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
September 11, 2001: 21 Reasons to uestion the Official Story about 9/11
- by David Ray Griffin – 2008-09-11
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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Two beautiful Slavic sisters, Ukraine and Russia, pitched against each other: long hair flying in the wind, gray-blue eyes staring forward accusatively, but in the same time with anticipation and love.

One single moment, one wrong move, one word, and two countries, two allies, two almost identical cultures, can easily dash at each other’s throats… Different words, different gestures, and they can also fall into each other’s arms, instantly.

Is there going to be a war, a battle or an embrace? Is there going to be an insult or reconciliatory words?

Ironically, there is no ‘self-grown dispute’ between two nations. The seeds of mistrust, and possible tragedy, are sown by the outsiders, and nurtured by their malignant propaganda.

As Sergei Kirichuk, leader of progressive movement ‘Borotba’, explained:

“We have extensive invasion of western imperialism here. Imperialists were acting through huge network of NGOs and through the western-oriented politicians integrated into western establishment. Western diplomats declared that they invested more that 5 billions of dollars to ‘development of democracy in Ukraine’. What kind of investment is it? How was this amount spent? We don’t really know, but we can see the wide net of the US agents operating inside many key organizations and movements.

We can see that those ‘western democracies’ had not been concerned at all about growing of the far-right, Nazi movements. They had been ready to use the Nazis as a real armed force in overthrowing of Yanucovich.

President Yanucovich was actually totally pro-western politician, to start with. And his ‘guilt’ consisted only of his attempt to minimize the devastating aftermath that would come after implementation of the free trade zone with EU, on which the West was insisting.”

***

Now Maidan, the main square of Kiev where the ‘revolution’ took place, is scarred, burned down, eerie.

Right-wingers, ultra-nationalists, young and not so young men with shaved heads, are watching pedestrians with confused, often provocative eyes.

Many of them are now controlling the traffic and, like in Thailand where the right-wingers also recently ‘protested, are deciding who can pass and who cannot. The law is clearly and patently in their hands, or more precisely, in Maidan area,they are the law.

Religious symbols are suddenly everywhere, while monuments to heroes of the revolution and the WWII are desecrated.

At the makeshift stage used by right-wing extremists, there is a huge crucifixion as well as Virgin Marry.

But many right-wingers are at total disarray, they are outraged, as one of their leaders, Aleksandr Muzychko, was murdered just one day earlier.

Oleh Odnorozhenko is speaking. He is angry, irritated, accusing the state, the same government his people brought to power through the coup just a short time ago, of political murder. He is calling for ‘the second stage of the revolution’, as if one past stage would not be terrible enough, already.

My friend Alexander is explaining to me: “This is going to be a tremendous mess. The West used all fascist and ultra-nationalist forces to destroy legitimate government of Ukraine, but paradoxically, these ultra right-wingers are essentially against both NATO and all those agreements with the European Union.”

Afghanistan, Al-Qaida, scenario, in brief and on smaller scale: use any force, any radicals, as long as you can manage to destroy the Soviet Union and later, Russia.

“They are going to get into each other’s hair very soon”, predicts Alexandr, former military intelligence officer.

***

The car is negotiating a bumpy four-lane highway between Kiev and Odessa. There are three of us on board – my translator, Dimitry from the Liva.com site, a driver, and me. Having left Kiev in the morning, we are literally flying at 160km/h towards Odessa.

The wide fields of Ukraine, formerly known as the ‘breadbasket’ of the Soviet Union, look depressingly unkempt. Some are burnt.

“What are they growing here?” I ask.

Nobody knows, but both of my friends agree that almost everything in Ukraine is now collapsing, after the decomposition of the USSR, and this includes both industry and agriculture. The roads are not an exception, either.

“They only built facades during the last decades”, explains Dimitry. “The core, the essence had been constructed in the Soviet era. And now everything is crumbling.”

***

I have no idea where the official numbers come from; those that say that Ukraine is evenly divided between those who support the West, and those who feel their identity is closely linked with Russia. Maybe this might be the case in Western Ukraine, in Lvov, or even in the capital – Kiev. But Western Ukraine has only a few key cities. The majority of people in this country of around forty-four million are concentrated in the south, east and southeast, around the enormous industrial and mining centers of Donetsk, Dnepropetrovsk, and Krivoi Rog. There is Odessa in the south, and Kharkov ‘the second capital’ in the east. And people in all those parts of the country mainly speak Russian. And they see, what has recently happened in Kiev as an unceremonious coup, orchestrated and supported by the West.

***

Before reaching Odessa we leave the highway and drive northeast, towards Moldova and its small separatist enclave, called Transnistria.

There, the river Kuchurgan separates the Ukrainian town of Kuchurgan and the Transnistrian city of Pervomaisc.

I see no Russian tanks at Pervomaisc, no artillery. There is absolutely no military movement whatsoever, despite the countless Western mass media reports testifying (in abstract terms) to the contrary.

I cross the bridge on foot and ask the Transnistrian border guard, whether he has recently seen any foreign correspondents arriving from the United States or the European Union, attempting to cross the border and verify the facts. He gives me a bewildered look.

I watch beautiful white birds resting on the surface of the river, and then I return to Ukraine.

There, two ladies who run the ‘Camelot Bar’ served us the most delicious Russo/Ukrainian feast of an enormous borscht soup, and pelmeni.

Russian television station blasts away, and the two women cannot stop talking; they are frank, proud, and fearless. I turn on my film camera, but they don’t mind:

“Look what is happening in Kiev”, exclaims Alexandra Tsyganskaya, the owner of the restaurant. “The US and the West were planning this; preparing this, for months, perhaps years! Now people in Ukraine are so scared, most of them are only whispering. They are petrified. There is such tension everywhere, that all it would take is to light a match and everything will explode.”

Her friend, Evgenia Chernova, agrees: “In Odessa, Russian-speaking people get arrested, and they are taken all the way to Kiev. The same is happening in Kharkov, in Donetsk, and elsewhere. They call it freedom of speech! All Russian television channels are banned. What you see here is broadcasted from across the border. They treat people like cattle. But our people are not used to this: they will rebel, they will resist! And if they push them to the edge, it will be terrible!”

Both women definitely agree on one thing: “We say, ‘don’t provoke Russia!’ It is a great nation, our historical ally. It has been helping us for decades.”

‘A civil war’, I hear in Kuchurgan. ‘A civil war!’ I hear in Odessa. ‘A civil war!’ I hear in Kharkov.

And the same words in Odessa are even written on huge banners: “Kiev, people are not cattle!”

Odessa city, that architectural jewel, an enormous southern port, is now relatively quiet, but tense. I speak to the manager of the historic and magnificently restored Hotel Bristol, but she is very careful in choosing her words. I mention Western involvement in the coup, or in the ‘revolution’ as many in Kiev and in the West call it, but she simply nods, neutrally.

I cross the street and enter the Odessa Philharmonic Theatre. A young lady approaches me: “Would you like to have my ticket?” She asks in perfect Russian. “My boyfriend did not show up. Please enjoy.”

The performance is bizarre, and clearly ‘un-philharmonic’. Some renowned folk ensemble performs old Ukrainian traditional songs and dances, but why here and why now? Is it a patriotic gesture, or something else?

The city is subdued, as well as those famous Potemkin Stairs: Renowned for one of the most memorable scenes in world cinema that of, the silent film ‘Battleship Potemkin’ directed in 1925 by Sergei M. Eisenstein.

As Helen Grace once wrote:

The Odessa steps massacre in the film condenses the suppression, which actually occurred in the city, into one dramatised incident, and this remains one of the most powerful images of political violence ever realised.

One only hopes that Odessa never again falls victim to unbridled political cruelty, such as was visited on the people by the feudal, oppressive right-wing Tsarist regime, at the beginning of the 20th century!

***

Babushka looks exhausted and subdued. She is slowly digging into dark earth, all alone, clearly abandoned.

I spotted some collapsed houses in the village that we had passed just a few minutes earlier, and I asked the driver to make a U-turn, but he clearly did not see any urgency and continued to drive on: “You will see many villages like this”, he explained. Dimitry confirmed: “Such villages one are all over Ukraine. There are thousands of them; literally, you see them whenever you leave the main roads.”

This one, this village, is called Efremovka, and the name of a grandmother is Lyubov Mikhailovna.

We are somewhere between the cities of Nikolayev and Krivoi Rog.

All around us are the ruins of agricultural estates, of small factories, and houses that used to belong to farmers. Wires are missing from electric poles, and everything appears to be static, like in a horror science-fiction film. Only Lyubov Mikhailovna is digging, stubbornly.

I ask her how she is managing to survive, and she replies that she is not managing at all.

“How could one survive here on only one thousand Hryvnas per month (around US$80)?” she laments. “We are enduring only on what we grow here: cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes…”

I ask her about the ruins of houses, all around this area, and she nods for a while, and only then begins speaking: “People abandoned their homes and their villages, because there are no jobs. After the Soviet Union collapsed, the entire Ukraine has been falling apart… People are leaving and they are dying. Young people try to go abroad…. The government is not even supplying us with gas and drinking water, anymore. We have to use the local well, but the water is contaminated by fertilizers – it is not clean…”

“Was it better before?” I ask.

Her face brightens up. She stops speaking for a while, searching her memory, recalling long bygone days. Then she answers: “How can you even ask? During the Soviet Union everything was better, much better! We all had jobs and there were decent salaries, pensions… We had all that we needed.”

Looking around me, I quickly recall that Ukraine is an absolute demographic disaster: even according to official statistics and censuses, the number of people living in this country fell from 48,457,102 in 2001 to 44,573,205 in 2013. Years after its ‘independence’, and especially those between 1999 and 2001, are often described as one of the worst demographic crises in modern world history. In 1991 the population of Ukraine was over 51.6 million!

Only those countries that are devastated by brutal civil wars are experiencing similar population decline.

***

Krivoi Rog or Kryvyi Rih as it is known in the Ukrainian language – is arguably the most important steel manufacturing city in Eastern Europe, and a large globally important, metallurgical center for what is known as the Kryvbas iron- ore mining region.

Here Krivorozhstal, one of the most important steel factories in the world, it had seen outrageous corruption scandals during its first wave of privatization. During the second privatization in 2005, the mammoth factory was taken over by the Indian multi-national giant, Mittal Steel (which paidUS$4.81 billion), and was renamed Arcelor Mittal Kryvyi Rih. Since then, production has declined significantly, and thousands of workers were unceremoniously fired.

According to the Arcelor Mittal Factbooks (2007 and 2008), steel production decreased from 8.1 million tons in 2007, to 6.2 million tones in 2008. In 2011, the workforce decreased from 55,000 to 37,000 tons, and the management is still hoping that even more dramatic job cuts (down to 15,000) can be negotiated.

By late afternoon, we arrived at the main gate of the factory. Hundreds of people were walking by; most of them looking exhausted, discouraged and unwilling to engage in any conversation.

Some shouted anti-coup slogans, but did not want to give their names or go on the record.

Finally, a group of tough looking steelworkers stops, and begins to discuss the situation at the factory with us, passionately:

“Do you realize how little we earn here? People at this plant, depending on their rank, bring home only some US$180, US$260, or at most some US$450 a month. Across the border, in Russia, in the city of Chelyabinsk, the salaries are three to four times higher!”

His friend is totally wound up and he screams: “We are ready! We will go! People are reaching the limit!”

It is hard to get any political sense from the group, but it is clear that opinions are divided: while some want more foreign investment, others are demanding immediate nationalization. They have absolutely no disputes with Russia, but some support the coup in Kiev, while others are against it.

It is clear that, more than ideology; these people want some practical improvement in their own lives and in the life of their city.

“All we have heard, for the past twenty years is that things will improve”, explains the first steel worker. “But look what is happening in reality. Mittal periodically fails to pay what is due. For instance, I am supposed to get 5,700 Hryvnas a month, but I get less than 5,000. And the technology at the plant is old, outdated. The profits that Mittal is making – at least if some of it would stay here, in Ukraine, and go to the building of the roads or improving the water supplies… But they take everything out of the country.”

The next day, in Kharkov, Sergei Kirichuk, concludes:

“People all over the world are fighting against so-called ‘free market’, but in Ukraine, to bring it here, was the main reason for the ‘revolution’. It is really hard to believe.”

***

The border between Ukraine and Russia, near the town of Zhuravlevka, between Ukrainian Kharkov and the Russian city of Belgorod, is quiet. Good weather, wide fields and an almost flat landscape, guarantee good visibility for several kilometers. On the 28 of March, when Western and Ukrainian mass media were shouting about an enormous Russian military force right at the border, I only saw a few frustrated birds and an apparently unmanned watch tower.

The traffic at the border was light, but it was flowing – and several passenger cars were crossing from the Russian side to Ukraine.

What I saw, however, were several Ukrainian tanks along the M-20/E-105 highway, just a stone throw away from the borderline. There were tanks and there were armored vehicles, and quite a substantial movement of Ukrainian soldiers.

The local press was, however, not as aggressive, provocative:

“State of War!” shouted the headlines of Kyiv Post. “We lifted up to the sky 100 jet fighters, in order to scare Moscow”, declared ‘Today’.

***

The reality on the ground differed sharply from the ‘fairytales’, paid for and propagated by Western mass media outlets and by the ‘free Ukrainian press’.

In Kharkov, Soviet banners flew in the wind, next to many Russian flags. Thousands of people gathered in front of the giant statue of Lenin on those windy days of 28th and 29th of March.

There were fiery speeches and ovations. The outraged crowd met the proclamations that the Western powers had instigated the ‘fascist coup’ in Kiev, with loud shouts: “Russia, Russia!”

Old women, Communist leaders, and my friend Sergei Kirichuk, as well as people from international solidarity organizations, made fiery speeches. Apparently, the government in Kiev had already begun to cut the few social benefits that were left, including free medical assistance. Several hospitals were poised to close down, soon.

People were ready to fight; to defend themselves against those hated neo-liberal policies, for which (or against which) none of them had been allowed to vote for.

“In Crimea, people voted, overwhelmingly, to return to Russia”, explained a young man, a student, Alexei. “But the West calls it unconstitutional and undemocratic. In Ukraine itself, the democratically elected government has been overthrown and policies that nobody really wants are being pushed down our throats. And… this is called democracy!”

In an apartment of the Borodba movement, a young leader and history student, Irina Drazman, spoke about the way the West destroyed Ukraine. She reminded me of a Chilean student leader and now an MP – Ms. Camila Vallejo. Irina is only twenty, but coherent and as sharp as a razor.

“There is great nostalgia for the Soviet Union”, she explains. “If only it could be re-shaped and the concept improved, most of the people in Ukraine would be happy to be part of it again.”

And that is exactly what the West tries to prevent: A powerful and united country, one which can defend the interest of its people.

Standing in front of a police cordon in Kharkov, Alexandr Oleinik, a Ukrainian political analyst, explains:

“The essence of what is now happening is based on the doctrine of the United States, which has one major goal: To wipe out from the globe, first the Soviet Union, and then Russia, regardless of its form; whether socialist or capitalist… As is well known, these goals were already defined in the early 1980’s, by Zbigniew Brzezinski, in his report to the US Department of State, “Game Plan: A Geostrategic Framework for the Conduct of the U.S.-Soviet Contest”.

Besieged square in front of the court of justice may not be the most comfortable place for political discussions, but Mr. Oleinik has plenty to share:

“After destroying USSR, the US is, until now, making enormous effort to, in accordance with the ‘Brzezinski Doctrine’, to drag Russia, Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries, into exhausting regional conflicts, in order to out root from the consciousness of the people of these nations all thoughts about reunification (be it a customs union, common economic sphere, etc.). Series of ‘color revolutions’ from so-called American doctrine of ‘advancement of democracies’ became a clear proof of the essence of the geopolitical interests of the US. Libya, Tunis, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Yugoslavia – all this is from the same shelf.”

“Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, even China”, I continue.

Policemen are looking at us suspiciously, as both of us are naming dozens and dozens of countries located in all corners of the world.

***

In Kiev’s Maidan, the main square where the ‘revolution’ or the coup took place, the right-wing groupings are hanging around, aimlessly. Some men and women are frustrated. Many now even feel that they were fooled.

Thousands were paid to participate in what was thought would bring at least some social justice, some relief. But the interim government began taking dictate, almost immediately: from the United States, from European Union and from the institutions such as IMF and World Bank.

Now thousands of disgruntled ‘revolutionaries’ feel frustrated. Instead of saving the country, they sold all ideals, and betrayed their own people. And their own lives went from bad to worse.

The tension is growing and Ukraine is on the edge.

There is growing tension, even confrontation, between conservative, oppressive forces and those progressive ones. There is tension between Russian speakers and those who are insisting on purely Ukrainian language being used all over the country.

There are political assassinations; there is fear and uncertainty about the future.

There is increasing and negative role being played by the religions: from Protestant to Orthodox.

Nobody knows what will follow the coup. Confusion and frustration, as well as social collapse, may well cause a brutal civil war.

Protesters are now, this very moment, occupying government buildings in Donetsk and Lugansk, demanding referendum. Majority of people in these and other cities would rather join Russia then to live in pro-Western dictatorship, which Ukraine became after the coup.

Same tactics that were lauded by Western propaganda during the Maidan uprising are now hypocritically condemned in the east and south of the country.

Russia gained greatly, especially in the non-Western world. It is now recognized as the center of global ‘mutiny’ against global dictatorship of the US and EU. It opened one more front of resistance, and it stands alongside countries of Latin America.

Its generally peaceful and measured approach is in direct contrast to brutal and destabilizing methods used by the US and EU all over the globe. Except in those few fully indoctrinated modern-day colonies (which the West calls ‘democracies’ just because the people there can stick a piece of paper to a carton box, and most are stupidly doing so), the world is waking up to reality that there actually is, suddenly, some strong and determined resistance to Western imperialism.

After decades of total darkness, the hope is emerging.

In the meantime, two beautiful Slavic countries are still facing each other. But the people, particularly those in Ukraine, are now waving Russian flags and shout to the faces of riot police that is obedient to Kiev: “Russia! Russia!”

No matter what the propaganda says, reality is well known. For decades, after destruction of the USSR, Ukraine mainly obeyed the West and Russia went its own, determinedly independent way.

The result is: Ukraine is on its knees (although not as horribly yet as some East European countries like Bulgaria, that actually became full members of the EU). Wages for workers and pensions for elderly are now approximately 3-4 times higher in Russia than in Ukraine.

And Russia has its own, independent voice, flying all over the world though the outlets like RT and Voice of Russia, while Ukraine is a clearly a colony.

It is obvious in what direction the majority of Ukrainians is now looking with hope. The government should listen. It should also call referendum, soon. It should use ‘direct democracy’, not some rigged multi-party charade like in Indonesia.

Two countries that share both history and the future, should embrace. And face the wind, and tremors, together! They should never fight each other – Russia and Ukraine are soul mates, not enemies. Those who are dividing them should be exposed, shamed, and expelled!

Ukrainean armored vehicle on Russian border

Ukrainean armored vehicle on Russian border.

Ukraine or Russia,  could you really tell difference

Ukraine or Russia, could you really tell difference?

student leader Irina Drazman in Kharkov copy

Student leader Irina Drazman in Kharkov.

so called Maidan revolutionaries

So called Maidan revolutionaries.

right wingers took over the city

Right wingers took over the city.

political analyst Alexandr Oleinik  copy

Political analyst Alexandr Oleinik.

oro Western paramilitaries controlling city council of Kiyev

Oro Western paramilitaries controlling city council of Kiyev.

Maidan mess

Maidan mess.

leader of Borodba - Sergei Kirichuk  copy

Leader of Borodba – Sergei Kirichuk.

grandmother from Efremovka

Grandmother from Efremovka.

Andre Vltchek is a novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His discussion with Noam Chomsky On Western Terrorism is now going to print. His critically acclaimed political novel Point of No Return is now re-edited and available. Oceania is his book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about post-Suharto Indonesia and the market-fundamentalist model is called “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. He has just completed the feature documentary, “Rwanda Gambit” about Rwandan history and the plunder of DR Congo. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and Africa. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

US-EU legitimacy is crippled as their Kiev regime uses overt, systematic violence and intimidation to consolidate its hold over Ukraine.

Ukrainian presidential candidate Oleg Tsarev was savagely beaten outside a TV studio after an interview for the Ukrainian talk show, ‘Svoboda Slova.’ The studio was apparently surrounded by armed men in masks earlier, preventing Tsarev from leaving after the interview. When he did finally emerge, masked men with Svoboda Neo-Nazi “Wolfsangel” armbands began throwing objects at, choking, and physically beating Tsarev.

Dramatic video of the confrontation was captured, and exposes the successors of the “Euromaidan” protests as not a “pro-democracy” movement, but a mob using violence and intimidation to disrupt and destroy all political opposition to their agenda.

In an earlier report titled, “ Ukraine: The Anti-Maidan Begins,” the various components of the “Euromaidan” protests were broken down illustrating how violent Neo-Nazi fanatics and ideologues were the rule, rather than the exception in Kiev before the violent overthrow of the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych. The mobs that attacked Tsarev outside the studio he had given an interview in, appear to have ties to Svoboda’s street front, one of the central political parties that led the “Euromadian,” and a party that now enjoys three top ministry positions within the newly installed Kiev regime.

Image: Top left – thugs emerging just ahead of Ukrainian presidential candidate Oleg Tsarev can clearly be seen wearing the Svoboda Neo-Nazi “Wolfsangel” on yellow and black armbands. Shortly after they passed, other masked thugs would physically assault Tsarev, resulting in hospitalization. To the right and along the bottom – various images of Svoboda’s street movement in action. Note the same yellow and black “Wolfsangel” along with the “three-fingered salute” of the official Svoboda Party flag.

 

Image: Laying to rest any lingering doubts, images from “Euromaidan” rallies were frequently dominated by the yellow and blue Svoboda Party flags, featuring a three-fingered salute, intermixed with EU flags, and flags of Ukraine’s other ultra-right, Neo-Nazi parties, including the “Fatherland Party,” and Right Sector’s crimson and black banners.

As the regime in Kiev prepares a violent “anti-terror” campaign to subjugate eastern Ukrainians who wholly reject the unelected regime’s seizure of power and its deliberate intimidation and deconstruction of their political rivals ahead of rushed elections, the savage beating of Oleg Tsarev by the regime’s supporters must be kept in mind. It is these very tactics by the regime that is driving opposition across much of Ukraine’s eastern and southern regions, including Crimea which has already decided upon and begun the process of integrating with Russia rather than remain under literal Neo-Nazis occupying Kiev.

The Western media will continue covering-up, spinning, and otherwise compartmentalizing the violent, authoritarian regime in Kiev – but acts like the beating of Oleg Tsarev will make this task all the more difficult, and the likelihood of the regime ever establishing any sort of  legitimacy slim if at all possible.

White House Confirms CIA Director Visited Ukraine

April 15th, 2014 by Joseph Fitsanakis

White House officials has confirmed that the director of the Central Intelligence Agency visited Ukraine over the weekend, following reports in the Russian media. On Sunday, Moscow urged Washington to respond to allegations in the Russian press that CIA Director John Brennan had made an incognito visit to Ukrainian capital Kiev.

The reports alleged that Brennan, who assumed the directorship of the CIA a year ago, traveled to Ukraine on official business under a false identity in order to avoid attention. Russian media further alleged that the CIA head met with a host of Ukrainian intelligence and security officials and advised them on how to respond to the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine.

Initially, Washington denied comment on the allegations. But early on Monday White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Brennan had indeed traveled to Ukraine over the weekend. He said that the White House normally declines comment on the whereabouts of the CIA Director. However, “given the extraordinary circumstances” in the case of Ukraine, he said he was willing to confirm that Brennan was in Kiev over the weekend “as part of a trip to Europe”.

He went on to state that he hoped the official confirmation of Brennan’s trip by the White House would suffice to discredit the “false claims being leveled by the Russians at the CIA”. Carney added that there was nothing inherently suspicious about a CIA Director’s trip to a foreign country. He argued that “senior-level visits of intelligence officials [abroad] are a standard means of fostering mutually beneficial security cooperation” and that such visits —some of which have been to Russia— go back “to the beginnings of the post-Cold War era”. He concluded by stating that Russia’s suggestions that Brennan’s visit to Ukraine were in “anything other than the same spirit” were “absurd”.

But Moscow responded to Carney’s comments by arguing that Washington had “not yet given a sufficient response” to the allegations of Brennan’s visit to Kiev. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told journalists on Monday that the Kremlin was still waiting to receive “intelligible explanations” of Brennan’s trip by the White House. CIA spokesman Todd Ebitz dismissed allegations that Brennan’s trip to Kiev was aimed at conducting tactical operations inside Ukraine as “completely false”. But he refused to comment specifically on the nature of the CIA Director’s trip.

Boston Marathon Bombing Timeline

April 15th, 2014 by James F. Tracy

The following timeline of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured many more provides a platform to better understand how the event was publicly presented by corporate and alternative news media.

The chronological assemblage of coverage is not comprehensive of all reports published on the incident but is an ongoing project that also seeks to explain how the storyline was largely constructed by federal and state law enforcement, medical authorities and major media around the eventual theory that Dzokhar and Tamarlan Tsarnaev were the sole instigators of the bombing.

This scenario has become an established reality through the news media’s pronounced repetition of law enforcement’s narrative. This is underscored with the cultural tendency toward correlating non-Western and/or Muslim individuals with terrorism and related types of crime. This proposed scenario of deviant Muslim terrorists has also tended to obscure the possibility that the Tsarnaev brothers may have been tortured and Tamarlan murdered at the hands of federal and state law enforcement officers. Moreover, the April 18-19 search for Dzokhar Tsarnaev involved the removal of Constitutional protections against illegal searches and seizures throughout the Boston area and enactment of de facto martial law.

Note: Times of occurrences referenced are Eastern Standard and in some instances signify time of publication rather than the specific incident cited. Time of publication does not always correlate with exact time of incident. Thus “n.t.” denotes “no time” of event or publication referenced in the given news article. An estimate of an approximate time is followed by “[estimate]”.

2008

Richard Serino, Director of Boston’s Emergency Medical Services, authors Marathons – A Tale of Two Cities and the Running of a Planned Mass Casualty Event (PDF).

As the title suggests, the document provides a detailed and fully operationalized plan for carrying out a mass casualty drill around the Boston Marathon. The 39-frame slide presentation details how emergency personnel and resources are to be coordinated and deployed. It also emphasizes “Working with the media.” “Their mission is to get a story,” frame 11 instructs. “Building a longstanding relationship with journalists and reporters ensures that they get the right story and that they serve as a resource when needed.” Several maps of downtown Boston “based on consistent grid coordinates” and including “zone designations for incident reporting” (frame 26) delineate the Marathon route and finish line area on Boylston Street.

Specific procedures for medical providers, including electronic patient tracking via barcodes (frame 31) further indicate the scope and precision of the mock event. James F. Tracy, “Obama’s FEMA Director Planned Boston Mass Casualty Event in 2008,” Memoryholeblog.com, May 21, 2013.

2009

  • October 22

n.t.
Richard Serino retires from his post at Boston EMS upon being appointed Deputy Administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Administration by President Obama. “First of all, people need to understand what FEMA is and isn’t,’’ Serino tells the Boston Globe. “It provides support to states and localities – it is not there to dictate how the local EMS and first responders operate.” Christie Coombs, “Serino ‘Retires’ to Top-Level FEMA Post,” Boston.com, October 22, 2009.

2011

March 30

President Obama signs Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness.

“This directive is aimed at strengthening the security and resilience of the United States through systematic preparation for the threats that pose the greatest risk to the security of the Nation, including acts of terrorism, cyber attacks, pandemics, and catastrophic natural disasters … The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism shall coordinate the interagency development of an implementation plan for completing the national preparedness goal and national preparedness system.”

Barack H Obama, “Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness,” US Department of Homeland Security, March 30, 2011.

  • May 21

8:00AM-8:00PM [estimate]
Operation Urban Shield Boston transpires throughout the city, the first major exercise to take place in Boston since 9/11. “The scenarios are fakes, but the response is real,” CBS’s Boston affiliate WBZ reports. “Terrorists hijack a boat in Winthrop. Firefighters search for victims in a Quincy building collapse. A bomb squad diffuses an explosive in Chelsea … A grant from the Department of Homeland Security makes the elaborate setups possible.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VkVS3NRXZk

The drills bring together emergency response teams from the around region and even some as far as California. There are a variety of scenarios carried out. In one, SWAT teams storm a boat at Winthrop Public Landing with the notion that a group of terrorists attacked the ship and took hostages.

Other simulations included a gunmen running loose at the Boston Copley Marriott Place, a terrorist seizure of a control room in Everett, and an explosive device at Quincy High School. The last scheduled event, from 5PM to 8PM, recreated the Mumbai terror attacks at the Boston Marine Industrial Park. Actors pose as terrorists and victims while special effects teams set off fake gunshots and explosions. Alana Gomez, “Boston Area Holds Large Terror Drills As Part of Urban Shiled Training Program,” WBZ / CBS Boston, May 21, 2011.

  • October 7

3:58PM
The Obama administration continues with the implementation of Presidential Policy Directive 8 by announcing “the first-ever National Preparedness Goal.” According to the White House the goal intends

“[t]o have a secure and resilient Nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.”

There is emphasis on “stakeholder groups from around the nation.” The full 26 page document is available here. Craig Fugat, “PPD-8: Announcing the National Preparedness Goal,” The White House Blog, October 7, 2011.

2012

April 16

10:00AM
Complete finish line video from 2012 Boston Marathon.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_mXwnQJ8V0

  • October 31

n.t.
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Merino announcers that Urban Shield: Boston will take place on November 3, 2012.

Urban Shield is a US Department of Homeland Security-sponsored 24-hour training operation, and is part of the 2011 Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness and the National Preparedness Goal. The exercise that simulates large-scale public safety incidents scheduled to transpire in the metro-Boston area.  Urban Shield: Boston is to begin at 8AM November 3 and conclude at 8AM November 4. The wide-ranging operation is to include personnel from the following agencies:

  • the Boston Police Department;
  • the Brookline Police Department;
  • the Cambridge Police Department;
  • the Revere Police Department;
  • the Northeastern Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC);
  • the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Association (MBTA) Police Department;
  • the Massachusetts State Police;
  • the Middlesex County Police Department;
  • the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council;
  • the Manchester, NH Police Department 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYYKIM2AFO0

This exercise is intended to evaluate each agency’s ability to successfully respond to, and manage, public safety events and other emergencies occurring concurrently throughout the Boston area. Mayor Merino’s announcement emphasizes the following:

Urban Shield: Boston will run for a 24-hour period.  As a result residents in the area may hear simulated gunfire, observe officers responding to simulated emergencies, or see activity in the Boston Harbor.  Each scenario will be run multiple times, and organizers urge residents not to be alarmed. There is no danger to anyone in the area, and exercises will be done in cordoned-off areas away from the public.

“Training is vital for our first responders,” Mayor Merino says.

They are on the frontlines when an emergency occurs, and we want them trained in the best ways possible to handle any situation. Urban Shield: Boston displays the steps the metro-Boston region takes to prepare for all-hazards and sets a national example for cities around the country to create a coordinated full-scale training exercise.

Mayor Merino Announces Urban Shield: Boston Simulated 24-Hour Publc Safety Exercise,” City of Boston, October 31, 2012.

November 3

8:00AM
The Department of Homeland Security-sponsored 24-hour emergency preparedness drill “Urban Shield,” incorporating police, firefighters and EMT’s from Boston and eight surrounding towns begins. Brookline Police Chief Daniel O’Leary says several simulated crisis events are to take place around the region simultaneously, including an emergency drill on the water.

“The federal government has given us a lot of money to protect Boston Harbor, so we’re going to test the assets on different things,”O’Leary tells WBZ NewsRadio 1030. There will also be a mass casualty incident to test eight hospitals and simulated disasters on the subway to test Transit Police. Kim Tunnicliffe, “It’s Only a Drill: Simulated Emergencies in Boston Area,” CBS Boston, November 3, 2012.

2013

  • April 15

9:00AM
Mobility Impaired Division of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race at Hopkinton. 2013 Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, n.d.

9:17AM
Wheelchair Division of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race at Hopkinton. 2013 Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, n.d.

9:22AM
Handcycle Participant Division of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race at Hopkinton. 2013 Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, n.d.

9:32AM
Elite Women’s Division of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race at Hopkinton. 2013 Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, n.d.

10:00AM
Elite Men’s Division and Wave 1 of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race at Hopkinton. 2013 Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, n.d.

10:20AM
Wave 2 of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race at Hopkinton. 2013 Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, n.d.

10:40AM
Wave 3 of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race.

2:49PM
Two bombs explode 550 feet apart on Boylston Street in the proximity of the Boston Marathon Bombing finish line, killing three people and injuring over 140. The scene is reportedly punctuated by broken glass and severed limbs. Onlookers fear that terrorists have struck America again. A White House official says the attack was being treated as an act of terrorism. “They just started bringing people in with no limbs,” runner Tim Davey of Richmond, Virginia tells the Associated Press. Jimmy Golen, “Boston Marathon Bombing Kills 3, Injures Over 140,” Associated Press, April 16, 2013.

2:50PM
Carlos Arredondo, a Boston Marathon onlooker, quickly departs the finish line bleachers, runs across Boylston Street, vaults over security fencing and lands on a bloody sidewalk, the Washington Post reports. In front of him, two women are on the ground frozen. Another woman meanders about in the thick smoke, looking down at the fallen bodies. “Oh, my God,” Arredondo says she repeated, confused. “Oh, my God.” He carries a camera and a small American flag, drops the flag, takes four pictures, focusing specifically on a young man who lay on the sidewalk and had lost at least one leg as a result of the ordnance. Then Arredondo puts the camera away and asks the injured man his name. “Stay still,” he recalls saying. “The ambulance is here.” David A. Farenthold, “Boston Marathon Bystander Carlos Arredondo Says He Acted Instinctively,” Washington Post, April 16, 2013.

3:00PM [estimate]
Boston fireman Charles Buchanan Jr. comes upon the body of eight-year old Martin Richard and his sister whose leg is blown asunder. “We stopped an ambulance. The ambulance was full,” Buchanan tells CNN.

But we said, you have to take this girl. And they were great. They were Boston EMS. And this firefighter said, you know, she needs a tourniquet. We got a tourniquet small enough to — I mean her leg is as big as your arm. All right? So they put her inside the — the ambulance. But as you say, the only thing that I could see and see to this day are her little eyes looking up at me. That’s it. All right? And me thinking — thinking about my own grandson, Malachi. And my Malachi is the same age as this young girl who is six years old. Who is—first thing he did was give me a big hug when I went home.

Brooke Baldwin, “First Responder’s Emotional Story,” CNN, April 18, 2013.

3:00PM [estimate]
Iraq war veteran who also acts as a first responder Jim Assiante and an unidentified male first responder are on the scene administering first aid to bombing victims, CNN later reports. “We were triaging for at least half an hour, forty-five minutes, longer than I’m sure,” the unidentified man accompanying Assiante tells a CNN reporter. “I treated a double amputee, a young child, and I also treated a young woman [who] had a cardiac arrest … I personally touched 25 people, and there were at least twice that in hospitals.” Erin Burnett, “Boston First Responder: ‘It Was a Flashback to Iraq,’” CNN, April 15, 2013.

From the Sandy Hook Massacre Timeline:
Two makeshift explosive devices detonate at the finish line of the famed Boston Marathon. The 2013 run is designed in honor of the 26 Sandy Hook Elementary School victims with its 26.2 mile course. It is also attended by several parents from Newtown participating in the event. Yet the six Sandy Hook families present are caught in a milieu of emergency vehicles and carnage. “It was all those same things, the police and fire and all of that. It’s severely traumatic,” says Lauren Nowacki, one of the Newtown parents in town for the April 15 marathon. “We thought things were finally getting to a good place from the first go-around, and now this.” Nowacki’s daughter was at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14 but was not injured. Nowacki says all of the Newtown marathoners completed the run before the bombs detonated that purportedly injure 170 people and kill three. “Boston really reached out to us,” Nowacki notes. “Even after the bombing, the communications director from the race called to make sure all the kids were all right.” The Newtown group will now attempt to reciprocate by honoring the victims of the Boston bombings with their own annual race, the Sandy Hook 5k Run. Colleen Curry, “Sandy Hook Families at Boston Marathon Traumatized Again,” ABC News, April 16, 2013.

3:30PM [estimate]
Following the 2:49PM bombings two or more unexploded bombs are found near the finish line of the Boston Marathon and disarmed, according to an anonymous senior U.S. intelligence official. Jimmy Golen, “Boston Marathon Bombing Kills 3, Injures Over 140,” Associated Press, April 16, 2013.

4:00PM [estimate]
An eyewitness tells WMUR Channel 9 that the second bomb originated in a trash can. The interview is broadcast on India’s ABP News. “I saw the first explosion happen,” the eyewitness recalls, “and there was some commotion. I saw fire and smoke, and I didn’t know what it was. And then from about me to where that gentleman is standing over there I saw a trash can explode and people started throwing down the barricades and running over each other and I just ran in the other direction as fast as I could.” “So the second explosion came from a garbage barrel?” the reporter asks to confirm. “Yes,” the man responds, “it came from a—I literally saw the garbage barrel explode.” “Boston Blasts: Eyewitness Accounts,” APB News, April 15, 2013.

4:03PM
Boston CBS affiliate WBZ News 4 interviews two female medical personnel who have attended to Maraton spectators injured and killed by the bombing.

Anchor Jack Williams: … Almost across the street from the explosion, ah, when it took place. Let’s go back now to near where the emergency tents are. Are they still bringing victims in, by the way?

Reporter Michael Rosenfield: Jack, I think they’ve slowed. There’s no more victims coming in at this point. In fact, I’m standing now with some of the personnel—some of the emergency personnel who have been evacuated out of the tent. They wanted to basically go through and clear the tent. And I guess the law enforcement wanted to give it a once over. Alice Is joining me. She is a nurse as well. What happened in there?

“Alice”: When we were in there we just heard two very loud rumbling sounds—big bangs, twice. We weren’t sure what they were. We originally thought maybe a speaker had blown [or] something like that.  But I think we all had that feeling that it was something more than just that. and we had—there was an announcement, “All medical personnel to the end of the tent, and then they started rus—rushing people in [immediately] with bleeding.

Reporter: And you saw the injured?

“Alice”: Yes. Some of them were very profound. One woman had lost her leg—lots of bleeding. Some children were involved as well. And, ah, we took care of the ones we could and got them into the ambulances as soon as possible.

Reporter: And we saw—I was standing right across the street from where it went off—and I saw these injuries—and I could swear that a couple of people, for sure, were not going to make that trip and—

“Alice”: That-that’s correct. There were a few that didn’t—uhm—unfortunately make it and we—we do have those people here in the tent … So—

Reporter: What was your immediate reaction when you heard the blast and then you started to see some of these injuries. I mean you’re used to dealing with blisters and people with shortness of breath.

“Alice”: That’s true. I kind of just had to—just collect myself a bit and prepare myself for what I was going to see. And, as just a team we really tried to work together and hold our own so we could take care of the people coming in. And that’s what we did.

Reporter: Are you doing OK?

“Alice”: Yeah, we’re doing OK.

Reporter: How about you. [Moves with microphone in hand toward woman standing to right of first interviewee.] Same story?

Maureen: Uhm, pretty much, uhm. I’m Maureen Korato [sp] and I’m a nurse practitioner. So I actually was, you know, helping a runner at the time, uhm, and, uhm, he became pretty nervous as to what actually was going on, so my first focus was to take care of him and to reassure him and then—but then once his wife came in and another nurse came I then went up to the scene because I have some, you know, trauma experience. So I—I did go up the street.

Reporter: I—I gotta say I’ve been doing this business a long time and I’ve seen a lot of horrible stuff. That-that goes right to the top of the list.

Maureen: Yeah, it pretty much does. Uh, I think what really surprised me was, ah, the number of people, and just the, ah, really the amount of blood [and] the amount of injuries. Uhm, but everybody was really just working together as a team, uhm, it was chaotic but it was organized chaos.

Reporter: Right.

Maureen: Uhm, so, and then once things were stabilized up there I ran back here to the tent.

Reporter: You’re going to run back into the tent as soon as they give you the green light.

Maureen: Absolutely.

Reporter: Thank you so much. Thank you for your help as well. Thank you for your service. I know now that we’re hearing that two are dead and nearly two dozen have been injured from these two blasts.

Special Report: Interview with Medical Tent Personnel,” WBZ CBSBoston.com, April 15, 2013.

4:19PM
CNN reports that two are dead and 119 injured. The cable news network’s anchor Erin Burnett conducts a live interview with eyewitness Cassidy Quinn Brettler. CNN fails to preface the interview by noting that Brettler is a self-described vlogger and professionally-trained freelance reporter and actor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4TO4lC0FsY

“Blood everywhere,” Brettler tells Burnett. “Body parts that should never look in the state they were looking [sic]. Just total—I mean [it was] disturbing.” Erin Burnett, “Eyewitness: ‘Blood Everywhere’ in Boston,” CNN, April 15, 2013.

4:30PM [estimate]
President Obama speaks from the White House and vows to bring those responsible for the blast to justice. “We will get to the bottom of this,” the president says. “We will find who did this, and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.” John Eligon and Michael Cooper, “Blasts at Boston Marathon Kill 3 and Injure 100,” New York Times, April 16, 2013.

7:00PM [estimate]
A procession of mourners carrying candles and flowers gather overnight and through the early morning hours of April 16, leaving bouquets, balloons, and stuffed animals on the front porch of eight-year-old decedent Martin Richard’s family. Over one thousand congregate with candles at a Dorchester playground in the evening, with many more gathering via the Internet. Richard’s mother and sister are reported as ­severely injured. A photograph of Martin Richard holding a hand-lettered sign “goes viral.” The boy’s father, Bill Richard endures the bombing with shrapnel injuries to his legs. “My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston,” Bill Richard remarks in a written statement. “My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries.” Evan Allen and Jenna Russell, “Photo of Victim Martin Richard Now a Symbol,” Boston Globe, April 16, 2013.

8:00PM [estimate]
Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says the bombing’s death toll had risen to three. CNN tells its viewers:

Scores were injured at the scene. One of the dead was an 8-year-old boy, according to a state law enforcement source. Hospitals reported at least 144 people are being treated, with at least 17 of them in critical condition and 25 in serious condition. At least eight of the patients are children. At least 10 people injured had limbs amputated, according to a terrorism expert briefed on the investigation. Several of the patients treated at Massachusetts General Hospital suffered injuries to lower limbs that will require “serial operations” in the coming days, trauma surgeon Peter Fagenholz said Monday night. Some injuries were so severe amputations were necessary, Fagenholz adds.

Josh Levs and Monti Plott, “Boy, 8, One of Three Killed in Bombings at Boston Marathon,” CNN.com, April 18, 2013.

8:16PM
CNN reports three dead, including an eight year old boy, and more than 144 injured from the bombing. Erin Burnett, “Boston First Responder: ‘It Was a Flashback to Iraq,’” CNN, April 15, 2013.

8:55PM
Dan Bidondi, a freelance reporter working for alternative news outlet Infowars.com, gains admittance to a press conference featuring federal, state, and local officials, asking,

Was there any prior knowledge though? Because according to Boston Globe dot com [law enforcement authorities] said they were doing drills this morning for the same exact thing to happen? Now was youz guyz given any prior warning ahead of time of this taking place?

Bidondi then asks, “Well, sir, why were loudspeakers telling people in the audience to be calm moments before the bomb[s] went off? Is this another false flag staged attack to take our civil liberties and put more Homeland Security sticking their hands down our pants on the streets?” After Bidondi persists, officials appear perturbed and apprehensive, apparently cutting the press conference short to avoid further queries on the nature of the event and its broader implications for civil liberties. Rob Dew, “Inside Boston Marathon Bombing Press Conferences,” Infowars Nightly News, April 16, 2013.

n.t.
Alternative news outlets including NaturalNews.com point out that a “controlled explosion” was underway in Boston on April 15, the same day as the marathon explosion. The Boston Globe tweeted on April 15, “Officials: There will be a controlled explosion opposite the library within one minute as part of bomb squad activities.” Some observers think one of the explosions might have been part of the demolition of another bomb. It seems unlikely, however, that a bomb at the library, one mile away, could be so quickly located and rigged to be exploded by the bomb squad in less than one hour following the initial explosions at the marathon. Furthermore, according to Local15TV.com, a University of Mobile’s Cross Country Coach attests how there were bomb-sniffing dogs at both the start and finish lines, long before any explosions went off. He said: “They kept making announcements on the loud speaker that it was just a drill and there was nothing to worry about. It seemed like there was some sort of threat, but they kept telling us it was just a drill.” Mike Adams, “Boston Marathon Bombing on Same Day as ‘Controlled Explosion Drill’ by Boston Bomb Squad,” NaturalNews.com, April 15, 2013.

n.t.
The 2:49PM bombing was at a time when the race had more or less concluded, with only amateurs making their way toward the finish line, according to a timeline put together for Marathon spectators in 2003 by ESPN columnist and comedy writer Bill Simmons.

“1:45 – This is my favorite group … the fifth tier. For the next 30 minutes, expect to see a variety of athletes running by, including the following groups:

A. Average runners like my buddy Nez, who hope to finish around the four-hour mark but don’t mind stopping for a second to chat.

B. Older guys chugging along nicely, even though they look like they could drop dead at any moment …

2:15 — Now we’ve entered the “freak” portion of the race: People trying to finish in four hours or less, running alongside college kids carrying fraternity flags, transvestites, people dressed in Viking garb and wackos wearing Larry Bird jerseys or multi-colored afros. There are some seriously strange people out there. This usually lasts for about 20-25 minutes. After that, you’ve seen enough and you’re probably buzzed enough to call it a day.

Bill Simmons, “Idiot’s Guide to the Boston [Marathon],” ESPN.com, April 18, 2003.

  • April 16

5:00AM
The New York Times carries graphic front page accounts and disturbing images of the Boston Marathon bombing’s aftermath under the April 16 headline, “BLASTS AT BOSTON MARATHON KILL 3 AND INJURE 100.” “These runners just finished and they don’t have legs now,” Roupen Bastajian, 35, a Rhode Island state trooper and former Marine tells the Times. “So many of them. there are so many people without legs. It’s all blood. There’s blood everywhere. You got bones, fragments. It’s disgusting … We put tourniquets on,” Mr. Bastajian said. “I tied at least five, six legs with tourniquets.” Another eyewitness, Deidre Hatfield, 27, claims to have been steps away from the finish line when she heard a blast. She sees bodies flying out into the street and a couple of children who appeared lifeless. She sees people without legs. “When the bodies landed around me I thought: Am I burning? Maybe I’m burning and I don’t feel it,” Ms. Hatfield says … She looked inside a Starbucks to her left, where she thought a blast might have occurred. “What was so eerie, you looked in you knew there had to be 100 people in there, but there was no sign of movement.” Tim Rohan, “War Zone at Mile 26; ‘So Many People Without Legs,’” New York Times, April 16, 2013.

9:38AM
Cassidy Quinn Brettler is again interviewed on CNN, this time by reporter Chris Quomo. “What is the look through your lens? What kinds of things did you see?” Cuomo asks.
“As I was walking and taking video,” Quinn Brettler recalls,

I walked past a restaurant on Newbury Street that I thought was giving out pitchers to water to people. So I looked down and there was actually a person bleeding on the street there, right off the sidewalk, just laying down and luckily the restaurant was helping them. It was great to actually see people teaming up together to help people in need. Everyone around me, no one knew what to do. That’s basically what I captured on video was this utter chaos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bWz2UIZ4Jk

Press Conference From Boston Regarding the Recent Bombings,” CNN, April 16, 2013.

n.t.
Federal authorities say the bombs were probably simple devices made from ordinary kitchen pressure cookers, only they were designed to shoot shrapnel consisting of nails and ball bearings into anyone within reach of their blast and maim them severely. Officials say the “pressure cooker bombs” were set off by “kitchen-type” egg timers. According to the New York Times, “The resulting explosions sent metal tearing through skin and muscle, destroying the lower limbs of some victims who had only shreds of tissue holding parts of their legs together when they arrived at the emergency room of Massachusetts General Hospital, doctors there said.” Law enforcement authorities surmise the devices were concealed inside dark nylon duffel bags or backpacks and left on the street or sidewalk close to the finish line. Forensic experts say that the design and components of the homemade devices were generic but that the marking “6L,” indicating a six-liter container, could help identify a brand and manufacturer and possibly provide details about the buyer. Katharine Q. Stellye, Eric Schmitt and Scott Shane, “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Main,” New York Times, April 16, 2013.

n.t.
President Obama announces that the F.B.I. is investigating the attack as “an act of terrorism,” and plans to travel to Boston on April 18 for an interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. “The range of suspects and motives remains wide open,” the FBI’s Richard DesLauriers says. And, he adds, no one has claimed responsibility. “Someone knows who did this,” he says. “Cooperation from the community will play a crucial role.” Officials claims to have received over 2,000 tips from around the world. As marathoners left through Logan Airport on April 16, security personnel remind them to share relevant pictures with the FBI. Counterterrorism experts say authorities plan to use facial recognition software against numerous databases for visas, passports and drivers licenses. “It’s our intention to go through every frame of every video that we have to determine exactly who was in the area,” Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis tells journalists at a news briefing. “This was probably one of the most well-photographed areas in the country yesterday.” Katharine Q. Stellye, Eric Schmitt and Scott Shane, “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Main,” New York Times, April 16, 2013.

n.t.
Law enforcement officials from Israel are reportedly sent to the United States to take part in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation, Israel papers report on April 15 and 16. Israel Police Chief Yohanan Danino says he dispatched officials to Boston where they will meet with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and other authorities, according to the Times of Israel. An earlier report in the newspaper Maariv indicates that Danino sent police officers to participate in discussions that “will center on the Boston Marathon bombings and deepening professional cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of both countries.” Maariv notes that Israeli law enforcement made plans for the trip before the Marathon bombings, and the talks will now address how help from abroad can broaden the investigation. “Israeli Police Head to US to Aid in Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation,” RT.com, April 17, 2013.

n.t.
Harvard faculty members and students give eyewitness accounts of what they experienced on or around the Boston Marathon finish line when the explosions occurred. There were “lots of emergency responders,” one student recalls,

and I mean instantly hundreds and hundreds of ambulances and state police officers and things were headed in the direction of the finish line. But none of us—not myself or the folks around me—had any idea of what was going on. We’re all sort of—we’re in panic and shock and didn’t really know what to do. We were being told to sit against the wall and just sit there and wait for further instructions … [There was] no data service on my cellphone. No voice service. I could get limited text messages and I was getting lots of broken texts from my family.

Boston Marathon Bombing: Harvard Eyewitness Accounts,” The Harvard Crimson, April 16, 2013.

n.t.
Dr. George Velmahos of Boston General Hospital tells reporters that the bombs used in the April 15 bombing were created out of pressure cookers and packed with shrapnel consisting of metal, nails and ball bearings. “We removed pellets and nails,” Velmahos says. “[The injuries] are numerous, numerous, They have ten-twenty-thirty-forty of them in their body … or more.” “Doctors: Boston Victims Had Nails, Pellets,” Associated Press, April 16, 2013.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtGuDHGbdck

  • April 17

5:28AM
Less than 48 hours after her death, family members of Boston Marathon bombing victim Krystle Campbell speak on camera to reporters. “She was the best,” Campbell’s mother, Patty, tells reporters. “You couldn’t ask for a better daughter.” The family is heartbroken and still in shock, Patty Campbell says, reading a statement on the family’s porch. “She had a heart of gold. She was always smiling,” Patty Campbell said as her son, Billy, clutched her with his right arm. Krystle’s grandmother observes that the 29-year-old was a special kind of person who nurtured deep friendships. “Oh, she was a beautiful girl,” Lillian Campbell tells CNN’s Jake Tapper. “She was very happy, outgoing, a hard worker.” Lillian Campbell said her granddaughter even lived with her for a year and a half and was “great with me.” Her granddaughter was always willing to help someone in need, she says. “And she was, she was just beautiful. She was a fun-loving girl.” Steve Almasy, “Boston Marathon Bombing Victims: Promising Lives Lost,” CNN, April 17, 2013.

12:30PM [estimate]
Boston news media report that authorities have identified the image of a possible suspect through surveillance video, suggesting a potential turning point in a case where investigators are closely analyzing audio visual evidence from the scene. “Lord & Taylor Video Leads to Identification of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect,” WCVB.com, April 18, 2013.

3:26PM
The FBI cancels a press conference as Special Agent Greg Comcowich of the FBI’s Boston division scolds news media for relying on “unofficial sources” and reporting earlier in the afternoon that an arrest had been made in the Boston Marathon bombing, says in a statement. “[T]hese stories often have unintended consequences. Contrary to widespread reporting,” Comcowich continues, “no arrest has been made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack.” “FBI Warns of Unintended Consequences From False Media Reports,” The Daily Caller, April 17, 2013.

8:09PM
A source inside CNN asserts that the cable news channel’s staff sense humiliation and remorse after their dubious reportage earlier in the day that an arrest was made in  the Boston Marathon bombings case. The source reveals that the network was first to report that a suspect had been identified. Anchor John King transmitted a report that a source “briefed” on the investigation had told King a positive identification had been made. CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist approves that report, according to the source. Brett Logiurato, “CNN Source: Everyone Went Silent for Fifteen Minutes After We Screwed Up the Boston Marathon Report,” Business Insider, April 17, 2013.

11:52PM
Authorities identify a potential suspect Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombings, CBS New York reports, noting that surveillance video may furnish a vital clue in apprehending the attacker. A newly released photo appears to show a bag that may contain an explosive device, behind a fence at the second explosion site. “Authorities Identify Potential Suspect In Boston Marathon Bombings,” CBS New York, April 17, 2013.

11:52PM
CBS New York reports that earlier in the day that a suspect was in custody in relation to the Boston bombings. This conclusion was attributed to an unidentified law enforcement official speaking to the Associated Press. Yet the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston said that no arrests had been made. An official news briefing, originally scheduled for 5 p.m. and later for 8 p.m., was postponed. “Contrary to widespread reporting, there have been no arrests made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack,” the FBI said in a statement. “Authorities Identify Potential Suspect In Boston Marathon Bombings,” CBS New York, April 17, 2013.

n.t.
Alternative news outlet Infowars.com publishes numerous photos of the Boston bombing scene appearing on the 4chan.org website that show numerous images of questionable individuals donning large backpacks at the scene of the Boston Marathon bombings. Three of the male figures look to be Arab or Middle Eastern in appearance, while another two of the individuals are white. The images show the persons looking away from the marathon runners, speaking on cellphones and absconding from the scene immediately after the blast. Paul Joseph Watson, “Potential Boston Bombing Culprits and Person of Interest Identified?Infowars.com, April 17, 2013.

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Independent journalist Anthony Gucciardi interviews key Boston Marathon eyewitness Alastair Stevenson. A veteran of marathons and track coach at the University of Mobile in Alabama, Steveonson confirms that drills were taking place the morning of the Boston Marathon that included bomb squads and rooftop snipers. “At the start at the event, at the Athlete’s Village, there were people on the roof looking down onto the Village at the start,” Stevenson recollects. “There were dogs with their handlers going around sniffing for explosives, and we were told on a loud announcement that we shouldn’t be concerned and that it was just a drill. And maybe it was just a drill, but I’ve never seen anything like that — not at any marathon that I’ve ever been to. You know, that just concerned me that that’s the only race that I’ve seen in my life where they had dogs sniffing for explosions, and that’s the only place where there had been explosions.” Anthony Gucciardi, “Interview With Boston Eyewitness Confirms Bomb Squad Drill,” Infowars.com, April 17, 2013.

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Dr. Peter Burke, Boston Medical Center’s Chief of Trauma Services, appears at a news conference to explain the care given to victims of the bombing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOqAtCFDHeI

Of the 19 patients that were admitted 16 received emergen[cy] operations within the first 18 hours and remain hospitalized at this time. Ah, 19 patients were–ah–remain hospitalized for the next 24 hours. At that point we considered ten of them critical, three serious and six were considered in fair condition. We operated on five of those patients yesterday, and, ah, they continue to improve. As of the 19 patients in the hospital, two are considered critical, ten are serious and seven are fair. We plan on operating on about eight of these patients today. We are looking to discharge one or two of these patients as well today. So things are moving along as expected and the patients are doing well.

