Did Putin Just Bring Peace to Ukraine?

September 7th, 2014 by Mike Whitney

“In the implementing of their policies, our western partners– the United States first and foremost – prefer to be guided not by international law, but by force. They believe in their own ‘exceptionalism’, that they are allowed to decide on the fate of the world, and that they are always right.”

– Russian President Vladimir Putin

“What did we do to deserve this? What did we do to deserve being bombed from planes, shot at from tanks, and have phosphorous bombs dropped on us? ….That we wanted to live the way we want, and speak our own language, and make friends with whom we want?”

– Alexander V. Zakharchenko, Chairman of The Council of Ministers of The Donetsk National Republic, The Vineyard of the Saker

There is no way to overstate the significance of what has transpired in Ukraine in the last three weeks. What began as a murderous onslaught on the mainly Russian-speaking population of east Ukraine, has turned into a major triumph against a belligerent and expansionistic empire that has been repulsed by a scrappy, battle-hardened militia engaged in a conventional, land-based war.  The conflict in east Ukraine is Obama’s war; launched by Obama’s junta government, executed by Obama’s proxy army, and directed by Obama’s advisors in Kiev. The driving force behind the war is Washington’s ambitious pivot to Asia, a strategy that pits Russia against Europe to prevent further economic integration and to establish NATO forward-operating bases on Russia’s western border. Despite the overheated rhetoric, the talk of a (NATO) “Rapid Reaction Force”, and additional economic sanctions; the US plan to draw Ukraine into the western sphere of influence and weaken Russia in the process, is in tatters. And the reason it is in tatters is because a highly-motivated and adaptable militia has trounced Obama’s troopers at every turn pushing the Ukrainian army to the brink of collapse. Check out this frontline update from The Saker:

“The (Ukrainian Army) is not retreating on one, two or even three directions, it is retreating everywhere (except north of Lugansk).  Entire battalions are leaving the front under orders of their battalion commanders and without the approval of the Junta leaders.  At least one such battalion commander is already being judged for desertion.  The entire Ukie leadership seems to be in a panic mode, especially Iatseniuk and Kolomoiski, while the Nazis are mad as hell at the Poroshenko administration.  There are constant rumors of an anti-Poroshenko coup by outraged Nazi nationalists…..

The bottom line is this: Poroshenko promised a victory in a matter of weeks and his forces suffered one of the most total defeats in the history of warfare. ….the most likely thing is that this ridiculous “Banderastan” experiment has seriously begun sinking now and that many rats are leaving the ship.

The War in Ukraine“, Vineyard of the Saker

The fact that the demoralized Ukrainian army has been defeated by the superior fighting force is of little importance in the big scheme of things, however, the fact that Washington’s global resource war– which began on 9-11 and has reduced numerous sovereign countries into anarchic, failed states– has been stopped in its tracks, is significant. The so called War on Terror–which was recently rebranded under the ISIS moniker–has wreaked holy havoc and death on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Syria. By routing the Ukrainian army the Novorussian Armed Forces (NAF)  has put the kibosh on Obama’s Great Game strategy  in Eurasia and torpedoed Washington’s plan to rule the world by force of arms. It could be that the battles of Lugansk and Donetsk are eventually regarded as the turning point, where the lumbering and over-extended empire finally met its match and began its precipitous decline. In any event, there’s no doubt that Friday’s ceasefire agreement is a serious blow to US hegemony.

THE PROBLEM IS NATO

“The defining factor in relations with NATO remains the unacceptability for Russia of plans to move the military infrastructure of the alliance towards our borders, including via enlargement of the bloc,”  said Mikhail Popov, deputy head of Putin’s Security Council.

The issue has always been NATO expansion, not the ridiculous claim that Putin wants to rebuild the Russian Empire. The only one interested in in stitching together a global Caliphate is Barack Hussein Obama and his nutcase neocon advisors. Putin is not interested in an empire. Putin just wants to make money like everyone else. He wants to sell gas to Europe, raise living standards and rebuild the country.  What’s wrong with that?

Putin’s not a troublemaker. He’s not sticking a freaking first-strike nuclear missile system in Havana just 60 miles from Miami. But that’s what Obama wants to do. Obama want to establish NATO bases on Russia’s doorstep and deploy his fake-named “missile defense system” a couple hundred miles from Moscow. Putin can’t allow that. No one in their right mind would allow that. It’s a direct threat to national security. Here’s how Putin summed it up in a recent press conference:

“Russia is an independent and active participant of international relations. Just like any nation it has national interests that must be taken into consideration and respected…..We stand against having a military organization meddling in our backyard, next to our homeland or in the territories that are historically ours. I just cannot imagine visiting NATO sailors in Sevastopol,” he stressed. “Most of them are fine lads, but I’d rather they visit us in Sevastopol than the other way around.” (Vladimir Putin)

Washington’s harebrained gambit was doomed from the get go. Who made the decision to topple Yanuchovych,  install a US-puppet in Kiev, fill-out the security services with neo Nazis, and wage a bloody ethnic cleansing purge on the Russian-speaking people in the east?  Who was it?  Isn’t there any accountability among the Obama team or is it all a matter of “failing upwards” like the Bush crowd? Here’s Putin again:

“Our western partners created the ‘Kosovo precedent’ with their own hands. In a situation absolutely the same as the one in Crimea they recognized Kosovo’s secession from Serbia legitimate while arguing that no permission from a country’s central authority for a unilateral declaration of independence is necessary….And the UN International Court of Justice agreed with those arguments. That’s what they said; that’s what they trumpeted all over the world and coerced everyone to accept – and now they are complaining about Crimea. Why is that?”

Doesn’t Putin have a point? Isn’t this what we’ve seen over and over again, that there’s one standard for the US and another for everyone else?

Of course it is. But Putin’s not going to stand for it. In fact, just this week, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov expanded on Putin’s comments in an interview that never appeared in the western media.  Here’s what he said:

“The current stage of international relations is marked by a transition to a fundamentally new world order – a polycentric model based on due regard for the appearance of new economic and financial centres. And political weight comes with economic and financial influence. Transition to a polycentric world order reflects an objective trend according to which the world order should be based on the world’s cultural and civilisational diversity. This is objective reality, which no one can deny. …

After a long period of dominance in global economy and politics, these countries are trying to keep their positions by artificial means. They know that their economic positions are not as strong as they were after WWII, when America accounted for over half of global GDP, but they are trying to use all available military and political instruments, social media, regime-change technology and other instruments to keep back the objective process of the development of a democratic world order based on the equality of all sides.

Not everyone has realized yet that it is impossible to move contrary to an objective historical process. We strongly hope that this will happen, because otherwise more illegal unilateral sanctions will be approved against Russia, to which we will respond accordingly, as we have already tried to do. But this, I repeat, is not our choice; we don’t want confrontation.” (Press Conference: Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov)

“A new world order based on a polycentric model”? What a great idea. You mean, a world in which other sovereign nations get a say-so in the way the world is run?  You mean, a world in which the economic, political, and military decision-making does not emerge from one center of power that is dominated by privately-owned banks, transnational corporations and voracious western elites? You mean, a world in which international law can be applied evenly so that one country cannot unilaterally create off-shore gulags, or incite color coded revolutions, or carry out extra-legal abductions and killings, or order drone attacks on wedding parties or conduct any of the other heinous violations of human rights which imperial Washington engages in without batting an eye?

The NAF’s victory in east Ukraine brings us all one step closer to actualizing the multi-polar world of which Lavrov and Putin speak so glowingly. In fact, just hours ago Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko capitulated and signed a ceasefire agreement with the leaders of the anti-fascist militia, Igor Plotnitsky and Aleksandr Zakharchenko. (Remember: “We never negotiate with terrorists”?) Ukraine’s National Security Council (SNBO) has reported that its troops have halted all military actions. The government’s public statement reads as follows:

“According to the decision of the President of Ukraine and the order of the chief of the General staff of the military units of Ukraine, troops in the area of anti-terrorist operations ceased fire at 15.00 GMT.”

Peace at last?

It sure looks like it.

So while Obama is busy trying to ramp up the violence by rallying NATO to expand the wars around the world,  international peacekeepers will begin the thorny task of implementing a seven-point peace plan put forward by none-other-than Vladimir Putin.

The difference between the peacemakers and the warmongers has rarely been as stark as it is today.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

Three weeks after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) published a report detailing how the United States has failed to fulfill its legal obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (Convention). The CERD report was scathing in its criticism of the US for not complying with the Convention’s mandates. Since the US ratified this treaty, thereby becoming a State Party, it is part of US law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.

States parties must comply with the obligations under the Convention, including submitting periodic reports to CERD regarding their progress in fulfilling their obligations. CERD is the body that monitors compliance of States Parties with the Convention.  After reviewing the most recent US report, CERD responded with its concluding observations as follows:

CERD urged the US to prohibit racial discrimination in all its forms, including indirect discrimination. (The US currently prohibits only intentional discrimination, but not legislation and programs that are discriminatory in effect).

CERD urged the US to comply with the Convention’s mandate that States Parties adopt special measures to eliminate persistent disparities based on race or ethnic origin. (The US Supreme Court has narrowed the use of affirmative action in education).

CERD urged the US to specifically outlaw racial profiling. (The FBI, TSA, border enforcement officials and local police engage in racial profiling).

CERD urged the US to clean up radioactive and toxic waste, particularly in areas inhabited by racial and ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples. CERD also urged the US to prevent US-registered transnational corporations from adversely affecting, in particular, minorities and indigenous peoples. (Racial and ethnic minorities, and indigenous peoples are disproportionately affected by negative health impacts of pollution caused by extractive and manufacturing industries).

CERD urged the US to adopt legislation to prevent implementation of voting regulations with discriminatory impact. (The US Supreme Court invalidated procedural safeguards in the Voting Rights Act aimed at preventing the implementation of voting regulations that may have discriminatory effect). CERD also urged the US and all states to reinstate voting rights to persons convicted of felonies who have served their sentences.

CERD urged the US to abolish laws and policies making homelessness a crime. (A high number of homeless persons are disproportionately from racial and ethnic minorities, and homelessness is criminalized by loitering statutes).

CERD urged the US to intensify efforts to eliminate racial discrimination in access to housing, and ensure affordable and adequate housing for all. (There is persistent racial discrimination in housing and a high degree of segregation and concentrated poverty).

CERD urged the US to develop a concrete plan to address racial segregation in schools, and increase federal funds for such programs. (Students from racial and ethnic minorities attend segregated schools with unequal facilities).

CERD urged the US to ensure that everyone, particularly racial and ethnic minorities, who reside in states that have opted out of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and undocumented immigrants and their families living in the US for less than five years, have effective access to affordable and adequate health-care. (The US Supreme Court allows states to opt out of Medicaid expansion, and undocumented immigrants and their children are excluded from coverage under the ACA).

CERD urged the US to fulfill its obligation to protect the right to life and reduce gun violence by adopting legislation expanding background checks and prohibiting the practice of carrying concealed handguns in public. CERD also urged the US to review Stand Your Ground Laws to remove far-reaching immunity and ensure strict adherence to necessity and proportionality when deadly force is used in self-defense. (There is a high number of gun-related deaths and injuries, and Stand Your Ground laws are used to circumvent the limits of legitimate self-defense).

CERD urged the prompt and effective investigation of each allegation of excessive force by law enforcement officials, prosecution of alleged perpetrators and effective sanctions for those convicted, re-opening of investigations when new evidence becomes available, and adequate compensation for victims and their families. (Brutality and excessive force by law enforcement officials against racial and ethnic minorities has a disparate impact on African-Americans and undocumented migrants crossing the US-Mexico border; US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents enjoy impunity for abuses committed against Hispanic/Latino Americans and undocumented migrants).

CERD urged legal protection for the rights of non-citizens, including protection of migrants from exploitative and abusive working conditions; dealing with breaches of immigration law through civil, rather than criminal immigration system; guaranteeing legal representation in all immigration matters; and raising the minimum age for agricultural field work. (Immigration enforcement is increasingly militarized, leading to excessive and lethal force by CBP personnel; local law enforcement increasingly uses racial profiling to determine immigration status; immigrants are detained for prolonged periods of time; and undocumented immigrants are deported without access to justice).

CERD urged the US to intensify efforts to prevent and combat violence against women, particularly against American Indian and Alaska native women, and ensure all cases of violence against women are effectively investigated, prosecuted and sanctioned, and victims are provided appropriate remedies. (A disproportionate number of women from racial and ethnic minorities continue to be subjected to violence, including rape and sexual violence).

CERD urged the US to take concrete and effective steps to eliminate racial disparities at all stages of the criminal justice system. CERD also urged the US to impose, at the federal level, a moratorium on the death penalty with a view to abolishing the death penalty. (Members of racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately arrested, incarcerated and subjected to harsher sentences, including life imprisonment without parole (LWOP) and the death penalty).

CERD urged the US to intensify efforts to address racial disparities in disciplinary measures, as well as the “school-to-prison pipeline”; and ensure juveniles are not transferred to adult courts and are separated from adults in custody. CERD also urged the US to abolish LWOP for those under 18 at the time of their crime, and the commutation of sentences for those already serving LWOP. (Youth from racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately arrested at school and referred to the criminal justice system, prosecuted as adults, incarcerated in adult prison, and sentenced to LWOP).

CERD urged the US to end administrative detention without charge or trial at Guantanamo and the closure of the prison facility there without further delay. CERD also urged the US to guarantee the right to a fair trial in compliance with international human rights standards, and to ensure that any detainee not charged and tried is released immediately. (Non-citizens continue to be arbitrarily detained without effective and equal access to the ordinary criminal justice system, and risk of being subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment).

CERD urged the US to adopt necessary measures to eliminate the disproportionate impact of inadequate criminal defense programs on racial and ethnic minorities, by improving the quality of legal representation and adequately funding legal aid. (There is no right to counsel in civil proceedings, which disproportionately affects indigent racial and ethnic minorities seeking effective remedies for evictions, foreclosures, domestic violence, employment discrimination, termination of subsistence income or medical assistance, loss of child custody, and deportation).

CERD urged the US to guarantee the right of indigenous peoples to effective participation in decisions affecting them, eliminate undue obstacles to recognition of tribes, protect sacred sites, and halt the removal of indigenous children from their families and communities. (There is a lack of concrete progress in guaranteeing informed consent of indigenous peoples in decisions that affect them, burdensome obstacles to tribal recognition, insufficient protection of sacred sites, and continued removal of indigenous children from families and communities through the US child welfare system).

CERD also urged the adoption of a National Action Plan to combat structural racial discrimination, and ensure that school curricula, textbooks and teaching materials address human rights themes and promote understanding among racial and ethnic minority groups.

CERD urged the US to recognize the competence of CERD to hear individual complaints. CERD also urged the US to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of the Their Families; the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Finally, CERD urged the US to widely publicize the CERD’s recommendations. When the US ratifies a treaty, the legal obligations it assumes apply at the federal, state and local levels. And although, by ratifying a treaty, the US undertakes an obligation to publicize the terms of the treaty, the US government has not taken this responsibility seriously.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her next book, “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues,” will be published this month.
Copyright Truthout.org 2014  Reprinted with permission of author.

Guatemala Rejects U.S. Trade Law Protecting Monsanto and GMOs

September 7th, 2014 by Heather Callaghan

Big Biotech’s promise to feed the world, by squeezing out every other choice against the will of the impoverished people intended as the target - is beyond cruel and exploitative. It is another way that the U.S. occupies other countries. How else are other people in these countries supposed to view multiple soft-sanctions on food, but as an act of war?

The people of Guatemala caught on to the deceptive nature of a U.S. Trade Agreement with Central America which was marketed as a way to “modernize” them. It also pretends to protect new seed varieties and paints the seed bearers in need of protection as small farmers. It is actually a way for big biotech and seed companies like Monsanto, DuPont, Duwest, Syngenta, etc. to assume power and immunity as owners of their food supply.

Guatemala is calling it “Monsanto Law.” It does bear resemblance to the “Monsanto Protection Act” which was a rider slipped into a U.S. financial bill last year, now considered dead.

From TechDirt:

The new law was brought in as part of the process of complying with the 2005 CAFTA-DR free trade agreement between Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and the US. Under its terms, signatories are obliged to sign up to the International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties — exactly the same one that was being foisted on Africa last year. However, as bilaterals.org reports, despite that obligation, there is mounting resistance to handing over the country’s seed sovereignty in this way:

The growing opposition to the “Monsanto Law” comes from diverse sectors of civil society such as indigenous organizations, environmental groups, scientists, artists and members of Congress.

Artists and television celebrities have joined an online signature campaign to reject the law.

Their petition is addressed to the President, Otto Perez Molina, via the Avaaz website, and argues that the law is unconstitutional.

“This law violates articles of the Constitution relating to the Protection of Individuals, Cultural Identity, Natural Heritage, Right to Health, the principles of the Economic and Social Regime, in addition to the obligation of the state to protect consumers,” the petition states.

On 10 June, the Congress of Guatemala approved Decree 19-2014 or the “Law for the Protection of New Plant Varieties” which led to an outpouring of criticism from various sectors of civil society.

This law, published on 26 June, protects the intellectual property of plant breeders deemed to have “created” or “discovered” new plant varieties, or genetically modified existing ones.

This way, the beneficiaries of the law — “breeders”, which are typically companies producing transgenic seeds like the transnational corporation Monsanto — obtain property rights over the use of such varieties, in the form of plants or seeds.

If that isn’t enough, according to the Rural Studies Collective (Cer-Ixim) the implications of this law are harsh and dire (but not too surprising, considering Monsanto’s treatment of farmers in the U.S.).

It will be illegal and punishable by imprisonment if farmers do the following:

  • Possess or exchange protected seed varieties without authorization.
  • Possess the harvest or save seeds for future use.
  • Use the product of “varieties essentially derived from the protected variety.” Meaning even unintentionally via contamination.

Do you realize that biotech seed companies own their spreading damage through patents and protection under laws such as these? Their damage to the farmer and inevitable contamination becomes their property, and then some, with litigation. Add to that the imprisonment of the afflicted party and they don’t just own all the seed and food, but the farmers too.

Guatemalan groups are seeing the full implications of this trade and reject it for its unconstitutionality, a loss of biodiversity for foreign interests and the lack of consent.

RT reports:

The highest court in Guatemala has suspended the controversial ‘Monsanto Law,’ a provision of a US-Central American trade agreement, that would insulate transnational seed corporations considered to have “discovered” new plant varieties.

The Constitutional Court suspended on Friday the law – passed in June and due to go into effect on Sept. 26 – after a writ of amparo was filed by the Guatemalan Union, Indigenous and Peasant Movement, which argued the law would harm the nation, LaVoz reported.

The Court’s decision came after several Guatemalan parliamentarians from both the governing Patriotic Party and the opposition party Renewed Democratic Freedom said they would consider repealing the law after outcry from a diverse cross-section of Guatemalans.

The Arabic version of Aljazeera, the Doha-based broadcaster funded by the House of Thani in Qatar, has joined the growing chorus questioning the beheading of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

The news channel says the videos are “unconvincing” and Foley and Sotloff are actors right out of “Hollywood” casting. It believes the videos were produced as a pretext ahead of a U.S. invasion of Syria.

“Perhaps the first thing that draws the attention of the viewer” in the first beheading video is that “Foley was playing the role of champion not the victim only, for he recites a lengthy statement in peerless theatrical performance, and it seems from tracking the movement of his eyes that he was reading a text from an autocue,” Aljazeera reports.

The news network poses questions similar to those asked by Infowars.com and other alternative news sites soon after the video appeared. For instance, a clue the video was staged is the lack of blood when Foley and Sotloff supposedly have their throats cut by a masked jihadist. The “knife being moved on the neck of the victim six times triggered no blood,” Aljazeera notes.

Moreover, neither of the supposed victims display fear despite the fact they are about to have their heads sawed off.

“It also raised questions over how Foley, who was kidnapped since 2012, reached the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Even more, it raised doubts over the identity of the executed man, claiming that he does not look like Foley,” reports Al Arabiya News.

“It quoted unidentified ‘activists’ as claiming that Foley had previously worked for the U.S. Department of State and that he might have had links with intelligence, ‘which could mean that he colluded in the fabrication of the tape.’”

Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned pan-Arab television news channel, questions why the report criticizing the alleged beheading videos only appears in Arabic. It notes “there was no translation or mention of the article which doubts of Foley and Sotloff found on Al Jazeera English website.”

Al Arabiya quotes a Lebanon-based media specialist and commentator who tries to prove a negative in order to claim the beheadings in fact occurred.

“If, as he claims, it’s all staged, can he prove that without a shadow of a doubt? Does he have tangible proof it didn’t happen, or is he just rehashing others’ suspicions? In a court of law, one would need solid data, not just circumstantial evidence. Were there witnesses?” Abu-Fadil said, casting doubt on the Aljazeera writer who posted the report.

“The old Cold War… is not what we thought it was. It was not a contest between capitalism and communism, between liberty and the denial of liberty…it was most fundamentally an effort on the part of the United States to prevent the emergence of any economy that would rival its power.”

Dr. Radhika Desai, June 2014

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For the first time since the end of the Cold War, nearly a generation ago, Western leaders and Western media are depicting the Russian government as a menace to be contained if not subjugated.

The alleged “Russian threat” springs from President Putin’s actions during and after the Maidan protests and the subsequent change in the Ukrainian government. Russia-Ukraine negotiations disrupted for a time an EU-Association Agreement. Then following the change in government in Kiev, Russia annexed Crimea in what Western leaders saw as an illegal move. Russia was accused of masterminding the resistance in the East and South of the country, and supplying rebels with powerful weapons, such as those which allegedly brought down a Malaysian airplane.

Is the world witnessing the emergence of a new Cold War?

On this, the premiere of the Global Research News Hour for the 2014-2015 season, we feature three perspectives on the crisis in Ukraine from a public forum in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada as recorded on June 18, 2014.

The forum was geared toward placing the events of the last year in a geopolitical and economic context. It was advertised as a fact-based look at the forces shaping the conflict, and an attempt to formulate the best posture for Canada to adopt in order to resolve the situation.

The event was sponsored by the Winnipeg Council of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians as part of its Ukrainian Labour Temple Speaker Series. The speakers included:

Dr. Ray Silvius – Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Winnipeg. His interests are in the realm of international and political economy, critical political economy and Russian political economy. His talk centered on the prospects for the Ukrainian economy having abandoned Russian subsidies of its natural gas and loan guarantees in favour of the EU Association agreement.

Alan Freeman – Formerly an economist working with the greater London authority, and a visiting professor at the London Metropolitan University now living in Winnipeg. He is also a co-editor of the Future of Capitalism book series. His analysis focuses on the political, social and economic aspects within Russia, including the changes brought about by President Putin, the question of national integrity in a multi-ethnic Russian state, and the roots of social conservatism among the people.

Dr. Radhika Desai – A faculty member and professor of Political Studies at the university of Manitoba. She is also a co-editor of the Future of Capitalism book series. A prolific author of numerous articles and books, including the upcoming book ” The Making of the Indian Capitlist Class.” Dr. Desai addresses popular myths about the collapse of the former Soviet Union, and asserts her conviction that the confrontation between US-NATO represents a continuation of the old Cold War.

 

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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.

Community Radio Stations carrying the Global Research News Hour:

CHLY 101.7fm in Nanaimo, B.C – Thursdays at 1pm PT

Boston College Radio WZBC 90.3FM NEWTONS  during the Truth and Justice Radio Programming slot -Sundays at 7am ET.

Port Perry Radio in Port Perry, Ontario – Thursdays at 1pm ET

Burnaby Radio Station CJSF out of Simon Fraser University. 90.1FM to most of Greater Vancouver, from Langley to Point Grey and from the North Shore to the US Border. It is also available on 93.9 FM cable in the communities of SFU, Burnaby, New Westminister, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Surrey and Delta, in British Columbia Canada. – Tune in every Saturday at 6am.

CFRU 93.3FM in Guelph, Ontario. Tune in Wednesdays from 12am to 1am.

NATO warlords concluded two days of meetings and related activities. Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said a Readiness Action Plan was agreed on.”

It’ll “strength (the alliance’s) defense,” he said. It can be deployed on very short notice. It includes “several thousand land troops.”

It complement’s NATO’s (multinational) Response Force. It includes land, air, sea and special force elements.

It’s a stand-alone force available for rapid deployment. It maintains up to 25,000 troops. NATO’s mission is offense, not defense.

Its readiness tells “any potential aggressor: should you even think of attacking one (member), you will be facing the whole alliance.”

Rasmussen announced plans to launch a Defense Capacity Building Initiative. It “reinforce(s) (NATO’s) commitment to partner nations.

It includes cooperation with Georgia, Moldova an Jordan. It provides “security capacity support” for Libya. It’s ready to assist Iraq on “request.”

The alliance’s US-led Open Door policy aims for establishing a global police force. To include as many nations as possible.

To subordinate member-state militaries under its command. To operate virtually everywhere. To do so extrajudicially.

“Today we have decided how to make NATO more ready and better connected,” said Rasmussen. “This is the blueprint for the NATO of tomorrow.

Wales Summit Declaration in part said:

“We, the Heads of State and Government of the member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance (met) at a pivotal moment in the Euro-Atlantic security.”

Fact: US-led NATO bears full responsibility for global instability, lack of security, and permanent wars.

“Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine have fundamentally challenged our vision of a Europe whole,.free, and at peace.”

Fact: Russia supports peace and stability.

Fact: It works tirelessly for it.

Fact: America sabotages it best efforts repeatedly.

Fact: US-led NATO is a serial aggressor.

Fact: It’s humanity’s greatest threat.

“Our Alliance remains an essential source of stability in this unpredictable world. Together as strong democracies, we are united” for a common purpose.

Fact: NATO is an alliance for war.

Fact: It’s for offense, not defense.

Fact: It’s a machine for the destruction of fundamental democratic freedoms.

Fact: It’s common purpose is making the world safe for monied interests.

“…NATO remains the transatlantic framework for strong collective defence and the essential forum for security consultations and decisions among Allies.”

“The greatest responsibility of the Alliance is to protect and defend our territories and our populations against attack…”

Fact: NATO’s only threats are ones it invents.

“We stand ready to act together and decisively to defend freedom and our shared values of individual liberty, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.”

Fact: NATO’s “shared values” want hardline rule replacing fundamental freedoms, “individual liberty, human rights, democracy, and the rule of law.”

NATO is ready to respond to “challenges posed by Russia…”

“NATO can effectively address the specific challenges posed by hybrid warfare threats, where a wide range of overt and covert military, paramilitary, and civilian measures are employed in a highly integrated design.”

Fact: NATO challenges Russia irresponsibly.

Fact: Doing so risks potential East/West confrontation.

“We agree to reverse the trend of declining defence budgets…”

“Increased investments should be directed towards meeting our capability priorities, and Allies also need to display the political will to provide required capabilities and deploy forces when they are needed.”

“A strong defence industry across the Alliance, including a stronger defence industry in Europe and greater defence industrial cooperation within Europe and across the Atlantic, remains essential for delivering the required capabilities.”

Fact: NATO wants more money for warmaking.

“We condemn in the strongest terms Russia’s escalating and illegal military intervention in Ukraine and demand that Russia stop and withdraw its forces from inside Ukraine and along the Ukrainian border.”

“This violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is a serious breach of international law and a major challenge to Euro-Atlantic security.”

“…We demand that Russia comply with international law and its international obligations and responsibilities…refrain from aggressive actions against Ukraine…withdraw its troops; halt the flow of weapons, equipment, people and money across the border to the separatists; and stop fomenting tension along and across the Ukrainian border.”

“Russia must use its influence with the separatists to de-escalate the situation and take concrete steps to allow for a political and a diplomatic solution which respects Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and internationally recognised borders.”

Fact: Russia didn’t invade Ukraine.

Fact: It hasn’t violated its sovereignty.

Fact: It complies with international law.

Fact: It doesn’t foment tensions inside or outside its borders.

Fact: It wants peaceful conflict resolution.

Fact: Washington wants war.

Fact: So do rogues NATO partners.

“For more than two decades, NATO has strived to build a partnership with Russia, including through the mechanism of the NATO-Russia Council, based upon the NATO-Russia Founding Act and the Rome Declaration.”

“Russia has breached its commitments, as well as violated international law, thus breaking the trust at the core of our cooperation.”

“The Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia.”

Fact: US-led NATO wants Russia marginalized, isolated, weakened, and co-opted.

Fact: Moscow respects rule of law principles.

Fact: US-led NATO spurns them.

Fact: It threatens Russia and other independent states.

Fact: It’s a humanity-threatening cancer.

Obama said “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine threatens our vision of a Europe that is whole, free and at peace.”

Fact: Moscow wants people everywhere living free.

Fact: It’s European vision is democratic.

Fact: US-led NATO’s world view is instability, permanent wars, replacing independent leaders with pro-Western subservient ones, institutionalizing hardline rule, and crushing democracy at all costs.

“We will defend every Ally” threatened, said Obama.

Fact: NATO faces no threats.

Fact: Its only threats are ones it invents.

Fact: Its members agreed to support NATO aggression for any reason or none at all.

“(W)e agreed to be resolute in reassuring our Allies in Eastern Europe,” said Obama.

Fact: Washington wants all Eastern European nations co-opted.

Fact: It wants them used as a dagger against Russia.

New strategy assures NATO’s capability “for any contingency,” said Obama.

Fact: It prioritizes violence, instability and war over peace.

Alliance members intend spending increasing amounts for warmaking. Obama, rogue NATO leaders and Rasmussen call doing so collective defense.

Fact: Money spent for war ends up launching them.

Fact: Less is spent for popular needs.

“…(O)ur Alliance is fully united in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity and right to defend itself.”

Fact: Washington controls NATO.

Fact: It’s an imperial tool.

Fact: America destroyed Ukraine’s sovereign independence.

Fact: Neo-nazi-infested fascists are convenient US proxies against Russia.

“Today, the United States and Europe are finalizing measures to deepen and broaden our sanctions across Russia’s financial, energy and defense sectors,” said Obama.

“At the same time, we strongly support President Poroshenko’s efforts to pursue a peaceful resolution to the conflict in his country.”

“The cease-fire announced today can advance that goal, but only if there is follow-through on the ground.”

“Pro-Russian separatists must keep their commitments and Russia must stop its violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Fact: Obama wants Russia weakened.

Fact: He wants its economy to scream.

Fact: He wants European nations in lock step with America against their own self-interest.

Fact: He wants war, not peace.

Kiev and Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters agreed on ceasefire terms. For now, hostilities ended effective Friday at 1,500 GMT.

According to OSCE ambassador Heidi Tagliavini, three key issues were agreed on – a ceasefire, “all to all” exchange of war prisoners, and humanitarian aid access.

“We continued consultation and agreed on other issues,” said Tagliavini. They include withdrawal of troops from populated areas.

No agreement was reached on Southeastern Ukrainian local autonomy. It remains unresolved.

DPR Prime Minister Aleksandr Zakharcheko said stopping bloodshed matters most now.

Lugansk leader Igor Plotnitsky said ceasing hostilities “does not mean a shift from our course of breaking away from Ukraine.”

“This is a compulsory measure.” Today’s agreement may be prologue for future conflict.

On the one hand, Kiev violated earlier agreed on peacemaking terms.

On the other, failure to give Southeastern Ukraine local democratic autonomy assures both sides at loggerheads again.

A false flag could restart conflict. Washington’s longstanding plan to use Ukraine as a dagger against Russia hasn’t changed.

America abhors peace and stability. Permanent war is official US policy. So is eliminating all sovereign independent countries.

Expect business as usual to continue. Expecting this time to be different is pure fantasy.

History has a way of repeating. It’s just a matter of time. Maybe much sooner than most observers imagine. Maybe much worse ahead than so far.

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

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.comListen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

In a recent editorial, “Smart-meter Phobia Sad, But Don’t Cut Power,” the Palm Beach Post hyped safety claims of Florida Power and Light / Next Era Energy accompanying the utility’s statewide “smart meter” deployment while condemning the roughly 6,000 Florida households that have declined such technology.

The Post often weighs in on regional and state affairs with a discriminating editorial voice. In this instance, however, the paper’s editorial staff has chosen to ignore hard scientific data that clearly lay out the health-related dangers of exposure to the non-ionizing microwave radiation emitted by smart meters and similar wireless technologies.

Indeed, the Post’s editorial reads almost as if it was authored by FPL’s own public relations department, for it is replete with most every poorly-conceived and quasi-scientific claim the utility transmits to its broad customer base.

According to the editorial, the fears of “smart meter” technology are rooted in a small segment of the public too easily influenced by internet fear-mongering that has characterized the debate over childhood vaccination and global warming. “One of the latest internet-fueled fears,” the editors argue, “is of utility company ‘smart meters.’ Using a battery, a modem and seconds-long pulses of UHF (ultra-high frequency radio waves) these meters transmit customers’ energy-use data for billing accuracy and service reliability … But some people fear them.”

The health-related concerns over the electrical meters are in fact well-founded, yet one must look beyond their given utility’s promotional paraphernalia to assess safety claims—something that journalists are supposed to do. This author has repeatedly communicated with Florida Power and Light regarding the safety of such devices (e.g. here, here, and here) and assiduously researched the topic (here, here, here, here, and here). In 2013 Project Censored, an organization comprised of knowledgeable scholars and journalists, recognized his research in this regard.

Most recently, the writer communicated with and interviewed FPL spokespersons, presenting them with the 2012 Bioinitiative Report—a comprehensive set of 1,800 new scientific studies documenting in no uncertain terms the dangers of non-ionizing radiation to human health—the type of radiation emitted by “smart meters” and like technology. “Cell phone users, parents-to-be, young children and pregnant women are at particular risk,” the Bioinitiative Working Group observes.

After forwarding the Bioinitiative Report to FPL representatives the author had established a rapport with, they refused to respond and severed further communication.

Ironically, both Florida Power and Light and the Palm Beach Post refuse to concede hard scientific findings demonstrated in the immense body of scientific research dating to the 1960s while claiming to occupy the scientific high ground. They can’t have it both ways, and by failing to even consider such data the Post in particular has chosen a poorly-informed and thus journalistically irresponsible stance.

Most disturbingly, there is little difference between FPL’s public relations pronouncements and the Post’s. Each entity reasons that because most of the utility’s “approximately 4.6 million customers have adopted the new technology without a second thought,” the technology is inherently safe.

In fact, FPL deployed such microwave technology on Florida homes and businesses without allowing its customers a second thought, apart from a postcard suggesting that the meter swap was basically a fait accompli.

Moreover, the Florida Public Utility Commission that quickly approved the “smart meter” deployment was misled by FPL which, in its zeal to roll out its smart grid and collect federal subsidies supporting the operation, consciously omitted the abundance of published scientific investigations and failed to conduct adequate human health impact studies before implementation. Instead, it relied on health impact guidelines that are close to 20 years old and overseen by an agency that has absolutely no mandate to oversee such concerns—the Federal Communications Commission.

The Post concludes that before FPL cuts off the power to what it mockingly deems “refuseniks” and “octagenarians,” who remain understandably wary of such technological ultimatums and refuse to pay FPL’s monthly “opt out” fees, it should consider the public relations consequences of such heavy-handedness. “Some people’s minds won’t be changed, no matter what the evidence.”

Indeed, given its journalistic role and duty to conscientiously inform public opinion, the Palm Beach Post should likewise consider much more than the “evidence” it has been spoon-fed by power industry spinmeisters.has been spoon-fed by power industry spinmeisters.

The Ukrainian crisis has thrust Russia’s role in world politics sharply to the fore. In this risky game Putin is proving he has a good conceptual grasp of how to create a new world order to replace the tyranny of American exceptionalism.

Let us first examine the military and strategic aspects of the Ukrainian crisis from the Russian standpoint. What did Eastern Europe look like at the beginning of 2014? Russia was surrounded by a sea of American military bases. NATO expands steadily eastward, and there is now the possibility that it could incorporate Finland and perhaps Ukraine as well. When Kosovo was carved out of Serbia, the Americans immediately built there one of the largest military bases in the world. And one can’t ignore America’s weapons or its state of combat readiness and military targets. That nation is consistently at a high level of combat readiness and its primary targets are located within Russia. US missile defense systems are steadily approaching Russia’s borders, and Russia is still viewed as the enemy in NATO’s operational planning.

Twenty-five years ago the USSR’s (Russia’s) front line of defense in the West passed through East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria. This line was located 500-800 kilometers from the Soviet border. The weakening of the USSR led to a loss of influence in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact, the creeping spread of NATO, and consequently, to the serious loss of depth in the theater of military operations. Now Russia’s line of defense – running from the Kaliningrad region to the western border of Belarus to Transnistria (where a Russian peacekeeping contingent is located) to Sevastopol (the base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet) – has been fractured. Ukraine’s metamorphosis (with America’s backing) will quite likely result in the eventual appearance of NATO troops in that country, and, of course, the elimination of the Russian military base in Sevastopol. At that point, Transnistria would be located deep within NATO’s territory and almost inaccessible to Russia. On that subject Vladimir Putin has commented, “We … could not allow our access to the waters of the Black Sea to be significantly limited, or for NATO troops to arrive … in Crimea or Sevastopol … radically changing the balance of power around the Black Sea.” The loss of Sevastopol would lead to a new and dramatic reduction in the depth of the theater of military operations. The northern border of Ukraine is less than 500 kilometers from Moscow. It is also less than 500 kilometers from the eastern border of Ukraine to a large division of silo-based missiles in the Saratov region. At such a close distance, the flight time of a medium-range missile is only a few minutes. That means there would be no time to respond.

