We bring to the attention of our readers the following text of Osama bin Laden’s interview with Ummat, a Pakistani daily, published in Karachi on September 28, 2001. It was translated into English by the BBC World Monitoring Service and made public on September 29, 2001.
The authenticity of this interview remains to be confirmed. It is available in recognized electronic news archives including the BBC. Its authenticity has not been questioned.
The interview tends to demystify the Osama bin Laden persona.
Osama bin Laden categorically denies his involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Bin Laden’s statements in this interview are markedly different from those made in the alleged Osama video tapes.
In this interview, Osama bin Laden exhibits an understanding of US foreign policy. He expresses his views regarding the loss of life on 9/11. He focusses on CIA support to the narcotics trade.
He also makes statements as to who, in his opinion, might be the likely perpetrator of the September 11 attacks.
This is an important text which has not been brought to the attention of Western public opinion.
We have highlighted key sections of this interview.
It is our hope that the text of this interview, published on 28 September 2001 barely a week before the onset of the war on Afghanistan, will contribute to a better understanding of the history of Al Qaeda, the role of Osama bin Laden and the tragic events of September 11, 2001.
This interview is published for informational purposes only. GR does not in any way endorse the statements in this interview.
Michel Chossudovsky, September 9, 2014
Full text of September 2001 Pakistani paper’s “exclusive” interview with Usamah Bin-Ladin
Kabul: Prominent Arab mojahed holy warrior Usamah Bin-Ladin has said that he or his al-Qa’idah group has nothing to do with the 11 September suicidal attacks in Washington and New York. He said the US government should find the attackers within the country. In an exclusive interview with daily “Ummat”, he said these attacks could be the act of those who are part of the American system and are rebelling against it and working for some other system. Or, Usamah said, this could be the act of those who want to make the current century a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity. Or, the American Jews, who are opposed to President Bush ever since the Florida elections, might be the masterminds of this act. There is also a great possibility of the involvement of US intelligence agencies, which need billions of dollars worth of funds every year. He said there is a government within the government in the United States.
The secret agencies, he said, should be asked as to who are behind the attacks. Usamah said support for attack on Afghanistan was a matter of need for some Muslim countries and compulsion for others. However, he said, he was thankful to the courageous people of Pakistan who erected a bulwark before the wrong forces. He added that the Islamic world was attaching great expectations with Pakistan and, in time of need, “we will protect this bulwark by sacrificing of lives”.
Following is the interview in full detail:
Ummat: You have been accused of involvement in the attacks in New York and Washington. What do you want to say about this? If you are not involved, who might be?
Usamah [Osama bin Laden]: In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful. Praise be to Allah, Who is the creator of the whole universe and Who made the earth as an abode for peace, for the whole mankind. Allah is the Sustainer, who sent Prophet Muhammad for our guidance. I am thankful to the Ummat Group of Publications, which gave me the opportunity to convey my viewpoint to the people, particularly the valiant and Momin true Muslim people of Pakistan who refused to believe in lie of the demon.
I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people.
Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam. All that is going on in Palestine for the last 11 months is sufficient to call the wrath of God upon the United States and Israel.
There is also a warning for those Muslim countries, which witnessed all these as a silent spectator. What had earlier been done to the innocent people of Iraq, Chechnya, and Bosnia?
Only one conclusion could be derived from the indifference of the United States and the West to these acts of terror and the patronage of the tyrants by these powers that America is an anti-Islamic power and it is patronizing the anti-Islamic forces. Its friendship with the Muslim countries is just a show, rather deceit. By enticing or intimidating these countries, the United States is forcing them to play a role of its choice. Put a glance all around and you will see that the slaves of the United States are either rulers or enemies of Muslims .
The US has no friends, nor does it want to keep any because the prerequisite of friendship is to come to the level of the friend or consider him at par with you. America does not want to see anyone equal to it. It expects slavery from others. Therefore, other countries are either its slaves or subordinates.
However, our case is different. We have pledged slavery to God Almighty alone and after this pledge there is no possibility to become the slave of someone else. If we do that, it will be disregardful to both our Sustainer and his fellow beings. Most of the world nations upholding their freedom are the religious ones, which are the enemies of United States, or the latter itself considers them as its enemies. Or the countries, which do not agree to become its slaves, such as China, Iran, Libya, Cuba, Syria, and the former Russia as received .
Whoever committed the act of 11 September are not the friends of the American people. I have already said that we are against the American system, not against its people, whereas in these attacks, the common American people have been killed.
According to my information, the death toll is much higher than what the US government has stated. But the Bush administration does not want the panic to spread. The United States should try to trace the perpetrators of these attacks within itself; the people who are a part of the US system, but are dissenting against it. Or those who are working for some other system; persons who want to make the present century as a century of conflict between Islam and Christianity so that their own civilization, nation, country, or ideology could survive. They can be any one, from Russia to Israel and from India to Serbia. In the US itself, there are dozens of well-organized and well-equipped groups, which are capable of causing a large-scale destruction. Then you cannot forget the American Jews, who are annoyed with President Bush ever since the elections in Florida and want to avenge him.
Then there are intelligence agencies in the US, which require billions of dollars worth of funds from the Congress and the government every year. This funding issue was not a big problem till the existence of the former Soviet Union but after that the budget of these agencies has been in danger.
They needed an enemy. So, they first started propaganda against Usamah and Taleban and then this incident happened. You see, the Bush administration approved a budget of 40bn dollars. Where will this huge amount go? It will be provided to the same agencies, which need huge funds and want to exert their importance.
Now they will spend the money for their expansion and for increasing their importance. I will give you an example. Drug smugglers from all over the world are in contact with the US secret agencies. These agencies do not want to eradicate narcotics cultivation and trafficking because their importance will be diminished. The people in the US Drug Enforcement Department are encouraging drug trade so that they could show performance and get millions of dollars worth of budget. General Noriega was made a drug baron by the CIA and, in need, he was made a scapegoat. In the same way, whether it is President Bush or any other US president, they cannot bring Israel to justice for its human rights abuses or to hold it accountable for such crimes. What is this? Is it not that there exists a government within the government in the United Sates? That secret government must be asked as to who made the attacks.
Ummat: A number of world countries have joined the call of the United States for launching an attack on Afghanistan. These also include a number of Muslim countries. Will Al-Qa’idah declare a jihad against these countries as well?
Usamah: I must say that my duty is just to awaken the Muslims; to tell them as to what is good for them and what is not. What does Islam says and what the enemies of Islam want?
Al-Qa’idah was set up to wage a jihad against infidelity, particularly to encounter the onslaught of the infidel countries against the Islamic states. Jihad is the sixth undeclared element of Islam. The first five being the basic holy words of Islam, prayers, fast, pilgrimage to Mecca, and giving alms Every anti-Islamic person is afraid of it. Al-Qa’idah wants to keep this element alive and active and make it part of the daily life of the Muslims. It wants to give it the status of worship. We are not against any Islamic country nor we consider a war against an Islamic country as jihad.
We are in favour of armed jihad only against those infidel countries, which are killing innocent Muslim men, women, and children just because they are Muslims. Supporting the US act is the need of some Muslim countries and the compulsion of others. However, they should think as to what will remain of their religious and moral position if they support the attack of the Christians and the Jews on a Muslim country like Afghanistan. The orders of Islamic shari’ah jurisprudence for such individuals, organizations, and countries are clear and all the scholars of the Muslim brotherhood are unanimous on them. We will do the same, which is being ordered by the Amir ol-Momenin the commander of the faithful Mola Omar and the Islamic scholars. The hearts of the people of Muslim countries are beating with the call of jihad. We are grateful to them.
Ummat: The losses caused in the attacks in New York and Washington have proved that giving an economic blow to the US is not too difficult. US experts admit that a few more such attacks can bring down the American economy. Why is al-Qa’idah not targeting their economic pillars?
Usamah: I have already said that we are not hostile to the United States. We are against the system, which makes other nations slaves of the United States, or forces them to mortgage their political and economic freedom.This system is totally in control of the American Jews, whose first priority is Israel, not the United States. It is simply that the American people are themselves the slaves of the Jews and are forced to live according to the principles and laws laid by them. So, the punishment should reach Israel. In fact, it is Israel, which is giving a blood bath to innocent Muslims and the US is not uttering a single word.
Ummat: Why is harm not caused to the enemies of Islam through other means, apart from the armed struggle? For instance, inciting the Muslims to boycott Western products, banks, shipping lines, and TV channels.
Usamah: The first thing is that Western products could only be boycotted when the Muslim fraternity is fully awakened and organized. Secondly, the Muslim companies should become self-sufficient in producing goods equal to the products of Western companies. Economic boycott of the West is not possible unless economic self-sufficiency is attained and substitute products are brought out. You see that wealth is scattered all across the Muslim world but not a single TV channel has been acquired which can preach Islamic injunctions according to modern requirements and attain an international influence. Muslim traders and philanthropists should make it a point that if the weapon of public opinion is to be used, it is to be kept in the hand. Today’s world is of public opinion and the fates of nations are determined through its pressure. Once the tools for building public opinion are obtained, everything that you asked for can be done.
Ummat: The entire propaganda about your struggle has so far been made by the Western media. But no information is being received from your sources about the network of Al-Qa’idah and its jihadi successes. Would you comment?
Usamah: In fact, the Western media is left with nothing else. It has no other theme to survive for a long time. Then we have many other things to do. The struggle for jihad and the successes are for the sake of Allah and not to annoy His bondsmen. Our silence is our real propaganda. Rejections, explanations, or corrigendum only waste your time and through them, the enemy wants you to engage in things which are not of use to you. These things are pulling you away from your cause.
The Western media is unleashing such a baseless propaganda, which make us surprise but it reflects on what is in their hearts and gradually they themselves become captive of this propaganda. They become afraid of it and begin to cause harm to themselves. Terror is the most dreaded weapon in modern age and the Western media is mercilessly using it against its own people. It can add fear and helplessness in the psyche of the people of Europe and the United States. It means that what the enemies of the United States cannot do, its media is doing that. You can understand as to what will be the performance of the nation in a war, which suffers from fear and helplessness.
Ummat: What will the impact of the freeze of al-Qa’idah accounts by the US?
Usamah: God opens up ways for those who work for Him. Freezing of accounts will not make any difference for Al-Qa’idah or other jihad groups. With the grace of Allah, al-Qa’idah has more than three such alternative financial systems, which are all separate and totally independent from each other. This system is operating under the patronage of those who love jihad. What to say of the United States, even the combined world cannot budge these people from their path.
These people are not in hundreds but in thousands and millions. Al-Qa’idah comprises of such modern educated youths who are aware of the cracks inside the Western financial system as they are aware of the lines in their hands. These are the very flaws of the Western fiscal system, which are becoming a noose for it and this system could not recuperate in spite of the passage of so many days.
Ummat: Are there other safe areas other than Afghanistan, where you can continue jihad?
Usamah: There are areas in all parts of the world where strong jihadi forces are present, from Indonesia to Algeria, from Kabul to Chechnya, from Bosnia to Sudan, and from Burma to Kashmir. Then it is not the problem of my person. I am helpless fellowman of God, constantly in the fear of my accountability before God. It is not the question of Usamah but of Islam and, in Islam too, of jihad. Thanks to God, those waging a jihad can walk today with their heads raised. Jihad was still present when there was no Usamah and it will remain as such even when Usamah is no longer there. Allah opens up ways and creates loves in the hearts of people for those who walk on the path of Allah with their lives, property, and children. Believe it, through jihad, a man gets everything he desires. And the biggest desire of a Muslim is the after life. Martyrdom is the shortest way of attaining an eternal life.
Ummat: What do you say about the Pakistan government policy on Afghanistan attack?
Usamah: We are thankful to the Momin and valiant people of Pakistan who erected a blockade in front of the wrong forces and stood in the first file of battle. Pakistan is a great hope for the Islamic brotherhood. Its people are awakened, organized, and rich in the spirit of faith. They backed Afghanistan in its war against the Soviet Union and extended every help to the mojahedin and the Afghan people. Then these are the same Pakistanis who are standing shoulder by shoulder with the Taleban. If such people emerge in just two countries, the domination of the West will diminish in a matter of days. Our hearts beat with Pakistan and, God forbid, if a difficult time comes we will protect it with our blood. Pakistan is sacred for us like a place of worship. We are the people of jihad and fighting for the defence of Pakistan is the best of all jihads to us. It does not matter for us as to who rules Pakistan. The important thing is that the spirit of jihad is alive and stronger in the hearts of the Pakistani people.
Copyright Ummat in Urdu, BBC translation in English, 2001
Read about Osama Bin Laden in Michel Chossudovsky’s international best-seller
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The tragic events of September 11, 2001 constitute a fundamental landmark in American history. a decisive watershed, a breaking point. Millions of people have been misled regarding the causes and consequences of 9/11.
September 11 2001 opens up an era of crisis, upheaval and militarization of American society.
A far-reaching overhaul of US military doctrine was launched in the wake of 9/11.
Endless wars of aggression under the humanitarian cloak of “counter-terrorism” were set in motion.
9/11 was also a stepping stone towards the relentless repeal of civil liberties, the militarization of law enforcement and the inauguration of “Police State USA”.
September 11, 2001 marks the onslaught of the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT), used as a pretext and a justification by the US and its NATO allies to carry out a “war without borders”, a global war of conquest.
At eleven o’clock, on the morning of September 11, the Bush administration had already announced that Al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon. This assertion was made prior to the conduct of an indepth police investigation.
CIA Director George Tenet stated that same morning that Osama bin Laden had the capacity to plan “multiple attacks with little or no warning.”
Secretary of State Colin Powell called the attacks “an act of war” and President Bush confirmed in an evening televised address to the Nation that he would “make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them”.
Former CIA Director James Woolsey, without mentioning Afghanistan, pointed his finger at “state sponsorship,” implying the complicity of one or more foreign governments. In the words of former National Security Adviser, Lawrence Eagleburger, “I think we will show when we get attacked like this, we are terrible in our strength and in our retribution.”
That same evening at 9:30 pm, a “War Cabinet” was formed integrated by a select number of top intelligence and military advisors. And at 11:00 pm, at the end of that historic meeting at the White House, the “War on Terrorism” was officially launched.
The tragic events of 9/11 provided the required justification to wage war on Afghanistan on “humanitarian grounds”, with the full support of World public opinion and the endorsement of the “international community”. Several prominent “progressive” intellectuals made a case for “retaliation against terrorism”, on moral and ethical grounds. The “just cause” military doctrine (jus ad bellum) was accepted and upheld at face value as a legitimate response to 9/11.
In the wake of 9/11, the antiwar movement was completely isolated. The trade unions and civil society organizations had swallowed the media lies and government propaganda. They had accepted a war of retribution against Afghanistan, an impoverished country in Central Asia of 30 million people.
The myth of the “outside enemy” and the threat of “Islamic terrorists” was the cornerstone of the Bush administration’s military doctrine, used as a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention the repeal of civil liberties and constitutional government in America.
Amply documented but rarely mentioned by the mainstream media, Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA going back to the Soviet- Afghan war. This was a known fact, corroborated by numerous sources including official documents of the US Congress, which the mainstream media chose to either dismiss or ignore. The intelligence community had time and again acknowledged that they had indeed supported Osama bin Laden, but that in the wake of the Cold War: “he turned against us”.
The 9/11 Commission Report has largely upheld the “outside enemy” mythology, heralding Al Qaeda as the “mastermind” organization behind the 9/11 attacks.
The official 9/11 narrative has not only distorted the causes underling the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, it has also erased the historical record of US covert support to international terrorism, while creating the illusion that America and “Western Civilization” are threatened.
Without an “outside enemy”, there could be no “war on terrorism”. The entire national security agenda would collapse “like a deck of cards”. The war criminals in high office would have no leg to stand on.
After 9/11, the campaign of media disinformation served not only to drown the truth but also to kill much of the historical evidence on how this illusive Al Qaeda “outside enemy” had been fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.
The 911 Reader is composed of a carefully selected collection of key articles published by Global Research in the course of the last eleven years.
9/11 was an important landmark for Global Research. Our website was launched on September 9, 2001, two days prior to 9/11. Our coverage of 9/11 was initiated on September 12, 2001.
Within this collection of more than 60 chapters, we have included several important reports from our archives, published by Global Research in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. These articles provide a focus on issues pertaining to the 9/11 Timeline, foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks, the attack on the Pentagon, the issue of insider trading on Wall Street in the days preceding 9/11 pointing to foreknowledge of the attacks.
What prevails is a complex web of lies and fabrications, pertaining to various dimensions of the 9/11 tragedy. The falsehoods contained in the official 9/11 narrative are manifold, extending from the affirmation that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind, to the assertion by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) that the WTC buildings collapsed due to the impacts of fire. (see Part III).
Where was Osama bin Laden on September 11, 2001?
Is there any proof to the effect that Osama bin Laden, the bogeyman, coordinated the 9/11 attacks as claimed in the official 9/11 narrative?
According to CBS news (Dan Rather, January 28, 2002), “Enemy Number One” was admitted to the urology ward of a Pakistani military hospital in Rawalpindi on September 10, 2001, courtesy of America’s indefectible ally Pakistan. He could have been arrested at short notice which would have “saved us a lot of trouble”, but then we would not have had an Osama Legend, which has fed the news chain as well as presidential speeches in the course of the last eleven years.
DAN RATHER. As the United states and its allies in the war on terrorism press the hunt for Osama bin Laden, CBS News has exclusive information tonight about where bin Laden was and what he was doing in the last hours before his followers struck the United States September 11.
This is the result of hard-nosed investigative reporting by a team of CBS news journalists, and by one of the best foreign correspondents in the business, CBS`s Barry Petersen. Here is his report.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BARRY PETERSEN, CBS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Everyone remembers what happened on September 11. Here`s the story of what may have happened the night before. It is a tale as twisted as the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]
CBS News footage of the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, hospital where bin Laden was allegedly treated the day before 9/11. [Source: CBS News]
The foregoing CBS report which is of utmost relevance indicates two obvious facts:
1. Osama bin Laden could not reasonably have coordinated the 9/11 attacks from his hospital bed;
2. The hospital was under the jurisdiction of the Pakistani Armed Forces, which has close links to the Pentagon. Osama bin Laden’s whereabouts were known to both the Pakistani and US military.
U.S. military and intelligence advisers based in Rawalpindi. were working closely with their Pakistani counterparts. Again, no attempt was made to arrest America’s best known fugitive. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld claimed, at the time, that the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden were unknown. According to Rumsfeld: “Its like looking for a needle in a stack of hay”.
October 7, 2001: Waging America’s 9/11 War of Retribution against Afghanistan
The immediate response of the US and its allies to the 9/11 attacks was to the declare a war of retribution against Afghanistan on the grounds that the Taliban government was protecting “terror mastermind” Osama bin Laden. By allegedly harboring bin Laden, the Taliban were complicit, according to both the US administration and NATO, for having waged an act of war against the United States.
Parroting official statements, the Western media mantra on September 12, 2001 had already approved the launching of “punitive actions” directed against civilian targets in Afghanistan. In the words of William Saffire writing in the New York Times: “When we reasonably determine our attackers’ bases and camps, we must pulverize them — minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage” — and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror’s national hosts”.
This decision was taken by the Bush-Cheney war cabinet in the evening of September 11, 2001. It was based on the presumption, “confirmed” by the head of the CIA that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks.
On the following morning, September 12, 2001, NATO’s Atlantic Council meeting in Brussels, endorsed the Bush administration’s declaration of war on Afghanistan, invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
An act of war by a foreign nation (Afghanistan) against a member of the Atlantic Alliance (the USA) is an act of war against all members under NATO’s doctrine of collective security. Under any stretch of the imagination, the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon cannot be categorized as an act of war by a foreign country. But nobody seemed to have raised this issue.
Meanwhile, on two occasions in the course of September 2001, the Afghan government –through diplomatic channels– offered to hand over Osama Bin laden to US Justice. These overtures were turned down by president Bush, on the grounds that America “does not negotiate with terrorists”.
The war on Afghanistan was launched 26 days later on the morning of October 7, 2001. The timing of this war begs the question: how long does it take to plan and implement a major theater war several thousand miles away. Military analysts will confirm that a major theater war takes months and months, up to a year or more of advanced preparations. The war on Afghanistan was already in the advanced planning stages prior to September 11, 2001, which begs the question of foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks.
The repeal of civil liberties in America was launched in parallel with the bombing and invasion of Afghanistan, almost immediately following 9/11 with the adoption of the PATRIOT legislation and the setting up of a Homeland Security apparatus, under the pretext of protecting Americans. This post-911 legal and institutional framework had been carefully crafted prior to the 9/11 attacks.
Al Qaeda is a US Intelligence Asset
Important to the understanding of 9/11, US intelligence is the unspoken architect of “Islamic terrorism” going back to the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war.
Bin Laden was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerrilla training camp. Education in Afghanistan in the years preceding the Soviet-Afghan war was largely secular. With religious textbooks produced in Nebraska, the number of CIA sponsored religious schools (madrasahs) increased from 2,500 in 1980 to over 39,000.
“Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the [Islamic] Jihad.” (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)
”The United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings….The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..”, (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)
Under the Reagan administration, US foreign policy evolved towards the unconditional support and endorsement of the Islamic “freedom fighters”. This endorsement has not in any way been modified.
In a twisted irony, throughout the post 911 era, US intelligence in liaison with Britain’s MI6, an Israel’s Mossad, continues to provide covert support to the radical Islamist organization allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda and its various affiliated groups including the Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) and factions within the Free Syria Army (FSA) are directly supported by the US and NATO.
In a bitter irony, the US and its allies claim to be waging a “war on terrorism” against the alleged architects of 9/11, while also using Al Qaeda operatives as their foot-soldiers.
Front row, from left: Major Gen. Hamid Gul, director general of Pakistan’s
Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), Director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
Willian Webster; Deputy Director for Operations Clair George; an ISI colonel; and senior CIA official,
Milt Bearden at a Mujahideen training camp in North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan in 1987.
Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1985 (Reagan Archives)
VIDEO (30 Sec.)
The Collapse of the World Trade Center Buildings
Based on the findings of Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings was not caused by fire resulting from the crash of the planes:
In more than 100 steel-framed, high-rise fires (most of them very hot, very large and very long-lasting), not one has collapsed, ever. So it behooves all of us, as your own former chief of NIST’s Fire Science Division, Dr. James Quintiere, said, “to look at real alternatives that might have been the cause of these collapses.”
Let’s start with temperatures – 1,340° F. temperatures, recorded in thermal images of the surface of the World Trade Center rubble pile a week after 9/11 by NASA’s AVIRIS equipment on USGS overflights. Such temperatures cannot be achieved by oxygen-starved hydrocarbon fires. Such fires burn at only 600 to 800° F. Remember, there was no fire on the top of the pile. The source of this incredible heat was therefore below the surface of the rubble, where it must have been far hotter than 1,340 degrees.
Mark Loizeaux, president of Controlled Demolition, Inc., who was hired for the Building 7 cleanup, said that “molten steel was found at 7 WTC.” Leslie Robertson, World Trade Center structural engineer, stated that on October 5, “21 days after the attacks, the fires were still burning and molten steel was still running.” Fire department personnel, recorded on video, reported seeing “molten steel running down the channel rails… like you’re in a foundry – like lava from a volcano.” Joe O’Toole, a Bronx firefighter, saw a crane lifting a steel beam vertically from deep within a pile. He said “it was dripping from the molten steel.” Bart Voorsanger, an architect hired to save “relics from the rubble,” stated about the multi-ton “meteorite” that it was a “fused element of molten steel and concrete.”
Steel melts at about 2,850 degrees Fahrenheit, about twice the temperature of the World Trade Center Tower 1 and 2 fires as estimated by NIST. So what melted the steel?
Appendix C of FEMA’s BPAT Report documents steel samples showing rapid oxidation, sulfidation, and intergranular melting. A liquid eutectic mixture, including sulfur from an unknown source, caused intense corrosion of the steel, gaping holes in wide flange beams, and the thinning of half-inch-thick flanges to almost razor-sharpness in the World Trade Center 7 steel. The New York Times called this “the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.”
NIST left all of this crucial forensic evidence out of its report. Why? Because it didn’t fit in with the official conspiracy theory.
Last year, physicist Steven Jones, two other physicists, and a geologist analyzed the slag at the ends of the beams and in the samples of the previously molten metal. They found iron, aluminum, sulfur, manganese and fluorine – the chemical evidence of thermate, a high-tech incendiary cutting charge used by the military to cut through steel like a hot knife through butter. The by-product of the thermate reaction is molten iron! There’s no other possible source for all the molten iron that was found. One of thermate’s key ingredients is sulfur, which can form the liquid eutectic that FEMA found and lower the melting point of steel.
In addition, World Trade Center 7′s catastrophic structural failure showed every characteristic of explosive, controlled demolition. … The destruction began suddenly at the base of the building. Several first responders reported explosions occurring about a second before the collapse. There was the symmetrical, near-free-fall speed of collapse, through the path of greatest resistance – with 40,000 tons of steel designed to resist this load – straight down into its own footprint. This requires that all the columns have to fail within a fraction of a second of each other – perimeter columns as well as core columns. There was also the appearance of mistimed explosions (squibs?) at the upper seven floors on the network video recordings of the collapse. And we have expert testimony from a European demolitions expert, Danny Jowenko, who said “This is controlled demolition… a team of experts did this… This is professional work, without any doubt.”
Fire cannot produce these effects. Fire produces large, gradual deformations and asymmetrical collapses. Thermate can produce all of these effects used in conjunction with linear shaped charges. If the thermate is formed into ultra-fine particles, as has been accomplished at Los Alamos National Laboratory, it is called super-thermate, and is very explosive.(Richard Gage, January 2008)
The following AE911Truth Video provides irrefutable evidence that the WTC center towers were brought down through controlled demolition.
According to David Ray Griffin: “The official theory of the collapse, therefore, is essentially a fire theory, so it cannot be emphasized too much that fire has never caused large steel-frame buildings to collapse—never, whether before 9/11, or after 9/11, or anywhere in the world on 9/11 except allegedly New York City—never.” (See David Ray Griffin).
According to Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, based on solid scientific analysis and evidence, the collapse of the WTC towers was engineered through controlled demolition. While AE11Truth does not speculate on who might be behind the conspiracy to bring down the WTC buildings, they nonetheless suggest that the carrying out such an operation would require a carefully planned course of action with prior access to the buildings as well as an advanced level of expertise in the use of explosives, etc.
The Collapse of WTC Building Seven
The most grotesque lie pertains to the BBC and CNN announcement in the afternoon of September 11, that WTC Building Seven (The Solomon Building) had collapsed. The BBC report went live at 5.00pm, 21 minutes before the actual occurrence of the collapse, indelibly pointing to foreknowledge of the collapse of WTC 7. CNN anchor Aaron Brown announced that the building “has either collapsed or is collapsing” about an hour before the event. (See WTC7.net the hidden story of Building 7: Foreknowledge of WTC 7′s Collapse)
CNN anchor Aaron Brown seems to struggle to make sense of what he is seeing one minute after announcing that WTC Building 7, whose erect facade is clearly visible in his view towards the Trade Center, has or is collapsing.
Coverup and Complicity
The 911 Reader presents factual information and analysis which points to cover-up and complicity at the highest levels of the US government.
This body of articles by prominent authors, scholars, architects, engineers, largely refutes the official narrative of the 9/11 Commission Report, which is reviewed in Part IV. It dispels the notion that America was attacked on September 11, 2001 on the orders of Osama bin Laden.
This is a central issue because US military doctrine since 9/11 has been predicated on “defending the American Homeland” against Islamic terrorists as well as waging pre-emptive wars against Al Qaeda and its various “state sponsors”. Afghanistan was bombed and invaded as part of the “war on terrorism”. In March 2003, Iraq was also invaded.
Fiction prevails over reality. For propaganda to be effective, public opinion must firmly endorse the official 9/11 narrative to the effect that Al Qaeda was behind the attacks. A well organized structure of media disinformation (Part XI) is required to reach this objective. Perpetuating the 9/11 Legend also requires defying as well smearing the 9/11 Truth Movement.
Throughout the post 9/11 era, a panoply of Al Qaeda related events and circumstances is presented to public opinion on a daily basis. These include terrorist threats, warnings and attacks, police investigations, insurgencies and counter-insurgencies, country-level regime change, social conflict, sectarian violence, racism, religious divisions, Islamic thought, Western values, etc.
In turn, 9/11, Al Qaeda – War on Terrorism rhetoric permeates political discourse at all levels of government, including bipartisan debate on Capitol Hill, in committees of the House and the Senate, at the British House of Commons, and, lest we forget, at the United Nations Security Council.
September 11 and Al Qaeda concepts, repeated ad nauseam have potentially traumatic impacts on the human mind and the ability of normal human beings to analyze and comprehend the “real outside World” of war, politics and the economic crisis.
What is at stake is human consciousness and comprehension based on concepts and facts.
With September 11 there are no verifiable “facts” and “concepts”, because 9/11 as well as Al Qaeda have evolved into a media mythology, a legend, an invented ideological construct, used as an unsubtle tool of media disinformation and war propaganda.
Al Qaeda constitutes a stylized, fake and almost folkloric abstraction of terrorism, which permeates the inner consciousness of millions of people around the World.
Reference to Al Qaeda has become a dogma, a belief, which most people espouse unconditionally.
Is this political indoctrination? Is it brain-washing? If so what is the underlying objective?
People’s capacity to independently analyse World events, as well as address causal relationships pertaining to politics and society, is significantly impaired. That is the objective!
The routine use of 9/11 and Al Qaeda to generate blanket explanations of complex political events is meant to create confusion. It prevents people from thinking.
All of these complex Al Qaeda related occurrences are explained –by politicians, the corporate media, Hollywood and the Washington think tanks under a single blanket “bad guys” heading, in which Al Qaeda is casually and repeatedly pinpointed as “the cause” of numerous terror events around the World.
The Alleged Role of Iraq in the 9/11 Attacks
9/11 mythology has been a mainstay of war propaganda. In the course of 2002, leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, “Osama bin Laden” and “Weapons of Mass Destruction” statements circulated profusely in the news chain. While Washington’s official position was that Saddam Hussein was not behind the 9/11 attacks, insinuations abounded both in presidential speeches as well as in the Western media. According to Bush, in an October 2002 press conference:
The threat comes from Iraq. It arises directly from the Iraqi regime’s own actions — its history of aggression, and its drive toward an arsenal of terror. .,.. We also must never forget the most vivid events of recent history. On September the 11th, 2001, America felt its vulnerability — even to threats that gather on the other side of the earth. We resolved then, and we are resolved today, to confront every threat, from any source [Iraq], that could bring sudden terror and suffering to America. President Bush Outlines Iraqi Threat, October 7, 2002)
Meanwhile, a new terrorist mastermind had emerged: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.
In Colin Powell’s historic address to the United Nations Security Council, in February 2003, detailed “documentation” on a sinister relationship between Saddam Hussein and Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was presented, focussing on his ability to produce deadly chemical, biological and radiological weapons, with the full support and endorsement of the secular Baathist regime. The implication of Colin’s Powell’s assertions, which were totally fabricated, was that Saddam Hussein and an Al Qaeda affiliated organization had joined hands in the production of WMD in Northern Iraq and that the Hussein government was a “state sponsor” of terrorism.
The main thrust of the disinformation campaign continued in the wake of the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq. It consisted in presenting the Iraqi resistance movement as “terrorists”. The image of “terrorists opposed to democracy” fighting US “peacekeepers” appeared on television screens and news tabloids across the globe.
Iran: Alleged State Sponsor of 9/11
In the wake of the Iraq invasion, the same alleged “state sponsorship” of terrorism accusations emerged in relation to Iran.
In December 2011, the Islamic Republic of Iran was condemned by a Manhattan court, for its alleged role in supporting Al Qaeda in the 9/11 attacks.
The investigation into Tehran’s alleged role was launched in 2004, pursuant to a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission “regarding an apparent link between Iran, Hezbollah, and the 9/11 hijackers”. The 91/11 Commission’s recommendation was that the this “apparent link” required “further investigation by the U.S. government.” (9/11 Commission Report , p. 241). (See Iran 911 Case ).
In the December 2011 court judgment (Havlish v. Iran) “U.S. District Judge George B. Daniels ruled that Iran and Hezbollah materially and directly supported al Qaeda in the September 11, 2001 attacks and are legally responsible for damages to hundreds of family members of 9/11 victims who are plaintiffs in the case”.
According to the plaintiffs attorneys “Iran, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda formed a terror alliance in the early 1990s. Citing their national security and intelligence experts, the attorneys explained “how the pragmatic terror leaders overcame the Sunni-Shi’a divide in order to confront the U.S. (the “Great Satan”) and Israel (the “Lesser Satan”)”. Iran and Hezbollah allegedly provided “training to members of al Qaeda in, among other things, the use of explosives to destroy large buildings.” (See Iran 911 Case ).
This judicial procedure is nothing more than another vicious weapon in the fabricated “War on Terror” to be used against another Muslim country, with a view to destabilizing Iran as well as justifying ongoing military threats. It also says a lot more about the people behind the lawsuit than about the accused. The expert witnesses who testified against Iran are very active in warmongering neocon circles. They belong to a web of architects of the 21st century Middle-Eastern wars, ranging from high profile propagandists to intelligence and military officers, including former U.S. officials.
Ironically, while Washington accuses Iran and Afghanistan of supporting terrorism, the historical record and evidence indelibly point to the “state sponsorship” of Al Qaeda by the CIA, MI6 and their counterparts in Pakistan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
Al Qaeda death squads have been recruited to wage America’s humanitarian wars throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
In Syria Al Qaeda units were recruited by NATO and the Turkish High command: “Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels.” (http://www.debka.com/article/21255/ Debkafile, August 31, 2011).
In Libya, jihadists from Afghanistan trained by the CIA were dispatched to fight with the “pro-democracy” rebels under the helm of “former” Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj:
Western policy makers admit that NATO’s operations in Libya have played the primary role in emboldening Al Qaeda’s AQIM faction (Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). The Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedel in his article, “The New Al Qaeda Menace,” admits that AQIM is now heavily armed thanks to NATO’s intervention in Libya, and that AQIM’s base in Mali, North Africa, serves as a staging ground for terrorist activities across the region. http://www.globalresearch.ca/al-qaeda-and-natos-pan-arab-terrorist-blitzkrieg/
Table of Contents of the 9/11 Reader
In Part I, the 911 Reader provides a review of what happened on the morning of 9/11, at the White House, on Capitol Hill, the Pentagon, at Strategic Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM), What was the response of the US Air Force in the immediate wake of the attacks? Part II focusses on “What Happened on the Planes” as described in the 9/11 Commission Report.
Part III sheds light on what caused the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. It also challenges the official narrative with regard to the attack on the Pentagon.
Part IV reviews and refutes the findings of the 9/11 Commission Report.
Part V focusses on the issue of foreknowledge by Western intelligence agencies. Part VI examines the issue of how foreknowledge of the attacks was used as an instrument of insider trading on airline stocks in the days preceding September 11, 2001. The bonanza financial gains resulting from insurance claims to the leaseholders of the WTC buildings is also examined.
Part VII focusses on the history and central role of Al Qaeda as a US intelligence asset. Since the Soviet-Afghan war, US intelligence has supported the formation of various jihadist organizations. An understanding of this history is crucial in refuting the official 9/11 narrative which claims that Al Qaeda, was behind the attacks.
Part VIII centers on the life and death of 9/11 “Terror Mastermind” Osama bin Laden, who was recruited by the CIA in the heyday of the Soviet Afghan war. This section also includes an analysis of the mysterious death of Osama bin Laden, allegedly executed by US Navy Seals in a suburb of Islamabad in May 2011.
Part IX focusses on “False Flags” and the Pentagon’s “Second 9/11″. Part X examines the issue of “Deep Events” with contributions by renowned scholars Peter Dale Scott and Daniele Ganser.
Part XI examines the structure of 9/11 propaganda which consists in “creating” as well “perpetuating” a “9/11 Legend”. How is this achieved? Incessantly, on a daily basis, Al Qaeda, the alleged 9/11 Mastermind is referred to by the Western media, government officials, members of the US Congress, Wall Street analysts, etc. as an underlying cause of numerous World events.
Part XII focusses on the practice of 9/11 Justice directed against the alleged culprits of the 9/11 attacks.
The legitimacy of 9/11 propaganda requires fabricating “convincing evidence” and “proof” that those who are accused actually carried out the attacks. Sentencing of Muslims detained in Guantanamo is part of war propaganda. It depicts innocent men who are accused of the 9/11 attacks, based on confessions acquired through systematic torture throughout their detention.
Part XIII focusses on 9/11 Truth. The objective of 9/11 Truth is to ultimately dismantle the propaganda apparatus which is manipulating the human mindset. The 9/11 Reader concludes with a retrospective view of 9/11 ten years later.
Timeline: What Happened on the Morning of September 11, 2001
On the morning of September 11, Pakistan’s Chief Spy General Mahmoud Ahmad, the alleged “money-man” behind the 9-11 hijackers, was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
“Foreknowledge” and “Failure to act” upholds the notion that the terrorist attacks (“act of war”) “waged by Muslims against America” are real, when all the facts and findings point towards coverup and complicity at the highest levels of the US government.
On the morning of September 11, Pakistan’s Chief Spy General Mahmoud Ahmad, the alleged “money-man” behind the 9-11 hijackers, was at a breakfast meeting on Capitol Hill hosted by Senator Bob Graham and Rep. Porter Goss, the chairmen of the Senate and House Intelligence committees.
The main justification for waging this war has been totally fabricated. The American people have been deliberately and consciously misled by their government into supporting a major military adventure which affects our collective future.
9/11 Ringleader connected to secret Pentagon operation
- by Dr. Daniele Ganser – 2005-08-27
Atta was connected to a secret operation of the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in the US. A top secret Pentagon project code-named Able Danger identified Atta and 3 other 9/11 hijackers as members of an al-Qaida cell more than a year before the attacks.
According to Chossudovsky, the “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street and the U.S. military-industrial complex.
On August 28 Sheikh Said Afandi, acknowledged spiritual leader of the Autonomous Russian Republic of Dagestan, was assassinated. A jihadist female suicide bomber managed to enter his house and detonate an explosive device.
The murder target had been carefully selected. Sheikh Afandi, a seventy-five-year old Sufi Muslim leader, had played the critical role in attempting to bring about reconciliation in Dagestan between jihadist Salafi Sunni Muslims and other factions, many of whom in Dagestan see themselves as followers of Sufi. With no replacement of his moral stature and respect visible, authorities fear possible outbreak of religious war in the tiny Russian autonomous republic.
The police reported that the assassin was an ethnic Russian woman who had converted to Islam and was linked to an Islamic fundamentalist or Salafist insurgency against Russia and regional governments loyal to Moscow in the autonomous republics and across the volatile Muslim-populated North Caucasus region.
Ethnic Muslim populations in this region of Russia and of the former Soviet Union, including Uzbekistan, Kyrgystan and into China’s Xinjiang Province, have been the target of various US and NATO intelligence operations since the Cold War era ended in 1990. Washington sees manipulation of Muslim groups as the vehicle to bring uncontrollable chaos to Russia and Central Asia. It’s being carried out by some of the same organizations engaged in creating chaos and destruction inside Syria against the government of Bashar Al-Assad. In a real sense, as Russian security services clearly understand, if they don’t succeed in stopping the Jihadists insurgency in Syria, it will come home to them via the Caucasus.
The latest Salafist murders of Sufi and other moderate Muslim leaders in the Caucasus are apparently part of what is becoming ever clearer as perhaps the most dangerous US intelligence operation ever—playing globally with Muslim fundamentalism.
Previously US and allied intelligence services had played fast and loose with religious organizations or beliefs in one or another country. What makes the present situation particularly dangerous—notably since the decision in Washington to unleash the misnamed Arab Spring upheavals that began in Tunisia late 2010, spreading like a brushfire across the entire Islamic world from Afghanistan across Central Asia to Morocco—is the incalculable wave upon wave of killing, hatreds, destruction of entire cultures that Washington has unleashed in the name of that elusive dream named “democracy.” They do this using alleged Al-Qaeda groups, Saudi Salafists or Wahhabites, or using disciples of Turkey’s Fethullah Gülen Movement to ignite fires of religious hatred within Islam and against other faiths that could take decades to extinguish. It could easily spill over into a new World War.
Fundamentalism comes to Caucasus
Following the dissolution of the USSR, radical Afghanistani Mujahadeen, Islamists from Saudi Arabia, from Turkey, Pakistan and other Islamic countries flooded into the Muslim regions of the former USSR. One of the best-organized of these was the Gülen Movement of Fethullah Gülen, leader of a global network of Islamic schools and reported to be the major policy influence on Turkey’s Erdogan AKP party.
Gülen was quick to establish The International Dagestani-Turkish College in Dagestan. During the chaotic days after the Soviet collapse, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation officially registered and permitted unfettered activity for a variety of Islamic foundations and organizations. These included the League of the Islamic World, the World Muslim Youth Assembly, the reportedly Al-Qaeda friendly Saudi foundation ‘Ibrahim ben Abd al-Aziz al-Ibrahim.’ The blacklist also included Al-Haramein a Saudi foundation reported tied to Al-Qaeda, and IHH,  a Turkish organization banned in Germany, that allegedly raised funds for jihadi fighters in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, and was charged by French intelligence of ties to Al Qaeda. Many of these charities were covers for fundamentalist Salafists with their own special agenda.
As many of the foreign Islamists in Chechnya and Dagestan were found involved in fomenting the regional unrest and civil war, Russian authorities withdrew permission of most to run schools and institutions. Throughout the North Caucasus at the time of the Chechyn war in the late 1990’s, there were more than two dozen Islamic institutes, some 200 madrassas and numerous maktabas (Koranic study schools) present at almost all mosques.
The International Dagestani-Turkish College was one that was forced to close its doors in Dagestan. The College was run by the Fethullah Gülen organization.
At the point of the Russian crackdown on the spread of Salafist teaching inside Russia at the end of the 1990’s, there was an exodus of hundreds of young Dagestani and Chechyn Muslim students to Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and other places in The Middle east, reportedly to receive training with the Gülen movement and various Saudi-financed organizations, including Salafists.  It is believed in Russia that the students trained by Gülen supporters or Saudi and other Salafist fundamentalist centers then were sent back to Dagestan and the North Caucasus to spread their radical strain of Islam.
By 2005 the situation in the Caucasus was so influenced by this Salafist intervention that the Chechen Salafist, Doku Umarov, cited by the UN Security Council for links to Al-Qaeda, unilaterally declared creation of what he called the Caucasus Emirate, announcing he planned to establish an Islamic state under Sharia law encompassing the entire North Caucasus region including Dagestan. He modestly proclaimed himself Emir of the Caucasus Emirate. 
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Part II: Salafism at war with Sufi tradition
Salafism, known in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism, is a fundamentalist strain of Islam which drew world attention and became notorious in March 2001 just weeks before the attacks of September 11. That was when the Salafist Taliban government in Afghanistan willfully dynamited and destroyed the historic gigantic Buddhas of Bamiyan on the ancient Silk Road, religious statues dating from the 6th Century. The Taliban Salafist leaders also banned as “un-islamic” all forms of imagery, music and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.
Afghani sources reported that the order to destroy the Buddhas was made by Saudi-born jihadist Wahhabite, Osama bin Laden, who ultimately convinced Mullah Omar, Taliban supreme leader at the time to execute the act.
Before and…After Salafist Taliban …
While Sufis incorporate the worship of saints and theatrical ceremonial prayers into their practice, Salafis condemn as idolatry any non-traditional forms of worship. They also call for the establishment of Islamic political rule and strict Sharia law. Sufism is home to the great spiritual and musical heritage of Islam, said by Islamic scholars to be the inner, mystical, or psycho-spiritual dimension of Islam, going back centuries.
As one Sufi scholar described the core of Sufism, “While all Muslims believe that they are on the pathway to God and will become close to God in Paradise–after death and the ‘Final Judgment’– Sufis believe as well that it is possible to become close to God and to experience this closeness–while one is alive. Furthermore, the attainment of the knowledge that comes with such intimacy with God, Sufis assert, is the very purpose of the creation. Here they mention the hadith qudsi in which God states, ‘I was a hidden treasure and I loved that I be known, so I created the creation in order to be known.’ Hence for the Sufis there is already a momentum, a continuous attraction on their hearts exerted by God, pulling them, in love, towards God.” 
The mystical Islamic current of Sufism and its striving to become close to or one with God is in stark contrast to the Jihadist Salafi or Wahhabi current that is armed with deadly weapons, preaches a false doctrine of jihad, and a perverse sense of martyrdom, committing countless acts of violence. Little wonder that the victims of Salafist Jihads are mostly other pacific forms of Islam including most especially Sufis.
The respected seventy-five year old Afandi had publicly denounced Salafist Islamic fundamentalism. His murder followed a July 19 coordinated attack on two high-ranking muftis in the Russian Volga Republic of Tatarstan. Both victims were state-approved religious leaders who had attacked radical Islam. This latest round of murders opens a new front in the Salafist war against Russia, namely attacks on moderate Sufi Muslim leaders.
Whether or not Dagestan now descends into internal religious civil war that then spreads across the geopolitically sensitive Russian Caucasus is not yet certain. What is almost certain is that the same circles who have been feeding violence and terror inside Syria against the regime of Alawite President Bashar al-Assad are behind the killing of Sheikh Afandi as well as sparking related acts of terror or unrest across Russia’s Muslim-populated Caucasus. In a very real sense it represents Russia’s nightmare scenario of “Syria coming to Russia.” It demonstrates dramatically why Putin has made such a determined effort to stop a descent into a murderous hell in Syria.
Salafism and the CIA
The existence of the so-called jihadist Salafi brand of Islam in Dagestan is quite recent. It has also been deliberately imported. Salafism is sometimes also called the name of the older Saudi-centered Wahhabism. Wahhabism is a minority originally-Bedouin form of the faith originating within Islam, dominant in Saudi Arabia since the 1700’s.
Irfan Al-Alawi and Stephen Schwartz of the Centre for Islamic Pluralism give the following description of Saudi conditions under the rigid Wahhabi brand of Islam:
“Women living under Saudi rule must wear the abaya, or total body cloak, and niqab, the face veil; they have limited opportunities for schooling and careers; they are prohibited from driving vehicles; are banned from social contact with men not relatives, and all personal activity must be supervised including opening bank accounts, by a male family member or “guardian.” These Wahhabi rules are enforced by a mutawiyin, or morals militia, also known as “the religious police,” officially designated the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) who patrol Saudi cities, armed with leather-covered sticks which they freely used against those they considered wayward. They raid homes looking for alcohol and drugs, and harassed non-Wahhabi Muslims as well as believers in other faiths.” 
It’s widely reported that the obscenely opulent and morally-perhaps-not-entirely-of- the-highest-standards Saudi Royal Family made a Faustian deal with Wahhabite leaders. The deal supposedly, was that the Wahhabists are free to export their fanatical brand of Islam around to the Islamic populations of the world in return for agreeing to leave the Saudi Royals alone. There are, however, other dark and dirty spoons stirring the Wahhabite-Salafist Saudi stew.
Little known is the fact that the present form of aggressive Saudi Wahhabism, in reality a kind of fusion between imported jihadi Salafists from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the fundamentalist Saudi Wahhabites. Leading Salafist members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood were introduced into the Saudi Kingdom in the 1950’s by the CIA in a complex series of events, when Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood following an assassination attempt. By the 1960’s an influx of Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia fleeing Nasserite repression, had filled many of the leading teaching posts in Saudi religious schools. One student there was a young well-to-do Saudi, Osama bin Laden. 
During the Third Reich, Hitler Germany had supported the Muslim Brotherhood as a weapon against the British in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East. Marc Erikson describes the Nazi roots of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood thus:
…as Italian and German fascism sought greater stakes in the Middle East in the 1930s and ’40s to counter British and French controlling power, close collaboration between fascist agents and Islamist leaders ensued. During the 1936-39 Arab Revolt, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, head of German military intelligence, sent agents and money to support the Palestine uprising against the British, as did Muslim Brotherhood founder and “supreme guide” Hassan al-Banna. A key individual in the fascist-Islamist nexus and go-between for the Nazis and al-Banna became the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin el-Husseini.
After the defeat of Germany, British Intelligence moved in to take over control of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ultimately, for financial and other reasons, the British decided to hand their assets within the Muslim Brotherhood over to their CIA colleagues in the 1950s. 
According to former US Justice Department Nazi researcher John Loftus, “during the 1950s, the CIA evacuated the Nazis of the Muslim Brotherhood to Saudi Arabia. Now, when they arrived in Saudi Arabia, some of the leading lights of the Muslim Brotherhood, like Dr Abdullah Azzam, became the teachers in the madrassas, the religious schools. And there they combined the doctrines of Nazism with this weird Islamic cult, Wahhabism.” 
“Everyone thinks that Islam is this fanatical religion, but it is not,” Loftus continues. “They think that Islam–the Saudi version of Islam–is typical, but it’s not. The Wahhabi cult has been condemned as a heresy more than 60 times by the Muslim nations. But when the Saudis got wealthy, they bought a lot of silence. This is a very harsh cult. Wahhabism was only practised by the Taliban and in Saudi Arabia–that’s how extreme it is. It really has nothing to do with Islam. Islam is a very peaceful and tolerant religion. It always had good relationships with the Jews for the first thousand years of its existence.” 
Loftus identified the significance of what today is emerging from the shadows to take over Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, and the so-called Syrian National Council, dominated in reality by the Muslim Brotherhood and publicly led by the more “politically correct” or presentable likes of Bassma Kodmani. Kodmani, foreign affairs spokesman for the SNC was twice an invited guest at the Bilderberg elite gathering, latest in Chantilly, Virginia earlier this year.
The most bizarre and alarming feature of the US-financed regime changes set into motion in 2010, which have led to the destruction of the secular Arab regime of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Muhammar Qaddafi in Libya, and the secular regime of President Ben Ali in Tunisia, and which have wreaked savage destruction across the Middle East, especially in the past eighteen months in Syria, is the pattern of emerging power grabs by representatives of the murky Salafist Muslim Brotherhood.
By informed accounts, a Saudi-financed Sunni Islamic Muslim Brotherhood dominates the members of the exile Syrian National Council that is backed by the US State Department’s Secretary Clinton and by Hollande’s France. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood is tied, not surprisingly to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood of President Mohammed Morsi who recently in a meeting of the Non-Aligned in Iran called openly for the removal of Syria’s Assad, a logical step if his Muslim Brothers in the present Syrian National Council are to take the reins of power. The Saudis are also rumored to have financed the ascent to power in Tunisia of the governing Islamist Ennahda Party, and are documented to be financing the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council against President Bashar al-Assad. 
Part III: Morsi’s Reign of Salafi Terror
Indicative of the true agenda of this Muslim Brotherhood and related jihadists today is the fact that once they have power, they drop the veil of moderation and reconciliation and reveal their violently intolerant roots. This is visible in Egypt today under Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi.
Unreported in mainstream Western media to date are alarming direct reports from Christian missionary organizations in Egypt that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood has already begun to drop the veil of “moderation and conciliation” and show its brutal totalitarian Salafist colors, much as Khomeini’s radical Sharia forces did in Iran after taking control in 1979-81.
In a letter distributed by the Christian Aid Mission (CAM), a Christian Egyptian missionary wrote that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood “announced they would destroy the country if Morsi didn’t win, but they also said they will take revenge from all those who voted for [his opponent Ahmed] Shafiq, especially the Christians as they are sure we did vote for Shafiq. Yesterday they began by killing two believers in el Sharqiya because of this,” the missionary added, speaking on condition of anonymity.
This report came only weeks after Egyptian State TV (under Morsi’s control) showed ghastly video footage of a convert from Islam to Christianity being murdered by Muslims. The footage showed a young man being held down by masked men with a knife to his throat. As one man was heard chanting Muslim prayers in Arabic, mostly condemning Christianity, another man holding the knife to the Christian convert’s throat began to cut, slowly severing the head amid cries of “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is great”), according to transcripts. In the letter, the Egyptian missionary leader added that, “soon after Morsi won, Christians in upper Egypt were forcibly prevented from going to churches.” Many Muslims, the letter claimed, “also began to speak to women in the streets that they had to wear Islamic clothing including the head covering. They act as if they got the country for their own, it’s theirs now.” 
Already in 2011 Morsi’s Salafist followers began attacking and destroying Sufi mosques across Egypt. According to the authoritative newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm (Today’s Egyptian), 16 historic mosques in Alexandria belonging to Sufi orders have been marked for destruction by so-called ‘Salafis’. Alexandria has 40 mosques associated with Sufis, and is the headquarters for 36 Sufi groups. Half a million Sufis live in the city, out of a municipal total of four million people. Aggression against the Sufis in Egypt has included a raid on Alexandria’s most distinguished mosque, named for, and housing, the tomb of the 13th century Sufi Al-Mursi Abu’l Abbas.
Notably, the so-called “democratically elected” regime in Libya following the toppling of Mohamar Qaddafi by NATO bombs in 2011, has also been zealous in destroying Sufi mosques and places of worhip. In August this year, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova expressed “grave concern” at the destruction by Islamic Jihadists of Sufi sites in Zliten, Misrata and Tripoli and urged perpetrators to “cease the destruction immediately.”  Under behind-the-scenes machinations the Libyan government is dominated by Jihadists and by followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, as in Tunisia and Egypt. 