Burke also tells reporters that some patients have been informed their limbs must be amputated, and he remarks on how the medical staff has “taken out large quantities of pieces of things” from the victims.” “Boston Doctor: Bomb Victims Had Much Shrapnel,” Associated Press, April 17, 2013.

  • April 18

7:00AM
Upon Zhokhar Tsarnaev escaping a substantial police gauntlet while hurling bombs out the window of a stolen SUV, his at-large status and authorities’ fears that he may possess additional explosives prompts an intense manhunt. SWAT teams and Humvees roll through residential streets with military helicopters hovering overhead and bomb squads ushered to several locations. Boston is effectively in lockdown. Transit service is suspended. Classes at Harvard, MIT, Boston University and other nearby colleges are canceled. Amtrak halts service into Boston. The Red Sox game and a concert at Symphony Hall are postponed. Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts directs residents to stay behind locked doors all day, finally lifting the order shortly after 6PM as transit service resumes. Katharine Q. Steelye, William R. Rashbaum, and Michael Cooper, “2nd Bombing Suspect Caught After Frenzied Hunt Paralyzes Boston,” New York Times, April 19, 2013.

5:00PM
FBI Special Agent in charge of the Boston division Richard DesLauriers releases images and video captured from closed-circuit surveillance cameras that show Tamarlan and Dhzokhar Tsarnaev on the sidewalk in the proximity of the Boston Marathon finish line. “Today, we are enlisting the public’s help to identify the two suspects,” DesLauriers announces. “After a very detailed analysis of photo, video, and other evidence, we are releasing photos of the two suspects. They are identified as Suspect 1 and Suspect 2. They appear to be associated.” DesLauriers then warns against considering other photographic or video evidence. “For clarity, these images should be the only ones—the only ones—that the public should view to assist us. Other photos should not be deemed credible and unnecessarily divert the public’s attention in the wrong direction and create undue work for vital law enforcement resources.” Greg Comcowich, “Remarks of Special Agent in Charge Rick DeLauriers at Press Conference on Bombing Investigation,” FBI Boston, April 18, 2013.

7:00PM
26-yearl-old Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev calls his uncle, initiating a five-minute conversation and asking for forgiveness, the uncle asserts. Alvi Tsarnaev tells The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News that his nephew calls for the first time in roughly two years. “He said, ‘I love you and forgive me.’” Alvi Tsarnaev resides in Montgomery Village, Md. “We were not talking for a long time because there were some problems,” he remarks. “We were not happy with each other.” They spoke about family and spiritual matters. “I told him I was praying to Allah, not drinking, not smoking, and he told me he was happy,” Alvi Tsarnaev says. “He was asking, ‘Did you pay your mortgage?’ I told him I was trying to pay. I asked him what he was doing. He said, ‘I fix cars, I got married, got a baby.’ ” Natalie DiBlasio and Shawn Cohen, “Tamarlan Tsarnaev Called, Asked for Forgiveness,” USA Today, April 19, 2013.

8:45PM
Three friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Robel Phillipos, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Azamat Tazhayakov, visit Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, gathering after seeing photos of one of the suspects that resembled their classmate. According to a US government criminal complaint against the three filed in federal court in Boston, Tsarnaev, was not present and his roommate let the men in. While proceeding to watch a movie, they noticed a backpack containing fireworks emptied of powder. Dias Kadyrbayev, “knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the marathon bombing,” FBI Special Agent Scott Cieplik says in a criminal complaint. Hours earlier the FBI had released images of the Tsarnaev brothers at the scene of the April 15 bombing. According to the complaint Asamat Tazhayakov “started to freak out” when they realized from news reports that Tsarnaev was implicated in the bombing. Eric Larson, David McLaughlin, and Janelle Lawrence, “Friends Land in Jail After Dumping Bomb Suspect Backpack,” Bloomberg News, May 2, 2013.

8:47PM [estimate]
Visiting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room, Dias Kadyrbayev sends Tsarnaev a text message remarking that he looks like one of the suspects whose photos are in the news. Tsarnaev responded, “lol”, according to a criminal complaint against Robel Phillipos, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Azamat Tazhayakov filed by FBI Special Agent Scott Cieplik on May 1. In the messages Tsarnaev tells Kadyrbayev “you better not text me” and suggests his friend “come to my room and take whatever you want,” which the friend at first interprets as a joke. Kadyrbayev decides to remove the backpack “in order to help his friend Tsarnaev avoid trouble,” Agent Cieplik writes in the US complaint. He takes the laptop as well, “because he did not want Tsarnaev’s roommate to think he was stealing or behaving suspiciously by just taking the backpack,” according to the complaint. Eric Larson, David McLaughlin, and Janelle Lawrence, “Friends Land in Jail After Dumping Bomb Suspect Backpack,” Bloomberg News, May 2, 2013.

10:00PM
Carrying Tsarnaev’s backpack containing remnants of consumer fireworks and the laptop, Robel Phillipos, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Azamat return to the apartment near campus shared by Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov and continue viewing news reports on the bombing. Then together they decide to throw the backpack and fireworks cartridges in the trash, the U.S. says in its complaint, citing Kadyrbayev’s version of events. Kadyrbayev places the backpack in a black plastic bag and put it in a Dumpster near the apartment building, the complaint reads. While the two other men didn’t assist in the disposal, they knew it was happening, according to the US officials’ allegations. Eric Larson, David McLaughlin, and Janelle Lawrence, “Friends Land in Jail After Dumping Bomb Suspect Backpack,” Bloomberg News, May 2, 2013.

10:27PM
Lingzi Lu, a Chinese graduate student pursuing mathematics at Boston University, is announced as one of the Boston Marathon bombing victims by the president of BU in an open letter published on the school’s website, also confirming that Lu’s friend was wounded. “Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family and friends of both victims,” writes college President Robert Brown. The university initially declined to release Lu’s name at her family’s request, but the school received permission from a family representative, according to BU spokesman Colin Riley. The university establishes the Lingzi Lu Scholarship Fund in her honor. The Chinese consulate in New York issues a statement of condolence. A wave of sympathy is generated on social media sites in China. By April 17, more than 17,000 comments are added to the victim’s last post on Weibo where she commented on her breakfast. Ben Brumfield and Steven Jiang, “Chinese Student Killed in Bombings Had Followed Her Passion to Boston,” CNN, April 18, 2013.

10:31PM
MIT Police officer Sean Collier is reported shot at 10:48PM near the Stata Center on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus and is transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where he is pronounced dead at 12:15AM April 19. At around 10:25PM a postdoctoral student working on campus contacts MIT Police to report loud noises that may be gunshots. At 10:31PM Collier is discovered and tended to by another MIT officer. Greg Steinbrecher, “MIT Officer Killed, Marathon Bombers Responsible,” The Tech, April 19, 2013.

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A Saudi “person of interest” is to be deported on “national security grounds” after President Obama has impromptu meeting with Saudi official. A terrorism expert notes that the move is “very unusual,” particularly in light of an unscheduled meeting yesterday between Obama and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, the Saudi national with suspected involvement was put under armed guard in the hospital after the bombing, visited by Saudi diplomat Azzam bin Abdel Karim, and later had his apartment raided by federal and state law enforcement agents. Congressman Jeff Duncan asks DHS chief Janet Napolitano about the Saudi linked to the Boston bombings being deported for “national security” reasons. Napolitano denied any knowledge of the man being deported. Paul Joseph Watson, “Obama Covering Up Saudi Link to the Boston Bombing?Infowars.com, April 18, 2013.

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Jeff Bauman is interviewed by the FBI in his hospital bed. Despite being in intensive care after having lost both legs and under heavy sedation, Bauman informs the FBI that he encountered Tamerlan Tsarnaev and looked in his eyes as Tsarnaev planted the bomb, thereafter identifying him in a photograph the FBI produced. “He woke up under so much drugs [sic],” Bauman’s brother Chris tells reporters, “asked for a paper and pen and wrote, ‘bag, saw the guy, looked right at me’.” Chris Bauman attests that the account is emphatic and convincing. “I’ve had many times alone with him, and yes, he told me every single detail.” The FBI thus narrowed its inquiries down to two suspects who were related from tens of thousands of people pictured in the area before the attacks. Damien McElroy, “Boston Marathon Victim Jeff Bauman Helped Identify Bombers,” UK Telegraph, April 19, 2013.

  • April 19

12:10AM [estimate]
Police encounter Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the streets of Watertown, and Dzhokhar reportedly tosses bombs at officers as he drives out of their closing cordon, leaving the elder Tamarlan dying in the wake. Police are heard shouting over the police scanner, “Loud explosion, loud explosion, loud explosion, shots fired, shots fired.” One police officer was severely wounded in the confrontation. Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, a member of the House intelligence committee, remarks, “They clearly amassed a small arsenal of explosives.” Police report carrying out one or more controlled explosions on Norfolk Street, in Cambridge, not far from where the bombers apparently share a home. Ray Sanchez, “Boston Bombs: The ‘Small Arsenal’ of Weapons Suspects ‘Used Against’ Police,” UK Telegraph, April 20, 2013.

12:20AM
Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Emergency room physician Dr. David Schoenfeld, while catching up on paperwork at his Watertown residence, hears police sirens, then gunfire and explosions. He telephones the emergency room and tells staff to prepare for trauma patients. Schoenfeld arrives at the hospital at about 1:10AM. Fifteen minutes later an ambulance carrying Tamerlan Tsarnaev pulls up. According to Dr. Schoenfeld, Tsarnaev is handcuffed, unconscious, and in cardiac arrest. As a throng of police officers observe, Dr. Schoenfeld and a team of other trauma doctors and nurses began to perform CPR. “There was talk before the patient arrived about whether or not it was a suspect,” Dr. Schoenfeld recalls. “But ultimately it doesn’t matter who it is, because we’re going to work as hard as we can for any patient who comes through our door and then sort it out after. Because you’re never going to know until the dust settles who it is.” The trauma team puts a breathing tube in Tsarnaev’s throat, according to Dr. Schoenfeld, then cuts open his chest to check if blood or other fluid is collecting around his heart. His handcuffs are removed at some point during the resuscitation attempt, Schoenfeld says, because “when the patient is in cardiac arrest and we’re doing all these procedures, we need to be able to move their arms around.” The team’s attempts to resuscitate Tsarnaev are unsuccessful, and he is pronounced dead at 1:35AM. Only as they begin to turn the body over to the police does Schoenfeld recognize Tsarnaev as resembling one of the suspects whose pictures were released by the FBI hours earlier. “We all obviously had some suspicion given the really large police presence,” he says, “but we didn’t have a clear identification from the police.” Dr. Schoenfeld’s emergency room also treated a number of people injured in the bombings on Monday. “I can’t say what I’ll be feeling as I reflect on this later on,” he remarks in an interview before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured. “But right now I’m more concerned with everybody who’s still out there and still in harm’s way … I worry about everybody in the city, that everyone’s going to be O.K.” Katharine Q. Steelye, William R. Rashbaum, and Michael Cooper, “2nd Bombing Suspect Caught After Frenzied Hunt Paralyzes Boston,” New York Times, April 19, 2013.

6:00AM
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Robel Phillipos, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Azamat Tazhayakov see news reports identifying Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the bombers and stating that Tamarlan was killed during a shootout with police. Eric Larson, David McLaughlin, and Janelle Lawrence, “Friends Land in Jail After Dumping Bomb Suspect Backpack,” Bloomberg News, May 2, 2013.

10:24AM
New Hampshire state representative Stella Tremblay posts on Facebook that the Boston Marathon bombing was “Top Down, Bottom UP.” “The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops ‘terrorist’ attack,” Tremblay write in a message to conservative commentator Glenn Beck. “One suspect killed, the other one will be too before they even have a chance to speak. Drones and now ‘terrorist’ attacks by our own Government. Sad day, but a ‘wake up’ to all of us. First there was a ‘suspect’ then there wasn’t.” Tremblay also posted a link to a video hosted on YouTube, titled “PROOF! Boston Marathon Bombing is Staged Terror Attack.” A news media frenzy ensues around the legislator. House Minority Leader Gene Chandler writes that Tremblay’s comments are “highly offensive, egregious, and irrational.” Jim Haddadin, “N.H. Rep Thinks Boston Marathon Bombing Was Done By the Government,” Foster’s Daily Democrat, April 23, 2013.

1:52PM
Tamarlan and Dhozhar Tsarnaev’s mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva states her younger son is innocent and, similar to many of the brothers’ acquaintances, claims they were polite youths and model students – especially the younger 19-year-old Dzhokhar. Upset and saddened, Zubeidat expresses her shock at the allegations, pointing to how Dzhokar was an honors student and regarded fondly by many of his friends and teachers. Along these lines older brother Tamerlan was a star athlete and student, who dreamed of becoming a member of the US Olympic wrestling team. “’They Were Set Up: FBI Followed Them for Years’—Tsarnaev’s Mother to RT,” RT.com, April 19, 2013.

1:52PM
Tamarlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva remarks on the perpetual FBI surveillance she said her family was subjected to over the years. She finds it especially unusual that after such extensive surveillance the FBI had no idea the sons were supposedly planning a terrorist act. “They used to come [to our] home, they used to talk to me…they were telling me that he [the older, 26-y/o Tamerlan] was really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremist sites… they were controlling him, they were controlling his every step…and now they say that this is a terrorist act! Never ever is this true, my sons are innocent!” When asked if maybe she didn’t know about some of her sons’ more secret aspirations and dark secrets, she said “That’s impossible. My sons would never keep a secret.” Finally, she says that if she could speak to her youngest – Dzhokhar, she would tell him, “Save your life and tell the truth, that you haven’t done anything, that this is a set up!” The brothers’ father Anzor Tsarnaev also believes that they are innocent and somebody might have set them up. “I’m sure about my children, in their purity. I don’t know what happened and who did this.  God knows and he will punish them,” he tells the Russian Zvezda channel. “Somebody might have set them up. I don’t know who and because of their cowardice killed the boy.” The father says he is unable to contact his sons or other relatives as communications to the US have been inoperable. “’They Were Set Up: FBI Followed Them for Years’—Tsarnaev’s Mother to RT,” RT.com, April 19, 2013.

1:52PM
Russian ‘Alpha’ Special Forces team-veteran and vice-president of the division’s International Association, Aleksey Filatov, thinks there is more to the case than meets the eye. He underscores, firstly, that the national origin and religious beliefs of the suspect, along with the specifics of the bombing, have all been carefully pre-meditated and planned by someone within the United States in order to distract the public from the true identity and long-term aims of the actual planners. “Putting a young Chechen in those shoes was top-notch professionalism in distracting everyone from the true identity and motives of the planner,” he explains to RT. “The executors were chosen to confuse the American public and simultaneously untie the White House’s hands in a way that would justify a departure from the rhetoric of non-involvement in military action on foreign territories.” “’They Were Set Up: FBI Followed Them for Years’—Tsarnaev’s Mother to RT,” RT.com, April 19, 2013.

6:44PM
CBS News reports that the FBI admits to having interviewed now-deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011. The FBI interviewed the elder Tsarnaev at the request of a foreign government to see if he had any extremist ties, but failed to find any linkages. CBS News correspondent John Miller observes it is likely Russia asked to have the elder Tsarnaev vetted because of suspected ties to Chechen extremists. The FBI probably conducted a background check, running Tsarnaev’s name through all relevant databases, including those of other agencies, checking on his communications and all overseas travel, surmises Miller. Miller further reports that this culminated in a sit-down interview where they probably asked him a lot of questions about his life, his contacts, his surroundings. This was then likely written up and directed to the requesting government. “FBI Interviewed Dead Boston Bombing Suspect Years Ago,” CBS News, April 19, 2013.

6:30PM [estimate]
Dave Henneberry, the Watertown Massachusetts resident who owns the boat where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took refuge to dodge a daylong dragnet, describes in an interview with a local television outlet how he discovered the bombing suspect, which he claims developed differently than has been reported. “I know people say there was blood on the boat — he saw blood and went in,” he says. “Not true.” When on April 19 Watertown residents were advised they could exit their homes, Henneberry went out to his boat, climbed three steps up the ladder, and when he could see into the boat, he looked on the floor and saw “a good amount of blood.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixTkyI_Hpbg

“And I said, wow, did I cut myself last time I was in the boat a couple of weeks ago and forget?” he said. “No, no.” Mr. Henneberry then saw the body — but not a face. “Oh my God,” is what went through his head, Mr. Henneberry recounted in his distinct Boston brogue. He jumped off the ladder, he said, and called 911. Mr. Henneberry refers to himself an “incidental hero,” explaining: “I wasn’t out on the prowl. I was out to see my boat.” An online fundraiser to replace the bullet-ridden ship has raised more than $10,000. “Boat Owner Calls Himself ‘Incidental Hero’ in Ending Terror,” WCVBtv 5 April 23, 2013.

8:41PM
Heavily armed police conclude a 22-hour manhunt for the surviving Boston bombing suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is captured alive after being surrounded. Tsarnaev emerges from a boat in the backyard of a home in Watertown, Massachusetts, a small town near Boston. For roughly two hours Tsarnaev is surrounded by SWAT teams and hundreds of other police, surviving a barrage of gunfire and incendiary “flash” grenades. Authorities say Tsarnaev was injured in a shootout with police on April 18 and hence had significant blood loss. Police report he is in a serious condition in hospital. Boston mayor Thomas Menino says, “We got him.” A large crowd gathering close to the location of Tsarnaev’s arrest start clapping and shouting “Thank you” as a police ambulance carrying the suspect cruises by. Massachusetts police superintendent Colonel Tim Alben says, “We are so grateful to bring justice and closure to this case. We are grateful for the outcome here tonight. We’re exhausted, folks, but we have a victory here tonight.” Ed Pilkington, Adam Gabbatt, and Miriam Elder, “Boston Suspect Captured Alive After Dramatic Finish to Day-Long Manhunt,” UK Guardian, April 20, 2013.

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FBI investigators interview Asamat Tazhayakov, who says he became friends with Tsarnaev in 2011 and that the two became closer in 2012 when Tsarnaev began spending more time at their apartment. On April 18 at 4:00PM Tsarnaev had dropped Tazhayakov off at the apartment after they attended classes together. Eric Larson, David McLaughlin, and Janelle Lawrence, “Friends Land in Jail After Dumping Bomb Suspect Backpack,” Bloomberg News, May 2, 2013.

  • April 20

9:00AM
Former United States Assistant Attorney General and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick appears on NBC’s Meet the Press to provide his perspectives on the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath. In his observations Patrick reveals he has not been allowed to view the closed-circuit video that federal authorities used to designate Tamarlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the principal suspects. “Well, the videotape is not something I’ve seen but it’s been described to me in my briefings.” Patrick explains.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhwUvaZzZU8
at 2:47

But it does seem to be pretty clear that, uh, that ah, [sic] this suspect took the backpack, uh, off, put it down, uhm, did not react when the first explosion went off and then, ah, moved away from the backpack for the time for the second, uh, explosion. So pretty, uh, pretty clear, uhm, about his, ah, involvement and pretty chilling, frankly, as it was described to me.

Deval Patrick, National Security Experts Give Latest Update on Boston Bombing,” Meet the Press with David Gregory, NBC News, April 20, 2013.

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Investigators report that they are now turning to what motivated the Tsarnaev brothers to carry out the attacks on the Boston Marathon. Federal investigators are reviewing a visit that one of the suspected bombers made to Chechnya and Dagestan, mainly Muslim republics in the north Caucasus region of Russia. Both have active militant separatist movements. Members of Congress expressed concern about the FBI’s handling of one request from Russian authorities before the trip to examine the man’s possible links to extremist groups in the region. Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent six months in Dagestan in 2012, and analysts think the trip may have been decisive in his alleged path toward the bombings. Eric Schmitt, Micahel S. Schmidt, and Ellen Barry, “Boston Marathon Inquiry Turns to Motive and Russian Trip,” New York Times, April 20, 2013.

  • April 21

6:47PM
FBI Special Agent Daniel R. Genck files a request for a criminal complaint in United States District Court against Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev for his alleged role in bombing the Boston Marathon on April 15. The complaint accuses Tsarnaev of using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. Agent Genck relies largely on analysis of video and photographic evidence depicting the April 15 scene at the Boylston Street Marathon finish line and testimony from law enforcement involved in the apprehension of Tsarnaev to develop his conclusions. Judge Marianne B. Bowler, United States of America versus Dzokhar A. Tsarnaev, Case No. 13-2106 MBB, United States District Court for the State of Massachusetts, April 21, 2013.

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A somewhat nervous-sounding woman identifying herself as Linda calls in to a talk show on WE97.3FM and describes the scene on Dexter Street in Watertown where Tamarlan Tsarnaev was killed. She claims to have seen the first suspect run over “by a police SUV, and then after he was hit [by the vehicle he was] shot multiple times. Minutes later an ambulance arrived. [They] put the suspect into the ambulance and then off [they went].”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sjmjZjssnk

The caller asserts that she didn’t believe the suspect was holding a pipe bomb or suicide vest. “Eyewitness: Suspect Run Over By Police: No Bombs,” Liveleak.com, April 21, 2013.

  • April 22

1:19PM
Doctors announce that all of the over 180 people reportedly injured in the Boston Marathon blasts one week ago who made it to a hospital are likely to survive. This includes numerous people that arrived with legs attached by just a little skin, a 3-year-old boy with a head injury and bleeding on the brain, and a little girl wounded with nails. Even a transit system police officer whose heart had stopped and was close to bleeding to death after a shootout with the bombing suspects now appears headed for recovery. “All I feel is joy,” says Dr. George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, referring to that hospital’s 31 blast patients. “Whoever came in alive, stayed alive.” Marilynn Marchione, “Doctors: All Boston Bomb Patients Likely to Live,” NBC News/Associated Press, April 22, 2013.

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The New York Times reports that Boston Marathon bombing victims will face major financial burdens in addition to their physical injuries, and that there will be challenges to distributing the beneficiary funds collected. The monetary toll will likely be high for many because of trauma care, prosthetic limbs, drawn-out rehabilitation and future equipment to deal with everyday life with severe injuries and loss of limbs. Attorney Kenneth R. Feinberg, who has overseen compensation funds for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the shootings at Virginia Tech and other disasters, will arrive in Boston on April 22 to determine who will be eligible for payouts from a new benefit fund, the One Fund Boston, and how much individuals wounded in the bombings and family of the deceased will be allotted. The One Boston Fund has already raised more than $10 million for victims and victims’ families. Individual victims have also set up donation pages on social media sites such as Facebook. Over 170 bystanders were wounded in the blasts, and presently more than 50 remain in hospital. Abby Goodnough, “For Wounded, Daunting Cost; for Aid Fund, Tough Decision,” New York Times, April 22, 2013.

  • April 23

2:41PM
Federal prosecutors experience difficulties attempting to put together a full-proof case that Tamarlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev were motivated to carry out the Boston Marathon bombing because of radical Islamist or Chechen separatist beliefs. Tamerlan Tsarnaev is now the focal point of an international FBI investigation into whether an organised group or broader conspiracy lay behind the bombings. The 26-year-old Tamarlan is believed to have been the mastermind of the event. There is also no known link to any nationalist or Islamist group in the Caucasus region that the brothers regarded as their homeland. Such an association would suggest they were recruited as foot soldiers and given operational instructions to strike the Boston Marathon. US law enforcement and counter-terrorism experts increasingly think the brothers acted independently and that Tamarlan Tsarnaev was a “lone wolf,” mostly receiving personal motivation and training via the internet. Ed Pilkington, “Tamarlan Tsarnaev: Experts Puzzled as Hunt for Terror Links Yields Little,” UK Guardian, April 23, 2013.

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Defense attorneys ruminate on Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev’s fate, saying Tsarnaev might entirely avoid a trial and win a modicum of mercy. “We know he’s 19 years old, we don’t think he has a criminal record or been in trouble before. There are a lot of people out there that seem to have warm, positive things about him,” says Tamar Birckhead, whose client, Richard Reid, tried to blow an airliner out of the sky but received a life sentence through a plea bargain. “To predict he’ll get a life sentence is not unreasonable.” Stephen Jones, whose client was Oklahoma City bomber client Timothy McVeigh, notes how McVeigh received the death penalty, but he said he believes the baby-faced Tsarnaev may be able to seek mercy as an impressionable youth. “If the younger brother can shed any light on the circumstances of the older brother’s alleged involvement,” according to Jones, “that’s valuable information that the government would want.” Geoffrey Fieger, whose clients include assisted-suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian, says, “Nothing about the outcome is assured.” Fieger and the other major defense attorneys state the government’s case has many weak spots that a shrewd defense attorney can exploit, beginning with the possibility that federal officials failed to immediately Mirandize Tsarnaev. Chris Cassidy, “Experts: Feds Case vs. Dzokhar Tsarnaev Has Holes,” Boston Herald, April 23,2013.

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News Hampshire newspaper Foster’s Daily Democrat contacts state representative Stella Tremblay, who maintains that she questions the explanation of the bombings offered by police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Tremblay says she started questioning the official story shortly after the bombing transpired.

I was with, it was one of my constituents that sent me an email, and it went to a site where a, I think it was a major retired marine was speaking, and then he said, “Please go to Infowars,” and they had pictures of, what is it, black ops? With black backpacks. They show them at the scene, so they knew something was going on, because there wouldn’t have been that many of them.

The lawmaker also notes how a Saudi Arabian man at the bombing site received burn wounds. Tremblay notes how the man was questioned for nine hours, and the FBI created an “event file” about him. Thereafter, she says, when authorities went to search his apartment, Secretary of State John Kerry met with the Saudi Arabian ambassador behind closed doors. “There’s just too many things going on that, to me, doesn’t make any sense.” Jim Haddadin, “N.H. Rep Thinks Boston Marathon Bombing Was Done By the Government,” Foster’s Daily Democrat, April 23, 2013.

  • April 24

10:00PM
A video cameraman and anchorperson Melissa Bagg from WPTV News Channel 5 accosts Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy following his evening class. Tracy wrote an April 22 blog post questioning many aspects of what happened on Boylston Street the day of the bombings. “We have the official narrative that this was carried out by two individuals, two Chechen immigrants, but it could be more complex than that,” Tracy tells NewsChannel 5. “The government was carrying out drills on that day. We don’t know exactly what was taking place, what the dynamics were.” Marissa Bagg, “James Tracy, Boston Bombing Hoax? FAU Professor Defends Questioning if Boston Bombs Were Staged,” WPTV News Channel 5, April 24, 2013.

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Federal law enforcement authorities now admit that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was unarmed when he sustained a substantial barrage of police gunfire that repeatedly struck the boat where he was hiding, Police previously feared that Tsarnaev was heavily armed. The FBI declined to discuss what prompted the gunfire. Sari Horwitz and Peter Finn, “Officials: Boston Suspect Had No Firearms When Barrage of Bullets Hit Hiding Place,Washington Post, April 24, 2013.

  • April 25

n.t.
The New York Police Department and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announces that Tamarlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were poised to travel to New York City to detonate their remaining explosives in Times Square. CBS New York reports that when New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly began heightening security measures after the Boston Marathon bombing it was more than mere precaution. “New York was next on the list of targets,” Bloomberg says. “The two brothers had at their disposal six improvised explosive devices,” Kelly similarly observes, “One was a pressure cooker bomb, similar to the two that had exploded at the marathon. The other five were pipe bombs.” Bloomberg: New York Was Next Target for Boston Bombing Suspects,” CBS New York, April 25, 2013.

  • April 26

n.t.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is transported from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to the Federal Medical Center at Fort Devens in Ft. Devens, Mass., U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Drew Wade tells Fox News. The FMC Devens is a federal prisons facility for male inmates who necessitate specialized or long-term medical or mental health care, according to the facility’s website. “Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Moved to Federal Medical Center,” FoxNews.com, April 26, 2013.

  • May 1

n.t.
Robel Phillipos, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Azamat Tazhayakov are charged by the US government with obstruction of justice and false statements. They all agree to voluntary detention. If convicted, they face as long as five years in prison for obstruction and eight years for false statements. Robert Stahl, a lawyer for Kadyrbayev, and Tazhayakov’s attorney, Harlan Protass, say their clients will plead not guilty. “As we’ve said from the very beginning, he assisted the FBI in this investigation,” Stahl says of Kadyrbayev outside the courtroom yesterday. “He was just as shocked by the violence in Boston as everyone else. He did not know this individual was involved with the bombing.” Eric Larson, David McLaughlin, and Janelle Lawrence, “Friends Land in Jail After Dumping Bomb Suspect Backpack,” Bloomberg News, May 2, 2013. See also “Lawyers on Charges Facing Bombing Suspect’s Friends” (video), Bloomberg News, May 1, 2013.

  • May 6

12:05AM [estimate]
Ibragim Todashev, 27, a Chechen man with ties to Boston bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev, is shot seven times by a Boston-based Federal Bureau of Investigation agent at his home in Orlando, Florida. The killing takes place during an interrogation by the FBI and two Massachusetts State Police officers regarding his ties to the Boston marathon bombing suspects and his role in a related 2011 triple murder in Massachusetts allegedly turns violent. Todashev purportedly wields a knife against the officers. The FBI releases a statement that the agent had acted on an “imminent threat” and shot the interview subject. The man being questioned was killed and the FBI agent was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The FBI later releases a statement that does not specify which of the law enforcers fired the fatal shot killing Todashev. “FBI Shoots Chechen Dead in Florida, Man Questioned in Links to Boston Bombers,” RT.com, May 6, 2013.

n.t.
In excess of $1.2 million is raised for families of about two dozen victims of the Boston bombings on GiveForward. The donation website collects the assistances through credit and debit cards, then passes these on to the beneficiaries after deducting a 7 percent processing fee. Of the $1.2 million, over $700,000 is raised for a young couple, Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, who were both critically wounded and went to different hospitals. Some of the Web sites, and accompanying Facebook and Twitter accounts, provide an avenue into the lives and challenges that lie ahead for many of the victims. “Victims in Boston Marathon Bombing Turn to Crowdfunding for Support,” New York Times The Lede, May 6, 2013.

  • May 7

n.t.
Eyewitness accounts support the probability that MBTA Transit Police Officer Richard H. Donohue Jr. was shot and almost killed by a fellow officer in Watertown on April 19 in the midst of a barrage of gunfire directed at Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Donohue was felled in the early-morning hours as a dozen police ­officers or more from four departments exchanged up to 300 rounds of gunfire with Dzhokhar’s older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Jane Dyson, who lives 140 feet from where Donohue was shot on Dexter Avenue, says she saw the police officer collapse and fall to the ground near the end of the gunfight as 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sped away. She says the officer ­appeared to be a victim of “friendly fire.” Sean P. Murphy and Todd Wallack, “Witnesses Suggest Friendly Fire Felled MBTA Officer,” Boston Globe, May 7, 2013.

  • May 8

Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis testifies before the US House Committee on Homeland Security regarding the Boston Marathon bombings and funding for homeland security preparedness. In his remarks Davis discloses how Boston area law enforcement and emergency response personnel benefitted greatly in preparation for terror attacks through its collaboration with Israeli law enforcement and military personnel.

Representative Eric Swalwell: And you mentioned that you were able to work with international law enforcement agencies. Were you able to work with forces from Israel and antiterror departments from Israel?

Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis: Yes, the Israeli military and police services have been very helpful to us in sending people over to train us. As a matter of fact, the tactic that Sargent Conley used in opening the bags up—the cut and tag tactic—was taught to us by the Israelis.

Swalwell and Boston Police Commissioner Praise Alameda County Training Program,” Congressman Eric Swalwell, May 9, 2013.

  • May 16

7:06AM
CBS News reports that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrote a note in the boat he was hiding in as he bled from gunshot wounds sustained in the April 19 shootout between brother Tamarlan and police. The note is scrawled with a marker on the interior wall of the cabin, saying the bombings were retribution for U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. It called the Boston victims “collateral damage” in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars. “When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims,” said Tsarnaev. “Boston Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Left Note in Boat He Hid In, Sources Say,” CBS News, May 16, 2013.

  • June 3

n.t.
The Boston Fire Department announces on its Twitter account that Boston Fire Chief Steve Abraira submitted his letter of resignation following deputy chiefs’ criticism of Abraira’s handling of the Boston Marathon bombing aftermath. In an April 26 letter to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, 13 deputy fire chiefs asserted no confidence in Abraira, arguing that he failed to assume command responsibility or show any leadership at the scene. “At a time when the city of Boston needed every first responder to take decisive action, Chief Abraira failed to get involved in operational decision-making or show any leadership,” the letter read. In the letter, the deputies describe an e-mail Abraira sent to all department members, noting that when he arrived at the scene, “it was clear that our Command Officer had the incident well in hand and that our department was fully active in a support role with our law enforcement partners.” The deputies call Abraira’s argument “illogical” and “mere rationalization to justify his behavior,” pointing out that when Abraira arrived, the Boston Fire Department was “still heavily involved in the incident” because of the possibility of “second explosions,” “additional suspicious packages” and “structural stability concern of buildings,” among other issues. Stephanie Gallman and Kristina Sgueglia, “Boston Fire Chief Resigns After Criticism of Bombing Response,” CNN, June 4, 2013.

n.t.
After 50 days Erika Brannock, hospitalized after bombs at the Boston Marathon wreak havoc with her legs, is the last of over 250 victims to be released from hospital. Monday was a long time coming — 50 days in fact. “I leave here today — after 11 surgeries, some pretty dark moments, and 50 days in this hospital — with nothing but admiration for this great city,” Brannock says upon leaving Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. On April 15 she, her sister and brother-in-law attended watch Brannock’s mother runThey were standing near the finish line when the bombs detonated. “I fell backwards, and I could see oranges and yellows,” Brannock tells CNN. “I could hear the sirens and people crying and screaming. But I never heard the actual boom.” “I had a conversation with God in my head, and I told him I wasn’t ready to go.” Just then a woman crawled over to Brannock and grabbed her hand, using her belt as a tourniquet on Brannock’s leg. “She had heard me screaming for help and she said, ‘My name is Joan from California, and I’m not going to let you go.’ And she stayed with me the whole time.” Brannock began having nightmares after she learned that surviving bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was at the same hospital as her, and dreamed he was going to blow up Beth Israel. Randi Kaye, Dana Puente, and Dana Ford, “’Ready to Go Home:’ Last Boston Bombing Victim Leaves the Hospital,” CNN, June 4, 2013.

  • June 8

n.t.
The Boston Globe reports that the entire April 15 Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath played out in almost identical fashion to a Department of Homeland Security-sponsored terrorist drill scheduled for June. The drill scenario had been painstakingly planned: A terrorist group intending to injure scores of people around Boston leave backpacks filled with explosives at Faneuil Hall, the Seaport District, and in other towns, spreading waves of panic and fear. Detectives pursue and catch the culprits. “Operation Urban Shield” was developed to train dozens of detectives in the Greater Boston area to work together to thwart a terrorist threat. The hypothetical terrorist group was even given a name: Free America Citizens, a home-grown cadre of militiamen whose logo would be a metal skull wearing an Uncle Sam hat and a furious expression, according to a copy of the plans obtained by the Boston Globe. “The real thing happened before we were able to execute,” says a law enforcement official intimately aware of the planned exercise. “We’ve already been tested.” This would have been the third year for Urban Shield, a 24-hour federally funded training exercise meant to test the response of law enforcement and other public safety personnel in a major emergency. The training is funded by a $200,000 Homeland Security grant and will probably be rescheduled to early next year, Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, whose agency was slated to participate. The basic plot was this: Half a dozen members of Free America Citizens wanted to gauge police response to a bomb scare. They would plant hoax devices, then stay on the scene to watch and record the bomb squad and detectives as they responded, as a dry run to a larger attack. Yet the participating detectives would not have known they were being watched, only that they were responding to an urgent terrorist threat. The goal of the training was for them to figure out the motives of Free America Citizens as they investigated the case, the official said. The planned exercise has eerie similarities to the police investigation that led to the capture of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose images were caught on video cameras and who were captured after a car chase and shoot-out with police. Officials intend to repeat the drill at a future date. A police spokeswoman, declined to say what a new training might look like. “We can’t talk about what we’re doing for emergency preparedness,” she says. “The people who participate in this don’t know what the scenario is.” Maria Cramer, “Police Response Training Planned, But Bombs Hit First,” Boston Globe, June 8, 2013.

  • June 19

n.t.
John Hancock Financial and the Boston Athletic Association announce that the 2013 Boston Marathon champion, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, will give his championship medal to the City of Boston  to honor the victims and families affected by the April 15, 2013 bombing. Desisa is scheduled to present his medal to Mayor Thomas M. Menino on June 23, 2013, at 10:00AM on the Boston Common. Desisa will make the tribute after competing in the Boston Athletic Association 10K, which begins at 8 a.m. In a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Ethiopia last month, Desisa announced his intention of returning to Boston to gift his medal to the City. “Tribute to Be Held on the Boston Common on June 23, 2013, at 10:00AM,” Boston Athletic Association, June 19, 2013.

June 24

7:00PM
During Game 6 of the Stanley Cup series at Boston’s TD Garden Boston bombing victim Jeff Bauman is wheeled out onto the ice with the help of his friend Carlos Arredondo, and stands up using two prosthetic legs, waving to the crowd. Arredondo gained national attention after the well-known photo of him running alongside Bauman following the April 15 attack. The duo were picked to be banner captains and raise a “Boston Strong” flag before the  game. Steve Annear, “Boston Victim Jeff Bauman Stands Up During Flag Ceremony at Bruins Game,” Boston Magazine, June 24, 2013.

  • July 10

9:00AM
Supporters of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gather at the federal courthouse in Boston where Tsarnaev is to appear for his arraignment on charges of his direct involvement in bombing the Boston Marathon. Participants of the Freejahar movement contend that the suspect is innocent of all such charges. Pamela Engel, “Fans of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Show Up At Court to Support Boston Bombing Suspect–And One of Them is Wearing This Shirt,” Business Insider, July 10, 2013.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uvoSpQrlUY

11:00AM [estimate]
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears in federal court in Boston and pleads not guilty to a broad terrorism indictment that may result in him receiving the death penalty. 30 bombing victims are in attendance, with some wearing the Boston Marathon gear. Tsarnaev articulated “not guilty” pleas in a thick accent seven times to assemblages of charges that include using a weapon of mass destruction. US Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler orders Tsarnaev to answer himself when his attorney attempts to intercede. The judge also gave victims an opportunity to speak at the brief hearing, but no one did. Tsarnaev wears an orange prison jumpsuit with the top unbuttoned, and a black T-shirt underneath. His hair is shaggy and his face appears distorted at times as he fidgets in his seat. There was a visible scar beneath his throat and he wears what appears to be a cast on his left arm. Eric Moskowitz, David Abel, Milton J. Valencia, and John R. Ellement, “Marathon Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Pleads Not Guilty to 30 Terror Charges at Arrainment in Federal Court in Boston,” Boston.com, July 10, 2013.

n.t.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of Tamarlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, tells ABC News that those who are angry with her son are only angry because they do not know he is innocent. One supporter of Tsarnaev’s said before the hearing that he believed Tsarnaev was framed. Tsarnaeva says that she and her husband will be monitoring the trial from their home in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, in southern Russia. Michael McFee, John Haskell, and Kirit Radia, “Accused Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Smiles in Court, Pleads Not Guilty,” ABC News, July 10, 2013.

  • July 17

n.t.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation orders a Florida medical examiner’s office not suppress the autopsy of Ibragim Todashev, a 27-year-old Chechen man killed by an FBI agent during an interrogation in May concerning his ties to suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The interrogation which took place in his apartment on May 22 was set for release on July 8. Yet the FBI contends that an internal probe into Todashev’s death is ongoing. “The FBI has informed this office that the case is still under active investigation and thus not to release the document,” according to a public statement by Tony Miranda, forensic records coordinator for Orange and Osceola counties in Orlando. The forensic report is expected to clarify the circumstances of Todashev’s death. The Bureau’s statement issued on the day of the incident only says that the person being interviewed was killed when a “violent confrontation was initiated by the individual.” “FBI Withholds Autopsy of Tsarnaev’s Associate ‘Shot in Head’ During Questioning,” RT, July 17, 2013.

  • July 18

n.t.
With accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s being featured on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone magazine, a wave of harsh criticism is initiated in social media and boardrooms around the country. “THE BOMBER,” the cover reads. “How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.” The condemnation erupted on platforms including Twitter and Facebook and from political leaders in Boston. Still, some defended Rolling Stone‘s decision, arguing that the cover draws attention to the story of a young man who appeared as an unlikely terrorist. Julie Cannold, Mayra Cuevas, and Joe Sterling, “Rolling Stone Cover of Bombing Suspect Called ‘Slap’ to Boston,” CNN, July 18, 2013.

  • July 26

12:46PM
Sgt. Sean Murphy, regarded as heroic for leaking images of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capture to offset what many see as a positive cover photo of the Boston bombing suspect, stays on the State Police force with a reassignment to administrative duties. “We have confidence that the State Police will do the right thing,” Murphy’s attorney Leonard Kesten says. “Yes, [Murphy] broke some rules. But he acted to ease the pain of victims and the outpouring of support has been palpable.” Michael Muskal, “Officer Who Leaked Boston Bombing Suspect Photos Now On Limited Duty,” Los Angeles Times, July 26, 2013.

  • July 31

9:00AM
Six law enforcement agents from the Joint Terrorism Task Force surround Long Island resident Michele Catalano’s family. The call is prompted by Catalano’s web searches for pressure cookers, her husband’s online quest for backpacks and her “news junkie” son’s desire for information on the Boston bombings, all of which coalesced in the internet ether to create a “perfect storm of terrorism profiling”. Catalano is away at work and says the raid is due to shopping for such a cooker to prepare vegetables. The authorities eventually explained how the investigation was prompted by online searches a family member had made for pressure cooker bombs and backpacks made at Mr. Catalano’s previous workplace. The former employer judged the searches suspicious and contacted police. Adam Gabbatt, “New York Woman Visited By Police After Researching Pressure Cookers Online,” UK Guardian, August 1, 2013.

n.t.
US Representative William Keating sends a letter to newly-inducted FBI Director James Comey, requesting information to determine whether there were security shortcomings in the events leading up to the Boston Marathon bombings. Martin Finucane, “Keating Calls for Answers From FBI on Marathon Bombings,” Boston Globe, August 1, 2013.

  • August 2

3:10PM
Andrea Gause, 26, is arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on charges of receiving almost half a million dollars from One Fund Boston, the nonprofit fund established for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Gause was arrested on July 19 in her hometown of Troy, New York, on a Massachusetts fugitive warrant, according to a statement from Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Gause is formally charged with larceny over $250, to which she pleads not guilty. Judge Thomas C. Horgan set her bail at $200,000 cash. The nonprofit — The One Fund Boston — began distributing nearly $61 million to 232 eligible claimants starting June 30. Gause was awarded $480,000 from the fund after claiming that as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing she suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting in long-term memory loss, impaired speech and loss of some motor function that would require future surgery. Elizabeth Landers, “N.Y. Woman Arraigned in One Fund Boston Scam,” CNN, August 2, 2013.

  • August 6

Abdulbaki Todashev, the father of 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev, the Chechen man fatally shot by a Boston FBI agent, arrives in the United States with the intent to file a lawsuit against the agency and investigate the mysterious death of his son. Todashev, who lived in Orlando, Florida at the time of the interrogation, had been friends with the suspected bomber when they both lived in Massachusetts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgXuSvyRgOQ

After several hours of questioning, Todashev was shot dead by the FBI in a case that remains obscure and the FBI has sought to withhold information on. Abdulbaki Todashev, who lives in Chechnya, described the incident as an execution-style murder. “Killed Chechen’s Father Arrives in US to Sue the FBI,” RT, August 6, 2013.

  • August 8

n.t.
A federal grand jury indicts Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both 19 and from Kazakhstan, with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede the bombing investigation. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, as well as deportation. According to the FBI complaint the two allegedly went to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on the evening of April 18 and at Tsarnaev’s suggestion removed his laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks, a jar of Vaseline, a thumb drive and other items. Richard A. Serrano, “Tsarnaev Friends Indicted in Boston Marathon Bombing Case,” Los Angeles Times, August 8, 2013.

  • August 9

Reporters and national counterterrorism correspondents from the Boston Globe and National Public Radio participate in a panel discussion to discuss “One of the worst domestic terrorism cases in years and hour journalists covered it” at the annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Washington DC. “Analysis of Media Coverage of the Boston Bombing,” CSPAN, August 9, 2013.

TO BE CONTINUED.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims to take “strong, principled positions in our dealings with other nations, whether popular or not.” But, even the most ardent Conservative supporters must wonder what principled position is behind the recent government-sponsored arms deal with Saudi Arabia that will send over $10 billion worth of Light Armoured Vehicles to one of the most anti-woman and repressive countries in the world.

Saudi Arabia is ruled by a monarchy that’s been in power for more than seven decades. The House of Saud has outlawed labour unions and stifled independent media. With the Qur’an ostensibly acting as its constitution, over a million Christians (mostly foreign workers) in Saudi Arabia are banned from owning Bibles or attending church while the Shia Muslim minority face significant state-sanctioned discrimination.

Outside its borders, the Saudi royal family uses its immense wealth to promote and fund many of the most reactionary, anti-women social forces in the world. They aggressively opposed the “Arab Spring” democracy movement through their significant control of Arab media, funding of authoritarian political movements and by deploying 1,000 troops to support the 200-year monarchy in neighbouring Bahrain.

The Conservatives have ignored these abuses, staying quiet when the regime killed “Arab Spring” protesters and intervened in Bahrain. Worse still, the Harper government’s hostility towards Iran and backing of last July’s military takeover in Egypt partly reflects their pro-Saudi orientation. In a stark example of Ottawa trying to ingratiate itself with that country’s monarchy, Foreign Minister John Baird recently dubbed the body of water between Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states the “Arabian Gulf” rather than the widely accepted Persian Gulf.

Ottawa hasn’t hidden its affinity for the Saudi royal family. Baird praised a deceased prince for “dedicat[ing] his life to the security and prosperity of the people of Saudi Arabia” and another as “a man of great achievement who dedicated his life to the well-being of its people.”

“I am very bullish on where the Canadian-Saudi Arabian relationship is going,” Ed Fast told the Saudi Gazette in August. On his second trip to the country in less than a year, Canada’s International Trade Minister boasted about the two countries’ “common cause on many issues.”

Fast is not the only minister who has made the pilgrimage. Conservative ministers John Baird, Lawrence Cannon, Vic Toews, Maxime Bernier, Gerry Ritz, Peter Van Loan, and Stockwell Day (twice) have all visited Riyadh to meet the king or different Saudi princes.

These trips have spurred various business accords and an upsurge in business relations. SNC Lavalin alone has won Saudi contracts worth $1 billion in the last two years.

As a result of one of the ministerial visits, the RCMP plan to train Saudi Arabia’s police in “investigative techniques.” The Conservatives have also developed military relations with the Saudis. In January 2010, HMCS Fredericton participated in a mobile refueling exercise with a Saudi military vessel and, in another first, Saudi pilots began training in Alberta and Saskatchewan with NATO’s Flying Training in Canada in 2011.

The recently announced arms deal will see General Dynamics Land Systems Canada deliver Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to the Saudi military. Canada’s biggest ever arms export agreement, it’s reportedly worth $10-13 billion over 14 years.

The LAV sale is facilitated by the Canadian Commercial Corporation, which has seen its role as this country’s arms middleman greatly expanded in recent years. The Conservative government has okayed and underwritten this deal even though Saudi troops used Canadian built LAVs when they rolled into Bahrain to put down pro-democracy demonstrations in 2011.

This sale and the Conservatives’ ties to the Saudi monarchy demonstrate exactly what principles Harper supports: misogyny, military repression, monarchy over democracy and commercial expediency, especially when it comes to the profits of a U.S.-owned branch plant arms dealer.

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, who led the majority in overturning more campaign finance laws in the McCutcheon decision.

U.S. pundits decry countries like Iran as undemocratic for having a screening process for candidates to high office. But U.S. politicians must pass muster with wealthy donors to be considered serious candidates, a system that the Supreme Court just made worse.

On April 2, the U.S. Supreme took another step toward the destruction of campaign finance reform with a five-to-four decision known as McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission.

One gets the feeling that this is part of a general campaign, waged by class-biased, ideologically committed conservatives, against government regulation, which they see as somehow a violation of their constitutional rights. As if to suggest that this is so, the Court majority rationalized its decision in the name of “free speech.”

What does this ruling do? First, the ruling removes limitations on overall campaign donations given in an election cycle. The wealthy can now sit down and write checks to unlimited numbers of candidates and political organizations and thereby make themselves indispensable in an electoral process dependent on the raising of large sums, particularly for television advertising.

Indeed, in this way the influence and demands of wealthy donors continue to be more powerful and persuasive than the solicitations of ordinary constituents whose interests the elected official is pledged to serve. In other words, McCutcheon vs. FEC pushed forward the process of legalizing bribery within our political system – a phenomenon which already is well along in its development.

Second, the ruling corrupts the notion of free speech by equating it with the use of money. Thus, the Court majority confuses free speech with that very act of bribery noted above. They seem to be pretending that we are dealing with the transparent efforts of constituents seeking to convince their political representatives of a certain point of view.

This is an illusion. We are dealing with donor individuals and organizations funneling millions of dollars to politicians in need of small fortunes just to maintain their professional positions, and to do so in exchange for political and legislative favors. That is the exercise of free speech only if you equate it with the suborning of elected officials.

It is hard to believe that the five Supreme Court justices who voted in the majority do not know this. And if they do, they are guilty of using the Constitution to rationalize criminal behavior.

Specific Flaws

Argument One -  “Contributing money to a candidate is an exercise of an individual’s right to participate in the electoral process through both political expression and political association.”

In taking this line of argument the justices ignore an established principle that operates in the social (as well as physical) realm: that is, quantity can shape quality and in so doing “act as a causal mechanism in social behavior.” For instance, you can say that contributing of money to campaigns and parties is an inherent part of the right to political participation. But the quality of that right, that is its consequence, is dependent on the quantity of the donation and its source.

Thus, this form of political participation has different consequences if a multitude of citizens give small amounts to various candidates and parties than if a few citizens, cleverly bundling their donations, give millions. The former is unlikely to skew an election through overwhelming, and often distorting, media advertising or to compromise the integrity of the candidate once elected.

The latter is almost certain to do these things. In other words, so much money coming from a few sources into an electoral process dominated by the need for money transforms donations into bribes and payoffs. This transformation is exactly what effective campaign finance reform is designed to prevent.

Argument Two – Restricting contributions is like restricting the number of endorsements a newspaper can make. “Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse.”

The problem with this assertion is that newspapers do not usually trade in favors. Big donors almost always do. Newspapers usually do not expect those they endorse to change the regulatory environment in which the newspaper operates. Big donors almost always do.

By making the comparison between newspaper endorsements and the actions of large donors, the justices are making a false analogy. They are mixing apples and oranges.

Argument Three -  “Spending large sums of money in connection with elections, but not in connection with an effort to control the exercise of an officeholder’s official duties, does not give rise to quid pro quo corruption. Nor does the possibility that an individual who spends large sums may garner ‘influence over or access to’ elected officials or political parties.”

This statement contains one dubious assumption and one misstatement of fact. First, assuming that “spending large sums of money in connection with elections” is not done in an “effort to control the exercise of an officeholder’s official duties” and therefore does not result in “quid pro quo corruption” is, at best, dangerously naive.

Do these justices really believe that the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and a host of corporations and special interest organizations would spend millions of dollars in an election cycle apart from “an effort to control the exercise of an officeholder’s official duties”?

The claim that “an individual who spends large sums” does not “garner ‘influence over or access to’ elected officials or political parties” is just wrong. What do these justices think the American Rifle Association or the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is doing if not buying influence and access?

It is odd that these justices, who undoubtedly recognize that they live in a capitalist country where just about everything is up for sale, would so blatantly pretend that politicians and elections are not also available for purchase.

Formula for Disaster

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, one of the sponsors of the bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, predicts that the recent Supreme Court decision will result in “major scandals in campaign finance contributions” and these, in turn, “will cause reform.”

Scandals there are sure to be. But I am not sure about reform. Past “major scandals” have not necessarily led to reform. In the United States, numerous school shootings have shocked the public but not resulted in the reform of the nation’s gun laws. Recent financial crises have led to recession and government bailouts for savings and loans, banks and mortgage houses, but have not resulted in sufficient regulatory reform to prevent a recurrence of these problems.

Therefore, campaign finance scandals may not yield the reform Sen. McCain foresees. All these scandals do indicate one thing, though, and that is that the Supreme Court justices don’t know what they are talking about when they deny that big money contributions are not corrupting.

Let us keep in mind that the U.S. citizenry is largely estranged from politics and ignorant of the workings of their national economy. Such indifference and ignorance allows power to default to the minority who are unethical enough and wealthy enough to not only buy politicians, but to buy public opinion through the manipulation of the media – a particular specialty of people like Rupert Murdoch.

This concentration of power usually results in periods of wholesale deregulation of business and politics leading inevitably to political unrest and economic ruin of one degree or another. Yet it is only when these consequences become so disastrous (I am talking here on the scale of the 1929 depression or the race riots of the 1960s) that the public’s backlash brings about significant reform.

And even then the nature of such events is cyclical. We have forgotten the corruption of the Gilded Age and the hardship of the Great Depression. Some of us have even forgotten the racist nature of our politics prior to the Civil Rights Movement.

So you should let your children know they may see these troubles again in the near future. Maybe they will be able to handle them better than we are.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

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Portions of the UN’s forthcoming human rights report on Crimea, to be released Tuesday, have been leaked to Foreign Policy magazine, and its findings are far from objective. Indicating yet another instance of institutional bias against the Russian Federation and its interests, Ivan Simonovic, the UN’s Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, has filled the so-called report with bias, misleading reporting, important omissions, one-sided analysis, and in some cases, outright false statements. Considering his history of “biased, prejudiced and nonobjective assessment”, this should not come as a surprise, but it is surprising that such opinions are institutionalized into a nominally neutral organization’s reporting. A brief overview of the leaked document will prove that certain UN “representatives” are more emblematic of NATO’s information objectives than they are of objectivity.

Foreign Policy’s exclusive report on the document begins by addressing supposed Russian “propaganda” activities in the run-up to the referendum. Through selective omission, it neglects to mention that Russia has the international right to broadcast its media to Ukraine, and when Crimea was part of that country, it was no exception. It may be that Simonovic has taken to the trend of calling any media coming from Russia “propaganda” because Russia’s “chief propagandist”, Dmitry Kiselyov, has been the first journalist to ever be sanctioned by the EU as punishment for exercising his right to free speech (which is supposedly also a “European value”). The report conveniently forgets to mention that Ukraine has banned select Russian media from broadcasting into the country, a move that set a precedent for Lithuania and Latvia’s later censorships.

The report then brazenly alleges that anti-reunification activists were “threatened, detained, and tortured”. Interestingly, this explosive claim has received scant, if any, mainstream exposure in Western media in the past. Had there been seriously believable grounds for this to have occurred, the US and Western media machines would have milked the false narrative as much as they could as soon as the allegations emerged. It is not improbable to imagine CNN dedicating a whole hour towards “investigating” (a.k.a. indoctrinating its audience about) this topic. Because none of this occurred and there is no substantial evidence besides heresay to corroborate this, it is very unprofessional for a UN official of all people to place such rumors into an official report.

Ludicrously, the document continues on to allege that “The presence of paramilitary and so called self-defense groups as well as soldiers in uniform with insignia, widely believed to be from the Russian Federation, was not conducive to an environment in which voters could freely exercise their right to hold opinions and the right to freedom of expression”. It then has the audacity to state that “it is widely assessed that Russian speakers have not been subject to threats in Crimea.” It smoothly glosses over the fact violent neo-Nazi groups are a serious threat to minorities in Ukraine, and that Pravy Sector has directly threatened the East and Crimea in the past, areas where the Russian minority predominantly resides. Their statements of intent to attack others that don’t agree with them are widely publicized on the internet.

In this light, paramilitary and self-defense groups were an absolute necessity to prevent the radical nationalists from instigating an outbreak of violence. And how does this de-legitimize elections in any way from the West’s perspective? After all, it unilaterally recognized South Sudan’s independence and Afghanistan and Iraq’s elections under the exact same, if not more security-intense, circumstances. Despite Obama’s lie to the contrary, Kosovo’s citizens didn’t even have the opportunity to partake in a referendum, no matter how rigged it could have been without the participation of its native Serbian inhabitants. Focusing on how “The overall climate of uncertainty has led some people, predominantly Tatars and ethnic Ukrainians to leave Crimea” is journalistically irresponsible without providing any figures, whereas the Russian side can solidly point to over half a million Ukrainians seeking refuge within their country. Taken together with the threat that violent nationalists pose to the preservation of human rights for all Ukrainian citizens, it is absolutely false for the report to claim that “tensions have decreased, along with allegations of human rights violations” since the junta came to power. In fact and in proof, the opposite is true.

