We bring to the attention of our readers the following text of Osama bin Laden’s interview with Ummat, a Pakistani daily, published in Karachi on September 28, 2001. It was translated into English by the BBC World Monitoring Service and made public on September 29, 2001.
The authenticity of this interview remains to be confirmed. It is available in recognized electronic news archives including the BBC. Its authenticity has not been questioned.
The interview tends to demystify the Osama bin Laden persona.
Osama bin Laden categorically denies his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Bin Laden’s statements in this interview are markedly different from those made in the alleged Osama video tapes.
In this interview, Osama bin Laden exhibits an understanding of US foreign policy. He expresses his views regarding the loss of life on 9/11. He focusses on CIA support to the narcotics trade.
He also makes statements as to who, in his opinion, might be the likely perpetrator of the September 11 attacks.
This is an important text which has not been brought to the attention of Western public opinion.
We have highlighted key sections of this interview.
It is our hope that the text of this interview, published on 28 September 2001 barely a week before the onset of the war on Afghanistan, will contribute to a better understanding of the history of Al Qaeda, the role of Osama bin Laden and the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
This interview is published for informational purposes only. GR does not in any way endorse the statements in this interview.
Michel Chossudovsky, September 9, 2014
Full text of September 2001 Pakistani paper’s “exclusive” interview with Usamah Bin-Ladin
Kabul: Prominent Arab mojahed holy warrior Usamah Bin-Ladin has said that he or his al-Qa’idah group has nothing to do with the 11 September suicidal attacks in Washington and New York. He said the US government should find the attackers within the country. In an exclusive interview with daily “Ummat”, he said these attacks could be the act of those who are part of the American system and are rebelling against it and working for some other system. Or, Usamah said, this could be the act of those who want to make the current century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. Or, the American Jews, who are opposed to President Bush ever since the Florida elections, might be the masterminds of this act. There is also a great possibility of the involvement of US intelligence agencies, which need billions of dollars worth of funds every year. He said there is a government within the government in the United States.
The secret agencies, he said, should be asked as to who are behind the attacks. Usamah said support for attack on Afghanistan was a matter of need for some Muslim countries and compulsion for others. However, he said, he was thankful to the courageous people of Pakistan who erected a bulwark before the wrong forces. He added that the Islamic world was attaching great expectations with Pakistan and, in time of need, “we will protect this bulwark by sacrificing of lives”.
Following is the interview in full detail:
Ummat: You have been accused of involvement in the attacks in New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this? If you are not involved, who might be?
Usamah [Osama bin Laden]: In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. Praise be to Allah, Who is the creator of the whole universe and Who made the earth as an abode for peace, for the whole mankind. Allah is the Sustainer, who sent Prophet Muhammad for our guidance. I am thankful to the Ummat Group of Publications, which gave me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin true Muslim people of Pakistan who refused to believe in lie of the demon.
I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people.
Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel.
There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as a silent spectator. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia?
Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Put a glance all around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies of Muslims .
The US has no friends, nor does it want to keep any because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates.
However, our case is different. We have pledged slavery to God Almighty alone and after this pledge there is no possibility to become the slave of someone else. If we do that, it will be disregardful to both our Sustainer and his fellow beings. Most of the world nations upholding their freedom are the religious ones, which are the enemies of United States, or the latter itself considers them as its enemies. Or the countries, which do not agree to become its slaves, such as China, Iran, Libya, Cuba, Syria, and the former Russia as received .
Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed.
According to my information, the death toll is much higher than what the US government has stated. But the Bush administration does not want the panic to spread. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive. They can be any one, from Russia to Israel and from India to Serbia. In the US itself, there are dozens of well-organized and well-equipped groups, which are capable of causing a large-scale destruction. Then you cannot forget the American Jews, who are annoyed with President Bush ever since the elections in Florida and want to avenge him.
Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This funding issue was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger.
They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usamah and Taleban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of 40bn dollars. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance.
Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US president, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks.
Ummat: A number of world countries have joined the call of the United States for launching an attack on Afghanistan. These also include a number of Muslim countries. Will Al-Qa’idah declare a jihad against these countries as well?
Usamah: I must say that my duty is just to awaken the Muslims; to tell them as to what is good for them and what is not. What does Islam says and what the enemies of Islam want?
Al-Qa’idah was set up to wage a jihad against infidelity, particularly to encounter the onslaught of the infidel countries against the Islamic states. Jihad is the sixth undeclared element of Islam. The first five being the basic holy words of Islam, prayers, fast, pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving alms Every anti-Islamic person is afraid of it. Al-Qa’idah wants to keep this element alive and active and make it part of the daily life of the Muslims. It wants to give it the status of worship. We are not against any Islamic country nor we consider a war against an Islamic country as jihad.
We are in favour of armed jihad only against those infidel countries, which are killing innocent Muslim men, women, and children just because they are Muslims. Supporting the US act is the need of some Muslim countries and the compulsion of others. However, they should think as to what will remain of their religious and moral position if they support the attack of the Christians and the Jews on a Muslim country like Afghanistan. The orders of Islamic shari’ah jurisprudence for such individuals, organizations, and countries are clear and all the scholars of the Muslim brotherhood are unanimous on them. We will do the same, which is being ordered by the Amir ol-Momenin the commander of the faithful Mola Omar and the Islamic scholars. The hearts of the people of Muslim countries are beating with the call of jihad. We are grateful to them.
Ummat: The losses caused in the attacks in New York and Washington have proved that giving an economic blow to the US is not too difficult. US experts admit that a few more such attacks can bring down the American economy. Why is al-Qa’idah not targeting their economic pillars?
Usamah: I have already said that we are not hostile to the United States. We are against the system, which makes other nations slaves of the United States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom.This system is totally in control of the American Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States. It is simply that the American people are themselves the slaves of the Jews and are forced to live according to the principles and laws laid by them. So, the punishment should reach Israel. In fact, it is Israel, which is giving a blood bath to innocent Muslims and the US is not uttering a single word.
Ummat: Why is harm not caused to the enemies of Islam through other means, apart from the armed struggle? For instance, inciting the Muslims to boycott Western products, banks, shipping lines, and TV channels.
Usamah: The first thing is that Western products could only be boycotted when the Muslim fraternity is fully awakened and organized. Secondly, the Muslim companies should become self-sufficient in producing goods equal to the products of Western companies. Economic boycott of the West is not possible unless economic self-sufficiency is attained and substitute products are brought out. You see that wealth is scattered all across the Muslim world but not a single TV channel has been acquired which can preach Islamic injunctions according to modern requirements and attain an international influence. Muslim traders and philanthropists should make it a point that if the weapon of public opinion is to be used, it is to be kept in the hand. Today’s world is of public opinion and the fates of nations are determined through its pressure. Once the tools for building public opinion are obtained, everything that you asked for can be done.
Ummat: The entire propaganda about your struggle has so far been made by the Western media. But no information is being received from your sources about the network of Al-Qa’idah and its jihadi successes. Would you comment?
Usamah: In fact, the Western media is left with nothing else. It has no other theme to survive for a long time. Then we have many other things to do. The struggle for jihad and the successes are for the sake of Allah and not to annoy His bondsmen. Our silence is our real propaganda. Rejections, explanations, or corrigendum only waste your time and through them, the enemy wants you to engage in things which are not of use to you. These things are pulling you away from your cause.
The Western media is unleashing such a baseless propaganda, which make us surprise but it reflects on what is in their hearts and gradually they themselves become captive of this propaganda. They become afraid of it and begin to cause harm to themselves. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people. It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing that. You can understand as to what will be the performance of the nation in a war, which suffers from fear and helplessness.
Ummat: What will the impact of the freeze of al-Qa’idah accounts by the US?
Usamah: God opens up ways for those who work for Him. Freezing of accounts will not make any difference for Al-Qa’idah or other jihad groups. With the grace of Allah, al-Qa’idah has more than three such alternative financial systems, which are all separate and totally independent from each other. This system is operating under the patronage of those who love jihad. What to say of the United States, even the combined world cannot budge these people from their path.
These people are not in hundreds but in thousands and millions. Al-Qa’idah comprises of such modern educated youths who are aware of the cracks inside the Western financial system as they are aware of the lines in their hands. These are the very flaws of the Western fiscal system, which are becoming a noose for it and this system could not recuperate in spite of the passage of so many days.
Ummat: Are there other safe areas other than Afghanistan, where you can continue jihad?
Usamah: There are areas in all parts of the world where strong jihadi forces are present, from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan, and from Burma to Kashmir. Then it is not the problem of my person. I am helpless fellowman of God, constantly in the fear of my accountability before God. It is not the question of Usamah but of Islam and, in Islam too, of jihad. Thanks to God, those waging a jihad can walk today with their heads raised. Jihad was still present when there was no Usamah and it will remain as such even when Usamah is no longer there. Allah opens up ways and creates loves in the hearts of people for those who walk on the path of Allah with their lives, property, and children. Believe it, through jihad, a man gets everything he desires. And the biggest desire of a Muslim is the after life. Martyrdom is the shortest way of attaining an eternal life.
Ummat: What do you say about the Pakistan government policy on Afghanistan attack?
Usamah: We are thankful to the Momin and valiant people of Pakistan who erected a blockade in front of the wrong forces and stood in the first file of battle. Pakistan is a great hope for the Islamic brotherhood. Its people are awakened, organized, and rich in the spirit of faith. They backed Afghanistan in its war against the Soviet Union and extended every help to the mojahedin and the Afghan people. Then these are the same Pakistanis who are standing shoulder by shoulder with the Taleban. If such people emerge in just two countries, the domination of the West will diminish in a matter of days. Our hearts beat with Pakistan and, God forbid, if a difficult time comes we will protect it with our blood. Pakistan is sacred for us like a place of worship. We are the people of jihad and fighting for the defence of Pakistan is the best of all jihads to us. It does not matter for us as to who rules Pakistan. The important thing is that the spirit of jihad is alive and stronger in the hearts of the Pakistani people.
Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001
Read about Osama Bin Laden in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller
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.
Welcome to the newly redesigned Global Research website!
We are very proud to launch an updated version of our website, featuring the same timely and analytical content as before, in a display that will be easier for our readers to navigate so that you can get the information you need as quickly and easily as possible.
On this website, you will be able to access an archive of more than 30,000 articles published by Global Research.
We thank all of our readers for the feedback you have sent us over the years and hope you will enjoy your browsing experience.
These changes would not be possible without your support, and for that we extend our sincere appreciation.
The tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute a fundamental landmark in American history. a decisive watershed, a breaking point. Millions of people have been misled regarding the causes and consequences of 9/11.
September 11 2001 opens up an era of crisis, upheaval and militarization of American society.
A far-reaching overhaul of US military doctrine was launched in the wake of 9/11.
Endless wars of aggression under the humanitarian cloak of “counter-terrorism” were set in motion.
9/11 was also a stepping stone towards the relentless repeal of civil liberties, the militarization of law enforcement and the inauguration of “Police State USA”.
September 11, 2001 marks the onslaught of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), used as a pretext and a justification by the US and its NATO allies to carry out a “war without borders”, a global war of conquest.
At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the Bush administration had already announced that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion was made prior to the conduct of an indepth police investigation.
CIA Director George Tenet stated that same morning that Osama bin Laden had the capacity to plan “multiple attacks with little or no warning.”
Secretary of State Colin Powell called the attacks “an act of war” and President Bush confirmed in an evening televised address to the Nation that he would “make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them”.
Former CIA Director James Woolsey, without mentioning Afghanistan, pointed his finger at “state sponsorship,” implying the complicity of one or more foreign governments. In the words of former National Security Adviser, Lawrence Eagleburger, “I think we will show when we get attacked like this, we are terrible in our strength and in our retribution.”
That same evening at 9:30 pm, a “War Cabinet” was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. And at 11:00 pm, at the end of that historic meeting at the White House, the “War on Terrorism” was officially launched.
The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required justification to wage war on Afghanistan on “humanitarian grounds”, with the full support of World public opinion and the endorsement of the “international community”. Several prominent “progressive” intellectuals made a case for “retaliation against terrorism”, on moral and ethical grounds. The “just cause” military doctrine (jus ad bellum) was accepted and upheld at face value as a legitimate response to 9/11.
In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement was completely isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Afghanistan, an impoverished country in Central Asia of 30 million people.
The myth of the “outside enemy” and the threat of “Islamic terrorists” was the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s military doctrine, used as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the repeal of civil liberties and constitutional government in America.
Amply documented but rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet- Afghan war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous sources including official documents of the US Congress, which the mainstream media chose to either dismiss or ignore. The intelligence community had time and again acknowledged that they had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War: “he turned against us”.
The 9/11 Commission Report has largely upheld the “outside enemy” mythology, heralding Al Qaeda as the “mastermind” organization behind the 9/11 attacks.
The official 9/11 narrative has not only distorted the causes underling the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, it has also erased the historical record of US covert support to international terrorism, while creating the illusion that America and “Western Civilization” are threatened.
Without an “outside enemy”, there could be no “war on terrorism”. The entire national security agenda would collapse “like a deck of cards”. The war criminals in high office would have no leg to stand on.
After 9/11, the campaign of media disinformation served not only to drown the truth but also to kill much of the historical evidence on how this illusive Al Qaeda “outside enemy” had been fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.
The 911 Reader is composed of a carefully selected collection of key articles published by Global Research in the course of the last eleven years.
9/11 was an important landmark for Global Research. Our website was launched on September 9, 2001, two days prior to 9/11. Our coverage of 9/11 was initiated on September 12, 2001.
Within this collection of more than 60 chapters, we have included several important reports from our archives, published by Global Research in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. These articles provide a focus on issues pertaining to the 9/11 Timeline, foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, the attack on the Pentagon, the issue of insider trading on Wall Street in the days preceding 9/11 pointing to foreknowledge of the attacks.
What prevails is a complex web of lies and fabrications, pertaining to various dimensions of the 9/11 tragedy. The falsehoods contained in the official 9/11 narrative are manifold, extending from the affirmation that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind, to the assertion by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that the WTC buildings collapsed due to the impacts of fire. (see Part III).
Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?
Is there any proof to the effect that Osama bin Laden, the bogeyman, coordinated the 9/11 attacks as claimed in the official 9/11 narrative?
According to CBS news (Dan Rather, January 28, 2002), “Enemy Number One” was admitted to the urology ward of a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 10, 2001, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan. He could have been arrested at short notice which would have “saved us a lot of trouble”, but then we would not have had an Osama Legend, which has fed the news chain as well as presidential speeches in the course of the last eleven years.
DAN RATHER. As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.
This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]
CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]
The foregoing CBS report which is of utmost relevance indicates two obvious facts:
1. Osama bin Laden could not reasonably have coordinated the 9/11 attacks from his hospital bed;
2. The hospital was under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Armed Forces, which has close links to the Pentagon. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts were known to both the Pakistani and US military.
U.S. military and intelligence advisers based in Rawalpindi. were working closely with their Pakistani counterparts. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed, at the time, that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden were unknown. According to Rumsfeld: “Its like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.
October 7, 2001: Waging America’s 9/11 War of Retribution against Afghanistan
The immediate response of the US and its allies to the 9/11 attacks was to the declare a war of retribution against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban government was protecting “terror mastermind” Osama bin Laden. By allegedly harboring bin Laden, the Taliban were complicit, according to both the US administration and NATO, for having waged an act of war against the United States.
Parroting official statements, the Western media mantra on September 12, 2001 had already approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in Afghanistan. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.
This decision was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.
On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan, invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
An act of war by a foreign nation (Afghanistan) against a member of the Atlantic Alliance (the USA) is an act of war against all members under NATO’s doctrine of collective security. Under any stretch of the imagination, the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon cannot be categorized as an act of war by a foreign country. But nobody seemed to have raised this issue.
Meanwhile, on two occasions in the course of September 2001, the Afghan government –through diplomatic channels– offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US Justice. These overtures were turned down by president Bush, on the grounds that America “does not negotiate with terrorists”.
The war on Afghanistan was launched 26 days later on the morning of October 7, 2001. The timing of this war begs the question: how long does it take to plan and implement a major theater war several thousand miles away. Military analysts will confirm that a major theater war takes months and months, up to a year or more of advanced preparations. The war on Afghanistan was already in the advanced planning stages prior to September 11, 2001, which begs the question of foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.
The repeal of civil liberties in America was launched in parallel with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan, almost immediately following 9/11 with the adoption of the PATRIOT legislation and the setting up of a Homeland Security apparatus, under the pretext of protecting Americans. This post-911 legal and institutional framework had been carefully crafted prior to the 9/11 attacks.
Al Qaeda is a US Intelligence Asset
Important to the understanding of 9/11, US intelligence is the unspoken architect of “Islamic terrorism” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war.
Bin Laden was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerrilla training camp. Education in Afghanistan in the years preceding the Soviet-Afghan war was largely secular. With religious textbooks produced in Nebraska, the number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrasahs) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000.
“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the [Islamic] Jihad.” (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)
”The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings….The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..”, (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)
Under the Reagan administration, US foreign policy evolved towards the unconditional support and endorsement of the Islamic “freedom fighters”. This endorsement has not in any way been modified.
In a twisted irony, throughout the post 911 era, US intelligence in liaison with Britain’s MI6, an Israel’s Mossad, continues to provide covert support to the radical Islamist organization allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda and its various affiliated groups including the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and factions within the Free Syria Army (FSA) are directly supported by the US and NATO.
In a bitter irony, the US and its allies claim to be waging a “war on terrorism” against the alleged architects of 9/11, while also using Al Qaeda operatives as their foot-soldiers.
Front row, from left: Major Gen. Hamid Gul, director general of Pakistan’s
Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Willian Webster; Deputy Director for Operations Clair George; an ISI colonel; and senior CIA official,
Milt Bearden at a Mujahideen training camp in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan in 1987.
Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)
VIDEO (30 Sec.)
The Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings
Based on the findings of Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings was not caused by fire resulting from the crash of the planes:
In more than 100 steel-framed, high-rise fires (most of them very hot, very large and very long-lasting), not one has collapsed, ever. So it behooves all of us, as your own former chief of NIST’s Fire Science Division, Dr. James Quintiere, said, “to look at real alternatives that might have been the cause of these collapses.”
Let’s start with temperatures – 1,340° F. temperatures, recorded in thermal images of the surface of the World Trade Center rubble pile a week after 9/11 by NASA’s AVIRIS equipment on USGS overflights. Such temperatures cannot be achieved by oxygen-starved hydrocarbon fires. Such fires burn at only 600 to 800° F. Remember, there was no fire on the top of the pile. The source of this incredible heat was therefore below the surface of the rubble, where it must have been far hotter than 1,340 degrees.
Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Inc., who was hired for the Building 7 cleanup, said that “molten steel was found at 7 WTC.” Leslie Robertson, World Trade Center structural engineer, stated that on October 5, “21 days after the attacks, the fires were still burning and molten steel was still running.” Fire department personnel, recorded on video, reported seeing “molten steel running down the channel rails… like you’re in a foundry – like lava from a volcano.” Joe O’Toole, a Bronx firefighter, saw a crane lifting a steel beam vertically from deep within a pile. He said “it was dripping from the molten steel.” Bart Voorsanger, an architect hired to save “relics from the rubble,” stated about the multi-ton “meteorite” that it was a “fused element of molten steel and concrete.”
Steel melts at about 2,850 degrees Fahrenheit, about twice the temperature of the World Trade Center Tower 1 and 2 fires as estimated by NIST. So what melted the steel?
Appendix C of FEMA’s BPAT Report documents steel samples showing rapid oxidation, sulfidation, and intergranular melting. A liquid eutectic mixture, including sulfur from an unknown source, caused intense corrosion of the steel, gaping holes in wide flange beams, and the thinning of half-inch-thick flanges to almost razor-sharpness in the World Trade Center 7 steel. The New York Times called this “the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.”
NIST left all of this crucial forensic evidence out of its report. Why? Because it didn’t fit in with the official conspiracy theory.
Last year, physicist Steven Jones, two other physicists, and a geologist analyzed the slag at the ends of the beams and in the samples of the previously molten metal. They found iron, aluminum, sulfur, manganese and fluorine – the chemical evidence of thermate, a high-tech incendiary cutting charge used by the military to cut through steel like a hot knife through butter. The by-product of the thermate reaction is molten iron! There’s no other possible source for all the molten iron that was found. One of thermate’s key ingredients is sulfur, which can form the liquid eutectic that FEMA found and lower the melting point of steel.
In addition, World Trade Center 7′s catastrophic structural failure showed every characteristic of explosive, controlled demolition. … The destruction began suddenly at the base of the building. Several first responders reported explosions occurring about a second before the collapse. There was the symmetrical, near-free-fall speed of collapse, through the path of greatest resistance – with 40,000 tons of steel designed to resist this load – straight down into its own footprint. This requires that all the columns have to fail within a fraction of a second of each other – perimeter columns as well as core columns. There was also the appearance of mistimed explosions (squibs?) at the upper seven floors on the network video recordings of the collapse. And we have expert testimony from a European demolitions expert, Danny Jowenko, who said “This is controlled demolition… a team of experts did this… This is professional work, without any doubt.”
Fire cannot produce these effects. Fire produces large, gradual deformations and asymmetrical collapses. Thermate can produce all of these effects used in conjunction with linear shaped charges. If the thermate is formed into ultra-fine particles, as has been accomplished at Los Alamos National Laboratory, it is called super-thermate, and is very explosive.(Richard Gage, January 2008)
The following AE911Truth Video provides irrefutable evidence that the WTC center towers were brought down through controlled demolition.
According to David Ray Griffin: “The official theory of the collapse, therefore, is essentially a fire theory, so it cannot be emphasized too much that fire has never caused large steel-frame buildings to collapse—never, whether before 9/11, or after 9/11, or anywhere in the world on 9/11 except allegedly New York City—never.” (See David Ray Griffin).
According to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, based on solid scientific analysis and evidence, the collapse of the WTC towers was engineered through controlled demolition. While AE11Truth does not speculate on who might be behind the conspiracy to bring down the WTC buildings, they nonetheless suggest that the carrying out such an operation would require a carefully planned course of action with prior access to the buildings as well as an advanced level of expertise in the use of explosives, etc.
The Collapse of WTC Building Seven
The most grotesque lie pertains to the BBC and CNN announcement in the afternoon of September 11, that WTC Building Seven (The Solomon Building) had collapsed. The BBC report went live at 5.00pm, 21 minutes before the actual occurrence of the collapse, indelibly pointing to foreknowledge of the collapse of WTC 7. CNN anchor Aaron Brown announced that the building “has either collapsed or is collapsing” about an hour before the event. (See WTC7.net the hidden story of Building 7: Foreknowledge of WTC 7′s Collapse)
CNN anchor Aaron Brown seems to struggle to make sense of what he is seeing one minute after announcing that WTC Building 7, whose erect facade is clearly visible in his view towards the Trade Center, has or is collapsing.
Coverup and Complicity
The 911 Reader presents factual information and analysis which points to cover-up and complicity at the highest levels of the US government.
This body of articles by prominent authors, scholars, architects, engineers, largely refutes the official narrative of the 9/11 Commission Report, which is reviewed in Part IV. It dispels the notion that America was attacked on September 11, 2001 on the orders of Osama bin Laden.
This is a central issue because US military doctrine since 9/11 has been predicated on “defending the American Homeland” against Islamic terrorists as well as waging pre-emptive wars against Al Qaeda and its various “state sponsors”. Afghanistan was bombed and invaded as part of the “war on terrorism”. In March 2003, Iraq was also invaded.
Fiction prevails over reality. For propaganda to be effective, public opinion must firmly endorse the official 9/11 narrative to the effect that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks. A well organized structure of media disinformation (Part XI) is required to reach this objective. Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend also requires defying as well smearing the 9/11 Truth Movement.
Throughout the post 9/11 era, a panoply of Al Qaeda related events and circumstances is presented to public opinion on a daily basis. These include terrorist threats, warnings and attacks, police investigations, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, country-level regime change, social conflict, sectarian violence, racism, religious divisions, Islamic thought, Western values, etc.
In turn, 9/11, Al Qaeda – War on Terrorism rhetoric permeates political discourse at all levels of government, including bipartisan debate on Capitol Hill, in committees of the House and the Senate, at the British House of Commons, and, lest we forget, at the United Nations Security Council.
September 11 and Al Qaeda concepts, repeated ad nauseam have potentially traumatic impacts on the human mind and the ability of normal human beings to analyze and comprehend the “real outside World” of war, politics and the economic crisis.
What is at stake is human consciousness and comprehension based on concepts and facts.
With September 11 there are no verifiable “facts” and “concepts”, because 9/11 as well as Al Qaeda have evolved into a media mythology, a legend, an invented ideological construct, used as an unsubtle tool of media disinformation and war propaganda.
Al Qaeda constitutes a stylized, fake and almost folkloric abstraction of terrorism, which permeates the inner consciousness of millions of people around the World.
Reference to Al Qaeda has become a dogma, a belief, which most people espouse unconditionally.
Is this political indoctrination? Is it brain-washing? If so what is the underlying objective?
People’s capacity to independently analyse World events, as well as address causal relationships pertaining to politics and society, is significantly impaired. That is the objective!
The routine use of 9/11 and Al Qaeda to generate blanket explanations of complex political events is meant to create confusion. It prevents people from thinking.
All of these complex Al Qaeda related occurrences are explained –by politicians, the corporate media, Hollywood and the Washington think tanks under a single blanket “bad guys” heading, in which Al Qaeda is casually and repeatedly pinpointed as “the cause” of numerous terror events around the World.
The Alleged Role of Iraq in the 9/11 Attacks
9/11 mythology has been a mainstay of war propaganda. In the course of 2002, leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” statements circulated profusely in the news chain. While Washington’s official position was that Saddam Hussein was not behind the 9/11 attacks, insinuations abounded both in presidential speeches as well as in the Western media. According to Bush, in an October 2002 press conference:
The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime’s own actions — its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. .,.. We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September the 11th, 2001, America felt its vulnerability — even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source [Iraq], that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America. President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, October 7, 2002)
Meanwhile, a new terrorist mastermind had emerged: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.
In Colin Powell’s historic address to the United Nations Security Council, in February 2003, detailed “documentation” on a sinister relationship between Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was presented, focussing on his ability to produce deadly chemical, biological and radiological weapons, with the full support and endorsement of the secular Baathist regime. The implication of Colin’s Powell’s assertions, which were totally fabricated, was that Saddam Hussein and an Al Qaeda affiliated organization had joined hands in the production of WMD in Northern Iraq and that the Hussein government was a “state sponsor” of terrorism.
The main thrust of the disinformation campaign continued in the wake of the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. It consisted in presenting the Iraqi resistance movement as “terrorists”. The image of “terrorists opposed to democracy” fighting US “peacekeepers” appeared on television screens and news tabloids across the globe.
Iran: Alleged State Sponsor of 9/11
In the wake of the Iraq invasion, the same alleged “state sponsorship” of terrorism accusations emerged in relation to Iran.
In December 2011, the Islamic Republic of Iran was condemned by a Manhattan court, for its alleged role in supporting Al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks.
The investigation into Tehran’s alleged role was launched in 2004, pursuant to a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission “regarding an apparent link between Iran, Hezbollah, and the 9/11 hijackers”. The 91/11 Commission’s recommendation was that the this “apparent link” required “further investigation by the U.S. government.” (9/11 Commission Report , p. 241). (See Iran 911 Case ).
In the December 2011 court judgment (Havlish v. Iran) “U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ruled that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case”.
According to the plaintiffs attorneys “Iran, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda formed a terror alliance in the early 1990s. Citing their national security and intelligence experts, the attorneys explained “how the pragmatic terror leaders overcame the Sunni-Shi’a divide in order to confront the U.S. (the “Great Satan”) and Israel (the “Lesser Satan”)”. Iran and Hezbollah allegedly provided “training to members of al Qaeda in, among other things, the use of explosives to destroy large buildings.” (See Iran 911 Case ).
This judicial procedure is nothing more than another vicious weapon in the fabricated “War on Terror” to be used against another Muslim country, with a view to destabilizing Iran as well as justifying ongoing military threats. It also says a lot more about the people behind the lawsuit than about the accused. The expert witnesses who testified against Iran are very active in warmongering neocon circles. They belong to a web of architects of the 21st century Middle-Eastern wars, ranging from high profile propagandists to intelligence and military officers, including former U.S. officials.
Ironically, while Washington accuses Iran and Afghanistan of supporting terrorism, the historical record and evidence indelibly point to the “state sponsorship” of Al Qaeda by the CIA, MI6 and their counterparts in Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Al Qaeda death squads have been recruited to wage America’s humanitarian wars throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
In Syria Al Qaeda units were recruited by NATO and the Turkish High command: “Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels.” (http://www.debka.com/article/21255/ Debkafile, August 31, 2011).
In Libya, jihadists from Afghanistan trained by the CIA were dispatched to fight with the “pro-democracy” rebels under the helm of “former” Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj:
Western policy makers admit that NATO’s operations in Libya have played the primary role in emboldening Al Qaeda’s AQIM faction (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). The Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel in his article, “The New Al Qaeda Menace,” admits that AQIM is now heavily armed thanks to NATO’s intervention in Libya, and that AQIM’s base in Mali, North Africa, serves as a staging ground for terrorist activities across the region. http://www.globalresearch.ca/al-qaeda-and-natos-pan-arab-terrorist-blitzkrieg/
Table of Contents of the 9/11 Reader
In Part I, the 911 Reader provides a review of what happened on the morning of 9/11, at the White House, on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, at Strategic Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM), What was the response of the US Air Force in the immediate wake of the attacks? Part II focusses on “What Happened on the Planes” as described in the 9/11 Commission Report.
Part III sheds light on what caused the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. It also challenges the official narrative with regard to the attack on the Pentagon.
Part IV reviews and refutes the findings of the 9/11 Commission Report.
Part V focusses on the issue of foreknowledge by Western intelligence agencies. Part VI examines the issue of how foreknowledge of the attacks was used as an instrument of insider trading on airline stocks in the days preceding September 11, 2001. The bonanza financial gains resulting from insurance claims to the leaseholders of the WTC buildings is also examined.
Part VII focusses on the history and central role of Al Qaeda as a US intelligence asset. Since the Soviet-Afghan war, US intelligence has supported the formation of various jihadist organizations. An understanding of this history is crucial in refuting the official 9/11 narrative which claims that Al Qaeda, was behind the attacks.
Part VIII centers on the life and death of 9/11 “Terror Mastermind” Osama bin Laden, who was recruited by the CIA in the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war. This section also includes an analysis of the mysterious death of Osama bin Laden, allegedly executed by US Navy Seals in a suburb of Islamabad in May 2011.
Part IX focusses on “False Flags” and the Pentagon’s “Second 9/11″. Part X examines the issue of “Deep Events” with contributions by renowned scholars Peter Dale Scott and Daniele Ganser.
Part XI examines the structure of 9/11 propaganda which consists in “creating” as well “perpetuating” a “9/11 Legend”. How is this achieved? Incessantly, on a daily basis, Al Qaeda, the alleged 9/11 Mastermind is referred to by the Western media, government officials, members of the US Congress, Wall Street analysts, etc. as an underlying cause of numerous World events.
Part XII focusses on the practice of 9/11 Justice directed against the alleged culprits of the 9/11 attacks.
The legitimacy of 9/11 propaganda requires fabricating “convincing evidence” and “proof” that those who are accused actually carried out the attacks. Sentencing of Muslims detained in Guantanamo is part of war propaganda. It depicts innocent men who are accused of the 9/11 attacks, based on confessions acquired through systematic torture throughout their detention.
Part XIII focusses on 9/11 Truth. The objective of 9/11 Truth is to ultimately dismantle the propaganda apparatus which is manipulating the human mindset. The 9/11 Reader concludes with a retrospective view of 9/11 ten years later.
Timeline: What Happened on the Morning of September 11, 2001
On the morning of September 11, Pakistan’s Chief Spy General Mahmoud Ahmad, the alleged “money-man” behind the 9-11 hijackers, was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
“Foreknowledge” and “Failure to act” upholds the notion that the terrorist attacks (“act of war”) “waged by Muslims against America” are real, when all the facts and findings point towards coverup and complicity at the highest levels of the US government.
On the morning of September 11, Pakistan’s Chief Spy General Mahmoud Ahmad, the alleged “money-man” behind the 9-11 hijackers, was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
The main justification for waging this war has been totally fabricated. The American people have been deliberately and consciously misled by their government into supporting a major military adventure which affects our collective future.
9/11 Ringleader connected to secret Pentagon operation
- by Dr. Daniele Ganser – 2005-08-27
Atta was connected to a secret operation of the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in the US. A top secret Pentagon project code-named Able Danger identified Atta and 3 other 9/11 hijackers as members of an al-Qaida cell more than a year before the attacks.
According to Chossudovsky, the “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.
On August 28 Sheikh Said Afandi, acknowledged spiritual leader of the Autonomous Russian Republic of Dagestan, was assassinated. A jihadist female suicide bomber managed to enter his house and detonate an explosive device.
The murder target had been carefully selected. Sheikh Afandi, a seventy-five-year old Sufi Muslim leader, had played the critical role in attempting to bring about reconciliation in Dagestan between jihadist Salafi Sunni Muslims and other factions, many of whom in Dagestan see themselves as followers of Sufi. With no replacement of his moral stature and respect visible, authorities fear possible outbreak of religious war in the tiny Russian autonomous republic.
The police reported that the assassin was an ethnic Russian woman who had converted to Islam and was linked to an Islamic fundamentalist or Salafist insurgency against Russia and regional governments loyal to Moscow in the autonomous republics and across the volatile Muslim-populated North Caucasus region.
Ethnic Muslim populations in this region of Russia and of the former Soviet Union, including Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and into China’s Xinjiang Province, have been the target of various US and NATO intelligence operations since the Cold War era ended in 1990. Washington sees manipulation of Muslim groups as the vehicle to bring uncontrollable chaos to Russia and Central Asia. It’s being carried out by some of the same organizations engaged in creating chaos and destruction inside Syria against the government of Bashar Al-Assad. In a real sense, as Russian security services clearly understand, if they don’t succeed in stopping the Jihadists insurgency in Syria, it will come home to them via the Caucasus.
The latest Salafist murders of Sufi and other moderate Muslim leaders in the Caucasus are apparently part of what is becoming ever clearer as perhaps the most dangerous US intelligence operation ever—playing globally with Muslim fundamentalism.
Previously US and allied intelligence services had played fast and loose with religious organizations or beliefs in one or another country. What makes the present situation particularly dangerous—notably since the decision in Washington to unleash the misnamed Arab Spring upheavals that began in Tunisia late 2010, spreading like a brushfire across the entire Islamic world from Afghanistan across Central Asia to Morocco—is the incalculable wave upon wave of killing, hatreds, destruction of entire cultures that Washington has unleashed in the name of that elusive dream named “democracy.” They do this using alleged Al-Qaeda groups, Saudi Salafists or Wahhabites, or using disciples of Turkey’s Fethullah Gülen Movement to ignite fires of religious hatred within Islam and against other faiths that could take decades to extinguish. It could easily spill over into a new World War.
Fundamentalism comes to Caucasus
Following the dissolution of the USSR, radical Afghanistani Mujahadeen, Islamists from Saudi Arabia, from Turkey, Pakistan and other Islamic countries flooded into the Muslim regions of the former USSR. One of the best-organized of these was the Gülen Movement of Fethullah Gülen, leader of a global network of Islamic schools and reported to be the major policy influence on Turkey’s Erdogan AKP party.
Gülen was quick to establish The International Dagestani-Turkish College in Dagestan. During the chaotic days after the Soviet collapse, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation officially registered and permitted unfettered activity for a variety of Islamic foundations and organizations. These included the League of the Islamic World, the World Muslim Youth Assembly, the reportedly Al-Qaeda friendly Saudi foundation ‘Ibrahim ben Abd al-Aziz al-Ibrahim.’ The blacklist also included Al-Haramein a Saudi foundation reported tied to Al-Qaeda, and IHH,  a Turkish organization banned in Germany, that allegedly raised funds for jihadi fighters in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, and was charged by French intelligence of ties to Al Qaeda. Many of these charities were covers for fundamentalist Salafists with their own special agenda.
As many of the foreign Islamists in Chechnya and Dagestan were found involved in fomenting the regional unrest and civil war, Russian authorities withdrew permission of most to run schools and institutions. Throughout the North Caucasus at the time of the Chechyn war in the late 1990’s, there were more than two dozen Islamic institutes, some 200 madrassas and numerous maktabas (Koranic study schools) present at almost all mosques.
The International Dagestani-Turkish College was one that was forced to close its doors in Dagestan. The College was run by the Fethullah Gülen organization.
At the point of the Russian crackdown on the spread of Salafist teaching inside Russia at the end of the 1990’s, there was an exodus of hundreds of young Dagestani and Chechyn Muslim students to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other places in The Middle east, reportedly to receive training with the Gülen movement and various Saudi-financed organizations, including Salafists.  It is believed in Russia that the students trained by Gülen supporters or Saudi and other Salafist fundamentalist centers then were sent back to Dagestan and the North Caucasus to spread their radical strain of Islam.
By 2005 the situation in the Caucasus was so influenced by this Salafist intervention that the Chechen Salafist, Doku Umarov, cited by the UN Security Council for links to Al-Qaeda, unilaterally declared creation of what he called the Caucasus Emirate, announcing he planned to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law encompassing the entire North Caucasus region including Dagestan. He modestly proclaimed himself Emir of the Caucasus Emirate. 
* * *
* * *
Part II: Salafism at war with Sufi tradition
Salafism, known in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism, is a fundamentalist strain of Islam which drew world attention and became notorious in March 2001 just weeks before the attacks of September 11. That was when the Salafist Taliban government in Afghanistan willfully dynamited and destroyed the historic gigantic Buddhas of Bamiyan on the ancient Silk Road, religious statues dating from the 6th Century. The Taliban Salafist leaders also banned as “un-islamic” all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.
Afghani sources reported that the order to destroy the Buddhas was made by Saudi-born jihadist Wahhabite, Osama bin Laden, who ultimately convinced Mullah Omar, Taliban supreme leader at the time to execute the act.
Before and…After Salafist Taliban …
While Sufis incorporate the worship of saints and theatrical ceremonial prayers into their practice, Salafis condemn as idolatry any non-traditional forms of worship. They also call for the establishment of Islamic political rule and strict Sharia law. Sufism is home to the great spiritual and musical heritage of Islam, said by Islamic scholars to be the inner, mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam, going back centuries.
As one Sufi scholar described the core of Sufism, “While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and will become close to God in Paradise–after death and the ‘Final Judgment’– Sufis believe as well that it is possible to become close to God and to experience this closeness–while one is alive. Furthermore, the attainment of the knowledge that comes with such intimacy with God, Sufis assert, is the very purpose of the creation. Here they mention the hadith qudsi in which God states, ‘I was a hidden treasure and I loved that I be known, so I created the creation in order to be known.’ Hence for the Sufis there is already a momentum, a continuous attraction on their hearts exerted by God, pulling them, in love, towards God.” 
The mystical Islamic current of Sufism and its striving to become close to or one with God is in stark contrast to the Jihadist Salafi or Wahhabi current that is armed with deadly weapons, preaches a false doctrine of jihad, and a perverse sense of martyrdom, committing countless acts of violence. Little wonder that the victims of Salafist Jihads are mostly other pacific forms of Islam including most especially Sufis.
The respected seventy-five year old Afandi had publicly denounced Salafist Islamic fundamentalism. His murder followed a July 19 coordinated attack on two high-ranking muftis in the Russian Volga Republic of Tatarstan. Both victims were state-approved religious leaders who had attacked radical Islam. This latest round of murders opens a new front in the Salafist war against Russia, namely attacks on moderate Sufi Muslim leaders.
Whether or not Dagestan now descends into internal religious civil war that then spreads across the geopolitically sensitive Russian Caucasus is not yet certain. What is almost certain is that the same circles who have been feeding violence and terror inside Syria against the regime of Alawite President Bashar al-Assad are behind the killing of Sheikh Afandi as well as sparking related acts of terror or unrest across Russia’s Muslim-populated Caucasus. In a very real sense it represents Russia’s nightmare scenario of “Syria coming to Russia.” It demonstrates dramatically why Putin has made such a determined effort to stop a descent into a murderous hell in Syria.
Salafism and the CIA
The existence of the so-called jihadist Salafi brand of Islam in Dagestan is quite recent. It has also been deliberately imported. Salafism is sometimes also called the name of the older Saudi-centered Wahhabism. Wahhabism is a minority originally-Bedouin form of the faith originating within Islam, dominant in Saudi Arabia since the 1700’s.
Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism give the following description of Saudi conditions under the rigid Wahhabi brand of Islam:
“Women living under Saudi rule must wear the abaya, or total body cloak, and niqab, the face veil; they have limited opportunities for schooling and careers; they are prohibited from driving vehicles; are banned from social contact with men not relatives, and all personal activity must be supervised including opening bank accounts, by a male family member or “guardian.” These Wahhabi rules are enforced by a mutawiyin, or morals militia, also known as “the religious police,” officially designated the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) who patrol Saudi cities, armed with leather-covered sticks which they freely used against those they considered wayward. They raid homes looking for alcohol and drugs, and harassed non-Wahhabi Muslims as well as believers in other faiths.” 
It’s widely reported that the obscenely opulent and morally-perhaps-not-entirely-of- the-highest-standards Saudi Royal Family made a Faustian deal with Wahhabite leaders. The deal supposedly, was that the Wahhabists are free to export their fanatical brand of Islam around to the Islamic populations of the world in return for agreeing to leave the Saudi Royals alone. There are, however, other dark and dirty spoons stirring the Wahhabite-Salafist Saudi stew.
Little known is the fact that the present form of aggressive Saudi Wahhabism, in reality a kind of fusion between imported jihadi Salafists from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the fundamentalist Saudi Wahhabites. Leading Salafist members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were introduced into the Saudi Kingdom in the 1950’s by the CIA in a complex series of events, when Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood following an assassination attempt. By the 1960’s an influx of Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia fleeing Nasserite repression, had filled many of the leading teaching posts in Saudi religious schools. One student there was a young well-to-do Saudi, Osama bin Laden. 
During the Third Reich, Hitler Germany had supported the Muslim Brotherhood as a weapon against the British in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. Marc Erikson describes the Nazi roots of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood thus:
…as Italian and German fascism sought greater stakes in the Middle East in the 1930s and ’40s to counter British and French controlling power, close collaboration between fascist agents and Islamist leaders ensued. During the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence, sent agents and money to support the Palestine uprising against the British, as did Muslim Brotherhood founder and “supreme guide” Hassan al-Banna. A key individual in the fascist-Islamist nexus and go-between for the Nazis and al-Banna became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini.
After the defeat of Germany, British Intelligence moved in to take over control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ultimately, for financial and other reasons, the British decided to hand their assets within the Muslim Brotherhood over to their CIA colleagues in the 1950s. 
According to former US Justice Department Nazi researcher John Loftus, “during the 1950s, the CIA evacuated the Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood to Saudi Arabia. Now, when they arrived in Saudi Arabia, some of the leading lights of the Muslim Brotherhood, like Dr Abdullah Azzam, became the teachers in the madrassas, the religious schools. And there they combined the doctrines of Nazism with this weird Islamic cult, Wahhabism.” 
“Everyone thinks that Islam is this fanatical religion, but it is not,” Loftus continues. “They think that Islam–the Saudi version of Islam–is typical, but it’s not. The Wahhabi cult has been condemned as a heresy more than 60 times by the Muslim nations. But when the Saudis got wealthy, they bought a lot of silence. This is a very harsh cult. Wahhabism was only practised by the Taliban and in Saudi Arabia–that’s how extreme it is. It really has nothing to do with Islam. Islam is a very peaceful and tolerant religion. It always had good relationships with the Jews for the first thousand years of its existence.” 
Loftus identified the significance of what today is emerging from the shadows to take over Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, and the so-called Syrian National Council, dominated in reality by the Muslim Brotherhood and publicly led by the more “politically correct” or presentable likes of Bassma Kodmani. Kodmani, foreign affairs spokesman for the SNC was twice an invited guest at the Bilderberg elite gathering, latest in Chantilly, Virginia earlier this year.
The most bizarre and alarming feature of the US-financed regime changes set into motion in 2010, which have led to the destruction of the secular Arab regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muhammar Qaddafi in Libya, and the secular regime of President Ben Ali in Tunisia, and which have wreaked savage destruction across the Middle East, especially in the past eighteen months in Syria, is the pattern of emerging power grabs by representatives of the murky Salafist Muslim Brotherhood.
By informed accounts, a Saudi-financed Sunni Islamic Muslim Brotherhood dominates the members of the exile Syrian National Council that is backed by the US State Department’s Secretary Clinton and by Hollande’s France. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is tied, not surprisingly to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood of President Mohammed Morsi who recently in a meeting of the Non-Aligned in Iran called openly for the removal of Syria’s Assad, a logical step if his Muslim Brothers in the present Syrian National Council are to take the reins of power. The Saudis are also rumored to have financed the ascent to power in Tunisia of the governing Islamist Ennahda Party, and are documented to be financing the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council against President Bashar al-Assad. 
Part III: Morsi’s Reign of Salafi Terror
Indicative of the true agenda of this Muslim Brotherhood and related jihadists today is the fact that once they have power, they drop the veil of moderation and reconciliation and reveal their violently intolerant roots. This is visible in Egypt today under Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi.
Unreported in mainstream Western media to date are alarming direct reports from Christian missionary organizations in Egypt that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has already begun to drop the veil of “moderation and conciliation” and show its brutal totalitarian Salafist colors, much as Khomeini’s radical Sharia forces did in Iran after taking control in 1979-81.
In a letter distributed by the Christian Aid Mission (CAM), a Christian Egyptian missionary wrote that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood “announced they would destroy the country if Morsi didn’t win, but they also said they will take revenge from all those who voted for [his opponent Ahmed] Shafiq, especially the Christians as they are sure we did vote for Shafiq. Yesterday they began by killing two believers in el Sharqiya because of this,” the missionary added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
This report came only weeks after Egyptian State TV (under Morsi’s control) showed ghastly video footage of a convert from Islam to Christianity being murdered by Muslims. The footage showed a young man being held down by masked men with a knife to his throat. As one man was heard chanting Muslim prayers in Arabic, mostly condemning Christianity, another man holding the knife to the Christian convert’s throat began to cut, slowly severing the head amid cries of “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”), according to transcripts. In the letter, the Egyptian missionary leader added that, “soon after Morsi won, Christians in upper Egypt were forcibly prevented from going to churches.” Many Muslims, the letter claimed, “also began to speak to women in the streets that they had to wear Islamic clothing including the head covering. They act as if they got the country for their own, it’s theirs now.” 
Already in 2011 Morsi’s Salafist followers began attacking and destroying Sufi mosques across Egypt. According to the authoritative newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm (Today’s Egyptian), 16 historic mosques in Alexandria belonging to Sufi orders have been marked for destruction by so-called ‘Salafis’. Alexandria has 40 mosques associated with Sufis, and is the headquarters for 36 Sufi groups. Half a million Sufis live in the city, out of a municipal total of four million people. Aggression against the Sufis in Egypt has included a raid on Alexandria’s most distinguished mosque, named for, and housing, the tomb of the 13th century Sufi Al-Mursi Abu’l Abbas.
Notably, the so-called “democratically elected” regime in Libya following the toppling of Mohamar Qaddafi by NATO bombs in 2011, has also been zealous in destroying Sufi mosques and places of worhip. In August this year, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova expressed “grave concern” at the destruction by Islamic Jihadists of Sufi sites in Zliten, Misrata and Tripoli and urged perpetrators to “cease the destruction immediately.”  Under behind-the-scenes machinations the Libyan government is dominated by Jihadists and by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, as in Tunisia and Egypt. 
The explosive cocktail of violence inherent in allowing the rise to power of Salafist Islamists across the Middle East was clear to see, symbolically enough on the night of September 11,th when a mob of angry supporters of the fanatical Salafist group, Ansar Al-Sharia, murdered the US Ambassador to Libya and three US diplomats, burning the US Consulate in Bengazi to the ground in protest over a YouTube release of a film by an American filmmaker showing the Prophet Mohammed indulging in multiple sex affairs and casting doubt on his role as God’s messenger. Ironically that US Ambassador had played a key role in toppling Qaddafi and opening the door to the Salafist takeover in Libya. At the same time angry mobs of thousands of Salafists surrounded the US Embassy in Cairo in protest to the US film. 
Ansar Al-Sharia (“Partisans of Islamic law” in Arabic) reportedly is a spinoff of Al-Qaeda and claims organizations across the Middle East from Yemen to Tunisia to Iraq, Egypt and Libya. Ansar al-Sharia says it is reproducing the model of Sharia or strict Islamic law espoused by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq. The core of the group are jihadists who came out of an “Islamic state”, either in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, or among jihadists in Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003.