The explosive cocktail of violence inherent in allowing the rise to power of Salafist Islamists across the Middle East was clear to see, symbolically enough on the night of September 11,th when a mob of angry supporters of the fanatical Salafist group, Ansar Al-Sharia, murdered the US Ambassador to Libya and three US diplomats, burning the US Consulate in Bengazi to the ground in protest over a YouTube release of a film by an American filmmaker showing the Prophet Mohammed indulging in multiple sex affairs and casting doubt on his role as God’s messenger. Ironically that US Ambassador had played a key role in toppling Qaddafi and opening the door to the Salafist takeover in Libya. At the same time angry mobs of thousands of Salafists surrounded the US Embassy in Cairo in protest to the US film. 
Ansar Al-Sharia (“Partisans of Islamic law” in Arabic) reportedly is a spinoff of Al-Qaeda and claims organizations across the Middle East from Yemen to Tunisia to Iraq, Egypt and Libya. Ansar al-Sharia says it is reproducing the model of Sharia or strict Islamic law espoused by the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq. The core of the group are jihadists who came out of an “Islamic state”, either in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, or among jihadists in Iraq after the US-led invasion in 2003.
The deliberate detonation now of a new round of Salafist fundamentalist Jihad terror inside Muslim regions of the Russian Caucasus is exquisitely timed politically to put maximum pressure at home on the government of Russia’s Vladimir Putin.
Putin and the Russian Government are the strongest and most essential backer of the current Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, and for Russia as well the maintenance of Russia’s only Mediterranean naval base at Syria’s Tartus port is vital strategically. At the same time, Obama’s sly message to Medvedev to wait until Obama’s re-election to evaluate US intent towards Russia and Putin’s cryptic recent comment that a compromise with a re-elected President Obama might be possible, but not with a President Romney,  indicate that the Washington “stick-and-carrot” or hard cop-soft cop tactics with Moscow might tempt Russia to sacrifice major geopolitical alliances, perhaps even that special close and recent geopolitical alliance with China. Were that to happen, the World might witness a “reset” in US-Russian relations with catastrophic consequences for world peace.
F. William Engdahl* is the author ofFull Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order
 Dan Peleschuk, Sheikh Murdered Over Religious Split Say Analysts, RIA Novosti, August 30, 2012, accessed in
 UN Security Council, QI.U.290.11. DOKU KHAMATOVICH UMAROV, 10 March 2011, accessed in http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1267/NSQI29011E.shtml. The UN statement reads: “Doku Khamatovich Umarov was listed on 10 March 2011 pursuant to paragraph 2 of resolution 1904 (2009) as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf of, or in support of”, “recruiting for”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” and “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” the Islamic Jihad Group (QE.I.119.05), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (QE.I.10.01), Riyadus-Salikhin Reconnaissance and Sabotage Battalion of Chechen Martyrs (RSRSBCM) (QE.R.100.03) and Emarat Kavkaz (QE.E.131.11).”
 David M. Herszenhorn, Putin Says Missile Deal Is More Likely With Obama, The New York Times, September 6, 2012, accessed in http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/07/world/europe/putin-calls-missile-deal-more-likely-if-obama-wins.html. According to an interview Putin gave on Moscow’s state-owned RT TV, Herszenhorn reports, “Mr. Putin said he believed that if Mr. Obama is re-elected in November, a compromise could be reached on the contentious issue of American plans for a missile defense system in Europe, which Russia has strongly opposed. On the other hand, Mr. Putin said, if Mr. Romney becomes president, Moscow’s fears about the missile system — that it is, despite American assurances, actually directed against Russia — would almost certainly prove true.
“Is it possible to find a solution to the problem, if current President Obama is re-elected for a second term? Theoretically, yes,” Mr. Putin said, according to the official transcript posted on the Kremlin’s Web site. “But this isn’t just about President Obama. “For all I know, his desire to work out a solution is quite sincere,” Mr. Putin continued. “I met him recently on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, where we had a chance to talk. And though we talked mostly about Syria, I could still take stock of my counterpart. My feeling is that he is a very honest man, and that he sincerely wants to make many good changes. But can he do it? Will they let him do it?”
Citizens across the globe are feeling the blade of austerity measures and corporate greed as they lose their jobs and their wages are reduced. Families worldwide are under increasing pressure as social services such as education are being eroded. We face an age of economic transformation, where the poor are becoming poorer and the rich are becoming richer. The middle class is shrinking and under increasing attack, too.
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A deluge of articles have been quickly put into circulation defending France’s military intervention in the African nation of Mali. TIME’s article, “The Crisis in Mali: Will French Intervention Stop the Islamist Advance?” decides that old tricks are the best tricks, and elects the tiresome “War on Terror” narrative.TIME claims the intervention seeks to stop “Islamist” terrorists from overrunning both Africa and all of Europe. Specifically, the article states:
“…there is a (probably well-founded) fear in France that a radical Islamist Mali threatens France most of all, since most of the Islamists are French speakers and many have relatives in France. (Intelligence sources in Paris have told TIME that they’ve identified aspiring jihadis leaving France for northern Mali to train and fight.) Al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), one of the three groups that make up the Malian Islamist alliance and which provides much of the leadership, has also designated France — the representative of Western power in the region — as a prime target for attack.”
What TIME elects not to tell readers is that Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is closely allied to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG whom France intervened on behalf of during NATO’s 2011 proxy-invasion of Libya – providing weapons, training, special forces and even aircraft to support them in the overthrow of Libya’s government.
As far back as August of 2011, Bruce Riedel out of the corporate-financier funded think-tank, the Brookings Institution, wrote “Algeria will be next to fall,” where he gleefully predicted success in Libya would embolden radical elements in Algeria, in particular AQIM. Between extremist violence and the prospect of French airstrikes, Riedel hoped to see the fall of the Algerian government. Ironically Riedel noted:
Algeria has expressed particular concern that the unrest in Libya could lead to the development of a major safe haven and sanctuary for al-Qaeda and other extremist jihadis.
“Crucially, still in 2007, then al-Qaeda’s number two, Zawahiri, officially announced the merger between the LIFG and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM). So, for all practical purposes, since then, LIFG/AQIM have been one and the same – and Belhaj was/is its emir. “
“Belhaj,” referring to Hakim Abdul Belhaj, leader of LIFG in Libya, led with NATO support, arms, funding, and diplomatic recognition, the overthrowing of Muammar Qaddafi and has now plunged the nation into unending racist and tribal, genocidal infighting. This intervention has also seen the rebellion’s epicenter of Benghazi peeling off from Tripoli as a semi-autonomous “Terror-Emirate.” Belhaj’s latest campaign has shifted to Syria where he was admittedly on the Turkish-Syrian border pledging weapons, money, and fighters to the so-called “Free Syrian Army,” again, under the auspices of NATO support.
Image: NATO’s intervention in Libya has resurrected listed-terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate, LIFG. It had previously fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now has fighters, cash and weapons, all courtesy of NATO, spreading as far west as Mali, and as far east as Syria. The feared “global Caliphate” Neo-Cons have been scaring Western children with for a decade is now taking shape via US-Saudi, Israeli, and Qatari machinations, not “Islam.” In fact, real Muslims have paid the highest price in fighting this real “war against Western-funded terrorism.”
LIFG, which with French arms, cash, and diplomatic support, is now invading northern Syria on behalf of NATO’s attempted regime change there, officially merged with Al Qaeda in 2007 according to the US Army’s West Point Combating Terrorism Center (CTC). According to the CTC, AQIM and LIFG share not only ideological goals, but strategic and even tactical objectives. The weapons LIFG received most certainly made their way into the hands of AQIM on their way through the porous borders of the Sahara Desert and into northern Mali.
A leading member of an al Qaeda-affiliated terror group indicated the organization may have acquired some of the thousands of powerful weapons that went missing in the chaos of the Libyan uprising, stoking long-held fears of Western officials.”We have been one of the main beneficiaries of the revolutions in the Arab world,” Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a leader of the north Africa-based al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM], told the Mauritanian news agency ANI Wednesday. “As for our benefiting from the [Libyan] weapons, this is a natural thing in these kinds of circumstances.”
It is no coincidence that as the Libyan conflict was drawing to a conclusion, conflict erupted in northern Mali. It is part of a premeditated geopolitical reordering that began with toppling Libya, and since then, using it as a springboard for invading other targeted nations, including Mali, Algeria, and Syria with heavily armed, NATO-funded and aided terrorists.
French involvement may drive AQIM and its affiliates out of northern Mali, but they are almost sure to end up in Algeria, most likely by design.
Algeria was able to balk subversion during the early phases of the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011, but it surely has not escaped the attention of the West who is in the midst of transforming a region stretching from Africa to Beijing and Moscow’s doorsteps – and in a fit of geopolitical schizophrenia – using terrorists both as a casus belli to invade and as an inexhaustible mercenary force to do it.
The Greek people’s efforts to end the economic depression, recover their sovereignty and reverse the regressive socio-economic policies, which have drastically reduced living standards, have been thrice denied.
First, the denial came as tragedy: When the Greek majority elected Syriza to government and their debts increased, the economy plunged further into depression and unemployment and poverty soared. The Greek people voted for Syriza believing its promises of ‘a new course’. Immediately following their victory, Syriza reneged on their promise to restore sovereignty – and end the subjugation of the Greek people to the economic dictates of overseas bankers, bureaucrats and political oligarchs. Instead Syriza kept Greece in the oligarchical imperialist bloc, portraying the European Union as an association of independent sovereign countries. What began as a great victory of the Greek people turned into a tragic strategic retreat. From their first day in office, Syriza led the Greek people down the blind alley of total submission to the German empire.
Then the tragedy turned into farce when the Greek people refused to acknowledge the impending betrayal by their elected leaders. They were stunned, but mute, as Syriza emptied the Greek treasury and offered even greater concessions, including acceptance of the illegal and odious debts incurred by private bankers, speculators and political kleptocrats in previous regimes.
True to their own vocation as imperial overlords, the EU bosses saw the gross servility of Syriza as an invitation to demand more concessions – total surrender to perpetual debt peonage and mass impoverishment. Syriza’s demagogic leaders, Yanis Varoufakis and Alexis Tsipras, shifting from fits of hysteria to infantile egotism, denounced ‘the Germans and their blackmail’ and then performed a coy belly-crawl at the feet of the ‘Troika’, peddling their capitulation to the bankers as ‘negotiations’ and referring to their overlords as . . . ‘partners’.
Syriza, in office for only 5 months brought Greece to the edge of total bankruptcy and surrender, then launched the ‘mother of all deceptions’ on the Greek people: Tsipras convoked a ‘referendum’ on whether Greece should reject or accept further dictates and cuts to bare bones destitution. Over 60% of the Greek people voted a resounding NO to further plunder and poverty.
In Orwellian fashion, the megalomaniac Tsipras immediately re-interpreted the ‘NO’vote as a mandate to capitulation to the imperial powers, accepting the EU bankers’ direct supervision of the regime’s implementation of Troika’s policies – including drastic reductions of Greek pensions, doubling the regressive ‘VAT’ consumption tax on vital necessities and a speed-up of evictions of storeowners and householders behind in their mortgage payments. Thus Greece became a vassal state: Nineteenth century colonialism was re-imposed in the 21st century.
Colonialism by Invitation
Greek politicians, whether Conservative or Socialist, have openly sought to join the German-led imperial bloc known as the European Union, even when it was obvious that the Greek economy and financial system was vulnerable to domination by the powerful German ruling class.
From the beginning, the Greek Panhellenic Socialist Party (PASOK) and their Conservative counterparts refused to recognize the class basis of the European Union. Both political factions and the Greek economic elites, that is, the kleptocrats who governed and the oligarchs who ruled, viewed entry into the EU as an opportunity for taking and faking loans, borrowing, defaulting and passing their enormous debts on to the public treasury!
Widely circulating notions among the Left that ‘Germany is responsible’ for the Greek crisis are only half true, while the accusations among rightwing financial scribes that the ‘Greek people are spendthrifts’ who brought on their own crisis is equally one-sided. The reality is more complex:
The crash and collapse of the Greek economy was a product of an entrenched parasitic rentier ruling class –both Socialist and Conservative – which thrived on borrowing at high interest rates and speculating in non-productive economic activities while imposing an astronomical military budget. They engaged in fraudulent overseas financial transactions while grossly manipulating and fabricating financial data to cover-up Greece’s unsustainable trade and budget deficits.
German and other EU exporters had penetrated and dominated the Greek markets. The bankers charged exorbitant interest rates while investors exploited cheap Greek labor. The creditors ignored the obvious risks because Greek rulers were their willing accomplices in the ongoing pillage.
Clearly entry into and continued membership in the EU has largely benefited two groups of elites: the German rulers and the Greek rentiers: The latter received short-term financial grants and transfers while the former gained powerful levers over the banks, markets and, most important, established cultural-ideological hegemony over the Greek political class. The Greek elite and middle class believed ‘they wereEuropeans’ – that the EU was a beneficent arrangement and a source of prosperity and upward mobility. In reality, Greek leaders were merely accomplices to the German conquest of Greece. And the major part of the middle class aped the views of the Greek elite.
The financial crash of 2008-2009 ended the illusions for some but not most Greeks. After 6 years of pain and suffering a new version of the old political class came to power: Syriza! Syriza brought in new faces and rhetoric but operated with the same blind commitment to the EU. The Syriza leadership believed they were “partners”.
The road to vassalage is rooted deep in the psyche of the political class. Instead of recognizing their subordinate membership in the EU as the root cause of their crisis, they blamed ‘the Germans, the bankers, Angela Merkel, Wolfgang Schnauble , the IMF, the Troika... The Greek rulers and middle class were in fact both victims and accomplices.
The German imperial regime loaned money from the tax revenues of German workers to enable their complicit Greek vassals to pay back the German bankers… German workers complained. The German media deflected criticism by blaming the ‘lazy Greek cheats’. Meanwhile, the Greek oligarch-controlled media deflected criticism of the role of the parasitical political class back to the ‘Germans’. This all served to obscure the class dynamics of empire building — colonialism by invitation. The ideology of blaming peoples, instead of classes, is pitting German workers against Greek employees and pensioners. The German masses support their bankers, while the Greek masses have elected and followed Syriza – their traitors.
From Andreas Papandreou to Alexis Tsipras: Misconceptions about the European Union
After Syriza was elected a small army of instant experts, mostly leftist academics from Canada, the US and Europe, sprang up to write and speak, usually with more heat than light, on current Greek political and economic developments. Most have little knowledge or experience of Greek politics, particularly its history and relations with the EU over the past thirty five years.
The most important policy decisions shaping the current Syriza government’s betrayal of Greek sovereignty go back to the early 1980’s when I was working as an adviser to PASOK Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou. At that time, I was party to an internal debate of whether to continue within the EU or leave. Papandreou was elected on an anti EU, anti NATO platform, which, like Tsipras, he promptly reneged on– arguing that ‘there were no alternatives’. Even then, there were international and Greek academic sycophants, as there are today, who argued that membership in the EU was the only realistic alternative- it was the ‘only possibility’. The ‘possibilistas” at that time, operating either from ignorance or deceit, were full of bluster and presumption. They denied the underlying power realities in the structure of the EU and dismissed the class capacity of the working and popular masses to forge an alternative. Then, as now, it was possible to develop independent alternative relations with Europe, Russia, China, the Middle East and North Africa. The advantages of maintaining a protected market, a robust tourist sector and an independent monetary system were evident and did not require EU membership (or vassalage).
Above all, what stood out in both leaders, Andreas Papandreou and Alexis Tsipras, was their profound misconception of the class nature of the dominant forces in the EU. In the 1980’s Germany was just beginning to recover its imperial reach. By the time Syriza-Tsipras rose to power (January 2015), Germany’s imperial power was undeniable. Tsipras’ misunderstanding of this reality can be attributed to his and his ‘comrades’ rejection of class and imperial analyses. Even academic Marxists, who spouted Marxist theory, never applied their abstract critiques of capitalism and imperialism to the concrete realities of German empire building and Greece’s quasi-colonial position within the EU. They viewed their role as that of ‘colonial reformers’ –imagining that they were clever enough to ‘negotiate’ better terms in the German-centered EU. They inevitably failed because Berlin had a built-in majority among its fervently neo-liberal ex-communist satellites plus the IMF, French and English imperial partners. Syriza was no match for this power configuration. Then there was the bizarre delusion among the Syriza intellectuals that European capitalism was more benign than the US version.
EU membership has created scaffolding for German empire-building. The take off point was West Germany’s annexation of East Germany. This was soon followed by the incorporation of the rightwing regimes in the Baltic and Balkans as subordinate members of the EU – their public assets were snapped up by Germany corporations at bargain prices. The third step was the systematic break-up of Yugoslavia and the incorporation of Slovenia into the German orbit. The fourth step was the takeover of key sectors of the Polish and Czech economies and the exploitation of cheap skilled labor from Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and other satellite states.
Without firing a shot, German empire-building has revolved around making loans and financial transfers to the new subordinate member states in the EU. These financial transactions were predicated upon the following conditions: 1) Privatization and sale of the new member states’ prized public assets to mainly German as well as other EU investors and 2) Forcing member states to dismantle their social programs, approve massive lay-offs and meet impossible fiscal targets. In other words, expansion of the contemporary German empire required austerity measures, which transformed the ex-communist countries into satellites, vassals and sources of mercenaries – a pattern which is now playing out in Greece.
The reason these new German ‘colonies’ (especially Poland and the Baltic States) insist on the EU imposing harsh austerity measures on Greece, is that they went through the same brutal process convincing their own beleaguered citizens that there was no alternative – resistance was futile. Any successful demonstration by Greek workers, farmers and employees that resistance to empire was possible would expose the corrupt relationship between these client leaders and the German imperial order. In order to preserve the foundations of the new imperial order, Germany has had to take a hardline on Greece. Otherwise the recently incorporated colonial subjects in the Baltic, Balkan and Central Europe states might “re-think” the brutal terms of their own incorporation to the European Union. This explains the openly punitive approach to Greece – turning it into the ‘Haiti of Europe’ analogous to the US’ long standing brutalization of the rebellious Haitians – as an object lesson to its own Caribbean and Latin American clients.
The root cause of German intransigence has nothing to do with the political personalities or quirks of Angela Merkle and Wolfgang Schnauble: Such imperial leaders do not operate out of neurotic vindictiveness. Their demand for total Greek submission is an imperative of German empire-building, a continuation of the step-by-step conquest of Europe.
German empire-building emphasizes economic conquests, which go hand-in-hand with US empire-building based on military conquests. The same economic satellites of Germany also serve as sites for US military bases and exercises encircling Russia; these vassal states provide mercenary soldiers for US imperial wars in South Asia, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.
Syriza’s economic surrender is matched by its spineless sell-out to NATO, its support of sanctions against Russia and its embrace of US policies toward Syria, Lebanon and Israel.
Germany and its imperial partners have launched a savage attack on the working people of Greece, usurping Greek sovereignty and planning to seize 50 billion Euros of vital Greek public enterprises, land and resources. This alone should dispels the myth, promoted especially by the French social democratic demagogue Jacques Delores, that European capitalism is a benign form of ‘social welfarism’ and an ‘alternative’ to the savage Anglo-American version capitalism.
What has been crucial to previous and current versions of empire-building is the role of a political collaborator class facilitating the transition to colonialism. Here is where social democrats, like Alexis Tsipras, who excel in the art of talking left while embracing the right, flatter and deceive the masses into deepening austerity and pillage.
Instead of identifying the class enemies within the EU and organizing an alternative working class program, Tsipras and his fellow collaborators pose as EU ‘partners’ , fostering class collaboration – better to serve imperial Europe: When the German capitalists demanded their interest payments, Tsipras bled the Greek economy. When German capitalists sought to dominate Greek markets, Tsipras and Syriza opened the door by keeping Greece in the EU. When German capital wanted to supervise the take-over of Greek properties, Tsipras and Syriza embraced the sell-off.
There is clear class collaboration within the Greek elite in the destruction of nation’s sovereignty: Greek banker oligarchs and sectors of the commercial and tourist elite have acted as intermediaries of the German empire builders and they personally benefit from the German and EU takeover despite the destitution of the Greek public. Such economic intermediaries, representing 25% of the electorate, have become the main political supporters of the Syriza-Tsipras betrayal. They join with the EU elite applauding Tsipras’ purge of left critics and his authoritarian seizure of legislative and executive power! This collaborator class will never suffer from pension cuts, layoffs and unemployment. They will never have to line up at crippled banks for a humiliating dole of 65 Euros of pension money. These collaborators have hundreds of thousands and millions stashed in overseas bank accounts and invested in overseas real estate. Unlike the Greek masses, they are ‘European’ first and foremost – willing accomplices of German empire builders!
Tragic Beginnings: The Greek People Elect a Trojan Horse
Syriza is deeply rooted in Greek political culture .A leadership of educated mascots serving overseas European empire-builders. Syriza is supported by academic leftists who are remote from the struggles, sacrifices and suffering of the Greek masses. Syriza’s leadership emerged on the scene as ideological mentors and saviors with heady ideas and shaky hands. They joined forces with downwardly mobile middle class radicals who aspired to rise again via the traditional method: radical rhetoric, election to office, negotiations and transactions with the local and foreign elite and betrayal of their voters. Theirs is a familiar political road to power, privilege and prestige. In this regard, Tsipras personifies an entire generation of upwardly mobile opportunists, willing and able to sellout Greece and its people. He perpetuates the worst political traditions: In campaigns he promoted consumerism over class consciousness (discarding any mobilization of the masses upon election!). He is a useful fool, embedded in a culture of clientelism, kleptocracy, tax evasion, predatory lenders and spenders – the very reason his German overlords tolerated him and Syriza, although on a short leash!
Tsipras’ Syriza has absolute contempt for democracy. He embraces the ‘Caudillo Principle’: one man, one leader, one policy! Any dissenters invite dismissal!
Syriza has utterly submitted to imperial institutions, the Troika and their dictates, NATO and above all the EU, the Eurozone. Tsipras/ Syriza reject outright independence and freedom from imperial dictates. In his ‘capitulation to the Germans’ Tsipra engaged in histrionic theatrics, but by his own personal dictate, the massive ‘NO to EU’ vote was transformed into a YES.
The cruelest political crime of all has been Tsipras running down the Greek economy, bleeding the banks, emptying the pension funds and freezing everyday salaries while ‘blaming the bankers’, in order to force the mass of Greeks to accept the savage dictates of his imperial overlords or face utter destitution!
The Ultimate Surrender
Tsipras and his sycophants in Syriza, while constantly decrying Greece’s subordination to the EU empire-builders and claiming victimhood, managed to undermine the Greek people’s national consciousness in less than 6 months. What had been a victorious referendum and expression of rejection by three-fifths of the Greek voters turned into a prelude to a farcical surrender by empire collaborators. The people’s victory in the referendum was twisted to represent popular support for a Caudillo. While pretending to consult the Greek electorate, Tsipras manipulated the popular will into a mandate for his regime to push Greece beyond debt peonage and into colonial vassalage.
Tsipras is a supreme representation of Adorno’s authoritarian personality: On his knees to those above him, while at the throat of those below.
Once he has completed his task of dividing, demoralizing and impoverishing the Greek majority, the local and overseas ruling elites will discard him like a used condom, and he will pass into history as a virtuoso in deceiving and betraying the Greek people.
Syriza’s embrace of hard-right foreign policies should not be seen as the ‘result of outside pressure’, as its phony left supporters have argued, but rather a deliberate choice. So far, the best example of the Syriza regime’s reactionary policies is its signing of a military agreement with Israel.
According to the Jerusalem Post (July 19, 2015), the Greek Defense Minister signed a mutual defense and training agreement with Israel, which included joint military exercises. Syriza has even backed Israel’s belligerent position against the Islamic Republic of Iran, endorsing Tel Aviv’s ridiculous claim that Teheran represents a terrorist threat in the Middle East and Mediterranean. Syriza and Israel have inked a mutual military support pact that exceeds any other EU member agreement with Israel and is only matched in belligerence by Washington’s special arrangements with the Zionist regime.
Israel’s ultra-militarist ‘Defense’ Minister Moshe Yaalon, (the Butcher of Gaza), hailed the agreement and thanked the Syriza regime for ‘its support’. It is more than likely that Syriza’s support for the Jewish state explains its popularity with Anglo-American and Canadian ‘left’ Zionists…
Syriza’s strategic ties with Israel are not the result of EU ‘pressure’ or the dictates of the ‘Troika’. The agreement is a radical reversal of over a half-century of Greek support for the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people against the Israeli terrorist state. This military pact, like the Syriza regime’s economic capitulation to the German ruling class, is deeply rooted in the ‘colonial ideology’, which permeates Tsipras’ policies. He has taken Greece a significant step ‘forward’ from economic vassal to a mercenary client of the most retrograde regime in the Mediterranean.
On Sunday, the right-wing Greek daily Kathimerini released a partial transcript of a teleconference of hedge fund managers that former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis took part in earlier this month. The teleconference call was attended by 84 people.
Varoufakis claimed that under the instruction of then-party leader, now Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, he looked into setting up a parallel banking system based on IOUs. If necessary, it could be changed “overnight” to make payments in drachmas if Greece was forced to abandon the euro currency and restore the Greek drachma.
The instruction came from Tsipras in December, a month before the Syriza victory in the January general election.
“There is the website of the tax office where citizens go and use their tax file number and transfer monies to their tax,” he says.
“We were planning to create, surreptitiously, reserve accounts attached to every tax file number without telling anyone.
“That would have created a parallel system so while the banks were shut, thanks to the ECB’s aggressive action, it would give us some breathing space … it could have become a functioning parallel system. It would have been euro denominated but it could have been transferred to drachma at the touch of a button.”
According to his account, he recruited a childhood friend, now an IT expert, to hack into the public revenues system within the finance ministry, which is “controlled fully and directly by the troika.”
The plan was not completed, however, as
“the difficulty was to go from the five people who were planning it to the 1,000 people that would have to implement it. For that I would have to receive another authorisation, which never came.”
On Monday, Greece’s right-wing TV channel Skai reported that 24 New Democracy deputies plan to question Tsipras on whether Varoufakis should face a judicial probe and parliamentary inquiry, as his actions entailed not just “political but also criminal liability.” These efforts are supported by the other main opposition parties, Pasok and To Potami (The River).
Denying that he ever planned to engineer an exit from the eurozone, Varoufakis said Monday that his opponents were attempting to “have me indicted for treason.”
The attack on Varoufakis also extends to Syriza’s Left Platform, which belatedly made a token display of opposing Tsipras’ July 13 agreement to implement the demands of the troika, and his betrayal of the overwhelming vote opposing austerity in the July 5 referendum.
Prior to Kathimerini’s release of the transcript, on Friday the Financial Timesclaimed that Syriza’s Left Platform made moves to return to the drachma in the hours after Tsipras’ capitulation.
It alleged that Panayotis Lafazanis, the then-energy minister, wanted the government to take control of the reserves held by Nomismatokopeion, the Greek mint. The FT said under the Left Platform’s plan,
“the central bank would immediately lose its independence and be placed under government control. Its governor, Yannis Stournaras, would be arrested if, as expected, he opposed the move.”
Lafazanis denied there was any plan to arrest Stournaras and said the FT report was based on “lies, fantasy, fear-mongering, speculation and old-fashioned anti-communism.”
The source of the leak of Varoufakis’ comments remains unclear. However, the leak came just as representatives of the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund began talks with Greece over the terms of a new loan deal. In this context, the issue of Varoufakis’ remarks was rapidly harnessed to escalating pressure for more austerity in Greece.
The talks began with warnings from Germany that Greece had to accept even deeper levels of austerity than what it has already signed up to. The weekend edition of Der Spiegel reported, “The German government regards it as obligatory that a lot of Greek citizens will lose their jobs in line with the third aid package.”
In a parliamentary answer to Germany’s Left Party, Parliamentary State Secretary Jens Spahn of the governing Christian Democratic Union listed the austerity measures that “have to be taken in the field of employment markets,” including, “mass layoffs according to the schedule and scale, which are agreed with the institutions,” that is, the troika.
Slovakia’s Finance Minister Peter Kažimír tweeted on the Varoufakis leak, “We need to make sure that such two-faced ‘games’ will be avoided when debating & drafting the third bailout package for Greece.”
None of this means that Varoufakis’ plan was any alternative to the policy of collusion with the troika’s austerity agenda that he pursued jointly with Tsipras from the outset until his resignation on July 26.
The teleconference took place on July 16. Tellingly, Varoufakis was talking to an audience of hedge fund managers from the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum at a meeting called by the former Conservative chancellor of the UK, Norman Lamont , whom Varoufakis has previously described as a close friend.
Varoufakis’ remit was only to organise, behind the backs of the Greek and European working class, measures to keep the Greek financial system afloat, should Greece be forced, against its will, out of the eurozone.
On Monday, US economist James Galbraith said he had worked closely with Varoufakis while he was finance minister and,
“…at no time was the Working Group engaged in advocating exit or any policy choice. The job was strictly to study the operational issues that would arise if Greece were forced to issue scrip or if it were forced out of the euro.”
Varoufakis’ scheme was never implemented because in the end Tsipras did enough, at least temporarily, to reassure Greece’s creditors that he was prepared to do their bidding. If it had been made necessary, it would have been carried out as a desperate attempt to rescue Greek capitalism from disaster.
Varoufakis indicated that one of the major problems he faced in drawing up his plan was that Syriza had handed control of the main levers of Greece’s economy to the troika. “The General Secretary of Public Revenues within my ministry is controlled fully and directly by the troika,” he said. “It was not under control of my ministry, of me as minister, it was controlled by Brussels.”
While media attention has centred on his planning for a parallel banking system, Varoufakis also revealed divisions between Berlin and Paris over Germany’s plan for Europe-wide austerity. He stated,
“The French are terrified. They are terrified because they know that if they’re going to shrink their budget deficit to the levels that Berlin demands, the Parisian government will certainly fall. There is no way that they can politically handle the kind of austerity that is demanded by Berlin.”
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was “hell-bent” on a Greek exit from the eurozone, as it would give him “sufficient bargaining power, with sufficient terrorising power in order to impose upon the French that which Paris is resisting … a degree of transfer of budget-making powers from Paris to Brussels”, said Varoufakis.
China’s stock market suffered its biggest one-day sell-off since 2007 on Monday, with share values plunging by more than 8.5 percent.
Panic selling triggered the automatic suspension of trading for over 1,000 companies, leading Chinese financial authorities to announce a new round of share purchases in an attempt to stop the rout. However, Chinese stock indexes continued to fall in early trading on Tuesday.
The plunge in the Chinese market sparked a global run on both stocks and commodities. Share prices in Europe fell by more than 2 percent. In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 117 points, or 0.73 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq declined by nearly 1 percent.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index posted its first five-session loss since the beginning of the year, while the Dow hit its lowest level since February. Nearly 500 major US stocks hit 52-week lows Monday, the most in nearly a year. Nine out of 10 sectors of the S&P 500 closed down for the day, led by the energy sector, which fell by 1.35 percent.
Growing concerns over a slowdown in the Chinese and global economy sparked a further sell-off in commodities in tandem with the stock plunge. Oil prices hit a four-month low, while other commodities sensitive to economic growth, such as copper, fell to a six-year low.
Investors responded to the global decline by moving into safe-haven assets, including gold, whose price rose 1 percent, US Treasury bills, whose yields fell from 2.26 percent to 2.22 percent, and more conservative stocks such as utilities.
Monday’s panic selling occurred only weeks after the Chinese government injected some $800 billion into the country’s stock market, banned large shareholders from selling stock, stopped initial public offerings, and restricted short selling. These actions were temporarily successful in stopping the rout, helping the Chinese stock market recover in three weeks 14 percentage points of the 30 percentage points it had lost over previous weeks.
But even these measures appear to have exhausted themselves. Fortunemagazine, commenting on the most recent sell-off, declared, “The readiest explanation among analysts was that traders have lost faith that the government can slow the selling.”
Analysts noted that 60 percent of stocks listed on Chinese exchanges were suspended from trading Monday, meaning that the fall in share prices would have been much worse had trading in these stocks been allowed to continue.
Before the beginning of the decline in June, the Chinese stock market had increased in value by more than 150 percent over a single year, fueled by Chinese government efforts to boost share prices amid an economic slowdown.
There are indications that the collapse of China’s stock bubble is feeding back into the country’s real economy, with one significant purchasing manager’s index falling to a 15-month low over the weekend. China’s economic growth rate fell to 7.4 percent last year, the slowest pace in nearly a quarter century. The country’s economy is set to grow at a rate of 7.0 percent this year.
Corporate profits have continued to falter in China, with official figures released this week showing profits for industrial companies falling by 0.7 percent in the first half of the year.
Zhu Baoliang, director of the economic forecast department of a leading Chinese government research agency, told Reuters that the sell-off was having a significant impact on the real Chinese economy. He called on financial authorities to impose a further cut in interest rates.
The latest sell-off in China may indicate that the worsening state of the real economy internationally may be finding a reflection in global stock markets, which have become wildly inflated as a result of nearly seven years of near-zero interest rates by the Federal Reserve and other central banks. Earlier this month, the International Monetary Fund predicted that 2015 would be the worst year for global growth since 2009.
“There remain very few buyers out there and there are some growing concerns that we’re looking at a slowdown in global economic growth,” Sean Lynch of the Wells Fargo Investment Institute told the Associated Press.
Monday’s plunge in share values followed the announcement of a series of mass layoffs. On Friday, Anglo American, the world’s fifth largest mining company, said that it would slash over one-third of its workforce, eliminating 53,000 jobs in the coming year as a result of the fall in commodity prices. Last week, Qualcomm Incorporated announced 4,700 layoffs, following the announcement of 1,500 layoffs at Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia and 1,200 layoffs at a Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal, Illinois.
US corporations have announced significant declines in earnings and revenues for the second quarter of the year, making current stock prices appear even more overvalued. Reuters reported that “the S&P 500 is trading near 16.9 times forward 12-month earnings, above the 10-year median of 14.7 times.”
Citizens of the U.S. are being denied the right to know what they are feeding their families. Despite the fact that 90 percent of American citizens want GMO labeling on their food, big business is doing everything it can to prevent people from accessing their rights. Representative Pompeo’s bill, popularly known as theDARK Act (Denying Americans the Right to Know), has been written almost entirely by the biotech industry lobby. While American citizens are advocating for their rights to knowledge and healthy, affordable food, Monsanto’s legal team is busy on every legislative level trying to prevent this from happening.
Decades before there was a “debate” over GMOs and Monsanto’s PR and law firms became the busiest of bees, India was introduced to this corrupting, corporate giant that had no respect for the laws of the land. When this massive company did speak of laws, these laws had been framed, essentially, by their own lawyers.
Today, Indian cotton farmers are facing a genocide that has resulted in the death of at least300,000 of their brothers and sisters between 1995 and 2013, averaging 14,462 per year (1995-2000) and 16,743 per year (2001-2011). This epidemic began in the cotton belt, in Maharashtra, where 53,818 farmers have taken their lives. Monsanto, on it’s own website, admits that pink bollworm “resistance [to Bt] is natural and expected” and that the resistance to Bt “posed a significant threat to the nearly 5 million farmers who were planting the product in India.” Eighty four percent of the farmer suicides have been attributed to Monsanto’s Bt Cotton, placing the corporation’s greed and lawlessness at the heart of India’s agrarian crisis.
There are three outright illegalities to Monsanto’s existence in India.
First, Monsanto undemocratically imposed the false idea of “manufacturing” and “inventing” a seed, undermining robust Indian laws—that do not allow patents on life—and by taking patents on life through international trade law. Since 1999, Monsanto has had the U.S. government do its dirty work, blocking the mandatory review of the Monsanto Law in TRIPS (the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement implemented through the WTO).
Second, since they do not have a patent for Bt-Cotton, Monsanto’s collection of royalties as “trait value” or as a “fee for technology traits” (IPR category that does not exist in any legal framework and was concocted by Monsanto lawyers to work outside of the laws of the land) is illegal. These illegal royalty collections have been collected from the most marginal farmers, pushing them to take their own lives.
Third, the smuggling of a controlled substance without approvals (and thus Monsanto’s very entry into India) is a violation and subversion of India’s Biosafety Regulations. This includes the illegal introduction of GMOs into the food system in India, which poses grave risks to the health of ordinary Indian citizens.
Illegal entry of Bt Cotton into India
The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the apex body constituted in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, is solely entrusted with the responsibility of approving field trials of any genetically modified organisms (GMOs). India’s biosafety framework—one of the strongest in the world—is governed by The Rules for the Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Micro Organisms, Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells (notified under the Environment Protection Act, 1986).
ARTICLE (7) OF THE RULES STIPULATES:
APPROVAL AND PROHIBITIONS ETC.
(1) NO PERSON SHALL IMPORT, EXPORT, TRANSPORT, MANUFACTURE, PROCESS, USE OR SELL ANY HAZARDOUS MICROORGANISMS OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED ORGANISMS/SUBSTANCES OR CELLS EXCEPT WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE GENETIC ENGINEERING APPROVAL COMMITTEE.
On 10 March 1995, MAHYCO (which became Monsanto-Mahyco in 1998) imported 100 grams of cottonseed that contained the MON531-Bt Gene into India without approval from the GEAC. MAHYCO, under undisclosed circumstances, had obtained permission from the RCGM (Review Committee of Genetic Manipulation under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT)), which does not have the authority to approve such an import. Without the approval of the governing body responsible for the approval of the import (GEAC) Monsanto had smuggled a controlled substance into India.
ARTICLE (4) OF THE RULES STIPULATES:
(4) GENETIC ENGINEERING APPROVAL COMMITTEE (GEAC)
THIS COMMITTEE SHALL FUNCTION AS A BODY UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT FORESTS AND WILDLIFE FOR APPROVAL OF ACTIVITIES INVOLVING LARGE SCALE USE OF HAZARDOUS MICROORGANISMS AND RECOMBINANTS IN RESEARCH AND INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL ANGLE. THE COMMITTEE SHALL ALSO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR APPROVAL OF PROPOSALS RELATING TO RELEASE OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED ORGANISMS AND PRODUCTS INTO THE ENVIRONMENT.
Open field trials are a deliberate release of GMOs into the environment and, under the above Indian law, require approval by the GEAC. Eager to get to market and establish a monopoly in the cotton sector of India in 1998, Monsanto-Mahyco, without the approval of the sole agency allowed to grant permission for open field trials—the GEAC—started large scale, multi-centric, open field trials of Bt Cotton in 40 locations spread across nine states of India.
The eventual clearance, long after the commencement of these field trials, came once again from the Review Committee of Genetic Manipulation (RCGM), which is not authorized to grant clearance for field trials. RCGM’s mandate is restricted to guidelines for lab research. Without approval from the GEAC, Monsanto’s open field trials of Bt Cotton in 1998 were blatantly illegal and an act of biological warfare against India through genetic pollution.
Furthermore, no post harvest management and safety was ensured in these trials by Monsanto-Mahyco. Monsanto was not concerned with the findings of the trials at all; they just wanted GM seeds to be introduced into Indian soil and they did so without due process. GMO traits, once released into the environment, cannot be contained or recalled. In fact, genetically engineered cotton was sold in open markets. In some states, the trial fields were replanted the very next season with crops including wheat, turmeric, and groundnut, violating Para-9 on “Post harvest handling of the transgenic plants” of the Biosafety Guidelines (1994), according to which,the fields on which GMO trials were conducted should be left fallow for at least one year.
It was in the face of these violations of Indian laws and the risks of genetic pollution India faced, that the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology (RFSTE) filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India in 1999 against Monsanto and MAHYCO. Clearly, Monsanto and MAHYCO had violated the 1989 rules for the use of GMOs under the Environmental Protection Act (1986). The government had allowed Monsanto to carry out field trials without the mandatory scientific biosafety tests.
Without waiting for the outcome of the petition pending in the Supreme Court—around President Bill Clinton’s visit to India—in March 2000 the Department of Biotechnology gave biosafety clearance to Monsanto’s Bt Cotton and in July 2000 the GEAC cleared large-scale field trials of Bt Cotton despite the pending Supreme Court case. This was two years after Monsanto first started illegal trials. CD Mayee, Co-Chairman of the GEAC, also became the first Indian board member of ISAAA, a biotech evangelist group, in 2006. He is the chairman of the sub-committee on Bt Cotton of the GEAC and interestingly, also sits of on the Agriculture Ministry’s Committee on Endosulfan, an insecticide with acute neurotoxin properties developed by Bayer CropScience, which is a major funder—along with Monsanto—of ISAAA.
Monsanto Bt Cotton seeds had not yet been cleared for commercial release. While the RFSTE case against Monsanto was still in the Supreme Court of India, Monsanto reported to the GEAC, in 2001, that Navbharat Seeds Pvt. Ltd., a company in Gujarat, was selling Navbharat 151 seeds, which had the MON531 Bt gene. This was not a cowboy company selling on the black market. This was a company with enough Bt Cotton seeds for the 10,000 Hectares of Navbharat 151 planted at the time. On Monsanto’s complaint, the GEAC started an investigation, carried out by the two-member team of CD Mayee and T.V. Ramanaiah (from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT)), who found Bt traits in the cotton. A case was filed in Gujarat against Navbharat Seeds Pvt. Ltd.
Post investigation, the GEAC ordered all standing crops of Navbharat 151 to be uprooted and destroyed along with seed production plots due to the major risks posed by Bt. In a submission to the court, the GEAC stated:
“12 (I) THE CROP WHICH IS STANDING MAY PASS TO THE SOIL THAT MODIFIED GENES WHICH IT CONTAINS. THE EFFECT ON SOIL MICROORGANISMS CAN NOT BE ESTIMATED AND MAY CAUSE AN IRREVERSIBLE CHANGE IN THE ENVIRONMENT STRUCTURE OF THE SOIL. IT IS A STANDARD PRACTICE TO UPROOT CROPS WHICH POSE SUCH A THREAT. THE DESTRUCTION BY BURNING IS TO ENSURE SAFETY TO ENVIRONMENT AND HUMAN HEALTH AND TO OBVIATE ANY POSSIBILITY OF CROSS-POLLINATION.
(II) THE DESTRUCTION OF THE COTTON PRODUCE AS WELL AS SEEDS HARVESTED FROM THIS PLANT IS ALSO EQUALLY NECESSARY. THE COTTON WHICH HAS BEEN PRODUCED IS GENETICALLY MODIFIED COTTON, THE EFFECT OF WHICH I.E. ALLERGENICITY AND OTHER FACTORS ON MAMMALS ARE NOT TESTED. THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLES WOULD REQUIRE THAT NO PRODUCT, THE EFFECT OF WHICH IS UNKNOWN BE PUT INTO THE MARKET STREAM. THIS COTTON WHICH IN APPEARANCE IS NO DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHER COTTON WILL INTERMINGLE WITH ORDINARY COTTON AND IT WILL BECOME IMPOSSIBLE TO CONTAIN ITS ADVERSE AFFECT. THE ONLY REMEDY IS TO DESTROY THE COTTON AS WELL AS THE SEEDS PRODUCED AND HARVESTED IN THIS MANNER.
(III) SINCE THE FARMERS ARE BEING PUT TO A LOSS, THE FURTHER PROCESS TO DETERMINE THE COMPENSATION PAYABLE TO FARMERS, WHO HAVE UNWITTINGLY USED THIS PRODUCT HAS TO BE DETERMINED AND UNDERTAKEN.
13. I WOULD RESPECTFULLY SUBMIT THAT EVERY DAY OF DELAY IN THIS MATTER POSES A THREAT TO THE ENVIRONMENT.”
Having just concluded that Bt was dangerous and all of it had to be uprooted and burned, a few weeks later the GEAC approved the commercial release of Monsanto-Mahyco Biotech (MMB) Bt Cotton.
The national farmers unions made a joint petition to the GEAC and asked for an inquiry committee to be set up and liability and compensation fixed on the basis of the “polluter pays” principle. Since Monsanto-Mahyco is admittedly the source of the GM pollution, they, along with Navbharat Seeds Pvt. Ltd, which has further spread the pollution, are jointly liable for the pollution caused.
Monsanto’s Bt Cotton has also found its way into edible vegetable oils in India.
In a government document, the Department of Biotechnology states:
COTTON SEEDS CAN BE TOXIC IF INGESTED IN EXCESSIVE QUANTITIES BECAUSE OF THE PRESENCE OF ANTI-NUTRITIONAL AND TOXIC FACTORS INCLUDING GOSSYPOL AND CYCLOPROPENOID FATTY ACIDS.
but then goes on to say in the next sentence:
THE OIL AND LINTERS ARE USED AS PREMIUM VEGETABLE OILS AND AS CELLULOSE DIETARY ADDITIVES FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION, RESPECTIVELY. TRADITIONALLY, WHOLE COTTON SEED IS USED AS CATTLE FEED IN INDIA. HOWEVER, THE INCREASE IN DEMAND OF EDIBLE OILS HAS NECESSITATED PROCESSING OF COTTON SEED FOR ITS OIL. THEREFORE, COTTON SEED OILCAKE/MEAL AFTER EXTRACTION IS NOW USED AS CATTLE FEED.
Monsanto’s Bt Cotton, without the support of necessary precautions and scientific studies, has illegally found its way into the Indian food chain, endangering the health of 1.26 billion Indians. The health effects of Bt Cotton seed oil in “premium vegetable oil” (as the DBT calls it) must be investigated and the damage to people’s health must be compensated by Monsanto.
Monsanto’s illegal collection of super-profits as royalties
India’s laws do not permit patents on seeds and in agriculture. But that hasn’t stopped Monsanto from collecting close to USD 900 million from small farmers in India, pushing them into crushing debt. This is roughly the same amount of money Monsanto spent buying The Climate Corporation—a weather big data company—in a bid to control climate data access in the future.
Monsanto-Mahyco Biotech Ltd collected royalties for Bt Cotton by going outside the law and charging “technology fees” and “trait value”. These are just clever names for royalty collection. In 2006, out of the INR 1600 (per 450 grams) price tag, INR 1250—almost 80 percent—wascharged by MMB as the trait value. Compared to Bt Cotton, local seeds used to cost INR 5-9 per kg before Monsanto destroyed alternatives, including local hybrid seed supply, through licensing arrangements and acquisitions.
In January 2006, the Andhra Pradesh Government filed a complaint with the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) against Monsato-Mahyco Biotech (MMB), accusing MMB of overpricing genetically modified Bt Cotton seeds. The Research Foundation for Science Technology and Ecology had to intervene in the MRTPC case. In its submission, the Andhra Pradesh Government pointed out that Monsanto charged only about INR 400 for the same packet of seeds in China and only about INR 200 in the U.S.—9 times less than the amount they were forcing Andhra Pradesh farmers to pay. MMB said the royalty it charged reflected its research and development costs for Bt Cotton, admitting that they were charging Indian farmers royalty and that for some reason, Indian farmers owed them more for their research and development than farmers in the U.S..
On May 10, 2006, the MRTPC ruled in favor of the Andhra Pradesh government and directed MMB to reduce the trait value it was unfairly charging the farmers of Andhra Pradesh. Following this, on May 29, 2006, the Andhra Pradesh Agricultural Commissioner fixed the price of Bt Cotton seeds at INR 750 for a 450-gram packet and directed MMB and its sub-licensees to comply with its order. Monsanto challenged the Andhra Pradesh Government and the MRTPC’s decision in the Supreme Court, saying that the government’s move was illegal and arbitrary. The Supreme Court did not stay the MRTPC’s order, but while the appeal was pending before it, five states— Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, West Bengal, and Madhya Pradesh (now Maharashtra as well)—followed Andhra Pradesh’s lead and ordered that Bt Cotton should be sold at a reduced price, dealing a blow to the inflated profits Monsanto was taking from Indian peasants and repatriating to their headquarters in St. Louis.
To side-step price control measures and avoid any regulation that had been applied to Bt Cotton, which was marketed in India as Bollgard, Monsanto introduced Bollgard II, its apparently ‘upgraded’ version with two Bt proteins. Monsanto’s intentional scientific ignorance (despite the availability of scientific studies at the time) is obvious. GMOs which release the Bt toxin in high doses in every cell of every plant are highly toxic to pollinators and friendly insects and are a recipe for creating super pests through the emergence of resistance. The pink bollworm underwent what every intelligent being does—it evolved—it became resistant to Bt. On it’s website, Monsanto admits, “Measures to delay resistance are critically important” and “application of insecticide sprays during the crop season and proper management of crop residue and unopened bolls after harvest will help limit insects in cotton fields”. What are farmers being made to pay for if normal bollworm control measures are still required, they are still expected to buy and spray insecticides and 80 percent of the cost of the seed goes for failed R&D?
Monsanto admitted that the pink bollworm was resistant to Bollgard and claimed Bollgard II, with it’s two Bt proteins would control the bollworm epidemic. This allowed Monsanto to continue looting marginalised small farmers. By claiming Bollgard II was better technology than the first version, Monsanto was able to mislead farmers and charge even higher prices. (Oblivious to it’s earlier Bt failures, Monsanto is currently working on a 3-protein Bt variety to continue it’s looting)
And Monsanto still claims Bt Cotton is resistant to Bollworm and have all their hired mouthpieces claim that there is reduced pesticide usage due to this inherent trait. In reality, requirements of pesticide increase every year with Bt Cotton. Clearly misrepresenting their lacklustre product, the only reason for the existence of Bt Cotton is royalties. Monsanto itself is on record at the 52nd Meeting of the GEAC (held on 4 March 2005) saying that Bt is not resistant to Bollworm.
“TO A QUERY ON WHETHER THE BT VARIETY IS RESISTANT TO BOLLWORM COMPLEX OR ONLY EFFECTIVE AGAINST AMERICAN BOLLWORM IT WAS CLARIFIED THAT BT COTTON IS TOLERANT TO BOLLWORM AND NOT RESISTANT.”
SOURCE: MINUTES OF THE 52ND MEETING OF THE GEAC
This ruthlessness is central to the crisis Indian farmers are facing. Farmers leveraged their land holdings to buy Bt Cotton seeds and the chemicals it demanded, but the golden promise of higher yield and lower input costs failed to deliver. They were left with no option but to take their own lives. (Incidentally, CD Mayee was the chair of the GEAC subcommittee on Bt Cotton, which still monitors the performance of Bt Cotton and his reports on the performance of Bt Cotton wereand still are, very different from the real experiences of the farmers driven to suicide by failed harvests and inferior quality cotton yield.)
In 2007 Andhra Pradesh was forced to introduce the Andhra Pradesh Cotton Seeds Act to control the price of cottonseed, since Bollgard II prices were still astronomically high due to a majority royalty component.
The following Act of the Andhra Pradesh Legislature received the assent of the Governor in August 2007:
ACT NO.29 OF 2007
SHORT TITLE AND COMMENCEMENT
AN ACT TO REGULATE THE SUPPLY, DISTRIBUTION, SALE AND FIXATION OF SALE PRICE OF COTTON SEEDS AND FOR THE MATTERS CONNECTED THEREWITH OR INCIDENTAL THERETO.
WHEREAS, COTTON SEEDS OF CERTAIN VARIETIES ARE NOT NOTIFIED UNDER SECTION 5 AND CONSEQUENTLY NO SALE OF SUCH SEEDS ARE REGULATED UNDER SECTION 7 OF THE SEEDS ACT, 1966;
AND WHEREAS, COTTON SEED IS NOT AN ESSENTIAL COMMODITY WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES ACT, 1955 AS AMENDED BY THE ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 2006;
AND WHEREAS, THE PROVISIONS OF THE SEEDS (CONTROL) ORDER, 1983 ISSUED UNDER SECTION 3 OF THE ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES ACT, 1955 ARE NOT APPLICABLE IN SO FAR AS THEY RELATE TO THE COTTON SEEDS W.E.F. 12.2.2007;
AND WHEREAS, THERE IS NO PROVISION IN THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ACT, 1986 TO REGULATE THE SUPPLY, DISTRIBUTION AND SALE OF TRANSGENIC AND GENETICALLY MODIFIED COTTON SEED AND TO CONTROL THE SALE PRICE OF SUCH COTTON SEED IN THE STATE;
AND WHEREAS, THE TRADERS IN COTTON SEED INCLUDING TRANSGENIC COTTON SEED ARE EXPLOITING POOR FARMERS BY COLLECTING EXORBITANT PRICES;
AND WHEREAS, THERE IS NO PROVISION TO REGULATE THE SUPPLY, DISTRIBUTION, SALE OF COTTON SEEDS AND TO CONTROL THE SALE PRICES OF SUCH COTTON SEEDS IN THE STATE;
AND WHEREAS, IT HAS BECOME IMPERATIVE ON THE PART OF THE STATE TO REGULATE THE SUPPLY, DISTRIBUTION AND SALE OF COTTON SEEDS BY FIXING THE SALE PRICE IN THE INTERESTS OF THE FARMERS IN THE STATE;
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ANDHRA PRADESH IN THE FIFTY-EIGHTH YEAR OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA AS FOLLOWS :- 1. (1) THIS ACT MAY BE CALLED THE ANDHRA PRADESH COTTON SEEDS
(REGULATION OF SUPPLY, DISTRIBUTION, SALE AND FIXATION OF SALE PRICE) ACT, 2007.
(2) IT SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE COME INTO FORCE ON AND FROM THE 28TH JUNE, 2007.
This restriction on their profits did not sit well with Monsanto, which then challenged the Andhra Pradesh Cotton Seeds Act. The Research Foundation for Science Technology and Ecology had to intervene in the case once more, which is still before the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
While Monsanto does not have a patent on Bt cotton in India, it goes outside the law to collect royalties as “technology fees”. Most of the 300,000 farmers suicides in India since 1995 (when the WTO came into force) are concentrated in the cotton belt. And 95 percent of the cotton in India is controlled by Monsanto.
