VIDEO: Paul Craig Roberts on the 9/11 10th Anniversary

September 6th, 2011 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The State and Local Budget Crisis

September 6th, 2011 by Michael Hudson

The cost of the 2011 cutbacks in federal spending will fall most directly on consumers and retirees by scaling back Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and social spending programs. The population also will suffer indirectly, by lower federal revenue sharing with U.S. states and cities. The following chart from the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA, Table 3.3) shows how federal financial aid has helped cities shift the tax burden off real estate, although the main shift has been off property taxes onto income – and onto consumption (sales) taxes.

State and local revenue, 1930-2007.

Untaxing real estate has served mortgage bankers by freeing more rental income (the land’s site value) to be paid as interest. Property taxes have not absorbed anywhere near the rise in debt-leveraged housing and commercial prices. However, this has not lowered the cost of housing for most people. New buyers must pay a price that capitalizes the property’s rental value. Less and less of this payment has taken the form of local property taxes. More and more has been paid to mortgage lenders as interest. So cutting property taxes has simply left more revenue to be capitalized into higher debt-financed prices.

While homeowners saw their carrying charges rise, they nonetheless felt more affluent as real estate prices rose – inflated on easier and easier credit terms. Prices rose faster than mortgage debt as long as (1) interest rates were declining; (2) loan maturities were stretched out (ultimately reaching the point of zero amortization rather than the old-fashioned 30-year self-amortizing mortgages); (3) down payments were shrinking toward zero (rather than requiring 20 percent equity as used to be the case) and indeed as “liars’ loans” led prices to be bid up recklessly; and finally (4) cities refrained from raising property taxes as fast as market prices were rising. This left more revenue to be capitalized into higher prices, providing capital gains that home owners were encouraged to treat like “money in the bank” – by taking out home equity loans. This rising mortgage debt was increasingly important in enabling people to maintain their living standards, especially as they had to pay more for housing. So what appeared to be affluence and rising net worth from the value of one’s home on the asset side of the balance sheet found its counterpart in debt on the liabilities side.

From the local fiscal vantage point, these debt-leveraged price gains represented uncollected user fees for the site value provided by public infrastructure and rising prosperity. The bankers ended up with the rising flow of rental value, not the cities. This obliged tax collectors to look to other sources of revenue. So homeowners paid out what they seemed to be saving in modest property taxes in the form of rising sales taxes and income taxes.

By 2008 these financial system’s easing of credit terms had reached its limit. No more room for credit inflation remained, so speculators began to withdraw from the market. (They accounted for about one-sixth of demand for housing.) When the credit spigot was turned off, prices plunged – leaving the debts in place. (So taking out a home-equity mortgage was not really like drawing down money from a piggy bank after all. Years of future income had to be diverted to spend for past shortfalls.)

Now that federal aid is falling – along with revenue from sales and income taxes – local budgets are falling into deficit. But for many cities and states, their constitutions and regulations prevent them from running deficits. So they face a number of hard choices.

It is hard to raise property taxes back toward earlier rates, because the rental income already has been pledged to the mortgage bankers. To tax heavily indebted property would lead to more foreclosures and abandonment. And the Obama Administration’s hope that banks somehow will use the Federal Reserve’s tsunami of cheap (0.25%) reserves and credit to re-inflate a new real estate bubble is in vain, because bankers have little interest in lending to property that is still sinking in market price. It is easier to speculate on interest-rate arbitrage with the BRICS and get a foreign-exchange premium as well, or simply to play the market. Banks report winnings in the derivatives trade day after day, with nary a loss – an indication of how poorly their hapless customers and other outsiders must be doing! So the path of least resistance for most cities and states is to cut back spending on public services, and above all on pension plan contributions.

The ultimate sacrifice (and the aim of financial predators) is to sell off public land and buildings, roads and other transportation services, sewer systems and other basic infrastructure. In this aim, the investment bankers are being aided and abetted by the credit ratings industry, threatening to downgrade cities that do not sell off their public domain. In this respect the financial end-game of privatization is similar in the United States to pressures by the European Central Bank to force the indebted PIIGS economies to engage in privatization sell-offs, Third World and post-Soviet style.

Just as in Europe, when revenues are squeezed and something must give – either debt service, payment to pensioners or current payments to labor – the financial sector is seeking to take all the available surplus for itself. This puts creditors in the forefront of today’s class war against labor.

On the eve of the September 2008 financial crash, cities such as Birmingham, Alabama and Chicago already were looking for ways to cope with the fiscal squeeze imposed by political pressures from the major local campaign contributors – the real estate and banking sectors – to cut property taxes. One seeming path of little resistance was to gamble in the Wall Street financial casino, hoping to make easy gains rather than making landlords, wage earners or consumers pay higher taxes.

Landlords and bankers encouraged this speculation as an alternative to taxing property. Landlords wanted to pay less in property taxes, and banks knew that whatever rental value buyers could save in the form of lower taxes would end up being used to bid up prices to capitalize into debt service for mortgages to buy properties up for sale.

Here is the dilemma that states and cities now face: So much urban property is sinking into negative equity territory that a rise in property taxes will lead to even more foreclosures and abandonments, and hence even lower fiscal returns. To avoid this, cities are seeing Chapter 9 bankruptcy as the main route to free themselves, especially from problems that stem from an unwarranted trust in bankers to help them out of the earlier fiscal squeeze by putting them into losing financial gambles. Orange County in California successfully sued Merrill Lynch to recover damages, and Birmingham also was awarded recovery payments from JP Morgan Chase.

Birmingham and Chicago as microcosms of the national debt squeeze

Now that financial fraud has been decriminalized for all practical purposes, most financial victims are obliged to sue for reimbursement in civil court without much help from prosecutors. Alabama’s state capital Birmingham is a case in point. After a predatory financing arrangement to upgrade its sewers in 2008 forced its Jefferson County into bankruptcy, the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) negotiated $75 million in fines and reimbursement of fees to be paid by JP Morgan Chase as lead lender and negotiator for the complex interest-rate swaps they had advised the country to take, ostensibly to protect its economic interest. The banks also forfeited nearly ten times this sum ($647 million) in termination fees. But the court-appointed receiver grabbed the $75 million settlement for payment on the debts the country still owed.

As usual, the banks had paid the fine and made reimbursement without admitting any wrongdoing. To the financial sector, deception and fraud is part of the game, after all, not a tactic that can be prosecuted as criminal. They paid their fines without admitting any wrongdoing, and without even admitting the S.E.C. charges. They merely paid up and kept silent – while the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service were still in the time-taking process of ruling on legal claims brought by Jefferson County. The case prompted bankers and bondholders to bring pressure on the state of Alabama to take responsibility (that is, take on the debt liability) all on behalf of statewide taxpayers, and to demand that all lawsuits brought for financial fraud to be dropped.[1] “Responsibility” is supposed to be only for debtors, not for the financial sector itself. This is how the banks have managed to rewrite the laws, after all.

Jefferson County is now debating whether to declare Chapter 9 bankruptcy to free itself from debts that can be paid only at the cost of disrupting economic continuity and living standards. The city’s debt quandary is a microcosm for the U.S. economy as a whole. Its lowest-income residents are burdened with financialized charges for sewer-system debt payments so far beyond their ability to pay that they face the same fate as Latvians, Irish and Greeks: As the local economy shrinks, they must move in order to find jobs – in places less debt-burdened and hence lower-cost. The “free market” choice is to emigrate to flee the debts imposed on their economies and on themselves personally.

Well-to-do Birmingham families have yards large enough to have their own septic tanks as an alternative to paying for access to sewers, but lower-income families living in small houses or apartment buildings lack this option. One county commissioner asked: “Why should the poor have to pay for the ill-gotten gain of some of these banks who poisoned the well in the very first place?”[2] Other commissioners demanded that bondholders “bear the entire cost of a $20 million fund that is being created to help low-income residents pay their sewer bills.”[3]

But the government usually provides relief only for creditors – above all, relief from criminal prosecution for their business plan that involved making loans beyond the debtors’ ability to pay. Some states have fraudulent conveyance laws to prevent this, as well as to prevent banks from misrepresenting the quality of their loans to outside investors. There are laws to punish appraisers who give false appraisals, and mortgage brokers who fill in false income reports to qualify for loans. But the S.E.C. has seen its staff and budget slashed and deregulators appointed to oversee its affairs. It has no authority to prosecute, only to make recommendations to the Justice Department, where Attorney General Eric Holder has followed the Obama Administration’s support of Wall Street, feeling no obligation to live up to the promises to make that a change from the Bush Administration’s similar lax behavior.

The financial sector recognizes a dimension of economic behavior that textbooks politely refrain from citing: the ability to capture regulatory agencies, gain control of the courts and buy control of politics. The Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have the same rights as individuals to contribute to campaigns, a euphemism for buying the loyalty of politicians and judges, and obtaining veto power over regulatory appointees. Corporations pay lower income-tax rates and are free of value-added and excise or other sales taxes paid by consumers.

Unlike real people, corporations cannot be sent to jail. Corporate shells shield owners and managers from criminal prosecution for the wholesale frauds that have left Countrywide Financial, Bank of America, Citibank, JP Morgan Chase and other pillars of the banking community free to make civil settlements for deceptive policies without admitting wrongdoing. And whereas individual crooks need to pay their own lawyers, corporations pick up the tab for their managers, while contributing generously to politicians who rewrite the laws to decriminalize fraud and deceptive business dealing. The corporate-backed media applaud politicians who insist that families “take responsibility” for their unemployment risk, debts and health care – while bailouts free the wealthy from having to suffer losses on bad loans.

Rhode Island recently rewrote its laws to place bondholders ahead of other creditors, including pension recipients. Under the new law, “city officials who intentionally fail to pay bondholders can be removed from office or held personally liable for the payments.”[4] In contrast to the pro-debtor trend of legislation since the 13th century, wealth at the top of the pyramid takes precedence over retired schoolteachers and other public employees. The effect has been for the city of Central Falls, Rhode Island, to seek Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection to avert a 34 percent cut in pensions to its retirees in order to pay bondholders.

Rhode Island is not alone in giving legal priority to bondholders. “Illinois has some of the strongest bondholder protections anywhere, which explains how a state that began its fiscal year with $3.8 billion in unpaid bills from last year – and whose pension system has less than half of the money it needs – is able to keeping selling bonds. State law requires Illinois to make ‘an irrevocable and continuing appropriation’ of tax revenues into a special fund every month that can be used only to pay bondholders.”[5]

Chicago has balanced its budget not by taxing finance and real estate gains, but by selling off its roads and other basic infrastructure. Much as in feudal Europe, the leverage is financial. Privatizers are charging tolls and even installing parking meters on the city’s sidewalks to charge cars for parking by the minute. New York City has slashed is public subway and bus service, extending commuting times and making life harder. It has privatized its television and radio, replacing public airtime with commercial advertising.

The ending of federal revenue sharing will exacerbate local budget constraints. The fact that many cities and states have constitutional requirements of balanced budgets – just as Republicans advocated for the federal government in the 2011 debt-ceiling agreement – requires that taxes be raised, public services cut, or assets sold off. California’s Proposition 13 prevents the state from raising property taxes in keeping with market prices, tying its hands fiscally and obliging it to commercialize its once-great university system. Students must now take on enormous education debt for what formerly was free or subsidized. New York City’s real estate tax likewise favors large investors and wealthy homeowners, at the expense of co-ops and condominium owners in apartment buildings. The rising rental value that local tax collectors relinquish does not lower housing costs; it merely enables the land’s site value to be paid to bankers. Rising debt-inflated housing prices have priced the city out of the market as the manufacturing center it formerly was. Its textile buildings and other industrial properties have been gentrified, leaving it a one-industry (finance) town focused on Wall Street.

At the international level, Irish voters confirmed the policy of taking bad European Central Bank advice to put the interest of bondholders first by taking bad bank loans onto the government’s balance sheet and taxing the population to make up the losses, even at the cost of imposing a generation of debt-strapped depression on their economy. This is the self-destructive road to debt peonage that the IMF and World Bank forced Third World countries to follow for many decades. The fact that this ethic reverses centuries-long social values promises to make the great debate of the 21st century over the issue of which debts are paid and which will not be – and how much debts should be written down.

Notes 

[1] Mary Williams Walsh, “A County in Alabama Puts Off Bankruptcy,” The New York Times, August 13, 2011.

[2] Michael Corkery and Kelly Nolan, “Alabama Bankruptcy Fight Hinges on Sewer-Rate Increase; Impact on Poor Bedevils Deal,” Wall Street Journal, August 11, 2011.

[3] Michael Corkery and Michael Aneiro, “Alabama County Rejects Creditor Plan but Delays Bankruptcy Decision,” Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2011.

[4] Michael Corkery, “Bondholders Win in Rhode Island,” Wall Street Journal, August 4, 2011.

[5] Mary Williams Walsh and Michael Cooper, “Faltering Rhode Island City Tests Vows to Pensioners,” The New York Times, August 13, 2011. The article adds that: “The federal bankruptcy code says pensioners and general-obligation bondholders are both unsecured creditors, stuck at the back of the line and treated as equals. But there is maneuvering room in the welter of state and federal laws.”

Presidential Rhetoric: Obama, War and a Collapsing Economy

September 6th, 2011 by Danny Schechter

New York, Labor Day Weekend 2011: The magic wand is being readied in the White House as the President and his minions finally unwrap the mother of all jobs plans that will be revealed to the rest of us in a speech next Thursday before the cameras and Congress with the gravitas-packed aura of a State of the Union Address.

Attention, collapsing Economy: you finally have the big man’s attention. Nearly 70 organizations are pressing the President to take strong action.

Please give him a break. He’s been busy tending Empire business — waging GWOT warfare on Iraq,Afghanistanm, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia et.al …

Call it the greatest “long war” in American history: an unending and unbelievably expensive intervention justified as necessary to keep us safe.

We can assume that contingency plans for new wars with Syria, Iran and the Republic of Wikileaks are being drafted as we speak.

The challenge this week is to bring together all of the Administration’s sophisticated strategic planning, disciplined focus and ‘get it done’ fervor finally to straighten out this out of control economic mess.

There are jobs to produce and one big job to save.

One hardly expects any sort of mea culpa or acknowledgment that the masters of the economic universe Obama appointed, like Geithner, Summers, Rohmer and Golsbee may not have served us well, i.e., may have blown it big time.

That’s history; Obama now has as a new Ivy League advisor, Alan Kreueger, who was, in fact, an old advisor and Geithner crony.

But, lets not be negative. Forget the past and banish any suggestion of a blame game,

Except, of course, for a clear but unspoken missive for the likes of policy critics Robert Reich and Paul Krugman. To them, the White House says, “Drop Dead!”

What do you they know?

Instead, let’s look ahead at the next media event, a now 7PM barely “prime time” (Prime Time always starts at 8) speech to Congress in which, at last, ‘do something big economic recovery secrets’ that have so far eluded us, will be revealed.

The timing couldn’t be worse. Economist Max Wolff tells us, “For the second time in monthly jobs report history we have created no new jobs. …We continue to see consistent and large job losses at the local government level… It is particularly alarming to see cuts remain concentrated among those who work in public schools.”

The brilliant Eric Jantzen of iTulip.com says. time is up: “attempts to restart the FIRE Economy – the economy oriented around the finance, insurance, and real estate industries – will fail at the expense of the Productive Economy – the economy of goods and services produces that employs over 90% of consumers.

“If policy makers persist with this wrong-headed approach… the result will be persistent high unemployment, a depreciating dollar, rising consumer price inflation, falling home prices, and rising budget deficits.”

And. let’s not talk about our divided Federal Reserve and squeamish Justice Department which has never seen a big bank it is willing to prosecute, not to mention, the deficit buster gang in Congress who won’t provide a single centavo to do what needs doing and should have been done in the first place: a sizable investment plan to stimulate job creation.

That is, alas, a non-starter, but we need to go through the motions anyway; the “experts” on the right gloat that the stimulus failed while the experts on the left counter that it was never really tried. Both are right, but does it matter?

Each day brings new reports of more jobs lost, not found—at banks, in local, state and federal government agencies and manufacturing. When you hear the term job creation, think job destruction.

Why is this happening? The smart folks at the Economic Cycle Research Institute point to structural problems beyond the reach of any President.

Ed Harrison reports on Credit Write Downs: “we are in a decade-long post-credit crisis struggle which will mean high unemployment even if policy makers focused on jobs (which they have not, I would add)…The likely outcome for the next decade is one of sub-par global growth with short business cycles punctuated by fits of recession.”

So, yes, while it may be wrong to blame Obama for forces beyond his control, beyond any President’s control, it isn’t wrong to ask what has taken him so long to make jobs a priority?

Just as justice delayed is justice denied, waiting too long to do what has to be done insures that that we may be beyond the tipping point, too late to get much accomplished, given the political realities and uncertainties in this government killing environment.

Economist Dean Baker thinks this delay may prove fatal. “President Obama’s weak response to the recession over the first two and a half years of his presidency, explains the tidal wave of skepticism facing his widely hyped upcoming speech on jobs after the Labor Day weekend. The list of remedies leaked ahead of time does little to inspire hope.

“At the top of the list of job-creating measures is extending the 2 percentage-point reduction in the social security payroll tax. This provides no boost to the economy, since it just keeps in place a tax cut that was already there, but if the cut is allowed to end at the start of 2012, it will be a drag on growth.”

And at a time of a crisis brought about in part by banks, the golden bullet now being touted is a National Infrastructure Bank. The idea: give investors who already have too much a chance to make even more by bailing out an economy they helped wreck.

Concludes Harrison, “Ocala’s failure to understand where we are in the economic cycle and the relationship to historical precedent has been catastrophic to the conduct of economic policy and critical in his missteps. There is more to Ocala’s misfortune than a bad economy.”

So what can he do? His proposals will be skewered just because he is making them, What buttons can he push when any initiative he takes will be labeled Marxist or worse?

Oddly enough—and perhaps as a sign of the times where the people who are supposed to know what to do don’t, a banker, George Magnus, writes on Bloomberg business news that Karl Marx may actually have had the answer all along.

He says the bearded one taught us, “We have to sustain aggregate demand and income growth, or else we could fall into a debt trap along with serious social consequences. Governments that don’t face an imminent debt crisis — including the U.S., Germany, and the U.K. — must make employment creation the litmus test of policy. In the U.S., the employment-to-population ratio is now as low as in the 1980s. Measures of underemployment almost everywhere are at record highs.”

Concludes Harrison, “What President and Congress do now will only be relevant in the medium-term as the election of 2012 nears. I have repeatedly indicated Republicans will be unlikely to support these current job initiatives. Instead they will focus on trimming government expenditure.”

It sounds like stalemate revisited, paralysis redux.

What no one is talking about is why the jobs are gone—and a good part of the reason has to do with the attacks on unions that fought to protect American workers. As one analyst noted, at least three million of 10.4 missing jobs can be traced to a form of aggressive class war where the “weakened bargaining position of labor was achieved by the growing assertiveness of management in slashing costs to maintain share prices.”

With their work outsourced, factories gone and anti-labor laws restraining their growth, Marx’s faith in the working class going from being a class in itself to a class for itself—and the rest of us—was sabotaged.

So if Marx can’t help us, and Obama is posturing for political reasons, and the Republicans are playing at trench warfare in the interest of big business, and while the US still lacks the kinds of populist movements that are rocking the streets of Europe and even Israel, where can a breakthrough occur?

Calling our superheroes. We need you now more than ever.

News Dissector Danny Schechter is a blogger (Newsdissector.com,) author and filmmaker. His latest Dvd is Plunder the Crime of Our Time. (Plunderthecrimeofourtime.com.) He also hosts News Dissector Radio on ProgressiveRadioNetwork.com. Comments to [email protected]  

-While it is publicly known that the US also has military ties with Kenya and Uganda in East Africa, CJTF-HOA also lists Burundi, Chad, Comoros, the DRC, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen as ‘areas of interest’.

-America also has access to military locations in almost all parts of the continent.

In US military jargon, these are referred to as ‘lily pads’ or Co-operative Security Locations (CSLs).

The report lists countries with ‘lily pads’ as Algeria, Botswana, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Sao Tome, Sierra Leona, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

-Africa is the only grey area in the US’s global military sphere of influence.

America has the US North Command (USNORTHCOM), US EU Command, (USEUCOM), US South America Command (USSOUTHCOM), US Central Command (USCENTCOM) and US Pacific Command (USPACOM).

These permanent and fully operational commands cover every region of the world – except for Africa.

Windhoek (Namibia): The United States military is likely to announce in 2012 where on the continent it will headquarter its much-maligned Africa Command (AFRICOM).

The proposed military base is presently based in Stuttgart, Germany because no African country has as yet expressed willingness to host American troops.

The US has military bases dotted around the globe and Africa is the only continent that has so far resisted a formal and permanent American military presence.

However, that resistance appears to be on the verge of vanishing.

The past decade has seen the US increasingly casting a covetous eye on Africa’s mineral resources and huge energy reserves and it is secure these and other strategic interests that the country wants to establish a military base on the continent.

Controversy over AFRICOM returned to the fore recently when the Youth League of South Africa’s ruling ANC party labelled Botswana’s government a ‘puppet regime’ that is likely to host the American military base. Botswana has denied the charge.

However, defence and security experts told The Southern Times that it was just a matter of time before the US realizes its dream of establishing a permanent military presence in Africa.

The US military has strong collaborative relationships with several countries in all five regions of the continent.

America describes AFRICOM as a combatant command ‘plus’, meaning it will have all the responsibilities of a traditional geographic combatant command, including facilitation of and leading full military operations.

The force includes a broader ‘soft power’ mandate that the US says is aimed at building a stable security environment through incorporation of a large civilian component from American government agencies.

AFRICOM’s first commander, General William Ward, has said the force will play a supporting role to the US Department of State – which conducts diplomacy – and USAID.

In a Congressional Research Service paper for members and committees of the US Congress on July 22, 2011, Lauren Ploch, an American expert on African Affairs, said AFRICOM could find an African home next year.

‘A decision on AFRICOM’s final headquarters location has been postponed to 2012 to allow the command to gain greater understanding of its long-term operational requirements,’ Ploch wrote in ‘AFRICOM: US Strategic Interests and the Role of the US Military on Africa’.

The paper analyzes the US military’s current activities in Africa, and reveals that AFRICOM fired the first shots in NATO’s illegal invasion of Libya.

AFRICOM attacked Libya in March this year before handing over the official military command to NATO on April 1.

Citing statistics from US defence officials, Ploch said America already had around 3,500 troops in Africa.

More than 2,000 of these are at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.

The US has a five-year lease with the Djibouti government for the Lemonnier base and has the option to extend this to 2020.

Lemonnier hosts the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).

‘CJTF-HOA has a semi-permanent troop presence at enduring forward operating site, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti with more than 2 000 US military and civilian personnel in residence,’ Ploch wrote.

The same report outlines Camp Lemonnier’s publicly acknowledged expenditure plans.

In 2008, the US military base in Djibouti received US$68.6 million, US$31.4m in 2009 and an estimated US$41.8m last year.

This year a budgetary requirement of US$51.6m has been requested and some of the money will be used to finance construction of a Horn of Africa Joint Operations Centre.

The estimated budget for 2012 is US$89,5m.

While it is publicly known that the US also has military ties with Kenya and Uganda in East Africa, CJTF-HOA also lists Burundi, Chad, Comoros, the DRC, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Yemen as ‘areas of interest’.

The US uses military facilities in Kenya for its ‘anti-terrorism campaign’ in the Horn of Africa.

America also has access to military locations in almost all parts of the continent.

In US military jargon, these are referred to as ‘lily pads’ or Co-operative Security Locations (CSLs).

The report lists countries with ‘lily pads’ as Algeria, Botswana, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Namibia, Sao Tome, Sierra Leona, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia.

In addition, AFRICOM has links with the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia through its military liaison officers.

AFRICOM has military liaison officers at the Economic Community of West Africa States headquarters in Nigeria, and at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre in Ghana as well as the International Peace Support Training Centre in Kenya.

‘Those may expand, and additional liaison officers may be attached to other regional organizations,’ Ploch wrote.

Colonel Festus Aboagye, a senior research fellow in conflict management with the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa told this paper that while the US has not yet succeeded in securing a base for AFRICOM, negotiations will likely be with countries ‘that have open foreign policies’.

‘Botswana for example has some degree of links with the US government…

‘It pursues an open foreign policy and accepts such engagements with the US,’ Aboagye noted. Refusing to offer land for a permanent base does not mean that African countries might not collaborate with US military, he said.

In the region, South Africa and Mozambique also offer scope for collaborating with the US military.

‘I don’t think South Africa would allow the US to have any kind of headquarters or base but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to collaborate.

Africa is the only grey area in the US’s global military sphere of influence.

America has the US North Command (USNORTHCOM), US EU Command, (USEUCOM), US South America Command (USSOUTHCOM), US Central Command (USCENTCOM) and US Pacific Command (USPACOM).

These permanent and fully operational commands cover every region of the world – except for Africa.

When the US under the George W Bush first floated the idea of AFRICOM, it was publicly resisted by several African countries.

Ploch, in her report, said the US later ‘received offers to host the command from several governments’, though only Liberia publicly invited American troops onto its soil in 2007.

Pressure from within the AU saw Liberia going quiet on its offer.

AFRICOM’s lead role in the Libyan offensive is indicative of the consequences of having a permanent US military presence on the continent.

‘In March 2011, AFRICOM commenced Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya.

‘AFRICOM’s part in the Libyan invasion included Tomahawk cruise missile attacks targeting Libyan command and control and air defenxe facilities,’ Ploch’s report said.

NATO then assumed the lead in military operations in April under ‘Operation Unified Protector’.

The US has long had Africa in its sights and China’s unannounced arrival on the continent has raised the stakes.

In 2006 US National Security Strategy identified Africa as a ‘high priority’ and concluded that ‘our security depends upon partnering with Africans to strengthen fragile and failing states and bring ungoverned areas under control of effective democracies’.

During his visit to Ghana in 2010, US President Barack Obama claimed: ‘Our African Command is focused not on establishing a foothold on the continent, but on confronting these common challenges to advance the security of America, Africa, and the world.’

The US is keen to move AFRICOM from Stuttgart to an African location in ‘close geographic proximity to the AU, African regional organizations’ and US diplomatic missions.

‘Locating US soldiers permanently in a foreign country would be predicated on the host country’s approval of a Status-of-Forces Agreement (SOFA), a legal document negotiated by the State Department to define the legal status of US personnel and property while in that country, and a bilateral non-surrender agreement, commonly known as an Article 98 Agreement, to protect American servicemen from prosecution by the International Criminal Court.

‘AFRICOM estimates that the US military footprint on the continent (exclusive of Egypt) averaged approximately 3 500 troops in 2010.

‘This includes an estimated 2 000 troops at CJTF-HOA and the rotational presence of forces participating in various exercises,’ the Ploch report says.

Africa, it seems, will not resist US pressure to establish AFRICOM on the continent for very much longer.

Extreme right-wing, racist forces, who last year whipped up a climate of hate against the Islamic Prayer Center at 51 Park Place, have announced ugly new plans for this year — the 10th anniversary of 9/11 — at the same location near the World Trade Center site. 

This is a very dangerous threat. Anders Breivik, the racist, right- wing Norwegian responsible for the recent mass murder of 77 mostly young people in Norway, has quoted extensively from the writings of Pamela Geller of Stop Islamization of America and Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch. These are the two organizations opposing the Islamic Prayer Space at 51 Park Place.

Last year the media claimed that these well-financed hate groups represented the views of a great majority of the population. Many of us considered it a responsibility to show that they do not speak for the people of New York City. We organized, with the help of many thousands who responded, a far larger and dignified outpouring to stand for unity, respect and solidarity and against racism, war and anti-Muslim bigotry.

This year it is more important than ever that we do not allow these racist hate mongers to be the only voices speaking to the media and to the world. It is especially important to counter, in this period of economic crisis, the forces that want to blame immigrants and Muslims for the growing cutbacks in social ser- vices, rising unemployment and continuing wars.

On Sept 11 we will hold a rally, march and cultural exhibition.

Come and pick up flyers. Spread the word to family, neighbors and co-workers. Attend a Wednesday Sept 7 planning meeting at 6:30 p.m. at 55 W 17th St, #5C in Manhattan. 

Sun • Sept 11 Rally of Unity & Solidarity is supported by:

Action for a Progressive Pakistan,

Action 21 – NJ,

Al Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition – NY,

American Iranian friendship Committee,

American Muslim Alliance,

Anakbayan NY/NJ,

Arab Muslim American federation – AMAF,

Bail out the People Movement,

BAYAN USA,

Bethlehem Neighbors for Peace,

Council on American Islamic Relations – CAIR NY,

Fight Imperialism Stand Together – FIST,

Food Is A Right Campaign,

Free Mumia Abu Jamal Coalition NY,

Grannies Peace Brigade,

Harlem Fightback Against Wars,

Honduras USA Resistencia,

International Action Center – IAC,

International League of Peoples’ Struggle,

International Socialist organization – ISO,

Islamic Circle of North America – ICNA NY,

Islamic Leadership Council of NY – Majlis Ashura,

Jersey City Peace Movement,

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The Paris meet was a grim victory celebration by the Nato powers who wanted non-European poodles on the bandwagon

-[W]hat was the Paris meet about? Quintessentially, the western interventionist powers, having brought about the ‘regime change’, now want to consolidate their grip on Libya’s oil resources and to this end want to install the NTC in power in Tripoli, which of course needs lots of money — and Europe is broke. France and Britain seek that the billions of dollars in frozen assets belonging to Libya to be vested in the TNC’s hands.

India’s volte-face on Libya: The secret mission

The death of Imtiaz Alam, a domestic help in Tripoli, ten days ago in a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) air strike, was an opportune moment for our government to pronounce on the Libyan tragedy. Even the death of a sparrow is a tragedy, as Shakespeare put it, but the government continued with its stony silence about Nato’s war crimes. The official position is that the Libyan situation should be normalised by the people of that country and “this process should be guided by respect for the sovereignty, integrity and unity of Libya.”

But that position was fortnight-old. The government is yet to reveal that it took a U-turn in secrecy and decided to identify with the western intervention in Libya. Even the Indian parliament, which was in session, didn’t know that the minister of state for external affairs E Ahmed attended the so-called ‘Friends of Libya’ conference in Paris on September 1, which was convened by France, the interventionist power that spearheaded the assault on Libya’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in flagrant violation of international law.

Whether the volte-face was due to Nikolas Sarkozy’s charm or a diktat from Washington (or both), we do not know. Perhaps, two or three years hence WikiLeaks might throw some light. Meanwhile, Ahmed’s flight to Paris signifies a major shift in policy.

True, Muammad Gaddafi’s regime has been overthrown and there is need to look ahead. It is nobody’s case either that India’s ties with Libya should be put in a deep freezer until the looming civil war finally gets over. Nor is it questionable that India has substantial interests in Libya which need to be safeguarded. The big question is how India should go about meeting the developing situation.

Our government argued when Resolution 1973 came up in the United Nations Security Council that India’s position would be largely guided by the stance of the African Union (AU) on the Libyan question. Subsequently, prime minister Manmohan Singh demonstratively displayed India’s solidarity with Africa when he made an extended tour of that continent and attended an AU-India summit meeting in Addis Ababa. The spin doctors hailed Singh’s rhetoric as historic. In retrospect, it seems the Indian statements were vacuous.

The point is, the AU stubbornly refuses to accord recognition to the National Transitional Council or TNC (which is how the disparate elements who are Nato’s pawns in Libya are collectively described.) For the AU, Nato’s intervention in Libya evokes collective memory of the colonial era. The AU ignored Sarkozy’s invitation to the Paris meet. The government owes a decent explanation as to what prompted it to dump the prime minister’s flowery rhetoric in Africa about India’s common destiny with that continent.

Oil to money

Furthermore, what was the Paris meet about? Quintessentially, the western interventionist powers, having brought about the ‘regime change’, now want to consolidate their grip on Libya’s oil resources and to this end want to install the NTC in power in Tripoli, which of course needs lots of money — and Europe is broke. France and Britain seek that the billions of dollars in frozen assets belonging to Libya to be vested in the TNC’s hands. The British foreign secretary William Hague admitted that money is needed “to fund basic necessities, pay civil service salaries, and bolster confidence in Libyan banks.”

The Paris meet was a grim victory celebration by the Nato powers. In order to give legitimacy to what lies ahead, the Nato powers want poodles from outside Europe to get into their bandwagon. India needs to ponder about what is happening. India shouldn’t have been party to the processes under the rubric of ‘Friends of Libya’.

India should rather insist that such processes for cauterising the Libyan wounds should be the UN’s business. The western interventionist powers are bypassing the UN and insisting that Nato will remain in Libya for an indeterminate period.

Most certainly, India needs to maintain contacts with the disparate elements vying for supremacy in Libya. But then, their representatives could be invited to visit Delhi so that India’s concerns can be appropriately registered with them. By all means, render humanitarian help to the Libyan people. But India does not need Sarkozy or David Cameron as mediators. Nor should India be oblivious of the stance of the AU. India should synchronise its stance with the AU’s. It will be a principled stance and it will be in consonance with the promises and hopes held out by Manmohan Singh in his celebrated Africa tour, which still lingers in memory.

Finally, India should thoughtfully begin to assess the far-reaching import of what is unfolding in Libya. India has consistently argued that the struggle for change has to be peaceful and non-violent. That was how the Shah of Iran was overthrown (1979); Marcos in the Philippines (1986); the East European regimes in the 1980s; and Suharto in Indonesia (1998). On the contrary, the change in Libya is taking place through unilateralist western military intervention. It raises fundamental questions in global politics.

Are we hearing the footfalls of history all over again — the ‘white man’s burden’? We too have been, historically speaking, victims of the predatory politics of the western powers in their scramble for scarce resources in the Global South. Before dispatching Ahmed under a veil of secrecy to Paris, the government should have consulted the Indian parliament.

The writer is a distinguished former diplomat 

Visit his website at
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‘Our future is not for sale’: The Chilean Student Movement Against Neoliberalism

Perhaps the greatest challenge for the radical left today is to articulate a politics that decisively breaks with the disastrous experiences of many 20th century socialisms. This is a difficult task that requires self-reflection, active questioning, and openness to new expressions of struggle by the always complex and fluid global working-classes. Making this task even the more difficult is that neoliberalism has destroyed or co-opted traditional forms of working-class organization over the last thirty years. This has resulted in the expansion of the logic of capital to every corner of the world. As the ‘great recession’ that began in 2008 demonstrates, capitalism is more global than ever.

Against this backdrop, Latin America has arguably been at the forefront of struggles that challenge the neoliberal claim that ‘there is no alternative.’ Indeed, it was in 1989 that poor communities in Venezuela climbed down from the barrios to protest the neoliberal package about to be delivered by the government. This event, known as ‘el caracazo,’ became the first great mass insurgency against neoliberalism in the region. Soon, others would follow: the Zapatistas in Mexico, the water and gas wars in Bolivia, ‘el saqueo’ in Argentina, to name the most memorable examples. In addition to expressing opposition to neoliberalism, these experiences had a common commitment to think and act outside the ‘red square.’

In each case, communities and workers self-organized and fought with their own hands and feet, rejecting vanguardist approaches of the old left, which often turned into an intellectual-political elite supposedly liberating the masses from above. In addition, many of these movements sought to prefigure new social relations while struggling against the present ones, organizing themselves on the principles of participatory democracy, and horizontalism. ‘Strong leaders make a weak people,’ Emiliano Zapata’s famous principle, popularized by the Zapatistas in the 1990s, perhaps best captured this political moment.

Pink Tide Sweeps Latin America

By the late 1990s, many of these movements had lost steam, and their demands became channeled into the electoral arena, bringing to office several new left and center-left governments. Soon, most of Latin America would be swept by this so-called ‘pink tide.’ This phenomenon sparked a renewed hope within many sectors of the left that insisted capturing state power was central to the process of social transformation. No doubt, some of these new governments made important strides forward. However, over 10 years later, some have begun to question the reform – and in some cases revolutionary – potential of many of these new left governments, including those of Venezuela and Bolivia.

A reinvigorated right wing that has been fiercely fighting back needs to be included in these assessments. In some cases, they have been organizing secessionist movements, and in the case of Honduras a successful coup was orchestrated with the help of American imperialism. The right has also won elections, most notably in Chile where the government of Sebastián Piñera has become one of the leading neoliberal administrations in the region, at least for now.

After 17 months of relative quiet, the Piñera government now faces its first major challenge and one of the biggest mass movements in recent Latin American history. It is one that has brought both students and workers to the streets – sometimes called the ‘Chilean winter’ – since May. Importantly, this is also a crucial challenge for the new Chilean left that is being created as we write. This consists of an attempt to build a movement from below that is neither co-opted by the bourgeois state, nor simply ignores it. Walking the tightrope between these two avenues is precisely what students and workers in Chile are struggling with as they build for the next set of demonstrations.

The Neoliberal Education System in Chile

For the last 30 years, the principal function of the Chilean educational system has been to expand the accumulation of capital. This has been done through the deepening of the educational model first developed by the dictatorial regime of Augusto Pinochet, a task the post-Pinochet governments of La Concertacion were happy to carry out. Central to this model was the transfer of fiscal responsibility for elementary and secondary education to the municipal level, while providing subsidies to private schools. Recognizing the unpopularity of this model, the current neoliberal right wing government led by the billionaire, Sebastián Piñera, sought to reform the system by increasing the privatization of elementary and secondary education.

At the post-secondary level, the government has allowed a steady increase in tuitions. Currently, students in Chile pay an average tuition of 300,000 pesos ($630) per month, making this one of the most expensive post-secondary education in the world (particularly relative to income levels). Not surprisingly, privatization has opened the door to transnational capitalists, particularly banks who have been more than happy to provide students with ample debt loads to finance their studies. In addition, the post-secondary system is highly class divided. Working-class students receive a second-rate education at the elementary and secondary level and at underfunded public universities where they are taught to be followers and prepared for a routine life of unskilled, low-wage and precarious employment, if not unemployment. In contrast, upper-class students attend private schools and universities where they are socialized to internalize the prevailing values of free markets and individual success with the hope of one day obtaining a management position at a large corporation.

This education system reinforces one of the most unequal Latin American societies. In fact, 10 per cent of Chileans have average income larger than those of Norway, while the income of the poor 10 per cent is equal to those in Ivory Coast. In addition, between 2006 and 2009, the level of poverty increased from 13.5 to 15 per cent, even as social spending was increased significantly by the social democratic administration of Michelle Bachelet. Importantly, all this is happening despite high levels of annual growth in Chile, indeed the highest in Latin America. Not surprisingly, the education system expresses this broader political and economic reality.

Today, 83 per cent of the students attending the public municipal schools live in a household in which the average monthly income is less than 180,000 pesos ($330), but two out of three students attending paid school were supported by an average family income of 1,526,000 pesos ($2,700). In 2004, 64 per cent of the highest scores in the standardized university admissions tests came from students enrolled in the paid secondary schools. However, 93.2 per cent of students attending municipal high schools failed to obtain grades high enough to be accepted to traditional universities. Not surprisingly, only 10-20 per cent of young Chileans belonging to the poorest 40 per cent economic strata are currently enrolled in post-secondary education.

Students Fight Back

Neoliberal education in Chile has led to growing consciousness among secondary and university students that the entire educational system needs to be radically changed in favour of a more inclusive and democratic public one. The first signs of this growing unrest occurred in 2006, during the secondary student rebellions against the neoliberal education law originally dictated by Pinochet, and maintained by the Concertación governments. The students demanded education be considered a right, not a commodity, and an end to the subsidiary role of the state in its provision and delivery. To this end, five hundred thousand students organized a general strike that combined street mobilizations and high school seizures, shaking the Bachelet government. Eventually the movement faded, as its leadership became trapped in negotiations with the government. Nevertheless, the students forced the Bachelet administration to recognize the crisis in education was real, as well as the deeply authoritarian character of the education laws inherited from the military.

In 2011, the second phase of the movement got underway. This occurred in the context of growing social mobilization by different sectors of the Chilean working-class struggling against low wages, labour flexibilization, the firing of civil servants and mining development. In addition, people angrily voiced their opposition to the construction of coal-fired thermal power plants that threaten their health and the environment. Notably, on January 11th, in the southern province of Magallanes, communities declared a civil strike to protest the abrupt rise of gas prices by 16.7 per cent, as decreed by the Piñera government. On this opportunity, twenty four social organizations created the ‘Magallanes’ Citizens Assembly’ which took direct control of the main cities, blocking highways, building urban barricades, even declaring a curfew on vehicles and demanding the government to annul the price increase. For seven days, the Assembly operated independent of political parties, and was able to mobilize 30,000 people on a daily basis, asserting itself as the real government in Magallanes. This forced the Piñera government to reduce the price hike to 3 per cent and increase gas subsides for poor families.

Adding to the momentum, on May 12th secondary and university students called a national day of protest against the poor quality of the education system. They took the streets on the main Chilean cities from Northern Arica to the Southern Punta Arenas. The mobilization received the support of the Central Union of Workers (CUT), the National Teachers Union, the main university student federations, and the Public Servant National Association. In Santiago alone, 30,000 demonstrators voiced their demands: an end to ‘market education,’ reductions of student debts, increased funds for public universities, and the democratization of educational institutions. It has been estimated that more than 100,000 students and supporters across the country participated in this day of protest.

Camila Vallejo

Camila Vallejo, President of the University Students Confederation.

Tired of waiting for a meaningful response by the government, the students proceeded to call a national strike for June 30th. The mobilizations on this day showed high levels of militancy, as secondary students in Santiago seized more than 100 high schools. In the capital alone, more than 100,000 people took to the streets while another hundred thousand did the same in the rest of the country. It quickly became clear that the movement’s political consciousness was growing. For example, when government officials asserted that there simply were not enough funds to meet the student’s demands, Camila Vallejo, President of the University of Chile Student Federation and President of the University Students Confederation (and also an activist of the Juventudes Comunistas de Chile), responded by saying that if transnational corporations are stopped from stealing the country’s natural resources, the government would have enough money to finance not only free public education for all, but also free healthcare. ‘Our future is not for sale,’ one of the movement’s key slogans, began to resonate with the protests on the streets.

The student movement reached its first victory when Piñera was forced to change his education minister, Joaquín Lavín, a former junior minister in the governments of Pinochet and member of the Opus Dei, whose personal popularity had declined to just 8 per cent. Lavín was supposed to be the next presidential candidate of the right wing alliance presently in office.

Growing Support for the Movement

Another victory for the student movement was the growing support from broad sectors of the population. Parents, teachers, and copper miners openly expressed their support, recognizing that all their grievances against the neoliberal regime were being expressed in the student strike. However, the government responded quickly by threatening to declare an early winter break to the school year, and even its possible cancellation. In addition, the corporate media began its demonization campaign against the students, using isolated incidents of violence conducted by ‘los encapuchados’ (the ‘black bloc’) to delegitimize the whole movement.

Responding to these attacks, Camila Vallejo asserted that, although these violent provocateurs do not represent the collectively agreed tactics of the student movement, their actions are driven by their marginalization from the system and their rage should be understood as a reaction to their future-less position at the bottom of the neoliberal ladder. At the same time, she added, government infiltration within some of these groups cannot be ruled out. Indeed, adding to the suspicion, about one hundred ‘encapuchados’ were found attempting to torch the central offices of the National Teachers Union, a staunch ally of the student movement.

On August 9th and 18th, gigantic demonstrations took place in Santiago and in the main Chilean cities. Between 150,000 and 200,000 marched in the capital to express their support for the student’s decision that dialogue with the government was not possible until it accepted the main elements of their proposal. Families with small children, artists, teachers and workers expressed their commitment to be part of this democratic movement that demands a democratic society and the end of 30 years of neoliberalism in the country. Even elite private secondary high school students joined the movement.

It was estimated that out of the 4 million students in Chile, 500,000 are actively participating in the struggle. However, it is clear that many layers of society are also actively involved. For example, the movement’s call for people to show their solidarity by banging pots at night has been taken up by entire neighborhoods who have mobilized to public squares, streets and highways, bringing memories of the anti-Pinochet struggle in the 1980s. Further proof of the movement’s wide appeal was evident during a meeting held by ‘families for education’ on August 21st in Santiago’s main central park. The meeting attracted 1 million people in support of the student’s demands.

The latest wave of actions unfolded on August 24 and 25 leading to the movement’s first national strike, called by the Central Union of Workers (Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Chile – CUT). The strike was supported fully by the students, as well as teachers, civil servants, human rights organizations, intellectuals, artisans, artists, shantytown dwellers, and physician associations. Demonstrating a high level of intergenerational working-class solidarity, when the media asked the leader of the student movement why they supported the union, she simply replied: “they are our parents.”

The CUT demanded a new labour code, an end to precarious jobs, better salaries, healthcare reform, and a publicly controlled pension system. The demonstrations were the largest yet, bringing together 600,000 people across the country. The strike affected 15 Chilean regions and 90 cities. Despite heavy police repression and mass arrests, the organizers of the demonstrations called the events a great success and promised further actions if their demands were not met. The students have also intensified their demands, and now are openly calling for a constituent assembly to change the constitution.

Tactical Creativity

Reflecting on these events, it is important to highlight the movement’s level of self-organization and dismay for pre-established elite political institutions. Symbolic of this is the student’s re-working of the historic chant, ‘El pueblo unido jamás sera vencido,’ now modified to, ‘El pueblo unido avanza sin partidos’ (‘The people united move forward without parties’). In addition, during the mobilizations, students occupied the headquarters of both right wing and socialist parties. Finally, consistent with the deeply democratic and participatory character of the movement, students debate and discuss through assemblies, and the leadership remains closely aligned with the demands of the base. As one news report on Telesur summed it up: “The youth trust only their own power.” The sentiment seems widespread. Reliable surveys now show the popularity of Piñera, his government, and all major parties at an all-time low. Not surprisingly, students have rejected the calls for dialogue made by parliamentarians from La Concertacion, as well as the reform proposals presented by the current Minister of Education. On this opportunity, the students reiterated their demand for a radically different educational system that is linked to an alternative development model based on the recuperation of national resources and tax reform.

This story would not be complete without also highlighting the remarkable level of tactical creativity in the student movement. For example, as a response to the government’s declaration of early holidays, the students took to the streets in bathing suits and snorkel equipment, that is, in the middle of winter! The student movement turned whole sections of cities into surrealist carnivals that even the mainstream media could not resist. A quick search on YouTube produces fantastic homemade videos documenting some of the students’ most memorable performances, including ‘el gagazo,’ a dance-a-thon to the music of Lady Gaga in the capital’s central square, ‘el besaton,’ a mass kissing marathon, and flash mobs of mock suicides.

The sharp political instincts of the student movement was also evident when, in response to the media’s incorrect depiction of the movement as essentially violent, they collected hundreds of teargas canisters and used them to form giant peace signs on the streets. On this occasion, they did not forget to mention that much of the funds needed to meet their demands could be found by simply making cuts to policing budgets around the country. As reported by Telesur, students even took the time to repaint houses damaged during the protests and collect funds to compensate individuals whose cars had been torched by the ‘encapuchados.’

Conclusion

It is clear from the above that the Chilean student movement has become a major development for the left not only in Chile, but in Latin America as a whole. The students are presenting one of the leading neoliberal administrations in the region with a major political challenge. Crucially, they have managed to do so by building their own power outside of pre-established political institutions. Importantly, the movement has done so without simply avoiding the state, but rather through direct confrontation with it, and with a demand for its transformation and democratization. At a time when the electoral road to social transformation in the region appears blocked, this development holds much potential.

Many dangers remain, however. The students have pressed at full steam for three months, and it is hard to say how much stamina they have left. Certainly the full support of organized and unorganized workers is crucial. However, the union leadership is highly bureaucratic and likely to put the brakes on street militancy. Furthermore, divisions around tactics persist, particularly when it comes to the ‘encapuchados.’

Another danger is that even if the movement topples the Piñera administration, it is possible it might get co-opted by the neoliberal Concertacion, or the still very much top-down approach of the Chilean Communist Party. Finally, and perhaps most worrisome, are the recent public statements made by government officials alluding that, as in the early 1970s, violent repression may be the only solution to continued mobilizations.

In conclusion, it is worth noting the parallels between the Chilean students and the indignados explosion against poverty and unemployment that has struck the streets and squares of London, Madrid, Belfast, Athens and Barcelona. Like these other insurgencies, the Chilean movement is youth-led. In addition, they all come as a reaction to the dynamics of the greatest global economic crisis since the Great Depression.

It is clear that the movement in Chile ‘has more legs.’ Indeed, young activists are now creating new radical organizations. It is therefore crucial that leftists in Canada and around the world engage in active international solidarity by organizing forums, solidarity trips, discussion groups, and so forth. For the historical left in Chile (the Communist Party, Christian Left, Humanist Party, MAS and Allendistas Socialists), and for the new left that is emerging, the task is to support this rebellious movement, connecting present struggles with past ones, and taking the lead from the energy and creativity of all those who fight ‘from below’ for new political means to exit from capitalism. •

Manuel Larrabure and Carlos Torchia study and teach at York University, and are involved in Latin American solidarity work.

New Berlin Conference In Paris: The Re-Colonization Of Africa

September 6th, 2011 by Stef Terblanche

-“A case in point 50 years later is the painful issue of Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. There are other cases such as Côte d’Ivoire, which is a ticking time-bomb”.

Last week the world was treated to the spectacle of the Paris Conference where one Western leader after the other – together with a few token Arab dictators – patted themselves on the back for “liberating” Libya from the rule of Muammar Gaddafi. It quickly brought to mind the infamous Berlin Conference of 1884 at which Africa was sliced up among its European colonisers. 

Quite rightly so, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma let it be known – as any self-respecting African should have done – that he would have nothing to do with this cynical circus initiated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron, onstensibly to decide Libya’s future…as if Libyans and Africans themselves should not be doing that.

In the end there was a conspicuous absence of influential African leaders, with a number of African countries and the African Union (AU) having refused to recognise the Nato-installed National Transitional Council (NTC) as the new government of Libya. Libya’s neighbour, Algeria, was there, but only as an observer and perhaps only because its shared border with Libya gave it a pressing reason.

Russia and China – both of which opposed the Nato-led military campaign to oust Gaddafi – attended as observers, with Russia having recognised the NTC only days earlier. However, both these countries have major vested interests in Libya, with China having enormous interests further afield in Africa, such as Angola now being its biggest supplier of oil.

For many Sarkozy and Cameron’s 2011-style “scramble for Africa” conference also brought to mind erstwhile ANC leader Chief Albert Luthuli’s acceptance speech in Norway in 1960 when he received the Nobel Peace Prize and said: “Our continent has been carved up by the great powers. Alien governments have been forced upon the African people by military conquest and by economic domination”.

As Vusi Gumede of the University of Johannesburg so eloquently reminded us in an opinion piece in the Sunday Independent this weekend: “A case in point 50 years later is the painful issue of Libyan Arab Jamahiriya. There are other cases such as Côte d’Ivoire, which is a ticking time-bomb”.

To these Gumede could have added the growing “economic domination” of many African countries by China, or the mess the United States left behind after its attempted “military conquest” of Somalia.

The latter country first became a geopolitical pawn in the cold war between the US and the Soviet Union in their quest to control the Horn of Africa. The US maintained good relations with the murderous regime of Siad Barre until he was ousted, the country disintegrated into lawless anarchy and the US fled tail-between-its-legs after its “Black Hawk down” tragedy at the hands of marauding war lords.

Today the US has indirectly returned to Somalia, supporting one faction in the conflict there against the Islamist movement al-Shabaab, which is blamed for the deepening crisis. But this time the US military is not openly involved. Instead, according to a number of respected media sources, Washington has sent Richard Rouget, a French-born mercenary to Magodishu to head a 40-man team of “mentors” who are training a “peace-keeping” force in Somalia. Rouget works for a private Washington-based security company and has a criminal record and suspected ties to several African coups and a murder. He also once was the right-hand man of erstwhile mercenary supremo Bob Denard.

Former British, French and, sadly yes, South African soldiers are among those working with him. The US State Department is funding Rouget’s company, yet everybody knows to what destructive levels these types of clandestine US operations usually develop.

African countries also refused to allow the US to base its military Africa Command – one of 10 US Armed Forces regional commands around the world – on African soil. Instead it was forced to base the command in Germany “until 2012” when it will review the situation.

General William E. Ward, [fprmer] commander of US Africa Command, has recently paid several visits to Botswana as part of sharply increased military cooperation between the two countries. It was that and the rumour that the US was to set up a base in Botswana which led South Africa’s ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema to make his infamous statement regarding his organisation’s support for regime change in Botswana, a statement that now has him in trouble with South Africa’s ruling party.

Meanwhile, a group calling itself Concerned Africans, of which Vusi Gumede is a member, has authored an open letter to all the peoples of Africa and the world, drafting it within the context of the United Nations having failed the world, and particularly Africa, through taking inappropriate decisions.

“As concerned Africans we have no choice but to stand up and reassert our right and duty to determine our destiny in Libya and everywhere else on our continent,” writes Gumede. He points out the ingenuous manner in which Nato interpreted and implemented the UN Security Council resolution to impose a “no-fly zone” over Libya, a decision into which South Africa had also naively been suckered into supporting.

Along with South Africa, many African countries and the other BRICS countries all condemned France and Britain’s arrogant move to use only military means instead of the proclaimed “use of all means” to protect Libyan civilians, and their further move to shift the campaign from protecting civilians to implementing regime change at all costs in Libya. In the end many, many civilians were killed – not protected – by Nato’s relentless bombing campaign, with Libya’s vast oil resources of course being the ultimate prize.

Ironically it started at the United Nations in which South Africa’s greatest living leader, Nelson Mandela, had such faith when international deliberations were under way as to whether or not the US and Britain should invade Iraq to rid it of its alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction…weapons it never had.

At the time Mandela said: “There is one compromise and one only, and that is the United Nations. If the United States and Britain go to the United Nations and the United Nations says we have concrete evidence of the existence of these weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and we feel that we must do something about it, we would all support it.”

Britain and the US eventually did as they pleased anyhow – they invaded on the basis of their lie and the pretext that they would save millions of lives by doing so. On a similar pretext of humanitarian aid and saving lives, Britain and France abused the UN Security Council resolution to invade Libya and effect regime change. Several commendable initiatives by the AU in which South Africa played a leading role and which sought a negotiated settlement in Libya that would avoid a bloodbath, were simply ignored by Britain, France and their Nato allies. Africa was not allowed the space to bring about an African solution to an African problem.

“Therefore Africa and the developing world are right to be appalled, as Libyans are Africans and are part of the developing world that has suffered a lot under imperialism and colonialism. Libyans have paid, and will continue to pay, with their lives for the Western agenda of regime change,” writes Gumede. Indeed.

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Time to Disband NATO: A Rogue Alliance

September 5th, 2011 by Alice Slater

When the Cold War ended, many believed there would be a peace dividend, nuclear disarmament, and dismantling of the war machine with industrial conversion to peaceful technology. Instead, we’ve witnessed the aggressive expansion of NATO, to include the former Soviet Republics, right up to the Russian border, which should be a wake-up call to many living in the American Empire. Many people still labor under the apparently false impression that the US is exemplary in holding up the rule of law, the sanctity of the United Nations, and human rights. After all, Americans were the good guys who defeated Hitler and made the world safe for democracy. The NATO expansion took place despite promises made to Gorbachev after the peaceful dissolution of the Soviet Union with the fall of the Berlin Wall that if he dropped his objections to the admission of a unified Germany as a full-fledged, fully armed member of NATO, the western states would freeze NATO membership and not expand any further east. Russia lost 20 million people in World War II to the Nazi onslaught, and Russian wariness of a strengthened reunited Germany participating with their former NATO foe was certainly understandable.

I visited the Soviet Union in 1989 on a delegation of the NY Professional Roundtable during the heady days of Gorbachev’s newly announced doctrine of glasnost and perstroika—openness and reconstruction. It seemed as though every man over sixty was sporting a chest covered with medals, commemorating their service in the Great War. On every other street corner in Moscow and Leningrad, there were memorials to the war dead. The Piskaryovskoye Cemetery at Leningrad, with acres of mass graves, anonymous mounds of over 500,000 buried there who perished in the 872 day siege of Leningrad, was a painful, searing vision which haunts me still. The siege resulted in the tragic deaths of up to 1,500,000 soldiers and civilians and the evacuation of 1,400,000 more, many of whom died due to starvation and bombardment. The guide for our delegation at one point asked me, “Why don’t you Americans trust us?” “Why don’t we trust you?” I exclaimed indignantly.

“What about Hungary? What about Czechoslovakia? Why should we trust you?” He looked at me with a pained expression, “But we had to protect our borders from Germany!” I looked into his watery blue eyes and heard the fervent sincerity in his voice. At that moment, I felt betrayed by my government and the years of constant reminders about the communist threat. The land was flat as a table between Russia and Germany. There was no buffer against the German onslaught, except the mountains of Czechoslovakia and Hungary. The Russians were in a defensive posture as they built their military might. They were using Eastern Europe as a buffer against any repetition of the ravages of war they had experienced at the hands of Germany.

And the huge multi-trillion dollar buildup of nuclear armaments and NATO forces—what were we defending? We had our forces amassed, including nuclear weapons parked in eight NATO countries on their continent. And when we were the only country on the planet in possession of the bomb—after Hiroshima and Nagasaki– we refused to turn it over to international control under UN auspices, which had been urged by Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the bomb. Instead President Truman insisted on an unfair advantage for the US in his Baruch plan—letting the American people think he was being reasonable, pretending to present fair terms for controlling the bomb which in reality impelled Stalin to get his own bomb—putting us into a tragic and costly arms race—imperiling our own national security and the entire fate of the earth.

Nothing has changed. The Empire has no clothes. It has been revealed. Having unilaterally withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia, the US is leading NATO to build a ring of missiles round Russia in Europe. It is globalizing its military forces and operations. An armada of missile-laden NATO war ships is deployed in oceans around the world with nearly 1,000 US military bases on every continent on the planet. Working in this expanded military capacity, NATO members and their allies are encircling China in the Pacific, just as we are surrounding Russia, while rejecting Russia and China’s repeated proposals to negotiate a ban on weapons in space. NATO is a lawless rogue alliance, determined to control the world’s oil and other scarce resources, by brute force.

The US first led NATO into illegal action when it bombed Kosovo in the interests of “protecting” people, without the UN’s legally required authorization for any acts of warfare that are not taken in self-defense against an armed attack as required by the UN Charter. The US and its NATO allies refused to go to the UN for permission to enter into hostilities, as required under the UN Charter, because Russia was threatening to veto any such action in the Security Council to protect its ally, Serbia.

Despite the lip service NATO gave to some sort of trumped up “responsibility to protect” Kosovo’s Albanians, (by bombing the Serbians to smithereens) Clinton was on the record saying: “If we’re going to have a strong economic relationship that includes our ability to sell around the world, Europe has got to be a key …. That’s what this Kosovo thing is all about.”1

It’s beyond belief that NATO’s assault on Libya is only about “protecting civilians” while at the same time hundreds of civilians are being killed by NATO bombs and drones. Here too NATO’s old boy colonial network is seeking to secure Libya’s oil. NATO is now engaged in three wars in Libya, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The US is also bombing blindly away in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia as well, with “pilots” sitting at their computers and playing with their joysticks, lawlessly targeting “terrorists” with their unmanned drones, raining death and destruction down on the unseen people below, assassinating those whom they suspect may be wishing to do harm, without evidence, trial, finding of guilt, along with a host of innocent men, women and children.

It’s time to disband NATO. There will be a NATO summit meeting in Chicago, in May 2012. Grassroots activists are organizing around the world to gather at a counter summit in Chicago to restore the rule of law as a means of resolving international disputes and to voice a new vision of global security and peace. To sign on to this new Call for Action and make common cause with the movement to disband NATO, contact: Judith LeBlanc [email protected] or Joseph Gerson [email protected]

Space Alert, Fall 2011 Newsletter of the Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space

Alice Slater is New York director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and serves on the Coordinating Committee of Abolition 2000.
 

Alice Slater
Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, NY
446 East 86 St.
New York, NY 10028
212-744-2005
646-238-9000(cell)
www.wagingpeace.org
www.abolition2000.org

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Cliché, sure, but it’s also more true than at any time since the Gilded Age.

The poor are getting poorer, wages are falling behind inflation, and social mobility is at an all-time low. 

If you’re in that top 1%, life is grand.

Here’s 15 Mind-Blowing Charts About Wealth And Inequality In America

Read more:
http://www.businessinsider.com/15-charts-about-wealth-and-inequality-in-america-2010-4##ixzz1X74rJu00

Manipulating Video Images: Sloppy Journalism or War Propaganda?

September 5th, 2011 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Green Square Tripoli. Libyans are seen celebrating the victory of Rebel forces over Ghadaffi in this BBC News Report (see below)  

Examine the footage: It’s not Green Square and it’s not the King Idris Flag (red, black green) of the Rebels.

Its the Indian flag (orange, white and green) and the people at the rally are Indians. Perhaps you did not even notice it.

And if you did notice, ”it was probably a mistake”.

Sloppy journalism at the BBC or outright Lies and Fabrications? 

Recognize the flags?

Indian Flag

Libya’s Rebel Flag (King Idris)

This is not the first time images have been manipulated or switched.

In fact it seems to be a routine practice of the mainstream media. 

Terrorists “celebrating” in Green Square

There is no celebration. It is a NATO sponsored massacre which has resulted in several thousand deaths.  

But the truth cannot be shown on network television. The impacts of NATO bombings have been obfuscated.

The rebels are heralded as ”liberators”. 

NATO bombing is intended to save civilian lives under The Alliance’s R2P mandate.  But the realities are otherwise: the civilian population is being terrorized by the NATO sponsored Rebels.

The images must be switched to conform to the “NATO consensus”.

Death and destruction is replaced by fabricated images of celebration and liberation.

In relation to Libya, see how other images of Green Square were fabricated:

The Libya Media Hoax: Fabricated Scenes of Jubilation and Euphoria on Green Square

- by Metro Gael – 2011-08-23

War Propaganda and War Crimes

Media disinformation in relation to war is categorized as war propaganda, which constitutes a criminal offense under international law

This form of reporting constitutes a war crime, because the intent is to obfuscate NATO atrocities. Without media disinformation, nobody would support the war.  

NATO bombings of Tripoli in the last two weeks have resulted in several thousand deaths. The Rebels are not Liberators as portrayed by the media; amply documented they are Al Qaeda terrorists working hand in glove with NATO:

 ”War propaganda has entered a new phase, involving the coordinated action of satellite TV stations. CNN, France24, the BBC and Al Jazeera have become instruments of disinformation used to demonize governments and justify armed aggressions. These practices are illegal under international law and the impunity of the perpetrators must be stopped.” Thierry Meyssan, Global Research, August 22, 2011)

See Global Research reports on NATO war crimes and media disinformation:


VIDEO: Tripoli BEFORE and AFTER NATO/Rebel “Liberation”
View the footage on GRTV
- 2011-09-01


VIDEO: Make No Mistake. NATO is Committing War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity in Libya
- by Julian Teil, Mathieu Ozanon, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-08-28

Expose the Lies. This Global Research video was produced and directed in Tripoli by a team of committed journalists, researchers and cameramen.

