The Japan-India Nuclear Energy Deal

September 22nd, 2013 by Arun Shrivastava

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is coming to India to discuss a ‘range of issues;’ the truth is that he is coming here as chief salesman of global nuclear industry, now collapsing under the collective onslaught of nuclear scientists, nuclear power plant engineers, physicists, investigative journalists and people.

Shinzo is known for many things: dogged attempts at reviving Japan’s nuclear industry, his alleged connections with Japan’s notorious mafia, Yamaguchi-gumi.

And now India has a rare chance to glimpse Manmohan Singh’s rare smile because he only smiles in the company of men like Shinzo, who was instrumental in the destabilization of Japan’s financial system. Recall the 1996 East Asian financial crisis, the European and London banksters acquired valuable national assets for a cent to a dollar.

 State of Nuclear Power Industry

The world has 447 NPPs. As of now all of Japan’s 54 nuclear power plants have been switched off. These reactors should not have been allowed in the first place purely on grounds of safety, but in the 1950s Japan was grappling with post-war reconstruction under the direct control of the Americans who rammed down the Japanese throats these mainly General Electric designed NPPs. Germany has decided to close all NPPs. The WASP countries and France are the rogues.

The former Chairman of US-Nuclear Regulatory Commission [NRC] Gregory Jaczko says that the current fleet of operating plants in the US should be phased out because regulators can’t guarantee against an accident causing widespread land contamination and, further, that all American reactors need to be shut down right now. Bits and pieces of information emerging from plant operators strongly indicate that not one NPP is economically viable.

A vital Jaczko revelation was that “the biggest problem with the NRC continues to be the heavy influence that the industry has in selecting the members of the commission… there are few commissioners who ever get onto the commission who are not endorsed by the industry.” So, an extremely hazardous industry regulates itself and that’s been the feature of American industry which Manmohan Singh wants to imitate.

 Indeed, all nuclear regulatory agencies are entirely controlled by and serve the nuclear industry through, directly or indirectly, elected officials like the Prime Minister of India. These regulatory bodies have consigned science and common sense to the dust bin.

India has surpassed all the crooks. The entire nuclear racket operates under the Official Secrets Act.

What is wrong with Nuclear power plants?

One constantly hears many imbeciles, including senior journalists, talking somewhat like “we need electricity; we need nuclear power because it is cheap, clean and safe.”

These morons should ask themselves, “Is there anything right with the nuclear power?” Here are the reasons why all sane scientists and engineers want all NPPs shut down, and they are the ones who make and run NPPs, not the foolish journalists:

1.       The risks arising from severe accidents on the scale of the 1986 Chernobyl and 2011 Fukushima accidents that can happen in any NPP, anywhere, anytime. If it is not happening more frequently proves that God is in Heaven. 

2.       The insurance problem stems from the threat of an accident. The damage from severe accidents was assessed in Government funded CRAC-II report presented to the US Congress in 1982. The official assessment of damage was so horrific that no private insurance company would ever provide cover and, therefore, the nuclear industry continues to rely completely on government-provided insurance.

3.       The nuclear waste problem has not been solved so far in any country. This is a complex problem but again we see a lethal issue mired in the geo-politics of science. Late Dr Radha Roy did come up with a solution, for which he is remembered for his “ROY PROCESS”, but not one Government financed even one study to test his conceptual framework for turning highly radioactive waste into inert substance within a month.

4.       All reactors leak low level radiation. My friend Bob Nichols who has extensive experience in making nuclear bombs told me once that there is nary a design that can contain radiation leaks. In fact, he said that “all reactors leak radiation all the time, 24×7; they are designed to leak and low level contamination spreads to 250 kilometre radius.” The Narora NPP is exactly 93 kilometres east of Delhi, Mumbai has three reactors, Madras reactor is just south of Chennai and Kaiga is close to Goa. 250 kilometre radius is equal to an area of 196,250 square kilometres using the formula for calculating the area of a circle, which is p x (radius squared), with value of p taken as 3.14. Now, we have 9 nuclear power stations with 20 critical reactors. If we take the 250 kilometre circle, about 560 million people are getting a daily dosing of lethal radiation.

5.       And that’s why the fifth reason for NOT promoting NPPs is the significant long-term health and safety problems. Not one man, woman or child living within the primary contamination zone will complete his natural life. Nuclear reactors sterilize population and alter the normal genetic sequence to induce malignancies. Farmlands also absorb radionuclide and plant uptake of radionuclide is higher as compared to other minerals and that has been known to the US Government from studies carried out between 1951 and 1970. 

6.       The high financial risks of nuclear power and long-lead times and uncertainties are well established. Not one NPP has ever been completed on time, anywhere on the planet. In India, the poor taxpayers are paying for a highly risky technology for boiling water, on and on, just to support a bunch of nuclear baboons procreating on NPPs’ rooftops, without a care for their lives and that of their wives and children. Do we have data? These families are slowly dying and not even knowing why, but working for a corrupt military-industrial-financial-scientific-political complex that is beyond their grasp.

7.       The very definition of “clean energy from nukes” is bogus. From the time uranium is mined, enriched into yellow cakes to further enriching to fissile level itself is not only an energy-intensive process but extremely lethal as all reports from uranium mines around the world show. If “clean” means low carbon dioxide emission, that theory itself is fraudulent as has been proved time and again and IPCC itself has been discredited. Albert Gore is facing a court case for promoting his bogus global warming theory based on CO2 emission.

8.       The typical water requirement of an NPP is huge and doesn’t matter whether it is closed loop or open. Even within closed loop pressurised leaks do happen and frequently, and then radioactive water is discharged into the lake, river or ocean. Narora NPP in Uttar Pradesh is situated on the bank of the Ganges. Would the Ministry of Health fund a research to determine radiation sickness among villagers from Narora downstream up to Varanasi? One study conducted around RAPs, the Rajasthan reactor, conclusively proved that proximate villages have high incidence of IMR, cancers, and other degenerative diseases. Has the Indian Government ever come out clean? 

9.       The capacity factor of the 20 operational reactors is 61.99%, lowest in the world and when I shared this data with a leading US scientist, he was shocked. The BARC scientists fobbed it off, saying India didn’t have enough fissile material because of a ban, but now we will achieve higher capacity factor!!! Which means we can’t run our reactors without US Government support. 

10.      At current extraction rate, Uranium sources will be exhausted in about 74 years. Nuclear reactors can’t be sustained beyond 30-40 years in India. Ten countries have 88% uranium reserve of which 89% is controlled by a dozen European Elite families, including the Queen of England. Manmohan Singh eulogized the British colonialists to secure a seat as India’s Prime Minister, but he is surpassing the scoundrel rulers who helped the British recapture India in 1857.

 Planning Commission’s Working Group on Energy Policy

So, we have at least ten reasons, well researched and documented in serious works of experts, for not opting for the nuclear option. Now, let us look at the Planning Commission’s “Working Group on Energy”, headed by perennial non-performer Kirit Parikh, who has friends in high places and squirms into any serious debate on any subject without any knowledge. So, let us examine the four voluminous reports he chaired on India’s energy policy, a nonsensical set of documents endorsed by former World Bank executive Montek Singh Ahluwalia, now the Deputy Chairperson of India’s Planning Commission.

 The reports examine coal, hydro and nuclear options as if the Working Group was told to examine coal, hydro and nuclear only. The justification used is that India has no option but coal, hydro and nuclear without examining other options. The report on renewable sources of energy does not mention geo-thermal and OTEC or even advanced solar. It talks condescendingly about alternative sources. And a princely sum of Rs 100 million, not even two million dollars, was allocated for the XIIth Plan for research which will last from 2012 to 2017.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology had recommended around the same time that the US Government should invest US$ 500 million on Geo-thermal research to make Enhanced Geothermal Energy [EGS] commercially viable. There is a 200 Mega Watt geo-thermal plant located in a California car park, that people can’t even hear, that it is generating electricity for them. But in Planning Commission report, the experts perhaps could not even spell GEO-THERMAL.

The cross-over point, the economic generation cost from all sources of electricity where options really don’t matter, was reached in 2005, excluding nuclear and coal, which have huge environmental costs invariably externalised. Whether one generates electricity from solar, wind, hydro, OTEC, or Wave became comparable and, in fact, more competitive as compared to coal and nuclear if assessed objectively on globally agreed parameters. This issue was not even addressed in the Government of India’s Planning Commission reports.

China discontinued nuclear option immediately after the March 2011 Fukushima events. However, up until March 2013, it installed 19,000 MW of wind generation capacity. And here in India, despite Manmohan Singh’s promise of Kudankulam going critical, the engineers may have to open the skull to set the wires and valves right.

Back to Shinzo Abe’s Delhi visit

Shinzo’s Delhi visit is an extension of his 2007 secret deal with Dick Cheney in Tokyo where a quadrilateral alliance in the Asia-Pacific region was sealed with the US, Japan, Australia and India as partners to contain and confront China and its allies North Korea and Russia. The nuclear mafia rules OK!


1. Readers wishing to see the number of installed NPP around the world can see the map and list of countries, and pray for their irradiated souls:


The following letter of plea in support of Korean people’s just struggle for truth, justice and democracy is fully endorsed by The 4th Media. The 4th Media also joins wonderful friends around the world who’ve voluntarily initiated and worked hard to form the “Alliance of Conscientious People of the World.”

In order to make this just effort further globally recognized and practically effective, first of all, The 4th Media, together with its global partners such as Global Research in Canada, nsnbc international in Denmark/Germany, ANSWER Coalition in Washington, DC, and so on, intends to help our Korean brothers and sisters who’ve launched their hard and lonely struggle to fight against the “US-installed ultra-right wing and anti-North regime.”

The “daughter dictator Park” has already viciously imposed “her father’s political terror campaign” against her own people, as her father did, particularly targeting progressive-minded peoples and politicians, specifically the “Unified Progressive Party” in a form of “neo-McCarthyism” in South Korea.

For the sake of historical record, the first and the worst military dictator “the father Park” during more than a half century long history of division in south was in fact one of the most distinguished Japanese military officers in the latter part of the Japanese vicious colonial rule from late 19th century to August 1945.

Unlike millions of his “colonized” compatriots, the father Park as a Korean voluntarily became one of the most faithful Japanese’ “attack dogs” against his own horribly suffering people. As a Japanese military interrogator, he tortured and murdered his own fellowmen and women who fought for national independence and liberation. 

The daughter dictator Park has already proven she isn’t much less than her father’s shameful and traitorous legacy in terms of her father’s political cunningness, viciousness, and, most above all, being the “national traitor.”

Only difference between them is the daughter this time serves the USA, unlike her father who served then the colonial Japanese power.

In fact her method of political terror campaign is beyond imagination. Her skills and tactics in media control, media deception, and political oppression seemed to have already gone beyond that of her father’s.

However, tens of thousands of Koreans from all walks of life, including overseas Koreans all around the world, are determined to fight all the way through until they could bring down the “illegally-elected president” through “a series of unbelievable ways of election frauds” in the 2012 presidential election last December.

In order to carry out their just struggle effectively and successfully, both nationally and internationally, our friends in South Korea call for an urgent help from us around the globe.

They plan to run several media campaigns in Seoul by collecting names of both individuals and organizations who’re willing to lend their moral and political support for Koreans’ just struggle who’ve been endlessly fighting for their truly democratic society and thereby for them to further their cause, so that they could eventually bring about their “long-awaited peacefully self-determined reunification” of their divided homeland in near future.

If you wish to support this noble cause, you could directly send your (both individual and organizational) names and addresses and other contact information to the following email address ([email protected]) in Seoul, Korea.

The 4th Media will continue to stay in touch with our global viewers and supporters in this regard.

Thank you very much for your genuine support in advance!

Prof. Kiyul Chung,  Editor in Chief,  The 4th Media

A Letter of Plea to the Conscientious People of the World: In Pursuit of Truth, Justice and Democracy in the Republic of Korea (South Korea)

ALERT: Neo-McCarthyism in South Korea!

Do you know what’s happening in South Korea?

Do you know how and who became the president of South Korea in 2012?

I urge you to read this letter of plea and distribute it widely to your friends and network members.

Democracy is steadfastly dying in South Korea!

Very similar to the Watergate in the USA, the Korean National Intelligence Services (NIS, aka. KCIA) illegally, meddled and intervened, in the 2012 presidential election.

As an egregious outcome, a brutal and ruthless dictator Park Chung-hee’s daughter, Park Geun-hye ‘took’ the office.

Another unfortunate outcome of the rigged and ‘stolen’ election led to the Korean Neo-McCarthyism. Members of the opposition party and anyone who do not share the views and the politics of the ruling party are deemed “Reds” or “Pro-North Korea”!

Consequently, scholars, politicians and even the ordinary citizens who express diverse views or differing opinions are framed, made scapegoats and severely persecuted.

The Civil Rights in South Korea are virtually non-existent! The Yoo-shin (the repressive and autocratic set of ‘laws’ written into the constitution enforced during Park Chung-hee’s Military Dictatorship (1960-1979) is back and fully reactivated!

What is the Korean National Intelligence Services? (aka: “KCIA”)

During the dictatorial regime of Park Chung-hee (1960-1979), the NIS was conceived in order to surveillance, capture and prosecute his political dissidents. Those non-conformists were labeled Communists or pro-North Korea activists,’ and they were brutally tortured and killed by the NIS.

Background Information on the Presidential Election 2012:

Covert and illegal activities were being actively conducted by the ruling Saenuri Party prior to the Presidential Election 2012. The National Intelligence Services (NIS) was illegally and brazenly breaking the constitutional and the election laws of South Korea.

Undercover agents created hundred and thousands of user names on the internet and posted favorable comments on the ruling party presidential candidate, Park Geun-hye, and posted fabricated damaging comments about the opposition candidates, including Jae-in Moon.

The fabricated internet comments defamed and ruined the other candidates’ reputations and character. The NIS not only used their agents, hired at the expense of the taxpayers, but it brazenly (bribed) paid the North Korean defectors and the South Korean citizens to carry on this smearing campaign against the opposition candidates.

The NIS went even further to destroy vital and critical documents and evidence that proved the illegal intervention by the NIS.

In the aftermath of this scandalous intervention by the NIS in the Presidential Election 2012, the constitutional legal scholars have declared this intervention, an electoral Coup d’etat’!

To demand the absolute legal and civil accountability from the Park Regime, thousands upon thousands of citizens have taken themselves to the streets, holding continuous and concurrent candlelight vigils.

Unfortunately, though, most South Korean mass media are willingly blind-sided: They have opted out only to report the views of the ruling Saenuri Party. The ultra right-wing and conservative groups are condemning the mass candlelight vigils as an electoral disobedience.

To make the matters worse, the Park government is trying to elude the legitimacy of this political crisis by re-launching the Neo-McCarthyism, launched and enforced by her late father, Park Chung-hee.

Furthermore, the Park regime has embarked upon a witch-hunt on the Lawmaker, Seok-ki Lee, of the Unified Progressive Party. The freedom of expression and ideology, the legal and civil principles of presumption of innocence till proven guilty; trial by due process by impartial jury and the protection of suspects are being mercilessly demolished.

If you feel and understand the current situations in South Korea to be unfair, undemocratic and impairing of the basic civil rights, please go to ( ) to sign and forward this message to as many people as possible via emails and SNS.

We would greatly appreciate it if you could make an effort to draw public attention to this olitical crisis in South Korea through submission to journals, hold conferences in collaboration and in solidarity with other civil rights activists.

September, 2013

Alliance of Conscientious People of the World

US “officials” claim combined treasuries of US, UK, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, and others no match for “Twitter donations” in latest and most absurd attempt yet to cover up direct support for Al Qaeda in Syria. In the latest, and perhaps most absurd attempt yet by the West to cover up direct aid, arms, and funding it has been sending to Al Qaeda throughout the duration of the Syrian conflict, the Washington Post now claims “Twitter donations” have somehow managed to outpace the collective resources of a 7 nation-plus axis who it claims is only backing “moderate” fighters in Syria.

Image:  Former-US President George Bush and King for Life of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud:”The loving parents of Al Qaeda.” From the 1980′s to present day, the US and Saudi Arabia have funded, armed, and directed Al Qaeda while performing propaganda campaigns to bend public perception regarding the terrorist organization – portraying them as heroes, then villains, and back again. The “War on Terror” is a fraud.


In its article, “Private donations give edge to Islamists in Syria, officials say,” the Washington Post actually claims:

The stream of U.S. weapons heading to moderate rebel groups in Syria is being offset by a fresh torrent of cash for Islamist extremists, much of it from small networks of Arab donors who see the Syrian conflict as a step toward a broader Islamist uprising across the region, U.S. and Middle Eastern officials say.

The private donors, who use Twitter and other social media to collect millions of dollars from sympathetic Muslims, are providing crucial backing for Islamist militias that appear to be gaining ground in northern and eastern Syria, even as fighting stalls elsewhere, the officials said.

Of course, all of these networks the Washington Post claims are undermining Western efforts to bolster its army of fictitious “moderates” run through Western allied nations, including most predominantly NATO-member Turkey whose borders and the arms flowing through them are admittedly monitored and steered by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The Washington Post article also claims:

While radical groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham have long relied on charitable giving from Persian Gulf states, the flow of private cash has enabled the extremists to retain their battlefield edge despite the loss of support from key Arab backers such as Qatar, which cut off aid to the most radical groups under pressure from the United States and Saudi Arabia, U.S. and Middle Eastern officials said.

The extends to which the Washington Post article strains credibility indicate an urgent desperation to bury nearly 3 years of intentional and direct aid the West has sent to Al Qaeda in Syria and documented plans by the West stretching back as far as 2007 to intentional trigger a sectarian bloodbath across Lebanon, Syria, and Iran by backing Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda militants.
Published in 2007 – a full 4 years before the 2011 “Arab Spring” would begin – Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s New Yorker article titled, “”The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” stated specifically (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Throughout the Syrian conflict, which began in 2011, the West and its regional partners has sent billions in cash, weapons, and equipment. In the March 2013 Telegraph article titled, “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’,” it is reported:

It claimed 3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia have been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to the rebels, largely via Jordan since November
The story confirmed the origins of ex-Yugoslav weapons seen in growing numbers in rebel hands in online videos, as described last month by The Daily Telegraph and other newspapers, but suggests far bigger quantities than previously suspected.
The shipments were allegedly paid for by Saudi Arabia at the bidding of the United States, with assistance on supplying the weapons organised through Turkey and Jordan, Syria’s neighbours. But the report added that as well as from Croatia, weapons came “from several other European countries including Britain”, without specifying if they were British-supplied or British-procured arms.
British military advisers however are known to be operating in countries bordering Syria alongside French and Americans, offering training to rebel leaders and former Syrian army officers. The Americans are also believed to be providing training on securing chemical weapons sites inside Syria.

Additionally, The New York Times in its article, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With C.I.A. Aid,” admits that:

With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.

The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.

The US State Department had also announced it was sending hundreds of millions of dollars more in aid, equipment and even armored vehicles to militants operating in Syria, along with demands of its allies to “match” the funding to reach a goal of over a billion dollars. The NYT would report in their article, “Kerry Says U.S. Will Double Aid to Rebels in Syria,” that:

With the pledge of fresh aid, the total amount of nonlethal assistance from the United States to the coalition and civic groups inside the country is $250 million. During the meeting here, Mr. Kerry urged other nations to step up their assistance, with the objective of providing $1 billion in international aid.

In recent weeks, the US has admitted that it is now officially arming and equipping terrorists inside of Syria. The Washington Post’s article, “U.S. weapons reaching Syrian rebels,” reported:

The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.

The Washington Post now expects readers and the general public to believe that somehow “Twitter donations” have managed to outpace this unprecedented multinational logistical feat and give Al Qaeda the edge over the West’s nonexistent “moderate” forces.In reality, the Washington Post article, “Private donations give edge to Islamists in Syria, officials say,” is a hamhanded attempt to cover up the successful execution of the very conspiracy uncovered by Seymour Hersh in 2007, and clearly carried out in earnest starting in 2011.
Al Qaeda has risen and perpetuated itself in Syria for nearly 3 years only for the fact that it has a 7 nation axis standing behind it – not “Twitter donations.”Perhaps most interesting of all, however, is the description of the “donor network” the Washington Post lays out. This most likely really exists, augmenting already well-documented extremists networks NATO is using against Syria, and is how the West has funneled such extensive torrents of cash and arms into Syria. It constitutes a full-scale proxy invasion that has apparently run aground in recent months and now the West is looking to divestfrom these monsters of their own creation - perhaps even as a pretext to militarily intervene.

by Asbjørn Wahl and Roy Pedersen

The red-green coalition government in Norway, whose political platform when it took power in 2005 was called the most progressive in Europe, experienced a bitter defeat in the country’s parliamentary election on 9 September. A coalition of four centre-right and right-wing parties, including a right-wing populist party, gained a solid majority and are now negotiating the political platform for a new government.

 This happened in a situation in which oil revenue is pouring into the public coffers, the economic crisis goes virtually unnoticed, the unemployment rate is at a record low, real wages have been steadily increasing for a long time and most of the welfare state is still intact. To put it short, the country, with its abundance of oil and natural gas resources, and a history of democracy and social equality, represents a lucky exception in the world. How on earth could a red-green government at all lose an election in such circumstances?

What Happened?

Seats won (change) 2013-Election Results (%) Change from 2009 (%)
Left Coalition
Labour Party 55 (-9) 30.8 -4.5
Socialist Left Party 7 (-4) 4.1 -2.1
Centre Party 10 (-1) 5.5 -0.7
** Total ** 72 (-14)
Right Coalition
Progress Party 29 (-12) 16.3 -6.6
Conservative Party 48 (+18) 26.8 +9.6
Liberal Party 9 (+7) 5.2 +1.4
Christian Democrats 10 (0) 5.6 0
** Total ** 96 (+13)
(for complete results, see

Let us first recall what happened. The defeated government consisted of three political parties (percentage gained at the recent election and change since 2009 in parenthesis): the Labour Party (30.8, -4.5), the Socialist Left Party (4.1, -2.1) and the Centre Party (mainly a peasant or rural party) (5.5, -0.7). This majority government came to power in 2005 and was re-elected in 2009. The opposition has been made up of (from right to centre) the Progress Party (16.3, -6.6), the Conservative Party (26.8, +9.6), the Liberal Party (5.2, +1.4) and the Christian Democrats (5.6, -0.0).

The successful winner of the election was thus the Conservative Party, which had tactically softened its rhetoric, particularly toward the trade union movement, in the same way as the Swedish Conservatives so successfully had done it in their previous elections, though without softening its political practice after the successful elections. The situation in the Norwegian parliament is now as follows: the four centre-right parties have 96 MPs, the red-green alliance 72 while a newcomer, the Green Party, gained one. The Red Party did not succeed in winning any seats.

There are strong contradictions inside the centre-right coalition – particularly between the Progress Party on the one hand and the Christian Democrats and the Liberal Party on the other. However, all the four parties had guaranteed that an electoral victory should result in a new right-wing government, so this will surely happen.

The Background

It is important to know the background for the current red-green government in order to understand what happened in this year’s election. We have to go back to 2000/01 when the Labour Party, already with Jens Stoltenberg as Prime Minister, led a minority government. This government carried out an extensive programme of privatization and deregulation – and other types of Third Way, Tony Blair inspired policies, which made the government extremely unpopular among its traditional voters. The result was a catastrophic election in 2001 in which the Labour Party gained only 24 per cent of the vote, the lowest in any parliamentary election since 1924, and which produced a centre-right government.

This situation gave large parts of the trade union movement and other progressive forces an opportunity to intervene. A broad coalition of social forces was formed, and particularly the trade union movement, under pressure from many of its local branches, took a more active and progressive political role. In short, these forces pushed the Labour Party to the left and, for the first time in its history, into a coalition with the Socialist Left Party and the Centre Party. Under pressure from the same forces, all three parties campaigned on an anti-privatization platform in 2005, won the election, and formed a government based on the most progressive political platform in Europe (although the competition is not very hard).

We can identify four main elements which contributed to this success:

  1. Focus on alternative analyses – a system critical view of current developments.
  2. The building of new, broad and untraditional alliances.
  3. The development of concrete alternatives to privatization and marketization.
  4. Trade unions developing into more independent political actors.

Among other things, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), for the first time in its history, urged people to vote for “one of the red-green parties,” not only the Labour Party as had previously been the rule. These developments contributed to polarizing the election campaign between the Right and the Left, something which gave people clearer political alternatives and helped to mobilize for progressive change.

The 2005 red-green government started off by carrying through a number of progressive policies. However, as time went by, and the pressure from the movement declined, the government began to slide back to mainstream political positions as opposed to the New course which was promised. Even if great parts of the trade union movement politically had become more independent from the Labour Party, other parts were still too loyal to oppose and to keep up the pressure when welfare provisions were weakened or market-oriented by ‘their own’ government. The trade union movement failed, in other words, to tackle the change from opposition to a position of challenging the Labour Party. This failure to keep up the pressure on the Labour Party contributed most probably to the current election defeat for the red-green government and thus made the trade union movement jointly responsible for it.

The Roots of the Discontent

So why did more and more of the red-green voters become discontent with ‘their own’ government? It was not mainly about wages, income or ordinary people’s material living conditions (except for rocketing house prices, which make it more and more difficult for young people to enter the housing market). It was first and foremost related to the development of the labour marked (not all of it, there is obviously a polarization going on). Those who toil and moil the hardest did not feel that they were represented by anyone in the red-green alliance. Quite the opposite, although under pressure from the trade union movement, the government did introduce some important measures against social dumping.

Public sector workers on strike in 2012.

Public sector workers on strike in 2012.

Restructuring of the public sector in the form of New Public Management-inspired policies has been met with increasing frustration and discontent – particularly an extremely unpopular hospital reform. A culture of distrust has emerged – not least as a result of the management to target model which has brought with it increased control from above, more and more detailed reporting, centralization of power while responsibility is being decentralized, less influence and control over one’s own work and increased demands for loyalty to the management.

In large parts of both private and public sector increased competition, fragmentation of companies, outsourcing and growing elements of more aggressive financial investors have contributed to increasing work intensity to a level almost unbearable to many workers. This tendency is particularly strong where trade unions are weak, or where employers through outsourcing, competitive tendering and the increased use of temporary workers have been able not only to weaken, but even get rid of trade unions. This increased brutalization of work creates a sense of powerlessness, resignation and a feeling of being worthless. The resulting aggressions and discontent will of course also be targeted toward the politicians in power – with good reasons.

Finally, the workfare policy which is directed toward those who are in the weakest position in the labour market is not being felt as help and support from a generous welfare state, but as repressive and disciplinary punishment. Important parts of the workfare ideology restore much of the bourgeois moralism from the end of the 19th century, in which social problems, unemployment and exclusion from the labour market are changed from being considered a social to once again being seen as an individual problem – where the individual’s work ethic is the main problem.

The red-green government did also become increasingly vague about its policies on privatization, and did in fact itself promote an extensive commercialization of nursery schools. A comprehensive pension reform weakened and individualized the pension system as it excluded some low-wage groups from an early retirement scheme and also reduced future pensions for younger people. In both fisheries and agriculture the government pursued policies which contributed to introducing capitalist ownership in these industries which in the past had been strongly regulated and collectively organized through the association of producers.

Different from most previous election campaigns, the red-green government this time did not even come up with a single new progressive reform for which its supporters could mobilize and which could create the needed support and enthusiasm for a new victory. “The right-wing political alternative is worse” became the extremely defensive slogan for many in the trade union movement. Add to this the fact that the red-green government also had involved itself in imperialist wars (Afghanistan, Libya) and had increased its cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and the Word Bank, which the government stated in its declaration of 2005 it would rather reduce, and we see a pretty clear pattern of a government which has step by step moved away from its progressive platform and slid gradually toward more and more mainstream and soft neoliberal positions. This is the reason why it lost the election, and it is difficult to explain it in any other way than that the red-green government fell in its own trap.

The Character of the Progress Party

Many commentators outside Norway have expressed their surprise that the former political party of terrorist Anders Behring Breivik (ABB), the Progress Party, now will become part of the new government, only two years after Breivik’s mass murders of 69 young social democrats. ABB was a member of the youth organization of the Progress Party many years ago, but in Norway this party has not been blamed for his ideas or his terror actions. The extreme ideas and ideology he expressed in his manifesto, and indeed through his horrible acts, were developed in contact with other networks and individuals after he left the Progress Party, which he criticized for being too liberal.

The Norwegian Progress Party is a typical right-wing populist party, but compared to many others of the same sort, it is seen as a more moderate version, although this is being contested. It is economically neoliberal and anti trade union. The party has through its history on the one hand excluded some members, who have expressed openly racist views, but on the other hand, it has always more or less indirectly pandered to the xenophobic parts of the electorate during election campaigns, and it is harbouring some extreme anti-immigrant members. It shares many features with the Danish People’s Party and pushes many of the same policies as the Sweden Democrats, even though the Progress Party itself does not consider these two parties as its sister organizations.

In any case, if the Progress Party now succeeds in becoming part of the new right-wing government of Norway, it will represent a political breakthrough for this kind of right-wing populist parties, which will most probably also be used as a marketing asset for similar parties in other countries.

A Protest Election

Nothing suggests that there is a growing demand for more right-wing policies in Norway. The election result is rather an expression of frustration, discontent and protest against the current government. Political changes, however, are seldom logically rational. The right-wing populist party (the Progress Party) has always been clever at exploiting discontent like this. In this year’s election also the Conservative Party manoeuvred so as to cash in on the discontent with the red-green alliance. It scaled down its own political rhetoric and rather tried to stand forth as a secure and compassionate alternative to the red-greens – concerned with people’s daily problems.

The reality will of course be different. In most areas where people are discontent with the red-greens, the new right-wing government will be even worse. There will be more privatization and commercialization of welfare services, more attacks on collective agreements and labour legislation and cuts in public budgets to finance their tax cuts. State ownership will be reduced and foreign capital will most probably increase its ownership in important sectors of the economy. Furthermore, we can also expect more aggressive and self-confident employers and employers’ associations.

Given the exceptionally favourable socio-political backdrop in Norway, with its abundance of oil revenue and a safe parliamentary majority, it is easy to believe that the election defeat could have been avoided by the red-green government – not first and foremost by spreading more oil money on all worthy causes, but by democratizing the public sector rather than marketizing it, by regulating financial markets after the financial crisis rather than only saving the banks, by increasing taxes on the rich rather than keeping public budgets overly tight, by introducing a social housing policy, etc. This, however, does not seem to be the preferred policy of the dominant Labour Party, and the Socialist Left Party has not been able to change this political direction.

In this regard, the development in Norway follows the pattern we have seen in country after country in Europe where political parties to the left of the social democrats have joined them in government. All such experiences, without exceptions, have been anything from negative to disastrous – in France, in Italy, in Norway and it is now happening even faster in Denmark – and the most left-oriented political party in such coalitions loses the most.

To join a social democratic dominated government as a junior partner in a situation in which the social democratic parties have moved far to the right, where financial markets are deregulated and where neoliberalism is constitutionalized as the economic model of Europe (or at least of the EU, Norway is formally outside, but part of the single market), is obviously a dead end. What surprises us is that none of the left parties in Europe seems to analyse and learn from this. It seems as if Die Linke in Germany, the Socialistische Partij in the Netherlands and Vänsterpartiet in Sweden are all aiming at becoming accepted into a social democratic dominated government in their countries.

In Norway, we have to take up again the work we did before the 2005 election, to build broad social alliances, to develop a system critical minimum programme, to fight for a more politically independent, progressive trade union movement, which can take a broader social and political responsibility and put the political parties in the labour movement under increased pressure. We need real social mobilization for real changes. •

 Asbjørn Wahl is Director of the Campaign for the Welfare State. He is also an adviser at the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees and holds an elected position at the International Transport Workers’ Federation. His latest book is The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State, and a video presentation can be seen here.

Roy Pedersen is President of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) in Oslo.

Ethnic Cleansing: The Roma in France

September 22nd, 2013 by John Bart Gerald

Avant les grands désastres les hommes n’auront rien dit... – Réné Tavernier

At what point does France’s ethnic cleansing of the Roma show the intention of genocide ?

The treatment of an increasingly dehumanized group, the razed communities, the families placed on the street, the bureaucrats’ excuses, gather into the crime of ethnic cleansing which continues to be quietly noted by the French press.

July was a bad month. The Mayor of Chavannes threatened suicide if a Roma caravan returned to his town’s stadium where it had rested a week without paying for permits. The Mayor of the town of Cholet, a Minister of Parliament Gilles Bourdouleix, is currently under investigation for allegedly suggesting “maybe Hitler did not kill enough gypsies.”

Evictions of Roma people at Vaulx-en-Velin (near Lyon) were protested by the European Roma Rights Centre last year due to repeated police forced evictions with no alternative lodgings, and the attacks by unknown assailants. Ejected from their garage of habitation so it could be converted to rent-controlled housing, on August 6th, 2012, 150 Roma previously of the St. Fons encampment and half of them children, left Vaulx-en-Velin for temporary encampment at Villeurbanne. On August 15th 2013, half Vaulx-en-Velin ‘s Roma encampment burnt down, putting 150 people on the street with nowhere to go. Then on August 23rd, the remaining 223 grownups and 167 children were evicted and the camp razed. These criminal yet officially ‘legal’ acts are not confined to right wing mayors: the Mayor of Vaulx-en-Velin is Communist-Party.

On August 27th, 150 Roma (initially there were about 300), 60 of them children, were evicted from the encampment in Bobigny, leaving all but 3 of the families without shelter. On August 28th, 24 Roma families were evicted from their apartment house in Toulouse and placed in mobile homes. August 29th, 50 Roma were removed from ‘occupying’ a house in Saint-Martin-d’Hères near Grenoble.

Noted as “camp removals,” what is meant is the complete destruction of a living environment, homes, addresses for the children’s entry into schools. 50 Roma (12 families) were displaced from a camp on the outskirts of Evry after it was surrounded by police, at 6:30 AM, September 17, 2013. The largest Roma camp in the city of Lille was finally dismantled entirely on September 18th, forcing remaining residents to run away. Once home to 750 people, the land is slated for use as a commercial centre, “le Lillenium.”

Mayors of towns neighbouring Lille complain at the number of Roma seeking refuge. In Lezennes on September 14th, a hundred people demonstrated against the placing of a Roma encampment, chanting “Les roms, on n’en veut pas !”

In nearby Croix, Mayor Régis Cauche of the right wing UMP (Sarkhozy’s Union for a Political Movement) party proves unable to cope with the numbers of Roma displaced by the destruction of their home camp and seeking refuge. Aware that many have nothing to eat, the mayor blames Roma for disappearances of chickens and geese etc. from local enterprises. Unmoved by the etymology of their commune’s name, citizens are outraged that Roms are stealing food to stay alive. This, Mayor Cauche says, leads to a “drama.” He has asked for the closure of Croix’s Roma encampment. He predicts “un dérapage comme le bijoutier de Nice si rien n’est fait rapidement… Si un Croisien commet l’irréparable, je le soutiendrai ” – which is to say, there will be an ‘accident’, as in Nice (recently a Nice jeweler shot in the back and killed an escaping thief ), if something isn’t done quickly…and if a citizen of Croix does this, the mayor will support him.

Though Mayor Cauche pulled the teeth of his statement, publicly, the UMP makes inroads on President Hollande’s Socialists by mixing populism with insults and threats. The extreme right wing National Front under the le Pens, is more forthright in its attempt to win votes, and anti-racist SOS Racism has taken politicians Jean-Marie le Pen, and Christian Estrosi to court for inciting race hatred.

By its silence the French government is allowing its racist policies to be effected extra-judicially. On the night of July 27th 15 men armed with iron bars and baseball bats attacked a Roma camp at Seine-Saint-Denis in what is described as a “punitive expedition”, breaking a woman’s skull. The attackers who have not been arrested despite video surveillance, were identified as Africans and North Africans (an equally vulnerable immigrant group). Roma were sleeping in their cars since the 150 person camp was ‘dismantled’ by police on July 23rd. Other camps, home to hundreds of families in St. Denis have been burnt out or cleared in the past several months.

The ugliness isn’t normal. The French government is caught in a policy of destroying Roma settlements, and is covered by paper principles but in operation without providing the alternatives of resettlement available to a civilized democracy. Some Roma are taken to the border and paid to leave. Some are found temporary lodgings to placate human rights groups. Many are forced to flee into the woods or neighbouring towns, or find their way to other camps, but their families are essentially without shelter, an address so their children can go to school, the tools of sustaining life.

A groundswell initiated by the Sarkhozy government’s chuffing off of immigrants, Muslims, Roma, as its buyout of the middle class progresses toward obvious conclusions. Interior Minister Manuel Valls’s observations that the Roma either don’t wish to integrate into French culture or are under control of criminal elements furthers the government’s methodic extermination of a people. The early tripwires that warn of genocide have been crossed. In fact the Roma who are innocent of the historical crimes of war and colonialism France shares with Europe, are not allowed to survive even marginally.

While not returning to the more naked policies of death camps in the 1940′s, the crimes of bureaucracy dovetail conveniently with a pan-European neo-Conservative agenda. First noted in Austria with Haider’s populist movement’s rise through scapegoating of Roma, clarified by Jobbik’s rise in Hungary, and both official and Operation Gladio style attacks on Italy’s Roma encampments under Berlusconi, France’s politicians subscribed to the coining of its most vulnerable poor, to win votes in economic hard times. Historically, this mechanism is never satisfied with removal of the initial victim group. Socialist President Hollande seems powerless to put the genii of intolerance back in the bottle.

Among the few voices of reason (in a nation inundated with nuclear power plants), Benjamin Abtan of EGAM (le Mouvement Antiraciste Européen) attributes the government’s silence to its guilt. Yet there is a wider conspiracy of silence. The religious organizations are too silent. Outside of France the world press is too silent. Possibly because they provide evidence of a terrible crime against Roma peoples, French media articles concerning the ethnic cleansing of Roma are not translated into English. The State’s actions against the Roma requires the complicity of silence beyond its borders.

Amid this deluge of misery one thing is absolutely clear. The French are cutting the traveling people, the Roms, les gens de passage, to pieces in a cold blooded murder of a way of life. The government insists on this soulless exercise as a genocidal ritual required by the new world order to enter a future made for profit not humanity. For the Roma, whose traditions are of greater age and constancy, a genocide warning is in effect.

Both French and European Union instruments protecting the human rights of this minority haven’t functioned effectively. Whether or not Roma peoples subscribe to borders, nations, or the UN Conventions and Covenants which protect all peoples rights, the United Nations Working Group on Roma, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial discrimination (which warned France in 2010 about deporting Roma), the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Racism, the U.N. Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, the U.N. Special adviser on the Responsibility to Protect, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights (OHCHR), should focus on France. They haven’t.

United Nations concern for Roma human rights was clearly lacking in Kosovo of 1999, when after occupation by NATO forces, French troops refused to halt the ethnic cleansing of Roma by Albanian forces. Under UN protection surviving Roma families were confined to an area lethally contaminated with lead poisoning.

Protection of the Roma as a people in France relies on France itself, then on the European Union, and then on the United Nations. If the government of France, the EU and UN continue to fail, they should be held complicit in the crime against a people. As a group Roma peoples are innocent. The communities of dispossessed are defenceless and without political alliances. Immediate international concern is needed to assure their primary human rights. Options include pressuring state and international organizations to honour their mandates, reciprocity against French corporate interests, life-respecting direct actions within France supporting Roma, and legal actions calling the State to account for violations of the Convention on Genocide.

 Partial sources:

“Evry : un campement de Roms évacué,” ed. RTL avec AFP, Sept. 17, 2013,; “Le camp de Roms de Lille Sud : c’est fini,” AFP, Sept. 18, 2012, & “Roms : après Lezennes… le maire de Croix tire la sonnette d’alarme,” Hélène Tonneillier, Sept. 11, 2013, Nord Pas-de-Calais; “Roms: un grand camp de la métropole lilloise complètement évacué,” AFP, Sept. 18, 2013, France 24; “Lezennes : manifestation contre les camps roms ce samedi matin,” Thomas Millot, Sept. 14, 2013, Nord Pas-de-Calais; “Affaire Régis Cauche»: à soutien, soutien et demi,” Jean-Marc Rivière, Sept. 17, 2013, Nord Eclair; “On ne peut pas laisser les Roms piller Croix,” Gilles Marchal, Sept. 14, 2013, Nord Eclair; “Evacuation d’un squat de Roms à Saint-Martin-d’Hères dans l’agglomération de Grenoble,” Franck Grassaud, Aug. 29, 2013, France3; “France: 150 personnes roms expulsées de force du campement des Coqueteiers à Bobigny,” Aug. 27, 2013, Amnesty International; “French Mayor threatens suicide if traveling Caravan of Migrant Families Returns to Village,” Sara Gates, Aug. 7, 2013, Huffington Post; “French MP forced to quit after Hitler Roma rant,” Ben McPartland, July 25, 2013, The Local; “‘Immeubles de la honte’ les Catalides à Toulouse: les familles roms relogées au Ramelet-Moundi,” Fabrice Valery, Aug. 28, 2013, francetv; “incendie d’un camp de Roms près de Lyon sur fond de tensions,” Aug. 16, 2013,; “Vaulx-en-Velin: les campements Roms evacuées par la police,” Philippe Bette, Aug. 23, 2013, francetv; Vaulx-en-Velin: 150 Roms quittent leur squat avant l’arrivée de la police,” Aug. 6, 2012,; “Roms: SOS Racisme porte plainte contre Jean-Marie Le Pen et Chrsitian Estrosi,” July 31, 2013, L’Express; “Deux Roms blessés dans une ‘expédition punitive’,” July 27, 2013, “le Nouvel Observateur”; “Incendie dans uncamp de Roms en Seine-Saint-Denis,” Aug. 16, 2013, francetv/; “Valeurs Actuelles : l’EGAM demande au gouvernement de sortir de son coupable mutisme,” Benjamin Abtan, Aug. 22, 2013, EGAM; “Dossier of Evidence,” The Kosovo Medical Emergency Group, current since 2009, Society for Threatened Peoples [access: < of Evidence.pdf >].

Previous: ” First They Came for the ‘Gypsies’…” J.B.Gerald, Oct. 14, 2012, –

Address at the University of Puerto Rico,  September 20, 2013

In order to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s invasion of the Americas, in early 1992 I was asked by the Organizers of the International Tribunal of Indigenous Peoples and Oppressed Nations in the U.S.A. to serve as Special Prosecutor of the United States of America for committing international crimes against Indigenous Peoples, People of Color, and Oppressed Nationalities, including and especially Puerto Rico and the Puerto Ricans.

The Tribunal was initiated by the American Indian Movement (AIM) with the support of representatives of the Puerto Rican People, the New Afrikan People, the Mexicano People, and “progressive White North Americans.” Of course, I do not consider myself to be a “White North American.” I was born Irish. During the past 850 years of resisting one of the most brutal and cruel colonial occupations in the history of humankind, we Irish know what the denial of self-determination, genocide, and gross violations of our most fundamental human rights are all about in our beloved Ireland and abroad, which atrocities still continue as of today.  We Irish still fondly remember and greatly appreciate that Pedro Albizu Compos stood up for us at Anglophile Harvard a century ago.

In my capacity as Special Prosecutor of the United States Federal Government, I drew up an Indictment under international law that was served upon the Attorney General of the United States and the United States Attorney in San Francisco prior to the convening of the Tribunal in that city just before “Columbus Day” on October 2-4, 1992 with a demand that they appear to defend the United States government from the charges. I take it they saw no point in trying to defend the indefensible because no one showed up to defend the United States government, though they did publicly acknowledge receipt of our service of process. I will not go through all 37 charges of my Indictment here. But the proceedings of this pathbreaking International Tribunal have been recorded in a formal Verdict by the Tribunal; in a Video of the Tribunal; and in a Book on the Tribunal–all under the title U.S.A. On Trial: The International Tribunal on Indigenous Peoples and Oppressed Nations in the United States.

Six months after the conclusion of these San Francisco Tribunal proceedings, I was the  Lawyer and Ambassador for the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina arguing its case for genocide against Yugoslavia before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the World Court of the United Nations System. There I would single handedly win two World Court Orders overwhelmingly in favor of Bosnia against Yugoslavia to cease and desist from committing all acts of genocide against the Bosnians on 8 April 1993 and 13 September 1993. I treated the San Francisco Tribunal proceedings with as much care, attention, dignity, respect, and professionalism as I did the World Court proceedings for Bosnia.  And the results were the same: massive, overwhelming, crushing victories for my clients at both the World Court and the San Francisco Tribunal!

For the purpose of this Lecture, I want to briefly discuss the eight charges that I filed against the United States government for committing international crimes against the People and State of Puerto Rico. I believe that these eight charges succinctly state the fundamental principles of international law concerning Puerto Rico and the Puerto Ricans. Obviously, these eight charges of my Indictment cannot answer all the questions the Puerto Rican People might have with respect to international law. But I do submit that these eight charges provide a solid foundation for providing guidance to the Puerto Rican People as to your basic rights under international law that can be used in the future in order to navigate problems and issues as they arise to confront you.

The distinguished Judges composing this International Tribunal consisted of seven independent Experts on human rights drawn from all over the world. In their Verdict, Preliminary Findings, and Order of 4 October 1992, the Indigenous Peoples’ Tribunal did not accept all of the 37 charges that I filed in my Indictment against the United States government for perpetrating international crimes against Indigenous Peoples, People of Color, and Oppressed Nations. But most strikingly, when it came to the Puerto Rican People, the International Tribunal accepted all of my charges against the United States government, and by a unanimous vote at that.  In its own words, the exact findings of this Tribunal on the People and State of Puerto Rico were as follows:

Puerto Rican People

With respect to the charges brought by the Puerto Rican People, the Defendant, the federal Government of the United States of America is, by unanimous vote, guilty as charged in:

Since its illegal invasion of Puerto Rico in 1898, Defendant has perpetrated innumerable Crimes Against Peace, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes against the People and State of Puerto Rico as recognized by the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles.

The Defendant has perpetrated the International Crime of Genocide against the Puerto Rican People as recognized by the 1948 Genocide Convention.

The Defendant has perpetrated the International Crime of Apartheid against the Puerto Rican People as recognized by the 1973 Apartheid Convention.

The Defendant has perpetrated a gross and consistent pattern of violations of the most fundamental human rights of the Puerto Rican People as recognized by the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the two aforementioned United Nations Human Rights Covenants of 1966.

The Defendant has perpetrated a gross and consistent pattern of violations of the 1965 Racism Convention against the Puerto Rican People.

The Defendant has denied and violated the international legal right of the Puerto Rican People to self-determination as recognized by the United Nations Charter, the two United Nations Human Rights Covenants of 1966, customary international law, and jus cogens.

The Defendant has illegally refused to apply the United Nations Decolonization Resolution of 1960 to Puerto Rico. Pursuant thereto, the Defendant has an absolute international legal obligation to decolonize Puerto Rico immediately and to transfer all powers it currently exercises there to the Puerto Rican People.

The Defendant has illegally refused to accord full-scope protections as Prisoners-of-War to captured Puerto Rican independence fighters in violation of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949 and Additional Protocol I thereto of 1977. The Defendant’s treatment of captured Puerto Rican independence fighters as “common criminals” and “terrorists” constitutes a “grave breach” of the Geneva Accords and thus a serious war crime.

As Special Prosecutor for the Tribunal, it came as no surprise to me that the Judges unanimously accepted all of my charges against the United States government with respect to the People and State of Puerto Rico. This is because the principles of international law with respect to Puerto Rico and the Puerto Ricans are incontestible, and thus so glaringly obvious for the entire world to see. I most respectfully submit that the Puerto Rican People must use this analysis and the Tribunal’s Verdict, Preliminary Findings, and Order in order to support, promote, and defend your basic rights under international law, including your right to self-determination and establish the independent state of Puerto Rico if that is your desire.

In the final section of its Verdict, the San Francisco Tribunal also rendered the following unanimous decision that directly concerns the international legal rights of the People and State of Puerto Rico:


In light of the foregoing findings, this Tribunal also, by unanimous vote, finds the Defendant guilty as charged in paragraph 37, which, as amended, reads:

In light of the foregoing international crimes, the Defendant constitutes a Criminal Conspiracy and a Criminal Organization in accordance with the Nuremberg Charter, Judgment, and Principles and the other sources of public international law specified above, and the Federal Government of the United States of America is similar to the Nazi government of World War II Germany.