Amazingly, the report only tangentially mentions the infamous sniper shootings that came to define the climax of EuroMaidan, using a combination of inference and “hint-hint” to draw readers to the conclusion that it was Berkut that shot the rioters and their own men, not mercenaries under the employ of the West and the EuroMaidan’s leaders, as had later been revealed. Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin also brought this up before the UN General Assembly, and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has demanded an unbiased investigation into what really happened. This critical omission would be journalistic negligence by any media corporation, but having it in an official UN document, along with all of the other false and misleading “findings”, is purposeful propaganda aimed against the Russian Federation.

The UN is not supposed to be a propaganda outlet for anyone, owing to its supposedly neutral status as an objective entity, so one must wonder what could possibly be the reasoning behind such an unprofessional and biased report. To its credit, it does address the junta’s lustration obsession and Muzychko’s thuggish intimidation tactics, but such factual inclusions are too far and few between to counter the overwhelming anti-Russian narrative established within the document. The report’s obvious bias makes it look as though NATO’s anti-Russian informational interests have infiltrated the UN and that the military-political organization is using its agents of influence (in this case, Simonovic, whose institutional loyalty is with NATO first and the UN second [he was promoted to his current position in 2010, one year after Croatia joined NATO]) to further its agenda. In fact and in form, the UN is quickly mutating into a propaganda nest for the vicious NATO information vulture. Cloaked in the false stereotype of impartiality and neutrality, the UN is the perfect avenue for legitimizing NATO’s propaganda operations against resistant and defiant (R&D) states.

Andrew Korybko is the American Master’s Degree student at the Moscow State University of International Relations (MGIMO).

The Obama Game: Is Putin Being Lured Into a Trap?

April 15th, 2014 by Mike Whitney

“Russia … is now recognized as the center of the global ‘mutiny’ against global dictatorship of the US and EU. Its generally peaceful .. approach is in direct contrast to brutal and destabilizing methods used by the US and EU…. The world is waking up to reality that there actually is, suddenly, some strong and determined resistance to Western imperialism. After decades of darkness, hope is emerging.” – Andre Vltchek, Ukraine: Lies and Realities, CounterPunch

Russia is not responsible for the crisis in Ukraine. The US State Department engineered the fascist-backed coup that toppled Ukraine’s democratically-elected president Viktor Yanukovych and replaced him with the American puppet Arseniy Yatsenyuk, a former banker. Hacked phone calls reveal the critical role that Washington played in orchestrating the putsch and selecting the coup’s leaders. Moscow was not involved in any of these activities. Vladimir Putin, whatever one may think of him, has not done anything to fuel the violence and chaos that has spread across the country.

Putin’s main interest in Ukraine is commercial. 66 percent of the natural gas that Russia exports to the EU transits Ukraine. The money that Russia makes from gas sales helps to strengthen the Russian economy and raise standards of living. It also helps to make Russian oligarchs richer, the same as it does in the West. The people in Europe like the arrangement because they are able to heat their homes and businesses market-based prices. In other words, it is a good deal for both parties, buyer and seller. This is how the free market is supposed to work. The reason it doesn’t work that way presently is because the United States threw a spanner in the gears when it deposed Yanukovych. Now no one knows when things will return to normal.

Check out this chart at Business Insider and you’ll see why Ukraine matters to Russia.

The overriding goal of US policy in Ukraine is to stop the further economic integration of Asia and Europe. That’s what the fracas is really all about. The United States wants to control the flow of energy from East to West, it wants to establish a de facto tollbooth between the continents, it wants to ensure that those deals are transacted in US dollars and recycled into US Treasuries, and it wants to situate itself between the two most prosperous markets of the next century. Anyone who has even the sketchiest knowledge of US foreign policy– particularly as it relates to Washington’s “pivot to Asia”– knows this is so. The US is determined to play a dominant role in Eurasia in the years ahead. Wreaking havoc in Ukraine is a central part of that plan.

Retired German Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jochen Scholz summed up US policy in an open letter which appeared on the Neue Rheinilche Zeitung news-site last week. Scholz said the Washington’s objective was “to deny Ukraine a role as a bridge between Eurasian Union and European Union….They want to bring Ukraine under the NATO control” and sabotage the prospects for “a common economic zone from Lisbon to Vladivostok.”

Bingo. That’s US policy in a nutshell. It has nothing to do with democracy, sovereignty, or human rights. It’s about money and power. Who are the big players going to be in the world’s biggest growth center, that’s all that matters. Unfortunately for Obama and Co., the US has fallen behind Russia in acquiring the essential resources and pipeline infrastructure to succeed in such a competition. They’ve been beaten by Putin and Gazprom at every turn. While Putin has strengthened diplomatic and economic relations, expanded vital pipeline corridors and transit lines, and hurtled the many obstacles laid out for him by American-stooges in the EC; the US has dragged itself from one quagmire to the next laying entire countries to waste while achieving none of its economic objectives.

So now the US has jettisoned its business strategy altogether and moved on to Plan B, regime change. Washington couldn’t beat Putin in a fair fight, so now they’ve taken off the gloves. Isn’t that what’s really going on? Isn’t that why the US NGOs, and the Intel agencies, and the State Dept were deployed to launch their sloppily-engineered Nazi-coup that’s left the country in chaos?

Once again, Putin played no part in any of this. All he did was honor the will of the people in Crimea who voted overwhelmingly (97%) to reunite with the Russian Federation. From a purely pragmatic point of view, what other choice did they have? After all, who in their right mind would want to align themselves with the most economically mismanaged confederation of all time (The EU) while facing the real possibility that their nation could be reduced to Iraq-type rubble and destitution in a matter of years? Who wouldn’t opt-out of such an arrangement?

As we noted earlier, Putin’s main objective is to make money. In contrast, the US wants to dominate the Eurasian landmass, break Russia up into smaller, non-threatening units, and control China’s growth. That’s the basic gameplan. Also, the US does not want any competitors, which we can see from this statement by Paul Wolfowitz which evolved into the US National Defense Strategy:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

This is the prevailing doctrine that Washington lives by. No rivals. No competition. We’re the boss. What we say, goes. The US is Numero Uno, le grande fromage. Who doesn’t know this already? Here’s more from Wolfowitz:

“The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”

In other words, “don’t even think about getting more powerful or we’ll swat you like a fly.” That’s the message, isn’t it? The reason we draw attention to these quotes is not to pick on Wolfowitz, but to show how things haven’t changed under Obama, in fact, they’ve gotten worse. The so called Bush Doctrine is more in effect today than ever which is why we need to be reminded of its central tenets. The US military is the de facto enforcer of neoliberal capitalism or what Wolfowitz calls “the established political and economic order”. Right. The statement provides a blanket justification for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and now Ukraine. The US can do whatever it deems necessary to protect the interests of its constituents, the multi-national corporations and big finance. The US owns the world and everyone else is just a visitor. So shut the hell up, and do what you’re told. That’s the message. Here’s Wolfowitz one more time:

“We continue to recognize that collectively the conventional forces of the states formerly comprising the Soviet Union retain the most military potential in all of Eurasia; and we do not dismiss the risks to stability in Europe from a nationalist backlash in Russia or efforts to reincorporate into Russia the newly independent republics of Ukraine, Belarus, and possibly others.”

Wolfowitz figured the moment would come when the US would have to square off with Moscow in order to pursue it’s imperial strategy in Asia. Putin doesn’t seem to grasp that yet. He still clings to the misguided notion that rational people will find rational solutions to end the crisis. But he’s mistaken. Washington does not want a peaceful solution. Washington wants a confrontation. Washington wants to draw Moscow into a long-term conflict in Ukraine that will recreate Afghanistan in the 1990s. That’s the goal, to lure Putin into a military quagmire that will discredit him in the eyes of the world, isolate Russia from its allies, put strains on new alliances, undermine the Russian economy, pit Russian troops against US-backed armed mercenaries and Special Ops, destroy Russian relations with business partners in the EU, and create a justification for NATO intervention followed by the deployment of nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory. That’s the gameplan. Why doesn’t Putin see that?

Putin has agreed to a meeting this week with foreign Ministers from The United States, the European Union, and Ukraine. This is another mistake. Originally, Putin refused to acknowledge the coup-government as legitimate. Now he’s changed his mind. Now he’s agreed to meet with their representatives. This is a victory for Washington and a defeat for Russia. The Obama team will see this as a sign of weakness, which it is.
According to Al Jazeera: “The meeting will involve US Secretary of State John Kerry, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia, the EU said on Tuesday. A spokesman for Ashton said the talks were aimed at “de-escalating” the crisis in Ukraine.”

The meeting has nothing to do with “de-escalating” the crisis.” It’s a public relations stunt. These talks have all the credibility of the Israel-Palestine peace talks, which is to say, none at all.

There’s no sense talking to people who don’t want peace. It just makes them look like they are being sincere, when they’re not. Obama and Co. don’t want peace. They want regime change. They want to weaken and dismember Russia. They want to reduce Moscow’s influence over energy-dependent states in Europe by disrupting the flow of gas through Ukraine. And they want to create a justification for carrying out their imperial agenda, which means they need to make Putin look like a dangerous aggressor. The coup government’s crackdown on ethnic Russians in Donetsk and Kharkiv could lead to a Russian intervention which would provide the justification that Washington is looking for. However painful it is for Putin to watch Russian speaking Ukrainians get beaten and perhaps killed by Nazi thugs and foreign mercenaries dressed up as Ukrainian Security Forces, he should avoid sending in the troops. It’s a trap.

At present, Ukraine’s currency plummeting, its debts and deficits are growing, and its economy is broken and near default. The IMF has promised to provide a $27 billion loan package that will be used to repay wealthy banks and bondholders in Berlin and Salzburg, but will do nothing to lift the economy out of the doldrums. None of the money from the IMF loans will be used to repay the $2.2 billion in unpaid gas bills to Gazprom or to compensate Russia for the more than $34.4 billion in subsidies Moscow has provided for its ailing neighbor in the last few years. Bondholders come first.

According to the World Socialist Web Site: “The “tough” measures required by the IMF in return for a $27 billion loan is already being spelt out by a 120 percent hike in gas and heating prices, the cutting of social benefits, including free medical assistance, and the closure of several hospitals.”

Naturally, the IMF’s conditions will involve more privatizing of public assets and services, more pension and wage cuts, more easing (“flexibility”) of labor protections, and more cannibalizing of the economy. Ukraine’s economy will undoubtedly slip into the same severe depression experienced everywhere that these failed policies have been implemented. At the same time, voracious investment banks and private equity speculators will make out like bandits skimming billions of dollars in plunder off the distressed and vulnerable country.

The US media has made a big deal out of the fact that Putin “has threatened to turn off the gas to Ukraine”. While the allegation is certainly true, we’ve seen no similar headlines about energy producers in the US cutting off the fuel for American families who are too broke to pay their gas bill and who’ve been “left to freeze to death in the dark.” Nor have we seen similar coverage of the 7 million Americans who were booted from their homes as part of a mortgage laundering scam that was concocted by crooked Wall Street bankers. Putin is actually looking for a way to avoid turning off the gas and has asked for help on the matter from leaders of the US and EU. Here’s what he said just last week:

“Russia is prepared to participate in the effort to stabilize and restore Ukraine’s economy. However, not in a unilateral way, but on equal conditions with our European partners. It is also essential to take into account the actual investments, contributions and expenditures that Russia has shouldered by itself alone for such a long time in supporting Ukraine. As we see it, only such an approach would be fair and balanced, and only such an approach can lead to success.”

Clearly, Putin doesn’t want to continue shouldering the burden by himself, which is why he made the statement to begin with. The new coup government has repeatedly missed deadlines for payment on its gas supplies. Some believe they have deliberately stopped paying so Putin will cut off the gas thus opening himself up to harsh criticism the western media. Whether it’s true or not is impossible to know, but so far, Washington has had little success selling the idea that Putin is “the new Hitler”. The US is still viewed as the country that poses the greatest threat to world peace, while the Russian president is widely admired as a sober and restrained leader. However, that could change quickly if Putin sends troops to defend protestors in Donetsk and Lugansk. Even so, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday that if the coup government uses force on the protestors who have seized government buildings then Russia will not participate in the upcoming four-party talks on the crisis. Lavrov added that “the acute political crisis in Ukraine in general and in its south-eastern regions in particular was caused by the present Kiev authorities’ failure to take into account the legitimate needs and interests of the Russian and Russian-speaking population.”

On Sunday, Ukrainian imposter-President Oleksandr Turchynov announced a plan to launch a “large-scale anti-terrorist operation” in Donetsk and Lugansk to avoid a “repeat the Crimean scenario in Ukraine’s east.” The operation will involve “military forces, anti-terrorist forces and law enforcement of Ukraine” and is scheduled to begin at 9 AM yesterday morning.

It’s clear, that Turchynov is trying to lure Russia into a fight, just as it’s clear that the president would not have approved the crackdown without a green light from Washington.

Putin will not allow Russian-speaking people to be killed in Ukraine, that’s the red line the junta government must not cross if they want to avoid a confrontation with Russia. Unfortunately, Washington wants Russia to invade so it can put its “proxy war” plan into motion.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

War Propaganda

April 15th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

This text was first published in January 2003, two months prior to the beginning of war on Iraq

Military planners in the Pentagon are acutely aware of the central role of war propaganda. Waged from the Pentagon, the State Department and the CIA, a fear and disinformation campaign (FDC) has been launched. The blatant distortion of the truth and the systematic manipulation of all sources of information is an integral part of war planning. In the wake of 9/11, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created to the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), or “Office of Disinformation” as it was labeled by its critics:

“The Department of Defense said they needed to do this, and they were going to actually plant stories that were false in foreign countries — as an effort to influence public opinion across the world.1

And, all of a sudden, the OSI was formally disbanded following political pressures and “troublesome” media stories that “its purpose was to deliberately lie to advance American interests.”2 “Rumsfeld backed off and said this is embarrassing.”3 Yet despite this apparent about-turn, the Pentagon’s Orwellian disinformation campaign remains functionally intact: “[T]he secretary of defense is not being particularly candid here. Disinformation in military propaganda is part of war.”4

Rumsfeld later confirmed in a press interview that while the OSI no longer exists in name, the “Office’s intended functions are being carried out” 5 (Rumsfeld’s precise words can be consulted at http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/11/dod111802.html ).

A number of government agencies and intelligence units –with links to the Pentagon– are involved in various components of the propaganda campaign. Realities are turned upside down. Acts of war are heralded as “humanitarian interventions” geared towards “regime change” and “the restoration of democracy”. Military occupation and the killing of civilians are presented as “peace-keeping”. The derogation of civil liberties –in the context of the so-called “anti-terrorist legislation”– is portrayed as a means to providing “domestic security” and upholding civil liberties. And underlying these manipulated realties, “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” statements, which circulate profusely in the news chain, are upheld as the basis for an understanding of World events.

In the critical “planning stages” leading up to an invasion of Iraq, the twisting of public opinion at home and around the World, is an integral part of the War agenda, War propaganda is pursued at all stages: before, during the military operation as well as in its cruel aftermath. War propaganda serves to drown the real causes and consequences of war.

A few months after the OSI was disbanded amidst controversy (February 2002), The New York Times confirmed that the disinformation campaign was running strong and that the Pentagon was:

“…considering issuing a secret directive to American military to conduct covert operations aimed at influencing public opinion and policymakers in friendly and neutral nations …The proposal has ignited a fierce battle throughout the Bush administration over whether the military should carry out secret propaganda missions in friendly nations like Germany… The fight, one Pentagon official said, is over ‘the strategic communications for our nation, the message we want to send for long-term influence, and how we do it….’We have the assets and the capabilities and the training to go into friendly and neutral nations to influence public opinion. We could do it and get away with it. That doesn’t mean we should.’6

Fabricating the Truth

To sustain the war agenda, these “fabricated realities”, funneled on a day to day basis into the news chain must become indelible truths, which form part of a broad political and media consensus. In this regard, the corporate media –although acting independently of the military-intelligence apparatus, is an instrument of this evolving totalitarian system.

In close liaison with the Pentagon and the CIA, the State Department has also set up its own “soft-sell” (civilian) propaganda unit, headed by Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Charlotte Beers, a powerful figure in the advertising industry. Working in liaison with the Pentagon, Beers was appointed to head the State Department’s propaganda unit in the immediate wake of 9/11. Her mandate is “to counteract anti-Americanism abroad.”7 Her office at the State department is to:

“ensure that public diplomacy (engaging, informing, and influencing key international audiences) is practiced in harmony with public affairs (outreach to Americans) and traditional diplomacy to advance U.S. interests and security and to provide the moral basis for U.S. leadership in the world.” (http://www.state.gov/r/ )

The Role of the CIA

The most powerful component of the Fear and Disinformation Campaign (FDI) rests with the CIA, which, secretly subsidizes authors, journalists and media critics, through a web of private foundations and CIA sponsored front organizations. The CIA also influences the scope and direction of many Hollywood productions. Since 9/11, one third of Hollywood productions are war movies. “Hollywood stars and scriptwriters are rushing to bolster the new message of patriotism, conferring with the CIA and brainstorming with the military about possible real-life terrorist attacks.”8 “The Sum of All Fears” directed by Phil Alden Robinson, which depicts the scenario of a nuclear war, received the endorsement and support of both the Pentagon and the CIA.9

Disinformation is routinely “planted” by CIA operatives in the newsroom of major dailies, magazines and TV channels. Outside public relations firms are often used to create “fake stories” Carefully documented by Chaim Kupferberg in relation to the events of September 11: “A relatively few well-connected correspondents provide the scoops, that get the coverage in the relatively few mainstream news sources, where the parameters of debate are set and the “official reality” is consecrated for the bottom feeders in the news chain.”10

Covert disinformation initiatives under CIA auspices are also funneled through various intelligence proxies in other countries. Since 9/11, they have resulted in the day-to-day dissemination of false information concerning alleged “terrorist attacks”. In virtually all of the reported cases (Britain, France, Indonesia, India, Philippines, etc.) the « alleged terrorist groups» are said to have «links to Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda», without of course acknowledging the fact (amply documented by intelligence reports and official documents) that Al Qaeda is a creation of CIA.

The Doctrine of “Self Defense”

At this critical juncture, in the month(s) leading up to the announced invasion of Iraq, the propaganda campaign is geared towards sustaining the illusion that “America is under attack”. Relayed not only through the mainstream media but also through a number of alternative internet media sites, these “fabricated realities” portray the war as a bona fide act of self-defense, while carefully concealing the broad strategic and economic objectives of the war.

In turn, the propaganda campaign develops a casus belli, “a justification”, a political legitimacy for waging war. The “official reality” (conveyed profusely in George W’s speeches) rests on the broad “humanitarian” premise of a so-called “preemptive”, namely “defensive war”, “a war to protect freedom”:

« We’re under attack because we love freedom… And as long as we love freedom and love liberty and value every human life, they’re going to try to hurt us.» 11

Spelled out in the National Security Strategy (NSS), the preemptive “defensive war” doctrine and the “war on terrorism” against Al Qaeda constitute the two essential building blocks of the Pentagon’s propaganda campaign. The objective is to present “preemptive military action” –meaning war as an act of “self-defense” against two categories of enemies, “rogue States” and “Islamic terrorists”:

“The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration. …America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.

…Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction (…)

The targets of these attacks are our military forces and our civilian population, in direct violation of one of the principal norms of the law of warfare. As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction.

The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction— and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, (…). To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively.”12 (National Security Strategy, White House, 2002, http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html )

Feeding Disinformation into the News Chain

How is war propaganda carried out? Two sets of “eye popping” “statements” emanating from a variety of sources (including official National Security statements, media, Washington-based think tanks, etc.) are fed on a daily basis into the news chain. Some of the events (including news regarding presumed terrorists) are blatantly fabricated by the intelligence agencies. These statements are supported by simple and catchy “buzzwords”, which set the stage for fabricating the news:

Buzzword no. 1.”Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda” (Osama) is behind most news stories regarding the “war on terrorism” including “alleged”, “future” “presumed”, and “actual” terrorist attacks. What is rarely mentioned is that this outside enemy Al Qaeda is a CIA “intelligence asset”, used in covert operations.

Buzzword no. 2.The “Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)” statement is used to justify the “pre-emptive war” against the “State sponsors of terror”, –i.e. countries such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea which allegedly possess WMD. Amply documented in the case of Iraq, a large body of news on WMD and biological attacks, are fabricated.

The “WMD” and “Osama bin Laden” statements become part of day to day debate, embodied in routine conversations between citizens. Repeated ad nauseam, they penetrate the inner consciousness of ordinary people molding their individual perceptions on current events. Through deception and manipulation, this shaping of the minds of entire populations, sets the stage –under the façade of a functioning democracy—for the installation of a de facto police State. Needless to say, war propaganda weakens the antiwar movement.

In turn, the disinformation regarding alleged “terrorist attacks” or “weapons of mass destruction” instils an atmosphere of fear, which mobilizes unswerving patriotism and support for the State, and its main political and military actors.

Repeated in virtually every national news report, this stigmatic focus on WMD-Al Qaeda essentially serves as a dogma, to blind people on the causes and consequences of America’s war of conquest, while providing a simple, unquestioned and authoritative justification for “self defense.”

More recently, both in speeches by President Bush and Prime Minister Blair, as well as in the news, WMD statements are now carefully blended into Osama statements. UK Defense Minister Jack Straw warned in early January “that ‘rogue regimes’ such as Iraq were the most likely source of WMD technology for groups like al-Qaeda.”13 Also, in January, a presumed al Qaeda cell “with links to Iraq” was discovered in Edinburgh, allegedly involved in the use of biological weapons against people in the UK. The hidden agenda of “the links to Iraq” statement is blatantly obvious. The objective is to discredit Iraq in the months leading up to the war: the so-called “State sponsors of terror” are said to support Osama bin Laden, Conversely, Osama is said to collaborate with Iraq in the use of weapons of mass destruction.

In recent months, several thousand news reports have woven “WMD-Osama stories” of which a couple of excerpts are provided below:

“Skeptics will argue that the inconsistencies don’t prove the Iraqis have continued developing weapons of mass destruction. It also leaves Washington casting about for other damning material and charges, including the midweek claim, again unproved, that Islamic extremists affiliated with al-Qaeda took possession of a chemical weapon in Iraq last November or late October.”14

North Korea has admitted it lied about that and is brazenly cranking up its nuclear program again. Iraq has almost certainly lied about it, but won’t admit it. Meanwhile Al Qaeda, although dispersed, remains a shadowy, threatening force, and along with other terrorist groups, a potential recipient of the deadly weaponry that could emerge from Iraq and North Korea.15

Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair listed Iraq, North Korea, the Middle East and al-Qaeda among “difficult and dangerous” problems Britain faced in the coming year.16

The WMD-Osama statements are used profusely by the mainstream media. In the wake of 9/11, these stylized statements have also become an integral part of day to day political discourse. They have also permeated the workings of international diplomacy and the functioning of the United Nations.

Notes

1. Interview with Steve Adubato, Fox News, 26 December 2002.

2. Air Force Magazine, January 2003, italics added..

3. Adubato, op. cit. italics added

4. Ibid, italics added.

5. Quoted in Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Secrecy News, http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/2002/11/112702.html , Rumsfeld’s press interview can be consulted at:

http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/11/dod111802.html .

6. New York Times, 16 December 2002.

7. Sunday Times, London 5 January 2003.

8. Ros Davidson, Stars earn their Stripes, The Sunday Herald (Scotland), 11 November 2001).

9. See Samuel Blumenfeld, Le Pentagone et la CIA enrôlent Hollywood, Le Monde, 24 July 2002, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BLU207A.html .

10. Chaim Kupferberg, The Propaganda Preparation for 9/11, Global Outlook, No. 3, 2003, p. 19, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/KUP206A.html .

11. Remarks by President Bush in Trenton, New Jersey, «Welcome Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility, Trenton, New Jersey », 23 September 2002.

12. National Security Strategy, White House, 2002, http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html

13. Agence France Presse (AFP), 7 January 2003.

14. Insight on the News, 20 January 2003.

15. Christian Science Monitor, 8 January 2003

16. Agence France Presse (AFP), 1 January 2003

Pulitzer-prize winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh – who broke the stories of the Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam and the Iraq prison torture scandals, which rightfully disgraced the Nixon and Bush administrations’ war-fighting tactics – reported last week:

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up.

That’s the part you’ve heard about: failure to protect the personnel at the embassy.

But then Hersh breaks the deeper story wide open:

A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

Hersh isn’t the first to report on this major scandal.

We’ve extensively documented that the bigger story behind the murder of ambassador Chris Stevens at the Benghazi embassy in Libya is that the embassy was the center of U.S. efforts to arm jihadis in Syria who are trying to topple the Syrian government.

We’ve also noted that this is not a partisan issue … both parties greenlighted regime change in Syria years ago, and both parties have tried to cover up what was really going on in Benghazi.

Last August, CNN touched on the weapons smuggling aspect of Benghazi.

The Wall Street JournalTelegraph and other sources confirm that the US consulate in Benghazi wasmainly being used for a secret CIA operation.

They say that the State Department presence in Benghazi “provided diplomatic cover” for the previously hidden CIA mission. WND alleges that it was not a real consulate.  And former CIA officer Philip Giraldiconfirms:

Benghazi has been described as a U.S. consulate, but it was not. It was an information office that had no diplomatic status. There was a small staff of actual State Department information officers plus local translators. The much larger CIA base was located in a separate building a mile away. It was protected by a not completely reliable local militia. Base management would have no say in the movement of the ambassador and would not be party to his plans, nor would it clear its own operations with the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. In Benghazi, the CIA’s operating directive would have been focused on two objectives: monitoring the local al-Qaeda affiliate group, Ansar al-Sharia, and tracking down weapons liberated from Colonel Gaddafi’s arsenal. Staff consisted of CIA paramilitaries who were working in cooperation with the local militia. The ambassador would not be privy to operational details and would only know in general what the agency was up to. When the ambassador’s party was attacked, the paramilitaries at the CIA base came to the rescue before being driven back into their own compound, where two officers were subsequently killed in a mortar attack.

Reuters notes that the CIA mission involved finding and repurchasing heavy weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals.

Retired Lt. General William Boykin said in January that Stevens was in Benghazi as part of an effort to arm the Syrian opposition:

More supposition was that he was now funneling guns to the rebel forces in Syria, using essentially the Turks to facilitate that. Was that occurring, (a), and if so, was it a legal covert action?

Boykin said Stevens was “given a directive to support the Syrian rebels” and the State Department’s Special Mission Compound in Benghazi “would be the hub of that activity.”

Business Insider reports that Stevens may have been linked with Syrian terrorists:

There’s growing evidence that U.S. agents—particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens—were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels.

In March 2011 Stevens became the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan opposition, working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group—a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens’ life.

In November 2011 The Telegraph reported that Belhadj, acting as head of the Tripoli Military Council, “met with Free Syrian Army [FSA] leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey” in an effort by the new Libyan government to provide money and weapons to the growing insurgency in Syria.

Last month The Times of London reported that a Libyan ship “carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria … has docked in Turkey.” The shipment reportedly weighed 400 tons and included SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.

***

Reuters reports that Syrian rebels have been using those heavy weapons to shoot downSyrian helicopters and fighter jets.

The ship’s captain was “a Libyan from Benghazi and the head of an organization called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support,” which was presumably established by the new government.

That means that Ambassador Stevens had only one person—Belhadj—between himself and the Benghazi man who brought heavy weapons to Syria.

Furthermore, we know that jihadists are the best fighters in the Syrian opposition, but where did they come from?

Last week The Telegraph reported that a FSA commander called them “Libyans” when he explained that the FSA doesn’t “want these extremist people here.”

And if the new Libyan government was sending seasoned Islamic fighters and 400 tons of heavy weapons to Syria through a port in southern Turkey—a deal brokered by Stevens’ primary Libyan contact during the Libyan revolution—then the governments of Turkey and the U.S. surely knew about it.

Furthermore there was a CIA post in Benghazi, located 1.2 miles from the U.S. consulate, used as “a base for, among other things, collecting information on the proliferation of weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals, including surface-to-air missiles” … and that its security features “were more advanced than those at rented villa where Stevens died.”

And we know that the CIA has been funneling weapons to the rebels in southern Turkey. The question is whether the CIA has been involved in handing out the heavy weapons from Libya.

In other words, ambassador Stevens may have been a key player in deploying Libyan terrorists and arms to fight the Syrian government.

Other sources also discuss that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi as mainly being used as a CIA operation to ship fighters and arms to Syria.

Many have speculated that – if normal security measures weren’t taken to protect the Benghazi consulate or to rescue ambassador Stevens – it was because the CIA was trying to keep an extremely low profile to protect its cover of being a normal State Department operation.

That is what I think really happened at Benghazi.

Was CIA Chief David Petraeus’ Firing Due to Benghazi?

CIA boss David Petraeus suddenly resigned, admitting to an affair. But Petraeus was scheduled to testify under oath the next week before power House and Senate committees regarding the Benghazi consulate. Many speculate that it wasn’t an affair – but the desire to avoid testifying on Benghazi – which was the real reason for Petraeus’ sudden resignation.  And see this.

Counter-Revolutionaries Continue the Destruction of Libya

April 15th, 2014 by Global Research News

Libyan oil industry crippled by imperialist-backed rebels.

Three years after ousting Revolutionary Pan-Africanist Moammar Kadafi, the US-backed militias have turned to smuggling and extortion, and left Libya without a real government.

TRIPOLI, Libya — Dragging deeply on a cigarette and swirling his espresso dregs, the curly-haired young militiaman offered up a vivid account of the battles he and fellow CIA-backed rebels waged to bring down the revolutionary government of Moammar Kadafi — days of blazing bombardment, thirsty desert nights.

Then he voiced his dismay at the chokehold those same armed groups now maintain on Libya.

“We fought so hard to make a new country,” said the 28-year-old of Libyan extraction who left Britain to join the counter-revolution that swept this North African nation in 2011. “Now it’s all about money. Money and guns.”

The rebel groups that served as ground troops during the massive Pentagon-NATO blanket bombing to oust Kadafi have fragmented into rivalrous factions whose outsized collective power has sapped Libya’s oil wealth, turned a nascent government structure to tatters and ushered in a grim cycle of assassinations, abductions and firefights in the streets.

International attention tends to focus on the most audacious acts of militias, such as the abduction in October of the prime minister, the storming of various government ministries and last month’s bid to illicitly sell $36 million worth of oil. The tanker used by the militia was intercepted by U.S. Navy SEALs and handed over to the Libyan government.

Such developments illustrate who really calls the shots in Tripoli. Once the most prosperous African state under the Jamahiriya, Libya today is in a deep economic depression with instability being the order of the day.

But it is their cumulative daily actions that have cemented the grip of armed factions. With control of nearly all the country’s major military and industrial installations, observers say, the groups engage in arms smuggling on an epic scale, extort staggering protection payments from businesses and regularly engage in turf wars that send scrambling anyone unlucky enough to be in the vicinity when the shooting starts.

The main armed factions number in the dozens but splinter groups run to the hundreds, holding sway over economic, political and social life. Their encampments dot the capital. Weaponry is on brazen display in a central Tripoli marketplace. Behind one luxury hotel, truck-mounted antiaircraft guns line a vacant lot like taxi touts hustling for fares.

Some of the groups have been nominally integrated into the weak puppet government, their allegiance proffered in the manner of a gangland offer that can’t be refused. Drawing government pay but answering to their own commanders, the militias in effect control oil fields and hospitals, ports and prisons — and even Tripoli’s international airport, the main gateway to the outside world.

A powerful militia from Zintan recently commandeered a planeload of weapons intended for Libya’s military, a government official said, an account confirmed by several others with knowledge of the incident. The Zintanis, they said, brought trucks onto the tarmac of the Tripoli airport, offloaded the arms and drove away.

“They do whatever they please, and their guns speak for them,” said the middle-aged bureaucrat whose government job at the airport forces him to work alongside members of the militia from Zintan, a major town in Libya’s western mountains. “Whatever they want, they will get.”

Like several others interviewed, the official asked that his name not be published for safety reasons.

Although the militias claim they are securing the airport on behalf of the Interior Ministry, their ready access to the lucrative aviation-based smuggling trade invites challenges from rivals as well as stifling legitimate commercial activity.

International carriers, including British Airways and Lufthansa, suspended flights to Tripoli for several days last month after a bomb detonated overnight on one of the runways. It hasn’t been determined who was responsible.

Corruption, by all accounts, is a driving force in the everyday dealings of militias. An official with the Transport Ministry, whose position gave him decision-making authority on a major airport contract, told of being personally coerced by Zintan fighters’ threats into backing the bidder they favored.

Libya’s turmoil boils down to a struggle for control of resources, chief among them its vast oil wealth. The government has been engaged in tortuous negotiations with an eastern militia leader, Ibrahim Jathran, in an effort to regain access to key oil ports that his men have blockaded for nearly nine months.

On Monday, the state news agency reported that a deal had been struck, although transfer of the ports could take up to a month. Since then, more unrest has been reported around the ports. Jathran, whose action helped reduce Libya’s crude output to a trickle, has demanded greater regional autonomy and a far larger share of oil revenue.

Even if an accord proves durable, the dispute led to the country’s West-friendly prime minister, Ali Zidan, being sacked by lawmakers and fleeing the country for Europe.

The final straw came when Zidan ordered Libya’s military forces to prevent the North Korean-flagged tanker Morning Glory from departing a rebel-controlled port with its cargo of crude, a task they were unable or unwilling to carry out. That set the stage for the SEALs’ intervention, and laid bare the government’s powerlessness.

“Really, there is no army,” Zidan was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying afterward from his newfound refuge in Germany. “I thought there was one, but then I realized there really isn’t.”

Western governments, including the United States, recognize the need to rebuild Libya’s barely functioning military and make it answerable to a central neo-colonial authority. The Obama administration plans to assist in the training of Libyan troops, but analysts say it would be a matter of years before army strength and capability can begin to rival that of battle-hardened militias.

Some of the counter-revolutionary thugs say they would be eager to join a government security force, except that the taint associated with police abuses under the now-dead dictator is too difficult to overcome. So for now they prefer their unofficial status.

“We can’t wear those uniforms,” said Mohammed Abdulsalam Jedeed, who leads a militia contingent that has taken control of the Tripoli Medical Center, one of the capital’s main hospitals. “The people would hate us.”

But many people already do, or at least accept their presence only as an element of some Faustian bargain. In the meantime, discontent simmers.

Heading toward the scorching summer, Tripoli is already paralyzed by rolling power blackouts. The country’s foreign reserves are steadily shrinking, drained by a bloated public payroll that contrasts greatly from the Kadafi era and unsustainable subsidies. Yet in a country awash in oil, periodic gasoline shortages leave motorists stuck in hours-long queues.

For young people like the former rebel from the gloomy English industrial city of Manchester, the lack of opportunity yawns like a chasm. He would like to leave militia life behind, he said, but he has been unable to find another job.

“No militia does anything for Libya anymore. Everyone is just looking for war booty,” he said, eyeing the currency traders a few feet from his cafe table, scurrying past with rollaway suitcases said to be stuffed with cash. “I want a normal life, I want to get married. But how?”

At the University of Tripoli, two female engineering students said that after Kadafi’s fall, they now felt that safety was deteriorating daily. Both hoped their families would not deem it too dangerous for them to attend classes and continue their studies.

“Nothing can change for the better until the weapons are gone,” said Anwar Elsayeh, 19 and anxious-eyed. “But there is no one who has the power to make that happen.”

Russia has warned the pro-Western regime in Kiev against mounting military operations against anti-government protests in eastern Ukraine, unleashing a new wave of anti-Russian warmongering in Berlin.

Even before the special session of the UN Security Council called by Russia, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble accused Moscow of “fomenting the unrest in Ukraine,” and threatened, “Russia must know that the West is not to be blackmailed.”

Social Democratic Party (SPD) Chairman and Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel went even further. He used a commemoration of the First World War in Berlin’s French Cathedral to stir up hatred against Russia. Together with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, he accused Moscow of placing in question “fundamental political values.”

Russia was “clearly prepared to let tanks roll over European borders,” he said, adding that Moscow “has returned to the spirit of nationalist power politics” that led to the First World War a century ago.

What an absurd distortion of reality! The truth is, 100 years after the beginning of the First World War and 75 years since the outbreak of the Second World War, it is Germany that has returned to an aggressive foreign policy, threatening a military confrontation with Russia, a nuclear power, and a Third World War.

Berlin, working closely with the United States, organised a putsch in Ukraine led by fascist forces that brought to power a pro-Western regime, which is driving Ukraine into a civil war and provoking a confrontation with Russia. Now, the German media is seeking to depict Russia as the aggressor, using the most brazen lies and distortions.

The media accuses Moscow of doing precisely what the West did in Kiev only a few weeks ago: instigating anti-government protests. While the Western media glorified the fascist putsch against the elected government of Yanukovych as a “democratic revolution,” now, without batting an eye, it is demanding the bloody suppression of the protests in east Ukraine and a more aggressive course against Russia.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung derides Russia in an editorial as a “warmonger,” and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as “chief cynic.” Russia’s role is “clear,” it says: Moscow is rolling over Ukraine from the east, creating “facts on the ground” and spreading “chaos, fear and disinformation.”

Clearly angry that the protests have not been crushed, the Süddeutscheasks: “Why did the [Ukraine] interior minister allow the 48-hour ultimatum, which he issued Tuesday to the occupations in Donets and Lugansk, to lapse? Where were the army and the militias over the past several days?”

In its editorial on Monday, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung went further, writing that sanctions against Moscow were “not enough,” and that the West must “support Ukraine more decisively than before.”

“If NATO and the EU do not now show that they are determined to resist the Kremlin’s aggression,” the newspaper wrote, “even if that costs something,” there can be “an even greater cost … If the Kremlin is hoping for backsliding, it might be tempted to assault the three Baltic states.”

How is the aggressive war hysteria in the German media and political establishment to be understood? It is part of a systematic revival of militarism by ruling circles in Germany. The same ruling circles, banks and corporations that unleashed two world wars are seeking to reprise their heinous crimes.

The opening shot was fired by German President Joachim Gauck in his October 3 speech. On the Day of German Unity, he provocatively declared that Germany was “not an island” that could abstain “from political, economic and military conflicts.” At the beginning of the year at the Munich Security Conference, he announced, together with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, an end to “the policy of military abstention.” In future, Germany would have to “intervene more decisively and substantially” in regions of international crisis.

Ever since, the Grand Coalition of the SPD and Christian Democrats in Berlin has ruthlessly implemented this policy, amid relentless warmongering from the media. As if the German campaign on the Eastern Front in the First World War and Hitler’s war of extermination in the Second World War had never happened, German imperialism is renewing its traditional “drive to the East.”

It is increasingly clear that the Ukraine crisis was deliberately provoked by the Western powers to be used as a pretext by Germany and its allies to rearm and return to an aggressive foreign policy. The defence ministry supports NATO’s military build-up against Russia, deploying ships and aircraft close to the Russian border and holding military manoeuvres there. At the same time, the German military, politicians and leading journalists are demanding the reintroduction of conscription and the procurement of new tanks and attack drones.

The return of German militarism is supported by all the parties in the Bundestag (parliament). The most aggressive advocates of this policy are those parties that once claimed to represent the interests of the working class or the program of pacifism.

The SPD marked the 100th anniversary of its support for World War I with Frank-Walter Steinmeier as foreign minister in the Grand Coalition cracking the whip for Berlin’s new great power politics.

The Greens, who have beaten the drum incessantly for German military operations abroad ever since they entered government in 1998, were active participants in the fascist-led putsch in Kiev. Now they are attacking the German government from the right. Their lead candidate in the European elections, Werner Schulz, alternately abuses the Russian president as a “criminal,” “aggressor” and “war-monger,” and calls for military action.

The degeneration of the Green warmongers is only surpassed by that of the Left Party. The former Stalinists and their pseudo-left supporters have dropped their pacifist pretensions just as the ruling elite is reviving its great power ambitions. Last week, for the first time, Left Party parliamentary deputies voted for a foreign military mission by the Bundeswehr (armed forces).

The Partei für Soziale Gleichheit (PSG) is the only party that opposes the return of German militarism and condemns the warmongering by politicians and the media, which is opposed by the vast majority of the population. The PSG, together with the Socialist Equality Party in Britain, is standing in the European elections to develop the struggle against war on the basis of the programme of socialist revolution.

We call on workers and youth to turn the European elections into a plebiscite against the warmongers and the return of German militarism. Cast a vote against war and build the Partei für Soziale Gleichheit and the Socialist Equality Party, the German and British sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International, to mobilize the working class against war!

Spanish Government Attacks Democratic Rights

April 15th, 2014 by Alejandro López

The Spanish Popular Party (PP) government has accelerated its attacks on democratic rights in response to widespread opposition to the social catastrophe brought about by its austerity measures and those of its Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) predecessor.

According to the International Monetary Fund, which is complicit in imposing the austerity measures, the gap between rich and poor has grown faster in Spain since the global economic crisis erupted in 2008 than in any other country in Europe. A report by the Caritas charity shows that the top 20 percent of Spanish society is now seven and a half times richer than the bottom fifth—the largest divide in Europe. A Credit Suisse study revealed that the number of millionaires in Spain rose to 402,000 in 2012, an increase of 13 percent in just one year. At the same time, unemployment stands at 25.6 percent, and 56 percent amongst young people.

Working class resistance to impoverishment has increased. According to the employers’ organisation, CEOE, during the first two months of 2014 there were 184 strikes supported by 56,693 workers, leading to 2,668,556 hours of work lost, a 5 percent increase on the year before. Overall in 2013, more than 15 million hours of work were lost, as a consequence of 1,259 strikes, in which over half a million workers participated.

The number of demonstrations has increased substantially. According to the Ministry of Interior, there were 36,000 demonstrations in 2012—double the number of 18,442 in 2011.

Under these conditions, the ruling class is resorting to openly authoritarian measures. Striking workers and protesters are being hauled before the courts, with prosecutors demanding savage sentences.

Eight Airbus workers are currently being prosecuted for clashes with the police outside the factory during the September 2010 general strike against the PSOE’s labour reform. Prosecutors are demanding eight years’ imprisonment for each of those involved, the highest sentence ever demanded for similar cases since the end of Spain’s fascist regime in 1978.

In Madrid, 113 air traffic controllers (ATCs) and eight officials of the USCA union are facing sedition charges, punishable by up to six years in prison, for participating in a wildcat strike in December 2010. The ATCs were striking against a PSOE government decree cutting their wages by 40 percent, increasing hours and reducing rest periods. The PSOE government responded by declaring a 15-day state of alert and sending in the military.

The ATCs’ strike showed that when the trade unions fail to contain, isolate and demoralise the working class with useless one-day token protests, the state intervenes with naked repression. Bolstered by the unions’ betrayal of that strike and others since, and by their collaboration in implementing cuts and labour reforms, the government now wants to lay the framework to illegalise strikes altogether.

Labour and Employment Minister Fátima Bañez is calling for the “need for a law of minimum services” for all strikes, which will neuter industrial action as it does already in “essential services” such as public transport, where 50 percent of normal services have to be maintained. Bañez stated that such a law should “be spoken of naturally and responsibly with the representatives of the workers, the employers and the government”. The unions will doubtless comply with her demands, as in the past.

The Spanish government has also been strengthening the forces of repression, including the anti-riot police involved in the control and monitoring of demonstrations. In 2013, the budget for anti-riot material and equipment was increased from €173,670 in 2012 to €3.26 million, and further funding promised.

A legal framework to criminalise protests is being created. On March 31, an unprecedented judicial case was started against 20 youths accused of “crimes against the institutions of the state” for surrounding the Catalan parliament in June 2011 in an attempt to prevent deputies entering and voting on huge budget cuts.

The case has been brought by the Generalitat (the Catalan regional government), the Catalan regional parliament and the fascist union Manos Limpias (Clean Hands), which are demanding up to eight and a half years’ prison sentences for the accused.

The fact that the ruling Catalan party Convérgencia i Unió, currently leading separatist agitation in favour of an independent Catalonia, is pursuing the prosecutions and allying itself with fascists, shows the type of mini-state they are aiming to create in Catalonia: a pro-business, anti-working class setup where protests will be crushed and those arrested sentenced to years of prison.

Recent protests in the past three weeks have also witnessed a crackdown.

Following the huge March 22 demonstration against austerity in Spain’s capital, the Government Delegate of Madrid has announced that charges will be pressed against the main organisers for damages caused during disturbances at the end. Madrid mayor Ana Botella called for a ban on demonstrations in “historical-artistic settings, areas with significant tourism presence and strategic transportation routes” in the city, effectively restricting them to the outskirts—a request backed by Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz, who declared that “no right is absolute.”

During the March 26-28 strike against education cuts, the elimination of student grants and increase in tuition fees, which was supported by more than 2 million students, the police marched onto university campuses, reminiscent of their actions during the Franco era—under Spanish law police can only enter universities with permission of the rector. In Madrid alone, 80 students were arrested whilst occupying their faculties.

On March 29, a small protest in Madrid calling for the abolition of the monarchy was dispersed by anti-riot police who declared it “illegal” for not having notified the authorities. Journalists known for their criticism of the government and police conduct in demonstrations were attacked by the policeand one arrested.

On the same day, in Barcelona, 1,400 anti-riot police were mobilised against a demonstration of 8,000 protesting the draft Citizens Law, which curtails the right to protest and imposes heavy fines and imprisonment for “disobedience”.

The Spanish authorities show contempt for any criticism of their methods, including the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which declared that “any attempt to intimidate or attack journalists is a clear violation of the right of free media and cannot be tolerated” after four journalists were arrested in Madrid.

The PP regional president, Esperanza Aguirre, attacked the OSCE, stating, “Who are these people who come to Spain to watch our police as if this was a banana republic or a communist satrapy…it is intolerable, the presence of these people.”

A pattern of deliberate police provocations is emerging, with the police charging demonstrations at 20:30, half an hour before the main news programmes are broadcast.

Jordan Ambassador to Libya Kidnapped

April 15th, 2014 by Global Research News

The Jordanian ambassador to Libya has been kidnapped Tuesday morning after masked gunmen attacked his car and shot his driver, a spokesman for Libya’s foreign ministry said.

It is the latest incident in which Libyan leaders and foreign diplomats have been targeted in the increasingly lawless North African country, three years after NATO-backed rebels ousted autocratic leader Muammer Qaddafi.

“The Jordanian ambassador was kidnapped this morning. His convoy was attacked by a group of hooded men on board two civilian cars,” ministry spokesman Said Lassoued told Agence France-Presse.

The driver survived the attack and was in hospital, Lassoued said. He suffered gunshot wounds during the kidnapping.

The government in Amman confirmed the kidnapping.

“Jordan has initial information that the Jordanian ambassador in Libya, Fawaz Aytan, was kidnapped,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Sabah Rafie said, adding that it was investigating.

The abduction comes two days after Libya’s prime minister Abdullah al-Thani stepped down, saying he and his family had been the victims of a “traitorous” armed attack the previous day.
(With Reuters and AFP)

Global Human Trafficking, a Modern form of Slavery

April 15th, 2014 by Joachim Hagopian

Steve McQueen, director of this year’s Oscar winner for best film “12 Years A Slave,” mentioned in his acceptance speech last month that 21 million people are living in slavery today. That quoted figure comes from the 2012 report issued by the United Nation’s International Labor Organization (ILO) that has been attempting to gather international data for over a decade now. In the Asia-Pacific region where most of the world’s forced laborers come from at 56%, an estimated 11.7 million people, followed by Africa at 18% or 3.7 million people live in bondage. Considering that at the peak of America’s slavery prior to the Civil War that ultimately declared it illegal, the total was four million people, fathoming that over five times that number are currently suffering in slavery here in the twenty-first century, casts some serious doubts on whether us humans are evolving as a species at all.

The following statistics come from the 2012 ILF report. The global economic meltdown in recent years has only given rise to conditions ripe for escalation of modern slavery. A total of 18.7 million people or 90% become forced laborers in the private sector of individual homes or private enterprise as opposed to the 10% or 2.2 million people that suffer state-imposed forms of forced labor. Of those 18.7 million forced to work in private settings, 4.5 million (or 22%) are forced into sexual exploitation while 14.2 million (or 68%) are victims of forced labor such as in agriculture, domestic work, construction or manufacturing.

The most concentrated area of forced labor victimization is in central and southeastern Europe at 4.2 humans out of 1000 followed by 4 out of 1000 in Africa. Slavery is lowest in developed nations and the European Union at 1.5 per 1000 people. The world average is 3 people in every 1000 are forced into labor.

An appalling 26% of all modern slaves or 5.5 million are children under 18, the majority underage girls forced into child prostitution and pornography. Other children are forced into working in sweat shops while young boys 12 and older are frequently recruited and forced to become child soldiers. The majority at 56% (11.8 million) of the world‘s forced laborers remain in their home country. As an example India has been identified as a nation where many of its own poor citizens are forced into slave labor. However, of the 44% (9.1 million) that are forced into labor across borders, the vast majority being women and children are sold into the highly profitable sex trafficking trade often operated by organized crime rings.

Though slaves around the world today may not be legally beaten, shackled or sold as property like African American slaves suffered for over two centuries between 1619-1865, an estimated 32 billion dollars is generated annually in an underground industry classified as a type of slavery – human trafficking. Many sources estimate profits far greater than the United Nations total of 32 billion. Only guns and drugs are more lucrative criminal enterprises.

According to the UN, transporting individuals from their homes to another location against their will into involuntary servitude or forced labor involves at least 2.5 million human trafficking victims worldwide at any given time. Seventy nine percent of victims of the human trafficking trade fall into the slavery category of sexually abused women and underage children. Female victims are both women and girls snatched up from their only familiar environment, forcibly taken across borders, and there all alone in a strange land surrounded by cruel, depraved strangers speaking in foreign tongues, they are forced into prostitution although some become domestic work as nannies, maids, cooks or factory workers. Fifteen percent of human trafficking victims are men most often forced into conditions of hard labor.

Because many nations neither have the will nor the formal mechanism in place to assess how many humans are slaves, actual numbers have been difficult to attain. Plus due to the common perception of slavery being so stigmatized with shame, along with fear of potential immigration problems or violent retribution from slave trade perpetrators, many victims understandably resist going to authorities and reporting this largely invisible crime against humanity. Some are victims of the Stockholm syndrome where they actually identify with their enslavers.

Of course the illicit nature of both slavery as well as prostitution as part of the seedy underbelly of a brutally violent industry covertly run by organized crime, also acts as a formidable barrier resulting in severe underreporting and relatively few cases ever being brought to prosecution. All of these factors have contributed to a growing international problem that has been slow for organizations of both victim advocacy as well as national and transnational law enforcement agencies to effectively come together to tackle its immensity.

Yet since last month’s Oscar winning film delving into this enormously important subject matter, more recent developments just in this last week alone are beginning to shine a sliver of light and modest reason for optimism on this long overlooked and indelible human stain. Last Thursday the pope many believe comes closest to embodying the spirit of the most famous saint Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis himself met privately with four ex-slaves to top off a two-day global conference  bringing much needed attention to the blight of modern slavery. The pope is calling for an orchestrated partnership and two pronged approach between churches around the world offering spiritual guidance and compassion to victims and international law enforcement spearheading the coordinated investigative crackdown necessary to arrest what Francis calls this “scourge” on humanity from spreading beyond its current worldwide operation.

Police chiefs from the continents of North and South America, Africa, Asia and Europe were all in attendance, including countries where the problem of human trafficking has been most severe – Albania, Brazil, Nigeria and Thailand. It was reported that this rather weighty topic of global slavery was discussed in the pope’s meeting last month with President Obama.

This first time conference on slavery in the twenty-first century comes fresh on the heels of the pope’s apology to the world for all the damage his religion has inflicted on the thousands of innocent victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by pedophile Catholic priests and clergymen through the ages. In the US alone from 1985 to 2000 an estimated 1,400 sexual abuse lawsuits were filed against priests resulting in billions of dollars in settlements reached. Papal critics and abuse advocates view the pope’s personal apology as a genuine first big step in the right direction toward bearing some responsibility for the sins of his church. But many still await the pope’s specific concrete plan of action to substantively tackle and begin making further inroads toward resolving this endemic pandemic he inherited.

Benjamin Skinner wrote in his eye-opening landmark book A Crime So Monstrous (Free Press, 2008) that “there are more slaves today than at any point in human history” – six years ago citing 27 million people living in bondage – a full six million more than ILO’s latest 2012 count. The estimated variance of numbers is a testimonial to the enormity of difficulty compiling and accurately tracking slavery’s pervasiveness in the modern world. It seems highly unlikely that at such an early stage of still organizing a global commitment toward its eradication that slavery is actually decreasing in the ensuing years since Skinner’s book was published. If anything, the human trafficking industry has been expanding both its area and scope of operations, particularly in east Asia.

Less than a month ago at the Vatican a new initiative released by multiple faiths represented announced a Memorandum of Agreement and Joint Statement establishing the Global Freedom Network designed to abolish modern slavery and human trafficking by 2020. Its statement on slavery:

“The physical, economic and sexual exploitation of men, women and children condemns 30  million  people to dehumanization and degradation. Every day we let this tragic situation continue is a grievous assault on our common humanity and a shameful affront to the consciences of all peoples.”

In efforts to educate and inform the public about modern slavery and human trafficking, a series of ongoing articles have been covered by such newspapers as the Observer and Guardian, both announced as UK winners of the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards last week. The Guardian launched a series called “modern day slavery in focus” that depicts the atrocious conditions of Nepalese workers in the Middle Eastern nation Qatar in preparation for the 2022 World Cup.

Similar to the Sochi Olympics, a common pattern has emerged with construction of massive stadium complexes for major international sporting events that under pressured deadlines pre-set the stage for inhumane work conditions with high potential for human trafficking of forced slave laborers. The Guardian tells the tragic story of a sixteen year old boy from Nepal attempting to escape poverty back home arriving in Qatar to work in a cramped forced labor camp exploited by a trafficking broker that produced a forged passport claiming the boy was 20. Instead of receiving the promised pay wage, the 16-year old was forced to sign his life away in indentured servitude but within two months was dead. Nepal’s foreign employment board estimates that 726 Nepalese migrant workers died overseas in 2012, marking an 11% increase from the previous year. More foreign workers abroad especially from Asia are being misled and lured into this world of exploitation, corruption and deception that increasingly results in slavery and death.

In a related matter, the UK Parliament is in the throes of drafting Europe’s first modern anti-slavery bill calling for lifetime sentences for convicted human traffickers. Debate centers around simplifying the law to increase the rate of conviction. Last week Oscar winning director Steve McQueen weighed in his criticism calling for the bill to be rewritten so as to not turn victims of slavery themselves into criminals. A revised reworking is underway.

Even a publicity stunt was just announced of an April 15th Guinness record breaking event of a whirlwind 7-city tour across Europe in just 24 hours emphasizing awareness of human trafficking to raise money for the leading US anti-trafficking policy organization ECPAT-USA. This week also marks the third annual human trafficking awareness week at Chico State University in California. Last weekend a bi-national conference with delegates from El Paso, Texas and across the border city Juarez held a joint conference on modern slavery and human trafficking to reduce its occurrence between Mexico and the US.

It appears that lawmakers and church faiths alike from the local to international level in conjunction with local, national and Interpol policing agencies are mobilizing task forces like never before to generate momentum in addressing the plight of modern slavery. A number of advocacy organizations in recent years have been fighting to make this destructive and sinister human rights violation among the worst kind a global priority and it appears their efforts are finally now just beginning to pay off. But real progress towards eradicating slavery requires a lot more than just an ephemeral, “flavor-of-the-week” cause and mindset.

These recent small steps only highlight humanity’s seminal starting point in the modern era to collectively exercise the political will to prioritize, fund and coordinate a concerted effective global effort and campaign over the long haul to ultimately end slavery on this planet once and for all.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former Army officer. His written manuscript based on his military experience examines leadership and national security issues and can be consulted at http://www.redredsea.net/westpointhagopian/.
After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in psychology and became a licensed therapist working in the mental health field for more than a quarter century.

“Beekeepers nationwide have experienced honey bee losses of over 40 percent over the 2012/2013 winter period —2013/2014 winter losses are likely to be released soon— with some beekeepers reporting losses of over 70 percent, far exceeding the normal rate of 10 to 15 percent. Some have even been driven out of business. Current estimates of the number of surviving hives in the U.S. show that these colonies may not be able to meet the future pollination demands of agricultural crops.”