Tibet 2008: CNN Caught Red Handed in Manipulating Images and Switching Video Footage

In 2008, in  a different context, CNN was also caught red handed in manipulating images pertaining to the Tibet Riots.

The report presented by CNN’s Beijing Correspondent John Vause focussed on the Tibet protests in Gansu province and in the Tibetan capital Lhasa.

What was shown, however, was a videotape of the Tibet protest movement in India.

Viewers were led to believe that the protests were in China and that the Indian police shown in the videotape were Chinese cops.

At the outset of the report, a few still pictures were presented followed by a videotape showing police repressing and arresting demonstrators in what appeared to be a peaceful protest:

On the day of the Lhasa Riots (March 14, 2008), the videotape presented by CNN in its News Report on the 14th of March (1.00pm EST) was manipulated. 

VIDEO: Tibet monks protest against Chinese rulers (CNN, March 14, 2008)


The video footage, which accompanied CNN’s John Vause’s report, had nothing to do with China. The police were not Chinese, but Indian cops in khaki uniforms from the North-eastern State of Himachal Pradesh, India.  

Viewers were led to believe that demonstrations inside China were peaceful and that people were being arrested by Chinese cops.  

Chinese Cops in Khaki Uniforms

1′.27-1′.44″ video footage of “Chinese cops” and demonstrators including Buddhist monks. Chinese cops are shown next to Tibetan monks 

Are these Chinese Cops from Gansu Province or Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as suggested by CNN’s John Vause’s Report? 

REPORT ON CHINA, MARCH 14


Alleged Chinese cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in China , CNN, March 14, 2008  1′.36”


Alleged Chinese cops in khaki uniforms repressing Tibet demonstrators in China, CNN, March 14, 2008  1’40″

Their khaki uniforms with berets seem to bear the imprint of the British colonial period.

Khaki colored uniforms were first introduced in the British cavalry in India in 1846. 

Khaki means “dust” in Hindi and Persian.

Moreover, the cops with khaki uniforms and mustache do not look Chinese.
 
Look carefully.

They are Indian cops.

The videotape shown on March 14 by CNN is not from China (Gansu Province or Lhasa, Tibet’s Capital). The video was taken in the State of Himachal Pradesh, India. The videotape of the Tibet protest movement in India was used in the CNN report on the Tibet protest movement within China.

In a March 13 Report by CNN, demonstrators are being arrested by Indian police in khaki uniforms during a protest march at Dehra, about 50 km from Dharamsala in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh. 

VIDEO; Tibet Protest movement in India, CNN, March 13, 2008

Indian police arrested around 100 Tibetans on Thursday, dragging them into waiting police vans, as they tried to march to the Chinese border to press claims for independence and protest the Beijing Olympics.” (REUTERS/Abhishek Madhukar (INDIA))

Below are images from the CNN’s report on March 13, on the protest movement in Himachal Pradesh, India:

Compare these images to those in the March 14 CNN report. Same cops, same uniforms, same Indian style moustache 

CNN MARCH 13 REPORT ON INDIA


Indian cops repressing Tibetan demonstrators in Himachal Pradesh, India CNN, March 13, 2008  0′.53″


Indian cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in Himachal Pradesh, India CNN, March 13, 2008  1′.02″


Indian cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in Himachal Pradesh, India CNN, March 13, 2008, 1′.18″ 


Indian cops repressing Tibetan demonstrators in Himachal Pradesh, India CNN, March 13, 2008  2.04″

The CNN’s March 14 report on the Tibet Protest movement in China shows Chinese cops in khaki uniforms, yellow lapels and berets. While the videotape is not identical to that of March 13, CNN’s coverage of the events in China on March 14 used a videotape taken from the coverage of the Tibet Protest movement in India, with Indian cops in khaki uniforms.   

The protest movement in India on March 13 was “peaceful”. It was organised by the Dalai Lama’s “government in exile”. It took place within 50 km of the headquarters of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.

The Western media was invited in to film the event, and take pictures of Buddhist monks involved in a peaceful, nonviolent march. These are the pictures which circled the World.

So what has occurred is that CNN  has copied and pasted its own videotape of the Tibet Protest movement in India and has fabricated a Gansu Province/ Lhasa, China “peaceful” protest movement with Chinese cops in khaki British colonial style uniforms.

The Chinese never adopted the British style khaki uniform and beret. 

These uniforms do not correspond to those used by the police in China. (See photograph below)


No khaki uniforms in China. These are the uniforms of China’s “Armed Police”. 

For the complete 2008 report see Michel Chossudovsky


Western Media Fabrications regarding the Tibet Riots
Fake Videotape used by CNN
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2008-04-16

CNN’s report focussed on the Tibet protests in Gansu province and in the Tibetan capital Lhasa. What was shown, however, was a videotape of the Tibet protest movement in India.

EU und NATO wetzen die Messer gegen Syrien

September 5th, 2011 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

05.09.2011:  Am Freitag und Samstag haben die EU-Außenminister bei ihrem informellen Treffen im polnischen Sopot erneut ihre Messer zur Durchsetzung der Hegemonieansprüche im unbotmäßigen Umfeld der EU gewetzt. Während gegen Syrien ein Embargo für Rohöleinfuhren in die EU verabschiedet wurde, dem bereits am Sonntag dann Forderungen nach weiteren Wirtschaftssanktionen nachgeschoben wurden, wurden von den treibenden Kräften – zu denen man diesbezüglich durchaus die aggressive polnische Ratspräsidentschaft rechnen darf – auch in Richtung Weissrussland und Ukraine heftige Drohungen ausgesprochen. Unverhohlen und dreist werden von den Menschenrechts-Imperialisten Ansprüche erhoben, die die Souveränität bedrohen und völkerrechtswidrige Einmischungen in die inneren Angelegenheiten dieser Länder darstellen.

Auf solchen Konferenzen wie in Sopot werden die propagandistischen Rauchwolken zur Rechtfertigung der eigenen Hegemonialpolitik erzeugt, mit denen die Völker der EU getäuscht werden sollen. Die eigentliche Drecksarbeit wird über andere Kanäle abgewickelt, wie das Beispiel Libyen zeigt und wie sie besonders jetzt – als nächstes Ziel von EU-USA und NATO – Syrien bedroht. Nachstehend dazu der erste Teil einer Analyse von Prof. Michel Chossudovsky:

Seit Mitte März 2011 haben bewaffnete islamistische Gruppen, die verdeckte Unterstützung von Geheimdiensten westlicher Staaten und Israels erhielten, terroristische Angriffe auf Regierungsgebäude und Brandstiftungen durchgeführt. Breit dukumentiert ist, dass ausgebildete Schützen und Scharfschützen die Polizei, die Streitkräfte der Armee und auch unbewaffnete Zivilisten gezielt angegriffen haben. Die Absicht dieses bewaffneten Aufruhrs war es, eine Reaktion der Polizei und der Armee einschließlich des Einsatzes von Panzern und gepanzerten Fahrzeugen zu erzeugen, um so bei Gelegenheit eine “humanitäre” militärische Intervention unter einem NATO-Mandat der “Schutzverantwortung” zu rechtfertigen.

Anmerkung: Aus Sopot berichtete diePresse.com: “Wir müssen die effektivsten Wirtschaftssanktionen finden”, sagte die EU-Außenbeauftragte Catherine Ashton zum Abschluss des informellen Außenministertreffens. Laut Ashton will die EU dabei möglichst eng mit Syriens nördlichem Nachbar Türkei zusammenarbeiten. Brüssel sei mit Istanbul in engem Kontakt. Zuvor hatten bereits Frankreich und Deutschland härtere Sanktionen gegen Assad gefordert. “Es ist nicht auszuhalten, was dort geschieht”, so Deutschlands Außenminister Guido Westerwelle in einem Pressegespräch. “Frankreich will seine Verantwortung zum Schutz der Bevölkerung gegen die Gewalt von Diktatoren erfüllen”, betonte sein Amtskollege aus Paris, Alain Juppé.

Es gibt ohne Zweifel gute Gründe für die sozialen Unruhen und die Massenproteste in Syrien: die Arbeitslosigkeit ist in den letzten Jahren angestiegen, die sozialen Lebensbedingungen haben sich verschlechtert, insbesondere seit der Annahme von grundlegenden Reformen nach Vorgaben des IWF (Internationaler Währungsfond) im Jahre 2006. Diese letztgenannten beinhalten Sparmaßnahmen, Einfrieren der Löhne und Gehälter, die Deregulierung des Finanzsystems, Reformen des Handels und – Privatisierungen.

Ferner gibt es ernsthafte Spaltungen zwischen der Regierung und dem Militär. Der populistische Rahmen der Politik der Baath-Partei ist weitgehend ausgehöhlt. Eine Fraktion der politisch Herrschenden hat eine neoliberale Orientierung übernommen. Im Gegenzug hat die Annahme der ‘Wirtschaftsmedizin’ des IWF der herrschenden Wirtschaftselite zu Reichtum verholfen. Zudem haben sich Pro-USA-Fraktionen in den oberen Führungsrängen des syrischen Militärs und des Geheimdienstes entwickelt. 

Jedoch ging die Bewegung ‘für Demokratie’ mit unterwandernden Islamisten und der Unterstützung durch die NATO nicht von diesen inneren Säulen der syrischen Zivilgesellschaft aus. Die weitgehend von Islamisten beherrschten Proteste entsprechen nur zu einem Bruchteil der syrischen öffentlichen Meinung. Sie sind ihrem Wesen nach sektiererisch. Sie sprechen auch nicht die allgemeinen Fragen sozialer Ungleichheit, ziviler Rechte und der Arbeitslosigkeit an.

Die große Mehrheit der syrischen Bevölkerung (einschließlich der Gegner der Al-Assad-Regierung) unterstützt die ‘Protestbewegung’, die durch Elemente eines bewaffneten Aufstandes gekennzeichnet ist, nicht – eher trifft das Gegenteil zu. Ironischerweise gibt es für die Regierung von Bashar Al-Assad – trotz deren autoritärer Natur – beträchtliche öffentliche Unterstützung, was u.a. durch die großen Demonstrationszüge für die Regierung bestätigt wird.

Syrien bildet den einzigen (übrig gebliebenen) unabhängigen weltlichen Staat in der arabischen Welt. Seine volksnahe, anti-imperialistische und weltliche Grundlage ist von der herrschenden Baath-Partei übernommen, die Moslems, Christen und Drusen integriert. Syrien unterstützt den Kampf des palästinensischen Volkes.

Die Zielsetzung von USA und NATO ist letztendlich die Beseitigung und Zerstörung des syrischen säkularen Staates, die Absetzung oder Einbindung der nationalen Wirtschaftseliten und schließlich die Ersetzung der syrischen Regierung von Bashar Al-Assad durch ein arabisches Scheichtum, eine islamische und pro-USA ausgerichtete Republik oder eine ‘Demokratie’ nach Vorstellungen der USA.

Die Rolle der Militärallianz von USA, NATO und Israel bei der Auslösung eines bewaffneten Aufstandes wird in den westlichen Medien nicht angesprochen. Mehr noch, verschiedene ‘fortschrittliche Stimmen’ haben die ‘NATO-Meinung’ für bare Münze genommen: es handle sich um ‘friedliche Proteste’, die durch die syrische Polizei und Streitkräfte gewaltsam unterdrückt werden. Doch die Wahrheit ist eine andere.

Al-Dschasira und die israelische und libanesische Presse bestätigten, dass die “Protestierenden” Mitte März in Daraa die Hauptquartiere der Baath-Partei und das Gerichtsgebäude in Brand setzten, behaupten jedoch im gleichen Atemzug, dass diese Demonstrationen “friedlich” gewesen seien. Ähnliche Akte von Brandstiftungen wurden Ende Juli in Hama verübt. Öffentliche Gebäude, darunter das Gerichtsgebäude und die Landwirtschaftsbank wurden dort angezündet. Dieser Aufstand ist gegen den weltlichen Staat gerichtet. Sein letztendliches Ziel ist die politische Destabilisierung und ein Regime-Wechsel.

Kommandogruppen von bewaffneten Schützen sind an terroristischen Aktionen sowohl gegen die syrische Staatsmacht, wie auch gegen Zivilisten beteiligt. So sind Zivilisten, welche die Regierung unterstützen, Objekt von Bedrohungen und Einschüchterungen. Zivilisten an der Seite der Regierung sind zudem Objekte von gezielten Morden durch bewaffnete Schützen.

In Karak, einem Dorf nahe Daraa, zwangen Salafisten Dorfbewohner zur Teilnahme an Protesten gegen die Regierung und zur Abnahme von an ihren Häusern hängenden Photos Präsident Al-Assads. Zeugen berichteten, dass man einen jungen Mann, der sich der Abnahme eines solchen Photos verweigerte, am nächsten Tag auf seiner Veranda vor dem Haus erhängt fand. “Die Menschen möchten auf die Straße gehen und friedlich bestimmte Veränderungen einfordern, aber moslemische Salafistengruppen schleichen sich mit dem Ziel ein, dass Land nach ihren eigenen Plänen in ihre Gewalt zu bringen, nicht jedoch um Veränderungen zu Verbesserungen in Syrien zu erreichen.” (International Christian Concern (ICC) am 4. Mai 2011)

Ende Juli griffen Terroristen einen fahrenden Zug zwischen Aleppo und Damaskus an:

“Der Zug beförderte 480 Passagiere. … Die Attentäter entfernten die Gleise, was den Zug entgleisen ließ. … Der erste Wagen geriet in Brand … Andere Wagen entgleisten und stürzten um. Die meisten Passagiere waren Kinder, Frauen und Patienten, die zu Behandlungen fahren wollten.” (jpnews-sy.com, 24. Juli 2011)

Der Aufstand in Syrien hat ähnliche Merkmale, wie der in Libyen: er ist unterwandert durch paramilitärische Gruppen, die zum Al-Qaida-Netzwerk gehören. (Anm.: solche Beziehungen wurden erst am letzten Freitag (3.9.) in der Süddeutschen Zeitung ausführlich dargestellt; der dortige Bericht entspricht ähnlichen Informationen des Portals debka.com)

Jüngste Entwicklungen weisen zudem auf einen umfassenden bewaffneten Aufruhr hin, der von islamistischen ‘Freiheitskämpfern’ unterwandert ist, die von der NATO und dem türkischen Oberkommando unterstützt, ausgebildet und ausgerüstet wurden. Israelische Geheimdienstquellen berichteten darüber:

Die NATO-Hauptquartiere in Brüssel und das türkische Oberkommando entwerfen inzwischen Pläne für einen ersten militärischen Schritt gegen Syrien, der darin bestehen soll, die Rebellen mit Waffen zum Kampf gegen Panzer und Hubschrauber auszurüsten, um mit diesen dann das Regime von Al-Assad an der Niederschlagung der Proteste zu hindern. Statt einer Wiederholung des libyschen ‘Modells’ von Luftangriffen denken NATO-Strategen hinsichtlich Syrien mehr daran, große Mengen von Panzerabwehr- und Luftabwehr-Raketen, Mörsern und schweren Maschinengewehren in die Zentren der Proteste zu schleusen, damit so die bewaffneten Kräfte der Regierung zurück geschlagen werden. (debka.com, 14. August 2011)

Eine von der NATO angeführte Einmischung liegt also jetzt auf dem Planungstisch. Nach militärischen und Geheimdienstquellen diskutieren die NATO, die Türkei und Saudi-Arabien (Anm.: letzteres hat sich bezeichnenderweise im August mit viel öffentlichem Getöse gegen Syrien gestellt) derzeit noch “die Art und Weise, wie diese Intervention ablaufen solle”.

Ende Juli traten der türkische Oberkommandierende der Armee und Generalstabschef General Isik Kosaner gemeinsam mit den Befehlshabern der Marine und der Luftwaffe zurück. General Kosaner vertrat in den Streitkräften einen umfassend weltlichen Standpunkt. General Necdet Ozel wurde an seiner Stelle zum Oberbefehlshaber der Armee und zum Generalstabschef ernannt. Diese Veränderungen haben eine entscheidende Bedeutung. Denn sie bedeuten in der obersten militärischen Führungsebene einen Wechsel zugunsten der Moslem-Bruderschaften und – verstärkte Unterstützung der bewaffneten Erhebungen im Norden Syriens.

Militärische Quellen haben laut debka.com vom 14. August bestätigt, dass syrische Aufständische “im Gebrauch der neuen Panzerabwehr-Waffen von türkischen Offizieren in provisorischen Anlagen türkischer Stützpunkte nahe der syrischen Grenze ausgebildet wurden.” Die Lieferung der erwähnten Waffen an die Rebellen solle “auf dem Landwege durch die Türkei und unter Schutz der türkischen Armee erfolgen. … Alternativ würden die Waffen auf LKW unter türkischem Schutz nach Syrien gebracht und dort an vorher abgesprochenen Treffpunkten an die Rebellen übergeben.”

Diese Entwicklungen deuten die Möglichkeit einer direkten Verwicklung türkischer Truppen in den innersyrischen Konflikt hin, was in sich den Keim zu einer breiteren militärischen Auseinandersetzung zwischen Syrien und der Türkei, einschließlich des direkten Einsatzes von türkischen Truppen in Syrien enthält. Ein Bodenkrieg unter Beteiligung von türkischen Truppen im Norden Syriens würde dann die “Bildung eines militärischen Vorpostens schaffen, von dem aus die syrischen Rebellen mit Waffen, logistischer und medizinischer Hilfe versorgt würden”. (debka.com, 31.8.2011)

Anmerkung: Hier möge zusätzlich daran erinnert sein, dass genau solches im Libyen-Krieg geschah, wo die militärische Schwäche der Aufständischen zu Beginn der Unruhen durch Waffenlieferungen und Ausbildung und Einsatzleitung vor Ort durch britische und französische NATO-Instrukteure behoben wurde. Es war dieses Zusammenspiel mit den NATO-Bombardierungen, welches wesentlich zum jetzigen Erfolg der Rebellen beigetragen hat.

Wie im Fall von Libyen fließen die finanziellen Mittel an die Kampfeinheiten der syrischen Rebellen über Saudi-Arabien. “Ankara und Rijadh wollen die Bewegung gegen Al-Assad mit großen Mengen von Waffen und Geldmitteln versorgen, die aus dem Ausland nach Syrien geschmuggelt werden sollen,” schreibt debka.com dazu. 

Die Entsendung von saudi-arabischen und Truppen des Golf-Kooperationsrates (GCC) im Süden Syriens erfolgt ebenfalls in Zusammenarbeit mit der Türkei. Das türkische Oberkommando und die NATO erwägen (neben den Waffenlieferungen) auch die Entwicklung einer Jihad-Bewegung mit der Anwerbung von Tausenden von ‘Freiheitskämpfern’, was an die Anwerbung der Mudjahedin für den Heiligen Krieg (Jihad) der CIA in der Blütezeit des Einsatzes sowjetischer Truppen in Afghanistan erinnert.

“Wie unsere Informanten berichten, wird in Brüssel und Ankara eine Werbeaktion diskutiert, um Tausende von freiwilligen Moslems im Nahen Osten und in der moslemischen Welt für den Kampf an der Seite der syrischen Rebellen anzuwerben. Die türkische Armee würde dann diese Freiwilligen aufnehmen, sie ausbilden und ihre Einschleusung nach Syrien sichern.”
(debka.com 31.8.2011)

Die Anwerbung von Mudjahedin für die ‘humanitären Kriege’ der NATO (einschließlich Libyens und Syriens) laufen bereits. Rund 1.500 Jihadisten aus Afghanistan, von der CIA ausgebildet, wurden bereits im Kampf der ‘demokratischen Aufständischen’ in Libyen unter der Führung von Abdel Hakim Belhadj, dem Kommandeut der ‘ehemaligen’ Libysch-islamischen Kampfgruppe (Libya Islamic Fighting Group – LIFG), eingesetzt.

“Die meisten dieser Männer wurden in Afghanistan angeworben. Es sind Usbeken, Perser und Hasaren. Auf Photoaufnahmen konnte man diese Kämpfer in libyschen Städten im Einsatz sehen, in Kleidung von usbekischem Stil (Shalwar) bzw. hasara-usbekischem Stil (Kurta),” berichtete die pakistanische Zeitung ‘The Nation’.

Das libysche Modell von Rebellenkämpfern im Verbund mit islamischen Brigaden und Spezialeinheiten der NATO soll ebenfalls in Syrien zur Anwendung kommen, wo islamistische und von westlichen und israelischen Geheimdiensten unterstützte Kämpfer bereits eingeschleust wurden.
 
Syrien ist – wie erwähnt – ein weltlicher Staat, in dem sich Moslems und Christen eine gemeinsame Geschichte seit der Frühzeit der Christenheit teilen und friedlich über viele Jahrhunderte hinweg zusammen lebten. Die  verdeckte Unterstützung der Jihad-Kämpfer ermöglicht diesen auch im Gegenzug Akte sektiererischer Gewalt, die direkt gegen Alawiten, Chisten und Drusen gerichtet ist. Berichten zufolge griffen Anfang Mai mit Gewehren Bewaffnete im Rahmen der ‘Protestbewegung’ gegen die Regierung Häuser von Christen in Daraa im Süden Syriens an:

Augenzeugen erzählten, dass in einem christlichen Dorf außerhalb von Daraa zwanzig maskierte Männer auf Motorrädern das Feuer auf Häuser von Christen eröffneten. Nach einer anderen unserer Quellen in Syrien erhielten Kirchen während der Osterferien Drohbriefe, in denen sie aufgefordert wurden, die salafistischen Protestierenden zu unterstützen oder aber zu verschwinden.

In der letzten Woche skandierten Salafisten in Duma, einem Vorort von Damaskus: “Alawiten ins Grab, Christen nach Beirut!”, wie uns ein Informant und wie ebenso tayyar.org, eine libanesische Nachrichtenagentur berichtete. Die Christen in Syrien sind besorgt, dass viele entschiedene Islamisten in Syrien, einschließlich der Salafisten, die Übernahme der Regierungsmacht anstreben und dann die Christen aus dem Lande jagen wollen. “Wenn die moslemischen Salafisten politische Macht erringen, werden sie sicherstellen wollen, dass keine Spur der Christenheit mehr in Syrien zu finden sein wird”, erzählte uns ein syrischer Christ.

“Wir wünschen eine Verbesserung unseres Lebens und unserer Rechte in Syrien unter diesem Präsidenten, aber wir wollen keinen Terrorismus. Die Christen werden als erste den Preis für solchen Terrorismus bezahlen. … Was die Christen umzusetzen fordern ist, dass ein sich vollziehender Wandel nicht für einige wenige Ziele von einigen wenigen Menschen zu erfolgen hat, sondern für das ganze syrische Volk, auf friedliche Weise und unter der jetzigen Regierung”, sagte Aidan Clay, der Regionale Manager des ICC (International Christian Concern) für den Nahen Osten. “Anders als in Ägypten, wo vor allem die Christen die Revolution unterstützten, durch die Präsident Hosni Mubarak aus dem Amt gejagt wurde, wünschen sich die Christen in Syrien Frieden und fordern gleichzeitig größere Freiheiten unter der derzeitigen Regierung. Die Christen sehen voraus, dass bei einer Verwirklichung der Forderungen der Salafisten nur Chaos und Blutvergießen folgen werden. Wir fordern von der US-Regierung kluges und vorsichtiges Handeln bei der Entwicklung ihrer Politik. Denn diese hat tiefgehende politische Auswirkungen auf die Minderheiten Syriens und sollte nicht indirekt ein von den Salafisten zu benutzendes Trittbrett sein, welches ihnen hilft, ihre radikalen Pläne umzusetzen.”

(ICC vom 4. Mai 2011)

Die Angriffe auf die Christen in Syrien erinnern fatal an die Morde der Todesschwadronen im Irak unter den dortigen Chaldäischen Christen.

Die aktuelle Krise in Syrien ist sichtlich nicht die Folge von internen politischen Differenzen, sondern die Konsequenz eines bewussten Plans der USA-NATO-Allianz zur Auslösung eines sozialen Chaos, mit dem Ziel der Diskreditierung der syrischen Regierung unter Präsident Bashar Al-Assad und der Zersetzung Syriens als eines Nationalstaates.

Teil 2 folgt.

Quelle und Copyright © : Prof. Michel Chossudovsky; global.research.ca   
Übersetzung: hth

Witnessing the Transition to Fear in Tripoli

September 5th, 2011 by Lizzie Phelan

Axis of Logic Editor’s Comment: Lizzie Phelan is one of the few independent journalists who weathered the storm of the US/NATO bombing of Tripoli and their mercenaries’ invasion of the city. She was reporting from inside the Rixos Hotel and then moved nearby to the Hotel Corinthia, still amidst raging gun battles between government forces and the NATO mercenaries. She escaped Libya in a fishing boat which took her and others to Malta earlier this week. Today, she gives her first report since leaving Libya. We are indebted to Lizzie and other independent journalists whose work removed the mask of the corporate media and their paymasters. We look forward to more of her reports based on the months that she covered the war from inside Libya. - Les Blough, Editor

Amidst all the media furor about the fall of Tripoli from the grasp of the Libyan government, it’s not easy to get a clear picture of what things look like under their new rulers. Upon being released from five days of entrapment in the Rixos hotel with 35 other foreign journalists, it was hard to believe that the streets I was driving through were the same ones I had become familiar with during the month I had spent in the capital.

The previously bustling roads with families rushing around toing and froing from the beach and getting ready for the meal to break the fast were empty, the green flags replaced by rebel ones, and the sparse checkpoints previously run by male and female volunteers, ie residents with Kalashnikovs, had been replaced by checkpoints every 100 or so meters, manned by tanks and exclusively male fighters holding sophisticated weapons supplied by the world’s most powerful military force, NATO.

The proud young black Libyans protecting their neighbourhoods were gone. Later we would see the images of them being rounded up and put on pickup trucks, a sight that in the previous months had been confined to places like Benghazi and Misrata. These are the victims of the claim that Gaddafi had hired mercenaries from the African continent, a claim which has been profusely rejected by human rights organisations as lacking any evidence. But in the new Libya they are some of the first – along with those from the largest tribes, Wafalla, Washafana, Zlitan and Tarhouna – suspected to be supporting the Muammar Gaddafi, a crime punishable by death and much worse.

The Red Cross convoy transporting us pulled into the Corinthia hotel. When I had stayed there on a previous trip just a month before, just two or three armed guards manned the entrance. This time it was overrun with men wielding weapons sent from NATO and Qatar and just a handful of swamped and exhausted staff remained.

Later, I saw some Libyan faces I recognised, their eyes looked filled with trauma. “How are you?” I asked one, “he is still in our hearts” she responded. Later when we had more time to talk in privacy she broke down, apologising as she cried. She said it was impossible to talk to anyone, “Libya is like our mother, but we can’t talk to our mother anymore”. A Wafalla woman from the tribe’s area of Beni Walid – she knew that she and her family could be rounded up at any second, simply because of the Wafalla’s steadfast backing of what they call their “guide” – Muammar Gaddafi. She told me,

“Beni Walid people have always been very proud, generous, humble and dignified people. Under that [the rebel] flag of King Idris, we had to kiss the feet of the king before we could say a word to him, we have gone back to those times.”

She was one of the many who warned me to keep my head down and get out as soon as possible. I had been one of the few reporters that focused on the effects of NATO’s bombing campaign in the country and had tried to highlight the million marches and mass tribal conferences in favour of the Libyan government that indicated it was not quite as unpopular within Libya as it had been portrayed to be.

I had also tried to expose the links of the rebels to Al Qaeda, which NATO was on the other hand fighting in places like Afghanistan. Since the admission by the rebels that the assassination of former rebel commander Abd al Fatah Younis was carried out by Al Qaeda-linked groups within their ranks, the presence of the extremists threatened to become clearer as the then Libyan government prepared to release files and phone recordings exposing Al Qaeda’s involvement in the crisis and how the west had worked with them.

But following the fall of Tripoli only unflinching acceptance of the new Libya would guarantee your safety, my Wafalla friend urged me to get home and speak about what was happening.

With fighting still raging on the roads out of the country, and them being particularly unsafe for anyone without rebel protection my only prospect of getting home was via the Mediterranean.

For days this was a very slim prospect – the commotion between the rebels that would frequently break out in the Corinthia hotel over who was the real authority, extended not just to the harbor via which I needed to escape, but to much of the city. For four days other foreigners and I would be told every few hours we would be leaving, only for the person who had given the go ahead in the harbor to disappear and be replaced.

With so many different groups, like the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya and those loyal to the defectors from Gaddafi’s government, the western forces now openly on the ground seemed out of their depth.

On my second day in the Corinthia, three butch British guys strutted around insisting they were now in charge of the security of the hotel. One of them told me he had come over from Kabul, which was “getting a lot worse”. “Do you think this is going to become like Kabul?” I asked, “It’s very likely, with so many different groups fighting for power”, he replied.

Meanwhile the cost in lives lost in the fall of Tripoli has received little investigation. The last concrete figures came from the then existing Ministry of Health on the second day of fighting in Tripoli which put the death toll in 12 hours in the capital alone at 1,300 with 900 injured. The Ministry reported that in the previous day over 300 had been murdered and 500 injured. This surpasses the 1,400 massacred during the two week onslaught by Israel’s Operation Cast Lead on Gaza which sparked outrage worldwide.

After heavy bombing and attacks by Apaches in Tripoli’s poorest neighborhood and one of the last areas to fall, Abu Saleem, eye witnesses reported seeing masses of bodies covering the streets. A relative of one of those feared to be amongst the carnage visited the local hospital where he said just one doctor and two nurses were left. Like masses of the capital’s workers, many hospital staff had fled, were in hiding or perhaps dead. When he asked to see the bodies, the guards told him there were none – his family fears they have been dumped in mass graves in locations that may for a long time be unknown.

This bloodbath does not fit into the narrative of a “free Libya” in which civilians are “protected”, but in such an atmosphere charged with the hunger for control at any cost, it is near impossible for those on the ground to be honest about the images before their eyes, while they remain in rebel held territory.

One young armed rebel donning the French flag on his fatigues creeped up behind me and asked me where I was from. “London” I replied, “Ah Cameron, we love Cameron,” he beamed. I forced a smile; to even criticize my own prime minister would betray disloyalty to Libya’s new rulers.

In the harbor as we looked at the ship that had been waiting to be relieved of its supplies and replaced with passengers, an Italian commented that it was like “a kid running a university” as the new people in charge worked out how to operate the cranes and other machinery necessary to keep the ships coming and going.

We were told that ship may not be able to leave for another five to ten days and the only option for exit by sea was a 20 yard long fishing boat for 12 people lacking most safety equipment, like diving gear.

43 of us prepared to board. The rebel then in charge of monitoring our boat checked our identification repeatedly over four hours insisting that no Russians, Serbians or Ukrainians would be allowed to leave. Neither would a Cuban and Ecuadorian citizen. Their countries relations had been too good with Muammar Gaddafi during the crisis.

Finally at about midnight, we were all allowed on, except for one Russian man.

As the sounds of tanks and firefights and the smell of death that filled the air grew more and more distant, I remembered the peaceful, welcoming and safe city I had driven into.

Lizzie Phelan is an independent journalist and commentator who reported from Tripoli during NATO’s bombing campaign and takeover of the capital. She can be contacted at [email protected]  

Video at

http://rt.com/news/brics-syria-west-hegemony/

Russia strongly opposes the Western approach to the situation in Syria and its stance has largely been echoed by its partners within the BRICS. Some experts believe that BRICS is the only group that can stand against the West’s hegemonic ambitions.

­”If the BRICS countries have anything to do with it, the Libyan scenario will not be put into practice in Syria,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Sunday after a meeting with his Brazilian counterpart, Antonio Patriota.

Dr Sreeram Chaulia, a professor at the Jindal School of International Affairs in India – one of the bloc’s members – believes that BRICS nations have learned their lessons from the lack of democratic consensus on Libya.

“It is important that BRICS nations put up this stand, a united front, and try to prevent UN resolutions as well as multilateral sanctions that could be the slippery slope leading to full-fledged war and another major imbroglio in the Middle East,” he said.

As the Libyan Transitional National Council appears to be pushing for maximal influence of the Western powers that backed it, Chaulia wonders:  “Are we entering a new neo-colonial era?”

“We need to prevent that and the only way to do it is for BRICS to put up a united front,” he said. “It is necessary to contest hegemonic ambitions.”

He believes that BRICS is a microcosm of the movement towards a genuine multi-polar world.

“And you can only have genuine multi-polarity through joint action by BRICS nations to prevent this,” he said. “But whether they can succeed or not is a matter of also of power projection on the ground. Diplomatically, yes – Russia, China, India, Brazil, even South Africa – have sent emissaries to Syria and they are all involved behind the scenes.”

But at the end of the day the situation could boil down to direct military pressure, and that, Chaulia believes, will be the time for Iran to take to the stage.

“The only deterrent preventing another Libya-like intervention from the West is the fact that Iran supports the Syrian regime,” he said. “They will materially prevent a takeover of Syria the way the Western powers have now pretty much taken over Libya – by hijacking the UN resolutions to protect civilians.”

Chaulia believes that it is important for BRICS to co-ordinate with Iran and make sure that there is a “peaceful transition of power” and move to democracy, which is the main message the bloc’s members are sending.

“And in fact that is a better message than the ‘big stick method’ of imposing immediate sanctions to ‘save lives’ the Europeans and Americans are talking about,” Chaulia concluded.

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The Bundestag will have one chance to stop Angela Merkel’s plan to provide hundreds of billions of dollars to underwater EU banks that made bad bets on sovereign bonds. If the German parliament fails to block Merkel on September 23, then–under the “expanded powers” of the European Financial Security Facility (EFSF)– insolvent banks will be bailed out and the costs will be passed on to eurozone taxpayers.

Despite her populist bloviating (“We won’t be bullied by the markets”), Merkel is a devout Europhile committed to a fiscal union ruled by bankers and bondholders, a Banktatorship. Presently, she is doing whatever she can to hurry the process along before hostile bond vigilantes roil the markets and bring the EU banking system crashing down. This is from Der Spiegel:

“In a situation of market panic, the EFSF has to act quickly,” Holger Schmieding, chief economist of Berenberg Bank, told the Financial Times Deutschland. “It could happen overnight or on a weekend.” Guntram Wolff of the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel agreed. Parliamentary approval “must not take too long.” (“Parliamentary Influence over Euro Bailouts ‘Naive’”, Der Spiegel)

Sound familiar? US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson used the same strategy after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008 in order to blackmail congress out of $800 billion via the TARP bailout. Once again, the fear of a financial meltdown is being invoked to stealthily extort money from working people. Here’s a clip from another article in Der Spiegel:

“The banks are in fact in a bad way. Most of them still have a lot of Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Irish sovereign bonds on their balance sheets, and it is not entirely clear whether these will ultimately be repaid in full. That in turn is fueling distrust among the financial institutions themselves and many have stopped lending each other money. They are only being kept alive because the European Central Bank (ECB) is making an unlimited amount of money available to them and are accepting securities as collateral that many investors no longer consider to be safe.

Better capitalization for the banks could alleviate this mistrust, because more equity means that the banks could better absorb losses from their sovereign debt business. Those institutions that are not strong enough to raise the money themselves on the capital market would have to be helped out with public money. There is hardly an institution that is better suited for that job than the EFSF.” (“The Euro Rescue Fund Needs More Powers”, Der Speigel)

This excerpt is wrong in so many ways, it’s hard to know where to begin. The EFSF was set up to prevent nations from defaulting, not banks. The idea that bond speculators can be compared to representative governments is laughable. The banks are in trouble because they made poor decisions and now must face painful haircuts on their investments. Shareholders should be wiped out and debts restructured. That’s how the game is played.

What Merkel and Co. want to do is turn the system on its head and transform the EFSF into a permanent off-balance sheet SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle) authorised to distribute public money to failing banks. And it’s all being done to keep their sketchy banker friends from losing money. So, behind all the baloney about “fiscal unity” and “consolidation of state finances”, lurks the ugly truth that the eurozone is a two-tiered system whose financial architecture is identical to Enron. There’s nothing democratic about a system that rewards profligate elites while shunting the losses off onto workers. That’s just plain old kleptocracy.

The German Chancellor is joined in her struggle by colleagues at the ECB and the IMF. In fact, newly-appointed IMF chief, Christine Lagarde, is leading the charge for Euro-TARP, which may explain why she was rushed through the nomination process after Dominique Strauss Kahn stepped down pending his investigation on rape charges in New York.

In any event, Madame Lagarde has already shown that she’s more than willing to do whatever heavy-lifting is required to achieve her objectives and to accommodate her wealthy constituents. . Here’s how The Guardian summed up Lagarde’s impressive resume:

“Christine Lagarde stands for protecting big banks…..she’s the most pro-bank bailout of the lot.” (“IMF under growing pressure to appoint non-European head”, The Guardian)

Indeed. So, Lagarde has thrown her weight behind the bank bailouts, er, “bank recapitalization”. Also she is a staunch advocate of “institutionalizing a European economic government”, which means that she wants to establish a regime that is controlled by bankers and bondholders; Banktopia. At the same time, she insists that this new governing body have the power to intervene in the budgetary process of the eurozone sovereigns to “maintain our efforts to expand the scope of economic surveillance to include government deficits and public as well as private-sector debt, if necessary by imposing “political penalties”.

Right. So, this new trans-EU government will be able to “crack the whip” on errant states that pass budgets that serve the interests of their people rather than those big capital. Meanwhile, Lagarde’s EU Superstate will continue to impose the same policies it has since the onset of the financial crisis; large-scale privatization of state assets and services, and belt-tightening programs that keep the economy in a permanent state of Depression. Is this what’s in store for the Eurozone?

Keep in mind, the banks are already getting bailed out through the ECB’s bond purchasing program that keeps bond prices artificially high and averts a sovereign default. The fact that Lagarde is aggressively pushing for direct injections of capital, suggests that the condition of the banks is far worse than anyone had figured, which is why–according to the Wall Street Journal–”She suggested that the EU’s existing sovereign bailout fund (ESFS) could be used for this purpose.” It’s a classic case of “bait and switch”.

German parliamentarians have a chance to put an end to this nonsense once and for all. By blocking Merkel, the Bundestag can ensure that the eurozone’s working people will not be ripped off for hundreds of billions of dollars or subjected to the autocratic rule of parasidic banksters . Let the banks pay their own bills.

No to EUROTARP.

VIDEO: Boots on the Ground in Libya to Protect NATO’s Oil Interests?

September 5th, 2011 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

VIDEO: The Toronto 9/11 Hearings – 9/11/11

September 5th, 2011 by Global Research

“خيار السلفادور”

September 5th, 2011 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

The Pentagon’s “Salvador Option”: The Deployment of Death Squads in Iraq and Syria

 

المقال التالي هو الثاني من سلسلة من ثلاثة أجزاء.

___________________________________________________________________________________

الجزء الأول من هذا البحث يركز على الآثار المترتبة على أوسع حملة أمريكية وحلف شمال الاطلسي “انسانية” عمل عسكري ضد سوريا.

الجزء الأول

ألف – “الحرب الانسانية” في سوريا؟ الجيش التصعيد. نحو الشرق الأوسط وآسيا الوسطى الكبرى من الحرب؟

09-08-2011– بقلم ميشيل شوسودوفسكي –

  الطريق إلى طهران يمر عبر دمشق. ومن شأن الحرب الامريكية ضد ايران ومنظمة حلف شمال الأطلسي ، كخطوة أولى ، حملة لزعزعة الاستقرار(“تغيير النظام”) ضد سوريا.

____________________________________________________________________________________

ويركز الجزء الثالث على نحو أكثر تحديدا في التمرد المسلح في سورية :

الجزء الثالث

فرق الموت في سوريا والاسلاميون” هم مقاتلي الحرية”:

——————————————————————————————————————————————————

هذه الورقة (الجزء الثاني) يركز على تاريخ “خيار السلفادور” في البنتاغون في العراق وعلاقته مع سوريا.

وتم تنفيذ البرنامج خلال فترة من جون د. نيغروبونتي الذي شغل منصب سفير الولايات المتحدة في العراق (حزيران 2004 إلى أبريل 2005). السفير الحالي لسورية ، روبرت س. فورد وكان من فريق نيغروبونتي في بغداد في الفترة 2004-2005.

سوريا : التطورات العامة والأخيرة :

وقد لعبت وسائل الاعلام الغربية دورا محوريا في التشويش على طبيعة التدخل الأجنبي في سورية ، بما في ذلك الدعم الخارجي للمتمردين المسلحين. وقد وصفت في جوقة الأحداث الأخيرة في سوريا بأنها “حركة الاحتجاج السلمية” ضد حكومة الرئيس بشار الأسد ، عندما أدلة تؤكد بوضوح أن الجماعات الإسلامية شبه العسكرية قد تسللوا الى المظاهرات.

Debka موقع المخابرات الاسرائيلية ، ويمنع من انبعاث التمرد المسلح ، واعترف ضمنا بأن القوات السورية تواجه منظمة شبه عسكرية :

“[القوات السورية] تلقى الآن مقاومة قوية : فهي في انتظار مضادة للدبابات ومصائد الحواجز الحصينة التي يحرسها متظاهرين مسلحين بالرشاشات الثقيلة”. ديبكا ،

منذ متى والمتظاهرين المدنيين المسالمين ، مسلحين بأسلحة “ثقيلة” و “الأفخاخ المضادة للدبابات “؟

التطورات الاخيرة ان سوريا تواجه تمرد مسلح شامل ، وتتألف من الاسلاميين “مقاتلي الحرية” مدعومة ومدربة ومجهزة من قبل حلف شمال الاطلسي والقيادة العليا لتركيا. مصادر في المخابرات الاسرائيلية تقول :

مقر حلف شمال الاطلسي في بروكسل والقيادة التركية عالية من ناحية أخرى خطط لخطوتها العسكرية الأولى في سوريا تقوم بتسليح المتمردين  في الحرب ضد الدبابات والمروحيات لمواجهة  القمع  من النظام الأسد للمعارضة.

بدلا من تكرار النموذج الليبي من الغارات الجوية ، الاستراتيجيون حلف شمال الاطلسي المزيد من التفكير من حيث تتدفق كميات كبيرة من الصواريخ المضادة للدبابات والقنابل ومدافع الهاون والرشاشات الثقيلة في مراكز للاحتجاج  لضرب القوات الحكومية ودباباته. (ديبكا وحلف شمال الاطلسي : على التمرد ضد الدبابات ، 14 أغسطس 2011 ، التأكيد مضاف)

وفقا لمصادر إسرائيلية ، والتي لم يتم بعد التحقق منها ، ومنظمة حلف شمال الأطلسي والقيادة العليا التركية، تشمل أيضا وضع “الحرب المقدسة” التي تنطوي على تجنيد الآلاف من الإسلاميين “مقاتلين من أجل الحرية” ، والتي تشير إلى تجنيد المجاهدين للجهاد لوكالة الاستخبارات المركزية (الحرب المقدسة) في أوج الحرب السوفييتية الأفغانية :

كما ناقش في بروكسل وأنقرة ، ومن مصادر تقريرنا ، الشروع في حملة لتجنيد الآلاف من المتطوعين المسلمين من دول الشرق الأوسط والعالم المسلم للقتال الى جانب المتمردين في سوريا.. الجيش التركي يوحد هؤلاء المتطوعين ، ليمكنها ويضمن مرورها الى سوريا. (المرجع نفسه ، والتشديد مضاف)٠

هذه الأحداث تشير إلى احتمال مشاركة قوات تركية في سورية ، والتي يمكن ان تؤدي الى مواجهة عسكرية على نطاق أوسع بين سورية وتركيا فضلا عن كامل “الانسانية” للتدخل العسكري لحلف شمال الاطلسي.

في الأحداث الأخيرة ، قد تغلغلت فرق الموت من الإسلاميين عبر ميناء مدينة اللاذقية منطقة الرملة ، الذي يضم مخيم للاجئين الفلسطينيين من 10000 شخص. هؤلاء المسلحين ، بما فيها القناصة يروعون السكان المحليين.

في لمسة ساخرة ، قدمت وسائل الاعلام الغربية الجماعات شبه العسكرية المسلمة في اللاذقية باسم “المنشقين الفلسطينيين” و “الناشطين” للدفاع ضد القوات المسلحة السورية. في هذا المعنى ، فإن أعمال العصابات المسلحة الموجهة ضد المجتمع الفلسطيني في رام الله التي تسعى إلى تعزيز واضح للصراع السياسي بين فلسطين وسوريا. وقد أيدت عدة شخصيات فلسطينية مع “حركة احتجاج” من سوريا ، في حين يتم تجاهل حقيقة أن فرق الموت “المؤيدة للديمقراطية” مدعومة سرا من اسرائيل وتركيا.

ولمح وزير الخارجية التركي احمد داوود اوغلو ، ان انقرة قد تبحث القيام بعمل عسكري ضد سوريا ما لم تنفذ حكومة الأسد “فورا وبدون شروط” الإجراءات التي تتخذها ضد “المتظاهرين”. في مفارقة مريرة ، وتجاهل المسلحين الإسلاميين العاملين في سورية والذين يرهبون السكان المدنيين ، الذين يتم تدريبهم وبتمويل من الحكومة التركية اردوغان.

ويمكن في الوقت نفسه ، فإن الولايات المتحدة والناتو والمخططين العسكريين الإسرائيليين قد رسموا الخطوط العريضة لحملة عسكرية  “انسانية” في تركيا (ثاني أكبر قوة عسكرية في حلف شمال الاطلسي) تلعب دورا محوريا.

في 15 آب ، كان رد فعل طهران على الأزمة الجارية في سوريا ، قائلا “ينبغي اعتبار ما يجري في سوريا بالشؤون الداخلية لهذا البلد ، واتهم الغرب وحلفاءها بمحاولة زعزعة الاستقرار في سوريا ، بحيث ، إن وجدت الفرصة، التوصل في نهاية المطاف للاحتلال “. (بيان لوزارة الخارجية الإيرانية ، ونقلت في ايران تدعو الغرب الى البقاء بعيدا عن Todayszaman.com سوريا “الشؤون الداخلية” ، أغسطس 15 ، 2011)

نحن في مفترق طرق خطير :

كانت عملية عسكرية شنت ضد سوريا؟ يمكن اشراك أوسع والشرق الأوسط وآسيا الوسطى التي تمتد من شمال أفريقيا وشرق البحر الأبيض المتوسط إلى الحدود بين افغانستان وباكستان مع الصين في معمعة حرب طويلة الامد. ويمكن لحرب مع سورية أن تتطور الى حملة عسكرية لحلف شمال الاطلسي ضد ايران ، وتركيا واسرائيل ستشاركان مباشرة.

فمن الضروري لنشر الكلمة وكسر قنوات التضليل الإعلامي.

والفهم النقدي والنزيه لما يحدث في سورية هو أمر حيوي لعكس تيار من التصعيد العسكري في حرب إقليمية أوسع نطاقا.

ميشيل شوسودوفسكي ، 16 أغسطس 2011

الخلفية : إن السفير الامريكى روبرت س. فورد يصل الى دمشق (يناير 2011)

السفير الامريكى وجاء روبرت فورد إلى دمشق في أواخر يناير 2011 في حين آنت حركة الاحتجاج في مصر.

ودعي السفير الأمريكي السابق في سوريا الى واشنطن 2005 بعد اغتيال رئيس الوزراء اللبناني السابق رفيق الحريري، الذي نسبوه ، دون أدلة ، لحكومة الرئيس بشار الاسد.

في وقت مبكر من زيارتي لسوريا في كانون الثاني عام 2011 ، فكرت في أهمية هذا التعيين الدبلوماسي والدور الذي يمكن أن يلعبه في عملية سرية لزعزعة الاستقرار السياسي. ومع ذلك ، فتوقع أن هذه العملية ستتم في أقل من شهرين، بعد استعادة روبرت س. فورد سفيرا للولايات المتحدة في سوريا، كانت صعبة.

بإعادة السفير الأميركي في دمشق ، ولكن بشكل أكثر تحديدا في اختيار روبرت س. فورد سفير الولايات المتحدة ، لديه علاقة مباشرة مع بدء حركة احتجاج في منتصف شهر مارس ضد حكومة الرئيس السوري بشار الاسد.

روبرت س. فورد كان الرجل المناسب لهذا المنصب : كان “رقم اثنين” السفارة الأمريكية بغداد (2004-2005) تحت قيادة السفير جون د. نيغروبونتي ، الذي لعب دورا رئيسيا في تنفيذ البنتاغون “خيار سلفادور للعراق”. وكان هذا الأخير يدعم فرق الموت العراقية والقوات شبه العسكرية مستوحاة من تجربة أمريكا الوسطى.

ضللت وسائل الاعلام الغربية الجمهور حول طبيعة حركة الاحتجاج العربية لعدم التصدي لدعم وزارة الخارجية الامريكى والمؤسسات الامريكية (بما في ذلك الصندوق الوطني لدعم الديمقراطية (NED)) عن طريق اختيار مجموعة من المعارضة، الموالية للولايات المتحدة. معروفة وموثقة من قبل وزارة خارجية الولايات المتحدة ٠ “لقد تم تمويل معارضي الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد ، منذ عام 2006 (الولايات المتحدة تدعم تمويل المعارضة السورية (– العالم — سي بي سي نيوز 18 أبريل 2011)).

وأكدت حركة الاحتجاج في سوريا من قبل وسائل الإعلام كجزء من “الربيع العربي” ، قدم للجمهور كحركة احتجاجات مؤيدة للديمقراطية تنتشر تلقائيا من مصر والمغرب و المشرق. الحقيقة هي أن توقيت هذه المبادرات في مختلف البلدان وثيقة جدا ومنسقة. (ميشيل شوسودوفسكي ، حركة الاحتجاج في مصر “الطغاة” لا تملي ، إطاعة الأوامر ، جلوبال ريسيرتش ، يناير 29 ، 2011)

هناك أسباب تدعو إلى الاعتقاد بأن الأحداث في سورية  كانت مقررة مند وقت مبكر ، وذلك بالتنسيق مع عملية تغيير النظام في دول عربية أخرى مثل مصر وتونس.

كان مبرمجا بعناية اندلاع احتجاج في بلدة حدودية بجنوب درعا لرصد الأحداث في تونس ومصر.

ومن الجدير بالذكر أن السفارة الأمريكية في بلدان عدة لعبت دورا محوريا في دعم جماعات المعارضة. في مصر ، على سبيل المثال ، كانت تتلقى دعما مباشرا لحركة شباب 6 أبريل من قبل السفارة الأمريكية القاهرة

منذ وصوله إلى دمشق في أواخر شهر يناير 2011 ، السفير روبرت س. وكان فورد دورا في إرساء الأسس وإقامة اتصالات مع جماعات المعارضة.

السفير روبرت فورد الدبلوماسي ، ليست شائعة، كان يمثل الولايات المتحدة في يناير 2004 ، في مدينة النجف الشيعية في العراق. وكانت النجف معقل لجيش المهدي٠ وبعد بضعة أشهر كان اسمه “رقم اثنين” ( المستشار للشؤون السياسية) في السفارة الامريكية في بغداد منذ بداية فترة ولاية جون نيغروبونتي سفيرا للولايات المتحدة في العراق (حزيران 2004 — نيسان 2005). فورد خدم في وقت لاحق تحت أمرة زلماي خليل زاد ، خليفة نيغروبونتي قبل تعيينه سفيرا للجزائر في عام 2006.

ولاية نيغروبونتي سفيرا للولايات المتحدة في العراق (جنبا إلى جنب مع روبرت فورد ) كان لتنسيق السفارة الامريكية ، والدعم السري لفرق الموت والجماعات شبه العسكرية في العراق لاثارة العنف الطائفي وإضعاف حركة المقاومة . روبرت س. فورد بكونه “رقم اثنين” ( مستشار للشؤون السياسية) في السفارة الامريكية  لعب دورا محوريا في هذا الجهد.

لفهم ولاية روبرت فورد ، في كل من بغداد ودمشق في وقت لاحق ، من المهم أن تعكس بإيجاز عن تاريخ العمليات الأميركية السرية والدور المركزي الذي تضطلع به جون د. نيغروبونتي.

ونيغروبونتي “خيار السلفادور”

وكان جون نيغروبونتي عمل سفيرا للولايات المتحدة في هندوراس في الفترة من 1981 إلى 1985. سفيرا في تيغوسيغالبا ، الذي لعب دورا رئيسيا في دعم والإشراف على مرتزقة الكونترا في نيكاراغوا الذين كانوا متمركزين في هندوراس. وادعى هجمات عبر الحدود لالكونترا راح بها في نيكاراغوا 000 50 مدنيا.

خلال نفس الفترة ، وكان لنيغروبونتي دورا أساسيا في إنشاء فرق الموت في الجيش الهندوراسي ، “التشغيل مع دعم واشنطن ، اغتيل المئات من المعارضين للنظام الذي تدعمه الولايات المتحدة.” (انظر بيل فان ، “مرشح بوش المتعلق بالإرهاب في أميركا اللاتينية” ، التي Bill Vann  ، البحوث العالمية ، نوفمبر 2001 ، http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/VAN111A.html)

“في ظل حكم الجنرال مارتينيز غوستافو الفاريز ، والحكومة العسكرية في هندوراس حليف وثيق لإدارة الرئيس ريغان” اختفى “عشرات من المعارضين السياسيين في اسلوب كلاسيكي : الموت بالرصاص.

في رسالة وجهها عام 1982 إلى الايكونومست ، كتب نيغروبونتي انه “غير صحيح بكل بساطة أن نقول إن فرق الموت جعلت ظهورها في هندوراس.” التقارير لكل بلد حول ممارسات حقوق الانسان وان السفارة ارسلت الى لجنة العلاقات الخارجية اتخذت نفس الخط ، مصرا على أنه “ليس هناك سجناء سياسيون في هندوراس” وأن الحكومة “لا تتغاضى في هندوراس بعلم أو بدون علم ولا يسمح بقتل سياسي أو غير سياسي الطابع “.

ومع ذلك ، وفقا لسلسلة من أربعة أجزاء في بالتيمور سون في عام 1995 ، في عام 1982 فقط في الصحافة الهندوراسية أشيعت 318 قصص قتل واختطاف من قبل الجيش الهندوراسي. ووصف أحد نشطاء وحدة سرية دربته وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية والجيش في هندوراس و 316 كتيبة ، والذي يستخدم “الصدمة وأجهزة الاختناق في عمليات الاستجواب. السجناء غالبا ما بقين عاريين ، وعندما لا يكونوا مفيدين  يقتلوا ويدفنوا في مقابر جماعية “.

في 27 أغسطس ، 1997 ، P. فريدريك المفتش العام أصدر تقرير انطلاقة 211 صفحة تصنف تحت عنوان “القضايا المتعلقة بأنشطة وكالة المخابرات المركزية في هندوراس في 1980s.” تم رفع السرية عن هذا التقرير في  22 أكتوبر 1998 ، وذلك استجابة لمطالب من قبل أمين المظالم لحقوق الإنسان في هندوراس. المعارضون لنيغروبونتي يطالبون بأن على جميع أعضاء مجلس الشيوخ قراءة التقرير كاملا قبل التصويت على ترشيحه لمنصب الممثل الامريكى الدائم الى الامم المتحدة “(بيتر جيمس Roff وشابين وجها قبالة : وريورز بوش السياسة الخارجية ، البحوث العالمية نوفمبر 2001 http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/ROF111A.html).

جون نيغروبونتي ، روبرت س. فورد. العراق “خيار السلفادور”)٠

في يناير 2005 ، في أعقاب تعيين نيغروبونتي سفيرا للولايات المتحدة في العراق ، أكدت وزارة الدفاع الامريكية قصة تسربت إلى مجلة نيوزويك ان “تدرس تشكيل فرق الموت من المقاتلين الاكراد والشيعة ، وقادة الهدف من التمرد العراقي في تغيير الاستراتيجية التي اتخذت من القتال الاميركي ضد المتمردين اليساريين في أمريكا الوسطى قبل 20 عاما. ” (فرق الموت على طراز سلفادور لاستخدامها من قبل الولايات المتحدة ضد المتشددين في العراق (تايمز أون لاين ، 10 يناير ، 2005)

جون نيغروبونتي ، وروبرت س. فورد في السفارة الأمريكية تعاونوا بشكل وثيق في مشروع البنتاغون. اثنين آخرين من مسؤولي السفارة ، وهو( Ensher Henry) هنري أنشر (نائب فورد) وأصغر مسؤول في القسم السياسي ، ولعب جيفري بيلز( Jeffrey Beals) دورا رئيسيا في الحديث “فريق لطائفة واسعة من العراقيين ، بما في ذلك المتطرفين “. (راجع مجلة نيويوركر ، 26 مارس ، 2007). وكان شخص آخر رئيسي في فريق جيمس جيفري فرانكلين نيغروبونتي ، السفير الاميركي في البانيا (2002-2004). جيفري يشغل حاليا منصب سفير الولايات المتحدة في العراق.

نيغروبونتي قد وضع أيضا فريق واحد من مساعديه السابقين من أيامه هندوراس المجد جيمس ستيل العقيد :

تحت عنوان “خيار السلفادور” ، “وقد ساعد نيغروبونتي الزملاء من أيامه في أمريكا الوسطى خلال عام 1980 ٠ الكولونيل جيمس ستيل ، الذي لقب في بغداد” مستشار في قوات الأمن العراقية”  للإشراف على اختيار وتدريب أفراد من منظمة بدر وجيش المهدي واثنين من الميليشيات الشيعية الرئيسية في العراق ، للاسترشاد بها في القيادة وشبكات الدعم للمقاومة السنية في المقام الأول. المخطط لها أولا ، وهذه فرق الموت تخرج عن نطاق السيطرة بسرعة لتصبح السبب الرئيسي للموت في العراق.

عن قصد أم لا ، وعشرات الهيئات والتشويه للتعذيب ، والذي بدوره في شوارع بغداد كل يوم ويتم إنشاؤها من قبل فرق الموت ، الذي كان السائق جون نيغروبونتي. هذا هو العنف الطائفي المدعومة التي أدت إلى حد كبير للكوارث الجحيم الذي هو العراق اليوم. (طاهر جميل ، وإدارة التصعيد : نيغروبونتي وفريق بوش الجديد في العراق ، Antiwar.com ، 7 كانون الثاني ، 2007)

جون نيغروبونتي يصف روبرت فورد ، عندما كان في السفارة في بغداد ، “واحد من هؤلاء  لا يهدأ… انه لا يمانع ارتداء سترة مضادة للرصاص وخوذة ، ومغادرة المنطقة الخضراء للقاء الاتصالات”. روبرت س. فورد يتحدث العربية والتركية. قال انه تم ارساله من قبل نيغروبونتي لتنفيذ استراتيجية اتصالات :

 ليس اقتراح البنتاغون أن يرسل فرق القوات الخاصة الأمريكية لتقديم المشورة والدعم وربما تدريب فرق عراقية ، وعلى الأرجح اختارهم المقاتلين الاكراد “البشمركة” والميليشيات الشيعية ، لاستهداف المتمردين السنة ومؤيديهم حتى عبر الحدود السورية ، وفقا لالمطلعين عسكرية مطلعة على المناقشات. لا تزال غير واضحة ، ومع ذلك ، إذا كان هذا سيكون سياسة الاغتيال أو ما يسمى ب “خطف” العمليات ، حيث يتم إرسالها إلى مراكز الاستجواب أهداف سرية. التفكير الحالي هو أنه في حين أن القوات الأمريكية الخاصة توجه العمليات ، على سبيل المثال ، في سوريا ، سوف تنفذها القوات شبه العسكرية العراقية. (مجلة نيوزويك ، 8 كانون الثاني 2005 ، والتشديد مضاف)

وأيد الخطة الامريكية المعين من قبل الحكومة العراقية لاياد علاوي رئيس الوزراء :

وامتنع البنتاغون عن التعليق ، ولكن أحد المطلعين على بواطن الأمور نيوزويك قال : “ما يتفق الجميع هو اننا لا يمكن ان نستمر على هده الحال٠ يجب علينا أن نجد طريقة لاتخاذ الهجوم ضد المتمردين ٠في هذه اللحظة ، نحن نلعب اللعبة الدفاعية ، ونحن نخسر “.

وفرق الموت وتكون مثيرة للجدل ومن المحتمل أن تبقى سرية.

تجربة “فرق الموت” ، هكدا تسمى في أمريكا الوسطى، لا تزال بالنسبة للعديد من الخام حتى الآن ، وساعدت على  تشويه صورة الولايات المتحدة في المنطقة.

…. جون نيغروبونتي ، السفير الامريكي في بغداد ، وكان له مقعد في الصفوف الأمامية في الوقت نفسه سفيرا في هندوراس 1981-85.

وكانت فرق الموت سمة وحشية السياسة في أميركا اللاتينية في ذلك الوقت. في الأرجنتين في عام 1970 وغواتيمالا في 1980s ، كان الجنود بالزي الرسمي لهذا اليوم ، ولكن من دون “maracula” السيارات المستعملة ليلا لخطف واغتيال معارضي النظام ، أو المشتبهين بالتعاطف معهم.

في 1980s إدارة ريغان مولت وساعدت في تدريب قوات الكونترا في نيكاراغوا وهندوراس بهدف اسقاط النظام السانديني في نيكاراغوا. وتم تزويد قوات الكونترا بالمال من البيع غير المشروع للأسلحة الأميركية إلى إيران ، وهي الفضيحة التي يمكن أن تكون قد أطاحت بالسيد ريغان.

كان في السلفادور إلى الولايات المتحدة بتدريب وحدات صغيرة من القوات المحلية على وجه التحديد إلى المتمردين.

فحوى الاقتراح البنتاغون في العراق ، وفقا لمجلة نيوزويك ، هو اتباع هذا النموذج وفرق قيادة القوات الخاصة الامريكية لتقديم المشورة والدعم وتدريب المقاتلين الأكراد “البيشمركة” والميليشيات الشيعية لاستهداف قادة التمرد السني.

ومن غير الواضح ما إذا كان الهدف الرئيسي للمهمة سيكون لقتل أو خطف المتمردون منهم وتنقلهم الى منازلهم للاستجواب. أي مهمة في سورية ، ربما قامت بها القوات الأمريكية الخاصة.

كما أنه ليس من الواضح من الذي سيتولى المسؤولية عن هذا البرنامج — وزارة الدفاع أو وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية. وقد مثل العمليات السرية وكالة المخابرات المركزية تقليديا على مبعدة من الادارة في السلطة ، وإعطاء المسؤولين الأميركيين القدرة على نفي معرفة ذلك. (تايمز أون لاين ، المصدر آنف الذكر ، والتشديد مضاف)

نيغروبونتي تحت قيادة السفارة الاميركية في في بغداد ، مما أثار موجة من عمليات قتل المدنيين والاغتيالات السرية : مهندسون ، واستهدفت أيضا الأطباء والعلماء والمثقفين. كان الهدف هو خلق الانقسامات بين الفصائل السنية والشيعة والأكراد والمسيحيين ، فضلا عن إبعاد المدنيين عن دعم المقاومة العراقية. كان المجتمع المسيحي واحدا من الأهداف الرئيسية لعمليات القتل.

