Passed in 1990, the Farm Bill’s intent was to set regulations for the agricultural sector, implementing provisions for food, nutrition, forestry, natural resource conservation, environmental protection and rural development, among other facets.

Also referred to as FACT-90 (Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990), the law was designed to make agricultural policy more green, including keeping mandatory records on pesticide use and maintaining national standards for products labeled “organic,” according to the University of California.

Under the Farm Bill, the Organic Foods Production Act was established to uniform national organic food standards through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP).

Agribusiness employees holding NOSB seats jeopardize the quality of organic food

The NOP is responsible for setting standards for production, handling and processing of organically grown food, a program from which the National Organic Standard Board (NOSB) was derived. The NOSB is a 15-member board that advises the Secretary of Agriculture on maintaining quality organic standards.

The NOSB is supposed to be comprised of individuals representing farmers, environmentalists, public interest advocates, handlers, retailers, scientists and a USDA certifying agent, as reported by Natural News. However, one of the nation’s leading organic industry watchdog groups has persistently criticized the selection of four NOSB board appointees and the secrecy surrounding their nominations.

“The selection process was conducted in secrecy despite requests to cast sunlight on the decision making and solicit input from a very engaged community of organic farmers, businesses, and consumers,” said Will Fantle, the co-director for The Cornucopia Institute.

“We think a more transparent process would ensure the selection of the best and brightest for the various vacancies on the board — instead of, once again, appeasing the organic corporate lobby.”

While four of the board’s seats are designated for “farmers” and “growers” in the organic industry (people who own or operate an organic farm), large agribusiness employees occupy two of the seats instead.

“Congress deliberately set aside the majority of seats for independent organic stakeholders as a way to prevent the kind of unseemly corporate influence we have witnessed in recent years on the NOSB,” Fantle stressed.

Cornucopia warns that allowing agribusiness employees to replace seats intended for farmers jeopardizes the integrity of organic food. Powerful food processors do not have the same interests as small-organic farmers, nor do their interests meet the NOSB’s intent under the law.

One of the new farmer-appointees is Ashley Swaffer, an employee of Arkansas Egg Company, a large, industrial-sized egg company that turned organic about five years ago. Last year, the company signed a consent decree with state officials “related to remediating problems concerning manure and liquid waste,” wrote Cornucopia.

“Maybe it’s a general conflict of interest to have companies that are primarily involved in non-certified organic manufacturing, sitting on the National Organic Standards Board.”
 - Mark Kastel

Meanwhile, Rebecca Goodman, a “hands-on” Wisconsin organic dairy farmer, was passed up after applying three times for the board. “I guess I am not suave enough to serve my fellow organic farmers. After three attempts, I will not be applying again,” she said.

Watchdog groups are also disappointed by the appointment of Tom Chapman, a Clif Bar employee selected for one of the “handler” seats.

“The USDA Secretary could have chosen a representative of a company that sells 100% organic products, rather than a company that offers manufacturers less than 20% of their product line in a certified organic form,” said Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for Cornucopia.

While some of Clif Bar’s products use organic materials, other ingredients are synthetic. Part of the board’s responsibility is to make decisions regarding allowing synthetic materials into organic food production.

“Clif Bar’s product line is basically competing with companies, at a higher price point, that are truly organic,” Kastel said. “If they are using lots of ingredients that are not presently approved for organics, will they be predisposed to open up organic production for increased use of synthetics?”

Additional sources:

http://www.cornucopia.org

http://www.nal.usda.gov

http://tilth.org

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.ams.usda.gov

http://californiaagriculture.ucanr.org

http://science.naturalnews.com

Image credit – CSIRO

Will the crazy GMO-creations ever come to a halt? Are our crops not enough for biotech? GM mosquitoes developed by Oxitec, a UK company, were already released in other countries as a means to control disease. The company is also trying to release them in the Florida Keys, while working to release GM olive flies in Spain. But it gets even more bizarre – now Oxitec wants to release GM moths in New York.

GeneWatch UK has been following Oxitec’s moves and has noted that the company’s GM experiments have not undergone environmental assessment risks at all. The company is a spin off from a multinational seed company, with deep ties to Syngenta. Oxitech claims to be in the business of pest control, but another theory is that they are in the business with other eugenicists for pest creation.

Open release experiments using Oxitec’s GE Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are ongoing in Brazil and Panama. Though the GE mosquitoes being released in these experiments differ from Oxitec’s GE agricultural pests in that both sexes of the GE mosquitoes are genetically engineered to die at the late larval/pupal stage.

There is no guarantee that this type of genetic manipulation of the natural world would not result in serious ramifications up and down the food chain. For example, if one species of mosquitoes replaces another, more virulent breed of mosquitoes are likely to fill the void, possibly causing further crop damage, and even the spreading of viral disease in humans.

The spreading of dengue, or malaria, for example, could become absolutely catastrophic with these genetic manipulations, even though they are being presented as a ‘solution’ to these maladies. Furthermore, birds, bats, and other creatures rely on mosquitoes as a source of food. When a major food source for just one animal is interrupted, it often results in the demise of that species, but it also affects the animals that rely on that species for food.

Now, the USDA is considering granting Oxitec a 3-year pass to do open field trials of GM moths, allowing them to release 14 million of these altered pests on crops, meant to destroy other pests that damage broccoli and cauliflower fields. We’ve seen just how great biotech is at pest control with glyphosate – and now they want to start releasing GM bugs? It all seems like a really bad Hitchcock film.

This is not a ‘solution’ to any problem. You can bet there is some other agenda underlying all these GM pests, and their release without any scientific study of the long term ramifications of doing so.

You can request that the USDA deny Oxitec’s petition here, but this is a much bigger problem than any government corporation (and no that isn’t a typo) could ever allay.

Additional Sources:

Aphis.usda.gov

Why is the Truth About Rwanda so Elusive?

October 4th, 2014 by Jonathan Cook

It’s not often I praise the BBC for producing real journalism. Further, it is with some disbelief that I find myself applauding Jane Corbin, who I will struggle till my dying day to forgive for her despicable piece of Israeli propaganda parading as reportage a few years back on the Israeli navy’s attack on the Mavi Marmara aid ship to Gaza.

Nonetheless, Corbin has now fronted a truly disturbing revisionist documentary on Rwanda, called Rwanda’s Untold Story. The programme’s argument is that the official story about a straightforward genocide by the Hutu majority of Rwanda’s Tutsis 20 years ago is highly selective and entirely misleading. One scholar suggests that the narrative we have been fed is the equivalent of reducing the Second World War to the Holocaust and claiming nothing else of significance happened.

What the documentary demonstrates forcefully is that Paul Kagame, the hero of the official story of Rwanda’s genocide, was almost certainly the biggest war criminal to have emerged from those horrifying events. Kagame led the Tutsis’ main militia, the RPF. He almost certainly ordered the shooting down of the Rwandan president’s plane, the trigger for a civil war that quickly escalated into a genocide; on the best estimates, his RPF was responsible for killing 80% of the 1 million who died inside Rwanda, making the Hutus, not the Tutsis, the chief victims; and his subsequent decision to extend the civil war into neighbouring Congo, where many Hutu civilians had fled to escape the RPF, led to the deaths of up to 5 million more.

Not surprising then that Kagame is championed by Britain’s own biggest war criminal, Tony Blair. But the rot has spread much further. Rwanda, now praised as a model democracy under Kagame, is in truth a police state, where the president kills or locks up all opponents, fixes the elections, and has made any questioning of the official story he created – that the Tutsis were the exclusive victims of the genocide – a crime.

The BBC has not had to dig up any new information to make this programme. It’s all been available for years. But no one apart from a few experts – academics, UN military personnel who were there, UN investigators, and Kagame’s former, and disillusioned, inner circle – have dared to speak out.

The real criminals, as ever, it seems, have been the western powers and the UN. They have happily paraded their remorse at failing to intervene at the time of the genocide (presumably because their self-confessed error helped to justify the subsequent wave of bogus “humanitarian interventions” in the Middle East). But what the documentary makes clear is that Blair, Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan and many others have helped to whitewash Kagame’s crimes against humanity and provide a veneer of legitimacy to his current oppressive rule. Anyone who has threatened to blow the lid, like Carla del Ponte, the chief prosecutor at the UN’s international tribunal on Rwanda, has been forced out.

But as I watched the programme, one thing struck me forcefully in particular, though it was not referred to by Corbin: what were the journalists who crawled all over the Rwanda story for years doing? How were Blair, Clinton and Annan allowed to forge the myth of a simple Hutu genocide of Tutsis without serious challenge from serious reporters working for serious newspapers that were supposed to be making sense of these events for us?

From my own experience covering Israel-Palestine, I can guess what happened. The reporters on the ground feared straying too far from the consensus in their newsrooms. Rather than telling their editors what the story was (the model of news production most people assume to be the case), the editors were creating the framework of the story for the reporters, based on the official narrative being promoted in political and diplomatic circles. Correspondents who cared about their careers dared not challenge the party line too strongly, even when they knew it to be a lie.

Rwanda also offers a telling example of how such group-think works, and how a non-expert far from real events but schooled in a kind of London or Washington consensus on foreign affairs ends up policing the limits of possible thought in a way that strips us, his readers, of the right to hear a counter-narrative.

The guilty party in this case was George Monbiot, often seen as one of the most radical and original thinkers publishing in the British mainstream liberal media. Two years ago he wrote an ugly attack, entitled “Naming the Genocide Deniers,” on two scholars, one of them the renowned Ed Herman. Monbiot eventually dragged in a host of other thinkers, including Noam Chomsky, accusing them of being “genocide belittlers” for not turning on the pair at his instigation.

The crime committed by this tiny group was that they had raised the possibility that the official story of the genocide in Rwanda – as well as of some of the massacres in the Balkans – might not be entirely historically  accurate, and that the accounts might have been distorted for political advantage. Monbiot, uninterested in assessing their claims or addressing the facts, abused them for straying from the official narrative. Monbiot might like to reconsider his behaviour, for which I and others criticised him at the time, and issue a long-overdue apology.

That aside, Monbiot’s disgraceful accusations are a useful illustration of how powerful is the emotional, imaginative and possibly financial grip of the mainstream media on journalists, even those feted for their independence.

It is with that context in mind too that one should tip one’s hat to the BBC and, reluctantly, to Jane Corbin for doing their jobs for once. Rwanda’s Untold Story reminds us how rarely journalists actually engage in the myth-busting, truth-telling work they claim to be bedrock of their craft.

Sadly, the Youtube link I watched this on was quickly removed, on copyright grounds. Those in the UK should be able to watch it on iPlayer for a while longer. Others will need to keep their eyes open online or hope it is shown on BBC World.

Jonathan Cook, based in Nazareth, Israel is a winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East(Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). Read other articles by Jonathan, or visit Jonathan’s website.

Iraq’s Economy Collapsing Under Pressure of Security Crisis

October 4th, 2014 by Global Research News

One of the untold stories of the fighting in Iraq is the effect it is having upon the country’s economy. Almost two million internally displaced people, the loss of agricultural land in northern Iraq, foreign investors being scared off, the decline in trade, the collapse of several internal markets, and depleted financial reserves have all been reported in the press. This came on top of the fact that the 2014 budget was never passed due to ex-Premier Nouri al-Maliki’s disputes with his political rivals, which is crippling in a state run system like Iraq’s. All together this points to an economy in crisis.

There are all kinds of stories about the problems Iraq’s economy is suffering from. The Baghdad provincial council told Al Mada that Turkish and Arab countries were pulling out when the insurgent summer offensive began in June. It warned that this would affect services and projects. The real estate and car markets were said to have collapsed as well. Hundreds of acres of farmland have been lost to the insurgency. Al Monitor reported that 900,000 acres of wheat and barley crops were lost in Salahaddin alone after insurgents seized the northern and eastern sections of the governorate. Agriculture is a major employer in Iraq. The violence has disrupted trade. One expert said that there was a 60-70% decline in imports due to the on going fighting. Many of the routes to Jordan, Syria and Turkey have been cut off. There has also been a disruption in the distribution of goods within the country. These have both contributed to raising prices for many goods. Finally, nearly two million people have been displaced since the beginning of the year. These people have lost their jobs. There are fears that unemployment and poverty have all sky rocketed as a result. These all point to an economy coming apart as markets, goods, and investment have all been disrupted.

Iraq is also facing a financial crisis. The 2014 budget was never passed as former Premier Maliki used it as a weapon against his opponents before the parliamentary elections. Experts and parliamentarians said that was slowing the economy even before the summer offensive, and some even warned of a recession in May. The lack of a budget meant that projects have come to a halt, public workers, the largest group in the economy have not been paid, which has trickled down to increased unemployment and cash shortages. When Mosul fell the situation got worse as Maliki used up the general budget and money from the Development Fund for Iraq to pay for the war, which was costing up to $50 million a day. Parliament’s finance committee said that the Fund was down from $10 billion to $3 billion. The same committee claimed that the ex-prime minister spent all the oil revenues over the last seven months as well. Iraq has a state-run economy so passage of the budget is crucial to keeping the country running. Things were bad already as development was coming to a halt due to a lack of a budget, and now the fall of northern Iraq has made the situation worse as much of the available funds have gone towards security.

The insurgency is not only costing Iraqis their lives, but their livelihood as well. The economy is coming apart under the weight of the violence. Foreign businesses are being scared away, trade has atrophied, unemployment is up and more. On top of that there is still no budget and Iraq’s reserves have been depleted. The country’s economy only started turning around after the 2003 invasion when security was improved with the 2007 Surge. The same will happen now as no development can happen without stability, which looks to be years away.
Notes
 
Adel, Shaymaa, “Number of Iraqis living in poverty at 30%,” Azzaman, 8/31/14
 
Azzaman, “Iraq edges closer to Iran as fighting with Islamic State intensifies,” 9/4/14
 
Al-Jaffal, Omar, “Fighting robs Iraqi farmers of harvest,” Al Monitor, 9/26/14
 
Al Mada, “Baghdad Council: Arab and Turkish companies withdrew from the capital as a result of threats of militias and gangs,” 6/29/14
- “Depression dominates real estate market and merchandise..and record high unemployment indicators,” 5/18/14
- “Iraq war bill plagues the economy and raises unemployment to 25%,” 9/7/14
- “Iraq’s oil revenues are spent over last 7 months..and the salaries of Kurdistan subject to the balance of cash,” 10/2/14
- “Only three billion in Iraqi oil fund run by the government confirms Parliament, down 70% from its average,” 9/20/14

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced a major escalation of Canada’s role in the new US-led war in the Middle East.

Speaking in Parliament Friday, Harper said that six CF-18 fighter planes will be deployed to mount bombing raids in Iraq and possibly Syria as part of a six-month Canadian Armed Forces’ “counter-terrorism” mission.

According to Harper, the aim of this mission is to significantly “degrade the capabilities” of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which also goes under the name the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Harper is being disingenuous at best. He, his Conservative government, and the Canadian military know full well that the shoring up of the pro-US regime in Baghdad and its allies in the Kurdish Regional Government against ISIS is only an initial, partial aim of the “coalition of the willing” assembled by the US and for which they signed up Canada virtually from the get-go.

The true target of the war coalition—which now includes Britain and France, respectively Iraq and Syria’s former colonial overlords, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Gulf State absolutist Sheikdoms—is the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The US is determined to oust Assad, who is a close ally of Iran and Russia, as part of its longstanding military-strategic drive to secure untrammeled domination of the Middle East, the world’s principal oil exporting region.

For the past three-and-a-half years all the member-states of the coalition, and especially the US, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, have been sponsoring a “regime change” war in Syria, financing and arming Islamacist forces—including ISIS—as their proxy army against Assad.

While Canada’s government and those of other western powers are highlighting the coalition’s anti-ISIS mandate, making convenient use of its sectarian atrocities to overcome popular opposition to another western military intervention in the Middle East; in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region the coalition’s member governments are making no secret of the fact that the war’s real objective is Assad’s overthrow.

Already the US is carrying out bombing missions in Syria. At present these are targeting ISIS and allied groups. But Washington has repeatedly said that were the Syrian government to try to assert its national sovereignty under international law and interdict the US warplanes, it would treat this as an act of war—i.e. an excuse for an all-out attack on Syria.

In his Friday speech, Harper announced that Canada will also be contributing to the war coalition an air-to-air refueling aircraft and two Aurora surveillance planes. While the government did not provide figures, it is estimated that 350 CAF personnel will have to be deployed to the Middle East to fly and maintain the planes.

The government has also said that the deployment of CAF special forces to northern Iraq will be extended for a further six months. Earlier this week, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said 26 Special Forces’ troops were in northern Iraq to advise and train Kurdish Peshmerga militia. This deployment, which was slated for 30 days when it was first announced at the end of August, could ultimately involve as many as 69 CAF elite troops.

The government has insisted that this “advise and training” role in no way contradicts its pledge that the CAF mission will not involve any “troops on the ground” or in combat.

In announcing Canada’s greatly expanded role in the new Mideast war, Harper resorted to standard Manichean “war on terror” rhetoric. He trumpeted ISIS’s crimes against civilians and portrayed Canada’s intervention as motivated entirely by humanitarian concerns and reputed ISIS threats to attack Canadians.

Needless to say, Harper avoided any mention of how ISIS is itself a direct product of the monstrous crimes carried out by US imperialism—crimes that have been aided and abetted by Canada. These include: the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq, which blew up Iraqi society; the US’s subsequent manipulation and fanning of communal sectarian divisions in Iraq as part of a “divide and rule” strategy; and the use of Islamacist forces as the spearhead of the “successful” NATO 2011 “regime change” war in Libya and the proxy war the US and its allies have fomented in Syria.

Even Postmedia, one of Canada’s major newspaper chains, noted in an article published this week that were Canada to deploy CF-18s to Iraq they would very likely end up bombing Islamacist fighters for whom CAF pilots had provided air cover during the NATO campaign to topple the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi. With CIA encouragement, thousands of Islamacist fighters flocked from Libya to Syria after Gaddafi’s overthrow, many if not most of them ultimately joining ISIS.

In his parliamentary address Harper made clear that his government views Canada’s participation in the Iraq-Syria war as vital to ensure the Canadian ruling elite has a say and a share in the spoils of the imperialist reordering and redivision of the Middle East. “Being a free rider,” declared Harper, “means you are not taken seriously.”

Just two months ago, in a speech on the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, Harper celebrated that orgy of destruction as marking Canada’s emergence as a “great power.”

“When the great nations of the world gathered,” said Harper, “we must never forget that our place at the table … was bought and paid for on the gas-choked field of Ypres … at Vimy Ridge, … in the long muddy slaughter along the River Somme; in the drenched and cratered wasteland of Passchendaele.” (See: “Canada’s Harper marks World War I with bellicose address”)

Harper’s dismissal of “free-riders” was in part directed at the opposition parties. The NDP, Liberals and Greens have all made clear that they share Harper’s and Washington’s principal war aims, including the overthrow of the Assad regime. However, well aware that there is no enthusiasm within the Canadian population for the CAF playing a leading role in another imperialist war, they have thus far withheld their support for Canada participating in the Iraq bombing campaign.

Repeatedly during the past weeks the Liberals said they would be open to supporting the deployment of Canadian fighter jets. But after Harper’s Friday speech, Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said his party believes Canada “can make a more helpful contribution to the international effort” against ISIS by helping to build up Iraqi institutions, including its repressive state apparatus, and providing “humanitarian assistance.”

NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said the Official Opposition could not give its support to the government’s planned deployment because “the prime minster hasn’t outlined a broad strategic blueprint for the mission.” Mulcair expressed concern that the intervention could end in a quagmire, while the party’s foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said the NDP feared that Canadian bombing missions against ISIS in Syria could bolster Assad’s regime.

Both Mulcair and Trudeau made reference to the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. They did so, however, from the standpoint that it had ill-served western interests—not that it was part of an ongoing, Canadian-supported US imperialist drive to strengthen Washington’s military-strategic dominance of the Middle East. And that the new Mideast war is the continuation and escalation of that drive.

The opposition parties have supported Canada’s whole-hearted participation in one US-led war of aggression after another, from the 1999 NATO war on Yugoslavia, through the Afghan War and the 2011 regime change war in Libya. They have also stood shoulder to shoulder with the Harper government in its provocative promotion of the US-German drive to detach Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence.

The Liberal-NDP opposition to “Harper’s Mideast war” is a cynical maneuver motivated by the approach of the 2015 federal election and concern that Canada’s prolonged involvement in a bloody imperialist war in the Middle East could give rise to social opposition outside establishment channels.

A parliamentary vote on the new six-month CAF war deployment will be held next week, but as the Conservatives have a majority its outcome is a foregone conclusion.

One of the effects of the U.S. blockade of Cuba, in place for more than 50 years, has been the stifling of Cuba’s information technology sector. For example, Cuba’s Information Technology and Advanced Telematic Services (Citmatel), part of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, has not been able to reach its full potential, explains Beatriz Alonso, Manager of Citmatel in a recent interview with Prensa Latina.

“We constantly face the fact of not having access to technologies, certain software and very limited marketing of our products and this prevents us from enjoying the most modern technological breakthroughs and flexible financial systems for our products in the market,” she said.

The U.S. economic war also prevents Citmatel specialists from attending courses on state-of-the-art technologies, among other training actions, Alonso added.

Founded 15 years ago, Citmatel develops and commercializes IT applications, projects, equipment and technical assistance, multimedia products, audiovisual materials and online publications through science and innovation, as well as integrating solutions with new information and communication technologies.

Citmatel operates an important scientific network for Cuba’s scientific institutions, and it runs the http://www.cuba.cu website, with multimedia and editorial content in various formats covering several fields and provided in several languages. It also provides e-commerce and online education services, and is responsible for granting and registering Cuba’s country code top-level domains (.cu).

Despite all this, Citmatel will continue the development of internet-based technologies, focusing on issues related to e-commerce, as well as new forms of printing on demand, including publishing books on several topics, she said.

Alonso added that Citmatel will also continue dealing with issues related to the use of phones and tablets for the national intranet, the design of educational games for children and youngsters, as well as audio-books for the blind and visually impaired, among other electronic products and features.

Prensa Latina

Under the guise of a humanitarian mission aimed at containing the spread of the Ebola virus, the Obama administration is exploiting the outbreak to establish a solid military footing on the African continent. West Africa continues to be ravaged by the worst outbreak of Ebola since the first case was identified in northern Democratic Republic of Congo in 1976.

According to a report by the World Health Organization, as of October 1 there were 7,437 suspected, probable and confirmed cases of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and 3,338 deaths. A separate outbreak of a different strain of the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo has to date killed 43 people including eight health care workers.

Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone have been the hardest hit by the epidemic, accounting for 99.6 percent of cases and 99.8 percent of deaths. UNICEF reported last week that at least 3,700 children have been orphaned by the epidemic. The already limited health systems of Liberia and Sierra Leone have essentially collapsed under the impact of the outbreak.

The US plan for containing the epidemic, codenamed Operation United Assistance, is being overseen by the US Armed Forces Africa Command (AFRICOM) and is expected to cost $1 billion over the next six months. So far the US government has contributed $111 million to the effort, a paltry sum compared with the $1 billion the US has already spent in two months of airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq, recently extended to Syria.

AFRICOM plans to oversee the deployment of 3,200 troops, most from the 101st Airborne Division, to assist in the construction of emergency Ebola treatment units.

Last week US airmen from the Air Force’s 633rd Medical Group, working with employees from the US Public Health Service, set up a 25-bed Expeditionary Medical Support System (EMEDS) hospital for health care workers who contract the deadly virus.

A 300-bed Ebola treatment unit is currently under construction in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, on the grounds of an abandoned Ministry of Defense building built prior to the civil wars that devastated the country in the 1990s. The treatment facility and others like it are not expected to be ready to receive patients for a number of weeks.

AFRICOM has no plans to staff these Ebola treatment centers with its own doctors or nurses; instead it will be left to the US Agency for International Development and the Liberian government to properly staff them. USAID and the US State Department have pledged $10 million towards the training and deployment of 100 volunteer health care workers from African Union member states.

Because they come into regular contact with patients’ bodily fluids, the doctors and nurses who tend to those stricken by Ebola are at great risk of contracting the disease themselves. The WHO reports that as of September 28, at least 216 health care workers have been killed by the virus. Two American health care workers successfully recovered after they were flown to US hospitals where they were quarantined and treated.

The main purpose of this military operation is not to halt the spread of Ebola or restore health to those that have been infected. Rather the United States is seeking to exploit the crisis to establish a firm footing on the African continent for AFRICOM, which was established in 2008 in order to oversee US imperialist operations in the region. AFRICOM currently operates from Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany, thousands of miles from the nearest African country.

Liberia is the only country in Africa which has previously expressed interest in hosting AFRICOM headquarters. The Ebola epidemic provides a convenient excuse for the deployment of thousands of US troops and establishing a permanent presence.

US President Barack Obama announced on September 16 that a Joint Force Command Headquarters (JFCH) would be established in Liberia to coordinate and oversee Operation United Assistance. The JFCH would be the first significant base operated by AFRICOM on the continent.

Liberia is the latest in a long line of African countries where the United States has sent American military personnel and equipment in the last decade. American troops have been deployed to Kenya, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Chad, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda, and South Sudan. AFRICOM’s first significant operation on the African continent was the US-NATO bombing of Libya in 2011, which resulted in the overthrow and murder of Muammar Gaddafi.

The longer the epidemic goes on, the greater the chance that the disease will spread to countries beyond West Africa. This is illustrated quite clearly by the spread of the virus to the United States, which demonstrates that even the health system in an advanced country is vulnerable—to say nothing of the gaps created by long-term cutbacks in health services, particularly in public health systems.

The first confirmed case of Ebola in the US was in a man who exhibited symptoms after traveling to Dallas, Texas from Liberia, where he had helped transport another person suffering from the virus to the hospital. Thomas Eric Duncan was sent home after his initial examination, the result of an apparent computer error, further exposing his friends and family to the virus. The apartment complex where he lived has been quarantined and those he came into contact with are being monitored for symptoms.

Hospitals in the US have been proceeding with extreme caution, quarantining anyone exhibiting Ebola symptoms, including two people in Kentucky and a child in Utah who were eventually cleared. It was reported on Friday that two individuals in Washington, D.C. were being treated under quarantine for Ebola-like symptoms.

In the week since Duncan was diagnosed, the American media has focused largely on sensationalized reporting around his case, hyping the dangers to the public as a means of justifying tighter security measures against immigrants and visitors from Africa. Meanwhile, relatively little attention is being given to the affected region in Africa, where dozens are dying every day.

Analysis of data from sensitive U.S. monitoring stations for the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear reactor accident, Journal of Environmental Radioactivity: [A] major nuclear event at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station… resulted in a breach of the nuclear fuel integrity and release of radioactive fission products to the environment. Fission products started to arrive in the United States via atmospheric transport on March 15, 2011… Atmospheric activity concentrations of 131I reached levels of 3 x 10^-2 Bq/m³ [30,592 microBq/m³] in Melbourne, FL. The noble gas 133Xe reached atmospheric activity concentrations in Ashland, KS of 17 Bq/m³… [These levels] were well above the detection capability of the radionuclide monitoring systems within the International Monitoring System [IMS] of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty [CTBTO]… it should be noted that non-IMS stations located in Richland, WA detected the event one day earlier than any other systems within the US IMS network… The iodine detections reported in this manuscript are solely representative of the particulate iodine atmospheric activity concentration. It is recognized that the gas phase iodine was not collected via aerosol filtration [which] would be useful to assess the event and to quantify the total radioiodine atmospheric activity concentration.

According to remarks included with CTBTO data recently released by the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiationthe total iodine-131 in the air was up to 500% of the amount shown.

CTBTO Particulate air monitoring data (.xls file), July 2014: The PTS [Provisional Technical Secretariat] itself issued a number of comments and caveats on the data:… “Since the IMS stations use paper filters to collect the particulate radionuclides in the air, part of the iodine in gaseous form passes through the filter easily. It is estimated that only 20-50% of total iodine (from all forms) was collected in the samples.”

Of the more than 1,500 measurements in the CTBTO data taken since Fukushima began, iodine-131 levels detected in Florida were the highest of anywhere in the world outside of Japan. Florida also recorded 4 of the top 10 daily measurements.

Before the U.N. made this data public, an ENENews report from April 2011 noted that for the specific date of March 22, Florida recorded the highest I-131 level of any  CTBTO monitoring station in the world. See: Melbourne, Florida had highest iodine-131 reading of any CTBTO monitoring station in the world from March 22-23 (CHART)

For a Nobel Peace Prize President, Barack Obama seems destined to go down in history books as the President who presided over one of the most aggressive series of wars ever waged by a bellicose Washington Administration. Not even George Bush and Dick Cheney came close.

First, before the ink was even dry on his Nobel Prize certificate, Obama announced the Afghanistan “surge”, pouring another 30,000 US military into that destroyed part of the world. Then came Obama’s war against Libya’s Qaddafi, followed rapidly by his war to try to topple Syria’s Bashar al Assad. Soon after came Obama’s “war for democracy in Ukraine,” otherwise better called Obama’s attempt to provoke Russia into a new war confrontation with NATO by backing a gaggle of Ukrainian oligarchs, criminals and outright neo-nazis in Kiev. In July of this year, Obama’s Administration was pushing the President to launch a second try at bombing Syria back to the Stone Age, allegedly to destroy ISIS, a looney Jihadist Sunni sect that was said to be a joint venture of the CIA and Israeli intelligence.

Now Obama’s advisers, no doubt led by the blood-thirsty National Security Adviser, Susan Rice, have come up with a new war. This is the War Against Ebola. On September 16, President Obama solemnly declared the war. He announced, to the surprise of most sane citizens, that he had ordered 3,000 American troops, the so-called “boots on the ground” that the Pentagon refuses to agree to in Syria, to wage a war against….a virus?

In a carefully stage-managed appearance at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Obama read a bone-chilling speech. He called the alleged Ebola outbreaks in west Africa, “a global threat, and it demands a truly global response. This is an epidemic that is not just a threat to regional security. It’s a potential threat to global security, if these countries break down, if their economies break down, if people panic,” Obama continued, conjuring images that would have made Andromeda Strain novelist Michael Chrichton drool with envy. Obama added, “That has profound effects on all of us, even if we are not directly contracting the disease. This outbreak is already spiraling out of control.”

With that hair-raising introduction, the President of the world’s greatest Superpower announced his response. In his role as Commander-in-Chief of the United States of America announced he has ordered 3,000 US troops to west Africa in what he called, “the largest international response in the history of the CDC.” He didn’t make clear if their job would be to shoot the virus wherever it reared its ugly head, or to shoot any poor hapless African suspected of having Ebola. Little does it matter that the US military doesn’t have anywhere near 3,000 troops with the slightest training in public health.

Before we all panic and line up to receive the millions of doses of untested and reportedly highly dangerous “Ebola vaccines” the major drug-makers are preparing to dump on the market, some peculiarities of this Ebola outbreak in Africa are worth noting.

Certified Ebola Deaths?

The World Health Organization, under the Director, Dr Margaret Chan, in a press conference on September 13, sounded the alarm, warning that Ebola in west Africa was surging out of control. “In the three hardest hit countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the number of new patients is moving far faster than the capacity to manage them,” Chan claimed. WHO claims that almost half of 301 health-care workers dealing with alleged Ebola patients have themselves died, and that 2,400 people out of 4,784 cases in Africa have died of Ebola. On August 8, Chan declared the African Ebola situation a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” whatever that is supposed to mean.

A major problem for Chan and her backers, however, is that her Ebola statistics are very, very dubious. For those whose memory is short, this is the same Dr Margaret Chan at WHO in Geneva who was guilty in 2009 of trying to panic the world into taking unproven vaccines for “Swine Flu” influenza, by declaring a Global Pandemic with statistics calling every case of symptoms that of the common cold to be “Swine Flu,” whether it was runny nose, coughing, sneezing, sore throat. That changed WHO definition of Swine Flu allowed the statistics of the disease to be declared Pandemic. It was an utter fraud, a criminal fraud Chan carried out, wittingly or unwittingly (she could be simply stupid but evidence suggests otherwise), on behalf of the major US and EU pharmaceutical cartel.

In a recent Washington Post article it was admitted that sixty-nine percent of all the Ebola cases in Liberia registered by WHO have not been laboratory confirmed through blood tests. Liberia is the epicenter of the Ebola alarm in west Africa. More than half of the alleged Ebola deaths, 1,224, and nearly half of all cases, 2,046, have been in Liberia says WHO. And the US FDA diagnostic test used for the lab confirmation of Ebola is so flawed that the FDA has prohibited anyone from claiming they are safe or effective. That means, a significant proportion of the remaining 31 % of the Ebola cases lab confirmed through blood tests could be false cases.