Flying in the face of recent science demonstrating that pollinator populations are declining, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made the decision to unconditionally register another pesticide that is known to be highly toxic to bees, coming almost one year after EPA registered sulfoxaflor, disregarding concerns from beekeepers and environmental groups. The announcement, posted in the Federal Register on Wednesday, set tolerances for the pesticide cyantraniliprole in foods ranging from almonds and berries, to leafy vegetables, onions, and milk. EPA establishes the allowable limit of the chemical residue, called tolerances, based on what EPA considers ‘acceptable’ risk. EPA’s ruling details that “there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result from aggregate exposure to the pesticide residue,” despite all evidence that cyantraniliprole is toxic to bees and harmful to mammals.

Ignoring beekeeper warning and concerns on their impacts to bees, EPA has given the green light for cyantraniliprole after recently registering sulfoxaflor.  In July 2013, beekeepers filed suit against EPA for their decision to register sulfoxaflor when it failed to demonstrate that it will not cause any ‘unreasonable adverse effects on the environment’ as required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Several comments were submitted by concerned beekeepers and environmental advocacy groups, like Beyond Pesticides, during the public comment period that stated that approval of a cyantriliprole, pesticide highly toxic to bees would only exacerbate the problems faced by an already tenuous honey bee industry and further decimate bee populations. However, instead of denying or suspending registration in the face of dire pollinator losses, EPA has chosen to register another insecticide that is toxic to bees, dismissing concerns regarding bee health in its response, and setting itself up for further litigation.

EPA’s response to Beyond Pesticides and other commenters can be found here.

Cyantraniliprole is a systemic insecticide that works by impairing the regulation of muscle contractions causing paralysis and eventual death in insects. Beyond its impact to target pests —which include sucking and chewing insects such as whiteflies and thrips— EPA’s most disturbing conclusions relate to the impact of cyantraniliprole on the livers of mammals: “With repeated dosing, consistent findings of mild to moderate increases in liver weights across multiple species (rats, mice, and dogs) are observed. Dogs appear to be more sensitive than rats and mice…show[ing] progressive severity with increased duration of exposure.”

EPA notes that cyantraniliprole also alters the stability of the thyroid as tested on laboratory rats as a result of enhanced metabolism of the thyroid hormones by the liver. Although the agency states that “cyantraniliprole is not a direct thyroid toxicant,” any indirect effects on thyroid function are likely to disrupt the endocrine system. Given that its current endocrine disruptor screening program (EDSP) is currently still in the process of validating tests, EPA’s registration of a new active ingredient that shows a propensity for endocrine disruption is cause for alarm.

In addition to these findings, EPA has registered cyantraniliprole as a seed treatment although it is considered “highly toxic on acute and oral contact basis” for bees. EPA is aware that pesticide-treated seeds directly threaten foraging bees and other non-target organisms, which are exposed to contaminated dust plumes during planting. Studies have documented high bee mortality following seed sowing and exposure to contaminated dust from agricultural fields. Moreover, EPA acknowledges the need to reduce fugitive toxic dust. However, with emerging science increasingly attributing pesticide exposures as one of the major causes of pollinator declines and the recent precautionary measures taken in the European Union to ban the use of pesticides known to impact bees, EPA’s registration of cyantraniliprole raises serious concerns.

Beekeepers nationwide have experienced honey bee losses of over 40 percent over the 2012/2013 winter period —2013/2014 winter losses are likely to be released soon— with some beekeepers reporting losses of over 70 percent, far exceeding the normal rate of 10 to 15 percent. Some have even been driven out of business. Current estimates of the number of surviving hives in the U.S. show that these colonies may not be able to meet the future pollination demands of agricultural crops.

EPA’s approach to registration reinforces the urgent need for a national transition to organic. The takeaway for organic, as it grows beyond its current $35 billion market share, is the need for rigorous  science-based decision making that requires precaution on the allowance of chemical products in the face of hazards and scientific uncertainty. We must keep in mind the underlying standards of the organic rule, which requires that practices “maintain or improve soil organic matter content in a manner that does not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, pathogenic organisms, heavy metals, or residues of prohibited substances.”

For the most recent action being taken to protect honey bees, see the Beyond Pesticides BEE Protective campaign which works with national and local groups to protect honey bees and other pollinators from pesticides and contaminated landscapes.

Join us April 11-12 for Beyond Pesticides’ 32nd National Pesticide Forum, in Portland, OR on “Advancing Sustainable Communities: People, pollinators, and practices” which will focus on solutions to the decline of pollinators and other beneficials; strengthening organic agriculture; improving farmworker protection and agricultural justice; and creating healthy buildings, schools and homes. Space is limited so register now.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: Federal Register

Copyright Beyond Pesticides, 2014

The CIA director was sent to Kiev to launch a military suppression of the Russian separatists in the eastern and southern portions of Ukraine, former Russian territories for the most part that were foolishly attached to the Ukraine in the early years of Soviet rule. 

Washington’s plan to grab Ukraine overlooked that the Russian and Russian-speaking parts of Ukraine were not likely to go along with their insertion into the EU and NATO while submitting to the persecution of Russian speaking peoples.  Washington has lost Crimea, from which Washington intended to eject Russia from its Black Sea naval base. Instead of admitting that its plan for grabbing Ukraine has gone amiss, Washington is unable to admit a mistake and, therefore, is pushing the crisis to more dangerous levels.

If Ukraine dissolves into secession with the former Russian territories reverting to Russia, Washington will be embarrassed that the result of its coup in Kiev was to restore the Russian provinces of Ukraine to Russia.  To avoid this embarrassment, Washington is pushing the crisis toward war.

The CIA director instructed Washington’s hand-picked stooge government in Kiev to apply to the United Nations for help in repelling “terrorists” who with alleged Russian help are allegedly attacking Ukraine. In Washington’s vocabulary, self-determination is a sign of Russian interference. As the UN is essentially a Washington-financed organization, Washington will get what it wants.

The Russian government has already made it completely clear some weeks ago that the use of violence against protesters in eastern and southern Ukraine would compel the Russian government to send in the Russian army to protect Russians, just as Russia had to do in South Ossetia when Washington instructed its Georgian puppet ruler to attack Russian peacekeeping troops and Russian residents of South Ossetia.

Washington knows that the Russian government cannot stand aside while one of Washington’s puppet states attacks Russians.  Yet, Washington is pushing the crisis to war.

The danger for Russia is that the Russian government will rely on diplomacy, international organizations, international cooperation, and on the common sense and self-interest of German politicians and politicians in other of Washington’s European puppet states.

For Russia this could be a fatal mistake. There is no good will in Washington, only mendacity. Russian delay provides Washington with time to build up forces on Russia’s borders and in the Black Sea and to demonize Russia with propaganda and whip up the US population into a war frenzy.  The latter is already occurring.

Kerry has made it clear to Lavrov that Washington is not listening to Russia. As Washington pays well, Washington’s European puppets are also not listening to Russia. Money is more important to European politicians than humanity’s survival.

In my opinion, Washington does not want the Ukraine matters settled in a diplomatic and reasonable way. It might be the case that Russia’s best move is immediately to occupy the Russian territories of Ukraine and re-absorb the territories into Russia from whence they came. This should be done before the US and its NATO puppets are prepared for war. It is more difficult for Washington to start a war when the objects of the war have already been lost. Russia will be demonized with endless propaganda from Washington whether or not Russia re-absorbs its traditional territories. If Russia allows these territories to be suppressed by Washington, the prestige and authority of the Russian government will collapse. Perhaps that is what Washington is counting on.

If Putin’s government stands aside while Russian Ukraine is suppressed, Putin’s prestige will plummet, and Washington will finish off the Russian government by putting into action its many hundreds of Washington-financed NGOs that the Russian government has so foolishly tolerated.  Russia is riven with Washington’s Fifth columns.

In my opinion, the Russian and Chinese governments have made serious strategic mistakes by remaining within the US dollar-based international payments system. The BRICS and any others with a brain should instantly desert the dollar system, which is a mechanism for US imperialism. The countries of the BRICS should immediately create their own separate payments system and their own exclusive communications/Internet system.

Russia and China have stupidly made these strategic mistakes, because reeling from communist failures and oppressions, they naively assumed that Washington was pure, that Washington was committed to its propagandistic self-description as the upholder of law, justice, mercy,and  human rights.

In fact, Washington, the “exceptional, indispensable country,” is committed to its hegemony over the world. Russia, China, and Iran are in the way of Washington’s hegemony and are targeted for attack.

The attack on Russia is mounting.

Additional foreign troops are arriving in the troubled Central African Republic (CAR) where 2,000 French soldiers have failed to halt the forced removal and mass murder of Muslims within this mineral-rich state of 4.7 million people.

The European Union’s EUFOR will deploy up to 1,000 personnel to the country where instability and violence have escalated over the last year. In March 2013, the Muslim-dominated Seleka Coalition took control of the capital of Bangui installing interim President Michel Djotodia.

Seleka’s rule was characterized by the abuse of the population and the failure to restore order and national reconciliation. In January Djotodia was summoned along with the entire government of the CAR to a regional summit in Chad where France exerted its authority over the former colonial territories to force the resignation and exile of the interim leader.

Since January and the installation of another interim leader, President Catherine Samba-Panza, the previous mayor of Bangui, it has not improved the security situation. Approximately 8,000 peacekeeping troops have participated in the forced evictions of hundreds of thousands of Muslims out of the country many of whom have fled to neighboring Chad and Cameroon.

Since the fall of Djotodia, Christian-dominated militias known as the Anti-Balaka have carried out reprisals against the Muslim population. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, have been killed while tens of thousands more are being forced to seek refuge and flee the country.

Muslim communities, mosques and businesses were looted and destroyed. At present most of the remaining Muslims inside the country are waiting for the right conditions to leave and take up residence outside the CAR.

6,000 African troops mandated to patrol the CAR by the African Union and the UN, have been caught up in the internecine conflict while the national economy is being weakened through the loss of jobs, food and consumer goods. Recently Chadian troops withdrew from the CAR due to criticism of their role in the conflict.

Pledges to the UN and other international humanitarian agencies of funds to provide relief have not been forthcoming. The AU’s Peace and Security Council appears to lack the authority to apply political pressure on both the internal political leaders as well as the imperialist states, which are coordinating the peacekeeping operations, to reach an amicable settlement.

With specific reference to the EUFOR troops who have been deployed in the CAR, EU foreign secretary Catherine Ashton said in a statement that “The launch of this operation demonstrates the EU’s determination to take full part in international efforts to restore stability and security in Bangui and right across the Central African Republic. It is vital that there is a return to public order as soon as possible, so that the political transition process can be put back on track.” (April 10)

According to France 24, a Paris-based military spokesman, Francois Guillerment, said that 55 EUFOR soldiers were in Bangui and conducting patrols. The EU foreign office is saying that their presence in the CAR will be temporary. (April 10)

In a statement on the deployment and the special unit being dispatched, the EU reports that “EUFOR RCA is to provide temporary support in achieving a safe and secure environment in the Bangui area, with a view to handing over to African partners. The force will thereby contribute to international efforts to protect the populations most at risk, creating the conditions for providing humanitarian aid.” (eeas.europa.eu website on EUFOR RCA)

Imperialists Escalate African Occupations

The thousands of foreign troops coordinated by imperialist states being deployed to the CAR cannot be viewed solely within the context of humanitarian relief. Africa and the international community have witnessed numerous similar operations which only served to reinforce western-dominance and foster the further disempowerment of the African continent and its regional institutions.

This EUFOR military scheme was announced at the EU-Africa Summit held in early April in Brussels, Belgium. The summit was criticized by several continental states in addition to the AU’s Peace and Security Council, yet it still took place with the attendance of a majority of African governments participating on various levels.

These political factors in the contemporary character of EU-Africa relations cannot be divorced from the reports which indicate that Europe contributes substantial amounts of funds to the AU. In several of the geo-political regions where conflicts are taking place in Africa, the EU as well as the United States is heavily involved through various forms of military and intelligence operations.

In Somalia, where 22,000 African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) troops are deployed, it is the U.S. and EU which provides the training, funding, military consultancies and intelligence coordination. Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) drones are in heavy use throughout the Horn of Africa, extending right out into the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

Until Africa forms at least a “stand-by force” to intervene within these states where internal conflict is taking place, the continuation and escalation of military deployments by imperialist states and their surrogates will remain a central pillar in the foreign policy of western governments. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first prime minister and then president of the Republic of Ghana, had called for an All-African High Command during the 1960s aimed at rapid decolonization and the prevention of imperialist invasions and occupations.

Such a military force would have to be backed by strong and politically viable African states that are rooted in the social interests of the majority of workers and farmers within the continent. Under such circumstances the regional institutions would have the political authority to resolve internal issues such as the conflicts in the CAR, South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Egypt and othe

 

Am 6. April 2014 veröffentlichte die London Review of Books in seiner Onlineausgabe Seymour Hershs “Die Rote Linie und die Rattenlinie” oder “The Red Line and the Rat Line.” Hersh veröffentlicht Details rund um den inszenierten syrischen Giftgasangriff am 21. August, den fast jeder in Washingtons Geheimdienstbürokratie schon bald den Rebellen zuschrieb.

Pulitzerpreisträger Seymour Hersh machte in seiner über 40-jährigen Tätigkeit unter anderem das My-Lai-Massaker und seine Vertuschung publik, ebenso den Skandal um das Gefängnis Abu Ghraib. Im Artikel vom 19. Dezember „Whose Sarin?“ hatte er zuerst den Giftgasangriff als Fälschung entlarvt, wobei er von engen Kontakten zur US-Geheimdienstszene profitierte. Die Washington Post verweigerte die geplante Veröffentlichung und es folgte ein regelrechter Blackout in den amerikanischen Medien. Auch gegenwärtig finden Hershs neue Entdeckungen keine Erwähnung in den US-Mainstreammedien.

Hershs Bericht bestätigt folgendes:

  • Obamas geplanter Angriff auf Syrien wurde in letzter Minute abgeblasen, nachdem allzu klar wurde, dass die syrische Regierung mit den Angriffen vom 21. August nichts zu tun hatte.
  • Es war US-Regierungoffiziellen während des Sommers 2013 sehr wohl bekannt, dass der türkische Premier Erdogan die al-Nusra Front in ihren Bemühungen unterstütze, Sarin herzustellen.
  • US-Militärs wussten schon vom Frühjahr 2013 an auch vom türkischen und saudischen Programm einer umfangreichen Sarinproduktion innerhalb Syriens.
  • UN-Inspektoren wussten ebenfalls seit dem Frühjahr 2013, dass die Rebellen im Gefecht chemische Waffen verwendeten.
  • In der Folge des inszenierten chemischen Angriffs ordnete das Weisse Haus die Bereitschaft für einen “Monsterangriff” auf Syrien an, der ein B-22-Geschwader, 1000 kg-Bomben sowie eine Zielliste beinhaltete, auf der neben militärischen auch zivile Ziele (Infrastruktur, diese wohlgemerkt in dichtbesiedelten Gebieten) standen.
  • Der volle Angriff war für den 2. September geplant.
  • Englische Militärs meldeten ihren amerikanischen Partnern aber im Vorfeld des Angriffs: “Wir wurden auf den Leim geführt”.
  • CIA, MI6, Saudi Arabien, Katar und die Türkei installierten schon 2012 eine „Rattenlinie“, auf der lybische Waffen über die Türkei nach Syrien geschleust wurden, inklusive MANPADs; das US-Konsulat in Benghazi war das Hauptquartier für diese Operation.
  • Obama segnete den türkisch-iranischen Betrug um Goldexport ab, der vom März 2012 bis Juli 2013 stattfand und der die Erdoganregierung beinahe zu Fall gebracht hätte.
  • Die US-Geheimdienste hatten sofort nach dem 21. August schon Zweifel an der syrischen Verantwortung, wollten aber nur ungern dem Präsidenten widersprechen.
  • Die US-Regierung möchte nicht die andauernde türkische Unterstützung von Terrorismus offenlegen, einfach „weil sie Nato-Mitglied sind“.

Zusätzlich brachte die freischaffende Nahostjournalistin Sara Elisabeth Williams die Geschichte eines CIA/US-Militärcamps heraus, in dem syrische Rebellen in der jordanischen Wüste trainiert werden. Das englische VICE brachte ihre Geschichte “I Learned to Fight Like an American at the FSA Training Camp in Jordan”, aber über den grossen Teich in die amerikanischen Medien schaffte sie es nicht, obwohl international Syrienexperten sie sehr wichtig fanden. Top-Syrienexperte Joshua Landis twitterte in den USA: „Sara Williams gelang der grosse Wurf – Geheimes FSA Trainingscamp in Jordanien.“ Diese junge mutige Freelance-Journalistin gewährte auch mit Fotos einen Einblick in diese geheime Einrichtung, doch der Mainstream bewahrte die Amerikaner sorgfältig davor, von diesem explosiven Report Kenntnis zu erhalten.

Im Emailkontakt berichtete Williams mir: „Der Zugang war schwierig, aber es war der Mühe wert. Es scheint mir wichtig, dass die Leute wissen, was ihre Regierung in ihrem Namen und mit ihren Steuern machen.“

Gemäss ihren Enthüllungen gilt:

  • Bestätigt: “US-betriebenes Trainigscamp“ für syrische Rebellen in Nordjordanien
  • Die Rebellen-Rekruten gehen in geheime abgeschottete Trainingscamps.
  • Rebell: “Die Amerikaner, die uns unterrichteten, trugen Militäruniformen, die nicht zuzuordnen waren. Wie sprachen sie mit ihren Vornamen an und sie redeten Englisch mit uns.“
  • Im Camp gab es “amerikanisches Essen und amerikanische Dollar” im Überfluss: die Rekruten essen Kentucky Fried Chicken und wohnen in mobilen Wohneinheiten.
  • Die Rekruten durchlaufen ein intensives 40-Tage-Programm, das Übung und Training in Antipanzerwaffen einschliesst, in einer bootcampartigen Atmosphäre unter dem Kommando der US-Militärausbilder.
  • Nach Abschluss gehen die US-trainierten Aufständischen wieder über Syriens südliche Grenze zurück.
  • Laut Experten gibt es mehrere solcher Camps.
  • Amerikanisch trainierte Rebellen sagen: “Amerika profitiert von der Zerstörung und vom Töten, indem es beide Seiten schwächt.“

Brad Hoff diente als Marine von 2000 – 2004. Nach seinem Militärdienst lebte, studierte und reiste er von 2004 – 2010 in ganz Syrien. Er unterrichtet gegenwärtig in Texas.

Artikel auf Englisch: Media Blackout over Syria

Übersetzung: Stefan Abels

Privatization of the US Prison System

April 14th, 2014 by Global Research News

The following infographic shows us how profitable the US prison industry is. “Between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion” dollars. As reported in The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?, inmates, mostly Blacks and Hispanics, are also being exploited by various industries:

“For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold

They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.”

The_Private_Prison_System_in_USA
Privatization of the US Prison System. An Infographic from ArrestRecords.com

A ruling by Federal Eastern District Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven W. Rhodes has awarded yet another large-scale payment to two banks that are heavily implicated in the financial ruin of Detroit and other cities throughout the United States.

Rhodes ruled on April 11 that the third negotiated attempt to terminate an interest-rate swap agreement involving Bank of America Merrill Lynch and the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) arrived at a “reasonable” plan for the working people of the city who will pay for this decision. The judge said that it was legal to hand over more money to these financial institutions despite the fact that they have been paid over $300 million since 2006.

Two earlier negotiated agreements between the state-imposed Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and the two banks were so outrageous that they were rejected by the court. Another ruling late last year forced the EM to disclose the fees associated with crafting deal which is $4.4 million.

The deal will be financed by Barclay’s Bank which has been targeted in media reports and by regulatory agencies in England and the U.S. Justice Department for rigging interest rates related to inter-bank borrowing. The so-called ‘LIBOR scandal” (London Interbank Offered Rate) exposed even further the role of the finance capital in controlling the terms of lending to ensure that profit margins are maintained at the expense of working people and the poor.

Objections to the deal were presented from other capitalist interests, including  Syncora, a bond insurer which traps Detroit casino tax revenue in order to pay for the usurious debt . The other financial firms and bond-related entities only opposed the deal because it sets a legal precedent for placing a higher priority on pleasing the larger banks such as UBS and BOfA.

Nonetheless, the only real opposition to the deal came from Atty. Jerome Goldberg representing Detroit resident and City retiree David Sole. Goldberg had argued successfully in the previous hearing during December and January that the proposed settlement of initially $230 million and later $165 million were not only excessive but ignored the potential for regaining hundreds of millions in damages which are rightfully owed to the City of Detroit.

Judge Rhodes in his Jan. 16 ruling rejecting the second proposed settlement, clearly stated that the City should not engage in financial arrangements that were disadvantageous and that there was a possibility of suing the banks to regain resources needed for the operations and the maintenance of assets. Goldberg quoted from Rhodes’ ruling on Jan. 16 in his closing arguments on April 3, yet the decision on April 11 appeared to have moved 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

After reading his ruling on April 11 awarding BOfA and UBS the $85 million, Rhodes went on to “commend” the state-imposed EM and the banks for reaching the agreement. The City of Detroit is being tragically represented by Jones Day law firm which was also involved in the Chrysler bankruptcy of 2009.

Kevyn Orr, the EM appointed in March 2013 by multi-millionaire Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, is a former partner at Jones Day and was involved in the disastrous bankruptcy and restructuring at Chrysler which resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and hundreds of dealerships. Jones Day and the EM have spent nearly $100 million on consultants over the last year which is enough money to hire three thousand city workers at $30,000 plus per year.

What’s at Stake in the Detroit Bankruptcy?

On April 1 retirees, workers, union representatives and community people took over the streets in front of the federal court downtown. They were demanding the preservation of their pensions and the re-instatement of their healthcare plans which were terminated by the EM on March 1.

Hundreds of pensioners, city residents and other interested parties have filed over 500 legal objections to the so-called “Plan of Adjustment” presented by Orr during late February. The EM document is vague about the source of its findings and only presents a series of draconian austerity measures as a method for “restructuring” the City’s finances.

Retirees who have sacrificed decades of service and deferred wages face cuts up to one-third of their monthly checks on the surface, but when the theft of their annuities and healthcare benefits are calculated into the scheme, the reductions amount to over 60 percent. The banks and bond holders are said to be asked to take up to an 80 percent cut, however, a deal reached with “unsecured” creditors involving insurers and other corporate interests provides between 70-80 percent of payments which they claim are owed to them by the working people of the city.

These attacks on unions, pensioners and residents in this majority African American city is setting the stage for a national assault on the deferred wages and benefits of workers. Corporate media editorials and news stories daily publish reports claiming that public pension funds are grossly underfunded and mismanaged.

In Illinois, which is said to have the worst funded pension system in the country, steps were taken by the state legislature in December which lawmakers say will cut $145 billion in public investments for the system over the next three decades. These measures have enhanced bond sales for the state since most capitalist investors favor the lessening and even abandonment of constitutional protections for public pensions. (Bloomberg, April 11)

Bloomberg stated that even though legislation was approved to purportedly remedy the system’s weaknesses, “The passage didn’t bolster the fifth-most-populous-state’s rating, as the credit companies cited legal challenges to the pension overhaul and the expiration at year-end of a temporary personal-income tax increase. “ (April 11)

The California Public Employees Retirement System (Calpers) is also under attack by the bankers, bondholders and rating agencies. Calpers sued the rating agencies in 2009, and in 2012, a California judge ruled that Standard & Poor and Moody’s must answer to claims that they misrepresented actual bond values.

These bond-rating agencies are seeking an appeals court hearing in San Francisco to reverse the previous decision calling to account the role of the firms. According to Karen Gullo, a writer for Bloomberg, the bond-rating agencies are saying in court papers that “At the heart of Calper’s claim is an effort to hold the rating agencies liable for their publicly disseminated opinions on the grounds that these opinions failed accurately to predict the future.” (April 9)

This same article goes on to point out that “S&P is being sued separately for fraud in federal court in Santa Ana, California by the U.S. Justice Department, which accuses the company of lying about its ratings being free of conflicts of interest and may seek as much as $5 billion in penalties. It also faces similar lawsuits by U.S. states, including one by California Attorney General Kamala Harris.”

Another Bloomberg Municipal Market article notes that “New York state and localities including Westchester County borrowed a record $1.4 billion to cover retirement contributions this year, showing how even the wealthiest communities are struggling to make the payments….Even as Standard & Poor’s is poised to raise the state’s grade to its highest since 1972, rating companies have cut some New York City suburbs, citing the loans as a sign of imbalanced budgets.” (April 8)

The Wall Street bankers, bondholders, insurers and rating agencies are attempting to not only eliminate legal protections for public pensions but to also destroy their structures through the dissolution of their boards of directors and trustees which have representation from union officials and politicians. In Detroit at least $5-6 billion in pension funds are up for grabs and the EM is attempting to replace the pension boards of both the General Retirement System as well as the separate one established for Police and Firefighters.

On April 10, representatives for the Police and Firefighters unions held a press conference stating that if the bankers’ “Plan of Adjustment” put forward by Orr and Jones Day was approved by the federal bankruptcy court it would mean “destitution” for their membership. Judge Rhodes in his ruling took a swipe at the massive public opposition to the attacks on workers and retirees saying that now was the time to negotiate.

However, such an assertion does not acknowledge the massive cuts that workers have already endured in Detroit. Prior to the appointment of the EM last year, another “cost-cutting” plan worked out among City officials and unions was totally rejected by Gov. Snyder who then imposed Orr as the city’s dictator where he then unjustifiably placed the municipality in bankruptcy, the largest in the history of the U.S.

Forward to May Day

In response to these ongoing attacks and the failure of the federal courts to acknowledge the criminal role of the banks in destroying both the housing and municipal infrastructure of Detroit, a coalition of organizations are calling for demonstrations on May Day. Under the theme of “No Business As Usual”, activists want people to refrain from shopping and work and to protest against the banks and other centers of power that are putting in place additional mechanism to further exploit and oppress the people of the city.

The event will begin with a gathering at UAW Local 600 at 8:00 a.m. A car caravan will transport people downtown for a series of actions that will protest the undemocratic and racist character of the forced bankruptcy and restructuring of the city.

On July 16 the hearing will begin on the bankers’ “Plan of Adjustment” seeking approval by the federal court. The Moratorium NOW! Coalition based in Detroit is calling for a national demonstration in front of bankruptcy court demanding the preservation of pensions, healthcare, jobs, public assets and democratic rights.

THE PAN-AFRICAN RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION PROJECT– E MAIL: [email protected]

Bloomberg reported that the NSA knew about – and exploited – the Heartbleed bug for years.

The NSA has denied it knew about the bug.

And the White House spokesman claims:

This administration takes seriously its responsibility to help maintain an open, interoperable, secure and reliable internet.

***

If the federal government, including the intelligence community, had discovered this vulnerability prior to last week, it would have been disclosed to the community responsible for OpenSSL.

(OpenSSL is the library infected by Heartbleed.)

But the Department of Homeland Security says:

The Federal government’s core citizen-facing websites are not exposed to risks from this cybersecurity threat.

Matt Stoller tweets:

DHS says #Heartbleed didn’t affect government websites. That is… peculiar.

Perhaps there is an innocent explanation … The government doesn’t use OpenSSL on its websites?

Nope …  Security firm Codenomicon – which discovered the Heartbleed virus – reports:

You are likely to be affected either directly or indirectly. OpenSSL is the most popular open source cryptographic library and TLS (transport layer security) implementation used to encrypt traffic on the Internet. Your popular social site, your company’s site, commercial site, hobby site, sites you install software from or even sites run by your government might be using vulnerable OpenSSL.

Did DHS just unintentionally admit that the government knew about Heartbleed years ago and patched its own websites … without telling the tech community about it?

Mother Jones points out that – whether or not the NSA knew about the bug – the Heartbleed episode makes it look bad:

I’m honestly not sure which would be worse. That the NSA knew about this massive bug that threatened havoc for millions of Americans and did nothing about it for two years. Or that the NSA’s vaunted—and lavishly funded—cybersecurity team was completely in the dark about a gaping and highly-exploitable hole in the operational security of the internet for two years. It’s frankly hard to see any way the NSA comes out of this episode looking good.

Global Research Editors note

Even if this information is not corroborated, it must be taken into consideration. 


From a British diplomatic source I learn that Britain has lobbied the United States against the publication of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture and extraordinary rendition.  The lobbying has been carried out “at all levels” – White House, State Department and CIA.  The British have argued that at the very least the report must be emasculated before publication.

The British argument is that in a number of court cases including the Belhadj case, the British government has successfully blocked legal action by victims on the grounds that this would weaken the US/UK intelligence relationship and thus vitally damage national security, by revealing facts the American intelligence service wish hidden.  [We will leave aside for the moment the utter shame of our servile groveling judges accepting such an argument].  The British Government are now pointing out to the Americans that this argument could be fatally weakened if major detail of the full horror and scope of torture and extraordinary rendition is revealed by the Senate Intelligence Committee.  The argument runs that this could in turn lead to further revelations in the courts and block the major defence against prosecutions of Blair, Straw and Dearlove, among others, potentially unleashing a transatlantic wave of judicial activism.

The unabashed collusion of two torturing security states in concealing the truth of their despicable acts – including complicity in the torture of women and minors – and blocking criminal prosecution of the guilty is a sign of how low public ethics have sunk.  Fortunately there are still a few people in the British Foreign Office disgusted enough to leak it.

Russian news agencies reported Sunday that U.S. CIA director John Brennan had a secret meeting with Ukrainian officials in Kiev before they began operations against separatist forces that had taken over buildings in the country’s east.

Brennan landed in Ukraine on Saturday under an assumed name and held a ”series of secret meetings” with the country’s “power bloc” Interfax reported, citing an unidentified official in the Ukrainian parliament. The unidentified official said that there were “unconfirmed reports” that the U.S. security official was behind the decision to use force in eastern Ukraine after pro-Russian separatist forces took control of the city of Slovyansk.

Ukrainian parliament Communist Party deputy Vladimir Golub told RIA Novosti that lawmakers were talking about the visit openly and opined that the Ukrainian Security Service had become a unit of the CIA.

Commenting on the report, deputy chairman for the State Duma’s Defense Committee Frants Klintsevich said that he would view such a visit as a challenge to Russia.

Pro-Kremlin media have spoken of alleged CIA involvement in Ukraine since pro-Western protests against now-ousted President Viktor Yanukovych began last November.

The political crisis in the country following Yanukovych’s flight from Kiev in February has seen an increase in tension between Russia and the U.S., including the two countries’ trading sanctions against each other’s government officials following Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula.

On Saturday U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned of ”additional consequences” against Russia if it did not take steps to deescalate the situation in eastern Ukraine, where separatist sentiment similar to that seen in Crimea led to the takeover of government buildings in several cities by armed Russian forces.

Copypright Moscow Times, 2014

The following translation and notes were made by Sabina C. Becker.

Raúl Capote is a Cuban. But not just any Cuban. In his youth, he was caught up by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). They offered him an infinite amount of money to conspire in Cuba. But then something unexpected for the US happened. Capote, in reality, was working for Cuban national security. From then on, he served as a double agent. Learn his story, by way of an exclusive interview with the Chávez Vive magazine, which he gave in Havana:

Q. What was the process by which you were caught up?

It started with a process of many years, several years of preparation and capture. I was leader of a Cuban student movement which, at that time, gave rise to an organization, the Saiz Brothers Cultural Association, a group of young creators, painters, writers, artists. I worked in a city in southern-central Cuba, Cienfuegos, which had characteristics of great interest to the enemy, because it was a city in which an important industrial pole was being built at the time. They were building an electrical centre, the only one in Cuba, and there were a lot of young people working on it. For that reason, it was also a city that had a lot of young engineers graduated in the Soviet Union. We’re talking of the last years of the 1980s, when there was that process called Perestroika. And many Cuban engineers, who arrived in Cuba at that time, graduated from there, were considered people who had arrived with that idea of Perestroika. For that reason, it was an interesting territory, where there were a lot of young people. And the fact that I was a youth leader of a cultural organization, which dealt with an important sector of the engineers who were interested in the arts, became of interest to the North Americans, and they began to frequent the meetings we attended. They never identified themselves as enemies, or as officials of the CIA.

Q. Were there many of them, or just always the same person?

Several. They never presented themselves as officials of the CIA, nor as people who had come to cause trouble, or anything.

Q. And who do you suppose they were?

They presented themselves as people coming to help us and our project, and who had the ability to finance it. That they had the chance to make it a reality. The proposal, as such, sounded interesting because, okay, a project in the literary world requires that you know a publisher, that you have editorial relations. It’s a very complex market. And they came in the name of publishers. What happened is that, during the process of contact with us, what they really wanted became quite evident. Because once they had made the contact, once they had begun frequenting our meetings, once they began to promise financing, then came the conditions for being financed.

Q. What conditions did they demand?

They told us: We have the ability to put the markets at your disposal, to put you on the markets of books or sculpture or movies or whatever, but we need the truth, because what we’re selling in the market, is the image of Cuba. The image of Cuba has to be a realistic one, of difficulties, of what’s going on in the country. They wanted to smear the reality of Cuba. What they were asking is that you criticize the revolution, based on anti-Cuba propaganda lines, which they provided.

Q. How big was these people’s budget?

They came with an infinite amount of money, because the source of the money, obviously, we found out over time from whence it came. For example, there was USAID, which was the big provider, the overall contractor of this budget, which channeled the money via NGOs, many of them invented just for Cuba. They were NGOs that didn’t exist, created solely for this type of job in Cuba, and we’re talking thousands and thousands of dollars. They weren’t working on small budgets. To give you an example, at one time, they offered me ten thousand dollars, just to include elements of anti-Cuba propaganda, in the novel I was writing.

Q. What year are we talking about?

Around 1988-89.

Q. How many people could have been contacted by these people, or captured?

In reality, their success didn’t last long, because in Cuba there was a culture of total confrontation with this type of thing, and the people knew very well that there was something behind that story of them wanting to “help” us. It was nothing new in the history of the land, and for that reason, it was very hard for them to get to where we were. In a determined moment, around 1992, we held a meeting, all the members of the organization, and we decided to expel them. They weren’t allowed to attend any more of our meetings. Those people, who were already coming in with concrete proposals, and also preconditioned economic aid they were giving us. What happened is that at the moment we did that, and rejected them, we expelled them from the association headquarters, then they started to particularize. They began to visit with me, in particular, and other comrades as well, young people. With some they succeeded, or should I say, they succeeded in getting some of them out of the country as well.

Q. What kind of profile were they looking for, more or less, if any kind of profile could be specified?

They wanted, above all at that time, to present Cuba as a land in chaos. That socialism in Cuba had not managed to satisfy the needs of the population, and that Cuba was a country that socialism had landed in absolute poverty, and which, as a model, no one liked. That was the key to what they were pursuing, above all, at that time.

Q. How long were you an agent of the CIA?

We were in this initial story until 1994. Because in 1994, I went to Havana, I came back to the capital and here, in the capital, I began to work for the Union of Cultural Workers, a union which represented the cultural workers of the capital, and I became more interesting yet to them, because I went on to direct — from being a leader of a youth organization with 4,000 members, to directing a union with 40,000 members, just in the city of Havana. And then, it gets much more interesting. Contacts followed. In that period there appeared a woman professor from a new university who came with the mission of kick-starting the production of my literary work, to become my representative, to organize events.

Q. Can you give her name?

No, because they used pseudonyms. They never used real names. And that type of work, promoting me as a writer, was what they were very interested in, because they wanted to convert me into a personality in that world. Promoting me now, and compromising me with them in an indirect manner. And then, in 2004, there arrived in Havana a person well known in Venezuela, Kelly Keiderling. Kelly came to Havana to work as Chief of the Office of Press and Culture. They set up a meeting. they arranged a cocktail party, and at that party I met with 12 North American functionaries, North Americans and Europeans. They weren’t only North Americans. All of them people with experience, some also inside the Soviet Union, others who had participated in training and preparation of the people in Yugoslavia, in the Color Revolutions, and they were very interested in meeting me. Kelly became very close to me. She began to prepare me. She began to instruct me. I began to receive, from her, a very solid training: The creation of alternative groups, independent groups, the organization and training of youth leaders, who did not participate in the works of our cultural institutions. And that was in 2004-5. Kelly practically vanished from the scene in 2005-6. And when I started to work, she put me in direct contact with officials of the CIA. Supposedly, I was already committed to them, I was ready for the next mission, and they put me in touch with Renee Greenwald, an official of the CIA, who worked with me directly, and with a man named Mark Waterhein, who was, at the time, the head of Project Cuba, of the Pan-American Foundation for Development.

This man, Mark, as well as directing Project Cuba, had a direct link to Cuba, in terms of financing the anti-revolutionary project, as well as being involved in working against Venezuela. That is, he was a man who, along with much of his team of functionaries of that famous project, also worked against Venezuela at that time. They were closely connected. At times it took a lot of work to tell who was working with Cuba, and who was not, because many times they interlocked. For example, there were Venezuelans who came to work with me, who worked in Washington, who were subordinates of the Pan-American Foundation and the CIA, and they came to Cuba to train me as well, and to bring provisions. From there arose the idea of creating a foundation, a project called Genesis.

Genesis is maybe the template, as an idea, of many of the things going on in the world today, because Genesis is a project aimed at the university youth of Cuba. They were doing something similar in Venezuela. Why? The idea was to convert universities — which have always been revolutionary, which have produced revolutionaries, out of those from which many of the revolutionaries of both countries came — and convert them into factories for reactionaries. So, how do you do that? By making leaders. What have they begun to do in Venezuela? They sent students to Yugoslavia, financed by the International Republican Institute (IRI), which was financed by USAID and by the Albert Einstein Institute, and sent them, in groups of ten, with their professors.

Q. Do you have the names of the Venezuelans?

No, we’re talking of hundreds being sent. I spoke with the professor, and watched one group and followed the other. Because they were working long-term. The same plan was also in place against Cuba. Genesis promoted, with in the university, a plan of training scholarships for Cuban student leaders and professors. The plan was very similar. Also, in 2003, they prepared here, in Havana, a course in the US Interests Section, which was called “Deposing a leader, deposing a dictator”, which was based on the experience of OTPOR in removing Slobodan Milosevic from power. And that was the idea, inside the Cuban university, to work long-term, because these projects always take a long time in order to reap a result. For that reason, they also started early in Venezuela. I believe as well — I don’t have proof, but I believe that in Venezuela it began before the Chávez government, because the plan of converting Latin American universities, which were always sources of revolutionary processes, into reactionary universities, is older than the Venezuelan [Bolivarian] process, to reverse the situation and create a new right-wing.

Q. Did the CIA only work in Caracas?

No, throughout Venezuela. Right now, Genesis has a scholarship plan to create leaders in Cuba. They provide scholarships to students to big North American universities, to train them as leaders, with all expenses paid. They pay their costs, they provide complete scholarships. We’re talking 2004-5 here. It was very obvious. Then, those leaders return to university at some time. They’re students. They go to end their careers. Those leaders, when they end their student careers, go on to various jobs, different possibilities, as engineers, as degree-holders in different sectors of Cuban society, but there are others who go on constantly preparing leaders within the university. One of the most important missions of the university leaders was to occupy the leadership of the principal youth organizations of the university. In the case of Cuba, we’re talking about the Union of Communist Youth, and the University Student Federation. That is, it was not to create parallel groups at that time, but to become the leaders of the organizations already existing in Cuba. Also, to form a group of leaders in the strategies of the “soft” coup. That is, training people for the opportune moment to start the famous “color revolutions” or “non-violent wars”, which, as you well know, have nothing to do with non-violence.

Q. What were they looking for in a professor, in order to capture them?

Professors are very easy. Identify university professors discontented with the institution, frustrated people, because they considered that the institution did not guarantee them anything, or didn’t recognize their merits. If they were older, even better. They didn’t specify. Look for older persons, so you can pick them. If you send a scholarship plan, or you send it and, first crack, they receive an invitation to participate in a great international congress of a certain science, they will be eternally grateful to you, because you were the one who discovered their talent, which has never been recognized by the university. Then that man you sent to study abroad, if you’re from his university, and participating in a big event, and publish his works, and constructing him a curriculum. When that person returns to Cuba, he goes back with a tremendous curriculum, because he has participated in a scientific event of the first order, has passed courses from big universities, and his curriculum reaches to the roof, then the influence he could have in the university will be greater, because he could be recognized as a leading figure in his specialty, even though in practice the man could be an ignoramus.

Q. And how effective were these types of captures, that type of missions they came to accomplish here?

In the case of Cuba, they didn’t have much of a result. First, because there was a most important reason, because I was the one directing the project, and I, in reality, was not an agent of the CIA, I was an agent of Cuban security, and so, the whole project passed through my hands, and they thought I was the one who would execute it. And the plan always passed through the work I was able to do, and what we did was slow it down as much as possible, knowing right away what was being planned. But just think, the goal of their plan, they were calculating for the moment in which the historic figures of the Revolution would disappear. They were figuring on a five- or ten-year term, in which Fidel would disappear from the political scene, and Raúl, and the historic leaders of the land. That was the moment they were waiting for, and when that happened, I was to leave university, with all the support of the international press and that of the NGOs, USAID, and all the people working around the CIA’s money, and that there would arise an organization which would present itself before the light of the public, as an alternative to what the Revolution was doing. That is what was to have happened with the Genesis Foundation for Freedom.

Q. What is that Foundation?

The Genesis Foundation for Freedom was to have a discourse, apparently revolutionary, but the idea was to confuse the people. The idea is that they would say they were revolutionaries, that what they wanted was to make changes in the government, but, when it comes to practice, when you get to the essence of the project, when you ask yourself “What is the project?” the discourse was, and the project was, exactly the same as those of the traditional right-wing. Because the changes they promoted, were the same that the right-wing, for a long time, has been promoting in the country. In practice, they almost had their big opportunity, according to their criteria, in 2006, when the news came out on TV that Fidel, for health reasons, was stepping down from his governmental responsibilities, and they have always said that the Cuban Revolution would die when Fidel died. Because the Revolution was Fidel, and on the day Fidel was no longer there, either by dying or leaving government, the next day the Revolution would fall. And they calculated that there would be internal confrontations, that there would be discontent with this or that. Calculations that I don’t know where they got them from, but they believed it. And in that moment, they believed that the time had come to act.

Q. We’re talking about 2006. What was the plan?

They called me automatically. We met, the CIA station chief and I, here in Havana. Diplomatic functionaries also showed up, and one of them said to me, we’re going to organize a provocation. We’re going to organize a popular uprising in a central neighborhood in Havana. There will be a person going there to rise up for democracy, and we’re going to execute a group of provocations, in different locations, in such a way that Cuban security forces will be forced to act against these people, and later we’ll start a big press campaign and start explaining how all of this will function. The interesting part of that, what really caught my attention, was this: How was it possible that a functionary of the US Interests Section could have the power to call upon the principal media, and that those people would obey with such servility? It was really attention-getting. The idea was — and I even told them this — what you’re telling me is just crazy. This man you mentioned to me, called Alci Ferrer — the guy they picked, a young agent, a doctor — they picked him to be the ringleader of the uprising. I told them, that guy won’t budge anyone. No one is going to rise up in the centre of Havana. The date they picked was none other than Fidel’s birthday, and they told me that day! And I said, Look, buddy, if that man, on that day, decides to go make proclamations, or to start some kind of uprising in the middle of Havana, the people are going to respond harshly. It’s even possible that they might kill him. Why, how could you put him in a humble working-class neighborhood to start those things, the locals…And he told me, flat out, the best thing that could happen for us is if they kill that man, it would be perfect, and they explained to me what would happen. All he had to do was provoke. They would go into the street, and there would be a clash there. If that happened, the press would do the rest, and they told me, we’re going to start a huge media campaign to demonstrate that there is chaos in Cuba, that Cuba is ungovernable; that in Cuba, Raúl is unable to hold the reins of government; that the civilian population is being killed; that students are being repressed in the street, and the people in the street, that the police are committing crimes. What a resemblance to Venezuela! It’s not a coincidence. It’s like that.

Q. So, what was supposed to happen in those circumstances?

Once all the opinion matrices were created, and all the media matrices had constructed that image, the whole world was supposed to have the image of Cuba as a great disaster, and that they’re killing the people, that they are killing them all. Then, my organization was to complete the final task.

Q. What was the final task?

Well, to gather the international press, in my capacity as a university professor, and as a writer, and as a leader of that organization, that I go out publicly to ask the government of the United States to intervene in Cuba, to guarantee the lives of the civilians and to bring peace and tranquility to the Cuban people. To speak to the country in the name of the Cuban people. Just imagine that!

That plan fell apart on them. It gave them no result, but as you could see, later, the way the war in Libya went, and the way it was set up. More than 80% of the information we saw, was fabricated. They’re doing the same in Syria, and they’ve done the same in Ukraine. I have had the opportunity to converse with a lot of Ukrainians, since they were in the bases. People in favor of uniting with Europe. I tried to talk with them these days. Trying to find out, what are those processes like? And they were surprised at the images which were transmitted around the world. What happened in Miami, and they themselves said so, but we’ve been protesting there, but those things that appear on TV, that was a group, or rather, there were sectors, there were places where there were right-wing groups, of the very far right, where there were incidents of that type, and where they burned things, but the greater part of the demonstrations didn’t have those characteristics. Or that this is, once more, the repetition of the scheme, using all the communication media.

Q. The relationship between the CIA and the embassies, in the respective lands, are they direct, then?

Yes, completely direct. In every embassy in Latin America, all the US embassies have CIA officials, working within them, using the façade of diplomatic functionaries.

Q. From what you know, is there a greater CIA presence in the region?

Well, at a certain moment, Ecuador was a major power in that, it had a strong concentration of them, and of course, Venezuela, because in 2012, when I attended the Book Fair in Caracas, all those people who had worked with me against Cuba, all the CIA officials, including Kelly Keiderling, were in Caracas at that time. And I was on a TV show, on VTV, where we talked about this subject, being very careful, because we were talking about two countries who have relations. That’s not the case with Cuba, or rather, Cuba has no relations with the United States. That’s a declared enemy. But we were talking about functionaries who had diplomatic relations, and it was very awkward to do it, without having concrete proofs you could present. However, the interview happened, and the denunciation was made of what was going on. Kelly Keiderling is an expert in this type of war. I have not the slightest doubt. When one follows the itinerary she has, in the countries where she’s been, and when I was in that type of conflict.

She has toured a series of countries in the world where very similar situations have occurred, like what she tried to do in Venezuela. And when you analyze Venezuela, and what has happened nowadays and the way in which she has acted, I think that in Venezuela, the characteristic that has been that they are tremendously aggressive in the manipulation of the information. Tremendously aggressive. To the point where you say it’s a blunder, because there are images which are so obviously not from Venezuela. I saw a very famous one, in which a soldier appears with a journalist, with a camera.They are Koreans. It’s an image from Korea. They’re Asian. They don’t look like Venezuelans at all. Also, the uniforms they wear. They’ve been very aggressive with that image which has projected what’s going on in Venezuela to the world. The greater part of the world’s people, this image is the one they’re seeing, of what they’re trying to say.

Q. They control the media. Do you know any case of any journalist which has been, as you have seen, known or unknown, which you have seen in the process of training?

No.

Q. CNN, for example?

No, there was a guy who had a lot of ties to me at the time here, who served as a link for meeting an official from the CIA., Antony Golden, of Reuters. But, all right, he was an element independent of Reuters. CNN has always been very closely linked to all these things. CNN, from its first moments of operation, above all this latest step, and above all, CNN en Español, has been an indispensable tool for these people, but the problem is that you have to understand one thing: to understand what’s going on, and to be able to mount a campaign, you have to understand that nowadays, there is no TV station that acts on its own. There are the conglomerates, and the communications conglomerates — who directs them? Because, for example, Time Warner and AOL, and all those big communications companies — cable TV, movie TV, TV in general — who is the boss, in the end? Here it’s Westinghouse, there it’s General Electric. The same who build warplanes, the same US arms industry, the same people who are the owners of TV networks, movie studios, publications, book publishers. So, the same guys who produce warplanes, the cookie you’ll eat at night, that presents an artist to you, are the same who rule the newspapers of the entire world. Who do these people answer to?

Q. When you see what’s happening in Venezuela, and you compare it with what you did here [in Cuba], what conclusion can you draw?

It’s a new strategy, which they’ve been developing based on the experience they’ve had all over the world, but I see, I’m convinced, that they’ve only gotten results when people in those places don’t support the revolution. They managed it with Milosevic, because Milosevic was a Yugoslavian leader whose image had fallen far, thanks to things that happened in Yugoslavia. The same happened in Ukraine, because Yanukovych was a man with very little popular support, and it has given results in other places where the governments had little support from the people. Wherever they have a legitimate government, a solid government, and people disposed to defend the revolution, the plan has failed on them.

Q. And what phase do they enter when the plan fails?

They’re going to keep on doing it, they’ll go on perfecting it. We are the enemy. That is, Venezuela, Cuba, everything going on in Latin America as an alternative. We are the dissidents of the world. We live in a world dominated by capitalism. Where that new capitalist way of being dominates, so that now one can’t even call it imperialist, it’s something new, something that goes way beyond what students of Marxism wrote in history years ago. It’s something new, novel. It’s a power, practically global, of the big transnationals, of those megalopolies they’ve created. Therefore, we are the enemy. We are presenting an alternative project. The solution that the world proposes to us, is not that. We know how to do it, and Cuba, Venezuela, the ALBA countries, have demonstrated that it can be done, that one or two days more are nothing. The Cuban revolution has been in existence for 55 years, and with political will, it has achieved things that the US government, with all the money in the world, has been unable to do. So that’s a bad example.

And I’ve told my students: Can you imagine that the Indignants in Spain, the thousands and millions of workers out of work in Spain, that the Greeks, that all those people in all the world, know what we’re doing? Can you imagine that these people get to know who Chávez is? Or who Fidel is? Or of the things we’re doing here? Or the things we’re doing with so few resources, only the will to make revolution and share the wealth? What will happen to capitalism? How much longer will capitalism last, which has to spend billions of dollars, every day, to build its image and fool the people? What would happen if the people knew who we really are? What is the Cuban Revolution, really, and what is the Venezuelan Revolution? Because, if you talked to a Spaniard and asked him about Chávez, and he gives you a terrible opinion of Chávez, because it’s what they’ve constructed in his mind/ And you meet an unemployed person who tells you that Chávez is a bad guy, because the media have convinced him of that, but if these people knew how things really were! So they can’t allow that such formidable enemies as ourselves should be there, at the door.

Q. From the viewpoint of the national sovereignty of our people, how can we stop the CIA? We’ve already talked about the consciousness of the people, which is fundamental in these types of actions, but, in the concrete, how does one foresee the CIA’s work? What can be done? What recommendations do you have?

I think of a thing that Chávez said, and that Fidel has always said, that is the key to defeating the empire, and that is unity. It’s not a slogan, it’s a reality. It’s the only way you have of defeating a project like that. A project that comes from the Special Services and from capitalism. One can only do it with the unity of the people.

Q. Are we talking about the civilian-military?

Yes, unity in all senses. Unity based in diversity, in the peoples, but unity as a nation, unity as a project. Wherever the people are divided, there is another reality.

Q. Where do they have to concentrate? In what area must they concentrate forces to defend us from this type of actions, this type of attacks?

The army to defeat that is the people. I believe that the Cuban experience has taught that very well. There are experiences in the world which mark you very clearly. What has happened in the world, when the people have not been protagonists in defence of the Revolution? And when the people have been protagonists, what happened? And there’s the case of Cuba. We have managed to defeat the CIA and the empire millions of times, because the people have been the protagonist.

Q. Does the CIA use the databases of the social networks, and that sort of thing, to define their plans?

They’re the masters. They’re the masters of that. Fine, there are the denunciations of Snowden and all that has come out of Wikileaks, and all those things that are no secret to anyone, because we suspected, but it’s been demonstrated. It’s been demonstrated that the servers, the Internet, are theirs. All the servers in the world, in the end, die in the North Americans’ servers. They are the mother of the Internet, and all the networks and services are controlled by them. They have access to all the information. And they don’t hesitate to record it. Facebook is an extraordinary database. People put everything on Facebook. Who are your friends? What are their tastes, what movies have they seen? What do they consume? And it’s a source of firsthand information.

Q. Have you been in contact with Kelly Keiderling, after what happened in Venezuela?

No, I haven’t had contact with her. I don’t know what was her final destination, after what happened (she was expelled from Venezuela for meeting with and financing terrorists).

Q. With the experience she has, how far was she able to penetrate into Venezuela, and Venezuelan universities?

I am certain that she got quite far. She’s a very intelligent agent, very well prepared, very capable, and very convinced of what she’s doing. Kelly is a person convinced of the job she is doing. She is convinced of the justness, from her point of view, of what she is doing. Because she is an unconditional representative of capitalism. Because she comes from capitalism’s elite. She is organic of the actions she is doing. There is no contradiction of any kind. And, based on the experience of her work, of her capability, I am sure that she managed to get very far, and gave continuity to a job which is not just for now, it’s a job she will go on doing for a long time, to reverse the process in Venezuelan universities. What’s going on is that up to whatever point they can reach, in the long term, that is what will show the Bolivarian process, in the measure of which the people are aware of what could happen. If that fascist right wing becomes uncontrollable, it could get into power again.

Q. What kind of person who has contacts, who could reach the people, such as by being an activist in a movement, could be captured by the CIA?

They will find them, they will try to do it. If it’s a young person and a leader, they will try to capture them for their interests. We have to train our leaders. We can’t leave that to spontaneity, we can’t leave that to the enemy. So, if we leave them to the enemy, those are spaces which the enemy will occupy. Any alternative project that we leave unattended, any alternative project that we don’t realize the necessity of getting close to, that is a project that the enemy will try, by all means, to take advantage of. Using the enormous amount of money they have for that, which has no limits, in terms of resources to be used, because they are playing with the future and, above all, the young are the key.

The good thing is that the young are the present of Latin America. The Latin American revolution which is there, which is everywhere, is of the young. If not, fine, it will never have results, and if you manage to make young people think differently, if you succeed in getting these youngsters to believe that savage capitalism is the solution to all their problems, then there will be no revolution for Latin America. It’s that simple.

 Original interview in Spanish here.

Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz has expressed concern over the recent remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry, warning Washington against surrendering to Iran’s growing nuclear capability.

“Kerry’s statements before the Senate on the matter of Iran and the current American objective were worrying, surprising, and unacceptable,” Steinitz said in a Monday interview with Israel Radio.

The minister, who is in charge of Israel’s nuclear affairs, pointed to Iran’s ongoing nuclear talks with the Sextet of world powers, saying, “We watch the negotiations with concern. We are not opposed to a diplomatic solution but we are against a solution which is entirely a surrender to Iran and which leaves it a threshold nuclear state.”

On April 8, Kerry told a Senate briefing that the expansion of Iran’s nuclear capability does not necessarily constitute building atomic bombs

Kerry claimed that Iran’s nuclear breakout capability is about two months away, saying that such a prospect did not mean Iran would have a warhead or other delivery system.

“It’s just having one bomb’s worth, conceivably, of material, but without any necessary capacity to put it in anything, to deliver it, to have any mechanism to do so,” he pointed out.

This is while Iran and the six powers – the US, the UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia – wrapped up their latest round of high-level nuclear negotiations on Wednesday in Vienna.

The two sides have agreed to resume their negotiations on May 13.

Negotiators from both sides say a final nuclear agreement can be reached within three months.

Iran and the six world powers sealed an interim deal in Geneva on November 24, 2013, to pave the way for the full resolution of the decade-old dispute with Iran over the country’s nuclear energy program. The deal came into force on January 20.

Israeli State Terrorism

April 14th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

On Sunday, Israeli security forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. It’s Islam’s third holiest site.

Worshipers were attacked with stun grenades, rubber-coated steel bullet and pepper spray.

Al-Aqsa Mosque director Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani said over 50 Israeli special forces stormed through the Moroccan and Chain Gates.

They attacked worshipers. They “besieged” them. Half a dozen or more injuries were reported. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld lied.

He claimed Israeli security forces reacted to Palestinian provocations. None whatever occurred. Israel bears full responsibility.

Overnight Saturday, worshipers braced for possible right-wing settler attacks. They stayed inside the compound. They did so expecting trouble.