ان الهدف من البنتاغون تضمن أيضا تشكيل قوات الجيش العراقي والشرطة والأمن ، والتي ستجري محلية “مكافحة التمرد” برنامج (غير رسمي) نيابة عن الولايات المتحدة

دور الجنرال ديفيد بترايوس

تأسس “انتقال قيادة الامن المتعددة الجنسيات في العراق” (MNSTC) تحت قيادة الجنرال ديفيد بترايوس ، مع ولاية لتدريب وتجهيز مجموعة من الشرطة والجيش العراقي وقوات الأمن. تولى الجنرال ديفيد بتريوس (الذي عينه اوباما على رأس وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية في تموز 2011) ، قيادة MNSTC في يونيو 2004 في بداية فترة نيغروبونتي سفيرا.

كان MNSTC جزءا لا يتجزأ من وزارة الدفاع الأمريكية “عملية سلفادور العراق” تحت قيادة السفير جون نيغروبونتي. المؤهلين الذين يتمرنون في مكافحة التمرد. في نهاية فترة بترايوس ، كان حوالي 100،000 مدرب من قوات الامن العراقية والشرطة وغيرها ، والتي هي مجموعة من الأفراد العسكريين لاستخدامها في محاربة المقاومة العراقية ومؤيديهم المدنيين.

من بغداد إلى دمشق : سوريا ، “خيار السلفادور”

في حين أن الأوضاع في سورية تختلف كثيرا عن العراق ، والذي أمضى الموسم روبرت س. فورد بأنه “الرجل الثاني” في السفارة الأمريكية بغداد له تأثير مباشر على طبيعة أنشطتها في سوريا ، بما في ذلك اتصالاته مع جماعات المعارضة.

في أوائل شهر يوليو ، سافر سفير الولايات المتحدة  روبرت فورد إلى حماة واجتمع مع أعضاء من حركة الاحتجاج (المفتاح الواطي (Low’key)    للسياسة الأميركية الدبلوماسية تحولت الى سوريا — واشنطن بوست ، 12 يوليو ، 2011). تؤكد التقارير أن روبرت فورد أجرى اتصالات عديدة مع جماعات المعارضة ، سواء قبل وبعد رحلته من يوليو إلى حماة. في الآونة الأخيرة (04 أغسطس) وأكد ان السفارة ستواصل “اتصالات” مع جماعات المعارضة ، وتتحدى السلطات السورية.

Economic Crisis: Workers’ Power in an Age of Uneven Austerity

September 5th, 2011 by Prof. Steven Tufts

Any time commentators speak of a new ‘age,’ powerful assumptions quickly become entrenched in our thinking. An ‘age of austerity’ now encompasses many western economies as governments launch fierce campaigns against workers to lower public sector wages. At the same time, capital has taken a ‘wait and see’ attitude resulting in an unprecedented hoarding of surplus and thereby limiting investment and real job creation. As unions are put on the defensive by austerity measures, calls for broader working-class organizations from diverse groups on the left have become commonplace. Difficult questions remain around how to build such formations and what role organized labour can play, if any, in their development.

In recent times, labour unions have been a disappointment for the working-class. Whether one explains stagnant growth of organized labour in Canada and other countries as a function of neoliberal attacks by capital and the state or an internal crisis of leadership, the fact remains that most unions have lost power in a rapidly changing economy. The recent lockout/strike by postal workers ended with back to work legislation with defined wage settlements. The state’s nonsensical justification was the ‘fragility of the economic recovery’ (even though Canada Post had one of its most profitable years). The state’s harsh action against CUPW (Canadian Union of Postal Workers) members is more likely the stage for future austerity in the public sector. Traditional postal services are less important to the flow of goods and information in a digital economy. As a result, capital and the state are simply less vulnerable to any post-strike militancy of disgruntled Canada Post workers on the shop floor. CUPW itself recognizes the decline of the post office and has organized new sectors such as bike couriers. Not all that long ago, the state actually feared postal workers and CUPW leadership was routinely under surveillance by the RCMP for ‘subversive’ activities.

New Strategic Opportunities?

Such changes are demoralizing for the left and it is tempting to dismiss traditional labour as viable agents of change and resistance. It is, however, important to keep in mind that much like capitalism itself, the new age of austerity is and will continue to be an uneven project. Nations, regions, sectors and workers will all be affected differently as austerity measures and capitalist restructuring unfold. Admittedly, in the vast majority of cases, pressure on workers and communities to submit to deregulated labour markets with lower wages and poor working conditions will be great. There are, however, shifts occurring within and among unions and labour markets that create new strategic opportunities for workers and working-class organizations. This is evident in particular sectors and regions where workers may maintain their power relative to employers or even have opportunity to expand it. Moreover, this has a range of strategic implications for building resistance to the politics of austerity. It means engaging in a strategic politics that identifies new power centres in both organized and unorganized labour markets as points of leverage against capital and the state. Worker-community organizations will not only have to identify these new strategic points, but also build bridges from these power bases to where austerity measures are the most pronounced. Such reorientations are more easily said than done, especially when many of the sectors where workers have power are not well organized or even appealing to most activists.

There are, of course, important caveats to simply looking to workers and sectors less affected by austerity programs. For example, police and prison guard unions are likely to survive (and maybe even thrive) in the age of austerity as they are increasingly called upon to manage dissent. In the UK, riots involving young people displaced from jobs and education opportunities have directly challenged David Cameron’s attempt to spread austerity to police services. In Canada, police budgets have increased from $7-billion to over $12-billion over the last decade. The farce of the G20 in Toronto last year lead to widespread public sentiment against what turned out to be very expensive incompetent police action. Unfortunately this did nothing to deter Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford, from giving police well above average raises while bullying almost every other city worker. Despite declining crime rates, the Stephen Harper government is insistent upon expanding a prison industrial complex with new facilities (perhaps only a benefit to public sector unions representing prison guards). Police and prison guard power based on deepening oppression is of no use to any democratic workers’ movement.

A second caveat is that building strategy around sectors where workers have relatively increasing power does not mean abandonment of other workers and unions. In many cases, workers with declining positions relative to capital still have a great deal more organizational strength than workers who have recently increased their power relative to employers. For example, manufacturing has shed over 350,000 jobs in Canada over the last five years, but USWA (Steel Workers) and CAW (Auto Workers) remain among Canada’s largest unions.

Third, while there are power shifts in the traditional labour movement, this does not mean that new working-class formations and new working-class politics are not needed. In fact, in order to organize in some sectors, and to ensure that economic power in the ‘new economy’ doesn’t simply translate into economistic militancy, new models of representing workers are increasingly necessary. A broad working-class movement will also be required to leverage worker power in emerging sectors.

New Strategic Sectors

There are workers and unions that do have increasingly strategic positions in a post-industrial knowledge economy. While postal services may face challenges, workers in industries that control the flow of information have some power. The recent Verizon Communications strike in the eastern U.S. mostly involved unionized workers providing landline services facing competitive pressures from wireless providers. The 45,000 striking workers are less than a quarter of Verizon’s workforce; yet reported cases of sabotage by increasingly angry Verizon workers, including the cutting of fibre optic cables, have challenged the company. Imagine the challenges Verizon would face if the majority of its 190,000 workers were unionized. What would happen if striking IT workers left homes and businesses without internet connectivity? What kind of power would a craft union of IT workers have in a highly connected economy?

In a knowledge based economy, education (outside of the U.S.) may be somewhat insulated from the most severe public sector cuts, despite its continued competition with health care expenditures. Demographic shifts will allow governments to reduce the number of teachers in many jurisdictions when there are fewer students. In post-secondary education, three decades of flexible labour growth around a shrinking ‘core’ (i.e., tenure-stream professors) has lowered costs as tuition revenues rise. In part, the status quo in terms of employment is protected as doctors, nurses, lawyers, engineers, and almost everyone else these days require significant education and accreditation. The strategic imperative here would be for teachers’ unions to demand something other than narrowly defined improved wages and working conditions. Demands for universal early childhood education might take some of the daycare burden off of parents. At the post-secondary level, prioritizing caps on class sizes and stabilizing faculty-to-student ratios would help ensure the quality of education. At present, the capacities of educators to leverage their power over the state with community supported strikes is limited despite the relative importance of education.

Health service workers will be in increasing demand even as ‘austere’ western economies age. Massive cuts to health care providers and services are not viable for most states facing the scrutiny of greying voters. Professionalized healthcare workers may survive austerity as nurses remain popular with the public. Other health sector workers providing janitorial and support services are much more vulnerable to outsourcing.

Despite a global financial crisis of its own making, the various financial sectors survived. In Canada, the banks held up better than elsewhere, and they are currently on a shopping spree in the U.S. financial sector. It is naive to think that all financial workers will ever organize against employers even in the midst of layoffs in U.S. banks. There are, however, many low-wage front-line financial workers in call centres, credit control (i.e., collection service) industries, and pay-day loan services that could be organized. Imagine the disruptive power to capital if collection services (another growth industry) were interrupted by collection agency workers taking strike action.

Traditional industries such as resources are also of strategic importance to labour as capitalism remains a carbon-based system. In Canada, resources have largely driven the economy as demand from China and India for everything in the ground has buffeted the impacts of stagnant U.S. growth. In 2010, an agreement between Suncor Energy and CEP Local 707 representing over 2,000 workers in Fort McMurray established wage increases of 2.5 per cent plus $1500 in the first year followed by 4 per cent increases in years two and three. Well above the concessions and austerity settlements in many manufacturing sectors, but still below the 6% and 7% annual increases negotiated in the previous agreement. In the oil fields, labour shortages during periods of expansion led to substantial wage increases for all workers, whether unionized or not. The power of workers to control the flow of petroleum is substantial. Leveraging this power to increase union density in Alberta (Canada’s least unionized workforce) will take innovative leadership and broader working-class organization. Leaving oil workers in isolation to achieve strictly economic gains well above those of most workers simply creates resentment and divisions in the working-class.

Organizing the oil fields is perhaps not as appealing to many activists as fighting for more green jobs in renewable energy sectors. These new sectors will emerge slowly, but the most immediate step is to organize workers in all sectors around the imperative to ‘green’ work. Many ‘green’ initiatives are simply about making work more labour intensive (e.g., sorting waste). Policies that privatize or reduce waste management services after years of educating the public on the evils of landfills and incinerators are a significant contradiction for the state.

The politics of ‘green jobs’ is a key strategic site for working-class organizing. Construction workers and unions have done relatively well in the initial stages of the current crisis as stimulus spending was released. Construction employment in Canada rebounded almost completely in 2010 from a decline immediately following the financial crisis. Retrofitting buildings for greater energy efficiency requires skilled construction labour and unions continue to lobby for policies that demand investment and support the ‘greening’ of the built environment. It is here where ‘blue-green’ politics clearly intersect and provide opportunities for workers.

In a ‘greening economy,’ transit workers also play an important role. It is perhaps not a coincidence that Toronto Transit Commission workers are systematically vilified and attacked by neoliberal city politicians and in the media. Reducing traffic gridlock and efforts to reduce carbon emissions are impossible without public transit workers. Again, to build on this relative shift in power among public sector workers, transit worker unions will have to build alliances with community groups fighting for accessible (even free) public transportation.

There are private sector service workers that have been organizing under austere conditions for decades and are only now beginning to realize improved standards for workers. In the tourism sector, UNITEHERE’s Hotel Workers Rising campaign has improved working conditions despite a decade of challenges for the tourism sector in North America and a hostile hotel industry. The urban based sector employs large numbers of women, immigrant workers and people of colour and is the future-present of North America’s labour market. It is antithetical to the aging manufacturing workforce, the declining core of large industrial unions. It is not surprising that organized workers in this sector remain the target of several unions in Canada attempting to build a base in hospitality services through mergers and raids.

Similarly, retail services are a growing sector that does not have a large unionized component. An exception is food retail services, where the UFCW has been viciously attacked by employers as grocery stores restructured operations to defend against the expansion of Wal-Mart. Clearly there is strategic capacity within the UFCW given their success in organizing temporary foreign workers in the agricultural sector; but it is felt that the size of Wal-Mart will require a coordinated campaign by a number of large unions for any chance of success.

From a strategic perspective, the large number and structural role of service workers in a post-industrial economy has great potential to build and leverage power. Imagine for a moment a Toronto where organized labour had the power to slow the pace of construction for the 2015 Pan Am Games or even shut down most accommodation, retail and public transit services during the event. What would employers (and perhaps even the state) bring to the table to get workers back to the construction sites and into the buses, shops and hotels? A coalition of key unions and community groups demanding that all workers involved in the Pan Am Games be covered by a collective agreement and that the infrastructure be developed in a socially responsible manner is a necessary starting point to shift the struggle away from short-term economic gains for select groups of unionized workers.

While police are hardly pillars of working-class struggle, what about private security? A growing sector, with low wages and long, irregular hours, the USWA and other unions have attempted to organize in the sector. Are these unions willing to educate their members and discuss how it may be in the strategic interests of security guards to demand language that allows them to refuse work for an employer during any work-stoppage and leave picket line security to someone else? Building workers’ power in this sector may also hold strategic value given the direct link to security of property for capital.

From Defence to Offence in Challenging Times

It is only expected that activists and workers defend themselves at points of attack. Working-class organizations have been performing triage for over thirty years, prioritizing the most wounded workers on the battlefield. At this conjuncture, there are opportunities to identify sectors and regions where workers have significantly more power and to start thinking creatively about how to leverage that power against capital and the state.

Shifting the labour movement’s focus from defence to more strategic offense will be a challenge. Some of the sectors experiencing employment growth and that are vital to contemporary capitalism may seem contradictory for some on the left as an organizing focus. Construction workers, hotel room attendants, security guards, credit control workers, and ‘dirty’ oil workers in Alberta are difficult to imagine as future pillars of working-class power. But they very well may be. Unions in these sectors often represent relatively younger workers, women, immigrant workers and workers of colour. The biggest challenge is to convince union leaders and workers in these emerging sectors that they not only have relatively greater power than in the past, but that they also have a responsibility to use it to rebuild the labour movement rather than simply defend their own economic interests over the short and medium term.

It is imperative that new working-class formations engage with the rank and file and union leadership. A failure to do so will create conditions for an increasingly corporatist and narrow business unionism … In the worst case, unions in these sectors could be increasingly co-opted into the base of populist right-wing (not yet fascist) governments.

Leadership that recognizes that all workers with power require a strong and broad-based labour movement to survive over the long term is vital, but is extremely rare in what are too often quite conservative unions in these industries. It is imperative that new working-class formations engage with the rank and file and union leadership. A failure to do so will create conditions for an increasingly corporatist and narrow business unionism that achieves very little in terms of real gains for workers. In the worst case, unions in these sectors could be increasingly co-opted into the base of populist right-wing (not yet fascist) governments.

A first step is for labour activists to escape the intellectual traps of ‘age of austerity’ generalizations and recognize that some workers and unions have power, though these workers may not be in the traditional sites of working-class organization. In this context, unions will doubtlessly have a role in new working-class formations; they just may not represent workers from the same sectors that lead the way in the past. •

Steven Tufts and Mark Thomas teach respectively in the Departments of Geography and Sociology at York University.

The Libyan rebels’ August 23 attack on the Venezuelan embassy and compound in Tripoli went largely unreported, though fatalities were narrowly averted as Venezuelan ambassador Afif Tajeldine and the embassy staff moved to a safer location at the last moment and left Libya shortly thereafter. It transpired in the wake of the incident that Venezuela’s embassy was the only one looted in the whole neighborhood, meaning that the attack which, according to eyewitness accounts, was guided by individuals of European appearance and military posture, specifically targeted the country’s mission.
 
Venezuelan deputy foreign minister and permanent envoy to the UN Jorge Valero Briceño condemned the attack in the UN Security Council. In the meantime, Latin American commentators read the rebel hit against the Venezuelan diplomatic mission in Tripoli as a message to Chavez supposed to threaten him with being next blacklisted leader after the ousted Gadhafi.

It is widely expected that the approach the Empire put to work to destabilize Libya and Syria will in the foreseeable future be employed in Venezuela. Reuters mentioned the plan on August 17, saying that “Political violence in Venezuela threatens to undermine the outcome of next year’s election whether President Hugo Chavez wins a new six-year term or not”. Outbreaks of protests in Venezuela will be backed by vocal media campaigns launched by BBC, Euronews, CNN, Fox, Al Jazeera, etc. and will likely be paralleled by acts of vandalism and street killings perpetrated by terrorist groups which will sneak into Venezuela from other countries. On the whole, what Venezuela will face is an upgraded color revolution brand involving a stronger than ever component of armed violence. The Pentagon, the US intelligence community, the US Department of State, and the corresponding agencies of Great Britain, Spain, Israel, Canada, and others certainly have the task of preventing the re-election of Chavez in 2012 written into their agendas…

Aware of the coming crush test, Chavez, a tough politics veteran, not only shows full confidence ahead of the polls on the horizon but even pledges to stake yet another re-election bid in 2018. His program is practical in character and is spelled out with utmost clarity. Reliance on popular support and a loyal army should help neutralize whatever conspiracies, and the Empire’s dominance will not last indefinitely. Chavez’s optimism is based on the realization that the US in its current imperial shape is doomed, as by the middle of the XXI century  recurrent economic crises and domestic strife between political factions, ethnic groups, and corporate giants will irreversibly erode its might. Step by step, at the cost of bloodshed and human sufferings, the US will have to shed the role of the world gendarme and global parasite. Foreign-policy escapades and attempts to bulldoze defiant regimes which will continue to proliferate only bring closer the era of the US agony. Chavez is convinced that the demise of the Empire will put the final dot in the long search of solutions for the historically doomed imperialist system.

The Venezuelan leader speaks frequently of the escalation of socioeconomic tensions in the US and other Western countries. Though in the West the ills tend to stay unrecognized and protests of the disadvantaged social strata, including much of the middle class, are being suppressed, keeping the lid on the situation is increasingly a challenge that administrations cannot handle by traditional repressive means. As a result, plans pop up to use countries’ armed forces against their own populations, and armies are already being trained accordingly. The “wars on terror” in which the US armed forces routinely confronted civilians deformed the mentality of the US officers corps to the point where they seem to have lost all inhibitions about such missions as wiping out domestic conspiracies allegedly waged by Muslim extremists, populist leaders, the reds, the anti-systemic underground, etc.  

The militarization of the US has reached such proportions that switching the country’s economy to a more civilian mode promises great pains. As of today, even minimal defense budget cuts would derail the US economy as a whole, while keeping the bloated military-industrial complex afloat takes armed hostilities in various parts of the world. With the US constituencies wary of having to deal with conflicts in Syria, Iran, the Caucasus or elsewhere, only a drama comparable to September 11 can revive the population’s militancy. Chavez believes firmly that the September 11 terrorist attack was masterminded by the US and Israeli intelligence communities. Knowing that the elites of the CIA, the US Defense Intelligence Agency, other Western intelligence services, and the Mossad are working against Venezuela, he frequently revisits the theme and urges Venezuelan TV channels to air programs warning about likely provocations meant to undermine the Bolivarian regime.  

The aggressive convulsions of the Empire, its disregard for the international law, the swings in Washington’s decision-making and policies, and the US tendency to connect with renegade groups in the countries defying US control prompt defensive reactions across the globe and lead nations staying outside of the US orbit to reinforce their sovereignty. The rise of regional centers of power will be gaining momentum as a result, and even the countries under various pretexts routed by NATO will gradually see anti-American forces prevail in domestic politics. In the world of today, any aggression invariably meets with resistance.

Since the failed 2002-2003 US attempts to induce regime change in Venezuela, it has been Chavez’s strategy to insulate the country’s army and economy, particularly the energy sector, from the US influence. Confrontation for its own sake cannot be Chavez’s intention considering the obvious disparity between the US and Venezuela, but the latter has to diversify its international relations and seek viable alternatives to the status it had in the pre-Chavez epoch when the country used to be the Empire’s associated state “freely” consenting to exist as another Puerto Rico. At that time, the Venezuelan upper class was americanized to the extent of contemplating the country’s full integration into the US. Dumping oil to the global market at ridiculous prices and enjoying the full range of comforts available to the Golden Billion was the dream of the liberals who were dislodged by the Venezuelan revolution to become Chavez’s main foes. These are the people slamming Chavez over every step meant to strengthen Venezuela’s independence. For them, the nationalization of the oil sector, the country’s deepening engagement with Russia and China, the creation of the populist ALBA bloc, and the cultivation of ties with Brazil, which has grown into Latin America’s economic powerhouse, are unacceptable as measures killing the opposition’s chances for a comeback.

Washington was visibly angered by Chavez’s recent decision to deploy a part of the currency holdings of Venezuela in BRICS countries, including Russia, and to recall the Venezuelan overseas gold reserves. Chavez said that, as the US and European economies are sinking, the time has come to tap into the potentials of such countries as China, Russia, and Brazil and described pulling the holdings out of the US and Europe as “a healthy measure” for Venezuela “on the eve of the capitalist crisis”. No doubt, the strategy behind the transfer of assets from Western banks is not limited to the above regards – the de facto confiscation of Libya’s reserves known as “Gadhafi’s gold” must have also been taken into account in Venezuela. The Venezuelan government has reasons to believe that under certain circumstances the country’s holdings in the West may face a freeze, for example, under the pretext that Western companies would press compensation claims related to nationalizations in Venezuela. The repatriation of gold reserves should also help Venezuela sustain economic buoyancy if the dollar and Euro suffer a sharp depreciation.

Chavez advises other Latin American countries which keep around $570b in the banks of the north, thus investing in its development, to follow the lead. The Bank of England which since 1980 has stored 99 tons of Venezuela’s gold was the first to receive a recall request. The gold from US, Canadian, Swiss, and French banks will similarly be transferred to Venezuela. At the moment, slightly under 58% of Venezuela’s gold reserves totaling 365 tons are stored outside of the country. ALBA countries seem receptive to Chavez’s call for holdings repatriation. It should be noted as well that, visiting Caracas in August, 2011, Russian diplomacy chief S. Lavrov indicated that Moscow would readily consider Venezuela’s offer to host its holdings, thus de facto expressing support for the course Chavez was steering. Beijing’s reaction was essentially the same as Moscow’s.

Analysts regard Chavez’s push for a Latin American financial architecture independent from the West as a risky pursuit. Gadhafi’s plan to reload the impressive currency holdings owned by Libya from Western banks to those of China were among the reasons why he became the target of manhunt. It is clear that the West will not forget how Chavez dispelled the myth about the economic recovery in the US and Europe. The Venezuelan leader’s radical message that the US and European economies are sinking surely resonated with those who are able to listen.

Introduction

The report of the UN Panel of Inquiry on the Gaza Flotilla Incident which was due to be published on 2 July was finally released on 2 September following the publication of a leaked copy in the New York Times. Reports in Haaretz suggest this may have been done by members of the Israeli government opposed to issuing an apology to Turkey. [1]

The Panel consisted of Sir Geoffrey Palmer (Chair), President Alvaro Uribe (Vice-Chair) and the representatives from Israel and Turkey, Mr Joseph Ciechanover Itzhar and Mr Süleyman Özdem Sanberk. There were surprised reactions to the appointment of Mr Uribe who is accused of responsibility for widespread human rights violations during his period of office as President of Columbia. More relevant here are his associations with Israel. During his term of office Israel was Columbia’s top weapons supplier, [2] while the American Jewish Committee gave him its ‘Light Unto The Nations’ award in 2007. [3] This apparent conflict of interest is not addressed in the UN Panel’s report.

Installed in UN Headquarters in New York far from the site of the incident, the Panel did not see any exhibits or meet any witnesses, but has based its findings on information provided by the two delegations in the dispute. It had intended to operate by consensus, but in the event only two of the nine findings and seven of the twelve recommendations were agreed unanimously. The report repeatedly makes it clear that the Panel was not a court. The result is effectively an opinion of the leadership, with the qualified partisan support from their colleagues. It is nevertheless robust in its findings, and will dismay those who condemn the blockade, while causing serious embarrassment to Israel by its unambiguous condemnation of the actions of its soldiers and officials. In arriving at some of these decisions the Panel has at times demonstrated naivety and a lack of knowledge, while some of its concerns exhibit a biased interest in and understanding of events in the Near East.

Summary of Turkey’s National Investigation

The working part of the report begins with a summary of Turkey’s National Investigation which is based on 93 witness testimonies, autopsy reports of the dead, medical reports of 24 of the injured, forensic reports from inspections of the three Turkish vessels, and on board video footage. It declares that live fire from commandos against the Mavi Marmara commenced before boarding; passengers were deliberately withheld first aid after the ship’s capture; the blockade is illegal; the “humanitarian vessels’” of the flotilla were protected from attack under international humanitarian law so that physical resistance was a legitimate exercise of the right of self-defence; detainees were physically mistreated and psychologically abused on the ships; and there were violations of human rights and property rights.

Summary of Israel’s National Investigation

Israel’s summary was based on the Turkel Commission’s report for which the Panel notes that original material was not provided. It also observes that Turkel has completely ignored the report of the UNHRC FFM (to which it formed an opposing opinion on the legality of the blockade). Of further concern is the Panel’s careless reading of Turkel. In para. 47 (a) it refers to “statements by various United Nations organizations” supporting Turkel’s position that the conflict between Israel and the Gaza Strip is an “international armed conflict”. In fact Turkel only cites the one UN report written by Special Rapporteur John Dugard in which the author declares that the Gaza Strip remains occupied territory. [4]

The Panel seems unaware that much of the Turkel report cannot be taken at face value. Thus it has copied that Israel “provides humanitarian aid in those areas that human rights organizations identify as a source of concern” (para. 47 (f)) when in fact members of the Commission agreed with Gisha’s representative Tamar Feldman on 13 October 2010 that Israel does not supply any humanitarian goods to the Palestinians. [5] Turkel’s assertion, again repeated by the Panel, that no humanitarian supplies were found on the remaining vessels is also false. [6]

Facts, Circumstances and Context of the Incident

The Naval Blockade

In para.70 it erroneously states that “the land crossings policy has been in place since long before the naval blockade was instituted” when in fact Ms Feldman explained to Turkel that all maritime commercial traffic to Gaza had been prohibited by varying procedures since the occupation began in 1967. [7] This gives the lie to the Panel’s statement later in the paragraph that “the naval blockade as a distinct legal measure was imposed primarily to enable a legally sound basis for Israel to exert control over ships attempting to reach Gaza with weapons and related goods.” The blockade was only imposed after the Free Gaza Movement began to sail regularly to Gaza during 2008 in defiance of Israeli restrictions. It was to prevent this humanitarian traffic that Israel applied the blockade which the UNHRC FFM has since declared to be illegal. It follows that the Panel’s reasoning in para.77 that the naval blockade was not imposed to punish the people of Gaza for the election of Hamas is unconvincing.

In supporting its position on Israel’s need to defend itself by imposing the blockade, the Panel make several references to the firing of rockets in Gaza. Yet these attacks do not occur in a vacuum. While the report refers (para. 78) to “countless attacks, which at the time of writing have once again become more extensive and intensive” it makes no mention of Israeli violence. [The “time of writing” was probably April 2011. The use of the word “countless” is unprofessional: accurate figures are available from both Israeli and Palestinian sources.] Palestinian casualties occur every week as a result of the occupation. For example in the week 14-20 April 2011 the Palestine Center for Human Rights recorded that one man died of wounds sustained the previous week when two artillery shells were fired into the Gaza Strip; windows were broken in a primary school when a warplane fired a missile onto neighbouring training site; gunboats directed shells and intensive fire at Palestinian fishing boats working well within the limits of recognised Palestinian territorial waters; farmers were fired at near the Israeli border. At the same time there was a renewal of the cooking gas crisis due to a unilaterally imposed crossing closure; the ban on all construction materials entering Gaza continued in force; while for 44 months prior to April 2011 the 710 Palestinian prisoners from Gaza who are detained (illegally) in Israeli jails have been denied their visitation rights without any justification. There is no excuse and no valid purpose for isolating Palestinian terror attacks from the context of the oppression suffered by Palestinians under the on-going Israeli occupation.

The Panel seek further justification for their position by referring to the absence of significant port facilities in Gaza. The description is correct but the analysis is faulty. Because a deep water port does not exist it does not imply that vessels cannot be handled there. In Tanga, the second largest port of Tanzania, shipping is unable to tie up at the quays and is served by lighters. The same could be done at Gaza, even though ships would have to anchor outside of the harbour. There is no reason to doubt that the ingenuity and the initiative of the Gazan people could make such a system work. At the same time plans for port facilities for Gaza could be revived if peaceful relations with Israel could be initiated. (A previous project to build a port at Gaza funded by the Dutch and French governments had to be abandoned after Israeli forces bombed the construction works in 2001. [8])

While the Panel is correct to state that the blockade does not have a significant humanitarian impact at present, it is the major limiting factor preventing the development of the port of Gaza and trade with other maritime nations. The Panel was in error to dismiss this from its deliberations, which calls into question their decision that the blockade was proportionate in the circumstances. (In fact the Panel queries its own decision in para. 72 where is records that it “is not persuaded that the naval blockade was a disproportionate measure for Israel to have taken in response to the threat it faced.”)

In para. 80 the Panel notes that an offer was made to allow goods carried on the flotilla to enter Gaza via the Israeli port of Ashdod. While this statement is correct it is also ignorant of certain facts that the Panel should have ascertained. Humanitarian cargos that have been forced to pass through Israel do not always arrive at their destination intact. Substantial amounts of the humanitarian cargo on the Tali, which was hijacked by Israeli forces in February 2009 did not reach Gaza. [9] Even the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which was under the gaze of the world’s media, has had much of its cargo misdirected. A small quantity is recorded to have gone into landfill. [10] Mobility scooters had their batteries withheld [11], brand new computers for educational use were stolen by Israeli operatives [12] and the fate of prefabricated buildings and construction materials which constituted more than half of the total cargos is still unaccounted for. [13] The reality is that transferring goods through Israeli ports is not a realistic option.

The Panel’s conclusions that the blockade is legal are based on false points and therefore suspect. In observing that the UNHRC FFM reached an opposing conclusion it observes that the FFM did not receive information from Israel. (Unlike the Panel however the FFM did read the Turkel protocols available to it.) However it does not allow for the fact that it has accepted false information from Israel in reaching its own conclusions. The FFM was equipped with a large support team so that its own very senior lawyers who are experienced in international criminal law were supplemented by experts in the law of the sea and international humanitarian law. [14] In addition it met with a number of non-governmental organizations, had assistance from law firms in three countries, and was thoroughly briefed on the situation in Gaza by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The UN Panel did not have the services of anyone with expertise in international criminal or maritime law and did not conduct interviews of its own. That it should now criticise its more senior and better equipped counterparts in the UNHRC is an indication of the unreal world in which it has functioned.

The Panel finished by emphasizing (in para. 81) the principle of the freedom of navigation and recommends that this be borne in mind by Israel in applying and enforcing its naval blockade. It is unclear what this means. It appears to suggest that Israel might allow some passage of shipping through the blockade area. Yet such actions would be invalid under the San Remo Agreement which requires that all passage is denied without exception.

The Panel’s reasoning is the result of muddled thinking based on inaccurate assessments of actual circumstances. This contrasts with the opinion of Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs at the UN whose responsibilities at the Department of Political Affairs include the Division for Palestinian Rights. Speaking at the UN Security Council after the raid Mr Fernandez-Taranco expressed the opinion that the “bloodshed would have been avoided if repeated calls on Israel to end the counterproductive and unacceptable blockade of Gaza had been heeded. “ [15]

The Actions of the Flotilla

In considering the composition of the flotilla the panel is critical of the number of passengers and journalists it carried (para. 89); seemingly unaware of the importance of publicity to humanitarian activity. While international media outlets such as the BBC are notoriously reluctant to report on the plight of the Palestinians, it is especially important that any media outlet prepared to report the story is given every opportunity to do so. Previous sailings by the Free Gaza Movement had resulted in one boat being deliberately rammed three times on the high seas, and another being illegally seized( before the blockade had been gazetted).The importance of journalists reporting these crimes cannot be overstated. The complaint also overlooks the importance of solidarity to the people of Gaza in their enclosure, and fails to acknowledge that many of the passengers were carrying large sums of money for charitable causes along with personal presents and good wishes for orphans and individuals. [16] Psychological assistance should not be undervalued or belittled.

Similarly the Panel’s criticism that seeking to breach the blockade with so many passengers was a dangerous and reckless act (para. 93) overlooks the fact that only one journalist appears to have complained about the policies of the flotilla management or the exposure of passengers to needless peril. [17] Many of the activists tried to return on the second flotilla, and in a number of cases their spouses also expressed a desire to join them in any future attempt to break the siege. The complaint aired by the Panel is unrealistic and unrepresentative of the people who participated.

The Panel records that there were intense diplomatic efforts undertaken to try to avoid the confrontation (paras. 98-102), and records that the Turkish government felt unable to prevent a private initiative from legally departing from its ports. The two governments differ in their version of the discussions with regard to whether the flotilla had intended to divert to Al-Arish in the event that it became clear that it was impossible to reach Gaza. The Israeli government denies the Turkish claim that this agreement was reached between them. One important point has not been mentioned in the report however. Despite Turkel’s assertion (section 125) that the Mavi Marmara did not make any noticeable attempt to change course, data from the Marine Traffic website indicates that the ship began to accelerate and change course to a more westerly direction at about 04:35 (i.e. the change was discernable only five minutes into the attack). By 04:59 it was recorded to be travelling nearly due west on 276° at 12.6 knots (having increased its speed from 7.4 knots before the start of the attack). [18] Since the first action of the ship after the inception of the attack was to turn away from Gaza and attempt to run it seems reasonable to ask whether there was any real purpose or justification in pressing home the attack at this point.

The Israeli Boarding and Take-over Operation

Without apparently being aware of this change of course the Panel is nonetheless very critical of the Israeli attack. It questions whether it was reasonable to board the vessels so far out at sea and at night and notes that no warning had been given and no attempt made to demand the right to board. Having considered the options available to the assailants the report finally concludes in para. 112 that in jamming all radio signals and timing the attack for just before dawn the assailants were motivated by a desire to avoid publicity. Its conclusion from this is unequivocal and will be very embarrassing for the Israeli government: “Israel’s decision to board the vessels with such substantial force at a great distance from the blockade zone and with no final warning immediately prior to the boarding was excessive and unreasonable”.

The Use of Force on the Mavi Marmara

The Panel records that there is conflicting material on many key points of the take-over and declares that it may never be possible to find out what precisely occurred. Yet on one important issue it might have shed some light had it been more aware of the available evidence. Witness testimonies from the Mavi Marmara have said that there was firing from the first helicopter before any commando boarded the ship. Israel denies this. Infrared footage released by the IDF shows the earliest phase of the attack from the speedboats positioned at the rear of the ship followed by a sequence from the aerial lookout showing the first ropes lowered from the first helicopter where one of the ropes is tied up and rendered unusable. It is reasonable to assume that the actions in between were recorded by both the aerial lookout and the Shaldag-class command vessel observing and directing the operations. This would mean Israel has film of the helicopter when commandos are accused of firing into the passengers on the upper decks – a blatant war crime- and rather than release it has chosen to pretend it does not exist.

The Panel in its terms of reference was empowered to “request such clarifications and information as it may require from relevant national authorities”. In other words it could have asked for this film. It may not have got it, but that alone would have revealed something about this critical point in the operation when both sides are accusing the other of initiating the violent brawl that subsequently occurred. (They could also have asked for good copies of the subsequent events when activists are accused of firing at the soldiers. This also should be visible on footage that Israel has, but has for some reason been reluctant to reveal.) That the Panel appears to have missed the opportunity to have discovered new information on this most critical episode in the raid speaks volumes about their competence and lack of application.

One small nugget of information has appeared however. The annexes to the Turkish report contain an enormous wealth of information that has not been made public. Occasionally the report reveals small insights on this data as occurs here. In para.122 it is stated “Photographs show bullet marks on the funnel of the vessel, which appear consistent with firing from above.” This reveals a little bit more evidence about firing from the helicopters, even though as the report tells us, we do not know when these shots were fired. As the panel suggest, it is possible that there was firing on the navigation deck (the top deck) while the mêlée was occurring. This could explain the gunshot wounds to the two soldiers. There are other scenarios, but either way the most likely cause of these injuries has always been friendly fire, particularly when both casualties were hit by 9mm ammunition, the same calibre used by the Glocks, Uzis and carbines carried by the commandos in this raid.

The capture of three Israeli commandos was an important event and the Panel declares itself satisfied (para. 125) that the three soldiers were “captured, mistreated and placed at risk during the incident.” Unfortunately the evidence which satisfied the Panel (and which was submitted by the Israeli representative) is not in the public domain. Given that the Panel members have already shown their gullibility to Israel distortions it would have been helpful to have been able to check the evidence. The Panel’s report is remarkably succinct on this matter given the severity of the charges. It is known that the soldiers received attention from medical staff despite the fact that they were very busy by this time with far more serious injuries, including some casualties who subsequently died. There is photographic evidence of an activist with a club repelling a photographer who was trying to photograph one of the soldiers (contrary to Geneva Convention IV) while blurred in the background it is possible to discern Dr Uysal and Murat Akinan who in another photograph can be seen tending the injured man’s wounds. Earlier photographs show this soldier being forcefully restrained as he is brought down from the fourth deck. The soldiers by their own admission were scared and were struggling, although it does seem that they became more reassured after they had been seen by medical staff. [19]

Claims that the soldiers were taken to the lower lounge on the second deck (which had been used as the women’s sleeping area) are borne out by one photograph of the junior officer who was captured lying unrestrained and apparently unthreatened, on one of the lounge chairs. Although there is testimony from another passenger that a large man did try to attack one of the captives as he was being brought down from the bridge deck the witness said that the assailant was quickly pushed aside and scolded for his violence while the soldier was quickly taken away from the area. [20] The Turkel report is dishonest on this subject in that evidence from Muhammed Zeidan that is recorded in the Hebrew version of the protocols is nowhere alluded to in the report. Mr Zeidan told the Commission that he had seen one of the soldiers taken into a separate room where he knew there was a doctor. The witness had said that the captors had held the soldier to take care of him, but that he did not see any attack on the captive. Turkel does not report this evidence, and the Panel seems to be remarkably ignorant of the honourable behaviour of at least some of the organizers and medical staff.

Other new evidence to be disclosed to the public appeared in a comment that one activist holding a fire hose (said in the footnotes to be believed to be Cengiz Songür) was seen in a video to be killed by a single shot to the head or throat fired from a speedboat. This tends to support testimony by journalist Jamal Elshayyal who said that live fire began from the speedboats and helicopters simultaneously. [21] This testimony appears to have been rejected by the UNHRC FFM which did not record it.

Following a general comment about the use of the wide variety of weapons on the other boats even though there was no armed violent resistance, the report concludes this section. It considered that the deaths and injuries from the Israeli violence were unacceptable and that no satisfactory explanation had been provided by Israel for any of the deaths. It added “Forensic evidence showing that most of the deceased were shot multiple times, including in the back, or at close range has not been adequately accounted for in the material presented by Israel”. This important criticism with its implications of serious wrongdoing and unlawful behaviour will provide further concern for Israel.

Treatment of the Passengers After the Take-Over Was Completed

The Panel found that the 93 witnesses who gave evidence to the Turkish report were generally more consistent on this matter than anything else and that there are good grounds to believe that there was significant mistreatment of passengers by Israeli authorities following capture of the vessels. The abuse included the application of over tight hand cuffs for prolonged periods including to people who were injured, denial of the use of toilet facilities, denial of access to medication and being given only limited access to food and drink.

The report questions the need for repeated searches and expresses concern over allegations of beatings at Ben-Gurion Airport, as well as the lack of non-Hebrew forms for passengers to sign. It declares that passengers were denied timely consular or legal assistance. The seizure of personal property was regarded by the Panel as lacking legitimate grounds. Of particular importance is the fact that the Israeli report did not address any of these matters in great detail. The Panel did find that appropriate medical treatment was provided as soon as circumstances allowed. However this would appear to refute the evidence of the captain of the Mavi Marmara who reported that he had asked several times for medical assistance for passengers on the lower deck who needed immediate emergency medical aid, but that he had been told that this would not be provided unless the engines were restarted. (The crew had turned off the engines and there was a long delay before they could be restarted.) [22] The Panel concluded that there had been significant mistreatment of passengers by the Israeli authorities including physical mistreatment, harassment and intimidation, unjustified seizure of belongings and denial of timely consular assistance.

How to Avoid Similar Incidents in the Future

The Panel notes that UN Security Council resolution 1860 (2009) 478 called for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, while calling on Member States to support international efforts to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation in the territory. The report goes on to declare that Israel has taken significant steps to ease restrictions on goods entering Gaza since the flotilla raid and on 8 December 2010 announced that it would allow exports from Gaza. In so doing the Panel displays incredible ignorance of the situation in Gaza which is central to its study, and a naïve willingness to believe any information it is given without making checks on its validity. For example it seems unaware of a report by the International Federation for Human Rights published in November 2010 which reported on the failure of Israel to apply key commitments it had made to ease the closure of Gaza, especially by accelerating imports of construction materials for UN and other international projects such as schools, health centres, houses and sewage plants. [23] With regard to exports from Gaza, the Panel should have been aware at the time of the report’s publication in July that no exports have been allowed from the Strip since 12 May this year. [24]

In the context of Israel’s contemptuous disregard for its promises and obligations towards the people of Gaza the Panel’s recommendation in para. 156 that “those wishing to provide assistance should work through established procedures and use designated land crossings “[n.b. there is only one crossing currently functioning for goods into Gaza at present] demonstrates yet again its failure to understand reality, and represents another failure by the international community to honour its responsibilities towards the people of Gaza.

Rapprochement

In seeking rapprochement between the two sides the report suggests that Israel “should express regret” for its blatant war crimes, and pay benefit to the deceased and injured victims and their families. A resumption of full diplomatic relations and a political round table to exchange views in the future is advocated.

Separate Statements

In separate statements in an appendix Mr Ciechanover and Mr Sanberk expressed their disagreements with the Chairmanship’s findings and recommendations.

Mr Ciechanover said that Israel does not concur with the description of the decision to board the vessels in a manner that was “excessive and unreasonable”. He considered that given the circumstances the soldiers had “responded reasonably, proportionally and with restraint”. He also declared that the treatment of the detainees was “reasonable and compatible with international standards” and that placing reliance on some passenger statements was “particularly problematic”. However his hope that the Panel’s work will assist Israel and Turkey in finding a path back to cooperation seemed to have been thoroughly repudiated on 2 September when the Government of Turkey announced that it would be downgrading their diplomatic relations with Israel following the latter government’s refusal to issue an apology for the raid.

Mr Sanberk registered his disagreement on the issues of legality of the Gaza blockade; the actions of the flotilla; naval blockades in general; and the applicable International legal principles addressed in the appendix. He wrote that the wording of the report did not satisfactorily describe the extent of the atrocities committed in consequence of which he rejected and dissociated himself from the relevant parts of the report.

Conclusion

For the authors of this report there is little to be pleased about. Their ultimate goal has been described as “positively affect[ing] the relationship between Turkey and Israel, as well as the overall situation in the Middle East”.[25] This was always a difficult call. Nevertheless some amelioration of the diplomatic situation might have been hoped for. The immediate aftermath to the release of this report has seen a strong reaction in Turkey to the refusal of the Israeli Government to apologise for the deaths and injuries to Turkish citizens. Turkey will now downgrade its diplomatic and economic relations with Israel and seems intent on dramatically upgrading its support for the people of Gaza.

From its declarations so far it would seem that Mr Erdogan’s government has little time for the recommendations of the Panel that the blockade should be respected and that humanitarian missions should follow established procedures in consultation with the Government of Israel. Maybe he is right given that respect for these procedures has only seen a long term decline in conditions in Gaza. Perhaps more attention to detail from the Panel might have better helped the realpolitik of confronting harsh realities in Gaza as a means to aiding prospects for peace in the region.

Richard Lightbown is a researcher and writer on the Arab-Israeli conflicts. His work includes a review of media sources of the raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, and ‘Deconstructing Turkel’ a critique of errors and omissions of the Turkel Commission Report Part 1.

Notes

[1] Ravid, Barak, 4 September 2011; ‘Israel hopes to overcome crisis with Turkey, but won’t apologize for Gaza flotilla raid’
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-hopes-to-overcome-crisis-with-turkeybut-won-t-apologize-for-gaza-flotilla-raid-1.382467
[2] Daly, John C.K., 10 September 2007; Colombia, Israel and Rogue Mercenaries; http://mexidata.info/id1524.html

[3] Kelly, John J., undated; Blair, Howard and er Ulribe honoured in Bush medal ceremony; THUS.

http://thusmagazine.com/2009/01/blair-howard-and-er-ulribe-honoured-in-bush-medal-ceremony/

[4] UNHRC, 21 January 2008; HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, John Dugard; A/HRC/7/17, p8.
[5] Turkel Committee Protocols, 7 November 2010.
[6] Lightbown, Richard, March 2011; Deconstructing Turkel; p55. http://www.redress.cc/palestine/rlightbown20110308
[7] Turkel Committee Protocols, 7 November 2010.
[8] Tillekens, Nikki, 1 September 2010; Destroyed Gaza Seaport: Why Doesn’t Dutch Government Demand Compensation from Israel? The Alternative Information Center. http://www.alternativenews.org/english/index.php/topics/economy-of-the-occupation/2840-destroyed-gaza-seaport-why-doesnt-dutch-government-demand-compensation-from-israel-
[9] cbcnews, 5 February 2009; Israel seizes Lebanese ship heading for Gaza.
http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2009/02/05/israel-ship.html
[10] Al Mansar, 13 June 2010; Israël enterre les aides alimentaires destinées à Gaza.
http://www.almanar.com.lb/NewsSite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=141806
[11] Ma’an News Agency, 6 June 2010; Hamas refuses boat aid while activists detained.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=289228
[12] Farooq Burney, 23 August 2010; pers.comm
[13] Email enquiries to UNSCOP have failed to produce any information as to whether these materials ever reached Gaza.
[14] Human Rights Council fact-finding mission report, 27 September 2010; A/HRC/15/21 p3
[15] UN Security Council SC/9940, 31 May 2010; Security Council 6325th & 6326th Meetings (PM & Night). 2010May2010http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2010/sc9940.doc.htm
[16] Mavi Marmara Tanıkları – Mine Karakaş.
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xeut14_mavi-marmara-tanyklary-mine-karakay_news
[17] M. Şefik Dinç, 2010; Kanli Mavi Marmara; Kalkedon, Ch. 3 (anonymous translation from Turkish into English)
[18] Ali Abunimah, 7 June 2010; Did Israel Press on with Bloody Attack on Mavi Marmara even as Ship Fled at Full- Speed. http://aliabunimah.posterous.com/mavi-marmara-was-heading-away-from-israelgaza#more 
[19] Lightbown, Richard, March 2011; Deconstructing Turkel; p46. http://www.redress.cc/palestine/rlightbown20110308
[20] Kevin Neish, pers. comm. 22 February 2011
[21] Free Gaza Team, 7 June 2010; In their Own Words: Survivor Testimonies from Flotilla 31 May 2010, Jamal Elshayyal. http://www.freegaza.org/en/testimonies-from-israeli-jail/1221-in-their-own-words-survivor-testimonies-from-flotilla-31-may-2010
[22] Insani Yardim Vakfi, undated; Captain of The Mavi Marmara Recounts Attack On Flotilla.
http://www.ihh.org.tr/mavi-marmara-nin-kaptani-konustu/en/
[23] http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWFiles2010.nsf/FilesByRWDocUnidFilename/VVOS-8BNM9Q-full_report.pdf/$File/full_report.pdf
[24] Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, undated; Access Policy; http://www.gisha.org/content-moduls.asp?lang_id=en&p_id=1232
[25] Human Rights Council fact-finding mission report, 27 September 2010; A/HRC/15/21 p4.

URL de este artículo: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26302

Global Research, 31 de agosto 2011

En 2011, los Estados Unidos tenía su dominio en el Oriente Medio en serio peligro debido a las masivas protestas pacíficas que se extiende por el mundo árabe. Ya no soportan las personas a los regímenes corruptos y opresores que eran apoyados por Washington. Ya no iban a tolerar dictaduras horrible en el que la única libertad que tenían era el de obedecer. En 2011 comenzó lo que sería conocido como la Primavera árabe.

Túnez

El 17 de diciembre de 2010, Mohammed Bouazizi estaba vendiendo fruta sin licencia y cuando las autoridades confiscaron su mercancía, se enfureció. Cuando Bouazizi se enfrentó con la policía, se le dio una bofetada en la cara. Esto le llevó a defender su caso en la oficina del gobierno de la ciudad, pero cuando fue rechazada, se fue y quemó a lo Bonzo. Este pequeño acto se hizo noticia en la población en general y de la ira “se extendió a otras ciudades del interior del país, donde el desempleo entre los graduados universitarios se aproxima al 50 por ciento.” [1] Las protestas masivas pronto comenzaron con las llamadas a finalizar el régimen del dictador Ben Ali y  elecciones democráticas, sin embargo, Ali volvió a utilizar la policía y la matanza de manifestantes comenzó en serio.

La organización Wikileaks también jugó un papel en la puesta en marcha de las protestas, como los archivos fueron puestos al público pocos días antes de Bouazizi se queme a si mismo, que confirmó las sospechas que muchos tunecinos ya tenía: que Ben Ali era un dictador corrupto, que su familia era muy corrupta, y que la vida era muy difícil para los pobres y los desempleados de Túnez.

Cuando esto ocurría, los EE.UU. estaba profundamente preocupado por Túnez  que tuvo importantes lazos militares con los EE.UU.. Túnez ha cooperado “en la Operación Esfuerzo Activo de la OTAN, que proporciona vigilancia en la lucha contra el terrorismo en el Mediterráneo”, participó en el Diálogo Mediterráneo de la OTAN, “y que permitió y permite escaladas de buques de la OTAN, en Túnez.” [2] De vez en cuando la EE.UU. critica a Túnez por su historial de derechos políticos y la libertad de expresión, sin embargo, “En paralelo con estas expresiones de preocupación, los Estados Unidos ha seguido prestando asistencia económica y militar al gobierno tunecino.” [3] Por lo tanto, los EE.UU. comenzaron a jugar en ambos lados. Unas dos semanas después de que Ben Ali había huido del país, Estados Unidos envió su principal enviado de Oriente Medio a Túnez y trató de “presionar su ventaja y las  reformas democráticas en el país y más allá.” [4] Si bien puede haber aparecido de que el EE.UU. fue rápidamente tratando de posicionarse en el lado bueno de Túnez, que pudieron haber tenido una mano en el derrocamiento de Ali como “De acuerdo con algunos rumores en Túnez, el jefe del ejército del país consultó con Washington antes de retirar su apoyo a Ben Ali – una medida que selló el destino del presidente derrocado. “[5]

Casi tan pronto como los EE.UU. terminó en Túnez, surgieron  problemas aún más graves en sus manos con las protestas en Egipto.

Egipto

Debido a que es inspirado por el éxito de las protestas de Túnez, el pueblo egipcio lanzó su propio movimiento de protestas, pidiendo el derrocamiento del títere de EE.UU., Hosni Mubarak. Sin embargo, los EE.UU. estaba ocupada en la captación del movimiento de protesta.

Los EE.UU. utiliza la National Endowment for Democracy (NED) como cobertura para ayudar a captar el movimiento de protesta. Irónicamente, la NED no se utiliza para la propagación de la democracia, sino que fue constituida por la administración Reagan para ayudar en el derrocamiento de gobiernos extranjeros, después de que las operaciones encubiertas de la CIA fueron reveladas. La NED fue apoyada “como un don de ambos partidos, con la participación de los dos principales partidos, así como la AFL-CIO y la Cámara de Comercio de EE.UU., la NED se hizo cargo de la financiación de los movimientos de derrocar a extranjeros, pero abiertamente y bajo la rúbrica de” promoción de la democracia. ‘”[6] Por lo tanto, los EE.UU. apoyaron tanto Mubarak como a los manifestantes, en un intento por asegurarse de que no importa lo que ocurra, Estados Unidos todavía se sale con la suya.

Los grupos de la sociedad civil tuvo una mayor influencia sobre los activistas egipcios que en mayo de 2009, el activistas: “Pasé una semana en Washington recibiendo formación en materia de promoción y obteniendo una mirada al interior de la forma de funcionamiento de la democracia en EE.UU.. Después de su formación, los becarios fueron mezclados con las organizaciones de la sociedad civil en todo el país en el que compartieron experiencias con sus homólogos de EE.UU.. Los activistas [envueltos] con su programa, de esta semana, visitan los funcionarios del gobierno de EE.UU., los miembros del Congreso, los medios de comunicación y de reflexión “. [7] (énfasis agregado)

Por lo tanto, debido a la ayuda EE.UU. de los activistas, los estadounidenses se aseguraron que los manifestantes tienen con ellos una deuda y que los intereses de EE.UU. estarían seguros incluso si Mubarak fuera derrocado.

Los EE.UU. también tenía profundos lazos militares con Egipto, ya que eran el mayor receptor de ayuda exterior de EE.UU. detrás de Israel. Además, los EE.UU. quería asegurarse de que Israel no estaba amenazada, ya que ambas naciones estaban preocupados de que un nuevo gobierno en Egipto podría cancelar el tratado de paz de 1979 entre Egipto e Israel.

Mientras que el ejército egipcio se encuentra actualmente en el control hasta las elecciones, no importa lo que ocurra, Estados Unidos seguirá teniendo su camino.

Bahrein

Las protestas también comenzaron en Bahrein. La gente estaba cansada de un gobierno que “no cumplió con su propia Constitución, se negó a investigar los delitos de tortura y continuó la expropiación de más de la mitad de las tierras del país.” [8] El gobierno Bahrani fue controlado por la Al Khalifa de la familia, que ha gobernado Bahrein por más de 300 años y ha creado una economía donde hay una minoría sunita ricos y poderosos, mientras que la mayoría chií se enfrenta constantemente a la discriminación en el empleo y la educación, tiene poca representación política, y se le impide acceder a altas posiciones en instituciones estatales y militares.

Los EE.UU. estaba profundamente preocupado por las protestas que el régimen de Al Khalifa permitió contra la base norteamericana de la Quinta Flota en el país, lo que permitió a los EE.UU. a patrullar “el Golfo Pérsico, el Mar Rojo, el Mar de Arabia y la costa este de África “,” mantener vigilado – y, si es necesario los sables sonarán, – cerca de las rutas marítimas de petróleo, Irán y la creciente actividad de los piratas “, y” [dar] las bases y la autorización de sobrevolar para los aviones de EE.UU. comprometidos en Afganistán e [ayuda] cortar el suministro de dinero a presuntos terroristas islámicos. “[9] De este modo, el régimen de Bahrein fue de gran importancia para los intereses regionales de EE.UU..

Los EE.UU. mostraron que haría cualquier cosa para asegurarse de que su marioneta permaneciera en el poder cuando apoyaron la intervención militar saudí en Bahrein. Los sauditas intervinieron en nombre del Gobierno de Bahrein y comenzaron a disparar contra la multitud de manifestantes de Bahrein. [10] Sin embargo, a pesar de que los manifestantes estaban siendo asesinados, seguían todavía decididos a luchar por sus derechos en contra de los títeres de Estados Unidos.

Libia

El movimiento de la primavera árabe también llegó a Libia, sin embargo, las cosas eran muy diferentes, en lugar de tener las protestas pacíficas, las fuerzas de oposición estaban recogiendo armas y luchar contra el ejército de Libia. Debido al entonces líder de Libia, el coronel Gaddafi Mummar, sin haber sido realmente un títere de Occidente, Estados Unidos lanzó una guerra de propaganda para que la máquina de guerra EEUU-OTAN intervenga en Libia por motivos publicados, de “intervención humanitaria”.

La primera pregunta que debe formularse es por qué Occidente quiere siempre intervenir en Libia. La respuesta es porque Libia tiene las mayores reservas de petróleo de África y las compañías petroleras occidentales querían tener acceso a ellos. Sin embargo, también hay grandes razones económicas. Meses antes de la intervención, Gaddafi hizo un llamamiento a los países africanos y los musulmanes para adoptar una moneda única: el dinar de oro. Esto habría excluido el dólar, como el dinar de oro habría sido utilizado para comprar bienes, lo que amenaza las economías de las naciones occidentales. Sin embargo, la creación de un dinar de oro puede dar mas poder a la gente de África, algo que los activistas negros dicen que los EE.UU. quiere evitar a toda costa.

“Los EE.UU. han negado la libre determinación de los africanos dentro de los EE.UU., por lo que no se sorprende por nada los EE.UU. podría hacer para impedir la libre determinación de los africanos en el continente”, dice Cynthia Ann McKinney, ex congresista EE.UU.. [11]

Hubo también motivos geopolíticos en el trabajo como durante la guerra, Gaddafi “, prometió expulsar a las compañías occidentales de energía del país y sustituirlas por empresas petroleras de China, India y Rusia.” [12] Esto excluiría efectivamente a Occidente de penetrar en la explotación del petróleo Libio. Al derrocar a Gaddafi, Occidente podría tener un régimen títere contrario a los movimientos de China y Rusia en el norte de África, así como el acceso al petróleo de Libia.

Lo que muchos de los medios de comunicación nunca se preguntó hasta que el conflicto estaba llegando a su final fue quienes eran exactamente los rebeldes. En la guerra de Irak, la mayoría de los combatientes extranjeros procedían de Libia y en que, “casi todos ellos vinieron desde el este de Libia, el centro de la rebelión anti-Gaddafi.” [13] (énfasis añadido). Un comandante rebelde Libio llegó a admitir que algunos de sus soldados tenían vínculos con Al Qaeda:

En una entrevista con el diario italiano “Il Sole 24 Ore”, el Sr. al-Hasidi admitió que él había reclutado a “unos 25″ los hombres de la zona de Derna, en el este de Libia para luchar contra las tropas de la coalición en Irak. Algunos de ellos, dijo: “hoy están en las líneas del frente en Adjabiya”.

El Sr. al-Hasidi insistió que sus combatientes “son patriotas y buenos musulmanes, no terroristas”, pero agregó que “los miembros de al-Qaeda también son buenos musulmanes y que están luchando contra el invasor”. [14] (énfasis agregado)

Por lo tanto, los EE.UU. y la OTAN estaban apoyando terroristas, sin embargo, pueden haber sabido al ver en un estudio de West Point del 2007, que el área de Bengasi, Derna, Tobruk fue el líder mundial en reclutamiento de atacantes suicidas para Al Qaeda. [15]

Debido a que los EE.UU. y sus aliados de la OTAN no quieren parecerse a los imperialistas que realmente eran, Obama presionó a la ONU para aprobar una resolución que permite el establecimiento de una zona de exclusión aérea sobre Libia y un embargo de armas a la nación. Sin embargo, ambas limitaciones se rompieron muy pronto. La resolución de la ONU claramente ha  permitido a todos los Estados miembros “, actuando de forma independiente o a través de organizaciones o acuerdos regionales, a tomar todas las medidas necesarias para proteger a los civiles bajo amenaza de ataque en el país, incluyendo Bengasi, excluyendo al mismo tiempo una fuerza de ocupación extranjera de cualquier tipo en cualquier parte del territorio libio “[16] Sin embargo, los imperialistas admitió que querían derrocar a Gaddafi en un artículo de opinión, cuando Cameron, Sarkozy y Obama declaró:”. Nuestro deber y nuestro mandato en virtud de la Resolución 1973 es proteger a los civiles , y lo estamos haciendo. No se trata de eliminar a Gaddafi por la fuerza. Pero es imposible imaginar un futuro de Libia con Gaddafi en el poder. “[17] (énfasis añadido) Los EE.UU. y la OTAN indicaron claramente que su principal objetivo era derrocar a Gaddafi.

La hipocresía de Occidente era profunda, ya que encontró un pretexto para intervenir en Libia, pero no en Egipto, Bahrein, Palestina, o en cualquier otro lugar donde las personas estaban siendo oprimidos por los regímenes locales. Sin embargo, la hipocresía occidental se mostró cerca del fin del conflicto, cuando se informó de que el ejército de Egipto había comenzado a enviar armas a los rebeldes con el conocimiento de Washington. [18] Esto muestra claramente que el embargo de armas a Libia suponía en realidad, un embargo sobre las fuerzas de Gaddafi.

Para avivar el apoyo a su “intervención”, una campaña masiva de medios de propaganda se llevó a cabo en contra de Gaddafi. Los medios de comunicación informaban de cosas tales como Gaddafi le dio a sus tropas  Viagra para la violación de mujeres, los civiles bombardeados, y que las tropas libias han asesinado a civiles. A pesar de que estas afirmaciones son falsas, los medios de comunicación todavía las siguen reportando. Sin embargo, lo que mucha gente ignora es el hecho de que los rebeldes y la OTAN han cometido crímenes de guerra. A mediados de agosto “, una campaña de bombardeos de la OTAN cerca de la ciudad libia de Zlitan, a principios de este mes, mataron a casi 100 civiles – más de la mitad de ellos mujeres y niños.” [19] Sin embargo, la OTAN negó todas las reclamaciones alegando que habían alcanzado a legítimos objetivos. Este es sólo un ejemplo de los muchos crímenes de guerra de la OTAN en Libia, que van desde el asesinato de civiles a bombardeos de los mismos rebeldes. También se informó que los rebeldes libios atacaron y mataron a  africanos negros. En todo el este de Libia a los rebeldes “y sus partidarios han detenido, intimidado y frecuentemente golpeado a los inmigrantes africanos y a los libios negros, acusándoles de luchar como mercenarios en nombre de Gaddafi,” en algunos casos , “ejecutado mercenarios sospechosos capturados en batalla, de acuerdo con Human Rights Watch y libios locales”, y “arbitrariamente han matado a unos mercenarios y en otros casos sin distinguir entre ellos y no combatientes. “[20] Sin embargo, a pesar de eso y otros muchos informes, los rebeldes libios excusan sus crímenes de guerra , diciendo que ellos no tienen las estructuras existentes para hacer frente a cuestiones como éstas.

Lo que también fue un poco ignorado es el hecho de que los rebeldes eran extremadamente  fracturados, sólo unidos en su objetivo de derrocar a Gaddafi. Esto se vio claramente después del asesinato del General Al-Younes y sus dos ayudantes principales comandantes militares. Sus muertes “dieron lugar a enfrentamientos internos en el Consejo de Transición” con “las divisiones entre facciones [en desarrollo], dentro de las fuerzas rebeldes.” [21] Esta división entre facciones pronto podría mostrar sus efectos en la creación de un nuevo gobierno de Libia.

Finalmente, estaba el hecho de que fuerzas especiales occidentales estaban en el suelo. La aparición inicial del Oeste de las fuerzas especiales fue cuando las tropas británicas SAS fueron capturados cerca de Benghazi en marzo. Sin embargo, agentes de la CIA de EE.UU. estaban en Libia [22] y puede haber habido franceses y fuerzas especiales de EE.UU. en Libia ayudar a los rebeldes. En una entrevista en marzo en el programa de O’Reilly, el coronel retirado David Hunt del Ejército de EE.UU. y el teniente coronel Tony Shaffer, un Ex-oficial de inteligencia del ejército fueron entrevistados sobre la situación en Libia. Hunt declaró lo siguiente cuando se le preguntó acerca de las fuerzas especiales en Libia:

Sí, absolutamente. Tienes el servicio británico que ha estado allí hace unas tres semanas y, de hecho fueron capturados y puestos en libertad. El GIGN frances ha estado allí y nuestras fuerzas especiales y nuestros agentes de inteligencia de EE.UU. y sus activos. No llevamos a cabo operaciones de este tipo, operaciones aéreas a gran escala, sin gente en el suelo. Ellos han sido muy exitosos, muy bueno, no hubo mucho contacto con los rebeldes, porque usted no sabe con quién habla. Pero, sí, tenemos la recolección de inteligencia y los chicos de rescate y los chicos de operaciones especiales en el suelo, los han tenido durante unos 12 días. [23] (énfasis agregado).