In short, no one knows what 1,224 Liberians in recent weeks have died from. But WHO claims it to be Ebola. Note that the countries affected by the Ebola alarm are among the poorest and most war-torn regions in the world. Wars over blood diamonds and colonial genocidal tribal wars have left a devastated, mal-nourished population in its wake.

WHO’s official fact sheet on Ebola, which now they renamed EVD for Ebola Virus Disease, claims, “The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests, but the most recent outbreak in west Africa has involved major urban as well as rural areas…” WHO further notes that, “It is thought that fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are natural Ebola virus hosts. Ebola is introduced into the human population through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs or other bodily fluids of infected animals such as chimpanzees, gorillas, fruit bats, monkeys, forest antelope and porcupines found ill or dead or in the rainforest.”

Then the official WHO Ebola Fact Sheet dated September, 2014, states, “It can be difficult to distinguish EVD from other infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and meningitis.”

Excuse me, Dr Margaret Chan, can you say that slowly? It can be difficult to distinguish EVD from other infectious diseases such as malaria, typhoid fever and meningitis? And you admit that 69% of the declared cases have never been adequately tested? And you state that the Ebola symptoms include “sudden onset of fever fatigue, muscle pain, headache and sore throat. This is followed by vomiting, diarrhea, rash, symptoms of impaired kidney and liver function, and in some cases, both internal and external bleeding”?

In short it is all the most vague and unsubstantiated basis that lies behind President Obama’s new War on Ebola.

War on Ebola or War for Oil?

One striking aspect of this new concern of the US President for the situation in Liberia and other west African states where alleged surges of Ebola are being claimed is the presence of oil, huge volumes of untapped oil.

The offshore coast of Liberia and east African ‘Ebola zones’ conveniently map with the presence of vast untapped oil and gas resources shown here

The issue of oil in west Africa, notably in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea have become increasingly strategic both to China who is roaming the world in search of future secure oil import sources, and the United States, whose oil geo-politics was summed up in a quip by then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the 1970’s: ‘If you control the oil, you control entire nations.’

The Obama Administration and Pentagon policy has continued that of George W. Bush who in 2008 created the US military Africa Command or AFRICOM, to battle the rapidly-growing Chinese economic presence in Africa’s potential oil-rich countries. West Africa is a rapidly-emerging oil treasure, barely tapped to date. A US Department of Energy study projected that African oil production would rise 91 percent between 2002 and 2025, much from the region of the present Ebola alarm.

Chinese oil companies are all over Africa and increasingly active in west Africa, especially Angola, Sudan and Guinea, the later in the epicenter of Obama’s new War on Ebola troop deployment.

If the US President were genuine about his concern to contain a public health emergency, he could look at the example of that US-declared pariah Caribbean nation, Cuba. Reuters reports that the Cuban government, a small financially distressed, economically sanctioned island nation of 11 million people, with a national budget of $50 billion, Gross Domestic Product of 121 billion and per capita GDP of just over $10,000, is dispatching 165 medical personnel to Africa to regions where there are Ebola outbreaks. Washington sends 3,000 combat troops. Something smells very rotten around the entire Ebola scare.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”

Get ready. It’s the logical next step for central planners in Washington. Take away a country’s airspace and you’ve physically revoked their sovereignty…

Reports out of Washington this week indicate that the Obama administration is in the planning stages of establishing a ‘No-Fly Zone’ over northeastern Syria.

White House officials are well aware that their current strategy commitment to “Bomb ISIS” will wear thin soon, and need to up the stakes to avoid a public backlash. To justify such a bold move, Washington is preparing its PR campaign which includes US State Department talking points like, “humanitarian corridors”, and “protecting civilians from airstrikes by the Syrian government”.

The ladder would be a giant leap in rhetoric in a war that US President Barack Obama originally sold to the public as a war against ISIS terrorists. Now that the public are sufficiently confused by the twisting narrative, Washington planners can make arrangements to move ahead by isolating the Syrian government and military.

NATO member Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now backing the US-run ‘No-Fly Zone’ idea, not to neutralize ISIS as one would think, but to neutralize Syria’s Air Force. Naturally, the US will want its NATO  ally to be the public face of the No-Fly Zone, even though the US will still be using the airspace lock-down as an excuse to hit any air or ground targets it wishes.

It’s worth pointing out here that the elimination of Syria’s air defenses and Air Force has also been a stated goal of Israel and has been promoted heavily in Washington and London through the Israeli lobby and its think tanks.

To avoid a Democratic voter backlash over its pending 3rd Iraq War and Syrian War, White House will gradually ramp-up its campaign after the mid-term elections. The usual official-looking suspects to sell an inevitable escalation of its latest ‘Not-a-War War’. US Defense SecretaryChuck Hagel and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey are pushing the benefits of a No-Fly Zone and more US Troops on the ground.

Hagel and Dempsey have already instructed the American public that their new war “will take maybe three years” so it’s certain that stage by stage plans have already been drawn up. US officials will attempt to sell this new operation on its humanitarian benefits, and will claim that these measures “will help to avert a humanitarian disaster”.

Based on hints from both US and Israel, the primary object of a US-led ‘No-Fly Zone’ would be to disable the Syrian government’s air defense system through a series of airstrikes. After the No-Fly Zone is established, then the push will begin to carve out a NATO-run Buffer Zone, or ‘DMZ’ along the Turkish-Syrian which could help to facilitate additional US ground forces into the region in 2015.

Kurds avoiding ISIS terror armies are gathering along the Turkish-Syrian border (Photo:Albawaba)

According to Hagel, there are 1.3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey today. NATO member Turkey is very keen to do something along its border, not least of all because of the hundreds of thousands of additional Kurds crossing over from Syria.

What Hagel won’t tell us is that this refugee flow has been caused by US, UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar – all working hard to fuel a civil war by arming and funding an endless flow of foreign fighters, including ISIS terrorists, into Syria to destabilize the country.

These latest noises from Hagel and Dempsey verify what many already knew from the start – that the war on ISIS was simply window-dressing for Washington and London’s real war against Bashar al-Assad’s government in Damascus. A US or NATO declared ‘No-Fly Zone’ and ‘Buffer Zone’ serves as a run-around to the UN Security process. Despite grand proclamations of Obama’s ‘broad-based coalition’, the restriction zones will be based on the whims of the Pentagon and its strategic objectives.

This is classic mission creep, only it’s by design. It would be naive to think that after the initial month of acquiring ‘ISIS targets’, the Pentagon would not move ahead to coordinate its airstrikes with Kurdish and ‘Moderate Rebels’ on the ground in order to mitigate any influence on the ground from Damascus.

No-Fly Zones and DMZ’s

In case we’ve forgotten, a US-administered ‘No-Fly Zone’ is what really set the stage for the main US bombing campaign and invasion of Iraq in 2003 (see image below). Now we are hearing Washington wants to do the same with Syria. It’s easy to see where this is headed.


Another thing to remember about US-led Buffer Zones or ‘Demilitarized Zones’is that once they are erected, they are never taken down.

65 years later, one war still rages on…

The longest running war in the world today is still the Korean War, which started with combat hostilities between 1950 and 1953, after which time a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) was erected by the US to separate North and South Korea. The US still has some 30,000 military and civilian contractors stations on the DMZ – all on high alert.

Soldiers look in over the Israel-Lebanese border (Photo: Al Arabiya)

Likewise, following a violent and bloody Lebanese Civil War, Israel’s IDF forces held on to a strip of South Lebanon bordering Israel, illegally annexing part of Lebanon into an Israel “Buffer Zone”. Total Israeli occupation of this zone lasted for nearly 15 years, from 1985-2000.

When it comes to buffer zones, the rhetoric and the reality never match up. With both DMZ’s in Korea and South Lebanon, US and Israeli occupiers never initially admitted that they planned to stay long, but they did. Expect the same for this latest US brainwave for Syria and Turkey.

In the short term, any US-led proposals for a ‘humanitarian’ No-Fly Zone and Buffer Zone will serve first to assist US strategic planning and a US-led rebel offensive on the ground against Syrian government military forces.

Just waiting for the PR campaign to begin…

Rasmea Odeh had her first hearing in open court on Thursday in front of the new judge who will preside over her trial on immigration fraud charges scheduled for next month.

As the Palestinian-American community leader and her lawyers sat at the defense table, supporters, many of whom had made the five-hour drive from Chicago, packed the Detroit federal courtroom.

Odeh had hoped that Judge Gershwin Drain would rule favorably on a defense motion to dismiss the charges against her, but the judge declined to do so, ensuring that the trial will go forward.

Illegal fruit

Michael Deutsch, Odeh’s lead attorney, argued that the indictment of Odeh was the “fruit of an illegal investigation” by the government targeting the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), the Chicago community organization at which Odeh is associate director.

Last October, Odeh was arrested and indicted for allegedly lying on her US citizenship application a decade ago by failing to disclose her conviction in an Israeli military court for allegedly participating in two bombings in Jerusalem in 1969.

Odeh has pleaded not guilty to the US immigration fraud charge and says the Israeli convictions were obtained in the unfair Israeli military court system based entirely on a confession extracted through prolonged, brutal torture including sexual assault.

If convicted Odeh could face prison time, as well as being stripped of her US citizenship and deported.

Deutsch told the judge that Odeh was selectively investigated because of her protected First Amendment activities educating people about the situation in Palestine, and that it was based on evidence from the four-year-old investigation of the “Anti-War 23.”

In 2010, US authorities raided the homes of several anti-war activists, including Hatem Abudayyeh, AAAN’s director, and summoned two dozen activists before a federal grand jury.

Deutsch said the investigation had been a “fishing expedition” – none of those summoned to the grand jury testified. After four years no one had been charged with any crime and all the papers and property seized in the raid have now been returned.

“As far as we know, there is no ongoing investigation,” Deutsch told the court.

Deutsch argued that US authorities in Chicago had nonetheless passed information from the investigation on to federal prosecutors in Michigan, who indicted Odeh.

Government prosecutor Jonathan Tukel told the judge that Odeh’s attorneys had not shown evidence that their client had been singled out.

But the judge also denied Deutsch’s request to compel US attorneys in Chicago and Detroit to reveal their communications over the matter to the defense.

Speaking to reporters and supporters after the hearing, Deutsch expressed disappointment that the judge had allowed only ten minutes for oral arguments.

However, he said that he was not surprised that the judge declined to dismiss the charges “because the law is very restrictive on that.”

“I just wanted him [the judge] to hear about the history and about the context of this case.”

(Deutsch can be seen commenting on the hearing in the video at the top of the post).

This week the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) added its voice to the calls on the US to drop the charges.

In a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder, ADC called the charges against Odeh “baseless,” and said that the case “plays into the belief and perception that the US federal government is intentionally targeting and prosecuting Arab American citizens.”

ADC is “outraged that the federal law enforcement agencies continue to waste resources by targeting nonviolent social activists such as Ms. Odeh, but have yet to bring charges against the Israeli suspects in the terrorist attack that killed Palestinian-American Alex Odeh in 1985,” the letter adds (Odeh was killed by a bomb left at the ADC office which he ran in Santa Ana, California).

Torture expert

Judge Drain did not issue a ruling on a second motion – a defense request to allow Mary Fabri, an expert on torture, to testify in the trial.

Fabri, a clinical psychologist at the world-renowned Kovler Center, already submitted an affidavit on 18 July detailing Odeh’s torture and subsequent post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Deutsch argued that Fabri’s testimony would provide the jury with crucial information about the long-term impact of Odeh’s torture that would help them to judge her state of mind when she allegedly failed to disclose the military court conviction in her citizenship application.

“This is at the heart of our defense,” Deutsch told the court. “The expert should be allowed to testify, and the jury should decide what it means.”

Drain’s ruling, which he promised within a week, will hinge on his reading of whether the law requires that a person had a “specific intent” to defraud the government at the time of their alleged crime.

Defense attorney Jim Fennerty told the court that the US State Department had handed over dozens of boxes of records the defense had been seeking, which a defense researcher was currently sorting.

Odeh’s lawyers believe the records could shed light on what the US government knew about the torture of Odeh, her father and others after their arrests by Israeli authorities.

Another hearing is scheduled for 21 October, with the start of the trial set for 4 November.

Rally and police harassment

As on previous occasions, Odeh’s supporters rallied outside the US Courthouse on Detroit’s Lafayette Street before and after her hearing.

Sarah Martin, one of the Anti-War 23 who had traveled from Minneapolis, Minnesota, told supporters that solidarity rallies were being held simultaneously in Minneapolis, San Jose, California and Tampa, Florida, as hundreds of people telephoned prosecutors urging them to drop the charges.

“We’ll be back here for the trial,” Martin added, “and we’ll fill that courtroom.”

Since a hearing in September, some officers of the Department of Homeland Security police who protect federal facilities have taken a more aggressive stance toward the rallies.

Early on Thursday morning, this writer was briefly questioned by one officer for taking this photo of the courthouse, an entirely legal activity.

The incident was reported to National Lawyers Guild legal observers present on the scene. After the hearing, Muhammad Sankari, a member of the national Rasmea Defense Committee, was told by police that he could not lead chants with a bullhorn on the sidewalk in front of the building. 

 

  

He continued to lead chants from across the street. There is no sign that such petty harassment will deter Odeh’s supporters. “We obviously believe that justice was not served today. Too many of our leaders, like Rasmea, are being targeted by the Justice Department for their activism in support of Palestinian liberation,” Sankari said in a press release from the Rasmea Defense Committee. “This case is clearly going to be an indictment of Israel and its brutal policies. We will continue to make that argument as we work to get the charges dropped,” Sankari added.

Mosca: i grandi progetti per la Crimea

October 3rd, 2014 by Valentin Vasilescu

Pochi giorni dopo l’adesione della Crimea alla Russia, Vladimir Putin ha annunciato di aver approvato un investimento di 3 miliardi di dollari per la ripresa economica della Crimea che ha un potenziale enorme. Questo annuncio è stato fatto durante la riunione della Commissione presidenziale sul monitoraggio dello sviluppo socio-economico della Federazione russa, dove s’è deciso di raddoppiare il numero di posti di lavoro in Crimea, compresi nei cantieri navali di Kerch e Theodosia, specializzati nelle costruzioni navali artiche e di navi di guerra per la Flotta russa del Mar Nero. Putin ha ordinato alla società statale Sovcomflot il trasferimento tecnologico dai Cantieri Baltiskij della società Zaliv a Kerch per la costruzione di 30 nuove petroliere (in aggiunta alle 101 oggi attive), di 14 navi-cisterne GPL (oltre alle 6 attualmente operanti) e di navi portacontainer a propulsione nucleare, tutte destinate per il Mar Glaciale Artico. Il beneficiario del progetto, la Gazprom, le finanzia. Le navi saranno utilizzate per rifornire di petrolio la Cina dal Mare della Siberia orientale e dallo Stretto di Bering, nell’ambito del recente megacontratto da 400 miliardi di dollari. La catastrofe della centrale nucleare di Fukushima e il contratto con la Cina hanno convinto il parlamento giapponese a rifornire il proprio Paese di 20 miliardi di metri cubi annuali di gas russo, tratti dalla quota precedentemente destinata all’Europa. Il governo giapponese ha approvato il finanziamento di un gasdotto sottomarino di 1350 km che colleghi l’isola giapponese di Hokkaido all’isola di Sakhalin, per un investimento di 6 miliardi di dollari. Fino a quando l’oleodotto non sarà  pronto, Gazprom s’impegna a rifornire via mare il Giappone di gas liquefatto. Attualmente, la Russia è l’unico Paese ad avere una flotta di rompighiaccio nucleari nella regione artica (costruiti dal 1985), che mantengono le rotte di navigazione permanentemente aperte al trasporto di petrolio.  Putin risponde così alle pretese dei media occidentali sugli scaffali vuoti nei negozi della Crimea e sulla Russia senza i soldi per pagare pensioni e stipendi degli abitanti di Crimea.
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La città di Kerch si trova nell’omonimo stretto largo 4,5 km che separa due mari: il Mar Nero e il Mar d’Azov. Il Cantiere No. 532 di Kerch è meglio conosciuto per la costruzione, nel 1984-1991, di 8 fregate classe Krivak da 3300 tonnellate, tra cui la nave ammiraglia della Marina ucraina, Hetman Sagajdachnij. Inoltre, in questo sito fu costruita nel 1975 la prima di 8 navi-cisterna classe Crimea, lunghe 295 m e con una stazza di 150000 t. La prima fu consegnata al Vietnam con il nome Chi Linh. Ma pochi sanno che nel 1988 il cantiere Zaliv completò la costruzione di uno dei quattro rompighiaccio portacontainer a propulsione nucleare sovietici, appositamente costruiti per operare nella regione artica. La nave di 61880 t, la Sevmorput, è dotata di un reattore nucleare da 135 MW. Secondo il programma presentato dal Presidente Putin, il cantiere Kerch dovrà iniziare la costruzione di due navi a propulsione nucleare classe Sevmorput. In seguito, il Viceprimo Ministro Rogozin, responsabile dell’industria della Difesa della Russia, ha detto che il cantiere Mare di Teodosia è in cima alla lista di 23 aziende della Crimea destinate ad armare la Flotta nel Mar Nero. Il governo federale russo ha stabilito che lo sviluppo del progetto sarà completato entro il 1° luglio 2014. Teodosia è un comune di 80000 abitanti situato nella parte orientale della penisola di Crimea. È noto ai turisti per la sua famosa spiaggia dorata lunga 15 km, e anche per i quadri marini del famoso Ivan Ajvazovskij che visse e lavorò in questa città. Nell’epoca sovietica, tutti sentirono parlare di Teodosia per via del suo Cantiere Mare, che dal 1959 è specializzata nella produzione di hovercraft passeggeri ad alta velocità. Furono costruiti più di 1000 navi di questo tipo, principalmente per l’esportazione, come le RaketaKometa e Voskhod-2 che possono trasportare 58-118 passeggeri ad una velocità di 60-80 km/h. Nel 1983-1989, il cantiere Mare di Teodosia ricevette l’ordine per la costruzione di 16 motosiluranti veloci (70-80 km/h) classe Muravej per il Mar Nero. Le realizzazioni più importanti furono gli hovercraft classe Zubr (Progetto 1232.2). In origine  progettati e costruiti nel cantiere dai sovietici. Le navi Zubr sono dotate di cinque turboelica Kuznetsov NK-12, le più potenti del mondo, del bombardiere Tu-95. Le Zubr possono trasportare 150 tonnellate di materiale (3 carri armati T-90 o 8 blindati cingolati o 10 APC, o ancora 360 soldati della fanteria di marina equipaggiati). La Flotta del Mar Nero avrà bisogno di 4-6 nuovi Zubr quando riceverà le prime portaelicotteri Mistral, che possono trasportare 16 elicotteri d’assalto Mi-8 Amtsh Terminator e un battaglione di carri armati T-90 o due battaglioni di fanteria dotati di APC.

Dopo 23 anni, la Russia ha ripreso ad ordinare hovercraft ad alta velocità per usi militari e commerciali presso il cantiere Mare di Teodosia. Le prime quattro navi passeggeri ad alta velocità ordinate a Teodosia navigheranno sul Volga, sulla tratta Kujbishev-Uljanov-Kazan-Gorkij. Vengono invitati ad aderire al programma russo in Crimea gli esperti ucraini nella progettazione navale dei tre cantieri Nikolaev (Oceanico, 445 e 444) che costruirono durante l’era sovietica 2 portaelicotteri e 7 portaerei per l’URSS (KievMinsk, Novorossijsk, BakuAdmiral KuznetsovVarjag e Uljanovsk).  Una delegazione guidata dal Viceprimo Ministro russo Dmitrij Rogozin ha visitato Nikolaev per fare proposte in questa direzione. L’offerta è ancora più interessante per il fatto che dal 1° giugno il rublo è diventata la moneta ufficiale della Crimea, e stipendi e pensioni, conformati alle norme della Federazione Russa, sono quattro volte superiori a quelli ucraini.

Valentin Vasilescu

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Moscou : des projets de grande envergure pour la Crimée

Traduzione di Alessandro Lattanzio – SitoAurora

 

The United States of America is revising history textbooks, while abandoning the idea of exceptionalism of the American nation. At first, the White House caused a commotion among the Republicans, who then made ordinary Americans worry. The Republicans are unhappy with the criticism of American history, while ordinary Americans are concerned about the ban on free protests in the country.

As it turns out, the United States, like any other country, has something to be ashamed of, a new history textbook for high schools (Advanced Placement US history course) says. For example, the book criticizes the nuclear bombing of Japan.

A Republican candidate for presidential elections in 2016, Ben Carson, told Fox News that many of those, who will complete the new course on history, would be ready to join the Islamic State, which the United States is now bombing in Syria and Iraq.

“There’s only two paragraphs in there about George Washington. George Washington! Believe it or not. Little or nothing about Dr. Martin Luther King.” As examples of the negative bias, he mentioned “a whole section on slavery and how evil [Americans] are,” the killing of millions of Japanese with two atomic bombs in World War II, and other events. “We have got to stop crucifying ourselves,” he argued. “Have we made mistakes as a nation? Of course we have. Why? Because we’re people. And all people make mistakes.”

“I think most people when they finish that course, they’d be ready to go sign up for ISIS,” he said. “I mean, this is what we’re doing to the young people in our nation.”

Last month, the Republican National Committee of the United States passed a resolution, in which the textbook was described as “a radical revisionist look at American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our country’s history, omitting or minimizing positive aspects.” The Republicans urged the board that introduced the Advanced Placement (AP) history curriculum to postpone the introduction for one year, until the textbook is revised.

The AP is a federal program, but each State approves it with recommendations. The authorities of the State of Colorado sent the following recommendations to schools: “Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law.” In response, nearly a thousand students in Jefferson County interrupted their classes and went on a protest holding banners saying: “There is nothing more patriotic than protest” or “Education without limitation.” The students used hashtag #JeffcoSchoolBoardHistory for organizing demonstrations. Students and their parents were protesting in the capital of Colorado, Denver, for five days, the Denver Post said.

America loves to pretend that it has nothing to hide in its history. From an American perspective, any atrocity can be justified from the point of view of the defense of American interests. This attitude fosters the so-called “American exceptionalism.” However, the “common and non-exceptional” world understands that this “exceptionalism” leads to wars and hundreds of thousands of deaths. The facts about the USA’s participation in the events in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia, Syria, Ukraine say that this is permissiveness, rather than exceptionalism.

Here is a curious fact. US President Obama, in his recent speech at the UN General Assembly, did not say a word about the exceptionalism of the American people, although he always emphasized that in his previous speeches. Noteworthy,  Advanced Placement history curriculum is used at more than 3,300 colleges and universities around the world, and its education results are used for admission to American universities. Thus, the revision of the AP history course involves influence on young people in foreign countries, who already openly mock the American “exceptionalism.”

We asked an opinion from American economist and economic observer Paul Craig Roberts, and here is what he had to say on the subject:

“The Republican Party today and a majority of Americans, who think of themselves as conservativesare, are not, in fact, traditional American conservatives.  They comprise a form of brownshirts who are intolerant of dissent want to impose social control.  They support government instead of the Constitution, and they frown on civil liberty as a form of legal permissiveness that coddles criminals and terrorists.

“These so-called conservatives attribute the US defeat in Vietnam to student protests and to journalists who disputed Washington’s lies. They regard protests as a threat to the status quo, and not as a way to express public dissent from government policies.  Conservatives are for democracy only as long as they control behavior in the democracy.

“In the 1940s and 1950s public school courses such as history and literature were largely up to the individual teacher. Consequently, there was a lot of diversity in what was taught. As time passed, especially after the 1964 Civil Rights Act and school integration, courses became increasingly standardized, partly in order to judge school performance with standardized state or national testing, and partly, according tosome, to ensure that minorities were not offended by course content.  The obvious consequence is that a form of national brainwashing was put in place that instilled in the young acceptable beliefs  about their country.

“For the so-called conservatives, any criticism of America is an unpatriotic act.  In the 21st century it has become increasingly difficult toprotest in the US.  The former Director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, declared that the new department had shifted its focus fromterrorists to “domestic extremists,” a group she defined as war protesters, environmentalists, and animal rights advocates.  Indeed, anational police force called Homeland Security itself indicates an increasing concern with protecting those in control from dissent.The increasing gratuitous violence of police against members of the public is also an indication that there has been a fundamental shift in the position of the government in relation to the people.  The purpose of government in the US is not to serve the will of the people, but toconform the behavior of the people to the will of the government.

“The same thing appears to be the case in Australia, Canada, the UK, and Europe.  For example, in the UK, 99% of the people are opposed to fracking, but the government has ignored the people and permits fracking to take place under the homes of people without their consent. In the West, I think that the idea of democracy is dead.  Democracy is no longer a respected value.  Elections serve as a cloak to mask the death of democracy.”

Of course, the Obama administration has tried to improve its image a bit. After all, one and the same nation can never be right forever and ever always. However, for internal use, US officials sing different songs. They demand respect for authorities and discourage social protests. Yet, as we can see, American students want to have the right to civil disobedience. How could it be otherwise, if the government encourages all forms of popular protests in other countries, glorifying democracy? They will never teach American children, of course, that all talks of “democracy” hide a completely different principle, namely: divide and conquer.

“From my point of view, these problems speak of growing contradictions in the American society, – an expert on humanitarian issues at the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, Oksana Petrovskaya told Pravda.Ru. – For a very long time, the Americans have been propagating patriotism the American way, when America was always in the center. I would not say that with this curriculum they are moving far away from their American exceptionalism, but there is a turn being made. Now they need to take account of the interests of all social groups – blacks, women, and so on. Everyone should be represented in history, and there is no single heroic line. The line disappears and erodes. This is a trend of recent times: pay more attention to ordinary people and small social groups.”

The expert noted that after the racially motivated riots in Jefferson, it became clear that America has formed a police state with very strict orders. “I do not know what kind of waves of protests it may lead to, but the authorities are trying to root out every manifestation of protests, especially racial ones. In the USA, there is a very serious controversy based on racial grounds, and protests may happen. But the police have very extensive powers,” the expert said.

Yet, Oksana Petrovskaya believes that America will not face a large social explosion during Obama’s presidency. Well, if, let’s say, Hillary Clinton comes to power in the USA, we may well remember Obama as a good president.

Lyuba Lulko
Pravda.Ru 

Read the original in Russian 

To begin, consider that people like Dr. Sanjay Gupta keep saying that the Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan had “told the nurse” who attended to him upon his first arrival at the Texas Presbyterian Hospital Emergency Room that he had “traveled “to” Africa.”

That’s certainly a very odd thing for a Liberian national, having just arrived from Monrovia, Liberia to the United States for the very first time in his life, to have supposedly said, is it not?  Of course, it fits the CDC Checklist used prior to, and including, Duncan’s case, so that must have been exactly what Duncan said, right Sanjay?

Duncan’s status as a Monrovian Liberian national has not exactly been blasted across the MSM news; in fact, the MSM news for the most part has been adhering studiously to the asinine “traveled to Africa” view even though it is grossly misleading.

So why adhere to the view?  The chief contention of this article is that we might be observing the unfolding of a “process conspiracy” pertaining to Ebola and the highly contentious immigration issue.  The phrase “process conspiracy” is operationalized here as a conspiracy rooted in a policy or policies consciously designed to shape practice in ways such that the output exacerbates the very problems the policy/policies was (were), on the surface, designed to contend with.

The specific object of the Globalist Ebola process conspiracy is here theorized to involve diminishing the linkage, in public consciousness, of Ebola with nationality status.  Globalists have huge immigration plans for the U.S., and they do not want Ebola (or any other infectious disease, for that matter) getting in the way of those plans.  That is why their Ebola policy protocols—as absurd as they are (discussed shortly)— read the way they do,  that is why we have been exposed to a cloud of lies emanating from Dallas and dispersed through the MSM, and that is why Duncan was discharged with antibiotics soon after his first visit to the Emergency Room of Texas Presbyterian.

Because the theory is a process conspiracy theory and therefore rooted in subverted policy, it has application not just to Duncan, but to future Duncans as well.  The argument proceeds as follows.  First, a brief observation concerning risk is offered which, even though obvious, is necessary because without it the argument will make little sense.  Second, the CDC’s Ebola Screening and Isolation polices are examined, and, on the basis of the risk observation, shown to be not only wholly inadequate to the task they were allegedly crafted to meet, but quite likely to make the Ebola contagion problem even worse.  Third, evidence is provided in support of the idea that the Ebola process conspiracy theory offers a simple, and very plausible explanation, of certain important assertions of fact, and inconsistencies, emanating from Dallas that are otherwise rather difficult to explain.  Throughout, the connection to the issue of nationality status will be obvious.

On the risk issue, people who are Liberian nationals and residents of the hot zone Monrovia clearly present much greater risk than randomly drawn “travelers to” Liberia, simply because  the exposure time is likely to be much greater for the former set of people.

Now we turn to consideration of the CDC’s policy guidance on screening and isolation of Ebola patients—and keep in mind that, astonishingly, these (click here and here) are purportedly new policy statements issued in the wake of the Duncan Dallas case, and yet they still do not meet the very problem Duncan-type cases present.

The screening/isolation problem presented by Duncan type cases is this:  under CDC policy guidelines, what are hospitals supposed to do when they encounter potential Ebola cases that are asymptomatic, but which involve persons who have not merely “traveled to” certain countries in Africa, but in fact are also nationals of one of those countries who have lived, perhaps even in outbreak areas, at a minimum since the outbreak began?

Amazingly, as the above-linked policy recommendations show, national origin and indeed even residence in hot zones is in no way independently factored into risk assessments for purposes of screening and isolation! But let’s pay especial attention to the second document just linked, which is the “Ebola Virus Disease” “algorithm” document, which is actually nothing more than a truly insidious flowchart of gruesome death.  First, look at the subheading, which states “Algorithm for Evaluation of the Returned Traveler.”  Can you believe it?  Where is the “Algorithm” for evaluation of newly arrived hot zone nationals?   Second, don’t be misled by the language in the “No Known Exposure” box.  That language does state “Residence in or travel to affected areas** without HIGH- or LOW-risk exposure”, but the critical fact is that Duncan-type cases are asymptomatic, and, as the “Algorithm” chart shows, with those types of cases there are no arrows leading anywhere else.  And, in any event, the degree of exposure row only applies with respect to those people who have already been isolated.  Indeed, the most that can happen with Duncan-type cases under the Algorithm document is, incredibly, a mere referral to “the Health Department.”

The first CDC document linked above functions similarly; but at least specifies a few more symptoms.  In the final analysis, though, it too talks only about travelers “to” hot zone countries, and so says nothing at all about how to contend with asymptomatic Duncan-type hot zone nationals.

So what is going on?  Let’s have a look at some Ebola charades at Texas Presbyterian Hospital, Dallas.  Check out these weird accounts via CNN:

“Hospital officials have acknowledged that the patient’s travel history wasn’t “fully communicated” to doctors, but also said in a statement Wednesday that based on his symptoms, there was no reason to admit him when he first came to the emergency room last Thursday night.

“At that time, the patient presented with low-grade fever and abdominal pain. His condition did not warrant admission. He also was not exhibiting symptoms specific to Ebola,” Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas said.

The patient, identified by his half-brother as Thomas Eric Duncan, told hospital staff that he was from Liberia, a friend who knows him well said.

A nurse asked the patient about his recent travels while he was in the emergency room, and the patient said he had been in Africa, said Dr. Mark Lester, executive vice president of Texas Health Resources. But that information was not “fully communicated” to the medical team, Lester said.

What on earth can it mean to say that the patient’s travel history was not “fully communicated” to doctors?  How hard is it to communicate “the patient is from Liberia”?  Here is where we need to notice that, according to a friend, Duncan told hospital staff that he (Duncan) was from Liberia—not merely that he had “traveled” there.  And how hard is it, really, to communicate these things to others?  Add to this that, in all likelihood, Duncan’s friend probably did tell CDC  that Duncan was from Liberia (because the friend wanted to get Duncan help early).

But given that the hospital officials now say that “[h]is condition did not warrant admission at the time”, what difference would it have made if Duncan’s “travel history” had been fully communicated to doctors?  It’s not like CDC guidelines would have had the hospital behave in any way other than the way it did—and the hospital itself asserts that in any event Duncan was asymptomatic on his first visit.