In this context, Crimea’s reunification with Russia should be seen as an important strategic victory. Regardless of how events unfold in Ukraine, how aggressively our Western partners behave, or even the outcome of the uprising in the Donbass, a key strategic decision has already been made: Crimea will remain an important link in the Russian defense system. And although it is still possible for Ukraine to fall utterly under American control (which would entail the deployment of military systems there), by retaining Sevastopol, and all of Crimea especially, it will still be possible to maintain a strategic balance.

Edward Luttwak, the well-known American expert on strategy and geopolitics, recently offered this synopsis of the Crimean operation, “That’s how you have to look at Crimea, not as a simple land grab, but as part of a larger strategy …” And another quote from the same interview with Luttwak is also applicable, “Only two cultures in the world possess genuine strategic talent: the British and the Russians. And that’s why Russia is the biggest country on earth – the Russians have not always been strategically successful throughout their history, but they were able to hold onto their talent and replicate it with each new generation.”

Contemporary analytical journalism usually falls short by paying scant attention to strategic perspectives. The events in Yugoslavia in the 1990s offer a telling example. In very few of the many articles analyzing the civil war in that country and its subsequent collapse did the authors think to mention that strategic planners saw Yugoslavia as a key country in the European theater of military operations. Naturally the collapse of Yugoslavia was a boon to the West, in the military sense. Where once was a strong, independent country with a respectable army, now sit six weak states. When Serbia was definitively polished off, the Balkans ceased to be a headache for the West and now offer a wide-open field. The American military base already mentioned in Kosovo is a recent symbol of this strategic success.

The geopolitical status quo

Recently, the media in the US, Europe, and in some cases in Russia, have increasingly begun to advance the theory that President Putin is turning his back on the West, rejecting European values, and is even prepared to reduce the scope of Russia’s trade with Europe, disengaging his nation. Russia’s pivoting trajectory is supposedly Europe’s loss and China’s gain. But such an interpretation of Russian foreign policy seems overly simplified.

By retaining an open mind, one can see that over the course of 15 years of governing the country Vladimir Putin has never done anything to warrant accusations of any anti-European sentiment. Putin’s acclaimed speech delivered in German at the Bundestag in 2001 was a vivid symbol of Russia’s openness to the idea of cooperation with Europe on all fronts. During the “Putin” years, annual trade with Europe has expanded from $80 billion to $417 billion as of last year.
Putin has worked tirelessly to accommodate the needs of Europe and the West. Most of that interaction has been concentrated within the realm of energy, an area in which Putin has suggested that Europe make large-scale investments. As a result, as much as 25% of Russia’s energy assets are now foreign owned. Putin has proposed an exchange of assets, and some of those efforts have been successful. There is already some reason to believe that the creation of a future Russian-European joint energy industry could become a reality.

But when Russia suggested trading technology for access to Russian natural resources, tensions immediately arose. The West does not want to share its technology with us, even on what would clearly be very financially advantageous terms.

A similar discussion arose around the question of deploying elements of the American missile-defense system in Europe. All Russian admonitions and appeals to stop this process and to instead work together in this area, using the Russian radar station in Azerbaijan, for example, have fallen on deaf ears.

So it is not Russia that is turning to China, but the West whose actions are inadvertently pushing Russia to the East. Sanctions restricting the economic give-and-take between Russia and Europe are inadvertently forcing Russia to expand its partnership with China. Although trade with China is not quite $100 billion a year – only a quarter of the level with Europe – the momentum is clearly in China’s favor. One might well recall the recent mammoth deal between Russia and China to build the Power of Siberia gas pipeline, the construction of which will require an estimated $60-70 billion of investment. Today Russian-Chinese relations are proceeding more smoothly than ever before. And if that relationship will someday grow to include military cooperation, then a reorientation toward the East will be inexorable.

To be continued…

Valery Fadeev is the Editor-in-Chief of the Russian EXPERT magazine, member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation.

On the second day of their visit in Palestine, members of GUE/NGL parliamentary group witnessed the reality of the occupation of the West Bank and met the Mayors and Governors of both Hebron and Bethlehem. In Hebron they saw how partition is in place in the old city, with Palestinians having to contend with over 100 checkpoints and daily settler aggression. In Bethlehem the MEPs discussed the stark contradictions between Israel’s actions and their stated aim of peace; last week Israel announced it would seize over 1000 acres of Palestinian land near Bethlehem.

Group of MEP’s visited family of the murdered Palestinian 17-year old Mohamed Khdeir at their home in East Jerusalem. Mohamed was kidnapped by Israelis and set on fire after having been forced to swallow petrol. The Khdeir family are taking the police to court as they failed to locate the perpetrators despite having been presented with video evidence of the kidnap. GUE/NGL MEPs pledged to offer support to the family in bringing the case to the attention of the ECHR.

Delegation of 13 MEP’s visited also the Makassed Islamic Charitable Hospital in East Jerusalem where they met victims of Israel’s latest attack on Gaza, they called for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate these war crimes.

Later that day Members of the European Parliament issued a statement in solidarity with the people of Gaza, calling for suspension of EU-Israel Association Agreement – the main framework for EU-Israeli economic and military cooperation.

In a statement they said: “Israel’s direct targeting of civilians and its reckless cause of civilian deaths is a clear breach of international human rights law.

Given that Article 2 of the EU-Israeli association agreement states that the agreement would end if there is evidence of human rights abuses, MEPs are calling for an immediate end to the association agreement.”

Global Research Editor’s Note

Media disinformation prevails with regard to Donbass.

World public opinion is unaware that prior to the signing of a “cease fire”, Kiev forces had already experienced a devastating defeat, with casualties estimated well in excess of ten thousand. This tragic loss of life has not been reported by the MSM.  From both Kiev and US-NATO’s point of view they are “cannon fodder”. 

Ukraine government forces have been in retreat. Thousands of soldiers have been killed. Thousands more have refused to fight and have abandoned the battlefield.  Soldiers from Ukraine government forces have also sought refuge in Russia. The Donbass rebels have made overtures to Ukraine government soldiers to enable them to leave the war zone.

President Poroshenko accepted the 7 point cease fire agreement on September 5,  to enable Ukrainian troops to withdraw rather than surrender. 

The following report (original Russian) was prepared by Colonel Cassad LiveJournal, translated by Slavyangrad.org to which we are much indebted.

The Live Journal report confirms that as of September 3, two days before the cease fire agreement,  “the fascist Junta had switched to strategic defense in the Donbass.”

Let us be under no illusions: this war is not over. US-NATO is not interested in a peaceful solution. Nor does it favor negotiations between its Kiev puppets and the two Donbass governments, Donetsk and Lugansk.  Washington design is to perpetuate the humanitarian disaster in Donbass and create divisions within Ukraine society.

Meanwhile, the IMF economic reforms are contributing to impoverishing the Ukrainian population.

While there are Russian forces under Russian command in Ukraine as confirmed by the OSCE, reports confirm that the Pentagon has dispatched US military advisers to Ukraine who have integrated the ranks of Kiev forces in Eastern Ukraine.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, September 6, 2014

 


Report from Donbass War Theater. Kiev Switches To “Strategic Defense”

by Colonel Cassad LiveJournal (Russian)

The events of recent days clearly indicate that the Kiev Junta is switching to strategic defense tactic in the Donbass.

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 11.06.54 PM1. The positions around Mariupol, Artemovsk, Constantinovka, and Lisichansk are being fortified. This is no longer about using these cities as bases for an offensive, we are talking about trying to hold them in defensive battles. The Militia should accomplish putting an end to the shelling of Donetsk in about a week. The Junta will try to keep shelling for political reasons; as the cessation of terror attacks on Donetsk would be a clear symptom of a complete disaster, even for the most brainwashed “European Ukrainians”

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 11.09.12 PM2. Leaving more than 20 settlements in Lugansk People’s Republic(“LPR”) with open flanks shows that attempts encircle the city are over. Junta forces that can be saved, will be pulled out of the boiler to the south-west of Luhansk, then the front will slowly move away to the north of Lugansk, because in its current configuration, Junta is risking enveloping strikes by Novorossiya Armed Forces (“NAF”) mechanized units. A huge column of armored vehicles in Krasnodon demonstrates the potential power of such attacks, against which the Junta simply has nothing.

3. The Junta is moving troops from Perekop to Mariupol and Odessa. We can now say goodbye to the plans of military provocations by Armyansk and Chongar. The huge losses of the “Crimea” punitive battalion by Ilovaysk have also seriously weakened the potential future reconnaissance and sabotage capacities in Crimea proper. The Junta initially made a fundamental error when it began massing a part of its forces by Perekop. They were not sufficient to capture Crimea, or to fend off a Russian invasion from the Crimea, and it is quite possible that several battalions with reinforcements were exactly what the Junta lacked in the decisive battles for Shahtersk and Krasnyi Luch. In the end, they still had to be redeployed to the Donbass, but only after they could no longer change anything, strategically. The Crimea itself has now been completely taken out of the equation; the Junta now has too much to deal with elsewhere, so the ambitious plans of military and political pressure on the Crimea are apparently dead for now.

4. A similar pattern of events has occurred in the area near Transnistria. The forces that the Junta had concentrated there have now been redeployed to Donbass to close holes in the front lines. The plan of combined pressure against Transnistria, together with the United States and Moldova, turned out to be stillborn. Now there are no chances for a successful offensive there, so nothing serious will be deployed against Transnistria.

5. The Junta’s fourth wave of mobilization is supposed to somehow make up for their losses, but its “success” will be similar to the third wave. The fact that the fresh cannon fodder are being equipped with obsolete BTR-60/70 APCs (Armoured Personnel Carriers) and machine guns from the 1930s clearly indicates that those unfit for service will also be armed with obsolete weapons, so ground down professional army brigades will be replaced with the new “Ukrainian Volkssturm” – pointless and depressing, and even the punitive battalions will appear capable in comparison to these new forces.

6. The Junta persists in the separation of army units from punitive forces. Punitive units are now even given tanks and IFVs, thus repeating the failed experiment of the Nazis, separating individual units of the SS from the rest of the armed forces, with their own hierarchy, equipment and command. The main problem in these units is lack of competent commanders, which systematically results in high losses of personnel and vehicles.

7. Thus, the autumn starts with the Junta in transition from offence to defense, and there are clearly not enough resources to hold the entire line; even after the front is straightened out. It should be understood that even if the Junta could stretch a solid front line from Donetsk to Berdyansk, there would be nothing available to close a gap in the event of another breakthrough. In general, the size of the theater of operations clearly exceeds the abilities of the warring parties. The Junta is facing the same problem faced by the NAF in June, when it was trying to hold large areas without sufficient forces to do so, which led to breaks in the front. Now the Junta is in the same situation, thus emphasizing that operational initiative is the key to victory, in the event one lacks sufficient forces to control large swathes of territory. The side which has the operational initiative can choose the direction of attack, concentrate forces there, achieve local superiority, and convert these efforts to captured towns and cities; and burning enemy vehicles with charred corpses lying along the roads.

8. As the Junta cannot seize the initiative back yet (the concentration of 1-2 brigades by Zaporozhye, to be used for counter-attack, requires a few more days), it began a retreat, during which it tried to free up additional forces for the southern front and transition to a stubborn defense of advantageous positions. It is now key for the NAF to keep the operational initiative, as it more than offsets the advantages of the enemy in manpower and vehicles. In this respect, while carrying out offensives in several directions, it is important not to overdo it and not to expose the flanks to cleaving strikes of Junta’s mechanized forces (the NAF still had trouble parrying these strikes as late as August).

Overall, as of September 3rd, we can confidently say that the fascist Junta has switched to strategic defense in the Donbass.

Translator: Daniil Mihailovich
Editor: S. Naylor
Original Source: Colonel Cassad LiveJournal (Russian)

Showing what’s left after the invading troops were allowed to leave.

“The bottom line is this: Poroshenko promised a victory in a matter of weeks and his forces suffered one of the most total defeats in the history of warfare.

All the signs are that the JRF [Junta Repression Forces] have reached their breaking point: this is the moment when a military force suddenly and completely collapses, like a dam which blows out under the pressure of water. The JRF is not retreating on one, two or even three directions, it is retreating everywhere (except north of Lugansk). Entire battalions are leaving the front under orders of their battalion commanders and without the approval of the Junta leaders.” (Vineyard of the Saker)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhFEwfF9wz0

http://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/1766826.html

Russian military analyst, “Vineyard of the Saker” summarizes the situation as follows:

“All the signs are that the JRF [Junta Repression Forces] have reached their breaking point: this is the moment when a military force suddenly and completely collapses, like a dam which blows out under the pressure of water. The JRF is not retreating on one, two or even three directions, it is retreating everywhere (except north of Lugansk). Entire battalions are leaving the front under orders of their battalion commanders and without the approval of the Junta leaders. At least one such battalion commander is already being judged for desertion. The entire Ukie [Ukrainian Government] leadership seems to be in a panic mode, especially Yatseniuk and Kolomoiski, while the Nazis are mad as hell at the Poroshenko administration. There are constant rumors of an anti-Poroshenko coup by outraged Nazi nationalists.

And then, there are the absolutely staggering Ukrainian losses:

“If, as it appears likely, the real number of dead JRF soldiers is anywhere near the 30’000+40’000+ figure, then this is something absolutely unique in modern warfare. There might be an exception to this I have missed, but as far I can know in every single conflict since WWII (and including WWII), civilians have died in far greater numbers than combatants. This is also absolutely true of NAF soldiers who have died in far smaller numbers than Novorussian civilians. So unless these figures are completely off the mark, and I see no reason to believe this, the Junta forces were absolutely massacred in an horrible butchery which cannot completely be explained by the superb fighting skills of the Novorussians: clearly the Junta has used these forces as cannon fodder with not even a modicum of care, nevermind support, for them. …

The bottom line is this: Poroshenko promised a victory in a matter of weeks and his forces suffered one of the most total defeats in the history of warfare. Can the Ukies rearm? Yes, to some degree. Do they still have huge weapons stores? Yes, but all the (comparatively) better gear has been used by now. Can they still conduct a 4th, 5th and 6th mobilization? Possibly. Though the public mood is ominous at this time. Can the Anglo-Zionists send them instructors, equipment and money? Yes. Will that turn the tide? Probably not. Unless the Ukies have held back and secretly trained a large number of soldiers over the past 3-4 months (like the Novorussians have done in Russia) and unless these soldiers are now ready to be sent in, fully equipped and ready to go, I don’t see the JRF bouncing back for a very long time.”

Whereas the destroyed tanks in the video shown above are clearly from the Ukrainian Army, the many fresh tanks that are shown in the video from the Ukrainian Government, below, are merely assumed to be Russian. The Kiev text says, without documentation, evidence or explanation:

“Whatever it is, these units have been brought in by Russia and they are on Ukrainian territory.”

http://ukraineatwar.blogspot.com/2014/09/russian-moves-huge-convoy-of-armor-into.html

All that’s not being seriously disputed is that the Ukrainian troops are being slaughtered by the thousands, while additional thousands just quit and are allowed to go back home in the west.

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.

How many times have we seen this before?

The President of the United States is on TV telling us horror stories. Some innocent people in some corner of the world are being crushed, he tells us. They face some monstrously evil oppressor, he says. While the United States doesn’t like war, what choice is there? Sacrifices must be made, cruise missiles must be unleashed, to protect the poor and innocent. The world is the set of an action movie, and the US is the tragic hero, forced to rescue the innocent.

This is the script we heard in former Yugoslavia. Bill Clinton claimed to be stopping “mass rapes” and “concentration camps.” After the smoke had cleared, and thousands had been killed, the truth came out. The United Nations admitted that no “genocide” had taken place. The talk of mass rapes and concentration camps had been hype.

While the alleged crimes used to justify destroying Serbia had been exaggerated, the crimes of the US funded Kosovo Liberation Army were very real. The balkans have never recovered from the bombing and destruction and the funding of ethnic hate groups. The “rescue mission” resulted in deeper misery than ever before.

We heard this script in Libya. Obama told horror stories about Gaddafi. As US backed insurgents were defeated on the battlefield, the US and NATO unleashed a horrific bombing campaign. Now Libya, once the wealthiest country on the African continent, is in ruin. The country has been destroyed, and rival factions battle for power surrounded by poverty.

In Syria, propaganda about alleged crimes by President Bashar Assad have been used to justify western support for an ugly civil war. Syria had been one of the more prosperous and peaceful countries of the region, but the US and its allies continue to funnel money to armed terrorists. A war that would have ended in a few months has dragged on for four years, with nearly 150,000 dead, and millions forced to become refugees.

Lies about “humanitarian crises” are a common justification was destructive wars from the United States. The result of US military attack is usually the worsening of conditions for the people.

The Unpopularity of US Allies

Forces aligned with the US also tend to be quite unpopular.

In Serbia, a very small percentage of the population supported the Kosovo Liberation Army. This was a group of armed religious extremists. The brutal tactics of the organization made it highly unpopular, even with the ethnic-Albanians it claimed to be fighting on behalf of. Because the group had no chance of winning on the battlefield, it called for NATO bombs to destroy its enemy.

The same can be said for the terrorist insurgents in Libya. Numerous times they were defeated. Supporters of Gaddafi staged rallies with millions of people in attendance. The regular Libyan army was accompanied by popular community militias. Libyans from all across the country fought in support for their government, which had provided them with a very high standard of living. As the Libyan insurgents were defeated despite their stockpiles of US guns and money, the call for US and NATO support went up.

In Syria, the insurgents are similar in their character. They may have had a very small base of support among certain Sunni communities, but even this had completely eroded since the war began. The brutality and religious extremism of the terrorists does not help their popularity. The anti-Assad insurgency depends on money, guns, and fighters from other parts of the world because it has little support among the population. The Syrian government has arrested terrorists from as far off as Malaysia, shipped in to kill in Syria. Impoverished children from other parts of the world are being forcibly recruited and indoctrinated into to these armed groups that come to Syria and use their US supplied guns to slaughter civilians.

Now, in Ukraine, we once again see weak US aligned terrorists begging for US/NATO support, in hopes that they can defeat their own people.

The Only Hope for the Fascists

In the early months of 2014, the elected Ukrainian government was removed by a violent mob of fascists. The new regime, imposed by the west, and backed with millions of dollars from western banks and NGOs now faces an uprising of its people.

The regime’s brutal tactics, burning innocent people alive, employing Neo-Nazi terrorist groups, bombing civilians, and engaging in other cowardly acts of fascist violence, are not rendering victory.

Even many of the most bigoted, Russian hating people in West Ukraine are unwilling to die for a regime that has cut the retirement pension by 50% and doubled the price of heating oil. The economic dominion of IMF and the European Union mean poverty for throughout Ukraine’s various regions and ethnic groups.

A number of Ukrainian soldiers have already laid down their guns, rather than kill women and children from their own country. What was presented as first an as “Anti-Terrorist” police operation, has stretched for months. Kiev has attempted to declare that those who have risen up against them are merely paid Russian agents, but it is now clear to all observers that they have they have a huge amount of support among the population.

Predictably, the Kiev Junta is doing what the Kosovo Liberation Army, the Libyan insurgents, and the terrorists in Syria have done. As they face defeat on the battlefield, and support for them even among their own base is crumbling, they turn to Washington to the fighting for them.

Kiev seems to have pinned its hope for US/NATO intervention on creating a mythology about a “Russian Invasion.” Kiev is doing its best to convince the world that Russia is marching into their country. They have falsified stories of Tanks crossing the border. They have tried to claim that the resistance fighters in Donbass are actually Russian special forces. They hope that they can create some kind of justification for further US/NATO intervention.

The only hope the Kiev Junta, with its Neo-Nazi thug militias, its banning of the Russian language, its destruction of WWII memorials, and vicious austerity measures has, is further US intervention. It cannot win a war against its own population.

Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

by Victoria F. Lee

As Russia is hit with another set of harmful sanctions from the members of the European Union, Norway, Japan, Australia and North America for continually invading Ukraine, (what was the number of invasions, about 300 times?), Washington covertly supplies Ukraine with military advisors, beginning with Major General Randy A. Kee. He is officially listed as the Director of Strategy and Policy for U.S. European Command, based in Stuttgart-Vaihingen, Germany.

Check his impressive past positions as reported on the official U.S. Air Force website.

“The general has held a variety of staff assignments to include U.S. Transportation Command, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and the Joint Staff in both Operations and Strategic Plans and Policy Directorates. He has also served as Vice Commander of Air Mobility Command’s Global Air Operations Center. Prior to his current assignment, he was the Deputy Director for Politico-Military Affairs (Western Hemisphere), Strategic Plans and Policy Directorate on the Joint Staff. General Kee is a command pilot and previously qualified navigator who has flown a variety of aircraft, with approximately 4,700 flight hours, including 700 in combat.”

How did this high caliber American official turn up in Novorossiya, fighting alongside the Kiev junta? President Obama dispatched a convoy of high-ranking men to train the Ukrainian Nazis to better massacre innocent civilians in Eastern Ukraine. Ten of them fell victims of their own tactics and died senselessly in a field near Donbass, killed by the uncompromising resistance combined forces, DNR and LNR.

Maj. Gen. Allen was shot but luckily survived his heavy wound. The shocking scandal was never disclosed by the Obama administration. No press coverage. Not a word. No one dares to share the damaging news about Americans fighting against separatists in large numbers!

The involvement of the U.S. a Major General is unthinkable, especially while blaming Putin for his direct engagement in the war in Ukraine.

Among the dead was Captain Mark Gregory Paslawsky, a graduate of the United States Military Academy. On August 19th, a fifty five, he was killed fighting the volunteer Donbas Battalion under the nom de guerre “Franko.” in the town of Ilovaysk, near the Ukrainian city of Donetsk. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry posted it on his Facebook page. I stumbled on this post with a smiling Paslawsky, blogged by the journalist and writer, Bryan MacDonald.

Bryan went further to inform us that Paslawsky was apparently a nephew of the notorious Nazi Mykola Lebed – who was employed by the CIA from 1949 to possibly as late as 1991. In the blog it was reported Captain Paslawsky was the only American fighting alongside the Ukrainian army. Seriously? So, how can you explain the death of ten other military men supplied by Washington? Shall I mention the many African-American nameless mercenaries, who were found dead near Lugansk? Did we pay the tab for their services with taxpayers’ money to send them to fight on Ukrainian soil?

According to DNR’s estimation and interviews with the fighters, over 200 Poles, a whole battalion of Georgian and Turks, a few French, Italian and Spanish mercenaries also fight on the side of the Kiev junta.

The opposition army of Donbas and Lugansk now consists a variety of foreign volunteers as well, besides the Russians. That includes people from Spain, Italy France, Serbia, Hungary Slovakia and even Israel, who came to fight against fascism and injustice. Watching the wild crowd marching with their arms stretched and wearing swastikas, does not sit well with good-hearted Israelis.

Who can forget the very first pogroms, which were first originated in Kiev? Why its Washington and their Western vassals support the Kiev radicals? They backed the devil to unleash a long anticipated war with Russia!

Ironically, the new, lawless President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko is Jewish! He paid Forbes millions of dollars to remove his name from its cover, where he was listed as one of the richest Jews in the world. His real name is Petr Valtzman; the family line originated in Odessa where his forbearers were wealthy merchants. Now he clutches the icon of Holy Mary, and got himself a rank in the priesthood. What a farce!

So are Poroshenko’s Prime Minister, Yatsenyuk and a former convict President, Yulia Timoshenko. What do they have in common? All are shamefully hiding their Jewish origins. Why such a paradox? Are the self-hating Jews ready to give up their faith for the sake of power? Ukraine’s Nazi slogan promotes a pure race! How does that fit with them? Will this revelation have legs?

Getting back to the Russian invasions: According to European Union observers invited to watch every activity on the Russian border by Putin, there was not a single crossing of Russian artillery or tanks. Where are the facts, pictures and videos? Kiev loves to videotape everything, including the vicious massacre in Odessa on May 2, 2014 in the Trade Unions Building.

Kiev was a crying wolf during a recent accident. Ten Russian paratroopers got lost in unmarked Ukrainian territory, which was a major story in the press, such as BBC and Washington Post. That was unintentional, while 700 hundred Ukrainian soldiers, in just one day, crossed the Russian border. They continue doing so, where they get medical treatment before returning to Ukraine. Why not write about it? They were never detained or beaten!

Mr. Putin has a trump card in his hands why not use it now?

It’s time to confront Obama with his double standards, and release the name of Maj. General Randy Kee before NATO puts their boots on Russian ground. McCain and the Clintons are smacking their lips. Does Congress know about U.S. army involvement and it’s covert CIA operation?

I can assure you, Mr. Putin has many admirers among regular Americans for his generosity towards refugees running away from hell. While Odessa turned them away, like poor, unwanted relatives at the door, he embraced them like family.

Neither the West nor Washington showed mercy to frightened children who witnessed death in their family and slept under ruins. Now they got shelter and a new lease on their lives.

Putin’s diplomacy keeps us from WWIII, but for how long?

It’s time to confront the devil – the sooner, the better!

Victoria F. Lee

Can Russia–EU–Ukraine Negotiations on Gas Be Saved?

September 6th, 2014 by Global Research News

The trilateral negotiations on supplies of Russian gas to Europe via Ukraine, scheduled for September 6, 2014, have been postponed due to irreconcilable differences between the participants and the political deadlock that has arisen in the process of settling the Ukrainian crisis. As the winter heating season approaches, the situation is beginning to look like a disaster.

Yuri Borovsky, Associate Professor, Department of International Relations and Foreign Policy of Russia at MGIMO University of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, comments on the situation.

What is the current state of energy contacts between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union?

Energy contacts between Russia, Ukraine and the European Union are in crisis and are being conducted on an ad hoc basis. Everything that has been achieved by Moscow and Brussels since 2000 as part of the Energy Dialogue has now essentially been frozen. The previous regular cooperation between the Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine has ceased.

How great is the damage caused by the halting of Russian gas supplies?

The damage caused by the halting of Russian gas supplies will be significant for all sides. Around 70 billion cubic metres of gas per year is currently transported to countries in Western and Eastern Europe via Ukraine. In the short term, European countries will not be able to find the same amount of gas on the international market, and this will have an extremely negative effect on thousands of households, as well as on industry. Without Russian gas, Ukraine will not be able to make up its gas shortfall, which amounted to 26 billion cubic metres last year. The gas consumption situation in Ukraine has undoubtedly changed in the context of war, but in any case the country does not have enough gas to support a normal level of heating and industrial production. Neither should we forget the substantial duties that Ukraine receives from the transit of Russian gas through its territory. As for Russia, the economic damage sustained on an annual basis (not including the loss of the Ukrainian market) could amount to 28 billion dollars if calculated on the basis of the average price paid by European customers for Russian gas (something like 400 dollars per thousand cubic metres). This will obviously have an extremely unhealthy effect on the Russian economy.

What results can we expect from the forthcoming negotiations?

Winter is approaching, and European consumers are very concerned by the lack of agreement between the Russian Federation and Ukraine. According to expert assessments, Ukraine has enough gas reserves to last until January 2015 at the most. If it doesn’t reach a settlement in its relationship with the Russian Federation, including paying off its debt, Ukraine is very likely to start taking gas out of the transit pipeline without authorization, or to put it bluntly, it will start stealing it. There will be a repeat of the situation we had in 2006 and 2009. Brussels and other European capitals are well aware of this and will put pressure on Kiev in every way they can. It is common knowledge that Russia is willing to compromise, offering Ukraine a discount of 100 dollars per thousand cubic metres. Thus a lot, if not everything, will depend on Kiev. Recently, however, Ukrainian policy in many areas has been completely unpredictable, and sometimes simply opposed to logic.

What are the interests of the sides involved in the negotiations?

The European Union will seek any agreement it can between Russia and Ukraine in order to lift the threat of Moscow halting gas supplies via Ukrainian territory in the near future. Russia, which has not yet brought the South Stream gas pipeline into operation, also has an interest in maintaining gas exports to Europe at their previous level and is therefore ready to make some substantial compromises. The weak link in the negotiations is Ukraine, which in light of its disastrous economic situation might go for broke and put forward some unacceptable conditions for Russia with regard to both paying off its existing debts and tariffs on gas transit and setting a new price for Russian gas for Ukrainian consumers.

The yearly income of a typical US household dropped by a massive 12 percent, or $6,400, in the six years between 2007 and 2013. This is just one of the findings of the 2013 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances released Thursday, which documents a sharp decline in working class living standards and a further concentration of wealth in the hands of the rich and the super-rich.

The report makes clear that the drop in a typical household’s income was not merely the result of what is referred to as the 2008 recession, which officially lasted only 18 months, through June 2009. Much of the decline in workers’ incomes occurred during the so-called “economic recovery” presided over by the Obama administration.

In the three years between 2010 and 2013, the annual income of a typical household actually fell by 5 percent.

Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances

The Fed report exposes as a fraud the efforts of the Obama administration to present itself as a defender of the “middle class”. It has systematically pursued policies to redistribute wealth from the bottom to the very top of the income ladder. These include the multi-trillion-dollar bailout of the banks, near-zero interest rates to drive up the stock market, and austerity measures and wage cutting to lift corporate profits and CEO pay to record highs.

The Federal Reserve data, based on in-person interviews, show a far larger decline in the median income of American households than indicated by earlier figures from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

In line with the figures on household income, the report shows an ever-growing concentration of wealth among the richest households. The Fed’s summary of its data notes that “the wealth share of the top 3 percent climbed from 44.8 percent in 1989 to 51.8 percent in 2007 and 54.4 percent in 2013,” while the wealth of the “next 7 highest percent of families changed very little.”

The report states that “the rising wealth share of the top 3 percent of families is mirrored by the declining share of wealth held by the bottom 90 percent,” which fell from 33.2 percent in 1989 to 24.7 percent in 2013.

Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances

The ongoing impoverishment of the population is an indictment of capitalism. There has been no genuine recovery from the Wall Street crash of 2008, only a further plundering of the economy by the financial aristocracy. The crisis precipitated by the rapacious, criminal practices of the bankers and hedge fund speculators has been used to restructure the economy to the benefit of the rich at the expense of everyone else.

Decent-paying jobs have been wiped out and replaced by low-wage, part-time and temporary jobs, with little or no benefits. Pensions and health benefits have come under savage attack, as seen in the bankruptcy of Detroit.

Not surprisingly, the Fed report has been buried by the American media, confined to the inside pages of the major newspapers.

Measured in 2013 dollars, a typical household received an income of $53,100 in 2007. By 2010, this had fallen to $49,000. It hit $46,700 by 2013. At the same time, the average income for the wealthiest tenth of families grew by ten percent.

While median income fell between 2010 and 2013, mean (average) income grew, from $84,100 to $87,200. The report noted that, “the decline in median income coupled with the rise in mean income is consistent with a widening income distribution during this period.”

For the poorest households, the drop in income has been even more dramatic. Among the bottom quarter of households, mean income fell a full 10 percent between 2010 and 2013.

The report reveals other aspects of the social crisis. The share of young families burdened by education debt nearly doubled, from 22.4 percent to 38.8 percent, between 2001 and 2013. The share of young families with more than $100,000 in debt has grown nearly tenfold, from 0.6 percent to 5.6 percent.

These statistics reflect both a historic and insoluble crisis of the profit system and the brutal policies of the American ruling class, which is carrying out a relentless assault on working people and preparing to go even further by dismantling bedrock social programs such as Medicare and Social Security. The data undercuts the endless talk of “partisan gridlock” in Washington and the media presentation of a political system paralyzed by irreconcilable differences between the Democratic and Republican parties.

There has, in fact, been a seamless continuity between the Bush and Obama administrations in the pursuit of reactionary policies of war abroad and class war at home. The two parties have worked hand in glove to make the working class pay for the crisis of the capitalist system.

The Federal Reserve has itself played a critical role in the growth of social inequality in the US. The bailout of the banks, estimated at $7 trillion, has been followed by six years of virtually free money for the banks.

Every facet of American life is dominated by the immense concentration of wealth at the very top of society. The grotesque levels of wealth amassed by the parasites and criminals who dominate American business, and the flaunting of their fortunes before tens of millions struggling to pay their bills and keep from falling into destitution, are fueling the growth of social anger. This anger will increasingly be directed against the entire economic and political system.

The figures released by the Fed reflect a society riven by class divisions that must inevitably trigger social upheavals. The explosive state of social relations is itself a major factor in the endless recourse by the Obama administration to military aggression and war, which serve to deflect internal tensions outward.

The growth of inequality likewise underlies the relentless attack on democratic rights in the US, including the massive domestic spying exposed by Edward Snowden and the use of militarized police to crack down on social opposition, as seen most recently in Ferguson, Missouri.

As a ceasefire took hold in Ukraine on Friday, NATO leaders, concluding their two-day summit in Wales, intensified pressure on Russia with more threats and new military plans.

The ceasefire came into force at 18:00 local time after agreement was reached between the Kiev regime and pro-Russian separatists at a meeting in Minsk. An exchange of prisoners was agreed as well as the provision of humanitarian aid to civilians in combat zones.

The agreement, which involves Ukrainian forces removing artillery from populated areas, was proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and is to be overseen by observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Talks on the status of the areas controlled by separatists in the east are to take place at an unspecified later date.

While “cautiously” welcoming the deal, NATO officials continued to denounce Russia. Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen warned that Moscow had a record of using such agreements as a “smokescreen.” The White House formally welcomed the ceasefire and then proceeded to attack Russia for its “flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.”

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, speaking shortly before the ceasefire was finalised, urged the US and the European Union (EU) to act as guarantors of the pause in fighting, implying that a breakdown should result in direct military support for Kiev from the major powers.

As the ceasefire came in to force, three loud explosions were reported in Donetsk. Clashes also continued between separatists and government forces near the town of Mariupol, the target of a major advance by rebel forces.

Any pause in the fighting will be used by the US and other NATO powers to strengthen Ukraine’s military capacities and their own presence in the region in preparation for future conflict with Russia. Ukrainian forces have suffered heavy losses over recent weeks, forcing them to retreat in several areas.

One of the items discussed at the Wales summit was a joint plan by Britain and Germany to assist with the modernisation of command and control structures within the Ukrainian armed forces. NATO advisers are also to be involved.

“We have agreed a comprehensive and tailored package of measures,” Rasmussen said, “in order that Ukraine is better able to ensure its own security.” The €15 million promised to Kiev by Rasmussen on Thursday is to be divided into four separate funds, according to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

Plans were also finalised for NATO’s rapid response capabilities. The “readiness action plan” included the formal approval of a force of 4,000 troops referred to as the “spearhead,” capable of deployment within two days. A NATO press release noted that leaders had “agreed to maintain a continuous presence and activity in the air, on land, and at sea in the eastern part of the alliance, on a rotational basis.”

Britain is to provide a major part of the troop contingent, with a plan unveiled for 1,000 of the 4,000 soldiers to come from the UK. A further 3,500 British troops will engage in exercises in Eastern Europe by 2015.

The rotation of troops is aimed at avoiding an overt breach of NATO’s 1997 agreement with Russia foregoing the permanent stationing of NATO forces in the Baltic states or Poland. But there was no attempt at the summit to conceal that Moscow is the target of the moves, whose aggressive purpose was spelt out by Rasmussen. “This decision sends a clear message,” he declared. “NATO protects all allies at all times. And it sends a clear message to any potential aggressor: should you even think of attacking one ally, you will be facing the whole alliance.”

Rasmussen announced that to “facilitate reinforcements,” significant logistical resources and military hardware would be redeployed to Eastern Europe. In addition, a commitment was made to “step up intelligence sharing, upgrade defence plans and hold more short-notice exercises.”

Such measures dovetail with US President Barack Obama’s declaration during a state visit to the Baltic region on Wednesday that the US would provide “eternal assistance” to the Baltic states. In a press conference at the conclusion of the summit on Friday, Obama denounced what he termed Russian aggression against Ukraine. He said the summit had shown that NATO has “the will, the resources and the capabilities” to counter it.

The man who has presided over imperialist wars and subversion in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, as well as hundreds of drone assassinations in a number of countries, went on to say, “Big countries can’t just stomp on little ones, or force them to change their policies or give up their sovereignty.”

In line with the non-stop propaganda by the US, NATO and the Western media, Obama ignored the fact that the US and Germany precipitated the Ukraine crisis by engineering a coup, in league with ultra-nationalist and fascist forces, to overthrow the elected, pro-Russian government in Kiev and replace it with a rabidly anti-Russian, pro-Western regime.

Issuing a warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Obama demanded that Russia return to the group of nations that supposedly “respects international law.” Otherwise, he continued, “We mean what we say when we talk about our article 5 commitments,” referring to the collective defence clause of the NATO charter that requires all member nations to come to the defence of any one member country that is attacked.

Obama referred to the escalation of sanctions by the European Union and US against Russian state companies. The sanctions have been broadened to include energy and defence companies, having previously applied only to banks. According to the Financial Times, the sanctions would ban Russian gas firms from European capital markets. German Chancellor Angela Merkel had sought to push through the sanctions agreement prior to the NATO meeting, but smaller EU members, including Hungary, Slovakia and Cyprus, had resisted this.

Also on Friday, Germany, Poland and Denmark announced plans to double their contingent of soldiers in the Polish town of Stettin from 200 to over 400. The multi-national northeast corps would host NATO combat troops in the event of an attack on the alliance and is part of the package of measures agreed to strengthen the Ukrainian regime.

