionist project has reached a dead end, and no amount of bombs, missiles and shells can overcome its intractable contradictions.

Zionism as a movement has always fed off of the defeats of the working class and pessimism generated by the crimes of the capitalist system. It developed a mass following thanks to World War II and the Nazi Holocaust, combined with the betrayals of the Soviet Stalinist bureaucracy.

Before then, Jewish workers and intellectuals had looked to the workers’ movement and the struggle for socialism as the means of eradicating all forms of oppression, including anti-Semitism. Israel was based on the negation of this perspective.

Zionism’s ethnic and religious nationalism and the establishment of the state of Israel were justified with the contention that the Holocaust was inevitable and that its repetition could be prevented only through the establishment of a Jewish state based upon the dispossession of the Palestinians. The atrocities of the Nazis were invoked as a defense against any criticism of the crimes against humanity carried out by the Israeli state itself, which in Gaza, Lebanon and elsewhere employed tactics that resembled nothing so much as the siege of the Warsaw Ghetto.

Thus, the letter signed by the Holocaust survivors and descendants of survivors strikes at the heart of Zionist ideology. It embodies the universalist, humanitarian, liberal and even socialist ideals with which the Jewish people had been identified for generations—ideals that made them a target of Nazism and the political right, and which today provoke the fury of their counterparts within Israel itself. In this sense, it is indicative of a deep-going crisis developing within Israeli society.

The political prescription offered by the letter is a “full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel.” The World Socialist Web Site is not in agreement with this approach. It amounts to a moral appeal to the capitalists in the US and Europe to exert pressure on their Israeli counterparts to accept the so-called “two-state solution”—an unviable trap for the Palestinian people—as a more sustainable means of defending their profit interests.

Inasmuch as Israel’s crimes would be impossible without the support of the United States and the other major powers, the call for a boycott raises the obvious question of “why stop at Israel?” Why not a boycott of the US, Britain, etc.?

And rather than an academic boycott, those opposed to the crimes being carried out in Gaza should fight for the maximum interaction with Israeli academics and intellectuals as part of the fight to develop a principled opposition to the Israeli state.

Most importantly, there is a working class and a class struggle in Israel, one of the most socially polarized countries on the planet. It is to this social force—the working class—that those seeking to put a stop to the unending war and social reaction embodied in Zionism must turn.

The only way out of the present bloody morass lies through the struggle to unite Jewish and Palestinian workers within Israel with the Arab working class of the region as a whole, drawing the fight against Zionism into the mainstream of the fight against imperialism and the struggle for the socialist transformation of society on a world scale.

US Military to Initiate Operations in Syria

August 26th, 2014 by James Cogan

The Obama administration has ordered the start of US military operations inside Syria, in addition to ongoing air strikes and renewed troop deployments in Iraq. Officials from US Central Command in the Middle East informed theWall Street Journal late Monday that “the Pentagon is preparing to conduct reconnaissance flights over Syria.” The surveillance missions would be aimed at gathering the necessary information to carry out air strikes and possible ground assaults.

The pretext for military operations into Syria is to curb the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the Sunni-based Islamist force that has captured much of eastern Syria during the country’s three-year civil war and which this year seized large areas of western and northern Iraq. The US began air attacks on ISIS in Iraq earlier this month, claiming they would be limited to preventing the massacre of thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority. The air campaign soon escalated into providing air support to Kurdish offensives to retake Mosul Dam and pushing ISIS fighters back from positions they held within 30 kilometres of Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region.

Last week, General Martin Dempsey, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, laid out the justification for extending the air war into Syria, telling a press conference: “Can they [ISIS] be defeated without addressing that part of the organisation that resides in Syria? The answer is no.” The murder of American journalist James Foley, who was being held prisoner in Syria by ISIS, has been seized upon throughout the American political and media establishment to call for attacks to begin.

The corporate media has also extensively reported the weekend capture by ISIS forces of the last Syrian Army base in eastern Syria, the Taqba air base in the largely ISIS-held province of Raqqa. After heavy fighting last week, Syrian troops abandoned their defence of the facility on Sunday after suffering several hundred casualties. Some soldiers captured by the Islamists were reportedly beheaded. ISIS forces in Syria have been able to deploy armoured vehicles, artillery and other weapons captured from US-equipped Iraqi government units.

The fall of Taqba is being used to amplify the Obama White House’s portrayal of ISIS as a threat to “US interests” in the Middle East and throughout the world. Behind such self-serving assertions is the reality that the United States is now directly intervening into a civil war in Syria in which Washington has provided tacit backing to ISIS and other Islamist groupings to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Since 2011, the Obama administration and its European allies have openly supported the armed rebellion against the Syrian regime by various militias, while downplaying or denying the fact that Al Qaeda-linked extremists were the main forces fighting the Damascus government. Vast amounts of military hardware and training have been supplied to the rebels by US proxies such as Turkey and the Gulf States monarchies. Much of it ended up in the hands of ISIS, providing the very weapons that it used to launch its incursion into Iraq against the Shiite-dominated US client regime in Baghdad.

At least 200,000 people have lost their lives, 2.5 million turned into refugees and 6.5 million displaced due to the intrigues of Washington and its allies in Syria. The statements from the Pentagon make clear that whatever attacks are made on ISIS, it is not the only, or even the primary, target of US intervention in Syria. Officials told the Wall Street Journal on Monday night that American military forces “would enter Syrian airspace without any Syrian regime approval or authorisation.”

That was the White House’s answer to a statement issued Monday by the Syrian government that “any [US] strike which is not coordinated with the government will be considered as aggression.” It appealed for “cooperation” with Washington. The Pentagon spokesmen dismissed the warning and offer of collaboration, telling the Journal that “Syrian air defense systems in eastern Syria won’t pose a threat because sensors are either sparsely located or inoperable.”

In comments earlier Monday, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki declared: “Just because the Syrian regime may be taking on Islamic State … it certainly doesn’t mean we’re on the same side of the coin here.”

Such statements indicate that an intervention against ISIS could be used to take forward Washington’s objective of regime change in Damascus. The immediate prospect that looms is armed clashes between the Syrian air force and US war planes.

In just one of the many admissions that US policy is wracked by glaring contradictions, Fox News commented: “[A] US campaign to weaken the Islamic State militants could actually strengthen a leader the White House has sought to push from office. Obama could try to counteract that awkward dynamic by also targeting Assad’s forces, though that could drag the US into the bloody, complex conflict.”

The US and its European allies pulled back last September from launching a massive air assault on the Assad regime in the face of popular opposition at home and concerns over a confrontation with Russia and Iran, which both back Assad. Barely a year later, the Obama administration is preparing to launch military operations in Syria, where Iran is believed to have significant military forces and when relations with Russia have dramatically deteriorated due to the crisis in Ukraine. Moreover, there remains no support in the American population for a new war in the Middle East.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated yesterday that the US and its allies had “to choose what is more important: to change the regime, and satisfy personal antipathies with the risk that the situation will crumble, or find pragmatic ways to join efforts against the common threat.”

The Obama administration has ruled out working with Assad regime and is leaving open the option of military operations in support of regime change. At the same time, the White House has flatly rejected any suggestion that it requires congressional approval to open a war in Syria, which would rapidly accelerate regional and international tensions.