Shaffer de acuerdo, dice:

Sí, he oído de mis fuentes -, recibí una llamada de uno de mis principales fuentes el lunes y eso es exactamente lo que está pasando. Vamos a ser muy claros aquí. Tienes que tener a estas personas hacer lo que Dave acaba de decir, especialmente cuando se está hablando de tratar de proteger, y el objetivo declarado aquí, Bill, es la ayuda humanitaria. Por lo que no quieres tener armas golpear los objetivos erróneos. Por lo tanto, Dave es muy bueno en el hecho de que tenemos chicos de operaciones especiales sentado allí con designadores láser. Bill, has visto … [24] (énfasis agregado).

Los estadounidenses siempre negaron que hubiesen botas sobre el terreno, sin embargo, como siempre, estaban mintiendo.

Los imperialistas ya tenían planes para un post-Gaddafi de Libia, que consistían en “propuestas para que unas 10.000-15.000 personas “fuertes”: “grupo de trabajo de Tripoli”, con recursos y apoyo de los Emiratos Árabes Unidos, para hacerse cargo de la capital libia, asegurar los sitios clave y la detención de alto cargos partidarios del Gaddafi. “[62] Sin embargo, el plan puede ser problemático, ya que es” altamente dependiente de la deserción de las partes del aparato de seguridad de Gaddafi, a los rebeldes, después de su derrocamiento. “[25]. Estan lejos de alcanzar las consecuencias económicas como se informó de que el nuevo gobierno estaría a favor de las compañías petroleras occidentales, a expensas de las empresas de Rusia, China y Brasil [26].

Debido a los éxitos imperialistas en Libia, muchos están preocupados de que la máquina de guerra EEUU-OTAN puede fijar su mirada en un nuevo objetivo: Siria.

Siria

Las protestas en Siria comenzaron en mayo y no han cedido desde entonces. Si bien no faltan voces que piden la intervención en Siria, hay mucho en juego para Estados Unidos en términos de relaciones de Siria con Irán.

Los estadounidenses están muy interesados en la relación entre Irán y Siria, y señaló que ha habido varias empresas mixtas entre las dos naciones en los sectores financiero y manufacturero, como se señaló que “ha habido varios informes de aumento de la inversión y el comercio de Irán con Siria “,” Irán ha declarado su intención de establecer en conjunto un Banco sirio-iraní, posiblemente con la participación del Banco Saderat y el Banco Comercial de Siria, “y el” Iran Khodro Industrial Group ha establecido una planta de montaje de automóviles en Siria a través de una empresa en participación como el Motor Company sirio-iraní. “[27] También hay enlaces militares como Irán suministra armas a Siria, que, desde el punto de vista de EE.UU., plantean una amenaza a su aliado Israel. “En junio de 2010, Irán habría enviado a Siria un sistema de radar de defensa aérea diseñado para detectar aviones israelíes o, posiblemente, aumentar la precisión de los ataques con misiles desde Siria y Hezbolá contra Israel en caso de una guerra regional.” [28] Por lo tanto, los EE.UU. estaba profundamente preocupados por la relación entre dos naciones anti-estadounidense y la creciente amistad entre ellos.

Debido a estas preocupaciones, los EE.UU. se involucró en el movimiento de protesta de Siria, utilizando métodos similares a los que utilizaron en la revolución de Egipto y Libia en el conflicto ..

Durante los últimos cinco o seis años, la política de EE.UU. hacia Siria ha sido lo que podría llamarse una estrategia de dos vías para impulsar el cambio de régimen. Los EE.UU. ha apoyado los activistas de la “sociedad civil” u organizaciones externas oposición. También ha trabajado para deslegitimar, desestabilizar y aislar al país a través de la aplicación de sanciones y otras medidas, que podrían aplicarse para explotar las vulnerabilidades. [29] (énfasis agregado)

Una organización “sociedad civil”, que está siendo utilizada por los EE.UU. es el Movimiento para la Justicia y el Desarrollo (MJD), que es “estrechamente asociada con la sede en Londres, canal satélite Barada TV, que empezó a emitir en abril de 2009, pero” las operaciones saltaron  hasta cubrir las protestas de masas en Siria. ‘”[30] Los estadounidenses pueden haber querido trabajar con MJD, debido al hecho de que son un grupo islámico moderado que quiere acabar con el régimen de Assad a través de la reforma democrática. Esta reforma democrática puede muy bien ser el juego correcto en manos de los EE.UU. si quiere intervenir en Siria, que pueden hacer una copia del MJD y argumentar que son iguales que los rebeldes de Libia: las personas que quieren poner fin a su régimen opresivo y sustituirlo por uno democracia.

Los EE.UU. están utilizando las organizaciones como la “Casa de la Libertad, American Bar Association, American University, Internews y el trabajo realizado por MEPI con el Instituto  de Iniciativa Estratégica Aspen, Democracia del Consejo de California, Regentes de la Universidad de Nuevo México y el Instituto Republicano Internacional” [31] para ayudar a fomentar un cambio de régimen en Siria, trabajando con Siria y la financiación de grupos “de la sociedad civil”.

Ha habido muchos informes de que el régimen sirio ataca a manifestantes desarmados, sin embargo, uno debe ser bastante escéptico de estos informes. Los medios de EE.UU. han informado que manifestantes sirios no son violentos [32], lo que debería hacer una pregunta de la versión oficial de que los manifestantes son pacíficos. Hay que incluir también el hecho de que no hay absolutamente ninguna de las fuentes de los medios de comunicación en Siria. Los periodistas tienen contactos de los que se puede obtener información, pero ¿quién dice que esas fuentes están siendo objetivas, y mucho menos dicen la verdad? Todos los informes que se muestran en los medios de comunicación puede ser muy bien verdades a medias, si no mentiras absolutas.

Los EE.UU. pueden muy bien planear para atacar a Siria si la manipulación de la sociedad civil no funciona.

La primavera árabe, mientras son un movimiento general para derrocar a los regímenes opresivos, muchas veces han sido captados por las potencias extranjeras que sólo buscan su beneficio personal. Debido a esto, el pueblo árabe nunca puede experimentar la verdadera libertad.

 

Devon DB tiene 19 años y estudia ciencias políticas en la Universidad Fairleigh Dickinson. Además de contribuir a la Global Research, se ha convertido recientemente en un miembro del personal en el  Progressive Playbook. 

From shady Wall Street banks and investment firms that rob people blind, to Western governments that prattle on about “democracy” and “human rights” while their favorite butchers torture and kill their own citizens, it’s a sick, sad world growing sicker and sadder by the hour.

It certainly can’t hurt when the U.S. Fifth Fleet has the back of those doing the killing, or when the killers are pampered ne’er-do-wells, a fabulously wealthy clique of hereditary princes for whom the word “medieval” was invented, who just so happen to lord over one of the planet’s financial bolt holes.

Last month, Bloomberg Markets Magazine revealed that when “Bahraini jailers armed with stiff rubber hoses” beat 39-year-old school administrator and human rights activist Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar in a windowless dungeon in Manama, his jailers were armed “with another kind of weapon: transcripts of his text messages and details from personal mobile phone conversations.”

“It was amazing,” Al Khanjar told investigative journalists Vernon Silver and Ben Elgin. “How did they know about these?”

To Read the Complete Article Click Below

http://antifascist-calling.blogspot.com/2011/09/torture-island-where-offshore-meets.html

Everything that NATO has done in Libya has been illegal

September 4th, 2011 by Global Research

WAGING A WAR OF AGGRESSION

Kellogg-Briand Pact, 1928, Art. I. The High Contracting Parties solemnly declare in the names of their respective peoples that they condemn recourse to war for the solution of international controversies, and renounce it, as an instrument of national policy in their relations with one another. Art. II. The High Contracting Parties agree that the settlement or solution of all disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them, shall never be sought except by pacific means.

HELPING REBELS IN A CIVIL WAR

Convention on Duties and Rights of States in the Event of Civil Strife, 1928, Art. 1. To forbid the traffic in arms and war material, except when intended for the Government, while the belligerency of the rebels has not been recognized, in which latter case the rules of neutrality shall be applied.

CONSPIRACY TO WAGE WAR

Nuremberg Charter, 1945. Crimes against peace: namely, planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing . . .

PROPAGANDA FOR WAR

Civil & Political Rights Covenant, 1966, Art. 20. (1). Any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.

SECRET CONTRACT AWARDS

Hague II, 1899, Art. 48. If, in the territory occupied, the occupant collects the taxes, dues, and tolls imposed for the benefit of the State, he shall do it, as far as possible, in accordance with the rules in existence and the assessment in force, and will in consequence be bound to defray the expenses of the administration of the occupied territory on the same scale as that by which the legitimate Government was bound.

FUNDING MERCENARIES

Mercenaries Convention, 1993, Art. 5. (1). States Parties shall not recruit, use, finance or train mercenaries and shall prohibit such activities.

NATO leaders are guilty under US code of providing material support to terrorists.

“Whoever knowingly provides material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization, or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both, and, if the death of any person results, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life. To violate this paragraph, a person must have knowledge that the organization is a designated terrorist organization (as defined in subsection (g)(6)), that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorist activity (as defined in section 212(a)(3)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act), or that the organization has engaged or engages in terrorism (as defined in section 140(d)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989).” -USC § 2339B. Providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations

In March 2011, the London Telegraph reported that Libya’s rebels had direct ties to Al Qaeda and that both leaders and fighters had spent time in both Iraq and Afghanistan combating US troops. The article titled, “Libyan rebel commander admits his fighters have al-Qaeda links” featured Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, who had been captured by the US after fighting Americans in Afghanistan, returned to Libya, and released under a bargain for Hasidi and his Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) militants to abandon extremism and become productive members of society. Quite obviously, and with the US, UK, and NATO’s help, Hasidi and his men went back on this bargain and are now sowing murder and mayhem across Libya.

The New York Time more recently reported in an article titled, “Exiled Islamists Watch Rebellion Unfold at Home” that LIFG has “renounced Al Qaeda and are part of the mosaic of rebel fighters united under the umbrella of the Transitional National Council, the opposition leadership that the United States formally recognized as Libya’s legitimate government.” Of course, “renouncement” is exactly what these very same men did to be released from Qaddafi’s prisons in the first place before immediately taking up arms and laying waste to the nation. The New York Times also notes that exiled LIFG leader Abu Sohaib, currently being harbored in London, is unable to return to Libya because he and LIFG is a listed terrorist across the Middle East and throughout most of Europe, including the UK. His LIFG fighters are noted as having “combat experience in Iraq or Afghanistan,” and that they are part of the “social fabric of eastern Libya,” namely Benghazi, Tobruk, and Darnah in a region often referred to as Cyrenaica.

Image: Taken from a US West Point study, these graphs created by data obtained in Iraq clearly show that Libya’s eastern region, and the cities of Darnah and Benghazi in particular, provided by far more militants found fighting US troops in Iraq than any other nation, including Saudi Arabia. An apt summary of the report can be found at Tarpley.net. (click image to enlarge)

To get a clearer picture of just how much of the “social fabric of eastern Libya” these Al Qaeda LIFG fighters make up, a study from West Point US Military Academy  indicates that this region produced more foreign fighters per capita found in Iraq than any other nation including Saudi Arabia. The vast majority of these fighters came from Darnah and Benghazi, the latter being the epicenter of the current Libyan rebellion. The report, explained in detail by geopolitical analyst Dr. Webster Tarpley, proves just how understated the New York Times article is in portraying these terrorists as
“part of the social fabric of eastern Libya.” The facts prove quite clearly that terrorism is the social fabric of eastern Libya.

Just this week, the UK Independent provided its readership with a watered down headline that reads, “Rebel military chief says he was tortured by CIA.” The article indicates that the current rebel leader, Abdulhakim Belhaj (aka Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi) is in fact an LIFG founding member, with combat experience in Afghanistan against the Russians, omits that he was also involved in fighting US troops there in 2001, but does mention that he was held by the CIA, then the Libyan government before taking command of NATO-backed rebels in Libya. The Daily Beast reports in an article titled, “Libya’s Powerful Islamist Leader,” that Belhaj was in fact, face-to-face with Osama Bin Laden back in the 1980′s, and that the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) is listed by both the U.S. State Department and the British Home Office as an international terrorist organization.

Image: A screenshot taken directly from the US State Department website showing the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) clearly listed as a foreign terrorist organization. This is important, as US Code prohibits providing material support to listed terrorist organizations. With revelations of Al Qaeda and LIFG fighters leading the Libyan rebellion with NATO-members’ full military, financial, and diplomatic support, attempts are being made to plea ignorance as to the true nature of the rebels. Listed below LIFG, is MEK, an Iraqi/Iranian group also being armed and supported by the US. (click on image to enlarge)

With the corporate media’s help, Belhaj/al-Hasidi and his men are being portrayed as reformed terrorists despite the fact that they are still LIFG fighters and LIFG itself is still listed as an international terrorist organization. And while many will applaud the corporate media for coming forward with this information, it should be noted that Pepe Escobar first broke this story on Russia Today, and the US and British propaganda outlets have merely been forced to address the growing public awareness of who these “pro-democracy” rebels really are and what role the US and British governments have had in betraying their people by providing material support for men who literally killed US and UK troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan over the 10 year “War on Terror.”

According to US Code Section 2339A & 2339B, the leaders of NATO, along with the US, UK, and French governments, are clearly guilty of providing a listed terrorist organization with material support in the most egregious, overt case since the code was written. The staggering scale of training, arming, and providing air support for Libyan Islamic Fighting Group militants, listed by the US State Department itself as a terrorist organization, all done criminally under the guise of “international law” rubber stamped by the contrived UN and bolstered with support from the equally contrived International Criminal Court, may be partially why more people are unable to understand the scope of criminality involved in NATO’s intervention in Libya.

A similar situation exists within Iran, where another terrorist organization, the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) are being covertly armed and aided in fighting the Iranian government. US policy makers are fully aware that organizations like LIFG and MEK have US blood on their hands. In fact, their only concern is how using such organizations will appear publicly and how such perceptions might threaten their agendas. In the Fortune 500-funded Brookings Institution report, “Which Path to Persia?” we can see clearly the thought process that goes on behind supporting terrorist organizations. Brookings’ only concern is how to remove MEK terrorists from the US State Department list (listed just below LIFG) so they can be supported more overtly in a Libyan-style military intervention.

“Potential Ethnic Proxies,” page 117-118 (page 130-131 of the PDF): “Perhaps the most prominent (and certainly the most controversial) opposition group that has attracted attention as a potential U.S. proxy is the NCRI (National Council of Resistance of Iran), the political movement established by the MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq). Critics believe the group to be undemocratic and unpopular, and indeed anti-American.

In contrast, the group’s champions contend that the movement’s long-standing opposition to the Iranian regime and record of successful attacks on and intelligence-gathering operations against the regime make it worthy of U.S. support. They also argue that the group is no longer anti-American and question the merit of earlier accusations. Raymond Tanter, one of the group’s supporters in the United States, contends that the MEK and the NCRI are allies for regime change in Tehran and also act as a useful proxy for gathering intelligence. The MEK’s greatest intelligence coup was the provision of intelligence in 2002 that led to the discovery of a secret site in Iran for enriching uranium.

Despite its defenders’ claims, the MEK remains on the U.S. government list of foreign terrorist organizations. In the 1970s, the group killed three U.S. officers and three civilian contractors in Iran. During the 1979-1980 hostage crisis, the group praised the decision to take America hostages and Elaine Sciolino reported that while group leaders publicly condemned the 9/11 attacks, within the group celebrations were
widespread.

Undeniably, the group has conducted terrorist attacks—often excused by the MEK’s advocates because they are directed against the Iranian government. For example, in 1981, the group bombed the headquarters of the Islamic Republic Party, which was then the clerical leadership’s main political organization, killing an estimated 70 senior officials. More recently, the group has claimed credit for over a dozen mortar attacks, assassinations, and other assaults on Iranian civilian and military targets between 1998 and 2001. At the very least, to work more closely with the group (at least in an overt manner), Washington would need to remove it from the list of foreign terrorist organizations.”

US policy makers, working directly for Wall Street and London corporate-financier interests, clearly have no qualms over using or supporting terrorism, with perception management being their only concern. We see this diabolical methodology, precisely articulated in “Which Path to Persia?” now being executed across Libya verbatim. It looks as if there was not enough time to get LIFG off various international lists of terrorist organizations as Brookings had hoped to do with MEK, and instead a concerted effort by the corporate-media and NATO members is being made to downplay the reality that the US, British, French and Qatari governments are openly sponsoring terrorism. Look for similar narratives as seen in Libya to be used in both Syria and Iran – with militant terrorists portrayed as hapless protesters being oppressed by a brutal government, before a full-scale military insurrection followed by a US led military intervention.

The EU imposes an oil embargo on Syria, freezing almost all business between Damascus and the EU, Syria’s main trading partner. Russia however has harshly criticized the move.

­A statement made on Friday said the ban covers purchase, import and transport of oil and other petroleum products from Syria amid continuing violence in the country.

The EU also prohibited financial or insurance services involved in such transactions. The embargo will take effect immediately as details of the sanctions are published in the official EU newspaper. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has condemned sanctions imposed on Syria by the European Union, including a proposed oil embargo. “We have always said that no good will come out of unilateral sanctions. This destroys a partner-like approach toward any crisis,” Lavrov said on Saturday. “We are against unilateral sanctions.” The decision will halt more than US $4.2 billion a year in Syrian crude oil and petroleum products being exported to Europe.

The decision was made during a non-formal meeting of MFA heads of 27 EU countries that took place in the Polish city of Sopot. The embargo was earlier approved by heads of the Permanent Mission of the EU countries in Brussels.

“This is trying to hit the oil that’s a critical financial lifeline to the regime,” an EU official was quoted as saying.

Four more Syrian individuals and three entities were added to the list of those targeted by an EU asset freeze and travel ban.

On August 24, an EU decision on sanctions aimed at 15 Syrian officials and five companies came into effect. Their active assets were frozen and they were banned from entering the EU.

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, added her voice to growing calls for UN Security Council sanctions against Assad, measures currently blocked by Russia and China.

“The violence must stop and he needs to step aside,” she said to The Daily Telegraph. The director of the Center for Research on Globalization, Michel Chossudovsky, says that the new round of sanctions is just another step toward a NATO-led military intervention in Syria.

“It is a part of a road map which eventually is intended to lead into some kind of military intervention,” Chossudovsky claimed. “I think what is happening now is the sanctions stage of something which has been planned… which according to many analysts is a military intervention in Syria – which in essence would engulf the whole region.”

­Meanwhile, activists say at least 14 people have been killed in fresh mass protests after weekly Muslim prayers on Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said eight of the deaths occurred when security forces moved to break up protests in several suburbs of Damascus. However, the official SANA news agency reported that confrontations between security forces and “armed terrorist groups” had left three officers and four gunmen dead. The UN says that more than 2,200 people have been killed since the near-daily protests against Assad’s regime began to sweep the country in mid-March.

Finally, after trillions in fraudulent activity, trillions in bailouts, trillions in printed money, billions in political bribing and billions in bonuses, the criminal cartel members on Wall Street are beginning to get what they deserve. As the Eurozone is coming apart at the seams and as the US economy grinds to a halt, the financial elite are starting to turn on each other. The lawsuits are piling up fast. Here’s an extensive roundup:

As I reported last week [3]:

Collapse Roundup #5: Goliath On The Ropes, Big Banks Getting Hit Hard, It’s A “Bloodbath” As Wall Street’s Crimes Blow Up In Their Face

Time to put your Big Bank shorts on! Get ready for a run… The chickens are coming home to roost… The Global Banking Cartel’s crimes are being exposed left & right… Prepare for Shock & Awe…

Well, well… here’s your Shock & Awe:

First up, this shockingly huge $196 billion lawsuit just filed against 17 major banks on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Bank of America is severely exposed in this lawsuit. As the parent company of Countrywide and Merrill Lynch they are on the hook for $57.4 billion. JP Morgan is next in the line of fire with $33 billion. And many death spiraling European banks are facing billions in losses as well.

FHA Files a $196 Billion Lawsuit Against 17 Banks

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), today filed lawsuits against 17 financial institutions, certain of their officers and various unaffiliated lead underwriters. The suits allege violations of federal securities laws and common law in the sale of residential private-label mortgage-backed securities (PLS) to the Enterprises.

Complaints have been filed against the following lead defendants, in alphabetical order:

1. Ally Financial Inc. f/k/a GMAC, LLC – $6 billion
2. Bank of America Corporation – $6 billion
3. Barclays Bank PLC – $4.9 billion
4. Citigroup, Inc. – $3.5 billion
5. Countrywide Financial Corporation -$26.6 billion
6. Credit Suisse Holdings (USA), Inc. – $14.1 billion
7. Deutsche Bank AG – $14.2 billion
8. First Horizon National Corporation – $883 million
9. General Electric Company – $549 million
10. Goldman Sachs & Co. – $11.1 billion
11. HSBC North America Holdings, Inc. – $6.2 billion
12. JPMorgan Chase & Co. – $33 billion
13. Merrill Lynch & Co. / First Franklin Financial Corp. – $24.8 billion
14. Morgan Stanley – $10.6 billion
15. Nomura Holding America Inc. – $2 billion
16. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC – $30.4 billion
17. Société Générale – $1.3 billion

These complaints were filed in federal or state court in New York or the federal court in Connecticut. The complaints seek damages and civil penalties under the Securities Act of 1933, similar in content to the complaint FHFA filed against UBS Americas, Inc. on July 27, 2011. In addition, each complaint seeks compensatory damages for negligent misrepresentation. Certain complaints also allege state securities law violations or common law fraud. [read full FHFA release [4]]

You can read the suits filed against each individual bank here [5]. For some more information read Bloomberg: BofA, JPMorgan Among 17 Banks Sued by U.S. for $196 Billion [6]. Noticeably absent from the list of companies being sued is Wells Fargo.

And the suits just keep coming…

BofA sued over $1.75 billion Countrywide mortgage pool

Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) was sued by the trustee of a $1.75 billion mortgage pool, which seeks to force the bank to buy back the underlying loans because of alleged misrepresentations in how they were made. The lawsuit by the banking unit of US Bancorp (USB.N) is the latest of a number of suits seeking to recover investor losses tied to risky mortgage loans issued by Countrywide Financial Corp, which Bank of America bought in 2008. In a complaint filed in a New York state court in Manhattan, U.S. Bank said Countrywide, which issued the 4,484 loans in the HarborView Mortgage Loan Trust 2005-10, materially breached its obligations by systemically misrepresenting the quality of its underwriting and loan documentation. [read more [7]]

Bank of America kept AIG legal threat under wraps

Top Bank of America Corp lawyers knew as early as January that American International Group Inc was prepared to sue the bank for more than $10 billion, seven months before the lawsuit was filed, according to sources familiar with the matter. Bank of America shares fell more than 20 percent on August 8, the day the lawsuit was filed, adding to worries about the stability of the largest U.S. bank…. The bank made no mention of the lawsuit threat in a quarterly regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission just four days earlier. Nor did management discuss it on conference calls about quarterly results and other pending legal claims. [read more [8]]

Nevada Lawsuit Shows Bank of America’s Criminal Incompetence

As we’ve stated before, litigation by attorney general is significant not merely due to the damages and remedies sought, but because it paves the way for private lawsuits. And make no mistake about it, this filing is a doozy. It shows the Federal/state attorney general mortgage settlement effort to be a complete travesty. The claim describes, in considerable detail, how various Bank of America units engaged in misconduct in virtually every aspect of its residential mortgage business. [read more [9]]

Nevada Wallops Bank of America With Sweeping Suit; Nationwide Foreclosure Settlement in Peril

The sweeping new suit could have repercussions far beyond Nevada’s borders. It further jeopardizes a possible nationwide settlement with the five largest U.S. banks over their foreclosure practices, especially given concerns voiced by other attorneys general, New York’s foremost among them…. In a statement, Bank of America spokeswoman Jumana Bauwens said reaching a settlement would bring a better outcome for homeowners than litigation. “We believe that the best way to get the housing market going again in every state is a global settlement that addresses these issues fairly, comprehensively and with finality. [read more [10]]

FDIC Objects to Bank of America’s $8.5 Billion Mortgage-Bond Accord

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is objecting to Bank of America Corp. (BAC)’s proposed $8.5 billion mortgage-bond settlement with investors, joining investors and states that are challenging the agreement. The FDIC owns securities covered by the settlement and said it doesn’t have enough information to evaluate the accord, according to a filing today in federal court in Manhattan. Bank of America has agreed to pay $8.5 billion to resolve claims from investors in Countrywide Financial mortgage bonds. The settlement was negotiated with a group of institutional investors and would apply to investors outside that group. [read more [11]]

Fed asks Bank of America to list contingency plan: report

The Federal Reserve has asked Bank of America Corp to show what measures it could take if business conditions worsen, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the situation. BofA executives recently responded to the unusual request from the Federal Reserve with a list of options that includes the issuance of a separate class of shares tied to the performance of its Merrill Lynch securities unit, the people told the paper. Bank of America and the Fed declined to comment to the Journal. Both could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours. [
read more [12]]

Bombshell Admission of Failed Securitization Process in American Home Mortgage Servicing/LPS Lawsuit

Wow, Jones Day just created a huge mess for its client and banks generally if anyone is alert enough to act on it. The lawsuit in question is American Home Mortgage Servicing Inc. v Lender Processing Services. It hasn’t gotten all that much attention (unless you are on the LPS deathwatch beat) because to most, it looks like yet another beauty contest between Cinderella’s two ugly sisters. AHMSI is a servicer (the successor to Option One, and it may also still have some Ameriquest servicing).

AHMSI is mad at LPS because LPS was supposed to prepare certain types of documentation AHMSI used in foreclosures. AHMSI authorized the use of certain designated staffers signing with the authority of AHSI (what we call robosinging, since the people signing these documents didn’t have personal knowledge, which is required if any of the documents were affidavits). But it did not authorize the use of surrogate signers, which were (I kid you not) people hired to forge the signatures of robosigners. The lawsuit rather matter of factly makes a stunning admission… [read more [13]]

Fraudclosure: MERS Case Filed With Supreme Court

Before readers get worried by virtue of the headline that the Supreme Court will use its magic legal wand to make the dubious MERS mortgage registry system viable, consider the following:

1. The Supreme Court hears only a very small portion of the cases filed with it, and is less likely to take one with these demographics (filed by a private party, and an appeal out of a state court system, as opposed to Federal court). This case, Gomes v. Countywide, was decided against the plaintiff in lower and appellate court and the California state supreme court declined to hear it

2. If MERS or the various servicers who have had foreclosures overturned based on challenges to MERS thought they’d get a sympathetic hearing at the Supreme Court, they probably would have filed some time ago. MERS have apparently been settling cases rather than pursue ones where it though the judge would issue an unfavorable precedent

3. The case in question, from what the experts I consulted with and I can tell, is not the sort the Supreme Court would intervene in based on the issue raised, which is due process (14th Amendment). But none of us have seen the underlying lower and appellate court cases, and the summaries we’ve seen are unusually unclear as to what the legal argument is. [read more [14]]

Iowa Says State AG Accord Won’t Release Banks From Liability

The 50-state attorney general group investigating mortgage foreclosure practices won’t release banks from all civil, or any criminal, liability in a settlement, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said. [read more [15]]

Fed Launches New Formal Enforcement Action Against Goldman Sachs To Review Foreclosure Practices

The Federal Reserve Board has just launched a formal enforcement action against Goldman Sachs related to Litton Loan Services. Litton Loan is the nightmare-ridden mortgage servicing unit, a subsidiary of Goldman, that Goldman has been trying to sell for months. They penned a deal to recently, but the Fed stepped in and required Goldman to end robo-signing taking place at the unit before the sale could be completed. Sounds like this enforcement action is an extension of that requirement. [read more [16]]

Goldman Sachs, Firms Agree With Regulator To End ‘Robo-Signing’ Foreclosure Practices

Goldman Sachs and two other firms have agreed with the New York banking regulator to end the practice known as robo-signing, in which bank employees signed foreclosure documents without reviewing case files as required by law, the Wall Street Journal said. In an agreement with New York’s financial-services superintendent, Goldman, its Litton Loan Servicing unit and Ocwen Financial Corp also agreed to scrutinize loan files for evidence they mishandled borrowers’ paperwork and to cut mortgage payments for some New York homeowners, the Journal said. [read more [17]]

Banks still robo-signing, filing doubtful foreclosure documents

Reuters has found that some of the biggest U.S. banks and other “loan servicers” continue to file questionable foreclosure documents with courts and county clerks. They are using tactics that late last year triggered an outcry, multiple investigations and temporary moratoriums on foreclosures. In recent months, servicers have filed thousands of documents that appear to have been fabricated or improperly altered, or have sworn to false facts. Reuters also identified at least six “robo-signers,” individuals who in recent months have each signed thousands of mortgage assignments — legal documents which pinpoint ownership of a property. These same individuals have been identified — in depositions, court testimony or court rulings — as previously having signed vast numbers of foreclosure documents that they never read or checked. [read more [18]]

JPMorgan fined for contravening Iran, Cuba sanctions

JPMorgan Chase Bank has been fined $88.3 million for contravening US sanctions against regimes in Iran, Cuba and Sudan, and the former Liberian government, the US Treasury Department announced Thursday. The Treasury said that the bank had engaged in a number of “egregious” financial transfers, loans and other facilities involving those countries but, in announcing a settlement with the bank, said they were “apparent” violations of various sanctions regulations. [read more [19]]

This Is Considered Punishment? The Federal Reserve Wells Fargo Farce

What made the news surprising, of course, was that the Federal Reserve has rarely, if ever, taken action against a bank for making predatory loans. Alan Greenspan, the former Fed chairman, didn’t believe in regulation and turned a blind eye to subprime abuses. His successor, Ben Bernanke, is not the ideologue that Greenspan is, but, as an institution, the Fed prefers to coddle banks rather than punish them.

That the Fed would crack down on Wells Fargo would seem to suggest a long-overdue awakening. Yet, for anyone still hoping for justice in the wake of the financial crisis, the news was hardly encouraging. First, the Fed did not force Wells Fargo to admit guilt — and even let the company issue a press release blaming its wrongdoing on a “relatively small group.”

The $85 million fine was a joke; in just the last quarter, Wells Fargo’s revenues exceeded $20 billion. And compensating borrowers isn’t going to hurt much either. By my calculation, it won’t top $20 million. [read more [20]]

Exclusive: Regulators seek high-frequency trading secrets

U.S. securities regulators have taken the unprecedented step of asking high-frequency trading firms to hand over the details of their trading strategies, and in some cases, their secret computer codes. The requests for proprietary code and algorithm parameters by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a Wall Street brokerage regulator, are part of investigations into suspicious market activity, said Tom Gira, executive vice president of FINRA’s market regulation unit. [read more [21]]

And here’s part of the Collapse Roundup [3] I wrote on August 25th, referenced in the beginning of this report – as you will see, I would probably make a lot more money as an investment adviser:

Collapse Roundup #5: Goliath On The Ropes, Big Banks Getting Hit Hard, It’s A “Bloodbath” As Wall Street’s Crimes Blow Up In Their Face

Time to put your Big Bank shorts [22] on! Get ready for a run [23]

The chickens are coming home to roost. Reality is catching up with the market riggers (Fed, ECB, PPT, CIA) and the “too big to fail” banks are getting whacked. Trillions of dollars in bailouts and legalized (FASB) accounting fraud cannot save these insolvent zombie banks any longer. The Grim Reaper is on the horizon and his sickle will do what paid off politicians won’t, cut ‘em down to size. So get your silver stake [24] ready, time to plunge it into their vampire squid hearts….

What about Warren Buffet? He saved Goldman Sachs with a bailout in 2008. Can he save Bank of America?…

Warren’s bailout will help BofA over the short run, but $5 billion is just a drop in the bucket when it comes to their problems. The only thing his $5 billion will accomplish is a temporary run up in stock value so everyone who has been killed on the plummeting stock price can then jump out without complete loss….

Trouble a-comin’…

Goldman Sachs TANKS After CEO Lloyd Blankfein Hires Famous Defense Lawyer

Is the Goldman Sachs CEO facing a new lawsuit?

The market seems to think so. Goldman Sachs just tanked in minutes before the close after news that Lloyd Blankfein hired a lawyer famous for defending vilified execs. It’s back up a bit since dropping over 5%, but the news is still concerning.

It’s unclear whether the lawyer is for him, Goldman Sachs, or both, but Goldman Sachs’s CEO Lloyd Blankfein hired Reid Weingarten, a high profile defense attorney who says “I’m used to these monstrously difficult cases where everybody hates my clients,” according to Reuters.

Reuters says the hire might have something to do with accusations of Blankfein’s committing perjury. Or something else:

One former federal prosecutor, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Blankfein may have hired outside counsel after receiving a request from investigators for documents or other information. [read full report [25]]

Speaking of hiring lawyers…

The Global Banking Cartel’s Crimes Are Being Exposed Left & Right…

Blowing Up In Their Face… Prepare for Shock & Awe…

BOOM! Moody’s exposed:

MOODY’S ANALYST BREAKS SILENCE: Says Ratings Agency Rotten To Core With Conflicts

A former senior analyst at Moody’s has gone public with his story of how one of the country’s most important rating agencies is corrupted to the core.

The analyst, William J. Harrington, worked for Moody’s for 11 years, from 1999 until his resignation last year.

From 2006 to 2010, Harrington was a Senior Vice President in the derivative products group, which was responsible for producing many of the disastrous ratings Moody’s issued during the housing bubble.

Harrington has made his story public in the form of a 78-page “comment” to the SEC’s proposed rules about rating agency reform….

Here are some key points:

* Moody’s ratings often do not reflect its analysts’ private conclusions. Instead, rating committees privately conclude that certain securities deserve certain ratings–but then vote with management to give the securities the higher ratings that issuer clients want.

* Moody’s management and “compliance” officers do everything possible to make issuer clients happy–and they view analysts who do not do the same as “troublesome.” Management employs a variety of tactics to transform these troublesome analysts into “pliant corporate citizens” who have Moody’s best interests at heart.

* Moody’s product managers participate in–and vote on–ratings decisions. These product managers are the same people who are directly responsible for keeping clients happy and growing Moody’s business.

* At least one senior executive lied under oath at the hearings into rating agency conduct. Another executive, who Harrington says exemplified management’s emphasis on giving issuers what they wanted, skipped the hearings altogether. [read full report [26]]

BOOM! The SEC Caught Covering Up Wall Street Crimes:

Matt Taibbi Exposes How SEC Shredded Thousands of Investigations

An explosive new report in Rolling Stone magazine exposes how the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission destroyed records of thousands of investigations, whitewashing the files of some of the nation’s largest banks and hedge funds, including AIG, Wells Fargo, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and top Wall Street broker Bernard Madoff. Last week, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said an agency whistleblower had sent him a letter detailing the unlawful destruction of records detailing more than 9,000 information investigations. We speak with Matt Taibbi, the political reporter for Rolling Stone magazine who broke this story in his latest article….

KA-BOOM! The Fed And All Their Crony-Capitalist Cartel Members Exposed, Yet Again:

Wall Street Pentagon Papers Part III – Are The Federal Reserve’s Crimes Still Too Big To Comprehend?

Another day, another trillion plus in secret Federal Reserve “bailouts” revealed. Bloomberg News exposes this latest Fed “deal” after winning a long Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) legal battle to get the details on what was done with the American people’s money. Their report runs with an AmpedStatus style headline: “Wall Street Aristocracy Got $1.2 Trillion From Fed.”

The aristocracy is alive and well… thanks to the Fed, of course.

Keep in mind, this $1.2 trillion is in addition to the $16 trillion the Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit revealed and the over $2 trillion in Quantitative Easing the Fed dished out, not to mention the now continued promise of the Zero Interest Rate Policy (ZIRP). This is also separate from the $700 billion TARP program that Congress approved. This is yet another unknown secret program, throwing another mere $1.2 trillion in public money at the Wall Street elite (global banking cartel), just being revealed now.

Those of us paying attention over the past three years have had Fed crony-capitalism on steroids fatigue for awhile now. Nonetheless, this is deja vu all over again as another mindbogglingly huge story that must be covered comes to light.

Here are the details of this latest revelation:

[read full report [27]]

Speaking of the $16 trillion GAO audit…

BOOM! GAO audit exposed, missing some vital details:

More on how the GAO’s Fed audit failed to disclose some dirty secrets about BlackRock and JP Morgan

In its review of the Fed’s outsourcing practices, it failed to mention the most damaging and suspicious sole-source (no bid) contract awarded to BlackRock, which was for handling the New York Fed’s toxic Bear Stearns portfolio, otherwise known as Maiden Lane. This contract would generate $108,000,000 in fees and was one of the largest awarded during the bailout period, but it might also have saved JP Morgan $1.1 billion in losses from its Bear Stearns acquisition….

Also, BlackRock was also one of the managers of the NY Fed’s separate $1.25 trillion MBS purchase program as part of QE1. Contrary to the lie on the NY Fed’s webpage (that the MBS auctions were conducted via competitive bidding), the NY Fed’s own purchasing manager, Brian Sack, admitted in a paper that, “the MBS purchases were arranged with primary dealer counterparties directly, [and] there was no auction mechanism to provide a measure of market supply.”

Putting it all together, it looks like Jamie Dimon signed off on hiring BlackRock for no justifiable reason to trade the very Maiden Lane portfolio that could have caused his bank, JP Morgan, to lose up to $1.1 billion. And, it was entirely possible that BlackRock saved the portfolio by trading the MBS portion of ML with the New York Fed directly as QE1 was underway. [read full report [28]]

BOOM! Bear Stearns exposed:

Report Says Bear Stearns Executives Sold Illegal RMBS and Covered It Up

Former back office employees from Bear Stearns are coming out of the woodwork to explain how Tom Marano’s mortgage group cheated their own clients out of billions. This week I reported at The Distressed Debt Report, EMC insiders say they were told to make up the classification for whole loans, packaged into mortgage securities, to get them switched out of the trust. By classifying the loans as ‘prepaid’ or having ‘subsequent recoveries’ Bear employees were able to fool the trustee into giving them back loans they were not able to legally service. A move New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is actively investigating now.

In my latest DealFlow story we hear from EMC staffers who describe how subprime loans, that would have been sold by Bear Stearns trader Jeff Verschleiser’s team, never had a proper servicing license in West Virginia when they were packaged into the residential mortgage backed security. In 2003 Bear/EMC put $100 million of subprime loans from West Virginia into a few RMBS transactions. EMC, the banks wholly owned mortgage servicing shop, would service all of Bear’s RMBS after they were sold.

A year latter, when senior executies realized the mishap instead of Bear going out and informing their regulator and applying for a license, they orchestrated a cover up and even threaten EMC employees not to talk about it. [read full report]

The big banks are getting lit up!

You shall reap what you sow.

Karma is a … bit@h. [read full report [3]]

Let’s end with this video. We need to keep in mind that the Federal Reserve has known about all of this criminal activity from the start. Yet, they have done everything they could, and are still trying, to keep this criminal operation up and running. As all these criminal banks begin to blow up, let’s not forget who their central bank is and what they have done to the American people.

Cenk, take it away and drive the point home:

 David DeGraw is the founder and editor of AmpedStatus.com [29]. His long-awaited book, The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III [30], will finally be released on September 28th. He can be emailed at David[@]AmpedStatus.com. You can follow David’s reporting daily on his new personal website: DavidDeGraw.org [31]

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Notes

[1] : http://twitter.com/home/?status=Full-Blown+Civil+War+Erupts+On+Wall+Street%3A+As+Reality+Finally+Hits+The+Financial+Elite%2C+They+Start+Turning+On+Each+…+http%3A%2F%2Fampedstatus.org%2F%3Fp%3D5984

[2] : http://reddit.com/submit?url=http://ampedstatus.org/full-blown-civil-war-erupts-on-wall-street-as-reality-finally-hits-the-financial-elite-they-start-turning-on-each-other/&title=Full-Blown+Civil+War+Erupts+On+Wall+Street%3A+As+Reality+Finally+Hits+The+Financial+Elite%2C+They+Start+Turning+On+Each+Other

[3] last week: http://daviddegraw.org/2011/08/collapse-roundup-5-goliath-on-the-ropes-big-banks-getting-hit-hard-its-a-bloodbath-as-wall-streets-crimes-blow-up-in-their-face/

[4] read full FHFA release: http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/22599/PLSLitigation_final_090211.pdf

[5] individual bank here: http://www.fhfa.gov/Default.aspx?Page=110

[6] BofA, JPMorgan Among 17 Banks Sued by U.S. for $196 Billion: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-03/jpmorgan-bofa-among-17-banks-sued-by-fhfa-over-196-billion-in-securities.html

[7] read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/31/us-bankofamerica-usbancorp-idUSTRE77U08E20110831

[8] read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/30/us-bankofamerica-lawsuits-idUSTRE77T47620110830

[9] read more: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/08/nevada-lawsuit-shows-bank-of-americas-criminal-incompetent.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

[10] read more: http://www.propublica.org/article/nevada-slams-bank-of-america-with-sweeping-suit-nation-wide-foreclosure-set

[11] read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-29/fdic-objects-to-bank-of-america-s-proposed-8-5-billion-mortgage-bond-pact.html

[12] read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/02/us-bofa-fed-idUSTRE7811EQ20110902

[13] read more: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/08/bombshell-admission-of-failed-securitization-process-in-american-home-mortgage-servicinglps-lawsuit.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

[14] read more: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/08/mers-case-filed-with-supreme-court.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

[15] read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-09-02/iowa-s-miller-says-foreclosure-deal-won-t-release-banks-from-all-liability.html

[16] read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/fed-launches-new-formal-enforcement-action-against-goldman-sachs-to-review-foreclosure-practices-2011-9

[17] read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/01/goldman-sachs-robo-signing-regulator_n_944622.html

[18] read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/19/foreclosure-banks-idUSL3E7IJ2IF20110719

[19] read more: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5h2T9j2YWLDqLovl3bo2PZGl-1bKQ?docId=CNG.2c9a5880ea1cf072080ef3cacbb44f05.4b1

[20] read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/opinion/26nocera.html?_r=2

[21] read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/01/us-financial-regulation-algos-idUSTRE7806J420110901

[22] shorts: http://beginnersinvest.about.com/cs/newinvestors/a/022703a.htm

[23] run: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bank_run

[24] silver stake: http://ampedstatus.org/time-to-fight-back-crash-jp-morgan-buy-silver/

[25] read full report: http://www.businessinsider.com/blankfein-hires-weingarten-2011-8#ixzz1VyoKHbio

[26] read full report: http://www.businessinsider.com/moodys-analyst-conflicts-corruption-and-greed-2011-8#ixzz1VyihDRRn

[27] read full report: http://daviddegraw.org/2011/08/wall-street-pentagon-papers-part-iii-are-the-federal-reserves-crimes-still-too-big-to-comprehend/

[28] read full report: http://english.economicpolicyjournal.com/2011/08/more-on-how-gaos-phony-fed-audit-failed.html

[29] AmpedStatus.com: http://AmpedStatus.com

[30] The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III: http://ampedstatus.com/word-from-the-watchtower-a-hard-rain-is-going-to-fall-introduction-to-the-road-through-2012-revolution-or-world-war-iii/

[31] DavidDeGraw.org: http://daviddegraw.org/

[32] donate to support our efforts here: http://ampedstatus.com/donation.php

by Oz Rosenberg, Ilan Lior and Gili Cohen

Over 450,000 protesters attended rallies across the country last night calling for social justice in what was the largest demonstration in Israeli history.

The main protest took place in Tel Aviv’s Kikar Hamedina, where some 300,000 people gathered after marching from Habima Square about two kilometers away. Protest leader Yonatan Levy said the atmosphere was like “a second Independence Day.”

Protest leaders Daphni Leef and National Student Union Chairman Itzik Shmuli both addressed the Tel Aviv crowd. “Mr. Prime Minister, the new Israelis have a dream and it is simple: to weave the story of our lives into Israel. We expect you to let us live in this country. The new Israelis will not give up. They demand change and will not stop until real solutions come,” Shmuli said.

“My generation always felt as though we were alone in this world, but now we feel the solidarity,” said Leef. “They tried to dismiss us as stupid children, and as extreme leftists,” but last night’s countrywide protest proved otherwise, she said.

Dr. Shiri Tannenbaum, a medical resident leading the young doctors’ protest against the recent collective wage agreement signed between the government and the Israel Medical Association, also spoke at the Tel Aviv rally.

In Jerusalem, an unprecedented 50,000 people filled Paris Square and the surrounding streets, almost twice the number that attended previous protests this summer.

Actress and comedienne Orna Banai told the crowd in the capital: “I am not amused that there are hungry children here; that we have a soldier rotting in captivity for five years; that Israel is one of the poorest examples there are of human rights.”

The chairman of the Hebrew University Student Union, Itai Gotler, said: “We changed this summer. The voice of the mother, the teacher, the student, have been heard…The fire of protest was lit in Tel Aviv, but the tent city in Jerusalem shows that the protest belongs to all of us.”

Gotler said the Jerusalem tent city was closing down, but pledged to continue the struggle.

Yehuda Alush, 52, from Be’er Sheva, among a group of protesters from the Negev who marched to the capital, said: “This protest must not stop or we’ll lose.” In Haifa, the protest drew 40,000 people, many of whom waved red flags.

The Haifa protest focused on the issue of discrimination against Arabs. Shahin Nasser, representative of the Wadi Nisnas protest tent in Haifa said: “Today we are changing the rules of the game. No more coexistence based on hummus and fava beans. What is happening here is true coexistence, when Arabs and Jews march together shoulder to shoulder calling for social justice and peace. We’ve had it. Bibi, go home. Steinitz, go and don’t come back, Atias, good-bye and good riddance,” he said, referring to the prime minister, the finance minister and the housing minister, respectively.

The chairman of the University of Haifa’s student union, Yossi Shalom, told the crowd, gathered at the foot of the Bahai Gardens in the city’s German Colony, “There is no more beautiful sight than social solidarity. As a student, this is the most important lesson I have learned in recent months.” At the protest in Afula the numbers reached 12,000; in Rosh Pina, 7,000 and in Kiryat Shemona, 7,000.

Meanwhile, in the south, a total of more than 1,000 people took part in rallies in Mitzpe Ramon and Arad. Ya’akov Laksi, an organizer of the protest in Arad, told the crowd: “Social justice means Arad will no longer be called an outlying town. We need to bring people work.”

Laksi said organizers had expected only 100 protesters.

“We want the government to increase funding, not take from someone else,” Eyal Adler, an organizer of the protest in Mitzpe Ramon said.

A protester who gave her name as Ruthie, said: “We are far from the eye of the media, but we deserve no less funding and a change in the funding map of Israel.”

Concerns over possible rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip led the Home Front Command to issue a directive prohibiting demonstrations in Be’er Sheva, Ashdod and Ashkelon.

Eli Ashkenazi and Yanir Yagna contributed to this report.

Il futuro della Libia secondo i piani della Nato

September 4th, 2011 by Manlio Dinucci

Nella rappresentazione mediatica della guerra di Libia, dominano la scena i «ribelli», mentre la Nato è defilata dietro le quinte. Eppure è nella sua cabina di regia che è stata preparata e diretta la guerra e si decide il futuro assetto del paese.

La missione della Nato è efficace e ancora necessaria, ha dichiarato la portavoce Oana Lungescu. Nessuno ne dubita: in cinque mesi di «Protezione unificata» sono state effettuati 21mila raid aerei, di cui oltre 8mila di attacco con bombe e missili, mentre decine di navi da guerra hanno attaccato con missili ed elicotteri e controllato le acque territoriali libiche per assicurare l’embargo alle forze governative e le forniture a quelle del Cnt di Bengasi. Allo stesso tempo agenti e forze speciali di Stati uniti, Gran Bretagna, Francia e altri paesi hanno svolto un ruolo chiave sul terreno, segnalando agli aerei gli obiettivi da colpire, preparando e dirigendo l’attacco a Tripoli. La Nato ha svolto un ruolo decisivo senza il quale i ribelli non avrebbero mai potuto entrare a Tripoli, conferma il generale tedesco Egon Ramms.

La nostra missione, ha dichiarato il segretario generale dell’Alleanza Anders Fogh Rasmussen, continuerà fino a che continueranno gli attacchi e le minacce (sic). Significa che, compiuta la «missione», la Nato lascerà ai libici la possibilità di decidere il futuro del paese? Per niente. Significa che essa passerà alla fase 2 della «missione». Non esiste semplicemente una soluzione militare a questa crisi, sottolinea un comunicato dell’Alleanza, ma abbiamo bisogno di un processo politico per una pacifica transizione alla democrazia in Libia. E la Nato, assicura Rasmussen, è pronta a svolgere un ruolo di sostegno.

Non si specifica in qual modo, ma un piano generale – deciso fondamentalmente a Washington, Londra e Parigi – è già pronto. Ne sono filtrati alcuni particolari attraverso dichiarazioni di singoli funzionari. Formalmente su richiesta del futuro governo (diretto da politici garanti degli interessi delle maggiori potenze occidentali), la Nato continuerà a controllare lo spazio aereo e le acque territoriali della Libia. Ufficialmente per assicurare gli aiuti umanitari e proteggere il personale civile sotto bandiera Onu. Ciò richiederà il libero accesso ai porti e agli aeroporti libici, che saranno di fatto trasformati in basi militari Nato, anche se vi sventolerà la bandiera rosso, nero e verde – la stessa del regime di re Idris, che negli anni ’50 concesse a Gran Bretagna e Stati uniti l’uso del territorio per impiantarvi basi militari, come quella aerea statunitense di Wheelus Field alle porte di Tripoli. Una collocazione ideale, oggi, per il quartier generale del Comando Africa degli Stati uniti.

La Nato continua a ripetere che non intende inviare truppe in Libia, non esclude però che lo facciano singoli alleati o la Ue, che ha già pronti gruppi di battaglia a dispiegamento rapido.    

Allo stesso tempo, la Nato addestrerà e armerà le «forze di sicurezza» libiche. Concetto relativo. Responsabile della sicurezza di Tripoli è stato nominato (con il placet Nato) Abdel Hakim Belhaj che, ritornato dalla jihad anti-sovietica in Afghanistan, formò in Libia il Gruppo combattente islamico. Fu catturato come terrorista dalla Cia in Malaysia nel 2004 ma, dopo la normalizzazione con Tripoli, rinviato in Libia, dove (in base a un accordo tra i due servizi segreti) fu rimesso in libertà nel 2010. Sarà lui a garantire, in veste di presidente del consiglio militare di Tripoli, la pacifica transizione alla democrazia in Libia.

il manifesto, 4 settembre 2011  

While NATO members, led by France, piously proclaimed at the onset of their military offensive in Libya that their concerns were solely humanitarian, a covert tussle to gain a commanding lead in developing the country’s energy riches in light of Colonel Gaddafi’s departure is well underway.

The Libyan economy depends primarily upon revenues from the oil sector, which contribute about 95 percent of export earnings, 25 percent of GDP, and 80 percent of government revenue.

Prior to the outbreak of conflict, Libya was exporting about 1.3-1.4 million barrels per day from production estimated at roughly 1.79 million barrels per day, of which approximately 280,000 barrels per day were indigenously consumed. But analysts believe that with reconstruction Libya could soon be exporting 1.6 million barrels per day of high-quality, light crude.

But current production is the proverbial mere drop in the bucket. Libya has the largest proven oil reserves in Africa with 42 billion barrels of oil and over 1.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. Causing oil company executives from Houston to Beijing to drool on their Gucci loafers, only 25 percent of Libya’s territory has been explored to date for hydrocarbons.

Libya is already Europe’s single largest oil supplier, the second largest oil producer in Africa and the continent’s fourth largest natural gas supplier and already dominates the Southern Mediterranean’s petroleum sector. According to the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC), more than 50 international oil companies are already present in the Libyan market.

So, peering into Libya’s future, who’s actually ahead?

France, apparently.

On 3 April a letter was allegedly sent by Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC) to a coalition partner, Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, which mentioned that France would take “35 percent of crude oil…in exchange for its total and permanent support” of the NTC. France’s Liberation daily reported on Thursday that it had a copy of the letter, which stated that the NTC’s Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam, would negotiate the deal with France. In 2010 France was the second purchaser of Libyan oil after Italy, with over 15 percent of its “black gold” imported from Tripoli.

Zut alors!

The number one National Transition Council, Moustapha Abdeljalil recently reported that the States would be rewarded” according to support “given to the insurgents.

While NTC head Mustafa Abdel Jalil has not hidden the fact that the NTC would assign a higher priority for reconstruction and the allocation of oil contracts to countries that supported their uprising, remarking that nations would be rewarded “according to the support” given to the insurgents, the NTC’s UK representative, Guma al-Gamaty, said that future oil contracts would be granted “on the basis of merit, not patronage. The contracts will be concluded in a transparent manner. “

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe solemnly denied during a radio interview any knowledge of a “formal” or specific deal but brightly added that it would be “logical” for countries like France, which helped the NTC in its struggle against Gaddafi, to take part in reconstruction.

French President Nicholas Sarkozy was the major European advocate for armed intervention in Libya and his administration was the first officially to recognize the NTC as “the sole, legitimate representative of the Libyan people” and the country’s sole governmental authority, as well as lobbying other nations to recognize the NTC.

Seeking a share of “la gloire,” France was also the first state to commence attacks on 19 March against Gaddafi’s armed forces in Benghazi and along with fellow NATO member Britain, have since provided the majority of the military equipment and personnel used during NATO’s operations in Libya. Going into grey areas of international law in its eagerness to oust Gaddafi France also supplied some weaponry to opposition forces in Libya, a move that came under harsh criticism because of the total arms embargo imposed by the UN Security Council on arms deliveries to any side in the conflict.

NTC’s Paris-based envoy Mansour Sayf al-Nasr denied that such a letter had been sent or that any such pledge had been given. But no one was backpedalling more furiously than Information Minister Shammam, who intoned that such an arrangement was unthinkable.

“It’s a joke. It’s false,” Shammam said.

Well, if you cannot believe an Information Minister, who can you trust? Sleazy journalists?  It will certainly be interesting to see how the issue plays out in the days ahead, and if France does indeed get it 35 percent cut of the loot, which at present production rates, would average about 500,000 barrels per day.

John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com

Introduction

The legal and political implications of 9/11 have turned scientific research in this area into a high stakes competition for the minds of the public. Pertinent information has been kept secret, the corporate media has systematically kept “damaging” information (such as video images of the World Trade Center Building 7) out of public view, 9/11 research has been marginalized, and the official investigations have failed to answer, or in many cases even address, the most troubling questions. One development that appears to be a tactic in the ongoing cover-up is the high profile promotion of transparently false theories, “straw men,” the only purpose of which appears to be to allow the 9/11 Truth Movement to be ridiculed.

With the tenth anniversary of 9/11 upon us, the battle for public perceptions has intensified and there is a heightened campaign to undermine the scientific basis of the truth movement.

Dr Judy Wood has published a book asserting that the World Trade Center (WTC) towers were felled by “dustification” of the steel, which she claims is achieved by the use of “directed free energy”.1  It is, however, obvious that the steel was severed and fell in normal lengths, otherwise intact, as seen in conventional demolitions. The similarly foolish idea that the WTC towers were demolished by nuclear explosives, long ago refuted,2  has also been recently revived, with a new claimant appearing, Jeff Prager,3  but this appears to be having little influence so far. No explanation involving “directed free energy” or nuclear devices could account for the way separate explosions appeared in the Twin Towers, layer by layer, descending at a precise rate, as the towers came down.4

It is important to distinguish between devious false claims, intended to weaken the truth movement, and false claims which result from accidental errors. There can be errors of interpretation of evidence, calculation errors and misleading testimonies from witnesses who fail to correctly remember the event they observed and describe.

An example of an unfortunate calculation error is found in the work of Pilots for 9/11 Truth (PFT). This group has a long-held position that the topography near the Pentagon would rule out impact by American Airlines Flight 77 (AA77). This position was based on a calculation that the plane would necessarily experience an unsurvivable force of 10.14g if it attempted to pull up from the dive on approach to the Pentagon. 5  PFT based its calculation on a path that was somewhat different from the path of the plane as shown in the files initially provided by the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB), reportedly from the flight data recorder (FDR). The NTSB data appeared to show that the flight terminated at a point too high to have hit the Pentagon. Instead, to make the possibility of impact more feasible, the PFT calculation was based on the assumption that the plane actually came in much lower, level with the top of the VDOT antenna tower near the Navy Annex. It was shown by several researchers that this calculation was incorrect due to a substantial error in determining the radius of the pull-up arc. This error, in turn, produced an excessive value for the required g-force. The error was increased by assuming, without evidence, that the plane traveled in a straight line at a constant descent angle from the top of the antenna to the first light pole hit. If this artificial restriction is removed, and the plane is allowed to follow a curved approach, the pull-up can be spread over a wider arc, increasing the radius of curvature and reducing the wing load. Calculation shows that paths can be found such that the force generated would place no undue stress on the aircraft, being well below the design limit of 2.5g.6

The file provided by the NTSB certainly appeared to show the plane was not only too high to strike the Pentagon but also was descending too steeply to have produced the type of damage observed. This behavior suggested to some researchers that the recording of data had been terminated while the plane was still on descent. John Farmer used radar data to check the FDR file data and concluded that indeed several seconds of data was missing from the end of the file.7  Recently Warren Stutt discovered that there was one more frame of data at the end of the FDR file which had not been decoded previously. He wrote a decoding program and managed to extract a further 4 seconds of data. This data includes radio height above ground, which now shows the plane descending smoothly, pulling up safely and hitting the Pentagon close to the ground, in accordance with the majority of eyewitness reports.8 PFT is not willing to use this data as there is no proof that the file is authentic and has not been tampered with.9 Despite claiming that the file cannot be relied upon they use it to claim that the final radio height was measured from the Pentagon roof as the plane flew over. It has been shown that this argument is not correct as the prior data points do not reveal a sudden jump upward of the reflecting surface as the Pentagon is reached.10   

It is further argued by PFT that the radar data must be in error as it does not correspond with the pressure altimeter record, which still shows the plane too high to hit the Pentagon. On approach to the Pentagon, however, the plane is flying much faster than normal for an aircraft at low altitude and so would be operating well beyond the calibration envelope for the altimeter. It appears that, at least on this particular plane, a substantial error is produced, increasing as the plane accelerates and descends. In contrast the radio height would not be affected by speed. It is therefore reasonable to accept the height it shows, which corresponds with the height shown by the damage to the light poles and the face of the Pentagon. This has been fully discussed in a previous paper where it is shown that the altimeter reading and radio height reading correspond closely with each other at normal altitude and speed but diverge as the plane descends and accelerates to abnormal speeds.8

One of the reasons why PFT may be reluctant to utilize the newly decoded last frame of data in the FDR file is that the concept that the plane could not have hit the Pentagon, and therefore must have flown over, is supported by the Citizen Investigation Team (CIT). In this paper we examine the flyover theory presented by CIT and find it to be false.

CIT claims (1) that the plane approached the Pentagon along a path too far north to have done the observed directional damage, (2) that all the damage was faked and (3) that the plane flew over the Pentagon. The apparently surprising claim that the plane flew over the Pentagon is a necessary part of the CIT position as it explains the lack of damage in alignment with the north path inside the Pentagon. CIT supports its theory with the testimony of a small number of selected witnesses, presented in selectively edited video interviews, who state that the plane passed north of the former Citgo service station.11 David Chandler and Jon Cole point out, among other things, that the CIT “…witnesses are not representative of the overall eyewitness pool”.12 Certainly their witnesses are not representative of the witness pool as there are very many more witnesses to impact.13 Gregg Roberts states that CIT’s work contains “logical fallacies”.14  CIT disputes the findings of Chandler and Cole at length 15 but provides no new evidence, and has intensified its personal attacks on anyone who criticizes their claims in blogs and Facebook. We do not assert that CIT is deliberately setting up false theories in order to expose the 9/11 Truth Movement to ridicule, but that is likely to be the ultimate effect of their efforts.

Unfortunately the well presented videos and website of CIT have impressed a lot of people, so dissension has arisen, which is destructive to the 9/11 Truth movement. Michiel de Boer has suggested that the accumulated evidence that a large commercial aircraft hit and damaged the Pentagon is now so substantial that we should plainly assert that impact did occur.16  The natural corollary to the proposition that impact occurred is that the claimed north path, and consequent overfly of the Pentagon, is false. The physical implausibility of the north path proposition will be demonstrated in this paper.

Consideration of prior events

During the morning of 9/11 four planes were hijacked and the normal interception response failed. Two of these planes hit the WTC towers. These impacts were seen by many people and recorded on video. It cannot be rationally disputed that they occurred. The impact on the South Tower was recorded on several videos showing that the plane largely penetrated the building. Very clear photographs of the impact areas of both towers exist and it is clear that all but the wing tips entered the buildings. Some debris fell to the street below and was reported by eyewitnesses and photographed. The amount was small and appeared commensurate with the portion of the impact area not penetrated.

In the case of the Pentagon the outer wall had been reinforced to an unusual degree during renovation so it appears reasonable that the impact hole would be smaller and that more of the plane would fail to penetrate the building. Photographs and videos show the entire wingspan of the plane damaged the face of the building but the entry hole was smaller. On the ground outside the Pentagon a substantial amount of debris was observed and recorded in photographs and videos. Again the amount of debris outside appeared roughly commensurate with the portion of the impact area not penetrated.

As two incidents had occurred that morning in which planes had been observed to deeply penetrate buildings, it should not have been surprising that a plane could penetrate the Pentagon, and there was initially general acceptance of the impact report. Unfortunately, however, a number of observers saw the debris outside the Pentagon but did not see the sizable hole in the wall, more than adequate to allow most of the aircraft to enter. They reported that the amount of debris was not sufficient. Thus was created the fertile field in which alternative theories developed to explain the observed damage.

Discussion

The physical evidence at the Pentagon is consistent with the view that a plane with the wingspan of a Boeing 757 flew into the Pentagon 17 along a straight line at a heading of about 61°, damaging light poles, a fence and a heavy generator; largely penetrated the outer wall and caused a trail of further damage in the same direction inside. A best-fit line through the positions reported in the fully decoded FDR data file has a heading of 61.3° for the last 20 seconds of flight, similar to the heading of the radar data, which places the approach south of the former Citgo service station and therefore in accordance with the official account. The bulk of the eyewitness testimony is in agreement with the physical data and with these records. Despite this persuasive evidence, CIT continues to assert that the plane flew north of the Citgo (NOC) service station. This is the crucial assertion as only if it is true must we give consideration to CIT’s other assertions.