Out of India’s 29 states, those with Bt Cotton have the highest suicide rates.
Correlation is the first step to understanding causation. Monsanto does not see the above correlation because the next logical step would be to plead guilty for the deaths of all the farmers whose lives have been reduced to numbers on a table, or a bank account in St Louis.
Additionally, Monsanto knows that Bt Cotton is dependent on irrigation. Despite this knowledge, Monsanto has pushed its Bt Cotton into regions that depend solely on rainfall, as opposed to irrigation. These include Vidarbha in Maharashtra, where most cotton farms are less than 1 hectare and are dependent solely on rainfall. The costs of Bt cottonseed and insecticide increase the risk of farmer bankruptcy in low-yield rainfed cotton. The criminal negligence of knowingly setting up marginal farmers—who can’t afford to irrigate and whose options for obtaining seeds have been acquired by Monsanto—for dire failure, cannot be ignored.
A recent research paper published by Environmental Sciences Europe concluded:
“[THE] INABILITY TO USE SAVED SEED AND INADEQUATE AGRONOMIC INFORMATION TRAP COTTON FARMERS ON BIOTECHNOLOGY AND INSECTICIDE TREADMILLS. ANNUAL SUICIDE RATES IN RAINFED AREAS ARE INVERSELY RELATED TO FARM SIZE AND YIELD, AND DIRECTLY RELATED TO INCREASES IN BT COTTON ADOPTION (I.E., COSTS). HIGH-DENSITY SHORT-SEASON COTTONS COULD INCREASE YIELDS AND REDUCE INPUT COSTS IN IRRIGATED AND RAINFED COTTON. POLICY MAKERS NEED HOLISTIC ANALYSIS BEFORE NEW TECHNOLOGIES ARE IMPLEMENTED IN AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT.”
“Fourteen years after U.S. multinational Monsanto brought the genetically modified (GM) Bt Cotton (Bollgard) to India, there is no clarity on the discovery having ever been patented in the country,” states a recent Times of India article. India does not recognize patents on life, including seeds. The royalties Monsanto has collected over the last 14 years are based on a patent that does not exist and is therefore, quite simply, theft. Monsanto is robbing the people who have the least, of the very last thing they can give—their lives.
Illegal patents on life through Monsanto’s laws in the WTO
In 1980 the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case that is now famous for being the point in world history where life forms were first allowed to be patented—not only in the US, but through the WTO, in many other parts of the world. Ananda Mohan Chakrabarty, a General Electric employee, had applied for a patent for a process of producing a bacterium capable of eating crude oil spills and on the bacteria itself. The claim was rejected by the U.S. Patent office, but on appeal, was granted by a 5-4 majority in the Supreme Court.
“The decision of the Supreme Court in Diamond v. Chakrabarty, 447 U.S. 303, 206 USPQ 193 (1980), held that microorganisms produced by genetic engineering are not excluded from patent protection by 35 U.S.C. 101”
4. “This is not to suggest that § 101 has no limits or that it embraces every discovery. The laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas have been held not patentable.”
5. “Thus, a new mineral discovered in the earth or a new plant found in the wild is not patentable subject matter. Likewise, Einstein could not patent his celebrated law that E=mc2; nor could Newton have patented the law of gravity.”
Genetic engineering has not been able to deliver on its promises—it is just a tool of ownership. Bt Cotton is not resistant to Bollworm, RoundUp Resistant varieties have only given rise to super weeds and the new promises being made by biotech corporations of bio-fortification are laughable. There is no benefit to things like Golden Rice. By adding one new gene to the cell of a plant, corporations claimed they had invented and created the seed, the plant, and all future seeds, which were now their property. Monsanto does not care if your cotton field has Bollworm infestations, just so long as the crop can be identified as theirs and royalty payments keep flowing in. This is why the failure of Bt Cotton as a reflection of bad science does not bother them—the cash is still coming into St Louis. At its core, genetic modification is about ownership.
In 1981, shortly after the precedence of life forms being patented had been set in the U.S., Monsanto, which was a chemical company at the time, decided—as it lays out on it’s own website—that biotechnology would be its strategic research focus in the future. Selling chemicals requires raw materials that eat into profit. Intellectual Property, on the other hand, just pays. In the decade and a half since 1981, with this new “strategic research focus” and all the R&D dollars you can imagine, Monsanto has only been able to produce failures—failures that pay royalties from all across the world.
Monsanto saw that by claiming ownership of life forms, especially seed—the first step in the food chain—and destroying alternatives or making them illegal, would allow them to charge royalties for the source of food, fibre and fuel. It was easy money and a lot of it. The limited achievements of Monsanto’s research focus have not given us better cotton, corn, canola or soya—they’ve merely made it all theirs.
Monsanto required new forms of property rights, inspired by the U.S. Supreme Court, to be able to claim as an invention that which is not invented by them—seed and life forms. This was achieved through the World Trade Organization (WTO), working closely with the U.S. Government and with the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.
Patents are granted for inventions and give the patent holder the right to exclude everyone from the use or marketing of a patented product or process. Over the last two decades, patent laws have taken a different direction under the influence of corporations like Monsanto, from protecting the interests of genuine inventions and ideas to ownership of life and control over survival essentials like seed and medicine.
JAMES ENYART OF MONSANTO IS ON RECORD ILLUSTRATING JUST HOW DEEPLY THE TRIPS AGREEMENT IS ALIGNED TO CORPORATE INTEREST AND AGAINST THE INTERESTS OF NATIONS AND THEIR CITIZENS:
“INDUSTRY HAS IDENTIFIED A MAJOR PROBLEM FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE. IT CRAFTED A SOLUTION, REDUCED IT TO A CONCRETE PROPOSAL AND SOLD IT TO OUR OWN AND OTHER GOVERNMENTS… THE INDUSTRIES AND TRADERS OF WORLD COMMERCE HAVE PLAYED SIMULTANEOUSLY THE ROLE OF PATIENTS, THE DIAGNOSTICIANS AND THE PRESCRIBING PHYSICIANS.”
Corporations defined a problem—farmers saving seed—so that they could forcefully open the market. In turn, they offered a solution and the solution was the introduction of patents and intellectual property rights on seed, making it illegal for farmers to save their seed. This is how the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) Agreement of the WTO was born. For the U.S. Government, with an economy where the manufacturing industry was slowing, the idea of royalties coming in to fuel the economy was perfect.
ARTICLE 27.3 OF THE TRIPS AGREEMENT STATES:
3. MEMBERS MAY ALSO EXCLUDE FROM PATENTABILITY:
(A) DIAGNOSTIC, THERAPEUTIC AND SURGICAL METHODS FOR THE TREATMENT OF HUMANS OR ANIMALS;
(B) PLANTS AND ANIMALS OTHER THAN MICRO-ORGANISMS, AND ESSENTIALLY BIOLOGICAL PROCESSES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF PLANTS OR ANIMALS OTHER THAN NON-BIOLOGICAL AND MICROBIOLOGICAL PROCESSES. HOWEVER, MEMBERS SHALL PROVIDE FOR THE PROTECTION OF PLANT VARIETIES EITHER BY PATENTS OR BY AN EFFECTIVE SUI GENERIS SYSTEM OR BY ANY COMBINATION THEREOF. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBPARAGRAPH SHALL BE REVIEWED FOUR YEARS AFTER THE DATE OF ENTRY INTO FORCE OF THE WTO AGREEMENT.
This is the Monsanto Law of the TRIPS Agreement. Drafted by Monsanto lawyers and riding on the U.S. taxpayer’s dollar, it bulldozes the world leaving behind nothing but royalty liabilities.
Section 3(b) of Article 27 is what is cleverly designed to be a trojan horse and to prohibit the free exchange of seeds between farmers, threatening their subsistence and their ability to save and exchange seeds. Shooting a gene into an organism through a gene gun is not a biological process. A seed growing into a plant that gives seed is a biological process. But the non-biological process of the insertion of a gene is patentable according to Article 27.3(b). Genetic engineering has been defined as “non-biological” and/or “microbiological” by the same lawyers that put the Monsanto Law into the TRIPS agreement, allowing the patentability of seeds and other life forms through genetic manipulation.
Objections to the Monsanto Law were raised owing to the basic idea that life cannot be patented.
India, in its submission, stated:
Clearly, there is a case for re-examining the need to grant patents on lifeforms anywhere in the world. Until such systems are in place, it may be advisable to:- (a) exclude patents on all lifeforms
The African group stated:
The African Group maintains its reservations about patenting any life forms as explained on previous occasions by the Group and several other delegations. In this regard, the Group proposes that Article 27.3(b) be revised to prohibit patents on plants, animals, micro-organisms, essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals, and non-biological and microbiological processes for the production of plants or animals. For plant varieties to be protected under the TRIPS Agreement, the protection must clearly and not just implicitly or by way of exception, strike a good balance with the interests of the community as a whole and protect farmers’ rights and traditional knowledge and ensure the preservation of biological diversity.
Due to the strong objections raised at the WTO it was decided that the Monsanto Law (TRIPs clause on patents on life) would be due for a mandatory review within the first 4 years of the WTO—by 1999. The review of the clause on patents on life has been blocked and subverted for the last 16 years by Monsanto and the Monsanto-friendly government of the United States, to protect the royalties that are moving money from impoverished farmers world over to the United States of America.
This is not for the benefit of the U.S. as a nation. The illegal royalties collected do not benefit citizens of the U.S.. In fact, the liberties and basic human rights of the citizens of the U.S. are being restricted by this royalty-hungry monster, just like those of the Indian cotton farmer. There is an attempt, in the U.S., by Monsanto and the aiding U.S. Government, to deem all non-patented seed illegal—even the tomato you have in your garden. And all this is being done in the name of “protecting and maintaining the food sources of America.”
Since 1991, when the draft text of the WTO agreements was leaked, the National Working Group on Indian Patent Law worked with Parliament and the government to ensure that public interest was protected in any amendment made in India’s patent laws in order to make India’s IPR regime TRIPS-compliant. Methods of agriculture and plants were excluded from patentability in the Indian Patent Act to ensure that seed, the first link in the food chain, was held as a common property resource in the public domain and farmers’ inalienable right to save, exchange and improve seed was not violated. And only process patents (patents on processes) were allowed in medicine.
When India amended her Patent Act, safeguards consistent with TRIPS were introduced based on a scientific definition of “invention”.
ARTICLE 3 DEFINES WHAT IS NOT PATENTABLE SUBJECT MATTER.
ARTICLE 3(D) EXCLUDES AS INVENTIONS “THE MERE DISCOVERY OF ANY NEW PROPERTY OR NEW USE FOR A KNOWN SUBSTANCE”.
This was the article under which Novartis’s patent claim to a known cancer drug was rejected. This is the article that Novartis tried to challenge in the Supreme Court and lost.
ARTICLE 3(J) EXCLUDES FROM PATENTABILITY “PLANTS AND ANIMALS IN WHOLE OR IN ANY PART THEREOF OTHER THAN MICROORGANISMS; BUT INCLUDING SEEDS, VARIETIES, AND SPECIES, AND ESSENTIALLY BIOLOGICAL PROCESSES FOR PRODUCTION OR PROPAGATION OF PLANTS AND ANIMALS”.
This was the article used by the Indian Patent Office to reject a Monsanto patent on climate resilient seeds and is also why farmers in India are, at the very least, safe from Monsanto lawyers, unlike the thousands of farmers across the world like Bowman, Steve Marsh and Percy Schmeiser being sued by Monsanto for being farmers.
India’s patent laws, based on good science and drafted by conscientious people, get in the way of Monsanto’s royalty collections, if only on paper. The U.S. Government, under the influence of Monsanto, has been pressurizing countries like India to change their patent regimes to fit into Monsanto’s plan, meanwhile subverting the review of the Monsanto Law, though it has legally been obligated to do since 1999.
In 1996 the U.S. Government brought a case in the WTO against India due to the “alleged absence of patent protection for pharmaceutical and agricultural chemical products in India.” It was to ensure protection of Monsanto’s royalties on seeds and its carcinogenic Glyphosate molecule. Monsanto was attempting to subvert the democratic laws of India using the U.S. Government to strong arm India, as it is doing even today. U.S. President Obama’s recent trip to meet Indian Prime Minister Modi in India was, aside from a show of wardrobe, intended to pressurize India into changing its IPR regime to better suit American industry. The proposed changes are in no way designed to foster innovation within India, for which Indian laws are quite good.
India’s sovereignty is under attack by Monsanto. American citizens’ rights to garden in their backyards with seeds they freely exchange with one another are under attack by Monsanto. African farmers’ livelihoods are under attack by Monsanto. The world’s food system is under attack by Monsanto. Hundreds of thousands of Indian cotton farmers have died under attack from Monsanto. It is a war being waged to profit from every grain of corn and soya, rice or banana you eat. The citizens of the world are victims of this war, from the U.S. and Argentina to India, across the Pacific through the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and across the Atlantic through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
If a country other than the U.S. was blocking and subverting the review of the Monsanto Law, that country would have been bombed by drones a long time ago. It is time to tell the U.S. Government to stop being a Monsanto Government writing laws on behalf of Monsanto at home and imposing them worldwide. It is time for the U.S. government to stop being a rogue nation and stop blocking the mandatory review of TRIPS, the International Monsanto Law—even if it’s 16 years late. It is time to tell the U.S. government to stop criminalizing farmers who save seeds or whose seeds are contaminated by Monsanto.
Monsanto should be tried for its smuggling of a controlled substance into India and allowing genetically modified cottonseed oil into the premium vegetable oils of India, a country where GM is not allowed in the food system.
Monsanto must compensate farmers for royalties collected on the basis of an imaginary patent and the reparations due for the hundreds of thousands of farmers it has killed by collecting illegitimate and illegal royalties. Life is priceless. Monsanto can never return the father or the husband it pushed to suicide. Corporations like Monsanto will never really understand the value of life unless we put a dollar figure to the debt the widows and the children of the dead are owed. Insurance statisticians have put the life of a “prime aged worker”, in the U.S., at a median value of USD 7 million. Eighty-four percent of 300,000 suicides, 252,000, are directly attributed to Monsanto’s Bt-Cotton. By this calculation, Monsanto, in addition to the illegal royalties collected, owes the families of ‘prime aged’ working farmers in India an amount of USD 1.764 Trillion. We must ensure reparations are made and Monsanto does not shrug it’s responsibilities by changing it’s name, buying Syngenta, or through any other corporate tax evasion/liability reducing tricks it’s lawyers conjure up.
Internationally Monsanto must be tried for its crimes against nature, people, science and knowledge, freedom and democracy. Our governments need to start working for their citizens instead of Monsanto and the mandatory review of the Monsanto Law of the TRIPS agreement must be done if the U.S. values ‘freedom’.
We need to have reverence for nature and ecological justice must be served. Reparations, for the genocide in India, in accordance with International Law, are due.
VII. VICTIMS’ RIGHT TO REMEDIES
11. REMEDIES FOR GROSS VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW AND SERIOUS VIOLATIONS OF INTERNATIONAL HUMANITARIAN LAW INCLUDE THE VICTIM’S RIGHT TO THE FOLLOWING AS PROVIDED FOR UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW:
(A) EQUAL AND EFFECTIVE ACCESS TO JUSTICE;
(B) ADEQUATE, EFFECTIVE AND PROMPT REPARATION FOR HARM SUFFERED;
(C) ACCESS TO RELEVANT INFORMATION CONCERNING VIOLATIONS AND REPARATION MECHANISMS.
We must end Monsanto’s colonization, its enslavement of farmers—for whom the only escape from the Monsanto treadmill is suicide. We must not allow Monsanto to profit from the loss of innocent lives. Private enterprise cannot be allowed to profit from global public risk. Real lives are more valuable than fake patents.This illegal takeover of our food, our seeds and our democracies and the killing of farmers must be stopped.
Another 299 children sustained gunshot injuries, according to data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Israeli human rights group B’Tselemcondemned in June Israel’s continued use of live ammunition to kill and injure unarmed Palestinians.
The Israeli military’s own regulations say that live ammunition must only be used in circumstances where a soldier is in direct, mortal danger.
But B’Tselem says that just this year it “has documented dozens of cases in the Ramallah area of the West Bank in which Palestinians were injured, some severely, by live ammunition fired by Israeli security forces.”
The group says that “the large number of persons injured and the types of injury, indicates that live ammunition was used against demonstrators even when security forces were not in mortal danger.”
But even in the gravest of cases, where Palestinian children are killed or permanently disabled, perpetrators are rarely brought to justice, DCI-Palestine notes.
While demonstrations against armed occupation forces do not provide a valid excuse to shoot and kill, in other well-documented cases Israeli occupation forces have ambushed, shot and killed Palestinian children without even that pretext.
In such cases too, occupation forces continue to enjoy impunity.
West Bank: Basel’s story
On 4 December 2014, Basel Kamal Safi found himself in the midst of confrontations between Israeli occupation forces and Palestinian youths in the village of Beitillu in the West Bank.
Occupation forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at the youths.
Basel was hit with a live bullet on his left side, which lodged in his back.
This led to two surgeries, and now Basel must use a wheelchair to get around.
Bullet fragments scattered throughout Basel’s lower abdomen, fracturing his pelvis and part of his spine.
The shrapnel, which cannot be removed, causes him pain, and he experiences nightmares. He is dependent on family members to help him move around.
Basel can no longer help his father’s work to support the family.
As of the time the video was published in May, Israeli occupation forces had denied the permits requested by the family to take their son to al-Maqasid hospital in Jerusalem for treatment.
No Israeli soldier has been charged with any crime for his shooting.
Gaza: Fadel’s story
“I wish I could go back in time and be the same boy I used to be,” says Fadel Abu Odwan. “They’ve ruined my life.”
The 11-year-old was shot in the groin by Israeli soldiers deployed near the Israel-Gaza border fence, near his village of Shokat in southern Gaza, on 21 February 2014.
“They left me there bleeding for about four hours,” Fadel recalls, “with dogs trying to attack me.”
Doctors placed him in intensive care before transferring him to surgery to extract the bullet lodged in his thigh and remove his testicles.
More than a year later, the shooting has had a devastating impact on his life.
He still has nightmares: “I dream of dogs coming to get me and eat me.” Other children, he says, can be cruel to him because of his injury.
Fadel’s mother Aisha says her son has lost all motivation to study and gets into trouble.
“He won’t be able to have children,” she says.
“Fadel needs therapy,” Aisha says, “but I don’t know from where to get it.”
Washington’s foreign policy towards Africa was highlighted recently through the visit of President Barack Obama to Kenya and Ethiopia.
Also the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, came to the United States the previous week and held high-level meetings with Obama along with other officials in the State Department and the Pentagon.
Obama’s term ends next year and many have criticized him for not visiting the country where his father was born since he was elected to office in 2008. Kenya has been a longtime ally of the U.S. since the early days of independence in 1963 under the leadership of Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of the East African state.
The president attended a business development conference in Kenya. He emphasized during his trip the much-touted phenomenal economic growth on the continent.
Although there has been the enhanced exploitation of natural gas and other strategic resources in East Africa, economic problems persist. Kenya is a capitalist country that is heavily dependent upon the marketing of agricultural, clothing and tourism to the West.
Unemployment and poverty continues to trap millions while economic relations with the imperialist states do not offer any significant prospects for the absorption of large segments of the population into the urbanized labor market. Most people still work in the agricultural sectors of the economy through the production of tea, coffee, sisal and other products.
During the 1990s, Kenya was unable to pay its loans to the international financial institutions and instituted reforms which made the country more attractive to multi-national corporations and banks for investment. With the institution of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in the U.S. under the administration of President Bill Clinton, the country began to produce clothing for export to the western states.
The mineral exploitation taking place inside the country is limited at present.
Nonetheless, there has been exploration for offshore oil resources on the border between Kenya and Somalia. These new areas of potential investments by the multi-national petroleum firms may be clearly related to the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) intervention in Somalia which was carried out in late 2011 at the aegis of Washington through the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM).
The Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi was opened by Obama who pledged over a billion dollars in investments from the U.S. government along with U.S.-based banks, foundations and donors. 50 percent of the investments will go to women and young people, who face obstacles when trying to start businesses, says Obama.
“If half of your team is not playing, you’ve got a problem,” Obama told the conference, ostensibly referring to women who face gender oppression in Kenya.
Yet the major thrust of U.S. policy in Kenya, Somalia and other East African states has been militaristic along with extracting minerals, exploiting labor and exporting commodities from the these countries. The current crisis in Somalia is a direct result of failed U.S. policy during both the former Bush administration and the present government.
In an article published last year in Somalia Current it says that “what is currently taking place across the Somalia-Kenya offshore border where Kenya recently awarded six oil and gas blocks to the international oil companies (IOC), within Somali offshore territory approximately 120,000 km2. Italy, Norway, the USA and France are tended to be exploiting the trans-boundary area. It was apparent that those greedy alliances’ aim is to plunder Somalia’s offshore hydrocarbon resources and this has become more obvious since Kenya started invading southern Somalia in October 2011 while its allies such as France, Italy and Norway kept quiet about the invasion.” (Sept. 23, 2014)
Failed Imperialist Counter-terrorism Strategy
The counter-terrorism strategy of Washington through AFRICOM has still not stabilized the political situation in Somalia or Kenya. On July 26, the same day that Obama arrived in the neighboring Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, a car bomb exploded outside the Jazeera Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia killing 13 people, at least one of whom was a Chinese national.
In December of 2006, under the previous administration of President George W. Bush, the U.S. encouraged the Ethiopian government to invade Somalia in order to overturn the growing influence of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU). After a two-and-a-half year occupation, the Al-Shabaab guerrilla movement emerged from the ICU and continued a war of insurgency against the U.S. and European Union (EU) supported regime in Mogadishu.
At present some 22,000 troops from the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) are still occupying the Horn of Africa state. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Pentagon regularly conducts drone strikes in Somalia where they have bases of operation.
Ethiopian Post-Revolution Role
The 1974 Ethiopian Revolution and its socialist orientation were overthrown in 1991 just several months prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Under Gorbachev, support for national liberation movements and national democratic revolutionary governments in Africa was withdrawn creating a crisis throughout the international community.
The post-revolution government in Addis Ababa has been closely aligned with the U.S. and other western states. Ethiopian troops although withdrawn in early 2009 after defeats in Somalia, have re-entered the country.
The presence of both the KDF and Ethiopian troops are a cause for concern even within the Somalia Federal Government that is recognized by Washington and Wall Street.
Obama also addressed the security and political crisis in the newly-independent Republic of South Sudan. This state is a result of a western-supported secessionist movement which resulted in the partition of the Republic of Sudan based in Khartoum, which previously was the largest geographic nation-state in Africa.
South Sudan leaders have been split since December 2013 over the future course of the country. President Salva Kiir and former Vice-President Reik Machar have led separate factions within the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLA/M) resulting in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people and the deaths of several thousand in a civil war in the continent’s and the world’s most recent United Nations and African Union recognized state.
In a joint statement issued by Obama with Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, it says that “We have agreed to intensify the campaign against terrorism in the region, and we both noted with satisfaction the progress AMISOM forces and Somali National Army are making, with the support of the U.S. and other partners, in their fight against al-Shabaab.”
This same statement continues stressing “We have agreed to deepen our intelligence cooperation both bilaterally as well as regionally. We have both noted and underscored that this cooperation is essential to curb the menace posed by terrorism. The terrorist attack that was launched in Mogadishu yesterday is a stark reminder that we need to work even more in this respect.” (White House Press Release, July 27)
Obama was scheduled to address the AU Commission based in Addis Ababa on July 28.
Nonetheless, there were no plans to meet with President Robert Mugabe of the Republic of Zimbabwe who is the sitting chair of the continental body. Instead he will likely meet with Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the AU Commission Chairperson, who is originally from the Republic of South Africa.
Such a situation of not meeting with a head-of-state that leads the continental body is reflective of the character of U.S. imperialism even under Obama. Zimbabwe is not a favored state by Washington particularly since the land reform program of 2000 which redistributed white-owned farms to Africans who were expropriated during the colonial wars of the late 19th century.
The Constitution – or, rather, limitations that the Constitution places on government – doesn’t matter much these days to many of our elected officials. Indeed, many have often speculated that if our founding fathers were somehow able to step into modern America, the technology would blow them away, of course, but they would not recognize our governing system.
California’s recent law mandating that all children have to be vaccinated in order to attend public and private schools in the state is a case in point: This Stalin-like “solution” to a non-existent problem – a rampant threat to public health from non-vaccinated kids – turned parental rights on its head.
Now, however, one state lawmaker says he isn’t prepared to let what he views as a major constitutional usurpation go unchallenged. Democratic Rep. Mike Gatto, a constitutional and appellate lawyer by trade, has hinted he may seek to get the law overturned.
‘Such intimate decisions are not for government to make’
In a recent USA Today column, he wrote:
I swore an oath to uphold the U.S. and California constitutions. Sometimes, that means voting against “responsible” bills that nevertheless represent government overreach. California’s broad new mandate, that a child cannot attend school unless vaccinated for 10 conditions and “any other disease deemed appropriate,” was such an occasion.
The legislation affects four fundamental rights: to parent one’s children; to refuse medical treatment; to practice one’s religion (for those whose creed genuinely eschews medicine); and to attend school (a unique right recognized in California).
Gatto went on to note that even if the state government does have a compelling interest in slowing the spread of disease, lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown cannot infringe on constitutional and civil liberties with overly broad laws, especially if less-restrictive means of achieving the compelling interest are available.
“Consider the following examples. There are 1.2 million Americans with HIV and 178 this year with the measles. Just as vaccines slow or halt the spread of measles, prophylactics slow or halt HIV,” he notes. “But could the government mandate that everyone use condoms to stop the spread of HIV? Of course not. Such intimate decisions are not for government to make.”
He also wrote that about 56,000 Americans die annually from the flu or from pneumonia. If one were to prohibit the travel and assembly of anyone who was suspected of suffering from either of these conditions, that would go a long way towards curbing the spread of each illness and thus, save lives.
However, the right to assemble and travel freely around the country are bedrock liberties in the U.S., guaranteed by the Constitution, and governments could not deny them to people on the basis of having the flu.
Gatto said scholarly writings have noted that court rulings permitting mandatory vaccinations are narrow, outdated and originate from a line of precedent that also gave government power to sterilize anyone it deemed genetically unfit.
Proponents of mandatory vaccinations say that supporters of parental rights/vaccine choice ought to “trust scientists.” And while Gatto says he does, he also notes that vaccination proponents “would be wise to trust constitutional lawyers.”
“A law mandating vaccinating kindergarteners for an STD, shots for tetanus (not communicable) and ‘any other’ vaccines that some bureaucrat chooses — or a child loses the right to education — is too broad to be constitutional,” he asserted.
No wonder our elected leaders have tanking approval ratings
It wasn’t clear from his op-ed whether Gatto planned to file a legal challenge to the law, but the fact that he has bucked his own political party over fundamental constitutional issues is refreshing.
Nothing like a little authoritarianism to throw our founding fathers through a loop – if they ever make it back to the future.
The good news is, in poll after poll, Americans are showing their displeasure with their elected leaders. Trust has evaporated, and institutions like Congress and the Supreme Court have seen their approval ratings plunge to record depths. Perhaps at some point the anger will manifest itself in a political revolution that spells the end to career politics and disproportionate influence from special interests like Big Pharma.
Smoke and fire from an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City in July 2014. (Hatem Moussa / AP )
The Palestinians are poor. They are powerless. They have no voice or influence in the halls of power. They are demonized. They do not have well-heeled lobbyists doling out campaign contributions and pushing through pro-Palestinian legislation. No presidential candidate is appealing to donors—as Hillary Clinton did when she sent a letter tomedia mogul Haim Saban denouncing critics of Israel—by promising to advance the interests of the Palestinian people. Palestinians, like poor people of color in the United States, are expendable.
Justice for Palestine will never come from the traditional governmental institutions or political parties that administer power. These institutions have surrendered to moneyed interests. Justice will come only from us. And the sole mechanism left to ensure justice for Palestine is the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Sanctions brought down the apartheid regime of South Africa. And they are what will bring down the apartheid regime of Israel. BDS is nonviolent. It appeals to conscience. And it works.
All Israeli products including Jaffa citrus fruits, Ahava cosmetics, SodaStream drink machines, Eden Springs bottled water and Israeli wine must be boycotted. We must refuse to do business with Israeli service companies. And we must boycott corporations that do business with Israel, including Caterpillar, HP and Hyundai. We must put pressure on institutions, from churches to universities, to divest from Israeli companies and corporations that have contracts with Israel. The struggle against apartheid in South Africa was long and hard. This struggle will be too.
Gaza, a year after Israel carried out a devastating bombing campaign that lasted almost two months, is in ruins. Most of the water is unsafe to drink. There are power outages for up to 12 hours a day. Forty percent of the 1.8 million inhabitants are unemployed, including 67 percent of the youths—the highest youth unemployment rate in the world. Of the 17,000 homes destroyed by Israel in the siege, not one has been rebuilt. Sixty thousand people remain homeless. Only a quarter of the promised $3.5 billion in aid from international donors has been delivered—much of it diverted to the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli puppet regime that governs the West Bank. And no one in Washington—Republican or Democrat—will defy the Israel lobby. No one will call for justice or stay the Israeli killing machine. U.S. senators, including Bernie Sanders, at the height of the Israeli bombardment last summer voted unanimously to defend the Israeli slaughter of a people with no army, navy, air force, mechanized units, artillery or command and control. It was a vote worthy of the old Soviet Union. Every senator held out his or her tin cup to the Israel lobby and chose naked self-interest over justice.
Israel, like the United States, is poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It too is governed by a corrupt oligarchic elite for whom war has become a lucrative business. It too has deluded itself into carrying out war crimes and then playing the role of the victim. Israeli systems of education and the press—again mirrored in the United States—have indoctrinated Israelis into believing that they have a right to kill anyone whom the state condemns as a terrorist. And Israel’s most courageous human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists are slandered and censored in their own country, just as American critics such as Norman Finkelstein, Max Blumenthal andNoam Chomsky are in the United States.
Those who become addicted to the wielding of the instruments of war, blinded by hubris and a lust for power, eventually become war’s victims. This is as true for Israel as for the United States.
Israel’s goal is to make life a living hell for all Palestinians, ethnically cleansing as many as it can and subduing those who remain. The peace process is a sham. It has led to Israel’s seizure of more than half the land on the West Bank, including the aquifers, and the herding of Palestinians into squalid, ringed ghettos or Bantustans while turning Palestinian land and homes over to Jewish settlers. Israel is expanding settlements, especially in East Jerusalem. Racial laws, once championed by the right-wing demagogue Meir Kahane, openly discriminate against Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.Ilan Pappe calls the decades-long assault against the Palestinian people “incremental genocide.”
In Gaza, Israel practices an even more extreme form of cruelty. It employs a mathematical formula to limit outside food deliveries to Gaza to keep the caloric levels of the 1.8 million Palestinians just above starvation. This has left 80 percent of the Palestinians in Gaza dependent on Islamic charities and outside aid to survive. And the periodic military assaults on Gaza, euphemistically called “mowing the lawn,” are carried out every few years to ensure that the Palestinians remain broken, terrified and destitute. There have been three Israeli attacks on Gaza since 2008. Each is more violent and indiscriminate than the last. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that a fourth attack on Gaza is “inevitable.”
During its 51-day siege of Gaza last summer Israel dropped $370 million in ordinance on concrete hovels and refugee camps that hold the most densely packed population on the planet. Two thousand one hundred four Palestinians were killed. Sixty-nine percent—1,462—were civilians. Four hundred ninety-five were children. Ten thousand were injured. (During the attack six Israeli civilians and 66 soldiers were killed.) Four hundred Palestinian businesses were wiped out. Seventy mosques were destroyed and 130 were damaged. Twenty-four medical facilities were bombed, and 16 ambulances were struck, as was Gaza’s only electrical power plant. Israel tallied it up: 390,000 tank shells, 34,000 artillery shells, 4.8 million bullets. Most of the civilians who died were killed in their homes, many of the victims torn to shreds by flechette darts sprayed from tanks. Children were burned with white phosphorous or buried with their families under rubble caused by 2,000-pound iron fragmentation bombs. Others died fromdense inert metal explosive, or DIME, bombs—experimental weapons that send out extremely small, carcinogenic particles that cut through both soft tissue and bone. The Israel Defense Forces, as Amira Hass has reported, consider any Palestinian over the age of 12 to be a legitimate military target. Max Blumenthal’s new book, “The 51 Day War,” is a chilling chronicle of savage atrocities carried out by Israel in Gaza last summer. As horrible as the apartheid state in South Africa was, that nation never used its air force and heavy artillery to bomb and shell black townships.
A report by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) found Israel killed and injured more civilians with explosive weapons in 2014 than any other country in the world. Hamas’ indiscriminate firing of wildly inaccurate missiles—Finkelstein correctly called them “enhanced fireworks”—into Israel was, as a U.N. report recently charged, a war crime, although the report failed to note that under international law Hamas had a right to use force to defend itself from attack.
The disparity of firepower in the 2014 conflict was vast: Israel dropped 20,000 tons of explosives on Gaza while Hamas used 20 to 40 tons of explosives to retaliate. Israel’s wholesale slaughter of civilians is on a scale equaled only by Islamic State and Boko Haram. Yet Israel, in our world of double standards, is exempted from condemnation in Washington and provided with weapons and billions in U.S. foreign aid to perpetuate the killing. This is not surprising. The United States uses indiscriminate deadly force in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia that outdoes even Israel, leaving behind civilian victims, refugees and destroyed cities and villages in huge numbers.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who during his last election campaign received 90 percent of his money from U.S. oligarchs such asSheldon Adelson, has internally mounted a campaign of state repression against human rights advocates, journalists and dissidents. He has stoked overt racism toward Palestinians and Arabs and the African migrant workers who live in the slums of Tel Aviv. “Death to Arabs” is a popular chant at Israeli soccer matches. Thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu routinely beat up dissidents, Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and African immigrants in the streets of Tel Aviv. It is a species of Jewish fascism.
Israel is not an anomaly. It is a window into the dystopian, militarized world that is being prepared for all of us, a world with vast disparities of income and draconian systems of internal security. There will be no freedom for Palestine, or for those locked in our own internal colonies and terrorized by indiscriminate police violence, until we destroy corporate capitalism and the neoliberal ideology that sustains it. There will be no justice for Michael Brown until there is justice for Mohammed Abu Khdeir. The fight for the Palestinians is our fight. If the Palestinians are not liberated none of us will be liberated. We cannot pick and choose which of the oppressed are convenient or inconvenient to defend. We will stand with all of the oppressed or none of the oppressed. And when we stand with the oppressed we will be treated like the oppressed.
Economist Joseph Stiglitzsays Troika demands for more bailout funds “make no sense either for Greece or its creditors.” The so-called “third memorandum” will devastate economic and financial conditions more than already.
The entire scheme is misguided, Stiglitz explains. Structural adjustment programs loot countries instead of helping them – “turning downturns into recessions, recessions into depressions,” wherever they’re imposed, says Stiglitz.
Greece’s future includes increasingly unrepayable debt peonage, greater unemployment and poverty with diminishing resources for vital public services.
“Austerity is largely to blame for Greece’s current depression” – deepening as more demands are imposed. Conditions are “like a 19th century debtors’ prison, Stiglitz stresses. “Just as imprisoned debtors could not make the income to repay, the deepening depression in Greece will make it less and less able to repay.”
Troika mandated demands won’t work. Greece’s third bailout will fail like both previous ones. Expect “depression without end, unacceptable levels of unemployment (and poverty, as well as) ever growing inequality,” Stiglitz maintains.
Instead of helping Greece recover through economically sound policies, Troika bandits will keep “(b)lam(ing) the victim” like they always do.
Things are so bad Athens zoo animals may starve. On the one hand, scarce resources can’t provide for human needs.
On the other, capital controls impede supplying imported dietary supplements (not available domestically) for about 2,200 animals.
Attica Zoological Park founder Jean-Jacques Lesueur says lives of dolphins, seals, penguins and numerous other species are “endangered.” With capital controls in place prohibiting money transfers into or out of the country, suppliers demand full pre-payment before filling orders.
“From the first moment of capital controls, our three main suppliers informed us that every food shipment has to be fully paid in advance. We only have two weeks to receive a big fish shipment,” Lesueur explained.
France, Germany and the Netherlands are Greece’s main suppliers of specialized food items not found domestically – including beta carotene-rich pellets, fish and worms essential to feed flamingos.
Attica Zoological Park is Athens only zoo – home to more than 340 species, mostly birds. Normally it attracts many thousands of visitors annually. Crisis conditions exacerbated by capital controls took its toll on attendance – besides increasing human suffering nationwide to pay bankers and other large creditors ahead of all other obligations.
Since the newly released video of Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia detaining then arresting Sandra Bland, it has become clear that the entire arrest was itself illegal. But watching and listening to the video is one thing. When you see it all laid out in black and white, it becomes impossible to justify the hard copy language used by the officer. It is clear that he gave illegal commands and made a false arrest. If that arrest had never happened – as it should not have – Sandra Bland would be alive still today.
The African American civil rights and police accountability activist had simply asserted her rights, when the trooper gave her unlawful orders, which were only permissible if phrased (and accepted) as requests.
Now, since that death, the video footage of the dashcam stop has come under increasing scrutiny. But long before it was judged in the court of public opinion, traffic stops just like the one in question were ruled on by the Supreme Court of the United States.
In the case of Rodriguez v. United States it was determined that police were not allowed to extend the length of a routine traffic stop. That ruling effected lengths of even a few minutes, unless there was a clearly demonstrable safety concern or an additional crime that had been committed in the course of the stop.
But what is clear now, from the video, is that there was no other crime, nor a safety concern. The officer was acting in violation of the law, as defined by the Supreme Court.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg broke it down like this, saying that “the tolerable duration of police inquiries in the traffic-stop context is determined by the seizure’s ‘mission’ — to address the traffic violation that warranted the stop, and attend to related safety concerns.” A police stop may last no longer than is necessary to effectuate that purpose. Authority for the seizure thus ends when tasks tied to the traffic infraction are — or reasonably should have been — completed.”
Encinia was clearly completing the traffic stop when he escalated things because of Bland’s refusal to put out her cigarette. He later even indicates in the video that she had been “trying to sign the fucking ticket” when things got ugly.
That means his extension of the stop past that point – when there was no safety concern, nor any criminal offense that had been committed during the stop at that point – constituted illegal detention and a subsequent false arrest.
Trooper Encinia broke the law and he is not being held accountable for it.
The fact is that a lit cigarette has no jurisprudence precedence in being regarded as a “safety threat” to police officers. He had no grounds to tell her to put it out, nor did he even phrase his request as a command.
Encinia, in fact, neglected to even mention the cigarette in his official incident report. He also failed to mention his threats or the fact that he pulled and aimed his Taser at Bland over this illegal command.
It is clear from the video that the Supreme Court ruling is directly relevant to this case. Trooper Encinia made a false arrest, and in this case, he is not exempted by qualified immunity. He can and should be held accountable and punished for the false arrest.
The following exchange was transcribed thanks to the Huffington Post’s Matt Ramos and Dhyana Taylor. It shows what happens in the dashcam video, as Encinia quickly drives up on Bland. Seeing it all in print seems to highlight just how illegal the trooper’s actions were.
State Trooper Brian Encinia: Hello ma’am. We’re the Texas Highway Patrol and the reason for your stop is because you failed to signal the lane change. Do you have your driver’s license and registration with you? What’s wrong? How long have you been in Texas?
Sandra Bland: Got here just today.
Encinia: OK. Do you have a driver’s license? (Pause) OK, where you headed to now? Give me a few minutes.
(Encinia returns to his car for several minutes, then approaches Bland again.)
Encinia: OK, ma’am. (Pause.) You OK?
Bland: I’m waiting on you. This is your job. I’m waiting on you. When’re you going to let me go?
Encinia: I don’t know, you seem very really irritated.
Bland: I am. I really am. I feel like it’s crap what I’m getting a ticket for. I was getting out of your way. You were speeding up, tailing me, so I move over and you stop me. So yeah, I am a little irritated, but that doesn’t stop you from giving me a ticket, so [inaudible] ticket.
Encinia: Are you done?
Bland: You asked me what was wrong, now I told you.
Bland: So now I’m done, yeah.
Encinia: You mind putting out your cigarette, please? If you don’t mind?
Bland: I’m in my car, why do I have to put out my cigarette?
Encinia: Well you can step on out now.
Bland: I don’t have to step out of my car.
Encinia: Step out of the car.
Bland: Why am I …
Encinia: Step out of the car!
Bland: No, you don’t have the right. No, you don’t have the right.
Encinia: Step out of the car.
Bland: You do nothave the right. You do not have the right to do this.
Encinia: I do have the right, now step out or I will remove you.
Bland: I refuse to talk to you other than to identify myself. [crosstalk] I am getting removed for a failure to signal?
Encinia: Step out or I will remove you. I’m giving you a lawful order.
Get out of the car now or I’m going to remove you.
Bland: And I’m calling my lawyer.
Encinia: I’m going to yank you out of here. (Reaches inside the car.)
Bland: OK, you’re going to yank me out of my car? OK, alright.
Encinia (calling in backup): 2547.
Bland: Let’s do this.
Encinia: Yeah, we’re going to. (Grabs for Bland.)
Bland: Don’t touch me!
Encinia: Get out of the car!
Bland: Don’t touch me. Don’t touch me! I’m not under arrest — you don’t have the right to take me out of the car.
Encinia: You are under arrest!
Bland: I’m under arrest? For what? For what? For what?
Encinia (to dispatch): 2547 county fm 1098 (inaudible) send me another unit. (To Bland) Get out of the car! Get out of the car now!
Bland: Why am I being apprehended? You’re trying to give me a ticket for failure …
Encinia: I said get out of the car!
Bland: Why am I being apprehended? You just opened my —
Encinia: I‘m giving you a lawful order. I’m going to drag you out of here.
Bland: So you’re threatening to drag me out of my own car?
Encinia: Get out of the car!
Bland: And then you’re going to [crosstalk] me?
Encinia: I will light you up! Get out! Now! (Draws stun gun and points it at Bland.)
Bland: Wow. Wow. (Bland exits car.)
Encinia: Get out. Now. Get out of the car!
Bland: For a failure to signal? You’re doing all of this for a failure to signal?
Encinia: Get over there.
Bland: Right. yeah, lets take this to court, let’s do this.
Encinia: Go ahead.
Bland: For a failure to signal? Yup, for a failure to signal!
Encinia: Get off the phone!
Encinia: Get off the phone! Put your phone down!
Bland: I’m not on the phone. I have a right to record. This is my property. Sir?
Encinia: Put your phone down right now. Put your phone down!
(Bland slams phone down on her trunk.)
Bland: For a fucking failure to signal. My goodness. Y’all are interesting. Very interesting.
Encinia: Come over here. Come over here now.
Bland: You feelin’ good about yourself?
Encinia: Stand right here. Stand right there.
Bland: You feelin’ good about yourself? For a failure to signal? You feel real good about yourself don’t you? You feel good about yourself don’t you?
Encinia: Turn around. Turn around. Turn around now. Put your hands behind your back.
Bland: Why am I being arrested?
Encinia: Turn around …
Bland: Why can’t you …
Encinia: I’m giving you a lawful order. I will tell you.
Bland: Why am I being arrested?
Encinia: Turn around!
Bland: Why won’t you tell me that part?
Encinia: I’m giving you a lawful order. Turn around …
Bland: Why will you not tell me what’s going on?
Encinia: You are not complying.
Bland: I’m not complying ’cause you just pulled me out of my car.
Encinia: Turn around.
Bland: Are you fucking kidding me? This is some bull…
Encinia: Put your hands behind your back.
Bland: ‘Cause you know this straight bullshit. And you’re full of shit. Full of straight shit. That’s all y’all are is some straight scared cops. South Carolina got y’all bitch asses scared. That’s all it is. Fucking scared of a female.
Encinia: If you would’ve just listened.
Bland: I was trying to sign the fucking ticket — whatever.
Encinia: Stop moving!
Bland: Are you fucking serious?
Encinia: Stop moving!
Bland: Oh I can’t wait ’til we go to court. Ooh I can’t wait. I cannot wait ’til we go to court. I can’t wait. Oh I can’t wait! You want me to sit down now?
Bland: Or are you going to throw me to the floor? That would make you feel better about yourself?
Encinia: Knock it off!
Bland: Nah that would make you feel better about yourself. That would make you feel real good wouldn’t it? Pussy ass. Fucking pussy. For a failure to signal you’re doing all of this. In little ass Praire View, Texas. My God they must have …
Encinia: You were getting a warning, until now you’re going to jail.
Bland: I’m getting a — for what? For what?
Encinia: You can come read.
Bland: I’m getting a warning for what? For what!?
Encinia: Stay right here.
Bland: Well you just pointed me over there! Get your mind right.
Encinia: I said stay over here. Stay over here.
Bland: Ooh I swear on my life, y’all are some pussies. A pussy-ass cop, for a fucking signal you’re gonna take me to jail.
Encinia (to dispatch, or an officer arriving on scene): I got her in control she’s in some handcuffs.
Bland: For a fucking ticket. What a pussy. What a pussy. You’re about to break my fucking wrist!
Encinia: Stop moving.
Bland: I’m standing still! You keep moving me, goddammit.
Encinia: Stay right here. Stand right there.
Bland: Don’t touch me. Fucking pussy — for a traffic ticket (inaudible).
Encinia: Come read right over here. This right here says ‘a warning.’ You started creating the problems.
Bland: You asked me what was wrong!
Encinia: Do you have anything on your person that’s illegal?
Bland: Do I feel like I have anything on me? This a fucking maxi dress.
Encinia: I’m going to remove your glasses.
Bland: This a maxi dress. (Inaudible) Fucking assholes.
Encinia: Come over here.
Bland: You about to break my wrist. Can you stop? You’re about to fucking break my wrist! Stop!!!
Encinia: Stop now! Stop it! If you would stop resisting.
Female officer: Stop resisting ma’am.
Bland: (cries) For a fucking traffic ticket, you are such a pussy. You are such a pussy.
Female officer: No, you are. You should not be fighting.
Encinia: Get on the ground!
Bland: For a traffic signal!
Encinia: You are yanking around, when you pull away from me, you’re resisting arrest.
Bland: Don’t it make you feel real good don’t it? A female for a traffic ticket. Don’t it make you feel good Officer Encinia? You’re a real man now. You just slammed me, knocked my head into the ground. I got epilepsy, you motherfucker.
Encinia: Good. Good.
Bland: Good? Good?
Female officer: You should have thought about it before you started resisting.
Bland: Make you feel real good for a female. Y’all strong, y’all real strong.
Encinia: I want you to wait right here.
Bland: I can’t go anywhere with your fucking knee in my back, duh!
Encinia: (to bystander): You need to leave! You need to leave!
(Bland continues screaming, but much of it is inaudible)
Encinia: For a warning you’re going to jail.
Bland: Whatever, whatever.
Encinia: You’re going to jail for resisting arrest. Stand up.
Bland: If I could, I can’t.
Encinia: OK, roll over.
Bland: I can’t even fucking feel my arms.
Encinia: Tuck your knee in, tuck your knee in.
Bland: (Crying): Goddamn. I can’t [muffled].
Encinia: Listen, listen. You’re going to sit up on your butt.
Bland: You just slammed my head into the ground and you do not even care …
Encinia: Sit up on your butt.
Female officer: Listen to how he is telling you to get up.
Bland: I can’t even hear.
Female officer: Yes you can.
Encinia: Sit up on your butt.
Bland: He slammed my fucking head into the ground.
Encinia: Sit up on your butt.
Bland: What the hell.
Encinia: Now stand up.
Bland: All of this for a traffic signal. I swear to God. All of this for a traffic signal. (To bystander.) Thank you for recording! Thank you! For a traffic signal — slam me into the ground and everything! Everything! I hope y’all feel good.
Encinia: This officer saw everything.
Female officer: I saw everything.
Bland: And (muffled) No you didn’t. You didn’t see everything leading up to it …
Female officer: I’m not talking to you.
Bland: You don’t have to.
Encinia: 2547 county. Send me a first-available, for arrest.
Female officer: You okay? You should have Tess check your hand.
Encinia: Yeah, I’m good.
Encinia: She started yanking away and then she kicked me, so I took her straight to the ground.
Female officer: And there you got it right there… I’ll search it for you if you want.
Female officer: Yeah.
Second male: I know one thing for sure, it’s on video.
Female officer: Yeah.
Second male: You hurt?
Encinia (to female officer): Did you see her when we were right here?
Female officer: Yeah, I saw her cause that’s where I (inaudible).
Encinia: This is when she pulled with the cuffs.
Paramedic: Your ring got you there?
Encinia: I had the chain, well, not the chain, but
Paramedic: You got the two loops?
Encinia: She didn’t kick me too hard but she still kicked me though.
Paramedic: Not through the skin, but you got a nice scratch. I’m a paramedic, that’s why I know.
Encinia: I know that, that’s why I made you look.
Paramedic: Did she do that?
Encinia: Yeah that’s her.
Paramedic: Yeah that’s cut through the skin.
Encinia: I wrapped it around her head and got her down.
Encinia (on radio): This is a traffic stop, had a little bit of a incident.
(Silence for several minutes.)
Encinia (apparently to a supervisor): I tried to de-escalate her. It wasn’t getting anywhere, at all. I mean I tried to put the Taser away. I tried talking to her and calming her down, and that was not working.
Well, I know, that was when she was in custody, and now I tried to get her detained and get her to just calm down and just calm down. Stop throwing her arms. You know what? She never swung at me, just flailing and stomping around. I said alright that’s enough, and that’s when I detained her.
There was something going on and she started kicking and kicking.
Yeah, and once I got her in the back of the car, that’s why I’m calling you now, because …
No, we were in the middle of a traffic stop and the traffic stop was not completed. I was just trying to get her out, over to the side and just explain to her what was going on because I couldn’t even get her to do what I was telling her. She just started going this is an mf, and you give mf for a ticket and lane change, she just started going.
I just stepped back from the car and was like are you done ma’am? I need to tell you why and what I’m giving you and she just kept on going.
I mean, I don’t have serious bodily injury (laughing) but I was kicked.
Assault is if a person commits an offense of intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another or you intentionally threaten another with bodily injury.
She’s in the back of the car right now. She requested EMS. She said, she said I threw her down intentionally, for nothing. No, I put you down because you kicked me. You were fighting back. I kept telling her to calm down, calm down.
Evading arrest or detention. (Inaudible). Resisting arrest … She was detained. That’s the key and that’s why I am calling and asking because she was detained. That’s when I was walking her over to the car, just to calm her down and just to (say) stop.
That’s when she started kicking. I don’t know if it would be resist or if it would be assault. I kinda lean toward assault versus resist because I mean technically, she’s under arrest when a traffic stop is initiated, as a lawful stop. You’re not free to go. I didn’t say you’re under arrest, I never said, you know, stop, hands up.
Correct, that did not occur. There was just the assault part.
Like I said, after I got her all her situated and buttoned up as far as getting her in a safe vehicle, under arrest, that’s why I’m calling you.
She just moved here, according to her, yesterday, she’s from Illinois.
She gave me her driver’s license. I came back to the car and started running her stuff. Print it out. Coming to get back to the car to complete and tell her what’s she receiving and what to do and so forth.
At that time, she’s still very much irritated and so forth. I’m pulling her over for she didn’t turn on her signal and so forth and so forth.
She wouldn’t even look at me. She’s looking straight ahead, just mad.
I’m at the driver’s side, I need to get her out of the car and over to the side of the car, you know, on the sidewalk, because I don’t want to be in the middle of the road while we’re arguing — or whatever, not arguing, I’m trying to tell her what she’s doing but she’s arguing with me.
That’s the only thing, I mean it too. When I had her down on the ground and the other officer came, I told her stop resisting and that’s when I told her you’re under arrest. At least I don’t think I did.
Yes, she kicked me, she started yanking away and trying to get away. And that’s when I grabbed her arm, she’s in front of me still. I controlled, I grabbed her by the shoulders and I brought her down into the grass away from the pavement.
Like I said, with something like this, I just call you immediately, after I get to a safe stopping point.
No weapons, she’s in handcuffs. You know, I took the lesser of the uhh … I only took enough force as I — seemed necessary. I even de-escalated once we were on the pavement, you know on the sidewalk. So I allowed time, I’m not saying I just threw her to the ground. I allowed time to de-escalate and so forth. It just kept getting. (laughing) Right, I’m just making that clear.
I got some cuts on my hand, I guess that is an injury, but I don’t need medical attention. I got three little circles from I guess the handcuffs when she was twisting away from me.
Over a simple traffic stop. Yeah, I don’t get it. I really don’t.
Why act like that, I don’t know.
Another officer to Bland: Okay ma’am, you’re under arrest. You’re going to be transported to the Waller County Jail, OK? Alright.
Officer to officer: Alright brother, appreciate it.
(Article by Jackson Marciana and Shante Wooten; intro by Reagan Ali and M. David as well; image via #Op309 Media, as usual; h/t to Huffington Post for the transcription of the video)
Image: Kenneth Kabaka Reynolds President of the Metro Detroit Cab Drivers Association at rally on July 21, 2015.
Shop owners, taxi drivers protest against real estate magnates, unlicensed drivers
A rally and march in Hart Plaza and at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center (City Hall) on July 21 exposed the false narrative emanating from the corporate media saying that Detroit is being revitalized. The city emerged from a contrived financial emergency and forced bankruptcy late in 2014 with billions stolen from pensioners and residents who witnessed public assets taken over by private interests under the guise of cost-cutting. Over 60,000 households are still facing property tax foreclosures while hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies are being awarded to billionaires such as banker Dan Gilbert and stadium owner Mike Illitch.