In addition, the Rapid Trident military exercise is set for September 16-26 near Ukraine’s border with Poland, and the US is moving tanks and 600 troops to Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for manoeuvres in October.

Demonstrating NATO’s renewed focus on Eastern Europe, Poland announced it would host the next NATO summit, scheduled for 2016. Warsaw has taken the lead in pursuing a hard line with Moscow.

Assistance is to be provided to speed up Georgian membership, and a decision is due on whether to invite Montenegro to join next year. In his Friday press conference, Obama held out the prospect of NATO membership to Georgia and Moldova. Such a development would continue the encirclement of Russia systematically pursued by the imperialist powers through NATO expansion.

While NATO is still not officially supplying arms to Kiev, Poroshenko revealed in comments after a meeting at the summit that at least one NATO member was providing his government with high precision weapons.

Media reports noted that the ceasefire may take some time to implement, due to what was referred to as “complicated chains of command on both sides.” Alongside regular army units, the Kiev regime has mobilised volunteer battalions composed overwhelmingly of members and supporters of the fascist Right Sector group, which played a central role in the coup in February. The reference to chains of command was a backhanded acknowledgement that Kiev does not exercise full control over these forces.

A leading role in the fighting around Mariupol has been played by the neo-Nazi Azov battalion. Speaking to the Guardian, the battalion’s commander, Andriy Beletskiy, declared, “What talk can there be of a ceasefire when the enemy is on our land?”

Are Vaccines Safe?

September 6th, 2014 by Richard Gale

When we hear official reports released by the FDA and CDC, transmitted throughout major corporate media outlets and publications, that a particular vaccine is safe, we should immediately perk to attention, raise a red flag, and muster rational suspicion.

One of the most important questions is, what kind of studies are performed to determine that any vaccine is safe? And what evidence is there that vaccines are especially safe in infants, small children, pregnant mothers, the elderly, and those with asthma and compromised immune systems?

According to the statutes of the FDA’s Public Health Service Act, vaccine manufacturers are required to prove a vaccine complies with three criteria before approval and launch: safety, purity and potency. There are no requirements before FDA approval and licensing that a vaccine undergoes independent studies by researchers with no vested financial interests and industry ties in order to validate a vaccine maker’s claims. Rather, the entire approval process is nothing more than a good-faith relationship between the vaccine industrial complex and the FDA and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACID), the primary entity determining vaccine policies.

In an interview with Dr. Tom Jefferson, one of the world’s most knowledgeable experts in vaccine research and head of the Vaccine Field Group at the Cochrane Database Collaboration, the Financial Times reported that he found less than two dozen studies on the current H1N1 flu vaccine and none have a completion date before December 2010. Moreover there is no knowledge whatsoever that these vaccines are safe.[1]

Clinical trials with at-risk individuals, including infants, small children, pregnant mothers and people over 65 of age are not mandatory for regulatory approval. So how do the vaccine makers determine whether or not a vaccine is safe for these at-risk groups? Well, they don’t except by predicting past incidences of vaccine effectiveness and safety using mathematical models. The vaccine industrial complex is under no federal obligation to give sound scientific evidence that their vaccines are safe in anyone except health adults.

What is quite extraordinary in the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research’s document, “Guidance for Industry: Clinical Data Needed to Support the Licensure of Seasonal Inactivated Influenza Vaccines”, is the large leeway permitted vaccine manufacturers to prove a vaccine’s safety. For example, “the protocol should include a clinic visit or telephone contact at least six months post-vaccination to ascertain serious adverse events.” Or, “we recommend that you assess the safety of your investigational vaccine in several thousand subjects.” Or, “we assume that approval for use in the adult population, including the geriatric population, would be sought with the initial application.” More serious is this allowance given to vaccine manufacturers, “For vaccines using novel manufacturing processes and/or adjuvants, laboratory safety tests including hematologic and clinical chemistry evaluations, may be needed pre- and post-vaccination in the first clinical studies.” (all italics are ours to clearly identify word choice in the official CDC document). As a result of such noncommittal and ambiguous requirements, we find the efficacy clinical trials conducted for the currently approved H1N1 vaccines enrolling only between 100-240 subjects depending on the trial.

In the October 28, 2006 issue of the British Medical Journal editor Fiona Godlee commented on Dr. Tom Jefferson’s article attacking the UK’s vaccine policy, which is fundamentally no different than that in the US. As an aside, David Salisbury, the UK’s Department of Health’s Director of Immunization, is the only foreign government representative represented on the ACIP. Godlee wrote,

“As if to prove the point, we publish this week a broadside (based on a systematic review of the literature) about the lack of evidence for influenza vaccine. Why, asks Tom Jefferson (p. 912), is there such a gap between evidence and policy? Governments go to great lengths to promote and provide the vaccine. But there is almost no valid evidence that it does any good. Jefferson puts the gap down to our desire to do something, combined with”optimism bias”—an unwarranted belief in the value of interventions. Would randomized trials be unethical? No, says Jefferson, they are the only ethical response to the possible waste of resources on ineffective or only partially effective care. The problem is that the UK has no transparent process for evaluating the effectiveness or cost effectiveness of vaccines.”[2]

The American public has every reason to be suspicious over our health officials vaccination claims and to hold them in distrust and even contempt. Citizens’ confidence in the swine flu vaccine’s safety has dropped with 72 percent reporting in a recent Associated Press-GFK poll they are worried about the vaccines side effects. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Secretary Sebelius should also be worried. Our tax dollars are spending approximately $3 billion on the entire pandemic swine flu vaccine story. But our distrust should not be based on the incestuous romance between government and the vaccine industry, although this surely exists. Instead, the policy decisions being ruled by our national Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice rely on exceptionally bad science. This is what should alarm us because it undermines the very foundation of medicine as an art to prevent disease, pain and suffering. So to our health bureaucrats, “It’s the science, stupid!”

I have come to think of the Cochrane Database Collaboration as the penultimate emergency medical think tank of investigators performing triage on the layers of bad, and even quack, science published throughout peer-reviewed medical journals, particularly research papers sponsored by the pharmaceutical industrial complex and their financial supporters and cronies in government health agencies and advisory committees. Given the utter lack of credible vetting being done in peer-reviewed medical journals, which have even allowed freelance contractors at advertizing firms to write scientific articles for the pharmaceutical complex, the Cochrane database is today’s gold standard for a library of sound medical research. Sir Iain Chalmers, called the “maverick master of medical evidence” by Lancet, founded the Collaboration in 1993 as an independent initiative, free of vested interests with private drug and vaccine makers, with the mission to undertake systematic reviews of existing healthcare medical trials. The Collaboration now includes over 10,000 volunteers from 90 countries busily analyzing decades of medical studies to pull out the kernels of sound scientific research and reliable conclusions from the chaff of pseudo-scientific waste that has become a trademark of drug and vaccine manufacturer trial methodologies in order to get their products quickly passed through government regulatory agencies’ relaxed requirements.

Even for those unfamiliar with clinical trial jargon, we can all agree that the approval of any vaccine should rely on sound evidence-based medicine; that is, we would expect clinical trials for determining the efficacy and safety of a vaccine to rely on the best scientific methods in order to gain accurate data to protect and improve the lives of people. Instead, the vaccine approval policy relies on individual-based decisions, subjective quackery fabricated by the vaccine industry, and poor study designs for vaccine efficacy and safety that only serve corporate biases and commercial interests.

Such is the case of several H1N1 vaccine trial press releases issued last weekend that are being spearheaded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). All the studies, although still in progress, are being announced at a time when public confidence in the government’s pronouncements about the severity of the “new” H1N1 virus and the urgency of a national vaccination program are waning. Moreover, a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order have been filed against the FDA on October 9. The suit seeks to place a stay on the H1N1 vaccines’ licensing until conclusive safety trials have been conducted for all targeted groups and with full public disclosure. Slumping on the ropes, the CDC and other health agencies are therefore desperate to fill in the gaps in the safety studies for at-risk groups which they have ignored for decades. Hence this flurry of press releases from the NIAID.

One of the criticisms raised against the CDC’s and HHS’s swine flu policy is that certain groups have been prioritized for vaccination when no definitive and sound medical studies exist to support the government’s claims that influenza vaccines’ are efficacious and safe. These include clinical trials on small children, pregnant mothers, individuals with compromised immune systems, such as asthma, and the elderly. The CDC’s hypocrisy lies in the fact that systematic reviews have already been performed on all available sound studies but the CDC doesn’t like their answers and prefers to ignore them. Dr. Tom Jefferson, head of the Cochrane’s Vaccine Field group, has shown that studies concluding flu vaccine’s efficacy were either poorly designed or “badly executed.” With respect to trials conducted on children under two years of age, the very sparse reliable studies show influenza vaccines are no more effective than a placebo.

Dr. Jefferson has observed strong biases in the selection of trial participants throughout vaccine industry-conducted trials. His conclusions state that “evidence from systematic reviews show that inactivated [influenza] vaccines have little or no effect on the effects measured.” He has discovered that there is “gross overestimation of the impact of influenza, unrealistic expectations of the performance of vaccines, and spurious certainty of our ability to predict viral circulation and impact. The consequences,’ Dr. Jefferson states, “are seen in the impractical advice given by public bodies on thresholds of the incidence of influenza-like illness at which influenza specific interventions (antivirals) should be used.”[3] When it comes to identifying the infecting virus for any case displaying flu-like systems, only PCR is very reliable, and there can be anywhere from 152-200 different infections contributing to flu-like symptoms. This reinforces an opinion by Dr. Anthony Morris, a former Chief Vaccine Officer at the FDA, “The producers of these [influenza] vaccines know they are worthless, but they go on selling them anyway.” We would add from a review of the CDC’s statistics on influenza threats, they are intentionally misleading and medically worthless.

A review of the NIAID’s recent safety trial descriptions for pregnant women, persons with asthma, and the co-administration of the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines in healthy adults and the elderly show once again more sham science on the immediate horizon. The results will surely be twisted, kneaded and molded into a smiley face, plastered on the CDC’s and pro-vaccine health websites, and aired across the media waves to convince us to rush to our nearest vaccination facility.

The NIAID studies are being done in collaboration with Novartis and Sanofi Pasteur, each a manufacturer of an approved H1N1 vaccine. In fact, Novartis’ Head of Strategic Immunization Planning, Dr. Clement Levin, and Sanofi Pasteur’s President Damian Braga sit as representatives on the CDC’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices (ACIP). The vaccine industrial complex is therefore involved in making our health choices for us. Furthermore, a review of all the clinical sites where the trials will be conducted reveals that most have representation on the ACIP. There is no indication of any independent research entities participating in the trials without financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.[4]

One major concern Dr. Jefferson found in his review of flu vaccine studies involving over 50,000 people from 1969 to 2002 is the high incidence of “confounders.” For this reason these studies have been discarded as examples of poor scientific quality leading to undependable conclusions. Confounders are variables that appear in research studies that produce erroneous results. The way to avoid confounders and achieve more accurate data is to run controlled trials. Even better is to include a placebo in the trial study. This is standard best-case scientific protocol, and in the case of vaccine research it would mean that a group of vaccinated individuals would be compared to a similar or identical group that is unvaccinated during the flu season. However, the vaccine industry does not conduct controlled nor placebo efficacy and safety trials, and none of the recently announced NIAID’s studies are identified as “controlled” in their official documents. Even worse, studies can be designed to intentionally introduce confounders in order to tilt results towards the particular bias the research hopes to achieve. This is what we find evident in the trials underway on pregnant women, asthmatics, and the joint swine/seasonal flu study. Each is bogus science and yet each will be used for forthcoming public relations efforts issuing from the CDC and its foot soldiers throughout the insurance industry, professional medical associations and media.

For example, each of the NIAID studies claim to test for vaccine safety, however, none will investigate or measure any criteria associated with other vaccine ingredients—thimerosal (ethylmercury), adjuvants such as squalene, formaldehyde and oxtocinol (a detergent used as a spermatocide)—except for the H1N1 virus itself. Since the vaccines are being made with and without thimerosal, we would expect the trials to use the latter for preventative measures. Individuals with known allergies to formaldehyde, gelatin, chicken eggs or oxtocinol—in the event your physician or vaccine administrator ever happened to ask you if you were sensitive to any of these—are excluded from the studies. The pregnancy study will only include 120 women, and one of the exclusion criteria includes any woman whose temperature rises to 100 degrees F or higher during the first 72 hours after injection being removed from the study. This last point is a clear example of a confounder intentionally inserted in the study because adverse side effects that may appear in any of these women will not be included in the final data analysis.

While the NIAID study on the H1N1 vaccine’s safety for persons suffering with asthma will enroll only 350-400 individuals, an earlier Canadian survey of 134,000 people found 80 percent were more likely to experience exacerbations requiring the use of inhalers and nebulizers than unvaccinated controls. Another study published in The Lancet, one of the few placebo controlled studies in influenza vaccine research, discovered “that pulmonary-function abnormalities may occur as a complication of influenza vaccination.”[5]

The NIAID press release on October 9 announced it was undertaking a trial to determine the efficacy of taking both the swine flu and seasonal flu vaccinations together. This news arrives after Canadian medical researchers reported four studies indicating the seasonal flu shot will put people at much greater risk for getting the swine flu.[6] These studies are compounded by an equally serious threat of genetic recombination of the different viral strains in the vaccinated person. Dr. Michael Gardam, Director of Infectious Diseases and Prevention and Control at the Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion stated, “We don’t know with this year’s flu shot how it interacts with the pandemic flu shot, so it’s a worry.”

We would hope the NIAID would take these warning to heart in designing their trial on the co-administration of the H1N1 and seasonal influenza vaccines. But that is asking a bit much from an agency already sold to bad science. We are stuck asking ourselves, with all the money at their disposal, why can’t our health agencies and advisory committees fund a decent scientifically sound study to get to the bottom of the critical questions regarding vaccine safety? The only answer we are left with is that they don’t want to know the truth. There is no other reason for the continuation of flawed science except to support the CDC’s reactive measures to the growing pressure to convince Americans that the fast tracked swine flu vaccines are safe in the absence of good medical studies.

Fortunately for the Department of Human Health and Services, Americans are still more dim-witted than their European neighbors when it comes to scrutinizing products coming off industrial assembly lines, especially vaccines and pharmaceutical drugs. It proves the high effectiveness of the vaccine industrial complex’s marketing schemes through our government and corporate media. At this moment, health care professionals in the UK are increasingly spurning the H1N1 vaccine. Some hospitals are showing as low as 10 percent of staff and 10 percent of doctors willing to get vaccinated. The primary complaint is “the vaccine is no good and you shouldn’t be bothered with it.” [7] The French government is struggling to find doctors to administer the flu jab. A recent poll in Sweden has more than half of its citizens refusing the shot, and anti-swine flu vaccination protests are erupting in New Zealand. The German health ministry is in a quandary. This week, physicians and advisors of the German military have declared soldiers should not be given the approved vaccines with the mercury preservative and the adjuvant squalene. Consequently, the German public is growing more skeptical by the day over H1N1 vaccines’ safety.[8] Yet here in the US, the sheeple are glued to the theatrics of the ever popular Dr. Oz rolling up his sleeve for a swine flu vaccination and offering his studio audience to fanfare applause their very own free injection of some toxic solution whose effects are unknown. But then Dr. Oz during a separate interview on CNN stated his four children and wife will not receive it.

Pregnant women are now being listed as a high priority for swine flu inoculation. Yet the product inserts so far from the package inserts state the disclaimer: “Animal reproduction studies have not been conducted with influenza virus vaccine. It is also not known whether influenza virus vaccine can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman.”[9] By their own admission, the vaccine industrial complex has not even performed clinical studies on pregnant animals, let alone pregnant humans!

The Canadian Health Ministry has confirmed that there is no data on the use of adjuvanted swine flu vaccine in pregnant women that would warrant administering it.[10] In fact flu vaccines, as with all other vaccines have not been fully tested to determine teratogenic effects, the dangers vaccines have on the fetus. Unlike the US, Canada is more wary about the medical evidence showing adjuvants have a high adverse threat to pregnant women and the fetus. This conclusion was drawn earlier by the World Health Organization (WHO). Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, head of the WHO’s vaccine research department, has stated “Does that mean that it [adjuvanted vaccine] will be unsafe? No. It means that there is no hard evidence that it will be safe.”[11]

Dr. Jefferson states, “There is no study of the vaccines on pregnant women—no randomized clinical trials.”[12] The real impact of flu vaccines’ perils was summarized in an article in the Summer 2006 Journal of the American Physicians and Surgeons. Drs. David Ayoub and Edward Yazbak conclude their review of the ACIP’s policy on vaccinated pregnant women with the flu vaccine: “The ACIP’s citations and the current literature indicate that influenza infection is rarely a threat to normal pregnancy. There is no convincing evidence of the effectiveness of influenza vaccination during this critical period. No studies have adequately assessed the risk of influenza vaccination during pregnancy and animal safety studies are lacking…. The ACIP policy recommendation of routinely administering influenza vaccine during pregnancy is ill-advised and unsupported by current scientific literature, and it should be withdrawn.”[13]

It would seem that the pro-vaccination community abides by the prevailing myth that the placenta serves as a kind of barrier or wall protecting the fetus from toxic chemicals, metals and contaminants and pathogens in the pregnant mother. This belief has collapsed after one of the more important discoveries in recent years. The Environmental Working Group, an independent non-profit organization conducts laboratory research on environmental toxins. After testing umbilical cord blood for over 200 of some of the most dangerous chemicals found in our immediate everyday environment, the researchers came to the startling results that on average approximately three quarters of them were present in umbilical cord blood. The urgent importance of this discovery is that the placenta does not serve as a reliable filter and highly toxic neurological damaging chemicals, including those used in vaccines, such as ethylmercury and formaldehyde, will make their way to the developing fetus and can contribute to untold neurological and genetic alterations leading to long-term diseases as the child grows up. Unless we can fully appreciate the rate of cell division in an unborn child, which is astronomical and therefore more susceptible to mutations in the presence of highly toxic chemicals, we are unable to grasp the full extent of the dangers vaccines pose on the developing child. This in and of itself should force us to pause and reconsider the serious side effects being inflicted on unborn children from vaccine ingredients.

If your physician or nurse intentionally injected you with lead, they would go to jail and rightly so. As every civilized government in the world knows, lead is neurotoxic to the brain. There is no controversy about this. The controversy is when public health officials insist that a pregnant woman or a young child receive an annual influenza vaccine and a swine flu vaccine containing 25 mcg of mercury each, a level that is deadly to the brain’s neuron cells Mercury is more toxic than lead. It is unfathomable, therefore, how the same doctor, as well as all of our government health officials, would never suggest you be injected with lead, but can turn around and insist you be injected with mercury, knowing full well that your blood will carry that thimerosal past the blood-brain barrier and potentially cause neurological damage.

Furthermore, we have an epidemic of autism in the US and other developmental and learning disabilities in children. We have never experienced this in our history prior to the introduction of large numbers of vaccines going into the children of America. There are no long-term double-blind, controlled placebo studies for any of the pharmaceutical industry’s vaccines nor are there any studies to determine what interactions might occur from the interaction of other vaccines when in the presence of the new swine flu and/or seasonal vaccines. Such studies don’t exist. The CDC and HHS cannot prove that if you did not get infected with the flu it is because you were vaccinated. And yet they have gone to the extreme in demanding and legislating that the vaccine industrial complex be subsidized, given waivers and indemnified from any and all lawsuits. Consequently, if there should be large numbers of serious adverse reactions and deaths, no one will be held accountable. In a society that prides itself in democratic principles and free choice, our health officials are denying that very same free choice by implementing mandatory vaccine policies. This is not the Hippocratic Oath. This is medical fascism.

Richard Gale is the Executive Producer of the Progressive Radio Network and a former Senior Research Analyst in the biotechnology and genomic industries. Dr. Gary Null is the host of the nation’s longest running public radio program on nutrition and natural health and a multi-award-winning director of progressive documentary films, including Vaccine Nation and Autism: Made in the USA. Dr. Null is also the plaintiff on a law suit against the FDA to prevent the launch of the swine flu vaccine until safety studies have been thoroughly conducted.

Notes

[1] “Interview: Dr. Tom Jefferson and the Pandemic Flu Vaccine” Financial Times. September 11, 2009.

[2] Yazbak, F. Edward. “Flu Vaccines Creating a Myth.” Vaccine Risk Awareness Network, November 11, 2006. www.vran.org  

[3] Jefferson T. “Influenza vaccination: policy versus evidence.” Brit. Medical Journal. Vol. 333, October 28, 2006.

[4] “Safety and Efficacy of an H1N1 Influenza Vaccine in People with Asthma” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://clinicaltrials.gov; “Sanofi H1N1 + TIV – Adults and Elderly” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://clinicaltrials.gov;  “H1N1 Vaccine in Pregnant Women” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://clinicaltrials.gov;  

[5] “Randomized placebo-controlled crossover trial on effect of inactivated influenza vaccine on pulmonary function in asthma.” Lancet. 1998; 351: 326-31.

[6] “Seasonal flu shot may increase H1N1 risk.” Canadian Broadcast Corporation News. September 23, 2009.

[7] Campbell, Denis, “Swine flu fears grow as NHS staff shun vaccine.” Guardian UK, October 11, 2009.

[8] “Virologe: Bundesregierung hat den falschen Impfstoff gekauft.” Yahoo Deutschland October 12, 2009.

[9] Richardson, Dawn. “Flu Vaccine: Stay Out of My Womb” October 8, 1999. http://www.vaccineinfo.net/issues/flu_vaccine_warning.htm.  

[10] Branswell, Helen. “Canada to Buy Only Adjuvant-Free Vax for the Pregnant. The Canadian Press. September 5, 2009.

[11] Burgermeister, Jane. “No Data on the Use of Adjuvanted Flu Jabs on Pregnant Women Admist Canada as it Changes “Swine Flu” Jab Policy. The Flu Cure. September 7, 2009. www.theflucure.com  

[12] “Swine flu vaccines not tested on pregnant women.” Pregnancy Weekly. August 6, 2009.

[13] Ayoub B, Yazbak FE. “Influenza vaccination during pregnancy: a critical assessment of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.” J Amer. Phys and Surg. Volume II, Number 2. Summer 2006.

Nobody in the world knows how dispose of radioactive waste safely and permanently. That’s a given. The Japanese central government is presumably aware that anything it does with still the unmeasured, but vast amount of radioactive waste from Fukushima’s six nuclear power generators will be temporary. Leaving it in place is not an option. So Tokyo announced August 29 that the Fukushima waste would be stored for 30 years in Fukushima prefect, in an “interim facility” to be built probably in nearby Okuma or Futaba (now evacuated).

“We’ve screened and confirmed safety and regional promotion measures as offered by the state,” Fukushima prefect Governor Yuhei Sato said when announcing the decision. The temporary plan was proposed by the environment minister in late 2013, an offer few thought the Fukushima officials could refuse.

The negotiated terms of the plan include a government lease of about 4,000 acres (16 square km) from some 2,000 landowners around the Fukushima site. No leases have yet been signed. The terms also include government subsidies to the prefect of $2.9 billion (301 billion yen) over thirty years, as well as a personal visit in Tokyo for Gov. Yuhei with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

According to Kyodo News, the Japanese government has made the same kind of promise governments around the world have made and failed to keep ever since the first nuclear waste was generated. Tokyo has “vowed to secure a site outside the prefecture for final disposal of the radioactive waste after the 30-year period, although the site has not been decided.”

Kyodo News also reported that 88 plaintiffs, who were Fukushima residents at the time of the March 2011 meltdowns have sued tor Japanese government and the prefect government for damages for governmental failure to protect children from radiation. Each plaintiff seeks $9,600 (100,000 yen) in compensation: “They said in a written complaint that the central and prefectural governments failed to promptly release accurate data of radiation levels in the air after the nuclear crisis was triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, neglecting their duty to prevent residents’ radiation exposure as much as possible, and exposed children to unnecessary radiation.”

 Plutonium levels from Fukushima may be relatively low in Pacific

The same day the plan to store Fukushima’s radioactive waste next door to the Fukushima nuclear complex was announced, the MarineChemist blog on Daily Kos reported on measurements of Plutonium in the Pacific Ocean made in April 2014. The conclusion from those measurements, made within about 90 miles (150 km) of the Fukushima plant, was that the triple meltdown at Fukushima had not added measureable amounts of Plutonium to the ocean near the site. As the study put it:  “Our results suggested that there was no significant variation of the Pu [Plutonium] distribution in seawater in the investigated areas compared to the distribution before the accident.”

That sounds like good news. But all it really means is that the added Plutonium from Fukushima, so far, may be relatively trivial in comparison to the already-elevated level of Plutonium contamination from nuclear weapons testing more than fifty years ago. The isotopes most relevant, Plutonium-240 and Plutonium-239, have half-lives of 6,500 years and 24,100 years, respectively. The half-life is the time it takes for half the amount of a radioactive element to decay into something else (which may be more radioactive, or less).

And Plutonium is but one part of the radiation load. There are thousands of nuclides and isotopes. Some have a half-life of almost no time at all. Many others, including those released by Fukushima – Cesium, Strontium, Tritium, Iodine, Tellurium – have half-lives measured in years, decades, and centuries during which time they remain dangerous, albeit decreasingly. [According to a report in the journal Environmental Science and Technology in 2013, the amount of radioactive Cesium from Fukushima measured in central Europe in 2011 was under-reported by orders of magnitude.]

The Pacific study apparently ignored everything but Plutonium in its study of ocean radioactivity. It also ignored all radioactivity in the rest of the Pacific Ocean, all the areas more than 90 miles from Fukushima.

The worse news is that there is little or no reliable, systematic, continuous measurement of radiation levels anywhere, not just related to Fukushima. Nor is there any honest, comprehensive, serious study of the effects of the radiation that’s not being measured. Independent scientists have sharply criticized this failure to gather reliable data in what amounts to a pattern of global denial. The Nobel Peace Prize winning organization,International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, issued a report in June sharply criticizing the United Nations work on Fukushima. The physicists said that the UN’s optimistic assumptions had no credible basis in current research. Even stronger criticism was reported in the August 22 London Times:

“The United Nations is deliberately ignoring evidence of genetic damage caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, according to international scientists who point to signs of mutations in animals, birds and plants. Members of the US-based Chernobyl and Fukushima research initiative have denounced a recent UN report on the 2011 disaster in Japan which, they say, fails to take proper account of symptoms as diverse as spotty cows, infertile butterflies, and monkeys with low blood cell counts.

National and international agencies continue to behave as if ionizing radiation wasn’t that big a deal, as if they still operated in a world where radiation was officially measured in “sunshine units,” as if they still operated in the pre-1945 world where background radiation was stable or decreasing. That world is gone. Background radiation, the more or less inevitable level of exposure humans can expect, on average, is increasing – only slightly, to be sure, but also inexorably.

Clean water continues to flow into the Fukushima plant, where it is irradiated by the melted down reactors’ nuclear waste. Radioactive water flows continuously into the Pacific at the rate of about 107,600 gallons (400 tons) per day. Efforts by the plant’s owner/operator, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), to mitigate this pollution have, so far, achieved little.

Court rules TEPCO liable for damages in woman’s suicide

In the first such ruling by any court, Fukushima district court ruled on August 26 that TEPCO was responsible for causing one of at least 130 suicides linked to the March 2011 meltdowns. As a result of the regional radiation contamination, Hamako Watanabe, 58, was forced to evacuate from Yamakiya with her husband and their children. The government assigned parents and children to different locations. The family lost its livelihood and its home. In July 2011, Hamako Watanabe set herself on fire and killed herself. In May 2013, her surviving family sued TEPCO for $900,000. The court awarded them about $490,000. Previous, similar suicide lawsuits had been settled through pre-trial mediation. After this decision, TEPCO issued an apology:

“We apologise from the bottom of our hearts again that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident is causing much inconvenience and concern to Fukushima prefectural residents and many people. Also, we offer our sincerest prayers for the late Mrs Hamako Watanabe’s soul. We will closely examine the content of the ruling and continue to respond sincerely.”

Fukushima Effects More Lingering than Hiroshima or Nagasaki?

Now it turns out that the multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant were worse than originally reported after the March 11, 2011, shut down of the six-reactor complex (one of the 15 largest in the world). Even after viewing underwater robot video footage of the collapsed reactor interior in May 2011, according to Japanese officials, “Experts believe that the fuel rods, not visible in the clip, were left largely undamaged despite the disaster.”

That was not true.

By November 2011, the official story changed: Fukushima Unit 3 suffered “only” a partial meltdown, involving about 63% of the reactor’s core, according to TEPCO. Unit 3 contains mixed oxide (MOX) fuel that is about 6% Plutonium. The core of 548-566 fuel assemblies with 63 fuel rods each (more than 35,000 rods) is estimated to weigh about 89 tons. Radiation levels inside the reactor have remained lethal since March 2011.

On August 6, 2014, more than three years after the accident, on the 69th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, TEPCO announced that its revised assessment was that 100% of the reactor core had melted down and pooled at the bottom of the concrete containment vessel. There, TEPCO now believes, the molten fuel rods have penetrated about 68 cm (about 27 inches) into the concrete bottom of the vessel, but the mass remains contained.

In the Fukushima Unit 1 meltdown, TEPCO estimated in November 2011, that the core had had penetrated about 65 cm into the concrete bottom of the containment vessel.

The concrete bottoms of the containment vessels at Fukushima are about 7.6 meters, according to TEPCO. If the core has penetrated 65 cm, then there is still about 90% of the containment holding the melted fuel. But no one knows for sure at the moment.

Early preparations to begin the clean-up of Unit 3 went awry on August 29, when a remotely-operated crane was lifting the operating console of a fuel-handling machine into place to begin removing debris covering the fuel rods. The crane dropped the 880 pound (400kg) console into the unit 3 fuel pool, according to TEPCO. Cooling water has kept the fuel pool relatively stable for more than three years. TEPCO reported no injuries and no radiation release as a result of the accident.  Shortly after the crane dropped the console into the fuel pool, there was an offshore earthquake of about 5.0 magnitude, but it caused no further damage.

 Radioactive water build-up; rice paddies and monkeys contaminated

American media (perhaps world media) continue to under-report news about Fukushima, providing almost no reliable, continuous coverage for assessing a critical event that has potentially global consequences, even though it’s unfolding minute-to-minute. The failure of governments to address the spread of radiation, and its intensity creates an information vacuum. Rather than doing their own reporting, most mainstream media report only anecdotally, or not at all. This allows scare-mongers to take a serious, on-going crisis and make it apocalyptic (for example, “How The Entire Pacific Is Polluted And Can Kill All Sealife”).

In a limited effort to provide some perspective, here are a few summaries of recent reports of some of the ongoing difficulties at Fukushima:

Thousands of gallons of radioactive water are currently held in hundreds of Fukushima holding tanks that are reaching full capacity. On August 7, TEPCO announced its plan to release most or all of this water into the ocean, but would first “purify it with a state-of-the-art cleaning system.” The plan has not yet received any permits. Japan Times reported on August 31 that TEPCO had given up this cleanup plan for Unit #1, although TEPCO officially says the cleanup process will be completed by the end of fiscal 2014.

TEPCO is currently impounding roughly 100 million gallons (almost 400,000 tons) of radioactive water on the Fukushima site. Another 100,000-plus gallons (400 tons) of fresh water is being irradiated daily. The system TEPCO has been using is effective only at reducing the amount of Strontium in the water, not any of the other radioactive substances.

TEPCO’s plan to build an ice wall to contain radioactive water has not been going well, the company acknowledged August 5. Engineers have yet to overcome the difficulty in freezing highly toxic, radioactive water already pooled on the site. Refrigeration rods emplaced in April failed to freeze the water. They were removed after three months.

Now TEPCO is putting ice in the trenches filled with some 11,000 metric tons (almost 350,000 gallons) of water contaminated with radioactive materials including Uranium and Plutonium. Although TEPCO has dumped in 58 tons of ice, the water has yet to freeze. The company plans to try dry ice next.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has urged TEPCO to solve this problem before the radioactive water starts spilling into the ocean. According to authority chairman Shunichi Tanaka on August 6, “The biggest risk is the trench water. Until that matter is addressed, it will be difficult to proceed with other decommissioning work…. It appears that they are getting off track.”

TEPCO has yet to make significant progress in controlling groundwater that flows into the site clean and is then contaminated as it flows through, and out. The company has not attempted to divert water around the plant site, as recommended by the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning (IRID). The water problem is complicated by basic ignorance of realities: TEPCO does not know the exact locations of the three melted reactor cores, nor does it know the precise routes of water entering or leaving the site.

Muon imaging technology and tracking detectors may help TEPCO find the melted cores. On August 8, Decision Sciences International Corp. (DSIC) announced that it had a contract to:

“design, manufacture and deliver a detector and tube arrays that fit into the power plant building. The detector will be part of Toshiba’s overall Fukushima Complex project to determine the location and condition of the nuclear fuel inside the plant….

Muon imaging technology makes use of cosmic ray muons to determine material density and type of material scanned…. Muon tracking detectors detect and track muons as they pass through scanned objects. Subtle changes in the trajectory of the muons as they penetrate materials and change in direction correlate with material density. Nuclear materials such as Uranium and Plutonium are very dense and are relatively easy to find.”

Rice paddies outside the Fukushima evacuation zone have been contaminated with radioactive material, according to a July report from Japan’s agriculture ministry. The ministry suspects that the contamination (especially Cesium) came, at least in part, from the removal of radioactive wreckage around Fukushima’s Unit 3, When the debris was moved, apparently, radioactive dust trapped beneath it was exposed and blew away. TEPCO did not immediately inform the public of the ministry’s findings.

Since at least 2013, the Japanese government has allowed farmers to grow rice in evacuation zones in Fukushima prefect, as close as 6 miles from the nuclear complex. The rice is sold commercially. Farmers use Potassium fertilizer in an effort to reduce the amount of Cesium absorbed into the rice. The government has said it would test all Fukushima rice for radioactivity before allowing it to go to market.

Wild monkeys living 43 miles away from Fukushima have detectable levels of radioactive Cesium, while wild monkeys living farther away had no detectable levels of Cesium, according to Scientific Reports on July 24. The contaminated monkeys  also have lowered counts for both white and red blood cells, counts that indicate a damaged immune system. Professor Shinichi Hayama, at the Nippon Veterinary and Life Science University in Tokyo, told the Guardian that:

… during Japan’s snowy winters the monkeys feed on tree buds and bark, where Cesium has been shown to accumulate at high concentrations.

“This first data from non-human primates — the closest taxonomic relatives of humans — should make a notable contribution to future research on the health effects of radiation exposure in humans,” he said….

“Abnormalities such as a decreased blood cell count in people living in contaminated areas have been reported from Chernobyl as a long-term effect of low-dose radiation exposure.”

Japan to spend at least $3.7 billion storing dirt contaminated by radiation from Fukushima. $3.7 billion is the amount announced to begin a project that has no end date. On August 8, Japan’s Environment Minister Nobuteru Ishihara announced the grant to local governments, to help them move their contaminated dirt to national government storage centers that have yet to be built.

South Korea will return radioactive scrap metal to Japan, the Korean nuclear safety commission announced August 10. The commission has radiation detectors at all major ports. According to Yonhap News Agency, “Miniscule traces of Cesium-137 were detected in about 20 kilograms of scrap metal, which are being kept at a quarantine facility.” The total shipment was 20 tons.

Multiple reports of  “radioactive cars” from Japan include news of countries including Jamaica, the Netherlands,Kyrgyzstan, and Russia detecting them and returning them to Japan. Russia reports a sharp decline in radioactive objects seized by customs since 2011. In April 2011, the European Union established a “safe” level of radiation (above background radiation) for all ships coming from Japan. This level is slightly lower than the “safe” level of radiation exposure Japan has set for the Fukushima region. The European limit is non-binding and may or may not be implemented by individual countries at their ports.

South Korea continues to ban the import of fish from Fukushima prefecture and seven other prefectures around the site of the multi-meltdowns that have contaminated the Pacific Ocean continuously, at varying intensities, since March 2011.

The Unit 4 fuel pool, teetering about 100 feet above ground, has been about 77% emptied since the fall of 2013.Japan’s NRA announced on August 6 “that 1,188 out of a total of 1,533 spent and unirradiated (sic) fuel assemblies in the Unit 4 Spent Fuel Pool at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station have been transferred to the Common Spent Fuel Pool on site,” a safer location. Removal was suspended July 1 for legally required maintenance that is expected to last into early September.

Three former TEPCO executives should face criminal prosecution for their failure to take action to prepare the Fukushima plant to survive the likelihood of earthquake or tsunami, an 11-member independentjudicial panel of Japanese citizens concluded August 5. In 2013 the Tokyo prosecutor decided not to prosecute any TEPCO officials, saying the disaster was unforeseeable. The panel decision requires the Tokyo prosecutor to re-open the investigation and its decision is expected in about three months, when it will be reviewed by the panel.

TEPCO did not respond to warnings in 1990 by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in a report first circulated in draft form in 1987. According to Bloomberg in March 2011, the NRC report reviewed reactors of the same design as those at Fukushima and “identified earthquake-induced diesel generator failure and power outage leading to failure of cooling systems as one of the ‘most likely causes’ of nuclear accidents from an external event” – which is what happened at Fukushima 20 years later. Bloomberg added:

“The 40-year-old Fukushima plant was hit by Japan’s strongest earthquake on record March 11 only to have its power and cooling systems knocked out by the 7-meter (23-foot) tsunami that followed. Lacking power to cool reactors, engineers vented radioactive steam to release pressure, leading to as many as four explosions that blew out containment walls at the plant 135 miles (220 kilometers) north of the capital.