This powerful Finding speaks for itself and requires no explanation by me.

The Tribunal concluded its Verdict with the following Order to the United States government: “Now therefore, it is ordered, adjudged and decreed that the Defendant cease and desist from the commission of the crimes it has been found guilty of herein.” Pursuant thereto, I then filed a copy of this San Francisco Verdict with its Cease and Desist Order upon the Attorney General of the United States of America in Washington, D.C.

In return, I later received a 5 February 1993 Letter from the U.S. Department of Justice that acknowledged the receipt of the San Francisco Tribunal Verdict and its Cease and Desist Order against the United States government. This U.S. D.O.J Letter then advised me: “If you, or the Tribunal, have any evidence of the violation of federal criminal law, we ask that you provide that information to your local office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

As I saw it at the time, and still see it as of today, historically this would be analogous to the Nazi Ministry of “Justice” advising a German lawyer representing the Jews to file his Complaint of criminal law violations by the Nazi government against the Jews with the Gestapo. The F.B.I is and has always been the American Gestapo — especially for all Peoples of Color living within its imperial domain.

 Nevertheless, the Verdict, Preliminary Findings, and Order of this San Francisco Tribunal qualify as a “judicial decision” within the meaning of Article 38(1)(d) of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. Pursuant thereto, this Verdict, Preliminary Findings, and Order constitute “subsidiary means for the determination of rules of law” for international law and practice. Furthermore, the Statute of the International Court of Justice is an “integral part” of the United Nations Charter under Article 92 thereof. Hence the San Francisco Tribunal’s Verdict, Preliminary Findings, and Order can be relied upon by the International Court of Justice itself, by the International Criminal Court, by some other International Tribunal, or by any other Court in the world today, as well as by any People or State of the World Community — including and especially by Puerto Rico and the Puerto Ricans. The Verdict of the San Francisco Tribunal still serves as adequate notice to the appropriate officials in the United States Federal Government that they bear personal criminal responsibility under international law and the domestic legal systems of all Peoples and States in the World Community for designing and implementing these illegal, criminal and reprehensible policies and practices against Indigenous Peoples and Peoples of Color living in North America, and especially against Puerto Rico and the Puerto Ricans. 

Obviously, in my brief presentation here today, I do not have the time to go through each and every one of these eight charges; to discuss all of the factual evidence that supported these eight charges; or to provide you with an analysis of the international legal bases for each one of these eight charges. For that type of information, I refer you to the Video and the Book on the San Francisco Tribunal as well as to its Verdict, Preliminary Findings, and Order itself. But in the discussions that follow today, I will be happy to respond to any questions you might have.

  Thank you.


Download video (31.19 MB)

The US is pushing Russia into approving a UN resolution that would allow for military intervention in Syria, in exchange for American support of Syria’s accession to OPCW, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said.

“Our American partners are starting to blackmail us: ‘If Russia does not support a resolution under Chapter 7, then we will withdraw our support for Syria’s entry into the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This is a complete departure from what I agreed with Secretary of State John Kerry’,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Channel 1′s Sunday Time program.

Chapter 7 of the UN charter would allow for potential military intervention in Syria.

Western countries blinded by ‘Assad must go’ attitude

The head of Russia’s Foreign Ministry went on to say he was surprised by the West’s “negligent” approach to the conflict.

“Our partners are blinded by an ideological mission for regime change,” said Lavrov. “They cannot admit they have made another mistake.”

Slamming the West’s intervention in Libya and Iraq, the foreign minister stated that military intervention could only lead to a catastrophe in the region. Moreover, he stressed that if the West really was interested in a peaceful solution to the conflict that has raged for over two years, they would now be pushing for Syria’s entry into the OPCW in the first place, not for the ouster of President Bashar Assad.

“I am convinced that the West is doing this to demonstrate that they call the shots in the Middle East. This is a totally politicized approach,” said Lavrov.

‘A repeat of Geneva 2012′

Lavrov harked back to last year’s Geneva accord which was agreed upon by the international community, including Russia and the US. However, when the resolution went to the Security Council the US demanded that Chapter 7 be included.

“History is repeating itself. Once again in Geneva an agreement has been reached which does not contain any mention of Chapter 7. But the Security Council wants to redo the document in their own way to include it.”

He called on the West to observe international law and stop writing resolutions motivated by their “geopolitical ambitions.”

‘Both sides must hand over chemical weapons’

Sergey Lavrov has also insisted that opposition forces take part in the decommissioning of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.

“The solutions currently being worked out at the OPCW suggest that all stocks of Syrian chemical weapons must be brought under control and ultimately destroyed.”

Lavrov further charged that the West was “not telling the whole story” by asserting that chemical weapons are only possessed by the regime, and not the opposition.

He added that the available information provided by the Israelis confirmed that on at least two occasions, the rebels had seized areas in which chemical weapons were stored and those arms might have fallen into their hands.

“According to our estimates, there is a strong probability that in addition to home-grown labs in which militants are trying to cook up harmful and deadly concoctions, the data provided by the Israelis is true,” the Russian FM said.

“Preparatory work for OPCW inspectors to assume control of chemical weapons storage sites requires that those who fund and sponsor opposition groups –  including extremists –  demand that they hand over the [arms] which have been seized so that they can be destroyed, pursuant to the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”

Lavrov added that Russia was not a guarantor for the disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons, as Syria’s commitments fell under the auspices of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which is internationally administered by the OPCW.

Lavrov said Russia and the US were working out a draft resolution to be submitted to the OPCW, although several points were yet to be agreed upon.

Logistics of destruction

Sergey Lavrov said that the time frame for the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons was not unrealistic.

“The overwhelming majority of the figures as per timing, term, beginning, finishing of the mission have been suggested by the American side,” he added.

Even if the time frame is feasible, there remains disagreement on the cost of the venture.

Earlier this week, President Assad said the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal would be a costly venture.

“It needs a lot of money, it needs about one billion [US dollars]. It’s very detrimental to the environment. If the American administration is ready to pay the money, and to take responsibility of bringing toxic materials to the United States, why don’t they do it?” Assad told Fox News

Lavrov said he had heard of the cost estimate, although during his negotiations with his US counterpart in Geneva last week, the figure was much lower. Lavrov said the discrepancy stemmed from the fact that a professional estimate was in order.

“When OPCW experts visit Syria and view the storage sites for chemical weapons, they will understand what can be destroyed on the spot (and this is also possible) with the use of mobile equipment which a number of states have, and those where special factories need to be built, as we did when destroying Soviet chemical weapons stockpiles. But for those which need to be taken out of the country – toxic substances – will require a special decision, because the convention considers it essential that the destruction takes place on the territory of that country which possesses the chemical weapons,” he said.

Lavrov said legal grounds would need to be found to move forward in this case, but if all sides could agree in principle, then drawing up a legally binding document will not be hard.

He further noted the difficulties that would be faced in assuring the security of both the Syrian and international experts tasked with bringing the chemical weapons under control and laying the groundwork for their ultimate destruction.

“We’ve considered that an international presence will be demanded in those areas where experts are working. We are prepared to allocate our own servicemen or military police to take part in those efforts. I do not believe it is necessary to send in a strong [military] contingency.] It seems to me that it will be sufficient to send in military observers. It will be necessary to do it in such a way that the observers will come from all permanent members of the UN Security Council, Arab states and Turkey, so that all conflicting sides in Syria understand that this contingent represents all external forces who are collaborating with one or the other conflicting sides in Syria…so that they don’t resort to provocations,” he said.

Lavrov reiterated previous statements made during his negotiations with Secretary of State John Kerry following their talks in Geneva last week that the opposition was equally responsible for providing for the safety of OPCW and UN experts in the country and not allowing for any “provocations.”

The Washington Navy Yard shooting

September 22nd, 2013 by David Walsh

Something is terribly wrong in America. Everyone knows this, except the corporate executives and bankers and media personalities, who are profiting enormously from the present conditions. And perhaps some of them know it too, but are faring too well to desire a serious examination of the reasons for the social malaise.

Last Monday, 34-year-old civilian contractor Aaron Alexis entered the headquarters of the Naval Sea Systems Command in the Washington Navy Yard armed with a disassembled shotgun in a bag slung over his shoulder. After putting the weapon together in a bathroom, he emerged and opened fire, apparently randomly, on people entering a cafeteria. Alexis killed twelve people, all civilian employees or contractors, and wounded a number of others. A gun battle with police ensued, lasting more than half an hour, at the end of which Alexis was fatally shot.Alexis, “a computer specialist who led an itinerant life, traveling to naval installations around the country to service their systems,” according to the New York Times, was clearly suffering from severe mental problems.

In early August, “Alexis told police in Newport, Rhode Island that he was hearing voices and was convinced that someone was using a ‘microwave machine’ to send vibrations into his body to keep him awake, according to an incident report.” (CNN) He went to the emergency room at the VA Medical Center in Providence, Rhode Island on August 23, and to another VA emergency room in Washington, DC on August 28. He was given medication to help him sleep in both cases.

Alexis also told Newport police that he believed he was being followed by three people who had been sent after him by someone with whom he had quarreled, according to a police report.

Alexis was honorably discharged from the Navy in 2010 for a series of minor episodes, including insubordination, unauthorized absence and drunkenness. He had also had a few scrapes with the law.

There were apparently more tangible grievances in the recent period as well, which undoubtedly worsened his mental state. A former housemate, Kristi Suthamtewakul, explained to CNN that Alexis was “frustrated about pay and benefits issues after a one-month contracting stint in Japan last year. … ‘He got back and he felt very slighted about his benefits at the time,’ she said. ‘Financial issues. He wasn’t getting paid on time, he wasn’t getting paid what he was supposed to be getting paid.’

“‘That’s when I first started hearing statements about how he wanted to move out of America,’ Suthamtewakul said. ‘He was very frustrated with the government and how, as a veteran, he didn’t feel like he was getting treated right or fairly.’”

Whatever the immediate facts of the latest case, we know all too well by now that the immense pressures exerted by an unequal, violent, alienating and indifferent social order can overwhelm the weakest, most susceptible personalities and lead to implosions and explosions. This has occurred time and time again, over the past two decades in particular, in every part of the US—in workplaces, schools and public venues of every type. And following each tragedy, the media and politicians combine superficiality and banality in an effort to conceal the central fact of the society’s deep sickness.

In Alexis’ case, there is also the specific issue of his service in the Navy, followed by years in the Navy Reserve and his choice of the Washington Navy Yard to carry out his attack. The American media would like everyone to forget that this man’s entire adulthood has taken place against the backdrop of non-stop military interventions, the last dozen years dominated by the global “war on terror,” in which the US authorities have given themselves permission to bomb and invade any nation that stands in their way and murder any individual whom they consider a thorn in their side.

One doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry when a CNN correspondent asks, with a straight face, “How did a man with a violent past get security clearance into such a sensitive military site?” Yes, how out of place such an individual would be in one of the planning centers for American global aggression and homicidal mayhem!

In any event, the differing responses to this latest mass shooting reveal a good deal about the individuals and social layers in question and the polarized state of social relations in America more generally.

The moving televised comments made the day of the shooting by Dr. Janis M. Orlowski, chief operating officer and chief medical officer at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, where the injured were brought, struck a deep chord with the public.

Dr. Orlowski explained that her hospital saw a great deal of trauma, some of it the result of accidents. She went on, “And then you see what I call senseless trauma. And there is… there’s something evil in our society that we as Americans have to work to try and eradicate. … There’s something wrong here when we have these multiple shootings, these multiple injuries.

“I would like you to put my trauma center out of business. I really would. I would like to not be an expert on gunshots and not to be an expert on this. … Because we just cannot have … one more shooting with … so many people killed.”

Later that evening, in an interview with MSNBC, Dr. Orlowski spoke about the need to take care of those suffering from mental illness. Just as you would come to the assistance of someone bleeding on the street, she said, we ought to be able “to identify and help those individuals who suffer other illnesses that make them act in this way.” This reaction is probably typical of how millions feel in the US: perplexed, sad and troubled, and genuinely concerned about preventing any more such social atrocities.

Understandably, those who preside over this dysfunctional and decaying society, who ought to suffer from a guilty conscience but probably don’t, speak along quite different and brutal lines. It never enters into their thinking or pronouncements that the causes of the tragedies should be examined and solutions to the problems sought.

President Barack Obama initially expressed outrage September 16 at “a shooting that targeted our military and civilian personnel.” Taking a further opportunity later in the day to flatter the military, the president said, “These are men and women who were going to work doing their jobs and protecting all of us. They’re patriots. They know the dangers of serving abroad, but today they faced the unimaginable violence that they wouldn’t have expected here at home.”

Speaking like a national chief of police, Obama continued, “I have made it clear to my team that I want the investigation to be seamless, so that local and federal authorities are working together. And as this investigation moves forward, we will do everything in our power to make sure whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible.”

The man who has approved drone strikes that have killed thousands of civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere, who still hopes to see deadly missiles raining down on Damascus, preaches to the American public about “unimaginable violence” and “cowardly acts.”

The general response of American government and military officials to the Washington Navy Yard shooting has been to demand more vetting, more invasions of privacy, tighter security and increased repression.

The Associated Press reported September 19 that the Defense Department had ordered a series of reviews of military security clearance procedures in the wake of the Washington Navy Yard shooting, “acknowledging that warning signs may have been missed in the background of the shooter.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel promised a crackdown. “Where there are gaps, we will close them. Where there are inadequacies, we will address them. And where there are failures, we will correct them,” he said.

A happy by-product of the Washington Navy Yard affair, as far as the American media is concerned, is an opportunity to smear NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden by associating his name with that of Alexis. The Washington Post reported Thursday that USIS, the government contractor that handled the background check for Snowden, “said Thursday that it also vetted Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis for his ­secret-level clearance in 2007.”

Of course, an issue involved here is the massive, almost uncontrollable growth of the military-intelligence apparatus. The Post notes, “Federal officials are trying to implement a system that would continuously evaluate personnel with classified security clearance. But with nearly 5 million federal workers holding secret or top-secret security clearance, government officials say they are struggling to keep track of all their cases.”

Ending One War, Ending All Wars

September 22nd, 2013 by David Swanson

 Remarks on September 21, 2013, at the Nashville Festival for Peace, Prosperity, and Planet.

Thank you to Elizabeth Barger and the Nashville Peace and Justice Center and to all of you, and happy International Day of Peace!

From a certain angle it doesn’t look like a happy day of peace.  The U.S. government is engaged in a major war in Afghanistan, dramatically escalated by the current U.S. president, who has been bizarrely given credit for ending it for so long now that a lot of people imagine it is ended.  The same president goes through a list of men, women, and children on Tuesdays, picks which ones to have murdered, and has them murdered, often with missiles shot out of unmanned drones, drones that circle people’s villages endlessly threatening immediate annihilation moment after moment for weeks on end, missiles that often miss their targets and often kill random people too close to their targets.  The CIA with war powers.

Secret military operations in dozens of nations.  Expansion of U.S. troop presence in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.  Some 90 percent of the world’s nations with U.S. troops in them.  Prisoners force-fed in Guantanamo.  Black sites.  Iraq ruined without reparations.  Libya thrown into anarchy without apology.  Activists treated as enemies.  Journalists treated as spies.  Whistleblowers locked up in cages.  Our Constitutional rights treated as dispensable.  The United Nations used, abused, and circumvented.  U.S. weapons provided to dictatorships and democracies around the globe.  Tennessee’s U.S. Senator Bob Corker going on television repeatedly for weeks to tell us that the United States is covertly aiding one side of a war in Syria.  Does he not know what “covertly” means, or does he not know how television works?

But I believe that, despite all of that and much more, there is huge reason to celebrate a happy international day of peace.  At most events where I speak there is a time for questions, and almost always there is someone whose question is really more of a speech to the effect that war opposition is delusional and hopeless; if the government wants a war, it gets a war — so this person always tell us.  Well, no more.  From this day forward, that person’s comments should be no match for the laughter that greets them, because we just prevented a war.

Congress members heard from many thousands of us, and what they heard was over 100-to-1 against attacking Syria.  When it became clear that not even the Senate would authorize such an attack, talk shifted immediately from the inevitability of war to the desirability of avoiding war.

Secretary of State John Kerry said that President Bashar al-Assad could avoid a war by handing over all the chemical weapons his government possessed.  Russia quickly called that bluff and Syria agreed to it.  Syria had tried in the past to negotiate a Middle East free of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, but the United States had been opposed, not wanting to stop arming Egypt and Israel.

Secretary Kerry, apparently panicked by the possible delay or prevention of missile strikes, put out a statement that he had only been making a “rhetorical argument,” not a real proposal.  But when the White House saw the writing on the wall in Congress, Kerry claimed to have meant his comment seriously after all.  He was for his own idea after he’d been against it.

Of all the many ways in which John Kerry has tied himself in knots before, this is the first time he’s had to do so because the people of this country and the world rejected a war.  Remember when Kerry asked how you could ask someone to be the last man to die in the war on Vietnam?  We have it in our power to reject the next war and the next war and the next war and make John Kerry the last man to have tried to sell us a dead idea.

War is a dead idea, an idea whose time has gone.  The abolition of war is an idea whose time has come.  But the government isn’t ready to announce that for us.  That’s why we need to celebrate this victory.  And not just us at this festival.  This was everybody.  This was the people of Syria who spoke against an attack on their nation.  This was the people of Iraq and Afghanistan who said don’t do to others what you’ve already done to us.  This was the people of the world and of Russia and of China who said you won’t paint this crime as legal with our help.  This was the people of Britain who moved their House of Commons to reject a prime minister’s request for war for the first time since the surrender to the French and Americans at Yorktown.  This was low and high ranking members of the U.S. military saying “We didn’t sign up to fight for al Qaeda.”  This was government experts risking their careers and their freedom to say “If President Obama’s excuse for a war happened, he’s guessed it right, because the evidence doesn’t establish it.”  This was the majority of the U.S. public telling pollsters, yes, we care about suffering children; send them food and medicine, don’t make it worse by sending in missiles.”

This was the victory not of a moment but of a decade of cultural enlightenment.  When you’ve got the Pope and Rush Limbaugh on your side you’ve built something very broad.  Remember when they called resistance to war “The Vietnam Syndrome” as if it were a disease?  What we’ve got now is the War on Terror Inoculation.  This is health, not sickness.  War is the health of the state, said a World War I resister.  But war resistance is the health of the people.  The people are the world’s other super power.

So, yes, I say celebrate!  Start seeing successes.  Drone attacks are down dramatically.  Environmental groups are beginning to oppose military base constructions.  States are beginning to work on conversion of war industries to peaceful industries.  Larry Summers has been denied a chance to do more economic damage.

Imagine the euphoria — or don’t imagine it, just remember it — when this country elects a new president whose main redeeming feature is that he isn’t the previous president.  For personality fanatics that’s big stuff.  And there are big parties.  For policy fanatics — for those of us interested in seeing policies change rather than personalities — that kind of moment is right now.  The first step in overcoming an addiction, whether to war or alcohol, is recognizing that you have a problem.  The second step is believing that you can shake it if you try.  We’ve just taken the first two steps!  The war addicts said Syria needed an intervention.  We gave the war junkies an intervention instead.  We pointed them toward the path of recovery and showed them a preview of what it will look like.

Now, if you don’t want to celebrate because there’s too much work to do, because Syria is in greater danger without its weapons (look what happened to Iraq and Libya), and because the pressure for war is still on, I can respect that.  I’ll be with you starting tomorrow.  But it’s hard to imagine we’ll find the most effective strategy, much less motivate all the doom and gloomers to work their hardest, if we refuse to recognize when we’ve actually made progress, no matter how limited.

If you don’t want to celebrate because you don’t think public pressure made any impact and don’t think it ever can, I’ve looked at enough of the recent history and distant history to say, with all due respect: I don’t believe you.  And if you believed yourself you wouldn’t be here today.

Now, there is endless work to be done when we get back to it in the morning.  Congressman Cooper was pretty noncommittal, I understand, as quite a few Congress members were.  He kept an open mind.  Maybe, just maybe, he must have thought, it makes sense to deescalate a war by escalating it, maybe these magic missiles with Raytheon pixie dust on them will kill only the people who really need killing while empowering fanatic heart-and-liver eaters who execute their prisoners to establish a secular democracy, and perhaps we really can uphold the norm against chemical weapons that our own nation violates with some regularity by blatantly violating the norm against attacking other countries with missiles, and maybe we’ll enforce the Chemical Weapons Convention against a nation that never signed it by shredding the UN Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact as long as we call ourselves “The International Community” and if we can’t get France to help maybe Puerto Rico would count as a Coalition of the Willing, and perhaps, perhaps just maybe Assad really is out to get us and just might be a threat to Nashville, Tennessee, and if not isn’t the only thing that really matters President Obama’s manhood and the respect he can only maintain if he behaves like a sociopath?  Some part of this must be roughly how undecided members of Congress looked at this thing.  Senator Harry Reid said Syria was the return of the Nazis, and he himself looked just like Elmer Fudd warning of a dangerous wabbit, but maybe he was right, think our elected representatives.  There is work to be done.

Republicans in Congress turned against war more than they might have with a Republican president.  And some Democrats, including a co-chair of the Progressive Caucus, cheered for war.  The Black Caucus told its members to shut their mouths and not speak about Syria.  But they didn’t all listen.  The leadership of the two parties pushed for war, and most members of both parties said No Way.  That’s something to build on.  Anything that has happened is automatically acceptable and respectable, and in that category now is war rejection, regardless of who is president in the future.

Senator Corker thinks the United States has lost credibility.  I think it’s gained it.  The United States claims to use war as a last resort.  When an occasion finally arrives in which it doesn’t use war as a first resort, that boosts the credibility of its claim.  The U.S. justifies its wars with the word “democracy.”  When it listens to its people for once, it demonstrates democracy by example rather than by dropping cluster bombs or napalm or using those depleted uranium weapons giving the workers who make them cancer over in eastern Tennessee.  The world was skeptical of the U.S. case for war because of past U.S. lies, not because of past U.S. failures to bomb people.

The threat to attack Syria is still on the table.  If you listen to these people enough you really come to hate tables, by the way.  The White House claims Syria has signed the Chemical Weapons Convention under threat of attack, even though any signing of any treaty under threat of attack is illegal and invalid.  Meanwhile, if we wanted to find a stockpile of chemical weapons, there’s 524 tons of poison gas at the Blue Grass Army Depot, just up the road toward Lexington, Kentucky, from here.  The United States wants 10 more years to destroy that, although maybe it can go a little faster since John Kerry seems to think a week is more than enough time for Syria to destroy its stockpile.  The Army spokesman in Kentucky says the delays there are a sign of democracy and public input.  Our leading spreaders of democracy to the rest of the world, on the other hand, believe the most important consideration is that nothing ever be credited to diplomacy if it can be credited to violence.  The U.S. has a stash five times the size of Kentucky’s out in Colorado, where climate-induced floods and fires pose a danger of combining with the madness of militarism if we don’t switch soon from preparing for wars to preparing for a sustainable existence — If we don’t start paying attention to Fukushima and global warming and keep laughing, as we have been, at the idea that Assad is going to kill us.

But, our government also has peculiar views about different types of weapons that I don’t claim to understand.  Chemical weapons are good, apparently, when the U.S. uses them on Iraqis, or Iraq uses them on Iranians, or Israel uses them on Palestinians, but they’re bad if Iraq uses them on Iraqis or the Syrian government uses them on anyone — although they aren’t so bad if it is Syrian rebels using them.  In cases of bad chemical weapons use, missiles could fix the problem.  But with missiles you have to ask Congress.  So, instead, you can fix the problem of people getting killed with chemicals by making sure that more of them get killed with guns.  With guns, for some reason, you don’t have to ask Congress.  Senators can even chat on TV about what they’re doing “covertly,” and we’re supposed to say “Oh, well that’s OK then, as long as it’s covertly.”

Only . . . when people bleed and scream in agony and turn cold do they do it covertly?  Because I think the entire operation needs to be done covertly, not just parts of it.

Maybe the problem is that we just don’t think guns are weapons of mass destruction.  Guns must be weapons of minimal destruction, I guess. Guns only kill 30,000 people in the United States each year, ten times the number of people killed on September 11, 2001.  Imagine the size of the war we’d have started if someone had killed 30,000 people with airplanes.  Would we have had to kill 10 million Iraqis instead of 1 million?  But with guns, deaths are OK, and 60% of them don’t really count because they’re suicides.

Only . . . why are people desperate enough to kill themselves in the wealthiest nation on earth when we have a bigger military and more billionaires than any other society in the history of the world?  Shouldn’t that satisfy us?  Anyone too dense to appreciate that great good fortune, well, at least we’ve made sure there’s always a gun or two within easy reach.

I’m being sarcastic, but I’m not joking.  We have a serious problem with acceptance of violence.  This past Sunday night on “60 Minutes” John Miller of CBS News said, “I’ve spoken with intelligence analysts who have said an uncomfortable thing that has a ring of truth, which is: the longer this war in Syria goes on, in some sense the better off we are.”

Now, why would that be uncomfortable, do you suppose?  Could it be because encouraging huge numbers of violent deaths of human beings seems sociopathic?

The discomfort that Miller at least claims to feel is the gauge of our moral progress, I suppose, since June 23, 1941, when Harry Truman said, “If we see that Germany is winning, we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible.”

On Monday, Time magazine’s Aryn Baker published an articleunder the headline “Syria’s Rebels Turn on One Another, and That’s Not a Bad Thing.”  Baker’s point wasn’t that more would die this way, but that this would allow the U.S. to escalate the war (which of course would mean more dying).

Remember that President Obama’s reason (Preview) for wanting to attack Syria is to “confront actions that are violating our common humanity.”  How is it that support for mass killing rarely seems to violate our common humanity if it’s that other 96 percent of humanity getting killed, and especially if it’s this 4 percent doing it?  Why is the excuse to kill more people always that people are being killed, while we never starve people to prevent them from starving or rape people to protect them from rape?

The uncomfortable “60 Minutes” interviewer addressed his remarks to a former CIA officer who replied by disagreeing.  He claimed to want the war to end.  But how would he end it?  By arming and aiding one side, just enough and not too much — which would supposedly result in peace negotiations, albeit with a risk of major escalation.  While nobody ever extends peace in order to generate war, people are constantly investing in war in the name of peace.

As this man may be very well aware, arming one side in this war will encourage that side’s viciousness and encourage the other side to arm itself further as well.  But suppose it were actually true that you could deescalate a war by escalating a war.  Why are the large number of people who would be killed in the process unworthy of consideration?

We’ve seen lawyers tell Congressional committees that killing people with drones is either murder or perfectly fine, depending on whether Obama’s secret memos say the killings are part of a war.  But why is killing people acceptable in a war?  We’ve just watched public pressure deny Obama missile strikes on Syria.  Those strikes were optional.  Had they happened that would have been a choice, not an inevitability.  What of the immorality involved?

The best news is that we’re beginning to feel uncomfortable.  We’re even feeling uncomfortable enough to doubt the tales we’re told about justifications for wars.  The fact is that, were the White House telling the truth about the need for an attack on Syria, it would be a first in history.  Every other case for war has always been dishonest.

The United States sought out war with Mexico, not the reverse.  There was never any evidence that Spain sank the Maine.  The Philippines didn’t benefit from U.S. occupation.  The Lusitania was known to be carrying troops and arms.  The Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened.  Iraq didn’t take any babies out of incubators.  The Taliban was willing to turn bin Laden over to be tried in a neutral court.  Libya wasn’t about to kill everyone in Benghazi.  And so on.

Even wars that people like to imagine as justified, such as World War II, were nonetheless packaged in lies; FDR’s tales about the Greer and the Kearney and supposed secret Nazi maps and plans were a step on the steady trajectory from Woodrow Wilson to Karl Rove.

The idea that Syria used chemical weapons is more plausible than the idea that Iraq had vast stockpiles of chemical, biological, and (in some versions) nuclear weapons and was working with al Qaeda.  But the evidence offered in the case of Syria was no stronger than that for Iraq.  It was harder to disprove merely because there was nothing to it: no documentation, no sources, and until the UN report came out, no science.  Congress members who have seen the classified version of the White House case say it’s no better than the declassified.  Experts within the government and reporters in Syria who have seen more than that say they don’t believe the White House’s claims.

The assertions masquerading as a case come packaged in dishonest claims about the make-up of the rebels, and how quickly Syria gave access to inspectors.  And the claims are written in a manner to suggest far greater knowledge and certainty than they actually assert on careful examination.  The latest claims follow a series of failed claims over a period of months and stand to benefit a Syrian opposition that has been found repeatedly to be manufacturing false propaganda aimed at bringing the United States into the war.  It seems, at this point, unlikely that the Assad government used chemical weapons (as opposed to the rebels or someone in the Syrian military defying Assad by using them), but it seems certain that if Assad did it, Obama and Kerry don’t know that — they’ve only guessed it at best.  It also seems certain that escalating the war makes everyone worse off regardless of who used chemical weapons.  Attacking Iraq would have been immoral, illegal, and catastrophic (and probably more so) if all the weapons stories had been true.

Then there are the depictions of Assad as a threat to the United States, at which moments President Obama has almost begun to sound like his predecessor.  But, as he came on stage second, nobody believed him.  Assad is guilty of horrible crimes, but he’s not yet-another new Hitler.  There’s a cute story about Assad from 11 years ago this week that some of us may have forgotten.  A Canadian man named Maher Arar had been born in Syria.  U.S. officials nabbed him for the crime of switching planes in New York City.  They interrogated him for weeks, denying him access to a lawyer or to the Canadian government.  They asked Arar to go to Syria, and he refused.  So they stuck him on a CIA plane, flew him to Jordan, beat him for 8 hours, and then delivered him to the Syrian government of Bashar al Assad.  President Assad’s government beat and whipped Arar for 18 hours a day for weeks, asking him similar questions to those the Americans had asked.  For 10 months he was kept in a 3 by 6 by 7 foot underground cell, then released with no charges.  Four years later, the Canadian government, which had done nothing, apologized to and compensated Arar.  Former CIA case officer Bob Baer said, “If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear—never to see them again—you send them to Egypt.”

The Syrian government is, like any government the United States wants to attack, a brutal government that the United States worked with until recently, situated in a region full of brutal governments the United States still supports.  In this case, the brutal governments still armed and supported by the U.S. government include Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Yemen.  If the US. government wanted to reduce violence, it could end its 2001-begun war on Afghanistan, it could end its drone strikes, and it could stop supplying Saudi Arabia with cluster bombs and Egypt with tear gas and Bahrain with ex-police chiefs.  Wars are not driven by generosity, despite what you’ll often — and increasingly — hear.

Syria needs humanitarian aid, not weapons that threaten the good aid work being done by Americans among others.  The Iraqi Student Project was bringing Iraqis to study in U.S. colleges.  Its office was in Syria, where many Iraqi refugees had fled from the U.S. liberation.  Now that office is closed, and Syria has its own refugee crisis to rival Iraq’s.  Our government should be urging both sides to stop providing arms, to agree to a ceasefire, and to open negotiations without preconditions.  Syria has needed help for years, but our government tends to wait until missiles look like a proper solution to get serious about solving a problem.

Syria’s crisis was brought on in part by climate induced drought and water shortage.  The solution of sending in missiles (blocked for now) or of sending in guns (underway as we speak) misses that source of the problem and in fact exacerbates it.  The U.S. military is our greatest consumer of petroleum, which it consumes in the course of fighting wars and occupying countries to control petroleum.  The roughly $1 trillion spent by the United States and roughly $1 trillion spent by the rest of the world on militarism every year could coat the planet with sustainable green energy sources beyond the wildest imaginings of those sources’ proponents.

As long as we continue to view war as an acceptable institution, serious reductions in the military will be impeded by the desire to win wars when they happen.  Instead of reduced war making, we need war abolition.  180 million people died in wars in the 20th century.  Enough is enough.  War has not brought security.  War endangers us rather than protecting us.  War has failed as a tool for ending war.  War is draining our economies, eroding our civil liberties, devastating our natural environment, and stealing resources away from critical human and environmental needs.

Nonviolent tools have proven themselves more effective and less costly than war.  War’s unpredictability and existing weaponry including nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction threaten our very existence, while the reallocation of resources away from war promises a world whose advantages are beyond easy imagination.  We could even stop paying farmers not to farm and start paying weapons makers not to make weapons while they convert their factories to begin making something useful. Cutting $40 billion from food stamps will kill more people than spending it for a few months of occupying Afghanistan will kill.

Anti-war sentiment, at least in some key parts of the world, is at a high point now, relative to other moments in recent decades.  We need to direct that sentiment into a movement for abolition.  Resisting each new war is not enough.  We must be for peace and by peace we must mean, first and foremost, the elimination of the institution of war.  We’re all fond of saying that peace is more than just the absence of war.  True enough.  And freedom is more than just the absence of chains.  But first you had to abolish slavery.  Then new possibilities opened up.  So, today I’m not going to say, “No Justice, No Peace.”  Today I say, “With No Peace, There Is No Justice.”  Stop the wars.  End the slaughter.  Dismantle the weapons.  Abolish the military.  Build a sustainable peaceful prosperous world.  Make this point in time a turning point.  Thank you for being here.  Happy International Day of Peace!

David Swanson’s books include “War Is A Lie.” He blogs at and and works for He hosts Talk Nation Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook

It’s on the chopping block for elimination. Initiatives began decades ago. Republicans, Democrats and Obama are in lockstep. They’re waging war on vital safety net protections.

In 1996, Clinton’s Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) became law. Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) ended.

Time limit harshness replaced it. Five years and out became policy. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) mandates it. States get diminishing amounts of federal funding.

Fixed block grants provide it. They’re permitted to administer policy freely. They take full advantage during harder than ever hard times.

To qualify, recipients must work or train for jobs. Single mothers with small children are cheated. Millions are left on their own high and dry.

America is unprincipled. It’s shameless. It’s ruthless. Policy reflects neoliberal harshness. It’s hard right, soulless and uncaring.

It’s pro-war and pro-corporate. It’s anti-populist, anti-labor, anti-welfare, and anti-government of, by and for everyone equitably and fairly.

It supports the worst of imperial ruthlessness. Wealth, power, privilege and unchallenged global dominance alone matter. Let ‘em eat cake applies for all others.

Progressively things worsen. Policies reflect growing dystopian harshness. On September 19, The New York Times headlined “House Republicans Pass Deep Cuts in Food Stamps.”

Millions of dollars in vitally needed aid was slashed. Republicans voted to eliminate $40 billion over the next decade.

One provision requires adults between 18 and 50 without minor children to find work or be enrolled in job training. Otherwise benefits are denied.

A time limit is imposed. Three months and out was enacted. States can now extend benefits for recipients able to work or preparing to do so through training.

According to House Speaker John Boehner:

“This bill makes getting Americans back to work a priority again for our nation’s welfare programs.”

How he didn’t explain. America’s enduring a jobs crisis. It’s been ongoing for years. It shows no signs of ending.

Able-bodied workers can’t find employment. Most doing so don’t earn enough to live on. Both parties oppose enacting a living wage.

Republicans mandate work or train to do so or starve. Democrats and Obama are in lockstep. They differ only on timing. Rogue states operate this way.

The House measure also mandates testing recipients. It’s to assure they’re drug-free. It prohibits lottery winners from receiving benefits.

It’s the latest initiative targeting social America. Previous ones Obama approved included cutting:

  • Medicare and Medicaid benefits;
  • Pell Grants for college tuitions;
  • federal wages;
  • the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help impoverished families have heat in winter;
  • the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP);
  • community healthcare centers;
  • nonprofit health insurance cooperatives;
  • HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other disease prevention programs;
  • WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) grants to states for supplemental foods, healthcare, and nutrition education for low-income families;
  • Head Start for comprehensive education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income families with children;
  • earlier Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamp) Program (SNAP) aid for poor households;
  • community development block grants for housing;
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) first-responder funding;
  • energy efficiency and renewable energy programs;
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) clean/safe water and other projects;
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) medical research;
  • the National Park Service;
  • vital infrastructure and transportation needs; and
  • other non-defense discretionary spending.

Further cuts Obama endorses benefit Wall Street, other corporate favorites, war profiteers, and other special interests. They do so at the expense of ordinary people losing out.

Increasingly they’re on their own sink or swim. Obama calls it “shared sacrifice.” Ordinary people sacrifice to let business and super-rich elites share.

Social America is on the chopping block for elimination. Austerity harshness assures it. Bipartisan complicity endorses it.

The latest measure targets food stamps. It’s a core safety net protection. Enacting the House measure means denying four million recipients vital aid they need straightaway. Millions more will be affected in out years.

Democrats and Republicans haggle over details and timing. In June, Senate Democrats cut $4 billion in food stamp aid over the next decade.

Doing so comes during protracted Main Street Depression conditions. Nearly 50 million Americans require SNAP aid to eat.

Democrats know cutting $4 billion is only for starters. Republicans want $40 billion. Compromise suggests they’ll settle for $20 billion. Perhaps more if Republican hardliners prevail. Either way, millions of needy recipients lose out.

Many more will ahead. Plans are to entirely shred America’s social safety net. Major Medicaid cuts are coming. They’re on top of previous ones.

Medicare and Social Security are targeted for elimination. It’s planned by handing over both programs to Wall Street profiteers.

Depriving needy recipients of healthcare, retirement income and food reflects how low America has sunk. Class war is official policy. Gaming the system for profits matters most.

The American dream is more illusion than reality. The criminal class in Washington is bipartisan. Rogues and crooks run things.

Gangsterism is official policy. Making the world safe for capital reflects it.

War on humanity is waged for dominance and profit. Ordinary people lose out everywhere. What can’t go on forever, won’t. According to a 19th century proverb:

“Only when the last tree has died and the last river poisoned and the last fish caught will we realize we cannot eat money.”

US policy reflects heart of darkness viciousness. Personal freedoms and general welfare are targeted for elimination.

Obama, Republicans and most Democrats endorse the worst policies planned. Disagreement’s only over timing.

Duplicitous scaremongering claims America’s going broke. Obama wants “fiscal discipline” restored. He supports cutting vital SNAP aid.

He calls Medicare the “big problem.” Its cost is “unsustainable,” he claims.

“Let’s not kid ourselves and suggest that we can solve this problem by trimming a few earmarks,” he said.

The “biggest cost drivers in our budget are entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, all of which get more and more expensive every year.”

“If we want to get serious about fiscal discipline – and I do – we will have to get serious about entitlement reform.”

Medicare and Social Security aren’t entitlements. They’re insurance programs. They’re funded by worker/employer payroll tax deductions. They’re contractual federal obligations to eligible recipients who qualify.

Obama repeats what he does best. He lies. He’s a serial liar. He’s a moral coward. He supports wealth and power.

He’s beholden to powerful monied interests. They own him. He spurns popular needs. He prioritizes letting them go begging on his watch.

He proposed massive Medicare cuts. In 2010, 2011, and last November he urged more. He’s waging class war on Americans.

He wants fundamental social benefits destroyed. He wants ordinary people hung out to dry. He wants them on own sink or swim.

His “fiscal discipline” mumbo jumbo is imposing it on the backs of ordinary people least able to survive on what he endorses.

At the same time, he handed trillions of dollars to Wall Street crooks and other corporate favorites. He spent trillions more waging war on humanity.

He’s turning America into a dystopian backwater. Poverty, unemployment, underemployment, hunger, homelessness and overwhelming human misery are at Depression levels.

Wealth is more than ever disproportionately concentrated. America’s 1% overwhelmingly controls it.

What do you call a nation spurning its most disadvantaged? A failed state reflects today’s America. It’s no democracy. It’s not beautiful.

It’s not the best of all possible worlds. It’s not what PR wizards want people to believe. It’s rogue state viciousness writ large.

Truman once said “(t)he buck stops here!” Obama bears full responsibility for the worst of policies he endorses.

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

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

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

This article written nine years ago in May 2004 brings to light the position of so-called “Progressives” which Edward Herman describes as “The Cruise Missile Left” pertaining to  humanitarian intervention.

The word “genocide” is often used to describe crimes committed by countries which are the victims rather than the perpetrators of war. The issue is rarely raised in relation to the crimes committed by the United States and Israel.

This article is of particular relevance to stance of US Ambassador  to the United Nations Samantha Power, who is pushing for a military intervention in Syria on “humanitarian” grounds.

Professor Herman refers to Samantha Power’s earlier book “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide as follows(emphasis added)

Power never departs from the selectivity dictated by the establishment party line. That requires, first and foremost, simply ignoring cases of direct U.S. or U.S.-sponsored (or otherwise approved) genocide. Thus the Vietnam war, in which millions were directly killed by U.S. forces, does not show up in Power’s index or text. Guatemala, where there was a mass killing of as many as 100,000 Mayan Indians between 1978 and 1985, in what Amnesty International called “A Government Program of Political Murder,” but by a government installed and supported by the United States, also does not show up in Power’s index.  …

Power engages in a similar suppression and failure to recognize the U.S. role in her treatment of genocide in Iraq. She attends carefully and at length to Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical warfare and killing of Kurds at Halabja and elsewhere. …But she does not mention the diplomatic rapproachement with Saddam in the midst of his war with Iran in 1983, the active U.S. logistical support of Saddam during that war, and the U.S. approval of sales and transfers of chemical and biological weapons during the period in which he was using chemical weapons against the Kurds. She also doesn’t mention the active efforts by the United States and Britain to block UN actions that might have obstructed Saddam’s killings.

The killing of over a million Iraqis via the “sanctions of mass destruction,” more than were killed by all the weapons of mass destruction in history, according to John and Karl Mueller (“Sanctions of Mass Destruction,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 1999), was one of major genocides of the post-World War 2 era. It is unmentioned by Samantha Power. Again, the correlation between exclusion, U.S. responsibility, and the view that such killings were, in Madeleine Albright’s words, “worth it” from the standpoint of U.S. interests, is clear. There is a similar political basis for Power’s failure to include Israel’s low-intensity genocide of the Palestinians and South Africa’s “destructive engagement” with the frontline states in the 1980s, the latter with a death toll greatly exceeding all the deaths in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Neither Israel nor South Africa, both “constructively engaged” by the United States, show up in Power’s index.

Samantha Power’s conclusion is that the U.S. policy toward genocide has been very imperfect and needs reorientation, less opportunism, and greater vigor. For Power, the United States is the solution, not the problem.

Gr. Editor M. Ch. , September 21, 2013

The Complete Edward S. Herman article below

“The Cruise Missile Left”: Samantha Power and the Genocide Gambits

by Edward S. Herman,

first published in May 2004

Establishment politicians, media, and intellectuals use the word genocide with great abandon, but with a hugely politicized selectivity. It is an invidious word, like terrorism, so that attaching it to an enemy and target is helpful in demonizing, thereby setting up the target for bombing and invasion, and establishing a case for pursuit of its leaders via assassination squads or tribunals. Genocide was used often to describe the “killing fields” of Pol Pot, but not the killing fields of Vietnam where the United States ravaged the country, killed many more people than did Pol Pot, and left a destroyed country and chemical warfare heritage of hundreds of thousands of children with birth defects.

The word was never used in the U.S. mainstream to describe Indonesian operations in East Timor, where the invasion of 1975 and murderous occupation killed off between a quarter and a third of the population, a larger fraction than in Cambodia and not attributable, at least in part, to a prior war and its after-effects (as in Cambodia). But in the one mention of the word “genocide” in reference to East Timor in the New York Times (February 15, 1981), veteran reporter Henry Kamm explained that this was unwarranted “hyperbole”–that the situation was “complex” and there were multiple causes of all those deaths (presumably in contrast with Cambodia, where Kamm and the Times never found any complexity or causes other than Pol Pot’s policies).

The word genocide is rarely if ever applied to Turkish ethnic cleansing and massacres of its Kurds, and in fact Turkey was mobilized to participate in the 78-day NATO (de facto U.S.) bombing war against Yugoslavia in 1999, supposedly to terminate “genocide” in Kosovo, although Turkey’s attacks on its local Kurds were far more deadly than any pre-bombing-war Yugoslav violence against the Kosovo Albanians. The obvious explanation of the varying word usage is that Turkey was a U.S. ally, and its ethnic cleansing and killings were facilitated by greatly increased U.S. (Clinton administration) military aid, just as Indonesia’s violence in East Timor was greatly helped by greater U.S. (Carter administration) aid to the killer state. Yugoslavia, on the other hand, was a U.S. target. Amusingly, as Noam Chomsky points out in Hegemony or Survival, when Turkey failed to cooperate in the invasion-occupation of Iraq, suddenly the U.S. media began to report on Turkey’s “ghastly record of torturing, killing, and ‘disappearing’ Turkish Kurds” that had previously been kept under the rug, although they continued to keep under the rug the fact of massive Clinton administration aid facilitating that “ghastly record.” .

The word genocide has been used often by establishment politicos, media and intellectuals to describe Saddam Hussein’s behavior in the 1980s, notably his resort to chemical warfare to kill Iraqi Kurds; but it is never used in the mainstream to describe the “sanctions of mass destruction” that are credibly estimated to have killed over a million Iraqis. The establishment institutions have avoided all but passing mention of the numbers dead, and they suppress even more completely the evidence that the killings were a consequence of deliberate actions, including the U.S. and British use of the sanctions system to block the import of medicines and equipment to repair water and sanitation systems that were destroyed with full recognition of the disease-threatening consequences.

“Genocide” was applied frequently to describe Serb actions in Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s, actions supposedly the basis of “humanitarian intervention” and a major tribunal operation to bring Serbs to book. The link here between Western target, invidious word usage, focus of attention of the “cruise missile left”and mainstream news and commentary, and dedicated, long-lasting and expensive tribunal pursuit of the chosen villains, is dramatic. The intellectual apologists for Western imperialism have pretended that the Yugoslavia Tribunal is not fully politicized, but is rather pursuing justice, as they skirt by the facts that nothing happened to Tudjman, Izetbegovic, or any other non-Serb high officials guilty of war crimes in the Balkans. (These would properly include Clinton, Blair and their top associates, guilty of aggression, and whose bombing tactics even Human Rights Watch, a notorious apologist for NATO policies in the Balkans, condemned as violations of “international humanitarian law”). The apologists claimed that the global reach of justice was approaching institutionalization in the 1990s—that human rights “has taken hold not just as a rhetorical but as an operating principle in all the major Western capitals” (David Rieff)–pointing beyond the Yugoslavia Tribunal to the Spanish effort to bring Pinochet to book, the Belgian case brought against Ariel Sharon, and the installation of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). They slighted the facts that nothing happened to Pinochet, that the case against Sharon was ended by a change in Belgian law (under U.S. pressure), that no tribunal was organized to deal with triple genocidist Suharto, and that the ICJ is repudiated by the United States despite groveling and compromising efforts to accommodate U.S. demands for assured exemption from ICJ jurisdiction.

So it remains a power-out-of-the-gun truth that only a U.S. target can commit “genocide” or even engage in “ethnic cleansing,” while the United States can commit blatant aggression with only slightly delayed UN accommodation, and it and its clients don’t aggress, ethnically cleanse, or commit genocide. (In ratifying the “Genocide Convention,” with a 40-year time lag, the U.S. Senate wrote in a U.S. exemption to its application; the U.S. insistence on an above-the-law status is long-standing.)

It is truly Orwellian to see the Yugoslavia Tribunal struggling to pin the “genocide” label on Milosevic, and to have done that already against Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic. In Milosevic’s case, the prosecutor, sensing that only 4-5,000 bodies—from all causes and on all sides–having been found in Kosovo after a bloody war, would not sustain a charge of genocide, decided to try to make him responsible for all Bosnian Serb killings in Bosnia, something the Tribunal had forgotten to do over the five previous years. This effort has been a notorious failure.

In the Krstic case, the genocide charge was based on the Srebrenica events of July 1995, where some substantial but uncertain number of Bosnian Muslims were killed, some in fighting and some executed. Here again the number of bodies in the discovered grave sites in the Srebrenica area is under 5,000, and certainly includes large numbers killed in the fighting during July. The Tribunal court claimed a Bosnian Serb plan and intent to kill all military age Srebrenica males, although no document or credible witness statement was found sustaining this charge, although thousands of Bosnian Muslim soldiers were allowed passage to safety, although many wounded Bosnian Muslims were allowed repatriation, and although the Bosnian Serbs made a number of actual deals and broader proposals for a prisoner exchange.