Despite the propaganda advanced by the daily newspapers and television stations, the majority African American population has not witnessed any semblance of an economic revival since the Great Recession which began in late 2007. Well over 100,000 bank foreclosures were carried out against the working class city while the politicians did nothing to protect the interests of their constituents.
Detroit rally against ethnic cleansing on July 21, 2015 at City Hall
Even small African American shop owners are being driven out of the downtown and Midtown areas. Taxi drivers are now forced to compete with Uber Technologies, Inc., a transportation service which has generated controversy and protest internationally.
On July 21, both the shop and restaurant owners rallied beginning with a caravan from Eastern Market to Hart Plaza. Bert’s Market Place, a Jazz club and restaurant, owned by an African American Bert Dearing, has been a threatened with closure.
Dearing had owned the location but lost it to foreclosure after a lengthy illness. The property was listed on auction.com with a starting price of $700,000 and Dearing says he has until 2017 to resolve the issue or move.
Bert’s has been a mainstay for people in the downtown area and throughout the city. Dearing opened his doors for a fundraiser in support of people’s attorney Vanessa Fluker in 2011 after she had been fined by a local Wayne County judge in her militant efforts to save a family’s home through appealing an unjust decision that had racial implications.
Other small business people were also present at the demonstration who discussed familiar scenarios. Owners of building have sold to other interests that want the African Americans and their constituents out.
Taxi Drivers Join Demonstration
In addition to the shop owners and their supporters, the Metro Detroit Cab Drivers Association were also present protesting against the growing influence of Uber services which they say puts the local drivers at a disadvantage. Taxi cabs have to undergo expensive inspections, as well as pay excessive fees for insurance and bond plates.
These costs are compounded with the potential for random stops by the police who often ticket drivers for various spurious violations such as not having an updated log of trips.
Kenneth Kabaka Reynolds, the president of the Cab Drivers Association said of Uber that “”They are illegal in the state of Michigan and they’re operating with impunity.”
Reynolds, a longtime activist and professional photographer, said if Uber is to continue operating in Detroit, city officials should regulate it like the traditional taxi cab industry. “And if you’re not going to regulate Uber, deregulate the taxi cab industry.”
During the rally a statement of solidarity was delivered by Cecily McClellan, a leader in the Detroit Active and Retirees Association (DAREA). This organization was formed in the aftermath of the pension and healthcare cuts imposed by Judge Steven Rhodes who presided over the bankruptcy.
DAREA’s leaders were the most vocal opponents of the bankruptcy during the proceedings during 2013-2014. At present they have filed an appeal in federal court to overturn the attacks carried out against municipal retirees.
After the demonstrators marched from Hart Plaza on the Detroit River to City Hall for another rally, dozens of taxi vehicles began to circle the building honking their horns in an act of defiance. Later the rally participants marched around the building chanting slogans against current city policies under the administration Mike Duggan, the first corporate-imposed white mayor in forty years.
Calls for Solidarity Evoking Ferguson and Baltimore
The Moratorium NOW! Coalition participated in the demonstration and addressed the crowd and encouraged them to endorse the upcoming People’s Assembly and Speak Out scheduled for Grand Circus Park downtown on Aug. 29. Moratorium NOW! Coalition reminded the crowd that African Americans still constituted the overwhelming majority of the population of Detroit and that the people of Ferguson and Baltimore had spoken to the concrete conditions prevailing in urban areas and pointed to a way forward.
If African Americans are being ignored by the city administration then the streets must be filled with angry people who are committed to reversing the business as usual atmosphere in the downtown area, the activists concluded. Despite the claims of an economic boom downtown and in Midtown, many businesses are still closing, even those not owned by African Americans.
One major problem is the construction along Woodward Avenue, the main thoroughfare in the city, where the M-1 rail line is being put down. With the disruptions along the street from downtown to the New Center area, there is no parking on the street along Woodward.
Moreover, the poverty and jobless rate among the people who live in the city is hovering near 50 percent. There are no plans for the implementation of a jobs program locally or nationally and consequently hundreds of thousands will remain on the margins of the working class.
The People’s Assembly and Speak Out scheduled for Aug. 29 is being held under the theme, “Rally For Our Future: Stop the War on Detroit! The leaflets being circulated in the city say that “From Greece to Puerto Rico to Spain and Across the United States workers are fighting back against the austerity being imposed by the banks and financial institutions.”
A list of grievances and demands on the leaflet publicizing the event calls for the stopping of police killings and brutality and the jailing of killer cops. In addition other issues to be address includes the need for at least a $15 an hour minimum wage; health care for all and single payer now; the halting of tax and mortgage foreclosures along with a demand that the Hardest Hit Homeowners funds be released to keep people in their residences in Detroit and Wayne County.
This demonstration will emphasize the need for a moratorium on water shut-offs and to stop the ongoing attempts to privatize the Detroit Water & Sewage Department (DWSD), which is undergoing a regionalization process as the Great Lakes Regional Water Authority. The Moratorium NOW! Coalition along with DAREA is supporting a petition drive to force a vote on the regionalization of the water services.
On July 21, the same day that the demonstration was held at City Hall, the Detroit City Council in a 5-4 vote, approved a 7.5 percent water rate increase. These actions prompted by the state- run Detroit Financial Oversight Committee, which really runs the city in the post-bankruptcy and emergency management period. These policies will force more people into poverty risking their water services being terminated.
The Moratorium NOW! Coalition is asking other organizations locally, nationally and internationally to endorse the Aug. 29 rally and demonstration. Anyone interested in supporting the initiative should contact the organization at moratorium-mi.org or call 313-680- 5508.
Yemen is Obama’s war – planned months before conflict began, using Saudi and other regional rogue state partners as proxies, wanting Yemen returned to US client state status at the expense of thousands of mostly civilian deaths so far (many more than officially reported) and unprecedented human suffering, according to the ICRC.
It issued a press release expressing alarm over intensified conflict, saying:
“The suffering of the civilian population has reached unprecedented levels. More than 100 days into the crisis, severe shortages of water, food and fuel continue across the country, together with airstrikes and fighting on the ground,” ICRC Yemen delegation head Antoine Grand explained.
“The last two weeks have seen an intensification of fighting in the southern governorates of Aden and Taiz where it is becoming increasingly difficult for us to reach affected areas, to evacuate the dead and the wounded and to provide life-saving assistance.”
“We remain ready to facilitate the evacuation of the dead and wounded – as we are currently doing in both Aden and Taiz – and to visit detainees on both sides, but all parties must facilitate our access and respect our mandate.”
The ICRC has 262 personnel in Yemen – 144 in Sanaa (the capital), 70 in the southern port city Aden (Yemen’s second largest city), 36 in Saada governorate and 12 in Taiz (the nation’s third largest city).
Well over a million Yemenis were displaced so far – thousands more daily. More than 80% of the population desperately needs humanitarian aid. US-supported Saudi blockade prevents most vital supplies from entering.
Terror bombing and imported takfiri terrors continue ravaging and destroying the region’s poorest country before conflict began.
Over half of Yemen’s 24 million people live on less than $2 a day with no access to clean water. Pre-conflict child malnutrition was severe – much worse as war rages.
Most Yemenis today are food insecure. They don’t get enough to eat. Around of 90% of food needed is imported – greatly impeded by Riyadh’s blockade.
Vitally needed medicines, medical supplies and equipment, fuel and other essentials aren’t getting in as needed – small amounts only.
Saudis are willfully bombing residential neighborhoods and other civilian sites, including the Mazraq refugee camp in Hajjah province.
Banned weapons are used, including toxic chemicals and US-supplied cluster munitions. On Friday alone, Saudi terror bombing murdered 120 Taiz residents, injuring at least 150 others.
A Riyadh-announced five-day truce beginning Sunday night local time is meaningless. It violated two earlier ones straightaway – blaming Houthis for its duplicity. Its proxies on the ground continued fighting. Don’t expect them to stop this time.
An official statement said Saudi forces reserve the right to resume fighting in response to continued Houthi military activity – true or false, even if it’s defensive against imported takfiri attacks.
Separately, Saudi helicopters terror bombed their own territory – targeting Akhdoud, Najran region residential districts bordering Yemen.
The Ahrar al-Najran opposition movement gained control over Akhdoud. A local activist said Riyadh seeks revenge by targeting noncombatant civilians -the same tactic used in Yemen.
It annexed Najran earlier along with other areas bordering Yemen. Another local activist said “(t)he Najran tribes in a statement declared war against the occupying Saudi regime, stressing that the House of Saud represents corruption on the Earth and sheds the blood of innocent people across the globe in a very routine and normal manner.”
Riyadh uses US-made weapons to terror-bomb Yemen daily, arm regional Islamic State and other takfiri terrorists, along with targeting its own people wanting international law guaranteed rights they’re denied.
The US Defense Department just authorized the sale of hundreds more air-to-ground missiles so Riyadh can continue terror-bombing Yemen and internal areas at its discretion.
Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest arms buyers. It significantly increased purchases in recent months. So far this year, it’s the world’s top importer of weapons and munitions.
Many are used to murder Yemenis – Obama’s latest atrocity putting an entire population at risk. Who does he have in mind to attack next?
For too long, candidates from both parties have been conducting a cynical game of asking us what we want to hear, then feeding it back to us in carefully managed sound bites, while they dance to the tune of corporations and the uber rich.
Leadership? At its best, this is like using a hood ornament to navigate. In practice, it results in a shameful mix of mush-mouthed lies of omission and outright lies of commission.
But for the first time in ages, we have an alternative.
Let’s look at the field.
First, we’ve got Hillary, “Not-at-this-time” Clinton
Ms Clinton’s campaign has already spent $1 million on polling, focus groups, and assorted other “messaging” strategies. She’s not doing this so she can tell us the truth – she’s doing it so she can tell us what she thinks we want to hear.
This leaves her free to raise money from Wall Street, big banks and fat cats, just like her Republican counterparts.
Proof of this is her new favorite response when she’s backed into a corner and is forced to come up with an answer: “Not at this time,” or “Not yet.”
For example, a couple of weeks ago, a reporter cornered her and asked about her position on the TPP (something she’s supported in the past). Her answer? The best she could come up with was, “listen to Nancy Pelosi,” then followed it up a few days later saying she “…probably” would not vote for it …at this time …” Squishiness thy name is Hillary.
Then at a recent Town Hall meeting in New Hampshire, when Elaine Colligan, of350.org. asked Clinton, “Will you commit to banning fossil fuel extraction on public lands in this country … yes or no will you ban this?” Ms. Clinton gave an answer that was nearly indistinguishable from something Exxon might say. Although she supports stimulating renewables, when it comes to a ban on extracting fossil fuels from public lands, she basically said, not yet … claiming that we needed it “to run our economy.”
As Hansen’s recent paper makes clear, we must act quickly to cut fossil fuels. Moreover, we have the technology to do it cheaply and quickly. Fostering solar is all well and good, but if you’re serious about tackling climate change a ban on extracting fossil fuels from public lands makes sense and wouldn’t cost us much – unless you happen to be an oil, gas or coal company.
But stating a clear position like that would risk alienating some folks with money. What to do? Get squishy with it.
But it’s not just trade or energy policy – this kind of prevaricating is all too typical of Hillary Clinton. Her strategy seems to be to reveal as little as possible and commit to nothing, and lies of omission are a critical part of her arsenal.
As a result, her messaging is so stilted, so rehearsed, so artificial she comes across like a used car salesman. That’s why people don’t trust her.
Lies by Commission – the Republican Clown Car
For years, Republican’s have been following the advice of messaging guru Frank Luntz and this crop of clowns is no different.
Thanks to Luntz, Republicans have given us such oxymoronic names as the Healthy Forest Initiative, a program to let lumber barons cut more trees on public lands, and The Clear Skies Initiative, a program designed to gut clean air regulations for wealthy fossil fuel interests. Can you get any more Orwellian?
Speaking of Big Brother, let’s look at some of the basic tenets of the Republican’s Platform.
Republicans favor free markets and are against Big Government
Ever since Reagan, Republicans have been hawking this BS like carnie barkers on speed – but a quick look at the tax code, or at corporate subsidies – most of which was pushed by Republicans — shows that all that free market stuff doesn’t apply to fat cats, only consumers, or small businesses like solar and wind energy manufacturers.
And they have no problem inserting Big Brother into your pants, telling you who you may marry, what sexual practices you may or may not use etc etc … or having Big Brother conduct warrantless eavesdropping, extraordinary rendition or any of a host of other assaults on our civil rights.
It seems Big Brother is only a problem when it protects the environment, gives workers a level playing field, provides the market with information, or tames the financial sector – particularly by curbing corporate excesses.
Republicans want to balance the budget and cut deficits
Well this is true, right? It’s a core part of all the pitch coming from all the Republican candidates pouring out of the clown car.
Well, here again, not so much.
Each year, Paul Ryan proposes an absurd budget that jacks up the deficit, provides giant giveaways to corporations and fat cats while screwing the poor and middle class, invoking the magic fairy dust of “dynamic scoring” (a name designed to give the widely discredited “trickle down” some respectability) to achieve a faux balance. And each year Republicans unanimously vote to approve this budget busting pornography, while simultaneously yammering about deficits.
The reason you don’t know this is largely just cynical posturing is because the press regularly reports on Ryan’s deficit-exploding budgets as if they were plausible – or even “serious.” Yeah, that’s what you can get away with when you convince the media thatbalance is part of the journalistic canon …
The fact is, most of the positions the Republican candidates embrace are either dictated to them by their fat cat donors or designed to distract people with fear, hate, bigotry or blame, so they’ll be too addled to see how badly Republican policies are screwing everyone but the uber-rich.
What About Bernie?
Want to know how much Bernie Sanders has spent on polling in his bid for the nomination? Nothing. Zero. Zip. When asked about this, his campaign manager said the reason they’re not spending money on polling is because it wouldn’t influence anything Sanders was saying. That’s because he’s telling you what he believes, not some fractured spin on what he thinks you want to hear, or a bunch of outright lies.
His manager went on to say they might do some polling later on to help them decide where to run ads, but that’s it. Bernie’s message is based on looking at the facts and telling us the truth he gleans from them.
What a concept.
John Atcheson is author of the novel, A Being Darkly Wise, an eco-thriller and Book One of a Trilogy centered on global warming. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, the San Jose Mercury News and other major newspapers. Atcheson’s book reviews are featured on Climateprogess.org.
As Turkey continues to bomb inside Syria and Iraq against alleged ISIS targets and PKK Iraqi Kurds, and as the NATO Article 4 meeting looms over the Middle East, Turkey has clearly taken yet another step toward its goal of establishing a “buffer zone” and “no-fly zone” over Syria.
Turkey has called Article 4 NATO meetings twice – once in 2003 and once in 2013. In the latter incident, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United states sent two PATRIOT anti-missile batteries each as well as soldiers trained in the operation of those missiles. Turkey is now requesting help with its border security due to the crisis in Syria and one can only wonder what the response of the rest of NATO will be when the meeting concludes.
Article 4 allows any member of NATO to “request assistance” when its “territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened”.
Ironically, the crisis in Syria – in particular, the issue surrounding the Turkish-Syrian border – was largely the fault of Turkey itself as it helped train and funnel terrorists from inside its borders into Syria. Thus, the crisis is entirely one of its own making.
Beginning in 2011 – and actually even as early as 2007 – the United States has been arming, funding, and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and a myriad of armed terrorist organizations to overthrow the government of Syria, fight Hezbollah in Lebanon, and undermine the power and influence of Iran, which of course includes any other government or group in the MENA region friendly toward Tehran.
Image: ISIS corridors begin in Turkey and end in Baghdad. [image credit: Land Destroyer]
Billions in cash have been funneled into the hands of terrorist groups including Al Nusra, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and what is now being called “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” or ISIS. One can see clearly by any map of ISIS held territory that it butts up directly against Turkey’s borders with defined corridors ISIS uses to invade southward – this is because it is precisely from NATO territory this terrorist scourge originated.
In actuality, ISIS is the product of a joint NATO-GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] conspiracy stretching back as far as 2007 where US-Saudi policymakers sought to ignite a region-wide sectarian war to purge the Middle East of Iran’s arch of influence stretching from its borders, across Syria and Iraq, and as far west as Lebanon and the coast of the Mediterranean. ISIS has been harbored, trained, armed, and extensively funded by a coalition of NATO and Persian Gulf states within Turkey’s (NATO territory) borders and has launched invasions into northern Syria with, at times, both Turkish artillery and air cover. The most recent example of this was the cross-border invasion by Al Qaeda into Kasab village, Latikia province in northwest Syria.
Keep in mind also that, prior to the rapid appearance and seizure of territory by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, European media outlets like Der Spiegel reported that hundreds of fighters were being trained in Jordan by Western intelligence and military personnel for the purpose of deployment in Syria to fight against Assad. The numbers were said to be expected to reach about 10,000 fighters when the reports were issued in March, 2013. Although Western and European media outlets would try to spin the operation as the training of “moderate rebels,” subsequent reports revealed that these fighters were actually ISIS fighters. Those fighters were ultimately funneled into Syria via Turkey.
In addition, on October 2, 2014, Turkey’s parliament passed a resolution to allow the Turkish military to enter the sovereign territory of Iraq and Syria under the pretext of battling Western-backed IS militants.
The resolution also allowed foreign troops to use Turkish territory for the same purpose suggesting that the Incirlik air base may soon be used by the United States for its airstrikes against Syria. Only recently, it was reported by Turkish media that a formal agreement was reached between the United States and Turkey for the use of Incirlik in the faux American campaign against ISIS.
The vote on the resolution regarding foreign troops on Turkish soil (to be used in Syria) was 298 in favor of the motion and 98 opposed.
Despite its claims that the vote was centered around defeating ISIS on its borders, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, perhaps inadvertently, admitted that the real target of NATO aggression is the Syrian government.
Speaking in parliament earlier on Wednesday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the West to find a long-term solution to the crises in Syria and Iraq, pointing out that dropping “tonnes of bombs” on IS militants would only provide a temporary respite.
While he said “an effective struggle” against IS would be a priority for Turkey, “the immediate removal of the administration in Damascus” would also continue to be its priority.
Erdogan also called for a “buffer zone” on the Turkey/Syria border – which would be enforced by a no-fly zone – to “ensure security.”
A buffer zone, of course, has been part of the NATO agenda against Syria since the beginning of the Western-controlled crisis in the country. Remember, it was under the guise of a humanitarian corridor or buffer zone in Libya, that NATO bombing took place which ultimately led to the destruction of the Libyan government, the murder of Ghaddaffi, and the subsequent expansion of chaos, anarchy, and genocide across the entire North African country.
Indeed, public discussion of the implementation of a “buffer zone” began as far back as 2012 when the Brookings Institution, in their memo “Assessing Options For Regime Change” stated
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.
The Brookings Institution went further, however, describing a possible scenario that mirrors the one currently unfolding in Syria where Turkey, in coordination with Israel, could help overthrow Assad by establishing a “multi-front war” on Syria’s borders. Brookings writes,
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.
Turkey has been whining and groaning for some time over an influx of Syrian refugees as a result of a humanitarian crisis that it helped create with its support and facilitation of Islamic fundamentalist death squad forces funded by the West and allowed to travel into Syria through Turkey’s borders. The most recent influx of refugees came from the city of Kobani, where ISIS fighters were herded by American airstrikes for the purposes of reinforcing the fighters already battling Kurdish and Syrian forces there. Subsequent refugee influxes came from other border-lying towns facing heavy fighting.
Of course, with US airstrikes carving out a vacuum soon to be filled with extremists uncontested by the Syrian Arab Army forced to back off in fear of provoking further Western aggression, the situation will undoubtedly “deteriorate.” Just as Turkey staged false flag operations along its border last year in attempts to trigger a war with Syria directly, and by supporting terrorists resulting in a predictable humanitarian catastrophe now spilling over into Turkey’ territory, the vacuum the US is intentionally creating is meant to be filled with terrorist mercenaries and NATO forces to protect them as the front is inched ever closer to Damascus in the form of a “buffer zone.”
Clearly, the Turkish agenda is not focused on combating ISIS. If it was, the Turks would have long ago sealed their borders with Syria as well as ceased their training and facilitation of terrorist groups flowing into Syria from Turkish territory.
Turkey is not requesting assistance for spillover violence or cross-border attacks, it is requesting a military invasion using a problem Turkey helped create to begin with as justification for such an operation.
The Turks do not need NATO Buffer Zones to end terrorism within their own country. They need to seal the borders with Syria, immediately cease funding, training, and facilitation of terrorists operating inside Turkish borders alongside a massive sting operation netting and eliminating these organizations. Turkey would also greatly benefit by backing away from Erdogan, his idiotic policies, and his equally idiotic Islamist government. Turkey must put aside “political Islam” and return to a culture of secular governance. Lastly, Turkey must pursue a reasonable and fair policy toward the Kurds in its Southeast.
Of course, Turkey has sent every signal possible to announce that they intend to stick with the NATO line of destroying the secular government of Bashar al-Assad and replacing it with a government or governments beholden and favorable to Washington and the Anglo-American oligarchy.
Obviously, a “buffer zone” and/or a “no-fly zone,” of course, is tantamount to war and an open military assault against the sovereign secular government of Syria because the implementation of such a zone would require airstrikes against Assad’s air defense systems.
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.
While the goal is clearly to establish such a zone before tightening the grip on Assad even further and ultimately leading to his overthrow, one can only wonder as to what pronouncement or “policy” will result from the Tuesday NATO meeting. Whatever it may be, the Syrian people will be the ones to pay the highest price.
This incisive article by Mahdi Nazemroaya was first published by GR in August 2014 at the outset of the US led bombing campaign
The ISIL or IS threat is a smokescreen. The strength of the ISIL has deliberately been inflated to get public support for the Pentagon and to justify the illegal bombing of Syria. It has also been used to justify the mobilization of what is looking more and more like a large-scale US-led military buildup in the Middle East. The firepower and military assets being committed go beyond what is needed for merely fighting the ISIL death squads.
While the US has assured its citizens and the world that troops will not be sent on the ground, this is very unlikely. In the first instance, it is unlikely because boots on the ground are needed to monitor and select targets. Moreover, Washington sees the campaign against the ISIL fighters as something that will take years. This is doublespeak. What is being described is a permanent military deployment or, in the case of Iraq, redeployment. This force could eventually morph into a broader assault force threatening Syria, Iran, and Lebanon.
US-Syrian and US-Iranian Security Dialogue?
Before the US-led bombings in Syria started there were unverified reports being circulated that Washington had started a dialogue with Damascus through Russian and Iraqi channels to discuss military coordination and the Pentagon bombing campaign in Syria. There was something very off though. Agents of confusion were at work in an attempt to legitimize the bombardment of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The claims of US-Syrian cooperation via Russian and Iraqi channels are part of a sinister series of misinformation and disinformation. Before the claims about US cooperation with Syria, similar claims were being made about US-Iranian cooperation in Iraq.
Earlier, Washington and the US media tried to give the impression that an agreement on military cooperation was made between itself and Tehran to fight ISIL and to cooperate inside Iraq. This was widely refuted in the harshest of words by numerous members of the Iranian political establishment and high-ranking Iranian military commanders as disinformation.
After the Iranians clearly indicated that Washington’s claims were fiction, the US claimed that it would not be appropriate for Iran to join its anti-ISIL coalition. Iran rebutted. Washington was dishonestly misrepresenting the facts, because US officials had asked Tehran to join the anti-ISIL coalition several times.
Before he was discharged from the hospital after a prostate surgery, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the highest ranking official in Iran, told Iranian television on September 9, 2014, that the US had requested that Tehran and Washington cooperate together inside Iraq on three different occasions. He explained that the US ambassador to Iraq had relayed a message to the Iranian ambassador to Iraq to join the US, then, in his own words, «the same [John Kerry] — who had said in front of the camera and in front of the eyes of all the world that they do not want Iran to cooperate with them — requested [from] Dr. Zarif that Iran cooperate with them on this issue, but Dr. Zarif turned this [request] down.» The third request was made by US Undersecretary Wendy Sherman to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi.
Khamenei additionally made it clear that he categorically ruled out any cooperation with Washington on the issue. «On this issue, we will not cooperate with America particularly because their hands are dirty,» he publicly confirmed while explaining that Washington had ill intentions and nefarious designs in Iraq and Syria.
Like Russia, Iran has been supporting Syria and Iraq against ISIL. Also like Moscow, Tehran is committed to fighting it, but will not join Washington’s anti-ISIL coalition.
New Invasion(s) and Regime Change Project(s) in the Pipeline?
As was pointed out on June 20, 2014, in Washington’s eyes Nouri Al-Malaki’s federal government in Baghdad had to be removed for refusing to join the US siege against the Syrians, being aligned to Iran, selling oil to the Chinese, and buying weapons from the Russian Federation. Iraq’s decision to be part of an Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline also undermined the objectives of the US and its allies to control the flow of energy in the Middle East and to obstruct Eurasian integration. 
There were also two other unforgivable cardinal sins that Al-Malaki’s government in Baghdad committed in Washington’s eye. These offenses, however, should be put into geopolitical context first.
Remember the post-September 11, 2001 (post-9/11) catchphrase of the Bush II Administration during the start of its serial wars? It went like this: «Anyone can go to Baghdad, but real men go to Tehran!» The point of this warmongering catchphrase is that Baghdad and Damascus have been viewed as pathways for the Pentagon towards Tehran. 
Like Syria, Al-Malaki government’s cardinal sins were tied to blocking the pathway to Tehran. Firstly, the Iraqi government evicted the Pentagon from Iraq at the end of 2011, which removed US troops stationed directly on Iran’s western border. Secondly, the Iraqi federal government was working to expel anti-government Iranian militants from Iraq and to close Camp Ashraf, which could be used in a war or regime change operations against Iran.
Ashraf was a base for the military wing of the Iraqi-based Mujahidin-e-Khalq (MEK/MOK/MKO). The MEK is an anti-government Iranian organization that is bent on regime change in Tehran. It has even openly endorsed US-led attacks on Iran and Syria.
Although the US government itself considers the MEK a terrorist organization, Washington began to deepen its ties with the MEK when it and its staunch British allies invaded Iraq. Disingenuously and ironically, the US and Britain used Saddam Hussein’s support for the MEK to justify labeling Iraq as a state-sponsor of terrorism and to also justify the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Since then the US has been nurturing the MEK.
Since 2003, the US has been funding the MEK. Washington has been protecting the MEK, because it wants to keep them on a leash as either leverage against Tehran or to have the option of one day installing the MEK into power in Tehran as part of a regime change operation against Iran. The MEK has literally become incorporated into the Pentagon and CIA toolboxes against Tehran. Even when the US transferred control of Camp Ashraf to Baghdad, the Pentagon kept forces inside the MEK camp.
Eventually the MEK forces would mostly be relocated in 2012 to the former US base known as Camp Liberty. Camp Liberty is now called by an Arabic name, Camp Hurriya.
The Istanbul bureau chief of the Christian Science Monitor, Scott Peterson described how US officials began to really put their weight behind the MEK during the start of the Arab Spring in 2011. This is tied to Washington’s regime change dreams. Peterson wrote that US officials «rarely mention the MEK’s violent and anti-American past, and portray the group not as terrorists but as freedom fighters with ‘values just like us,’ as democrats-in-waiting ready to serve as a vanguard of regime change in Iran.» 
Washington Has Not Abandoned Dreams of Regime Change in Tehran
Washington has not abandoned its dreams for regime change in Tehran. Is it a coincidence that the US and EU support for the MEK is increasing, especially when the ISIL threat in Iraq began to be noticed publicly?
Six hundred parliamentarians and politicians from mostly NATO countries were flown in for a large MEK gathering in the Parisian northeastern suburb of Villepinte that called for regime change in Iran on June 27, 2014. Warmongers and morally bankrupt figures like former US senator Joseph Lieberman, Israeli mouthpiece and apologist Alan Dershowhitz, former Bush II official and Fox News pundit John Bolton, former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, and French former minister and United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNIMIK) chief Bernard Kouchner all met the MEK to promote regime change and war. According to the MEK, over 80, 000 people attended the regime change rally. Supporters of the insurgencies in Iraq and Syria were also present at the Villepinte gathering calling for regime change in Iraq, Syria, and Iran.
The irony is that the money for the event most probably came from the US government itself. US allies probably contributed too. This money has gone to the MEK’s lobbying initiatives with the US Congress and US Department of State, which in effect is recycling US funding. People like Rudy Giuliani — probably one of the most hated mayors in the history of New York City until he took advantage of the tragic events of 9/11 — are now effectively lobbyists for the MEK. «Many of these former high-ranking US officials — who represent the full political spectrum — have been paid tens of thousands of dollars to speak in support of the MEK,» according to the Christian Science Monitor. 
Giuliani has been speaking at MEK events at least as far back as 2010. In 2011, he publicly pushed for regime change in Tehran and Damascus at a MEK gathering. «How about we follow an Arab Spring with a Persian Summer?» he rhetorically declared.  Giuliani’s next sentence revealed just how much of a scion of US foreign policy the initiative to support the MEK truly is: «We need regime change in Iran, more than we do in Egypt or Libya, and just as we need it in Syria.» 
Joseph Lieberman’s friend and fellow war advocate Senator John McCain was unable to make the trip to the Parisian suburb in Seine-Saint-Denis, but addressed the regime change gathering via video. Congressman Edward Royce, the chair of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, also showed his support for regime change in Iran through a video message. So did Senator Carl Levin and Senator Robert Menendez.
Large delegations from the US, France, Spain, Canada, and Albania were present. Aside from the aforementioned individuals, other notable American attendees to the June 27, 2014 event included the following:
1. Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the lower chamber (House of Representatives) in the bicameral US Congress;
2. John Dennis Hastert; another former speaker of the House of Representatives;
3. George William Casey Jr., who commanded the multinational military force that invaded and occupied Iraq;
4. Hugh Shelton, a computer software executive and former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff;
5. James Conway, the former chief of the US Marine Corps
6. Louis Freeh, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI);
7. Lloyd Poe, the US Representative who sits on (1) the US House Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats and chairs (2) the US House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Non‐proliferation and Trade;
8. Daniel Davis, a US Representative from Illinois;
9. Loretta Sánchez, a US Representative from California;
10. Michael B. Mukasey, a former attorney-general of the US;
11. Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont;
12. William Richardson, the former secretary of the US Department of Energy;
13. Robert Torricelli, a former legislator in the US House of Representatives and the US Senate senator who is the legally representative of the MEK in Iraq;
14. Francis Townsend, former Homeland Security advisor to George W. Bush Jr.;
15. Linda Chavez, a former chief White House director;
16. Robert Joseph, the former US undersecretary that ran the (1) Bureau of Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance, (2) the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and the (3) Bureau of Political-Military Affairs;
17. Philip Crowley, the former assistant-secretary of state responsible for public affairs;
18. David Phillips, the military police commander who restructured the Iraqi police and was responsible for guarding Camp Ashraf and Saddam Hussein as a prisoner;
19. Marc Ginsberg, the senior vice-president of the public relations firm APCO Worldwide and former US ambassador and US presidential adviser for Middle East policy.
Like the US presence, the French presence included officials. Aside from Bernard Kouchner, from France some of the notable attendees were the following individuals:
1. Michèle Alliot-Marie, a French politician who among her cabinet portfolios was responsible for the military and foreign affairs at different times;
2. Rama Yade, vice president of the conservative Radical Party of France;
3. Gilbert Mitterrand, the president of the human rights foundation France Libertés, which has focused on ethnic groups such as Kurds, Chechens, and Tibetans;
4. Martin Vallton, the mayor of Villepinte.
From Spain the notable attendees were the following:
1. Pedro Agramunt Font de Mora, the Spanish chair of the European People’s Party (EPP) and its allies in the Council of Europe;
2. Jordi Xucla, the Spanish chair of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group in the Council of Europe;
3. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, a Spanish politician and one of the fourteen vice-presidents of the European Union’s European Parliament;
4. José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the former prime minister of Spain (who was also visibly accompanied by his wife Sonsoles Espinosa Díaz).
Other notable attendees from other Euro-Atlantic countries included:
1. Pandli Majko, the former prime minster of Albania;
2. Kim Campbell, the former prime minister of Canada
3. Geir Haarde, the former prime minister of Iceland;
4. Ingrid Betancourt, a former Colombian senator;
5. Alexander Carile, a member of the British House of Lords, the upper house of the British Parliament
6. Giulio Maria Terzi, the former foreign minister of Italy;
7. Adrianus Melkert, a former Dutch cabinet minister, a former World Bank executive, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s former special envoy to Iraq.
Not only regime change was talked about, but the cross-border crisis in Iraq and Syria was a major subject. Fox News gave the event special coverage. Just in July, the MEK’s leadership had condemned Iranian support to the Iraqi federal government in its fight against the ISIL, yet since the US had began to nominally fight the ISIL the MEK has begun to hold its tongue.
Before the regime change gathering, the MEK’s leader Maryam Rajavi — who the MEK has designated as the president of Iran since 1993 — even meet with the puppet Syrian National Council’s leader Ahmed Jarba in Paris to discuss cooperation on May 23, 2014.
MEK leader Maryam Rajavi and SNC leader Ahmed Jarba meet to discuss cooperating for regime change in Tehran and Damascus.
Regime Change in Damascus through Mission Creep in Syria
The bombing campaign that the US has started in Syria is illegal and a violation of the UN Charter. This is why the Pentagon took the step of claiming that the US-led bombing campaign was prompted by the threat of an «imminent» attack that was being planned against the territory of the US. This allegation was made to give legal cover to the bombardment of Syrian territory through a warped argument under Article 51 of the UN Charter that allows a UN member to legally attack another country if an imminent attack by the said country is about to take place on the UN member.
Barack Obama and the US government have done their best to confuse and blur reality through a series of different steps they have taken to claim legitimacy for violating international law by bombing Syria without the authorization of Damascus. Although US Ambassador Samantha Powers informed Syria’s permanent representative to the UN that US-led attacks would be launched on Al-Raqqa Governate, informing Bashar Al-Jaafari through a formal unilateral notification does not amount to being given the legal consent of Syria.
The US-led attacks on Syria do not have the backing of the UN Security Council either. The US government, however, has tried to spin the September 19, 2014, meeting of the UN Security Council that John Kerry chaired as a sign that the UN Security Council and international community are backing its bombing campaign.
Nor is it a coincidence that just when the US assembled its multinational coalition to fight the ISIL and its pseudo-caliphate, that John Kerry conveniently mentions that Syria has violated the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). While admitting that Syria did not use any material prohibited by the CWC, Kerry told US legislators that Damascus had breached its commitments to the CWC on September 18, 2014. In other words, Washington intends to go after Syria and pursue regime change in Damascus. If this does not make it clear, then the fact that the US will use Saudi Arabia to train more anti-government forces should. 
A US brinkmanship strategy to justify a US-led bombing campaign against Syria has been put into action with the intent of creating a pretext for expanding the illegal US-led airstrikes in Syria that started on September 22, 2014.
What the US envisions is a long-term bombing campaign, which also threatens Lebanon and Iran. According to Ali Khamenei, the US wants to bomb both Iraq and Syria using ISIL as a smokescreen on the basis of the model in Pakistan. More correctly, the situation should be compared to the AfPak (Af-Pak) model. The US has used the spillover of instability from Afghanistan into Pakistan and the spread of the Taliban as a pretext for bombing Pakistan. Iraq and Syria have been merged as one conflict zone, which Ibrahim Al-Marashi, using a neologism, has described as the rise of «Syraq.»
The Broader Objective: Disrupting Eurasian Integration
While the US has been pretending to fight the same terrorist and death squads that it has created, the Chinese and their partners have been busy working to integrate Eurasia. America’s «Global War on Terror» has been paralleled with the rebuilding of the Silk Road. This is the real story and motivation for Washington’s insistence to fight and remobilize in the Middle East. It is also the reason why the US has been pushing Ukraine to confront Russia and the EU to sanction the Russian Federation.
America wants to disrupt the reemerging Silk Road and its expanding trade network. While Kerry has been busy frightening audiences about the ISIL and its atrocities, the Chinese have been busy sweeping the map by making deals across Asia and the Indian Ocean. This is part of the westward march of the Chinese dragon.
Parallel to Kerry’s travels, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Sri Lanka and went to the Maldives. Sri Lanka is already part of China’s Maritime Silk Road project. The Maldivians are newer entries; agreements have been reached to include the island-nation into the Maritime Silk Road network and infrastructure that China is busy constructing to expand maritime trade between East Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Nor is it a coincidence that two Chinese destroyers docked at the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf to conduct joint drills with Iranian warships in the Persian Gulf.
Parallel to east-west trade, a north-south trade and transport network is being developed. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was in Kazakhstan recently where he and his Kazakhstani counterpart, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, confirmed that trade was due to see manifold increases. The completion of the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway, which will create a north-south transit route, is being awaited. Cooperation between Tehran and the Eurasian Union was also discussed by the two presidents. On the other western side of the Caspian Sea, a parallel north-south corridor running from Russia to Iran through the Republic of Azerbaijan has been in the works.
The anti-Russia sanctions are beginning to cause uneasiness in the European Union. The real losers in the sanctions in Russia are the members of the European Union. Russia has demonstrated that it has options. Moscow has already launched the construction of its mega natural gas Yakutia–Khabarovsk–Vladivostok pipeline (also known as the Power of Siberia pipeline) to deliver gas to China while BRICS partner South Africa has signed a historic deal on nuclear energy with Rosatom.
Moscow’s influence on the world stage is very clear. Its influence has been on the rise in the Middle East and Latin America. Even in NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan, Russian influence is on the rise. The Russian government has recently compiled a list of over one hundred old Soviet construction projects that it would like to recuperate.
An alternative to US and EU sanctions is beginning to emerge in Eurasia. Aside from the oil-for-goods deal that Tehran and Moscow signed, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak announced that Iran and Russia had made several new agreements worth seventy billion euro. Sanctions will soon merely isolate the US and the EU. The Iranians have also announced that they are working with their Chinese and Russian partners to overcome the US and EU sanctions regime.
America is being rolled back. It cannot pivot to the Asia-Pacific until matters are settled in the Middle East and Eastern Europe against the Russian, Iranians, Syrians, and their allies. That is why Washington is doing its best to disrupt, divide, redraw, bargain and co-opt. When it comes down to it, the US is not concerned about fighting the ISIL, which has been serving Washington’s interests in the Middle East. America’s main concern is about preserving its crumbling empire and preventing Eurasian integration.
The devil in Brussels, Frankfurt and Washington wants its due. Everything gotten so far from Greece isn’t enough.
On Monday, talks began in Athens to clear remaining hurdles before Troika officials release any bailout funds. They demand more.
On Friday, the IMF said about 16.5 billion euros still to disburse under an existing agreement with Athens is now outdated, according to the Financial Times. They’re off the table.
It explained “negotiations between Athens and the IMF could take months. But the decision to pursue a new IMF programme means eurozone leaders may have to open talks on granting Greece significant debt relief much earlier than originally anticipated, since the IMF will not sign on to a new programme unless eurozone lenders agree to restructure their bailout loans.”
“That could lead to political difficulties in Germany, which has fiercely resisted writedowns to levels the IMF has been demanding.”
On Sunday, the FT said Troika officials want greater access to Greek ministries than apparently agreed to earlier. They sent lower-level negotiators to Athens instead of top ones SYRIZA expected.
According to the FT, it’s “the latest sign of concern among Greece’s creditors that, despite the summit agreement two weeks ago to restart talks, there remain deep differences on the way forward that could still derail negotiations before anAugust 20 deadline.”
They’re raising the bar. They want more – additional pounds of flesh before agreeing to release bailout funds.
Greek concessions so far were prerequisites to begin new talks – as well as getting a 7 billion euro bridge loan so its banks could hand most of it back to the ECB and IMF in debt service.
Troika officials now say Greek parliamentarians must legislate further “reforms,” according to the FT. Disbursing bailout funds depends on agreeing to even stiffer austerity and other demands than already.
One Troika official involved in talks said “(t)his, at present, is the big fat issue. They do not want to understand that there will be yet another significant package of ‘prior actions’ before any disbursement. They already have implementation fatigue after two mini-bills.”
Germany especially wants another round of so-called “prior actions” – measures Troika officials demand agreed to by Greek parliamentarians.
Significant differences remain between both sides – including haggling over how much access to Greek ministries to allow, what Athens venue will host talks, and how much more punishing austerity SYRIZA is willing to permit.
Having rolled over twice in two parliamentary votes, it looks like an easy mark for more. Troika officials indicated bailout disbursements depend on it.
They want Athens surrendering unconditionally to all their demands – including future ones, a bottomless pit of looting.
SRYIZA is like the rest – going along against the interests of its own people until there’s nothing left to pillage, Grexit becomes reality after defaulting on its odious debt becomes Athens’ only remaining option, and recovery looms more distant than ever – while ordinary people starve.
The history of the suppression of medical science in America is a long one, filled with true accounts of pioneering doctors and clinicians being threatened, intimidated and even assassinated in order to bury emerging cures and keep the “sick care” industry in control. (The American Medical Association, for example, has been found guilty by the U.S. federal courts of a conspiracy to destroy the chiropractic industry, by the way.)
Over the last few days, we’ve learned that before being found shot in the chest and floating in the river, pioneering medical researcher Dr. Bradstreet was working with a little-known molecule that occurs naturally in the human body. Called, “GcMAF”, this molecule has the potential to be a universal cancer cure for many people. It has also been shown to reverse signs of autism in the vast majority of patients receiving the treatment.
While GcMAF is perfectly legal as a treatment in dozens of advanced nations around the world, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has outlawed it, calling it an “unapproved drug.” It is with this designation — an effort to suppress the forward progress of medical science — that the U.S. government conducted a raid on Dr. Bradstreet’s clinic, specifically seeking to confiscate GcMAF in order to shut down his research and halt his treatment of patients. Meanwhile, Big Pharma gets special permission to unleash untested, experimental drugs on the public as long as those drugs earn sufficient profits.
In this article, I summarize the videos, articles and documents covering GcMAF and the mysterious death of Dr. Bradstreet. An exhaustive investigation needs to be pursued on this matter, possibly involving private investigators. The timing and manner of Dr. Bradstreet’s death seems highly suspicious, especially in light of the many other holistic doctors who have recently been found dead under mysterious circumstances. (Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez died just days ago…)
Ssuppress a promising cancer treatment breakthrough
Is there a motive for the alleged murder of pioneering cancer researchers working on a possible universal cancer cure? Of course there is… it’s the most common motive in the world: MONEY.
A universal cancer cure would destroy the profitability of the highly lucrative cancer industry and collapse the American Cancer Society, hospitals, oncology clinics and pharmaceutical companies that depend on chemotherapy revenues to stay profitable. Key to their profitability is the inescapable fact that conventional cancer treatments simply don’t work most of the time, creating a reliable profit stream of repeat business from patients who are never cured (by design).
EzekielDiet.com story that covers the apparent series of murders of holistic doctors, many of whom are working on advanced treatment protocols that render high-profit sectors of conventional medicine OBSOLETE:
Yet another doctor was just found murdered inside his home here on the East Coast of Florida. This makes six doctors to be found dead in the last month just from this region of the country alone. Four out of the six were found dead here in Florida. We lost the holistic Dr. Teresa Sievers, MD, who was found murdered in her Florida home just weeks ago. We’ve also lost the alternative Dr. Jeff Bradstreet, MD, who was found in a river with a gunshot to his chest. He’d recently moved to Georgia from Florida. We’ve also lost the Osteopath. Dr. Riley, who was found in Georgia at her home; just a few hours from the Florida border. She was found with a gunshot wound to her head.
Now we’ve lost Dr. Schwartz MD, who was found murdered in his home, on Sunday, July 19th, 2015. This was four weeks to the day after the death of the first physician: (Dr. Bradstreet MD) who I broke the story on a month ago. His family is still seeking answers as to what happened to him and they’re some of the kindest people I know. The latest MD, Dr. Schwartz, in the picture above, lived just north of the fit, healthy, holistic Dr. Hedendal; who was the second doctor to be found dead this past Father’s Day, in Boca Raton. This was the same day that Dr. Holt died at the age of 33. Both were fathers; and again, both men died here in Florida on June 21st, 2015.
Stepwise incubation of purified Gc protein with immobilized beta-galactosidase and sialidase generated probably the most potent macrophage activating factor (termed GcMAF) ever discovered, which produces no adverse effect in humans…
After about 16-22 administrations (approximately 3.5-5 months) of GcMAF, these patients had insignificantly low serum enzyme levels equivalent to healthy control enzyme levels, ranging from 0.38 to 0.63 nmole/min/mg protein, indicating eradication of the tumors. This therapeutic procedure resulted in no recurrence for more than 4 years.
In other words, the administration of GcMAF eradicated tumors and left patients cancer-free for 4+ years with no additional treatment!
Both U.S. and UK governments desperately seizing all supply, shutting down clinics, even as millions die from cancer every decade…
GcMAF (Globulin component Macrophage Activating Factor), a blood product, claims to treat a range of conditions including cancer, HIV and autism…
More than 10,000 vials were seized at this site and production of this unlicensed medicine has now ceased. These products were sold through various European websites and UK patients may have bought it from one of these websites. We are working with colleagues in other countries to alert them to the potential risks. Our investigations are ongoing and we have received no reports to date of side effects caused by this product.
That same page lists some of the websites where GcMAF had been available for purchase:
Nobody dared to actually accuse Russia of planning a false flag operation involving the shooting down of its own Aeroflot plane leading to the death of its own citizens, and then blaming it on Kiev.
Moscow’s hidden agenda, according to the head of Ukraine’s intelligence service (SBU) was a “false flag” with a view to providing a justification for invading Ukraine in retribution to Kiev for having ordered the downing of a Russian passenger plane en route to Cyprus.
As we recall, immediately after the MH17 plane crash on July 17, Secretary of State John Kerry and US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power pointed their finger at Moscow without a shred of evidence. In turn, the allegations directed against Russia were used to justify the imposition of sweeping economic sanctions against the Russian Federation.
In the wake of this official and “authoritative” August 7 announcement by the Kiev regime, Obama, Kerry, Samantha Power et al, chose to remain mum. Nobody is accusing Russia anymore, because the Ukraine Secret Service’ official statement concerning the crash of Malaysian airlines MH17 is so outlandish that it does not even fit within the usual mold of media disinformation.
The last substantive article in the New York Times on the MH17 crash and Russia’s alleged responsibility was on August 7, the day of the release of the report by Ukraine’s head of intelligence (SBU).
Deafening silence. The Kiev intelligence report was not an object of commentary by the NYT. Instead the New York Times chose to justify the economic sanctions regime imposed on Russia by the US and the EU by
“…accusing Russia of supplying the missiles that rebels used to shoot down a Malaysian jetliner on July 17, killing all 298 people aboard.” Andrew E. Kramer, and Neil MacFarquhar, “Putin Bans Some Imports as Payback for Sanctions”, August 7, 2014)
Following the release of Ukraine’s official report on the crash of flight MH17, the US media as well as Western politicians chose to remain silent. Acknowledging Kiev’s official statement concerning MH17 would have opened up a diplomatic “can of worms” which would inevitably have backlashed. Not to mention the fact that the justification for the economic sanctions rested in part on Moscow’s alleged role in downing the Malaysian airliner.
Another consideration was that real evidence pertaining to the crash of flight MH17 had emerged to the effect that the plane had most likely been shot down on the orders of the Kiev regime. This evidence came to light following statements by the head of the OSCE team to the effect that the plane’s fuselage was perforated with machine-gun like holes indicating that it could have been shot at by a military aircraft.
Michael Bociurkiw [head] of the OSCE group of monitors at his daily briefing described part of the plane’s fuselage dotted with “shrapnel-like, almost machine gun-like holes.” He said the damage was inspected by Malaysian aviation-security officials .(Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2014,
Desperate MH17 “Intelligence” Spin by Ukraine Secret Service: Pro-Russian Rebels had Targeted a Russian Passenger Plane. “But Shot Down Flight MH17 by Mistake”
by Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, August 11, 2014
The official MH17 narrative still prevails: the “pro-Russian rebels” shot down Malaysian airlines MH17 with a Buk missile system provided by Russia.
In a new and rather unusual twist, however, according to the Kiev regime, the Donetsk militia did not intend to shoot down Malaysian airlines MH17. What the “pro-Russian rebels” were aiming at was a Russian Aeroflot passenger plane.
The MH17 was shot down “by mistake” according to an official statement by the head of Ukraine’s Secret Service, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (Ukraine News Service, August 7, 2014)
According to SBU Chief Nalyvaichenko:
“Ukraine’s law enforcement and intelligence agencies have established during the investigation into a terrorist attack on the Boeing… that on that day, July 17, and at that time military mercenaries and terrorists from the Russian Federation planned to carry out a terrorist attack against a passenger aircraft of Aeroflot en route from Moscow to Larnaca… as a pretext for the further invasion by Russia,”
“This cynical terrorist attack was planned for the day when the [Malaysia Airlines] plane happened to fly by, planned by war criminals as a pretext for the further military invasion by the Russian Federation, that is, there would be a casus belli,” he added.
Thus, according Nalyvaichenko, the terrorists downed the Malaysian airliner by mistake.” (Ukraine Interfax News, August 8, 2014)
Nalyvaichenko said that the Kiev government reached this conclusion “in the course of its own investigation into the downing of MH17″.
According to Britain’s foremost news tabloid, The Mail on Sunday, quoting the head of Ukraine intelligence, the insidious design of the pro-Russian rebels (supported by Moscow) was to shoot down a Russian commercial airline plane, with a view to blaming the Ukrainian government. The objective of this alleged “false flag” covert op was to create a justifiable and credible pretext for Vladimir Putin to declare war on Ukraine.
In an utterly twisted logic, according to Ukraine’s head of intelligence:
“the [Donesk] rebels were meant to down [the] Aeroflot plane… to justify the invasion [of Ukraine by Russia]“,
Valentyn Nalyvaichenko (right), head of Ukraine intelligence confirms that the pro-Russian rebels were “aiming at a Russian passenger plane “so Putin had reason to invade”.
“the crime was planned as a ground for bringing of Russian troops into Ukraine, that is – CASUS BELLI for the Russian military invasion.” (Official statement of Ukraine Security Service, in annex below)
In a bitter irony, the alleged “false flag” covert op got muddled. The Donesk rebels got it all wrong and hit the MH17 plane by mistake.
That’s the “official line” now emanating from Kiev’s “intelligent” Secret Service (SBU), yet to be corroborated by their Western intelligence counterparts including the CIA and Britain’s MI6 which are actively collaborating with Ukraine’s SBU.
The head of Ukraine’s secret service has claimed rebels intended to down a Russian airliner to give Vladimir Putin a pretext for invasion – but blasted Flight MH17 out of the sky by mistake. (ibid)
In its authoritative report, the British news tabloid fails to beg the important question: why on earth would pro-Russian rebels who are at war with the Kiev regime shoot down a Russian passenger plane AFL-2074 allegedly with a view to harnessing Russia’s support?
What’s more, according to SBU Chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko’s statement, Moscow was helping the pro-Russian rebels in their alleged false flag op to shoot down Russia’s Aeroflot plane by providing them with a Buk missile system, which had been discretely smuggled across the border to the Donesk region of Eastern Ukraine. The Aeroflot plane was slated to be “shot down over territory controlled by Ukrainian government troops”:
Valentyn Nalyvaichenko said that Russian-backed fighters were supposed to take their BUK rocket launcher – which had been transported across the Russian border – to a village called Pervomaiskoe in Ukrainian-held territory west of Donetsk.
Image source: Mail on Sunday, August 10, 2014
But they “screwed up”. The Buk rocket launcher was apparently positioned in the wrong rural location (see image above) and because of that it targeted the MH17 by mistake:
Instead, they mistakenly positioned it in a rebel-controlled village of the same name to the east of the city.
Got it wrong? Valentyn Nalyvaichenko claims pro-Russian rebels targeted the wrong civilian airliner
If they had gone where they had been ordered, he said, they would have hit an Aeroflot flight carrying civilians travelling from Moscow to Larnaca in Cyprus.
Crucially, the crash site would have been in Ukrainian-held territory. (Mail on Sunday)
The pro-Russian rebels had allegedly planned an Operation Northwoods type “false flag” with utmost proficiency. The covert op consisted in downing a Russian passenger plane with Moscow’s support. The alleged objective was for Moscow to place the blame on the government of Ukraine for having ordered the downing of the Aeroflot plane (resulting in the deaths of Russian tourists), thereby creating a “useful wave of indignation” across the Russian Federation.
The alleged “false flag” slated to be implemented by the Donetsk “terrorists and mercenaries” would then, according to the scenario depicted by Ukraine’s Chief Spy, spearhead public support for a Russian invasion of Ukraine, with patriotic Russian troops coming to the rescue of the “pro-Russian separatists”:
The mass killing of Russian tourists could then have been blamed on the Ukrainian army, giving Moscow a justification for invasion, said Mr Nalyvaichenko, head of the Ukrainian intelligence service, the SBU. (ibid)
The official SBU report states that the:
“Russian side would need a compelling argument for such a step, for example accusation of the Ukrainian government in mass murder of the Russian citizens [on the plane]” (See complete SBU statement in Annex below).
According to the head of Ukraine’s Secret Service: “It is incredibly cynical that the act of terrorism was planned [by the rebels] against peaceful innocent Russian citizens who were on the way to their holidays with children”:
‘This cynical terrorist act was intended to justify an immediate military invasion by the Russian Federation,’ he said.