To see what is at stake here, reflect on what would have happened if the hospital had flouted CDC policy guidelines and, of its own initiative, isolated Duncan on the basis of Liberian and Monrovian origin.  People would certainly have asked why Duncan was being isolated, and what could the hospital have said?  Under CDC standards, the hospital would have had to have said that Duncan was symptomatic (and can you imagine the chaos and panic that would have caused)—but he wasn’t, according to the hospital.  The alternative would have been to say that even though he was not symptomatic, he was being isolated anyway because his status as a Liberian and Monrovian citizen amounted to a grave risk factor.

So the hospital was in a bind, you see, because the U.S. Government doesn’t want people to even think about Liberian and Monrovian citizenship as an Ebola risk factor because that could conceivably completely destroy the One Party State’s immigration reform goals—especially given psychological associations with mystery viruses and other illnesses believed to have arrived from south of the border.  These things are probably why we got a bunch of weasel-wording from the hospital, and that is probably why Duncan was sent home with antibiotics after his first visit.  The hospital chose to follow the CDC, and so Duncan, now characterized, per the CDC, as a mere “traveler to” an affected country, was loosed on Dallas and therefore the entire world.

That, ladies and gentleman, is ObamaCare, and that is what “comprehensive immigration reform” means to the Global Elite.

Dr. Jason Kissner is Associate Professor of Criminology at California State University. Dr. Kissner’s research on gangs and self-control has appeared in academic journals. His current empirical research interests include active shootings. You can reach him at crimprof2010[at]hotmail.com  

Why Obama Lost His War in Ukraine

October 3rd, 2014 by Eric Zuesse

When President Obama took control of Ukraine in February 2014, via a coup d’etat against the democratically elected President, rather than by an outright invasion of U.S. troops, the new Government that he imposed in Kiev was democratically very vulnerable. The man whom Obama overthrew had been elected by overwhelming margins in Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk regions in Ukraine’s southeast and by high margins elsewhere in the country’s southeast; those southeastern voters needed to be gotten rid of (exterminated &/or expelled from Ukraine) in order to make the new, pro-U.S. Ukrainian regime (which was supported only by the voters in Ukraine’s northeast), stick, if Ukraine was ever to be restored to democracy while being anti-Russian such as the the new rulers were, whom Obama had installed.

But Crimea immediately broke away from that new Government, Russian troops came into Crimea to protect them against military action that was planned by the U.S. to stop that breakaway,and Crimeans then immediately held a plebiscite in March which overwhelmingly supported reuniting Crimea with Russia — Crimea had never voluntarily  left Russia: the USSR’s leader Khrushchev had donated  Russia’s Crimean region to Ukraine in 1954, and Crimeans were always overwhelmingly opposed to that change.

Then, elsewhere in Ukraine’s southeast, locals took over government buildings and refused to accept the new coup-imposed, anti-Russian Ukrainian Government. Obama and his newly appointed leaders of Ukraine didn’t like that, and were determined to stop the rebellion. They commenced an ethnic-cleansing campaign to eliminate the voters in the southeast (except in Crimea, which was now being defended by Russian troops, so Obama wouldn’t support his coup-regime’s intent to extend the ethnic cleansing immediately into Crimea and even to destroy Russia; Obama viewed that intent as being premature; his ethnic-cleansing program would be only in other parts of the southeast).

No one can understand Obama’s defeat in Ukraine who does not know that he imposed upon Ukraine a Government that was committed to an ethnic-cleansing campaign to get rid of the people in the regions that had voted for the man whom Obama overthrew. That’s basic to know, in order to have any possibility to understand why Obama lost this war that he started with his February coup. In fact, the man whom the Obama-team chose to design the ethnic-cleansing program announced in June that there were going to be concentration-camps for everyone in the southeast who supported the breakaway-movement.

The official U.S. line was that the people in the southeast were ‘terrorists’ who were bombing their own people and causing their own problems; or, as Christia Freeland said in The New York Times“This is not a civil war.” The U.S. regime always staunchly backed what the new Ukrainian Government was doing in the southeast, specifically the ethnic-cleansing campaign. One reason this line, that the southeasterners were bombing their own people (the southeasterners), was false (besides it’s being simply ridiculous) is that the civil war did not even start until May 2nd, when there was a massacre of peaceful opponents of the new Obama-imposed Government, carried out by supporters of the new government who were bussed into Odessa from Kiev in the northwest for that occasion, which massacre occurred at the Odessa Trade Unions Building. This massacre was co-masterminded and was funded by Ihor Kolomoyskyi, a Ukrainian billionaire who hired Joe Biden’s son and won a local governorship from Obama’s team.

The U.S. State Department opened a daily press conference on July 29th by asserting that the U.S. and EU are “united in their determination to respond to intensified Russian aggression.” The audience of ‘journalists’ (the usual group of stenographers of U.S. officialdom) asked this U.S. Government spokesperson questions designed to get her to pour yet more calumny against America’s victims in Ukraine (especially against the people who were being bombed there), and she said, “Of course, we support de-escalation. But for the most part, the vast majority of escalation has been from the Russian side … and the Russian separatists [the official Western term for the people we're bombing].” She alleged that it is they, and not the Ukrainian Government (which was bombing those ‘separatists’ villages), that’s doing the “escalation,” in the Ukrainian civil war that the U.S. had started, and then was funding our nazi regime there to perpetrate against those Ukrainian villagers; that is, against the very people whom she was charging to be the source of the problem.

We’ve got to clear the land in Ukraine’s southeast, so as to enable our oil companies to frack Ukraine’s gas. Except that ‘we’ don’t own those fracking companies; the biggest one is owned by oligarch Ihor Kolomoyskyi, whose U.S. agent is Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and who also hired someone from John Kerry’s clique. There are also many other benefits to the American aristocracy that would have resulted if Obama had won Ukraine, but most of those benefits will be lost if the gas fields in Ukraine’s southeast are no longer assets that can be sold off (“privatized”) to Western oil companies dirt-cheap by the Ukrainian Government desperate to repay the nearly $30 billion that the U.S., EU, and IMF lent to that Government to finance their ethnic-cleansing program, which is basic to that privatization. If those loans don’t work out, Western taxpayers will be forced to repay those lenders to Ukraine, as Western citizens pay taxes.

However, our Ukrainian Government ultimately did fail to get rid of enough Ukrainians. As the IMF’s Christine Lagarde had warned on May 1st (right before the massacre in Odessa that began the ethnic cleansing so as to eliminate the undesired voters from Ukraine’s southeast), a “loss of economic control over the east [loss of that fracking-income] that reduces [Ukrainian] budget revenue would require a significant recalibration of the [loan] program; and [end] additional financing, including from Ukraine’s bilateral partners,” the U.S. and EU.

As things turned out, those “bilateral partners” have, by now, already lent Ukraine all that they can or will, and the job was way short of being finished. The best that was in prospect for any continuation of it was a long-drawn-out guerilla war, for which the West had neither the money, nor the will.

So: our side’s “loss of economic control over the east” means that Obama has, in effect, lost his Ukrainian war, and that the West’s taxpayers and recipients of government services will be forced to reimburse the IMF (via increased taxes and reduced services) for losses on the more-than-$30-billion loans to Ukraine. The IMF acted as middleman for the West’s aristocrats (as it always does), protecting them from losses on their international investments, so IMF member-governments (taxpayers and service-recipients) absorb any aristocrat’s losses. Of course, on aristocrats’ winning bets, they get to keep all gains. Meanwhile, the public (those taxpayers and benefit-recipients) in any country that borrows from the IMF get voraciously stripped, as the citizens in Ukraine will increasingly recognize. But Obama’s Ukraine-deal was a bummer for just about everybody, except weapons-makers.

Poor Barack Obama — he’ll need to wait till he’s out of office before the billions start rolling his way (like they’re already starting to roll for his friend and former subordinate Timothy Geithner).

The reason Obama lost is that the residents in Ukraine’s southeast would rather fight to the death than yield to our nazis. Unlike the Jews in Nazi Germany, the ethnic Russians who live in Ukraine have their own guns, and also have the ones from Ukrainian troops they kill, and get some weapons also from Russia next door. But, above all, they’re willing to fight to the death, which only a few dedicated nazis on our side are.

There just aren’t enough dedicated nazis (i.e., not enough dedicated racist fascists), in any and all countries, for ‘our side’ to win there. Not enough anti-Russian racist fascists exist, for that victory to be able to happen. And, by the end of June, Obama finally recognized that: he threw in the towel. Of course, he wouldn’t directly stop his stooges from slaughtering people, but, fromJuly 1st on, he had no further appetite to increase U.S. Government debt to support that slaughter. The Obama-supporting Kyiv Post  had headlined back on May 26th (the very day after the election — but only in Ukraine’s northwest — of Petro Poroshenko, as Ukraine’s President), Poroshenko Pledges to Step Up Anti-Terrorism Operation, Bring Success within ‘Hours,’ Not Months.” But, now, already more than a month had gone by, and yet Poroshenko-Kolomoisky-Obama-Yatsenyuk not only didn’t experience “success” within “days,” but they were beyond Poroshenko’s promised limit, “Not Months,” and yet they still were actually losing their war.

So, Obama lost this war. He quit it. And that’s why  Obama lost.

Put simply, he wasn’t able to exterminate enough of the ‘enemy’. His extermination-program ran out of money, long before the people who live there ran out of their will to fight against it.

Of course, the main people who pay the price for this are the ones whose lives Obama’s team snuffed out, and who were crippled by it, and whose homes were destroyed by it. Western taxpayers and beneficiaries of government services won’t suffer nearly that much. And the West’s aristocrats are doing everything they can to weaken Russia’s economy, in order to win the bigger renewed Cold War, which Obama’s coup in Ukraine restarted. The owners of U.S. armaments-firms are especially booming as a result of Obama’s Ukraine-gambit.

Russia, for its part, is doing all it can to respond to Obama’s challenge of a renewed Cold War. They’re trying to turn into Russian lemonade, the pile of lemons that Obama has left them.

In a sense, then (and highly simplified): World War II created American dominance; the Vietnam War wasted American dominance; and the G.W. Bush-Obama wars might turn out to have ended American dominance. It’s especially worth noting, in this context, that whereas WWII was fought against nazis, Obama’s Ukrainian war installed nazis. America thus might have come full-circle with Ukraine, and become what in WWII had been our nemesis.

Replacing the former single nation of Ukraine, there’ll be two or more failed states. It will be an ongoing hell. The only hope for the Novorossiyan part(s) will be if Putin comes up with a Russian version of our post-WWII Marshall Plan, to restore Novorossiya. The rump northwestern half of Ukraine, which Obama had controlled since even a bit before the 22 February 2014 culmination of his coup, will be a very hot bloody war between the nazis there and everybody else there. Obama won’t any longer even want that half, and he’ll have lost the southeastern half, which was his real goal to control.

The dominance of the U.S., EU, and Japan, is ending. The Western Alliance is breaking up. Europe’s aristocrats gave America’s aristocrats the steering wheel, and America’s arrogant and reckless aristocracy has driven the Alliance into a deep ditch, from which it won’t be able to recover as anything like it was.

The post-WWII world, in which we all have been living, is over.

Obama, by his actions not his words, continues the George W. Bush tradition, of horrendous policies, leading to rather universally bad endings.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Ten Myths About Obama’s Latest War in Iraq and Syria

October 3rd, 2014 by Reese Erlich

Veteran foreign correspondent Reese Erlich was in northern Iraq at the start of the U.S. bombing campaign against Islamic State. He interviewed Kurdish leaders, peshmerga fighters and U.S. officials. He says the reality on the ground is far different from the propaganda coming out of Washington.

1. Islamic State presents an immediate threat to the people of the U.S.

In justifying air attacks on Syria on Sept. 23, President Barack Obama said, “We will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people.”

I saw firsthand the tens of thousands of Yazidis forced to flee Islamic State fighters. IS is a vicious, un-Islamic, ultra-right-wing group that poses a real threat to the people of Syria and Iraq. But those people will defeat IS, not the U.S., whose motives are widely questioned in the region. IS poses no more of a terrorist threat to the American people than al-Qaida and its offshoots.

In fact, within a matter of weeks, the Obama administration admitted that IS posed little terrorist threat to the U.S. mainland and focused instead on a heretofore-unknown group that the U.S. calls Khorosan. Now evidence is emerging that the Khorosan threat was exaggerated in order to justify expanding the bombing to Syria.

2. The U.S. is not waging war, but a “counterterrorism operation.”

Both the Bush and Obama administrations have managed to redefine war to mean only those conflicts in which Americans die and the fighting costs over $10 billion. But from inside northern Iraq, what I saw sure looked like war. U.S. bombs have already killed civilians, particularly in Syria, where the U.S. has limited or no on-the-ground intelligence.

Once again, the U.S. is waging an open-ended war with no concern for the long-term well-being of the people in the region.

3. The U.S. has no boots on the ground.

The United States already has combat troops in Iraq. A U.S. diplomat acknowledged to me that American spotters in the Kurdish region of Iraq provide coordinates for airstrikes. He said U.S. advisers are armed and would shoot if attacked. If insurgents down an American plane, armed U.S. helicopter teams would go into enemy territory to rescue pilots. By redefining “combat troops,” the U.S. not only wages war in the Middle East, but on the English language.

Just one week into the bombing campaign, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said the U.S. might have to introduce ground combat troops into Iraq. The White House quickly disavowed the statement, but leading Democratic and Republican hawks are already pressuring Obama to formally introduce combat troops. As the air war proves incapable of destroying IS, the administration will likely introduce more ground troops, perhaps renaming them “limited, temporary, counterinsurgency advisers.”

4. The U.S. has formed a viable coalition to defeat Islamic State.

President Obama boasted of the formation of a broad coalition that includes Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries, Jordan, Britain, Australia, France and Belgium. Israel remains a silent partner.

But the U.S. remains the main military power and directs the air strikes. Somebody will have to fight IS on the ground, and the coalition allies certainly won’t. In Iraq, the newly formed government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has little support from Sunnis and Kurds, two vital components of any future viable regime. Abadi’s cabinet actually has fewer Sunni ministers than the previous, discredited government of Nouri al-Maliki.

The American alliance with Israel and Sunni-led countries such as Saudi Arabia only angers the Iraqi government, which remains closely allied with Iran. This coalition, like the phony “Coalition of the Willing” in 2003, is doomed from the start. The U.S. will fund and fight this war until organized opposition stops it or the public becomes exhausted. The Obama administration has apparently forgotten that unrestrained military spending in the 2000s helped precipitate the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

5. The U.S. can fight IS and other extremists without simultaneously helping Bashar Assad, Iran and Hezbollah.

One year ago, the Obama administration was beating the war drums against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons. Now the U.S. is bombing insurgents opposed to Assad. At the moment the Syrian civil war is a zero sum game. Weakening Assad’s enemies strengthens Assad’s regime. Assad, and his allies Iran and the Lebanese Hezbollah, are pleased with U.S. attacks on IS. But if ultra-right-wing rebels are weakened, pro-U.S. rebels won’t fill the gap. How long will it take for the U.S. to start bombing Syrian army targets?

6. The U.S. supports only moderate rebels.

Contrary to conservative criticism, the Obama administration has tried to create pro-U.S. civilian and armed groups. Obama has failed, not because of “lack of leadership” but because Syrians won’t accept U.S. policy. In my interviews inside Syria and neighboring countries, Syrian rebels and opposition activists made clear they opposed the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Washington’s total support for Israel. Every Syrian I ever met wants Israel to return the Golan Heights seized in 1967, for example, but the U.S. isn’t interested in having that discussion.

Meanwhile, American allies such as Saudi Arabia have armed extremists such as the al-Nusra Front, a group affiliated with al-Qaida. Saudi Arabia’s ultra-right-wing interpretation of Islam shares many ideological similarities with al-Nusra and IS. Yet the U.S. plans to have Saudi Arabia train “moderate” Syrian rebels, which is like asking Al Capone to train Chicago police cadets.

7. The U.S. fights to defend human rights and the rule of law, not oil.

Syria and Iraq have faced massive humanitarian crises for the past three years. Yet the U.S. directly intervened militarily only when the oil-rich Kurdish region of Iraq was threatened. Kurdistan contains the world’s ninth-largest reserves of oil and could eventually replace Russia as a major supplier of oil and gas to Europe. Over 50 foreign oil companies now have offices in Kurdistan, many cutting highly profitable oil production deals with Kurdish officials. Some oil company executives unabashedly call for more military support for anindependent Kurdistan.

Oil is only one factor, however. The U.S. also wants friendly governments in Baghdad and Damascus. A few more military bases in the region wouldn’t hurt either. Whatever combination of economic and geopolitical motivations there may be for the latest war, respect for human rights is not among them.

8. President Obama has the legal authority to bomb both Iraq and Syria.

The Obama administration claims authority to wage the current war based on the 2001 congressional vote authorizing action against al-Qaida for its 9/11 attack. Of course, IS is not part of al-Qaida, and the 2001-era al-Qaida led by Osama bin Laden no longer exists, proving once again that those in power can get their attorneys to find a legal justification for anything.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a U.N. vote. Some libertarian Republicans and progressive Democrats called for a congressional vote under the War Powers Act. Congressional leaders ducked the issue, hoping to avoid debate before the midterm elections. Obama, like Bush before him, believes that the president can wage war at any time and will tolerate a congressional vote only if he wins.

9. The Kurdish leaders are staunch allies against IS.

In June, the Kurdish peshmerga didn’t fight IS when it seized Mosul and other Sunni areas of Iraq. In fact, leaders of the ruling Kurdish Democratic Party met secretly with Sunni tribal leaders allied with IS to work out a non-aggression agreement.

Because of the collapse of the Iraqi army that month, Kurdish leaders expanded their territory by 40 percent. The peshmerga took control of oil-rich Kirkuk, an area long disputed between Kurds and Arabs. KDP leaders told me they have no intention of returning it to central government control. They are preparing referenda on independence in the newly expanded areas. Only in August, when IS attacked Kurdish-controlled areas and threatened Erbil, did the peshmerga fight Islamic State.

KDP leaders are fighting IS as a tactical step toward establishing an independent Kurdistan. If IS stops threatening Kurdistan, the Kurds have no interest in fighting IS inside Arab parts of Iraq. The U.S. and European powers are providing new arms to the peshmerga. Today they are aimed at IS; tomorrow, the Iraqi army.

10. The U.S. never negotiates ransoms with terrorists, unlike those slippery French.

American leaders claim that the U.S. never pays ransoms for kidnapped citizens, whereas some other countries do. One U.S. military leader even speculated that fewer Americans would be kidnapped because of that policy. It’s another myth.

The U.S. negotiated with the Taliban, possibly using third parties, to free the one American prisoner of war in Afghanistan in exchange for five Guantanamo prisoners. Two of the American hikers held in Iran were released after the sultan of Oman, at U.S. urging, paid Iran what was euphemistically called “bail.”

As a freelance journalist reporting from the Middle East for 28 years, I have a particular interest in the release of kidnap victims. But I’ve also learned that kidnapping is an opportunistic crime. First, the person is snatched. Then the kidnappers figure out the nationality and potential ransom. The kidnappers know the U.S. will OK ransom payments when the pressure is great enough.

Washington is enjoying the happy, first stage of the new war. Obama officials provide optimistic reports about pinpoint bombing raids. The mainstream media dutifully convey the latest propaganda. Public opinion polls show support for administration resolve.

But as we saw in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. military power has limits. The war will be lost politically. Public opinion will shift against another unnecessary war. And Obama will join Bush as yet another failed, wartime president.

Reese Erlich is  a foreign correspondent who dabbles in political satire while writing his forthcoming book “Syria’s Uprising: Assad, the Rebels and U.S. Policy.” See www.reeseerlich.com

The Chinese used to be quite confident that their hay was GMO free, but all that is about to change. Hay exported to the country from the U.S. is currently in quarantine due to the detection of GMO traits, specifically of genetically modified alfalfa, according to a USDA spokesperson.

This isn’t a singular occurrence, either. Last year, a Washington State grower’s hay was rejected after it tested positive for GMO alfalfa. This doesn’t sit well with China, since all imported hay is supposed to be GMO-free. If the trend continues, they could boycott all US grown hay completely. They aren’t willing to feed their livestock hay grown with Round Up Ready traits – yet for some reason, many US farmers still are.

Chinese officials are already preparing to implement more stringent testing thresholds to keep the GM alfalfa out of their imports.

A USDA representative, who declined to be identified, said:

“We understand that China has recently increased the frequency of its GE (genetically engineered) testing and has a zero tolerance for unapproved biotech traits.”

According to the spokesperson, the USDA has been working with authorities and the U.S. alfalfa industry to find out why ‘certified’ alfalfa has GM traits and to come to an agreement.

However, many industry officials are frustrated by the lack of information and the slow progress related to changing GMO testing sensitivity in hay, says Harry Kreeft, plant pathologist and nematologist with Western Laboratories in Parma, ID who conducts GMO and other testing for the Ag industry:

“Right now, everybody is absolutely grabbing at the dark,” explains Kreeft, “We don’t get any information from the USDA. We don’t get any information from the Chinese side. Our customers have no clue what’s going on.”

The current threshold of acceptance is 5% GMO by Chinese importers, but this could be tightened to 0.2%, and growers would be hard pressed to meet these standards with unintended cross-pollination along with the shady practices of GM companies who often grow ‘test’ fields of GM crops without regulatory approval.

The Chinese need hay, but they may look to other sources if they can’t rely on the U.S. to provide exports that are GM-free. After all, we know China isn’t afraid to reject GMOs from the U.S. or even burn shipment of GMO crops - the country has done it on multiple occasions.

Argentina President Cristina Fernandez, speaking to the U.N. General Assembly, exposes the debt vultures who enslave entire nations, the constantly changing definition of a terrorist, and the need for peace and self-determination for all nations. ‘In times of economic vultures and war falcons, we need more doves of peace’.

Obama Deported a Record 438,421 People Last Year

October 3rd, 2014 by Andre Damon

The Obama administration deported a record 438,421 people last year, the highest number of annual deportations in US history, according to official figures published by the Department of Homeland Security Wednesday.

The Obama White House has already deported more people than any other presidency, based on projections for 2014. In Obama’s six years in office, he has deported more people than Bush in his entire eight-year tenure, and more than twice as many people as Clinton.

The number of deportations in 2013 was 20,000 higher than in 2012, and 78,000 higher than in 2008, the last year of the Bush administration.

A significant share—44 percent—of the deportations were so-called “expedited removal orders,” in which deportees are summarily booted out of the country without even a court hearing. The share of these types of deportations has been steadily rising over the last several years, and is up from 31.6 percent of deportations in 2011.

The share of deportations that have gone through the courts or extended administrative reviews fell by half —from 36.2 percent to 17.1 percent between 2011 and 2013.

Of the 438,421 total immigrants deported, 314,904 came from Mexico, while another 46,866 came from Guatemala, 36,526 came from Honduras and 20,862 came from El Salvador.

On Thursday evening, the day after the release of the shocking deportation figures, Obama addressed a dinner hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in Washington, D.C., in which he sought to paint his administration as a defender of immigrant rights despite the record number of deportations and his refusal to take any action to reduce them.

Obama’s appearance was met by protests and pickets outside the building. One of the organizations that called the demonstrations, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, issued a statement denouncing Obama’s visit, noting that Obama “recently announced he would delay executive action and deport another estimated 60,000 people while his Party campaigns for reelection in the midterms.”

In his speech, Obama urged the audience to vote for Democrats in the upcoming election, and promised unspecified immigration reform “between the November elections and the end of the year.”

Obama was heckled and denounced by members of the audience as he spoke. “I know that there’s deep frustration in many communities around the country and I share it,” he said in response, pausing briefly as demonstrators were dragged out by security. He then went on to blame congressional Republicans for the continuing prevalence of mass deportations.

The reality is that the Democratic administration has undertaken the most draconian anti-immigrant policies in recent history.

The recent arrival on the southern border of tens of thousands of children from Central America fleeing poverty, violence and the social devastation wrought by a century of US imperialist interventions in the region, has led to crowding and inhumane conditions at border detention facilities, which were documented in a series of shocking photographs made public earlier this year. The humanitarian crisis created by the growth in the number of child migrants, far from eliciting government social aid, has prompted an even further militarization of the border and a police state crackdown on immigrants.

In July, the Obama administration asked Congress to allocate $3.7 billion in funding to “support a sustained border security surge through enhanced domestic enforcement,” along with additional staff to speed up deportations, including the hiring of administrators and prosecutors to kick families and individual children out of the country.

Obama’s proposal included $40 million for air surveillance, including additional funds to significantly expand the use of military drones within the borders of the United States.

The Obama administration and Congress are working to construct an enormous new “Family detention facility” in south Texas, which will cover 50 acres of land and is expected to have up to 2,400 beds. The creation of the facility will double the existing federal capacity to house immigrant families.

The new facility is to be operated by Corrections Corporation of America, the world’s largest private prison company, which has a history of allegations of abuse and violence at other facilities. Over half of the detained immigrants in the US are in facilities run by for-profit prison corporations, compared to just 8 percent of state and federal prisoners.

In its latest immigration policy initiative, the administration has announced it will set up “in-country refugee processing centers” in Central America, where children seeking to reunite with parents in the US can be denied entry before they even attempt to make the dangerous journey north and cross the border.

“These programs will not be a pathway for children to join undocumented relatives in the United States,” a White House spokesman clarified.

The Latin Post reported Wednesday that children under five years old have appeared in New York immigration courts without any form of legal representation. New York City Council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito described the conditions confronting children facing the immigration courts in the newspaper. “It is, to say the least, distressing— traumatized children standing before a judge without a lawyer,” she said.

In June, Obama promised that he would take executive action to slow deportations, but subsequently reneged on his promise and said that any action to slow deportations would wait until after the November election.

Terrorism and Turmoil: US Containment of China

October 3rd, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

With Hong Kong’s “Occupy Central” fully exposed as US-backed protest movement, readers should be aware that this latest turmoil is but one part of a greater ongoing campaign by the United States to contain and co-opt the nation of China.

As early as the Vietnam War, with the so-called “Pentagon Papers” released in 1969, it was revealed that the conflict was simply one part of a greater strategy aimed at containing and controlling China.

Three important quotes from these papers reveal this strategy. It states first that:

“…the February decision to bomb North Vietnam and the July approval of Phase I deployments make sense only if they are in support of a long-run United States policy to contain China.”

It also claims:

“China—like Germany in 1917, like Germany in the West and Japan in the East in the late 30′s, and like the USSR in 1947—looms as a major power threatening to undercut our importance and effectiveness in the world and, more remotely but more menacingly, to organize all of Asia against us.”

Finally, it outlines the immense regional theater the US was engaged in against China at the time by stating:

“there are three fronts to a long-run effort to contain China (realizing that the USSR “contains” China on the north and northwest): (a) the Japan-Korea front; (b) the India-Pakistan front; and (c) the Southeast Asia front.”

While the US would ultimately lose the Vietnam War and any chance of using the Vietnamese as a proxy force against Beijing, the long war against Beijing would continue elsewhere.

This containment strategy would be updated and detailed in the 2006 Strategic Studies Institute report “String of Pearls: Meeting the Challenge of China’s Rising Power across the Asian Littoral” where it outlines China’s efforts to secure its oil lifeline from the Middle East to its shores in the South China Sea as well as means by which the US can maintain American hegemony throughout the Indian and Pacific Ocean.

The premise is that, should Western foreign policy fail to entice China into participating in Wall Street and London’s “international system” as responsible stakeholders, an increasingly confrontational posture must be taken to contain the rising nation.

This proxy war has manifested itself in the form of the so-called “Arab Spring” where Chinese interests have suffered in nations like Libya that have been reduced to chaos by US-backed subversion and even direct military intervention. Sudan also serves as a proxy battleground where the West is using chaos to push Chinese interests off the continent of Africa.

More recently, political turmoil has hit Southeast Asia. Thailand has only just recently ousted a US-proxy regime headed by dictator Thaksin Shinawatra, while neighboring Myanmar attempts to stave off sedition headed by US-British political fronts led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Within China itself, the US wields terrorism as a means to destabilize and divide Chinese society in an attempt to make the vast territory of China ungovernable. In the nation’s western province of Xianjiang,the United States fully backs violent separatists.

Indeed, first and foremost in backing the Xinjiang Uyghur separatists is the United States through the US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED). For China, the Western region referred to as “Xinjiang/East Turkistan” has its own webpage on NED’s site covering the various fronts funded by the US which include:

International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation $187,918
To advance the human rights of ethnic Uyghur women and children. The Foundation will maintain an English- and Uyghur-language website and advocate on the human rights situation of Uyghur women and children.

International Uyghur PEN Club $45,000
To promote freedom of expression for Uyghurs. The International Uyghur PEN Club will maintain a website providing information about banned writings and the work and status of persecuted poets, historians, journalists, and others. Uyghur PEN will also conduct international advocacy campaigns on behalf of imprisoned writers.

Uyghur American Association $280,000
To raise awareness of Uyghur human rights issues. UAA’s Uyghur Human Rights Project will research, document, and bring to international attention, independent and accurate information about human rights violations affecting the Turkic populations of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

World Uyghur Congress $185,000
To enhance the ability of Uyghur prodemocracy groups and leaders to implement effective human rights and democracy campaigns. The World Uyghur Congress will organize a conference for pro-democracy Uyghur groups and leaders on interethnic issues and conduct advocacy work on Uyghur human rights.

It should be noted that the above list was taken from NED’s website in March 2014 – since then, NED has deleted several organizations from the list, as it has done previously regarding its support in other nations ahead of intensified campaigns of destabilization it wished to cover up its role in.

All of these NED-funded organizations openly advocate separatism from China, not even recognizing China’s authority over the region to begin with – referring to it instead as “Chinese occupation.”

Of the March 2014 terror attack in Kunming, the US-funded World Uyghur Congress would even attempt to justify it by claiming Chinese authorities have left the separatists with little other choice. The US State Department’s “Radio Free Asia” report titled, “China’s Kunming Train Station Violence Leaves 33 Dead,” reported:

World Uyghur Congress spokesman Dilxat Raxit said in an emailed statement that there was “no justification for attacks on civilians” but added that discriminatory and repressive policies provoked “extreme measures” in response.

From full-blown proxy wars in the 1960′s spanning Southeast Asia, to the US-engineered “Arab Spring” in 2011, to terrorism in Xinjiang and turmoil in Hong Kong today – what is taking place is not a battle for “democracy” or “freedom of expression,” but an existential battle for China’s sovereignty. For whatever problems the Chinese people have with their government, it is their problem and theirs alone to solve in their own way. Using the promotion of “democracy” as cover, the US would continue its attempts to infect China with US-backed institutions and policies, subvert, co-opt, or overthrow the political order in Beijing, and establish upon its ashes its own neo-colonial order serving solely Wall Street and Washington’s interests – not those of the Chinese people.

 

 Image: Protest leader Benny Tai - fully entwined with the US State Department’s National Democratic Institute - sitting as a director for years of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL) which collaborates with and receives funding from the US government – calls for the “occupation” of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was already occupied – by Britain from 1841 to 1997. For the mobs of “Occupy Central,” many have good intentions, but the leadership is knowingly in league with foreign interests seeking to subvert, divide, and destroy the Chinese people – not unlike what China had suffered at the hands of European powers in the 1800′s to early 1900′s.

New Steps to a Wider War in the Middle East

October 3rd, 2014 by Patrick Martin

The US military has deployed a quick-reaction force of 2,300 Marines to the Middle East, the Pentagon revealed Wednesday, the latest step in a carefully planned escalation of American military power in the region.

Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, said that about half of the force, to be based in Kuwait, was in place, and the rest were on the way. Most of the troops come from Marine Corps bases in southern California, according to reports in the local press there.

The Marines are only the spearhead of a much larger US force in Kuwait, already numbering some 15,000 troops, including an entire armored brigade, which has only flat desert terrain separating it from the war zone in eastern Syria and western Iraq. Another 1,000 Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit are stationed on board Navy warships in the Persian Gulf.

The deployment of the Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF), as the new unit is called, was decided on before the current air war launched against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), officials said.

The decision came as part of a review of the security of US installations throughout the Middle East and North Africa in the wake of the September 11, 2012 attack on US facilities in Benghazi, Libya, in which US ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

Last year the Pentagon established its first MAGTF, headquartered at Morón, Spain, with some assets forward-deployed to Sigonella, Sicily, which is closer to Libya, Egypt and other points in the eastern Mediterranean. This force comprises 1,200 troops available for action anywhere in North Africa.

