Writer & Researcher Bil Holter joins me to discuss the latest as we document the collapse. Over just the past week, Bill explains, “all hell has been breaking lose” in the global credit markets.

Bill wants readers of SGT Report to understand that “the stock market(s) are merely a side show to the grand Big Top circus of the credit markets because the credit (bond) markets are so much larger than the equity markets.” And Bill says when the credit markets implode – EVERYTHING will implode.

So how will it all end? Bill explains,

“This is going to be an overnight or over the weekend type of event where you have what you have on a Friday and you wake up on a Monday morning and you can’t trade anything and you’re locked in to your position. So it’s absolutely imperative that you have what you WANT to have, because you won’t have a chance to change it” And Bill asks, “Do realize that gold and silver are THE only monies out there that are not “credit based” or derive their values via the credit markets … markets which will ultimately will be closed?”

Bill Holter writes for Miles Franklin Gold

A week ago, I speculated that we might soon be reading a puff piece from New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren on Naftali Bennett, the new Israeli education minister who is proud of his record of killing Arabs.

My thought was inspired by Rudoren’s December 2013 makeover for Israel’s then foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman in which she claimed that the settler from Moldova had lost his “abrasive” style and turned over a new leaf as a “conciliatory diplomat.”

As recently as this March, Lieberman called for the beheading of Palestinians.

But Rudoren surprised me. Instead of going for Bennett, she has produced a puff pieceon Israel’s new justice minister Ayelet Shaked, Bennett’s colleague in the Jewish Home (Habayit Hayehudi) party.

Last July, The Electronic Intifada made Shaked world famous by translating her Facebook post calling for genocide of Palestinians.

But Rudoren’s piece takes its time to even get to that issue. First we learn that Shaked “danced ballet, was active in the Scouts and excelled at math.” We learn from admirers that she “is a person not of words, but of hard work.”


Ayelet Shaked (Wikipedia)

Finally, in paragraph 21, Rudoren gets to the small matter of Ayelet’s call for mass murder:

A flash point came last June, when Ms. Shaked posted on Facebook a never-published article by a settler activist who had died. It described the entire Palestinian people as “the enemy,” called youths who become “martyrs” while attacking Israelis “snakes” and said their mothers should “go to hell” with them.

Bloggers accused her of promoting genocide. She deleted the post and wrote an op-ed article attacking the attackers.

“It was a mistake,” Ms. Shaked said in the interview, a day before her swearing-in. “I’m doing a lot of mistakes, like every human being.”

Although Rudoren does link to The Electronic Intifada’s post, she presents the facts about Shaked’s statements dismissively as a matter of mere accusations from “bloggers” and gives Shaked’s response equal weight.

Apart from a few quoted words, Rudoren did not actually assess what Shaked wrote – or her response, in which the minister suggests falsely that her words were mistranslated by The Electronic Intifada, “a website dedicated to daily and hourly vilification of my country.”

Judge for yourself

Shaked’s June post, in which she reproduced and endorsed the words of late Israeli settler activist Uri Elitzur, is horrific. Almost any sentence stands out for its bloodlust. Here’s just a few of them:

The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war. It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started.

Then …

And in our war this is sevenfold more correct, because the enemy soldiers hide out among the population, and it is only through its support that they can fight. Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Actors in the war are those who incite in mosques, who write the murderous curricula for schools, who give shelter, who provide vehicles, and all those who honor and give them their moral support. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.

This is nothing short of a rationale for exterminating Palestinian civilians by defining them, from cradle to grave, as “enemy combatants.”

Can we imagine Rudoren allowing someone who incited the murder of Israeli Jewish civilians in similar terms to shrug it off as just a human foible, a “mistake”?

This is just another of the ways The New York Times helps whitewash Israel’s state-sponsored violence and racism.

Apologizing to cancer

In the news today: Likud lawmaker Miri Regev has been appointed as Israel’s new culture minister.

In 2012, David Sheen ranked Regev No. 5 on his list of Israel’s “racist ringleaders.”Most notoriously that year, Regev told an Israeli mob that African asylum-seekers were “a cancer in the body” of the nation.

Following outrage at the mob violence – a “pogrom,” Sheen calls it – that Regev helped incite, Regev apologized. But not to Africans for calling them “cancer.” Rather, she apologized to cancer sufferers for comparing them to Africans.

Perhaps another glowing puff piece from Rudoren is already in the works?

As an alternate to the history of the Cold War in relation to its developments and impact on Indonesia – and even further abroad – The Incubus of Intervention is an intriguing and complex review of the historical record.  The title word ‘incubus’ indicates a nightmare, evil spirit, or a person or thing that oppresses like a nightmare. As many other studies have shown, it is an appropriate appellation for the interventions of colonial powers and those trying to usurp the colonial powers.  In this case the colonial power is the Netherlands and the usurper, as in most cases post World War II, the U.S.

Most mainstream histories report the Indonesian story as a conflict between a central power structure becoming dominated by communists, and a rebellion attempting to overthrow the central government for more regional autonomy.  The deceit and webs of intrigue in the background present a different picture.

Allen Dulles plays the dominant role.  As head of the CIA from its inception, and with a history of espionage, under cover maneuverings, and many ties to legal and corporate interests, Dulles became the ‘embodiment’(1) of U.S. foreign policy in Indonesia.

While considered a failure in standard histories, Poulgrain shows how the rebellion itself was manipulated by Dulles in order to have it fail.  The ultimate prize of course was keeping Indonesia away from the clutches of the Communists.  The back story is much more convoluted and intriguing than that simplified scenario.

The story also involves oil and gold (naturally, as with most U.S. interventions looking for corporate control of resources), the royalty of the Netherlands and Germany, the oil companies and mineral explorers of the Netherlands and the U.S., Wilsonian ideals of self determination, especially for the indigenous people of Papua New Guinea, regime change, and last but not least, Dag Hammarskjold and John F. Kennedy.

There are many people who would have wanted Kennedy killed – crime syndicates, political opponents, Cuban expatriates, Russians (least likely scenario), and as per Poulgrain, Allen Dulles is a strong contender for that list.(2)  Kennedy’s relationship with Sukarno and his attempts to find a peaceable course of action to keep Indonesia within the U.S. sphere jeopardized the corporate background interests of Allen Dulles.

Dag Hammarskjold also became a problem as he worked with the ideals of the non-aligned movement.  His efforts in Indonesia are not as well known as his efforts in the former Belgian Congo, but both conflicted with Dulles’ attempts at grabbing resource rich former colonies for U.S. corporate control.  As should be generally known, Hammarskjold was killed in a plane crash in 1961 in the Congo, very likely from Dulles’ CIA and corporate connections aiming for control of the riches of the Congo, nine months after the CIA killed the4 Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, another patron of the post colonial non-aligned movement.

Poulgrain’s analysis begins with the discovery of an enormous source of copper and gold in Western New Guinea (now West Papua and Papua provinces of Indonesia), continues through the Japanese push for resources in South Asia, and on into the establishment of an independent Indonesia and its internal and external conflicts.  A general historical background will help with the understanding of all the different characters and interactions and intrigues.  The Incubus of Intervention  stands alone as a well written, clearly detailed and intriguing reassessment of historical events in and around Indonesia.


(1) The Brothers – John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret War.  Stephen Kinzer, St Martin’s Griffin, New York, 2013. (p. 323).

(2) “[President] Johnson told friends in Congress that the Kennedy assassination had “some foreign complications, CIA and other things.” Placing Allen on the Warren Commission ensured that these “complications” would remain secret.”  ibid. p. 305.

A formal letter to the United States Department of Agriculture reports that scientists are being harassed and their research on bee-killing pesticides is being censored or suppressed by the Monsanto-infiltrated agency (the USDA). Surprised, anyone?

At least we are organizing formally against a scourge that has been painfully obvious for years now. A broad coalition of farmers, environmentalists, fisheries and food-safety organizations (over 25 citizens’ groups) urged an investigation into the USDA’s support of the chemical industry over the American public in a May 5 letter sent to Phyllis K. Fong, USDA Inspector General.

It states:

“The possibility that the USDA is prioritizing the interests of the chemical industry over those of the American public is unacceptable.”

The group is concerned that a forthcoming report by the White House Task Force on Pollinator Health, which is co-chaired by the USDA, is compromised. The signatories of the letter to the USDA include the American Bird Conservancy, Avaaz, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Farmworkers Association of Florida, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Green America, Organic Consumers Association and Sierra Club.

Could it be? Yes, it certainly could be – here’s why:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been essentially taken over by an outside organization – biotechnology giant and GMO crop-creator, Monsanto. RootsAction has launched a campaign demanding a Congressional investigation.

Want specific examples?

How Monsanto has Taken over the USDA

Monsanto’s growth hormones for cows was approved by Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lobbyist who turned into the USDA administrator and FDA deputy commissioner. This was after Margaret Miller, a former Monsanto employee, oversaw a report on the hormones safety and then took a job at the FDA where she approved her self-penned report.

Islam Siddiqui, a former Monsanto lobbyist, wrote the USDA’s food standards that allow corporations to label irradiated and genetically engineered foods as “organic.”

Furthermore, President Obama signed, sealed, and delivered the Monsanto Protection Act to the American people which allows the horrid company rights above and beyond the federal government.

Still not convinced?

Tom Vilsack, the pro-biotech former governor of Iowa, is now head of the USDA. Michael Taylor, the former Monsanto Vice President, is now the FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods, and Roger Beachy, the former director of the Monsanto-funded Danforth Plant Science Center, is the director of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and that’s not even the end of it.

Until these obviously compromised institutions are cleaned out, these appeals are likely to get us no where.

The letter goes on to state:

“It is imperative that the American people can trust that their government and its employees are serving their constituents and not the profits of private companies . . . All of the research that the USDA conducts must maintain scientific integrity and transparency to ensure it is guiding sound policy decisions.”

We are well past any transparency. One Monsanto employee has even accidentally admitted that the company has an entire department meant to discredit any science that speaks against its suicide seeds and cancer-causing chemicals.

What the Letter Addresses, Specifically

In this case, authors of the letter are addressing neonicotinoids, specifically. This nicotine-like class of insecticides has been shown to damage the neurological systems of insects and has caused pollinator die-offs that can ultimately harm our food supply tremendously. Monarch butterflies and bees have been hit hardest in what is being called colony collapse disorder (CCD).

Bees are responsible for pollinating numerous crops around the world, impacting the US by at least $15 billion a year in food production. Without bees, much of our food would be lost.

In March, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), an environmental activist group supporting local, state, and federal researchers, filed a legal petition with the USDA seeking new rules meant to increase the job protection for government scientists and citing censorship and harassment.

At least 10 USDA scientists have been bullied for research into farm chemical safety that conflicts with the interests of the agribusiness sector, according to PEER executive director Jeff Ruch:

“They have very little in the way of legal rights and have career paths that are extremely vulnerable.”

The scientific work getting hit hardest puts Monsanto at the bulls’ eye – it scrutinizes the effects of neonicotinoids and glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling Roundup herbicide, which the World Health Organization recently concluded is ‘probably carcinogenic.’

A senior scientist at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service told Reuters:

“Your words are changed, your papers are censored or edited or you are not allowed to submit them at all.”

Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity echoed this sentiment:

“Censorship and harassment poison good science and good policy. There’s no question that neonicotinoids are killing bees, and it’s long past time for our government to take action. The European Union has already banned neonicotinoids. The reports that USDA is harassing and suppressing its scientists for doing their jobs instead of using their findings to protect our pollinators are extremely disturbing.”

Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth stands for the American people:

“How can the American public expect USDA to develop a federal strategy that will protect bees instead of pesticide industry profits if it is harassing and suppressing its own scientists for conducting research that runs counter to industry claims?

“If USDA wants to employ a kill-the-messenger approach, it will only delay critical action to address the bee crisis that threatens our nation’s food supply.”

Additional Sources:

Photo source: Wikipedia

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This is what it has all come down to…. the US and the corrupt, dictatorial Gulf monarchies meeting at Camp David Thursday and agreeing on a plan to flood the Middle East with ‘missile defense’ (MD) systems.

These Gulf monarchies are the essential allies of the US in the world now (in addition to a few other fascist-leaning nations). Together they are destabilizing and creating chaos in Syria, Yemen, Ukraine and beyond. This meeting is evidence of the desperation and the moral decay of the USA.

Obama announced that that he would streamline weapon sales and increase joint military exercises with Bahrain (home to US Navy Central Command and the Fifth Fleet), Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as part of an “iron-clad commitment” that the United States will help protect them against their neighbor and rival Iran. The Gulf states claim they fear Iran’s nuclear weapons even after recent successful negotiations to ensure they don’t build any.

In fact Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program several years ago – the CIA has even reported as much as has the IAEA. But truth and reality don’t matter much anymore.

What this new deal with the Gulf states really mean is unrestrained US and Arab extremism throughout the Middle East. The plan is to build a region-wide MD system including Patriot and THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) along with MD radars. It’s also likely that Aegis ship or land-based MD systems will be added to sweeten the pot as well.

The US weapons production corporations will make lots of money. It’s important to remember that weapons are the #1 industrial export product of our country.

When weapons are your #1 export product, what is the global marketing strategy for that product line?

Endless war.

What does that say about the soul of the USA?

All of these MD systems will be “interoperable” with the Pentagon’s existing programs. It will all be run through the US military space satellite system. That means the Gulf states will pay for the US to build a region-wide MD system that is actually aimed at Iran, Syria, and Russia and fully controlled by Washington.

MD is a key element in US first-strike attack planning – its the shield that is used after a Pentagon sword is thrust into the heart of another nation’s military forces. When the attacked nation attempts to fire a retaliatory strike it is then that the MD systems are used to pick off the remaining military capability thus giving the Pentagon a “successful” first-strike.

The whole system works best if you can get real close to the ‘offending nation’ and hit their missiles soon after launch rather than waiting for them to reach deep space – or hit them as they descend from space as they approach their targets.

This new Gulf states agreement is dangerous, provocative, destabilizing and very expensive. The US has once again betrayed its revolutionary roots against British monarchy as it snuggles up with the Arab right-wing feudal monarchies. Nothing good can come from this new agreement.

With its latest phony narrative used to justify US military action inside Syria, the mainstream media and the US Government have now openly admitted that US forces are already active inside the country and that they are taking part in combat operations on the ground.

The US military, who is supposed to exist for the sole purpose of protecting and defending the nation from invasion and whom President Barack Obama promised would not be committed to “boots on the ground” in Syria, is now directly involved in initiating and participating in yet another foreign war for geopolitical standing and the benefit of international banks and corporations.

According to mainstream Western reports, US Special Operations Forces carried out a raid in Deir al-Zour in Syria, allegedly killing Abu Sayyaf (aka Mohammaed Shalabi), and capturing Sayyaf’s wife. The US has described Sayyaf as the equivalent of ISIS’ Chief Financial Officer and that he was responsible for directing ISIS’ financial operations related to oil and gas.

As USA TODAY writes,

U.S. Special Operations forces carried out a major raid deep inside eastern Syria, killing a senior Islamic State leader who oversees illicit oil production and capturing his wife, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said Saturday.

Carter said Abu Sayyaf, also known as Mohammed Shalabi, “was killed during the course of the operation when he engaged U.S. forces.”

He said none of the U.S. forces was killed or injured during the raid.

Abu Sayyaf was involved in the extremist group’s military operations and helped direct its illicit oil, gas and financial operations, Carter said in a statement.

Although Sayyaf was not taken alive, U.S. forces did capture some of his communications equipment, sources familiar with the operation told CNN.

A U.S. defense official said the raid was conducted overnight Friday (Friday evening Washington time) by a team of Army Delta commandos who flew from Iraq into eastern Syria aboard V-22 Osprey aircraft and Blackhawk helicopters, the Associated Press reports.

Upon arrival at the target, which was a multi-story building, the Americans met stiff resistance. A “fairly intense firefight” ensued, including hand-to-hand combat, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss details of the raid by name.

One unidentified source with contacts in the area told the BBC that the operation lasted for about 30 minutes around dawn in the residential quarters of the al-Omar oil field, which houses about 500 families of Islamic State fighters.

“The operation represents another significant blow to ISIL, and it is a reminder that the United States will never waver in denying safe haven to terrorists who threaten our citizens, and those of our friends and allies,” Carter said.

The White House said in a separate statement that ISIL’s oil and operations are “a key source of revenue that enables the terrorist organization to carry out their brutal tactics and oppress thousands of innocent civilians.”

Sayyaf’s wife was allegedly taken to Iraq for interrogation.

Interestingly enough, it was previously announced by the Syrian government that the SAA had killed an ISIS “oil minister” along with 40 ISIS fighters in an operation in Deir al-Zour, although the oil official was reported as being Abu al-Taym al-Saudi. The report stated that he had been killed in Omar oilfield, Deir al-Zour’s largest oilfield.

With these new reports coming from the mainstream press and the subsequent propaganda narrative being produced and shoveled to the American people, however, it is necessary to make a number of points and ask some relevant questions.

American Boots On The Ground In Syria

The fact that the United States and a number of other Western countries are engaged in a bombing campaign inside Syria is evidence enough that the US military is directly involved in combat operations there. That the United States and NATO along with the GCC and Israel have funded, facilitated, trained, and armed the terrorists running rampant across Syria is also well-known. However, with the recent announcement that US Special Forces have conducted a raid in Deir al-Zour marks the first public announcement that US military personnel are physically on the ground inside the country and are conducting military operations.

This, of course, is despite repeated promises by US President Barack Obama that there would be no boots on the ground inside Syria.

This would not be the first time that Western personnel has been found on the ground inside Syria, however, since, early on in the conflict, French intelligence officers were captured by Syrian government forces but returned to the French government. The US CIA has long been involved inside Syria, ever since the beginning of the conflict until the present day.

Are US Forces Taking Credit For Syrian Military Victory?

Considering the fact that the Syrian military, one of only a handful of governments who are actually fighting ISIS (Iraq, Iran, Lebanon/Hezbollah, Houthis) in the Middle East, had claimed a victory strangely similar to that which the US claimed later, it is reasonable to wonder whether or not the US is simply taking credit for an operation that was conducted by the Syrian military. This would have removed the ability of the Syrian government to take advantage of such a useful morale booster as well as provided the ability to broadcast more chest pounding propaganda to audiences back home in the West.

After all, this would not be the first time that the American military took credit for another country’s victory. Remember, during the crisis where Yazidis had been trapped on top of Mt. Sinjar in Iraq, it was Kurdish fighters from Iraq and Syria that fought hard and long to defeat ISIS fighters at the bottom and evacuated the trapped civilians. Western media, however, was plastered with headlines praising the brave American soldiers who were given credit for the operation.

While the name of the individual allegedly killed the Syrian military was different from that of the name of the man allegedly killed by the US, given the shadowy nature of the US-backed al-Qaeda and ISIS forces, it is also reasonable to question whether or not Sayyaf ever actually existed or whether or not he was actually killed if he did.

Indeed, it should be remembered that the United States has no interest in defeating ISIS, at least not until the Syrian government or other non-compliant nations have been removed from their positions.

The US Supports ISIS

It is important to point out that the Islamic State is not some shadowy force that emerged from the caves of Afghanistan to form an effective military force that is funded by Twitter donations and murky secretive finance deals. IS is entirely the creation of NATO and the West and it remains in control of the organization.

As Tony Cartalucci writes in his article “Implausible Deniability: West’s ISIS Terror Hordes In Iraq,”

Beginning in 2011 – and actually even as early as 2007 – the United States has been arming, funding, and supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and a myriad of armed terrorist organizations to overthrow the government of Syria, fight Hezbollah in Lebanon, and undermine the power and influence of Iran, which of course includes any other government or group in the MENA region friendly toward Tehran.

Billions in cash have been funneled into the hands of terrorist groups including Al Nusra, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), and what is now being called “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” or ISIS. One can see clearly by any map of ISIS held territory that it butts up directly against Turkey’s borders with defined corridors ISIS uses to invade southward – this is because it is precisely from NATO territory this terrorist scourge originated.

ISIS was harbored on NATO territory, armed and funded by US CIA agents with cash and weapons brought in from the Saudis, Qataris, and NATO members themselves. The “non-lethal aid” the US and British sent including the vehicles we now see ISIS driving around in.

They didn’t “take” this gear from “moderates.” There were never any moderates to begin with. The deadly sectarian genocide we now see unfolding was long ago predicted by those in the Pentagon – current and former officials – interviewed in 2007 by Pulitzer Prize-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh. Hersh’s 9-page 2007 report, “The Redirection” states explicitly:

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

“Extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam” and are “sympathetic to Al Qaeda” – is a verbatim definition of what ISIS is today. Clearly the words of Hersh were as prophetic as they were factually informed, grounded in the reality of a regional conflict already engineered and taking shape as early as 2007. Hersh’s report would also forewarn the sectarian nature of the coming conflict, and in particular mention the region’s Christians who were admittedly being protected by Hezbollah.

While Hersh’s report was written in 2007, knowledge of the plan to use death squads to target Middle Eastern countries, particularly Syria, had been reported on even as far back as 2005 by Michael Hirsh and John Barry for Newsweek in an article entitled “The Salvador Option.”

Regardless, Cartalucci states in a separate article, “NATO’s Terror Hordes In Iraq A Pretext For Syria Invasion,”

In actuality, ISIS is the product of a joint NATO-GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] conspiracy stretching back as far as 2007 where US-Saudi policymakers sought to ignite a region-wide sectarian war to purge the Middle East of Iran’s arch of influence stretching from its borders, across Syria and Iraq, and as far west as Lebanon and the coast of the Mediterranean. ISIS has been harbored, trained, armed, and extensively funded by a coalition of NATO and Persian Gulf states within Turkey’s (NATO territory) borders and has launched invasions into northern Syria with, at times, both Turkish artillery and air cover. The most recent example of this was the cross-border invasion by Al Qaeda into Kasab village, Latikia province in northwest Syria.

Cartalucci is referring to a cross-border invasion that was coordinated with NATO, Turkey, Israel, and the death squads where Israel acted as air force cover while Turkey facilitated the death squad invasion from inside its own borders.

Keep in mind also that, prior to the rapid appearance and seizure of territory by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, European media outlets like Der Spiegel reported that hundreds of fighters were being trained in Jordan by Western intelligence and military personnel for the purpose of deployment in Syria to fight against Assad. The numbers were said to be expected to reach about 10,000 fighters when the reports were issued in March, 2013. Although Western and European media outlets would try to spin the operation as the training of “moderate rebels,” subsequent reports revealed that these fighters were actually ISIS fighters.

Western media outlets have also gone to great lengths to spin the fact that ISIS is operating in both Syria and Iraq with an alarming number of American weapons and equipment. As Business Insider stated, “The report [study by the London-based small arms research organization Conflict Armament Research] said the jihadists disposed of ‘significant quantities’ of US-made small arms including M16 assault rifles and included photos showing the markings ‘Property of US Govt.’” The article also acknowledged that a large number of the weapons used by ISIS were provided by Saudi Arabia, a close American ally.

US Bombing Helps ISIS

It was evident early on that the US bombing of alleged ISIS targets inside Syria was, in reality, an attempt to support the terrorist organization backed by NATO and the US as opposed to an attempt to defeat it. While such a suggestion has been repeatedly labeled as a “conspiracy theory” by the mainstream media and other gatekeepers in the “independent” media, the fruits of America’s labor in terms of the bombing campaign cannot be ignored. Likewise, neither can the world ignore the results of Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Yemen.

The truth is that the United States, NATO, and the GCC/Arab League are bombing in couched support of ISIS, increasing its gains and hold on power with every sortie fired. With this fact recognized, the NATO/GCC network of national governments can now officially be labeled as the Air Force of Al-Qaeda.

For instance, while the secular government of Bashar al-Assad remained the only force inside Syria actually fighting al-Qaeda and ISIS – terrorist organizations trained, funded, armed, and deployed by the United States, NATO, and the GCC – the brutality of these death squads was used by the Western propaganda machine to justify a bombing campaign that was actually directed at Syrian military and civilian infrastructure.

These strikes were launched against Syrian oil refineries (see here also), bridges, civilian neighborhoods, warehouses, agricultural centers, and grain silos. Others were made strategically against infrastructure that was set to soon be taken back by the Syrian military after long-fought battles with the terrorists.

Likewise, the US bombing campaign in Iraq has had much more to do with protecting Western-owned oil fields and death squad herding than eliminating ISIS. In fact, Iraqi armed forces and government officials haverepeatedly revealed that the US military has actually been supplying ISIS during the entire course of the bombing.

Yet while the Western mainstream press has attempted to paint the Iraqi claims of American assistance to ISIS as “conspiracy theories” and the manifestation of jealousy, that same press has been forced to admit that the bombing campaign has resulted in a stronger ISIS presence in Iraq and Syria and that the terrorist group has become stronger in terms of strategic location and military presence.

As the Daily Beast reported in January of 2015,

American jets are pounding Syria. But ISIS is taking key terrain—and putting more and more people under its black banners.

ISIS continues to gain substantial ground in Syria, despite nearly 800 airstrikes in the American-led campaign to break its grip there.

At least one-third of the country’s territory is now under ISIS influence, with recent gains in rural areas that can serve as a conduit to major cities that the so-called Islamic State hopes to eventually claim as part of its caliphate. Meanwhile, the Islamic extremist group does not appear to have suffered any major ground losses since the strikes began. The result is a net ground gain for ISIS, according to information compiled by two groups with on-the-ground sources.

In Syria, ISIS “has not any lost any key terrain,” Jennifer Cafarella, a fellow at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for the Study of War who studies the Syrian conflict, explained to The Daily Beast.

Even U.S. military officials privately conceded to The Daily Beast that ISIS has gained ground in some areas, even as the Pentagon claims its seized territory elsewhere, largely around the northern city of Kobani. That’s been the focus of the U.S.-led campaign, and ISIS has not been able to take the town, despite its best efforts.

The report continued by pointing out that the ISIS gains were not only in terms of land mass but also in terms of “control of people,” meaning populated areas and strategic locations. It reads,

“Assessing the map, ISIS has almost doubled its territorial control in Syria. But more importantly, the number of people who now live under ISIS control has also increased substantially,” CDS political adviser Mouaz Moustafa said.

With the fall of that much territory into ISIS hands, Syrians who once lived in ungoverned or rebel held areas are now under ISIS’s grip. Of course, in an irregular war like this one, control of people is far more important than control of territory. In that regard, too, things appear to be going in the wrong direction.


Since the U.S. campaign began in August, “there are little buds of ISIS control in eastern Homs, al Qalamoun [which borders northern Lebanon], and southern Damascus that do appear to be growing because of that freedom of operation that can connect those western cells to key ISIS terrains in Raqqa and Deir ez Zour” in northern and eastern Syria.


At the end of the day, it is important to remember that the U.S. airstrikes against Syria are nothing more than a farce. The death squads running amok in Syria are themselves entirely creatures of NATO and they remain under NATO’s command. The true enemy of ISIS, Khorasan, and the cannibals of the Levant has always been and continues to be Bashar al-Assad.

American propaganda claims to the contrary are just that – propaganda.

Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom7 Real ConspiraciesFive Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 500 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com. 

Most of our understanding of how the world works comes from observing the physical realm and learning from what we can see and touch. What we often fail to recognize are the dimensions that exist beyond our grasp. We reach for the cell phone not giving second thought to the electromagnetic radio frequency waves (EM-RF) being emitted from the device. We screw in new CFL light bulbs not realizing they are a triple threat of dirty electricity, electromagnetic radiation and mercury exposure. We hold laptops in our laps and tuck mobile devices in our pockets, but do we understand that these signals might be interfering with our sleep, mood, and cognition? How do these energy fields disturb our cellular processes?

All this technology has made communication easier from a distance. It has made the digital world easier to access, but with so many signals blasting through the air and shooting through walls, health concerns have been raised. What are the adverse effects of electromagnetic radio frequency waves? How do they interfere with our mind and energy body?

Health experts debate harmful effects of cell phone radiation in front of Canadian Parliament

A recent three-day gathering at the Canadian parliament featured international health experts and advocacy groups who shared important knowledge about the adverse effects of EM-RF fields. The Canadian parliament is currently preparing a report to be tabled in the House of Commons. Liberal MP Hedy Fry introduced the motion, which will make recommendations to Health Canada to warn consumers about EM-RF fields. The goal is to compile more research to see if there is a link between EM-RF and cancer.

Health experts have already compiled at least 140 studies linking EM-RF with some types of cancer and electromagnetic hypersensitivity. While the cause and effect is hard to measure in the physical world, these studies have shown that women who carry cell phones in their bras have a greater risk of developing unusual forms of breast cancer. They also suggest that increased cell phone use near the brain can cause brain tumors to form. The emissions have also shown to decrease sperm count, hurting fertility.

“The government has a responsibility now to let Canadians know that there’s a high probability that there is harm if you don’t use these devices properly,” said Frank Clegg, CEO of the non-profit group Canadians for Safe Technology. Clegg supports Bill C-648, which would require cell phone manufacturers to display safety warnings on the packaging for all wireless devices. “We’re not saying, ‘don’t use the technology.’ We’re just saying, ‘use it safely,’” he says.

Resistance has come from industry leaders like Bernard Lord, president and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association. He told the committee that research still points to the conclusion that wireless technology poses minimal risk. “When exposures remain below the safety limits set by science-based EMF exposure standards, including Health Canada’s Safety Code 6, no adverse effects have been proven through credible scientific evidence,” he said.

One expert, Dr. Riina Bray of the Environmental Health Clinic at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, said she is seeing an uptick in patients with electromagnetic hypersensitivity, which includes poor concentration, fatigue, headache, digestive disturbances and even heart palpitations. “I’m saying that it’s so poorly studied and it’s out of control,” she said in reference to technology emissions. Bray is most concerned about the health of children, whose brains are still developing.

Tips for limiting exposure to EM-RF

Despite the controversy, Wi-Fi signals and EM-RF waves appear to be here to stay. Here are some ways to limit exposure:

  • Schools, homes, and workplaces can be hard-wired to the digital world instead of connecting through Wi-Fi channels.
  • All wireless devices should be removed from bedrooms while sleeping.
  • Cell phones and tablets can be set to airline mode or turned completely off when not in use.
  • Cell phone users can use ear buds or speakerphone mode to prevent direct EM-RF exposure to the brain.
  • Cell phones and wireless tablets should be kept away from small children and the abdomens of pregnant women.
  • The home wireless router should be turned off at night to prevent sleep disturbances.
  • Devices and phones should not be carried within one inch of the body.
  • In some healing arts circles, it is recognized that some crystals and plants have unique vibrational frequencies that repel electromagnetic radiation, but concrete science cannot explain these metaphysical experiences yet.





Urgent Support for Mumia Abu-Jamal

May 18th, 2015 by Prison Radio

Dear friend,

Dateline May 17th 2015: Danville, PA

We have seen or spoken to Mumia Abu-Jamal for a week.  He is being held incommunicado in a hospital without access to visits of any kind or the phone. They won’t even confirm where he is being held.

This is deeply troubling.

On Tuesday May 12th in the evening Mumia was taken from the prison infirmary to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville PA. An infirmary nurse called his wife at 8:30 pm noting that he was transferred because he had a fever and blistering open sores.  He was last visited on Saturday.

Since Tuesday Mumia Abu-Jamal has been isolated from his family, his lawyer, and his doctor.   Wadiya Jamal, his wife, has been trying to get into the hospital.

The Legal and Medical Team have been working 24/7. 

Bret Grote, Esq, (Abolitionist Law Center) and co counsel Bob Boyle are preparing an emergency court action to be filed in Federal Court. They have been calling the prison and the hospital demanding access.  Bret Grote, notes:

“The DOC is once again demonstrating its contempt for human rights and proper health care by holding Mumia Abu-Jamal incommunicado from his family and lawyers. Instead of recognizing the value of family support and legal consultation in protecting and improving his health, the DOC is treating Mumia like a piece of property that it can withhold access to and information about arbitrarily and with impunity. People around the world have been fighting like hell for Mumia for more than 33 years and we are all needed once more to push back against another attempt to silence him. Demand that Mumia be permitted visits and phone calls with his wife, family, and lawyers.”

Diagnostic Treatment demand letters have been sent to both the Department of Corrections and the Chief Medical Officer at Geisinger Hospital.

Prison Radio has raised $47,269 from 801 donors.  Even though we don’t actually have the $ yet (it is on its way from Indie GoGo), we have already sent 20K to the lawyers, and spent thousands on expenses, doctors, medical records, and travel.  We just purchased a full page add in the nation magazine.  We are pulling out all the stops. Can you call, can you write? Can you give?  bit.ly/rise4mumia 

Activist, Journalists, and Religious People have been attempting to see Mumia.A delegation from Collectif Français ‘Libérons Mumia’ (Claude Guillaumaud-Pojol, Jacky Hortaut, and Jonathan Lere), from Paris, France went to the hospital & the prison.  On Sunday, the prison guards denied their visit.  On Saturday Mark Lewis Taylor, a professor at the Princeton Theological Seminary went to the hospital as a spiritual advisor.  He was turned away after hours of negotiations with security officials.

Keeping Our Eyes on Munia

Preventing Mumia Abu-Jamal from speaking with his private physician is disturbing.  Mumia’s doctors have outlined the medically indicated steps that need to be taken to find out what is driving Mumia’s chronic serious and now life threatening health conditions. Considering our recent experience detailed below, Mumia need his doctor’s advice and his families care.

In the past two weeks, Mumia’s doctor has identified seriously inadequacies in the medical care provided by the infirmary.  Mumia’s doctor stressed that a cat scan was needed. The prison said it was fine. After we obtained the records, it was obvious that there were serious medical issues raised by the troubling cat scan results.  Then Mumia was given a topical cream that was on the warning label counter indicated to the very specific and rare potential cancer that is a possible cause of his extreme skin ailment.  Clearly, a biopsy was called for and that demand was made.  Upon hearing that on Monday a biopsy would be conducted, Mumia’s doctor immediately specified that it should be taken from his trunk area. Mumia was given this information. But because Mumia’s doctor has been prevented from speaking with any prison health care professionals and the treating physicians he could not tell them this. The DOC was informed that the biopsy should be performed from the maximailly advantageous place. When Mumia told the Physician’s assistant who conducted the biopsy at the infirmary, he could not change the standing order which was to take the biopsy from his arm.  The concern is that what might be driving the extreme skin condition is subcutaneous T cell lymphoma – a treatable cancer. We cannot rule that out or confirm that until the appropriate tests are given. Mumia was told that the physicians at SCI Mahanoy in March were prevented from ordering additional tests by officials of the Wexford Corporation, which has the contract for medical care in PA prisons.  The PA division is named “Correct Care Solutions”.

Clearly Mumia needs an immediate diagnosis, and then a competent treatment plan.  Please join us in keeping Mumia alive, and then seeing him free.
Noelle Hanrahan, P.I. Director Prison Radio


Urgent Support for
Mumia Abu-Jamal


Call, write, fax continue to keep the pressure on demand freedom & medical care for Mumia:

1) Demand that he has access to his lawyer, his family, and his phsycian.
2) Demand that diagnostic testing be done.  And that he be given medically indicated treatment immediately.
3) Demand that he be released from prison.
As one prison radio listener said to us in an email:  “It maybe be easier to get Mumia released from prison than get him health care inside prison”.  We agree that it is past time for Mumia Abu-Jamal to be released.  He has served 33 years, (30 on death row).  His conviction needs to be overturned, and he needs to be freed immediately.
Every Action Matters.
Letters, Faxes, Phone calls
We are asking folks this week to call the hospital and the prison:
Geisinger Hospital : (570) 271-6211 (570) 271-7907 Dannville, PA
Superintendent John Kerestes (570) 773-2158; press Zero, SCI Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA  17932
for more numbers and places to call visit www.prisonradio.org

On March 25, House Rep. Mike Pompeo (R. KS) introduced HR 1599: Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015. 

It seeks “(t)o amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to food produced from, containing, or consisting of a bioengineered organism, the labeling of natural foods, and for other purposes.”

Critics call the measure the Denying Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act. It blocks state and local efforts to require GMO labeling.

Current Vermont, Connecticut and Maine laws requiring labels on GMO foods and ingredients would be null and void.

The FDA would be prevented from establishing a national mandatory standard. Current agency policy lets companies voluntarily label GMO foods. No major company does so.

DARK Act legislation lets the industry-controlled FDA approve foods for sale under a system requiring companies merely to notify the agency about products “substantially equivalent” to non-GMOs.

Labeling genetically modified foods and ingredients “natural” is willful deception. DARK legislation lets federal regulators define the term to include harmful to health GMOs.

It would block states from prohibiting “natural” labeling for GMO foods.

The DARK Act’s latest version includes a section instructing the USDA to set legal rules for non-GMO labels – a provision able to establish weaker standards than already.

DARK Act legislation is a Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) initiative. It aims to keep consumers more uninformed about what they eat than already – including about the hazards of harmful to health GMO foods and ingredients.

GMA and its member companies lobby Congress intensively to block GMO labeling – plus efforts against labeling ballot initiatives in California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado.

Enacting HR 1599 would let food producers continue to use dangerous GMOs while denying consumers the right to know what they’re eating.

In February, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D. OR) introduced HR 913: Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act – “to require that genetically engineered food and foods that contain genetically engineered ingredients be labeled accordingly.”

Barbara Boxer (D. CA) introduced a comparable Senate version. They require labeling GMO foods and ingredients.

Given industry opposition, odds for passage are virtually nil. Mass consumer outrage is needed.

Over 90% of Americans support GMO labeling. Congress won’t mandate it without sustained popular pressure.

The Institute for Responsible Technology lists 10 reasons to avoid GMOs.

1. Independent studies show they harm human health. They cause organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, infertility, and other longterm problems.

2. GMO soil contamination is permanent – threatening the health of future generations.

3. GMOs require increased herbicide use, increasing health hazards.

4. Gene mixing from unrelated species risk dangerous unpredictable side effects – “new toxins, allergens, carcinogens and nutritional deficiencies.”

5. Government oversight protecting consumers is virtually nonexistent. Industry executives control federal agencies. Rules they mandate serve bottom line interests, not consumer health and welfare.

6. Monsanto and other biotech giants promoted agent orange, PCBs and DDT safety. Now they’re using the same phony research claiming GMOs are safe to eat.

7. Independent research revealing GMO health hazards is suppressed. Scientists discovering serious problems are “attacked, gagged, fired, threatened and denied funding.”