The deliberate detonation now of a new round of Salafist fundamentalist Jihad terror inside Muslim regions of the Russian Caucasus is exquisitely timed politically to put maximum pressure at home on the government of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Putin and the Russian Government are the strongest and most essential backer of the current Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, and for Russia as well the maintenance of Russia’s only Mediterranean naval base at Syria’s Tartus port is vital strategically. At the same time, Obama’s sly message to Medvedev to wait until Obama’s re-election to evaluate US intent towards Russia and Putin’s cryptic recent comment that a compromise with a re-elected President Obama might be possible, but not with a President Romney,  indicate that the Washington “stick-and-carrot” or hard cop-soft cop tactics with Moscow might tempt Russia to sacrifice major geopolitical alliances, perhaps even that special close and recent geopolitical alliance with China. Were that to happen, the World might witness a “reset” in US-Russian relations with catastrophic consequences for world peace.
F. William Engdahl* is the author ofFull Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order
 Dan Peleschuk, Sheikh Murdered Over Religious Split Say Analysts, RIA Novosti, August 30, 2012, accessed in
 UN Security Council, QI.U.290.11. DOKU KHAMATOVICH UMAROV, 10 March 2011, accessed in http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQI29011E.shtml. The UN statement reads: “Doku Khamatovich Umarov was listed on 10 March 2011 pursuant to paragraph 2 of resolution 1904 (2009) as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of”, “recruiting for”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” and “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” the Islamic Jihad Group (QE.I.119.05), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (QE.I.10.01), Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSRSBCM) (QE.R.100.03) and Emarat Kavkaz (QE.E.131.11).”
 David M. Herszenhorn, Putin Says Missile Deal Is More Likely With Obama, The New York Times, September 6, 2012, accessed in http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/world/europe/putin-calls-missile-deal-more-likely-if-obama-wins.html. According to an interview Putin gave on Moscow’s state-owned RT TV, Herszenhorn reports, “Mr. Putin said he believed that if Mr. Obama is re-elected in November, a compromise could be reached on the contentious issue of American plans for a missile defense system in Europe, which Russia has strongly opposed. On the other hand, Mr. Putin said, if Mr. Romney becomes president, Moscow’s fears about the missile system — that it is, despite American assurances, actually directed against Russia — would almost certainly prove true.
“Is it possible to find a solution to the problem, if current President Obama is re-elected for a second term? Theoretically, yes,” Mr. Putin said, according to the official transcript posted on the Kremlin’s Web site. “But this isn’t just about President Obama. “For all I know, his desire to work out a solution is quite sincere,” Mr. Putin continued. “I met him recently on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, where we had a chance to talk. And though we talked mostly about Syria, I could still take stock of my counterpart. My feeling is that he is a very honest man, and that he sincerely wants to make many good changes. But can he do it? Will they let him do it?”
A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France’s military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME’s article, “The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?” decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome “War on Terror” narrative.TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop “Islamist” terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:
“…there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they’ve identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack.”
What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO’s 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya – providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya’s government.
As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote “Algeria will be next to fall,” where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:
Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis.
“Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda’s number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same – and Belhaj was/is its emir. “
“Belhaj,” referring to Hakim Abdul Belhaj, leader of LIFG in Libya, led with NATO support, arms, funding, and diplomatic recognition, the overthrowing of Muammar Qaddafi and has now plunged the nation into unending racist and tribal, genocidal infighting. This intervention has also seen the rebellion’s epicenter of Benghazi peeling off from Tripoli as a semi-autonomous “Terror-Emirate.” Belhaj’s latest campaign has shifted to Syria where he was admittedly on the Turkish-Syrian border pledging weapons, money, and fighters to the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” again, under the auspices of NATO support.
Image: NATO’s intervention in Libya has resurrected listed-terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate, LIFG. It had previously fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now has fighters, cash and weapons, all courtesy of NATO, spreading as far west as Mali, and as far east as Syria. The feared “global Caliphate” Neo-Cons have been scaring Western children with for a decade is now taking shape via US-Saudi, Israeli, and Qatari machinations, not “Islam.” In fact, real Muslims have paid the highest price in fighting this real “war against Western-funded terrorism.”
LIFG, which with French arms, cash, and diplomatic support, is now invading northern Syria on behalf of NATO’s attempted regime change there, officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007 according to the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). According to the CTC, AQIM and LIFG share not only ideological goals, but strategic and even tactical objectives. The weapons LIFG received most certainly made their way into the hands of AQIM on their way through the porous borders of the Sahara Desert and into northern Mali.
A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials.”We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”
It is no coincidence that as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then, using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali, Algeria, and Syria with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.
French involvement may drive AQIM and its affiliates out of northern Mali, but they are almost sure to end up in Algeria, most likely by design.
Algeria was able to balk subversion during the early phases of the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011, but it surely has not escaped the attention of the West who is in the midst of transforming a region stretching from Africa to Beijing and Moscow’s doorsteps – and in a fit of geopolitical schizophrenia – using terrorists both as a casus belli to invade and as an inexhaustible mercenary force to do it.
History is a teacher of life, says the old proverb. Hence, it should be regarded as a part of life and the future, not only a part of the past.
We recall that the drive for redrawing the borders was one of the key objectives of aggressors in the First World War. The revision of history and results of the First and Second World Wars could prove to be but a front for the revision of borders.
The Great War began following the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum, one that everyone clearly knew that Serbia could not have possibly accepted. At the end of that same, 20th century, Serbia (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) was given A similar ultimatum by NATO in Rambouillet, also one that obviously could not be accepted. The request contained therein was: either accepting unconditional occupation of the entire country, or having war. NATO aggression against Serbia (the FRY) of 1999 was the turning point in global relations, marking the transition from the relative peace and a sort of observance of the UN system, towards the global interventionism and violation of the basic principles of the international relations. Many intellectuals, including the speakers at this Conference, believe that this has triggered the Third World War.
The post-2008 period is marked by a serious global economic crisis. The military spending in the world is heading to reach two trillion US dollars. Step by step, the world has entered a new spiral of arms race. Are we going to respond to it by launching initiatives and activating mechanisms to put it to an end, or are we, just like on the eve of the World War I, going to let this race throw all of us once again into the chasm of disaster?
A short period of global partnership is being replaced by an increasing global distrust. Is there any readiness to seek just compromises in resolving outstanding problems and revert to general interests of the humanity, as embodied in peace and progress for all peoples and nations?
The narrow circles of the privileged ones are amassing enormous wealth. In a stark contrast, misery, poverty, illnesses, extremism and terrorism are on the rise. How can we possibly seek to develop and spread human and civilization values and rights against the backdrop of such misery, poverty, illnesses, extremism and terrorism? Do we realize the danger entailed by the boiling social discontent? Are we ready to concede that the previously applied methods of combating international terrorism exclusively by military force, have instead been actually powering its further strengthening and dissemination?
The poverty suffered by a major share of human kind is not a mere result of the growing population, but rather an outcome of the increasing iniquity in distribution of assets, within the system that defends the privileges of the rich and prevents development of the poor. The roads to both First and Second World Wars were paved by egotism, denial of equality, and trampling the interest of other nations. The ball is in our court. Shall we continue to speak up and fight for a just international order, or shall we assert that the era of liberal capitalism aggression is not the right moment for such an action? Are we aware that external and forcible imposition of internal systems in target countries, pursuant to the “one-for-all” model, gradually emerges as the foundation of global domination, interventionism, and neo-fascism?
The question at hand is, do we opt for the global domination of “exceptional” ones, or for the multi-polarity and a democratic world order of all equal sovereign nations?
What is left out of the UN’s and the OSCE’s functions of preventive action and peaceful resolution of disputes? Should we, really, consent that the policies of force and of double standards have become legitimate or we should oppose it and struggle for civilization of peace, dignity and freedom for all? There is growing evidence that we have entered the age of hybrid democracy and ersatz civic values and human rights. Institutions of democratic state became the service of the most powerful corporations possessing military-industrial and financial capital.
Although the institutional formations persevere, an even the new ones are being created in the international domain, the true power is steadily shifting into the narrow and usually informal groups, councils or commissions directly influenced by such military-industrial and financial capital. Issues of war or peace are rarely discussed in parliamentary proceedings; at best, they are being decided in a summary procedure.
Democratic public debates on vital issues have definitely become a rarity.
The tangible aspect of militarization is expressed in rapid growth in numbers of foreign bases, especially on the European soil. Presently, Europe hosts more foreign military bases that at the peak of the Cold War. Why? After the USA Military base Bond-steel, erected in Kosovo and Metohija in 1999, there mushroomed four more USA bases in Bulgaria, additional four in Romania, and so on. Pre-1999 existing bases are being upgraded, either by anti-missile shields, or by new facilities for revolving rapid-response task forces. All are creeping closer to the borders of Russia. We are witnessing a new edition of the old, almost forgotten doctrine, “Drang nach Osten”. In parallel, the media, including even in countries of the oldest democratic traditions, are having increasingly less freedom.
Is it possible to maintain THIS unipolar world and privileges by inciting wars, fratricidal conflicts, coups, or colored revolutions?
On the eve of the First World War, it was obvious that certain countries were rapidly arming, and, in parallel, that their appetites for territories and resources were growing. The true meaning of these trends was played down. This illusion was, alas, paid dearly, in millions of human lives. The ”September Program”, authored by that-time German Chancellor von Bethmann-Hollweg, dated 9 September 1914, one hundred years ago, openly stated German territorial pretensions aimed at neighbors, customs union in the form of an expanded market, and “German colonial Africa”, as considered by Franz Fischer, a prominent German historian. Hollweg’s “September Program” had a clearly invading, expansionist character. Hollweg’s plan triggers various reminiscences, such as this one:
In April 2000, ten months after the end of NATO’s armed aggression against Serbia (the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia), Bratislava hosted a summit of heads of governments and states, and ministers of foreign affairs and of defense of that-time candidate states for joining NATO, and senior public officials of the USA. At this Summit, the American representatives presented their plan for rearranging the relations in Europe. Willy Wimmer, Germany’s State Secretary in the Ministry of Defense, and at that time Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, who was present at the Summit, wrote about this “April Plan”:
“European legal order is an obstacle for implementation of NATO plans. For this purpose is much more convenient to also apply American legal order in Europe. During the expansion (towards the East, added by Z.J.), it is necessary to reinstate the same spatial situation between the Baltic Sea and Anatolia (in Turkey, added by Z.J.), as existed at the heyday of the Roman Empire expansion. This is why Poland has to be encircled from the north and the south by democratic states as neighbors. Romania and Bulgaria have to ensure land connection to Turkey, whereas Serbia has to be permanently excluded from the European development. North of Poland, a complete control over the Sanct Petersburg access to the Baltic Sea must be ensured.” (Published in: Actual Issues of Foreign Policy, the Belgrade Forum for the World of Equals, Belgrade, 2006, pages 73-77).
Almost imperceptibly, the war marketing evolved into a new discipline. It seems that we got accustomed to that “science” very quickly and underestimating the risks. At present, even the non-professionals can easily recognize the pattern of preparing, propagating, and justifying all kinds of aggressions and instigating civil wars. The process comprises these steps: choosing the target; demonizing its legitimate leadership via the media; promises of democracy and fast “better life” that serve to disorientate the public; funding and, as necessary, arming the “pro-democratic” opposition; intensification of destabilizing actions of the NGOs; staging massacres/poisoning by chemical warfare/humanitarian disasters, i.e.: event brands like “Markale” in Sarajevo, “Racak” in Kosovo and Metohija, “Majdan” in Kiev; then follows instigating civil wars or armed aggression; toppling legitimate authorities; installing “pro-democratic” opposition in power; and, finally, assuming the target country’s natural and economic resources by the corporations and even by individuals from administrations of the aggressor countries by the so-called transition, also known as the predatory privatizations.
One of disturbing contemporary phenomena is a very extensive interpretation of the notion of national interests. The USA was the first to appropriate the right to proclaim its national interests in practical terms, in any corner of the Planet, and to defend them by armed force. European partners followed suite. Particular attention provoke statements of Joachim Gauck, President of Germany, that Germany must be ready to defend its national interests abroad by force, if needed. State sovereignty over its natural resources is derogated. Brzezinski and Albright openly claim that natural resources in Siberia cannot belong to Russia only, but rather to the so-called international community! The claims for redistribution of natural wealth of the planet are clearly articulated. Here, one may recall the consequences the humanity suffered owing to German ambitions for redistribution of colonies in the run-up to the World War I.
Back in 1914, that-time aggressors solely relied on brute force. Austro-Hungary sought to halt its declining power and decreasing control over other nations’ territories, whereas Germany wanted to effect its burgeoning economic and military might by invading neighbors’ territories, and by imposing its control over the Berlin-Bagdad route and, eventually, over the entire Europe and Africa. The lessons from World War I show that reliance on force exclusively, coupled with arrogance and disregard for the rights and interests of other nations are not advantage but rather a major weakness.
Another great danger for the contemporary world stems from the presence of power centers which believe they are destined to govern the word, and entrusted with this mission by providence. They hold anyone else in the planet to be handicapped and obliged to do as told and obey directives of the “exceptional” ones. Such centers do not recognize profound changes bringing new distribution of global power. They apply the logic of uni-polar world order not recognizing that this concept is gone and that the history cannot be stopped.
Therefore, having regard to the lessons of history, we may conclude, that it is not the time to seek privileges and domination by force; it is in the interest of humanity to accommodate to the new multi-polar reality, to accept righteous compromises and work for peace.
[i] Address at the International Conference “World War I – Messages to Humanity” Belgrade, 17 September 2014
In response to Mumia’s Commencement speech at Goddard College earlier this month, Pennsylvania legislators passed a Bill this week, the “Revictimization Relief Act, “which will allow victims, District Attorneys, and the Attorney General to sue prisoners for speaking if it causes “mental anguish.”
This is a clear attempt to silence Mumia, by passing bills supposedly intended to help victims. The FOP simply wants to shut prisoners up and shut Prison Radio down!
Prison Radio has vowed to continue to broadcast his words, regardless of threats or intimidation. Prison Radio has pledged that if the DA or AG sues Mumia and gets an injunction we will have dozens of notable people stand in for him and read his work so that his words will continue to reach the airwaves.
Also consider that Mumia has recorded over 3,000 essays and published seven books (2 more will be released in 2015) in nine languages, and has three major broadcast and theatrical movies of which he is the subject. The latest movie “Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary” is currently airing on the STARZ network, sold out theaters from coast to coast, and has been translated into German and Spanish, and has sold 20,000 DVDs.
The Abolitionist Law Center is representing Mumia and Prison Radio. ALC legal director Bret Grote: “The ‘Silence Mumia Law’ should be understood in the wake of the Ferguson rebellion, as race and class-based mass incarceration – and the role of police in enforcing it via arbitrary arrests, frame-ups, and extrajudicial killings – is being questioned more than ever, and the Fraternal order of Police and the government are scrambling to re-establish the lie that police forces and other institutions of state violence are righteous protectors of public safety that are beyond question.”
1) Call PA Governor Tom Corbett and demand that he veto SB508.
“This bill is an unconstitutional attempt to silence prisoners and specifically Mumia Abu-Jamal and violates the First Amendment”
2) Send a positive note to the two PA state senators who took a principled stand against this bill. These folks spoke out eloquently on why the assembly should not pass this bill. We know that the Fraternal Order of Police have threatened and pressured them. click here for the address
Pennsylvania Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) called the bill “the most extreme violation of the First Amendment imaginable.”
Watch the video of the FOP and PA state senate authorizing legislation for injunction to silence Mumia. 10/6/14 full press conference with Gov. Corbett, DA Phil Seth Williams, etc.
Dear friends, please realize that we are carrying a heavy burden. We are putting up 2-3 Mumia’s essays each week and we are now engaged in a legal battle of great import. The first amendment stands in the balance. We have a matching grant of $45K – yes, that is right! 45K. We need to match this grant by Nov. 15th. Can you help us?
Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s newspaper, The New Times of Rwanda, has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to indict the BBC for “genocide denial” because of its documentary, “Rwanda: The Untold Story.”
International criminal defense attorney Peter Erlinder – in handcuffs for “genocide denial” – appears in a Kigali, Rwanda, courtroom with Kenyan lawyer Kennedy Ogetto in May 2010.
KPFA Evening News Anchor Cameron Jones: The BBC documentary, “Rwanda: The Untold Story,” has become the subject of fierce argument including many open letters to the BBC both applauding and attacking it. Paul Kagame accused the BBC of “genocide denial” and his state newspaper, The New Times, even called on the International Criminal Court to indict the network and/or its producers.
KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to international criminal defense attorney Peter Erlinder, who was arrested for “genocide denial” and thrown in a Rwandan prison in 2010, until an international campaign for his release prevailed.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: Peter Erlinder, “genocide denial” sounds like a pretty bad crime, just as any crime including the word “genocide” does. Could you explain what it means in this context?
Peter Erlinder: Well, in the context of Rwanda, “genocide denial” is questioning the version of events that is told by the Rwandan government, and the current Rwandan government (leaders) were the victors in a four year civil war, so that any description of the four year civil war that differs from the Rwandan government’s description is called genocide denial.
William Mitchell Law Professor Peter Erlinder
And the BBC’s description of what happened during the four years of the Rwandan Civil War and the 20 years after, which include 5 million or more deaths in the Congo and in Rwanda, is called genocide denial by the Rwandan government.
KPFA: Genocide denial is outside the mandate of the International Criminal Court, isn’t it? They’re mandated to prosecute war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity?
Peter Erlinder: Yeah, the mandate of the International Criminal Court is to punish actions, not to punish thoughts. And genocide denial, of course, is a thought crime. And the question of what genocide denial actually is is one that is very difficult to sort out because it depends on one’s view of history, and in this case it’s the victors in the war, in the Rwandan war, that are deciding what the genocide was and how it took place.
Victoire Ingabire, despite being in handcuffs for “genocide denial,” gives a thumbs up to her supporters outside a Rwandan courtroom on April 17, 2012.
Certainly there was mass violence, but the way the mass violence took place was different than the way that it’s described by those who won the war. And Robert McNamara, the United States’ secretary of state, in a documentary called “The Fog of War,” made that point very clear, saying that leaders of the United States would have been the war criminals had the Japanese won World War II.
KPFA: Doesn’t President Kagame’s newspaper seem a bit confused about the balance of institutional force in suggesting that the ICC should indict the BBC?
Peter Erlinder: Well, it seems to me that it’s consistent with the policy of President Kagame and the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) government, which is to mount the maximum political attack against anyone who disagrees with Mr. Kagame. Political opponents like Victoire Ingabire, who attempted to run against him in the election in 2010. Victoire Ingabire is in prison now for at least 15 years.
There’s a long list of opponents who have been assassinated or forced into exile, and the idea that opponents of Mr. Kagame’s view of history, or of politics, pay a high price is now being felt by the BBC. And to suggest that an august journalistic institution like the BBC is engaged in “genocide denial” is almost laughable.
In October every second week on Monday, Columbus Day is celebrated in western culture in general and in the America’s specifically. This is an American tradition and school children of all ages are taught about his so-called discovery of his New-World. Annual parades are given around the country, and every year dignitaries participate in these festivities.
Unfortunately, most people celebrate his holiday without knowing the truth about Columbus’s purpose for taking such risky voyages, and his horrendous behavior against the indigenous population, together with brutality against his own men.
At the other end of the spectrum, Columbus’s impact has been most devastating on the indigenous people together with African communities everywhere. For a better understanding, three historical events before Columbus’s four voyages are presented, along with the reasons for these voyages.
Three Historical Events:
The first event occurred when the African Berbers/Moors conquered the Iberian peninsula (present-day Portugal and Spain). Back then the conquered territory was identified as Andalusia and at that time was most of Spain, Portugal, parts of France, Italy and Gibraltar. Their conquest began in 711 and lasted up to the fall of Granada on January 2, 1492.
The second event is the conquest of Ceuta an Islamic city in North Africa by the Portuguese in 1415. Notably, that was over three decades before the fall of Constantinople in 1453. In the meantime, Portuguese mariners sailed beyond Cape Bojador, Morocco, for the first time in the 1430s.
By 1445, a trading post was established on the small island of Arguim off the shores of present-day Mauritania. As Portuguese ships continued to explore coastlines and rivers over the following decades, they established trade with the preexisting industries. Portuguese traders procured not only various west African commodities such as ivory, peppers, textiles, wax, grain, copper, as well as captive African slaves for exporting. At this time, these slaves were only used as servants in Europe.
In addition to building trading posts, Portugal established colonies on previous uninhabited islands off the African shores that would later serve as collection points for captive slaves, and commodities to be shipped to Europe, and eventually sent to the colonies in the Americas. After several generations, Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias sailed around the Cape of Good Hope in 1488, opening up European access to the east Indies.
By the close of the fifteenth century, Portuguese merchants could circumvent commercial, political, and military strongholds in both north Africa and in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Indeed, they were successful in using maritime routes to bypass trans-Saharan overland trade routes controlled by Islamic Ottoman Turks.
The third event occurred in 1453, when the Islamic Ottoman Turks successfully captured Christian Constantinople (present-day Istanbul)—formerly western Europe’s main source for spices, silks, paper, porcelain, glass, and other luxury goods produced in India, China, Japan, and the spice islands (present-day Indonesia) collectively these areas were known as the east Indies, and the silk road trade route was shutdown by the Ottoman Turks conquest.
The Fall of Granada in 1492:
Obviously, the passages to the east Indies were denied to the Christian west by the Ottoman Turks who controlled the main overland routes to the Orient. Desert robbers, along with the heat and sand storms, as well as other unforeseen hazards eventually made the trip too dangerous and expensive.
The Portugal’s alternate route, by sea, was now in demand. Christopher Columbus spent the better part of his adult life embracing a different navigational solution other than Portugal’s already established maritime route. The core of his idea was sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean to the east Indies would be shorter, and quicker. Moreover, knowing modern geography makes his idea a guaranteed failure. In hindsight if his idea was correct, a world of opportunity would open up not only for him but other fortune hunters. Of course, this did not happen.
By the late 13th century, the Spanish Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon had reconquer most of the Islamic Berber/Moors controlled territory. In 1479, the two kingdoms were united as a result of the marriage of Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. The last Islamic kingdom, Granada, was lost in 1492. For Christian Spain, this conquest was the most important event in their history. After nearly eight centuries of fighting, the Christian Iberians finally defeated the African Islamic Berbers/Moors. On the second of January, 1492, King Ferdinand together with Queen Isabella rode into Granada victoriously. Columbus was present at that joyful event.
The Spanish monarchy agreed to sponsor his voyage but with stringent modifications. He angrily refused their offer and went to France for financial support. A short time afterward, the king and queen had second thoughts and decided to meet Columbus’s demands. Eventually, their courier caught up with him just before he reached France.
Upon his return, he was promised huge amounts of gold plus given the title captain of the ocean seas, along with absolute power as administrator for the future to be colonized New World. Columbus promised to bring back gold, spices, and silks, to spread Christianity, and at the same time charter a quicker route to the east Indies. Consequently, he was outfitted with three ships, the Nina, La Pinta and the Santa Maria.
Columbus’s Four Voyages:
This set the stage for his four voyages. All of them had some sort of disaster. Which begin with his maiden voyage in 1492 that was disaster number one. While exploring an uncharted island he name Hispaniola (present-day Dominican and Haitian Republics), on Christmas Day he wrecked his flag ship the Santa María; together with the help of the indigenous Taino people using wreckage from the ship and anything else they could find to built small fortress named La Navidad (Christmas in English). He left 39 men at the fortress, and proceeded to Spain to request funding for another voyage.
Unknowing to Columbus, the left-behind Spaniards began enslaving the Taino women for domestic work, which, after several months, led to armed conflict with the Taino’s, who destroyed the temporary settlement, killing them. Upon returning to Spain on the La Niña with a little gold, parrots, spices, and Taino captives that Columbus displayed for the Spanish Monarchy convinced them of the need for a rapid second voyage. He received a great deal of fanfare. Columbus was cheered and followed everywhere he went. After all he was ” admiral of the ocean sea ” and governor-general of the new lands he discovered.
In reality, he did not bring anything in the way of gold or other valuable items like he promised, and he certainly did not find a shorter route to the east Indies. However, he did display some indigenous Taino’s whom was forcibly bought to the Monarchy with a few trinkets of gold. His persuasiveness convinced the Spanish monarchy to finance a second voyage of discovery and colonization; later with the blessing of Pope Alexander VI in the Treaty of Tortillas on June 7, 1494. Which assign spheres of influence in the Americas to Portugal and Spain.
Leaving the Canary’s Islands on October 13, 1493, Columbus’s second voyage of conquest was outfitted with a huge fleet of 17 ships, domesticated animals, with over 1,000 colonists together with six priests, attack dogs and canons. Notably, from an African perspective, this was the precursor to chattel slavery and colonialism.
Arriving in Hispaniola in late November to find the fort of La Navidad destroyed with no survivors. Immediately, other fortified places were built, including a city, founded on January 2, and named La Isabella in honor of the queen. On February 2 Antonio de Torres left La Isabella with 12 ships, some gold, spices, parrots, and Taino captives (most of whom died en route), as well as the bad news about Navidad and some complaints about Columbus’s methods of governance.
Meanwhile, he managed to find a small source of gold on Hispaniola. Columbus forced the natives to work in gold mines as slaves until they died of exhaustion. If a Taino did not deliver his full quota of gold dust by his deadline, soldiers would cut off the man’s hands and tie them around his neck to send a message. Slavery was so intolerable to the island people that at one point, 100 of them committed mass suicide. Catholic law forbids the enslavement of Christians, but Columbus solved this problem. Although, priests were available to convert natives into Christians, he simply refused to have them baptize, in all likelihoods never intended to do so.
One of his men, Bartolome De Las Casas, was so mortified by Columbus’ brutal atrocities against the native peoples, he became a Catholic priest. He described how the Spaniards under Columbus’s command cut the legs off of children who ran from them, to test the sharpness of their blades. According to him, the men made bets as to who, with one sweep of his sword, could cut a person in half.
In a single day, De Las Casas was an eye witness as the Spanish soldiers dismembered, beheaded, or raped 3000 native people. ” Such inhumanities and barbarisms were committed in my sight as no age can parallel, ” He wrote. ” My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature that now I tremble as I write. ”
Columbus had been appointed governor and Viceroy of the new lands by the Spanish crown, and for the next year and a half, he attempted to do his job. Although, he was a good ship’s captain but an inapt administrator. The one thousand or so colonialist sole purpose was to seek gold, and none was to be found. The gold they had been promised never materialized, and what little gold was discovered was sent to the Spanish crown. In the meantime, supplies began to run out, and it was discord in the colony. Columbus used brutality and cruelty to restore order. With the supplies almost gone in March of 1496, he returned to Spain for more resources to keep the struggling colony from failing.
In Spain this time around he was not met with jubilation, on the contrary, there were skepticism and doubt about his venture. However, he managed to get enough financial support, and his third expedition left on May 30, 1498 with six ships. The fleet split into two squadrons; three ships to sail directly for Hispaniola with supplies to the colonists, and the other three led by Columbus’s further exploration of the uncharted islands.
After a short time exploring, Columbus returned to Hispaniola on August 19, 1498, he found open hostility. As a matter of fact, it was civil unrest by the colonist. The constant unrest was resolved when Ferdinand and Isabella appointed Francisco de Bobadilla as royal commissioner, with administrative powers in Hispaniola.
His first order of business was to send the Admiral and his two brothers Bartolome and Diego back to Spain in chains in October of 1500. At this point, he came from being the Admiral of the Oceans seas to a miserable failure. Despite the justifiable charges brought against Columbus and his two brothers, the Spanish Monarchy released them. Considering, he was sending them gold all along, perhaps not as much as he promised but gold non-the-less.
Christopher Columbus made a fourth voyage, to search for the Strait of Malacca to the Indian Ocean. Mindfully, when examining a current map his westward theory was doomed from the beginning; On May 11, 1502, four old ships and 140 men under Columbus’s command put to sea from the port of Cadiz. Insultingly, he was forbidden to enter Hispaniola the colony he founded.
He proceeded to explored parts of southern, and central America. However, his ships were damaged by a hurricane and termites. Columbus and his men unable to seek assistances in Hispaniola were stranded on Jamaica for a year before being rescued.
This concludes Columbus four voyages, which were all failures; beginning with wrecking the Santa Maria in Hispaniola, and on the second voyage running out of supplies; and on the third upon his return was arrested together with his two brothers and sent back to Spain in chains. On his fourth voyage, he was not allowed in Hispaniola, although it was the island, he founded. More insulting was he was stranded on Jamaica for a year before returning to Spain.
Contrarily, the Caribbean Islands is often called the west Indies. With certainty, the descendants of the native inhabitants are mistakenly called Indians around the world because Columbus believed until his death, he was in the east Indies. After 25 years of Spanish occupation, the Taino’s populations, numbered several million in 1492, were reduced to about 50,000.
In today’s contemporary world, he would be guilty of crimes against humanity with evidence from his diary, as well as, accounts from his own men. In all probabilities, he would be sentenced to death or life in prison.
Columbus Day, was brought on by the Knights of Columbus, a fraternal service organization. Back in the 1930s, they were looking for a Catholic hero as a role-model. In 1934, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt signed
Columbus Day into law as a federal holiday.
In western culture, there are some whom honor and worship him, and others recognized his atrocities, and loathe him. For those that honor and worship him, it might be worthwhile to Google ” Columbus slave trade, ” it just might change their opinions.
None the less, Columbus Day from an African perspective has a different dynamic altogether. His decade of exploration was founded on the principals of conquering and destroying other culture’s economic livelihoods and at the same time enhancing the Spanish crown. The rest of Europe followed these principals resulting in 500 years of their domination. More specifically, it started with Columbus’s second voyage in 1493 as previously mentioned.
Shortly after his alleged discovery the world was divided by two European world powers at the time, which was Spain in Portugal. The Roman Catholic Pope was ecstatic over the discovery of the so-called New World by Columbus. The Pope divided the world between Portugal and Spain in the treaty of Tortillas in 1494. Where Portugal was assigned Brazil, both coastal shores of Africa, the southern and eastern shores of Asia, and the east Indies.
On the other hand, Spain was given the Americas, the Philippines, and future lands encountered by Columbus. These two historical events set the precedent of conquering other cultures, which was condoned and embrace by the two super powers then, and later all of Europe.
Within these same scenarios, White-Supremacy evolved based on color. Whereas, white represent supremacy in contrast to people of color whom were deemed inferior, which is the foundation of racism. After 500 years these principals, although modified for all intents and purposes are still prevalent today.
By establishing a permanent foothold based on conquering, Spain took the first steps towards building their mighty empire by destroying indigenous Aztecs, Incas and Mayan cultures, and then a century later the rest of Europe followed using the same conquering techniques. The evidence is 500 years of Western domination.
In the process of profitable plantations during the 1500s, expanded the demand for African slaves in the colonies in the New-World. Trade in slaves soon overshadowed gold as the main export of the area. At this time in history, Portugal’s trading post off the shores of Africa became one of the principal sources of slaves. By the early 16th century, the native slave trade was not sufficient. As they died out, Africans were imported for the plantations in the New-World.
The wealth and the trade it generated by the Spanish conquests were enormous and within Europe was the backbone around which capitalism was built. As the native populations of the Americas were wiped out merchants made more profits by importing Africans and selling them to work the tobacco, sugar, cotton plantations and mines.
Later in the century, England, France, and the Dutch joined in the enslavement of Africans. Notably, Portugal together with Spain already had an established slave trade in Latin America a century before their arrival.
A hidden fact is the majority of the African slaves were sent to Latin America led by Spain and Portugal, whom were influenced by Columbus’s enslaving the native Americans. These fact still prevails today where the majority of the slave descendants are in Latin-America.
It would be a gross oversight not to mention Australia, together with Africa. The aborigines of Australia suffered the same fate as the natives in Columbus’s so-called New World. Summarily, three continents were destroyed and now being controlled by victors of western culture based on Christopher Columbus conquering principals.
Although, Africa has been colonized and their cultural and economic progress has been altered forever. Colonization was planned during a conference held in Berlin from 1884 until 1885. The purpose of this conference was to use their superiority of weapons to partition Africa. There were six countries evolved led by England, France, Portugal, Spain, Germany and Belgium, partition Africa according to their economic interest.
Due to Columbus’s conquering precedent Africa and Australia were also victimized just as the other two continents in his New-World. It can be said with certainty that Christopher Columbus conquering exploits have benefited western culture. At the other ends of the spectrum, to some degree people of color and Africans particularly are at the same time suffering.
Obviously, there are two sides to every story. Specifically, this presentation is from the African communities’ perspective. It must be said, collectively, these communities are the victims of slavery as well as colonialism along with other Africans scatter around the world.
Conclusively, for the descendants of the native populations in the New-World, and within the African, communities everywhere together should conclude that Columbus Day is nothing but a huge April Fool’s Joke.
The following text was written by Ghana based nurse Nana Kwome. It provides an interesting yet controversial opinion on the Ebola pandemic, focussing on the geopolitical implications and America’s hidden agenda in Africa. (M.Ch, GR editor)
People in the Western World need to know what’s happening here in West Africa. THEY ARE LYING!
“Ebola” as a virus does NOT Exist and is NOT “Spreading”. The Red Cross has brought a disease to four specific countries for four specific reasons and it is only contracted by those who receive treatments and injections from the Red Cross. That is why Liberians and Nigerians have begun kicking the Red Cross out of their countries and reporting in the news the truth.
Now bear with me:
Most people jump to “depopulation” which is no doubt always on the mind of the West when it comes to Africa. But I assure you Africa can NEVER be depopulated by killing 160 people a day when thousands are born per day. So the real reasons are much more tangible.
Reason 1: This vaccine implemented sickness being “called” Ebola was introduced into West Africa for the end goal of getting troops on the ground in Nigeria, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. If you remember America was just trying to get into Nigeria for “Boko Haram” but that fell apart when Nigerians started telling the truth. Global support fell through the floor, and a new reason was needed to get troops into Nigeria and steal the new oil reserves they have discovered.
Reason 2: Sierra Leone is the World’s Largest Supplier of Diamonds. For the past 4 months they have been on strike, refusing to provide diamonds due to horrible working conditions and slave pay. The West will not pay a fair wage for the resources because the idea is to keep these people surviving on rice bags and foreign aid so that they remain a source of cheap slave labor forever. A reason was also needed to get troops on the ground in Sierra Leone to force an end to the diamond miners strikes. This is not the first time this has been done. When miners refuse to work troops are sent in and even if they have to kill and replace them all, the only desire is to get diamonds back flowing out of the country.
Of course to launch multiple campaigns to invade these countries separately would be way too fishy. But something like “Ebola” allows access to an entire area simultaneously…
Reason 3: In addition to stealing Nigerian oil, and forcing Sierra Leone back to mining, troops have also been sent in to FORCE vaccinations (Deadly “Ebola” Poison) onto those Africans who are not foolish enough to take them willingly.
3000 troops are being sent in to make sure that this “poison” continues to spread, because again it is only spread through vaccination. As more and more news articles are released as they have been in Liberia, informing the populous of the US lies and manipulation, more and more Africans are refusing to visit the Red Cross. Troops will force these vaccinations upon the people to ensure the visible appearance of an Ebola pandemic. In addition to this they will protect the Red Cross from the Liberians and Nigerians who have been rightfully ejecting them from their countries.
Reason 4: Last but not least, the APPEARANCE of this Ebola “pandemic” (should Americans not catch on) will be used to scare the countless millions into taking an “Ebola vaccine” which in reality is the pandemic. Already they have started with stories of how it has been brought to the U.S. and has appeared in Dallas, how white doctors were c ured but black infected are not being allowed to be treated, etc.
ALL that will do is make blacks STRIVE to get the vaccine, because it appears that the “cure” is being held back from blacks. They will run out in droves to get it and then there will be serious problems. With all we have seen revealed about vaccines this year you would think we learned our lesson. All I can do is hope so, Because they rely on our ignorance to complete their agendas.
Ask yourself: If Ebola really was spreading from person to person, instead of controlled spread through vaccination – then WHY would the CDC and the US Government continue to allow flights in and out of these countries with absolutely no regulation, Or At All? We have got to start thinking and sharing information globally because they do not give the true perspective of the people who live here in West Africa. They are lying for their own benefit and there aren’t enough voices out there with a platform to help share our reality. Hundreds of thousands have been killed, paralyzed and disabled by these and other “new” vaccines all over the world and we are finally becoming aware of it. Now what will we do with all this information?
Dr. Osterholm just gave a talk shown on C-Span explaining that a top Ebola virologist – the Head of Special Pathogens at Canada’s health agency, Gary Kobinger – has found that the current strain of Ebola appears to be much worse than any strain seen before … and that the current virus may be more likely to spread through aerosols than strains which scientists have previously encountered.
Watch this minute-long clip:
Another top Ebola expert – chief scientist at the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and discoverer of the Reston strain of Ebola (Dr. Peter Jahrling) – said last week that this strain of Ebola appears to be more virulent than other strains we’ve seen, producing a much higher viral load much quicker than other strains.
It’s getting difficult to remember a time when the Canadian Parliament actually tried to make principled decisions regarding foreign policy and our place in the community of nations. But we should try. Perhaps a first step in returning to such a time was the decision of the NDP and Liberal Party to oppose Stephen Harper’s most recent ill-considered and cynical march to war with his decision to join the bombing of Iraq.
Harper’s amoral political calculations about who and when to bomb people has little to do with any genuine consideration of the geopolitical situation or what role Canada might usefully play — or even in what Canada’s “interests” are. So long as he is prime minister it will be the same: every calculation will be made with the single-minded goal of staying in power long enough to dismantle the post-war activist state. The nurturing of his core constituency includes appeals to a thinly disguised pseudo-crusade against Islamic infidels, a phony appeal to national security (preceded by fear-mongering) and in the case of Ukraine, a crude appeal to ethnic votes.
Reinforcing this legacy is a mainstream media that lets him get away with it, and in particular, refuses to do its homework while the bombing — or posturing — is taking place and then refuses to expose the negative consequences of the reckless adventures. The result is what cultural critic Henry Giroux calls “the fog of historical and social amnesia.”
The three most obvious examples are Harper’s extremist policy in support of Israel, his joining with France and the U.S. in the catastrophic destruction of the Libyan state and his infantile posturing on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. And now we have Harper’s mini-crusade (six fighter bombers for six months) against ISIS or the Islamic State. With rare exceptions the media has gone along with him at every turn, treating Canadians as children incapable of navigating the nuances of foreign policy.
Regarding Israel, Harper, with widespread support in the media, has gone so far as to try to establish criticism of Israel as a kind of Orwellian “thought crime.” By declaring repeatedly (and even threatening supportive legislation) that criticism of Israel was anti-Semitic, Harper hoped to establish what Orwell referred to as “protective stupidity” — a kind of mass denial of the obvious. Freud referred to it as “knowing with not knowing” and when it comes to most of Canada’s military adventures, it is epidemic.
In Afghanistan the war went for so long that the facts eventually broke through the protective stupidity, but only partially. Even with the total failure of the mission to accomplish a single worthwhile goal, it is likely that most Canadians still see it as having been a “good war.”
Everyone who reads the news or watches it on television knows that Libya is now a failed state, swarming with literally scores of heavily armed and murderous Islamist militias, and facing an almost total collapse of central government authority and public services (formerly the best in Africa). Life in Libya is ten times more insecure and dangerous now than it ever was under the “madman” Gadhafi. Yet we choose not to know what we know.
This was supposed to be a humanitarian mission — the much-touted “duty to protect” principle in action. The catastrophe of the failure soon spread of course to Mali and elsewhere as Gadhafi’s carefully constructed balancing of competing tribal interests collapsed. In the ensuing chaos massive supplies of weapons seized by the “democratic forces” were distributed to lunatic militias (including the ISIS) across the Middle East. But still there are no mea culpas, no accountability, and no price to pay for the misery created. The cheerleading pundits have gone silent as if they had never written a word in support of the war. Planned amnesia.
As Giroux puts it: “Neoliberal authoritarianism has changed the language of politics and everyday life through a poisonous public pedagogy that turns reason on its head and normalizes a culture of fear, war and exploitation.”
Harper’s response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict has been similar: a maximum of infantile, simplistic sabre rattling rhetoric with an absolute minimum of reflection on the historical context or even the immediate facts of the situation. This is foreign policy for the willingly — if not willfully — ignorant. We are encouraged — or perhaps enlisted is a better word — to treat facts and history with a disdain bordering on contempt. Facts, context, history and thoughtful anticipation of the consequences of our actions — all of this is for sissies and Putin apologists. The nay-sayers are all Neville Chamberlain clones.
The fact that the boys with their military toys in NATO have been provoking Russia for 20 years, encircling it with hostile regimes aligned with members of this military alliance, promising to put missiles on its border, breaking promise after promise made in agreements with Russia — it’s all irrelevant. So is the fact that the “revolution” in Kyiv — don’t dare call it a coup, the thought police will knock on your door — was promoted with millions of American “democracy” dollars.
And the fact that the movement was hijacked by neo-Nazis? Just an inconvenient detail to be assigned to the amnesia machine. And the consequences? Just how is driving Russia away from integration with Europe (which it had been seeking throughout Putin’s reign) and into the arms of the imperial Chinese in Canada’s interests? The $400-billion natural gas deal Putin signed with China — accelerated and made a certainty by NATO’s aggression — will likely kill B.C.’s dream of billions in LNG investment (a silver lining in my view but hardly a smart move for an “energy superpower”).
All of this is swept aside when foreign policy is decided in a kindergarten class instead of a graduate class. But there will be no lasting consequences for governments — Harper’s or anyone else’s. The structure of protective stupidity is in place and without a radical change in consciousness the current political consensus will prevail. All will be forgotten.
Which brings us to the Islamic State. Here, too, the conventional approach to making intelligent foreign policy is cast aside on the basis of reacting to a handful of Westerners being beheaded (as happens on a regular basis already to citizens of Saudi Arabia). Can it be possible that our policy making has been reduced to this level of drunken barroom reaction? We know that the ISIS did this precisely to provoke a Western military response. But “we don’t know.” We prefer denial and the simplistic — the notion that we can correct 25 years of imperial hubris, ignorance and gross incompetence by Western powers by bombing our own creation.
Ooops, sorry for introducing a fact here — a bad habit. The West fostered these murderous madmen decades ago when the U.S. funded, armed and advised the nascent mujahedeen to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan. They are now a permanent feature of the Middle East and beyond, an evolving monster the U.S. Department of Defense and CIA lost control of a long time ago. Yet politicians like Obama and Harper think we can correct it with bombs. Ironically after decades of treating their citizens like children, our governments are reduced to behaving like them.
Several United States congressional representatives have called for a ban on travel into the country from three West African states which have been the most severely impacted by the recent outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). These proposals have specifically targeted President Barack Obama demanding that he institute the prohibition of anyone from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia from entering the U.S.
Obama along with many interests in the corporate community have rejected a travel ban. In light of the corporate press coverage of the EVD outbreak that has reportedly killed in excess of 4,500 and infected over 9,000, all three West African states and others in the region have experienced significant losses in humanitarian assistance, trade and tourism.
Congressional hearings on the Ebola outbreak have degenerated into discussions about measures that do not emphasize the need to attack the disease and bring about its eradication. Efforts by officials within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which sought to apportion blame on two nurses for not following protocol in treating the first patient Thomas Eric Duncan have been consistently refuted by the National Nurses United (NNU) through demonstrations and daily press releases, interviews and media conferences.
Issues of safety on the part of healthcare workers are a critical concern of the NNU. In Orange, California at St. Joseph Hospital, nurses were publically criticized by administrators saying that they were attempting to evoke fear among patients and employees when the nurses petitioned management for the implementation of basic medical guidelines for the handling of Ebola cases.
Nurses at the St. Joseph facility in Orange are not officially represented by the California Nurses Association (CNA) an affiliate of the NNU.
In an Oct. 17 press release from the NNU it notes that “St Joseph RNs were appalled at management’s reaction to their petition. First, the hospital allowed supervisors, and other RNs who don’t do direct patient care, to stage a protest on hospital property with signs saying ‘shame on CNA for preying on fear.’” (nationalnursesunited.com)
This same release went on to stress that “Second, the hospital administration issued a statement to the press—without responding to employees’ concerns—claiming they are ‘prepared to deal with infectious diseases’ and attacking the nurses’ union for using ‘scare tactics’ to ‘address labor issues.’”
Overreaction Takes Focus Away From Fighting Disease
Despite the calls for travel bans and other measures that tend to stigmatize West African expatriate communities, those relatives, workers and students who had contact with Thomas Eric Duncan, have been cleared of the threat of developing symptoms associated with EVD. The first wave of contacts was cleared on Oct. 20 and no further cases had been announced since the diagnosis of Nurse Amber Vinson of Dallas.
Another round of contacts is scheduled to be cleared by Nov. 7. Both Nina Pham and Amber Vinson are being treated in specialized units at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital and the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.
Reports were published on Oct. 20 speculating over the status of Pham’s fiancé who is reportedly being monitored for EVD symptoms. The company Pham’s friend works for issued a statement saying that he had not been diagnosed with the disease and that his fellow employees were not endangered. (International Business Times)
The Struggle Continues in West Africa
In West Africa, two nations, Nigeria and Senegal, were successful in isolating and eliminating the disease inside their countries. Senegal was reported to only have one case even though they share a border with one of the most severely affected states, Guinea-Conakry.
Early on in Oct., President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria declared the country Ebola free. The World Health Organization (WHO) agreed with this assessment on Oct. 20.
In regard to Senegal, the Associated Press noted that “On Friday (Oct. 17), WHO officials declared that the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Senegal was over. In a press release, the WHO stressed that Senegal’s approach was “a good example of what to do when faced with an imported case of Ebola.”(Oct. 20)
“The government’s response plan included identifying and monitoring 74 close contacts of the patient, prompt testing of all suspected cases, stepped-up surveillance at the country’s many entry points and nationwide public awareness campaigns,” the WHO agency said in the same release.
With specific reference to Nigeria, the agency’s (WHO) country director, Rui Gama Vaz, called it a “spectacular success story. The outbreak in Nigeria has been contained,” he told a news conference in the political capital of Abuja. (independent.co.uk, Oct. 20)
Nonetheless, the official warned that “we must be clear that we only won a battle. The war will only end when West Africa is also declared free of Ebola.”
Nigeria’s outbreak began in July, when a Liberian-American development consultant, Patrick Sawyer, collapsed in the arrivals hall of Lagos airport. Many believed that Sawyer had traveled to Nigeria to seek health treatment where he later died.
Nigeria later reported eight deaths and nearly 20 cases. Schools were closed throughout the country until the nation’s health system believed the threat had subsided.
Yet other countries such as Liberia remain in the grips of the outbreak. President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf issued a “Letter to the World” through the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Oct. 19 appealing for international assistance in efforts to treat patients and to eradicate the disease in this West African state that has reported over 2,200 deaths from EVD since March. The Obama administration has deployed troops to Liberia to ostensibly assist in the building of field hospitals as part of a general escalation of military interventions in West Africa through the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
Johnson-Sirleaf said in the letter that the current situation “requires a commitment from every nation that has the capacity to help – whether that is with emergency funds, medical supplies or clinical expertise. We all have a stake in the battle against Ebola. It is the duty of all of us, as global citizens, to send a message that we will not leave millions of West Africans to fend for themselves.” (BBC, Oct. 19)
In Guinea, President Alpha Conde in an interview with eboladeeply.org emphasized the need for education about the virus’ transmission and the significant role of traditional leaders in the battle to eliminate the disease. He rejected the imposition of travel bans related to the most severely impacted states saying that the place to fight EVD is in West Africa itself.
“My message is clear: we need to fight on three fronts,” Conde said. “First, we must address the acute health crisis by containing the virus until it is gone. Second, after we have vanquished the virus we must make sure it doesn’t come back.”
However, the underlying solutions are clearly related to the overall development of Guinea and the entire region, saying “That’s why we also need to invest in our health-care systems. Third, we must stop the economic contraction that the virus has caused.”
These objectives will of course be difficult to achieve in light of the prevailing international division of economic power and distribution. All of the most impacted West African states are largely dependent upon the capitalist markets for the sale of strategic minerals and natural resources such as gold, bauxite and rubber as their principal means of generating foreign exchange.
Until Africa can retain the wealth produced by its land and people there will be no long term solutions to the problems associated with providing healthcare and social services to the majority of working people, farmers and youth. Lessons can be learned from socialist Cuba which although having faced a 55 year blockade by the U.S., has still been able to produce medical personnel and a healthcare system that is lauded internationally.
Today Cuba is on the frontlines in West Africa combating the EVD pandemic. Their work will set a sterling example for both underdeveloped and developed states to emulate.
On Oct. 20, 2011, the leader of the North African state of Libya was brutally assassinated in the city of Sirte. Col. Muammar Gaddafi had been leading a struggle to defend his country from a war of regime-change coordinated and financed by the United States and NATO.