They expect it ahead of Passover. At sunset on April 14, it begins. It runs through April 21.

Hardline Israeli organizations urged Jews to swarm the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the holiday period. Doing so constitutes a gross provocation.

It happened many times before. Worshipers braced for this year. The worst perhaps lies ahead.

Israeli forces regularly escort settlers to the site. Throughout occupied Palestine, they ignore their vandalism and violence. It repeats with disturbing regularity.

On Sunday, Israeli police arrested dozens of nonviolent Palestinians. They claimed they lacked permit permission to enter Israel.

Around 100,000 Palestinians have Israeli jobs. They enter daily to reach work sites. Many do with no documentation. They have no choice.

Permits are hard to get. Palestine’s Central Bureau of Statistics said over 34,000 Palestinians working in Israel lack them.

In January, over 1,400 Palestinians were imprisoned for working without permission. Employers remain unaccountable.

On April 9, Israel demolished several EU-funded humanitarian housing shelters. They did so on land near Jerusalem. It’s located in Jabal al-Baba.

In February, Israel ordered 18 structures destroyed. EU delegates challenged doing so. They demanded financial compensation for housing they funded.

An unnamed source said “(w)e should ask for compensation from Israel whenever EU-funded humanitarian aid projects are destroyed.”

They’re in the so-called E1 area. It’s located between Ma’aleh Adumim and Jerusalem.

Israel plans developing Mevasseret Adumim neighborhood. At issue is establishing territorial contiguity.

It’s creating a greater Jerusalem. It’s doing it by Judaizing Palestinian neighborhoods.

Angela Godfrey-Goldstein is a Jahalin Association advocacy officer. She represents affected Bedouins. She condemned what happened.

She called E1 “Obama’s red line” for Israeli settlement construction. Demolitions were revenge, she believes. They followed Abbas applying to join 15 UN bodies and treaties.

Israeli maliciousness is longstanding. It’s common practice. It repeats across Palestine. It’s part of persecuting Palestinians for praying to the wrong God.

It’s part of Israel’s ethnic cleansing agenda. Displacing Palestinians provides land for Jews.

Since June 1967, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) estimates at least 27,000 Palestinian homes and structures lawlessly destroyed.

On April 13, Haaretz headlined “Israel freezes transfer of tax monies to PA in response to UN move.”

Netanyahu announced it. Israel collects Palestinian tax revenues and customs duties. It’s obligated to return them to PA officials. They provide operating revenues.

They amount to about $100 million monthly. They’re on goods imported into Palestine. Israel froze them earlier. It was during times of heightened security and diplomatic tensions.

Freezing them begins in May. Perhaps policy will change. If implemented, April revenues are affected.

Israeli officials said Netanyahu’s action has declarative value only. It’s politically motivated. It’s for coalition partner hardliners.

They deplore peace. They want no Palestinian prisoners released. They want the worst of occupation harshness continued.

If peace talks continue past an agreed on April 29 cutoff date, PA tax money will be transferred, said Haaretz.

If not, “Israel could be expected to impose far more severe sanctions than holding back” revenues due Palestine, it added.

Israel froze transfers dozens of times before. Releasing them followed. Senior Israeli officials said freezes are self-defeating.

Revenues pay tens of thousands of PA employees. Security personnel Israeli enforcers included.

State Department spokeswoman responded dismissively to Netanyahu’s decision.

“We’ve seen these press reports, but we have not seen an official public announcement,” she said.

“That said, we would regard such a development as unfortunate,” she added.

“We believe that the regular transfer of the Palestinian Authority’s tax revenues and economic cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has been beneficial and is important to the well-being of the Palestinian economy.”

On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon approved stealing more Palestinian land.

He retroactively legalized Gush Etzion’s Netiv Ha’avot outpost. He declared 984 dunums of privately owned Palestinian land state property. He did so unilaterally. He acted extrajudicially.

In 2001, Netiv Ha’avot was built without authorization. It’s home to 50 Jewish families. Palestinian court challenges failed to dislodge them.

Authorizing 984 more dunums around Netiv Ha’avot assures new homes for thousands of settlers.

It means outpost ones will submit their own expansion plans. It means more Palestinian land likely stolen. It assures continued lawless ethnic cleansing.

Dror Etkes monitors settlement policy. He issued a statement saying:

“Declarations of state land became rare after the army declared close to a million dunums state land in the 1980s and 1990s, enough to expand the settlements for the coming century.”

“The present declaration is a faithful reflection of the Netanyahu government’s policy and meant to extinguish the last embers of the negotiations with the Palestinians.”

On Sunday, sham peace talks continued. Abbas agreed to extend past late April. Perhaps into next year.

Why he’ll have to explain. Since last July, they accomplished nothing. Israel demands everything its way. It offers Palestinians virtually nothing.

Chances for peaceful conflict resolution are ZERO. Not according to Haaretz editors.

On April 13, their disappointing editorial headlined ”Netanyahu must curb Bennett and keep the peace talks alive.”

They pretend peace talks are legitimate. They never were before. They’re not now.

Bennett represents the worst of right-wing extremism. He threatened to leave Netanyahu’s coalition government if peace talk dealmaking OK’s further Palestinian prisoner releases.

He calls Palestinian political prisoners “murderers.” He wrote Netanyahu. He wants settlement blocs annexed. He wants them made part of greater Israel.

Combined with military areas, no-go zones, tourist sites, Jews-only roads, checkpoints and barricades, as well as Israeli commercial development, they comprise over 60% of West Bank land.

Bennett wants it all made part of Israel. So do likeminded hardliners. Most West Bank land and East Jerusalem already is de facto Israeli territory.

Bennett cited “floundering” peace talks. He prioritizes sabotaging them, said Haaretz editors. He wants settlements “bolster(ed) and enlarge(d).”

It’s longstanding Israeli policy. Netanyahu prioritizes it. He said so publicly. Haaretz editors didn’t explain.

Bennett is one of many ideological extremists infesting Israel’s government. Netanyahu is a world class thug.

Defrocked/reinstated Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is an ultranationalist extremist. He delegitimizes the office he holds. He uses it ruthlessly.

Haaretz editors support peace process hypocrisy. Why they’ll have to explain. They nonsensically said talks “reached a decisive point.”

Previous ones denied Palestinians rights mattering most. Haaretz editors call current talks “the last chance in the forseeable future to conduct negotiations with the Palestinians.”

No chance existed before. None does now. Talks mock legitimacy. Peaceful conflict resolution with Israel is a convenient illusion.

Haaretz editors didn’t explain. They blame Bennett for longstanding Israeli policy.

He’s one of many in a long line of extremists. More than ever infest Israel’s worst government in history.

Last July, talks began. They were dead on arrival. Haaretz editors failed readers. They didn’t explain.

They pretend talks are legitimate. They never were before. They’re not now. It bears repeating. Chances for peaceful conflict resolution are ZERO. Pretending otherwise is fantasy.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanII.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 national minorities of Armenia express their protest against the attack on the Armenian-populated Kessab, Syria, and the violence against national minorities, in general. Representatives of the national minorities of Armenia adopted a statement today, condemning the events in Kessab and demanding to stop the supply of weapons and financial assistance to rebels.

What happened in Kessab on March 21 is the continuation of the policy of 1915, President of the Greek “Patrida” NGO Edward Polatov told reporters today.

“Even as Turks are promising everlasting friendship after 100 years and trying to assure they have nothing to do with the deeds of the predecessors and are not responsible for the crime committed at the turn of the 20th century, they proved yet again that they bear responsibility for the crimes of their ancestors. They have no future, as they are an assassin nation. Only after a full and sincere contrition will it be possible to alleviate the burden of the coming generations,” he said.

Presenting the joint statement, director of the cultural center of the national minorities Razmik Khosroev noted that “Turkey is a great criminal, which has destroyed  civilizations and should stand trial for committing genocides against not only Armenians, but also Greeks, Assyrians, Kurds, Bulgarians, Serbs and other peoples.”

“We view the events in Kessab not as the internal affair of Syria or Turkey, but as an extraordinary case of mass violation of human rights. We urge the heirs of the peoples subjected to genocide and the whole international community to file a suit against today’s Turkey for the crimes committed in the past and demand the return of the seized property, the historical, cultural and other heritage to their rightful owners,” Khosroev said.

The Kurdish Armenian community also condemns the Turkish provokers, who continue their criminal policy even in the 21st century. President of the “Kurdistan Committee” Zhenya Amiryan said the solution of the issue is in unity.

“Only through unity we can counter the Turkish authorities. They are committing new crimes one year before the centenary of the Armenian Genocide,” she said.

Condemning Turkey’s past and present policies, President of the Atur Assyrian Association Arsen Mikhaylov noted that nations that have been subjected to genocide have to raise their voice every day, not on concrete occasions.

Iranian Official: Syria Has Passed the Critical Stage of Danger

April 14th, 2014 by Global Research News

A top Iranian Foreign Ministry official says Syria has left behind the “critical security crisis.”

“Syria has passed the critical security crisis,” Amir Abdollahian, the deputy foreign minister for African and Arab affairs, said in a meeting with German lawmaker Rols Muetzenich representing the German Social Democrats.
Abdollahian said the shipment of arms to Syria and support to terrorists in Syria by certain countries have exacerbated the situation in the Arab country.
‘Iran, Germany can help resolve issues through consultation’
Amirabdollahian also said Iran and Germany, as two countries with great regional and international clout, can help settle crises through “consultation”.
Currently, alleviating the sufferings of people in Syria and pushing for a political settlement to the conflict are vitally important, the senior Iranian diplomat noted.
The diplomat also said it is necessary to push for national dialogue and democratic election in Syria.

‘Germany seeking Iran’s help to settle regional problems’

 Muetzenich said in the light of positive political climate created about Iran at the international stage Germany is seeking to develop its ties with Tehran.
The German MP was indirectly referring to the interim nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the major powers and a rapprochement between Iran and the European Union since Hassan Rouhani won presidential election in Iran last summer.
Muetzenich, the foreign policy spokesperson and deputy parliamentary leader for foreign policy, defense and human rights in his parliamentary faction, said Berlin is also seeking help from Iran for a settlement of important regional problems including the Syrian crisis because Germany is of the opinion that the role of Iran is more important than the outcome of certain conferences about the region.
The fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran insists on political solution to the Syrian crisis is “very important” and similarly Germany is pursuing political solution to the conflict and also putting an end to the humanitarian crisis in the country, the German parliamentarian noted.

At the beginning of this month, Ted McMeekin, the Ontario Minister of Community and Social Services, informed the provincial Legislature that his government will not be merging Ontario Works (OW) with the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). Given that the Liberal’s own 2012 Report of the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario calls for such a merger, this belated statement of intentions is quite significant.

McMeekin also wrote a letter to the members of his Advisory Council on Social Assistance Reform on April 4 that is worth quoting from. In it he states:

“I have heard from many people who are concerned about the possibility of Ontario Works and ODSP being merged into one program. In some cases, they’re responding to irresponsible rumours that our plan is focussed on cuts – bringing everyone down to the lowest common denominator and forcing everybody to look for work, regardless of their disability.

“I hope you’ll help me put an end to these unfounded rumours, which are causing needless anxiety for vulnerable people. That’s not our plan. It never was. It never will be. We are focussed on moving toward adequacy for all, and removing obstacles for those who want and are able to work. I can tell you clearly that having looked at the idea of a merger of these two programs, our government will not be going forward with that recommendation.”

The rather testy comment about “unfounded rumours” is clearly a reference to what the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) and others in the Raise the Rates Campaign have been saying. For months now, we have been demanding that the Kathleen Wynne Government publicly state that it will not merge OW with ODSP. That the Liberals have taken so long to take this position and distance themselves from the proposal of their own report is likely evidence of an internal debate within the Liberal Cabinet. They have faced relentless community based opposition on this issue. As recently as March 22, anti poverty organizations joined with trade union allies from CUPE Ontario and OPSEU to march, under the banner of the Raise the Rates Campaign, on the Liberal AGM in Toronto. Kathleen Wynne had to defend her shaky credentials as the ‘Social Justice Premier’ behind a line of cops.

Austerity and the Attack on Ontario Welfare

It is a very significant gain for community action that McMeekin had to make this announcement. I have no doubt that the opposition to the merger that developed and the prospects of a major mobilization if such a step had been taken, was decisive in prompting this tactical retreat. It shows us that the architects of austerity are not invincible and that we can defeat their plans if we fight back. Having said this, however, we would be making a huge mistake if we assumed that the danger to ODSP has passed. The Liberals did come under great pressure over the proposed merger but they also had their options reduced by virtue of the fact that they are a scandal plagued minority regime that must soon present a Budget. Precisely because their political future is so tenuous, McMeekin’s pledge is devalued significantly. A Tory Government would not be bound by his statement and it’s not even certain that the Liberals themselves, should they prevent or survive an election, would rule out putting the merger back on the table.

Even more to the point, however, a joining together of the two programs is not necessarily the form that an attack on ODSP might take. An austerity driven government like that of Kathleen Wynne, could move in thoroughly regressive directions while retaining two distinct programs. Before exploring this further, however, let’s look at how such an attack fits into the prevailing austerity agenda.

During the period they have held office in Ontario, the Liberals have continued with that part of the Mike Harris Conservative Government’s 1990s Common Sense Revolution that sought to undermine income support systems. They have allowed the spending power of social assistance to erode further and have removed or weakened supplementary benefits that people turned to in an effort to compensate for their loss of real income. This has only to a secondary extent been about saving money or reducing deficits. Its main purpose has been to intensify the scramble for the lowest paying and most exploitative jobs. Since the Liberals took over in 2003, the number working for the minimum wage has doubled in Ontario and now comprises 9 per cent of the workforce. Had social assistance rates been restored to pre-Harris levels, this could never have been accomplished. Now, in the context of post-2008 international agenda of hyper-austerity, the dictates this places upon the Government of Ontario is to take this process further. In this regard, the relative adequacy and stability of ODSP is seen as a barrier to be removed.

“More than 10,000 people a year in the UK have died since being deemed ‘fit for work’ by the assessment system, and another 2200 before their assessments were completed.”

Several political jurisdictions are contributing to the attack on disability benefits but it is the Conservative-led David Cameron government in Britain that has led the pack. The reckless and brutal process of social abandonment that it has inflicted on sick and disabled people in that country has shocked observers across the world. Cameron’s Coalition privatized and intensified a measure known as the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) in a way that has led to rampant denial of benefits to even the profoundly disabled and the terminally ill. More than 10,000 people a year in the UK have died since being deemed ‘fit for work’ by the assessment system, and another 2200 before their assessments were completed.

The model created by the UK Government’s Department for Work and Pensions and its private enforcers, particularly the infamous Atos company, is there for the Ontario Government to aspire to. It already has the experience of implementing very similar measures in its attack on injured workers in this province. The widespread practice of ‘deeming’ that has been adopted by the Workers Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is not that far from what is happening in the UK. Injured workers are being declared ready for forms of employment they have no chance of securing or maintaining and are losing their benefits in a fashion that would get high marks in the British House of Commons.

In February of this year, there were 439,553 beneficiaries receiving ODSP in Ontario, only slightly short of the 450,552 on Ontario Works. Perhaps the most important task facing the regressive ‘reform’ initiative that is underway is to massively reduce the numbers on ODSP. Of course, ODSP caseloads have increased precisely because injured workers are being hounded off benefits and other income support options are being squeezed but this does not remove the austerity based imperative to slash these numbers. While Frances Lankin and Munir Sheikh, who wrote the report for the Commission for the Review of Social Assistance in Ontario, have not been taken up on their merger proposal, it would be wrong to assume that they are merely crying in the wilderness. They propose a redesign of social assistance in which everyone on it, including the disabled, are assessed by the yardstick of employability. Under their model, employers’ councils would be set up to assist in the building of “pathways to employment.” What jobs are actually available, what they pay and what happens to those who fail to keep them are not considerations that are given any particular attention. What is important to Lankin and Sheikh is that the ‘integrity’ of the system of providing sub-poverty payments to disabled people must be protected at all costs. They suggest that there is a backlog of 40,000 cases on ODSP that need to have their eligibility reconsidered, that this should be cleared up and a far more vigorous review process put in place. A more clearly set out blueprint for moving in the direction of the UK Government could not be drawn up.

As I’m writing, I learn that Ontario Works employment programs in at least one part of Ontario are being told to be ready to start receiving ODSP clients soon, and that they will deal with them the same way they presently deal with the spouses and dependents of people on ODSP. It confirms that McMeekin’s Ministry understands very well the measures it needs to take to move toward the prevailing austerity based model of ‘reforming’ disability benefits.

The New Zealand Government of John Key, which has adopted many of the measures being implemented in Britain has described its own regressive ‘welfare reform’ process as being based on an “unrelenting focus on work.” That phrase rather sums it all up. There is no focus, of course, on ensuring living wages or providing the actual supports people need to be able to sustain employment. Rather, the intention is to use abandonment and the threat of destitution as a means of creating a desperate bidding war for a place in the low wage ghetto. The disabled will not be exempt from this process. On the contrary, their participation in the scramble is considered vital to the plot.

Common Front Against Austerity

We must understand the nature of the attack precisely because we intend to defeat it. In the UK, the assessment system that has brought such misery into peoples’ lives has been challenged relentlessly and the model of regressive reform is floundering as a result of that resistance. The Raise the Rates Campaign, initiated by OCAP, backed by anti poverty organizations in a range of communities and supported decisively by CUPE Ontario and other unions, has shown that we don’t have to accept austerity as an inevitability: we can impose defeats on those who seek to implement it.

The threat to ODSP is part of a bigger attack on social benefits in Ontario and throughout Canada and, in turn, the removal of such supports is about undermining the right to a living wage for all workers. For that very reason, we take up the fight to defend the benefit system for disabled people as part of a broader working-class common front against austerity. •

John Clarke is an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP).

Ukraine: The Anti-Maidan Begins

April 14th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

It was predicted that the regime in Kiev would not last long, and that almost immediately there would be a backlash. First, opposition would come from eastern Ukraine where Ukrainians stand by their nation’s long historical, linguistic, cultural, economic, and strategic ties to Russia. Then opposition would come from western Ukraine, where people, despite their perceived anti-Russian sentiments and initial support for the “Euromaidan” protests, would find the corrupt client regime in Kiev intolerable as it integrated the nation into the EU while imposing IMF-engineered austerity measures already spreading socioeconomic chaos across the rest of Europe.

It was also predicted that the regime in Kiev, backed by the US and EU, would use the pretext of “war with Russia” to arm itself against the inevitable uprising to come.

It now appears that the “anti-Maidan” has begun, and that the military backing by NATO will be mobilized against fellow Ukrainians much sooner than expected.

With Crimea now beginning its integration with Russia, others in eastern Ukraine see a window of opportunity to escape out from beneath the regime in Kiev before it is able to consolidate its power and stamp out resistance to its inevitably disastrous policies. Protesters have been gathering in key cities across eastern Ukraine, while armed militias begin digging in against Kiev’s overt threats and now demonstrably preparations to carry out violence.  CNN would report in their article, “Ukraine unrest will be resolved by force or talks in 48 hours, minister says,” that:

Ukrainian acting Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Wednesday that the separatist protests in Ukraine’s eastern region would be resolved within 48 hours — either through negotiations or the use of force. 

The Guardian in its article, “Armed pro-Russian protesters seize city in eastern Ukraine,” describes multiple cities being taken over by Ukrainians opposed to the regime in Kiev. While the Guardian continues to spin the narrative that Russia is “annexing” eastern Ukraine like it did Crimea – this sidesteps the reality that Crimea voted overwhelmingly (93% according to the BBC) to voluntarily declare independence from Kiev, and integrate with Russia. Claims that Russian troops have “invaded” Ukraine, intentionally omit that Russian troops, per long standing treaties, have been stationed in Ukrainian territory for decades.

Despite the referendum, the Western media still refers to the newly integrated peninsula as “Russian-occupied Crimea.”

Who are Ukrainians Fleeing via Pro-Russian Movement? 

Another crucial aspect omitted or blatantly covered up by the Western media is the very nature of the regime that recently seized power in Kiev at the height of the so-called “Euromaidan” protests. As growing public awareness has highlighted the ultra-right, literal Nazis that led “Euromaidan,” the Western media has succeeded in sowing enough doubt to keep many on the fence regarding the ongoing Ukrainian crisis.

Reports out of Ukraine come either from pro-Western or pro-Russian sources, leaving objective observers with little to work with. However, by examining the political leaders of the current regime in Kiev, through the very Western sources now defending them, one can easily identify the racism, bigotry, Nazism, fascism, and violence that millions of Ukrainians are all too familiar with – familiar with enough to seize the opportunity to seek protection within and forge closer ties to Russia.

When people across the West wring their hands regarding “Russian aggression” against the “Euromaidan” protesters and the resulting, unelected government, this is who they are defending:

1. Svoboda: So prominent was Svoboda during the “Euromaidan” protests, that the United States sent US Senator John McCain to take the stage with Svoboda leaders in Kiev at the height of the unrest. Surely then, one might expect Svoboda to represent values similar to those in America. However, Svoboda has a long history of carrying on the toxic ideology of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis, with party leaders citing Nazi propaganda, espousing hatred toward Jews and homosexuals, and either being involved in violence, or tied to armed militant groups that have been.

In a January 2014 Spiegel Online article titled, “‘Prepared to Die’: The Right Wing’s Role in Ukrainian Protests,” it described Svoboda in no uncertain terms (emphasis added):

The Svoboda party also has excellent ties to Europe, but they are different from the ones that Klischko might prefer. It is allied with France’s right-wing Front National and with the Italian neo-fascist group Fiamma Tricolore. But when it comes to the oppression of homosexuality, representative [Igor] Myroshnychenko is very close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, even if he does all he can to counter Moscow’s influence in his country.

It goes on to state (emphasis added):

Myroshnychenko was press spokesman for the Ukrainian national football team in the lead up to the 2008 European Championships, but he isn’t exactly cosmopolitan. He would even like to see foreign professional football players deported because they “change Ukraine’s ethnic map.”

There have been other, similar incidents. In a 2012 debate over the Ukrainian-born American actress Mila Kunis, he said that she wasn’t Ukrainian, rather she was a “Jewess.”Indeed, anti-Semitism is part of the extremist party’s platform; until 2004, they called themselves the Social-National Party of Ukraine in an intentional reference to Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist party. Just last summer, a prominent leader of party youth was distributing texts from Nazi propaganda head Joseph Goebbels translated into Ukrainian.

While many in the Western media try to portray Svoboda’s ultra-right, Neo-Nazi ideology as a part of its past, just during the “Euromaidan” protests this same Igor Myroshnychenko was an acting Svoboda MP, and very much involved in some of the most notorious incidents of the conflict.

In Channel 4′s (UK), “Ukraine: far-right extremists at core of ‘democracy’ protest,” it mentions both Svoboda MP Myroshnychenko as well as current Svoboda party leader Oleh Tyahnybok (emphasis added):

In December US senator John McCain travelled to Ukraine to offer his support to the opposition, appearing on stage with leaders of the three opposition parties leading the protests – including the far-right Svoboda party.

Svoboda is currently Ukraine’s fourth biggest party and holds 36 seats in parliament. It is also part of the Alliance of European National Movements, along with the BNP and Hungary’s Jobbik.

Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok is one of the faces of the protests, appearing regularly along with opposition leader and former boxer Vitali Klitschko (see picture right) voicing opposition to Putin’s influence over the region.

However, Tyahnybok has provoked controversy in the past with his anti-Semitic claims that a “Moscow-Jewish mafia” controls Ukraine.

In another Channel 4 report titled, “Far-right group at heart of Ukraine protests meet US senator,” it stated (emphasis added):

…in 2004 [Svoboda] leader Oleh Tyahnybok gave a speech attacking what he called “the Moscow-Jewish mafia ruling Ukraine” and in another speech declared: “the Moskali, Germans, Kikes and other scum who wanted to take away our Ukrainian state.” 

Despite the controversy his statements attracted in the West, Tyahnybok was voted Person of the Year by readers of Ukrainian news magazine Korrespondent last year. 

In another outburst from the party their deputy chief, Ihor Miroshnychenko, wrote an anti-Semitic attack on Mila Kunis on Facebook: “Kunis is not Ukrainian, she is a Yid. She is proud of it, so Star of David be with her.”

While many across the Western media attempt to portray ultra-right, anti-Semitic Neo-Nazi groups as a “small percent” of the Euromaidan movement, it should be noted that Svoboda alone took over 10% of the vote in the 2012 elections, held 36 seats in parliament, is considered Ukraine’s fourth-largest political party, and its leader, Tyahnybok, wasone of three major opposition leaders who in fact led the “Euromaidan” protests in the first place. Since seizing power, Svoboda has received top positions in three of the regime’s ministries.

Surely Svoboda’s central role in the “Euromaidan” protests and the subsequent regime that has resulted, is enough to debase the entire movement. Unfortunately, Svoboda is not the only party with a checkered, ultra-nationalist, Neo-Nazi past.

2. The “Fatherland” Party: Even in name alone, the Fatherland Party echos the disturbing nationalist nomenclature of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party. Beneath the rhetorical similarities are disturbing parallels of more substance.

From the Fatherland Party is drawn the current “prime minister” of Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Yatsenyuk is a renowned bigot. He would catch the attention of Amnesty International in its 2008 report, “Overview of Lesbian and Gay Rights in Eastern Europe (.pdf), which cited him saying - when his views regarding homosexual marriage were labelled “conservative” – that:

 ”I do not agree. If a man has normal views, then you label him a conservative, but those who use drugs or promote sodomy – you label them a progressive person. All of these are perversions.”

In March 2013 denounced homosexuality as reported by LGBT Weekly’s “Leading Ukraine Opposition figure surprises supporters by denouncing gay marriage.” The report would state:


Leading Ukraine Opposition figure, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, risks disappointing liberal supporters of his All-Ukrainian Union “Fatherland” party, having publicly rejected gay marriage at a recent rally.

Yatsenyuk was confronted by a representative of the Western-Ukrainian Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community who said to him: “Many people live in love, but not in law. Promise me that if you become president, you will legalize same-sex relationships, and I promise that all gays and lesbians will vote for you.”

But Yatsenyuk, who leads “Fatherland” in the absence of jailed leader Yulia Tymoshenko, revealed that he rejects gay marriage because his personal beliefs stand in the way of any political position.

Mention of Yulia Tymoshenko is also important, as she has been at the center of Western pressure on the previous government of Viktor Yushchenko. Her imprisonment was portrayed by the West as “politically motivated,” despite her charges relating to what was rampant, overt corruption. Her recent release from prison was hailed by the West as part of building a “strong, prosperous, unified, and democratic Ukraine.”

However, memory is short in the West. An interesting report in the wake of her failed attempt to take power during 2010′s elections by The Jewish Week titled, “Change For Ukraine, But Likely Not For Jews,” portrayed Ukraine’s Jews in fear of a potential win by Tymoshenko whose “Fatherland Party” was perceived as both nationalist and anti-Semitic. How the anti-Semitic, ultra-right, Hitlerian “Fatherland Party” will help build a “strong, prosperous, unified, and democratic Ukraine” remains to be seen.

It should be noted that the “Fatherland Party” constituted the second largest political party in Ukraine before it seized power at the height of the “Euromaidan” protests. Far from a “small percent” of the “Euromaidan” movement, its intolerable bigotry is the rule, not the exception – a defining characteristic of those who have seized power in Kiev, not an anomaly.

3. Right Sector: It was recently admitted by the BBC, that while Neo-Nazi Svoboda and the ultra-right Fatherland Party led the rhetorical battle in Kiev’s

streets, the armed militants of “Right Sector” formed the fist of the movement. The video report featured visibly armed men sporting Nazi insignias who had forcibly seized and were occupying the headquarters of their political rivals.  These included members of Right Sector – a hardline Neo-Nazi militant movement.

Many across the Western media still continue to portray the “Euromaidan” protesters as either entirely unarmed, or with only a small number of rouge extremists being armed. The BBC has conveniently attempted to claim that Right Sector is an “autonomous organisation with no leaders or formal membership.”

It must have come to the BBC’s surprise when the new regime in Kiev apparently assassinated one of Right Sector’s “nonexistent” leaders. Many believe the killing of Right Sector leader Oleksandr Muzychko was an attempt to eliminate both a dangerous political rival, and a source of constant embarrassment for a regime already struggling to establish much needed legitimacy. With the heavy lifting over, the regime in Kiev decided to clean up its political house. Even the Western press found it difficult to spin what was clearly a repeat of Adolf Hitler’s “Night of the Long Knives” against the armed militant group.

A Reuters report titled, “Ukraine orders disarming of armed groups after shooting,” sheds further light on just how large these militant groups actually are. It stated:

Ukraine’s parliament on Tuesday ordered security forces to disarm illegal armed groups as police shut down the Kiev base of a far-right nationalist group prominent in the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovich after a shooting incident in which three people were wounded.

Ukraine’s new leaders acted after Monday night’s violence in Kiev city centre, conscious that an increasing criminal climate could discredit the anti-Yanukovich uprising and be used by Moscow’s propaganda machine to show that law and order was breaking down in Ukraine. 

The Reuters report would also claim:

Police on Monday night moved in on a city centre hotel where the far-right group Right Sector had its Kiev base after a man – said by police to be a member of the group – pulled out a gun and shot and wounded three people outside a restaurant.

While Reuters painstakingly attempts to avoid admitting “Euromaidan” protesters were armed, clearly Right Sector was and still is.

Collectively, the Kiev Regime is the Worst of History Repeating Itself  

While Right Sector makes an easy target to attach and subsequently jettison away accusations of ultra-right Neo-Nazi ideology among the “Euromaidan” movement, it is only an overt example of the poorly disguised ultra-right Neo-Nazi ideology that drives Svoboda and the Fatherland Party. The regime in Kiev adheres to Nazism, regardless of the alleged “shade.” Their uncompromising political views are already being translated into policies that threaten millions across Ukraine. This includes legislation targeting Russian-speaking Ukrainians and the censorship of Russian media across the country.

Combined with the inevitable socioeconomic collapse the new regime’s relationship with the IMF has all but guaranteed,  it is not difficult to understand why Ukrainians in both the east, and eventually in the west, will begin rising up against the unelected, Neo-Nazis, bigots, racists, and armed criminals occupying Kiev. It is the horrors of World War II repeating themselves, along with the economic collapse and social chaos that has just recently rocked Greece and is still reverberating across the EU. It is the very worst of history, both distant past and more recently, repeating itself again in Ukraine.

What is difficult to understand for some, is why people across the Western World are still defending the regime in Kiev, when it is so clearly not what it said it was, nor what the West continues to insist it is.

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

The U.S. Is Not a Democracy, It Is an Oligarchy

April 14th, 2014 by Eric Zuesse

study, to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, finds that the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, “Who governs? Who really rules?” in this country, is:

“Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But, …” and then they go on to say, it’s not true, and that, “America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened” by the findings in this, the first-ever comprehensive scientific study of the subject, which shows that there is instead “the nearly total failure of ‘median voter’ and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories [of America]. When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

To put it short: The United States is no democracy, but actually an oligarchy.

The authors of this historically important study are Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, and their article is titled “Testing Theories of American Politics.” The authors clarify that the data available are probably under-representing the actual extent of control of the U.S. by the super-rich:

“Economic Elite Domination theories do rather well in our analysis, even though our findings probably understate the political influence of elites. Our measure of the preferences of wealthy or elite Americans – though useful, and the best we could generate for a large set of policy cases – is probably less consistent with the relevant preferences than are our measures of the views of ordinary citizens or the alignments of engaged interest groups. Yet we found substantial estimated effects even when using this imperfect measure. The real-world impact of elites upon public policy may be still greater.”

Nonetheless, this is the first-ever scientific study of the question of whether the U.S. is a democracy. “Until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions [that U.S. policymaking operates as a democracy, versus as an oligarchy, versus as some mixture of the two] against each other within a single statistical model. This paper reports on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.” That’s an enormous number of policy-issues studied.

What the authors are able to find, despite the deficiencies of the data, is important: the first-ever scientific analysis of whether the U.S. is a democracy, or is instead an oligarchy, or some combination of the two. The clear finding is that the U.S. is an oligarchy, no democratic country, at all. American democracy is a sham, no matter how much it’s pumped by the oligarchs who run the country (and who control the nation’s “news” media). The U.S., in other words, is basically similar to Russia or most other dubious “electoral” “democratic” countries. We weren’t formerly, but we clearly are now. Today, after this exhaustive analysis of the data, “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” That’s it, in a nutshell.

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.

Washington Is Humanity’s Worst Enemy

April 14th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

How does Washington get away with the claim that the country it rules is a democracy and has freedom? This absurd claim ranks as one of the most unsubstantiated claims in history.

There is no democracy whatsoever. Voting is a mask for rule by a few powerful interest groups. In two 21st century rulings (Citizens United and McCutcheon), the US Supreme Court has ruled that the purchase of the US government by private interest groups is merely the exercise of free speech. These rulings allow powerful corporate and financial interests to use their money-power to elect a government that serves their interests at the expense of the general welfare.

The control private interests exercise over the government is so complete that private interests have immunity to prosecution for crimes. At his retirement party on March 27, Securities and Exchange Commission prosecutor James Kidney stated that his prosecutions of Goldman Sachs and other “banks too big to fail” were blocked by superiors who “were focused on getting high-paying jobs after their government service.” The SEC’s top brass, Kidney said, did not “believe in afflicting the comfortable and powerful.” In his report on Kidney’s retirement speech, Eric Zuesse points out that the Obama regime released false statistics in order to claim prosecutions that did not take place in order to convince a gullible public that Wall Street crooks were being punished.http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/09/65578/

Democracy and freedom require an independent and aggressive media, an independent and aggressive judiciary, and an independent and aggressive Congress. The United States has none of the above.

The US media consistently lies for the government. Reuters continues to report, falsely, that Russia invaded and annexed Crimea. The Washington Post ran an obviously false story planted on the paper by the Obama regime that the massive protests in former Russian territories of Ukraine are “rent-a-mobs” instigated by the Russian government.

Not even Washington’s stooges in Kiev believe that. Officials of the Washington-imposed government in Kiev acknowledged the need for some autonomy for the Russian-speaking regions and for a law permitting referendums, but this realistic response to widespread concerns among Ukrainians has apparently been squelched by Washington and its presstitute media. US Secretary of State John Kerry continues to turn a deaf ear to the Russian Foreign Minister and continues to demand that “Russia must remove its people from the South-East.”

What is happening is very dangerous. Washington misjudged its ability to grab the Ukraine. Opposition to the US grab is almost total in the Russian-speaking areas. Local police and security forces have gone over to the protesters. The corrupt Obama regime and the presstitute media lie through their teeth that the protests are insincere and mere orchestrations by “Putin who wants to restore the Soviet empire.” The Russian government keeps trying to end the conflict and unrest that Washington’s reckless coup in Kiev has caused short of having to reabsorb the former Russian territories as it was forced to do in Crimea. But Washington continues ignoring the Russian government and blaming the unrest on Russia’s not Washington’s, interference. http://rt.com/news/lavrov-kerry-ukraine-talks-200/

See also: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38196.htm

The Russian government knows that Washington does not believe what Washington is saying and that Washington is systematically provoking a continuation and worsening of the problem. The Russian government wonders what agenda Washington is pursuing. Is Washington in its arrogant stupidity and superpower hubris unable to acknowledge that its takeover of the Ukraine has come amiss and to back off? Does Washington not realize that the Russian government is no more able to accept the application of violence against Russian populations in Ukraine than it could accept violence against Russians in South Ossetia? If Washington doesn’t come to its senses, the Russian government will have to send in troops as it had to do in Georgia. http://rt.com/news/ukraine-russia-operation-criminal-288/

As this is clear even to a fool, is it Washington’s goal to start a war? Is that why Washington is massing NATO forces on Russia’s borders and sending missile ships into the Black Sea? Washington is putting the entire world at risk. If Russia concludes that Washington intends to drive the Ukraine crisis to war rather than to resolve the crisis, will Russia sit and wait, or will Russia strike first?

One would think that the Chancellor of Germany, the British Prime Minister, and the President of France would see the danger in the situation. Perhaps they do. However, there is a large difference between the aid that Russia gives countries and the aid given by Washington. Russia provides financial support to governments; Washington gives bagfuls of money to individuals in the government with the knowledge that individuals are more likely to act in their own interest than in the interest of their country. Therefore, European politicians are silent as Washington pushes a crisis toward war. If we don’t get to war, the only reason will be that Putin comes up with a solution that Washington cannot refuse, as Putin did in Syria and Iran.

It is a paradox that Putin is portrayed as the heavy while Washington pretends to be the champion of “freedom and democracy.” In the 21st century Washington has established as its hallmarks every manifestation of tyranny: illegal and unconstitutional execution of citizens without due process of law, illegal and unconstitutional indefinite detention of citizens without due process of law, illegal and unconstitutional torture, illegal and unconstitutional rendition, illegal and unconstitutional surveillance, and illegal and unconstitutional wars. The executive branch has established that it is unaccountable to law or to the Constitution. An unaccountable government is a tyranny.

Tired of being spied upon and lied to, the Senate Intelligence Committee has produced a thorough investigation of the CIA’s torture programs. The investigation took four years to complete. The Committee found, unequivocally, that the CIA lied about the extent of the torture and kidnappings, that detainees did not undergo some mild form of “enhanced interrogation” but were subjected to brutal and inhumane torture, that the CIA, contrary to its claims, did not get even one piece of useful information from its grave crimes against humanity. The American presstitutes assisted the CIA in inaccurately portraying the effectiveness and mildness of the CIA’s Gestapo practices. During the entirety of the investigation, the CIA illegally spied on the Senate staff conducting the investigation.

Is the public ever to see this report beyond the parts that have been leaked? Not if the CIA and Obama can prevent it. President “change” Obama has decided that it is up to the CIA to decide how much of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation will be made public. In other words, unless someone leaks the entire report, the American public will never know. Yet, “we have freedom and democracy.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee itself has the power to vole to declassify the entire report and to release it. The committee should do so immediately before the members of the committee are browbeat, threatened, and propagandized into believing that they are endangering “national security” and providing those mistreated with grounds for a lawsuit.

The US government is the most corrupt government on earth. There is no independent judiciary or media, and Congress has acquiesced to executive branch encroachments on its powers. Consider the judiciary. Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights represented the father of the American citizen, who Obama said would be murdered by the US government on suspicion that he was associated with terrorism. When Ratner asked the federal courts to block an illegal and unconstitutional execution of an American citizen without due process, the federal judge who heard the case ruled that the father of a son about to be murdered did not have standing to bring a case in behalf of his son.

After several lives were snuffed out by President “I’m good at killing people” Obama, Ratner represented relatives of Obama’s murdered victims in a damage suit. Under US law it was clear as day that damages were due. But the federal judge ruled that “the government must be trusted.”http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38202.htm

Whether or not anyone has standing is entirely up to the government. The IRS takes a completely different position on the matter. Children have standing to have their tax refunds confiscated by the IRS if the IRS thinks the IRS may have overpaid the parents’ Social Security benefits.http://www.cnbc.com/id/101576080

So in “freedom and democracy” Amerika, children are responsible if the IRS “thinks”–no proof required–that it wrote parents too large of a Social Security check, but a father has no legal standing to bring a lawsuit to prevent the US government from the extra-legal murder of his son.

Thanks to the Republican Federalist Society and to the Republican judges the Federalist Society has managed to have appointed to the federal bench, the federal judiciary functions as a protector of executive branch tyranny. Whatever the executive branch asserts and does is permissible, especially if the executive branch invokes “national security.”

In America today, the executive branch claims that “national security” is impaired unless the executive branch can operate illegally and unconstitutionally and unless citizens are willing to give up every constitutional right in order to be made safe in a total police state that spies on and documents every aspect of their lives.

Even the Government Accountability Office has been neutered. In 2013 the Government Accountability Office told the TSA to eliminate its behavior screening program as it is a waste of money and does not work. So what did the TSA do. Why, of course, it expanded the useless intrusion into the privacy of travelers.

This is Amerika today. Yet Washington prances around chanting “freedom and democracy” even as it displaces the greatest tyrannies in human history with its own.

Only gullible Americans expect leaders and elites or voting to do anything about the institutionalization of tyranny. Elites are only interested in money. As long as the system produces more income and wealth for elites, elites don’t give a hoot about tyranny or what happens to the rest of us.

In the Miami Herald, John Zarocostas reports from Geneva that the U.N. Human Rights Council agreed on Friday, despite strong objections from the United States, to study whether American drone strikes comply with international law. Several NATO allies abstained.

The resolution, drafted by Pakistan and co-sponsored by Yemen, both countries where the U.S. has undertaken multiple drone strikes, was adopted on a 27-6 vote, with 14 abstentions.

The resolution urges that all “states” using drones should ensure that they are complying “with their obligations under international law, including the Charter of the United Nations, international human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular, the principles of precaution, distinction and proportionality.”

U.S., Great Britain and Israel

Human Rights Watch, in a letter circulated to the 47-members of the council on Thursday, argued that while currently only the U.S., Great Britain and Israel use armed drones in operations against alleged terrorists,“other states, and non-state actors, may acquire them in the future.”

A report by Ben Emmerson, the U.N. independent expert on the promotion and protection for human rights and fundamental freedoms, found that a U.S. drone strike (initially denied) in October 2006 at a religious seminary in Chenagai in the Bajaur tribal region of Pakistan killed up to 80 people instantly, 69 of whom were children. The report also said that in December, a U.S. drone strike on a convoy of vehicles making their way to a wedding celebration outside the city of Rada in Yemen killed as many as 15, the majority of whom may have been civilians.

Zamir Akram, Pakistan’s ambassador, said Pakistan’s purpose in calling for human rights council involvement was “not to name and shame anyone.” But Paula G. Schriefer, head of the U.S. delegation to the council session, told delegates: “We do not believe that the examination of specific weapons systems is a task for which the Human Rights Council is well suited, and we do not support efforts to take this body in that direction.” Ambassador Karen Pierce of Great Britain made a similar point.

The EU does not have a common position on the use of armed drones, but there is growing political opposition to them. In February, the European Parliament, voted 534 to 49 to declare drone strikes “outside a declared war” to be “a violation of international law and of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of that country.”

Neutral European Union member Ireland and neutral Switzerland voted in support of the motion, along with China, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia, among others.

BP and the Government Decided to Temporarily Hide the Oil by Sinking It with Toxic Chemicals … The Gulf Ecosystem Is Now Paying the Price

As we noted at the time, and on the first (and here), second and third anniversaries of BP’s Gulf oil spill, BP and the government made the spill much worse by dumping toxic dispersant in the water in an attempt to to sink – and so temporarily hide – the oil.

In addition, adding dispersant makes oil 52 times more toxic than it would normally be.

EPA whistleblowers tried to warn us

Gulf toxicologist Susan Shaw told us last year:

Covering up the [Gulf] oil spill with Corexit was a deadly action … what happened in the Gulf was a political act, an act of cowardice and greed.

(60 Minutes did a fantastic exposé on the whole shenanigan.)

And the cover up went beyond adding toxic dispersant.  BP and the government went so far as hiding dead animals and keeping scientists and reporters away from the spill so they couldn’t document what was really happening.

As the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) notes in a new report, the wildlife is still suffering from this toxic cover up.

NWF reports:

Some 900 bottlenose dolphins of all ages—the vast majority of them dead—have been reported stranded in the northern Gulf between April 2010 and March 2014. In 2013, bottlenose dolphins were found dead or stranded at more than three times average rates before the spill. In 2011, dead infant or stillborn dolphins were found at nearly seven times the historical average and these strandings have remained higher than normal in subsequent years. NOAA has been investigating this ongoing wave of bottlenose dolphin strandings across the northern Gulf of Mexico since February 2010, before the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded. This is the longest period of above-average strandings in the past two decades and it includes the greatest number of stranded dolphins ever found in the Gulf of Mexico. In December 2013, NOAA published results of a study looking at the health of dolphins in a heavily-oiled section of the Louisiana coast. This researchers found strong evidence that the ill health of the dolphins in Louisiana’s Barataria Bay was related to oil exposure.

***

Dolphins in Barataria Bay showed evidence of adrenal problems, as has been previously reported in mammals exposed to oil.4 Barataria Bay dolphins also were five times more likely than dolphins from unoiled areas to have moderate-to-severe lung disease. Nearly half the dolphins studied were very ill; 17% of the dolphins were not expected to survive. The study concludes that health effects seen in Barataria Bay dolphins are significant and likely will lead to reduced survival and ability to reproduce.

NWF found many other species have also been harmed by the dispersant-oil mixture:

Roughly 500 stranded sea turtles have been found in the area affected by the spill every year from 2011 to 2013. This is a dramatic increase over the numbers found before the disaster. Other teams of scientists have reported negative impacts of oil on a number of species of fish, including tuna red snapper and mahi-mahi. As we have learned from previous spills far smaller than the 2010 event, it has taken years to understand the full effects on the environment. In some cases, recovery is not complete even decades later. Twenty-five years after the Exxon Valdez spill in Prince William Sound, clams, mussels, and killer whales are still considered “recovering,” and the Pacific herring population, commercially harvested before the spill, is showing few signs of recovery. [One of the main ingredients in Corexit - 2-butoxyethanol - was also used in the Valdez spill] … the full scope of the Deepwater Horizon disaster on the Gulf ecosystem will likely unfold for years or even decades to come.

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The Atlantic bluefin tuna is one of the largest fish in the Gulf, reaching average lengths of 6.5 feet and weighing about 550 lbs. A single fish can sell for tens of thousands of dollars.… The Deepwater Horizon rig exploded while the April-May breeding season in the northern Gulf was underway. In 2011, NOAA researchers estimated that as many as 20% of larval fish could have been exposed to oil, with a potential reduction in future populations of about 4%.

***

A more recent study shows that a chemical in oil from the spill can cause irregular heartbeats in bluefin and yellowfin tuna that can lead to heart attacks, or even death. The effects are believed to be particularly problematic for fish embryos and larvae, as heartbeat changes could affect development of other organs. The researchers suggest that other vertebrate species in the Gulf of Mexico could have been similarly affected. Scientists found that four additional species of large predatory fish—blackfin tuna, blue marlinmahi-mahi and sailfish—all had fewer larvae in the year of the oil spill than any of the three previous years.

***

The Deepwater Horizon spill occurred during the blue crab spawning season, when female crabs were migrating out of estuaries into deeper waters of the Gulf to release their eggs.

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[Reports indicate problems with crabs.] Blue crabs provide evidence of oil tainting Gulf food web. 2. Alabama Local News. 2013. Blue crab stock declines are concern for Gulf Coast fishermen. 3. Houma Today. 2013. Locals say blue crab catches plummeting. 4. Louisiana Seafood News. 2013. Lack of Crabs in Pontchartrain Basin Leads to Unanswered Questions. 5. Tampa Bay Times. 2013. Gulf oil spill’s effects still have seafood industry nervous. 6. Presentation at the 2014 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference. The Effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on Blue Crab Megalopal Settlement: A Field Study.

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Marine life associated with the deep sea corals also showed visible signs of impact from the oil. In a laboratory study, coral larvae that had been exposed to oil, a chemical dispersant, and an oil/ dispersant mixture all had lower survival rates than the control larvae in clean seawater.

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According to a recently published federal report, oyster eggs, sperm and larvae were exposed to oil and dispersants during the 2010 oil spill. Oil compounds known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) can be lethal to oyster

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In the fall of 2010, even after the Macondo well was capped, oyster larvae were rare or absent in many of the water samples collected across the northern Gulf of Mexico.

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There are nearly 1000 known species of foraminifera in the Gulf of Mexico. These small marine creatures form part of the base of the marine food web, serving as a food source for marine snails, sand dollars and fish. Previous research has shown that these sediment-dwelling microorganisms are sensitive to oil damage. Rapid accumulation of oiled sediment on parts of the Gulf floor between late 2010 and early 2011 contributed to a dramatic die-off of foraminifera. Researchers found a significant difference in community structure and abundance during and after the Deepwater Horizon event at sites located from 100-1200 meters deep in the Desoto Canyon, nearly 100 kilometers south-southwest of Pensacola, Florida. Deep sea foraminifera had not recovered in diversity a year and a half after the spill.

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Killifish, also known as bull minnows or cockahoe, are prized bait fish and play an important role in the Gulf food web..…This species has been extensively studied in the aftermath of the disaster because of its abundance and its sensitivity to pollution. Oil exposure can alter the killifish’s cellular function in ways that are predictive of developmental abnormalities, decreased hatching success and decreased embryo and larval survival. In 2011, Louisiana State University researchers compared the gill tissue of killifish in an oiled marsh to those in an oil-free marsh. Killifish residing in oiled marshes showed evidence of effects even at low levels of oil exposure which could be significant enough to have an impact at a population level. Additional research has found that four common species of marsh fish, including the Gulf killifish, seem to be avoiding oiled areas. These behaviors, even at small scales, could be significant within marsh communities, leading to changes in food web dynamics.

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In the aftermath of the spill, a number of fish, including red snapper, caught in Gulf waters between eastern Louisiana and western Florida had unusual lesions or rotting fins. University of South Florida researchers examined red snapper and other fish and determined that their livers contained oil compounds that had a strong “pattern coherence” to oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill.… An analysis of snapper populations in the Gulf that was done between 2011 and 2013 showed an unusual lack of younger snapper. Further research found a significant decline in snapper and other reef fish after the spill. Small plankton-eating fish, such as damselfishes and cardinalfishes, declined most dramatically but red snapper and other larger reef fish also declined.

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Seaside sparrows live only in coastal marshes, where they are common year-round residents. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill remains in some marshes, putting seaside sparrows at continued risk from direct oiling, contaminated or reduced food supplies, and continued habitat loss. In 2012 and 2013, seaside sparrows in Louisiana salt marshes were found to have reductions in both overall abundance and likelihood to fledge from the nest. Because these birds are not aquatic, exposure to oil would likely come from incidental contact on the shore or from eating oil or bugs and other creatures that have oil in their systems. Other studies have shown a significant decrease in the insect population in oiled marshes, which could be reducing prey availability for seaside sparrows.

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Roughly 700 sperm whales live year-round in the Gulf’s deep waters off the continental shelf…. A researcher at the University of Southern Maine has found higher levels of DNA-damaging metals such as chromium and nickel in sperm whales in the Gulf of Mexico compared to sperm whales elsewhere in the world. These metals are present in oil from the spill. Whales closest to the well’s blowout showed the highest levels.

Nothing has changed … indeed, the U.S. has let BP back into the Gulf.  And BP is going to drill even deeper … with an even greater potential for disaster.

It’s not just BP … or the Gulf.  Giant banking and energy companies and the government have a habit of covering up disasters – including not only oil spills, but everything from nuclear accidents to  financial problems – instead of actually fixing the problems so that they won’t happen again.

Torture Is Mainstream Now

April 14th, 2014 by David Swanson

As Rebecca Gordon notes in her new book, Mainstreaming Torture, polls find greater support in the United States for torture now than when Bush was president.  And it’s not hard to see why that would be the case.

Fifteen years ago, it was possible to pretend the U.S. government opposed torture.  Then it became widely known that the government tortured.  And it was believed (with whatever accuracy) that officials had tried to keep the torturing secret.  Next it became clear that nobody would be punished, that in fact top officials responsible for torture would be permitted to openly defend what they had done as good and noble.

The idea was spread around that the torture was stopping, but the cynical could imagine it must be continuing in secret, the partisan could suppose the halt was only temporary, the trusting could assume torture would be brought back as needed, and the attentive could be and have been aware that the government has gone right on torturing to this day with no end in sight.

Anyone who bases their morality on what their government does (or how Hollywood supports it) might be predicted to have moved in the direction of supporting torture.

Gordon’s book, like most others, speaks of torture as being largely in the past — even while admitting that it isn’t really.  “Bush administration-era policies” are acknowledged to be ongoing, and yet somehow they retain the name “Bush administration-era policies,” and discussion of their possible prosecution in a court of law does not consider the control that the current chief perpetrator has over law enforcement and his obvious preference not to see a predecessor prosecuted for something he’s doing.

President Elect Obama made clear in January 2009 that he would not allow torturers to be prosecuted and would be “looking forward” instead of (what all law enforcement outside of science fiction requires) backward.  By February 2009, reports were coming in that torture at Guantanamo was worsening rather than ceasing, and included: “beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-forcefeeding detainees who are on hunger strike.”  In April 2009 a Guantanamo prisoner phoneda media outlet to report being tortured.  As time went by the reports kept coming, as the military’s written policywould lead one to expect.

In May 2009, former vice president Dick Cheney forced into the news the fact that, even though Obama had “banned torture” by executive order (torture being a felony and a treaty violation before and after the “banning”) Obama maintained the power to use torture as needed. Cheney saidthat Obama’s continued claim of the power to torture vindicated his own (Cheney’s) authorization of torture.  David Axelrod, White House Senior Advisor, refused repeatedly, to dispute Cheney’s assertion — also supported by Leon Panetta’s confirmation hearing for CIA director, at which he said the president had the power to torture and noted that rendition would continue.  In fact, it did.  The New York Timesquickly reportedthat the U.S. was now outsourcing more torture to other countries.  The Obama administration announced a new policy on renditions that kept them in place, and a new policy on lawless permanent imprisonment that kept it in place but formalized it, mainstreamed it.  Before long Obama-era rendition victims were alleging torture.

As the Obama White House continued and sought to extend the occupation of Iraq, torture continued to be an Iraqi policy, as it has post-occupation.  It has also remained a U.S. and Afghan policy inAfghanistan, with no end in sight.  The U.S. military has continued to use the same personnel as part of its torture infrastructure.  And secret CIA torture prisons have continued to pop into the news even though the CIA was falsely said to have abandoned that practice.  While the Obama administration has claimed unprecedented powers to block civil suits against torturers, it has also used, in court, testimony produced by torture, something that used to be illegal (and still is if you go by written laws).

“Look at the current situation,” Obama said in 2013, “where we are force-feeding detainees who are being held on a hunger strike . . . Is this who we are?”  Well, it is certainly who some of us have become, including Obama, the senior authority in charge of the soldiers doing the force-feeding, and a human chameleon able to express outrage at his own policies, a trick that is perhaps more central to the mainstreaming of vicious and sadistic practices than we always care to acknowledge.

The mainstreaming of torture in U.S. policy and entertainment has stimulated a burst of torture use around the globe, even as the U.S. State Department has never stopped claiming to oppose torture when it’s engaged in by anyone other than the U.S. government.  If “Bush-era policies” is taken to refer to public relations policies, then there really is something to discuss.  The U.S. government tortured before, during, and after Bush and Cheney ran the show.  But it was during those years that people talked about it, and it is with regard to those years that people still talk about it.

As Rebecca Gordon’s book, Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States, recounts well, torture has been around.  Native Americans and enslaved African Americans were tortured.  The CIA has always tortured.  The School of the Americas has long trained torturers.  The war on Vietnam was a war of mass-murder and mass-torture.  Torture is standard practice in U.S. prisons, where the torture of Muslims began post-9-11, where some techniques originated and some prison guards came from via the National Guard who brought their torturing to an international set of victims for the Bush-Obama era.

One of Gordon’s central points, and an important one, is that torture is not an isolated incident.  Rather it is an institution, a practice, a collective endeavor that requires planning and organization.  Defenders of torture often defend a widespread practice of purely vicious evil by reference to a single imaginary incident in which it would make sense to torture someone.  Imagine, they say, that you knew for certain (as of course you would not) that many people were about to be killed unless a particular person revealed something.  Imagine you were certain (as of course you would not be) that you had found that person.  Imagine that contrary to accumulated wisdom you believed the best way to elicit the information was through torture, and that you were sure (as of course you would not be) that the information would be revealed, that it would be accurate (nobody EVER lies under torture), and that it would prevent the greater tragedy (and not just delay it or move it), with no horrible side-effects or lasting results.  Then, in that impossible scenario, wouldn’t you agree to torture the person?

And doesn’t that fantasy justify having thousands of people prepared to engage in torture even though they’ll inevitably torture in all sorts of other situations that actually exist, and even though many thousands of people will be driven to hate the nation responsible? And doesn’t it justify training a whole culture to support the maintenance of an apparatus of torture, even though uses of torture outside the fantasized scenario will spread like wildfire through local police and individual vigilantes and allied governments?