To explain the very obvious damage, and to set aside the accounts of the many eyewitnesses to impact, CIT presents the theory that the damage was done by explosives and that the departing plane was hidden from viewers by the rising plume of smoke from these explosives. Contradicting this theory is the fact that most of the viewers were to the side and would not have had their vision obscured. Also, many of the viewers testified to seeing the actual impact. They didn’t just say they saw the explosion; they describe the low-level approach of the plane and the impact. Some were very close and it is difficult to imagine how they could have been mistaken.18  It is highly improbable that a person whose eyes were fixed on the plane as it approached the face of the Pentagon would fail to follow it over the roof, if it had in fact flown over. The absence of flyover witnesses is significant, given that so many people were known to be watching the approach.

So far the arguments used against CIT have been mainly critiques of its methods. These studies indicate that CIT carefully selected witnesses who were prepared to say that they recalled seeing the plane passing NOC, and have avoided interviewing, or discounted, the many witnesses who recalled seeing the impact. There may be a handful of people who thought the plane was north of the official flight path, but there would have been hundreds of potential witnesses to a flyover, had it occurred, as the Pentagon has major roads passing by it on all sides and many vehicles were held up in traffic jams. That a plane flying over the Pentagon would be readily seen has been amply demonstrated by Jim Hoffman.19 Some counter that the view of the Pentagon would be obstructed by trees and guard rails, but there is a video from a moving car showing that the roof of the Pentagon would be visible for a great distance around the Pentagon.20 Some counter that the Google Earth images are misleading as they do not depict the buildings between the Pentagon and the surrounding roads, but there were no buildings tall enough to block the view of the roof of the Pentagon.

Closer examination shows that, of the NOC witnesses, all who were in a position to see the Pentagon reported that the plane actually hit the building or that it was flying so low it could not miss.21 CIT casts doubt on the testimony of the witnesses to impact by asserting that the use of explosives, as the plane passed by, created a “magic show” which fooled them. Many witnesses realized, however, that the plane was about to hit the Pentagon before the smoke appeared, so could not have been fooled by it.

By framing the direction of the approach as the central issue, CIT calls upon the witnesses to recollect what would have seemed to them to be a minor detail at the time, while ignoring, or explicitly discounting, their experience of the impact that would have been the clear focus of their attention and burned into their memory. While CIT has found these few witnesses who agree with the NOC flight path, it has been unable to find a single witness who endorses its flyover conclusion. One of their key witnesses (Lagasse) demonstrates clearly with his hands that the plane did not hit the wall straight on, and then says. “It kinda went in at an angle.” “When the plane hit it just kinda disappeared.” He indicated that his memory of the details may be open to question, but his memory of impact was not: “There is only one thing that is irrefutable … the fact is American Airlines plane went from here into the building. You can pick apart everything else …” 18 Another (Turcios) looked surprised when asked if he saw the plane fly over. He said “No. The only thing I saw was … direct line to go into the Pentagon. It collided.”22 Their third key witness (Brooks), who was across the street from the gas station, said that he watched the plane “… awfully low … just go nose dive into the Pentagon … full throttle … clip the lamp pole …” “… just the sheer impact … it just literally disintegrated the plane.”23 Clearly none of these witnesses is describing a flyover and none of them sounds uncertain or confused.

By framing the question as they do, as a matter of approach direction, CIT cleverly sidesteps the crucial issue, whether the plane was high or low, and thus appears to be the party creating the real magic show.

The classic witness to a low approach is Sean Boger, Air Traffic Controller in the heliport tower at the Pentagon. The glassed area of the tower extended round the side where impact occurred so he would have had an unobstructed view of the approach and the impact. “… coming right at us, and he didn’t veer.” “I am watching the plane go all the way into the building.” “Once the plane went into the building it exploded, and once it exploded, I hit the floor and just covered up my head. It was like glass shattering and ceiling tile was falling …” CIT says “more than likely he ducked,” trying to suggest that he couldn’t have seen the plane hit, but Boger’s words plainly contradict this speculation.24  Note the phrase “he didn’t veer,” indicating that the approach was not curved, as would have been the case had the plane passed NOC.

CIT uses methods which must be regarded as questionable for a scientific discussion and has published a list where people who disagree with its views are named and ridiculed, apparently for the purpose of intimidation.25 What it does not do is apply necessary logical processes to the debate. It does not consider evidence against its hypothesis but simply insists that the NOC witnesses must be irrefutable because they corroborate one another. CIT glosses over the highly pertinent fact that the number of witnesses who corroborate impact is far greater, and it ignores the absence of flyover witnesses. On this basis alone its hypothesis must be regarded as flimsy, at best.

Among the eyewitness testimonies we find several key witnesses who locate the plane south of the Sheraton hotel and the Navy Annex as it approached the Pentagon. We find that three of them, Ed Paik, Terry Morin and Albert Hemphill, are relied upon, but misrepresented, by CIT.

1. Deb Anlauf,26 from her room in the 14th floor of the Sheraton Hotel: “Suddenly I saw this plane right outside my window,” “You felt like you could touch it; it was that close. It was just incredible.”

2. Isobel James, 27 News 4, 10:17. “I saw a big plane, commercial liner type, going down full speed, inside, inside the side of the Pentagon. Obviously it was going into the Pentagon purposely. We were driving down Columbia Pike – right over us.” Q: “You actually saw the plane impact the side of the building?” A: “Yes I did.”

3. Ed Paik. 28 Eric Larson analyses the testimony of Paik, who saw the plane pass by while he was inside his shop, looking south through the window. The furthest north it could have been would be Columbia Pike, and the furthest south would be a little south of the VDOT antenna tower. CIT deceives the public by hiding the fact that Paik was inside his shop when he saw the plane. CIT touts the fact that they interviewed their witnesses on-site where they had originally witnessed the events, but the Paik interview was conducted outside, which colors his testimony.  He seems to go along with CIT’s idea that the plane went over the shop, but this would be impossible to observe from his actual location. He is listed as a north path witness but should not be, as he and his brother speculated that the plane may have damaged the VDOT tower, which would indicate a south path, as they noticed something was bent on the tower and saw work being done there the next day.

4. Terry Morin. 29 On the referenced website Morin carefully explains how he was able to see the plane descending until it partially disappeared behind some trees.

“… the noise was absolutely deafening.” “The aircraft was essentially right over the top of me and the outer portion of the FOB (flight path parallel the outer edge of the FOB).” “Within seconds the plane cleared the 8th Wing of BMDO and was heading directly towards the Pentagon. Engines were at a steady high-pitched whine, indicating to me that the throttles were steady and full. I estimated the aircraft speed at between 350 and 400 knots. The flight path appeared to be deliberate, smooth, and controlled. As the aircraft approached the Pentagon, I saw a minor flash (later found out that the aircraft had sheared off a portion of a highway light pole down on Hwy 110). As the aircraft flew ever lower I started to lose sight of the actual airframe as a row of trees to the Northeast of the FOB blocked my view. I could now only see the tail of the aircraft.”

Morin indicates that the plane was not directly over his head as he was able to see its markings, not visible from beneath.

“I estimate that the aircraft was no more than 100 feet above me (30 to 50 feet above the FOB) in a slight nose down attitude. The plane had a silver body with red and blue stripes down the fuselage. I believed at the time that it belonged to American Airlines, but I couldn’t be sure.”

Morin describes the plane traveling parallel to the Navy Annex and flying straight, directly toward the Pentagon. Given that he was on the ground near the Annex, only if the plane is on the south path, flying straight to the Pentagon, will it remain in his line-of-sight. CIT ignores his description of the path of the plane and claim him as a north path witness, though from his statement he must be a south path witness. CIT states that there is no south path witness; clearly we have found one already.

5. Albert Hemphill, interviewed by Craig Ranke of CIT:30 “Looking out the window thinking to myself, my God, what’s this world coming to … then I hear a roar and look out the window at the plane … over my right shoulder … over the gas station … clipped a light pole … diving … right over the bridge … smacked right into the building.”

Ranke then asked if it passed to the south of the VDOT antenna tower.

“That would be a bit far.” [Note that the VDOT antenna would not have been in Hemphill's view. He did, however, state that he was aware of its location.] “I saw one plane and I saw it hit… it didn’t pull up, it didn’t turn right, it didn’t turn left, it went right into the Pentagon.”

It is worth noting that Ranke is willing to lead a witness to get confirmation of his hypothesis, as his interview with Hemphill demonstrates. Hemphill initially paints a picture that is contrary to the NOC hypothesis. Ranke responds by telling him about several other witnesses by name, and saying “it’s rather compelling watching all these accounts match over and over and over and all describing the plane flying in the exact same place,” which was “between the gas station and Arlington cemetery.” Hemphill concedes that they could be right because anyone “out and about” would have a great vantage point. This is not to be confused with his own direct testimony, however, which is that the plane flew over his right shoulder, not far from the VDOT tower, went right over the “bridge” (clearly indicating the overpass of VA27 over Columbia Pike), clipped a light pole, flew close enough to the ground that he would speculate about “ground effect,” and hit the building at the level of the second row of windows. This path is entirely south of the Citgo gas station and in line with the trail of damage outside and inside the building, so Hemphill is clearly another south path witness, yet CIT claims him as a NOC witness. In light of the Asch Conformity Experiments, telling a witness what other witnesses have said invalidates the independence and validity of the data.31 

It should also be noted that this interview was carried out years after the event. Had Hemphill been standing at his office window when he was interviewed he would not have made the mistake of thinking the path might have been over or north of the Citgo service station. His line of sight from his office window to the impact point passes directly over the service station (see Fig. 3), so he was particularly well placed to judge that the path he clearly remembered, and asserted in all his statements, was to the south. He insisted that the path was straight, so could not have deviated round the Citgo service station. Again we have an interview that was not carried out on location, with no mention being made that this is another exception to their claim of reliability due to location. Hemphill was irritated by the pressure of the questioning and remarked “I saw what I saw. That is where it stands.”

It is important to note that several of the witnesses Ranke was quoting “over and over” were near the Arlington cemetery. It is not reasonable to assert they could accurately judge from that distance that the plane was a little north or a little south of the Citgo service station. In contrast it would be easy for them to judge whether the plane was steeply banked, but all these witnesses stated the plane flew “flat” over the Annex and then banked only slightly, or made no mention of an unusual steep bank angle.32 Hemphill’s words “it didn’t turn right, it didn’t turn left” correspond with Boger’s phrase “it didn’t veer” and with Morin’s assertion that the plane was “heading directly towards the Pentagon”. All these observations contradict the NOC path, as will become apparent below where we discuss the angle of bank required.

The evidence to this point leads us to infer that CIT has misled the public in regard to the witness testimonies, having failed to present the evidence of Lagasse, Turcios, Brooks, Paik, Morin, Hemphill and Boger fairly. It is our purpose to add another dimension to this discussion.

Analysis

Let us examine the dynamic feasibility of a NOC flight path.

Radar could not provide useful information close to the Pentagon as, by then, the plane would be too low, but radar tracks from four different facilities corroborate each other, leading directly toward the Pentagon. The track from the nearest radar facility, at Ronald Reagan National Airport, reaches to a point only about 6 seconds prior to impact. This is close enough to the Pentagon to indicate that all the witnesses who mentioned the distance from themselves to the plane underestimated the distance, as can be seen in the following image (Fig. 1).33 Recall, for instance, that Deb Anlauf at the Sheraton, about 500 feet from the radar track,  describes the plane as right outside her window saying, “You felt like you could touch it; it was that close.” Perhaps we underestimate distances in situations like this because we are not used to seeing large planes flying so low and interpret the large size as indicating closeness. From a statistical point of view it is unfortunate that there are many witnesses who were north of the path and few who were south of the path, close enough to form a clear impression of the position of the track, hence it is not surprising that there should be some northerly bias in the reporting. The FDR data extends the radar data for about 6 more seconds (Fig. 1) and shows no deviation right to the Pentagon.

Figure 1: Four radar tracks approach the Navy Annex. The yellow line is the last 20 seconds of the FDR data, aligned with the trail of damage. It shows no deviation over this distance.

The testimony of the witnesses cited above is in reasonable conformity with the path defined by the radar data, the FDR data and the damage trail. Some witnesses said the plane was coming along highway 395; some said it was coming along Columbia Pike, which runs close to the south side of the Navy Annex, nearly parallel with the closest section of highway 395. To be consistent with these witnesses the plane must have passed south of the Sheraton Hotel, south of the A-1 Car Repair shop of Ed Paik, and near Terry Morin. Morin may have been between the wings of the Navy Annex as the plane flew over, but said that he “ran to the outside” from between the wings to a “position where I could see it.”34 “As he starts to descend … he basically starts to disappear … the engines disappear, the bottom of the fuselage, the wings…” He followed the plane as it dipped down over a row of trees on its approach to the Pentagon until all he could see was the tail. He does not mention bank angle.

Taken at his word, Morin witnesses a direct approach to the Pentagon along the south path. We will, however, loosen that assumption to enable our discussion to proceed further and in our initial analysis will simply assume the plane does not veer north until it has passed Morin. Already this conflicts with Morin’s testimony, in that it cuts short the distance that it would be visible to him, as will become evident below.

To favor the NOC hypothesis as much as possible, we assume that the plane passed barely north of Citgo, in fact flying directly over the northernmost corner of the station. Finally we assume that, in order for the alleged “magic trick” with the smoke to work, the plane flew directly over the impact point on the west face of the Pentagon. For the sake of argument, we set aside the numerous observations of impact, the observations of the plane hitting light poles, a fence and a generator, and observations that it flew straight and descended very close to the ground.

For the plane to follow a path that conforms with the remaining constraints, it must deviate from its initial path. It must first turn left and then turn right. Turns for aircraft involve banking and heightened g-force, which is the apparent gravity induced by centripetal acceleration. We make the assumption that the radius of curvature, and hence the g-force, is equal for the left and right banks. This is the assumption most favorable to the NOC hypothesis. Furthermore, for a large plane to transition from a hard left bank to a hard right bank requires a roll maneuver, which takes some time. For simplicity we assume that the plane flies straight during the brief transition from left bank to right bank. Fighters are small and have their mass close to the longitudinal axis of the plane, so they can roll quickly. Large planes, with their outboard engines and heavy fuel tanks in the wings, have a large moment of inertia and would require several seconds to make the transition. However, for the sake of argument we will consider the implausibly short left-to-right roll times of one second, and one half second. Shortening the assumed roll time allows more space for the bank maneuvers, thus favoring the NOC hypothesis.

Aircraft speed

Speed is important as it is one of the two factors which determine angle of bank. Some of CIT’s witnesses estimate speeds of 350 to 400 mi/hr. These low estimates are uncalibrated guesses. There is good reason to believe that the testimony by the same and other witnesses that the plane was accelerating is more reliable, since it was based on the sound of the motors revving up.  The distinctive sound of the engines would be more reliably assessed than the speed of the plane itself as our ears are sensitive to pitch. It is understandable that visual estimates of speed would be low, given that all the observers perceived the plane to be closer than it really was. If an object moving across the field of view is farther than the viewer estimates, the reduced angular motion across the field of view, due to distance, will be misinterpreted as being due to lower speed. Several witnesses use words like “spooling up,” “full throttle,” and “powered descent” to describe what they heard.[35] We recall that Morin said he heard a “… steady high-pitched whine” indicating to him that “the throttles were steady and full.” The plane was also diving, so it had assistance from gravity in gaining speed. The FDR data indicates an average ground speed of 552 statute miles per hour (mi/hr) for the last 4 seconds and the final speed measured prior to impact was 556 mi/hr. The official estimate is 530 mi/hr, which is presumably based on the final speed shown in the original improperly decoded FDR file, 465 knots (535 mi/hr). The FDR file also shows that the engines were suddenly set to full power for the last half minute, during which time the plane accelerated rapidly and uniformly. Measurements of the radar positions, recorded every 4.7 seconds, shown in Fig. 1, provide independent confirmation of the speed and acceleration, as shown in Fig. 2. Distances were calculated using the Haversine method for great circle arc length, spherical earth approximation, from latitude and longitude.

Figure 2: Radar data from Ronald Reagan National Airport (the nearest source) confirm the acceleration shown in the FDR file, in conformity with witness reports of hearing the engines “spooling up”.

A trend line through this period gives a last 4.7 second interval averaging 520.2 mi/hr, accelerating at 6.39 mi/hr/s. Extrapolation of these figures to the next interval would give an average speed of 550.3 mi/hr, and after a further 2.35 seconds to the end of the interval, which would be very close to the moment of impact, the speed would be 565.3 mi/hr.

The last measured speed in the FDR file was 556 mi/hr. This is recorded in word 94. The impact is recorded in word 225, thus 131 words later. Each word is 1/225th of a second hence 0.58 seconds elapsed prior to impact. If the calculated acceleration was maintained during this period the final speed would be 560 mi/hr. The radar data thus lead to a final estimated speed which corresponds well with the FDR file.

As this plane, known to be aerodynamically efficient, was clean and diving, it could not possibly slow down significantly in those last few seconds as it passed the Navy Annex, even if, contrary to witness reports, it was throttled right back. Given the weight of evidence from the FDR file and radar, and the witness reports of the engine power rising, we reject the low speed estimates of 350 to 400 mph as flawed visual estimates without evidence. We will base our calculations on the official speed, 530 mi/hr, as a low estimate, and the FDR speed, averaged for the last four seconds, 552 mi/hr, as the more realistic estimate.

Computation of the g-forces involves a calculation based on the speed and the radius of curvature of the path. To determine the gentlest possible turns we used Geogebra, which is a free, open source, geometry software tool. We devised a geometrical construction such that given an approach line, a turn-off point on the line, a way point (labeled North Citgo in the diagrams), a target point, and duration for the roll maneuver, we could produce left and right arcs with equal radii and a straight segment between them, mutually tangent to the two arcs, representing the roll maneuver. Fig. 3 illustrates a typical result.

Figure 3: Path along the FDR route with turnoff level with Morin, 1 second roll time. The FDR track is shown in yellow, the left and right banks in red and the roll time in orange.

For a turn-off point level with Morin, with a 1 second roll time the results are:

Speed (mi/hr)

Bank Angle (deg)

g-Force

552

85.3

12.1

530

84.8

11.0

The design limit for a Boeing 757 is 2.5g. Even if the plane somehow held together, it would be impossible to control during such an extreme maneuver.

If we reduce the roll time to (a clearly fictitious) one half second the values improve somewhat, but not enough to bring them within the range of plausibility:

Speed (mi/hr)

Bank Angle (deg)

g-Force

552

84.7

10.7

530

84.2

9.9

Note that this scenario already conflicts with the testimony of Morin who stated that he watched the plane fly a considerable distance and descend behind a row of trees, with only the tall tail fin eventually being visible. It can be seen from the diagram (Fig. 3) that the plane would pass too quickly out of his line of sight. Note also that in this case the plane would disappear left wing first, his view obstructed by the vertical wall of the Annex, whereas we recall that he describes the plane disappearing from the bottom up, so his view must have been obstructed horizontally by the trees. We also see that witnesses would have seen the plane change from a steep left bank to a steep right bank between the Annex and the Citgo service station, but no such maneuver was reported.  

If we now discount Morin’s description of the path of the plane entirely, and allow that he did not see it at all after it passed him, we can construct a scenario more favorable to the NOC hypothesis by moving the turn-off point earlier (Fig. 4). The last radar position provides the earliest point that the turn can reasonably be commenced. Morin’s observation that the plane flew nearly overhead is found to be preserved. Note that the curves are gentler.

Figure 4: Path along FDR route with turnoff at the last radar position, 0.5 sec roll time.

Results, with a presumed 1 second roll interval:

Speed (mi/hr)

Bank Angle (deg)

g-Force

552

77.9

4.8

530

76.9

4.4

With a half second roll interval we have:

Speed (mi/hr)

Bank Angle (deg)

g-Force

552

77.5

4.6

530

76.5

4.3

This scenario, which totally disregards the testimony of Morin regarding the path of the plane (and there appears to be no justification for doing so) shows a substantially reduced g-force. It is still so high, however, that only someone with the skills of a trained fighter pilot would have a chance of performing it. The bank angle is still extremely steep.

The extraordinary bank angle

Anlauf and Paik would have seen the plane in a steep left bank and Morin would have seen it in a steep right bank. Hemphill would have seen the plane crossing from right to left of his line of sight to the impact point, at a steep right bank, as he looked out of his office window (Figs. 3 and 4 show his vantage point). These people reported no such thing. Hemphill repeatedly asserted that the plane was on his right and flying straight, and therefore with no significant bank. In the FDR file the maximum bank briefly recorded during this period was just 6°.

For these scenarios to work, the plane, after the roll, must maintain the steep right bank all the way to the Pentagon if it is to reach its target, which means the fuselage would have had to clear the roof of the Pentagon by nearly a wing-length, further straining the credibility of the “magic show” hypothesis.

The bank angle in all of these runs is so far out of the range of normal that, if it had happened, it would have astonished all observers. It would have been widely reported, yet nobody reported more than a slight bank. Albert Hemphill described the plane so close to the ground that he speculated about ground effect, which is clearly inconsistent with any of the calculated bank angles. Several of the witnesses indicated that the plane was flying “flat” in the vicinity of the Navy Annex, hence flying straight.36 This is totally at odds with the necessary curve and bank angle.

CIT has provided assistance here, handing some witnesses a model plane so that they could illustrate the bank. The bank they show is slight. In particular we note that not one of the 13 witnesses, who claimed they saw the plane well enough to believe that it was NOC, mentioned that it was extremely steeply banked. The bank angle would have been glaringly obvious and, because of its strangeness, unforgettable.

Notes on the Calculations

The images used for these constructions are from Google Earth, with the history rolled back to September 12, 2001, (or September 13 for those of us west of the International Date Line). Note that, due to the camera location for this particular photograph, the roofs of the buildings are displaced a little south east relative to the footprints at ground level. The undulation of the landscape can induce similar small displacements. Positions relative to the footprints of buildings were used to avoid the former effect, and care was taken to centralize the point of interest in the screen, while placing markers, to minimize the latter. Since Geogebra is free, open source software, the reader can easily confirm this work and try other variations. We would like to thank the authors of Geogebra for the wonderful tool they have made freely available to the public.

The construction we used produces two arcs of equal radius separated by a stated interval along a mutual tangent (the roll interval), with one arc tangent to the path of approach and the other passing through a way point and the target. Deriving the construction is left as an interesting exercise for the reader.

Once having determined the radius of the path, it is possible to calculate the centripetal acceleration for any speed using:

a = v2/r

where a is acceleration, v is velocity and r is the curve radius.

Centripetal acceleration produces the sensation of an outward “centrifugal” force which feels like gravity. This can be expressed as a horizontal g-force, gh, by evaluating the ratio:

gh = a/g

where the denominator, g, (for Washington D.C.) is 9.801 m/s/s in SI units or 32.16 ft/s/s in imperial units. The bank angle is found from arctan(gh).

For a plane in a level turn, the sideways “pseudo gravity” is combined with the downward actual force of gravity, to give the total or resultant force, gt, using the Pythagorean Theorem: 

gt = √(gh2 + 12)

CIT videos illustrate their concept of the flyover with a plane slipping unnoticed over the roof of the Pentagon in a horizontal orientation hidden by the smoke cloud. Referring again to the work of Jim Hoffman, who shows how easy it would be to see the plane flying over the Pentagon, even in a horizontal orientation, consider how remarkable his images would appear if he showed the fuselage a wing-length above the roofline at a bank angle of 77°, and the other wing protruding an equal distance higher, as it started to fly over the Pentagon.

Figure 5: Imagine how riveting Jim Hoffman’s scene would be if the plane were banked at 77°.

We have shown that at the very high speed the plane was traveling, and with the very short distance available for the turn, even a slight deviation from a straight path would require a steep bank angle. We can safely conclude that the plane must have been flying virtually straight, since many witnesses affirm and none (including those who reported a NOC path) deny that the plane was close to level. To claim that the plane could follow the NOC path without banking very steeply is to defy the laws of physics.

It should also be noted that the plane is being asked to do two difficult things simultaneously. On the one hand it must bank steeply to force the plane round the required curve. On the other hand it must pull out of the rapid descent which witnesses describe. The FDR data show that the pull-up was largely confined to the last 2 seconds of flight and that an upward force was generated of about 2g. This would be easy for a plane which is close to level but at a bank angle of 77° the problem posed is far more difficult. The pilot, already pulling back hard on the control column to achieve the turn, would have to turn the wheel left to reduce the bank and create lift. This will use up some of the distance available for the turn. The pilot would have had to anticipate this need and start his turn even more steeply, and with more g-force than calculated above, in order to still arrive above the point where the smoke was to be generated.

Even if the pilot managed to work all this out, and apply it at the precise moment required, he could not avoid passing over the Citgo service station, and some distance before and beyond, steeply banked, but this was not observed. It is evident that it did not occur.

Given that there is no evidence the plane was steeply banked, and ample evidence that any bank was slight, simple physics and geometry show that the curved NOC path must be false. Furthermore there is no rational justification for the perpetrators to make the extremely difficult maneuver, which would not only endanger the plane but would also put the entire project at risk of failure.

No one has made a case for a flyover on a direct approach, and there is no evidence for such an event. Voluminous eyewitness testimony, independent radar tracks from four separate agencies, the FDR data and the damage trail, place a large aircraft, consistent with a 757, at the scene approaching the Pentagon at a low level, at high speed and still accelerating. Impact with the Pentagon therefore cannot be avoided. It follows that the CIT claim that it would be impossible for the plane to do the observed damage, and that explosives would be required, is also false.

The claim by CIT that the plane flew NOC, strengthened by incorrect calculations published by PFT, has caused many researchers to pay attention to arguments that suggest the plane did not hit the Pentagon. Those who have been convinced by a few photographs that appear to show a hole too small, or insufficient debris outside the Pentagon, are advised to reconsider the work of Hoffman,37 Legge,6 and others who have done a careful analysis of the plausibility of a 757 collision. It will be found that all of these arguments are flawed or unsubstantiated, leaving impact with the Pentagon as the only reasonable conclusion.

Summary and Conclusion

The calculations we have displayed here show extreme values for the g-force required to deviate from the initial path to pass north of the Citgo service station, 4.3g being the lowest conceivable value, requiring that Morin’s testimony be totally set aside for no apparent reason, and the impossible 12.1g if some of Morin’s testimony is accepted. The bank angles are even more telling, since they would be clearly observable, 77° being the lowest possible. These values are confirmable by the reader using free software tools.

The force calculated is well beyond the design limit for this aircraft, 2.5 g, and also above the likely strength safety margin. Control of the aircraft, even at the lowest computed g-force, would be impossible for other than a highly trained aerobatic pilot and the physical survival of the aircraft would be at least in doubt.

The bank angle would be so steep as to astonish observers and be well remembered and frequently reported, but steep bank angles were not reported at all. Nothing more than a slight bank was described, even by those observers who claimed to see the path of the plane clearly enough to feel sure it was north of the Citgo service station.

It is physically impossible for a passenger plane to pull sharply out of a descent at a steep bank angle. The plane was descending steeply but managed to quickly level off, hence could not have been steeply banked.

It is physically impossible for any plane to pass NOC at the reported speed without banking steeply, hence the few witnesses who claimed to have observed the north path were necessarily mistaken about the path of the plane. Several such witnesses reported that the plane was flying level in the vicinity of the Navy Annex, in complete contradiction of the curved NOC path.36 The NOC witnesses are outnumbered by witnesses to impact by about 10 to 1, or about twice that if we disqualify the NOC witnesses who contradicted themselves by reporting that they saw the impact. There is a complete absence of witnesses to the plane flying over the Pentagon, though hundreds of people were in a position to see it and the sight would have been striking, commencing, or approaching, with a remarkably steep bank.

If, as we have shown, the plane did not fly north of the Citgo service station there is no reason to suspect that it did not hit the Pentagon. If it was flying close to the ground in the vicinity of the light poles, as described by many witnesses, it could not miss. The FDR file, the damage to the light poles, the fence and the generator and the shape of the damage on the face of the Pentagon all indicate impact. All arguments used to suggest that the plane could not have hit the Pentagon have been shown to be unfounded.6,37 CIT is shown to be presenting a hypothesis which is physically impossible. According to the scientific method this hypothesis must be abandoned.

It is to be hoped that those who have been puzzled by the apparently contradictory assertions surrounding the Pentagon attack, will now see that it is appropriate to withdraw support for the divisive notion that no plane hit the Pentagon. There are many disturbing issues which deserve our close attention related to the Pentagon attack, as have been clearly set out by Kevin Ryan 38 and others, but the question of whether a plane hit the Pentagon should not be on that list.

Frank Legge, (B.Sc., Ph.D., Chemistry) and David Chandler, (B.S. Physics, M.S., Mathematics)

Dr. Legge’s understanding of the events of 9/11 are set out his website: http://www.scienceof911.com.au/  which includes links to his research, authored and co-authored. According to Dr. Legge the evidence for explosives in controlled demolition of all three buildings is both compelling and obvious, hence the failure of NIST to consider this possibility is prima facie evidence of corruption.

Notes

1 Wood, J., “Where did the Towers Go?”, http://wheredidthetowersgo.com/

2] Jones, S., http://www.journalof911studies.com/letters/a/Hard-Evidence-Rebudiates-the-Hypothesis-that-Mini-Nukes-were-used-on-the-wtc-towers-by-steven-jones.pdf

3 Nuclear demolition, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZlyPLhowvc

Prager, J., http://www.box.net/shared/hf1eev4jvv

4  Hoffman, J., “South Tower Collapse Video Frames”, http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/evidence/videos/stc_frames.html

5 Pilots for 9/11 Truth states on their website: “Physically and aerodynamically, Arlington’s unique topography and obstacles along American 77 “final leg” to the pentagon make this approach completely impossible as we will demonstrate.”, http://pilotsfor911truth.org/descent_rate031308.html

6 It has been shown by several researchers that paths can be found which require a force well within the legal capacity of the plane, 2.5g, for example Legge, F., “What Hit the Pentagon?Misinformation and its Effect on the Credibility of 9/11 Truth”, http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/2009/WhatHitPentagonDrLeggeAug.pdf

Clinger, W., http://www.cesura17.net/~will/Ephemera/Sept11/Balsamo/balsamo2.html

7 It appears Farmer has removed links to his work. His conclusion however has been quoted in several places, for example: http://arabesque911.blogspot.com/2009/07/misinformation-flight-77-flight-path.html

8 Legge, F. and W. Stutt, “Flight AA77 on 9/11: New FDR Analysis Supports the Official Flight Path…” http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/2010/Calibration%20of%20altimeter_92.pdf

9 Pilots for 9/11 Truth claim the file is not genuine, http://pilotsfor911truth.org/

10 Legge F., Science of 9/11 website, http://www.scienceof911.com.au/pentagon/rebuttal

11 Ranke, C. and A. Marquis, “National Security Alert”,http://www.citizeninvestigationteam.com/

12 Chandler, D. and J. Cole,

http://911blogger.com/news/2011-01-01/joint-statement-pentagon-david-chandler-and-jon-cole

13 Collection of Pentagon attack information. The link to the Excel file, which lists witnesses by their type of report, is convenient and still functioning. 136 saw a plane, 104 saw it hit. http://sites.google.com/site/wtc7lies/911pentagonflight77evidencesummary

14  Roberts, G.,

http://911blogger.com/news/2010-12-28/debating-what-hit-pentagon-exaggeration-namecalling-and-threats

15 CIT responds to Chandler and Cole, http://www.citizeninvestigationteam.com/CIT-Response-to-David-Chandler-and-Jonathan-Cole-Pentagon-Statement/ 

16 De Boer, M., has a good example of his opinion in this response to an attack on 911Blogger by RCFP, http://911blogger.com/news/2010-10-27/911bloggercom-accused-leading-911-truth-site-working-other-side

17 FOIA video #1 shows very clearly from 21:14 to 21:21 the extent of the façade damage from the left wing. Video #2 shows from 3:30 to 4:14 the right wing tip damage.

http://911blogger.com/news/2010-12-22/new-pentagon-videos-foia-release

The video thus confirms the estimates made by Jim Hoffman from early photographs. http://911review.com/articles/stjarna/eximpactdamage.html

18 Sucherman, J., for example, saw the low approach then the impact, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_z9sCeYZ54

O’Keefe, J., “… too low”, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js4rlz7gkmw&feature=related

Petitt, M., very close, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUG3uKJ5R5g&feature=related

911Research, a collection of close witnesses, http://www.911research.wtc7.net/pentagon/evidence/witnesses/crash.html

19 Hoffman, J., “Critiquing Pentacon”, http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/pentacon/index.html

20 Video of Pentagon from a moving car, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WV4jaijNqyo

21 Sarns, C., http://csarnsblog.blogspot.com/

22 Brokenstyx unfortunately believes the NOC path, however his collection of important parts of the CIT witness testimony, not usually shown, is valuable, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkKR3Vg6d14  

23 Library of Congress, American Memory,

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?afc911bib:4:./temp/~ammem_zzUn::   

24 Boger, S., location image, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31LTIqcoTUg

Center for Military History interview, http://bluecollarrepublican.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/neit299.pdf  

25 9/11 Research.wtc7 discusses a hit list, http://911research.wtc7.net/talks/pentacon/enemies.html

26 9/11 Research quoting Deb Anlauf, http://911research.wtc7.net/pentagon/evidence/witnesses/sgydk.html

27 James, I., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVrV4P6kfAE&feature=related

28 Paik, E., http://911reports.wordpress.com/2010/02/03/shinki-and-ed-paik-accounts-vs-cit-methods/

29  Morin, T., http://remember911.albertarose.org/survivor_pentagonwitness.htm  

30 Hemphill, A., by Craig Ranke, http://www.citizeninvestigationteam.com/1/Albert-Hemphill-5-24-2010.mp3

31 Wikipedia on the Asche experiments, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asch_conformity_experiments

32The Pentacon, http://www.thepentacon.com/ona.htm

33 Thanks to John Farmer, who kindly provided radar positions which he calculated, using proper adjustments for azimuth angle, from raw data he had obtained using FOIA.

34 Morin, T., by Craig Ranke, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJKITI1gn4g  

In this video at 7:47 we see that the top of the Pentagon is visible, thus Isobel James would have been able to confirm impact as, if the plane became hidden behind trees, she would be able to see that it did not emerge. At 7.55 we hear Morin describe how the plane disappears from the bottom up.

35 Arabesque, see section on the sound of the plane, which includes references to the plane speeding up, http://arabesque911.blogspot.com/2007/04/911-and-pentagon-attack-what.html#_ednref36

36 Witnesses near the cemetery who indicated the plane was not steeply banked: W. Middleton shows a flat hand gesture then wobbles his arms and says “while descending he was straightening…” D. Stafford says “It was flat, just on top of the roof [of the Navy Annex]” and holds the model plane level. D. Prather also holds the model plane level as he says “across the Navy Annex.”

37 Hoffman, J., “The Pentagon Attack: What the Physical Evidence Shows.” http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/pentagon/index.html

38 Ryan, K., “A dozen questions about flight 77…”, http://visibility911.com/kevinryan/2010/10/a-dozen-questions-about-flight-77-and-the-pentagon-that-might-lead-to-justice/

Bolivia: Marching for Land Rights, Dignity and Social Change

September 4th, 2011 by Kirsten Francescone

August 15th 2011, marked yet another historic event in Bolivia’s long and rich history of struggle. At nine in the morning, after a support rally from their allies, the Confederacion de Pueblos Indígenas de Bolivia (CIDOB – national indigenous organization) along with their bases, the people of the Territorio Indígena Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure (TIPNIS as they are referred to in Bolivia) opted to re-take up the historic march for Tierra y Dignidad (Land and Dignity). The march in the 1990s strongly influenced production of the new constituent assembly and propelled the institutionalization of the Pacto de Unidad, marking the historic participation of indigenous and campesino organizations.[1]

The TIPNIS, from the department of Beni, are seriously discussing the concept of the consulta previa (pre-consultation) regarding the construction of the “Villa Tunari-San Ignacio de Moxos” highway. This highway will be majorly financed by the National Bank of Brazil, and the international program IIRSA.[2] The government is arguing that the highway is necessary for the economic development of the indigenous people’s living in the territory, by increasing the opportunity to bring their products to market. Many civil society organizations contend, however, that there are other motivations. For example, mining explorations reveal prospects for oil within the territory. Coca is also being discussed in terms of facilitating and expanding coca production. And access will increase to the Cruceña region that would facilitate gas exports.

This highway, according to civil society organisations supporting the TIPNIS, and the authorities of this community, was introduced without honouring the rights that indigenous Bolivians have to a free and informed process of consultation and consent. The right to the consulta previa is guaranteed by the New Constituent Assembly of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Article 30, paragraph 2, subsection 15. The TIPNIS are arguing that as the original indigenous people of the land, they have the right to participate in a real consultative process to define what happens in their territories. They argue that the government should be concerned about the well-being of its own people, and not cater to the interests of transnational corporations.

Consulta Previa

The concept of the consulta previa is one that is presently gaining attention from indigenous and campesino organizations in Bolivia as of late. The Consejo Nacional de Ayllus y Markas del Qullasuyu (CONAMAQ – highland original indigenous people) for example, in reaction to the recent approval of the Ley de la Revolution Productiva Communitaria Agropecuaria (LRPCA), spent 2 days in the end of July producing a new law that would re-iterate their rights as indigenous people to free and informed consultation process. CONAMAQ and the other four organizations that compose the Pacto de Unidad elaborated their own agricultural production law the Ley de la Decada Productiva which they worked on to produce with their bases for two years between 2009 and 2011. This law outlined the importance of addressing the national food crisis, outlined a specific role for the state in directly transferring funds to the communities to encourage small-scale production, and emphasized the importance of ecological production. Upon presenting the law to the government, the law went into a tri-council revision.

What emerged after this revision in June of 2011 was a law which would permit the use of transgenically modified seeds, was oriented toward credit systems that would encourage production for market, and would benefit large-scale industrial production, particularly in the department of Santa Cruz. CONAMAQ opposed this law, refused to sign its approval, but the LRPCA was approved by the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS) government, without modification.

It is from this context that CONAMAQ then elaborated the law of the consulta previa, and opted to put aside historical differences between highland and lowland indigenous people to support the march. The CIDOB, along with their highland Andean sisters and brothers from CONAMAQ, embarked on this march after signing a solidarity pact which outlined two themes; the construction of the highway and the allowance of transgenically modified organisms. These themes, according to the leadership of both organizations, require the consulta previa within their communities, which they are being denied at the behest of transnational capitalist interests.

The March to La Paz

The march left from Trinidad, Beni on August 15th, and is set to arrive in La Paz approximately 33 days later, marking nearly 1200km of travel through hot jungles of Beni, into the colder, drier highland regions of La Paz. Approximately 3500 people commenced the march on August 15th, and the numbers have been fluctuating as the march enters and leaves communities, with the norm sitting around 1500 people marching at all times.

The march hasn’t been easy, and if you know how difficult the terrain can be in rural areas, this is no exception. The extreme heat and humidity that the marchers are facing during the day (30-35 degrees) and the distance that they are marching daily, which averages about 30km is debilitating at times, forcing the marchers to march at night.

There are approx 80 children marching between the ages of 0-4, alongside pregnant women, and older people. The arduousness of the march makes it anything but romantic. It is a powerful message of what people are willing to risk in their fight against transnational capital. This past weekend a 12 year old child lost his life returning back to the march in which he was participating in a supply truck. The truck hit a rut in the road, and he was ejected from the truck, hitting his head. People are forced to leave the march daily with infections and illnesses, and there is an extreme shortage of water. The 33+ days of marching is an incredible sacrifice. Yet, the marchers argue that it is 33 days of suffering in an attempt to prevent the setting of a precedent that will continue to justify the entrance of capitalist interests and the destruction of their communities.

At day ten of the march, some very interesting movements, both in terms of emerging alliances and growing support from the Bolivian people, can be seen. Beyond the historic participation of CONAMAQ, we are also seeing daily increasing support proclamations from communities across the country. Beyond the increasing participation from other sectors of the popular classes, it is clear that this movement is not being driven by the leadership of these particular organizations, but rather that it is being propelled by their bases.

This march has served as a catalyzing point for a lot of Bolivians, and everyday the movement supporting the TIPNIS is gaining support. For example, I attended a protest in Cochabamba aligned with the launching of the march in Beni. At this protest/march we were about 40-50 people. Yesterday, 10 days later, there was another protest and march in Cochabamba to support the TIPNIS. We were nearly 500. From this issue, we are also seeing a lot of movement from the urban middle classes, against the development of the park supporting the protection of the flora and fauna of the region, and the indigenous people’s rights as guardians of that territory. But beyond simply bodies, it is clear that this issue is drawing in divergent groups to support, from humanists to Trotskyists, from indigenous rights activists and campesinos, to high school students.

From the variety of posters that were painted on the morning of the latest march in Cochabamba we saw messages like “We are defending ourselves from destructor capitalism, long live the march!,” “Voice of the people, not of the imperial” and “What is the value of life? Life doesn’t have a price” which echoed in the air in various chants, denouncing the clear transnational capitalist interests of the highway and supporting the indigenous community’s right to consult, and right to define. Other current conflict areas in the country, Potosi and El Alto, who are also presently claiming the right to consultation on their own issues, left their homes this past weekend to march in support with the TIPNIS.

These mobilizations are revealing not only a support of the cultural-identity demands of these communities. But they also return to the older anti-capitalist politics that we saw with the water and gas wars, and with the gazolinazo in 2010 where after only a few days of mobilizations the MAS partially revoked their decision to increase gas prices. These mobilizations represented a demand from the masses for greater control over resources, an explicit rejection of capitalist and transnational capitalist interests, a movement to produce an alternative way of living for the people and by the people.

MAS Confusion

In contrast, we have also seen increasing attempts on the part of the government to destabilize and delegitimize the actions of the marchers and the march in general. The days leading up to the march, Minister of the Presidency Romero and Vice-President Alvaro García Linera appeared in the press presenting two opposing claims regarding the march. Linera claimed that the highway was guaranteed and that it would enter construction with or without the consultation of the TIPNIS, and Romero appeared arguing that the TIPNIS would get their consultation. There were attempts made to meet prior to the march, with the TIPNIS, under the direction of CIDOB, claiming that they would be willing to meet upon their arrival in La Paz.

This was proceeded by President Evo Morales making a statement that if the march commenced the TIPNIS would not get their consulta. After a day of marching, Morales sent three ministers into Beni to consult with the marchers in reaction to the demand by CIDOB that all meetings must take place in the march. The Morales government has also been subject to international pressure. The Brazilian ambassador, prior to the commencement of the march, announced that funding for the project would be suspended until an agreement is reached with the communities.

As of yet, no agreements have been made between the CIDOB-TIPNIS and the government. The government’s discursive position is that the TIPNIS are being motivated by foreign NGOs in the country, and that they are unaware that this project is what Bolivia needs to develop. And so, because they are being bought and manipulated by foreign NGOs, the government has taken the position to make the informed decision for them, and implement the highway in their best interest: a position that lends reflection to a long history of colonial and neo-colonial projects in indigenous territories.

This is not to say that this decision is one that is easy. There are often conflicts that are marked between the ‘needs of people’ and the ‘needs of the environment.’ That being said, for more than two years, civil society organizations like FOCOMADE and Fundación Tierra have been working with the TIPNIS and developing alternatives routes that will be less destructive, and will border the TIPNIS territory. However, all of these alternatives as of yet have been rejected by the government, with some arguing that the money that will be lost ultimately in transportation costs by extending the highway is what is heavily influencing this decision.

What is perhaps more disturbing is that this project, one that has its origins in the previous Gonzales (Goni) de Sanchez government, is going to be implemented by the MAS government, the very leadership that fought with the masses to have him thrown out of government. This fact is a painful one for Bolivians who fought and died in the streets of La Paz and El Alto in 2003, a battle and collective history of struggle that is not easily forgotten. The financial and geopolitical motivations for this project are clear, with the power dynamics in the South increasingly shifting toward Brazil. And, with other recent national policy changes to agricultural, forestry, and transport laws, political foundations are being laid that may well end up serving to welcome transnational interests into the country.

What is important to remember is the position that the MAS government – the country of ‘la madre tierra’ – has held internationally in terms of being a vanguard for the protection of the environment. Bolivia, of course, hosted the First People’s Climate Change Conference; and this was followed by Morales presenting the only progressive oppositional voice in Cancun to the direction of climate change policies. Nationally there is also a lot of energy and effort put into discourse for the protection of ‘mother earth.’ This Sunday (September 4) will be a ‘walking day’ in Bolivia, with vehicles prohibited from operating.

But Bolivia remains primarily a resource extraction oriented state, dependent on hydrocarbon and mining industries for export markets. The MAS government has not proven capable of breaking from a model of resource extraction not entirely un-reminiscent of previous governments. However, with the proposed massive lithium mining project, the Bolivian state has an opportunity to extract in a way that considers the environmental and social impacts of this project and emerge in practice as a vanguard for environmental politics. And it is in this direction that the TIPNIS have based their challenge to the MAS government that they are not against development per se, rather this old form of development that privileges the expansion of capital at all expenses.

What is still unclear is whether or not this march will mark the beginning or the end of a new protest politics in Bolivia: whether this march is a catalyzing point for a broader based movement like October of 2003 against the proposal to export gas through a Chilean port, or if the movement will lose momentum upon arrival in La Paz.

What is clear is that people are reacting now and young people in particular are taking an active role in the mobilizations, but also in informing and campaigning in their schools and neighbourhoods about the dangers of this precedent for their future. The powerful images in the Plaza Murillo in La Paz in October 2003, where high school students from all across the city presented themselves in front of the government and the military to reject the neoliberal capitalist policies and politics of the Goni government, are being recalled. Some were wounded and others lost their lives defending the vision that they had for their future, a vision that did not and will not permit the management of their country at the behest of transnational capitalist interests. These are images that Morales and the MAS government know well. •

Kirsten Francescone is a graduate student at Carleton University, Ottawa.

Notes:

1. The Pacto de Unidad was created in order to increase popular participation for the majority of those excluded from politics. Presently, it has a membership of five indigenous-campesino organizations which serve to represent the majority of Bolivians institutionally. It is worth noting that the legitimacy of the Pacto de Unidad is also under strain for supporting the government on policies and actions which have negatively affected their bases. The gazolinazo incident in 2010, and the most recent approvals of the Ley de la Revolucion Productiva and Ley de la Madre Tierra provide us with examples of a demobilization of social movement politics.

2. The IIRSA is an international institution which is funding infrastructural projects all across Latin America, the majority of which are highways.

Más allá de Libia, todos somos bombardeados

September 3rd, 2011 by Juan Carlos Camaño

Las transnacionales de la información-comunicación, atadas al oro, al sube y baja de las bolsas e implicadas en el robo de petróleo, empujan y empujan a sus periodistas más obedientes –y a novatos ignorantes- a tropezar nuevamente con la misma piedra : Kadaffi, el diablo, como ayer Sadan Husein –ejecutado- y el feroz Bin Laden -¿ejecutado ?-.

Recordemos : una historieta de armas químicas, invasión a Irak –con las cámaras de la cadena oficial de invasiones del Siglo XXI empotradas en los tanques libertarios-, un millón de víctimas, Estados Unidos apropiándose del petróleo y poniéndose a tiro de escopeta de Irán. Avance geoestratégico. Muerte a un ex aliado histórico : el lucifer Sadam.

Continuemos : « un grupo de elite de Al Queda se lanza contra las Torres Gemelas y el Pentágono » (¿ ?). La cadena oficial de invasiones del Siglo XXI, y sus repetidoras, fogonean la invasión a Afganistán. Decenas de miles de muertos. Entre ellos, no hace tanto –según la prensa occidental- el Satanás Osama Bin Laden, otro ex aliado de Estados Unidos. Apropiación de la producción y comercialización del opio y la heroína, el gas y el petróleo, y gran avance en el posicionamiento geoestratégico, sin sacar la mirada de Irán.

Ahora : armado de una « guerra civil » en Libia, imágenes y cuentos referidos a « la tenebrosa familia Kadafi » –ex aliada de Estados Unidos-, invasión con llegada a Trípoli, matanza de miles de civiles, cantos de victoria y banderas al viento captadas por la cadena oficial de noticias de las invasiones del Siglo XXI. Hay petróleo en abundancia. El 80 % de los hidrocarburos se repartirán entre Estados Unidos, Gran Bretaña y Francia.

Agregado : Kadafi había hecho pública su intención de quitarse de encima el dólar y el euro, proponiendo una moneda unificadora para África : el dinar de oro.

Datos no colaterales : ninguna casualidad con lo que ocurrió y ocurre en Túnez y Egipto. Pura causalidad. Alteraciones « espontáneas » de las masas y detrás, montándose en la euforia social por el cambio -y en ausencia de una organización política que sostuviera las demandas con un programa mínimo-, la jugada gatopardista para un mayor control militar, con un ojo puesto en Argelia. En la maniobra, como de costumbre, la profundización del discurso pro democracia y libertad : el guante blanco de la mano que mece la cuna desde Washington.

Enseguida, para que nada se salga de cauce : inyecciones de fondos – « dinero fresco »- para el desarrollo y condonación de deudas en Egipto y Túnez, evitando –en el avance geoestratégico- posibles grietas en el cerco a Libia. Con Irán, siempre, entre ceja y ceja. No ha habido, no hay, puntadas sin hilo.

En Pakistán –hagamos memoria- antes y mucho más después del episodio versus Bin Laden, el gobierno local y cabecillas militares, sospechados de desacato al Pentágono, están contra las cuerdas, lo cual habilita a la CIA a pasearse, más a sus anchas aún, por un escenario minado de soplones y mercenarios, comprados por no mucho más de un plato de lentejas. Mientras, se avanza en lo geoestratégico. Hay allí, gas y petróleo.

Michel Collon, periodista y escritor belga sostiene que el escarmiento a Kadafi es en respuesta -entre otros fines- a su negativa de formar parte del Africom y la OTAN, vías rápidas de desintegración a manos del neocolonialismo. La misma suerte que Libia habrán de correr, según Collon, Sudán, Costa de Marfil, Zimbawe y Eritrea, escalones de diferentes tamaños para alcanzar la reconquista de África.

Por otra parte, y al mismo tiempo : una catarata de palabras en boca de analistas económicos aturden día y noche recomendándonos « el mejor refugio financiero del momento » : su majestad, el oro. Un bombardeo que no cesa, sobre poblaciones que envejecen, en medio de jóvenes sin trabajo, de ricos que no paran de enriquecerse, de masacres « narcotraficadas », de ocupaciones de tierras –compradas a precio vil en distintos países- por transnacionales del agro, la minería, hidroeléctricas y de deforestación. Invasiones « inversionistas » a mediano y largo plazo. Por ahora, sin alzamientos de « rebeldes », ni presencia explícita de fuerzas de « paz » distribuyendo alimentos entre cadáveres y escombros.

Y sin solución de continuidad, la industria del entretenimiento, usina de alienaciones globales. Información-des-información. Comunicación-incomunicación, a caballo de « maravillas » tecnológicas, producidas, reproducidas y consumidas a la velocidad de la luz : muestra de la irracionalidad de un sistema predatorio.

Y en el fárrago informativo-des-informativo, David Camerón, primer ministro de Gran Bretaña, procurando saber en qué quedó aquello de la flema inglesa, abrasada por las llamas de una protesta con matices de lucha de clases, insatisfacciones juveniles e indignación de los inmigrantes, los discriminados, los sin techo y los sin futuro.

Y Sarkozy, más Merkel, adustos, sobreactuando advertencias desde el comando de la doble locomotora de una « Europa que no descarrilará ». Temeridad discursiva frente a los humores del mercado, que en devolución mandaron para atrás a la locomotora, sometiendo por un par de días a todas las bolsas del mundo –y especialmente a la politiquería sin ningún estadista en sus filas-, a revolcarse por debajo de la línea del subsuelo.

En un tablero gigantesco, de dinámica diabólica, Estados Unidos « avanza » desesperado en Libia y más allá de Libia : provocándole altísimos costos al conjunto de la humanidad. Todos, de una manera u otra, somos bombardeados. En tal situación, la información-comunicación dominante apela a eufemismos frente a los genocidios de la OTAN, sin recordar que hace unos pocos minutos –digamos meses- el Premio Nobel de la Paz le fuera otorgado al señor Barack Obama, comandante en jefe de las Fuerzas Armadas de los Estados Unidos de Norteamérica. La máquina de matar.

Juan Carlos Camaño. Presidente de la Federación Latinoamericana de Periodistas, FELAP.

El Correo. París, 1° de septiembre de 2011.

September 11, 2001: The CIA’s Islamist Cover Up

September 3rd, 2011 by Ian Johnson

The tenth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington will be accompanied by the usual solemn political pronouncements and predictable media retrospectives. Pundits will point out that the West’s own economic mismanagement of the past decade has done more to weaken Europe and North America than the Islamists’ attacks. Some others will note how radical Islamists are still strong in Afghanistan and point to the recent downing of a military helicopter with dozens of US troops dead. Still others will use the anniversary to pontificate on how our concerns about Islamism have given racists an excuse to tarnish an entire religion. We will also hear about how the democratic uprisings in the Arab world—Libya being the latest—have undermined Islamists (by providing the region’s disgruntled masses with examples of positive, instead of destructive change).

All of these points are well and good and worth hearing again. But they shouldn’t distract us from a very precise and practical problem that hasn’t been addressed: the refusal of the CIA to disclose the details of its involvement with Islamist groups. In recent weeks, the agency has tried to block sections of a new book that deals with its handling of al-Qaeda before and after September 11. But this is only one part of a large-scale cover-up that Western governments have been perpetrating about decades of ties to Islamist organizations. Until we clarify our murky history with radical Islam, we won’t be able to understand the background of the September 11 attacks and whether our strategies today to engage the Muslim world are likely to succeed.

Of course some of this history is well known. The blowback story—how the US armed the mujahedeen, some of whom morphed into al-Qaeda—has been told in book and film. We are also getting a sense now of how parts of the US-backed Pakistani military-intelligence complex have actively supported radical Islamists. Collusion between Britain and Islamist movements over the past century has also been explored. And of course, Israel’s support for Hamas as a counterweight to the Palestinian Liberation Organization has gone down as one of the great diplomatic miscalculations of recent history.

But compared to the full scope of the issue, these insights are meager. To date, the Central Intelligence Agency continues to block access to its archives relating to radical Islam or cooperation with Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. In the course of researching my book on the Brotherhood’s expansion into the West, I applied numerous times under the Freedom of Information Act to see documents concerning events in the 1950s, some of which had been confirmed by already declassified State Department cables. Inevitably the CIA responded with the blanket exception of “national security” to justify denying access to any files.

Despite the CIA’s information blockade, it is clear from interviews with CIA operatives and other countries’ intelligence archives that the CIA was courting groups like the Brotherhood as allies in the US’s global battle against communism. In Egypt, the charge was often made by the government of Gamel Abdel Nasser that the Muslim Brotherhood was in the CIA’s pay. This was also a view of some Western intelligence agencies, which flatly declared that Said Ramadan, the Swiss-based son-in-law of the group’s founder, was a US agent. The agency may have—but for this we need access to its archives—colluded with Ramadan in attempting a coup against Nasser.

The CIA certainly did help the Brotherhood establish itself in Europe, helping to create the milieu that led to the September 11 attacks. The mosque in Munich that Ramadan helped found, for example, became a hotbed of anti-US activity. The man convicted as a key perpetrator of the 1993 attack against the World Trade Center had sought spiritual counseling at the mosque before leaving to carry out his attacks. And in 1998, the man believed to be al-Qaeda’s chief financial officer was arrested near the mosque and also sought spiritual counseling from the mosque’s imam. An investigation based on this arrest traced radical Islamists right to a second mosque—the al-Quds mosque in Hamburg—where three of the four 9/11 pilots worshipped, it but failed to make the final link. This isn’t to say that the CIA was behind the September 11 attacks but that US collusion with Islamists in the Cold War bore bitter fruit in later years—making it imperative that we understand exactly what happened in those seemingly distant years of the 50s, 60s and 70s of the last century.

More recently, despite Washington’s sometimes hostile public rhetoric toward to the Brotherhood, it is clear that the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama have tried to court the movement. Internal CIA analyses from 2006 and 2008, which I obtained, show that the Brotherhood was viewed as a positive force and potential ally—this time not against communism but Islamist terrorism: the Brotherhood was considered a moderate Islamist group and thus able to channel grievances away from violence toward the United States (even if Brotherhood theoreticians did not renounce violence against Israel or US soldiers). The State Department also used US Muslims close to the Brotherhood to reach out to Islamists in Europe. Such support has given these groups legitimacy in the United States and Europe.

The CIA is blocking the release of information because the subject remains sensitive—both for the West and the Muslim world. In Washington, the CIA could come under fire if its own archives would confirm and fill out the current sketch view of history. For the Brotherhood, amid its current re-emergence as a major political force in Egypt and other countries, it would be extremely damaging to know that illustrious figures in its history were working for the country that most exemplifies the decadent, imperialist forces it has struggled against for decades.

Revealing this history could be painful but necessary to strip away the doublespeak that both sides have used to describe their dealings with each other. This isn’t to say that releasing information should be used to bash cooperation with Islamists. Clearly the United States and other Western countries need to deal with groups like the Brotherhood, and perhaps in some situations even to support them: for example if the Brotherhood really were to come to power democratically in Egypt, the United States would be obliged to deal with such a government. For the Brotherhood a case could be made that in past decades, when its members were so badly repressed by authorities in the Middle East, that some sort of help from the West was necessary to avoid destruction by the authoritarian governments that persecute it.

These are legitimate arguments. But they can only be made if the full history of these relationships is made known rather than kept hidden. To do this will require action from Congress. The CIA did not release documents concerning US intelligence dealings with Nazi officials, for example, until it was forced to by the passage of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998. This piece of legislation compelled US government agencies to release all files on their dealings with the Nazis during and after the war. It lead to an incredible flood of information on the topic, helping us understand, for example, US collaboration with ex-Nazis after the war.

We need a similar law today. This is not to draw a parallel between Islamism and Nazism—an argument that is tendentious and counter-productive. The only parallel is that the US government has dealt with these questionable organizations and is so unwilling to admit this that it will take specific instructions from Congress to make these dealings public. Whatever the merits of these policies they are based on a long-standing, but still mostly secret, strategy. As Western governments seek to distinguish between “good” and “bad” Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or between the Muslim Brotherhood and more radical groups in the Middle East, understanding this strategy—and its efficacy—has never been more urgent.

By directing their enormous joint military and economic power against a poorly armed, nonindustrialized country of 6 million people, the imperialist states of North America and Western Europe have imposed a criminal regime on the Libyan people.

Part of Libya’s continued resistance to this attempted imperialist takeover of an African state is the ideological struggle within the left and workers’ movement internationally. The only legitimate position for the left in the imperialist countries is to support the Libyan resistance to imperialism, whatever form it takes.

As Libyans continue to battle the takeover, the U.S.-NATO forces may still come in on the ground. The new Transitional National Council regime, however, has already been invited to represent Libya in imperialist-dominated international bodies even as its armed gangs are massacring Libyans and the mostly sub-Saharan guest workers remaining in the cities it dominates.

The TNC is not a real government at present, but a racist gang of hoodlums and mercenaries looting homes and museums in Tripoli and other cities. This is fitting, as its U.S. and European Union masters aim to loot all of Africa as freely as they did until the 1960s.

Remember though that in Afghanistan in 2001 and in Iraq in 2003, the imperialists won what appeared to be quick and easy military victories. But an active resistance movement has stalemated the U.S.-NATO occupation of Afghanistan. And the Iraqi puppet regime is still shaky enough that the U.S. occupation will be extended. Reimposing colonialism in Libya may be no easier.

Air war, propaganda war

The U.S.-NATO forces’ advantage can be easily explained. Libya’s GNP was $96 billion in 2010, much of it in oil production. The combined GNP of Western Europe and the United States was $29 trillion, or about 300 times greater than Libya’s. Much of Libya’s wealth from oil sales was deposited in imperialist banks, which simply confiscated it when their campaign to destroy the Libyan state began.

This enormous wealth advantage yields military dominance. The Pentagon has half the world’s firepower. Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Belgium have a good piece of the rest. This hydra-headed giant faced Libya’s tiny army.

The imperialist propaganda machine yields another monopoly of words and images. It demonized Moammar Gadhafi and his family. It disguised the TNC as a “democratic” movement, when it was a small collection of pro-imperialist Libyans, mercenaries, monarchists, reactionary religious forces and opportunist defectors from the Libyan government, with a narrow popular base only in the region around Benghazi.

The media exposed the decisive role of NATO forces only after the TNC entered Tripoli. It probably did so because the imperialist military agencies then wanted credit for what they proclaimed was a victory.

In the Sept. 1 Workers World, Abayomi Azikiwe cites the International Business Tribune, the London Daily Telegraph and the Associated Press, all of which point out the decisive role of Britain’s MI6 and special forces, U.S. and French special forces, U.S. air intelligence and heavy bombing by NATO in the battle for Tripoli. The truth is that without NATO leading the way, the TNC forces would never have made it out of Benghazi.

The Qatar-based agency Al-Jazeera has also given the news from Libya an anti-Gadhafi and pro-NATO slant throughout the last five months. Qatari troops are part of the TNC armed force that entered Tripoli on Aug. 21.

Ideological battle

There is another small contribution to imperialist war propaganda that deserves discussion. Political analysts who have an undeserved reputation of being progressive have brought the same arguments to a part of the left movement. These analysts only carry weight because their “leftist” argument coincides with what the imperialists need and want.

Following the Aug. 21 invasion of Tripoli, two such analysts were guests on the Democracy Now! news show, which is popular among progressives.

One “expert” was Juan Cole, a history professor at the University of Michigan. Cole argued that “Libya has reignited the flame of liberty in the Arab world.” He claimed the TNC could enter Tripoli easily because it had popular support. Cole ignored the role of NATO’s bombing, bribing and intelligence.

The other was Gilbert Achcar, a professor at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He chided NATO for allegedly first trying to broker a deal between the TNC and Gadhafi. He also presented the TNC as a legitimate popular leadership. Since March, Achcar has promoted the misleading idea that Libyans could “use” NATO to back a legitimate popular uprising without being owned lock, stock and barrel by the imperialists.

Neither “expert” added that the NATO powers have waged this war for oil profits and a military foothold in Africa.

These and similar “experts” around the U.S. and Europe — who pretend to be progressive — are not acceptable as voices of the left and must be countered by honest anti-imperialist forces, just as one answers any imperialist spokesperson.

Fortunately, there is an attempt to mobilize anti-imperialist ideas — and action — in the United States. Former U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney has been on a North American tour organized by the International Action Center, bringing the truth about NATO’s war against Libya. Most of these rallies have attracted between 200 and 500 people. Much support has come from the African-American community, which knows of McKinney’s principled anti-racist and anti-war stand when she represented the people of her Georgia congressional district.

The tour is an example of how to build an anti-imperialist alliance that can answer the phony “leftists” and give political support to the resistance from within Africa.

[image above: Professor Edward S. Herman]

On Tuesday, June 14, the Guardian of London published “Left and Libertarian Right Cohabit in the Weird World of the Genocide Belittlers.”1  In this nearly 1,100-word commentary, the British writer George Monbiot attacked the two of us (among others) as “genocide deniers” and “revisionists” for our writings on the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.  Monbiot also went on to assail Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, and the U.K.-based Media Lens group for their association with individuals as depraved as we are.