Since the overthrow of the Jamahiriya system of government in Libya, the social conditions prevailing inside the country are by no means stable. Various factions, most of which were utilized as ground troops in the Pentagon-NATO aerial war between March 19 and Oct. 31 of 2011, remained locked in a mortal conflict for control over the oil-rich state.
Conflicting sources of political power backed up by armed militias exist in the two largest cities of Tripoli, the capital, and Benghazi in the east where the counter-revolution against Gaddafi began. Areas in the south of the country have armed themselves against the U.S.-installed regimes in Tripoli and Benghazi often in sympathy with the previous system under the Jamahiriya.
Two regional states which participated in the imperialist-engineered war against Libya, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), have been carrying out periodic airstrikes against alleged “Islamist” strongholds in various locations in the east and west. Also the former renegade Gen. Khalifa Hefter, a longtime Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asset, has mounted a bid for power utilizing sophisticated weapons and air strikes.
Oil Production Rising Despite Internal Conflict
For several months during 2014 oil production in Libya was down considerably. Conflicts between various labor organizations in addition to clashes among the militias resulted in the decline of barrels-per-day extraction to almost nil.
A dispute over who could actually sell Libyan oil on the international market was eventually addressed by the U.S. when it sent a naval warship to reclaim cargo traded by interests inside the country who were not endorsed by Washington. Subsequent efforts aimed at resolution of the disagreements have still not cleared the way for a consistent boost in production.
Unrest has erupted again surrounding which political group claiming authority in Libya would control the proceeds from oil sales. Both the parties controlling the capital of Tripoli who are often labelled as “Islamists” and the “government in exile” in the eastern city of Tobruk, say they are entitled to the revenue generated from the trade in oil.
With the decline in prices on the global market during Oct. the situation involving the struggle over the control of oil in Libya prompted the attention of the Wall Street Journal. Efforts by five western countries designated by the United Nations to reach a political settlement in the Libyan quagmire has failed, and consequently, the major imperialist powers are concerned about the supply of oil and the role of Libya in the process.
“In a joint statement late Saturday, France, Italy, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S. said they supported the U.N.-sponsored peace talks and a cessation of hostilities, “noted the Wall Street Journal. “The five governments condemned the violence by Islamist group Ansar al-Shariah, voiced concern about the attacks of the renegade general and said they were ready to sanction those threatening Libya’s security.” (Oct. 19)
This same article went on to point out that “Libya is normally one of Europe’s largest oil suppliers, but disruptions since the fall of strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011 have reduced its contribution to the continent’s oil supply.” Therefore, even the publication of the international finance capital has to openly acknowledge that the Pentagon-NATO policy of regime-change in Libya has disrupted oil supplies to the European continent.
The Libya Dawn group which is contesting control of the state with the ostensible moderate group led by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani, who called themselves the House of Representatives, sent their own oil minister, Mashallah al-Zawie, to Turkey to participate in an industry conference held in Istanbul. The rival group headed by al-Thani based in Tobruk dismissed the Central Bank director Sadiq Kabir and claims they have control of the revenue from oil sales.
Nonetheless, the Wall Street Journal reports that “officials at NOC (the state-owned National Oil Co.) and at the central bank subsidiary which receives payments from oil buyers said revenues had continued to flow to its Tripoli-based accounts. Mr. al-Kabir also remains in office, they said.”
Such confusion over which entity controls Libyan oil could very well hamper the country’s future production and exports projections. Libyan oil officials say production is at 850,000 barrels a day, marking an increase of 40,000 barrels compared with earlier in Oct., suggesting that some facilities have boosted their output. In contrast operations at oil fields in eastern Libya have been interrupted by labor unrest led by workers seeking jobs at the facilities.
Imperialists Continue Proxy War in Libya
The present situation in Libya is the direct result of the war of regime-change led by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Pentagon and NATO during 2011. U.S. policy is designed to overthrow all of the sovereign and anti-imperialist governments throughout Africa and the Middle East.
Consequently, the outcome of the current situation in the regions of North Africa and the Middle East will be critical in the future course of imperialist militarism worldwide. Obviously, these policies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Syria and Libya have prompted massive destabilization of these societies including the vast increase in internally displaced persons and refugees.
Libya, which under the years of the Jamahiriya-Gaddafi rule was the most prosperous state in Africa, now is a major source of instability in the region. The response of aerial bombardments from Egypt and the UAE will only further the generalized sense of lawlessness and terror.
Only the Libyan people themselves united around a political program of national unity and genuine sovereignty will be able to reverse the current malaise. The plans suggested involving the direct intervention of thousands of NATO troops to Libya under the rubric of the United Nations would eventually result in greater anti-western sentiments already prevalent throughout the country.
What the role of the U.S. in Libya has proven is that Washington and Wall Street has no rational policy towards Africa and the Middle East. Its interventionist posture will only breed more anti-U.S. consciousness and mass resistance to imperialist control.
The United States has withheld assurances from Germany that the Ebola virus – among other related diseases – would not be weaponized in the event of Germany exporting it to the US Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases.
German MFA Deputy Head of Division for Export Control Markus Klinger provided a paper to the US consulate’s Economics Office (Econoff), ”seeking additional assurances related to a proposed export of extremely dangerous pathogens.”
Germany subsequently made two follow-up requests and clarifications to the Army, according to the unclassified Wikileaks cable.
“This matter concerns the complete genome of viruses such as the Zaire Ebola virus, the Lake Victoria Marburg virus, the Machupo virus and the Lassa virus, which are absolutely among the most dangerous pathogens in the world,” the request notes.
The Zaire Ebola virus was the same strain of Ebola virus which has been rampaging through West Africa in recent months.
“The delivery would place the recipient in the position of being able to create replicating recombinant infectious species of these viruses,” the cable notes.
However, it also points out that Germany has in place an “exceptionally restrictive policy,” adding that approval would not be granted to the export until US assurance was provided.
“A decision about the export has not yet been made. Given the foregoing, we would appreciate confirmation that the end use certificate really is from the Department of the Army and of the accuracy of the data contained therein,” the document stated.
There is no follow-up document available to confirm whether the US Army eventually provided Germany with the necessary guarantees.
Bioweapons were outlawed in the Biological Weapons Convention of 1972 and was signed and ratified by 179 signatories, including Germany, the US and Russia.
It dictates that signatories, ”under all circumstances the use of bacteriological (biological) and toxin weapons is effectively prohibited by the Convention” and ”the determination of States parties to condemn any use of biological agents or toxins other than for peaceful purposes, by anyone at any time.”
This is official confirmation of Dr. Boyle and Dr. Broderick’s reports that the US government has conducted ebola experiments. Perhaps the vaccine was not effective, and those on whom the experiment was conducted came down with ebola and perhaps also employees in the US bio-warfare laboratories located in Africa where the experiment was conducted.
It appears that the test consists of giving an ebola vaccine and then exposing the unaware person to ebola, apparently an engineered version for bio-warfare. Whatever the tests are, it is clear that Boyle and Broderick in their articles below are correct that experimentation with ebola by the US government is underway.
Two Scientists Say Ebola Originated In US Bio-warfare Lab
Experts have brought to the public’s attention that ebola is a genetically modified organism developed in US biowarfare laboratories in Africa.
In the two articles below reproduced from Tom Feeley’s Information Clearing House (a good site worthy of your support), Dr. Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois and
Dr. Cyril Broderick of the University of Liberia and the University of Delaware provide their fact-based assessments. Dr. Boyle drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989, the US implementing legislation for the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.
Makers of the Whisper application, which was launched in March 2012, claim that anyone that posts thoughts or secrets on their web site will remain anonymous. In the last 30 months, the company has exploded in popularity with over 2.6 million posts a day, notably by college students, who use the application to put up a picture and a line of text for anyone to read.
But Whisper also secretly mines the posts to send out hundreds of pitches a week to over 75 media organizations ranging from serious newspapers like the Guardian and the Washington Post to blog sites like Mashable and low brow entertainment web sites like Total Frat Move. The media can also request information on a certain topic or help finding sources.
The Guardian revelations were made after newspaper executives met with the company to discuss deepening their collaboration. The newspaper says it was astonished to discover that the company was secretly storing users posts as well as rough location data in an in-house searchable database.
The application data can also be provided to governments. “Whisper is also sharing information with the U.S. Department of Defense gleaned from smartphones it knows are used from military bases, and developing a version of its app to conform with Chinese censorship laws,” wrote Paul Lewis and Dominic Rushe in a Guardian article published Thursday.
The Guardian articles said that the data shared with the Pentagon was intended to prevent suicides and self-inflicted harm. It also claimed that Neetan Zimmerman, the editor-in-chief, was using the data stored to track individuals that Whisper believed worked for companies like Disney and Yahoo as well as on Capitol Hill.
The revelations about Whisper come just over 16 months after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed the extent of U.S. government surveillance of global data communications, provoking an angry reaction from not just the public, but also from data corporations.
A Lebanese-American reporter working for Iranian channel, Press TV, Serena Shim has been killed in a car crash in Turkey, following her reports of accusations from Turkey’s intelligence agency that she had been “spying.”
“Our correspondent Serena Shim has been killed near the Turkey-Syria border. Serena was killed in a reported car accident when she was returning from a report scene…their car collided with a heavy vehicle,” a Press TV broadcast stated on Monday. Shim had also been the mother of two young children.
The driver of the vehicle was subsequently arrested, according to Turkish news agency Hurriyet, citing the Turkish Doğan News Agency. Press TV disputed this, alleging that both driver and vehicle have disappeared.
Press TV has additionally expressed suspicion, implying that it may not have been an accident. “Just a couple of days ago she had been threatened by Turkish intelligence,” the broadcast said.
Shim had been returning to her hotel after reporting from Suruç – a rural district near the Syrian border, where a many foreign journalists are based. They are covering news from the Syrian northeastern border town of Kobani, under siege by Islamic State militants for the past month due to its strategic importance.
She had expressed fears for her own safety; her death came a day after she reported receiving threats from the Turkish intelligence agency (MİT), saying they had accused her of spying.
“The Turkish intelligence agency has now accused our correspondent Serena Shim of being a spy,” said a Press TV report on Saturday.
“I’m very surprised at this accusation – I even thought of approaching Turkish intelligence because I have nothing to hide,” Shim said in the broadcast on Saturday.
“I am a bit worried, because…Turkey has been labeled by Reporters Without Borders as the largest prison for journalists…so I am frightened about what they might use against me,” she said.
Shim had been reporting that IS militants had crossed the border from Turkey into Syria in trucks apparently affiliated with NGOs, some of which allegedly bore World Food Organization symbols. She claimed that she had received images from Islamic militants crossing the Turkish border and was one of the few reporters focusing on the matter.
“We were some of the first people on the ground –if not the first people – to get that story of…militants going in through the Turkish border…I’ve got images of them in World Food Organization trucks. It was very apparent that they were militants by their beards, by the clothes they wore, and they were going in there with NGO trucks,”
Dozens of suspected Nazi criminals have collected millions of dollars in Social Security benefits after they were deported from or agreed to leave the United States, according to an investigation.
A group of Hitler followers, some of whom still alive in Europe and receiving Social Security checks, were given the benefits as a bargaining tool to leave the US voluntarily, a two-year investigation by the Associated Press has found.
According to the shocking report released on Sunday, former death camp guards and SS soldiers collected more than $1.5 million in retirement funds after being deported from the US decades ago.
A few of them continue to receive up to $1,500 a month in Social Security, living their golden days in Europe.
The Justice Department has rejected the report.
“The matter of Social Security benefits eligibility was raised by defense counsel, not by the department, and the department neither used retirement benefits as an inducement to leave the country and renounce citizenship nor threatened that failure to depart and renounce would jeopardize continued receipt of benefits,”
Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement.
But the AP investigation has found that the US government asked the war criminals to leave the country to face prosecution abroad, in return for a continued Social Security.
An analysis of the report showed that at least 38 of the 66 Nazi guards removed from the United States were allowed to keep their Social Security benefits. Only 10 were prosecuted for war crimes in Europe.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan) said he plans to introduce new legislation to close the legislation loophole. “It’s absolutely outrageous that Nazi war criminals are continuing to receive Social Security benefits when they have been outlawed from our country for many, many, many years,” Maloney said.
Image: Jakob Denzinger looks from his apartment window in Osijek, eastern Croatia, in this July photo. A former Nazi guard at the Mauthausen, Sachsenhausen and Auschwitz death camps, he now lives comfortably on a Social Security payment of about $1,500 a month.
Former Auschwitz guard Jakob Denzinger was one of the people who was asked to leave the US with the promise of a continued Social Security. He owned a successful plastics company in Ohio before he was tracked down in the late 1980s.
Denzinger, now 90, settled in Osijek, Croatia, and now receives $18,000 in US checks every year.
“I don’t want to say anything,” Denzinger said when confronted by reporters.
Photo: Former NHK anchor Jun Hori. (TEDxKyoto/Flickr Creative Commons)
Nuclear Scientist: I have not trusted the information from beginning… “The worst scenario I predicted has happened”
PRI’s ‘The World’, Oct 17, 2014: Japan’s timid coverage of Fukushima led this news anchor to revolt — and he’s not alone — No one is telling [evacuee] Shiga Kamematsu the truth
Complaints about censorship… continue to this day… Evacuees don’t trust the gov’t or Tepco… they’re blaming the media for not holding them both accountable… Criticism goes beyond a lack of investigation. Journalist Jun Hori says his news agency prevented him from accurately reporting what happened… It restricted what he and other journalists could say about Fukushima [like] how much radiation was spreading.
Jun Hori. NHK news anchor: “I couldn’t tell the true story on my news program… It was very frustrating… A lot of people kept asking me, ‘Why didn’t you tell us earlier about what is happening?’… My superiors said NHK was getting complaints from politicians…They told me I had to stop… The Japanese thought someone was [giving them accurate information] — companies, the government, someone. But once you peeled back the cover, you saw that nobody was doing it.”
Jun Hori at TEDx Kyoto: ‘Do not create panic, do not fuel public anxiety, do not impair national interests, do not compromise the interests of our sponsors’… There is a plethora of information available on the web, one cannot learn the truth from watching TV or reading newspapers… Drastic changes need to be made… A man [wanted] to see what is really going on in the nuclear plants… The recordings he sent us a few months later were shocking and overwhelming.
Asahi Reporter: “Tepco declined… access of the complete recordings… Footage has not yet been released… There are much more shocking parts… Workers have been told… they’d receive 100 millisieverts [a day] of radiation exposure.“
Dr. Uzi Even, nuclear scientist: “I do not trust the reporting system… In fact from the beginning of this crisis… Japanese authorities were trying to play down the danger… The worst scenario that I predicted happened… I claimed from the beginning that the information given to the public is either erroneous or misleading… The first few days they said, ‘Everything is under control, nothing will happen, you don’t have to be worried.’ I doubted it from the moment of the earthquake.”
Even amid the public outrage and pushback in the wake of whistleblower revelations about the global spy network, the establishment continues to push forward with justifications about why it is in our best interest to be under their constant watch.
Social media is a playground for data harvesters of all stripes, but it is now apparent that it is becoming the single most pursued line of open surveillance.
I reported recently about Twitter’s ChatterGrabber program that is “used to monitor tickborne diseases, such as Lyme disease, public sentiment involving vaccines, and gun violence and terrorism, serving as an early warning system for public health officials through suspicious tweets or conversations.” That story was followed shortly after by the announcement that Twitter would open up its entire database to MIT beginning with its very first Tweet in 2006. We know that Facebook has used their algorithms to go beyond surveillance and actually manipulate the emotions of users as a type of psychology experiment. And the list goes on.
Now The Hill is reporting on a federal program that even has one member of the FCC saying that it “seems to have come straight out of a George Orwell novel.”
While some have defended new modes of biosurveillance and social media tracking to identify and counter heightened public health risks, no one except social engineers can tolerate the tracking of political speech – for the simple reason that it blankets both sides of the political spectrum, and everything in between. The above-mentioned MIT program using Twitter’s full database hinted at studying political language, but this new program leaves no doubt:
The “Truthy” study, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, is being developed by Indiana University researchers to study how popular ideas and jokes spread throughout popular culture. One focus is the spread of “political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution,” researchers said. (emphasis added)
And a new term is born: social pollution . Not much of a stretch to see how this could merge with hate speech in the political arena and be used to silence legitimately dissenting voices.
The press release below frames the Indiana University study. It’s a shameful use of public data, university tools and taxpayer funds. Combined with corporate social media platforms, this is fascism at its finest.
My emphasis and parenthetical comments added.
We study how individuals’ limited attention span affects what information we propagate and what social connections we make, and how the structure of social networks can help predict which memes are likely to become viral.
We explore social science questions via social media data analytics. Examples of research to date include analyses of geographic and temporal patterns in movements like Occupy Wall Street, societal unrest in Turkey, polarization and cross-ideological communication in online political discourse, partisan asymmetries in online political engagement, the use of social media data to predict election outcomes and forecast key market indicators, and the geographic diffusion of trending topics.
The current focus of the project follows three directions:
Modeling efforts to better understand how information spreads, why some memes go viral,competition for attention, the role of sentiment on the diffusion process, the mutual interaction between traffic on the network and the emergent structure of the network.
Analyzing differences in meme diffusion patterns between different domains, such as news and scientific results, and the correlations between certain online behaviors and offline events.
Expanding the platform to make the data derived from our analyses of meme diffusion and from our machine learning algorithms more easily accessible and thus more useful to social scientists, reporters, and the general public.
In an ironic turn of events, the project has itself become the target of a disinformation campaign online and on TV. Read our post: The Truth about Truthy.
Yes, real ironic. I encourage you to go ahead and read “The Truth about Truthy” linked above – If the program itself is Orwellian, the defense of it is doubly so.
If you’d like to contact Indiana University’s Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research to express your distaste for its cooperation with the surveillance-industrial complex, you can do so here: http://cnets.indiana.edu/contact/
On Wednesday, stocks were hammered after economic data showed that the US and global economies were headed for a major slowdown. By mid-day, the Dow was down 460 points before clawing its way back to minus 173 points. It looked like the market was set for another triple-digit flogging on Thursday when the Fed stepped in and started talking-up an extension to QE3. That’s all it took to ease investors jitters, stop the meltdown and send equities rocketing back into space. By the end of Friday’s session, all the markets were back in the green with the Dow logging an impressive 263 points on the day. Here’s more background from Wolf Street:
“But just when some profusely sweating souls on Wall Street thought that the bottom was falling out, a savior appears. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard got on Bloomberg TV and pressed the red panic button (and) handed them what they wanted….That was enough.
Using declining inflation expectations as a pretext, he proposed to delay the end of QE. The Fed should continue buying $15 billion in securities a month…. it instantly turned around the markets. The spoiled brats on Wall Street were ecstatic to imagine that the Fed might continue to deliver the goodies they’ve become addicted to, and without which life seems unbearable.” (This Market is Driven by Psychology and Momentum,’ which ‘Works Really Painfully on the Way Down, Wolf Street)
For those readers who still think that the Fed doesn’t meddle in the markets: Think again. Friday’s stock surge had nothing to do with productivity, price, earnings, growth or any of the other so called fundamentals. It was all about manipulation; telling people what they want to hear, so they do exactly what you want them to do. The pundits calls this jawboning, and the Fed has turned it into an art-form. All Bullard did was assure investors that the Fed “has their back”, and , sure enough, another wild spending spree ensued. One can only imagine the backslapping and high-fives that broke out at the Central Bank following this latest flimflam.
As most people now realize, stocks haven’t tripled in the last 5 years because the economy is expanding. Heck, no. The economy is still on all-fours and everyone knows it. The reason stocks have been flying-high is because the Fed added a hefty $4 trillion in red ink to its balance sheet. Naturally, when someone buys $4 trillion in financial assets, the price of financial assets go up.
Who would’ve known?
And here’s something else to chew on: On Thursday I wrote an article titled “Stocks Plunge 460 Points on QE Exit”. Among the 2 or 3 thousand other articles on the topic in the mainstream, not one mentioned the fact that QE was set to end at the end of October. Instead, they pointed to sluggishness in Europe and China, and weaker-than-expected economic data in the US as the proximate causes of the downturn.
So let me ask you this, dear reader, if the end of QE was not the real trigger for the Dow’s 460 point bungee jump, then why did the markets do a quick 180 right after Bullard made his statement on Thursday? In fact, the media even admits that point now. Check out this article on Marketwatch on Friday titled “Bullard’s surprise suggestion of continuing QE lifts markets”:
“A comment from a hawkish Federal Reserve official on Thursday that central-bank bond buying should continue beyond its scheduled end lifted stock markets and surprised many observers.
The Federal Reserve should consider extending its bond-buying program beyond October due to the market selloff to see how the U.S. economic outlook evolves, said James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Fed, on Thursday. …
If the economy is still as robust as I am describing it, then I think we could just end the program in December. But if the market is right, and this is portending something more serious for the U.S. economy, than the committee would have an option of ramping up QE at that point,” he said.
How do you like that? Just one word from the Fed and the markets do an immediate about-face. Now that’s power.
It’s too bad the Fed can’t put in a good word for the real economy while they’re at it. But, oh, I forgot that the real economy is stuffed with working stiffs who don’t warrant the same kind of treatment as the esteemed supermen who trade stocks for a living. Besides, the Fed doesn’t give a rip about the real economy. If it did, it would have loaded up on infrastructure bonds instead of funky mortgage backed securities (MBS). The difference between the two is pretty stark: Infrastructure bonds put people to work, circulate money, boost economic activity, and strengthen growth. In contrast, MBS purchases help to fatten the bank accounts of the fraudsters who created the financial crisis while doing bupkis for the economy. Guess who the Fed chose to help out?
Do you really want to know why the Fed isn’t going to end QE? Here’s how Nomura’s chief economist Bob Janjuah summed it up:
“I want to remind readers of a message that may be buried in the past: When QE1 ended, the S&P 500 fell just under 20% in a roughly three-month period before the QE2 recovery.
When the QE2 ended, the S&P 500 fell about 20% in a three-month period before the next Fed-inspired bounce (aided by the ECB). QE3 is ending this month…”
Is that why the Fed started jawboning QE4, to avoid the inevitable 20 percent correction?
You bet it is. But what’s odd is that stocks hadn’t even dropped 10 percent before the Fed hit the panic button. Why is that?
Could it be that they have no confidence in the market? Could it be that they know that their loosy-goosey monetary policies have inflated the biggest bubble of all time which has created a fragile, crisis prone system that can’t even withstand a measly 10 percent drop before bank balance sheets start going up in flames and the whole wobbly financial house of cards comes crashing to earth in a thud?
Of course, it is. They’re scared sh**less, which is why they dispatched bigmouth Bullard to promise investors the moon as long as they keep loading up on equities. Yellen an Co. are going to do everything in their power to keep this runaway train from going off the cliff, even if they kill us all in the process.
Now check out this blurb from Allianz ‘s chief economic adviser, Mohamed A. El-Erian, one of the few analysts who got it right:
“Due to excessive confidence in central banks, investors eagerly decoupled high market valuations from what was warranted by the sluggish fundamentals.”… That disconnect has been undermined over the last few weeks by signs that the global economy’s fundamentals are weaker than they seemed and concern that the European Central Bank will not adequately fight that continent’s economic drift…” (New York Times)
What El Erian is saying, is that, stocks are vastly overpriced given “sluggish fundamentals”. The only reason investors have been buying is because the Fed has been shoving money into the market hand-over-fist. That’s what’s kept equities airborne. But on Wednesday, investors woke up and said to themselves, “Hey, the economy’s circling the plughole, the Fed is bailing out, and I’m left with a boatload of dodgy stocks that might be worth $.30 on the dollar. Maybe I’ll get out now while I still can.” That’s why the market tanked.
So, what’s the lesson here?
The lesson is that the Fed is driving the markets. The whole “free market” trope is baloney. No one is loading up on stocks because they’re a good deal or because they think the economy is going gangbusters. Investors are buying stocks because they still believe in the power of money. They still think the Fed can pump a few more wisps of helium into the equities balloon and keep the rally going for a bit longer. And that’s why stocks surged on Friday, because, at least for now, greed still trumps fear.
But what’s the overall effect of this loony policy on the economy, or is that a fair question to ask after 6 years of falling incomes, flatlining wages, widening inequality and widespread economic stagnation?
The truth is, we already know what the impact is: The rich have gotten richer while the poor have been shunted off to tent cities, food pantries and under freeway off-ramps. Isn’t that what’s happened? Get a load of this brief summary in Friday’s World Socialist Web Site:
“The richest one percent of the world’s population now controls 48.2 percent of global wealth, up from 46 percent last year, according to the most recent global wealth report issued by Credit Suisse, the Swiss-based financial services company.
Hypothetically, if the growth of inequality were to proceed at last year’s rate, the richest one percent for all intents and purposes would control all the wealth on the planet within 23 years.
The report found that the growth of global inequality has accelerated sharply since the 2008 financial crisis, as the values of financial assets have soared while wages have stagnated and declined…
The study revealed that the richest 8.6 percent of the world’s population—those with a net worth of more than $100,000—control 85 percent of the world’s wealth. Meanwhile, the bottom 70 percent of the world’s population—those with less than $10,000 in net worth—hold a mere 2.9 percent of global wealth.
The growth in inequality is bound up with a worldwide surge in paper wealth, fueled by the trillions of dollars pumped into the financial system by central banks via zero interest rate and “quantitative easing” policies…
As the report noted, “The overall global economy may remain sluggish, but this has not prevented personal wealth from surging ahead during the past year. Driven by … robust equity prices, total wealth grew by 8.3% worldwide … the first time household wealth has passed the $250 trillion threshold.” (Richest one percent controls nearly half of global wealth, Andre Damon, World Socialist Web)
That says it all, doesn’t it? The widening chasm between rich and poor is traceable to the policies that were adopted in 2008. That’s why things are so fu**ed up, it’s because the “surge in paper wealth, fueled by the trillions of dollars pumped into the financial system by central banks via zero interest rate and “quantitative easing” policies.”
In other words, it’s all deliberate. Robbing the poor and giving to the rich is all part of the plan.
That strikes me as an important point, and one that’s worth mulling over for awhile; that crushing the middle class isn’t an accident. It’s what they want. It’s the policy.
Internal National Security Agency documents published by the Intercept earlier this month provide powerful evidence of active collaboration by the large technology corporations with the US government’s worldwide surveillance operations. The documents give a glimpse of efforts by the American state—the scale and complexity of which are astonishing—to penetrate, surveil and manipulate information systems around the world.
Reportedly leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the documents catalogue a dizzying array of clandestine intelligence and surveillance operations run by the NSA, CIA and other US and allied security bureaucracies, including infiltration of undercover agents into corporate entities, offensive cyber-warfare and computer network exploitation (CNE), theoretical and practical aspects of encryption cracking, and supply chain interdiction operations that “focus on modifying equipment in a target’s supply chain.”
The trove of documents, made available in their original forms by the Intercept, are largely comprised of classification rubrics that organize NSA secrets according to a color-coded scale ranging from green (lowest priority secrets), through blue and red, to black (highest priority secrets).
The secret facts organized in the leaked classification guides supply overwhelming evidence that the NSA and Central Security Service (a 25,000-strong agency founded in 1972 as a permanent liaison between the NSA and US military intelligence) rely on cooperative and in some cases contractual relations with US firms to facilitate their global wiretapping and data stockpiling activities.
Blue level facts listed in the documents include:
* “Fact that NSA/CSS works with US industry in the conduct of its cryptologic missions”
* “Fact that NSA/CSS works with US industry as technical advisors regarding cryptologic products”
Red level facts include:
* “Fact that NSA/CSS conducts SIGINT enabling programs and related operations with US industry”
* “Fact that NSA/CSS have FISA operations with US commercial industry elements”
Black level facts include:
* “Fact that NSA/CSS works with and has contractual relationships with specific named US commercial entities to conduct SIGINT [signals intelligence] enabling programs and operations”
* “Fact that NSA/CSS works with specific named US commercial entities to make them exploitable for SIGINT”
* “Facts related to NSA personnel (under cover), operational meetings, specific operations, specific technology, specific locations and covert communications related to SIGINT enabling with specific commercial entities”
* “Facts related to NSA/CSS working with US commercial entities on the acquisition of communications (content and metadata) provided by the US service provider to worldwide customers; communications transiting the US; or access to international communications mediums provided by the US entity”
* “Fact that NSA/CSS injects ‘implants’ into the hardware and software of US companies to enable data siphoning”
Particularly damning are facts reported by a leaked classification schema detailing operation “Exceptionally Controlled Information (ECI) WHIPGENIE,” described in the document’s introduction as covering NSA “Special Source Operations relationships with US Corporate Partners.”
According to the ECI WHIPGENIE document, unnamed “corporate partners” facilitate NSA mass surveillance as part of undisclosed “contractual relations,” through which “NSA and Corporate Partners are involved in SIGINT ‘cooperative efforts.”’
Among the classified TOP SECRET items listed in the ECI WHIPGENIE document is the fact that “NSA and an unnamed Corporate Partner are involved in a ‘cooperative effort’ against cable collection, including domestic wire access collection.”
As part of WHIPGENIE, the document further states, the FBI facilitates NSA partnerships with industry that are both “compelled and cooperative” in nature. In other words, the NSA carries out domestic wiretapping and “cable collection” operations with the cooperation of at least one US corporation.
These revelations are especially significant in light of persistent claims by the major tech and communications corporations that their involvement in the surveillance operations is strictly involuntary in nature.
Last year, a leaked NSA PowerPoint presentation titled “Corporate Partner Access” showed that the volume of data transferred to the agency by Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft during a single 5-week period was sufficient to generate more than 2,000 intelligence reports. The companies all defended their actions by claiming they were forced to furnish data by the government.
Other documents contained in the trove detail the NSA’s development of sophisticated offensive cyber-warfare capabilities targeting the information systems of foreign corporations and governments. These programs highlight the threat of outbreaks of electronic warfare between competing capitalist elites, which could provide the spark for full-fledged shooting wars.
One document, titled “Computer Network Exploitation Classification Guide,” states that NSA, CSS and the NSA’s in-house hacker unit, the so-called Tailored Access Operations (TAO), engage in “remote subversion” as well as “off-net field operations to develop, deploy, exploit or maintain intrusive access.”
Another classification guide, titled “NSA / CSS Target Exploitation Program,” covers target exploitation operations (TAREX), which are said to “provide unique collection of telecommunication and cryptologic-related information and material in direct support of NSA / CSS.”
TAREX also involves “physical subversion,” “close access-enabling exploitation,” and “supply chain enabling,” the document shows, through which the surveillance agencies intervene directly to modify and sabotage the information systems of rival states.
TAREX operations are supported by outposts located in Beijing, China, South Korea, Germany, Washington DC, Hawaii, Texas and Georgia, and TAREX personnel are “integrated into the HUMINT [human intelligence] operations at CIA, DIA/DoD, and/or FBI,” according to the document.
On top of the electronic surveillance, infiltration and cyber-warfare operations themselves, the intelligence establishment has launched a slate of secondary operations designed to protect the secrecy of its various initiatives, as shown in another leaked document, titled “Exceptionally Controlled Information Listing.”
* AMBULANT, APERIODIC, AUNTIE—“Protect information related to sensitive SIGINT Enabling relationships”
* BOXWOOD—“Protects a sensitive sole source of lucrative communications intelligence emanating from a target”
* CHILLY—“Protects details of NSA association with and active participation in planning and execution of sensitive Integrated Joint Special Technical Operations (IJSTO) offensive Information Warfare strategies”
* EVADEYIELD—“Protects NSA’s capability to exploit voice or telephonic conversations from an extremely sensitive source”
* FORBIDDEN—“Protects information pertaining to joint operations conducted by NSA, GCHQ, CSE, CIA, and FBI against foreign intelligence agents”
* FORBORNE—“Protects the fact that the National Security Agency, GCHQ, and CSE can exploit ciphers used by hostile intelligence services”
* OPALESCE —“Protects Close Access SIGINT collection operations, which require a specialized sensor, positioned in close physical proximity to the target or facility”
* PENDLETON—“Protects NSA’s investment in manpower and resources to acquire our current bottom line capabilities to exploit SIGINT targets by attacking public key cryptography as well as investment in technology”
* PIEDMONT—“Provides protection to NSA’s bottom line capabilities to exploit SIGINT targets by attacking the hard mathematical problems underlying public key cryptography as well as any future technologies as may be developed”
* And others…
The number and character of the NSA’s “protection” programs gives an indication of the scope of its activities.
The latest round of leaked NSA documents underscores the absurdity of proposals aimed at “reforming” and “reigning in” the mass surveillance programs, which, propelled by the explosive growth of social inequality and the rise of a criminal financial oligarchy, have enjoyed a tropical flourishing since the 1970s, acquiring an extravagant scale and diversity.
The world’s political and economic elite, the financial aristocracy that dominates the global capitalist system, will take only token measures to help the millions who face sickness and death in the Ebola epidemic ravaging West Africa. This is clear from the dismal response to appeals from doctors, nurses and aid workers fighting the epidemic, and from leaders of the three hardest-hit countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on Sunday broadcast a “letter to the world” from Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf warning that the Ebola virus “respects no borders” and that a generation of Africans are at risk of “being lost to economic catastrophe” because of the impact of the disease on entire societies.
Sirleaf, a former World Bank and United Nations official and longtime puppet of Washington, was restrained in her language, but there is no doubt that the global mobilization of funds, medical supplies, doctors and nurses for which she appealed is desperately needed.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported Thursday that it has received only $100,000 in donations from world governments out of $20 million pledged, compared to the $1 billion immediately required for emergency operations in West Africa. Nearly 10,000 people have contracted Ebola in the region and more than 4,500 have died, the agency said.
Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan told the BBC he was “bitterly disappointed” in the international response, adding, “If the crisis had hit some other region it probably would have been handled very differently.”
Another announcement last week revealed the indifference of the multinational corporations at the prospect of continuing mass death in West Africa. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the giant British-based pharmaceutical company, said Friday its program to develop a vaccine for Ebola would produce results “too late” for the current crisis. Its Ebola vaccine program, one of a handful of such efforts and, by many accounts, the closest to fruition, would not have test data until late next year and will not generate usable vaccines until 2016, the company said.
Although Ebola was first identified in 1976, the pharmaceutical companies that control research and production have not found it profitable to develop a vaccine for a disease that affects impoverished villagers in rural Africa. Only now, with the prospect of reaping billions from a global crisis, is such an effort being mounted.
Manica Balasegaram, an official of Doctors Without Borders, the volunteer aid organization that is treating more than half the victims of the epidemic, issued a statement in response to the GSK announcement, calling it “a disaster scenario.” He told McClatchy News Service, “We want to see serious acceleration. We need to be more ambitious. It’s worrying to hear timelines into 2016. We have got to accelerate. The situation on the ground is a catastrophe.”
Christopher Stokes of Doctors Without Borders told the BBC Friday it was “ridiculous” that the group’s volunteers were overseeing 70 percent of the treatment beds in the three countries hardest hit. Aid pledged by the US, Britain and other industrialized countries was “not having any significant impact on the epidemic and it won’t now for maybe another month or month-and-a-half.” By then, the death toll is expected to top 20,000.
The head of the WHO’s Ebola Emergency Response Mission, Anthony Banbury, said last week that the critical point in the fight against the epidemic was near at hand. Within 60 days, 70 percent of infected people must be in a care facility and 70 percent of burials must be carried out safely. “We either stop Ebola now,” he warned, “or we face an entirely unprecedented situation for which we do not have a plan.”
The New England Journal of Medicine echoed this warning in an editorial that accompanied publication of a report from the WHO. “Without a more effective, all-out effort, Ebola could become endemic in West Africa, which could, in turn, become a reservoir for the virus’s spread to other parts of Africa and beyond,” the magazine wrote.
It went on to explain that the devastating impact of the current epidemic was not the result of any change in the biological characteristics of the virus, but of social and political factors: “Perhaps most important, Ebola has reached the point where it could establish itself as an endemic infection because of a highly inadequate and late global response. This epidemic, in other words, was an avoidable crisis…”
There is no mystery about the methods and resources required to deal with Ebola as a public health issue. Only a handful of cases have been reported in the industrialized countries—two in the United States, one in Spain—and only among health care workers treating patients who contracted Ebola in West Africa.
There have been, as yet, no secondary infections from these cases. Midnight Sunday marked the expiration of the 21-day quarantine for 48 family members and friends of Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man who traveled to the United States after contracting the disease, then fell ill in Dallas and died October 8. The 75 health care workers in contact with Duncan have passed the period of greatest danger.
The American ruling elite and the American media have whipped up an atmosphere of panic about the handful of US cases while virtually ignoring the massive crisis in West Africa.
President Obama, in his Saturday Internet/radio address, warned against “hysteria” over the Ebola virus, although the US government has been systematically fomenting groundless popular fears of terrorist attacks for a dozen years to justify the endless US military interventions in the Middle East as well as the build-up of a police-state apparatus within the United States.
Washington’s response to the Ebola crisis has followed that template. Last month, Obama ordered 3,000 US troops into Liberia, ostensibly to build Ebola treatment facilities. Last week another 1,000 troops were added to the deployment, which is intended to pave the way for a permanent base for the Pentagon’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) in the region.
The Pentagon is also using the crisis to flex its muscles at home, albeit on a small scale initially. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Sunday that he had tasked the US Northern Command, established by George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks as the first-ever combat headquarters on US soil, to create a rapid response team for the Ebola crisis. This will consist initially of only 30 military personnel, mostly doctors and nurses, but it is a further step in conditioning the American population to the use of the military at home.
With the mid-term elections only two weeks away, Republican congressional leaders and candidates are seeking to exploit public concern over the US government’s negligent and irresponsible response to the Ebola crisis for electoral purposes. Many are calling for a ban on commercial air traffic originating in the three affected African countries.
The White House has responded with comparable cynicism, naming as its “Ebola czar” a millionaire attorney and longtime Democratic political fixer, Ron Klain, who has no experience in either public health or disaster relief.
These maneuvers express the contempt of the US ruling elite for both the lives of West Africans and the well-being of the American people. As public health officials have made clear, budget cuts supported by both parties are responsible for undermining the health care system. Over the past decade, funding for the National Institutes of Health has declined 23 percent in real terms.
But standing up for your rights is a part of having those rights. A free society is based on a marketplace of ideas, that free speech thing we all learned about in civics class. We all need to hear from all sides to become the “informed citizenry” that Thomas Jefferson said was so essential to a democracy. And who better to enlighten the public about how their government really works than former federal employees, the people who were on the inside, now private citizens?
It would be wrong then for a former employer, as codified into its agency regulations, to expect its retirees to “refrain from engaging in activities of any kind, including writing manuscripts or giving speeches, which would be prejudicial to the foreign policy interests of the United States.” But that is exactly what the U.S. Department of State does.
Former employees are expected to refrain from engaging in activities of any kind, including writing manuscripts or giving speeches, which would be prejudicial to the foreign policy interests of the United States.
Former employees are encouraged to make public appearances and write manuscripts for unofficial publication which constructively contribute to the interests and objectives of the Department of State and the Government.
So let’s get this straight. Private citizens, who happened to once work for the State Department in some capacity, perhaps not even one directly connected to policy issues, are expected to not say anything in a public forum against the interests of the United States? And they are encouraged to say things that contribute to the objectives of the Department of State?
Though this all smacks of some sort of Orwellian attempt to coerce, er, expect, a class of private citizens to propagandize, um, engage in activities, that use their authority and reputation as former State Department employee to promote only the side of a discussion that supports the government’s position, I’ll play along. I have to right, as a Good Citizen?
But I think the problem will be in how the State Department and I might differ on just what the “interests and objectives of the Department of State and the Government” are that I am told because I once worked there I must support.
But let’s start with something we can agree on. The State Department’s Mission Statement says in part that the agency should seek to “Shape and sustain a… democratic world.” I agree. But I disagree that admonishments to spew the government line as a private citizen, as State wants, contribute to that goal. Instead, I believe that exercising my First Amendment rights as a private citizen contribute much to democracy. Bleating out the party line is for countries ruled by parties. Did you know that North Korea’s interests and objectives include claiming Kim Il Sung invented the television? I guess their former employees are encouraged and expected to write nice things in comments on YouTube and stuff.
Welcome to another episode of Post-Constitutional America, where the old rules do not apply. See something, say something, unless you used to work for the State Department and what you say does not agree with the government’s version of things.
But oh! Some feel that is too much, too dramatic. Fair enough. The whole problem is not that State can ever enforce these rules– they can’t– it is that they exist as a testament to how they think. It’s that whole idea of “loyalty” above all else, and of course the hypocrisy of saying how important dissent is while trying very hard to stifle it. At the end of the day such things erode employees. So many just kind of give up and stop caring too much about what they do and just glide through the motions.
BONUS: The same section of regulation quoted above also says “The State Department will be glad to furnish, upon request, advice, assistance, and copies of printed publications to former employees who wish to obtain information on particular subjects.” Or not. I have asked State for comment and “advice” on these regulations and have not received any response.
Peter Van Buren writes about current events at blog. His book,Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the #99Percent, is available now from Amazon.
September the 20th marked the launch of Open Russia, a pro-European political movement spearheaded by former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Russia’s former wealthiest man was released from prison in December 2013 due to a pardon by Vladimir Putin, after serving close to 10 years in jail following his conviction in 2005.
Although officially convicted of tax evasion and embezzlement, it seems that Khodorkovsky was singled out among the Russian oligarchs due to him using his mass fortune to interfere in domestic Russian politics, in an attempt to overthrow Putin for the benefit of the Western elite. Open Russia is the rebirth of the Open Russia Foundation, which was launched in 2001 by Khodorkovsky to foster animosity in Russia but was later shut down after the tycoon was behind bars. The board of the Open Russia Foundation included two Anglo-American titans, namely Henry Kissinger and Lord Jacob Rothschild, revealing the mindset and intentions of the individuals who steered the foundation.
Khodorkovsky profited immensely from the mass privatisation of state assets following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990’s, at a time when corruption and back-door deals was the norm in Russia. He was the Chairman and CEO of the Russian based ‘Yakos Oil Company’ from 1997 to 2004, where he acquired an immense fortune leading him to be named the 16th wealthiest person on earth by Forbes magazine in 2004, worth a staggering $15 billion.
Immediately after his release from prison at the end of 2013, Khodorkovsky declared on numerous occasions that he had no desire to enter politics. Yet only months after his initial statements he has launched a pro-European political movement within Russia, openly called for the overthrow of Putin in Moscow, announced he would be interested in leading Russia as President in the coming years, as well as asserting that Ukraine is the “model” for Russia to follow in the future.
“I feel it imperative that the section of the population that is Europe-centered would have the opportunity to impact the way the country develops…. Without a doubt, Putin’s leaving is one of the necessary elements of Russia being able to take a European path of development…. It’s clear that Ukraine is that model that Russia is ready to accept and it’s precisely for this reason that Putin was so not interested in seeing the success of that revolution”, Khodorkovsky told the Daily Beast in an interview earlier this month.
Khodorkovsky recently demonstrated that he still has very close links with the Anglo-American Establishment after speaking at the most distinguished think tank in America, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He also delivered a speech at Freedom House, an organisation that has been involved in the majority of Western orchestrated colour revolutions that have erupted across the planet over the past two decades.
A Plan to Merge Russia with the West
The long term geopolitical strategy of the Western elite is to destroy Russia’s nationalist tendencies in a bid to eventually incorporate a more European minded Russia into Europe and a wider Western community. Former U.S. National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter and key advisor to Barack Obama on foreign policy strategy, Zbigniew Brzezinski, has repeatedly stated his desire to bring Russia into the West. In his 2012 book ‘Strategic Vision’, CFR member Brzezinski reveals that the objective of the U.S. is to “connect” Russia with the West through institutions “like the EU and NATO”:
“In essence, the pursuit of the foregoing objective will require U.S. engagement in shaping a more vital and larger West while helping to balance the emerging rivalry in the rising and restless East. This complex undertaking will call for a sustained effort over the next several decades to connect, in transformative ways, through institutions like the EU and NATO, both Russia and Turkey with a West that already embraces both the EU and the United States.” (Brzezinski, 2012, p.131)
A Russia with a nationalist, pro-sovereignty leader at the helm though, obstructs this agenda to merge East with West, explaining why Russia and Putin have come under unprecedented assault by the U.S. and EU over the past year. Sanctions have been imposed on Russia through no fault of the government in Moscow. The West created the problem in Ukraine by instigating a colour revolution that disposed of the democratic elected government and destabilised the country. They then supported their political prostitutes and an assortment of neo-Nazi thugs who proceeded to wage a war in the East of the country, which has claimed the lives of “at least 3,660 people” and has displaced close to 400,000 Ukrainian’s, according to a recent United Nations (U.N.) report. But in the Orwellian world of today where the truth is inverted, the Russian government has been demonised and punished for a crisis that they did not create or exacerbate.
Despite London and Washington’s repeated attempts to overthrow the government in Moscow however, Putin remains in power. Russia is a much stronger and more powerful country than other nations which have been toppled and absorbed into the Anglo-American-European sphere of influence. Staging a successful political revolution in Russia may prove too great a challenge for the Western elite in the years to come….
The inauguration of the new president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, was accompanied by a series of terrorist attacks in Kabul – near the international airport, Kabul University, and the compound of government buildings. But of course the current presidential election has not been an easy one. Suffice it to note that after the second round of the elections, it took three months to announce the results, which was more than six months after the launch of the election campaign itself.
The historically entrenched rift between the country’s ethnic groups and regions played its part in that delay. This election initially raised the fear that its outcome might seriously exacerbate ethnic animosities, splitting the country into mutually hostile enclaves. Every political party in Afghanistan has its own armed legions, and no one has forgotten the war in the 1990s, which was to a large extent an ethnic conflict.
The obvious reluctance of the now ex-president, Hamid Karzai, to leave the Arg (the presidential palace in Kabul) has added a certain element of intrigue to the wait for the election outcome. Whenever it seemed that the negotiations over the results had reached an impasse, Karzai could refer the matter to the Supreme Court, demanding that the Loya Jirga (the representative assembly with the power to make decisions on constitutional issues) be convened, and thus extend his status as president for an indefinite period …
Just two days before Ashraf Ghani’s inauguration, the governor of the Balkh province, Atta Mohammad Noor (on the picture), was still refusing to publicly congratulate him on his victory.
Many observers have already passed an optimistic verdict on the elections, describing the final compromise as a sign of the success of the democratic transformations wrought in Kabul during its period of oversight by Western counselors. But it would be wrong to rush into far-reaching conclusions. Just two days before Ashraf Ghani’s inauguration, the governor of the Balkh province, Atta Mohammad Noor, was still refusing to publicly congratulate him on his victory (i.e., refusing to recognize his assumption of the office). That Tajik leader controls a large part of the Afghan North, far beyond the borders of Balkh, and, with fairly sizable military forces at his disposal, in fact conducts his own foreign policy, increasingly distancing himself from Kabul. Because all the major routes from Central Asia cross the territory under his control, which also encompasses a significant section of the border with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, the capitals of the region have no choice but to take him quite seriously indeed.
This points to an obvious weakness in the newest power scheme in Kabul. Constructed after many months of bargaining between the contenders and the groups supporting them, in addition to external forces, that power scheme is in reality setting up a system of dual power in an already decentralized country: according to the agreements, the head of the country’s executive power, Abdullah Abdullah, is taking over from President Ashraf Ghani control of the leading ministries: foreign affairs, defense, and finance. Another bit of local context is extraordinarily significant for Afghanistan and could be used against any politician – Ashraf Ghani has a Moronite Christian wife. This detail could prompt a reaction against the president at any moment, and that would find ready support among the conservative segment of society, especially the rural Pashtun population.
Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai is one of the “Beirut Boys,” the nickname used in Kabul for the group of Pashtun leaders who were invited to study at the American University in Beirut on USAID scholarships back in the 1970s, and then in the US, and were also given the opportunity to work at the World Bank and other international organizations. In short, they were ushered into the highest echelons of international power. For example, Ashraf Ghani, the presidential candidate now supported by the Americans, once even had his name put forth as a candidate for secretary general of the UN. From the same group emerged Anwar ul-Haq Ahadi, Zalmay Khalilzad, and a number of other well-known figures …
Bilateral Security Agreement includes several very vague articles that allow USA to do whatever they want in Afghanistan under the head of common fight against terrorism.
The inaugurated president is apparently aware of the weakness of his own positions. One of his first actions will be to sign an agreement with the US. There is much that is quite impressive within this 32-page agreement, known as the BSA (Bilateral Security Agreement), and one is led to conclude that the artificially contrived idea of the so-called “withdrawal of American troops” is nothing more than verbal gymnastics. The US is leaving behind nine full military bases, seven civilian airports, and five land-based transit centers in Afghanistan … And in order to support the long-term vision and scope of the American plans in the region, the Pentagon announced a tender last spring to find contractors to carry out airdrops of supplies for forces in Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan. But for what purpose, to what ends, and where might there arise a need for airdrops of goods, and what goods specifically?