While the appropriate measures that should have been implemented are still to be evaluated, more extensive waterproofing of the underground portion of the reactor could have helped prevent the cooling systems’ failure, said [a nuclear researcher], who questions the use of nuclear power in Japan because of its seismic activity.”

There were earlier warnings as well, as reported in March 2011 by BBC filmmaker Adam Curtis: And in 1971 the Atomic Energy Commission did a series of tests of Emergency Core Cooling systems. Accidents were simulated. In each case the emergency systems worked – but the water failed to fill the core. Often being forced out under pressure.

As one of the AEC scientists says in the film [“A is for Atom”]: “We discovered that our theoretical calculations didn’t have a strong correlation with reality. But we just couldn’t admit to the public that all these safety systems we told you about might not do any good”

TEPCO built Fukushima on an ocean-front bluff, but lowered that bluff some 30 feet closer to sea level, partly to build on bedrock as a defense against earthquakes, but also to save money on the cost of running seawater pumps. TEPCO built a seawall to protect Fukushima against tsunamis, but when TEPCO was warned that the seawall was too low to be effective, TEPCO did nothing.

The perspective of the nuclear industry remains focused on expanding nuclear power as its first priority, subtly suggesting that any problems are the fault of inadequate government regulation (which the industry generally resists as much as possible, because regulation tends to cost money, at least in the short term). This perspective shows up in statements like this from the World Nuclear Association, a self-declared industry trade group: “An analysis by the Carnegie Endowment in March 2012 said that if best practices from other countries had been adopted by TEPCO and NISA at Fukushima, the serious accident would not have happened, underlining the need for greater international regulatory collaboration.”

Given the decades of industry lies, deceit, and minimization, a more forthright analysis is that, for failing to follow best practices, even when warned of specific dangers, TEPCO and its executives should be prosecuted for reckless endangerment and negligent homicide.

Meanwhile, Japan’s Environment Ministry has decided to raise the maximum “safe” level of exposure to radiation in the Fukushima clean-up region by more than 200 per cent above background radiation. And at Fukushima, almost all decommissioning work paused August 9 for a week-long summer vacation.

In Japanese, “Fukushima” means “Island of Good Fortune.”

“Now, our battle to hold Israel accountable for its fresh war crimes and crimes against humanity has begun,” say Gaza civil society groups. (Anne Paq / ActiveStills)

From the ruins of our towns and cities in Gaza, we send our heartfelt appreciation to all those who stood with us and mobilized during the latest Israeli massacre.

In the occupied West Bank, Israel has embarked on one of its largest illegal land grabs in decades by confiscating another 1,000 acres of Palestinian land to expand its illegal colonies.

Now, our battle to hold Israel accountable for its fresh war crimes and crimes against humanity has begun. The outcome of this battle to end Israeli impunity will determine whether Israel’s latest assault will be yet another stage in Israel’s “incremental genocide” of Palestinians or the turning point that will bring an end to Israel’s status as an entity above the law – the world’s dangerous pariah. The outcome of this battle depends on you.

Two months after its 2008–2009 massacre in Gaza, Israel’s prize was an upgrade in trade relations with the European Union. By 2012, western powers in cooperation with the UN Secretary General had effectively prevented all investigation by the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) into the war crimes and crimes against humanity that Israel committed during the attack.

During the most recent massacre, on 2 August 2014, three days after the occupation forces bombed the designated UN humanitarian shelter in Jabaliya refugee camp, killing 20 civilians and wounding at least 150 people as they slept, the US Congress approved $225 million in additional military aid to Israel. The following day, the occupation forces bombed another UN shelter in Rafah killing ten civilians and injuring dozens.

Also during the massacre, Germany sold Israel an attack submarine with nuclear capability, and the United Kingdom refused to freeze its arms sales to Israel. These and other forms of criminal complicity from world governments and official bodies pave the way for Israel’s ongoing genocidal attacks. It is up to people of conscience and all those who seek peace with justice worldwide to make sure this complicity ends now.

We urge you to stand with the Palestinian people in its entirety and to demand that Israel be held accountable for the war crimes and crimes against humanity it has committed and continues to commit against the Palestinian people everywhere.

We urge you to intensify boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns to further isolate Israel economically, militarily, academically and culturally.

Intensify BDS against Israel in all fields, including by taking the following actions:

  • Working to have arrest warrants issued against Israeli war criminals and for them to be tried before your courts.
  • Pressuring governments to impose a comprehensive military embargo on Israel.
  • Pressuring governments to suspend all free trade and bilateral agreements with Israel until it complies with international law.
  • Building effective direct action against Israel and Israeli companies, such as the inspiring Block the Boat actions that prevented Israeli ships from unloading in California and Seattle, and the occupations of Israeli weapons company Elbit Systems’ factories in the UK and Australia.
  • Working within trade unions to raise awareness about Israel’s regime of oppression and engaging in effective BDS measures such as stopping handling of Israeli goods, divesting trade union funds from Israel and complicit companies, and boycotting complicit Israel trade unions. The trade union movement has a proud history of successful campaigning against apartheid in South Africa, and the Congress of South African Trade Unions has joined Palestinian trade unions in calling for trade union action to end Israel’s impunity.
  • Holding to account those corporations and retailers that support and profit from Israel’s regime of occupation, colonialism and apartheid, including by boycotting their products and taking creative and direct action. The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) has suggested a list of corporate criminals to target.

The majority of the world’s people are waking up to the reality of Israel’s rogue regime of oppression and racism. For the rest of what is supposed to be the UN’s International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, demand an end to Israel’s criminal impunity. Stand with Gaza, and act for freedom, justice and peace in Palestine.

Issued by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) and the following Gaza organizations/unions:

  • Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions
  • University Teachers’ Association in Palestine
  • Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (umbrella for 133 orgs)
  • Medical Democratic Assembly
  • General Union of Palestine Workers
  • General Union for Health Services Workers
  • General Union for Public Services Workers
  • General Union for Petrochemical and Gas Workers
  • General Union for Agricultural Workers
  • Union of Women’s Work Committees
  • Pal-Cinema (Palestine Cinema Forum)
  • Herak Youth Movement
  • Union of Women’s Struggle Committees
  • Union of Synergies–Women’s Unit
  • Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees
  • Women’s Studies Society
  • Working Women’s Society
  • Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel
  • Gaza BDS Working Group
  • One Democratic State Group

Photo: “Gaza electricity; ‘enemy of the (Jewish) state’” wrote the Middle East Online during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead.

While Gazans suffer from daily power shutdowns, Israel is signing an important deal to sell gas to Jordan, gas which, researchers say, was stolen from Palestinians.

In addition to confiscating Palestine’s energy resources, Israel has destroyed Gaza’s only power station in its latest military offensive.

On July 29, 2014, RT reported:

Over a million people in Gaza could be without electricity after Israeli tank shells hit the fuel depot of the enclave’s only power station, causing it to shut down. Its director, Mohammed al-Sharif, said, “The power plant is finished.” (Gaza’s only power plant shut down by Israeli shelling, RT, July 29, 2014)

The Middle East Monitor reported September 4, 2014 that a Memorandum of Understanding ”is due to be signed between Israel and Jordan in the reservoir of Leviathan to export Israeli natural gas to Jordan during the next 15 years with a total value of $15 billion”. (Jordan to buy $15bn of Israeli gas, Middle East Monitor, September 4, 2014.)

Israel’s first natural gas export deal will also be signed by “the Leviathan field partner Noble Energy Inc. on behalf of itself and its partners Delek Group Ltd. units Avner Oil and Gas LP and Delek Drilling Limited Partnership and Ratio Oil Exploration (1992) LP.” (Leviathan partners signing $15b Jordanian gas dealGlobes, Israel business news, on September 3, 2014)

We may recall that in the wake of the Israeli bombing and invasion under Operation Cast Lead, “Palestinian gas fields were de facto confiscated by Israel in derogation of international law”:

A year following “Operation Cast Lead”,  Tel Aviv announced the discovery of  the Leviathan natural gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean “off the coast of Israel.”

At the time the gas field was: “ … the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.”

Coupled with Tamar field, in the same location, discovered in 2009, the prospects are for an energy bonanza for Israel, for Houston, Texas based Noble Energy and partners Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration. (Felicity Arbuthnot, Israel: Gas, Oil and Trouble in the Levant, Global Research, December 30, 2013)

The Gazan gas fields are part of the broader Levant assessment area. (Michel Chossudovsky, War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields, Global Research, January 8, 2009)

The Times of Israel said this first export deal “makes Israel chief energy supplier for [the] kingdom.” (Marissa Newman, Israel signs $15 billion gas deal with Jordan, The Times of Israel, September 3, 2014)

The Israeli business news outlet Globe reports that the U.S. State Department “assisted” both countries in signing the deal which gives Israel the capacity to “use its position to achieve strategic aims”:

The deal has been brought to fruition with the assistance of Israel Minister of Natural Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources Silvan Shalom and the US State Department.

US Secretary of State John Kerry’s special envoy and coordinator for international energy affairs Amos Hochstein is in Jordan for the signing ceremony. Silvan Shalom will be required to approve the deal before contracts are finally signed.

This deal significantly changes the economic strategic relations between Israel and Jordan and makes Israel an energy producer and exporter that can use its position to achieve strategic aims. Discussions over Israeli gas exports have rumbled on in Israel for the past few years and ultimately it was decided that Israel can export 40% of its offshore natural gas reserves. (Leviathan partners signing $15b Jordanian gas dealGlobes, Israel business news, on September 3, 2014)

According to the Middle East Monitor, Jordan approved last month a recommendation “calling for supplying Jordan with natural gas from Palestinian water of the Gaza Marine”:

“The Jordanian cabinet approved, last month, the recommendation of the Committee on Economic Development, calling for supplying Jordan with natural gas from the gas field discovered in the Palestinian water of the Gaza Marine, after coordination with the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinians own a stake in the Gaza Marine field, located 35 kilometres away from the coast of the Gaza Strip, which was discovered at the end of the 90s, nothing has been extracted from it yet.” (Middle East Monitor, op. cit.)

Will this deal between Israel and Jordan jeopardize this approval?

One thing is certain, this new deal making Israel the “chief energy supplier for the kingdom” and making Israel an important energy player able ”use its position to achieve strategic aims”, sheds a new light on the purported objectives of the relentless Israeli attacks against Gaza.

In 2007 a year before Operation Cast Lead in which Palestinian gas fields were confiscated, Israeli Defense minister and former Israeli Defence Force (IDF) chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon wrote that “Israel needs additional natural gas sources”. However, purchasing gas from Palestinians, he claimed, would be “tantamount to Israel’s bankrolling terror against itself” and that gas revenues cannot be “a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state”. His statement below clearly shows the links between Israel’s military operations and Palestine’s oil and gas reserves:

British Gas is supposed to be the crown jewel of the Palestinian economy, and provide part of the solution to Israel’s pressing energy needs. The British energy giant, now called the “BG Group,” and its local partners – the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas and the private, Palestinian-owned Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) – are currently involved in advanced negotiations to sell to Israel massive amounts of natural gas – reserves of nearly 1.4 trillion cubic feet – that BG first discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast. The market value of the gas has been estimated at $4 billion. Therefore, sale of the gas to Israel would mean a billion-dollar windfall for the PA and, potentially, for the Palestinian people.

Unfortunately, British assessments, including those of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, that Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state, are misguided. Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public.

For Israel, the need for BG’s gas may have already taken a toll. It is possible that the prospect of an Israeli gas purchase may have played a role in influencing the Olmert cabinet to avoid ordering a major IDF ground operation in Gaza …

Clearly, Israel needs additional natural gas sources, while the Palestinian people sorely need new sources of revenue. However, with Gaza currently a radical Islamic stronghold, and the West Bank in danger of becoming the next one, Israel’s funneling a billion dollars into local or international bank accounts on behalf of the Palestinian Authority would be tantamount to Israel’s bankrolling terror against itself. Therefore, an urgent review is required of the far-reaching security implications of an Israeli decision to purchase Gaza gas. (Moshe Yaalon, Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza Threaten Israel’s National Security?, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 19, 2007)

What needs to be understood from that declaration is that Israel will not allow Palestinians to have a viable economy by exploiting their natural resources. The “terrorist threat” is just a pretext to maintain Palestine under military occupation and continue to steal its land and resources.

Independent researchers have indicated that these military operations as well as the illegal blockade of Gaza are in fact all about oil and gas:

What is now unfolding is the integration of these adjoining gas fields including those belonging to Palestine into the orbit of Israel. (see map below).

It should be noted that the entire Eastern Mediterranean coastline extending from Egypt’s Sinai to Syria constitutes an area encompassing large gas as well as oil reserves. (Chossudovsky, op. cit.)

For further information on the Palestinian offshore gaz fields, we suggest the following GR articles:

Does the American Public Want More War?

September 6th, 2014 by Peter Hart

If you’ve been tuning in to TV news lately, there’s been a lot of chatter about what sort of military action the United States should take against the Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria. While the public isn’t eager for any new wars, the front page of USA Today was trying to change that narrative.

The paper’s August 29 edition boasted the front-page headline “More Want US to Flex Muscle.” As if that militaristic tone wasn’t obvious enough, right next to it is a graphic labeled “Is Obama Tough Enough?”

The evidence comes from a new Pew poll, so it’s worth noting how that data is transformed into a desire for US “muscle-flexing.” Reporter Susan Page  (8/29/14) explains in her lead:

After years of retrenchment in the wake of two costly wars, a new USA Today/Pew Research Center Poll finds that Americans increasingly are open to a larger US role in trying to solve problems around the world.

Wait a second. People who want the US to “solve problems” are asking the US to “flex muscle”? That’s what USA Today sees. Page notes that the “initial shifts in public opinion could make it easier for President Obama to order more muscular options in striking Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq.”

The poll asks whether the Americans think the government is doing enough about “solving world problems.” If one sees the “too little” answer as being equivalent to an eagerness to launch military attacks, it’s worth noting that the majority, 63 percent, say the government does “too much” or the “right amount.”

A side note: For anyone with a progressive critique of US foreign policy, what would be the correct answer to this question?

Don’t Look to the US Government to Solve the Climate Crisis

September 6th, 2014 by Margaret Flowers

This year, fourteen federal agencies in the United States released a collaborative report called the National Climate Assessment which outlines the impacts that the climate crisis is having and what we can expect in the future. Woefully lacking from the report were real solutions to the climate crisis. When we questioned the media team promoting the report, they said that the report was informational and it was up to civil society groups to demand solutions.

How is it that numerous federal agencies can publish an excellent report on the scope of the problems and yet fail to act? It is likely due to the fact that the United States is an oligarchy (ruled by a few) rather than a democracy (which translates as “people-power”). Academic studies  released this year show that policy decisions reflect the desires and needs of the wealthy rather than the majority of the public. (LINK:http://www.popularresistance.org/fighting-for-a-legitimate-democracy-by-and-for-the-people/)

In our previous article, we described how the United States has undermined the United Nations’ Conference of Party (COP) meetings to force a pro-industry agenda, even going as far as spying on countries and negotiating in secret. The same activities are occurring at home to stop attempts to end the current extraction-based energy economy.

The climate crisis is here and we must take serious action to mitigate it and build systems that allow us to adapt to its effects on our life systems. Solutions exist to accomplish this, but they won’t be coming from above. Rather, they will come from a mobilized grass roots demanding transformation to a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy.

This month, when the United Nations holds climate meetings in New York, people in the US have an opportunity to gather, raise awareness of the roots of the crisis and build a broader movement of movements that cooperates through a unified strategy. We must be clear in our demands and goals and lay a foundation to build a sustainable energy economy that provides universal access to basic necessities from the bottom up.

Federal Agencies Release Climate Assessment for the United States

In the United States, the 2014 National Climate Assessment (LINK: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/report-findings/water-supply) which reports on the current and expected impacts of climate change finds that some areas, particularly in the West, are using water at unsustainable levels. They predict increased competition for water and a reduction in water quality. By 2050, 32% of counties will experience high or extreme risk of water shortages. While some areas of the US will experience droughts and shortages; other areas, particularly in the East, will have increased rainfall, risk of flooding and damage to necessary infrastructure.

The report shows that ecosystems are already being disrupted causing changes in migration patterns and the extinction of species. Changes in temperature and seasons are affecting plant life by altering their growing seasons, geographical distribution, the prevalence of wild fires and exposure to pests and diseases. The National Climate Assessment reports that “many iconic species, may disappear from regions where they have been prevalent or become extinct, altering some regions so much that their mix of plant and animal life will become almost unrecognizable.”

Overall, the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the US reports list a number of impacts that need to be considered. These include disrupted livelihoods, health effects, injuries and death where there is inland flooding, a rise in sea level or extreme heat; a breakdown in necessary infrastructure for electricity, water or emergency services due to extreme weather events; risks of lack of access to water and a breakdown in the food system; and risks of economic impacts from loss of ecosystems such as freshwater and marine life. You can review the IPCC report by clicking here (LINK: http://www.ipcc.ch/) and the National Climate Assessment by clicking here. (LINK: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/report-findings)

The US is Headed Down the Wrong Path

Despite evidence that the United States can move rapidly to a carbon-free, nuclear free (LINK: http://clearingthefogradio.org/carbon-free-nuclear-free-energy-economy-is-inevitable/) energy economy, the opposite is happening. While Obama has been adept at using the language that most people want to hear when it comes to the climate crisis, his actions have done the opposite. His administration has a close relationship with the fossil fuel and nuclear industries and so an “all of the above” energy strategy that includes fracking for oil and gas, offshore drilling for oil, building pipelines and allowing oil trains to move oil and gas, mountaintop removal for coal and nuclear energy is being promoted. Corporations are even moving to mine tar sands in the United States.

The United States has become a great source of fossil fuel for China and the European Union. Bloomberg News reports (LINK: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-04/u-s-seen-as-biggest-oil-producer-after-overtaking-saudi.html) that the US is “the world’s biggest oil producer this year after overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia…” primarily due to fracking in North Dakota and Texas. Although the oil and gas boom in the US was initially portrayed as a mechanism for energy independence, infrastructure is being put in place to export oil and gas. As is characteristic of markets, as the price of methane gas fell in the US, corporations looked to export it to places where they could find a higher price.

Although sustainable sources of energy are being developed in the United States, according to Sean Sweeney (LINK: http://energydemocracyinitiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/resistreclaimrestructure_2013_english.pdf) of Trade Unions for Energy Democracy, renewables are not rising fast enough and are merely supplementing the use of fossil fuels which continues to rise. The Nuclear Information and Resource Service reports (LINK:

http://www.nirs.org/climate/epatalkingpointsflyer714.pdf) that Obama’s new EPA rules are incorporating nuclear energy as a core element even though nuclear is expensive, unnecessary and is problematic throughout its lifespan from the excavation of uranium to the production of radioactive long-term waste.

Big Energy Industry’s influence over the political system at every level in the US is obvious. There are two oil and gas industry lobbyists (http://www.taxpayer.net/library/article/political-footprint-of-the-oil-and-gas-industry-lobby) for each member of Congress. Many industry lobbyists have an inside advantage as they are former members of Congress or staffers. Across the country, Big Energy pressures state and local governments for permits and policies that allow more extraction of fossil fuels and uranium and less regulation of their activities.

Big Energy and other corporate entities that profit from fossil and nuclear fuels also influence NGOs including those that are considered to be environmental groups. The Non-profit Industrial Complex (LINK: http://cswr.columbia.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/2010_vol1_pg17_samimi.pdf) is used to maintain the status quo in the US by promoting a political party or industry agenda under the guise of environmentalism. We wrote about this previously in more depth in Gang Green versus Fresh Greens. (LINK: http://clearingthefogradio.org/gang-green-or-fresh-greens/)

This was evident when Obama announced the new inadequate EPA rules on coal this summer. Ken Ward reports (LINK: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/24392-green-groups-endorse-empty-epa-carbon-emissions-regulation) that within a day, the 15 top environmental groups in the US endorsed it rather than calling it what it is, “too little, too late.” Some of the worst players are involved in the US Climate Action Plan, (LINK: http://us-cap.org/USCAPCallForAction.pdf) a group of corporations that includes Dow Chemical, Duke Energy, Exelon, Shell and more which have joined with the Environmental Defense Fund, Natural Resource Defense Council and Nature Conservancy to promote climate injustice energy policy. The role of the environmental groups is to give the policies legitimacy while the polluters continue to pollute and profiteer.

Corporations that are working to profit from the climate crisis will do all kinds of things to advance their agenda, including the use of language that sounds like climate justice. For example, this month, the People’s Climate March being organized prior to UN meetings on climate change in New York City is being promoted by a broad set of organizations including the Climate Group (LINK:

http://www.theclimategroup.org/who-we-are/our-members/) which is holding parallel meetings in New York. The Climate Group includes Duke Energy, Goldman Sachs and a long list of multinational corporations that pursue market based approaches to profit from the climate crisis.

The collusion between Big Energy and the US government runs deep, including spying on US citizens and infiltrating activist groups. Private corporations have gone so far as to team up with the Department of Homeland Security and label citizens who were trying to halt fracking wells (LINK: http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/eij/article/we_are_being_watched/)and oil and gas pipelines (LINK: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-weis/has-transcanada-labeled-you_b_4112595.html) from being built on their lands or protesting strip mining for coal (LINK: http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/peabody-coal-mining-is-the-real-eco-terrorist-not-young-people-who-are-trying-to-save-the-earth) as ‘eco-terrorists.’

Seeking climate justice

To counter corporate influence, the climate justice movement must be clear in what it stands for. Petermann describes (LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/08/13/1321335/-The-Need-for-Clear-Demands-at-the-Peoples-Climate-March) the People’s Climate March as “A big tent, as in, the circus is coming to town… But this tent is so big that it even includes organizations that support fracking and the tar sands gigaproject…. According to some of the organizers, as long as everyone agrees that climate action is needed, then it’s all good. But are all climate actions created equal? No.”

There are organizations that are organizing around climate justice and real solutions. The Climate Convergence (LINK: http://globalclimateconvergence.org/) is planning a two day conference to discuss the roots of the crisis, obstacles to change and how to build a larger, more connected and effective movement of movements. The Climate Justice Alliance (LINK: http://www.ourpowercampaign.org/peoplesclimatemarch/) is participating in the Convergence and is organizing additional activities and direct action. (LINK: http://www.beyondthemarch.org/)

Similar to Climate Justice Action which developed as an international movement of movements to resist the COP process, climate justice organizations in the United States also need to recognize that all of our issues are related to the climate crisis and build a similar movement of movements. It should be self-evident that the climate crisis which impacts the planet in so many ways, affects us all. The September events in

New York provide a platform on which to build.

This article is part of a series in the lead up to the UN Climate Summit and the activities occurring around that event. It is being produced by Popular Resistance in alliance with Occupy.com. The first article was: the “Climate Crisis Connects Us

Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese are organizers with Popular Resistance, which provides daily movement news and resources. Sign up for their daily newsletter; and follow them on twitter, @PopResistance.

To march with us at the People’s Climate March or join us at the Global Climate Convergence, click here.

Terrorism with a “Human Face”: The History of America’s Death Squads

September 6th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

This article was first published by Global Research January 4, 2013.

Image: El Salvador Death squads

The recruitment of death squads is part of a well established US military-intelligence agenda. There is a long and gruesome US history of covert funding and support of  terror brigades and targeted assassinations going back to the Vietnam war. 

As government forces continue to confront the self-proclaimed “Free Syrian Army” (FSA),  the historical roots of  the West’s covert war on Syria –which has resulted in countless atrocities– must be fully revealed.

From the outset in March 2011, the US and its allies have supported the formation of death squads and the incursion of  terrorist brigades in a carefully planned undertaking.

The recruitment and training of terror brigades in both Iraq and Syria was modeled on the “Salvador Option”,  a “terrorist model” of mass killings by US sponsored death squads in Central America. It was first applied in  El Salvador, in the heyday of resistance against the military dictatorship, resulting in an estimated 75,000 deaths.

The formation of death squads in Syria builds upon the history and experience of US  sponsored terror brigades in Iraq, under the Pentagon’s “counterinsurgency” program.

The Establishment of Death Squads in Iraq

US sponsored death squads were recruited in Iraq starting in 2004-2005 in an initiative launched under the helm of the US Ambassador John Negroponte, [image: right] who was dispatched to Baghdad by the US State Department in June 2004.

Negroponte was the “man for the job”. As US Ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985. Negroponte played a key role in supporting and supervising the Nicaraguan Contras based in Honduras as well as overseeing the activities of the Honduran military death squads.

“Under the rule of General Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, Honduras’s military government was both a close ally of the Reagan administration and was “disappearing” dozens of political opponents in classic death squad fashion.”

In January 2005, the Pentagon, confirmed that it was considering:

” forming hit squads of Kurdish and Shia fighters to target leaders of the Iraqi insurgency [Resistance] in a strategic shift borrowed from the American struggle against left-wing guerrillas in Central America 20 years ago”.

Under the so-called “El Salvador option”, Iraqi and American forces would be sent to kill or kidnap insurgency leaders, even in Syria, where some are thought to shelter. …

Hit squads would be controversial and would probably be kept secret.

The experience of the so-called “death squads” in Central America remains raw for many even now and helped to sully the image of the United States in the region.

Then, the Reagan Administration funded and trained teams of nationalist forces to neutralise Salvadorean rebel leaders and sympathisers. …

John Negroponte, the US Ambassador in Baghdad, had a front-row seat at the time as Ambassador to Honduras from 1981-85.

Death squads were a brutal feature of Latin American politics of the time. …

In the early 1980s President Reagan’s Administration funded and helped to train Nicaraguan contras based in Honduras with the aim of ousting Nicaragua’s Sandinista regime. The Contras were equipped using money from illegal American arms sales to Iran, a scandal that could have toppled Mr Reagan.

The thrust of the Pentagon proposal in Iraq, … is to follow that model …

It is unclear whether the main aim of the missions would be to assassinate the rebels or kidnap them and take them away for interrogation. Any mission in Syria would probably be undertaken by US Special Forces.

Nor is it clear who would take responsibility for such a programme — the Pentagon or the Central Intelligence Agency. Such covert operations have traditionally been run by the CIA at arm’s length from the administration in power, giving US officials the ability to deny knowledge of it.  (El Salvador-style ‘death squads’ to be deployed by US against Iraq militants – Times Online, January 10, 2005, emphasis added)

While the stated objective of the “Iraq Salvador Option” was to “take out the insurgency”, in practice the US sponsored terror brigades were involved in routine killings of civilians with a view to fomenting sectarian violence. In turn, the CIA and MI6 were overseeing “Al Qaeda in Iraq”  units involved in targeted assassinations directed against the Shiite population. Of significance, the death squads were integrated and advised by undercover US Special Forces.

Robert Stephen Ford –subsequently appointed US Ambassador to Syria– was part of Negroponte’s team in Baghdad in 2004-2005. In January 2004, he was dispatched as U.S. representative to the Shiite city of Najaf which was the stronghold of the Mahdi army, with which he made preliminary contacts.

In January 2005, Robert S. Ford’s was appointed Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the US Embassy under the helm of Ambassador John Negroponte. He was not only part of the inner team, he was Negroponte’s partner in setting up the Salvador Option.  Some of the groundwork had been established in Najaf prior to Ford’s transfer to Baghdad.

John Negroponte and Robert Stephen Ford were put in charge of recruiting the Iraqi death squads. While Negroponte  coordinated the operation from his office at the US Embassy, Robert S. Ford, who was fluent in both Arabic and Turkish, was entrusted with the task of establishing strategic contacts with Shiite and Kurdish militia groups outside the “Green Zone”.

Two other embassy officials, namely Henry Ensher (Ford’s Deputy) and a younger official in the political section, Jeffrey Beals, played an important role in the team “talking to a range of Iraqis, including extremists”. (See The New Yorker, March 26, 2007).  Another key individual in Negroponte’s team was James Franklin Jeffrey, America’s ambassador to Albania (2002-2004). In 2010, Jeffrey was appointed US Ambassador to Iraq (2010-2012).

Negroponte also brought into the team one of his former collaborators Colonel James Steele (ret) from his Honduras heyday:

Under the “Salvador Option,” “Negroponte had assistance from his colleague from his days in Central America during the 1980′s, Ret. Col James Steele. Steele, whose title in Baghdad was Counselor for Iraqi Security Forces supervised the selection and training of members of the Badr Organization and Mehdi Army, the two largest Shi’ite militias in Iraq, in order to target the leadership and support networks of a primarily Sunni resistance. Planned or not, these death squads promptly spiralled out of control to become the leading cause of death in Iraq.

Intentional or not, the scores of tortured, mutilated bodies which turn up on the streets of Baghdad each day are generated by the death squads whose impetus was John Negroponte. And it is this U.S.-backed sectarian violence which largely led to the hell-disaster that Iraq is today. (Dahr Jamail, Managing Escalation: Negroponte and Bush’s New Iraq Team,. Antiwar.com, January 7, 2007)

“Colonel Steele was responsible, according to Rep. Dennis Kucinich for implementing  “a plan in El Salvador under which tens of thousands Salvadorans “disappeared” or were murdered, including Archbishop Oscar Romero and four American nuns.”

Upon his appointment to Baghdad, Colonel Steele was assigned to a counter-insurgency unit known as the “Special Police Commando” under the Iraqi Interior Ministry” (See ACN, Havana,  June 14, 2006) 

Reports confirm that “the US military turned over many prisoners to the Wolf Brigade, the feared 2nd battalion of the interior ministry’s special commandos” which so happened to be under supervision of  Colonel Steele:

“US soldiers, US advisers, were standing aside and doing nothing,” while members of the Wolf Brigade beat and tortured prisoners. The interior ministry commandos took over the public library in Samarra, and turned it into a detention centre, he said.  An interview conducted by Maass [of the New York Times] in 2005 at the improvised prison, accompanied by the Wolf Brigade’s US military adviser, Col James Steele, had been interrupted by the terrified screams of a prisoner outside, he said. Steele was reportedly previously employed as an adviser to help crush an insurgency in El Salvador.” (Ibid, emphasis added)

Another notorious figure who played a role in Iraq’s counter-insurgency program was Former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik  [image: Bernie Kerik  in Baghdad Police Academy with body guards] who in 2007 was indicted in federal court on 16 felony charges.

Kerik walks amidst a phalanx of bodyguards during visit to the Police Academy in Baghdad, July 2003.

Kerik had been appointed by the Bush administration at the outset of the occupation in 2003 to assist in the organization and training  of the Iraqi Police force. During his short stint in 2003, Bernie Kerik –who took on the position of interim Minister of the Interior– worked towards organizing terror units within the Iraqi Police force: “Dispatched to Iraq to whip Iraqi security forces into shape, Kerik dubbed himself the “interim interior minister of Iraq.” British police advisors called him the “Baghdad terminator,” (Salon, December 9, 2004, emphasis added)

Under Negroponte’s helm at the US Embassy in Baghdad, a  wave of covert civilian killings and targeted assassinations had been unleashed. Engineers, medical  doctors, scientists and intellectuals were also targeted.

Author and geopolitical analyst Max Fuller has documented in detail the atrocities committed under the US sponsored counterinsurgency program.

The appearance of death squads was first highlighted in May this year [2005], …dozens of bodies were found casually disposed … in vacant areas around Baghdad. All of the victims had been handcuffed, blindfolded and shot in the head and many of them also showed signs of having been brutally tortured.  …

The evidence was sufficiently compelling for the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), a leading Sunni organisation, to issue public statements in which they accused the security forces attached to the Ministry of the Interior as well as the Badr Brigade, the former armed wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), of being behind the killings. They also accused the Ministry of the Interior of conducting state terrorism (Financial Times).

The Police Commandos as well as the Wolf  Brigade were overseen by the US counterinsurgency program in the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior:

The Police Commandos were formed under the experienced tutelage and oversight of veteran US counterinsurgency fighters, and from the outset conducted joint-force operations with elite and highly secretive US special-forces units (Reuters, National Review Online).

A key figure in the development of the Special Police Commandos was James Steele, a former US Army special forces operative who cut his teeth in Vietnam before moving on to direct the US military mission in El Salvador at the height of that country’s civil war. …

Another US contributor was the same Steven Casteel who as the most senior US advisor within the Interior Ministry brushed off serious and well-substantiated accusations of appalling human right violations as ‘rumor and innuendo’. Like Steele, Casteel gained considerable experience in Latin America, in his case participating in the hunt for the cocaine baron Pablo Escobar in Colombia’s Drugs Wars of the 1990s …

Casteel’s background is significant because this kind of intelligence-gathering support role and the production of death lists are characteristic of US involvement in counterinsurgency programs and constitute the underlying thread in what can appear to be random, disjointed killing sprees.

Such centrally planned genocides are entirely consistent with what is taking place in Iraq today [2005] …It is also consistent with what little we know about the Special Police Commandos, which was tailored to provide the Interior Ministry with a special-forces strike capability (US Department of Defense). In keeping with such a role, the Police Commando headquarters has become the hub of a nationwide command, control, communications, computer and intelligence operations centre, courtesy of the US. (Max Fuller, op cit)

This initial groundwork established under Negroponte in 2005 was implemented under his successor Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.  Robert Stephen Ford ensured the continuity of the project prior to his appointment as US Ambassador to Algeria in 2006,  as well as upon his return to Baghdad as Deputy Chief of Mission in 2008.

Operation “Syrian Contras”: Learning from the Iraqi Experience

The gruesome Iraqi version of the “Salvador Option” under the helm of Ambassador John Negroponte has served as a “role model” for setting up the “Free Syrian Army” Contras. Robert Stephen Ford was, no doubt, involved in the implementation of the Syrian Contras project, following his reassignment to Baghdad as Deputy Head of Mission in 2008.

The objective in Syria was to create factional divisions between Sunni, Alawite, Shiite, Kurds, Druze and Christians. While the Syrian context is entirely different to that of Iraq, there are striking similarities with regard to the procedures whereby the killings and atrocities were conducted.

A report published by Der Spiegel pertaining to atrocities committed in the Syrian city of Homs confirms an organized sectarian process of mass-murder and extra-judicial killings comparable to that conducted by the US sponsored death squads in Iraq.

People in Homs were routinely categorized as   “prisoners” (Shia, Alawite) and “traitors”.  The “traitors” are Sunni civilians within the rebel occupied urban area, who express their disagreement or opposition to the rule of terror of the Free Syrian Army (FSA):

“Since last summer [2011], we have executed slightly fewer than 150 men, which represents about 20 percent of our prisoners,” says Abu Rami. … But the executioners of Homs have been busier with traitors within their own ranks than with prisoners of war. “If we catch a Sunni spying, or if a citizen betrays the revolution, we make it quick,” says the fighter. According to Abu Rami, Hussein’s burial brigade has put between 200 and 250 traitors to death since the beginning of the uprising.” (Der Spiegel, March 30, 2012)

The project required an initial program of recruitment and training of mercenaries. Death squads including Lebanese and Jordanian Salafist units entered Syria’s southern border with Jordan in mid-March 2011.  Much of the groundwork was already in place prior to Robert Stephen Ford’s arrival in Damascus in January 2011.

Ambassador Ford in Hama in early July 2011

Ford’s appointment as Ambassador to Syria was announced in early 2010. Diplomatic relations had been cut in 2005 following the Rafick Hariri assassination, which Washington blamed on Syria. Ford arrived in Damascus barely two months before the onset of the insurgency.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA)

Washington and its allies replicated in Syria the essential features of the “Iraq Salvador Option”, leading to the creation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and its various terrorist factions including the Al Qaeda affiliated Al Nusra brigades.

While the creation of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was announced in June 2011, the recruitment and training of foreign mercenaries was initiated at a much an earlier period.

In many regards, the Free Syrian Army is a smokescreen. It is upheld by the Western media as a bona fide military entity established as a result of mass defections from government forces.  The number of defectors, however, was neither significant nor sufficient to establish a coherent military structure  with command and control functions.

The FSA  is not a professional  military entity, rather it is a loose network of separate terrorist brigades, which in turn are made up of numerous paramilitary cells operating in different parts of the country.

Each of these terrorist organizations operates independently. The FSA does not effectively exercise command and control functions including liaison with these diverse paramilitary entities. The latter are controlled by US-NATO sponsored special forces and intelligence operatives which are embedded within the ranks of selected terrorist formations.

These (highly trained) Special forces on the ground (many of whom are employees of private security companies) are routinely in contact with US-NATO and allied military/intelligence command units (including Turkey). These embedded Special Forces are, no doubt, also involved in the carefully planned bomb attacks directed against government buildings, military compounds, etc.

The death squads are mercenaries trained and recruited by the US, NATO, its Persian Gulf GCC allies as well as Turkey.  They are overseen by allied special forces (including British SAS and French Parachutistes), and private security companies on contract to NATO and the Pentagon. In this regard, reports confirm the arrest by the Syrian government of some 200-300 private security company employees who had integrated rebel ranks.