The second MAGTF, double the size of the first, will be headquartered in Kuwait, but its forces will be distributed to multiple locations in the Middle East, as yet unspecified. “The 2,100 troops will be stationed throughout the theater with the headquarters element in Kuwait,” Marine Corps Col. Kenneth DeTreux told Stars and Stripes, the semi-official military newspaper.

General Amos declined to discuss the specific tasks that the new Marine force might carry out. “All I am trying to do is provide another tool in the tool box,” he told the Journal. “This is a force ready for an array of mission sets.”

Among the likely missions is intervention into Syria or Iraq. This could include either a rescue-in-force of pilots of US warplanes shot down over ISIS-controlled territory in either Syria or Iraq, or reinforcement of the Marine garrisons guarding the US Embassy in Baghdad and the US mission in Erbil, capital of Iraq’s Kurdish region.

The Marines are equipped with attack jet fighters, transport planes and V-22 Osprey vertical take-off and landing planes, which enable them to move within hours to a targeted area.

The announcement of the Marine deployment came at the end of the second week of US bombing of Syria, nominally directed at the ISIS, the Islamic fundamentalist group that overran much of western and northern Iraq during the summer.

The ultimate goal of the US intervention, as Obama administration spokesmen have repeatedly declared, is the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is allied to Iran and Russia, the two main targets of American imperialism in the region.

While the Obama administration has sought to use the crimes of ISIS, such as the beheading of prisoners and the slaughter of minority religious groups, to sway public opinion in the United States, US allies like Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf despotisms have made it clear that they are mainly concerned with overthrowing Assad.

The latest recruit to the US-led “coalition,” the Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was even more explicit about this goal, as the Turkish parliament voted Thursday for a measure to allow Turkish troops to enter Iraq and Syria and to permit foreign troops to use Turkish territory.

The new law would allow Turkish troops to create a buffer zone inside Syria to prevent refugees from crossing the border. It would also allow the US to use its airbase at Incirlik, near the Syria-Turkish border, to launch airstrikes against targets in both Syria and Iraq.

In a speech before the vote, Erdogan dismissed the US-led bombing campaign against ISIS as ineffective and pointless, saying, “Tons of air bombs will only delay the threat and danger” of terrorism. He renewed his call for the ouster of Assad. This was echoed by Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz, who told parliament, “The main source of ISIS is the Syrian regime.”

The parliament passed authorization for Turkish military action by a vote of 298 to 98, with many of those opposing the bill advocating an even more aggressive role, and criticizing Erdogan for failing to enforce border controls against the influx of Islamic militants through Turkey and into the Syrian conflict.

Turkish Chief of Staff Necdet Ozel gave another pretext for possible military intervention in Syria, saying that the army was ready to act in defense of a small Turkish unit deployed in northern Syria to guard the tomb of an ancestor of the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The tomb of Suleyman Shah has been treated as Turkish territory under a longstanding arrangement with the Syrian government, with a token honor guard that is now surrounded by ISIS forces.

As these military and diplomatic maneuvers took place, there was heavy fighting in both Syria, around the Kurdish-populated town of Kobani, on the Turkish border, and in Hit, a city on the Euphrates River that has been largely overrun by ISIS. Hit is 115 miles northwest of Baghdad and a hub for oil pipelines.

In the Syrian city of Homs, the country’s third-largest, some 39 people, most of them children, were killed in two car-bombings near a school in a pro-Assad neighborhood. The district, known as Akrama, is largely populated by Alawites, the Shiite-linked sect to which the Assad family and most of the regime’s inner circle belong. It has been repeatedly targeted for terrorist attacks by the al-Nusra Front and other Syrian “rebel” groups.

More than 12,000 people have been listed as victims in Russia’s ongoing investigation into war crimes in eastern Ukraine, Russian Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said Wednesday.

“More than 60,000 people were interviewed as part of [the] investigation,” Markin said.

“More than 12,000 of the 60,000 [people] interviewed were given the victim status,” the spokesman added.

On Monday, Markin announced that the Russian Investigative Committee launched a case of genocide of the Russian-speaking people of eastern Ukraine’s self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics.

According to Markin, “unidentified individuals from the ranks of the upper levels of Ukraine’s political and military leadership, the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the Ukrainian National Guard, and the Right Sector gave commands directed at the full annihilation of Russian-speaking citizens living in the territories of the Luhansk and Donetsk republics.”

Markin stressed that no less than 2,500 people died as a result.

Ukraine has been engulfed in a violent internal conflict since mid-April, when Kiev began its military operation against independence supporters in the southeastern regions of the country. The United Nations estimates that some 3,500 people have been killed and more than 8,000 have been wounded since the start of the operation.

This is major, though two-week-old, news, which still hasn’t yet been reported in the U.S. (despite virtually everyone in America’s press-corps knowing about it), so I shall now report it, forthrightly and clearly, to the American people:

The great German newspaper German Economic News, headlined on September 20th, “Welcome Russia at the G20 summit: End of Isolation” (German original:  “Ende der Isolation: Russland bei G20-Gipfel willkommen”), and they reported that, “Because the USA needs Russia in its fight against terror-IS, the G20 speculation to isolate Russia in the world community has been shelved. The conflict in the Eastern Ukraine is therefore classified as [being only] regionally [important].” Moreover, “Americans and Russians agreed behind the scenes on a division of the Ukraine. … The Ukrainian government and the rebels in the east have agreed on the establishment of a buffer zone in the east of the country. … The resulting 30 km wide buffer zone along the [battle] front will be monitored by observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).”

This is, essentially, announcement introducing truce-lines, such as were established at the end of the Korean War and many others.

However, the foreign-affairs leader of the Ukrainian separatists says that their efforts to get Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to accept their territory as being a part of Russia have been firmly rejected by Putin’s Government; and, so, “We will build our own country,” he says.

This important statement from the foreign-affairs leader Andrei Purgin on Wednesday, September 17th, was not headlined nor even the topic of any U.S. news report; it was instead inconspicuously buried halfway through an AP news story that focused on “East Ukraine Casualties.” It’s common for propagandistic news reports, such as characterize the U.S. media, to bury what’s important in the news story, and not even to headline the crucial information, when that information violates the regime’s propaganda line that they’ve been trumpeting.

So: this information was buried, and was not headlined. The American media had portrayed Putin as the aggressor behind Ukraine’s war, and had hidden that Obama was actually the aggressor. The extremely violent February 22nd overthrow of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych was, as this proves, a fascist coup by the U.S. And, as the transcript of the phone conversation between two EU officials shown here documents, they recognized on February 25th that it had been precisely that. Furthermore, President Obama’s agent, Victoria Nuland, on February 4th, had already selected Arseniy Yatsenyuk, whom she affectionately referred to there as “Yats,” to run the country. And her U.S.-engineered coup in Ukraine didn’t occur until February 22nd, and it then installed “Yats” to run the country.

So, this news now, that Putin didn’t even want the Ukrainian rebels’ territory, was not  something that U.S. media intend the U.S. public to recognize suddenly; it’s instead like the non-existent “Saddam’s WMD” that they had trumpeted during 2002 and 2003 but that were all lies — something to be laid only gradually upon their deceived public, so the masses won’t even notice that they’d been lied to.

So, Russia’s Government has made clear that it is not seeking to add to its territory. While Russia has accepted the approximately million refugees who have fled to Russia from Ukraine’s civil war, Russia doesn’t want any part of Ukraine’s territory.

Crimea was a different case: it was traditionally part of Russia, throughout the period 1783-1954, until the leader of the Soviet Union gifted Crimea to Ukraine (the nation that was called the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic) in 1954, but the residents of Crimea never accepted that transfer, and they overwhelmingly considered themselves still to be Russians. Furthermore, the Russian Navy’s lease on the Crimean port of Sebastopol for its Black Sea Fleet extended till 2042, and the February 2014 coup-installed Ukrainian Government wanted to cancel it, which threatened crucial Russian national defense. Furthermore, many of those new, Obama-installed, Ukrainian leaders wanted a nuclear war against Russia. So, Putin needed to be concerned about the Black Sea Fleet, and he accepted Crimea back into Russia, but he will not admit more than that from Ukraine, as being added to Russian territory — at least not now.

Crimea is viewed as being not an addition to Russia, but instead as voluntarily rejoining Russia, irrespective of the new Ukrainian Government’s campaign to eliminate ethnic Russians from Ukraine’s southeast. No other part of post-1954 Ukraine had previously been part of Russia in quite the same sense, and this includes the southeastern portion of Ukraine, whose history had also been predominantly Russian.

Consequently, the ethnic-cleansing campaign that has been going on by the new, Obama-installed, Ukrainian Government, against the residents in Ukraine’s southeast, will no longer have Washington’s support. Obama’s hope — for that ethnic-cleansing to continue at least long enough for the surviving residents there to shrink to a small enough proportion of the total Ukrainian national electorate so that a nationwide Ukrainian election (which hasn’t been held in Ukraine since the February 2014 coup) will choose leaders who are acceptable to the U.S. Government — appears to have ended. On the basis of Obama’s hope to grab all of Ukraine, he had planned and financed that February coup. But now, he settles for only the remaining western stump of it. The eastern part he won’t get. Only by killing and driving out enough of those people – the ones in the areas that overwhelmingly voted for the man whom Obama overthrew – would it become possible for an intact entire Ukraine that allies itself with the U.S. to be democratically stable, not reversed by the election of a pro-Russian leader of all Ukraine. But, instead, Ukraine will lose the land and resources that it had been trying to conquer back from the people who live in Ukraine’s pro-Russian region: the region that rejected Obama’s ethnic-cleansing against them.

President Putin and President Obama have regularly been in direct contact with one-another ever since Obama’s coup occurred in February. Perhaps Putin’s declining to accept Ukrainian territory into Russia is part of an agreement between the two leaders, in which Obama is, for his part, declining the urgings from congressional Republicans and conservative Democrats for the U.S. to provide weapons to the Ukrainian military to expedite America’s ethnic cleansing campaign in Ukraine.

Obama seems to have decided that his desire to grab Ukraine for the U.S. aristocracy (international corporations) must be abandoned now, because it’s not politically practical at the same time when the U.S. is also escalating its military involvements in the Middle East, where the control of oil is an even bigger factor than the matter of gas-fracking is in Ukraine.

Obama is thus folding his Ukraine deck. And Putin doesn’t want it.

The result will be at least two failed states in the former Ukraine: the western part, which will be a bankrupt burden mainly to regular taxpayers in the EU, and the eastern part, which will be a bombed-out wreck right next door to Russia. Already, Russia is sending in food, clothing, and other aid, to the people still left where Ukraine was bombing and killing them, and was destroying their homes and infrastructure.

And, as this scenario plays itself out, it will all come to the public as if it’s new news, and the public won’t even much care that they had been lied to, yet again. When the press is carefully managed, there is no accountability. That’s what the owners of the press want, and it’s why they buy it — to be able to sell to other aristocrats that non-accountability. It’s their racket. And it works well for them.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Palestinian-U.S. Relations Head for Stormy Times

October 3rd, 2014 by Nicola Nasser

Washington’s response to the speech that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered at the UN General Assembly last September 26 confirms that the bilateral Palestinian-U.S. relations are heading for stormy times.

The U.S., which opposed Abbas’ plan to seek a UN Security Council resolution to end the Israeli occupation within a defined timeframe, not only cautioned him against proceeding with any such plan but also issued an official statement condemning the language he used to express the Palestinian people’s opposition to the continued occupation and the ongoing war crimes that Israel is perpetrating in the territories it occupied in 1967.

“Abbas’ speech today included offensive characterizations that were deeply disappointing and which we reject,” U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement on last September 27, which criticised Abbas’ speech as “provocative,” “counterproductive” and undermines “efforts to create a positive atmosphere and restore trust between the parties.”

Clearly, Abbas bent before the onslaught of the winds of American rejection. He “submitted” his plan to the General Assembly but he did not ask to bring it to a vote in order to secure an international resolution that would strengthen his hand when he submitted it to the Security Council. It is also noteworthy that while he called for a deadline to end the occupation he omitted the three-year timeframe that he had previously stipulated.

There is no serious Palestinian opposition to Abbas’ plan to internationalise the search for a political solution to the Palestinian struggle to end the occupation of Jerusalem , the West Bank and Gaza . It would be extremely difficult to come up with a Palestinian who would argue against replacing US sponsorship with UN sponsorship of the process of reaching a negotiated settlement with the Israeli occupying power. Indeed, this direction is supported by a near unanimity of Palestinian opinion, including among resistance factions that have given Abbas a chance to put his strategy to a last test without obstructing his manoeuvrability.

But Abbas’ plan signifies that he has thrown in the towel on his reliance on U.S. sponsorship, which in turn means confrontation with Washington . Clearly, he will not succeed in neutralising the U.S. by merely bowing before its opposition to his plan or by asking for U.S. approval. Certainly, he should not hold out any hope that Washington will not use its veto to defeat his proposed resolution in the UN Security Council. Nor will he placate the U.S. by deferring Palestinian applications to join international treaties and organisations, such as the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

All the indications are that the U.S. will campaign against the Abbas plan and continue to insist on brokering a solution that it has been unable to produce during the more than two decades in which it monopolised the sponsoring the negotiating process with the Israeli occupying power.

On September 23, 88 US senators signed a letter urging U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to take prevent:

“negative developments at the UN General Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, and the International Criminal Court that could derail any prospects for the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.”

Senator Rand Paul refused to sign this letter. He wants Washington to cut off “all aid to the Palestinian Authority until the conditions in Senator Paul’s Stand with Israel Act are met,” according to his e-mail statement to The Washington Post that day.

Warning Abbas “that America ’s willingness to cooperate with him will continue to depend on his willingness to return to the negotiating table with the Government of Israel and avoid unilateral measures,” the senators were keen to sustain the usual U.S. “carrot-and-stick” policy, in this case by “enabling the Palestinian Authority to move toward becoming the Palestinian governing authority in Gaza .” This was their bribe to him.

But any policy of confrontation with the U.S. means that Abbas must reject all U.S. bribes, which would inevitably come at the cost of sacrificing the Palestinian resistance.

In addition, in a confrontation of that sort, Abbas would risk losing Arab support in view of the Arab consensus to ally with — or at least not oppose — the U.S. in the war it has declared against ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ). Therefore, the resistance and Palestinian national unity will be the only foundation on which President Abbas can rely in the confrontation.

In this context, the Arab League’s declared support for the Abbas’ plan lacks credibility and cannot be relied on when it comes to confronting the U.S. In fact, in the event of a confrontation, the likelihood is that this support would dwindle and fade and turn into an American tool to pressure the PA presidency into bowing to U.S. conditions.

This confrontation is foreshadowed by preliminary chapters of the same, especially since 2011 when the U.S. defeated the Palestinian drive to obtain UN recognition of Palestine as a member state. The following year, the U.S. was not able to prevent the UN from recognising Palestine as a non-member observer state. But Palestinian memory has not forgotten how the U.S. undermined Palestinian accomplishments, such as the International Court of Justice recommendation regarding the separating wall designed to annex another chunk of the West Bank , and the Goldstein Report. The Palestinians remember very well how the U.S. obstructed dozens of international resolutions in support of Palestinian rights and how it continuously prevented the international community from sponsoring any just negotiating process that might end Washington’s own monopoly over what it fraudulently calls the “peace process,” in which the U.S. has never been an honest broker.

The US-Palestinian confrontation was inevitable, even if much delayed. Palestinian leaders from both the resistance and the negotiating factions always tried to avert it. The Palestinians never chose confrontation; successive US administrations however were constantly bent on forcing it on the Palestinian people.

If President Abbas, who for decades placed his faith in U.S. good will, has finally reached the conclusion that it is futile to continue to depend on the U.S. and that now is the time to stand up to Washington and turn to the international community to sponsor his negotiating strategy. His decision will receive the unanimous support of the Palestinian people. However, if he backs down, he will undergo the most important test of his political career, as he will come face-to-face with the people’s judgment of the credibility of his strategic choices, which have never obtained a national or popular consensus.

The choice of confrontation also entails the need to press forward in creating and setting into motion the mechanisms for implementing the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, as well as the need to respond quickly to the overwhelming Palestinian demand to apply for the membership of international treaties and organisations.

But above all, it requires safeguarding the resistance in all its forms and developing it in quantity and quality until its scope is expanded to embrace all the Palestinian people, wherever they may be. Confrontation means refusing to allow Ezz Al-Din Al-Qassam to be assassinated twice!

Even if the inconceivable occurred and the U.S. acknowledged the will of the international community in support of Palestinian rights, refrained from using its influence to stop Abbas’ plan and even refrained from wielding its veto in the UN Security Council, there remains the perpetual risk that the UN resolution would amount to no more than a paper victory to add to the pile of Palestinian paper victories, since any such political victory requires a national force to translate it into a reality on the ground in the occupied territories.

If the Palestinian presidency does not respond to these needs and demands, which receive the full support of the Palestinian people, he will find himself once again singing outside the his national flock.

Regardless of whether or not there is a confrontation with the U.S. , these needs and demands are national requirements that must be promoted, enhanced and developed, because they are indispensable if Palestinian popular will is to succeed in liberating its land and translating “paper” victories into real victories on the ground.

The Palestinians have learned an important lesson from their enemy. The Palestinian national movement has dozens of international resolutions in its favour. This is something the Zionist movement never possessed throughout its history, apart from that one non-binding partition resolution, 181, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1947. But this one resolution the Zionists had translated into reality on the ground and then expanded on it through the exercise of overwhelming military force. This is the power that Palestinians are being prevented from possessing today, just as has been the case in the past.

May God bless late Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel-Nasser who always said that what has been taken away by force can only be regained by force. History has proven him right and events have shown that the course the Arabs and Palestinians took after he died — which headed in the opposite direction to his — was gravely wrong, indeed sinful.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories ([email protected]).

This article was first published and translated from Arabic by Al-Ahram Weekly on October 3, 2014.

How to Resist Vulture Funds and Financial Imperialism?

October 3rd, 2014 by Eric Toussaint

Speech delivered at the International Seminar on “Alternatives to financial imperialism and vulture funds” held in Caracas (Venezuela), on 12th August 2014 |1|

Panel moderator: Dr. Eric Toussaint has come from Belgium to be with us today. Born in Namur (Belgium) in 1954, with a PhD in Political Sciences, he is a historian, economist, political scientist, a member of the Presidential Commission of Integral Audit of Public Credit (CAIC) in Ecuador, a member of the International Secretariat of the Fourth international, the President of the CADTM (Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt), and a senior lecturer at the University of Liège (Belgium).

Let me start with vulture funds. I believe they are an extreme version of finance capitalism. An extreme version, that is to say that they are the vanguard, followed by troops called Goldman Sachs, Santander, JP Morgan, BBVA, Citibank, etc.

Judge Griesa’s verdict rolled back Latin America’s wheels to the late 19th and early 20th century, a time when the US and other creditors could directly intervene in order to enforce debt repayment. Therefore, it was extremely challenging for the organizers to include the Drago Doctrine Argentine Foreign Minister Luis María Drago formulated the Drago doctrine in 1902. It was a response to the intervention of the UK, Germany and Italy, that had blocked and bombarded ports after President Cipriano Castro refused to pay Venezuela’s immense external debts. Despite the Monroe Doctrine’s stipulations, the US refused to defend Venezuela, on the grounds that it was not warranted in this case, vis-à-vis the refusal to pay debts. The Drago doctrine |2| on this forum’s agenda as an alternative. It is an important issue indeed. What is the Drago Doctrine? The Foreign Affairs Minister Elías Jaua has already mentioned and highlighted Drago’s contribution during Venezuela’s conflict with its creditors in 1902. |3|

In fact, there are two doctrines: the Drago Doctrine and the Calvo Doctrine |4|, both named after Argentine jurists. Calvo, who issued the first doctrine, held that in case of conflict with foreign investors, Latin American countries should resort to their national jurisdiction and that they cannot transfer the jurisdiction for legal settlements to the US or other countries.

Drago, Argentine foreign minister in 1902, partly adopted the Calvo Doctrine and added that military forces could not be used for collection of payments against external debt. At that time, this led to a diplomatic debate because, obviously, the US strongly opposed both Drago’s and Calvo’s doctrines. However, during the 1920s and 30s the Latin American countries adopted and incorporated elements of the Drago and Calvo Doctrines in their national constitutions.

Since the 1980s, however, these doctrines have had limited applications throughout the subcontinent under the pressure of the neoliberal offensive. For example, while the Argentine constitution clearly incorporated the Calvo and Drago Doctrines, in practice, Argentina relinquished its sovereignty and immunity in the contracts for transferring debt securities after the military dictatorship of 1976. Since then it has allowed the US jurisdiction to solve disputes.

Certainly we must condemn judge Griesa’s ruling. We must condemn the interference of the US and the judge in Argentine issues, but the Latin American countries should implement the Calvo and Drago doctrines in order to counter this interference. Therefore, when the Latin American countries float securities, they must specify in the contract that the local and national jurisdiction will be the competent authority in case of litigations. This is a fundamental issue and the first step towards confronting the current situation and preventing the spread of similar offensives against other Latin American countries.

As for alternatives, I think it is equally important to convince other Latin American countries to follow the examples of Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador, who have decided to withdraw fromICSID, the court of the World Bank. |5| These three governments, with Bolivia at the helm since 2008, decided not to further participate in the World Bank tribunal for the settlement of investment disputes. If Argentina decides likewise, it would be an excellent signal for Latin America. Brazil does not recognize the ICSID’s jurisdiction either and is perhaps the only Latin American country which in line with its status as regional superpower most convincingly asserts its sovereignty and actually signs very few treaties that allow the transfer of its sovereignty to other jurisdictions.
Besides, as Luis Bilbao |6| has pointed out, vulture funds compel us to address the issue of external debt, which is mostly illegitimate anyway.

A part of Argentina’s present debt is inherited from the military junta’s debts contracted between 1976 and 1983. It is a legacy of Carlos Menem’s loans in the 1990s when he enforced a brutal neoliberal policy. It is inherited from the “mega-exchange” of debt securities (Megacanje) organized in 2001 by Domingo Cavallo, Minister of Economy in the De La Rúa Government, which fell under pressure from the street (… “de la rúa“) in December 2001.

How did Rodríguez Saá, interim President for one week, act during the last week of December 2001? He decided to unilaterally suspend debt payment and said, if I remember correctly, “until we have total employment in the country, I am suspending debt repayment.”

Between 2001 and 2005 Argentina suspended payment of its commercial debt for a sum of about $90 billion. This measure helped Argentina improve its economic level, taking advantage of the increase in export prices. Since 2003 it has been able to invest in economic development and to fully recover.

While the process of debt restructuring started in 2005 and consisting of an exchange of securities led to a significant debt reduction, Argentina simultaneously signed new contracts in which it accepted transfer of its legal sovereignty and waived immunity. In 2010 Argentina re-opened its debt exchange programme on the same basis.

So, of course, we are denouncing vulture funds, but we must be aware that our enemies will take advantage of our mistakes. They can eventually impose their interests with the help of these strategic or tactical errors.

Let me come back to the debt issue since it has been converted into a powerful instrument for subordinating the Latin American people. An instrument, which in the coming years will focus on promoting neo-liberal policies as is currently the case in Europe. Indeed Europe is currently the epicenter of the offensive of capital against labor, of creditors against the indebted.

I think we should not dismiss the possibility of an outbreak of a new external debt crisis in the coming years. This can affect Latin America for two reasons. First, the US will hike interest rates internationally. It has already been decided, they have announced it. Now they are advancing step by step: if interest rates are very low for the time being, they will go up in the future, that’s for sure. Then there is the question of a drop in raw material prices. This issue deserves consideration too. An increase in international interest rates combined with a plunge in export prices of oil, soybeans (for Argentina), minerals, etc., may, as in the eighties, leave Latin America in the vicious circle of public debt. I think we must combine different strategies to avoid this trap. From here we move to alternatives.

History shows that a country can protect the interests of its people through unilateral sovereign acts based on international law.

This takes us back to the 19th century. In 1861 Benito Juárez of Zapotec origin – the first indigenous Latin American president – decided as President of Mexico to suspend debt payment to France and London. A French military invasion followed and Emperor Maximilian was crowned, later to be ousted by the Mexican people’s resistance and Benito Juárez’s victory. In 1867, the Mexican army which won against France executed this emperor that Napoleon III had set up.

Also to remind you, since I am dabbling in history here, that Karl Marx wrote (in 1867) in Capital Volume I, Chapter 31:-

“National debts, i.e., the alienation of the state – whether despotic, constitutional or republican – marked with its stamp the capitalistic era…The public debt becomes one of the most powerful levers of primitive accumulation…With the national debt arose an international credit system, which often conceals one of the sources of primitive accumulation in this or that people.”  |7|

Let’s go back to public debt, which is likely to be used as an instrument of domination in the coming years.

Let’s look at the 20th century now. Remember that at the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1914, default in debt payment was one of the first decisions of Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. Mexico suspended debt payments between 1914 and 1942 and managed to persuade its creditors to grant a 90% waiver in its debts as of 1914, that is to say, the arrears of interest were not considered.   |8| It was an absolute victory that demonstrates the importance of a unilateral sovereign act against creditors.

During the 1930s, 14 Latin American countries suspended their foreign debt payment, including Cuba (1933) and Getulio Vargas’ Brazil (1933) where a debt audit was organized resulting in a 60% waiver in 1943 through debt restructuring. |9|

If we compare countries that suspended their debt payment in the 1930s to those which continued payments, we will see that the former experienced a stronger growth, despite reprisals.

Let me cite the recent case of Ecuador. I have been part of the Commission of Integral Audit of Public Debt (CIAC) formed in 2007 by President Rafael Correa. |10| It involved 18 people – 12 Ecuadorians and 6 international representatives including Alejandro Olmos Gaona from Argentina. This Commission analyzed Ecuador’s debt (1976-2006) for 14 months and then submitted its findings to the government of Rafael Correa, |11| which, in November 2008, unilaterally suspended payment of a portion of its commercial debt. Correa had the resources to pay but said- “It is an illegitimate debt, there is no justification for repaying an illegitimate debt”. The results of the debt audit helped him to persuade creditors to grant a 70% reduction in June 2009. We can clearly see the difference between Argentina’s decisions taken in the 2000s and Ecuador’s decisions for an audit which led to a repurchase (not an exchange) of bonds at 30 cents to the dollar. Under such circumstances it was impossible to sue Ecuador in the US courts since the securities no longer existed. No exchange had taken place. We can draw important lessons from Ecuador’s example. |12|
Third example: as I said earlier, Europe has recently become the epicenter of a brutal neoliberal capitalist assault. Greece’s current situation is similar to that of Latin American and Asian countries during 1980-90. It is ruled by the decisions made by the IMF and creditors.

Iceland’s case is little known, both in Europe and in the rest of the world. Its banking system totally collapsed in 2008, in the wake of Ecuador’s in 1999. A strong popular mobilization led Iceland to stop servicing its external debt to the UK and the Netherlands. The UK raised a great hue and cry against the unilateral decision of nonpayment, classified Iceland as a terrorist country on a par with Al Qaeda and froze its assets in the UK. Yet, popular resistance and two referendums have so far prevented the government from paying its debt to the UK and the Netherlands. As a result of this unilateral sovereign act, Iceland has known a stronger economic growth than any other European country. We can compare Iceland, which disobeyed creditors, and Greece, which accepted the domination of creditors and ended up with a 20% plunge in GDP, comparable to the Argentine situation between 1999 and late 2001-early 2002.

That countries can rightfully take unilateral sovereign actions is in itself a strong argument.

If we expect international law courts to agree with Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, we are dreaming of a world that has yet to come. We must take unilateral sovereign actions. This happens in the US all the time where unilateral sovereign actions are taken every day, for the wrong reasons: the embargo against Cuba and support for Israel, for example. Israel’s unilateral sovereign acts have snowballed in a near wipeout of the Palestine people. Still nothing is happening …

Why not act in a sovereign and unilateral manner, not forgetting the arguments of international law, in order to respect the social debt towards peoples and simultaneously speed up the Bank of the South’s launch in Latin America, control the movement of capital where it is entirely unchecked, maintain or implement exchange controls, nationalize private banking, establish public monopoly over foreign trade.

Luis Bilbao concluded by saying that there can be no solution without a socialist revolution and programme. These are part of the transitional demands for Socialism. We should go beyond rhetoric to denounce imperialism and vulture funds. We should look for ways to integrate peoples; follow the path of Hugo Chavez when he called for a Bank of the South, integration of the peoples, and other mechanisms for integration to champion human rights.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Translated by Suchandra De Sarkar in collaboration with Christine Pagnoulle

Notes

|1| Speakers in this international seminar included Delcy Rodríguez, Minister of Communication and Information; Elías Jaua, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela; Carlos Cheppi, Argentina’s ambassador to Venezuela; Eric Toussaint, CADTM; Luis Bilbao, Revista America XXI, Argentina, … Introduction by Delcy Rodriguez http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRNe… Video recording of Eric Toussaint’s speech http://cadtm.org/Alternativas-al-im…. See also http://cadtm.org/El-historiador-bel…

|2| countered this by stating that no foreign country could collect debt payments forcefully. The Drago doctrine is based on the Calvo doctrine but the two should not be confused

|3| See Elías Jaua Milano,“Fondos buitres, la barbarie capitalista available in Spanish athttp://cadtm.org/Fondos-buitres-la-…

|4| The Calvo Doctrine, named after Carlos Calvo (1824-1906), is a doctrine of international law which states that people living in a foreign country must file their pleas, complaints and grievances to the jurisdiction of local courts without calling for diplomatic pressure or military intervention. Appeals should be made to international diplomatic channels only when all local legal avenues are exhausted. Several Latin American countries have incorporated this doctrine in their constitutions.

|5| ICSID: International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

|6| Luis Bilbao’s speech http://www.luis-bilbao.com.ar/2014/…

|7https://www.marxists.org/archive/ma…

|8|  See Eric Toussaint, “Mexique : le scandale silencieux de la dette extérieure et du modèle néolibéral”, July 2002, available in French at http://cadtm.org/Mexique-le-scandal…

|9| See Eric Toussaint, “Retour dans le passé: mise en perspective des crises de la dette” in La bourse ou la vie. La Finance contre les peuples, joint publication from CADTM-Syllepse-Cetim, 2004.

|10| See Eric Toussaint, “An III de la révolution citoyenne en Equateur”, published on 22nd October, 2009, available in French at  http://cadtm.org/An-III-de-la-revol….

|11| Spanish and English versions of CIAC’s final report can be downloaded in pdf format fromhttp://www.auditoriadeuda.org.ec/in…

|12| See Eric Toussaint, “Les leçons de l’Équateur pour l’annulation de la dette illégitime”, published on 29th May 2013 in French, http://cadtm.org/Les-lecons-de-l-Eq… video version is available here: http://cadtm.org/Les-lecons-de-l-Eq…

There is irrefutable evidence that the National Guard and ultra-nationalist Right Sector fighters are responsible for the murder of people recently discovered in mass burial sites near Donetsk, eastern Ukraine said Russia’s Investigative Committee.

“For those who have doubts regarding who’s responsible for these murders, the Investigative Committee has irrefutable evidence – witness accounts and appropriate examinations – that directly indicates that this crime was committed by fighters from the National Guard and Right Sector,” the committee’s head Vladimir Markin in a statement on Wednesday.

The mass graves discovered in September near the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine “are further eloquent testimony to the atrocities of the Ukrainian nationalists,” Markin said, adding that “all of the victims were tortured before their murder.”

The murders were described in detail in the testimony of a soldier from the ‘Dnepr’ battalion, Sergey Litvinov, detained in a Russian hospital as a civilian after he fled Ukraine, Markin said. Currently Litvinov is under arrest and is to be transferred to Moscow for further questioning, he added.

Litvinov “personally killed civilians not involved in the military conflict, including women and children residents of the villages Melovoye, Shiroky, Makarovo and Kamushnoye, guided by anonymous denunciations,” Markin said, quoting the soldier’s testimony.

“What is more interesting that this fighter received a money reward for the killings from his leadership sponsored by Igor Kolomoysky,” Markin said, referring the Kiev-appointed Dnepropetrovsk governor and prominent oligarch.

“We know the names of many of the commanders of military units, the militants of the Right Sector and the National Guard, who carry out criminal orders of the military and political leadership of Ukraine,” Markin said, adding that all of them will sooner or later have to answer “not only before the law, but also to their own conscience.”

In the Wednesday statement the spokesman of the Investigative Committee stressed that all information and evidence of the crimes is provided by direct witnesses, primarily refugees who fled the region of military operations.

There are over 300,000 refugees who fled to Russia, according to Markin. Over 60,000 were questioned and 12,000 of them were confirmed to be victims, he added.