8. GMOs cause irreparable environmental damage. They “harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources and are unsustainable.”

9. GMOs don’t increase crop yields as fraudulently touted. In some cases, yields decline.

10. Avoiding GMOs is the only way to help eliminate them altogether. What industry can’t sell, it won’t produce.

You are what you eat. The phrase has been around a lot time. It hits home hard today given the harm to human health caused by GMOs and other toxins contaminating the typical Western diet.

With the help of the local revolutionaries and ethnic terrorists, the West is trying to destabilize Macedonia in order to overthrow the democratically elected government and to withdraw the country from the Balkan (Turkish) Stream.

There is a clear and present danger that the US agents would try to initiate street violence during today’s manifestations in Skopje under false flag, as it was the case with snipers in KievIn the interview with the major Macedonian news agency Netpress Andrew Korybko argues that besides economic and political, there are ideological reasons for the aggression of the West against Macedonia, aimed to destroy conservative traditional values in the local society using SDSM [opposition Social-democratic Union of Macedonia) and a number of NGOs on the Soros payroll as a tool of destabilization.

The latest announcement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the terrorist attack in Macedonia is saying that the opposition and the NGOs in the country, inspired by the West, are trying to make a so-called color revolution. So now it is more than clear that all this that has been happening these last months, the failed coup, the publishing of the illegally wiretapped phone records, the protests, and the terrorist attack is a strategy created and supported by the opposition, the Soros NGO`s, and some western powers in order for Macedonia to withdraw from Turkish Stream Russian pipeline. What are the details from the dark scenario that they had in mind?

The main strategy is to overthrow the government using a Color Revolution, but if that doesn’t work, then they plan on introducing an Unconventional War modeled off of the Syrian template. We already see the beginning of the second strategy with the terrorist attack in Kumanovo, which they staged in order to try to instigate the Albanians to break away from the democratically elected and legitimate government. They hope to stain the Albanians’ reputation by affiliating them with this terrorism in order to incite ethnic and religious tensions on both sides. If the combination of Color Revolution and Unconventional War doesn’t succeed in overthrowing the government, then they hope that the resultant chaos can create a pretext for a formal military intervention by NATO. This could see Albania occupy the ethnic Albanian areas of Western Macedonia under a false ‘humanitarian intervention’/’responsibility to protect’/’anti-terrorism’ guise or a more unified NATO intervention between both Albania and Bulgaria, the latter of which have sent troops to the border ostensibly to deal with ‘refugees’. The end game of this entire destabilization is to remove Macedonia’s patriotic and internationally recognized government, change the constitutional name of the country, possibly federalize or partition the state (maybe even between both Albania and Bulgaria, with the EU/NATO supporting Sofia’s occupation as a ‘reward’ for rejecting South Stream), and ultimately sabotage Russia’s Balkan Stream pipeline plans.


But obviously, something in Macedonia is not working out for them. Besides the timely and decisive moves from the top state officials, it seems that they are also failing mostly thanks to the wisdom of the citizens, both Macedonian and Albanian, who realized what kind of scenario is going on, who the directors are, who is telling the truth, and who is telling lies. Yet, it is naive to think they will give up like that and open the way for the Turkish stream. What can we expect next?

Macedonia can certainly expect more violent provocations since the US will not give up its plans that easily. I commend all Macedonians for their calm and peaceful reaction to the existing provocations, and especially extend my respect to the Albanian population for thus far avoiding the externally directed temptation of Greater Albania. But, I do see the West increasing their pressure on all Macedonians, especially ethnic Albanians, in order to try to split society. We already see international (Western) diplomatic interventions through the biased statements by the EU, NATO, and the joint statement of the US, EU, France, UK, and Italy, essentially laying equal blame to the security forces for the terrorist attack! The method behind their madness is to create a pretext for sanctions against the people of Macedonia that are designed to decrease their living standards and economic growth (which was stronger than the Eurozone’s last year) so that they feel pressured to join the Color Revolutionaries or ethnic terrorists.

However, I’m very worried that the US will initiate false-flag violence in Skopje like they did with the snipers in Kiev in order to accelerate the country’s destabilization. Everything comes down to 17 May and the forthcoming Color Revolution/coup attempt. I feel that this day is setting itself up to go down in Macedonian history either as the day the destabilizers were defeated or the day Macedonia was thrown into full chaos. There is just too much Western media coverage on the upcoming event right now for Washington to not throw all of its resources into making it a regime change ‘success’, although I predict that the majority of Macedonians will continue to resist the external war being waged on their country with the same devotion and heroism as their Syrian counterparts.

A map representing territorial ambitions of the Albanian nationalists.

A map representing territorial ambitions of the Albanian nationalists.

The situation in Macedonia is obviously raising the red alarm in Greece also, since the both are going to be transit countries for the gas, together with Serbia. We know that in the past during the negotiations for the South stream project, the Greek prime minster Kostas Karamanlis was facing an assassination because Greece agreed to take part in the project while in the same time all the phone conversations of the top state officials were wiretapped. This whole strategy was being conducted by a spy network from few allied secret services and least 20 Greeks, and many believe that this network was behind the violent riots and clashes during the mandate of Karamanlis. Should the Greek government expect some similar pressure now or this time they are planning to go after all the transit countries by using the ISIL fighters and the story of Great Albania?

I think it’s certainly possible and I wouldn’t discount that scenario, but I feel that it’s more likely that the US will first try to use internal pressure against Syriza before it resorts to external means like in Macedonia. They want to split the party’s base and lead to its dismissal in early elections, hoping that this could be a more cost-effective and easier way to sabotage Balkan Stream in Greece. Other means they may employ could be offering Greece generous financial deals in exchange for reneging or delaying Balkan Stream, as well as paying some of the German World War II reparations that are currently being discussed. Such payments would only be a form of bribery to Syriza in this case, as Germany has no motivation to provide any money to Greece without political strings attached. Finally, the US diplomatic push in Greek affairs and sphere of influence is obviously purposed as some type ‘grand deal’ that Washington wants to make with Athens. This explains why John Kerry and Amos Holstein are lobbying for the TAP [Trans-Adriatic] pipeline over Balkan Stream, even though it’s in Greece’s best interests to have both pipelines transiting its territory. It’s also telling that Russia doesn’t object to this at all, and that it’s the US that wants to force Greece to make a choice. In order to ‘sweeten the deal’, Washington is now proposing a federalization model for Cyprus in order to resolve the long-standing conflict there. It would be foolish for one to think that these two diplomatic pushes aren’t connected, since it’s obvious that the US hopes to lobby Greece against Balkan Stream by all of a sudden pretending that it’s pursuing its interests in Cyprus.

Let’s talk about the foreign media propaganda. It is almost funny to see how some of the pro- western media have absolute bias in their reports, pointing fingers, publishing statements or interviews only from the opposition and Soros activists and making cheap and pathetic spins. Is it coincidence that most of this media seem to be coming from the US, Germany and Britain, and a few from the region that are financed by Soros?

3cc3ea028ec2c5bc49d14fb381a9929f_xlNo, it’s not a coincidence because these are the same political forces fighting against Macedonia. I’d like to emphasize the hostile political nature of these entities because their economic interests are naturally aligned to Balkan Stream, as is the case with Germany and the entire EU as a whole, for example. However, the US-controlled political forces oppose Balkan Stream due to Washington’s pressure in the New Cold War, and if they want to retain power and not be ousted via their own manipulated ‘wiretapping scandal’, political putsch, or Color Revolution, then they must abide by whatever the US says. And one more thing – these Western actors are supports of hyper liberalism and have tried to destroy the same religious-conservative values in their own country that Prime Minister Gruevski and VMRO are trying to reinforce and promote in Macedonia, so they also have ideological reasons for their information aggression as well. Zaev is cut from the same cloth as these Western politicians and aims to enforce a hyper liberal model on Macedonia that would do away with all of the values-based successes of the past decade.

More or less, all the transit countries are and will be facing pressure on many ways and levels, but why it seems that so far Macedonia is facing the hardest pressure? Was one of the reasons maybe because they couldn`t find better allies as the ones they find in Macedonia? Do you think that the leader of the biggest Serbian or Greek opposition party would accept to go with this dark scenario, the way SDSM and Zoran Zaev did?

I think that Color Revolutions and their evolving political tactics are always possible and remain a threat to every country that resists the unipolar world, but Macedonia was targeted specifically because its demographics make it an ideal ‘laboratory’ setting. Allow me to explain. There are only a little more than 2 million people in the country, thereby making it relatively easier for foreign intelligence services to spy on a larger percentage of the population than in larger states. This also means that the country has a smaller media market which can easily be penetrated by Color Revolutionary influence and external information pressure. Additionally, there’s around a 25% Albanian minority according to some statistics and they live mostly along the Albanian-“Kosovo” border, thereby making them exceptionally vulnerable to the temptation of Greater Albania.

Finally, the ‘opposition’ was already boycotting the Parliament as it was, thereby creating the perfect social situation for a Color Revolution to took root and be ‘convincingly’ broadcast to outside audiences. All of these factors came together to create a situation that the West couldn’t’ resist destabilizing, if only for the fact that its demographics provide it with easily controllable variables to that make for a perfect Color Revolution test scenario. The destabilizing lessons being refined in Macedonia are designed for export elsewhere afterwards (perhaps to Serbia once more), but at the same time, the resistance of the Macedonian people (inspired by their Syrian counterparts) can serve as an exported example as well to help counter these mechanisms in future theaters.

keep-calm-and-blame-putin-600x700We are witnessing major shifts on the global power map. It seems that more and more countries are turning towards Russia, or to be more concrete, more and more leaders are facing lots of pressure from Brussels and Washington simply because they are nurturing good and friendly relations with Putin and are also willing to corporate in different ways. At the same time, we see that the crisis in Macedonia was developing really fast and the creators are pushing it real aggressively, so is this aggressiveness the result of them losing global power and being unveiled on the global scene, and are you optimistic that the Balkan Stream will soon be pumping Russian gas?

I think that the harsh reaction is definitely due to the fear that Russian influence in the Balkans can serve as the backdoor to soft influence over the rest of Europe. In reality, however, the completion of Balkan Stream would at the very least be a continuation of the existing state of affairs where Russia provides around 30% of the EU’s energy needs. Balkan Stream is basically a replacement for South Stream, which for its own part would have been a replacement for the Ukrainian-bypassing pipelines that will be phased out by 2019. The discomfiting fact that EU policy makers try to forget is that they can’t survive without Russian gas – it’s impossible. The EU and Russia are natural partners by virtue of their geography and history, and the completion of Balkan Stream will reinvigorate their positive bilateral relations.

The conflict, however, is that the US absolutely does not want this to happen since it understands that it would lessen its control over Europe, and consequently Eurasia. One needs only to reference former National Security Advisor and noted Polish-American geostrategic Zbigniew Brzezinski’s ‘The Grand Chessboard’ to see this explicitly stated. Therefore, the US wants to use its proxy EU elites to enforce pressure on whichever leader or country wants to build pragmatic relations with Russia, hence the current externally driven destabilization in Macedonia. The future of the Balkans runs through Macedonia, and the country is now the latest flashpoint of the New Cold War.

Be that as it may, I have full faith in Macedonians that they will bravely resist this aggression and fight for their sovereignty and security, and I don’t expect them to capitulate like the divided Ukrainians did so early in the game. Instead, I see them embodying the spirit of Syrians in pushing back against this external offensive and protecting their cherished country. All in all, it might take a bit more time than initially expected, but I do predict that Balkan Stream will eventually be created and that Russian gas will continue being pumped through the region.

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow. The English translation of the source interview is exclusive for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Sessions Reads the TPP and Exposes Its Contents, Other Elected Officials Should Do the Same

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is one of the few members of Congress who has taken the time to jump through the hoops and read the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). But, he has gone a step farther than other members – he told members of Congress what he read. He told the truth about what the TPP says and why Congress should oppose it in a five page letter to his colleagues.

Sessions’ action flies in the face of the threats made by the US Trade Representative to prosecute elected officials who tell people what is in the trade agreement. Others should follow his example and get out the truth about the TPP.

The debate in the Senate begins on Tuesday, May 19. This is an opportunity for Senators to tell their colleagues the truth about what is in the TPP.  Sessions’ “Dear Colleague” letter was leaked and reported in Breitbart.  Senators from both parties may want to take a similar approach. Even better, during the debate on the Senate floor there will be an opportunity for amendments that expose problems with the TPP. Senators can tell their colleagues and, through C-SPAN, their constituents the truth about what is in the TPP.

How Senator Sessions Exposed the Truth about TPP

Breitbart has written two articles on Sessions’ revelations. In “Critical Alert: Jeff Sessions Warns America Against Potentially Disastrous Obama Trade Deal,” they report:

“’Congress has the responsibility to ensure that any international trade agreement entered into by the United States must serve the national interest, not merely the interests of those crafting the proposal in secret,’ Sessions’ team writes in a document that lays out the top five concerns with the Obama trade deal. ‘It must improve the quality of life, the earnings, and the per-capita wealth of everyday working Americans. The sustained long-term loss of middle class jobs and incomes should compel all lawmakers to apply added scrutiny to a ‘fast-track’ procedure wherein Congress would yield its legislative powers and allow the White House to implement one of largest global financial agreements in our history—comprising at least 12 nations and nearly 40 percent of the world’s GDP.’ . . .

“The Sessions document then goes point-by-point for five full pages through the TPA trade deal, laying out why it wouldn’t help Americans—rather, it would likely hurt American workers—and why the deal doesn’t in fact provide Congress with more power over trade despite talking points from the Obama trade deal’s proponents . . .”

The second article in Breitbart, “Only Two Republicans Admit They Have Actually Read Secret Obama Trade Deal – Both Unsupportive” reports on a survey they did of Senate Republicans where they asked three questions: (1) Have you read the TPP, specifically the ‘living agreement’ in the trade deal that allows the deal to be changed and countries added without congressional review? (2) Does the Senator agree with Sen. Sessions’ call to make the TPP available to the public? And, (3) Will the Senator vote for fast track Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) if the TPP hasn’t been stripped of the ‘living agreement’ section that would allow countries to amend the deal without Congressional approval, and to even add countries (like China, if they wanted to) to the deal without Congressional approval?

Breitbart reports that one additional Senator, James Lankford (R-OK) was scheduled to read the TPP on Friday, May 16.  Interestingly, the Oklahoma legislature recently passed a resolution urging their federal representatives to vote against fast track trade authority.

While the US Trade Representative has threatened members of Congress with criminal prosecution for telling others what is in the TPP, they have made no threat to Senator Sessions. No doubt if they did so, fast track and the TPP would be dead because the years of work by the Obama administration to move this forward in secret would be over, and as the first trade representative in the Obama administration, Ambassador Ron Kirk, told the media “if the American people knew what was in this agreement it would never become law.”

The Truth About Trade is Needed Right Now

We are in the critical phase of debate about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other rigged corporate trade agreements.  While Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH) has promised to publish all bills before they are voted on, he has not even read the TPP and definitely has not required it be made public.  While the fast track bill can be read, the TPP is different; elected officials have limited access to it and they are not allowed to discuss what they read.  So, the Congress is tying its hands on the TPP and other deals, without knowing what is in them and thereby shirking their constitutional responsibility under the Commerce Clause which directs Congress “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations.”

Now, it becomes even more important because President Obama has repeatedly chided members of Congress for being inaccurate about what is in the TPP, even comparing Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to Sarah Palin talking about death panels.  He makes the claim that Congress does not know what it is talking about while keeping the agreement secret and difficult for elected officials and their staff to read. On top of that Obama and his administration consistently put out false and misleading statements about the agreement.  One wonders, and I hope the media begins to ask him, whether President Obama has read the agreement? As Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) said in response: “We know exactly what we’re talking about. My concern is that he does not understand what’s in it.”

Obama criticized Warren for claiming that the TPP would undermine federal regulation of banks. If the language of the TPP were released we could see if he is accurate. But, after their argument on this issue, Canadian Finance Minister, Joe Oliver, bolstered Warren’s position by claiming that banking regulation that requires banks to invest with only their own money violates NAFTA.

The president has claimed that his deals are the most progressive trade agreements ever and fix the problems of NAFTA “by making labor and environmental provisions actually enforceable.” Yet, a leak of the environmental chapter actually shows the opposite – there is no environmental enforcement and the protections are weaker than agreements during the George W. Bush era.

The president also makes the claim that “no trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.” This is an outrageous claim because all previous trade agreements have required the US to harmonize its laws with the agreement.  How can they not? The TPP, according to leaks, changes laws around patents and trademarks. How can the TPP say one thing about intellectual property and US law say another? They must be harmonized. Elected officials who have read the text can explain differences between US law and the TPP – what laws will have to change? For example will popular laws favoring buying American products survive the TPP? The Finance Committee refused to approve an amendment that would protect Buy America.

Certainly President Obama knows that his Organizing For America is being completely misleading when in an email: “argued that the term ‘fast track’ for TPA was a misnomer because TPA would have to go through Congress like any other bill.” OFA and Obama know the debate is not whether fast track has to go through Congress in the normal fashion but whether trade agreements will be fast tracked.  Why would the president and OFA be so obviously misleading? Are they desperate?

Ralph Nader has suggested that President Obama debate Senator Warren on the TPP. This would be one way to get to the truth, hear both sides debate in public so we can all decide for ourselves whether this is an agreement that should be fast tracked through Congress outside of the traditional congressional process. But a president that has worked for his entire tenure in office to keep the TPP and other rigged agreements out of the public dialogue will certainly not take up this suggestion.

Congress Is In Position to Expose the TPP

Now, at this key moment in the debate, members of Congress who have taken the time to view the TPP are in a position to get out the truth.

The debate in the Senate with its open amendment process is an opportunity to tell the truth about all the issues in the TPP so there can finally be a public debate about trade agreements that will impact every aspect of our lives.

In the House, Republicans should be sharing the comments of Senator Sessions for a solid Republican critique of fast track for the TPP and other agreements. Democrats should be highlighting key senate amendments to their caucus to highlight shortcomings.  And those who have read the TPP should share what they learned in order to strengthen opposition to fast track in the face of what will be a massive Obama effort to change their minds.

Those who oppose the TPP have the tools needed to win this debate, stop fast track and stop the TPP and other rigged agreements. If we succeed, we will have the opportunity to rethink global trade in light of two decades of experience with a failed model. It will be an opportunity to develop trade so that it protects the planet and raises the standard of living for people around the world. To achieve that opportunity, the first task is to expose the truth of what is before us.

Kevin Zeese is co-director of Popular Resistance.

See Part I: 

Roosevelt’s World War II Lend-Lease Act: America’s War Economy, US “Military Aid” to the Soviet Union By Evgeniy Spitsyn, May 13, 2015

Nonlethal lend-lease aid

Besides weapons, other supplies were also provided under lend-lease. And those figures are absolutely indisputable indeed.

Specifically, the USSR received 2,586,000 tons of aviation fuel, an amount equal to 37% of what was produced in the Soviet Union during the war, plus almost 410,000 automobiles, making up 45% of the Red Army’s vehicle fleet (not counting cars captured from the enemy). Food shipments also played a significant role, although very little was provided during the first year of the war, and the US supplied only about 15% of the USSR’s canned meat and other nonperishables.

This support also included machine tools, railway tracks, locomotives, rail cars, radar equipment, and other useful items without which a war machine can make little headway.

Of course this list of lend-lease aid looks very impressive, and one might feel sincere admiration for the American partners in the anti-Hitler coalition, except for one tiny detail: US manufacturers were also supplying Nazi Germany at the same time …

rockefellerFor example, John D. Rockefeller Jr. owned a controlling interest in the Standard Oil corporation, but the next largest stockholder was the German chemical company I. G. Farben, through which the firm sold $20 million worth of gasoline and lubricants to the Nazis. And the Venezuelan branch of that company sent 13,000 tons of crude oil to Germany each month, which the Third Reich’s robust chemical industry immediately converted into gasoline. But business between the two nations was not limited to fuel sales – in addition, tungsten, synthetic rubber, and many different components for the auto industry were also being shipped across the Atlantic to the German Führer by Henry Ford. In particular, it is no secret that 30% of all the tires produced in his factories were used by the German Wehrmacht.

The full details of how the Fords and Rockefellers colluded to supply Nazi Germany are still not fully known because those were strictly guarded trade secrets, but even the little that has been made public and acknowledged by historians makes it clear that the war did not in any way slow the pace of the US trade with Berlin.

Lend-lease was not charity

There is a perception that lend-lease aid was offered by the US out of the goodness of its heart. However, this version does not hold up upon closer inspection. First of all, this was because of something called “reverse lend-lease.” Even before the Second World War had ended, other nations began sending Washington essential raw materials valued at nearly 20% of the materials and weapons the US had shipped overseas. Specifically, the USSR provided 32,000 tons of manganese and 300,000 tons of chrome ore, which were highly prized by the military industry. Suffice it to say that when German industry was deprived of the manganese from the rich deposits in Nikopol as a result of the Soviet Nikopol–Krivoi Rog Offensive in February 1944, the 150-mm frontal armor on the German “Royal Tiger” tanks turned to be much more vulnerable to Soviet artillery shells than the 100-mm armor plate previously found on the ordinary Tiger tanks.

In addition, the USSR paid for the Allied shipments with gold. In fact, one British cruiser, the HMS Edinburgh, was carrying 5.5 tons of that precious metal when it was sunk by German submarines in May 1942.

The Soviet Union also returned much of the weaponry and military equipment after the war, as stipulated under the lend-lease agreement. In exchange they were issued an invoice for $1,300 million. Given the fact that lend-lease debts to other nations had been written off, this seemed like highway robbery, and Stalin demanded that the “Allied debt” be recalculated.

1012992595Subsequently the Americans were forced to admit their error, but they inflated the interest owed in the grand total, and the final amount, including that interest, came to $722 million, a figure that was accepted by the USSR and the US under a settlement agreement signed in Washington in 1972. Of this amount, $48 million was paid to the US in three equal installments in 1973, but subsequent payments were cut off when the US introduced discriminatory practices in their trade with the USSR (in particular, the notorious Jackson-Vanik Amendment).

The parties did not return to the discussion of lend-lease debt until June 1990, during a new round of negotiations between Presidents George Bush Sr. and Mikhail Gorbachev, during which a new deadline was set for the final repayment – which would be in 2030 – and the total outstanding debt was acknowledged to be $674 million.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, its debts were categorized as either sovereign debt (the Paris Club) or debts to private banks (London Club). The lend-lease debt was a liability owed to the US government and is part of the Paris Club debt, which Russia repaid in full in August 2006.

Direct speech

US President Franklin D. Roosevelt explicitly stated that aid to Russia was money well spent, and his successor in the White House, Harry Truman, was quoted in the pages of New York Times in June 1941 as saying,

If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible …

Nikolay Voznesensky (1903-1950)

Nikolay Voznesensky (1903-1950)

The first official assessment of the role played by lend-lease aid in the larger victory over Nazism was provided by the chairman of Gosplan, Nikolai Voznesensky, in his work Voennaya Ekonomika SSSR v Period Otechestvennoi Voiny [Soviet military complex during the Great Patriotic War] (Moscow: Gospolitizdat, 1948), where he wrote,

“If one compares the quantity of industrial goods sent by the Allies to the USSR with the quantity of industrial goods manufactured by socialist factories in the Soviet Union, it is apparent that the former are equal to only about 4% of what was produced domestically during the years of the war economy.”

American scholars and military and government officials themselves (Raymond GoldsmithGeorge Herring, and Robert H. Jones) acknowledge that allthe Allied aid to the USSR was equal to no more than 1/10 of the Soviets’ own arms production, and the total quantity of lend-lease supplies, including the familiar cans of Spam sarcastically referred to by the Russians as the “Second Front,” made up about 10-11%.

Moreover, the famous American historian Robert Sherwood, in his landmark book, Roosevelt and Hopkins: An Intimate History (New York: Grossett & Dunlap, 1948), quoted Harry Hopkins as claiming the Americans “had never believed that our Lend Lease help had been the chief factor in the Soviet defeat of Hitler on the eastern front. That this had been done by the heroism and blood of the Russian Army.”

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once called lend-lease “the most unselfish and unsordid financial act of any country in all history.” However, the Americans themselves admitted that lend-lease brought in considerable income for the US. In particular, former US Secretary of Commerce Jesse Jones stated that the US had not only gotten its money back via supplies shipped from the USSR, but the US had even made a profit, which he claimed was not uncommon in trade relations regulated by American state agencies.

His fellow American, the historian George Herring just as candidly wrote that lend-lease was not actually the most unselfish act in the history of mankind, but rather an act of prudent egotism, with the Americans fully aware of how they could benefit from it.

51ngzqSD3zL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_And that was indeed the case, as lend-lease proved to be an inexhaustible source of wealth for many American corporations. In fact, the United States was the only country in the anti-Hitler coalition to reap significant economic dividends from the war.There’s a reason that Americans often refer to WWII as “the good war,” as evidenced, for example, in the title of the book by the famous American historian Studs Terkel: The Good War: An Oral History of World War II (1984). With unabashed cynicism he quoted, “While the rest of the world came out bruised and scarred and nearly destroyed, we came out with the most unbelievable machinery, tools, manpower, money … The war was fun for America. I’m not talking about the poor souls who lost sons and daughters. But for the rest of us the war was a hell of a good time.”

Evgeniy Spitsyn is a Russian historian and author.

Source in Russian: Ukraina.ru

Adapted and translated by ORIENTAL REVIEW.

by Phil Butler

One year into the Ukrainian crisis, Washington reveals a desire to jump on the bandwagon of the Minsk peace accords – brokered by France and Germany. Not bad news, after all, but when it comes from Victoria Nuland…

News that US Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Sochi to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and President Putin came as only a small surprise this week. In the wake of the most impressive Victory Day celebration ever across Russia, most experts agreed that the Russia people’s vigilance held a fairly massive sway over world public opinion afterwards. Western media was not oblivious to this either.

However much of a positive this trend may be, news that the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland and sidekick Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt are on the loose again tends to quell hopes of peace.

On Saturday Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told reporters she (and the United States of America) wanted to play a more significant role in the Minsk accords upcoming. To be honest, everyone I mention this to seems to come down with the shivers, whether they’re from western or eastern Europe. Given the US bureaucrat’s past tenor, and her “F” bomb flubs the United States could NOT do worse in belaying either Russian or rebels’ fears.

For those unfamiliar with the Minsk II situation: The leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany agreed on February 11 to a package of measures aimed at alleviating the crisis in war torn east Ukraine. The deal, overseen by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), revived the failed protocol agreed to on September 5, 2014.

From the onset of both these efforts, Nuland and her Tonto conspirator Geoffrey Pyatt have been part of the problem in Ukraine, rather than part of the peaceful solution.

Thus, Pyatt seems to think his Twitter account is judge and jury of all regional international conflict. The ambassador tweets quasi-evidence of Russian invasions of Ukraine every time the wind blows. His latest imagery supposedly caught red handed Russian mobile artillery in eastern Ukraine, which turned out to be a two-year-old picture of an air defense system from an air show near Moscow. I think the American taxpayers should ask for a refund on this.

Long before the eve of the Euromaidan protests that led to the Ukraine coup d’etat Washington called democratic reformation [today], Victoria Nuland was an instigator in Iraq under then Vice President Dick Cheney. Nuland was a “democracy promotion” officer back then too, one so adept at making liberty happen she was later promoted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, first to State Department spokesperson, then later to her current position as Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs.

In hindsight, there’s no wonder Moscow raised eyebrows when Nuland appeared in Maidan Square sharing loaves and fishes with protesters there. The veteran State Department operative is virulently anti-Russia, despite proclaiming her love for the country. Between Nuland and NATO Commander General Philip Breedlove it’s hard to figure who has been more in favor of the US arming Kiev. As for her “killer instinct” in spreading democratic ideals, Nuland is a cagey operator. On the first day of the recent Munich Security Conference Nuland and Breedlove held a meeting of delegates behind closed doors to discuss a strategy for getting Europe to agree to arm Ukraine. Nuland was credited with saying:

“While talking to the Europeans this weekend, you need to make the case that Russia is putting in more and more offensive stuff while we want to help the Ukrainians defend against these systems.”

Now, she is also coming to Russia to hold talks with Lavrov deputies, Sergey Ryabkov and Grigory Karasin. The talks are expected to focus on Ukraine – and Minsk Accords.

If the Kerry visit to Sochi could be seen as an olive branch to President Putin, then choosing an alternative voice for direct connecting the so-called Normandy Four and America would have been advisable here. Speaking after talks on Saturday with Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, Nuland attempted to put herself and the United States diplomatic mission at the forefront of negotiations Washington tried to scuttle from the beginning. Nuland stressed:

“The United States deepens our engagement in the Minsk implementation process in lockstep with our European allies and partners, with the EU and particularly with the Normandy powers.”

Outside “deepening” a Washington engagement that has at every turn been adversarial toward Russia and the rebels, Nuland gave the Obama administration’s “insistence” on a ceasefire on the borders of the Donbass. Now that a peace accord and a reversal of EU-US-Russia sanctions madness seems at hand, the very instigators of chaos want a place at the peace table. If ever there were an American peace saboteur running about, Victoria Nuland is she. Legendary investigative reporter Robert Parry frames that argument here.

Meanwhile back in Washington the daily press briefing at the State Department after Nuland’s Kiev comments returned to hard line posturing. Press Office Director, Jeff Rathke returned to the Kerry State Department hyperbole we’ve come to expect after every visit with Vladimir Putin. Speaking of Nuland’s talk with Avakov and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko on US commitments, Rathke added this:

“We continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine and reiterate our deep commitment to a single Ukrainian nation, including Crimea, and all the other regions of Ukraine.”

So Kerry, with Nuland in tow, go into Russia’s back door to lay a wreath at the feet of heroes Obama and most of the west forgot. Then hours later the same bozo team tries to ramrod the Minsk peace show upcoming. One has to wonder if Lavrov and Putin did not acquiesce to Kerry (for Obama) begging and allow the US officials to save some face for those waiting back home along the Potomac. The images from Sochi bear out that Vladmir Putin seemed amused (maybe disgusted?).

Russian President Vladimir Putin (second left) meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry (second right) at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, May 12, 2015.(RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskyi)Russian President Vladimir Putin (second left) meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry (second right) at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, May 12, 2015.(RIA Novosti / Aleksey Nikolskyi)

To conclude, as we witness the hawkish Nuland mutating into the great white dove of European peace in Kiev, her NeoCon husband, Brookings think tank fellow Robert Kagan gesticulates on more military spending on the Washington Post. For this Washington think tank thinker it’s hard to decide which member of the family is a less likely peacemaker for great nations. Since we mentioned Pyatt and Twitter viability, here’s a bit of United States of America social media proof, there’s a big fat hawk with a Raytheon emblem flying over the peace process in Minsk. As an American citizen this whole US involvement in Ukraine is simply an embarrassment for me.

Finally, what serves as proof for the US State Department, should be verifiable proof for everyone, no?

Phil Butler for RT.

Phil Butler is journalist and editor, and a partner at the digital marketing firm, Pamil Visions PR. Phil contributes to the Huffington Post, The Epoch Times, Japan Today, and many others. He’s also a policy and public relations analyst for Russia Today, as well as other international media. You can find Phil’s blog at http://www.phillip-butler.com.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Will US-NATO Unleash A New War in Libya?

May 17th, 2015 by Vladislav Gulevich

In 2011 the aviation of France and Great Britain bombed Libya. Muammar Gaddafi, the leader of the country, was brutally murdered. Now Europe is considering plans to intervene in Libya again. On May 13, the Guardian published an article devoted to a European plan for a military campaign to smash the migrant smuggling networks operating out of Libya. The scenario envisages the use of ground forces. 

The 19-page strategy paper for the mission, obtained by the Guardian, focuses on an air and naval campaign in the Mediterranean and in Libyan territorial waters. But it adds that ground operations in Libya may also be needed to destroy the smugglers’ vessels and assets, such as fuel dumps. Federica Mogherini, the EU’s chief foreign and security policy coordinator, reiterated that position on May 13.

«We are not planning in any possible way a military intervention in Libya,» she said. According to her, establishing control over the territorial waters of Libya is enough to destroy the smugglers’ infrastructure. But the assurances that there will be no boots on the ground sound unconvincing. It’s clear that the West is serious about what it plans to do. For instance, Great Britain is going to send amphibious transport dock HMS Bulwark, the flagship of Royal Navy, to fight small smuggler’s boats. Air and naval forces are to bear the brunt of the mission. The operations conducted ashore by special operations forces teams are not excluded, no matter the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy says otherwise. Media outlets started to examine the public opinion.

The plan obtained by the Guardian says ground operations in Libya may be needed. EU governments have still to discuss and decide on the planning document. A joint session of EU foreign and defence ministers is to decide on the mission on May 18, followed the next day by a meeting of defence chiefs from European Union countries. The military package would then need to be given a green light by heads of government at an EU summit slated for June. Ten European Union members have already expressed their approval, including Great Britain, France, Spain and Italy. According to Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya’s United Nations ambassador, his government has been left out of the urgent international discussion of the migrant crisis. This is the legacy of colonial past. Europeans still view Libya as a colony.

Federica Mogherini has already visited New York to discuss prospects for a UN Security Council resolution allowing the use of force against the smugglers. The Guardian reports that that the UK has prepared a draft document on behalf of the EU «that is believed to call for the ‘use of all means to destroy the business model of the traffickers’. Mogherini sounded optimistic about adoption of UN Security Council resolution allowing the use of force against the smugglers, but also made plain that if that proved impossible, the EU would still mount a military mission in the Mediterranean outside of Libyan territorial waters and airspace.

A question pops up. Creating obstacles on the way of flows of unfortunate people leaving Libya for Europe – is it the only goal pursued by the planned military operation in the Mediterranean Sea? The Libya’s shoreline is some 1,100 miles (1,800 km) in length. A large naval force is needed to control it. The chances for destroying the smugglers’ infrastructure are slim. Too many people are involved in this business. After the overthrow and murder of Muammar Gaddafi Libya has plunged into the quagmire of chaos. It has joined the list of most unstable countries in the world which are primarily located in Africa. The political turmoil inside the country is kind of free for all – different groups are fighting each other. One government rules the country in Tripoli. Another government functions in Tobruk. There are other «governments» spread around the country. Under the conditions, Libya cannot be called a state in the full meaning of the word.

Under Gaddafi Libya boasted high living standards. From point of view of people’s wealth it was a leader in the Arab world. Today the country has spiraled towards total disorder. There is no whatsoever control on the part of government. Large chunks of national territory have fallen under the control of the Islamic State and other extremist groups. Libya is an oil rich country but the production is low with numerous criminal gangs thwarting the process. Cyrenaica, the oil rich eastern coastal region of Libya, demands autonomy. The country if falling to pieces. The Libya we once knew is no more.

Flows of refugees from Arab and Black Africa transit through Libya on the way to Europe. There is little Europe could do under the circumstances but use military force to stop the flows. Brussels has made all of the European Union members to partner up on policies such as EU immigration. Poland is situated far from Africa but it has to host 1200 refugees. Latvia is to provide shelter to 220 fugitives, Estonia is to host 326 of them. 207 evacuees are to be taken care of by Lithuania. But this policy does not offer a solution to the problem.

In 2015 Libya expects 135 thousand people to be born on its soil, but the population of the country will not increase due to the fact that about the same number of people leave the country. Libya is a transit country for refugees from Algeria, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Senegal, Ghana and Eritrea going to Europe. The sources in Rome say a surge of immigrants will flood Europe soon. As many as 5,000 migrants a week could arrive in Italy by sea from North African ports in the next five months unless something is done about it, according to an interior ministry projection. The figures, published on April 23 by the Rome newspaper Il Messaggero and confirmed by a ministry source, estimated that as many as 200,000 could arrive by the end of this year.

There should harbor no illusions. One can hardly imagine the West admit responsibility for dire results of the policy aimed at «democratization» of Libya.

An Iranian cargo vessel, carrying 2,500 tons of humanitarian supplies to war-torn Yemen, has now entered the Gulf of Aden.

A Press TV correspondent on board the ship reported on Sunday that the vessel is currently sailing through a very busy international corridor, which is internationally protected against piracy.

The ship, dubbed Nejat (Rescue), is scheduled to arrive in the western Yemeni port city of Hudaydah on May 21.

It set sail from Iran’s southern port city of Bandar Abbas on May 11.

International activists, volunteer doctors and media personnel are also on board the ship. Iran has coordinated the mission of the ship with the United Nations.

Riyadh has blocked earlier Iranian aid deliveries to Yemen. Last month, it prevented two Iranian civilian planes from delivering medical aid and foodstuff to the impoverished people.

Saudi Arabia started its military aggression against Yemen on March 26 – without a UN mandate – in a bid to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement, which currently controls the capital, Sana’a, and major provinces, and to restore power to Yemen’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who is a staunch ally of Riyadh.

Riyadh has even failed to abide by the so-called ceasefire it announced on May 12, repeatedly carrying out deadly air raids against Yemen after the “truce” went into effect.

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Johannes Van der Klaauw said on Friday that over 1,600 people have been killed and more than 6,200 injured in Yemen since conflict intensified there in late March.

He added that some 450,000 people have been displaced as a result of the continuing violence.


Thousands have been marching in Okinawa and across Japan in protest against the planned relocation of a US military base in Okinawa. The protesters criticized the Japanese government, who appear to be turning a deaf ear to the locals.

The protests began on Friday with about 1,200 people in Okinawa, as the island marked the 43rd anniversary of its reversion to Japanese sovereignty, and continued into Sunday gathering thousands of people.

“Even after our reversion, the problems of the bases remain unchanged,” Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga said at the protest, adding reversion of sovereignty had failed to bring Okinawans what they wanted.

The activists said the island had seen decades of injustice from US and Japan.

“We’ve long suffered from the bases, and I’m angered by the outrageousness of both the US and Japanese governments in insisting a new base be built in Henoko,” Fujiko Matsuda, who heads a local citizens’ group, told the Japan Times.

“It is wrong to proceed with the Henoko relocation without listening to the voices of the Okinawans,”said another Okinawa resident, Atsuko Ikeda. “If we don’t prevent it, there is no future for Japan as a democratic nation.”