Aeroflot flight AFL2074 was close to Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 when it was blown out of the sky on July 17, killing all 298 on board, he said.
… He claimed this was a significant conclusion of Kiev’s probe into MH17’s downing. (Ibid)
A Russian invasion plan had allegedly been scheduled –according to the official SBU report– to take place on July 18, on the day following the planned downing of Aeroflot flight 2074. But when the MH17 flight was downed by mistake, the Russian invasion plan scheduled for July 18, according to the Kiev scenario, was cancelled.
While there is no proof as yet of a Kiev sponsored false flag, the available evidence collected sofar is damning: reports confirm unequivocally the presence of at least one Ukrainian military aircraft in proximity of the flight path of MH17. Moreover, the fuselage of the plane had machine gun like bullet holes.
Mainstream Media Response to Kiev Regime’s Accusations
Normally, the Western media would provide ample coverage and commentary to an official Kiev statement pertaining to MH17 and accusing Russia. It’s part of the MSM routine of “Russia bashing” and demonizing president Vladimir Putin.
With the exception of Ukraine News Service and London’s Mail on Sunday report, however, the official statement of the head of Ukraine’s Secret Service has gone largely unnoticed. Normally, a declaration of this nature would be picked up by the wire services with syndicated reports flooding the front page of the Western news chain.
Was the mainstream media instructed to temporarily “put a hold” on reporting on the “revelations” of Ukraine’s Secret Service.
The Kiev regime’s allegations are far-fetched to say the least: the Donesk rebels –largely involved in combat operations– have neither the capabilities nor the desire to undertake a complex intelligence operation of this nature. What purpose would it serve? Cui Bono?
Does Russia require a fake humanitarian pretext to intervene when more than 1000 civilians in the Donbass region have been killed by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, not to mention the Odessa massacre perpetrated by the Kiev regime’s Neo-Nazi national guard.
Ironically, barely four days after being accused by Kiev of planning to invade Ukraine, Russia’s President Putin agreed with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that Moscow would not only collaborate with the Red Cross on channeling humanitarian aid to Eastern Ukraine through Russian territory, but that the agreement reached with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), had the support of the Kiev government.
Russia bashing in the MSM seems to be “on hold”. In turn, neither the Russian government nor the Russian media have commented on (or responded to) the accusations directed against Moscow contained in Ukraine’s dodgy Secret Service’s MH17 report.
Was Washington consulted before the release of the dodgy SBU False Flag report?
Did Washington give them the “Green Light” to the release of the SBU report as a means of “Framing Russia”? Or did the White House or the State Department decide that the SBU’s “fake intelligence” was visibly flawed and could not effectively be used for propaganda purposes against Russia?
Were the CIA and MI6 consulted? Britain’s Secret Service MI6 has access to the plane’s black box, which was handed over by the Dutch task force to an unnamed partner entity in the UK.
Sofar, neither the White House nor the mainstream media, not to mention the US intelligence community, have commented on the Ukraine’s August 7 SBU statement, which has been officially endorsed by the Kiev government.
It is worth noting that the statement of Ukraine’s intelligence service was made following the release of evidence by the OSCE mission that there were “machine gun like bullet holes” on the fuselage indicating that the MH17 had been brought down by cannon fire from a military aircraft.
Ukraine’s Chief Spy Valentyn Nalyvaichenko confirms that the SBU report on the downing of MH17 –which accuses the Donetsk rebels of implementing a “false flag” operation– has been submitted to the MH17 investigation task force headed by The Netherlands.
During the investigation of Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 downing the law enforcement and intelligence bodies established that terrorists and militants have cynically planned the terrorist attack at Aeroflot civil aircraft, AFL-2074 Moscow-Larnaca, which was flying over the territory of Ukraine at that moment. Hereof informed the Head of the Security Service of Ukraine Mr. Valentyn Nalyvaichenko during the briefing today.
He underlined – the crime was planned as a ground for bringing of Russian troops into Ukraine, that is – CASUS BELLI for the Russian military invasion.
According to the official Ukrainian data, June 17, 2014, at the mentioned time two regular international flights were operating over the territory of Ukraine following the filed requests for aircraft clearance – MAS17 plane of the Malaysia Airlines and AFL-2074 one of Aeroflot.
The routes of the mentioned international flights were approaching the sky over Donetsk. At 16:09 in the area of Novomykolaivka town the routes of the mentioned flights crossed. It is worth noting that the flight specifications of the aircrafts were almost identical – the Malaysian aircraft flew at a height of 10,100 m at a speed 909 km/h, while the Russian one – at a height of 10,600 m at a speed 768 km/h.
At 16:20 from the area of ‘Pervomaiske’ village, north-east from Donetsk, near the town of Torez, terrorists shot down the Malaysian jet, which then crashed near Grabove, Donetsk region.
According to the intercepted and published data about the ‘Buk” missile system, the terrorists had received an order to place the system near ‘Pervomaiskoe’ village, V. Nalyvaichenko mentioned. The namesake village is located about 20 km to the north-east from Donetsk.
The terrorists (most of them are not locals, but the Russian mercenaries) misrecognized the namesake villages and moved the other way, the SSU Head said. The odd route of the ‘Buk’ missile system on the territory of Ukraine proves that fact. The system crossed the Russia-Ukraine border in Luhansk region, then was deployed westward to Donetsk and moved back to the border between Donetsk and Luhansk regions afterwards.
By setting up the ‘Buk’ missile system in ‘Pervomaiske’ village located to the west from Donetsk and taking into consideration the military specifications of the weapon, the terrorists could have shot down the Russian civilian jetliner with its further crashing on the Ukrainian territory controlled by the ATO [Ukraine] forces.
In that case Russia would receive an opportunity to accuse the Ukrainian authorities of downing the Russian plane, assaulting the Russian citizens and would use this irresistible proof for its invasion into Ukraine.
Russian side would need a compelling argument for such a step, for example accusation of the Ukrainian government in mass murder of the Russian citizens.
“A peculiar cynicism appears in the fact that the terrorist act was planned just against the peaceful, innocent Russian citizens, who were flying with their children on vacation”, – V. Nalyvaichenko, stressed.
Intelligence data proved that on July 18 the militants have already waited for the introduction of Russian Armed forces into the territory of Ukraine. The Russian side had been giving grounding for such developments for the several previous days. The Russian Mass Media had massively published information about the alleged shelling of the RF territory from the Ukrainian side.
Shockingly, or perhaps not to the individuals who have been observing the biotech charade, house members who voted to keep the public from knowing what is in their food in the latest land-slide win for Big Food supporters of The Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015 (known to its critics as the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know Act)) were paid three times as much as representatives who voted to give us the right to label or ban GMO foods.
It seems odd that the bill would float through Congress so easily with a 275 to 150 vote when so many Americans have expressed a wish to have their food labeled. The Center for Food safety says that 93% of Americans want their food labeled if it contains GM ingredients. And that is just one of many surveys showing similar results:
Surveys repeatedly show that 80 percent to 95 percent of people want foods that contain genetically modified organisms to be labeled (in the least). Here is a simple breakdown of some reported polls on consumer demand for GMO labeling:
Really – we label everything from pillows with warning labels – ‘this tag not to be removed’ to our pants. Why not GM foods? What is it that Big Ag is trying to hide from us?
Usually, if everyone wants to purchase something, the free market dictates that companies jump on the bandwagon and try to sell that something – but not with genetically modified food. Our rights have been trampled on, and you have the right to know who has bought in this recent landslide vote in favor of the biotech industry and business as usual that protects profits instead of people.
According to opensecrets.org, this is where the money trail leads:
…the campaigns of Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), all cosponsors of the legislation (most of whom also sit on the House Agriculture Committee), received six-figure dollar amounts from providers of agricultural services and products — one segment of the agribusiness sector — during the 2014 election cycle. That put them high among the top 20 recipients of funds from the industry.
Cosponsors such as Reps. David Valadao (R-Calif.), Steve Fincher (R-Tenn.), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) aren’t on the Agriculture Committee, but nevertheless pulled in six-figure dollar amounts from the crop production and basic processing industry (another part of agribusiness; think Cargill Inc. and the National Corn Growers Association) during the midterm cycle — landing them among the 20 members who received the most from that industry.
Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), two original sponsors of the legislation, were the top two current House members receiving the most money from the Grocery Manufacturers Association in 2014. The grocery manufacturers — who have spent $4.1 million lobbying on all issues so far this year, almost as much as they spent in all of 2014 — have lobbied on the bill more than any other organization, mentioning the measure on 14 lobbying reports this year.
Do you see your representative in this list?
If you do, they certainly weren’t representing you.
Shanghai’s Bull Statue on Its Bund Waterfront (left); Bull Statue in Lower Manhattan (right)
Despite unprecedented efforts by the Chinese government to stem the rout in the Chinese stock market that had shaved as much as $4 trillion from share prices before the government’s interventions this month and last, the Shanghai Composite closed down 8.48 percent today at 3,725.558.
The overnight rout has raised speculation in some quarters as to whether we are going to see another “glitch” on the New York Stock Exchange today similar to that of July 8 in the midst of another Chinese stock market tumble. As we reported at the time:
“Yesterday, beginning at 11:32 a.m. and for the next three hours and forty minutes, the iconic New York Stock Exchange shuttered trading in all of its listed securities. The Exchange said it had experienced an internal glitch.
“Unknown to most Americans, some of those shuttered stocks on the New York Stock Exchange were Chinese stocks and among the largest capitalized companies in the world. More than 100 Chinese companies trade on U.S. stock exchanges as American Depository Receipts (ADRs) and almost 200 Chinese company ADRs trade over-the-counter in the U.S. (Individual shares are referred to as ADS, American Depository Shares.) Last year, Thomson Reuters estimated the market value of Chinese companies listed on just the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq Stock Market at more than $1.4 trillion.
“With the Chinese stock market rupturing over the past week and trading in more than a thousand stocks suspended in China, the spillover has hit the U.S. market hard.
“According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ March 31, 2015 list of the largest 100 global companies by market cap, there are 11 Chinese companies in that group. We took a look at trading in just two of those names yesterday, China Mobile and China Life Insurance, both of which trade as ADRs on the New York Stock Exchange.
“We looked at how China Mobile and China Life Insurance traded before, during and after the New York Stock Exchange halted trading in all of its securities. An interesting pattern emerged…After volume spikes in the morning prior to the trading halt by the Exchange, volume was subdued during the hours the Exchange remained closed. (Other trading venues are supposed to pick up the slack when an exchange goes dark.) Then volume picked up again when the Exchange reopened. China Mobile (symbol CHL) closed down 5.38 percent yesterday while China Life Insurance (symbol LTR) dropped 6.65 percent in New York trading.”
July 28th, 2015 by Center for Economic and Policy Research
CEPR Research Associate, Jake Johnston, reports in Al Jazeera America on US government funding to Mouvement Tét Kale, a political organization with close ties to President Michel Martelly, during the 2010-11 elections:
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — The U.S. Agency for International Development gave nearly $100,000 to a Haitian political movement with close ties to President Michel Martelly in the country’s 2010 elections, documents obtained by Al Jazeera show. The money was allocated shortly after Washington helped overturn the election results to thrust Martelly into power.
On the afternoon of Haiti’s Nov. 28, 2010, elections, 12 of 18 presidential candidates took the stage at the glamorous Karibe Hotel, high up in the mountains that surround the capital. The elections were a fraudulent mess, they told the gathered press, and the only way out was to cancel the poll and start over. Chaos soon engulfed Port-au-Prince and other cities, as thousands of young Haitians, many clad in the pink synonymous with Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, took to the streets to simultaneously denounce electoral fraud and herald the victory of their candidate, many days before any official results would be announced.
In the midst of the mayhem, key international actors mobilized. At an emergency meeting at the home of the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission, Edmond Mulet, leading diplomats pushed then-President René Préval to accept their offer of a plane to take him out of the country and avoid further confrontation. Mulet also approached the front-runners, including Martelly, telling them they had secured a spot in the second round and to cease calls for the election’s cancellation. Days later, when the electoral council announced preliminary results that did not have Martelly advancing to the runoff, the streets were once again taken over by largely pro-Martelly protesters. The U.S. Embassy released a statement questioning the announced results, fueling the demonstrations in Port-au-Prince.
The pressure of these pro-Martelly demonstrators — on the day of the elections and during the following weeks — was a key factor in convincing the U.S. and other international actors to intervene in Haiti’s elections and force the electoral authority to change the results of the first round, so as to ensure that Martelly remained on the ballot.
According to numerous firsthand accounts, Mouvement Tét Kale (MTK), a political organization with close ties to Martelly, was active in these street mobilizations. Now documents through Freedom of Information Act requests reveal that the U.S. government later provided nearly $100,000 in support to MTK, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
To read the complete article, click here. The document showing the support to Mouvement Tét Kale from the for-profit contractor Chemonics has also been posted online and is available here.
America’s hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the “Globalization of War” whereby the U.S.-NATO military machine –coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”— is deployed in all major regions of the world. The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission.
This “Long War against Humanity” is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history. It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of the World population.
The ultimate objective is World conquest under the cloak of “human rights” and “Western democracy”.
“Professor Michel Chossudovsky is the most realistic of all foreign policy commentators. He is a model of integrity in analysis, his book provides an honest appraisal of the extreme danger that U.S. hegemonic neoconservatism poses to life on earth.”
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury
““The Globalization of War” comprises war on two fronts: those countries that can either be “bought” or destabilized. In other cases, insurrection, riots and wars are used to solicit U.S. military intervention. Michel Chossudovsky’s book is a must read for anyone who prefers peace and hope to perpetual war, death, dislocation and despair.”
Hon. Paul Hellyer, former Canadian Minister of National Defence
“Michel Chossudovsky describes globalization as a hegemonic weapon that empowers the financial elites and enslaves 99 percent of the world’s population.
“The Globalization of War” is diplomatic dynamite – and the fuse is burning rapidly.”
Michael Carmichael, President, the Planetary Movement
The “globalization of war” is a hegemonic project. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The U.S. military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.
Under a global military agenda, the actions undertaken by the Western military alliance (U.S.-NATO-Israel) in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Ukraine, Syria and Iraq are coordinated at the highest levels of the military hierarchy. We are not dealing with piecemeal military and intelligence operations. The July-August 2014 attack on Gaza by Israeli forces was undertaken in close consultation with the United States and NATO. The actions in Ukraine and their timing coincided with the onslaught of the attack on Gaza.
In turn, military undertakings are closely coordinated with a process of economic warfare which consists not only in imposing sanctions on sovereign countries but also in deliberate acts of destabilization of financial and currencies markets, with a view to undermining the enemies’ national economies.
The United States and its allies have launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. As we go to press, U.S.and NATO forces have been deployed in Eastern Europe including Ukraine. U.S. military intervention under a humanitarian mandate is proceeding in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. and its allies are threatening China under President Obama’s “Pivot to Asia”.
In turn, military maneuvers are being conducted at Russia’s doorstep which could potentially lead to escalation.
The U.S. airstrikes initiated in September 2014 directed against Iraq and Syria under the pretext of going after the Islamic State are part of a scenario of military escalation extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to Central and South Asia.
The Western military alliance is in an advanced state of readiness. And so is Russia.
Russia is heralded as the “Aggressor”. U.S.-NATO military confrontation with Russia is contemplated.
Enabling legislation in the U.S. Senate under “The Russian Aggression Prevention Act” (RAPA) has “set the U.S. on a path towards direct military conflict with Russia in Ukraine.”
“Any U.S.-Russian war is likely to quickly escalate into a nuclear war, since neither the U.S. nor Russia would be willing to admit defeat, both have many thousands of nuclear weapons ready for instant use, and both rely upon Counterforce military doctrine that tasks their military, in the event of war, to pre-emptively destroy the nuclear forces of the enemy.”
The Russian Aggression Prevention Act (RAPA) is the culmination of more than twenty years of U.S.-NATO war preparations,which consist in the military encirclement of both Russia and China:
“From the moment the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the United States has relentlessly pursued a strategy of encircling Russia, just as it has with other perceived enemies like China and Iran. It has brought 12 countries in central Europe, all of them formerly allied with Moscow, into the NATO alliance. U.S. military power is now directly on Russia’s borders.”
This article establishes that the price of gold and silver in the futures markets in which cash is the predominant means of settlement is inconsistent with the conditions of supply and demand in the actual physical or current market where physical bullion is bought and sold as opposed to transactions in uncovered paper claims to bullion in the futures markets. The supply of bullion in the futures markets is increased by printing uncovered contracts representing claims to gold. This artificial, indeed fraudulent, increase in the supply of paper bullion contracts drives down the price in the futures market despite high demand for bullion in the physical market and constrained supply. We will demonstrate with economic analysis and empirical evidence that the bear market in bullion is an artificial creation.
The law of supply and demand is the basis of economics. Yet the price of gold and silver in the Comex futures market, where paper contracts representing 100 troy ounces of gold or 5,000 ounces of silver are traded, is inconsistent with the actual supply and demand conditions in the physical market for bullion. For four years the price of bullion has been falling in the futures market despite rising demand for possession of the physical metal and supply constraints.
We begin with a review of basics. The vertical axis measures price. The horizontal axis measures quantity. Demand curves slope down to the right, the quantity demanded increasing as price falls. Supply curves slope upward to the right, the quantity supplied rising with price. The intersection of supply with demand determines price. (Graph 1)
A change in quantity demanded or in the quantity supplied refers to a movement along a given curve. A change in demand or a change in supply refers to a shift in the curves. For example, an increase in demand (a shift to the right of the demand curve) causes a movement along the supply curve (an increase in the quantity supplied).
Changes in income and changes in tastes or preferences toward an item can cause the demand curve to shift. For example, if people expect that their fiat currency is going to lose value, the demand for gold and silver would increase (a shift to the right).
Changes in technology and resources can cause the supply curve to shift. New gold discoveries and improvements in gold mining technology would cause the supply curve to shift to the right. Exhaustion of existing mines would cause a reduction in supply (a shift to the left).
What can cause the price of gold to fall? Two things: The demand for gold can fall, that is, the demand curve could shift to the left, intersecting the supply curve at a lower price. The fall in demand results in a reduction in the quantity supplied. A fall in demand means that people want less gold at every price. (Graph 2)
Alternatively, supply could increase, that is, the supply curve could shift to the right, intersecting the demand curve at a lower price. The increase in supply results in an increase in the quantity demanded. An increase in supply means that more gold is available at every price. (Graph 3)
To summarize: a decline in the price of gold can be caused by a decline in the demand for gold or by an increase in the supply of gold.
A decline in demand or an increase in supply is not what we are observing in the gold and silver physical markets. The price of bullion in the futures market has been falling as demand for physical bullion increases and supply experiences constraints What we are seeing in the physical market indicates a rising price. Yet in the futures market in which almost all contracts are settled in cash and not with bullion deliveries, the price is falling.
For example, on July 7, 2015, the U.S. Mint said that due to a “significant” increase in demand, it had sold out of Silver Eagles (one ounce silver coin) and was suspending sales until some time in August. The premiums on the coins (the price of the coin above the price of the silver) rose, but the spot price of silver fell 7 percent to its lowest level of the year (as of July 7).
This is the second time in 9 months that the U.S. Mint could not keep up with market demand and had to suspend sales. During the first 5 months of 2015, the U.S. Mint had to ration sales of Silver Eagles. According to Reuters, since 2013 the U.S. Mint has had to ration silver coin sales for 18 months. In 2013 the Royal Canadian Mint announced the rationing of its Silver Maple Leaf coins:
“We are carefully managing supply in the face of very high demand. . . . Coming off strong sales volumes in December 2012, demand to date remains very strong for our Silver Maple Leaf and Gold Maple Leaf bullion coins.”
During this entire period when mints could not keep up with demand for coins, the price of silver consistently fell on the Comex futures market. On July 24, 2015 the price of gold in the futures market fell to its lowest level in 5 years despite an increase in the demand for gold in the physical market. On that day U.S. Mint sales of Gold Eagles (one ounce gold coin) were the highest in more than two years, yet the price of gold fell in the futures market.
How can this be explained? The financial press says that the drop in precious metals prices unleashed a surge in global demand for coins. This explanation is nonsensical to an economist. Price is not a determinant of demand but of quantity demanded. A lower price does not shift the demand curve. Moreover, if demand increases, price goes up, not down.
Perhaps what the financial press means is that the lower price resulted in an increase in the quantity demanded. If so, what caused the lower price? In economic analysis, the answer would have to be an increase in supply, either new supplies from new discoveries and new mines or mining technology advances that lower the cost of producing bullion.
There are no reports of any such supply increasing developments. To the contrary, the lower prices of bullion have been causing reductions in mining output as falling prices make existing operations unprofitable.
There are abundant other signs of high demand for bullion, yet the prices continue their four-year decline on the Comex. Even as massive uncovered shorts (sales of gold contracts that are not covered by physical bullion) on the bullion futures market are driving down price, strong demand for physical bullion has been depleting the holdings of GLD, the largest exchange traded gold fund. Since February 27, 2015, the authorized bullion banks (principally JPMorganChase, HSBC, and Scotia) have removed 10 percent of GLD’s gold holdings. Similarly, strong demand in China and India has resulted in a 19% increase of purchases from the Shanghai Gold Exchange, a physical bullion market, during the first quarter of 2015. Through the week ending July 10, 2015, purchases from the Shanghai Gold Exchange alone are occurring at an annualized rate approximately equal to the annual supply of global mining output.
India’s silver imports for the first four months of 2015 are 30% higher than 2014. In the first quarter of 2015 Canadian Silver Maple Leaf sales increased 8.5% compared to sales for the same period of 2014. Sales of Gold Eagles in June, 2015, were more than triple the sales for May. During the first 10 days of July, Gold Eagles sales were 2.5 times greater than during the first 10 days of June.
Clearly the demand for physical metal is very high, and the ability to meet this demand is constrained. Yet, the prices of bullion in the futures market have consistently fallen during this entire period. The only possible explanation is manipulation.
Precious metal prices are determined in the futures market, where paper contracts representing bullion are settled in cash, not in markets where the actual metals are bought and sold. As the Comex is predominantly a cash settlement market, there is little risk in uncovered contracts (an uncovered contract is a promise to deliver gold that the seller of the contract does not possess). This means that it is easy to increase the supply of gold in the futures market where price is established simply by printing uncovered (naked) contracts. Selling naked shorts is a way to artificially increase the supply of bullion in the futures market where price is determined. The supply of paper contracts representing gold increases, but not the supply of physical bullion.
As we have documented on a number of occasions (see, for example), the prices of bullion are being systematically driven down by the sudden appearance and sale during thinly traded times of day and night of uncovered future contracts representing massive amounts of bullion. In the space of a few minutes or less massive amounts of gold and silver shorts are dumped into the Comex market, dramatically increasing the supply of paper claims to bullion. If purchasers of these shorts stood for delivery, the Comex would fail. Comex bullion futures are used for speculation and by hedge funds to manage the risk/return characteristics of metrics like the Sharpe Ratio. The hedge funds are concerned with indexing the price of gold and silver and not with the rate of return performance of their bullion contracts.
A rational speculator faced with strong demand for bullion and constrained supply would not short the market. Moreover, no rational actor who wished to unwind a large gold position would dump the entirety of his position on the market all at once. What then explains the massive naked shorts that are hurled into the market during thinly traded times?
The bullion banks are the primary market-makers in bullion futures. they are also clearing members of the Comex, which gives them access to data such as the positions of the hedge funds and the prices at which stop-loss orders are triggered. They time their sales of uncovered shorts to trigger stop-loss sales and then cover their short sales by purchasing contracts at the price that they have forced down, pocketing the profits from the manipulation
The manipulation is obvious. The question is why do the authorities tolerate it?
Perhaps the answer is that a free gold market serves both to protect against the loss of a fiat currency’s purchasing power from exchange rate decline and inflation and as a warning that destabilizing systemic events are on the horizon. The current round of on-going massive short sales compressed into a few minutes during thinly traded periods began after gold hit $1,900 per ounce in response to the build-up of troubled debt and the Federal Reserve’s policy of Quantitative Easing. Washington’s power is heavily dependent on the role of the dollar as world reserve currency. The rising dollar price of gold indicated rising discomfort with the dollar. Whereas the dollar’s exchange value is carefully managed with help from the Japanese and European central banks, the supply of such help is not unlimited. If gold kept moving up, exchange rate weakness was likely to show up in the dollar, thus forcing the Fed off its policy of using QE to rescue the “banks too big to fail.”
The bullion banks’ attack on gold is being augmented with a spate of stories in the financial media denying any usefulness of gold. On July 17 the Wall Street Journal declared that honesty about gold requires recognition that gold is nothing but a pet rock. Other commentators declare gold to be in a bear market despite the strong demand for physical metal and supply constraints, and some influential party is determined that gold not be regarded as money.
Why a sudden spate of claims that gold is not money? Gold is considered a part of the United States’ official monetary reserves, which is also the case for central banks and the IMF. The IMF accepts gold as repayment for credit extended. The US Treasury’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency classifies gold as a currency, as can be seen in the OCC’s latest quarterly report on bank derivatives activities in which the OCC places gold futures in the foreign exchange derivatives classification.
The manipulation of the gold price by injecting large quantities of freshly printed uncovered contracts into the Comex market is an empirical fact. The sudden debunking of gold in the financial press is circumstantial evidence that a full-scale attack on gold’s function as a systemic warning signal is underway.
It is unlikely that regulatory authorities are unaware of the fraudulent manipulation of bullion prices. The fact that nothing is done about it is an indication of the lawlessness that prevails in US financial markets.
Paul Craig Roberts, Ph.D., is a former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.
Dave Kranzler is a University of Chicago MBA and is an active participant in financial markets.
Opponents of the Iran deal hope to do to the Jewish peace group J Street…
On July 23, the New York Times published an op-ed by Shmuel Rosner, political editor at the Jewish Journal and a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, which made the following claim:
There are American organizations (such as J Street) that support goals that barely any Israeli agrees with, that nevertheless flaunt the pro-Israel label.
No explanation was given of what these goals are, nor was any evidence given that “barely any Israeli” agrees with these goals.
While New York Times editors didn’t make Shmuel Rosner specify what the alleged goals of the avowedly pro-Israel peace group J Street are that “barely any Israeli” agrees with, context suggests the most obvious explanation: J Street has backed the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Iran and is backing the Iran nuclear deal, and that’s why opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are attacking J Street and saying that J Street’s claim to be “pro-Israel” is dubious.
So let’s assume that this is about diplomacy with Iran and the Iran nuclear deal. (The New York Times should certainly clarify this; you can urge them to do so here.) Should the New York Times have allowed Shmuel Rosner to assert without evidence that J Street’s backing of the Iran nuclear deal represents “barely any Israeli” and calls into question whether J Street is “pro-Israel”?
Here, here, here, and here are examples of senior members of the Israeli national security establishment speaking in support of the Iran nuclear deal. Think about their American counterparts, and imagine that someone claimed that “barely any American” held a view that all those people held. Would theNew York Times print such a claim?
Moreover, polling data indicates that the majority of American Jewsback the deal. So if Rosner’s standard for “pro-Israel” is opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, then according to Rosner’s standard, the majority of American Jews would not be “pro-Israel,” which proves that Rosner’s standard would be absurd. If someone claimed that the majority of American Jews are not “pro-Israel,” would the New York Timesprint that claim?
…what Republican operatives did to Democratic candidate John Kerry’s “swift boat” war record.
It is a kind of swiftboating to claim that J Street is not “pro-Israel” because it backs the Iran nuclear deal, when senior members of the Israeli national security establishment and the majority of American Jews support the deal.
And this swiftboating concerns everyone who supports diplomacy with Iran, because for many congressional Democrats, “J Street supports this” is a marker for “it’s relatively safe for congressional Democrats to stand with the Obama administration on this without too much fear of being attacked as ‘anti-Israel.’” J Street is protecting Democrats who support diplomacy. The opponents of diplomacy are attacking the J Street shield.
Some people cynically dismiss concerns about the New York Times regarding war and peace: What do you expect from the New York Times? Judy Miller, blah blah blah. This response, while perhaps seeming “radical,” is counterproductive to efforts to promote peace. The New York Times has too much power to promote war for people who want less war to ignore it. TheNew York Times has more power to promote war than most members of Congress. Most members of Congress are pretty jazzed if the New York Timesreports something that they say on a single day. The New York Times is shaping debate on war and peace every single day more than most individual members of Congress are on a very good day.
If we want to prevent war in the future, we need to take a “broken windows policing” approach to any hint of warmongering at the Times, and that includes any swiftboating of advocates for diplomacy.
Perhaps you might think: Well, it’s an opinion piece, that’s that guy’s opinion, he’s entitled to his opinion.
But the New York Times claims to factcheck its op-eds; indeed, theyfactcheck letters to the editor. According to the Times, people are not allowed to say whatever they want in the Times, even in an opinion piece.
Critics of the Iran deal are talking about the president of the United States like this. There is a group of people that they are trying to organize and inflame with claims that Obama is “anti-Israel” and the Iran nuclear deal is “anti-Israel” and people who support the Iran nuclear deal are “anti-Israel.” The support of J Street for the Iran deal is a big obstacle to this story line. That’s why these people are going after J Street.
Research shows that people who live near hydraulic fracturing (fracking) sites have more severe health problems than those who don’t, and wind up in the hospital more often.
Researchers from the University of Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania wrote in a study published in PLOS ONE that those who live close to the natural oil and gas drilling sites are more likely to suffer from heart conditions, neurological illnesses, and cancer. 
The scientists analyzed 198,000 hospitalizations records over a four year period (from 2007 to 2011) in Northern Pennsylvania counties, categorized 25 medical scenarios, and then associated each case with its proximity to a fracking area. A larger number of hospitalizations were found in those areas where drilling takes place.
According to the researchers, there are 18 zip code areas with a well density higher than 0.79 wells per square kilometer. That means a person who lives in one of those zip codes has a 27 percent greater risk of suffering from one of the aforementioned conditions. 
Fracking involves injecting a mixture of water, sand, and various chemicals into shale rock formations to release the oil and gas trapped inside. The practice is controversial because the chemicals can leak into ground water and release into the atmosphere, polluting both the body and the environment. Hydraulic fracturing has been banned in some states and communities, and other states and locales are trying to prohibit the process in their areas. 
“At this point, we suspect that residents are exposed to many toxicants, noise and social stressors due to hydraulic fracturing near their homes, and this may add to the increased number of hospitalizations,” said Dr. Reynold Panettieri, Jr., deputy director of the Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology at the University of Pennsylvania, and senior author of the study.
Some of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing are endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs, which can interfere with the normal functioning of the endocrine system, potentially causing infertility, cancer, and birth defects in residents who live near drilling sites. 
“More than 700 chemicals are used in the fracking process, and many of them disturb hormone function,” said Dr. Susan C. Nagel of the University of Missouri School of Medicine. 
To put the health and environmental costs of fracking into perspective, here are a few fast facts from 2013 that were published at EnvironmentAmerica.org:
Fracking Wells since 2005 – 82,000
Toxic Wastewater Produced in 2012 (billion gallons) – 280
Water Used since 2005 (billion gallons) – 250
Chemicals Used since 2005 (billion gallons) – 2
Air Pollution in One Year (tons) – 450,000
Global Warming Pollution since 2005 (million metric tons CO2-equivalent) – 100
Land Directly Damaged since 2005 (acres) – 360,000
“Nursery school staff and registered childminders must report toddlers at risk of becoming terrorists, under counter-terrorism measures proposed by the Government.
The directive is contained in a 39-page consultation document issued by the Home Office in a bid to bolster its Prevent anti-terrorism plan.
The document accompanies the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, currently before parliament. It identifies nurseries and early years childcare providers, along with schools and universities, as having a duty ‘to prevent people being drawn into terrorism’.”
Never fear good citizens of Great Britain. While your government actively does everything in its power to protect criminal financial oligarchs and powerful pedophiles, her majesty draws the line at toddler thought crime. We learn from the Independent:
A three-year-old child from London is one of hundreds of young people in the capital who have been tipped as potential future radicals and extremists.
As reported by the Evening Standard, 1,069 people have been put in the government’s anti-extremism ‘Channel’ process, the de-radicalization program at the heart of the Government’s ‘Prevent’ strategy.
The three-year-old in the program is from the borough of Tower Hamlets, and was a member of a family group that had been showing suspect behavior.
Since September 2014, 400 under 18s, including teenagers and children, have been referred to the scheme.
The fact that this story broke on the same day that chairman of the UK’s Lords Privileges and Conduct Committee, Lord John Sewel, was caught on video snorting cocaine off the breast of a prostitute with a £5 note, is simply priceless. You just can’t make this stuff up.
From the BBC:
Lord Sewel is facing a police inquiry after quitting as House of Lords deputy speaker over a video allegedly showing him taking drugs with prostitutes.
The footage showed him snorting powder from a woman’s breasts with a £5 note.
In the footage, Lord Sewel, who is married, also discusses the Lords’ allowances system.
As chairman of committees, the crossbench peer also chaired the privileges and conduct committee, and was responsible for enforcing standards in the Lords.
Lord Sewel served as a minister in the Scotland office under Tony Blair’s Labour government.
Tony Blair, why am I not surprised:
He has been a member of the Lords since 1996, and is a former senior vice principal of the University of Aberdeen.
The UK government is so far gone that it insists on protecting the public from toddlers, rather than protecting toddlers from powerful sexual predators.
Waking Times Editors’ note: This column by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was rejected for publication by major newspapers. Mr. Kennedy published it in USA Today as a paid advertisement. Re-printed here in full.
I am pro-vaccine. I had all of my six children vaccinated. I believe that vaccines save millions of lives. So let me explain why I edited the book “Thimerosal: Let The Science Speak,” which exposes the dangerous – and wholly unnecessary – use of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal in vaccines being given to millions of children and pregnant women here and around the world.
Vaccines are big business. Pharma is a trillion-dollar industry with vaccines accounting for $25 billion in annual sales. CDC’s decision to add a vaccine to the schedule can guarantee its manufacturer millions of customers and billions in revenue with minimal advertising or marketing costs and complete immunity from lawsuits. High stakes and the seamless marriage between Big Pharma and government agencies have spawned an opaque and crooked regulatory system. Merck, one of America’s leading vaccine outfits, is currently under investigation for deceiving FDA regulators about the effectiveness of its MMR vaccine. Two whistleblowers say Merck ginned up sham studies to maintain Merck’s MMR monopoly.
Big money has fueled the exponential expansion of CDC’s vaccine schedule since 1988, when Congress’ grant of immunity from lawsuits suddenly transformed vaccines into pay dirt. CDC recommended five pediatric vaccines when I was a boy in 1954. Today’s children cannot attend school without at least 56 doses of 14 vaccines by the time they’re 18.
An insatiable pharmaceutical industry has 271 new vaccines under development in CDC’s bureaucratic pipeline in hopes of boosting vaccine revenues to $100 billion by 2025. The industry’s principle spokesperson, Dr. Paul Offit, says that he believes children can take as many as 10,000 vaccines.
Public health may not be the sole driver of CDC decisions to mandate new vaccines. Four scathing federal studies, including two by Congress, one by the U.S. Senate, and one by the HHS Inspector General, paint CDC as a cesspool of corruption, mismanagement and dysfunction with alarming conflicts of interest suborning its research, regulatory and policymaking functions. CDC rules allow vaccine industry profiteers like Dr. Offit to serve on advisory boards that add new vaccines to the schedule. In a typical example, Offit in 1999 sat on the CDC’s vaccine advisory committee and voted to add the rotavirus vaccine to CDC’s schedule, paving the way for him to make a fortune on his own rotavirus vaccine. Offit and his business partners sold the royalties to his rotavirus vaccine patent to Merck in 2006 for $182 million. Offit told Newsweek, “It was like winning the lottery!”
A 2009 HHS Inspector General’s report found that the CDC certified financial disclosure forms with at least one omission for 97 percent of committee members – and most forms had more than one type of omission. The same report stated that as many as 64 percent of committee members had potential conflicts of interest that CDC did not identify or resolve before certifying their forms. In addition to lucrative business partnerships with Merck, Offit holds a $1.5 million research chair, funded by Merck, at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. From this industry sinecure, he broadcasts vaccine industry propaganda and annually publishes books urging unlimited vaccinations and vilifying safe-vaccine advocates.
The corruption has also poisoned CDC’s immunization safety office, the research arm that tests vaccines for safety and efficacy. In August 2014, 17-year CDC veteran Dr. William Thompson, who is author of the principal study cited by CDC to exculpate mercury-preserved vaccines from the autism link, invoked whistleblower protection, and turned extensive agency files over to Congress. Thompson, who is still employed at CDC, says that for the past decade his superiors have pressured him and his fellow scientists to lie and manipulate data about the safety of the mercury-based preservative thimerosal to conceal its causative link to a suite of brain injuries, including autism.
Thimerosal is 50 percent ethylmercury, which is far more toxic and persistent in the brain than the highly regulated methylmercury in fish. Hundreds of peer-reviewed studies by leading government and university scientists show that thimerosal is a devastating brain poison linked to neurological disorders now epidemic in American children. My book, “Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak,” is a summary of these studies, which CDC and its credulous journalists swear don’t exist. Although Thompson’s CDC and vaccine industry colleagues have created nine patently fraudulent and thoroughly discredited epidemiological studies to defend thimerosal, no published study shows thimerosal to be safe.
The common canard that U.S. autism rates rose after drug makers removed most thimerosal from pediatric vaccines in 2003 is wrong. That same year, CDC added flu shots containing massive doses of thimerosal to the pediatric schedule. As a result, children today can get nearly as much mercury exposure as children did from all pediatric vaccines combined in the decade prior to 2003. Worse, thimerosal, for the first time, is being given to pregnant women in flu shots. Furthermore, CDC’s current autism numbers are for children born in 2002, when kids were still getting thimerosal in their pediatric vaccines. The best science suggests that thimerosal’s complete removal from vaccines is likely to prompt a significant decline in autism. For example, a 2013 CDC study in JAMA Pediatrics shows a 33 percent drop in autism spectrum disorder in Denmark following the 1992 removal of thimerosal from Danish vaccines. That paper is among 37 peer-reviewed studies linking thimerosal to the autism epidemic.
Thimerosal has precipitated a journalistic as well as a public health crisis. Big Pharma pumps over $3.5 billion annually into TV, newspapers and other advertising, targeting news departments, which have become vehicles for pharmaceutical sales and propaganda platforms for the industry. Television and print outlets feature spokespeople like Dr. Offit – without identifying their industry ties – while censoring criticisms of vaccine safety and excluding the voices of informed vaccine safety advocates. Busy journalists parrot the deceptive talking points dispensed by government and pharma officials rather than reading the science themselves. Unable to argue the science, they bully, pillory and demonize vaccine safety advocates as “anti-vax,” “anti-science” and far worse. The unwillingness of the press to scrutinize CDC has emboldened both industry and agency to follow the lowest paths of easy profit and bureaucratic preservation.
The measles scare was classic disaster capitalism, with media outlets dutifully stoking public hysteria on editorial pages and throughout the 24-hour broadcast cycle. With Dr. Offit leading the charge, CDC, drug makers and industry-funded front groups parlayed a garden variety annual measles outbreak into a national tidal wave of state legislation to ban religious and philosophical vaccine exemptions. The national media frenzy over 159 measles cases left little room for attention to the the autism cataclysm which has debilitated 1 million American children since the pandemic began in 1989, with 27,000 new cases annually. CDC refuses to call autism an “epidemic.” In defiance of hard science, and common sense, CDC and Offit have launched a denial campaign to gull reporters into believing the autism plague is an illusion created by better diagnosis.
Big Pharma is among the nation’s largest political donors, giving $31 million last year to national political candidates. It spends more on political lobbying than any other industry, $3 billion from 1998 to 2014 – double the amount spent by oil and gas and four times as much as defense and aerospace lobbyists. By February, state legislators in 36 states were pushing through over 100 new laws to end philosophical and religious vaccine exemptions. Many of those state lawmakers are also on the industry payroll. You can see how much money bill sponsors from your state took from Big Pharma on http://www. maplight.org.
Normally plaintiffs’ tort lawyers would provide a powerful check and balance to keep vaccines safe and effective and regulators and policymakers honest. But Pharma’s dirty money has bought the industry immunity from lawsuits for vaccine injury no matter how dangerous the product. An obliging Congress disposed of the Seventh Amendment right to jury trial, making it impossible for vaccine-injured plaintiffs to sue pharmaceutical companies for selling unsafe vaccines. That’s right! No class actions. No discovery. No depositions and little financial incentive for the industry to make vaccines safer.
Vaccine industry money has neutralized virtually all of the checks and balances that once stood between a rapacious pharmaceutical industry and our children. With the research, regulatory and policymaking agencies captured, the courts closed to the public, the lawyers disarmed, the politicians on retainer and the media subverted, there is no one left to stand between a greedy industry and vulnerable children, except parents. Now Big Pharma’s game plan is to remove parental informed consent rights from that equation and force vaccine-hesitant parents to inject their children with potentially risky vaccines the Supreme Court has called “unavoidably unsafe.”
Ending exemptions is premature until we have a functioning regulatory agency and a transparent process. The best way to insure full vaccine coverage is for the vaccine program to win back public trust by ending its corrupt financial ties with a profit-making industry.
To educate yourselves about CDC corruption and the truth about vaccine science, I hope you will read “Thimerosal: Let the Science Speak” and download the important movie “Trace Amounts” and insist your legislators watch it before voting on any of these bills.
Vor den Wahlen im Januar versprach das Bündnis Syriza dem griechischen Volk, der unmenschlichen Austeritätspolitik den Kampf anzusagen und die Diktatur der Troika zu beenden.
Fünf Monate lang verhandelten Alexis Tsipras und sein Finanzminister Varoufakis mit den Vertretern der EU-Kommission, des IWF und der EZB. Während sie deren finanzielle Forderungen in dieser Zeit vollauf erfüllten, widersetzten sie sich einigen ihrer Forderungen.
Anfang Juli setzten sie ein Referendum an, bei dem ihnen die Bevölkerung den Rücken stärkte und den klaren Auftrag erteilte, die Politik eines „nein“ zur Austeritätspolitik in den Verhandlungen mit der Troika offensiv zu vertreten.
Statt diesen Wählerauftrag zu erfüllen, reagierte Tsipras mit einer 180-Grad-Kehrtwende. Er entließ seinen Finanzminister, fuhr nach Brüssel und akzeptierte bei den anschließenden Verhandlungen ein noch schärferes Austeritätsprogramm als seine Vorgänger.
Inzwischen hat Tsipras zwei Abstimmungen im griechischen Parlament mit Unterstützung genau der Kräfte überstanden, als deren vermeintlicher Gegner er einst angetreten war. Außerdem hat er inzwischen alle politischen Mitstreiter, die auch nur teilweise an ihren früheren Versprechen festhielten, aus seinem Kabinett entfernt.
Nun aber sind er, Varoufakis und ihre parlamentarischen Mitstreiter vom Bündnis Syriza noch einen Schritt weiter gegangen: Mit der Zustimmung zu dem am Mittwoch verabschiedeten Reformpaket billigen sie Maßnahmen, deren Unmenschlichkeit weit über das hinausgeht, was sie ihren Gegnern in der Vergangenheit vorgeworfen haben.
Zum einen dürfen Verfahren zur Zwangsräumung von Wohnungen und Häusern in Griechenland von nun an beschleunigt durchgeführt werden. Angesichts der katastrophalen Wirtschaftslage, der hohen Arbeitslosigkeit und der andauernden Kapitalverkehrskontrollen ist abzusehen, dass neben vielen bereits betroffenen Bürgern zahllose weitere mit ihren Zins- und Tilgungsraten in Verzug und damit in Zahlungsschwierigkeiten geraten werden.
Mit ihrem „Ja“ zeigen Tsipras, Varoufakis und Co, welch falsches Spiel sie getrieben haben, als sie sich in den vergangenen Monaten vor den Augen der Welt als Anwälte der kleinen Leute präsentiert haben. Bei Zwangsräumungen – einer der brutalsten sozialen Maßnahmen überhaupt – stehen sie jetzt offen auf der Seite von Inkassobüros und Geldeintreibern und wenden sich gegen unverschuldet in Not geratene Menschen.
Noch weiter geht die Zustimmung der Syriza-Parlamentarier zu einer Maßnahme, die sie den Bürgern Griechenlands auch noch als Fortschritt verkaufen: Um Steuerzahler, die in der Vergangenheit zur Rettung in Not geratener Banken herangezogen wurden, zu „entlasten“, wird in Zukunft auch in Griechenland die europäische Bankenabwicklungsrichtlinie BRRD in Kraft treten. Sie besagt, dass vor einem Eingreifen des Staates zunächst Aktionäre und Gläubiger der betroffenen Banken zur Kasse gebeten werden müssen.
Wie diese auch als „Bail-in“ bezeichnete Maßnahme in der Praxis aussieht, hat das Eingreifen der Troika in Zypern im Frühjahr 2013 gezeigt. Dort wurden Anleger, die mehr als 100.000 Euro auf ihren Konten hielten, von ihren Banken zu 40 Prozent enteignet – eine Maßnahme, die vor allem den Mittelstand, insbesondere kleinere Unternehmer, mit äußerster Härte traf.
Zwar gilt europaweit offiziell ein Einlegerschutz für Einlagen bis 100.000 Euro, doch sollte niemand glauben, dass Einlagen unter diesem Betrag vor einem Bail-in sicher sind. Die größten vier Banken Griechenlands – die National Bank of Greece, die Piräus Bank, die Alpha Bank und die Eurobank – verfügen derzeit nur über Kundeneinlagen in Höhe von knapp 130 Mrd. Euro. Da Schätzungen zufolge zwischen 40 und 50 Prozent ihrer Kredite nicht bedient werden (bei steigender Tendenz) und nur etwa 40 Prozent der Einlagen über 8.000 Euro liegen, ist die Lage weitaus dramatischer als vor zwei Jahren bei den Banken auf Zypern. Um die faulen Kredite zu kompensieren und ihr Eigenkapital zu erhöhen, brauchen die griechischen Banken unbedingt frisches Geld.
Die Bail-in-Abmachung zwischen der Troika und der zyprischen Regierung von 2013 basierte im übrigen nicht etwa auf einer gesetzlichen Grundlage, sondern auf einer eilig beschlossenen „Vereinbarung“ zwischen zyprischer Regierung und EU. Eine „Notverordnung“ zur Außerkraftsetzung der gesetzlichen Einlagensicherung dürfte der EU im Fall Griechenlands wohl kaum Schwierigkeiten bereiten.
Wie die Financial Times berichtet und eine der betroffenen griechischen Banken inzwischen bestätigt hat, wird eine solche Maßnahme bereits hinter verschlossenen Türen diskutiert. Hierbei soll es um eine 30prozentige Enteignung aller Konten über 8.000 Euro gehen.
Diese Informationen dürften sowohl Tsipras als auch Varoufakis bekannt gewesen sein, als sie am Mittwoch im griechischen Parlament für die Bankenabwicklungsrichtlinie gestimmt haben.
Sie und die übrigen Vertreter von Syriza haben damit wissentlich dazu beigetragen, dass den arbeitenden Menschen in Griechenland, denen bereits sechs Sparprogramme aufgebürdet wurden, deren Renten im Schnitt um mehr als 40 Prozent gekürzt wurden, denen zu einem großen Teil der Zugang zum Gesundheitswesen versperrt ist und deren Ärmste ihren Hunger bekämpfen, indem sie im Müll nach Essbarem wühlen, nun auch ein Teil ihrer lebensnotwendigen Rücklagen genommen werden. Und nicht nur ihnen, sondern auch Millionen von Sparern in Serbien, Albanien, Bulgarien, Mazedonien und Rumänien, die ihre Konten bei den dortigen Filialen der vier größten griechischen Banken unterhalten und in deren Ländern der Lebensstandard teilweise noch unter dem Griechenlands liegt.
Am Wochenende vor der Abstimmung hatte Yannis Varoufakis der spanischen Zeitung El Mundo noch ein Interview gegeben, in dem er die Kreditgeber seines Landes als „Terroristen“ bezeichnete. Kann man die Unaufrichtigkeit einer politischen Bewegung wie Syriza besser auf den Punkt bringen als dadurch, dass man drei Tage nach einer solchen Aussage vor deren Forderungen kuscht und für die teilweise Enteignung arbeitender Menschen zugunsten milliardenschwerer Investoren stimmt?
Black people know Jim Crow remains virulent in America – 1960s civil rights laws did nothing to curb police brutality largely against Black and Brown people.
On Friday through Sunday, hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists from around the country met in Cleveland for the inaugural Movement for Black Lives convention.
Information about the event said it was organized “at a pivotal time for the growing movement for Black lives in the United States.”
“Black people are facing unabated police violence, increasing criminalization, a failed economic system, a broken education system and the loss of our communities to gentrification and development. Our trans and queer communities face the increased risk of physical and economic violence. The list of indignities regularly faced by the Black community is long and untenable.”
Anti-police brutality street protests reflect resistance against what no one should tolerate anywhere. When federal, state and/or local governments abuse their citizens, activism in their own self-defense matters most.
“(O)ur need for space to begin the creation of a collective mission that matches the intensity, scale, urgency, and promise of the moment” is vital.
“This convening presents an opportunity for us to reflect on our histories of struggle, build a sense of fellowship that transcends geographical boundaries and begin to heal from the many traumas we face,”
movement organizers said.
“Open, and created by many voices, The Movement for Black Lives Convening will be a space to realize that promise fully on our terms as Black people.” They’re urged to get involved for their own welfare and futures.
When activist movements demand redress for longstanding grievances, uncaring authorities respond harshly. Rampant police brutality needs no explaining. More below on the latest example.
In 2013, an ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit revealed intrusive FBI surveillance of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) activists nationwide. One internal document called them “domestic terrorists.”
Homeland Security, the FBI, Joint Terrorism Task Force, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Domestic Security Alliance Council and even the Federal Reserve (representing Wall Street clout) working jointly with state and local police undermined the movement.
It failed to achieve long sought social justice. Energy driving early activism waned. Organized federal, state and local actions neutralized it effectively.
The same government agencies target Black activists. FOIA obtained documents show Homeland Security began monitoring Black Lives Matter organizers and activities since summer 2014 Ferguson, MO protests against police murdering Michael Brown.
Peaceful protests and gatherings are closely watched wherever they occur. Local authorities are involved – aiming to undermine movements for justice before they gain traction.
First Amendment freedoms are flagrantly violated – including unrestricted expression, peaceful assembly and right to petition government for redress of grievances systematically ignored.
When Black American activists and supporters are considered “domestic terrorists,” police state ruthlessness overrides constitutionally mandated rights. They exist only for rich and powerful elites.
What’s ongoing isn’t new. Decades earlier, COINTELPRO tactics followed J. Edgar Hoover’s orders to infiltrate, disrupt, sabotage, and destroy activist movements for ethnic justice, racial emancipation, and real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines.
Secretive, mostly illegal FBI counterintelligence activities targeted political dissidents, including communists; anti-war, human and civil rights activists; the American Indian Movement; and Black Panther Party among others.
Black Lives Matter activists are in the eye of the storm. Cleveland police targeted some of their Movement for Black Lives participants violently.
Hundreds from across the country came to discuss police repression and social injustice Blacks in America face virtually everywhere – in large and small cities, urban and rural areas.
After concluding Sunday activities, dozens of activists symbolically demonstrated publicly. Video evidence showed police targeted them violently – pepper-spraying them repeatedly without cause. Arrests followed, including a 14-year-old boy, later released to his family with activists chanting “(W)e love you.”
Local organizer Malaya Davis said “Cleveland looks just like Ferguson, looks just like Baltimore, looks just like all of these places (with) high (levels of) oppression. We wanted to highlight that and bring some attention to what’s going on in this city and the state of Ohio as well.”
Police brutality in America is longstanding. Killer cops operate with impunity. Violence against peaceful protesters for justice is commonplace. Sunday in Cleveland was the latest example.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.
As readers of WhoWhatWhy know, our site has been one of the very few continuing to explore the fiery death two years ago of investigative journalist Michael Hastings, whose car left a straight segment of a Los Angeles street at a high speed, jumped the median, hit a tree, and blew up.
Our original report described anomalies of the crash and surrounding events that suggest cutting-edge foul play—that an external hacker could have taken control of Hastings’s car in order to kill him. If this sounds too futuristic, a series of recent technical revelations has proven that “car hacking” is entirely possible. The latest just appeared this week.
Hackers, seeking to demonstrate the vulnerability of automobiles to remote attacks, were able to largely take over the Jeep Cherokee driven by a writer for the tech magazine Wired:
Their code is an automaker’s nightmare: software that lets hackers send commands through the Jeep’s entertainment system to its dashboard functions, steering, brakes, and transmission, all from a laptop that may be across the country.
They were able to make his car decelerate suddenly, causing the writer to “narrowly avert death” at the hands of a semi-trailer coming up behind him.
In an earlier demonstration, they had been able to do similar things with other vehicles:
All of this is increasingly drawing the attention—and action— of the authorities. U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, introduced legislation Tuesday seeking to establish federal standards for security and privacy of drivers in today’s computer-laden cars.
What we do not hear is any discussion about whether the risk has gone beyond the realm of possibility…to a reality.
What About Hastings?
Back when Michael Hastings died, former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke—by all accounts a sober, no-nonsense man—said that the Hastings’s crash was “consistent with a car cyber attack” and that it was likely that intelligence agencies knew “how to remotely seize control of a car.”