What’s more, after 2014 the US will officially relinquish responsibility for providing security in Afghanistan – the third clause of article 2 of the agreement clearly and unambiguously entrusts Afghan security forces with this duty. The parties recognize that ANDSF (the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, which will include members of the security forces from the Afghan interior and defense ministries, and, if needed, the National Directorate of Security) are responsible for securing the people and territory of Afghanistan.
“The Parties shall work to enhance ANDSF’s ability to deter and respond to internal and external threats. Upon request, the United States shall urgently determine support it is prepared to provide ANDSF in order to respond to threats to Afghanistan’s security.”
The following paragraph, clause 4, is also very vague: “The Parties acknowledge that U.S. military operations to defeat al-Qaida and its affiliates may be appropriate in the common fight against terrorism.”This, in fact, provides the Americans with the unauthorized right to conduct independent military actions that are not coordinated with the Afghans.
The majority of Afghan society is not currently enthusiastic about the continuation of the American military presence. Probably this is why the assistant to the new president of Afghanistan, Mohammad Hanif Atmar, the former interior minister, who was appointed the presidential adviser on national security immediately after the inauguration, signed his name to the agreement on behalf of Kabul. Hamid Karzai avoided signing his own name for almost a year, knowing that it could mark the end of his political career. The fact that the agreement is being signed at such a low level also signifies an attempt by Ashraf Ghani to evade responsibility for the actions of the American military in the future. On the American side, the agreement was signed by the US ambassador to Afghanistan, James B. Cunningham.
This kind of military base requires no fewer than 3,000-4,000 people for safe, full-scale operations. Pentagon is going to preserve at least 3 military bases of this size, if no larger.
Regardless, Ashraf Ghani’s most prominent characteristic is his focus on the US and his submission to the State Dept., which affects how he is perceived by both the Afghan political establishment, as well as by merchants in the bazaars of Kabul, and this to a significant extent shapes the public mood in the country. The question of whether his presidential achievements will have any staying power will depend on the extent of the American involvement in subsequent proceedings in Afghanistan. Obviously the American troop contingent will be much larger than is being publicly acknowledged. In terms of cooperation with Afghan security forces, particularly the army, a great deal of technical expertise will be required to keep the army operating at even a minimal level of effectiveness, because without this aid it could simply cease to exist as an organized, armed entity that is subordinate to the government. Units are needed to ensure the security of these military professionals, which is necessary for their work to build infrastructure and logistics in the country. Units of special-operations forces and armed factions of intelligence agencies from the US and other NATO countries will also remain in place in Afghanistan.A significant percentage of the hired soldiers might currently be working for private security firms in Afghanistan. Back in August 2010, Hamid Karzai decided to suspend the operations of private security firms in his country, but then reconsidered his decision under pressure from representatives of NATO countries. According to some estimates, these firms (which are actually military units) employ about 40,000 people, about ninety percent of whom are Afghans. Foreign mercenaries, mostly former American soldiers, hold key positions. The American government is the main employer – almost half of them work directly for the Pentagon. In other words, given all these parameters, at least 50,000 people will remain there. Just one military base in Shorabak, near Kandahar, which has several thousand square meters of underground buildings and a 3,000-meter runway, requires no fewer than 3,000-4,000 people for safe, full-scale operations … The bases being retained by the Pentagon in Bagram and Mazar-i-Sharif are of a similar magnitude, if not larger.
The Afghan security forces have been increased, now employing close to the goal of 350,000, while the army numbers about 185,000 and the police – 147,000. However, the problem is their ability to carry out their assigned functions. Both the army as well as the police are marked by their members’ affiliation to different ethnic groups, forced mobilization in many cases, and a low level of training, organization, and discipline, in addition to corrupt officers.Afghan security forces are also plagued by mass desertion (losing up to 50,000 soldiers per year in the last 3-4 years). There are many examples of troops being recruited by the enemy, as well as networks of agents from Taliban groups penetrating military units. Attempting to train personnel in command positions, especially the lower and middle ranks, can be profoundly challenging, and one reason for this is the fact that Afghan society is generally poorly educated. The security forces are not able to independently maintain or operate any sophisticated equipment or weapons, nor, in many cases, can they handle logistics or plan combat operations. Left without significant support, they may experience the same fate as that of the Afghan army after the Soviet withdrawal, although when that happened the Najibullah regime turned out to be surprising resilient, lasting another three years. But today’s political elite in Kabul will not have access to this type of resource. Soldiers can simply disperse – joining up with Taliban groups created around detachments of combatants, which every self-respecting politician in Afghanistan controls, and which are primarily based on ethnicity.Moreover it is significant that army officers are predominantly made up of ethnic Tajiks from the former Northern Alliance and are controlled by Tajik leaders, while the majority of ordinary enlisted men are Pashtuns.
However, regardless of whether some form of the army survives or not, it is inevitable that the intensity of military operations will sharply increase and the conflicts become more complicated. Not only in terms of “Taliban against the government.” The Taliban are now a diverse group, no longer the more-or-less centralized “Taliban” of the 1990s. Today’s Taliban are now more of an umbrella group, overseeing many forces with fingers in many pies, which includes ordinary criminal activities.And in addition to the Afghan factions themselves, of which there are now dozens, there are also international terrorist groups based in Afghanistan. The greatest concentration of these foreign groups, consisting primarily of emigrants from the former Soviet Union, China, and Arabic countries, has been documented in two areas: the provinces of Badakhshan and Kunduz – i.e., the Tajikistan section of the border – and the provinces of Badghis and Faryab – the section of the border with Turkmenistan.
And this means that the time has not yet come for simple solutions to further Afghanistan’s peaceful development.
Dr. Alexander Knyazev is the prominent Russian Orientalist, Regional Programs Coordinator of the Russian Institute of Oriental Studies, Professor of the Kyrgyz-Russian Slavic University, member of the Russian Geographic Society.
This text is in part based on the results of a study conducted by the author together with Belgian economist Pierre Galand on the use of Rwanda’s 1990-94 external debt to finance the military and paramilitary.
The civil war in Rwanda and the ethnic massacres were an integral part of US foreign policy, carefully staged in accordance with precise strategic and economic objectives.
From the outset of the Rwandan civil war in 1990, Washington’s hidden agenda consisted in establishing an American sphere of influence in a region historically dominated by France and Belgium. America’s design was to displace France by supporting the Rwandan Patriotic Front and by arming and equipping its military arm, the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA)
From the mid-1980s, the Kampala government under President Yoweri Musaveni had become Washington’s African showpiece of “democracy”. Uganda had also become a launchpad for US sponsored guerilla movements into the Sudan, Rwanda and the Congo. Major General Paul Kagame had been head of military intelligence in the Ugandan Armed Forces; he had been trained at the U.S. Army Command and Staff College (CGSC) in Leavenworth, Kansas which focuses on warfighting and military strategy. Kagame returned from Leavenworth to lead the RPA, shortly after the 1990 invasion.
Prior to the outbreak of the Rwandan civil war, the RPA was part of the Ugandan Armed Forces. Shortly prior to the October 1990 invasion of Rwanda, military labels were switched. From one day to the next, large numbers of Ugandan soldiers joined the ranks of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). Throughout the civil war, the RPA was supplied from United People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) military bases inside Uganda. The Tutsi commissioned officers in the Ugandan army took over positions in the RPA. The October 1990 invasion by Ugandan forces was presented to public opinion as a war of liberation by a Tutsi led guerilla army.
Militarization of Uganda
The militarization of Uganda was an integral part of US foreign policy. The build-up of the Ugandan UPDF Forces and of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) had been supported by the US and Britain. The British had provided military training at the Jinja military base:
“From 1989 onwards, America supported joint RPF [Rwandan Patriotic Front]-Ugandan attacks upon Rwanda… There were at least 56 ‘situation reports’ in [US] State Department files in 1991… As American and British relations with Uganda and the RPF strengthened, so hostilities between Uganda and Rwanda escalated… By August 1990 the RPF had begun preparing an invasion with the full knowledge and approval of British intelligence. 20
Troops from Rwanda’s RPA and Uganda’s UPDF had also supported John Garang’s People’s Liberation Army in its secessionist war in southern Sudan. Washington was firmly behind these initiatives with covert support provided by the CIA. 21
Moreover, under the Africa Crisis Reaction Initiative (ACRI), Ugandan officers were also being trained by US Special Forces in collaboration with a mercenary outfit, Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI) which was on contract with the US Department of State. MPRI had provided similar training to the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and the Croatian Armed Forces during the Yugoslav civil war and more recently to the Colombian Military in the context of Plan Colombia.
Militarization and the Ugandan External Debt
The buildup of the Ugandan external debt under President Musaveni coincided chronologically with the Rwandan and Congolese civil wars. With the accession of Musaveni to the presidency in 1986, the Ugandan external debt stood at 1.3 billion dollars. With the gush of fresh money, the external debt spiraled overnight, increasing almost threefold to 3.7 billion by 1997. In fact, Uganda had no outstanding debt to the World Bank at the outset of its “economic recovery program”. By 1997, it owed almost 2 billion dollars solely to the World Bank. 22
Where did the money go? The foreign loans to the Musaveni government had been tagged to support the country’s economic and social reconstruction. In the wake of a protracted civil war, the IMF sponsored “economic stabilization program” required massive budget cuts of all civilian programs.
The World Bank was responsible for monitoring the Ugandan budget on behalf of the creditors. Under the “public expenditure review” (PER), the government was obliged to fully reveal the precise allocation of its budget. In other words, every single category of expenditure –including the budget of the Ministry of Defense– was open to scrutiny by the World Bank. Despite the austerity measures (imposed solely on “civilian” expenditures), the donors had allowed defense spending to increase without impediment.
Part of the money tagged for civilian programs had been diverted into funding the United People’s Defense Force (UPDF) which in turn was involved in military operations in Rwanda and the Congo. The Ugandan external debt was being used to finance these military operations on behalf of Washington with the country and its people ultimately footing the bill. In fact by curbing social expenditures, the austerity measures had facilitated the reallocation of State of revenue in favor of the Ugandan military.
Financing both Sides in the Civil War
A similar process of financing military expenditure from the external debt had occurred in Rwanda under the Habyarimana government. In a cruel irony, both sides in the civil war were financed by the same donors institutions with the World Bank acting as a Watchdog.
The Habyarimana regime had at its disposal an arsenal of military equipment, including 83mm missile launchers, French made Blindicide, Belgian and German made light weaponry, and automatic weapons such as kalachnikovs made in Egypt, China and South Africa [as well as ... armored AML-60 and M3 armored vehicles.23 While part of these purchases had been financed by direct military aid from France, the influx of development loans from the World Bank's soft lending affiliate the International Development Association (IDA), the African Development Fund (AFD), the European Development Fund (EDF) as well as from Germany, the United States, Belgium and Canada had been diverted into funding the military and Interhamwe militia.
A detailed investigation of government files, accounts and correspondence conducted in Rwanda in 1996-97 by the author --together with Belgian economist Pierre Galand-- confirmed that many of the arms purchases had been negotiated outside the framework of government to government military aid agreements through various intermediaries and private arms dealers. These transactions --recorded as bona fide government expenditures-- had nonetheless been included in the State budget which was under the supervision of the World Bank. Large quantities of machetes and other items used in the 1994 ethnic massacres --routinely classified as "civilian commodities" -- had been imported through regular trading channels. 24
According to the files of the National Bank of Rwanda (NBR), some of these imports had been financed in violation of agreements signed with the donors. According to NBR records of import invoices, approximately one million machetes had been imported through various channels including Radio Mille Collines, an organization linked to the Interhamwe militia and used to foment ethnic hatred. 25
The money had been earmarked by the donors to support Rwanda's economic and social development. It was clearly stipulated that funds could not be used to import: "military expenditures on arms, ammunition and other military material". 26 In fact, the loan agreement with the World Bank's IDA was even more stringent. The money could not be used to import civilian commodities such as fuel, foodstuffs, medicine, clothing and footwear "destined for military or paramilitary use". The records of the NBR nonetheless confirm that the Habyarimana government used World Bank money to finance the import of machetes which had been routinely classified as imports of "civilian commodities." 27
An army of consultants and auditors had been sent in by World Bank to assess the Habyarimana government's "policy performance" under the loan agreement.28 The use of donor funds to import machetes and other material used in the massacres of civilians did not show up in the independent audit commissioned by the government and the World Bank. (under the IDA loan agreement. (IDA Credit Agreement. 2271-RW).29 In 1993, the World Bank decided to suspend the disbursement of the second installment of its IDA loan. There had been, according to the World Bank mission unfortunate "slip-ups" and "delays" in policy implementation. The free market reforms were no longer "on track", the conditionalities --including the privatization of state assets-- had not been met. The fact that the country was involved in a civil war was not even mentioned. How the money was spent was never an issue.30
Whereas the World Bank had frozen the second installment (tranche) of the IDA loan, the money granted in 1991 had been deposited in a Special Account at the Banque Bruxelles Lambert in Brussels. This account remained open and accessible to the former regime (in exile), two months after the April 1994 ethnic massacres.31
In the wake of the civil war, the World Bank sent a mission to Kigali with a view to drafting a so-called loan "Completion Report".32 This was a routine exercise, largely focussing on macro-economic rather than political issues. The report acknowledged that "the war effort prompted the [former] government to increase substantially spending, well beyond the fiscal targets agreed under the SAP.33 The misappropriation of World Bank money was not mentioned. Instead the Habyarimana government was praised for having “made genuine major efforts– especially in 1991– to reduce domestic and external financial imbalances, eliminate distortions hampering export growth and diversification and introduce market based mechanisms for resource allocation…” 34, The massacres of civilians were not mentioned; from the point of view of the donors, “nothing had happened”. In fact the World Bank completion report failed to even acknowledge the existence of a civil war prior to April 1994.
In the wake of the Civil War: Reinstating the IMF’s Deadly Economic Reforms
In 1995, barely a year after the 1994 ethnic massacres. Rwanda’s external creditors entered into discussions with the Tutsi led RPF government regarding the debts of the former regime which had been used to finance the massacres. The RPF decided to fully recognize the legitimacy of the “odious debts” of the 1990-94. RPF strongman Vice-President Paul Kagame [now President] instructed the Cabinet not to pursue the matter nor to approach the World Bank. Under pressure from Washington, the RPF was not to enter into any form of negotiations, let alone an informal dialogue with the donors.
The legitimacy of the wartime debts was never questioned. Instead, the creditors had carefully set up procedures to ensure their prompt reimbursement. In 1998 at a special donors’ meeting in Stockholm, a Multilateral Trust Fund of 55.2 million dollars was set up under the banner of postwar reconstruction.35 In fact, none of this money was destined for Rwanda. It had been earmarked to service Rwanda’s “odious debts” with the World Bank (–i.e. IDA debt), the African Development Bank and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
In other words, “fresh money” –which Rwanda will eventually have to reimburse– was lent to enable Rwanda to service the debts used to finance the massacres. Old loans had been swapped for new debts under the banner of post-war reconstruction.36 The “odious debts” had been whitewashed, they had disappeared from the books. The creditor’s responsibility had been erased. Moreover, the scam was also conditional upon the acceptance of a new wave of IMF-World Bank reforms.
Post War “Reconstruction and Reconciliation”
Bitter economic medicine was imposed under the banner of “reconstruction and reconciliation”. In fact the IMF post-conflict reform package was far stringent than that imposed at the outset of the civil war in 1990. While wages and employment had fallen to abysmally low levels, the IMF had demanded a freeze on civil service wages alongside a massive retrenchment of teachers and health workers. The objective was to “restore macro-economic stability”. A downsizing of the civil service was launched.37 Civil service wages were not to exceed 4.5 percent of GDP, so-called “unqualified civil servants” (mainly teachers) were to be removed from the State payroll. 38
Meanwhile, the country’s per capita income had collapsed from $360 (prior to the war) to $140 in 1995. State revenues had been tagged to service the external debt. Kigali’s Paris Club debts were rescheduled in exchange for “free market” reforms. Remaining State assets were sold off to foreign capital at bargain prices.
The Tutsi led RPF government rather than demanding the cancellation of Rwanda’s odious debts, had welcomed the Bretton Woods institutions with open arms. They needed the IMF “greenlight” to boost the development of the military.
Despite the austerity measures, defense expenditure continued to grow. The 1990-94 pattern had been reinstated. The development loans granted since 1995 were not used to finance the country’s economic and social development. Outside money had again been diverted into financing a military buildup, this time of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA). And this build-up of the RPA occurred in the period immediately preceding the outbreak of civil war in former Zaire.
Civil War in the Congo
Following the installation of a US client regime in Rwanda in 1994, US trained Rwandan and Ugandan forces intervened in former Zaire –a stronghold of French and Belgian influence under President Mobutu Sese Seko. Amply documented, US special operations troops — mainly Green Berets from the 3rd Special Forces Group based at Fort Bragg, N.C.– had been actively training the RPA. This program was a continuation of the covert support and military aid provided to the RPA prior to 1994. In turn, the tragic outcome of the Rwandan civil war including the refugee crisis had set the stage for the participation of Ugandan and Rwandan RPA in the civil war in the Congo:
“Washington pumped military aid into Kagame’s army, and U.S. Army Special Forces and other military personnel trained hundreds of Rwandan troops. But Kagame and his colleagues had designs of their own. While the Green Berets trained the Rwandan Patriotic Army, that army was itself secretly training Zairian rebels.… [In] Rwanda, U.S. officials publicly portrayed their engagement with the army as almost entirely devoted to human rights training. But the Special Forces exercises also covered other areas, including combat skills… Hundreds of soldiers and officers were enrolled in U.S. training programs, both in Rwanda and in the United States… [C]onducted by U.S. Special Forces, Rwandans studied camouflage techniques, small-unit movement, troop-leading procedures, soldier-team development, [etc]… And while the training went on, U.S. officials were meeting regularly with Kagame and other senior Rwandan leaders to discuss the continuing military threat faced by the [former Rwandan] government [in exile] from inside Zaire… Clearly, the focus of Rwandan-U.S. military discussion had shifted from how to build human rights to how to combat an insurgency… With [Ugandan President] Museveni’s support, Kagame conceived a plan to back a rebel movement in eastern Zaire [headed by Laurent Desire Kabila] … The operation was launched in October 1996, just a few weeks after Kagame’s trip to Washington and the completion of the Special Forces training mission… Once the war [in the Congo] started, the United States provided “political assistance” to Rwanda,… An official of the U.S. Embassy in Kigali traveled to eastern Zaire numerous times to liaise with Kabila. Soon, the rebels had moved on. Brushing off the Zairian army with the help of the Rwandan forces, they marched through Africa’s third-largest nation in seven months, with only a few significant military engagements. Mobutu fled the capital, Kinshasa, in May 1997, and Kabila took power, changing the name of the country to Congo…U.S. officials deny that there were any U.S. military personnel with Rwandan troops in Zaire during the war, although unconfirmed reports of a U.S. advisory presence have circulated in the region since the war’s earliest days.39
American Mining Interests
At stake in these military operations in the Congo were the extensive mining resources of Eastern and Southern Zaire including strategic reserves of cobalt — of crucial importance for the US defense industry. During the civil war several months before the downfall of Mobutu, Laurent Desire Kabila basedin Goma, Eastern Zaire had renegotiated the mining contracts with several US and British mining companies including American Mineral Fields (AMF), a company headquartered in President Bill Clinton’s hometown of Hope, Arkansas.40
Meanwhile back in Washington, IMF officials were busy reviewing Zaire’s macro-economic situation. No time was lost. The post-Mobutu economic agenda had already been decided upon. In a study released in April 1997 barely a month before President Mobutu Sese Seko fled the country, the IMF had recommended ”halting currency issue completely and abruptly” as part of an economic recovery programme.41 And a few months later upon assuming power in Kinshasa, the new government of Laurent Kabila Desire was ordered by the IMF to freeze civil service wages with a view to “restoring macro-economic stability.” Eroded by hyperinflation, the average public sector wage had fallen to 30,000 new Zaires (NZ) a month, the equivalent of one U.S. dollar.42
The IMF’s demands were tantamount to maintaining the entire population in abysmal poverty. They precluded from the outset a meaningful post-war economic reconstruction, thereby contributing to fuelling the continuation of the Congolese civil war in which close to 2 million people have died.
The civil war in Rwanda was a brutal struggle for political power between the Hutu-led Habyarimana government supported by France and the Tutsi Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) backed financially and militarily by Washington. Ethnic rivalries were used deliberately in the pursuit of geopolitical objectives. Both the CIA and French intelligence were involved.
In the words of former Cooperation Minister Bernard Debré in the government of Prime Minister Henri Balladur:
“What one forgets to say is that, if France was on one side, the Americans were on the other, arming the Tutsis who armed the Ugandans. I don’t want to portray a showdown between the French and the Anglo-Saxons, but the truth must be told.” 43
In addition to military aid to the warring factions, the influx of development loans played an important role in “financing the conflict.” In other words, both the Ugandan and Rwanda external debts were diverted into supporting the military and paramilitary. Uganda’s external debt increased by more than 2 billion dollars, –i.e. at a significantly faster pace than that of Rwanda (an increase of approximately 250 million dollars from 1990 to 1994). In retrospect, the RPA — financed by US military aid and Uganda’s external debt– was much better equipped and trained than the Forces Armées du Rwanda (FAR) loyal to President Habyarimana. From the outset, the RPA had a definite military advantage over the FAR.
According to the testimony of Paul Mugabe, a former member of the RPF High Command Unit, Major General Paul Kagame had personally ordered the shooting down of President Habyarimana’s plane with a view to taking control of the country. He was fully aware that the assassination of Habyarimana would unleash “a genocide” against Tutsi civilians. RPA forces had been fully deployed in Kigali at the time the ethnic massacres took place and did not act to prevent it from happening:
The decision of Paul Kagame to shoot Pres. Habyarimana’s aircraft was the catalyst of an unprecedented drama in Rwandan history, and Major-General Paul Kagame took that decision with all awareness. Kagame’s ambition caused the extermination of all of our families: Tutsis, Hutus and Twas. We all lost. Kagame’s take-over took away the lives of a large number of Tutsis and caused the unnecessary exodus of millions of Hutus, many of whom were innocent under the hands of the genocide ringleaders. Some naive Rwandans proclaimed Kagame as their savior, but time has demonstrated that it was he who caused our suffering and misfortunes… Can Kagame explain to the Rwandan people why he sent Claude Dusaidi and Charles Muligande to New York and Washington to stop the UN military intervention which was supposed to be sent and protect the Rwandan people from the genocide? The reason behind avoiding that military intervention was to allow the RPF leadership the takeover of the Kigali Government and to show the world that they – the RPF – were the ones who stopped the genocide. We will all remember that the genocide occurred during three months, even though Kagame has said that he was capable of stopping it the first week after the aircraft crash. Can Major-General Paul Kagame explain why he asked to MINUAR to leave Rwandan soil within hours while the UN was examining the possibility of increasing its troops in Rwanda in order to stop the genocide?44
Paul Mugabe’s testimony regarding the shooting down of Habyarimana’s plane ordered by Kagame is corroborated by intelligence documents and information presented to the French parliamentary inquiry. Major General Paul Kagame was an instrument of Washington. The loss of African lives did not matter. The civil war in Rwanda and the ethnic massacres were an integral part of US foreign policy, carefully staged in accordance with precise strategic and economic objectives.
Despite the good diplomatic relations between Paris and Washington and the apparent unity of the Western military alliance, it was an undeclared war between France and America. By supporting the build up of Ugandan and Rwandan forces and by directly intervening in the Congolese civil war, Washington also bears a direct responsibility for the ethnic massacres committed in the Eastern Congo including several hundred thousand people who died in refugee camps.
US policy-makers were fully aware that a catastrophe was imminent. In fact four months before the genocide, the CIA had warned the US State Department in a confidential brief that the Arusha Accords would fail and “that if hostilities resumed, then upward of half a million people would die”. 45 This information was withheld from the United Nations: “it was not until the genocide was over that information was passed to Maj.-Gen. Dallaire [who was in charge of UN forces in Rwanda].” 46
Washington’s objective was to displace France, discredit the French government (which had supported the Habyarimana regime) and install an Anglo-American protectorate in Rwanda under Major General Paul Kagame. Washington deliberately did nothing to prevent the ethnic massacres.
When a UN force was put forth, Major General Paul Kagame sought to delay its implementation stating that he would only accept a peacekeeping force once the RPA was in control of Kigali. Kagame “feared [that] the proposed United Nations force of more than 5,000 troops… [might] intervene to deprive them [the RPA] of victory”.47 Meanwhile the Security Council after deliberation and a report from Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali decided to postpone its intervention.
The 1994 Rwandan “genocide” served strictly strategic and geopolitical objectives. The ethnic massacres were a stumbling blow to France’s credibility which enabled the US to establish a neocolonial foothold in Central Africa. From a distinctly Franco-Belgian colonial setting, the Rwandan capital Kigali has become –under the expatriate Tutsi led RPF government– distinctly Anglo-American. English has become the dominant language in government and the private sector. Many private businesses owned by Hutus were taken over in 1994 by returning Tutsi expatriates. The latter had been exiled in Anglophone Africa, the US and Britain.
The Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) functions in English and Kinyarwanda, the University previously linked to France and Belgium functions in English. While English had become an official language alongside French and Kinyarwanda, French political and cultural influence will eventually be erased. Washington has become the new colonial master of a francophone country.
Several other francophone countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have entered into military cooperation agreements with the US. These countries are slated by Washington to follow suit on the pattern set in Rwanda. Meanwhile in francophone West Africa, the US dollar is rapidly displacing the CFA Franc — which is linked in a currency board arrangement to the French Treasury.
Notes (Endnote numbering as in the original chapter)
Written in 1999, the following text is Part II of Chapter 5 on the Second Edition of The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order. The first part of chapter published in the first edition was written in 1994. Part II is in part based on a study conducted by the author and Belgian economist Pierre Galand on the use of Rwanda’s 1990-94 external debt to finance the military and paramilitary.-
Africa’s New Look, Jane’s Foreign Report, August 14, 1997.
Jim Mugunga, Uganda foreign debt hits Shs 4 trillion, The Monitor, Kampala, 19 February 1997.
Michel Chossudovsky and Pierre Galand, L’usage de la dette exterieure du Rwanda, la responsabilité des créanciers, mission report, United Nations Development Program and Government of Rwanda, Ottawa and Brussels, 1997.
ibid, the imports recorded were of the order of kg. 500.000 of machetes or approximately one million machetes.
Ibid. See also schedule 1.2 of the Development Credit Agreement with IDA, Washington, 27 June 1991, CREDIT IDA 2271 RW.
Chossudovsky and Galand, op cit
World Bank completion report, quoted in Chossudovsky and Galand, op cit.
A ceiling on the number of public employees had been set at 38,000 for 1998 down from 40,600 in 1997. See Letter of Intent of the Government of Rwanda including cover letter addressed to IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, IMF, Washington, http://www.imf.org/external/np/loi/060498.htm , 1998.
Lynne Duke Africans Use US Military Training in Unexpected Ways, Washington Post. July 14, 1998; p.A01.
Musengwa Kayaya, U.S. Company To Invest in Zaire, Pan African News, 9 May 1997.
International Monetary Fund, Zaire Hyperinflation 1990-1996, Washington, April 1997.
Alain Shungu Ngongo, Zaire-Economy: How to Survive On a Dollar a Month, International Press Service, 6 June 1996.
Operating out of South Africa during the Apartheid era in the early 1980’s, Dr. Wouter Basson launched a secret bioweapons project called Project Coast. The goal of the project was to develop biological and chemical agents that would either kill or sterilize the black population and assassinate political enemies. Among the agents developed were Marburg and Ebola viruses.
Basson is surrounded by cloak and dagger intrigue, as he told Pretoria High court in South Africa that “The local CIA agent in Pretoria threatened me with death on the sidewalk of the American Embassy in Schoeman Street.” According to a 2001 article in The New Yorker magazine, the American Embassy in Pretoria was “terribly concerned” that Basson would reveal deep connections between Project Coast and the United States.
In 2013, Basson was found guilty of “unprofessional conduct” by the South African health council.
Bioweapons expert Jeanne Guillemin writes in her book Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism, “The project‘s growth years were from 1982 to 1987, when it developed a range of biological agents (such as those for anthrax, cholera, and the Marburg and Ebola viruses and for botulinum toxin)…“
Basson’s bioweapons program officially ended in 1994, but there has been no independent verification that the pathogens created were ever destroyed. The order to destroy them went directly to Dr. Basson. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The integrity of the process rested solely on Dr. Basson’s honesty.”
Basson claims to have had contact with western agencies that provided “ideological assistance” to Project Coast. Basson stated in an interview shot for the documentary Anthrax War that he met several times with Dr. David Kelly, the infamous UN weapons inspector in Iraq. Kelly was a top bioweapons expert in the United Kingdom. He was found dead near his home in Oxfordshire in 2003. While the official story claims he committed suicide, medical experts highly doubt this story.
In a 2007 article from the Mail Online, it was reported that a week prior to his death, Dr. Kelly was to be interviewed by MI5 about his ties to Dr. Basson.
Dr. Timothy Stamps, Minister of Health of Zimbabwe, suspected that his country was under biological attack during the time that Basson was operating. Stampstold PBS Frontline in 1998 that “The evidence is very clear that these were not natural events. Whether they were caused by some direct or deliberate inoculation or not, is the question we have to answer.”
Stamps specifically named the Ebola and Marburg viruses as suspect. Stamps thinks that his country was being used as a testing ground for weaponized Ebola.
“I’m talking about anthrax and cholera in particular, but also a couple of viruses that are not endemic to Zimbabwe [such as] the Ebola type virus and, we think also, the Marburg virus. We wonder whether in fact these are not associated with biological warfare against this country during the hostilities… Ebola was along the line of the Zambezi [River], and I suspect that this may have been an experiment to see if a new virus could be used to directly infect people.”
The Ghanaian Times reported in early September on the recent Ebola outbreak, noting connections between Basson and bioweapons research. The article points out that, “…there are two types of scientists in the world: those who are so concerned about the pain and death caused to humans by illness that they will even sacrifice their own lives to try and cure deadly diseases, and those who will use their scientific skill to kill humans on the orders of… government…”
Indeed, these ideas are not new. Plato wrote over 2,000 years ago in his workThe Republic that a ruling elite should guide society, “…whose aim will be to preserve the average of population.” He further stated, “There are many other things which they will have to consider, such as the effects of wars and diseases and any similar agencies, in order as far as this is possible to prevent the State from becoming either too large or too small.”
As revealed by The Age, Nobel prize winning Australian microbiologist Sir Macfarlane Burnet secretly urged the Australian government in 1947 to develop bio weapons for use against the “overpopulated countries of South-East Asia.” In a 1947 meeting with the New Weapons and Equipment Development Committee, the group recommended that “the possibilities of an attack on the food supplies of S-E Asia and Indonesia using B.W. agents should be considered by a small study group.”
This information gives us an interesting perspective on the recent unprecedented Ebola outbreak. Is it an organic natural phenomenon? Did this strain of Ebola accidentally escape from a bioweapons lab? Or, was it deliberately released?
“I recently gave five compelling reasons for U.S. lethal aid to Ukraine, and I explained why inaction on Ukraine threatens the destruction of NATO as we know it. The American establishment elite have increasingly concluded the same: that we must give Ukraine the means to defend itself against Russian aggression. Add former defense secretary and CIA head, Leon Panetta, to a long list of diplomats (Mike McFaul, Strobe Talbot), generals (Martin Dempsey, Philip Breedlove et al.), congressmen and senators (Ben Nelson, Sander Levin, Jim Gerlach, Gerland Connoly, Robert Menendez, Bob Corker, to name just a few) who disagree with the president on Ukraine.”
Furthermore, NATO has been gearing up for a nuclear war, a pre-emptive nuclear attack against Russia, supposedly to defend this new regime. But, actually, one of the main reasons for the overthrow was to establish in Ukraine a missile-base against Russia — it was to help prepare for our nuclear attack. Republicans in the Senate support our bringing Ukraine into NATO, which is the reason for this Republican bill, which is currently bottled up in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but will become passed into law and signed by the President if Republicans win back control of the Senate in this year’s elections.
Although no Democrat has officially co-sponsored this bill, the leader of the Committee that is considering it is Democrat Robert Menendez, and he has very actively spoken and written in support of it; he just doesn’t have the guts publicly to come out as a Republican. He’s like Obama: he built his following among Democrats and cannot afford to go public with his extreme conservatism.
Ironically, the only way that Obama can be restrained on this planned attack would be if the U.S. Senate remains under Democratic control, because Obama is pursuing here a longstanding Republican foreign policy, of asserting “nuclear supremacy,” to win a nuclear conflict against Russia (originally against the Soviet Union).
Right now, President Obama wants to cool things in his Ukrainian civil war, because of the more-pressing and far more real threat to U.S. national security in the Middle East. But this lull in the Ukrainian conflict could turn out to be temporary if things become stabilized regarding ISIS.
So, if the Republicans win control of the U.S. Senate this November, then we’ll quite possibly have a nuclear war against Russia, because Republicans certainly want it, and so does Obama (and Senator Menendez), and Obama will therefore have the congressional funding to prepare the attack that both he and Republicans, and even at least one other ‘Democrat’ than Obama, apparently want and have been preparing.
It has been in the works for some time, but the British government is showing keenness to enact laws that will punish those guilty of Internet “trolling”. According to Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, “This is a law to combat cruelty – and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob.”
None of this is actually new, at least when it comes to such policies of speech control on the Sceptred Isle. The policy change was already flagged in March this year when an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill was proposed making it possible for a Crown Court, rather than magistrates, to try cases of online harassment. Prison sentences from up to two years will be doled out.
Internet trolls have already been the subject of legislative, and criminal attention in the UK, with the current maximum sentence one of six months under the Malicious Communications Act. Two years ago, Nicola Brookes obtained a court order compelling Facebook to produce the IP addresses of those who attacked her online.
Frank Zimmerman also received a suspended jail sentence in 2012 for his dedicated haranguing of the Tory politician Louise Mensch, MP. Commentary then focused on Zimmerman’s appearance, giving an unruly, irritable citizen of cyberspace face and form. Dominique Jackson of the Daily Mail provided one reaction: “Images of a long-haired dishevelled and straggly-bearded Zimmerman in the press this week conformed closely to our stereotype of the internet troll: a cowardly loner, spending hours hunched over the keyboard, spitting out minatory venom from the relative safety of a cranky pseudonym and a potentially anonymous IP address.”
Such images are misplaced. The modern Internet troll may well conform to a Zimmerman stereotype. Or they might be like Brenda Leyland, who was found dead in a hotel room earlier this month after an encounter with Sky News over alleged trolling of Kate and Gerry McCann, whose daughter went missing in Portugal in 2007.
Another dimension that tends to be neglected in such debates are the hired cadres, working for organisations or entities in the name of platform and policy. The entire landscape of electoral politics has been transformed by industrious trolls, who perform their venomous tasks with relentless, paid up enthusiasm. Then come the propaganda departments and dream makers, keen to keep an image pure and virtuous.
Recently, the Kremlin’s plans for a sustained shaping of opinion via bombarding the comments sections of such American websites as The Blaze, Politico and Huffington Post was exposed in emails leaked by a Russian hacker collective. “The main problem,” notes one of the project’s team members, Svetlana Boiko, “is that in the foreign internet community, the ratio of supporters and opponents of Russia is about 20/80 respectively.”
Britain’s parliament may well be nudging the debate in the wrong direction. Such punitive laws constitute riot control by other means. While it is hard not to express sympathy for those targeted by what is a form of manic, even sadistic violence by social media, attempts to bang people up for that may not necessarily be the best way. Criminal prosecutions, argue such lawyers as Mark Stephens, should only be kept for that “very small minority who are fixated, who take it to the extreme – people who are borderline certifiable.”
Where do the lines of expression deemed against the public interest, and those in its favour, blur? It is all very good to hold the view, as Jackson, does, that, “Freedom of speech should never mean freedom to abuse.” But apart from the United States, the very idea of a right termed a “freedom of speech” is highly circumscribed, one which is at the mercy of legislative intrusion.
Such laws risk being used by public figures to veil themselves in a protective layer – given that Internet forums and social media are formats of expression, disabling users, or at least dissuading participants – from being antsy, may have its own chilling consequences.
A further consequence of such laws is placing internet service providers into the position of moral guardians and gatekeepers. Such a dilemma was faced by Storify’s CEO Xavier Damman, when he was confronted by some five women over the messages posted by a user under the handle “elevatorgate”. Elevatorgate had, it was said, a history of sending messages filled with abuse and a good deal of misogyny. Damman’s response was that this remained a “free speech issue”, allowing elavatorgate’s account with the company to stand.
This saddling of responsibility, as entities such as Storify have to face, is highly problematic, being a grant of powers most ISPs would rather not have. But this is classic government outsourcing, a form of policing through the private sector.
Barbara Bukovska of ARTICLE 19 is certainly wary. Resorting to the blunt arm of the law in criminalising trolls is but one part of the problem. “Do we want to criminalise every social conduct we find problematic?” The pendulum may well swing the other way, and in matters of free speech, the offensive, at least to some degree, must be tolerated. Who determines the degree of that offensiveness is a problem writ large by the Internet.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]
The Islamic State organization seems to have arisen overnight, well-armed, and swiftly moving through Iraq and Syria, seemingly unstoppable. One might wonder as to how plausible it is to believe the CIA, U.S. National Security Council, and Mossad supposedly hitherto knew little or nothing of the Islamic State jihadists. We are apparently expected to believe that they appeared from nowhere as if by magic.
It is apt to recall the present Jihad bogeyman arose from the Mujahideen, which was formed by the CIA as a guerrilla force against the Russians in Afghanistan. The “clash of civilizations,” as neocon historians refer to the “war on terrorism,” was a contrivance; not the result of an inexorable historical law. By the end of the First World War much goodwill existed between the Entente and the Arabs who had fought together against the Ottoman Empire, with the expectation that the Arab states would achieve independence, thanks to the heroic efforts of T. E. Lawrence and the Arabic fighters. Their guerrilla war against the Turks had been crucial to the war effort, although subsequently besmirched by Zionist propagandists. Thanks to Zionist machinations, the Entente had spoken with a forked tongue to the Arabs while making a contrary promise to the Zionists to back a Jewish state in Palestine in return for Jewish influence supporting the Entente cause, by then in a predicament, in the USA. The result was the Balfour Declaration and the needless prolongation of the war so that the Zionists and the messianists could get their nose poked into Palestine until such time as being able to dump themselves en masse after the Second World War.
It is also opportune at this point to recall those who introduced terrorism into Palestine. The Irgun, Stern and Palmach underground regarded the British as the “new Nazis,” and for that matter anyone who stood in the way of their messianic dreams. Hence, United Nations envoy Count Folke Bernadotte, who had negotiated for thousands of Jews to leave German occupied territory, was gunned down by the Sternists because his suggestions for the boundaries of Israel were regarded as an affront to Jewry. Ultimately, the Zionist dream for Israel extends the boundaries from the rivers Nile to Euphrates (Genesis 15: 18) and any compromise of captured territory would mean the surrendering of the deeds of promise from God Himself, unless there is a longer-term motive involved. There cannot be peace in the MiddleEast until that dream is forgotten, which is not going to happen, any more than the aim of rebuilding the Temple of Solomon upon the ruins of the Al Aqsa Mosque as the prerequisite for the coming of the Jewish Messiah; the declaration of Jerusalem as the capitol of the world, and the elimination of “idolatrous” religions, to be replaced by the Seven Noahide Laws, already promulgated by U.S. Congress. As the Israeli scholar Dr. Israel Shahak documented, such notions are alive and kicking in Israel. Yet we are constantly told of “Muslim fanaticism.” We are also told of the hatred Islam possesses for Christianity, despite the recognition of Jesus as a great prophet, and his mother. Meanwhile, Talmudic Judaism teaches that Jesus was the son of a whore and a Roman soldier, Pandira, and is in hell boiling in semen. The hatred of Talmudic Jews for Christianity is frequently manifested by the Orthodox custom of spitting on monks and priests, and in many other ways, again documented by Shahak.
In short, the origins of the present Middle East terrorism stem from Franco-British duplicity and Zionist machinations during the First World War, and rampant religious lunacy from Judaism rather than Islam. As the political and judicial theorist Dr. Carl Schmitt pointed out, an outer enemy is often the prerequisite for the formation or maintenance of unity among disparate elements. Hence, Zionism requires “anti-Semitism” to exist. Israel requires the myth of belligerent Arab neighbors ever ready to run them into the Dead Sea. The USA requires a new global bogeyman after the demise of the USSR, to maintain its role as the world’s “big brother,” albeit one of a particularly vulgar and bullying type. While Putin’s Russia has somewhat served the role once occupied by the USSR, it is difficult to imbed the notion into the world’s consciousness that Putinism, like Sovietism, supposedly aims at world conquest, and only the USA can stop this. An added factor is required. Jihadism serves these purposes for both the USA and Israel. Where would the USA have been since the implosion of the Soviet bloc, had it not been for Jihadism? Largely obliged to mind its own business for the first time since before Woodrow Wilson.
Mujahideen a U.S. Creation
The ground for Jihadism was sown by the U.S. arming of the Mujahideen against the USSR in Afghanistan. The CIA describes its role in founding Jihadism:
After the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, President Carter directed CIA to assist the Afghan mujahidin. CIA came to see that the indigenous Afghan opposition to the Soviets was less an organized movement than widespread opposition by villages and tribes. Through Pakistan, CIA provided the mujahidin with money, weapons, medical supplies, and communications equipment. Initially the goal was to drain Soviet resources by keeping their forces bogged down. In 1985, CIA shifted from a plan of attrition to one that would help the rebels win. One of the pivotal moments came in September 1986, when the mujahidin used CIA-provided Stinger missiles to shoot down three Soviet Mi-24D helicopter gunships. As part of this escalation of financial and materiel support, President Reagan issued new guidance that put CIA into more direct contact with rebel commanders, beginning an era of CIA interaction with tribal and local leaders that continues through the post-9/11 era. 
The CIA then supported the Northern Alliance against the Taliban government. The CIA also claims that it supported the Northern Alliance against Al Qaeda and bin Laden when they moved into Afghanistan from the Sudan. However, an NBC report states of CIA support for bin Laden:
As his unclassified CIA biography states, bin Laden left Saudi Arabia to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan after Moscow’s invasion in 1979. By 1984, he was running a front organization known as Maktab al-Khidamar – the MAK – which funneled money, arms and fighters from the outside world into the Afghan war.
What the CIA bio conveniently fails to specify (in its unclassified form, at least) is that the MAK was nurtured by Pakistan’s state security services, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, the CIA’s primary conduit for conducting the covert war against Moscow’s occupation.
The CIA, concerned about the factionalism of Afghanistan … found that Arab zealots who flocked to aid the Afghans were easier to “read” than the rivalry-ridden natives. While the Arab volunteers might well prove troublesome later, the agency reasoned, they at least were one-dimensionally anti-Soviet for now. So bin Laden, along with a small group of Islamic militants from Egypt, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria and Palestinian refugee camps all over the Middle East, became the “reliable” partners of the CIA in its war against Moscow.
These Afghan veterans became the nucleus for Jihadists further afield.
When the U.S. globalists wanted to dismember Yugoslavia and globalize the wealth of Kosovo, again we find the Mujahideen. The USA claims to be fighting Islamic terrorism worldwide. Milosevic’s Serbia was on the frontline fighting Islamist terrorism. Rather than U.S. support for the Serbs, the support went to Islamist terrorists and gangsters. Serbs had been the target of Islamists for decades. They aimed to carve out a Greater Albania by annexing Kosovo. The U.S./NATO interest was that of privatizing the globalizing the vast mineral wealth and other resources of the region run by the State.
In 1998 the Kosovo Liberation Army was described by U.S. special envoy to Bosnia, Robert Gelbard, as “terrorists.” The U.S. State Department had previously prepared a report detailing the methods of the KLA to intimidate Kosovan-Albanian ethnics into supporting them. Prior to Milosevic’s intervention to restore order, U.S. official sources were reporting that Albanian ethnics were fleeing their villages in their entirety to escape the KLA. Also well-known by American and European police agencies were the drug-trafficking connections the KLA had with organized crime in Europe and Turkey.
The KLA aim was for a Greater Albania including parts of Serbia, Greece, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Chris Hedges, when New York Times Balkans Bureau Chief (1995-1998), wrote in Foreign Affairs of a map of the Greater Albania found at a KLA compound. Hedges reported: “Between 1966 and 1989 an estimated 130,000 Serbs left the province because of frequent harassment and discrimination by the Kosovar Albanian majority.” Hedges mentioned the funding that the KLA was receiving from Islamic states and the presence of Mujahideen in the KLA staging area in northern Albania. In 1981, the Associated Press reported that 4000 Serbs fled Kosovo due to anti-Serb riots, and the desecration of Orthodox churches and graves. 
When Serb forces attacked Srebrenica, it was to end the armed attacks mounted from the Islamist base on nearby villages. A news report of the time cites “intelligence sources” as stating that it was “harassment which precipitated the Serb attack on the 1,500 Muslim defenders inside the enclave.” General Philippe Morillon, commander of the U.N. troops in Bosnia (1992-1993), testified before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia that Muslim forces based in Srebrenica had “engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region.” Between May and December 1992, Muslim forces repeatedly attacked Serb villages around Srebrenica, killing and torturing civilians; some were mutilated and burned alive. Muslim forces in Srebrenica murdered over 1,300 Serbs and had “ethnically cleansed” a vast area.
The London Spectator reported that during 1992-1995 the Pentagon helped Islamists from Central Asia to reach Bosnia and join the Bosnian Muslims, stating:
As part of the Dutch government’s inquiry into the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, Professor Cees Wiebes of Amsterdam University compiled a report entitled “Intelligence and the War in Bosnia”, published in April 2002. In it he details the secret alliance between the Pentagon and radical Islamic groups from the Middle East, and their efforts to assist Bosnia’s Muslims. By 1993, there was a vast amount of weapons-smuggling through Croatia to the Muslims, organised by ‘clandestine agencies’ of the USA, Turkey and Iran, in association with a range of Islamic groups that included Afghan Mujahideen and the pro-Iranian Hezbollah. Arms bought by Iran and Turkey with the financial backing of Saudi Arabia were airlifted from the Middle East to Bosnia – airlifts with which, Wiebes points out, the USA was “very closely involved.”
One of the stated war aims of NATO was that the Yugoslav Federation would become a “free market” economy. The fight for a “free market” economy was not an aim that seems to have been widely publicized by the spokesmen for the U.S. State Department and British Foreign Office at the time. The prize was the Trepca mining complex, which had operated 24 hours a day, having the richest lead, lignite and zinc deposits in Europe, and one of the richest world-wide. Once the moral pontifications of the Rambouillet diktat were dispensed with, chapter four makes the aim clear enough: Article I (1): “The economy of Kosovo shall function in accordance with free market principles.” A Privatization agency of Kosovo was established, but the economy, including Trepca, remains in a shambles.
Russia, Libya, Syria…
Islamists have likewise proven useful within the Russian Federation. The primary pro-Chechnya lobby in the USA was the Freedom House-founded American Committee for Peace in Chechnya. This included some of the most notable neocons and Zionists: Richard Perle; Elliott Abrams; former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Kenneth Adelman; Midge Decter of the Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy; Bruce Jackson of the U.S. Committee on NATO; Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, and former CIA director R. James Woolsey. It is strange that of these enthusiasts for the rights of Muslims in Russia, all but Abrams and Ledeen were members of the arch-Zionist Project for a New American Century, founded in 1997. A sub-branch was the Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000 headed by Perle, which prepared a blueprint for the reorganization of the Middle East, that calls in particular for “regime change” in Syria and Iran, This seems to be the plan that is be is being followed.
While the ACPC changed its name to American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus, it seems to have become largely defunct since 2013. That is the year of the Chechan bombing in Boston. Wayne Madsen, writing for the Strategic Culture Foundation, commented:
After revelations that an entity called the Caucasus Fund was used by the CIA-linked Jamestown Foundation of Washington, DC to sponsor seminars on the North Caucasus in Tbilisi from January to July 2012, Georgian authorities moved to shut down the fund. The reason given by Georgia was that the organization had “fulfilled its stated mission”. Caucasus Fund and Jamestown Foundation events were attended by accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan born to parents from Dagestan. Jamestown had previously held a seminar in Tbilisi on “Hidden Nations” in the Caucasus, which, among other issues, promoted a “Greater Circassia” in the Caucasus. 