In response, each of us submitted separate manuscripts to the Guardian by no later than the following weekend (June 17-19).  But the Guardian found our submissions problematic, and delayed its decision about their status while it purported to check the accuracy of what we had written — something that it clearly had not done for Monbiot’s error-laden and grossly misleading original.

By July 5, the Guardian had rejected both of our manuscripts.2  But, it also invited us to resubmit a single joint-response, with no guarantee of publication, and requested that we observe a strict 550 word limit — or half-the-length of Monbiot’s original.

Soon thereafter we delivered a consolidated manuscript to the Guardian at exactly 550-words; and on July 20, five weeks and a day after it had published Monbiot’s original, the Guardian published an even shorter, 524-word response under our names.  But rather than giving it a title that featured our claims about Monbiot’s errors, ignorance, and crass name-calling, the Guardian gave it a title that was both plaintive and defensive: “We’re Not Genocide Deniers.”3

At least two comments posted to the Guardian Response column’s Web page below our piece by the Canadian media-activist Joe Emersberger provided links to our original responses, which we had posted to ZNet.  But Emersberger’s comments were removed by the Guardian‘s intellectual police, never to be restored; a comment by one of us (Peterson) that linked to these same responses also was removed.  Eventually, this latter comment was restored, “most likely in response to public complaints,” Media Lens believes.4

On the other hand, the first comment recorded by the Guardian after it opened its Response column for feedback on July 20 asked us: “If you say you are not denying the genocide in Bosnia and Rwanda, what are you saying?  And please, one sentence will suffice.”5  This is, of course, an aggressively hostile question, and impossible to answer in one sentence.  But it is also a question that we had answered at length in The Politics of Genocide6 and in our original submissions that the Guardian had rejected, and to which its Web site moderator was not allowing anyone to post a hyperlink!

Furthering its protection of Monbiot and its enforcement of a one-sided discussion, the Observer (the Guardian‘s sister paper, which appears on Sundays to complement the Guardian‘s Monday through Saturday schedule) published Nick Cohen’s “Decline and Fall of the Puppetmasters” 7 three days before our response appeared.  This was a diatribe against “west-hating” intellectuals (Noam Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Harold Pinter, Arundhati Roy, and a “cranky writer called Diana Johnstone”) who in Cohen’s words “believe that the lackeys of American imperialism were inventing stories of Serb atrocities to justify the expansion of western power.”  Then six days after it published our response, the Guardian published “To Claim Tutsis Caused Rwanda’s Genocide Is Pure Revisionism” by James Wizeye, identified as the “first secretary at the Rwanda high commission” or embassy in London.8  No offsetting response has since been published by the Guardian that challenged this piece of propaganda from a spokesman for the regime which, we argued, has been the primary mass-killer in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo for the past two decades.9

Some Guardian-Observer History10

The Guardian and the Observer have long been unable to break loose from the standard, politically convenient, Western party-line narratives on both Yugoslavia and Rwanda.  This was made very clear in the case of Yugoslavia when their lead reporter there, Ed Vulliamy, proudly asserted his anti-Serb bias and unwillingness to report in neutral fashion.  “I am one of those reporters who cannot see this as just another story from which I must remain detached and in which I must be neutral,” he wrote in 1993.  “[W]ith Omarska and Trnopolje [in 1992] objective coverage of the war became a rather silly notion. . . .  I am on the side of the Bosnian Muslim people against an historical and military program to obliterate them.”11  On the other hand, hundreds of Bosnian Serbs were killed and raped in the Bosnian Muslim-run prison camps of Celebici, Konjic and Tarcin (to name three major ones);12 but Vulliamy never wrote about them, though in his voluminous reports for the Guardian, he did mention the existence of Tarcin and Celebici once apiece in passing.13  Can anybody imagine his and the Guardian‘s reaction to a Russian journalist who, having visited only Celebici and Tarcin during the wars in Bosnia, declared that these camps make a commitment to the Serb cause a moral imperative, and objective journalism a silly notion?  Or their reaction to this Russian journalist were he to publish this plea under the title: “We Must Fight for the Memory of the Bosnian Muslim Camps”?14

Vulliamy’s bias, and no doubt his “journalism of attachment”-derived dishonesty in this theater of conflict,15 have been demonstrated over many years by his serial misrepresentations in the case of Fikret Alic, whom Vulliamy described as a “young Bosnian whose emaciated torso, behind the barbed wire of Trnopolje concentration camp, became a symbol of the cynical slaughter in Bosnia-Herzegovina”;16 by his refusal to acknowledge Bosnia’s Islamic leader and wartime President Alija Izetbegovic’s rejection of a multiethnic, tolerant, and secular state and espousal of a closed Islamic polity;17 and by his long-standing commitment to the early inflated Bosnian Muslim death toll in the face of dramatic downward revisions by establishment sources.18  The same bias and dishonesty were also reflected in Vulliamy’s violent 2009 diatribe at Amnesty International’s invitation to Noam Chomsky to deliver its annual Stand Up for Justice lecture, alleging Chomsky’s unspecified apologetics for Serbian atrocities in the Balkan wars, including “spitting on the graves of the dead.”19

This Vulliamy perspective and structure of disinformation undoubtedly fed into Emma Brockes’s infamous 2005 interview with Chomsky for the Guardian,20 an affair that the Guardian Reader’s Editor (ombudsman) concluded had misrepresented Chomsky’s expressed beliefs so egregiously that the Guardian expunged the interview from its Web site.21  Although Brockes could have asked Chomsky questions about the many issues on which he is well informed, she focused on Yugoslavia and Srebrenica, and on the analyst Diana Johnstone, whose work on Yugoslavia Vulliamy had in the past called “poison.”22  One memorable smear in the Guardian‘s handling of the interview appeared immediately below its title (“The Greatest Intellectual?”), where by way of introducing it, readers found the following sentences:

Q: Do you regret supporting those who say the Srebrenica massacre was exaggerated?
A: My only regret is that I didn’t do it strongly enough.

This question-and-answer sequence was nowhere to be found in the published interview.  In fact, the answer quoted here was given to an entirely different question, in which Brockes asked Chomsky whether he regretted signing an open letter that protested a Swedish publisher’s decision not to bring out a translation of Johnstone’s 2002 book Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO and Western Delusions (Monthly Review Press); this letter referred to Fools’ Crusade as “outstanding,” and added that “there are more fundamental issues at stake, namely freedom of expression and the right to express dissenting views.” 23  Brockes’s and the Guardian‘s language-substitution removed the open letter’s focus on freedom-of-expression issues and its broad defense of Johnstone’s work, and rewrote Chomsky’s actual words into support for “those who say the Srebrenica massacre was exaggerated.”  Thus was Johnstone’s complex and nuanced book pigeonholed by its alleged position on the Srebrenica massacre, which Brockes’s biased and loaded question oversimplified to the point of absurdity.

Another memorable smear was Brockes’s contention that Chomsky uses scare-quotes “to undermine things he disagrees with,” and that he used them around the word “massacre” to suggest that “during the Bosnian war the ‘massacre’ at Srebrenica was probably overstated.”  All of this allowed Brockes to make the dishonest and insulting addition that, “in print at least, it can come across less as academic than as witheringly teenage; like, Srebrenica was so not a massacre.”  But when an external legal investigation pressed Brockes to prove that Chomsky had said what Brockes claimed he did, the audio recording of his verbal exchanges with Brockes was found to have been “partially recorded over” (i.e., erased) some time between the publication of the interview and the Guardian‘s official inquiry into the matter.24

As noted, these kinds of tactics are in the Vulliamy “journalism of attachment” tradition, and it is amusing to see that in her profile of Chomsky, Brockes misspelled Johnstone’s first-name as “Diane” rather than Diana, just as Vulliamy had misspelled it eight months earlier in a commentary for the IWPR Balkan Crisis Report.25  It seems likely that either Brockes and/or her editors had worked from this eight-month-old text while preparing the final draft of the interview, or that Vulliamy himself played a hand in preparing this draft.  In any case, no one at the Guardian caught the misspelling of Johnstone’s first-name prior to publication of Brockes’s interview.

In early December 2005, Ed Vulliamy joined 23 other writers and activists who had long advocated for the Western establishment’s version of Srebrenica — and the “good” versus “evil” portrayal of the wars in Yugoslavia — in protesting the Guardian‘s decision to withdraw Brockes’s mock interview with Chomsky and to issue a “correction” for the original.  The “Guardian has unjustly besmirched Brockes’s reputation,” these 24 figures stated in an open letter, and “bestowed a stamp of legitimacy on revisionist attempts to deny the Bosnian genocide and minimize the Srebrenica massacre.”  Among Vulliamy’s fellow signatories were David Rohde, David Rieff, Marko Attila Hoare, Oliver Kamm, Nick Cohen, and Nerma Jelacic — all veteran maximizers of Serb perfidy and Bosnian Muslim victimhood.26

Common to Vulliamy’s longstanding journalism of attachment and call to “fight for the memory of Bosnia’s camps,” the forgeries in Brockes’s interview with Chomsky, and Monbiot’s attack on “genocide belittlers,” has been the unspoken premise that any challenge to the establishment narrative about Srebrenica is beyond the bounds of respectable journalism.  Disallowed as apologetics or belittling or spitting on graves is anything that invokes historical context regularly suppressed by establishment accounts or questions official claims about the number of persons executed there. 27  The journalism of attachment is a rigid party-line journalism.

And just as there has long existed a Western party-line on the dismantling of Yugoslavia,28 in which the roles of perpetrators and victims were cast early (1991-) and adhered to with passionate intensity and certitude by the Guardian-Observer‘s writers, so a party-line on the 1994 mass killings in Rwanda has guided its coverage of this theater of conflict for almost as many years.

Here, again, the casting of perpetrators and victims was clear: These roles paralleled the long-standing U.S. and British hostility towards Rwanda’s Hutu-majority government under President Juvenal Habyarimana, and their alignment with the armed forces of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF).  But in Rwanda, a third role was cast for the alleged savior of the country from the Hutu “genocidaires,” and assigned to the man who, in the words of the Guardian‘s chief Africa correspondent Chris McGreal, is the “former Tutsi rebel leader who ended the genocide [and] has been heralded as the Abraham Lincoln of Africa”29 — Paul Kagame.

These assigned perpetrator-victim-savior roles, followed closely by the Guardian since the April-July 1994 period, turn the fundamental realities of the Rwandan conflict upside down, a fact that becomes clearer when one examines the atrocities of those four months within the context of the entire 20-year ascent and geographical spread of Kagame’s power. 30

Kagame trained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1990.  When the RPF invaded Rwanda from Uganda on October 1 of that year, even wearing the uniforms of the Ugandan army, not only did the United States and Britain not protest this act of aggression, they also prevented the UN Security Council from taking any action on Rwanda until March 1993,31 following a major RPF offensive that proved its superiority over the Army of the Rwandan government, displaced one million persons, and greatly weakened the Habyarimana government.  Through the start of April 1994, it was crucial to what would become the establishment narrative of the “Rwandan genocide” that the RPF’s aggression and occupation of the northern part of the country, its rapid increase in troop and weapons strength,32 its political penetration of the Rwandan state under Western-imposed power-sharing agreements, its military offensives, and its massacres and large-scale ethnic cleansing of the Hutu population, all be kept as quiet as possible, and that reporting feature instead Hutu perfidy and Tutsi victimhood.  The Guardian (along with the rest of the establishment U.S. and U.K. media) met this challenge.33

The “triggering event” in the mass killings of 1994 and after was the shooting down of Habyarimana’s jet during its landing approach to the airport in Kigali on April 6.  In standard accounts of the “Rwandan genocide,” responsibility for this incident is assigned to Hutu extremists around Habyarimana, who, facing a loss of power and privileges under the Arusha peace and power-sharing accords of August 1993, assassinated their president rather than accept the implementation of the accords and then launched their plan to exterminate Rwanda’s Tutsi population.34

But a serious problem for this Hutu conspiracy model arose in 1997, when Michael Hourigan, a principal investigator for the Rwanda Tribunal, found RPF informants who attested to the “direct involvement” of Kagame,35 and then in 2006, when French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière also concluded that Kagame had needed and was responsible for this political assassination.36

In the face of these awkward facts, the Guardian stood by the party-line.  Despite its passing mentions of Bruguière’s conclusion that “Kagame gave direct orders” to assassinate Habyarimana,37 the Guardian has regularly reported that Habyarimana “probably died at the hand of Hutu extremists opposed to the concessions he had made to the Tutsi rebels,”38 in Chris McGreal’s words; years later, when the trial of Hutu Colonel Theoneste Bagosora began at the Rwanda Tribunal in 2002, McGreal wrote that the shoot-down was “probably on Col. Bagosora’s orders,” and “within hours” Bagasora hosted a meeting at which the “extermination of Tutsis” was discussed.39  More striking yet, Michael Hourigan’s name has been mentioned only once in the history of the Guardian-Observer‘s reporting on Rwanda: By us, in our July 20, 2011 contribution to the Guardian‘s Response column.40

Apart from the compelling direct evidence that the shoot-down was Kagame’s handiwork, there are also the facts that Kagame’s RPF mobilized its troops within two hours of the event, and that it was this final RPF offensive that enabled Kagame’s forces to quickly conquer Rwanda, rather than face elections in 1995 that he and his minority Tutsi surely would have lost.41  Moreover, the government of Rwanda at the time was a coalition government that had several strategically placed Tutsi members; Alison Des Forges, perhaps the most important advocate for the Hutu conspiracy model, admitted at the Rwanda Tribunal that there was little likelihood that the coalition Hutu and Tutsi government could have planned the assassination and the extermination of the Tutsi, without the knowledge of its Tutsi members.42  But the Guardian never confronts this set of problems.  The Hutu conspiracy model is sacrosanct.

In standard accounts, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) is taken as a genuine judicial enterprise, not as the instrument of victor’s justice and guarantor of RPF immunity that it was and remains.  This parallels the establishment treatment of the Yugoslavia Tribunal, both tribunals creations of NATO and closely reflecting its biases and political demands.  The ICTR’s huge bias has been displayed, first, in the fact that no Tutsi has ever been indicted by it, although vast crimes have been committed by the RPF from 1990 onward.43  In one notable incident, the former ICTR prosecution expert Filip Reyntjens resigned his post in open protest at this unjustified bias and impunity.  “It is precisely because the [RPF] regime in Kigali has been given a sense of impunity that, during the years following 1994, it has committed massive internationally recognized crimes in both Rwanda and the DRC,” Reyntjens wrote in his letter of resignation.44  Another dramatic illustration of the ICTR bias and role was chief prosecutor Louise Arbour’s refusal in 1997 to accept Hourigan’s evidence on Kagame’s responsibility for the shoot-down of Habyarimana’s jet, and the ICTR’s failure to address this event to the present.  Nevertheless, the Guardian takes the ICTR as a genuine instrument of justice, with Chris McGreal providing testimony for its prosecution of Hutu defendants, just like Ed Vulliamy testified for the prosecution of Serb defendants at the Yugoslavia Tribunal.45

Another parallel with establishment accounts of the former Yugoslavia (and of Srebrenica specifically) is the belief that the U.S. and U.K. governments were guilty of inaction in Rwanda, when a military intervention to protect the Tutsi was in order.  But these governments never just stood idly by.  Instead, they actively stood by Kagame, shielding his 1990 aggression from international action, vastly expanding his RPF into the armed forces that overthrew the Habyarimana government and conquered the Rwandan state, and preventing the ICTR from bringing any indictments against Kagame’s RPF, even firing ICTR chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte in 2003 to terminate her “Special Investigations” of the RPF.46  The United States even used the Security Council to reduce UN forces in Rwanda as the killings escalated in April 1994, in accord with Kagame’s desire for unimpeded war-making and his plans for conquest.  But the Guardian swallowed the big lie of U.S. and U.K. inaction from the very beginning.  “The world said it should never happen again but stood by while genocide took place in Rwanda,” David Beresford wrote.  “Despite being fully aware of the horrors through television coverage, most countries stood by and allowed the slaughter to happen,” Guardian editor Joseph Harker added.47  Here again, journalistic nonfeasance has been crucial to protecting both the Kagame regime and U.S. and U.K. support for it.

A central feature of the establishment party-line holds that the victims of the 1994 mass killing were largely Tutsi and “moderate” Hutu, targeted for elimination by Hutu extremists.  ”Rwanda’s civil war saw 800,000 Tutsis slaughtered by the Hutus,” a G2 headline proclaimed over a report by Chris McGreal.48  This is not based on serious evidence and is incompatible with the fact that Kagame’s RPF quickly overpowered their Hutu rivals, were soon killing 10,000 Hutu civilians a month to clear the ground for Tutsi resettlement,49 and drove a huge mass of Hutu refugees into the Democratic Republic of Congo, where many more were killed in the years ahead.  Christian Davenport’s and Allan Stam’s research found that a “majority of the victims of 1994″ were in fact Hutu,50 and census and survivor data also point to majority Hutu deaths.51

A true picture of the Rwandan genocide would not only acknowledge the predominance of Hutu deaths in 1994, it would recognize that the same pattern of RPF-triggered deaths and displacements stretches from the RPF’s invasion of Rwanda in 1990, straight through its major offensive of February-March 1993, its final offensive and seizure of state power in 1994 (Genocide One), and its series of offensives into the mineral-rich Democratic Republic of Congo from 1994 on, resulting in a death toll several times the scale of Rwanda, and creating the greatest theater of atrocities in the contemporary world (Genocide Two).52  But for the past 17 years, no such picture has emerged on the pages of the Guardian-Observer, which continues to toe the party-line in the summer of 2011 on both Yugoslav and Rwandan history.

The Wacky World of George Monbiot

The image of the “Abraham Lincoln of Africa” may have suffered some downgrades over the years, particularly with the August 2010 leak of the draft UN report accusing Kagame’s RPF of “premeditation and a precise methodology” in its targeted attacks on Hutu in the DRC, resulting in massive losses of life that “could be classified as crimes of genocide.”53  But Kagame’s embrace by Western capitals and the UN officialdom remains firm,54 and his minority Tutsi dictatorship relies as much as ever on the myth of his savior role in ending rather than triggering and perpetrating mass atrocities in 1994.  Whenever doubts are raised about the reality of this myth, Kagame’s many advocates in the English-speaking world are quick to reiterate that the myth is the truth.55  Meanwhile, in Rwanda, Kagame uses his regime’s laws against “revisionism, negationism and trivialization of genocide” to intimidate his critics and to jail and even silence permanently anyone who challenges his rule.56

It is therefore striking that when George Monbiot throws the charges of “revisionism” and “genocide denial” against us for our work on Yugoslavia and Rwanda, or when Ed Vulliamy attacks work more honest than his own for sowing “poison in the water supply of history,” and smears Chomsky for “giving the revisionists his blessing” and “comfort to Messrs. Karadzic and Mladic, and their death squads,”57 Vulliamy and Monbiot are employing a technique that they share with Kagame.

“The massacre of Bosnians at Srebrenica in 1995 and the slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994 are two of the best-documented acts of genocide in history,” Monbiot writes.58  As our belief to the contrary is that both the “Rwandan genocide” and the “Srebrenica massacre” rank among the most misrepresented events on the past 20 years, it is worth examining the basis on which Monbiot thinks their proof rests.

Monbiot believes (as does the Guardian-Observer) that the Yugoslavia and Rwanda tribunals have been trustworthy searchers for truth and unbiased dispensers of justice, and that the narratives of the conflicts each of them codifies are beyond reproach.  The contrast between our view and theirs could not be more stark or clear.  Whereas we believe that these are political institutions, operating with the mandate to deliver guilty verdicts to the Serb targets of the U.S.-led NATO bloc in the former Yugoslavia, guilty verdicts to the Hutu targets of the U.S., U.K., and RPF in Rwanda, and to dramatize all of this with faux-legal performances that stick to these two scripts, Monbiot et al. accept the tribunals’ indictments, judgments, and guilt assignments on an ex cathedra basis.

Monbiot also takes the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) as an unchallengeable authority on the body count at Srebrenica, even though its staff is 90 percent Bosnian Muslim and operates under U.S. sponsorship.59  He takes at face value the ICMP’s claim that, “using DNA screening, [it] has so far identified the corpses of 6,595 of the 7,789 Bosnians reported as missing after the siege of Srebrenica,” and adds that the ICMP’s “work suggests that the total number of victims is close to 8,100.”  It never occurs to Monbiot that DNA cannot fix the mode or time of death, so that when those 6,595 or 8,100 individuals died (i.e., in July 1995? or June 1992-March 1993?), and whether they were executed, killed in battle, or perished from natural causes, are legally meaningful differences that in the vast majority of cases remain undetermined.  In The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics, one of the two books which Monbiot purports to be criticizing, Michael Mandel shows that, in its foundational 2001 judgment in the trial of the Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic, the Yugoslavia Tribunal itself never found evidence of anything like 8,000 executions at Srebrenica, so it stretched what facts it did have as far as it could, and then stretched them even further in this case’s 2004 judgment on appeal60 — but Monbiot never mentions Mandel’s chapter.  In his independent examination of the Srebrenica-related autopsy reports compiled by the Yugoslavia Tribunal through 2002, the Serb forensic pathologist Ljubiša Simic found that these reports covered between 1,919 and 1,985 individuals in total, and that in only roughly one-in-five did the autopsies “indicate that those persons may have been executed.”61  The implication that Monbiot draws for his readers, that the 6,595 persons allegedly identified by DNA equals 6,595 persons executed (i.e., murdered in a criminally meaningful manner, and proof of the “Srebrenica massacre”), is false in the extreme.

As noted, Monbiot also fails to recognize that the staff of the ICMP, which represents one side in a violent conflict, might not be entirely reliable gatherers of evidence, whether in producing a Srebrenica-related list of missing persons, assembling and storing the mortal remains recovered from the Srebrenica-related graves, or interpreting possible matches between the DNA extracted from the bones of these remains and the DNA drawn from the blood donated by living relatives.  Nor does he mention the inconvenient fact that, though the ICMP has been publicizing its claims about DNA identifications since 2001, to date it has refused to disclose to defense teams for their own independent analysis any of its purported DNA profiles and the physical evidence on which these profiles allegedly were developed.62  We may also be sure that, like Vulliamy, Monbiot has never mentioned the dramatic downward revision by establishment sources in the estimated death toll from the wars in Bosnia, from 250,000 in 1993 to some 100,000 in 2003-2007,63 or pondered what this might suggest about the unchanging stability of the 8,000-figure in the “Srebrenica massacre,” a figure first broached by the Red Cross in early September 1995 on the basis of persons reported to it as missing, yet remaining immutable ever since.64

But it is not at all clear that Monbiot actually read The Srebrenica Massacre.  He writes, for example, that this book “claims that the 8,000 deaths at Srebrenica are ‘an unsupportable exaggeration.  The true figure may be closer to 800′.”  What he doesn’t mention is that he took these 11 words from page 8 of the Foreword to the book, which was contributed by Phillip Corwin,65 at one time the UN Civilian Affairs Coordinator in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Monbiot attributes these 11 words from Corwin’s Foreword to the collection itself, and asserts that “It” — namely, the collection — “claims that the 8,000 deaths at Srebrenica are ‘an unsupportable exaggeration’ . . .” (emphasis added).  As the seven contributors to the book besides Corwin focus on the issue of executions, not simply deaths for which no cause is specified, and as none of them deny the possibility of 8,000 deaths, Monbiot’s attribution of these 11 words from the Foreword to “It” is a lie, and suggests that his reading of the book was even less than cursory.66

Monbiot criticizes the British writer Mick Hume for having once said of the May 27, 1992 shelling of a Bosnian Muslim breadline in Sarajevo that “It is quite obvious to anyone objective that Muslims have done it.”  Later, Monbiot extends this criticism to The Srebrenica Massacre: “Like Karadzic,” he writes, “the book claims that the market massacres in Sarajevo were carried out by Bosnian Muslim provocateurs.”  The “Like Karadzic” is deeply dishonest.  Also, it should be noted that there were at least three “market massacres” in Sarajevo during the war: The 1992 incident (15 deaths); the Markale marketplace massacre of February 5, 1994 (66 deaths); and the last on August 28, 1995 (43 deaths).  Different contributors to the collection (particularly George Bogdanich67) have assembled a variety of sources to support the claim that the second and third of these incidents were “false flag” operations carried out by the Bosnian Muslims themselves at critical junctures in their negotiations with Western powers to provoke NATO’s intervention on their side.  The sources referred to include UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali (who himself was citing UN Special Representative for Bosnia Yasushi Akashi and U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher) (p. 233); Lord David Owen and the British General Sir Michael Rose (pp. 53-54); U.S. Lieut. Colonel John Sray (p. 57); a U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee report (p. 35); the then chief Balkans correspondent for the New York Times, David Binder (p. 233); and the Dutch military intelligence expert Cees Wiebes, who interviewed a minimum of 11 NATO military and intelligence figures who told him that both the 1994 and 1995 incidents had been carried out by the Bosnian Muslims, and added that “Even the most important British policy body in the field of intelligence, the Joint Intelligence Committee, . . . came to the conclusion that the shelling of the Sarajevo market was probably not the work of the VRS [the Bosnian Serb army], but of the Bosnian Muslims” (p. 244).  But Monbiot ignores these multiple references, mentions an old statement on the subject by Mick Hume, and likens “the book” to Radovan Karadzic because it disputes this establishment truth!

Monbiot writes that “[The Srebrenica Massacre] insists that the witnesses to the killings are ‘not credible’,” but he immediately drops the matter.  But in the passage where these two words appear,68 one of the present writers (Herman) is summarizing the wealth of material collected throughout the book.  Herman notes that, in the entire corpus of the Yugoslavia Tribunal’s work, the “only direct participant witness claim that ran as high as 1,000 [executed] was that of Drazen Erdemovic,” a Bosnian Croat mercenary who at different times during the civil wars in Bosnia served on all three sides, and who in late May 1996, entered the Tribunal’s first-ever guilty plea (for “crimes against humanity,” as it turned out).  Having heard Erdemovic’s plea (May 31, 1996), the trial chamber ordered him to submit to a psychiatric evaluation; the three experts who examined Erdemovic concluded that he was “insufficiently able to stand trial at this moment” (June 27, 1996).  Nevertheless, just eight days later (July 5, 1996), the Office of the Prosecutor called Erdemovic as a witness in the Tribunal’s famous Rule 62, mock-trial-in-absentia of Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.  Now, it appears, he was sufficiently able to testify that he participated with seven other executioners (all of whom he named, but none of whom has ever been called before the Tribunal) “at a farm that was at a place called Pilica” on July 16, 1995, where 15 to 20 busloads of Bosnian Muslims were delivered, containing between 1,000 and 1,200 persons, all of whom he and his fellow gunmen shot dead in groups of roughly ten at a time.69

Herman comments that Erdemovic’s testimony that day “was accepted despite its vagueness and inconsistencies, lack of corroboration, his problematic background and associations, and his suffering from mental problems sufficient to disqualify him from trial — but not from testifying before the Tribunal, free of cross-examination. . . .  This and other witness evidence suffered from serious abuse of the plea-bargaining process whereby witnesses could receive mitigating sentences if they cooperated sufficiently with the prosecution” (p. 281).  George Szamuely shows in his chapter the extent to which Erdemovic is a charlatan and a fraud, but one carefully protected over many years by the Tribunal.  (Matters also developed at length by Germinal Civikov in his book, Srebrenica: The Star Witness.70)  At one point during the trial of Slobodan Milosevic in 2003, Erdemovic testified that “his unit was paid lavishly to participate in crimes at Srebrenica, but [he] could not say who made the actual payment,” Szamuely writes, and that he once even told ABC News that “his unit had been promised 12 kilograms of gold” (p. 189).71  In short, not only is Drazen Erdemovic not credible, but as the prosecution’s most important witness in advancing its case for the “Srebrenica massacre” and, ultimately, “genocide,” his long, 16-year career as a plea-bargaining witness-for-the-prosecution reveals the Tribunal’s deeply political and judicially-compromised nature.

Monbiot adds that “[The Srebrenica Massacre] suggests that the Bosnian Muslim soldiers retreated from Srebrenica to ensure that more Bosnians were killed, in order to provoke US intervention.”  In the endnote that accompanies this passage on Monbiot’s website, he laughs off the book’s sources for this “astonishing claim,” and quotes one paragraph from Herman’s “Summary and Conclusions,” and two endnotes.72  Clearly, Monbiot believes that he has discovered a disconnect between the “astonishing claim” and the sources that Herman cites to support it.

In fact, there are two passages in this book where different contributors develop this claim, and where they cite multiple sources to suggest that, as one British Lieut. Colonel assigned to the UN Protection Force for Bosnia told the British military correspondent Tim Ripley: “They [the Bosnian government] knew what was happening in Srebrenica.  I am certain they decided it was worth the sacrifice.”73

As with Monbiot’s treatment of the “market massacres,” here he pretends that the book hasn’t provided adequate sources, and counts on his readers not to check for themselves.  George Bogdanich (pp. 56-59) cites the testimony of the Bosnian Muslim General Sefer Halilovic on Sarajevo’s orders to withdraw 18 top commanders from Srebrenica, including Naser Oric, in the month before Sarajevo handed Srebrenica over to the Bosnian Serbs; although this diminished the combat readiness of the remaining troops of the 28th Division, Halilovic testified that orders continued to be sent to Srebrenica for its troops to step up “militarily meaningless” attacks on Bosnian Serb positions outside the enclave (p. 58).  Herman also points out that, “In his 2004 book, Les Guerriers de la Paix (‘Warriors for Peace’), Bernard Kouchner . . . states that on his death-bed, Bosnia’s wartime President Alija Izetbegovic acknowledged to both Kouchner and Richard Holbrooke that he had exaggerated claims of atrocities by Serbian forces to encourage NATO interventions against the Serbs.”  These included the Bosnian Muslim leadership’s early and very effective claims in the summer of 1992 about “extermination camps” (recall how well the Guardian and Ed Vulliamy took the bait), but the practice belonged to a much larger, ongoing, Western-P.R.-conscious pattern, used many times throughout the wars, and used as late as July 9, 1995, when Izetbegovic started contacting world leaders, warning them about an imminent “genocide” to be carried out by Bosnian Serb forces (pp. 284-285).

Monbiot seems especially troubled by Herman’s contention (also sourced in Bogdanich and Szamuely, a fact unmentioned by Monbiot) that “Bosnian Muslim officials have claimed that their wartime president, Alija Izetbegovic, told them that Bill Clinton had advised him that direct U.S. military intervention could occur only if the Serbs killed at least 5,000 in Srebrenica.”  Indeed, in referring to Herman’s “astonishing claim,” this is what Monbiot had in mind.  In The Srebrenica Massacre, the oldest source cited for this claim is a 1998 interview with Srebrenica’s wartime chief of police Hakija Meholjic, who told the Sarajevo publication Dani that he was a member of a delegation of nine persons from Srebrenica who met personally with Izetbegovic in 1993, at which time Izetbegovic asked them for their thoughts about a possible “swap of Srebrenica for Vogosca [a Sarajevo suburb]?”  “We rejected it without any discussion,” Meholjic told the interviewer.  Then, Izetbegovic added: “You know, I was offered by Clinton in April 1993 . . . that the Chetnik forces enter Srebrenica, carry out a slaughter of 5,000 Muslims, and then there will be a military intervention.”74  In the book, the sources provided for this story include Dani (p. 56, p. 189), a Dutch documentary film that was played in court during the Srebrenica-related trial of the Bosnian Serb General Radislav Krstic (p. 56), and the November 15, 1999 UN report, The Fall of Srebrenica, which both Bogdanich and Herman cite (p. 236, p. 284), and for which Monbiot mocks Herman.75  Perhaps Monbiot finds the use of this UN report “astonishing” because the UN report adds that “Izetbegovic has flatly denied making such a statement,” and for Monbiot, Izetbegovic’s word more than offsets the other eight witnesses who could confirm Meholjic’s story.

There is also no evidence that Monbiot seriously read the other book that he purports to analyze: The Politics of Genocide.  “Mis-citing a [Yugoslavia] tribunal judgment,” he writes, the book “maintains that the Serb forces ‘incontestably had not killed any but “Bosnian Muslim men of military age”.’”  This time, in an endnote on his website, Monbiot cites nine words from the 2001 judgment in the Krstic case, which he thinks provides a gotcha moment: “In fact the judgment says that ‘only the men of military age were systematically massacred’. . . .  Can you spot the difference?  Herman and Peterson couldn’t.”76  But contrary to Monbiot, our quote is exact, and there isn’t any substantive difference between these two quotes.  We should note, however, that Monbiot, a man so sensitive to genocide-related issues, fails to mention that in the same sentence as the one he quotes from our book, we point out that the Bosnian Serbs “had taken the trouble to bus all the women, children, and the elderly men to safety” (p. 47).  Doesn’t his suppression of this kind of information (and we can be sure that Monbiot never picks it up elsewhere) constitute a kind of genocide-inflation?77

In this 2009 interview with Michael Hourigan, the Australian former investigator for the Rwanda Tribunal, Hourigan recounts his experiences with Tribunal Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour, who, in his words, told him that the “investigation has to come to an end” when he reported to her that his team had found RPF informants willing to testify that the April 6, 1994 shoot-down of Rwandan President Juvenal Habyarimana’s jet had been ordered by Paul Kagame and carried out by agents of the Rwandan Patriotic Front.

Further evidence that Monbiot didn’t read our book is found where he writes that, in 2004, Mick Hume repeated a “long-discredited denier’s claim” that “Paul Kagame’s army ‘shot down’ President Habyarimana’s plane.”  As we also write about the assassination in our book, and contend that the Kagame-led RPF were responsible for it (pp. 59-61), it is revealing that Monbiot didn’t extend his criticism of Mick Hume to us as well.  But our book doesn’t cite Mick Hume — instead, we cite Michael Hourigan and the French Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière (see the previous section).  Although this so-called “denier’s claim” has never been discredited, it has been vehemently rejected by Kagame and his many apologists.78  So Monbiot repeats the Kagame party-line, attacks Mick Hume (and some of Hume’s old colleagues) for highlighting this crucial piece of evidence against Kagame’s RPF, and ignores the serious evidence against Kagame that we put forward in our book.79

Monbiot takes strong issue with our assertion in The Politics of Genocide that the “great majority of deaths were Hutu, with some estimates as high as two million,” and he calls this “as straightforward an instance of revisionism as [he's] ever seen. . . .”  These objections are laughable.  In the book, we report that the U.S. academics Christian Davenport and Allan Stam, who studied multiple mortality estimates for Rwanda, themselves “estimated that more than one million deaths occurred in Rwanda from April through July 1994″ (p. 58), with the total on all sides falling within a likely range between 800,000 and 1 million (if not slightly higher).  We also write that Davenport-Stam “have been under attack and in retreat since they were expelled from Rwanda in November 2003, when they first reported that that the ‘majority of the victims of 1994 were of the same ethnicity as the government in power’, and have been barred from entering the country ever since” (p. 59).  Anyone who looks at Table 1, “Differential attributions of ‘genocide’ to different theaters of atrocities” (p. 35), sees that we use the lower end estimate of 800,000 deaths in Rwanda, not “two million.”  But Monbiot takes our single mention of the former RPF military officer Christophe Hakizimana’s 1999 letter to the UN, and runs to his readers with the scoop that we are so sloppy in our use of sources, our claims are “comparable in this case only to the claims of the genocidaires themselves”!80

Monbiot also objects that, in The Politics of Genocide, we place the “Rwandan genocide in inverted commas throughout the text.”  In fact, we use scare quotes to distinguish between two radically different and incompatible accounts of what happened in Rwanda throughout the period.  Thus the “Rwandan genocide” (i.e., inside scare quotes) refers to what in the previous section (above) we call the Hutu conspiracy model — the false and propagandistic party-line advanced by the U.S., U.K., and Paul Kagame-led RPF, and thereafter enforced by the Rwandan Tribunal, of a “conspiracy” by the majority Hutu around Habyarimana to exterminate the Tutsi minority.  We, on the contrary, treat the vast bloodbaths of 1994 as resulting from a pre-planned conspiracy by the RPF, hatched no later than 1990, to seize state power within Rwanda by using aggression, terrorism, and an eventual military takeover of the country.  The RPF accomplished this plan by July 1994, after launching its final offensive on April 6, when it shot down Habyarimana’s jet and rejected all ceasefire efforts by the remaining Hutu armed forces as impediments to its plan.  Our use of scare quotes is therefore a clarification device: By “Rwandan genocide,” we mean the ideological construct that fills George Monbiot’s (and the Guardian-Observer‘s collective) mind about the relevant events.  Some readers may find it stylistically a turn-off, but this is a separate matter.81

In both his June 17 and August 4 rejoinders to the Media Lens group, Monbiot urged them to read the reviews of our book published in 2010 by Gerald Caplan and Adam Jones,82 which in Monbiot’s words “contain reams of devastating evidence,” make it “hard to see how [Media Lens] could still maintain that Herman and Peterson are not engaging in denial,” and show that “Media Lens is now supporting an attempt to whitewash two great crimes and to excuse and justify the killers.”83  But our analysis of the death tolls was based on serious evidence which we spelled out, but that Monbiot characteristically ignores.  Instead, he latches onto two party-line followers on Rwanda 1994, citing their authority on the subject but never a single detail, and suppressing the fact that, in 2010, we drafted extensive replies to both of them.84  Monbiot is a hit-and-run intellectual.

Concluding Note

On first reading George Monbiot’s “Left and Libertarian Right Cohabit in the Weird World of the Genocide Belittlers,” we drew up a list of his errors, misrepresentations, and regurgitations of party-line lies, so as to better equip ourselves to respond to his commentary.  But as the original list kept growing each time we looked at his work, we soon realized that our list might be almost indefinitely expandable, depending on how finely we parsed his errors, and how much time we wanted to devote to the project.  We are also aware that this one commentary only gives a glimmer of the past 20 years’ worth of Guardian-Observer biased treatment of these theaters of war, U.S. and U.K. intervention, and mass atrocities.  But we have made a start.

Still, a few final comments are in order.

The National Security Strategy issued by the Obama administration in 2010 pledged that “in certain instances” the United States would employ “military means to prevent and respond to genocide and mass atrocities.”85  From its advocates’ point of view, one of the major selling points of so-called “mass atrocity response operations” (a.k.a. “humanitarian interventions”) is that, “unlike in many other types of military operations, there is the opportunity to harness true unity of purpose between the humanitarian community and military actors”86 — more realistically, to compromise the neutrality of humanitarian actors, co-opt their moral credibility, and reduce their ability to counter war and militarism.  We, on the other hand, oppose such “unity of purpose,” and recognize its destructive potential: The ease with which this year’s Western-imperial war on Libya was shepherded through the United Nations under the guise of protecting civilians bears witness to the threat to international peace and security that it poses.87

In The Politics of Genocide, we noted that the “word ‘genocide’ has increased in frequency of use and recklessness of application, so much so that the crime of the twentieth century for which the word originally was coined often appears debased” (p. 103).88

We added that its usage had become 297 percent more frequent in 2008 than it had been in 1990, with the vast majority of this increase fitting the Nefarious category (most notably in Rwanda, Srebrenica, and Darfur),89 or those theaters in which the alleged “perpetrator of mass-atrocity crimes is our enemy or states targeted by us for destabilization and attack, . . . and their victims therefore worthy of our focus, sympathy, public displays of solidarity, and calls for inquiry and punishment” (p. 103).

We also stated that, “when we ourselves commit mass-atrocity crimes,” this principle inverts, and the converse becomes true: then the “atrocities are Constructive, our victims are unworthy of our attention and indignation, and never suffer ‘genocide’ at our hands,” a near-immutable law of the international arena that applies not only to the “Iraqi untermenschen who have died in such grotesque numbers over the past two decades” (p. 103) — but also to the Hutu of Rwanda and the eastern DRC, the peoples of Somalia, Colombia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Yemen, Lebanon, the Israeli Occupied Palestinian Territories, and Pakistan, to name a tragic few.

Just as the evidence indicates that “genocide” is a crime committed by the enemies of the U.S.-led NATO bloc, it also suggests that “genocide denial” and “revisionism” are thought crimes that can be committed only by those who question these rather tidy and convenient political, military, and legal arrangements.

Hence, questioning the number of Bosnian Muslim execution-victims following the fall of Srebrenica is “genocide denial,” but ignoring the Bosnian Serb civilian victims of Naser Oric in the villages outside Srebrenica, where estimates run as high as 2,382,90 is neither genocide denial nor genocide belittling — it is keeping everyone focused on the preferred (Nefarious) “genocide.”

Similarly, ignoring the “10,000 or more Hutu civilians [killed] per month” inside Rwanda by Paul Kagame’s forces in 1994,91 the Hutu and other civilians killed on a scale many times greater in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a “direct result of the occupation of the DRC by Rwanda and Uganda,”92 and the perhaps one million Iraqi victims of the “sanctions of mass destruction” imposed by the United States and Britain in the 13 years prior to their invasion of Iraq in 2003 (three of the major Benign and Constructive bloodbaths of the past two decades),93 is not “genocide denial,” much less a willful and complicit apologetics for genocide — it is patriotic eye-aversion in the face of the national pursuit of legitimate economic and political interests.

In these and many other cases we find proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that there really is a politics of genocide.  This is well reflected in George Monbiot’s attack on “genocide denial” and “revisionism.”

Notes

1  See George Monbiot, “Left and Libertarian Right Cohabit in the Weird World of the Genocide Belittlers,” Guardian, June 14, 2011 (print).  At Monbiot’s own personal Web site, the title that he had chosen for this attack was more direct: “Naming the Genocide Deniers” (June 13).

2  For a copy of the Guardian‘s July 5 rejection notice, see David Peterson, “Boy, Do We Need A Hippocratic Oath For Journalist,” ZNet, July 21, 2011.  For copies of our separate, original responses, see Edward S. Herman, “Reply to George Monbiot on ‘Genocide Belittling’,” unpublished manuscript, June 17, 2011 (as posted to ZNet, July 19, 2011); and David Peterson, “George Monbiot and the anti-’Genocide Deniers’ Brigade,” unpublished manuscript, June 17, 2011 (as posted to ZNet, July 19, 2011).

3  See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “We’re Not Genocide Deniers,” Guardian, July 20, 2011 (print).  Somehow, the Guardian neglected to add the phrase “Damn it!” to this title.  As in: “We’re not genocide deniers.  Damn it!”  Or: “We’re not child molesters.  Damn it!”

4  “A ‘Malign Intellectual Subculture’ – George Monbiot Smears Chomsky, Herman, Peterson, Pilger And Media Lens,” Media Lens, August 2, 2011, esp. its “Postscript.”  As the Media Lens group described the Guardian‘s efforts: “Guardian readers posted comments below the truncated response from Herman and Peterson, with the majority in support and several providing links to the fuller rebuttals posted at ZNet.  The [Comment Is Free] moderators swiftly got to work playing ‘whack-a-mole’ to remove these comments whenever they popped up.  Even a comment by Peterson himself, linking to these longer pieces, was removed.  Unusually, this was later restored, most likely in response to public complaints.”  For a copy of the once removed, later restored, comment by Peterson, see Guardian, July 20, 2011, 8:38PM.

5  See the Internet pseudonym, “OopsItsMe,” Guardian, July 20, 2011, 9:24AM.

6  See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, The Politics of Genocide (New York: Monthly Review Press, 2010).

7  Nick Cohen, “Decline and Fall of the Puppetmasters,” Observer, July 17, 2001 (print).

8  James Wizeye, “To Claim Tutsis Caused Rwanda‘s Genocide Is Pure Revisionism,” Guardian, July 26, 2011 (print). 

9  For one powerful response to James Wizeye, see the comment posted by Christopher Black, a Canadian attorney and Lead Defense Counsel at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Guardian, July 26, 2011, 4:25PM.

10  Throughout this manuscript, we will be writing about both the Guardian and the Observer jointly, whether we write the Guardian-Observer explicitly, or simply the Guardian.

11  Ed Vulliamy, “This War Has Changed My Life,” British Journalism Review, Vo. 4, No. 2 (1993); quoted in Peter Brock, Media Cleansing: Dirty Reporting.  Journalism and Tragedy in Yugoslavia (Los Angeles: GM Books, 2005), p. 57.

12  See, e.g., Carl Savich, “Celebici,” Serbianna, November 11, 2003.

13  Here is the totality of Ed Vulliamy’s reporting on the Bosnian Muslim-run camps for Serbs insofar as it turned up on the pages of the Guardian-Observer from the start of 1992 through the end of July, 2011: “The principal camps on the Serb list are at Tarcin, near Sarajevo. . . .”  (“Shame of Camp Omarska,” Guardian, August 7, 1992.)  And: “Who talks now about Bosnian Serb massacres at Zvornik, Vlasenica, Brcko or Bijeljina?  (Or, indeed, sites of Croatian atrocities, such as Ahmici, or the Bosnian Muslim camp at Celebici)” (“The Edge of Madness,” Guardian, July 23, 2008).

14  Cf. Ed Vulliamy, “We Must Fight for Memory of Bosnia’s Camps,” IWPR Balkan Crisis Report, February 21, 2005.

15  For a critical discussion of the “journalism of attachment,” see Philip Hammond, “Moral Combat: Advocacy Journalists and the New Humanitarianism,” in David Chandler, Ed., Rethinking Human Rights: Critical Approaches to International Politics (London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), pp. 176-195, especially Hammond’s discussion of “New humanitarianism,” pp. 191-195.  Along with the “explicit rejection of neutrality,” the “journalists of attachment” have also “tended to follow the agenda of powerful Western governments,” and their eagerness to “frame conflicts in terms of a good-versus-evil discourse of abusers and victims and call for ever-greater Western intervention performs a valuable service to governments which, having lost the stable framework of the Cold War, couch their foreign policy in the language of human rights and morality” (p. 191).  According to Hammond, the Guardian‘s Ed Vulliamy once “accuse[d] the entire ‘international community’ of ‘meddling with the truths of the war [in Bosnia-Herzegovina] to stifle intervention and foster appeasement’ and of  ‘spreading . . . lies and distortions that would equate aggressor and victim’. . . .  Western ‘neutrality’, he charge[d], amounted to de facto support for the Serbs” (p. 182).  We believe that Ed Vulliamy’s journalistic career since roughly the second half of 1992 serves as a very good illustration of everything that is wrong with the “journalism of attachment.”

16  Ed Vulliamy, “A Destiny Worse Than War,” Guardian, April 10, 1993.  Here we add that in his original, August 7, 1992 report about the Bosnian Serb-run camps Omarska and Trnopolje, which he and the other British reporters for Independent Television News or ITN (Penny Marshall, Ian Williams, and cameraman Jeremy Irvin ) as well as a reporter and a cameraman from Radio Television Serbia visited on August 5, Vulliamy had written: “Trnopolje cannot be called a ‘concentration camp’. . . .  One group has arrived from Kereter[m] that morning, claiming that they had been beaten, but showing no signs of it.  However, says pitifully thin Fikrit Alic: ‘It is worse than here.  There is no food’.  Others in the group looked better fed.  Another boy, Icic Budo, says ‘they killed 200 people’ at Kereter[m] and ‘many more at Omarska’.  He has seen no bodies himself, but another boy had seen one corpse near the main gate” (“Shame of Camp Omarska,” Guardian, August 7, 1992).

But in a February 2, 1997 report that was published around the same time that the English translation of Thomas Deichmann’s “The Picture That Fooled the World” (LM97, February, 1997) began to circulate in Britain, Vulliamy wrote: “I was interviewing Fikret Alic while he was filmed.  He had arrived from another camp, Kereterm, where he had witnessed the massacre of 200 prisoners in a single night — a crime confirmed by subsequent investigations” (“I Stand by My Story,” Observer, February 2, 1997).

Then on March 15, 2000, the day after the jury in Britain had decided ITN’s libel case against LM, the publisher of Deichmann’s debunking of the Fikret Alic photographs, in favor of ITN, Vulliamy wrote: “There were more important matters, such as the emaciated Fikret Alic’s (accurate and vindicated) recollections of the night he had been assigned to load the bodies of 250 men killed in one night at yet another camp” (“Poison in the Well of History,” Guardian, March 15, 2000).

Finally, on July 27, 2008, shortly after the arrest of the Bosnian Serbs’ wartime leader Radovan Karadzic while riding on a bus in Belgrade, Vulliamy devoted a nearly 3,000-word profile to Fikret Alic.  Now, according to Vulliamy, he first “came across Fikret Alic in 1992 at the Trnopolje concentration camp, . . . where Alic languished behind the wire,” and where he “had arrived that morning . . . from yet another camp, Keraterm, where during a single night 130 men had been massacred in a hangar [and] he had been ordered to help load the bodies on to bulldozers, but, weeping, had his place taken by an older man” (“‘I Am Waiting.  No One Has Ever Said Sorry’,” Observer, July 27, 2008).

So, here we have an unambiguous case in which Ed Vulliamy’s original descriptions of Fikret Alic and Icic Budo, two different Bosnian Muslim individuals he encountered at the Trnopolje transit camp on August 5, 1992, rapidly merged in Vulliamy’s subsequent reporting into a portrait of the famous Fikret Alic alone, with Budo winding up on the cutting-room floor, and Vulliamy’s original description of Budo’s fuzzy, hearsay allegations (“He has seen no bodies himself”) projected onto Alic, and reported as Alic’s firsthand, eye-witness account: Alic “had witnessed the massacre of 200 prisoners in a single night” at Kereterm (February 2, 1997); Alic “had been assigned to load the bodies of 250 men killed in one night” at Kereterm (March 15, 2000); and Alic “had been ordered to help load the bodies” of “130 men [who] had been massacred in a hangar [during a single night at Keraterm]” (July 27, 2008).

(For analyses of the early Western propaganda uses of the original, August 5, 1992 images taken of Fikret Alic at Trnopolje, see Thomas Deichmann, “The Picture That Fooled the World,” LM97, February, 1997; and Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “The Picture That Continues To Fool the World,” ZNet, June 27, 2011.)

17  See Alija Izetbegovic, The Islamic Declaration:A Programme for the Islamization of Muslims and of Muslim Peoples, no translator listed, 1970, 1990 (as posted to the website of the Balkan Repository Project).  Expounding on what he called the “incompatibility of Islam with non-Islamic systems,” Izetbegovic explained: “There can be neither peace nor coexistence between the Islamic religion and non-Islamic social and political institutions. . . .  By claiming the right to order its own world itself, Islam obviously excludes the right or possibility of the part of any foreign ideology on that terrain. There is, therefore, no lay principle, and the state should both reflect and support religious moral concepts” (p. 30).  To the best of our knowledge, Vulliamy has never commented on, let alone criticized, this document on the pages of the Guardian-Observer for its avowed ethno-religious intolerance.

18  See Patrick Ball et al., The Bosnian Book of the Dead: Assessment of the Database, Research and Documentation Center, Sarajevo, June 2007.  Ball et al. estimate 96,895 total war-related deaths, of which 56,662 were military or combatants at the time of death (58.5%), and 39,199 were civilians (40.5%), with 1,034 (1.1%) listed as Policemen.  (See Table 23a, “Victims Reported in BBD by Status in War,” p. 30.)  Out of the 64,003 Muslims who perished in these wars, approximately 33,000 were civilians, and 31,000 combatants.  (See Table 19, “Ethnicity of Victims Reported in BBD,” p. 29, as well a some previous work by the Research and Documentation Center.)  A search of the Nexis database for everything published under Ed Vulliamy’s byline on the pages of the Guardian and the Observer reveals no record of Vulliamy ever having mentioned the names of the five principal researchers whose work has revised the total number of deaths from the civil wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina to the 100,000 range: Ewa Tabeau, Jakub Bijak, Mirsad Tokaca, Patrick Ball, or Philip Verwimp (i.e., byline(ed w/2 vulliamy) and [insert name] for all dates).

19  See Ed Vulliamy, “Open Letter from Ed Vulliamy to Amnesty International,” as posted to the Web site of the Congress of North American Bosniaks, October 31, 2009.  For our response to Vulliamy, see Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “Open Letter To Amnesty International’s London and Belfast Offices, on the Occasion of Noam Chomsky’s Belfast Festival Lecture, October 30, 2009,” MRZine, November 22, 2009.

20  See Emma Brockes, “The Greatest Intellectual?” Guardian, October 31, 2005 (as now posted to the Chomsky.Info website).

21  See “Corrections and Clarifications: The Guardian and Noam Chomsky,” Guardian, November 17, 2005.

22  Vulliamy, “We Must Fight for Memory of Bosnia’s Camps.”  Also see n. 25, below.

23  For a copy of the 2003 open letter, see Al Burke, All Quieted on the Word Front, August 8, 2004, p. 31.

24  See John Willis, “External Ombudsman Report,” Guardian, May 25, 2006, para. 17.

25  Vulliamy, “We Must Fight for Memory of Bosnia’s Camps.”  As Vulliamy had written: “Revisionism over the carnage in Bosnia is rampant and persistent. . . .  Last year, [Ordfront] carried an interview with the author Diane Johnstone, about her book Fools’ Crusade, which expresses doubts over the number of victims of the Srebrenica massacre; the authenticity of the Racak massacre in Kosovo; the use of systematic rape in the war in Bosnia; and the true figure of Bosnian war dead (the official estimate is more than 200,000 — Johnstone claims 50,000).  And just as before, members of the chattering classes, unbelievably, have hailed this poison as ‘outstanding work’, in a letter signed by, among others, Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Tariq Ali, John Pilger, et. al” (emphasis added).  Also see Diana Johnstone, Kulturkrieg in Journalism: Using Emotion to Silence Analysis,” CounterPunch, November 14, 2005.

26  See Marko Attila Hoare et al., “Protest to The Guardian Over ‘Correction’ to Noam Chomsky Interview,” Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, December 8, 2005.

27  As George Bogdanich writes: “General Morillon was asked directly by Judge Patrick Robinson at the ICTY: ‘Are you saying, then, General, that what happened in 1995 was a direct reaction to what Naser Oric did to the Serbs two years before’?  Morillon replied: ‘Yes. Yes, Your Honour.  I am convinced of that’.”  See George Bogdanich, Chap. 2, “Prelude to the Capture of Srebrenica,” in Edward S. Herman, Ed., The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics (Evergreen Park: Alphabet Soup, 2011), pp. 37-65; here p. 47.  For the Morillon, see Prosecutor v. Slobodan Milosevic (IT-02-54), Trial Transcript, February 12, 2004, p. 31,975.

28  See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “The Dismantling of Yugoslavia,” Monthly Review, Vol. 59, No. 5, October 2007.

29  Chris McGreal, “Out of Africa,” Guardian, March 27, 2009. — McGreal was the Guardian-Observer‘s chief Africa correspondent from September 1992 through March 2009.

30  See Herman and Peterson, The Politics of Genocide, “Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” pp. 51-68.  (Also published as Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the Propaganda System,” Monthly Review 62, No. 1, May 2010.)

31  See UN Security Council Resolution 812 (S/RES/812), March 12, 1993.

32  See Peter Erlinder, “The U.N. Security Council Tribunal for Rwanda: International Justice, or Juridically-Constructed ‘Victor’s Impunity’?” Journal of Social Justice, Vol. 4, No. 1, Fall 2010, pp. 131-214; esp. “RPF Military Superiority Established: January 1991-February 1993,” pp. 171-174.  (For an online copy, click here.)  As Erlinder puts it: “By the time of the RPF’s [February] 1993 assault on Kigali the invading RPF had grown from the 3,000-4,000 Ugandan ‘deserters’ in late 1990, to a light infantry fighting force of at least 20,000 troops with unquestioned military superiority.  By contrast, the defending FAR [Armed Forces of Rwanda] had the 6,000-7,000 ‘real’ troops who had defeated the initial small RPF/Ugandan invasion in late 1990, augmented by some 25-30,000 recent recruits, which the U.N. commander of U.N. troops, U.N. General Dallaire, characterized as ‘rabble’” (pp. 172-173).

33  The name ‘Paul Kagame’ appeared in only two articles in the Guardian-Observer prior to April 6, 1994:  Catharine Watson, “Rebels at the Ready in Fragile Rwanda Truce,” Guardian, September 8, 1992; and Mark Huband, “Voice of the Massacres,” Guardian, January 29, 1994.

34  For three iterations of the standard or what we call the Hutu-conspiracy model of the “Rwandan genocide,” see Bernard A. Muna, The Prosecutor against Theoneste Bagosora, Amended Indictment(ICTR-96-7-I), International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, December 8, 1999; Alison Des Forges et al., “Leave None to Tell the Story”: Genocide in Rwanda (New York: Human Rights Watch, 1999); and Adam Jones, Chap. 9, “Apocalypse in Rwanda,” in Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction (New York: Routledge, 2nd Ed., 2010), pp. 346-368.

35  See the Affidavit of Michael Andrew Hourigan, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, November 27, 2006 (as posted to the Web site of the Rwanda Documents Project at William Mitchell College of Law, St. Paul, Minnesota).  Also see Tiphaine Dickson, “Rwanda’s Deadliest Secret: Who Shot Down President Habyarimana’s Plane?” GlobalResearch.com, November 24, 2008.

36  In Bruguière’s words: “[T]he relationship of political forces, due in large part to the numerical inferiority of the Tutsi electorate, would not permit [Kagame] to win the elections called for in the political process laid out in the Arusha Accords without the support of the opposition parties. . . .  [F]or [Kagame] the physical elimination of President Habyarimana [therefore] had become essential as a means to achieve his political ends from October 1993″ (Jean-Louis Bruguière, Request for the Issuance of International Arrest Warrants, Tribunal de Grande Instance, Paris, France, November 21, 2006, para. 103 and para. 102.)

37  Rory Carroll, “Kagame Set Genocide in Motion, Paris Judge Says,” Guardian, March 12, 2004; Chris McGreal, “French Judge Accuses Rwandan President of Assassination,” Guardian, November 22, 2006; and Chris McGreal, “France‘s shame?” Guardian, January 11, 2007.

38  Chris McGreal, “For Rwanda, Read Burundi,” Observer, July 7, 1996.

39  Chris McGreal, “Rwanda‘s ‘murderer in chief’ on trial,” Guardian, April 3, 2002.

40  We base this claim on a search of the Nexis database for mentions of ‘Rwanda’ and ‘Hourigan’ in the pages of the Guardian and the Observer for all dates archived by Nexis.

41  Depending on the relative percentages of Rwanda’s Hutu and Tutsi population on the date of the national elections to be held in 1995 under the 1993 Arusha Accords, ethnic Hutu would have outnumbered ethnic Tutsi by some six- or seven-to-one.  Under these circumstances, the Kagame-RPF-Tutsi stood no chance of prevailing at the polls.  This left the Kagame-led RPF no other realistic option of acquiring state power but to seize it militarily, via the assassination of the Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana, and the launch of its final and decisive offensive of the April-July 1994 period.  See n. 36, above.

42  See Prosecutor v. Augustin Ndindiliyimana et al. (or Military II) (ICTR-00-56-I), Transcript, September 19, 2006, p. 4, lines 13-22.  (Unavailable online.)

43  See the “Status of Cases,” webpage at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (last accessed on August 15, 2011).  All 97 of the individual defendants listed there are ethnic Hutu.

44  Filip Reyntjens’ January 11, 2005 letter of resignation to Hassan Jallow is quoted in John Laughland, A History of Political Trials: From Charles I to Saddam Hussein (New York: Peter Lang Ltd., 2008), p. 211.  The Reyntjens letter continued: “Article 6(2) of the [ICTR's] Statute explicitly rules out immunity, including for Heads of state or government or for responsible government officials.  This principle is contravened when, as is currently the case, a message is sent out that those in power need not fear prosecution” (211-212).  The Guardian‘s Rory Carroll did report Reyntjens’ resignation.  Wrote Carroll: “There has been speculation that President Kagame, who led the rebel sweep through Rwanda, and was behind the subsequent incursions into the Democratic Republic of Congo, might have been indicted himself were it not for his links with Washington and London” (Rory Carroll, “Genocide Tribunal ‘Ignoring Tutsi Crimes’,” Guardian, January 2005).

45  Describing his feelings about Rwanda, McGreal writes: “There is a debate among reporters over whether we should take the stand at international courts, but it seemed difficult to me, after writing of the blood on the hands of western leaders for abandoning the Tutsis, to then refuse to make a small contribution to what little justice there was for the dead and survivors.”  Having witnessed one day the execution by firing squad of the Hutu Froduald Karamira at a stadium in Kigali, McGreal “thought back on the immense suffering caused by Karamira and his cohorts,” and had an epiphany: McGreal’s “long-held view that the death penalty was wrong, no matter what, fell away.  Before Rwanda, I could not have imagined saying this, but I would not have saved Karamira even if it had been in my power.  I looked at him and believed he deserved to die” (McGreal, “Out of Africa”).

46  See Carla Del Ponte, with Chuck Sudetic, Madame Prosecutor: Confrontations with Humanity’s Worst Criminals and the Culture of Impunity: A Memoir (New York: Other Press, 2009), esp. Chap. 9, “Confronting Kigali: 2002 and 2003,” 223-241.

47  David Beresford, “Who Bears the Guilt of Africa’s Horror?” Guardian, July 30, 1994; Joseph Harker, “Holocaust: Just Obeying Orders,” Guardian, January 31, 1995.  (Both unavailable online.)

48  Chris McGreal, “France‘s Shame?”  Rwanda’s civil war saw 800,000 Tutsis slaughtered by the Hutus — armed and supported by France,” Guardian, January 11, 2007.

49  See George E. Moose, “Human Rights Abuses in Rwanda,” Information Memorandum to The Secretary, U.S. Department of State, undated though clearly drafted between September 17 and 20, 1994 (as posted to the Web site of the Rwanda Documents Project).

50  See Christian Davenport and Allan Stam, “What Really Happened in Rwanda?” Miller-McCune, October 6, 2009.  As Davenport said in a statement issued through his university in 2009: “A great deal of effort has been extended to make sure the focus stays exclusively on the Francophone Tutsi victims and their Hutu executioners.  But of the estimated one million people killed [in Rwanda], between 300,000 and 500,000 of them were Tutsi, according to best estimates.  What about the other 500,000 to 700,000 people?  Who is responsible for their deaths?” (in Joan Fallon, “Research Sheds New Light on Rwandan Killings,” Notre Dame News, March 24, 2009).

51  See David Peterson, “Rwanda’s 1991 Census,” ZNet, June 17, 2011.

52  The continuity in Kagame power’s targeting of Hutu across both the Rwandan and the DRC theaters is the fundamental lesson of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1993-2003: Report of the Mapping Exercise documenting the most serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed within the territory of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between March 1993 and June 2003, United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,  August 2010, para. 27-33; para. 500-522.  As the very last paragraph of this report concludes: “In light of the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and the repetition of crimes within the territory of the DRC, there is a manifest urgency for justice and security service reform.  The members of the Mapping Team were able to observe the constant fear on the part of affected populations that history would repeat itself, especially when yesterday’s attackers are returning in positions that enable them to commit new crimes with complete impunity” (para. 1143).  (Also see the “Statement by the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay,” UNHCHR, October 1, 2010.)