“In addition to eyewitness accounts, many victims have provided evidence to the Russian Investigative Committee and evidence in the form of soil samples, genetic material. These samples were thoroughly examined, confirming the testimony of witnesses and victims themselves.”

Markin slammed Ukraine’s General Prosecutor’s Office for failing to carry out its own investigation.

“What prevented andis preventing them now from conducting their own investigation into the massacres of the civilian population and to try to protect the innocent population of Donbass instead of makinghysterical statements about the alleged ‘interference’ in the affairs of a sovereign republic?” he questioned.

The discovery of the graves was made on September 23 by self-defense forces, who were responding to information given to them by locals, who said that they had been dug by Ukrainian government forces. The OSCE confirmed the finding on September 25 and reported its concerns to the European Union.

A Donetsk People's Republic militiaman is at the site of the graves of peaceful residents discovered near Mine 22 "Kommunar" outside Donetsk (still from video courtesy of the Ruptly international news agency.)A Donetsk People’s Republic militiaman is at the site of the graves of peaceful residents discovered near Mine 22 “Kommunar” outside Donetsk (still from video courtesy of the Ruptly international news agency.)

It is amazing how the government manages to continue selling Brooklyn Bridges to a gullible public. Americans buy wars they don’t need and economic recoveries that do not exist.

The best investment in America is a highly leveraged fund that invests only in large cap companies that are buying back their own stocks. Many of the firms repurchasing their stocks are borrowing in order to push up their stock prices, executive “performance bonuses,” and shareholders’ capital gains. The debt incurred will have to be serviced by future earnings. This is not a picture of capitalism that is driving the economy by investment.

Neither is consumer spending driving the economy. The US Census Bureau’s 2013 Income and Poverty Report concludes that in 2013 real median household income was 8 percent below the amount in 2007, the year prior to the 2008 recession and has declined to the level in 1994, two decades ago! 

Even though real household income has not regained the pre-recession level and has declined to the level 20 years ago, the government and financial press claim that the economy has been in recovery since June 2009.

Neither is an increase in consumer debt driving the economy. The only growth in personal debt is in student loans.

Real retail sales (corrected with a non-rigged measure of inflation) remain at the level of the bottom of the recession in 2009. Macy’s , J.C. Penny’s, and Sears store closings are further evidence of the lack of retail sales growth, as is the fact that two of the three dollar store chains are in trouble. Walmart’s sales are declining.

The basis of auto sales hype is subprime loans and leases taken by those who cannot qualify for a loan to purchase.

Housing starts remain far below the pre-recession level, which is not surprising when available jobs are part-time with no benefits. Such jobs cannot support the formation of households and purchase of homes.

Where does the government’s second quarter 2014 real GDP growth rate of 4.6 percent come from? It comes from an understated inflation measure and jiggled numbers. It is not a correct figure. Nothing has occurred in the economy to turn it from a first quarter decline of more than 2 percent into a second quarter growth of 4.6 percent.

The 4.6 percent number is pulled out of a hat to set the stage for the November election.

It is extraordinary that economists and the financial media permit the government to get away with its false economic reporting. Of course Wall Street likes good news . . . but fake news that misleads investors and covers up economic policy mistakes?

Clearly, something is wrong with the government’s economic reporting. It is not possible to have real GDP growth when real median family incomes are declining and business investment consists of corporations buying back their own shares. Either the government’s GDP estimate is incorrect or the Census Bureau’s Income and Poverty report is incorrect. Apparently Washington doesn’t understand that if it is going to rig the numbers, it must rig all the numbers.

The rigged inflation measures create illusionary real GDP growth. They also block cost-of-living adjustments to Social Security pensions. Indeed, the main purpose of the rigged inflation measures is to get rid of “socialistic” Social Security by allowing inflation to gradually erode away the real values of “entitlements.” Republicans always want to cut “entitlements” that people have paid for over their working lifetime with the payroll tax. But Republicans never want to cut the payroll tax. They need the revenues in order to bail out the big banks and to pay for never-ending wars.

Washington has been conducting needless wars abroad for 93 percent of the 21st century at a cost of trillions of dollars. More trillions have been wasted bailing out banks that deregulation permitted to become “too big to fail.” During the past seven years, millions of Americans have lost their jobs and their homes, and food stamp rolls have reached record numbers. These hurting Americans have been ignored by policy-makers in Washington.

Clearly, government in America is focused on something different from a healthy economy and the well being of citizens. We call it democracy, but it’s not.

Efforts to bring natural Ebola treatments to suffering West Africans have been squelched by the World Health Organization (WHO), which recently blocked multiple shipments of nanosilver solution measuring at 10 parts per million (ppm) from entering the region, leaving thousands to suffer needlessly.

WHO officials also reportedly called off a trial at an Ebola isolation ward where local health authorities were set to begin administering the silver, which the U.S. government previously demonstrated is highly effective against Ebola. WHO ordered the trial not to proceed despite the fact that it had earlier voiced support for experimental treatments.

Both WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have given their blessing to experimental therapies for Ebola, citing a lack of proven treatment options. But when it comes to using therapeutic silver, all bets are off, it seems.

Authorities block small shipment of nanosilver three times

According to the Natural Solutions Foundation (NSF), efforts to ship nanosilver into Sierra Leone have thus far failed. The organization has been trying to deliver a shipment of 200 bottles of nanosilver 10 ppm, and 100 tubes of nanosilver gel, to no avail. At this point, the shipment has been returned to the U.S. for the third time.

“That parcel, shipped Air Express at a cost of $3400 to Sierra Leone on August 20, never made it out of Paris,” reads an NSF action alert. “Air France has yet to find a reason for that. But it made its way back to the US again, apparently for the 3rd time without being delivered to Africa.”

People are dying, and bureaucrats are still playing politics with silver

Formerly classified documents obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) reveal that antimicrobial silver solutions like the kind NSF is trying to deliver to Africa have proven benefits in fighting Ebola and other forms of hemorrhagic fever. Research conducted by the DOD and several other federal agencies back in 2008 confirmed this, though health regulators largely ignored it.

A presentation entitled “Silver Nanoparticles Neutralize Hemorrhagic Fever Viruses,” which revealed exactly what its name suggests, was buried and kept secret for years. In essence, investigators determined that simple silver solutions neutralize viruses like Arenavirus and Filovirus, both of which are related to Ebola.

Interestingly, the research was conducted with the backing of the DOD’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and the U.S. Strategic Command Center for Combating Weapons of Mass Destruction. The presentation was given by researchers from the Applied Biotechnology Branch, 711th Human Performance Wing of the Air Force Research Laboratory.

But not a single mainstream media outlet reported on the presentation, and to this day its findings have been largely ignored by establishment health authorities. Sadly, this political quagmire — nanosilver is an obvious threat to pharmaceutical interests, and thus is being marginalized — is resulting in thousands of needless deaths in West Africa with no end in sight.

Contact your representatives and demand that nanosilver be used in Africa

NSF is calling on 10 million people to write their representatives and demand that clinical trials be conducted on nanosilver in Africa. The group says doctors and nurses need nanosilver to protect themselves, and patients need it to overcome the disease. Recommended dosages for each application are available at the following link; at the bottom of this page, you can also contact your representatives by inputting your zip code:
SalsaLabs.com.

Sources:

http://org.salsalabs.com

http://thesilveredge.com

http://www.npr.org

http://science.naturalnews.com

Time to Change Course:  All U.S. forces must be brought home immediately

U.S. and Afghan officials signed a Bilateral Security Agreement that allows the U.S. to keep 10,000 service members in Afghanistan past December 2014. A separate agreement was signed with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) who may contribute about 2,000 troops. The U.S. led force will focus on two missions: one charged with training Afghan security forces and the other to conduct counter-terrorism operations.  Also, as part of the agreement, the Afghan government and Armed Forces will continue to receive billions of dollars in foreign aid it needs to survive.

Veterans For Peace calls for total withdrawal of U.S. troops and calls on the government of the United States to provide humanitarian aid directly to the people of Afghanistan, in non-coercive forms, to help the Afghan people rebuild their own lives and nation in cooperation with other nations in the region.  The people of Afghanistan should be allowed to freely determine their own government without interference by the US.

“After thirteen years of warfare in Afghanistan, what have we accomplished?,” asked Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans For Peace.  “Why will training Afghan forces and conducting counter-terrorism work now if it has not worked for more than a decade?

“U.S. policy has brought near or complete disintegration of civil society in several nations – Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Libya – which are now dominated by more vicious and angry violent militants than ever. Never-ending war and relying on the use of force has only caused more violence and death.  After a decade of more guns, bombs and money to kill people, it’s time for a new direction.”

This Bilateral Security Agreement was signed one day after the new Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and his chief rival, Mr. Abdullah Abdullah who is now chief executive officer in a new power-sharing position, took office. Both men had pledged to sign an agreement with the U.S. if they won election.

There is opposition to the agreement in Afghanistan because it bars Afghan courts from trying U.S. soldiers for alleged abuses. Former President Hamid Karzai stunned Afghans and international officials alike by refusing to sign the security deal with Washington last November, saying in part that U.S. forces had not done enough to curb civilian casualties and raids on civilians’ homes. Karzai also stated that the agreements would undermine chances for peace with the Taliban, who remain a formidable threat to the central government.

In previous statements Veterans For Peace has pointed out that a State Department Report on terrorism released earlier this year states that since 2012, global terrorism has increased by 43%. Most of those increases are due to incidents in Iraq, followed by Taliban activities in Afghanistan.

“Clearly this U.S. foreign policy that relies heavily on war, killing people and attempting to bomb them into submission is resulting in increased terrorist activity, not bringing stability,” concluded Michael McPhearson of Veterans For Peace.

If there is a major Ebola pandemic in America, all of the liberties and the freedoms that you currently enjoy would be gone.  If government officials believe that you have the virus, federal law allows them to round you up and detain you “for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary.”  In addition, the CDC already has the authority to quarantine healthy Americans if they reasonably believe that they may become sick.  During an outbreak, the government can force you to remain isolated in your own home, or the government may forcibly take you to a treatment facility, a tent city, a sports stadium, an old military base or a camp.  You would not have any choice in the matter.  And you would be forced to endure any medical procedure mandated by the government.  That includes shots, vaccines and the drawing of blood.  During such a scenario, you can scream about your “rights” all that you want, but it won’t do any good.

In case you are tempted to think that I am making this up, I want you to read what federal law actually says.  The following is 42 U.S.C. 264(d).  I have added bold for emphasis…

(1) Regulations prescribed under this section may provide for the apprehension and examination of any individual reasonably believed to be infected with a communicable disease in a qualifying stage and (A) to be moving or about to move from a State to another State; or (B) to be a probable source of infection to individuals who, while infected with such disease in a qualifying stage, will be moving from a State to another State. Such regulations may provide that if upon examination any such individual is found to be infected, he may be detained for such time and in such manner as may be reasonably necessary. For purposes of this subsection, the term “State” includes, in addition to the several States, only the District of Columbia.

(2) For purposes of this subsection, the term “qualifying stage”, with respect to a communicable disease, means that such disease—

(A) is in a communicable stage; or

(B) is in a precommunicable stage, if the disease would be likely to cause a public health emergency if transmitted to other individuals.

In addition, as I discussed above, the CDC already has the authority to isolate people that are not sick to see if they do become sick.  The following is what the CDC website says about this…

Quarantine is used to separate and restrict the movement of well persons who may have been exposed to a communicable disease to see if they become ill. These people may have been exposed to a disease and do not know it, or they may have the disease but do not show symptoms. Quarantine can also help limit the spread of communicable disease.

On a very basic level, we are already starting to see this happen in Texas.  Obviously Thomas Eric Duncan has already been “isolated”, and now his family has been placed under mandatory quarantine and ordered not to leave their home for 21 days

Texas health officials have placed the Dallas family of a Liberian national infected with Ebola under quarantine and ordered them not to leave their home or have any contact with outsiders for 21 days without approval of the local or state health department.

The “control order” also requires the family of Thomas Eric Duncan to be available to provide blood samples and agree to any testing required by public health officials. Officials said Thursday that the four or five family members could face criminal charges for violating the order, which was delivered to them in writing Wednesday evening.

Police have been stationed at the apartment complex to ensure residents’ safety, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings told a news briefing Thursday afternoon.

If we could all just stay in our homes during a national Ebola emergency, that wouldn’t be so bad.

But if thousands (or even millions) of cases start popping up it simply will not be possible for law enforcement authorities to monitor so many homes.

This is a point that Mike Adams of Natural News made exceptionally well…

When just one family is suspected of carrying Ebola, they can be easily monitored in a “volunteer home isolation” scenario. But what happens when it’s 100 families? 500? 1,000? At that point, there aren’t enough state or federal workers to keep an eye on these people, and the quarantine effort will almost certainly shift to forced relocation into quarantine camps.

Those camps will, of course, be called something nice-sounding like “Community Health Centers.” No one in government or media will call them camps, even though they are camps. The word “camp” brings up echoes of “concentration camps” and the government definitely wants to avoid that association.

If one particular town or city is hit especially hard with the virus, there is a likelihood of the entire town being quarantined. No one in, no one out. Everybody will be ordered to “shelter in place” in their own homes for at least 21 days while health workers wearing hazmat suits go door to door, identifying Ebola victims and “relocating” them to the “Community Health Centers.”

If that sounds like “martial law” to you, that is because it would essentially be martial law.

For the moment, public health authorities are pledging that nothing like this will ever happen because they have everything completely under control.

Others are not so sure.

For example, on Thursday a doctor from Missouri named Gil Mobley checked in for a flight at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport dressed in a mask, goggles, gloves, boots and a protective white jumpsuit.  On the back of the jumpsuit, he had written the following words:  “CDC is lying!”

Mobley believes that we are not being told the truth about the spread of Ebola.  And he is convinced that as Ebola continues to spread exponentially, that we will eventually “be importing clusters of Ebola on a daily basis”

“Once this disease consumes every third world country, as surely it will, because they lack the same basic infrastructure as Sierra Leone and Liberia, at that point, we will be importing clusters of Ebola on a daily basis,” Mobley predicted. “That will overwhelm any advanced country’s ability to contain the clusters in isolation and quarantine. That spells bad news.”

Mobley, a Medical College of Georgia graduate who had an overnight layover after flying to Atlanta from Guatemala on Wednesday, said that he feels that the CDC is “asleep at the wheel” when it comes to screening passengers arriving in the United States from other countries.

“Yesterday, I came through international customs at the Atlanta airport,” the doctor told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The only question they asked arriving passengers is if they had tobacco or alcohol.”

Earlier on Thursday, there were reports of people being tested for Ebola in HawaiiKentucky and Utah.  None of those tests has produced a confirmed case of Ebola as I write this article.

Many Americans are still treating this Ebola crisis as if it was just one big joke.

But Ebola is no joking matter.  This is a very, very serious disease.

Just consider the experience of one British health worker that witnessed a young brother and sister both die one day apart

‘The next morning I came in and saw him lying as I had left him, on the bed.

‘He wasn’t breathing. I remember going up to him and looking at his face, his lips were drawn back in a grimace, and his eyes were vacant, lying in a pool of his own diarrhea.

‘I lifted his hand to try, just to confirm things and his whole body turned rigid and cold.

‘I put him in a body bag as his sister looked on.

‘She seemed more baffled than anything, not really understanding what was happening. I carried his corpse outside with the others.

‘The little girl, she deteriorated the next day. Overnight, the following night she had intravenous fluids and the line came out and she bled.

‘I came in the following morning and she was covered in blood. She still had a very puzzled expression on her face and she wasn’t breathing.

‘So I put her in a bag and left her next to her brother. She was a beautiful little girl.’

Hopefully our medical authorities are correct and this virus will not spread easily in this country.

But at this point even some of our top politicians are wondering if we are truly getting accurate information.  For example, check out what U.S. Senator Rand Paul had to say on the Laura Ingraham Show just recently…

“I really think that it is being dominated by political correctness and I think because of political correctness we’re not really making sound, rational, scientific decisions on this.” Paul said referring to statements issued by the CDC last week that assured there was little risk of an outbreak occurring in the US.

“We should not underestimate the transmissibility of this,” said Paul, a doctor himself, adding that medical workers have been contracting the virus even though they are taking precautions and covering themselves with gowns and masks.

My suspicion is that it’s a lot more transmissible than that if people who are taking every precaution are getting it. There are people getting it who simply helped people get in or out of a taxicab.” Paul said.

Let’s pray that this crisis fizzles out, because if it doesn’t, we could truly be looking at the greatest health crisis that any of us have ever seen.

And along with countless numbers of people getting sick and dying, we would also have to deal with government-imposed medical martial law.

The stakes are extremely high, and so let us hope that this crisis does not escalate any further.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists have purportedly opened a consulate in Turkey and use it to issue visas for those who want to join the fight against the Syrian and Iraqi governments.

The Turkish daily Aydinlik said in a recent report that the consulate was founded in the Cankaya district of the capital Ankara.

The militants are said to be operating freely inside the country without much problem.

Other reports said the members of the Takfiri group have rented luxurious houses in the upscale neighborhood of the capital and Istanbul and use them for residence or as offices.

The terrorists are said to be using minibuses with black windows to get around the city.

The ISIL Takfiri terrorists currently control parts of Syria and Iraq. They have threatened all communities, including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds, Christians, Izadi Kurds and others, as they continue their atrocities in Iraq.

Senior Iraqi officials have blamed Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and some Persian Gulf Arab states for the growing terrorism in their country.

The terrorist group has links with Saudi intelligence and is believed to be indirectly supported by the Israeli regime.

The United States started conducting airstrikes on the ISIL only after US interests were threatened by the militants.

NT/AS/MHB

Hong Kong is the troubled spawn of power relationships. It was obtained in an act of colonial rapacity fuelled by opium, leased like a financially viable whore, and then returned to its wounded mother.  Such relationships of appropriation leave their mark.  The mark of the wounded, in Hong Kong’s case, is that of a legal system that aspires to constitutionalism and a democratic sense. 

But looks, masked by makeup, can be deceiving.  Beijing did accept the idea of one country and two systems, a wise and propitiating gesture.  In Deng Xiaoping’s words, “Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong” would be a governing rationale, but there, he was cleverly applying a certain form of cosmetic.  He knew that Hong Kong’s governing history had been one of Oxbridge appointments rather than stomping democrats.

The current dispute around the Occupy Central protesters is not about a term that has become rather weighty in recent years – that of secession – but one of disagreement about how an internal political system functions.  The language here is peculiar to Hong Kong’s history of various masters and appropriators.  Much of this is a matter of degree – what constitutes a “high degree of autonomy” in the language of the 1984 Sino-British treaty returning Hong Kong to China?  (Similar language is used in the Basic Law enacted under that treaty.)  What of the committee pulling the levers behind the candidates?

Occupy Central with Love and Peace was already proposing in January 2013 that, in the event Hong Kong was not granted universal suffrage, protesters would hit the city where it hurt most, notably in the financial sense.  No money, no love.  It even held an unofficial referendum in June, receiving 800,000 votes out of the 7.2 million residents casting their ballots.  The movement is marked by a distinct religiosity, with two of the three leaders openly practising Christians.[1]

Others have decided to muck in the democratic love-in, be it the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), an assortment of church ministers, sociologists such as Chan Kin-man, and the Scholarism movement started by Joshua Wong, a precociously industrious 17-year-old high school student who took issue with Hong Kong’s efforts in 2012 to introduce a “patriotic education” program through the curriculum.

Charles Mok, a member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, offers one interpretation.

“For most Hong Kong people, ‘one country, two systems’ and ‘high degree’ of autonomy, both before and right after the handover in 1997, meant we could decide locally on all matters except military and foreign affairs.”[2]  The National People’s Congress (NPC), like a stern mother, had other ideas, restriction the options for the 2017 election of the chief executive through a committee sympathetic to Beijing. After all, President Hu Jintao always made it clear that “one country” came first.

The noisy contention between democracy activists and Beijing lies in the term “universal suffrage” behind the issue of electing the chief executive, though the protesters cannot get past the other side of the arrangement, which is the necessary involvement of the pro-Beijing committee that vets candidates.  No election without nomination, the nomination which invariably has the ear of the NPC.  Much like arranged marriages, the parent gets first go.

The universal suffrage provision (Hong Kong Basic Law Article 45), states that, “The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic practices.”  Prior to the sentence, it is also made clear that, “The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress.”

What Beijing has done in insisting on the committee process is that any candidate that seeks the post of chief executive also be “patriotic” for reasons of “national security” – mother’s cautious wishes.  This has certainly jarred with some of the local activists and politicians.  “For those of us against this mandate,” insists Mok, “it’s proof that communists support democracy, as long as they can tell the election results in advance.”

Another concern expressed during the protests has been whether the Occupy Central movement will be invariably tarnished with the negative brush of Western influence, the sort of meddling that may well find its way to certain coffers in Washington.  Convincing Beijing to change its mind may be less of a task than convincing the current Chief Executive to bolt.

Official Russian press outlets have been suggesting that dirty tricks are at work, though such concerns do come in light of Western backing for the Ukrainian Maidan movement that led to a coup.  The culprit here is the cashed-up National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the poster child of “democratic” infiltration which has been feeding the “capacity of citizens – particularly university students – to more effectively participate in the public debate on political reform.”[3]

Hong Kong’s own pro-Beijing publication Wen Wei Po spread the word that the plucky Wong might be deep in the US pocket, be it through his family’s flirtation with the American Chamber of Commerce, or Wong’s own meetings with US consulate personnel.[4]  The same paper is also claiming that Hong Kong schools have become something of an infiltrated playground for the CIA.

Any democracy-promotion outfit stemming from Washington is bound to come with the most mixed of blessings, being not so much winning hearts and minds as currency and a destabilising sense of worth.  While such agendas are at work, they should not ignore the indigenous influences that have shaped Hong Kong, which remains its own curious legal creation.

The more sagacious heads in Beijing will be aware of that.  “The Hong Kong special administrative region,” advises Daniel A. Bell of Tsinghua University, “is the most important experiment in political reform.”  This form of “experimentation under hierarchy” allows governing flexibility at a price, and Hong Kong’s existence is vital in that sense.  The issue will be how far Beijing will go in permitting the disputes within the region to be resolved within the limits of “order”. It remains to be seen whether the parent will spare the rod and spoil an increasingly troublesome child.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.  Email: [email protected]

Say No to War. The World Cannot Afford More Victims of War

October 2nd, 2014 by Global Research

Known and documented,  the US and its allies have been financing, training and arming rebel factions in Syria, including ISIS, with a view to toppling the government of  Bashar Al-Assad. That strategy did not work and now we are told that ISIS, which continues to be supported by the US and its allies, must be defeated through bombing raids.

This military intervention violates international law and Syria’s territorial sovereignty. The goal of Obama’s “War on Terror” is not to defeat ISIS, but to topple non-compliant regimes.  In his Orwellian speech at the UN, Obama said:

“We must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace.”

Wage war to create peace?

The threat of a wide regional war in the Middle East is accompanied by ever more sensationalist lies by the mainstream media. The tensions are high and the outlook is grim.

As Michel Chossudovsky wrote:

“A sophisticated and all encompassing propaganda program supports war in the name of World peace and global security.

The underlying scenario of Worldwide conflict goes far beyond the diabolical design of Orwell’s 1984.

The Ministry of Truth upholds war as a peace-making undertaking by twisting realities upside down.

In turn, the lies and fabrications of the mainstream media are presented with various innuendos in a complex web of deceit.”

The temptation to view this tense political atmosphere as doomed is high. Indeed, today’s modern weapons systems know no bounds in their potential for carnage and destruction, and we have some very dangerous leaders (many of whom have been “democratically” elected) poised at the triggers. They are, after all, the ones who stand to profit from taking us into the next World War.

This is exactly the reason why we must not unplug, tune out or look away. The world cannot afford more victims of war. There ARE steps to take, and they require mass mobilization.

Awareness of what is happening in the world around us is a crucial first step. Don’t automatically trust the news you read – question it; check the sources; follow the money. And more than anything, keep the dialogue going and spread the message to those around you. The tools are all there – newsletters, social media, videos – so let’s get creative and put them to good use.

Forward Global Research articles far and wide. Post them on your Facebook and Twitter profiles as well as the profiles of other groups and individuals. And if you are in a position to make a financial contribution to help our efforts, please make a donation or start a membership and help us help you stay informed.

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The referendum campaign on Scottish independence heightened many people’s awareness of thepro-elite bias of the ‘mainstream’ news media. The grassroots power of social media in exposing and countering this bias was heartening to see. But the issue of independence for Scotland is just one of many where the traditional media consistently favour establishment power.

The essential feature of corporate media performance is that elite interests are routinely favoured and protected, while serious public dissent is minimised and marginalised. The BBC, the biggest and arguably the most globally respected news organisation, is far from being an exception. Indeed, on any issue that matters, its consistently biased news coverage – propped up, by a horrible irony, with the financial support of the public whose interests it so often crushes – means that BBC News is surely the most insidious propaganda outlet today.

Consider, for example, the way BBC editors and journalists constantly portray Nato as an organisation that maintains peace and security. During the recent Nato summit in Wales, newsreader Sophie Raworth dutifully told viewers of BBC News at Ten:

‘Nato leaders will have to try to tackle the growing threat of the Islamist extremists in Iraq and Syria, and decide what steps to take next. (September 4, 2014)

As we have since seen, the ‘steps’ that were taken ‘next’ meant a third war waged by the West in Iraq in just 24 years.

The same edition of BBC News at Ten relayed, uncontested, this ideological assertion from Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen:

‘Surrounded by an arc of crisis, our alliance, our transatlantic community, represents an island of security, stability and prosperity.’

In fact, the truth is almost precisely the reverse of Rasmussen’s assertion. Nato is a source of insecurity, instability, war and violence afflicting much of the world. True to form, BBC News kept well clear of that documented truth. Nor did it even remind its audience of the awkward fact that Rasmussen, when he was Danish prime minister, had once said:

‘Iraq has WMDs. It is not something we think, it is something we know.’

That was embarrassing enough. But also off the agenda was any critical awareness that the Nato summit’s opening ceremony was replete with military grandeur and pomposity of the sort that would have elicited ridicule from journalists if it had taken place in North Korea, Iran or some other state-designated ‘enemy’. Media Lens challenges you to watch this charade without dissolving into laughter or switching it off before reaching the end.

Manic Waving Of The ‘Islamic Threat’ Flag

For months now, BBC News has been diligently broadcasting pronouncements from Washington and London about the hyped ‘threat’ of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Newsreader Huw Edwards stuck to this official script when he gravely told the nation on BBC News at Ten:

‘We’ll be looking at the options to contain the threat of Islamic State.’ (September 3, 2014)

The assumption of senior BBC news managers, to be swallowed wholesale by the public, is that there is a ‘threat’ that ‘we’ in the civilised West must ‘contain’. BBC News is following the ideological path laid down by US-UK state power, while robotically claiming its reporting is ‘balanced’ and ‘impartial’.

This propaganda campaign, enabled by BBC News and other corporate news media, prepared the way for the US-led bombing on ‘Isis group targets’ in Syria that began overnight on 22-23 September. In line with other power-friendly reporting, the Independent described the illegal intervention as ‘air strikes’ forming ‘part of the expanded military campaign authorised by President Obama, who has vowed to “degrade and destroy” Isis militants.’

The Guardian reported that ‘US and allies have deployed jets and missiles against militants’. The emphasis on ‘militants’ and ‘Isis targets’ overlooked the fact that, as usual, innocent civilians would suffer; as indeed they have, with seven civilians, including five children, killed in a bombing raid on a village in northern Syria. The Guardian’s report was based heavily on rhetoric deployed by high-ranking Pentagon figures, an anonymous ‘US official’ and President Obama. Tucked away at the end of the lengthy Guardian article was a tentative foray into the illegality of this latest US act of aggression:

‘The escalation of the war into Syria comes without explicit congressional authorisation. [...] Obama has asserted that the 2001 Authorisation to Use Military Force against al-Qaida provides him with sufficient legal authority, something few legal scholars have embraced…’

This was a token, handwaving gesture that obscured the brute reality of yet more US violence in the superpower’s self-appointed role as the world’s policeman. More to the point, the US attack happened without the approval of the Syrian government, making it a war crime. But it would be beyond the pale for journalists in ‘the mainstream’ to report it as such.

Jon Sopel, embedded in Washington as BBC North America editor, reported on BBC News at Ten (September 23, 2014) that ‘the US has the vital support that it needs – that of the moderate Sunni states’: Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. These countries are all closely allied to, and supported by, US power. Moreover, particularly in the case of the oppressive,torture-ridden regime in Saudi Arabia, Sopel stretched the term ‘moderate’ beyond the limits of credibility.

Meanwhile, in a BBC news article purporting to explain the propaganda aspects of ‘the US-led campaign to confront IS in the Middle East’, BBC ‘security’ correspondent Frank Gardner wrote:

‘For Islamic State, the prospective benefits of Western troops engaging them on the ground are obvious.

‘They would at last have a chance to fight soldiers at close quarters, with all the propaganda impact that would have on people in the West.’

What was missing from Gardner’s analysis, as usual, were the ‘prospective benefits’ of yet another Western-led attack in the Middle East: he made no attempt to address the longstanding US need for strategic control of the region’s natural resources. Nor did Gardner broach the ‘propaganda impact’ of White House, Pentagon and Downing Street manipulation of the public in its channelling of disinformation via compliant Western news media. Again, this is the norm. If any young aspiring BBC journalist were to demonstrate a dangerous tendency for questioning this norm, never mind defying it, then he or she would never get within visible range of the ‘security’ correspondent’s exalted position.

On September 27, when the House of Commons voted to approve RAF strikes against ‘IS targets’ in Iraq, all three major political parties were in agreement. Serious opposition was virtually non-existent: a perennial feature of ‘our’ supposedly vibrant and stable Western politics. An overwhelming majorityof MPs were in favour of bombing Iraq: 524 (81% of all MPs) and just 43 against (7%).

Among the general population, a massive propaganda campaign had succeeded in boosting support for bombing in just six weeks from 37% to 57%. That support amongst MPs (81%) was much higher than amongst voters (57%) gives the lie, yet again, to the notion that parliamentary ‘democracy’ is a real reflection of public interests and opinion.

Just as the Observer did when it infamously supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the paper showed its pro-war colours, couched in hand-wringing rhetoric about ‘doing the right thing’. Raining British bombs down on Iraq once again ‘was the right and moral thing to do.’ The refrain was echoed throughout Britain’s national newspapers, a remarkable indictment of ‘our free press’. A tweet from the Independent even opined:

‘Bringing democracy to the Middle East will not happen overnight, but could take generations’

It is beyond tragicomedy for a ‘left-leaning’ newspaper to claim that bombing countries is a precursor to ‘democracy’. Likewise, it defies rationality to proclaim that the West is motivated by concern for genuine self-determination in Middle East countries rather than, as history clearly shows, to crush the threat of any such indigenous development and thus maintain the West’s grip on the region’s rich resources

Our Caring, Truthful And Fearless Leaders

Propaganda can be, and is, ramped up whenever necessary; particularly in times of war, as we saw above. But propaganda also operates by diverting attention away from uncomfortable truths. For example, reporting from within an establishment framework ensures that serious and sustained news reporting of Israel’s criminal role in brutally oppressing the Palestinian people is suppressed.

When the pro-Palestinian Respect MP George Galloway was recently subjected to a brutal street attack by a supporter of Israel, political and media elites closed ranks and refused to condemn what had happened. Imagine the uproar if an enraged Muslim had attacked a pro-Israel MP in the street. There would have been an outpouring of revulsion from the political and media establishment. Neil Clark noted the craven ‘mainstream’ silence to the attack on Galloway which:

‘speaks volumes about the type of country Britain has become and how our democracy and the freedom to speak our minds on foreign policy issues has been eroded.’

Galloway later told his followers on Twitter:

‘Labour leader [Ed] Miliband just passed me, struggling on the stairs with my walking stick, looked straight at me and walked on without a word…’

Of course, it is ironic that leading politicians constantly strive to foster a media image of themselves as caring, truthful and fearless. In reality, they are all beholden to powerful business and financial interests, and even afraid to step out of line; notably so when it comes to criticism of Israel. Political ‘leaders’ are virtual puppets with little, if any, autonomy; condemned to perform an elite-friendly role that keeps the general population as passive and powerless as possible. The corporate media plays an essential role here, as the British historian and foreign policy analyst Mark Curtis observes:

‘The evidence is overwhelming that BBC and commercial television news report on Britain’s foreign policy in ways that resemble straightforward state propaganda organs. Although by no means directed by the state, their output might as well be; it is not even subtle. BBC, ITV and Channel 5 news simply report nothing seriously critical on British foreign policy; the exception is the odd report on Channel 4 news. Television news – the source of most people’s information – provides the most extreme media distortion of [foreign policy news coverage], playing an even greater ideological function than the press.’ (Mark Curtis, ‘Web of Deceit: Britain’s Real Role in the World’, Vintage, London, 2003).