Madsen remarks of the general strategy:
U.S. “humanitarian” and “civil society” assistance to radical Islamist groups has, for the past three decades, filtered into the coffers of terrorist groups celebrated as “freedom fighters” in Washington. This was the case with U.S. support for the Afghan Mujaheddin through such groups as the Committee for a Free Afghanistan during the Islamist insurgency against the People’s Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980s and the Bosnia Defense Fund in the 1990s. In the case of Afghanistan, U.S. and Saudi money ended up in the hands of insurgents who would later form “Al Qaeda” and in Bosnia U.S. funds were used by Al Qaeda elements fighting against Yugoslavia and the Bosnian Serb Republic and, later, Al Qaeda elements supporting the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in its war against Serbia.
Terrorists supported by the USA to oust Qaddafi were then sent to Syria to continue the American Jihad against stable states. The CIA had been funding a Libyan rebel army since 1988, Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army. Haftar had been living for twenty years in Virginia, prior to returning to Libya with CIA and Saudi backing. Patrick Cockburn commented in The Independent:
Even shadier is the background of Abdul Hakeen al-Hassadi, a Libyan who fought against the US in Afghanistan, was arrested in Pakistan, imprisoned probably at Bagram, Afghanistan, and then mysteriously released. The US Deputy Secretary of State, James Steinberg, told Congressmen he would speak of Mr Hassadi’s career only in a closed session.
Israel has sought to keep the entire region in a state of destabilization. This serves several factors. A constant state of conflict portrays Israel as the only stable entity in a volatile region. Destabilization ensures that there can be no united front against Israeli’s aspirations, which are never-ending. The notion of Jews being surrounded by mad Arabs keeps the Israelis in a state of preparedness and unity. Israel went to the extent of backing the Red Brigades in Italy during the 1970s as part of a destabilization strategy, indicating the extent of the strategy. According to Magistrate Ferdinando Imposimato, who led the investigations into the 1978 kidnapping and murder of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro, “‘at least until 1978 Israeli secret services had infiltrated Italian subversive groups. He said that based on confessions of jailed guerrillas who turned police informers there had been an Israeli plan to destabilize Italy. The plan aimed at reducing Italy to a country convulsed by civil war so that the United States would be forced to count more on Israeli for the security of the Mediterranean,’ the judge said.” 
The extent of this destabilization strategy has included Mossad backing of Islamists at an early stage. According to a UPI news report on a 2002 Hamas bombing of a Jersualem city bus,
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon immediately vowed to fight “Palestinian terror” and summoned his cabinet to decide on a military response to the organization that Sharon had once described as “the deadliest terrorist group that we have ever had to face.” Active in Gaza and the West Bank, Hamas wants to liberate all of Palestine and establish a radical Islamic state in place of Israel. It has gained notoriety with its assassinations, car bombs and other acts of terrorism. But Sharon left something out.
Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years. Israel “aided Hamas directly – the Israelis wanted to use it as a counterbalance to the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization),” said Tony Cordesman, Middle East analyst for the Center for Strategic [and International] Studies [CSIS]. Israel’s support for Hamas “was a direct attempt to divide and dilute support for a strong, secular PLO by using a competing religious alternative,” said a former senior CIA official. … According to U.S. administration officials, funds for the movement came from the oil-producing states and directly and indirectly from Israel. The PLO was secular and leftist and promoted Palestinian nationalism. Hamas wanted to set up a transnational state under the rule of Islam, much like Khomeini’s Iran.
Even when the support for Hamas seemed to be backfiring there were those who continued to see a dialectical advantage:
But even then, some in Israel saw some benefits to be had in trying to continue to give Hamas support: “The thinking on the part of some of the right-wing Israeli establishment was that Hamas and the others, if they gained control, would refuse to have any part of the peace process and would torpedo any agreements put in place,” said a U.S. government official who asked not to be named. “Israel would still be the only democracy in the region for the United States to deal with,” he said. All of which disgusts some former U.S. intelligence officials.
The strategy was confirmed by Mossad defector Victor Ostrovsky, who was told by a prominent Mossad officer that a decision was made to “destabilize Jordan to the point of civil anarchy.” The officer explained to Ostrovsky that this would be done by circulating counterfeit money and “arming religious fundamentalist elements, similar to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood,” assassinating leading figures who are symbols of stability, causing riots in the university to prompt government repression. The plan was also to destabilize Egypt in the same manner, with Mossad running guns to “Egyptian fundamentalists” through Afghanistan.
Ostrovsky further relates that “Mossad had to come up with a new threat to the region, a threat of such magnitude that it would justify whatever action the Mossad might see fit to take.” The attitude of many in Mossad and elsewhere in Israeli ruling circles is that in order to maintain “fortress Israel” the “constant threat of war” needs to be maintained.
Supporting the radical elements of Muslim fundamentalism sat well with the Mossad’s general plan for the region. An Arab world run by fundamentalists would not be a party to any negotiations in the West, thus leaving Israel once again as the only democratic, rational country in the region. And if the Mossad could arrange for the Hamas to take over the Palestinian streets from the PLO, then the picture would be complete.
This destabilization dialectic is the same as that being enacted on a global scale by the USA to maintain its global ambitions. Since the Soviet bogeyman no longer exists as justification for U.S. global ambitions, the bogeyman of the “global war on Islamic terrorism” was quickly created as a substitute. While Putin has been demonized to at least keep the semblance of a Russian bogeyman intact, it cannot convincingly be said that Putin aims at “world conquest.” However, “Islamism” is a new threat to worldpeace, with a world Jihad and the aim of imposing Sharia law over the world. This new global threat must be met under U.S. leadership, which generally means U.S. domination, politically, economically and even morally and culturally, or what has been described as the “new world order.”
The Study Group for a New Israeli Strategy stated that Israel’s aims must be to
Work closely with Turkey and Jordan to contain, destabilize, and roll-back some of its most dangerous threats. This implies clean break from the slogan, “comprehensive peace” to a traditional concept of strategy based on balance of power. Change the nature of its relations with the Palestinians, including upholding the right of hot pursuit for self defense into all Palestinian areas and nurturing alternatives to Arafat’s exclusive grip on Palestinian society. 
Both aims have been fulfilled. As we have seen the backing of Jiahists involves the use of Jordan and Turkey, and the primary target is Syria, now that Saddam has been eliminated from Iraq. While the blueprint was addressed to Israel, one can see the role being played out by the USA in its fulfilment:
Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions. 
Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (a.k.a The Caliphate)
Suddenly ISIL (or ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) snaps onto the scene to pose the biggest threat to world peace, whose path of terror also happens to be a march through the states that have been marked for destruction by the Zio-neocons; Syria particularly. Like Hafta in Libya, and later Syria, the head of the Islamic State organization, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has links with the USA. He was a “civilian internee” at an U.S. internment center in Umm Qasr, Iraq. He was “unconditionally released” in 2009.
What can be said is that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s declaration of himself as Caliph of all Muslims world-wide has spread further factionalism among Muslims. Despite the universal repudiation among even radical Muslims, U.S. foreign policy strategists are building up ISIL as the most potent Islamic force. Assem Barqawi, the spokesperson for the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front – an erstwhile ally of ISIL in the Syrian war – spurned al-Baghdadi’s claim to a universal Caliphate, countering: “In short, al-Baghdadi and ISIL have no support whatsoever among Muslims. They are loathed even by their fellow ultra-Salafis, Wahhabis and Takfiris.” On the other hand terrorism expert William McCants of the Brookings Institution, said to the New York Times: “ISIS is now officially the biggest and baddest global jihadi group on the planet… Nothing says ‘hard-core’ like being cast out by Al Qaeda.” Dr. Kevin Barrett, an Arabist scholar, regards it likely that al-Baghdadi is a mind-control asset from his time at Umm Qasr camp:
The secrecy surrounding al-Baghdadi’s five years in US custody strongly suggests that the self-proclaimed “caliph of Islam” is actually a Muslim version of Jim Jones. His “Islamic State” is a Muslim Jonestown. It is designed to mass-suicide Islam by turning Muslims against each other.
William Engdahl, a foreign policy specialist, opines:
Key members of ISIS it now emerges were trained by US CIA and Special Forces command at a secret camp in Jordan in 2012, according to informed Jordanian officials. The US, Turkish and Jordanian intelligence were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region, conveniently near the borders to both Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the two Gulf monarchies most involved in funding the war against Syria’s Assad, financed the Jordan ISIS training. Advertised publicly as training of “non-extremist” Muslim jihadists to wage war against the Syrian Bashar Assad regime, the secret US training camps in Jordan and elsewhere have trained perhaps several thousand Muslim fighters in techniques of irregular warfare, sabotage and general terror. The claims by Washington that they took special care not to train ‘Salafist’ or jihadist extremists, is a joke. How do you test if a recruit is not a jihadist? Is there a special jihad DNA that the CIA doctors have discovered?
In 2012, Aaron Klein reported that Egyptian officials had talked of training being given to terrorist forces to be deployed to Syria by the USA, Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. The training camp was at the Jordanian town of Safawi.
Among the tangled intricacies of the Middle East imbroglio a course was established to bring chaos to the region, formulated by think tanks where American and Jewish messianists converge. Their recommendations appear as the ones being enacted, but these strategists themselves are the heirs to aims of long duration and a politicized religious fanaticism that is obscured by a worldwide barrage of propaganda about a new Muslim threat.
K R Bolton holds doctorates and certifications in theology, psychology and social work studies and a Ph.D.h.c. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Social and Political Research (Athens), and of the Institute for Higher Studies on Geopolitics and Auxiliary Sciences (Lisbon), and has been widely published on a variety of subjects in the scholarly and general media. Some of his books include: Revolution from Above; The Banking Swindle; Stalin: The Enduring Legacy; The Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific: Emerging Conflicts, New Alliances; introductions to new editions of Oscar Wilde’s Soul of Man Under Socialism, Belloc’s Europe and the Faith, and T E Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom; and an upcoming book on Peronism (2013).
Samuel Landman, Great Britain, the Jews and Palestine (London: New Zionist Press, 1936), 2-3. Landman was Honorary Secretary of the Joint Zionist Council of the United Kingdom, 1912; Joint Editor of The Zionist 1913-1914; Solicitor and Secretary for the Zionist Organisation 1917-1922; and adviser to the New Zionist Organisation, ca. 1930s.
Bernadotte called on Israel to relinquish the Negev and Jerusalem in return for western Galilee. Since the Zionist messianists think they are entitled by no less than God to a vast region, this was nothing sort of blasphemy.
Promulgation of “U. S. Education Day” honoring Rebbe Schneerson, the Lubavitch Messiah, and the Seven Noahide Laws, Proclamation 5463, April 19, 1986; Public Law 102—14 (H.J. Res. 104) March 20, 1991; Day of International Tribute, June 28, promulgated 2002.
Israel Shahak, Jewish History, Jewish Religion (London: Pluto Press, 1994).
Shahak, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (Pluto Press, 1999).
Facing a large backlash, resignations, and protests, the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) has decided that it will not make an intervention at the Canadian Supreme Court in the case involving Chevron Corporation’s contamination of the Ecuadorian rainforest.
In a letter sent to members, CBA president Michele Hollins stated “The [Legislation and Law Reform] Committee concluded that while the factum was well-drafted and of a high standard of quality, it did not meet the specific requirements of CBA’s Intervention Policy. Consequently, under the terms of the Intervention Policy, the CBA came to the conclusion that without the certification of the factum, the Intervention could not move forward and would be withdrawn.”
Although the previous letter to members made mention of opposition to the CBA intervention, this second letter did not. Santiago Escobar, a member of the Anti Chevron Committee of Canada, in an interview with teleSUR stated ”The CBA won’t admit this but they withdrew because of the protests they were facing, they knew that they couldn’t be seen supporting a corporation that has negatively affected the lives of so many Indigenous people in Ecuador.”
The CBA’s legislative and law reform committee had recommended against proceeding. Meanwhile the environment, aboriginal, and civil litigation committees has urged the CBA not to intervene on behalf of Chevron. Kathryn Deo, who had resigned from the CBA in protest told the Globe and Mail “I’m sure it was a difficult decision but it was clearly the right decision and we are appreciative of their courage in reversing course.” Lawyers in Canada were upset that the board of the CBA had authorized a law firm with ties to Chevron, Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, to submit the brief.
At issue is whether the Ecuadorian plaintiffs can seize the assets of Chevron corporation in Canada in order to collect a USD $9.5 Million judgment against Chevron for the contamination it cause in the Lago Agrio region. The Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the case could indeed be heard. Chevron has appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which will hear the case in early December of this year. Chevron maintains that courts in Canada have no jurisdiction in this case, should the Supreme Court rule against them, the full judgment could be collected and paid to the Ecuadorian plaintiffs.
Leading US-funded think-tanks and German secret service are accessories. Attempted suppression by legal threats. Blackout in German media.
Exclusively for RI, Dutch journalist Eric van de Beek interviews the senior German editor who is causing a sensation with his allegations that the CIA pays German media professionals to spin stories to follow US government goals.
Udo Ulfkotte reveals in his bestseller Bought Journalists, how he was “taught to lie, to betray and not to tell the truth to the public.”
The former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which is one of Germany’s largest newspapers, was secretly on the payroll of the CIA and German secret service, spinning the news in a way that was positive for the United States and bad for its opponents.
In his latest interview, Ulfkotte alleges that some media are nothing more than propaganda outlets of political parties, secret services, international think tanks and high finance entities.
Repenting for collaborating with various agencies and organisations to manipulate the news, Ulkotte laments, “I’m ashamed I was part of it. Unfortunately I cannot reverse this.”
Some highlights from the interview:
“I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service.”
“Most journalists from respected and big media organisations are closely connected to the German Marshall Fund, the Atlantik-Brücke or other so-called transatlantic organisations…once you’re connected, you make friends with selected Americans. You think they are your friends and you start cooperating. They work on your ego, make you feel like you’re important. And one day one of them will ask you ‘Will you do me this favor’…”
“When I told the Frankfurter Allgemeine that I would publish the book, their lawyers sent me a letter threatening with all legal consequences if I would publish any names or secrets – but I don’t mind.”
“[TheFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung] hasn’t sued me. They know that I have evidence on everything.”
“No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about [my] book. Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about.”
Here’s more from the interview:
“Bought journalists”, who are they?
“We’re talking about puppets on a string, journalists who write or say whatever their masters tell them to say or write. If you see how the mainstream media is reporting about the Ukraine conflict and if you know what’s really going on, you get the picture. The masters in the background are pushing for war with Russia and western journalists are putting on their helmets.”
And you were one of them, and now you are the first to blow the whistle.
“I’m ashamed I was part of it. Unfortunately I cannot reverse this. Although my superiors at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung approved of what I did, I’m still to blame. But yes, to my knowledge I am the first to accuse myself and to prove many others are to blame.”
How did you become a bought journalist?
“It started very soon after I started working at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. I learned to regard luxury invitations as quite acceptable and to write positive articles in return. Later on I was invited by the German Marshall Fund of The United States to travel the United States. They paid for all my expenses and put me in contact with Americans they’d like me to meet. In fact, most journalists from respected and big media organisations are closely connected to the German Marshall Fund, theAtlantik-Brücke or other so-called transatlantic organisations. Many of them are even members or ‘fellows’.
I am a fellow of the German Marshall Fund. The thing is, once you’re connected, you make friends with selected Americans. You think they are your friends and you start cooperating. They work on your ego, make you feel like you’re important. And one day one of them will ask you ‘Will you do me this favor’ and then another will ask you ‘Will you do me that favor’. Bye and bye you get completely brainwashed. I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially theBundesnachrichtendienst.”
You said your superiors approved of that?
“They did. From my private point of view, in retrospective, they even sent me to spy. For instance in 1988 they put me on a plane to Iraq, where I traveled to the border with Iran. In those days Saddam Hussein was still seen as a good guy, a close ally to the US. The Americans supported him in his war against Iran. About 35 kilometers from the border, in an Iranian place called Zubaidad, I witnessed the Iraqis killing and injuring thousands of Iranians by throwing poison gas at them.
I did exactly what my superiors had asked me to do. I made photo’s of the gas attacks. Back in Frankfurt it appeared my superiors didn’t show much interest in the atrocities I had witnessed. They allowed me to write an article about it, but they severely limited the size of it as if it wasn’t of much importance. At the same time they asked me to hand over the photo’s that I had made to the German association of chemical companies in Frankfurt, Verband der Chemischen Industrie. This poison gas that had killed so many Iranians was made in Germany.”
What’s your opinion on press trips? Journalists usually excuse themselves by saying they are perfectly able to follow their ownjudgment and that they don’t commit themselves to anything or anybody.
“I’ve been on a thousand press trips and never reported bad about those who paid all the expenses. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. That’s where corruption starts. And that’s the reason why magazines like Der Spiegel don’t allow their journalists to accept invitations to press trips unless they pay for their own expenses.”
The consequences of becoming a whistleblower can be serious. Do you have any indications people tried to prevent the publication of your book?
“When I told the Frankfurter Allgemeine that I would publish the book, their lawyers sent me a letter threatening with all legal consequences if I would publish any names or secrets – but I don’t mind. You see, I don’t have children to take care of. And you must know I was severely injured during the gas attack I witnessed in Iran in 1988. I’m the sole German survivor from a German poison gas attack. I’m still suffering from this. I’ve had three heart attacks. I don’t expect to live for more than a few years.”
In your book you mention many names of bought journalists. How are they doing now? Are they being sacked? Are they trying to clear their names?
“No German mainstream journalist is allowed to report about the book. Otherwise he or she will be sacked. So we have a bestseller now that no German journalist is allowed to write or talk about. More shocking: We have respected journalists who seem to have gone deep sea diving for a long time. It’s an Interesting situation. I expected and hoped that they would sue me and bring me to court. But they have no idea what to do. The respected Frankfurter Allgemeine just announced they will fire 200 employees, because they’re losing subscribers very rapidly and in high numbers. But they don’t sue me. They know that I have evidence on everything.”
The Israeli military went again on a rampage against the ghettoized people in the Gaza strip. The last time, they “visited” the walled-in strip at the turn of the year 2008/09, they slaughtered 1 400 Palestinians. In 2014, they killed over 2 100 Palestinians, 80 per cent civilians, injured over 10 000, made over 300 000 homeless and ravaged the infrastructure. Israel’s patron, the US Empire, did not lift a finger in 2008/09; neither did it this time. This one-sided relationship is analyzed by James Petras, an award-winning author and Professor Emeritus, in a global geopolitical perspective.
In 2000, “the imperial military and ideological apparatus for direct intervention was firmly in place.” 9/11 seemed godsend. The objectives of the planned serial wars “were defined by their principal Zionist and militarists architects” as the following: First, “destroying regimes and states (that) have opposed Israel’s annexation of Palestine.” Secondly, “deposing regimes which promoted independent nationalist policies, opposing or threatening the Gulf puppet monarchist regimes and supporting anti-imperialist, secular or nationalist-Islamic movements around the world.”
Blinded by their imperial hubris, neither the Zionists nor the civilian militarists within the US administration anticipated prolonged national resistance from the attacked countries, writes Petras. The destruction of the entire political, administrative and military infrastructure by the US invaders and their willful European executioners created a “political vacuum”, which was never a problem for the embedded Zionists in the US Administration, “since their ultimate goal was to devastate Israel’s enemies”. According to the author, under the Obama presidency, “a new ‘cast’ of embedded Zionists has emerged to target Iran and prepare the US for a new war on Israel’s behalf”. After Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the UN General Assembly in September and his visit to the White House, 345 members of the US Congress signed a letter, in which they demanded from President Obama to remain tough with Iran. Netanyahu had raised the same demand from President Obama. It’s the first time that US Members of Congress publicly oppose their own president while supporting the demands of a foreign government!
The book is unique in providing an overall concept that links empire-building and foreign interventions to the domestic emergence of a police state, declining standards of living, advanced global spying on allies and adversaries, large scale commitments to wars in the Middle east to the detriment of major corporate interest, but for the benefit of its client State of Israel, and the power of a foreign state over US policy via its Zionist lobby. The question can be raised weather US foreign policy is bad for US corporations. Didn’t Hulliburton make a fortune, when the George W. Bush and his neoconservative gang attacked Iraq?
According to Petras, the US is still inclined to advance its Empire, but the Obama Empire builders “have relied on a wider variety of interventions than their predecessor under George W. Bush”. The Obama administration has shown more restraint in direct interventions and relies more on its “imperial European allies”. For an aggressive continuation of Empire building, the current administration lacks domestic support, writes the author. The most serious obstacle, however, to effectively adapting to the current international realities “is the influential Israel-linked Zionist Power Configuration embedded in Congress,
the Administration and the mass media. Zionists are deeply committed to pushing the US into more wars for Israel.” Despite the “Zionist Power Configuration” (ZPC), Petras comes to the conclusion that the Obama Administration is less inclined to start large-scale military interventions and listens more to public opinion.
In this study, the author concentrates on US empire-building measures in the Middle East. Here, the ZPC comes into play. In this specific region, Zionist power has played an important role “in harnessing the US Empire to serving the regional power projections of Israel”. According to Petras, this fact is underlined by “the importance of the domestic political power relations in shaping US imperial policy, the importance of military ideology over economic interests; and the role of ‘dual citizens’ with foreign allegiances in subverting a potentially democratic foreign policy”.
The study shows also that US empire-building efforts are not confined solely to the Middle East and to serve Israeli interests. It’s a global US effort, but to advance its sphere of influence, for example, the US relies on its European allies like France and Great Britain to secure the realm in Africa. The overthrow of the Gaddafi regime in Libya and the direct intervention of France in Mali or in the Central African Republic are cases in point.
Petras regards the Zionist lobby as the most important factor in shaping US foreign policy in the Middle East. This goes beyond the influence of AIPAC because there exists a whole string of pro-Israeli think tanks, a power configuration of 52 Jewish organizations, influential individuals in the media and the military, plus leverage over the US Congress. It seems as if the author overrates the influence of the Zionist lobby, which influences and even determines US foreign policy, downplaying US policies mainly affected by the military, financial and industrial elites. Globally, Israel performs a useful role for the US in the region. In case of emergency, Israel would safeguard the Jordanian or the Saudi regimes from being overthrown either by internal unrest or foreign intervention .
The author argues that the loss of trust between the power elite and the majority of the American people is one of the leading factors influencing US foreign policy. Together with the totally discredited US Congress, only 9 per cent have a positive view of the Congress, and the public’s rejection of President Obama’s militarist approach are important factors that hindered the US empire’s determination for new wars. Despite this war-weariness, the war-mongering US Congress in close cooperation with the Zionist lobby pushes for a military confrontation with Iran, even though the negotiations between Iran and the five UN Security Council members plus Germany are heading in the right direction.
Although the geopolitical analysis of James Petras’ newest book is convincing in many aspects, his focus on the Zionist Power Configuration and a subservient US Congress does not show the whole picture of US imperial interests. The domestic power configurations are more complex. For the political class of the United States, it would be a damning indictment, if Israel or its stakeholders would be the sole power brokers in terms of US foreign policy.
Whether the 21st century will be an American one, has to be seen, although, according to Petras, “there is no alternative imperial or modern anti-imperial tendency on the immediate horizon”. Right now, the US makes more enemies than friends. Its new adventurism in Syria and Iraq may turn out to be even more disastrous for the US than the war in Afghanistan and Iraq. Petras’ book gives the readers an insight in the making of US foreign policy, which appears multifarious and determined by a power struggle between different elites.
Press TV’s correspondent in Turkey, Serena Shim, has been killed in a suspicious car accident near the Turkey-Syria border.
Shim was killed on Sunday as she was on a working mission in Turkey to cover the ongoing war in the strategic Syrian town of Kobani.
She was going back to her hotel from a report scene in the city of Suruç in Turkey’s Urfa Province when their car collided with a heavy vehicle. The identity and whereabouts of the truck driver remain unknown.
Shim, an American citizen of Lebanese origin, covered reports for Press TV in Lebanon, Iraq, and Ukraine.
On Friday, she told Press TV that the Turkish intelligence agency had accused her of spying probably due to some of the stories she has covered about Turkey’s stance on the ISIL terrorists in Kobani and its surroundings, adding that she feared being arrested.
Shim said she was among the few journalists obtaining stories of militants infiltrating into Syria through the Turkish border, adding that she had received images from militants crossing the Turkish border into Syria in World Food Organization and other NGOs’ trucks.
Shim flatly rejected accusations against her, saying she was “surprised” at this accusation “because I have nothing to hide and I have never done anything aside my job.”
Kobani and its surroundings have been under attack since mid-September, with the ISIL militants capturing dozens of nearby Kurdish villages.
Turkey has been accused of backing ISIL militants in Syria.
This article was first published in January, 1995. in the wake of the Rwandan Genocide. It was subsequently included as a Chapter in The Globalization of Poverty, first edition, 1997.
In the context of recent revelations concerning the 1994 genocide and the covert role of the United States in triggering a humanitarian disaster, the role of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank must be understood.
In September 1990 at the very outset of the US-UK sponsored RPF insurgency and invasion from Uganda, a devastating program of macroeconomic reforms was imposed on Rwanda by the IMF.
Michel Chossudovsky, October 20 2014
* * *
The Rwandan crisis has been presented by the Western media as a profuse narrative of human suffering, while neglecting to explain the underlying social and economic causes. As in other ‘countries in transition’, ethnic strife and the outbreak of civil war are increasingly depicted as something which is almost ‘inevitable’ and innate to these societies, constituting ‘a painful stage in their evolution from a one- party State towards democracy and the free market’.
The brutality of the massacres has shocked the world community, but what the international press fails to mention is that the civil war was preceded by the flare-up of a deep-seated economic crisis. It was the restructuring of the agricultural system which precipitated the population into abject poverty and destitution. This deterioration of the economic environment which immediately followed the collapse of the international coffee market and the imposition of sweeping macro-economic reforms by the Bretton Woods institutions – exacerbated simmering ethnic tensions and accelerated the process of political collapse .
In 1987, the system of quotas established under the International Coffee Agreement (ICA) started to fall apart. World prices plummeted, the Fonds d’egalisation (the State coffee stabilisation fund) which purchased coffee from Rwandan farmers at a fixed price started to accumulate a sizeable debt. A lethal blow to Rwanda’s economy came in June 1989 when the ICA reached a deadlock as a result of political pressures from Washington on behalf of the large US coffee traders. At the conclusion of a historic meeting of producers held in Florida, coffee prices plunged in a matter of months by more than 50%. For Rwanda and several other African countries, the drop in price wreaked havoc. With retail prices more than 20 times that paid to the African farmer, a tremendous amount of wealth was being appropriated in the rich countries.
The legacy of colonialism
What is the responsibility of the West in this tragedy? First, it is important to stress that the conflict between the Hutu and Tutsi was largely the product of the colonial system, many features of which still prevail today. From the late 19th century, the early German colonial occupation had used them wami (King) of the nyiginya monarchy installed at Nyanza as a means of establishing its military posts.
However, it was largely the administrative reforms initiated in 1926 by the Belgians which were decisive in shaping socio-ethnic relations. The Belgians explicitly used dynastic conflicts to reinforce their territorial control. The traditional chiefs in a each hill (colline) were used by the colonial administration to requisition forced labour. Routine beatings and corporal punishment were administered on behalf of the colonial masters by the traditional chiefs. The latter were under the direct supervision of a Belgian colonial administrator responsible for a particular portion of territory. A climate of fear and distrust was installed, communal solidarity broke down, traditional client relations were tranformed to serve the interests of the coloniser.
The objective was to fuel inter-ethnic rivalries as a means of achieving political control as well as preventing the development of solidarity between the two ethnic groups which inevitably would have been directed against the colonial regime. The Tutsi dynastic aristocracy was also made responsible for the collection of taxes and the administration of justice. The communal economy was undermined, the peasantry was forced to shift out of food agriculture into cash crops for export. Communal lands were transformed into individual plots geared solely towards cash crop cultivation (the so-called cultures obligatoires).
Colonial historiographers were entrusted with the task of ‘transcribing’ as well as distorting Rwanda-Urundi’s oral history. The historical record was falsified: the mwami monarchy was identified exclusively with the Tutsi aristocratic dynasty. The Hutus were represented as a dominated caste….
The Belgian colonialists developed a new social class, the so-called negres evolues recruited among the Tutsi aristocracy, the school system was put in place to educate the sons of the chiefs and provide the African personnel required by the Belgians. In turn, the various apostolic missions and vicariats received under Belgian colonial rule an almost political mandate, the clergy was often used to oblige the peasants to integrate the cash crop economy… These socio-ethnic divisions – which have been unfolding since the 1920s – have left a profound mark on contemporary Rwandan society.
Since Independence in 1962, relations with the former colonial powers and donors have become exceedingly more complex. Inherited from the Belgian colonial period, however, the same objective of pushing one ethnic group against the other (‘divide and rule’) has largely prevailed in the various ‘military’, ‘human rights’ and ‘macro- economic’ interventions undertaken from the outset of the civil war in 1990.
The Rwandan crisis has become encapsulated in a continuous agenda of donor roundtables (held in Paris), cease-fire agreements, peace talks…These various initiatives have been closely monitored and coordinated by the donor community in a tangled circuit of ‘conditionalities’ (and cross-conditionalities). The release of multilateral and bilateral loans since late 1990 was made conditional upon implementing a process of so-called ‘democratisation’ under the tight surveillance of the donor community. In turn, Western aid in support of multiparty democracy was made conditional (in an almost ‘symbiotic’ relationship) upon the government reaching an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and so on….
These attempts were all the more illusive because since the collapse of the coffee market, actual political power in Rwanda largely rested, in any event, in the hands of the donors. A communique of the US State Department issued in early 1993 vividly illustrates this situation: the continuation of US bilateral aid was made conditional on good behaviour in policy reform as well as progress in the pursuit of democracy….
The model of ‘democratisation’ based on an abstract model of inter-ethnic solidarity envisaged by the Arusha peace agreement signed in August 1993 was an impossibility from the outset and the donors knew it. The brutal impoverishment of the population which resulted from both the war and the IMF reforms, precluded a genuine process of democratisation. The objective was to meet the conditions of ‘good governance’ (a new term in the donors’ glossary) and oversee the installation of a bogus multiparty coalition government under the trusteeship of Rwanda’s external creditors. In fact multipartism as narrowly conceived by the donors, contributed to fuelling the various political factions of the regime… Not surprisingly, as soon as the peace negotiations entered a stalemate, the World Bank announced that it was interrupting the disbursements under its loan agreement.
The economy since independence
The evolution of the post-colonial economic system played a decisive role in the development of the Rwandan crisis. While progress was indeed recorded since Independence in diversifying the national economy, the colonial-style export economy based on coffee (les cultures obligatoires) established under the Belgian administration was largely maintained providing Rwanda with more than 80% of its foreign exchange earnings. A rentier class with interests in coffee trade and with close ties to the seat of political power had developed. Levels of poverty remained high, yet during the 1970s, and the first part of the 1980s, economic and social progress was nonetheless realised: real gross domestic product (GPD) growth was of the order of 4.9% per annum (1965-89), school enrolment increased markedly, recorded inflation was among the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, less than 4% per annum.
While the Rwandan rural economy remained fragile, marked by acute demographic pressures (3.2% per annum population growth), land fragmentation and soil erosion, local-level food self-sufficiency had, to some extent, been achieved alongside the development of the export economy. Coffee was cultivated by approximately 70% of rural households, yet it constituted only a fraction of total monetary income. A variety of other commercial activities had been developed including the sale of traditional food staples and banana beer in regional and urban markets.
Until the late 1980s, imports of cereals including food aid were minimal compared to the patterns observed in other countries of the region. The food situation started to deteriorate in the early 1980s with a marked decline in the per capita availability of food. In overt contradiction to the usual trade reforms adopted under the auspices of the World Bank, protection to local producers had been provided through restrictions on the import of food commodities. They were lifted with the adoption of the 1990 structural adjustment programme.
The fragility of the State
The economic foundations of the post-Independence Rwandan State remained extremely fragile, a large share of government revenues depended on coffee, with the risk that a collapse in commodity prices would precipitate a crisis in the State’s public finances. The rural economy was the main source of funding of the State. As the debt crisis unfolded, a larger share of coffee and tea earnings had been earmarked for debt servicing, putting further pressure on small-scale farmers.
Export earnings declined by 50% between 1987 and 1991. The demise of State institutions unfolded thereafter. When coffee prices plummeted, famines erupted throughout the Rwandan countryside. According to World Bank data, the growth of GDP per capita declined from 0.4% in 1981-86 to – 5.5% in the period immediately following the slump of the coffee market (1987-91).
A World Bank mission travelled to Rwanda in November 1988 to review Rwanda’s public expenditure programme… A series of recommendations had been established with a view to putting Rwanda back on the track of sustained economic growth. The World Bank mission presented to the government, Rwanda policy options as consisting of two ‘scenarios’. Scenario I entitled ‘No Strategy Change’ contemplated the option of remaining with the ‘old’ system of State planning, whereas Scenario II labelled ‘With Strategy Change’ was that of macro-economic reform and ‘transition to the free market’.
After careful economic ‘simulations’ of likely policy outcomes, the World Bank concluded with some grain of optimism that if Rwanda adopted Scenario II, levels of consumption would increase markedly over 1989-93 alongside a recovery of investment and an improved balance of trade. The ‘simulations’ also pointed to added export performance and substantially lower levels of external indebtedness. These outcomes depended on the speedy implementation of the usual recipe of trade liberalisation and currency devaluation alongside the lifting of all subsidies to agriculture, the phasing out of the Fonds d’egalisation, the privatisation of State enterprises and the dismissal of civil servants…
The ‘With Strategy Change’ (Scenario II) was adopted, the government had no choice… A 50% devaluation of the Rwandan franc was carried out in November 1990, barely six weeks after the incursion from Uganda of the rebel army of the Rwandan Patriotic Front.
The devaluation was intended to boost coffee exports. It was presented to public opinion as a means of rehabilitating a war-ravaged economy. Not surprisingly, exactly the opposite results were achieved exacerbating the plight of the civil war. From a situation of relative price stability, the plunge of the Rwandan franc contributed to triggering inflation and the collapse of real earnings. A few days after the devaluation, sizeable increases in the prices of fuel and consumer essentials were announced. The consumer price index increased from 1.0% in 1989 to 19.2% in 1991. The balance-of-payments situation deteriorated dramatically and the outstanding external debt which had already doubled since 1985, increased by 34% between 1989 and 1992.
The State administrative apparatus was in disarray, State enterprises were pushed into bankruptcy and public services collapsed. Health and education collapsed under the brunt of the IMF imposed austerity measures. Despite the establishment of ‘Social Safety’ (earmarked by the donors for programmes in the social sectors), the incidence of severe child malnutrition increased dramatically, the number of recorded cases of malaria increased by 21% in the year following the adoption of the IMF programme largely as a result of the absence of anti-malarial drugs in the public health centres. The imposition of school fees at the primary school level was conducive to a massive decline in school enrolment.
The economic crisis reached its climax in 1992 when Rwandan farmers in desperation uprooted some 300,000 coffee trees. Despite soaring domestic prices, the government had frozen the farmgate price of coffee at its 1989 level (125 RwF a kg), under the terms of its agreement with the Bretton Woods institutions. The government was not allowed (under the World Bank loan) to transfer State resources to the Fonds d’egalisation. It should also be mentioned that a significant profit was appropriated by local coffee traders and intermediaries serving to put further pressure on the peasantry.
In June 1992, a second devaluation was ordered by the IMF leading — at the height of the civil war – to a further escalation of the prices of fuel and consumer essentials. Coffee production tumbled by another 25% in a single year…. Because of over-cropping of coffee trees, there was increasingly less land available to produce food, but the peasantry was not able to easily switch back into food crops. The meagre cash income derived from coffee had been erased yet there was nothing to fall back on. Not only were cash revenues from coffee insufficient to buy food, the prices of farm inputs had soared and money earnings from coffee were grossly insufficient.
The crisis of the coffee economy backlashed on the production of traditional food staples leading to a substantial drop in the production of cassava, beans and sorghum… The system of savings and loan cooperatives which provided credit to small farmers had also disintegrated. Moreover, with the liberalisation of trade and the deregulation of grain markets as recommended by the Bretton Woods institutions, (heavily subsidised) cheap food imports and food aid from the rich countries were entering Rwanda with the effect of destabilising local markets.
Under ‘the free market’ system imposed on Rwanda, neither cash crops nor food crops were economically viable. The entire agricultural system was pushed into crisis, the State administrative apparatus was in disarray due to the civil war but also as a result of the austerity measures and sinking civil service salaries… A situation which inevitably contributed to exacerbating the climate of generalised insecurity which had unfolded in 1992…
The seriousness of the agricultural situation had been amply documented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which had warned of the existence of widespread famine in the southern provinces. A report released in early 1994 also pointed to the total collapse of coffee production due to the war but also as a result of the failure of the State marketing system which was being phased with the support of the World Bank. Rwandex, the mixed enterprise responsible for processing and export of coffee, had become largely inoperative.
The decision to devalue (and ‘the IMF stamp of approval’) had already been reached on 17 September 1990 prior to the outbreak of hostilities in high-level meetings held in Washington between the IMF and a mission headed by the Rwandan Minister of Finance Mr Ntigurirwa. The ‘green light’ had been granted: as of early October, at the very moment when the fighting started, millions of dollars of so-called ‘balance-of-payments aid’ (from multilateral and bilateral sources) came pouring into the coffers of the Central Bank. These funds administered by the Central Bank had been earmarked (by the donors) for commodity imports, yet it appears likely that a sizeable portion of these ‘quick disbursing loans’ had been diverted by the regime (and its various political factions) towards the acquisition of military hardware (from South Africa, Egypt and Eastern Europe). These purchases of Kalachnikov guns, heavy artillery and mortar were undertaken in addition to the bilateral military aid package provided by France which included inter alia Milan and Apila missiles (not to mention a Mystere Falcon jet for President Habyarimana’s personal use).
Moreover, since October 1990, the Armed Forces had expanded virtually overnight from 5,000 to 40,000 men requiring inevitably (under conditions of budgetary austerity) a sizeable influx of outside money… The new recruits were largely enlisted from the ranks of the urban unemployed of which the numbers had dramatically swelled since the outset of the collapse of the coffee market in 1989. Thousands of delinquent and idle youths from a drifting population were also drafted into the civilian militia responsible for the massacres. And part of the arms purchases enabled the Armed Forces to organise and equip the militiamen…
In all, from the outset of the hostilities (which coincided chronologically with the devaluation and the initial ‘gush of fresh money’ in October 1990), a total envelope of some $260 million had been approved for disbursal (with sizeable bilateral contributions from France, Germany, Belgium, the European Community and the US). While the new loans contributed to releasing money for the payment of debt servicing as well as equipping the Armed Force, the evidence would suggest that a large part of this donor assistance was neither used productively nor was it channelled into providing relief in areas affected by famine.
It is also worth noting that the World Bank through its soft-lending affiliate, the International Development Association (IDA), had ordered in 1992 the privatisation of Rwanda’s State enterprise Electrogaz. The proceeds of the privatisation were to be channelled towards debt servicing. In a loan agreement co-financed with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Caisse francaise de developpement (CFD), the Rwandan authorities were to receive in return (after meeting the ‘conditionalities’) the modest sum of $39 million which could be spent freely on commodity imports. The privatisation, carried out at the height of the civil war, also included dismissals of personnel and an immediate hike in the price of electricity which further contributed to paralysing urban public services. A similar privatisation of Rwandatel, the State telecommunications company under the Ministry of Transport and Communications, was implemented in September 1993.
The World Bank had carefully reviewed Rwanda’s public investment programme. The fiches de projet having been examined, the World Bank recommended scrapping more than half the country’s public investment projects. In agriculture, the World Bank had also demanded a significant down-sizing of State investment including the abandonment of the inland swamp reclamation programme which had been initiated by the government in response to the severe shortages of arable land (and which the World Bank considered ‘unprofitable’). In the social sectors, the World Bank proposed a so-called ‘priority programme’ (under ‘the Social Safety Net’) predicated on maximising efficiency and ‘reducing the financial burden of the government’ through the exaction of user fees, lay-offs of teachers and health workers and the partial privatisation of health and education.
The World Bank would no doubt contend that things would have been much worse had Scenario II not been adopted. The so- called ‘counterfactual argument’… Such a reasoning, however, sounds absurd particularly in the case of Rwanda. No sensitivity or concern was expressed as to the likely political and social repercussions of economic shock therapy applied to a country on the brink of civil war… The World Bank team consciously excluded the ‘non-economic variables’ from their ‘simulations’.
While the international donor community cannot be held directly responsible for the tragic outcome of the Rwandan civil war, the austerity measures combined with the impact of the IMF-sponsored devaluations, contributed to impoverishing the Rwandan people at a time of acute political and social crisis. The deliberate manipulation of market forces destroyed economic activity and people’s livelihood, fuelled unemployment and created a situation of generalised famine and social despair…
To lay the blame solely on deep-seated tribal hatred not only exonerates the great powers and the donors, it also distorts an exceedingly complex process of economic, social and political disintegration affecting an entire nation of more than seven million people… Rwanda, however, is but one among many countries in sub-Saharan Africa (not to mention recent developments in Burundi where famine and ethnic massacres are rampant) which are facing a similar predicament. And in many respects the Rwandan 1990 devaluation appears almost as a ‘laboratory test case’ as well as a threatening ‘danger signal’ for the devaluation of the CFA franc implemented on the instructions of the IMF and the French Treasury in January 1994 by the same amount, 50%.
It is also worth recalling that in Somalia iln the aftermath of ‘Operation Restore Hope’, the absence of a genuine economic recovery programme by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Mogadishu – outside the provision of short-term emergency relief and food aid – was the main obstacle to resolving the civil war and rebuilding the country. In Somalia, because of the surplus of relief aid which competed with local production, farmers remained in the relief camps instead of returning to their home villages.
What are the lessons for Rwanda? As humanitarian organisations prepare for the return of the refugees, the prospects for rebuilding the Rwandan economy outside the framework determined by the IMF and Rwanda’s international creditors seem to be extremely bleak. Even in the event a national unity government is installed and the personal security of the refugees can be ensured, the two million Rwandans cramped in camps in Zaire and Tanzania have nothing to return to, nothing to look forward to: agricultural markets have been destroyed, local-level food production and the coffee economy have been shattered, urban employment and social programmes have been erased.
The reconstruction of Rwanda will require ‘an alternative economic programme’ implemented by a genuinely democratic government (based on inter-ethnic solidarity and free from donor interference). Such a programme presupposes erasing the external debt together with an unconditional infusion of international aid. It also requires lifting the straitjacket of budgetary austerity imposed by the IMF, mobilising domestic resources, and providing for a secure and stable productive base for the rural people.
From Ambassador Jean-Marie NDAGIJIMANA, former Rwandan Foreign Affairs Minister
- Tony Hall, Director-General
- Sam Bagnall, Executive Producer, This World, BBC
Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Jean-Marie Ndagijimana. I am a lawyer, and a human rights activist. I come from mixed ethnicity, Hutu and Tutsi; my mother is a Tutsi and my father a Hutu. During the Tutsi genocide, I lost several members of my tutsi family killed by the Hutu militias and after Paul Kagame took power, several members of my hutu family were massacred by the RPF Tutsi rebels in Rwanda and Zaïre, now the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Before 1994, I served as Rwandan Ambassador in Addis-Ababa from January 1986 to October 1990, and in Paris from October 1990 to April 1994. I fell apart with the interim government formed at the beginning of the genocide. I joined the first government of national unity established after the genocide where I served as foreign affairs minister from July 1994 to October 1994. I resigned and forced to go into exile in October1994 after I denounced and condemned the massacres of thousands of innocent Hutus committed by the new national army, namely the RPA/RPF. I am now the Spokesman of the Committee for Unity, Peace and Reconciliation in Rwanda (Inteko y’ubwiyunge mu Rwanda). I live in France.
My stance on the genocide of 1994 is as follows. Yes, some Hutus committed acts of genocide against their Tutsi neighbours, there was certainly genocide against the Tutsis between April and July 1994. I spoke out publicly on that matter in the middle of April 1994 when many of those who today pretend to be defending my fellow Rwandans, murdered Tutsi and Hutu. However, all the Hutus did not participate in the massacre of the Tutsis, nor are the Hutus a genocidal people as some people seem to assert. That is confirmed by intelligence reports.
On the other hand, Hutus were victims of mass killings which could be described as genocide, though it has not as yet been recognized by the International Community. Thousands of Hutus were selectively and systematically massacred by extremist Tutsis of the RPF from October 1990 to 1994. Many more were massacred after April 1994. My position is that Kagame’s RPF committed acts of genocide against Hutus in the areas they controlled during the war 1990-94. The ethnic cleansing of the Hutus was carried out after Paul Kagame took power in Rwanda and reached its climax in the forests of Zaire when about 400,000 Hutu refugees were killed by RPF between 1996 and 1998. The evidence abounds. The testimony of many RPF soldiers directly implicated in these massacres sends chills up your back. Investigative reports by international judges and human rights organizations have been published on that subject (Mapping Report), but without budging anything. Everything happened as if the brutality, the cruelty and the bestiality of the genocide of Tutsis hunted down and slaughtered like animals in front of TV cameras anesthetized the global consciousness that no longer wants to hear about Rwanda and millions of the dead. Out of sight, out of mind!
“After all,” some say, “the massacres committed by the RPF were aimed only at the majority of the country.” The reason, “The Hutus were numerous enough to survive genocide.”
As one of the specialists of the Great Lakes and Rwanda in particular, I participated in several conferences on the Rwandan genocide, the recently took place in The Hague from June 1 to 3, 2014 to consider the failure of the international community to prevent or effectively respond to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and to explore whether and how the tragedy might have been averted.
I do confirm that at that conference, various responsibilities of Paul Kagame and the RPA in the genocide were recognized and underlined by many eye witnesses, including the former UNAMIR commander who was in Kigali during the Tutsi genocide.
At that conference, I exposed my point of view on that matter, and made it clear that Paul Kagame/RPF/RPA sacrificed the Tutsi on one hand, and committed genocide against the Hutu on the other hand. I expected the rwandan government’s delegation at the conference, to react, but they never contradicted me on that matter.
On my part, I wrote a book How Paul Kagame sacrificed Tutsi, in which I testify the responsibilities of the Rwanda Patriotic Front. I take this opportunity to send you confidentially the file of the manuscript of my book proving that the contents of the documentary “Rwanda’s untold story” are just a drop in the ocean, taking into account that one cannot tell, in one hour, all the crimes committed by Paul Kagame’s Rwanda Patriotic Front.
I do congratulate the BBC for its impartiality and the professionalism in that documentary. Those who try to frighten the BBC by spreading and broadcasting motions and public protests against the documentary “Rwanda’s untold story” are fighting a rear-guard to mask the truth and protect Paul Kagame and his accomplices.
I have attached here with the complete file of my book.
Hoping that this communication will help you understand better the complex history of the Rwandan genocide.
Ambassador Jean-Marie NDAGIJIMANA
Spokesman of the Committee for Unity, Peace and Reconciliation in Rwanda (CUPR)
This business has been too focused on growth and cared more about the loan outcome than the customer outcome. Andy Haste, Wonga Chairman, The Guardian, Oct 16, 2014.
Keeping people poor in a world of seedy abandonment. Borrowing at phenomenal rates. Loan sharks running wild, dressed by the language of assistance and salvation. All of this should be the stuff to be binned and repelled by governments, but in an age when governments forfeit, rather than affirm responsibility in the face of the economy, the phenomenon of Wonga, a deferred deposit loan operator, has come to thrive. Private indebtedness has become both a condition and a lifestyle.
The names of such companies as Wonga suggests something benign, a sort of gentle helper in the world of tightened finance. You need cash. You need it quickly. Get the money, but then repay it at phenomenally high rates of interest. If you can’t make the payments by each payday, then you can be re-issued with a new round of finance for the debt. The circle closes, and is never opened. Goods can be repossessed. Property is surrendered. A loan of $200 easily multiplies to returns of $2000 for the lending company. (Wonga’s own rates can be up to 5,853 per cent a year.)
As the Australian Securities and Investments Commission cautions individuals, “The best way to stay out of debt is not to get a loan. Think about whether you really need the money right now, whether there are any other options, and whether a small amount loan is the right credit product for you.” Steven M. Graves of California State University, Northridge draws up a depressing picture. “Growing disparities in the type of and accessibility to credit in the inner city has generated calls for greater regulation to curb practices by payday lenders that critics claim disproportionately affect poor and minority customers.”
It should not be surprising that this fiendish financial product is not new. Alan Bond, convicted for Australia’s biggest corporate fraud, was one who did enjoy the business of pay-day lending. In Britain and the United States, it took off, a rogue model of obtaining profits that sent financiers courting those at the bottom of the economic food chain.
It even got the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, worried. So much so, in fact, that he has a proposal: supporting credit co-ops, effectively credit unions that will act as a buffer against the loan shark model. In Welby’s words, they will be “both engaged in their communities and are much more professional – and people have got to know about them.”