On Saturday, protestors marched around the US Futenma airbase in Ginowan city in Okinawa. About 2,600 people across Japan from Hokkaido to Nagasaki also took to the streets to voice their disapproval.

The activists shouted slogans, such as: “Oppose enhanced Japan-US defense ties”, “Bring back an Okinawa without US bases”, “The United States has to respect Okinawa people’s will”.

In the northeastern town of Henoko, hundreds of protesters scuffled with police outside new ‘Camp Schwab’. Several demonstrators were detained following the clashes.

On Sunday, about 35,000 people turned out to protest in the prefecture.

“No matter how long it might take, we will never give up our fight until the government gives it up,” said Keiichi Takara, director of the Confederation of Trade Unions Okinawa. “Through the rally, we will reaffirm our resolved commitment.”


According to mayor of Nago, Susumu Inamine, who opposes US military bases in Okinawa, “the government is thrusting their responsibility on us.”

“The government says we are to blame that the issue has stalled for 19 years and they tell us to find an alternative place (for the base). That’s outrageous,” he shouted into the crowd of protesters.

Marine biologist Katherine Musik said the rally “is absolutely tremendous.” “Tens of thousands of voices, right now, shouting together, ‘NO’, in perfect harmony! ‘NO’ to the US military presence, how powerful! Let’s all shout, ‘Yes’ to the blue corals, red sea fans, orange clownfish, ‘Yes’ to the endangered dugongs in the sea, the endangered birds in the forest!”

  The US Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in heavily populated Ginowan city has been a cause of tension between American troops and local residents for years. Okinawa, home to about 1 percent of Japan’s population, hosts nearly half of the 47,000 US troops based in Japan. Tokyo authorities want to shut the base down and open a new one in the more remote town of Henoko, in the center of the southern Japanese island. But the majority of the locals, as well as Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, want the construction of the replacement base to be scrapped.

In March, Onaga demanded the underwater survey needed to build an offshore airstrip for the new base be stopped, citing environmental damage.

He met Defense Minister General Nakatani in May for the first time to discuss the relocation plan. They failed, however, to resolve their differences.

There is a long history of incidents and alleged crimes committed by US soldiers in Okinawa. The current wave of anti-base sentiment on the island was sparked by a 1995 case, when three US marines were reported to have kidnapped and brutally raped a 12-year-old schoolgirl.

There were also less-publicized sex crime cases involving underage victims reported in 2001 and 2005, the fatal running over of a female high school student by a drunken US marine in 1998, and other crimes.

by Alice Gray

As Palestinian farmers harvest their cereal crops, a military exercise using live ammunition staged by the Israeli army is starting fires that are destroying thousands of dunums of farmland.

The Jordan Valley is a sea of gold: following the best winter rains the region has seen in decades, fields of wheat and barley ripple in the breeze, their heads heavy with grain that will sustain pastoralist communities and their animals through the long heat of the summer to come.

It is a bumper harvest this year, and the farmers are busy.

On the hillsides, tractors are at work harvesting the grain and cutting the straw. Some of the produce they keep for themselves and the rest they sell at market: an important source of cash income.

But not all crops make it to the storage barns or the market. In the past week alone, fires have been raging out of control across the region, burning up produce worth hundreds of thousands of shekels.

Palestinian farmers and activists say these fires were caused by the shells and munitions fired by the Israeli army in its training exercises, which began on May 3. The scale of this year’s “exercises” are unprecedented, involving hundreds of military vehicles, helicopters and tanks and approximately 2,000 military personnel.

“They could have had this training at any time — they could have done it when the wheat was green,” says Rashed Sawaftah, coordinator of the Jordan Valley Solidarity group (JVS).

“But they chose to do it now, when everything is ready to burn. Five communities have been told to evacuate their land, and there are fires starting all over the place.”

Ali Abu Khreish of Herbaiet al-Homra community said he was forced to leave farmland unprotected.

“They came at six in the morning and told us to get out,” he told al-Araby al-Jadeed. “We couldn’t return to our home until six in the evening, and we couldn’t send our children to school. We spent the whole day on the mountain by al-Hadidiya, in the sun and the wind. When we returned, our neighbour’s land had been burned.”

The sounds of explosions and the rattle of gunfire can be heard throughout the area, while helicopters whir overhead and heavy lorries rattle by, delivering tanks to Israeli military bases.

The Israeli army spokesperson says the families were evacuated for their own safety — and that the army has enlisted a special fire extinguishing squad to participate in the drill.

Yet the hillsides around Herbaiet al-Homra are scorched black where both crops and scrub have burned.

“It’s not just the crops that are important,” says Rashed Sawaftah. “If the scrublands burn, the farmers will have nowhere to graze their animals.”

Military presence and occupation

The Jordan Valley covers 30 percent of the land area of the West Bank, occupied by Israel since 1967. The area spans the length of the West Bank from north to south and comprises its entire border with Jordan.

Today there are more than 20 Israeli military bases in the Jordan Valley and 37 percent of the land is designated as “military training areas”.

Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has vowed that the Israeli army will remain in the Jordan Valley, regardless of any future agreement with the Palestinian Authority. Furthermore, he has stated that he regards the entire area as a “defined military zone”.

Depopulation and colonisation

Israel’s presence in the Jordan Valley does not end with its military bases.

An estimated 86 percent of the area is now controlled by 37 illegal settlements, which are home to around 10,000 Israeli settlers. The main economic activity of these colonies is agriculture, with much of their produce being exported — a multi-million dollar industry.

At the same time, Palestinian farmers in the area face enormous restrictions, including lack of access to water or electricity networks — either for their farms or for their homes; and the near-blanket denial of planning permission for building any kind of permanent structures (such as houses or rainwater harvesting cisterns), and attendant demolitions.

A total of 94 percent of applications for permission to build have been declined in recent years, according to the British charity Oxfam, while the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that 246 Palestinian structures were demolished in the Jordan Valley in 2014, leading to the displacement of 510 people.

Palestinian farmers attempt to put out a fire among their crops [Alice Gray/alAraby]

The Palestinian population of the Jordan Valley has been falling ever since the occupation began in 1967, when, according to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, more than 320,000 people were living there.

Now only 56,000 remain, and the poverty rate in their communities is double that of the rest of the West Bank.

report issued by Human Rights Watch in April records that many families are dealing with this by sending their children to work in Israeli agricultural settlements, where they endure exploitative conditions — as none of Israel’s normal labour laws are enforced.

More than 1,000 Palestinian children, some as young as 11, are working 10–12 hour shifts in the extreme temperatures prevailing inside greenhouses (over 50 degrees Celsius in the summer) and taking home as little as 50 shekels a day or less (around $13), according to the report.

According to a World Bank report released in October 2013, if Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to land and water resources in Area C were lifted, potential agricultural activities could add $704 million to the struggling Palestinian economy each year.

Water, water everywhere…

The Jordan Valley is relatively rich in water resources, yet one of the most crippling problems facing Palestinian communities in the area is access to water. Many communities remain unconnected to the network, and are forced to bring in water in tankers pulled by tractors to fulfill their needs.

Tankered water is about five times more expensive than piped water — costing 200–300 shekels for every 10 cubic metres according to farmers in Hadidiya and Homra. As a result, per capita water consumption for Palestinians living in Tubas governorate averages just 30 litres per person per day according to EWaSH, a coalition of development organisations focused on water.

By contrast, Israeli settlers in the same area have access to approximately 450 litres of water per person per day, supplied via pipelines from wells controlled by the Israeli water company Mekorot. Mekorot controls 28 wells in Palestinian territory, extracting 32 million cubic metres of water from under the occupied West Bank each year.

These wells and pipelines run over and around Palestinian communities and their farmland, but they are strictly off-limits — heavily fenced and under the surveillance of the ever-present military.

On May 6, al-Araby witnessed farmers in Hadidiya community using three tankers of water (valued at 600 shekels, about $160) to extinguish a blaze in a wheat field directly adjacent to a Mekorot pipeline — just a few hundred metres outside the agricultural settlement of Roi, which controls 20,000 dunums of land and has a population of fewer than 200.

According to eye-witnesses, the fire started when settlers set fire to an unregulated rubbish dump outside their gate.

As farmers and community members fought to put out the flames, two Israeli military vehicles passed by, but did not stop to help or make enquiries.

Ongoing struggle

“It’s been like this for over 20 years,” says Rashed Sawaftah. “Every year there is military training, and every year there are fires.”

The JVS and the Land Defence Commission have petitioned the diplomatic missions of EU member states to intervene and call upon Israel to suspend military training in civilian areas of the occupied West Bank on pain of sanctions — but to no avail.

Sawaftah accuses the military of using the training as part of a wider strategy to put pressure on people to leave their land, while Israeli army sources say the families are living illegally in an official firing zone.

Many farmers have seen their homes demolished several times already, but nevertheless, many remain determined to stay, and to rebuild again.

“We will not give up” one resident of Homra, nicknamed al-Zobaa [“The Storm”] for his years of steadfast resistance to displacement, told al-Araby.

“We will keep on resisting until we die, whatever they do and whatever it takes. I am not leaving my land.”

Copyright Alice Gray, Al-Araby 2o15

Engineering failures on Trident submarine place crew at risk and raise doubts over whether missiles could actually be launched, says whistleblower.

A Royal Navy whistleblower has exposed a shocking catalogue of equipment failures, security breaches, and near-miss accidents on board HMS Vanguard, one of the Navy’s nuclear-armed Trident submarines.

William McNeilly, a 25 year old engineering technician, has published an account of a patrol on board HMS Vanguard on the internet (online here and available to download at the bottom of this article), describing in detail a series of alarming incidents and describing the submarine as being “in the worst of the worst condition”.  His account not only puts safety standards in the Trident programme under the spotlight, but also brings into question HMS’s Vanguard’s ability to successfully fire its battery of missiles were the command to launch a nuclear attack ever given.

McNeilly’s dossier – an account of his first patrol on board HMS Vanguard – reveals that the ageing submarine was dogged by equipment failures during the patrol.  Safety procedures were regularly disregarded, security procedures were casual, and secret information was accessible to unauthorised personnel.

He also alleges that safety proficiency exams were rigged and that, as a result of manpower shortages, key posts are filled with under-qualified staff.

McNeilly says he has published the account in order to alert the public to the “shockingly extreme conditions that our nuclear weapons system is in right now”, giving a grim warning that “it’s only a matter of time before one of the Trident submarines are lost”.  I tried to make the changes from within”, he says, but “I expressed my concerns too many times without any action being taking”.  He believes that most of his colleagues know that “the Trident programme is a disaster waiting to happen, but they never tell the public”.

McNeilly describes how, on his first time on board a Trident submarine, a group of trainees were taken into the control room and told not to touch anything.  “A crew member responded by saying “it doesn’t matter none of it works anyway, you can touch what you want.”  Everyone laughed”.

According to his account HMS Vanguard failed to pass two critical tests intended to confirm whether it could have performed a successful Trident missile launch while on patrol.  Problems caused by seawater entering the submarine’s hydraulic system prevented a test to ensure that the submarine’s missile hatches would open correctly and a ‘missile compensation test’ was failed three out of three times.  “Billions upon billions of tax papers money” is being spent on a system “so broken it can’t even do the tests that prove it works”, McNeilly writes.

McNeilly’s account criticises lax security standards at the Faslane submarine base, declaring that “it’s harder to get into most nightclubs than it is to get into the Green Area” which controls access to Vanguard class submarines.  He warns that identification is rarely checked, equipment and baggage is not searched, and PIN code security apparatus at gates is not working.  “If airport security and Nuclear weapon security were both compared to prisons, the airport would be Alcatraz and Base security would be house arrest”, he says.

McNeilly documents a series of faults with Vanguard’s service systems.  There were “constant problems” with two distillers used to provide fresh drinking water for the crew, with one not working at all and the other only working intermittently.  There were “a lot of problems” with the ship’s electrical equipment.  One of two turbo generators used to generate electricity was faulty and one of two back-up motor generators was “dysfunctional”.

Some crew members complained that the submarine’s atmosphere was not circulating at the proper specification at times when on patrol. “For a while everyone was sleepy and then there were times people couldn’t sleep. Too high or to low O2 [oxygen] or CO2 [carbon dioxide] levels can cause this”.  Problems with humidity levels in the submarine meant “there was water dripping from the roof onto all sorts of electrics”.

McNeilly claims that safety procedures were often disregarded and short-cuts taken.   Alarms on the Control and Monitoring Position (CAMP) console, which monitors the condition of the Trident missiles, regularly went off but were frequently muted by crew members.  Watchkeepers in the CAMP and missile compartment “completely disregard” rules which say the posts must be constantly manned.  One sailor was caught using a Bluetooth speaker to play music in the missile compartment, despite a safety requirement that “ Electronic equipment in the MC other than that required for safety and security must not be operating”.

McNeilly claims that an exam on strategic weapon system safety and security was “a totally farce”.  “They told everyone most of the answers, and any answers people didn’t know they just copied from the person beside them”  Personnel who had  missed the exam were told to “pick a number between 27 and 30. The number they picked was their test result”.

During the patrol a control room panel operator accidentally activated a firefighting fog spray in the weapon stowage compartment.  McNeilly records that “None of the electrical isolations that are required to be made were made; creating a high risk of fire in a compartment which contains torpedoes”.  Water was sprayed over “everything in the compartment; torpedoes, lights, torpedo monitoring panel; everything” and the compartment was flooded.

A “loud continuous bang” at the front of the submarine which was “heard by everyone” during the submarine’s initial dive was ignored, despite suspicions that it may have signalled a problem with the submarines fore-planes, which play an important function in allowing the vessel to dive and ascend.  McNeilly points out that, when not on nuclear patrol, submarines are required to remain on the surface for safety reasons if the planes are defective, but on this occasion “the safety concerns were as always, dismissed”.

Rubbish was stored in unsuitable locations, creating a fire hazard.  Despite a previous fire which had broken out when toilet rolls were stored beside electrical cabling, “in numerous compartments on the boat you’ll find plastic bags filled with rubbish sitting on top, underneath and beside electrical cables and equipment that generates heat”.   The pressure in gas bottles containing nitrogen gas, used as a drench to extinguish serious fires in the submarine missile compartment, fell below the specified pressure needed to safeguard the fire-fighting function, but the reaction of McNeilly’s superiors was “there’s nothing we can do whilst we’re the on-patrol SSBN”.

McNeilly believes many of the problems occurred because the Navy’s strategic weapons programme “is so short on man power it’s unbelievable”.  The rate at which people are getting pushed through the system because of manpower shortages “is scary.  There are leading hands doing the jobs chiefs used to do. There is a SWS [strategic weapons system] leading hand who still hasn’t got his DV [developed vetting] clearance and he’s in the position of a launcher supervisor”.

The account mentions disturbing personality traits among some of the submarine crew members, describing some of the personalities on board as “alarming”.  “Probably the most worrying” was a strategic weapons system rating “whose hobby is killing small animals” and who has an interest in watching violent pornography.  Another crew member “physically attacked someone” and was “aggressive with five different people; he threatened to kill two of them”.  McNeilly states that “there have been suicides onboard” and “most people had breaking points at some point on patrol”.  Worryingly, in the light of current nuclear industry concerns about the security threat posed by insiders, he tells how  “a lot of people have had conversations with me about how easy it would be to take down the submarine”.  It was “disturbing to know that the people serving on these boats are aware of many ways to destroy them from within”.

McNeilly claims he has raised concerns about the safety and security of the Trident weapon system through the chain of command on “multiple occasions”, but “not once did someone even attempt to make a change”.  He now feels the only choice he has is to “ignore the threat or risk everything I have to inform the Government and the people”.

Disclosure of the information he has released will be seen as a major security breach by the Ministry of Defence.  McNeilly is currently absent from the Navy without leave, and is believed to be in hiding somewhere outside the UK.

Download William McNeilly’s account of his patrol on board HMS Vanguard here:

As contradições entre acumulação de capital e sobrevivência da humanidade e do planeta alcançam níveis ostensivamente críticos, o complexo militar-industrial implementa cada vez mais guerras para continuar seu crescimento perverso. Neste contexto aparece como um imperativo ético e político a análise medular das guerras: já não podemos contentar-nos com as explicações falsas e pseudo antropológicas de “guerras tribais” ou de “não há cultura de paz nesses povos”: pronunciamentos cuja natureza destila colonialismo e constitui a argúcia para evitar ir ao centro do problema. Evidentemente, há abundância de pseudo estudos e instituições que difundem, alguns mais sutilmente que outros, essas premissas cosméticas. Aqueles que têm um altíssimo

interesse em impedir a compreensão da realidade e, por conseguinte, a possibilidade concreta de transformação da mesma financiam estes tanques de pensamento.

1. ‘Cultura de Aceitação do Saqueio’ disfarçada de ‘Cultura de Paz’

Seria digna de chuvas de risos numa representação de teatro grotesco a existência de“Estudos de Preservação do Meio Ambiente”financiados pela indústria farmacêutica ou petroleira, ou melhor, a existência de “Cátedras de Cultura de Paz” cuja linha se dedica a esquivar a análise da raiz da guerra. Cátedras ministradas na Europa ou nos EUA, em países nos quais radicam as principais empresas fabricantes de armas, e as depredadoras energéticas: umas cátedras que se centram em “ensinar” a bolsistas provenientes de países como Congo, Afeganistão, Colômbia, etc., a maneira de serem mais “pacíficos”, de “resolver os conflitos civilizadamente” e de “desenvolver uma cultura de paz”, ofuscando olimpicamente que a guerra e a paz têm raízes econômicas e se desenvolvem em contextos de desigualdade social e não são meros assuntos de Cultura. Assim, os países que dedicam milionários orçamentos em guerras imperialistas e cuja supremacia mundial radica numa história de práticas colonialistas e genocidas, muito distantes da Cultura de Paz que apregoam de fachada, ministram cátedras de assimilação mental à cultura da aceitação do saqueio mais desmedido, enquanto‘bombardeiam humanitariamente’em seu relance colonial. Assim, os bolsistas de países que sofrem a voracidade capitalista das guerras pelo saqueio dos recursos são adestrados na retórica que serve para perder de vista o núcleo do problema; é a raposa ensinando as galinhas com que tempero devem ser comidas.

Os apelativos “guerras tribais” e demais expressões consagradas no campo semântico destinado a prolongar o status quo encobrem guerras pela acumulação de recursos, guerras fomentadas com fins geopolíticos e econômicos claramente definidos pelos verdadeiros‘Senhores da guerra’ que são os fabricantes de armas, os mercadores da energia, da alimentação industrial, e das multinacionais de químicos, todos motores da maquinaria depredadora do planeta.

Os países concebidos na lógica global capitalista como ‘armazéns de recursos’ a cada dia sofrerão de maneira mais cruenta a violência do saqueio e seu correlativo empobrecimento, que por sua vez causa êxodos massivos. Há uma carreira do grande capital por tornar-se a cada dia com mais recursos planetários.

O estudo do caso colombiano lança luzes indeclináveis sobre a realidade mundial: é uma mostra em quinta essência do capitalismo. Por esta razão, há um constante esforço midiático em tergiversar a legalidade colombiana, em invisibilizá-la e impedir a compreensão de uma realidade que é uma radiografia das metástases mais atrozes do sistema capitalista. A resistência do povo colombiano é, ademais, tergiversada e invisibilizada nesse esforço constante dos monopólios de difusão de implementar a guerra midiática contra a compreensão da realidade, fazendo-o ver as resistências populares como “terrorismo”. O estudo às fontes dos sujeitos históricos e sociais torna-se uma verdadeira façanha em meio ao amedrontamento contra a investigação social e o pensamento crítico: não obstante sua periculosidade, esse estudo é indispensável.

2. Acumulação capitalistae Terrorismo de Estado em Colômbia

Na realidade colombiana se plasma o despojo e re-acomodação territorial destinado

em escala planetária a todas as zonas que apresentem um interesse econômico; uma lógica capitalista que não admite escrúpulos e constitui um ecocídio agregado a um genocídio. Em Colômbia são incitadas as estratégias do Terror correlativas ao saqueio capitalista. Estas são também exportadas como método de controle social, sabotagem, extermínio da reivindicação e contra insurgência a países da região (México, Honduras, Venezuela, etc.).

As cifras do Terrorismo de Estado em Colômbia são eloqüentes: segundo um recente informe, um total de 19 defensores de direitos humanos foram assassinados em Colômbia durante o primeiro trimestre de 2015, e outros 276 foram agredidos [1].

Outro informe documenta que a Colômbia é o segundo país líder no assassinato de ambientalistas no mundo, com 25 assassinados em 2014.[2] 80% das violações aos direitos humanos e 87% dos deslocamentos populacionais ocorreram em regiões onde as multinacionais operam a exploração mineira. 78% dos atentados contra sindicalistas foram contra aqueles que trabalham na área mineiro-energética [3].

A planificação da acumulação de terras mediante o despojo violento se expressa na existência de 6,3 milhões de pessoas despojadas e deslocadas de suas terras para benefício do grande capital, milhões de pessoas vivendo mal em cinturões de miséria[4]. O despojo se acelera: 40% do território colombiano está solicitado em concessão por multinacionais[5].

O Terrorismo de Estado se expressa também em: 9.500 presos políticos[6]; a eliminação física de um partido político: a União Patriótica (5.000 pessoas assassinadas pelas ferramentas paramilitares e oficiais do Estado)[7]. O extermínio contra a oposição política é tal que:“Em Colômbia se cometem 60% dos assassinatos de sindicalistas que se apresentam em todo o mundo, por uma violência histórica, estrutural, sistemática e seletiva que se converteu em pauta de comportamento do Estado colombiano”, segundo denuncia a CUT [8]. O Tribunal Sindical Mundial condenou ao Estado colombiano: “por ser responsável pelos feitos sistemáticos de violação do princípio de liberdade sindical, na qualidade de autor direto, coautor, cúmplice ou acobertador de homicídios, lesões, torturas, privações ilegítimas da liberdade, atentados [...]”[9].

O genocídio se plasma nos níveis de desaparecimento forçado: a ONU estima que mais de 57.200 pessoas foram desaparecidas em Colômbia [10]. Um informe da Promotoria documenta: 173.183 assassinatos e 34.467 desaparecimentos forçados, cometidos pela ferramenta paramilitar, num período de apenas 5 anos [11]. Uma estimativa de Piedad Córdoba, baseada no cotejo de informes e no conhecimento da sistemática subavaliação dos registros oficiais, cifrou nuns 250.000 os desaparecidos em 20 anos.[12] A Coordenação Colômbia- Europa-EUA expressou que há um:“contínuo aumento dos casos

[...] Os desaparecimentos forçados têm sido usados historicamente como um instrumento de perseguição política e de controle social baseado no terror, perpetrado por agentes do Estado e por grupos paramilitares que atuam com sua tolerância, omissão e aquiescência e que se beneficiam da impunidade [...] Os desaparecimentos forçados formam parte de uma prática sistemática de ataques contra a população civil, que têm sido funcionais à sustentação das elites sociais, políticas e econômicas do país”[13]. Há mecanismos para a impunidade: “O sub registro de casos de desaparecimento forçado, a impunidade que se consolida com diversos mecanismos legais e sociais e a presença dos perpetradores nas comunidades [...] Muitos casos não são denunciados pela má administração de justiça, pela ineficácia dos mecanismos de denúncia, pelo ambiente generalizado de temor e intimidação em que vivem os familiares das vítimas, seus advogados, as testemunhas [...] [IBID.] Se somam as leis que excluem a grande parte das vítimas de desaparecimento forçado dos registros, as leis que ampliam o acionar repressivo da polícia, e as leis que tentam cobrir de impunidade aos responsáveis: “o Governo do presidente Santos está promovendo um novo marco normativo com preocupantes limitações aos direitos das vítimas de desaparecimentos forçados.”[14]

A maior fossa comum da América Latina foi encontrada atrás do batalhão militar na Macarena, com 2000 cadáveres de desaparecidos pelaForça OmegadoPlano Colômbia, força que tem estreita ‘assessoria’ estadunidense.[15]

3. Planificação dos Crimes de Estado no marco da lógica de “dissuadir a reivindicação mediante o terror”

Há uma lógica no Terrorismo de Estado: e é que a maior tortura e degradação das vítimas, maior alcance da “mensagem dissuasiva” nas comunidades. A estratégia da dissuasão mediante o terror está teorizada nos manuais do exército: se concebe a população como “o inimigo interno”, e se preconiza claramente o emprego de uma ferramenta paramilitar para realizar os massacres e as torturas. O paramilitarismo foi preconizado para a Colômbia desde a missão estadunidense Yarborough, [16] e reiteradamente reforçado até nossos dias. A ferramenta paramilitar é adestrada para torturar e treinada por [de]formadores dos EUA e Israel, como o mercenário Yair Klein.[17] Se trata de perpetrar Crimes de Estado como o crime contra a menina Alida Teresa Arzuaga, de 9 anos, violada e assassinada para torturar a seu pai [preso político], e paralelamente injetar medo na oposição política;[18] ou como o massacre da família do militante comunista e da UP Julián Vélez, cujo filho foi torturado e castrado[19].

Se trata, no marco desta planificação do Terror Estatal, de perpetrar massacres como o massacre de Mapiripán. Os paramilitares foram transladados em aviões do exército do norte ao sul da Colômbia, e levados pelo exército ao lugar do massacre.[20] Estiveram amputando e violando durante 10 dias, enquanto o exército impedia que entrasse ou saísse ninguém: devido ao cerco do exército, ninguém pôde dar auxílio à população. Umas 60 pessoas foram assassinadas: submetidas a toda classe de torturas. Até hoje há dificuldade para identificar as vítimas, dada a barbárie com que a ferramenta paramilitar procedeu a esquartejá- las e lançá-las ao rio. Segundo confessou o General Uzcátegui numa gravação: “sabe o que fez a Brigada Militar Móvel 2? Colocou um colchão de segurança para que os paramilitares saíssem. O exército não só tem vínculos com os paramilitares, não só não os combateu, como também combateu as FARC para que as FARC não golpeassem os paramilitares”[IBID.]. Enquanto os paramilitares torturavam, o exército garantia as atrocidades combatendo as FARC que tentaram romper o cerco militar para auxiliar a população. O exército garantiu que o massacre compreendesse as torturas mais aberrantes: não era “uma bala perdida”, era uma operação de Terrorismo de Estado dentro da estratégia de terra arrasada nos Planos Orientais, na qual esteve envolvida a assessoria estadunidense. O bispo do Guaviare depôs:“Passaram caminhões com ao cerca de 120 homens à paisana sem armas; depois de passar pelo batalhão, saíram com uniformes e armados [...]; outro grupo de paramilitares também se deslocou, porém pelo rio Guaviare, passando pelo ponto de controle militar sobre o rio”[IBID].

Outro crime de Estado que evidencia de maneira flagrante esta planificação do terror é aquele cometido por militares e paramilitares contra a comunidade do Cacarica, quando “jogaram futebol com a cabeça” do líder campesino afrodescendente Marino López. A Operação Militar ‘Gênesis’ consistiu em aterrorizar a comunidade para forçá-la a um massivo deslocamento populacional:“Os paramilitares e também militares cercaram todo o casario. Nos juntaram a todos [...] Dois dos doze militares agarraram Marino [...] Insultam-no, golpeiam-no. Um dos criminosos pega um facão e o corta no corpo, Marino tenta fugir e se joga ao rio, porém os paramilitares o ameaçam, ‘se foge, vai ser pior’. Marino regressa, estende seu braço esquerdo para sair da água. Um dos paramilitares lhe corta a cabeça com o machete. Depois lhe cortam os braços em dois, as duas pernas… E começam a jogar futebol com sua cabeça. Todas e todos vimos. Tudo foi terror.”[21] Os habitantes denunciaram o acionar da Brigada XVII. Vários paramilitares do bloco Elmer Cárdenas, sob o mando de Freddy Rendón, vulgo “El Alemán”, acusam ao General Rito Alejo del Río como um dos máximos responsáveis: “Se tratou de uma operação conjunta”, relataram ante o Fiscal de Justiça e Paz [22].

A lista de crimes de Lesa-Humanidade perpetrados de maneira sistemática pelo Estado colombiano contra a população, no marco de uma planificada estratégia do terror e desapossamento, seria interminável. O Estado colombiano e seu mentor estadunidense pretendem continuar viabilizando o saqueio dos recursos aterrorizando a população cuja reivindicação entra em conflito com a depredação capitalista. Se pretende eliminar toda oposição, seja esta armada ou não.

O depoimento de Marinelly Hernández, presa política, é ilustrativo das aberrantes torturas que o Estado colombiano comete contra os familiares dos opositores políticos, principalmente se estes são insurgentes, uma realidade silenciada: “A nosso pai, o Exército colombiano, em união com os paramilitares, o pendurou vivo por suas mãos introduzindo ganchos em suas extremidades como se fosse carne de açougue, depois lhe feriram o estômago e todo seu corpo com uma navalha, depois destruíram seus lábios como se lhes talha aos pescados, por último lhe deram um tiro de misericórdia; segundo a medicina legal, a nosso pai o torturaram vivo. Tinha 70 anos. Como é possível que façam isso com um ancião, rotulando-o de guerrilheiro? Por acaso, por eu ser revolucionária, tinham que cobrar com a vida de meu pai?[23] Aqui, a tortura aberrante claramente tem por objetivo enviar uma mensagem de terror aos que pensem ingressar na insurgência. Estas práticas genocidas são recorrentes.

Marinelly expressa a correlação entre o saqueio dos recursos e os massacres perpetrados pelo exército e a ferramenta paramilitar contra a população das zonas cobiçadas pelo grande capital. Aqui se refere ao massacre do Rio Nare: “O Capitão

Martínez com suas tropas ingressaram numas minas de ouro onde se encontravam os campesinos sacando o mineral; um dia antes, lançaram panfletos dizendo-lhes que desalojassem, e no outro dia entraram com motosserras e machados: amarraram os trabalhadores em cadeia… iam soltando-os de um em um, sem assassiná-los, lhes cortavam os braços, as pernas e depois de cada pessoa recolhiam só um braço, só uma perna, faziam um montão e atiravam-no ao rio e outros aos buracos das minas e outros os deixavam para que as aves os comessem”[IBID.]. Marinelly, de uma família campesina, viveu em carne própria as agressões do exército colombiano contra o campesinato; foi testemunha de múltiplos assassinatos de amigos e familiares, cujos corpos foram abandonados torturados e desmembrados:“parte da guerra suja e psicológica que implementam para assustar aos lutadores populares”. A presa política explica que as violações do Estado colombiano a impulsionaram para a insurgência, como sua: “única forma de preservar a vida, lutar por ela e reclamar nossos direitos”, e evitar “terminar massacrada, torturada ou inválida por ser exemplarizada como ficam muitos campesinos, ou terminar sendo deslocada e vivendo das esmolas nas cidades”[Ibid.].

A combinação do saqueio dos recursos e do Terror de Estado exercido contra os que se opõem ao saqueio explica a existência das insurgências colombianas como única saída que encontra uma população submetida ao despojo e à repressão mais

descarnada frente a suas reivindicações. Esta é uma compreensão indispensável para os que desejamos a paz em Colômbia. A paz significa justiça social, cessar da entrega do país em concessões a multinacionais, reforma agrária, soberania

alimentar, e cessar do Terror de Estado que hoje facilita a acumulação capitalista em detrimento das maiorias empobrecidas. Os problemas devem ser resolvidos a partir de suas causas, não a partir de suas conseqüências.

4. Denunciaremos os crimes resultado de uma planificação Estatal, ou vamos continuar promovendo a confusão?

Estes crimes de Estado enviam uma mensagem do terror contra a população: “Isto pode ocorrer com vocês ou com seus familiares, se persistem em sua reivindicação’.Há um claro intento de paralisar a ação reivindicativa das comunidades, e esse terror se exerce a partir do próprio Estado, num acionar que obedece a alguns interesses econômicos claros: é inaceitável, portanto, que se tente creditar os crimes “à violência” em abstrato, como reiteradamente o fazem osmass media com os crimes do Terrorismo de Estado. A mensagem é enviada pelos verdugos através de seus executantes paramilitares, e não é aceitável que os maquiadores midiáticos venham garantir a impunidade total aos que são os verdadeiros mandantes destes crimes: os que se servem do terror para subjugar a um povo e para garantir a acumulação de capital em poucas mãos, em detrimento do meio ambiente e das maiorias. O tentar, mediante o aparelho midiático, transformar os reiterados assassinatos políticos em “vítimas dos violentos” [assim, “os violentos”, em abstrato], busca diluir responsabilidades, busca ocultar a planificação de um Terror que de maneira sistemática é exercido a partir do próprio Estado contra a oposição política. Essa farsa midiática não cala nos setores mais conscientes do campo popular; no entanto, em parte da opinião pública, sim, faz efeito.

5. Ofensivacontraacompreensãodarealidade:EstratégiadaConfusão

A Estratégia da Confusão é implementada até a saciedade pelo aparelho midiático: por exemplo, o redigir notas sobre crimes em que se conhece perfeitamente que a autoria é paramilitar, porém põem “assassinado por grupos armados”: isto com a clara intenção de exculpar a ferramenta paramilitar que serve ao poder econômico e de buscar impingir à resistência popular parte dos crimes perpetrados pela estratégia paramilitar.

O léxico “grupos armados” ou “atores armados” é um léxico da confusão, dado que grupos armados são tanto os paramilitares, como o exército, como as insurgências; portanto, não há nada mais aberrante que conhecer que os vitimários são parte de uma Estratégia repressiva Estatal e paraestatal, articulada do poder multinacional, e optar por tecer o discurso da confusão. Esta midiatização é indignante, e constitui uma dupla vitimização das comunidades que denunciam aos responsáveis, e que no entanto vêem ignoradas suas vozes nas notas midiáticas, de maneira com que a ferramenta paramilitar-militar do terror não somente tenha cometido as atrocidades como também que os meios não assinalem sua responsabilidade, amparando-a assim da impunidade que a perpetua.

Parte da Estratégia da Confusão é o emprego da falsa dicotomia “grupos armados legais”versus“grupos armados ilegais”:sendo legais as forças repressivas do Estado, enquanto que na ilegalidade se acham tantos as forças repressivas paramilitares –que, no entanto, se articulam ao próprio Estado, recebendo logística, armamento e impunidade-, e as guerrilhas –estas últimas de natureza oposta ao paramilitarismo-. Esta perfídia midiática busca instaurar um campo conceitual que ignora a realidade do paramilitarismo como estratégia preconizada em manuais militares. Também busca instalar um campo conceitual que exclui o caráter político e social do conflito colombiano, ao tentar apresentar as insurgências num mesmo pacote com o paramilitarismo; tentando arrancar da guerrilha seu caráter político, inerente à sua própria gênese e composição, de ser uma expressão do campo popular colombiano que se levanta em protesto político contra o saqueio, protesto político que acontece devido à impossibilidade democrática instaurada desde o Estado mediante a sistemática repressão ao opositor político.

O paramilitarismo é uma ferramenta a serviço do Grande Capital que atua com a plena coordenação do exército colombiano; porém, os meios [de comunicação] trabalham para ocultar a vinculação desta ferramenta com os que a criam e empregam.Lamentavelmente este trabalho sistemático dos meios [de comunicação] consegue colonizar parte importante da população, deixando inclusive marcas residuais que surpreende encontrar nas mentes das próprias vítimas. O bombardeio midiático é uma ofensiva sem trégua contra a capacidade de compreensão da realidade e, portanto, contra a possibilidade de ação efetiva sobre a mesma.

Por isso é importante desmascarar essa planificada manipulação semântica elaborada pelos tanques de pensamento. Essa manipulação é também injetada no discurso das ONGs através do condicionamento que os financistas impõem, conseguindo paulatinamente que no campo popular se introduza uma semântica que obstaculiza a capacidade de compreensão da realidade. Há uma planificação do terror para facilitar a acumulação capitalista em mãos de multinacionais e do latifúndio; frente ao genocídio não cabe mais cair no apagamento das causas do drama colombiano, nem jogar à confusão, nem adotar o léxico imposto pelos tanques de pensamento da USAID.

Azalea Robles

Original em espanhol :


Colombia: La planificación del Terror Estatal y la estrategia de confundir


NOTAS de “La planificación del Terror Estatal y la estrategia de confundir”

En caso de no figurar las notas completas en la presente publicación, consultarlas en www.azalearobles.blogspot.com
[1]Dentro de los presuntos responsables de las 295 agresiones contabilizadas por el SIADDHH en el primer trimestre del año, señalamos que los paramilitares aparecen con responsabilidad supuesta en 230 casos (78%), la Fuerza Pública en 13 casos (5%), las guerrillas en 1 caso (0.5%) y actores desconocidos en 51 casos (17%)”.  http://somosdefensores.org/index.php/en/publicaciones/informes-siaddhh/133-la-amenaza-fantasma-boletin-trimestral-siaddhh-enero-febrero-2015
[2] Deadly EnvironmentGlobal Witness
[3] Boletín Informativo No.18 de PBI Colombia, Noviembre de 2011
[4] Colombia junto con Siria, el país con más personas desplazadas forzadamente. CODHES: 6,3 millones de desplazados en Colombia
Peor que Sudán, Iraq o Afganistán (VIDEO): Colombia es el país con más desplazados y refugiados internos.  http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=129586&titular=colombia-es-el-pa%EDs-con-m%E1s-desplazados-y-refugiados-internos-
Informe Global 2014 sobre desplazados internos ACNUR:
[5] El 40% del territorio colombiano está pedido en concesión para proyectos mineros. De las 114 millones de hectáreas que tiene Colombia, cerca de 45 millones están solicitadas para este fin. http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=126725&titular=las-venas-abiertas-de-colombia-
[7]Exterminio físico de la Unión Patriótica: más de 5.000 personas asesinadas por las herramientas paramilitares y oficiales del Estado, el genocidio consta ante la CIDH. Plan “Baile Rojo”. Documental: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVL54FcZq5E&feature=gv
[8] CUT: ”En Colombia se cometen el 60% de los asesinatos de sindicalistas que se presentan en todo el mundo, por una violencia histórica, estructural, sistemática y selectiva que se convirtió en pauta de comportamiento del Estado colombiano: un genocidio contra el movimiento sindical colombiano.”  http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=120921
2014 informe de la CUT ante la OIT: “Desde 1977 han sido asesinados 3052 sindicalistas, durante el actual gobierno 115 sindicalistas han sido asesinados. La violencia contra sindicalistas continuó siendo una característica de la actividad sindical en Colombia, sin que existan avances significativos en las investigaciones, condenas y capturas de los responsables. Frente al delito de homicidio existe un porcentaje de impunidad del 86,8%; el delito de amenaza, que constituye la violación más sufrida por los sindicalistas[7], tiene a su vez el más alto índice de impunidad con el 99,9%. Los delitos de desaparición forzada, desplazamiento forzado y secuestro, arrojan un porcentaje de impunidad del 99,6%, 99,5% y 90,6% respectivamente. En general, frente a delitos relacionados con graves violaciones a los derechos humanos tenemos que la impunidad en casos de sindicalistas es altísima, promediando el 96,7%.” http://cut.org.co/informe-de-cut-colombia-a-la-oit/

2015 Colombia: Continúa el exterminio de dirigentes populares. “En Colombia hay 20 millones de personas pobres, el 70% de los trabajadores activos están en la tercerización a través de contratos a término fijo, y un 60% de la población ocupada en la economía informal o del rebusque. Estas cifras contradicen las informaciones oficiales. Desde 1986, año de fundación de la Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT), hasta el 2014, fueron asesinados más de 3.500 sindicalistas.”