Of course not.  And that’s why I’m glad Gordon has tackled torture as a matter of ethics, although her books seems a bit weighed down by academic jargon.  I come at this as someone who got a master’s degree in philosophy, focusing on ethics, back before 9-11, back when torture was used as an example of something evil in philosophy classes.  Even then, people sometimes referred to “recreational torture,” although I never imagined they meant that any other type of torture was good, only that it was slightly less evil.  Even today, the polls that show rising — still minority — support for torture, show stronger — majority — support for murder, that is for a president going through a list of men, women, and children, picking which ones to have murdered, and having them murdered, usually with a missile from a drone — as long as nobody tortures them.

While many people would rather be tortured than killed, few people oppose the killing of others as strongly as they oppose torturing them.  In part this may be because of the difficulty of torturing for the torturers.  If foreigners or enemies are valued at little or nothing, and if killing them is easier than torturing them, then why not think of killing as “cleaner” just as the Obama administration does?  That’s one ethical question I’d like to see taken up even more than that of torture alone.  Another is the question of whether we don’t have a duty to put everything we have into opposing the evil of the whole — that being the Nuremberg phrase for war, an institution that brings with it murder, imprisonment, torture, rape, injury, trauma, hatred, and deceit.

If you are going to take on the ethics of torture alone, Mainstreaming Torture provides an excellent summary of how philosophy departments now talk about it.  First they try to decide whether to be consequentialist or deontological or virtue-based.  This is where the jargon takes over.  A consequentialist ethics is one that decides on the propriety of actions based on what their likely consequences will be.  A deontological ethics declares certain actions good or bad apart from their consequences.  And an ethics of virtues looks at the type of life created by someone who behaves in various ways, and whether that person is made more virtuous in terms of any of a long list of possible virtues.

A competition between these types of ethics quickly becomes silly, while an appreciation of them as a collection of insights proves valuable.  A consequentialist or utilitarian ethics is easily parodied and denounced, in particular because supporters of torture volunteer such arguments.  Would you torture one person to save the lives of two people?  Say yes, and you’re a simple-minded consequentialist with no soul.  But say no and you’re demonstrably evil.  The correct answer is of course that it’s a bad question.  You’ll never face such a situation, and fantasizing about it is no guide to whether your government should fund an ongoing torture program the real aim and results of which are to generate war propaganda, scare people, and consolidate power.

A careful consideration of all consequences, short- and long-term, structural and subtle, is harder to parody and tends to encompass much of what is imagined to lie outside the purview of the utilitarian simpleton (or corporate columnist).  The idea of an ethics that is not based on consequences appeals to people who want to base their ethics on obedience to a god or other such delusion, but the discussions of deontological ethicists are quite helpful nonetheless.  In identifying exactly how and why torture is as incredibly offensive as it is, these writers clarify the problem and move people against any support for torture.

The idea of an ethics based entirely on how actions impact the character of the actor is self-indulgent and arbitrary, and yet the discussion of virtues (and their opposite) is terrifically illuminating — in particular as to the level of cowardice being promoted by the policy of employing torture and any other evil practice in hopes of being kept safe.

I think these last two types of ethics, deontological and virtue — that is, ongoing discussion in their terms — have good consequences.  And I think that consequentialism and principled integrity are virtues, while engaging in consequentialism and virtue ethics lead to better deontological talk as well as fulfillment of the better imperatives declared by the deontologists.  So, the question should not be finding the proper ethical theory but finding the proper ethical behavior.  How do you get someone who opposes torturing Americans to oppose torturing human beings?  How do you get someone who wants desperately to believe that torture has in fact saved lives to look at the facts?  How do you get someone who believes that anyone who is tortured deserves it to consider the evidence, and to face the possibility that the torture is used in part to make us see certain people as evil, rather than their evilness actually preceding and justifying the torture?  How do you get Republicans loyal to Bush or Democrats loyal to Obama to put human rights above their loyalty?

As Gordon recounts, torture in reality has generated desired falsehoods to support wars, created lots of enemies rather than eliminating them, encouraged and directly trained more torturers, promoted cowardice rather than courage, degraded our ability to think of others as fully human,  perverted our ideas of justice, and trained us all to pretend not to know something is going on while silently supporting its continued practice.  None of that can help us much in any other ethical pursuit.

Seven weeks after the right-wing coup in Ukraine, evidence is mounting that the Western-backed opposition at the time was responsible for the lethal shootings in Independence Square on February 20. This was suggested by a report on the German public television programme “Monitor” last Thursday evening, and which is available online (in German).

“According to research it appears unlikely that the shots on demonstrators came exclusively from the side of the old regime,” stated a press release made available prior to the program. In its report, “Monitor” raised the question, “Did radical oppositionists end up shooting in order to produce chaos and place the blame on Yanukovitch?” The presented videos, interviews and sound recordings suggest precisely this!

“Monitor” presented an extract of radio traffic from alleged sharp-shooters of the Yanukovitch regime, who were positioned on various rooftops in the centre of Kiev on February 20. The discussion was picked up by a Ukrainian radio amateur. One of the snipers can be heard asking his colleagues, “Hey guys, they are over there, on the right of the hotel Ukrayina. Who is shooting? Our people don’t shoot at unarmed civilians.” Then he calls, “Guys, there is a sniper who is aiming at me. Who is he aiming at from the corner? Look out.” A short time later someone else says, “Someone shot him. But not us. Are there more snipers over there? And who are they?”

On other videos, activists who marched along Institutska Street on February 20, can be seen being shot not only from the front, that is, from the direction of government buildings, but also from behind. Nikola, an eyewitness who is visible on several videos, confirmed, “Yes, on the 20th [February] we were shot from behind, from the Hotel Ukrayina, from the eighth or ninth floor. People were standing up there and shooting at us and we were also shot from the other direction.”

Responding to the question as to who had shot them from the Hotel Ukrayina, he answered, “I don’t know. They were soldiers, certainly professionals.”

On the day of the shootings, the Hotel Ukrayina was firmly under the control of the opposition and was heavily guarded. Numerous witnesses, journalists and oppositionists confirmed this to “Monitor”. On the morning of February 20, the opposition even introduced entry controls. Only those with a room key or identification were allowed into the hotel. The “Monitor” reporters come to the conclusion, “Therefore it would have been very difficult for a sniper to sneak in.”

In addition, the reporters reviewed pictures from Russian television, which allegedly show armed oppositionists firing at demonstrators. “Precisely who is shooting at whom is not possible to confirm,” However, it was determined that “the recording was definitely made in the Hotel Ukrayina.” It was also confirmed that “not only oppositionists, but also the government militias were shot at. And perhaps this was also by the same people.”

A doctor, who treated victims on both sides, confirmed this in an interview. “The injured who we treated had the same type of bullet wounds. I’m speaking about the type of bullets we took out of the bodies in operations. They were identical. I can’t say any more”, he stated.

The explosive report concurs with the intercepted telephone call between Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet and the foreign policy head of the EU, Catherine Ashton, at the beginning of March. Paet also based himself on information from doctors and stated that “the same snipers shot people on both sides.” He warned that “the conclusion that not Yanukovitch, but members of the new coalition were behind the shootings is increasingly reinforced.”

Since then, the transitional government in Kiev and its Western allies have desperately sought to cover up the true course of events. Only last week, Ukrainian general state prosecutor Oleg Machnizki of the fascist Svoboda, arrested 12 members of the now dissolved special Berkut unit and presented them as the main suspects in the shootings.

“Monitor” cites a high-ranking member of the investigative committee, who calls the version of events from the state prosecutor into doubt. “My investigation results do not agree with those presented by the state prosecutor at the press conference,” said the investigator, who wished to remain anonymous, in an interview.

A lawyer for the victims suggested that the entire investigation was a deliberate ploy by the transitional government to bury their own crimes. “None of us are getting any information on the investigation”, he complained. “And if you ask me, there is one simple reason for this: it is not being investigated properly. As a lawyer of the victims I am saying to you that the state prosecutor is not investigating properly. They are covering for their own people. They are partisan as before.”

The European powers, led by Germany, are on a confrontation course with Russia. They are pursuing not only foreign, but also domestic political aims.

The instigation of a crisis and confrontation with Moscow is aimed at unifying a divided European Union and silencing all social opposition. Previously, the identity of the EU was grounded on economic issues, such as the free movement of capital and goods and the common currency. In future, the struggle against a common enemy will replace economics as the basis of the EU’s internal cohesion.

A number of editorials in the German press have spelled this out. The Brussels correspondent of Der Spiegel, Gregor Peter Schmitz, writing on March 20 under the title “Europes Great Opportunity,” said, “As sad as the Crimean crisis is in many respects, it also offers an historic opportunity: To unite a stronger Europe.”

Green Party leader and foreign minister Joschka Fischer stated approvingly in a commentary for the Süddeutsche Zeitung on March 30 that the conflict with Moscow reminded Europeans that “the EU is not merely an economic community, but a political actor” whose “strategic interests” had “powerfully reemerged.”

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag (parliament), Norbert Röttgen, explained in the Financial Times of March 20: “But this conflict is not merely about Crimea or Ukraine… While we often struggled to speak with one voice in the past, the conflict with Russia is forcing Europeans to close ranks. It might become a catalyst for a common foreign and security policy.”

In turning to an aggressive foreign and military policy, the ruling elite is responding to a profound crisis of European capitalism. All of the attempts to unite Europe economically and socially have failed. The austerity measures with which Brussels and Berlin reacted to the 2008 financial crisis have exacerbated the conflicts between EU members and vastly intensified class antagonisms.

Social relations are strained to the breaking point. Within the EU, there are officially more than 26 million unemployed, corresponding to a rate of 11 percent. There is abject poverty in many regions, especially in the Eastern European countries that were incorporated into the EU 10 years ago and in the countries that have had to submit to the austerity programmes dictated by the EU and the International Monetary Fund. But even in supposedly rich Germany, one in three employees is deemed to be working under precarious conditions and 6 million people depend on welfare benefits.

More and more people are turning against the EU and see it for what it is—a tool of the most powerful banks and corporations, directed against working people and creating the conditions not for the progressive unification of Europe, but for the intensification of nationalist conflicts. Parties that oppose the EU are expected to garner record-high votes in next month’s European elections.

Under these circumstances, the war propaganda against Russia serves to divert internal tensions by projecting them outward against an external enemy. This applies especially to Eastern Europe, where corrupt politicians have long exploited Russo-phobia as a means of securing their rule.

The German government, which long sought a cooperative relationship with Moscow, has now embarked upon an anti-Russian course. It considers an aggressive policy towards Russia an appropriate means of welding the EU together and asserting German dominance in Europe. It is implementing in practice its proclamation in February of an end to the “policy of military restraint” and the adoption of a new policy based on “contributing to foreign and security policy earlier, more resolutely and more substantially.”

Germany is prepared to employ every means to this end. NATO has begun to move aircraft, ships and troops toward the Russian border and carry out military manoeuvres.

In Ukraine, the right-wing nationalist and fascist forces brought to power with the support of the West have created such an explosive situation that the smallest incident can escalate into a wider conflict or war. In their efforts to integrate Ukraine into the NATO sphere of influence and isolate Russia, the German government and its allies are willing to countenance the risk of nuclear war.

Their intervention in Ukraine has a further purpose. By collaborating with fascist parties and militia groups, they have created a precedent for all of Europe.

For a long time, among the established parties (officially, at least) the rule was that you did not cooperate with parties that defended the Nazis and their war crimes or spread anti-Semitism. The Svoboda party clearly falls into this category.

But over the past several months, high-level European and American officials have met with Svoboda leader Oleh Tyahnybok and collaborated closely with his organization. Tyahnybok’s anti-Semitic tirades are documented and can be viewed on YouTube. Svoboda’s hero, Stepan Bandera, was a Nazi collaborator, responsible for the mass murder of Jews and Communists. Bandera remained a staunch defender of Mussolini until his death in 1959 in Munich.

What applies to Svoboda applies even more to fascist militia groups such as the Right Sector, on whose services the Western powers relied to drive out the elected Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Not only fascists, but also known criminal elements are to be found in the ranks of the Right Sector.

Cooperation with Svoboda and the Right Sector has opened the door to using such forces against the working class in other European countries. The preparations for this are well advanced.

Panayiotis Baltakos, a close associate of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, had to resign a few days ago after a video emerged showing his close and friendly relations with the fascist Golden Dawn organization. In France, President Hollande has appointed Manuel Valls as head of government, knowing full well that Valls’ neo-liberal and anti-immigrant politics will give a further boost to the neo-fascist National Front of Marine Le Pen. In Hungary, the fascist Jobbik party has just won more than a fifth of the vote, having been systematically promoted by the ruling party, Fidesz.

European leaders can go down this route because none of the establishment parties opposes them. The official “left” parties and the pseudo-left groups that operate in their orbits support the war policy and collaboration with Ukrainian fascists. They glorify the fascist-led coup in Kiev as a “democratic revolution” and portray Russia as the “aggressor.” The German Left Party has responded to the revival of German militarism by endorsing for the first time the deployment of the Bundeswehr (armed forces) outside Germany, with five of its members of parliament voting to support a deployment in the Mediterranean.

Only the unification of Europe on a socialist basis can prevent the relapse of the continent into nationalism and war.

At least two people have been killed in the town of Kafr Zita in Syria’s central province of Hama in what appears to be a chemical attack.

Syrian television said on Saturday that more than 100 people were also injured in the attack carried out by militants from al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front on Friday.

The chemical agent used is believed to have been toxic liquid chlorine.

“There is information that the terrorist al-Nusra Front released toxic chorine…leading to the death of two people and causing more than 100 people to suffer from suffocation,” State TV said, adding, “There is information that al-Nusra Front is preparing to hit Wadi Deif in Idlib Province and Morek in Hama Province with toxic chorine or sarin.”

On August 21, 2013, hundreds of Syrians were killed and scores of others were injured in a chemical attack on militant strongholds in the suburbs of the capital, Damascus.

The militants operating inside Syria and the foreign-backed Syrian opposition accused the army of being behind the deadly attack.

Damascus, however, vehemently denied the accusations, saying the attack was carried out by the militants themselves as a false-flag operation.

Following the chemical attack, US stepped up its war rhetoric against the Syrian government and called for punitive military action against Damascus.

The Syrian government averted possible US aggression by accepting a Russian plan to put its chemical arsenal under international control and then have them destroyed.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.

On March 21, crossing the Turkish border at Yayladagi, over 1500 mercenaries affiliated with Al-Qaeda attacked the Syrian town of Kassab, which is predominantly populated by Armenians in the province of Latakia. As the armed opposition groups overran the town, most of the residents were forced to flee, taking refuge in the nearby city, Latakia. Three groups were behind the attack: Jabhat al-Nusrah, an Al-Qaeda off-shoot in Syria, Suqour All-Izz brigade of ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), an Al-Qaeda splinter group and Ahrar ash-Sham. Reports indicate that the Turkish military was providing support from the Turkish side of the border to these groups by artillery, tank and missile fire directed at the Syrian Arab Army fighting the opposition groups. There are also claims that members of Turkish special forces were fighting alongside the mercenaries, helping direct the artillery. After visiting the Turkish-Syrian border area in Yayladagi, Mehmed Ali Ediboglu, a deputy of the Turkish parliament and a member of the main opposition party CHP, stated that the Turkish military was helping the mercenaries cross the border to and from Syria.

Turkish Air Force shoots down Syrian jet

On March 23, as the fighting continued between the terrorist groups and Syrian Arab Army which intervened to defend the city, the Turkish Air Force shot down a Syrian jet which was engaging terrorists within Syrian territory. After the incident, speaking at an election campaign rally, with his usual arrogant, war-mongering attitude, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the incident to deflect the public attention from the ongoing corruption scandals surrounding his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. He told his supporters: “Our F-16s went up in the air and shot that plane down. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, then from now on, our slap will be hard.”

Contrary to Erdogan’s claim that Turkish airspace had been violated, the Syrian pilot who survived by bailing out from the plane stated that he was carrying out a mission of pursuing terrorists within Syrian territory, more than 7 kilometers from the border, when his plane was hit by a missile fired from a Turkish jet. In a statement released by the Syrian government, the attack was described as unprecedented and unjustifiable, a proof of Turkey’s involvement in the events in Syria from the beginning.
The downing of the Syrian jet by NATO member Turkey is only the last one of many provocations by the AKP government in an attempt to drag Turkey into war with Syria. The Kassab assault is a recent example of how the Turkish border with Syria has served as a shelter and staging area for these groups to launch attacks against Syrian civilians and government forces.

Protests in Turkey and around the world denounce the AKP-backed attack in Kassab

On March 25, a protest was held in Hatay, a Turkish town on the Syrian border, denouncing the AKP-backed attack in Kassab, the ongoing AKP aggression towards the people of Syria and provocation for war. Attended by people of both Turkish and Arabic origin, some of the slogans in the protest read “Evil Tayyip!” “Murderer U.S., collaborator AKP!” Protesters also staged a sit-in to block the paths of ambulances that were carrying Al-Qaeda militants wounded in the fighting in Kassab. In a statement read, it was said, “The scent of blood has now reached our homes. The people who are being killed over there are our brothers. This is not an issue of Sunni and Alawite.”

In Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, a protest was held in front of the UN office, demanding an end to persecution of ethnic minorities in Syria. Karen Andreassian, human rights ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia, issued a message to the human rights organizations around the world calling on them to end the human rights violations by Turkey.
Demonstrations in Paris were also held in front of the Turkish Embassy. The protestors demanded an end to the aggression against the Armenians in Kassab, shouting “Erdogan, Al-Qaeda terrorists!”

Syria and Russia denounce attack on Kassab while UN silent

Russia denounced the Turkish, western and Gulf Arab backed war on Syria and the recent killing and ethnic cleansing of Armenian Syrians in Kassab.  A statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry on April 1 said:  “Moscow strongly denounces the barbaric acts of extremists in Syria expressing belief that the mission of coordinating efforts of the Syrian government and opposition to overcome terrorism and expel terrorist from the country during the current conditions acquire special importance.”

Implying the role of the AKP government in supporting terrorism in Syria, the Russian delegation to the UN reported that the UN Security Council had refused to take a stand on the attack perpetrated against Kassab, thereby unveiling the support of several of its members for the actions of Al-Qaeda.

Condemning the UN’s hypocritical silence on the terrorist violence against the people of Syria, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said: “The massacres of Erdogan government-backed terrorist groups against the residents of Kassab town are still a living example that appeals to every UN official to feel ashamed of having turned into a tool for supporting terrorism”

It is no surprise that the UN keeps ignoring the dirty role played by NATO member Turkey in providing shelter, funding and arms to the terrorist groups fighting against the Syrian government since the start of the conflict. After all, the UN is an organization whose agenda is ultimately driven by U.S. imperialism. The aim of U.S. imperialist diplomacy is obviously not to achieve peace but regime change in Syria by any means possible.

Turkish diplomat admits Al-Qaeda behind Reyhanli bombing in Turkey, exposing AKP’s lies

At the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on March 27, Turkey’s Ambassador Tacan Ildem admitted that the bombing in Reyhanli, Turkey that took place in May 2013, taking the lives of at least 53 people and wounding 143 was carried out by Al-Qaeda.  Until this time, the AKP government had been accusing the Syrian government of the attack.

The Turkish diplomat was responding to a commentary by the Armenian Ambassador Arman Kirakossian who pointed to the role Turkey has played in the attack in Kassab by supporting Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist groups. Kirakossian called on Turkey to take immediate and effective measures to prevent the use of its territory by terrorist groups to conduct attacks on Kassab. In an effort to deny the allegations against Turkey and to show that Turkey was also coming under attack by Al-Qaeda, the Turkish diplomat ended up admitting Al-Qaeda’s involvement in Reyhanli bombing. “Al-Qaeda elements operating from Syria carried out the attack” were his words.

Until now, AKP had claimed that the Syrian government was behind the bombing. Right after the bombing in May 2013, the Syrian government’s proposal to Turkey to hold a joint investigation into the attack had haughtily been rejected by Erdogan on his way to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Hours after the attack, 13 Turkish citizens allegedly belonging to Acilciler a Marxist group that has been defunct for 30 years, were arrested in connection with the bombing. AKP claimed that Acilciler was collaborating with the Syrian government.

The Syrian government denied any involvement and accused Erdogan of “fabricating evidence” in order to derail the latest U.S.-Russian peace plan and to spark an international intervention ahead of his meeting with Obama.

Leaked tape reveals Turkish officials planning a “false-flag” operation to attack Syria

On March 29, on the eve of the local elections in Turkey, an audio recording of Turkish officials was leaked on YouTube. This exposed for everyone to see that the AKP government will stop at nothing in order to drag Turkey into open war with Syria in the proxy war led by U.S. imperialism.

In a dialogue that took place on March 13 between Ahmet Davutoglu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hakan Fidan, the head of the Turkish Intelligence, Yasar Guler, Deputy Chief of Military and Feridun Siniroglu, undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Turkish officials discuss plans for a “false-flag” operation, a staged attack against the Tomb of Suleiman Shah, a piece of sovereign Turkish territory in Syria under the control of Turkish forces, in order to set the pretext for a military intervention.

The conversation also undeniably reveals that the AKP government is a direct supporter of terrorism in Syria, having shipped arms to the terrorist groups fighting in Syria (2,000 trucks of weapons and ammunition) and that members of the Turkish armed forces have already been deployed in Syria to support these groups.

A full English transcript of the recording can be found here.

Speaking at a campaign rally, the Turkish Prime Minister said: “They even leaked a national security meeting, this is villainous, this is dishonesty…” Speaking to reporters, Foreign Minister Davutoglu said, “A cyber-attack has been carried out against the Turkish Republic, our state and our valued nation. This is a clear declaration of war against the Turkish state and our nation.”

By these statements, AKP officials have essentially admitted that the recordings were authentic. The AKP government quickly censored the recording by banning access to YouTube.

The Turkish and international mainstream media chose to focus on how YouTube was banned by the prime minister, avoiding the content of the dialogue captured in the recording. Most of the coverage by the news outlets glossed over the content of the tape as “plans for Turkish intervention in Syria,” shamelessly hiding the true nature of the dialogue’s content: an undisputable violation of international law as well as evidence of war crimes by the AKP government against the people of Syria.

It is not easy to pinpoint who leaked the tapes. It could be U.S. intelligence in an attempt to rein in an out of control Turkish prime minister who is ready to do anything to hold onto power as his government is haunted by recent corruption scandals and the popular uprising of June 2013.

The tapes could also have been leaked by Russia in order to stop the AKP in its tracks heading for open war with Syria.

US imperialism is split on how to deal with the current situation in Syria

As the Syrian conflict is nearing its fourth year, the Syrian government has gained the clear upper hand against the NATO backed opposition groups and is likely within a year of final victory. The U.S. ruling class is split on how to approach the current situation in Syria. While the more hawkish Secretary of State John Kerry and Samantha Power, the U.S ambassador to the U.N advocate direct military intervention, the Pentagon camp led by Minister of Defense Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff push back against a direct military intervention pointing to the risk of an open-ended foreign entanglement. Both sides however agree on the need to expand the arms and training support given to the groups fighting in Syria.

Was AKP behind the chemical attack in Ghouta last year?

In a report published on April 6, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claimed that the chemical attack on August 21, 2013 that took place in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, was carried out by the opposition groups controlled by the AKP government of Erdogan in an effort to set the stage for a NATO led attack on Syria. Soon after the incident, the U.S. government started beating the war drums for an all-out attack on Syria, blaming the Syrian government for the attack which had killed hundreds. The mainstream media delivered to the U.S. public the usual propaganda necessary for setting up the public hysteria for war. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the United Nations to act decisively adding that “all red lines” had been crossed and that the U.N. “can’t assume an indecisive attitude about chemical weapon attacks in Syria”.

According to Hersh’s article, while the U.S. President Obama was busy finalizing with the Pentagon the plans for a massive attack in Syria, U. S. intelligence was having serious doubts as to whether the Syrian government was really behind the attack. Their doubts increased after the findings of British intelligence were made available. Having obtained a sample of the Sarin gas used in the attack, the British analysis proved that the gas used in the attack didn’t match the batches in Syrian Army’s chemical weapons arsenal. According to the same report which cites various U.S. military and intelligence officials, the belief by the U.S. officials that the Turkish government was behind the gas attack in Ghouta resulted in the cancelation of the U.S. strike at the very last minute.

Turkey’s link to the chemical attack in Ghouta can be traced back to an incident that took place in Turkey in May of the same year. On May 30, after a search carried out by the Turkish Security forces in the Turkish city of Adana which is close to the Syrian border, Sarin gas was found in the homes of Syrian militants from the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra front. Five militants were detained. The government and the mainstream media quietly dropped the whole issue in a few days and the militants were quietly released. Details on the events that led to the chemical attack in Ghouta and the AKP’s potential role in planning the chemical attack in Ghouta can be found in this article published by the Turkish daily soL in August 2013.

Syria’s UN Ambassador warns of armed gangs in Syria planning to stage a chemical attack in Damascus

Eerily reminiscent of the Ghouta attack, on March 27, Syria’s ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, wrote a letter addressed to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council, warning that armed groups in Syria were conspiring to stage another chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus. According to the letter which was published on the UN web site , the Syrian authorities intercepted wireless communications confirming that there were plans to use toxic gas in the Jawbar quarter and other areas in Damascus with the aim of accusing the Syrian government afterwards.

US imperialism and its lackeys in the region: The common enemy of the people

The recent Kassab assault that displaced hundreds of Armenians from their homes, the Al-Qaeda bombing in Reyhanli that killed over 50 and wounded hundreds of Turkish, the chemical attack in Ghouta, Syria that killed over 400 Syrians and the recent leaked recording of Turkish officials planning a “false-flag” attack are clear evidence of the horrendous war crimes committed by U.S. imperialism, its junior partners in the region, like the AKP government of Turkey as well as their henchmen on the ground in Syria: the armed opposition groups.  The people of Syria as well as other peoples in the region have suffered immensely at the hands of all these criminals. These crimes should serve as a reminder to all the peoples in the region that whether they are Arab, Armenian, Turkish or Kurdish, their enemy is common: U.S. imperialism and its lackeys in the region.

On March 21, crossing the Turkish border at Yayladagi, over 1500 mercenaries affiliated with Al-Qaeda attacked the Syrian town of Kassab, which is predominantly populated by Armenians in the province of Latakia. As the armed opposition groups overran the town, most of the residents were forced to flee, taking refuge in the nearby city, Latakia. Three groups were behind the attack: Jabhat al-Nusrah, an Al-Qaeda off-shoot in Syria, Suqour All-Izz brigade of ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), an Al-Qaeda splinter group and Ahrar ash-Sham. Reports indicate that the Turkish military was providing support from the Turkish side of the border to these groups by artillery, tank and missile fire directed at the Syrian Arab Army fighting the opposition groups. There are also claims that members of Turkish special forces were fighting alongside the mercenaries, helping direct the artillery. After visiting the Turkish-Syrian border area in Yayladagi, Mehmed Ali Ediboglu, a deputy of the Turkish parliament and a member of the main opposition party CHP, stated that the Turkish military was helping the mercenaries cross the border to and from Syria.

Turkish Air Force shoots down Syrian jet

On March 23, as the fighting continued between the terrorist groups and Syrian Arab Army which intervened to defend the city, the Turkish Air Force shot down a Syrian jet which was engaging terrorists within Syrian territory. After the incident, speaking at an election campaign rally, with his usual arrogant, war-mongering attitude, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the incident to deflect the public attention from the ongoing corruption scandals surrounding his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. He told his supporters: “Our F-16s went up in the air and shot that plane down. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, then from now on, our slap will be hard.”

Contrary to Erdogan’s claim that Turkish airspace had been violated, the Syrian pilot who survived by bailing out from the plane stated that he was carrying out a mission of pursuing terrorists within Syrian territory, more than 7 kilometers from the border, when his plane was hit by a missile fired from a Turkish jet. In a statement released by the Syrian government, the attack was described as unprecedented and unjustifiable, a proof of Turkey’s involvement in the events in Syria from the beginning.
The downing of the Syrian jet by NATO member Turkey is only the last one of many provocations by the AKP government in an attempt to drag Turkey into war with Syria. The Kassab assault is a recent example of how the Turkish border with Syria has served as a shelter and staging area for these groups to launch attacks against Syrian civilians and government forces.

Protests in Turkey and around the world denounce the AKP-backed attack in Kassab

On March 25, a protest was held in Hatay, a Turkish town on the Syrian border, denouncing the AKP-backed attack in Kassab, the ongoing AKP aggression towards the people of Syria and provocation for war. Attended by people of both Turkish and Arabic origin, some of the slogans in the protest read “Evil Tayyip!” “Murderer U.S., collaborator AKP!” Protesters also staged a sit-in to block the paths of ambulances that were carrying Al-Qaeda militants wounded in the fighting in Kassab. In a statement read, it was said, “The scent of blood has now reached our homes. The people who are being killed over there are our brothers. This is not an issue of Sunni and Alawite.”

In Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, a protest was held in front of the UN office, demanding an end to persecution of ethnic minorities in Syria. Karen Andreassian, human rights ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia, issued a message to the human rights organizations around the world calling on them to end the human rights violations by Turkey.
Demonstrations in Paris were also held in front of the Turkish Embassy. The protestors demanded an end to the aggression against the Armenians in Kassab, shouting “Erdogan, Al-Qaeda terrorists!”

Syria and Russia denounce attack on Kassab while UN silent

Russia denounced the Turkish, western and Gulf Arab backed war on Syria and the recent killing and ethnic cleansing of Armenian Syrians in Kassab.  A statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry on April 1 said:  “Moscow strongly denounces the barbaric acts of extremists in Syria expressing belief that the mission of coordinating efforts of the Syrian government and opposition to overcome terrorism and expel terrorist from the country during the current conditions acquire special importance.”

Implying the role of the AKP government in supporting terrorism in Syria, the Russian delegation to the UN reported that the UN Security Council had refused to take a stand on the attack perpetrated against Kassab, thereby unveiling the support of several of its members for the actions of Al-Qaeda.

Condemning the UN’s hypocritical silence on the terrorist violence against the people of Syria, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said: “The massacres of Erdogan government-backed terrorist groups against the residents of Kassab town are still a living example that appeals to every UN official to feel ashamed of having turned into a tool for supporting terrorism”

It is no surprise that the UN keeps ignoring the dirty role played by NATO member Turkey in providing shelter, funding and arms to the terrorist groups fighting against the Syrian government since the start of the conflict. After all, the UN is an organization whose agenda is ultimately driven by U.S. imperialism. The aim of U.S. imperialist diplomacy is obviously not to achieve peace but regime change in Syria by any means possible.

Turkish diplomat admits Al-Qaeda behind Reyhanli bombing in Turkey, exposing AKP’s lies

At the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on March 27, Turkey’s Ambassador Tacan Ildem admitted that the bombing in Reyhanli, Turkey that took place in May 2013, taking the lives of at least 53 people and wounding 143 was carried out by Al-Qaeda.  Until this time, the AKP government had been accusing the Syrian government of the attack.

The Turkish diplomat was responding to a commentary by the Armenian Ambassador Arman Kirakossian who pointed to the role Turkey has played in the attack in Kassab by supporting Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist groups. Kirakossian called on Turkey to take immediate and effective measures to prevent the use of its territory by terrorist groups to conduct attacks on Kassab. In an effort to deny the allegations against Turkey and to show that Turkey was also coming under attack by Al-Qaeda, the Turkish diplomat ended up admitting Al-Qaeda’s involvement in Reyhanli bombing. “Al-Qaeda elements operating from Syria carried out the attack” were his words.

Until now, AKP had claimed that the Syrian government was behind the bombing. Right after the bombing in May 2013, the Syrian government’s proposal to Turkey to hold a joint investigation into the attack had haughtily been rejected by Erdogan on his way to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Hours after the attack, 13 Turkish citizens allegedly belonging to Acilciler a Marxist group that has been defunct for 30 years, were arrested in connection with the bombing. AKP claimed that Acilciler was collaborating with the Syrian government.

The Syrian government denied any involvement and accused Erdogan of “fabricating evidence” in order to derail the latest U.S.-Russian peace plan and to spark an international intervention ahead of his meeting with Obama.

Leaked tape reveals Turkish officials planning a “false-flag” operation to attack Syria

On March 29, on the eve of the local elections in Turkey, an audio recording of Turkish officials was leaked on YouTube. This exposed for everyone to see that the AKP government will stop at nothing in order to drag Turkey into open war with Syria in the proxy war led by U.S. imperialism.

In a dialogue that took place on March 13 between Ahmet Davutoglu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hakan Fidan, the head of the Turkish Intelligence, Yasar Guler, Deputy Chief of Military and Feridun Siniroglu, undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Turkish officials discuss plans for a “false-flag” operation, a staged attack against the Tomb of Suleiman Shah, a piece of sovereign Turkish territory in Syria under the control of Turkish forces, in order to set the pretext for a military intervention.

The conversation also undeniably reveals that the AKP government is a direct supporter of terrorism in Syria, having shipped arms to the terrorist groups fighting in Syria (2,000 trucks of weapons and ammunition) and that members of the Turkish armed forces have already been deployed in Syria to support these groups.

A full English transcript of the recording can be found here.

Speaking at a campaign rally, the Turkish Prime Minister said: “They even leaked a national security meeting, this is villainous, this is dishonesty…” Speaking to reporters, Foreign Minister Davutoglu said, “A cyber-attack has been carried out against the Turkish Republic, our state and our valued nation. This is a clear declaration of war against the Turkish state and our nation.”

By these statements, AKP officials have essentially admitted that the recordings were authentic. The AKP government quickly censored the recording by banning access to YouTube.

The Turkish and international mainstream media chose to focus on how YouTube was banned by the prime minister, avoiding the content of the dialogue captured in the recording. Most of the coverage by the news outlets glossed over the content of the tape as “plans for Turkish intervention in Syria,” shamelessly hiding the true nature of the dialogue’s content: an undisputable violation of international law as well as evidence of war crimes by the AKP government against the people of Syria.

It is not easy to pinpoint who leaked the tapes. It could be U.S. intelligence in an attempt to rein in an out of control Turkish prime minister who is ready to do anything to hold onto power as his government is haunted by recent corruption scandals and the popular uprising of June 2013.

The tapes could also have been leaked by Russia in order to stop the AKP in its tracks heading for open war with Syria.

US imperialism is split on how to deal with the current situation in Syria

As the Syrian conflict is nearing its fourth year, the Syrian government has gained the clear upper hand against the NATO backed opposition groups and is likely within a year of final victory. The U.S. ruling class is split on how to approach the current situation in Syria. While the more hawkish Secretary of State John Kerry and Samantha Power, the U.S ambassador to the U.N advocate direct military intervention, the Pentagon camp led by Minister of Defense Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff push back against a direct military intervention pointing to the risk of an open-ended foreign entanglement. Both sides however agree on the need to expand the arms and training support given to the groups fighting in Syria.

Was AKP behind the chemical attack in Ghouta last year?

In a report published on April 6, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claimed that the chemical attack on August 21, 2013 that took place in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, was carried out by the opposition groups controlled by the AKP government of Erdogan in an effort to set the stage for a NATO led attack on Syria. Soon after the incident, the U.S. government started beating the war drums for an all-out attack on Syria, blaming the Syrian government for the attack which had killed hundreds. The mainstream media delivered to the U.S. public the usual propaganda necessary for setting up the public hysteria for war. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the United Nations to act decisively adding that “all red lines” had been crossed and that the U.N. “can’t assume an indecisive attitude about chemical weapon attacks in Syria”.

According to Hersh’s article, while the U.S. President Obama was busy finalizing with the Pentagon the plans for a massive attack in Syria, U. S. intelligence was having serious doubts as to whether the Syrian government was really behind the attack. Their doubts increased after the findings of British intelligence were made available. Having obtained a sample of the Sarin gas used in the attack, the British analysis proved that the gas used in the attack didn’t match the batches in Syrian Army’s chemical weapons arsenal. According to the same report which cites various U.S. military and intelligence officials, the belief by the U.S. officials that the Turkish government was behind the gas attack in Ghouta resulted in the cancelation of the U.S. strike at the very last minute.

Turkey’s link to the chemical attack in Ghouta can be traced back to an incident that took place in Turkey in May of the same year. On May 30, after a search carried out by the Turkish Security forces in the Turkish city of Adana which is close to the Syrian border, Sarin gas was found in the homes of Syrian militants from the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra front. Five militants were detained. The government and the mainstream media quietly dropped the whole issue in a few days and the militants were quietly released. Details on the events that led to the chemical attack in Ghouta and the AKP’s potential role in planning the chemical attack in Ghouta can be found in this article published by the Turkish daily soL in August 2013.

Syria’s UN Ambassador warns of armed gangs in Syria planning to stage a chemical attack in Damascus

Eerily reminiscent of the Ghouta attack, on March 27, Syria’s ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, wrote a letter addressed to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council, warning that armed groups in Syria were conspiring to stage another chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus. According to the letter which was published on the UN web site , the Syrian authorities intercepted wireless communications confirming that there were plans to use toxic gas in the Jawbar quarter and other areas in Damascus with the aim of accusing the Syrian government afterwards.

US imperialism and its lackeys in the region: The common enemy of the people

The recent Kassab assault that displaced hundreds of Armenians from their homes, the Al-Qaeda bombing in Reyhanli that killed over 50 and wounded hundreds of Turkish, the chemical attack in Ghouta, Syria that killed over 400 Syrians and the recent leaked recording of Turkish officials planning a “false-flag” attack are clear evidence of the horrendous war crimes committed by U.S. imperialism, its junior partners in the region, like the AKP government of Turkey as well as their henchmen on the ground in Syria: the armed opposition groups.  The people of Syria as well as other peoples in the region have suffered immensely at the hands of all these criminals. These crimes should serve as a reminder to all the peoples in the region that whether they are Arab, Armenian, Turkish or Kurdish, their enemy is common: U.S. imperialism and its lackeys in the region.

On March 21, crossing the Turkish border at Yayladagi, over 1500 mercenaries affiliated with Al-Qaeda attacked the Syrian town of Kassab, which is predominantly populated by Armenians in the province of Latakia. As the armed opposition groups overran the town, most of the residents were forced to flee, taking refuge in the nearby city, Latakia. Three groups were behind the attack: Jabhat al-Nusrah, an Al-Qaeda off-shoot in Syria, Suqour All-Izz brigade of ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), an Al-Qaeda splinter group and Ahrar ash-Sham. Reports indicate that the Turkish military was providing support from the Turkish side of the border to these groups by artillery, tank and missile fire directed at the Syrian Arab Army fighting the opposition groups. There are also claims that members of Turkish special forces were fighting alongside the mercenaries, helping direct the artillery. After visiting the Turkish-Syrian border area in Yayladagi, Mehmed Ali Ediboglu, a deputy of the Turkish parliament and a member of the main opposition party CHP, stated that the Turkish military was helping the mercenaries cross the border to and from Syria.

Turkish Air Force shoots down Syrian jet

On March 23, as the fighting continued between the terrorist groups and Syrian Arab Army which intervened to defend the city, the Turkish Air Force shot down a Syrian jet which was engaging terrorists within Syrian territory. After the incident, speaking at an election campaign rally, with his usual arrogant, war-mongering attitude, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan used the incident to deflect the public attention from the ongoing corruption scandals surrounding his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. He told his supporters: “Our F-16s went up in the air and shot that plane down. Why? Because if you violate my airspace, then from now on, our slap will be hard.”

Contrary to Erdogan’s claim that Turkish airspace had been violated, the Syrian pilot who survived by bailing out from the plane stated that he was carrying out a mission of pursuing terrorists within Syrian territory, more than 7 kilometers from the border, when his plane was hit by a missile fired from a Turkish jet. In a statement released by the Syrian government, the attack was described as unprecedented and unjustifiable, a proof of Turkey’s involvement in the events in Syria from the beginning.
The downing of the Syrian jet by NATO member Turkey is only the last one of many provocations by the AKP government in an attempt to drag Turkey into war with Syria. The Kassab assault is a recent example of how the Turkish border with Syria has served as a shelter and staging area for these groups to launch attacks against Syrian civilians and government forces.

Protests in Turkey and around the world denounce the AKP-backed attack in Kassab

On March 25, a protest was held in Hatay, a Turkish town on the Syrian border, denouncing the AKP-backed attack in Kassab, the ongoing AKP aggression towards the people of Syria and provocation for war. Attended by people of both Turkish and Arabic origin, some of the slogans in the protest read “Evil Tayyip!” “Murderer U.S., collaborator AKP!” Protesters also staged a sit-in to block the paths of ambulances that were carrying Al-Qaeda militants wounded in the fighting in Kassab. In a statement read, it was said, “The scent of blood has now reached our homes. The people who are being killed over there are our brothers. This is not an issue of Sunni and Alawite.”

In Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, a protest was held in front of the UN office, demanding an end to persecution of ethnic minorities in Syria. Karen Andreassian, human rights ombudsman of the Republic of Armenia, issued a message to the human rights organizations around the world calling on them to end the human rights violations by Turkey.
Demonstrations in Paris were also held in front of the Turkish Embassy. The protestors demanded an end to the aggression against the Armenians in Kassab, shouting “Erdogan, Al-Qaeda terrorists!”

Syria and Russia denounce attack on Kassab while UN silent

Russia denounced the Turkish, western and Gulf Arab backed war on Syria and the recent killing and ethnic cleansing of Armenian Syrians in Kassab.  A statement released by the Russian Foreign Ministry on April 1 said:  “Moscow strongly denounces the barbaric acts of extremists in Syria expressing belief that the mission of coordinating efforts of the Syrian government and opposition to overcome terrorism and expel terrorist from the country during the current conditions acquire special importance.”

Implying the role of the AKP government in supporting terrorism in Syria, the Russian delegation to the UN reported that the UN Security Council had refused to take a stand on the attack perpetrated against Kassab, thereby unveiling the support of several of its members for the actions of Al-Qaeda.

Condemning the UN’s hypocritical silence on the terrorist violence against the people of Syria, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said: “The massacres of Erdogan government-backed terrorist groups against the residents of Kassab town are still a living example that appeals to every UN official to feel ashamed of having turned into a tool for supporting terrorism”

It is no surprise that the UN keeps ignoring the dirty role played by NATO member Turkey in providing shelter, funding and arms to the terrorist groups fighting against the Syrian government since the start of the conflict. After all, the UN is an organization whose agenda is ultimately driven by U.S. imperialism. The aim of U.S. imperialist diplomacy is obviously not to achieve peace but regime change in Syria by any means possible.

Turkish diplomat admits Al-Qaeda behind Reyhanli bombing in Turkey, exposing AKP’s lies

At the meeting of the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on March 27, Turkey’s Ambassador Tacan Ildem admitted that the bombing in Reyhanli, Turkey that took place in May 2013, taking the lives of at least 53 people and wounding 143 was carried out by Al-Qaeda.  Until this time, the AKP government had been accusing the Syrian government of the attack.

The Turkish diplomat was responding to a commentary by the Armenian Ambassador Arman Kirakossian who pointed to the role Turkey has played in the attack in Kassab by supporting Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist groups. Kirakossian called on Turkey to take immediate and effective measures to prevent the use of its territory by terrorist groups to conduct attacks on Kassab. In an effort to deny the allegations against Turkey and to show that Turkey was also coming under attack by Al-Qaeda, the Turkish diplomat ended up admitting Al-Qaeda’s involvement in Reyhanli bombing. “Al-Qaeda elements operating from Syria carried out the attack” were his words.

Until now, AKP had claimed that the Syrian government was behind the bombing. Right after the bombing in May 2013, the Syrian government’s proposal to Turkey to hold a joint investigation into the attack had haughtily been rejected by Erdogan on his way to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama.

Hours after the attack, 13 Turkish citizens allegedly belonging to Acilciler a Marxist group that has been defunct for 30 years, were arrested in connection with the bombing. AKP claimed that Acilciler was collaborating with the Syrian government.

The Syrian government denied any involvement and accused Erdogan of “fabricating evidence” in order to derail the latest U.S.-Russian peace plan and to spark an international intervention ahead of his meeting with Obama.

Leaked tape reveals Turkish officials planning a “false-flag” operation to attack Syria

On March 29, on the eve of the local elections in Turkey, an audio recording of Turkish officials was leaked on YouTube. This exposed for everyone to see that the AKP government will stop at nothing in order to drag Turkey into open war with Syria in the proxy war led by U.S. imperialism.

In a dialogue that took place on March 13 between Ahmet Davutoglu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hakan Fidan, the head of the Turkish Intelligence, Yasar Guler, Deputy Chief of Military and Feridun Siniroglu, undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Turkish officials discuss plans for a “false-flag” operation, a staged attack against the Tomb of Suleiman Shah, a piece of sovereign Turkish territory in Syria under the control of Turkish forces, in order to set the pretext for a military intervention.

The conversation also undeniably reveals that the AKP government is a direct supporter of terrorism in Syria, having shipped arms to the terrorist groups fighting in Syria (2,000 trucks of weapons and ammunition) and that members of the Turkish armed forces have already been deployed in Syria to support these groups.

A full English transcript of the recording can be found here.

Speaking at a campaign rally, the Turkish Prime Minister said: “They even leaked a national security meeting, this is villainous, this is dishonesty…” Speaking to reporters, Foreign Minister Davutoglu said, “A cyber-attack has been carried out against the Turkish Republic, our state and our valued nation. This is a clear declaration of war against the Turkish state and our nation.”

By these statements, AKP officials have essentially admitted that the recordings were authentic. The AKP government quickly censored the recording by banning access to YouTube.

The Turkish and international mainstream media chose to focus on how YouTube was banned by the prime minister, avoiding the content of the dialogue captured in the recording. Most of the coverage by the news outlets glossed over the content of the tape as “plans for Turkish intervention in Syria,” shamelessly hiding the true nature of the dialogue’s content: an undisputable violation of international law as well as evidence of war crimes by the AKP government against the people of Syria.

It is not easy to pinpoint who leaked the tapes. It could be U.S. intelligence in an attempt to rein in an out of control Turkish prime minister who is ready to do anything to hold onto power as his government is haunted by recent corruption scandals and the popular uprising of June 2013.

The tapes could also have been leaked by Russia in order to stop the AKP in its tracks heading for open war with Syria.

US imperialism is split on how to deal with the current situation in Syria

As the Syrian conflict is nearing its fourth year, the Syrian government has gained the clear upper hand against the NATO backed opposition groups and is likely within a year of final victory. The U.S. ruling class is split on how to approach the current situation in Syria. While the more hawkish Secretary of State John Kerry and Samantha Power, the U.S ambassador to the U.N advocate direct military intervention, the Pentagon camp led by Minister of Defense Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff push back against a direct military intervention pointing to the risk of an open-ended foreign entanglement. Both sides however agree on the need to expand the arms and training support given to the groups fighting in Syria.

Was AKP behind the chemical attack in Ghouta last year?

In a report published on April 6, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh claimed that the chemical attack on August 21, 2013 that took place in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, was carried out by the opposition groups controlled by the AKP government of Erdogan in an effort to set the stage for a NATO led attack on Syria. Soon after the incident, the U.S. government started beating the war drums for an all-out attack on Syria, blaming the Syrian government for the attack which had killed hundreds. The mainstream media delivered to the U.S. public the usual propaganda necessary for setting up the public hysteria for war. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on the United Nations to act decisively adding that “all red lines” had been crossed and that the U.N. “can’t assume an indecisive attitude about chemical weapon attacks in Syria”.

According to Hersh’s article, while the U.S. President Obama was busy finalizing with the Pentagon the plans for a massive attack in Syria, U. S. intelligence was having serious doubts as to whether the Syrian government was really behind the attack. Their doubts increased after the findings of British intelligence were made available. Having obtained a sample of the Sarin gas used in the attack, the British analysis proved that the gas used in the attack didn’t match the batches in Syrian Army’s chemical weapons arsenal. According to the same report which cites various U.S. military and intelligence officials, the belief by the U.S. officials that the Turkish government was behind the gas attack in Ghouta resulted in the cancelation of the U.S. strike at the very last minute.

Turkey’s link to the chemical attack in Ghouta can be traced back to an incident that took place in Turkey in May of the same year. On May 30, after a search carried out by the Turkish Security forces in the Turkish city of Adana which is close to the Syrian border, Sarin gas was found in the homes of Syrian militants from the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra front. Five militants were detained. The government and the mainstream media quietly dropped the whole issue in a few days and the militants were quietly released. Details on the events that led to the chemical attack in Ghouta and the AKP’s potential role in planning the chemical attack in Ghouta can be found in this article published by the Turkish daily soL in August 2013.

Syria’s UN Ambassador warns of armed gangs in Syria planning to stage a chemical attack in Damascus

Eerily reminiscent of the Ghouta attack, on March 27, Syria’s ambassador to the UN, Bashar Jaafari, wrote a letter addressed to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council, warning that armed groups in Syria were conspiring to stage another chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus. According to the letter which was published on the UN web site , the Syrian authorities intercepted wireless communications confirming that there were plans to use toxic gas in the Jawbar quarter and other areas in Damascus with the aim of accusing the Syrian government afterwards.

US imperialism and its lackeys in the region: The common enemy of the people

The recent Kassab assault that displaced hundreds of Armenians from their homes, the Al-Qaeda bombing in Reyhanli that killed over 50 and wounded hundreds of Turkish, the chemical attack in Ghouta, Syria that killed over 400 Syrians and the recent leaked recording of Turkish officials planning a “false-flag” attack are clear evidence of the horrendous war crimes committed by U.S. imperialism, its junior partners in the region, like the AKP government of Turkey as well as their henchmen on the ground in Syria: the armed opposition groups.  The people of Syria as well as other peoples in the region have suffered immensely at the hands of all these criminals. These crimes should serve as a reminder to all the peoples in the region that whether they are Arab, Armenian, Turkish or Kurdish, their enemy is common: U.S. imperialism and its lackeys in the region.

Tony Blair, George W. Bush and David Cameron: Hi-jacking God?

April 13th, 2014 by Felicity Arbuthnot

There must be something in the water at No 10 Downing Street, currently inhabited by Prime Minister David Cameron.

When Tony Blair was in residence, according to the diaries of his former communications director, Alastair Campbell, before the illegal invasion of Iraq, for which Blair’s Downing Street offices produced fantasy, fictional, false justifications, the then Prime Minister was guided by his faith and regularly spoke to “his Maker.” Blair may have “spoken” – but, as ever, he clearly didn’t listen.

Proverbs (6:16-19) rules on six personality traits his “Maker” abhors and seven that are an abomination to Him: “Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord …” Blair ticks every box, shattering any claim to his trumpeted Christian principles.

False witness is also slammed by King Solomon and in Matthew (15:18-20) Jesus condemns false testimony as defiling to any person.

No, this is not a treatise on religion, but a reminder of the most false of believers.

An early statement from David Cameron seeking votes from, clearly, only the delusional, since Blair left office not so much under a cloud but under a black thundercloud of duplicity and deception, was that he was “heir to Blair.”

Later he decided he was more in the mould of Margaret Thatcher.

Judgement is clearly not his strong point. For a swathe of the British electorate he might as well have cited Vlad the Impaler and Ivan the Terrible as role models.

However, last year it emerged that David Cameron has been seeking advice from Tony Blair of whom: “he is very admiring … he regards as a nice person and has conviction.”

There have been formal meetings, seemingly telephone calls on policy issues and cosy dinners in the elegant Downing Street living quarters: “Mr Cameron has been keen to get inside the mind of Labour’s triple-election-winning Prime Minister from the start of his leadership.”(1)

All a bit worrying, since according to a book written by Blair’s political agent of twenty four years, John Burton, his decision to enjoin the attacks in both the Balkans and Iraq were part of a “Christian battle.”

“It’s very simple to explain the idea of Blair the Warrior”, Burton has said: “It was part of Tony living out his faith.” Blair’s: “Christian faith is part of him, down to his cotton socks. He believed strongly … that intervention in Kosovo, Sierra Leone – Iraq too – was all part of the Christian battle; good should triumph over evil …” Also according to Burton, he viewed George W. Bush’s unhinged “War on Terror” as a “moral cause” in fighting evil.(2)

Now, as the rhetoric from No 10 becomes increasingly hawkish and beligerant towards Syria, Russia and where ever the US has set it sights, it has to be wondered if Cameron has been stricken with this deviant, extremist, fundamentalist Blair-pox version of religion.

Warning bells might have rung for some, when as leader of the opposition in 2009 Cameron, in a: “set-piece speech … borrowed the structure of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.”(Bloomberg,10thApril2014.)

By May 2011 he was recruiting Jesus to his vision of a “Big Society.” This is, in fact, a swathe of public service cuts possibly going further than even Thatcher who became dubbed the “milk snatcher” when her fiscal slash and burn even included halting free school milk at State run schools.

Cameron’s regime immediately embarked on privatizing education; Britain’s one remaining public service treasure, the National Health Service is targeted, as is welfare, even for those with learning disabilities and mental illness – which have resulted in suicides –  with unemployment benefits even in areas with no jobs or transport to travel to them.  Those rushed to hospital in critical condition have had their benefits stopped – there have even been cases of the dead receiving threatening letters for not turning up for interviews at the Employment Service.

Ironically, the mega-rich Cameron claimed the State Disability Living Allowance for his disabled son Ivan and said that without the National Health Service, involving often twenty four hours a day professionals of numerous disciplines, they could not have coped. The Health Service would be safe in his hands he stated before becoming Prime Minister.

Yet at a meeting with Christians in Downing Street he lectured that Jesus had founded the Big Society 2,000 years ago and that: “I’m not saying we’ve invented some great new idea here.”

Clearly pitching for churches and charities to pick up the State services he  was trashing, he added: “One of the best things about our country is that people step forward as individuals, as families, as communities, as organizations, as churches and do extraordinary things… helping to build a bigger, richer, more prosperous, more generous society …”

The Christian think tank Ekklesia’s Director, Jonathan Bartley spoke for many present when he said the brutal cuts affected the poor and the weak -and would not have had Jesus’s support. “Jesus’s harshest words were reserved for those who had wealth and power and who failed to protect the most vulnerable”, he said of multi-millionaire Cameron’s policy.

Clearly putting Cameron in the George W. Bush and Blair camp, the Daily Mirror called the policy “Cameron’s Big Society Crusade.”

‘A senior Labour source added: “We know politicians like a big-name endorsement but this seems to be going a bit far.” (3)

Last Wednesday (9th April 2014) at his Easter reception at Downing Street for Christian leaders, Cameron reportedly again claimed divine inspiration when he drafted his key concept for the Conservative Party – he was doing God’s work.

After a soprano sang Ave Maria the Prime Minister’s address included that: “It is the case that Christians are now the most persecuted religion around the world. We should stand up against persecution of Christians and other faith groups wherever and whenever we can.”(4)

No mention of the years of Western-led attacks on majority Muslim countries, where both and all faiths have lived together, shared feasts and grief together for millennia. No mention of divide and rule. But maybe a whiff of a subliminal message, Syria is still on the radar.

Blair produced the blueprint for the excuse for the destruction of Iraq, the country, for believers, where the father of Islam, Christianity and Judaism, Abraham was born at Ur. Cameron surely still has his eyes on the road to Damascus. And Blair, hell bent on a Syria attack is apparently a trusted mentor. One can only speculate, but the increasingly messianic Cameron-speak certainly has a chillingly Blair-like ring.

George W. Bush and Blair, of course shared the same zealot-like brand of Christianity. Four months after the 2003 Iraq invasion, at an Israeli-Palestinian summit in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh resort, Nabil Shaath, then Palestinian Foreign Minister, related: “President Bush said to all of us: ‘I am driven with a mission from God. God would tell me, ‘George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan’. And I did. And then God would tell me ‘George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq’, and I did.”(5)

Former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also played the God card. During the Iraq invasion it fell to him to prepare the top secret Worldwide Intelligence Update: “circulated only among a handful of Pentagon leaders and the President.” The: “cover sheet generally featured triumphant, color images from the previous day’s war efforts.”

On the day after the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in Firdos Square on 9th April 2003, the shameful pictures were also accompanied by a quote just below his “Secretary of Defence” cover title. From the book of Psalms was: “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him…To deliver their soul from death.”

Rumsfeld’s biblical quotes which hallmarked the cover sheets: “were the brainchild of Major General Glen Shaffer, a Director for Intelligence serving both the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defence …”

“This mixing of Crusades-like messaging with war imagery, which until now has not been revealed, had become routine. On March 31 (2003) a U.S. tank roared through the desert beneath a quote from Ephesians: ‘Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.’ On April 7th, Saddam Hussein struck a dictatorial pose (on the cover) under this passage from the First Epistle of Peter: ‘It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men.’ “(6)

Rumsfeld and his ilk still stalk the corridors of power in Washington where Blair has numerous connections. David Cameron is now singing their song.