It is worth noting, too, that the day before his death, Hastings had “urgently” requested to borrow his neighbor’s car—he wanted to get out of town, but he feared his own car was being tampered with.
How is it then that “mainstream” publications, including even Wired, do not talk about the very odd circumstances surrounding the death of a journalist who had made powerful enemies? Did the fact that he had caused a famed general to be fired, that he was investigating the CIA chief, that he told colleagues he himself was being investigated by the FBI—did none of this at least raise the slightest suspicion on the part of our journalistic community? How about the fiery explosion when his car hit a palm tree—which automotive experts say should not normally take place; what about the fact that the engine flew out of the vehicle and landed a considerable distance away–which, again, we are told, is highly unusual?
As with so many of these things, the authorities raced to conclude that it was all an unfortunate accident and that there was no more to the story. And virtually the entirety of journalism—Left, Right and Center, Mainstream and “Alternative”—accepted this conclusion without so much as a hint of skepticism.
So, now that it has been dramatically demonstrated that accidents can be caused remotely by those targeting a driver, will we see other media stepping up to take a good hard look at the key question: What really happened to Michael Hastings? We hope so, but we aren’t taking any bets.
Image: Italian complex, following the attack last August
An Israeli general likened Israel’s bombing of three landmark towers in the Gaza Strip last year to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Speaking at the Future Forces for Homeland Security conference in Herzliya last week, Major General (ret.) Gershon Hacohen said:
“I need symbols, I’m talking about symbols. It is no simple matter. Because if I destroyed three towers in Gaza towards the end of Operation Protective Edge, and inflicted not only pain in the economic sense but also a symbol, and like the Twin Towers in New York were a symbol, what is significant is not only the physics but the significance of the matter.”
During the final two nights of the 51-day war on Gaza last summer, Israeli warplanes dropped American-supplied bombs on the Zafer Four tower, the Italian Compound, the Basha tower, and a four-story mall in Rafah. The mass destruction left hundreds of families homeless and struck a heavy blow to Gaza’s already crippled economy. These attacks were carried out when the ceasefire was imminent. The Italian Compound and Basha tower were destroyed only a few hours before the announcement of the ceasefire agreement.
Contrary to Israeli propaganda which claimed that the towers housed Hamas “command centers,” the general’s statement confirms my reporting from Gaza: the Israeli military chose these targets so as to attack the professional class, which is considered unsympathetic to the political goals of Hamas. These attacks are part of Israel’s continued strangulation of Gaza’s economy. Unemployment is now at 55%, the highest in the world.
Hacohen’s speech to a crowd of military and weapons industry figures was entitled, “Future battlefields and functions of the future soldiers in future military tactics.” Hacohen retired last fall.
Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip remains covered in rubble. The eight-year Israeli/Egyptian siege continues unabated and has prevented the delivery of reconstruction materials that were promised in Cairo. While indirect negotiations for a long-term ceasefire drag on, it is abundantly clear that another major Israeli attack on Gaza in a matter of when, not if.
Dan Cohen is an independent journalist based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000. With thanks to Dena Shunra for translation.
Risk analyst Nassim Nicholas Taleb predicted the 2008 financial crisis, by pointing out that commonly-used risk models were wrong. Taleb – a distinguished professor of risk engineering at New York University, and author of best-sellers The Black Swan and Fooled by Randomness – Taleb became financially independent after the crash of 1987, and wealthy during the 2008 financial crisis.
Taleb noted last year that most boosters for genetically modified foods (GMOs) – including scientists – are totally ignorant about risk analysis. Taleb said that proliferating GMOs could lead to “an irreversible termination of life [on] the planet.”
This month, Taleb – and tail-hedging expert Mark Spitznagel, who also made a hugely profitable billion dollar derivatives bet on the stock market crash of 2008 – wrote in the New York Times:
Before the crisis that started in 2007, both of us believed that the financial system was fragile and unsustainable, contrary to the near ubiquitous analyses at the time.
Now, there is something vastly riskier facing us, with risks that entail the survival of the global ecosystem — not the financial system. This time, the fight is against the current promotion of genetically modified organisms, or G.M.O.s.
Our critics held that the financial system was improved thanks to the unwavering progress of science and technology, which had blessed finance with more sophisticated economic insight. But the “tail risks,” or the effect from rare but monstrously consequential events, we held, had been increasing, owing to increasing complexity and globalization. Given that almost nobody was paying attention to the risks, we set ourselves and our clients to be protected from an eventual collapse of the banking system, which subsequently happened to the benefit of those who were prepared.
We were repeatedly told that there was evidence that the system was stable, that we were in “the Great Moderation,” a common practice that mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence. For the financial system to be viable, the solution is for it to resemble the restaurant business: decentralized, with mistakes that stay local and that cannot bring down the entire apparatus.
Indeed, a Nobel prize-winning economist and many other experts say that too much centralization destabilizes economies and other systems.
Taleb and Spitznagel by pointing out that the GMO-cheerleaders are making the same anti-scientific arguments as those who said the financial system was stable prior to 2008:
The financial system nearly collapsed, but it was only money. We now find ourselves facing nearly the same five fallacies for our caution against the growth in popularity of G.M.O.s. [Nearly 80% of all food produced in the U.S. contains GMOs.]
First, there has been a tendency to label anyone who dislikes G.M.O.s as anti-science — and put them in the anti-antibiotics, antivaccine, even Luddite category. There is, of course, nothing scientific about the comparison. Nor is the scholastic invocation of a “consensus” a valid scientific argument.
Interestingly, there are similarities between arguments that are pro-G.M.O. and snake oil, the latter having relied on a cosmetic definition of science. The charge of “therapeutic nihilism” was leveled at people who contested snake oil medicine at the turn of the 20th century. (At that time, anything with the appearance of sophistication was considered “progress.”)
Second, we are told that a modified tomato is not different from a naturally occurring tomato. That is wrong: The statistical mechanism by which a tomato was built by nature is bottom-up, by tinkering in small steps (as with the restaurant business, distinct from contagion-prone banks). In nature, errors stay confined and, critically, isolated.
Third, the technological salvation argument we faced in finance is also present with G.M.O.s, which are intended to “save children by providing them with vitamin-enriched rice.” The argument’s flaw is obvious: In a complex system, we do not know the causal chain, and it is better to solve a problem by the simplest method, and one that is unlikely to cause a bigger problem.
Fourth, by leading to monoculture — which is the same in finance, where all risks became systemic — G.M.O.s threaten more than they can potentially help. Ireland’s population was decimated by the effect of monoculture during the potato famine. Just consider that the same can happen at a planetary scale.
It has been accepted science for decades that when all the farmers in a certain region grow the same strain of the same crop – called “monoculture” – the crops become much more susceptible.
Because any bug (insect or germ) which happens to like that particular strain could take out the whole crop on pretty much all of the region’s farms.
For example, one type of grasshopper – called “differential grasshoppers” – loves corn. If everyone grows the same strain of corn in a town in the midwest, and differential grasshoppers are anywhere nearby, they may come and wipe out the entire town’s crops (that’s why monoculture crops require such high levels of pesticides).
On the other hand, if farmers grow a lot of different types of crops (“polyculture”) , then a pest might get some crops, but the rest will survive.
Taleb and Spitznagel conclude:
The G.M.O. experiment, carried out in real time and with our entire food and ecological system as its laboratory, is perhaps the greatest case of human hubris ever. It creates yet another systemic, “too big too fail” enterprise — but one for which no bailouts will be possible when it fails.
In the real world – using statistical analysis – GMOs are inferior when compared to other types of food, because GMOs are associated with:
Rarely in recent years have the foreign travels of a leading German politician caused such a stir as the visit earlier this month to Iran by the German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel (Social Democratic Party, SPD). With the ink barely dry on the recently-negotiated nuclear program agreement with Iran, Gabriel was already bound for Tehran in the company of a high-level business delegation.
Berlin’s foray into one of the most strategically important and resource-rich countries in the Middle East—Iran has the fourth largest oil and second largest gas reserves in the world—is part of German imperialism’s return to the world stage. Significantly, the visit took place the same week as the federal government enforced a brutal austerity program on Greece and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited Cuba with a delegation.
Gabriel’s trip to Iran was so sudden and his related objectives so obvious that even a number of media outlets, which otherwise regularly beat the drum for a more aggressive German participation in world affairs, felt compelled to comment critically on the expedition.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper called it “embarrassing” and warned: “Now the impression has been given that Germany is mainly concerned about its business interests. Arriving late is stupid, but sometimes flying off too early is a lot more stupid.”
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung also referred to Gabriel’s trip as “quick off the mark, if not over-hasty.” The paper’s columnist wrote that it might perhaps “help German industry to once again secure a foothold in this market after the long years of sanctions.” It was, however, “an ambiguous signal” in relation to German foreign policy, according to FAZ.
Criticism of Gabriel’s delegation even came from within the government’s own ranks: “I’m worried about the declaration that Iran is one of our friends,” said Roderich Kiesewetter (Christian Democratic Union, CDU), the CDU/Christian Social Union (CSU) alliance representative in the foreign affairs committee of the Bundestag (federal parliament). He added that Iran could only be “our friend and a stability factor in the region,” when it “actually recognises Israel’s right to exist.” Former SPD parliamentarian and German-Israeli Society president Reinhold Robbe stated that Gabriel gave the impression “that Germany sets its economic interests above everything else.”
The arrogant bluster of Gabriel certainly helped to confirm this “impression.” Soon after his government plane landed at Mehrabad international airport in Tehran, he told German reporters:
“Traditionally we have good relations [with Iran], and many companies want to build on existing contacts. And the chance for this will emerge when the agreement enters into force early next year. It will be the first major step, but there will certainly be many more that will have to be taken.”
The business representatives in his entourage were even less able to restrain their enthusiasm for the new opportunities opening up for the export and commodity-hungry German imperialism. President of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) Eric Schweitzer said, “German industry is highly regarded in Iran,” and continued: “During the reign of the Shah, Iran was Germany’s second most important export market outside Europe. Many want to follow up on that.”
DIHK head of foreign trade Volker Treier proclaimed,
“The Iranian economy is geared more towards industry than one might assume. With its 80 million inhabitants and a strong industrial base, the country is predestined to be an export market for German companies.”
The German business press is also enthusiastic about the development. The monthly Manager Magazin gushed that, in addition to “a highly qualified workforce,” there are “a lot of raw materials” available in Iran. The country is seen as “a sleeping giant” that has “substantial pent-up economic demands as a result of sanctions in recent years.”
German imperialism and German capital consider the Iran nuclear agreement, brokered in part through the efforts of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, as an opportunity to build on their traditionally close relations with Iran and increase their economic and political influence across the whole region.
Die Welt writes that “the opportunities opening up for German companies in Iran are outstanding.” Relations between businesses from both countries are recognised to have “grown over decades,” and “some German companies have been involved in the heartland of the former Persian empire for more than 100 years.”
According to official sources, some 80 German companies are currently operating directly through branches in Iran, and about 1,000 other enterprises have representatives there. Among the largest German concerns on site are Henkel, Siemens and Bayer. Following the sharp decline in economic relations over recent years, the value of German exports had already increased by almost a third to €2.4 billion (US$2.6 billion) in 2014.
The DIHK now expects a doubling of German exports within the next two years to around €5 billion (US$5.5 billion). The Federation of German Industries (BDI) even assumes that German companies could be exporting goods worth more than €10 billion to Iran in the near future.
Following a joint meeting with Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh on Monday, Gabriel announced that Germany and Iran will resume the operation of a joint economic commission beginning in 2016. Iranian President Hassan Rohani expressed hope that Berlin would play a “positive role” in the development of relations between the two countries and also between Europe and the entire Middle East, “just as it had done in the nuclear program negotiations.”
What Rohani and the Iranian regime describe as “positive” means in fact the complete submission of the country to the plundering of imperialist powers 35 years after the Iranian revolution.
Commenting under the headline “The Great Race,” the Süddeutsche Zeitung suggested that Germany “is not the only country that wants a careful return to normality.” It pointed out that, although Gabriel was the “first high-ranking western politician in Iran” since the nuclear deal, several other EU foreign ministers had already paid visits to Tehran. France had already sent “a 130-strong business delegation to Iran in February 2014,” in which oil giant Total, plant builder Alstom, the Orange telecommunications group and French automakers were represented.
China is also regarded as an obvious competitor. Anton Börner, head of the BGA foreign trade association, predicts that it will probably be “difficult” for the German business community to “once again become Iran’s largest trading partner.” According to Börner, Chinese companies that have exploited the past years of sanctions “to establish themselves in Iran” would “fight to maintain their position, when the sanctions are withdrawn.”
Commenting on increasing competition from Asian countries, Volker Treier said: “Chinese and Korean companies in Iran have now taken our place in the sun.” He said the Chinese now had “a trade volume of US$50 billion in their business with Iran. We won’t be able to get near such a scale of investment.”
The fact that leading German business representatives are again claiming their right to “a place in the sun” has far-reaching historical implications. When the imperialist forces of the so-called “late emerging German nation” first aspired to achieve “a place in the sun” (words subsequently used in Chancellor Bernhard von Bülow’s address to the German parliament on December 6, 1897), the phrase mainly referred to the possession of colonies in Africa and the Middle East, and the development of a unilateral global policy which twice led to disaster in the 20th century.
As in the past, the renewed grandstanding of German imperialism on the world stage will exacerbate tensions with the US. Although not openly discussed in public, the rush of German businesses to stake claims in Iran is driven by an attempt to forestall potential American competition, which will be excluded from the country prior to the US Congress’s vote on the nuclear program agreement. An Iran dominated by German imperialism or German-led European imperialism would also be a direct geo-strategic challenge to US imperialism, which has concluded the nuclear deal primarily in order to defend its own hegemony in the region.
The Black Lives Matter movement has another martyr, as it prepares for a national conference in Cleveland, this weekend. Sandra Bland’s murder in Texas shows, once again, that “defending one’s dignity in an encounter with the police is a crime that that can lead to a death sentence.” The emerging movement must be clear on the political nature of Bland’s death, and that only real power in the hands of the people can break the cycle of oppression.
“Authentic justice and liberation will only come when there is authentic de-colonization and revolutionary power in the hands of self-determinate peoples’ and oppressed classes and social groups.”
During the struggle in South Africa black activists who were captured by the state had a strange habit of jumping to their deaths from the windows of jails and courthouses whenever the authorities would turn their backs. In the U.S. the method of suicide black prisoners appear to choose is death by hanging – that is, when they are unable to pull a gun from an officer and shoot themselves in the chest while handcuffed behind their backs.
In Waller County, Texas, Sandra Bland, a young black woman from Illinois, an activist with Black Lives Matter, who was, according to friends and family, excited about her new job in Texas, is stopped for a minor traffic violation, beaten, jailed and found dead two days later in her cell. Her death is labeled a suicide by the Waller County Sheriff Glen Smith.
Because Sandra Bland was an activist who advised others about their rights and the proper way to handle a police encounter, no one is accepting the official explanation that she took her own life.
What does seem clear is that Sandra was a woman who understood her rights and was more than prepared to defend her dignity. However, for a black person in the U.S. defending one’s dignity in an encounter with the police is a crime that that can lead to a death sentence, or in the parlance of human rights, an extra-judicial execution by state agents.
While many are calling for something called justice for Sandra Bland, we would be doing Sandra and all those who have had their lives taken by the agents of repression a disservice if we didn’t place this case in its proper political and historical context.
“Sandra was a woman who understood her rights and was more than prepared to defend her dignity.”
A psycho-analytic analysis of the dynamics involved with Blands’ gender and blackness could easily conclude that Bland was perceived as an existential threat to the racist male cops who pulled her out of car. Being a conscious, “defiant” black woman she probably disrupted their psychological order and meaning of themselves by her presence and willingness to defend her dignity.
However, as interesting as the individualized analysis and expressions of the psychopathology of white supremacy might be, the murder of Sandra Bland has to be contextualized politically as part of the intensifying war being waged on black communities and peoples across the country.
And because the state is waging war against us and will be targeting our organizations, as an activist, organizer and popular educator, Sandra’s murder must be seen a political murder and receive sustain focus as such.
Coming right before the Black Lives Matter Movement gathering in Cleveland, Sandra’s murder dramatically drives home the ever present dangers of not just being black in a culture of normalize anti-blackness, but the vulnerabilities associated with being a black activist and especially a black woman activist.
Historically the tyranny of white power has always had its most dehumanized expressions in relationship to black women. The unrestrained and unlimited power of white supremacist domination converged on the captive bodies of black women during slavery and has symbolically and literally continued during the post-enslavement period of capitalist/colonialist subordination of black people in the U.S.
“The murder of Sandra Bland has to be contextualized politically as part of the intensifying war being waged on black communities and peoples across the country.”
However, from Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Claudia Jones, Fannie Lou Hammer through to Assata Shukur, Elaine Brown, Jaribu Hill and countless others, revolutionary black women held up the sky and provided the vision of liberation over the ages.
When the South African government began to target black women activists, the popular response was that now the racist government had “struck a rock.”
This week, under the leadership of black woman activists, much of the resistance movement to the escalating violence of the state will gather in Cleveland to engage in reflection and planning. Sandra Bland will be on the minds of those activists as well as Malissa Williams, who found herself at the receiving end of 137 bullets fired by members of the Cleveland police department that ripped apart the bodies of her and her companion Timothy Russell. And the activists will certainly highlight the case of 12 year old Tamir Rice who was shot point blank two seconds after police arrived on the scene where he had been playing with his toy gun in a park near his home.
Yet, the assassination of Sandra must be seen as a blow against the movement. That is why the BLM must struggle to develop absolute clarity related to the political, economic, social and military context that it/we face.
“We understand history and our responsibilities.”
The struggle in the U.S. must be placed in an anti-colonial context or we will find ourselves begging for the colonial state to violate the logic of its existence by pretending that it will end something called police brutality and state killings. The settler-state is serious about protecting white capitalist/colonialist power while we are still trapped in the language of liberal reformism demanding “justice” and accountability. Those demands are fine as transitional demands if we understand that those demands are just that – transitional. Authentic justice and liberation will only come when there is authentic de-colonization and revolutionary power in the hands of self-determinate peoples’ and oppressed classes and social groups.
The martyrdom of Sandra Bland and all that came before her and who will follow – and there will be more – demands this level of clarity. We did not ask for this war. But we understand history and our responsibilities to our history of resistance and our radical vision that we can be more than we are today. Our enemies want us to think that they are invincible but we know their secrets and know that they can be defeated. All we have to do is to be willing to fight.
Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. He is a contributor to “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence” (Counterpunch Books, 2014). He can be reached at www.AjamuBaraka.com
A delayed trial of two Berkut police members in the Maidan Massacre case  have produced striking new revelations providing further confirmations of major findings of my Maidan “snipers’ massacre” study about Maidan snipers killing both police and protesters and subsequent cover up and falsification of the official investigation. But these striking revelations have not been reported by the Ukrainian and Western media, even though the trial proceedings were open to the media, were streamed live over the Internet and their recordings were posted on YouTube.
On July 15, 2015, the prosecution made public in court for the first time its charges alleging that two arrested members of the Berkut special company massacred 39 out of 49 killed protesters on February 20, 2014.
However, the prosecution’s case unraveled on July 17 when the brother of one of the victims stated during his questioning by the prosecutors that Andrii Saienko was killed not from Berkut positions but from a top floor of the Maidan-controlled Hotel Ukraina. He made this conclusion on the basis of his brother’s position as shown in a video at the moment of his killing and an entry wound location in upper right chest area and a steep wound channel to the backbone. The prosecutors and relatives of some of the victims reported during the trial that technical expert reports in the investigative file established that Saienko and at least 9 other protesters were killed from the same exact 7.62mm caliber weapon.
This revelation alone means that a significant proportion of the protesters were shot from this Maidan-controlled hotel, since this caliber bullets were extracted from bodies of 16 protesters. But the prosecution charged two Berkut members with their killings, even though Saienko’s brother and his lawyer officially handed to investigators the aforementioned video file in October 2014.
His brother identified the moment when Saienko was killed on Instytutska Street, at 9:08:34am in the video, which was initially filmed from the Hotel Ukraina by Radio Svoboda and then synchronized and time-stamped: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-IQkB0jZ39k. This video also shows the moment when Bohdan Solchanyk was killed at 9:08:16am, less than 20 seconds before Saienko in the same area, reportedly with a 7.62mm bullet. His apparent position, the blood on the right side of the neck, and louder and different sounds of several shots in rapid succession, compared to the AKMS shots fired by Berkut at the same time, indicate that Solchanyk was most likely shot dead from the Hotel Ukraina. At that time, the Berkut policemen were in front and somewhat to the left from Solchanyk and the other protesters; and a specific shot, which was presented in the video synchronization, made by his acquaintance, as the evidence of his killing by Berkut, was from a 12mm caliber Fort pump rifle.
In the same video, Ihor Zastavnyi is seen in a yellow helmet falling nearby several seconds after Solchanyk was killed. Zastavnyi said in various interviews that he fell to the ground after he was wounded there third time and his leg was severed. He stated that the prosecution informed him earlier this year that they lost a bullet extracted from his body: http://hromadskeradio.org/…/slidchi-prokuraturi-zagubili-ku….
The analysis of the content of the same video and photo compilation indicates that Maksym Shymko was killed in the same area at about the same time, since he was last seen alive at 9:07:15am and by 9:07:46am he was shot and his stick was on the pavement near a wooden shield. Although the exact moment of his killing is missing from the video, his mother in her court testimony confirmed this location and indicated that the investigation found that he was killed from the same weapon as 9 other protesters, including Saienko.
Another bullet, which was stuck in Shymko’s neck and which was publicized as evidence of government snipers, was not of 7.62mm caliber. His mother supported the prosecution charges that Berkut killed her son, but she stated that he was wounded in his neck with an exit wound below his shoulder blade. This indicates a sharp angle, which is consistent with the similar location of the Saienko’s killer and an announcement from the Maidan stage at 9:10am about two or three “snipers” on the pendulum floor of the Hotel Ukraina. This announcement relayed reports of Maidan protesters concerning the killings of Shymko, Solchanyk, and Saienko, since they were a part of the first group of the protesters that came under deadly live ammunition fire. One of the charged Berkut members indicated during the trial that the investigative file contained testimonies of protesters about Maidan “snipers” at the Hotel Ukraina.
The list of the 39 protesters whose killing the prosecution attributed to Berkut was only released nearly one and a half years after the massacre. The killings of the other 10 protesters were simply omitted from the charges, even though 8 of them were shot dead at the same time and place as these 39 protesters. The special Council of Europe investigative panel reported that the Ukrainian investigation had evidence that ten protesters were killed by “snipers” from top of the buildings, but that investigation did not find any evidence that these were snipers from the Security Service of Ukraine Alf unit and other government units. [See here for an April 2015 news report. And here is the 188-page report of the panel, dated March 31, 2015.]
The omitted list confirmed information that the investigation omitted the killings of Oleh Unshnevych, Evhen Kotliar, Ustym Holodniuk and Oleksander Kharchenko because of clear evidence they were killed from the Maidan-controlled locations, such as Hotel Ukraina. In addition, the prosecution charges also omitted the killings of Vasyl Aksenyn, Vladyslav Zubenko, Volodymyr Chaplynsky and Volodymyr Melnychuk. My study presents various evidence that these protesters were also killed from the Maidan-controlled buildings, mostly Hotel Ukraina, starting from about 9:18am till almost 5pm. For instance, the much publicized Zelenyi Front video shows at 10:26am (32:13) that Chaplynsky was shot dead when he was running away from the massacre area: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdFHNE8WxOA. A Spline TVrecording of its live broadcast, which is now removed from a list of its videos on the Internet, shows sparks flying from the Hotel Ukraina when a loud gunshot killed this protestor. Zubenko was killed in the same area at 9:49am, reportedly with a 5.45 caliber bullet.
The prosecution charges confirmed earlier reports that the investigation did not find specific evidence linking specific Berkut members to specific killed protesters. But these charges also revealed that the prosecution did not specify the exact time of killing of specific protesters and policemen, although such information can be determined from live broadcasts and synchronized and time-stamped videos, and it is presented in my study. These charges deliberately omitted various evidence, including videos, interviews, and public admissions, of Maidan “shooters” of the police.
The prosecution case for the first time de facto admitted an absence of a specific top government order to massacre the protesters on February 20. The prosecution stated that after an unspecified escalation of the conflict around 8am on February 20, the Berkut commander himself ordered the commander of the special Berkut company to disperse the protesters on the Maidan and block them from advancing to the parliament and presidential administration. It would have been irrational for the Berkut commander to issue such an order on his own and use only about two dozen members of a special company. The prosecution itself stated that then-president Viktor Yanukovych and the Minister of Internal Affairs ordered to disperse the protesters on the Maidan by force close to midnight on February 18. The attempt to storm the parliament on February 18 was presented by the prosecution as a peaceful rally, and subsequent clashes, the killing of some 30 policemen and protesters and a computer technician at the office of the Party of Regions were omitted.
The charges stated that following the Berkut commander order, the Berkut special company commander ordered the use of AKMs and Fort 500 pump guns with lead pellets, although no evidence was presented as to why this elite police unit would start using hunting ammunition. Contrary to the prosecutor charges account, various evidence cited in my study and later confirmed by BBC and other sources show that the Maidan protesters forced Berkut and Internal troop units, which did not have then live ammunition, to flee from the Maidan around 8:50am by killing and wounding about 20 of them, specifically with pellets and 7.62mm bullets, from the Music Conservatory and Trade Union buildings. The Berkut special company was first filmed being deployed and shooting with live ammunition on Instytutska street at 9:05am and then briefly moving to Zhovtnevyi Palace to allow remaining policemen there to flee.
The prosecution claimed that around 9am on February 20, 2014, unidentified persons of unknown allegiance started to shoot at the police and that they killed from an unknown weapon one member of the Berkut special company and wounded another. In response to this, the accused from the Berkut company and unidentified members of this company and other law enforcement units became hostile to protesters and started to shoot in the direction of the unarmed protesters with AKMS and Fort 500 with lead pellets in order to kill them. This timeline is also deliberately misleading, because recordings of live broadcasts, time-stamped and synchronized videos, cited in my study, show that at least five protesters were killed starting at exactly 9:00 am before the member of the special Berkut company was shot dead with pellets at 9:16am: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYjEp1C4hzI.
The prosecution charged two Berkut members with being a part of an organized group that killed 39 protesters with 7.62mm caliber AKMS during the assault of the Maidan and from two barricades on Instytutska Street from 9am till 1pm. During the testimonies and cross-examination of relatives of six killed protesters, only one single direct witness of the killing of one of these protesters (Eduard Hrynevych) was identified. This witness now happens to serve in a paramilitary unit of the Right Sector, which was involved in the massacre. My study cited videos of protesters referring at 10:25am to the killing of Hrynevych by a shot to his head several meters from them and referring to “snipers” on the pendulum floor of the Hotel Ukraina: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yUingq7eyI. This and other videos show many protesters and journalists witnessing and recording shooting of these protesters.
Remarkably, a recently posted video, which shows “snipers” on the top floors of the Hotel Ukraina shooting at the Maidan protesters was referred to during the trial as evidence of the killing of Ihor Kostenko by Berkut. This video shows Kostenko seconds before and after (0:59) when he was shot at 9:29am: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akVXLbkJsX0. At least seven other protesters were killed within less than three minutes in the same area.
My study presents various evidence, such as videos and eyewitness testimonies, indicating that these and almost all other 39 protesters were also killed from the Hotel Ukraina and other Maidan-controlled buildings, and that the Right Sector, Svoboda, and Fatherland parties were involved in the “snipers” massacre. There are a few protesters whose location and time of the killing are still publicly undisclosed.
A Google News search shows that none of these revelations during the Maidan Massacre trial have been reported by the media in Ukraine and the West. In contrast, there were numerous reports in the Ukrainian media about each of these protesters. Similarly, The New York Times, The Telegraph, and Associated Press previously published articles, respectively, about the killings of Solchanyk and Saienko and wounding of Zastavnyi. The ‘Maidan’ documentary film by Sergei Loznitsa, shown at the Cannes Film Festival this year, included the above-mentioned excerpts of the Radio Svoboda live Internet video stream showing the killings of Shymko, Solchanyk, and Saienko. In media reports and in this documentary, these and other killings of the protesters were typically directly or indirectly attributed to Berkut or government snipers.
In contrast, the Maidan stage announcements concerning the “snipers” at the Hotel Ukraina and other various evidence of the concealed Maidan shooters there and in other Maidan-controlled areas were omitted. The failure to report the striking new revelations from the ongoing trial suggests that the misrepresentation in Ukraine and the West of the Maidan mass killing is driven not by lack of information but by politics.
Israel is trying to expel the population of a village for the crime of not being Jewish, the same crime for which Israel bombs the people of Gaza for a month or so every few years and blockades them in between these bursts of violence.
Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee declares that making peace with Iran amounts to marching Israelis “to the door of the oven.”
Guess which of the two stories will get more coverage!
A crime of over 70 years ago, part of a war that in my unscientific estimate forms the single most common theme of U.S. historical fiction — whether print or film — is more important news in the view of U.S. editors than is a crime of right now.
And that was true 60 years after World War II and 50 years after and 40 and 20 and even 3 years after World War II.
Eve Spangler has just published a wonderfully well documented book that should be the text for universal history classes, called Understanding Israel/Palestine: Race, Nation, and Human Rights in the Conflict. Spangler, the U.S. child of two holocaust survivors, was a college professor before she had the slightest idea what had happened in Palestine during the twentieth century. When she found out, she went all-in and found out as much as could be known.
Spangler takes students to Israel/Palestine every year. When visiting the Arab market in Hebron, she learned that the heavy metal mesh screen overhead was hung there to protect shoppers from bricks and chairs thrown down from balconies by Israeli settlers. However, Spangler was struck with the contents of one of the objects settlers had learned could penetrate the screen: a plastic bag of human excrement. Israeli settlers behave like prisoners gone mad from confinement even as they steal the land and homes of non-Jewish people with impunity.
How can this be? What went wrong?
Well, at least a part of what went wrong went wrong from the start, from even before the 1948 Nakba in which Israelis-to-be ethnically cleansed the land without a people for the people without a land. The land without a people was more densely populated than the United States, but was seen as populated by subhuman non-people, not even Untermenschen.
Clearly, the aspiration to creating a ‘new man,’” Spangler writes, “defined by a hyper-masculine ethos of physical and military strength and by ‘clean and pure blood’ (and a ‘new woman’ defined by fecundity) had echoes of fascist ideology and profoundly racist implications. Consider, for example, the iconic photo of an Israeli soldier gazing reverently at the Western Wall on the day that the Israeli army conquered East Jerusalem in 1967. He is startlingly Aryan in appearance. Nor did the preference for blondes end in 1967. Recently social workers told an Israeli friend of mine who is waiting to adopt a baby, that her family could have a ‘defective’ baby immediately, but would have to wait about a year for a ‘normal’ baby or up to five years if they insisted on having a blond, blue-eyed child. ‘Defective’ children, this family discovered, were dark-skinned.
Two years after the liberation of the concentration camps in Europe, Jewish militias besieging the town of Beisan (Bet She’an), Spangler notes, “required some Arabs to don yellow armbands, and marked Arab stores with yellow decals, targeting them for looting.” Spangler, whose book covers many subtopics other than the one I’m focusing on, is infinitely careful to stress the obvious, namely that similarities are not exact equivalencies. Her point in noting the similarities is, I think, clearly and legitimately enough to expose the imperfect yet startling mimicry and the motivation of misdirected revenge in the basic policies of the Israeli government from that day to this toward the people who lived in the “uninhabited” land.
Lillian Rosengarten’s forthcoming Survival and Conscience: From the Shadows of Nazi Germany to the Jewish Boat to Gaza is an account by a Jewish woman who fled Nazi Germany for the United States as a little girl with her parents. “Nationalism revisited,” she writes, “is now twisted into a parody of the Nazi credo, ‘Deutschland über alles,’ extolling Germany over all others with only pure Germans as inhabitants. Get rid of the undesirables who are beneath contempt. I must not make such a comparison, you say. Yet I must, for I fear a Jewish State that belongs only to Jews is a dangerous road. I must question the profound psychological impairment suffered and internalized by generations of Jews that follows the Nazi Holocaust. The cycle of paranoia and abuse is playing out its destructive course: this is how I understand Palestinians as the last victims of the Holocaust.”
I would question only how Rosengarten can see into the future and find the last victims of the influence of Nazism. After World War II, the military of the United States — which, of course, arms the Israeli military free of charge while whining about how it can’t afford luxuries like schools, housing, and bridges that don’t collapse — hired sixteen hundred former Nazi scientists and doctors, including some of Adolf Hitler’s closest collaborators, including men responsible for murder, slavery, and human experimentation, including men convicted of war crimes, men acquitted of war crimes, and men who never stood trial. Some of the Nazis tried at Nuremberg had already been working for the U.S. in either Germany or the U.S. prior to the trials. Some were protected from their past by the U.S. government for years, as they lived and worked in Boston Harbor, Long Island, Maryland, Ohio, Texas, Alabama, and elsewhere, or were flown by the U.S. government to Argentina to protect them from prosecution. To observe and note the Nazification of the U.S. military is neither to absolve the U.S. military of its pre-WWII crimes nor to pass blame off to the Nazis instead of blaming U.S. officials of later generations for their own actions. Blame is not a limited quantity.
I don’t think we can dismiss Huckabee’s comments about ovens as simply a bid to be dumber than Donald Trump and win the pro-stupidity vote in the Republican primaries. Transforming Iran from devil to negotiation partner victimizes Israel precisely by stripping Israel of some of its victim-status. Without the status of eternally current victim of the fantasized reenactment of long-past crimes, Israel has to be viewed through a filter of actual facts. Were Jews victimized by Germany? Of course! Did Palestinians deserve to suffer for it? Of course not! Did Iran have anything to do with it? Of course not! Would I support pulling all the U.S. military bases out of Germany and turning all of their land over to Jewish settlers? Sure!
But only those who want to leave Palestine should leave it. Only those who want to stay in a nonviolent, pluralist, secular, democratic, state with equal rights for all and compensation for Palestinians harmed over the past many decades should remain.
Saudi war planes killed at least 120 civilians in a series of airstrikes in the city of Taiz late Friday night. The strikes destroyed buildings that were serving as workers’ quarters as well as a nearby agricultural facility.
The attack was only the latest instance of mass killing of civilians in the bombing campaign waged by the Saudi-led, US-backed coalition that began in March.
Despite claims from Riyadh that such events are accidental, a growing body of evidence shows that the Saudi air campaign is systematically targeting civilian areas. The war is aimed at terrorizing the Yemeni masses into opposing the Houthi takeover and acceding to the restoration of US-Saudi control over the country through the re-imposition of the puppet government led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
The mass slaughter of civilians has become “the new trend now of the air strikes from the coalition,” a representative from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) told the Associated Press.
“It’s a house, it’s a market, it’s anything,” the MSF representative said, referring to the direct targeting of civilian areas by the Arab coalition.
In May, Saudi military officials declared that the Houthi stronghold of Saada would be considered a “military zone,” i.e. a free-fire area, and ordered leaflets dropped instructing all civilians to leave the city. UN investigators have argued that the Saudi coalition is knowingly targeting “trapped civilians.”
As many as 140 Saudi strikes ripped through areas of Saada on Friday. The strikes intentionally targeted civilian areas where Saudi war planners claim the Houthi insurgents have hidden stores of weapons and ammunition. Further strikes on Friday slammed into residential areas in the coastal town of Mokha.
From all appearances, Saudi pilots have been granted standing authorization to deploy their bombs against civilian areas.
An Amnesty International press release from July 1, titled “Airstrike and weapon analysis shows Saudi Arabia-led forces killed scores of civilians with powerful bombs,” documents the killing of at least 54 civilians by a series of strikes against the cities of Sanaa and Taiz between June 12 and June 16.
In one attack detailed by the report, a 2,000 pound bomb fell directly on a residential suburban home, killing at least 10 civilians.
As a reward for their participation in this bloody air campaign, some 100 Saudi pilots have been offered high-end sports cars.
The humanitarian catastrophe facing the civilian population is now reaching “unprecedented levels,” according to a statement from the International Red Cross on Friday. The punishing Saudi assault has contributed officially to the deaths of at least 1,700 civilians in a matter of months, while devastating Yemen’s infrastructure to the point where some 80 percent of the population lacks reliable access to food and water.
In the aftermath of Friday’s mass civilian deaths, Saudi authorities have called for a five day cease-fire over the weekend, under the pretense of seeking to allow humanitarian aid to enter the country.
There is every reason to believe that the Saudi cease-fire has been called as a tactical maneuver, aimed at gaining breathing space for the Saudi coalition to rearm its bombers and recalibrate its ground strategy. Following the pattern of previous “truces” declared by the Saudis, fighting has continued to rage on the ground in the hours leading up to the official start of the ceasefire.
Houthi representatives have already denounced the cease-fire as aimed at preparing for “the beginning of a new war,” according to statements cited by the Associated Press.
The Saudi-led war, which has killed thousands of civilians and produced a social cataclysm, is now morphing into a full blown hybrid ground war along the lines of those fomented by US imperialism in Libya and Syria.
The Arab powers are preparing to launch a new ground offensive, utilizing an array of freshly trained proxy forces assembled in areas along the southern coast recently reconquered from the Houthis.
In return for their loyalty, formations of pro-Saudi militants who sided with the Saudi-led coalition and the government-in-exile of Hadi have been outfitted by the Gulf states with hundreds of armored vehicles.
Hundreds of fighters have already received training at new military training camps established on the outskirts of Aden by “advisers” from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Jordan.
It is no coincidence that such operations bear the imprint of US-orchestrated machinations throughout the region. From the beginning of the war, US military advisers have been helping to orchestrate the bombing campaign from a Joint Planning Cell embedded with the Saudi coalition’s command element.
In the lead-up to the launch of Operation Decisive Storm in March, the Saudi ambassador to the US submitted a list of targets to be vetted by Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan. US Navy vessels have been deployed for months in support of the Saudi blockade of Yemen’s ports.
Washington views the war in Yemen as an opportunity to reshape the regional political order through the development of a new Arab military coalition dominated by its main “regional partners,” in particular Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Gulf monarchies that have been armed to the hilt by the Obama administration.
A new analysis produced by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a leading think thank of the American military-intelligence establishment, makes clear that beyond its immediate role in prosecuting the war against Yemen, the Saudi-led Arab coalition is being developed as an instrument of US regional hegemony.
In the introduction to his “Arab-US Strategic Partnership and the Changing Security Balance in the Gulf,” soon to be published in the form of a 600-page book, Cordesman argues that the Gulf war coalition must emerge as a strategic force capable of a range of interventions beyond Yemen.
“The strategic partnership between Arab Gulf states, and with the US and other outside states, must now evolve to both deal with conventional military threats and a range of new threats including ideological extremists, non-state actors, their state sponsors, and a growing range of forces design ( sic ) to fight asymmetric wars,”
Cordesman writes that the main political nemesis of the “Arab-US Strategic Partnership” is the government of Iran. He contends that the Arab states should proceed with an aggressive anti-Iranian line in the region, confident in their military superiority over Tehran.
Figures compiled by the CSIS report show that the Gulf states have vastly outspent Iran on armaments and other military expenditures since 2001 by a total of some $600 billion to $140 billion in spending by Tehran.
At the same time as it pursues the war in Yemen aimed at intensifying pressure on Tehran, the US has initiated a shift aimed at potentially bringing Iran into alignment with its broader strategy in the Middle East through the recently-negotiated agreement on the country’s nuclear program.
President Obama has ordered that if the official tasked with investigating corruption in the Department of Justice wants access to sensitive files, he’ll have to get permission from — the Department of Justice.
That directive was part of a 58-page ruling delivered by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel and it makes it very hard for the inspector general to get access to wiretaps, grand jury, and credit information necessary to expose fraud and other misdeeds perpetrated by the Justice Department.
“Without such access, our office’s ability to conduct its work will be significantly impaired, and it will be more difficult for us to detect and deter waste, fraud, and abuse, and to protect taxpayer dollars,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz said in a statement published by the Washington Post.
“Congress meant what it said when it authorized Inspectors General to independently access ‘all’ documents necessary to conduct effective oversight,” he added.
A bipartisan group of congressmen agree.
In a statement published on his website on July 23, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined three of his colleagues in condemning the Obama administration’s attempt to block the inspector general investigation:
The Inspector General Act of 1978 directs that Inspectors General have a right to access all records, documents and other materials. If the Inspector General deems a document necessary to do his job, then the agency should turn it over immediately. The clear command of that law is being ignored far too often by agencies across the executive branch. By this opinion’s tortured logic, “all records” does not mean “all records,” and Congress’s recent attempt to underscore our original intent with an appropriations restriction is nothing but a nullity. The prospect of the Obama administration using this opinion to stonewall oversight, avoid accountability, and undermine the independence of inspectors general is alarming.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, stated,
Today’s Office of Legal Counsel opinion contains the same kind of outcome-oriented lawyering that produced the Department of Justice’s infamous recess appointments memorandum, which was unanimously rejected by the Supreme Court in 2014. The law is clear that the Office of the Inspector General should have unfettered access to materials for its investigations, but political lawyers at the Department of Justice have engaged in legal gymnastics to shield key information from government watchdogs.
What would the Justice Department have to hide?
The Justice Department is stiff-arming the inspector general’s requests for records relating to several DOJ scandals, including: (1) whether the Department had violated the civil liberties and civil rights of individuals detained in national security investigations following 9/11, (2) Operation Fast and Furious, (3) the FBI’s use of National Security and Exigent letters, (4) the DEA’s (Drug Enforcement Administration’s) sex parties scandal, (5) the DEA’s use of confidential sources, and (6) the DEA’s use of administrative subpoenas to obtain bulk data collections.
Last February, Horowitz told a congressional committee that “the FBI has failed to turn over key records in several whistleblower cases,” the Post reports.
That’s not surprising.
Despite campaign promises to “strengthen whistleblower laws to protect federal workers who expose waste, fraud, and abuse of authority in government, President Obama has single-handedly prosecuted (and persecuted) more whistleblowers than any of his predecessors.
With the formal filing of the charges against NSA leaker Edward Snowden, this president has charged eight whistleblowers under the Espionage Act.
One of the targets of the president’s prosecution and persecution of those he promised to protect was trying to expose the details of the Department of Justice’s “Operation Fast and Furious” gun running program. As reported by The New American in October 2013:
The Obama administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in particular, are under fire from across the political spectrum again after they were publicly exposed trying to censor a key whistleblower in the Fast and Furious federal gun-running scandal by preventing him from publishing a book about it.
Claiming that publication of ATF Special Agent John Dodson’s manuscript would harm agency morale, official documents show that the out-of-control bureaucracy sought to violate the First Amendment in an apparent effort to avoid further scrutiny of its lawless activities. However, that attempt failed miserably, and the scandal is back in the headlines with a vengeance.
Specifically, the FBI wants a judge to be able to issue an electronic surveillance warrant authorizing the feds to search the contents of a computer, regardless of where that computer is physically located.
In an article from April 2013, the Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima wrote,
“Driven by FBI concerns that it is unable to tap the Internet communications of terrorists and other criminals, the task force’s proposal would penalize companies that failed to heed wiretap orders — court authorizations for the government to intercept suspects’ communications.”
In that proposal, the FBI would give Internet companies a chance to develop their own plan to place the wiretaps on clients’ online activity. There are limits to this “freedom,” however.
If the company’s solution fails to meet federal muster, the FBI would mandate the enforcement of its own surveillance standards and practices.
In light of all these scandals, it’s no wonder the president wants to take extraordinary steps to stop the inspector general from getting eyes on sensitive, likely inculpating evidence of the Justice Department’s darkest deeds.
Image: Green MEPs protested against Shale Gas outside the European Parliament 2012. greensefa under a Creative Commons Licence
News was announced today (23 July) that a coalition of human rights lawyers and academics will put fracking on trial at hearings to be held in Britain and the United States.
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), based in Rome, is a descendant of the 1967 Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal and hears cases in which prima facie evidence suggests a breach of the basic rights of ordinary citizens. Between 5 and 7 jurists of high standing in international human rights will hear witness testimony on the issue of fracking before deciding whether sufficient evidence exists to indict certain nation states on charges of ‘failing to adequately uphold universal human rights as a result of allowing unconventional oil and gas extraction in their jurisdictions’.
Fracking has taken place around the world in spite of powerful public opposition and with large numbers of citizens claiming that their concerns and human rights have been ignored by those who are meant to represent them. Importantly, this PPT will examine those allegations in an ‘even-handed and judicial way’ and will consider the indictment of nation states, rather than the industry itself, because states, not the fracking companies, bear a direct legal responsibility to human rights law.
The human rights dimensions of a whole range of potential impacts will be examined: human and animal health, environmental, climatic, seismic, hydrologic and economic impacts – as well as those on local physical and social infrastructures.
Exercising a truly global reach, testimony will be invited from witnesses all over the world – who may also wish to hold preliminary mini-tribunals in their own countries. Evidence and findings from those early tribunals can then be submitted to later plenary hearings in the US and Britain which, in turn, will play an important role in laying down an informal but highly expert precedent, with potential for future use in national and international courts of law.
For me, as a campaigner, a crucial feature of this PPT relates to how it will respond to what 20th century philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell described as ‘the crime of silence’. Since the Vietnam War Crimes Tribunal of 1967, this term has been widely used to refer to the wrongs suffered by all violated communities. I believe it is extremely relevant for those of us engaged in the current struggle against fracking.
The unconventional gas and oil industry is highly potent. Its wealth affords it the ability to lobby governments and powerful individuals; to engage PR companies and to influence the media with the promotion of its own agenda – at the expense of important truths.
In the US, the ‘Halliburton Loophole’, by which hydraulic fracturing was made exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act 2005, had the effect of smothering evidence of water contamination by driving those affected by contamination directly to the companies involved. Offers of compensation were often dependent upon the signing of non-disclosure agreements – with lifetime gag orders given to children as young as 7 years old.
While the fracking industry and the politicians who support it continue to deny evidence that fracking causes harm, the List of the Harmed, compiled by the Pennsylvania Alliance for Clean Water and Air, currently itemizes no fewer than 16,000 instances of harm from the oil and gas industry – accounts that are dismissed as ‘anecdotal’ by those who have a vested interest in driving the truth further underground with drilling.
Government reports on the negative effects of fracking are redacted; ministers and industry personnel escape public scrutiny by refusing to attend debates, and democracy is eroded with government plans to limit the consultation periods for communities to object to fracking applications – none of which diminishes the commitment of those same communities to line up against fracking in a fight that might rightly be billed as ‘passions versus payroll’.
While the vast majority of fracking victims cannot afford to gain a legal hearing, let alone reparation for their harm, campaigners have fought on their behalf, and our own, for justice and the exposure of truths that governments and fracking companies would prefer remain hidden in redaction or denial. The PPT on fracking now promises a route to justice by offering a legitimate platform to those whose voices, until now, have been silenced.
There can be no justice without truth and the first step of an important journey toward revealing the truth behind fracking has been taken today with news of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal.
You can support the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal on fracking by submitting testimony, organizing smaller national re-PPT initiatives and/or helping with the crowdfunding of tribunal costs: tribunalonfracking.org
Julie Wassmer is a writer and environmental campaigner. A member of East Kent Against Fracking and Mothers Against Fracking, she also sits on the Environment Committee of CPRE Kent.
Image: Cubans celebrate the dawn of the Cuban Revolution | Photo: teleSUR
Fidel Castro led the attack along with small group of rebels that sparked the events that ousted the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista.
Cubans celebrated on Sunday the 62nd anniversary of the first armed uprising launched by Fidel Castro’s guerrillas against the army of U.S.-backed dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1953.
A crowd of around 10,000 people attended a ceremony marking one of the most important holidays on the Cuban calendar, today known as the Day of Rebellion.
Cuban President Raul Castro addressed the rally as did Vice President attended Sunday’s celebration alongside artistic performances. In his speech, Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura referred to a new era of relations with the U.S but also demanded the ending of the embargo and the return of the Guantanamo Naval Base.
“Now begins a long and complex road toward normalization of bilateral relations that includes among other aspects the end of the blockade and the return of the Guantanamo naval base,” Ventura said.
On July 26, 1953, the struggle against the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista began when Fidel Castro led a small group of rebels on a mission to take the Moncada barracks.
The attack was routed, and the Castro brothers were captured by government forces. During a court appearance in the aftermath of the event, Fidel famously stated, “history will absolve me”.
Although the assault failed, five years later the Cuban revolution was victorious. Under Batista, 43 percent of the rural population was illiterate and 60 percent of Cubans lived in huts with dirt floors. Today Cuba is free of illiteracy.
The Israeli daily Haaretz has reported that a document released by the Civil Administration Office of the Defense Ministry affirms that Susiya village, in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, is built on private Palestinian property.
But in spite of this admission, the Israeli military has stated that they will continue with a plan to demolish the village, and forcibly relocate the Palestinian families who live there.
The Jabour and Nawaja families, based in Susiya for hundreds of years, have in their possession ownership documents of their land that date back to the Ottoman empire of the late 1800s.
They are among the 40 extended families (around 350 people) who live in Susiya who are facing forced relocation by the Israeli government.
The residents of Susiya are caught between conflicting Israeli orders: they have been told that their homes and farms lack the proper construction permits, while at the same time, Israeli officials have been ordered not to issue any construction permits for Palestinian residents of the area because of what the Israeli government termed a “lack of ownership papers”.
Although multiple families in the village do have the Ottoman-era ownership papers, the Israeli government had, up to this point, refused to recognize them because the property lines and geographical references were allegedly unclear.
But now, an Israeli civil servant assigned to the task of investigating the Palestinian claims of ownership has identified the geographical elements referenced in the original ownership documents, and has confirmed that the families do indeed own the land on which they have lived for generations.
The civil servant, Moshe Meiri, presented his findings this week to the Israeli Civil Administration, and concluded that the demolition orders issued against the Jabour and Nawaja families must be rescinded.
Despite this finding, the Israeli military has resumed plans to demolish the family homes, barns and stables in Susiya village.
The 350 Palestinian residents of the village have been joined by international solidarity activists in a round-the-clock vigil to try to stop the demolitions from proceeding.
In 2013, the residents of Susiya had submitted a master plan for the future development of their village, but the Israeli civil administration rejected the plan, saying that the residents should instead be forcibly relocated to allow for the expansion of the illegal Israeli settlements being constructed in the area.
The right-wing group Amana filed a case in the Israeli court system to try to push for the demolition of the village. And while the court initially ruled against the residents of Susiya, the court also called for an investigation into the ownership papers, which has now been completed and has confirmed Palestinian ownership of the land.
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby stated on July 17th, just over a week ago, that “We’re closely following developments in the village of Susiya in the West Bank, and we strongly urge the Israeli authorities to refrain from carrying out any demolitions in the village. Demolition of this Palestinian village or of parts of it, and evictions of Palestinians from their homes would be harmful and provocative. Such actions have an impact beyond those individuals and families who are evicted. We are concerned that the demolition of this village may worsen the atmosphere for a peaceful resolution and would set a damaging standard for displacement and land confiscation, particularly given settlement-related activity in the area.”
Despite this statement and the most recent findings of the civil servant charged with investigating ownership of the land, the Israeli planning council continues to move forward with a plan to demolish the village and forcibly transfer the residents of Susiya to the town of Yatta nearby.
The world’s most advanced and expensive multi-role fighter program could come short of the US Department of Defense (DOD) and Pentagon hopes, as years of weak development saw cost overruns and perpetual delays.
Problems with design and computer systems made the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program even more frustrating; for thirteen years Pentagon has defended its position on the F-35, but it looks like now could be the right time to shift priorities.
Let’s look the truth in the eye: the overall cost of developing and purchasing the jets amounts to $400 billion while operating and maintenance costs are skyrocketing upwards of $1.5 trillion. And why have we not seen any positive outcomes yet?
For the cost of the U.S. Military Complex’s F-35 Air-Not-Superiority fighter, we could’ve established a 24 astronaut capable lunar base.— Enough, Pluto! (@ROCKETDRAG) July 10, 2015
The Lockheed-Martin F-35 was billed as the US Department of Defense’s “focal point for defining affordable next generation strike aircraft weapon systems for the Navy, Air Force, Marines, and our allies.”
The Pentagon claimed that they would need exactly 2,443 combat F-35s, plus 14 development aircraft, to restrain and battle with potential military rivals like China. The question asks itself: the US, country with alternate number enemies from without, which sees threats lurking in almost from every corner, shouldn’t it reconsider the role F-35 plays in its defense?
Marine Corps commandant General Joseph F. Dunford, the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff nominee, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the F-35 development and purchasing plan is under review.
“Until the analysis is complete, we need to pursue the current scheduled quantity (2,443 aircraft) buy to preclude creating an overall near-term tactical fighter shortfall,” said Dunford.
“The jet fighter lacks the sensors, weapons and speed that allow a warplane to reliably detect and shoot down other planes in combat. At least not compared to modern Chinese- and Russian-made jets - the planes the F-35 is most likely to face in battle in some future war,” said War is Boring report.
Recently the Australian military canceled plans to purchase the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter landing aircraft.
The United Kingdom’s former defense chief, Nick Harvey, criticized the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, saying “You could argue it was already one of the biggest white elephants in history a long time ago.”
US military and intelligence officials expressed concern over Russia’s PAK-FA fighter jet noting “It has greater agility with its combination of thrust vectoring, all moving tail surfaces, and excellent aerodynamic design, than does the F-35.”
Vaccines work as intended for drug company profits – at the expense of human health. They’re inherently unsafe. More on this below.