53  Here quoting the final draft: Democratic Republic of Congo, 1993-2003: Report of the Mapping Exercise . . . , para. 515.  For some downgrades to Kagame’s image, consider the unassailable evidence of Kagame’s mass killings in the DRC.  In 2002, it was reported to the UN Security Council that, in the five provinces of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that the Rwandan and Ugandan armies had invaded and occupied, “more than 3.5 million excess deaths” probably had occurred up to September 2002, and that these deaths are the “consequence of a cycle of aggression, the multiplication of armed forces, [and] a high frequency of conflict and its consequences, especially displacement,” all of which are a “direct result of the occupation by Rwanda and Uganda” (see Mahmoud Kassem et al., Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the Democratic Republic of Congo, S/2002/1146, UN Security Council, October, 2002, para. 96.  Also see n. 52, above).  Additionally, Kagame won landslide victories with 95 percent of the vote in the 2003 presidential election, followed by 93 percent in 2010, and in both elections, his regime arrested, forced into exile, and murdered the Hutu majority’s opposition parties, candidates, and members of the media.

54  See, e.g., “UN Human Rights Office to Delay Release of Congo ‘Genocide’ Report until October,” Associated Press, September 2, 2010; “DR Congo ‘Genocide’ Report Delayed by UN,” BBC News Africa, September 2, 2010.

55  When in the spring of 2010, the Kagame dictatorship arrested, first the Hutu opposition political figure Victorie Ingabire Umuhoza, and then the U.S. attorney Peter Erlinder, who in late May flew to Kigali to take up her defense, the Canadian writer and Kagame apologist Gerald Caplan defended Kagame’s actions and attacked both Ingabire and Erlinder: See Gerald Caplan, “The Law Society of Upper Canada and Genocide Denial in Rwanda,” Toronto Globe and Mail, June 11, 2010 (as posted to Adam Jones’s Genocide Studies Media File Web site).  Later in 2010, when the draft UN “mapping report” on the Democratic Republic of Congo, 1993-2003 was first leaked, an impressive number of U.S. and U.K. commentators were quick to defend Kagame power.  “Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, came to power in 1994 at the head of a rebel army that brought the extermination of Rwandan Tutsis by Hutu extremists to a halt,” Philip Gourevitch wrote, hewing to the Kagame-as-savior script (“Rwanda Pushes Back against UN Genocide Charges,” New Yorker, August 27, 2010).  “The UN delegation [to Kigali] would be well aware of the security council’s shameful decision to pull its peacekeepers out of Rwanda in 1994, at the height of the genocide of the Tutsi people.  It was Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Front that eventually brought the genocide to an end,” Linda Melvern added, drawing from the same script (“Taking Sides on Genocide,” Guardian, September 16, 2010).

56  See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “Peter Erlinder Jailed by One of the Major Genocidaires of Our Era,” MRZine, June 17, 2010.  For the relevant “genocide”-related laws in Rwandan, see Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda, June 4, 2003, Article 13.  Also see Law Relating to the Punishment of the Crime of Genocide Ideology (No. 18/2008), Codes and Laws of Rwanda, Ministry of Justice, Republic of Rwanda, July 23, 2008.  The Rwandan Constitution mentions the word ‘genocide’ no fewer that 18 times (excluding its table of contents), three times in its Preamble alone.  Article 179 even creates a National Commission for the Fight Against Genocide.

57  Ed Vulliamy, “I Stand by My Story,” Observer, February 2, 1997; and Ed Vulliamy, “Open Letter from Ed Vulliamy to Amnesty International,” October 31, 2009.

58  From hereon, we will be working from the longer, footnoted-version of Monbiot’s Guardian commentary as it appears on his personal website: “Naming the Genocide Deniers,” June 13, 2011.  Also see George Monbiot, “Do As We Say, Not As We Do,” June 17, 2011; and Monbiot, “Media Cleanse,” August 4, 2011.

59  In late 2007, the Financial Times reported that the ICMP’s “staff . . . are 93 per cent Bosnian [Muslim]. . .” (Christian Jennings, “Forensics: DNA Fills Gaps of History,” December 11, 2007).

60  See Michael Mandel, Chap. 6, “The ICTY Calls It ‘Genocide’,” pp. 211-223; here pp. 211-212, in Herman, The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics.  In Mandel’s words: “Of course the execution of even 4,000 or 2,000 or 200 men would have been a horrible crime, mass murder in fact, so on a purely legal basis it would be hard to understand the Trial Chamber’s stretching of the numbers so far past what had been proved ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’.  It is a lot easier to understand as propaganda, though, because the high-end figure had the benefit of matching the official story both in quantity and, most importantly, in quality, with the horrifying qualification of ‘genocide’” (p. 212).

61  See Ljubiša Simic, “Presentation and Interpretation of Forensic Data (Pattern of Injury Breakdown),” in Stephen Karganovic, Ed., Deconstruction of a Virtual Genocide: An Intelligent Person’s Guide To Srebrenica (Belgrade: Srebrenica Historical Project, 2011), pp. 93-108; esp. pp. 94-104, emphasis added.  And see Simic, “Analysis of Srebrenica Forensic Reports Prepared by ICTY Prosecution Experts,” Ibid, pp. 73-91.  And for a summary of Simic’s conclusions, see David Peterson, “Srebrenica-Related Graves through 2002,” ZNet, July 22, 2011.

62  See Andy Wilcoxson, “Shroud of Secrecy Leaves Room for Doubt on Srebrenica DNA Evidence,” Balkan Report, August 8, 2011.

63  See Ewa Tabeau and Jakub Bijak, “War-related Deaths in the 1992-1995 Armed Conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina: A Critique of Previous Estimates and Recent Results,” European Journal of Population, Vol. 21, June, 2005, pp. 187-215. — In section 3.3., “Overall Numbers” (pp. 205-207), they estimated 102,622 total war-related deaths on all sides, of which 55,261 (54%) were civilians at the time of death, and 47,360 (46%) were military or combatants (p. 207).   Also see Ball et al., The Bosnian Book of the Dead: Assessment of the Database, Research and Documentation Center, Sarajevo, June, 2007, Table 23a, “Victims Reported in BBD by Status in War,” p. 30.  And see n. 18, above.

64  See Edward S. Herman, Preface, in Herman, The Srebrenica Massacre, pp. 13-18.

65  See Phillip Corwin, Foreword, in Herman, The Srebrenica Massacre, pp. 7-12.  In the passage quoted, Corwin’s exact words are: “That there were killings of non-combatants in Srebrenica, as in all war zones, is a certainty.  And those who perpetrated them deserve to be condemned and prosecuted.  And whether it was three or 30 or 300 innocent civilians who were killed, it was a heinous crime.  There can be no equivocation about that.  At the same time, the facts presented in this volume make a very cogent argument that the figure of 8,000 killed, which is often bandied about in the international community, is an unsupportable exaggeration.  The true figure may be closer to 800.  The fact that the figure in question has been so distorted, however, suggests that the issue has been politicized.  There is much more shock value in the death of 8,000 than in the death of 800″ (p. 8).

66  Monbiot repeated this conflation of deaths and executions in his June 17, web-only follow-up to his June 14 commentary in the Guardian.  Attacking the U.K.-based Media Lens group for having once written that “Herman and Peterson were ‘perfectly entitled’” to write something that others don’t like, Monbiot then quoted what he believes we are not “perfectly entitled” to write: “There is a good case to be made that, while there were surely hundreds of executions, and possibly as many as a thousand or more, the 8,000 figure is a political construct and eminently challengeable.”  (This quote derives from our “Milosevic’s Death in the Propaganda System,” Electric Politics, May 14, 2006.)  Next, Monbiot wrote: “Given that 6,500 of the victims have already been exhumed and identified, and that there is very strong evidence (as there has been for years) to suggest that a further 1,500 or so await discovery, this statement is demonstrably wrong and without justification.  To describe it as ‘talking down’ the number of deaths is in fact an understatement: it amounts to the outright disavowal of cast-iron evidence.”  Of course, contrary to Monbiot and the Guardian-Observer, we do not accept the publicized findings of the International Commission on Missing Persons at face value.  But putting aside our concerns about the ICMP’s work and claims, Monbiot’s errors in this instance are so flagrant that they require something beyond a true believer in the Srebrenica party-line to commit them.  Because Monbiot cannot keep the categories of purported identifications and actual executions separate in his mind, he makes the fallacious assumption that whatever number of persons the ICMP claims to have identified, this equals the number of Bosnian Muslim members of the Srebrenica “safe area” population executed by Bosnian Serbs some time after July 11, 1995.  In turn, Monbiot takes the ICMP’s purported identifications as proof of the standard account of the “Srebrenica massacre,” in which the Bosnian Serbs executed (i.e., murdered in a criminally meaningful manner) some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys after the fall of Srebrenica — or however many Bosnian Muslim persons the ICMP eventually purports to identify, before its Srebrenica-related work is completed.  Because Monbiot is this confused on a topic he knows nothing about, and because his establishment biases are so great that he takes the side of the NATO bloc and its agencies at the Yugoslavia Tribunal and the ICMP, he accuses us of an “outright disavowal of cast-iron evidence” (and worse), even when he quotes us writing about executions, not purported identifications.  As for the Media Lens group, Monbiot adds: “It is this that you say they are ‘perfectly entitled to do’.  I called you out on it, and I was right to do so.”  In fact, through this entire episode, Monbiot has outed no one besides himself.  (See George Monbiot, “Do As We Say, Not As We Do,” June 17, 2011.  For an important analysis by the Media Lens group, the one from which Monbiot took the quote from our 2006 analysis that he is unable to understand, see “Dancing on a Mass Grave — Oliver Kamm of the Times Smears Media Lens,” November 25, 2009.  Also see “Our Response to Monbiot’s June 13, 2011 Article,” Media Lens, June 16, 2011.)

67  See George Bogdanich, Chap. 2, “Prelude to the Capture of Srebrenica,” pp. 37-65; and Bogdanich, Chap. 7, “UN Report on Srebrenica — A Distorted Picture of Events,” pp. 224-247, in Herman, The Srebrenica Massacre.

68  See Edward S. Herman, Chap. 10, “Summary and Conclusions,” pp. 278-298; here p. 281, in Herman, The Srebrenica Massacre.

69  For Drazen Erdemovic’s original testimony, see Judge Claude Jorda et al., The Prosecutor of the Tribunal v. Radovan Karadzic (IT-95-18-R61) and Ratko Mladic (IT-95-5-R61), July 5, 1996, pp. 830-855.

70  See Germinal Civikov, Srebrenica: The Star Witness, Trans. John Laughland (Belgrade: NGO Srebrenica Historical Project, 2010).

71  See George Szamuely, Chap. 5, “Securing Verdicts: The Misuse of Witness Testimony at The Hague,” pp. 153-210; here p. 189, in Herman, The Srebrenica Massacre.

72  See Monbiot, “Naming the Genocide Deniers,” n. 17.

73  Tim Ripley, Operation Deliberate Force: The UN and NATO Campaign in Bosnia 1995 (Lancaster: Centre for Defense and International Security, 1999), p. 145.  See Bogdanich, Chap. 2, “Prelude to the Capture of Srebrenica,” pp. 56-59; and Herman, Chap. 10, “Summary and Conclusions,” pp. 284-285, in Herman, The Srebrenica Massacre.

74  See George Bogdanich, Chap. 2, “Prelude to the Capture of Srebrenica,” p. 56, in Herman, The Srebrenica Massacre.

75  See “5,000 Muslim Lives for Military Intervention,” Dani, June 22, 1998; Prosecutor v. Radislav Krstic (IT-98-33-T), Transcript, April 5, 2001, p. 9480; and Kofi Annan et al., The Fall of Srebrenica (A/54/549), Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to General Assembly resolution 53/35, November 15, 1999, para. 115.  Separately, one can even view a YouTube video of a 2010 Norwegian documentary in which Meholjic recounts Izetbegovic’s “astonishing claim” to the Srebrenica delegation that met with him in 1993.  See Ola Flyum and David Hebditch, Srebrenica — A Town Betrayed, (Oslo: Fenris Film, 2010).  Beginning at the 28:18 mark, Hakija Meholjic states: “I will try to tell you exactly what President Izetbegovic said: ‘My dear people of Srebrenica, how are you’?  ‘Fine, how are you, Mister President’?  ‘Clinton has made me a proposal, if the Chetniks enter Srebrenica and slaughter 5,000 Moslems, there will be military intervention by NATO forces on Serb positions throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.  What do you think about that?’”

76  Monbiot, “Naming the Genocide Deniers,” n. 19.

77  Monbiot’s hair-splitting objection is rubbish for other reasons.  In criticizing our use of the Krstic Judgment, he quotes paragraph 595, and in the passage of The Politics of Genocide that he disputes, we quote paragraph 598.  In No. 598, the trial chamber concluded that the “intent to kill all the Bosnian Muslim men of military age in Srebrenica constitutes an intent to destroy in part the Bosnian Muslim group within the meaning of Article 4 [of the Tribunal's Statute] and therefore must be qualified as a genocide.”  No. 595, on the other hand, opens: “Granted only the men of military age were systematically massacred. . . .” (see Judge Almiro Rodrigues et al., Judgment, Prosecutor versus Radislav Krstic, IT-98-33-T, August 2, 2001.)  Furthermore, in The Politics of Genocide, we write with great disapproval that Krstic “argued that genocide could occur in one ‘small geographical area’ (the town of Srebrenica), even one where the villainous party had taken the trouble to bus all the women, children, and the elderly men to safety — that is, incontestably had not killed any but ‘Bosnian Muslim men of military age’” (p. 47).  But Monbiot quotes only the last 12 words, and suppresses the Tribunal’s recognition that the Bosnian Serbs had bussed well more than half of the population to safety.  To this we then add York University professor of international law Michael Mandel’s observations that Krstic “transformed [genocide] not into mere ethnic cleansing but into the killing of potential military fighters during a war for military advantage,” and that with Krstic, the “concept of genocide, except as pure propaganda, lost all contact with the Holocaust — a program for the extermination of a whole people” (pp. 47-48).  But because this was the Tribunal’s first case to confirm the “genocide” charge in relation to Srebrenica, Monbiot believes that Krstic is intellectually, morally, and legally wonderful, and this is his real objection to what we have written against it — not some non-existent, can-you-spot-the-difference, mis-citation of a few words from one paragraph in the judgment.  In juxtaposing our use of one six-word phrase from the Krstic judgment with his own use of a nine-word phrase the substance of which says the same thing, Monbiot fabricates a distinction out of nothing, while he pretends that it reveals everything.  Of course, it does — but only about Monbiot, and how low he’s willing to stoop to try and score a point.

78  See, e.g., Gerald Caplan, “Who Killed the President of Rwanda?” Pambazuka News (No. 466), January 21, 2010.   But also see the response to Caplan by René Lemarchand, “Doubts on the Veracity of Mutsinzi Report,” Pambazuka News (No. 467), January 28, 2010.

79  See Rwanda Tribunal Defense Attorney John Philpot’s interview with Michael Hourigan, “Louise Arbour Was Wrong to Stop My Investigation,” in The ICTR Legacy from the Defense Perspective – Two, The Second International Criminal Defense Conference, Brussels, May 21-23, 2010 (as posted to the Vimeo Web site).  (For material archived from its companion conference, also see The ICTR Legacy from the Defense Perspective – One, The First International Criminal Defense Conference, The Hague, November 14-16, 2009.) — As noted, in 1996-1997, Hourigan was working as an investigator for the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, where the chief prosecutor was the Canadian Louise Arbour.  Hourigan and his team found members of the Rwandan Patriotic Front who volunteered to them the information that it was Paul Kagame’s RPF who shot down the previous president’s jet, assassinating him and the president of Burundi at the same time.  Presented with this evidence in early 1997, Chief Prosecutor Arbour quashed the investigation and buried the evidence.  In the excerpt that follows from Hourigan’s interview during the May 2010 conference in Brussels, Hourigan is recounting a meeting between himself, Rwanda Tribunal Chief Prosecutor Louise Arbour, and two other members of the Tribunal.  We pick up Hourigan’s words at approximately the 12:19 mark of the video, immediately after John Philpot asked Hourigan: “What transpired at that meeting?”

Michael Hourigan: “We had a meeting early in the morning. . . .  I presented her a memorandum . . . about informants’ information.  She read that.  But her attitude was completely different this one week later.  She was aggressive, very negative, insisted that the information was probably unreliable.  She questioned me as to the sources — of course I couldn’t tell her the names of the informants.  I told her of the investigators on my Tribunal team who had the information.  She was very critical of them.  And, to cut a long story short, she said, in any event, whether the information is accurate or not — inaccurate — it’s outside our mandate, and the investigation has to come to an end.  And as I’ve indicated, . . . no one had ever said that to me in the previous year.  But in any event, I know that in our own Rwanda Statute, there are provisions that cover acts of terrorism, contrary to her direction, it was clearly within our mandate, and I indicated to her that she was wrong.  And she said to me, Are you questioning my authority?  I said, No, I’m just questioning your judgment.  She said, Well, I’m directing you: This investigation is at an end.  She asked me to leave the room, which I did.  I left the room, and subsequently returned to Kigali, and resigned.”

We regard this episode as one of the more beautiful confirmations of how so-called “international justice” works in the real world — a point with which we deal at some length in The Politics of Genocide.  (See esp. our “Concluding Note,” pp. 103-112.)  Witness also the International Criminal Court’s indictments of the Gaddafi regime earlier year, even as the U.S.-led NATO bloc was bombing Gaddafi’s Libya out of existence.  (See n. 87, below.)

80  On Christophe Hakizimana’s 1999 letter, see Herman and Peterson, The Politics of Genocide,  n. 127, p. 132.

81  On the use of scare quotes, see the powerful letter of rebuttal written by Jonathan Cook to the Media Lens group on June 17, 2001, which Media Lens reproduces in the section titled “The ‘Inverted Commas Problem’,” in “A ‘Malign Intellectual Subculture’ – George Monbiot Smears Chomsky, Herman, Peterson, Pilger And Media Lens.”  In Cook’s words: “It is worth noting that Norman Finkelstein did something identical in his book ‘The Holocaust Industry’.  He states in the Introduction: ‘In the pages that follow, I will argue that ‘The Holocaust’ is an ideological representation of the Nazi holocaust. (p. 3)’  He also says in a footnote on the same page: ‘In this text, Nazi holocaust [his italics] signals the actual historical event, The Holocaust [his italics] its ideological representation’.”  In terms of stylistic usage, the comparison with our use of scare-quotes is perfectly apt.

82  See Gerald Caplan, “The Politics of Denialism: The Strange Case of Rwanda.  Review of ‘The Politics of Genocide’,” Pambazuka News (No. 486), June 17, 2010; Adam Jones, “On Genocide Deniers: Challenging Herman and Peterson,” Pambazuka News (No. 490), July 15, 2010; and Adam Jones, “Denying Rwanda: A Response to Herman & Peterson,” as posted to a webpage associated with the 2nd Edition of Jones’s book, Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction (New York: Routledge, 2011).  We drafted responses to the Caplan as well as to the first of these by Jones (July 15, 2010), but not to the second by Jones, as we were unaware that it existed until early June of this year.  We regard the fact that Jones has posted his latter attack to the Web site that advertises the 2nd edition of his book to be significant, in that it shows the kind of steps that practitioners in the field of “genocide studies” are willing to take when then feel that their turf is threatened, and they need to protect their truths.

83  Monbiot, “Media Cleanse,” August 4, 2011.

84  See Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “Genocide Denial and Genocide Facilitation: Gerald Caplan and The Politics of Genocide,” MRZine, July 4, 2010; and Edward S. Herman and David Peterson, “Adam Jones on Rwanda and Genocide: A Reply,” MRZine, August 14, 2010.

85  Barack Obama et al., National Security Strategy, President of the United States, May, 2010, p. 48.

86  Sarah Sewall et al., Mass Atrocity Response Operations: A Military Handbook, (Cambridge, MA: The President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2010), p, 13.  This document is the product of a collaboration between Harvard University’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy and the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute; as such, it illustrates the degree to which the substance of human rights has been hollowed out in certain circles, while the empty rhetoric of “human rights” is harnessed for U.S. imperial objectives.

87  See, e.g., Maximilian C. Forte, “The Top Ten Myths in the War Against Libya,” CounterPunch, August 31, 2011; Myth No. 1, “Genocide.” — The March 17, 2001 UN Security Council Resolution 1973 (S/RES/1973) authorized “Member States . . . to take all necessary measures…to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in [Libya]. . .” (para. 4).  Needless to say, this paragraph was immediately exploited by the United States and its allies to launch a sustained military attack on Libyan government targets within 48 hours of its adoption.   In 2011, the U.S.-led NATO bloc’s overthrow of the government of Libya was also accompanied by the UN Security Council’s referral of the Libyan government to the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, with the request that he decide whether an investigation of the government’s actions was warranted.  (See UN Security Council Resolution 1970 (S/RES/1970), February 26, 2011, para. 4 – 8.  This same resolution declared that nationals “from a State outside [Libya] . . . shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of that State for all alleged acts or omissions arising out of or related to operations in [Libya] established or authorized by the Council” (para. 6), thereby immunizing the NATO bloc from the ICC’s jurisdiction.)  The Prosecutor at the ICC quickly agreed to open an investigation (March 3), and formally wrapped up his investigation by May, when he petitioned the ICC to issue arrest warrants for three long-time leaders of the Libyan government (May 16).  In late June, the ICC agreed to issue these arrest warrants for Muammar Gaddafi, his son, Saif, and Gaddafi’s brother-in-law (June 27).  During this entire period, a state of armed conflict existed inside Libya, such that the Libyan government found itself under attack, first by armed forces sponsored by individual members of the NATO bloc (from February 15-17 on) and, later, by the leading militaries of the NATO bloc itself  (from March 19 on).  So, in 2011, NATO attacked Libya militarily, and it was joined in this attack by the International Criminal Court, which, for its part, attacked Libya juridically.  (For the Prosecution’s requests for the indictments, see Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor’s Application Pursuant to Article 58 as to Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi,  Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi, ICC-01-11, International Criminal Court, May 16, 2011; “ICC Prosecutor Press Conference on Libya,” May 16, 2011; and “ICC Prosecutor: Gaddafi Used His Absolute Authority to Commit Crimes in Libya,” May 16, 2011.  For the ICC’s acceptance of these requests, see Judge Sanji Mmasenono Monageng et al., Decision on the “Prosecutor’s Application Pursuant to Article 58 as to Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdullah Al-Senussi,” ICC-01-11, International Criminal Court, June 27, 2011; and “Pre-Trial Chamber I issues three warrants of arrest for Muammar Gaddafi, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi and Abdualla Al-Senussi,” June 27, 2011.)

88  ”New conceptions require new terms.  By ‘genocide’ we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group.  This new word, coined by the author to denote an old practice in its modern development, . . . is intended . . . to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. . . .  Genocide is directed against the national group as an entity, and the actions involved are directed against individuals, not in their individual capacity, but as members of the national group” (Raphael Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation, Analysis of Government Proposals for Redress, Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944, pp. 79-95; here p. 79.)

89  See Herman and Peterson, The Politics of Genocide, n. 247, pp. 146-147.

90  See Milivoje Ivanišević, Srebrenica July 1995 — In Search of the Truth, Trans. Zivka Novicic (Belgrade: Hrišćinska misao, 2nd Ed., 2010).  Therein, Ivanišević writes that the “list [of the Serb dead in the vicinity of Srebrenica] contains the names of 3,262 Serbian victims.  According to the latest evidence, approximately 27%, or about 880, of the people who were killed, were members of military and police organizations.  The remaining 73% (2,382 victims) were civilians” (p. 6).

91  See Moose, “Human Rights Abuses in Rwanda,” 1994.

92  See Kassem et al., S/2002/1146, para. 96. 

93  See Herman and Peterson, “The Iraq Sanctions-Regime Killings,” in The Politics of Genocide, pp. 29-33.

Edward S. Herman is professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and has written extensively on economics, political economy, and the media.  Among his books are Corporate Control, Corporate Power (Cambridge University Press, 1981), The Real Terror Network (South End Press, 1982), and, with Noam Chomsky, The Political Economy of Human Rights (South End Press, 1979), and Manufacturing Consent (Pantheon, 2002).  Herman is also the editor of The Srebrenica Massacre: Evidence, Context, Politics (Alphabet Soup, 2011).  

David Peterson is an independent journalist and researcher based in Chicago.  Together they are the co-authors of The Politics of Genocide (Monthly Review Press, 2010).

The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) confirms that Global Research Correspondent and CRG Research Associate Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya returned safely to Canada on Thursday, September 1st, 2011

He was received at Montreal’s Pierre Trudeau International airport by members of his family, friends from Ottawa and members of Global Research.


Mahdi Nazemroaya with his mother and sister, Montreal Airport, September 1, 2011, returning to Canada from Tripoli


Mahdi, family and friends


Mahdi Nazemroaya and Michel Chossudovsky, Montreal airport, September 1, 2011

Mahdi Nazemroaya spent the last two months reporting from the war theater in Libya.

His life was in danger for saying the truth. He was directly threatened for providing an account of the war crimes committed by NATO and Rebel forces.

Intensive aerial bombings of Tripoli in the last two weeks. have resulted in several thousand casualties.

He has described the NATO intervention as a criminal act, an outright foreign invasion, with British, French, Italian and US special forces on the ground, working hand in glove with a rebellion largely composed of Al Qaeda affiliated militia.

Mahdi will be speaking at the Commemorative 9/11 Conference in Montreal on the 8 of September 2011.

For details including advanced purchase of tickets click below
.

SPREAD THE WORD


AFTER 9/11: TEN YEARS OF WAR
Special Commemorative Conference, Montreal, September 8
- Mahdi Nazemroaya, Cynthia McKinney, Wayne Madsen, Michel Chossudovsky

Mahdi Nazemroaya will also be speaking in Toronto on the 9th of September 20011 together with Cynthia McKinney and Michel Chossudovsky.

The venue organized by the United Church will be held at 7pm, Bloor Street United Church, 300 Bloor W, Toronto, 416-966-2815,  

NATO’s “Humanitarian” Military Road Map.

Screening and discussion

with Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Cynthia McKinney and Michel Chossudovsky.
 
Admission: Pwyc

Where: , Bloor Street United Church, 300 Bloor W, Toronto, TORONTO, 416-966-2815
When: 7 pm


We ask our readers to reflect on what Mahdi was achieved while in Libya:

Honest factual reporting, with a concern for human life, in solidarity with those Libyan men, women and children who lost their lives in bombing raids on residential areas, schools and hospitals.



Mahdi’s life was threatened for telling the truth, for exposing NATO war crimes.

“Democracy building” in Libya, we are told, requires the extensive bombing of an entire country, under NATO’s “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P).

But Mahdi questioned that concept. He challenged the very foundations of war propaganda, which upholds an act of war as a peacemaking endeavor.

Mahdi says the truth. He directly challenges the lies of the mainstream media.

Mahdi’s reports challenge the “NATO consensus”.

What he has described is the destruction of an entire country, of its institutions, its infrastructure.

This killing and destruction, we are told, is required to instate “democracy” under the colonial flag of King Idris.

We are being lied to in the most despicable way. The victims of NATO aggression are designated as “war criminals”, whereas the perpetrators of war are welcomed as “Liberators”.

War becomes peace, according to the NATO consensus.

The “international community” has given a rubber stamp to NATO’s bombing campaign on the grounds that Gadaffi is a dictator.

Repeated ad nauseam, people ultimately accept the consensus. Killing is a peacemaking endeavor.

How could it be otherwise: Every single news media across the land, people in government, intellectuals have accepted this consensus.

Realities are turned upside down. People are no longer able to think.

They accept the consensus because it emanates from a higher authority which they dare not question.

What we are dealing with is a dogma which nobody can question.

Mahdi Nazemroaya has challenged this consensus by revealing the lies of the mainstream media.

This is the most despicable and immoral war in history, to the extent that even antiwar activists, left wing politicians and so-called progressives applaud.

Its a Blitzkrieg with the most advanced weapons systems. 20,000 sorties since March 31, according to NATO stats, more than 8000 strike sorties.

Each strike sortie involves several targets, most of which are civilian targets.

A small country of 7 million people.  Compare this to the bombings of World War II or Vietnam…

VIDEO: Syria, Intervention and the Path to WWIII

September 3rd, 2011 by James Corbett

It is Labor Day weekend, 2011, but labor has nothing to celebrate. The jobs that once gave American workers a stake in capitalism have left and gone away. Corporations in pursuit of near-term profits have moved labor’s jobs to China, India, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea and Eastern Europe.

Labor arbitrage, that is, the substitution of foreign labor that is paid less than its productivity for American labor, has enriched Wall Street, shareholders and corporate CEOs, but it has devastated American employment, household incomes, tax base, and the outlook for the US economy.

This Labor Day week-end’s job report, announced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday, September 2, says zero net new jobs were created in August, a number 250,000 less than the amount of monthly job creation necessary to make progress in reducing America’s high rate of unemployment.

The zero figure is actually an optimistic number. As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has made clear, problems with the BLS’s seasonal adjustments and “birth-death” model during the prolonged downturn that began in December 2007 result in the BLS over-estimating new jobs and underestimating lost jobs.

Seasonal adjustments and the “birth-death” model were designed with a growing economy in mind and result in miscounts during downturns. For example, the “birth-death” model estimates new jobs that are created from new start-up companies that are not yet reporting, and it estimates the job losses from companies that have gone out of business. In a growing economy, start-ups exceed jobs losses, but the situation reverses during downturns or during periods of sub-normal job growth. For the past forty-four months, the “birth-death” model has overestimated the number of new jobs created. When the annual revisions are made to the job reports, the excess jobs are taken out, but it is seldom headline news.

The reason that nearly four years of economic stimulus, consisting of large federal budget deficits and near zero interest rates, hasn’t revived the economy is that the jobs that Americans once had have been moved offshore. Stimulus cannot put Americans back to work in jobs that have been given to foreign countries.

Post-World War II Keynesian economists, such as Paul Krugman and Robert Reich, think that if the federal government would add more stimulus by enlarging the already massive federal deficit, new jobs would somehow be created to take the place of those that have left. This is a delusion. Not only have the supply chains necessary to support US economic activity been disrupted and broken by offshoring, but also the same incentive–excess supplies of foreign labor that produces more value than it is paid–that sent jobs abroad is still operative.

In a word, the US economy has been de-industrializing, moving from a developed to an underdeveloped economy, for the past two decades. It has been the case for many years that when the US economy manages to eke out new jobs, they are in non-tradable domestic services, such as health care and social assistance, waitresses and bar tenders, retail clerks. Non-tradable employment consists of jobs that do not produce goods and services that could be exported to reduce the large US trade deficit.

The long-term deterioration in the US economy has been covered up by “reforming” the official measures of unemployment and inflation. The U3 measure of unemployment, the current 9.1% unemployment rate, only measures unemployment among those who are actively seeking a job. Those who have become discouraged by the inability to find a job and have ceased looking are not counted as being among the unemployed, and the U3 measure makes no adjustment for those who are forced into part-time jobs because there is no full-time employment.

The government knows that the U3 “headline” unemployment rate is seriously understated and provides a broader measure known as U6. This measure, which is seldom reported by the financial media, includes short-term discouraged workers (those who have not looked for jobs for six months or less) and an adjustment for those who wish full time employment but can only find part time work. Currently, this measure of unemployment stands at 16.2%.

In 1994 the Clinton “progressive” administration defined long-term discouraged workers out of existence. Consequently, no official unemployment rate includes long-term (more than six months) discouraged workers as unemployed. John Williams estimates this number and adds it to the U6 measure to produce a current rate of US unemployment of 22.7%, an unemployment rate 2.5 times higher than the official rate.

http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/unemployment-charts  

Similar understatement exists in the measure of inflation known as the Consumer Price Index. In order to reduce cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security checks and to hold down other inflation adjustments, the “progressive” Clinton administration accepted the Boskin Commission’s recommendation to introduce substitution into what had been a fixed, weighted, basket of goods used to measure the cost of a constant standard of living. In the new “reformed” measure, if the price of an item increases, say New York strip steak, the index assumes that consumers switch to a less expensive cut, such as round steak. Thus, the price increase doesn’t show up in the CPI.

Consumers, or a number of them, do tend to behave in this way. However, since the basket of goods comprising the CPI is no longer constant, but changes with price changes, the CPI has become a variable measure of the cost of living that reduces the inflation rate by measuring a lower standard of living.

John Williams estimates the CPI according to the previous official methodology that used a fixed basket of goods. He finds the rate of inflation to be much higher than is reported by the substitution-based methodology. http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/inflation-charts

The understatement of inflation serves to boost real Gross Domestic Product growth. In order to compare how much larger (or smaller) the economy is this year compared to last year, the GDP figure has to be adjusted for inflation. If the economy grew 5% in nominal terms and inflation was 3%, then GDP grew 2% in real terms, that is, real goods and services, as opposed to mere price rises, increased 2% over the year.

When John Williams http://www.shadowstats.com/alternate_data/gross-domestic-product-charts adjusts US GDP with the former or traditional measure of inflation, he finds that there has been no growth in real GDP for several years. In other words, during the period of “economic recovery” the economy has actually been declining.

American economic decline began with offshoring during the Clinton administration. Instead of addressing this threat, the Clinton administration launched the neoconservative program of American Empire with American and NATO naked aggression against Serbia, sending the Serbian leader off to be tried as a war criminal for resisting the dissolution of his country.

The Bush/Cheney regime elevated the pursuit of American Empire under cover of “the war on terror.” Based entirely on lies and falsified intelligence, Bush/Cheney launched wars against the Taliban, who were unifying Afghanistan, and against Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

In the 1980s Hussein was used by Washington to launch a war against the revolutionary government in Iran that had overthrown the American puppet government, headed by the Shah of Iran. Ever since Washington lost its puppet rule over the Iranians, Washington has refused diplomatic relations with Iran. In the place of diplomatic relations, Washington demonizes Iran in order to set the country up for another attack a la Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen. Syria is next.

Saddam Hussein’s service to Washington was overlooked when it became more important to eliminate support for Hamas and Hezbollah, two barriers to Israel’s expansion in the Middle East, than to maintain Washington’s gratitude to an Iraqi pawn.

Despite unequivocal reports from arms inspectors that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and most certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, top Bush/Cheney regime officials demonized Iraq as the greatest threat to America. The imagery of mushroom clouds from nuclear weapons was evoked, A war was launched entirely on false pretexts that destroyed a country and left over one million Iraqis dead and four million displaced. What Washington did to Iraq is what the Nazis were tried and executed for at the Nuremberg Trials.

Obama was elected in order to stop the illegal and senseless wars. Instead, Obama both continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and expanded the wars into Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen. Since the deregulation of the financial system under the Bush/Cheney regime and the “war on terror,” the entire economy of the US has been sacrificed for the benefit of the financial sector and the military/security complex.

Labor Day is an anachronism. It should be renamed Corporation Day or War Day to celebrate the success of Bush/Obama in eliminating labor unions as a countervailing power to corporate power and the elevation of War as the highest goal of the American state.

Turkey to host radar in support of NATO missile defence

September 3rd, 2011 by Global Research

Washington: The US has welcomed the Turkish decision to host a radar in support of NATO’s common missile defence efforts and appreciated this as a significant contribution to a vital mission of the alliance. “We are proud to work with Turkey on the deployment of this important asset,” the State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, said yesterday.

At the NATO Summit in Lisbon in November 2010, Allies agreed to develop a missile defence capability for the full coverage and protection of all NATO European populations, territory, and forces…she said.

Earlier yesterday, Turkey announced that it would host a NATO early warning radar system, which will go online this year…”Turkey’s hosting of this element will constitute our country’s contribution to the defence system being developed in the framework of NATO’s new strategic concept,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman had said in a statement.

He said the radar will strengthen NATO’s defence capacity and Turkey’s national defence system and added that the radar system was being allocated by the US.

Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Col Dave Lapan said “The idea is a protective system…” NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Turkey would be making a “critical contribution” to the alliance’s overall defence against emerging ballistic missile threats.

“I welcome Turkey’s announcement to host a radar which will be an important element of NATO’s missile defence capability, which was agreed at the Lisbon summit last November,” he said.

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
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Stop NATO website and articles:
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-[T]he United States and their allies in NATO are facing the fast of the overthrow of Bashar Al Assad’s regime in Syria after which they will set about Iran and then the CIS countries including Russia. For this reason. the strengthening of ties with countries neighboring Iran and Russia meets the US interests.

News.Az interviews political scientist Vafa Guluzade

What can you say about reports that the Pentagon-assigned package of military aid to Azerbaijan will be some $10m to go for improvement of the opportunities of marine forces on war on terror?

It is yet another proof that the United States views Azerbaijan as a very important state with which it is developing a geostrategic partnership in the region. Development of US-Azerbaijani relations meets the interest of both states. And the assignment of $10m to Azerbaijan by the Pentagon testifies to the US interest in deepening military cooperation with our country. The logical outcome of this cooperation will be Azerbaijan’s admission to NATO.

Could you specify terms of the announced admission of Azerbaijan to NATO?

I don’t want to specify terms but I would say that it is about a middle term perspective. The matter is that at the current stage the United States and their allies in NATO are facing the fast of the overthrow of Bashad Assad’s regime in Syria after which they will set about Iran and then the CIS countries including Russia. For this reason. the strengthening of ties with countries neighboring Iran and Russia meets the US interests.

In this case, can the military aid to Azerbaijan by the United States raise concerns in Iran?

Undoubtedly, it can. But it will not affect the US plans, based on their own interests, rather than the interests of Iran or any other country. Openly speaking, Iran is well aware of the US plans to conduct a military operation against it and it is preparing to resist this military operation. As for Azerbaijan, we merely cannot stay aside from US plans related to Iran.

Do the US plans envisage shift of powers in Armenia?

There are no doubts that they do. The United States is planning to reduce Armenia’s dependence on Russia and Iran for which they seek to bring their protégé to power in Armenia. The issue is about who it will be and which events will promote implementation of the US plans. Russia is unable to resist these US plans regarding Armenia, since it has no serious resources in terms of army or economics. Additionally, Russia will face the issue of resisting the plans of the United States and their allies in NATO, while in these conditions, Russia will have no time for Armenia.

How would that scenario, you are speaking of, influence the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno Karabakh?

The impact will be a most positive one. The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno Karabakh will be settled in case the indicated US plans come true. The main obstacle on the way to its settlement is Russia…

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Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious. (Oscar Wilde, 1854-1900.)

As Eid, the great post Ramadan celebration of that month of abstinence, self sacrifice and reflection, dawned on Libya, marked there this year on August 31st,  the NATO “liberated” country, after seven months, looks a lot like “liberated” Iraq after eight years.

Queues of cars now wait for petrol in another oil rich country; other queues form, carrying containers for water. The multibillion dollar development of Libya’s vast underground aquifers had been dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world. Libya`s water supply infrastructure has been been systematically bombed throught the country.

Shops are without food.

The all is: “absolute disaster”, according to an eminent legal observer, very familiar with the country.

And with electricity largely off, those seeking knowledge as to whether friends and relatives are alive, injured, fled, dead, find internet, and phones dead.

As the terribly injured overwhelm hospitals, many are bombed, damaged or without power and pharmaceuticals.

No power: no incubators, life support machines or surgery.

Another country with a modern, developed infrastructure reduced to a pre-industrial age – with the rebuilding contracts reportedly already being divvied out – in the West.

NATO Members, however, eat, as their bombs destroy humanity and vital necessities for the living. Over a “working lunch”, on the 14th of April, they “deplored violence” and underlined the: “need … to restore water, gas, electricity and other services …”

Still depriving others of the means to cook, or of any semblance of normality, at another “working lunch” (June 8, 2011) they further discussed their: “clear mandate to protect civilians (and) populated areas …taking the utmost care to avoid civilian casualties.” This as: “Tripoli experienced what were perhaps the heaviest daylight bombardments by NATO since the air strikes began in March.” (Guardian, 8 June 2011)

As they masticated and munched, they vowed to bring “a speedy resolution … to put an end to the violence”, under “Operation Unified Protector.” They are delusional and arguably psychotic.

Just twenty four hours later, on the 9th of June, the decade long destruction of Afghanistan eclipsed Libya. NATO Defence Ministers met to declare it: “NATO’s top operational priority.” General David Petraeus, returned from the ruins and about to be confirmed as CIA Head: “explained … progress.”

“A working lunch commenced at 13.00 hours.”

A number of lunches later, on the 23rd August, NATO spokeswoman, Oana Lungesco, re-affirmed their “mandate to protect civilians.”

How this squares with hitting: “over five thousand [official figures] legitimate targets [in a] 24/7 operation [with] over twenty thousand sorties”, is confusing.

The actual number of strikes has not been reported. Its in the tens of thousands.

Equally so is how destruction of services essential to maintaining life, State institutions, schools, hospitals, archeological sites and treasures, attacking of all which is illegal under swathes of international law, are included in this “legitimacy.”

By September 1st, NATO operations from 31st March had reached: “a total of 21,090, including 7,920 strike sorties.” (1)

In context, this latest “shock and awe” brigandage is being rained down by a twenty eight country alliance, on a country of 7 million. The population of Tripoli is over 1 million (or was, until unknown numbers of souls were liberated from their lives in a bombardment which, started with the unleashing of one hundred and ten Cruise missiles, on March 20th, eight years to the day – GMT- of the start of the Iraq invasion.)

Coincidentally, the considerably Western backed and funded “uprising” in Benghazi, which preceded the bombing, began on the 15th of February, the eighth anniversary of millions, in the largest global peace rally in history, from Manchester to Melbourne, Hong Kong to Honolulu, rallying against an attack on Iraq.

The invaders though, have “learned from past mistakes.” The “New Libya”, will not be like the “New Iraq.” It is surely beginning to look chillingly like it. A legitimate head of State again has a million dollar bounty on his head and is “wanted dead or alive.” Since “boots are on the ground” only unofficially, the pack of playing cards with the “most wanted” on, has not yet been printed. But times are hard, and in 2003, the United States Playing Card Company, commissioned by the US Defence Intelligence Agency, received orders for 750,000 of the packs within a week. (2)

Further, if the US and UK were blindly ignorant of Iraq’s social and tribal complexities, those of Libya are more so in orders of magnitude. (3)

Just prior to the Iraq invasion, General Colin Powell was quoted as telling George W. Bush, that after the onslaught: “You will own twenty seven million people, Mr President.”

At the “Friends of Libya” gathering in Paris on 1st September, hosted by Prime Minister Cameron and President Nicolas Sarkozy, a gloating, unnamed British official is quoted in The Economist as saying that: “NATO’s involvement in the Libyan uprising means that now we own it.”

(For the omen-prone, watching Western threats to an ever rising number of countries, Syrian and Iran currently topping the list, 1st September marks the 62nd anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, and the Second World War.)

Sarkozy – recipient, claims Qaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam, of his family’s funding for his 2007 French Presidential election campaign (4) – is widely reported to have been promised one third of Libya’s oil by the insurgents, the “National Transitional Council”, prior to NATO involvement. With “Friends” like these, Libya certainly needs no enemies.

“The international community will be watching and supporting” Libya, said Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, adding requirements to the new Libyan constitution. There is a “clear road map to democracy.” Afghan and Iraqi puppets, now joined by Libyan ones.

When it comes to the rebuilding of Libya, “investors can’t call the tune”, was one theme, it must be “Libyan led.”

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague blew that lie. Britain, he said: “would not be left behind.” Much focus was on rebuilding the oil industry. Heaven forbid that too, follows the Iraq model, with the bereaved, dispossessed and invaded blowing up the pipelines – and contractors.

It also transpires that the UK’s surely mis-titled “International Development Minister”, former oil trader, Alan Duncan, allegedly, had a hand in, and connections to Swiss based energy giant Vitol, which established links with the NTC rebels, whilst starving Qaddafi’s troops of transportation fuels.

Vitol President, Ian Taylor, has allegedly donated very large sums to Cameron’s Tory Party. Opposition MPs are citing a possible covert “Libyan Oil Cell”, an allegedly billion dollar deal, questioning whether Mr Duncan’s fingerprints are on it.

As to the Conference, there was one dissenting voice. Bertrand Badie, an expert on international relations, told Xinhua: “I think this conference is a very bad sign, because [it consists in] starting a process of state building by an international conference dominated by western powers … ”

But even he did not mention mind-bending illegalities.

The half day carve up (sorry, “Meeting”) regarding assets of another sovereign land, was followed by “a dinner”, according to a US State Department spokeswoman.

Incidentally, the Paris Cabal took place on the fortysecond anniversary of the Free Officers Movement bringing Qaddafi to power on the 1st of September 1969.

“You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists”, said George W. Bush on 1st November 2002. Ten years is certainly a long time in politics. There are many who would say they are now funded by the same US and protected by the might of NATO.

Activist Sandra Barr, has compiled just a small snapshot of a vast tragedy. A few incidents amongst uncounted others, “collateral” humanity, to add to a pitiless twenty year rampage through mortality, legality, basic values and all the normal hold precious:

“13 May 2011: The murder of 11 Muslim Imams in Brega.

30 April 2011: The bombing of the Downs Syndrome School in Tripoli

30 April 2011: The bombing of a Gaddafi residence, murdering Saif Gaddafi, his friend and 3 Gaddafi children.

12 June 2011: The bombing of the University of Tripoli. Death toll not yet established.

22 July 2011: The bombing of the Great Man made Waterway irrigation system, which supplies most Libyans with their drinking water.

23 July 2011: The bombing of the factory which makes the pipes for the water system, and the murder of 6 of its employees.

8th August 2011: The bombing of the Hospital at Zliten. Resulting in the murder of a minimum, of 50 human beings, many of them children. The bombing of hospitals is against all international laws, and a most grievous crime.

9 August 2011: The bombing of the village of Majer, resulting in the murder of 85 civilians. 33 Children, 32 women and 20 men.

The persistent ongoing bombing of the civilian population in Zliten and Tripoli, death toll not yet established.

David Cameron has admitted that UK special services have assisted the terrorists on the ground, in defiance of the UN mandate.”

Today, Cameron has gone further, admitting that British forces played a: “key role.”

Ms Barr demands that the ICC take a stance. Sadly, it would amaze if they did.

On the 1st of May, Muammar Qaddafi’s youngest son, Saif al-Arab, and three grandchildren were reported killed in an allied air strike on Tripoli. Another nauseating anniversary: George W. Bush, declaring: “Mission Accomplished” – the destruction of Iraq.

One can only fervently pray that we do not hear another sickening, “Viceroy” Paul Bremer wannabe, declaring: “Ladies and gentlemen, we got ‘im.” With accompanying kangaroo court and lynchings.

The “New Libya”, it seems, with its formerly free, high quality health care, is in serious trouble.

This full page advertisement by Médicins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders) appeared in the Mail and Guardian (South Africa (September 1st, 2011):

‘Tripoli, Libya: Months of conflict have put extreme strain on the Libyan health system.

We desperately need more staff” – Jonathan Whittal, MSF Emergency Coordinator Tripoli, August 23.

MSF URGENTLY NEEDS:

-Trauma surgeons

-Orthopaedic Surgeons

-ER Doctors

-OT Nurses

-Obstetricians and Midwives.

Available for short term contracts (3-4 weeks) – able to leave IMMEDIATELY.

MSF has been working in eastern Libya since February.” ‘

Another “Liberation” another unimaginable, international, Criminal Tragedy.

Felicity Arbuthnot is Global Research`s Human Rights Correspondent based in London

Notes

1. http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=26332  

2. http://www.enotes.com/company-histories/united-states-playing-card-company  

http://www.temehu.com/Libyan-People.htm     

4 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/16/sarkozy-election-campaign-libya-claim

Censorship of the Forbidden Truth: Rick Rozoff’s Stop NATO

September 2nd, 2011 by Global Research

WordPress suspended the Stop NATO site at http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com from posting any new material earlier today, with this announcement:

“Warning: We have a concern about some of the content on your blog. Please click here to contact us as soon as possible to resolve the issue and re-enable posting.”

Repeated efforts to contact them have produced no result.

A year ago Military Times threatened the Stop NATO e-mail list with legal action and, after contacting them and assuming the matter resolved, they got Yahoo Groups to threaten to shut down the list and even cancel my personal e-mail account.

Material on the WordPress site has been backed up, and everything posted to date is still accessible, but it’s not certain for how long.

As everyone familiar with both the site and the list know, no incitement to violence or other illegal action, no attempt to solicit money and no derogatory statement toward any demograhic group have ever appeared on either the mailing list or the news site.

The sole “crime” of which both are guilty is of being anti-war and anti-militarist.

Yours for peace,

Rick Rozoff

UPDATE September 4

Dear Friends,
             
After preventing the Stop NATO news site from posting new information because of alleged “concern for content,” WordPress lifted the suspension late on Saturday.

Their explanation, and it hardly qualifies as one, was identical to that offered another (unrelated) site in January of this year when it was also suspended.

The outpouring of support and offers of assistance from organizations and individuals throughout the world over the past two days were both exhilerating and humbling and may have played a key role in the suspension being cancelled.

Appreciatively,
Rick Rooff

Part I


A “Humanitarian War” on Syria? Military Escalation. Towards a Broader Middle East-Central Asian War?
Part I of a three part series
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-08-09

The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. A US-NATO war on Iran would involve, as a first step, a destabilization campaign (“regime change”) directed against Syria.

Part II


The Pentagon’s “Salvador Option”: The Deployment of Death Squads in Iraq and Syria
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-08-16

Recent developments in Syria point to a full-fledged armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist “freedom fighters” covertly supported, trained and equipped by foreign powers.

What triggered the crisis in Syria?

It was not the result of internal political cleavages, but rather the consequence of a deliberate plan by the US-NATO alliance to trigger social chaos, to discredit the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad  and ultimately destabilize Syria as a Nation State.  

Since the middle of March 2011, Islamist armed groups covertly supported by Western and Israeli intelligence have conducted terrorist attacks on government buildings and acts of arson.

Amply documented, trained gunmen and snipers have targeted the police, the armed forces as well as unarmed civilians.  

The objective of this armed insurrection is to trigger the response of the police and armed forces, including the deployment of tanks and armored vehicles with a view to eventually justifying a “humanitarian” military intervention, under NATO’s  “responsibility to protect” mandate.  

The Nature of the Syrian Political System

There is certainly cause for social unrest and mass protest in Syria: unemployment has increased in recent years, social conditions have deteriorated, particularly since the adoption in 2006 of sweeping economic reforms under IMF guidance. The later include austerity measures, a freeze on wages, the deregulation of the financial system, trade reform and privatization. (See IMF Syrian Arab Republic — IMF Article IV Consultation Mission’s Concluding Statement, http://www.imf.org/external/np/ms/2006/051406.htm, 2006).

Moreover, there are serious divisions within the government and the military. The populist policy framework of the Baath party has largely been eroded. A faction within the ruling political establishment has embraced the neoliberal agenda. In turn, the adoption of IMF “economic medicine” has served to enrich the ruling economic elite. Pro-US factions have also developed within the upper echelons of the Syrian military and intelligence.

But the “pro-democracy” movement integrated by Islamists and supported by NATO and the “international community” did not emanate from the mainstay of Syrian civil society.

The protests largely dominated by Islamists represent  a very small fraction of Syrian public opinion. They are of a sectarian nature. They do no address the broader issues of social inequality, civil rights and unemployment.

The majority of Syria’s population (including the opponents of  the Al Assad government) do not support the “protest movement” which is characterised by an armed insurgency. In fact quite the opposite.

Ironically, despite its authoritarian nature, there is considerable popular support for the government of President Bashar Al Assad, which is confirmed by the large pro-government rallies.

Syria constitutes the only (remaining) independent secular state in the Arab world. Its populist, anti-Imperialist and secular base is inherited from the dominant Baath party, which integrates Muslims, Christians and Druze. It supports the struggle of the Palestinian people. 

The objective of the US-NATO alliance is to ultimately displace and destroy the Syrian secular State, displace or co-opt the national economic elites  and eventually replace the Syrian government of Bashar Al Assad with an Arab sheikdom, a pro-US Islamic republic or a compliant pro-US “democracy”.

The role of the US-NATO- Israel military alliance in triggering an armed insurrection is not addressed by the Western media. Moreover, several “progressive voices” have accepted the “NATO consensus” at face value: “a peaceful protest” which is being “violently repressed by the Syrian police and armed forces”. 

The Insurgency is integrated by Terrorists

Al Jazeera, the Israeli and Lebanese press confirm that “the protesters” had burned the headquarters of the Baath Party and the court house in Daraa in mid-March, while at the same time claiming that the demonstrations were “peaceful”.  

Terrorists have infiltrated the civilian protest movement. Similar acts of arson were carried out in late July in Hama. Public buildings including the Court House and the Agricultural Bank were set on fire. 

This insurgency is directed against the secular State. Its ultimate object is political destabilization and regime change. The hit squads of armed gunmen are involved in terrorist acts directed against both Syrian forces and civilians.

Civilians who support the government are the object of threats and intimidation. Pro-government civilians are also the object of targetted assassination by armed gunmen: 

In Karak, a village near Dara’a, Salafis forced villagers to join anti-government protests and remove photos of President Assad from their homes. Witnesses reported that a young Muslim man who refused to remove a photo was found hanged on his front porch the next morning.

“People want to go out and peacefully ask for certain changes, but Muslim Salafi groups are sneaking in with their goal, which is not to make changes for the betterment of Syria, but to take over the country with their agenda,” (International Christian Concern (ICC), May 4, 2011, emphasis added)

In late July, terrorists  attacked a train travelling between Aleppo and Damascus:

 ”The train was carrying 480 passengers… The terrorists dismantled the rails which caused the accident… The leading carriage was burnt… Other carriages were derailed and turned over onto their sides… (quoted in Terrorists attacked a train traveling from Aleppo to Damascus – YouTube, Truth Syria). Most of the passengers on the train “were children,  women and patients who were traveling to undergo surgeries.”( Saboteurs Target a Train Traveling from Aleppo to Damascus, Driver Martyred – Local – jpnews-sy.com, July 24, 2011)

The Recruitment of Mujahideen: NATO and Turkey

This insurgency in Syria has similar features to that of Libya: it is integrated by paramilitary brigades affiliated to Al Qaeda. Recent developments point to a full-fledged armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist “freedom fighters” supported, trained and equipped by NATO and Turkey’s High Command.

According to Israeli intelligence sources:

NATO headquarters in Brussels and the Turkish high command are meanwhile drawing up plans for their first military step in Syria, which is to arm the rebels with weapons for combating the tanks and helicopters spearheading the Assad regime’s crackdown on dissent. Instead of repeating the Libyan model of air strikes, NATO strategists are thinking more in terms of pouring large quantities of anti-tank and anti-air rockets, mortars and heavy machine guns into the protest centers for beating back the government armored forces. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011)

A NATO-led intervention is on the drawing board. According to military and intelligence sources, NATO, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been discussing “the form this intervention would take”.

Shift in Turkey’s Military Command Structure

In late July, the Commander in Chief of the Army and head of Turkey’s Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Isik Kosaner, resigned together with the commanders of the Navy and Air Force. General Kosaner represented a broadly secular stance within the Armed Forces. General Necdet Ozel has been appointed as his replacement as commander of the Army and head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

These developments are of crucial importance. They point to a shift within Turkey’s military high command in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood including enhanced support to the armed insurrection in Northern Syria.

Military sources also confirm that Syrian rebels “have been training in the use of the new weapons with Turkish military officers at makeshift installations in Turkish bases near the Syrian border.” (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011)

The delivery of weapons to the rebels is to be implemented “overland, namely through Turkey and under Turkish army protection….Alternatively, the arms would be trucked into Syria under Turkish military guard and transferred to rebel leaders at pre-arranged rendez-vous.” (Ibid, emphasis added)

These various developments point towards the possibility of the direct involvement of Turkish troops in the conflict, which could potentially lead to a broader process of military confrontation between Syria and Turkey, as well as the direct involvement of Turkish troops inside Syria. 

A ground war involving Turkish troops would involve sending troops into Northern Syria and  “carving out a military pocket from which Syria’s rebels would be supplied with military, logistic and medical aid.” (Assad may opt for war to escape Russian, Arab, European ultimatums, http://www.debka.com/article/21255/  Debkafile, August 31, 2011).

As in the case of Libya, financial support is being channelled to the Syrian rebel forces by Saudi Arabia. “Ankara and Riyadh will provide the anti-Assad movements with large quantities of weapons and funds to be smuggled in from outside Syria” (Ibid).

The deployment of Saudi and GCC troops is also contemplated in Southern Syria in coordination with Turkey (Ibid):

Recruiting Thousands of Jihadists

NATO and the Turkish High command, also contemplate the development of a jihad involving the recruitment of thousands of “freedom fighters”, reminiscent of  the enlistment of  Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war:

Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (Ibid, emphasis added)

This recruitment of Mujahideen to fight NATO’s humanitarian wars (including Libay and Syria) is well underway. Some 1500 jihadists from Afghanistan trained by the CIA were dispatched to fight with the “pro-democracy” rebels under the helm of “former” Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) Commander  Abdel Hakim  Belhadj: 

“Most of the men have been recruited from Afghanistan. They are Uzbeks, Persians and Hazaras. According to the footage, these men attired in the Uzbek-style of shalwar and Hazara-Uzbek Kurta were found fighting in Libyan cities.” (The Nation, Pakistan,

The Libyan model of rebel forces integrated by the Islamic brigades together with NATO special forces is slated to be applied in Syria, where Islamist fighters supported by Western and Israeli intelligence have already been deployed. 

The Triggering of Factional Divisions within Syrian Society

Syria is a secular state where Muslims and Christian have shared a common heritage from the early Christian period and have lived together for centuries.

Covert support is channelled to the jihadist fighters, who in turn are responsible for acts of sectarian violence directed against Alawite, Christians and Druze. In early May, as part of the anti-government “protest movement”, armed gunmen were reported to have attacked Christian homes in Daraa in Southern Syria:

In a Christian village outside of Dara’a, in southern Syria, eye witnesses reported that twenty masked men on motorcycles opened fire on a Christian home while shouting malicious remarks against Christians in the street. According to another ICC source in Syria, churches received threatening letters during the Easter holidays telling them to join Salafi protestors or leave.

 Last week in Duma, a suburb of Damascus, Salafis chanted, “Alawites to the grave and Christians to Beirut!” according to an ICC source and Tayyar.org, a Lebanese news agency. Christians in Syria are concerned that the agenda of many hard-line Islamists in Syria, including the Salafis, is to take over the government and kick Christians out of the country. “If Muslim Salafis gain political influence, they will make sure that there will be no trace of Christianity in Syria,” a Syrian Christian leader told ICC.

“We want to improve life and rights in Syria under this president, but we do not want terrorism. Christians will be first to pay the price of terrorism. … What Christians are asking for is the realization that when changes are happening, it should happen not under certain agendas or for certain people, but for the people of Syria in a peaceful way under the current government.” Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, “Unlike in Egypt, where Christians predominantly supported the revolution that removed President Hosni Mubarak from power, Syrian Christians have desired peace while demanding greater freedoms under the current government. Christians anticipate that only chaos and bloodshed will follow if Salafi demands are met. We urge the U.S. government to act wisely and carefully when developing policies that have deep political ramifications for Syria’s minorities by not indirectly supporting a foothold to be used by Salafis to carry out their radical agenda.”

(Syrian Christians Threatened by Salafi Protestors, Persecution News, International Christian Concern (ICC), May 4, 2011)

The attacks on Christians in Syria are reminiscent of the death squadron killings directed against Chaldean Christians in Iraq.  

NEW BOOK BY MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY
Order directly from Global Research
 


Towards a World War III Scenario.
New E-Book from Global Research Publishers
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-06

Towards a Syrian Government in Exile. The Formation of a National Salvation Council (NSC) Modelled on Libya’s Transitional Council (TC)

A first step towards establishing a  provisional government in exile was envisaged at a so-called National Salvation Conference in Istanbul (July 16, 2011) integrated by some 300 Syrians in exile. This conference venue led to the formation of a National Salvation Council (NSC), composed of 25 members, modelled on Libya’s Transitional Council. 

“Those present finally agreed on an initiative that will select 25 from 300 present in Istanbul and 50 more from inside Syria, resulting in a 75 member council to represent the current uprising. This 75 member council will also work towards forming a national unity government that can guide Syria in a transitory period, should the regime fall. This transitory period will seek to administer a road-map that re-structures the Syrian state from a dictatorship, dismantling a police state, to a representative democracy. However, those present have refused the idea of forming a shadow government at this moment….” Syrian opposition conference in Istanbul and the formation of a joint council Syria Revolts, July 18, 2011)

The NSC envisaged the formation of an 11 member “Cabinet”, which could act as a de facto provisional government in the case of a “regime collapse”. The NSC is dominated by the outlawed Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and Liberals from the Syrian exile community. Syrian exiles vote for ‘transitional government’, Sidney Morning Herald, July 19,  2011) 

The Central Role of General David Petraeus: President Obama’s New Head of the CIA

Obama’s newly appointed CIA head, David Petraeus who led the MNSTC  “Counterinsurgency” program in Baghdad in 2004 in coordination with Ambassador John Negroponte, is slated to play a key intelligence role in relation to Syria –including covert support to opposition forces and “freedom fighters”, the infiltration of Syrian intelligence and armed forces, etc.  These tasks would be carried out in liaison with Ambassador Robert S. Ford.  Both men worked together in Iraq; they were part of  Negroponte’s extended team in Baghdad in 2004-2005. 

According to reports, General Petraeus, travelled to Turkey in mid July to meet members of the National Salvation Council.  The meeting organized by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu took place immediately following the National Salvation Conference (July 16-18, 2011): “[T]he source noted that Petraeous stressed his support during the meeting for the idea of establishing an exile-government, a government which is led by the Muslim Brotherhood and their allies and assisted by American military officials…” (See The Syrian Opposition and the CIA – Another Evidence of Treason – YouTube).

While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s official visit to Turkey coincided with the holding of the National Salvation Conference, there was no confirmation that Clinton had met up with members of the NSC. Officially, Hillary Clinton met members of the Syrian opposition “for the first time” on August 2nd. (Syria Opposition Meets With Clinton – WSJ.com, August 3, 2011).

The Role of the Western media

The Western media has played a central role in obfuscating the nature of foreign interference in Syria including outside support to armed insurgents. In chorus they have described recent events in Syria as a “peaceful protest movement” directed against the government of Bashar Al Assad, when the evidence amply confirms that Islamic paramilitary groups are involved in terrorist acts. These same Islamic groups have infiltrated the protest rallies.

Western media distortions abound. Large “pro-government” rallies (including photographs) are casually presented as “evidence” of a mass anti-government protest movement. The reports on casualties are based on unconfirmed “eye-witness reports” or on Syrian opposition sources in exile. 

Sham News and the London based Syria Observatory for Human Rights are profusely quoted by the Western media as a “reliable source” with the usual disclaimers.

Israel’s Debka Intelligence news, while avoiding the issue of an armed insurgency, tacitly acknowledges that Syrian forces are being confronted by an organized paramilitary:

“[Syrian forces] are now running into heavy resistance: Awaiting them are anti-tank traps and fortified barriers manned by protesters armed with heavy machine guns.DEBKAfile,

Since when are peaceful civilian protesters armed with “heavy machine guns” and “anti-tank traps”? What we are dealing with is a trained paramilitary.

While Shaam News is quoted as the source of Associated Press reports and photos, Sham News (SNN) is not a recognised news agency. SNN describes itself as “a group of patriotic Syrian youth activists demanding the freedom and dignity for the Syrian people  …” with pages on Facebook and Twitter. See Shaam News Network

An Associated Press photo of a mass rally in Hama indicates the following disclaimer 

The Associated Press is unable to independently verify the authenticity, Content,  location or date of this handout Photo. Photo: HO / Shaam News Network.