Welby, however, has another reason. Wonga has become a problem for his own organisation. The Church of England’s pension fund has found its money invested via a North American venture capital firm in Wonga’s own reserves. Ethical uprightness has, as a result, been undercut. “It shouldn’t happen, it’s very embarrassing, but these things do happen and we have to find out why and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Wonga, which has been termed a “payday lender”, has written off the debts of 330,000 borrowers this month who were more than 30 days in arrears. The value of that comes down to an eye goggling £220m. Additionally, 45,000 customers in arrears will not be chased up for interest owing. The company is in retreat in the face of its own practices which have managed to lure individuals into the debt cycle in the name of innovative “business models”. Perhaps it is only fitting that it should have a new chairman by the name of Andy Haste, whose surname does not augur well for the company’s practices.
In a desperate attempt to salvage an already sunk reputation, the company has also appointed debt management executive Paul Miles as the new chief financial officer. He knows the right things to say, hoping to put “good governance and superior operating processes at the heart of everything Wonga does”.
This could either be startlingly simple, or monumentally difficult, given the way Wonga has been operating. Hectoring customers under false names claiming to represent fictitious legal companies is not perhaps a “superior operating process” by any stretch of the imagination, but it must have been fun for the employees of the company whose names were actually used.
Sensitivities (because even financial markets can be sensitive) exist towards any move that could reduce the interest on the lending system, to make it more accessible without necessarily being more punitive. This might be due to the mania associated with the bubble of the housing market, something that has become a deity to worship rather than dethrone. As financial reporter Max Keiser notes, this disease can be attributed to the Thatcher period, as if we had not already noted it, when all Britons became housing speculators.
The latest write-offs on the part of Wonga, and the keen manoeuvring to adjust its top staff, have been deemed apologies of purpose. They still want to operate, and have suddenly decided to come clean with a modern, revised conscience. Such a self-discovery, however, is pure illusion. The vital issue there is less to placate the customer than to placate the regulator.
That will not impress the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has made it clear to Wonga’s founder Errol Damelin that he hopes to “compete” the likes of Wonga “out of existence”. Fourteen states in the US have moved to ban payday lenders. Some Australian states have set limits on the maximum annual percentage rate.
With the emergence of new digital market models, be it through Bitcoin, crowsourced funding, and such creations as Metrobank, new financial imperatives continue to operate. But any regulator with teeth will have to consider halting the relentless march of the debt inducing machine that is the payday lender.
Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: [email protected]
In the West, Russian media is often accused of propaganda. If this really is the aim of the Russian press, they aren’t remotely as good at it as the Washington Post.
Let’s talk about propaganda and the Western media’s use of ‘star’ columnists to spout it. Let’s, especially, focus on when that vitriol is deliberately inaccurate. This week’s best example is the Washington Post columns.
The Post used to be perceived as a great newspaper, but those were different times. It has won 47 Pulitzer Prizes and under Philip Graham’s direction it became regarded, globally, as a beacon of honest reporting. It’s now owned by the Amazon founder, Jeff Bezos, who was named the world’s worst boss at this year’s International Trade Union Confederation World Congress in Berlin. The ITCU is not some fringe body – it represents 180 million workers. Some accolade, eh?
“Amazon operating in Germany treats its workers as if they are robots. The company makes no secret that within just a few years they will replace workers with robots. A rich American corporation operating globally with disdain for dignity, for rights for working people,”
stated Sharan Burrow, the ITCU’s General Secretary.
The halcyon days of the Post are over and, in a hardly surprising move, that story didn’t get their, once famed, forensic coverage.
One of its most prominent op-ed writers is Anne Applebaum, who writes on foreign affairs every fortnight. Her brief is global, but in Anne’s world, Russia seems to be, just about, the only foreign affair of interest.
No, revisionists: we didn’t humiliate Russia for 20 years, we indulged Russia. That was our great mistake. http://t.co/IDUjcsTdt0
People’s personal lives are usually not relevant here, but Anne is married to Radoslaw Sikorski, who was recently removed as Poland’s Foreign Minister, so it merits mention. Sikorski played a prominent role in stoking up this year’s coup in Ukraine and is, notoriously, hawkish on Russia. The Pole was affiliated with Washington’s American Enterprise Institute – a neocon citadel with close links to the former (George W.) Bush administration in the US. A British citizen for 19 years, until he renounced it, Sikorski is devoted to Poland but his world view was largely shaped on foreign fields. Applebaum, herself, won a Pulitzer for her book Gulag in 2004. She’s coveted an image as a ferocious warrior against oppression (so long as that oppression was in Russia) and chauvinism (again if the intolerance is in Russia). Although Moscow hijacks most of her time – in fact she’s made a career out of bashing the country – Applebaum sometimes finds a gap in her schedule for a bit of Muslim baiting.
In 2009, she claimed that “in recent years separatist and politically extreme forms of Islam have emerged in every European country with a large Muslim population: Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark, Sweden.”
Now I’ve never heard of separatist Muslim’s in Denmark, have you? I also seem to have missed the separatist Islamic uprising in Germany while I was living there, although a drunken Kurd did propose that Berlin’s Kreuzberg be made a Muslim ‘zone’ with no alcohol sold – the irony amused.
Ironically, the only European country that has recently had a separatist Muslim problem is Russia. In 2001, when President Putin and then President Bush allied in the ‘War On Terror’, Applebaum wrote in London’s Daily Telegraph:
“Putin’s commitment to America’s war on terrorism was made so abruptly, and is so clearly personal, that I suspect it comes from something deeper: his racism. Or – since racism is a harsh word – perhaps it is better to say that his commitment comes from his deep belief that the greatest threat to Russia now comes not from the West and NATO, but from the South and Islam.” “When we tell the world’s Muslims that our war isn’t against them, we’d better make sure our Russian partners are acting as if they believe it.”
To put it another way, Anne was supportive of Muslims when she thought Russia was against them. Once, the penny dropped that Putin wasn’t an Islam-ophobe, she flip-flopped. And so to her Washington Post column this week Applebaum goes on a pro-NATO rant and briefly mentions how great life is in Europe. Anne lives in Poland, where the average net monthly salary is €679. Doubtless, life is pure La Dolce Vita there on an American income, but many locals might demur.
There’s a bit of spiel about how wonderful and understanding the US was in the nineties’ and then the fun starts. Applebaum claims that Russia never qualified to join the old G8 because it was “neither a large economy nor a democracy.” There’s little doubt democracy could be improved in Russia, but the fiscal comment is bizarre. Canada was a member, and still sits at the G7, but its economy is well under half the size of Russia’s. See the table below.
So, Russia is the 4th biggest economy of the old G8, but Applebaum thinks it didn’t merit membership on the grounds of being “a large economy?” If she counters by claiming the piece referred to the 90’s, Russia was admitted in 1998, when Boris Yeltsin was in charge and open democracy was all the rage in Russia. The country defaulted on its debts the same year.
Here’s another ludicrous statement. “In 1991, Russia was no longer a great power… so why didn’t we recognize reality, reform the United Nations and give a Security Council seat to India, Japan or others?” I can answer that Anne. Russia is the world’s second largest military power, by all accepted metrics, and Japan is 10th. In fact, South Korea and Turkey have stronger militaries than Japan. Not to mention that Russia has 15,000 tanks and Japan only 767. They won’t be going too far with those. Even in 1991, Russia’s nuclear strength alone guaranteed membership.
Russia is also the only nation in the world that can currently launch a human being into space. That kind of stuff is important in the world of security.
The danger here is that The Washington Post helps frame opinion in America’s corridors of power. The vast majority of elected representatives have no personal experience of Russia and have never been there. Instead, their view of the country is framed by what they consume from the US corporate media. Applebaum speaks to an extremely powerful audience. Distorting facts to present a false picture in The Washington Post is callous, improper and viperous.
Jeff Leen, the Washington Post’s assistant managing editor for investigations, begins his renewed attack on the late Gary Webb’s Contra-cocaine reporting with a falsehood.
Leen insists that there is a journalism dictum that “an extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof.” But Leen must know that it is not true. Many extraordinary claims, such as assertions in 2002-03 that Iraq was hiding arsenals of WMDs, were published as flat-fact without “extraordinary proof” or any real evidence at all, including by Leen’s colleagues at the Washington Post.
A different rule actually governs American journalism – that journalists need “extraordinary proof” if a story puts the U.S. government or an “ally” in a negative light but pretty much anything goes when criticizing an “enemy.”
If, for instance, the Post wanted to accuse the Syrian government of killing civilians with Sarin gas or blame Russian-backed rebels for the shoot-down of a civilian airliner over Ukraine, any scraps of proof – no matter how dubious – would be good enough (as was the actual case in 2013 and 2014, respectively).
Image: Journalist Gary Webb
However, if new evidence undercut those suspicions and shifted the blame to people on “the U.S. side” – say, the Syrian rebels and the Ukrainian government – then the standards of proof suddenly skyrocket beyond reach. So what you get is not “responsible” journalism – as Leen tries to suggest – but hypocrisy and propaganda. One set of rules for the goose and another set for the gander.
The Contra-Cocaine Case
Or to go back to the Contra-cocaine scandal that Brian Barger and I first exposed for the Associated Press in 1985: If we were writing that the leftist Nicaraguan Sandinista government – the then U.S. “enemy” – was shipping cocaine to the United States, any flimsy claim would have sufficed. But the standard of proof ratcheted up when the subject of our story was cocaine smuggling by President Ronald Reagan’s beloved Contras.
In other words, the real dictum is that there are two standards, double standards, something that a careerist like Leen knows in his gut but doesn’t want you to know. All the better to suggest that Gary Webb was guilty of violating some noble principle of journalism.
But Leen is wrong in another way – because there was “extraordinary proof” establishing that the Contras were implicated in drug trafficking and that the Reagan administration was looking the other way.
When Barger and I wrote the first story about Contra-cocaine trafficking almost three decades ago, we already had “extraordinary proof,” including documents from Costa Rica, statements by Contras and Contra backers, and admissions from officials in the Drug Enforcement Administration and Ronald Reagan’s National Security Council staff.
However, Leen seems to dismiss our work as nothing but getting “tips” about Contra-cocaine trafficking as if Barger and I were like the hacks at the Washington Post and the New York Times who wait around for authorized handouts from the U.S. government.
Following the Money
Barger and I actually were looking for something different when we encountered the evidence on Contra-cocaine trafficking. We were trying to figure out how the Contras were sustaining themselves in the field after Congress cut off the CIA’s financing for their war.
We were, in the old-fashioned journalistic parlance, “following the money.” The problem was the money led, in part, to the reality that all the major Contra organizations were collaborating with drug traffickers.
Besides our work in the mid-1980s, Sen. John Kerry’s follow-on Contra-cocaine investigation added substantially more evidence. Yet Leen and his cohorts apparently felt no need to pursue the case any further or even give respectful attention to Kerry’s official findings.
Indeed, when Kerry’s report was issued in April 1989, the Washington Post ran a dismissive story by Michael Isikoff buried deep inside the paper. Newsweek dubbed Kerry “a randy conspiracy buff.” In Leen’s new article attacking Gary Webb — published on the front-page of the Washington Post’s Sunday Outlook section – Leen just says:
“After an exhaustive three-year investigation, the committee’s report concluded that CIA officials were aware of the smuggling activities of some of their charges who supported the contras, but it stopped short of implicating the agency directly in drug dealing. That seemed to be the final word on the matter.”
But why was it the “final word”? Why didn’t Leen and others who had missed the scandal as it was unfolding earlier in the decade at least try to build on Kerry’s findings. After all, these were now official U.S. government records. Wasn’t that “extraordinary” enough?
In this context, Leen paints himself as the true investigative journalist who knew the inside story of the Contra-cocaine tale from the beginning. He wrote: “As an investigative reporter covering the drug trade for the Miami Herald, … I wrote about the explosion of cocaine in America in the 1980s and 1990s, and the role of Colombia’s Medellin Cartel in fueling it.
“Beginning in 1985, journalists started pursuing tips about the CIA’s role in the drug trade. Was the agency allowing cocaine to flow into the United States as a means to fund its secret war supporting the contra rebels in Nicaragua? Many journalists, including me, chased that story from different angles, but the extraordinary proof was always lacking.”
Again, what Leen says is not true. Leen makes no reference to the groundbreaking AP story in 1985 or other disclosures in the ensuing years. He just insists that “the extraordinary proof” was lacking — which it may have been for him given his lackluster abilities. He then calls the final report of Kerry’s investigation the “final word.”
But Leen doesn’t explain why he and his fellow mainstream journalists were so incurious about this major scandal that they would remain passive even in the wake of a Senate investigation. It’s also not true that Kerry’s report was the “final word” prior to Webb reviving the scandal in 1996.
In 1991, during the narcotics trafficking trial of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, the U.S. government itself presented witnesses who connected the Contras to the Medellin cartel.
Indeed, after testimony by Medellin cartel kingpin Carlos Lehder about his $10 million contribution to the Contras, the Washington Post wrote in a Nov. 27, 1991 editorial that “The Kerry hearings didn’t get the attention they deserved at the time” and that “The Noriega trial brings this sordid aspect of the Nicaraguan engagement to fresh public attention.”
But the Post offered its readers no explanation for why Kerry’s hearings had been largely ignored, with the Post itself a leading culprit in this journalistic misfeasance. Nor did the Post and the other leading newspapers use the opening created by the Noriega trial to do anything to rectify their past neglect.
In other words, it didn’t seem to matter how much “extraordinary proof” the Washington Post or Jeff Leen had. Nothing would be sufficient to report seriously on the Contra-cocaine scandal, not even when the U.S. government vouched for the evidence.
So, Leen is trying to fool you when he presents himself as a “responsible journalist” weighing the difficult evidentiary choices. He’s just the latest hack to go after Gary Webb, which has become urgent again for the mainstream media in the face of “Kill the Messenger,” a new movie about Webb’s ordeal.
What Leen won’t face up to is that the tag-team destruction of Gary Webb in 1996-97 – by the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times – represented one of the most shameful episodes in the history of American journalism.
The Big Papers tore down an honest journalist to cover up their own cowardly failure to investigate and expose a grave national security crime, the Reagan administration’s tolerance for and protection of drug trafficking into the United States by the CIA’s client Contra army.
This journalistic failure occurred even though the Associated Press – far from a radical news outlet – and a Senate investigation (not to mention the Noriega trial) had charted the way.
Contrary to Leen’s column, “Kill the Messenger” is actually a fairly honest portrayal of what happened when Webb exposed the consequences of the Contra cocaine smuggling after the drugs reached the United States. One channel fed into an important Los Angeles supply chain that produced crack.
But Leen tells you that “The Hollywood version of [Webb's] story — a truth-teller persecuted by the cowardly and craven mainstream media — is pure fiction.”
He then lauds the collaboration of the Big Three newspapers in destroying Webb and creating such enormous pressure on Webb’s newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News, that the executive editor Jerry Ceppos threw his own reporter under the bus. To Leen, this disgraceful behavior represented the best of American journalism.
“The New York Times, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, in a rare show of unanimity, all wrote major pieces knocking the story down for its overblown claims and undernourished reporting.
“Gradually, the Mercury News backed away from Webb’s scoop. The paper transferred him to its Cupertino bureau and did an internal review of his facts and his methods. Jerry Ceppos, the Mercury News’s executive editor, wrote a piece concluding that the story did not meet the newspaper’s standards — a courageous stance, I thought.”
“Courageous”? What an astounding characterization of Ceppos’s act of career cowardice.
But Leen continues by explaining his role in the Webb takedown. After all, Leen was then the drug expert at the Miami Herald, which like the San Jose Mercury News was a Knight Ridder newspaper. Leen says his editors sought his opinion about Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series.
Though acknowledging that he was “envious” of Webb’s story when it appeared in 1996, Leen writes that he examined it and found it wanting, supposedly because of alleged overstatements. He proudly asserts that because of his critical analysis, the Miami Herald never published Webb’s series.
But Leen goes further. He falsely characterizes the U.S. government’s later admissions contained in inspector general reports by the CIA and Justice Department. If Leen had bothered to read the reports thoroughly, he would have realized that the reports actually establish that Webb – and indeed Kerry, Barger and I – grossly understated the seriousness of the Contra-cocaine problem which began at the start of the Contra movement in the early 1980s and lasted through the decade until the end of the war.
Leen apparently assumes that few Americans will take the trouble to study and understand what the reports said. That is why I published a lengthy account of the U.S. government’s admissions – both after the reports were published in 1998 and as “Kill the Messenger” was hitting the theaters in October. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Sordid Contra-Cocaine Saga.”]
Playing It Safe
Instead of diving into the reeds of the CIA and DOJ reports, Leen does what he and his mainstream colleagues have done for the past three decades, try to minimize the seriousness of the Reagan administration tolerating cocaine trafficking by its Contra clients and even obstructing official investigations that threatened to expose this crime of state.
Instead, to Leen, the only important issue is whether Gary Webb’s story was perfect. But no journalistic product is perfect. There are always more details that a reporter would like to have, not to mention compromises with editors over how a story is presented. And, on a complex story, there are always some nuances that could have been explained better. That is simply the reality of journalism, the so-called first draft of history.
But Leen pretends that it is the righteous thing to destroy a reporter who is not perfect in his execution of a difficult story – and that Gary Webb thus deserved to be banished from his profession for life, a cruel punishment that impoverished Webb and ultimately drove him to suicide in 2004.
But if Leen is correct – that a reporter who takes on a very tough story and doesn’t get every detail precisely correct should be ruined and disgraced – what does he tell his Washington Post colleague Bob Woodward, whose heroic Watergate reporting included an error about whether a claim regarding who controlled the White House slush fund was made before a grand jury.
While Woodward and his colleague Carl Bernstein were right about the substance, they were wrong about its presentation to a grand jury. Does Leen really believe that Woodward and Bernstein should have been drummed out of journalism for that mistake? Instead, they were lionized as heroes of investigative journalism despite the error – as they should have been.
Yet, when Webb exposed what was arguably an even worse crime of state – the Reagan administration turning a blind eye to the importation of tons of cocaine into the United States – Leen thinks any abuse of Webb is justified because his story wasn’t perfect.
Those two divergent judgments – on how Woodward’s mistake was understandably excused and how Webb’s imperfections were never forgiven – speak volumes about what has happened to the modern profession of journalism at least in the mainstream U.S. media. In reality, Leen’s insistence on perfection and “extraordinary proof” is just a dodge to rationalize letting well-connected criminals and their powerful accomplices off the hook.
In the old days, the journalistic goal was to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable,” but the new rule appears to be: “any standard of proof works when condemning the weak or the despised but you need unachievable ‘extraordinary proof’ if you’re writing about the strong and the politically popular.”
Who Is Unfit?
Leen adds a personal reflection on Webb as somehow not having the proper temperament to be an investigative reporter. Leen wrote:
“After Webb was transferred to Cupertino [in disgrace], I debated him at a conference of the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization in Phoenix in June 1997. He was preternaturally calm. While investigative journalists are usually bundles of insecurities and questions and skepticism, he brushed off any criticism and admitted no error. When asked how I felt about it all, I said I felt sorry for him. I still feel that way.”
It’s interesting – and sadly typical – that while Leen chastises Webb for not admitting error, Leen offers no self-criticism of himself for missing what even the CIA has now admitted, that the Contras were tied up in the cocaine trade. Doesn’t an institutional confession by the CIA’s inspector general constitute “extraordinary proof”?
Also, since the CIA’s inspector general’s report included substantial evidence of Contra-cocaine trafficking running through Miami, shouldn’t Leen offer some mea culpa about missing these serious crimes that were going on right under his nose – in his city and on his beat? What sort of reporter is “preternaturally calm” about failing to do his job right and letting the public suffer as Leen did?
Perhaps all one needs to know about the sorry state of today’s mainstream journalism is that Jeff Leen is the Washington Post’s assistant managing editor for investigations and Gary Webb is no longer with us.
[To learn how you can hear a December 1996 joint appearance at which Robert Parry and Gary Webb discuss their reporting, click here.]
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.
The head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota – Dr. Michael Osterholm – is one of the world’s top infectious disease experts and a prominent public health scientist.
Dr. Osterholm just gave a talk shown on C-Span, explaining how to prevent the public from panicking about Ebola:
I categorically reject the idea that you can’t tell people you “don’t know” … because you’re afraid you’ll scare them.
There is a complete [scientific] literature on risk communications that says people are never frightened if you tell them you don’t know, but “this is what I’m doing to learn”. Or [if you tell them] “this is something, and it might be very scary.”
The literature shows – over and over again – there are 2 things that will turn them to be very concerned … if not scared.
One is if you tell them with certainty “A”, and then you tell them with certainty “B”, and then A and B don’t happen … or they happen in a way you didn’t tell them. Then they wonder about your credibility.
The second thing is if you get dueling banjos. If you get one one person saying A, and another person saying “oh, you’re going to scare people, don’t say that” … because it’s not true. The literature supports that’s when people get concerned.
One of the worst enemies we can have today is dogma. Dogma should be, at the first instance, the thing we jettison immediately Do not fall into the trap of dogma. I see far too many today doing that for the fact that they want to reassure the public about A,B or C … and that is a dangerous path.
Dr. Osterholm gives an example: the medical community is trying to downplay the fact that some people with Ebola never have a fever … right up until the time they die. The failure to talk openly about this fact will only end up shaking people’s confidence:
(And temperature screening is easily fooled, even when an Ebola carrier does have a fever.)
One of our recurring themes is that happy talkdoesn’t fix anything.
I’ve never been very politically minded. I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I’ve never been arrested and I don’t like to get in trouble. I do like, and always have, to think for myself. I’m a natural skeptic and pragmatist. These days, there are a couple of issues that are getting under my skin, and connecting the dots between them helps to establish a framework for a truth in science “sniff-test”. Be warned, you may find that many arenas in which you have come to believe that you were being protected by your authority figures and government, in fact, you’ve been led down a blind path, and will be left there to fend for yourself when it all goes down. That’s why I advocate for consumer empowerment and thoughtful decision-making about what we put in our bodies.
Humans suffer from hubris – we think we know better than nature, can fix it, manipulate it, and master it. There are (at least) two major transgressions that follow similar patterns, raise important red flags, and most certainly do not pass the sniff test: GMOs (genetically modified “foods”) and vaccination. Here’s what they have in common:
War with Nature
Nature has a sense to it, cultivated over billions of years of evolution. The complexity of botanical systems, the relationship to pests, soil, and the elements sustains optimal diversity and reproduction. It was only when we began to industrialize the process, hijack growth with an eye toward yield, and allow chemical companies to attempt to regulate variables of perceived adversity that we ended up in the mess that GMO crops are in today. Now we have randomly spliced animal DNA with bacterial vectors inserting into plant genomes, disrupting the natural functioning of the plant, and allowing for supersaturation with the toxic, endocrine-disrupting and gut bug slaughtering herbicide, Roundup.
Pharmaceutical companies and doctors think they can outsmart immune systems that have evolved to coexist with microbes, to be primed and educated by them. We are at war with infectious disease, and as a consequence, our fear and malice toward bacteria and viruses have lead us to compromise and alter our immune systems with pathogens entering our bodies through our muscles, accompanied by toxic additives that cripple our natural immune function and causechronic inflammation. The notion of improving upon our human capacities, as we understand them is discussed by Sayer Ji of GreenMedInfo as “transhumanism.”
We cannot outsmart nature, we are only just beginning to appreciate her infinite sophistication.
Lack of Pre-marketing Safety Study
Monsanto claims that GMOs are simultaneously equivalent to existing foods (relieving them of any real duty to demonstrate safety), and novel enough that they can be patented. Despite the Frankensteinian effects of genetic manipulation on proteins and gene expression, these foods have never been studied in a human population, let alone assessing for long-term effects. What happens as a result of this fast-track-to-market process is that slow-emerging trends of harm at the population level begin to emerge. Differing patterns of chronic disease in Europe and America at this point may have some relation to limitations of GMO products in Europe. There is inherent difficulty in associating cause to effect in chronic disease; however, arguing for the importance of long-term premarketing trials.
Vaccines have similarly, never been studied against an unvaccinated control group, allegedly because they are assumed to be so vital to our health that it would be unethical to withhold them even though basic epidemiology demonstrates that hygiene and nutrition have played the most significant role in elimination of infectious disease. They have never been studied in their current schedule, nor have the additives (adjuvants) which include known body toxins, aluminum, mercury, formaldehyde, and polysorbate 80.
Signal of Harm
Despite this lack of effort and incentive to support safety data in these two arenas, both have suffered a signal of harm that should have activated the precautionary principal. Monsanto monitored GM and non-GM fed rats for 90 days, and declared that changes in liver and kidney function were not clinically significant. Seralini et al, copied this design, but extended the observation period to years. Take a ganderat what happened to these animals. The first tumor sprouted at the 4 month mark. Multiple animal studies have emerged mirroring this study’s provocative findings. Glyphosate, the herbicide that has been sprayed in escalating quantities, is an endocrine-disruptor that has been linked to obesity, liver disease, birth defects, autism, and cancer.This is the most enlightening exploration of its toxic mechanisms. Bt-toxin in GMO corn has been found to puncture intestinal cells and circulate into fetal tissue.
Whether in the realm of neurodevelopment, death, autoimmunity, or even susceptibility to the disease intended to provide protection from, vaccines have been demonstrated to harm and several billion dollars have been paid out to victims through the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Patterns of chronic illness such as atopy andautism have been demonstrated to correlate with vaccine uptake and prospective study of neurodevelopment in monkey’s has demonstrated injury.
Suppression of Investigation
Seralini was silenced. His work was roundly attacked, censored from the media, and demands from industry ties for the paper to be retracted from its journal of publication. Several months after Seralini’s paper, Richard Goodman, a former Monsanto employee was fast-tracked to the position of Associate Editor for Biotechnology. With Monsanto now at the helm of influential medical journals, the prospects for publication of independent research are diminishing.
The now infamous Andrew Wakefield, who published a paper on the presence of vaccine-strain measles in the guts of autistic children was stripped of his license and maligned for fraud in a witch-hunt intended to suppress any further investigation into this connection. Fortunately, at least 28 independent studies from around the world have confirmed his findings.
Protection of Corporate Profits
The “Monsanto Protection Act” was designed to provide legal immunity to GM technology so that citizens could never litigate on the grounds of harm secondary to GM food exposure. In this way, corporations would be protected above farmers and citizens.
The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was established in 1986 to assume liability from corporations so that any incentive to police the safety of their product was roundly eliminated and civilians could only engage in a non-jury-mediated “trial” of red-tape and rejection as a means of seeking justice for injury.
Revolving Door Conflicts of Interest
This is where the rubber meets the road on these issues, and, truly the source of all corruption. When those regulating a system in need of checks and balances are the same people who have profited or are profiting from its protection and success, we have a critical breakdown in protection of the interests of consumers and patience. The revolving door of Monsanto and government ranges from Michael Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods and former Monsanto Vice President of Public Policy to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, former Monsanto attorney. Enjoy this pictorial.
The list of interchangeable figures between the CDC, pharmaceutical industry and Vaccine Advisory Committee features more conflicts than exceptions. Notably, in January 2010, Julie Gerberding, former director of the CDC, became the President of Merck’s vaccine unit. In January 2011, Elias Zerhouni, former director of the NIH became President of Sanofi-Aventis’ research labs. These relationships are known to be kindled far in advance of the job acceptance. The most outspoken mouthpiece of today’s vaccine schedule is Paul Offit MD, Merck employee and Rotavirus vaccine patent holder. This paper details the many layers of profit-motivation that cloud regulators’ judgment. Here’s a little video if you’d rather not read.
It is an impossible expectation that objectivity in research support or information dissemination could be exercised under these circumstances. These conflicts of interest undermine any and all safety claims, and leave those engaging with these technologies to look to research that has not been funded by corporate agendas to help navigate true concerns about risk. These are multibillion-dollar corporate giants with dollars to spare when it comes to influencing legislators and regulators.
These arenas and their implicit overlap as discussed here, are slated to unite in a number of in-development GMO-containing vaccines. We are already part of a vast, uncontrolled experiment, and this may add a layer of complexity that will be the ultimate straw that broke the camel’s back. If you’re anything like me, you want out of this deal you never signed up for. There is a way out. Make informed choices, trust your instincts, vote with your wallet.
Dr. Brogan is allopathically and holistically trained in the care of women at all stages of the reproductive cycle experiencing mood and anxiety symptoms, including premenstrual dysphoria (PMDD), pregnancy and postpartum symptomatology, as well as menopause-related illness.
Mass protest action continued Friday over the disappearance of 43 teaching students (normalistas) from Ayotzinapa in the Mexican state of Guerrero. A march of over ten thousand teachers and sympathizers took place in the afternoon along the hotel beach zone in the Guerrero Pacific coast resort of Acapulco.
Marchers chanted, “Ayotzinapa is all Mexico.” They demanded that authorities produce the missing students, alive. They also demanded that Guerrero’s governor, Ángel Aguirre, leave office.
Undaunted, Governor Aguirre ordered a massive state police presence to contain the Acapulco demonstration. Police reportedly worked with so-called narco taxi drivers to keep the marchers from entering certain zones.
On Thursday protesters in Guerrero state occupied five city halls, including the municipal headquarters of Chilpancingo, Guerrero’s capital. They vowed to take all 81 town halls in Guerrero unless the students were returned.
The 43 normalistas disappeared after police in the city of Iguala opened fire on protesting Ayotzinapa students September 26, killing six people and wounding 16 other students.
Last week Guerrero state prosecutor Iñaky Blanco said that two members of the Guerrero Unidos gang had confessed to killing 17 of the missing students and burying them. The gang members said that the order to kidnap the students came from Iguala’s police chief, who has since disappeared along with its mayor, José Luis Abarca.
Twenty-eight burned bodies were recovered from mass graves on the outskirts of Iguala. This week federal investigators said the bodies were not those of the missing students because their DNA did not match them. However, 26 mass graves have been located in the area so far, making processing all of them a laborious task.
The status of the missing students remains shrouded in mystery, and outrage in Mexico is widespread.
Abarca’s brothers-in-law had been lieutenants in the notorious Beltrán Leyva drug cartel, and another brother-in-law is a member of Guerrero Unidos. No sooner were Albarca’s ties to drug gangs made public last week than Albarca’s mother-in-law said in an interview that the Beltrán Leyvas had financed Aguirre’s campaign for governor.
Both Albarca and Aguirre are members of the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD). They are in the dominant faction in the PRD called the Chuchos, which signed on to President Peña Nieto’s “Pact for Mexico,” including attacks on teachers and workers and the opening up of the Mexican economy and oil industry to foreign capital.
Facing massive disaffection, on Thursday the head of the PRD was forced to call for Aguirre to resign. The Guerrero state Congress on Thursday formally removed the fugitive Abarca from his mayoral post. Aguirre then replaced Abarca with his deputy, Luis Mazón. Aguirre at the same time removed Mazon’s brother, Lázaro Mazón, as secretary of health of Guerrero state because he had been the principal promoter of Abarca’s political career.
Authorities reported finding a blanket in Iguala Wednesday with a message from the head of Guerrero Unidos directed to President Peña Nieto. It claimed that the brothers of Mario Casarrubias Salgado, the founder of the gang, and a gang called Los Peques (the Kids), were responsible for the massacre and disappearance of the normalistas. It also reportedly said that eight mayors in the northern part of Guerrero state, including in major cities such as Taxco and Ixtapan de la Sal, as well as a high state official, had close ties with the gang.
Peña Nieto’s government has long known of Abarca’s ties to drug gangs. Peña Nieto’s attorney general and interior minister last year were provided with credible testimony that Abarca had such links and had killed political rivals. They did nothing.
In a poll taken in Guerrero published in the newspaper Reforma this week, half of those polled anticipated that those responsible for the disappearance of the normalistas would escape with impunity, while only 37 percent predicted that they would be punished. Sixty-three percent of those polled were in favor of the protests and marches demanding justice for the disappeared students, and 65 percent said they disapproved of Governor Aguirre’s handling of the matter.
The savage attack on the Ayotzinapa normalistas comes only a few months after what now appears to have been the summary execution of 22 youths by a special army brigade in Tlatlaya in the nearby state of Mexico. The Secretary of National Defense has does his best to likewise shroud the facts of that incident from public scrutiny.
The Iguala and Tlalaya massacres hold a mirror to the character of Mexican capitalism and the state that stands atop it. They reveal the real and explosive state of affairs: mass violence against the population, political manipulation of the law if not its complete absence, corruption, the collusion of organized crime with the authorities, and the complicity of the civil government and the armed forces in all of the above.
In the final analysis, the terrorism of the state is meant to crush any resistance of the Mexican working class to a political and socioeconomic regime that benefits only Mexican oligarchs and foreign capital.
In a speech Thursday at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, titled “Going Dark: Are Technology, Privacy, and Public Safety on a Collision Course?” Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey demanded that the major telecommunications corporations develop new “backdoor” access points in their encryption systems to facilitate the US government’s mass surveillance programs.
Comey’s speech exposed the real perspective of the US ruling elite—usually concealed behind the smokescreen of lies—with respect to the unconstitutional surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency, the FBI and other government agencies.
Comey made clear the government will not tolerate even minor and ineffective obstacles to the government’s wiretapping and data mining efforts, such as the limited forms of cell phone encryption promoted by the tech companies as part of a marketing strategy.
Focusing in particular on the deployment of cell phone encryption software by Apple and Google, Comey complained that even with its existing “supercomputer” technology, the government is hampered in its surveillance efforts by increasing use of widely available data encryption methods.
“The law hasn’t kept pace with technology… Encryption threatens to lead all of us to a very dark place,” Comey warned.
Comey acknowledged that the promotion of cellphone encryption by the corporations is motivated by public relations considerations stemming from exposures of NSA spying. Alluding to the attempts of the companies to refurbish their reputations, damaged by revelations from Edward Snowden that they actively collaborated in the government’s mass spying, Comey said, “Encryption isn’t just a technical feature; it’s a marketing pitch… And my question is, at what cost?”
Comey noted that the companies are defending their new encryption systems by pointing to other methods through which the government can gain access to their customers’ data en masse. “Apple argues, for example, that its users can back-up and store much of their data in ‘the cloud’ and that the FBI can still access that data,” Comey said.
The FBI director insisted, however, that the agency requires direct access to communications content, effectively admitting the fraudulence of US government claims that only metadata is subject to dragnet surveillance.
“Metadata doesn’t provide the content of any communication. It’s incomplete information,” Comey said.
Comey’s comments included a notable departure from the usual platitudes advanced by surveillance boosters about the supposed need to “strike a balance” between “liberty” and “security.” Echoing arguments advanced by the most authoritarian regimes in modern history, the FBI director said that even minimal freedoms can only be protected by a powerful, omnipresent security apparatus.
“Some have suggested there is a conflict between liberty and security. I disagree…. When a city posts police officers at a dangerous playground, security has promoted liberty—the freedom to let a child play without fear,” Comey said.
There is a growing recognition within the US elite that the population is not convinced by surveillance justifications based on the threat of “terrorism.” Comey largely framed his arguments in terms of the need to surveil kidnappers and child abusers, warning of “predators who exploit the most vulnerable among us” and “violent criminals who target our communities,” while citing a number of particularly horrific incidents in an effort to justify systematic violation of privacy and democratic rights by the state.
Comey’s remarks were peppered with blatant lies and distortions about the extent of government surveillance. Brushing aside the avalanche of evidence publicized by Snowden, Comey claimed, absurdly, that the US government is not systematically gathering data on the population.
“In the wake of the Snowden disclosures, the prevailing view is that the government is sweeping up all of our communications. That is not true,” Comey said. “Perhaps it’s time to suggest that the post-Snowden pendulum has swung too far in one direction—in a direction of fear and mistrust.”
Turning reality on its head, Comey claimed that while the government has the necessary “legal authority to intercept and access communications and information,” the agency nonetheless lacks “the technical ability to do so.”
In fact, as documents leaked by Edward Snowden have conclusively demonstrated, surveillance programs developed by the US government are systematically acquiring, storing and analyzing every bit of communications data produced by populations worldwide. Comey’s assertions about “legal authority” notwithstanding, these programs operate in flagrant violation of the US
Constitution, the Bill of Rights and international human rights covenants. Near the conclusion of his remarks, Comey pointed to these essential political issues at stake in the struggles over electronic surveillance—those relating to democratic rights and the rule of law—before asserting, in contradiction to all the evidence, that the system of checks and balances established by the framers of the US Constitution remains in force.
“This country was founded by people who were worried about government power… they divided government power among three branches, with checks and balances for each. And they wrote a Bill of Rights to ensure that the ‘papers and effects’ of the people are secure from unreasonable searches,”
“The means by which we conduct surveillance through telecommunication carriers… is an example of government operating in the way the founders intended—that is, the executive, the legislative, and the judicial branches proposing, enacting, executing, and overseeing legislation, pursuant to the rule of law,”
“I think it’s time to ask: Where are we, as a society? Are we no longer a country governed by the rule of law, where no one is above or beyond that law?” Comey asked.
In reality, one of the main “legal” underpinnings for the government’s mass spying programs is Executive Order 12333, a unilateral decree promulgated by the Reagan administration and extended by further executive fiats issued during the George W. Bush administration. For its part, the judiciary has been effectively incorporated into the illegal activities of the government through the establishment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in 1978, a parallel authoritarian shadow court that routinely rubber-stamps mass surveillance requests submitted by the NSA.
Freed from any meaningful oversight or constitutional constraints, it is the security agencies of the executive branch that increasingly operate as a law unto themselves. As Comey’s own remarks Thursday made clear, these instruments of capitalist class rule are determined to access all of everyone’s data, all of the time, viewing with unconcealed hostility any attempt to protect one’s “papers and effects” from government scrutiny.
Eric Toussaint Interviewed by Julia Goldenberg for the Argentine newspaper Página 12. |1| Eric Toussaint is a political scientist, university professor, activist and chairman of the Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt (CADTM). He has strong opinions on international finance. During an interview with Página 12, he described vulture funds as an extreme version of finance capital and their actions as a threat to regional stability. Member of Ecuador’s Presidential Commission for the Integral Audit of Public Debt, Eric Toussaint will be visiting Argentina this month.
Why do you think that the vulture funds are an extreme form of finance capitalism?
Vulture funds are the vanguard, followed by troops called Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Citibank, HSBC, Bank of America, Santander, etc. I also think that the devious intention of the US to intervene in the region looms large behind this. External debt is a powerful instrument for subordinating Latin America, an instrument for enforcing the region’s involvement in neo-liberal policies. This is what is happening in Europe, the laboratory for fresh offensives of neoliberal policies.
Do you think that Judge Griesa’s ruling is an offensive against not only Argentina but also the entire region?
I think, Judge Griesa’s ruling |2| attempts to turn back Latin America’s clock to the late 19th and 20th century, when the US dictated terms to the indebted countries without respecting their sovereignty and with a brazen partiality towards the creditors. Vulture funds buy debt securities and then sue the countries. Therefore, I think it‘s about weakening the entire region. Over 20 years ago the NML hedge fund sued Peru and won a massive compensation, thanks to a colluding Fujimori. The way vulture funds perform is nothing new, it is well known. The novel factors here are Judge Griesa’s arrogance and Argentina’s reaction. In the case of Peru, Fujimori agreed to pay the compensation and in return the fund supplied an aircraft so that he could flee the country.
You participated in Ecuador’s Presidential Commission for the Integral Audit of Public Credit launched in 2007 by Rafael Correa. What can the region learn from this experience?
President Rafael Correa’s action regarding debt is inspiring: he issued an Executive decree for setting up an audit committee. Highly qualified members from the civil society, social movements etc were selected for this committee. The Executive decree to set up a commission for auditing the debt of 30 years (1976 to 2006) was a very interesting initiative. So far Brazil’s President Getulio Vargas is the only one to have taken a similar initiative in 1933, but social movements were not involved in it. Nevertheless, at that time it was a success story: based on the audit findings he managed to persuade creditors for a 70% debt reduction. The Ecuadorian Commission spent 14 months to identify the illegal and / or illegitimate part of the debt. It was a comprehensive audit, not limited to accounting or legal standards. We also considered the social, human and environmental impacts of the policies and projects financed by debt. Take, for example, large infrastructures: for one, we examined the effects and impacts of big hydroelectric dams on people. I think it is essential to conduct an audit in Argentina: its debt since 1976 is illegitimate and that must be proved. The decades of illegitimate debt |3| are as follows: the debt contracted by the military junta (1976-1983), by Carlos Menem with his privatization program in the 1990s, Cavallo’s “mega-swap” (Megacanje) in 2001, etc. So I think it is vital to set up an audit process.
What will be the effects of the recent UN resolution for establishing a multilateral legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring?
This topic is now being debated within the UN General Assembly itself: that is the central and positive aspect of this vote The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in early September 2014 on the need for a mechanism for resolving disputes over sovereign debt. |4| .The fact that the UN General Assembly has embraced this issue is extremely important and globally relevant. However I insist: the solution lies in the unilateral sovereign decisions taken by the countries concerned. Frankly speaking, I do not foresee any concrete outcome from this resolution. There could be political effects at the international level, and that’s very important. I feel that the present-day world is basically a place where international law is not really respected and the most powerful states enforce their agenda. For example, Israel flouts international law through its actions against the Palestinian people. Overall, the US respects neither the UN Charter nor the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in Hague. In this world-the real world, not the world of our dreams-the will of the strongest prevails, although the majority aspires to something else. Therefore, I reaffirm: only unilateral acts based on international laws can bring about a genuine solution to the debt problem. What do I mean by that? Since there is no international legal authority which can intervene effectively, it rests upon the indebted countries themselves to supersede the laws of the creditors with their own laws.
As for the internal voting on this UN resolution on external debt, how will you analyze the abstentions? Particularly those of the European countries, many of whom are in borderline situations, such as Greece or Spain?
When the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966 and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights were adopted, the US and several European countries voted against the motions. There is nothing new or surprising about this attitude. For the past 30 or 40 years, the UN has been taking steps, even if the US and the European countries wished otherwise or the European countries abstained from voting. Thus we observe that a big chunk of votes is repeatedly cast in the exact same manner, at the end of which the Southern countries, which form the majority, make some headway. However, the resolutions are not implemented afterwards. The major players abstain from voting or vote against the resolution, and take the utmost care to prevent any action taken on these votes. I mean they thwart the implementation of international treaties. Europe has recently become the epicenter of a neoliberal assault of capital against labor, creditors against the indebted. For example, Greece’s current situation is similar to that of Latin American countries during the 1980s. It is entirely controlled by the IMF.
What strategies should the region adopt for resisting fresh financial assaults?
The Bank of the South (BoS) is a vital instrument for reasserting national sovereignty. Néstor Kirchner signed the BoS’ founding charter in 2007, a few days before his term came to an end. However, the bank has not granted a single loan so far. Seven years down the line the Bank is yet to take off. I think the BoS has sufficient assets to lend to its member countries, so that they need to depend less on financial markets and organizations like the World Bank, IMF and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador have decided to leave the ICSID, the World Bank’s tribunal for the settlement of investment disputes, which generally rules in favor of the interests of multinational corporations at the expense of countries. These three countries have formally withdrawn from the ICSID in writing. Brazil never recognized this court. So we now have four South American countries that are not members of the ICSID: Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil. As for strategy, I want to draw attention to the following based on my analysis of the Griesa ruling. After the military dictatorship in 1976, Argentina relinquished its sovereignty, going against the Argentine Constitution and the Calvo and Drago Doctrines |5|, named after two Argentine jurists from the late 19th – early 20th centuries. If an indebted country relinquishes its sovereignty, that becomes a crucial problem. Therefore, I believe that the Drago and Calvo Doctrines, which state that local jurisdictions will have authority in case of conflict with foreign investors, should be reintroduced. In addition, President Rafael Correa’s decree of 2007 is an example to follow. Finally, I believe that sovereign unilateral acts based on international law can by themselves help countries garner respect for the interests of their people.
Translated by Suchandra De Sarkar
|1| Página 12 is the main center-left newspaper in Argentina. Its editorial policy supports President Cristina Fernandez’s government. See the original full page version of this interview published in Página 12 on Sunday, September 28, 2014 http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/e… The interview has also been published in Spanish on CADTM’s website: http://cadtm.org/Los-fondos-buitre-…
|4| See the UN website http://www.un.org/press/en/2014/ga1…. Following is an excerpt from the UN news bulletin dated 10.09.2014 on this subject: A new United Nations General Assembly resolution on debt restructuring that will set up a multilateral legal framework for debtor countries to emerge from debt safely was welcomed today by the UN rights expert on the issue as a way forward to “fill the current legal voice and reduce uncertainty.” With 124 votes in favour, 11 votes against and 41 abstentions, the General Assembly adopted the resolution: “Towards the establishment of a multilateral legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring processes” on Tuesday that would establish an intergovernmental negotiation process aimed at increasing the efficiency, stability and predictability of the international financial system. http://www.un.org/News/dh/pdf/engli…
|5| Argentine Foreign Minister Luis María Drago formulated the Drago doctrine in 1902. It was a response to the intervention of the UK, Germany and Italy, that had blocked and bombarded ports after President Cipriano Castro refused to pay Venezuela’s massive external debts. Despite the Monroe Doctrine’s stipulations, the US refused to defend Venezuela, on the grounds that it was not warranted in this case, vis-à-vis their refusal to pay. In response, the Drago doctrine stated that no foreign country could collect debts payments forcefully. Drago doctrine is based on the Calvo doctrine but the two should not be confused. The Calvo Doctrine, named after Carlos Calvo (1824-1906), is a doctrine of international law which states that people living in a foreign country must file their pleas, complaints and grievances to the jurisdiction of local courts without calling for diplomatic pressure or military intervention. Appeals should be made to international diplomatic channels only when all local legal avenues are exhausted. Several Latin American countries have incorporated this doctrine in their constitutions.
Red algae, the pigments in which are caused by compounds known as phycoerythrin and phycocyanin, can now be known as yet another one of Mother Nature’s answers to the latest ‘Ebola Pandemic,’ as well as a host of other diseases ranging from HIV, Hepatitis-C, SARS, and more. There is no need to resort to experimental nationwide Ebola vaccines as suggested by U.S. authorities and the current vaccine maker, GlaxoSmithKline.
Red algae is a key antiviral for this crazy world we are living in. Just having a healthy, strong immune system could save your life, and at least minimize your chances of getting sick where other less-propagandized sicknesses are concerned, such as the ‘flu’ or even the common cold. Compounds in red algae help to greatly promote our own natural immune systems.
When researchers were looking into more details of the Gabon Africa Ebola outbreak of 1996, they found that Ebola causes death among about 70% of those who become infected. They also note that there are many people who think that cases deemed to be Ebola are actually hemorrhagic fevers, like Dengue, because they present the very same symptoms.
In any case, this 70% statistic led researchers from Gabon’s Franceville International Center of Medical Research to investigate more fully. How did 30% of the people exposed to Ebola live, even when they were in close contact with Ebola victims?
(Currently, there is controversy as to how Ebola is transmitted. Some say it can be airborne, which could mean it isn’t Ebola, and others say it must be contracted only through direct mucosal or blood such as a transfer of saliva, urine, semen or blood from one person to another.)
These researchers found that nearly half of those who were asymptomatic and seemingly immune developed antibodies (IgM and IgG) to the Ebola virus. Antibodies are protective proteins that guard against disease in the body, and they normally occur naturally in a healthy person.
They also noted that the asymptomatic group exhibited fewer inflammatory responses in general. Not to be too graphic, but Ebola is said to ‘liquefy’ the insides, which is a bit of an exaggeration It does cause extreme inflammation, though, which can eventually lead to heavy bleeding and death.
The asymptomatic group was also found to have higher levels of circulating cytokines and chemokines – which speed up the body’s ability to break down viral cells and stop them from causing people to be sick.
This happens in many diseases, not just Ebola. Mannose-binding lectins attack the Ebola virus but also other lethal infections like HIV, HCV and SARS.
Mannose-binding lectins are produced in the human body via a DNA sequence, called the MBL2. When our genes are working properly, these lectins flood the bloodstream and scourge disease – including unwanted fungi, bacteria, and even parasites, which utilize glycoprotein shells to protect themselves. They also inhibit virus growth.
They do this by breaking apart the surface of the unwanted microbe and breaking them down, allowing the body’s additional immune cells to kill off the virus or toxin and prevent it from replicating.
Research over the past five years has found that low levels of mannose-binding lectins increases the risk of respiratory infections, including syncytial virus infections, pneumonia and others.
Ebola, as many other viruses do, comes with a glycoprotein shell that must be broken down in order for someone who is in contact with it to remain healthy.
Where Red Algae Comes into Play
Furthermore, the glycoprotein shell of the Ebola virus produces glycoproteins that damage cells, allowing the virus to penetrate and replicate within the cell – but red algae has been shown to keep this from happening.
The reason for this mutation/switch-off has yet to be fully understood.
Red algae produces mannose-binding lectins plentifully, which allow the plants to protect themselves from invasion by viruses.