Others will have to decide if Rep. Frederica Wilson (D. FL) means well or not. She calls herself “a voice for the voiceless.”
She was a teacher, a local school board member and elementary school principal “st(anding) up for the health of her students by opposing the construction of an environmentally dangerous waste facility” close to her school.
So why as Florida’s 24th district representative did she introduce HR 2232: Vaccinate All Children Act of 2015? Maybe she doesn’t know vaccines can cause diseases they’re supposed to prevent.
Dr. Viera Scheibner is a world renown vaccine expert. Her research shows drug companies produce pseudo-science inconsistent with hard evidence revealing vaccine dangers.
Numerous peer-reviewed studies show they can cause an array of degenerative diseases, anaphylaxis, infections, behavioral problems and other serious health issues.
Vaccines don’t immunize, Scheibner explains. They can damage internal organs and leave children or adults vulnerable to severe autoimmune diseases – including diabetes, arthritis, hepatitis, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, polio and numerous others.
They’re a potential minefield of future trouble. Some vaccines can kill. Others risk a lifetime of disability and pain. Autoimmune diseases result from toxins in drugs, food, air, water and other unsafe ingested substances.
Thousands of severe adverse vaccine reactions occur annually – including permanent disabilities and at times death. None of this gets reported. Instead, the myth of safe vaccines and importance of getting them persists.
They’re dangerous, unreliable and should be avoided – causing diseases they’re supposed to prevent. Claims otherwise are patently false. No evidence supports them.
No one should be forced to be vaccinated despite all US states requiring them – with exemptions (varying by states) for persons susceptible to adverse reactions, religious, philosophical or personal reasons, as well as legal challenges.
Government immunization policies are driven by politics, not science or public health concerns – except in cases of outbreaks of infectious diseases.
Vaccines are biological weapons able to weaken or destroy human immune systems. Scheibner is clear and unequivocal saying “there is no evidence whatsoever of the ability of vaccines to prevent any diseases. To the contrary, there is a great wealth of evidence that they cause serious side effects” harming human health.
US politicians have a long history of conspiring with corporate interests benefitting them at the expense of human health and welfare. Harmful GMO foods and ingredients perhaps are the best known examples.
Too few people know about vaccine hazards. Perhaps Rep. Wilson is one of them. If HR Res. 2232 becomes law, all children nationwide will be required to have HPV (human papillomavirus), hepatitis A, hepatitis B, rotavirus, annual flu shots and many other vaccinations. Until now, it’s been up to states to decide. Those not complying with federal law risk losing Public Health Services Act authorized “preventative health services” grants and perhaps others.
Parents not wanting their children vaccinated would be violating federal law, leaving them vulnerable to prosecution besides not letting them enroll their children in school. Exemptions for reasons explained above would be hard or impossible to get.
America already is a police state. Mandating harmful vaccines would let politicians and bureaucrats make health decisions over medical professionals.
It would violate the American Academy of Pediatrics code of ethics – requiring parental consent for any medical procedure.
“(P)arents or other surrogates (should) provide informed permission for diagnosis and treatment of children with the assent of the child whenever appropriate,” AAP says.
Politicians and bureaucrats should stay entirely out making health decisions for anyone but themselves.
During their election campaign, the Syriza movement promised the people of Greece an end to the inhumane politics of austerity and the dictatorship of the Troika.
After being elected in January, Prime Minister Tsipras and his Finance Minister Varoufakis negotiated with the EU commission, the ECB and the IMF for almost five months. While fulfilling almost all of their financial demands, Syriza’s leaders openly criticized the “institutions” for their tough bargaining and resisted some of their harshest measures.
At the beginning of July, the Troika tightened its grip on Greece. Tsipras and Varoufakis in return called for a referendum in which the people of Greece took a very clear stance and said “no” to the continuation of austerity politics.
Rather than fulfill this mandate, Tsipras responded with a 180-degree turnaround. He dismissed his finance minister, went to Brussels and accepted the most far-reaching austerity measures ever imposed on his country.
Meanwhile Tsipras has survived two votes in the Greek parliament with the support of exactly those forces whom he once called his political adversaries. He has also removed all those members from his cabinet that were unwilling to follow his new course.
Last Wednesday, both Tsipras and his former finance minister went even further by giving their consent to a reform package that will facilitate foreclosures and home evictions. Given the disastrous economic situation, high unemployment and the ongoing capital controls, thousands of home owners will fall into arrears with their interest and repayment installments in the coming months and thus become victims of this new legislation, which will go into effect on 1 January 2016.
Tsipras and Varoufakis, who loved posing as the advocates of the common people during their election campaign, are thus frankly siding with collecting agencies and openly turning their backs on working people strangled by debt.
However, there was worse to come in Wednesday’s vote. Pretending to “protect “Greek taxpayers, Tsipras and Varoufakis also gave their consent to the EU’s Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD). This legislation provides for the replacement of bailouts of banks with taxpayers’ money by the partial expropriation of savers, depositors and shareholders.
To understand the true nature of a bail-in, one only has to take a look at what happened in Cyprus in the spring of 2013. There, depositors with more than 100,000 euros in their accounts lost 40 percent of their money, which was used to ’recapitalize’ their bank. The measure was a devastating blow for the middle class, small businesses and retirees who lost a large part of their lifetime savings.
Although deposits under 100,000 euros are officially protected within the EU, this is no guarantee that they will be left untouched. After most large depositors removed their money during the past months, the four biggest banks in Greece – Piraeus Bank, Alpha Bank, Eurobank and the National Bank of Greece – presently only hold deposits of around 130 billion euros. It is estimated that 40 to 50 percent of their loans are not being serviced and only 40 percent of customers’ deposits exceed 8,000 euros. Strangled by bad loans, these four banks that make up 90 percent of Greece’s banking business, are desperate to increase their equity capital and therefore urgently need fresh money.
By the way, the agreement between the Troika and the government of Cyprus in 2013 was not based on any existing laws, but concluded on the basis of a quickly resolved “agreement” between the rulers in Nicosia and the EU. Implementing a similar “emergency agreement” in Greece would probably not present a big problem to the EU or the Troika. As reported by the Financial Times and confirmed by one of the banks concerned, such a measure has already been discussed. According to their sources, Greek authorities are aiming at a 30 percent haircut for all deposits exceeding 8,000 euros.
Tsipras as well as Varoufakis must have known this when they voted in favor of the BRRD on Wednesday. They have thus willingly contributed to a further deepening of the assaults not only on the working people and the middle class of Greece, but also on millions of savers, depositors and small enterpreneurs in Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Romania who maintain their accounts at the regional subsidiaries of the large Greek banks and whose living standards in some cases are far below those of Greece. They, too, will in all probability be subjected to a bail-in.
On the weekend before before the vote, Yannis Varoufakis gave an interview to the Spanish newspaper El Mundo in which he described the creditors of his country as “terrorists”. Is there a better way of demonstrating one’s moral depravity than by consenting to the partial expropriation of working people and the destruction of the lifelong work of small entrepreneurs only three days after making a statement like that?
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday that the West still deals with terrorism in a hypocritical way, adding that any political presentation that does not essentially rely on combating terrorism and ending it is practically ‘ineffective’.
In a speech before heads and members of public organizations; vocational syndicates; and chambers of industry, trade, agriculture and tourism, President Assad said the West call it ‘terrorism’ when it hits them, and ‘revolution, freedom, democracy and human rights’ when it hits us.
“In spite of the complexities of the situation in Syria, the reality has appeared clearly and masks have dropped from many faces and fake terminologies have fallen down and lies have been divulged,” Assad said.
“How could those who spread the seeds of terrorism combat it?” President al-Assad wondered, adding that “who wants to combat terrorism could do it through rational and realistic policies based on justice and the respect of peoples’ will of determining their future, managing their affairs, restoring their rights on the basis of spreading knowledge, combating ignorance, improving economy, raising awareness of the society as well as developing it.”
“Changes of the West cannot be counted on as long as they follow the double-standards policy,” the President said, adding that “we have not depended but on ourselves since the first day.”
On Russia and China’s stances, the President said that “Russia has constituted, along with China, a safety valve that prevented the transformation of the Security Council into a tool for threatening peoples and a platform for aggression on states, particularly Syria.”
“Our approach has always been the response to all initiatives that we receive regardless the intentions because the Syrian blood is above all else and halting war is a priority,” the President added.
President Assad said that Iran has provided support to Syria stemming from the fact that the battle is not a battle of state, a government or a president rather it is the battle of integrated axis, which does not represent states in so far as it represents an approach of independence, dignity, interests of nations and stability of homelands.
“After years of war, the Syrian people have been resilient, sacrificing for the sake of the homeland, and if they had wanted to give up, they would not have waited all this time and paid as much as that.”
“Any political presentation that does not essentially rely on combating terrorism and ending it is practically ineffective,” President al-Assad said, adding that “countries supporting terrorists have increased their support to them recently and in some cases, they directly intervened to back them.”
President Assad also said: “The blood of our faithful brothers from the Lebanese Resistance has mixed with the blood of their brothers in the Army and they have their prominent role and effective performance along with the Army in making achievements.”, clarifying that …it is impossible for non-Syrian brothers or friends to come and defend our homeland on behalf of us, “Each part of Syria is precious and invaluable and each spot equals in its demographic and geographic importance all other spots.”
The President stressed that there is a huge difference between the foreign-produced “opposition”, which gets orders from its masters abroad and the internal opposition that participates with us for overcoming the crisis and increasing the immunity of the homeland.
It is probable that the current U.S. House of Representatives will be judged by history as the most supine, inept and easily manipulated legislative assembly [by a foreign power], ever to have been given control of the lives of the American people and the drafting and implementation of U.S. foreign policy.
However, although we in Europe can have no influence over so-called ‘Democracy American style’, what we can do is to ensure that the EU Parliament/ Commission does not follow suit by submitting to intimidation and effective control by Mr Netanyahu’s lobbyists for Israel.
Already, Israel is the only undeclared nuclear weapons power in the world, its arsenal of warheads being outside any inspection by the IAEA because the Israeli state refuses to be a party to the NPT Non-Proliferation Treaty and its international controls. That has allowed it to gain a degree of influence over American foreign policy that is entirely disproportionate to its size and actual importance – Israel’s total population being just 8 million i.e. less than that of London.
Furthermore, there is very little that Israel exports that cannot be obtained at the same price or less from suppliers within the EU, so for any European government to allow its national defence arrangements to be held hostage to a supplier that is a non-member of the EU and also a non-member of NATO, is to potentially endanger that state’s future national security.
And that would be a violation of allegiance to one’s country by virtue of negligence.
‘The failure to use reasonable care to avoid consequences that threaten or harm the safety of the public and that are the foreseeable outcome of acting in a particular manner’ – being a definition of criminal negligence.
The West should always be acutely aware of dubious inter-state relationships entered into for political expediency. Israel with its secret nuclear arsenal and nuclear- armed submarine fleet in the Mediterranean may be a beneficiary of US aid and a claimed ally of Europe now – but tomorrow is a different matter because there is no certainty who will be our friends, or our enemies, next year. Therefore, the national defence systems of all 28 EU member states should be entirely independent of linkage with any state in the Middle East. That is just common sense.
Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras looks on during a session at the Greek parliament prior to the vote in Athens on Wednesday, July 22. (Photo: Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images)
On July 16 this year protests erupted outside Greek parliament as lawmakers were approving further harsh austerity plan in exchange for a third European bailout. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won by 229 votes to 64 while 32 members of his own Syriza party voted against the measures, including his ex-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.
The vote took place after a fiery debate when Tsipras energetically defended his stand under threat of resignation.
The parliamentary approval came despite the fact that, on 5 July 2015, people rejected the reforms in a referendum. They said ‘No’ (Oxi) to retirement age increases, tax hikes, cuts in public spending and pension and curb in collective bargaining, in exchange for up to $94 billion.
Tsipras told the legislators:
“I will admit that the measures we are tabling are harsh, and I don’t agree with them. I don’t believe they will help the Greek economy, and I say so openly. But I also say that I must implement them.”
He made an about-turn after having promised to combat the austerity measure that are driving his people to ruin and poverty. He betrayed his promises and repudiated the will of the people as demonstrated in the referendum. It is least surprising that Tsipras is facing internal resistance within his own Syriza party, including the Syriza Youth and several organisations allied to Syriza.
The anti-austerity demonstrations continued on 22 July when protesters gathered outside the Greek Parliament ahead of the vote on the implementation of further austerity measures. The rally resulted in protesters throwing Molotov cocktails at police. The Greek parliament backed a second package of measures demanded by the country’s international creditors.
When Syriza came to power it pledged to end the ‘structural reforms’ imposed by the European Union. The party victory sent tremors through Europe, especially its pledge to end the social injustice brought about by the ‘austerity package.’ The then finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis said it turned Greece into a “debt colony”.
Varoufakis, one of the nonconformist MPs who was forced to step down from his ministerial position, said in an interview with the BBC that Greece was given a “choice between being executed and capitulating”
The problem is compounded by the fact that international creditors are allergic to democracy. The creditors have been bullying the Greek government into further austerity while advising it against consulting with its people. In a blatant display of arrogance, they once asked Varoufakis: “How do you expect common people to understand complex issues?”
It is often suggested that Greece had an option of defaulting, given the odious nature of the debt. Odious debt is a legalistic expression that refers to debt run up by a former dictatorial regime, which a legitimate successor government can repudiate (see a paper in the Duke Law Journal).
These are debts incurred by a despotic regime that do not benefit the people bound to repay the loans. They are used in ways that are not beneficial, or actually harmful, to the interests of the population.
Greeks can thus reject their odious debts accrued from kleptomaniac and authoritarian regimes of the past. They can claim that debts left over from Greek juntas ought to be cancelled
For it can be argued that the IMF and banks violated their own lending rules by extending to the Greek dictators so much funding that were odious and against the interests of the people. In fact the greater part of the debt had been used to service past debts or to purchase military hardware
It is disingenuous to claim that the money was given to bail out Greek people. What happened is that with rising debt, unemployment increased three-fold while the economy contracted and nominal growth collapsed. Minimum wages and pensions went down while living standards took a plunge
The Greek debt can be traced back to the juntas. In 1947, following the surrender of the Nazi Germany, the U.S. President Truman, in what came to be known as the Truman Doctrine, pledged unlimited military support to thwart the growing popular movements in Europe and throughout the world. This policy facilitated brutal coups and decades of military repression in Greece and elsewhere.
This is how, under the NATO strategic plan, Greek colonels seized power and set up a ruling junta. The army moved in to stop the Socialist Party from taking office with a center-left coalition. This brutal military junta ruled by martial law, mass arrests, torture and disappearances.
Meanwhile, Greek military contracts have always been the greatest source of corruption, payoffs and kickbacks. One of the most notorious bribery scandals involved billions paid over 12 years and billions still owed for six undelivered German submarines. A former defense minister was convicted in 2013 of accepting $8 million in bribes connected to these submarines.
Under these circumstances Greece incurred the odious debt. Less than 10% of the bail-out money was used by the government for reforming its economy and safeguarding vulnerable members of society. Most of the money went to the banks that lent Greece funds before the crash.
Indeed, the Wall Street Journal of July 10, 2010 said:
“Greece, with a population of just 11 million, is the largest importer of conventional weapons in Europe — and ranks fifth in the world behind China, India, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. Its military spending is the highest in the European Union as a percentage of gross domestic product. That spending was one of the factors behind Greece’s stratospheric national debt.”
So much for the corporate media deceptions that the debt crisis in Greece arose because the Greek people were living “beyond their means.”
The current situation in Greece resembles the debt peonage that many African countries have been subjected to for decades. They suffered the consequences of the so-called structural adjustment under the supervision of the international finance institutions and the result was economic and social devastation.
In the post-Independence Zimbabwe, for example, the Mugabe government abandoned its ‘growth with equity’ strategy and went for the economic model designed by the World Bank and the IMF in 1991. The Economic Structural Adjustment Program or ESAP (popularly termed ‘economic suffering for African people’) was implemented during the 1990s, triggering social and labour unrest and war veteran discontent.
In many African countries inequality and poverty grew while political and business compradors were busy amassing fortunes and power on the back of austerity and ‘structural adjustment’.
The result was food riots that erupted in several African countries such as Mozambique, Algeria, South Africa, Central African Republic, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Senegal and Nigeria.
Contrary to the popular perception of Africa being dependent on the western loans and donor funding for its development projects, the continent is actually a net creditor. The level of capital flight from sub-Saharan Africa is more than $700 billion in the past four decades. While this is kept secret, the debt burden carried by the African people is made public
As for the nature of the African debt, the lenders knew that they gave to dictators or oppressive regimes, hence they are responsible for their actions, not the people living under those regimes. For example, South Africa has been paying off $22 billion which was lent to the apartheid regime. While they have yet to recover from this, their external debt has increased to $136.6 billion, and the number of people in the housing backlog has increased to 2.1 million from 1994′s 1.5 million.
Today debt is the source of enormous problem afflicting the African people. More so because it is not used for social benefit. Instead it is used by a small elitist minority, who fund their own shopping sprees at the expense of their impoverished population and their posterity. In this aspect Greece and Africa are not too poles apart
One may ask, why did Tsipras not take a lesson from Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Rafael Correa of Ecuador and many others. Correa, for instance, sought to move away from neoliberal economic model by reducing the influence of the World Bank and IMF. He declared Ecuador’s national debt illegitimate and announced that the country would default on over $3 billion worth of bonds. He pledged to fight creditors in international courts and succeeded in reducing the price of outstanding bonds by more than 60%.
Tsipras, on the other hand, made a U-turn, opening Greece to the invasion by debt vultures. It has been described as a treason not only on the Greek people, but on Europe as it may lead to the full colonization of Europe.
Only 10 days after the Greeks voted ‘No’ by a substantial majority against the Troika’s demands, Tsipras went further and put $ 55 billion of Greece’s national assets into a privatization ‘trust’ fund under EU supervision. This comes from Tsipras who had pledged to halt privatization in January’s election campaign. The deal is so harsh that even the IMF has criticized it.
It would be missing the point to say that Tsipras was hostile to the Troika. International finance institutions like it best when seemingly ‘radical’ figures do the dirty work for them rather than the professed neo-liberals. They would actually spin and portray the ‘reforms’ as ‘good for the people’. Even better so if the ‘radicals’ do not wear a tie.
Nizar Visram is Tanzanian freelance writer, born in Zanzibar and currently in Ottawa. He retired as senior lecturer in Development Studies and is reachable at: nizar1941 [at ] gmail [dot] com
FIFA has passed a resolution assuring full support for holding the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Sepp Blatter, the president of the world football’s governing body said at a meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
“I would like to inform you that the executive committee has recently adopted a new resolution in which FIFA assures the Russian Federation of its full support in carrying out the World Cup in Russia in 2018,” Blatter said, speaking at the opening the ceremony of the preliminary draw in St. Petersburg on Saturday.
Blatter was speaking alongside Russia’s President Vladimir Putin who welcomed the decision saying that the country is ready for the championship. “We will do everything to provide security at the championship,” Putin said. “I would like to reiterate that all obligations undertaken by Russia will be implemented.” Putin added that a series of measures have been taken to ensure the comfort of players and fans, including visa-free travel for those with World Cup tickets. “Holding the championship is one of our key goals, it’s a good opportunity to show the world the multifaceted and open Russia which can amaze and inspire,” he said.“Today is an important day. We are looking forward [to an] exiting evening, [an] exciting draw and exciting Russia,” Blatter added. Over 200 states have signed up for the preliminary draw which was carried out at the historic Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna.
The matches of the World cup will be held between June 14 and July 15 2018 at 12 stadiums located across Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
The recent corruption scandal in FIFA has fueled speculation about the possibility of depriving Russia of the World Cup. However, Russian officials have repeatedly dismissed such suggestions. Blatter has been resolute in his support for Russia hosting the 2018 World Cup. Along with the bribery scandal being conducted by the US, in May Swiss prosecuting authorities launched a criminal inquiry into money laundering concerning the 2018 and 2022 bidding processes. Amid the scandal and arrests of seven soccer officials on corruption charges in a separate case, Blatter who has led world soccer’s governing body for 17 years, announced his resignation four days after he was reelected on May 29. However, he will continue to serve as president until a new extraordinary session elects a new head.
“We should expect conflicts in which adversaries, because of cultural affinities different from our own, will resort to forms and levels of violence shocking to our sensibilities.” (Department of Defense, 1999, with thanks to William Blum.)
One quote has reverberated throughout the United States decades of decimations of the lands of others. Journalist Peter Arnett, reporting from Vietnam, in a piece published on 7th July 1968, quoted an American officer saying of the provincial capital Bến Tre: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.” He was referring to the decision to bomb and shell the town no matter what the cost of civilian lives, in order to rout the Vietcong. (1)
The US led “coalitions” of recent years have, it seems, moved on from destroying towns, now entire sovereign nations are laid to waste to free, liberate, and democratize them. The cemeteries and ruins of much of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya are recent silent witness to this munificence, with Syria set to be the latest centre of the eye of the storm.
ISIS/ISIL/IS has replaced the Vietcong and the “town” is where ever the liberating bombs, missiles, drone strikes blast homes and humanity across the entire country and of course in neighbouring Iraq, bombed in the name of protection and salvation for 24 years – approaching a quarter of a century.
In context, prior to the illegal invasion of 2003, from 1993 onwards, wrote John Pilger (7th August 2000):
“ The Royal Air Force, together with the US, bombs Iraq almost every day. Since December 1998, the Ministry of Defence has admitted dropping 780 tonnes of bombs on a country with which Britain is not at war. During the same period, the United States has conducted 24,000 combat missions over southern Iraq alone, mostly in populated areas. In one five-month period, forty one per cent of casualties were civilians: farmers, fishermen, shepherds, their children and their sheep – the circumstances of their killing were documented by the United Nations Security Sector”, it was: “the longest such campaign since the Second World War.”
The Foreign Office Minister Peter Hain in a breath taking lie, even by UK Minister’s standards told Parliament on 2nd May 2000: “As I have told the House on many occasions, we are not conducting a bombing campaign against Iraq . . .”
On 6th July 2000, commentator Jonathan Power pointed out that: “the Pentagon says more than 280,000 sorties have been flown in the near decade since no-flight zones were imposed on Saddam in the north and south of the country.”
“L’Angleterre, ah, la perfide Angleterre” (“England, oh treacherous England”) admonished the 17th century French Bishop Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (1627-1704) in a sermon. The intervening centuries have wrought little change.
Turkey has now given permission for the US to use the country’s Incirlik air base “after months of negotiations”, according to the BBC. Since the US also used the base during the 1991 Iraq war and in 2001 at the start of the attack on Afghanistan, it has to be wondered what further horror is planned for Syria.
In the last forty eight hours Turkey has enjoined in bombing Syria and has also bombed northern Iraq. There are unconfirmed reports of Turkish troops in Aleppo.
In spite of the UK Parliament voting not to become militarily involved in Syria, it transpired this week that British Air Force pilots have anyway been bombarding Syria in defiance of Parliament. They simply swopped their uniforms and fighter jets for those of countries who were involved in the attacks.
Although the US has been terrorizing Iraq and Syria since 8th August 2014, they took until 15th of October to dream up another silly name for another mass slaughter and announced that “Operation Inherent Resolve” was: “officially designated as the name given to US military operations against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.” The name is intended: “to reflect the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the US and partner nations … to eliminate ISIL …” Heaven help the people of Syria and Iraq.
The US military is clearly not a superstitious body. 15th of October was not an auspicious day for Empire. On that day in 1793, Queen Marie Antoinette of France was condemned to death and executed the following day; Napoleon 1st began his exile on St Helena.
In 1863, following his defeat at the Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War, General Robert E Lee proffered his resignation to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The population of Syria is just 22.85 million, it is being assaulted by the US, population 318.9 million, Turkey population 74.93 million, the UK with a population of 64.1 million, plus a few other less visible and enthusiastic members of the “coalition” -Jordan, Canada, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, though the UAE stopped flying in December reportedly after a dispute over the US not providing sufficient combat air rescue. By 6th February the US had mounted nine hundred and forty six air strikes in Syria, with Jordan, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia completing just seventy nine. (News, websites.)
The number of weapons rained down on Syria between August 2014 and June 30th 2015 is staggering. According to the US Department of Defence (2):
December: Unaccounted for
The Average cost, August 8th 2014 to June 18th 2015 is $9.2 million a day for the 315 killing days (3.) To 22nd June this year “Targets Damaged or Destroyed” in Syria and Iraq include 98 tanks, 325 trucks, 472 staging areas (these are illustrated with a tent, so presumably could be displaced families mistaken for “terrorists”) 2,045 buildings, 1,859 “fighting positions” (again, as Iraq, how many people gathered for a wedding, funeral, waiting for transport were designated “fighters” from the safety of 35,000 ft?) 154 oil infrastructures and “other targets” 2,702. Total 7,655.
The carnage is ongoing. The most recent are the 21st July with ten airstrikes on Syria and fifteen on Iraq, on 24th July eight on Syria and nineteen in Iraq and 25th July, nine air strikes on Syria and twenty two on Iraq with drones also being used (4.) The “assessments” of that destroyed is tragic and sometimes farcical. In Iraq “an ISIS excavator” for example, could it not just be some soul mending a road? Two “ISIS bridges” near mortally damaged Fallujah – Iraq is divided by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers – the great soaring engineering triumphs that are the country’s bridges are the arteries of the nation’s body. Now they are designated “ISIS bridges” and destroyed – again.
As Syria’s President Assad said today (26th July) in an address to the nation:
“The West calls it ‘terrorism’ when it hits them, and ‘revolution, freedom, democracy and human rights’ when it hits us.’ “
On July 23, 2015, the United States House of Representatives voted upon and passed (by a 275-150 majority) H.R. 1599, the so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,” otherwise known as the DARK Act.
The DARK Act is a more accurate description of the bill – which must now be taken up by the Senate – as the acronym “Deny Americans the Right to Know” more aptly tells us what Congress is doing here: Negating all existing and future GMO labeling laws at State and local levels so that consumers will not be able to make an informed choice as well as eliminating numerous non-Federal laws regulating genetically engineered crops.
In particular, the DARK Act – if passed by the Senate and signed into law by Obama – will:
Preempt State and local laws regarding the production and sale of GMO crops, not just the labeling of GMO foods;
Eliminate “GMO-Free” zones;
Unfairly burden traditional farmers and food producers to label their food as “GMO-free,” requiring certification from the pro-GMO USDA;
Further muddy the food definition of “Natural,” allowing companies to make “natural” claims on packaging even if the food contains GMOs; and
Allow dairy products from animals fed bioengineered foods and foods developed using bioengineered processing aids or enzymes to still be labeled as non-bioengineered.
Although touted as a means of ending a “confusing patchwork” of GMO labeling laws, the DARK Act is really nothing more than camouflage for the removal of Americans’ right to know what is in their food and drink. The Act ends the “confusing patchwork” in the same way that Attila the Hun ended the “confusing patchwork” of tribes in his sweeping path: He just annihilated them. We need real GMO labeling so that we can all make informed food choices.
The many Republicans and few Democrats who voted for this Act should be ashamed, while the many Democrats and few Republicans who voted against it are to be commended. It was the triumph of moneyed interests over the wishes of the voters. More than 90% of Americans have demanded mandatory GMO labeling, as shown by every substantial poll taken. Even Republican voters have expressed an 89% support for mandatory labeling. Yet, Congress – including my long-time friend Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), who voted for the bill – has ignored this overwhelming support for clear GMO labels. Ironically enough, many of NHF’s long-time health-freedom opponents in Congress voted on the right side of this issue. (See https://www.govtrack.us/congress/votes/114-2015/h462)
The U.S. Senate is the next battleground here. Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) is preparing his own GMO labeling bill, which appears to be no improvement over the House version. Still, the Senate will consider the DARK Act or Senator Hoeven’s bill, or even perhaps another, more consumer-friendly bill in the near future. It is up to us to make this happen as you can be sure that the GMO industry (Monsanto) will not be idle in peddling its influence into the darkest corners of Capitol Hill.
Our very health is at stake. As Robert Cohen (one of NHF’s resident experts on GMO foods and their health dangers) recently observed, “The September 2015 issue of Chemosphere (pages 135:53-60) includes a study just in time for Monsanto-paid reviewers: ‘Roundup exposure promotes gills and liver impairments, DNA damage and inhibition of brain cholinergic activity in the Amazon teleost fish Colossoma macropomum’ [where] researchers found: ‘Our findings show that biomarkers in tambaqui are organ specific and dependent on (Roundup) concentration.
Alterations in gills structural and respiratory epithelium were followed by changes in hematological parameters such as concentration of hemoglobin…In addition, (Roundup) concentrations affected the biotransformation process in gills of tambaqui negatively. Instead, liver responses suggest that a production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) occurred in fish exposed (to Roundup), as seen by imbalances in biotransformation and antioxidant systems. The increased DNA damage observed in red blood cells of tambaqui exposed (to Roundup) is in agreement with this hypothesis.’ Marine scientists concluded: ‘Thus, we can suggest that (Roundup) is potentially toxic to tambaqui and possibly to other tropical fish species.’ (emphasis added) Today’s information might be twisted by paid Monsanto deceivers. Truth is painful. The truth hurts. Through their well-paid spokesmen, Monsanto continues to ignore that the facts are the facts.”
The NHF just returned from Geneva, Switzerland where we helped to defeat Codex Alimentarius’ adoption of a standard for a genetically modified bovine growth hormone. We need your help to defeat this home-grown threat to our health. What poisons the World cannot help but poison us. As at Codex, let’s defeat this latest threat. Your active participation is vital for NHF’s continued work against the Food Giants. Please visit: http://www.thenhf.com/donations-historical/ to make your support known today.
Until the UK government applies its own criteria to the arms trade, we need to keep up our own public review process to hold our government to its word
Last week, the UK government announced the outcome of a review of military export licences whose legality had been called into question during Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip last summer. The outcome, which came 11 months after the review began, concluded that there is no risk that weapons being shipped from the UK to Israel could be used in violations of international law.
This outcome shows that the UK government consistently fails to implement its own criteria for arms export licensing, criteria supposedly in place to ensure that arms exported from the UK are not used for violations of international law.
Rami Joundiye, 22, lost his leg after Israel’s attacks on Gaza a year ago, poses at his house in Gaza City 10 July (AFP)
The core function of the Israeli military is to enforce its illegal occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip through a system of control that includes: an Apartheid Wall snaking through the West Bank; a network of checkpoints manned by the Israeli military, preventing Palestinians from moving freely; systematic arrest and incarceration, with 5,750 Palestinians held as political prisoners, kidnapped from their homes with military force. All of this on top of Israel’s periodic bombing campaigns on the already occupied and besieged Gaza Strip, the most recent of which in 2014 resulted in 2,205 Palestinians dead, 521 of whom were children.
Some of the weaponry used to commit such massacres is manufactured in the UK.
It doesn’t take a military expert to know what kinds of weapons are used by the Israeli military to carry out this brutal occupation: combat aircraft units, drones for surveillance and bombing, and weapons night sight technology. All of these items, along with many others, were approved by the UK government to be shipped to Israel in the six months prior to last summer’s attack on Gaza. Does the UK government think that Israel was just saving them up for the next war? And even if that were the case, does that justify their export?
Decisions to grant arms export licences are made on a case-by-case basis according to the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. These criteria dictate that the government should take into account the buyer country’s “respect for international law”. Other criteria were highlighted by the government as specifically relevant to Israel: for example, when there is a clear risk of the equipment being used for internal repression, and where there is a “clear risk that the intended recipient would use the items aggressively…to assert by force a territorial claim”.
The licensing criteria outlining what exports should be prohibited cover what is essentially a laundry list of the Israeli military’s main activities. If the UK export licensing criteria were applied, there would be a de facto arms embargo on Israel. Despite this, in the four months immediately following Israel’s 2014 bombing of Gaza, over £4 million worth of licences for military equipment were approved for export to Israel.
So why won’t the UK apply its own criteria to restrict licences on military equipment bound for Israel?
There is certainly no lack of evidence showing that the Israeli military uses weapons for violations of international law. In fact, only weeks before the review outcome, an independent UN inquiry into the Gaza war found evidence suggesting that Israel committed multiple violations of international law, including war crimes. The UK government voted to accept the report in the UN Human Rights Council. Surely that is enough evidence to say that there is at least a “clear risk”.
The review that just finished is a good example of how the arms export control process works – or doesn’t – and also holds the key of how we can challenge this system of complicity.
Only days before the export licence review was announced last summer, 150,000 people marched in the streets of London to protest Israel’s war on Gaza, demanding an end to the UK-Israel arms trade. In 2009 there was a similar story, when public pressure compelled the government to respond, and at that time, actually revoke some export licences. But it was too little and too late for the victims of Israel’s massacre to be saved.
There is an absolute correlation between public awareness and pressure and the government taking action on the issues. But it is not only through voting or writing to MPs that we create pressure. It is by taking to the streets and showing that we are not willing to smile and nod at the sham review process or other symbolic gestures.
In August 2014, nine people occupied the roof of the UAV Engines factory in Shenstone, where drone engines bound for Israel are made. The factory is one of several in the UK owned by Israel’s largest weapons manufacturer, Elbit Systems. These protestors shut down operations at the factory for two days before they were arrested. Months later, the charges against them were dropped after the company would not provide details of the arms export licences it had been granted. If the trial had gone ahead, the UK government and/or the company would have had to provide evidence countering the protestors’ claim that these weapons are used in violation of international law.
Later in the year, a small group of protestors gathered at another Elbit-owned factory in the UK, shutting it down for a day, and successfully preventing shipments from arriving to the factory.
These smaller actions reached a crescendo on 6 July 2015 when over a hundred people protested outside the Elbit-owned factory in Shenstone again, as well as two other Elbit-owned factories in the UK. In all, three Elbit-owned factories in the UK were shut down by protests.
These protests went ahead despite attempts by the Shenstone factory to sabotage these efforts. The factory asked the High Court to impose an injunction with a “forbidden area” 250-meters around the factory, an area including public land which would ban anyone associated with protests from entering, including the peace vigil that local Staffordshire campaigners have been holding at the factory since 2009. On the day of the protest, police came out in massively disproportionate force, and 19 people were arrested.
The company manufacturing weapons for export to Israel used draconian measures to silence any dissent over their actions. Luckily, campaigners made sure that the injunction would not go unchallenged, and on 22 July, the High Court lifted the ban from the “forbidden area” around the factory.
The response to the protests show that the UK government, in collusion with Israeli arms companies, is willing to go to great lengths to suppress democratic public debate over the illegality of the UK-Israel arms trade. But the protests themselves show that the Stop Arming Israel campaign continues to grow, regardless of attempts to repress it.
Until the UK government applies its own criteria to the arms trade, and imposes an immediate two-way arms embargo on Israel, we need to keep up our own public review process to hold our government to its word, and push it to put an end to these dirty deals.
- Ryvka Barnard is the Senior Campaigner on Militarism and Security at War on Want.
At least 10 Palestinian worshipers on Sunday morning were injured during clashes with Israeli police private units, after they broke into and severely assaulted Al-Aqsa mosque. The clashes are still ongoing.
Private units in the morning broke into the mosque, vandalized it, threw rubber-coated metal bullets on the worshipers and assaulted some youths. In addition, more than 250 settlers have broke into the mosque from Al Magharba gate.
4 Israeli border guards were injured in the clashes. Two of them were moved to hospital for treatment, and had light injuries.
In the midst of these attacks, the Israeli minister of agriculture, Uri Ariel from the Jewish Home right-wing party has also provocatively broke into Al-Aqsa mosque, in coordination with the ministry of interior, heavily guarded.
Israeli forces set flying checkpoints on the gates of Al-Aqsa, preventing men under 50 from entering it. Women and seniors were forced to leave their ID cards on the entrance.
After 6:30 this morning, IOF closed the gates for everyone.
The Israeli police have also broken the fire system in the mosque, making the water leak all through the building .
On Saturday, Israeli settlers severely assaulted a Palestinian child near one of the gates leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem.
According to WAFA news agency, eyewitnesses said that extremist Israeli settlers assaulted the child, who was not identified, near al-Ghawanma Gate, prompting a group of Palestinians to intervene and save him. Settlers eventually managed to flee the scene.
Israeli settlers repeatedly break into Al-Aqsa mosque in a provocative manner, backed by Israeli occupation right-wing government and military.
In Islamic belief, Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem, is considered the third holiest place in Islam. Israel claims sits upon the proclaimed temple mount, which is the holiest place in Judaism.
James Jeffrey Bradstreet, whose body was found floating in a North Carolina river on June 19, had successfully treated over 1,700 autistic children with GcMAF. On June 16 the FDA obtained a search and seizure order targeting his Buford Georgia medical clinic.
Over the past several weeks no less than seven established doctors have either been killed or died under unusual circumstances (e.g. here and here).
What do these physicians have in common and what remedies are they researching or advocating? Do any of their proposed treatments pose a threat to the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical cartel? If so, would government agencies and/or private contractors be commissioned to harass and perhaps even assassinate such individuals?
The answer may lie in an understanding of nagalese, a protein made by cancer cells and viruses. Nagalese is a primary cause of immunodeficiency given its ability to block the body’s production of GcMAF, otherwise known as “Vitamin D binding microphage activating factor,” a naturally-produced immune regulating compound that aids in fighting what are traditionally considered terminal diseases. Some researchers suggest that nagalese is one of many toxic components found in the immunizations commonly administered to children, including the Measles-Mumps-Rubella vaccine.
In an article on April 13, I used the so-called Civil War and the myths with which court historians have encumbered that war to show how history is falsified in order to serve agendas. I pointed out that it was a war of secession, not a civil war as the South was not fighting the North for control of the government in Washington. As for the matter of slavery, all of Lincoln’s statements prove that he was neither for the blacks nor against slavery.
Yet he has been turned into a civil rights hero, and a war of northern aggression, whose purpose Lincoln stated over and over was “to preserve the union” (the empire), has been converted into a war to free the slaves.
As for the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln said it was “a practical war measure” that would help in defeating the South and would convince Europe, which was considering recognizing the Confederacy, that Washington was motivated by “something more than ambition.” The proclamation only freed slaves in the Confederacy, not in the Union. As Lincoln’s Secretary of State put it: “we emancipated slaves where we cannot reach them and hold them in bondage where we can set them free.”
A few readers took exception to the truth and misconstrued a statement of historical facts as a racist defense of slavery. In the article below, the well-known African-American, Walter Williams, points out that the war was about money, not slavery. Just as Jews who tell the truth about Israel’s policies are called “self-hating Jews,” will Walter Williams be called a “self-hating black?” Invective is used as a defense against truth.
Racist explanations can be very misleading. For example, it is now a given that the police are racists because they kill without cause black Americans and almost always get away with it. Here is a case of a true fact being dangerously misconstrued. In actual fact, the police kill more whites than blacks, and they get away with these murders also. So how is race the explanation?
The real explanation is that the police have been militarized and trained to view the public as enemy who must first be subdued with force and then questioned. This is the reason that so many innocent people, of every race, are brutalized and killed. No doubt some police are racists, but overall their attitude toward the public is a brutal attitude toward all races, genders, and ages. The police are a danger to everyone, not only to blacks.
We see the same kind of mistake made with the Confederate Battle Flag. Reading some of the accounts of the recent Charleston church shootings, I got the impression that the Confederate Battle Flag, not Dylann Roof, was responsible for the murders. Those declaring the flag to be a “symbol of hate” might be correct. Possibly it is a symbol of their hatred of the “white South,” a hatred that dates from the mischaracterization of what is called the “Civil War.” As one commentator pointed out, if flying over slavery for four years makes the Confederate flag a symbol of hate, what does that make the U.S. flag, which flew over slavery for 88 years?
Flags on a battlefield are information devices to show soldiers where their lines are. In the days of black powder, battles produced enormous clouds of smoke that obscured the line between opposing forces. In the first battle of Bull Run confusion resulted from the similarity of the flags. Thus, the Confederate Battle Flag was born. It had nothing to do with hate.
Americans born into the centralized state are unaware that their forebears regarded themselves principally as residents of states, and not as Americans. Their loyalty was to their state. When Robert E. Lee was offered command in the Union Army, he declined on the grounds that he was a Virginian and could not go to war against his native country of Virginia.
A nonsensical myth has been created that Southerners made blacks into slaves because Southerners are racist. The fact of the matter is that slaves were brought to the new world as a labor force for large scale agriculture. The first slaves were whites sentenced to slavery under European penal codes. Encyclopedia Virginia reports that “convict laborers could be purchased for a lower price than indentured white or enslaved African laborers, and because they already existed outside society’s rules, they could be more easily exploited.”
White slavery also took the form of indentured servants in which whites served under contract as slaves for a limited time. Native Indians were enslaved. But whites and native Indians proved to be unsatisfactory labor forces for large scale agriculture. The whites had no resistance to malaria and yellow fever. It was discovered that some Africans did, and Africans were also accustomed to hot climates. Favored by superior survivability, Africans became the labor force of choice.
Slaves were more prominent in the Southern colonies than in the north, because the land in the South was more suitable for large scale agriculture. By the time of the American Revolution, the South was specialized in agriculture, and slavery was an inherited institution that long pre-dated both the United States and the Confederate States of America. The percentage of slave owners in the population was very small, because slavery was associated with large land holdings that produced export crops.
The motive behind slavery was to have a labor force in order to exploit the land. Those with large land holdings wanted labor and did not care about its color. Trial and error revealed that some Africans had superior survivability to malaria, and thus Africans became the labor force of choice. There was no free labor market. The expanding frontier offered poor whites land of their own, which they preferred to wages as agricultural workers.
A racist explanation of slavery and the Confederacy satisfies some agendas, but it is ahistorical.
Explanations are not justifications. Every institution, every vice, every virtue, and language itself has roots. Every institution and every cause has vested interests defending them. There have been a few efforts, such as the French Revolution and the Bolshevik Revolution, to remake the world in a day by casting off all existing institutions, but these attempts came a cropper.
Constant charges of racism can both create and perpetuate racism, just as the constant propaganda out of Washington is creating Islamophobia and Russophobia in the American population. We should be careful about the words we use and reject agenda-driven explanations.
Readers are forever asking me, “what can we do.” The answer is always the same. We can’t do anything unless we are informed.
We call the war of 1861 the Civil War. But is that right? A civil war is a struggle between two or more entities trying to take over the central government. Confederate President Jefferson Davis no more sought to take over Washington, D.C., than George Washington sought to take over London in 1776. Both wars, those of 1776 and 1861, were wars of independence. Such a recognition does not require one to sanction the horrors of slavery. We might ask, How much of the war was about slavery?
Was President Abraham Lincoln really for outlawing slavery? Let’s look at his words. In an 1858 letter, Lincoln said, “I have declared a thousand times, and now repeat that, in my opinion neither the General Government, nor any other power outside of the slave states, can constitutionally or rightfully interfere with slaves or slavery where it already exists.” In a Springfield, Illinois, speech, he explained: “My declarations upon this subject of Negro slavery may be misrepresented but cannot be misunderstood. I have said that I do not understand the Declaration (of Independence) to mean that all men were created equal in all respects.” Debating Sen. Stephen Douglas, Lincoln said, “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes nor of qualifying them to hold office nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races, which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”
What about Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation? Here are his words: “I view the matter (of slaves’ emancipation) as a practical war measure, to be decided upon according to the advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of the rebellion.” He also wrote: “I will also concede that emancipation would help us in Europe, and convince them that we are incited by something more than ambition.” When Lincoln first drafted the proclamation, war was going badly for the Union. London and Paris were considering recognizing the Confederacy and assisting it in its war against the Union.
The Emancipation Proclamation was not a universal declaration. It specifically detailed where slaves were to be freed: only in those states “in rebellion against the United States.” Slaves remained slaves in states not in rebellion — such as Kentucky, Maryland, Delaware and Missouri. The hypocrisy of the Emancipation Proclamation came in for heavy criticism. Lincoln’s own secretary of state, William Seward, sarcastically said, “We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free.”
Lincoln did articulate a view of secession that would have been heartily endorsed by the Confederacy:
“Any people anywhere, being inclined and having the power, have the right to rise up and shake off the existing government and form a new one that suits them better. … Nor is this right confined to cases in which the whole people of an existing government may choose to exercise it. Any portion of such people that can may revolutionize and make their own of so much of the territory as they inhabit.”
Lincoln expressed that view in an 1848 speech in the U.S. House of Representatives, supporting the war with Mexico and the secession of Texas [from Mexico].
Why didn’t Lincoln share the same feelings about Southern secession? Following the money might help with an answer. Throughout most of our nation’s history, the only sources of federal revenue were excise taxes and tariffs. During the 1850s, tariffs amounted to 90 percent of federal revenue. Southern ports paid 75 percent of tariffs in 1859. What “responsible” politician would let that much revenue go?
Israel gives Judaism a bad name. More proof came Sunday morning. soldiers stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque, firing tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at nonviolent worshipers to clear way for extremist Jews to access Islam’s third holiest site where they don’t belong.
Israel has no shortage of synagogues for worshipers to pray any day of the year for any reason. Forcibly entering a Muslim holy place with plenty of supportive military muscle constitutes a criminal act.
Photo by Andrew Shiva
Settlers came on a Jewish fast day (Tisha B’Av – marking the destruction of Jerusalem, two holy temples and other ancient tragedies).
Dozens of Palestinian worshipers were injured – from tear gas and pepper spray inhalation, rubber-coated bullet injuries, and beatings with rifle butts and other blunt objects.
Soldiers entered the compound’s Moroccan, Chain, and Hutta Gates, closed them with chains, and attacked Muslim worshipers inside the holy site.
Palestinian security guards were assaulted and overwhelmed by brute force – prevented from protecting their own people.
Notorious racist agriculture minister Uri Ariel (wanting all land between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea exclusively for Jews) entered the compound along with other extremist Jews.
Earlier Sunday morning, Israeli forces restricted Muslim worshipers wanting access to Al-Aqsa to men aged 50 or over and women. After 6:30AM, all Palestinians wanting entry were denied.
Israel reportedly wants the compound open to non-Muslim worshipers. It’s where Jews believe the first and second temples once stood.
Since occupation began in June 1967, Israel agreed not to allow non-Muslim prayer in the area – only at the adjacent Western Wall, the second temple’s remaining remnant.
Israeli pledges are worthless. Extremist Jews regularly enter the compound – heavily protected by soldiers and police, justifiably enraging Muslim worshipers.
Separately on Saturday, Jewish settlers assaulted a Palestinian child near al-Ghawanma Gate leading to Al-Aqsa’s compound. Intervention by other Palestinians witnessing what happened saved him.
At the same time, Jewish settlers performed Talmudic rituals at the King Faisal and al-Qattanin Gates. Right-wing Jewish groups urged them to storm Al-Aqsa’s compound.
They demanded Muslims be entirely excluded from Saturdayevening to sunset Sunday – as well as from 7:30 – 11:30AM for provocative scheduled Israeli tours this Monday through Thursday.
Extremist Jews want Al-Aqsa destroyed – replaced by a Jewish temple, a notion justifiably enraging all Islam. A Knesset measure proposed dividing the compound into Jewish and Muslim sectors – an idea Palestinians reject.
A Final Comment
Israeli violence against Palestinians occurs multiple times daily throughout the Occupied Territories. The IDF intermittently bombs Gaza targets at its discretion or attacks them by ground incursions.
Israeli soldiers attack weekly Friday Bil’in village nonviolent protests against the illegal apartheid wall and settlements on stolen Palestinian land.
They march peacefully, carry Palestinian flags, demand all political prisoners be released and call for Palestine’s liberation.
They demand Israeli criminals be held accountable in international tribunals. They want Palestine freed from repressive rule.
On Friday and Saturday, Israeli forces attacked Silwad, Betunia, Nabi Saleh and Kufur Qaddoum village residents. Many were injured.
Homes were invaded so soldiers could fire on Palestinians from rooftops. During the week ending July 15 alone, Israeli forces conducted 30 forceful incursions into West Bank Palestinian communities – arresting 28 nonviolent victims, including seven children.
Daily persecution targets millions of Palestinians wanting only to live on their own land in peace – free from militarized occupation, denying them fundamental rights everyone deserves.
Latin America’s relationship with the U.S. government has been difficult to say the least. The U.S. has been intervening in Latin America since President James Monroe established the Monroe Doctrine, a foreign policy that prevented European powers from colonizing any sovereign nation in “their backyard” (that was America’s job!). The Monroe Doctrine became an instrumental tool for Washington to advance American style Democracy and dominate governments in South and Central America and the Caribbean which brings us to Cuba.
Cuba was one of the last colonial possessions under Spanish rule just 90 miles south of Florida. As Spain’s Imperial power was in decline, Washington had imperial ambitions to expand its influence on Cuba. Cuba had the potential to produce unlimited profits for U.S. business interests. Even organized crime got into the picture when they became a major player in Cuba since the early 1930’s. The mafia controlled the gaming industry, prostitution and the drug trade in the U.S. mainland also had their sights on Cuba. The mafia managed to expand their operations to Cuba to avoid harassment from the U.S. government. Cuba was to be their base of operations as they were looking to expand into other Caribbean nations. During that time, Cuba was under the leadership of President Fulgencio Batista who had close political ties to Washington and its multinational corporations. Batista was also a good friend to organized crime. Cuba became a cesspool of corruption, illegal drugs and prostitution which became a playground (metaphorically speaking) for the rich and famous while the majority of ordinary Cubans lived in extreme poverty. This is an historical account of Cuba before 1959, a time period that explains why Cuba’s Revolution was a long time in the making.
Cuba Independence and the American Civil War
Back in 1823, US President James Monroe established the Monroe Doctrine, a US foreign policy directive that prevented any European power from colonizing countries in Latin America to protect its sphere of influence. US interests took precedence over any land disputes with European powers except Cuba, who was still under Spanish rule.
At the start of the American Civil War, the Union (the national government of the North) was concerned that the Confederacy (who formed a breakaway republic in the South) would have received military aid from Spain. The Union was also concerned that Spain would have eventually intervened on the side of the Confederates since Cuba was an ideal place to expand slave plantations with the possibility of creating a new state to counter balance the rise of free states to the North. The Confederacy wanted the Union to purchase Cuba and turn it into a Slave plantation despite the fact that the Cuban people demanded freedom and independence from Spain. However, President Abraham Lincoln sent a newly appointed Minister to Spain by the name of Carl Schurz to prevent Spain’s recognition of the Confederacy and any form of military aid during the war. Minister Schurz convinced the Spanish court that the Confederates wanted to annex Cuba. Spain declared neutrality on June 17, 1861.
By 1868, the Ten Years War for Cuba’s independence had begun but was eventually defeated by Spanish government by 1878. The Pact of Zanjón, a treaty that ended the ten year war and liberated slaves who fought in the war. The treaty did not satisfy the Cubans who wanted full independence from Spain. José Martí, a revolutionary philosopher and advocate for Cuba’s independence was in exile. Marti had planned an invasion of Cuba with groups from the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and the United States (which was prevented by American officials) to invade Cuba through different routes and create an uprising by the Cuban people. Marti and his revolutionaries began the ‘Grito de Baire,’ a guerilla war which the Spanish government eventually defeated.
The USS Maine, Yellow Journalism and the Road to the Spanish-Cuban-American War
As revolts against the Spanish government continued, U.S. President McKinley decided to take action in support of the Cuban resistance. McKinley wanted to end the revolt through a peaceful resolution, so he threatened the Spanish government with his administration and U.S. companies that manufacture weapons would consider recognizing Cuba’s status and provide weapons to the Cuban insurgents. He sent Stewart L. Woodford to Madrid to negotiate an end to the conflict. Negotiations followed with the Prime Minister of Spain, Práxedes Sagasta, (who supported Cuban autonomy) proved to be a success. Cuban autonomy was set to begin on January 1, 1898.
After the Cuban Autonomous government came to power, riots followed after Spanish officers who were offended by newspapers critical of General Valeriano Weyler’s policies. Future US President and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Theodore Roosevelt was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy at the time and a staunch supporter of war against Spain over Cuba. Roosevelt supported the Monroe Doctrine and prepared the Navy and the Asiatic Squadron led by Admiral George Dewey for war against Spain. He advocated the Army to recruit an all-volunteer force who would eventually become the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry known as the “Rough Riders.” The US military’s readiness for war was evident.
Then McKinley sent the USS Maine to Havana to protect American interests. The US notified the Spanish government prior to its arrival. On October 1897, the USS Maine was to be deployed to Key West, Florida as part of a strategy with other US Naval ships located in close proximity to Cuba in case of a war with Spain due to political tensions between Madrid and Washington. On February 15, 1898, the USS Maine exploded in the Havana Harbor after a massive explosion. Propaganda to sell newspapers took center stage during the crisis as Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World and William Randolph Hearst of the New York Journal took advantage of the situation and sold war to the public. Both newspaper outlets covered the entire situation in Cuba regarding Spain’s alleged actions. The explosion caused 266 sailors their lives. In 1975, an investigation by US Admiral Hyman Rickover concluded that there was no evidence of any external explosion and that the explosion was an “internal incident” caused by a coal dust explosion. However, due to the power of ‘Yellow Journalism’, the American public’s negative attitude towards Spain because of the explosion demanded a swift military response. The U.S. government and its business entities had “special interests” in Cuba. But it was disrupted by the incident as it created uncertainty about the future of Cuba.