La “contrainsurgencia laboral” en Colombia, Renán Vega Cantor, abril 2015 http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=197574

¡La violencia antisindical de Colombia persiste! Radiografía de la crisis humanitaria del sindicalismo. http://cut.org.co/la-violencia-antisindical-de-colombia-persiste-radiografia-de-la-crisis-humanitaria-del-sindicalismo/

“La Escuela Nacional Sindical (ENS) denunció en Washington el asesinato de 105 sindicalistas durante cuatro años, que coinciden con la aplicación del plan de acción laboral que Colombia suscribió en 2011 como complemento al Tratado de Libre Comercio (TLC) con Estados Unidos”.

La estrategia dual del presidente Santos:  http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=191804

Enero 2015 CUT y de Fensuagro intervinieron en Bruselas

Sindicalistas y defensores de DDHH sin protección: “Desde la fundación de la CUT, han sido asesinados en Colombia, más de 4000 sindicalistas y la impunidad alcanza cerca del 95%, sin contar con las amenazas, las torturas, los desplazados, los desterrados del movimiento sindical.”http://colectivodeabogados.org/noticias/noticias-nacionales/article/sindicalistas-y-defensores-de
Renan Vega Cantor, ¡Sindicalicidio! Un cuento de Terrorismo Laboral http://www.rebelion.org/docs/147552.pdf
Hoja de ruta de asesinatos, gobierno Santos: “1 activista asesinado cada 3 días, los hechos pesan más que las palabras” lista por Justice For Colombia: http://www.justiceforcolombia.org/downloads/killing-sheet-June-2011.pdf
Workers Uniting rechaza asesinatos a sindicalistas colombianos
[9] Mayo 2012: Por homicidios, torturas y otros atentados graves contra la libertad sindical, El Tribunal Mundial de Libertad Sindical condena al Estado colombiano http://www.parentesiscali.blogspot.com.es/2012/05/sentencia-condena-al-estado-por.html
“El TSM resuelve: Condenar al Estado de la República de Colombia por ser responsable de los hechos sistemáticos de violación del principio de Libertad Sindical, en calidad de autor directo, coautor, cómplice o encubridor de homicidios, lesiones, torturas, privaciones ilegítimas de la libertad, atentados, amenazas, despidos y represalias con motivo del ejercicio de la actividad sindical.”
Demanda contra el Estado colombiano:
TSM condena al Estado colombiano: La libertad sindical en Colombia, una farsa http://parentesiscali.blogspot.com.es/2012/05/informe-especial-tribunal-mundial.html
[10] El 23 de mayo 2011 el representante del Alto Comisionado de la ONU para los Derechos Humanos, Christian Salazar, informó que la ONU estima que más de 57.200 personas han sido desaparecidas en Colombia. Conferencia sobre desapariciones forzadas, en Bogotá.   http://www.senadoragloriainesramirez.org/index.php/tag/cifran-en-mas-de-57-mil-las-desapariciones-forzadas-en-colombia/
[11] Informe Fiscalía, enero 2011: 173.183 asesinatos; 1.597 masacres; 34.467 desapariciones forzadas, y al menos 74.990 desplazamientos forzados, cometidos entre junio 2005 y el 31 de diciembre 2010 por el paramilitarismo: http://www.fiscalia.gov.co/justiciapaz/Index.htm
[12] Estimación: en 20 años 250.000 personas desaparecidas; Piedad Córdoba, Madrid, mayo 2010 “Hay 250.000 desaparecidos en Colombia en los últimos años”http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=106344&titular=%22hay-250.000-desaparecidos-en-colombia-en-los-%FAltimos-a%F1os%22-
Más sobre DESAPARICIÓN FORZADA en Colombia:
Desaparición, crimen del Terrorismo de Estado en Colombia: http://justiciaypazcolombia.com/50-000-personas-desaparecidas-en
“Las organizaciones de familiares de detenidos desaparecidos exigen que el Estado responda por la vida y la libertad de los desaparecidos, o que se entreguen sus restos a la familia y opere la justicia. (…) El delegado en Colombia de la Oficina de la Alta Comisionada de las Naciones Unidas para los derechos humanos ha repetido que “La desaparición forzada es una de las violaciones de los derechos humanos más graves que existen, y Colombia, lamentablemente, sufre un récord alarmante en la comisión de este crimen”. Confirmando la alerta de Naciones Unidas, el Registro Único de Victimas presenta en su informe del 1 de abril de 2014 la escalofriante cifra de 122.155 victimas de desaparición forzada.”
El crimen de Estado de desaparición forzada de la “democracia” en Colombia ha rebasado las dramáticas cifras de la dictadura argentina: sólo en 3 años el Terrorismo de Estado ha desaparecido a 38.255 personas, informe Medicina Legal: http://www.telesurtv.net/noticias/secciones/nota/71765-NN/colombia-registra-mas-de-38-mil-personas-desaparecidas-en-tres-anos/
Tribunal Internacional de Opinión; “La DESAPARICION FORZADA UN CRIMEN DE ESTADO” Veredicto. Senado del Congreso de la República. Bogotá 24, 25 y 26 de Abril de 2008: http://www.dhcolombia.info/spip.php?article568
“Al mes de noviembre de 2010, las estadísticas oficiales del gobierno de Colombia registran más de 51.000 Desapariciones”,  señala un reporte de 2011 de la US Office on Colombiahttp://lawg.org/storage/documents/Colombia/RompiendoElSilencio.pdf
A noviembre de 2011, el Registro Nacional de Desaparecidos -órgano gubernamental- , reportaba un total de 50.891 casos (24% mujeres y 17% niñas y niños). Los medios han manipulado la información haciendo aparecer que sólo 16.907 casos son desapariciones forzadas, cuando esa cifra revela los casos para los cuáles ha habido información concerniente a los perpetradores, los demás casos permaneciendo en la insuficiencia investigativa. Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses (INMLCF), noviembre 2011. El total del Registro Nacional de Desaparecidos, reporta 64.564 víctimas, de las cuales se restaron 11.215 personas aparecidas con vida y 2.458 personas aparecidas muertas.
La Unidad de Justicia y Paz de la Fiscalía General de la Nación reportó a mayo de 2011, un total de 32.000 casos de desapariciones forzadas cometidas por grupos paramilitares. Fundación Nidia Erika Bautista (FNEB), Situación de las Desapariciones Forzadas en Colombia: La desaparición forzada no es un crimen del pasado, Bogotá, mimeo, diciembre, 2011.
En Mayo 2012: Yaneth Bautista, de la Fundación Nidia Erika Bautista, ‘señaló que “en lo que va corrido del Gobierno Santos se han registrado oficialmente 500 desapariciones forzadas en Colombia, especialmente en Bogotá, Antioquia, Putumayo, Nariño y Valle del Cauca”’, según reporta Caracolhttp://www.caracol.com.co/noticias/judicial/familiares-de-los-desaparecidos-ya-no-necesitaran-dos-anos-para-adelantar-tramites-legales/20120525/nota/1694613.aspx
2014- Desaparecidos: el Estado el gran responsable
[13] Mayo 2012, informe ‘Desapariciones forzadas en Colombia’, Coordinación Colombia- Europa- Estados Unidos: “Presenta la situación actual de la desaparición forzada en Colombia, mostrando el continuo aumento de los casos en el país, así como la persistencia de los patrones de persecución política y control social que han motivado históricamente las desapariciones forzadas en el país. (…) En Colombia las desapariciones forzadas han sido usadas históricamente como un instrumento de persecución política y de control social basado en el terror, perpetrado por agentes del Estado y por grupos paramilitares que actúan con su tolerancia, omisión y aquiescencia y que se benefician de la impunidad en la que permanecen los crímenes. Las desapariciones se cometen con el doble objetivo de acallar una voz disidente y, al mismo tiempo, enviar un mensaje claro y aleccionador al resto de la población para que se abstenga de mantener cualquier tipo de actividad de oposición o de cuestionar el orden político existente.” Informe Observatorio de DDHH:  http://www.rebelion.org/docs/150986.pdf
Subregistro de la cantidad de personas desaparecidas en Colombia.Hay un esfuerzo para subvalorar y configurar impunidad para el crimen de Estado de la desaparición forzada: “El subregistro de casos de desaparición forzada, la impunidad que se consolida con diversos mecanismos legales y sociales y la presencia de los perpetradores en las comunidades donde viven los familiares de personas desaparecidas, consolidan un marco que mantiene el trauma psicosocial (…) muchos casos no se denuncian por múltiples razones, entre ellas, la mala administración de justicia, la ineficacia de los canales y mecanismos de denuncia, el ambiente generalizado de temor e intimidación que viven los familiares de las víctimas, sus abogados, los testigos de las desapariciones(…)”
El impedimento para conocer la amplitud del drama de la desaparición forzada en Colombia, tiene obvias causas. Además del temor de los familiares de denunciar a las fuerzas paramilitares o a la misma Fuerza Pública ante entidades estatales comprometidas con la estrategia del terror e impunidad, hay una inoperancia sistemática de la ‘justicia’ en estos casos, obstaculizando investigaciones y procesos, hay fallas repetidas en la recolección de datos, pruebas forenses, inhumaciones, testimonios. Se llenan de escombros las fosas comunes. Hay temor, desidia, negligencia y obstaculización. “Esas fallas se hicieron aún más evidentes en mayo de 2011, cuando el Ministro del Interior dio a conocer los resultados de un estudio realizado por el Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal, la Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil y ese Ministerio, con el fin de cruzar las huellas dactilares tomadas a cadáveres de personas no identificadas, con las huellas de los documentos de identidad del registro nacional del estado civil. Los resultados son tan impresionantes como tristes. En total, se procesaron 22.689 necrodactilias (huellas de cadáveres) y se lograron identificar 9.968 personas, que estarían actualmente inhumadas como personas sin nombre en cementerios de distintas regiones. De ese total, tan sólo 440 personas figuran en el Registro Nacional de Desaparecidos. Los resultados fueron remitidos al Instituto de Medicina Legal, que se encargó de hacer cotejos dactiloscópicos, depurar los listados y oficiar a las autoridades judiciales con el fin de ubicar expedientes y los lugares de inhumación de las personas identificadas (…)  en los registros de Medicina Legal sólo pudieron encontrarse 3.779 personas pues, en un número muy importante de casos, la información es confusa o inexistente, y hay fallas estructurales en la organización de los cementerios que impiden ubicar los restos de las personas enterradas sin nombre. En total, de las 9.968 personas identificadas mediante el cruce de huellas, sólo fue posible ubicar y entregar los restos de 49 personas enterradas en distintos cementerios del país.”
[14] Impunidad y Fuero militar impulsado por Santos: http://www.rebelion.org/docs/150986.pdf
“La ley 1448 de 10 de junio de 2011, conocida como ley de víctimas, excluyó expresamente de la definición de víctima a los “miembros de los grupos armados organizados al margen de la ley”. Eso significa que, por ejemplo, los miembros de las guerrillas (reales o supuestos) que hayan sido víctimas de desaparición forzada, no serían considerados como tales y sus familias estarían privadas de los derechos a la reparación y la verdad. (…) La ley 1453 de 2011, conocida como Ley de Seguridad Ciudadana, establece una serie de previsiones que debilitan los controles sobre la acción de la Fuerza Pública y que, en la práctica, podrían facilitar la comisión de desapariciones forzadas.(…)
El Gobierno colombiano se rehúsa a reconocer su responsabilidad en las graves violaciones de derechos humanos que se cometen diariamente en el país. Al contrario, mantiene una posición de injerencia indebida en las decisiones judiciales, particularmente cuando afectan la responsabilidad de altos mandos militares o de altos funcionarios gubernamentales.(…)
Preocupan las iniciativas legislativas del Gobierno que pretenden sustraer de la justicia a los más altos responsables de las violaciones de derechos humanos en el país, de un lado, mediante la persistente propuesta gubernamental de reforma a la justicia penal militar y, de otro lado, mediante el llamado Marco Jurídico para la Paz. (…). Los fuertes cuestionamientos realizados desde distintas instancias internacionales en relación con la propuesta[de Fuero Militar] , motivaron que el Gobierno decidiera retirarla a cambio de una nueva. La actual es aún peor pues, ya no sólo reforma el fuero militar sino todo el sistema de justicia penal militar: crea una defensoría técnica militar adscrita al Ministerio de Defensa, incluyendo un fuero carcelario y la ampliación del fuero militar para instalar un fuero policial”.
[15] La mayor fosa común de Latinoamérica, ubicada detrás del batallón militar de la fuerza estrella del Plan Colombia , la Fuerza Omega, en la Macarena, departamento del Meta. http://www.publico.es/internacional/288773/aparece/colombia/fosa/comun/cadaveres
Los Medios ocultan la mayor fosa común de América, mientras el Estado colombiano busca alterarla: http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=100898
“Denuncian el hallazgo de al menos 1.505 cuerpos más en fosas comunes en Colombia, en el Meta, en la misma región que la mayor fosa común del continente, con 2.000 cadáveres hallada en diciembre 2009, y cuyos cadáveres son cuerpos de desaparecidos y asesinados por el ejército, como quedó evidenciado en las Audiencias públicas a testigos y familiares de desaparecidos” http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=119299
[16] A raíz de la visita de la Misión Yarbourough del ejército estadounidense (febrero/62) y de las directrices que dejó consignadas, el Estado colombiano adoptó una estrategia contrainsurgente paramilitar, ya desde antes de que surgieran las guerrillas (1964-65).Tal doctrina estratégica puede estudiarse en los Manuales de Contrainsurgencia que forman parte de la Biblioteca del Ejército y por tanto de los textos de estudio y entrenamiento militar desde 1962. Tomando como fuente 6 manuales (1962, 1963, 1969, 1979, 1982, 1987) se puede rastrear la concepción que hay allí de la población civil y su papel en la guerra, se la define por dos miradas: 1) debe ser vinculada a la guerra (paramilitarismo); 2) debe ser el blanco principal de la guerra contrainsurgente (guerra contra los movimientos sociales o posiciones inconformes con el statu quo).
Cronología, hechos reveladores del Paramilitarismo como política de Estado, J. Giraldo: http://www.javiergiraldo.org/spip.php?article75
El verdadero origen del paramilitarismo en Colombia: http://www.dhcolombia.info/spip.php?article529
Brig. Gen. William P. Yarborough, “U.S. Special Warfare Center,” in U.S. Department of the Army, Office of the Chief of Information, Special Warfare U.S. Army: An Army Specialty (Washington, D.C., 1963), p. 61. A Psychological Operations Course covering all aspects of psychological warfare was also offered at Fort Bragg, in consonance with the center’s Psychological Warfare origins. .Headquarters, U.S. Army Special Warfare School, Subject: Visit to Colombia by a Team from Special Warfare Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 26 February 1962. Kennedy Library, Box 319, National Security Files, Special Group; Fort Bragg Team; Visit to Colombia; 3/62. Also Carroilton Press, Declassified Documents Reference Series (1976:154D), and McClintock, The American Connection, vol. 1, State Terror and Popular Resistance in El Salvador, pp. 23-24. 26. “Secret Supplement, Colombian Survey Report.”
Injerencia de los Estados Unidos, contrainsurgencia y terrorismo de estado: La dimensión internacional del conflicto social y armado en Colombia. Renán Vega Cantor02-2015.
[17] Mercenario israelí que entrenó a paramilitares confirma la participación del Ejército. Yahir Klein: “El hacendado que se convirtió en presidente pagó por mis servicios” http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=159161
Yair Klein: el instructor de la muerte  http://elturbion.com/?p=1690
[18] La niña Alida Teresa, hija de preso político, violada y asesinada por paramilitares, crimen en impunidad, 2012. http://www.rebelion.org/noticias/2012/3/145927.pdf
Marzo 2012, Ordenan Libertad a Jefe Paramilitar señalado de desaparición forzada, tortura y homicidio de la niña Alida Teresa  http://derechodelpueblo.blogspot.com.es/2012_02_26_archive.html
[19] Asesinado por ser “hijo de comunista”. Asesinato de Carlos Julián Vélez Rodríguez, Diputado UP; su esposa, su hijo, y su hermano, en el Meta. http://www.cidh.org/countryrep/colombia93sp/cap.7a.htm
Asesinato del niño Luis Carlos Vélez Garzón http://sandinovive.info/?page=ver_articulo&id=702
Plan de exterminio de la UP “Baile Rojo”. Documental: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVL54FcZq5E&feature=gv
[20] Masacre de Mapiripán: los paramilitares fueron trasladados en aviones Antonov y DC3 del ejército. Confesó el General Uzcátegui: “¿sabe qué hizo la Brigada militar Móvil2? Colocó un colchón de aire o de seguridad para que salieran los paramilitares(…) El ejército no sólo tiene vínculos con los paramilitares, no sólo no los combatió , sino que combatió a las FARC para que no golpearan a los paramilitares” http://vimeo.com/5114407
Negacionismo del estado y criminalización contra el CAJAR http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=138593
VIDEO: Juez, testigo de la masacre militar y paramilitar de Mapiripán, dice que el Estado oculta la verdad. El día de la masacre sobrevoló: “Un avión espía no de la Fuerza Aérea Colombiana, era de Estados Unidos”
[21] Operación militar ‘Génesis’: masacre y ‘juego de fútbol’ perpetrado entre militares y paramilitares con la cabeza de Marino López
Tras 14 años de impunidad, La Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos lleva a la Corte el caso de la Operación Génesis http://www.rebelion.org/noticia.php?id=133265
[22] Los habitantes denunciaron a la Brigada XVII. Las denuncias siempre fueron rechazadas por el gobierno. Sólo diez años después fueron exhumados científicamente los restos de Marino López por la Fiscalía. Cuatro paramilitares y Freddy Rendón, alias “el Alemán”, han confirmado la horrorosa muerte del líder chocoano y la complicidad del general Rito Alejo del Río. “Se trató de una operación conjunta” relataron ante el Fiscal de Justicia y Paz.http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/colombia/doc/paz/alejo1.html
[23] Marinelly Hernández, presa política y de guerra se declara en Ruptura con el Estado colombiano, ante un juez de Quibdó: http://www.traspasalosmuros.net/node/359


No caso de não figurar as notas completas na presente publicação, consultá-las em

It is imperative that the Rohingya issue be addressed as soon as possible.

The plight faced by these persecuted people has been thrust into the headlines of international news recently, following cases of thousands of boat people stranded at sea as well as reports of slave labour camps and mass graves.

These Rohingya immigrants who sought to escape persecution from a country that has long eroded their cultural identity and civil rights, entrusted themselves to opportunistic and deceitful human traffickers who see their plight not as a humanitarian issue, but as nothing more than a lucrative opportunity. This has resulted in extreme cases where people were allegedly thrown overboard, or whole ships left abandoned, its passengers left to fend for themselves against the harsh elements of the sea, many suffering and succumbing to malnutrition.

At least 30 graves mass graves have been discovered at the identified slave camps near the south of Thailand in the Songkla province.  Survivors of such camps report of the deplorable conditions they have been forced to live in as well as the alleged use of coercion and violence to extort more money from the Rohingya families.

As Malaysia shares the borders close to where this incident has happened, it is feared that such camps may exist within Malaysia’s boundaries and perhaps Malaysia has unknowingly facilitated the trafficking and abuse of the Rohingya people.

However while the responses have been mainly aimed towards the human traffickers, with military action being considered, there is a far greater crime being played out that demands justice for these people who have to suffer so much unnecessary hardships.

The Myanmar government is equally, if not wholly responsible, for the sorry state of affairs the Rohingyas find themselves in.

As noted by the report published by the Equal Rights Trust, the Rohingyas trace their ancestral roots in the Rakhine region several centuries back, long before the creation of modern day Myanmar. The term is derived from the word Rohang which is the name of the Rakhine state.

This claim to historical ancestry is rejected on many levels in Myanmar. The Myanmar government claims that the Rohingyas are in fact migrants from Bangladesh and have no rights to indigenous identity in Myanmar. The term “ Rohingya” is not recognized by the government and the Rohingya people — in spite of their protest and rejection — are referred to as Bengali.

The result of this unwillingness to recognize that the Rohingyas are part of the Myanmar demographic landscape, coupled with their contentious religious relationship with the majority Buddhist populace which denies much of the historical Muslim influences upon Rakhine state, have led to the purposeful and systematic deprivation of the civil rights of the Rohingya community.

The Rohingyas are prevented from using the term in official documentation including identity cards, passports and were even disqualified from the country’s census of March 2014 unless they agreed to the term Bengali.

The consequence of this can be seen now as many Rohingyas, who possess no legal documentation, have become stateless and have been forced to flee Myanmar in order to escape persecution in a country that has become — as some have described it — an open-air prison.

The Rohingyas have no other alternatives than to procure the services of smugglers, who they pay a significant amount of money in order to obtain passage to another country. The problem then morphs into human trafficking. These refugees are unknowingly trading one prison for another.

It is therefore not enough to address the issue of human trafficking by bringing the traffickers themselves to justice. It is necessary to make the Myanmar government accountable for this travesty, addressing the problem of ethnic persecution within the country itself and ensuring that the civil rights of the Rohingyas are restored, or, at the very least, their basic human rights respected.

The only significant hindrance would be the strict adherence to the non-interference policy which ASEAN governments have maintained. Malaysia and Indonesia have turned away many of the boats opting to send these refugees back to the country that does not recognize their basic humanity. The Malaysian and Indonesian governments do not want to be inundated with illegal immigrants that they just cannot cope with.

There is a distinction that needs to be made between refugees and illegal immigrants, as the current discourse  labels the Rohingyas mainly as the latter, when in fact given the mentioned historical and political context, it would be  more appropriate to term the Rohingyas as political refugees.

With the increasing outflow of these refugees from Myanmar, the ASEAN policy of non-interference has proven to be untenable, given the humanitarian crisis which has gotten far worse over the years.

The Malaysian, Indonesian and Thai governments should apply diplomatic pressure immediately upon the Myanmar government to address the root problem which is the persecution of the Rohingyas. Once the persecution stops, the massive exodus of refugees through land and sea will also come to an end.

Hassanal Noor Rashid, Program Coordinator, International Movement for a Just World


1 Equal Right Trust (2014) Equal Only in Name: The Human Rights of Stateless Rohingya in Thailand

Según medios de comunicación de Canadá, las leyes contra la propaganda de odio podrían ser aplicadas a los grupos de este país que se unen al movimiento global de boicot contra la ocupación y apartheid israelí.

From a perspective of continually searching for knowledge and relationships, for synthesizing information into a larger paradigm I have reached a point where the world – the human world and its cultural and physical geography – is reaching certain tipping or turning points.  Several genres of interest – financial, military, and environmental – appear to be at a stage where whatever I could say, whatever I have said, will have no further impact and I can only observe events until some resolution is reached by whatever means.

These broad topics are deeply related, and the resolution of one will have strong ramifications for the others.  They are not separate categories except as an organizer for the academic and political minds of today.  Information gleaned from many books, the western mainstream media (MSM), alternate media (being for the most part various websites), and from other sources in Asia and Europe provides a broad base from which to formulate a perspective on current events.

There are some broad trends that should be obvious.  Financially, the ‘western’ world is operating as a debt laden consumer society, competing with the rising strengths of China and Russia as co-leaders in an at best multi-polar world.  Militarily, the U.S. and its allied NATO countries remain dominant, but that dominance is reckoned on the threats of a failed “full spectrum dominance” military, backed by an official first strike nuclear capability and policy.

As for the environment – the consumer society run by corporations with zero environmental concerns, and the military fighting for control of resources and for control of the financial world are dominant topics in the MSM, leaving the environment to change almost unheralded.  These changes would be seriously aggravated by a larger war and /or significant financial changes.

There are two main ways to examine these faultlines.  It can be done region by region, highlighting the impacts on the populations of defined areas.  There are, however, no isolated regions, as one bleeds (literally) into another, with the global context quickly encroaching into any discussion of one country or region.  Another examination could be approached from the genres mentioned above, in which an attempt to precis the global aspects of each would again bleed (literally, financially, and metaphorically!) one into the other.  A third approach would take an even less well defined train of thought approach, following the bleeding as it encircles the world.

Good-bye Palestine

Palestine is the best place to start as it is the topic on which I had my first article posted online many years ago, at Palestine Chronicle.  Without detailing the current events around then until now, it leads to the proposition that perhaps Netanyahu has achieved what he wants – a one state solution.

It is not a pretty one state solution, as it carries horrible complications.  But the Palestinian people appear to have been effectively divided and controlled (the word conquered cannot be used yet, and hopefully never will be).  Abbas and the Palestinian Authority seem to be fully complicit with the Israeli military occupation, guarding their own little sphere of influence and power.

Talk of a two state solution is just that – talk.  The ‘wall’ encloses many of the settlements along with much prime Palestinian land (with many other settlements remaining in the West Bank).  It serves not so much for a two state solution but as a manner to control the many bantustan style enclaves restricting the movement and freedoms of  the Palestinian people.  More talk simply provides more time to build more settlements while destroying more Palestinian settlements and encroaching upon more Palestinian land.

The only country that could currently affect change is the United States.  It is very inconvenient for the U.S. to do anything because of the large influence AIPAC has on Congress and the various neocon/right wing think tanks spread throughout the country.  Obama and Netanyahu have their differences, but the U.S. remains financially and militarily committed to Israel.

This is where it gets tricky, going beyond the current paradigm into the changing global situation.  Israel is more or less allied with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states in its rhetoric against Iran, and in its military actions from the annexed Golan Heights.  The Arab states are where Israel wants them to be – at war with each other, impoverished, divided, and ineffective domestically.  Israel is apparently aiding ISIL/al-Qaeda against Assad while controlling their own border in Syria’s Golan Heights, cooperating with the Saudis in their manic fear of Iran, arguing then making good with Turkey and Egypt,  and – this is even trickier to decipher – turning its trade and financial outlook towards Asia.


All that goes without even touching Gaza.  Is this to be a part of Netanyahu’s one state?  It would be dangerous to count it fully in from the Jewish perspective as the 1.5 million Palestinians imprisoned there would tip the demographic balance into uncertain territory if its population were included within Israel proper.  Egypt does not want them, not for the financial burden nor for the political burden of a defiant people.  The elimination of the population by violent means is not sufferable even for the Israelis under current conditions, nor is their any place for them to be removed to.

A free Gaza is not likely in the works, and it would be high conjecture to explore the various implications and ramifications were that feasible.

Perhaps though, Gaza is convenient.  It is convenient like the talks for a two state solution, providing a distraction while more West Bank settlements are built.  Convenient in that it carries the rhetoric of violent Islam, allowing the ongoing dogma against Iran, and in general providing a significant fear factor, a significant, different, and outlawed ‘other’ to be a domestic source of unity.  It is convenient as well for carrying that fear factor abroad to harvest support from its western admirers.  It might also prove to be convenient for Israel’s exploration and extraction of carbon resources under the Mediterranean.

It would seem then, that Israel is comfortable in its miserable neighbourhood.  But that neighbourhood has changed and will change significantly more.  The U.S.’ military entanglements and its increasingly violent actions in the Middle East are for the most part its attempts to assert its global dominance financially.

Asia Rising

Many years ago, the New York Times Thomas Friedman mentioned the “hidden fist” of the military that kept the U.S. economy going.  That ‘fist’ has long been visible, increasingly so in the Twenty-first Century.  Its most dangerous and threatening turn has been its recent overthrow of the Ukrainian government and its replacement with a corrupt (same old same old!) neonazi government.  Now with NATO encroaching onto Russia’s borders and the U.S. moving military and black ops personnel into Ukraine, the U.S. is setting itself up to create a scenario that would help lead to the breakup of Russia itself.  That takes the presentation from one of analyzing a particular region or country to examining the overarching military and financial paradigms.

Back to Israel, momentarily.  Israel along with several other significant western countries and against U.S. wishes, has signed up for membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) set up to remove the influence of the U.S. controlled/sponsored Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and other Washington consensus institutions.  The largest part of Israeli trade is now with Asia and not the western countries.  And perhaps not insignificantly, Israel is not selling drones to Ukraine, but they are to Russia.

Follow the money…why would Israel, along with Germany, France, the U.K., and many other countries (significantly, Russia), sign up for a Chinese dominated bank against the wishes of its long time sponsor, the U.S.?  What do they see occurring that is not presented to the world in the MSM?  What is China doing that is so attractive financially to many other countries without any military threat obvious or implied?  What is the “carrot” without the “stick”?

U.S. declining

It is impossible to separate China/Asia/Russia rising and the U.S. declining as they are highly intertwined financially.  It is worth it to try and look at the U.S.’ financial situation first, as that has huge ramifications for what is happening in Asia, Eurasia, and China and Russia in particular.

Essentially, the U.S. is broke.  The value of the U.S. dollar over the last century has dropped to near worthlessness in its comparative purchasing power.  Fortunately for the U.S., and unfortunately for the rest of the world, the U.S. can ‘print’ as much money as it needs without fully debasing the currency as it is currently the world’s “reserve” currency, the one that up to now everyone needed in order to have international financial transactions.

Without getting into the details of how the Federal Reserve Bank (a private bank, not a government bank) and the Treasury Department work together rather incestuously, the end result is a massive U.S. debt load that will never be able to be repaid – unless hyperinflation sets in a la Zimbabwe, or the dollar is revalued (devalued) unilaterally, or a gold standard is re-established with its value being rather astronomical in order to support the size of the debt/dollar.

Beyond that huge debt load, the economy is not recovering.  The statistical figures are all manipulated and the markets are all manipulated, providing a thin veneer of financial respectability over an enormous black hole of debt.  The employment participation rate (as compared to the unemployment figure) is the lowest it has been in decades – many fewer people are working.  New job creation is mainly for lower paid service work.  The rate of home ownership has been declining.  Net worth for the middle class is declining and the income disparity between those in control and the rest of the population is increasingly very large.

The stock market continues its positive run, supported by trillions of dollars of government ‘printed’ dollars at zero or near zero interest rates borrowed and leveraged for various financialized schemes, including a lot of companies buying back their own stocks in order to inflate their value and pay them larger dividends and bonuses.  The Baltic Dry Index (a measure of demand for shipping capacity) has declined precipitously after the 2007-08 recession.

China owns a lot of the debt.  China has its own financial problems within its domestic and  global economies but it is the U.S.’ main creditor and carries 21 per cent of U.S. foreign owned debt, or ten per cent of all U.S. debt.  Should China decide at any time to sell its U.S. reserves, it could simply put the dollar into shock, creating a quick and immediate devaluation to the point of making it worthless.

But the Chinese are operating much more carefully than this.  They have openly stated that the world needs another reserve currency, or a basket of currencies, and it is working towards eliminating the stranglehold that the US$ has on international commerce and finance.

Russia -  neither collapsing, nor isolated.

Russia enters into the picture as both military and financial roles.  Both China and Russia are within the U.S.’ military containment policy under the idea of global hegemony as expressed by the likes of Zbigniew Brzezinski, Robert Kagan (spouse of Victoria Nuland), and the other neocon elites.

Russia is obviously reluctant to surrender to U.S. dictates and has been very effective in deflecting its military and economic attempts at destabilization.  After suffering the economic depredations from the west during the Yeltsin era, then watching the aggressive military actions of the U.S. from Yugoslavia through Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya (among others), Russia balked at supporting U.S. efforts to overthrow Assad in Syria.

Next up was the U.S. created (see Kagan, Nuland, above) neonazi takeover of the Ukrainian government and the currently frozen military front lines in Luhansk and Donetsk after a successful rebellion against the Kiev right sector/nazi forces. NATO has approached Russia’s border.  Western sanctions have been applied however ineffectively.  A raid on the ruble and the devaluation of oil prices have coincided with the military aggression and trade sanctions.

Russia is doing well, not in spite of the sanctions, but because of the sanctions.  The ruble suffered a large depreciation at first, but since has recovered and stabilized, with the current interest rate set at 12.5 per cent (I well remember when I carried a set mortgage at 12 per cent, while the official rate rose to over 20 per cent).  Russia’s debt load is very small in relation to its foreign reserves/gold reserves and in relation to the GDP.

It is forecast that Russian GDP will fall two or three per cent over the year, but that has two caveats. First is that the GDP is probably one of the worst and most easily manipulable statistics available; secondly, by comparison, if the U.S.GDP was measured accurately and without using manipulated statistics such as the consumer price index (inflation), it would be showing declines year over year since 2008.

In other areas, the Russian economy is doing well.  Sanctions have forced Russia to repatriate its manufacturing, and many businesses are improving technologically and financially because of this.  Agriculture, always a difficult area for financial survival, has been reinvigorated by Russia’s counter-sanctions against various western agricultural producers.

Ironically, the U.S. is not stopping trade with Russia in three important areas.  First is the space station, reliant on Russian rocket power for supplies and access.  Next, the U.S. purchases about twenty per cent of its uranium from Russia – more US$ to support Russia’s favorable trade balance and foreign reserves!  To top it off, U.S. oil imports include eight per cent of its total imported from Russia.

Isolation is not a problem for Russia.  China has become a major industrial, military, and financial partner, along with the other BRIC nations.  Much of Latin America, most of Asia, and many African countries, independently and through their Chinese connections, are working with Russia.  Importantly, Egypt is working with Russia for trade, and the triangle of Iran-Russia-China is strengthening.

Several European countries are expressing a distaste for sanctions and several are having lower level officials attending Moscow’s May 09 Victory Day parade, along with many other global leaders outside the EU, most importantly, China’s president Xi Jinping.  The Chinese leader intends to visit Crimea during his visit.  The visit coincides with two Chinese warships showing the flag in the Black Sea alongside Russian ships.  That isolated feeling is certainly not the reality.

The World Island – and the New Silk Road.

Eurasia as a whole  – the  World Island – is a natural economic unit.  It is entirely sustainable through its various geographic regions for all resource materials -  agriculture, mining, forestry, fishing, natural gas, oil, coal, water.  These may not all be distributed equally, but given the land mass and the possibilities for trade and transportation, that only creates the natural idea of a New Silk Road to incorporate trade throughout all regions.

Both China and Russia have large industrial sectors, large technological sectors, and trained and well educated work forces. India has a large and technologically savvy work force.  Iran has many resources and a strong technological base.  Germany – well, that is where  Eurasia finds a dividing line, the artificial boundary of the New Cold War as manipulated by the U.S.

Europe is a natural trade partner with other elements of the World Island.  Unfortunately its sycophantic puppet leaders of the EU/NATO have been sucked into the two main artificial fears created by the U.S. -  fear of terror/Islam and fear of Russia.  What it truly amounts to is the U.S. fear of losing its dominant global position should Europe, or even part of Europe, align itself with the rest of the World Island by joining in the infrastructure development being initiated by China and Russia.

The leaders of France, Germany, and the U.K. in particular appear to be only interested in maintaining their own power and control among the world elite.  Their wilful ignorance – or natural stupidity – allows the U.S. to continue to dictate to them what their foreign – and indeed domestic – policies should be.  But cracks in European/NATO unity are apparent.

One of the  major faultlines is the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Originating with China, this new bank has received applications for participation from many countries around the world.  Significantly, most of the G7 countries (not Canada!) have signed on, as has Israel as mentioned above.  Huge sums of money are to be spent/earned by supporting infrastructure development throughout Asia and Europe: high speed rail lines, highways, internet connections, pipelines, bridges, seaports, mines, airports, tech centres, schools, hospitals, and a host of supporting structures required for a growing wealthier society.

The U.S. fear of losing its dominance is well grounded, not militarily but financially.  Should the US$ be slowly sidelined as the hegemonic fiat currency – or perhaps rapidly sidelined due to the weight of its own domestic ‘house of cards’ weaknesses – the New World Order will not be quite what the U.S. neocons envisioned in their original concept of the idea.  The neocon wars serve several purposes:  the destabilization of any organized opposition, especially in the Middle East vis a vis Israel and resources; the support of domestic military industries, about the only industries growing in the U.S. today; and along with the latter, control of other regions to bolster the use of the US$ as the reigning global fiat currency.

Thus the two are intertwined – war and finances.  Their uses/abuses by the U.S. are its waning attempts to prevent the rise of a multipolar world – which already it truly is – or worse for the U.S. – a singular world order peacefully trading within itself without using the US$.

Last as always – the environment

Burdened with an enormous and growing consumer oriented human population the earth’s environment is changing.  How adaptable it all is only time will tell.  Pollutants are dispersed throughout all parts of the world, Antarctic to Arctic, from the depths of the oceans to the summits of it land masses.  Along with concerns about environmental changes many chemical pollutants enter our environment from the procurement of resources (e.g. mining, fracking, transportation), and their refinement into consumer products.  These pollutants are widespread, including among others DU  weapons, chemical sprays used militarily and in agriculture, and the unstable wastes from nuclear reactors.

Until something happens to the economy or to human health in general to require human behaviour to alter, not much will be accomplished beyond a lot of greenwashing and a few technological fixes while the last profits are squeezed out of the industrial-military complex.

The worst scenario comes back to the military.  It is one of the largest consumers of oil based energy and its use of depleted uranium weapons and the threat of nuclear weapons and the latent threat of damaged nuclear power plants makes war the dirtiest of industries.  The current face off between the U.S. and Russia, instigated by the U.S. Maidan coup that ousted a legal democratically elected (if corrupt) government, presents the ultimate threat of nuclear war.