Andrew MacGregor Marshall, the former Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad, recently related that:

‘there is tendency for the Western media to claim that it is neutral and unbiased, when in fact it’s clearly propagating a one-sided, quite nationalistic and selfish view of its own interventions in these countries.’

He continued:

‘If you want to accuse the US military of an atrocity, you have to make sure that every last element of your story is absolutely accurate, because if you make one mistake, you will be vilified and your career will be over. And we have seen that happen to some people in recent years. But if you want to say that some group of militants in Yemen or Afghanistan or Iraq have committed an atrocity, your story might be completely wrong, but nobody will vilify you and nobody will ever really check it out.’

The Dutch journalist Karel Van Wolferen recently wrote an insightful piece exposing the state-corporate propaganda that is so crucial to keeping the public in a state of general ignorance and passivity. There ‘could hardly be a better time than now’, he said, to study the effects of this ‘insidious propaganda’ in the so-called ‘free world’. He continued:

‘What makes propaganda effective is the manner in which, through its between-the-lines existence, it inserts itself into the brain as tacit knowledge. Our tacit understanding of things is by definition not focused, it helps us understand other things. The assumptions it entails are settled, no longer subject to discussion.’

Much of this propaganda originates in centres of power, notably Washington and London, and ‘continues to be faithfully followed by institutions like the BBC and the vast majority of the European mainstream media’. Thus, BBC News endlessly trumpets Western ‘values’ and takes as assumed that parliamentary ‘democracy’ represents the range of acceptable public opinion and sensible discourse. Underpinning this elite-supporting news framework is a faith-based ideology which Van Wolferen calls ‘Atlanticism’. This doctrine holds that:

‘the world will not run properly if the United States is not accepted as its primary political conductor, and Europe should not get in America’s way.’

The result?

‘Propaganda reduces everything to comic book simplicity’ of ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’.

As we have frequently noted in our media alerts, a major feature of this ‘comic book simplicity’ is that ‘our’ governments have benign motives and that their overriding concern is to keep the general population safe and secure. Sadly, the truth behind this ‘web of deceit’ is not so comforting.

DC

Since 2008, the Fed has granted unlimited credit to banks at an official rate of 0.25%. In fact, as the General Accounting Office (GAO) has revealed, the Fed has lent close to $16 trillion at an interest rate below 0.25%. |1| The report shows it has not followed its own prudential rules and has not notified Congress.

According to an enquiry by a US Congress Committee, there is clear and evident collusion between the Fed and the big banks:

The CEO of JPMorgan Chase served on the New York Fed’s board of directors at the same time that his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Moreover, JPMorgan Chase served as one of the clearing banks for the Fed’s emergency lending programs. |2|

According to an independent study by the Levy Institute, which has the collaboration of economists such as Joseph Stiglitz, Paul Krugman and James K. Galbraith, Fed assistance to banks was much more than the $16 trillion revealed by the GAO; it was $29 trillion dollars. |3|

The big European banks had access to Fed funds until the beginning of 2011. Dexia got a loan of $159 billion dollars, |4| Barclays $868 billion, Royal Bank of Scotland $541 billion, Deutsche Bank $354 billion, UBS $287 billion, Crédit Suisse $260 billion, BNP-Paribas $175 billion, Dresdner Bank $135 billion and Société Générale $124 billion. The end of this funding, under pressure from Congress, was one of the reasons that from May-June 2011, the US Money Market Funds started to block their loans to European banks, considering that without support from the Fed the European banks incurred too high a risk.:

The Federal Reserve System of the United States

The Federal Reserve System, or Fed, is the United States’ Central Bank. It is an independent structure with a private activity within the US government and has the responsibility for US monetary policy and thus a strong influence on the world’s financial markets. In the terms of US law, the mission of the Fed is to guarantee price stability and full employment and to ensure the stability of the financial system by taking the necessary measures to predict and attenuate financial crises and panics. To achieve this, the Fed has three important means: it controls interest-rates that influence consumption, investment and inflation; it controls the money supply which permits the stability of prices in times of crisis; and it supervises and regulates financial institutions.

The Fed was created by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 as a reaction to the growing instability of the North American financial system at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. Until then the US did not have centralized control and regulation of its financial system. Each state had the charge of regulating and controlling the banks that were within its jurisdiction. The Fed was established to ensure the stability of the US financial system by becoming the lender of last resort and so to be able to supply resources to banks facing difficulties.

The institutional structure of the Fed is made up of twelve regional banks overseen globally by a Board of Governors. These regional banks function as Joint Stock Companies possessing non negotiable and non transferable shares in the Federal Reserve System; the stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, six per cent per year. These shares permit the banks their participation in the elections of the regional counsellors of the Fed. The councils are made up of nine members: three are chosen by the banks and represent their interests; three more, representing industrial and commercial interests, are also chosen by the banks; the last three are chosen by the national Board of Governors.

The Board of Governors is charged with overseeing the twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks and with helping implement the United States’ monetary policy. It has a maximum of seven members (currently five) who are nominated by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate for a fourteen-year term of office. One of the principal functions of the Board is to pilot the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which fixes interest-rates and determines the country’s general monetary policy.

There are two basic differences between the Fed and its European counter-part, the ECB. While the Fed’s mission is to simultaneously guarantee price stability and full employment, the ECB has for principal mission to maintain low and stable inflation levels within the Eurozone. The other difference is in the capacities to regulate and control their financial institutions. The Fed has the means to regulate and supervise all the financial institutions operating under the Federal Reserve System, while the ECB is dependent on the central banks of each of the Eurozone countries for the application of its regulations and control over its institutions. Finally, the European Commission has approved an extension of the ECB’s powers, as from autumn 2014, to responsibility for the direct control of the big banks that are subject to the European system. We shall see what we shall see.

Translation CADTM

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Notes

|1| GAO, “Federal Reserve System, Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Policies and Processes for Managing Emergency Assistance”, July 2011, http://www.gao.gov/assets/330/321506.pdf. This report, was made possible by an amendment to the Dodd-Frank act that had been introduced by Ron Paul, Alan Grayson and Bernie Sanders in 2010. Bernie Sanders, an independent Senator made it publichttp://www.sanders.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/GAO%20Fed%20Investigation.pdf

|2| See: http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/news/?id=9e2a4ea8-6e73-4be2-a753-62060dcbb3c3

|3| See James Felkerson, “$29,000,000,000,000: A Detailed Look at the Fed’s Bailout by Funding Facility and Recipient”, www.levyinstitute.org/pubs/wp_698.pdf

|4| See, in particular, page 196 of above mentioned GAO report that refers to loans to Dexia amounting to $53 billion, which are only a part of the total loans to Dexia by the Fed.http://www.gao.gov/assets/330/321506.pdf

Éric Toussaint, is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège. He is the President of CADTM Belgium (www.cadtm.org), and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France. He is the co-author, with Damien Millet of Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Books, New York, 2010. He is the author of many essays including one on Jacques de Groote entitled Procès d’un homme exemplaire (The Trial of an Exemplary Man), Al Dante, Marseille, 2013, and wrote with Damien Millet, AAA. Audit Annulation Autre politique (Audit, Abolition, Alternative Politics), Le Seuil, Paris, 2012.

Student Leaders Threaten to Escalate Hong Kong Protests

October 2nd, 2014 by Peter Symonds

Tens of thousands took part in protests yesterday in Hong Kong to demand the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and a full and open election for his post in 2017. Crowds of people, overwhelmingly young, took advantage of the October 1 national holiday to join demonstrations in at least five locations on Hong Kong island and neighbouring Kowloon.

Student leaders threatened to escalate protests today unless Leung resigns. Lester Shum, vice secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, declared yesterday that there was “no room for dialogue” with Leung and warned: “If he does not resign by tomorrow, we will step up our actions, such as occupying several important government buildings.”

The protests have also sparked small demonstrations in Macau and Taiwan. Chinese authorities, fearful that the protests could spread to the mainland, have clamped down on the media and Internet.

Leung has refused to step down or hold talks with any protest organisers. He used his National Day speech to appeal to protesters to accept Beijing’s decision to allow a 2017 election with universal suffrage but limited to candidates vetted by a nominating committee stacked with pro-Beijing appointees.

Beijing’s announcement in late August provoked widespread hostility, which the official opposition “pan-Democratic” grouping sought to exploit to force a compromise on the nomination process. The pan-Democrats threatened to use their numbers in Legislative Council to veto the proposal and, in effect, maintain the anti-democratic status quo. Currently the chief executive is simply chosen by a 1,200-member committee, dominated by pro-Beijing loyalists.

The current protests erupted after clashes last Friday between police and students, who boycotted classes to oppose Beijing’s plan. The protests were joined by the Occupy Central organisation, which had proposed, but not begun, a civil disobedience campaign. Riot police were withdrawn from the streets after their attempts to suppress the protests over the weekend only caused the crowds to swell.

Those joining the protests are animated by fears that Beijing will impose further anti-democratic restrictions, and by discontent over the deepening social divide between rich and poor. This social polarisation has been intensified by Hong Kong’s economic integration with China, which has accelerated since Beijing’s takeover of the former British colony in 1997.

Industry has shifted to take advantage of cheap labour in southern China, causing a collapse in the manufacturing workforce from about one million in the early 1980s to 20,000 in 2013. At the same time, the banking and financial sector has burgeoned. Hong Kong is the preferred location for Chinese companies to launch initial public offerings—$43 billion since 2012—and a transit point for investment into and out of China. Last year, two thirds of foreign direct investment into China flowed through Hong Kong.

While a narrow layer of super-wealthy tycoons has prospered, the living standards of the majority of working people have fallen. Jobs in manufacturing have been replaced by low-wage positions in service industries that benefitted from a growing numbers of tourists from the Chinese mainland. Despite declining real wages, the cost of living, especially housing costs, have risen sharply. The waiting time for public housing has blown out to ten years, forcing the low paid into makeshift accommodation and what are known as “cage homes.”

Layers of the middle classes, especially the young, have also been impacted. A university graduate earns roughly the same as a decade ago and faces increasing competition from applicants from the mainland for jobs.

These pressing social issues, however, find no expression in the perspective advanced by those parties and organisations dominating the current protests—the pan-Democrats, Occupy Central and various student groups—which are all, despite tactical differences, narrowly focussed on ensuring opposition candidates can stand in the 2017 election. This is a significant factor in the predominantly middle class composition of the protest movement and its failure to attract substantial support from the working class.

The demand for full and open elections reflects the interests of layers of the Hong Kong elite who resent being marginalised by pro-Beijing tycoons and fear that the Beijing’s control over Hong Kong’s political affairs will undermine its competitiveness as an Asian financial centre. This wealthy stratum is determined to defend what it regards as Hong Kong’s competitive advantage, particularly over Chinese financial centres such as Shanghai: the long-established defence of capitalist property that unpins all commercial and financial transactions and is entrenched in the legal system established under British colonial rule.

In April, a group of about 70 current and former financiers and managers, describing themselves as the financial arm of Occupy Central, wrote to Chinese President Xi Jinping to protest over threats to press freedoms, and the political cronyism in the finance industry, and to call for open elections for the chief executive. “In the long run, if you want to maintain an international banking and finance centre in Hong Kong, you need to have a good system, a good framework, in order to protect it,” Lai Chong Au, a marketing manager told the New York Times .

Even if the opposition parties and organisations achieved their objective in full—an open election in 2017 for chief executive—the result would be a contest, dominated by big money, between candidates representing rival factions of the Hong Kong tycoons.

The pro-Western orientation of much of the official Hong Kong opposition leaves the present protests open to manipulation by the major imperialist powers. At this stage, the US and Britain have expressed concerns, but not called for the resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive or explicitly backed the opposition’s demands over the 2017 election.

Before meeting with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi yesterday, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Hong Kong authorities to “exercise restraint and respect protesters’ rights to express their views.” In response, Wang declared that “Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs,” adding that “all countries should respect China’s sovereignty.”

Britain’s cautious approach was underlined by the comments yesterday by former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten who appealed for China’s leaders to consult with opposition figures. “I think we’ve got to see dialogue replacing tear gas and pepper sprays,” he told the BBC. “The right thing to do is to embark on a new period of consultation … because there are a lot of very moderate people on the pro-democracy side.”

Embroiled in an escalating war in Iraq and Syria, and an ongoing confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, the US and its allies appear wary about immediately stoking up another international political crisis. Given the acute state of geo-political tensions, however, that could rapidly change.

We Can’t Stop the Ebola Epidemic Unless We Understand How It’s Spread

Michael T. Osterholm – director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota – wrote in the New York Times last month:

Viruses like Ebola are notoriously sloppy in replicating, meaning the virus entering one person may be genetically different from the virus entering the next. The current Ebola virus’s hyper-evolution is unprecedented; there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years. Each new infection represents trillions of throws of the genetic dice.

If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola. Infections could spread quickly to every part of the globe, as the H1N1 influenza virus did in 2009, after its birth in Mexico.

Why are public officials afraid to discuss this? They don’t want to be accused of screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater — as I’m sure some will accuse me of doing. But the risk is real, and until we consider it, the world will not be prepared to do what is necessary to end the epidemic.

In 2012, a team of Canadian researchers proved that Ebola Zaire, the same virus that is causing the West Africa outbreak, could be transmitted by the respiratory route from pigs to monkeys, both of whose lungs are very similar to those of humans. Richard Preston’s 1994 best seller “The Hot Zone” chronicled a 1989 outbreak of a different strain, Ebola Reston virus, among monkeys at a quarantine station near Washington. The virus was transmitted through breathing, and the outbreak ended only when all the monkeys were euthanized. We must consider that such transmissions could happen between humans, if the virus mutates.

The Guardian reports today:

There is a ‘nightmare’ chance that the Ebola virus could become airborne if the epidemic is not brought under control fast enough, the chief of the UN’s Ebola mission has warned.

Anthony Banbury, the Secretary General’s Special Representative, said that aid workers are racing against time to bring the epidemic under control, in case the Ebola virus mutates and becomes even harder to deal with.

But perhaps most challenging to the mainstream assumption that Ebola can only be spread through physical contact with a person who is showing symptoms of infection is the following explanation by two national experts on infectious disease transmission, both professors in the School of Public Health, Division of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, at the University of Illinois at Chicago (footnotes omitted):

We believe there is scientific and epidemiologic evidence that Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol particles both near and at a distance from infected patients, which means that healthcare workers should be wearing respirators, not facemasks. [Aerosols are liquids or small particles suspended in air. An example is sea spray:  seawater suspended in air bubbles, created by the force of the surf mixing water with air.]

The important points are that virus-laden bodily fluids may be aerosolized and inhaled while a person is in proximity to an infectious person and that a wide range of particle sizes can be inhaled and deposited throughout the respiratory tract.

***

Being at first skeptical that Ebola virus could be an aerosol-transmissible disease, we are now persuaded by a review of experimental and epidemiologic data that this might be an important feature of disease transmission, particularly in healthcare settings.

***

Many body fluids, such as vomit, diarrhea, blood, and saliva, are capable of creating inhalable aerosol particles in the immediate vicinity of an infected person. Cough was identified among some cases in a 1995 outbreak in Kikwit, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and coughs are known to emit viruses in respirable particles. The act of vomiting produces an aerosol and has been implicated in airborne transmission of gastrointestinal viruses. Regarding diarrhea, even when contained by toilets, toilet flushing emits a pathogen-laden aerosol that disperses in the air.

***

There is also some experimental evidence that Ebola and other filoviruses can be transmitted by the aerosol route. Jaax et alreported the unexpected death of two rhesus monkeys housed approximately 3 meters from monkeys infected with Ebola virus, concluding that respiratory or eye exposure to aerosols was the only possible explanation.

Zaire Ebola viruses have also been transmitted in the absence of direct contact among pigsand from pigs to non-human primates, which experienced lung involvement in infection. Persons with no known direct contact with Ebola virus disease patients or their bodily fluids have become infected.

***

Experimental studies have demonstrated that it is possible to infect non-human primates and other mammals with filovirus aerosols. [Ebola is a type of filovirus]

Altogether, these epidemiologic and experimental data offer enough evidence to suggest that Ebola and other filoviruses may be opportunistic with respect to aerosol transmission. That is, other routes of entry may be more important and probable, but, given the right conditions, it is possible that transmission could also occur via aerosols.

In other words, these two infectious disease experts believe that Ebola is already – in its current form – transmissible via aerosols.  They therefore urge all doctors and nurses working with Ebola patients to wear respirators.

If they’re right, the government’s current approach towards Ebola is all wrong.

US War against the People of Syria and Iraq

October 2nd, 2014 by Patrick Martin

US air strikes in Iraq and Syria will kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and the White House and Pentagon are fully aware of this fact. That is the only conclusion to be drawn from a remarkable public statement Tuesday by a top White House aide.

The statement coincided with the heaviest attacks so far in the air war in Syria and Iraq, with US and allied countries launching 24 strikes, 12 in each country on Tuesday, with British warplanes making their first attacks.

National Security Council press spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, in an e-mail to Yahoo News, confirmed that the targeting restrictions announced by President Obama for US drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen do not apply to the war launched against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Obama announced those restrictions in a speech to the National Defense University, claiming that the US would only conduct drone strikes against supposed Al Qaeda targets if there was a “near certainty” of no civilian casualties, which he called “the highest standard that we can meet.”

“The specific standards at issue in the NDU speech apply only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as was noted at the time,” Hayden wrote. “That description—outside areas of active hostilities—simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now.”

Hayden was responding to concerns over casualties in the village of Kafr Daryan in Idlib Province, in northwestern Syria, where a Tomahawk cruise missile killed as many as a dozen civilians, including women and young children. The US Central Command confirmed the September 23 strike, saying it targeted the “Khorasan group,” the US-invented label for members of the Al Qaeda affiliated Al Nusra Front, one of the main Syrian “rebel” groups fighting the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Pentagon’s top spokesman, Rear Admiral John Kirby, confirmed the more permissive standard for air strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq when questioned by reporters Tuesday. “When we say we’re going to go after them, we mean it,” Kirby said.

The restrictions that Obama claimed he was applying to drone missile strikes did not significantly limit the carnage inflicted by 500-pound warheads smashing into the huts of tribal villagers in rural Pakistan and Yemen. Pakistani officials and outside organizations like Amnesty International estimated the civilian death toll from more than 300 drone strikes in these areas as ranging from the high hundreds to many thousands.

After a series of studies on civilian casualties in drone missile strikes were published last year, the WSWS wrote, “The reports, in fact, provide prima facie evidence for a future war crimes tribunal whose defendants would include Obama and top officials at the National Security Council, the Pentagon, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.” (see: Report documents US slaughter of civilians in drone strikes).

In addition to the direct toll of dead and wounded, there is the effect of such constant attacks on the whole society. An April 2014 article in Rolling Stone observed:

“The people of Yemen can hear destruction before it arrives. In cities, towns and villages across this country, which hangs off the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, the air buzzes with the sound of American drones flying overhead. The sound is a constant and terrible reminder … Over half of Yemen’s 24.8 million citizens—militants and civilians alike—are impacted every day.”

The statements of the White House and Pentagon spokesmen indicate that the death and destruction inflicted on the people of Iraq and Syria will dwarf the horrific impact of drone warfare on Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia. And not a single voice of protest against such mass killing has been raised in official Washington, in either the Democratic or Republican parties.

Representatives of US-backed Syrian groups allied to al-Nusra briefed members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Kafr Daryan strike. One Republican congressman who attended the briefing, Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, dismissed concerns about civilian deaths, telling Yahoo News, “Nothing is perfect,” and arguing that any collateral damage from US strikes was “much less than the brutality of the Assad regime.”

The death toll from bombs and missiles is only the beginning. As US officials were at pains to emphasize this week—most prominently Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations—the main goal of American imperialism in Syria remains that of the overthrow of Assad and his replacement by a US-backed puppet regime in Damascus.

That goal inevitably requires the deployment of tens of thousands of ground troops—whether American, British, French, Turkish, Saudi or some combination—and the military conquest of Syria. The invasion and occupation of Iraq led to a million deaths from 2003 to 2011. A crime of even greater dimensions now looms in both Iraq and Syria.

Yesterday, 300 orphans staged a protest following the demolition of Al-Rayyan Dairy Factory, north of Hebron, which occurred in the early hours of 1st September 2014.

The future of the children remains unclear as the two orphanages they live in, the Hebron Charity House for Girls and The Hebron Charity House for Boys, are dependent on the profits made by the dairy factory. Both the orphanages and the dairy factory are owned by the Islamic Charitable Society.

Photo by ISM

Photo by ISM

The dairy factory, which housed 150 cows and produced six tones of milk products, such as yogurt and cheese, had run for 24 years, ever since the Islamic Charitable Society received funding from the Kuwait government in 1991 to set up the factory. The purpose was for the Society’s orphanages and schools to have their own source of regular income, rather than relying on donations. The dairy products were distributed to Hebron and the surrounding villages.

The Israeli government, since 2002, has targeted the dairy factory. The first demolition order was based on concerns about environmental regulations, saying that the waste produced by cows was not dealt with suitably. Despite solving this problem, the dairy farm continuously fell under threat by the Israeli military, especially since it was located in Area C, the area of the West Bank completely under Israeli military control. Claims were also made by the Israeli Council for Planning that parts of the farm were illegally built; however, Abed Al-kareen Farrah, one of the lawyers working with the Islamic Charitable Society, confirmed that the farm received approval from the Israel Antiquities Authority for a license to build. He said, “The farm has been under fire for years with a lot of administrative issues, and Israel constantly put pressure on it to close.”

In June 2014, the dairy farm received a second demolition order, accusing the Islamic Charitable Society of having affiliation with Hamas because one of the dairy farm’s workers had been an administrative detainee for the past twenty months. The Chair of the Islamic Charitable Society’s Board of Directors, Hatim al-Bakri, stated that the society is not funding Gaza. On the 3rd of July 2014, Israeli forces confiscated all of the farm’s machinery before demolishing the entire farm a few days ago.

Photo by ISMPhoto by ISM

Hatim al-Bakri added that the farm would be impossible to rebuild, not only because it would cost two million dollars to do so, but also because of the heavy resistance they would face from the Israeli forces. Anything built on that plot of land would risk being demolished again and again.

“The future is dark for the orphans in Hebron,” he says. “I don’t know how we will be able to continue to fund the orphanages, or the seven schools the Islamic Charitable Society runs in and around Hebron. This question should be asked to the occupation.”

The demolition of the dairy farm is yet another example of how collective punishment affects hundreds of Palestinian people every day. Not only does the entire workforce of the farm have to lose their jobs because of one administrative detainee working there, but children, far removed from the workings of the farm, will also suffer the consequences.

U.S. Alliance with FSA and ISIL in Six Photographs

October 2nd, 2014 by Rick Sterling

The following six photographs confirm that a favorite “moderate rebel” leader, Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi, is allied with ISIL.

The first photograph is from Spring 2013 and shows Okaidi with the American who has been the principal coordinator of US policy on Syria. The last two photographs are from a meeting days ago when Congressmen Adam Kinzinger (Rep Illinois) and George Holding (Rep. North Carolina) met with Okaidi and other “moderate rebels” in Turkey.

Other photos show Okaidi with ISIL fighters and being interviewed about his relationship with ISIL. The photographs are from videos identified at bottom.

Photo 1 / May 2013/ Okaidi with Robert S. Ford, US Ambassador and Coordinator of the “Friends of Syria”

 Photo 2 / August 2013 / Okaidi with ISIL fighters at Menagh Air Base, Syria.  ISIL leader is Abu Jandal to Okaidi’s left.

Photo 3. / August 2013 / ISIL Leader Abu Jandal at Menagh Air Base, Syria.

Photo 4 / November 2013 / Interview with Okaidi “My relationship with the brothers of ISIL is good.”

Photo 5 / Sept 24, 2014/ Okaidi at meeting with US Congress members

 Photo 6 / Sept 24 2014 / Congressman Kinzinger after meeting Okaidi and other “moderate rebels” who the US is arming, supplying and paying salaries.

By funding “moderate rebels” like FSA Colonel Okaidi, the US is in effective alliance with ISIL.

Under international law it is illegal to encourage, support and aid military and paramilitary activities against another State.

See the full videos here:

1) FSA leader Okaidi with US Ambassador Ford and ISIL leader plus interview with Okaidi:

2) Okaidi and Representative Kinzinger in Turkey:

Scott Bronstein and Drew Griffin, CNN, “Syrian Rebel Groups Unite to Fight ISIS“, September 29, 2014

Rick Sterling is active with the Syria Solidarity Movement and Mt Diablo Peace and Justice Center. He can be emailed at: [email protected].Read other articles by Rick.

By John Edgar Wideman, novelist and PENN/Faulkner Award-winner

Recalling the horrors of African-American history, accepting the challenges our history presently places on us, is like acknowledging a difficult, unpleasant duty or debt that’s been hanging over our heads a very long time, an obligation that we know in our hearts we must deal with but that we keep putting off and evading, as if one day procrastination will make the burden, the obligation we must undertake, disappear.

Mumia Abu-Jamal forces us to confront the burden of our history. In one of his columns from death row he quotes at length an 1857 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court. The issue being determined by the Court is whether the descendants of slaves, when they shall be emancipated, are full citizens of the United States. Chief Justice Roger Taney states:

“We think they are not, and that they were not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word “citizens” in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges of the United States . . .” – Justice Taney, speaking for the Court, confirms the judgment of his ancestors and articulates an attitude prevailing to this very day.

Mumia points out that Thurgood Marshall, the first person of African descent appointed to the U.S. Supreme court, admitted, just hours after his resignation from the Court, that “I’m still not free.” . . . Mumia Abu-Jamal’s writing insists on these kinds of gut checks, reality checks. He reminds us that to move clearly in the present, we must understand the burden of our past.

Mumia Offers Models for Struggle

Situated as he is in prison, a prison inside a prison actually, since he’s confined on death row, Mumia Abu-Jamal’s day- to-day life would seem to share little with ours, out here in the so-called free world. Then again, if we think a little deeper, we might ask ourselves – who isn’t on death row? Perhaps one measure of humanity is our persistence in the business of attempting to construct a meaningful life in spite of the sentence of death hanging over our heads every instant of our time on earth.

Although we can’t avoid our inevitable mortality, we don’t need to cower in a corner, waiting for annihilation. Neither should we allow the seemingly overwhelming evil news of the day to freeze us in our tracks, nor let it become an excuse for doing nothing, for denial and avoidance, for hiding behind imaginary walls and pretending nothing can harm us. Alternatives exist. Struggle exists. Struggle to connect, to imagine ourselves better. To imagine a better world. To take responsibility step by step, day by day, for changing the little things we can control, refusing to accept the larger things that appear out of control. The life and the essays of Mumia Abu-Jamal provide us with models for struggle. . . .

The Uniqueness of Mumia’s StoryMumia Abu-Jamal’s voice is considered dangerous and subversive and thus is censored from National Public Radio, to name just one influential medium. Many books about black people, including a slew of briskly selling biographies and autobiographies – from Oprah to O.J. to Maya Angelou – are on the stands.

What sets Mumia’s story apart as so threatening?

It is useful to remember that the slave narrative and its progeny, the countless up-from-the depths biographies and autobiographies of black people that repeat the form and assumptions of the slave narrative, have always been best- sellers. They encapsulate one of the master plots Americans have found acceptable for black lives. These neoslave narratives carry a message the majority of people wealthy enough to purchase books wish to hear.

The message consists of a basic deep structure repeated in a seemingly endless variety of packages and voices. The slave narratives of the 1800s posited and then worked themselves out in a bifurcated, either/or world. The action of the story concerns moving from one world to another. The actor is a single individual, a featured star, and we watch and listen as this protagonist undergoes his or her rite of passage. South to north, rural to urban, black environment (plantation) to white environment (everywhere), including the language in which the narrator converses with the reader), silence to literacy, are some of the classic crossovers accomplished by the protagonists of such fables. If you punch in modern variants of these dichotomies – ghetto to middle class, ignorance to education, unskilled to professional, despised gangster to enlightened spokespersons, you can see how persistent and malleable the formula is.

The formula for the neoslave narrative sells because it is simple; because it accepts and maintains the categories (black/white, for instance) of the status quo; because it is about individuals, not groups, crossing boundaries; because it comforts and consoles those in power and offers a ray of hope to the powerless. Although the existing social arrangements may allow the horrors of plantations, ghettos, and prisons to exist, the narratives tell us, these arrangements also allow room for some to escape. Thus the arrangements are not absolutely evil. No one is absolutely guilty, nor are the oppressed (slave, prisoner, ghetto inhabitant) absolutely guiltless. If some overcome, why don’t others?

Vicarious identification with the narrator’s harrowing adventures, particularly if the tale is told in first person “I”, permits readers to have their cake and eat it too. They experience the chill and thrill of being an outsider. In the safety of an armchair, readers can root for the crafty slave as the slave pits himself against an outrageously evil system that legitimizes human bondage. Readers can ignore for a charmed moment their reliance on the same system to pay for the book, the armchair.

The neoslave narratives thus serve the ambivalent function of their ancestors. The fate of one black individual is foregrounded, removed from the network of systemic relationships connecting, defining, determining, undermining all American lives. This manner of viewing black lives at best ignores, at worst reinforces, an apartheid status quo. Divisive categories that structure the world of the narratives – slave/free, black/white, underclass/middle class, female/male – are not interrogated. The idea of a collective, intertwined fate recedes. The mechanisms of class, race, and gender we have inherited are perpetuated ironically by a genre purporting to illustrate the possibility of breaking barriers and transcending the conditions into which one is born.

Mumia Abu-Jamal’s essays question matters left untouched by most of the popular stories of black lives decorating bookstores today. And therein lies much of the power, the urgency, of his writing.

On Mumia, Defiance and Authentic Freedom

His essays are important as departure and corrective. He examines the place where he is – prison, his status – prisoner, black man, but refuses to accept the notion of difference and separation these labels project. Although he yearns for freedom, demands freedom, he does not identify freedom with release from prison, does not confuse freedom with what his jailers can give or take away, does not restrict the concept of freedom to the world beyond the bars his jailers enter from each day. Although dedicated to personal liberation, he envisions that liberation as partially dependent on the collective fate of black people.

He doesn’t split his world down the middle to conform to the divided world prison enforces. He expresses the necessity of connection, relinquishing to no person or group the power to define him. His destiny, his manhood, is not attached to some desperate, one-way urge to cross over to a region controlled or possessed by others. What he is, who he can become, results from his daily struggle to construct an identity wherever his circumstances place him. . . .

The first truth Mumia tells us is that he ain’t dead yet. And although his voice is vital and strong, he assures us it ain’t because nobody ain’t trying to kill him and shut him up. In fact, just the opposite is true. The power of his voice is rooted in his defiance of those determined to silence him. Magically, Mumia’s words are clarified and purified by the toxic strata of resistance through which they must penetrate to reach us. Like the blues. Like jazz. . . .

Mumia’s Voice as a Key to Our Nation’s Survival

In a new world where African people were transported to labor, die, and disappear, we’ve needed unbound voices to reformulate our destiny – voices refusing to be ensnared by somebody else’s terms. We’ve developed the knack of finding such voices in the oddest, darkest, most unforeseen places. A chorus of them exists in Great Time, the seamless medium uniting past, present, and future. The voices are always there, if we discipline ourselves to pick them out. Listen to them, to ourselves, to the best we’ve managed to write and say and dance and paint and sing.

African-American culture, in spite of the weight, the assault it has endured, may contain a key to our nation’s survival, a key not found simply in the goal of material prosperity, but in the force of spirit, will, communal interdependence.

Because he tells the truth, Mumia Abu-Jamal’s voice can help us tear down walls – prison walls, the walls we hide behind to deny and refuse the burden of our history.

Excerpted with author’s permission from John Edgar Wideman‘s “Introduction”, in Mumia Abu-Jamal, Live from Death Row (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1995).

Former German Chancellor: “Sanctions Against Russia Are Wrong”

October 2nd, 2014 by Global Research News

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder yesterday criticized western sanctions against Russia and urged a diplomatic solution in Ukraine:

“We need a diplomatic, a political solution of the conflict in Ukraine.”