I write as a non-believer, but with huge respect for those with a true faith of all denominations, for the beautiful words and buildings created in love and reverence, in the architecture of the inspired or the simple meeting places, with the reverence palpable within.

To warp the spirit of that wonder, create enemies and a religious “other” at worse and bitter resentment at a lowly best, then whinge: “Why do they hate us?” is not belief, but deviance. Cameron would have been more apt in citing Judas as inspiration than Jesus.

“Beware false prophets”, there are some very powerful ones around and these are dangerous times.

Notes

1. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/meet-my-nbf-david-cameron-and-tony-blair-become-chums-8478494.html

2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/5373525/Tony-Blair-believed-God-wanted-him-to-go-to-war-to-fight-evil-claims-his-mentor.html

3. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fury-as-david-cameron-claims-jesus-129922#ixzz2ygKRHZ8Z

4. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-claims-jesus-invented-the-big-society–he-is-just-continuing-gods-work-9250449.html

5. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/oct/07/iraq.usa

6. http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/200905/donald-rumsfeld-administration-peers-detractors

Taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for a swindle pulled off by the world’s biggest banks, using a form of derivative called interest-rate swaps; and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has now joined a chorus of litigants suing over it. According to an SEIU report:

Derivatives . . . have turned into a windfall for banks and a nightmare for taxpayers. . . . While banks are still collecting fixed rates of 3 to 6 percent, they are now regularly paying public entities as little as a tenth of one percent on the outstanding bonds, with rates expected to remain low in the future. Over the life of the deals, banks are now projected to collect billions more than they pay state and local governments – an outcome which amounts to a second bailout for banks, this one paid directly out of state and local budgets.

It is not just that local governments, universities and pension funds made a bad bet on these swaps. The game itself was rigged, as explained below. The FDIC is now suing in civil court for damages and punitive damages, a lead that other injured local governments and agencies would be well-advised to follow. But they need to hurry, because time on the statute of limitations is running out.

The Largest Cartel in World History

On March 14, 2014, the FDIC filed suit for LIBOR-rigging against sixteen of the world’s largest banks – including the three largest USbanks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and Citigroup), the three largest UKbanks, the largest German bank, the largest Japanese bank, and several of the largest Swiss banks. Bill Black, professor of law and economics and a former bank fraud investigator, calls them “the largest cartel in world history, by at least three and probably four orders of magnitude.”

LIBOR (the London Interbank Offering Rate) is the benchmark rate by which banks themselves can borrow. It is a crucial rate involved in hundreds of trillions of dollars in derivative trades, and it is set by these sixteen megabanks privately and in secret.

Interest rate swaps are now a $426 trillion business. That’s trillion with a “t” – about seven times the gross domestic product of all the countries in the world combined. According to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in 2012 US banks held $183.7 trillion in interest-rate contracts, with only four firms representing 93% of total derivative holdings; and three of the four were JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America, the US banks being sued by the FDIC over manipulation of LIBOR.

Lawsuits over LIBOR-rigging have been in the works for years, and regulators have scored some very impressive regulatory settlements. But so far, civil actions for damages have been unproductive for the plaintiffs. The FDIC is therefore pursuing another tack.

But before getting into all that, we need to look at how interest-rate swaps work. It has been argued that the counterparties stung by these swaps got what they bargained for – a fixed interest rate. But that is not actually what they got. The game was rigged from the start.

The Sting

Interest-rate swaps are sold to parties who have taken out loans at variable interest rates, as insurance against rising rates. The most common swap is one where counterparty A (a university, municipal government, etc.) pays a fixed rate to counterparty B (the bank), while receiving from B a floating rate indexed to a reference rate such as LIBOR. If interest rates go up, the municipality gets paid more on the swap contract, offsetting its rising borrowing costs. If interest rates go down, the municipality owes money to the bank on the swap, but that extra charge is offset by the falling interest rate on its variable rate loan. The result is to fix borrowing costs at the lower variable rate.

At least, that is how it’s supposed to work. The catch is that the swap is a separate financial agreement – essentially an ongoing bet on interest rates. The borrower owes both the interest on its variable rate loan and what it must pay out on this separate swap deal. And the benchmarks for the two rates don’t necessarily track each other. As explained by Stephen Gandel on CNN Money:

The rates on the debt were based on something called the Sifma municipal bond index, which is named after the industry group that maintains the index and tracks muni bonds. And that’s what municipalities should have bought swaps based on.

Instead, Wall Street sold municipalities Libor swaps, which were easier to trade and [were] quickly becoming a gravy train for the banks.

Historically, Sifma and LIBOR moved together. But that was before the greatest-ever global banking cartel got into the game of manipulating LIBOR. Gandel writes:

In 2008 and 2009, Libor rates, in general, fell much faster than the Sifma rate. At times, the rates even went in different directions. During the height of the financial crisis, Sifma rates spiked. Libor rates, though, continued to drop. The result was that the cost of the swaps that municipalities had taken out jumped in price at the same time that their borrowing costs went up, which was exactly the opposite of how the swaps were supposed to work.

The two rates had decoupled, and it was chiefly due to manipulation. As noted in the SEUI report:

[T]here is . . . mounting evidence that it is no accident that these deals have gone so badly, so quickly for state and local governments. Ongoing investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice and theCalifornia,Florida, and Connecticut Attorneys General implicate nearly every major bank in a nationwide conspiracy to rig bids and drive up the fixed rates state and local governments pay on their derivative contracts.

Changing the Focus to Fraud

Suits to recover damages for collusion, antitrust violations and racketeering (RICO), however, have so far failed. In March 2013, SDNY Judge Naomi Reece Buchwald dismissed antitrust and RICO claims brought by investors and traders in actions consolidated in her court, on the ground that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the claims. She held that the rate-setting banks’ actions did not affect competition, because those banks were not in competition with one another with respect to LIBOR rate-setting; and that “the alleged collusion occurred in an arena in which defendants never did and never were intended to compete.”

Okay, the defendants weren’t competing with each other. They were colluding with each other, in order to unfairly compete with the rest of the financial world – local banks, credit unions, and the state and local governments they lured into being counterparties to their rigged swaps. The SDNY ruling is on appeal to the Second Circuit.

In the meantime, the FDIC is taking another approach. Its 24-count complaint does include antitrust claims, but the emphasis is on damages for fraud and conspiring to keep the LIBOR rate low to enrich the banks. The FDIC is not the first to bring such claims, but its massive suit adds considerable weight to the approach.

Why would keeping interest rates low enrich the rate-setting banks? Don’t they make more money if interest rates are high?

The answer is no. Unlike most banks, they make most of their money not from ordinary commercial loans but from interest rate swaps. The FDIC suit seeks to recover losses caused to 38USbanking institutions that did make their profits from ordinary business and consumer loans – banks that failed during the financial crisis and were taken over by the FDIC. They include Washington Mutual, the largest bank failure inUShistory. Since the FDIC had to cover the deposits of these failed banks, it clearly has standing to recover damages, and maybe punitive damages, if intentional fraud is proved.

The Key Role of the Federal Reserve

The rate-rigging banks have been caught red-handed, but the greater manipulation of interest rates was done by the Federal Reserve itself. The Fed aggressively drove down interest rates to save the big banks and spur economic recovery after the financial collapse. In the fall of 2008, it dropped the prime rate (the rate at which banks borrow from each other) nearly to zero.

This gross manipulation of interest rates was a giant windfall for the major derivative banks. Indeed, the Fed has been called a tool of the global banking cartel. It is composed of 12 branches, all of which are 100% owned by the private banks in their districts; and the Federal Reserve Bank of New Yorkhas always been the most important by far of these regional Fed banks.New York, of course is where Wall Street is located.

LIBOR is set in London; but as Simon Johnson observed in a New York Times article titled The Federal Reserve and the LIBOR Scandal, the Fed has jurisdiction whenever the “safety and soundness” of the US financial system is at stake. The scandal, he writes, “involves egregious, flagrant criminal conduct, with traders caught red-handed in e-mails and on tape.” He concludes:

This could even become a “tobacco moment,” in which an industry is forced to acknowledge its practices have been harmful – and enters into a long-term agreement that changes those practices and provides continuing financial compensation.

Bill Black concurs, stating, “Our system is completely rotten. All of the largest banks are involved—eagerly engaged in this fraud for years, covering it up.” The system needs a complete overhaul.

In the meantime, if the FDIC can bring a civil action for breach of contract and fraud, so can state and local governments, universities, and pension funds. The possibilities this opens up forCalifornia(where I’m currently running for State Treasurer) are huge. Fraud is grounds for rescission (terminating the contract) without paying penalties, potentially saving taxpayers enormous sums in fees for swap deals that are crippling cities, universities and other public entities across the state. Fraud is also grounds for punitive damages, something an outraged jury might be inclined to impose. My next post will explore the possibilities forCaliforniain more detail. Stay tuned.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

Crimea Approves New Constitution

April 13th, 2014 by Global Research News

The Crimean Parliament adopted the new constitution of the republic on Friday. All 88 deputies present in the auditorium voted for the constitution, Interfax reports. In total, there are 100 deputies in the State Council of the Crimea.

The approval of the Constitution of the Crimea by Russian central authorities is not required. The fundamental law of the republic will come into force after it has been published in the parliamentary newspaper “Crimean News.” The speaker of the State Council of the Crimea, Vladimir Konstantinov, said earlier that the constitution could be published and effected on Saturday, April 12.

According to the Constitution, the Republic of Crimea is a legal and democratic state within the Russian Federation. The relations between of the Republic of Crimea and the Russian Federation are regulated by the agreement.

The territory of the Republic of Crimea shall be an inseparable part of the territory of the Russian Federation. The highest official in the Crimea shall be the head of the republic, who shall be elected by deputies of the State Council for a term of five years. The head of the republic shall not hold office for more than two consecutive terms.

The head of the republic shall form the Council of Ministers and make decisions about resignation of the government. The head of the republic shall also have the power to dissolve the parliament of the Crimea in cases stipulated by the federal law and the Constitution of the entity of the Russian Federation.

The head of the Crimea can combine his position with the position of the chairman of the Council of Ministers.

Under the Constitution, the State Council of the Crimea is entitled to enact the laws that will be in effect on the territory of the republic. The State Council also receives the right for a legislative initiative in the State Duma of the Russian Federation.

The Constitution envisions a reduction in the number of MPs of the republic by a quarter – from 100 to 75. The rule will become effective only after the elections to the State Council of the Crimea. Speaker of the State Council of the Crimea, Vladimir Konstantinov, said earlier that the early elections of deputies of the State Council can be conducted in September this year. The form of the elections to the Parliament – majority, party system, or mixed – has not been specified in the Constitution. It will be determined by the law of the Republic of Crimea “On Elections”, which the State Council shall approve.

The Crimea State Council will have to take about 300 laws to streamline all aspects of life of the republic after the new constitution comes into force. This includes the election law, the law of the State Council of the Republic of Crimea, the law on the status of deputies of the State Council, the Law on the Government of the Republic of Crimea, etc.

Today, on April 11, the Republic of the Crimea, as well as the city of federal significance – Sevastopol – were included on the list of subjects of the Russian Federation in the Russian Constitution. The new edition of the document was published on the official web portal of legal information. The new entities were included on the list in Article 65 of Chapter III of the Constitution of Russia – “The Federal Structure.”

The footnotes indicate that the names of the new regions – the Republic of the Crimea and the city of federal significance, Sevastopol, were given in accordance with the federal constitutional law from March 21, 2014 “On the adoption of the Republic of the Crimea in the Russian Federation and the formation of new subjects in the Russian Federation – the Republic of the Crimea and the city of federal significance, Sevastopol.”

On March 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a federal constitutional law about the incorporation of the Crimea in the structure of the Russian Federation and the formation of two new entities of the country. The law clearly formulates the reasons for the adoption of the Crimea to Russia. These are the results of the Crimean referendum held on March 16, the Declaration of Independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol, the Treaty between Russia and the Crimea about the formation of new entities and appeals from the Crimea and Sevastopol to become a part of Russia.

The document was adopted by the State Duma on March 20 and approved by the Federation Council the next day. Together with the law, Putin approved the ratification of the Treaty “On the incorporation of the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation and the formation of new subjects within the Russian Federation.”

The propaganda hype regarding Russia’s creation of military bases in Latin American and the Caribbean is not dying down. At the instigation of ‘cold war’ centres in the US, lies about ‘secret’ Russian naval and air force bases operating in Nicaragua, Venezuela and even Argentina regularly appear in the media. More often than not, these types of reports are accompanied by photographs of Tu-160 (‘White Swan’) and Tu-160MS strategic bombers, the nuclear-powered battlecruiser Petr Velikiy (‘Peter the Great’), and the large anti-submarine destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, which laid the foundations for guest visits by Russia’s naval and air forces to the American continent in 2008. The most recent example of this kind is the docking of the Russian intelligence collection ship Viktor Leonov in the Port of Havana.

In November 2013, the National Assembly of Nicaragua ratified the government’s decision allowing Russian military units, ships and aircraft to visit the republic in the first half of 2014. Their crews have also been given permission to take part in the professional training of Nicaraguan military personnel and to share with them their expertise. The approved document also mentions the naval ships and military aircraft of Cuba, Venezuela, Mexico and the US. In June of this year, Daniel Ortega’s government will reapply to parliament to extend this document for a further six months.

Russia’s Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu recently announced plans to increase the number of bases abroad. He also mentioned that talks were being held with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Singapore and the Seychelles. Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov explained the situation thus: «When we talk about enhancing the Russian navy’s presence in Latin America, we primarily mean creating the conditions for a simplified procedure for our Russian ships to visit Latin American ports. Given their considerable distance from Russian shores, it stands to reason that we would be interested in replenishing our food and water supplies, as well as organising recreation for our sailors. In certain circumstances, we must also be sure we will be able to carry out small and medium repairs to our ships.»

President Daniel Ortega referred to the prospects of Russia’s ‘presence’ on Latin America’s friendly shores in a speech to the Nicaraguan military on 6 April. He said that after the Sandinista government returned to power in 2007, it was willing to cooperate with any country that would help strengthen and modernise the army. The US has not offered the country any kind of hope. Despite the previously close ties between Washington and Nicaragua’s right-wing governments, the Pentagon has not made any real attempts to equip the Nicaraguan army with modern weapons. The US has always seen the ideology of the Sandinistas as hostile. This is the reason why the Nicaraguan government turned to Russia. Far-reaching agreements in the sphere of military and technical cooperation have been signed. According to Ortega, Russia’s contribution to the military rearmament process was «steady, reliable and extremely important», and was accompanied by the unconditional provision of social and economic help to the Nicaraguan people. Supplies of wheat, agricultural equipment, buses and passengers cars were provided. A considerable amount of money was also allocated for humanitarian and other purposes, including to eliminate the consequences of natural disasters.

Analysing the content of Ortega’s speech to the military, the conservative newspaper La Prensa, published in Managua, observed that Ortega is «justifying the possible creation of Russian bases in Nicaragua». Here is a quote from Ortega’s speech: «How many US military ships visited (our ports) between 2007 and 2012? How many US ships have spent months in our Caribbean and Pacific Ocean ports? Military vessels that have shown up on peacekeeping missions! And how many American soldiers and officers have landed in our country to deploy their bases?… (Foreign) bases are forbidden by the Constitution, but (in reality) bases have still been deployed».

For Ortega, strengthening the security of the country remains a strategic objective. The more powerful the army, the more significant its contribution will be in protecting every region of the country, and the calmer life will be for the Nicaraguan people in our troubled times. Ortega places particular emphasis on the need to strengthen the fight against drug trafficking, bearing in mind that Nicaragua is located ‘at the crossroads’ of cocaine deliveries and other hallucinogenics from Colombia, Peru and Bolivia to the US. Nicaragua’s armed forces need to have modern operational capabilities to seize and destroy consignments of drugs on the ground, in the air and at sea. One would think that the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), which has long been operating in the country, might have helped modernise its weaponry. But the Agency is developing the bilateral cooperation exclusively in its own interests, which is to expand America’s military presence in the country.

The authoritarian methods practised by the DEA are increasingly alienating Latin American leaders. This is why the appropriate structures in Nicaragua and other Central American countries have reacted so positively to Russia’s project for training anti-drug officers in a special school opened in Managua. Professionals from the Federal Narcotics Service of Russia (FSKN) teach at the school, and those attending the school are from Nicaragua, Salvador, Panama, Honduras, the Dominican Republic and other countries in the region. The first batch of operatives has already graduated. The US is jealous of the success of the FSKN’s work in Nicaragua and in Latin America generally. It is for this reason that Viktor Ivanov, chairman of the State Anti-Narcotics Сommittee and director of FSKN, has been put on a US government blacklist.

Plans for a collaboration between Russia and Nicaragua to explore and use space is also being regarded by the Pentagon as «quite suspicious» in terms of its «military component». Among other things, the agreement provides for the building of a GLONASS satellite monitoring system in Nicaragua. Through the country’s media under its ‘wardship’, the US Embassy is waging a hostile campaign against the project, placing emphasis on its ‘probable’ use by Russia for the purposes of espionage. This concern of the Embassy, an embassy in which the majority of its 200 diplomats are US intelligence agency employees who are intentionally working against the Ortega regime, is nothing but ironic.

Russia is approaching the development of military ties with Venezuela and Cuba in a similar vein. It seems that in the foreseeable future, the problem of creating permanent Russian military bases there with a large-scale infrastructure and military personnel deployed for long periods of time will no longer be an issue.

Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called reports on Russia’s creation of military bases in Argentina a ‘provocative duck’. The only foreign base off the coast of Argentina is located on the Falkland Islands, which is occupied by the British. Argentine President Cristina Fernández has called the island NATO’s «nuclear base», «the largest existing base to the south of the 50th parallel».

NATO strategists are planning on getting Colombia’s armed forces involved in the activities of the military alliance. In June 2013, Juan Carlos Pinzón, Colombia’s Minister of National Defence, signed an agreement in Brussels on cooperation and the exchange of information with NATO members. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said in this regard that the agreement had been entered into «with the further aim» of joining the organisation.

One of the articles on the website aporrea.org commented that sooner or later, there will be an adequate response to the global military expansion of the US and NATO: «If the US has a countless number of bases in the world, then it is logical to suppose that other powers will begin to create their own strongholds. If the US has filled Europe with missiles aimed at Russia, then it stands to reason that Russia may respond appropriately. The United States is to blame for spreading violence across the world in its desire to preserve its hegemony. Following their defeat in Afghanistan, the Americans are being forced to withdraw from the country without having managed to set up any strongholds with missiles aimed primarily at Russia, China, India and Iran. But the message is clear: after the Second World War, the only aggressor on the planet was the USA».

On the Brink of Economic Calamity

We are witnessing unprecedented low points in American economic history as 50 million Americans—17 million of them children—are living below the poverty line[i],[ii] while 47 million citizens rely on food stamps[iii].  All told, the 2008 economic collapse cost over $20 trillion globally[iv]. Millions of people lost their homes and jobs, while many of our nation’s children fell deeper into hunger. According to some figures, 53 million people entered the poverty ranks.[v] In the US and other developed nations, suicide rates skyrocketed due to financial stress and disruption of families. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has listed unemployment at 7.5% — a rate that is irreconcilable with reality. The more reliable figure, calculated by economist John Williams from Shadow Government Statistics, places unemployment at 22%. If we are to believe the analyses of Tyler Cowen at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, we might be looking at an unemployment rate as high as 41%, since 33% of Americans are not working and no longer have the desire to find jobs.[vi]  This group is categorically removed from the government’s labor radar and is absent from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ fudged data. 

 The Global Money Matrix

In the midst of this economic turmoil there is one group that still manages to flourish: the global elite. With more than $32 trillion stashed in offshore banks around the world, the wealth of the so-called “1%” is staggeringly obscene and grows by the day.[vii]  Their aggregate wealth, larger than the US GDP and national debt combined, is a testament to the tremendous influence and lobbying power held by a coterie of private interests that dominate nearly every sector of society.

Instead of reining in the inordinate control exercised by the elite, most of our elected officials have become little more than shills for these corporate overlords, creating policies that favor their campaign donors instead of the American people. Hundreds of millions of dollars were funneled into Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign by donors whose business affiliations run the gamut from real estate and finance to media and law firms. According to Opensecrets.org, “Together, 769 elites are directing at least $186,500,000 for Obama’s re-election efforts — money that has gone into the coffers of his campaign as well as the Democratic National Committee.”[viii] This figure doesn’t even account for the massive contributions to Obama’s reelection by corporate-driven SuperPACs. Obama is just one example of how our politicians are beholden to the elite agenda. A quick glance at the campaign donation figures presented at Opensecrets.org reveals just how much special interests control Washington’s policymakers.

Given the corporatist influence that infects our halls of power, it is little wonder that our tax dollars continue to fund unconstitutional spying, perpetual war, and neoliberal policies that extend the powers of the world’s richest individuals and organizations. As Americans struggle financially, our social safety nets are increasingly losing priority to military and security expenditures that are historically unmatched anywhere in the world. Increasingly, the actions taken by the world’s most powerful corporations and governments seem to be at odds with public perception and wellbeing. Here are a few examples of how this combined influence has increased at the expense of the average American:

ALEC – This conservative group, funded by donors like the Koch brothers and Exxon Mobil and fueled by politicians including Ohio Governor John Kasich and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker,[ix] writes model legislation calling to “privatize education, break unions, deregulate major industries, pass voter ID laws, and more.”[x] They do so with the stated aim to “form formal internal Task Forces to develop policy covering virtually every responsibility of state government.”[xi] ALEC’s website claims, “Each year, close to 1,000 bills, based at least in part on ALEC Model Legislation, are introduced in the states. Of these, an average of 20% become law.”[xii]

Federal Taxes and Expenditures – In 2014, President Obama plans to spend 57% of his discretionary budget on military, with 6% going to education, 3% to science, and 1% to food and agriculture.[xiii] And while the federal corporate tax rate is 35% in America, a variety of loopholes means that the average rate paid by corporations is 25%, with some companies paying as low as 10%.[xiv]

Citizens United – This US Supreme Court case set the legal precedent for unlimited campaign donations in US elections, qualifying corporate donations as a form a free speech. Since this case concluded, campaign expenditures have tripled.[xv]

TARP, or “the Bailout” – Following the economic crisis of 2008, US taxpayers handed $700 billion to major players in the automotive, financial, and insurance industries[xvi]. According to The New York Times, “Treasury…provided the money to banks with no effective policy or effort to compel the extension of credit. There were no strings attached: no requirement or even incentive to increase lending to home buyers, and…not even a request that banks report how they used TARP funds.”[xvii]  The Huffington Post reports, “Twenty-five top recipients of government bailout funds spent more than $71 million on lobbying in the year since they were rescued.”

In the Name of Security

The most concerning imbalance of power, however, may lie in the ‘security state’. In 2010, there were over 1900 private corporations with government contracts working for Homeland Security and NSA intelligence projects. Just one of these firms, Booz Allen Hamilton, where Edward Snowden was employed, has over 25,000 employees, nearly half of whom have security clearance of “top secret or higher”.[xviii]  Overall, there are an estimated half million individuals in private firms with access to intelligence secrets.[xix]  The federal intelligence agencies only employ 107,000 individuals; therefore, the bulk of intelligence and surveillance operations are conducted by private workforces.[xx] For fiscal year 2013, the country’s budget for intelligence, across 16 agencies, was approximately $52.6 billion, with 70% going to private contractors.[xxi]

Recent revelations by Edward Snowden unearthed the breadth and scope of this surveillance network. The National Security Agency has collected vast amounts of data to spy upon American citizens, elected legislators in Congress, leaders and populations of other nations, multilateral and international administrations, non profit organizations, and a variety of public and environmental advocacy groups. This defines the current trajectory of the US as a failed republic degenerating into a fascist regime.  For both corporate Republicans and Democrats, the rise of surreptitious surveillance on citizens, in direct violation of the Constitution, is perceived as a matter of national security to protect both the country’s domestic and foreign interests.

NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander claimed publicly that intelligence surveillance of the American public “foiled” 54 terrorist attacks by extremists. Independent research confirmed that in fact only one, and a possible second attack, could be directly associated with the war on terrorism.  Speaking on the matter, Vermont Senator Patrick J. Leahy stated,

“There is no evidence that [bulk] phone records collection helped to thwart dozens or even several terrorist plots….These weren’t all plots and they weren’t all foiled.”.[xxii]

The Washington Times reported that “Keith B. Alexander admitted that the number of terrorist plots foiled by the NSA’s huge database of every phone call made in or to America was only one or perhaps two—far smaller than the 54 originally claimed by the administration.” General Alexander, under the questioning of Senator Leahy, also admitted that only 13 of the 54 cases were in any way connected to the U.S.  As the Washington Times clarifies,

“The [NSA phone records] database contains so-called metadata—the numbers dialing and dialed, time and duration of call—for every phone call made in or to the U.S.”[xxiii] 

This is but one example highlighting how the consolidation of corporate and political power comes at the cost of human rights and personal liberties for the average citizen.

 Obama has lied to the American people repeatedly about the extent of the security state and its infiltration into the lives of average citizens, including massive data collection of private phone calls, emails, and internet activity. The NSA revelations of Edward Snowden provide documented proof that intelligence surveillance is far more extensive than ever believed. The activities of the FBI, CIA, Pentagon, FISA courts, USDA and FDA, and the Justice Department contribute to the deterioration of citizens’ privacy and freedom. And a recent report by Essential Information entitled Spooky Business describes how some of America’s largest corporations have engaged in corporate espionage to spy on non-profit organizations. Ralph Nader writes, “In effect, big corporations have been able to hire portions of the national security apparatus, and train their tools of spycraft on the citizen groups of our country.”[xxiv] Thus, the powers of government and corporations are fostered and increased by one another, while those of the average American continue to dwindle

Groupthink and the 15%

It is unrealistic to frame the problem of control and socio-economic manipulation as a war between the 1 and the 99.  The 1 percent cannot achieve its goals without support from armies of technocrats and workforces willing to sacrifice moral values to secure careers in corporations and political parties, regardless of the inhumane ruthlessness behind their undemocratic agendas. The private industrial complexes of Too Big to Fail corporations require minions of technocrats and employees—as well as a large network of contracted small businesses, advisors, and consultants—to exert control over the population.  Therefore, we should realistically be speaking of a 15 versus 85 percent in the war on inequality, control, and power.

 When this additional 45 million people, or 15 percent of the population, are added to the formula for who controls the major stakes of power, wealth, influence and policymaking today, we can more easily understand how the psychology of “group think” creates a protective shield around the power brokers calling the shots.  When the psychologist Irving Janis first used the term “groupthink”, he referred to a collective weakening of individuals’ “mental efficiency, reality testing and moral judgment” through pressure to stick with the corporate plan.[xxv]  Among the characteristics common to groupthink, which enables the privileged elite to exert compliance to their mission without dissent, is a false belief in the inherent morality of their jobs. For example, the neoliberal free-market ideology posits that trickle down economics from the top will create more jobs and raise families’ personal income—a persistent myth that has no historical example to prove it as fact.  

The actual facts, according to the 2012 Global Wealth Data Book, show that since the implementation of neoliberal economics in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the financial health of America’s middle class has fallen to 27th globally, behind Qatar, Taiwan, Cyprus and Kuwait. Simultaneously, the US has the most millionaires and billionaires of any other nation.[xxvi]  Groupthink also generates an “illusion of invulnerability,” an insincere and narrow confidence that enables workers to take extreme risks and a distorted group rationalization to deny facts to the contrary of their optimism.  Other characteristics include stereotyping enemies, managerial pressure on nonconformists, and self-censorship of doubts within the organization.  An illusion of unanimity is sustained whereby the image is created and perpetuated that the majority agree with organization’s purpose and mission.[xxvii]

Without the possibility of groupthink and this additional 15 percent passively serving the most powerful 1 percent’s destructive acts, life in the US would be far more democratic, just, and free today. Unfortunately, our society currently necessitates profit for both legitimacy and survival. This unprecedented economic and political atmosphere is giving birth to a new face of fascism.

 The Dominant Culture

When considering the human element in our societal structure, the question arises as to how human beings can act with such blatant disregard for damage incurred. There are varying figures assessing the percent of psychopathology among high level financial and corporate executives. In the general population, approximately 1% can be clinically diagnosed with sociopathic and psychopathic disorders[xxviii]. However, for the wealthy and power elite, estimates are higher.

Canadian psychiatrist Dr. Robert Hare estimates that 4 percent of corporate executives are clinically sociopathic.[xxix] Sherree DeCovny, a former high-powered investment banker now with CFA Financial Magazine, believes it is as high as 10 percent.[xxx] Figures from psychological surveys in the UK place estimates even higher. Psychologist Clive Boddy has argued that the psychopathological behavior of financial executives was a major cause for the 2007 economic collapse. He also notes that individuals with the strongest psychopathic tendencies are those who tend to be promoted fastest.[xxxi]

Research supports this claim. In a survey of 500 senior executives in the US and UK, 26 percent observed firsthand wrongdoing in the workplace and 24 percent believed that it was necessary for professionals in the financial sector to engage in unethical and even illegal conduct in order to be successful. Sixteen percent said they would commit insider trading if they were certain they could get away with it, and 30 percent said that the pressures of compensation plans were an incentive to break the law.[xxxii]

Today, this banking elite owns the lives of millions of Americans by imprisoning them in debt. In the third quarter of 2013, consumer indebtedness reached $11.28 trillion.[xxxiii]  2014 and every year thereafter will see household debt increase. The majority of this debt, in the form of mortgages and outstanding home equity, student loans, auto loans, and credit cards, is money owed to the banking industry. It is by keeping the masses indebted, securing government allegiance and protection to extract money from citizens, that bankers are able to control the economy.

In a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, Representative Alan Grayson and three of his Congressional colleagues raised their concern over large investment banks taking over the real economy.  According to their investment relations reports, both banks are engaged in the “production, storage, transportation, marketing and trading of numerous commodities.”[xxxiv] These include crude oil and oil products, natural gas, coal, electric power, agricultural and food products, and precious and rare metals. Additionally, JP Morgan markets electric power and “owns electricity generating facilities in the US and Europe.”[xxxv] Goldman Sachs has entered the uranium mining market.  According to Rep. Grayson, none of these activities have anything to do with the business of banking, and there is no indication that the Fed or any other agency is regulating these irregular business undertakings.[xxxvi]

In early 2013, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich conducted the most thorough analysis of the financial ties between over 43,000 transnational banks and corporations. This was the first empirical study to identify a network where global power and wealth is most heavily concentrated. Their startling results observed that a small faction of 147 super companies controls over 40 percent of the entire transnational network, with an additional 36 million companies below them. 

Predictably, almost all of the 147 super companies were financial institutions, with Barclays, Capital Group, the Vanguard Group, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, and Bank of New York among the top of the list.[xxxvii]  With financial instruments of speculative trade insufficient to satisfy greed, such companies have every incentive to move into new territory, particularly resources and services that are essential to life. This includes fuel, water, food and minerals. As it stands, at least twenty-five major US companies have more wealth than entire countries.[xxxviii]

The prediction can be suggested that with current trends, the largest global banks will become the world’s most powerful “nations,” acting with complete autonomy outside of international laws that apply to sovereign states.  As corporate groupthink increases and infiltrates the larger civilian community, the transnationalist mind will persist as a breeding ground for psychopathology.

Conclusion

The consequences of today’s cowboy free market culture have sent the US middle class and economic mobility spiraling downward. Laid off workers have nowhere to use their skills to earn a livelihood for themselves and their families. Consequently, the worker is unable to meet expenditures and falls into a lower income bracket or poverty.  Mortgage defaults, credit card payments, and loans drag him further into debt. Without work and hence unable to pay taxes, the state, county and town suffer. In turn, local entities are forced to reduce their workforce and public services. The final result is the decline in the national quality of life, and the gradual deterioration of the US.  The inequality gap widens as the wealthy get richer and more powerful, while growing numbers of families become destitute.

A clear conflict exists between the values that we promote in the home and those values that are rewarded in the workplace. Unless we apply the same moral requirements to governments and corporations as we do to ourselves, friends, and families, the revolving door at the top of society will continue to consolidate power and wealth at any cost.

Notes

[i] Fessler, Pam. “How Many Americans Live In Poverty?” NPR. http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/11/06/243498168/how-many-americans-live-in-poverty (accessed December 2, 2013).

[ii] National Center for Children in Poverty. “Child Poverty.” NCCP. http://www.nccp.org/topics/childpoverty.html (accessed December 1, 2013).

[iii] Plumer, Brad. “Why are 47 million Americans on food stamps? It’s the recession — mostly.” WashingtonPost.com. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/23/why-are-47-million-americans-on-food-stamps-its-the-recession-mostly/ (accessed December 3, 2013).

[iv] Melendez, Eleazar. “Financial Crisis Cost Tops $22 Trillion, GAO Says.” The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/14/financial-crisis-cost-gao_n_2687553.html (accessed December 3, 2013).

 [v] Moench, Brian. “Death by Corporation, Part II: Companies as Cancer Cells.” Truthout. http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/17705-death-by-corporation-part-ii-companies-as-cancer-cells (accessed December 3, 2013).

 [vi]  “The real jobs numbers: 41% of America unemployed, 1 in 3 doesn’t want work at all – RT USA.” RT.com. http://rt.com/usa/jobs-us-employment-welfare-749/ (accessed December 3, 2013).

 [vii] Vellacott, Chris. “Super Rich Hold $32 Trillion in Offshore Havens.” Reuters.com. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/22/us-offshore-wealth-idUSBRE86L03U20120722 (accessed December 13, 2003).

 [viii] “Barack Obama’s Bundlers.” Opensecrets RSS. http://www.opensecrets.org/pres12/bundlers.php

[ix] “What is ALEC?.” ALEC Exposed. http://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/What_is_ALEC%3F#Who_funds_ALEC.3F (accessed December 3, 2013).

[x] Nichols, John. “ALEC Exposed.” The Nation. http://www.thenation.com/article/161978/alec-exposed# (accessed December 3, 2013).

[xi] “History.” ALEC American Legislative Exchange Council. http://www.alec.org/about-alec/history/ (accessed December 3, 2013).

[xii] Ibid.

[xiii] “Where Does the Money Go? Federal Budget 101.” National Priorities Project. http://nationalpriorities.org/budget-basics/federal-budget-101/spending/ (accessed December 2, 2013).

[xiv] The Economist Newspaper. “The Trouble with Tax Reform.” The Economist. http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/02/corporate-tax_reform (accessed December 3, 2013).

[xv] “Daily Kos.” : Buying Elections: Campaign Spending TRIPLES Since Citizens United. If You Can’t Win, Cheat + News!. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/03/11/1193246/-Buying-Elections-Campaign-Spending-TRIPLES-Since-Citizens-United-If-You-Can-t-Win-Cheat# (accessed December 3, 2013).

[xvi] Stein, Sam. “Top Bailout Recipients Spent $71 Million On Lobbying In Year Since Bailout.” The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/05/top-bailout-recipients-sp_n_346877.html (accessed December 3, 2013).

[xvii] Barofski, Neil. “Where the Bank Bailout Went Wrong.” NYTimes.com. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/opinion/30barofsky.html (accessed March 12, 2013).

[xviii] Murphy, Dan. “Booz Allen Hamilton, federal contractor.” Christian Science Monitor. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Security-Watch/Backchannels/2013/0610/Booz-Allen-Hamilton-federal-contractor (accessed December 4, 2013).

[xix] Jonathan Fahey, Adam Goldman. “NSA Leak Highlights Key Role of Private Contractors,”  Huffington Post. June 10, 2013  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/10/nsa-leak-contractors_n_3418876.html

[xx] Barton Gellman, Greg Miller.  “US Spy Network’s Successes, Failures and Objectives Detailed in ‘Black Budget’ Summary,”  Washington Post. August 29. 2013  http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-08-29/world/41709796_1_intelligence-community-intelligence-spending-national-intelligence-program

[xxi] Aubrey Bloomfield. “Booz Allen Hamilton: 70% of the US Intelligence Budget Goes to Private Contractors,”  Policymic.  http://www.policymic.com/articles/48845/booz-allen-hamilton-70-of-the-u-s-intelligence-budget-goes-to-private-contractors

[xxii] Waterman, Shaun. “NSA chief’s admission of misleading numbers adds to Obama administration blunders.” Washington Times. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/2/nsa-chief-figures-foiled-terror-plots-misleading/ (accessed December 3, 2013).

 [xxiii] Ibid.

[xxiv] Nader, Ralph. “Corporate espionage undermines democracy.” The Great Debate RSS. http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2013/11/26/corporate-espionage-undermines-democracy/ (accessed December 2, 2013).

[xxv] “Groupthink in Service of Government.” BATR. http://www.batr.org/wrack/080413.html (accessed December 3, 2013).

 [xxvi] “How Does America’s Middle Class Rank Globally?.” A Lightning War for Liberty. http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2013/07/23/how-does-americas-middle-class-rank-globally-27/ (accessed December 3, 2013).

[xxvii] BATR.  Ibid.

[xxviii] Hare, Robert. “Focus on Psychopathy.” FBI. http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/law-enforcement-bulletin/july-2012/focus-on-psychopathy (accessed December 1, 2013).

 [xxix] Bercovici, Jeff. “Why (Some) Psychopaths Make Great CEOs.” Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffbercovici/2011/06/14/why-some-psychopaths-make-great-ceos/ (accessed December 2, 2013).

[xxx] Decovny, Sherree. “The Financial Psychopath Next Door.” CFA Magazine, Mar. – Apr. 2012. http://www.cfapubs.org/doi/pdf/10.2469/cfm.v23.n2.20 (accessed December 3, 2013).

 [xxxi] Boddy, Clive R.. “The Corporate Psychopaths Theory Of The Global Financial Crisis.” Journal of Business Ethics 102, no. 2 (2011): 255-259.

  [xxxii] LaCapra, Lauren Tara, and Leslie Adler. “Many Wall Street Executives Say Wrongdoing is Necessary: Survey.” Reuters. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/07/10/business-us-wallstreet-survey-idUKBRE86906G20120710 (accessed December 3, 2013).

[xxxiii] Salas Gage, Caroline. “Household Debt in US Climbed 1.1% in Third Quarter, Fed Says.” Bloomberg.com. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-14/household-debt-in-u-s-climbed-1-1-in-third-quarter-fed-says.html (Accessed December 4, 2013.)

 [xxxiv]“Giant Banks Take Over Real Economy As Well As Financial System … Enabling Manipulation On a Vast Scale.” Washingtons Blog. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/07/giant-banks-take-over-real-economy-as-well-as-financial-system-enabling-manipulation-on-a-vast-scale.html (accessed December 3, 2013).

  [xxxv] Hopkins, Cheyenne. “Fed Said to Review Commodities at Goldman, Morgan Stanley.” Bloomberg.com. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-01/fed-said-to-review-commodities-at-goldman-morgan-stanley.html (accessed December 3, 2013). 

[xxxvi] “Giant Banks Take Over Real Economy As Well As Financial System … Enabling Manipulation On a Vast Scale.” Washingtons Blog. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/07/giant-banks-take-over-real-economy-as-well-as-financial-system-enabling-manipulation-on-a-vast-scale.html (accessed December 3, 2013).

 [xxxvii] Upbin, Bruce. “The 147 Companies That Control Everything.” Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/sites/bruceupbin/2011/10/22/the-147-companies-that-control-everything/ (accessed December 3, 2013).

Krosbi Quintero, a Venezuelan, spent 60 days in a migrant prison in Spain, he told Clarin last year. Before that, he had been detained ten other times for not having identity documents. In prison he and other inmates were given Alprazolam, normally prescribed for panic attacks, so they wouldn’t “create problems”. Quintero said migrants were blamed for “stealing jobs”, and police hunted for undocumented migrants in the train stations, stepping the hunt up when Spain’s economic situation got worse. Quintero claimed the police focused on darker skinned people such as himself.

While most first world and imperialist countries criminalise refugees and undocumented migrants, scapegoating them, promoting racism, and mistreating them, Venezuela welcomes migrants; and provides them with the same rights as Venezuelan citizens. The Chavez and Maduro governments have never blamed the millions of migrants here for any of the problems the country is facing; rather, migrants -documented or not- are welcomed and receive health care, education, and other benefits.

Meanwhile, Venezuelans and other Latin Americans, as well as migrants from Africa and Asia, are locked up, shot at, and demonised, when they try to migrate to and even vacation in first world countries. Every year the US expels almost 400,000 people who don’t have migration documents. According to a Telesurreport, border patrol agents even teach children near the border with Mexico to fire at cut outs of dark skinned migrants. The Oaxacan Institute of Migrant Attention said that in the January this year ten people were killed when trying to cross the border to the US, and in 2013 a total of 214 people were killed.

Spanish security forces have fired rubber bullets at migrants trying to swim to Spanish soil, seeing nine people from African countries drown in the attempt in February, according to rights groups and migrants. In Italy, undocumented migrants are needed for the cheap labour they provide to the agriculture industry (super exploitation the government turns a blind eye to), but are also demonised and degraded, with some forced to live in sewers. In England, the Home Office gives its workers vouches to expensive clothing shops as an incentive when to meet the target of rejecting 70% of asylum seekers.

And in Australia, a wealthy country with one of the lowest population densities and migration rates, refugees (heroes) are locked up and regularly commit suicide, while British backpackers who overstay visas are usually left alone. The Australian government’s immigration page says in huge bold red text, “No way, you will not make Australia home”. There, it announces that the Australian government will not process any temporary or permanent protection visas to anyone arriving by boat without a visa.

Every household “has at least one Colombian in it” – Venezuela’s migration history

Flor Gomez (Tamara Pearson /Venezuelanalysis.com)

Flor Alba Gomez Yepez migrated to Venezuela from Colombia nearly forty years ago, but only recently received citizenship. She described how the treatment of migrants has changed over time in Venezuela to Venezuelanalysis.

“I came here in 1973 after one of my brothers came here looking for a better quality of life. In Colombia the economic situation is always difficult. When we arrived here we started to work in a jumper factory – it’s still there, on the Avenue Americas, it’s called Azil, owned by some Italians. The housing situation back then was very bad. No one wanted to rent to Colombians, there was a lot of discrimination and racism because back then Colombians had a bad reputation. One woman would say that Colombians are thieves and prostitutes – they’d generalise like that about us, but then they’d get to know us. Now things have changed, Colombians are seen well. We’ve shown that we work hard, as time has passed we’ve become known for that,” Gomez said.

“This country is characterised by having people from all over the world; the biggest percentage [of migrants] are from Colombia, but there are also Italians, who often own bread shops, people from the Middle East, who often own clothing shops, many shops are owned by foreigners, and the Venezuelans are often professionals; doctors, teachers,” she said.

“Venezuelans and Colombians get married, and I’d say most households have at least one Colombian in them,” Gomez added.

Venezuela has the third highest number of migrants in Latin America, according to El Carabobeno. A 2011 World Bank study also put Venezuela in second place in the region for number of refugees, though the line between migrants and refugees is sometimes hard to draw, as many Colombians flee a range of factors, from violence to political repression, to economic hardship.

Venezuela also has more migrants than emigrants. A 2011 study by Ivan de la Vega for the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) estimated the number of Venezuelans living overseas to be 1.2 million, while the World Bank in 2010 only registered 521,620. Either way, the number is well below the number of foreigners living in Venezuela, with an estimated 4.5 million Colombians.

Venezuelans who move to the US tend to be young, with 55.26% under the age of 34, according to the US Homeland Security Department. The UCV study claimed that most people migrating to the US do so because of the crime levels in Venezuela, though perhaps the Hollywood myth of the US lifestyle is to blame, as crime rights in the US are not much better than Venezuela, and Latinos, migrants, and African-Americans are most frequently the victims. Further, historically in Venezuela, as in most third world countries, those who are educated here as professionals often end up working overseas – for lack of employment opportunities, or seeking a higher wage. According to Carlos Lage, of the Cuban state council, by 1999 one million scientists and professionals educated in Latin America “at a cost of some 30 billion dollars moved to developed countries, and now we have to pay in order to benefit from their scientific contributions”.

In the other direction, many Colombians migrate to Venezuela, or visit it in order to benefit from the free health care and higher education. Women crossing the border in order to give birth is very common.

“My first child was born in the HULA (University of Los Andes Hospital), and the care was very good; three doctors, two nurses, cleaners three times a day, we got towels. That was very different to when I had one of my boys, Cesar, in 1989, the second period of CAP (Venezuelan president Carlos Andres Perez). That same hospital was a disaster, it was totally deteriorated, and then the prices of things tripled. They said in the newspaper that the petroleum had run out- I saved a copy. There was a lot of poverty,” Gomez said.

“The year I migrated here, Carlos Andres Perez was a candidate. I remember that there was a lot of wasteful spending on the campaign. They handed out hats, cups; it was a very dishonest campaign. That first period of CAP things were quite affordable. It was known that there was a lot of petroleum, but people weren’t educated or informed about how it was sold, we weren’t told anything, and they held those beauty contests to distract people,” she explained.

Under the dictatorship of Marcos Perez Jimenez, until 1958, Venezuela had an open door policy, which was then revoked by the Punto Fijo government which followed. However, with the development of the oil industry from 1963, South Americans, especially Colombians, began to migrate to Venezuela. In the next few decades, others came here fleeing military dictatorships in Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and Chile. As petroleum prices rose, investment and employment was concentrated in the main cities. Then, in the 1980s the prices dropped, and with IMF adjustment packages, unemployment increased, seeing more people emigrating out.

In Venezuela all human beings have the same rights

Under the Bolivarian government, migrants’ rights have significantly improved. “Foreigners in the territory of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela will have the same rights as nationals, without any limitations,” reads article 13 of the migration law, passed by the Chavez government in 2003.

Further, in February 2004, Chavez issued Presidential Decree 2,823, which began a national campaign to pay what he called “Venezuela’s historical debt to migrants”. Foreigners residing in Venezuela without documents could legalise their stay and become “indefinite residents”. They had to obtain a certificate of legalisation and an ID card, and were then granted the resident visa for five years. A few people had bureaucratic problems though with the process and in 2009 the identification and migration office, SAIME, renewed the process, seeing many of those last people finally able to get their visa. That year, every Monday- the day assigned to the process-, hundreds of people were seen queuing up outside the various SAIME offices.

“I married a Venezuelan after five years here, and that’s how I eventually got citizenship. But I didn’t get it until 2004, when I was naturalised, thanks to Chavez. I’d been living here 31 years. Before that it was very complicated, they didn’t give out citizenship,” Gomez said.

“Colombians are now attended to in hospitals, schools, there’s no problems studying. A lot of Colombians also work on farms; in the Sur del Lago area, in Caño Amarillo, and things have improved for them since Chavez came to power, especially as the land relationships have changed. Colombians without documents were exploited; they lived in informal housing and were paid badly. It used to be common, now it still happens, but not as much. I recently met a young woman who was working on a farm, she was treated very well and she was happy. She was paid Bs 4,000 every fortnight,” she explained.

“Before, the police would harass the youth, and if they didn’t have documents, they were sent to jail. It was very repressive, but now with Chavez it’s not like that,” Gomez added.

Now, having documentation and identification is a right, with the SAIME holding mobile cedulacion (ID card) stalls around the country, and police obliged to help children without documents to get identification. The few cases of undocumented or documented migrants being expelled from Venezuela over the last decade involve US diplomats allegedly conspiring against the government, people wanted with red alerts by Interpol, and in 2009, some people who were illegally extracting national resources, specifically gold and coltan.

Venezuelanalysis also talked to Alejandro Carrizo, an Argentinean who came to Venezuela 4.5 years ago.

Alejandro Carrizo (Tamara Pearson /Venezuelanalysis.com)

“I first came here for a cultural activity, and now I’m doing expositions. I fell in love here and I wanted to live and work here and also do research with rural workers and their organisations, ones aimed at re-taking land. There are some important laws for rural workers that don’t exist anywhere else on the continent – there are a lot of Ecuadorian and Colombian farmers, and the Chavez policies favour legality for them and provide them with lots of possibilities for work, credits, financing,” Carrizo explained.

“I came here on a tourist visa, and then just stayed on. I thought we all talked the same, but I discovered that I don’t talk very well and some of the words are different. That’s about all the difficulty I’ve had really, and it has been interesting to discover the new language. As a foreigner without documents, I have everything, I even have a bank account. I’ve got work, I’ve studied. I’ve worked in institutions and sometimes I’ve faced some obstacles with the payment, but with studying I haven’t had any problems. The bureaucracy is a bit annoying but it’s also natural in changing processes, there’s always some disorder. I’ve never really felt like a foreigner, I’ve been accepted by this society,” he said.

Gomez argued that Colombians were better off in Venezuela, even without documents, than in Colombia, “There’s no freedom in Colombia and the people don’t count, aren’t taken into account in politics. The transnationals there…one in Putamayo, near the Pacific sea, destroyed the rivers for gold and didn’t ask the people there. There’s lots of exploitation, the wages are barely liveable, water, gas and electricity are all privatised, and education is almost totally privatised too, it’s very expensive. If a family has five children, two at the most will study. Here on the other hand, the gas is given away basically, studying is free, anyone who needs a medical exam, an x-ray, can just get one,” Gomez said.

Even people migrating here from non Latin American countries tend to face few problems. Venezuelanalysis talked to Carlos Furtado, who works in a shop owned by Chinese people. As the owners spoke little Spanish, they preferred that I talk to Furtado. He explained, “For cultural and language reasons, sometimes it can be difficult, sometimes there’s some rejection, but it’s easier for their children who are born here and speak Spanish. Sometimes laws aren’t applied, but entering the country is normal. There’s no discrimination here, no exploitation because someone was born somewhere else. That’s why there’s a saying, ‘Venezuela is the mother of all the countries’”.

Venezuela’s new police university, the UNES, which is focused on human rights, is currently running courses in migration, “to promote ethics in public attention and respect for human rights”. Forty SAIME workers started a course called the National Program for Training Civil Servants in the Area of Migration last September.

Ruben Dario, a general director at the UNES, told press during the start of the course that Venezuela’s migration policy “is distinguished for being tolerant, without any kind of discrimination, solidarious, with complete respect for all migrant human rights, and for not criminalising migration”.

The UN agency for refugees, Acnur, has also been able to work in Venezuela, saying it has trained around 10,000 people in ten years, among them military, police, civil servants, students, and NGOs attending to refugees. Acnur states that one of its aims in Venezuela is to strengthen refugees’ self sufficiency, and that while it started by handing out micro credits, now the state “has taken the reigns of this strategy of protection for many families who find it hard to earn a living”.

Institutional bureaucracy is the main difficulty for migrants in Venezuela

Despite the passing of the Law for the Simplification of Administration (2008), which declares that all bureaucratic processes should be free or affordable (they are) and as simple as possible,  there are still serious bureaucratic problems here– of inconsistent requirements, unnecessary paperwork, insufficient information about requirements, and processing of requests can take too long. These problems affect all people here, but they disproportionately affect migrants, at times leaving them vulnerable.

Though having legal documents like a visa is not a prerequisite for any social services such as health, subsidised food, political participation, education, and so on, visas help with leaving and returning to Venezuela. Not having a working visa can also leave people more susceptible to work place abuse, exploitation, and to having their worker rights, such as to pensioner savings, denied. The work law states that foreigners have the same rights as citizens, but employers can use the lack of a visa to intimidate workers anyway. Psychologically, people without visas may feel insecure, and they can also be more vulnerable to police harassment and extortion, though instances of such cases have drastically reduced over the last seven years.

While obtaining a working visa, a business visa, or a family visa, and eventually residency, is much easier and affordable here than in Australia or the US, for example, the requirements for a working visa are still next to impossible; applicants have to obtain the work in Venezuela, have the ministry of labour approve the visa (one of the hardest things), then return to their country of birth to apply for the visa. Over the last seven years there have been serious improvements, with more SAIME offices around the country, processing time drastically reduced, and more consistent information about requirements.

I remember first trying to get a legal visa in 2008. I had to travel to Caracas (16 hours in a bus). Then, literally dozens of people were swarming outside the SAIME building (then known as Onidex) trying to sell “stamps” that no one actually needed. Inside the building I tried to find out the requirements for a visa, and was sent from one office to another, to the point where I came full circle, still with no information. Now, there is a huge office in Merida. It takes just a morning to get a cedula (ID card), instead of a few weeks, and there are signs everywhere warning people that they do not have to pay for forms, and that stamps can only be obtained from certain registered shops. There is an information desk, and the national guard at SAIME are really helpful. Nevertheless, the process for becoming “documented” could be simplified much more.

“I haven’t witnessed much discrimination, though yes, there are bureaucratic obstacles,” Carrizo said. “Some Colombians have been here for twenty years, and they [the government] should make it easier to processes all the paperwork much more quickly”.

Latin America rejects borders

“My family are indigenous, the Comechingones people, and I feel like I identify more with that. Our borders are different, we’re all brothers; Spain divided up the territory, such bureaucratic things aren’t part of our language. Mercosur is an advance towards a single and free territory, free of imperialism. We’d save a lot of paper,” Carrizo said. People from member countries of Mercosur don’t need a passport to visit other member countries as tourists.

“Latin America is one country, you see that when you travel,” Gomez concluded.

Leading and pushing regional blocs such as ALBA, Petrocaribe, and the CELAC, Venezuela has been taking concrete, though slow and small steps, towards a united Latin America based on cooperation between regions, and where borders either don’t exist, or are less prohibitive, and where no one is “illegal”.

A CELAC statement coming out of a meeting for the protection of migrants held in June 2011 reaffirmed the member countries’ concerns “for the vulnerable situation of migrants and their families facing human rights violations and a lack of protection, something which urges states to increase their efforts … to continue advancing in strengthening full economic and social development in our region, free of all the factors that force international migration, as that should be a free decision”.

In this sense, the CELAC and Venezuela are setting an example for first world countries: showing that humane treatment of all migrants, documented or not, is easy and possible. Further, that the most important thing is to not force migration: to remove borders, to have cooperative trade policies (rather than the US’s trade policies which impoverish people in Mexico, Haiti, and so on), and to not support the invasion and destruction of other countries, such as Iraq, thereby creating the refugees that countries like Australia and the US refuse to look after.

“How lovely that you and I are two immigrants talking about this,” Carrizo said as the interview concluded.

“Between your town and mine, there’s a dot and a dash. The dash says, “You can’t get through” and the dot says, “Closed road”. Like that… with so many dots and dashes, the map is a telegram. Walking in the world one sees rivers and mountains, one sees deserts and jungles, but not dots or dashes. Because these things don’t exist, rather they were imposed so that my hunger and yours would always be separated,” – Aguiles Nazoa, 20th century Venezuelan writer.

The weeklong official commemoration of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 has featured speeches at the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas by President Obama and ex-presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. These ceremonies, and particularly Obama’s keynote speech Thursday afternoon, have served to cover up rather than illuminate the historical importance of the struggle against segregation and racial discrimination.

None of the four presidential speakers has any genuine connection to the mass movement of millions of African American workers and youth—broadly supported by working people of all races—that first shook and ultimately shattered the legal semi-apartheid of the American South known as Jim Crow. All four presidents represent, in different ways, the efforts of the American ruling class to reverse the gains made by working people in the 1960s and make ever-greater inroads against their living standards, social conditions and democratic rights.

Carter was the first Democrat elected after Johnson, who was virtually driven out of office by the mass popular movement against the Vietnam War, which compelled him to abandon any effort to win a second full presidential term. Carter campaigned for the presidency as the most right-wing of the Democratic candidates, committed to curbing rather than expanding the welfare state measures enacted under Johnson. His administration featured one confrontation after another with the working class, including the 111-day strike by coal miners who defied his presidential back-to-work order.

Clinton campaigned for the presidency in 1992 as a “New Democrat,” one who personified the rejection of the policies of expanded social programs and concessions to the working class once associated with the Democratic Party. Working with an ultra-right Republican Congress, Clinton carried through “welfare reform,” the abolition, for the first time in US history, of one of the basic social safety net programs established by the New Deal and Great Society reforms of the 1930s and the 1960s.

As for Bush, his attempt to associate himself with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an obscenity. He personifies the transformation of the Republican Party—which in 1964 provided heavier congressional support for the bill than the Democrats—into the party of the most racist and reactionary component of the American political establishment, with its main political base in the Southern states.

Nor is Obama, the first African-American president, an heir to the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, as he claimed in his keynote speech. He is rather the end product of the measures adopted by the US ruling class to tame, neuter and destroy the mass movement of the 1960s. The civil rights struggles represented a genuine egalitarian impulse, a fight to improve the living standards and expand the democratic rights of the most oppressed sections of the working class, to the benefit of all working people.