The alternative view, that there was no such plan, only a vengeance motive and an intent to locate and execute the Bosnian Muslim cadres responsible for the killing of several thousand Serbs in the Srebrenica vicinity over the prior three years, was quickly dismissed by the Tribunal court. Vengeance as a motive is only acceptable for Western-backed killers (and David Rieff and company have relied on this to explain away the massive ethnic cleansing in Kosovo under NATO auspices). It is also well-known and conceded by the court that all the Bosnian Muslim women and children in Srebrenica were helped to safety in Bosnian Muslim territory, strange behavior with a genocidal intent. The Tribunal reasoning is that in a patriarchal society, the removal of males is especially important for making community survival difficult. Of course, the idea of genocide in one small town is also a pathbreaking idea, perhaps to be followed by genocide in one household. But for such a noble enterprise as putting the Serbs in their place, and making “humanitarian intervention” palatable, creative thought is useful.

The contrast between the treatment of Yugoslavia and Israel-Palestine remains truly dramatic. For one thing, Israeli ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the “promised land” has been going on for half a century, and it is clear that the steady expropriations, demolitions, and killings of the Palestinians is for the benefit of Jewish settlements, not for “security.” So this is as pure an illustration of ethnic cleansing as can be found on the face of the earth; Israeli historian Benny Morris, in his recent acknowledgement of this “ethnic purification,” complained only that it hadn’t gone far enough. By contrast, the Serb attacks on Kosovo Albanians before and during the 1999 bombing war were never to provide room for Serb settlements, they were a feature of an ongoing civil war (stoked by outsiders), so that this wasn’t true ethnic cleansing at all. There was ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Croatia, but it was carried out by all parties, struggling to establish land control in an externally encouraged civil war. Nevertheless, the phrase ethnic cleansing was used lavishly to describe Serb actions in Kosovo, as well as Bosnia, but it is rarely applied to Israeli behavior.

In the Genocide Convention of 1948, the word genocide was defined loosely, as any act “committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such.” Genocidal acts included causing serious “mental harm” or inflicting “conditions of life” aimed at such destruction. Can anything be clearer than that the Sharon government is trying to destroy the Palestinians as a national group by creating intolerable “conditions of life”? Under “Operation Defensive Shield” Israel carried out a “systematic process of demolition of Palestinian public and private property, and mass expropriation of Palestinian land on behalf of settlers” (Appeal by 153 Israeli academics); “the Israeli army deliberately trashed the inside of every Palestinian institution that it did not entirely destroy—schools, charities, health organizations, banks, radio and TV stations, even a puppet theatre” (Gila Svirsky). As Rania Awwad has said, “Sharon’s solution is to depopulate as much as possible the Occupied Palestinian Territories by making life for its citizens unbearable. And what could be more unbearable than watching your children cry themselves to sleep from hunger, night after night?” The Israeli leadership is not trying to exterminate all Palestinians, but they are prepared to kill them freely, take away their land, and make life so harsh that they will die off or leave. That this is a genocidal process is sometimes suggested in the Israeli media, but not in the Free Press.

The cruise missile left also adheres closely to the party line on genocide, which is why its members thrive in the New York Times and other establishment vehicles. This is true of Paul Berman, Michael Ignatieff and David Rieff, but I will focus here on Samantha Power, whose large volume on genocide, “A Problem From Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide won a Pulitzer prize, and who is currently the expert of choice on the subject in the mainstream media (and even in The Nation and on the Bill Moyers show).

Power never departs from the selectivity dictated by the establishment party line. That requires, first and foremost, simply ignoring cases of direct U.S. or U.S.-sponsored (or otherwise approved) genocide. Thus the Vietnam war, in which millions were directly killed by U.S. forces, does not show up in Power’s index or text. Guatemala, where there was a mass killing of as many as 100,000 Mayan Indians between 1978 and 1985, in what Amnesty International called “A Government Program of Political Murder,” but by a government installed and supported by the United States, also does not show up in Power’s index. Cambodia is of course included, but only for the second phase of the genocide—the first phase, from 1969-1975, in which the United States dropped some 500,000 tons of bombs on the Cambodian countryside and killed vast numbers, she fails to mention. On the Khmer Rouge genocide, Power says they killed 2 million, a figure widely cited after Jean Lacouture gave that number; his subsequent admission that this number was invented had no effect on its use, and it suits Power’s purpose.

A major U.S.-encouraged and supported genocide occurred in Indonesia in 1965-66 in which over 700,000 people were murdered. This genocide is not mentioned by Samantha Power and the names Indonesia and Suharto do not appear in her index. She also fails to mention West Papua, where Indonesia’s 40 years of murderous occupation would constitute genocide under her criteria, if carried out under different auspices. Power does refer to East Timor, with extreme brevity, saying that “In 1975, when its ally, the oil-producing, anti-Communist Indonesia, invaded East Timor, killing between 100,000 and 200,000 civilians, the United States looked away” (146-7). That exhausts her treatment of the subject, although the killings in East Timor involved a larger fraction of the population than in Cambodia, and the numbers killed were probably larger than the grand total for Bosnia and Kosovo, to which she devotes a large fraction of her book. She also misrepresents the U.S. role—it did not “look away,” it gave its approval, protected the aggression from any effective UN response (in his autobiography, then U.S. Ambassador to the UN Daniel Patrick Moynihan bragged about his effectiveness in protecting Indonesia from any UN action), and greatly increased its arms aid to Indonesia, thereby facilitating the genocide.

Power engages in a similar suppression and failure to recognize the U.S. role in her treatment of genocide in Iraq. She attends carefully and at length to Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical warfare and killing of Kurds at Halabja and elsewhere, and she does discuss the U.S. failure to oppose and take any action against Saddam Hussein at this juncture. But she does not mention the diplomatic rapproachement with Saddam in the midst of his war with Iran in 1983, the active U.S. logistical support of Saddam during that war, and the U.S. approval of sales and transfers of chemical and biological weapons during the period in which he was using chemical weapons against the Kurds. She also doesn’t mention the active efforts by the United States and Britain to block UN actions that might have obstructed Saddam’s killings.

The killing of over a million Iraqis via the “sanctions of mass destruction,” more than were killed by all the weapons of mass destruction in history, according to John and Karl Mueller (“Sanctions of Mass Destruction,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 1999), was one of major genocides of the post-World War 2 era. It is unmentioned by Samantha Power. Again, the correlation between exclusion, U.S. responsibility, and the view that such killings were, in Madeleine Albright’s words, “worth it” from the standpoint of U.S. interests, is clear. There is a similar political basis for Power’s failure to include Israel’s low-intensity genocide of the Palestinians and South Africa’s “destructive engagement” with the frontline states in the 1980s, the latter with a death toll greatly exceeding all the deaths in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. Neither Israel nor South Africa, both “constructively engaged” by the United States, show up in Power’s index.

Samantha Power’s conclusion is that the U.S. policy toward genocide has been very imperfect and needs reorientation, less opportunism, and greater vigor. For Power, the United States is the solution, not the problem. These conclusions and policy recommendations rest heavily on her spectacular bias in case selection: She simply bypasses those that are ideologically inconvenient, where the United States has arguably committed genocide (Vietnam, Cambodia 1969-75, Iraq 1991-2003), or has given genocidal processes positive support (Indonesia, West Papua, East Timor, Guatemala, Israel, and South Africa). Incorporating them into an analysis would lead to sharply different conclusions and policy agendas, such as calling upon the United States to simply stop doing it, or urging stronger global opposition to U.S. aggression and support of genocide, and proposing a much needed revolutionary change within the United States to remove the roots of its imperialistic and genocidal thrust. But the actual huge bias, nicely leavened by admissions of imperfections and need for improvement in U.S. policy, readily explains why Samantha Power is loved by the New York Times and won a Pulitzer prize for her masterpiece of evasion and apologetics for “our” genocides and call for a more aggressive pursuit of “theirs.”

Some Background

The story of the Korean War is a story not often told. Yet sixty years after the agreement to end the military hostilities on July 27, 1953, there is not yet a peace treaty to end the war.

This article on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Armistice Agreement is intended as a contribution to the body of research and study needed to find the underlying cause of the bottleneck impeding the negotiation of a peace treaty so a breakthrough can be made.

Korea, which had been one nation for over 1000 years, had been forcibly divided at the end of WWII. By the UN legitimating an election in the South of Korea in May 1948 which was boycotted by many Koreans and from which all North Koreans and many South Koreans were excluded, a formal structural division was created which continues until today. (1) The significant aspect of the UN supported election was that it led to an official government structure for only the southern part of Korea, thus solidifying the division of Korea. The government structure created in the South by the election was a repressive government structure. One view of the military conflict that became known as the Korean War was that it was a civil war that was trying to restore Korea as one country.

The US Government response to the fighting which broke out in June 1950 in Korea was to perpetuate support for the repressive government that the US and UN had put in place as the Republic of Korea (more commonly known as South Korea). This is the context in which the United Nations Security Council resolutions of June and July 1950 authorizing UN participation in the Korean War took place.

The question that led me to begin this study was:

What Was the Role of the UN in the Korean War and What Should be the Role of the UN in Bringing an End to the War?

It is important to take into account that before any action was taken on the part of the UN on June 27, 1950 authorizing intervention in the Korean War, the US had decided and began to send military support to the South Korean side of the conflict. The independent journalist, I.F. Stone in his book, “The Hidden History of the Korean War,” describes this US action as forcing the UN Security Council to support the US Government action in Korea.(2)

Stone writes:

“When Truman ‘ordered the United States air and sea forces to give the Korean Government troops cover and support’ he was in effect imposing military sanctions before they had been authorized by the Security Council. The Council had to vote sanctions or put itself in the position of opposing the action taken by the United States. For governments dependent on American bounty and themselves fearful of Soviet expansion, that was too much to expect, though again Yugoslavia had the courage to vote ‘No,’ an act of principle for which it got no credit from the Soviet bloc while antagonizing the United States to which it owed its Council seat.”

By acting before the Security Council could act, the US was in violation of Article 2(7) of the UN Charter which requires a Security Council action under Chapter VII before there is any armed intervention into the internal affairs of another nation unless the arms are used in self-defense. (See Article 51 of the UN Charter. The US armed intervention in Korea was clearly not an act of self defense for the US.) Also the actions of the UN have come to be referred to as the actions of the “United Nations Command”(UNC), but this designation is not to be found in the June and July 1950 Security Council resolutions authorizing participation in the Korean War. (3) What is the significance of the US using the UN in these ways?

The current US military command in South Korea claims to wear three hats: Command of US troops in South Korea, Combined Forces Command (US and South Korean troops), and “United Nations Command” with responsibilities with respect to the Armistice. The United Nations, however, has no role in the oversight or decision making processes of the “United Nations Command”. The US Government is in control of the “United Nations Command”. The use by the US of the designation “United Nations Command”, however, creates and perpetuates the misconception that the UN is in control of the actions and decisions taken by the US under the “United Nations Command”.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (more commonly referred to as North Korea) has called for disbanding the “United Nations Command”(UN Command). At a press conference held at the United Nations on June 21, 2013, the North Korean Ambassador to the UN, Ambassador Sin Son Ho argued that the actions of the US Government using the designation “United Nations Command” are not under any form of control by the United Nations. (4) Since the UN has no role in the decision making process of what the US does under the title of the “United Nations Command”, North Korea contends the US should cease its claim that it is acting as the “United Nations Command”.

II-UN Authorized “Unified Command”

Looking at the Security Council resolutions related to Korea that were passed in June and July 1950, it is clear that the content of these resolutions supports North Korea’s argument. During this period the UN Security Council passed four resolutions. They are

SC 82 (V)-S/1501 on June 25 1950

SC 83 (V)-S/1511 on June 27 1950

SC 84 (V)-S/1588 on July 7, 1950

SC 85 (V)-S/1657 July 31, 1950

None of these resolutions refers to a “United Nations Command” or gives the United States permission to call itself the United Nations Command.

The last two of these resolutions refer to a “Unified Command”. SC Resolution 84 of July 7, 1950 is the first Security Council resolution to refer to the creation of a “Unified Command.” The language of the resolution says that the Security Council, “Recommends that all members providing forces and other assistance pursuant to the aforesaid Security Council resolution make such forces and other assistance available to a Unified Command under the United States of America.”

The resolution states that the Security Council requests the United States to designate the commander of such forces, and it authorizes the “Unified Command” at its discretion to use the United Nations flag “concurrently with the flags of the various nations participating.”

SC Resolution 84 also made the request that “the United States…provide the Security Council with reports as appropriate on the course of action taken under the Unified Command.”

In subsequent action by the Security Council during this period, the members of the Security Council, were careful to refer to the US command of the Korean War forces related to the United Nations as the “Unified Command.”

Therefore, when reviewing the action by the US to designate itself as the “United Nations Command,” the question is raised as to how, why and by whom the designation ”United Nations Command” was substituted for the Security Council designation of a “Unified Command”.

SC Resolution 84 was passed on July 7 using the designation “Unified Command”. The following day, on July 8, the US President Harry Truman appointed General Douglas MacArthur to head this Command. A Memo referring to this appointment, states that with this appointment, General MacArthur was designated as the Commander of the “Unified Command”.(5)

In the period immediately following the passing of UN Security Council Resolution 84, US Ambassador Warren Austin refers to the US government command as the “Unified Command”.

For example, “A Letter to the UN Secretary General from Warren Austin, US Ambassador to the UN”, on July 12, says:

“(…)I have the honor to inform you that the President of the United States, in response to the Security Council resolution of 7 July 1950, has on 8 July designated General Douglas MacArthur as the Commanding General of the military forces which the Members of the United Nations place under the Unified Command of the United States pursuant to the United Nations effort to assist the Republic of Korea.”

Similarly the “Unified Command” was the designation used in a letter dated 24 July 1950 transmitting the first Report from General MacArthur to the Security Council. The Report is titled, “First Report to the Security Council by the United States Government on the course of action taken under the Unified Command (USG)”.

III-US Substitutes “United Nations Command” as Camouflage

It appears that it was in a US Government communique dated July 25 that the designation “UN Command” was first officially used in a US Government communication to the UN. This document was titled, “Communique Number 135 of the Far East Command S/1629 25 July 1950”. It states:

“The United Nations Command with Headquarters in Tokyo was officially established today with General Douglas MacArthur as Commander-in-Chief. The announcement was made in General Order No. 1, General Headquarters, United Nations Command. The order reads:”

“1. In response to the resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations of July 7, 1950, the President of the United States has designated the undersigned Commander-in-Chief of the Military Forces this date the United Nations Command. Pursuant thereto, there is established this date the United Nations Command, with General Headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.”

According to this communiqué dated July 25, 1950, it is the President of the United States not the United Nations that was responsible for creating the designation “United Nations Command”, as a replacement for the UN authorized “Unified Command.” The communiqué alleges that this was done to fulfill the obligations of SC Resolution 84 of July 7. It is evident, however, from reading the resolution of July 7 that there is no reference in that resolution to a “United Nations Command”.

Why did the US government substitute the designation “United Nations Command” for the Security Council designation “Unified Command” after initially referring to the designation of “Unified Command”, language which was actually provided for in the Security Council resolution of July 7?

There are accounts that are helpful in understanding what was going on behind the scenes at the time that can give clues to solve this puzzle. One such account is provided by an article by James W Houck titled, “The Command and Control of United Nation Forces In the Era of Peace Enforcement.”(6) At the time he wrote this article in the early 1990s, Houck was Force Judge Advocate for the Commander of the US Naval Forces Central Command in Bahrain.

Houck writes that UN Secretary General Trygve Lie and some of the countries on the Security Council, namely the UK, France and Norway were in favor of creating a structure to provide for a United Nations role in the Korean operations.

Houck describes how, “During the negotiations preceding authorization of the unified command, Secretary General Trygve Lie had proposed a ‘committee as coordination of assistance for Korea’ consisting of troop contributing states and the Republic of Korea.” (7)

While the explicit purpose of the committee, Secretary General Lie explained, was, “to stimulate and coordinate offers of assistance, its deeper purpose was to keep the United Nations ‘in the picture’,” as Lie himself writes in his recollections of his seven year term as UN Secretary General. He explains that his purpose was, “to promote continuing United Nations participation in and supervision of the military security action in Korea of a more intimate and undistracted character than the Security Council could be expected to provide.”(8)

The US, however, was opposed to the idea of such a supervisory committee and had the power to turn it down. This effectively left the US in control of the decisions regarding what was to be done in the UN authorized operations of the Korean War.

“From the start of the Korean conflict,” Houck explains, “the United States exercised both political control and strategic direction over the operation.”(9) Though the Security Council authorized the US intervention in the Korean War, the Security Council failed to fulfill its obligation under the UN Charter to act as the political authority for military actions taken under the authority of the UN Security Council.(10) Implicit in Chapter 7 of the UN Charter is that it is the Security Council that can exercise force not that it can cede its authority to others.

Instead of the United Nations fulfilling its charter obligations, however, as Houck documents, “The United Nations, did not interfere at all in the purely military aspects of the operation and even in political matters it confined itself to making recommendations.”.

Corroborating Houck’s account, a military historian, James Schnabel in his account of the first year of the Korean War, describes why the US government was opposed to the Committee favored by Trygve Lie and several Security Council members. Schnabel explains that the response of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was to oppose such a project. They were hostile to the potential of such a committee to try to control military operations.

“The Joint Chiefs of Staff,” Schnabel writes, “wanted a command arrangement in which the United States, as executive agent for the United Nations, would direct the Korean operation, with no positive contact between the field commander and the United Nations.”(11)

Though the US Government had turned down the political oversight committee proposed by the Secretary General, there was, according to Schnabel, a recognition that the unilateral political and military control the US Government exercised over the “Unified Command” was problematic. The Chiefs of Staff directed MacArthur “to avoid any appearance of unilateral American action in Korea.”

As Schnabel writes,”For worldwide political reasons,” the Joint Chiefs of Staff, directed that, “it is important to emphasize repeatedly the fact our operations are in support of the United Nations Security Council.”

According to Schnabel, “this led General MacArthur to identify himself whenever practicable as Commander-in-Chief, United Nations Command (CINCUNC), and whenever justified, would emphasize in his communiqués the activities of forces of other member nations.”

Noting that the State Department proposed to the Secretary of Defense that reports be sent to the Security Council each week, Schnabel writes, “These would keep world attention on the fact that the United States was fighting in Korea for the United Nations, not itself.”But these reports were not required and were not a mechanism for UN supervision over the US activities or decision making processes.

Decisions on the operations of MacArthur’s command were made by the US Government, writes Schnabel. The United Nations at no time in the Korean War sought to interfere in the control of operations which were the responsibility of the United States. As MacArthur later testified to a Senate investigating committee, “ …my connections with the United Nations was largely nominal…everything I did came from our own Chiefs of Staff….The controls over me were exactly the same as though the forces under me were all Americans. All of my communications were to the American high command here.” (12)

IV-“United Nations Command” as Achilles Heel

UN Secretary General Trygve Lie, however, points out that the insistence on unilateral control of the conduct of the War waged in Korea by the US had its Achilles heel. Lie wrote, “As the Korean War developed, Washington complained, and had reason to complain, that the United States was carrying too much of a burden; but its unwillingness, in those early days, when the pattern of the police action was being set, to accord the United Nations a larger measure of direction and thereby participation no doubt contributed to the tendency of the Members to let Washington assume most of the responsibility for the fighting.”(13)

So an interesting anomaly emerges. The UN resolution authorizing military action in Korea spoke about a “Unified Command” and the original resolution the UN Secretary General proposed included a mechanism for the UN to supervise the military action. This control was rejected by the US government, and it appears, the UN never pressed to exert its supervision over the conduct of the Korean War. This control was thus ceded to the US government.

While the US government had total control over the Korean campaign it was waging, it appears that it also needed a means to camouflage the unilateral nature of this operation. The designation “United Nations Command”, which the US government assigned to its operation, replaced the designation of the “Unified Command” described in Security Council Resolution 84. This change of name provided the camouflage to hide the unilateral nature of the US command and control and of its conduct of the war against North Korea.

The US Government needed the appearance that its unilateral actions were on behalf of and under the United Nations. This was provided by changing the designation of the Command from the “Unified Command” to the “United Nations Command”. The change of name helped to create the needed misleading appearance. Similarly, the reports that the US Government voluntarily submitted to the UN Security Council were titled, “Reports of the United Nations Command”. This made it appear that the US was conducting the war on behalf of the UN and under its supervision.

This misleading designation continues to exist today over 60 years after it was created, thereby continuing to give the world the false impression that the campaign waged by the US in Korea was and continues to be a United Nations operation and that even today the UN has a presence on the Korean Peninsula

While the UN did not participate in the decision making process of the military campaign carried out in its name, it played a role then and continues to play a role by allowing the US Government to appropriate the United Nations name as a camouflage cover for the actions of the US Government What is the UN responsibility in such a matter for what was done, and for what continues to be done in its name? That is the essence of the question raised by North Korea’s call that the “United Nations Command” be dissolved.


The research represented in this paper presents a curious, but significant irony. The UN authorized Member States to intervene in the Korean War, to form the “Unified Command”, to use the UN flag along with the flags of the member states participating in the “Unified Command”, and it authorized the US to appoint a Commander in Chief for the “Unified Command”.

According to the obligation required under the UN Charter, and to the original efforts of Trygve Lie, with support from three Security Council members, namely, the UK, France, and Norway, there was an effort to set up a political entity that would oversee the Korean War operation for the Security Council.

The US, however, rejected the proposal and succeeded in controlling the political and the strategic direction for the Korean War. After rejecting the UN proposal for UN supervision over US actions and decisions, the US put itself forward as the “United Nations Command”. thus assuming the cloak of the United Nations, by referring to itself as the United Nations. This mechanism served as a means to misrepresent the US Government’s unilateral actions and decision making processes in the Korean War.

Recently several UN Secretary Generals, including Secretary General Boutros Boutros Gali, Secretary General Kofi Annan, and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon have acknowledged that the US was in charge of the Command structure of the Korean War activity taken under the authority of the “Unified Command”, and that the United Nations had no role in overseeing the actions undertaken in the name of the UN. The statement is made that the UN “never had any role in the command of any armed forces deployed in the Korean peninsula”.

The difficulty raised by such a claim, however, is that it evades the salient fact that the Security Council authorized the US to assume this role in violation of the obligations implicit in the UN Charter that the UN exercise supervision over the political, and strategic decision making processes of an action approved under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

Therefore, there is some truth to the statements of Boutros Boutros Ghali, Kofi Annan, and Ban Ki-moon that the UN had no role in the command of the military activity carried out under its name in Korea. Specifically as the Spokesperson for Ban Ki-moon stated recently,“The UN did not at any time have any role in the command of the forces that operated in Korea in 1950-1953.”(14)

But what this leaves out is that the UN authorized the US to designate the Commander of the “Unified Command”. Then, however, under pressure from the US, the UN failed to exercise its obligation to supervise the actions of the “Unified Command”.

Subsequently, the UN continues to evade fulfilling its obligations by continuing to allow the US to claim that it is the “United Nations Command” in Korea and in failing to provide its political supervision over what the US has done and continues to do in Korea in the name of the UN.

The DPRK proposal is that the US cease to call itself the “United Nations Command”. It is important to include a recognition of how the US Government activity represents a continuing violation of the UN Charter.

Recently, in response to a question, the Spokesperson for Ban Ki moon said that the issues of the Korean Armistice are issues that do not concern the United Nations as the United Nations is not a party to the Armistice.(15) Why then has the United Nations allowed the US to continue to use the designation, “United Nations Command” to misrepresent itself as acting under the control of the UN in the Armistice?

Unless the UN takes responsibility for allowing the US to claim the authority of the United Nations in its continuing actions as part of the Armistice, the UN is continuing to allow actions in violation of the UN Charter. If there is a “United Nations Command” that is part of the Korean Armistice Agreement, such a command must be under the political and strategic direction of the UN Security Council. Otherwise the authority of the UN Charter is being treated as a charade to justify US Government unilateral activity under the camouflage of the UN name. It is as if the UN is but a set of words to hide the illegal acts of one of the Great Powers.

VI- Epilogue

There is another significant aspect of the conduct of the US government with respect to its initiating and intervening into the Korean War. This has to do with the role played by the US Government in bypassing not only the requirements of the UN Charter, but also the requirement of the US Constitution.

The UN Charter specifies that all military action taken to intervene in another country requires a resolution of the Security Council under Chapter 7. Yet the US government made the decision and began to act on that decision to intervene in the Korean conflict before there was any such action by the UN Security Council. This represented a violation by the US Government of the UN Charter. (16)

Similarly, the US Executive Branch violated the provision of the US Constitution requiring that no decision to go to war can be made without a Congressional Declaration of War. There was no such declaration with respect to the US Government waging war on the Korean peninsula.

There is a provision in the UN Charter, Article 43(3) which states that member states participating in military actions under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter are obliged to have such actions “subject to the signatory states in accordance with their respective constitutional processes,”

In his article “The Korean War: On what Legal Basis Did Truman Act?” Louis Fisher who is a specialist in Constitutional Law, points to the constitutional violation represented by Truman’s sending US troops to the Korean War.

Truman used as an illegitimate excuse that the act had been authorized by the UN Security Council. Fisher’s article describes the extensive debate in the US Congress before joining the UN to consider if it was appropriate for the US government to claim that a Security Council resolution justified bypassing US Constitutional obligations.

In his appearance before the House Committee on Foreign Relations then Under Secretary of State Dean Acheson explained that “only after the President receives the approval of Congress is he ‘bound to furnish that contingent of troops to the Security Council’.” (17)

Not only did Truman commit troops and aid to South Korea before the Security Council called it a military action, but more importantly, no action of the Security Council authorizes the US government to violate the US Constitution. For the US government to wage war, the US Constitution requires that the US Congress make the decision that authorizes that war.

Though other artifices were employed to evade US Constitutional obligation, such as calling the Korean War a “police action”, US Courts rejected such subterfuges. (18)

Responding to these subterfuges, Vito Marcantonio, the American Congressman from NY for the American Labor Party said, “When we agreed to the United Nations Charter we never agreed to supplant our Constitution with the United Nations Charter. The power to declare and make war is vested in the representations of the people, in the Congress of the United States. (19)

Commenting on this same situation, Justice Felix Frankfurter argued, “Illegality cannot attain legitimacy through practice. Presidential acts of war, including Truman’s initiative in Korea can never be accepted as constitutional or as a legal substitute for Congressional approval.” (20)


(1)See for example: Jay Hauben, “Is the UN Role in Korea 1947-1953 the Model Being Repeated Today”

(2) IF Stone, “The Hidden History of the Korean War,” New York, 1952, p. 75.

By August 1 1950 the Soviet Union had returned to the Security Council ending its 6 month boycott and so there were no further UN resolutions authorized by the Security Council supporting UN participation in the Korean War.

(3)See for example: Ronda Hauben, “US Misrepresents its Role in Korean War and in Armistice Agreement as UN Command”, taz blogs, June 26, 2013

(4) Press conference June 21 2013, Ambassador Sin Son Ho at the UN

A text version of the statement presented is online at:

(5) James F. Schnabel, “Policy and Direction: The First Year” p. 102, f/n 6.

See Memo, JCS for Secy. Defense, 9 Jul. 50, sub: Designation of a United Nations Unified Comdr. By the United States.

(6) James W. Houck, “The Command and Control of United Nations Forces in the Era of ‘Peace Enforcement’,” Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law, vol 4, No 1, 1993.

(7) see Houck, p. 13 f/n 51.

(8) Trygve Lie, “In the Cause of Peace”, New York, p. 334

(9)Houck, p. 12.

“None of the resolutions (referring to the June and July SC resolutions-ed),” writes Houck, provided for Security Council control over the ensuing operation despite the fact that it would be conducted under Security Council authorization.”

(10)See Articles 42, 44, 46 and 48 of the UN Charter. These articles authorize the Security Council to use force. There is no article in Chapter 7 of the UN Charter which authorizes the Security Council to cede political decision making to a member state to carry out a Chapter 7 action.

(11) Schnabel, p. 103, Rad, WAR 85743, DA to CINCFE, 12 Jul 50

(12)Schnabel, p. 104, f/n 10. See MacArthur Hearings, p. 10.

(13)Lie, p.334.

(14) Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, June 21, 2013.

(15) Email Received from Eduardo del Buey on June 25, 2013.

(16) See I F Stone, “The Hidden History of the Korean War,” New York, 1952, p. 75.

(17) Louis Fisher, The Korean War: On What Legal Basis Did Truman Act?,
American Journal of International Law, Jan 1995.(89 Am J. Int’l L. 21), p. 30.

(18) Fisher, p. 34.

(19) Fisher, p. 35.

(20) Fisher, p. 38

Welcome to the new Libya, a country ‘liberated’ by NATO which now finds itself without the oil revenues which could make it rich, with no security, no stability and assassinations and corruption at unprecendented levels.

Last Friday, the Economist magazine published a report about the implosion of Libya. My attention was caught by the pictures that illustrated the piece – particularly one of some graffitti on the wall of a sea front cafe in the capital Tripoli. ‘The only way to Heaven is the way to the airport’ it read.

The joke is indicative of the troubled state of Libya nowadays following ‘liberation’ by NATO warplanes in the sky and the revolution on the ground which toppled the dictatorial regime of Muammar al-Ghadaffi.

Recently I have met many peope who are visiting London from Libya and they tell stories of life there which are hard to believe.

The capital Tripoli had no water or electricity for a whole week.

The armed militia dominate and rule the streets in the absence of a workable government, a national security establishment and basic municipal services.

Onoud Zanoussi, the 18 year-old daughter of Abdullah Zanoussi, the former chief of Ghadaffi’s security establishment, was kidnapped on her release from prison following seven months behind bars accused of entering her country illegally. She was abducted in front of the prison gates and the abductor was one of the guards!

Two years ago, the British and French business community sharpened their teeth and rubbed their hands with glee in anticipation of their share of Libyan reconstruction. Now there isn’t a single foreign businessman in Tripoli, all of them ran for their lives after the assasssination of the American Ambassador and attacks on several foreign Embassies and Consulates.

During the NATO bombardment, news from Libya dominated the front pages and was the first news item on every Western and Arabic television station. There was 24-hour coverage about the Libyan Liberation miracle and the great victory achieved by NATO and the revolutionaries. Nowadays it is very rare to find a Western reporter there and even more rare to read a decent report about Libya and what is really going on there.

Oil was the main objective and the real reason for the NATO intervention; but oil producation has all but ceased due to a strike by security guards on the oil fields and export terminal. The ostensible reason for this strike is the demand for a pay rise but there is another, equally powerful, motive – they are protesting the demands of various separatist movements who are calling for self-rule for oil-rich Barca (Cyrenaica) with its capital in Benghazi. Most of Libya’s oil reserves are situated here.

Rather than the local or national government, a militia is in control of most of the oil fields and the export terminal; it has started to sell huge amounts of oil on the black market and is trying to expand these activities leading Ali Zidan, the Prime Minister, to threaten to bomb any unauthorized oil tanker going anywhere near these sites.

The irony is that the same thing is happening now in Eastern Syria where the militia and local tribes are in control of the oil fields in Deir Al-Zour, refining the oil themselves by hand and selling it on illegally. The same thing is still happening in the south of Iraq.

Iraq and Libya, of course, have ‘benefitted’ from Western intervention and Britain and France have been proud to repeat what the mother of the West (the US) used to say about Iraq; first in Libya and now – of negotiations fail – in Syria. That is: intervention will bestow great sophistication on the affected country which will immediately become a model of prosperity and stability and lead the way for other Arab countries, which are ruled by dictators, to invite and welcome military intervention. In fact, this model has produced the worst kind of anarchy, failed security, political collapse and disintegration of the state.

Chaos rules in Libya. The assassination of politicians and journalists has become normal news in today’s Libya to the extent that Colonel Yussef Ali al-Asseifar – who was charged with investigating a rash of assassinations and arresting the people behind it – was himself assasinated on the 29 August when men from an unidentified group put a bomb under his car.

On the anniversary of 9/11 last week, a huge bomb ripped through the Foreign Ministry building in Benghazi.

Human Rights Watch has highlighted another atrocity in Tripoli on August 26, 2013, at the Main Corrections and Rehabilitation Institution, known by its former name al-Roueimy, where around 500 detainees, including five women, were being held. The prisoners were on hunger strike to protest the fact that were detained without charge and in the absence of a fair trial. Unable to produce its own security detail, the government called in the Supreme Security Committee – composed of former anti-Gadaffi militiamen – to put down the uprising. Militia forces stormed the prison and shot the prisoners with live ammunition, wounding 19 people.

The Prime Minister of Libya – Awadh al-Barassi resigned on 4 August and was replaced by Ali Zeidan. Then, on 18 August, the interior minister, Mohammed al-Sheikh, resigned after only three months in post. He cited lack of support from Ali Zeidan and the government’s failure to deal with widespread unrest and violence, to gain the people’s trust, or to adequately fund state agencies to provide the most basic services.


Libya is simply disintegrating along tribal and geographical fault lines. Most of its people are in state of fury, including the Berbers in the south, and national reconciliation is a distant prospect.

Popular frustration is at its peak; yet when demonstrators took to the streets outside the barracks of the powerful ‘Libyan Shield Brigade’ to protest the unwarranted power of the militia, 31 people of their number were shot dead. The militia act completely outside the law.

Suleiman Kjam, a member of the parliamentarian committee for Energy, told a  Bloomsberg reporter that the government is now spending its financial reserves after the production of oil dropped from 1.4 million barrels per day earlier this year to less than 160,000 bpd. He warned that if this situation continues, in the next few months, the government will not be able to pay the salaries of its employees.

The Gadaffi regime – and we say this for the millionth time – was an opressive dictatorship but Libya nowadays, with corruption at it peak and security non-existent, is difficult to understand or accept. Especially when we remember that Libya was liberated by the most sophisticated and advanced countries on the planet, according to Western criteria.

Mr Mohammad Abdel Azziz, the Libyan foreign minister, surprised many in the West and Arab world alike on 4 September when he objected to imminent US air strikes on Syria at a special meeting of the Arab League he was chairing to discuss possible intervention.

Maybe Mr Abdel Azziz, like many of his Libyan people, has formed his opinions as a result of the experiences of his own countrymen after Western military intervention

We hope that the people of other Arab countries, and particularly Syria, will learn from the Libyan example.

It is true that some suggest that this is a temporary state of affairs for Libya and that following this transitionary period, stability will reign. They advise us to be patient.

We hope their prophecy will prove to be correct but remain extremely skeptical with Iraq and Afghanistan also before our eyes.

Syria: Why War is Still on the Table

September 21st, 2013 by Michael Welch

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“What kind of world will we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas, and we choose to look the other way?”  -US President Barack Obama, September 10, 2013



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When US President Barack Obama addressed the nation on September 10, he emphasized the August 21 gassing of a civilian district in Damascus as a justification for the use of force in Syria. He indicated a military strike was needed “to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.”

The planned military strike for which President Obama was seeking Congressional approval has been forestalled in the wake of a US-Russia agreement. The deal would see a UN Security Council resolution put forward that would require the Syrian government to give up its chemical weapons arsenal and have them destroyed under international control.

It seems unlikely that the August 21 chemical gas attack is the principal motivator behind the US President’s aggressive military posturing. As Michel Chossudovsky has documented on the Global Research website, five US Naval Destroyers, including one used during the US-NATO war with Libya had been ordered deployed off the Syrian coastline well in advance of the August 21 incident. Each of these vessels have the capacity of carrying up to 90 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Moreover, the US has been inconsistent in respecting international norms with regard to the use of chemical weapons.

For example, the United States used napalm and Agent Orange quite extensively during the Vietnam War.

Furthermore, the US did not seem to feel obliged to launch strikes against Israel for that country’s reported use of White Phosphorous against Palestinian civilians during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead offensive.

The US itself used the deadly chemical during the siege against Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah nine years ago.

According to foreign policy analyst Yves Engler, even Canada has a long and sordid history in developing and testing chemical weapons agents for use in Vietnam and Korea.

If the chemical weapons attack is not the true motivation for a military confrontation with Syria, then how likely is it that the recent Russia-US agreement will end the threat of a confrontation with Syria?

On this week’s Global Research News Hour, guests Rick Rozoff, Ellen Hodgson Brown, and Yves Engler brilliantly cut through government jargon and examine some of the geo-strategic objectives in play.

In Part 1, Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO International attempts to decipher the Obama Administration’s game plan and concludes that an attack on Syria, has been at best postponed until the US devises another pre-text for aggression.

In Part 2, Ellen Brown, civil litigation attorney and author of The Public Bank Solution: From Austerity to Prosperity, examines a seldom discussed war pre-text, namely the move to undermine Syria’s state controlled banking system and open it up to plunder and de-regulation by the world’s major funancial powers.

In Part 3, Yves Engler, author of numerous books on Canadian foreign policy, exposes the hypocrisy of the Canadian government’s hawkish rhetoric on Syria by exposing the history of Canada’s own involvement with the testing, development and profiteering from the use of chemical weapons.



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The Global Research News Hour, hosted by Michael Welch, airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Thursdays at 10am CDT. The programme is now broadcast weekly (Monday, 5-6pm ET) by the Progressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.

Important Listener Advisory

Starting October 4, CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg will begin airing the Global Research News Hour Fridays at 1pm Central Time.

The US plan to test nuclear missiles next week has drawn fire from international peace activists who have been calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons for years.

“Instead of honouring the significance of these dates and working in good faith to achieve nuclear disarmament, the United States has chosen to schedule two tests of its Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile on September 22 and September 26,” said Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

September 21 is the International Day of Peace that would be observed throughout the world before the UN high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament takes place at the world body’s headquarters in New York on September 26.

“Just hours after the International Day of Peace ends, the US plans to launch a Minuteman III – the missile that delivers US land-based nuclear weapons – from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands,” Wayman said.

In a statement sent to Daily Times, he added, “Then, on the same day that most countries will send their head of state or foreign minister to New York for the UN’s first-ever High-Level Meeting on nuclear disarmament, the US plans to send another Minuteman III missile from California to the Marshall Islands. These missiles are designed to carry nuclear warheads capable of killing thousands of times more people than the chemical weapons used in Syria,” he added.

The US Vandenberg Air Force Base has not yet publicly announced either of these launches, but sources say there are two Minuteman III launches scheduled for some time this month.

According to them, the launches are due to take place on September 22 and 26.

“We are disappointed that a test launch is scheduled for the same day as the High-Level Meeting on nuclear disarmament at the UN in New York,” Wayman told Daily Times.

Asked to comment on this issue, the UN spokesperson, Farhan Haq, cited the UN secretary general’s recent statement in which he said, “We should all remember the terrible toll of nuclear tests.”

In his statement, Ban Ki-moon mentioned that as many as 456 nuclear tests were carried at Semipalatinsk since the first explosion there more than 64 years ago. Nearly one and a half million people were affected by the consequences of nuclear testing, and an immense territory has been contaminated with radiation, he noted

With the adoption of the Partial Test Ban Treaty in 1963, he said, the international community completed its first step towards putting an end to all nuclear weapon test explosions.

In his view, this objective is “a serious matter of unfinished business on the disarmament agenda”. Until now, 183 countries have signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and 159 have ratified it.

Ban is urging all states to sign and ratify the CTBT without further delay. Eight states whose ratifications are necessary for the treaty to enter into force have a special responsibility: China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States.

“None should wait for others to act first. In the meantime, all States should maintain or implement moratoria on nuclear explosions,” Ban said.

Writing on this issue, Jonathan Granoff, the president of the Global Security Institute and an adjunct professor of international law at Widener University School of Law, notes that “many countries know this and that is why” the 67th session of the General Assembly moved to convene the high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament for the 68th session next week.

China and India have both expressed support for negotiating a universal ban on the weapons and Pakistan has stated it would follow. France, the US and UK, and Russia openly oppose progress now on even taking preliminary steps to negotiate a legal ban.

“It is hard to make the case that the US military should ever be constrained without demonstrating the benefits of obtaining a universal ban on the weapons. Incoherence in advocacy leads to policies going in multiple directions,” he says.

These issues related to nuclear disarmament, according to him “will not be resolved soon since behind them all is a cadre within the US military which wants to always have a dominant position for security purposes”.

“Progress is unlikely while Russia feels threatened,” he says.

John Burroughs, executive director of the Lawyers Committee on Nuclear Policy, offered similar thoughts.

“In March, US Defence Secretary Charles Hagel delayed a missile test launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base because it might be seen as provocative by North Korea. Hagel should also delay or, better, cancel the tests planned for late September,” he told Daily Times via email.

“A test on September 26 will definitely be a slap in the fact to the foreign ministers and heads of state assembled for the first-ever High-Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament at the United Nations,” he said.

“Instead of sending a test missile to the Marshall Islands, where health and environment were badly damaged by ferocious atmospheric US nuclear testing in the 1950s, the United States should send President Obama or Secretary of State Kerry to the High-Level Meeting to explain how the United States intends to begin participating in multilateral efforts for global elimination of nuclear weapons,” he added.

US anti-war delegation returns from Syria

September 21st, 2013 by Press TV

On September 20, a group of U.S. Anti-War activists returned from a trip to Syria. The delegation that visited Syria included Sara Flounders of the International Action Center, former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clarke, John Parker of Workers World Party, John Achi of “Arab Americans 4 Syria,” and Dedon Kamathi of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party. Sara Flounders said the trip was planned in response to the U.S. threat of war.

Many on the delegation said that they feel that Syria is being targeted, not because of chemical weapons, but because is it an independent Arab State. Sara Flounders said she was able to meet with victims of the foreign backed insurgents who are committing atrocities throughout the country.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clarke said that being in Syria reinforced his opposition to U.S. militarism.

The delegation was also able to meet Syria’s President, Bashar Assad.

Though a deal has been reached, and the government has agreed to turn over its chemical weapons, the threat of a strike is still looming. The group that traveled to Syria made clear that they intend to do all they can to prevent any U.S. attack.

Legalized Repression and the Therapeutic State

September 21st, 2013 by Greg Guma

When Kristina Berster arrived in Heidelberg to study in 1970, German young people were restless and angry. The rhetoric had turned revolutionary since the days of “Ban the Bomb.” This paralleled the trajectory of American dissent. The US “New Left” had also passed a tipping point, marked by the Chicago police riots and the “days of rage” that launched the Weather Underground.

In West Germany, protest turned violent with demonstrations in Berlin and the bombing of two empty department stores by Andreas Baader and Gudrin Ensslin. The purpose of the bombing, announced Baader, was “to light a beacon” against the consumer society. “We set fires in department stores so you will stop buying,” added Ensslin. “The compulsion to buy terrorizes you.” An incomplete analysis, it nevertheless struck at the core of German complacency in a time of intensive economic development.

The couple and some accomplices were caught and convicted, but not before they found support from one of Germany’s leading leftist journalists, Ulrike Meinhof. Released in 1969 during the appeal of their cases, Baader and Ensslin went underground with Meinhof’s assistance. On September 29, 1970, with the robbing of three West Berlin banks, the Red Army Faction was born. 

To justify the tactic, Baader explained that the first problem of the revolution was financial support.

Dark clouds began to descend. West German police turned to automatic weapons and extreme tactics, anyone who looked like a nonconformist risked spontaneous interrogation, roadblocks became common on the autobahn, and new search, arrest, and gun laws were passed. The excuse for such a broad extension of police powers was the nationwide search for the Baader-Meinhof group. It didn’t matter that the fugitives were responsible for only five of the 1,000 robberies committed during their heyday.

Witnessing the isolation of prisoners and the alienation around her, Berster couldn’t accept it. She was already steeped in politics and radical concepts of therapy. One US thinker who exerted a strong influence, Thomas Szasz, had written about the “myth of mental illness” and the emergence of a therapeutic state. He also inspired William Pierce, the Vermont mathematician who shared his story of harassment and involuntary commitment after blowing the whistle about security procedures and high-tech repression.

In Law, Liberty and Psychiatry Szasz proposed, “The parallel between political and moral fascism is close. Each offers a kind of protection. And upon those unwilling to heed peaceful persuasion, the values of the state will be imposed by force: in political fascism by the military and the police; in moral fascism by therapists, especially psychiatrists.”

 Berster was fascinated by the critique of institutional psychiatry, and simultaneously repelled by German psychiatric units where patients had no rights and anything could be interpreted as crazy. A new criminal psychiatric unit was under construction in Heidelburg, geared toward mind control and the use of complete isolation. During the dispute over it, someone tried to set fire to the site.

 The violence escalated with the shooting of several police officers. In response, the government widened its dragnet to root out the conspiracy. Help came from an informer, Hans Bacchus, who had read books on guerrilla warfare before leaving the student scene. He subsequently supplied the police with a list of people he accused of radical activity or terrorist sympathies. Among the names was Kristina’s.

 Apprehended as a suspect, she was charged with having “built up a criminal association.” The maximum sentence was five years. But even pre-trial detention could mean serious time. Some suspects were already being detained in solitary for long periods. It was exactly the type of treatment she had been protesting.

Berster spent the next six months in detention, watching the erosion of her right to legal counsel. Even her lawyer’s office was raided. Police alleged that Eberhard Becker had photographic files of the Heidelburg police department’s employees. Although the evidence was never produced, he was barred from participating in her trial. Obstruction of justice charges were later leveled at two other attorneys representing defendants in the case.

A pattern of harassment aimed at defense attorneys was emerging. The pressure intensified with laws that permitted the exclusion of lawyers and the holding of trials without the presence of defendants. In reaction, some young people joined the Red Army Faction.
Kristina went back to school, but continued her prison reform work.

In early May 1971, the Red Army decided to strike at political targets in retaliation for the bomb blockade of North Vietnam. They hit an officer’s club in Frankfurt, the Augsburg Police Department, the parking lot of the State Criminal Investigation Office, and finally, on May 24, the US Army’s European Supreme Headquarters in Heidelburg. A month later they were caught. 

At first, people thought the country would finally return to normal, easing attacks on civil liberties and ending the state of emergency. Instead, the “emergency” was institutionalized.

Red Army leaders were locked in “wipe-out detention,” a luminous white world of total sterility in which fluorescent lights were always on and every window was covered. Their soundproof cells, filled with nothing but white noise, were in a section of the prison called the Dead Wing, a place off limits to all visitors except lawyers and relatives. Reading material was heavily censored, and other prisoners were never seen or even heard.

When Jean-Paul Sartre saw Baader after two years in the Dead Wing, he said, “This is not torture like the Nazis. It is torture meant to bring on psychic disturbances.”


This type of confinement was “the most effective way to destroy personality irreversibly,” Kristina told me during our jailhouse interview. “Humans are social. When you cut that off, when people are not able to talk or relate to others, an internal destruction begins. You become catatonic, and somatic problems begin.”


Despite the growing risks, she continued to fight for small improvements like allowing prisoners to see and hear one another. But reforms faced new obstacles. Not only had public sentiment hardened against the Red Army; the Right, prodded by the Springer newspaper chain, had pushed through more repression laws. A Decree on Radicals, passed in 1972, denied “a position of civil service…if the candidate has been politically active in either an extreme rightist or leftist group.” Any doubt about a person’s support for the “free democratic basic order” would henceforth be sufficient grounds for blacklisting. It was an effective job ban in a country with 16 percent of workers in this sector.


The Decree also permitted the executive branch to create political isolation without directly banning political parties. Instead, it created a category of “constitutional enemies.” Acts no longer had to be proven; the job ban punished attitudes, and the enemies list extended to “sympathizers” who were indifferent to or critical of the state’s war on terrorism.


A prominent target was Nobel Prize winner Heinrich Boll, who had criticized the demagoguery of the Springer press. Conservatives tried to ban his books, and the police harassed his son. His hate mail was signed, he once noted sardonically, while complimentary notes were apt to be anonymous.