President McKinley asked Congress for $50 million for defense, which was unanimously approved by Congress. The cause of the explosion was unknown during that time, but the American government and the public were angered by Spain’s actions, so war was unavoidable. For Spain there were no diplomatic solutions to prevent the coming war. Spain appealed to the European powers and advised Spain not to enter a war with the US. But, it was too late. Most of the conflict was fought in close proximity to Spanish territories, namely Cuba and the Philippines. In both theaters of war, the Spanish naval squadrons were defeated by a superior U.S. naval fleet. Both victories left the Spanish land forces isolated from their naval forces and their homeland. After a brief resistance, Spanish forces surrendered. The defeat marked the end of Spain’s colonial empire and the rise of the US imperial power. The war lasted ten weeks. US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, John Hay wrote a letter to Theodore Roosevelt declaring that the conflict was “a splendid little war”. Renowned historian and author of ‘A People’s History of the United States’ Howard Zinn wrote:
Businessmen had been interested, from the start of the Cuban revolt against Spain, in the effect on commercial possibilities there. There already was a substantial economic interest in the island, which President Grover Cleveland summarized in 1896:
It is reasonably estimated that at least from $30,000,000 to $50,000,000 of American capital are invested in the plantations and in railroad, mining, and other business enterprises on the island. The volume of trade between the United States and Cuba, which in 1889 amounted to about $64,000,000, rose in 1893 to about $103,000,000”
After Spain’s defeat, one dictatorship after another soon followed. Cuba became an important economic trade zone for American businesses. Once the U.S. gained control of Cuba, it expanded its economic and political monopoly expanding its power over the Cuban people.
Cuba’s Independence under “American Democracy”: Batista’s Rise to Power
U.S. congress passed the ‘Teller Amendment’ in 1898 which did guarantee Cuba’s independence but was replaced in 1901 by the ‘Platt Amendment’ which gave Washington the power to intervene in Cuba if their interests were threatened. By 1908, Cubans who fought against Spain created a new independent political party but were oppressed and eventually massacred by the U.S. backed Cuban government. The Partido Independiente de Color (PIC) was composed of former African slaves and war veterans of the1896 Cuban War of Independence. The PIC won enough votes that undermined the ruling liberal party under President José Miguel Gómez. President Gomez ordered the party to disband under Cuban law which outlawed any political party based on race although the law favored white Cubans. The PIC staged a revolt under General Evaristo Estanoz. However, General Jose de Jesus Monteagudo suspended constitutional rights and ordered an attack against Afro-Cubans. The US intervened and sent troops to back President Gomez and protect its vital business interests. More than 5,000 Afro-Cubans were massacred by lynch mobs because of their skin color. All Afro-Cubans were under suspicion by the Gomez regime.
Gerardo Machado y Morales was President of Cuba from 1925 until 1933 and a former general of the Cuban War of Independence who was interested in ending the Platt Amendment. Machado was an elitist and an industrialist who wanted to turn Cuba into the“Switzerland of the Americas.” By 1928, an economic depression was taking place in Cuba due to a decline in sugar prices and the stock market crash of 1929 which led to political instability. On December 23, 1931, political opposition in Cuba grew which called for fair elections, but Machado remained resistant to the opposition. By 1933, a civil war was brewing due to escalating violence between the Machado regime and the political opposition groups including students, organized labor and other various groups.
On May 8 1933 Sumner Welles, a U.S. envoy was sent by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt to analyze the “Cuban situation.” By July 21st, Welles demanded that Machado reinstitute the constitutional guarantees that he removed under his leadership. Machado refused, so Welles negotiated an end to Machado’s presidency which paved the way for a new presidency under Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. Cespedes became provisional president, but was overthrown during the Revolt of the Sergeants. The Coup was led by Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar, an army sergeant and a stenographer on September 5th, 1933. Soon after the coup, the University of Havana representative for the students and professors Ramón Grau San Martín became president and Batista became the Army Chief of Staff as a colonel. This was when Batista’s rise to power became evident because he controlled the short-lived five-member Presidency known as the ‘Pentarchy of 1933’ which included representatives from the anti-Machado factions. Batista oversaw the purge of commissioned officer corps who was forced to retire and some were possibly executed.
Batista had full control over numerous puppet presidents until 1940. Grau was president for more than 100 days before Batista forced him to resign in 1934 with the backing of Sumner Welles. Carlos Mendieta was made President which Washington immediately recognized as Cuba’s new President of the government. However, the new government of Mendieta lasted for about eleven months. Then a number of short-lived puppet governments led by José Barnet and Miguel Mariano Gómez and then Federico Laredo Brú, who was president of Cuba from December 1936 to October 1940. Batista was then elected President to a 4-year term in 1940 and eventually became the de-facto dictator from 1952 to 1959.
Batista then re-instated the 1940 Constitution of Cuba which ironically was considered a progressive platform. He supported labor unions which the old Communist party was pleased with. He established economic reforms and even declared war on Nazi Germany, Mussolini’s Italy and Franco’s Spain in 1941. When his Presidential term was over in 1944 he chose Carlos Saladrigas Zayas to be his successor but was defeated by Ramon Grau. Batista then decided to live in the United States but was still heavily involved in Cuban politics and in 1948 was elected to the Cuban Senate in absentia. He returned to Cuba to run for president. President Grau at the time gave Batista permission to form the United Action Party then he founded the Progressive Action Party. Batista lost popularity among the Cuban people but the unions remained supportive of Batista. But that did not prevent Batista’s desire to rule Cuba.
Back with a Vengeance
Batista returned to Cuba for an uncertain presidential run in 1952 that faced an uphill battle with polls that suggested otherpresidential candidates were in the lead. Elections were canceled since Batista’s party was in last place, so he led a military coup against President Carlos Prio Socarras that put him back in power. Washington immediately recognized the new Cuban government. Batista took action and suspended the 1940 Constitution he initially supported and canceled the Cuban people’s remaining civil liberties. He also backed wealthy landowners who owned sugar plantations.
When Batista took over the Cuban economy, it was already in a steady decline. However, during the 1950’s, Cuba was a developed nation with a GDP ratio equal to Italy. The gap between rich and poor widened and government corruption became rampant although industrial worker’s wages did rise significantly. Batista began to reap enormous profits from Cuba’s business interests. He aligned himself with the Italian and the Jewish mafia from the United States who controlled drugs, gambling and prostitution rings in the U.S. The Batista government was favored by American-based corporations that had invested in Cuba. It was clear that Batista’s new policies were not as progressive as his first term in office.
Civil Unrest and the ‘July 26 Movement’
There was a growing anger among the Cuban population in reaction to Batista’s policies. Batista took control over the media by way of censorship. Batista created an anti-Communist secret police to silence the public with violence, torture and public executions. It is estimated that there were between 10,000 to 20,000 people murdered under the Batista regime with financial and military support from the Washington. During Batista’s reign of terror, the July 26 Movement organized by Fidel Castro and other anti-government groups throughout Cuba were forming a rebellion against the Batista government. Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. who was a writer, historian, speechwriter and a Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy who worked primarily on Latin American issues analyzed Batista’s Cuba on the president’s request and said:
The corruption of the government, the brutality of the police, the regime’s indifference to the needs of the people for education, medical care, housing, for social justice and economic justice is an open invitation to revolution
It began on July 26, 1953; an attack on the Moncada Barracks in Santiago led by Fidel Castro but was defeated by Batista’s armed forces. Leaders of the insurgency were imprisoned while others fled Cuba. By 1954, Batista held elections as a candidate of a political coalition of three different parties including the Progressive Action Party, the Radical Union Party and the Liberal Party which did win by fraud and intimidation. The elections were boycotted by the parties who participated in the elections because potential voters were harassed and terrorized by Batista’s supporters.
Student riots and anti-Batista protests became the norm due to high-unemployment rates especially among college graduates. Batista’s forces dealt with the protests through repressive actions. The University of Havana was temporarily closed on November 30, 1956 due to anti-Batista student protests. Torture and murder of suspected revolutionaries took place in the inner cities. Batista was concerned about Castro so he ordered his secret police to torture and murder people in public to install fear in the population in case they were considering joining the growing revolution. Batista’s actions only angered the Cuban people and increased support for the July 26 Movement. Many organizations joined the movement from all types of backgrounds from the middle class including lawyers, doctors, accountants and many others united with the poor (who were already fighting against government forces).
The U.S. provided military aid to the Batista regime in an effort to defeat the insurgency. Then on March 1958, the U.S. government stopped selling arms to the Cuban government followed by an arms embargo although the wealthy land owners and many in the West continued to support Batista. A new election were supposed to take place on June 1958, but was temporally delayed until November due to Castro’s revolutionaries who called for a general strike as violence continued to plague Cuba.
The Mafia in Cuba 1933-1959
Organized crime infiltrated Havana with gambling operations, drugs and prostitution rings. They also controlled racetracks and nightclubs that mostly catered to American and Cuban elites. Hollywood has produced films about the mafia avoiding the U.S. government from prosecution, but that was further from the truth. Throughout history, the mafia and the U.S. government have collaborated on a number of occasions.
Operation Underworld was an example of how the U.S. government, in this particular case, the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) collaborated with Italian and Jewish organized crime from 1942 to 1945 to counter enemy spies (Nazi’s, Italian and Japanese fascists) infiltrating the U.S. northeastern seaboard ports. The head of the Italian mafia, Charles “Lucky” Luciano was serving time for running prostitution rings and Meyer Lansky of the Jewish mafia (actually Zionist in nature, but it is known as the Jewish mafia in Hollywood and the media) both agreed to work with the U.S. government. Meyer Lanksy was an actual Zionist and a staunch supporter of Israel. His daughter, Sandra Lanksy co-wrote ‘Daughter of the King: Growing up in Gangland’ with William Stadiem said that her father was an avid supporter of Israel:
I had never even thought of him, or myself as a Jew. Suddenly, I realized what I was, what we were, and that anti-Semitism was worth fighting against, whether in World War II, or in America. Moses Polakoff, the professor, was also a master of public relations. He let it slip to the press that not only had daddy thwarted Hitler’s agents on the docks in the war, but he was a major financial supporter of Israeli independence in 1948, by buying Israel bonds and providing arms for Israel’s freedom fighters
Lucky Luciano was eventually released from prison on the condition that he would be deported to Italy but ended up traveling to Cuba. As early as 1946, mafia figureheads such as Luciano had big plans for Cuba. In ‘Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and then Lost it to the Revolution’ (an excellent expose of how the mafia operated in Cuba) by T.J. English wrote:
When Charles Luciano of Naples, Italy boarded a huge freighter in the autumn of 1946 and headed out to sea, he had many things on his mind but only one thing that mattered: Cuba. The Pearl of the Antilles was to be his salvation, the place where he would ascend once again to the top of the most powerful crime organization in the free world. After a long decade of prison and exile, he deserved nothing less
However, the mafia did protect east coast docks stationed by the Atlantic Ocean from saboteurs and even crushed labor union strikers. They also prevented any theft of U.S. war supplies and equipment. The mafia saw it as an opportunity. If they protected the docks as a favor, they would be allowed to continue their criminal enterprises without government interference.
Operation Underworld began after the attack on Pearl Harbor when the U.S. lost numerous merchant ships to German U-boats and merchant raiders during the ‘Battle of the Atlantic.’ Operation Underworld is proof that the U.S. government’s ‘Office of Strategic Services’(OSS) which eventually became the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and organized crime has an extensive history together dating back to World War II.
The U.S. government collaborated with organized crime (who hated Castro for nationalizing their casinos and other properties) to assassinate Fidel Castro. The Guardian published a report in 2007 called ‘CIA conspired with mafia to kill Castro’ based on a newly released CIA dossier called ‘Family Jewels’:
The CIA conspired with a Chicago gangster described as “the chieftain of the Cosa Nostra and the successor to Al Capone” in a bungled 1960 attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro, the leader of Cuba’s communist revolution, according to classified documents published by the agency yesterday.
The disclosure is contained in a 702-page CIA dossier known as the “Family Jewels” compiled at the behest of then agency director James Schlesinger in 1973. According to a memo written at the time, the purpose of the dossier was to identify all current and past CIA activities that “conflict with the provisions of the National Security Act of 1947″ – and were, in other words, illegal
Al Capone’s successor was Sam Giancana. One of the only Hollywood films that touches upon the mafia involved with the U.S. government which received a lot of criticism from the main-stream media was Oliver Stone’s ‘JFK’. One other film that exposes the mafia having extensive relationship with the CIA was Robert Deniro’s ‘The Good Shepherd’ when a CIA official Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) threatens mafia boss Joseph Palmi (who was based on real life mob bosses Sam Giancana and Santo Trafficante jr) played by Joe Pesci to cooperate with the CIA to assassinate Fidel Castro or face deportation. Cuba’s dilemma with the Batista government collaborating with the Jewish and Italian mafia was troubling. There were other mafia interests on the island-nation such as prostitution and bribery of government officials. An American journalist by the name of David Detzer wrote ‘The Brink: Cuban Missile Crisis 1962’ stated what he saw when he visited Cuba during Batista’s reign of terror:
Brothels flourished. A major industry grew up around them; government officials received bribes, policemen collected protection money. Prostitutes could be seen standing in doorways, strolling the streets, or leaning from windows. One report estimated that 11,500 of them worked their trade in Havana. Beyond the outskirts of the capital, beyond the slot machines, was one of the poorest, and most beautiful countries in the Western world
Havana was the Las Vegas of the Caribbean that reaped gambling, prostitution and drug profits (cocaine and marijuana) for the mafia. Mobsters were making a fortune on the backs of the Cuban people as were corrupt law-enforcement and high-ranking political officials aligned with Batista. Batista’s relationship with Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano was a gangster’s dream. Havana became to be known as the ‘Latin Las Vegas’.
Meyer Lansky knew Batista since the 1930’s. Lansky traveled to Havana in 1933 to meet then Cuban Armed Forces Chief Fulgencio Batista for a business plan that would involve gaming rights for casinos and for the control of the Hotel Nacional Casino. Batista allowed the mafia to run its businesses without any interference which gave them equal power to the multinational corporations operating in Cuba. The mafia presence in Cuba began when Batista rose through the ranks from a sergeant to a colonel and then as the chief of the armed forces in 1933. From a constitutional president in 1940 to becoming the de-facto dictator of Cuba after the 1952 coup, Batista was in a position of absolute power that benefitted not only himself but his close allies including the mafia. According to T.J. English’s account of Cuba’s environment under Batista:
The Island’s cadre of corrupt business and political figures was energized by what promised to be the opening of the floodgates in Havana. But even they knew that the criminal know-how and the flow of capital would have to come from outsiders. For those who operated within the island’s nexus of commerce, politics and corruption, this was no problem. For nearly a century, Cuba’s social elite had been intertwined with outside corporate interests, forming a ruling cartel that was a mix of U.S. industrialists, sugar barons, tourism magnates and international financiers
With Luciano and Lansky settled in Cuba, it was business as usual. Luciano ran the casinos although Batista had to eventually deport him on request by the U.S. government. Batista was looking for large investments in Cuba’s casinos and nightclub’s, so anyone who would invest would have received a gaming license with no harassment from the government. Cuba became the center of the international drug trafficking under Lansky. The infamous ‘Hotel Nacional’ became a casino along with other hotels and nightclubs filled with prostitutes for American tourists and Cuban business elites. Lansky and Luciano’s operations kept other mafia bosses happy with its enormous profits while at the same time making Batista a wealthy man with political contributions ending up in his foreign Swiss bank accounts. Cuba became a lucrative market for legal and illegal business activities for both the Mafia and multinational corporations all made possible under Batista’s government. In a 1960 speech at a Democratic dinner in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S. President John F. Kennedy stated the facts on who really owned Cuba’s economy when he said:
At the beginning of 1959 United States companies owned about 40 percent of the Cuban sugar lands—almost all the cattle ranches—90 percent of the mines and mineral concessions—80 percent of the utilities—practically all the oil industry—and supplied two-thirds of Cuba’s imports. Of course, our private investment did much to help Cuba. But our action too often gave the impression that this country was more interested in taking money from the Cuban people than in helping them build a strong and diversified economy of their own
In one of Francis Ford Coppola’s classic film trilogy ‘The Godfather II’ based on the book by Mario Puzo exposes a historical truth. Michael Corleone (played by Al Pacino) and Hyman Roth who was Meyer Lansky in real life played by Lee Strasberg along with several representatives of major multinational corporations had major business interests in Cuba. In the film, Roth wanted Michael Corleone assassinated, but in real life the Italian and Jewish mafia were partners in Cuba looking to further expand their operations in the Caribbean.
As an “expression of gratitude” in both real life and in the film, the ITT Corporation, a U.S. based multinational telephone company bestowed a ‘Golden Telephone’ in Batista’s honor for the rate increase he imposed in Cuba (as requested by the U.S. government) which made telephone usage expensive for the majority of the Cuban people. ‘The Godfather II’ was closer to the truth then what the main-stream media would have reported during that time period. The U.S. media portrayed Batista in a positive light until the very end of his dictatorship.
The End of Batista’s Rule
On December 11, 1958, U.S. Ambassador Earl Smith told Batista that the United States could no longer support his government. The U.S. denied Batista asylum and suggested that he go to Spain. On New Year’s Eve party, Batista told his government officials that he was leaving Cuba and flew to the Dominican Republic with between $300 and $700 million according to various estimates. Portugal’s António Salazar, a dictator allowed Batista to enter his country. By 1972, Batista settled in Marbella, Spain where he eventually died of a heart attack.
On January 1st 1959, Cuban forces led by Fidel Castro entered Havana with no resistance from Batista’s defeated forces. Fidel Castro entered Havana several days later on January 8th with a victory march over a U.S. backed dictatorship that had mob ties. It was a new chapter in history for Cuba, but for Washington, it was the start of a political and economic war against the Castro government.
Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has claimed that he was authorized by Alexis Tsipras last December to look into a parallel payment system that would operate using wiretapped tax registration numbers (AFMs) and could eventually work as a parallel banking system, Kathimerini has learned.
In a teleconference call with members of international hedge funds that was allegedly coordinated by former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, Varoufakis claimed to have been given the okay by Tsipras last December – a month before general elections that brought SYRIZA to power – to plan a payment system that could operate in euros but which could be changed into drachmas “overnight” if necessary, Kathimerini understands.
Varoufakis worked with a small team to prepare the plan, which would have required a staff of 1,000 to implement but did not get the final go-ahead from Tsipras to proceed, he said.
The call took place on July 16, more than a week after Varoufakis left his post as finance minister.
The plan would involve hijacking the AFMs of taxpayers and corporations by hacking into General Secretariat of Public Revenues website, Varoufakis told his interlocutors. This would allow the creation of a parallel system that could operate if banks were forced to close and which would allow payments to be made between third parties and the state and could eventually lead to the creation of a parallel banking system, he said.
As the general secretariat is a system that is monitored by Greece’s creditors and is therefore difficult to access, Varoufakis said he assigned a childhood friend of his, an information technology expert who became a professor at Columbia University, to hack into the system. A week after Varouakis took over the ministry, he said the friend telephoned him and said he had “control” of the hardware but not the software “which belongs to the troika.”
You can find extracts from the conversation below. Varoufakis was advised that the call was being recorded when it began.
Varoufakis: “I have to admit we did not have a mandate for bringing Greece out of the euro. What we had was a mandate to negotiate for a kind of arrangement with the Eurogroup and the ECB that would render Greece sustainable within the eurozone. The mandate went a bit further, at least in my estimation. I think the Greek people had authorised us to pursue energetically and vigorously that negotiation to the point of saying that if we can’t have a viable agreement, then we should consider getting out.”
“We don’t have a currency which we can devalue vis a vis the euro, we have the euro”
“[Wolfgang] Schaeuble, the finance minister of Germany, is hell-bent on effecting a Grexit so nothing is over. But let me be very specific and very precise on this. The prime minister before he became PM, before we won the election in January, had given me the green light to come up with a Plan B. And I assembled a very able team, a small team as it had to be because that had to be kept completely under wraps for obvious reasons. And we had been working since the end of December or beginning of January on creating one. But let me give you if you are interested some of the political and the institutional impediments that made it hard for us to complete the work and indeed to activate it. The work was more or less complete: We did have a Plan B but the difficulty was to go from the five people who were planning it to the 1,000 people that would have to implement it. For that I would have to receive another authorisation which never came.”
“But let me give you an example. We were planning along a number fronts. I will just mention one. Take the case of the first few moments when the banks are shut, the ATMs don’t function and there has to be some parallel payment system by which to keep the economy going for a little while, to give the population the feel that the state is in control and that there is a plan.”
“What we planned to do was the following. There is the website of the tax office like there is in Britain and everywhere else, where citizens, taxpayers go into the website they use their tax file number and they transfer through web banking monies from the bank account to their tax file number so as to make payments on VAT, income tax and so on and so forth.”
“We were planning to create, surreptitiously, reserve accounts attached to every tax file number, without telling anyone, just to have this system in a function under wraps. And, at the touch of a button, to allow us to give PIN numbers to tax file number holders, to taxpayers. So let’s take for instance the case the state owed 1 million euros to some pharmaceutical company for drugs purchased on behalf of the National Health Service. We could immediately create a digital transfer into that reserve account of the tax file number of the pharmaceutical company and provide them with a pin number so that they could use this as a kind of parallel payment mechanism by whichever part of that digital monies to any tax file number for whom they owed money or indeed to use it to in order to make tax payments to the state. That would have created a parallel banking system while the banks were shut as a result of the ECBs aggressive action to deny us some breathing space.”
“This was very well developed and I think it would have made a very big difference because very soon we could have extended it, using apps on smartphones and it could become a functioning parallel system and of course this would be euro denominated but at the drop of a hat it could be converted to a new drachma.”
“But let me tell you – and this is quite a fascinating story – what difficulties I faced. The General Secretary of Public Revenues within my ministry is controlled fully and directly by the troika. It was not under control of my ministry, of me as minister, it was controlled by Brussels. The general secretary is appointed effectively through a process which is troika-controlled and the whole mechanism within. It’s like the Inland Revenue in the UK being controlled by Brussels. I am sure as you are hearing these words your hair is standing on end.”
“Ok, so problem number one: The general secretary of information systems on the other hand was controlled by me, as minister. I appointed a good friend of mine, a childhood friend of mine who had become professor of IT at Columbia University in the States and so on. I put him in because I trusted him to develop this.”
“At some point, a week or so after we moved into the ministry, he calls me up and says to me: “You know what? I control the machines, I control the hardware but I do not control the software. The software belongs to the troika controlled General Secretary of Public Revenues. What do I do?””
“So we had meeting just two of us – nobody else knew – and he said: “Listen, if I ask for permission from them to start implementing this program then the troika will immediately know we are designing a parallel system.” But I said: “That won’t do, we don’t want to reveal our hand at this stage.””
“So I authorised him – and you can’t tell anyone that, this is totally between us…”
Normal Lamont interrupts: “There are certainly others listening but they will not tell it to their friends.”
Varoufakis (laughing): “I know. I know they are. And even if they do I will deny I said it, so we decided to hack into my ministry’s own software program in order to be able break it up to just copy just to copy the code of the tax systems website onto a large computer in his office so that he can work out how to design and implement this parallel payment system.”
“And we were ready to get the green light from the PM when the banks closed in order to move into the General Secretariat of Public Revenues, which is not controlled by us but is controlled by Brussels, and to plug this laptop in and to energize the system.”
“So I am trying to convey to you the kind of institutional problems that we had, institutional impediments we had to carrying out an independent policy for ameliorating the effects of having our banks being closed down by the ECB.”
“Schaeuble has a plan. The way he described it to me is very simple. He believes that the eurozone is not sustainable as it is. He believes there has to be some fiscal transfers, some degree of political union. He believes that for that political union to work without federation, without the legitimacy that a properly elected federal parliament can render, can bestow upon an executive, it will have to be done in a very disciplinary way. And he said explicitly to me that a Grexit is going to equip him with sufficient bargaining, sufficient terrorising power in order to impose upon the French that which Paris has been resisting. And what is that? A degree of transfer of budget making powers from Paris to Brussels.”
How can the life of such a man Be in the palm of some fool’s hand? To see him obviously framed Couldn’t help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land Where justice is a game.—Bob Dylan, “Hurricane”
Attorney John W. Whitehead opens a recent posting (see below) on his Rutherford Institute website with these words from a song by Bob Dylan. Why don’t all of us feel ashamed? Why only Bob Dylan?
I wonder how many of Bob Dylan’s fans understand what he is telling them. American justice has nothing to do with innocence or guilt. It only has to do with the prosecutor’s conviction rate, which builds his political career. Considering the gullibility of the American people, American jurors are the last people to whom an innocent defendant should trust his fate. The jury will betray the innocent almost every time.
As Lawrence Stratton and I show in our book (2000, 2008) there is no justice in America. We titled our book, “How the Law Was Lost.” It is a description of how the protective features in law that made law a shield of the innocent was transformed over time into a weapon in the hands of the government, a weapon used against the people. The loss of law as a shield occurred prior to 9/11, which “our representative government” used to construct a police state.
The marketing department of our publisher did not appreciate our title and instead came up with “The Tyranny of Good Intentions.” We asked what this title meant. The marketing department answered that we showed that the war on crime, which gave us the abuses of RICO, the war on child abusers, which gave us show trials of total innocents that bested Joseph Stalin’s show trials of the heroes of the Bolshevik Revolution, and the war on drugs, which gave “Freedom and Democracy America” broken families and by far the highest incarceration rate in the world all resulted from good intentions to combat crime, to combat drugs, and to combat child abuse. The publisher’s title apparently succeeded, because 15 years later the book is still in print. It has sold enough copies over these years that, had the sales occurred upon publication would have made the book a “best seller.” The book, had it been a best seller, would have gained more attention, and perhaps law schools and bar associations could have used it to hold the police state at bay.
Whitehead documents how hard a not guilty verdict is to come by for an innocent defendant. Even if the falsely accused defendant and his attorney survive the prosecutor’s pressure to negotiate a plea bargain and arrive at a trial, they are confronted with jurors who are unable to doubt prosecutors, police, or witnesses paid to lie against the innocent defendant. Jurors even convicted the few survivors of the Clinton regime’s assault on the Branch Davidians of Waco, the few who were not gassed, shot, or burned to death by US federal forces. This religious sect was demonized by Washington and the presstitute media as child abusers who were manufacturing automatic weapons while they raped children. The charges proved to be false, like Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” and so forth, but only after all of the innocents were dead or in prison.
The question is: why do Americans not only sit silently while the lives of innocents are destroyed, but also actually support the destruction of the lives of innocents? Why do Americans believe “official sources” despite the proven fact that “official sources” lie repeatedly and never tell the truth?
The only conclusion that one can come to is that the American people have failed. We have failed Justice. We have failed Mercy. We have failed the US Constitution. We have failed Truth. We have failed Democracy and representative government. We have failed ourselves and humanity. We have failed the confidence that our Founding Fathers put in us. We have failed God. If we ever had the character that we are told we had, we have obviously lost it. Little, if anything, remains of the “American character.”
Was the American character present in the torture prisons of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and hidden CIA torture dungeons where US military and CIA personnel provided photographic evidence of their delight in torturing and abusing prisoners? Official reports have concluded that along with torture went rape, sodomy, and murder. All of this was presided over by American psychologists with Ph.D. degrees.
We see the same inhumanity in the American police who respond to women children, the elderly, the physically and mentally handicapped, with gratuitous violence. For no reason whatsoever, police murder, taser, beat, and abuse US citizens. Every day there are more reports, and despite the reports the violence goes on and on and on. Clearly, the police enjoy inflicting pain and death on citizens whom the police are supposed to serve and protect. There have always been bullies in the police force, but the wanton police violence of our time indicates a complete collapse of the American character.
The failure of the American character has had tremendous and disastrous consequences for ourselves and for the world. At home Americans have a police state in which all Constitutional protections have vanished. Abroad, Iraq and Libya, two formerly prosperous countries, have been destroyed. Libya no longer exists as a country. One million dead Iraqis, four million displaced abroad, hundreds of thousands of orphans and birth defects from the American ordnance, and continuing ongoing violence from factions fighting over the remains. These facts are incontestable. Yet the United States Government claims to have brought “freedom and democracy” to Iraq. “Mission accomplished,” declared one of the mass murderers of the 21st century, George W. Bush.
The question is: how can the US government make such an obviously false outrageous claim without being shouted down by the rest of the world and by its own population? Is the answer that good character has disappeared from the world?
Or is the rest of the world too afraid to protest? Washington can force supposedly sovereign countries to acquiesce to its will or be cut off from the international payments mechanism that Washington controls, and/or be sanctioned, and/or be bombed, droned, or invaded, and/or be assassinated or overthrown in a coup. On the entire planet Earth there are only two countries capable of standing up to Washington, Russia and China, and neither wants to stand up if they can avoid it.
For whatever the reasons, not only Americans but most of the world as well accommodate Washington’s evil and are thereby complicit in the evil. Those humans with a moral conscience are gradually being positioned by Washington and London as “domestic extremists” who might have to be rounded up and placed in detention centers. Examine the recent statements by General Wesley Clark and British Prime Minister Cameron and remember Janet Napolitano’s statement that the Department of Homeland Security has shifted its focus from terrorists to domestic extremists, an undefined and open-ended term.
Americans with good character are being maneuvered into a position of helplessness. As John Whitehead makes clear, the American people cannot even prevent “their police,” paid by their tax payments, from murdering 3 Americans each day, and this is only the officially reported murders. The actual account is likely higher.
What Whitehead describes and what I have noticed for many years is that the American people have lost, in addition to their own sense of truth and falsity, any sense of mercy and justice for other peoples. Americans accept no sense of responsibility for the millions of peoples that Washington has exterminated over the past two decades dating back to the second term of Clinton. Every one of the millions of deaths is based on a Washington lie.
When Clinton’s Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, was asked if the Clinton’s regime’s sanctions, which had claimed the lives of 500,000 Iraqi children, were justified, she obviously expected no outrage from the American people when she replied in the affirmative.
Americans need to face the facts. The loss of character means the loss of liberty and the transformation of government into a criminal enterprise.
The American Nightmare: The Tyranny of the Criminal Justice System
John W. Whitehead
The Rutherford Institute
July 22, 2015
Justice in America is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Just ask Jeffrey Deskovic, who spent 16 years in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit. Despite the fact that Deskovic’s DNA did not match what was found at the murder scene, he was singled out by police as a suspect because he wept at the victim’s funeral (he was 16 years old at the time), then badgered over the course of two months into confessing his guilt. He was eventually paid $6.5 million in reparation.
James Bain spent 35 years in prison for the kidnapping and rape of a 9-year-old boy, but he too was innocent of the crime. Despite the fact that the prosecutor’s case was flimsy—it hinged on the similarity of Bain’s first name to the rapist’s, Bain’s ownership of a red motorcycle, and a misidentification of Bain in a lineup by a hysterical 9-year-old boy—Bain was sentenced to life in prison. He was finally freed after DNA testing proved his innocence, and was paid $1.7 million.
Mark Weiner got off relatively easy when you compare his experience to the thousands of individuals who are spending lifetimes behind bars for crimes they did not commit.Weiner was wrongfully arrested, convicted, and jailed for more than two years for a crime he too did not commit. In his case, a young woman claimed Weiner had abducted her, knocked her out and then sent taunting text messages to her boyfriend about his plans to rape her. Despite the fact that cell phone signals, eyewitness accounts and expert testimony indicated the young woman had fabricated the entire incident, the prosecutor and judge repeatedly rejected any evidence contradicting the woman’s far-fetched account, sentencing Weiner to eight more years in jail. Weiner was only released after his accuser was caught selling cocaine to undercover cops.
In the meantime, Weiner lost his job, his home, and his savings, and time with his wife and young son. As Slate reporter journalist Dahlia Lithwick warned, “If anyone suggests that the fact that Mark Weiner was released this week means ‘the system works,’ I fear that I will have to punch him in the neck. Because at every single turn, the system that should have worked to consider proof of Weiner’s innocence failed him.”
The system that should have worked didn’t, because the system is broken, almost beyond repair.
In courtroom thrillers like 12 Angry Men and To Kill a Mockingbird, justice is served in the end because someone—whether it’s Juror #8 or Atticus Finch—chooses to stand on principle and challenge wrongdoing, and truth wins.
Unfortunately, in the real world, justice is harder to come by, fairness is almost unheard of, and truth rarely wins.
On paper, you may be innocent until proven guilty, but in actuality, you’ve already been tried, found guilty and convicted by police officers, prosecutors and judges long before you ever appear in a courtroom. Chronic injustice has turned the American dream into a nightmare. At every step along the way, whether it’s encounters with the police, dealings with prosecutors, hearings in court before judges and juries, or jail terms in one of the nation’s many prisons, the system is riddled with corruption, abuse and an appalling disregard for the rights of the citizenry.
Due process rights afforded to a person accused of a crime—the right to remain silent, the right to be informed of the charges against you, the right to representation by counsel, the right to a fair trial, the right to a speedy trial, the right to prove your innocence with witnesses and evidence, the right to a reasonable bail, the right to not languish in jail before being tried, the right to confront your accusers, etc.—mean nothing when the government is allowed to sidestep those safeguards against abuse whenever convenient.
It’s telling that while President Obama said all the right things about the broken state of our criminal justice system—that we jail too many Americans for nonviolent crimes (we make up 5 percent of the world’s population, but our prison population constitutes nearly 25% of the world’s prisoners), that we spend more money on incarceration than any other nation ($80 billion a year), that we sentence people for longer jail terms than their crimes merit, that our criminal justice system is far from color-blind, that the nation’s school-to-prison pipeline is contributing to overcrowded jails, and that we need to focus on rehabilitation of criminals rather than retribution—he failed to own up to the government’s major role in contributing to this injustice in America.
Indeed, while Obama placed the responsibility for reform squarely in the hands of prosecutors, judges and police, he failed to acknowledge that they bear the burden of our failed justice system, along with the legislatures and corporations who have worked with them to create an environment that is hostile to the rights of the accused.
In such a climate, we are all the accused, the guilty and the suspect. As I document in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we’re operating in a new paradigm where the citizenry are presumed guilty and treated as suspects, our movements tracked, our communications monitored, our property seized and searched, our bodily integrity disregarded, and our inalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” rendered insignificant when measured against the government’s priorities.
Every American is now in jeopardy of being targeted and punished for a crime he did not commit thanks to an overabundance of arcane laws. Making matters worse, by allowing government agents to operate above the law, immune from wrongdoing, we have created a situation in which the law is one-sided and top-down, used as a hammer to oppress the populace, while useless in protecting us against government abuse.
Add to the mix a profit-driven system of incarceration in which state and federal governments agree to keep the jails full in exchange for having private corporations run the prisons, and you will find the only word to describe such a state of abject corruption is “evil.”
How else do you explain a system that allows police officers to shoot first and ask questions later, without any real consequences for their misdeeds? Despite the initial outcry over the shootings of unarmed individuals in Ferguson and Baltimore, the pace of police shootings has yet to slow.
For those who survive an encounter with the police only to end up on the inside of a jail cell, waiting for a “fair and speedy trial,” it’s often a long wait. Consider that 60 percent of the people in the nation’s jails have yet to be convicted of a crime. There are 2.3 million people in jails or prisons in America. Those who can’t afford bail, “some of them innocent, most of them nonviolent and a vast majority of them impoverished,” will spend about four months in jail before they even get a trial.
Not even that promised “day in court” is a guarantee that justice will be served.
As Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals points out, there are an endless number of factors that can render an innocent man or woman a criminal and caged for life: unreliable eyewitnesses, fallible forensic evidence, flawed memories, coerced confessions, harsh interrogation tactics, uninformed jurors, prosecutorial misconduct, falsified evidence, and overly harsh sentences, to name just a few.
In early 2015, the Justice Department and FBI “formally acknowledged that nearly every examiner in an elite FBI forensic unit gave flawed testimony in almost all trials in which they offered evidence against criminal defendants over more than a two-decade period…. The admissions mark a watershed in one of the country’s largest forensic scandals, highlighting the failure of the nation’s courts for decades to keep bogus scientific information from juries, legal analysts said.”
“How do rogue forensic scientists and other bad cops thrive in our criminal justice system?” asks Judge Kozinski. “The simple answer is that some prosecutors turn a blind eye to such misconduct because they’re more interested in gaining a conviction than achieving a just result.”
The power of prosecutors is not to be underestimated. Increasingly, when we talk about innocent people being jailed for crimes they did not commit, the prosecutor plays a critical role in bringing about that injustice. As The Washington Post reports, “Prosecutors win 95 percent of their cases, 90 percent of them without ever having to go to trial…. Are American prosecutors that much better? No… it is because of the plea bargain, a system of bullying and intimidation by government lawyers for which they ‘would be disbarred in most other serious countries….’”
This phenomenon of innocent people pleading guilty makes a mockery of everything the criminal justice system is supposed to stand for: fairness, equality and justice. As Judge Jed S. Rakoff concludes, “our criminal justice system is almost exclusively a system of plea bargaining, negotiated behind closed doors and with no judicial oversight. The outcome is very largely determined by the prosecutor alone.”
It’s estimated that between 2 and 8 percent of convicted felons who have agreed to a prosecutor’s plea bargain (remember, there are 2.3 million prisoners in America) are in prison for crimes they did not commit.
Clearly, the Coalition for Public Safety was right when it concluded, “You don’t need to be a criminal to have your life destroyed by the U.S. criminal justice system.”
It wasn’t always this way. As Judge Rakoff recounts, the Founding Fathers envisioned a criminal justice system in which the critical element “was the jury trial, which served not only as a truth-seeking mechanism and a means of achieving fairness, but also as a shield against tyranny.”
That shield against tyranny has long since been shattered, leaving Americans vulnerable to the cruelties, vanities, errors, ambitions and greed of the government and its partners in crime.
There is not enough money in the world to make reparation to those whose lives have been disrupted by wrongful convictions.
Over the past quarter century, more than 1500 Americans have been released from prison after being cleared of crimes they did not commit. These are the fortunate ones. For every exonerated convict who is able to prove his innocence after 10, 20 or 30 years behind bars, Judge Kozinski estimates there may be dozens who are innocent but cannot prove it, lacking access to lawyers, evidence, money and avenues of appeal.
For those who have yet to fully experience the injustice of the American system of justice, it’s only a matter of time. America no longer operates under a system of justice characterized by due process, an assumption of innocence, probable cause, and clear prohibitions on government overreach and police abuse. Instead, our courts of justice have been transformed into courts of order, advocating for the government’s interests, rather than championing the rights of the citizenry, as enshrined in the Constitution.
Without courts willing to uphold the Constitution’s provisions when government officials disregard them, and a citizenry knowledgeable enough to be outraged when those provisions are undermined, the Constitution provides little protection against the police state.
* * *
The day I read John Whitehead’s article (July 22), there were new reports of a number of police murders of innocent American citizens. Sandra Bland, a black women who protested police violence against blacks was found hanged in her cell in a Texas jail after her false arrest.
Just a few days ago Samuel Dubose was murdered by a police officer with a shot to his head while he sat inside his car.
A 3o-year old asthmatic white chemical engineer was without cause hog-tied by Mississippi police with face positioned to prevent breathing, resulting in his death.
Americans are in more danger from police than from terrorists. During the Iraqi war, American police murdered more Americans than the number of US troops killed in combat.
In this age of perverted justice and government-sanctioned tyranny, the Constitution is no safeguard against government wrongdoing such as SWAT team raids, domestic surveillance, police shootings of unarmed and unthreatening citizens, indefinite detentions, asset forfeitures, prosecutorial misconduct, etc.
Today in the United States of America citizens are as unprotected by law as the aristocracy in England prior to the Magna Carta. America has far more in common with the Medieval dungeon state than it does with the Declaration of Independence.
In a country in which the citizens have no protection from the state and can be shot down in their streets and homes by unaccountable police, detained indefinitely without charges or conviction, executed on suspicion alone without due process of law, there is no freedom, no democracy, no accountability of government to the people.
The United States of America is no longer the hope of mankind. The USA has become the source of evil and dread. Will America destroy the world as well as itself?
So, the U.S. government has finally decided to help some 2,000 Air Force personnel exposed to Agent Orange residue left over in airplanes used during the Vietnam War. They are now eligible for disability, medical and survivor benefits.
“Opening up eligibility for this deserving group of Air Force veterans and reservists is the right thing to do,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald announced.
Really? Then why didn’t the VA take this step long ago? These new recipients flew in Fairchild C-123 aircraft from 1969 to 1986. That’s between 46 and 29 years ago!
And if it’s the “right thing to do” for those folks then what about the countless other Vietnam era military personnel whose cries for help have been ignored even though they suffer from some or many of the 14 diseases needed to claim Agent Orange benefits?
The longstanding rule says if a veteran had boots on-the-ground in Vietnam they are automatically accepted for special benefits. All others making Agent Orange disability claims have to prove they handled the toxic chemical or worked near it.
Over the decades I have spoken to dozens of vets who suffer from an “approved” disease. Among them: Hodgkin’s, Parkinson’s, prostate or respiratory cancers, soft tissue sarcoma, diabetes mellitus (Type 2), chronic B-cell leukemia, ischemic heart disease and debilitating chloracne. Many fear they have passed their ill health on to their children and grandchildren.
These veterans are ignored, according to the few lawyers willing to challenge the VA on their behalf, because the Defense Department claims they can find no records proving they were in proximity to Agent Orange. Records were poorly kept, lost and, in at least one case, destroyed by fire.
If ever there was a deserving group of citizens with a reason to sue for redress, this is it. But, oh yeah, the U.S. government is conveniently immune from lawsuits.
These men and women who loyally served their country are convinced that the government’s strategy has been to “deny, deny, until they die,” since Agent Orange benefits already account for one out of six disability checks issued by the VA.
Take the case of Air Force Master Sergeant LeRoy Foster who spent 10 years (from 1968 to 1978) assigned to the 43rd Supply Squadron at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam. His duties included spraying herbicides around the base to get rid of weeds. In sworn testimony to the U.S. Congress, and in several affidavits to the VA, Foster swore that Agent Orange — which contains deadly TCDD dioxin — was among the defoliants he regularly loaded into his 750-gallon, trailer-mounted sprayer and dispersed base-wide. Other military personnel on Guam at the time — such as Sgt. Ralph Stanton — confirm the account and reported they were “routinely soaked” by Foster’s spray.
They gave me personal photographs from their days at Anderson AFB showing stacks of chemical barrels they swore carried the telltale Agent Orange markings. Other photos showed G.I.’s cooking on barbecue grills fashioned out of the empty drums.
A U.S. government analysis of the island’s soil confirmed the presence of Agent Orange toxins. Guam currently has an extraordinarily high cancer rate. Yet, to this day the DOD maintains it has no records proving the military ever transported Agent Orange to that strategically important Vietnam-era island.
The Pentagon also denies Agent Orange was ever present on Okinawa, another location U.S. vets maintain was an AO hot spot where they first began to experience major health issues.
Checking in this week with Foster and Stanton I discovered both men were still alive but deathly ill. Foster is battling devastating rectal cancer.
“I am down to 150 (pounds) now,” Foster wrote. “The weight is falling off of me. I believe there is no reversing it.”
Stanton wrote of his health, “It’s kind of like a juggling act because of the number of things wrong with me.”
Hundreds of Guam- and Okinawa-based veterans have filed VA claims citing exposure to Agent Orange as the cause of their health problems, but the vast majority were rejected. And none of the 200,000 so-called “Blue Water” vets who say they were exposed to Agent Orange while serving aboard deep-water naval vessels stationed off Vietnam’s coast has been awarded special benefits.
Who can’t be happy for the 2,000 Air Force vets who were recently added to the Agent Orange rolls? But excuse me if I don’t applaud the VA’s massively delinquent action.
Our government did a terrible thing when it continued to spray millions of gallons of deadly Agent Orange long after it was clear it caused devastating health problems. But what’s worse is its obstinate refusal over the years to take full responsibility for all sick and dying veterans.
Deny, deny until they die. Shameful.
Rockland resident Diane Dimond is a syndicated columnist, author, regular guest on TV news programs, and correspondent for Newsweek/Daily Beast. Visit her at www.DianeDimond.net or reach her via email [email protected]
A friendly taxi driver we know wanted to visit his house on the other side of Aleppo. An area where the terrorists and the so-called “rebels” are in control. He had heard that the Syrian jets attacked the area and bombed a place close to his house. He went in the Eid vacation (17-19th of July) with his wife for 2 days. A trip that used to take 20-30 min from one part of the city to another, took something like 7 hours, because they had to go around 25 miles away from the city to make a U-turn and come back from another area They had to pass through many villages under terrorist control, till they reached the eastern part of Aleppo city, and finally their home.
They went in a bus, and he didn’t take his taxi car as terrorists might take it from him by force. He told me that the trip costs them $70-$100 over 2 days (transport, eating …etc), he was complaining because it’s a lot of money for him (it’s equal to 100-150 paid trips he could make with his taxi, he might need a week of hard working to compensate that money). They took most of their clothes that were still there, thanks to their only 2 neighbours who are still living in the building who protected their apartment. The remaining apartments and houses in the quarter had been robbed, broken into or damaged because they had been converted into nesting places for the terrorists.
Many good people are still going from one part of the city to the other. Many people didn’t deserve to be kicked out from their homes, and it wasn’t their choice to stay in one place or became refugees in another place. Visiting each side is still possible for people, but it’s dangerous, and I won’t do it no matter what.
My understanding is that on the 13th/14th of July, the Syrian army – who are occupying the very strategic acropolis hill of the ancient citadel of Aleppo in the middle of the ancient walled city, which is under the terrorists’ control – knew about a new tunnel that the terrorists were digging and filling up with explosives, very close to the citadel’s borders. The Army made a counter attack and forced the terrorists out of the tunnel in a hurry. Unfortunately the terrorists detonated these explosives before they left, and that explosion was enough to destroy part of the ramparts of the citadel. I cant help thinking if the Army hadn’t discovered this tunnel and if terrorists had drilled a longer and deeper tunnel, and armed it with 10 times more explosives, maybe the whole citadel would have collapsed.
I saw some new and clear digital images from the citadel to the old city via a friend of my friend, however these photos are dated a couple of days prior to this attack. The few buildings around the citadel, had been damaged totally or partially.
Khosrawiyya/Chusruviyya mosque, the first and oldest Ottoman mosque in Aleppo (built in 1544) had disappeared. Same for Carlton Hotel which occupied a century old building as a multi million investment. The building of the municipality or where the Mayor used to work (~75 years old?, 12 stories?) had been 80% destroyed. A Memluk or Ayyoubid period small mosque and religious school (~700-1,000 years old) had disappeared apart from its gate and its little minaret above the gate.
The Traditional/Turkish Bath of Yalbogha al-Nasseri (~700-800 years old) is still there, but some of its big domes have collapsed. Another century-old building – that I remember sitting in for 3-4 hours 15 years ago, manually copying some information to use in my graduation project – had been damaged so badly, especially its beautiful double mirrored spiral stairs at the entrance, they have disappeared without a trace.
Those buildings have all been destroyed by the same terrorist techniques, within the last 4 years of war in the city: digging tunnels, or using ancient existing networks of tunnels under the whole old city of Aleppo. Filling them up with explosives, to bomb everything above them. While these explosions serve as a distraction, terrorist troops will attack another goal, mostly the citadel where the Syrian army is encamped. They failed so far to control it, but damage to the citadel is extensive.
Although what I mentioned above is horrible, and I know about other famous areas (markets, bazaars, mosques and churches) that have been sabotaged or destroyed; I was pleased that way more areas and buildings of the old city are still there, as I know them. Maybe they are not that famous or masterpieces, but they are still there untouched and intact.
The war targeted the symbols of Aleppo (and the same strategy in all Syria, of course). The bazaar of Aleppo, which was there since the 4th century AD, since the Hellenistic era, is a symbol, and it had been burned totally (it took a week of continuous burning, and the burning smell reached every corner in the city).
The Great / Umayyad Mosque is a symbol, it’s almost 1000-year-old minaret had been destroyed by dynamite, and its preaching stage has been dismantled (most of it taken to Turkey), several walls and sides of it had been completely destroyed, and they turned the mosque into its original and oldest land use: an Agora (Plaza) in the Hellenistic era. A similar fate for all the other lost places and monuments.
The last symbol left of Aleppo, is the most famous one: the Citadel. I can see part of it from our balcony, but I can see it more clearly from the roof of the building. It’s still there, resisting the terrorists and their funding states. It has been badly injured, but it’s still there, dominating the city skyline. It’s where they found the Storm God’s Temple (~2nd millennium BC) few years ago. It withstood many invaders, including the Mongols and Crusaders. It has been damaged severely several times through history, but it has been rebuilt over and over again, as an immortal symbol to the inhabitants of one of the oldest living cities in history. I just pray I dont live to witness its total destruction as I have seen happen to many of the surrounding buildings.
Aleppo city has shrunk to a fifth of its original size, and became so crowded with refugees that fled their areas after they fell into terrorist hands. I walk everyday in the city. I see children and girls without limbs because of a mortar over here or shrapnel over there that hit them randomly and caused them a terrible wounds and horrific memories that will never leave them. The girl who lost one leg is standing on her good leg and selling bread, while the little boy who lost one arm is selling chewing gum. Those are the “injured” people who come in the news, just numbers in one line of a report, after each attack from the terrorists. “Injured” doesn’t mean scratched or having a bleeding finger; it means someone lost his eyes or her limbs.
At nights, some areas in Ramadan were still playing live music while audiences smoke their sheesha and have cold beverages. I admired that the spirit of musicians is still over there, resisting all the harsh situation of the crisis.
On the other side, and because of the war and lack of income, many females are selling themselves for money. Prostitution has become so normal in Aleppo, and it has affected all social classes and levels.
The daily talk of every youth is emigration and leaving the city. Everyone wants to leave to Europe, mostly to Sweden, which accepted a lot of Syrian refugees so far. The usual trip starts from Syria to Turkey, then they go in boats to Greece, and that is a very dangerous trip because many have lost their lives and have drowned. Once they reach Greece, they go into a long process, and end up either in Germany or Sweden. There is a new “market” for smuggling people to Europe in such illegal ways. Everyone is believing the myths that once they reach Sweden, the government will give them free houses and 500 Euros per person.
I keep telling them that this amount of money might be a fortune in Syria, but it’s not over there, and life is not that cheap. However, they just want to leave and work doing anything over there, because they are worried about their children’s future and safety.
What happened in Syria in general, and Aleppo in particular, is something like a great “shock” which people are still unable to believe. Between 2006-2011; Turkey, Qatar, Saudi and mostly all Europe and the U.S. opened all their relations with Syria and funded many international investments in the country. History will eventually reveal if that act was a trap or a bribe or a bad luck, to shower the people with unprecedented wealth, and take it all back within few years, replacing that shower with mortars and shelling .
All of a sudden, malls started to spring up in big cities like mushrooms. Brand new cars and vehicles were commonplace to see in the streets, including Porsches, Lamborghini, and Ferraris. In my neighborhood and other areas, many new buildings replaced old ones. Many friends I know told me that they were paying $20,000 – $25,000 as salaries for workers in factories and contractor firms per week! Work was amazing, everyone was happy, a lot of money, wealth, and marriages and having new kids became more than normal.
My aunt’s husband, who is an architect living in Germany, came back to Syria to work on an architectural project for a Dutch firm in Damascus. All of Syria and its people were taken to the peak of wealth, and then it all collapsed as if an earthquake had destroyed everything in its path. Unbelievable tragedy.
My brother saw his once rich and wealthy friend selling small items (plastics, gums, ..etc) on the street in front of a mosque, and he didn’t believe it. He told him that he lost everything, and he has a family to feed and to put food on the table. Turkey dismantled and stole his factory, his land had been burned, his properties had been either damaged or stolen, and he was bankrupt in no time at all.
Each day, there is new story, real tragedies, that reach my ears and heart. All of a sudden, everything ended.
Factories that cost $8 million and more had been stolen by Turkey, and the owner had a stroke and died because of such losses.
The worker who used to have his salary from an architect or an investor, became a leader of “rebellion” battalion, and now he can rape unlimited ladies, and have millions of US dollars, and came back with his militia to destroy the work of this architect or that investor, out of God knows what… Rage? Seeking lust and more wealth in shorter way? Revenge?
Another person who I met yesterday, told me that he had been kidnapped and they asked for a huge ransom that bankrupt him after he had been so wealthy. He lost his factories as well, and trade, and now he is suffering from diabetes and blood pressure and heart troubles.
You’ll see it in each person’s eyes: a type of sparkle with a slight smile, while remembering how they were so rich and wealthy, travelling to Europe 3 times a year for pleasure and tourism, having the best life ever over here in Syria, and having great dreams for their children and potential promises for building the country and modernizing their cities…. Then, all of a sudden, everything disappeared.
One old friend told me that his youngest 2 girls, who are 4 and 6 years old, didn’t know what sea and mountains looked like until a couple of months ago when he managed to take his family for a trip to the coast and mountains. They didn’t leave their house for 4-5 years, and they only saw mountains and sea through cartoons or illustrated tales.
A neighbour’s girl came back to her parents with her 3 teenage girls after the terrorists occupied her house in another “infected” area in the city. They looted whatever they could, and didn’t leave before looting and sacking the whole house . Sabotaging could entail burning or breaking furniture, but when someone sees all his rooms and beloved furniture and family pictures stained with human faeces, that is so disgusting and humiliating. I actually heard such stories when I was still in outside Syria, but I thought it was an individual act, not a common strategy in that sector of the city, to humiliate people and push them to leave their areas. So, their daughter sold her apartment and didn’t want to see it again, and went back to her parents’. Others became refugees. Others sold their daughters to the prostitution market… stories and stories, that break my heart, and make me wonder how all that happened, and who planned for it.
I’ll leave it there. Thanks to everyone. Have a great weekend.”