The most promising form of mannose-binding lectins is a component of the Scytonema varium red algae called Scytovirin. The protein extract was isolated by researchers from the National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Maryland in 2003. It contains 95 amino acids, and was found to bind to HIV-1 viral shells.
Another antiviral protein in red algea broke down the glycoprotein shells of HIV and HCV.
And yet another anti-viral extract found in a New Zealand red algae species, Griffithsia sp.. The anti-vrial, Griffithsin, was beneficial in treating mice with epidemic-potentiated SARS and also HIV-1. It stopped the viruses from replicating.
Here’s the Real Proof
In 2010, Harvard researchers tested a recombinant version of Griffithsin – called rhMBL – against Ebola, and found that it broke down those pesky viral shells while giving mice complete immunity to the virus. Other animals have since been tested with similar results.
So, even if you aren’t certain red algae will keep you from contracting Ebola, you can boost your immune system and protect against a number of diseases, from Ebola to SARS, simply by taking a red seaweed supplement.
It’s still 2014, but the New York Times is already running 2016 campaign coverage. This new article (10/15/14) is about is something pretty fundamental: How white voters feel about a black president.
Under the headline “In South, Clinton Tries to Pull Democrats Back Into the Fold,” reporter Amy Chozick chronicles Hillary Clinton’s campaigning for a Senate candidate in Kentucky, a state she won during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary. The Times notes that Clinton won thanks to “a huge advantage among white working-class voters.” And that’s the point of the piece: how someone like Clinton would be more appealing to white voters than Obama.
That’s the point, but in the second paragraph Chozick uses an unfortunate euphemism:
White Democrats voted for Mrs. Clinton over Mr. Obama by 49 percentage points in 2008, a telling indication of both her strength and Mr. Obama’s trouble in attracting traditional Democratic voters.
So is a “traditional voter” a white voter? Since the whole premise of the piece is about how Clinton would appeal to the white vote, that would seem to be the message. It recalls something that MSNBC host Chris Matthews said about Obama and his failure to connect with “regular Democrats” (Extra!, 7/08). (This was before Obama gave him that “thrill going up my leg”.) Regular, in the context of that race, sure seemed to mean one thing: white people.
The Times piece refers to the “the racial and class divisions in the Democratic Party that emerged in 2008 and have been exacerbated during Mr. Obama’s presidency,” and the papers gives voice to those who say this is Obama’s fault:
Many Democrats said Mr. Obama never made efforts to repair the divides that became apparent that year, leaving states like Kentucky and Arkansas vulnerable to a Republican rout.
So Obama is so unappealing to whites that Kentucky is a Republican state now? For a piece that is crafted around the idea that white Democratic votes are really in play, it would have been helpful to point to some numbers–though it wouldn’t have much helped the piece. In 2008, exit polls show that Obama lost the white vote in Kentucky to John McCain by 63 to 36 percent. And four years earlier, when the race was between two white guys? John Kerry lost to George W. Bush, 64 to 35 percent.
So maybe the lesson is that white people in Kentucky aren’t “traditional Democratic voters” at all.
One of the most jarring passages was this:
Jonathan Miller, a former Kentucky state treasurer, said it was voters’ animosity toward Mr. Obama, and not necessarily excitement for Mrs. Clinton, that was energizing Democrats here. “We’re just nostalgic for when Democrats were different than Obama,” he said.
Back when Democrats were “different” than Obama. Wonder what he means by that. Traditional?
Tom Engelhardt keeps churning out great books by collecting his posts from TomDispatch.com. His latest book,Shadow Government, is essential reading. Of the ten essays included, eight are on basically the same topic, resulting in some repetition and even some contradiction. But when things that need repeating are repeated this well, one mostly wants other people to read them — or perhaps to have them involuntarily spoken aloud by everybody’s iPhones.
We live in an age in which the most important facts are not seriously disputed and also not seriously known or responded to.
The United States’ biggest public program of the past 75 years, now outstripping the rest of the world combined, is war preparations. The routine “base” military spending, not counting spending on particular wars, is at least 10 times the war spending, or enough to totally transform the world for the better. Instead it’s used to kill huge numbers of people, to make the United States less safe, and to prepare for wars that are — without exception — lost disastrously. Since the justification of the Soviet Union vanished, U.S. militarism has only increased. Its enemies are small, yet it does its best to enlarge them. U.S. Special Operations forces are actively, if “secretly,” engaged in war or war preparations in over two-thirds of the nations on earth. U.S. troops are openly stationed in 90 percent of the nations on earth, and 100 percent of the oceans. A majority of the people in most nations on earth consider the United States the greatest threat to world peace.
The U.S. military has brought death, terror, destruction, and lasting damage to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya — and spilling out of Libya into Mali, sparked a Sunni-Shiite civil war in Iraq that has spread to Syria, rendered Pakistan and Yemen more violent and insecure with drone strikes, and fueled violence in Somalia that has spilled across borders.
These facts are well-established, yet virtually incomprehensible to a typical U.S. news consumer. So, if they can be repeated brilliantly and convincingly, I say: the more times the better.
We’re rendering the earth uninhabitable, and the October 27, 2014, issue of Time magazine includes a section headlined “Why the Price of Oil Is Falling — And What It Means for the World.” In reality, of course, it means devastation for the world. In Time it means a happy American oil boom, more sales for Saudi Arabia, and a good reason for Russia to rein in its military. Yes, the same Russia that spends 7% of what the United States does on its military. To get a sense of how Russia could rein in that military, here is a video of a Pentagon official claiming that Russia has physically moved closer to NATO (and put little green men into Ukraine).
Years ago I wrote an article for TomDispatch called “Bush’s Third Term.” Now of course we’re into Bush’s fourth term, or Clinton’s sixth. The point is that presidential power abuses and war-making expand when a president gets away with them, not when a particular party or individual wins an election. Engelhardt explains how Dick Cheney’s 1 percent doctrine (justifying war when anything that has a 1% chance of being a danger) has now become a zero percent doctrine (no justification is needed). Along with war today comes secrecy, which encompasses complete removal of your privacy, but also — Engelhardt notes — the abandonment of actual secrecy for “covert” operations that the government wants to have known but not to have held to any legal standard.
The White House went to the New York Times prior to President Obama’s reelection and promoted the story that Obama personally goes through a list of men, women, and children on Tuesdays and carefully picks which ones to have murdered. There’s no evidence that this hurt Obama’s reelection.
The Bush White House went to the New York Times and censored until after Bush’s reelection, the story that the government was massively and illegally spying on Americans. The Obama White House has pursued a vendetta against whistleblower Edward Snowden for making public the global extent of the spying. While Engelhardt tells this story with the usual suggestion that Snowden let us in on a big secret, I always assumed the U.S. government was doing what people now know it is. Engelhardt points out that these revelations have moved European and Latin American governments against the U.S. and put the fear of major financial losses into Silicon Valley companies known to be involved in the spying.
Engelhardt writes that with the NSA and gang having eliminated our privacy, we can now eliminate theirs by publicizing leaked information. At the same time, Engelhardt writes that dozens of Snowdens would be needed for us to begin to find out what the U.S. war machine is doing. Perhaps the point is that the dozens of Snowdens are inevitable. I hope so, although Engelhardt explicitly says that the shadow government is an “irreversible way of life.” I certainly hope not, or what’s the point of opposing it?
Engelhardt notes that the U.S. government has turned against massive ground wars, but not against wars, so that we will be entering an era of “tiny wars.” But the tiny wars may kill in significant numbers compared with wars of centuries gone by, and may spark wars by others that rage on indefinitely. Or, I would add, we might choose to stop every war as we stopped the Syrian missile crisis of 2013.
Engelhardt pinpoints a moment when a turning point almost came. On July 15, 1979, President Jimmy Carter proposed a massive investment in renewable energy. The media denounced his speech as “the malaise speech.” “In the end, the president’s energy proposals were essentially laughed out of the room and ignored for decades.” Six months later, on January 23, 1980, Carter announced that “an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.” The media took this speech quite seriously and respectfully, labeling it the Carter Doctrine. We’ve been having increasing trouble with people whose sand lies over our oil ever since.
This week marks the three-year anniversary of the Western-backed assassination of Libya’s former president, Muammar Gaddafi, and the fall of one of Africa’s greatest nations.
In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands.
After NATO’s intervention in 2011, Libya is now a failed state and its economy is in shambles. As the government’s control slips through their fingers and into to the militia fighters’ hands, oil production has all but stopped.
The militias variously local, tribal, regional, Islamist or criminal, that have plagued Libya since NATO’s intervention, have recently lined up into two warring factions. Libya now has two governments, both with their own Prime Minister, parliament and army.
On one side, in the West of the country, Islamist-allied militias took over control of the capital Tripoli and other cities and set up their own government, chasing away a parliament that was elected over the summer.
On the other side, in the East of the Country, the “legitimate” government dominated by anti-Islamist politicians, exiled 1,200 kilometers away in Tobruk, no longer governs anything.
The fall of Gaddafi’s administration has created all of the country’s worst-case scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the country has become a haven for terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of migrant trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders with Libya. This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape, assassinations and torture that complete the picture of a state that is failed to the bone.
America is clearly fed up with the two inept governments in Libya and is now backing a third force: long-time CIA asset, General Khalifa Hifter, who aims to set himself up as Libya’s new dictator. Hifter, who broke with Gaddafi in the 1980s and lived for years in Langley, Virginia, close to the CIA’s headquarters, where he was trained by the CIA, has taken part in numerous American regime change efforts, including the aborted attempt to overthrow Gaddafi in 1996.
In 1991 the New York Times reported that Hifter may have been one of “600 Libyan soldiers trained by American intelligence officials in sabotage and other guerrilla skills…to fit in neatly into the Reagan Administration’s eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi”.
Hifter’s forces are currently vying with the Al Qaeda group Ansar al-Sharia for control of Libya’s second largest city, Benghazi. Ansar al-Sharia was armed by America during the NATO campaign against Colonel Gaddafi. In yet another example of the U.S. backing terrorists backfiring, Ansar al-Sharia has recently been blamed by America for the brutal assassination of U.S. Ambassador Stevens.
Hifter is currently receiving logistical and air support from the U.S. because his faction envision a mostly secular Libya open to Western financiers, speculators, and capital.
Perhaps, Gaddafi’s greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO, was his desire to put the interests of local labour above foreign capital and his quest for a strong and truly United States of Africa. In fact, in August 2011, President Obama confiscated $30 billion from Libya’s Central Bank, which Gaddafi had earmarked for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central Bank.
In 2011, the West’s objective was clearly not to help the Libyan people, who already had the highest standard of living in Africa, but to oust Gaddafi, install a puppet regime, and gain control of Libya’s natural resources.
For over 40 years, Gaddafi promoted economic democracy and used the nationalized oil wealth to sustain progressive social welfare programs for all Libyans. Under Gaddafi’s rule, Libyans enjoyed not only free health-care and free education, but also free electricity and interest-free loans. Now thanks to NATO’s intervention the health-care sector is on the verge of collapse as thousands of Filipino health workers flee the country, institutions of higher education across the East of the country are shut down, and black outs are a common occurrence in once thriving Tripoli.
One group that has suffered immensely from NATO’s bombing campaign is the nation’s women. Unlike many other Arab nations, women in Gaddafi’s Libya had the right to education, hold jobs, divorce, hold property and have an income. The United Nations Human Rights Council praised Gaddafi for his promotion of women’s rights.
When the colonel seized power in 1969, few women went to university. Today, more than half of Libya’s university students are women. One of the first laws Gaddafi passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law.
Nowadays, the new “democratic” Libyan regime is clamping down on women’s rights. The new ruling tribes are tied to traditions that are strongly patriarchal. Also, the chaotic nature of post-intervention Libyan politics has allowed free reign to extremist Islamic forces that see gender equality as a Western perversion.
Three years ago, NATO declared that the mission in Libya had been “one of the most successful in NATO history.” Truth is, Western interventions have produced nothing but colossal failures in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Lest we forget, prior to western military involvement in these three nations, they were the most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa with the highest regional women’s rights and standards of living.
A decade of failed military expeditions in the Middle East has left the American people in trillions of dollars of debt. However, one group has benefited immensely from the costly and deadly wars: America’s Military-Industrial-Complex.
Building new military bases means billions of dollars for America’s military elite. As Will Blum has pointed out, following the bombing of Iraq, the United States built new bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Following the bombing of Afghanistan, the United States is now building military bases in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Following the recent bombing of Libya, the United States has built new military bases in the Seychelles, Kenya, South Sudan, Niger and Burkina Faso.
Given that Libya sits atop the strategic intersection of the African, Middle Eastern and European worlds, Western control of the nation, has always been a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions and beyond.
NATO’s military intervention may have been a resounding success for America’s military elite and oil companies but for the ordinary Libyan, the military campaign may indeed go down in history as one of the greatest failures of the 21st century.
Garikai Chengu is a research scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on [email protected]
WikiLeaks has released a second updated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the world’s largest economic trade agreement that will, if it comes into force, encompass more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The IP Chapter covers topics from pharmaceuticals, patent registrations and copyright issues to digital rights. Experts say it will affect freedom of information, civil liberties and access to medicines globally. The WikiLeaks release comes ahead of a Chief Negotiators’ meeting in Canberra on 19 October 2014, which is followed by what is meant to be a decisive Ministerial meeting in Sydney on 25–27 October.
Despite the wide-ranging effects on the global population, the TPP is currently being negotiated in total secrecy by 12 countries. Few people, even within the negotiating countries’ governments, have access to the full text of the draft agreement and the public, who it will affect most, none at all. Large corporations, however, are able to see portions of the text, generating a powerful lobby to effect changes on behalf of these groups and bringing developing country members reduced force, while the public at large gets no say.
Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief, said:
The selective secrecy surrounding the TPP negotiations, which has let in a few cashed-up megacorps but excluded everyone else, reveals a telling fear of public scrutiny. By publishing this text we allow the public to engage in issues that will have such a fundamental impact on their lives.
The 77-page, 30,000-word document is a working document from the negotiations in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, dated 16 May 2014, and includes negotiator’s notes and all country positions from that period in bracketed text. Although there have been a couple of additional rounds of talks since this text, little has changed in them and it is clear that the negotiations are stalling and that the issues raised in this document will be very much on the table in Australia this month.
The last time the public got access to the TPP IP Chapter draft text was in November 2013 when WikiLeaks published the 30 August 2013 bracketed text. Since that point, some controversial and damaging areas have had little change; issues surrounding digital rights have moved little. However, there are significant industry-favoring additions within the areas of pharmaceuticals and patents. These additions are likely to affect access to important medicines such as cancer drugs and will also weaken the requirements needed to patent genes in plants, which will impact small farmers and boost the dominance of large agricultural corporations like Monsanto.
The lack of movement within the TPP IP Chapter shows that this only stands to harm people, and no one is satisfied. This clearly demonstrates that such an all-encompassing and divisive trade agreement is too damaging to be brought into force. The TPP should stop now.
Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.
People to go to for comment: HealthGap Professor Brook Baker, Senior Policy Analyst [email protected]
Knowledge Ecology International James Love, Director +1 202 361 3040 +1 202 332 2670 [email protected]
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Judi Rius Sanjuan, US Manager, MSF Access Campaign +1 917 331 9077
Public Citizen Peter Maybarduk, Director of Global Access to Medicines Program +1 202 588 7755 [email protected]
This article presents argument is support of two related claims. The first claim is that there is a significant probability that the supposed “Ebola outbreak” in the United States is, at least so far, fraudulent. The second claim is that the overriding political purpose of the putatively manufactured mass Ebola paranoia in the United States is martial in nature. That is, the second claim comprehends the notion that deep state neocon figures are attempting to pressure the fraud Obama into aggressive military action in places such as Syria and Iraq, and conceivably the Ukraine. A contrived Ebola mass panic that has the potential to easily, and instantly, transform into a reality—even a derivative reality that at bottom is false—is an ideal mechanism by which to exert maximum pressure on Obama.
The argument is presented as follows. First, reasons in support of the claim that the Ebola outbreak in America is, at least so far, fraudulent are offered. Having established that there are good reasons to consider the fraud hypothesis valid, predictions derived from the hypothesis are offered. Obviously, to the degree that the predictions are substantiated/disconfirmed in coming days, the probability assigned to the fraud hypothesis should be increased/decreased. The conclusion specifically includes an assessment of the way in which Ebola’s apparently “aerosolized” status fits into the discussion.
There are at least two sets of probabilistic reasons to suspect Ebola fraud in the United States. These two sets were canvassed in an earlier article by this author that appears here. First, and briefly, while the MSM has reported with tremendous enthusiasm Dr. Kent Brantly’s plasma transfusion matches with three U.S. citizens tightly connected to U.S. soil (Dr. Nick Sacra, NBC cameraman Ashoka Mukpo, and Nurse Nina Pham), the probability of these matches having actually arisen is provably, and formally so, exceedingly low (either .0352 or .0036 depending on whether Brantly’s blood type is A or B; as the above-linked article demonstrates, O and AB can be ruled out by logical deduction).
We might add now that, should the set of three be pronounced fully recovered, we would, in principle, have to factor in the likelihood that the plasma transfusions worked—after, of course, having accounted for the probability of having recovered anyway, how soon treatment was administered, etc. While data might not be sufficient to allow us to quantify this, we would nonetheless be compelled to acknowledge that logically speaking, a “three person recovery” result could only revise the already low probability estimates even further downward.
Second, there is, at least as of this writing, really no persuasive evidence that Nurse Pham (or, as far as I am aware, Amber Joy Vinson, for that matter) has Ebola. This is not a bombastic claim; instead, it is predicated on the way rational inference with probabilities works. We’ve been told that Pham received a positive Ebola diagnosis. However, we still know next to nothing as to exactly what her exposure to Duncan consisted in, and how long she was exposed. On the basis of what we have been told so far, it is quite possible that her prior probability of having contracted the disease was very low, which, together with the reality of false positive tests, might even mean that she is still more likely not to have Ebola than have it—in spite of the positive test result.
And here we arrive at a most interesting topic of discussion in connection with the MSM that should be discussed before moving to analysis of some contextual reasons to suspect Ebola fraud in the United States. Readers might agree that this point could be even more significant than others made in this article—particularly since it might shed light on mass-mediated fraud generally speaking. It is highly doubtful that the MSM did any assessment of the prior probability of Pham’s having contracted Ebola before reporting that she had it and making Pham an international figure. And how likely do you think it is that an Axis U.S. Government official tapped an MSM mouthpiece on the shoulder and began talking about the importance of prior probabilities?
Suppose now that someone were to whisper in the MSM’s ear that Pham doesn’t have Ebola, but rather something else that mimics Ebola. Do you think the MSM/Government Axis would reverse course? This writer, at least, doesn’t think so—and these considerations show that the MSM/Government Axis is, even under the most charitable of interpretations, gambling with respect to Pham’s status. It is obvious, though, that with enough such gambles, sooner or later entirely fictitious realities will have been constructed—fictitious “realities” that are very unlikely to be unwound even if they were innocently (if recklessly) created in the first place and are only subsequently discovered.
Here are some additional, and rather more contextual, reasons to suspect fraud with respect to Ebola in the United States. we now have, as Zero Hedge indicates, a U.S. federal figure, clipboard in hand, who traipses after purported U.S. soil generated Ebola victim # 2 Amber Joy Vinson. The federal figure, of course, is sans protective regalia.
Phoenix Air, which transported Vinson, issued an official explanation for the Hazmat lapse:
“Our medical professionals in the biohazard suits have limited vision and mobility and it is the protocol supervisor’s job to watch each person carefully and give them verbal directions to insure no close contact protocols are violated,” a spokesperson from Phoenix Air told ABC News said.
“There is absolutely no problem with this and in fact insures an even higher level of safety for all involved,” the spokesperson said.”
This explanation, of course, is so preposterous that to dispute it would be undignified. And then there are the silly “self-monitoring” programs that have been set up; how effective at containment are those supposed to be? Plus, we have Obama’s designation of Ron Klain as Ebola “czar”—a know-nothing from the standpoint of medicine but a political fixer extraordinaire. Also, there is the issue of travel bans, which Obama refuses to enact. If Ebola really is much more contagious now than it’s ever been and presents a serious threat to the United States, with 150 or so travelers a day coming from West African nations and not merely the possibility, but the likelihood that, given enough persons and flights, someone would be transmissible (even if not obviously so) on a plane, even Obama would enact a travel ban—unless he is trying to destroy the planet with Ebola (which is possible, but very unlikely to this author).
Readers will undoubtedly be able to extend these sorts of observations, but here it perhaps suffices to note that while incompetence could conceivably explain the observations in the previous paragraph, incompetence doesn’t explain the Brantly transfusion compatibilities and doesn’t eliminate the Pham prior probability issue. And, isn’t “incompetence” an uncomfortably common explanation of nearly every national security-related lapse?
If the current Ebola cases in the United States are in fact fraudulent, what conclusions should we draw regarding future events? One question, to be sure, is whether Obama knows they are fraudulent. On this score, it is reasonable to conclude that nearly everything the Obama administration has done is fully consistent with their believing that the cases are fraudulent. It might even be reasonable to say, as suggested above, that the behavior of the Administration can be construed as an admission that fraud is in play.
But if it is fraud, and Obama knows it, he also knows that saying so in this atmosphere would likely lead to his removal from office. He also knows that Ebola in the United States can probably be made real anytime the people faking it want to, and so the fakers have the upper hand in every way that matters. But what do the fakers want? Likely, the same thing they’ve wanted for a very long time: aggressive, militarized action in the Middle East and against Russian interests.
Under this view, the statistically unprecedented White House fence-jumpings and Secret Service lapses didn’t work; “Khorasan” and “Boko Haram” didn’t work in terms of compelling stronger militaristic interventionism. Nothing else has either. So the solution has been to compel Obama to stake his presidency on an Ebola situation that has likely been serving other purposes in Africa anyway.
So, Obama, having not heeded the Secret Service failure message or any other message, either offers a pronounced intensification of interventionism abroad followed by a drying up, and “containment” of Ebola in the United States (hail to the “chief” after all); or he refuses—in which case, more “Ebola” cases pop up sooner rather than later if at all—very possibly including one that is real.
It is also quite possible that Obama will be given additional justification for intervention by way of manufactured noise in areas such as the Middle East—just in case the Ebola grease isn’t enough. In the meantime, immediately ensuing days may well be more or less quiet on the Ebola front; after all, the still somewhat useful fraud Obama will be given enough time to cut the “right” deal.
To be sure, readers might find themselves wondering: “why Ebola as the mechanism”? There are several good reasons as to why this might be so. First, unlike terrorist attacks with, for example, bombs, the Ebola threat is continuous in nature and therefore in principle allows for more time for negotiation and greater ambiguity as to appropriate response.
Second, it amounts to the sort of bioterror which is much more difficult to attribute to “failures” of the national security apparatus than it is to Obama in his civilian capacity.
Third, what other form of fraud can produce a higher yield in terms of disruption? What other form of fraud offers Ebola’s sort of combination of mass-mediated sympathy and fear, and hence large amount of mass-mediated contagion per “casualty”? In principle, while people vary greatly in terms of fear responses, those who don’t worry about bombs might well worry about sneezes and vomiting—especially if told to do so.
Fourth, there is obviously the result of funneling even more money into Big Pharma, and the prospects of looming mass vaccination programs and an even greater Fascist takeover of health care.
Fifth, the Ebola potentiality generates fascinating political unifications. Many critics of the NWO from the “left” and the “right” have been galvanized, and suspect that the Ebola state of affairs might an NWO end-stage move. Perhaps, but wouldn’t it be ironic if misguided paranoia assisted in the implementation of major mid-term moves advancing global fascism by giving technological and economic control a bit more time to develop?
Overall, it is very rarely the case that the collection of interests that generates mass frauds does so with only one goal in mind. If the current Ebola situation in the United States really is fraudulent, it likely serves many functions, and in all likelihood was never intended to be “unleashed” in the United States until the public psyche had been appropriately conditioned by months of news reports.
Now to the conclusion, which, as promised at the outset, includes reflection on the “aerosolized” issue from the standpoint of the fraud hypothesis. Ebola may well be airborne, and there is reason to believe that the current strain or strains of Ebola we are dealing with is/are novel (click here for a discussion of each possibility). It cannot be gainsaid that there is empirical data in support of these propositions, and it should be noted here that Brosseau and Jones, as well, have suggested that Ebola may be airborne.
And yet, this does not necessarily detract from the probabilistic assessments, suggestive of fraud, regarding the Brantly transfusions and the Pham/Vinson prior probability concerns. It should be noted that Brosseau and Jones do not so much as rule aerosolized transmission in as show why it ought not be ruled out. This is not a criticism. Instead, it is a way of indicating that we can’t be exactly sure of what the viral capabilities are at present. If the fraud hypothesis is true, the novel strains of Ebola might well already be aerosolized, but right now the better bet is that the aerosolized possibility is being used as a propaganda tool and that reports of increased fatalities are either exaggerated, or outright lies, or real but attributable to other considerations involving human parties. The author’s primary reason for modifying his earlier conclusions on the “aerosolized” possibility emanates from the probabilistic indications of fraud. Obviously, empirical evidence in the future might counsel rejection of the fraud hypothesis.
Regardless, this author hopes to discuss, in a future contribution, just how easy it is to generate mass frauds. In closing, though, it is important to acknowledge that the Ebola situation in the United States could be real, and could easily become real even if it hasn’t been so far. If it is real, though, there is no reason to expect cases to suddenly go quiet on weekends, is there—particularly with some many persons supposedly exposed?
Dr. Jason Kissner is Associate Professor of Criminology at California State University. Dr. Kissner’s research on gangs and self-control has appeared in academic journals. His current empirical research interests include active shootings. You can reach him at [email protected].
If any of the mainstream media are to be believed, you would think that the future of the country, the very foundation of our Republic and what’s left of its democracy hung by a thread on the results of the upcoming 2014 Congressional election, especially Republican control of the Senate.
And yet, as the issueless campaigns of meaningless gestures drone on, voter turnout is anticipated to be more a measure of voter antipathy rather than an endorsement of the posture of We-Own-the World.
Absent from the discussion in what constitutes a political campaign these days, is any real substantive sparring on issues of vital importance to the American public. To call it a debate on which party is best equipped to control Congress is a stretch as Democrats continue to support the president’s broken foreign policy initiatives which lay in a shambles from Ukraine to Iraq and Afghanistan to Libya.
As the savage ISIS, the latest international bogeyman marked for US annihilation threatens the fall of Baghdad and the largest US embassy complex in the world, and despite its support by US ‘allies’ Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, not one Senate Democrat has taken to the Senate floor to publicly question how ISIS is a threat to US national security.
After a decade of purposeless wars that have contributed to keeping the banks solvent, out on the campaign hustings there is no acknowledgement of a crumbling economy bolstered by an equally disintegrating governmental institution or that a fossilized domestic policy has sacrificed the well-being of millions of Americans on the altar of Empire.
As the two parties meld into one cumbersome/awkward political unit, no campaign furor is heard comparing the disintegration of American infrastructure and the breakdown of US social structure with the more severe results of US-provoked wars around the world.
With the absence of any contrition, no show of remorse or shame and certainly no apology to the American people by any member of the Senate for their lack of leadership and failure to govern, there has been no campaign furor over the economic and civil chaos after a decade of war and whether the disastrous futile results were worth the effort. Understandably, there has been no interest in Congressional oversight hearings to identify lessons-learned of another lost war since the obvious conclusion would inevitably lead to a legislative deterrent from repeating the same behavior, the same catastrophic mistakes. Nor has one Senate Democrat inquired what has the US achieved by its
interventions (proxy or otherwise) in Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya or made the link between the financial cost of US foreign policy debacles ($6 trillion spent on Iraq and Afghanistan) and the unnecessary bankruptcy of Detroit.
As the campaigns stumble their way to the Nov. 4th finale, one possible exception might by the re-election of Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo), whose questioning of NSA overreach and other civil liberty infringements has not translated into a groundswell of voter support. Locked in a very tight race with a Ted Cruz wanna-be which may prove to be a losing campaign, Udall has continued to support the president and every other Obama initiative.
* * *
In 2012, with a very narrow Democratic Senate majority (51 – 47) at risk, twenty-three Democratic Senate seats were on the ballot with only ten Republicans running for re-election. Clearly, the Democrats could not afford to lose one seat. With eight open Democratic Senate seats up for grabs, the odds did not look good for Democrats. And yet, as extremist tea party candidates sank Republican hopes of taking the Senate and both houses of Congress, the Democrats actually gained a 55-45 margin.
That was then…and this is now….
With a total of 36 Senate seats on the November 4th ballot (21 Democrats and 15 Republicans), current polls show Republicans expect to pick up four previously-held Democratic seats now open due to retirements (Montana, Nebraska, West Virginia and South Dakota) with Iowa, also a Democratic open seat, now leaning Republican. If Republicans can hold on to Sen. Pat Roberts (Kansas) who is facing strong opposition from an Independent with no Democrat on the ballot, Republicans may have big reason to celebrate on November 4th.
Since 2008, when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, little has been accomplished legislatively to warrant an outpouring of rampant voter enthusiasm on Election Day.
There is, of course, a slim chance that the R’s will blow it as they did in 2012 but with a bevy of new, attractive candidates debating a handful of stodgy, less than dynamic Democratic Senators, the odds currently favor a Republican takeover – giving both houses of Congress to the Republicans despite an erstwhile Democrat in the White House. To suggest that Barack Obama is a Democrat, in the historic sense, stretches one’s credulity and in what might have been a transformative presidency but for bungled political capital early on; lies one explanation for why the Democrats are in a very serious
The thought of Republicans in control of Congress, one step from the White House, should send the heebeejeebies through the veins of anyone who cares about what were once traditional social Democratic liberal issues. This is not to suggest that today’s Democrats are saviors of the middle class or have the necessary inner grit required to stave off the demons of Wall Street or the NSA or the neocons in the State Department. Too often, they have readily acquiesced to Republican domination. But as the American public have witnessed: with no assertive, committed opposition to be the voice of peace, the disenfranchised, the unemployed, the homeless and millions of lost Americans, no statesmen/women has stepped forward as leadership of a national stature in every sector of the country has collapsed.
* * *
One example of the deterioration of Congress that still haunts today’s Constitutional crisis was its approval of the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) on Sept 14, 2001. Three days after the 911 attacks (when has Congress ever moved so swiftly) , the AUMF authorized the use of “necessary and appropriate force” against those unnamed, unknown parties responsible for 911. The House vote was nearly unanimous (420) with 1 dissension from Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif and ten not voting while the Senate vote was unanimous (98-0) with two absentees. Both votes took place with no debate.
In preparation for the Iraq invasion, a second AUMF Against Iraq was offered in October, 2002 which passed the House 296 – 133 with 81 Democrats in support and Senate approval (77 – 23) including 28 Democrats. In both votes, Democrats provided the margin of victory with a Republican in the Oval Office.
As a presidential candidate in 2008 opposed to the 2002 AUMF Against Iraq as a ‘dumb war,’ President Obama has, more recently, initiated Operation Inherent Resolve claiming both AUMF’s as the proper legal basis for initiating targeted air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria without Congressional authorization. Obama’s latest imperial war is, however, in clear violation of the War Powers Act of 1973 which allows the President a 60-day period of hostilities without Congressional approval after which a continued conflict would constitute violation of the Act.
Using the incoherent logic that ISIS is an off-shoot of al Qaeda, which is, at best, problematic since the latter eschewed any association with ISIS in February, the White House has further sought to define ISIS as an ”associated force” (of al Qaeda). As if to legitimize its pursuit of ISIS and its use of AUMF
as political and legal cover for its attacks, the term is absent from either resolution and represents another Constitutionally-challenged application of the statutory interpretation of the AUMF. And yet as the Administration relies on AUMF for its legal authority:
“The two AUMFs .. were .. two very different conflicts, aimed at two different enemies, pursuing very different strategies, and based on completely different legal justifications, certainly under international law,” said Mary Ellen O’Connell, a professor of international law at Notre Dame.
While the AUMF has been used to justify a wide range of military initiatives including the Department of Justice conducting warrantless surveillance, legal justification for the war on terror, the use of Guantanamo, Navy seal raids and even drone strikes, Congressional Democrats who voted for the AUMF are responsible for providing every President since 2002 and into the future all the rationale necessary to justify the next attack on an extreme jihadist and the next and the next……
The Nato ordered indictment of Muammar Gadaffi by the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the Nato attack on Libya in 2011 echoed the indictment of President Milosevic by International Criminal Tribunal For Yugoslavia, during the Nato attack on Yugoslavia in 1999. Both men ended up dead as a direct consequence. The indictments of these two men, had only one purpose, to serve as propaganda to justify Nato’s aggression and the elimination of governments that refused to bend the knee.
The international criminal justice machine has become a weapon of total war, used not to prosecute the criminals who conduct these wars, but to persecute the leaders of the countries who resist.
Milosevic and Gaddafi are not the only victims of this criminalised international legal structure. The list is long:
President Saddam Hussein of Iraq,
President Charles Taylor of Liberia,
Prime Minister Jean Kambanda of Rwanda,
President Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast,
President Bashir of Sudan and
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.
The charges against them trumped up, created out of whole cloth. Recently there was talk in the western press of charges against President Putin. We all see how absurd and surreal the game has become.
The structural role these tribunals have played in the attempt by the USA and its Nato allies to create a New World Order has been analysed and described by distinguished jurists and writers around the world. Since I am a trial lawyer, I wanted to contribute to your understanding of the criminal nature of this international justice machine by relating to you some of my experience defending a particular political prisoner held by it. I could tell you about the scandalous practices of the ICTY in the Milosevic trial in which I was involved through his international defence committee but these are well known and have been recounted by a number of eminent persons and writers. There are many victims of these tribunals but I will focus on this one particular case because it stands as an exemplar of the many. However, the criminality was so deep and so extensive that when I began writing down the history of this trial I realised I would need a book to relate it all. So, in the time permitted us, I decided to provide you with a sketch of how these trials work.
So I am going to talk about the Rwanda tribunal because it is the most familiar to me and because the war in Rwanda is used time and again by the United States in its propaganda to justify its wars of intervention, so-called. The US claims that the violence that occurred tin Rwanda in 1994 would not have happened if only America and others had acted instead of standing by and doing nothing. But now, after 15 years of trials and investigations, we know that the America and its allies did directly intervene. It was they who controlled that war and it was they who unleashed violence of an unprecedented magnitude and savagery simply in order to overthrow a regime that was an obstacle to greater conquests and riches in the Congo. Their forces, we now know, did most of the killing and Bill Clinton’s lie that the US was not involved is one of the great lies of history. As Boutros-Ghali told the Canadian writer on Rwanda, Robin Philpot, in 2004, “The Americans are 100% responsible for what happened in Rwanda.” Clinton’s big lie has been accepted and acted on because of the propaganda campaign that accompanied it in the media and the key to that propaganda campaign are the show trials at the Rwanda Criminal Tribunal, set up and financed by the same Nato countries and corporations and Soros connected ngos as control the Yugoslav, Sierra Leone and Hariri tribunals.
In January, 2000, General Augustin Ndidiliyimana, the former Chief of Staff of the Rwanda gendarmerie and most senior ranking Rwandan military officer in 1994, was arrested in Belgium based on an indictment issued by Carla Del Ponte, then prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal For Rwanda, the ICTR. He fled to Belgium in June 1994 after receiving threats on his life. His entry into Belgium was authorised by the then Belgian Foreign Minister, Willy Claeys, later Secretary-General of Nato, who stated at the time that he had saved the lives of many Rwandans.
It is with the arrest that the criminality begins to appear. It was speculated in the Belgian press at the time that it was for political reasons and indeed, 11 years later, this speculation was confirmed when the trial judges delivered their judgement.
They stated, in the judgement dated May 17, 2011 the following: General Ndindiliyimana was considered a political “moderate” during the Rwanda War of 1990-94, a Hutu respected by Tutsis and Hutus alike and, as attested to by many witnesses including witnesses for the prosecution, his gendarmes did not commit crimes against civilians but tried to protect them where they could. So why was he arrested?
Because he was a potential leader of the country, because he refused to cooperate with the RPF regime installed by the United States after the war, because he knew too much about what really happened in Rwanda and who was really responsible for the violence, because he knew that UN and American forces, despite Clinton’s denials, were directly involved in the final RPF offensive of 1994 and the murder of President Habyarimana. All these reasons were no doubt involved in his arrest but it quickly became clear that the prosecutor used his arrest to pressure him to give false evidence against Colonel Theoneste Bagosora, the former deputy minister of defence in Rwanda who was their primary target, the “big fish” of the prosecution.
The criminal methods used against him began immediately on his arrest. He and his counsel in Brussles met with two ICTR prosecution staffers who informed him that the indictment was just a formality to give the ICTR jurisdiction over him and that the real reason for his arrest was to accompany them to Arusha, Tanzania, the home of the ICTR, to meet with the prosecutor to be interviewed regarding events in Rwanda. The Rules of Procedure require that an accused be shown the indictment on arrest. He was shown nothing. Yet he voluntarily accompanied the ICTR staffers to Tanzania, and was immediately thrown in prison.
In June 2000 Ndindiliyamana contacted me by letter and asked me to be his counsel. I agreed and he submitted my name to the registrar to have me assigned. But their immediate reaction was to try to dissuade him from engaging me, stating that I had no experience, that I could not speak French, (he spoke no English) both false and attempted to persuade him to take counsel they preferred. This was a frequent occurrence at the ICTY and R and is now the norm at the ICC. Defence counsel who are seen to be too effective and willing to bring out the all the facts and let justice be done though the sky may fall, or, as Kant phrased, it “to let justice reign even if all the rascals in the world should perish from it”, are prevented from representing accused by various means in favour of counsel who are either active agents of the western powers or who will only put up token defences The few strong defence counsel who are able appear are hampered in every way possible and even thrown in prison on charges trumped up by the prosecution, and the intimidation of counsel trying to defend them, as we recently saw in the Bemba case at the ICC. Nevertheless, Ndindiliyimana persisted and, finally, I was allowed to represent him and to meet him later that summer.
The first thing to do obviously was to get hold of the indictment and see what the charges were. But that proved to be very difficult. The indictment was not a simple statement of a criminal charge. It was, instead, a 65 page propaganda tract, setting out the mass media version of the war, all of it false, all of it meant to prejudice the accused in the eyes of the judges but, more especially, meant for public consumption and prosecution press releases. In other words it was pure propaganda, and written as such. The other surprise was that entire lines, sections and even entire pages of the indictment were blacked out, including the names of co-accused.
On his arrival in Arusha the general was not taken immediately before a judge for an initial appearance as required by the ICTR Rules of Procedure. Instead he was held incommunicado for almost 4 months and did not make his first appearance before the judges of the tribunal until April 28th of that year. The delay was a deliberate tactic meant to soften him up psychologically. The same tactic was used against other prisoners, one example being Prime Minister Jean Kambanda, who instead of being brought before a judge on arrest was taken to a location hundreds of kilometres from the tribunal, held incommunicado for nine months and threatened by two Canadian police officers every day to make him confess to crimes he had not committed.
When Ndindiliyimana was finally brought before a judge the lack of a proper indictment was raised by the duty counsel who stated the accused was being asked to plead to a document that was half blank. The judge did nothing.
Upon my arrival at the tribunal, in July 2000, an American woman approached me in a hallway of the tribunal offices and informed me that she was in charge of the prosecution staff and wanted to talk with me. She informed me that she was not only a lawyer. She was also a Colonel in the US Air Force Reserves. She asked to meet me the next day to discuss a deal which was strange considering the charges they had made against my client of genocide. The next day, about 20 people walked into the meeting room where I was sitting alone. The attempt to intimidate me was clear. The American colonel made various proposals for a deal if we agreed to cooperate and testify for the prosecution. Our response was that the charges, so far as we could make them out, were false, that we could not accept his arrest and detention as a means of forcing him to give false testimony and demanded to have a trial. As an aside, I heard a number of times in private meetings with UN staffers, some at high levels, that everyone at the tribunal knew the general was a good man and not guilty of any thing but, as one insider told me, that’s the way the Americans “are playing things here”, and to watch my back.
On my next trip to Arusha, a couple of months later, to argue a motion for his release, I found that he had “disappeared” from the prison. The UN and Tanzanian guards refused to tell me where he was. It took a day of angry arguing with obstructive officials to find out that he had been transferred to a UN safe house in the town of Arusha. The excuse given to me was that he was in danger from other prisoners but in reality it was to keep him isolated psychologically, to weaken him, to soften him up, and to discredit him with the other prisoners by making it look like he was “making a deal.”
We demanded that he be taken back to the UN Detention Unit but all our legal efforts to effect that were useless until I raised the issue in the press and to avoid further scandal, two days after the press raised the issue, he was returned to the UN prison, where, soon after, he was elected head of the prisoners’ committee.
Over the next 4 years we faced constant obstructions in trying to find out what was going on, what charges he actually faced, what they were going to do and when he was going to have a trial. During this period, repeated offers were made by the prosecutors, including dropping all the charges but all were refused; our position being simply that his arrest and detention to pressure him to testify were illegal and immoral and that he would only cooperate as a free man.
Demands for a speedy trial were met with shrugs of indifference. We were not given any relevant disclosure and even at the end of the trial the prosecution kept hidden thousands of documents that were exculpatory and only came to light by accident. So, in effect we never got any disclosure and had to create a defence for what we thought the general charges to be. To compound the problems, we were also refused sufficient investigative missions to locate and meet with witnesses to build our defence.
Two Irish lawyers found out through sympathetic contacts in the UN security office that defence office phones and fax lines were tapped. We learned that at least one defence lawyer was an agent of the prosecutor. Lawyers noticed they were followed and hotel rooms were broken into. Attempts were made to put women net to us who worked for the Tanzanian and Rwandan intelligence services. Rumours were spread in the UN detention unit to discredit defence counsel with their clients.
In 2003, a Scottish lawyer, Andrew McCarten, representing another accused at the ICTR, came to see me in Toronto stating he knew all about how the US and CIA controlled the tribunal at every level and that he feared for his life. He was very agitated. He had just arrived from New York where had tried to meet with Bill Clinton, and had been thrown out of his office. He told me details of the US military and CIA penetration of the tribunal and said he was going to send me documents of even darker things. The tribunal accused him of financial irregularities and kicked him out. Two weeks late he was dead. The police could find no cause for his car going off a cliff in Scotland. He was Scotland’s foremost military lawyer.
On a visit to Arusha just after that I was visited by a major in American army intelligence, accompanied by an intelligence officer from the American State Department Research Intelligence Bureau who wanted to know what our trial strategy was and what my client’s views were of African politics.
The defence lawyers were not the only ones who faced problems. In 1997, Louise Arbour ordered an investigation into the shoot-down of the presidential plane, which resulted in the massacre of all on board, including the Hutu President of Rwanda, Habyarimana and the Hutu president of Burundi, Ntaryamira and the Army Chief of Staff. The invading Ugandan-RPF forces and Americans claimed that Hutu “extremists” shot down the plane.
An Australian lawyer, Michael Hourigan, was assigned to lead the investigation and in due course he reported to Arbour that his team had determined that it was in fact the RPF that had shot down the plane with the help of a foreign power and the CIA was implicated. Arbour, he stated in an affidavit, seemed enthusiastic when he first informed her by telephone but when he was summoned to The Hague to meet with her, her attitude had totally changed to open hostility. He was ordered to hand over his evidence and ordered off the case.
To this day that file has been kept secret and no one named in his report has been charged.
In January 2004 the defence lawyers organised a strike to protest the political nature of the charges and trials, the poor working conditions for the defence, the searches of defence counsel when they went to meet with their clients, and the isolation and conditions for the prisoners. A few weeks after the strike the strike leader, Jean Degli, a Congolese lawyer based in Paris, an excellent advocate and a strong leader of the defence lawyers’ association, was implicated by the prosecution in a financial scandal and forced out from the defence of a senior military officer. He had to go and he was gone. Once he left the tribunal the defence lawyers’ association fell apart and never took any effective action again.
British and American lawyers would sometimes appear in the prison and announce to several accused that they had been appointed their lawyers. But the prisoners had not asked for them, did not know them, did not want them and became convinced that they were sent in by western intelligence agencies to control the outcome of the cases. The prisoners themselves created a list of defence lawyers they believed to work for western intelligence agencies. For those cases the tribunal could not control through friendly counsel the prosecution tried to insert someone inside the defence team to pass on information and to influence defence tactics and strategy. We detected several people who were working for the prosecution as spies.
They sabotaged our team by trying to trap and arrest our lead investigator, a former Rwandan police major, very useful to us in locating witnesses. On the very day that he arrived in Arusha, I was informed by a sympathetic official that they intended to arrest him on genocide charges, that his work programme had been suspended and that I better get him out of the country. So we had to quickly smuggle him out of Tanzania, at considerable cost, to avoid his arrest or worse. The charges were patently false, as he had been cleared by UN security and Rwanda well before he was engaged as our investigator. But the prosecution tactic effectively crippled our defence for over a year and we were never able to locate an investigator again with his experience and contacts. To this date, our demands to know why he was charged have been met by silence but it is worth noting that after this episode he was accepted into the Dutch police force which did a complete security check on him and determined that he had no involvement in the events of 1994.
The pressure increased when the prosecution circulated rumours that indicated they were intending to charge the general’s wife as well.
Finally, almost 5 years after the general’s arrest, the trial began, in September, 2004. To our complete surprise, at the very start of the trial the prosecutor stood up and filed a brand new indictment containing dozens of new charges including allegations of massacres we had never heard of and personal murders allegedly committed by the general himself. The accusations were of the worst and most sensational kind. It was clear they were meant to prejudice the accused in the eyes of the judges before the trial got going and in fact, as we saw in their judgement many of those were dropped without any evidence ever being presented. It was all a sham. We protested and demanded a delay to prepare a defence. We were denied and forced on and so had to prepare a defence on the run. At that point I was alone without co-counsel as the registrar refused to allow us to have counsel we wanted. The judges’ attitude from the first day was openly hostile and they refused to allow us to discuss certain issues, or to cross-examine witnesses as we wanted. They openly sided with the prosecutors and sat back and did nothing as, each day, the prosecutors launched into vicious personal attacks on defence counsel and the accused.
The prosecution witnesses were mainly Hutu prisoners of the RPF, held without charge for ten years or more, in terrible conditions, many tortured, none of their testimony agreeing with the statements they had made prior to trial, much of it, double and triple hearsay. No RPF officers were called to testify though they did call a few witnesses who were members of Rwandan government propaganda groups. The only evidence they had came out of the mouths of these Hutu prisoners and government agents.
Nevertheless, a number of them, once on the stand, had the courage to state that they had been forced to sign statements and testify falsely in return for release, favours or to avoid execution. We learned from these witnesses that the regime had set up schools in the prisons to recruit and train false witnesses, and the judges heard detailed accounts of how witnesses were recruited in these prisons, and that prosecution staff at the tribunal were involved in this scandal. What the fate of these prisoners was when they returned to Rwanda we do not know but the fate of those that cross the Rwanda regime is always unpleasant and permanent.
Even the judges, selected and groomed to be hostile to the defence, began slowly to become uncomfortable with what they were hearing and disturbed on learning that all the witness statements disclosed to us post-dated the general’s arrest.
The judges threatened my self and other counsel with arrest if we continued lines of questions they didn’t want us to pursue, and there were daily angry confrontations in court between the judges and defence counsel when we tried to protect the rights of the accused and insisted on a fair trial. Throughout the trial, evidence came out that the enemy forces had committed mass atrocities against civilians but instead of the judges asking the prosecution why these forces were not charged they tried to silence us.
In 2005, during my cross-examination of a Belgian Army colonel concerning what is known as the Dallaire genocide fax, we learned that the translators were reading from scripts prepared by the prosecution instead of translating actual testimony of the witness. We demanded an investigation and demanded the prosecutors be charged. The judges again sat there stone-faced and despite our demands, did nothing.
It was during this cross-examination that the Dallaire fax was proved to be a forgery and placed in UN files by a colonel in the British Army. But the prosecution was so embarrassed by this revelation that the fax was never again mentioned in any of the trials at the ICTR and though it was claimed to be the most important prosecution document in our trial, the prosecution never again raised it.
In 2006, the prosecution arranged to have the Appeal Chamber make the astounding declaration that the “genocide” was a judicially noticed fact despite the clear denial by the defence, despite the contrary evidence in the trials and despite the fact that the primary charge all the accused faced was genocide. In effect the tribunal stated the defence could not deny the principal charge against them.
But we persisted in presenting our defence in spite of this decision and in our case, at least, the judges gave up fighting with us day after day and we continued to present the facts.