The complete insanity of that seems to escape the proponents of the Wolfowitz Doctrine who uphold the strategy of a winnable nuclear war.  Depleted uranium weapons are bad enough, but the use of nuclear weapons would be devastating for many if not most life forms on earth.  Beyond the initial destruction from the weapons and the associated radiation poisoning, the 400 plus nuclear plants in the world  would either have been destroyed initially or would self-destruct as local infrastructures and services failed in the war’s aftermath.  The result would be 400 Chernobyl/Three Mile Island/Fukushima’s to radiate the planet for hundreds of years to come.

Outcomes unknown

Unfortunately, many humans are terribly short-sighted and intent on ‘winning’ at whatever cost.  Hopefully the balancing power of Russia, China, India and other countries not aligned with the U.S. will be able to moderate the craziness that is widespread in the U.S./NATO today.  Russia is doing its best to not become involved with U.S. instigated wars whether in Syria, Ukraine, or anywhere else in the world.  China is supporting Russia as the Chinese are well aware that the U.S. views them as another threat to their global hegemony.

The U.S. fiat currency will collapse – all fiat currencies have.  The U.S. is lashing out violently at the world trying to support its near hegemonic control of international finance.  The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Bank of International Settlements (based in Basel), national central banks, and other powerhouses of the current financialized world market are now having to deal with the new AIIB, the Latin American Bank of the South, and the BRICS Development Bank.

John Kerry’s recent trip to Sochi indicates a slight ratcheting down of U.S. hubris.  Kerry also remonstrated Poroshenko for his idiotic statements abouty retaking the airport at Donetsk.  Ironically, even the suggestion of a New Cold War indicates that there is no longer a unipolar world tipped in favour of the U.S.

Which way events of today will turn is obviously an unknown.  There are too many possible scenarios from the calm settlement of rational ideas overcoming military lunacy to its obverse, a world destroyed by that military lunacy.

The broad trends working through our societies today – the interplay of a financialized world, the militarization of domestic and foreign policies, and the understated importance of global climate change – are in a period of dramatic change.

I offer no solutions.  That is out of my abilities, out of my range of influence, as events are turning now on their own energies, propelled by the actions of the powerful state actors of the world.  I do not believe that anything I can do will have much bearing on the outcomes….yet at the same time while many other people suffer in so many significant ways beyond my experience, it behooves me to continue to observe and to try and synthesize the various sets of information as best as possible into a coherent whole.  Interesting times, with big changes already in process.

None whatever exists. Guilt by accusation suffices for anyone Washington wants convicted.

Innocence is no defense. Juries are pressured to convict. Evidence when absent is invented. Lack of proof doesn’t matter.

Thousands of political prisoners languish in America’s gulag – at home and abroad. Thousands more are imprisoned for misdemeanors too minor to matter – ones for which just societies wouldn’t tolerate incarceration.

Wrongful convictions are longstanding US practice – including numerous victims sentenced to capital punishment for crimes they didn’t commit.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is the latest example – wrongfully convicted on 30 counts, 17 subject to possible capital punishment.

His kangaroo court trial mocked judicial fairness. It wreaked of inconsistencies, distortions, contrived claims and Big Lies.

His conviction was almost entirely based on convoluted testimony from one dubious witness unable get his account of events straight – plus photos showing the Tsarnaev brothers present near the Boston marathon finish line. So were hundreds of others charged with no crime.

On Friday, Dzhokhr was sentenced to death despite no evidence proving guilt. Ironically, he was the first post-9/11 federal capital punishment victim.

Lead prosecuting attorney Carmen Ortiz praised what she called “a fair and just verdict.”

Even in the wake of horror and tragedy, we are not intimidated by acts of terror or radical ideals,” she said. 

“On the contrary, the trial of this case has showcased an important American ideal that even the worst of the worst deserve a fair trial and due process of law.”

US Attorney General Loretta Lynch called capital punishment for Tsarnaev “a fitting punishment.”

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he hoped the verdict “provides a small amount of closure” for survivors.

Tsarnaev’s father, Anzor, said he intends to “fight (the verdict) until the end.” 

Dzhokhar is the latest homeland war on terror victim – unjustly charged, wrongfully convicted.

Post-9/11, numerous other Muslims were persecuted, arrested, falsely charged, prosecuted and convicted for alleged crimes they didn’t commit.

It’s the wrong time to be Muslim in America. Automatic guilt follows terrorism accusations. Washington’s rogue agenda needs enemies. Fear-mongering is used to justify its phony war on terror.

Muslims are America’s target of choice. They’re vilified for praying to the wrong God – for their race and ethnicity, for opposing Washington’s war on Islam.

They’re stereotypically portrayed as culturally inferior, dirty, lecherous, untrustworthy, religiously fanatical and violent – compared to Western high-minded moral superiority.

Media war on Islam makes it easy to convict victims like Tsarnaev. Judicial lynching follows vilification in the court of public opinion.

US Criminal justice requires following rule of law standards. Guilt must be PROVED BASED ON CREDIBLE EVIDENCE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.

At the same time, jurors aren’t given reasonable doubt guidance. Prosecutors take full advantage. America’s system is inherently unfair. Nothing is done to change things.

Evidence suggests the Boston bombing was state-sponsored terrorism – a false flag black operation.

Craft International (a Blackwater USA type firm) operatives dressed in military-style attire were near the marathon’s finish line.

So were FBI agents – before the incident occurred. Media scoundrels ignored what was vital to report. Doing so would have compromised the official story. Older brother Tamerlan might be alive today. Dzhokhar might never have been convicted.

Fear-mongering replaced truth and full disclosure. Dzhokhar and Tamerlan were used as convenient patsies.

Police murdered Tamerlan in cold blood. Dzhokhar’s turn awaits – victimized by criminal injustice.

He pleaded innocent to all 30 charges. It bears repeating. Not a shred of evidence suggested guilt.

Shockingly, his lead defense lawyer, Judy Clark, conceded guilt in her closing arguments. She blamed Tamerlan for coercing Dzhokhar to go along with what no evidence proved either brother committed.

She called only four witnesses on his behalf – compared to 92 for federal prosecutors. Guilt on all counts didn’t surprise, nor capital punishment sentencing.

Dzhokhar never had a chance. Court of public opinion lynching combined with prosecutorial distortions, misinformation and Big Lies assured conviction.

An innocent young man will die for a crime he didn’t commit. He’ll languish on death row until state-sponsored murder takes him.

His life ended before it barely began. In April 2013, he was 19 years old when the incident occurred.

He was an honors student, a Greater Boston League all-star wrestler, a city of Cambridge scholarship winner.

What motive could he possibly have to commit terrorism, or brother Tamerlan?

His father calls him a “true angel.” He insists both brothers were “set up.” They “killed my older son Tamerlan,” he said.

India’s Coal Industry: The Single Biggest Source of Energy

May 17th, 2015 by Global Research News

by Sajai Jose

As Greenpeace India struggles to stay afloat, the real reason why the government wants to shut down the global environmental NGO hasn’t got much attention: Coal, the single biggest source of primary energy in India, is at the heart of the Narendra Modi government’s ambitious plans to ramp up industrial production in the country.

A total of 1,199 new coal-based thermal power plants with a total installed capacity of more than 1.4 million MW proposed worldwide, the lion’s share—455 plants—are in India, according to data from the World Resources Institute.

India is overwhelmingly dependent on fossil fuels—coal, oil and gas—which meet more than three fourths of the country’s energy needs, despite Modi’s plans to promotealternative energy sources.

Of the fossil fuels, oil and gas account for just about 30% of India’s energy needs, the bulk imported (80% in the case of crude oil). India has abundant reserves of coal, the fourth-largest in the world.

2Source: PwC

Coal meets 54.5% of India’s energy needs, and 61.5% of the installed power generation capacity, and plays a key role in industries like steel and cement.

India is set to more than double its coal consumption by 2035 and become the world’s largest coal importer by around 2020, according to the International Energy Agency.

The cheapest of fossil fuels, coal is also the most polluting in terms of carbon emissions. Coal-burning power plants are the single biggest cause of climate change, way ahead of the burning of petroleum in transportation.

Greenpeace has been at the forefront of a global campaign against coal mining and burning, and its Indian wing has mounted several high-visibility campaigns against coal-burning thermal power plants and coal mining in forest areas.

Coal India and Adani in the spotlight

Especially irksome to the government must have been Greenpeace’s targeting of two domestic entities that are also major global players in coal—public-sector company Coal India, India’s 5th most valuable company by market capitalisation at $35.9 billion (Rs 2.3 lakh crore) and the Gujarat-based Adani Group, whose promoter Gautam Adani is known to have a close relationship with Modi.

3Source: Fossil-Free Indexes

Coal India is number one, and the Adani Group number three on the list of the top 200 coal companies globally ranked by the potential carbon emissions content of their reported reserves, according to Fossil Free Indexes, a stock market index that promotes ethical investing.

Greenpeace has campaigned against both companies, exposing their claims on reserves and financial health, and documenting environmental and other violations.  Greenpeace’s Australia chapter has opposed Adani’s plans to develop the world’s largest coal deposit, the Carmichael mine in Queensland, which it acquired for 16.5 billion dollars.

Breakneck industrialisation, Chinese style

Companies like Coal India and Adani are expected to play a vital role in the Modi government’s grand plan for India to take over from China as the new ‘factory of the world’.

With GDP growth dipping to 7% for the first quarter of 2015 (the lowest since 2009), China is clearly slowing down. India seems intent on capitalising on this slowdown and the new-found limits on growth imposed by environmental and health concerns in China.

The first signs that the Modi government is pushing for a Chinese-style industrialisation project came when it announced a clutch of mega projects under the Make-In-India initiative. Work is under way on the most ambitious of these projects, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, across six states, to be built at an estimated cost of $100 billion.

For the government, one of the chief obstacles in this path is land acquisition, which is being tackled through amendments to the existing legislation. The other big hurdle is energy, in which coal will continue to play the biggest part–and this is at the core of its grouse with organisations such as Greenpeace.

Coal and Climate Change–an existential threat

The burning of fossil fuels—coal, oil and gas, in that order—releases massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, and has been proven to be the biggest culprit behind climate change.

4repSource: Nature

With carbon-dioxide levels at record highs—as IndiaSpend reported—only a fraction of the known extractable fossil fuel reserves, least of all, coal, can be burned without endangering the world’s future, the reason why campaigners like Greenpeace are dead set against the fuel.

But for the Modi government, and India’s elites and middle classes in general, this would amount to the big prize being snatched away from sniffing distance. That’s why the shots fired against Greenpeace may be only the first in the long, bruising battle ahead.

Sajai Jose is a freelance media professional based in Bangalore)

Image Credit: Wikimedia/Akkida

Copyright Sajai Jose, India Spend, 2015

Azerbaijan Police Arrest Businessman Linked To Tony Blair

May 17th, 2015 by Global Research News

Police in Baku arrested Nizami Piriyev, a high-profile Azerbaijani businessman closely associated with President Ilham Aliyev.

Mr Piriyev, media reported, was charged with various financial crimes. He is in prison ahead of a trial in what appears to be a spectacular public fall.

One of Azerbaijan’s richest men, Mr Piriyev was the official owner of the Azerbaijan Methanol Company, a large and high-profile operation on the outskirts of Baku.

He paid for former British PM Tony Blair to fly to Baku in 2009 to open the plant. Mr Blair, criticised for taking cash from governments with dubious human rights records since he left office in 2007, was photographed at a press conference in Baku sitting between Mr Piriyev and his son, Nasib.

Mr Piriyev’s holding company PNN Group also owned franchise rights to a number of Western brands in Azerbaijan and across the former Soviet Union. It’s website said that this included the British high street news agent WHSmith and US fast food chain KFC. A spokesman for WHSmith, though, said that Mr Piriyev did not hold its franchise in Azerbaijan.

Mr Piriyev used to work in Russia for Gazprom and had businesses stretching across Central Asia.

It’s unclear what triggered his arrest and whether he has been associated with Azerbaijan’s increasingly marginalised opposition or if he had fallen out with President Aliyev. The United States and Europe have been increasingly critical of Mr Aliyev for cracking down on opposition.

This story was first published in issue 231 of the weekly newspaper The Conway Bulletin on May 13, 2015.

Copyright the Conway Bulletin, 2015

Mumia Abu Jamal Needs Medical Treatment

May 17th, 2015 by Mumia Abu-Jamal

The life of brilliant journalist, intellectual, revolutionary, and political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal is in great danger. Pennsylvania set two execution dates for Mumia in the ’90’s despite his innocence. Only the international movement stayed the hands of the executioner.

Now removed from Death Row, Mumia is once again subject to attempted execution, this time through medical neglect and malpractice. With no history of diabetes, and subsequent to having three blood tests only weeks earlier, on March 30, Mumia went into diabetic shock.

He was hospitalized on Monday, March 30, with life-threatening high blood sugar, but two days later was transferred back to the same prison that failed to diagnose or treat him even though he was still very ill. His diet is dangerous and his health is deteriorating. Once again, only massive pressure will prevent his death.

Call the following numbers and demand that Mumia be granted: treatment by specialists of his choosing who are outside the Dept of Corrections, an appropriate diet, and daily visits by family, friends, and attorneys.

John Wetzel - Secretary, PA Department of Corrections –  (717) 728-4109
Thomas Wolf - Governor of Pennsylvania – (717) 787 2500

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Kiev’s regime is a US-installed, illegitimate, lawless, Nazi infested, fascist police state in Europe’s heartland – waging naked aggression on its own people, risking regional peace and stability. Russians, Jews and others are vilified. Rule by intimidation is official policy.

In April, a “decommunization” process began – banning communist and Soviet era symbols and values, including longstanding statues and street names.

Communist Party members face police state persecution – including fabricated civil and criminal charges.

Poroshenko declared Ukraine a “unitary state” – code language opposing any person or group against its police state practices.

New legislation honors Nazi era ultranationalists as “freedom fighters” – including militant groups like the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), and other extremist ones operating in Soviet Russia from 1917 – 1991.

An explanatory legislative note states:

“The law provides for state recognition of the struggle for Ukrainian independence in the twentieth century and defines the legal status of participants in the struggle for Ukrainian independence in the twentieth century.”

Crimes against peace these groups committed are considered lawful – claiming they’re in compliance with the UN Charter, Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other fundamental international laws.

Historians blame OUN and UPA for at least one million Russian and Polish deaths, including many Jews.

They continued fighting Soviet Russia after WW II ended. Intellectuals and government officials were targeted.

Fascist elements have operated openly in Ukraine since Washington’s 2004 Orange Revolution.

Democratically elected Viktor Yanukovoych was ousted. Viktor Yushchenko replaced him.

Yushchenko’s last presidential act was naming Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera a Hero of Ukraine – the nation’s highest honor, given for “personal heroism and great labor achievements.”

Following months of European Parliament, Russian, Polish and Jewish organization, the award was rescinded.

In November 2014, Russia’s Supreme Court designated Ukrainian insurgent extremists terrorists – banning their activity on Russian territory.

Ukraine’s new law equates communism with Nazism.  Poroshenko signed it on Friday.

It blatantly contravenes fundamental international law. It’s part of Kiev’s thinly veiled scheme to ban regime opposition.

Note to Readers: Home Page Problems, Empty your Cache

May 17th, 2015 by Global Research News

Dear Global Research Reader,

In the course of the last week, we have revamped certain features of our website, with two menu bars at the top of the page.

This change was implemented , to enable readers to easily access themes and regions.

Other changes are contemplated in the course of this month.

In the process of these changes, the home page display was inadvertently no longer available.

If the home page does not display normally (i.e. you see an article instead of the home page), we suggest you empty your  cache.

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for peace, social justice and truth in media



“Omar Khadr at the age of fifteen was abandoned by his father and dropped into this compund with Taliban warriors. He had no choice to do whatever they wanted him to do. I recall asking Omar, “Why didn’t you run away?” And he said, “Run away to where? And I would have been killed!”…So what choice did he have? He was a child soldier in that circumstance.” -Dennis Edney

“What these comparisons convey is that Al Qaeda fighters and their senior Pakistani advisers were “saved” on the orders of Donald Rumsfeld. Meanwhile, also on the orders of the Secretary of Defense, innocent civilians who had no relationship whatsoever to the war theater were categorized as “enemy combatants”, kidnapped, interrogated and sent to Guantanamo.” [1] -Professor Michel Chossudovsky



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At long last, Omar Khadr has had a taste of freedom.

Bail was granted on April 24 by an Alberta Court. The release was granted pending the outcome of an appeal of the war crimes conviction levelled against Khadr in the US.

Omar Khadr was captured in July 2002 after the compound at which the fifteen year old was residing engaged in a firefight with US Forces. He was accused of throwing the hand grenade which fatally wounded US Army combat medic Christopher Speer.

The young Khadr was relocated to Guantanamo three months later where he was apparently tortured and interrogated. He would reside at that facility for a decade before being released based on a plea bargain, and repatriated to Canada.

The Canadian government at every step of the way has attempted to block justice for Khadr. Unlike other Western countries, Canada did not negotiate for the repatriation of one of its nationals from the notorious prison facility. Most recently, Stephen Harper’s government launched an appeal of the decision to release Khadr on bail.

Omar Khadr’s lawyer Dennis Edney appears in the first half hour of the program with facts to foil the Harper government’s character assassination attempt on his client and friend.

And while speculation abounds of the Harper government’s use of Khadr as a propaganda instrument in advance of this October’s federal election, questions have been raised about the Guantanamo facility itself. In a 2004 article, Professor Michel Chossudovsky evoked a report by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh about the evacuation of hard core Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters to Northwest Pakistan at the same time that innocent civilians were being “kidnapped, interrogated and sent to Guantanamo.”

Chossudovsky suggests that Guantanamo’s true function is not protection from evil terrorists. Guantanamo, and in fact the broader “War on Terrorism” is about manipulating public opinion into supporting a military agenda serving other diabolical aims. Professor Chossudovsky explains his position in the second half hour.

 Dennis Edney is recipient of the 2008 National Pro Bono Award and of the 2009 Human Rights Medal awarded by the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia for work that “has helped to promote and further human rights”.

Professor Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and Editor of Global Research. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), and his most recent, The Globalization of War, America’s Long War against Humanity (2015).



Length (59:21)

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The Global Research News Hour airs every Friday at 1pm CT on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg. The programme is also podcast at globalresearch.ca .

The  show can be heard on the Progressive Radio Network at prn.fm. Listen in every Monday at 3pm ET.

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1) Michel Chossudovsky (March 18, 2004), “Kidnapping and deporting Civilians to Guantanamo, providing a Safe-haven to Al Qaeda Fighters; original 2004 posting at  http://globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO403D.html

It’s one of the world’s most repressive states – a blight on humanity, a cancer in a part of the world known for despotic regimes. 

Its human rights record is horrific by any standard. Fundamental rights don’t exist.

State terror is official policy. Democracy is strictly prohibited. Torture and physical abuse are commonplace. So are public whippings, beheadings and hangings.

Due process and judicial fairness don’t exist. Thousands of political prisoners languish in its gulag under deplorable conditions.

Abuse of power is extreme. So is massive corruption and lack of transparency. Inequality is institutionalized. Independent media don’t exist. Nor do labor rights.

Islam is the state religion. No other is tolerated. All Saudis are required by law to be Muslims. Failure to comply is considered apostasy – a capital offense.

Capital punishment is standard practice for non-violent crimes – including adultery, armed robbery, drug smuggling, kidnapping, witchcraft, sorcery, and apostasy.

Absolute monarchal rule tolerates no criticism or opposition. It’s despotic, lawless and brutal – a police state by any standard.

Riyadh is Washington’s main Arab regional ally.

The UN Human Rights Council includes 47 Member States. Many comprise a rogue’s gallery of major human rights abusers – including Saudi Arabia, America, Algeria, Ethiopia, Morocco, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, among others.

Membership is apportioned regionally as follows:

African nations – 13 seats

Asia/Pacific: 13 seats

Latin America and Caribbean – 8 seats

Western Europe and other states – 7 seats

Eastern Europe – 6 seats.

Members serve for three years. They’re not eligible for immediate reelection after serving two consecutive terms.

General Assembly Res. 60/251 (April 2006) states:

“(T)he Council shall be responsible for promoting universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner…”

“(T)he Council should address situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, and make recommendations thereon…”

Most often HRC mocks what it’s mandated to support. It functions as a US imperial tool – notably siding with Washington-backed takfiri terrorists waging war on sovereign Syria. Failing to condemn US-orchestrated/Saudi-led terror-bombing of Yemen.

Reports indicate Riyadh wants to chair the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). One human rights group called letting Riyadh head the HRC an “abomination, and cynical by a nation that beheads people in public squares.”

It’s like letting a serial killer become police chief or a pyromaniac being appointed fire commissioner.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom criticized Riyadh’s human rights record – including its treatment of blogger Raif Badawi.

He was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, 10 years imprisonment and possible capital punishment –  for freely expressing his views.

Wallstrom said “(o)ne must protest against what are (punitive) medieval methods.”

Riyadh responded by refusing to issue business visas to Swedish nationals or renew current ones. It tolerates no criticism of its horrific practices – even from a high-ranking diplomat like Wallstrom.

In January she tweeted: Riyadh’s “cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression has to be stopped.”

Independent human rights groups condemn Riyadh’s record as one of the world’s most egregious for good reason.

Human rights in the Kingdom don’t exist. Saudi Arabia is included in HRC’s Asian group. One of its member states is next in line for HRC’s chairmanship.

Reports indicate Riyadh is lobbying intensively to get it. Washington is supportive. US pressure may get other Asian nations to back what demands rejection.

Appointing it head of the human rights group would make the organization a laughing stock. Don’t bet against it happening.

ECHO readers vote ‘yes’ to joining up with Scotland

The results are in… almost three in four ECHO readers have backed Merseyside’s move to ‘New Scotland’ in our poll.

Some 73% said they would vote for Merseyside leave England to join Scotland – after we told how a petition had been launched making the extraordinary demand.

More than 12,000 people have signed the petition – on the change.org website – calling for the north of England to break free and join an independent Scotland.

‘New Scotland’ would see Liverpool, Manchester Leeds, Newcastle and every other northern community ruled from Edinburgh instead of London.

Map showing the North joining with Scotland campaign division

Map showing the North joining with Scotland campaign division

The petition – ‘Allow the north of England to secede from the UK and join Scotland’ – states: “The deliberations in Westminster are becoming increasingly irrelevant to the north of England. The northern cities feel far greater affinity with their Scottish counterparts such as Glasgow and Edinburgh than with the ideologies of the London-centric south.

“The needs and challenges of the north cannot be understood by the endless parade of old Etonions lining the front benches of the House of Commons. The north of England should join the newly independent Scotland and regain control over its own destiny.

“We, the people of the north, demand that in the event that Scotland becomes independent the border between England and the New Scotland be drawn along a line that runs between the River Dee and the mouth of The Humber.”

The petition comes against a backdrop of increased pressure for more devolution for cities in the north and an ongoing debate over the constitutional impact of the SNP winning 56 of 59 seats in Scotland in the General Election.

Copyright Liverpool Echo 2015

As a direct consequence of the international failure over many years to force Israel to declare its nuclear arsenal and to comply with the essential oversight of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – we can expect the GCC states of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as Turkey, Iran and possibly Egypt and also South Africa to now seek to acquire nuclear weapon capability from either the West or the East – from France or the U.S., or from Pakistan or Russia.

Negotiations have, in some cases, already begun. Soon our children can expect to live in a world in which they could be incinerated at any second of any day – because they will be living in a world that will no longer have the future that we enjoyed. That is the terrible consequence of Political Zionism’s mantra of ‘nuclear ambiguity’ in which successive U.S. administrations have colluded ever since Israel deliberately deceived President John F Kennedy, in 1963, in regard to its real nuclear intentions.

That is the stark reality of our world today. However, if you think that this is unnecessarily alarmist – then spend just 15 minutes researching the subject in the pages of some of the most authoritative and respected publications: the NY Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the FT, Foreign Affairs or even Wikipedia.

This information is public domain knowledge that’s far easier to ignore than to accept. Because to live in a world of imminent nuclear proliferation and the inevitable conflagration, at some point, is the stuff of nightmares except that it’s absolute reality. No point, or purpose, in buying life assurance policies if there’ll likely be no opportunity to spend the money – in a stark, irradiated, lifeless landscape. But, I admit, it’s easier not to think about a world in which any one of, say, twenty assorted democracies, dictatorships regimes and governments have nuclear weapons that can destroy us all, whoever we are and wherever we live. That is why current world leaders such as Obama, Putin, Merkel, Hollande and Xi Jinping avoid the subject – whilst covertly increasing, of course, their own nuclear stockpiles.

To categorise it as MAD, is certainly correct. There is only one possible remedy to ensure our safety and that would be to declare the entire Middle East –including both Israel and Iran – to be a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone and to ensure its strict compliance.

But the U.S. Congress in concert with AIPAC will never allow that – which is why the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act was so enthusiastically passed by the U.S. Senate last week.





Presidential Candidate Likens Native Americans to Jihadists

May 16th, 2015 by Global Research News

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee announced his plans to run for president on Tuesday, May 5. During his speech, the Republican attempted to criticize current president Barack Obama and squandered hope of gaining Native American support in the 2016 election.

“When I hear our current president say he wants Christians to get off their high horse so we can make nice with radical jihadists, I wonder if he can watch a western from the ’50s and be able to figure out who the good guys and the bad guys really are,” stated the politician, who was once a Southern Baptist pastor.

This absurd comment came in reference to a speech made by Obama at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast. Whilst speaking about Islamic terrorism, the president reminded the audience that most, if not all, religions have dark aspects of their history.

“And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Huckabee seems to feel that Obama’s acknowledgement of the atrocities that founded our country is unpatriotic, as evidenced by his stance on outdated cowboy and Indian movies. This disjointed statement stands out as especially ridiculous in light of criticism these tropes have garnered recently in response to Adam Sandler’s disrespectful film script.

The conservative politician went on to say, “I commit this to you today, I will never, ever apologize for America–ever.”

Sometimes, an apology on the part of powerful entities such as the United States is in order. Clearly, this presidential candidate’s pride prevents him from admitting to past and present American faults.

At least a dozen individuals have come forward as Republican candidates for 2016’s presidential election, and Huckabee is not the first to make discriminatory propositions towards the Native population.

Senator Rand Paul pushed for the abolishment of the Bureau of Indian Affairs when he took office in 2011, but has yet to speak out about taking such action if he becomes president.

“Sadly, this is what people have come to expect from GOP candidates who constantly push policies and views that are harmful to Americans. Mike Huckabee’s offensive, outdated, and divisive social views have no place in the 21st century,” commented Democratic National Committee spokesperson Eric Walker to Indian Country Today Media Network.

No politician of any party affiliation is perfect, but candidates who take blatant discriminatory jabs at entire demographics while expressing a desire to represent the country as a whole must be considered carefully. While we have yet to reach the thick of the campaign trail, it is vital to take note of these biases now.

The Lakota People’s Law Project is appalled by this display of ignorance from Mike Huckabee. As a non-profit organization, we do not endorse or discredit any political candidate. As we have been working to stand behind Native Americans and their sovereignty, we hope they will be considered appropriately in the political arena.

Copyright Lakota Law Project, 2015

Two days ago there was some rejoicing and much surprise when the “Warren-faction” of Senate liberals turned against Obama, and failed to vote for a fast-track approval of the TPP. That surprise lasted for about 48 hours when moments ago, in a 65-33 vote, the Senate finally advanced a measure allowing Obama to expedite approval of trade agreements, a bill with bipartisan support in that chamber which however according to Bloomberg may run into strong opposition from House Democrats.

The vote followed separate votes sought by Democrats to pass proposals curbing currency manipulation and boosting imports from sub-Saharan Africa. The Senate plans to consider amendments to the fast-track trade proposal next week.

As previously reported, a rebellion Tuesday among Senate Democrats seeking the currency provision previews what may be fiercer battle ahead between Democrats and House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican.

“There’s a broad feeling we have to do something against China” on currency manipulation, New York Senator Charles Schumer, the chamber’s third-ranking Democrat, told reporters before the vote on advancing the trade bill. He called the currency measure “a shot across China’s bow that we’re not going to just sit there and do nothing.”

Bloomberg reports that the fast-track bill would allow Obama to submit trade agreements to Congress for an up-or-down vote without amendments. He hopes to complete a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership and send it for fast-track approval.

On Tuesday, Democrats blocked Republicans from advancing the fast-track bill without also voting on the currency measure. Many Democrats remain stung by the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, which is blamed by labor unions for a decline in U.S. manufacturing jobs.

The trade bill, H.R. 1314, would give Obama and the next president fast-track powers for six years.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said Thursday the agreement to separate the two measures from the broader trade bill was a sensible plan.

“I’d like to thank the president too,” McConnell said. “No, you’re not hearing things. President Obama has done his country a service by taking on his base and pushing back on some of the more ridiculous rhetoric we’ve heard.

And in other news, just as the TPP fast-track news hit, perpetual warmonger and neocon John McCain announced that as part of a $613.2 billion Defense Authorization Bill, approved by the Senate Armed Services Committee, the US just added funds for 12 more F/A-18 fighter jets. More importantly the Bill authorizes sending arms to Ukraine.

More details from Bloomberg:

Bill has $523b in base funding, $90.2b in war funds, Reed says.

Reed says he voted against bill on “off-budget gimmick” in which Republicans transferred extra funds from base budget to overseas contingency operations to avoid budget controls.

Amendment to eliminate war funding account rejected, cmte Chairman John McCain says.

Bill would preserve A-10 close-air combat plane; authorizes arms to Ukraine, McCain says.

Cmte approves more for F-35, F-18 fighters, McCain says; bill authorizes adding 6 F-35B fighters.

Bill requires approval of Guantanamo closing plan, he says. Presidential veto of bill would be “very serious step”: McCain.

In other words, since the Fed can’t print trade, either the world will trade with the US voluntarily… or it will be forced to do so. And if that fails, there is always the Ukraine war escalation option.

Poroshenko awaits Obama’s OK to launch it. 

“We will fight to the last drop of blood,” he blustered.

Ukraine is a US-installed fascist police state. Fundamental democratic rights are prohibited – including a free and open media.

On Thursday, Ukrainian security forces shut down Odessa’s Timer independent online news service. Its editor-in-chief, Yuri Tkachov, three journalists and web site administrator were arrested.

They’ll likely be charged with “conspiracy to encroach on Ukraine’s territorial integrity and inviolability” for reporting hard truths Kiev wants suppressed.

Daily provocations against Donbass continue. Donetsk People’s Republic military spokesman Eduard Basurin said they’re more frequent than any time since Minsk II in February.

In the last 24 hours alone, Kiev forces committed 43 ceasefire violations, he said.

Tanks, artillery, mortars and other weapons targeted Donetsk airport, Volvo center, Oktyabrskaya mine, Oktyabrskiy settlement, Shirokino, Gorlovka, Spartak, Zhabichevo, Saichenko, Kalinovka, Krasnyi Oktyabr, Zheleznaya Balka, Novaya Maryevka and Grirorovka.

According to Basurin, “(t)he Ukrainian side continues to scale up heavy weapons and munitions in the zone of the so-called anti-terrorist operation (against Donbass democrats).”

“DPR reconnaissance has reported movement of Uragan and Grad multiple rocket launch systems, infantry combat vehicles, self-propelled artillery units towards the engagement line.”

“Also, we have information about Ukraine’s deployment of additional field depots, which, according to our estimates, are holding more than 2,000 tons of munitions.”

On Wednesday, State Department Jeff Rathke lied blaming freedom fighters for multiple daily Kiev Minsk violations, saying:

“(S)eparatists on a daily basis continue to breach the Minsk agreement through their attacks.”

Blaming victims is longstanding US policy. So is serial lying.

On May 15, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland arrived in Kiev – officially “to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues.”

In fact, to review plans for renewed aggression on Donbass. She was Obama’s point person in  replacing Ukraine’s democratically elected government with overt Nazis assuming high regime positions.

A Final Comment

The 1985 song “We Are the World” was written, recorded and sung to raise funds for starving Africans.

On May 13, NATO foreign ministers disgracefully sang it at an Alliance meeting in Turkey – an alarming PR stunt, suggesting imperial aggression is morally right.


Ukrainian troops have set up field depots holding up to 2,000 tons of munitions along the line of engagement with the DPR.

Moreover, DPR reconnaissance has reported movement of Uragan and Grad multiple rocket launch systems, infantry combat vehicles, self-propelled artillery units towards the engagement line, therefore Kiev’s side continues to scale up heavy weapons and munitions in the zone of conflict.



More provocations from Ukrainian troops are being reported around the Donetsk airport after Ukrainian Self-styled President Petro Poroshenko announced plans to seize the Donetsk airport, Eduard Basurin, a spokesman for the defense ministry of the DPR said on Thursday. “Following Poroshenko’s pronouncements, provocations have become more frequent, shelling of Gorlovka resumed after a lull since February. Poroshenko’s words are meant to continue escalation,” Basurin stated. On May 11, Kiev’s president Petro announced plans to take the Donetsk airport under Kiev’s control. The question arises: has he ever heard about Minsk agreements?

Western donors are in no hurry to help residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions while their efforts in other areas are much more efficacious, Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s special envoy for the supremacy of law and human rights said on Thursday at a session of a committee for public support to the population of southeastern Ukraine that was hosted by the Federation Council, the upper house of Russian parliament. “Frankly speaking, Western donors’ efforts are much more productive along other geographic azimuths,” he emphasized.

Russian battle robots armed with machine-guns, cannons and anti-tank missile launchers have undergone successful field trials, destroying all designated targets – including armored vehicles – at a maximum range, according to military sources. As compared to previous trials which tested robots individually, this time remotely controlled robots operated together as a military unit. The exercise included engineering reconnaissance and long-rage firing tests of machine guns and automatic cannons installed on a robotic chassis of Uran family. Last year the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed its commitment to developing remote controlled and robotic military systems which by 2025 could replace up to a third of all military hardware.

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Is Nepal in danger of being buried in data overload? The deluge of data about quake conditions may be part of the culture of an over-documented Nepal. Watch for Part 2. Meanwhile Part 1 : A city’s, a nation’s, disquiet sleep.

Whether accepting belated, useless advice from the US Geological Survey, or prosaic utterances of their prime minister– the lackluster, fatigued Sushil Koirala– or facebook rumors, Nepalis are in a 72-hour state of suspension. (Maybe it will be again extended.) After Tuesday’s frightening quake, although damage and casualties are less, a subdued but undeniable panic and much disquiet has emerged, perhaps greater than what followed the first and greater quake 18-19 days ago.

Yesterday (Tuesday)’s 7.3 upheaval may be more unsettling because it has toppled more structures and exposed the fragility of anything left standing. And we’d thought it was over. (The experts told us.) We’d gotten organized. Thinking of others, we began ferrying relief beyond our city to hard-hit villages; we were about to reopen our schools and we began repairing our homes; phone service was almost normal; we visited sisters and cousins to examine their houses and to celebrate our survival; we shared stories of those who hadn’t…may God bless their souls; we were emailing relatives abroad that all was fine; we called the engineer’s association to code our homes red, orange, green; we were sending away foreigner rescuers assuring them we could manage. We felt proud to have united as a people, collecting private funds and delivering relief to distraught villagers in nearby hills. We cheered our young people in their selfless outreach to needy strangers; our youths, we learn, are responsible and patriotic after all! This warm sense of gratification was upturned by the 10 second (some say 20) strike from under our feet on Tuesday.

That night we found ourselves abandoning newly cleaned apartments and refilled water reservoirs and cleared paths to take note of new danger markers in the streets, and to drape still more tarpaulins and spread synthetic rubber mattresses on nearby concrete and grass spaces. We rejoined neighbors measuring our fear with theirs, telling funny stories, playing cards, monitoring even our older children.

Why? Well, we’re waiting for the next quake. We have no assurance, neither from authorities nor experience nor instinct, that it will not come; and we see all these dwellings poised more and more precariously all around us. We’ve learned that staying in a clearing is safest, that’s why we’re camped in gardens and playgrounds and stadiums, and tying our tarp to the fence by that stinking river. More people, we are told are fleeing the city; with their departure there will be fewer vegetable sellers, taxi drivers, waste collectors, house servants, hotel staff.

All this points to two issues: first, there is no leadership in this country—Nepalis already know they are without a moral or administrative rudder; they have yet another opportunity to witness the selfishness and incompetence of those in positions of power. (How did we foolishly hope for more at this time?) Second, by contrast, our tenuous conditions here in Kathmandu reveal a compassion and a capacity for inter-communal sharing and stability among that’s quite astonishing, and admirable.

Anecdotally and through the press, there are only rare reports of criminal activity. The rows and rows of concrete dwellers seem quite safe from human marauders. These 100s of 1000s of camping families, insecured under only tarpaulins aren’t homeless people normally; their apartments and houses and shops are nearby, structures they enter for a moment or hour to cook, wash, toilet, and to store utensils and blankets they deploy during these nights outdoors. Some families cook early and bring the pots under the tarps at meal time. Some cook outside. Police presence is sparse but not absent. (One policeman came by Wednesday evening to say we can collect 3 tarps from their local office.) There seems to be no sense of danger from thieves or thugs, neither risks to women or the young.

I walk out to the main road along the river to snap some photos at nightfall. A long line of tarpaulins, each tacked down in an individual way mark off what I assume is a family group. Across this street stands a gored 4-story building, with the façade of the third floor gashed, and a 3-foot heap of brinks it disgorged scattered on the road in front of us. This is a danger marker, like many newly laid throughout city streets.

All plans for resuming classes or collecting more relief supplies are put aside by any but those professionally involved. (Our own families and lodgings demand priority.) Meetings I had planned are redundant. So I use this horrid respite to reflect on wider issues—a) Nepal’s honorable military performances these weeks, and b) an obsessive quantification of Nepal—and to consult books and reports from my hosts ample library. Frankly I can’t concentrate on those. I too wait for the next rumble.

Notes from Tuesday afternoon- “Where to rush, who to grab, what to hold on to, which direction; you feel frozen yet the ground under you is shaking terrifically. You hear things falling. You can’t move your feet, but you must run, and how can you decide which direction to go; how long to wait before rushing? where are the children, what about father, auntie, what about husband? Sister is at the hospital. My phone, where’s my phone? I must go home? How will I get there? Who’ll tell me when to leave, when to return? The city streets are almost impassable with the 100s of 1000s among us making our way home. Any clearing becomes a promise of some protection.