Substituted for this was the cultivation of special privileges for a select few through programs such as affirmative action, first proposed by President Richard Nixon as a way of co-opting the civil rights movement, under the slogan “black capitalism.” The goal was to elevate a layer of more privileged African Americans, then women and Hispanics, and later gays and lesbians, into positions of power and influence, while leaving the fundamental social structure of American capitalism unchanged. Identity politics was promoted as the cover for this process and became the political basis of the Democratic Party, in particular.

Obama was part of that layer of African Americans cultivated by the talent-spotters for corporate America and the military-intelligence apparatus. His first job after graduating from college was for Business International, a front company for CIA ventures overseas. He was later recruited to Harvard Law School before being plugged into a political career in Southside Chicago, then elevated improbably, first to the US Senate, then the White House.

Once in office, he has displayed unwavering loyalty to the interests of the American ruling elite, from the bailout of Wall Street to the buildup of the police-state apparatus of spying, to the promotion of imperialist military operations and political provocations in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, East Asia and now Ukraine. Poverty is at the highest level since the 1960s, food stamp usage at an all-time high. One figure sums up the class character of the Obama administration: during his first term in office, the richest one percent of the US population captured 95 percent of all increases in income.

Media commentaries on the civil rights anniversary have noted the wide scope of the reforms associated with that period: in addition to the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Voting Rights Act (1965), these included the establishment of Medicare and Medicaid (1965), federal aid to elementary and secondary schools (1965), the Fair Housing Act (1966), and the first environmental and consumer protection laws.

But there is no serious assessment of the eventual failure of these efforts. This was not just the outcome of the Vietnam War, which became the sinkhole for the resources that Johnson had initially proposed to devote to the “War on Poverty.” In the final analysis, it represented the failure of American capitalism.

In the richest country in the world, at the height of the post-World War II boom, it proved impossible, within the framework of the profit system, to alleviate poverty significantly or make any long-term improvement in the conditions of life for the broad masses of working people. On the contrary, the five decades that followed have seen the growth of economic inequality to unheard-of dimensions.

Obama’s pretense of social reformism will be hailed by liberal publications such as the Nation as a turn to the left, and given credibility by pseudo-left organizations such as the International Socialist Organization. This is a fraud.

Obama seeks to associate himself with the civil rights struggles of the 1960s only to provide a political cover for a discredited right-wing administration and a Democratic Party facing mass disaffection at the polls in the upcoming congressional elections.

There is one striking similarity between Lyndon Johnson and Obama. LBJ notoriously pored over maps of North Vietnam, personally selecting targets for pulverization by US B-52s. Obama’s equivalent is his “Terror Tuesdays,” when he sits down with intelligence aides to determine whom the CIA and Pentagon will exterminate with drone-fired cruise missiles.

Johnson sought to combine social reform and imperialist war, leading to his political debacle. Obama combines imperialist war and reaction all down the line: the dismantling of social benefits, the bankruptcy of major cities like Detroit, wage cutting spearheaded by the federal government, police-state spying on a gigantic scale.

The real lesson of this historical epoch is that the perspective of creating a more democratic and egalitarian capitalism failed and was doomed to do so. The profit system is incompatible with genuine democracy and equality. It must be overthrown through the independent political struggle of the working class and replaced by a socialist system, in which the stranglehold of the financial aristocracy is broken, its criminally obtained wealth is expropriated, and economic life is placed under the democratic control of the entire people.

Protesters in Athens.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel flew to Athens Friday to bolster the prospects of the right-wing government of Antonis Samaras in the forthcoming European elections. Important regional and municipal elections are scheduled in Greece for the same week.

Following her support for the ultra-nationalists and fascists represented in the Ukrainian transitional government, Merkel is now seeking to prop up the Samaras regime, which has close ties to similar forces in Greece.

The Greek government has been thrown into tumult in the past few weeks after the release of a video which revealed the intimate links between one of Samaras’ closest advisors, Panagiotis Baltakos, and the fascist Golden Dawn party. The video records Baltakos having a friendly conversation with Ilias Kassidiaris, a spokesman for Golden Dawn, who is currently facing prosecution on charges of membership in a criminal organization. Baltakos was Samaras’ legal and political adviser for the past 20 years, since the latter founded New Democracy in the 1990s.

The affair demonstrated that repeated claims by Samaras and other government spokesmen that they oppose Golden Dawn and its racist policies are so much hot air. Samaras was subsequently forced to accept the resignation of his longtime political ally. An immediate consequence of the scandal was a further fall in the polls for Samaras’ New Democracy party, which has a slender one deputy majority in the Greek parliament. According to one of the latest opinion polls, ND now stands three points behind the main opposition party, SYRIZA.

Greek security forces were put on high alert for the German chancellor’s visit, with the police announcing a ban on any rallies in large parts of the Athens city centre between 11:30 until 21:30, with 5,000 heavily armed riot police deployed to quell any protests.

Merkel’s visit comes two years after her last trip to Greece in 2012. At that time, her visit was accompanied by extensive demonstrations directed against the European leader regarded by most Greeks as the prime mover of the austerity policies which have wreaked such havoc on the lives of millions of workers and their families.

In 2012, Merkel was ridiculed by demonstrators who portrayed the chancellor wearing a Nazi uniform. The caricature was aimed at recalling the fateful consequences of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Greece during the Second World War. This time Merkel returned as public supporter of a government with proven links to the fascists.

Police spokesmen sought to justify the massive security operation in the city with the explosion of a car bomb on Thursday. The bomb went off in front of the Greek Central Bank in central Athens, causing some material damage but no casualties. The bombing had all the hallmarks of a state provocation aimed at diverting attention from the links of the government to the fascists and justifying the build-up of state and security forces.

For their part, the Greek trade union movement sought to defuse opposition to Merkel’s visit by holding small token demonstrations on Wednesday.

Merkel’s visit was accompanied by a barrage of propaganda in the European press implying that, after years of austerity which have slashed economic output in Greece by a quarter, the Greek economy and also the euro zone, were finally turning the corner.

On Thursday, the Greek government announced that its attempt to re-enter the bond markets had been successful. The sale of Greek government bonds was the first since the European Union and International Monetary Fund effectively assumed economic control of the country in 2010.

In the run-up to the sale of the Greek bonds the German Der Spiegelmagazine hailed the return of Greece to the markets as a “dubious miracle”. After the sale the Greek financial newspaper Imerisia headlined “The great comeback”, while the head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, declared that the bond sale was “an indication that Greece is heading in the right direction”.

In fact, as was the case with all of the financial measures imposed by the EU and IMF on Greece during the past five years, Thursday’s bond sale was yet another bonanza for Western banks. Reports of the sale relayed that hedge funds and other major financial institutions were queuing up for the bonds which, according to a Greek government spokesman, were eight times oversubscribed.

The 4.75 percent interest rate on the Greek bonds is the highest among euro-denominated sovereign bond issues and more than double the rate Greece currently pays to its official creditors of around 2 percent.

Investors were so eager to pick the five-year bonds because their creditworthiness is virtually guaranteed by existing euro zone finance mechanisms. The total raised by the Greek government in the sale—€3 billion—is a drop in the ocean compared to the €240 billion Greece owes to Western banks following a succession of EU-IMF bail outs. German and French banks are expected to be the main beneficiaries after the European Central Bank (ECB) barred Greek banks from participating in the sale.

Once again, it will be the Greek population which will pick up the tab for the sale in the form of interest repayments estimated at between €125 million and €150 million due in the not-so distant future

For her part, the German chancellor made clear there would be no let-up in the implementation of austerity policies. She addressed a meeting of small businessmen in Athens on Friday and promised a small contribution by Germany to a so-called “Institution for Growth”.

Before departing for Greece, however, she declared: “We have some difficult years behind us when it comes to the debt crisis, but we can see first successes. We should not trivialize these successes, even though we certainly haven’t reached the end of the road”.

What Merkel describes as “successes” are measures which have devastated the Greek economy. Well over a quarter of the workforce is unemployed, with youth unemployment over 60 percent. The country’s debt burden has reached an historic high of 175 percent of GDP, and a 1.5 percent drop in consumer prices, year on year, indicates that the economy is stagnant and confronts outright deflation.

In its recent (April 8) economic report on Greece, Citigroup Inc. concluded: “A failure of the economy to show further signs of recovery may reignite political instability, which remains the main source of risk” to investors.

Merkel ruled out any meeting during her visit with the head of the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA). For his part, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras criticized the visit of the German chancellor and EU policy in order to appeal to his domestic audience.

For his international audience, however, Tsipras plays a different tune. At the end of March, George Tzogopoulos, a researcher at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP), reported: “In Greece, it [SYRIZA] is condemning the bailout for obvious political reasons, but in Europe it is ‘more friendly’ towards the European economic policy”.

Tzogopoulos went on to note that, in relation to European policy, SYRIZA would now be prepared to negotiate and even apply the same bailout terms that it openly condemns at home.

GMO and Monsanto

April 13th, 2014 by Global Research News

After a series of headline-grabbing statements about the possibility of “switching” European consumers over to American gas, the US media hastened to announce the launch of Obama’s oil and gas offensive against Russia. In reality the EU is not currently prepared, neither technically nor in terms of price, to buy its energy resources from the US.  It would take at least ten years to adapt even the technically advanced German energy system to work with American gas supply. In a crisis, when it is particularly urgent to see a quick return on an investment, such projects are unrealistic.

Whether German industry is ready to pay more for gas from overseas just for the dubious pleasure of “punishing” someone is a big question. Unlike EU officials, the German government is not publicly calling into question either its long-term contracts with Russia or the future of the South Stream pipeline. On March 13, 2014, the chairman of the board of Gazprom, Alexei Miller, attended a meeting with the Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economics and Energy of Germany Sigmar Gabriel. “Germany is Russia’s number one partner in Europe’s gas and energy market,” Miller stated. “Russian gas accounts for 40% of all German imports. And we’re also noting an upwards tick in the quantity of gas supplies coming from Russia.  Last year, shipments totaled more than 40 billion cubic meters and we’ve seen a 20% annual increase.” Looking at these statistics, it’s clear that all the talk about Atlantic solidarity is having zero effect on the German government’s rational decision making. “We don’t need conflict escalation”, said Sigmar Gabriel during an expert roundtable on energy policy later in March. “Russia met its obligations under the gas contracts even in the darkest years of the Cold War”.

Sigmar Gabriel knows what he’s talking about. For Europe to be able to fully utilize gas supplies from the US, it will be necessary to build expensive facilities to decompress and store the gas. Moreover, in order to incorporate the “American” gas into the existing local energy systems, the European countries would need to construct new pumping stations. The associated infrastructure will further add to the price for the end consumer. Neither the bosses of the German industry nor the responsible political leaders will support such policy.

So who’s behind the demands that Russia be punished?

Barack Obama continues to look outside of Europe for ways to pressure Moscow. It is no coincidence that the US president’s recent statements on energy policy coincided with his visit to Saudi Arabia. President Obama came to Riyadh to bring down prices in exchange for the development of Saudi Arabian facilities to extract and liquefy gas for delivery to Europe. It’s unlikely that even Charles Maurice de Talleyrand himself could have persuaded the Saudis to dump as many resources as possible onto the market in exchange for the nebulous promise of American help to obtain new gas facilities at some unspecified date in the future.

Qatar’s position needs to be kept in mind too. There are serious personal disagreements between the Saudis and the hypersensitive former emir of Qatar as no one in the Middle East needs a new competitor in the gas industry. Obama’s attempt to repeat Ronald Reagan’s oil trick in the Middle East and “shake down” global prices will face many obstacles. A hike in oil prices below $80 would expose yet another issue that was a real controversy during Obama’s reelection campaign, namely – what to do about Iraq. Even a 10% drop in oil prices would finish off the Iraqi economy, still reeling from the US invasion. And Israel is closely monitoring the White House’s attempts to initiate a rapprochement with Iran. If Uncle Sam tries to levy energy sanctions against Russia using his political positions in the Middle East, he will quickly find he has loaded a gun only to shoot himself in the foot.

The US Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, an Obama appointee and shale enthusiast, has jumped right into the discussion of “punishing” Russia. He promised to consider new efforts to ship LNG from the USA to Europe. In this particular case his verbal intervention is unlikely to reflect the position of the CEOs of the oil majors. They know very well that the industry’s real break-even points are nowhere near where they were 30 years ago due to inflation and higher operation costs. Today one facility—Cheniere’s $10 billion Sabine Pass terminal in Cameron Parish—has the required approvals from the Energy Department and U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In early March, the American economist Philip Verleger, who worked in the White House and the US Treasury in the 1970s, spoke as an expert on the issue of using energy as way to “punish” Russia. In the March 3, 2014 newsletter that he publishes for his clients, Verleger wrote that the US has a tool it can use to influence Russia – its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). US Reserve currently contains almost 700 million barrels of oil, five million of which were unloaded onto the market during the Washington visit of the interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. “It almost defies logic to think there isn’t a link,” noted John Kingston, the director of Platts’ news division. Tapping the SPR to manipulate the global market would be a highly extraordinary decision. The only way to exert any real pressure on global oil prices would be to open up at least 50% of the entire SPR and grant export licenses to anyone who wanted one. The American DoE is obviously not ready for such draconian measures.

Looking at the 2014 report written by the DoE analysts who are known for their almost religious faith in alternative energy, the minimum price for oil in 2015 will be $89.75/barr. The Russian national budget in 2014, which was saddled with expenses related to the Olympics, was drawn up based on an average price of $93 per barrel. Ergo, even $80-90 would hardly spell disaster for Moscow, much less $100 a barrel. In addition, the “nonmarket” pressure by the US could be balanced by the exporter nations. For example, the idea of “energy currency” has long been a hot topic within OPEC and the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).

For the first time ever in the history of US-Russian relations we are seeing a public debate about a threat of economic sanctions that may have a long-range negative effect on global energy security. The Obama administration acts as if it is guided by a chapter out of an old Soviet textbook on political economy. At the moment, apparently, the sacred dogma of the free market, from Samuelson to Friedman, can be conveniently overlooked for the sake of punishing a sovereign nation. When the head of the most influential state in the world talks about manipulating market prices to punish recalcitrant players, what kind of “global free market” and fair play are we really talking about?

Korea and the “Axis of Evil”

April 13th, 2014 by Brian S. Willson

Armistice Day, July 27, 2013

This article by Vietnam War Veteran, author and peace activist Brian Willson was first published by Global Research in 2002. It outlines, what most people in America do not know  and which is particularly relevant in assessing the alleged “threats” of North Korea to global security. 

North Korea lost thirty percent of its population as a result of US led bombings in the 1950s. US military sources confirm that 20 percent of North Korea’s  population was killed off over a three period of intensive bombings:

“After destroying North Korea’s 78 cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her civilians, [General] LeMay remarked,“Over a period of three years or so we killed off – what – twenty percent of the population.”6 It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 – 9 million people during the 37-month long “hot” war, 1950 – 1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to the belligerance of another.”

During The Second World War the United Kingdom lost 0.94% of its population, France lost 1.35%, China lost 1.89% and the US lost 0.32%. During the Korean war, North Korea lost 30 % of its population.

These figures of civilian deaths in North Korea should also be compared to those compiled for Iraq  by the Lancet Study (John Hopkins School of Public Health). The Lancet study estimates a total of 655,000 Iraqi civilian deaths, following the US led invasion (March 2003- June 2006).

Michel Chossudovsky,  Global Research, April 14,  2014 


The demonization of North Korea by the United States government continues unrelentlessly. The wealthy oil and baseball man who claims to be president of the United States, used his first State of the Union address on January 29, 2002 to brand perennial enemy North Korea, along with former allies Iran and Iraq, as “the world’s most dangerous regimes” who now now form a threatening “axis of evil.” Unbeknown to the public, because it was intended to have remained a secret (whoops!), was the fact that this claimed president presented a “Nuclear Posture Review” report to Congress only three weeks earlier, on January 8, which ordered the Pentagon to prepare contingency plans for use of nuclear weapons. The first designated targets for nuclear attack were his newly identified members of the “axis of evil,” along with four other lucky nations as well – Syria, Libya, Russia, and China. That this is nothing short of a policy of ultimate terror remains unaddressed in the U.S. media.

That Koreans are deeply concerned is an understatement. However, they understand the context in which their “evil” is being portrayed, not an altogether new threat levelled at them. However, the dangerous escalation of policy rhetoric following the 9-11 tragedy now boldly warns the world of virtual total war. Vice-president Richard Cheney, another oil man from Texas, declares that the U.S. is now considering military actions against forty to fifty nations, and that the war “may never end” and “become a permanent part of the way we live.”1 The Pentagon has declared that the widening gap between the “Haves” and “Have-nots” poses a serious challenge to the U.S., requiring a doctrine of “full spectrum dominance.” Thus, the U.S. demands total capacity to conquer every place and its inhabitants in and around the Earth, from deep underground bunkers, including those in North Korea and Iraq, through land, sea, and air, to outer space. All options for achieving global and spatial hegemony are now on the table. Already, the U.S. military is deployed in 100 different countries.2 Total war, permanent war. Terror!

Addiction to use of terror by the United States is nothing new. The civilization was founded and has been sustained by use of terror as a primary policy. For example, in 1779, General George Washington ordered destruction of the “merciless Indian savages” of upstate New York, instructing his generals to “chastize” them with “terror.” The generals dutifully carried out these orders. In 1866, General William Tecumseh Sherman ordered “extermination” with vindictive earnestness of the Sioux. They were virtually exterminated. Secretary of War Elihu Root (1899-1904) under President’s McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt, justified the ruthless U.S. military conduct in the Philippines that savagely killed a half-million citizens by citing “precedents of the highest authority:” Washington’s and Sherman’s earlier orders.3

War against nations around the world is not new either. The U.S., over its history, has militarily intervened over 400 times, covertly thousands of times, in over one hundred nations.4 Virtually all these interventions have been lawless. It has bombed at least eighteen nations since it dropped Atomic bombs on Japan in 1945. It has used chemical warfare against Southeast Asia, and has provided chemical warfare agents for use by other nations such as Iraq. It has used biological warfare against China, North Korea, and Cuba. The Koreans are quite aware of most of this history. Most U.S. Americans are not. But now the U.S. has declared a unilateral terrorist war on the whole world.5

Two of the interventions in the Nineteenth Century were inflicted against Korea, the first in 1866. The second, larger one, in 1871, witnessed the landing of over 700 marines and sailors on Kanghwa beach on the west side of Korea seeking to establish the first phases of colonization. Destroying several forts while inflicting over 600 casualties on the defending Korean natives, the U.S. withdrew realizing that in order to assure hegemonic success, a much larger, permanent military presence would be necessary. The North Korean people regularly remark about this U.S. invasion, even though most in South Korea do not know of it due to historic censorship. Most in the U.S. don’t know about it either, for similar reasons, even though in all of the Nineteenth Century, this was the largest U.S. military force to land on foreign soil outside of Mexico and Canada until the “Spanish American War” in 1898.

I believe it important for U.S. Americans to place themselves in the position of people living in targeted countries. That North Korea, a nation of 24 million people, i.e., one-twentieth the population of the U.S., many of them poor, a land slightly larger in area than the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, continues to be one of the most demonized nations and least understood, totally perplexes the Korean people. It is worthwhile to seek an understanding of their perspective.

I recently visited that nation and talked with a number of her citizens. I travelled 900 ground miles through six of North Korea’s nine provinces, as well as spending time in Pyongyang, the capital, and several other cities. I talked with dozens of people from all walks of life. Though times have been hard for North Koreans, especially in the 1990s, they long ago proudly rebuilt all of their dozens of cities, thousands of villages, and hundreds of dykes and dams destroyed during the war.

U.S. interference into the sovereign life of Korea immediately upon the 1945 surrender of the hated Japanese, who had occupied the Korean Peninsula for forty years, is one of the major crimes of the Twentieth Century, from which the Korean people have never recovered. (SEE “United States Government War Crimes,” Spring 2002 – issue # 1 of Global Outlook). From a North Korean’s perspective they (1) have vigorously opposed the unlawful and egregious division of their country from day one to the present, (2) were blamed for starting the “Korean War” which in fact had been a struggle between a minority of wealthy Koreans supporting continued colonization in collaboration with the U.S. and those majority Koreans who opposed it, (3) proudly and courageously held the U.S. and its “crony U.N. allies” to a stalemate during the “War,” and (4) have been tragically and unfairly considered a hostile nation ever since. They have not forgotten the forty years of Japanese occupation that preceded the U.S. imposed division and subsequent occupation that continues in the South. They deeply yearn for reunification of their historically unified culture.

Everyone I talked with, dozens and dozens of folks, lost one if not many more family members during the war, especially from the continuous bombing, much of it incendiary and napalm, deliberately dropped on virtually every space in the country. “Every means of communication, every installation, factory, city, and village” was ordered bombed by General MacArthur in the fall of 1950. It never stopped until the day of the armistice on July 27, 1953. The pained memories of people are still obvious, and their anger at “America” is often expressed, though they were very welcoming and gracious to me. Ten million Korean families remain permanently separated from each other due to the military patrolled and fenced dividing line spanning 150 miles across the entire Peninsula.

Let us make it very clear here for western readers. North Korea was virtually totally destroyed during the “Korean War.” U.S. General Douglas MacArthur’s architect for the criminal air campaign was Strategic Air Command head General Curtis LeMay who had proudly conducted the earlier March 10 – August 15, 1945 continuous incendiary bombings of Japan that had destroyed 63 major cities and murdered a million citizens. (The deadly Atomic bombings actually killed far fewer people.) Eight years later, after destroying North Korea’s 78 cities and thousands of her villages, and killing countless numbers of her civilians, LeMay remarked, “Over a period of three years or so we killed off – what – twenty percent of the population.”6 It is now believed that the population north of the imposed 38th Parallel lost nearly a third its population of 8 – 9 million people during the 37-month long “hot” war, 1950 – 1953, perhaps an unprecedented percentage of mortality suffered by one nation due to the belligerance of another.

Virtually every person wanted to know what I thought of Bush’s recent accusation of North Korea as part of an “axis of evil.” Each of the three governments comprising Bush’s “axis of evil” of course immediately condemned the remarks, North Korea being no exception. I shared with them my own outrage and fears, and they seemed relieved to know that not all “Americans” are so cruel and bellicose. As with people in so many other nations with whom the U.S. has treated with hostility, they simply cannot understand why the U.S. is so obsessed with them.

Koreans were relieved to learn that a recent poll had indicated eighty percent of South Koreans were against the U.S. belligerant stance against their northern neighbors. The North Korean government described Bush as a “typical rogue and a kingpin of terrorism” as he was visiting the South in February, only three weeks after presenting his threatening State of the Union address.7 It was also encouraging that the two Koreas resumed quiet diplomatic talks in March just as the U.S. and South Korea were once again conducting their regular, large-scale, joint military exercises so enraging to the North, and to an increasing number of people in the South among the growing reunification movement there.8

In the English-language newspaper, The Pyongyang Times, (February 23, 2002) there were articles entitled “US Is Empire of the Devil,” Korea Will Never Be a Threat to the US,” and “Bush’s Remarks Stand Condemned.” Quite frankly, all three of these articles relate a truth about the U.S. that would draw a consensus from many quarters around the world.

While in country, together we listened to Bush’s March 14 Voice of America (VOA) radio chastizement of North Korea. First, he stated that the North’s 200,000 prisoner population was proof of terrible repression. Though I had no way of knowing the number of prisoners in the North, any more than Bush did, I do know that the United States has 2 million prisoners which is similar in per-capita detention rate to that of North Korea if the 200,000 figure is accurate. Furthermore, the U.S. has a minimum of 3 million persons, mostly minority and poor, under state supervision of parole and probation. The U.S. sweeps its class and race problems into prison.

Second, Bush declared that half the population was considered unreliable and, as a result, received less monthly food rations. The Koreans are a proud people living in a Confucian tradition, having rebuilt their nation from virtual total destruction during the Korean war. I did not notice any obvious display of dissent. That some Koreans are desperate due to lack of food, water, and heat, especially in some rural areas, does not necessarily translate into dissent, though some are seeking relief by travel to neighboring countries.9

Third, Bush claimed that Koreans who listen to foreign radio are targeted for execution. Together we regularly listened to U.S.VOA radio broadcasts and they freely discussed the content of the broadcasts without fear of reprisals.

Fourth, Bush condemned the DPRK for spending too much on its military, causing food shortages for the people. Note: Again it must be remembered that it was the U.S. that unilaterally divided Korea following the Japanese surrender in August 1945, and subsequently ruled with a military occupation government in the south, overseeing the elimination of virtually the entire popular movement of (majority) opposition to U.S. occupation, murdering hundreds of thousands of people. The consequent Korean civil war that openly raged in 1948-1950 was completely ignored when the U.S. defined the beginning of the Korean War in 1950. The U.S. remains at war with the DPRK, never having signed a peace treaty with her. The war has left a deep scar in the Korean character with a memory that is regularly provoked by continued belligerance directed at the DPRK. The U.S. regularly holds joint military exercises with South Korean military forces aimed at the DPRK. The U.S. retains 37,000 military troops at 100 installations south of the 38th parallel. The U.S. has its largest Asian bombing range where it practices bombs five days a week, fifty-two weeks a year, despite opposition from many South Koreans. And now Bush has identified North Korea as part of an “axis of evil” targeted for nuclear attack. This is no remote idea to North Koreans. The U.S. possesses nuclear weapons on ships and planes in the Pacific region surrounding North Korea. Virtually every nation in this perilous position would be concerned about their defense.

It is worth noting that the United States is the leading military spender in the world resulting in substantial underfunding of its own indispensable social programs.

Fifth, Bush accused the DPRK of selling weapons to other nations. That is like the pot calling the kettle black. The U.S. is by far the largest manufacturer of conventional, nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons in the world. It is also the largest seller of these weapons, and has used conventional (against dozens of nations), biological (Cuba, China, Korea, perhaps others), chemical (Southeast Asia), and nuclear (Japan, and threatened to use them on at least 20 other occasions) weapons. In addition it has armed other nations with these weapons of mass destruction, including Iraq, one of those countries now identified as part of the “axis of evil.” In the year 2000, international arms sales were nearly $37 billion, with the U.S. being directly responsible for just over half of those sales. South Korea was the third largest buyer of weapons from the United States with $3.2 worth of military hardware.10 And in January 2002, South Korea was seriously contemplating purchasing an additional $3.2 billion worth of 40 F-X fighter jets from U.S. arms giant Boeing.

At the conclusion of this VOA radio broadcast, Koreans and I looked at each other in disbelief. But we also knew that we were in solidarity with each other as part of the human family. When I said goodbye to my new friends we embraced knowing that we live in a single world made up of a rich diversity of ideas and species. We know that we are going to live or die together, and hope that the arrogant and dangerous rhetoric and militarism of the United States will soon end so we can all live in peace. However, for that to happen, there will need to be a dramatic awakening among the people and a corresponding expression of massive nonviolent opposition that will make such threatening behavior impossible to carry out.

 

S. Brian Willlson is a Vietnam veteran, long-time peace activist, and writer. He has visited a number of countries studying the impacts of U.S. policy. His essays are posted on his website, www.brianwillson.com. He published a small autobiography, On Third World Legs (Charles Kerr, 1992), which describes his ordeal of having been intentionally run over by a U.S. Government munitions train accelerating to over three times the 5 mph legal speed limit during a peaceful protest in California in 1987. He now walks on two prostheses after losing each leg below the knee. Brian Willson possesses two honorary Ph.D.s and a Juris Doctor degree.

Copyright © B. Willson 2002.

Notes

1. Bob Woodward, “CIA Told To Do ‘Whatever Necessary’ to Kill Bin Laden,” The Washington Post, October 21, 2001.

2. Bradley Graham, “Pentagon Plans New Command For U.S. Four Star Officer, Would Over See Homeland Defense,” The Washington Post, January 26, 2002.

3. Richard Drinnon, Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating and Empire Building. New York: Schocken Books, 1990, p. 329.

4. B.M. Blechman and S.S. Kaplan, Force Without War: U.S. Armed Forces As A Political Instrument. Wash., D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 1978, Appendix B; Congressional Research Service (Foreign Affairs and National Defense Division), Instances of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798-1993. Wash., D.C.: Congressional Research Service, 1993; William Blum, Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Intervention Since World War II. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 1995; John Stockwell, The Praetorian Guard. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1991.

5. William Blum, Rogue State. Monroe, ME: Common Courage Press, 2000; Stephan Endicott and Edward Hagerman, The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets From the Early Cold War and Korea. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1998.

6. Richard Rhodes, “The General and World War III,” The New Yorker, June 19, 1995, p. 53.

7.”North Korea Calls Bush ‘Kingpin of Terrorism,” Reuters wire story, February 23, 2002.

8.”South Korea Envoy to Travel North,” BBC News Online: World: Asia-Pacific, March 25, 2002. Retrieved March 26, 2002, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/low/english/world/asia-pacific/newsid_1891000/1891457.stm

9. Ji-Yeon Yuh, “North Korean Enemy Should Be Made Friend,” The Baltimore Sun, February 27, 2002.

10. Thom Shanker, “Global Arms Sales Rise Again, and the U.S. Leads the Pack, ” The New York Times, August 20, 2001.

The Troubling Truth Behind the Ebola Outbreak

April 13th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

In the Guardian’s article, “Panic as deadly Ebola virus spreads across West Africa,” it reports:

Since the outbreak of the deadly strain of Zaire Ebola in Guinea in February, around 90 people have died as the disease has travelled to neighbouring Sierra Leone, Liberia and Mali. The outbreak has sent shock waves through communities who know little of the disease or how it is transmitted. The cases in Mali have added to fears that it is spreading through West Africa.

The Guardian also reported that  Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), also known in English as Doctors Without Borders, had established treatment centers in Guinea, one of which came under attack as locals accused the foreign aid group of bringing the disease into the country. Also under fire is the government of Guinea itself, which has proved incapable of handling the crisis.

4563This latest outbreak, which has yet to be contained and is being considered by Doctors Without Borders as an “unprecedented epidemic,” illustrates several troubling truths about global health care, emergency response to outbreaks, and the perception many have of a West subjecting the developing world to a “medical tyranny.”

Failure to Prepare

In 2012, when Doctors Without Borders concluded its response to an Ebola outbreak in Uganda, it claimed in its post, “MSF Concludes Emergency Ebola Response in Uganda,” that:

The Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) emergency response to an outbreak of Ebola in Uganda has come to an end. The MSF team handed over the Ebola treatment center it set up in Uganda’s western Kibaale district to the Ugandan Ministry of Health (MoH).

The statement also claimed:

As part of a preparation plan for future outbreaks, MSF also restored a treatment unit in Mulago hospital, located in Kampala, Uganda’s capital. “Uganda has developed the capacity to respond to Ebola emergencies,” said MSF emergency coordinator Olimpia de la Rosa. “We can rely on the capability of Ministry of Health staff to take over and manage Ebola cases with all safety guarantees.”

One must wonder then, if MSF and other global health agencies can train Ugandan medical staff and hand over responsibilities to prevent a future outbreak to the government of Uganda, why haven’t similar provisions been undertaken in nations like Guinea, Liberia, Mali, and Sierra Leone. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola outbreaks occur “primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.” Why then have nations in Central and West Africa not been prepared for such outbreaks – particularly when the many of the nations that back MSF are already heavily involved in the internal affairs of many of these nations?

France alone has expended hundreds of millions of euros during its ongoing military operations in Mali, reported by France 24 in 2013 to be costing the European nation approximately 2.7 million euros a day. Money spent on costly military operations designed to project Western hegemony across Northern and Western Africa, an extension of the West’s intervention in Libya, would lead one to believe that funds should also be available to prevent “unprecedented epidemics” of deadly diseases like Ebola, but apparently the same preparations made in Uganda have been neglected in French-occupied Mali, as well as other Ebola-prone nations.

While the West poses as chief arbiter of humanity and through its international organizations, intervening when crises strike, its failure to prepare other nations prone to Ebola outbreaks with a management formula already perfected in Uganda at the very least shakes public confidence and trust. When it intervenes in these very nations for geopolitical ambitions under the pretenses of “democracy,” “development,” and “human rights” but utterly fails to address the dire needs of the very people it claims to be rushing to the aid of, such confidence and trust is only further shaken.

Distrust Leads to Suspicion

While MSF and the government of Guinea claim mobs that attacked MSF workers were simply panicking, there exists troubling truths regarding the West and their use of chemical and biological agents for both experiments and as part of advancing their geopolitical ambitions that may have led to real genuine fears among locals that the Ebola outbreak was intentional.

The devastation left in the wake of Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War, and the ongoing tragedy unfolding as a result from America’s use of depleted uranium in Iraq are two extreme examples of how the West subjected entire populations to mutagenic agents that have sown horrific birth defects, fatal degenerative conditions, and maladies that will reverberate down through generations to come. Of particular concern is the role that supposedly neutral international agencies played in attempting to cover up these atrocities.

45332The Guardian’s article, “How the World Health Organisation covered up Iraq’s nuclear nightmare,” illustrates how the WHO’s conclusions were manipulated by politicized science, and offers the world a cautionary tale of how organizations like the UN and WHO cannot be entrusted to oversee issues of human health, our environment, or anything else upon which humanity’s existence hinges.

Beyond Agent Orange and depleted uranium, the UN and US stand accused of hundreds of thousands of forced sterilizations in Peru from 1995 to 1997.  There was also the NBC News report titled, “U.S. apologizes for Guatemala STD experiments,” that stated:

U.S. government medical researchers intentionally infected hundreds of people in Guatemala, including institutionalized mental patients, with gonorrhea and syphilis without their knowledge or permission more than 60 years ago.

Many of those infected were encouraged to pass the infection onto others as part of the study.

About one third of those who were infected never got adequate treatment.

More troubling still are the words from Western policy makers and politicians themselves. The prospect of using genospecific bioweapons was mentioned in the Neo-Conservative Project for a New American Century’s (PNAC) 2000 report titled, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses” (.pdf) which stated:

The proliferation of ballistic and cruise missiles and long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will make it much easier to project military power around the globe.  Munitions themselves will become increasingly accurate, while new methods of attack – electronic, “non-lethal,” biological – will be more widely available. (p.71 of .pdf)

Although it may take several decade for the process of transformation to unfold, in time, the art of warfare on air, land, and sea will be vastly different than it is today, and  “combat” likely will take place in new dimensions: in space, “cyber-space,” and perhaps the world of microbes.  (p.72 of .pdf)

And advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool. (p.72 of .pdf)

When Western policy makers regard “forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes” as “politically useful tools,” and with their proven track record of using chemical and biological agents on populations in both experiments and during protracted conflicts, it is not mere “panic” that creates the anger that led to violence aimed at MSF workers in Guinea.

Those None Can Trust, Can Help No One

Whether the latest outbreak of Ebola is part of some conspiracy or not may never be known. The central issue is the lack of trust Western agencies have when they attempt to respond to a crisis. Wrought not from irrational fears but from decades of abuse, atrocities, and exploitation, this lack of trust has rendered much of what the West does beyond its borders today increasingly impotent, and even at times counterproductive.

Those in the MSF that are truly attempting to help are unable to because of the misdeeds of those in the Western governments that back the organization. When MSF played a central role in aiding and abetting terrorists operating in Syria, including propping up fabrications regarding the August 2013 chemical weapons attack in Damascus, it only further undermined the trust and confidence required to allow genuine members and affiliates of their organization to do their jobs elsewhere around the world.

And if the West fails in its function as sole arbiter of humanity, what then should nations around the world do? That answer is quite simple.They must subscribe to a multipolar world with multipolar agencies that collaborate and cooperate rather than exist in constant and precarious dependence on the West and their “international organizations.” For the nations of North and Western Africa that face potential Ebola outbreaks – or for nations across Asia facing similar fears regarding severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), they themselves must find international partners, not to depend on in a time of crisis, but to train and prepare them nations’ health workers to be self-sufficient and capable of handling outbreaks before they occur.

Part of what some perceive as the West’s “medical tyranny,” is its creation of circumstances in which subject nations constantly rely on them for aid, expertise, and assistance. Such dependence is contrary to national sovereignty and endangers the freedom and security of individuals within that nation. In Guinea, the government’s inability to handle the crisis has allowed it to grow to dangerous proportions, while necessitating the inclusion of foreign agencies the public simply doesn’t trust. It is an indictment against so-called “international health” organizations, including WHO, and the many Western-backed agencies that work in the field on its behalf.

Nations must begin taking responsibility themselves for dealing with outbreaks, and partner nations should guide them in doing so, not holding their hand each time a crisis develops. The latest outbreak of Ebola across Western Africa illustrates how sorely ill-suited the West’s “international” agencies are in protecting the global population, and how the global population would be better served by finding ways to protect themselves.

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

Who Was Behind the Rwandan Genocide?

April 13th, 2014 by Michael Welch

“The genocide in Rwanda was one hundred percent the responsibility of the Americans.” -Former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali as cited by Robin Philpot.

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On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying President Habyarimana of Rwanda and president Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi was shot down by a missile. An estimated 800,000 people were slaughtered in the 100 days that followed.

The official narrative is that the killings were carried out by members of the Rwandan army, the National Police, government-backed militias and the Hutu civilian population. The genocide stopped when the Rwandan Patriotic Front led by TUTSI-Expatriate and Ugandan official Paul Kagame seized control of northern regions of the country eventually capturing the capital Kigali.

The Rwandan tragedy helped pave the way for the creation of the “Responsibility to Protect Doctrine” which authorizes military intervention in violation of national sovereignty in the name of preventing a humanitarian catastrophe.

It is also one of only five genocides recognized as such by the Canadian government,

What if the official narrative of Rwandan atrocities is incorrect?

According to some observers, this is a false depiction of events. Western complicity in the atrocities went well beyond standing idly by while innocent men, women and children were slaughtered. Alternative narratives point to the war Rwanda fought from 1990 to 1994 with the Uganda-based Rwandan Patriotic Front. They also point to the erosion of Rwandan State suthorities ability to cope with the slaughters while fighting an unrelenting war with a US equipped RPF.

This week’s Global Research News Hour commemorates the twentieth anniversary of the slayings in Rwanda with an exploration of this alternative account.

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, and Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization. In 1996 he together with Belgian Economist and Senator Pierre Galand conducted field work in Rwanda to determine the role of international financial institutions donors and creditors in the etgnic massacres of 1994.

Robin Philpot is a Montreal-based writer, translator and publisher. He is the author of Rwanda and the New Scramble for Africa: From Tragedy to Useful Imperial Fiction, the English version of which was recently printed by Baraka Books. In an extensive interview he outlines his argument that the Rwandan killings were initiated by the Tutsi-dominated RPF, that they were responsible for the deaths of the Rwandan and Burundian presidents, how the media and political entities have successfully covered up the truth, and what that suggests about Western attitudes toward Africans.

 

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The Global Research News Hour, hosted by Michael Welch, airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Fridays at 1pm CDT. The programme is also broadcast weekly (Monday, 5-6pm ET) by the Progressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.

In a sad commentary on America’s war-like nature, President Carter points out:

The rest of the world, almost unanimously, looks at America as the No. 1 warmonger. That we revert to armed conflict almost at the drop of a hat — and quite often it’s not only desired by the leaders of our country, but it’s also supported by the people of America.

Indeed, continuous war is a feature – not a bug – of U.S. policy.  (As a patriotic American who was born in the U.S. and lived here my whole life, I am sad that so many Americans still fall for the myths of “American exceptionalism” and “world’s policeman”.)

Other hard-hitting Carter quotes from the last year:

  • Snowden’s revelations do not harm our national security, but are “useful”

It’s not just Carter. Conservative Justices Souter and O’Connor, intelligence agency heads and congressmen all warn that America is in real trouble.

A renewed dribble of media lies is sweeping through the British mainstream press.

Syria, a country which has been the victim of US-NATO aggression is now singled out as a threat to the U.K.  

The returning Al Qaeda jihadist rebels, who were recruited and sent to Syria by NATO are now coming home. They are a “threat to Britain” and Her Majesty’s illustrious government.

The hidden agenda is to uphold the “war on terrorism” on the domestic front, create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation as well as encourage racism and xenophobia throughout Britain and the European Union.

“The danger faced by Britain and other countries from jihadist fighters returning from Syria is “unprecedented” and a terror attack on British soil “inevitable”, experts warned last night. [...]“

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Daily Telegraph, 11 April 2014

excerpt from:  Biggest threat to UK comes from Syria  (*)

Returning fighters from the Syrian civil war now pose greater threat than al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan

by Christopher Hope and Tom Whitehead, Daily Telegraph, 11 April 2014

(*) title of the print edition

The crisis in Syria has emerged as the biggest threat to Britain’s security, The [Daily] Telegraph can disclose.The threat to the UK from returning fighters from the Syrian civil war is now the same as that from al-Qaeda terrorists in the borderlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan.The increased risk will refocus attention on the decision by David Cameron – backed by MPs in the House of Commons – not to intervene as the Syrian conflict worsened last August.

excerpts from:  Terror training in Syria makes attack on UK ‘inevitable’

by Jonathan Owen, The Independent on Sunday, 6 April 2014
The danger faced by Britain and other countries from jihadist fighters returning from Syria is “unprecedented” and a terror attack on British soil “inevitable”, experts warned last night. [...]

The threat posed by veterans from Syria is “unprecedented”, according to Gilles de Kerchove, the EU’s counter-terrorism co-ordinator. [...]  The EU counter-terror chief praises Britain for having developed “one of the best communication campaigns, which not only raises awareness of the phenomenon and the possible risks related to it, but also offers an alternative to those who want to go to Syria for humanitarian reasons”. [...]

Raffaello Pantucci, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute, said: “It seems almost inevitable that some sort of a threat back to the UK will come off the battlefield in Syria, something supported by the fact that security services in the UK believe they have already disrupted at least one plot with links to Syria.”

From the archives:Inline images 1
London Evening Standard, 25 February 2014

excerpts from:  Security chief warns of 9/11 Syria threat  (*)

London Evening Standard, 25 February 2014

(*)  title of the print edition

The terrorist threat caused by the war in Syriais unlike any Britain has faced since the 9/11 attacks, [...] top security official [of the British government Charles Farr] warned today. [...]“Syria is different from any other counter-terrorism challenge that we have faced since 9/11 — because of the number of terrorist groups now engaged in the fighting, their size and scale, the number of people from this country who are joining them, ease of travel, availability of weapons and the intensity of the conflict.”

From the archives:

Should David Cameron be prosecuted for recruiting Brits to fight in Al Qaeda ranks in Syria?

by Prof Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 5 February 2014

Former French Minister of Foreign Affairs: “…Britain had been preparing gunmen to invade Syria two years before the crisis there flared up in 2011…”

Text of open advisory by renowned British Peace Activist Babs Tucker

by Parliament Square Peace Campaign, Global Research, 16 June 2013

“Human Rights” as an Instrument of Coercion

April 12th, 2014 by Kourosh Ziabari

Only a few weeks after the UN Human Rights Council endorsed a resolution in condemning the alleged violations of human rights in Iran on March 28, the European Parliament also took action to do its share of attacking the Islamic Republic for its “human rights violations” in what was introduced as the “European Parliament resolution on the EU strategy towards Iran.”

 The two U.S.-allied bodies, in line with their customary and conventional policies of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries and sowing the seeds of discord and strife across the globe, expressed serious concern over the “alarming level” of rights violation in Iran and called on the Iranian government to respect the rights of its citizens!

 It’s a very praiseworthy and significant idea to protect the essential and fundamental rights of all people around the world, regardless of their nationality, age, gender, religion, race, color or place of residence, and raise voices to protest any infringement upon these rights. However, what is disturbing is that those who usually raise their voice in protest and accuse others of violating the human rights are those who violate these rights the most and blatantly disrespect the internationally-recognized conventions and agreements that ensure the protection of the rights, life and dignity of the humankind.

 USA

At the first glance, for those who are not familiar with the West-engineered hostility toward Iran, it sounds like the accusations of rights violation and condemnatory resolutions are purely aimed at improving the status of human rights in Iran and intended by those who really care about the welfare and interests of the Iranian people. But a deeper look at the course of developments in the Iran-West relations prove that it’s not the case and that the idea of human rights is being used as a leverage and an instrument of coercion to overdue an independent nation that has resisted unrelenting international economic and political pressures for more than 3 decades.

So, what are these human rights that have turned to be so controversial and problematic? Different entities give different definitions for human rights. But there are some elements and concepts which can be unanimously found in all of these definitions. For example, according to Amnesty International, “Human rights include civil and political rights, such as the right to life, liberty and freedom of expression; and social, cultural and economic rights including the right to participate in culture, the right to food, and the right to work and receive an education.  Human rights are protected and upheld by international and national laws and treaties.”

Just consider the first example the AI gives, that is the “civil and political rights, such as the right to life,” and rest assured that the United States, which habitually and more often than not accuses Iran and other nations of violating the human rights, is the biggest machinery of stripping the people in different countries of this basic, rudimentary and essential right to life. People in Asia, Africa and Latin America have experienced the taste of the American-style human rights. The U.S. government decides to invade a distant country overnight, and as a result of its invasion, thousands of lives perish away and millions of hopes evaporate. The United States gives its own justifications for its endless military expeditions and increases its enormous military budget every year, but for the innocent children in Iraq and Afghanistan who should inhale the Sarin gas and other nerve agents when the U.S. Army bombards their cities, or successive generations of fathers and mothers in Hiroshima and Nagasaki who should give birth to defected babies as a result of exposure to the nuclear materials dropped on the heads of their parents some 50 years ago, these justifications are irrelevant and senseless.

It’s good to be attentive to the status of human rights in the world, but not when you are simply unable to meet the demands of your own people, the racial and religious minorities living under your rule and those vulnerable people needing your support.

A clear example is discrimination against the Muslims and the colored people in the United States and Europe. Islamophobia is a growing phenomenon in the West as the Muslims face greater restrictions in practicing their religious rituals, observing their special dressing code and having equal job and education opportunities with the other citizens. When a lunatic pastor decides to burn a holy book which some 1.5 billion people hold to be sacred, the U.S. government shows no reaction in protest, unless asking the pastor to abandon his plan simply because it may endanger the lives of the Americans in uniform, not because the burning of holy books is a devilish and loathsome act. Of course you remember what I’m referring to; the 2011 plan by the pastor of Dove World Outreach Center Terry Jones who set several copies of the Holy Quran ablaze on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The blacks are also under different kinds of pressure because of the color of their skin, and although the Jim Crow laws that stipulated segregation in public places in the United States based on race and color were abolished around 5 decades ago in 1965, there are still traces of racial discrimination, racial profiling and anti-black prejudice in the American and other Western societies. The black athletes are usually booed and scoffed at in the sport stadiums, and this kind of bigotry is really a disgrace for the societies that boast of being highly civilized and developed. The African-Americans are still facing difficulties finding jobs in the United States, are deprived of certain voting rights in such states as Iowa, and should pay more expenses for healthcare services. These are realities which the U.S. mainstream media don’t talk about too much, but they exist.

The same goes for the freedom of speech and expression. The United States and its European allies frequently accuse Iran and other non-aligned nations of restricting the freedom of speech, while knowing that following the 9/11 attacks, a bunch of laws, acts and legislations which restrict the freedom of speech, press and the civil liberties of the ordinary citizens were introduced by the Congress and signed into law by the U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama after him.

Simple examples are the Patriot Act of 2001 and other regulations foreseen in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, 2013 and 2014 including the extrajudicial and indefinite detention of any American or foreign citizen traveling in the States who is seen to pose a threat to the U.S. national security. By virtue of the Patriot Act, the U.S. government is allowed to monitor and overhear the phone calls and email correspondences of any citizen whom it considers dangerous and threatening.

We may not also forget the barbaric and horrendous mental, sexual and corporal abuse and torture of the prisoners held in the Guantanamo bay detention facility and the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq; prisoners who are kept there for more than 10 years without any trial or specific charge.

The conscious minds haven’t also forgotten the unjustified imprisonment of the critics of the Israeli regime in the West who were jailed because of criticizing Israel and questioning the veracity of the official accounts of Holocaust: David Irving, Fredrick Toben, Ernst Zundel, Gremar Rudolf, Robert Faurisson and many others.

If detaining people without a court warrant is a human rights violation, then the United States and its Western partners are human rights violators and should be held accountable.

If persecuting the religious minorities and depriving them of their basic rights is a human rights violation, then the West has perpetrated serious violations and should justify its crimes.

 If killing innocent civilians en masse is a human rights violation, then the United States military-industrial complex is the biggest culprit and should be tried.

If restricting the freedom of speech of the citizens and mass media is a crime, then the U.S. government should be equally responsible for restricting the alternative, progressive media and silencing the critics.

 These are only simple instances of rights violation by those who claim to be the harbingers of freedom and human rights. It’s only a fair and balanced investigation of their crimes which will ensure the comprehensive and inclusive protection of human rights around the world, not directing baseless accusations against the political rivals and those whom they want to use the pretext of human rights as an instrument of coercion to put pressure on.

  Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian journalist and media correspondent whose writings have appeared on Tehran Times, Press TV, Global Research, Foreign Policy Journal, International Policy Digest, Your Middle East, Turkish Weekly Journal, Compass Culture and Strategic Culture Foundation.

 

Yesterday afternoon the Federal Aviation Administration designated the airspace above Bundy Ranch near Bunkerville, Nevada a “no-fly zone” with altitude restrictions that effectively ban news helicopters.

The “temporary flight restrictions,” revealed by a contributor to the Free Republic, bans all air traffic under an altitude of 3,000 feet in the vicinity of the ranch except for aircraft operating under the direction of the Bureau of Land Management.

The restrictions in full:

FDC 4/1687 ZLA NV..AIRSPACE MESQUITE, NV..TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS WITHIN AREA DEFINED AS 3NM RADIUS OF 364624N/1141113W (MMM71 RADIAL AT 4.3NM) SFC-3000FT AGL LAW ENFORCEMENT INVESTIGATION. PURSUANT TO 14 CFR SECTION 91.137(A)(1) TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS ARE IN EFFECT. ONLY RELIEF AIRCRAFT OPERATIONS UNDER DIRECTION OF BLM ARE AUTHORIZED IN THE AIRSPACE. BLM TELEPHONE 702-335-3191 IS IN CHARGE OF ON SCENE EMERGENCY RESPONSE ACTIVITY. LOS ANGELES /ZLA/ ARTCC TELEPHONE 661-265-8205 IS THE FAA COORDINATION FACILITY. 1404112140-1405111434

A map of the no-fly zone is available here.

Undoubtedly these flight restrictions are in response to the intense media presence now surrounding Bundy Ranch.

“Keeps the media choppers away so the BLM can do what it wants,” a contributor named SkyDancer pointed out on the Free Republic.

It’s quite obvious that this is the case considering that news helicopters routinely fly at an altitude under 3,000 feet in order to capture the best footage.

Recently, cowboys who are supportive of Cliven Bundy have been successful at rounding up Bundy’s cattle before the BLM could impound them, so it certainly appears that the agency is using the flight restrictions as a cover to target these cowboys without any fear of potential brutality being leaked to the media.

BLM agents have already assaulted several protestors, including a pregnant woman and a cancer victim, which was fortunately caught on tape.

The feds are attempting to regain control of the narrative surrounding the standoff, especially since it is now known that U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is behind the land grab for the future development of solar farms with Chinese energy companies.

It is also concerning that by interpreting the no-fly zone to the letter, the BLM could even delay medical helicopters from flying into the area to evacuate individuals who are severely injured.

Although air ambulances are typically exempt from temporary flight restrictions, pilots are still supposed to gain clearance before taking off, which in the past has kept medical pilots grounded until permission was granted.

This scenario is especially frightening considering Clark Co. Commissioner Tom Collins’ recent statement that those traveling to Bunkerville to support Bundy in his standoff against the feds “better have funeral plans.”

NSA: Making Us All Less Safe

Top computer and internet experts say that NSA spying breaks the functionality of our computers and of the Internet. It reduces functionality and reduces security by – for example – creating backdoors that malicious hackers can get through.

Remember, American and British spy agencies have intentionally weakened security for many decades. And it’s getting worse and worse. For example, they plan to use automated programs to infect millions of computers.

NSA also encourages large internet companies to delay patching vulnerabilities, to allow the NSA time to exploit them. See this and this.  In other words, the NSA encourages companies to allow vulnerabilities to remain unfixed.

You’ve heard of the scary new “Heartbleed” computer vulnerability?

The NSA has exploited it – and kept it hidden from consumers and security experts – for years.  Bloomberg reports:

The U.S. National Security Agency knew for at least two years about a flaw in the way that many websites send sensitive information, now dubbed the Heartbleed bug, and regularly used it to gather critical intelligence, two people familiar with the matter said.

***

Heartbleed appears to be one of the biggest glitches in the Internet’s history, a flaw in the basic security of as many as two-thirds of the world’s websites.

***

Putting the Heartbleed bug in its arsenal, the NSA was able to obtain passwords and other basic data that are the building blocks of the sophisticated hacking operations at the core of its mission, but at a cost. Millions of ordinary users were left vulnerable to attack from other nations’ intelligence arms and criminal hackers.

“It flies in the face of the agency’s comments that defense comes first,” said Jason Healey, director of the cyber statecraft initiative at the Atlantic Council and a former Air Force cyber officer. “They are going to be completely shredded by the computer security community for this.”

Yes, they will.

It’s Torture–but Let’s Not Call It That

April 12th, 2014 by Peter Hart

The Washington Post (3/31/14) got a big scoop on the massive Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the CIA’s Bush-era torture program. But they wouldn’t call it.

Under the headline “CIA Misled on Interrogation Program, Senate Report Says,” reporters Greg Miller, Adam Goldman and Ellen Nakashima explain that the still-classified, 6,000-plus page report finds that the CIA misled lawmakers and the public about the effectiveness of torture.

But the piece doesn’t call it torture. Readers learn about a “brutal interrogation program,” “harsh techniques,” “excruciating interrogation methods,” “brutal measures,” “harsh interrogation techniques,” “coercive techniques,” “previously undisclosed cases of abuse,” “harsh treatment” and “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

The descriptions were at times quite vivid. Readers learn of the treatment of one prisoner:

CIA interrogators forcibly kept his head under the water while he struggled to breathe and beat him repeatedly, hitting him with a truncheon-like object and smashing his head against a wall.

But they still won’t call that “torture.” The only time that word was used was in reference to critics: “methods that Obama and others later labeled torture.”

It’s important to understand that, as many critics have pointed out, that these kinds of tactics would be labeled as torture if they were happening in another country (Extra!6/08). The media’s role in endorsing and excusing torture has been an issue as long as the US torture program has been public (Extra!,6/04). The press has done its part to justify torture, even pushing the false idea that torture was key to finding Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (FAIR Media Advisory, 5/4/11).

So while it’s not new that some media outlets are still hesitant to call torture “torture,” it’s still revealing–and probably not an accident. Post reporter Miller appeared on the PBS Newshour (4/1/14) to talk about his piece. Host Judy Woodruff referred to “harsh techniques,” and Miller explained that there was

very little evidence that these enhanced techniques, as they’re called–we’re referring to water-boarding, sleep deprivation, things like that–delivered any significant intelligence in the aftermath of 9/11.

What reporters call torture is important–even when they’re reporting illuminating and very useful information about the scope of the program.

The Post isn’t done covering the issue; today (4/2/14), columnist David Ignatius makes it sound like the Senate report is shocking–it “includes gruesome new details about interrogation practices in the first year after September 11, 2001, before the CIA’s program was formally established with the misplaced approval of President George W. Bush’s Justice Department.”

Ignatius uses the “T-word,” and suggests that some of the details “will shock the conscience in the same way that the Abu Ghraib and waterboarding revelations did.”

He also writes: “The heart of the dispute isn’t whether torture is immoral–nobody would argue that question today–but whether it was ever effective.”

Of course, there are still people who would argue that torture is, in some cases, perfectly moral. Like his Post colleague Charles Krauthammer, who wrote this a few years ago (5/15/09):

Our jurisprudence has the “reasonable man” standard. A jury is asked to consider what a reasonable person would do under certain urgent circumstances.

On the morality of waterboarding and other “torture,” Pelosi and other senior and expert members of Congress represented their colleagues, and indeed the entire American people, in rendering the reasonable person verdict. What did they do? They gave tacit approval. In fact, according to Goss, they offered encouragement. Given the circumstances, they clearly deemed the interrogations warranted.

Perhaps Ignatius thinks Krauthammer has changed his mind. I suspect not.

Hat tip: Alice Chan.