Kristina Berster and her co-defendants became convinced that a fair trial was impossible. There was ample evidence that the outcome was rigged: exclusion orders against their lawyers, the treatment of prisoners, new laws, and Right-Wing propaganda. Therefore, in an open letter to the court they announced that they weren’t showing up, and would instead hold a counter-trial at which they could present themselves for judgment. A huge audience, gathering from across Western Europe, attended that event. But many people left confused.

Disagreement had erupted over the use of violence. Many people were attracted, but Berster rejected the idea. Nevertheless, persuaded that the official trial could not be just, she joined those who decided not to appear.

At first she didn’t believe she would have to become a fugitive. But when “wanted” posters went up it was clear that she would not be free for long if she stayed in West Germany. By 1973 the national mood was grim, much akin to the repressive climate of the Nixon era, when the anti-war movement cracked and the country continued to reel from politically-motivated assassinations. By the time Bacchus, the informer whose testimony had originally implicated her, had recanted, she was out of the city, living on the edge, cut off from family and friends.

Perhaps leaving had been a mistake, she thought. But it was too late to turn back.

Five years later, while Berster was in Montreal looking for a way into the US, a German lawyer was being convicted of “conspiracy” for assisting his clients to maintain their identities. Kurt Groenwold, who had defended Red Army Faction leaders during the intervening years, was sentenced to two years in jail because his assistant had provided support for the suspects. Defending “enemies of the state” in anything but a perfunctory manner had become grounds for a conspiracy charge.

It was the first in a series of similar cases. The court had rejected Groenwold’s argument that his clients had the right to determine the nature of their own defense. Such a defense, ruled the court, would “promote the ideas of the defendants.” Those ideas were too dangerous to be heard.

The crackdown on left-leaning lawyers was no surprise. German attorneys had already been disbarred and indicted on similar charges. This served as a major incentive for Bill Kunstler to take Kristina’s case after she was caught attempting to enter the US. Groenwold’s conviction reminded him of what had happened to Kristina’s first attorney.

After an early attempt to disbar lawyers in 1971, the federal parliament had passed amendments pointedly labeled “Lex Baader-Meinhof.” They provided prosecutors with legal grounds to bar overly-aggressive lawyers, to limit the number of lawyers on a case, and to exclude defendants from their own trials if the court believed that “they willfully caused their own unfitness.”

On March 11, 1975, Groenwold was excluded from the Baader-Meinhof trial. Three months later he was disbarred. He had “only been disbarred,” he thought, “perhaps because of my wealthy family associations…I have been lucky for now.” But criticism of the constitution or government had become a crime, and lawyers could now be jailed for objecting to prison conditions.

“Always the so-called liberals and social democrats come to power and make the state bigger and more powerful,” noted Groenwold. “They think that if they do the work of the fascists, then the fascists will never come to power. But always, the fascists eventually come to power and then the social democrats are arrested by the very policemen they hired.”

In 1978, the Bertrand Russell Tribunal concluded that constitutional rights in Germany were being seriously eroded by repressive laws, censorship, and a job ban. Perhaps those chilling effects were the price of Germany’s preoccupation with order. In any case, dissent was no longer to be tolerated. The prescription for social crisis was prior censorship, confiscations, blacklisting, detention, the Radical Decree, and much more.

There was also an unanticipated side effect: a new generation of terrorists. Even Andreas Baader, who had been locked up for five years by the time former SS official Hans Martin Schleyer was murdered, disapproved of such actions. On the eve of Baader’s own mysterious death from gunshot wounds, he told a chancellery official that he had never approved of, and would never approve of, terrorism in its current form of brutal actions against uninvolved citizens.

By this time, however, both the state and its enemies had gone beyond symbolic bombings and police riots. Despite protests from former Red Army supporters that terrorism provided an excuse for more repression, the violence of the new generation continued, capturing the imagination of some disaffected young people. Danny Cohn-Bendit, who had moved to Germany from France after the 1968 student uprising there, concluded that the Germany Left was trapped in a battle that was a product of German society itself.

None of this, of course, made it into the record during the Berster trial. It was one of several ironies in her situation. Rejecting the violence that had enveloped her homeland, she had left Germany only to be haunted by its specter, then exploited by the US intelligence community to justify excessive counter-terrorist tactics. 
Guilt by association was clearly a cheap shot. But it made good copy, and provided a flexible excuse for almost anything in response.

Greg Guma‘s new book, Dons of Time, will be published in October by Fomite Press. Next in this story, a simulated siege and following the counter-terror money.

On September 12, US Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr. filed a motion to appear at oral arguments and present an amicus curiae brief before the US Supreme Court in the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway. The case concerns the legality of opening town meetings with a prayer and is slated to be heard by the Supreme Court next year.

The Obama administration is intervening on the side of Greece, New York authorities, who are seeking to overturn a ruling last year by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upholding a suit by citizens of the town, located near the city of Rochester. The suit, filed by Susan Golloway and Linda Stephens, a Jew and an atheist respectively, seeks to end the prayers on the grounds that they violate the First Amendment’s ban on the establishment of religion.

The intervention by the White House in support of official sanction for religion represents one of the most direct and open federal attacks on the separation of church and state—a core democratic principal of the US republic enshrined in the first sentence of the Bill of Rights—in American history. That the revolutionary founders who drafted the Bill of Rights, inspired by the Enlightenment, considered the ban on any official state sanction of religion fundamental to all other democratic rights is indicated by the fact that it precedes the First Amendment’s guarantees of freedom of speech, press and assembly.

The Obama administration’s decision to intervene in opposition to the separation of church and state is entirely in line with its general assault on democratic rights and its ceaseless efforts to placate and encourage the most right-wing political forces in the country. It follows Obama’s capitulation last year to the Catholic Church and other anti-abortion forces that oppose a provision of his health care overhaul requiring employers to provide contraceptives to their employees free of charge.

It also conforms to the administration’s support for indefinite detention without judicial process for alleged terrorists, its practice of extra-judicial assassinations, including of US citizens, and its defense of state surveillance of the telephone calls, emails, text messages and Internet searches of all Americans and countless millions of people around the world.

Greece, New York is a town of 94,000 people in Monroe County. Residents Galloway and Stephens sued the town in federal court in 2008 due to its practice of opening its monthly meetings with a prayer, typically offered by a chaplain of one or another Christian denomination. The town conducts its public business at such meetings, including voting on proposed ordinances, swearing in new employees, holding public hearings and bestowing awards.

The trial court granted the town’s motion for summary judgment in 2010. In May 2012, the US Court of Appeals overturned the trial court ruling.

The Second Circuit found that the town meetings had been previously opened with a moment of silence, until 1999, when Town Supervisor John Auberger began inviting local clergy to start the meetings with a prayer. A typical prayer requested that those present bow their heads and concluded by saying “we pray,” and “Amen.”

Between 1999 and 2007, a Christian clergyman offered every such prayer. These most often included references to specifically Christian dogma, for example, “in Jesus’ name we pray,” “we ask this in Christ’s name,” or “in the name of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.”

The prayers were part of the meeting minutes. The monthly prayer-giver received a plaque from the Town Board thanking him or her for performing the service of “monthly chaplain.”

After complaints by Galloway and Stephens, the town allowed for a token participation by non-Christian clergy, including a Jew, a Bhuddist, a member of the Bahai faith and a Wiccan priestess, all of whom made theistic invocations of a more general character.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The Fourteenth Amendment extends this ban (“Congress shall make no law, etc.”) to state governments. Municipal governments, such as the town of Greece, derive their authority from state law.

The American revolutionaries understood that there was an inextricable connection between the union of clerical and state power and the suppression of individual liberty. Their view was that separation of church and state was a precondition for democracy.

To cite Thomas Jefferson’s famous quotation: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State.”

The Second Circuit did not explicitly find that the town’s official prayers were unconstitutional. It handed down a more limited ruling focusing on the tendency of the town officials to favor clergy of the Christian faith.

Even this narrow ruling against the town of Greece was too much for the Obama administration.

The Obama administration solicitor general’s brief argues that Supreme Court precedent not only allows prayer at legislative meetings, but forbids the courts from scrutinizing whether most or even all of such prayers derive from a single religion, in this case, Christianity. The brief claims that constitutional precedent “calls for neither that type of inquiry into the content of the prayers nor that type of court-ordered sectarian diversity.” In other words, a legislative body is within its rights to feature exclusively Christian invocations at the commencement of every meeting. This represents exactly the type of establishment of religion that the American revolutionaries feared.

Obama, a one-time professor of constitutional law, invokes religious obscurantism quite frequently, especially when he gives official pronouncements on the mass shootings and other “senseless” events whose social roots he seeks to conceal. Now the president lines up with the fundamentalist, anti-democratic position of Christian-right groups like the one funding the town of Greece’s defense, the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom.

This outfit bears the motto “For Faith. For Justice.” It boasts over 150 interventions in cases like Town of Greece. Its web site features an appeal for people to donate to a fund fighting against “anti-Christian extremists” in “powerful groups… promoting approval of homosexual behavior, encouraging students to explore their sexual identity [and] inviting young children to learn about sex at younger and younger ages.”

It is worthwhile comparing Obama’s contempt for the establishment clause to the attitude articulated by John F. Kennedy when he was running for president in 1960, seeking to become the first Catholic to hold the highest US office. In remarks that were, at the time, considered to be a clear summation of the consensus of the US political establishment on the issue of church and state, he told a meeting of Protestant ministers in Houston, Texas on September 12, 1960:

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be a Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote—where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference—and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish—where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source—where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials—and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

Kennedy’s remarks serve as a measure of the decay of American democracy in the intervening period and the collapse of democratic consciousness within the US ruling elite and its political establishment.

The US House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would slash food stamp funding by nearly $40 billion over ten years, kicking four million people off the program next year.

While the White House and congressional Democrats have said they will not accept the bill in its present form, its passage sets the baseline for a deal by the Democrats, who also favor significant cuts in food aid to the poorest Americans.

On Friday, the House also passed a bill that would link continued government operations to the removal of funding for the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, setting the stage for a potential government shutdown on October 1. The aim of both parties is once again to whip up a crisis atmosphere in which to implement vast cuts to social spending over popular opposition.

The food stamp bill would cut $39 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) over ten years. It would force adults between 18 and 50 to either work or attend work training to reapply for benefits, and would also institute drug testing for recipients.

The bill would also force food stamp recipients without children to work, train or volunteer for at least 20 hours per week to continue receiving assistance. This would make food stamp recipients the equivalent of indentured servants, forced to work for free in order to eat.

In addition to the four million eliminated from food stamps next year, three million more would be denied access each subsequent year, according to figures from the Congressional Budget Office.

The bill passed largely along party lines, with 217 Republicans voting for the bill, and 15 Republicans joining all Democrats in voting against it.

“Conspicuously missing from the debate is the impact that cutting these programs will have on needy people and communities,” Dan Reyes, coordinator for the Delaware Food Bank’s Coalition to End Hunger, told the World Socialist Web Site. “These cuts would be incredibly damaging,” he added.

One in seven Americans receives food stamps, up from 9 percent of the population in 2008 to nearly 15 percent in 2012. The program helps feed 48 million people. However, according to Reyes, the demand is far higher. “One in four Delawareans utilizes the Delaware food bank each year,” he said, half of whom are children.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) wrote, “Those who would be thrown off the program include some of the nation’s most destitute adults, as well as many low-income children, seniors, and families that work for low wages.” The CBPP added that SNAP kept 4.7 million people out of poverty in 2011 alone.

“Hunger is a silent epidemic that people are afraid to talk about,” said Reyes, who said the Delaware food bank helps “a lot of seniors, a lot of the working poor and single mothers.”

Obama said he would veto the bill in its present form. However, this is thoroughly hypocritical given Obama’s own policies. The Democratic budget passed in the Senate earlier this year cuts over $4 billion from the food stamp program, on top of cuts that are already scheduled to take place as a result of the expiration of the 2009 Recovery Act. A family of three can expect to see a $20 to $25 a month reduction in SNAP benefits as a result. There are no proposals from the Obama administration or either house of Congress to forestall this reduction in benefits.

In justifying cutting food stamps, House Republicans pointed out that their proposals for linking assistance to draconian requirements are entirely in line with welfare reforms implemented by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1996. While Obama postures as an opponent of Republican austerity, his latest budget proposal would slash $400 billion from Medicare and other health care programs and $130 billion from Social Security.

The food stamp program has traditionally been part of the farm bill, which has been regularly reauthorized every five years. In July, House Republicans split up the bill’s farm assistance and nutrition programs into separate bills, in preparation for their plans to gut the food stamp program.

The share of food stamp recipients who are working has risen significantly. Nearly one third of SNAP recipients were working in 2010, up from less than 20 percent two decades before. Of those who do not work, the vast majority are disabled, elderly, or underage.

“There is a growing institutionalization of food insecurity,” said Reyes, who noted that “over 75 percent of the jobs created this year are part-time.” He said, “If you were to work two part-time jobs in Delaware you’d make $27,000 per year, while the living wage for a family of three in the state is $53,000. A significant portion of the working poor do not even quality for SNAP and are forced to go to food banks.”

Nearly three quarters of households participating in SNAP include children, and over 91 percent of SNAP benefits go to households with incomes below the federal poverty line, already set at the abysmally low level of $19,530 annually for a family of three.

In addition to the drastic impact on the most vulnerable sections of society, Reyes warned about the economic impact of cutting food stamps. “SNAP is one of the most direct stimuluses in an economic downturn; for every $5 spent on SNAP, $9 are generated for the local economy,” he said.

“Unlike a bank bailout, this goes directly to the people in need,” he added. The day before the House voted to cut food stamps, the Federal Reserve board announced that it would continue to pump $85 billion into the financial system every year. “That money,” he said, “is not going to help poor people but the very financial institutions which have a record of mishandling the economy.”

Also this week, Forbes published its list of the richest 400 Americans, whose wealth increased this year by 17 percent, from $1.7 trillion to over $2 trillion. The additional money amassed by these individuals in just one year is nearly eight times the amount that the House plans to cut from food stamps, causing devastation for millions of people.

The fact that programs that keep millions of people out of poverty are on the chopping block, while unlimited amounts of cash are made available to the handful of multibillionaire financial parasites, is an expression of the irrationality of the capitalist system, which sacrifices the needs of the vast majority of society for the direct enrichment of the financial elite.

Confronting the Russia-China Axis: Obama Intends War on Syria

September 21st, 2013 by Stephen Lendman

Obama intends waging war on Syria. Russia’s efforts delayed it. An uneasy calm before the storm prevails.

Shock and awe attacks are planned. They could come any time. Pretexts are easy to create. False flags are longstanding US policy. So are Big Lies. Regime change is prioritized. Obama intends getting it one way or another.

In mid-September, Russia, China, and other Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members and observer states met in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Vladimir Putin said “military interference from outside the country without a UN Security Council sanction is inadmissible.”

The summit’s joint declaration opposes “Western intervention in Syria, as well as the loosening of the internal and regional stability in the Middle East.”

SCO prioritizes international “reconciliation.” It wants peaceful conflict resolution. It supports convening Geneva II as soon as possible. Washington has other ideas.

On September 19, John Kerry hinted at what’s coming. He addressed reporters. He did so in the State Department’s press briefing room.

 ”We really don’t have time today to pretend that anyone can have their own set of facts approaching the issue of chemical weapons in Syria,” he said.

“This fight about Syria’s chemical weapons is not a game. It’s real. It’s important.”

 ”It’s important to the lives of people in Syria. It’s important to the region. It’s important to the world that this be enforced – this agreement that we came out of Geneva with.”

 ”(T)hanks to this week’s long-awaited UN report, the facts in Syria only grew clearer and the case only grew more compelling.”

“The findings in the Sellstrom report were as categorical as they were convincing.”

“Every single data point – the types of munitions and launchers that were used, their origins, their trajectory, their markings, and the confirmation of sarin – every single bit of it confirms what we already knew and what we told America and the world.”

“It confirms what we have brought to the attention of our Congress, the American people, and the rest of the world.”

 ”The UN report confirms unequivocally that chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, were used in Syria.”

 ”And despite the regime’s best efforts to shell the area and destroy the evidence, the UN interviewed more than 50 survivors – patients, victims, health workers, first responders.”

 ”They documented munitions and subcomponents. They assessed symptoms of survivors, analyzed hair, urine, blood samples.”

 ”And they analyzed 30 soil and environmental samples.”

“And what did they learn? They returned with several crucial details that confirmed that the Assad regime is guilty of carrying out that attack, even though that was not the mandate of the UN report.”

“But anybody who reads the facts and puts the dots together, which is easy to do – and they made it easy to do – understands what those facts mean.”

“We know the Assad regime possesses sarin and there’s not a shred of evidence, however, that the opposition does.”

 So there you have it. Sarin was used. Sarin killed. The world can decide whether it was used by the regime, which has used chemical weapons before, the regime which had the rockets and the weapons, or whether the opposition secretly went unnoticed into territory they don’t control to fire rockets they don’t have containing sarin that they don’t possess to kill their own people.”

 ”And then without even being noticed, they just disassembled it all and packed up and got out of the center of Damascus, controlled by Assad.”

 ”Please. This isn’t complicated. When we said we know what is true, we meant it. And now, before I head to New York for the UN General Assembly, we have a definitive UN report strengthening the case and solidifying our resolve.”

“Now the test comes. The Security Council must be prepared to act next week.”

“It is vital for the international community to stand up and speak out in the strongest possible terms about the importance of enforceable action to rid the world of Syria’s chemical weapons.”

“So I would say to the community of nations: Time is short. Let’s not spend time debating what we already know.”

“We need to make the Geneva agreement meaningful and to make it meaningful in order to eliminate Syria’s CW program and to do it with transparency and with the accountability, the full accountability that is demanded here.”

“It is important that we accomplish the goal in New York and accomplish it as rapidly as possible.”

Fact check

Kerry repeated one Big Lie after another. He restated much of what he said before. Each time reflected a Colin Powell moment. He turned truth on its head consistently. He does it every time he speaks.

Throughout months of conflict, no evidence links Assad to chemical weapons use. Plenty shows insurgents used them multiple times.

They bear fully responsibility for attacking Ghouta. Claiming they have no access to sarin or other chemical weapons doesn’t wash.

Kerry knows it. He lied saying otherwise. Sarin containing rockets came from insurgent-held territory. Pro-Assad civilians were targeted.

Why would Assad attack his supporters? Why would he do it with UN inspectors close by? Why would he risk harming his own soldiers and innocent civilians?

 Why would he need to use chemical weapons? He’s effectively routing insurgent fighters. He’s doing it consistently.

 The UN inspectors report is suspect. It’s rife with inconsistencies. It’s one-sided. It willfully deceives. It was a rush job. It was sloppy, tainted and worthless.

 Crucial evidence absolving Assad was ignored. The alleged crime scene was corrupted. Alleged munitions evidence could have been planted beforehand.

 Anti-Assad witnesses may have been chosen. Supportive ones may have been denied their say. Fake videos were used.

So-called evidence isn’t any at all. Media reports suppressed what’s most important to know. Assad’s wrongfully blamed for insurgents’ crimes. It happened repeatedly throughout months of conflict.

 Russia has convincing evidence. It shows insurgents bear responsibility for attacking Ghouta. It’s being submitted to UN authorities. It’ll be considered when Security Council members convene next week.

Russia represents the last line of defense against war. On Thursday, Vladimir Putin addressed over 200 Valdai International Discussion Club politicians, experts and journalists.

He believes Russia deserves the best leadership possible. America falls woefully short of good governance, he said. It’s democracy is none at all. It’s a convenient illusion. It mocks the real thing.

Moscow has reason “to believe that (Ghouta’s attack) was a provocation,” Putin said.

“Of course, it was adroit and smart, but, at the same time, primitive in terms of technical performance.”

“They took an old Soviet-made missile, which was taken out of service in the Syrian army long ago. It was most important to have (it say) ‘made in the USSR.’ ”

It’s not the first time insurgents used chemical weapons. “(W)hy haven’t other cases been investigated,” asked Putin?

He said military measures can’t resolve international issues. They require deliberative Security Council discussions. They need peaceful resolutions. War assures continued bloodshed.

Putin has high confidence in Assad. He believes he’ll fulfill his agreed on obligation. He’ll destroy his chemical weapons as promised. It’ll take a year or longer to do so. It’ll cost $1 billion, he believes.

He wants two and half years of conflict ended. Obama has other plans in mind. So does NATO.

On September 19, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen addressed the Carnegie Europe Event.

Throughout months of Syrian conflict, he lied saying NATO remains uninvolved.

Washington, Britain, France and Turkey have been heavily involved. They’ve been so since conflict erupted in March 2011.

Rasmussen perhaps intends upping the stakes.

“It is clear that what happened around Damascus on 21st August is a war crime,” he said.

“And it is clear that the international community has a duty to hold those responsible to account.”

“NATO remains vigilant. We continue to keep the situation in Syria under close review. And we continue to protect the Alliance’s south-eastern border.”

“While the ultimate solution to the Syrian crisis can only be political, I have no doubt that the recent agreement could not have been reached without a credible military option.”

NATO is a global killing machine. According to Rasmussen, it’s “the foundation on which any Ally or group of Allies can build their response to any crisis.”

He left no doubt what he means. War tops NATO’s agenda. It waged multiple ones before. It may plan one on Syria. The fullness of time will tell.

“Allied nations (must) stand ready to act,” said Rasmussen. “And when they act, they can be more effective.”

“NATO remains an essential source of stability in an unpredictable world.” (W)e must always ensure that we have the military capabilities to protect (so-called) values and the political will to do so.”

Rasmussen stopped short of calling NATO a global policeman. It’s that and much more. It’s a rogue killing machine.

Rasmussen addressed Syria. He said it’s essential to keep “the military option on the table.” He called Washington-led NATO war on Libya a “positive example.”

Africa’s most developed country was ravaged and destroyed. NATO transformed it into a charnel house. It remains a cauldron of violence.

It’s a dystopian backwater. NATO nearly bombed it back to the stone age. It’ll take decades to restore what once existed.

Perhaps Rasmussen has the same thing in mind for Syria. The military option is often NATO’s first choice. It eventually attacks when other alternatives have been exhausted.

In 1967, former Israeli diplomat Abba Eban perhaps had NATO in mind saying:

“Men and nations behave wisely when they have exhausted all other resources.”

Rasmussen was clear and unequivocal, saying:

“The use of chemical weapons is a crime. It is a violation of international law, and that’s why it needs a firm international response to prevent such attacks from happening again.”

“That’s why right from the outset I have been in favour of a firm military response and that threat of using military force has now facilitated a political and diplomatic process that can lead to the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria, and that is of course a desirable outcome of this.”

Washington largely controls NATO policy. Obama wants regime change in Syria. War is his option of choice. He’ll decide when and for what reason. The fullness of time will explain.

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

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

Visit his blog site at

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The United States is planning to test nuclear missiles next week on the same day that heads of states and foreign ministers from around the world are to hold a high-level meeting on nuclear disarmament at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

“Instead of honoring the significance of these dates and working in good faith to achieve nuclear disarmament, the United States has chosen to schedule two tests of its Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile on September 22 and September 26,” Rick Wayman of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation told the Daily Times.“We are disappointed that a test launch is scheduled for the same day as the High-Level Meeting on nuclear disarmament at the UN in New York,” Wayman said.

“These missiles are designed to carry nuclear warheads capable of killing thousands of times more people than the chemical weapons used in Syria,” he pointed out.
Mushroom cloud from Castle Bravo, the largest nuclear test conducted by the US in the Marshall Islands

Mushroom cloud from Castle Bravo, the largest nuclear test conducted by the US in the Marshall Islands

Washington has accused the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons in an attack near capital Damascus on August 21.

Damascus has categorically rejected the allegations and even Obama’s top aide, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough, admitted that Washington’s claims were based on a “common-sense test” not any “irrefutable” evidence.

Meanwhile, Russia has said it has evidence which shows militant groups operating in Syria staged the August 21 attack to incriminate the Syrian government.

As Washington plans to go ahead with its plans to test nuclear missiles next week, UN spokesperson Farhan Haq cited the UN Secretary General’s statement on the issue which said, “We should all remember the terrible toll of nuclear tests.”

The US is the only country in the world that has used atomic bombs in war. US atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in August 1945.

Last year in September, it was reported that the US government was planning to undertake the costliest modernization of its nuclear arsenal in history.

If you believe that gold no longer plays a role, think again. In effect, if you know what to look for, the world is on a gold standard now.

In 1971 the US ‘closed the gold window’ starting an era of global fiat money reference pricing that has been unprecedented in history. Never has the world operated on the basis of no country having a currency tied to something with intrinsic value like Gold. The ‘petro-dollar’ – a US dollar exchange rate based on the deal struck between Saudi Arabia and America – for the US to buy their oil and for the Saudis to buy US dollars and bonds in return – started a period of oil companies (with the military machinery in their pocket) bullying the world into buying US dollars or getting cut off from oil and dollar supplies led to our current political situation with the US now involved in multiple wars in various oil dependent economies and their satellites – and this lulled many into believing that Gold no longer played a role, but recent events prove these assumptions wrong.

Leading up the news that the Federal Reserve would not ‘taper’ their bond buying (QE) program we saw a precipitous drop in the price of Gold. Since I knew (like others including Peter Schiff, Bill Fleckenstein, Michael Pento and even James Rickards who stated as much on “Keiser Report”) that the Fed cannot ‘taper’ at any point going forward without throwing their entire Ponzi scheme into the ditch (causing every major bank in the world to instantly collapse) it was interesting to see the price of Gold trade down – unless you know the Fed, working alongside bankers on Wall St. and the City of London – are actively managing the price of Gold (along with stocks, bonds and currencies). Knowing that the Fed (who is implicated in every recent major market rigging scandal covering Forex, energy markets and credit default swaps) knew that it would make an announcement that would cause a buying panic in Gold (that they were going to debase the currency some more) – it had to go into the market and drive the price of Gold down ahead of the announcement or risk seeing Gold pop to new all-time highs of $2,000 or more.

I commented a few weeks ago that to understand the Fed you have to understand that it, along with JP Morgan and other TBTF banks, are one giant hedge fund. And this is a huge negative for supporters of free markets who believe prices should be determined by the market – not the Fed. Surprisingly, a few days later Warren Buffett made the same observation. He said the ‘Fed is the most successful hedge fund in history.’ For Warren this is true. He is on the receiving end of the biggest transfer of wealth in history from workers and savers to borrowers and speculators. But for those not on the Fed’s list of recipients of hundreds of billions worth of interest free loans that never have to be paid back the fact that the Fed is a giant hedge fund is devastating. It’s no coincidence that the day after the ‘no tapering’ of ‘food stamps for bankers’ aka QE was announced the government announced that food stamps for the non-recipients of the Fed’s free money were told that they can expect a ‘taper’ in the form of a cutback.

The huge price drop in Gold before the taper announcement is ‘smoking gun’ proof the Fed does exactly what Warren Buffett says they do: operate like an enormous hedge fund; making free loans to ‘friends,’ manipulating markets with impunity, disrupting price discovery with high powered algo trading fraud and pressuring governments to submit to various extortion schemes like TARP (created by Goldman Sachs alum and Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson.

In effect, if you know what to look for, the world is on a gold standard now. The price of gold is telling you that the Fed Ponzi is running at full tilt and that the ravages of having such a destructive mechanism at the heart of the economy are unraveling. Because even with all that effort, the trend of the price of Gold is still higher and at some point the ability to keep it down will fail and then; as Warren Buffett also said; ‘You can see who’s not wearing a bathing suit when the tide goes out.’

Max Keiser, the host of RT’s ‘Keiser Report,’ is a former stockbroker, the inventor of the virtual specialist technology, virtual currencies, and prediction markets.

China and Russia are Acquiring Gold, Dumping US Dollars

September 21st, 2013 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Originally published in June 2011. Both countries have recently been increasing their gold stocks.

There is evidence that central banks in several regions of the World are building up their gold reserves. What is published are the official purchases.

A large part of these Central Bank purchases of gold bullion are not disclosed. They are undertaken through third party contracting companies, with utmost discretion. 

US dollar holdings and US dollar denominated debt instruments are in effect being traded in for gold, which in turn puts pressure on the US dollar.  

In turn, both China and Russia have boosted domestic production of gold, a large share of  which is being purchased by their central banks:

It has long been assumed that China is surreptitiously building up its gold reserves through buying local production. Russia is another major gold miner where the Central bank has been purchasing gold from another state entity, Gokhran, which is the marketing arm and central repository for the country’s mined gold production. Now it has been reported by Bloomberg that the Venezuelan Central Bank director, Jose Khan, has said that country will boost its gold reserves through purchasing more than half the gold produced from its rapidly growing domestic gold mining industry.

In Russia, for example, Gokhran sold some 30 tonnes of gold to the Central Bank in an internal accounting exercise late last year. In part, so it was said at the time, the direct sale was made rather than placing the metal on the open market and perhaps adversely affecting the gold price.

China is currently the world’s largest gold producer and last year it confirmed it had raised its own Central Bank gold holdings by more than 450 tones over the previous six years. – The world’s premier mining and mining investment website Venezuela taking own gold production into Central Bank reserves – GOLD NEWS | Mineweb

The 450 tons figure corresponds to an increase in the gold reserves of the central bank from 600 tons in 2003 to 1054 tons in 2009. If we go by official statements, China’s gold reserves are increasing by approximately 10 percent per annum.


China has risen to now be the largest gold producing nation in the world at around 270 tonnes. The amount bought in by the government initially looks like 90 tonnes per annum or just under, 2 tonnes a week. Before 2003 the announcement by the Chinese central bank that gold reserves had been doubled to 600 tonnes, accounted for similar purchases before that date. Why so small an amount you may well ask? We think local and national issues clouded the central bank’s view as it was the government that bought the gold since 2003 and have now placed it on the central bank’s Balance Sheet. So we would conclude that the government has ensured central bank gold purchasing must continue. “How will Chinese Central Bank Gold Buying affect the Gold Price short & Long-Term?” by Julian Phillips. FSO Editorial 05/07/2009


Russia’s Central bank holdings are in excess of 20 million troy ounces (January 2010)

click to enlarge

Russia’s Central Bank reserves have increased markedly in recent years. The RCB reported in May 2010 purchasing 34.2 tons of gold in a single month. Russian Central Bank Gold Purchases Soar In May – China Too? | The Daily Gold

The diagram below shows a significant increase in monthly purchases by the the RCB since June 2009.

(click on chart to enlarge)

Central Banks in the Middle East are also building up their gold reserves, while reducing their dollar forex holding.

Gold reserves of GCC states is less than 5 percent:

Dubai International Financial Centre Authority economists released a report yesterday calling for local countries to build gold reserves, according to The National.

Despite a high interest in gold, GCC states maintain less than 5 percent of their total reserves in gold. Compared to the ECB, which holds 25 percent of reserves in gold, that leaves a lot of room for growth.

GCC states should boost their foreign reserve holdings of gold to help shield their billions of dollars of assets from turbulence in global currency markets, say economists at the Dubai International Financial Centre Authority (DIFCA).

Diversifying more of their reserves from US dollars to the yellow metal would help to offer central banks in the region higher investment returns, said Dr Nasser Saidi, the chief economist of DIFCA, and Dr Fabio Scacciavillani, the director of macroeconomics and statistics at the authority.

“When you have a great deal of economic uncertainty, going into paper assets, whatever they may be – stocks, bonds, other types of equity – is not attractive,” said Dr Saidi. “That makes gold more attractive.”

Declines in the dollar during recent months have dented the value of GCC oil revenues, which are predominantly weighted in the greenback. GCC urged to boost gold reserves

According to a report in People`s Daily;

The latest rankings of gold reserves show that, as of mid-December, the United States remains the top country and the Chinese mainland is ranked sixth with 1,054 tons of reserves, the World Gold Council announced recently.

Russia climbed to eighth place because its gold reserves increased by 167.5 tons since December 2009. The top ten in 2010 remains the same compared to the rankings of the same period of last year. And Saudi Arabia squeezed to the top 20.

Developing countries and regions, including Saudi Arabia and South Africa, have become the main force driving the gold reserve increase. … .

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European central bank are the major gold sellers, and the IMF’s gold reserves decreased by 158.6 tons. (China’s gold reserves rank 6th worldwide – People’s Daily Online

It should be understood that actual purchases of physical gold are not the only factor in explaining the movement of gold prices. The gold market is marked by organized speculation by large scale financial institutions.

The gold market is characterised by numerous paper instruments, gold index funds, gold certificates, OTC gold derivatives (including options, swaps and forwards), which play a strong role, particularly in short-term movement of gold prices. The recent increase and subsequent decline of gold prices are the result of manipulation by powerful financial actors.

We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

There is no excuse for not acting. All the resources our species can muster must be focussed on the fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 4.

Fukushima’s owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), says that within as few as 60 days it may begin trying to remove more than 1300 spent fuel rods from a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air. The pool rests on a badly damaged building that is tilting, sinking and could easily come down in the next earthquake, if not on its own.

Some 400 tons of fuel in that pool could spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima.

The one thing certain about this crisis is that Tepco does not have the scientific, engineering or financial resources to handle it. Nor does the Japanese government. The situation demands a coordinated worldwide effort of the best scientists and engineers our species can muster.

Why is this so serious?

We already know that thousands of tons of heavily contaminated water are pouring through the Fukushima site, carrying a devil’s brew of long-lived poisonous isotopes into the Pacific. Tuna irradiated with fallout traceable to Fukushima have already been caught off the coast of California. We can expect far worse.

Tepco continues to pour more water onto the proximate site of three melted reactor cores it must somehow keep cool.Steam plumes indicate fission may still be going on somewhere underground. But nobody knows exactly where those cores actually are.

Much of that irradiated water now sits in roughly a thousand huge but fragile tanks that have been quickly assembled and strewn around the site. Many are already leaking. All could shatter in the next earthquake, releasing thousands of tons of permanent poisons into the Pacific.

The water flowing through the site is also undermining the remnant structures at Fukushima, including the one supporting the fuel pool at Unit Four.

More than 6,000 fuel assemblies now sit in a common pool just 50 meters from Unit Four. Some contain plutonium. The pool has no containment over it. It’s vulnerable to loss of coolant, the collapse of a nearby building, another earthquake, another tsunami and more.

Overall, more than 11,000 fuel assemblies are scattered around the Fukushima site. According to long-time expert and former Department of Energy official Robert Alvarez, there is more than 85 times as much lethal cesium on site as was released at Chernobyl.

Radioactive hot spots continue to be found around Japan. There are indications of heightened rates of thyroid damage among local children.

The immediate bottom line is that those fuel rods must somehow come safely out of the Unit Four fuel pool as soon as possible.

Just prior to the 3/11/11 earthquake and tsunami that shattered the Fukushima site, the core of Unit Four was removed for routine maintenance and refueling. Like some two dozen reactors in the US and too many more around the world, the General Electric-designed pool into which that core now sits is 100 feet in the air.

Spent fuel must somehow be kept under water. It’s clad in zirconium alloy which will spontaneously ignite when exposed to air. Long used in flash bulbs for cameras, zirconium burns with an extremely bright hot flame.

 Each uncovered rod emits enough radiation to kill someone standing nearby in a matter of minutes. A conflagration could force all personnel to flee the site and render electronic machinery unworkable.

According to Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with forty years in an industry for which he once manufactured fuel rods, the ones in the Unit 4 core are bent, damaged and embrittled to the point of crumbling. Cameras have shown troubling quantities of debris in the fuel pool, which itself is damaged.

The engineering and scientific barriers to emptying the Unit Four fuel pool are unique and daunting, says Gundersen. But it must be done to 100% perfection.

Should the attempt fail, the rods could be exposed to air and catch fire, releasing horrific quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. The pool could come crashing to the ground, dumping the rods together into a pile that could fission and possibly explode. The resulting radioactive cloud would threaten the health and safety of all us.

Chernobyl’s first 1986 fallout reached California within ten days. Fukushima’s in 2011 arrived in less than a week. A new fuel fire at Unit 4 would pour out a continuous stream of lethal radioactive poisons for centuries.

 Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata says full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.”

Neither Tokyo Electric nor the government of Japan can go this alone. There is no excuse for deploying anything less than a coordinated team of the planet’s best scientists and engineers.

We have two months or less to act.

For now, we are petitioning the United Nations and President Obama to mobilize the global scientific and engineering community to take charge at Fukushima and the job of moving these fuel rods to safety.

 You can sign the petition at:

If you have a better idea, please follow it. But do something and do it now.

The clock is ticking. The hand of global nuclear disaster is painfully close to midnight.Harvey Wasserman is Senior Editor of the Columbus Free Press and Free Press. He edits Nuke Free.

For now, we are petitioning the United Nations and President Obama to mobilize the global scientific and engineering community to take charge at Fukushima and the job of moving these fuel rods to safety.


El historiador y economista especializado en el mundo árabe analiza los riesgos de una intervención armada en la región, el papel de las diferentes potencias como Arabia Saudí, Israel e Irán y el juego de las alianzas.

¿Qué impacto puede tener una intervención en Siria aunque se presente como rápida y corta?

En realidad no podemos saberlo ya que dependerá de la dimensión del ataque. Si es corto, en principio puede pasar sin que haya una respuesta que podría degenerar en enfrentamientos más amplios. Por el contrario, si el ataque es devastador en términos de vidas humanas, lo que es muy posible a la vista de la concentración de fuerzas militares con gran poder de destrucción, no sabemos qué podría pasar. Por otra parte el régimen podría resultar reforzado, al contrario del objetivo buscado.

Diez años después de Irak y ante semejante fracaso, ¿por qué las potencias del Norte (Francia, Estados Unidos, Gran Bretaña, Canadá…) están dispuestas a arriesgarse otra vez en una guerra en la región?

El Occidente político liderado por Estados Unidos está preso de una fiebre bélica asombrosa desde la caída de la Unión Soviética que le hace invadir o despedazar países soberanos con un ansia insaciable y la farsa de los selectivos argumentos morales o de defensa de los derechos humanos. Es un fenómeno muy poco estudiado.

¿La coalición de guerra formada por los presidentes de EE.UU., Francia y el Reino Unido puede explicarse por su alianza con los Emiratos?

No. La coalición de guerra no se debe a una nueva alianza con las monarquías y los principados de la península Arábiga exportadores de petróleo. Existe desde el final de la Primera Guerra Mundial. Pero el flujo de petrodólares influye desde hace mucho tiempo en la opinión y en una parte de las élites políticas europeas, así como en los medios de comunicación. Arabia Saudí e Israel son los dos principales Estados clientes de Estados Unidos. Ambos están en el origen de las desestabilizaciones de la región: Israel por su incesante colonización de lo que queda de los territorios palestinos. Y Arabia Saudí por la formación de imanes wahabíes que exportan la forma más extrema del rigor islámico en el mundo musulmán. De esta forma los dos grandes aliados de Estados Unidos suministran el pretexto de las intervenciones. También podemos añadir a Pakistán, cuyo ejército y servicios secretos están próximos a los talibanes.

¿El riesgo regional es todavía mayor para los países como Irak y Líbano con la reanudación de los atentados en Trípoli y en Beirut?

En el caso de Irak, los atentados mortales que apuntan a casi todos los barrios urbanos chiíes no hacen más que aumentar sin que el Gobierno tenga medios para acabar con ellos. En Líbano, el fenómeno del «takfirismo» (1) es relativamente reciente y se ha extendido mucho desde la crisis siria, a la que está vinculado. En los dos casos da la impresión de una guerra entre suníes y chiíes que en realidad oculta la guerra entre dos ejes geopolíticos: Por una parte el que defiende la preponderancia de Estados Unidos, Israel, Arabia Saudí y Turquía en Oriente Medio, y por el otro lado el que está en contra de esa preponderancia que en la actualidad agrupa a Irán, Rusia, China, el régimen sirio y el Hizbulá libanés y sus aliados locales que se reclutan en todas las comunidades libanesas. En la actualidad se libra una guerra de titanes, principalmente en Siria y de manera accesoria en Irak y Líbano.

¿La utilización sistemática de la guerra empuja a nuevas guerras frías y a una estrategia de bloque contra bloque como en tiempos de la URSS?

Por supuesto. Hemos vuelto al equivalente de una guerra fría con numerosos puntos o abscesos de fijación cada vez más calientes y la cuestión iraní puede derrapar en cualquier momento como la de Siria. Al otro lado del mundo, en el Extremo Oriente, la afirmación del poder chino endurece las posiciones japonesas. Pero en realidad es el ardor guerrero occidental el que hay que analizar y apaciguar. Recordemos a los millones de europeos que se manifestaron contra la invasión de Irak sin que eso influyera en la decisión estadounidense. Por lo tanto Europa está totalmente «atlantizada» u «otanizada» en cuanto a su política exterior desde la última oposición de Francia, Alemania y Bélgica a la decisión estadounidense de invadir Irak. Aquél fue un fugaz destello de independencia frente a Estados Unidos.


(1) El «takfirismo» designa a los grupos salafistas armados particularmente violentos y crueles. La mayoría están armados y financiados por Arabia Saudí y los emiratos del Golfo.


Traducido para Rebelión por Caty R.

“Nos encontramos actualmente en un momento crítico en el que cada minuto que pasa es extremadamente agotador mental y físicamente. Muchos de los que estamos participando [en la huelga de hambre] desde el primer día sufrimos daños que pueden ser irreversibles y nos enfrentamos a la posibilidad muy real de morir”, Aurturo Castellano ,preso en huelga de hambre desde hace 55 días de la cárcel Pelican Bay y representante de la Unidad de Alta Seguridad.

El Departamento de Correcciones y de Rehabilitación de California (CDCR, por sus siglas en inglés [agencia estatal de California que gestiona todas las prisiones de este Estado, n. de la t.]) se niega a negociar con los presos en huelga de hambre cuando estos empiezan el día 56 de protestas en régimen de aislamiento y en unas condiciones inhumanas. Los presos en huelga de hambre corren cada vez más peligro de padecer un ataque al corazón, pero mantienen su decisión de continuar su resistencia hasta que el CDCR acceda a negociar sus cinco reivindicaciones principales .

El gobernador [de California] Jerry Brown mantiene la misma actitud de negarse a negociar con la esperanza de que las medidas punitivas tomadas por el CDCR en contra de los presos en huelga de hambre, como negarles tratamiento médico, echar aire frío en las celdas, retener el correo y denegar las visitas, acabará con las protestas. En vez de negociar, el gobernador Brown quiere dedicar millones de dólares a expandir el complejo industrial de prisiones en California que beneficia a los grandes negocios al tiempo que encarcela a cada vez más miembros de la clase trabajadora.

La negativa del CDCR y del gobernador Brown a negociar con los presos en huelga de hambre está ganando cada vez más condenas en toda California. En los últimos días criminólogos y reformadores de la justicia penal han pedido a Brown y al CDCR que inicien inmediatamente las negociaciones con los presos en huelga de hambre y “acaben con los gestos que tienen finalidad política y con los insultos, y empiecen a negociar antes de que las manos se les manchen de sangre”.

Mientras tanto la Conferencia de California de Obispos Católicos han vuelto a reiterar su oposición al uso por parte del CDCR del régimen de aislamiento de los presos y se ha ofrecido a participar en cualquier comité de supervisión “que se pueda nombrar para investigar cualquier supuesta violación de los derechos humanos en las cárceles de California, con el fin de proponer las necesarias medidas correctivas”.

La continua resistencia de los presos en huelga de hambre unida a la cada vez mayor presión pública ha obligado finalmente a destacados políticos de California a intervenir. El 30 de agosto la senadora Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) y el miembro de la Asamblea Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), que son presidentes de los Comités del Senado y la Asamblea, publicaron un comunicado declarando su intención de organizar sesiones públicas sobre las condiciones de las cárceles de California que han llevado a la huelga de hambre. Se han programado que estas sesiones públicas empiecen en otoño y continúen el año próximo.

“ Las cuestiones planteadas por la huelga de hambre son reales, la preocupación por el uso del régimen de aislamiento y las condiciones de este es real y no se pueden seguir ignorando”, declararon la senadora Hancock (D-Berkeley) y el miembro de la Asamblea Ammiano (D-San Francisco) en un comunicado conjunto .

La sesiones se centrarán en dos cuestiones planteadas por la huelga de hambre: las condiciones a las que se enfrentan los presos de las cárceles de máxima seguridad y el efecto que tiene el régimen de aislamiento durante mucho tiempo como una estrategia de la dirección de la cárcel y como una cuestión de derechos humanos.

El miembro de la Asamblea Tom Ammiano , presidente del Comité de la Asamblea sobre Seguridad Pública, fue más allá en su declaración de condena: “Los tribunales han dejado claro que los presos en huelga de hambre abordan aspectos legítimos de política y práctica que tienen que ser revisados. La Asamblea Legislativa tiene un papel fundamental en considerar sus preocupaciones y actuar respecto a ellas. No podemos sentarnos y mirar cómo nuestro Estado invierte dinero en un sistema que el Tribunal Supremo de Estados Unidos ha declarado que no proporciona unas condiciones constitucionalmente aceptables de encarcelamiento y que las estadísticas demuestran que no ha logrado aumentar la seguridad pública”

Los abogados de los presos en huelga de hambre le comunicarán sus propuestas para las sesiones públicas. Mientras tanto, los presos en huelga de hambre siguen adelante ante unas todavía más punitivas acciones del CDCR. Se ha trasladado a 80 presos en huelga de hambre de la cárcel de Pelican Bay a la de New Fulsom, donde sufrieron malos tratos por parte de las autoridades de la cárcel, lo que llevó a otros presos de esta a unirse a la huelga de hambre en señal de protesta. Es necesario que personas de todo el mundo sigan presionando al CDCR y al gobernador Brown para que negocie de buena fe con los representantes de los presos en huelga de hambre.

En Pelican Bay, los cuatro representantes principales de los presos de la Unidad de Seguridad que iniciaron el llamamiento a una huelga de hambre generalizada han emitido el siguiente llamamiento :

“Apelamos a las personas de conciencia a que hagan oír su oposición. La gente tiene poder para cambiar las cosas ahora. ¡Sabed que nuestro ánimo y nuestra determinación continúan fuertes y que sabemos que podemos contar con todos vosotros! Juntos estamos haciendo que ocurra, no solo por nosotros mismos, sino, lo que es más importante, por las generaciones futuras”.