Finally, shakily, after 2 hours in clogged traffic (amazingly calm), at 3 I reach our open garden—a few trees, guava, chestnut, avocado– pots of flowers, grass stubble left by soldiers from the nearby military barracks who came yesterday to cut wild growth for their cows — in front of the house of Padma and Nirmal (my hosts, known from earlier research days in Nepal). It’s somewhat comforting to be here but the space is again packed with neighbors. And the mood is sober and noisy. Family clusters gather on the grass. 14- year old Gautham, phone in-hand and buds in-ears, explains he’s listening to music to calm himself.

Gradually settled on mats people assemble, checking their phones. By 4 the a canopy of tarpaulins is in place. At 6, food has appeared, and soon after, with darkness falling, we 20 or so families pull out blankets to settle for the night. Mercifully we have no rainstorm like the one we had Monday night. Much talking, even laughing; it’s comforting. I finally fall asleep—until the disturbance at 2 awakens everyone. With nowhere to go, we resume our tenuous slumber. END

Serious concerns have been raised by experts and environmentalists over the ‘shocking’ way spent nuclear fuel is being stored at Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, just 200km away from the front line in Donbass.

More than 3,000 spent nuclear fuel rods are being stored in the open air in mental casks close to the perimeter fence at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in conditions that have shocked environmentalists, The Guardian reports.

Nuclear experts say the waste should have another secondary containment structure, such as a building with a roof.

“With a war around the corner, it is shocking that the spent fuel rod containers are standing under the open sky, with just a metal gate and some security guards waltzing up and down for protection. It is unheard of when, in Germany, interim storage operators have been ordered by the court to terror-proof their casks with roofs and reinforced walls,” Patricia Lorenz, a Friends of the Earth nuclear spokeswoman who visited the plant on a fact-finding mission, told the paper.

Although the front line is for now too far away from the nuclear plant to be at any risk, the potential consequences of the conflict engulfing the power station is major worry to locals.

The memory of the Chernobyl explosion in the north of Ukraine 30 years ago, which poisoned vast tracts of land, is still fresh in many people’s minds.

“Given the current state of warfare, I cannot say what could be done to completely protect installations from attack, except to build them on Mars,” said Sergiy Bozhko , the chairman of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine (SNRIU).

The current Zaporizhia nuclear fuel storage unit was built to a US design and did involve testing to withstand a terrorist attack.

However a dry storage container with a bomb resilient roof and contained ventilation system would offer much greater protection.

However this would be impossible to build on the current site and it would have to be constructed somewhere else nearby and then all the nuclear casks would have to be moved inside at even greater expense.

“It is obvious that if you do not have an array of dry cast [interim] stores with secondary containment around it, then that will have a greater risk of release of radioactive material,”said Antony Froggatt, a senior research fellow and European nuclear specialist at Chatham House, London.

Although sources at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) told The Guardian that any request for funding for such a structure would be seriously considered. The bank has already made 300 million euros available to extend the lifespan of Ukraine’s ageing nuclear plants.

Since the conflict in Donbass has severely limited the supply of Russian gas, Ukraine’s reliance on its 15 Soviet-era reactors has increased by 10 percent; the country now gets 60 percent of its energy from nuclear power.

Nuclear energy is one area where Ukraine and Russia still cooperate, and Ukraine still depends almost entirely on Russia’s Rosatom for enriched uranium.

But in the long term Ukraine aims to diversify its nuclear fuel contract between the US company Westinghouse and European companies as well as Rosatom.

But deals with Westinghouse and the French company Areva are still sketchy and market diversification will be slow.

It’s the most extremist in Israel’s history. It’s not a legitimate government of, by and for all Israelis equitably. It’s polar opposite.

Netanyahu coalition members were sworn in Thursday night – barely after a raucous, chaotic Knesset session by a vote of 61 – 59.

His second in command in Likud, MK Gilad Erdan, refused a cabinet post as public security minister. He demanded the foreign ministry.

MK Avi Dichter refused to become deputy defense minister in charge of home front security. Thursday’s session featured constant heckling.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog called the new regime “a circus.” He turned down the foreign ministry portfolio as enticement to join a coalition he wanted no part of. He ranted against Netanyahu, saying:

“This is not the government the people wanted,” he said. “Your partners swindled you. What you created was a circus.”

“Your way is not my way…No decent leader would join your circus.”

“This is a government without vision, without a working plan, without hope.”

Netanyahu assumed the foreign ministry portfolio himself – wanting it a bargaining chip to attract another coalition member, so far no takers.

Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely will run the ministry Netanyahu formally heads. Both fundamentally oppose Palestinian statehood.

Netanyahu ludicrously said his new regime would pursue peace. Opposition MKs jeered him in response.

Palestinian MKs played a tape of Netanyahu complaining about the Arab electoral turnout. They heckled him and were expelled from the session. Free expression is not an Israeli long suit – even for parliamentarians.

Joint (Arab) List leader Ayman Odeh said “(a) black flag of racism flies over this government.” He called it disastrous for Palestinians.

Coalition ministers include Netanyahu as prime minister as well as foreign affairs and communications minister.

Likud’s Moshe Ya’alon remains defense minister. Kulanu party’s Moshe Kahlon is new finance minister.

Jewish Home party’s Naftali Bennett becomes education minister. Earlier he was Netanyahu’s economy minister.

Jewish Home’s Ayelet Shaked is new justice minister. A previous article called her one of many extremist lunatics influencing Israeli policy.

She openly supports mass slaughtering Palestinians – declaring them all state enemies. She believes genocidal Israeli wars are morally right. Other coalition members share her extremism.

Likud’s Yisrael Katz is new intelligence minister. Earlier he was transportation minister.

Likud’s Silvan becomes interior minister and deputy prime minister. He’s a former finance and foreign minister.

United Torah Judaism’s Yaakov Litzman is new health minister. Kulanu’s Yoav Galant is construction and housing minister. He’s a retired high-ranking IDF general.

Shas’ Aryeh Deri is new economy minister and development of the Negev minister. Earlier he was imprisoned for corruption and breach of trust charges.

Likud’s Yuval Steinitz becomes energy and infrastructures minister. He’s a former finance minister.

Likud’s Ze’eve Elkin is absorption minister and strategic affairs minister. He’s a former deputy foreign minister.

Likud’s Danny Danon is new science and technology minister. He’s a former deputy defense minister.

Jewish Home’s Uri Ariel becomes agriculture minister. He’s an ultranationalist former construction and housing minister.

Kulanu’s Avi Gabai is environmental protection minister. He’s a former corporate CEO.

Likud’s Miri Regev is new culture and sports minister. She’s a former chief military censor.

Likud’s Gila Gamliel is gender equality, minorities and senior citizens minister. She’s a former deputy Knesset speaker.

Shas’ David Azoulay is new religious affairs minister. He’s a former deputy interior minister.

Likud’s Benny Begin (Irgun terrorist/Likud founder Menachem Begin’s son) becomes minister without portfolio.

Likud’s Haim Katz is welfare minister. Likud’s Yariv Levin becomes public security and tourism minister. Likud’s Ofir Akunis is minister without portfolio.

Netanyahu’s ruling coalition includes a rogue’s gallery hate-mongering racist extremists, militant fascists, and religious fundamentalist zealots.

Haaretz editors blasted it saying it’s “devoid” of anything “positive…We can only hope the new government will not last long.”

The Empire Lies: How to Fight Western Propaganda

May 16th, 2015 by Andre Vltchek

First they manufacture monstrous lies, and then they tell us that we should be objective! 

Is love objective; is passion?

Are dreams defendable, logically and philosophically?

When a house is attacked by brigands, when a village is overran by gangsters, when smoke, fire and cries for help are coming from every corner, should we award ourselves with the luxury of time to calculate, analyze and aim at complete logical, ethical, holistic and objective solutions?

I strongly believe no! We are obliged to fight those who are burning our dwellings, to hit with full force those who are attempting to rape our women, and to confront fire with fire when innocent beings are slaughtered.

When the most powerful and the most destructive force on earth employs all its persuasive might, utilizing everything from the mainstream media to educational facilities, in order to justify its crimes, when it spreads its poisonous propaganda and lies in order to oppress the world and suppress hope, do we step back and begin endless and detailed work on precise and objective narratives? Or do we confront lies and propaganda with our own narrative, supported by our intuition, passion and dreams for a better world?

*     *    *

The Empire lies continuously. It lies in the morning, during the day, in the evening, even at night, when most of the people are sound asleep. It has been doing it for decades and centuries. For grand deceits it relies on countless numbers of propagandists who pose as academics, teaches, journalists and “public intellectuals”. Perfection in the art of disinformation has been reached. Western advertising (so much admired and used by the German Nazis) has some common roots with propaganda, although propaganda is much older and “complete”.

It appears that even some leaders of the Empire now believe in most of their fabrications, and most of the citizens certainly do. Otherwise, how could they sleep at night?

The western propaganda apparatus is enormously efficient and effective. It is also brilliant in how it ensures that its inventions get channeled, distributed, and accepted in all corners of the world. The system through which disinformation spreads, is incredibly complex. Servile local media and academia on all continents work hard to guarantee that only one narrative is allowed to penetrate the brains of billions.

The results are: intellectual cowardice and ignorance, all over the world, but especially in the West and in its client states.

*     *     *

What are we, who oppose the regime, supposed to do?

First of all, things are not as hopeless as they used to be.

This is not the morbid unipolar world that we experienced in the early 90’s. Now Venezuela, Russia, China, and Iran support large media outlets that are opposed to the Empire. Powerful television stations emerged: RT, Press TV, TeleSUR and CCTV. Huge English language Internet-based magazines and sites in the United States, Canada and Russia are also exposing the lies of the official Western propagandists: Counterpunch, Information Clearing House, Global Research, Veterans News, Strategic Culture, New Eastern Outlook quickly come to mind. And there are hundreds of important sites doing the same in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese and French languages.

The fight is on: the fight for an intellectually multi-polar world. It is a tough, mortal fight! It is a crucial battle, simply because the metastases of the Western propaganda cancer have spread everywhere, contaminated all continents, and even some of the most courageous countries and brains that are earnestly fighting against the Western imperialism and fascism! No one is immune. To be frank, all of us are contaminated.

Unless we win this battle, by first clearly identifying and proving “their narrative” as fraudulent, and later by offering humanist and compassionate perceptions, we cannot even dream about the revolution, or about any significant changes in arrangement of the world.

*     *     *

How do we achieve victory? How do we convince the masses, those billions of people? How do we open their eyes and make them see that the Western regime is dishonest, toxic, poisonous and destructive? Most of humanity is hooked on the Empire’s propaganda; that propaganda which is not only spread by mainstream media outlets, but also by pop music, soap operas, social media, advertisement, consumerism, ‘fashion trends’ and by many other covert means; cultural, religious and media junk that leads to total emotional and intellectual stupor and is administered like some highly addictive narcotic, regularly and persistently.

Do we counter the tactics and strategy of the destructive and ruthless Empire with our honesty, with research, with telling and writing meticulously investigated facts?

The Empire perverts facts. It repeats lies through its loudspeakers and tubes. It shouts them thousands and thousands of times, until they sink into the sub conscious of people, penetrate the skin, spread all through their brains.

Good will, naive honesty, “speaking truth to power”, could this change the world and the power itself? I highly doubt it.

The Empire and its power are illegitimate, and they are criminal. Is there any point of speaking truth to a gangster? Hardly! Truth should be spoken to people, to masses, not to those who are terrorizing the world.

By talking to villains, by begging them to stop torturing others, we are legitimizing their crimes, and we are acknowledging their power. By trying to appease gangsters, people are putting themselves at their mercy.

I absolutely refuse to be in such position!

*     *     *

To win over billions of people, we have to inspire them, to fire them up. We have to outrage them, embrace them, shame them, make them laugh and make them cry. We have to make sure that they get goose bumps when they see our films, read our books and essays, listen to our speeches.

We have to detox them, make them feel again, wake up natural instincts in them.

Simple truth as a detox agent will not work. The poison of our adversaries has sunk too deeply. Most of the people are too lethargic and too immune to simple, quietly stated truths!

We have tried, and others have tried as well. My acquaintance (but definitely not my comrade) John Perkins, former US apparatchik educated by the State Department, wrote a detailed account of his horrid deeds in Ecuador, Indonesia and elsewhere – “Confession of An Economic Hitman”. It is a meticulous, detailed account of how the West destabilizes poor countries, using corruption, money, alcohol, and sex. The book sold millions of copies, worldwide. And yet, nothing changed! It did not trigger a popular revolution in the United States. There were no protests, no demands for regime change in Washington.

In the recent past, I wrote and published two academic, or at least semi-academic books, packed with great details, quotes and tons of footnotes: one on Indonesia, a country used by the West as a model horror scenario for the rest of the world, after the 1965-US-sponsored military coup. The coup killed 2-3 million people, murdered all intellectualism, and lobotomized the 4th most populous country on earth. The book is called “Indonesia – Archipelago of Fear”. The second book, unique because it covers an enormous part of the world – Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia (“Oceania – Neocolonialism, Nukes and Bones”), showed how the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and France, literally divided and destroyed the great South Pacific island cultures and the people. Now classes are being taught using my books, but only a very limited number of people are influenced by the facts exposed in them. The elites in both Indonesia and Oceania made sure that the books are not widely read by the people.

I have spent years and years compiling facts, researching, investigating. The revolutionary effectiveness of my academic work is – I have to admit – nearly zero.

It is easy to see the contrast: when I write an essay, a powerfully crafted, emotional essay, demanding justice, accusing the Empire of murder and theft, I get millions of readers on all continents, as well as translations to dozens of languages!

Why do I write this; why do I share this with my readers? Because we should all be realistic. We have to see, to understand, what people want – what they demand. The people are unhappy and scared. Most of them don’t know why. They hate the system, they are lonely, frustrated, they know that they are lied to and exploited. But they cannot define those lies. And academic books, exposing the lies are too complex for them to read since the masses have no time to read thousands of indigestible pages or the necessary education to allow them to understand what they are reading.

It is our duty to address those people, the majority, otherwise what kind of revolutionaries are we? After all, we are supposed to create for our brothers and sisters, not for a few researchers at the universities, especially when we realize that most of the universities are serving the Empire by regurgitating official nomenclature and supporting demagogues.

*     *     *

The Empire speaks, writes and then repeats some outrageous lies, about its benevolence, and exceptionality of its rule, or about the “evils” of the Soviet Union, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea or Cuba. This is done daily. In fact it is designed so that almost every human being gets his or her dose of the toxin at least several times a day.

We feel we have to react – we begin spending years of our lives, meticulously proving, step by step, that the Empire’s propaganda is either one big fat lie, or exaggeration, or both. After we compile our arguments, we publish the results in some small publishing house, most likely in the form of a slender book, but almost nobody reads it because of its tiny circulation, and because the findings are usually too complex, too hard to digest, and simply because the facts do not shock anybody, anymore. One million more innocent people were murdered somewhere in Africa, in the Middle East, in Asia; what else is new?

Researching and trying to tell the truth, fully and honestly, we feel that we are doing great, professional, scientific work. All the while the propagandists of the Empire are dying of laughter watching us! We are representing little danger to them. They are winning effortlessly!

Why is that? Doesn’t the detailed truth matter?

It does – from the point of higher principles it matters. Ethically it matters. Morally it matters. Philosophically it matters.

But strategically, when one is engaged in an ideological war, it does not matter that much! The truth yes, always; the truth matters! But simplified, digestible truth, presented powerfully and emotionally!

When immorality is ravishing the world, when it is charging mercilessly, when innocent millions are dying, what matters is to stop the slaughter, first by identifying the murderous force, then by containing it.

Language has to be strong, emotions raw.

When facing murderous hordes, poetry, emotionally charged songs, and patriotic odes have always been more effective than deep academic studies. And so were political novels and films, passionate documentaries, even explicit cartoons and posters.

Some would ask: “Just because they are lying, should we lie as well?” No! We should try to be as truthful as we can. But our message should be often “abridged”, so the billions, not just those selected few, could understand it.

It does not mean that the quality of our work should suffer. Simplicity is often more difficult to achieve than encyclopedic works with thousands of footnotes.

Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” is short, just a pamphlet, straight to the point. And so is the “Communist Manifesto”, and ‘J’accuse!”

Our revolutionary work does not have to be necessarily brief, but it has to be presented in a way that could be understood by many. I am constantly experimenting with the form, while never compromising on substance. My recent book, “Exposing Lies of the Empire” has more than 800 pages, but I made sure that it is packed with fascinating stories, with testimonies of people from all corners of the globe, with colorful description of both victims and tyrants. I don’t want my books to collect dust in university libraries. I want them to mobilize people.

*     *     *

I truly believe that there is not much time for “objectivity” in any battle, including those ideological ones, especially when these are battles for the survival of humanity!

The lies of the enemy have to be confronted. They are toxic, monstrous lies!

Once the destruction stops, millions of innocent men, women and children will cease being sacrificed, and we can return to our complex philosophical concepts, to details and to nuances.

But before we win our final battles against imperialism, nihilism, fascism, exceptionalism, selfishness and greed, we have to fully and effectively utilize our most powerful weapons: our visions of a better world, our love for humanity, our passion for justice. Our determination and our beliefs have to be presented in a loud, potent, even “dogmatic” manner, our voice should be creative, artistic, powerful!

The house is on fire, comrades! The entire town is turning to ashes. The entire planet is plundered, devastated, lobotomized.

We cannot confront bigots with nukes and battleships. But our talents, our muses, and our hearts are here, with us, ready to join the battle.

Let us outsmart our enemies; let us make sure that the world begins laughing at them! Have you seen them, those pathetic losers, the buffoons – the CEO’s? Have you listened to those Prime Ministers and Presidents, those servants of the “market”? Let us convince the masses that their tyrants –the imperialists, the neo-colonialists and all their dogmatic preachers – are nothing more than pitiful, greedy, poisonous fools! Let us discredit them! Let us ridicule them.

They are robbing and murdering millions. Let us begin by at least pissing on them!

Let us fight Western propaganda by first exposing those who are really behind it. Let’s get personal.

Let’s turn this revolution into something creative, hilarious, truly fun!

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”. Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western TerrorismPoint of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania - a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

Last month Islamist insurgents including al Qaeda’s wing in Syria, Nusra Front, captured the town of Jisr al-Shughour in Syria’s Idlib province, edging closer to the government-held heartland of Latakia along the coast. In turn, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said army setbacks were part of normal warfare. Battles have been raging around the hospital on the southwestern outskirts of Jisr al-Shughour, where army forces and allied fighters have been holed up since the extremists’ offensive began. Government forces have endured a series of setbacks on the battlefield and Islamist fighters have edged closer to Assad’s stronghold in the coastal areas.



Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is actively supporting a hardline coalition of Islamist rebels against Bashar al-Assad’s regime that includes al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. The country is focusing its backing on the combined Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest, a command structure for the jihadist groups in Syria that includes Jabhat al-Nusra, an extremist rival to Islamict State which shares many of its aspirations for a fundamentalist caliphate. It threatens to trump Washington’s own attempt to train so-called “pro-Western opposition fighters”, announced by President Barack Obama a year ago but finally launched only last week. The number of fighters involved is small and, crucially, the State Department insists that they would take the field against Isis and not against the regime. However, official Washington’s attitude has to be examined apart from its real interests. Many refer arising of terroristic entities such as al-Qaeda and Islamic State with US’s activity in the region.

The Army of Conquest is the coalition, whose formation was announced in March, comprises a range of mostly jihadist and Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, Jund al-Aqsa and the powerful Islamist Ahrar al-Sham. Its command center is established in Idlib, northern Syria. Turkish officials admit giving logistical and intelligence support to the command headquarters. Although they deny giving direct help to al-Nusra, they acknowledge that the group would be beneficiaries. Turkish officials claim that bolstering Ahrar al-Sham will weaken the influence of al-Nusra. Material support – arms and money – have been coming from the Saudis, say rebels and officials.

Syria will face greater instability and control by extremist groups as soon as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s momentum in fighting off rebel groups is decreased. U.S. security officials attribute the gains of militants in part to their wide battleground experience and ability to use advanced tactics. There are also marks that extremists have become more coherent in their organization. The U.S. is continuing to argue that it supports only moderate rebels. Meanwhile, U.S. officials pointed out that they still had trouble identifying moderate partners, while al Qaeda affiliate al Nusra and Islamic State were tried to take advantage of any cracks in the government’s control. In account of these facts, question arises. If US has troubles with identifying ‘moderate rebel groups’ and its training of “pro-Western opposition fighters” is failed, which entities is U.S. supporting now?

The Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov met his U.S. counterpart John Kerry, on Tuesday, in the Russian city of Sochi. Addressing the media after the talks, both diplomats stressed that they were on common ground with regards to many issues, including the situation in Syria and the threat of Islamic State terrorists in the region, as well as the Iranian nuclear deal. They also discussed the developing conflict in Yemen. The Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak added that the discussion between the ministers and President Putin will help define priorities and outline a future course in the relations between the two countries.

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Britain’s Royal Air Force carried out 301 Reaper drone missions over Iraq between the start of UK operations against Isis last September and the end of March, firing a total of 102 Hellfire missiles on 87 separate occasions, according to new Ministry of Defence figures.

The numbers were obtained by the Drone Wars UK organisation, which also reveals today that RAF Tornados carried out 115 strikes in Iraq during the same period.

The figures suggest most drone missions have been for reconnaissance flights – gathering intelligence about ISIS positions in Iraq. Of the 184 Reaper missions that took place in Iraq between January and March this year, only 32, or 17%, involved drones firing weapons. On those missions the drones fired two missiles on average.

Britain joined the US-led international coalition against ISIS after a vote in Parliament at the end of last September. RAF drones fired their first weapon over Iraq just weeks later in October.

The MoD does not reveal any further details about these missions, including who or what may have been targeted or casualty rates.

The RAF has long maintained that it uses Reaper drones primarily for reconnaissance and surveillance, and that it fires weapons only rarely. In total the RAF fired weapons from Tornado bombers and Reaper drones on 202 occasions between September and March. Of those, drones were responsible for 43% of the attacks, or 87. Tornados struck 115 times.

The UK is one of nine countries bombing Iraq. The others are the US, France, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Jordan and the Netherlands. In total this coalition carried out approximately 2,154 air strikes between September and April, according to the website Air Wars which is tracking the bombing campaign.

The MoD figures obtained by Drone Wars UK today also show how many RAF drone missions have flown over sovereign Syrian airspace as part of the fight against ISIS.

All of these sorties have been purely for reconnaissance, according to the MoD, because the RAF does not have Parliamentary permission to engage its weapons in Syria.

The release of the figures came just days after Drone Wars’s Chris Cole reflected on six months of UK drone strikes against ISIS in a recording of the Bureau’s latest podcast.

Speaking to Owen Bennett-Jones before the MoD data release, Cole’s assessment that there had been around 100 UK drone strikes in Iraq by early May tallied with the total arrived at using the official figures. He said both Tornados and Reapers have been hitting the same targets: ISIS positions, vehicles and checkpoints.

There is not enough information available to determine how many, if any, of the 350-400 civilians estimated to have been killed in airstrikes in Iraq and Syria were the result of British strikes, he added.

The Reapers have also flown 50 missions over Syria. The MoD has said that intelligence and surveillance from the Reaper missions is being passed on to the military coalition to undertake strikes, Cole said. He described the Government’s claim that these missions did not amount to military action as “nonsense.”

Cole also noted that since UK forces withdrew from Afghanistan last October, the MoD has appeared more willing to disclose information about British drone strikes there. Overall the MoD claims that there were only four civilian deaths in the roughly 400 drone strikes it carried out there, a casualty rate Cole described as “possible of course but… extremely unlikely.”

Follow our drones team Owen Bennett-JonesAbigail Fielding-Smith and Jack Serle on Twitter.

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft flew by the dwarf planet Ceres this week. Located between Mars and Jupiter,  Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt.

Dawn took some stunning pictures.  NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory made an animation from the images:

Animation of Ceres

Then ZLD zeroed in on the bright spots so we could get a good look:



Scientists are still trying to figure out what’s causing the bright spots … theories being floated are ice, salt, etc.

What do you think the bright spots are: Ice? Salt? Alien disco party? Death Star being powered up?

Update: The new flyby images are making scientists lean towards plain old water ice (as opposed to nastier frozen substances which have been found on other planets).

Obama’s Retreat from Green Electronics

May 16th, 2015 by Russ Baker

Article originally appeared on WhoWhatWhy

Every four years the corporate media stages a bells-and-whistles circus around the Presidential election. We are told that choosing the “most powerful person in the world” is a solemn duty of every citizen. But aside from major speeches and photo ops, the day-to-day actions of the President in between elections attract little attention.

This is especially true when it comes to those dry-sounding but often immensely important documents known as Executive Orders.

Take President Obama’s recent signing of Executive Order 13691—“Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.” The title certainly sounds impressive and unobjectionable: Who could be against “sustainability”? The Order does indeed call for environmentally-sound energy and water use, which is all to the good. And it calls for the purchase of sustainable electronics, which also sounds good.

But buried in its language is a serious weakening of efforts to ensure that the federal government buys electronic gadgets—computers, printers, cell phones and the like—that do minimal damage to the environment. In watering down this mandate, President Obama has apparently bowed to industry demands, despite a long-standing commitment to the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Programestablished in 1993.

A tool used to adhere to the Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program is the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT). Developed by the nonprofit Green Electronics Council with a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, EPEAT has been relied on since 2006. It uses a global green-rating system, and has been used by buyers for the federal agencies and state governments, as well as environmentally conscious universities, hospitals and many private companies.

Obama’s recent Order dumps the previous requirement that 95 percent of all electronics purchased by federal agencies be registered and rated by EPEAT; a classic example of Washington undermining its own program.

Who stands to gain from this anti-sustainability action? Look no further than that “must-have” gadget in your pocket.

The electronics industry is “one of the least sustainable sectors on the planet,” according to theElectronics TakeBack Coalition. Manufacturing computers and cell phones gobble up enormous quantities of energy, minerals, water and hazardous chemicals.

And by constantly exhorting consumers to replace their “old” gadgets with an endless stream of updated versions, “manufacturers guarantee an astonishing churn of resources unlike any other sector,” the coalition said.

“The decision to drop the EPEAT requirement was an extremely unfortunate decision,” Barbara Kyle, national coordinator of the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, told WhoWhatWhy. “Dropping a strong green electronic standard that has been supported by the government, industry and conservationists is exactly the wrong direction to go.”

In a letter written to Federal Environmental Executive Kate Brandt, the coalition has specifically asked that the EPEAT program be revived.

Representatives of the Electronic Take Back Coalition have also met face to face with Brandt and aides. “They listened to us, but it’s not clear what they’re going to do,” said Kyle.

Brandt’s key concern, said Kyle, was that the government should use government standards. Under the President’s Order, agencies can use “eco standards” developed by the Environmental Protection Agency or the far less demanding “voluntary consensus” guidelines recommended by Brandt’s own umbrella organization, the Office of Management and Budget, which sustainability activists fear are heavily influenced by industry.

With the stroke of a pen, Obama revoked nearly 10 years of federal commitment to use environmentally-rated electronics. Photo credit: The White House

With the stroke of a pen, Obama revoked nearly 10 years of federal commitment to use environmentally-rated electronics. Photo credit: The White House

EPEAT’s ratings are far more sophisticated than either EPA or OMB standards, because EPEAT takes into account 52 different criteria, including the energy efficiency of a product, use of hazardous chemicals in the product, and design for recyclability.

Other future standards or recommendations may include “social” issues by taking into account labor practices and worker health and safety. These factors are particularly pertinent in an industry that outsources much of its work to developing nations, where employees are subjected to long hours working with hazardous chemicals.

The Green Electronics Council hopes that federal buyers will continue to follow its stricter standards even though they’re no longer required to do so. Order 13691 “in no way precludes federal purchasers from using EPEAT to identify environmentally preferable electronics,” Robert Frisbee, CEO of the council, pointed out to WhoWhatWhy.

Nevertheless, dropping the EPEAT mandate clearly threatens the momentum of the federal sustainability effort that the President’s Executive Order claims to promote.

Is there something wrong with this (electronic) picture? It will be interesting to see what federal purchasers do in the future—voluntarily.

Panorama attribution: nejohnson2 / Flickr / baselactionnetwork / Fickr China: baselactionnetwork / Fickr

US Strategy: Bombing Yemen Back to the 19th Century

May 16th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

On March 26, US-orchestrated/Saudi-led terror-bombing began – supplemented by imported takfiri death squad attacks.

Civilians are prime targets. Obama is systematically destroying Yemen – the way Washington ravaged Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria.

Deliberately targeted were civilian neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, power facilities, refugee camps, food depositories, vital infrastructure and other nonmilitary targets.

Riyadh’s so-called 5-day ceasefire (beginning Tuesday) continues being punctuated by terror-bombings and ground attacks.

According to Shiite News, Houthi Ansarullah Brig. General Sharaf Luqman warned against further violations. Saying they’ll be met with strong “determination.”

“We the armed forces, and the popular committees, and Ansarullah, announce our commitment to this ceasefire,” Luqman stressed.

Minutes after it began, “acts of aggression after aggression” followed.

“Right now you (can hear) the anti-aircraft firing and the Saudi firing in the sky over the capital (Sanaa) and in all of the provinces,” Luqman explained.

On Thursday, a Saudi helicopter gunship struck a truck in northern Yemen, killing nine people.

Riyadh, complicit with Washington, willfully breached ceasefire terms. Ansarullah fighters are blamed for their crimes.

In normal times, Yemenis endure enormous hardships. Now they’re catastrophic.

On orders from Washington, Yemen is being terror-bombed to rubble. It’s economy is being systematically destroyed.

The Middle East Eye (MEE) is a UK-based independent online news service. It calls its agenda “led by events, not political leanings.”

It published a new report on Yemeni crisis conditions titled “Paint thinner and donkey carts: Resource scarcity in war-torn Yemen.”

Saying Yemenis seek alternative ways to survive. They’re “(u)sing phone lines to power lamps, paint-thinner to run motorbikes, and donkey carts” for transportation.

Power cuts, food and water shortages, as well as lack of fuel and medical supplies create horrific conditions.

Survival depends on improvising any way possible. “Majed al-Sharjabi, a 42-year-old doctor, had been using petrol to run a generator in his home until the coalition’s naval blockade, which prevents fuel ships from docking, sent petrol prices soaring,” said MEE.

He switched to propane until its price tripled. He gave up his generator and bought a Chinese-made solar panel.

It’s “not the best but it works for me,” he said. “I can charge my computer and the cell phones of my neighbors.”

“If it’s a bright day, I can power the television for an hour and find out about how much of my country has been destroyed.”

Nasri Abobaker uses a 1.5 volt battery to charge his phone. It cost $1. He built an adapter, he said. “Now I can power one lamp from it and it’s free.”

Ayman al-Dhobhani earns $9 a day transporting people around Sanaa. He can’t afford fuel. He uses paint thinner instead.

In the last week, the price of 1.5 liters of paint thinner quadrupled – from $2 to $8.

Cooking gas is unavailable. Um Naif, a mother of three, uses cardboard and firewood – “foraged from trees and garbage around her house.”

“Time has toughened us,” she said. Life is hard for all Yemenis. Hani Bakhtan can’t afford propane.

She uses an improvised stove metal bucket “crammed with sawdust and overlaid with clay.” One bottle of sawdust cost $5 and lasts a week, she said.

Aid organizations use donkeys to distribute supplies. National center for freedoms and development manager Salah al-Homaidi said “(w)e’re going back a century” – maybe two before Obama’s aggression ends.

With the jury’s verdict now in sentencing an innocent man to death, the US justice system is sinking ever lower in its moral decay. So many giant holes in the prosecution’s case were simply ignored. Photos of the shredded backpacks allegedly containing the bombs never matched the backpacks of the Tsarnaev brothers. But the fact that they did match a number of Kraft International private security contractors photographed at the scene meant nothing.

When evidence of a staged “realistic” enacted event complete with role actors and stagehand direction, fake bombs and fake blood, pre-marathon announcements of a “bomb drill” confirmed by a public notice in the Boston Globe, and no real evidence that either Tsarnaev brother committed a crime as much as admitted by the feds, there is absolutely no justice left in America today! 

The very actors seen on video walking around uninjured immediately after the fake bombs detonated are seen many months later showing up at court as fake witnesses brandishing fake injuries. If this innocent US citizen can be framed, found guilty prior to even the fake show trial and then be put to death by a fascist totalitarian police state government, then the stage is being set for any of us US citizens to be next. Below is the original article detailing this gross travesty of justice posted on GR on April 12th, 2015.

With the official government narrative of the 9/11 attack filled with a plethora of lies that have since been subsequently exposed, the next biggest “war on terror” event on US soil that the feds failed to stop was the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. And now the lone living suspect from that horrific crime that killed three people, left 17 limbless and injured 264 victims (though that number’s been accused of being purposely inflated) has now been found guilty of all 30 counts after the jury’s 11 hour deliberation earlier this week. As we mark the second anniversary of this tragic event and the second and final phase of the trial beginning on Monday that will decide the fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – whether he’ll live out the rest of his life in prison or be put to death, a critical review of preceding events and developments surrounding his high profile, extremely significant case seems both timely and much needed.

Despite Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleading not guilty to the 30 counts (17 carrying the death penalty) he was charged within a week after the April 15th bombings last year, his lead defense attorney Judy Clark several days ago conceded to the jury that her client was guilty in her closing argument. Apparently blaming the dead brother whose due process was denied became Dzhokhar’s only defense strategy. The defense team insisted that he was coerced and bullied by his older brother into committing alleged acts of terrorism. Considering no real solid proof other than photos placing Dzhokhar and older brother Tamerlan both wearing backpacks at the scene of the crime where the two bombs exploded was even presented at the trial, no justice for either the Tsarnaevs nor the many victims can possibly come from this guilty verdict.

If the purpose of the US judicial system in criminal trials is to ensure that all factual evidence surrounding an alleged crime or crimes be accurately and fairly presented so that the jurors can properly assess the best semblance of the truth as presented by both prosecution and defense in order for the jury to adjudicate and decide a defendant’s true guilt or innocence, this trial was a complete travesty of justice.

And if a basic tenet of the justice system in the United States holds that a defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty, then again this verdict outcome is an obscene farce and a shameful joke exposing America’s justice system for its gross injustice. Just as the 9/11 commission failed to adequately address and answer dozens of questions that its official narrative failed to deliver, and years earlier the Warren Commission failed JFK and America, so does the prosecution’s case of evidence of Tsarnaev’s guilt fail to be convincing, much less provide definitive and unequivocal proof that the 21-year old Chechen American with his brother committed the Boston Marathon crimes.

And the prime reason why is that so much of the testimony and so called evidence was based on the FBI and local law enforcement’s dishonest versions of events that were based near exclusively on the government’s one star witness’s faulty, changeable, non-credible accounting of events. The identity of this sole witness that even through the trial was never revealed, testified in court by his fake name “Danny.” Later it was learned that Danny’s real name was Dun Meng. A Chinese national finishing his masters at Northeastern University in engineering, during his alleged carjacking, Meng claimed that the deceased brother Tamerlan confessed that he and his younger brother were responsible for both the Marathon bombings as well as the murder of the MIT campus policeman.

Throughout his trial testimony, the key witness maintained constant eye contact with what seemed almost like his handler, Northeastern University criminology professor James Fox. Fox clearly acted as Meng’s coach and gatekeeper ensuring that Fox would be present in a tentative interview with WhoWhatWhy journalist Russ Baker though it turned out Fox made sure it never happened.

In a television interview with the immigrant gas station attendant that Meng ran to when he escaped, it was Fox once again guarding his henhouse, making sure the attendant stayed on script, an odd role for a criminology professor. But in a case where the entire story was badly scripted by the feds, necessitating absolute control over all outgoing information to the public, Professor Fox was merely playing his part. And that part also included state propagandist. Samplings from articles he wrote for the Boston Globe, starting with his response to the difficulty of finding a cemetery that would accept Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body, he wrote:

I truly understand and appreciate why many folks want nothing to do with the corpse of a man who apparently hated America and our way of life… If and when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were scheduled to die, his name and image would be plastered all over the news, further increasing his undeserved celebrity in the minds of those on the political fringe who view our government as evil and corrupt… The bombing seems to have been an attack against American life, not specifically American lives. Those killed and injured were unfortunate surrogates of the intended target: America and the freedoms we enjoy.

When the strength of the state’s evidence to convict and execute a man relies solely on one incognito witness whose tightly controlled testimony repeatedly kept changing depending on whom he talked to, how can a guilty verdict be considered legitimate or fair? Virtually the entire guilt or innocence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev rested on what this one alleged witness claimed, yet he kept changing his story on numerous occasions despite his gatekeeper’s best intentions.

The other so called incriminating evidence used against Dzhokhar was a bogus, totally unbelievable written confession that he is purported to have written in the dark on the inside wall of the boat he was hiding out in. Dzhokhar was supposedly laying there nearly bleeding to death from the alleged gunshot exchange with police a few hours earlier. Yet on video footage the young man is seen emerging unassisted from the boat appearing bloodless and uninjured only to be admitted minutes later to the emergency hospital room in critical condition suffering from a deeply sliced neck wound that prevented him from speaking for weeks. How did that happen while in police custody? And that came after a swarm of police shot a slew of bullet holes into the boat while Tsarnaev supposedly lay there gravely injured.

Just as the French authorities made sure that no prisoners were allowed to be taken alive in the alleged Hebdo Paris crime spree in January, nor in Osama bin Laden’s alleged execution in Pakistan in 2011, nor in the JFK assassination, that barrage of gunfire into that boat by FBI and/or local police was also intended to kill the only suspect. That way the government’s complicity, criminal involvement and subsequent cover-up would have conveniently been eliminated – wiped clean of any messy complications in the form of a suspect trial and the truth inadvertently leaking out. So the US government proceeds with a pseudo-trial that kept the defendant silent and unable to ever present his side of the story. In effect, he may as well have been silenced by the bullets intended to kill him.