The Jabhat Al Nusra Front

The Al Nusra Front –which is said to be affiliated to Al Qaeda– is described as the most effective “opposition” rebel fighting group, responsible for several of the high profile bomb attacks. Portrayed as an enemy of America (on the State Department list of terrorist organizations), Al Nusra operations, nonetheless, bear the fingerprints of US paramilitary training, terror tactics and weapons systems. The atrocities committed against civilians by Al Nusra (funded covertly by US-NATO) are similar to those undertaken by the US sponsored death squads in Iraq.

In the words of Al Nusra leader Abu Adnan in Aleppo: “Jabhat al-Nusra does count Syrian veterans of the Iraq war among its numbers, men who bring expertise — especially the manufacture of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) — to the front in Syria.”

As in Iraq, factional violence and ethnic cleansing were actively promoted. In Syria, the Alawite, Shiite and Christian communities have been the target of the US-NATO sponsored death squads.  The Alawite and the Christian community are the main targets of the assassination program. Confirmed by the Vatican News Service:

Christians in Aleppo are victims of death and destruction due to the fighting which for months, has been affecting the city. The Christian neighborhoods, in recent times, have been hit by rebel forces fighting against the regular army and this has caused an exodus of civilians.

Some groups in the rugged opposition, where there are also jiahadist groups, “fire on Christian houses and buildings, to force occupants to escape and then take possession [ethnic cleansing] (Agenzia Fides. Vatican News, October 19, 2012)

“The Sunni Salafist militants – says the Bishop – continue to commit crimes against civilians, or to recruit fighters with force. The fanatical Sunni extremists are fighting a holy war proudly, especially against the Alawites. When terrorists seek to control the religious identity of a suspect, they ask him to cite the genealogies dating back to Moses. And they ask to recite a prayer that the Alawites removed. The Alawites have no chance to get out alive.”  (Agenzia Fides 04/06/2012)

Reports confirm the influx of Salafist and Al Qaeda affiliated death squads as well as brigades under the auspices of the Muslim Brotherhood into Syria from the inception of the insurgency in March 2011.

Moreover, reminiscent of  the enlistment of  the Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war, NATO and the Turkish High command, according to Israeli intelligence sources, had initiated”

“a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (DEBKAfile, NATO to give rebels anti-tank weapons, August 14, 2011).

Private Security Companies and the Recruitment of Mercenaries

A Secret Army of Mercenaries for the Middle East and North AfricaAccording to reports, private security companies operating out of Gulf States are involved in the recruiting and training of mercenaries.

Although not specifically earmarked for the recruitment of mercenaries directed against Syria, reports point to the creation of  training camps in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In Zayed Military City (UAE), “a secret army is in the making”  operated by Xe Services, formerly Blackwater.  The UAE deal to establish a military camp for the training of mercenaries was signed in July 2010, nine months before the onslaught of the wars in Libya and Syria.

In recent developments, security companies on contract to NATO and the Pentagon are involved in training “opposition” death squads in the use of chemical weapons:

The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

The names of the companies involved were not revealed.

Behind Closed Doors at the US State Department

Robert Stephen Ford was part of a small team at the US State Department team which oversaw the recruitment and training of  terrorist brigades,  together with Derek Chollet  and Frederic C. Hof, a former business partner of Richard Armitage, who served as Washington’s “special coordinator on Syria”. Derek Chollet has recently been appointed to the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (ISA).

This team operated under the helm of  (former) Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman.

Feltman’s team was in close liaison with the process of recruitment and training of mercenaries out of Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Libya (courtesy of the post-Gaddafi regime, which dispatched six hundred Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) troops to Syria, via Turkey in the months following the September 2011 collapse of the Gaddafi government).

Assistant Secretary of State Feltman was in contact with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, and Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim. He was also in charge of a  Doha-based office for “special security coordination” pertaining to  Syria, which included representatives from Western and GCC intelligence agencies well as a representative from Libya. Prince Bandar bin Sultan. a prominent and controversial member of Saudi intelligence was part of this group. (See Press Tv, May 12, 2012).

In June 2012, Jeffrey Feltman (image: Left) was appointed UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, a strategic position  which, in practice, consists in setting  the UN agenda (on behalf of Washington) on issues pertaining to “Conflict Resolution” in various “political hot spots” around the world (including Somalia, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Mali). In a bitter irony, the countries for UN “conflict resolution” are those which are the target of  US covert operations.

In liaison with the US State Department, NATO and his GCC handlers in Doha and Riyadh, Feltman is Washington’s man behind UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahmi’s “Peace Proposal”.

Meanwhile, while paying lip service to the UN Peace initiative, the US and NATO have speeded up the process of recruitment and training of  mercenaries in response to the heavy casualties incurred by “opposition” rebel forces.

The US proposed “end game” in Syria is not regime change, but the destruction of Syria as a Nation State.

The deployment of “opposition” death squads with a mandate to kill civilians is part of this criminal undertaking.

“Terrorism with a Human Face” is upheld by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which constitutes a mouthpiece for NATO “Humanitarian Interventions” under the doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P).

The atrocities committed by the US-NATO death squads are casually blamed on the government of Bashar Al Assad. According to UN Human Rights Council High Commissioner Navi Pillay:

“This massive loss of life could have been avoided if the Syrian Government had chosen to take a different path than one of ruthless suppression of what were initially peaceful and legitimate protests by unarmed civilians,” (quoted in Stephen Lendman, UN Human Rights Report on Syria: Camouflage of US-NATO Sponsored Massacres, Global Research, January 3, 2012)

Washington’s “unspeakable objective” consists in breaking up Syria as a sovereign nation –along ethnic and religious lines– into several separate and “independent” political entities.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

WWIII Scenario

“It’s a long way from being closed.” -Gen. John F. Kelly, US Southern Command, Joint Task Force Guantánamo, Sep 1, 2014

 Scholars, theorists, and the generally perplexed have been trying to work it out for some years now. Can such insufferable policies such as the indefinite detention of people, sometimes without charge, be tolerated?
Countries that entertain such notions as habeas corpus and the need for a fair trial might surely find that very idea both anomalous and reprehensible. But the virtuous governors of such empires as the United States have few problems reconciling the dictates of justice with throwing away the key for certain prisoners. We do not have evidence against them, but we cannot let them go.

The existence of Guantánamo Bay is a reminder that indefinite detention is a species of population control that is here to stay. The reminder that there is such a thing as a Bill of Rights serves merely as a minor prick of conscience, the distant moral waving of a flag. Laws are there, after all, to be circumvented.

Guantánamo has become a modern penological obsession, the avenue for freedom lovers to be nasty and indifferent to those inconvenient facts that a legal system provides. It is an excruciating legal exception that spars or keeps company with the very idea that the dignity of a prisoner, even if overseen by authorities of a democratic state, just might matter. The argument that has come out from the minds of such individuals as Jason Yoo is that exceptionalism mandates its own logic. Bang people up because they wear a different uniform or serve under an inscrutable flag or ideology. Refuse an individual a hearing. Dance around the Geneva Conventions.

Exceptionally dangerous people, it follows from such flawed logic, require exceptionally severe controls and reprimands. In 2009, the Obama administration’s Guantánamo Review Task Force held that an “indefinite detainee” was someone against whom no evidence was had in terms of war crime or other offence, but could not be released. As Carol Rosenberg observed darkly in Foreign Affairs (Dec 14, 2011), “The only guaranteed route out of Guantánamo these days for a detainee, it seems, is in a body bag.”

The longer Guantánamo has remained, the more of a reminder it has become. It is a monstrous finger of doubt, pointing at the US judiciary and legal establishment. It is a calling card for profligacy – $800,000 being spent on average on keeping each detainee alive. Its existence has created a new taxonomy of detention. Medical facilities are ill-equipped to deal with critical illness, with the Pentagon holding it lawful to refuse sending prisoners for emergency treatment. The decision was made after requests by the State Department to Latin American countries “that could receive and treat detainees in emergency situations.” The requests were coolly rebuffed.

The inmates have done their best keep up appearances of trouble. Hunger strikes, and retaliatory force feeding rituals on the part of the authorities, have become common. The New York Times reports that, “The unit that houses the most notorious detainees is built on unstable ground – a floor is described as buckling”. Even the structure wants to give way.

The United States has been doing the rounds in asking the Latin American world to step up and shovel a bit for Uncle Sam. President José Mujica of Uruguay, had been called by Obama’s appendage, Vice President Joe Biden, to do some work on the subject: accept a various number of detainees.

This has been the game of the Obama administration ever since it made that long since broken promise that the detention facility needed to be closed. Congress has been tardy on facilitating that, as have other officials. Representatives on the Hill have been tightening the purse strings, feeling that trials for such captives on US soil should not take place. Moves to relocate some prisoners to a land based version of Guantánamo, located in Illinois, were also foiled.

As Rosenberg observed with dripping irony, “In a strange twist of history, Congress, through its control of government funds, is now imposing curbs on the very executive powers that the Bush administration invoked to establish the camps at Guantánamo in the first place.” No one, it seems, wants to deal with the damaged cargo.

Even after four days of negotiations, nothing came to pass. Mujica’s teeth had begun to rattle at the political implications of accepting the detainees. A poll conducted in July showed that 64 percent of Uruguayans were opposed to any plans of granting the prisoners refugee status. The plane intended for the transfer, a C-17, left empty. Subsequently, vice secretary to the presidency, Diego Canepa, explained that he did not “believe the process will be completed in the next two or three months” (Reuters, Sep 2). Indefiniteness has ceased being rhetorical.

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

“Should Scotland be an Independent Country?”

— referendum question to be put to Scots on 18 September 2014.

It was hard not to remember the 1995 Quebec sovereignty referendum as one walked the streets of Edinburgh in August. The Yes (Yes Scotland) and No (Better Together) sides campaigned relentlessly everywhere: tables in the streets; posters; TV ads; constant references during many Fringe performances. The city and the country were polarized. An 18 August poll gave the yes 45 to the No’s 55 among decided voters, with the Yes closing the gap as the undecided vote, dropping from a high of 25 to 14 per cent, was breaking two-to-one in favour of Yes. 4.2 million are eligible to vote (everyone 16 and over). The Yes already has a pro-independence letter with a million signatures.

The referendum became inevitable, given recent political developments. The United Kingdom’s half way house – devolution of some powers – had not deflected the drive for Scottish independence. Two referenda on devolution were held. In 1979, though a majority of voters in Scotland supported devolution, the numbers failed to reach the required 40 per cent of the electorate. The 1997 devolution referendum was successful and the new Scottish Parliament was elected in May 1999, with some powers over income tax, education and health. In 2007 the Scottish National Party (SNP) became a minority government, pushed aggressively for a referendum but failed to win the consent of a majority of members. The experience of devolution seemed to speed up the growth in the popular conviction that independence was the next logical step. In 2011 the SNP won a majority government and immediately began preparing for a referendum.

The Drive for Independence

Without denying the great differences that exist, there are remarkable similarities between the drive for independence of the Québécois and Scottish nations. Both were conquered militarily by British forces. New France was conquered in 1759. The nascent and increasingly assertive Québécois nation was re-conquered in the bloody suppression of the Patriotes in 1837-38. Both nations were repeatedly sold out by their élites who made common cause with the conqueror in exchange for a pot of gold and a second-class place at the banquet table. The popular classes were deeply embittered by both the defeat and the betrayal.

Scots will immediately disagree, insisting Scotland was never successfully conquered. There is some truth in that. Repeated efforts at conquest by England failed in the endless Wars of Scottish Independence, resulting in victory for Scotland in 1314 at Bannockbarn leading to the first Parliament in Scotland in 1326. The Highlands were not easily subdued (the Romans failed), even by an alliance of lowland Scots and English forces until 1746 at Culloden. The defeat was total and the savage aftermath ensured the Highlands would never rise again in resistance: mass executions of the leadership and transportation of warriors to the colonies; the legal suppression of the clan system, the tartan and the Gaelic tongue; stripping the entire population of arms. But the Highlands were never completely subdued until the Clearances, involving dispossession from the land and forced emigration to the colonies. Sheep with wool to feed the Industrial Revolution replaced humans on the land. The remaining population scratched out an existence as crofters, while providing a ready source of cannon fodder for the British military machine and cheap labour for the new factories in the south.

The conquest England failed to achieve by force of arms was finally achieved by stealth and bribery. The Acts of Union – passed in London in 1706 and in Edinburgh in 1707 – created Great Britain. There were violent popular demonstrations against the union in Scotland. Even the government’s own spies reported 80 to 90 per cent of the population was deeply opposed. Nevertheless Scotland’s Parliament approved the measure. This was a Parliament elected by far less than 5000 eligible voters (this is an 1832 figure; it would have been much lower in 1707; property qualifications for the vote were high) in a population of approximately 1.3 million. Immediately upon passage, martial law was imposed by a fearful ruling class. Later evidence revealed huge cash bribes were paid to Members of Parliament to secure a majority. This betrayal became a recurring theme in popular song and verse up to the present day.

Clearly, both nations husband many historical grievances within their collective psyches. Independence remains an alluring dream for both.

Two Opposing Visions

There are other similarities between the two referenda. The Yes and No echo similar themes to win the population.

The Yes campaign is positive, upbeat. An independent Scotland will see significant economic growth, more jobs, higher per capita incomes. The national project will be unfettered by the heavy hand of the central government. For this first time since Union, Scottish interests will come first. An independent Scotland will reject the cuts to the National Health Service (NHS), social programs, and pensions. (The devolved Scottish parliament has already sheltered Scots from the worst of the NHS cuts to prescription drugs and eldercare.) There will be no nuclear weapons on Scottish soil. The UK Trident nuclear submarine base will therefore have to go. The Scottish military will be small (hence freeing revenues for other social purposes), and troops will only be deployed in UN sanctioned engagements. SNP First Minister Salmond asks Scots to ignore the “scaremongering and fear-baiting” of the No campaign and to embrace a positive vision of an independent Scotland’s future. The Yes side’s economic arguments perhaps carry more weight than similar arguments in Quebec. Ninety per cent of the UK’s North Sea oil lies in what will be Scottish territorial waters.

The No side admits they studied the 1995 Quebec referendum, adopting the same play book, dubbed by the SNP as “Project Fear.” Independence will be followed by a seven year depression, massive unemployment, and cuts to health and social programs. UK civil servants in Scotland will receive pink slips. Scottish goods will face boycotts in the remaining UK. The national debt will be unsustainable. There will be no currency union. North Sea oil faces rapid depletion and will not provide the expected revenues. The banking system will be in crisis. An independent Scotland might not be welcome in the European Union (EU) and NATO. As one comedian put it, the only thing not included is the claim that motorists will be forced to drive on the right side of the road. There are also a few positive gestures from the No. UK Prime Minister David Cameron begged, “we want you to stay… the UK will be deeply diminished without Scotland.” Further, he promised, a No vote would be followed by further devolution of significant powers.

The biggest difference is the Scottish No’s fear campaign does not echo the hand-wringing hysteria of the No side in Quebec and Canada. There are no claims that a Yes victory would not result in negotiations. The vote would not be recognized by Ottawa and the rest of Canada. A simple majority is too low a bar, and could never be accepted. Therefore a Yes victory in 1995 would have created a major political crisis. In the Scottish case, the UK government and the Scottish Parliament have reached a clear agreement. If the referendum gains a simple majority for the Yes, then negotiations to effect the separation would commence immediately. Scots will enjoy dual citizenship. Negotiations will be tough but reasonable, respecting international precedents and law for peaceful roads to independence.

Herein lies some lessons for the next referendum in Quebec (yes, there will be one, it is inevitable). Quebec sovereigntists should adopt a clear, simple question like the one accepted by Scottish nationalists. And Ottawa and the provinces should agree that a simple majority provides a democratic mandate and will be followed by negotiations to effect the separation of Quebec.

J. F. Conway is a University of Regina political sociologist. He recently returned from 10 days in Edinburgh.

The Islamic State (ISIS), Libya, NATO, and Preventing the Next 9/11

September 6th, 2014 by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich

Those who call for immediate military action rarely have a long-term strategy. That is why America’s march of folly from Iraq to Libya has been a recruiting tool for jihadist forces, including ISIS.

As a member of Congress before and after 9/11, I took (and continue to take) the threat of terrorism seriously, and therefore I vociferously warned against military actions in Iraq and Libya; military actions which ultimately undermined our national security.

The West launched an attack against Libya, amid false claims about an impending massacre in Benghazi, to justify regime change. However, it was obvious to me, and a vocal minority at the time, that military strikes and the arming of unknown rebels (i.e. non-state actors: terrorists) would the result in instability, hurt innocent civilians, and create regional chaos, empowering extremists.

President Obama made the decision to attack Libya without the permission of Congress. I led the effort to organize a bipartisan coalition in Congress which almost stopped the Obama administration and NATO from continued bombing of Libya.

On March 31, 2011, I delivered this address on the floor of the House warning against the dangerous mistake of dropping bombs on Libyan cities under the guise of humanitarian assistance:

Our effort in Congress went against the lobbying power of the White House, the State Department, the Pentagon, NATO, NATO member country diplomatic corps, and many other hefty institutions. Unfortunately, the White House and Congressional leadership came to a political deal which enabled the war against Libya to continue.

While Libya may not make the front page on a daily basis, it stands as the latest example of blowback, the adverse consequences of our reflexive military intervention. Did you know that just a few weeks ago, Libyan jihadists captured 11 jetliners when they took control of the Tripoli International Airport?

Today, thanks to NATO action in Libya, terrorists are taking selfies with the planesthey captured. They now hold a list of aircraft with flight ranges (in nautical miles, or nm) that make it possible to reach London, Paris, Washington DC, and New York City: Airbus 319s (3,700 nm), Airbus 320s (3,300 nm), Airbus 330s (4,000-7,000 nm), and one Airbus 340 (7,900 nm).

It is little wonder why, about the time the planes went unaccounted, British Prime Minister David Cameron declared that his nation is facing “its greatest and deepest” terror threat. Ironically, the actions of his government, and ours, created that threat under the umbrella of NATO.

Right after the sacking of Libya, NATO’s leader, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, declared, “Together, we succeeded. Libya is finally free.” His declaration joins President George W. Bush’s pronouncement of victory in Iraq — “Mission Accomplished” — as a tragic example of individual hubris, which becomes the burden of nations.

Delegates from 28 countries are now meeting in Wales to hear NATO’s plan for aggressively responding to Russia. Since there is no evidence that NATO learned anything from its misadventure in Libya, the world community should give pause when this unaccountable organization prepares to lead it into another conflict.

Now ISIS is making headlines, and the US, in response, is plotting a new expansion of the “war on terror” — which has been the very mechanism through which these terror organizations have flourished.

As provocative and gruesome as ISIS’ tactics are, we must make sure that our response to violent groups around the world does not send us spinning into another disastrous cycle of intervention, occupation, insurgency, deaths of innocent civilians, and the subsequent emboldening of more terrorism.

Backing terrorists to help bring about regime change results in perpetual war and a staggering national debt.

We must resist the illusion that the only “decisive” response to terrorism is bombing. Instead, we should begin to confront ISIS by drying up its sources of revenue from places like Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Allies in the region must share responsibility.

It has been thirteen years since 9/11. It has been thirteen years since President Bush’s instigation of the “Global War on Terror” (GWOT). This failed strategy has brought chaos and terror to countries which had no capability of attacking us. The GWOT subsequently created more, not less, risk to America’s long term security.

Here is what we need to do:

  • Stop creating wars.
  • Stop funding and arming mercenaries.
  • Stop causing abject chaos by “liberating” countries and delivering them to illegitimate non-state actors, i.e. terrorists.
  • Stop NATO and other Western front groups from promoting neo-conservative agendas which lust for empire, for control of oil and gas resources, and which bait countries into conflict to cause an increase in arms trade.
  • Stop playing the naïve fool and falling for the theater of propaganda while interest groups and arms dealers stand at the cash register.

America must transition to a new domestic economic model that does not rely on a military industrial complex and arms manufacturing in every Congressional district in order to function.

Only then can we embark on a new path of strong and patient diplomacy, working together with the community of nations to address security challenges, letting our allies take responsibility for regional security, being willing to talk to anyone in the cause of stability, and setting aside stale, ideological doctrines of intervention.

In the weeks and months ahead, when our leaders are calling for military strikes, without considering the consequences or knowing the end game, let’s remember our recent history.

While NATO leaders in Newport Wales debate the Atlantic Alliance’s role “in containing a mounting militant threat in the Middle East”, it is worth recalling that in 2011 at the outset of the war in Syria,  NATO became actively involved in the recruitment of Islamic fighters.

Reminiscent of the enlistment of the Mujahideen to wage the CIA’s jihad (holy war) in the heyday of the Soviet-Afghan war, NATO headquarters in Brussels in liaison with the Turkish High command, according to Israeli intelligence sources, was involved in the enlisting of thousands of terrorists:

“Also discussed in Brussels and Ankara, our sources report, is a campaign to enlist thousands of Muslim volunteers in Middle East countries and the Muslim world to fight alongside the Syrian rebels. The Turkish army would house these volunteers, train them and secure their passage into Syria. (Debkafile, August 31, 2011 emphasis added).

Confirmed by Israeli intelligence News, NATO played a key role in the delivery of weapons to Al Qaeda affiliated rebels in the Aleppo region bordering onto Turkey:

NATO and a number of European governments, most significantly the UK, have started airlifting heavy weapons to the Syrian rebels poised in Aleppo to fend off a major Syrian army offensive, according to debkafile’s exclusive military sources. They disclose that the first shipments were landed Monday night, June 17 [2013], and early Tuesday in Turkey and Jordan. They contained anti-air and tank missiles as well as recoilless 120 mm cannons mounted on jeeps. From there, they were transferred to rebel forces in southern Syria and Aleppo in the northwest. (Debkafile, June 18, 2013)

“Terrorists R Us”

Ironically, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron (who is hosting the NATO Summit in Wales), have asserted that they “will not be cowed by barbaric killers”:

“We will not waver in our determination to confront the Islamic State If terrorists think we will weaken in the face of their threats they could not be more wrong.” (Barack Obama and David Cameron, Strengthening the NATO alliance, op ed published in the London Times, September 4, 2014, emphasis added)

But these “Barbaric Killers” were created by the Western military alliance. They are serving the strategic interests of the U.S., Britain, not to mention Israel.

[file photo]

“They are Our Terrorists“. Without the terrorists, the “Global War on Terrorism” would fall flat. 

The Obama-Cameron narrative borders on ridicule. It is not only absurd, it is criminal.

What they are proposing is an all encompassing NATO mandate to “Go after Terrorist Entities” which they themselves created as part of an insidious intelligence operation to destabilize and destroy both Syria and Iraq.Inline images 1

British and French Special Forces have been actively training Syria opposition rebels from a base in Turkey.

Israel has provided a safe haven to Al Qaeda affiliated rebels including ISIS and Al Nusrah rebels in the occupied Golan Heights.

Netanyahu has met up with jihadist leaders in the Golan Heights. The IDF top brass acknowledges that  there are “global jihad elements inside Syria” supported by Israel.

Image left: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Shakes Hand with a wounded Al Qaeda Terrorist in occupied Golan.

Lest we forget, Al Qaeda was at the outset a creation of the CIA. Who is behind the ISIS terrorists?  The mainstream media is mum on the subject, despite mountains of evidence that they are creations of the Western military alliance.

 

Islamic State funded by Saudi Arabia enters Iraq

NATO’s Criminal Agenda

What we are dealing with is a criminal agenda under NATO auspices. The evidence amply confirms that the US and Britain in liaison with the Atlantic Alliance have relentlessly supported both the creation as well as development of an Islamic Terror Network which now extends from the Middle East and North Africa into sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia.

And now Obama and Cameron, whose governments are the architects of the Islamic State, are calling upon the Atlantic Alliance as well all on the governments of the 28 NATO member states to endorse the bombing campaign on Iraq and Syria as part of “counter-terrorism” operation.

The ISIS brigades are “intelligence assets” supported by US-NATO-Israel. They will not be the object of the bombings. Quite the opposite.

What is envisaged as part of the propaganda campaign is to use the “threat of the Islamic State” as a pretext and justification to intervene militarily under a “humanitarian” “Responsibility to Protect” (R2P) mandate. The civilian population will not be protected.  Under this diabolical military-intelligence operation, The Islamic State (ISIS) brigades with Western Special Forces within their ranks are slated to be “protected”.

The War on Syria

From the outset of the war on Syria in March 2011, member states of the Atlantic Alliance as well as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have  (covertly) supported the terrorists –including al Nusrah and the ISIS– with a view to destabilizing Syria as a nation state. These actions were implemented in liaison with NATO headquarters in Brussels.

The process of recruitment and training of mercenaries had been sub-contracted to private security companies operating out of the Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Reports point to the creation of training camps in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In Zayed Military City (UAE), “a secret army is in the making” was operated by Xe Services, formerly Blackwater. The UAE deal to establish a military camp for the training of mercenaries was signed in July 2010, nine months before the onslaught of the wars in Libya and Syria. (See Manlio Dinucci, A Secret Army of Mercenaries for the Middle East and North Africa, Il Manifesto. 18 May 2011)

Moreover, confirmed by CNN, security companies on contract to NATO member states were involved in training  Syria “opposition” death squads in the use of chemical weapons:

“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday. ( CNN Report, December 9, 2012)

NATO Supported the Terrorists in Libya

From the outset of NATO’s  2011 “humanitarian war” on Libya, the Atlantic alliance was working in close liaison with the “pro-Al Qaeda brigades” led by “former” Libya Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) leader Abdul Hakim Belhhadj  (Debka, Pro-Al Qaeda brigades control Qaddafi Tripoli strongholds seized by rebels, August 28, 2011 )

Abdul Hakim Belhhadj  received his military training in a CIA sponsored guerrilla camp in Afghanistan. He constitutes a CIA “intelligence asset” operating in the Libyan war theater. A 2011 report suggested that he had some 1,000 men under his command. (Libyan rebels at pains to distance themselves from extremists – The Globe and Mail, March 12, 2011)

The US-NATO coalition is arming the Jihadists. Weapons are being channeled to the LIFG from Saudi Arabia, which historically, since the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war, has covertly supported Al Qaeda. The Saudis are now providing the rebels, in liaison with Washington and Brussels, with anti-tank rockets and ground-to-air missiles. (See Michel Chossudovsky  “Our Man in Tripoli”: US-NATO Sponsored Islamic Terrorists Integrate Libya’s Pro-Democracy Opposition, Global Research, 3 April 2011)

Only hours after Russian President Vladmir Putin managed to secure a fragile ceasefire between the Western-backed fascist regime in Kiev and the Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine, NATO has rewarded Russia’s efforts by shipping NATO soldiers into Western Ukraine, increasing the number of NATO navy vessels in the Black Sea, and leveling new sanctions against Moscow.

According to Reuters, Western Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and one of the main separatist leaders of Eastern Ukraine have agreed to order ceasefires on Friday, pending that an agreement is made on a new peace plan.

Reuters states:

Speaking on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Wales, Poroshenko said the ceasefire would be conditional on a planned meeting going ahead in Minsk on Friday of envoys from UkraineRussia and Europe’s OSCE security watchdog.

“At 1400 local time (0700 ET on Friday), provided the (Minsk) meeting takes place, I will call on the General Staff to set up a bilateral ceasefire and we hope that the implementation of the peace plan will begin tomorrow,” he told reporters.

Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the main rebel Donetsk People’s Republic, said in a statement his men would also order a ceasefire, from one hour later, provided that Kiev’s representatives signed up to a peace plan at the Minsk meeting.

Still, the ceasefire is hanging by a thread.

For instance, some rebel leaders view the ceasefire with extreme suspicion since other ceasefires allegedly initiated by Kiev have fallen apart or never actually taken place. Reuters reports,

Rebels still expressed scepticism. Oleg Tsaryov, a senior rebel official, told Reuters the separatist truce would depend on the government providing guarantees, “because in the past we had some ceasefire agreements Poroshenko didn’t honor”.

A source close to Zakharchenko said government forces bombarded Donetsk within 15 minutes of Poroshenko’s announcement of the ceasefire plan: “We’ll see how the talks go tomorrow, but it won’t be easy. All this talk of truce amid more and more shelling.”

Former central banker and current Prime Minister of Western Ukraine, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, flatly dismissed the ceasefire plan, calling it a trap.

In addition, Western media outlets claim that the fighting on the ground continues in Ukraine. However, one would be justified in questioning the veracity of these reports given the track record of these operations and the obvious desire of Western media to discredit any Russian success in terms of ending the violence. On the other hand, given the track record of Kiev, ceasefire agreements do not have a great life expectancy.

There are wild cards, of course. Most notably, whether or not the Western fascists such as Right Sector will abide by the terms of the ceasefire deal. Indeed, this is one of the major concerns of the Donetsk Republic Prime Minister Zakharchenko.

Putin’s seven point peace plan outline is as follows:

First, end active offensive operations by armed forces, armed units and militia groups in southeast Ukraine in the Donetsk and Lugansk areas.

Second, withdraw Ukrainian armed forces units to a distance that would make it impossible to fire on populated areas using artillery and all types of multiple launch rocket systems.

Third, allow for full and objective international monitoring of compliance with the ceasefire and monitoring of the situation in the safe zone created by the ceasefire.

Fourth, exclude all use of military aircraft against civilians and populated areas in the conflict zone.

Fifth, organise the exchange of individuals detained by force on an ‘all for all’ basis without any preconditions.

Sixth, open humanitarian corridors for refugees and for delivering humanitarian cargoes to towns and populated areas in Donbass – Donetsk and Lugansk Regions.

Seventh, make it possible for repair brigades to come to damaged settlements in the Donbass region in order to repair and rebuild social facilities and life-supporting infrastructure and help the region to prepare for the winter.

In response to the Russian-brokered peace deal, NATO has responded in a typical confrontational fashion. Only hours after the ceasefire was announced, NATO and the United States announced that dynamic duo of destabilization was going ahead with planned military exercises in Western Ukraine that will see approximately 1,000 troops posted on Ukrainian soil.

Shortly ahead of the NATO meeting, Barack Obama stated from Estonia “that the U.S. and NATO would not allow a foreign country to encroach on its friends. He said this after blaming Moscow for the political turmoil in Ukraine. He was a hair away from saying that the U.S. would protect Ukraine from a Russian military attack.

If the NATO exercises were not enough to inflame tensions in the fragile country, four NATO warships are also set to enter the Black Sea this week. USS Ross, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, French Commandant Birot, Canadian HMCS Toronto, a Halifax-class frigate, and Spanish frigate Almirante Juan de Borbon are all set to enter the Black Sea before September 7.

As RT reports,

The Montreux Convention of 1936 states that warships of non-Black Sea states can stay in the Black Sea for no more than 21 days. It adds that the maximum deadweight of a non-regional warship in the area should not exceed 45,000 tons.

[...]

Despite the convention limits, NATO has managed to increase its presence in the region in the wake of the Ukrainian crisis by constantly rotating warships there. Russia does not approve of what it sees as muscle-flexing by the military alliance in its backyard.

In July this year, the grouping of NATO ships in the Black Sea reached nine vessels, setting a record for the post-Soviet period.

Rounding out the provocative stance of Western leaders, the results of the NATO summit reveal the intention to impose yet more sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. According to the New York times,

The extended European package, which was agreed to in principle by leaders, at a European Union summit meeting last week, would cover state energy and defense companies, said one British official who requested anonymity under government rules.

Restrictions on Russian banks would be extended, and there would be more measures against so-called dual-use equipment, particularly in the communications and aerospace sectors. The access of Russian banks to the European debt market would be further restricted and limited to shorter-term debt.

Clearly, the United States and NATO are not seeking a peaceful solution in Ukraine. If they were, they would be applauding the ability of Putin to secure a ceasefire and a reasonable roadmap to a sustained halt of hostilities. If the US and NATO were seeking peace in Ukraine, they never would have orchestrated the Euromaidan color revolution to begin with.

Still, as the American people buy Western propaganda hook, line, and sinker, those of us who have a grasp of current events seem doomed to be dragged ever closer to a direct confrontation with a nuclear world power. We can continue to ignore the facts and the political process now but, if such a confrontation ever happens, we will not be able to ignore it any longer.

Joseph Conrad is responsible for some of the best writing on imperialism’s darker side in the English language. The jungles of Marlowe and Kurtz in his classic novel Heart of Darkness remain some of literature’s ugliest manifestations of European hubris and white racism ever written. Conrad’s characters are so well contrived they have become metaphors for the imperial economic and cultural system of domination that is championed by its kings and rulers as much as it is maligned by its victims and those opposed to its machinations. The sheer brutality of the rational yet insane Kurtz represents the reality of colonialism at its most murderous. Kurtz’s statement at the end of the novel, “Exterminate all the brutes!” is the most succinct take on colonialism and imperialism’s final solution to challenges from their subjects that exists.

Furthermore, that statement represents not only a solution for Kurtz and his real life inspirations and imitators; it also represents the history of European subjugation of the planet. This is why essayist Sven Lindquist used it for the title of his classic on the history of imperialist racism, Exterminate All the Brutes! Likewise, a new history of the United States from Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, titled An Indigenous People’s History of the United States, discusses and illuminates what may be the most obvious and complete expression of Kurtz’s sentiment—the genocidal destruction of the indigenous peoples of North America. This genocide was close to total. Entire nations of people were killed off, their cultures denied, and their lands stolen. The physical methods undertaken in the course of this destruction gave new definition to the term brutality. The philosophical underpinnings of the centuries’ long endeavor provided a spiritual and epistemological rationale for the brutality.

Virtually all history has elements that are never pretty, never uplifting, and rarely mentioned by most historians. This book is one such history.

The saga Dunbar Ortiz chronicles is one born in resistance to European and American colonialism and imperialism. From the struggles against the early British settlers in New England and Virginia to the final catastrophes at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee, Dunbar Ortiz never flinches from the truth. Because it is a history of the United States, and given the fact that the United States was created on land absconded from the people living on and cultivating the land when the settlers arrived, it is also a history whose primary definition is that resistance. Early on, the comparison to the more modern settler states of South Africa and Israel is made. However, it remains clear that the land called the United States is the template for settler colonialism. This history makes it clear that this process is not only about land, it is also about the total erasure of those being replaced from human memory. Undertaking such a project involved a combination of murderous militarism, psychological manipulation and the creation of a myth that told the settlers any killing they undertook against the natives was blessed by God, no matter how cruel a form such killing took.

Indigenous-HistoryThere were various colonial-settler warriors who took greater delight than others in the mass murder they perpetrated. Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson and William Tecumseh Sherman were two such men. Jackson had no shame when it came to his racist attitudes towards Native Americans and Blacks. Indeed, his men fashioned reins from for their horses from the skin of Shawnees they had killed. Meanwhile, Sherman’s reputation as the reigning master of total warfare against a population was only enhanced during the US counterinsurgency campaigns against Native Americans. His burning of Atlanta during the US Civil War remains as one of history’s most brutal and bloody campaigns against a civilian population in the long and bloody history of warfare. Some of his final public statements quoted in this text prove his bloodlust never changed. As Dunbar Ortiz reminds the reader, the tactics of war undertaken by these men and the multitude of other US soldiers and militia men remain in use today in every military foray undertaken by Washington’s troops and mercenaries.

Some stories cry out to be told. Often, the reason they have not been told is because those in power fear the particular truths of the tale. The story told by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz in The Indigenous History of the United States is one such story. It has been too long in telling. Dunbar Ortiz’s writes her narrative with a measured rage that enlivens the history being told, challenging the reader to reconsider every other history ever written about the United States. Essential myths of American exceptionalism are destroyed in these pages while the truths of its bloody genesis and maintenance are categorically declaimed. Informed by Frantz Fanon and Tecumseh alike, Dunbar Ortiz has written a well-researched and important history of genocidal war and indigenous resistance. When it comes to the settler nation called the United States, there is very little virtue in what is written in these pages. This book takes its place in the library of those history texts that tell the history the rulers do not want told. That in itself is justification enough for its publication. Dunbar Ortiz’s captivating and incisive writing only enhances that justification.

Ron Jacobs is the author of The Way The Wind Blew: A History of the Weather Underground and Tripping Through the American Night, and the novels Short Order Frame Up and The Co-Conspirator’s Tale. His third novel All the Sinners, Saints is a companion to the previous two and was published early in 2013.

One of many demolitions of the Palestinian Bedouin village of al-Araqib, in the Naqab (Negev), in June. (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

Israeli authorities demolished several Palestinian homes in the Naqab (Negev) region on Wednesday.

During the early hours of the morning, Israeli bulldozers razed three buildings in Um Beten and additional structures on the outskirts of Hura, villages located in the northern part of the Naqab region, the Arabs48 website reported later that day.

The southern Naqab region is home to approximately 160,000 Palestinian Bedouins, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel’s estimates. As part of the estimated 1.7 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, they face more than fifty discriminatory laws that limit their access to state resources and stifle political expression, the Haifa-based Adalah Legal Center reports.

Demolitions continue

Yet in addition to these hardships, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel also notesthat around 80,000 Palestinians in the Naqab live in communities that Israel refers to as “unrecognized villages,” where they “are denied basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity and running water.” Many of these communities predate the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Israeli policy aims to push Bedouins off their land and into ghetto-like planned communities. The Prawer Plan, a program approved by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, intended to displace tens of thousands of Palestinians in the Naqab, according to Adalah’s estimates.

After sparking outrage and widespread protests among Palestinians, Israel announced the cancellation of the Prawer Plan in December last year.

Arabs48 reports that “demolitions are still continuing” unabated in Hura and Um Beten, among other villages.  Such demolitions have also continued without pause across the entire region and, to a lesser extent, have also occurred in Palestinian communities in the northern part of present-day Israel.