Con los mayores solidaridad, cariño y respeto. Adelante en la lucha,

Colectivo de la Unidad de Alta Seguridad de la cárcel estatal de Pelican Bay

Todd Ashker, C-58191, PBSP-SHU

Arturo Castellanos, C-17275, PBSP-SHU Antonio Guillen, P-81948, PBSP-SHU


Traducido del inglés para Rebelión por Beatriz Morales Bastos

Week in Review: Chemical Lies and Media Disinformation

September 20th, 2013 by Global Research



NSA Snooping on Brazil’s President’s Emails. Unfolding Diplomatic Fall Out between Washington and Brasilia, Michael Werbowski, September 20, 2013


Depleted Uranium Contamination: A Crime against Humanity

Revisiting “Red Lines.” Saving Syria from Chemical Weapons by “Punishing” With Chemical Weapons?Felicity Arbuthnot, September 20, 2013


chemical weapons mask

The Ghouta chemical attack: Kidnapped by Al Nusrah. Where are the Missing Children?Global Research News, September 20, 2013


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Syria: Chemical Attack or “Provocation” by Opposition Rebel Forces, Vladimir Yevseyev, September 20, 2013



What Happened to John Kerry? From Anti-War Vietnam to Bellicose Rhetoric on SyriaDr. Robert P. Abele, September 20, 2013


Karen and Daniela - March 2010-240x297

FBI Infiltrator in Anti-War MovementMick Kelly, September 20, 2013


SQM Salpetre Facility

Privatization Profiteers from Pinochet’s Chile May Yet Face Prison, Pratap Chatterjee, September 20, 2013


syrian rebels cia

Syria: Evidence Shows Insurgents Responsible for Gas AttackStephen Lendman, September 20, 2013



Iranian President Calls for Dialogue With the USPeter Symonds, September 20, 2013



US Officials Turn Down North Korean Offer of Nuclear TalksBen McGrath, September 20, 2013



You’re Much More Likely to Be Killed By Lightning than by a TerroristWashington’s Blog, September 20, 2013



“9/11 Conspiracy Theorists” Categorized as Terrorists: F.B.I. Calls Half of US Population with “9/11 Doubts” Potential TerroristsRalph Lopez, September 20, 2013


Drone Warfare in Afghanistan Challenged in UK Court. British Ministry of Defense on the “Defensive”Chris Cole, September 20, 2013


syriafree army

In Syria, within the “Opposition” There are no “Moderate Rebels”Tony Cartalucci, September 20, 2013



The German Election, 2013Socialist Project, September 20, 2013



Venezuelan President denied Travel through US AirspaceRussia Today, September 20, 2013


America’s War against the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War CrimesGlobal Research News, September 20, 2013



In the War on Media Disinformation, the Truth is our Most Valuable WeaponGlobal Research, September 20, 2013


harper-arctic trip

Canada’s Use of Chemical WeaponsYves Engler, September 19, 2013

Look With Your Own Eyes: The Videos of the Chemical Attacks in Syria Show Tampered ScenesBy Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, September 19, 2013


"THE SALVADOR OPTION FOR SYRIA": US-NATO Sponsored Death Squads Integrate "Opposition Forces"

“The Salvador Option For Syria”: US-NATO Sponsored Death Squads Integrate “Opposition Forces”Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 19, 2013



Syria Gambit: The Race to WarMichael WelchProf Michel ChossudovskyDr. Paul Craig Roberts, and Julie Lévesque, September 19, 2013



Consensus 9/11: New Truths Dispelling Old Lies, Stephen Lendman, September 19, 2013


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Black America More Pro-War Than EverGlen Ford, September 19, 2013


obamadoublespeak (2)

Rogue State USA: Missile Threats Make Any Syria Treaty IllegalGlobal Research News, September 19, 2013


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In an Age of ‘Realists’ and Vigilantes, There is Cause for OptimismJohn Pilger, September 19, 2013


chemical weapons mask

Israel’s Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Weapons Threaten World PeaceStephen Lendman, September 19, 2013


great purveyor of violence is the united states of america

Global Warfare: The Great Purveyor of Violence is the United States of AmericaRamsey Clark, September 19, 2013


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Russia Challenges UN Report on Syrian Gas AttackPeter Symonds, September 19, 2013


Government of the Rich, by the Rich and for the Rich

The Looting of AmericaAndre Damon, September 19, 2013



How the Syrian Chemical Weapons Videos Were StagedJames CorbettMother Agnes Mariam, and Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 19, 2013



The Debt Ceiling Debate: It’s Not a Fiscal Cliff … It’s the Breakdown of the Rule of LawWashington’s Blog, September 19, 2013


US Sponsored Rebel Forces Have Taken Control of Maalula: Snipers Haunt Syrian Christian TownGlobal Research News, September 19, 2013



US Threatens “Use of Force”: U.S. “Deadline” for Syrian Chemical Weapons Is Contrary to International LawWashington’s Blog, September 19, 2013



When Dissent Becomes a CrimeGreg Guma, September 19, 2013



Stop Political Repression in South KoreaGlobal Research News, September 19, 2013



Who Is Really Behind the Syrian War?James Corbett, September 19, 2013



Syria: Prejudiced Analysis of the Western MediaGlobal Research News, September 19, 2013



Anti-War Delegation to Syria. Ramsey Clark, Cynthia McKinney, Sara FloundersSara Flounders, September 19, 2013



The Global Elite’s Crimes Against Humanity: The Subversion Of Happiness And TruthBy Colin Todhunter, September 19, 2013


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How the Occupation of Palestine Was Dressed Up as PeaceAli Abunimah, September 19, 2013



Coverup of War Crimes in Iraq: When ‘Damning Evidence’ on Congenital Birth Defects becomes ‘No Clear Evidence’: Much-Delayed WHO ReportDavid Cromwell, September 19, 2013



President Bashar al-Assad’s Interview on Syria’s Chemical Weapons. TranscriptBashar al Assad, September 19, 2013



Syria and the Saudi-Israeli Connection: The Chemical Weapons Attack. Who was Behind It?Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, September 19, 2013


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The Sellstrom Report: The United Nations’ Syria Inspector Shills for NATO and IsraelBy Yoichi Shimatsu, September 18, 2013



Worldwide Militarization: Syria, Iran and the Globalization of WarJames CorbettProf Michel Chossudovsky, and Rick Rozoff, September 18, 2013


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US/Korea Relations: Exploring the Prospects for ChangeBrian Becker, September 18, 2013



The Washington Navy Yard Gunman: Buddhist Meditation was a Cure not the Cause of Aaron Alexis’s AngerYoichi Shimatsu, September 18, 2013



Genetically Modified BabiesRady Ananda, September 18, 2013

Syria Gas Attack: Assad Wrongfully BlamedStephen Lendman, September 18, 2013



Counter-Questions on Syria: Obama Brushes Aside International LawStephen Gowans, September 18, 2013


Economic Crisis: A Global Slide into Depression

US Census Report Shows Entrenched Poverty and Declining Living StandardsThomas Gaist, September 18, 2013



New York Times on Syria: All the Propaganda Fit to PrintBill Van Auken, September 18, 2013



“Red Lines” and “Green Lights”: Israel still Angling for Attack on Syria and IranJonathan Cook, September 18, 2013


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Media Disinformation and Coverup of Atrocities Committed by US Sponsored Syria RebelsAdam Larson, September 18, 2013



The Restructuring of Organized Labor in America: The AFL-CIO ConventionSocialist Project, September 18, 2013



Tormenting the Souls of Religious Arabs: ‘Arab Spring’ Degrades into Sectarian CounterrevolutionNicola Nasser, September 18, 2013


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Syria: The UN Report on the Chemical Weapons Attack. 25 QuestionsBy Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, September 18, 2013


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World War “O” : Strike Syria and Ignite IraqMahdi Darius Nazemroaya, September 18, 2013


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The Global Economic Crisis: We Cannot Afford to Remain PowerlessBy Global Research, September 18, 2013



Larry Summers: Goldman SackedGreg Palast, September 17, 2013



The BRICS “Independent Internet” Cable. In Defiance of the “US-Centric Internet”Umberto Pascali, September 17, 2013



The City on the Hill: American Exceptionalism and Redemptive ViolenceLesley Docksey, September 17, 2013



The Killing of Osama bin Laden was an “American Hoax”Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, September 17, 2013



Justice in America: The Pelican Bay Prison Hunger Strike, Lynne Stewart, Ramsey Muñiz, Assata ShakurJohn Bart Gerald, September 17, 2013



Murky Clues from UN’s Syria ReportRobert Parry, September 17, 2013



The “Indispensable Nation” Threatens Another War Against ChildrenFelicity Arbuthnot, September 17, 2013


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Syria: Fabricating Chemical Lies. Who is Behind the East Ghouta Attacks?By Prof Michel Chossudovsky, September 17, 2013


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The Financial Armageddon Looting Machine: Looming Mass Destruction from DerivativesEllen Brown, September 17, 2013



Washington and Israel Conspire to Oust AssadStephen Lendman, September 17, 2013


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On Fifth Anniversary of Wall Street Crash, Obama Tries the Big Lie TechniqueBarry Grey, September 17, 2013



Surveillance Lies and Compromised JusticeGreg Guma, September 17, 2013



Did The Rebels Use Chemical Weapons: The UN Report and the EvidenceDevon DB, September 17, 2013



Next Step for Peace in Syria — Stop the “Lethal Aid”Norman Solomon, September 17, 2013



Five Lies Invented to Spin UN Report on Syrian Chemical Weapons Attack, Tony Cartalucci, September 17, 2013



Gay Rights in Russia and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, Michael Averko, September 16, 2013


Click here for the complete list of articles!

There is a fascinating diplomatic dynamic going on between one superpower and an emerging great power to be. I am referring to the US and Brazil . In light of recent revelations (graciously provided by the ex -NSA man, now Russian resident, Edward Snowdon), Brazil has recoiled and its president, Dilma Rousseff,  has decided to abruptly cancel (or to be postponed?)  an upcoming state visit to Washington . This is more than a snub to president Obama. It is essentially a slap in the face (figuratively speaking of course) from an important nation and a lady head of state, who does not take too kindly to Uncle Sam’s snooping into her very personal and very official presidential email.

As the NSA scandal widens world wide, it has also now encompassed Brazil . There are real negative consequences for the US- Brazil relations in view of this recent diplomatic tiff (1).  These less than gracious actions or revelations, will deal a blow to future bi-lateral cooperation without a doubt. Economic deals are at stake which include aircraft purchases from the US , in view of the chill. They may be scuppered by the spy scandal. Brazil will go shopping for armaments in Europe or elsewhere (maybe even, China ). Brazil is a leading innovator in the Internet technology, and the US needs to have such a partner on board to maintain its “cutting edge” dominance, in the field. Industrial and scientific research or “know-how” cooperation will also unlikely be enhanced, as a result of the spying and snooping the NSA and other agencies tasked with foreign communications monitoring , engage in without oversight or limitations being places on them.

Why spy of a friendly nation is the question? Well, in the post cold war era, the US electronic and communications surveillance behemoth can’t seem to, and maybe won’t both to distinguish between enemies, potential foes, or loyal allies. These American Golems of information gathering, collect, or suck in mega-data faster then we can breathe air. Brazil is of course targeted with espionage because it is a potential great power. It has tremendous sway in Latin America ; it has a wealth of valuable resources ready to exploited and cashed in on. Yet what might worry some in Washington most, is Brazil ’s penchant to do business with an American rival: China which already has superpower status to a certain established degree, Whether we like it or not Brasilia has forged over the years close economic and also strategic ties with Beijing to Washington‘s discontent, dismay if not frustration. Hence, we see the systematic eavesdropping on the Brazilian president and her nation. So these latest spying revelations should really be of no great surprise to anyone.

On a multilateral level Brazil is a fine candidate to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council in the not too distant future. It is the leading voice of the Latin American on the international stage. It has championed UN reform to make the ageing body more reflective of today’s new balances of power, and more representative of and towards the third word nations. Washington needs good ties with Brazil as this nation has growing clout in the world.

Just as an aside, Brazil has excellent ties with countries or other emerging power like itself (in this case would be ones) such as Turkey (A NATO member with the largest armed forces ready for combat). Furthermore, it has friendly ties with the Bolivarian nation of Venezuela, which Washington consider a pariah state. In a nutshell Brazil is a key player which merits respect and trust from its big brother to the North, and  its former protector in this Hemisphere. The cancellation of the visit is a set back to bi-lateral ties but also another reason for all of Latin America to view the US’s intrusive surveillance with great distrust if not apprehension and growing concern.

(1)    US-Brazil: What’s at stake, Global Post, Sept. 19th,2013-09-20 13,

Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe. It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster, in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe have grown to appalling dimensions.” Frantz Fanon, 1961. (1925-1961.)

Against all odds, given the circumstances, the Syrian government has, of Friday (20th September) sent an “initial declaration” of the country’s (arguably defensive) weapons to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague. “The organization is looking at ways to fast-track moves to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles and production facilities.” (1)

Putting aside the complexities of “fast-tracking” in a war zone, flooded with foreign and foreign backed, armed and financed insurgents, Syria is now, as Iraq and Libya before it, vulnerable to the massive attack threatened by John Kerry, Acting Enforcer for the current Nobel Laureate War-Monger-in-Chief, should he so choose.

“The threat of force is real”, said Kerry, speaking aside his other Master, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Israel after a hasty shuttle there last Sunday (15th September.). “We cannot have hollow words”, said Kerry, a man without peer in vacuous idiocies.

The following day the UN produced the weapons inspectors report on the chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs on 21st August. Although the thirty eight page Report did not apportion blame and in spite of all the evidence to the contrary (news, websites) the Syrian government was deemed culprit.

“It is the most significant confirmed use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein used them in Halabja in 1988, and the worst use of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century,” said UN Secretary General Ki-moon.. “The international community has a responsibility to ensure that chemical weapons never re-emerge as an instrument of warfare.”

Talking to reporters the same day, Kerry pitched in with:  ”…  the military option is still on the table.”

However, a document, of August 2013, seems to show, despite official denials by the Obama administration, that the Syrian insurgents are capable of producing such poison gas.

“The document (2) reveals that sarin was confiscated earlier this year from members of the Jabhat al-Nusra Front, the most influential of the rebel (fundamentalists) fighting in Syria.

It cites: “ … sarin from al-Qaida in Iraq had made its way into Turkey and that while some was seized, more could have been used in an attack last March on civilians and Syrian military troops in an artillery attack in the major Syrian city of Aleppo:

Moreover, Al Qaida in Iraq: “had produced a ‘bench-scale’ form of sarin in Iraq and then transferred it to Turkey where opposition forces, including Islamist militant foreign fighters had access to it.

“There’s apparently a large stockpile of sarin in Baghdad …Insurgents are using it to threaten the government there in order to get prisoners released.”

But blind eye turning in US war mongering is the order of the occasion – for both eyes.

The US, of course is a collective veteran when it comes to the use of chemical weapons. The destroyed generations of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, emerging in Libya, of Yugoslavia, with their cancers and unimaginable deformities are silent, ignored, decimated witnesses – and will be for generations to come. Now Syria is threatened with chemical weapons on a war crime defying scale.

On the September 11th, as America mourned its dead twelve years on, a near unnoticed, interminably delayed World Health Organisation Report was released into Iraq’s birth defects, cancers, and health anomalies linked to the country’s twenty year bombardment by the US and UK with Depleted Uranium – chemical and radioactive weaponry. White phosphorous and other yet to be identified “exotic” people and child exterminators were also used.

The UN-US Incorporated have done a shameful job of burying the staggering, horrific resultant health epidemic along with the bodies..

As former UN Under Secretary General and UN Head in Iraq Hans von Sponeck has noted:

“The US government sought to prevent WHO from surveying areas in southern Iraq where depleted uranium had been used and caused serious health and environmental dangers.”

His colleague Denis Halliday also former UN Head in Iraq and Under Secretary General Under commented:

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has categorically refused in defiance of its own mandate to share evidence uncovered in Iraq that US military use of Depleted Uranium and other weapons have not only killed many civilians, but continue to result in the birth of deformed babies.”

See: “Cover-up of War Crimes in Iraq: When ‘Damning Evidence’ on Congenital Birth Defects becomes ‘No Clear Evidence’: Much-Delayed WHO Report” (3) a shaming, shocking, and comprehensive read of indeed, a cover-up of enormity.

Ironically, if Kerry has his way to “punish” the Syrian government and entire civilian population for its non use of chemical weapons, this latest Mesapotamian blitzkrieg to free Syria of a government whose “ sovereignty and territorial integrity” is “guaranteed” (lest we forget) by the same duplicitous UN, will be rained on by the same chemical and radioactive weapons which have brought genetic Armageddon to its previous  nation victims.

Here are the assessments of Depleted Uranium, in the US Army’s very own words. This 1995 material is used, as when the scale of the decimation, the birth defects, the cancers, including amongst their own and allied troops, later Army assessments are more muted. The potential for being sued until the end of time no doubt weighs heavy at the Pentagon and the UK Ministry of Defence.

June 1995 “Health and Environmental Consequences of Depleted Uranium Use in the US Army”, (US) Army Environmental Policy Unit:

“If DU enters the body it has the potential to generate significant medical consequences. The risks associated with DU are both chemical and radiological.” (p 101)

“No available technology can significantly change the inherent chemical and radiological toxicity of DU. These are intrinsic properties of uranium.” (p. xxii)

“DU is a … radioactive waste and therefore must be deposited in a licensed repository.” (p. 154) Not deposited on a church, mosque, school, hospital, home.

“Inhaled insoluble oxides stay in the lungs longer and pose a potential cancer risk due to radiation. Ingested DU dust can also pose both a radioactive and a toxicity risk …” (“Army Not Adequately Prepared to Deal with Depleted Uranium Contamination”, US General Accounting Office Report: GAO/NSIAD-93-90, January 1993, p. 14.)

“Health hazards occur primarily due to internal exposures. Soluble forms present chemical hazards primarily to the kidneys; insoluble forms present hazards to the lungs from ionizing radiation … Short term effects of high doses can result in death, while long terms effects of low doses have been implicated in cancer.” Science Applications International Report. Kinetic Energy Penetrators, Long Term Strategy Study, Danesi, July 1990 (SAIC, p. 4-12.)

A recent scientific study estimated that the earth has a life of 1.7 Billion Years. Depleted Uranium, of course, has a half-life of 4.5 Billion years.

Even in the litany of US crimes of enormity, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Agent Orange, Napalm, White Phosphorous, this has a particular place in infamy. A crime in which, it seems, the UN is both complicit and covering up.

RIP those great founding words of 26th June 1945 in San Francisco:

“We the peoples of the United Nations, determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and o promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours …”

What a load of tosh.





The UN Report published  this week on the alleged use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta area of Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013 has clarified many issues but left the key questions unanswered: who committed the attack and who are the victims?

The UN inspection team led by Prof. Ake Sellstrom claims that they have collected “convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used …”  Missiles with a caliber of 140 mm. were reportedly launched from an unspecified location somewhere “in the northwest.”  The report indicates that the inspection team was protected by opposition forces at the forensic sites and that those areas “…have been well travelled by other individuals both before and during the investigation.”  It also states that the “fragments and other possible evidence have clearly been handled/moved prior to the arrival of the investigation team.”  The experts also complained of “very limited time to conduct a detailed survey.BM-14 140 mm missile launcher

According to a research made by New Eastern Outlook, the caliber of the missiles suggests that a Soviet-made, BM-14 series 140mm. multiple-rocket launcher was most likely used to shell Eastern Ghouta.  This launcher, designed in 1951, was previously part of the Syrian Army’s inventory until it was replaced decades ago by the newer BM-21 (Grad, 122 mm. caliber, designed in 1963) and Chinese-made Type 63 (107 mm. caliber) launchers.  However, the old-fashioned BM-14s are widely available in the region and were used, for example, by the Algerian rebels in the 1990s and the Taliban in 2000s.  They are very compact and could easily have been secretly brought in to any location on that fatal night, even within the area controlled by government forces.  Therefore the presumed location of the launch pad is insignificant, as any deserted suburb of Damascus that lies within range could have been used.

Another detail made public was a label found on a warhead.  Mikhail Barabanov, an expert with the Russian Centre for the Analysis of Strategies and Technologies commented that this label matches those on missiles produced in 1967 in Novosibirsk (Russia). One might justifiably wonder why the Syrian Army would launch a 46-year-old missile when it holds abundant stockpiles of far more reliable modern weapons.  It is also worth noting that the production of chemical weapons in Syria began in the 1990s, when chemical facilities were built near Damascus, in Homs, Hama, and Aleppo.  Thus, those missiles, filled with chemical agents, should be dated accordingly or later. If the date of a missile’s production does not match the production date for its chemical agent, it stands to reason that the warhead was filled in an underground laboratory or was even homemade. This is fully in keeping with earlier evidence regarding the use of homemade chemical weapons by rebels in Syria.

Map of Damascus and suburbsSo despite Washington’s hasty claims that the UN Report points to Syrian government forces as the only potential perpetrator of the chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta on August 21, the actual details of the report seem to prove the opposite: the attack was carried out by the rebels and their mentors in a classic false flag operation designed to lure foreign military forces into an intervention in Syria.

Elaborating further George Galloway’s remarkable notes during the historical session of British parliament on Syria late August, “to launch a chemical weapons attack in Damascus on the very day that a United Nations chemical-weapons inspection team arrives in Damascus using an out-of-date missile in an ancient launcher must be a new definition of madness.

Now – as for the victims.  Who are they?  The report from the International Support Team for Mussalaha (Reconciliation) in Syria (ISTEAMS) claims that based on eyewitness testimony and video evidence, the affected areas had been largely abandoned by local residents in the days prior to the attack. Yet the footage of the aftermath shows large numbers of very young victims. The report thoroughly analyses almost every relevant video that was posted on YouTube on the day of attack and reveals a number of facts challenging the established version of this tragedy.  E.g., why there are so many unidentified children among those affected in those videos?  Why there are almost no women?  Why do some of the videos show clear signs of sophisticated overlapping? Why, in many instances, are the same individuals shown as both dead and alive? Where are remaining 1,458 corpses other than the eight whose burials have been documented?

Until now we have had no direct, clear answers to these questions. However, the ISTEAMS report provides us with horrific evidence which might shed more light on the real, dark story behind the dreadful media manipulation in Eastern Ghouta.  It tells of the abduction of dozens of Alawite civilians just prior to the chemical attacks in Lattakiah by Jubhat al-Nosra, the most powerful terrorist organization operating in Syria.  On August 4, around 150 women and children were kidnapped in 11 villages in the Lattakiah mountains.  Until now there has been no information about their current location and fate.  Below is a full list of the names of the abducted children below 15 years old:

SYRIA-CONFLICTMohammad Kamal Chehade (9), Rand Kamal Chehade (11), Nasr Kamal Chehade (7), Nagham Jaoudat Chehade (13), Nathalie Jaoudat Chehade (5), Bachar Jaoudat Chehade (2), Hamza Ahmad Chehade (9), Aamer Ghassan Yahya (8), Haydar Nazem Chehade (12), Zein Nazem Chehade (3), Mehrez Barakat Chehade (13), Bachar Imad El Cheikh Ibrahim (12), Ahmad Imad El Cheikh Ibrahim (13), Jaafar Imad El Cheikh Ibrahim (14), Jaafar Adam Ismael (2), Yazan Haydar Haydar (11), Duaa Wael Mariam (baby), Alaa Wael Mariam (baby), Ahamad Ayman Mariam (baby), Farah Ayman Mariam (baby), Marah Ayman Mariam (baby), Mohammad Ayman Mariam (baby), Dalaa Ayman Mariam (baby), Haydar Fayyad Mariam (baby), Khodor Mazen Traybouche (baby), Dina Mounzer Darwich (baby), Bana Mounzer Darwich (baby), Chame Mounzer Darwich (baby), Ali Barakat Darwich (baby), Abdel Karim Barakat Darwich (baby), Aabir Barakat Darwich (baby), Taym Hani Chkouhi (1), Loukman Bassem Fatime (9), Nibal Bassem Fatime (8), Sylvia Bassem Fatime (6), Ghaydak Wafik Ibrahim (10), Mokdad Wafik Ibrahim (14), Aalaa Nazem Selim (baby), Rima Nazem Selim (baby), Racha Nazem Selim (baby), Limar Ramez Selim (baby), Salem Ramez Selim (baby), Chamess Ramez Selim (baby), Sali Ramez Selim (baby), Tim Aazab Selim (baby), Batoul Samir Selim (14), Lougein Talal Selim (15), Wajad Talal Selim (baby), Jawa Talal Selim (baby), Hanine Talal Selim (baby), Rima Talal Selim (baby), Houssein Ayman Ibrahim (3), Zahraa Ayman Ibrahim (8), Mariam Ayman Ibrahim (5), Batoul Ghassan El Koussaybe (15), Wakar Ghassan El Koussaybe (14), Sandass Ghassan El Koussaybe (13), Zeina Adnan Fatima (6), Houssein Adnan Fatima (4).

 In case at least one of them is identified by survived relatives on the video footage from Eastern Ghouta, there should be a sufficient legal ground to include Jabhat al-Nusrah and other rebel groups in Syria into the UN and national Al-Qaeda sanctions lists for further international judicial prosecution.

Copyright Oriental Review 2013


Early in the morning of August 21 in the Ghouta area, near Damascus, a chemical weapons attack with sarin nerve gas occurred, killing between 300 and 1.600 people. This attack was the largest-scale use of chemical weapons seen thus far in the armed conflict in Syria, so it could lead to all-out war in the Middle East – a danger that persists even now. The West categorically asserts that the Syrian National Army carried out the attack, and Western countries are demanding punishment for the ruling government in Damascus. Let’s attempt to sort through this issue based on the facts available.

At first glance, the American arguments are flawless. But some readily apparent vexing details permit doubts about the veracity of those arguments. First, let’s start by discussing the caliber of the chemical weapons delivery systems. According to UN chemical weapons inspectors, unguided 140 mm rockets were used in the attacks. The UN inspectors suggested that Soviet BM-14-17 (MLRS) rocket launchers were used. However, Syria long ago removed those systems from its arsenal, and the army does not use them. They were replaced by modern Soviet 122 mm “Grad” (MLRS BM-21) and Chinese 107 mm Type 63 light rocket launchers. Syria may have also used 220 mm Soviet-made Hurricane rocket launchers (MLRS 9P140).

So how did the obsolete MLRS BM-14-17 systems get there? Perhaps they came with the rockets supplied by external opposition supporters who had previously obtained those sorts of weapons from the Soviet Union. As an alternative explanation, one cannot exclude the possibility that the opposition captured the munitions from Syrian weapons depots that might have held them.

In contrast to the Syrian army, the armed opposition is willing to use any weapons, including obsolete ones, just to seize power. The fact that the casualties include women, the elderly and children doesn’t matter to the radical opposition. This is evidenced by the recent killings first of 450 Kurds and then of more than 500 Alawites. The Syrian army behaves differently. It does not wage war on defenseless civilians.

Second, it is still impossible to accurately determine who carried out the chemical attack in Guta based on the geographical placement of the rocket launchers. Several types of rocket launcher can be covertly deployed between a Syrian military base and the site of the chemical attack, even with uninterrupted satellite surveillance. Considering that the attack took place in the early morning, the rocket launchers could have been moved under the cover of darkness using the blackout mode.

Third, rockets with an extremely long period of viability were used in the attack. Thus, judging from the markings on one of the unexploded rockets, an expert at the Center for the Study of Strategy and Technology, Mikhail Barabanov, concluded that the projectile had been produced in 1967 at Factory No. 179 (now the “Sibselmash” production facility in Novosibirsk). The obvious question is, “Why would the Syrian army use such old and unsafe rockets in its chemical operations?”

It should also be noted that Syria didn’t begin producing chemical weapons until the 1990s, following the establishment of manufacturing facilities in the mountainous region near Damascus, and at petrochemical plants in Homs (VX gas), Hama (sarin, tabun and VX gases) and Aleppo. Rockets can be outfitted with chemical weapons, but the time frame in which they were rolled out must match the timeline for production of chemical weapons, not be off by 25 years.

Fourth, U.S. officials rule out the possibility that the armed opposition has chemical weapons. This contradicts the available facts. For example, on March 19 2013, the opposition used sarin in an attack with a self-produced missile.

On May 30 this year, security forces in Turkey intercepted a car carrying 2 kilograms of sarin gas. They also arrested 12 members of “Jabat en-Nusra”, an organization with close ties to Al-Qaida.

Russia possesses information showing that members of the opposition in Syria and Turkey tried to buy 10 tons of chemical weapons components.

Fifth, the UN inspectors found a more potent form of sarin than that used by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds in 1988, yet there was no evidence of Syrian army involvement in the attack. That kind of weaponry might have been made recently with modern technology outside Syria. It must first be ascertained whether the sarin used in the attack exists in Syrian army stockpiles, and only then conclusions can be drawn about who used chemical weapons.

Sixth, the necessity of diffusing liquid sarin through the air can in no way preclude opposition involvement in the attack. Opposition fighters could have easily fired the projectiles from rocket launchers on the upper floors of buildings and equipped them with makeshift warheads.

Seventh, senior Syrian army officials’ radio transmissions intercepted by the Americans do not provide evidence of their decision about the military’s use of chemical weapons. Moreover, President Assad has forbidden them from doing so. The possibility that Syrian military personnel acted at their discretion in this regard does not appear strong in light of the fact that the army’s actions are monitored by the secret services.

In short, the U.S. could not provide conclusive evidence that Syrian National Army forces used chemical weapons against civilians in Guta on August 21. In particular, the means of delivering the chemical weapons were not possessed by the Syrian army, and the opposition could easily have obtained sarin gas. We can thus assume that in this instance the armed opposition carried out a massive provocation against Bashar al-Assad aimed at violently overthrowing him, with the means of American armed forces and their allies.

Vladimir Yevseyev, the Director of the Center for Social and Political Studies, exclusively for the online magazine  ”New Eastern Outlook”.

As he has demonstrated by his bellicose rhetoric on Syria, John Kerry has made complete his 180-degree transition from an anti-war Vietnam veteran who in 1971 threw his navy medals back onto the White House lawn and who testified to Congress on the immorality of war, to a belligerent warrior without a cause.

Tracing the causes of this shift is perhaps pointless, but a comparison between the 1971-Kerry and the 2013-Kerry will reveal the corrupting influence of the combination of money and power with its necessary consequence of surrendering what Kerry himself calls one’s “moral compass.” This article does not intend to attack John Kerry as a person. I respect and even like John Kerry. But Kerry is a significant and interesting example of how one operates when they surrender their moral compass and take instead the path to power over principle. Let us look at three facts that correlate with this shift. 

First, his change of mind regarding the morality of war correlates with his investment in war machinery. Here is Kerry in 1971 congressional testimony: “We fought using weapons against “oriental human beings.” We fought using weapons against those people which I do not believe this country would dream of using were we fighting in the European theater.” Here he is in 2013: Among lawmakers on Capitol Hill, John Kerry has the most money invested in defense contractors, up to $38,209,020. This includes the significant investments in Raytheon and in General Electric, both of whom are major players in the U.S. war machine. Kerry decided in January to set aside his stock in these companies as a prerequisite to becoming secretary of state. Additionally, Kerry’s support for chemical companies such as Dow Chemicals and Monsanto (who manufactured the Agent Orange Kerry said he knew was being used while he was in Vietnam) is now well known (see for more).

 Second, the process of his functioning as a small cog in the war machine in Vietnam to functioning as a big cog in the Empire correlates with Kerry changing the direction of his moral compass from moral principles and the value of individual civilian lives and interests, to the interests of empire’s power. In 1971, what Kerry said is worth quoting at length:

We feel [that] what threatens this country, [is] not the reds, but the crimes which we are committing that threaten it, that we have to speak out….We saw Vietnam ravaged equally by American bombs and search and destroy missions, as well as by Viet Cong terrorism – and yet we listened while this country tried to blame all of the havoc on the Viet Cong.

We rationalized destroying villages in order to save them. We saw America lose her sense of morality as she accepted very coolly a My Lai and refused to give up the image of American soldiers who hand out chocolate bars and chewing gum. We watched pride allow the most unimportant battles to be blown into extravaganzas, because we couldn’t lose, and we couldn’t retreat…


We are here in Washington to say that the problem of this war is not just a question of war and diplomacy. It is part and parcel of everything that we are trying as human beings to communicate to people in this country – the question of racism which is rampant in the military, and so many other questions such as the use of weapons; the hypocrisy in our taking umbrage at the Geneva Conventions and using that as justification for a continuation of this war when we are more guilty than any other body of violations of those Geneva Conventions; in the use of free fire zones, harassment interdiction fire, search and destroy missions, the bombings, the torture of prisoners, all accepted policy by many units in South Vietnam.


Now, here is Kerry on the morality of war in 2013:

There is a reason why President Obama has made clear to the Assad regime that this international norm cannot be violated without consequences.

Never mind that the discrepancy between Kerry’s words, Obama’s words, and the ongoing use of chemical weapons by the U.S. in Iraq and in other countries, along with the supreme crime of aggression in violation of international law, has been well-documented by now. The only consequences that matter to the “Kerry of the Empire” are those to be suffered by nations who are in the sites of the empire’s war machine:

I spoke on Thursday with Syrian Foreign Minister Muallem, and I made it very clear to him that if the regime, as he argued, had nothing to hide, then their response should be immediate, immediate transparency, immediate access, not shelling. Their response needed to be unrestricted and immediate access.

The Empire makes demands. It does not justify its demands. As if to underscore this observation, in a speech on May 23, Kerry stated:

In the event that we can’t find that way forward, in the event that the Assad regime is unwilling to negotiate Geneva I in good faith, we will also talk about our continued support and growing support for the opposition in order to permit them to continue to be able to fight for the freedom of their country.

Yet, the same Geneva Convention requires countries to engage in responsible behavior, including not arming those who engage in “willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.”

Further, Kerry stated in a recent speech:

Anyone who could claim that an attack of this staggering scale could be contrived or fabricated needs to check their conscience and their own moral compass. What is before us today is real, and it is compelling.

If only Kerry hadn’t thrown his moral compass onto the White House lawn along with his metals, he might have been a moral brake on Obama’s aggressiveness toward Syria. If the U.N. can conclude that the chemical attacks that occurred in Syria back in April were done by the rebels, thus demonstrating the lies engaged in by the U.S. (including Kerry) to be try to pin it on the Assad government, then there is no reason that the current evidence is more “compelling” and “moral” now than it was then. Yet Kerry said nothing back in May when U.S. accusations turned out to be a lie. Further, false flags for war are obviously not unheard of in U.S. history, whether it is the Gulf of Tonkin or the use 9/11 to rev up the U.S. Empire’s war machine.

Third, Kerry’s shift from morality to Empire correlates with a shift from factually-founded moral arguments to purely emotional appeal. Here is Kerry in 1971:

In our opinion and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom, which those misfits supposedly abuse, is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy, and it is that kind of hypocrisy which we feel has torn this country apart.

We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.

And here is Kerry from 2013:

Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard, it is inexcusable.

 Last night…I went back and I watched the videos, the videos that anybody can watch in the social media, and I watched them one more gut-wrenching time. It is really hard to express in words the human suffering that they lay out before us.

As a father, I can’t get the image out of my head of a man who held up his dead child, wailing, while chaos swirled around him, the images of entire families dead in their beds without a drop of blood or even a visible wound, bodies contorting in spasms, human suffering that we can never ignore or forget.

This is the way power is consolidated and used: not by rational and morally-principled arguments that allow the people to discuss such issues, but by propaganda tricks and appeals to emotion.

Let me reiterate that none of this makes John Kerry a bad man. But it does show us something about the trading of individual conscience for functioning in a high position of great power and in the service of a small number of elites. But if only Kerry would listen to his own words from 1971, the moral voices of the nation might well have the upper hand in the future to stop any further drive to war on the part of the Obama administration:

But all that they have done and all that they can do by this denial [of the “mistake” it was to invade Vietnam] is to make more clear than ever our own determination to undertake one last mission – to search out and destroy the last vestige of this barbaric war, to pacify our own hearts, to conquer the hate and fear that have driven this country these last ten years and more.

Short of doing just that, Mr. Kerry will go down in history as so many in our government leaders are doing: as a functionary of the Empire. If Secretary of State Kerry truly wants to be a world leader, he can unite people to further this goal of “conquering hate and fear” and helping us to live peaceably with other peoples.

Dr. Robert P. Abele holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Marquette University He is the author of three books: A User’s Guide to the USA PATRIOT Act (2005); The Anatomy of a Deception: A Logical and Ethical Analysis of the Decision to Invade Iraq (2009); Democracy Gone: A Chronicle of the Last Chapters of the Great American Democratic Experiment (2009). He contributed eleven chapters to the Encyclopedia of Global Justice, from The Hague: Springer Press (October, 2011). Dr. Abele is a professor of philosophy at Diablo Valley College, located in Pleasant Hill, California in the San Francisco Bay area. His web site is

La estrategia del caos

September 20th, 2013 by Marc Vandepitte

En estos días se está dando la matraca a la opinión pública con vistas a una intervención militar en Siria. Esta intervención ya llevaba mucho tiempo en el aire. La pregunta es saber por qué llega en este momento y, sobre todo, cuál es su objetivo. Marc Vandepitte trata de responder.

Crónica de una intervención anunciada

La estrategia elaborada con vistas a la intervención en Siria era previsible y, en realidad, conocida. Ya en abril de 2012 un alto consejero de Tony Blair indicaba la receta de esta intervención. Era importante que el ejército o el gobierno sobrepasaran un límite que fuera intolerable para la opinión pública extranjera. Cuatro meses después, en agosto de 2012, Obama indicaba cuál sería este límite: el uso de armas químicas o biológicas.

La amenaza se esgrimió con la regularidad de un metrónomo, pero nunca se concretizó. A mediados de junio Washington afirmaba por primera vez disponer de pruebas de que el ejército sirio había utilizado armas químicas. Basándose en esta supuesta prueba (que no apareció nunca) se prometió a los rebeldes un apoyo militar más importante.

Hoy no existen más pruebas y se puede dudar de que el ejército sirio haya realizado un ataque químico. Stratfor, un grupo de reflexión y de información privado muy cercano al establishmentestadounidense, declara al respecto: “Assad es un hombre despiadado. No dudaría en utilizar armas químicas si fuera necesario. Pero también es un hombre muy racional. Utilizaría las armas químicas únicamente si fuera la única opción que le quedara. En este momento resulta difícil ver qué situación desesperada le habría empujado a utilizar armas químicas y a arriesgarse a lo peor. Sus adversarios son igual de despiadados y se puede imaginar que utilicen armas químicas para forzar a Estados Unidos a intervenir y a derrocar a Assad. […] Es posible que la cantidad de víctimas sea muy inferior a la que se ha afirmado. Y es posible que se hayan falsificado algunas imágenes. Todo eso es posible, pero ignoramos simple y llanamente cuál es la verdad”.

Evidentemente, Estados Unidos todavía aportará pruebas. Pero después de las “sólidas pruebas” de armas de destrucción masiva en el Iraq de Saddam Hussein, sabemos cuál es la credibilidad de la Casa Blanca en este dominio.

Las razones de la intervención

La cuestión no es saber si se está preparando una intervención armada, puesto que ya existe desde hace tiempo. Desde que empezó la guerra civil, Estados Unidos está sobre el terreno con unas Unidades Especiales, lo mismo que ocurrió en Libia. Estas Unidades Especiales adiestran a los rebeldes, les suministran apoyo logístico, vigilan las entregas de armas de Qatar y de Arabia Saudí, y posiblemente preparan una intervención o unos bombardeos a gran escala.

Es poco probable la intervención de tropas de tierra; si hubiera sido una opción ya se habría hecho hace tiempo. El Pentágono es perfectamente consciente de que el ejército sirio es un enemigo temible y de que sería inconcebible un nuevo fracaso después de Afganistán e Iraq.

Más bien parece que se tratará de un ataque con misiles, supuestamente para castigar al ejército sirio por haber empleado armas químicas, para prevenir que se repita en el futuro. Otro objetivo sería destruir el arsenal de armas químicas.

Todo esto parece poco convincente. La formulación de estos objetivos debe servir para engatusar a la opinión pública y para legitimar una entrada en escena militar. Las verdaderas razones de la operación militar hay que buscarlas más bien en las últimas evoluciones de la guerra civil. Hay dos cosas importantes: por una parte, la nueva relación de fuerzas entre el ejército y los rebeldes, y, por otra, la evolución de la relación de fuerzas en el seno de las milicias.

Empecemos por el segundo punto. Los yihadistas van prevaleciendo en el seno de las milicias. Las milicias más “eficaces” están actualmente vinculadas a Al-Qaeda. Por consiguiente, si se expulsa a Assad del poder, Siria corre peligro de caer en manos de un régimen yihadista ultra-radical. Estados Unidos y más aún el vecino Israel excluyen esta opción. Esto significa que para Washington, Assad es actualmente el mal menor y que no es deseable su liquidación en las circunstancias actuales. Pero esto no quiere decir que quieran dejar a Assad actuar como desee, por el contrario.

Esto nos lleva a la segunda razón. Con el apoyo de Irán y de Hizbolá el ejército sirio ha ganado mucho terreno a las milicias en estos últimos meses. Esta progresión no ha terminado y parece que el ejército sirio ha cobrado nuevo impulso. Esta es la razón por la que Obama empezó a hablar de armas químicas ya desde principios de junio junto con la promesa de proporcionar a las milicias armas más pesadas y en mayor cantidad.

Es poco probable que Assad pueda dar el golpe definitivo contra las milicias a corto plazo, pero su posición no está menos reforzada y la tendencia parece mantenerse. Por consiguiente, en unas posibles conversaciones de paz Assad podría hacer inclinar la balanza a su favor. A Estados Unidos no le gusta esto. Puede que tolere a Assad como el mal menor, pero desde luego no como el más fuerte. Así, los bombardeos no están destinados a aplastar al ejército sirio sino más bien a debilitarlo lo suficiente.

El fracaso de las guerras en Iraq y Afganistán demuestra claramente que Estados Unidos ahora ya no es capaz de modelar Oriente Próximo a su manera. Como corre peligro de perder cada vez más su influencia, razona en los siguientes términos: “si no puedo controlarlo yo mismo, entonces nadie más puede”. Esta es la razón por la que se puede calificar de estrategia del caos.

Texto original:

obama-syriaIntervention militaire en Syrie : la stratégie du chaos, 03 de Septiembre 2013

Traducido del francés para Rebelión por Beatriz Morales Bastos.

Rebelión ha publicado este artículo con el permiso del autor mediante una licencia de Creative Commons, respetando su libertad para publicarlo en otras fuentes.

FBI Infiltrator in Anti-War Movement

September 20th, 2013 by Mick Kelly

“Karen Sullivan” (right) with her associate “Daniela Cardenas”. (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN – With the third anniversary of the FBI raids on anti-war and international solidarity activists approaching on Sept. 24, we are reprinting the above photo of “Karen Sullivan” (right) with her associate, “Daniela Cardenas.” These agents are dangerous to progressive activists. If you see them or are in contact with them, make their presence known to others in the peace and justice movements.

Starting a few months before the protests against the 2008 Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, a law enforcement officer going by the name “Karen Sullivan” infiltrated the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee (AWC). She joined the AWC in April 2008 and about a year later she joined the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Her associate “Daniela Cardenas” then appeared on the scene.

Conversations between attorneys for the raided anti-war and international solidarity activists and the U.S. Attorneys Office in Chicago have confirmed that these professional liars did their best to put a criminal cast on protected political activity.

These two, along with their higher-ups, are responsible for causing the raids on the homes of anti-war and international solidarity activists in the Twin Cities and Chicago and for the wave of grand jury subpoenas – 23 in all – that were served on progressive activists. Using their lies, the government is attempting to manufacture a case alleging “material support of terrorism.” These two posed as friends and political colleagues, while working full time to destroy progressive and revolutionary organizations.

All of the activists involved refused to testify in these McCarthyite grand jury proceedings and have continued to build resistance to these attacks on civil liberties.

On Sept. 24, the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression will be holding a rally under the slogan, “Three Years Too Many! End the Investigation of Anti-War and International Solidarity Activists Now!” The rally will take place at the Minneapolis Federal Building, 300 South 4th Street, at 4:30 pm.

In a statement promoting the rally, organizers say, “Since 9/11 national security has been used to justify wars abroad and attacks on civil liberties at home. In September 2010, FBI agents raided the homes and offices of Minneapolis and Chicago peace activists, investigating them for ‘material support for terrorism.’ Demand an end to the bogus investigation and unite against the growing wave of political repression. Stand with the anti-war 23, targeted Arabs and Muslims like the Holy Land 5, jailed people’s attorney Lynne Stewart and whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.”