“We should make every effort to implement the peace agreements which have been agreed to.”

“Then there will be found a basis to solve the conflict and to abandon the sanctions, which I think are wrong.

I really want to say that clearly. That is my wish and that’s what I wanted to make clear here [today]“

The remarks were made during a two-day forum designed to strengthen ties between Russian and German businesses.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is gravely concerned over the continuity of the Israeli-imposed closure on the Gaza Strip for the eighth consecutive year and dissatisfied by the mechanism of the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip that was declared by the UN Middle East Envoy. Moreover, PCHR is concerned that this mechanism would institutionalize the Israeli closure that has been imposed since 2007. PCHR calls for fully and immediately lift the Israeli closure as it constitutes a form of collective punishment that is prohibited under the international humanitarian law. Ending the closure includes eliminating all restrictions imposed on the freedom of movement of persons and goods, including imports and exports, to and from the Gaza Strip.

According to media sources, the UN Middle East Envoy Robert Serry stated on 16 September 2014 that the United Nations, Israel and the Palestinian Authority had reached a deal to allow reconstruction work to begin in the war-torn Gaza Strip under international observation of the use of materials. According to Reuters, Serry told the UN Security Council that the United Nations had brokered the deal ‘to enable work at the scale required in the strip, involving the private sector in Gaza and giving a leading role to the Palestinian Authority in the reconstruction effort, while providing security assurances through UN monitoring that these materials will not be diverted from their entirely civilian purpose.’

The only right way to end the disastrous impacts of the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip is to immediately lift the illegal closure on the Gaza Strip, allow the freedom of movement of persons and goods and make a dramatic change in the Israeli policies in order to put an end to the current crisis under which the Gaza Strip population has been living.  The entry of limited types and quantities of goods will never make a real change on the economic and social levels in the Gaza Strip, but will worsen the situation. Therefore, any deal that does not include the entry of basic needs, the freedom of movement of goods, including imports from and exports to the West Bank, Israel and abroad, and the freedom of movement of persons from and to the Gaza Strip, falls within the institutionalization of the Israeli-imposed closure and does not seriously contribute to the reconstruction process or improving the deteriorating humanitarian situation. Institutionalization of the closure means disregarding the principles of the international humanitarian and human rights laws, including the Fourth Geneva convention 1949.

Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has been suffering due to the illegal Israeli closure that has resulted in disastrous impacts on all aspects of life and deterioration of the humanitarian, economic, social and cultural conditions. Moreover, the number of unemployed persons in the Gaza Strip has risen to about 200,000 supporting about 900,000 persons according to the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU).  According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), the number of the poor has increased up to 700,000 persons (38.8% of the total population), 380,000 of whom suffer extreme poverty (21.1%). The latest Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip has left huge destruction, due to which the Gaza Strip needs 5 years to be reconstructed on condition that the border crossings are fully open and 300 tons of cement, 1,600 tons of construction steel and 6,000 tons of aggregate are allowed in the Gaza Strip according to construction companies’ estimates.

The international community has failed throughout the past 8 years to support the application of the provisions of the international humanitarian and human rights laws. This has been a shame for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 as they have  failed to take actions under their legal obligations to compel the Israeli authorities to respect that Convention and stop all policies that violate the Palestinians’ economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights.

Therefore, PCHR calls upon the international community, particularly the UN, to oblige the Israeli authorities to fully lift the closure as it is a form of collective punishment that is prohibited under the international humanitarian law, and end the restrictions imposed on the movement of persons and goods. PCHR believes that the only way to address the closure imposed on the Gaza Strip is to admit that such a policy is illegal and falls within the collective punishment policy against civilians in the Gaza Strip.

The rubble of a home reportedly hit by a U.S.-led coalition airstrike in Kafar Daryan in Syria. (Photo: Sami Ali / AFP/Getty Images)

The Obama administration has admitted that it is relaxing its standards for avoiding civilian deaths when it comes to ongoing air bombardments on Iraq and Syria.

Yahoo News reported Tuesday that Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, told the news outlet that a standard imposed last year by President Obama, which requires “near certainty” that civilians will not be harmed in drone strikes, does not apply to the expanding war on Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Iraq and Syria.

Journalist Michael Isikoff reports:

The “near certainty” standard was intended to apply “only when we take direct action ‘outside areas of active hostilities,’ as we noted at the time,” Hayden said in an email. “That description — outside areas of active hostilities — simply does not fit what we are seeing on the ground in Iraq and Syria right now.”

Hayden added that U.S. military operations against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) in Syria, “like all U.S. military operations, are being conducted consistently with the laws of armed conflict, proportionality and distinction.”

It is impossible to verify the impact of Obama’s 2013 drone strike reforms on civilian deaths and wounds, because U.S. drone attacks are shrouded in near complete secrecy. Furthermore, the impact of drones extends far beyond killings and physical wounds, to include psychological trauma and economic devastation.

But the best public information that does exist, provided by the UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, finds that, following the 2013 changes, civilians in Yemen continued to die in U.S. drone strikes, with no civilian deaths reported in Pakistan. However, the causal relationship between the rule change and the number of recorded deaths is not clear, in a drone war where loss of life fluctuates and is difficult to calculate.

What is clear, say critics, is that the rolling back of these limited reforms with regard to Iraq and Syria will be certain to risk the killing of ordinary people already under siege by ISIS.

“They are going back to the pre-reform policy in Pakistan and Yemen,” Robert Naiman ofJust Foreign Policy told Common Dreams. “Why are they doing that? They are sending a message in the ISIS controlled area: ‘Screw you.’ They are saying, ‘We have a list of bad guys, and that’s who we’re trying to kill. If you don’t want to die, get away from our target.’”

As Common Dreams reported earlier this week, reports are emerging of civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria, which the U.S. military has repeatedly denied.

Belgium – As reported to ECDC by Belgian authorities, on 2 September 2014, following a human error, 45 litres of concentrated live polio virus solution were released into the environment by the pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), in Rixensart city, Belgium. The liquid was conducted directly to a water-treatment plant (Rosieres) and released after treatment in river Lasne affluent of river Dyle which is affluent of the Escaut/Scheldt river. Belgium’s High Council of Public Health conducted a risk assessment that concluded that the risk of infection for the population exposed to the contaminated water is extremely low due to the high level of dilution and the high vaccination coverage (95%) in Belgium.

ECDC’s assessment is that the accidental release in the environment of large amounts of live polio virus represents a risk to public health if susceptible populations, such as areas with low polio vaccine coverage, are exposed to contaminated waters or mud. Particularly since the Lasne and Dyle rivers are joining the Escaut/Scheldt river which flows in the southwestern part of the Netherlands where various orthodox protestant communities present a lower polio vaccination coverage, before reaching the North Sea.
Copyright ECDC, 2014

A public tweet from a large government supplier of emergency response products specializing in “high risk events” says that Disaster Assistance Response Teams were told to prepare to be activated in the month of October. The shocking revelation, made on the Goldenstate Fire/EMS Twitter page, suggests that not only did someone know that the Ebola virus would be reaching America, but that they knew exactly when it would happen.

“What we are now hearing is just the tip of the iceburg (sic) as we enter October,” noted the company’s Twitter spokesperson. “Ebola virus will cripple EMS and hospitals.”

When Future Money Trends, a follower of the page, asked what they meant by this statement, Goldenstate Fire/EMS responded with a shocking revelation.

“DART teams were notified months ago they would be activated in October. Timing seems weird. Source: current DART member.”

 

 

 

The full twitter exchange is available here and a screenshot has been archived.

With the Ebola virus now having been confirmed on U.S. soil, speculation as to how it got here and how many others may have contracted it is mounting. The traditional thinking here is that the virus made its way to the United States simply by one infected individual coming into contact with another, and so on. But, a growing chorus of contrarian researchers suggests another possibility – the Ebola virus may have been weaponized by a government or rogue terror cell and it has been deployed as a bio weapon.

This may sound outlandish, but in August SHTFplan.com posted a video of a State Department official’s remarks to reporters about developments in Africa. In her statement she specifically referred to the growing crisis as an “Ebola attack,” suggesting that not only has the virus been weaponized, but that the U.S. government knew it was not a naturally occurring event.

Though such weaponization is difficult to achieve according to Dr. Joe Alton, it remains a distinct possibility.

As noted by Kurt Nimmo, who cites a 2013 Global Policy Journal report, if someone had the resources to make it happen, they probably could:

Although weaponization of Ebola is complex and unlikely, experts in the field say transmission of the virus by air has occurred between animals. They believe “with advancing knowledge about how to manipulate viruses, the traits that make these [hemorrhagic fever virus agents] difficult to weaponize might be a diminishing barrier.”

Additionally, a “reverse genetics system provides a way to produce highly virulent mutated viruses for the purpose of biological warfare or biological terrorism,” scientists believe, according to Teckman’s research. (Infowars)

Dave Hodges of The Common Sense Show notes that the U.S. Army is intimately involved in Ebola research, adding further fuel to speculation that it has been used to develop new bio weapon systems:

The fact that the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) is involved suggests that either the Ebola virus, or the vaccine, or both, have been weaponized.

Weaponization aside, there is a third possibility and that is the virus did spread through the natural contagion effect, but that its entry into the United States is being facilitated by lax border policies and almost non-existent airport screening procedures, something that has Immigration and Customs officials terrified.

Over the last several years the U.S. government has been actively preparing for awidespread crisis scenario. Whether that crisis is Ebola or something else remains to be seen. But, what we do know is that they have stocked up not only armaments and ammunition, but tens of thousands of Hazmat suitsbody bags and what are believed to be millions of disposable FEMA coffins.

Moreover, the President updated several Executive Orders over the last several years authorizing, among other things, forced quarantines and round-ups in the event of a pandemic emergency and the appropriation of private resources like food, water and human labor.

That a major government supplier of emergency equipment has come out in the open to claim that their sources had foreknowledge of an emergency Disaster Response mobilization to occur in the United States in October of this year is an astonishing development considering what has transpired in the last 72 hours.

dart-teams-2

Sources: Goldenstate Fire/EMSFuture Money TrendsInfowarsSteve QuayleThe Daily SheepleHagmann and HagmannThe Common Sense ShowSurvival Medicine

Priceless Iraqi Artefacts Hit Black Market

October 2nd, 2014 by Global Research News

Ancient Iraqi artefacts are appearing on the black market as militants use intermediaries to sell priceless treasures, Iraqi and Western officials said.

The militants gained some experience of dealing in antiquities after taking control of large parts of Syria, but when they captured the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and the Nineveh province in June, they gained access to almost 2,000 of Iraq’s 12,000 registered archaeological sites.

Mesopotamia, part of modern-day Iraq, was among the earliest civilizations. Its name in Greek means “between the rivers”, a reference to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that made it a rich centre for agriculture, trade and a crossroads of civilizations.

The site of Nineveh and Babylon, whose hanging gardens were one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the land was home to the Sumerians who gave the world cuneiform — the earliest form of Western writing — around 3100 BC.

Speaking at a conference at the U.N. cultural agency UNESCO in Paris to warn of the risk to Iraq’s heritage, Qais Hussein Rasheed, head of the Baghdad Museum, said organised groups were working in coordination with ISIL.

“It’s an international artefacts’ mafia,” he told reporters. “They identify the items and say what they can sell,” he said. Since some of these items were more than 2,000 years old it was difficult to know exactly their value.

Citing local officials, Rasheed said the biggest example of looting so far had taken place at the 9th century B.C. grand palace at Kalhu of the Assyrian King Ashurnasirpal II.

“Assyrian tablets were stolen and found in European cities,” he said. “Some of these items are cut up and sold piecemeal,” he said, referring to a tablet of a winged bull.

Another Iraqi official, who declined to give his name, said artefacts were also being dug up and neighbouring states such as Jordan and Turkey needed to do more to stop such items crossing their borders.

“Things are getting across our borders and into auction houses abroad,” he said. “Unfortunately many of the proceeds of these artefacts will be used to finance terrorism.”

A Western diplomat said it was too early to assess exactly how much from Iraq had crossed the borders.

“We’ve seen hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Syrian pieces pop up after their sites were looted, so it’s not unreasonable to expect the same for Iraq,” he said.

ALARM BELLS

The UNESCO event, which brought together diplomats, Iraqi officials and experts on Iraq’s heritage, comes ahead of next month’s general assembly of the world cultural body, at which France will submit a resolution to raise awareness among member states and create a mission to help Iraq evaluate the damage.

“When tens of thousands of people are dying, should we be worried about cultural cleansing? Yes, because heritage unites and culture provides dialogue that fanatical groups want to destroy,” France’s ambassador to UNESCO Philippe Lalliot said.

Iraq’s heritage already suffered a major blow in the lawlessness and looting that followed the toppling of President Saddam Hussein by U.S.-led forces in 2003, when looters torched buildings and ran off with treasures thousands of years old.

However, militants have destroyed tombs, mosques and churches and burned precious manuscripts and archives.

In attacks reminiscent of assaults on shrines in Afghanistan and Mali, militants in Mosul destroyed statues of Othman al-Mousuli, a 19th Century Iraqi musician and composer, and of Abu Tammam, an Abbasid-era Arab poet.

Copyright World Bulletin, October 2014

 

The head of the world’s most prestigious financial body, the “Central Banks’ Central Bank” – The Bank for International Settlements – said recently the global financial system is currently “more fragile” in many ways than it was just prior to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, and that debt ratios are now far higher.

The World Bank, the highly-regarded Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD) and Development and the International Labor Organization jointly warned that “there is a global jobs crisis“, and that the weak labor market performance is also threatening economic recovery because it is constraining both consumption and investment, since “Jobs are a foundation for economic recovery.”

And the recent edition of the Geneva report – “an annual assessment informed by a top drawer conference of leading decision makers and economic thinkers” – finds that the “poisonous combination” of spiraling debts and low growth could trigger another crisis. The report also notes:

Contrary to widely held beliefs, the world has not yet begun to de-lever and the global debt to GDP ratio is still growing, breaking new highs.

And as the Telegraph puts it:

On a global level, growth is being steadily drowned under a rising tide of debt, threatening renewed financial crisis, a continued squeeze to living standards, and eventual mass default.

(A number of billionaires also believe a crash is imminent.)

This is not surprising …

The Bank for International Settlements has been warning for years that the U.S. and other Western countries have been using all of the wrong approaches to fix the economy.

Instead of helping to reduce unemployment, bad government policy has made it much worse. And seehere and here.

Excessive leverage was one of the main causes of the 2007-2008 crisis … and yet governments responded by encouraging more leverage.

And bad government policy has driven the entire world into debt.

Indeed – instead of fixing any of the real problems which led to the 2007 crisis – governments on both sides of the Atlantic have simply tried to paper over them.   It’s pretty clear how this movie is going to end …

The Public Health Agency of Canada has deleted information from its official website which indicated that the “airborne spread” of Ebola was strongly suspected by health authorities, amidst efforts by officials in Texas to calm concerns about the first outbreak of the virus in America.

The image below shows the original Public Health Agency of Canada website’s information page on the Ebola virus as it appeared on August 20th compared to how it appears now.

Under a section entitled “mode of transmission,” the original text stated that, “airborne spread among humans is strongly suspected, although it has not yet been conclusively demonstrated.”

However, the amended text states that, “airborne transmission has not been demonstrated between non-human primates.”

Both passages refer to a 2012 study by Canadian scientists which indicated that the Ebola virus could be transmitted by air between different species.

“Researchers from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the country’s Public Health Agency have shown that pigs infected with this form of Ebola can pass the disease on to macaques without any direct contact between the species,” reported BBC News.

Although there is no confirmation that Ebola has gone airborne, Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, acknowledged in a recent New York Times op-ed that virologists are “loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private” the possibility that Ebola has gone airborne.

Some have questioned why hundreds of health workers have become sick and died from Ebola given that they take extreme precautions to avoid bodily contact with victims.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

Terror in Latin America and the Caribbean

October 2nd, 2014 by W.T. Whitney

Cuban national hero José Martí referred to land lying between the Rio Grande River and the Straits of Magellan as “Our America.” In an essay with that title published in 1892, Martí evoked the Rio Grande boundary as a divide between peoples with their own history, culture and future and an industrializing, crass civilization to the north promising no good.

Indeed, U.S. agents or proxies would soon be sewing grief and despair. Early in the 20th century they launched military incursions. Subsequently less blatant interventions left terror in their wake. Anniversaries in September and October – a season of sorrow in Our America – recall murder and mayhem. One asks: Can international solidarity prevent victims? Who in North America, epicenter of terrorist plotting, will take on that job?

On September 9, 1954, deposed Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz left for exile.  Three months earlier the CIA had colluded with Guatemala’s wealthy elite to engineer a military coup. Civil war between leftist insurgents and the CIA-supported Guatemalan military lasted three decades and took the lives of 200,000 mostly indigenous and poor Guatemalans.

On September 11, 1973, the Chilean military overthrew socialist President Salvador Allende. Speaking to officials plotting against his election three years earlier, National Security Council director Henry Kissinger observed that: “I don’t see why we have to stand by and watch a country go communist by the irresponsibility of its own people.”

In power, President Allende’s Popular Unity party, an amalgam of diverse left political currents, faced a U.S. – assisted and financed destabilization campaign. A post-coup regime headed by General Augusto Pinochet killed more than 3,000 Chileans and jailed and tortured thousands more.

On September 21, 1976, exiled Allende colleague Orlando Letelier and his assistant Ronni Moffit died in a car-bomb explosion in Washington.  Letelier had been ambassador to the United States, foreign minister, and defense minister. The main perpetrator was U.S. citizen, CIA employee, and Chilean intelligence agent Michael Townley. Others included three Cuban exiles linked to the CIA; Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who instructed U.S. diplomats in South America to accept state-sponsored assassination plots; and Cuban exiles and CIA assets Luis Posada and Orlando Bosch. Posada and Bosch headed CORU, an organization carrying out murders at the behest of Southern Cone regimes.

On October 6, 1976, a Cuban airliner in flight off Barbados went down. Posada and Bosch had arranged for a bomb explosion. All 73 passengers and crew died. At the time Posada headed Venezuela’s DISIP intelligence agency under CIA auspices. The two criminals found sanctuary in Miami.

On September 12, 1998, the Miami FBI arrested Cuban agents Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González. Known since as the Cuban Five, they had been monitoring and reporting on private paramilitary groups in Florida well known for launching terror attacks against Cuba. A biased trial and cruel sentences followed.

On September 11, 2001, an assault from the air collapsed buildings in the United States and killed 2,977 people. President George W. Bust soon told a joint session of Congress that, “[W]e will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism.  Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.”

In fact, the U.S. government itself had already joined “with the terrorists” in Our America. As with earlier interventions, it did so to stop social revolution. U.S. hypocrisy was obvious: official statements expressed horror and threatened retribution, yet victims in Our America already knew the pain of terrorism at U.S. hands.

Anti-communism had served as pretext for foreign interventions. But that rationale made little sense after socialism disappeared in Russia and Eastern Europe in 1990-1992, and “victory over communism” was proclaimed.  The attacks on September 11, 2001 were useful for supplying a new catch-all justification. Henceforth targeted enemies were called “terrorists.”

From 1964 on, for example, the reason for U.S. government backing for Colombia, at war with the Marxist-oriented Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), morphed from anti-communism, to drug trafficking, to war against terror.

In Paraguay the United States operated an air base, deployed soldiers – oddly, on “medical missions” – and in early 2014 set up an “Emergency Operations Center” under Southern Command auspices. Its location in San Pedro Department is close to drug-trafficking Ciudad del Este, allegedly a “base for Islamic terrorist funding.” The Marxist-oriented Paraguayan People’s Army, “a group designated as terrorist,” operates nearby.

The U.S. State Department condemns Cuba for its “support for acts of international terrorism.”  That designation became a tool to rationalize bullying of Cuba.  Paradoxically enough, Cuba, accused of terror, still must deal with the threat of terror from the United States. In May 2014 authorities there arrested four newly arrived Miami-area residents allegedly with terror on their minds.

The case of the Cuban Five defenders against terrorism highlighted the notion of “good terrorists” and “bad terrorists.” Apparently for U.S. prosecutors the violent thugs whom the Five were watching were acceptable terrorists, no less so than U.S. agents scheming in Guatemala and Chile.

The far-seeing José Martí denounced U.S. annexationist longings for Cuba and anticipated U.S. punishment for Cuban independence.  He had a remedy: nations of Our America would come together in solidarity and mutual support.  Now, long after Martí’s battlefield death in Cuba’s Second War for Independence, regional integration is advancing. Alliances have proliferated.

On September 18, 2014, Panamanian Foreign Minister Isabel de Saint Malo announced Cuba would be invited to the seventh “Summit of the Americas,” organized by the Organization of American States (OAS) and to be hosted by Panama in April 2015.

The U.S. government established the OAS in 1948 as a cold-war tool. In accordance with that mission, the OAS expelled revolutionary Cuba in 1962. Now rebellion within OAS over Cuba is big news; exclusion of Cuba had epitomized its reason for being. Maybe these new dynamics will discourage U. S. terror plans for the region.

But not necessarily: presently the U.S. empire is up against the force of Marti’s good idea.   But Martí, sympathetic to working people, to African-descended peoples, never let go of the notion that the interests of the poor and marginalized were shared among all socio-economic classes across the nation he hoped to build. He was weak on conflict between two great social classes. The rich and powerful in Our America of course have ties, real or imagined, to the capitalist giant in the north.

By contrast, working people feel safer with each other, whether at home or across international borders, than they do with big operators. Workers in the United States know that whatever serves globalized capitalist systems – here exploitation and domination in Our America – strengthens exploiters at home and is not good for them. It makes sense for them to join struggles of working and marginalized peoples there as their own. U.S. workers would take collective action to block U.S. sponsorship of militarization and of terror regimes.

They would be making good on a rudimentary, easily-understood prescription from revolutionary struggles of 19th century Europe: “Workers of the World Unite.”   Ever since, the prospect of worker unity has terrified those in charge.

W.T. Whitney Jr. is a retired pediatrician and political journalist living in Maine.

Deep in the Andes region of Northern Peru, in the province of Celendin, Cajamarca, the once peaceful existence of rural campesinos and indigenous people who call these mountains home, is under threat. Having endured a long history of colonisation, first at the hands of the Incas and centuries later by the Spanish, once again the people of this region are summoned by ‘la lucha’, for the preservation of human dignity, democracy and their traditional way of life. 

The return of unwelcome strangers to this land, in the form of Newmont Mining Corporation and the IFC (a branch of the World Bank) supported by one of Peru’s wealthiest families and their private company Buenaventura, all combine under the banner of Yanacocha to search these hills for gold. Utilising an aggressive form of open pit mining and earth destroying techniques. Bringing with them violent repression, environmental degradation and death.

Cajamarca is already home to the largest gold mine in the world, in operation since 1994. The company has plans for a new mega mine, ‘Conga’ in the province of Celendin – the focus of this article. Since 2012, the $4.8 billion project is currently suspended, while the state enacts anti democratic laws infringing the right to peaceful assembly and social protest. Meanwhile opposition to the mine continues to grow locally and regionally, with links firmly established trans-globally between communities negatively impacted by the extractive industry.

IMG_2755-2

(above: Conga No Va , Murial in Celendin, Cajamarca, Peru)

The ‘Conga’ project aims to destroy the head of the water basin for the province, and in part that of neighboring Cajamarca and Hualgayoc, resulting in severe water shortage and contamination. The traditional way of life here consists mainly of subsistence farming and local trade dependent on a scarce water supply. Human Rights Defenders raise the concern that in addition to ‘four lakes being dried up, 27 lagoons, 700 springs, 60 watering channels, 80 drinking water systems and 214 wetlands will disappear.’ Resulting in disastrous consequences for the environment, violating the serenity of these mountain tops, and threatening to eliminate the only natural source of water in the region. Thus, the very essence of life itself.

The local communities have ‘denounced the lack of consultation on mining projects and irregularities in the appropriation and transfer of communal land.’ Although, it may be true that few locals will benefit from the mine, the promise of short term jobs for the immediate community is often a mirage. What is true, is many families will be displaced and inequality will grow. Despite the presence of mining activities in Cajamarca for the last 20 years, 51.9% of the population lives in poverty, the highest poverty rate in the country. During the lifetime of this, the largest gold mine in the world, Cajamarca has risen in the tables from fourth position to the first most impoverished province in Peru – res ispa loquitur.

In the modern age of this international political economy, the objectives of the state and private enterprise are difficult to separate. The police and the media are overseen by a dubious legal system, and assume the roles of defacto shock-troops and the vanguard of yet another incursion into this land. In January 2014, the Peruvian government enacted law No. 30151, which grants members of the armed forces and the national police exemption from criminal responsibility, on occasions where they cause serious injury or the actual death of civilians – while on duty. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has expressed deep concern about this law, referred to by the Coordinadora Nacional de Humanos Derechos Peru as a ‘license to kill.

IMG_2802-2

Frontline Human Rights Defenders (FHRD) note the existence of a 2009 decree in their 2014 report on Peru,  granting off-duty policemen license to provide ‘extraordinary additional services‘ to the private sector and be remunerated directly by the company. In fact, this decree allows ‘extraordinary additional services’ to be agreed between the company and the police force itself, on such occasions where the company may request additional services. The relationship between police and the companies involved is compounded further by the reported use by police of means and resources, including vehicles, provided by these companies. Thus, even the merest illusion of police impartiality in this conflict is definitively laid bare.

A strategy of instigating legal cases against protestors and community leaders best described by FHRD as ‘frivolous’  or ‘unfounded in nature’  rather than a ‘genuine violation of the law’ is tactically applied during this conflict. Mr. Milton Sanchez,  Secretary General of the Plataforma Interinstitucional Celendina has received 50 charges, yet has not been convicted once.  This strategy requires its targets, such as Mr Sanchez, to travel far from their domain to attend hearings in Chicaylo, and other locations scattered throughout the region. More specifically, it requires the target to engage legal representation at his own expense and generally aims to tie up the individual with a highly stressful workload to prevent him or her from fulfilling regular activities accrued as a member of a healthy civil society.

One charge laid against Mr. Sanchez is that of ‘psychological damage’, allegedly inflicted by him against the mining company, during the community led campaign against the project.  As General Secretary of the community Plataforma, Mr. Sanchez exercised his democratic rights to freedom of expression, freedom of association and freedom of assembly. These fundamental rights, the corner stone of any legitimate democracy, are guaranteed under several international treaties including Inter American Convention of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (IESCR), and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.IMG_2804

(Mr. Milton Sanchez, Celendin, Peru)

On 5 May 2014, The Inter American Commission of Human Rights placed ‘precautionary measures‘ which explicitly amount to protective measures, on 46 human rights defenders and leaders of the farming communities and the Rondas Campesinas of Cajamarca. Designed to ‘prevent irreparable harm to persons or to the subject matter of the proceedings in connection with a pending petition or case.’ This applies to  Mr. Sanchez, and Mrs. Maxima Acuna Chaupe and her family, who are engaged in a dispute over ownership of her land with the company. Mrs. Chaupe had previously suffered an attempt of forced displacement, acts of violence at the hands of the police, her house was destroyed, sheep killed and children attacked. On 22nd May 2014 the deadline for the Peruvian government to respond to these orders passed without acknowledgement .

This community has already paid too high a price for exercising its ostensible civil and political rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. Peru is a party to the ICCPR and ICESCR. The rights enshrined within these Covenants are derived from the inherent dignity of the human person, recognizing the ideal of free human beings enjoying political freedom and freedom from fear and want. Article 21 of the ICCPR stipulates ‘the right to peaceful assembly must be recognised.’ Yet, both in the hillside and in the town of Celendin, peaceful protest has been met with violent repression.

In November 2011, during a mass mobilization of civil society groups and individuals who assembled in defense of their fresh water lagoons, 19 peaceful protestors were seriously injured when the police and military opened fire with live ammunition, plastic bullets, and tear gas. Following an erroneous report of six deaths during the incident, transmitted down from the mountain via radio, the mining office in Celendin was burned out in reprisal. In 2012,  four peaceful protestors tragically lost their lives in Celendin town centre, and another in nearby Bambamarca, when fired upon indiscriminately by police and military with live ammunition. Prosecutions of those responsible have not taken place.

IMG_2739-2
(above: Murial depicting the history of the conflict, Celendin)

Inscribed on a downtown murial in Celendin are the names; Faustino Silva, Joselito Sanchez, Joselito Vasquez, Paulino Garcia and Cesar Medina. Forever remembered in the hearts and minds of the community. ‘Conga No Va !’ continues to be the cry heard along the hillside.

Domestic business interests “are trying to bring down the government, with international (US) help,” she said.

Kirchner said that on her recent visit to fellow Argentine Pope Francis – whose help she has sought in Argentina’s ongoing debt default row – police warned her about supposed plots against her by Islamic State activists.

“So, if something happens to me, don’t look to the Mideast, look north” to the US, Kirchner said at Government House.

Just hours after the US embassy here warned its citizens to take extra safety precautions in Argentina, an aggravated Kirchner said “when you see what has been coming out of diplomatic offices, they had better not come in here and try to sell some tall tale about IS trying to track me down so they can kill me.”

The president said local soybean producers unhappy with prices, other exporters and car company executives, all were involved since they would benefit from a devaluation of the peso, which is being pushed lower by her government’s selective default. “Exporters who have lost money have Argentina in a vice.. so do the car company executives who tell consumers they have no inventory when they do …. What they are all waiting for is a devaluation.”

Argentina exited recession with 0.9% economic growth in the second quarter, national statistics institute INDEC said yesterday, a rare bit of good news amid the country’s new debt default.

But with inflation estimated at more than 30% and the value of the peso tumbling, Latin America’s third-largest economy is still mired in a slowdown after averaging 7.8% annual growth from 2003 to 2011.

Argentina is still struggling with the aftermath of a default on nearly $100bn in debt in 2001, with the two hedge funds it labels vultures battling the country in US courts.

But it has been blocked by US federal judge Thomas Griesa, who has ordered the country to first repay two hedge funds demanding the full $1.3bn face value of their bonds.

Griesa ruled on Monday that Argentina was in contempt of court after it passed a law allowing the government to repay creditors in Buenos Aires or Paris – skirting the New York judge’s freeze on the bank accounts it previously used to service its debt.

Argentina has been locked out of international financial markets since its 2001 default. More than 92% of its creditors agreed to take losses of up to 70% on the face value of their bonds in 2005 and 2010 to get the struggling country’s debt repayments back on track.

But the two hedge funds, US billionaire Paul Singer’s NML Capital and US-based Aurelius Capital Management, which had bought up defaulted Argentine bonds for pennies on the dollar, refused to accept the write-down and took the country to court.

The strategy, which stands to make them profits of up to 1,600%, has earned them the label “vulture funds” from Buenos Aires. Blocked from paying its restructured debt, Argentina missed a $539mn interest payment and entered default again on July 30. It is now trying to buy time until the end of the year, the expiration date for a clause in the restructuring deals that entitles all bondholders to equal treatment.

Argentina is meanwhile lobbying to create a UN convention to prevent a minority of bondholders from scuppering struggling countries’ debt restructuring plans.

A resolution to negotiate such a framework passed the United Nations General Assembly earlier this month.

Economic analysts are forecasting the economy will shrink two percent this year, though the government is forecasting a return to economic growth of 2.8% in 2015. The end of the boom has revived the ghost of Argentina’s 2001 economic crisis, when it defaulted on $100 billion in debt and deadly riots erupted. That violence, in which at least 26 people were killed, led to the resignation of president Fernando de la Rua, who was replaced by Adolfo Rodriguez Saa. He resigned a week after taking office amid more unrest.

Copyright Gulf Times, October 2014

Just as the US admitted shortly after the so-called “Arab Spring” began spreading chaos across the Middle East that it had fully funded, trained, and equipped both mob leaders and heavily armed terrorists years in advance, it is now admitted that the US State Department through a myriad of organizations and NGOs is behind the so-called “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong. 

The Washington Post would report in an article titled, “Hong Kong erupts even as China tightens screws on civil society,” that:

Chinese leaders unnerved by protests elsewhere this year have been steadily tightening controls over civic organizations on the mainland suspected of carrying out the work of foreign powers.

The campaign aims to insulate China from subversive Western ideas such as democracy and freedom of expression, and from the influence, specifically, of U.S. groups that may be trying to promote those values here, experts say. That campaign is long-standing, but it has been prosecuted with renewed vigor under President Xi Jinping, especially after the overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych following months of street demonstrations in Kiev that were viewed here as explicitly backed by the West.