A video of Wednesday’s demolitions was published on YouTube:

“No improvements”

Though Israel claims “unrecognized villages” must seek state recognition in order to receive better treatment and services, a 2013 Adalah briefing paper found that more than a dozen villages that were retroactively recognized by Israel in 2003 were still being denied basic services a decade later.

The thirteen villages — known as the “Abu Basma” villages — “have seen little-to-no improvements” and “are still no better off than unrecognized villages a decade after receiving recognition,” according to the briefing paper.

Eleven of the villages were still being denied water services, twelve had no paved roads, and only one was connected to the national electricity grid and received sewage treatment services.

Meanwhile, neighboring Jewish Israeli communities in the Naqab enjoy heavy state subsidization.

The Adalah briefing paper added that “the infant mortality rate among the Bedouin in the Naqab was 150 percent higher than the overall rate among Arab citizens of Israel, and 375 percent higher than the rate among Jewish citizens of Israel” between 2007 and 2009.

Learning in the dark

When children in present-day Israel began the school year on 1 September, many elementary schools in Bedouin villages of the Naqab were still not hooked up to the national electricity grid.

An Adalah press release published on 1 September explained Israel’s continuing denial of basic services for Bedouin students in the Naqab:

The electricity company and the education ministry have repeatedly refused to connect the schools to the national grid. In July 2013, Adalah filed a petition to the supreme court [Israel’s high court] to demand their connection, representing parents of students from seven Arab Bedouin schools (with a combined total of over 3,000 students) that still operate on private generators. These generators provide limited electricity that can be disrupted for several hours, therefore hindering the use and operation of computers, Internet services, air conditioners, and other necessities.

Israel justified its denial of basic services to these areas by pointing to their lack of bomb shelters and protected areas to shield them from rockets fired by Palestinian resistance groups in the besieged Gaza Strip.

“The [electricity] company claimed that its work required additional construction work due to new plans to build roads in those areas, and that this would take many months,” the Adalah press release states. “The company also stated that it received orders from the Israeli military to refrain from conducting construction work in open areas that do not have shelters and safe places to protect them from bombing.”

No protection

 

Protests in 2013 against Israel’s Prawer Plan, which aimed to forcibly displace tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins. (Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

Palestinian villages across the Naqab have sought bomb shelters for years, but the government has systematically denied their requests, as Rania Khalek reported in July for The Electronic Intifada.

Talab Abu Arar, a Palestinian parliamentarian in Israel’s Knesset, said Israel’s policy of demolishing homes can be observed in both the occupied West Bank and Gaza and in present-day Israel.

“After the ceasefire that ended the war of demolishing homes in Gaza, Israeli authorities renewed the demolition of Arab homes in the Naqab and Arab villages and placed signs on the property of residents in Wadi al-Naam claiming that they are on state property,” Abu Arar told Arabs48.

Abu Arar, a member of the Islamic Movement in present-day, said Israel also denied locals “support and help during the war [on Gaza in July and August], and while rockets landed on Arab villages in the Naqab families were not given shelter and didn’t have roofs over their heads.”

“Finally, for my friends in America, Putin’s efforts to help protect Russian speaking Ukrainians seems no different to me than Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis … taking to the ramparts of the Alamo, which was back then, inside Mexico territory. I mean, if Ukraine were Texas, every Georgia or Alabama boy I know would be in a pickup truck headed there right now.”

* Texican: Someone living in Texas during the time of the Republic of Texas. It was an independent sovereign nation in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846.

 

Donbass militia fighters and children in the town of Snezhnoye (RIA Novosti/Andrey Stenin)

Donbass militia fighters and children in the town of Snezhnoye (RIA Novosti/Andrey Stenin)
                                          

2014 has been the year of “Russian invasions”. But the farcical politicking and media charade surrounding Ukraine’s upheaval reminds us of the tale of Texas, and independent thinking too.

Washington and Kiev would have us believe Russia invaded Poroshenko’s Ukraine. But Ukraine’s Texicans* in the east have another story to tell.Last week NATO proved once and for all, the world needs to demand more evidence before flying off the handle.

You, you weary observer out there, hearken! You might be susceptible to fairy tales of mad “Bolsheviks” marching to the tune of the new and improved Nikita Khrushchev, one Vladimir Putin, but a history reset is in order. And for EU citizens in particular, before your leadership shoots themselves in the foot again (and you in the head), slinging together more disastrous sanctions for Mr Poroshenko, please allow me a moment or two.

NATO’s Russian Invasion artillery, at a Kiev military parade 6 years ago - Ukrainian 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled howitzer during the Independence Day parade (Photo from Wikipedia.org)
NATO’s Russian Invasion artillery, at a Kiev military parade 6 years ago – Ukrainian 2S19 Msta-S self-propelled howitzer during the Independence Day parade (Photo from Wikipedia.org)

On August 28, Secretary General of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, started his war dance again. Once again, NATO revealed “irrefutable evidence” the Russian horde is descending on not just Kiev and Poroshenko, but on all Europe and the free world. But we may want to wait before evacuating Warsaw, Berlin, and Paris. The satellite images Rasmussen has shown us, turn out to be pictures of everyday life in Donbass, being on the front lines.

A handout photo provided on August 28, 2014 by DigitalGlobe via NATO allegedly shows Russian military units moving in a convoy formation with self-propelled artillery in the area of Krasnodon, Ukraine. A senior NATO official said on August 28, 2014 that "well over a thousand" Russian troops were operating inside Ukraine. (AFP Photo)
 A handout photo provided on August 28, 2014 by DigitalGlobe via NATO allegedly shows Russian military units moving in a convoy formation with self-propelled artillery in the area of Krasnodon, Ukraine. A senior NATO official said on August 28, 2014 that “well over a thousand” Russian troops were operating inside Ukraine. (AFP Photo)

The guns of Ukraine’s August

If I may point out, the self-propelled artillery, shown in the NATO image above, is inside Ukraine. The hardware is shown headed North from Sukhodil’s'k Luhans’ka oblast to assist besieged Lugansk. However, the Russian artillery NATO seeks to condemn is only logically placed Ukrainian hardware. Now we all know propagandists always use what they think we don’t know, to weave their story. So let me post the question here: “Besides a Russian invasion, what other purpose might there be for artillery movement in war-torn eastern Ukraine?”

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that the pro-Russians in Donbass are victims of geography. Backed up against a wall, encircled, and outnumbered, they only have one salvation. The basic principles of modern warfare are the only thing between Novorossia and eternity. Hard pressed from the west and north by Kiev’s forces, Lugansk is nearly completely surrounded. This fact leads us to the quintessential question in the matter: “What kind of idiot Napoleon would leave his most precious assets to be captured?”

If we are to believe NATO, we have to assume its top generals would. But I’m considering the Donbass fighters must be smarter than that. After all they’ve held out against a superior force, one more heavily armed, and one with air superiority for months now. Of course, NATO’s argument would be Vladimir Putin sent in a million paratroopers, but we’ve not seen “selfies” from them on social media yet. To solidify the situation in Urkaine, take a look at the map below showing who controls the territory.

 

The general situation of the city of Luhansk in late July through mid August, 2014. As you can see, the city is surrounded like the Alamo was.

The general situation of the city of Luhansk in late July through mid August, 2014. As you can see, the city is surrounded like the Alamo was.

Please ask yourself, “Where else is there to position valuable armored and artillery, but behind the front?” Looking at this strategic map, where would NATO and the “foxes” of military genius of theirs suggest Aleksandr Zakharchenko and the Novorossia go? Vastly outnumbered, bombarded to shreds, and desperate, should they mount a last fatal charge? No doubt Poroshenko would love that. The West would love nothing more than a repeat of “The Alamo” right there in Urkaine. But I’ll get to that comparison later.

Could we explain Novorossia’s longevity so far on a better strategy? What about a counteroffensive via a sort of “end run” like US General George Patton made in Sicily in WW II? Rather than adopting the “Three Stooges” guerilla tactics the West suggests with their evidence, what if the freedom fighters want to stay alive? Maybe instead of the Donbass battalions plunging their best artillery pieces headlong into the waiting arms of the enemy, they moved them around behind the lines for effect?

This is Stalingrad in 1942. It may interest the reader to know the Donbass separatists are fighting and dying on the same ground (Image from wikipedia.org)

This is Stalingrad in 1942. It may interest the reader to know the Donbass separatists are fighting and dying on the same ground (Image from wikipedia.org)

NATO’s military morons

NATO seems pitiful to me in all this. I sit here envisioning Soviet Marshall Vasily Ivanovich Chuikov, the commander who saved Stalingrad, hunched over a strategic map above. After all Stalingrad was backed up against a wall, too. Somehow I cannot see him moving heavy artillery into that city. Can you? But repositioning units, dependent on the complexion of battle… isn’t this in keeping with modern asymmetric warfare principles like “swarming.”

Swarming, in case you do not know, is basically what last week’s Novorossia counteroffensive near Mariupol was. The strategy involves deploying a decentralized force against an opponent in a manner that emphasizes mobility, communication, unit autonomy and coordination or synchronization. And that, my friends, requires artillery and mechanized units to drive about behind the front lines.

Now you begin to see, the frenzied attempt by the West to sway public opinion. We have no pictures of hundreds of T90 tanks crossing into Ukraine. We have no infrared satellite imagery of Russian units specifically, of any kind, participating in Donbass. As for the ownership of the 2S19 Msta mobile artillery shown, these have been deployed prolifically by not only Russia, but Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ethiopia, Georgia, Morroco and Venezuela for decades now. So using NATO’s super-duper rented spy satellites was sure to turn up “targets” to incite more Washington and Brussels sanctions.

The image below with my annotation in blue and red is a close-up of the situation map in late August. It shows Lugansk all but surrounded, and the aforementioned artillery’s location (angel). For Americans unfamiliar with the desperate battle of Stalingrad, perhaps the battle for Texas independence better characterizes Novorossia? Maybe Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, and Colonel Travis are somehow reincarnated? We need to consider this I think.

Confounded, compounded mistakes

However uncertain we may be of our news and our leaders, Russia has clearly not invaded anything except negative headlines. If we can accept this, then the meeting in Brussels on Saturday to respond to allegations Russia has boots on the ground in eastern Ukraine takes on new meaning. Of course, the EU leadership is under heavy pressure from Poroshenko, the White House, and Britain to lay down a barrage of still more economic sanctions. But we need to remember that Russia’s current counter sanctions on Europe have devastated and divided the union’s citizens already.

At a time when no one needs stunned economies, the West’s strategies are twofold idiotic. This Guardian piece by Angus Roxburgh the other day offers the best summation of the situation so far. To Roxburgh’s credit, he’s the only reporter so far to have offered intelligent commentary on a solution to broken US-Russia-Ukraine-EU relations. This quote from his piece is poignant:

“European Union leaders meet in Brussels on Saturday, and NATO heads of government in Wales next week, to formulate fresh responses to the dangerously escalating crisis in Ukraine. Their language will be pugilistic, but in truth Vladimir Putin is the only boxer in the ring.”

I am of the same opinion. Against his mentally disarmed foes, Vladimir Putin has no need for invasions so far. A heavily armed, US and EU backed, standing Ukraine military has butchered Donbass soldiers and civilians alike for months. All the Russian president need do in this fray is text message the separatists “great job, keep doing” to derail NATO plans. And this leads me to two final points, both of which are at once ironic, comic, and sad at the same time.

First and foremost for me, the key questions arise: “What manner of desperation has provoked such hardheaded vigor by the West?” Surely only utter terror of some catastrophe could spur such irresponsible haste? Clearly neither Brits, Americans, nor the majority of EU citizens seem ready to stomach a Middle East war, let alone a continental European one. Still, the leadership and the mainstream media goes on, piling one worthless bit of proof atop another. But to what end?

Finally, for my friends in America, Putin’s efforts to help protect Russian speaking Ukrainians seems no different to me than Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, William Travis or some other American statesmen taking to the ramparts of the Alamo, which was back then, inside Mexico territory. I mean, if Ukraine were Texas, every Georgia or Alabama boy I know would be in a pickup truck headed there right now. If I am wrong, then it is for the sake of understanding. But if I am right, then Americans are standing idly by while real freedom from tyranny goes unchecked. I’m reminded of something Davy Crockett said when he was a statesman: “I have always supported measures and principles and not men.”

For this all-American boy, that’s easy as pie to understand – in Mexico, Ukraine, or on the surface of Mars. Maybe we should all think about Ukraine and Russia, like this.

Phil Butler is a prolific technology, the travel industry, and news journalist and editor. He’s also a partner at one of Europe’s leading PR and digital marketing firms,Pamil Visions PR. Phil contributes to the Huffington Post, The Epoch Times in print and online, and is a regular public relations analyst for Russia Today, as well as other international media.

The European Central Bank has again lowered official interest rates and will begin a program of purchasing asset-backed securities in financial markets in the hope that these measures will counter the ever-worsening economic situation in the eurozone.

The new measures came in the wake of figures showing that inflation in the region had fallen to 0.4 percent in the second quarter, compared to the ECB’s target of around two percent, while its three major economies, France, Italy and Germany, either remained stagnant or contracted. The growth rate in Germany, the leading economy, accounting for almost 30 percent of eurozone gross domestic product, fell by 0.2 percent.

Announcing the new measures after a meeting in Frankfurt on Thursday, ECB president Mario Draghi painted a gloomy picture. The economic outcome for the second quarter had been “weaker than expected” and survey data available up to August indicated “a loss in cyclical growth momentum.”

The recovery, he said, was likely to continue to be dampened by “high unemployment” and “sizeable unused capacity” as well as negative loan growth to the private sector and necessary balance sheet adjustments, that is, the reduction in debt, in both the private and public sectors.

Draghi made several references to the worsening economic situation throughout his prepared speech and in response to questions from journalists at his press conference.

The ECB’s governing council, he said, considered the “risks surrounding the economic outlook for the euro area to be on the downside.” Inflation was expected to drop again to just 0.3 percent in August, representing a “worsening of the medium-term inflation outlook.”

“Add to this,” he continued, “I would say most, if not all, the data we got in August, both hard and soft, on GDP and inflation … showed that the recovery was losing momentum. The growth recovery was losing momentum.”

He said there were several reasons for this, one of them being the lack of confidence. “There is a lack of confidence in the future, lack of confidence in the prospects, in economic prospects.”

The ECB announced that it would further cut its interest rate on refinancing operations for the Eurosystem by 10 basis points to 0.05 percent and its marginal lending facility rate by 10 basis points to 0.3 percent. Banks will be charged for money they hold at the ECB with the rate on the deposit facility lowered by a further 10 basis point to minus 0.2 percent.

Draghi indicated there was no room for further cuts as interest rates were “at the lower bound” and further adjustments “are not going to be possible any longer.”

The new initiative was the decision to start purchases of asset-backed securities. During the global financial crisis these securities were dubbed “toxic assets.” Draghi insisted that the ECB’s purchases would not have derivatives tied up in them.

He did not give a precise figure on the size of the purchases, which will begin when the “modalities” of the operation are decided at the ECB’s meeting in October. But he indicated the aim of the operation was to expand the size of the bank’s balance sheet to the level it reached at the beginning of 2012. According to various estimates, this means that the asset purchases will total between €700 billion and €1 trillion.

The measures are regarded as something less than full quantitative easing, as has been practised by the US Federal Reserve, because they will not involve purchases of government bonds. Any move in that direction is likely to bring significant opposition from Germany where such purchases are widely regarded as illegal and outside the ECB’s mandate.

Divisions within the ECB meant that Draghi had to tread carefully in initiating purchases of asset-backed securities.

Last July German Bundesbank president Jens Weidmann, who sits on the ECB governing council, called purchases of asset-backed securities “problematic” and is reported to have voted against the measures decided at Thursday’s meeting.

While not going into details, Draghi indicated that the decision was not unanimous but said there was “a comfortable majority in favour of doing the program.”

In a further indication of divisions within the ECB’s governing body, where there is opposition to the German position, he said that full-scale quantitative easing was discussed. “Some of our governing council members were in favour of doing more than I have presented, and some were in favour of doing less. So our proposal strikes the middle of the road.”

The presentation of the decision as some kind of “golden mean” is an attempt to cover over divisions that are certain to widen if economic trends continue to worsen.

Those divisions emerged clearly following yesterday’s announcement. The Financial Times reported that German banks dismissed the measures as “largely being useless for achieving its stated aim of reviving economic growth.” German savers were also “left fuming” over the likely reduction in their return on deposits and the “collateral damage their accounts suffered from the euro’s sharp fall after the ECB decision.”

An indication of the German opposition was provided by the managing director of the German Association of Public Banks, Liane Bucholz. She told the Financial Times that the rate cut was akin to offering the euro “in a late summer sale.” It would not lead to a boost in bank lending to small and medium-sized companies and the ECB had “reached the limit with stimulatory effects of economic policy.”

While he did not elaborate, Draghi pointed to the new conditions that are emerging in global financial markets. The decisions of the ECB reflected the “fact that there are significant and increasing differences in the monetary policy cycle between major advanced economies,” he said.

In the US, the Fed is winding back quantitative easing and is expected to start lifting official interest rates next year, possibly as early as March. The ECB and the Bank of Japan, however, are moving in the opposite direction, ending the situation which has existed over the past six years where all the major central banks were in accord.

Such divergences could be the source of increased global financial turbulence in the coming months.

Warning to the World: Washington and its NATO and EU Vassals are Insane

September 5th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Herbert E. Meyer, a nutcase who was a special assistant to the CIA director for a period during the Reagan administration, has penned an article calling for Russian President Putin’s assassination.

If we have “ to get him out of the Kremlin feet-first with a bullet hole in the back of his head, that would be okay with us.”  http://www.americanthinker.com/2014/08/how_to_solve_the_putin_problem.html 

As the crazed Meyer illustrates, the insanity that Washington has released upon the world knows no restraint. Jose Manual Barroso, installed as Washington’s puppet as European Commission President, misrepresented his recent confidential telephone conversation with Russia’s President Putin by telling the media that Putin issued a threat: “If I want to, I can take Kiev in two weeks.”

Clearly, Putin did not issue a threat. A threat would be inconsistent with Putin’s entire unprovocative approach to the strategic threat that Washington and its NATO puppets have brought to Russia in Ukraine.  Russia’s permanent representative to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, said that if Barroso’s lie stands, Russia will make public the full recording of the conversation.

Anyone familiar with the disparity between the Ukrainian and Russian militaries knows full well that it would take the Russian military 14 hours, not 14 days, to take all of Ukraine.  Just remember what happened to the American and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian Army when Washington set its stupid Georgian puppets on South Ossetia.  The American and Israeli trained and equipped Georgian army collapsed under Russian counterattack in 5 hours.

The lie that Washington’s puppet Barroso told was not worthy of a serious person.  But where in Europe is there a serious person in power?  Nowhere.  The few serious people are all out of power.  Consider the NATO Secretary General, Anders Rasmussen.  He was a prime minister of Denmark who saw he could rise beyond Denmark by serving as Washington’s puppet.  As prime minister he strongly supported Washington’s illegal invasion of Iraq, declaring that “we know that Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction.”  Of course, the fool didn’t know any such thing, and why would it matter if Iraq did have such weapons.  Many countries have weapons of mass destruction.

According to the rule that anyone who serves Washington is elevated, the cipher Rasmussen was elevated. The problem with elevating unprincipled fools is that they risk the world for their career. Rasmussen has now put the entirety of Eastern and Western Europe at risk of annihilation. Rasmussen has announced the creation of a blitzkrieg spearhead force capable of blitzkrieg attack on Russia.  What Washington’s puppet calls “the Readiness Action Plan” is justified as a response to “Russia’s aggressive behavior in Ukraine.” Rasmussen’s “lightening spearhead force” would be instantly wiped out along with every European capital.  What kind of idiot provokes a nuclear superpower in this way?

Rasmussen asserts “Russia’s aggressive behavior” but has no evidence of it. Russia has stood on the sidelines while Washington’s puppet government in Kiev has shelled and bombed civilian housing, hospitals, schools and issued a constant stream of lies against Russia.  Russia denied the requests of the now independent eastern and southern provinces of Ukraine, former Russian territories, to be reunited with Russia. As readers know, I regard Putin’s decision as a mistake, but events might prove me wrong and that is OK with me.  For now, the fact is that every act of aggressive behavior is the result of the US and EU support of the Kiev nazis. It is the Ukrainian nazi militias that are attacking civilians in the former Russian territories of eastern and southern Ukraine. A number of regular Ukrainian military units have defected to the independent republics.

Yes, Nazis.  Western Ukraine is the home of the Ukrainian SS divisions that fought for Hitler.  Today the militias organized by the Right Sector and other right-wing political organizations wear the Nazi insignia of the Ukrainian SS divisions.  These are the people that Washington and the EU support.  If the Ukrainian Nazis could win against Russia, which they cannot, they would turn on the stupid West, just as has the Washington-funded ISIS that the dumbshits in Washington unleashed on Libya and Syria.  Now ISIS is remaking the Middle East, and Washington appears helpless.

William Binney, a former high level official in the US National Security Agency, along with colleagues from the CIA and military intelligence services, have written to German chancellor Merkel advising her to beware of Obama’s lies at the upcoming NATO summit in Wales.  The US intelligence officials advise Merkel to remember Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction” and don’t again be deceived, this time into conflict with Russia. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-09-01/ex-nsa-director-us-intelligence-veterans-write-open-letter-merkel-avoid-all-out-ukra

The question is: who does Merkel represent?  Washington or Germany? So far Merkel has represented Washington, not German business interests, not the German people, and not Germany’s interests as a country.  Here is a protest in Dresden where a crowd prevents Merkel’s speech with shouts of “kriegstreiber” (warmonger), “liar, liar,” and “no war with Russia.”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wSMhGE_Mpk

My Ph.D. dissertation chairman, who became a high Pentagon official assigned to wind down the Vietnam war, in answer to my question about how Washington gets Europeans to always do what Washington wants replied:  “Money, we give them money.”  “Foreign aid?” I asked.  “No, we give the European political leaders bagfuls of money. They are for sale, We bought them.  They report to us.”  Perhaps this explains Tony Blair’s $50 million fortune one year out of office.

The Western media, the largest whorehouse on earth, is desperate for war. The editorial board of the Washington Post, now a trophy  newspaper in the hands of Amazon.com’s billionaire owner, ran an editorial on August 31 that projected all of Washington’s (and the Post’s) lies upon Putin. Amazon.com’s owner might know how to market products on the Internet, but he is hopeless when it comes to running a newspaper. His editors at the Washington Post have made his trophy a worldwide laughing stock. Here are the mindless accusations against Putin from the WP:

     Putin, bitterly resentful at the loss of power from the Soviet collapse, has “resurrected the tyranny of the Big Lie” in order to reconstitute the Russian Empire.  

     “Russian sponsored militias in Ukraine” are responsible for the “shoot-down of the Malaysian airliner in July.”  The “Russian state-controlled media” lied and misrepresented to the Russian people the party responsible for downing the airliner.

     “In the absence of independent and free reporting, few Russians realize that Russian soldiers and armaments are in action in eastern Ukraine, albeit (as in Crimea) in uniforms and vehicles stripped of their identifying insignia and license plates. With no free media, Russians are left to fend for themselves against a firestorm of falsehoods.”

     “Mr. Putin’s Big Lie shows why it is important to support a free press where it still exists and outlets like Radio Free Europe that bring the truth to people who need it.”

As a former Wall Street Journal editor, I can say with complete confidence that such extraordinary propaganda posing as an editorial would have resulted in the immediate firing of all concerned.  In my days on the Congressional staff, the Washington Post was regarded as a CIA asset.  Today the Post has sunk far below this status.

I have seen much media propaganda in my day, but this Washington Post editorial takes the cake. The editorial shows that either the editorial writers are completely ignorant or they are completely corrupt and also assume that their readers are completely ignorant.

If Russian military units were in action in eastern Ukraine, the situation would be precisely as Alexander Zakharchenko  and  Dmitry Orlov describe. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/09/01/can-tell-whether-russia-invaded-ukraine/   Ukraine would no longer exist. Ukraine would again be part of Russia where it was for centuries prior to Washington taking advantage of the Soviet collapse to tear Ukraine away from Russia.

The question before us is: how long will Russia’s patience last with the West’s enormous lies and provocations?  No matter how restrained Russia is, Russia is accused of the worst. Therefore, Russia might as well inflict the worst.

At what point will the Russian government decide that Washington’s mendacity, and that of its European puppets and corrupt Western media, render hopeless Russia’s efforts to resolve the situation with diplomacy and unprovocative behavior?  As Russia is constantly accused falsely of invading Ukraine, when will the Russian government decide that as Western propaganda has established that Russia has invaded Ukraine and has imposed sanctions and new military bases on Russia’s borders because of the alleged invasion, Russia might as well go ahead and rid themselves of the problem Washington has brought to Russia and invade Ukraine?

There is nothing that NATO could do about it if Russia decides that Ukraine in Washington’s hands is too much of a strategic threat to Russia and reincorporates Ukraine again into Russia where it has resided for centuries.  Any NATO force sent would be instantly wiped out.  The German population, remembering the consequences of war with Russia,  would overthrow Washington’s puppet government.  NATO and the EU would collapse as Germany departed the absurd construct that serves Washington’s interest at the expense of Europe.

Once this happens, the world will have peace.  But not until.

For those who care to understand how the land of lies works, Washington’s puppet government in Kiev attributes the defeat of its military forces by the Donetsk Republic to the presence in the Donetsk army of Russian military units.  This is the propaganda that has gone out to western Ukraine and to the presstitute western media, a collection of whores that echo the propaganda without any investigation whatsoever.  However, Kiev has a different story for the IMF.  Kiev cannot receive IMF money with which to pay off its Western creditors if Ukraine is at war. Therefore, Ukraine tells the IMF the opposite story: Russia has not attacked Ukrainehttp://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2014/08/ukie-doubleplusgooddoublethink.html

The Western media remains uninterested in any facts.  Just the lies.  Only the lies.
The Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, Fox “news,” Die Welt, the French press, the British press all plead:  “please Washington give us more sensational lies that we can trumpet.  Our circulation needs it. Who cares about war and the human race if only we can regain financial stability?”

“It’s The Vaccines Stupid!”

September 5th, 2014 by F. William Engdahl

Following new revelations from U.S. Centers for Disease Control whistleblower William Thompson about mercury links to autism, we bring to our readers attention this important article first published by Global Research, 5 years ago today, September 5, 2009.

The WHO and US Government CDC are escalating a public psychological conditioning to create hysteria and panic among an uninformed public about an alleged “virus” H1N1 Influenza A, aka Swine Flu, whose alleged effects to date appear comparable with a common cold. Before people line up in the streets demanding their vaccinations for their children and themselves, it would be wise to remember, to paraphrase a 1992 campaign statement of Bill Clinton to George H.W. Bush: “It’s the vaccination, Stupid!”

By countless scientific accounts, far more dangerous to human health than any reported incidences of Swine Flu are the dangers of severe health issues including paralysis, brain damage and even death arising from what is added to vaccines by virtually every major vaccine maker. Almost without exception, all commercial vaccines today contain various substances known as adjuvants designed to make the vaccine “work.” These adjuvants are the source of horrendous and sometimes deadly damage.

It has been speculated for some time that there might be a link in the alarming rise in cases of autism among tiny infants and children and massive multiple vaccinations today given routinely to infants and children from the first hours of birth. There is clear and shocking evidence of the link between the two. If you do not have a strong constitution, you are advised not to read further.

A new study shows a direct link between standard childhood vaccination series, MMR, and autism-like symptoms in monkeys. The principal scientist involved in the study, Dr. Laura Hewitson of the University of Pittsburgh, presented the alarming conclusions as an abstract pending publication at the International Meeting for Autism Research. It has been presented at scientific conferences in both London and Seattle, USA.

The study compared vaccinated macaque monkeys with non-vaccinated macaques. No major flaws in the study have been revealed by any attending scientist. The vaccines included the popular MMR series. The study found a marked increase in “gastrointestinal tissue gene expression” and “inflammation issues” with those monkeys which received vaccinations. They are a common symptom of children with regressive autism.

The study also found marked behavior changes and development differences in those monkeys given the vaccines versus those who were not. “Compared with unexposed animals, significant neuro-developmental deficits were evident for exposed animals in survival reflexes, tests of color discrimination and reversal, and learning sets,” the study`s authors reported. “Differences in behaviors were observed between exposed and unexposed animals and within the exposed group before and after MMR vaccination.”

US Government-mandated research approved by Congress was to begin this year, but the funds were rescinded in early January. Claiming “conflict of interest” because of ongoing court cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a long-time supporter of infant vaccinations, withdrew the research plans.

The most shocking of all is the recent and now common medical practice, reinforced by an aggressive pharmaceutical industry, of giving multiple vaccines, often virtually within hours of birth, to infants despite the fact that no study including all of the vaccine series commonly given to children in the US and UK, about 30 in all, has been conducted until now. The practice of newborn multiple vaccinations has become widespread in Germany and other EU countries over the past decade. Significantly there have surfaced reports of dramatically increased instances of autism in newborn and infants in various German hospitals over the past decade, precisely the period multiple vaccinations of newborn and infants has become routine.

US Government coverup

Tragically, the US Government agency theoretically entrusted with guarding public health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as with the case of health dangers of GMO foods, as well with the dramatic evidence of the link between autism and adjuvants used in typical vaccines, is accepting the argument of big and politically powerful Pharmaceutical companies.

The Food and Drug Administration considers vaccines safe but, just as with GMO, they have done no studies into the effects of multiple vaccinations as given in the common childhood series which started in the 1990s in the USA and spread to the UK and now across the EU.

According to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., son of the late Attorney General and an attorney active in campaigning to expose mercury (Thimerosal) and other toxicity dangers in vaccines, recently stated, “as autism is a behavioral affliction rather than a precisely defined biological injury — epidemiological studies are critical to establishing its causation. But the greatest source of epidemiological data is the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD) — the government maintained medical records of hundreds of thousands of vaccinated children — which Health and Human Services Department has gone to great lengths to keep out of the hands of plaintiffs’ attorneys and independent scientists…The raw data collected in the VSD would undoubtedly provide the epidemiological evidence needed to understand the relationship between vaccines and autism. The absence of such studies makes it easy for judges to say to plaintiffs they have not met their burden of proving causation.”

Autism was virtually unknown in the United States until 1943 when it was diagnosed and identified eleven months after Thimerosal, a mercury-based vaccine “adjuvant” was first added to baby vaccines along with various aluminium compounds in the United States. Thimerosal is often used to stem fungi and bacterial growth in vaccines despite massive evidence of its severe effects as a potent neurotoxin. Following independent studies, Russia, Japan, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Britain have banned Thimersol from childrens’ vaccines. Germany to date has no such ban. The toxin was developed in 1930 by Eli Lilly. Tragically in 1991, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary the US Government’s Center for Disease Control (CDC), the same agency fuelling the current hysteria over the non-proven H1N1 Swine Flu virus danger, recommended that infants be injected with a series of  mercury-containing vaccines in some cases within 24 hours of birth for Hepatitis B and two months for diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis.

Before 1989 US pre-school children received eleven vaccinations—polio, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR). By 1999, because of the various CDC recommendations, the number of vaccinations was twenty two before first grade of school. Parallel with this explosive rise in vaccinations of the very young in the United States, according to Kennedy, the rate of autism among children. The state of Iowa reported a 700% increase in autism in children beginning in the 1990’s and along with California has banned mercury in vaccines. Despite evidence, however the US FDA continues to allow drug makers to include Thimerosal  in numerous over-the-counter non-prescription medications as well as steroids and injected collagen. The US Government ships vaccines preserved with Thimerosal to numerous developing countries as well, where some are reporting sudden explosion of autism rates as well. In China, where autism was unknown before introduction of Thimerosal by US drug makers in 1999, press reports indicate there are almost two million autistic children.

Instances of autism in the US exploded as some 40 million children were injected during the 1990’s with Thimersol-based vaccines, giving them unprecedented accumulations of mercury poison. The level of ethylmercury in a vaccine routinely given then to children of two months age was 99 times greater than the US Government’s daily limit for exposure. As with the current WHO pandemic declaration around H1N1 Swine Flu, the CDC Vaccine Advisory Committee is filled with scientists with close ties to the pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Sam Katz, chairman of the committee was a paid consultant to most companies producing the vaccines he “recommended.”

The aluminium danger remains

While vaccines available in the US today exist with no Thimerosal (50% mercury), virtually all vaccines still contain aluminum, which has been linked to impaired neurological development in children. Aluminum has not replaced thimerosal as a vaccine preservative; it has always been used in vaccines.

In the recent past, most US chioldren got exposed to both thimerosal and aluminum simultaneously with the hepatitis B, Hib, DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) and pneumococcal vaccines. Combining mercury with aluminum increases the likelihood that the mercury will damage human tissue.

According to a recent report by Michael Wagnitz, an American chemist, “Currently eight childhood vaccines that contain aluminum ranging from 125 to 850 micrograms (mcg). These vaccines are administered 17 times in the first 18 months of life, an almost six-fold increase compared to the vaccine schedule of the 1980s.”

Wagnitz adds, “According to the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, based on IV feeding solutions, a child should not exceed a maximum daily dose of 5 mcg of aluminum per kilogram of weight per day. That means if a child weighs 11 pounds, the child should not exceed 25 mcg in a day. This level was determined to be the maximum safety limit based on a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Aluminum Neurotoxicity in Preterm Infants Receiving Intravenous Feeding Solutions.”

The hepatitis B vaccine, administered at birth, contains 250 mcg.

In a 1996 policy statement, “Aluminum Toxicity in Infants and Children,” the American Academy of Pediatrics states, “Aluminum can cause neurological harm. People with kidney disease who build up bloodstream levels of aluminum greater than 100 mcg per liter are at risk of toxicity. The toxic threshold of aluminum in the bloodstream may be lower than 100 mcg per liter.” What level of aluminium toxicity is contained in vaccines routinely given German, French and other children n the EU is not known. It might be time for a public demand for such information to be disclosed, and before governments launch mass vaccination campaigns for untested vaccines against a non-proven H1N1 Swine Flu threat.

The brief explosive video is posted at autismmediachannel.com on the home page: “CDC Whistleblower William Thompson on Thimerosal.”

Beyond admitting to fraud in a 2004 Centers for Disease Control (CDC) study that exonerated the MMR vaccine, Dr. William Thompson, a CDC scientist, asserts there is a connection between mercury (thimerosal) in vaccines and autism.

Thompson states that giving a vaccine containing mercury to a pregnant woman is something he would never do.

Couched in science-speak, Thompson winds up his remarks with this: “There is biologic plausibility right now to say thimerosal causes autism-like features.”

Mercury causes autism.

For a scientist at the CDC to make this admission, after millions and millions of dollars have been spent by that agency and the US government to conclude mercury has no connection to autism…it’s extraordinary, to say the least.

The PR mantra declaring thimerosal safe has been repeated thousands of times by major media outlets—and now a researcher on the inside has repudiated it.

“Experts” will try to parse Thompson’s words, but the meaning is clear.

Meanwhile, the major media blackout on Thompson’s revelations continues. The collusion in a vast crime is their mission.

As many as 1,900 have died and more than 3,000 have been infected in the worst Ebola outbreak since the discovery of the disease in 1976, which has already claimed more lives than all previous 20 outbreaks combined.

Estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO) predict that as many as 20,000 more may die from the disease during the next three to six months.

The spread of the disease is accelerating, according to experts, with at least 400 fatalities during the past week alone. The virus, which originated in the forests of southeast Guinea before infecting large numbers in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and a handful in Nigeria, has now spread to a fifth country, Senegal, the World Health Organization has confirmed.

The epidemic in West Africa is a product of the disastrous social conditions in Africa and the class warfare austerity policies imposed by the ruling class globally in response to the crisis of world capitalism. Since the financial collapse of 2008, the WHO budget has been slashed by at least $1 billion, leading to layoffs of veteran medical staff and a 35 percent reduction of the agency’s emergency response staff. The budget for WHO is now less than $4 billion, significantly less than the $6 billion budget of the US Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Image: Ebola outbreak spread as of 14 August 2014

WHO budget documents state that this became necessary given “the new reality of financial austerity.” The WHO is forced to rely on donations; dues payments from UN members cover only 20 percent of its budget. The UN is now calling for $600 million in emergency funds to the battle the spread of the virus.

“My budget [is] highly earmarked, so it is driven by what I call donor interests. When there’s an event, we have money. Then after that, the money stops coming in, then all the staff you recruited to do the response, you have to terminate their contracts,” said WHO director general Margaret Chan in an interview with the New York Times.

Previous outbreaks of H7H9 and MERS-CoV were better contained because they occurred in countries with more developed medical capacity, whereas social and medical infrastructure in West Africa is extremely limited, Chan said.

“This is happening in countries that just came out of 10 years of war and conflict, with very little capacity by way of health systems,” the WHO director said.

Containing the outbreak was only possible through a coordinated worldwide effort. “This is a global issue, is a global threat and we must have a global solution,” Chan said.

WHO assistant director Keiji Fukuda echoed these comments, saying,

“Responding to outbreaks and infectious disease emergencies means that you want to have a core program, a core group of people that are able to move as quickly as possible. One of the impacts of the budget cuts was to reduce that ability to move that quickly because of decreases in staffing.”