الإحجام البريطاني في سورية

September 20th, 2013 by Fida Dakroub


إثارة المجموعات العرقية والدينية ضد بعضها، العرب ضد الفرس، الأكراد ضد العرب، المسلمين ضد المسيحيين، السنة ضد الشيعة.. استخدام هذا لقمع ذاك، والسهر هكذا على الحفاظ على مصالحها الإستراتيجية في الشرق وعلى نهب موارد المنطقة، الطبيعية والبترولية، كان ذلك فن القوى الغربية والقناصل والدبلوماسيين في الشرق الأوسط، وآثارهم، منذ القرن التاسع عشر إلى يومنا هذا..
سوف ندرس في البداية أوجه التوازي بين الإحجام البريطاني عن التدخل عسكريا في سورية وامتناع فرنسا عن المشاركة في غزو العراق عام 2003. في مقال ثان، سنناقش الآثار المترتبة عن اكتشاف النفط والغاز في البحر الأبيض المتوسط بين قبرص وسورية وتركية واليونان ولبنان وإسرائيل. وفي مقال ثالث، سنحلل موازين القوى التي أُحدثت في المنطقة بعد هزيمة إسرائيل في حرب لبنان الثانية عام 2006.
إحجام بريطانيا العظمى عن التدخل عسكريا في سورية
يبدو لنا، اليوم، أن بريطانيا تتميز، في هذا الصدد، وبالنظر إلى الأسبوعين الماضيين فقط، رفض البرلمان البريطاني اقتراحا قدمه رئيس الوزراء ديفيد كاميرون دافع فيه عن مبدأ التدخل العسكري في سورية ، بذريعة استخدام الجيش السوري الأسلحةَ الكيميائية “من الواضح أن البرلمان البريطاني لا يريد التدخل العسكري البريطاني. أسجل، والحكومة ستتصرف بالنتيجة”، هكذا كان رد ديفيد كاميرون بعد التصويت، مضيفا انه “متقيد باحترام إرادة مجلس العموم”(1).
في الواقع، رئيس الوزراء البريطاني، الذي يتمظهر بكامل الشجاعة في كل الظروف، لا يقبل معارضة إرادة الشعب ولا إرادة الأمة -اللتين عبرت عنهما إرادة مجلس العموم- وليس عن عجز، بل عن طيب خاطر وبكرم، لأنه يريد أن يجعلنا نعتقد أنه “من الأفضل أن يكون المرء منصفا من أن يكون جائرا”(2)، وأن “الخير هو ذلك الذي نحبه لذاته”، كما قال غلوكونGlaucon (3).
ومع ذلك، فإن الأسباب الكامنة وراء تصويت مجلس العموم على رفض التدخل العسكري في سورية، وكذا وراء قرار رئيس الوزراء البريطاني، ديفيد كاميرون، بـ”احترام إرادته”، لا يمكن تفسيرها في سياق ملاحظة أولى لـ”غلوكون”، أي “الخير هو ذاك الذي نحبه كما هو”، بل في سياق ملاحظته الثالثة  القائلة بأن ”الخير هو ذلك الذي لا نحبه إلا لنتائجه”. بعبارة أخرى في سياق موازين القوى واتفاقات التقسيم الاستعماري ومصالح إستراتيجية للدول المشاركة في الحرب على سورية، فإن امتناع ديفيد كاميرون عن التدخل عسكريا في سورية لا يفسر بوصفه احتراما للديمقراطية، بل كحساب للمكاسب والخسائر من مغامرة قد تكون تبعاتها أصعب من المنافع، ومعدل الخسارة أعلى من الأرباح.
أربع علامات استفهام
حتى نفهم امتناع ديفيد كاميرون عن التدخل عسكريا في سورية، نتطرق بالتوازي إلى امتناع جاك شيراك عن المشاركة في التدخل العسكري في العراق في عام 2003. نطرح هنا أسئلة أساسية قد تساعدنا على توضيح سياق الامتناعين:
1 -  ما هو سبب امتناع فرنسا عن التدخل العسكري في العراق عام 2003، في حين سارعت إلى التلويح بحرب على سورية عام 2013؟
2 – ما هي دوافع السيد جاك شيراك – سلام عليه- لعدم إسراج جواده مع الأمريكان في العراق؟ أعن محبة أم عن تلطف ومجاملة؟ للتذكير، فقد كرر السيد جاك شيراك لجميع محاوريه -جموع الصحفيين او الضيوف الأجانب- أنْ “لا شيء يبرر اليوم حربا على العراق”، موازيا بين الـ100 مليار التي تتطلبها الحرب والـ100 مليون دولار المتعذرة، لمكافحة السيدا –الإيدز- في أفريقيا(4).
3 – في أي سياق سارع السيد توني بلير –حماه الله من تعويذات المرابطين- إلى “تحرير” الشعب العراقي في عام 2003، وإرساء “السلام والرخاء والديمقراطية ” في العراق -وأقترح هنا الاطلاع على قاموس متضادات جيد- في حين أن خلفه، ديفيد كاميرون، يبدو أكثر التزاما بـ”احترام إرادة مجلس العموم في عام 2013″؟.
4 – ما كانت مصلحة فرنسا في  انخراطها، أول الآمر، في اليونيفيل بعد اجتياح إسرائيل للبنان أول مرة في عام 1978، ثم في قوات الأمن المتعددة الجنسيات في بيروت بعد اجتياح إسرائيل للبنان ثاني مرة عام 1982، وأخيرا في زيادة قواتها في اليونيفيل بعد حرب تموز 2006 بين إسرائيل ولبنان، بينما ظلت بريطانيا بعيدة عن كل مهام “السلام” هذه؟
بالتأكيد، لا يـُفسر الجواب على كل هذه الأسئلة بطيبة السيد شيراك ولا برقـّة السيد كاميرون، ولكن، أولا: من تبعات اتفاق سايكس بيكو(5) عام 1916 الذي فكك أوصال المقاطعات الشرقية الناطقة بالعربية من الدولة العثمانية إلى مناطق فرنسية ومناطق بريطانية. ثانيا: اكتشافات الغاز الحديثة في شرق البحر المتوسط. ثالثا، ميزان القوة الذي ساد المنطقة بعد هزيمة إسرائيل في حرب لبنان الثانية في جويلية-تموز 2006.
تجزيء المقاطعات العربية الشرقية من الإمبراطورية العثمانية
ما نحاول التأسيس له هنا هو -على وجه التحديد- هو معرفة حدث تاريخي ذي دلالة في تاريخ الشرق الأدنى، وتأثيره على الأحداث الحالية في سورية، واستنطاق الخارطة الجيو-سياسية في الشرق الأدنى، لقد رسمت حدود الدول الحالية في خضم الحرب العالمية الأولى (1914 – 1918)، حسب تقسيم استعماري، نتج عن عدد من الاتفاقات والمعاهدات التي فرضتها فرنسا وبريطانيا، القوتان الاستعماريتان العظيمتان في ذلك الوقت، مثل اتفاق سايكس بيكو (1916)، وعد بلفور (1917)، ومؤتمر السلام (1919)، ومعاهدة سيفر (1920) ومعاهدة لوزان (1923). أعادت القوتان الامبرياليتان العظميان في تلك الحقبة رسم الحدود الداخلية والخارجية للمقاطعات الشرقية العربية من الإمبراطورية العثمانية، وفق ما تقتضيه مصالحهما الاستعمارية الخاصة، وليس مصالح الشعوب المحتلة (طبعا). لقد قسمت المحافظات المذكورة إلى مناطق فرنسية وأخرى بريطانية:
1-     منطقة فرنسية بإدارة مباشرة، تضم لبنان الحالي وكيليكيا؛
2-    منطقة عربية “أ”، تحت النفوذ الفرنسي، تضم شمال سورية  الحالية ومحافظة الموصل؛
3-    منطقة بريطانية بإدارة مباشرة مكونة من الكويت الحالية وبلاد ما بين النهرين؛
4-    منطقة عربية “ب”، تحت النفوذ البريطاني، تضم جنوب سورية الحالية، الأردن الحالي، وفلسطين التي ستوضع تحت الوصاية مستقبلا؛
5-    منطقة مدارة الدولية وتضم  سان جان عكا وحيفا والقدس. وللمملكة المتحدة السيطرة على حيفا وعكا(6).
واليوم، قرنا بعد اتفاقية سايكس بيكو، لا يزال الشرق الأدنى يعاني آثار التقسيم الاستعماري وعواقبه، رغم خطاب قادة الدول الغربية الخيري، وفي عز إفلاس الخطاب “التحريري” من دكتاتوريي العالم العربي. مئة سنة من اتفاق سايكس بيكو، تظهر فرنسا مرة أخرى أكثر استعمارية من أي وقت مضى، وخطابها إنساني أكثر من أي وقت مضى.
مثـَل كامرون كمـَثل شيراك
نحاول –آخذين بالاعتبار حدث سايكس بيكو التاريخي- أن نفهم إحجام السيد شيراك عن احتلال العراق في عام 2003 وكذا إحجام السيد كاميرون عن مهاجمة سورية في عام 2013. ويبدو لنا أكثر حصافة أن نقول أن السيد شيراك لم يتخذ موقفه من العراق عن حب للخير -”كحب الذئاب للحملان” (أفلاطون، فيدروس)- بل حذرا من تدخل في مناطق نهب استعماري حيث الكلاب هناك أكثر من العظام، وهذا يعني أن العراق لا يدخل ضمن منطقة النهب الاستعماري الممنوحة لفرنسا ضمن احترام لاتفاقية سايكس بيكو، بل في منطقة النهب الاستعماري التي تعود إلى بريطانيا. بالإضافة، ومن وجهة نظر لغوية، لا يدخل العراق في منطقة السيطرة والنفوذ الفرانكفوني في الشرق الأدنى المتضمنة لبنان وسورية(7)، ما يعني أنه لم يكن للفرنسيين الكثير من المصالح أو امتيازات النهب الاستعماري في هذا البلد كي يركبوا خيولهم لـ”تحريره” من طاغيته نبوخذ نصر صدام حسين. بالمقابل، يعتبر البريطانيون أنفسهم “الورثة الشرعيين” لسرقة العراق ونهبه، هذه “الشرعية” أكسبتهم إياها اتفاقية سايكس بيكو.
وفيما يتعلق بامتناع بريطانيا عن التدخل عسكريا في سورية  وهرولة فرنسا لركوب حملة صليبية جديدة، نتطرق أيضا بالتوازي إلى امتناع الفرنسيين وهرولة البريطانيين عشية غزو العراق عام 2003. إن فرنسا تعتبر لبنان وسورية منطقة نفوذها الخاصة ومنطقة نهبها الاستعماري، وبالنتيجة، لا تجد بريطانيا أن مصالحها مهددة مباشرة في المنطقة التي كانت تاريخيا منطقة نفوذ فرنسي، لذلك ليس مستعجلا أمر تدخل عسكري، وتحديدا في هذا السياق. قد يكون مجديا، في هذا المعنى، إعادة النظر في اتفاقية سايكس بيكو (1916) ومعاهدة سيفر (1920) لبناء فكرة أكثر اتضاحا عن التقسيم والسرقة الاستعمارية التي طالت الشرق الأوسط.
والحال كذلك، تكبد النفوذ الفرنسي في المنطقة ثلاث خسائر خلال النصف الثاني من القرن العشرين: خسارة أولى عام 1963 مع تقلد حزب البعث زمام السلطة في سورية، أسفرت عن خروج هذا البلد عن منطقة النفوذ الفرنسي. خسارة ثانية مع هجمات 23 أكتوبر 1983، التي ضربت القوات الفرنسية والأمريكية في بيروت. وخسارة ثالثة مع غزو الجيش السوري المناطق المسيحية من لبنان في 13 أكتوبر 1990، ووضع البلد تحت عباءة الرئيس السوري حافظ الأسد في خضم حرب الكويت. وبعبارة أخرى، فرنسا الاستعمارية، التي لم تستطع أن تهضم العار الذي لحقها جراء فقدانها مناطق نفوذها في الشرق الأدنى، لا تسعى إلى معاقبة الرئيس بشار الأسد، بل إلى معاقبة سورية والشعب السوري، في محاولة جديدة لإدخالهما مرة أخرى تحت ثوبها الاستعماري ذي الألوان الثلاثة. ففي هذا السياق يمكن تفسير امتناع كاميرون عن التدخل عسكريا في سورية موازاة مع امتناع شيراك عن التدخل عسكريا في العراق عام 2003.. مَثل كامرون كمَثل شيراك.
الدكتورة: فداء دكروب
ترجمة: خالدة مختار بوريجي
(1) – على المباشر: البرلمان البريطاني لا يريد تدخلا في سورية (29 أوت-آب 2013)/ معاد: ليبيراسيون.
(2) - نفي بداية الحوار الذي جرى بين ثراسيماخوس وسقراط، قال الأول: “أتسعد، يا سقراط، بأن تبدو قد أقنعتنا، أم أنك تريد حقا إقناعنا، على أية حال، فمن الأفضل ان نكون عادلين على ان نكون غير ذلك”. أفلاطون. (1963). الجمهورية (R.Baccou)، باريس: مكتبة الاخوة غارنيي، الكتاب الثاني، ص. 41.
(3) – غلوكون أثينا (409 – 389 ق.م) فيلسوف وموسيقي، تلميذ سقراط والاخ الاصغر لأفلاطون. احد متحاوري سقراط الرئيسين في “جمهورية” أفلاطون، وخاصة في الجزء الثاني. ميز ثلاثة أنواع من الخير: ذاك الذي نحبه لذاته،  ذاك الذي نحبه لذاته ولنتائجه، وذاك الذي لا نحبه الا لنتائجه.
(4) – لوبوان،14. 02. 2003.  شيراك، بوش: الازمة.
(5) – بعد عمل تحضيري رسالي دام عدة أشهر بين بول كامبون، سفير فرنسا في لندن، والسير إدوارد غراي، وزير الدولة في وزارة الخارجية، تم إبرام اتفاقية سايكس بيكو بين فرنسا والمملكة المتحدة، بين السير مارك سايكس وفرانسوا جورج بيكو، 16 ماي 1916. نص الاتفاق على تجزيء بلاد المشرق وبلاد ما بين النهرين، على نحو أدق، المنطقة الواقعة بين البحر الأسود والبحر الأبيض المتوسط والبحر الأحمر والمحيط الهندي وبحر قزوين، جزء من الإمبراطورية العثمانية. المصدر: دكروب، فداء. (22 ماي 2013).. العناصر الجيو-سياسية للحرب الإمبريالية على سورية: نظام الشرق الأوسط القديم.
(6) - لورنس، هنري . (2003، ابريل-نيسان). كيف تفككت الإمبراطورية العثمانية. لوموند ديبلوماتيك، ص 16-17.
(7) - لبنان عضو في المنظمة العالمية للفرانكوفونية. كانت الفرانكوفونية كلية فيه قبل الحرب الأهلية (1975-1990). الفرنسية هي اللغة الرسمية الثانية في لبنان بعد العربية. في سورية، كان للفرنسية وجود قوي حتى مجيء حزب البعث إلى السلطة عام 1963 حيث بدأت سياسة تعريب التربية والتعليم.
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SQM Saltpetre Facility. Photo: turbotorbs. Used under Creative Commons license

Julio Ponce, the billionaire owner of Sociedad Quimica & Minera de Chile (SQM), faces ten years in prison for insider trading. A beneficiary of former dictator General Augusto Pinochet, Ponce is charged with buying company shares at below market prices and selling them at a profit.

SQM – often referred to as Soquimich – is one of the world’s biggest producers of potassium nitrate, iodine and lithium which it produces with raw materials sourced from its caliche ore and brine mines in the Atacama desert. Originally a state enterprise, SQM was privatized by Pinochet in 1988 at the bargain basement price of $120 million on the advice of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The man in charge of privatization in Chile was Ponce, who trained as a forestry engineer, but had the good fortune of marrying Veronica Pinochet, the daughter of the president. Pinochet appointed Ponce to the board of SQM before it was privatized.

Call it business savvy plus political connections on overdrive,” writes Erin Carlyle at Forbes magazine.

Ponce became president of the privatized nitrate company in 1987. Several of his relatives became major stockholders and had positions on the board of directors of the company.

Today SQM is worth $9.2 billion. Ponce has 84.1 million shares in the company, according to SQM filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) making him worth $3.3 billion.

“It is obvious that Ponce Lerou’s family ties and public posts helped him to put together the prosperous economic state that he enjoys today,” Maria Olivia Monckeberg, author of “The Looting of the Chilean State by the Economic Groups,” told the New York Times. “He created a network of relatives and business partners that came to occupy the highest posts in some of the most important state companies, not just Soquimich, but also the state-owned copper and steel companies.”

The Chilean taxpayer was not as fortunate, write Joseph Collins and John Lear in Multinational Monitor in 1991.

“Revenues from sales of public corporations provided one-time boosts to the government budget, allowing Pinochet the luxury of balancing the budget from 1986 through 1988, pleasing the IMF, making timely payments to foreign creditor banks and even cutting taxes,” write Collins and Lear. “However, since the companies sold had produced revenues for the government rather than deficits, such gains were brief and illusory.”

Today Ponce and his friends have continued to profit from the company, say Moneda Asset Management, a minority shareholder in SQM. They allege that Ponce and his friends conducted over 100 irregular purchases of shares between 2009 and 2011, which they used to make over $100 million in profits.

For example, Bloomberg writes that on March 29, 2011, Soc. de Inversiones Oro Blanco SA (a company controlled by Ponce) sold 163 million Soc. de Inversiones Pampa Calichera SA shares at 726 pesos, 10 percent below the previous day’s price, to Norte Grande and SQ Inversiones. On November 7 of the same year, Potasios de Chile SA bought 151 million shares in Calichera for 1064.53 pesos while SQ Inversiones sold 137 million at 1065 pesos.

Ponce has until the end of this month to explain the trades. Also charged are Aldo Motta, chief executive of Norte Grande and Roberto Guzman, an advisor to Ponce.

Syria: Evidence Shows Insurgents Responsible for Gas Attack

September 20th, 2013 by Stephen Lendman

On September 18, Russia Today (RT) headlined “Russia to provide UNSC with data for chem weapons’ use by Syrian rebels.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said:

“We have plenty of reports on chemical weapons use, which indicate that the opposition regularly resorts to provocations in order to trigger strikes and intervention against Syria.”

“There’s a lot of data. It’s widely available on the Internet. This data is presented in the report, which our experts put together in association with the use of chemical weapons in Aleppo in March this year.”

“Theres also plenty of data on the incidents that occurred in August in Ghouta, near Damascus.”

“All of this will be considered in the Security Council, together with a report, which was submitted by UN experts, confirming that chemical weapons were used.”

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov spent two days in Damascus. He met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem and President Bashar al-Assad.

Voice of Russia headlined “Damascus provides Russia with new info on Syrian opposition’s use of chemical weapons – Ryabkov.”

Syria provided “very convincing” evidence, he said. It shows insurgents’ responsibility for Ghouta’s gas attack.

“There is some confusion in this regard,” said Ryabkov. “We received additional proof, which had been gathered and analyzed by the Syrian authorities.”

“They consider it to be evidence of chemical weapons use by the so-called Syrian opposition in eastern Ghouta on the 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th.”

“The material received, given to us in Arabic, will be translated into Russian. What kind of conclusions can Russia draw?”

“This will be studied in detail and without hurry. I assure that this could change the course of further talks.”

“As for possible conclusions that may be drawn by Russia from this new evidence.”

“It’s a case that requires further scrutiny. It will take some time and should be done without haste.”

“This evidence was previously given to (UN inspectors head) Mr. Selstrem, who was here in Syria and headed the group of experts.”

His report is “limited in terms of scope, preliminary and insufficient. It’s not “grounds for far-reaching conclusions.”

“We come across the situation often when materials prepared by UN experts and released by the UN secretariat are not grounds for sufficient, comprehensive and far-reaching summaries.”

Ryabkov added that Security Council resolution language should cover only Syria agreeing to eliminate its chemical weapons. Force threats won’t be permitted.

It should support an expected Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) decision backing the US/Russian deal, “and nothing more than that.”

Lavrov said he hasn’t seen evidence Syria supplied, “but I’m sure that the experts are going to work with it and, of course, we’ll provide it to the security council.”

According to Russia’s Presidential Administration Chief of Staff Sergei Ivanov, Moscow and the USSR never supplied chemical weapons to other countries.

“Nobody disputes the fact (it ever) shipped warheads armed with sarin to Syria or any other country.” Toxic agents used in Ghouta were likely “backyard produced.”

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel accused Russia of supplying Damascus with chemical weapons. He and other US officials lied.

On September 19, Itar Tass headlined “Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister meets Syrian opposition in Damascus.”

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said Moscow “is ready to submit evidence of Syrian opposition using chemical weapons to the UN on Thursday.”

“We plan to do is as quickly as possible, tonight or tomorrow,” he said. “We expect all available information, not just one investigation into one incident, will be taken into consideration.”

Bogdanov met with Popular Front for Change and Liberation’s Qadri Jamil, as well as Syrian National Council officials.

He called it important to do so. Resolving Syria’s conflict requires their cooperation.

“We are ready to organize contacts not only with the opposition, but also between the opposition groups, maybe in Moscow,” Bogdanov added.

On September 19, Russia Today headlined” “Russia: UN inspectors ignored evidence on Syria,” saying:

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told RT:

“The Syrian authorities have conducted their own sampling and investigation, analysis in terms of possible evidence of the rebels being responsible for the tragic episodes both on August 21, but beyond that also on August 22, 23 and 24.

“This is new material – new material for us. But this is not already completely new material for the UN.”

“This material was discreetly handed over to Ake Sellstrom, the head of the UN mission of experts here (in Syria) which came to investigate the Ghouta incidents.”

“Sellstrom was asked to look into it and eventually factor this new evidence into the final report. It never happened in fact.”

“This is one of the reasons why we criticize the speed with which the report was released and also an incomplete content of this report.”

“We expect the UN Secretariat to both send Sellstrom and his people back to Syria to continue investigation of the three remaining incidents, and also to write a full and comprehensive report against the background of all information they have received.”

Ryabkov’s concerned about Syrian/Russian provided evidence being “nullified and disregarded.”

UN inspectors should follow the same procedure Russia did in analyzing a March Aleppo chemical attack. It showed insurgents responsible for chemical weapons use.

Ryabkov wants Sellstrom’s team to return to Syria. He wants their investigation continued. He wants a legitimate, unbiased report. The one submitted was, one-sided, fraudulent and worthless.

“We are concerned about (further) provocations, Ryabkov stressed. We have seen it before that the moment something better, positive is out there, is looming, you will always find (elements) who would try immediately to change these dynamics and establish a new reality, so to say, through a provocation.”

“And it’s just amazing how little of this understanding is among those who now advocate a very different course fighting the government with weapons in their hands.”

“It’s unforgivable. This is the real crime which they are committing against their own people and their country.”

On Tuesday, Fox News contributor/former congressman Dennis Kucinich and journalist Greg Palkot interviewed Assad in Damascus. He said in part:

“Last week we joined the international agreement of preventing chemical WMDs, and part of this agreement, the main part, is to not to manufacture these armaments, not to store, and not to use, and of course not to distribute, and part of it is to get rid of those materials, the chemical materials.”

“Of course, when we are part now of this agreement, we have to agree on that chapter (o)n getting rid of all these armaments. I mean to destroy them.”

Ten years ago, he said, he proposed a WMD-free Middle East. Washington opposed it. Letting Israel maintain formidable nuclear, chemical and biological weapons reflects US policy.

Asked if joining the Chemical Weapons Convention is a stalling tactic, Assad responded:

“When you join the agreement, you have a mechanism, and you have to obey this mechanism, and according to the history of Syria, we never made an agreement with any party in this world and we didn’t fulfill what we have to do or our role in that agreement, never.”

“We didn’t say that we are joining partially that agreement or that organization. We joined fully. We sent the letter. We sent the document, and (we) are committed to the full requirements of this agreement.”

Asked if he can destroy CWs quickly, and if not, why, he responded:

“I think it’s a very complicated operation technically, and it needs a lot of money. Some estimated about a billion for the Syrian stockpile.”

“We’re not experts in that regard, but that’s the estimate that we’ve had recently.”

“So, you have to ask the experts what do they mean by ‘quickly’ because this has a certain schedule. It needs a year, maybe a little bit less or a little bit more. So, what do you mean by ‘quickly?’ ”

He’s willing to let America destroy his CWs if it’ll pay for it. A “specified” UN organization will handle the task.

Syria has no conditions, Assad said. “In the end, if they’re going to be destroyed, they could be destroyed anywhere.”

“As I said, (they’re) very detrimental to the environment, so whichever country is ready to take risk of these materials let them take it.”

Asked if destroying his CWs by mid-2014 is doable, he said:

“(W)e have to discuss these details with the organization first. This is first. Second, the time is not our problem.”

“It is the problem of the organization. How much time (they) need to implement this agreement.”

“The only thing we have to do is provide the information, and to make them accessible to our sites, which is not a problem. We can do it tomorrow. We don’t have any problem.”

“The problem is how fast they can be in getting rid of any chemical material, because this is a very complicated situation. It’s not about will. It’s about techniques. So, only experts can answer your question.”

Assad want evidence UN inspectors reported fully assessed. He wants further investigation. He wants unbiased analysis. He wants conclusions based on it.

He questioned suspect videos. No one verified them. They’re easy to fake.

Mother Agnes Mariam de La Croix’s International Support Team for Mussalaha in Syria (ISTEAMS) reported fabricated ones. They’re commonly used. They were used against Gaddafi in Libya. They’ll be used again.

Assad stressed there’s “a lot of forgery on the internet. Any rebel can make sarin. (It’s called) kitchen gas. (W)e know that all those rebels are supported by governments, so any government (with) chemical material can hand it over to” insurgents.

Responding to allegations of a ton of sarin used, as well as rockets and launchers Syria’s army uses, he said:

“This realistically cannot be possible. You cannot use the Sarin beside your troops, this is first.”

“Second, you don’t use WMDs while you are advancing. You’ve not been defeated, and you’re not retreating.”

“The whole situation was in favour of the army. Third, we didn’t use (CWs) when we had bigger problems last year.”

“When they talk about any troops or any unit in the Syrian army that used this kind of weapon, this is false for one reason because chemical weapons can only be used by specialized units.”

“It cannot be used by any other units like infantry or similar traditional units. So, all what you mentioned is not realistic and not true.”

“Definitely, so far as government, we have evidence that the terrorist groups have used Sarin gas and those evidences have been handed over to the Russians.”

“The Russian satellites, since the beginning of these allegations at the 21st of August, they said that they have information through their satellites that the rocket was launched from another area.”

So, why ignore this point of view? So, the whole story doesn’t even hold together. It’s not realistic.”

“In one word, we didn’t use any chemical weapons in the Ghouta, because if you want to use it, you would harm your troops. You would have harmed tens of thousands of civilians living in Damascus.”

Assad wants further investigations. He invited UN inspectors to come in March. He asked them to come back.

More work needs to be done. Other areas need examining. Washington pressured Sellstrom to report quickly. He didn’t finish his mission. It’s suspect. It’s incomplete. It lacks credibility.

Full and accurate analysis shows insurgents alone used chemical weapons. They’re responsible for multiple incidents. They attacked Ghouta with gas. Syrian forces had nothing to do with it, Assad stressed.

Asked if he’d characterized ongoing conflict as civil war, he said:

“No. Civil war start(s) from within society. (Syria’s conflict has) 80 or 83 nationalities coming to fight within your countries supported by foreign countries.”

“What we have is not a civil war. What we have is a war, but it’s a new kind of war.”

“(N)o one has precise numbers. We know that we have tens of thousands of Jihadists” involved 80 to 90% of the rebels or terrorists on the ground are Al Qaeda and their offshoots.”

“We have tens of thousands of Syrians that have died, mainly because of the terrorist attacks, assassinations, and suicide bombers, the majority.”

“More than 15,000″ soldiers were killed, he said. He has no insurgent casualty numbers. “(W)e cannot count them,” he said.

“The majority of the innocent people have been killed by the terrorists, not by the government.”

“No wise government in the world would kill its own people. How can you withstand if you kill your own people for two years and a half, while the West is against you, many of the regional countries are against you, and your people are against you while you kill them? Is it possible? Is it realistic?”

Attacks on villages, residential and suburban areas target terrorists. “(T)he army has to go there to get rid of” them, Assad stressed.

“The army should defend the civilians, not the opposite. You cannot leave the terrorists free, killing the people, assassinating the people, beheading the people and eating their hearts.”

“When we go to defend them, you say you are killing your own people! You don’t, but in every war, you have casualties.”

“This is war. You don’t have clean war. You don’t have soft war, and you don’t have good war.”

Asked about diplomacy and confidence-building measures, he responded:

“Any diplomatic move without having stability and getting rid of the terrorists is going to be just an illusion.”

“Any diplomatic move should start with stopping the flow of the terrorists, the logistical support of those terrorists, the armament support and the money support.”

“Then, you have a full plan. The Syrians could sit on the table, discuss the future of Syria, the political system, the constitution and everything.”

Negotiating with opposition elements “doesn’t mean (doing it) with the terrorists.” Syria is fully committed to peaceful conflict resolution, Assad stressed.

National reconciliation excludes amnesty for terrorists. They have blood on their hands.

At the same time, he said, “we invited every militant in Syria to give up armament, and offered amnesty to whoever laid down his armament and wants to go back to his normal life as a Syrian citizen. Of course we believe in that.”

Assad covered much more important ground. His interview was long and detailed. Everything he said deserves careful consideration.

He’s thoughtful, straightforward, and honest. He says what he means and means what he says. He deserves to be taken seriously.

He priorities peaceful conflict resolution. He wants Syrians alone able to choose who’ll lead them.

He wants foreign intervention stopped. He wants bloodshed ended. Syrians overwhelmingly support him. It’s for good reason.

He’s their last line of defense. Restoring peace depends on him. Don’t expect Fox News to explain.

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

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

Visit his blog site at

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

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Iranian President Calls for Dialogue With the US

September 20th, 2013 by Peter Symonds

Newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani yesterday appealed for “constructive dialogue” in a bid to end US provocations, sanctions and threats over Iran’s nuclear program. Just last week, as he backed off from an immediate attack on Iran’s ally Syria, President Obama issued a new military threat against Tehran.

Writing in the Washington Post, Rouhani urged his international counterparts to “seize the opportunity presented by Iran’s recent election” and “respond genuinely to my government’s efforts to engage in constructive dialogue.” He continued: “The world had changed… Gone is the age of blood feuds. World leaders are expected to lead in turning threats into opportunities.”

Rouhani, who is due in New York for next week’s United Nations General Assembly meeting, reinforced his appeal in an interview broadcast yesterday on NBC News, describing a letter received from President Obama as “positive and constructive.” He countered Washington’s unsubstantiated claims that Iran was building a nuclear bomb, saying, “We have clearly stated that we are not in pursuit of nuclear weapons and will not be.”

Significantly, Rouhani told NBC News that his government had “full power” and “complete authority” to negotiate over the country’s nuclear program. This comment indicates that Rouhani has been given the green light to pursue such talks by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has ultimate control over the country’s foreign and defence policies. Earlier this week, Khamenei hinted at approval for negotiations, declaring that “flexibility” was “sometimes a very good and necessary move.”

Rouhani’s comments are part of a diplomatic offensive aimed at ending US-led sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy and warding off a threatened US military attack. The new Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zafir, met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday and hosted a luncheon on Wednesday for UN ambassadors, inviting the permanent members of the UN Security Council, including the US. In a further concession, Iran released 11 political prisoners on Wednesday.

Zafir sought to distance the new Iranian government from the Holocaust denials of former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declaring in a Facebook exchange with US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi that Iran had never denied the Nazi murder of Jews. “The man who was perceived to be denying it, Ahmadinejad, is now gone,” he said. Both Rouhani and Zarif tweeted greetings on the Jewish New Year earlier this month. The Iranian president will be accompanied in New York by Iran’s only Jewish parliamentarian.

President Obama suggested earlier this week that he would “test” the new Iranian president, putting the onus on Tehran to make concessions. “There is an opportunity here for diplomacy. I hope the Iranians take advantage of it,” he told the Telemundo network on Tuesday. White House officials have mooted the possibility in the media of a meeting between Obama and Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The US administration, however, has given no indication that it will make any significant concessions to Iran’s demands for an end to the economic blockade. The most recent international talks between Iran and the P5+1 group (the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany) broke down in April after the US made no change to its demands that Iran halt its production of enriched uranium to the 20-percent level, shut down its Fordow enrichment plant, and ship its stockpile out of the country. These “confidence building” steps were just a prelude to US insistence that Iran shut down its enrichment programs completely.

In his Washington Post comment, Rouhani indicated that he was not prepared to negotiate Iran’s right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to peaceful nuclear programs, including uranium enrichment. “To us, mastering the atomic fuel cycle and generating nuclear power is as much about diversifying our resources as it is about who Iranians are as a nation, our demand for dignity and respect and our consequent place in the world.”

Obama will undoubtedly attempt to exploit any talks with Tehran to obtain whatever concessions he can, while maintaining economic sanctions and the threat of a US military attack. At the top of the US agenda will be Syria. Having been compelled by overwhelming public opposition to step back for now from attacking Syria, Obama will be looking for Iranian assistance to undermine Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. While the US and its allies step up the arming and financing of reactionary anti-Assad militias, Washington will escalate its demand that Iran end its assistance to the Syrian government.

Rouhani won the June election with the backing of key figures from the so-called “reformist” faction of the Iranian regime—former presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammed Khatemi. His efforts to open up talks with the US are in line with their advocacy of a rapprochement with Washington in order to secure foreign investment.

The entire Iranian political establishment, including Rouhani, is well aware of the duplicity of the US and its European allies. In the early 2000s, under President Khatami, Iran privately supported the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, only to face intense pressure from the Bush administration over its nuclear program.

Rouhani served as Iran’s top nuclear negotiator in talks with Britain, France and Germany and agreed to suspend uranium enrichment in return for European promises of a comprehensive package of economic and diplomatic measures. Tehran was bitterly disappointed by the European offer, after the US effectively vetoed any significant concessions.

The US had repeatedly demonstrated that it will tear up any agreement that cuts across its imperialist ambitions. Having backed the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein in the 1980s in its war against Iran, Washington invaded Iraq in 1990– 91 and again in 2003, leading to the capture and execution of Hussein. The US also reached a rapprochement with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi after he renounced his WMD programs in 2003, but then launched a war against Libya in 2011 that ended in Gaddafi’s murder by US-backed militias.

Whatever the outcome of the latest moves towards negotiations with Iran, US imperialism has not abandoned its plans for regime-change—either in Damascus or Tehran—which it regards as obstacles to its untrammelled domination of the Middle East.

Washington has flatly rebuffed a North Korean offer to resume international talks on its nuclear program, days after reports emerged of activity at North Korea’s Yongbyon reactor.

While attending a Beijing conference, planned to coincide with the anniversary of an earlier agreement on North Korean disarmament signed on September 19, 2005, Pyongyang’s chief nuclear negotiator Kim Kye-gwan stated: “We are ready to enter the six-party talks without preconditions.”

These are talks involving the United States, North Korea, and four regional powers: China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea.

China also pushed for the resumption of the six-party talks. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stated at the conference in Beijing, “The situation on the peninsula was relatively stable when each party actively participated in negotiations. The situation was tense or even directionless when the talks stalemated.”

The United States, backed by South Korea and Japan, flatly rejected any such talks, however. US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said, “The onus is on North Korea to take meaningful actions toward denuclearization and refrain from provocations.”

The US has repeatedly made clear that it would only return to six-party talks if Pyongyang agreed in advance to give up its nuclear program—something the Stalinist regime has indicated it is not prepared to do.

Last week, US officials charged that North Korea had restarted the Yongbyon reactor, based on satellite images taken on August 31. David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), which helped analyze the photos, said: “We know they’re producing steam, but we don’t know if this is a test or if the reactor is up and running.”

The State Department’s Harf criticized the North, stating: “Suffice to say, if it was true, it would be a violation of the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and, of course, contrary to North Korea’s commitments under its September 19, 2005 joint statement.”

Located north of the capital, Pyongyang, Yongbyon is the North’s only source of weapons-grade plutonium. The site was setup and developed in the 1950s and 1960s, with aid from the USSR, though the current facility was built by the North Koreans in 1986. As part of an agreement signed in 2005 during six-party talks, the reactor was shut down in 2007 in return for aid. This deal collapsed in 2008, however, after the US provocatively demanded additional verification.

Washington’s refusal to take up Pyongyang’s offer comes shortly after pulling back temporarily from attacking Syria, risking a war with Iran and Russia, in its efforts to topple the Syrian regime. Faced with overwhelming popular opposition in the United States and Europe, and the risk of a world war, Washington seized on a deal brokered by the Russians to inspect and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons programs. The Obama administration has emphasized that the war has not been called off, merely postponed.

The North Korean regime has long sought to use its nuclear program as a bargaining chip, offering to give it up in exchange for US guarantees that it could establish ties with Washington and integrate itself into the world capitalist economy. Ultimately, however, Pyongyang’s attempts have run afoul of the deep geopolitical tensions in the region. These have now been brought to a boil by Washington’s aggressive “pivot to Asia,” aimed at isolating China and maintaining US geopolitical supremacy in Asia.

In April this year, the United States carried out a series of provocations against North Korea, inflaming tensions and risking war, which included flying nuclear bombers over the Korean peninsula and dropping dummy bombs. All of this proceeded according to what US officials called a “playbook,” making clear that war preparations had been planned well in advance.

In keeping pressure on North Korea, Washington is making clear that its war drive against Syria and Iran in the Middle East will not distract it from continuing the “pivot to Asia.” Indeed, they are preparing to bring to East Asia the method of lies and provocations linked to “weapons of mass destruction” that were first used to justify US wars in the Middle East.

In August, during the ASEAN meetings in Brunei, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with his South Korean counterpart Kim Kwan-jin to draw attention to North Korea. Hagel later told Congress that North Korea has a large stockpile of chemical weapons. His spokesperson George Little simply said, “We have very good information” on the issue.

Hagel’s spokesperson connected the case for war against Syria using the North Korean threat, saying, “If we sit idly by and allow the Syrian regime to perpetrate atrocities the likes of which we’ve seen recently, then what signal does that send to countries like North Korea?”

In trying to encourage China to agree to an attack on Syria last week, James Miller, the US undersecretary of defense said of his talks with Chinese officials: “I emphasized the massive chemical weapons arsenal that North Korea has, and that we didn’t want to live in a world in which North Korea felt that the threshold for chemical weapons usage had been lowered.”

The South Korean government has also taken up the US political line against the North and by extension, against Syria. Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin followed up his visit with Hagel by echoing the same concerns over chemical weapons and backing the war against Syria.

On Tuesday, South Korea released a statement condemning Syria for using of chemical weapons, citing the UN report released the day before. Even though the report did not assign blame for the attack to the regime or the US-backed Islamist opposition, the statement declared: “The U.N. report released on Sept. 16 seems to back up past assessments that the Syrian government is responsible for the massive use of chemical weapons.”

Since coming to office in February, President Park Geun-hye, while speaking of building trust with North Korea, maintained the unpopular hardline stance of her predecessor Lee Myung-back in order to maintain Seoul’s alignment on the US “pivot.” Her government’s support of a US war on Syria and accusations over North Korean chemical weapons will only add to tensions on the Korean peninsula and the wider region.

Calm Down … You Are Much More Likely to Be Killed By Boring, Mundane Things than Terrorism

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control  show that Americans are 110 times more likely to die from contaminated food than terrorism. And see this.

The Jewish Daily Forward noted in May that – even including the people killed in the Boston bombing – you are more likely to be killed by a toddler than a terrorist. And see these statistics from CNN.

The U.S. Department of State reports that only 17 U.S. citizens were killed worldwide as a result of terrorism in 2011. That figure includes deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and all other theaters of war.

In contrast, the American agency which tracks health-related issues – the U.S. Centers for Disease Control – rounds up the most prevalent causes of death in the United States:

Comparing the CDC numbers to terrorism deaths means:

– You are 35,079 times more likely to die from heart disease than from a terrorist attack

– You are 33,842 times more likely to die from cancer than from a terrorist attack

(Keep in mind when reading this entire piece that we are consistently and substantially understating the risk of other causes of death as compared to terrorism, because we are comparing deaths from various causes within the United States against deaths from terrorism worldwide.)

Wikipedia notes that obesity is a a contributing factor in 100,000–400,000 deaths in the United States per year. That makes obesity 5,882 to times 23,528 more likely to kill you than a terrorist.

The annual number of deaths in the U.S. due to avoidable medical errors is as high as 100,000. Indeed, one of the world’s leading medical journals – Lancet – reported in 2011:

A November, 2010, document from the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services reported that, when in hospital, one in seven beneficiaries of Medicare (the government-sponsored health-care programme for those aged 65 years and older) have complications from medical errors, which contribute to about 180 000 deaths of patients per year.

That’s just Medicare beneficiaries, not the entire American public. Scientific American noted in 2009:

Preventable medical mistakes and infections are responsible for about 200,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to an investigation by the Hearst media corporation.

But let’s use the lower – 100,000 – figure. That still means that you are 5,882 times more likely to die from medical error than terrorism.

The CDC says that some 80,000 deaths each year are attributable to excessive alcohol use. So you’re 4,706 times more likely to drink yourself to death than die from terrorism.

Wikipedia notes that there were 32,367 automobile accidents in 2011, which means that you are 1,904 times more likely to die from a car accident than from a terrorist attack. As CNN reporter Fareed Zakaria wrote last month:

“Since 9/11, foreign-inspired terrorism has claimed about two dozen lives in the United States. (Meanwhile, more than 100,000 have been killed in gun homicides and more than 400,000 in motor-vehicle accidents.) “

President Obama agreed.

According to a 2011 CDC report, poisoning from prescription drugs is even more likely to kill you than a car crash. Indeed, the CDC stated in 2011 that – in the majority of states – your prescription meds are more likely to kill you than any other source of injury. So your meds are thousands of times more likely to kill you than Al Qaeda.

The number of deaths by suicide has also surpassed car crashes, and many connect the increase in suicides to the downturn in the economy. Around 35,000 Americans kill themselves each year (and more American soldiers die by suicide than combat; the number of veterans committing suicide is astronomical and under-reported). So you’re 2,059 times more likely to kill yourself than die at the hand of a terrorist.

The CDC notes that there were 7,638 deaths from HIV and 45 from syphilis, so you’re 452 times more likely to die from risky sexual behavior than terrorism.

The National Safety Council reports that more than 6,000 Americans die a year from falls … most of them involve people falling off their roof or ladder trying to clean their gutters, put up Christmas lights and the like. That means that you’re 353 times more likely to fall to your death doing something idiotic than die in a terrorist attack.

The agency in charge of workplace safety – the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration – reports that 4,609 workers were killed on the job in 2011 within the U.S. homeland. In other words, you are 271 times more likely to die from a workplace accident than terrorism.

The CDC notes that 3,177 people died of “nutritional deficiencies” in 2011, which means you are 187 times more likely to starve to death in American than be killed by terrorism.

Scientific American notes:

You might have toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the microscopic parasite Toxoplasma gondii, which the CDC estimates has infected about 22.5 percent of Americans older than 12 years old

Toxoplasmosis is a brain-parasite. The CDC reports that more than 375 Americans die annually due to toxoplasmosis. In addition, 3 Americans died in 2011 after being exposed to a brain-eating amoeba. So you’re about 22 times more likely to die from a brain-eating zombie parasite than a terrorist.

There were at least 155 Americans killed by police officers in the United States in 2011. That means that you were more than 9 times more likely to be killed by a law enforcement officer than by a terrorist.

And the 2011 Report on Terrorism from the National Counter Terrorism Center notes that Americans are just as likely to be “crushed to death by their televisions or furniture each year” as they are to be killed by terrorists.

Reason notes:

[The risk of being killed by terrorism] compares annual risk of dying in a car accident of 1 in 19,000; drowning in a bathtub at 1 in 800,000; dying in a building fire at 1 in 99,000; or being struck by lightning at 1 in 5,500,000. In other words, in the last five years you were four times more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has just published, Background Report: 9/11, Ten Years Later [PDF]. The report notes, excluding the 9/11 atrocities, that fewer than 500 people died in the U.S. from terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2010.

Scientific American reported in 2011:

John Mueller, a political scientist at Ohio State University, and Mark Stewart, a civil engineer and authority on risk assessment at University of Newcastle in Australia … contended, “a great deal of money appears to have been misspent and would have been far more productive—saved far more lives—if it had been expended in other ways.”

The FBI is instructing local police departments and “communities against terrorism” to consider anyone who harbors “conspiracy theories” about 9/11 to be a potential terrorist, in a circular released to local police departments.

The memo thus adds 9/11-official-story skeptics to a growing list of targets described by federal law enforcement to be security threats, such as those who express “libertarian philosophies,” “Second Amendment-oriented views,” interest in “self-sufficiency,” “fears of Big Brother or big government,” and “Declarations of Constitutional rights and civil liberties.”
A newly released national poll shows that 48 percent of Americans either have some doubts about the official account of 9/11, or do not believe it at all. The FBI circular entitled “Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Sleepers” says that people who should be ‘considered suspicious’ of possible involvement in “terrorist activity” include those who hold the “attitude” described as ” Conspiracy theories about Westerners.” The circular continues: “e.g. (sic) the CIA arranged for 9/11 to legitimize the invasion of foreign lands.”

A two-day Information Tribunal will take place in central London on 23 and 24 September examining  the refusal of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to provide Drone Wars UK Co-ordinator, Chris Cole, with information about the UK’s use of Reaper drones in Afghanistan.

A UK Reaper drone operator with “approximately 1,000 hours of Reaper experience supporting UK and Coalition activities in Afghanistan” will give evidence on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.  Chris Cole is also being called to give evidence and Tom Watson MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Drones has also submitted a Witness Statement to the Tribunal.

The MoD has refused to answer many Freedom of Information (FoI) requests and Parliamentary Questions about the UK’s use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (commonly known as drones) on the grounds that providing the information could prejudice the ‘capability, effectiveness or security’ of the armed forces or that it would prejudice ‘relations between the UK and another State’.

Drone Wars UK has appealed two specific request and this has now finally reach the courts.  The two requests are:

  • The date and province within Afghanistan of each weapon launched by UK Reaper UAVs
  • By year, how many weapons were released from UK Reapers under daily tasking orders [i.e. pre-planned] and how many were released under dynamic tasking procedures [i.e. on the fly]?

The MoD’s refusal on these two requests were upheld by an initial Information Commissioner inquiry (see here and here) and Drone Wars UK is now appealing to the Information Tribunal challenging the MoD’s stance and arguing that the public interest lies in releasing the information.

The MoD have successfully applied to have part of the hearing ‘closed’ and are arguing that to give a public explanation why the information is being withheld would itself be damaging.

Chris Cole said

“The growing use of armed unmanned drones is a matter of serious public interest both here in the UK and around the world.  In order to answer the many legal and ethical questions raised by such systems, a proper understanding of how they are being used on a day-to-day basis is needed and it is right that the public have access to such information.”  

Counsel on behalf of the campaigners is Sam Jacobs of Doughty Street Chambers, instructed by Daniel Carey of Deighton Pierce Glynn.

The hearing, will be held in Court Room One at HMRC Tribunal Courts, (Field House, 15 Breams Building, London, EC4A 1DZ) from 10am.   A timetable of the hearing –  detailing when witnesses will be appearing –  should be available before the hearing.

Latest Western fabrication attempts to portray “moderate rebels” locked in combat with hordes of Al Qaeda militants as ploy to justify further arming of terrorists and even direct intervention along Syria’s borders. 

Stopped short of direct military intervention by Syrian-Russian geopolitical maneuvering, the West has attempted to retrench their agenda of subverting Syria in a variety of ways. It was reported that the US is now officially arming terrorists inside of Syria after years of semi-covertly passing them thousands of tons of weapons at a time and billions in cash directly and indirectly through Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan, and Qatar. The goal, in part, is to sabotage any attempted UN incursion into Syria to verify and disarm Syria’s chemical weapons, then use the UN’s failure as justification for direct military intervention.

Image: (Edlib News Network Enn, via Associated Press) Al Qaeda terrorists in Idlib, Syria. It is now admitted by the New York Times that the entire armed so-called “opposition” is comprised entirely of Al Qaeda, meaning the torrent of cash and weapons sent to the “opposition” by the West and its regional allies, were intentionally sent directly to listed terrorists guilty of a multitude of unprecedented atrocities.


Additionally, a new narrative is taking shape as the Syrian government stands poised to restore order across its war-ravaged nation. The West is claiming that the “moderate” fighters it has been sponsoring since 2011 are locked in combat with Al Qaeda terrorists across the country, even after numerous attempts to claim Al Qaeda was not even present inside of Syria, or present but in insignificant numbers.

In USA Today’s article titled, “Kerry: Syrian rebels have not been hijacked by extremists,” it was reported that:

Extremist groups make up between 15% and 25% of the rebels fighting Syrian leader Bashar Assad, but moderate forces are growing stronger as a result of support from regional allies, Secretary of State John Kerry told Congress on Wednesday.

“I just don’t agree that a majority are al-Qaeda and the bad guys,” Kerry said in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “That’s not true.”

Yet now, the Western media admits they are indeed present in Syria and overwhelming the increasingly “stronger” US-Saudi-armed militants Kerry claimed constituted the vast majority of the so-called “opposition.”  The Washington Post’s article, “Al-Qaeda-linked fighters seize Syrian town of Azaz from more moderate rebels,” claims:

Al-Qaeda-linked militants seized a key northern Syrian town from rebels on Wednesday, as mounting friction between anti-­government extremists and more moderate, Western-backed opposition factions erupted into all-out conflict.

The Post also reported [emphasis added]:

“There is a huge expansion of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,” said Col. Malik al-Kurdi, a senior commander in the Free Syrian Army, who said the extremists had also recently seized the town of Kafarnaje. With Islamic State well-financed and armed, “the FSA power is in reversal,” he said.

But if the so-called “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) is being funded, armed, trained, and otherwise supported with the combined resources of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, NATO-member Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and others, just how exactly is the “Islamic State,” and other extremist factions such as Al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, Al Nusra, getting even more cash and weapons?

The answer, as will be explained further in documented detail below, is that there were never, nor are there any “moderates” operating in Syria. The West has intentionally armed and funded Al Qaeda and other sectarian extremists since as early as 2007 in preparation for an engineered sectarian bloodbath serving US-Saudi-Israeli interests. This latest bid to portray the terrorists operating along and within Syria’s borders as “divided” along extremists/moderate lines is a ploy to justify the continued flow of Western cash and arms into Syria to perpetuate the conflict, as well as create conditions along Syria’s borders with which Western partners, Israel, Jordan, and Turkey, can justify direct military intervention.

There aren’t, nor were there ever “moderates” fighting in Syria.

In an astounding admission, the New York Times confirmed in an April 2013 report that the so-called “Syrian opposition” is entirely run by Al Qaeda and literally states:

 Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.

From the beginning, it was clear to geopolitical analysts that the conflict in Syria was not “pro-democracy” protesters rising up, but rather the fruition of a well-documented conspiracy between the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia to arm and direct sectarian extremists affiliated with Al Qaeda against the Syrian government.

This was documented as early as 2007 – a full 4 years before the 2011 “Arab Spring” would begin – by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article titled, “”The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” which stated specifically (emphasis added):

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

For over two years the US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Turkey have sent billions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into Syria along side known-terrorists from Libya, Chechnya, neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. In the Telegraph’s article titled, “US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’,” it is reported:

It claimed 3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia have been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to the rebels, largely via Jordan since November
The story confirmed the origins of ex-Yugoslav weapons seen in growing numbers in rebel hands in online videos, as described last month by The Daily Telegraph and other newspapers, but suggests far bigger quantities than previously suspected.
The shipments were allegedly paid for by Saudi Arabia at the bidding of the United States, with assistance on supplying the weapons organised through Turkey and Jordan, Syria’s neighbours. But the report added that as well as from Croatia, weapons came “from several other European countries including Britain”, without specifying if they were British-supplied or British-procured arms.
British military advisers however are known to be operating in countries bordering Syria alongside French and Americans, offering training to rebel leaders and former Syrian army officers. The Americans are also believed to be providing training on securing chemical weapons sites inside Syria.

Additionally, The New York Times in its article, “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With C.I.A. Aid,” admits that:

With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.

The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.

The US State Department had also announced it was sending hundreds of millions of dollars more in aid, equipment and even armored vehicles to militants operating in Syria, along with demands of its allies to “match” the funding to reach a goal of over a billion dollars. The NYT would report in their article, “Kerry Says U.S. Will Double Aid to Rebels in Syria,” that:

With the pledge of fresh aid, the total amount of nonlethal assistance from the United States to the coalition and civic groups inside the country is $250 million. During the meeting here, Mr. Kerry urged other nations to step up their assistance, with the objective of providing $1 billion in international aid.

In recent weeks, the US has admitted that it is now officially arming and equipping terrorists inside of Syria. The Washington Post’s article, “U.S. weapons reaching Syrian rebels,” reported:

The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.

The US State Department has admitted Al Qaeda is the prominent fighting force in Syria.

And as this astronomical torrent of cash, weapons, and equipment was overtly sent by the West into Syria, and continues to this very day, the US State Department since the very beginning of the violence has known that the most prominent fighting group operating inside Syria was Al Qaeda, more specifically, the al Nusra front. The US State Department’s official press statement titled, “Terrorist Designations of the al-Nusrah Front as an Alias for al-Qa’ida in Iraq,” stated explicitly that:

Since November 2011, al-Nusrah Front has claimed nearly 600 attacks – ranging from more than 40 suicide attacks to small arms and improvised explosive device operations – in major city centers including Damascus, Aleppo, Hamah, Dara, Homs, Idlib, and Dayr al-Zawr. During these attacks numerous innocent Syrians have been killed.