The Washington Post would also report (emphasis added):

One foreign policy expert, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive subject, said Putin had called Xi to share his concern about the West’s role in Ukraine. Those concerns appear to have filtered down into conversations held over cups of tea in China, according to civil society group members.

“They are very concerned about Color Revolutions, they are very concerned about what is going on in Ukraine,” said the international NGO manager, whose organization is partly financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), blamed here for supporting the protests in Kiev’s central Maidan square. “They say, ‘Your money is coming from the same people. Clearly you want to overthrow China.’ ”

Congressionally funded with the explicit goal of promoting democracy abroad, NED has long been viewed with suspicion or hostility by the authorities here. But the net of suspicion has widened to encompass such U.S. groups as the Ford Foundation, the International Republican Institute, the Carter Center and the Asia Foundation. 

Of course, NED and its many subsidiaries including the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute do no such thing as “promoting democracy,” and instead are in the business of constructing a global network of neo-imperial administration termed “civil society” that interlocks with the West’s many so-called “international institutions” which in turn  are completely controlled by interests in Washington, upon Wall Street, and in the cities of London and Brussels.

Image: While the Washington Post would have readers believe NED is in the business of promoting “freedom of expression” and “democracy” the corporate-financier interests represented on NED’s board of directors are anything but champions of such principles, and are instead notorious for principles precisely the opposite. 

The very concept of the United States ”promoting democracy” is scandalous when considering it is embroiled in an invasive global surveillance scandal, guilty of persecuting one unpopular war after another around the planet against the will of its own people and based on verified lies, and brutalizing and abusing its own citizens at home with militarized police cracking down on civilians in towns like Ferguson, Missouri – making China’s police actions against “Occupy Central” protesters pale in comparison. “Promoting democracy” is clearly cover for simply expanding its hegemonic agenda far beyond its borders and at the expense of national sovereignty for all subjected to it, including Americans themselves.

In 2011, similar revelations were made public of the US’ meddling in the so-called “Arab Spring” when the New York Times would report in an article titled, “U.S. Groups Helped Nurture Arab Uprisings,” that:

A number of the groups and individuals directly involved in the revolts and reforms sweeping the region, including the April 6 Youth Movement in Egypt, the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and grass-roots activists like Entsar Qadhi, a youth leader in Yemen, received training and financing from groups like the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute and Freedom House, a nonprofit human rights organization based in Washington.

The article would also add, regarding NED specifically, that:

The Republican and Democratic institutes are loosely affiliated with the Republican and Democratic Parties. They were created by Congress and are financed through the National Endowment for Democracy, which was set up in 1983 to channel grants for promoting democracy in developing nations. The National Endowment receives about $100 million annually from Congress. Freedom House also gets the bulk of its money from the American government, mainly from the State Department.

 

Image: US Senator John McCain on stage in Kiev, Ukraine cheerleading US
funded sedition in Eastern Europe. In 2011, McCain would famously taunt
both Russia and China that US-funded subversion was coming their way.
“Occupy Central” is one of many waves that have hit China’s shores since.

 

Pro-war and interventionist US Senator John McCain had famously taunted both Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping’s predecessor in 2011 that the US subversion sweeping the Middle East was soon headed toward Moscow and Beijing. The Atlantic in a 2011 article titled, “The Arab Spring: ‘A Virus That Will Attack Moscow and Beijing’,” would report that:

He [McCain] said, “A year ago, Ben-Ali and Gaddafi were not in power. Assad won’t be in power this time next year. This Arab Spring is a virus that will attack Moscow and Beijing.” McCain then walked off the stage.

Considering the overt foreign-funded nature of not only the “Arab Spring,” but now “Occupy Central,” and considering the chaos, death, destabilization, and collapse suffered by victims of previous US subversion, “Occupy Central” can be painted in a new light – a mob of dupes being used to destroy their own home – all while abusing the principles of “democracy” behind which is couched an insidious, diametrically opposed foreign imposed tyranny driven by immense, global spanning corporate-financier interests that fear and actively destroy competition. In particular, this global hegemon seeks to suppress the reemergence of Russia as a global power, and prevent the rise of China itself upon the world’s stage.

The regressive agenda of “Occupy Central’s” US-backed leadership, and their shameless exploitation of the good intentions of the many young people ensnared by their gimmicks, poses a threat in reality every bit as dangerous as the “threat” they claim Beijing poses to the island of Hong Kong and its people. Hopefully the people of China, and the many people around the world looking on as “Occupy Central” unfolds, will realize this foreign-driven gambit and stop it before it exacts the heavy toll it has on nations that have fallen victim to it before – Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Egypt, and many others.

The number of parents deciding not to vaccinate their children is growing at an alarming rate – at least according to officials who are now nonplussed at the waking of humanity.

Considering the quite ‘heavy’ vaccination schedules proposed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), parents should be refusing vaccinations. Since the 1950′s, the number of vaccines children under 6 are expected to obtain has grown by 414%. Apparently, at least Californian parents have had enough and are refusing to immunize their kindergarten-aged children.

Public health experts are saying that these refusals to have their children vaccinated (at a rate of half as often than just 7 years ago) is contributing to the re-emergence of measles across the state, and may lead to serious outbreaks of ‘other diseases.’ But this is nothing more than scare-mongering and the typical line of vaccination-pushers.

Actually, there are numerous studies which show that un-vaccinated children are far healthier than their vaccinated peers. Findings uncovered during one study looking at New Zealand’s children found that:

“. . . 92 percent of the children requiring a tonsillectomy operation had received the measles vaccination, indicating that the vaccination for measles may have made some of the children more susceptible to tonsillitis.”

The percentage of kindergartens in which at least 8% of students are not fully vaccinated because of personal beliefs has more than doubled as well, according to data on file with the state.

Health officials are not pleased with this trend since they believe in herd immunity, and since according to ‘experts,’ measles and whooping cough need at least 92% of kids immunized. The CDC is a big pusher of herd immunity, but as a direct result of vaccinations, mucosal immunity in children is very weak. This leads to more than one million children having to have tubes put in their ears every year due to Otitis Media or “glue ear.” It is a buildup of water in the ear, which requires this invasive medical procedure.

Despite herd immunity propaganda, there is no system of the human being, from mind to muscles to immune system, which gets stronger through avoiding challenges, but only through overcoming challenges.

Furthermore, it is a lie that disease will spread without vaccinations at a 95% rate. In truth, most states fail to meet the CDC’s goals of extending basic immunizations to 80% (not 95%) of children. Rates ran as low as 65% in Colorado in years past, and as low as 75% in Florida. This did not cause a sudden epidemic of measles, or flu, or whooping cough. Some experts suggest that herd immunity is a myth created by those who might profit from it. It looks like many Californian parents agree, or at least are wary of vaccines in general.

“Five days a week, [children are] in their small classroom,” said Shannon Stokley, an epidemiologist at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “That’s the perfect conditions for spreading germs and spreading infections.”

What Stokley seems to disregard are the numerous other factors which can contribute to outbreaks.

Barbara Loe Fisher, president of the National Vaccine Information Centre, a consumer’s group based in Virginia, argues that vaccines are responsible for the increasing numbers of children and adults who suffer from immune system and neurologic disorders, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, asthma, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and seizure disorders. She believes more studies to monitor the long-term effects of mass vaccination should be conducted. She wants physicians to be absolutely sure these vaccines are safe and not harming people.

Neil Z. Miller, vaccine investigator, points to the polio vaccine as an example. It is now responsible for every new polio case in the U.S.

Holly Blumhardt and her husband, Shannon, are part of a growing minority in Orange County and other affluent areas across the county: They do not vaccinate their children. She says:

It is part of a larger philosophy. I think that we are very aware, from the foods that we eat, like being more organic, non-GMO . . . We just want to have the healthiest family that we can.

California immunization rates have been dropping since the 1980s, but the recent drop in the past 7 years is a convenient excuse for health officials to claim for a disease that could have been caused by super bugs, environmental conditions like drought, and any number of other mitigating factors.

The trend is especially pronounced in Orange County, where the proportion of kindergartners with their full shots fell from 92.9% in 2003 to 89.3% in 2012, predominantly in the county’s wealthy beachfront communities. The county is also battling the state’s largest measles outbreak in recent memory: 22 cases.

The CDC blames anti-vaxers for the recent outbreak. Assistant surgeon general Dr. Anne Schuchat says:

“The current increase in measles cases is being driven by unvaccinated people, primarily U.S. residents, who got measles in other countries, brought the virus back to the United States and spread to others in communities where many people are not vaccinated.”

Within the report, however, was an admittance that unvaccinated missionaries returning from the Philippines were included in their data, where a measles outbreak of 20,000 reported cases resulted in 50 deaths.

“90 percent of all measles cases in the United States were in people who were not vaccinated or whose vaccination status was unknown. Among the U.S. residents who were not vaccinated, 85 percent were religious, philosophical or personal reasons.”

Even high antibody titers in people only convey a 68% chance of protecting against or delaying clinically manifest measles. In Africa, vaccination with the MMR-vaccine has reduced the diseases vaccinated against, but has doubled mortality rates in infants after a single dose.

California state law requires kindergartners to be vaccinated against measles, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, chicken pox, diphtheria and tetanus.

Parents who claim immunization is against their personal beliefs can get exemptions. Some parents opt out of all the mandatory shots, while others allow students to get select vaccinations. There are also temporary and medical exemptions available.

Additional Sources:

Immunisation Advisory Centre

Chop.edu

Nvic.org

Scotland’s Referendum; the Stolen Nation

October 1st, 2014 by Lesley Docksey

English though I am, I was both angered and saddened by the result of the Scottish Referendum; saddened because I had hoped the Yes side would win, and angered because of all the sneering, negative and arrogant campaigning done by Westminster via the Better Together campaign.  That didn’t go down too well so they brought in Gordon Brown to do his patriotic bit, which included talking about how many Scots had fought and died in the UK’s wars.  To quote:

“We fought two world wars together.  And there is not a cemetery in Europe that does not have Scots, English, Welsh, and Irish lying side-by-side.  And when young men were injured in these wars, they didn’t look to each other and ask whether you were Scots or English, they came to each other’s aid because we were part of a common cause.”

Sorry Gordon, but many Canadians, Australians, Asians and Africans, all remnants of our Empire’s past, also fought in that common cause, since when they gained their independence.  To use dead and injured young Scots for pro-Union campaigning is, as one person put it, “repugnant”, particularly considering the centenary of the outbreak of WWI, the war that was to end all wars; even more so now, as British MPs have just voted to start bombing Iraq – again.  No ‘lessons’ learned there then.

I wanted Scotland to regain independence for itself.  It is and always has been a proud nation that has been used and abused for far too long by its greedy southern neighbour, aided by its own land-owning elite.  One only has to read Andy Wightman’s book The Poor Had No Lawyers to see how much of Scotland has been taken away from the people of Scotland.

But I also wanted the Yes vote to win for the sake of the rest of the United Kingdom.  I hoped it would stir everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland into doing something about the Westminster bubble that runs and ruins our lives, unless of course we are corporate, rich or large land owners or, in many cases, all three.  An independent Scotland could have given us a different and fairer vision for all our futures.

Yet apparently Scotland decisively voted No.  How could this be, when all the news coming out of Scotland – not via the national media – showed how engaged the Scots were when debating their future and what independence could bring them.  Steered by Westminster the debate appeared to be all about finance and oil, with threats to health and pensions thrown in, and Better Together’s target focussed almost entirely on Alex Salmond.

They failed to acknowledge just how many separate groups were campaigning for independence.  Once all the small and special interest Yes groups were counted, one estimate put the total at around 350.  All the political parties have pro-independence groups.  Crofters and farmers want independence, as does much of the business sector.  The National Collective of artists and intellectuals want it.  Common Weal wants it.  Bella Caledonia wants it.

My hopes were high but there it was, this unbelievable vote to stay tied to Westminster, not England but Westminster.  I was angry, because I felt something wasn’t right, and I was depressed because a future had been torn away.  How the Scots felt I can only imagine.  But it was not long before the accusations of electoral fraud surfaced.

It started with grainy videos on YouTube, showing official counters doing odd things with the ballot papers.  Stories emerged of people at polling stations being told that someone using their name had already voted.  Children had been registered to vote.  The police “were investigating”, while Westminster pooh-poohed it all.

A small and angry petition was launched by Change.org.  First addressed to Alex Salmond it is now going to his Deputy Nicola Sturgeon, and is approaching 100,000 signatures.  And yet morehas emerged of the odd and dishonest practices that have appeared to capture the No result so wanted by Westminster.  Among them are:

  • Ballot papers with no identifying marks on the back (illegal)
  • Ballot boxes from polling stations delivered to counting centres in private cars by only one person (illegal)
  • Postal ballot papers apparently being sent to England first
  • Pro-union people being allowed to open and inspect postal votes several days before the referendum (illegal)

And there were no exit polls.  Before the referendum various polls said that the No campaign was leading, although the Yes side were catching up. Just before the vote these polls had the Yes side suddenly dropping back even though on the ground the campaign for independence seemed to be getting stronger.  But polls are not that accurate, particularly those published by pro-Union media.

Exit polls are.  They are conducted outside the polling stations and researchers ask people coming out how they have voted.  In the space between the polling stations closing and the counting of votes completed, exit polls give a fairly accurate picture of what the result will be.  But the media, particularly the BBC and ITV, were asked not to conduct exit polls.  That fact alone convinces me that the Scots have been robbed of their independence.  And Westminster should hang its head in shame.  More, it should be investigated by the police.

Bella Caledonia, having been thoroughly put off by the pro-union bias of the general media, is now engaged in creating a totally new and digital “citizens’ media.  They say:

“It’s not about everyone working for free; it’s about giving everyone a voice.  The profession of journalism finds itself at a rare moment in history where, for the first time, its stranglehold on the news is threatened by not just new technology and competitors but, potentially, by the audience it serves.

“Armed with a deluge of social media tools… the online audience has the means for the first time to become an active participant in the creation and dissemination of news and information.”

And here’s one bit of information that Scotland could do without, one that would have produced a truly revolutionary vote for independence.

Not satisfied with stealing most of the Highlands for the shooting of deer and grouse, they’re now stealing the land from under the feet of 80% of the Scottish population.  Of course Westminster had to have the No vote.  For in the same month as the referendum they started selling fracking licences to energy firms that will cover most of central Scotland, including Edinburgh and Glasgow.  And beyond, though I doubt it will touch the precious sporting estates.

England did far too well out of Scotland’s North Sea oil.  Now it wants their fracked gas.  But then, where the British elite are concerned, Scotland has only ever been a source of shooting and money.  And of course all those young men who join the military because life on the streets of Scotland’s cities under the current regime offers little else in opportunity.

Lesley Docksey
01/10/14 ©

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday that more than 400 bodies have been discovered in mass graves near the city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, in what he described as “horrific” evidence that pointed to a war crime.

“This is obviously a war crime. Already more than 400 bodies have been discovered in [mass] graves outside Donetsk and we hope that western capitals will not hush up these facts [because] they’re horrific,” Lavrov said, adding there was an apparent blackout of the incident in Western mass media.

Last week, several mass graves filled with bodies of massacred civilians and independence supporters, killed execution-style, were unearthed 35 kilometers northeast of Donetsk.

“I expect [to hear] a clear, unbiased and responsible response from international organizations. OSCE is already working at the scene. We will make the truth known and, of course, make sure that the justice is done,” Sergei Lavrov said at a press conference.

Speaking at PACE’s fall session in Strasbourg on Tuesday, Russian lawmaker Olga Kazakova called on the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to keep an eye on the investigation into this horrendous massacre.

The independence supporters of southeastern Ukraine believe that the civilians were murdered by the National Guard fighters who had stayed in the village of Nyzhnia Krynka, near the city of Donetsk, where the graves had been discovered, since April. Ukrainian authorities later denied this accusation, saying that not a single National Guard fighter had been in the area, adding however that some other Ukrainian units were deployed there at the time.

Lavrov commented on Kiev’s recent claim to conduct an open and impartial probe of the alleged massacre as soon as it regained control of the area, saying it was pure hypocrisy because “these crimes were obviously perpetrated there at the time when Ukrainian security forces were in control of this region.”

A 9/11 British activist hands himself in to UK’s counter terrorism police following British Prime Ministers David Cameron’s speech at the UN General Assembly last week, Press TV reports.

In response to Cameron’s remarks equating people, who question 9/11 and 7/7 attacks in the US and UK as well as the West’s policy towards the Middle East, with Takfiri preachers who radicalize extremists, Nick Kollerstrom handed himself in.

“As the evidence emerges about the backgrounds of those convicted of terrorist offences, it is clear that many of them were initially influenced by preachers who claim not to encourage violence, but whose world view can be used as a justification for it. And we know what this world view is, the peddling of lies: that 9/11 was a Jewish plot or the 7/7 London attacks were staged; the idea that Muslims are persecuted all over the world as a deliberate act of Western policy,” Cameron said while addressing the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly on September 25.

Explaining his actions to the Press TV correspondent in London, Kollerstrom said, “David Cameron has redefined terrorism at the UN to include people, who believe that the London bombings involve government complicity, were to some degree arranged, which I certainly do believe, and I’ve published a book on the subject and also I believe the 9/11 was an inside job. I do think Islamic nations are being selectively targeted, it’s perfectly obvious, and if the police force are going by his directive what constitutes terrorism, it seems to me that they need to arrest me.”

The Press TV correspondent was present while Colestrom handed himself in.

“We want to report a possible terror threat, we’ve got a bit of evidence and wonder if we could come in and report it,” Kollerstrom said at Scotland Yard headquarters in London.

The British police refused to arrest Colestrom, but he said that Cameron’s definition of nonviolent extremism will lead to the arrest of many Muslims, who share his views, and described it as another example of racial profiling.

Copyright SRK/MHB/AS PressTV, October 2014

Perché gli Stati Uniti, Israele e l’Unione europea reagiscono così aspramente verso la consegna da parte della Russia dei missili S-300 alla Siria? In realtà, una o più batterie di missili antiaerei non possono mutare il corso della guerra civile in Siria. Soprattutto con la decisione di UE, Gran Bretagna, Francia e altri Paesi della NATO di fornire ai ribelli siriani simili sistemi d’arma. Allora, perché i russi non vogliono in nessun caso, rinunciare a dotare l’esercito siriano degli S-300? Per capire cosa significhi per l’occidente l’invio di queste armi, si deve notare che il segreto del successo delle campagne militari di Stati Uniti e Israele negli ultimi 20 anni, si basa sul possesso e l’uso del sistema di contromisure universale chiamato ESM/ELINT (sistema di supporto elettronico). Questo tipo di apparecchiature permette la registrazione e l’analisi delle emissioni radar e del controllo dei sistemi d’arma nemici, neutralizzandoli con le interferenze. Ciò permette alle loro aviazioni massima libertà di azione e la possibilità di operare senza perdite, nelle missioni d’attacco contro obiettivi aerei, marittimi e terrestri. L’elemento di novità nel classico scenario occidentale è che la Russia ha fornito all’esercito siriano dei lanciamissili S-300 dotati di un complesso sistema integrato C4I di rilevazione dei bersagli e gestione automatizzata del tiro. Prima di gestire il lancio e la guida dei missili S-300, il sistema garantisce un efficace controllo dello spazio aereo siriano e oltre, attraverso una rete di telecamere fisse a bassa frequenza di ultima generazione, resistente alle interferenze e agli attacchi con missili anti-radar. A ciò si aggiunge un’ulteriore rete di telecamere mobili, del tipo-1L119 Nebo, che operano sulla frequenza VHF. Oltre a queste due reti di monitoraggio automatizzato dello spazio aereo, si aggiunge un altro elemento per la rilevazione, il monitoraggio e il contrasto a qualsiasi fonte d’interferenza ESM/ELINT occidentale montato su velivoli o navi da guerra.

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In pratica, con l’esportazione mondiale di queste nuove armi da parte della Russia, i sistemi degli Stati Uniti e dei loro alleati della NATO e Israele non possono più imporre la cosiddetta “no-fly zone”, come fecero in Jugoslavia, Iraq e Libia. Senza correre il rischio di un’invasione terrestre  impiegando la flotta e la fanteria di marina. Quando i russi riuscirono a progettare e a realizzare questo tipo di tecnologia, durante il collasso e il declino economico dell’URSS, il vantaggio tecnologico degli Stati Uniti contro la Russia consentì all’esercito statunitense di condurre delle guerre vittoriose in Jugoslavia, Iraq e Afghanistan contro forze armate dotate di equipaggiamenti sovietici? Quale poteva essere l’elemento che diede alle armi statunitensi tale supremazia? La risposta è il C4I (Comando, Controllo, Comunicazioni, Computer e Intelligence). Il C4I è un concetto moderno, l’unico modo attuale di moltiplicare fino a 10 volte mobilità, velocità di risposta, efficienza e precisione tecnica nelle guerre convenzionali, basato sul vasto uso di microprocessori di ultima generazione per le apparecchiature di comunicazione, compresi i sistemi di rilevazione e di puntamento delle armi. Per recuperare il ritardo con gli statunitensi, la Russia ha istituito una agenzia di ricerca per la difesa simile alla Defense Advanced Research Projects del Pentagono (DARPA, creata nel 1958 a seguito del lancio dello Sputnik dell’Unione Sovietica), che gestisce la ricerca scientifica e lo sviluppo delle più recenti scoperte dell’industria militare russa.

Se esaminiamo attentamente come, il 27 marzo 1999, è stato abbattuto un aereo “stealth” statunitense F-117, a Budanovci in Jugoslavia, da parte di un sistema S-125 (Neva/Pechora), vediamo che l’Agenzia per la Ricerca della Difesa russa ha trovato ed implementato una soluzione tecnica per la rilevazione e la distruzione di tali velivoli e missili da crociera. Ma per raggiungere le prestazioni tecnologiche degli Stati Uniti, si dovrà attendere il 2008, con la guerra in Georgia. Prima del conflitto, l’esercito georgiano ricevette dalla statunitense L-3 GCS (leader nelle apparecchiature elettroniche miniaturizzate) e dagli israeliani i sistemi C4I più moderni. In seguito alla guerra del 2008, l’esercito russo entrò in possesso di gran parte del materiale C4I dell’esercito georgiano che poi analizzò, copiò e riprodusse. I loro componenti ad alta tecnologia furono in gran parte integrati nella produzione di nuove armi o nell’aggiornamento dei sistemi esistenti.

Il sistema modulare C4I permette la creazione di reti di comunicazione tattica integrata su piattaforme come veicoli militari in movimento. Permette la visualizzazione e l’aggiornamento automatico della situazione tattica su console con mappe digitali, controlli di gestione, rapporti di combattimento e stato della logistica (fabbisogno di munizioni, carburante, ecc.), o di monitorare lo stato di preparazione e operatività dei sistemi d’arma. Il sistema C4I permette inoltre di garantire la raccolta, la trasmissione via satellite e l’analisi delle informazioni nel formato standard della NATO  in tempo reale, utilizzando sensori posizionati negli avamposti della prima linea, e attraverso sistemi di AGS (Alliance Ground Surveillance) per l’osservazione/controllo elettronico del terreno attraverso droni e satelliti efficienti. Tutte le informazioni vengono dirette ai posti di comando mobili di compagnia, battaglione e brigata. Così, è possibile conoscere la situazione sul piano tattico, gestire il campo di battaglia, facilitando il processo decisionale del comando. Il C4I consente anche di trasmettere e ricevere con dispositivi wireless, in condizioni di sicurezza, dati audio e video ad alta velocità e in grande quantità, come voci e dati digitali, anche in presenza di interferenze. I suoi elementi dispongono di sistemi di memoria, accesso a propri server gestiti da potenti processori di ultima generazione che coprono l’intero spettro delle frequenze e sono protetti da sistemi di crittografia digitale.

 

avion-abattu

Les missiles S-300 russes et la neutralisation de la suprématie militaire américaine

Traduzione di Alessandro Lattanzio – SitoAurora

Valentin Vasilescu, pilota ed ex-vice comandante delle base di Otopeni, laurea di Scienza Militare presso l’Accademia di Studi Militari di Bucarest nel 1992.

In quick time after Obama declared a prolonged war on Iraq and Syria, the Department of Justice partnered with the Department of Homeland Security and the National Counterterrorism Center to launch a new domestic surveillance program. This program seeks to expand the surveillance dragnet by training “community leaders” to monitor their communities for signs of “radicalization.” The imperialists are using manufactured fear of ISIS, the proxy jihadists of America’s own creation, as a means to justify such surveillance. The DOJ’s new program is another reinforcement of Washington’s ”War on (of) Terror,” which has provided the ideological foundation for white supremacist, imperialist warfare since 2001. Under the guise of fighting “terror,” the imperialists have waged an all out war on the poor, working class, and those who stand against Empire.

In doing so, the “War on Terror” has made it impossible for the ruling class to hide the national security-state apparatus of US imperialism. The passage of the Patriot Act and National Defense Authorization Act, as well as the maintenance of Guantanamo Bay, has sent a clear message that the imperialists are waging permanent war all over the planet for control and plunder. However, the expansion of the national security state is supported by the racist, deceptive narrative of “terrorist” prevention. In reality, imperialism’s erasure of Constitutional law through mass repression stems from a deep fear of popular rebellion. The purpose of the national security state’s illegal wire-taps, search and seizures, raids, and collections of private information is to neutralize any potential threat to the corporate and military dictatorship of US imperialism.

In the book Still Black Still Strong, Dhoruba Bin-Wahad defines the national security state as the network of intelligence agencies, local police departments, and the military institutions used to suppress resistance to imperialism. Dhoruba explains that the national security state was fathered into existence during Washington’s war against socialism and the Black liberation movement. The movement for Black self-determination, most militantly fought for by the Black Panther Party, prompted the Johnson and Nixon Administrations to “neutralize” Black political opposition in the US. The FBI’s Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) focused most of its efforts on the Black Panthers. The repression was extensive, ranging from the use of informants to disrupt Party efforts and collect information, military-style raids on Panther headquarters, and targeted assassinations and arrests of Panther leadership.

The intensification of the war on the Panthers allowed Washington and local police departments to build the technological and military capacity necessary for the present day “War on Terror.” Dhourba argues that the counterinsurgency tactics employed on the Black Panther Party have expanded to encompass the whole US population. In other words, Washington has broadened its war to include all US citizens. Obama’s kill list, the Patriot Act, and all forms of mass surveillance must be placed in this context. The connection between the mass surveillance conducted by the national security state and the repression of the Black liberation movement cannot be understated, especially when COINTELPRO agents are still employed by Washington.

Enter Al Sharpton. Sharpton is Washington’s top “community leader.” Last spring, the corporate press revealed Sharpton’s involvement in the FBI as an informant on mafia and “drug” cases. However, Sharpton has been accused of being a more sinister type of rat during his period of employment for the FBI. Before Sharpton was Obama’s darling Black servant, he worked tirelessly to catch Black liberation heroine Assata Shakur. According to Black liberation movement activists Ahmed Obafemi and Kwame Brathwaite, Sharpton offered a donation on behalf of two former Black Panthers to Assata and requested to set up a meeting with her. He did so with knowledge of how dangerous such an encounter would be for Assata, who was on the run after escaping from political imprisonment.

Al Sharpton’s work as an informant for Washington is no longer secret. In this period, Sharpton is committed to degrading Black America and defusing potential Black rebellion on behalf of the Obama Administration. Besides this, Sharpton is a top Black spokesman for the privatization of education. Sharpton teamed up with Newt Gingrich in 2009 to promote “school reform.” In each city, Sharpton and Gingrich preached Arne Duncan and Obama’s doctrine of erasing public education from existence to make way for charter schools. Sharpton exhibits an energy few stooges have in promoting imperialism’s exhaustive dual agenda of Black exploitation and repression, while at the same time maintaining the image of “community leader.”

Just as Sharpton is now a public agent for Washington, the surveillance state as a whole is too massive to hide the crimes it was once only able to commit in secret. The newly announced DOJ program claims it will train “community leaders,” such as teachers and social service workers, in the art of identifying “radicals” of the ISIS boogeyman variety. If imperialism were an honest system, the ruling class would explain to the people that it teamed up with its imperial allies to create ISIS, making the move to ”spot” ISIS radicals in the US is nothing more than an excuse to rollback civil liberties and ramp up the domestic police state. In a very real way, the best case scenario for Washington’s imperial agenda is the creation of as many ”snitches” for Empire as possible. The imperialist ruling class has declared the need for informants with a public face. The Sharpton-ization of the US imperialism’s national security state has officially begun.

Danny Haiphong is an activist and case manager in the Greater Boston Area. Danny can be reached at [email protected].

In March of 2011 I accompanied Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide on his trip home to Haiti following years of forced exile in South Africa. I did so in support of Haitian democracy and Aristide’s civil rights, and in protest against my country’s role in illegally removing him from power in 2004 and then preventing him from returning to his native land for seven long years. Today, Haitian democracy and the rights of Aristide are again under threat and the U.S. government appears to be turning a blind eye.

Since returning to Haiti, Aristide has focused his energy on rebuilding and reactivating a medical university that he founded in 2001 and that had been closed down during his time in exile. Though he hasn’t been directly involved in politics, he remains a popular figure and is the leader of Fanmi Lavalas (FL) – a political party that has won the majority of votes in every election in which it has participated. However, FL has been kept off the ballot by Haiti’s authorities ever since the 2004 coup that led to Aristide’s forced exile.

Haiti’s parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for 2011, are now three years overdue and the UN and other foreign entities have repeatedly called for them to take place before the end of the year. With Aristide back in Haiti it would appear to be more difficult this time around for the government to prevent FL from participating. This is perhaps why the deposed president is once again under attack.

Last month, a Haitian judge reportedly issued an arrest warrant for Aristide. The case being mounted against him reeks of political persecution directly tied to efforts to suppress a popular alternative to the current administration of Michel Martelly, who is supported by conservative Haitian elites and the U.S.

The charges against Aristide stem from an investigation conducted by the illegal government established by the 2004 U.S.-backed coup. Under that government, human rights researchers found that some 4,000 people were killed for political reasons, while many others were imprisoned on bogus charges. Despite his powerful enemies’ best efforts, and a grand jury investigation in the U.S., no evidence has been produced that could support criminal charges against Aristide. In the meantime, the persecution of Lavalas and human rights defenders continues. On August 20, Lavalas activist Clifford Charles was killed following a protest demanding the release of fellow activist Louima Louis Juste.

The judge who issued the warrant for Aristide’s arrest has been disbarred from practicing law for 10 years – as soon as he steps down from his position as judge – for his role in the arrest last year of Andre Michel, an attorney investigating corruption within the Martelly administration. Lawyers for Aristide contend that they never received the initial summons from the judge and that when they did go to the court at the required time, the judge himself was a no-show. Now, in an apparent attempt at saving-face, the judge has ordered house arrest for Aristide, something that is not even legal in Haiti. The National Network for the Defense of Human Rights, Haiti’s most prominent human rights organization, has pointed out that these are not the actions of a neutral third-party.

On the night of September 11th, Haitian authorities went a step further, removing the security detail that had been with Aristide since his return from exile, a move that put him, his family, and his supporters at risk. Haitian press reports indicate that the command came not from the National Police, who have been reluctant to act against Aristide, but straight from the National Palace. The message was chilling and clear: the government can and will stop offering protection to the former president whenever it chooses to do so.

Is the government scared of facing Fanmi Lavalas in a free and fair election? President Martelly was elected in 2011, but only after intervention by the U.S. and its key partners, who arbitrarily overturned the results of the first round, thereby putting Martelly into the run-off election. Voter participation barely reached 20 percent.

The U.S. government was one of the main funders of those flawed elections and a major funder of the elections of 2006 and 2009, all of which excluded Fanmi Lavalas. The U.S. is also expected to provide key funding for the next elections, if and when they end up taking place. If elections aren’t held by the end of the year, terms will expire for the majority of the senate and the entire chamber of deputies, effectively letting the president rule by decree. My country’s government is a de facto, if not active supporter of this rampant curtailing of democracy.

It’s time to end the campaign of attacks against Aristide and Fanmi Lavalas once and for all. Aristide, like all Haitian citizens, must be allowed to participate in politics without fear and intimidation being the norm. My government has been complicit in undermining Haitian democracy for many years now – from the 1991 CIA-backed coup against the first Lavalas administration to the U.S. Administration’s last-ditch effort to prevent Aristide from returning to Haiti in 2011.

This needs to change. The U.S. government should stand by its professed support for democracy and development and stop standing in the way of the popular will of the Haitian people.

Danny Glover is an actor, producer and humanitarian activist.