Nonetheless, the cuts suffered by the WHO are hampering any coordinated international response. The outbreak has revealed the incapacity of NGOs such as Doctors Without Borders (DWB) to cope with large-scale health emergencies, while also demonstrating that the WHO is too weak to successfully coordinate the international response. Communications director for DWB Jason Cone said that the epidemic has revealed a “huge vacuum in leadership” that the WHO has been unable to fill.

A growing line of patients has formed outside DWB’s ELWA 3 medical facility in Monrovia, which currently has only 160 beds, according to All Africa. DWB personnel estimate that at least 800 more beds are necessary to meet the current level of infected Liberians. DWB’s five Ebola treatment centers in West Africa currently hold only 480 beds in total.

“Every day we have to turn sick people away because we are too full,” DWB’s coordinator at ELWA 3, Stephen Liljegren, told All Africa.

Top medical officials have spoken in the strongest possible terms about the dangers posed by the uncontrolled spread of the virus.

In a speech to UN member states, Doctors Without Borders President Dr. Joanne Liu warned that the disease would continue to spread without a major push for containment.

“Six months into the worst Ebola epidemic in history, the world is losing the battle to contain it,” Liu said.

“In west Africa, cases and deaths continue to surge. Riots are breaking out. Isolation centres are overwhelmed. Health workers on the front line are becoming infected and are dying in shocking numbers.”

“It is impossible to keep up with the sheer number of infected people pouring into facilities. In Sierra Leone, infectious bodies are rotting in the streets,”

Liu said.

Liu called on the major powers to deploy military biohazard specialists to help contain the outbreak. Without this deployment, we will never get the epidemic under control,” Liu said.

US Center for Disease Control (CDC) director Tom Frieden spoke in similarly dire terms about the situation in West Africa. “There is a window of opportunity to tamp this down, but that window is closing,” Frieden said. “The level of outbreak is beyond anything we’ve seen—or even imagined.”

The unprecedented scale of the outbreak has underlying social and political causes. The domination of Africa by the imperialist powers produces and maintains the conditions of unfathomable poverty and absence of social infrastructure. The transnational banks and corporations that control the world economy systematically steal vast quantities of wealth through the exploitation of Africa’s cheap labor and extraction of the continent’s raw materials.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the imperialist powers allocated enormous technical and financial resources to militarize the African continent, in order to safeguard these economic interests. The US Africa Command was officially formed in 2008 to coordinate the ever-growing list of US military interventions across the continent.

While marshaling vast resources to expand their military presence on the continent, the dominant capitalist governments have failed to mount any significant effort to contain Ebola, instead enforcing budget cuts to public health funding and allowing basic social infrastructure to deteriorate.

In July the World Bank’s accountability mechanism, the Inspection Panel (IP) decided not to register a complaint brought by the Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC) a local civil society organisation, on behalf of some 9,000 evicted residents in Badia East, Lagos, Nigeria. The community is one of nine settlements intended to benefit from the Bank-funded Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance project (see Observer Spring 2014Winter 2014 Bulletin Dec 13). The case is now listed as completed on the IP website, despite widespread anger about the Bank’s role in the resettlement process. A mid-August report by NGO Amnesty International (AI) found that the the residents of Badia East whose homes were bulldozed in February 2013 (see Observer Winter 2014), were not adequately compensated by the government for their losses and that the World Bank was “complicit” in the process by wrongly endorsing a compensation process that was not consistent with international human rights standards or the Bank’s own policy.

According to the IP over 80 per cent of the inhabitants have been compensated and “some community representatives had expressed satisfaction and confirmed that most of the omitted affected people were included under the GRM (Grievance Redress Mechanism)”. However two of the requesters of the original complaint have expressed their extreme discontent to the Inspection Panel about the level of financial assistance provided and the process used to develop the Resettlement Action Plan. Their position is backed by 41 other community members and AI. Ashfaq Khalfan of AI said the decision was “beyond disappointing – it is a slap in the face for the Badia East community who were forcibly evicted and left homeless for well over a year”.

The case had been had been considered by the Panel through a new pilot scheme, aimed at achieving early resolution of complaints (see Bulletin Dec 2013). However Khalfan commented: “Based on this case, it seems that the World Bank Inspection Panel’s pilot scheme is little more than a public relations effort that allowed the Bank to wash its hands of its responsibility.”

AI is urging the World Bank board of directors to call for an independent investigation to review how the IP has handled the complaint and a suspension of the application of the pilot until the investigation is completed and the pilot’s policy’s reviewed.

“There is no innocent explanation for the sudden disappearance of MH17 from the media and political spotlight. The plane’s black box has been held in Britain for examination for weeks, and US and Russian spy satellites and military radar were intensively scanning east Ukraine at the time of the crash. The claim that Washington does not have detailed knowledge of the circumstances of the crash and the various forces involved is not credible.”

– Niles Williamson, “Why have the media and Obama administration gone silent on MH17?”, World Socialist Web Site

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/18/ukmh-a18.html

See: 11 minute you tube “MH17 – We know with 99% certainty who shot down MH17

The Obama administration has failed to produce any hard evidence that pro-Russia separatists were responsible for the downing of Malaysia Flight 17.  The administration’s theory– that the jetliner was downed by a surface-to-air missile launched from rebel territory in east Ukraine– is not supported by radar data, satellite imagery, eyewitness testimony or forensic evidence.  In fact, there is no factual basis for the hypothesis at all. It’s merely politically-motivated speculation that’s been repeated endlessly in the media to shape public opinion. The preponderance of evidence suggests a different scenario altogether, that is, that MH17 was shot down by Ukrainian fighters in an effort to frame the pro-Russia separatists and demonize Russia by implication.  This is precisely why the MH17 story has vanished from all the major media for the last three weeks. It’s because the bloody fingerprints point to Obama’s puppet-government in Kiev.

So what are the facts?

Fact Number 1: There were eyewitnesses.

According to the Oxford dictionary, an eyewitness is “A person who has personally seen something happen and can give a first-hand description of it.”  This is why eyewitness testimony is so important in criminal investigations, because what people actually see matters. In a capital case, eyewitness testimony can be just as damning as the bloody fingerprints on a murder weapon. In contrast, theories are of little or no importance at all. The administration’s missile theory is just obfuscating blabber intended to pacify the public with a soothing explanation that is entirely divorced from the facts. Eyewitness accounts help to cut through government bullsh** and uncover what really happened.

So, what did happen to MH17? Check out this blurb from a report by the BBC:

 ”The inhabitants of the nearby villages are certain they saw military aircraft in the sky shortly before the catastrophe. According to them, it was actually the jet fighters that brought down the Boeing.

Eyewitness number one: “There were two explosions in the air. And this is how it broke apart, (Waves her hands to show the plane exploding) And there was another aircraft, a military one, beside it. Everyone saw it….

Yes, yes, It was flying under it, because it could be seen.  It was flying underneath…below the civilian plane.”

Many people saw what happened. Many people saw the Ukrainian fighter rise in a shark-on-seal type motion. Many people saw the explosion. Are these credible witnesses? Are they lying? Do they have a political agenda?

We don’t know, but we do know what they said. They said they saw a fighter (probably a Ukrainian SU 25) stalking MH17 just before it blew up.  That’s significant and it should have a bearing on the investigation.

Fact Number 2: Russia picked up the Ukrainian fighters on their radar.

According to Russian military analysts:

“Russian monitoring systems registered Ukrainian airforce jet, probably an SU 25 fighter, climbing and approaching the Malaysia aircraft. The SU 25 was between 3 to 5 kilometers away from the Malaysian plane. The fighter is capable of reaching an altitude of 10,000 meters for short periods of time. It’s standard armaments include R-60 air-to-air missiles which are capable of locking and destroying targets within a range of 12 kilometers and which are guaranteed to hit their target from a distance of 5 kilometers.

What was a military aircraft doing on a route intended for civilian planes flying at the same time and same altitude of a passenger plane? We would like an answer to this question? …

To corroborate this evidence we have a picture taken at the regional air traffic control center at Rostov….Ukrainian military officials claimed there were no Ukrainian military aircraft in that area of the crash that day. As you can see, that is not true”   (“MH17 Fully Exposed”, The Corbett report; Check minute 34:17 on https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWlAARb0fN4video

Repeat:   “Ukrainian military officials claimed there were no Ukrainian military aircraft in that area of the crash that day. As you can see, that is not true.”

Kiev lied. Not only was one of their fighters in the vicinity, but the warplane  also had the capacity to take down a jetliner.

Let’s be clear about how important this information is: We now have hard evidence (Russian radar data and eyewitness testimony) that a Ukrainian fighter was in the vicinity of Malaysia Flight 17 when it was shot down. Thus, the Ukrainian fighter very well may have played a role in the downing of  MH17.  This is a possibility that cannot be excluded if one is basing their judgments on the facts alone.

Then there the story of Carlos who worked at  Kiev’s Air Traffic Control at Borispol but who mysteriously vanished immediately after the crash. Carlos’s twitter feeds on the day of the incident have become something of a legend on the internet, so we would like to narrow our focus to just a few of his communiques.

Carlos tweets on day of MH17 crash:

“Kiev Authorities, trying to make looks like an attack by pro-Russian”…

“warning! It can be a downing, Malaysia Airlines B777 in ukraine, 280 passengers”…

(Military?) “has taken control of ATC in Kiev”….

“The Malaysia Airlines B777 plane disappeared from the radar, there was no communication of any anomaly, confirmed”….

“Plane shot down, shot down, shot down, no accident”….

“Before They remove my phone or they break my head, shot down by Kiev”…

“The B777 plane flew escorted by Ukraine jet fighter until 2 minutes before disappearing from the radar”…

“If Kiev authorities want to tell the truth, It´s gathered, 2 jet fighters flew very close minutes before, wasn’t downed by a fighter”….

“Malaysia Airlines B777 plane just disappeared and Kiev military authority informed us of the downing, How they knew?”…

“all this is gathered in radars, to the unbelieving, shot down by kiev, here we know it and military air traffic control also”…

“military control now officially [say] the plane was shot down by missile”….(“FINAL – Spanish Air Controller @ Kiev Borispol Airport: Ukraine Military Shot Down Boeing #MH17“,  Rebel’s Blog)

Shortly after posting the news on Twitter, the Military took over the tower, the SBU seized the Air traffic Control recordings, and Carlos disappeared never to be seen again.  At the very least, Carlos’s postings lend support to our thesis that one or two SU 25 fighters were in the vicinity of the Boeing 777 at the time of the incident, which is to say they were in a position to shoot it down.

So why have Obama, Kerry and the entire western media excluded the SU 25s from their analysis?  And why are they withholding the satellite and radar data (that everyone knows they have) of the area at the time of the crash?     According to the World Socialist Web Site: “The US Air Force’s Defense Support Program utilizes satellites with infrared sensors to detect missile launches anywhere on the planet, and US radar posts in Europe would have tracked the missile as it shot through the sky.”

Indeed, the US does have the capability to track  missiles launches anywhere on the planet, so where is the data to support their theory that a missile took down MH17?  Where is the satellite imagery? Where is the radar data?  What is it Obama doesn’t want the American people to know?

German pilot and airlines expert, Peter Haisenko,  thinks that Malaysia Flight 17 was not blown up by a  missile, but shot down by the type of double-barreled 30-mm guns used on Ukrainian SU-25 fighter planes.  Haisenko presented his theory in an article which appeared on the Global Research website titled “Revelations of German Pilot: Shocking Analysis of the “Shooting Down” of Malaysian MH17. “Aircraft Was Not Hit by a Missile”. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“The facts speak clear and loud and are beyond the realm of speculation: The cockpit shows traces of shelling! You can see the entry and exit holes. The edge of a portion of the holes is bent inwards. These are the smaller holes, round and clean, showing the entry points most likely that of a 30 millimeter caliber projectile….”  (“Revelations of German Pilot: Shocking Analysis of the “Shooting Down” of Malaysian MH17. “Aircraft Was Not Hit by a Missile””, Global Research)

Haisenko notes that the munitions used on Ukrainian fighters–anti-tank incendiary and splinter-explosive shells–are capable of taking down a jetliner and that the dense pattern of metal penetrated by multiple projectiles is consistent with the firing pattern of a 30-mm gun.

Also, Michael Bociurkiw, who was one of the first international inspectors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to reach the crash site and who spent more than a week examining the ruins– appears to be convinced that MH17 was downed by machinegun fire consistent with the myriad bullet-holes visible on the fuselage.  Here’s what he told on CBC World News:

“There have been two or three pieces of fuselage that have been really pock-marked. It almost looks like machine gun fire; very, very strong machine gun fire that has left these unique marks that we haven’t seen anywhere else.

We’ve also been asked if we’ve seen any signs of a missile?

Well, no we haven’t. That’s the answer.”

(“Malaysia Airlines MH17: Michael Bociurkiw talks about being first at the crash site,” CBC News. Note: The above quote is from the video)

Now, admittedly, the observations of Haisenko and Bociurkiw could mean nothing, after all, they are just opinions. But for the sake of argument, let’s compare what they have to say to the comments made by Obama and Kerry.

Here’s Obama on the day after the crash:

“Here is what we know so far. Evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile that was launched from an area that is controlled by Russian-backed separatists inside of Ukraine.

We also know that this is not the first time a plane has been shot down in eastern Ukraine. Over the last several weeks Russian- backed separatists have shot down a Ukrainian transport plane and a Ukrainian helicopter, and they claimed responsibility for shooting down a Ukrainian fighter jet.

Moreover, we know that these separatists have received a steady flow of support from Russia.

This includes arms and training. It includes heavy weapons. And it includes anti-aircraft weapons.

Now, here’s what’s happened now. This was a global tragedy. An Asian airliner was destroyed in European skies, filled with citizens from many countries. So there has to be a credible international investigation into what happened. The U.N. Security Council has endorsed this investigation, and we will hold all its members, including Russia, to their word…

Now, the United States stands ready to provide any assistance that is necessary…..

Let’s summarize Obama’s allegations:

1–MH17 was shot down in east Ukraine.

2–The separatists have shot down planes in east Ukraine before.

3–Therefore the separatists shot down MH17

Do you find that argument persuasive, dear reader? Keep in mind, Obama has never veered from his original position on the issue nor has he ever addressed the eyewitness reports or the technical data provided by Moscow. When all the media repeat the government’s version of events word-for-word, the facts don’t matter. In other words, Obama hasn’t changed his story, because he doesn’t have to. He knows the dissembling media will assist him in the cover up. Which it has.

Now let’s take a look at what Kerry had to say two days after the crash when he visited all five Sunday talk shows to blast Putin and blame the rebels for downing MH17. According to the Guardian:

 ”Kerry said all the evidence surrounding the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 points towards pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine…..

“We have enormous input about this that points fingers,” Kerry told CNN’s State of the Union. “It is pretty clear that this was a system from Russia, transferred to separatists. We know with confidence that the Ukrainians did not have such a system anywhere near the vicinity at that point of time.”…

Kerry said social media reports and US surveillance put the missile system in question in the vicinity of the crash before the tragedy.

“We know because we observed it by imagery that at the moment of the shootdown we detected a launch from that area,” he said. “Our trajectory shows that it went to the aircraft.” (“MH17 crash: Kerry lays out evidence of pro-Russia separatists’ responsibility“, Guardian)

Needless to say, Kerry has never provided any proof of the satellite “imagery” he referred to on the day of the interview. The administration’s case still depends on the discredited information it picked up on social media and on its own politically-motivated theory. It’s worth noting, that the administration used its shaky claims to great effect by convincing leaders of the European Union to impose more economic sanctions on Russia before any of the facts were known and without any legal process in place for Russia to defend itself.  The sanctions, of course, are still in effect today even though the administrations hysterical accusations have come under increasing scrutiny.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has repeatedly called for a transparent and thorough international investigation, but Washington seems more eager to sweep the whole matter under the rug. Moscow is particularly interested in recovering the Air Traffic Control tapes which were seized by Kiev’s security services immediately following the crash. It’s imperative that these tapes be handed over to international inspectors to analyze communications between the cockpit and the tower. There’s no doubt that Kiev would hand over the recordings if Washington simply demanded that they do so. But Obama has issued no such order. Why is that?

Keep in mind, that the ATC recordings could be much more valuable than the black boxes because they record both sides of every communication on every frequency used by that facility (including frequencies used for communication with other ground facilities and/or agencies), and also on every land line in use at that facility.”

What does that mean? It means that ATC recorders also include communications between ATC operators and, lets say, government or military authorities. They would also have recorded the communications between ATC and any fighters that may have been in the vicinity of Flight 17. In other words, if MH17 was in fact shot down by a SU 25, there’s a good chance the communications would show up in the ATC tapes.

Is this why Obama hasn’t demanded that Kiev surrender the recordings, because he doesn’t really want the truth to come out? Now take a look at this out from the World Socialist Web Site:

“After a month during which Washington has failed to release evidence to support its charges against Putin, it is clear that the political offensive of the NATO governments and the media frenzy against Putin were based on lies.

If pro-Russian separatists had fired a ground-to-air missile, as the US government claims, the Air Force would have imagery in their possession confirming it beyond a shadow of a doubt…..

On August 9, the Malaysian New Straits Times published an article charging the Kiev regime with shooting down MH17. It stated that evidence from the crash site indicated that the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter with a missile followed by heavy machine gun fire.

While it is too early to say conclusively how MH17 was shot down, the preponderance of the evidence points directly at the Ukrainian regime and, behind them, the American government and the European powers. They created the conditions for the destruction of MH17, backing the fascist-led coup in Kiev this February that brought the current pro-Western regime to power.”

(“Why have the media and Obama administration gone silent on MH17?“, Niles Williamson, World Socialist Web Site)

The media has played a pivotal role in this tragedy, deliberately misleading the American people on critical details related to the case in order to shape their coverage in a way that best serves the interests of the government.  The MSM doesn’t care about identifying the criminals who killed 298 passengers. Their job is to demonize Putin and create a pretext for waging war on Russia.   And that’s exactly what they’re doing.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

Every policy of ideology must necessarily start with a lie. The lie is festooned with good wishes and suggestions, till it becomes acceptable. What is not convenient to a tidy interpretation is cast aside. The case of radicalization is one of the more acceptable lies, because it is convenient, fabulously convincing and logical. The radicalized ones will do bad things. Once they start, they will not stop.

The radicalisation thesis about individuals fighting in another war is treated selectively. It is not government, and warring governments at that, that is the problem, but ideology and weakness. Standard recruits think that fighting for country (pro patria mori) is a legitimate, stated aim, that the effects of war will be confined to performing a job bloody but noble.

The narratives for the Australian cause have always been abstract in their conception, be it the Boer War (slaughtering Dutch settlers very much like the British settlers who found their feet in Australia); the First World War (protect empire by invading the Ottoman state and feeding the European meat grinder) and conflicts such as Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. In these conflicts, veterans have swelled the ranks of the disturbed, the troubled and the affected. For the most part, these are the lives of quiet, rather than noisy, desperation.

War makes cripples of its combatants. All combatants. They involve broken bones and mutilated limbs. They also involve shattered beings and the shattering of beings. It bores and buries, it crushes and shapes. It does it whether you believe in the sweet promises of the Prophet or the hollow promises of a national anthem. Individuals who return from combat zones are the wounded, the dead on furlough.

The mainly Muslim men who are serving in Syria and Iraq, be it British, US or Australian citizens who fluctuate in number depending on what intelligence briefing finds form with the relevant Defence Minister, will have their host of problems on returning. They will have their own injuries, their own revelations. They will not necessarily have a desire to go to the Melbourne Cricket Ground and ignite the stadium with body and bomb. Each unique case of injury and faith will have to be taken at a time.

The entire radicalisation debate has moved into the world of astrological speculation. What will those unfortunates do on their return? Is there any verifiable data above and beyond the standard disruptions caused by conflict on its combatants? For the current policy hack, evidence is sparse, subsisting on departmental minutiae. Individuals like Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, suspected of beheading journalist James Foley, become the entire basis for far reaching surveillance measures and punitive regulations.

The occasional scribble1 who has had some kind of difficult experience in their lives will go on to become terrorists”, though there is always that damning qualifier – “those who do, had contact with an individual or group of existing extremists, who prey on that vulnerability and exploit it.”

Joining this is the aggressive blame game that singles out such dangerous causes as liberal tolerance. Political figures, a classic example being UKIP’s Nigel Farage, see radicalisation as a product of “four decades of state-sponsored multiculturalism”. He might as well have pointed out to years of state sponsored occupations, interventions and killings by non-Islamic states in the Middle East. Things do come full circle.

makes the prosaic point that, “It’d be a mistake to assume that everyone War’s corroding effects provide the bleakest picture of all. All combat personnel risk falling into the cracks of marginal disregard, exclusion and estrangement. Then comes the resentment, something that is only kept in check by the opium of patriotic belief, the belief that holds that brutalising, and being brutalised for your country was worthwhile.

There is, in other words, no exclusive criteria of radicalisation, let alone Islamic radicalisation. The United States had been obsessed, for some time, with the phenomenon of “lone wolf”2 one distinguished by the murderously successful Timothy McVeigh which involved a bomb that killed 168 people in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995.

A Gulf War veteran, McVeigh proved rather unhappy with the bullying exploits of his government, throwing some legal precedent and smidgens of political philosophy against his captors. In his parting letter to child hood friend Steve Hodge, he claimed that, “Those who betray or subvert the Constitution are guilty of sedition and/or treason, are domestic enemies and should and will be punished accordingly.” His inspiration for “radicalisation” was Washington’s very own policies, most notably its lethal handling of the Waco Siege of the Branch Davidian complex which saw the deaths of 76 people.

The true criminals, at the end of any debate in this regard, must be those statesmen and women who are convinced that solving an international crisis in a distant country requires the blood of its citizens, and the killing of locals. The United States, with its UK and Australian allies, have also been enthusiastic backers of interventions that made their young soldiers killers for causes they could barely articulate. The problem is not merely on our doorstep, but in our parliaments. The great robbers of life remain states, not non-state rogues who wish to leave their minor etchings on history with spectacular acts of violence.

Notes 1 http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/gateway-to-radicalisation/

2 https://www.hsdl.org/?view&did=29620

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

 

Jack Matlock, U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, says that the U.S. and NATO are to blame for the Ukraine crisis:

The fact is they are going to intervene until they are certain that there is no prospect of Ukraine becoming a member of NATO. And all of the threats by NATO and so on to sort of increase defenses elsewhere is simply provocative to the Russians. Now, I’m not saying that’s right, but I am saying that’s the way Russia is going to react. And frankly, this is all predictable. And those of us who helped negotiate the end of the Cold War almost unanimously said in the 1990s, “Do not expand NATO eastward. Find a different way to protect eastern Europe, a way that includes Russia. Otherwise, eventually there’s going to be a confrontation, because there is a red line, as far as any Russian government is concerned, when it comes to Ukraine and Georgia and other former republics of the Soviet Union.”

***

There needs to be an understanding between Russia and the Ukrainians as to how to solve this problem. It is not going to be solved militarily. So the idea that we should be giving more help to the Ukrainian government in a military sense simply exacerbates the problem. And the basic problem is Ukraine is a deeply divided country. And as long as one side tries to impose its will on the other—and that is what has happened since February, the Ukrainian nationalists in the west have been trying to impose their will on the east, and the Russians aren’t going to permit that. And that is the fact of the matter. So, yes, there simply needs to be an agreement.

And most of the—I would say, the influence of the West in trying to help the Ukrainians by, I would say, defending them against the Russians tends to be provocative, because—you know, Putin is right: If he decided, he could take Kiev. Russia is a nuclear power. And Russia feels that we have ignored that, that we have insulted them time and time again, and that we are out to turn Ukraine into an American puppet that surrounds them. And, you know, with that sort of psychology, by resisting that, in Russian eyes, he has gained unprecedented popularity. So, it seems to me that we have to understand that, like it or not, the Ukrainians are going to have to make an agreement that’s acceptable to them, if they keep their unity.

***

Ukraine is not a member of NATO. And why we react as if it is and has any claim on our cooperation in defending them from Russia, this is simply not the case.

We’ve previously reported that it’s the West’s encirclement of Russia – breaking a key promise which led to the break-up of the Soviet Union – which is behind the Ukraine crisis.

Matlock confirmed that the U.S. and the West promised that the U.S. and Nato would not move East and try to encircle Russia:

When the Berlin Wall came down, when eastern Europe began to try to free itself from the Communist rule, the first President Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush, met with Gorbachev in Malta, and they made a very important statement. One was we were no longer enemies. The second was the Soviet Union would not intervene in eastern Europe to keep Communist rule there. And in response, the United States would not take advantage of that.

Now, this was a—you might say, a gentlemen’s agreement between Gorbachev and President Bush. It was one which was echoed by the other Western leaders—the British prime minister, the German chancellor, the French president. As we negotiated German unity, there the question was: Could a united Germany stay in NATO? At first, Gorbachev said, “No, if they unite, they have to leave NATO.” And we said, “Look, let them unite. Let them stay in NATO. But we will not extend NATO to the territory of East Germany.” Well, it turned out that legally you couldn’t do it that way, so in the final agreement it was that all of Germany would stay in NATO, but that the territory of East Germany would be special, in that there would be no foreign troops—that is, no non-German troops—and no nuclear weapons. Now, later—at that time, the Warsaw Pact was still in place. We weren’t talking about eastern Europe. But the statements made were very general. At one point, Secretary Baker told Gorbachev NATO jurisdiction would not move one inch to the east. Well, he had the GDR in mind, but that’s not what he said specifically.

So, yes, if I had been asked when I was ambassador of the United States in Moscow in 1991, “Is there an understanding that NATO won’t move to the east?” I would have said, “Yes, there is.” However, it was not a legal commitment, and one could say that once the Soviet Union collapsed, any agreement then maybe didn’t hold, except that when you think about it, if there was no reason to expand NATO when the Soviet Union existed, there was even less reason when the Soviet Union collapsed and you were talking about Russia. And the reason many of us—myself, George Kennan, many of us—argued against NATO expansion in the ’90s was precisely to avoid the sort of situation we have today. It was totally predictable. If we start expanding NATO, as we get closer to the Russian border, they are going to consider this a hostile act. And at some point, they will draw a line, and they will do anything within their power to keep it from going any further. That’s what we’re seeing today.

In March, Matlock said:

How would Americans feel if some Russian or Chinese or even West European started putting bases in Mexico or in the Caribbean, or trying to form governments that were hostile to us? You know, we saw how we virtually went ballistic over Cuba. And I think that we have not been very attentive to what it takes to have a harmonious relationship with Russia.

***

In the Orange Revolution in Kiev, foreigners, including Americans, were very active in organizing people and inspiring them.

***

I have to ask Americans: How would Occupy Wall Street have looked if you had foreigners out there leading them? Do you think that would have helped them get their point across? I don’t think so. And I think we have to understand that when we start directly interfering, particularly our government officials, in the internal makeup of other governments, we’re really asking for trouble. [The U.S. State Department spent more than $5 billion dollars in pushing Ukraine towards the West.  The U.S. ambassador to Ukraine (Geoffrey Pyatt) and assistant Secretary of State (Victoria Nuland) were also recorded plotting the downfall of the former Ukraine government in a leaked conversationTop-level U.S. officials literally handed out cookies to the protesters who overthrew the Ukrainian government.  And the U.S. has been doing everything it can to trumpet pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian propaganda. So – without doubt – the U.S. government is heavily involved with fighting a propaganda war regarding Ukraine.]

***

Now, what have we been telling the Ukrainians, the Georgians—at least some of us, officials? “Just hold on. You can join NATO, and that will solve your problems for you.” You know, and yet, it is that very prospect, that the United States and its European allies were trying to surround Russia with hostile bases, that has raised the emotional temperature of all these things. And that was a huge mistake. As George Kennan wrote back in the ’90s when this question came up, the decision to expand NATO the way it was done was one of the most fateful and bad decisions of the late 20th century.

***

I just hope everyone can calm down and look at realities and stop trying to start sort of a new Cold War over this. As compared to the issues of the Cold War, this is quite minor. It has many of the characteristics of a family dispute. And when outsiders get into a family dispute, they’re usually not very helpful.

***

We should start keeping our voice down and sort of let things work out. You know, to ship in military equipment and so on is just going to be a further provocation. Obviously, this is not something that’s going to be solved by military confrontations. So, I think if we can find a way to speak less in public, to use more quiet diplomacy—and right now, frankly, the relationships between our presidents are so poisonous, they really should have representatives who can quietly go and, you know, work with counterparts elsewhere.

***

We do have to understand that a significant part of the violence at the Maidan, the demonstrations in Kiev, were done by these extreme right-wing, sort of neo-fascist groups. And they do—some of their leaders do occupy prominent positions in the security forces of the new government. And I think—I think the Russians and others are quite legitimately concerned about that.

NATO Summit: Day One

September 5th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

On Thursday, a joint NATO/Ukraine Commission press release included a litany of Big Lies vilifying Russia. In part it said:

Russian Federation “armed forces are engaged in direct military operations in Ukraine.”

“Russia continues to supply weapons to militants in eastern Ukraine.”

“(I)t maintains thousands of combat-ready troops on its border with Ukraine.”

“These developments undermine the security of Ukraine and have serious implications for the stability and security of the entire Euro-Atlantic area.”

“Allies welcome the commitments made by all parties, including in Geneva and Berlin, and other ongoing negotiations to work toward establishing the conditions for a peaceful solution.”

“However, despite the commitments it has made, Russia has, in fact, carried out direct military intervention inside Ukraine and increased its support to the militants.”

“We call on Russia to change course and to take active steps to de-escalate the crisis, including to engage in a meaningful dialogue with the Ukrainian authorities.”

“Allies recognise Ukraine’s right to restore peace and order and to defend its people and territory and encourage the Ukrainian Armed Forces and security services to continue to exercise the utmost restraint in their ongoing operation to avoid casualties among the local population.”

“Allies commend the Ukrainian people’s commitment to freedom and democracy and their determination to decide their own future free from outside interference.”

“We reiterate our firm commitment to further develop the Distinctive Partnership between NATO and Ukraine which will contribute to building a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe.”

Fact: NATO claims are Big Lies.

Fact: No verifiable proof supports them.

Fact: Russia remains discretely neutral.

Fact: It deplores war.

Fact: It’s gone all-out for diplomatic conflict resolution.

Fact: Washington sabotaged its good faith efforts.

Fact: It continues doing so.

Fact: It uses Ukraine as a convenient proxy to further its regional goals.

Fact: Both countries wage war on freedom.

Fact: They deplore democracy.

Fact: They consider it a four-letter word.

Fact: They want it avoided at all costs.

Fact: Russia didn’t invade Ukraine.

Fact: Its troops aren’t involved in fighting.

Fact: It hasn’t armed Southeastern Ukrainian self-defense forces.

Fact: US-led NATO bears full responsibility for global instability, lack of security and high crimes against peace.

Fact: It’s a monster.

Fact: It’s a killing machine.

Fact: It’s a humanity-threatening cancer.

Fact: It deplores peace.

Fact: It ravages one country after another.

Fact: It’s guilty of genocidal crimes of war and against humanity.

Fact: Claiming NATO’s Distinctive Partnership with Ukraine “contribute(s) to building a stable, peaceful and undivided Europe” is pure fantasy.

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel praised Kiev’s war without mercy on its own citizens.

John Kerry held bilateral talks with Ukraine’s oligarch president Petro Poroshenko. He lied claiming Washington and Kiev want peace.

“So that’s our goal,” he said. Poroshenko is a convenient US imperial tool. He’s waging dirty war while claiming “all of us want peace…”

It depends on “two main things,” he said. “First, that Russia withdraw (its) troops, and second, to close the border.”

Poroshenko prioritizes nationwide hardline rule. He wants freedom crushed.

He wants his own people exploited. He wants NATO membership. He wants what Russia won’t tolerate.

Sergey Lavrov warned Washington against imposing its will on Russia. Any attempts to end Ukraine’s non-aligned status will “derail all efforts at initiating dialogue with the aim of ensuring national security,” he said.

Washington is Russia’s strategic adversary. It’s on a fast track toward direct confrontation.

Events today are uncomfortably similar to those preceding WW I. Few then imagined world war. History has a way of repeating.

On Thursday, deputy national security advisor Benjamin Rhodes said Obama and European leaders “expressed their very strong support for Ukraine and for its sovereignty and territorial integrity…”

He repeated the Big Lie about “Russia’s continued violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity through its support for the Russian-backed separatists, the provision of arms, the presence of Russian personnel inside of Ukraine.”

Obama and European leaders “agreed that there needs to be additional costs imposed on Russia for what they’ve done in Ukraine.”

“The European Council has been developing options for additional sanctions. The United States has been preparing our own package for additional sanctions.”

“If Russia escalates, we stand prepared to escalate our pressure.”

“When we move together, it has the maximum impact.”

Day one in Wales featured warmongering. British Prime Minister David Cameron accusing Moscow of “ripping up the rulebook.”

“We face new and evolving dangers,” he claimed. UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond urged imposing new sanctions on Russia.

“We hoped we were building a constructive, new relationship with a Russia that would be part of the international community of nations.”

He lied saying “(t)hat doesn’t appear to be happening because President Putin has decided that to go down this course of confrontation, making the west an adversary rather than a partner.”

NATO members pledged support for Ukraine. They’ll provide 15 million euros in military aid.

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called doing so a “comprehensive and tailored package of measures (designed to) improv(e) logistics…improv(e) command and control…improv(e) communications, and (help) cyber defense.”

Aid includes “high precision weapons.” NATO prioritizes war, not peace.

Supreme Allied Commander Europe General Philip Breedlove said lethal and nonlethal aid are coming soon.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Robert Menendez urged urged Obama “to provide additional military support to assist the Ukrainian military in its fight against an onslaught of Russian troops.”

Day one featured hyperbole and Big Lies. The BBC called NATO “the world’s most powerful regional defense alliance.”

Its diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus said the summit comes during the most serious European security crisis since the end of the Cold War.

He left unexplained that US-led NATO bears full responsibility. Russia is wrongfully blamed.

Senior Defense Ministry General Yury Yakubov wants Moscow’s military doctrine updated to reflect current threats.

They include positioning thousands of NATO troops close to Russia’s border, establishing a brigade-sized rapid reaction force, assuring it can be deployed on short notice, and expanding NATO to include all former Soviet Republics and Warsaw Pact countries.

“First and foremost, the likely enemy of Russia should be clearly identified in this strategic document, something absent from the 2010 military doctrine,” said Yakubov.

“In my view, our primary enemy is the US and the North Atlantic bloc.”

They represent humanity’s greatest threat.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

First published ten years ago by KafkhazCenter.com and Global Research in May 2004

by Sirajin Sattayev

The video of execution of American hostage Nick Berg in Iraq is threatening to develop into a major scandal. During a press conference the father of the beheaded American accused Bush and Rumsfeld of killing his son. There are more and more suspicions that Nick Berg was really executed not by Arab militants, but by the US intelligence services in order to divert the attention from the scandal about the tortures in Baghdad prison.

First there was a report that a video showing an execution of an American expert captured in Iraq was shown on a so-called ‘Islamic extremist’ website. It was reported that the execution was carried out by a group of guerillas tied to Al-Qaeda in order to take revenge for the tortures that the American soldiers did to Iraqi inmates.

The video shows five men, whose faces are hidden behind black masks and traditional Arab scarves. They all are standing around a tied-up man with an orange suit on, the kind of suit inmates wear. The victim says to the camera: «My name is Nick Berg, my father’s name is Michael, my mother’s name is Susan. I have a brother and a sister, David and Sarah. I live in Philadelphia ».

After these words they got him down on the floor, put a big knife to his throat and cut his head off, while screaming ‘Allah Akbar’ (‘God is Great’). The video footage was called «Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi shows killing of an American». A day before the video was shown, Mr. Berg’s parents were told that their son’s body was found near a highway in Baghdad. The scene of the execution and the comments on it were the number one news in the world’s mass media for some time.

Then the CIA experts released a statement saying that Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi was the man in mask who beheaded the US citizen Nick Berg in front of a camera. Then Western commentators and moralists took over and launched a campaign to vindicate the Americans exposed for torturing Iraqi inmates.

Compared to the brutal murder of an American with cutting his head off, the tortures of Iraqis in prisons started looking like minor pranks of undisciplined soldiers. Another factor was that the beheaded victim was a Jew, which was picked up by the Zionists immediately to justify their actions and to show what kind of enemy they have to be dealing with.

However, so many questions arose about the videotape that all accusers of so-called ‘Islamists’ got quiet right away and the subject disappeared from the agenda in the world’s media.

Many questions came up, and they are all pointing out that the accusations by Mr. Berg’s father against the US authorities on killing his son have very serious grounds.

The first suspicion was caused by a video where Berg was wearing an orange American jail suit. Berg was arrested by the Americans and had time to tell his friend that he was in an American prison. Intelligence services were denying this and were saying that Berg was arrested by the Iraqi police for Israeli stamps in his passport. But later on it turned out that he was questioned by Americans, and FBI agents came to his parents’ house to find out whether he was involved in any terrorist activities.

Berg’s e-mail showed that he was held in custody by the Americans. Turned out that an American was held in an American prison and beheaded right after he was presumably released.

In this connection there is a question whether the American was released from prison at all. If he was, and if he was late for his flight because of the arrest, as his parents first claimed, then why he ended up being captured by ‘terrorists’ and dressed in an American jail suit? How would militants even get a suit like this in the first place, and why would they make their hostage put it on?