Yet these same unconfirmed photos are used profusely in the mainstream media.   

The absence of verifiable data, however, has not prevented the Western media from putting forth “authoritative figures” on the number of casualties: “Over 1,600 dead, 2,000 wounded (Al Jazeera, July 27) and nearly 3,000 disappearances (CNN, July 28).”

What are the sources of this data? Who is responsible for the casualties?

The US Ambassador Robert S. Ford candidly stated to a Senate Committee hearing that: “The most dangerous weapon I saw was a sling-shot”.

And that sling-shot catch phrase, which is an outright lie, has been quoted profusely to uphold the non-violent character of the protest movement as well provide a “humanitarian face” to Ambassador Robert S. Ford, lest we forget, who was part of Negroponte’s plan to set up death squadrons in Iraq modelled on El Salvador and Honduras. 

The Lie becomes the Truth.

Responsibility of the Syrian Government

The Syrian government, its military and police force, bear a burden of responsibility in the way they have responded to the insurgency which has resulted in deaths of civilians and police. But this issue, which is the object of open discussion in Syria, cannot be meaningfully addressed without analyzing how the US and its allies have supported and financed an insurrection integrated by Islamist paramilitary groups and death squads.

The primary responsibility for the civilian deaths rests with Washington, Brussels and Ankara, which have supported the formation and incursion of Islamist “Freedom Fighters”. They have also facilitated the financing and delivery of weapons to the insurgents.

Since the existence of an armed insurgency (supported by foreign powers) is not acknowledged by NATO governments and the Estern media, pari passu these deaths are attributed without further explanation solely to government forces “shooting on defenseless civilians” or government forces shooting at police defectors… 

Dangerous Crossroads: Towards a Broader Middle East Central Asian War

Escalation is an integral part of the military agenda. Destabilization of sovereign states through “regime change” is closely coordinated with military planning. There is a military roadmap characterised by a sequence of US-NATO war theaters.

War preparations to attack Syria and Iran have been in “an advanced state of readiness” for several years.

US, NATO and Israeli military planners have outlined the contours of a “humanitarian” military campaign, in which Turkey (the second largest military force inside NATO) would play a central role.

In recent developments, Turkey has intimated that Ankara is considering military action against Syria if the Al Assad government doesn’t cease “immediately and unconditionally” its actions against “protesters”. In a bitter irony, the Islamist fighters operating inside Syria who are terrorizing the civilian population, are trained and financed by the Turkish Erdogan government.

These veiled threats point towards the possible involvement of Turkish troops inside Syria, which could evolve towards a full-fledged “humanitarian” military intervention by NATO.

We are at dangerous crossroads. Were a US-NATO military operation to be launched against Syria, the broader Middle East Central Asian region extending from North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with China would be engulfed in the turmoil of an extended regional war.

There are at present four distinct war theaters: Afghanistan-Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine and Libya.

An attack on Syria would lead to the integration of these separate war theaters, eventually leading towards a broader Middle East-Central Asian war.

The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. A US-NATO sponsored war on Iran would involve, as a first step, a destabilization campaign (“regime change”) including covert intelligence operations in support of rebel forces directed against the Syrian government.

A war on Syria could evolve towards a US-NATO military campaign directed against Iran, in which Turkey and Israel would be directly involved. It would also contribute to the ongoing destabilization of Lebanon.

It is crucial to spread the word and break the channels of media disinformation.

A critical and unbiased understanding of what is happening in Syria is of crucial importance in reversing the tide of military escalation towards a broader regional war.

Parts I and II of this article

Part I


A “Humanitarian War” on Syria? Military Escalation. Towards a Broader Middle East-Central Asian War?
Part I of a three part series
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-08-09

The road to Tehran goes through Damascus. A US-NATO war on Iran would involve, as a first step, a destabilization campaign (“regime change”) directed against Syria.

Part II


The Pentagon’s “Salvador Option”: The Deployment of Death Squads in Iraq and Syria
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-08-16

Recent developments in Syria point to a full-fledged armed insurgency, integrated by Islamist “freedom fighters” covertly supported, trained and equipped by foreign powers.

 

Related articles

 

 


VIDEO: Military Intervention in Syria Will Lead to Extended War
Watch now on GRTV
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-08-04


The Destabilization of Syria and the Broader Middle East War
- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-06-17

If a military operation were to be launched against Syria, Israel would in all likelihood also be involved, leading to a process of escalation


SYRIA: Who is Behind The Protest Movement? Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO “Humanitarian Intervention”
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-05-03

The ultimate purpose is to trigger sectarian violence and political chaos within Syria by covertly supporting Islamic terrorist organizations.


VIDEO: Skeptical on Syria: ‘Media reports framed & manipulated’
Watch now on GRTV
- by James Corbett – 2011-08-31


Syrians Fear NATO To Attack Their Country After Libya
- by Oleg Gribkov, Natalya Kovalenko – 2011-08-30

 

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005). His latest book is entitled Towards a World War Three Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011). Michel Chossudovsky spent over a month in Syria in January-February 2011.  

Michel Chossudovsky’s most recent book (2011)

Towards a World War Three Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War
Michel Chossudovsky 

E-Book Series No. 1.0
Global Research Publishers
Montreal, 2011,
ISBN 978-0-9737147-3-9

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DETAILED TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE 

A New War Theater in North Africa                               
Operation Odyssey Dawn  
Nuclear Weapons against Libya? How Real is the Threat?       
America’s Long War: The Global Military Agenda                         
How to Reverse the Tide of War                                   
World War III Scenario 
Acknowledgments     

CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION    
                             
The Cult of Killing and Destruction                                 
America’s Mini-nukes 
War and the Economic Crisis                                     
Real versus Fake Crises                             

CHAPTER II: THE DANGERS OF NUCLEAR WAR 
                     
Hiroshima Day 2003: Secret Meeting at Strategic Command Headquarters           
The Privatization of Nuclear War: US Military Contractors Set the Stage             
9/11 Military Doctrine: Nuclear Weapons and the “Global War on Terrorism”         
Al Qaeda: “Upcoming Nuclear Power”                               
Obama’s Nuclear Doctrine: The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review                 
Post 9/11 Nuclear Doctrine                                       
“Defensive” and “Offensive” Actions                                 
“Integration” of Nuclear and Conventional Weapons Plans                     
Theater Nuclear Operations (TNO)                                   
Planned Aerial Attacks on Iran                                     
Global Warfare: The Role of US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM)             
Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization                             
Israel’s Stockpiling of Conventional and Nuclear Weapons                     
The Role of Western Europe                                   
Germany: De Facto Nuclear Power                                 
Pre-emptive Nuclear War: NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept                   
The World is at a Critical Crossroads                                 

CHAPTER III: AMERICA’S HOLY CRUSADE AND THE BATTLE FOR OIL           

America’s Crusade in Central Asia and the Middle East                       
“Homegrown Terrorists”                                       
The American Inquisition                                     
Washington’s Extrajudicial Assassination Program                         
The Battle for Oil       
The Oil Lies in Muslim Lands                                     
Globalization and the Conquest of the World’s Energy Resources               

CHAPTER IV: PREPARING FOR WORLD WAR THREE                   

Media Disinformation   
A “Pre-emptive” Aerial Attack Directed Against Iran would Lead to Escalation         
Global Warfare     
US “Military Aid”     
The Timetable of Military Stockpiling and Deployment                       
World War III Scenario                                       
The United Nations Security Council                                 
The American Inquisition: Building a Political Consensus for War               

CHAPTER V: TARGETING IRAN WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS                 

Building a Pretext for a Pre-emptive Nuclear Attack                         
“Theater Iran Near Term”                                       
The Military Road Map: “First Iraq, then Iran”                           
Simulated Scenarios of a Global War: The Vigilant Shield 07 War Games             
The Role of Israel       
Cheney: “Israel Might Do it Without Being Asked”                       
US Israel Military Coordination                                     
Tactical Nuclear Weapons directed against Iran                           
Radioactive Fallout   
“The Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) Slated to be Used Against Iran               
Extensive Destruction of Iran’s Infrastructure                             
State of the Art Weaponry: “War Made Possible Through New Technologies”         
Electromagnetic Weapons                                       
Iran’s Military Capabilities: Medium and Long Range Missiles                 
Iran’s Ground Forces   
US Military and Allied Facilities Surrounding Iran                         

CHAPTER VI: REVERSING THE TIDE OF WAR                         

Revealing the Lie     
The Existing Anti-War Movement                                   
Manufacturing Dissent 
Jus ad Bellum: 9/11 and the Invasions of Yugoslavia and Afghanistan             
Fake Antiwar Activism: Heralding Iran as a Nuclear Threat                     
The Road Ahead       
The Antiwar Movement within the State Structure and the Military               
Abandon the Battlefield: Refuse to Fight                               
The Broader Peace Process                                     
What has to be Achieved    

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Ten Years after 9/11, the US/NATO War Machine Rages On

September 2nd, 2011 by Global Research

As we prepare to face the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, let us give pause to consider the state of the world today, the resulting wars, rampant militarization, top-level coverups and media disinformation that have been launched as a direct result of the events which created the so-called global “war on terror”. Global Research brings you this week’s top articles for you consideration:

“The US government’s account of 9/11 is the foundation of the open-ended wars that are exhausting America’s resources and destroying its reputation, and it is the foundation of the domestic police state that ultimately will shut down all opposition to the wars… Today Americans are unsafe, not because of terrorists and domestic extremists, but because they have lost their civil liberties and have no protection from unaccountable government power. One would think that how this came about would be worthy of public debate and congressional hearings.”
-Paul Craig Roberts, 9/11 After A Decade: Have We Learned Anything? 


AFTER 9/11: TEN YEARS OF WAR
Special Commemorative Conference, Montreal, September 8
- by Cynthia McKinney, Wayne Madsen, Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-09-09


Paramilitary Monster: From CIA To CKA – “Central Killing Agency”
- by Boris Volkhonsky – 2011-09-02


You Only Believe the Official 9/11 Story Because You Don’t Know the Official 9/11 Story
- by Jesse Richard – 2011-09-02


War? “There is no war” in Libya
- by Global Research – 2011-09-01

Pentagon Allows “Near Slavery” Conditions Among Foreign Workers in Iraq and Afghanistan
- by Sherwood Ross – 2011-09-01


VIDEO: Tripoli BEFORE and AFTER NATO/Rebel “Liberation”
View the footage on GRTV
- 2011-09-01


VIDEO: Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of 9/11
Watch the new GRTV Feature Interview
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-09-01


US Targetted Assassinations in Iraq confirmed by Wikileaks Archive
- 2011-09-01


NATO has conducted 7920 strike sorties since March 31, 2011. Its mandate is R2P
- 2011-09-01


NATO is a Loser in Terms of Morality and Justice
- by An Huihou – 2011-09-01


NATO’s Deceitful Libya War of Aggression: Its Meaning for Africa
How will history judge the West’s imperial interference
- by Colin Benjamin – 2011-09-01


Orwellian Hypocrisy of NATO’s Mission: In Libya, a Bloodbath Looms
- by Robert Parry – 2011-09-01


Libya: NATO Acquires Military Outpost In Third Continent
- by Rick Rozoff – 2011-08-31


In America The Rule Of Law Is Vacated
Bank fraudsters, torturers, and war criminals running free…
- by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – 2011-08-31


Obama’s Widening War In Somalia
- by Sherwood Ross – 2011-08-31


Bahrain: US Ally Kills Children… So When Is NATO Intervening?
- by Finian Cunningham – 2011-08-31


Al-Qaeda and NATO’s Islamic Extremists Taking Over Libya
- by Alex Newman – 2011-08-31

The Crime of the Patriot Act, 9/11 and a Whistleblower’s Truth
Review of Susan Lindauer’s book
- by Rady Ananda – 2011-08-31


Arab Spring: Revolutions, Lies, and Intervention
- by Devon DB – 2011-08-31


BREAKING NEWS: CIA Recruits 1,500 Jihadists in Afghanistan to Fight in Libya
“Al Qaeda Created by the CIA”
- by Azhar Masood – 2011-08-31


George W. Bush: Canada Must Bar Entry or Arrest and Ensure Prosecution for Torture
- by Lawyers Against the War – 2011-08-30


Libya: The Greatest Betrayal: Handing Libya over to Al Qaeda
- by Tony Cartalucci – 2011-08-30


VIDEO: 9/11: The Myth and The Reality
Now on GRTV
- by Prof. David Ray Griffin – 2011-08-30


Syrians Fear NATO To Attack Their Country After Libya
- by Oleg Gribkov, Natalya Kovalenko – 2011-08-30


The War on Libya: NATO Uses And Abuses The United Nations. The Role of Russia
- by Konstantin Garibov – 2011-08-30

NATO faces ‘catastrophic success’ in Libya
“Tens of thousands of casualties of innocent civilians, people homeless, huge humanitarian disaster”
- by An Huihou – 2011-08-30

Deadliest month yet for U.S. in Afghanistan
- 2011-08-30


Conference: After 9/11 — Ten Years of War
Montreal September 8
- 2011-08-29


Photo gallery: NATO bombs bring democracy to Europe, Asia and Africa
- by Rick Rozoff – 2011-08-29


The “Liberation” of Libya: NATO Special Forces and Al Qaeda Join Hands
“Former Terrorists” Join the “Pro-democracy” Bandwagon
- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2011-08-28

The jihadists and NATO work hand in glove. These “former” Al Qaeda affiliated brigades constitute the backbone of the “pro-democracy” rebellion.


VIDEO: Make No Mistake. NATO is Committing War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity in Libya
Exclusive GRTV Report from Tripoli
- by Julian Teil, Mathieu Ozanon, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya – 2011-08-28

Expose the Lies. This Global Research video was produced and directed in Tripoli by a team of committed journalists, researchers and cameramen.


Cynthia McKinney: WAR KILLS
- by Ron Ridenour – 2011-08-28

Cynthia McKinney will be in Montreal on September 8 for a special commemorative conference on 9/11, together with Michel Chossudovsky, Wayne Madsen and Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya. For details click here. Please show your support for this project by clicking here.


The Fruits of Elite Immunity
Exonerating Bush Era War Criminals
- by Glenn Greenwald – 2011-08-27


VIDEO: Petroleo: The Oil War Agenda in a Minute
A creative peace initiative, now on GRTV
- by Adrien Gromelle, Juliaon Roels – 2011-08-25


9/11 After A Decade: Have We Learned Anything?
- by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – 2011-08-24

Americans are bound to the story of the 9/11 Muslim terrorist attack, because it is what justifies the slaughter of civilian populations in several Muslim countries…

Dear Readers, if you have been considering making a donation to support our efforts, there’s no better time to click on the button below and help us continue publishing these important articles, organizing public conferences and spreading the truth to the broadest possible readership. Let’s fight together to beat the lies of mainstream media!

North Dakota has had the nation’s lowest unemployment ever since the economy tanked. What’s its secret?

In an article in The New York Times on August 19th titled “The North Dakota Miracle,” Catherine Rampell writes:

Forget the Texas Miracle. Let’s instead take a look at North Dakota, which has the lowest unemployment rate and the fastest job growth rate in the country.

According to new data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics today, North Dakota had an unemployment rate of just 3.3 percent in July—that’s just over a third of the national rate (9.1 percent), and about a quarter of the rate of the state with the highest joblessness (Nevada, at 12.9 percent).

North Dakota has had the lowest unemployment in the country (or was tied for the lowest unemployment rate in the country) every single month since July 2008.

Its healthy job market is also reflected in its payroll growth numbers. . . . [Y]ear over year, its payrolls grew by 5.2 percent. Texas came in second, with an increase of 2.6 percent.

Why is North Dakota doing so well? For one of the same reasons that Texas has been doing well: oil.

Oil is certainly a factor, but it is not what has put North Dakota over the top. Alaska has roughly the same population as North Dakota and produces nearly twice as much oil, yet unemployment in Alaska is running at 7.7 percent. Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming have all benefited from a boom in energy prices, with Montana and Wyoming extracting much more gas than North Dakota has. The Bakken oil field stretches across Montana as well as North Dakota, with the greatest Bakken oil production coming from Elm Coulee Oil Field in Montana. Yet Montana’s unemployment rate, like Alaska’s, is 7.7% percent.

A number of other mineral-rich states were initially not affected by the economic downturn, but they lost revenues with the later decline in oil prices. North Dakota is the only state to be in continuous budget surplus since the banking crisis of 2008. Its balance sheet is so strong that it recently reduced individual income taxes and property taxes by a combined $400 million, and is debating further cuts. It also has the lowest foreclosure rate and lowest credit card default rate in the country, and it has had NO bank failures in at least the last decade.

If its secret isn’t oil, what is so unique about the state? North Dakota has one thing that no other state has: its own state-owned bank.

Access to credit is the enabling factor that has fostered both a boom in oil and record profits from agriculture in North Dakota. The Bank of North Dakota (BND) does not compete with local banks but partners with them, helping with capital and liquidity requirements. It participates in loans, provides guarantees, and acts as a sort of mini-Fed for the state. In 2010, according to the BND’s annual report:

The Bank provided Secured and Unsecured Federal Fund Lines to 95 financial institutions with combined lines of over $318 million for 2010. Federal Fund sales averaged over $13 million per day, peaking at $36 million in June.

The BND also has a loan program called Flex PACE, which allows a local community to provide assistance to borrowers in areas of jobs retention, technology creation, retail, small business, and essential community services. In 2010, according to the BND annual report:

The need for Flex PACE funding was substantial, growing by 62 percent to help finance essential community services as energy development spiked in western North Dakota. Commercial bank participation loans grew to 64 percent of the entire $1.022 billion portfolio.

The BND’s revenues have also been a major boost to the state budget. It has contributed over $300 million in revenues over the last decade to state coffers, a substantial sum for a state with a population less than one-tenth the size of Los Angeles County. According to a study by the Center for State Innovation, from 2007 to 2009 the BND added nearly as much money to the state’s general fund as oil and gas tax revenues did (oil and gas revenues added $71 million while the Bank of North Dakota returned $60 million). Over a 15-year period, according to other data, the BND has contributed more to the state budget than oil taxes have.

North Dakota’s money and banking reserves are being kept within the state and invested there. The BND’s loan portfolio shows a steady uninterrupted increase in North Dakota lending programs since 2006.

According to the annual BND report:

Financially, 2010 was our strongest year ever. Profits increased by nearly $4 million to $61.9 million during our seventh consecutive year of record profits. Earnings were fueled by a strong and growing deposit base, brought about by a surging energy and agricultural economy. We ended the year with the highest capital level in our history at just over $325 million. The Bank returned a healthy 19 percent ROE, which represents the state’s return on its investment.

A 19 percent return on equity! How many states are getting that sort of return on their Wall Street investments?

Timothy Canova is Professor of International Economic Law at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. In a June 2011 paper called “The Public Option: The Case for Parallel Public Banking Institutions,” he compares North Dakota’s financial situation to California’s. He writes of North Dakota and its state-owned bank:

The state deposits its tax revenues in the Bank, which in turn ensures that a high portion of state funds are invested in the state economy. In addition, the Bank is able to remit a portion of its earnings back to the state treasury …. Thanks in part to these institutional arrangements, North Dakota is the only state that has been in continuous budget surplus since before the financial crisis and it has the lowest unemployment rate in the country.

He then compares the dire situation in California:

In contrast, California is the largest state economy in the nation, yet without a state-owned bank, is unable to steer hundreds of billions of dollars in state revenues into productive investment within the state. Instead, California deposits its many billions in tax revenues in large private banks which often lend the funds out-of-state, invest them in speculative trading strategies (including derivative bets against the state’s own bonds), and do not remit any of their earnings back to the state treasury. Meanwhile, California suffers from constrained private credit conditions, high unemployment levels well above the national average, and the stagnation of state and local tax receipts. The state’s only response has been to stumble from one budget crisis to another for the past three years, with each round of spending cuts further weakening its economy, tax base, and credit rating.

Not all states have oil, of course (and it’s hardly a sustainable economic basis), but all could learn from the state-owned bank that allows North Dakota to capitalize on its resources to full advantage. States that deposit their revenues and invest their capital in large Wall Street banks are giving this economic opportunity away.

This article was written for YES! Magazine. Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and the author of eleven books, including Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free. Her websites are http://WebofDebt.com and http://PublicBankingInstitute.org.

On September 6, General David Petraeus will be officially inaugurated as the new CIA chief. What legacy is he getting?

By coincidence or not, on Thursday, September 1, The Washington Post published a long article outlining in detail the new profile of the Central Intelligence Agency. By analyzing numerous examples from all parts of the world, and especially from the Middle East with a special focus on Yemen, the paper concludes that instead of collecting intelligence data, now the CIA is mostly engaged in finding and killing suspects without trial.

The agency has even designed a special unit – an agency within an agency – the Counterterrorism Center entrusted with the task to track and eliminate terrorists around the globe.

The change, writes the paper, “has been gradual enough that its magnitude can be difficult to grasp.” But the dry facts speak for themselves.

At the time of creation, the CTC had about 300 employees, but now its total staff is around 2,000 (about 10 percent of the total number of CIA employees) and exceeds the total manpower of Al Qaeda.

The tactics used by the CTC at the early stages of its existence seemed unthinkable and futuristic, but now have become just a matter of routine. This primarily concerns the notorious drone strikes that have killed more than 2,000 militants and civilians and irreversibly spoiled U.S. relationships with its has-been allies like Pakistan.

In fact, formerly the CIA’s main purpose was to collect data and work out advice for policy-makers, but now it has turned into what can be called a “lawlessness enforcement” agency and a kind of paramilitary force with man-hunting as its primary occupation.

The transformation has already had its impact both internally and globally.

“Traditional” intelligence officers long for the times when the CIA’s job was purely analytical.

Human rights activists point at numerous violations of human rights and indiscriminate killings.

What makes too many in the U.S. and abroad worry is the fact that the CIA is acting in a manner of a “killing machine” without any transparent accounting to the supervising authorities. The worst nightmares of 20th century science fiction are coming true! And the CTC’s top officials seem to be proud of the fact. The Washington Post quotes the CTC chief as saying, “We are killing these sons of bitches faster than they can grow them now.”

What is most serious in terms of global geopolitics is the fact that the latest CIA activities have shattered the U.S.’s standing as a world leader. The Agency has spoiled relations with Pakistan. Despite all the casualties, it has not achieved any strategic aims in Afghanistan. On the contrary – prior to the U.S. troop withdrawal from that country things are getting worse and August became the deadliest month in the whole 10-year-long war. The CIA has alienated wide factions in the Arab world, including Yemen which has been its primary focus, and where a revolution – not a democratic one, bur rather a radical Islamist one – now seems inevitable.

It looks like the shift was possible partly due to the fact that former CIA chief Leon Panetta was an outsider to the system and not very experienced in intelligence matters. Therefore, the intelligence officers could feel that their hands were free to design a system that would be out of civilian control.

Now, there is going to be a new chief – a man with 37-year experience in the Army, but little or no experience whatsoever in intelligence. What could that mean for the gradually transforming paramilitary monster?

On the one hand, that could mean closer cooperation between the CIA and the Army. But that, in turn, could only lead to strengthening and widening the scope of such operations as drone strikes, special forces raids on foreign territories (like the one executed by Navy SEALS in Pakistan in May 2011), and whatever new techniques are invented in the coming years. But would that mean increasing civilian control? Can anyone answer?

And isn’t it the time to rename the CIA as the CKA – Central Killing Agency?

Stop NATO e-mail list home page with archives and search engine:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/messages

Stop NATO website and articles:
http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com

I don’t believe the official story of 9/11 because I know the official story of 9/11!

During the past 10 years I have not met a single individual who, after doing research on the subjectpen, switched from questioning the official narrative of the events of 9/11/2001 to believing the official narrative of those events..  It is always the other way around. Why do you think that is? There are good reasons for this, and I will try to explain this phenomenon right now.

The term “conspiracy theorist“, perhaps the most misapplied description in our vernacular, is often used to describe 9/11 truthers. Perhaps that term does apply to a segment of the 9/11 truth movement. But in most cases a more accurate description of 9/11 truthers is probably “expert”, or “scholar”, or “researcher.” You see, much of the doubt cast on the official narrative of the events of 9/11 has not come in the form of speculated accusations, or “theories.” In fact, it has come in the form of questions that have been raised after a careful study of the official and undisputed events and details.

Ten years have passed since the infamous events of September 11th, 2001 took place, and the majority of people still don’t know a damn thing about the actual details of that event. They don’t know what was going on in the country with regard to our military that day. They don’t know the history or the activities of key members of our government, defense establishment or intelligence community, on, or during the weeks, and in some cases the years leading up to that day. They don’t know what took place during or immediately following the events of that day. And they don’t know what actions were taken by those key people following that event.

As is the case with so many issues, people  tend to stand strong and argue a position or voice an opinion about an event like 9/11.  But, when questioned about the many details surrounding that event they have no answers. They are clueless. And they are, in the end, dumbfounded.

I can not tell you how many times I have discussed the events of 9/11 with an outraged citizen who can not believe that I would “accuse our own government” of such a terrible thing as conducting a false flag operation, only to hear the phrase “no, I did not know that, is that true?” repeated over and over as I “educate” them about those little things called DETAILS. I can not count the pale-faced stunned looks on people’s faces as I exposed them to some of the “official facts” they never suspected, and never knew. I have walked away from many a confrontation with newly educated “patriotic Americans”, only to worry about whether or not they would again resume breathing correctly.

They would never do such a thing

A common start and end to any intelligent discussion about the events of 9/11 is prefaced by the assumption that no American would betray his or her country by allowing or conducting an attack on the American people. Well, the people who take this position know nothing about history, let alone human nature. They also don’t know about the public positions, declarations, speeches and published documents written by the people who ran our nation on that day.

False flag operations have taken place for generations, in this nation and nations around the world. Many of these operations have been exposed, but  proof of many of these activities is probably hidden away in secret documents that may one day come to light. You can however, start your exploration on the topic by researching one plan for American self-inflicted terrorism that became public, Operation Northwoods. Do I detect my first “I did not know this, is it true?” May I suggest you also peek into the neoconservative teachings of the principles involved in running our nation at the time of the “new Pearl Harbor” that took place in 2001.

But the 9/11 Commission did not find anything wrong

I can not believe how many people do not know the genesis or mission of the 9/11 Kean Commission. From the initial appointment of one of America’s most nefarious political figures as its original leader, Henry Kissinger, -  to its executive director whose area of expertise and education were in the creation and maintaining of public myths, Philip D. Zelikow,-  people have no idea as to who comprised or what the mandate was for this commission.

To give you some kind of idea as to why the “findings” of this commission can NOT be used to back up any talking points on the topic of 9/11, let me remind you what the official task of this commission was. The Kean Commissions was told to document the official story and make national security recommendations based on that story. The only information that was to be included in the official report had to match the official story. If any one member of the committee objected to any testimony or finding, that piece of information was to be left out of the report For some examples of this you can talk to the thousands of people who became 9/11 truthers as a result of their testimony being omitted from and contradicted by the final report.

Start with the WTC worker credited with being the last man out of the WTC William Rodriguez. See if he can tell you why, after being invited to the White House and meeting with George W. Bush, his testimony about witnessing explosions in the sub basement of the WTC moments prior to the first plane hitting the building was omitted from the Kean report. And for more details you can read David Ray Griffin’s book called The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions And Distortions. It pretty much translated the Kean report into a stack of rather harsh and useless toilet paper. Are the “I did not know this, is it true?” responses piling up yet?

Are you even qualified to discuss the issue?

What people don’t understand when discussing issues like 9/11 is that not everyone is qualified to join the discussion, let alone impose an “opinion” on the topic. 9/11 is not really a topic that is open to opinion. The conclusion you draw from the facts are open to opinion, but what many people don’t realize about the 9/11 truth movement is that its opinions are based on facts, and grounded in the reality that its members know more of the facts than the average person. If you have a discussion with a doctor about medicine your opinions and views on the subject don’t exactly merit the same consideration as do those of a group of physicians..

Similarly, someone like me (and many 9/11 truthers), has the equivalent of 3 PhD’s on topics such as 9/11. I am a full time journalist. I research this kind of stuff every single day and I have been doing so since 2003. Not everyone is qualified to debate me on an issue like 9/11. We can discuss it. You can ask a great number of questions and perhaps inform me about aspects of the issue of which I am not aware. But you can’t impose your “opinions” on me, nor can you do that to a majority of 9/11 truthers. And by the way, when it comes to opinions vs. facts, facts win. FOX News watchers don’t seem to be able to grasp this concept.

People have to realize that what separates the unsuspecting mainstream masses from the 9/11 truth movement are factual information and details. Forget the claims and accusations. You don’t need to go that far to understand that there is something fishy going on here.  Just look at the official body of evidence. It’s all there and it will make your head spin. Don’t listen to the accusations, just examine the evidence.You’ll understand  so much if you really take a good look. In time, if you do your research thoroughly you may just compile a list of suspects, as have many of the 9/11 truthers. I have. But we are not there yet. We really have enough official evidence to lead to quite a few criminal indictments, and I am not kidding about this. But for now let’s just talk about the facts and hope that some day we will have the real answers declared by juries in courtrooms. Chances are that many truthers would be proven correct in their accusations -  but again, for now, just look at the facts and understand that there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. And, find out that it’s okay to say, “I did not know this, is it true?”

So, are you qualified to take part in a discussion with a 9/11 truther?

If you don’t know about the “coincidental” military drills taking place on September 11, 2001, or about the interesting little political cabal known as PNAC or the Project for a New American Century, or if you don’t know what WTC7 is, or the 1,500 plus architects and engineers who have serious questions about how and why it dropped like a pancake on 9/11,  or if you don’t know about the fact that up until his supposed murder, the FBI did not list Osama bin Laden as wanted for the events of 9/11 because, in their own words, they had no proof of his involvement, then you are not qualified to enter a discussion about the event. You have a lot of homework to do before you can chime in. So on you go…study…but finish this article first. I’ll bet the ranch that you’ll be saying, over and over, “I did not know this, is it true?”

Why don’t we accept the official story?

Here is a question that you should really think about. Don’t just chime in with your own uninformed opinion because I am going to give you the answer to this question; the real honest answer. Why do you think I, Jesse Richard, founder of TvNewsLIES.org, have drawn the conclusion that the official narrative of the events of 9/11 is a crock? The answer to that is this…I did not always feel that way. As a matter of fact ,within hours of the event I emailed to all my friends a blistering attack on Islamic fundamentalism. And while some things that happened that day, or did not happen that day, (and week I should say,)  seemed odd, I was not immediately suspicious of the “story” being told on TV about the event.

It took me almost two years before I saw enough “official” information to make me realize that there was something, actually many things, that were very wrong. I came across so many disturbing, yet official and undisputed facts that I started asking others about it. Most people did not know what I was talking about. Nobody knew the details.  So your answer is this…I don’t believe the official story because I know the official story! I don’t believe the conclusion, and the little tale of 19 buffoons overtaking our national defense all by themselves. The official position on that by the way, is that they, the FBI, have no proof of the identity of the so-called hijackers or that there were any hijackers at all. They are not listed on the passenger lists, but you would not know that.

BUT…the official story and facts are what made me realize something was very wrong with the public perception of what took place that day, and who was responsible for what took place that day.  The official story, when accepted and believed, morphs by any logic into a total and absolute fabrication!

So if you believe the conclusion to the official story, you had better know that story from start to finish. Don’t approach this they way the Kean Commission approached it, by starting out accepting the explanation as truth. Study the events, study the officially acknowledged body of evidence and study the people who told you the story in the first place…and I bet it won’t be long before you have as many questions as do I about that infamous day and about the people who control our government. And, of course, you’ll be saying, “I did not know this, is it true?”

Okay, then, who really was behind the attacks on 9/11?

9/11 truthers make the mistake of starting their discussions with conclusions…I am not doing that. All I am saying is that there are a lot of questions about what happened that day that are not answered by the official conclusion or explanation. I would like some answers that add up. I did the math myself and I have my own “theories”, but I am a journalist, and I deal in the facts, not the fables.

The official story, as fed to the American public is filled with unsupported and implausible explanations designed to convince a gullible public that they should ask no questions and trust their leaders to take revenge on those who hated us for our freedom.  Volumes can be, and have been written about so many of them.  For the most part, you have not read any of them.

In this article, I’ve posed many questions and have provided links to their answers – so that you will more clearly understand that there is SO much we have not been told about the attacks that took place a decade ago.  But, those facts are the tip of a very well hidden iceberg, because there are so many questions that still remain unanswered.

So, I will end this article with a sampling of the questions that must be answered, or in the very least, investigated by impartial truth seekers..  They must NOT be ignored, or accepted simply because they were offered to a frightened nation by an administration defined by its lies.  They are legitimate questions, based on legitimate suspicions.  They are not, for a single moment, conspiracy theories”

  1. Why did the news agencies report that WTC 7 collapsed almost 1/2 hour before it did, even though it was not hit by a plane, only had a few floors on fire, and gave no indication that it was in any serious danger?
  2. Why do we still believe the tale of the 19 hijackers when so many of the accused hijackers showed up ALIVE within days? And why do we sill believe the fable of the 19 hijackers when the FBI admitted that they are not sure about either the identity of the hijackers or if there were any hijackers at all?
  3. Why was WTC 7 rebuilt, reopened and reoccupied with no press attention? Wouldn’t this be an important victory in American resolve and perseverance?
  4. Why were the NORAD rules changed for the first time several weeks prior to 9/11, taking responsibility/authority for shooting down hijacked lanes away from NORAD military command for the first time in its history, and given to a civilian, Donald Rumsfeld, and then returned to NORAD the day after 9/11?
  5. Why would hijackers planning on attacking NY and Washington DC drive from Florida, pass both DC and NY,  and drive all the way to Maine and hinge this huge operation on a connecting flight from Maine to Boston, where we are told they hijacked their plane? Why wouldn’t they fly out of any of the airports that are visible from their targets, like Newark, La Guardia or JFK…or even some of the smaller local airports that would have given them a clear easy path to their target and reduce the amount of time that our air defense systems would have to stop them?
  6. Who placed all of those put options on the airlines just prior to the event, as if they knew that the stock prices on those specific airlines would lose  a huge amount of value?
  7. Why  did George W. Bush’s Secret Service detail not rush the president to safety when it was evident that the nation was under attack? If the nation was under attack, and they did not know the scope of the attack, and the president’s location was known, how did they not worry about being attacked in Florida?. Why did they act as if they knew that there was no threat? And why, when our nation was under attack, did the president not rush into action? If you say he was concerned about upsetting the children, you are the ultimate apologist. He could have told them that his mommy was on the phone and he had to see what she wanted. Our county was supposedly being attacked and he/they waited 20 minutes before they moved. This is the smoking gun of smoking guns.
  8. Why did the FBI never list Osama bin Laden as being wanted for 9/11? Actually, we know this one…because they admitted that they had no evidence linking him to the event.
  9. Why was their molten metal flowing under the wreckage of the WTC for months? No jet fuel can melt metal, and nothing explainable could melt that much metal and keep it hot enough to remain molten for a month.
  10. How did a passport of one of the so called hijackers make it through the huge fireball and end up on the street?
  11. Why have photos from the 80+ cameras confiscated at the Pentagon never been released?
  12. Why did the airplane that supposedly crashed at Shanksville vaporize so that nothing remained, not bodies, not luggage, not metal, – nothing – for the first time in aviation history? However, we are told that even though the plane vaporized at Shanksville, a hand-written note from a hijacker was found.

Of course, there are so many more.  We deserve the answers.  We deserve the right to ask these questions in public forums like the corporate media….who will not touch them with the proverbial ten foot pole. We have gate keepers on the Internet who actively ridicule and dismiss anyone who dares to raise these questions.  Will you be one of them?  Or, after really thinking about them, will you hope that one day, when we know what went on before, during and after the attacks on 9/11, – we can all say: “I did not know this, but I’m now  absolutely convinced that it is true.”

Think about it…it’s really time to think about it.

Jesse Richard is Founder of  TvNewsLIES.org

The UN was an Accomplice to the NATO Aggression on Libya

September 1st, 2011 by Evarist Kagaruki

-The cynical behaviour of the Security Council in the face of Nato’s mission of removing a legitimate government…by military force, leaves no one in doubt that the world organization no longer respects its own charter; that it has become the absolute instrument of the sole superpower and its allies; and that it has lost credibility, moral strength and validity as the conscience of the world.

Superficially, the establishment of the no-fly zone over Libyan territory in March by the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 looked well-intentioned: to “protect civilians against attacks” by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s forces that had been unleashed to quell the uprising in Benghazi – the stronghold of the rebel National Transition Council (NTC) -  against the Tripoli regime. But, in actual fact, the no-fly zone was meant to provide air cover for ground rebel troops which, on their own, could not dislodge Gaddafi’s forces.

The insurgents were assisted with arms, cash, and logistics by the Nato alliance to enable them to keep up the fight to the end, something which was totally against the spirit and letter of the said resolution. But the same weapons have killed and maimed hundreds of innocent civilians the resolution sought to “protect” in the first place. The Western media propaganda, not surprisingly, deliberately skipped this grim fact of the conflict in Libya.

There is now no doubt that Gaddafi, who is hated by some and loved by others (for different reasons), has been ousted – not, of course, by the NTC but by the Western powers with the tacit approval of the UN. The world body had, to the consternation of many, allowed Nato to go beyond its mandate and take sides in a civil war! Libya is now firmly in the hands of Western imperialists whose main interest there is essentially the control of the country’s flow of oil to the industrial capitals. As the fighting ends, there are already signs of an emerging scramble among the allies and foreign firms for access to the oil wealth.

As we anxiously watch the unfolding scenario on the political horizon in Libya, there is a ten-million dollar question yet to ponder: Is the UN still an organization that serves the purpose for which it was established? Or, put another way: Is the world body still useful and relevant to the people of the Third World? My answer is a big No! The cynical behaviour of the Security Council in the face of Nato’s mission of removing a legitimate government (even if it was a dictatorship) by military force, leaves no one in doubt that the world organization no longer respects its own charter; that it has become the absolute instrument of the sole superpower and its allies; and that it has lost credibility, moral strength and validity as the conscience of the world.

The UN is obliged by its Charter to maintain peace and security and make the world a better place for the whole of mankind. It is has been entrusted with the responsibility of preventing and removing threats to peace and suppressing (not encouraging) acts of  aggression or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace – a noble task shouldered by the Security Council.

But at the behest of the Western powers, led by America, the UN has jettisoned its own aims and principles as these powers sought to dominate the rest of the world in pursuit of their hegemonic and predatory ambitions. This had been clearly demonstrated in the case of the American/British unilateral decision to attack Iraq in order to remove Saddam Hussein and when Israel invaded Lebanon and Gaza and committed atrocities there as the world body stood idly by in total despair and embarrassed silence.

Now we have witnessed, yet again, the UN’s abdication of its responsibilities in Libya. It went against its own charter when it became part of the insurgency against Gaddafi’s regime. For the first time, we have seen the organistion embracing an invidious policy of regime change in a member state. To everybody’s surprise and indignation, the Security Council did not hide its passion for supporting a rebellion to remove a lawful government from power!

Frankly speaking, the ouster of the Gaddafi regime by the Western/UN-backed insurgents was clearly aggression against Libya’s sovereignty, which sets a dangerous precedent and calls into question the credibility of the UN as the guardian of the member countries’ sovereignty and territorial integrity.   

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War? “There is no war” in Libya

September 1st, 2011 by Global Research

For the mainstream media, there is no war in Libya. Except for the war on truth. In his latest article Finian Cunningham explains:

[I]n the case of Libya, the word “war” has been dropped altogether from all discourse about Western intervention. It’s called a “responsibility to protect civilian lives”. This disarticulated language and meaning is repeated even though the factual truth of what is happening is an exact conformation to the word “war”. And not only “war” but “criminal war”. The murder of civilians by NATO warplanes is a war crime in the normal framework of fact, truth, reality, law and morality. But in the abnormal, hideous framework of Western imperialist propaganda it is called “protecting civilians” and “supporting democracy”.

“This is war in all but name,” notes Michel Chossudovsky. “These are war crimes in all but name. And the Western mainstream media are complicit in these war crimes. The Western media have made absurdities acceptable through their non-reporting and distortion of crimes by NATO powers. If people can be made to believe absurdities, then they can be made to accept atrocities.”

Libya can be seen as the pinnacle of Orwellian function – meaning the nadir in normal reasoning. In its relentless one-eyed coverage of Libya, the Western media has served as the ministry of disinformation for NATO. (Finian Cunningham, Killing the Truth: Western Mainstream Media Complicit in NATO War Crimes in Libya, Global Research, August 24, 2011)

In times like these, independent reporting is crucial. Our correspondent in Tripoli, Mahdi Nazemroaya, is providing our readers with honest reporting by denouncing NATO war crimes in Libya.

On the contrary, the mainstream media (MSM) has links to NATO and the armed rebels. Their actions are rarely, if ever, questioned. The mainstream reports clearly serve NATO’s agenda. Its claims remain unchallenged. Nothing is said about its war crimes. Official statements from NATO countries are transmitted to the public without any substantial analysis of the reality on the ground.

In Methods of Media Manipulation, Micheal Parenti refers to this technique as “face-value transmission”:

One way to lie is to accept at face value what are known to be official lies, uncritically passing them on to the public without adequate confirmation.

Face-value transmission has characterized the press’s performance in almost every area of domestic and foreign policy [...]

People’s minds are battlefields in which the MSM bomb biased reports, propaganda and disinformation on a daily basis.

One way to fight back is to support independent reporting at Global Research. Make a donation. Become a member.

Join the battle. Don’t let the lie become the truth.

Thank you for your support,

The Global Research team

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Many of the 70,000 “third country national”(TCN) service workers employed in Afghanistan and Iraq “recount having been robbed of wages, injured without compensation, subjected to sexual assault, and held in conditions resembling indentured servitude by their subcontractor bosses,” reports Sarah Stillman in a June 6th article in The New Yorker  magazine titled “The Invisible Army.” In fact, the system resembles nothing so much as a twisted form of modern slavery.

“These workers, primarily from South Asia and Africa, often live in barbed-wire compounds on U.S. bases, (and) eat at meagre chow halls…” she reports. “A large number are employed by fly-by-night subcontractors who are financed by the American taxpayer but who often operate outside the law.”

Since the U.S. invasions, more than 2,000 contractor fatalities and 51,000 contractor injuries have been reported in Iraq and Afghanistan as the soaring casualty rates “are now on a par with those of U.S. troops in both war zones,” Stillman writes.

Although President Obama said in 2009 he would make good on his campaign pledge to do better by these contractors, the number of TCN’s in Afghanistan had increased by nearly 50 percent reaching 17,500—-with no apparent improvement in their lot. Indeed, the deplorable conditions on the bases where contractors are employed have triggered widespread rioting.

“Previously unreported worker riots have erupted on U.S. bases over issues such as lack of food and unpaid wages,” Stillman reports. On May 1, 2010, in a labor camp run by Prime Projects International on the largest military base in Baghdad, more than a thousand subcontractors—primarily Indians and Nepalis—rampaged using as weapons fists, stones, wooden bats, and, as one U.S. military policeman put it, “anything they could find.”

“Employees started to throw gravel at the managers. Four-foot pieces of plywood crashed through glass windows. Workers broke down the door to the food cellar and made off with as much as they could carry,” the reporter noted. Several weeks later, workers in a nearby camp run by subcontractor Gulf Catering Co. staged a copycat riot, “pelting their bosses with stones and accusing the company of failing to pay them proper wages,” Stillman added.

A manager in another camp operated by a K.B.R. (the former Halliburton subsidiary), told Stillman about conditions that triggered one riot. Ziad Al Karawi described how a thousand Indian and Sri Lankan men under his supervision slept on crowded floors: “Rats and flies attacked us…We had no beds to sleep at or tables to eat at….No communication, no TV,no soap to wash or bathe, no visits from anyone from the company or K.B.R….The workers had no choice except going out in a protest.”

K.B.R. claims that it’s “business ethics and values” require employees and subcontractors are treated “with dignity and respect,” Stillman writes but even after its investigation of conditions “little seems to change.” And a spokesman for the U.S. Army Central Command conceded that it “does not play a formal role in the monitoring of living conditions on U.S. bases.”

Many of the T.C.N.’s are hired by private employment subcontractors who promise them high wages but pay only a fraction of what they promised. T.C.N.’s are also lied to even about where they will be employed. Some are told they will be working in luxurious Dubai only to find themselves in Iraq under incoming fire.

Stillman reports that “military privatization (of jobs) has produced convoluted chains of foreign subcontracts that often lead to cost overruns and fraud. The Commission on Wartime Contracting recently warned of the dangers associated with “poorly conceived, poorly structured, poorly conducted, and poorly monitored subcontracting,” particularly noting the military’s “heavy reliance on foreign subcontractors who may not be accountable to any American governmental authority.”

The racket begins when the Pentagon outsources prime logistics contracts, worth as much as $15 billion a year, to such private military firms as K.B.R., DynCorp International, and Fluor. Stillman writes, “These ‘prime venders’ then shop out the bulk of their contracts to hundreds of global subcontractors, many based in Middle Eastern countries that are on the U.S. State Department’s human-trafficking non-compliance list. Finally, these firms call upon thousands of Third World ‘manpower agencies’—small recruiting operations…”

The recruiters, who charge the job-seekers at least a thousand dollars and often more for the privilege of signing up, put them to work on military bases as cooks, cleaners, construction workers, fast-food clerks, electricians, and beauticians, etc. Kenyans truck frozen steaks and inflatable tents, Bosnians repair electrical grids, and Indians provide iced mocha lattes, Stillman writes.

Stillman, who interviewed hundreds of TCNs in the process of preparing her article,  said a typical story was that of a 25-year-old Taco Bell employee on a major U.S. base in Iraq who paid a Nepal recruiter $4,000 to get a job in Iraq where he was told he would make his investment back quickly. In May, 2009, the man found himself housed in a shipping container behind the U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone where he slept on a soiled mattress with 25 other migrants. “Many learned that they were to earn as little as $275 a month as cooks and servers for U.S. soldiers—a fraction of what they’d been promised, and a tiny sliver of what U.S. taxpayers are billed for their labor.”

In case you think the investigative reporter’s findings are sensationalized, read the findings of the Pentagon’s own 2006 investigation into subcontractor working conditions. Government inspectors listed “widespread” abuses, including the illegal confiscation of workers’ passports, “deceptive hiring practices,” “excessive recruiting fees” and “substandard worker living conditions.” In short, another tragic example of how a greed-driven totalitarian state has no regard for the individual. Although President Lincoln abolished slavery in 1863, it appears the Pentagon has reinstituted the practice for its own ends.#

Sherwood Ross is a Miami-based public relations consultant who formerly was a columnist on workplace issues for a major wire service. Reach him at [email protected]

VIDEO: Tripoli BEFORE and AFTER NATO/Rebel “Liberation”

September 1st, 2011 by Global Research

Sette punti sulla guerra contro la Libia

September 1st, 2011 by Domenico Losurdo

Ormai persino i ciechi possono essere in grado di vedere e di capire quello che sta avvenendo in Libia:

1. E’ in atto una guerra promossa e scatenata dalla Nato. Tale verità finisce col filtrare sugli stessi organi di «informazione» borghesi. Su «La Stampa» del 25 agosto Lucia Annunziata scrive: è una guerra «tutta “esterna”, cioè fatta dalle forze Nato»; è il «sistema occidentale, che ha promosso la guerra contro Gheddafi». Una vignetta dell’«International Herald Tribune» del 24 agosto ci fa vedere «ribelli» che esultano, ma stando comodamente a cavallo di un aereo che porta impresso lo stemma della Nato.

2. Si tratta di una guerra preparata da lungo tempo. Il «Sunday Mirror» del 20 marzo ha rivelato che già «tre settimane» prima della risoluzione dell’Onu erano all’opera in Libia «centinaia» di soldati britannici, inquadrati in uno dei corpi militari più sofisticati e più temuti del mondo (SAS). Rivelazioni o ammissioni analoghe si possono leggere sull’«International Herald Tribune» del 31 marzo, a proposito della presenza di «piccoli gruppi della Cia» e di «un’ampia forza occidentale in azione nell’ombra», sempre «prima dello scoppio delle ostilità il 19 marzo».

3. Questa guerra non ha nulla a che fare con la protezione dei diritti umani. Nell’articolo già citato, Lucia Annunziata osserva angosciata: «La Nato che ha raggiunto la vittoria non è la stessa entità che ha avviato la guerra». Nel frattempo, l’Occidente è gravemente indebolito dalla crisi economica; riuscirà a mantenere il controllo su un continente che sempre più avverte il richiamo delle «nazioni non occidentali» e in particolare della Cina? D’altro canto, lo stesso quotidiano che ospita l’articolo di Annunziata, «La Stampa», si apre il 26 agosto con un titolo a tutta pagina: «Nuova Libia, sfida Italia-Francia». Per chi ancora non avesse compreso di che tipo di sfida si tratta, l’editoriale di Paolo Baroni (Duello all’ultimo affare) chiarisce: dall’inizio delle operazioni belliche, caratterizzate dal frenetico attivismo di Sarkozy, «si è subito capito che la guerra contro il Colonnello si sarebbe trasformata in un conflitto di tutt’altro tipo: Guerra economica, con un nuovo avversario, l’Italia ovviamente».

4. Promossa per motivi abietti, la guerra viene condotta in modo criminale. Mi limito solo ad alcuni dettagli ripresi da un quotidiano insospettabile. L’«International Herald Tribune» del 26 agosto, con un articolo di K. Fahim e R. Gladstone riporta: «In un accampamento al centro di Tripoli sono stati ritrovati i corpi crivellati di proiettili di più 30 combattenti pro-Gheddafi. Almeno due erano legati con manette di plastica, e ciò lascia pensare che abbiano subito un’esecuzione. Di questi morti cinque sono stati trovati in un ospedale da campo; uno era su un’ambulanza, steso su una barella e allacciato con una cinghia e con una flebo intravenosa ancora al suo braccio».

5. Barbara come tutte le guerre coloniali, l’attuale guerra contro la Libia dimostra l’ulteriore imbarbarimento dell’imperialismo. In passato innumerevoli sono stati i tentativi della Cia di assassinare Fidel Castro, ma questi tentativi erano condotti in segreto, con un senso se non di vergogna, comunque di timore per le possibili reazioni dell’opinione pubblica internazionale. Oggi, invece, assassinare Gheddafi o altri capi di Stato sgraditi all’Occidente è un diritto proclamato apertamente. Il «Corriere della Sera» del 26 agosto 2011 titola trionfalmente: «Caccia a Gheddafi e ai figli casa per casa». Mentre scrivo, i Tornados britannici, avvalendosi anche della collaborazione e delle informazioni fornite dalla Francia, sono impegnati a bombardare Sirte e a sterminare un’intera famiglia.

6. Non meno barbara della guerra, è stata ed è la campagna di disinformazione. Senza alcun senso del pudore, la Nato ha martellato sistematicamente la menzogna secondo cui le sue operazioni belliche miravano solo alla protezione dei civili! E la stampa, la «libera» stampa occidentale? A suo tempo essa ha pubblicato con evidenza la «notizia», secondo cui Gheddafi riempiva i suoi soldati di viagra in modo che più agevolmente potessero commettere stupri di massa. Questa «notizia» cadeva rapidamente nel ridicolo, ed ecco allora un’altra «notizia», secondo cui i soldati libici sparano sui bambini. Non viene addotta alcuna prova, non c’è alcun riferimento a tempi e a luoghi determinati, alcun rinvio a questa o a quella fonte: l’importante è criminalizzare il nemico da annientare.

7. A suo tempo Mussolini presentò l’aggressione fascista contro l’Etiopia come una campagna per liberare quel paese dalla piaga della schiavitù; oggi la Nato presenta la sua aggressione contro la Libia come una campagna per la diffusione della democrazia. A suo tempo Mussolini non si stancava di tuonare contro l’imperatore etiopico Hailè Selassié quale «Negus dei negrieri»; oggi la Nato esprime il suo disprezzo per Gheddafi «il dittatore». Come non cambia la natura guerrafondaia dell’imperialismo, così le sue tecniche di manipolazione rivelano significativi elementi di continuità. Al fine di chiarire chi oggi realmente esercita la dittatura a livello planetario, piuttosto che Marx o Lenin, voglio citare Immanuel Kant. Nello scritto del 1798 (Il conflitto delle facoltà), egli scrive: «Cos’è un monarca assoluto? E’ colui che quando comanda: “la guerra deve essere”, la guerra in effetti segue». Argomentando in tal modo, Kant prendeva di mira in particolare l’Inghilterra del suo tempo, senza lasciarsi ingannare dalle forme «liberali» di quel paese. E’ una lezione di cui far tesoro: i «monarchi assoluti» del nostro tempo, i tiranni e dittatori planetari del nostro tempo siedono a Washington, a Bruxelles e nelle più importanti capitali occidentali.

VIDEO: Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

September 1st, 2011 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

A massive archive of unredacted US diplomatic cables is circulating freely on the web

ANTI-secrecy group WikiLeaks says its massive archive of unredacted US State Department cables has been exposed in a security breach which it blames on its one-time partner, Britain’s Guardian newspaper.

In a 1600-word-long editorial posted to the internet, WikiLeaks accused the Guardian’s investigative reporter David Leigh of divulging the password needed to decrypt the files in a book published earlier this year.

The Guardian and Leigh both denied wrongdoing.

Copies of the files appeared to be circulating freely around the web, although their authenticity could not immediately be determined.

WikiLeaks said in its statement that Leigh had “recklessly, and without gaining our approval, knowingly disclosed the decryption passwords” in his book on the organisation, published by the Guardian back in February.

WikiLeaks said that knowledge of the leaked passwords had been spreading privately for months, but that the organisation was forced to come out with a statement today after news of the breach began spilling into the press.

In Washington, the State Department did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

US officials have previously said that the disclosure of the entire unredacted archive could have potentially serious consequences for informants, activists and others quoted in the cables.

Repeated attempts to reach WikiLeaks staffers for further clarification were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, a cable in the latest tranche of documents released suggests US troops executed 10 Iraqi civilians, including an elderly woman and an infant, before bombing to destroy the evidence.

The controversial 2006 incident in the central Iraqi town of Ishaqi involved the execution-style murder of 10 civilians including a woman in her 70s and a 5-month-old infant.

The unclassified cable, which was posted on WikiLeaks’ website last week, contained questions from a United Nations investigator about the incident, which had angered local Iraqi officials, who demanded some kind of action from their government.

US officials denied at the time that anything inappropriate had occurred.

But Philip Alston, the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, said in a communication to US officials dated 12 days after the March 15, 2006, incident that autopsies performed in the Iraqi city of Tikrit showed that all the dead had been handcuffed and shot in the head.

Among the dead were four women and five children.

The children were all 5 years old or younger.

Reached by email on Wednesday, Alston said that as of 2010 – the most recent data he had – US officials hadn’t responded to his request for information and that Iraq’s government also hadn’t been forthcoming.

He said the lack of response from the United States “was the case with most of the letters to the US in the 2006-2007 period,” when fighting in Iraq peaked.

Alston said he could provide no further information on the incident.

“The tragedy,” he said, “is that this elaborate system of communications is in place but the (UN) Human Rights Council does nothing to follow up when states ignore issues raised with them.”

The Pentagon didn’t respond to a request for comment.

At the time, American military officials in Iraq said the accounts of townspeople who witnessed the events were highly unlikely to be true, and they later said the incident didn’t warrant further investigation.

Military officials also refused to reveal which units might have been involved in the incident.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has released the following information

“Since the beginning of the NATO operation (31 March 2011, 06.00GMT) a total of 21,090 sorties, including 7,920 strike sorties, have been conducted.

For complete report click below

http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_2011_09/20110901_110901-oup-update.pdf

British Gaddafi hunters breach UN resolution

September 1st, 2011 by Sergei Sayenko

The participation of British Apache helicopters and SAS soldiers in searches for Gaddafi on the territory of Libya testifies to a ground operation and is a direct violation of the UN resolution. Apparently, Britain doesn’t recognize the authority of the UN any more and considers it possible to act as it pleases…

David Cameron…told Sir Simon Bryant in no uncertain terms that the military must wage wars and he must assume the command. Given that the British prime minister is an ardent supporter of the Libyan campaign, the British special forces are free to launch a hunt for Gaddafi, confident that official London will provide them with an appropriate “cover”.

A large number of British Special Air Service (SAS) officers are in Libya hunting for Muammar Gaddafi, who they believe is still in the country, ITV television reports.

Britain’s Ministry of Defense refused to confirm the report, adding that it was government policy not to comment on special forces operations.

This can be seen as glaring proof that British special forces have launched searches for the fugitive strongman, particularly after reports that neighboring Algeria denied him entry and didn’t even envisage granting him asylum. All this adds to the assumption that Col Gaddafi must still be in Libya. Judging by the activity of British special forces in Libya, Britain, a key member of the NATO-led campaign in Libya, is determined to take Libya’s long-serving ruler, dead or alive.

What British SAS officers are doing in Libya is hard to explain, given that UN Resolution 1973 allows for a no-fly zone over Libya for the protection of civilians but forbids a ground operation in the country. However, the participation of British Apache helicopters and SAS soldiers in searches for Gaddafi on the territory of Libya testifies to a ground operation and is a direct violation of the UN resolution. Apparently, Britain doesn’t recognize the authority of the UN any more and considers it possible to act as it pleases.

All this is happening despite that fact that the Libyan operation costs Britain a pretty penny. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said recently that Britain’s expenditures for military operations in Libya would cost millions of pounds. According to British military experts, the funds spent on Libya may amount to one billion pounds this autumn. Given the current financial difficulties, the British economy may crack under the burden.

Top military officers are worried that the Libyan operation may undermine the country’s Armed Forces. Air Chief Marshal Sir Simon Bryant said recently that participation of British air forces in NATO’s mission in Libya could wear out equipment and personnel to such a point that future operations by the Royal Air Force would have to be cancelled. Sir Simon is echoed by First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff Sir Mark Stanhope, who says that the Royal Air Force will face a severe trial should the Libya operation drag on.

This opinion, however, is evoking little response from David Cameron, who told Sir Simon Bryant in no uncertain terms that the military must wage wars and he must assume the command. Given that the British prime minister is an ardent supporter of the Libyan campaign, the British special forces are free to launch a hunt for Gaddafi, confident that official London will provide them with an appropriate “cover”.

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NATO is a Loser in Terms of Morality and Justice

September 1st, 2011 by An Huihou

NATO may have helped the rebels seize power but it is a loser in terms of morality and justice. The United Nations Security Council authorized NATO to impose a no-fly zone in Libya to prevent loss of civilian lives. But NATO has defeated this purpose by prolonging and expanding the civil conflict that has cost thousands of civilians their lives and rendered tens of thousands homeless.

The first decade of the 21st century has seen the US led Western forces into two wars to topple regimes, Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Western forces, no doubt, have overthrown regimes. But are they true victors? The war in Iraq was the turning point for US hegemony, and the decade-long war in Afghanistan has put the US and its allies in a dilemma.

On July 31, British Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox said Libyan rebel forces “have very limited ground potential”, while French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet told reporters that they were prepared for a “protracted conflict”. But only three weeks later, the rebel forces entered Tripoli. There is little doubt they did so with immense support from Western powers. 

According to The New York Times, European countries such as the United Kingdom and France sent their special forces to train the rebels in Libya. It was a move which, CNN quoting a NATO official said, helped the rebels gain massive strength in such a short time. In fact, on Aug 23, Longuet admitted to having sent weapons and “technical staff” to Libya. 

Apart from helping the Libyan rebels in every way possible, Western countries also bribed some of Muammar Gadhafi’s officials, which is exactly what the United States had done with Iraqi officials before invading that country in 2003. 

The People’s Daily has reported that most of Gadhafi’s senior military officers, including a brigadier in charge of Gadhafi’s personal security, had been bribed. No wonder, the brigadier ordered surrender of his troops at a critical time to allow the rebel forces to enter Tripoli without much resistance. 

It is clear, too, that NATO helped the rebels throughout their push toward Tripoli. But that does not necessarily mean NATO has been successful in the civil war. 

NATO may have helped the rebels seize power but it is a loser in terms of morality and justice. The United Nations Security Council authorized NATO to impose a no-fly zone in Libya to prevent loss of civilian lives. But NATO has defeated this purpose by prolonging and expanding the civil conflict that has cost thousands of civilians their lives and rendered tens of thousands homeless. The US-based National Catholic Register’s comment on the Libyan civil war, made earlier, seems apt: “Broadening our military mission to include regime change would be a mistake.” But that is exactly what has happened. 

Instead of demonstrating NATO’s strength, the capture of Tripoli has exposed its deficiencies and weaknesses. Under the heavy fire of NATO jets, Gadhafi’s troops armed with not-so-modern weapons stood their ground for five months, forcing Western powers to intervene directly. As some Western newspapers said earlier, whether or not Gadhafi loses power, the Western alliance is already a loser for wasting huge amounts of taxpayers’ money. 

The situation in Libya can be described, to quote a phrase generally used inside NATO, as a “catastrophic success”. The mess in Libya has all the symptoms of becoming a lasting headache for leaders in Brussels and Washington. 

The rebel forces comprise several people with different, even contradicting, interests including tribes from Libya’s eastern region, former officials who betrayed Gadhafi, pro-Western democrats, Islamic extremists and Al-Qaida terrorists. It is hard to imagine that they will remain united in post-Gadhafi Libya. 

Besides, the civil war has intensified tribal rivalry, for long a feature of Libyan body politic. The tribes that supported Gadhafi are not likely to take things lying down as the new game for power is played out. Many observers fear that Libya could go the way of Somalia or Iraq. That definitely cannot be good news for the Western powers. Experience tells us how easy it is for a country with Muslim majority population to fall prey to Islamic extremists, and there is every possibility of post-Gadhafi Libya becoming one. 

So does Libya teach us something? 

Western observers love to say that NATO’s “success” in Libya will encourage protesters in other Middle East and North African countries such as Syria. But they refuse to see or hear what Syrian protesters want. It is true that Syrian protesters shouted “Bye Gaddafi, Bashar next” after Libyan rebels captured Tripoli, but it is also true that they don’t want foreign forces to intervene in their country. They realize that political problems should be solved through political means rather than violence or foreign intervention. After all, they know that all foreign intervening forces serve their own purpose not the victims’. This is as true today as it was in the past. 

The first decade of the 21st century has seen the US led Western forces into two wars to topple regimes, Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Western forces, no doubt, have overthrown regimes. But are they true victors? The war in Iraq was the turning point for US hegemony, and the decade-long war in Afghanistan has put the US and its allies in a dilemma. Libya, too, is a bad example of Western intervention in developing countries. 

Political problems can no longer be solved with force. The US should learn from its past experiences and stop regaling in its mythical glory, for it will benefit none and harm all. 

China has long been advocating the use of negotiations to solve political problems, and has always opposed foreign intervention in any country. China respects the choice of the Libyan people and is willing to play a role in the reconstruction of their country, for irrespective of what happens in Libya, China will always remain a friend of the Libyan people.  

The author is a researcher with Beijing-based China Foundation for International Studies, and China’s former ambassador to Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon and Egypt 

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