The State Department admits that from the very beginning, Al Qaeda has been carrying out hundreds of attacks in every major city in Syria. Clearly for those who read the 2007 Hersh piece in the New Yorker, and then witnessed the rise of Al Qaeda in Syria, the explanation is quite simple – the West intentionally and systematically funded and armed Al Qaeda to gain a foothold in Syria, then overthrow the Syrian government in an unprecedented sectarian bloodbath and subsequent humanitarian catastrophe, just as was planned years ago.

If the US & its allies are funding “moderates,” who is funding Al Qaeda? (The US).

However, now, according to Western leaders, the public is expected to believe that despite the US, UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Turkey flooding Syria with billion in cash, and thousands of tons of weapons, all sent exclusively to “secular moderates,” somehow, Al Qaeda has still managed to gain preeminence amongst the “opposition.”

How can this be? If a 7-nation axis is arraying the summation of its resources in the region behind “secular moderates,” who then is arraying even more resources behind Al Qaeda? The answer is simple. There never were any “secular moderates,” a fact the New York Times has now fully admitted.

In its article titled, “Islamist Rebels Create Dilemma on Syria Policy,” the New York Times admits:

Across Syria, rebel-held areas are dotted with Islamic courts staffed by lawyers and clerics, and by fighting brigades led by extremists. Even the Supreme Military Council, the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government.
Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.

However, in an explanation that defies reason, the article states [emphasis added]:

The Islamist character of the opposition reflects the main constituency of the rebellion, which has been led since its start by Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority, mostly in conservative, marginalized areas. The descent into brutal civil war has hardened sectarian differences, and the failure of more mainstream rebel groups to secure regular arms supplies has allowed Islamists to fill the void and win supporters.

To “secure regular arms supplies” from whom? According to the West, they have been supplying “mainstream rebel groups” with billions in cash, and thousands of tons of weaponry – and now according to the BBC, training as well. Where if not intentionally and directly into the hands of al-Nusra, did all of this cash, these weapons, and training go?

The NYT also admits (emphasis added):

Of most concern to the United States is the Nusra Front, whose leader recently confirmed that the group cooperated with Al Qaeda in Iraq and pledged fealty to Al Qaeda’s top leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s longtime deputy. Nusra has claimed responsibility for a number of suicide bombings and is the group of choice for the foreign jihadis pouring into Syria.

Not only is the Syrian government fighting now openly admitted Al Qaeda terrorists, but terrorists that are not even of Syrian origin.

More outrageous still, is that the New York Times fully admits that the very oil fields the European Union has lifted sanctions on and is now buying oil from in Syria (see BBC’s “EU eases Syria oil embargo to help opposition“), are completely controlled by Al Qaeda – meaning the European Union is now intentionally exchanging cash with known international terrorists guilty of horrific atrocities, in exchange for oil.  The NYT reports:

Elsewhere, they [al-Nusra] have seized government oil fields, put employees back to work and now profit from the crude they produce.


In the oil-rich provinces of Deir al-Zour and Hasaka, Nusra fighters have seized government oil fields, putting some under the control of tribal militias and running others themselves.

The Times continues by admitting (emphasis added):

Nusra’s hand is felt most strongly in Aleppo, where the group has set up camp in a former children’s hospital and has worked with other rebel groups to establish a Shariah Commission in the eye hospital next door to govern the city’s rebel-held neighborhoods. The commission runs a police force and an Islamic court that hands down sentences that have included lashings, though not amputations or executions as some Shariah courts in other countries have done.
Nusra fighters also control the power plant and distribute flour to keep the city’s bakeries running.

This last point, “and distribute flour to keep the city’s bakeries running,” is of extreme importance, because that “flour” they are “distributing” comes admittedly, directly from the United State of America.

The US feeds Al Qaeda…

In the Washington Post’s article, “U.S. feeds Syrians, but secretly,” it is claimed that:

In the heart of rebel-held territory in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo, a small group of intrepid Westerners is undertaking a mission of great stealth. Living anonymously in a small rural community, they travel daily in unmarked cars, braving airstrikes, shelling and the threat of kidnapping to deliver food and other aid to needy Syrians — all of it paid for by the U.S. government.

The Washington Post then claims that most Syrians credit Al Qaeda’s al-Nusra with providing the aid:

“America has done nothing for us. Nothing at all,” said Mohammed Fouad Waisi, 50, spitting out the words for emphasis in his small Aleppo grocery store, which adjoins a bakery where he buys bread every day. The bakery is fully supplied with flour paid for by the United States. But Waisi credited Jabhat al-Nusra — a rebel group the United States has designated a terrorist organization because of its ties to al-Qaeda — with providing flour to the region, though he admitted he wasn’t sure where it comes from.

Clearly, the puzzle is now complete. Indeed Mr. Mohammed Fouad Waisi was correct, Jabhat al-Nusra, a listed terrorist organization by the US State Department, is supplying the people with flour – flour it receives by the ton directly and intentionally from the United States in direct contradiction to its own anti-terror laws, international laws, and the US State Department’s own frequent denials that it is bolstering terrorists inside of Syria.

Clearly the US and its allies are propping up terrorism, and more alarming is that the “aid” they have been providing the Syrian people, appears to have been used as a political weapon by Al Qaeda, allowing them to take, hold, and permanently subjugate territory inside Syria. It should be noted again, that the New York Times itself admits that the ranks of al-Nusra are filled with foreign, not Syrian, fighters.

US narrative aims at “saving” non-existent “moderates” from the Al Qaeda terrorists they themselves are intentionally arming.

Revealed is a conspiracy so insidious, so outrageous, and a web of lies so tangled, that Western governments perhaps count on their populations to disbelieve their tax money is being used to intentionally fund and arm savage terrorism while purposefully fueling a sectarian bloodbath whose death toll is sounded daily by the very people driving it up to astronomical heights. The cards are down – the US has been exposed as openly funding, arming, and supplying Al Qaeda in Syria for over two years and in turn, is directly responsible for the death, atrocities, and humanitarian disasters within and along Syria’s borders that have resulted.

While the US attempts to sell military intervention on behalf of Al Qaeda in Syria, using the flimsy, yet familiar pretext of “chemical weapons,” it appears that before even one American boot officially touches Syrian soil, an already horrific crime against humanity of historic proportions has been committed by the US and its allies against the Syrian people.

This is a crime against humanity the West intends to fully compound with its new narrative of “moderates” fighting Al Qaeda. The goal is to justify the continued torrent of cash and weapons into Syria to fuel the conflict and perhaps to have “safe zones” imposed across Syria’s borders under the guise of “running out” Al Qaeda. Of course, Al Qaeda will continue to be armed and funded by the very interests “running them out” deeper and deeper into Syria.

It is important to understand two undeniable, verified facts. First, there are no moderates in Syria, and second, Al Qaeda’s ascendance in Syria is the direct results of the West intentionally arming them, funding them, training them, providing them with tactical, logistical, and strategic support, as well as financing them through the purchase of Al Qaeda-controlled oil fields. Understanding these facts lifts the veil regarding the latest round of lies and fabrications by the West to regain the initiative amidst their premeditated, 2-plus year assault on Syria.

The German Election, 2013

September 20th, 2013 by Socialist Project

Interview with Katja Kipping, co-chair of Die Linke

Stefan Huth (SH): The national election is in full swing – how has it been going for Die Linke so far? Which issues are at the centre?

Katja Kipping (KK): We’re having really good experiences. It starts with our placards. You see a big difference between us, and the colourful mishmash of  the other parties. The placards are striking and clear, but they also present very concrete demands, which you can pin us down on: a solidaristic  minimum pension of 1050 euros; a 10 euro minimum wage; a guaranteed minimum income instead of Hartz-IV; a single-payer health care system; and a clear position against the war. There’s no beating around the bush, no abstract notions. Apart from that, the mood is generally good. We started 15 months ago in a difficult situation; we were at 5 per cent and below. In the opinion polls we’re holding steady at between 8 and 9 per cent, sometimes even at 10. We have established a party to the left of social democracy. The social impact of this achievement is not to be underrated.

SH: The media treats your party in the usual rude and hostile manner. Does it surprise you when the mainstream uses modes of thinking inherited from the Cold War to create animosity against Die Linke?

 KK: The media should on the contrary be thankful there is Die Linke – and with it a force, which can still bring things to light that otherwise no one would talk about. It is often our inquiries and research that uncover important scandals that the media then gladly – sometimes even with the omission of our role – reports on. We are, so to speak, the whistleblowers of the Bundestag. We take on the powerful and are definitely not on the donations list of corporations and banks.

Katja Kipping

SH: Die Linke is perceived by many to be the only consistently anti-war party in parliament. What reactions is this getting in the election campaign?

 KK: There are several points that set us apart from the consensual muck of the other parties; one of these is foreign policy. We are the only ones to have repeatedly and reliably said no to military interventions, as well as to weapons exports. It is precisely the situation in Syria that has shown how important this consistent position is. For years we have demanded that there be a halt to weapons exports to this region. To put it plainly: German arms manufacturers sold weapons to Saudi Arabia, from there they were taken to Syria, which then inflamed the bloody civil war.

SH: With regard to the war in Syria most parties are quite anxious to stay out of the current debate on the issue. Nevertheless it’s of enormous political relevance. A clear majority of Germans are against an attack by the West. Why isn’t Die Linke attempting to push the postponed, but still planned military strike on Syria, further into the centre of debate?

KK: For a start, we are the only ones who have a clear fundamental position on this question. The actions of the other parties are dominated by tactical considerations. We can see this clearly in the conduct of Peer Steinbrück (SPD-Social Democratic Party). He initially dilly-dallied; only after the British parliament voted against participating in a military strike did he likewise become critical. We didn’t speak out only now, as the USA threatens a military strike, about the conflict in Syria; rather from the beginning of the bloody civil war there we repeatedly demanded a halt to weapons exports and more money to help the refugees. Apart from that I can only say that we became quite active. We put forth several political proposals. Jan van Aken, a member of our campaign team, made repeated appearances in the media as an expert to answer questions. As a former UN weapons inspector he knows of what he speaks. We have also arranged with our local chapters that on day X, that is, on the day that the USA attacks, we will march on public squares at 6PM with the peace movement.

SH: Social issues and questions of war are of course inextricably linked. In a recently presented Ten-Point document, Die Linke formulated its minimum requirements for possible negotiations with the SPD and Greens. Both these parties have in the past pursued military interventions, i.e., Yugoslavia in 1999; and cutbacks to social services, i.e., Agenda 2010. What is the basis of your hope that a rethinking of these questions could set in with them?

 KK: First, regarding the substance of this document. It states we have far-reaching goals, such as, that no seniors live in poverty by the end of the legislative term, and that we designate initial steps toward this end. We say it doesn’t matter whom we negotiate with on 23 September [election day]. We will bring pressure to bear in the first month to abolish temporary work, for minimum and equal pay for regular and irregular employment, plus extra pay for flexible working conditions. We want the elimination of the Hartz IV penalty system and a suspension of the invasive state monitoring that goes with it. These are motions we will confront parliament with, and that we will introduce.

And as concerns the SPD and the Greens, I think that before the election they also need to be concerned about transparency and tell their voters what it is they stand for. It makes me angry to see, for instance, how the SPD at its 150th anniversary celebration presented itself as the party of peace and used Iraq as an example. I think the rejection of the Iraq war by Gerhard Schröder was the only time that an SPD politician reacted negatively toward a military intervention. That no to the Iraq war was a solitary no in a sea of yeses by the SPD to foreign interventions. I think they should provide reasons as to why they reject cooperation with us, as for instance, because they plain and simple want to keep the door open to supporting military interventions.

SH: Germany is de facto already a warring party with the “Patriot” missile batteries in Turkey and its warships that are monitoring Syrian communications. The SPD and Greens have offered hardly any opposition to this; rather they share responsibility for these deployments.

But there are red lines for us that we will not cross. We will not vote yes to military interventions and weapons exports, and we will not take part in social spending cuts or privatization.

KK: The stationing of the “Patriots” was supported by four parties in parliament. I honestly had the impression that the Greens especially, voted for it with flags waving. They have a little bit of the converts’ problem. They originated of course in the peace movement, but then under Joschka Fischer’s leadership they decided to vote for military interventions after all, and they now justify them with particular fervour. It’s a change in colour from green to olive-green. I find this alarming and know there are many members in the SPD and Greens who have a serious problem with this direction taken by their leaderships. They would set their hopes on a “red-red-green” (SPD-Linke-Greens) coalition because they also hope that in this way their parties will once again become more concerned about social justice and peace. With regard to a coalition we would like to state clearly: It won’t fail because of us. But there are red lines for us that we will not cross. We will not vote yes to military interventions and weapons exports, and we will not take part in social spending cuts or privatization.

SH: SPD chief Sigmar Gabriel made an observation in July with a view to your party: A joint government would be possible on one condition, “If Die Linke were like the one in the East, then that wouldn’t be a problem.” How do you assess this split judgement about your party when you contemplate a possible common perspective?

KK: I find that quite hypocritical because the SPD had the possibility to work with Die Linke in the East in different states, in Saxony-Anhalt, in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and in Thuringia. And it always failed because of the SPD, who always took refuge in a grand coalition with the CDU (Christian Democratic Union). The SPD leadership comes up with new excuses every time. Originally it was because of our past; then it was because of Oskar Lafontaine. Now Bernd Riexinger and I are at the head of the party. I was twelve years old at the time of reunification; Riexinger is a seasoned trade unionist who also belonged to the undogmatic Left in the West. They are constantly searching for new excuses, which I take in stride. A fight has already broken out in the SPD over who in the party should be made responsible after the election for the likely poor showing.

SH: Although Die Linke sets itself apart from the political competition with, for example, social issues and the peace question, according to the latest opinion polls it cannot really score with these. What in your opinion is the reason why it will be difficult to build on the result of the last election of almost twelve per cent?

KK: 2009 was an exceptional situation. The SPD was part of the government. As I said, I’m very happy about the work, which the new party executive has accomplished in the past 15 months. We have shown that with all the pluralism, there are good reasons why we are in the same party. •

More information about Katja’s campaign is avaialble on her election website, and Die Linke.

This interview was conducted by Stefan Huth and appeared in Junge Welt on September 13, 2013. Translation by Sam Putinja.

by Marina Portnaya,

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua told media that an aircraft carrying President Nicolas Maduro was denied a path over Puerto Rico’s airspace.

President Maduro’s flight, which was to depart for China, was forced to find an alternate flight path according to Jaua, who denounced the act as “an act of aggression.”

We have received the information from American officials that we have been denied travel over its airspace,” Jaua said, speaking to reporters during an official meeting with his South African counterpart.

“We denounce this as yet another aggression on the part of North American imperialism against the government of the Bolivarian Republic,” he added.

“No one can deny airspace to a plane carrying a president on an international state visit.”

Download video (33.61 MB)

There is “no valid argument” for denying travel through American airspace, Jaua said, adding that he expected the US to rectify the situation.

President Maduro was due to arrive in Beijing this weekend for bilateral talks with the Chinese government. Jaua was adamant that the Venezuelan leader would reach his destination, regardless of any perceived interference.

Though the US has yet to issue an official response, the latest incident will likely add to already strained relations between the two countries.

In July, the Venezuelan president announced that his government was halting attempts to improve relations with the US. The move was in response to comments made by the newly appointed US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, who told a Senate committee that her new role would include challenging the “crackdown on civil society” abroad, including in Venezuela.

Relations under former President Chavez had been acrimonious, as he had long held suspicions that the US had actively intervened on behalf of an attempted coup in 2002. Since his election in April, President Maduro has often made pointed criticisms at alleged US interference in Venezuelan affairs.

Bolivian President Evo Morales, whose own plane was grounded this summer allegedly due to suspicions by US authorities that the aircraft was transporting whistleblower Edward Snowden, said that ALBA bloc nations should consider a boycott of the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York as a response.

“We cannot accept that the US carries on with politics of intimidation and the prohibition of flights by presidents,” said Morales, adding that the latest incident “demonstrates the country’s predisposition to humiliate other governments” and commit crimes against other nations.


Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro.(Reuters / Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.(Reuters / Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

Dispute over visas ahead of UN summit

The Venezuelan President also spoke of attempts by the US to set  “conditions” on a visa issued to General Wilmer  Barrientos, one of Maduro’s ministers who is slated to attend  meetings during the UN General Assembly next week.

“They want to put conditions, if we decide to go to New  York…They don’t want to give a visa to my  minister,” said Maduro. “Do we want to go as  tourists? We’re going to the United Nations. You’re obligated to  give visas to all the delegation.”

Appearing via the television network TeleSUR on Thursday, Maduro  indicated that he had directed his foreign minister, Elías Jaua,  and Venezuela’s Ambassador to the UN, Samuel Moncada, to  “activate all mechanisms” in reference to the visa  dispute.

“US, you are not the UN’s owner. The UN will have to move out  of New York,” remarked Maduro.

He warned that if he has to take “measures” against the government of the US, he would be prepared to take “the most drastic measures necessary” to ensure Venezuelan sovereignty.

Canada’s Use of Chemical Weapons

September 19th, 2013 by Yves Engler

Somewhere in the Lester B. Pearson Building, Canada’s foreign affairs headquarters, must be a meeting room with the inscription “The World Should Do as We Say, Not As We Do” or perhaps “Hypocrites ‘R Us.”

With the Obama administration beating the war drums, Canadian officials are demanding a response to the Syrian regime’s alleged use of the chemical weapon sarin.

Last week Prime Minister Stephen Harper claimed “if it is not countered, it will constitute a precedent that we think is very dangerous for humanity in the long term” while for his part Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird declared: “If it doesn’t get a response it’s an open invitation for people, for Assad in Syria, or elsewhere to use these types of weapons that they’ve by and large refrained from doing since the First World War.” The Conservatives also signed Canada onto a White House statement claiming: “The international norm against the use of chemical weapons is longstanding and universal.”

While one may wish this were the case, it’s not. In fact, Canada has repeatedly been complicit with the use of chemical weapons.

During the war in Afghanistan, Canadian troops used white phosphorus, which is a chemical agent that can cause deep tissue burning and death when inhaled or ingested in significant amounts. In an October 2008 letter to theToronto Star, Corporal Paul Demetrick, a Canadian reservist, claimed Canadian forces used white phosphorus as a weapon against “enemy-occupied” vineyards. General Rick Hillier, former chief of the Canadian defence staff, confirmed the use of this defoliant. Discussing the difficulties of fighting the Taliban in areas with 10-foot tall marijuana plants, the general said: “We tried burning them with white phosphorous — it didn’t work.” After accusations surfaced of western forces (and the Taliban) harming civilians with white phosphorus munitions the Afghan government launched an investigation.

In a much more aggressive use of this chemical, Israeli forces fired white phosphorus shells during its January 2009 Operation Cast Lead that left some 1,400 Palestinians dead. Ottawa cheered on this 22-day onslaught against Gaza and the Conservatives have failed to criticize Israel for refusing to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological Weapons Convention. (Editor’s note: white phosphorous and Agent Orange are not considered chemical weapons by the Chemical Weapons Convention)

For decades the massive Suffield Base in Alberta was one of the largest chemical and biological weapons research centres in the world. A 1989 Peace Magazine article explained, “For almost 50 years, scientists from the Department of National Defence have been as busy as beavers expanding their knowledge of, and testing agents for, chemical and biological warfare (CBW) in southern Alberta.”

Initially led by Canadian and British scientists/soldiers, gradually the US military played a bigger role in the chemical weapons research at Suffield. A chemical warfare school began there in 1942 and it came to light that in 1966 US Air Force jets sprayed biological weapons simulants over Suffield to figure out how best to spray potentially fatal diseases on people. Until at least 1989 there were significant quantities of toxins, including sarin, stockpiled at the Alberta base. In 2006 former Canadian soldiers who claim to have been poisoned at Suffield launched a class action lawsuit against the Department of National Defense.

During the war in Vietnam, the US tested agents orange, blue, and purple at CFB Gagetown. A 1968 U.S. Army memorandum titled “defoliation tests in 1966 at base Gagetown, New Brunswick, Canada” explained: “The department of the army, Fort Detrick, Maryland, has been charged with finding effective chemical agents that will cause rapid defoliation of woody and Herbaceous vegetation. To further develop these objectives, large areas similar in density to those of interest in South East Asia were needed. In March 1965, the Canadian ministry of defense offered Crops Division large areas of densely forested land for experimental tests of defoliant chemicals. This land, located at Canadian forces base Gagetown, Oromocto, New Brunswick, was suitable in size and density and was free from hazards and adjacent cropland. The test site selected contained a mixture of conifers and deciduous broad leaf species in a dense undisturbed forest cover that would provide similar vegetation densities to those of temperate and tropical areas such as South East Asia.”

Between 1962 and 1971 US forces sprayed some 75,000,000 litres of material containing chemical herbicides and defoliants in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. One aim was to deprive the guerrillas of cover by defoliating forests and rural land. Another goal of these defoliation efforts was to drive peasants from the countryside to the US dominated cities, which would deprive the national resistance forces of their food supply and rural support.

In addition to assisting chemical warfare by testing Agent Orange, during the Vietnam war Canadian manufacturers sold the US military “polystyrene, a major component in napalm,” according to the book Snow Job. A chemical agent that can cause deadly burns, Napalm was widely deployed by US forces in their war against Southeast Asia.

This deadly chemical agent was also used during the Korean War, which saw 27,000 Canadian troops go to battle. A New York Times reporter, George Barrett, described the scene in a North Korean village after it was captured by US-led forces in February 1951: “A napalm raid hit the village three or four days ago when the Chinese were holding up the advance, and nowhere in the village have they buried the dead because there is nobody left to do so. This correspondent came across one old women, the only one who seemed to be left alive, dazedly hanging up some clothes in a blackened courtyard filled with the bodies of four members of her family.

“The inhabitants throughout the village and in the fields were caught and killed and kept the exact postures they had held when the napalm struck — a man about to get on his bicycle, fifty boys and girls playing in an orphanage, a housewife strangely unmarked, holding in her hand a page torn from a Sears Roebuck catalogue crayoned at Mail Order No. 3,811,294 for a $2.98 ‘bewitching bed jacket — coral.’ There must be almost two hundred dead in the tiny hamlet.”

This NYT story captured the attention of Canadian External Affairs Minister Lester Pearson. In a letter to the Canadian ambassador in Washington, Hume Wrong, he wondered how it might affect public opinion and complained about it passing US media censors. “[Nothing could more clearly indicate] the dangerous possibilities of United States and United Nations action in Korea on Asian opinion than a military episode of this kind, and the way it was reported. Such military action was possibly ‘inevitable’ but surely we do not have to give publicity to such things all over the world. Wouldn’t you think the censorship which is now in force could stop this kind of reporting?”

No one denies that tens of thousands of liters of napalm were employed by UN forces in Korea. The use of biological weapons is a different story.

After the outbreak of a series of diseases at the start of 1952, China and North Korea accused the US of using biological weapons. Though the claims have neither been conclusively substantiated or disproven — some internal documents are still restricted — in Orienting Canada, John Price details the Canadian external minister’s highly disingenuous and authoritarian response to the accusations, which were echoed by some Canadian peace groups. While publicly highlighting a report that exonerated the US, Pearson concealed a more informed External Affairs analysis suggesting biological weapons could have been used. Additionally, when the Ottawa Citizen revealed that British, Canadian, and US military scientists had recently met in Ottawa to discuss biological warfare, Pearson wrote the paper’s owner to complain. Invoking national security, External Affairs “had it [the story] killed in the Ottawa Journal and over the CP [Canadian Press] wires.”

Price summarizes: “Even without full documentation, it is clear that the Canadian government was deeply involved in developing offensive weapons of mass destruction, including biological warfare, and that Parliament was misled by Lester Pearson at the time the accusations of biological warfare in Korea were first raised. We know also that the US military was stepping up preparations for deployment and use of biological weapons in late 1951 and that Canadian officials were well aware of this and actively supported it. To avoid revealing the nature of the biological warfare program and Canadian collaboration, which would have lent credence to the charges leveled by the Chinese and Korean governments, the Canadian government attempted to discredit the peace movement.”

International efforts to ban chemical weapons and to draw a “red line” over their use are a step forward for humanity. But this effort must include an accounting and opposition to Canada and its allies’ use of these inhumane weapons.

To have any credibility a country preaching against the use of chemical weapons must be able to declare: “Do as I do.”

The videos presented by the US Intelligence Community as evidence have staged scenes. Simple observations of the videos can verify this. This is exactly what a recent and modest study did.

A detailed independent  report by Mother Agnes Mariam de la Croix and the International Support Team for Mussalaha in Syria (ISTEAMS) makes some important observations about what happened in the Damascene suburb of East Ghouta on August 21, 2013.

The independent ISTEAMS study contradicts the assertions of the Obama Administration and the entire US Intelligence Community—a gargantuan network of sixteen different intelligence agencies that includes the standalone Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the US Department of State’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), and the Pentagon’s National Security Agency (NSA)—through simple observations of the video material that has been put forward as evidence by the United States.

The ISTEAMS report does not deny that chemical weapons were used or that innocent Syrians have been killed. What the study does is logically point out through its observations that that is empirical evidence that the sample of videos that the US Intelligence Community has analyzed and nominated as authentic footage has been stage-managed.  This is an important finding, because it refutes the assertions of the representatives of the US Intelligence agencies who testified that the videos they authenticated provide evidence that a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government took place in East Ghouda.

In turn, the Obama Administration has used mainstream media reports from unnamed sources, unnamed social media comments and a series of videos that came out of Syria to make their case for attacking Syria. The videos that the ISTEAMS report looks at are the thirteen videos that the US Intelligence Community selected or nominated as the best video evidence for the Obama Administration to make their case against the Syrian government to the Senate Committee on September 5th, 2013.

The videos that are examined by the study are among the first thirty-five videos uploaded on the internet after the attack in East Ghouta. Almost all of them were uploaded between two to seven hours after the incident and the Local Coordination Committees.

Key Observations and Questions

The report starts by asserting that on the basis of personal observations that the most the residents in East Ghouda had been fleeing the suburb since it was was the scene of fighting been the Syrian military and the anti-government militias; as validation, it also refers to the interview of a young Syrian boy by the name of Abdullah who responds that nobody died among his family and neighbours, because most of them were already displaced from East Ghouda.

Key findings are:

(1)  Most the footage is of children.

(2)  There is almost a total absence of adult corpses next to the bodies of the children

(3)  There is almost a total absence of parents, especially mothers, coming to claim the bodies of the dead children.

(4)  There is virtually an absence of the sound of ambulances in the background of the videos.

(5)  The testimonies being used against the Syrian government include those of individuals claiming to have smelled the chemical that was used whereas sarin is an odorless gas.

(6)  The testimonies that most the victims were found in their homes are at odds with the claims by the same people that most the victims could not be identified.

(7)  The same footage is used for videos with different scenarios.

(8)  There is different footage that proves that the bodies were being arranged and moved around for display in different locations and specifically for filming; for example we see the body of a little boy in a red shirt that was filmed in Zamalka and then in filmed again among different bodies in Jobar and the inanimate bodies of at least nine of the children that filmed in Kafarbatna also oddly appear at makeshift morgue in Al-Majr a few hours later.

(9)  The same couple appears as parents looking for their children in two different videos and each time they claim a different child as theirs among the corpses.

(10) The same groups that have been involved with posting and disseminating the videos that the US Intelligence Community has selected have also tried to pass pictures of Egyptian civilians killed in Cairo’s Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square as Syrian victims.

(11) Children that are still breathing in Zamalka are just filmed and left alone without medical treatment.

(12) In one video, where it is stated that all the bodies are those of the dead, it can be seen that some of the corpses are being injected by syringes with an unknown liquid.

(13) There is no knowledge or evidence that public funerals took place for the large number of victims that surpasses 1,460 people.

(14) In breach of all cultural norms and last rites, no public announcements about the dead or their funerals were made.

(15) There is no more than 500 people in all the videos, even when all the same bodies that appear in different videos repeatedly are added to the count.

(16) In two videos of the same location with a difference of about one hour and forty minutes the entire medical teams changes in the middle of an emergency.

(17) The identities of the dead have largely been left unknown; especially by the anti-government groups archiving and disseminating their pictures.

(18) In the footage of one burial only eight people are buried and three of them are not even covered in the “compulsory” ritual shrouds.

As a result these questions emerge:

(1)  Why such a high rate of dead children?

(2)  Why are the bodies of children being displayed with a virtual absence of adult corpses?

(3)  When adult corpses are seen, why are they unusually segregated?

(4)  Where were the parents?

(5)  If the parents died with their children, why are the bodies of adults virtually absence, especially with the bodies of the children?

(6)  If the parents were not killed, then where are they? Why are they not looking for their children?

(7)  According to the cultural norms and gender scripts of Syrian society, children are almost always found with their mothers. So why is there a relative absence of women and specifically mothers in the US Intelligence Community’s nominated videos?

(8)  How was it possible that all these children died alone?

(9)  There was virtually no outdoor movement in East Ghouda after the attack. How were all the bodies transported to the burial sites without anyone noticing?

(10)  What was being injected into the dead bodies? Do you need to give medication to corpses at a makeshift morgue?

A lot of things do not add up in the footage presented by the US government.

 The same little boy in red is in two different locations

At least nine of these children appear in different footage from different locations

 A little boy that appears in two different videos with two different scenarios


Bodies being injected by the woman and man outlined in yellow

 A Diabolical Conclusion

Even if many of the observations and premises of the study are ignored, there are some observations that are irrefutable. The same corpses of children were found in different arrangements and in different places at different times in the footage used by the US Intelligence Community. This means that corpses were being staged in arrangements for propaganda purposes.

The videos nominated by the US Intelligence Community need to be carefully looked at and meticulously studied using the ISTEAM observations that have been found as a basis and then expanded upon. The revelations implicate the entire intelligence apparatus of the United States and discredit it in the same tradition as the intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There are serious flaws in the US Intelligence Community that equate to either a lack of professionalism or/and its outright subordination to Washington’s political agendas that involve false analyses. To think that such a large network with so many resources could overlook the same observations that laypeople have made is embarrassing to say the least.

There is an important Latakia connection that has to be addressed about these videos. There was actually a massacre carried out by the US-supported anti-government forces in that region of Syria on August 4, 2013. It went largely unreported in countries like the US, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Qatar, and France. Reporting on the massacre of Syrian civilians in Latakia at the hands of the anti-government forces would have been too inconvenient for the US and its allies.

What is also known is that a large amount of women and children were abducted by the anti-government forces, specifically by Jabhat Al-Nusra, as hostages to be used for negotiations and trade with the Syrian government for captured insurgents.  About a hundred and fifty cases are known.

ISTEAMS also mentions that that Syrians from Latakia have come forward claiming that their relatives were on display in the footage that the US Intelligence Community has showcased to justify bombing Syria. The Latakia connection would explain a lot of the questions that arise about the bodies of the unaccompanied children. It also paints a disturbing picture of the bodies of innocent Syrian children being prostituted to spark a foreign attack on Syria by the United States and its allies.

Regardless of any political positions or stances on Syria, everyone who is advocating for war or peace on the basis of these videos has a responsibility to take the observations of the ISTEAMS report to task and verify for themselves the nature of its claims.

Syria Gambit: The Race to War

September 19th, 2013 by Michael Welch

The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the Nation.”

These were the words of  Presidential Candidate Barack Obama recorded in December  2007 [1]



Length (59:31)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

It would appear that the wheels may be coming off the US President’s plan to authorize regime change in Syria as part of a humanitarian gesture.

Majority opinion is apparently not on the side of the President. [2] A Gallup poll found support for a military strike in reaction to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons is down around 36%. US State authorities seem to hold little sway with the common citizenry lately.

As for the mainstream media, it is interesting that they have acted on cue to disseminate unsubstantiated video of the chemical gas attacks in Damascus.

The same media seem to display nowhere near the same alacrity when it comes to broadcasting or even discussing the footage that captures the brutality of the rebel “freedom fighters” with which the US has allied itself.

(Caution! The following footage is graphic and very disturbing. Viewer discretion is strongly advised!)

US President Barack Obama made it clear months ago that the use, by Syrian President Bassar Al-Assad, of chemical weapons would represent the “Red Line” across which a response by the world community would be warranted. [3] The unveiling of footage of a gas attack dated August 21 would seem to have triggered the call for military strikes.

Curiously, this apparent chemical weapons attack took place at a time when UN chemical weapons inspectors were in the country at the invitation of the Syrian government. Whatever the character of the Assad regime might be, it is difficult to discern the logistical motives of such a move.

Following the defeat in the British Parliament of a motion to respond militarily to the presumed provocation, President Obama has chosen to seek the backing of Congress before proceeding with the military strikes that he clearly champions.

Having failed to produce international agreement at the Russia-hosted G20 meeting on how to respond to the Syrian crisis, or even apparently on who was responsible for the gas attacks, Barrack Obama has returned to the United States. He plans to make the case for military strikes in a Tuesday night White House speech.

That’s right! On the eve of the twelfth anniversary of 9/11, Obama will utilize his exceptional skills as an orator to explain the need to link with the (Al Qaeda-linked) Syrian rebels to subvert the Syrian government. The US Senate and House of Representatives will likewise make up their minds on this solemn anniversary week on whether to go to war apparently in service to Al Qaeda. Or not.

This week’s Global Research News Hour probes Obama’s Casus Beli, the chemical gas attacks, exposes what is known and documented about the opposition forces, links that understanding with recent prison breaks in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan, and attempts to discern the real motives for the US President’s determination even in the face of opposition from his own political base.

Michel Chossudovsky is Director of The Centre for Research on Globalization. and Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa. His latest book is entitled “Towards a World War III Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War”.

Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is chairman of the Institute for Political Economy. His most recent book is From 9/11 to the US War/Police State He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Julie Lévesque is an independent researcher and journalist, and Associate Editor  at the Centre for Research on Globalization.



Length (59:31)

Click to download the audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour, hosted by Michael Welch, airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Thursdays at 10am CDT. The programme is now broadcast weekly (Monday, 5-6pm ET) by the Progressive Radio Network in the US, and is available for download on the Global Research website.


1) Charlie Savage, Dec. 20, 2007, Boston Globe;
2) Mario Trujillo, Sept.6, 2013, “ Poll: Support for Syria strike lower than for any action in 20 years” ;
3) August 20, 2012, White House Press Release,

Consensus 9/11: New Truths Dispelling Old Lies

September 19th, 2013 by Stephen Lendman

Consensus 9/11 seeks “best evidence” proof. It does so to dispel official story falsehoods. It’s founded on:

“(1) The opinions of respected authorities, based on professional experience, descriptive studies, and reports of expert committees.

(2) Physical data in the form of photographs, videotapes, court testimony, witness reports, and FOIA releases.

(3) Direct rather than circumstantial evidence.”

Determining “best evidence” depends on “integrating individual professional expertise with the best available documentary and scientific evidence.”

Simplified Delphi methodology is followed. It’s often used “where published information is inadequate or non-existent.” Experts use “best evidence” to determine truth.

Doing so is similar to how doctors diagnose illnesses. It’s like forecasts made on best judgments.

It’s based on the principle that structured groups of individuals are more accurate than unstructured ones.

It encourages revisions based on new evidence. It’s a way to determine truth. It’s done so independently and objectively. Its track record shows effectiveness.

9/11 is the Big Lie of our time. Distinguished scholars like David Ray Griffin researched it exhaustively. In 10 books, articles and lectures, he provided evidence too important to ignore.

In April 2006, he discussed “9/11: The Myth and the Reality,” saying:

“It would seem, for many reasons, that the official story of 9/11, which has served as a religious Myth in the intervening years (and still does), is a myth in the pejorative sense of a story that does not correspond to reality.”

In September 2008, Griffin headlined his article “September 11, 2001: 21 Reasons to Question the Official Story about 9/11.”

The FBI admitted it “ha(d) no hard evidence connecting” 9/11 to bin Laden.

So-called devout Muslim alleged hijackers drank heavily, frequented strip clubs and paid for sex.

Technology in 2001 made cell phone calls made from above 30,000 feet impossible.

The FBI lied claiming Mohamed Atta’s left behind luggage contained “decisive evidence” about Al Qaeda responsibility for the attacks.

Passports allegedly found at United 93′s crash site were fake ones.

Alleged hijackers weren’t aboard the four fateful flights.

Standing operating intercept procedures weren’t followed.

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta said Dick Cheney “apparently confirmed a stand-down order” prior to an alleged plane striking the Pentagon.

The 9/11 whitewash Commission deleted Mineta’s comment from its official report.

Secret Service agents let Bush remain at a Sarasota, FL school for 30 minutes after learning about the second twin tower strike.

Standard procedure calls for securing his safety immediately in case of potential danger.

Jet fuel doesn’t heat high enough to melt or cause rigid steel columns to crumble.

Doing so is “scientifically impossible.” Controlled demolitions destroyed both towers. Building 7 fell the same way. Griffin included other spurious lies.

He concluded saying growing numbers of “physicists, chemists, architects, engineers, pilots, former military officers, and former intelligence officers reject the official 9/11 myth.”

It’s a bald-faced lie. It’s the Big Lie of our time. It launched 12 years of direct and proxy wars. It facilitated homeland repression.

The worst of what happened shows no signs of ending. New wars are planned. Freedom is being systematically destroyed. America more than ever is unfit to live in. Humanity’s increasingly threatened.

Consensus 9/11 “Factual Evidence Contradicts the 9/11 story.” Its official account:

  • launched multiple wars of aggression;
  • “authorize(d) torture, military tribunals, and extraordinary rendition(s);” and
  • replaced constitutional freedoms with tyranny.

Official 9/11 claims are refuted by “scientific consensus best evidence.” Sunshine is the best disinfectant. Consensus 9/11 compiled 37 important Consensus Points.

They’re compiled in 10 categories. They include:

General Consensus Points

Consensus Points about the Twin Towers

Consensus Points about the Collapse of World Trade Center 7

Consensus Points about the Pentagon

Consensus Points about the 9/11 Flights

Consensus Points about US Military Exercises On and Before 9/11

Consensus Points about the Political and Military Commands on 9/11

Consensus Points about Hijackers on 9/11

Consensus Points about the Phone Calls on 9/11 (and)

Consensus Points about Official Video Exhibits Regarding 9/11

On September 12, 23 9/11 Consensus Panel members released five new consensus points.

(1) On 9/11, New York and neighboring states’ seismograph stations detected seismic waves. They did so when both towers were struck.

Lamont Doherty-Earth Observatory (LDEO) scientists published seismographic wave data analysis.

FEMA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) used it in their publications discussing what happened.

So did the 9/11 Commission. It omitted confirming LDEO analysis of plane impact times. It based its conclusions on ground radar data.

“(I)ndependent analyses have disputed LDEO’s conclusions and thereby the conclusions reached by FEMA and NIST.”

They dispute 9/11 Commission conclusions. Plane impacts caused seismic waves. They were used to determine when both plane impacts occurred and each building collapsed.

In 2006, independent Craig Furlong and Gordon Ross (CR/GR) engineering research showed “plane impacts could not have caused the seismic signals attributed to them by LDEO, because they originated several seconds before the 9/11 Commission’s radar-based times of impact.”

Most likely, seismic events followed “explosions in the basements of the Twin Towers, for which there is abundant physical and testimonial evidence.”

Other independent analysis confirms CR/GR analysis. LDEO and 9/11 Commission reports are flawed and inaccurate.

Consensus 9/11 concluded that:

“The discrepancies described above indicate that the LDEO conclusions about the nature of the events that generated the signals recorded at Palisades cannot be correct.”

 ”Most strikingly, the ground radar data, which is very precise, showed WTC 1 to have been struck 15 seconds later than the Palisades-recorded seismic activity, which LDEO scientists attributed to an airplane impact.”

 ”The radar also shows WTC 2 to have been struck later than the seismic activity attributed to it.”

 ”The seismic activity, therefore, must have been produced by something other than the crashes of the airliners into the two buildings.”

 (2) Physical and testimonial evidence about why both towers collapsed refute official accounts. They attribute collapse to plane impacts and resulting fires.

Independent evidence challenges both conclusions. NIST claimed no evidence of explosions “below the impact and fire floors.”

Testimonial and physical evidence shows “the official story – in any of its versions – to be false.” Controlled Demolition, Inc. head Mark Loizeaux said:

 ”If I were to bring the towers down, I would put explosives in the basement to get the weight of the building to help collapse the structure.”

 ”Many firefighters and others reported explosions below the impact and fire floors.”

 According to firefighter Edward Cachi:

 ”As my officer and I were looking at the South Tower, it just gave. It actually gave at a lower floor, not the floor where the plane hit.”

 ”(I)t went in succession, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then the tower came down.”

 Others experiencing what happened made similar comments. Even BBC’s New York-based correspondent, Stephen Evans, said:

 ”I was at the base of the second tower that was hit.”

 ”There was an explosion. The base of the building shook. (T)hen there was a series of explosions.”

 Others explicitly reported basement explosions.

 ”Janitor William Rodriguez reported that he and 14 others in the North Tower heard and felt an explosion below the first sub-level office before the aircraft impact.”

 Basement explosions would have caused the ground to shake. Several observers reported it.

Physical evidence confirmed testimonies. For example:

 ”Sudden Onset: In controlled demolition, the onset of the collapse is sudden: One moment, the building is perfectly motionless; the next moment, it suddenly starts coming down.”

 ”But when steel is heated, it does not suddenly buckle or break, but bends and sags. So if heat could induce a collapse, the onset would be gradual.”

 ”But as videos show, the buildings were perfectly motionless up to the moment they began their collapse.”

 ”Straight Down: The most important thing in a controlled demolition of a tall building, which is close to other buildings, is that it comes straight down.”

 ”Mark Loizeaux has said that careful planning is needed in setting the charges ‘to bring (a building) down as we want, so no other structure is harmed..’ “

 ”If the 110-story Twin Towers had fallen over, rather than coming straight down, they would have caused an enormous amount of damage to buildings covering many city blocks; but they did not.”

 ”Rapid constant acceleration: Measurements show that when the North Tower collapsed, it accelerated constantly at approximately two-thirds the rate of gravity.”

 ”Such acceleration is incompatible with the official explanation of the building collapse.”

 ”The official explanation of the collapse of each of the Towers claims that the top part of the building, above where the planes struck, came down on the structure below and initiated total collapse.”

 ”If that were what happened, the lower stories would have provided significant resistance and a deceleration of the top section would have been observed, had there been an impact.”

 ”As videos show, and as careful measurements of the motion of the top section confirm, the upper stories of the building fell down through the lower stories with a high rate of constant acceleration and no associated deceleration or impact.”

“This means that the official explanation is false.” Building columns were destroyed by something other than gravity. An expertly executed explosive force is mostly likely.

 ”Total Collapse: These 110-story buildings collapsed into piles of rubble only a few stories high, even though the buildings contained a remarkable 283 columns supporting each story, with 236 closely spaced large steel box columns as part of a robust Vierendeel truss network on the exterior, and in the core of each tower 47 steel box columns, the bases of which were massive.”

“Pulverization and Dust Clouds: ‘At the World Trade Center sites,’ said Colonel John O’Dowd of the US Army Corps of Engineers, ‘it seemed like everything (except the steel) was pulverized.’ “

 ”Although this was an exaggeration, much of the non-metallic contents of the buildings was indeed pulverized into tiny particles of dust, giving rise to enormous dust clouds, which impeded visibility for a half hour after each collapse – even though, according to the official theory, the only physical agencies involved, after the impact of the airplanes, were gravitational acceleration and fire.”

 Credible testimonial and physical evidence refutes official accounts. Controlled demolitions collapsed both towers. Nothing else explains what happened.

(3) Molten metal remained below both towers’ debris weeks after 9/11. Burning jet fuel doesn’t reach temperatures high enough to cause it.

Melted building steel was caused by something other than plane impacts or resulting fires. Claims otherwise were false.

Official reports indicated no molten steel or iron. Silence about it implies its absence. According to NIST:

Its “investigators and experts from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEONY) – who inspected the WTC steel at the WTC site and the salvage yards -found no evidence that would support the melting of steel in a jet-fuel ignited fire in the towers prior to collapse.”

“Any molten steel in the wreckage was more likely due to the high temperature resulting from long exposure to combustion within the pile than to short exposure to fires or explosions while the buildings were standing.”

Best evidence suggests NIST and similar claims have no basis in fact. Their analysis is faulty. It’s unscientific. It reflects coverup and denial.

According to physicist Steven Jones:

“Are there any examples of buildings toppled by fires or any reason other than deliberate demolition that show large pools of molten metal in the rubble?”

 ”I have posed this question to numerous engineers and scientists, but so far no examples have emerged.”

“Strange then that three buildings in Manhattan, supposedly brought down finally by fires, all show these large pools of molten metal in their basements post-collapse on 9-11-2001.”

 ”It would be interesting if underground fires could somehow produce large pools of molten steel, for example, but then there should be historical examples of this effect since there have been many large fires in numerous buildings.”

“It is not enough to argue hypothetically that fires could possibly cause all three pools of orange-hot molten metal.”

Physical and testimonial evidence refute official accounts. None of them hold up to scrutiny.

According to Consensus 9/11:

“The fact that the rubble contained steel or iron that had been melted shows that the buildings were destroyed by something other than fire and airplane impact.”

“When all of this physical evidence is combined with the testimony about explosions from many types of professionals, the claim that the Twin Towers were brought down by nothing other than the airplane impacts and resulting fires is simply not credible.”

(4) Years post-9/11, NIST failed to produce a computer simulation of what happened. Buildings “undergoing progressive collapse would come down in a sequential manner. Sections would be expected to fail as they lost support.”

 Collapse measurements showed they didn’t come down this way.

Freefalling buildings “in the absence of explosives to remove the steel supports is inherently implausible.”

NIST can’t justify its claim that freefall was consistent with sequential collapse. Its explanation doesn’t “pass scrutiny.”

Computer simulations don’t correlate with key building collapse features. “NIST’s position appears to be no more than an attempt to evade legitimate questions.”

Its conclusion is scientifically impossible. It can’t be replicated experimentally.

(5) Flight 93′s “Let’s Roll” call reveals a serious timeline problem. It was “used as a call to war.”

Two official timelines are “glaringly at odds with” each other. They “differ(ed) by more than 20 minutes.”

Why was one call describing an event that occurred 20 minutes earlier?” Why did it claim it was happening in real time?

Why did it say what was patently untrue? The entire “Let’s Roll” scenario” glorif(ied) the heroism of” UA Flight 93 passengers.

It facilitated launching multiple wars of aggression. It aided and abetted homeland repression.

It headed America down a slippery slope to tyranny and ruin. Obama exceeded the worst practices Bush initiated. He risks humanity’s survival in the process.

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

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

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Black America More Pro-War Than Ever

September 19th, 2013 by Glen Ford

During President Obama’s run-up to war with Syria, “African Americans were, for the first time in polling history, the most bellicose major ethnicity in the United States.” How could such a political role-reversal come to pass? “The progressive, peace-seeking African American worldview is out of sync with the deep imperative to support the First Black President.”

Barack Obama has proven to be a warmongering thug for global capital, many times over. The question is: Have African Americans, his most loyal supporters, joined the bi-partisan War Party, rejecting the historical Black consensus on social justice and peace (or, at least, the “peace” part)?

Ever since national pollsters began tracking African American public opinion, surveys have shown Blacks to be consistently clustered at the left side of the national political spectrum. More than any other ethnicity, African Americans have opposed U.S. military adventures abroad, by wide margins. Indeed, the sheer size of the “blood lust” gap between the races indicates that the Black international worldview differs quite radically from white Americans and, to a lesser but marked degree, from Hispanics.

That is, until the advent of Obama.

Washington Post/ABC poll conducted between August 28 and September 1 showed 40 percent of African Americans supported President Obama’s threats of airstrikes against Syria – two points more than whites and nine percent more than Hispanics. Majorities of all three groups opposed bombing Syria – 56 percent of Blacks, 58 percent of whites and 63 percent of Hispanics – but African Americans were, for the first time in polling history, the most bellicose major ethnicity in the United States.