In September 2006 the well-known prosecution expert, Dr Alison Des Forges, testified in our trial and prepared an expert report for that purpose. The problem was that she removed from that report statements she had made in an earlier report that Ndindiliyimana was a man opposed to genocide and had tried to protect civilians. When she was confronted in cross-examination as to why she had attempted to mislead the judges she refused to answer the questions but it was clear from the reaction of the prosecutors that she had removed those exculpatory statements in an attempt to obstruct justice and did so on the orders of the prosecution. The trial judges took the rare step of censuring Dr. Des Forges for this deceit in the trial judgement.-
In 2007 we witnessed another bizarre scene in which the Judges and prosecutors held a secret meeting on how to eliminate the unwanted testimony of a Tutsi prince, son of the last Tutsi king, and well known personality in Rwanda, named Antoine Nyetera, who testified that the RPF had done all the killing and not the government and that he was a witness to it. Not liking the fact a prominent Tutsi was stating that the mass media version of events was false and that the RPF forces the prosecution refused to charge were responsible for most of the killings, they decided, in a secret meeting with the prosecutors, to announce in court that they were going to eliminate his testimony from the record. When all the defence counsel objected, we were met by a stone wall. To cover up what they did the daily minutes for that day were doctored as well.
Transcripts were doctored. We were given draft transcripts each day in the morning but when we received the final version, certain words or key phrases were changed to the benefit of the prosecution, Again, complaints went nowhere. We were being surveilled by UN security officers when meeting with witnesses in hotels. This was done quote openly and the effect was clearly to intimidate us.
In July 2008, a senior American ICTR official approached me in a café in Arusha, and told me he was a CIA officer, that they had murdered others who went too far at the tribunal, including an American prosecution counsel who he stated was poisoned after ignoring a warning to reveal sensitive information.He told me that if I did not stop my defence work they were going to kill me too. I reported this bizarre conversation to the President of the Tribunal the Norwegian judge, Mose, but again I was met with complete indifference. This was not the first time such a threat had been made. A member of the Rwandan government approached me at the beginning of the trial after watching me cross-examine their witnesses and told me that if I continued I did not have long to live. Complaints to the judges and UN security led nowhere. Tanzanian secret police approached me several times over the years and made similar remarks and it has not stopped even now. In July of this year Canadian intelligence officers came to see me in Toronto to tell me I was on a Rwandan hit list and asked me if I was going to stay active in the Rwandan file. It seemed to me they used the device of warning me of a threat to convey one.
In November 2005 Juvenal Uwilingiyimana, a former cabinet minister in Rwanda, who was being interviewed by two Canadian investigators working for Stephen Rapp, then chief of prosecutions at the ICTR, disappeared when he went to meet these investigators in Lille, France. These were the same Canadians who had kept Prime Minister Kambanda incommunicado for 9 months to extract a false confession from him. Weeks later, Uwilingiyimana’s body was found in a canal in Brussles, naked, with its hands cut off. Just before he disappeared he wrote a letter to the tribunal stating that Rapp and his men were pressuring him to give false testimony and that they had threatened to kill him and cut his body into pieces unless he cooperated. I and other counsel raised this letter and the murder in court and demanded that the prime suspects in the murder, Stephen Rapp and the two Canadians, be suspended and detained pending an investigation. Nothing was done. The Belgian police did no investigation and Rapp was promoted to the position of US roving ambassador for war crimes.
In 2008, a prosecution witness in our trial recanted stating that he was forced, under threat of death, to give false testimony. The defence succeeded in getting the judges to order his recall to be questioned about it and he was brought from Rwanda to a UN safe house in Arusha, The day before he was to testify he disappeared from that safe house and has never been seen since. The UN could not explain how he could disappear from one of their safe houses. Another prosecution witness recanted stating the same thing but in this case the prosecution accused me of bribing him. Two investigations concluded he was telling the truth, which included the fact that a prosecution counsel was involved in suborning perjury.
At about the same time an RPF military intelligence officer who had fled the regime testified that all the sections of the tribunal were penetrated by western and RPF intelligence officers and that the translators all worked for Rwandan intelligence and that the judges were seen as useful puppets.
We noticed the presence several times during the trial of American army officers and senior members of the American Department of Justice sitting with the prosecutors. When we found out who they were we demanded that they be ejected and the judges were forced to order them removed from the courtroom. During the short cross-examination we were permitted of General Dallaire, by video link from Canadian Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, the cameraman made the mistake of pulling back from the close-up shot of the General’s face and torso to a wide angle shot and we were shocked to see 5 senior Canadian Army officers sitting next to him when we had been told he was alone in the room with the technician and a court official. When we demanded to know who they were and who had given them orders to be there they refused to answer and the judges refused to order their removal.
In 2008, I found hidden in prosecution files a letter from Paul Kagame, dated August, 1994, in which he refers to his and President Museveni’s “plan for Zaire,” in which he stated that the Hutus are in the way of that plan but that, with the help of the Americans, British and Belgians, the plan would go ahead. I raised this letter in court the next day as it indicated that the war in Rwanda was just the first phase for the greater war in the Congo that was planned probably as far back as 1990. The prosecution immediately accused me of forging this document, even though it came from their files, and that night I was openly followed by a Tanzanian police detective. I was forced to ask the judges for protection the next day who insisted that I be left alone.
In 2011, despite the overwhelming evidence that Ndindiliiyimana had done all he could to save lives and to restore peace to Rwanda and that he was innocent of all the charges, the judges convicted him for failing to punish subordinates for two alleged crimes though they acquitted him on all the substantive charges and ordered his release. The convictions were absurd on their face as one of the alleged incidents had never occurred and in the other his men were not involved.
When the Appeal Chamber threw out those convictions on February 7 2014, I learned from an inside source that the judges felt they had to convict him of something despite his clear innocence because they were afraid of the consequences from the Americans if they acquitted. It was also speculated by a number of commentators that they had convicted him to justify his long illegal detention. As an aside, the day after the conviction was announced, I was surprised to receive an email from the American woman, the colonel, who had first dealt with the case in 2000 and offered us a deal. She is now a high official in the US State Department. She stated that she was angry that Ndindiliyimana had been convicted, that things were never meant to go that far and that, if ever I was in Washington, she would tell me what was really behind everything. But I have not gone to Washington.
Each trial has its own stories to tell. Each has its own anatomy but the disease is the same in all. It is a very depressing and dark picture. It was a very bitter experience. There is not much more I can say except that it seems to me that international justice worthy of the name cannot exist without an international order that is democratic; a world order in which the sovereignty and equality of nations is fundamental. Law and its legal structures reflect the social, economic and political relations of a society. To rebuild the legal architecture of international justice so that it is fair, impartial and universal we first have to change the fundamental economic, social and power relations that are its foundation. Without this mankind will continue down the path of reaction and war and the list of victims of these truly criminal tribunals will be long and the victims of a world war will include all of us. How is this to be done? I leave that to you.
Jennifer Psaki (US Department of State Spokesperson): Our objectives here are going after the threat of ISIL, the safe havens where ISIL has in Syria. There will be other towns and cities that we know will be threatened in Syria, but we have to focus on our strategic components here, which are command and control centers, which are oil refineries, which are other pieces where we’ve done our precision strikes over the past several weeks.
QUESTION:So saving people – saving innocent lives from this – from ISIL, which you’ve called barbaric and evil and everything else under the sun, is not as – is just not a priority?
More than a decade after the US and its coalition allies promoted and pursued a military campaign in Iraq, a new campaign is being launched. This time, the rationale (excuse) is not weapons of mass destruction. The casus belli in this case is the need to control and contain the threat posed by a group dubbed the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Formerly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq, the profile of the militants has increased over the past several months in the wake of their conquest of strategic territory within a broad swath of Iraq and Syria. Most notably, the group’s reputation for barbarism has been underscored by a number of high profile beheadings, in recent months.
While this broadcast was aired, the Kurdish city of Kobani on the Turkish-Syria border is at risk of falling before the repressive ISIL insurgents.
While the need to respond to the threat posed by the Islamic State is understandable, at least two questions need to be addressed as Western leaders agitate for military aggression in the region.
1) Is the US bombing campaign currently underway effectively eroding the Islamic State militants’ ability to threaten civilians in the region and abroad?
This week’s Global Research News Hour centres on the US coalition’s current military mobilization against the entity known as ISIL/ISIS, the likely objectives and propsects for success with two geo-political analysts.
Lawrence Wilkerson is a Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at The College of William and Mary in Virginia. He formerly served as Chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. Global Research News Hour contributor Jon Wilson interviewed the US Army Veteran following a speech he gave at the University of Winnipeg on ISIS and the Middle East. Wilkerson attempts to explain the US strategy, his contention of it being fueled by a Sunni-Shia split within Iraq, and his prescription for the prospects for success.
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is an award-winning author, geopolitical analyst, sociologist, and frequent contributor to Global Research. His view is that the operation against the so-called Islamic State is largely a smokescreen and puts forward his thesis that a larger regional power grab is the ultimate goal for the US.
Nazemroaya will be holding workshops at the World Peace Forum Society’s 7th Annual Teach-In, Oct. 25, 2014, at the Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, Vancouver. For more details, please visit www.peaceforumteachin.org.
Julie Lévesque is an independent Journalist and Associate Editor at Global Research focussing on the complex dynamics of this new offensive.
For further details, see the following GR articles recommended by Julie Lévesque
It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.
CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario. Tune in Wednesdays from 12am to 1am.
CIA drones strikes in Pakistan have killed nearly 2,400 people since 2004. But despite US claims it just hits “confirmed terrorist targets,” only 84 of the victims have been named Al-Qaeda members, a report revealed.
On October 11, the US carried out its 400th drone strike in northwest Pakistan since its strikes started there in 2004. In almost a decade, 2,379 people have been killed.
“Only 704 of the 2,379 dead have been identified, and only 295 of these were reported to be members of some kind of armed group,” the UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism found out.
As a part of its Naming the Dead project, the bureau collected the names and, where it was possible, the details of people killed by the CIA using a multitude of sources.
“These include both Pakistani government records leaked to the bureau, and hundreds of open source reports in English, Pashtun and Urdu,” they noted.
Image: Pakistani tribesmen gather for funeral prayers before the coffins of people allegedly killed in a US drone attack, claiming that innocent civilians were killed during a June 15 strike in the North Waziristan village of Tapi, 10 kilometers away from Miranshah, on June 16, 2011.(AFP Photo / Thir Khan)
It appears that less than 4 percent or 84 of the total number of killed have been identified as Al-Qaeda members.
These figures contradict what the US Secretary of State said in May, 2013, defending the CIA drone program as one of the “most accountable.”
“The only people we fire at are confirmed terror targets, at the highest level. We don’t just fire a drone at somebody we think is a terrorist,” John Kerry said.
But the UK Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that “more than a third” of those described as militants “were not designated a rank” and “almost 30 percent are not even linked to a specific group.”
“Judging by the sheer volume of strikes and the reliable estimates of total casualties, it is very unlikely that the majority of victims are senior commanders,” Mustafa Qadri, Pakistan researcher for Amnesty International, was cited in the report as saying.
In fact, only 111 of those killed in Pakistan since 2004 were described as a senior commander of any armed group, the bureau has found. Another 73, according to the Naming the Dead project, were mid-ranking members of armed groups.
When the bureau asked US National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden for a comment, she said that strikes were only carried out when there was “near-certainty” that no civilians would be killed.
“The death of innocent civilians is something that the US Government seeks to avoid if at all possible. In those rare instances in which it appears non-combatants may have been killed or injured, after-action reviews have been conducted to determine why, and to ensure that we are taking the most effective steps to minimize such risk to non-combatants in the future,”
When in September, 2001, three days after 9/11, the US Congress signed the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (Aumf) it gave the US President the right to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against those behind the attacks on America.
But the Aunmf did not name any particular group. Speaking at the National Defense University in May, 2013, President Obama determined the US main target as “Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and its associated forces.”
Image: US President Barack Obama waves after speaking about his administration’s drone and counterterrorism policies, as well as the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, at the National Defense University in Washington, DC (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb)
Asked what the “associate forces” stand for, Hayden said: “It is an organized armed group that has entered the fight alongside Al-Qaeda and is a co-belligerent with Al-Qaeda in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.”
However, based on CIA documents, the UK-based bureau stresses that the US does not seem to know the affiliation of everyone they fire at. In April, 2013, the McClatchy news agency revealed that, in its recordings, the CIA identified hundreds of those killed as simply Afghan or Pakistani fighters, or as “unknown.”
The report speaks about two branches of the Taliban, one operating in Afghanistan and one in Pakistan. The latter was not designated by the US a terrorist group until September, 2010. So, it says, when it comes to the Taliban, it’s “problematic” to determine affiliation.
Moreover, the US doesn’t always carry out strikes based on its priorities, the reports said, citing media reports. It has been revealed the CIA made deals with Pakistan. In exchange for targeting militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas, Islamabad helped the US hit Al-Qaeda members.
First reported by McClatchy news agency last year, it was then echoed by the New York Time, which disclosed that the US first drone strike in June 2004 was a part of one of such deals with Pakistan.
The United States resumed its drone attacks in Pakistan this June, after almost a 12-month hiatus. Washington sees the airstrikes as an effort to minimize the global terrorist threat.
There is a difference between a people’s revolution and an orchestrated coup, there is a difference between allowing people to choose their leaders democratically, irrespective of whether they are pro-western or pro-Russian, and actually installing a government, which the US has done in Kiev after the coup. One can only feel sorry for the poor Ukrainian people, who truly believed in what they were demonstrating against. Paul Craig Roberts summarised the coup and the protests that followed:
“The purpose of the coup is to put NATO military bases on Ukraine’s border with Russia and to impose an IMF austerity program that serves as cover for Western financial interests to loot the country. The sincere idealistic protesters who took to the streets without being paid were the gullible dupes of the plot to destroy their country.”
The main looters set to benefit from the takeover of power were some high profile American politicians and their friends and family and they were unashamedly supporting the protests to ensure that they would get their licence to loot. “We stand ready to assist you,” US Vice President Joe Biden promised to protesters, “Imagine where you’d be today if you were able to tell Russia: ‘Keep your gas.’ It would be a very different world.” Biden certainly had imagined where he and his family would be in a Ukraine without Russian gas – his son Hunter has since joined the board of the biggest Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holding.
Biden was not the only well-connected American to join the gas company. Devon Archer, a wealthy investor and Democratic campaign fundraiser with long ties to US Secretary of State John Kerry, upon joining the board of directors rejoiced that Burisma Holdings reminded him of “Exxon in its early days.” The company’s portfolio of licenses is well-diversified across all three of Ukraine’s key hydrocarbon basins – Dnieper-Donets, Carpathian and Azov-Kuban, and its fields are fully connected to the major gas pipelines in the country.
Hunter Biden (second from the right, son of Joe Biden) has joined the board of the biggest Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holding. Another coinsidence in Ukraine?
Crimea’s referendum and re-unification with Russia took everyone by surprise and it was a major blow for companies like Chevron, Shell, ExxonMobil, Repsol and Petrochina, which had already invested money into developing Crimean offshore assets – LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) reserves in Crimea. If one looks at some of the targets of the U.S. sanctions against Russia or Russian-linked companies, two of them were directly aimed at slowing down or stopping South Stream: “The first South Stream-related company the U.S. targeted was Stroytransgaz, which is building the Bulgarian section. Putin ally and billionaire Gennady Timchenko owns it and he’s already on the sanctions list. So Stroytransgaz had to stop construction or risk exposing other companies on the project to the sanctions. The second entity in the sanctions crosshairs was a Crimean company called Chernomorneftgaz. After joining Russia, the Crimean parliament voted to take over the company, which belonged to the Ukrainian government. And guess what that company owned? The rights to the exclusive maritime economic zone in the Black Sea. That’s important because Russia routed the pipeline on a longer path through the Black Sea that cut out Ukraine. It avoided the Crimean waters, going instead via Turkey’s.”
Only a fool would believe that Putin has supported the referendum in Crimea in order to ‘protect interests of Russian people’, just as only a fool would believe that the US and EU are concerned about the Ukrainian people, democracy and freedom. Both sides are manipulating popular sentiments to achieve their own geopolitical and economic goal: a battle for energy dominance in Europe. What happened in Crimea was a mirror situation of what happened in Kiev – the people of Kiev, demonstrating on maidan, wanted to be closer to the EU and US, while people of Crimea have been trying for a long time to rejoin Russia, both the US and Russia have used the situation to their economic and political advantage, while citing humanitarian causes.
In recent years US foreign policy could be characterised as: expose people to shocking events, grab power and quickly carry out all the planned economic and political changes before people come back to their senses.
The major difference was that in Crimea only one soldier was killed by accident, while in Kiev snipers shot nearly 100 people from maidan-controlled buildings, after which power was taken by force. It looked like a popular technique the US used during many staged coups, described succinctly in Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine“: expose people to shocking events, grab power and quickly carry out all the planned economic and political changes before people come back to their senses. Another major difference is that while the majority of Crimeans are happy to be with Russia, the post-coup protests, which flared up in the Eastern regions of Ukraine, showed that significant parts of the Donbass population were not happy to break ties with Russia (the majority being ethnic Russians themselves).
When self defence forces set their base in Slavyansk, right in the heart of the Uzovka shale gas field, where Shell and Burisma were going to start fracking, US officials showed how far they were prepared to go in order to fight for the business interests of their oil and gas giants’ associates. On Monday April 14th, Reuters published a White House’s confirmation that CIA Director John Brennan had been in Kiev the weekend before. The following day, Kiev announced the beginning of a so called ‘anti-terrorist operation‘ in Donbass. One of the fierce supporters of this operation was Poland, which again was not surprising at all, given that one of Burisma’s directors alongside Biden and Archer, was and is the ex-president of Poland – Alexander Kwasnevski.
The Senate Bill 2277, which was introduced on May 1st, 2014, “to prevent further Russian aggression toward Ukraine”, directed the US Agency for International Development to begin guaranteeing the fracking of oil and gas in Ukraine, while Kiev troops were marching into Donbass to ‘basically protect the fracking equipment’. One thing that Obama is very talented at is acting – it’s remarkable that during his UNGA speech, he managed to keep a straight face, when he was mouthing these lies and hypocrisies:
“This is the international community that America seeks: one where nations do not covet the land or resources of other nations, but one in which we carry out the founding purpose of this institution and where we all take responsibility. A world in which the rules established out of the horrors of war can help us resolve conflicts peacefully and prevent the kind of wars that our forefathers fought. A world where human beings can live with dignity and meet their basic needs whether they live in New York or Nairobi, in Peshawar or Damascus.”
The civil war that broke out in Ukraine and which, as shown above, is a part of the US global energy war, has claimed 4,000 civilian lives, left more than a million Ukrainians displaced and led to a humanitarian crisis. In addition to that, when fracking goes ahead in Ukraine, Ukrainians can in addition expect – ‘earthquakes, floods, groundwater pollution, and pestilence of marine animals, birds, and fish, streams of water boiling with methane, and poisoned drinking water and air’.
“so far there is no information about the means of disposing of thousands of cubic meters of fracturing fluid from several thousand wells, which will produce shale gas. Are they really going to be buried in the ground or discharged into water bodies? The experience of foreign companies in third world countries (Ukraine cannot even claim to be the one of them) shows that they are capable of environmental crimes (Ecuador, Nigeria, etc.) “
This is particularly the case for Chevron and Shell, both of which have been implicated in major human rights violations in Nigeria. Chevron has been accused of recruiting and supplying Nigerian military forces involved in massacres of environmental protesters in the oil-rich Niger Delta, and Shell has faced charges of complicity in torture and other human rights abuses against the Ogoni people of southern Nigeria.[see here]
Obama’s statement: “America and our allies will support the people of Ukraine as they develop their democracy and economy.” is a lie. The truth, instead, can be found in gas industry media, where they do not attempt to veil American business interests with humanitarian concerns for Ukrainian people and other jingoistic moral narratives:
Fracking in Ukraine is a huge investment opportunities for the US companies. This is also reason why USA is so interested in Ukraine and its political developments.
“American companies can directly invest in Ukraine, bringing their technology with them. Ukrainian companies can hire experienced American drillers, they can license American drilling and seismic imaging technology, and they can import sophisticated U.S. drilling equipment… U.S. government can encourage these developments through government-sponsored engagement programs like the State Department’s Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program … can speed this investment with financing from the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Once a new parliament is elected in October, the Ukrainian government should do everything they can to promote private investment in production; this would include lowering these taxes and providing new incentives to energy investment. One particular tax incentive they could offer would be to create a value-added tax (VAT) break for the import of sophisticated drilling equipment, modelled on a recently-initiated VAT break for imports of military equipment. It is important that Ukraine not only has strong laws and a good regulatory environment, but that it also has an open and transparent civil service, in order to prevent the corruption that was rampant under the old regime from becoming rooted into the new one. To prevent that, the U.S. and European governments should promote transparency within the government by encouraging engagement between American civil servants with the new members of the civil service of the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry.”
These are the people, who will benefit from “US support for Ukrainian democracy and economy”: American companies, American drillers, American drilling and seismic imaging technology specialists, manufacturers of US drilling equipment, US banks and American civil service. The people of Ukraine will not benefit, because the ‘shale gas revolution’ is a sham.Even Forbes, which in March claimed that “What Ukraine needs is an American style shale-gas revolution” by September published an article that the shale gas bubble is bound to burst.The only reason that most people still believe that shale gas can increase exports, boost employment and increase GDP, along with cutting down on greenhouse emissions, is because most of the information about natural gas supplies and how it can be exploited comes from ‘people with a vested interest in selling the dream of a “Shale Gale”‘.
Most of the revenue in the fracking business comes from the selling of leases, something that in the financial industry would be seen as a variation of “pump and dump” scam, which looks like this:
“Step 1. Borrow money and use it to lease thousands of acres for drilling.
Step 2. Borrow more money and drill as many wells as you can, as quickly as you can.
Step 3. Tell everyone within shouting distance that this is just the beginning of a production boom that will continue for the remainder of our lives and the lives of our children, and that everyone who invests will get rich.
Step 4. Sell drilling leases to other (gullible) companies at a profit, raise funds through Initial Public Offerings or bond sales, and use the proceeds to hide financial losses from your drilling and production operations.”
Banks and oil and gas companies will no doubt profit, but the gains will not pass on to the people of Ukraine or the people of Europe, where the US is hoping to export it’s ‘fracking pseudo-revolution’.Instead they will only have all the terrible fracking impacts on water, air, soil, human health, the welfare of livestock and wildlife, and the climate to deal with. Ironically it is Russian natural gas, which would be much safer and cheaper for Europe to keep consuming, but US foreign policy has been set and it looks that people of Europe will not have a choice on the matter. It is from the likes of Condoleeza Rice that we hear what should happen to Europe: “You want to depend more on the North American energy platform… you want to have pipelines that don’t go through Ukraine and Russia. For years we’ve tried to make Europeans interested in different pipeline routes. It’s time to do that.”
Recently, Securing America’s Future energy and the Foreign Policy Initiative hosted this conversation about energy security and geopolitics with US legislators and leading experts, where the “US New Paradigm” of Global Energy Dominance Foreign Policy was summarised. While the US is going for the kill with this new paradigm in Ukraine and Syria, Emperor Obama showcased his humanitarian Old New Clothes to an organisation which is supposed to “maintain international peace and security, promote human rights, foster social and economic development, protect the environment” and everyone present pretended not to see the ugly flesh of the US Energy War. But for anyone who saw that the King is naked, Obama’s last words sounded like a dangerous threat:
“And at this crossroads, I can promise you that the United States of America will not be distracted or deterred from what must be done….we are prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come. Join us in this common mission”
Vera Graziadei is a Ukrainian-British actress. She achieved a degree in Philosophy and Economics and a Masters in Philosophy and Public Policy (Thesis: Social Capital and Critique of the World Bank’s Development Report) from London School of Economics. She continued studying Philosophy, while working as an actress, focusing on Existentialism, and completed a foundation course in Psychotherapy/Psychoanalysis. Her other passions are Comedy and Literature (esp. Russian classics).
Like Dick Cheney’s “Enhanced Interrogation” and Obama’s “Kinetic Military Action,” Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has now stated that Turkey is neither calling for a “buffer zone” or a “no-fly zone” enforced by the military over Syria; it is calling for a “safe zone” to be enforced by the military over Syria. In other words, Turkey is calling for a “buffer zone” and a “no-fly zone” to be enforced by the military in Syria.
Davutoglu’s statements were made in an interview with Al Jazeera on Wednesday October 17. By changing the name of the buffer zone to a safe zone, Davutoglu is banking on the hopes that the Turkish people remain as befuddled as the American public. The truth is that, most likely, they are not .
Unfortunately, Americans appear to be susceptible to any and all forms of propaganda, no matter how trite and pathetic it may be. For this reason, it is likely that the general public will be easily sold on the idea of a NATO enforced “safe zone” in Syria that begets even more direct war in the middle east and an untold additional number of innocent lives lost in Syria as well as the destruction of the secular government of Bashar al-Assad. The general public, of course, will watch airstrikes, missile attacks, and other military action in total confusion and ignorance only to forget Syria was ever a country two weeks later.
With this in mind, Davutoglu outlined the borders of the buffer zone that he and his NATO partners wish to see in Syria. These borders are set to reach into regions such as “Idlib northern Latakia, Hasakah, Jarablus and Kobani.”
These regions include the entire spectrum from east to west of Northern Syria and are located relatively deep into Syrian territory. A buffer zone with these borders also comes dangerously close to Aleppo, a scene of fierce fighting between terrorists and the SAA, but is increasingly coming under government control. Aleppo is Syria’s largest city.
A buffer zone, no-fly zone, aka “safe zone” in Syria has been the wish of NATO since the beginning of the Syrian crisis.With the establishment of this “buffer zone,” a new staging ground will be opened that allows terrorists such as ISIS and others the ability to conduct attacks even deeper inside Syria.
Working together with its NATO/GCC allies as well as the ever-present provocateur Israel, the United States is helping to create a buffer zone in the North and East of Syria while continuing to facilitate the opening of a “third front” on the Syrian border with Israel.
An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under Annan’s leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.
In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly.
The recent statements by Davutoglu, as well as those made by American officials regarding their “openness” to the establishment of a no-fly zone/buffer zone, is yet more proof that the NATO operation against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is merely Libya 2.0.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that the U.S. airstrikes and its attempts to create a “buffer zone” inside Syria are nothing more than a farce. The death squads running amok in Syria are themselves entirely creatures of NATO and they remain under NATO’s command.
The true enemy of ISIS, Khorasan, and the cannibals of the Levant has always been and continues to be Bashar al-Assad.
Ukraine’s law on a special status of Donbass (Donetsk and Luhansk regions) came into force on Saturday as it was published in the parliament’s official newspaper Golos Ukrainy (Voice of Ukraine).
On October 16, the presidential website read Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has signed a law on a special status for Donbass.
“Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has signed the law ‘On special procedure of local self-government in separate districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions’,” the report said.
“Document No. 1680-VII defines a provisional procedure of organizing local self-rule and operation of local power bodies in separate districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” it said.
“The key goal is to create conditions to normalize the situation as soon as possible, restore law and order, constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens, create conditions for residents to return to forcibly left permanent residence places, restore vital activities in inhabited localities and develop the territories. The rights and legitimate interests of legal entities are also restored,” the report said.
The special status is introduced for three years.
“Governance in the cities, towns and villages is carried out by territorial communities through local government bodies under the Constitution and the laws of Ukraine. Powers of local councils and officials elected in the course of the extraordinary elections scheduled by the Verkhovna Rada [Ukraine’s parliament] will not be terminated early. Extraordinary local elections in these districts are scheduled for December 7, 2014,”
the report said.
“The document also specifies the way of coordinating the activity between local government of these districts and central and executive government,” it said.
“Moreover, the law stipulates mechanisms of state support of socio-economic development of these districts through the introduction of the regime of business and investment activity aimed at restoration of industrial objects, infrastructure, housing facilities, reorientation of industrial capacity, creation of new jobs,”
the report said.
“Under the law, the state guarantees prevention of criminal prosecution, criminal and administrative liability and punishment of persons-participants of the events in these districts. To protect public order, local government will create people’s police units. The law shall enter into force on the day of its publication,”
According to the UN, some 3,500 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s war-torn southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions during Kiev’s military operation conducted since mid-April to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics (DPR and LPR).
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on cessation of fire and exchange of prisoners during talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk. The ceasefire took effect the same day but reports said it has occasionally been violated.
Ukraine’s parliament on September 16 granted a special self-rule status to certain districts in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions for three years. The Verkhovna Rada also passed a law on amnesty for participants in combat activities in Ukraine’s troubled eastern regions.
On September 20, in Minsk, the Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE adopted a memorandum outlining the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.
The document contains nine points, including in particular a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibres of over 100 millimetres to a distance of 15 kilometres from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.
At least ten civilians have been killed in two separate airstrikes in Syria by military aircraft involved in the so-called US-led military campaign against the ISIL Takfiri militants.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced on Saturday that three people, including a child, died in an air raid on Thursday night against a village in the northeastern province of al-Hassakah.
Seven other civilians were killed when an airstrike hit a gas plant on Friday near the town of al-Khasham is the eastern Deir ez-Zor Province, where ISIL militants are in control of the majority of the oil-rich area.
Since late September, the US along with its regional allies, has been conducting airstrikes against the ISIL inside Syria without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.
This is while many of the countries joining the so-called anti-terror coalition, such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have been the staunch supporters of the ISIL Takfiri elements in the Middle East region.
The airstrikes by US and its allies are an extension of the US-led aerial campaign against the ISIL positions in Iraq, which started in August.
The ISIL terrorists currently control large swathes of territory across Syria and Iraq. They have committed terrible atrocities in both countries, including mass executions and beheading of local residents as well as foreign nationals.
I’m aiming at you, lover
Cause killing you is killing myself
- Orson Welles (director), The Lady from Shanghai,1947
He’s invincible. He beheads. He smuggles. He conquers. He’s the ultimate jack-of-all-trades. No Tomahawk or Hellfire can touch him. He always gets what he wants; in Kobani; in Anbar province; with the House of Saud (which he wants to replace) trying to make Putin (who he wants to behead) suffer because of low oil prices.
If this was a remake of Orson Welles’s noir classic The Lady from Shanghai, in the mirror sequence the lawyer (American?) and the femme fatale (Shi’ite?) would also get killed; but The Caliph of Islamic State would survive as a larger than life Welles, free to roam, plunder and “give my love to the sunrise” – as in a Brave Caliphate World shining in “Syraq” over the ashes of the Sykes-Picot agreement.
He’s winning big in Iraq’s Anbar province. The Caliph’s goons are now closing in on – of all places – Abu Ghraib; Dubya, Dick and Rummy’s former Torture Central. They are at a mere 12 kilometers away from Baghdad International. A shoulder-launched surface-to-air missile (or MANPAD) away from downing a passenger jet. Certainly not an Emirates flight – after all these are trusted sponsors.
Hit, in Anbar province, is now Caliph territory. The police forces and the province’s operational command have lost almost complete control of Ramadi. The Caliph now controls the crucial axis formed by Hit, Ramadi, Fallujah; Highway 1 between Baghdad and the Jordanian border; and Highway 12 between Baghdad and the Syrian border.
The Caliph’s goons are no less than taking over the whole, notorious Baghdad belt, the previous “triangle of death” in those hardcore days of American occupation circa 2004. Message to Donald Rumsfeld: remember your “remnants”? They’re back. And they’re in charge.
Both Ramadi and Fallujah have been reduced to an accumulation of bombed-out schools, hospitals, homes, mosques and bridges. Residential streets are virtually deserted. According to the United Nations, there are a least 360,803 internally displaced persons in Anbar, as well as 115,000 others in areas under The Caliph’s control. At least 63% of the 1.6 million people living in the province are classified as “in need” – with hair-raising minimal access to water, food and health care, and receiving little to absolutely zero humanitarian support from that fiction, the “international community.” US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power is not screaming her lungs out for R2P (“responsibility to protect”).
How could the Pentagon’s spectacular Full Spectrum Dominance possibly not see any of this happening? Of course they see it. But they don’t give a damn. The Pentagon occasionally uses AH-64 Apache helicopters to attack some of The Caliph’s goons in Ramadi and Hit. But Apaches can be easily hit with MANPADS. They are stationed at Baghdad International and their only mission is to protect the airport. Who cares about local, civilian “collateral damage”?
Married to the Mob
In Kobani, the former third-biggest town in Syrian Kurdistan, in the far northeast, The Caliph also wins big. Another biblical exodus has reached 300,000 refugees – and counting, with over 180,000 headed to Turkey.
The Caliph counts on indirect help from The Sultan (or alternate Caliph), aka Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. Tehran is – rightfully – furious, as it sees the “West” – and Turkey – betraying the Kurds all over again. It’s no secret Sultan Erdogan is doing nothing because he wants to screw the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Syrian-Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD); let them die instead of repelling The Caliph and then be strong enough to threaten Turkish domination of those huge, essentially Kurdish patches of Anatolia. Thus the only thing Sultan Erdogan does support is aimless bombing by the Pentagon cum coalition of the clueless-cowards.
Anybody who believes the US Central Command’s spin that House of Saud and United Arab Emirates fighter jets conduct “bombing raids” on the outskirts of Kobani gets a one-way ticket to Oz. Imagine these clowns being able to deploy precision-guided bombs or trained laser spotters. To start with, the Pentagon has zero local intel – as in zero operatives able to paint lasers on targets. Thus the “coalition” can barely hit the odd tank (out of 25 around Kobani) or Humvee out of 2,000 crammed in a valley for almost two weeks now.
But the “coalition” certainly is able – miraculously! – to hit Syrian state infrastructure, as in energy installations. In June, the official Pentagon excuse was, “We don’t have any drone assets in Iraq.” Now there’s no excuse for drones which can read a “Smoking Kills!” warning in a packet of Marlboros not hitting The Caliph’s assets in Kobani – or in Anbar province for that matter. So it’s down to a mix of incompetence and neglect. It was so much easier to hit Pashtun wedding parties in the Waziristans. Especially because no one was paying attention.
Erdogan’s own goons, meanwhile, have instituted a curfew on all major towns and cities in southeast Anatolia, and are even gunning down peaceful Kurdish protesters. Fifteen million Kurds in Anatolia cannot be wrong; Erdogan wants Kobani to fall. Ankara remains for all practical purposes the top logistical hub for The Caliph’s goons. The Sultan is using The Caliph as a proxy army to smash the Kurds.
Terminal evidence has been offered by the leader of the Kurdish PYD, Salih Muslim, meeting Turkish military intel and asking for help. Conditions: abandon any hope of self-determination for Syrian Kurds; give up all your self-governing towns and regions; and watch as we install a Turkish “buffer”/no-fly zone inside Syrian territory.
Don’t expect the Obama “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff/We Have No Strategy” administration to sentence, “Erdogan must go”. Besides, the pathetic club of National Security Advisor Susan Rice and her deputy Ben Rhodes has no clue about what’s goin’ on.
To the Green Zone!
Tehran, for its part, has clearly identified Erdogan’s nasty game. The Sultan knows monster B1-B bombers flying over Kobani are absolutely useless – while The Caliph’s goons deploy massive car bombs and keep advancing. “Boots on the ground” will be needed. Enter NATO asset Turkey. But with one condition: regime change in Damascus, or at least a prelude, via that “buffer”/no-fly zone over Syria.
The Big Picture remains the same. Sultan Erdogan and the House of Saud want regime change in Damascus (Erdogan dreams of a Sunni puppet as a vassal of Ankara; the Saudis want their own Wahhabi schemer). Israel merrily agrees. And if that comes with a bonus – attacking the new Iraqi government, still supported by Iran, in the American-made Green Zone – even better. The lowdown: “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” translates as the Gulf Cooperation Council, Turkey and Israel using Washington to advance their quite explicit agenda.
Sultan Erdogan, as a Mob boss, does seem to heave learned a thing or two from watching Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. He’s extracting the maximum pound of flesh from the bewildered “Don’t do Stupid Stuff” team. The Sultan is boldly aiming at Turkish boots on the ground gloriously invading Syria in NATO “humanitarian intervention” mode. And all this sold as NATO offering “protection” to a member-nation. NATO’s new secretary-general, former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, has just been to Ankara. Saudi Arabia has already “voted” out loud for the “buffer”/no-fly zone. Same for General Francois Hollande, that pitiful excuse for President of France.
Once again, it’s Tehran to the rescue. The Foreign Ministry has duly announced Iran is ready to liberate Kobani from The Caliph’s goons (and they can do it) if Bashar Al-Assad says the word. Now that’s how you work the chessboard; NATO is left with zero excuses to mount an invasion of Syria, whatever Mob Boss Erdogan comes up with.
Operation Hands Off My Toyota
The Caliph also wins big in the “bleeding the Pentagon” department. A single US “strike” against his goons – involving F-15s, F-16s or F-22s – costs up to US$500,000. The Pentagon has just revealed it has spent no less than $1.1 billion against The Caliph since June.
What for? Virtually all the assets being destroyed by American bombing are made in the USA, deployed to the Iraqi army and then duly captured during The Caliph’s offensive. So here we have the Empire of Chaos spending a fortune from the US Treasury to smash tanks, Humvees and other gear already paid for by American taxpayers. No wonder taxpayers are fuming. Thus Operation Hands off My Toyota.
Additionally, the Pentagon does not have a clue on how to build its Obama-designed proxy “rebel” force to fight The Caliph (with no US soldiers or marines; only fanatic Wahhabis and assorted mercenaries).
To start with, they have no clue who the hell qualifies as a “moderate rebel”. The rabble must be “vetted” – and then sent to, of all places, Saudi Arabia for training. There the guy in charge will be – who else – a Special Ops honcho, Major General Michael Nagata. Even under the most optimistic scenario, the Pentagon won’t have its proxy “moderate rebel” army on the ground in Syria before the summer of 2015.
Hefty bottles of Chateau Margaux can be bet that all this prime US weaponized know how will ultimately end up captured by The Caliph’s goons. Same applies to reliable “rebel” intel on the ground.
But the real Dadaist masterpiece is that first these “rebels” will be politely asked by the Pentagon to forget about getting rid of Assad to fight The Caliph. At least for a while. Re-enter Stoltenberg, the new NATO head: “Next year, at the ministerial meeting, we will take decisions regarding the so-called spearhead but, even before it is established, NATO has a strong army after all. We can deploy it wherever we want to.” OK, tough guy; why not “Syraq”?
If this all sounds like a plot straight out of hit series Blacklist, that’s because it is. Why not get Red (James Spader) to fight The Caliph? And then again, what if Red is The Caliph? He pretends to fight himself – and he wins, handsomely. Back to Welles’ The Lady from Shanghai: “Killing you is killing myself”. Yet nobody could possibly want The Caliph dead when he’s such a smashing, undisputed box-office success.
During his weekly address Obama chastised Americans for their “hysteria” over the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
He called for patience and a sense of perspective. He said the government is in control of the situation, theAFP reports.
“This is a serious disease, but we can’t give in to hysteria or fear — because that only makes it harder to get people the accurate information they need. We have to be guided by the science. We have to remember the basic facts,” he lectured.
He said if the government takes “the steps that are necessary, if we’re guided by the science — the facts, not fear — then I am absolutely confident that we can prevent a serious outbreak here in the United States, and we can continue to lead the world in this urgent effort.”
Preventing flights arriving from West Africa, however, will not be one of the necessary steps.
“Trying to seal off an entire region of the world — if that were even possible — could actually make the situation worse… Experience shows that it could also cause people in the affected region to change their travel, to evade screening, and make the disease even harder to track.”
As for hysteria, this is amplified by the media. The corporate owned and government controlled media dwells on the CDC and the idea the state can actually do something about the disease. For statists, the disease is another excuse for government intervention in the lives of ordinary citizens.
“Disease pandemics are a dream come true for central planners,” writes Ryan McMaken. “Hysterical over possible contagion, citizens clamor for government action, government quarantines, government coercion, and government planning. In these cases, large numbers of people want government to do what government does best: seize people and property, coerce, issue orders, and spend lots of money.”
McMaken notes the repeated and systematic failures of government when dealing with possible pandemic diseases – mishandling anthrax, cross-contaminated bird flu, and the dangerous practice of routinely sending out contaminated samples across the country.
Obama’s promise that government will save us is patently false. “Moreover, a more long-term view of the history of disease prevention does not present much of an impeachable case for government intervention. Indeed, governments excel at creating the conditions that enhance the spread of disease, as they did with the Spanish flu in the aftermath of World War I.”
The CDC and the National Institutes of Health, of course, are not about to take responsibility for their role in spreading the disease. Bureaucrats claim the bungled response is due to budget restraints.
“Frankly, if we had not gone through our 10-year slide in research support, we probably would have had a vaccine in time for this that would’ve gone through clinical trials and would have been ready,” National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins said last week.
Contrary to the lamentations of bureaucrats, budgetary restraints did not stop the flow of confiscated money to the CDC.
“Top public health officials have collected $25 million in bonuses since 2007, carving out extra pay for themselves in tight federal budgetary times while blaming a lack of money for the Obama administration’s lackluster response to the Ebola outbreak,” writes Kelly Riddell for The Washington Times.
“U.S. taxpayers gave $6 billion in salaries and $25 million in bonuses to an elite corps of health care specialists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 2007,” she writes.
And yet these “health care specialists” are unable to implement protocols to handle Ebola patients and protect hospital staff.
Once again, the lesson is clear. Government is a parasitical and predatory beast that preys on the real producers in society. It cannot respond to disease pandemics, natural disasters, and other catastrophic events requiring coordinated effort. It invariably exploits these situations to further secure its authority and enrich its partners.
“Folks, this is deja vu all over again. This administration is using this crisis to profit from it and, quite possibly, award no-bid contracts to their friends,” writes Jack Perry. “I now deeply suspect the CDC bungling in Dallas was intentional, not mere incompetence. They are manufacturing a crisis in order to not only build more government agencies with potentially unlimited power, but also so that certain corporations in bed with them can profit from it.”
This is the history of government – manufactured crises, false flag wars and other staged events to benefit corporate partners, the real recipients of service provided by the largesse extracted from a befuddled, largely brainwashed and fearsome American public.
A politician making a ludicrous claim that has no basis in fact about a major story of the day should be an easy factcheck. But ABC’s This Week (10/13/14) reminded us that corporate news outlets are often not very good at this.
The claim in question came from Rep. Duncan Hunter (R.-Ca.), who declared, “I know that at least 10 ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas.” He added that “dozens more” evaded capture.
So members of the terrorist group that we’re told is worse than Al-Qaeda managed to slip into Texas? I feel like we would have heard something about this, even in the dreaded “liberal media.”
PolitiFact gave Hunter its worst grade (10/10/14)–”PANTS ON FIRE”–since there is no evidence to support this rather wild claim. If terrorists were “caught,” law enforcement would presumably have done the catching, and they deny anything like this has happened. Hunter’s spokesman told PolitiFact that the lawmaker stands by his remarks, and suggested that they’d be vindicated eventually:
We make the point. Official channels deny. Then, maybe in a few years from now, the information will pop up on the front page of the Washington Post.
OK–his source is the Washington Post, maybe in a few years from now?
Duncan Hunter is concerned about ISIS fighters nobody else seems to be able to see.
So what did ABC do with this? Anchor Martha Raddatz teased the segment:
Up next, were ISIS terrorists caught sneaking across our southern border? Why one congressman’s claims are raising alarms.
This was a bad sign, since Hunter’s claims weren’t really “raising alarms,” except perhaps among people concerned that a lawmaker would utter something so unbelievable.
Raddatz continued by calling it “a high stakes faceoff over the ISIS threat.” After playing a clip of Hunter, she wondered: “A stunning claim; but is it true?”
Not according to the Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, who gets a soundbite. But then it’s back to Hunter’s camp:
RADDATZ: But Hunter insists he’s right. His spokesman firing back: “It makes sense that the left hand of the DHS doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. It’s been that way for a long time.” Did Congressman Hunter go too far with his new claims?
Then Raddatz turned it over to her roundtable guest, former George W. Bush adviser Matthew Dowd, who gave this clear-as-mud accounting of the facts:
RADDATZ: No one seems to have any evidence to back up Hunter’s claims. Is he just seizing on people’s fears? They are pretty high this morning.
DOWD: Well, yeah, they’re very high this morning. And I don’t want to conflate the two things with Ebola and this, but many times fear doesn’t have to be real to be powerful. And in the context of it, we don’t often have to have facts to back up our fears. We respond to our fears.
I think everybody has the right to say what they want to say, but they have the responsibility to say what may be they believe to be factually correct. The congressman says he believes it to be factually correct. But at a time like this with terrorism and, as you say, with the Ebola thing, we should counsel our fears and look for the fact sets.
The thing about factchecking is that the person making a claim actually has to have evidence that what they’re saying is true; if they can’t produce any, then there’s not much left to say. Honestly believing that something false is true, or a spokesperson insisting that a lawmaker stands by a claim, doesn’t actually matter. But ABC manages to cloud up an issue that should be crystal clear.
If ABC can’t get an easy one right, can we really expect them to sort out the complicated stuff?
Correction: An earlier version of this post was illustrated with a photo of former Rep. Duncan Hunter, the current congressmember of that name’s father.
Ruling on a request filed by the Obama administration, US District Court Judge Gladys Kessler agreed Thursday to grant a one-month delay on the release of videotapes showing the barbaric force-feeding of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
The tapes also show what are called “cell extractions,” in which heavily armed squads of soldiers beat prisoners as they forcibly drag them out of their cells to be strapped into the “five-point restraint” chairs used to implement the force-feedings.
Both of these forms of torture are employed by the US military to punish the political opposition by prisoners at Guantanamo to their open-ended imprisonment without charges or trials, expressed in a series of hunger strikes. More than 100 of the 149 prisoners who remain at the prison camp have participated in these protests over the past two years.
One of the prisoners, Abu Wa’el Dhiab, a Syrian arrested in Pakistan in 2002 and turned over to the US military, has filed suit against the force-feeding. The suit brought to public knowledge the existence of videos, which include tapes of the force-feeding of Dhiab himself on numerous occasions between April 9, 2013 and February 19, 2014.
The tapes of Dhiab alone comprise eleven hours of video during which he screams, gasps, retches and writhes as tubes are forced through his nasal passage and down his throat while he is locked in a restraint chair.
Since this revelation, the Obama administration has combined adamant defense of the practice of force-feeding as “not painful” with an insistence that the tapes of this supposedly humane procedure should not be made public because they would “increase anti-American sentiment and inflame Muslim sensitivities overseas.”
In other words, the torturers argue that what they are doing is not torture, while at the same time resisting any public exposure because it would outrage the world.
Kessler’s ruling came one day before the deadline she had set at a hearing October 3 for the videos of Dhiab’s force-feeding to be turned over to the defense counsel and the media. The tapes would only be released in heavily redacted form, with the faces blurred for all US military personnel involved in force-feeding, extraction and other prison operations.
The Justice Department is expected to use the 30-day delay granted by Kessler to appeal her order for release of the tapes to the Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington DC.
In a court filing Friday, after Kessler had issued the 30-day delay, Dhiab’s attorneys again argued that force-feeding is akin to “torture” and urged the judge to order less brutal practices. They said that Dhiab was not hunger striking to death, only protesting his lengthy detention without trial, so force-feeding was not required to save his life. The only purpose of the regimen, they said, was to cause the prisoner “gratuitous pain” as punishment for his public act of protest.
Dhiab was actually cleared for transfer from Guantanamo by the Obama administration, but his repatriation to Syria was barred first by the likelihood that he would be tortured there—evidently the US government reserves the right of torture to itself—and then by the eruption of civil war in 2011. Earlier this year, Uruguay agreed to accept him as part of a group of seven prisoners, but delays on the US side led to a collapse of the deal.
The legal wrangling over the videos of the force-feeding has almost overshadowed the substance of Dhiab’s lawsuit, which was to compel the government to halt or alter the method of force-feeding. Dhiab is seeking to have doctors, rather than prison authorities, determine when feeding is necessary, based on the medical condition of the prisoner.
As currently practiced, force-feeding is essentially punitive. Military guards forcibly insert a nasal feeding tube at every meal, as often as three times a day, a process that is both inherently painful and easily abused.
Government attorneys have argued that the longer-term insertion of tubes, for days or weeks, is a security risk, claiming, improbably, that prisoners would pull the tube out, use it to strangle themselves or other detainees “or to fashion into a whip-like weapon.”
The Justice Department presented equally paranoid arguments for suppressing the videos, claiming that their release would help enemies develop “countermeasures” or reveal the physical layout of the Guantanamo Bay prison and thus “disrupt good order” there.
A coalition of media organizations has filed briefs supporting the release of the force-feeding videos on the grounds that they are newsworthy and that the government security concerns are specious.
The controversy has put the spotlight once again on the barbaric conditions at Guantanamo. This has been exacerbated by the fact that a majority of the prisoners, 79 out of 149, have been cleared for transfer to other countries and are still kept waiting mainly because of US concern that they would simply be released, given the unstable political conditions in countries like Yemen, which accounts for 58 of the 79.
The Obama administration has transferred only a single prisoner this year, besides the five high-level Taliban prisoners who were exchanged for captured US soldier Bowe Bergdahl.