Another of the dozens of discrepancies in this case is over how and when older brother Tamerlan actually died. A series of photos of a naked and handcuffed Tamerlan were taken as the police placed him into custody and inside a patrol car. Both CNN and the Boston Globe reported that Tamerlan was alive in police custody. Yet the feds’ official line was that after the brothers robbed a 7-Eleven, Tamerlan was killed in the Watertown shootout with the police while Dzhokhar backed the car over him as he made his temporary getaway. It can only be one or the other. The photos don’t lie. Cops do.

For so many incredulous inconsistencies to actually be accepted as convincing “evidence” while so many discrepant facts directly contradict state evidence, and then the “no questions asked” defense and mainstream media throughout the trial passively swallowing it hook, line and sinker in its rush to convict Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (trial being over in less than a month with 95 witnesses) is utterly preposterous and again, a complete and total miscarriage of justice. For nearly two years all the potential defense witnesses were constantly harassed, deported, jailed, and even killed, thus, virtually silencing any chance of a fair defense for Dzhokhar.

But then the propaganda lies built into this case from the start were designed to convict the brothers as the patsy fall guys all along. Going back to the JFK assassination and Lee Harvey Oswald, every false flag operation has its unwitting stooges who are used by the feds as props to take the sole blame. From President Obama to the FBI to their propagandist presstitutes, they were all publicly weighing in their guilty verdicts no sooner than the release of the photos that within days of the bombings identified the two brothers as the only prime suspects, thus prejudicing the entire case, effectively swaying Americans into believing that the one suspect still alive was guilty long before his trial ever began.

And we know based on both Obama and the FBI’s track records that they both are constantly lying through their teeth and obviously cannot be trusted.  The overwhelming majority of American citizens per last August’s CNN poll, an all-time high of 87%, of Americans simply do not trust their own government, knowing that they are constantly being lied to every day. And with so many blatant holes in the state’s case, anyone half aware and informed of what’s been allowed to go down in the Boston Marathon bombings case would be near 100% certain that the government is once again producing an over-the-top false narrative designed to hide its own criminality. But then the US federal government’s become a militarized dictatorship, part of an international crime cabal that uses state propaganda as effectively as the Nazis ever did.

All kinds of unexplained anomalies are rampant throughout this case. A number of paid mercenaries from Craft International, a paramilitary private security contractor out of Texas (not unlike notorious Blackwater/aka Xe/aka Academi) were also spotted in photos wearing those same black colored government-issued-like backpacks. The question of whether any of them laid their backpack and its contents on the ground never quite came up in the trial.

Apparently these guys were part of a Homeland Security training exercise that just happened to be training at the exact same time and place as the so called terrorists on that Boston Marathon day. Think about those odds, kind of like America’s entire national air defense on 9/11 conveniently being absent, purposely diverted to training exercises in the Atlantic just so the 9/11 false flag could be executed as planned. In Boston the unmistakable heavy presence of the military and special ops personnel assembled en-masse instantly on the scene after the marathon explosions is yet another giveaway indicating that the feds had something if not everything to do with this tragedy.

Clearly it was a training exercise alright, Bostonians was used as a guinea pig litmus test for assessing how a large US urban population of over a million people would react to a first practice, simulation dry-run of martial law in America, conveniently prepping us for what’s to come. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act upheld by the US Supreme Court a year ago now permits the US military to invade our homes without warrant, arrest us without charges, and imprison us indefinitely without trial, legal representation or due process. After the marathon bombings the feds’ stand down order issued over an expansive, densely populated metropolitan area to remain in their homes while a massive police state-army dressed and armed for war against its own people without warrants entered thousands of homes with automatic weapons drawn in the largest, monster-scale manhunt in US history searching for one teenager from a family with whom the feds were already very familiar.

Perhaps the most respected independent news team that’s been diligently investigating the Boston Marathon bombings the last two years – WhoWhatWhy – has asserted that older brother Tamerlan was most likely an FBI informant. Through court motions last year Dzhokhar’s defense team submitted evidence that the FBI had approached the older Tsarnaev brother in an effort to recruit him to spy on his fellow Boston Chechen and Muslim community. The US intel community has a verifiably long history both here and around the globe of seeking out troubled youth and young people like the Tsarnaevs as informants in its worldwide clandestine operations.

The FBI and CIA’s common misuse of paying informants to entrap others globally into joining plots of terrorism was well documented in researcher-author Trevor Aaronson’s book The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism. Between 9/11 and 2011 he confirmed that 508 defendants were recruited by informants paid up to $100,000 in multiple sting operations. In fact, in all but only three high profile cases were the FBI and their informants not involved. Again, this demonstrates that the US government’s calling card around the world reads “Terrorism-R-US,” just another M.O. for squandering hard earned taxpayer dollars to keep its invented “war on terror” very much ongoing and alive forever.

What seems most probable are efforts by the FBI to recruit Tamerlan to become a snitch in the neocons’ self-serving war on terror. Yet this piece of crucial evidence has been purposely withheld from all court proceedings and MSM’s dubious, half-ass coverage. 26-year old Tamerlin was a down on his luck, unemployed boxer whose dream of Olympic gold had been shattered, married to a nurse’s aide working 60 hours a week to make ends meet. Yet WhoWhatWhy states that just two days prior to the bombings, Tamerlan could afford sending his mother in Russia $900 cash along with paying for the backpacks (or were they government issued?), ammunition and bomb-making materials. Yet this critical piece of information was also prohibited from further inquiry during the trial.

Of course the FBI predictably denied any Tsarnaev solicitation to become an informant. Prior to last month’s trial, the US Circuit Court judge presiding over the case explicitly ordered that the brother’s involvement with FBI not be allowed to enter his courtroom during the trial. It remains to be seen if Judge George A. O’Toole will permit the defense to present this critical information during the upcoming sentencing phase. Because the government has so much to hide and has failed to address so many discrepancies in the case for obvious high stakes reasons, it probably won’t be included, which of course only reinforces what many of us already know, that this trial is but a sham for police state propaganda and truth suppression.

Of all the receipts for typical everyday items purchased, the only receipts found in Tamerlan’s pockets were receipts for his self-incriminating bomb-making materials. That’s almost like finding the unblemished passport belonging to the lead 9/11 box-cutter a couple blocks from the towers’ ashes the day after, or the Hebdo gunman’s wallet with ID left carelessly on purpose in the cab so those terrorists could instantly be identified. This calling card pattern smacks of yet another inside job rendition with the same shabby, grubby fed fingerprints carelessly smudged all over it.

Another inconsistent weakness in the prosecution’s case was the sophistication required for making the “pressure-cooker” bombs used at the marathon. Supposedly Tamerlan learned off an al Qaeda internet website where the article’s authors mention the directions being beyond the scope of a novice. Throughout the trial, the prosecution team would go back and forth promoting the notion of the bombs’ complexity whenever it served their purpose. For example, as the reason used to justify the FBI interrogating Dzhokhar for two days straight without reading him his Miranda rights, the FBI suspected that others were also involved, partially based on the bombs seeming more than homemade-like. Yet whenever it would come up as a reason to mitigate seeking the death penalty, the notion of lone wolves would get drummed home every time.

The traces of bomb materials in Tamerlan’s apartment underwent the same flip floppy logic as a transparent prosecution ploy used to convict the younger brother. Three times the feds changed their tune on traces of the bomb material being found in the apartment and whether the brothers had outside help or not. These discrepancies consistently went unchallenged by the defense during the trial as if pre-scripted to let the shady government off the hook in its back and forth rendition of “truth,” protecting the feds’ cover-up lies of discrepancy in order to allow the US government to get away with its incriminating part.

The one thread of unfailing consistency throughout this entire two year story is the constant inconsistencies and the countless conspicuously avoided bottom line questions that smack of inside cover-up. Initially the Tsarnaevs were not the suspects. Apparently once the photos of the Tsarnaev brothers at the Boston Marathon were made public asking for help in identifying their names, overheard on a Boston police scanner and then scooped up immediately by social media network sources, the names Mike Mulugeta and Sunil Trapathi were erroneously identified as the suspects.

The fact that the FBI knew who the two men in those photos were because they had previous dealings with them enough to place them on a no fly list, the FBI willfully lied to America pretending it needed the public’s assistance to identify them. And then the police put out false names of innocent people as suspects. Mike Mulugeta reportedly was shot dead though any actual accounts confirming his death are completely absent. However, East Indian American and Brown University student Sunil Trapathi who had been reported missing since mid-March was found floating face down in pond water in Providence, Rhode Island about a week after the Marathon explosions. What little information about his suspicious death was released through his family and the question of whether the death resulted from foul play is still largely unknown.

More bogus, planted propaganda against the brothers shortly after they were identified as the prime suspects was the FBI claim linking them to the triple murder case in Waltham, Massachusetts that took place on September 11th, 2011. Only during the trial did it come out that there existed absolutely no evidence that Tamerlan was involved. Yet the systematic damage of misinformation supporting the brothers’ guilt was already done, ensuring that in the court of public opinion the Tsarnaevs were guilty as charged right from the get-go.

Here the Tsarnaev brothers were supposedly on a no fly list acting as more evidence supporting prior contact with intelligence agencies, yet Tamerlan was permitted to fly to known terrorist hotbed Chechnya and neighboring Dagestan from January 21, 2012 to July 17, 2012. His family members insist he spent his entire time with family, among them a distant cousin who heads a non-violent organization critical of Western policies toward Islam. Yet his visit was used by prosecution as so called evidence that the older brother was “radicalized” there and came home an inspired terrorist seeking revenge on America.

New York Times article dated April 20, 2013 suggests that Tamerlan was first approached by the FBI in January 2011 after a return trip from Russia. Russian intelligence services that monitored phone calls in Chechnya warned the FBI in March 2011 that Tamerlan was becoming a potential threat. Thus two plus years well in advance of the bombings, the FBI was already cognizant of Tamerlan’s extremist leaning activities. Yet the FBI allowed him to travel yet again to Russia despite being on a no fly list and less than nine months after his return from that final trip abroad, the Boston Marathon bombings occurred. This damning piece of government evidence makes the feds minimally guilty of criminal gross negligence if not actually a criminal accomplice.

Yet another despicable chapter to this tragic saga is the FBI’s murder of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s friend in Florida. Within weeks after the Boston bombings, an unarmed Ibragim Todashev was shot by an FBI agent previously reprimanded for excessive force as an Oakland police officer. Initially the FBI lied about the circumstances, falsely claiming Todashev wielded a knife. The victim’s family is suing the FBI for $30 million. Even after admitting the lie about the victim brandishing a weapon, the Justice Department (overseeing the FBI) and a Florida prosecutor cleared the murdering FBI agent of any wrongdoing. The official government’s response that in effect supports such egregious acts of violence toward innocent civilians strongly indicates that the victim knew too much and the crime syndicate’s answer for people aware of the feds’ evildoing is to systematically assassinate those who might incriminate the federal government. Neutralizing perceived threats is standard operating procedure.

As an aside, the Tsarnaev brothers’ uncle who went public shortly after the bombings blasting his nephews as “losers” was married for several years in the 1990’s to the daughter of well-known CIA career officer Graham Fuller. Fuller is the CIA architect for creating the Mujahedeen movement that fought the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980’s, the same outfit whose leader Osama bin Laden emerged as the so called 9/11  al Qaeda mastermind.  Fuller was a committed advocate for using Islamic fundamentalists as US proxy war mercenaries. Another coincidence that the CIA VIP’s son-in-law and his nephews came from Chechnya, a hotspot for separatist Muslim terrorist activity?

Once again the United States government appears to be at least complicit in another state crime against its own citizens… and then applying a media blackout to any real investigative reporting that would ask the dozens of questions to get to the truth. Even the defendant’s legal representation abandoned Tsarnaev’s right to a fair trial, and by co-opting to act in accordance with the government’s “no questions asked” implicitly applied gag-rule, it too is complicit in this heinous crime for neither seeking the truth nor any real justice for either the defendants or the scores of victims. The US crime cabal and its fabricated “war on terror” is perpetuated globally, both on US soil and around the world as an ongoing crime against humanity. The truth behind 9/11 is in-our-face, and so is the truth behind these Boston bombings. The criminals in Washington must pay for their crimes.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and a syndicated columnist at Veterans Today.

U.S. Wakes up to “New Silk World Order”

May 15th, 2015 by Pepe Escobar

The real Masters of the Universe in the U.S. are no weathermen, but arguably they’re starting to feel which way the wind is blowing.

History may signal it all started with this week’s trip to Sochi, led by their paperboy, Secretary of State John Kerry, who met with Foreign Minister Lavrov and then with President Putin.

Arguably, a visual reminder clicked the bells for the real Masters of the Universe; the PLA marching in Red Square on Victory Day side by side with the Russian military. Even under the Stalin-Mao alliance Chinese troops did not march in Red Square.

As a screamer, that rivals the Russian S-500 missile systems. Adults in the Beltway may have done the math and concluded Moscow and Beijing may be on the verge of signing secret military protocols as in the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The new game of musical chairs is surely bound to leave Eurasian-obsessed Dr. Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski apoplectic.

And suddenly, instead of relentless demonization and NATO spewing out “Russian aggression!” every ten seconds, we have Kerry saying that respecting Minsk-2 is the only way out in Ukraine, and that he would strongly caution vassal Poroshenko against his bragging on bombing Donetsk airport and environs back into Ukrainian “democracy”.

The ever level-headed Lavrov, for his part, described the meeting with Kerry as “wonderful,” and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the new U.S.-Russia entente as “extremely positive”.

So now the self-described “Don’t Do Stupid Stuff” Obama administration, at least apparently, seems to finally understand that this “isolating Russia” business is over – and that Moscow simply won’t back down from two red lines; no Ukraine in NATO, and no chance of popular republics of Donetsk and Lugansk being smashed, by Kiev, NATO or anybody else.

Thus what was really discussed – but not leaked – out of Sochi is how the Obama administration can get some sort of face-saving exit out of the Russian western borderland geopolitical mess it invited on itself in the first place.

About those missiles…

Ukraine is a failed state now fully converted into an IMF colony. The EU will never accept it as a member, or pay its astronomic bills. The real action, for both Washington and Moscow, is Iran. Not accidentally, the extremely dodgy Wendy Sherman — who has been the chief U.S. negotiator in the P5+1 nuclear talks — was part of Kerry’s entourage. A comprehensive deal with Iran cannot be clinched without Moscow’s essential collaboration on everything from the disposal of spent nuclear fuel to the swift end of UN sanctions.

Iran is a key node in the Chinese-led New Silk Road(s) project. So the real Masters of the Universe must have also — finally — seen this is all about Eurasia, which, inevitably, was the real star in the May 9 Victory Day parade. After his pregnant with meaning Moscow stop — where he signed 32 separate deals — Chinese President Xi Jinping went to do deals in Kazakhstan and Belarus.

So welcome to the New (Silk) World Order; from Beijing to Moscow on high-speed rail; from Shanghai to Almaty, Minsk and beyond; from Central Asia to Western Europe.

By now we all know how this high-speed trade/geopolitical journey is unstoppable — spanning the Beijing-led, Moscow-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the BRICs Development Bank. Central Asia, Mongolia and Afghanistan — where NATO has just lost a war — are being inexorably pulled into this trade/geopolitical orbit covering all of central, northern, and eastern Eurasia.

What could be called Greater Asia is already shaping up — not only from Beijing to Moscow but also from business center Shanghai to gateway-to-Europe St. Petersburg. It’s the natural consequence of a complex process I have been examining for a while now — the marriage of the massive Beijing-led Silk Road Economic Belt with the Moscow-led Eurasia Economic Union (EEU). Putin described it as “a new level of partnership.”

The real Masters of the Universe may have also noted the very close discussions between Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the deputy chairman of the Central Military Council of China, Gen. Fan Changlong. Russia and China will conduct naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Japan and will give top priority to their common position regarding U.S. global missile defense.

There’s the not-so-negligible matter of the Pentagon “discovering” China has up to 60 silo-based ICBMs – the CSS-4 – capable of targeting almost the whole U.S., except Florida.

And last but not least, there’s the Russian rollout of the ultra-sophisticated S-500 defensive missile system — which will conclusively protect Russia from a U.S. Prompt Global Strike (PGS). Each S-500 missile can intercept ten ICBMs at speeds up to 15,480 miles an hour, altitudes of 115 miles and horizontal range of 2,174 miles. Moscow insists the system will only be operational in 2017. If Russia is able to rollout 10,000 S-500 missiles, they can intercept 100,000 American ICBMs by the time the U.S. has a new White House tenant.

Once again, the real Masters of the Universe seem to have done the math. Can’t reduce Russia to ashes. Can’t win in the New (Silk) World Order. Might as well sit down and talk. But hold your (geopolitical) horses; they might still change their mind.


There is much speculation about US Secretary of State John Kerry’s rush visit to Russia in the wake of Russia’s successful Victory Day celebration on May 9.  On May 11, Kerry, who was snubbing Russia on the 9th, was on his way to Russia, and Putin consented to see him on May 12.

As time passes we will find out why Kerry was snubbing Putin on May 9 and 3 days later was criticizing Washington’s puppet regime in Ukraine.  For what is known at this time, a possible explanation is that Washington is coming to its senses.

If you watched the 1 hour 20 minute video of the Victory Day Parade, you are aware that the celebration sent a powerful message.  Russia is a first class military power, and Russia is backed by China and India, whose soldiers marched with Russia’s in the parade.

So, while the increasingly irrelevant West, absorbed in its own self-importance, snubbed the celebration of the victory that the Red Army gave them over Hitler, the three largest countries in the world were present united.  Russia has the largest land mass, and China and India, also large land masses, have the world’s largest populations.

The celebration in Moscow made it clear that Washington has failed miserably to isolate Russia.  What Washington has done is to make the BRICS more unified.

With the President of China sitting at the right hand of Putin, the celebration also made it completely clear even to the morons in the Obama regime that Washington is no longer the Uni-power.

Consider now the impact on Washington’s vassal states in Europe, the crux of the American Empire.  Europeans are aware that two of the most powerful military states in history did not survive their invasions of Russia. Napoleon lost the Grande Army in Russia, and Hitler lost the Wehrmacht in Russia. It has dawned on Europeans that they are being shoved into conflict with Russia in the interest of Washington’s claim to be the World Hegemon. Europeans are accustomed to obey Washington, but when it came to being forced into conflict with Russia, Europeans began to express dissent. Signs of an independent European foreign policy appeared with Merkel and Hollande’s meeting with Putin to resolve the Ukrainian crisis orchestrated by Washington.

Faced with the failure of its policy of isolating Russia and the emergence of an independent foreign policy in Europe, Washington sent Kerry as a supplicant to Putin to work out a way to de-escalate the Ukrainian crisis. Putin being a peacemaker will permit Washington to save face. But this will not please the neoconsevatives or the military/security complex. The former are invested heavily in claims of Amerika Uber Alles, and the latter are lusting for the abundant revenues from a new cold, or hot, war.

Obama, Kerry, and Cameron have to become magicians.  They have to transition from demonizing Putin to working with him.

Having failed with force against Russia, the West is now employing seduction.  If Western peoples hope to escape from the Police State that Washington has imposed on the entire Western World, we must pray that Putin does not fall for the seduction.

There is no world leadership in the West. There is only selfishness and hubris.  Western “leadership” is exploitative.  The West loots the non-West and is now turning on itself with its looting of Ireland and Greece, with Italy, Spain, and Portugal the next targets for looting. The American public itself has been looted of its jobs and career aspirations.

The Western model of “democratic capitalism” turns out to be neither democratic nor capitalist, but a form of fascism ruled by an oligarchy. The United States is where regime change is most badly needed.

The key vote, in the U.S. Senate, to transfer to international corporate panels America’s democratic national sovereignty over the laws and regulations on the environment, workers’ rights, consumers’ rights, and finance, was officially titled with the misleadingly unrelated phrase “Ensuring Tax Exempt Organizations the Right to Appeal Act,” and it passed the U.S. Senate as “H.R. 1314,” by 65 to 33 votes, at 1:55 in the afternoon of Thursday 14 May 2015.

That’s five votes more than the 60 votes that the measure needed in order to pass. This is the key congressional action among the many that are required in order for U.S. President Barack Obama’s international-‘trade’ treaties — TPP, TTIP, and TISA — to become law in the United States. It’s the ultimate decision-moment, concerning America’s future.

A “Nay” vote meant that the Senator opposed this transfer of democratic national sovereignty, away from elected representatives of the public, to international corporate panels, whose members will be appointed solely by executives chosen by the controlling stockholders in large international corporations. A “Yea” vote meant that the Senator favored this transfer of democratic national sovereignty over to international corporate panels.


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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, and of  Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

126-year-old Palestinian Recalls Agonies of 1948 ‘Nakba’

May 15th, 2015 by Global Research News

Al-Toum still vividly recalls events, including the atrocities committed by Jewish terrorist gangs against the local Palestinian population – memories that still bring tears to his eyes.

Rajab al-Toum, a 126-year-old Palestinian man, says the history books fail to accurately describe the days that followed the Palestinian Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic), which coincided with the establishment of Israel on May 15, 1948.

Al-Toum still vividly recalls events, including the atrocities committed by Jewish terrorist gangs against the local Palestinian population – memories that still bring tears to his eyes.

“The massacres that took place at the time remain etched on my memory,” al-Toum told Anadolu Agency.

Already 59 years old when the Nakba occurred, al-Toum had been working on a farm in Beersheba (in what is now southern Israel) when violent Zionist gangs forced hundreds of thousands Palestinians to flee their homes and villages.

He remembers seeing Jewish soldiers dragging a young pregnant Palestinian woman away before killing her in front of her husband and children.

“I trembled in fear when I saw this,” al-Toum said. “I was afraid they would kill me too.”

After the soldiers slaughtered the pregnant woman, they withdrew, giving al-Toum – along with other Palestinians who were hiding in fear – some respite.

Later, however, al-Toum would discover – to his horror – that the pregnant woman was not the only Palestinian to be slaughtered by Jewish paramilitary groups.

Numerous other men, women and children, he later found out, were killed – often in front of their families – by armed Zionist groups like the Haganah and the notorious Stern Gang.

Many were slaughtered, al-Toum recalled, while others were simply shot and killed.

At the time, he said, most Palestinians failed to grasp the enormity of the catastrophe that was unfolding before them.

They began to understand the scope of the crisis when heavily-armed Jewish gangs stormed their villages on the backs of tanks.

News of the carnage spread like wildfire, said al-Toum, prompting Palestinian men, women and children to flee for their lives – most of them leaving all their property behind.

“Jewish gangs shelled Palestinian villages indiscriminately with the aim of terrorizing residents into fleeing,” the old man said.

Hundreds of Palestinians, he added, were buried under the rubble of their destroyed homes.

“The history books fail to adequately describe the horror of the massacres that took place,” al-Toum, who lives in the city of Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip, said.

“They don’t do justice to the painful experiences of the Palestinian families who lost their homes,” he asserted.

He said he would never forget the scenes of Palestinian families fleeing their ancestral homes in terror.

“It was the most terrible thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” al-Toum said.

He went on to decry the role played by Great Britain – responsible for Palestine at the time under a League of Nations “mandate” – in allowing Jewish gangs to attack and destroy Palestinian villages.

Al-Toum also denounced Britain’s infamous 1917 “Balfour Declaration,” which had called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

Jewish immigration to Palestine rose considerably during the British mandate period, which lasted from 1922 to May 14, 1948.

Ultimately, some 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes – or were forcibly expelled by invading Jewish forces – while hundreds of Palestinian villages and cities were razed to the ground by the conquerors.

The Palestinian diaspora has since become one of the largest in the world.

Until this day, Palestinian refugees remain scattered across Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and other countries, while many have settled in refugee camps in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip.

“Britain armed and protected the Jewish gangs,” al-Toum asserted, adding that many Palestinians who fled their homes had believed – mistakenly, as it turned out – that they would soon return.

Many of these Palestinians kept the keys of their homes; some snuck back to their fields at night to tend to their crops.

“Only gradually did they realize they would never return to their ancestral homes and farms,” the super-centenarian lamented.

Today, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death on some counts, including “the use of a weapon of mass destruction (pressure cooker bomb #2) resulting in death” and “destruction of property by means of an explosive (pressure cooker bomb #2), resulting in death,” The Guardian reports.

Global Research invites you to take a moment to look at some of the best articles published on the Boston Marathon Bombing and the Tsarnaev brothers, all of which reveal lies, anomalies and inconsistencies in the official story.

Probably the most disturbing aspect of Tsarnaev’s trial is that, although he pleaded not guilty, his attorney conceded that he in fact was guilty.

Joachim Hagopian explains:

Despite Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleading not guilty to the 30 counts (17 carrying the death penalty) he was charged within a week after the April 15th bombings last year, his lead defense attorney Judy Clark several days ago conceded to the jury that her client was guilty in her closing argument. Apparently blaming the dead brother whose due process was denied became Dzhokhar’s only defense strategy. The defense team insisted that he was coerced and bullied by his older brother into committing alleged acts of terrorism. Considering no real solid proof other than photos placing Dzhokhar and older brother Tamerlan both wearing backpacks at the scene of the crime where the two bombs exploded was even presented at the trial, no justice for either the Tsarnaevs nor the many victims can possibly come from this guilty verdict.

If the purpose of the US judicial system in criminal trials is to ensure that all factual evidence surrounding an alleged crime or crimes be accurately and fairly presented so that the jurors can properly assess the best semblance of the truth as presented by both prosecution and defense in order for the jury to adjudicate and decide a defendant’s true guilt or innocence, this trial was a complete travesty of justice. (Joachim Hagopian, Boston Marathon Bombings’ Guilty Verdict Exposed as a Gross Travesty of Justice, Global Research, April 12, 2014)

As stated in an article published by WhoWhatWhy in December 2014, we also learned during the trial that his late brother Tamerlan had been accused of a triple murder without any evidence to support the accusations. It was also suggested that Dzhokhar may have been involved.

For nearly any crime requiring a “Whodunnit” answer in Boston around the time of the April 15, 2013 Marathon bombing, the authorities answered: The Tsarnaev brothers.

One egregious crime pinned on them was a grisly Sept. 11, 2011, triple murder in Waltham, Mass.

Now, prosecutors in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have delivered a shocking reversal. They admit to having no evidence that his dead brother, Tamerlan, was involved in the slayings.

That wasn’t the case right after the bombing: law enforcement fingered Tamerlan as the perpetrator, and suggested Dzokhar may have been involved. Much of the media has presented it as fact ever since.” (James Henry, Boston Bombing: Feds Admit No Evidence Tsarnaev Brothers Involved in the Slayings, WhoWhatWhy, December 9, 2014)

In addition to inconsistencies and lies in the narrative, mysterious deaths surrounding this case involved the FBI. Two FBI agents who had been involved in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s arrest  “were killed after falling from a helicopter into the water” and Ibragim Todashev, a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter believed to be a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, “was shot and killed in his apartment by the FBI.”(JG Vibes, FBI Agents Killed in Virginia Were Investigating the Boston Bombing, intellihub.com and Global Research, May 25, 2013)

PilotOnLine.com reported:

“A law enforcement source told The Pilot the incident happened about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The official blamed bad weather for the incident and said the agents – members of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, based in Quantico – fell into the water. The official said he believed the agents died as a result of the impact rather than drowning.”

Tamerlan was also suspected to be a double agent for the FBI.

The selection of articles below reveals several other inconsistencies contained in the official version as well as many anomalies surrounding this affair.


Boston Marathon Bombings’ Guilty Verdict Exposed as a Gross Travesty of Justice, Joachim Hagopian,

With the official government narrative of the 9/11 attack filled with a plethora of lies that have since been subsequently exposed, the next biggest “war on terror” event on US soil that the feds failed to stop was the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

Boston Bombing: Feds Admit No Evidence Tsarnaev Brothers Involved in the Slayings, James Henry

The Boston Marathon bombing is much more important than has been acknowledged, principally because it is the defining domestic national security event since 9/11—and has played a major role in expanding the power of the security state.

The Boston Bombing Web of Lies, Julie Lévesque

According to the suspects’ mother, the FBI had been following them for years: The FBI originally feigned ignorance over the identity of the two Boston bombing suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as they appealed to an unwitting public to help them “identify” and “find” the suspects. […] Russia Today, in an article titled, “‘They were set up, FBI followed them for years’- Tsarnaevs’ mother to RT,” stated of the suspects’ mother.

The Boston Marathon Bombing’s Inflated Injury Tallies, Prof. James F. Tracy

In sum, the photos, videos, stories and figures comprising the mediated BMB do not add up and suggest elements of a manufactured event. The inflated injury count provided by the City of Boston is not readily supported by existing visual documentation of the two bombings, where at most several dozen individuals may have been seriously impacted.

The Boston Bombings and the CIA Connection. Graham Fuller and Uncle Ruslan Tsarnaev,  F. William Engdahl

Ruslan Tsarnaev, the outspoken uncle of the brothers was married to Samantha A. Fuller until 2004. Samantha’s father is Graham Fuller, the senior CIA person who was the architect the Afghan Islamic fundamentalist Mujahideen war against the Soviets. He is also involved in creating a global jihad network, presumably acting on behalf of CIA interests.

FBI Agents Killed in Virginia Were Investigating the Boston Bombing, JG Vibes

Two FBI agents died in a “fall” from a helicopter in Virginia this week. Days later it has emerged that these agents were involved in the arrest of  Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.

Five Key Questions That Were Not Asked During the Trial of “Boston Bomber” Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 21st Century Wire

Was older brother Tamerlan working as an informant for the FBI? Why were Craft International mercenaries active at the finish line, and did one of them place a backpack on the ground just before the bomb went off?

Boston Bombings: Was Tamerlan Tsarnaev a Double Agent Recruited by the FBI?, Prof Peter Dale Scott

There is a strong possibility that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two brothers, was a double agent, perhaps recruited by the FBI.

If Tsarnaev was a double agent, he would be just one of thousands of young people coerced by the FBI, as the price for settling a minor legal problem, into a dangerous career as an informant.

See also:

Boston Marathon Bombing Timeline, Prof. James F. Tracy

In Defense of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: The Real Smoking Gun in Boston, Kurt Haskell and Patrick Henningsen

Boston Bomber’s Deafening Silence: What Would Tsarnaev Reveal?,  Lara Turner

We invite you to search through our extensive database using key words:

Tsarnaev archive

Boston Bombing archive

The Ukrainian government has approved an approximate price tag for the construction of a so-called “wall” along its border with Russia: the newly-released cost estimate of $500 mln as of the end of 2014 has been slashed to approximately $200 mln; and the works will run faster – it will now take three years rather than four, as was claimed earlier.

Ukraine has reduced the estimated cost of the construction of a so-called “Wall” project along its border with much-feared Russia.

Construction work will now require 4 billion hryvnias (almost $200 million) and will run for three years. At the end of 2014, the government had claimed it would need four years and an estimated 8 billion hryvnias (at that time, the equivalent of $500 mln).

A Ukrainian national flag is attached to the fence on the Ukrainian-Russian border near Hoptivka, Kharkiv region, eastern Ukraine
A Ukrainian national flag is attached to the fence on the Ukrainian-Russian border near Hoptivka, Kharkiv region, eastern Ukraine

According to the project, more than 2,000 kilometers of the country’s actual border with Russia will be protected with anti-tank (anti-transport) trenches measuring four meters wide and two meters deep as well as 17-meter tall metal watchtowers, observation posts, alarms, retaliatory weaponry and special border check-points.

The construction work along the border as well as in territories adjacent to the zone of the so-called anti-terrorist operation and Russia’s Republic of Crimea will be supervised by the state border guard service.

Out of the 4 billion hryvnias needed for the project, 1 billion ($48mln)  is slated to be spent by the end of 2015.

International crossing point at Ukrainian state border
International crossing point “Ugrinov-Dolgobichuv” at Ukrainian-Polish state border

Earlier in May, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed that the nation’s government still plans to build its so-called Great Wall of Ukraine but claimed that Ukraine will set aside 300 million hryvnias ($12.8 million) to begin engineering work on border defenses this year.

Ukrainian officials first proposed the Great Wall in Autumn, claiming it will prevent Russian tanks from crossing the border.

The project was called the “Wall”, but then-Prime Minister Yatsenyuk proposed to rename it the “European bulwark”.

North Korea may have executed this general with anti-aircraft guns. Or he may be alive and well. The Washington Post thought you might like to read some guesses about him.

The Washington Post (5/12/15) has a sensational story about North Korean Gen. Hyon Yong Chol:

North Korea’s equivalent of a defense minister has been executed by anti-aircraft gun for insubordination and treason—including for sleeping during a meeting where Kim Jong Un was speaking, South Korea’s intelligence agency said Wednesday.

Reporters Anna Fifield and Yoonjung Seo continue:

The report, if true, would starkly illustrate the brutal extent to which the young North Korean leader is going to consolidate power.

And if it isn’t true? I suppose it would starkly illustrate the low standards the Washington Post sets for itself when reporting about an official enemy.

Most of the information in the article is based on what “officials from the [South Korean] National Intelligence Service told local reporters at a briefing in Seoul”—local reporters, meaning not the Washington Post. What did the Post hear directly? “An NIS spokesman confirmed to the Post that it believed Hyon had been executed.”

So the sensational stuff in the article is what local South Korean journalists said they were told by South Korean intelligence about that country’s bitter rivals. But South Korean intelligence is a reliable source, right?

Well, no—not according to the Post. In the article’s eighth paragraph, the reporters note: “The NIS report could not be independently verified. NIS’s claims turn out to be wrong as often as they are right.”

Is it really the Washington Post‘s policy to base stories on claims that are “wrong as often as they are right”?

The Washington Post presents images of “some sort of targets” on a firing range as evidence that North Korea is executing prisoners with anti-aircraft guns.

In this case, presumably the Post felt confident betting on “right” rather than “wrong” because someone who blogs about North Korea said the report “rang true.” Isn’t this the kind of bizarre thing the North Koreans are always doing?

The Post also tried to shore up this highly speculative story by referring to another highly speculative story the paper recently published.  The new article noted:

A recent report from the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea contained satellite imagery apparently showing several people standing in front of anti-aircraft machine gunsat a military training area 13 miles north of Pyongyang in October last year.

The link in that passage goes to an article the Post published on May 1, with the lengthy headline, “Does North Korea Execute People With Anti-Aircraft Guns? New Satellite Images Suggest the Rumors May Be True.” The article reports that the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea released images that

appear to show several individuals standing in front of anti-aircraft machine guns at a military training area…. It appears, though it cannot be confirmed, that these people are being executed.

Actually, if you follow the Post‘s link to the report, the committee itself says that the images show “what appear to be some sort of targets” on a North Korean firing range–and then concludes, mainly because the firing range doesn’t look to be designed for high-caliber weapons, that “the most plausible explanation of the scene captured in the October 7th satellite image is a gruesome public execution.”

Maybe. Or maybe “what appear to be some sort of targets” on a firing range actually are targets. Or maybe they are people who are lining up not because they are about to be shot, but because they are engaged in military training, which frequently involves lining up.

But this is North Korea we’re talking about, so “maybe” is good enough to pin a story on.

h/t: Left I on the News

Messages can be sent to the Washington Post at [email protected], or via Twitter @washingtonpost. Please remember that respectful communication is the most effective.

A new group of leaders from the military industrial complex has formed seeking to pressure potential presidential candidates into supporting a ‘strong foreign policy’.

Americans for Peace, Prosperity, and Security (APPS) has been established by former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers. It wants to be the “premiere national security and foreign policy organization during the 2016 debate”, and to “help elect a president who supports American engagement and a strong foreign policy”.

Watch a video version of this report below:

APPS is seeking to hold a candidate forum later this year.

The organization refuses to disclose its donors, but its list of supporters provides us with a who’s who of the military industrial complex.

Advisory Board Member John Coburn

  • Chairman and CEO of VT Systems, a company delivering communications technology for the U.S. Defense Department.

Advisory Board Member Stephen Hadley

  • Principal at consulting firm RiceHadleyGates and serves as a board member to defense contractor Raytheon, a position paying $228,007 annually.

New Hampshire Board Member Rich Ashooh

  • Director of Strategy at BAE Systems.

New Hampshire Board Member James Bell

  •  Chief executive of EPE Corporation, a manufacturing company that says it is a “premier supplier to the defense community.”

Advisory Board Member John Engler

  • President of the Business Roundtable, lobbying group for major corporations, including defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, United Technologies and Northrop Grumman.

New Hampshire Board Member Ken Solinksy

  •  Founder of Insight Technologies, a night vision and electro-optical systems firm acquired by L-3 Communications.

New Hampshire Chairman and Advisory Board Member Walt Havenstein

  • Former chief executive of BAE Systems and SAIC, two of the largest defense contractors in America. Havenstein left SAIC in 2012 and was paid partially in company stock options.

We can safely say it is unwise to have those with a vested interest in war seeking to advise and influence the foreign policy direction of a hegemonic power like the United States.

APPS appears to be one of many recent outgrowths of the previous Neoconservative ‘think thank’ and pressure group known as the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) which openly advocated for military adventurism worldwide and whose founders included committed war hawks John Bolton, Robert Kagan, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney to name only a few.

In a short promotional video from APPS notice when Rogers says ‘the threat matrix facing America today has never been broader’, a picture of Russian President Vladimir Putin is then flashed on screen (subliminal), but not mentioned in the narration. This follows a trend of certain figures and institutions looking to start a war with Russia; something that should definitely beavoided not subconsciously hinted at.

The group’s formation reveals the far-reaching extent to which the military industrial complex will collaborate in an attempt to direct policy. While APPS is looking for a President ‘who supports American engagement’, a massive 53% of Americans now see ‘American engagement’ in Iraq as a huge mistake. Pursuing such a policy in the 2016 race would amount to political suicide.

We also need further clarification on APPS’s second goal, of finding a President with ‘a strong foreign policy’. What exactly does this mean? We can assume that the military industrial complex is not content with merely supporting rebels groups in foreign civil wars, and would instead prefer more direct involvement.

A few months ago the British government sent a massive £280M into the arms of the military industrial complex view as a concession being sent to the sector to make up for the British government’s refusal to go to war in Syria.

This should serve as proof to those who refuse to acknowledge the dangers, and even existence of, an inflated and overly influential military industrial complex. A ‘strong foreign policy’ should not mean warfare as the primary means of conducting foreign policy. It is entirely possible to, instead, base a ‘strong foreign policy’ outlook on diplomacy and war-avoidance.