A Pew Research poll from the same period showed Blacks somewhat less supportive of airstrikes, with only 22 percent of African Americans and 29 percent of whites in favor. Fifty-three percent of Blacks and 47 percent of whites were opposed (Hispanic data were not made available.) However, about one-quarter of both Blacks and whites were allowed to choose “undecided” in the Pew survey, without which option the results would likely have been more in line with the Washington Post/ABC poll, with large numbers of Blacks aligning themselves with Obama.

There is no doubt that this apparent decline in Black aversion to U.S. foreign aggressions has everything to do with the color (and party) of the commander-in-chief. For all the right historical reasons, African Americans have always been highly skeptical of U.S. motives abroad. With Obama nominally in charge, such righteous Black skepticism of “American” (meaning, white) motives is less operative.

Only ten years ago, a Zogby poll revealed the vast chasm that existed between Blacks and the two other major ethnic groups on issues of war and peace. The Black Commentator for February 13, 2003, reported:

“An Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Zogby America poll released this past weekend shows that less than a quarter of Blacks (23 percent) support Bush’s war against Iraq, versus 62 percent of the white public. 64 percent of Blacks surveyed ‘somewhat or strongly oppose” the planned attack, while 13 percent ‘aren’t sure’ what to think.

“The bloodthirstiness of white American males is astounding: 68 percent of men surveyed are gung ho, indicating that the white male pro-war cohort soars somewhere in the high seventies. Less than half of all women favor war.

“Hispanics polled nearly as warlike as whites. When asked the general question on war, 60 percent support it.

“The lack of empathy with Iraqis as human beings marks white American males as a collective danger to the species. Zogby pollsters asked: Would you support or oppose a war against Iraq if it meant thousands of Iraqi civilian casualties? A solid majority of white men answered in the affirmative, as did more than a third of white women. Only seven percent of African Americans favored a war that would kill thousands.

“Hispanics lost some of their bloodlust when confronted with the prospect of mass Iraqi civilian casualties; only 16 percent are willing to support such an outcome.”

The fact that only a marginal proportion of Blacks (7 percent) favored an invasion in which thousands of Iraqi civilians would die – less than half the proportion of Hispanics and a small fraction of white belligerents of both sexes – speaks to African Americans’ relatively deep empathy for other peoples as well as their disdain for U.S. militarism. It is central to the African American political-cultural legacy.

In the decade since the Iraq invasion, the general American populace has grown more wary of Washington’s wars in the Mideast. Why, then, would the least militaristic ethnic group suddenly become relatively more warlike than whites? Have Black Americans undergone some accelerated ideological mutation in the intervening years?

Of course not, but Blacks have for almost six years been in the grip of a fundamentally unsettling experience for which African American history provides no defenses: the presence of a Black man at the helm of the Empire. The progressive, peace-seeking African American worldview is out of sync with the deep imperative to support the First Black President. Black skepticism of U.S. government motives is short-circuited by the fervent desire for Obama to succeed – since his success or failure is seen as Black America’s collective legacy. Black politics crumbles under the weight of this massive contradiction – which is why Black America is in its deepest political crisis since Emancipation, unable to defend Black domestic interests or to be a force for peace in the world.

Black elected officials, overwhelmingly Democrats, act as role models of impotence, eunuchs in Obama’s harem and, when required, cheerleaders in his wars. Had Obama not “postponed” his attack on Syria, there is every reason to believe that he would have gotten the support of about half the Congressional Black Caucus – just as when his war against Libya was challenged, in June of 2011. Even after Obama is gone, the great task of Black progressives will be to sever the chains that bind Blacks to the Wall Street-run Democratic Party, the incubator of future Obamas and, therefore, unending Black political crises.

It is true that Black folks have lost their political bearings, if not their minds, in the Age of Obama, but that doesn’t mean they can’t recover their sanity and humanity, once the maddening presence in the White House is gone. Mental breakdowns are not irreversible; otherwise, all the world’s peoples would be permanently brain-damaged.

Perhaps the most curious and, in a sense, encouraging aspect of Obama-whipped Black political behavior is that most of those afflicted pay little attention to the First Black President’s actual policies. The topic of Black conversation is usually not “What is Obama doing,” but, rather, “How is Obama doing?” His fans aren’t concerned about his legislative agenda, and are often shocked when informed that their icon engineered preventive detention laws and wants to cut Social Security. You are liable to be called a lying bastard, or even attacked, simply for citing his political record in Black settings where, typically, it is never debated or scrutinized. Instead, the subject of constant discussion is: Who is making trouble for Obama? What are they doing now to smear the man? In short, Black people aren’t expressing their political convictions when giving tacit or active support to Obama, on the foreign or domestic fronts. They are, in fact, ignoring their own convictions in favor of upholding the icon.

As a result, what Cornel West calls the “Black prophetic tradition” slips into a coma. We know it will awake, but not without damage.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at[email protected].

Rogue State USA: Missile Threats Make Any Syria Treaty Illegal

September 19th, 2013 by Global Research News

By Bill Simpich

During this momentary lull of US threats on Syria, this is the time for Americans to call on Obama to stop our country from acting as a rogue state. When you have momentum, use it. If not now, when?

The citizens of the world must make it clear that the USA has no right to make threats of force against nations that have not threatened the United States. Any treaty that results from a threat is unenforceable. Do we really want an agreement with Syria that is null and void?

Article 2, Section 4 of the UN Charter makes it plain. “All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purpose of the United Nations.”

This rule is so strong that it explains why Obama recently announced that he will not seek a Security Council authorization of the threat of the use of force in Syria. Under international law, the necessary conditions do not exist for the Security Council to take any such action in this setting.

Article 53 of the UN Charter mandates that a nation cannot use force against another in a situation other than individual self-defense unless it is necessary to maintain collective peace and security, and unless said force is approved by the Security Council. The Obama administration cannot use threats of force to back up its credibility or to punish Syria for past acts. Neither one of those acts maintain collective peace and security, which is what is needed to even request Security Council approval.

It is common for people to argue that threats are what bring people to the bargaining table. It is one thing to promise to protect your interests – it’s another thing to threaten to fire missiles at the other side. The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties makes it clear that if threats of using force are made during diplomatic negotiations, then any resulting treaty is invalid: “A treaty is void if its conclusion has been procured by the threat or use of force in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations.” Although the US Senate has not ratified the Vienna convention, many of its provisions are considered to be customary international law.

The US itself has argued to the World Court that the prohibition of the threat of use of force is a principle of customary international law. The World Court has held on several occasions that Article 2(4) of the UN Charter retains its full force and effect as applicable international law.

Under the law of state responsibility, the state that has unlawfully made threats of force has the duty to halt the conduct, and provide appropriate assurances and guarantees of non-repetition. If economic damage has resulted, the state responsible for making threats of force must make full reparations.

This is the moment to ensure that Obama takes missile strikes off the table. Otherwise, he could wind up with a chemical weapons agreement with Syria that is unenforceable. Threats of war have been condemned by the entire world community. What we need now is some dogged follow-up.

Constitutional law professors and their students might consider circulating a petition directed to the nation’s most powerful constitutional law professor to halt this pattern and practice of illegal threats to wage war. Any world leader who is serious about peace should call for a halt to any and all threats of preemptive missile attacks. The Friends Committee on National Legislation has all the information you need to contact your member of Congress. Any peace groups that focus on being effective will take this issue head-on.

Instead of threatening war, why not threaten to begin an international arms embargo?

Copyright. Reader Supported News, 2013

The most important anniversary of the year was the 40th anniversary of 11 September 1973 – the crushing of the democratic government of Chile by General Augusto Pinochet and Henry Kissinger, then US secretary of state. The National Security Archive in Washington has posted new documents that reveal much about Kissinger’s role in an atrocity that cost thousands of lives. 

In declassified tapes, Kissinger is heard planning with President Richard Nixon the overthrow of President Salvador Allende. They sound like Mafiosi thugs.  Kissinger warns that the “model effect” of Allende’s reformist democracy “can be insidious”. He tells CIA director Richard Helms: “We will not let Chile go down the drain”, to which Helms replies: “I am with you.” With the slaughter under way, Kissinger dismisses a warning by his senior officials of the scale of the repression. Secretly, he tells Pinochet, “You did a great service to the West.”

I have known many of Pinochet’s and Kissinger’s victims. Sara De Witt, a student at the time, showed me the place where she was beaten, assaulted and electrocuted. On a wintry day in the suburbs of Santiago, we walked through a former torture centre known as Villa Grimaldi, where hundreds like her suffered terribly and were murdered or “disappeared”.

Understanding Kissinger’s criminality is vital when trying to fathom what the US calls its “foreign policy”. Kissinger remains an influential voice in Washington, admired and consulted by Barack Obama. When Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain commit crimes with US collusion and weapons, their impunity and Obama’s hypocrisy are pure Kissinger. Syria must not have chemical weapons, but Israel can have them and use them. Iran must not have a nuclear programme, but Israel can have more nuclear weapons than Britain. This is known as “realism” or realpolitik by Anglo-American academics and think-tanks that claim expertise in “counter-terrorism” and “national security”, which are Orwellian terms meaning the opposite.

In recent weeks, the New Statesman has published articles by John Bew, an academic at Kings College war studies department, which the cold warrior Laurence Freedman made famous.  Bew laments the parliamentary vote that stopped David Cameron joining Obama in lawlessly attacking Syria and the hostility of most British people to bombing other nations. A note at the end of his articles says he will “take up the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations” in Washington. If this is not a black joke, it a profanity on those like Sara de Witt and Kissinger’s countless other victims, not least those who died in the holocaust of his and Nixon’s secret, illegal bombing of Cambodia.

This doctrine of “realism” was invented in the US following the second world war and sponsored by the Ford, Carnegie and Rockefeller Foundations, the OSS (forerunner of the CIA) and the Council on Foreign relations. In the great universities, students were taught to regard people in terms of their usefulness or expendability: in other words, their threat to “us”. This narcissism served to justify the cold war, its moralising myths and cataclysmic risks, and when that was over, the “war on terror”. Such a “transatlantic consensus” often found its clearest echo in Britain, with the British elite’s enduring nostalgia for empire. Tony Blair used it to commit and justify his war crimes until his lies got the better of him. The violent death of more than a thousand people in Iraq every month is his legacy; yet his views are still courted, and his chief collaborator, Alastair Campbell, is a jolly after-dinner speaker and the subject of obsequious interviews. All the blood, it seems, has been washed away.

Syria is the current project. Outflanked by Russia and public opinion, Obama has now embraced the “path of diplomacy”. Has he? As Russian and US negotiators arrived in Geneva on 12 September, the US increased its support for the Al-Qaeda affiliated militias with weapons sent clandestinely through Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Gulf. The Godfather has no intention of deserting his proxies in Syria. Al Qaeda was all but created by the CIA’s Operation Cyclone that armed the mujahedin in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Since then, jihadists have been used to divide and Arab societies and in eliminating the threat of pan-Arab nationalism to western “interests” and Israel’s lawless colonial expansion. This is Kissinger-style “realism”.

In 2006, I interviewed Duane “Dewey” Clarridge, who ran the CIA in Latin America in the 1980s. Here was a true “realist”. Like Kissinger and Nixon on the tapes, he spoke his mind.  He referred to Salvador Allende as “whatshisname in Chile” and said “he had to go because it was in our national interests”. When I asked what gave him the right to overthrow governments, he said, “Like it or lump it, we’ll do what we like. So just get used to it, world.”

The world is no longer getting used to it. In a continent ravaged by those whom Nixon called “our bastards”, Latin American governments have defied the likes of Clarridge and implemented much of Allende’s dream of social democracy – which was Kissinger’s fear. Today, most of Latin America is independent of US foreign policy and free of its vigilantism. Poverty has been cut almost by half; children live beyond the age of five; the elderly learn to read and write. These remarkable advances are invariably reported in bad faith in the west and ignored by the “realists”. That must never lessen their value as a source of optimism and inspiration for all of us.

John Pilger’s new film, Utopia, will have its premiere at the National Film Theatre in London on 3 October and open in cinemas in November. For more information visit

Syria threatens no one. It hasn’t used chemical weapons against insurgents or its own civilians. Claims otherwise are fabricated.

In contrast, Israel is nuclear armed and dangerous. It maintains large chemical and biological weapons arsenals. More on that below.

In 1986, Dimona nuclear technician/heroic whistleblower Mordechai Vananu revealed important documents, photos, and other scientific evidence.

They proved Israel began producing atomic weapons since at least the 1960s. Years later, thermonuclear warheads were manufactured.

It’s believed Israel’s arsenal includes hundreds it won’t admit to publicly. It’s missile capability can deliver them long range. So can its nuclear submarines.

Vananu revealed Israel’s nuclear program. He provided credible evidence. Doing so cost him dearly.

In 1986, Mossad agents lured him to Rome. They beat, drugged and kidnapped him. He was secretly tried. He was convicted on espionage and treason charges.

He got 18 years in prison. He spent much of it in brutalizing solitary confinement. He suffered cruel and barbaric treatment.

After release, he was imprisoned again. It was for speaking to foreign journalists. Daniel Ellsberg calls him “the preeminent hero of the nuclear era.”

Vananu said “I am neither a traitor nor a spy. I only wanted the world to know what was happening.” People everywhere have a right to know.

Vanunu’s prohibited from leaving Israel. His fundamental rights are denied. He received numerous Nobel Peace Prize nominations.

Israel denies him freedom. It’s for doing the right thing. He, Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, and other heroic whistleblowers deserve universal acclaim.

Instead they’re ruthlessly vilified, hounded and punished when apprehended. Snowden’s free in Russia. He’s unable to go home. He fears for his safety.

No matter how secure he is in Russia or elsewhere, he’s threatened for the rest of his life. “There’s no saving me,” he says. It’s for good reason.

Perhaps Mossad will try to abduct him. It wouldn’t surprise if it attempts replicating how it entrapped Vanunu. Rogue agencies operate this way.

CIA, NSA, Mossad and Israel’s secretive Unit 8200 perhaps are the worst. They operate extrajudicially. They make their own rules. They’ve done it throughout their history. Returning Snowden to America very much is US policy.

Israel won’t discuss its weapons of mass destruction. It never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In 1993, it signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). It refused to ratify it. It did so for spurious reasons. It wrongfully claims it’s surrounded by hostile neighbors. Israel’s only enemies are ones it invents.

It never signed the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). Its policy is CBW ambiguity.

In 1993, the US Congress Office of Technology Assessment WMD proliferation assessment said Israel has undeclared offensive chemical warfare capabilities.

It uses banned weapons in all its conflicts. They include chemical, biological, and radiological ones. Hideous new weapons are tested. Injuries never seen before are reported.

Bodies with dead tissue showed no apparent wounds. Corpses were found shrunken. Civilians had heavy lower limb damage. Amputations were required.

Internal wounds had no trace of shrapnel. Corpses were blackened. They weren’t burned. Some badly wounded victims didn’t bleed. Explosives containing toxins and radiological materials are used.

They burn and destroy bodies. They do so internally. They leave permanent deformations. Unknown toxins believed to be nerve gas is used. So is white phosphorous. It burns flesh to the bone.

Depleted and enriched uranium weapons spread radioactive contamination. Close-range explosives cause severe injuries. Victims lose legs. Abdomens are sliced open. Some people are too far gone to be saved.

The Israeli Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) is top secret. Hundreds of scientists and technicians develop chemical and biological weapons. They’re used in combat.

Its publications discuss research on various agents and toxins. They include plague bacterium (Yersinia pestis), typhus bacterium (Rickettsia prowazekii), staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB), rabies, anthrax bacterium (Bacillus anthracis), botulinum bacterium (Clostridium botulinum), botulinum toxin, Ebola virus, and nerve gas agents like sarin.

In terms of life science capability, Israel’s ranks among the world’s most expert nations in biology, chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, genetics, neuroscience, and clinical medicine.

Its biotechnological expertise is sophisticated and innovative. Its bioscience infrastructure is modern and well-funded. It provides what experts call “breakout” capability. Its activities are top secret.

Official policy prohibits discussing anything related to Israel’s nuclear, chemical or biological programs. Doing so is considered treason. Vananu learned the hard way. It didn’t diminish his passion to expose important truths.

IIBR works closely with Israeli military and intelligence operations. Strategic priorities are agreed on. They relate to what Israel wants for combat use.

On September 9, Foreign Policy headlined “Exclusive: Does Israel Have Chemical Weapons Too?”

According to 1982 CIA documents, US satellites uncovered “a probable CW nerve agent production facility and a storage facility.”

It’s located at the Dimona Sensitive Storage Area in the Negev desert. Other CW production is believed to exist within “a well-developed Israeli chemical industry.”

“While (CIA) cannot confirm whether the Israelis possess lethal chemical agents, several indicators lead (it) to believe that they have available to them at least persistent and nonpersistent nerve agents, a mustard agent, and several riot-control agents, matched with suitable delivery systems.”

What existed decades earlier is likely far more expansive and sophisticated now. Israel doesn’t develop expertise to abandon it.

CIA intelligence uncovered evidence of Israeli chemical, biological and radiological weapons development decades ago.

Nothing is reported publicly. Foreign Policy (FP) said an unnamed researcher found an “innocuous unclassified report.”

It was dated September 15, 1983. It was titled “Implications of Soviet Use of Chemical and Toxin Weapons for US Security Interests.”

It dealt mainly with unproven allegations of Soviet chemical and biological weapons use in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia.

It included “unredacted portions of the intelligence estimate that details what the CIA thought it knew back in 1983 about Israel’s work on chemical weapons.”

It revealed “hard evidence that Israel possessed a chemical weapons stockpile of indeterminate size, including, according to the report, ‘persistent and non-persistent nerve agents.’ ”

It was believed virtually for sure to be sarin. In 1988, Israeli historian Avner Cohen’s book titled “Israel and the Bomb” said Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion secretly ordered developing chemical weapons.

He did so in the mid-1950s. CIA intelligence indicates years later. According to its 1983 estimate:

“Israel, finding itself surrounded by frontline Arab states with budding CW capabilities, became increasingly conscious of its vulnerability to chemical attack.”

“Its sensitivities were galvanized by the capture of large quantities of Soviet CW-related equipment during both the 1967 Arab-Israeli and the 1973 Yom Kippur wars.”

“As a result, Israel undertook a program of chemical warfare preparations in both offensive and protective areas.”

CIA officials first learned about Israel’s chemical weapons in the early 1970s, said FP. It discovered test grids for them.

They’re specially instrumented areas. They’re used to measure the range and effectiveness of different chemical agents.

They include nerve agents like sarin. They’re tested in simulated situations. It’s done under varying climate conditions. Israel did so secretly in barren Negev desert areas.

Following the 1973 Yom Kippur War, CIA intelligence said Israel accelerated its program.

NSA spied on Israel. It still does. It intercepted communications showing Israeli fighter-bombers conducted simulated low-level chemical weapons delivery missions. They did so at a Negev bombing range.

At the same time, Israel’s nuclear arsenal grew “both in size and raw megatonnage.” CIA officials were quoted saying Israel has sophisticated nuclear weapons.

It’s actively engaged in developing other weapons of mass destruction. Further elaboration didn’t follow.

In 1982, US spy satellite evidence showed “a probable CW nerve agent production facility and a storage facility.”

It discovered them at the Dimona Sensitive Storage Area.” It’s based in the Negev desert. It’s in a virtually uninhabited area. It’s located east of al-Kilab village.

It’s 10 miles west of Dimona. It’s heavily protected. It includes 50 buried bunkers. They’re surrounded by double barbed wire fencing. Large-scale security forces are present.

Two miles northeast, another complex is heavily guarded. It’s protected the same way. It covers about 40 or 50 acres.

It consists of three large storage bunkers. It includes a buried production and/or maintenance facility. It may be where Israel produces sarin and/or other nerve agents.

Whatever Israel had then is likely far more expansive and sophisticated now. Evidence from Israel’s wars on Palestine and Lebanon suggests so.

According to FP, “Israel has a well-known penchant for preserving any asset thought to be needed for (its) defense regardless of the cost or possible diplomatic ramifications.”

Israeli policy reflects do what we say, not what we do. On September 11, Netanyahu wrongfully accused Syria of using chemical weapons against its own people.

“We must make sure that the Syrian regime is stripped of its chemical weapons, and the world must make sure that whoever uses weapons of mass destruction pays a price for it,” he said.

He ignored his own government’s culpability. He ignored crimes of numerous Israeli leaders preceding him.

“The message that is received in Syria will be received loudly in Iran,” he added.

Israel refuses to sign NPT. It never ratified CWC. It won’t permit international inspections. It operates lawlessly. It does so covertly. Washington and other Western states turn a blind eye.

They do so despite Israel’s global threat. They wrongfully focus on Syria and Iran. Both nations threaten no one. Claims otherwise are fabricated.

Iran was one of NPT’s first signatories. It ratified CWC. Syria ratified NPT. It pledged signing and ratifying CWC.

Israel’s a nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons outlaw. Syria promises full compliance with international treaties, conventions and protocols.

It’s wrongfully targeted. It’s shamelessly accused of numerous insurgent crimes. They include chemical weapons attacks, numerous massacres, and gruesome atrocities.

World leaders point fingers the wrong way. They let Israel get away with murder. They do so repeatedly.

They’re complicit in Israel’s worst crimes of war and against humanity. Don’t expect them on the right side of history ahead.

They’re allied with Washington against Assad. They want Syrian sovereignty destroyed. They want pro-Western subservient governance replacing it. They want Iran isolated.

Obama wants war. Russia’s peace initiative slowed him. He’s not deterred. His war plans are unchanged. He could initiate them any time.

It could happen sooner than expected. Doing so may be one more major false flags away. Reports suggest one targeting Israel.

Perhaps Obama’s conspiring with Netanyahu and insurgent fighters to launch it. For sure bombs away would follow.

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

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

Visit his blog site at

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Russia Challenges UN Report on Syrian Gas Attack

September 19th, 2013 by Peter Symonds

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday countered a barrage of claims by the US and its allies that the UN report into the August 21 chemical weapon attack in Syria proved that the government of President Bashar al-Assad was responsible.

Lavrov described the report as one-sided and biased, claiming that ample evidence pointed to the involvement of anti-Assad forces in chemical attacks. He said he would provide evidence to the UN Security Council demonstrating that Syrian opposition militias had carried out the attack in Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus.

Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, who met with President Assad in Damascus on Tuesday, also criticised the UN report as distorted, adding that investigators all but ignored evidence presented by the Syrian government. “The basis of the information upon which it is built is not sufficient, and in any case we would need to learn and know more on what happened beyond and above that incident of August 21,” he said.

While the UN report did not assign blame, the US and its allies have seized on aspects of its technical appendices to again accuse the Assad regime of carrying out the Ghouta attack. The US, Britain and France all claim that the types of weapons used and their trajectories point to government military forces.

Samantha Power, US ambassador to the UN, declared that “technical details make clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale chemical weapons attack.” Unnamed US officials alleged in the media that the report pinpoints elite Syrian government forces as the origin of the rockets fired.

The UN report does nothing of the sort. It indicates that a general East/Southeast trajectory could be determined for two of the five impact sites examined. It did not name a geographical location from where the rockets were launched. Ryabkov commented: “We are amazed by the way some far-reaching analysis has been produced on the basis of what we believe is a rather deficient amount of information.”

For the Assad regime to use chemical weapons on August 21, when its forces were on the offensive and UN inspectors were in Syria, makes neither political nor military sense. As a growing body of evidence indicates, far more likely is that anti-Assad forces, dominated by reactionary al-Qaeda linked Islamist forces, staged the attack to provide the pretext for a US-led military intervention. (See: “New York Times on Syria: All the propaganda fit to print”)

Writing yesterday in the Independent, veteran Middle East journalist Robert Fisk cited the comments of a Syrian journalist who was embedded with government forces as they carried out an offensive on the night of August 21. Fisk said his friend was in the suburb of Moadamiyeh, the site of one of the chemical attacks, and saw no evidence of gas being used. “What he does remember is the concern of government troops when they saw the first images of gas victims on television—fearing that they themselves would have to fight amid poisonous fumes,” Fisk wrote.

Western officials have seized on the UN report’s finding of rocket fragments with Cyrillic script at the sites examined to conclude that Russia supplied the weapons. But as the Syrian journalist told Fisk: “The problem is that after Libya there are so many Russian weapons and artillery pieces smuggled into Syria that you don’t know what anybody’s got any more. The Libyans can’t produce enough of their oil, but they sure can export all Gaddafi’s weapons.”

The comments point to another possible source for anti-Assad militias to obtain chemical weapons. Last May, Carla Del Ponte, a senior member of the UN commission investigating human rights violations in Syria, reported that the panel’s investigation indicated that opposition militias had used nerve gas. In July, the Russian foreign ministry filed a 100-page report with the UN, detailing evidence that a sarin gas attack in the city of Aleppo last March was carried out by anti-Assad forces.

Russia’s criticisms of the UN chemical weapons report came as the permanent members of the UN Security Council—the US, Britain, France, Russia and China—continued to negotiate over a resolution to formalise the deal struck between Moscow and Washington last weekend to dismantle the Syrian military’s chemical weapons.

Moscow is insisting that the resolution has no loophole that could be used to provide the US with a legal cover for attacking Syria. The Russian and Chinese governments are both acutely conscious of the way in which the Obama regime used a UN resolution for a no-fly zone over Libya to launch a full-blown air war in support of its efforts to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The US, however, is prepared to attack Syria—with or without a legal fig leaf from the UN Security Council. While Obama has temporarily stepped back from the brink amid overwhelming public opposition, a US attack on Syria remains on the agenda. The Pentagon is not withdrawing the four missile-armed destroyers from the eastern Mediterranean that would be used to bombard Syrian targets.

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel declared yesterday: “We should keep the military option exactly where it is. We have assured the president that our assets and force posture remain the same.” At the same press conference, Hagel said that the administration was considering whether the Pentagon would take over from the CIA in arming the anti-Assad forces—a prelude to supplying more sophisticated weaponry.

Any number of pretexts could be used or manufactured to justify a US attack. The Obama administration could easily exploit the US-Russian chemical weapons deal to allege that the Assad government had failed to meet its obligations. The first deadline—for Damascus to account for all its chemical weapons—is just days away on Saturday.

The downing of a Syrian helicopter by Turkish warplanes on Monday highlights the provocative character of US allies in the Middle East. The Syrian government acknowledged that the helicopter had strayed into Turkish airspace, but accused Turkey of deliberately heightening tensions by shooting it down as it turned back to Syria. The helicopter crashed in Syrian territory.

The reckless character of the Obama administration’s war plans was underlined by the remarks yesterday of Robert Gates, former defence secretary to George W. Bush and Obama. Criticizing Obama’s Syria policy, Gates declared: “My bottom line is that I believe that to blow [up] a bunch of stuff over a couple of days, to underscore or validate a point or a principle, is not a strategy.”

Pointing to the highly volatile situation in the region, Gates declared that US missile strikes on Syria “would be throwing gasoline on a very complex fire in the Middle East… Haven’t Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya taught us something about the unintended consequences of military action once launched?”

Yet, the Obama administration has ultimately made the same strategic choice as the Bush administration before it—attempting to offset American imperialism’s historic decline through the aggressive use of military force. A decade after the invasion of Iraq, the US is preparing a criminal new war that threatens to trigger a devastating regional conflict, with the potential to drag in Iran, Russia and China.

This was underscored by the remarks of former defence secretary Leon Panetta, who spoke alongside Gates, insisting that Obama should have gone to war in Syria. “When the president of the United States draws a red line, the credibility of this country is dependent on him backing up his word,” Panetta said.

The Looting of America

September 19th, 2013 by Andre Damon

Two reports issued this week—the US Census Bureau’s report on poverty and the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans—together provide a vivid exposure of a society in which the privileged few parasitically enrich themselves through the impoverishment of the great majority of the population.

While the Census report showed poverty at the highest level in decades and median household income falling sharply, the Forbes report shows an enormous growth in the wealth of the corporate and financial aristocracy.

The 400 richest people in America increased their wealth by 17 percent in 2013, with their collective hoard rising from $1.7 trillion to just over $2 trillion. The wealth of these 400 individuals is more than twice the amount necessary to cover the federal budget deficit, which is being used as the occasion for slashing Food Stamps, education, housing assistance, and health care programs.

The wealth of Bill Gates, once again the world’s richest man, grew by $6 billion last year, to $72 billion. Financier Warren Buffett’s wealth grew by $12.5 billion, to $58.5 billion, while New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg got another $6 billion, hitting $31 billion. Gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson, worth $28.5 billion, had his fortune grow by nearly a third.

The list of new additions to the Forbes 400 includes figures such as William Erbey, who built up his net worth of $2.3 billion by servicing subprime mortgages, and Don Hankey, worth $1.6 billion. Forbes writes that Hankey “made his fortune the old-fashioned way—by selling auto loans (subprime ones, at that).”

Forbes sums up the pastimes of Larry Ellison, third on the list, by noting that he “collects houses on Malibu’s Carbon Beach and also owns of 98% of Hawaii’s Lanai island.” Forbes ran a separate story on the extracurricular activities of 67-year-old billionaire Stewart Rahr, in a piece entitled, “Guns, Girls And Sex Tapes: The Unhinged, Hedonistic Saga Of Billionaire Stewart Rahr, ‘Number One King Of All Fun.’”

These individuals represent a social type. The saying of Balzac, “Behind every great fortune there is a great crime,” was never truer than for the American ruling class. The list is full of people who made their money not through any contribution to the productive process, but through various forms of financial swindling, speculation and the impoverishment of working people

“Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole,” wrote Marx. And so it is. The Census Bureau report, “Income, Poverty and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2012,” showed that the income of a typical household in the US has fallen to the lowest level since 1989, while poverty remains at the highest levels in decades.

The report notes that there are 48 million people in the US without health insurance, and that in four US states—Mississippi, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Arkansas—more than one in five people live in poverty. Nearly one third of the US population experienced some period of impoverishment during the years 2009-2011, according to the report.

These figures add to the earlier report from economist Emmanuel Saez, which found that between 2009 and 2012, the top 1 percent captured a staggering 95 percent of all income growth.

With every passing year, it becomes increasingly clear that the so-called economic “recovery” is nothing but the transfer of wealth upwards, from the great majority of the working population to a handful of financial oligarchs who gorge themselves at society’s expense.

The redistribution of wealth is the product of a quite deliberate class policy, undertaken at the highest levels of the state, and spearheaded by the Obama administration. The financial elite has been given virtually unlimited sums of money, while wages and benefits for workers have been slashed and budget deficits have served as the occasion for demanding the closure of schools, mass layoffs of government workers and cuts in social services.

The government’s commitment to providing cash to the financial oligarchy was once more reemphasized Wednesday with the announcement by the Federal Reserve that it would continue to pump $85 billion into the US economy, despite widespread expectations that the Fed would slow down its asset purchases. Stock markets once again hit record highs at the news.

The trillions of dollars that have been printed by the government and handed over to the financial oligarchy have not been used for productive investments—to build roads, bridges, and schools—but have rather been used to finance the speculative activities of Wall Street. These public funds, which in any rational social order would be used to address mass unemployment and poverty through public works, are being drained away and siphoned into the coffers of the financial aristocracy.

The cancerous growth of social inequality is the greatest possible indictment of the capitalist system, in which the needs of society are subordinated to the selfish enrichment of a small handful of financial speculators. This system is irrational and incapable of meeting the needs of humanity. It must be done away with and replaced with socialism, based on production for social need, not private profit.


Originally posted in July 2011. Re-posted in light of the debt ceiling drama.

The blood pressure of the patient in the emergency room drops precipitously.

The ER docs have already given 15 pints of blood over the course of many hours. But the patient is still on the verge of dying.

Medical rules and regulations say that more than 15 pints of blood should never be given, as too much transfusion can cause other fatal problems.

The “liberal” doctors want to give the patient more blood. After all, this is a life-or-death emergency … and if they can just buy more time, they might be able to figure out a way to save the patient.

The “conservative” doctors want to stop with the transfusions. After all, giving too much blood could kill the patient … and maybe he’ll be able to pull out of it on his own.

Who is right?

Well, the “liberal” and “conservative” doctors are so busy arguing their point of view that they haven’t noticed that one of the patient’s legs has been half chewed off. He’s bleeding out through the huge open wound.

Unless the doctors suture up the wound, the patient will bleed out no matter how much blood they give him.

I’ve previously explained this fact using water as an analogy:

“Deficit hawks” like top economic historian Niall Ferguson says that America’s debt will drive it into a debt crisis, and that any more quantitative easing will lead our creditors to pull the plug. See this, this and this. Indeed, PhD economist Michael Hudson says (starting around 4:00 into video):

If the problem that is grinding the economy to a halt is too much debt, and if no one in the government – in either party – is looking at solving the debt problem, then … we’re going to go into a depression as far as the eye can see.

Yet the U.S. hasn’t reined in its profligate spending … The U.S. is spending on guns and butter.

As PhD economist Dean Baker points out, the IMF is cracking down on the once-proud America like a naughty third world developing country. (As I’ve repeatedly noted, the IMF performed a complete audit of the whole US financial system during Bush’s last term in office – something which they have only previously done to broke third world nations.)

Indeed, economics professor and former Senior Economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers Laurence Kotlikoff wrote yesterday:

Let’s get real. The U.S. is bankrupt.


Last month, the International Monetary Fund released its annual review of U.S. economic policy…. The IMF has effectively pronounced the U.S. bankrupt.


Based on the CBO’s data, I calculate a fiscal gap of $202 trillion, which is more than 15 times the official debt.


This is what happens when you run a massive Ponzi scheme for six decades straight….


Bond traders will kick us miles down our road once they wake up and realize the U.S. is in worse fiscal shape than Greece. [Update]

On the other hand, as I also pointed out last month, the government isn’t even stimulating in an effective way:

“Deficit doves” – i.e. Keynesians like Paul Krugman – say that unless we spend much more on stimulus, we’ll slide into a depression. And yet the government isn’t spending money on the types of stimulus that will have the most bang for the buck: like giving money to the states, extending unemployment benefits or buying more food stamps – let alone rebuilding America’s manufacturing base. See this, this and this.

(Yes, Congress has just thrown twenty billion dollars at jobs and the states, but it is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the many tens of trillions of dollars in handouts to the giant banks.)


Even if Keynesian stimulus could help in our climate of all-pervading debt, Washington has already shot America’s wad in propping up the big banks and other oligarchs.

More important still, Keynes implemented his New Deal stimulus at the same time that Glass-Steagall and many other measures were implemented to plug the holes in a corrupt financial system. The gaming of the financial system was decreased somewhat, the amount of funny business which the powers-that-be could engage in was reined in to some extent.

As such, the economy had a chance to recover (even with the massive stimulus of World War II, unless some basic level of trust had been restored in the economy, the economy would not have recovered).

Today, however, [politicians] haven’t fixed any of the major structural defects in the economy [update]. So even if Keynesianism were the answer, it cannot work without the implementation of structural reforms to the financial system.

A little extra water in the plumbing can’t fix pipes that have been corroded and are thoroughly rotten. The government hasn’t even tried to replace the leaking sections of pipe in our economy.
Quantitative easing can’t patch a financial system with giant holes in it.

(Note: If you’re sure that your side of the aisle is right and the other side is wrong, please read this.)
What are the giant holes?
Some of the biggest are:

    • Focusing on policy objectives other than reducing unemployment (which has the net effect of actually increasing unemployment)

Of course, the loss of America’s manufacturing base, encouraging jobs to be shipped abroad, out of control derivatives and other shenanigans are giant holes as well. And the government has been throwing money at the big banks instead of the little guy, which – as Steve Keen as demonstrated – is not an effective way to stimulate the economy.

I’ve used a third analogy to describe these problems.
As I wrote in 2009 in a post called “Why the Patient Is Not Getting Better: Government is Strengthening the Parasite and Poisoning the Real Economy“:

Why isn’t the economy getting better, even though the government is pumping trillions of dollars into bailouts and stimulus packages and intervening in markets left and right?

Because the government is treating the wrong patient.

Let’s say you travel to the tropics and pick up a parasite. You go to your doctor who gives you very powerful drugs that make you sick. You go back to the doctor, he looks you over, and then adds more potent drugs to your prescription.

You go back a third time and say “Doctor, I’m getting sicker and sicker, why isn’t it working?”

He responds “Oh, I thought the parasite was the patient. The drugs are making it healthier”.

The Government is Strengthening the Parasite

The real economy is:

(1) People making things or providing real, useful services

(2) People saving money

(3) People investing the money they saved into productive businesses which will make more things or provide needed services.

According to top federal reserve officials and economists, the government’s actions will encourage big financial players to make even riskier gambles in the future.

Indeed, the government is in the process of giving hundreds of billions – if not trillions – of dollars and guarantees to hedge funds (hedge funds are some of the biggest speculators of all). Indeed, the various bailout programs are giving huge sums to companies that make money by pushing paper around without actually producing any useful goods or services.

The heads of the big banks and financial companies are also getting huge bonuses even though they have driven their companies so far into the ditch that they need government bailouts. Even Paul Volcker says the incentive system is broken. Indeed, the government is making the CEOs richer by giving them billions of dollars of bailout money with which to feather their own nests.

And credit derivatives [at least to the extent they are naked, unregulated and opaque] act as a parasite on the real economy: credit default swap buyers bet that the referenced company will go down the tubes (see this and this). And yet the government is allowing the credit default swap trades to increase, driving CDS spreads against many companies and governments to reach all-time highs.

The Government is Poisoning the Real Economy

Not only is the parasite being boosted by government actions, but the patient – the real economy – is being poisoned.

Manufacturing has been shipped out of America for decades, and the government is still actively encouraging companies to move manufacturing abroad.

Taxpayers will be on the hook for trillions of dollars of obligations through taxes/or inflation (even Bernanke has admitted that inflation is a tax, because people have less money in their pockets after buying necessities). So Americans will be able to save less.

And government has not only failed to require that companies accurately report their finances – so that investors can know which companies are stable and productive – but it has actually thwarted such accuracy. For example:

    • A government agency prevented the SEC from investigating multi-billion dollar Ponzi-schemer Stanford
  • As of 2006:

    “President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar … broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations.”

The government has been strengthening the parasite and poisoning the real economy. No wonder the patient is getting worse.

I noted a couple of months later:

Michael Hudson is a highly-regarded economist. He is a Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, who has advised the U.S., Canadian, Mexican and Latvian governments as well as the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. He is a former Wall Street economist at Chase Manhattan Bank who also helped establish the world’s first sovereign debt fund.

Hudson has frequently described Wall Street as “parasitic”. For example, in a 2003 interview, Hudson said:

The problem with parasites is not merely that they siphon off the food and nourishment of their host, crippling its reproductive power, but that they take over the host’s brain as well. The parasite tricks the host into thinking that it is feeding itself.

Something like this is happening today as the financial sector is devouring the industrial sector. Finance capital pretends that its growth is that of industrial capital formation. That is why the financial bubble is called “wealth creation,” as if it were what progressive economic reformers envisioned a century ago. They condemned rent and monopoly profit, but never dreamed that the financiers would end up devouring landlord and industrialist alike. Emperors of Finance have trumped Barons of Property and Captains of Industry.

More recently, Hudson said:

You can think of the financial sector as being wrapped around the real economy, almost like a parasite, and that’s why it’s been called parasitic for so long. The financial sector extracts interest from the economy, the property sector extracts economic rent, as do monopolies. Now the key thing about parasites, is that it’s not simply that they extract nourishment from the host. The parasite takes over the host’s brain, to make it think it’s part of the economy, to make it think it’s part of the host’s own body, and, in fact, that’s it almost like a child of the host, to be protected. And that’s what the financial sector has done today.

You have Obama coming out and saying, “We have to save the banks in order to save the real economy”. The fact is, you can’t serve both the parasite and the host.

And see this.

On August 10th, Hudson went even further. Specifically, he said:

    • The giant financial institutions have already killed their host – the real American economy
    • Since they realize that the American economy is dead, they are trying to suck as much blood out of America as possible while the corpse is still warm
    • Because the American economy is dead, their plan is to soon jump to another host. They will ship all of their money overseas

To come back to my original analogy, the dying patient has a horde of leeches inside the gaping wound in his leg, and the transfused blood has done nothing but fed the leeches. [Sorry for the gross analogy.]

The doctors have been helping the parasites, not the patient.

Unless the doctors clean out the parasites and close the gaping wound, the patient has no chance.

As Dennis Kucinich writes today:

We have to realize what this country’s economy has become. Our monetary policy, through the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, privatized the money supply, gathers the wealth, puts it in the hands of the few while the Federal Reserve can create money out of nothing, give it to banks to park at the Fed while our small businesses are starving for capital.

Mark my words — Wall Street cashes in whether we have a default or not. And the same type of thinking that created billions in bailouts for Wall Street and more than $1 trillion in giveaways by the Federal Reserve today leaves 26 million Americans either underemployed or unemployed. And nine out of ten Americans over the age of 65 are facing cuts in their Social Security in order to pay for a debt which grew from tax cuts for the rich and for endless wars.

There is a massive transfer of wealth from the American people to the hands of a few and it’s going on right now as America’s eyes are misdirected to the political theater of these histrionic debt negotiations, threats to shut down the government, and willingness to make the most Americans pay dearly for debts they did not create.

These are symptoms of a government which has lost its way, and they are a challenge to the legitimacy of the two-party system.

MAALULA, Syria: “Maalula, city of culture and history, welcomes you,” reads a sign at the entrance to Syria’s best known Christian town. But any semblance of welcome evaporates once inside Maalula.

The army is fighting an invisible enemy, and an AFP team narrowly escaped sniper fire.

“We never see them, but we hear the shots fired by their Dragunovs,” the Russians’ favourite sniper rifle, said a soldier holding his weapon as he sheltered behind a wall.

A car is parked at the roadside, its windscreen has exploded and its driver looks dead. His belongings lie strewn on the pavement of this ghost town.

After an AFP photographer crossed one of Maalula’s streets, a sniper opened fire at the journalist. Bullets landed just metres (yards) away.

The journalist was forced to lie on the ground and hide behind a wall to escape the shots.

Every time he tried to move, the sniper opened fire immediately.

It was only as loyalist soldiers fired their own guns in the sniper’s direction that the journalist managed to escape.

An armoured vehicle arrived at the scene and opened fire, allowing the journalist to escape.

The soldier said: “It’s like this every day. We can only move without fear of sniping during the evenings.”

Maalula is nestled under a large cliff, whose summit is controlled by the rebels, making it difficult for the army to secure its grip there.

The town is strategically important for rebels, who are trying to tighten their grip on Damascus and already have bases circling the capital.

The army has “reclaimed most of the town, but the terrorists use their snipers to stop us from bringing it totally under control”, said a colonel who leads the loyalists’ operations in the historic town.

“We are continuing to make slow progress. But it is very difficult because we cannot bombard it, there are historic treasures,” the colonel told AFP.

Maalula’s population of up to 5,000 fluctuates throughout the year, with Christian families flocking there each summer from Damascus and abroad.

While the majority of its winter residents are Muslim, the town is majority Christian in summer.

Rebel forces, among them Al-Qaeda-linked jihadists, took control of Maalula on September 9. Three days later, the army entered the town.

Maalula lies some 55 kilometres (35 miles) north of Damascus. It is considered a symbol of the ancient Christian presence in Syria.

Its people are among the world’s last remaining speakers of Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ.

The town’s name comes from the word “maala”, which in Aramaic means “the entrance”.

On September 14, for the first time, the town known across the Middle East for its “Exaltation of the Cross” feast day was not decorated with lights, nor did it host Christian and Muslim visitors dining and celebrating together.

The archway at the town’s entrance has been damaged by a suicide attacker who detonated a car bomb at the start of the battle for the town.

But much of the rest of Maalula has been unscathed, as the army has refrained from shelling it.

Only the Saint Elias church dome has been punctured.

“This battle may be long because they (the rebels) are hiding in the hills and in the Safir hotel,” perched above the town, said the colonel.

“But I think we will win in the end.”

Copyright The Star, 2013

International Agency Made Up of 41 Nations will Decide Timeline

Given that the U.S. has now backed down from its insistence that a UN resolution on Syria include the use of force – and there are indications that Syria won’t meet the American deadline for declaring its chemical weapons – issues of timing and procedure have become more important than ever.

We interviewed a top chemical weapons expert to find out what the timeframe really means.

Specifically, we called Jean Pascal Zanders – widely recognized as one of the world’s top chemical weapons experts – to find out whether U.S. insistence that Syria has to declare all of its chemical weapons this week (and destroy them within a couple of months) was proper under international law.

Zanders explained to Washington’s Blog that the U.S. might have “preferences”, but  that the international community would decide …

“I think it’s really good that the concept of disarmament has been put center stage. But certainly, that was not the intention of Kerry and others.

Now we have a document which is a framework that gives a number of parameters that will be presented to the OPCW [the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons - which is the implementing organization for the Chemical Weapons Convention] at the Hague.

And it is later this week – possibly Thursday or Friday – that the executive council of the OPCW will make decisions concerning the requirements for Syria’s CW [chemical weapons].

One of the [claims] that comes from press reports suggests that this Friday is the deadline for Syria to give the documents concerning the make-up of its chemical weapons arsenal. But if the Executive Committee of the OPCW were to adopt such a short time-frame for the first report to come in, I’m pretty sure that this would be countered when the Executive Council makes its decision.

The document [signed by Kerry and his Russian counterpart] has no legal value. This is not a treaty, not something that Kerry has adopted. And if you see the reports that the weapons inspectors will come in by November, that is not so different from what the Chemical Weapons Convention demands.

We know that the treaty will enter into force on the 14th of October; one month after Syria deposited its instrument of accession [i.e. when the Syrian government agreed in writing to abide by the Chemical Weapons Convention].

And then Syria has one month to submit its initial declaration, after which the inspectors go in. In other words, one month after is the 14th of November, after which the inspectors have two weeks to check everything out.

That’s perfectly in line with what framework agreement [under the Chemical Weapons Convention ].

The next thing is timing and method of destruction [of the chemical weapons]. It’s my feeling that the Executive Council has to decide on such a schedule. Its clear that Russia and the United States have indicated what their preference is, but the date is the decision of the OPCW, which is a body composed of 41 states, subdivided according to regional groups.

In that body, Russia and the United States have one vote each.

The OPCW is going to take into account not only political but also technical considerations as to what Syria can do. And that particular decision might not be taken this week because – in order for the Executive Commission of the OPCW to make that final determination – they would have to get the initial declaration [of the size, nature and location of chemical weapons] from Syria, which would then be assessed by staff at the OPCW … and that’s how recommendations would be formulated.

So the deadline of 2014 might be desired, but it’s not necessarily going to be a reality. We will have to see.

[Another alternative is] to render the munitions useless in a variety of ways. If that were agreed, you could reach a 2014 deadline . That could be another way to achieve the goal.

But we’ll have to see what comes out of it.  On certain points they’re not really sure whether it’s feasible at all. They could forward the options, but its up to the Executive Council to decide.”

Postscript: Zanders notes at his own website (co-writing with an expert on chemical and biological weapons control, Ralf Trapp):

  • The proposed operations will be complex, costly and time-consuming. However, they are technologically and humanly possible, provided all energy of the international community can be directed towards problem-solving rather than raising all kinds of theoretical or conceptual problems. In the end, this international effort would strengthen the norm and international agreements against CW and their use in armed conflict much more than any military strike might be able to achieve. The operation, more than anything else under the present circumstances, could lay solid foundations to build a Middle East free from non-conventional weaponry, as desired by the 2010 Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). ***
  • The international community should harbour no illusions that the proposed process will be a matter of days, weeks or even months. This process will be much more complex than the verification and destruction operations undertaken in Libya before, during and after the uprising there. In additional, equipment failure may affect any agreed time frames for milestones.
  • Much of the present debate has focused on whether the Syrian government is culpable of the chemical warfare incidents near Damascus on 21 August. If the idea of internationalising Syria’s CW arsenal is indeed something the international community wishes to pursue, then careful consideration by the political and diplomatic communities should be given which goal has the overriding priority:  securing the CW stockpiles with Syrian cooperation in order to save the local population from future chemical strikes, or punishing Syria for an act – however hideous – in the past?