While it will always be in someone’s interest to go to war, it takes a far stronger leader to consider those other, diplomatic options. A real President would keep the military industrial complex under control, not be controlled by it.

Be very wary of any candidates publicly showing support for APPS in the future.

Follow me here: http://twitter.com/StuartJHooper

Georgia’s fugitive ex-president Mikhail Saakashvili and hawkish US Senator John McCain have been approved as members of the newly-formed International Advisory Group that will help Ukraine’s president in “conducting reforms.”

Saakashvili has been appointed as head of the new advisory group, says the statement on Ukraine’s presidential website.

The list of members included in the advisory group mostly includes current and former European politicians. Among them are the German member of the European Parliament and the current Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok, Sweden’s former Prime and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Slovakia Mikulas Dzurinda, and Lithuania’s former Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius.

Back in February Saakashvili was appointed as a non-staff adviser to Poroshenko. The ex-Georgian president, who was in power from 2004 to 2013, faces numerous charges at home, including embezzlement of over $5 million, corruption and brutality against protesters during demonstrations in 2007. Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched proceedings to indict Saakashvili and place him on the international most wanted list, but Kiev refused to hand over the fugitive president, despite an existing extradition agreement between Ukraine and Georgia.

Saakashvili is known for his strong anti-Russian stance, which garnered heavy US support. In August 2008 during his term in office Georgia launched an offensive against South Ossetia, killing dozens of civilians and Russian peacekeepers stationed in the republic. Georgia’s shelling of Tskhinval prompted Russia to conduct a military operation to fend off the offensive. Despite Saakashvili’s claims that the conflict was “Russian aggression,” the 2010 EU Independent Fact Finding Mission Report ruled that Tbilisi was responsible for the attack.

Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili's Page)Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili’s Page)

Meanwhile Senator John McCain, for years spearheading the anti-Russian and particularly anti-Putin crusade, said that while he “would love to do anything” to help Ukraine, he has not yet cleared his new appointment under the US Senate rules.

“I was asked to do it both by Ukraine and Saakashvili and I said I would be inclined to do it but I said I needed to look at all the nuances of it, whether it’s legal under our ethics and all that kind of stuff,” McCain told BuzzFeed.

At the onset of the Ukraine’s Maidan protests against former president Viktor Yanukovich, McCain appeared in Kiev to support the uprising that months later culminated in a coup.

“We … want to make it clear to Russia and Vladimir Putin that interference in the affairs of Ukraine is not acceptable to the United States,” the US Senator told a crowd of some 200,000 anti-government protesters in the central square of Ukraine’s capital.

Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili's Page)Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili’s Page)

Following the new Kiev authorities’ attempt to suppress dissent in the east of the country and Crimea’s ascension into the Russian Federation, McCain became the main engine of lobbying for lethal arms supplies to Ukrainian forces to “defend themselves” and Europe from “Russian aggression.”

“The Ukrainian people don’t want US or Western troops to fight for them; they are simply asking for the right tools to defend themselves and their country,” he said late last month at a hearing on US security policy in Europe. “Russia’s invasion and dismemberment of Ukraine should remind everyone of the true nature of Putin’s ambitions and the fragility of peace in Europe.”

McCain’s statements following the Minsk II ceasefire agreement make it clear that peace in Ukraine is not something the hawkish politician supports. Despite the general agreement that Minsk Accords is the only way forward for a political resolution to the crisis, McCain rejected the agreement as “solidifying the gains of Russian aggression.”

In addition, the Senator is a strong supporter of the NATO buildup on Russian borders. McCain insisted recently that the Baltic allies should help secure eastern borders of the alliance as they cannot “continue with business as usual”claiming that Russia poses a “geopolitical challenge… to our entire vision of Europe.”

McCain has also been hinting at starting a new nuclear arms race with Russia. “Negotiating further strategic nuclear reductions with Russia would be a dangerously naive non-starter with the US Senate. It simply defies common sense to negotiate nuclear reductions with Vladimir Putin,” he said last month following US administration’s call for further strategic nuclear reductions.

The Unholy Marriage of War and Disney

May 15th, 2015 by Tom Engelhardt

In September 2001, the Bush administration launched its “global war on terror,” to which its supporters later tried to attach names like “the long war” or “World War IV.” Their emphasis: that we were now engaged in nothing less than a multi-generational struggle without end.  (World War III had theoretically been the Cold War.)  In fact, only the “war on terror” would stick and, in 2009, even that would be tossed overboard when the Obama administration opted for a global war with no name at all.  Nonetheless, the idea that we were now in an eternal “wartime” became part of the post-9/11 atmosphere.  At the same time, George W. Bush famously called on Americans to act as if everything were normal — to spend, vacation, and visit Disney World.

In other words, the “homeland,” protected in new ways, was to be locked down and at peace, while Washington was to be a war capital into the distant future.  In the process, the Bush administration invoked warring powers of every sort — from torture and offshore imprisonment to assassination and warrantless wiretaps.  At the time, all of this seemed like a unique combination, but looking back, the marriage of war and Disney, of military might and consumerism, has a far longer history.  Considered a certain way, Washington has been a war capital since December 7, 1941, and certainly the global capital of consumerism since at least 1945.

Unlike after World War I, post-World War II demobilization proved to be anything but complete.  The various structures of the relatively new national security state and its intelligence networks, as well as the U.S. military, were left largely in place and soon expanded massively, as were the array of global bases from which the U.S. had fought its world war.  From 1945 on, as the Cold War gained strength and staying power, war was distinctly on Washington’s agenda.  In a big way in Korea and Vietnam, of course, but also globally in what was then called “the shadows.”  And it didn’t end when the Soviet Union began to totter and finally imploded.  The 1980s and 1990s saw a range of interventions, invasions, raids, air strikes, and the like in Afghanistan, Grenada, Lebanon, Libya, Panama, Serbia, Somalia, and of course Iraq (again and again).  In the twenty-first century, the U.S. military was simply let loose across the Greater Middle East and North Africa and eternal war (as well as military-first policies of all sorts) became the American Way.  Meanwhile, in Washington, there arose a war-hawk party in Congress and beyond who never saw a military solution that didn’t appeal to them (no matter how ineffective it had proved in its previous incarnations).  All of this, in turn, took place in a country in which corporations were mobilized to go to war while the population itself was demobilized in just about every way imaginable. In other words, Americans became ever more divorced from their military and ever more fawning about it.

As retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and TomDispatch regular William Astore makes clear today in “The American Military Uncontained,” there was something increasingly uncontained about this phenomenon (and the funding and building of the U.S. military and the national security state that went with it). In a sense, Americans have yet to come to grips with what a never-ending “wartime” has meant in and to this country. Astore offers a place to start.

Tom Engelhardt, co-founder of the American Empire Project, runs the Nation Institute’s TomDispatch.com. His latest book is, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World (with an introduction by Glenn Greenwald). Previous books include Terminator Planet: The First History of Drone Warfare, 2001-2050 (co-authored with Nick Turse), The United States of FearThe American Way of War: How Bush’s Wars Became Obama’sThe End of Victory Culture: a History of the Cold War and Beyond, as well as of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing.  To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com here.

President Barack Obama Thursday played host to a collection of emirs, crown princes and senior ministers of the Persian Gulf Arab oil monarchies, a collection of dictatorial regimes that constitute Washington’s principal allies in the Arab world.

Appearing before the press with representatives of the six regimes that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council, Obama described them as among Washington’s “closest partners” and affirmed a US commitment to “stand by our GCC partners against external attack.”

The summit at Camp David was part of an increasingly clumsy balancing act by Washington as it attempts to conclude an agreement with Iran on its nuclear program and pursue the possibility of a rapprochement with Tehran. This policy is bitterly opposed by the sectarian Sunni monarchies, which view Iran as a threat in large measure because of their repression of their own Shia populations.

The presence of only two of the six crowned heads that make up the GCC—the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar—was widely viewed as a deliberate snub of the Obama administration by the oil monarchies, expressing their hostility to the negotiations with Iran and concern that US imperialism could be weakening its decades-old commitment to defend these regimes as bastions of reaction in the Arab world.

The most notable of the absentees was Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Salman, who assumed the throne just last January, is widely reported to suffer from both Alzheimer’s and dementia and may not have been able to play any role in the talks in Maryland. In any case, he sent the two most senior members of his regime, his nephew, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Together they hold the reins of Saudi Arabia’s security and military forces.

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa skipped the summit to join Britain’s Queen Elizabeth for a horse show at Windsor Castle.

Disappointment in the Obama administration’s failure to come through with a formal US-Japan-style mutual defense pact for the Gulf monarchies may have played a role in the no-shows. In discussions last week in Paris with GCC foreign ministers, US Secretary of State John Kerry made statements that were interpreted by some in the region as suggesting that such an agreement was in the offing.

Also expressing the Gulf regimes’ displeasure was a vow by a leading figure in the Saudi royal family, Prince Turki bin Faisal, the 70-year-old former Saudi intelligence chief, that Saudi Arabia would build up its own nuclear program. “Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too,” he said on the eve of the summit. Iran has always denied that its nuclear program is intended for anything but peaceful purposes.

As part of US imperialism’s protracted drive to assert its hegemony over the energy-rich Middle East, successive American administrations have sworn to defend Saudi Arabia and the lesser oil monarchies. In proclaiming the Carter Doctrine in the immediate aftermath of the 1979 Iranian revolution, President Jimmy Carter declared that any attempt by an outside power to assert control of the Persian Gulf would be “regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

The fear among the Saudis and other oil monarchs is that rapprochement with Iran combined with Washington’s “pivot to Asia” could lead to a downgrading of the US military presence in the region, which these undemocratic and widely despised regimes regard as essential to their own survival.

In what appeared to be an indication of the absence of substantive progress in the Camp David talks, Obama said that he was going to “make sure this is not just a photo opportunity” by organizing a similar session next year.

The summit served mainly to underscore the bloody catastrophe that US imperialism has wrought in the region and to expose the gross hypocrisy and duplicity of the rationales used to justify Washington’s policies.

Obama declared that he and the oil emirs and princes had discussed close collaboration in the struggle against “terrorism,” in the process lumping Iran together with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In reality, ISIS and Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the Al Nusra Front, have become the principal fighting units in the bloody sectarian struggle for regime change in Syria, precisely because of the substantial financial and arms support lent by the Sunni oil monarchies, with Washington’s collaboration.

And for all of Obama’s talk of defending the countries of the region against outside aggression, his government is providing critical logistical and intelligence support along with the bombs and missiles that have been used to turn much of Yemen into rubble, in a criminal war of aggression that has killed over 1,400 Yemenis and wounded another 6,000, the vast majority of them civilians.

Obama said that in the course of the summit he had reaffirmed Washington’s “ironclad commitment to the security of our Gulf partners.”

He said that this would take the form of increasing “already existing security operations” with more frequent military exercises and other measures aimed at building up the security forces in these dictatorial states. He said that this would include the promotion of “rapid reaction forces” for “peacekeeping” missions. The precedent for such operations was set when Saudi Arabia sent tanks rolling into Bahrain in 2011 to suppress protests by the oppressed Shia majority in that Sunni-ruled monarchy.

He also said his administration would “streamline and expedite” the massive flow of US weaponry into the region, promoting an integrated regional anti-missile system, which will spell massive profits for Lockheed Martin and other US arms merchants.

For all the talk of an Iranian threat, the Gulf monarchies spent some $100 billion on armaments last year, compared to $15 billion for Iran, which has three times as many citizens as all the GCC countries combined.

Keeping a straight face, Obama said he and the emirs and princes had also discussed the importance of “inclusive governance” and “human rights.” In virtually every one of these states, torture, the suppression of free speech and assembly, the imprisonment of political dissidents and brutal executions are the favored means of propping up their ruling royal families. Obama’s rhetoric notwithstanding, they do so with the close collaboration of the CIA and the Pentagon.

Fisherman return from the sea in front of the Tata Mundra plant. Photo: Joe Athialy. Used under Creative Commons license

An Indian fishing community is suing the World Bank in Washington DC over the environmental damage caused by a coal powered plant owned by Tata Power, the largest electricity company in India. The 4,150 megawatt plant is located in the port city of Mundra in Gujarat state.

Tata Power built the $4.14 billion coal plant with the help of a $450 million loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, that was granted in April 2008. The plant began producing power in March 2012 and was fully operational a year later.

The company claims that the plant is “arguably the most energy-efficient, coal-based thermal power plant in the country.”  But the Wagher, a Muslim minority community that lives in the shadow of Tata Mundra, says that the ash generated by the plant has created significant pollution problems and devastated the local fishing industry, their primary means of livelihood.

People have respiratory problems now. The elderly are the worst affected,” said Sidik Kasam Jam, a local fisherman who is suing the World Bank, told Earth Rights International, a Washington non profit that helped bring the lawsuit. “You can see the dust on the fish we lay out to dry.”

“In the morning and at night, you can see steam coming off the outfall channel. It never  feels like winter anymore, it is always warm now,” said Budha Ismail Jam, another of the plaintiffs. “The fish catch has been declining since 2011. The last three years have been particularly bad. In one day, I used to catch three times as much fish as I have caught in the last 7 days.”

In June 2011, the Machimar Adhikar Sangharsh Sangathan (Association for the Struggle for Fisherworkers’ Rights) filed a complaint against the IFC with the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO).

In an audit report issued in August 2013, the CAO agreed that the Wagher “were not adequately considered” and that a “lack of effective consultation with fishing communities early in the project cycle process resulted in missed opportunities to assess, avoid and reduce adverse potential adverse impacts of the project.”

The World Bank says that the plant is providing power to 16 million rural and urban-based domestic consumers in the western states of Gujarat and Maharashtra as well as in the northern states of Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan.

But Rick Herz, Earth Rights litigation coordinator, says that is no excuse for destroying the livelihood of the local community. “While the IFC purports to support this project in the name of poverty reduction and development, its impacts fall hardest on the poorest and most vulnerable communities,” Herz said in a press statement. “The IFC failed on all counts with the Tata Mundra project.”

The IFC claims that it is looking into the matters raised. “The company has commissioned model confirmation studies that will provide insights into any impacts on the marine environment and livelihoods of the fishing communities,” the IFC says in a “frequently asked questions” section of the World Bank’s website.

Meanwhile the Tata Mundra plant is not doing well financially. In February 1015, ICICI Securities financial analysts estimated that the project had lost Rs 3,817 crores in the last three years ($636 million) because of the increase in the costs of coal imported from Indonesia.

In 2013, the company asked the state governments to pay an extra 20 percent for electricity from Tata Mundra. Although the Indian Central Electricity Regulatory Commission initially approved an increase from Rs 2.26 per megawatt to Rs 2.73 ($0.0376 to $0.0455), the Supreme Court struck down the rate hike in August 2014.

“You have been awarded the contract because you were the lowest,” Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar told Tata Power. “Once you agree to it how can you ask for increase in prices now. It’s a contract which you had agreed to. Now you can’t claim that its a loss.

Five major international banks are expected to plead guilty as soon as next week to criminal charges in the US related to their deliberate manipulation of global foreign exchange markets, which allowed them to rake in billions of dollars at the expense of retirees, university endowments and municipalities.

Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Barclays and UBS are expected to plead guilty to felony fraud and antitrust charges. They will pay fines totaling several billions of dollars, according to bank and regulatory officials who spoke anonymously with the New York Times, Bloomberg and Reuters.

The effect of the guilty pleas will be essentially zero, beyond the immediate costs of the fines levied on the institutions. As the Times put it, “life will go on, probably without much of a hiccup.”

In the years since the financial crisis, federal regulators avoided bringing criminal charges against banks and their executives, opting instead for either cash settlements and so-called deferred-prosecution agreements, in which charges are delayed on the basis of the banks’ compliance with certain conditions.

In 2012, it became clear that major global banks, including UBS and Barclays, were systematically engaged in manipulating LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate), the benchmark global interest rate on the basis of which hundreds of trillions of dollars of financial contracts are valued.

In June of that year, Barclays was fined $200 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and $160 million by the United States Department of Justice. This was followed by UBS’s agreement in December 2012 to pay regulators $1.5 billion in connection with the scandal and an agreement by Deutsche Bank in 2015 to pay $2.5 billion to regulators. Numerous other banks, including Citigroup and JPMorgan, were fined by European authorities.

UBS was offered a deferred-prosecution agreement in connection with the LIBOR scandal, but broke the terms of the agreement by manipulating the $5.3 trillion-a-day foreign exchange markets in the subsequent periods.

In late 2014, six banks—JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Bank of America, UBS, Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC—agreed to pay $4.3 billion to federal regulators to settle civil charges.

The investigation charges also had a criminal component, which the Justice Department is now seeking to settle with guilty pleas from the banks. Unlike some previous cases, however, these guilty pleas are expected to come not merely from the subsidiaries of the banks, but from bank holding companies themselves.

Financial regulators have released voluminous records in connection with the foreign exchange scandal, showing how brazenly and openly bank traders discussed rigging currency rates, even as they knew their employers were being investigated for similar activities with regard to LIBOR.

Despite the unprecedented character of the pleas, the actual impact of the admissions of criminal wrongdoing by the banks is expected to be next to nothing.

As the Times reports,

“Behind the scenes in Washington, the banks’ lawyers are also seeking assurances from federal regulators—including the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Labor Department—that the banks will not be barred from certain business practices after the guilty pleas.”

In particular the banks are seeking waivers to retain their status as “well-known seasoned issuers,” allowing them to raise credit more easily, as well as the ability to operate mutual funds. The Times reports that “a majority of commissioners” of the SEC are in favor of granting such such waivers.

In fact, for the biggest corporations, being convicted of a felony is increasingly becoming legally irrelevant, and just one element of their normal operations. As the Times points out, the guilty pleas are merely “an exercise in stagecraft.”

One former Justice Department official told the Times that an “underlying assumption” of the Justice Department is that “the bank is not a criminal operation.” But the emergence of scandal after scandal, including the selling of toxic mortgage-backed securities that caused the financial crisis, the forging of foreclosure documents, widespread complicity in Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme, money laundering, and tax evasion by Wall Street testifies to the fact that the banks are, in fact, criminal outfits.

Since taking office shortly after the onset of the financial crisis, the Obama administration has sought not to hold the banks to account and prevent criminal wrongdoing, but rather to conceal their crimes and, when this becomes impossible, to issue wrist-slap punishments that allow the banks to go on largely as before.

In these cases, the fines levied by financial regulators remain a cost of doing business, and pale in comparison with the billions of dollars made by the major banks every year through criminal activities.

The guiding principle of the Obama administration, in the words of former Attorney General Eric Holder, is that the giant banks are “too big to jail.” As the Times article explained, prosecutors are “mindful that too harsh a penalty could imperil banks that are at the heart of the global economy.”

In exchange for their services, top financial regulators are almost universally provided with high-paying positions in Wall Street after their stints with the government.

Most notably, Ben Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman who funneled trillions of dollars in government funds to Wall Street, announced last month that he has been hired by Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel LLC. This followed the announcement in November 2013 that former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner joined the hedge fund Warburg Pincus.

To this day, not a single executive at any major bank has been criminally prosecuted for helping to cause the financial crisis, or any of the crimes that followed.

Are the US and the EU Sponsoring Terrorism in Burundi?

May 15th, 2015 by Gearóid Ó Colmáin

Since protests broke out in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura in April 25th  2015 against the decision of the  ruling party to nominate the country’s leader Pierre Nkurunziza for a third term as president, the international press has published reports suggesting that the country is on the verge of civil war, as president Nkurunziza, portrayed as a dictator attempting to hold on to power, is confronted with  an ever increasing movement of ‘peaceful protesters’, ‘human rights’ and ‘civil society’ activists who have an almost absolute monopoly on reportage concerning Burundi’s electoral controversy.

While the mainstream media continue to report on the activities of the ‘peaceful protesters’ who have lynched and murdered suspected members of the  imbonerakure, the youth wing of the National Council for the Defense of Democracy, the country’s ruling party,  the massive and entirely peaceful demonstrations by hundreds of thousands of government supporters have been completely ignored.  [1]

It seems a consensus has rapidly been reached concerning who the good and bad guys are in this conflict. But all is not what is seems. In fact, the East African nation is currently experiencing the culmination of a US/EU backed regime change programme which has been conducted as a low-intensity media and covert operations war since 2005. The objective of this war is to redraw the map of the resource-rich Great Lake’s region of Central Africa in accordance with Western corporate and geostrategic interests.

Who is Pierre Nkurunziza?

The current incumbent Pierre Nkurunziza joined the National Council for the Defense of Democracy, Forces for the Defense for Democracy (CNDD-FDD) after the brutal murder of left-wing president Melchior Ndadaye in 1993, the country’s first democratically elected leader who stemmed from the Hutu, ethnic majority in the former German and Belgian colony. Burundi was traditionally ruled by the Tutsi minority ethnic group, whose elites ruled the country in the interests of European colonialism.

Nkurunziza lost many members of his own family during the genocide of the Hutus by the Tutsi military regime which plunged the country into a decade long civil war causing the death of over 300,000 people.

Nkurunziza’s rebel movement signed an agreement with the Tutsi-dominated government of Burundi in Arusha, Tanzania in  August 2000, according to which a transition government of power-sharing between Hutus, Tutsis and Twa would be put in place.

Although in power since 2005, sensu strictu, the country only became a democracy during the election of 2010, where Nkurunziza’s CNDD  won a landslide victory.  It is on this basis that Burundi’s constitutional council, the supreme legal authority in the country, judged correctly that the incumbent has the right to be nominated for another electoral term.

Western backed opposition activists have admitted that the government has not violated the constitution, but insist instead that the constitutional council is corrupt as its members were nominated by the president. No one would claim, for example, that the French constitutional council is corrupt because its members are nominated by the President of the French Republic. But in the case of Africa, constitutional councils are regularly scoffed at by Western powers when their decisions do not conform to neo-colonial interests and neo-colonial interests, not disputes over interpretations of the country’s constitution, are the key issue in the current Burundian crisis.

Since coming to power in 2005, Pierre Nkurunziza has done a remarkable job in re-uniting and re-building a country ruined by internecine war. A fanatical supporter of football, the former physical sports teacher has been rewarded by many peace organizations throughout the world for his use of football as a means of bringing Hutu and Tutsi communities together.

Education has also been a key focus of the Nkurunziza administration.

Burundi has built more schools since 2007 than any previous government since independence almost 50 years ago. Nkurunziza wants to transform Burundi’s economy into a major exporter of fruit and has implemented an ambitious fruit tree plantation programme to this effect.

The Burundian president spends much of his time doing manual work with the peasants of Burundi. After coming to power, the Burundian government passed a law according to which citizens are required to preform community labour on Saturdays in order to expedite the construction of vital public infrastructure. A key role in this endeavour is played by the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the ruling CNDD party.

The Burundian government has made modest progress in reducing poverty, and has promised to increase economic growth from 4.5 percent to 8.5 percent from 2015 from investments made in nickel mining, fruit production and tourism.

Since 2005 gross domestic product levels have increased significantly. In 2012 Nkurunziza won the Pan-African prize for the fight against Malaria. [2]

Burundi’s success in the fight against malaria has been due to the construction of health centres throughout the country, the provision of free health care for children under five years old and pregnant mothers.

Deeply patriotic and highly popular, having fought a long battle for his country’s liberation, Nkurunziza has succeeded in creating a modest form of national voluntarism, nascent self-reliance and a sense of optimism about the country’s future.

He has increased ties with China, India and Brazil, while adroitly taking advantage of inter-imperialist rivalry for access to African markets by signing several important trade deals with Japan.

Indeed, due to the implacable hostility of the neocolonial powers and their press agencies, Burundi will now most likely have no choice but to increase its links with the BRICS powers.

Nkurunziza’s decision in 2010 to sign an agreement with Beijing that provides for closer Sino-Burundian military cooperation is of tremendous significance. Closer relations with China will enable Burundi to strengthen its defense forces from what Burundian patriots refer to as the BHBFC, the Burundi-Hima-Belgian-French Connection, that is to say, the incessant hostility of the neo-colonial powers and their local collaborators.

Who are the Burundian opposition?

The opposition party Movement for Solidary and Democracy (MSD), part of the umbrella organization, the Alliance for Democratic Change Ikibiri (ADC Ikibiri) is led by Alexis Sinduhije. He is a protégé of US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. In the general election of 2010 the The MSD withdrew from the electoral process after gaining a mer 4 percent of the popular vote.  They claimed the elections were unfair, in spite of the fact that international observers did not report any irregularities.

According to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s 2013 report, Sinduhije does not fear violence from the Burundian government but, on the contrary, the Burundian government does fear violence from Sinduhije and his armed bandits. [3]

Sinduhije has been accused of terrorism by the Burundi government after it was revealed that he was forcibly recruiting youths in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Eastern Kivu region for the formation of a rebel group with a view to seizing power in Bujumbura.

The MSD leader was arrested in Tanzania in January 2012 where he was accused of forming a terrorist group for the invasion of Burundi. He was subsequently released by the Tanzanian authorities and escaped to Europe,where human rights groups closely linked to the US State Department and Western intelligence agencies such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have hailed him as a champion of ‘human rights.’

Sinduhije has little popular support inside Burundi but he does have the support of the European Union and the United States, who never wanted the Hutu majority to rule Burundi, as imperial divide and rule policy dictates that post-colonial countries should remain internally divided on ethnic lines with a militarized minority constituting a neo-colonial comprador bourgeoisie eternally dependent on their foreign masters.

Francois Nyamoya is the secretary general of the Movement for Solidary and Democracy. He is also the son of Albin Nyamoya, one of the generals involved in the 1972 genocide of the Hutus under the Micombero regime.

A 2011 UN report on the situation in Eastern Congo identifies many of the so-called Burundian oppositionists as involved in smuggling of gold and terrorizing the inhabitants of Southern Kivu.

Notwithstanding the official criminal evidence against the Burundian ‘opposition’, however, the ‘international community’ chooses to present them as heroes attempting to free their country from ‘corruption’. [4]

None of these fake opposition parties should be confused with the 17 democratically elected deputies of the opposition party Uprona. As in the case of Syria, one must distinguish between the legally constituted opposition and the US and European sponsored gangster networks posing as oppositionists.

Ethnic Conflict in the Service of Neo-Colonialism

During the 1980s the Pentagon trained Rwandan Major General Paul Kagame at the US Army Command and Staff College (CGSC) Fortleavenworth, Kansas.

Kagame’s Rwandan Patriotic Forces invaded Rwanda from Uganda between 1990 and 1994, assassinating two Hutu leaders, President Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi and President Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda.

An impressive US  led propaganda campaign has  presented Paul Kagame as the man who put an end to the genocide in Rwanda, whereas in fact it was Kagame’ forces with full US and Israeli backing who perpetrated most of the mass killings Hutus, Tutsi and Twa blaming all of their crimes on the majority Hutu government.

In October 1996 Kagame’s forces invaded the Congo on the pretext of fighting Hutu rebels. The real objective, however, was to gain control over the mineral rich province of Eastern Congo in close collaboration with Western corporate mining interests. [5]

Kagame’s regime is one of the proxy-forces being used by the United States and the European Union to destabilize and overthrow the democratically elected government of Burundi.  Many researchers in Burundi suspect that the CIA may have been behind the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye in 1993, given the fact that they directed Kagame who ordered the murder of Ndadaye’s successor Cyprien Ntaramira a year later.

The US government is acutely aware that if the people of Burundi are to know the truth about the US-backed genocide of the Hutus in Rwanda and Burundi, it could jeopardize their foreign policy objectives in the region. Managing people’s perspectives and memory of their own suffering due to US imperialism is a key component of the Pentagon’s strategy in parts of the world it controls. That is why a suitable criminal to replace president Nkurunziza must be found and the CIA database of military intelligence assets is filling up with warlords and war criminals from the Congolese Armageddon, where several million people have been murdered since the US proxy invasion of 1996.

Imperialist geo-strategy: Terrorism and Colour Revolutions

Burundian democracy is currently threatened by two main instruments of Western imperial policy: terrorism and colour revolutions. One of the world’s poorest countries, Burundi could not possibly hope to compete with the barrage of media disinformation waged against it since the Nkurunziza’s election victory in 2010.

Almost every report about the country has been based on the statements of oppositionists and so-called ‘civil society’ activists. These activists are been generously funded by the US State Department think tank, the National Endowment For Democracy,(NED) which on the admission of its founder, functions as a front organization for the CIA. [6]

And as William Blum  has shown in his book ‘ Killing Hope: US military and CIA interventions since 1945’ the Boys from Langley’s job is not promote democracy but,  rather as he puts it ‘make the world safe for democracy by getting rid of democracy.’

Many activists and pseudo-journalists funded by the NED have been arrested by the Burundian authorities on charges of fomenting ethnic tension and promoting terrorist groups in collaboration with the enemies of the country, a crime prohibited by all internationally recognized nation-states.

Terrorist groups who have attacked Burundi in recent years have received extensive and positive coverage from the Francophone media.

For example, in a report entitled ‘Retour de la Rebellion’ French journalist Pauline Simonet reported on a ‘rebel’ group in Eastern Congo, who are hoping to invade and seize power in Burundi. The terrorist group was presented in a positive light, while the point of view of the Burundian government was dismissed. The message was clear: the ‘rebels’ have a just cause and are worthy of our sympathy.

The report also mentioned the massacre of Gatumba of the 18 and 19th of September 2013 where several civilians were murdered outside the Burundian capital. The Burundian National Intelligence Service (SNR) blamed the attack on the Forces for National Liberation (FLN), a terrorist group based in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and headed by warlord Agathon Rwasa, whom UN investigators have accused of gold smuggling. The France 24 team seems to be unaware of official UN investigations.

Instead the French TV station suggested that the Gatumba Massacre might have been a false flag operation carried out by the Burundian Government to discredit the ‘opposition’, in spite of having no evidence to support this conspiracy theory. [7]

Rwasa is a former opposition candidate from the ACD-Ikibiri coalition and a full time criminal who ran against Nkununziza in 2010, lost miserably, declared the election to be false, fled to the Congo and returned to his specialization: terrorism.

Lucien Rukevya, a journalist with Radio France Internationale’s Swahili section was arrested on June 16th 2013 while embedded with a Burundian terrorist group. He was charged with complicity in the promotion of terrorism against the Burundian state.  The French media and associated ‘human rights’ groups, did their best to justify this young man’s flagrant and criminal violation of journalistic professionalism, in order to accuse the Burundian government of cracking down on ‘free speech’.

In September 9th 2013 ‘journalist’ Hassan Rovakuki was also arrested for complicity in terrorism. The charge of the Burundian government against these journalists is that they are spreading propaganda in favour of criminals who are attempting to declare war on the people of Burundi. This is in the context of a poor country whose existence is being constantly threatened by militia on its borders in the service of neo-colonial powers, who have not disguised their wish to implement ‘regime change’ in Bujumbura.

Any serious researcher who reads these press dispatches on the so-called Burundian ‘rebels’ operating from the DRC would have to agree that the reports are incontrovertibly biased against the government of Burundi.

All of the reports emphasize the arguments of the rebels while attempting to dismiss those of the government. This is in violation of the most basic rule in journalism: objectivity. Furthermore, such biased, mendacious and aggressive reporting by the agencies of the most powerful countries in the world against a defenseless developing nation constitutes nothing less than acts of psychological terrorism.

On March 8th 2014 an armed insurrection was organized by the opposition in Bujumbura. Police were attacked and kidnapped in what was a clear attempt to seize power. The contrast between citizens throughout the country engaged in community labour in an attempt to rebuild a broken country and a group of fascist thugs attempting to plunge the country into chaos could not have been more poignant. Needless to say, the United States expressed ‘concern’ about the ‘brutal’ crackdown on their putschists.

On December 30th 2014, Burundi’s Northern Province of Cibitoke, on the border with Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo was invaded by a terrorist gang. It took the Burundian National Defense Forces four days to defeat the invasion. Many of the terrorists were captured and a spokesman for the army in a press conference after the incident assured reporters that they would be treated according to international humanitarian law.

Meanwhile the NED funded media outlets in the country were zealously spreading pro-rebel propaganda, even publishing photos of dead Shebaab rebels in Kenya, claiming they were  Burundian prisoners of war ‘massacred’ by the Burundian  military.

The European Union and the United States have shamelessly expressed ‘human rights’ concerns about the Burundian government’s defeat of the foreign-backed invasion, while showing no concern for their victims.

The international Francophone press was also vociferous in it condemnation of the arrest in January 2015 of Rob Rugurika, the director of Radio Publique Afrique, a privately-funded ‘opposition’ radio station, after he accused the government of ordering the massacre of three Italian nuns in Kamenge in 2014.

Rugurika, who has links with terrorist groups outside the country, has been accused by the Burundian judiciary of being part of a conspiracy to commit crimes and blame them on the government in a destabilization campaign backed by foreign powers.

In September 2014, 40 bodies were found floating on Lake Rweru between Rwanda and Burundi. Villagers upriver in Rwanda fled from French journalists when they attempted to investigate the crime. They told RFI that they had been warned by the Rwandan authorities not to speak to journalists about what they had seen. In spite of the fact that Burundian authorities could not have been behind the crime, US-funded opposition media inside Burundi continue to peddle all sorts of lies suggesting that the corpses might have been oppositionists murdered by the Burundian government.

The US-funded media disinformation campaign is part of the prelude to the mobilization of street protests against the government that can be presented to the world as a ‘popular uprising’against a ‘dictator’ who is ‘killing his own people’ It is a techinique that has been perfected by US ‘democracy’and ‘civil society’ NGOS.

The director of France’s Lazard Bank and proprietor of the French daily Le Monde, Mathieu Pigasse is on record expressing his adoration for the Arab Spring. He has also pointed out that Western policy makers are now focusing on spreading the techniques of the Arab Spring throughout Africa. The millionaire ‘revolutionist’ has made it clear that Western investors prefer to deal with ‘civil society’ organizations in Africa rather than governments. [8]

This phenomenon is what Italian Marxist philosopher Antonio Gramsci referred to as the ‘takeover of politics by civil society’, that is to say, the destruction of the political sphere and the agora of human agency and social progress by the absolutism of corporate exploitation.

Since the US-backed people-power coups in North Africa in 2011, the US ‘youth industry’, this anti-politics of destruction, has spread its tentacles throughout the African continent, where, paradoxically, ‘anti-corruption’ and ‘down-with-the-dictator’ activism further entrenches imperialism by contriving a discourse on social discontent that obfuscates its material basis, thereby dis-empowering and corrupting the youth. We could call this phenomenon the stultification of dissent.

The aim of terrorism and people-power coups or colour revolutions is to render nations of the Global South powerless in the face of globalization.

It is a deeply cynical but nevertheless ingenious US foreign policy programme, which, due to the fact that so many critics of US foreign policy continue to believe that the Arab Spring was a genuinely ‘spontaneous uprising’ of the masses against US-backed dictators, attests to the sophistication and prescience of the US foreign-policy establishment.

A Neo-Colonial War on a free African nation.

The United States and the European Union are at war against the people of Burundi. Situated at the heart of the mineral rich Great Lakes region of Africa, the democratic government of Burundi is an obstacle to the depopulation programme currently being carried out  by US client dictator Paul Kagame of Rwanda and his partner Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who are attempting to carve up Eastern Congo in order to create an independent  Republic of Kivu, bringing that region’s vast wealth into the possession of European and American corporate interests.

In October 2014 the Burundian military were forced to withdraw by the United Nations ‘peace-keeping’ force MONUSCO from Kiliba in Eastern Congo where they had been cracking down on terrorist groups.  Shortyly thereafter, the Burundian authorities arrested several NED funded activists ,who were busy spreading absurd lies about the Burundian military training pro-government Burundian youth( the imbonerakure) in the Congo for the purposes of terrorizing the Burundian population at home.

These lies were meant to incite fear and ethnic hatred among the population, in order to weaken the credibility of the government.

This withdrawal from the DRC will make it more difficult for the Burundian government to protect its borders from terrorism. Meanwhile, ‘peaceful protesters’ are attacking police and lynching pro-government civilians with the full backing of the international military-industrial-media-intelligence complex.

The protesters  in the streets are chanting ‘’down with the dictator’’ and an ‘’end to corruption’’ but in reality, Nkurunziza is being targeted for not serving the interests of the infinitely corrupt scoundrels currently running the United Nations, the potentates of the soi-disant ‘international community’.

The African Union has called on the Burundian government to postpone the elections. This is the same African Union which stood by and watched French forces bomb and invade the Ivory Coast in 2010, Libya in 2011, Mali in 2012, and the Central African Republic in 2013.

If the African Union is to gain a modicum of respect, it must stand up for the sovereignty of African nations and threaten to lead a coalition of military forces to defend any country attacked by US/European imperialism.

In the case of Burundi, the African Union should have denounced the diabolical terrorist and media disinformation campaign against a young democratic country which has just emerged from a civil war. The fact that they did not shows that they have sided with the enemies of Africa. It is hardly surprising that truly independent, post-colonial countries such as Eritrea will have nothing to do with the sham called the African Union.

If the Burundian authorities do not succeed in crushing the violent insurgency, the country could be facing more years of civil war and permanent foreign occupation by UN ‘peace-keepers’ after a ‘humanitarian intervention’ to ‘stop the massacres’. The script has been tried and tested in Haiti, the  Ivory Coast, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic.

So, the key question  now is this: Can Burundi defy the Empire and protect its people from carpet bombing called ‘humanitarian intervention’, a terrorist invasion called ‘liberation’, a military coup called ‘transitional government’ and  a possible genocide where once again the victims will be blamed?


[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc9IMovrkow&feature=share

[2] http://burundi-agnews.org/le-politique/politique/?p=2113

[3] http://www.ecoi.net/local_link/264935/378756_en.html

[4] http://www.un.org/sc/committees/1533/egroup.shtml

[5] http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-us-was-behind-the-rwandan-genocide-installing-a-us-protectorate-in-central-africa/18540?print=1

[6] http://ned.org/where-we-work/africa/burundi

[7]  http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xmpaqd_burundi-le-retour-de-la-rebellion_news

[8] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUk6QsEUXdg

Gearoid O Colmain is a political analyst based in Paris. He is a frequent contributor to Russia Today and Press TV and has published articles on Global Research, Dissident Voice and other independent media outlets. He has also appeared on Al Jazeera and has contributed to Venezuela’s Radio Del Sur.