The experts who saw the video say that the man posing as Jordanian native Zarqawi does not speak the Jordanian dialect. Zarqawi has an artificial leg, but none of these murderers did. The man presented as Zarqawi had a yellow ring, presumably a golden one, which Muslim men are banned from wearing, especially so-called fundamentalists.

The experts mentioned that the man calls Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ‘Gracious Prophet’, while it is only Allah, Whom Muslims call ‘Gracious’.

More and more questions are coming up about Mr. Berg’s murder and some of them have already been presented to the country’s leadership by the American public.

But major American mass media, which support the war in Iraq, are ignoring this information.

Infowars.com published the material titled «This is a 98 % secret US operation». The chair that Nick Berg was sitting on before the execution was the same as the chairs in Abu-Ghraib prison, where tortures were being committed. These chairs were brought by the US army. It was also reported that even though Nick Berg was a civilian, for some reason his body was delivered to a US Air Force base in Dover, where the dead servicemen are brought.

Meanwhile more and more new circumstances are being revealed when the video is being studied. The doctors are saying that there is almost no blood shown during the beheading, while normally a lot of blood would have been gushing if the person were alive. No blood was seen around it or on the hands of the one who cut the head off. Then it must have been a dead person who was beheaded.

All militants filmed on the video footage are too fat for the Iraqi standards, especially for militants, and they all had white palms of their hands. When the video was studied it turned out that the scream shown in this footage was recorded earlier and it was probably a woman’s scream.

The weapons that the murderers were holding in their hands resemble AKs, but the experts claim that this is a modified AK-47, Israeli-made Halil.

All Islamic organizations, including the ones accused of terrorism, have condemned this act. Nothing has been heard about Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi for the past few months, and there has been a rumor going on that he died in a bombing.

If he did take part in beheading the American and wanted to make it known this way (even the video was called «Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi shows killing of an American»), then why did he need to put a mask on or close his face with a scarf?

But if he has nothing to do with it, and somebody decided to use his name, then it would be quite natural to expect Zarqawi to deny the allegations about his involvement in Mr. Berg’s execution. But no denials have been heard. Especially when such a denial would have been appropriate after all Islamic organizations and the Iraqis condemned this murder.

This fact means that Zarqawi may not be alive. Those who put on that show knew that Zarqawi could no longer deny whatever they accuse him of.

Will the US government be able to deny what Mr. Berg’s parents and the public are accusing it of? Probably, the experts, who manage to find Arab passports and the Holy Koran under a tumbled-down and melted skyscraper, will make something up this time as well?

If they don’t, they you should expect some new movies and new terrorist acts to be made by the joint effort of Hollywood and the CIA.

The only way to expose lies is within context; so, this will be somewhat lengthy:

The Times  editorial opens with a falsehood:

“There is no longer any doubt: Russian troops are in Ukraine, not as volunteers, as the rebel commander in Donetsk would have the world believe, but in units equipped with mobile artillery and heavy military equipment.”

Their only cited source for that statement is “a senior NATO officer.” But should anyone take as a source, on that type of matter, either an anonymous U.S.-NATO official, or an anonymous Russian official? That’s hardly an unprejudiced “source,” in either case — and it’s their only source on this.

The context here has to be understood: During the run-up to our 19 March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Times  was similarly taking, as sources, anonymous U.S. officials, who lied about the evidence, saying that aluminum tubes were definitely being used for making weapons of mass destruction, when they weren’t at all, and that “uranium from Niger” was being snuk into Iraq for nuclear bombs that were also a fabrication — outright forged ‘evidence,’ selectively accepted, while the Times  selectively rejected, and avoided even to mention, far more-solid evidence to the exact contrary. They wanted us to invade, and we did. The Times  apologized for their “errors” years later, after the damage had already been done — damage (many thousands of corpses, and several trillions of dollars in costs) that the Times  greatly assisted George W. Bush to produce, by helping to sell the country on doing it.

The Times  is today trying to repeat their catastrophic success, in Ukraine and elsewhere, simply because their readership continue to subscribe, notwithstanding the paper’s proven abysmal journalistic quality — which wins top awards, even after having been demonstrated by that catastrophic experience to be actually dismally, even catastrophically, poor.

The Times  has not improved since then. There has been no accountability for those thousands of corpses, and trillions of dollars, wasted in Iraq. Readers still buy the paper. And, so, this type of ‘journalism’ (actually mere stenography to the existing U.S. regime — Bush then, Obama now) (transparently just that, and nothing more), continues on, uninterrupted.

Anyway, the Times  allegation here is certainly false. There is plenty of doubt, though the Times  says, “There is no longer any doubt.” Their citing only one — an entirely untrustworthy — source for their allegation is like calling their readers fools to their very faces, but their readers buy it: they still buy the paper, as if it were reliable; and so they are what the Times  management think they are, and the Times  merely takes advantage of that, and of them, history-be-damned.

However, one needn’t necessarily go as far as Paul Craig Roberts on this matter, when he headlined on August 17th, “In The West, Respect for Truth No Longer Exists,” and when he said there, “Now we have the media story of the armored Russian column that allegedly crossed into Ukraine and was destroyed by Ukraine’s rag-tag forces,” and that, “British reporters fabricated this story or were handed it by a CIA operative working to build a war narrative. The disreputable BBC hyped the story without investigating.” He’s probably right on all of that except “The disreputable BBC,” because the BBC is reputable just like the Times  is; and bad too, like the Times is; but the Times  allegation here is certainly false, regardless of whether the paper (or the BBC, or etc.) is “reputable.”

The point here, in any case, is that despite the Times  allegation, there still hasn’t been any reliable evidence published anywhere, that Russia’s troops are fighting in Ukraine (as the opening of the Times  editorial alleges), nor even evidence on this issue that’s based on trustworthy sources. None at all.

So: the Times  editorial opens with this blatant and even glaring falsehood.

Next, their editorial states, “new, tougher Western economic sanctions are obviously needed to make clear to President Vladimir Putin of Russia that the West views his lies and escalating aggression as a major threat.” But, actually, the existing sanctions hurt “the West,” and might even be helping Russia, by tying Russia more to China and other non-Western countries; so, the Times’s  ”obviously” is likewise (and also quite obviously) false. European Union commerce with Russia is ten times what America’s is; and the EU is definitely hurting from these sanctions. Russia’s top-four sources for imports are China (15%), Germany (14%), Ukraine (5.5%), and Belarus (4.6%); and Russia’s top-four export markets are Netherlands (9.2%), China (8.1%), Germany (6.5%), and Ukraine (5.7%). In the future, on account of the sanctions (that the Times  says are “obviously needed” and must be made “tougher”), we’ll probably see more of China, Brazil, and India, and less of Europe and Ukraine, there. Furthermore, the likely resulting separation of the world, into these two trading-blocs — one that includes Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand; and the other that includes Russia and most of the rest of the world — could hurt “the West,” far more than it will the rest.

Consequently, it is ridiculously false to assert, as the Times  does (without documentation or support), that “new, tougher Western economic sanctions are obviously needed.”

Sanctions are economic measures; and the sanctions thus far have also driven Russia, along with China and several other countries, to increase their move to abandon the dollar and to establish new alternative international economic institutions so that the end of the dollar as the international reserve currency is now seriously on the horizon, whereas previously it was just talk.

Next, the Times  editorial praises the assertion by Obama’s U.N. Ambassador in which she had said that Russian troops “fight alongside illegal separatists” in Ukraine. No evidence was presented by the Times  on that. (Merely our Government’s saying it is enough for them and their gullible readership.)  Nor is mention being made by the Times  that the Obama Administration illegally perpetrated a coup d’etat in February that overthrew Ukraine’s last democratically elected President, who had won in his 2010 election a truly nationwide election, that had near 70% turnout in all parts of the country. In Ukraine’s subsequent May 25th ‘election,’ which has been the only one held since our February coup there, only the areas in Ukraine that favored our coup were allowed to vote, and the other areas didn’t even want to vote in that election, because the government that was holding it was bombing them. See the election’s turnout map at wikipedia, which is here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrainian_presidential_election,_2014#mediaviewer/File:Явка_виборців_на_позачергових_виборах_Президента_України_2014_по_округах.PNG

and this turnout contrasts sharply with the turnout in the election that chose the President, Viktor Yanukovych, whom Obama overthrew in February

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_Ukraine#mediaviewer/File:Активность_избирателей.svg, in which, as shown there, the turnout was approximately the same throughout the country.

So, what today’s Ukrainian Government insists was a ‘democratic’ election that included the regions they’re bombing, is in fact not that at all. It didn’t include those regions, but the Kiev regime insists on ruling those regions, regardless of that. Basically, the extermination-program in the southeastern half of Ukraine antagonized the residents there toward the regime that was choosing the candidates and that was holding the 2014 election; and, yet, this new Ukrainian Government claims that the regions that are breaking away from this U.S.-coup-imposed ‘democracy’ have no right to break away from it, at all, even despite this new government’s ethnic cleansing program to get rid of the residents there. According to the U.S. regime, the residents there don’t have a right to life — just bomb them some more, until they accept our regime. That’s our ‘democracy,’ which Obama’s people are offering the people there.

Then, the Times  says, “Mr. Putin has played his dangerous game in Ukraine with cunning and deceit since the ouster in February of the corrupt Viktor Yanukovych lost him a Ukrainian president he could manipulate.” But that (clumsily written) statement is loaded with multiple deceptions: All of Ukraine’s post-Soviet leaders have been profoundly corrupt; this “ouster” was a U.S. coup not against a corrupt one but against one who declined the U.S.-EU offer; and the deal that Yanukovych had rejected from the (then U.S.-dominated) EU wasn’t nearly as good for Ukraine as was the one on offer from Russia: Yanukovych was doing the right thing for his people, all Ukrainians, by choosing Russia’s offer instead. None of this essential background has ever been so much as mentioned in the Times.

Then, the Times  continues in their condemnation and lies about Putin: “He annexed Crimea outright.” That is meant to give the false impression that Putin used force in Crimea, rather than the true impression, which is that Obama used force in Kiev, and that it backfired and failed totally in Crimea. A Gallup poll in Ukraine in April of this year found that, while Obama’s coup-regime in Kiev was viewed favorably in Ukraine’s northwest, it was despised and feared in Ukraine’s southeast, which is where Crimea is located. Moreover, in Crimea, “only 2.8% of the public there view the U.S. favorably; more than 97% of Crimeans do not.” And this poll was taken right before our campaign to slaughter our regime’s opponents in Ukraine’s southeast, which started on May 2nd, and which was initiated by the U.S. White House and has been part of Obama’s plan — to eliminate the people in the areas of Ukraine that had overwhelmingly voted for the man whom Obama overthrew in February. Obama doesn’t want Ukraine ever again to have at the top a President who isn’t controlled from the White House, so he’s getting rid of those voters. Crimeans having voted overwhelmingly on March 16th to break away from Ukraine and to come under the protection of Russia is what, in fact, saved the Crimeans from being bombed to smithereens like the rest of the people in Ukraine’s southeast are. Furthermore, Crimea had been a part of Russia from 1783 until 1954 when Khruschev tried to appease the people in Kiev by handing Crimea over to them. Furthermore, “Gallup surveyed Crimeans just a few months before Obama’s coup in Ukraine,” and headlined “Public Opinion Survey: Residents of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, May 16-30, 2013.” They found that when asked “Regardless of your passport, what do you consider yourself?” 40% said “Russian,” 25% said “Crimean,” and only 15% said “Ukrainian.” So: when the Autonomous Republic voted after Obama’s coup, when even fewer Crimeans self-identified with the now-fascist-run Ukraine, it had to have been a foregone conclusion that they’d choose Russia (on March 16th), because even prior to that, there was nearly a three-to-one preference of Russia over Ukraine. That same (and this was pre-plebiscite) poll showed 68% favorability for “Russia” and 6% favorability for “USA.” 53% wanted to be part of the Customs Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, while only 17% wanted to be part of the EU.

Then, the Times  says, without even pretending to cite a credible (or any) source on it, “The rebels shot down a Malaysian jetliner with a Russian missile,” though the credible evidence is unanimous to the contrary: The Ukrainian Government itself shot it down — and intentionally. However, even if that weren’t the case, it was Obama who actually caused that airliner to be downed. And the Times  hides all of that essential background and evidence from its readers, just like they did in 2002 and 2003 regarding “Saddam’s WMD,” etc.

A country where a ‘news’ organization such as that can repeatedly win highly touted prizes for ‘journalism’ cannot possibly be a democracy, because the voters are being deceived so much, and so thoroughly, on such basic issues, even of war and peace, and of what the country itself is doing, so that to call such a country “democratic” would be to insult democracy itself.

The problem is not democracy; it is instead the lack of that, which has been and is the problem in America today.

No problem can be solved unless it is first identified and understood. We cannot rely upon ‘news’ media such as The New York Times  to help us do that, because they are a crucial part of the problem. It’s that deep.

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.

Government aid is made up of guarantees, and injections of capital in order to recapitalize the banks. In the period from October 2008 to December 2011, €1,174 trillion (9.3% of EU GDP |1| ) worth of guarantees were underwritten by European Governments as a contingency measure.

To these guarantees must be added €442 billion (3.5% of EU GDP) of public capital support to banks. During 2012 and 2013 the recapitalizations continued: about €40 billion in Spain in 2012 alone, more than €50 billion in Greece, about €20 billion in Cyprus, €4 billion more for Dexia bank in Belgium, €3.9 billion for Monte dei Paschi in Italy, €3.7 billion for the Dutch bank SNS, €4.2 billion in Portugal on top of the Portuguese bail-out of the Banco Esperito Santo in July 2014., not forgetting Ireland, Slovenia, Croatia This assistance was granted without any government supervision of the use made of the funds. |2|

A quick calculation can give an idea of the importance of capital injections if we compare their volumes to the banks’ hard capital. The 20 largest European banks in 2012 have assets of about €23 trillion, considering that on average their hard capital represents 3% of assets, the total hard capital is roughly €700 billion. If we consider that in recent years, European governments have advanced €200 billion of capital into these banks (a precise calculation would take into account the injections into banks such as Fortis, which were acquired by BNP Paribas), we realize that the contribution is quite impressive.

Some authors refer to State guarantees granted to “Too big to fail” banks as implicit subventions and expose their perverse consequences

The big banks enjoy implicit subsidies

The banks’ creditors know this as well. They are thus incited to lend to banks knowing there is, supposedly, no risk involved for themselves. They know full well that should one of these banks go belly-up they would escape the losses in so far as the States would take them on, in its quality of lender of last resort. This gilt edged situation permits banks to negotiate their borrowing at the lowest rates of interest (the interest rate being proportional to the risk involved). If the banks did not enjoy this guarantee from the State they would have to pay higher interest rate levels. The difference between these two rates of interest represents an implicit State subsidy to the banks.A rigorous study by the European Green party has worked out that the implicit State guarantees to the big banks for 2012 amounts to €233.9 billion |3|.

This implicit guarantee has perverse consequences:

  • it encourages the big banks to take ever greater risks;
  • it encourages the concentration of big banks. Smaller establishments that do not have this same level of guarantee must find their funding at higher interest rates and in case of sharp competition may be forced to close down or be bought out by their competitors;
  • these gains are entirely private and do not benefit the population.

other forms of government aid to banks are:

  • Borrowing on the financial markets by issuing sovereign debt bonds. They entrust the sale of these bonds to a group of big private banks called primary dealers (generally chosen among the group of the thirty biggest international banks |4|) for whom this activity is a source of income. Then, through their Central Banks the governments repurchase, on the secondary market, a part of the bonds they have themselves issued through the primary dealers. In January 2014 the US central bank’s balance sheet included $2,228 trillion worth of treasury bonds that it had purchased from different banks. The Bank of England had £371 billion of gilts on its books on 13 March 2014 |5|, that is, British Government bonds that were also purchased on the secondary market; on the 31 December the ECB held €185 billion of Greek, Irish, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese sovereign bonds that had all equally been purchased on the secondary market. |6|
  • Reductions in taxes effectively paid on banks’ profits. They have declared losses in 2008-2009 (and sometimes for other exercises too) that have permitted tax avoidances over several years. In fact losses are carried forward to following years, thus permitting substantial tax savings. Care must be taken that BNP Paribas does not write down as a commercial loss the $9 billion fine imposed by the US and save the equivalent in tax payments. The French government may cover the fine as it is in close relationship with the banking sector.
  • The refusal by Governments to prosecute the banks that are considered “Too big to Fail”. |7|
    Since 2007-2008 not one bank in the EU, North America or Japan has had its banking licence (its right to exercise banking activities) revoked. Out of court settlements have permitted the banks to carry on business as usual, avoiding condemnation in due form. |8| Not one bank director has been imprisoned (except in Iceland which is not a EU member) or has been prohibited from banking activities. The only judgements have been against bank employees mostly condemned for having damaged their bank’s image. This refusal to prosecute the banks themselves is visible through the attitudes taken againsttraders such as Jerome Kerviel, who have served as scapegoats. In taking this lax attitude towards banks, States encourage moral hazard.

- *The refusal to take strict measures against financial institutions, that would avoid repeated banking crises. |9|

- *The refusal to take measures forcing the banks that receive ECB loans to use them in their turn to grant loans to households and small businesses (which are the principal private employers) to stimulate the economy. The banks freely use this money as they see fit without bringing any benefits to the real economy. Since 2012 and 2013 loans to business, especially small business, have decreased. The ECB says that for its next series of loans to banks it will condition them to business and household credits. Wait and see!

Notes

|1| European Commission, “State aid : State aid: crisis-related aid aside, Scoreboard shows continued trend towards less and better targeted aid”, Brussels, 21 December 2012.http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-12-1444_en.htm

|2| The Belgian government acquired 10% of the shares of the biggest French bank BNP Paribas (that has been fined $9 billion by US authorities in June 2014), It so becomes the biggest shareholder but without voting rights on the board of directors and its two chosen representatives take part independently!

|3| Summary at http://www.philippelamberts.eu/233-milliards-deuros-le-subside-implicite-percu-par-les-grandes-banques-en-europe/ (in French) and complete studyhttp://www.philippelamberts.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/ImplicitSubsidy-of-Banking-sector_Greens-in-the-EP-study_January-2014.pdf

|4| The same banks have been involved in the different abuses and manipulations examined elsewhere .

|5| See http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/markets/Pages/apf/results.aspx

|6| Sovereign bonds of Ireland €9.7 billion; Greece €27.7 billion; Spain €38.8 billion; Italy €89.7 billion; Portugal €19.8 billion.

|7| See: Éric Toussaint, Série : “The Banks and the ’Too Big to Jail’ Doctrine (in 9 parts)”. Part 1 published 9 March 2014, http://cadtm.org/Les-banques-et-la-nouvelle

|8| According to its CEO, in June 20014, the $9 billion fine that BNP Paribas must pay to US authorities to avoid a condamnation will not affect the bank’s financial health. See Patrick Saurin and Éric Toussaint, “BNP Paribas sanctionnée par les autorités des États-Unis: il faut aller plus loin”, published 13 July 2014, http://cadtm.org/BNP-Paribas-sanctionnee-par-les (in French or Spanish)

|9| See: Éric Toussaint, “Comment les banques et les gouvernants détruisent les garde-fous”, published 13 January 2014, http://cadtm.org/Comment-les-banques-et-les (in French)

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

A photo tweet posted by “AzoozF” with an IS logo purportedly shows Steven Sotloff manning a truck mounted machine gun.

It was posted on Wednesday. Arabic text accompanying the photo identifies the man as Sotloff.

The unverified – and in the supposed ISIS video, not shown – beheading of Sotloff is being used as a pretext to launch a war inside Syria against the Saudi and Qatari financed and U.S. military trained Islamic State, formerly ISIS.

“Leading lawmakers in charge of foreign policy reacted Tuesday to the reported beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff by increasing their calls for more congressional involvement and oversight of President Obama’s war on ISIS,” Josh Rogin wrote for The Daily Beast on Tuesday.

Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are leading the charge.

“The beheading of poor Mr. Sotloff really just brings back that we are dealing with a dangerous adversary… Congress needs to play a vital role and we are determined that the House Foreign Affairs Committee will lead the way,” said Rep. Eliot Engel, a ranking Democrat on the committee. “We believe that before the president can continue beyond 60 days of doing airstrikes in Iraq or anyplace else, he would have to come to Congress and get Congress’s authority to continue.”

Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, is preparing to introduce legislation giving Obama congressional authority to enter Syria and bomb IS.

“This will ensure there’s no question that the president has the legal authority he needs to use airstrikes in Syria,” Nelson said on Tuesday. “We must go after ISIS right away because the U.S. is the only one that can put together a coalition to stop this group that’s intent on barbaric cruelty.”

How to Subdue Russia: The West Paves The Road To War With Lies

September 5th, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Official statements from the Russian government indicate that the president and foreign minister continue to rely on the good will of “our Western partners” to work out a reasonable diplomatic solution to the trouble in Ukraine caused by Washington.  Not only is there no evidence of this good will in Western capitals, the hostile measures against Russia are increasing.  Moreover, hostile measures are on the rise even though their main effect is to disadvantage Europe.

 For example, the socialist president of France has followed Washington’s orders and refused to deliver a ship that it owes to Russia under contract.  The news reports are so incompetent that they do not say whether Russia has paid for the ship or whether payment was awaiting completion.  If Russia has not already paid, then the failure to deliver will harm whoever financed the construction of the ship.  If Russia has paid, then the idiot French president has placed France in violation of a contract and under international law France is subject to heavy financial penalties.

 It is not clear how this hurts Russia.  It is Russia’s strategic nuclear force that the West has to fear, not a helicopter carrier.  What Hollande has taught Russia is not to do business with France or any country in NATO.

 Russia should promptly take the contract violation to court.  Either France will be sanctioned with penalties that could exceed the value of the contract or the West will prove that in its hands international law is meaningless.  If I were Russia, I would give up a helicopter ship in order to establish this point.

 Marine Le Pen, the only leader France has, is not in power, although her support is growing.  Le Pen says that Hollande’s obedience to Obama “will have a huge cost for France: the lost of millions of working hours and a fine of 5 to 10 billion euro.”

 Holland sought to justify his kowtowing to Washington with a lie: “Russia’s recent actions in the east of Ukraine contravene the fundamental principles of European security.”

 To the complete contrary.  It is the stupid actions of Hollande, Merkel, and Cameron who are endangering European security by enabling Washington’s drive to war with Russia.

 According to news reports for whatever they are worth, Washington and its EU puppet are preparing more sanctions against Russia.  Considering the incompetence of Washington and the EU, it is unclear who will be bitten by the sanctions–Russia or Europe.  The point is that Russia has done nothing to deserve any sanctions.

 The sanctions are based on Washington’s lie that, in Obama’s words (September 3),

“Russian combat forces with Russian weapons in Russian tanks” are deployed in eastern Ukraine.  As Professor Michel Chossudovsky reports on Global Research, observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) “have registered no troops, ammunition or weapons crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border over the past two weeks.”

 These passages are from Professor Chossudovsky’s report on the OSCE findings:

 “The OSCE Observer Mission is deployed at the Russian Checkpoints of Gukovo and Donetsk at the request of Russia’s government. The decision was taken in a consensus agreement by all 57 OSCE participating States, many of which are represented at the NATO Summit in Wales.

“The OSCE report contradicts the statements made by the Kiev regime and its US-NATO sponsors. It confirms that NATO accusations pertaining to the influx of Russian tanks are an outright fabrication.

“NATO backed up Obama’s statements with fake satellite images (28 August 2014) that allegedly ‘show Russian combat forces engaged in military operations inside the sovereign territory of Ukraine’.  These statements are refuted by a detailed report of the OSCE monitoring mission stationed at the Russia-Ukraine border. The NATO reports including its satellite photos were based on fake evidence.

“It is worth noting that the OSCE carefully categorizes movements across the border, which largely consist of refugees.”

Just as Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya were attacked on the basis of transparent lies and Syria and Iran were set up for attack on the basis of transparent lies, the sanctions

against Russia rest solely on transparent lies.  According to the UK Telegraph, the new sanctions will ban all Russian state-owned oil and defense companies from raising funds in European capital markets. In other words, any Western oil enterprises operating in Russia would be exempted.

 One Russia response to sanctions should be to confiscate any Western firms operating in Russia as compensation for damages inflicted by the sanctions.

 Another response is to obtain financing from China.

Another response is to self-finance energy and defense needs.  If the US can print money in order to keep 4 or 5 mega-banks afloat, Russia can print money to finance its needs.

 The lesson that Washington is teaching the larger part of the world is that a country has to be insane to do business with the West.  The West views business as a hegemonic tool that is used to punish, exploit, and loot.  It is astonishing that after so many lessons, countries still seek IMF loans.  It is impossible not to know by now that an IMF loan has two purposes: the looting of the country by the West and the subordination of the country to Western hegemonic policy.  Yet idiot governments still apply for IMF loans.

 All of the escalation of the Ukrainian situation is caused by the US, EU, and Kiev.  Apparently, Washington interprets Russia’s low-key response as evidence that the Russian government is intimidated.  But when Putin holds all the cards and can wreck Europe by turning off the flow of natural gas and can reincorporate the entire Ukraine back into Russia in two weeks or less, how can Washington impose its will?

Is Russia so desperate to be part of the West that it will succumb to being another of Washington’s puppet states?

A former US intelligence official says Washington is using the purported beheadings of two American journalists by ISIL to “sway public opinion” in favor of another war in the Middle East.

Scott Rickard, a former American intelligence linguist in Florida, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Thursday while commenting on top US officials’ push for a military onslaught in Iraq to destroy the terrorist group.

The statements were made in the wake of the killings of Steven Sotloff and James Foley.

“It’s very clear that these ‘beheadings’ of American ‘journalists’ is being used as a catalyst to sway public opinion. Now you have [President Barack] Obama, [Vice President Joe] Biden, [Defense Secretary] Chuck Hagel, [Secretary of State] John Kerry all in unison talking about an all-out offensive against ISIS,” Rickard said, using an alternate acronym for the terrorist group.

“Let’s be clear that ISIS has under 10,000 mercenaries from 80 different countries around the world.  They have been recruited and trained and supplied and getting harbored in NATO countries, in Kurdistan [region], in Turkey obviously, in Jordan,” he added.

Click here to watch the interview on Press TV.

“These individuals have received incredibly advanced equipment from Qatar, and from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates. This is not a group that is not unfamiliar with intelligence training and also intelligence assistance in the region,” he stated.

Rickard went on to say that “some of the individuals in the mercenary forces may have decided to do something that was not in the plan for the intelligence community” that controls them.

“They will not completely destroy ISIS; they will only destroy the individuals within the mercenary forces that are not cooperating with Western intelligence on their initiatives in the region because they still want to go after Syria, and they still want to create a Kurdish state, that has been an initiative since the Iran-Iraq war for the United States and West. And that is what’s going on now today,” he noted.

ISIL controls large parts of Syria’s northern territory. The group sent its fighters into neighboring Iraq in June, quickly seizing large swaths of land straddling the border between the two countries.

GJH/GJH

(Produced and directed by Adnan Zuberi1)

As the academic year begins, and the 13th anniversary of 9/11 draws near, it seems timely to review this eye-opening documentary about the failure of academia to explore the evidence about the events of September 11. Indeed, there are literally dozens of peer-reviewed science articles challenging the American government narrative about 9/11 that academics simply do not talk about.  These articles stand published in the science literature – for the most part unreported, unexamined, and unrefuted. 

I.                  9/11 Academic Failure in the Context of Traditional Scientific Publishing

In view of the magnitude of the 9/11 tragedy, and the persistent public doubts about its cause,[1] the scientific academy has been eerily silent.[2]  Although many studies questioning the official account have been published in peer-reviewed science and engineering journals,[3] they have not generated debate in the literature, or reports in the media. This is virtually unprecedented, for new scientific research always stimulates a trail of discussion – be it through letters, rebuttals, or further studies.

Two examples of peer-reviewed articles that should have made sensational headlines and stimulated major academic discussion simply faded into obscurity:

  1. An article published in the Journal of Business was reported by econometrician Dr. Paul Zarembka as showing a 99% statistical probability that high-volume insider trading occurred with American Airlines and United Airlines stocks in the days before 9/11;[4]
  2. A nine-author article published in the peer-reviewed Open Chemical Physics Journal (2009) reported that unreacted nanothermite, which can be tailored to behave as an incendiary (like ordinary thermite), or as an explosive, was found in four independently collected samples of the World Trade Center dust.[5] Nanothermite is a high-tech substance not found in nature, yet there has been no published research follow-up to this landmark article’s astonishing conclusions.

In short, the subject has been untouchable.

II.               Glaring Anomalies in the Government Narrative That Should Have Aroused Academic Concern

This documentary interviews a group of ten current and former Canadian and American university professors[6] about eye-opening contradictions in the official account.

Some of these include:

  1. Ground Zero was the biggest crime scene in US history, yet the telltale steel girders were quickly trucked away before forensic examination could take place.
  2. Originally there was to be no investigation, and only following intense political pressure from the families was an investigation mounted in 2003.
  3. Paradoxically, the 9/11 Commission Report (2004) stated that its purpose was “to provide the fullest possible account of the events,” but “not to assign individual blame.”[7]
  4. Nonetheless the Report accused al Qaeda of responsibility, basing 25% of its supporting footnotes on torture testimony, and providing no spokespersons to represent the accused.
  5. The Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow – a White House insider – framed the Report’s narrative in advance by providing an outline to the findings before the investigation had begun.
  6. The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) conclusions regarding the collapses of the Twin Towers and WTC7 were based on simplified models that defied Newtonian physics and were in conflict with direct observations.
  7. After seven years of study, NIST granted that free-fall acceleration had taken place in 47-story steel-framed WTC Building 7, which was not hit by an airplane – but could only cite office fires to explain this unprecedented event.

III.           Cultural Pressures to Delegitimize Inquiry into 9/11

How could these extraordinary anomalies have been ignored and overlooked by the academic community? The term “conspiracy theory” was first introduced into common use by the CIA following the publication of the Warren Commission report on the assassination of JFK, when “a public opinion poll recently indicated that 46% of the American public did not think that Oswald acted alone, while more than half of those polled thought that the Commission had left some questions unresolved.” The document, released following a FOIA request in 1976, outlined the CIA’s concern regarding “the whole reputation of the American government.”[8] The term “conspiracy theory,” which had formerly held neutral connotations, began to acquire a derogatory sense that identified certain topics as off limits to inquiry or debate. It has even been referred to as a “weaponized term.”[9]

One of the professors in the film referred to “the spiral of silence,” and another to “thought stoppers” – such as the charge of “conspiracy theory.” A third referred to 9/11 as “one government story that’s untouchable.” Another said that raising the subject in academic circles is somehow forbidden, unmentionable – that it sullies and profanes a person to bring it up.  Sometimes persons who raise it are themselves attacked. Indeed a number of professors who persevered with research were vilified, harassed, and even dismissed for attempting work in this area.

IV.           The Fallout from 9/11:

Although 9/11 itself has seldom been questioned within the academy, its implications and fallout have been permissible fields of study, and include:

  1. The perpetual, ubiquitous “global war on terror,” starting with the 2001 occupation of Afghanistan, and the loss of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives;
  2. The 2003 occupation of Iraq (believed by many soldiers to have been justified by 9/11), with the further loss of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of lives;
  3. The ongoing military involvement in Middle East countries such as Libya and Syria;
  4. The fear and mistrust of Muslims caused by the Saudi identities of the alleged hijackers – which has undermined any possibility of global harmony and unification;
  5. The suspension of US constitutional guarantees such as Habeas Corpus and Posse Comitatus (forbidding US army intervention in state and municipal affairs since 1878);
  6. The introduction of electronic surveillance in violation of the US Fourth Amendment (1789) – confirmed in 1967 as applying to electronic surveillance as a violation of  “the reasonable expectation of privacy”;
  7. Inconvenience and congestion in air travel worldwide.

It is uncanny that in spite of these horrific impacts, the academic community has remained silent about the trigger event itself – barring a few courageous professors who have researched the glaring incongruities of 9/11 and the subsequent violations of international law. As mentioned above, these people have met with derision, discipline, and even dismissal.In summary:  30-40% of the population suspects that 9/11 was a false flag operation, constituting a state crime against democracy. Rather than exploring the evidence that is visible in plain sight, most of the academy simply looked the other way. One can only hope that the academy will reverse its position and work to remove the long shadow it has helped to cast over 21st century human civilization.

V.               Addendum: Success of the Documentary Since its Release in late 2013

A winner at the University of Toronto Film Festival, “9/11 in the Academic Community” has been widely hailed as essential viewing:

Lance deHaven-Smith, Florida State University Professor of Public Policy, writes:

“This documentary confronts the academy’s uncritical response to the defining event of our times.”

Morton Brussel, Professor Emeritus of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has stated:

“The main thesis of the film concerns the silence of the academic community on this vital issue. I think it is extremely important and very well produced.”

Prof. Kenneth Westhues, Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology and Legal Studies, University of Waterloo, and a Member, Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship, has written,

“Canadian academic historian Michiel Horn has observed that as a rule, professors are milquetoasts. Here is documentary proof of Horn’s observation, on the subject of this century’s first great day of infamy. This film also documents exceptions to Horn’s rule: professors with guts enough to raise critical questions. Highly recommended, especially for provoking reasoned political discussion and debate.”

Paul Almond, Officer of the Order of Canada, and Award Winning Former Director of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC):

“People can benefit from learning about the event which clearly changed not only American consciousness, but that of the whole world. I believe this documentary should be shown as widely as possible.”

Dr. Roger W. Bowen, General Secretary of the American Association of University Professors, and Professor of Political Science and President of the State University of New York at New Paltz:

“Academic freedom protects scholars who report inconvenient truths from the uninformed, but, as Adnan Zuberi reminds us, academic freedom is also the responsibility of scholars to pursue the truth.”

Friedrich Steinhäusler, Professor of Physics at Salzburg University, Former Co-Director of the NATO ARW on Catastrophic Terrorism, and Past Chairman, US/German Transatlantic Expert Group on Terrorism:

“I hope that this material will be made available to the wider international academic community in order to foster a wider, fact-based discussion among researchers and students alike.”

Alvin A. Lee, President Emeritus, McMaster University:

“Whatever else is done by the men and women who work in our universities, it is essential, I believe, that large numbers of them stand sufficiently outside society intellectually to see, understand, and interpret what is going on. I find it troubling that so few—there are credible exceptions—have seriously engaged with the question of what actually happened on 9/11 and why. There are so many holes and limitations in the official version that it calls out for rigorous intellectual fact-finding and analysis.”

This film reveals a new pathology that infests our society, in which it is taboo for even academics to pursue politically disturbing truths.  Let us hope that the film will continue to open the way for more open discourse on 9/11, and the overwhelming body of research that contradicts the official narrative.

Notes

[1] A Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll showed in 2006 that “more than a third of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to war in the Middle East.” “Third of Americans suspect 9-11 government conspiracy,” Thomas Hargrove, August 8, 2006 (http://www.aldeilis.net/english/nj/012.pdf.)

[2] A “9/11 Research Guide” from Florida International University lists only government reports, film and media, and fictional resources. http://libguides.fiu.edu/content.php?pid=242646&sid=2003753.

[3] The following articles are peer-reviewed journal papers that address issues surrounding the day of 9/11/2001 from a critical perspective. Academics are encouraged to take an interest in 9/11 research. (http://911inacademia.com/journal-papers/.)  See also: The 9/11 Consensus Panel, “Evidence-Based Literature Sources Opposing The Official Story of September 11” (http://www.consensus911.org/references-evidence-based/).

[4] Allen M. Poteshman, “Unusual Option Market Activity and the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,” Journal of Business, 79 (2006): 1703-26. Two subsequent financial articles provided further evidence of insider trading, but these econometric investigations have not been challenged in any professional or governmental responses.  (http://www.consensus911.org/point-g-2/).

[5] Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, and Bradley R. Larsen, “Active Thermitic Material Observed in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe,” The Open Chemical Physics Journal, 2009, 2: 7-31 (http://www.benthamscience.com/open/tocpj/articles/V002/7TOCPJ.htm).

[6] Dr. David MacGregor, Prof. Sociology, Univ. Western Ontario; Dr. Michael Truscello, Asst. Prof. English, Mt. Royal Univ., Dr. Graeme MacQueen, Prof. Emeritus Religious Studies, McMaster Univ., Dr. Richard Lee, Prof. Emeritus Anthropology, Univ. of Toronto; Dr. John McMurtry, Prof. Emeritus Phil. at Guelph Univ., Dr. Walter Pitman, Former President of Ryerson Univ. and Order of Canada; Dr. Omar M. Ramahi, Prof. Electrical and Computer Engineering, Univ. of Waterloo; Dr. Paul Zarembka, Prof. Economics, SUNY, Buffalo; Dr. Robert Korol, Prof. Emeritus Civil Engineering, McMaster Univ., Dr. Lynn Margulis (1938-2011) was a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts. More information at: (http://911inacademia.com/cast/).

[7] The 9/11 Commission Report, 2004, p. xvi (http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf).

[8] CIA, “Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report,” CIA Document #1035-960  (http://www.jfklancer.com/CIA.html).

[9] “’Conspiracy Theory,’ Foundations of a Weaponized Term,” James F. Tracy, Global Research, January 22, 2013 (http://www.globalresearch.ca/conspiracy-theory-foundations-of-a-weaponized-term/5319708?print=1).

Beware: Facebook’s “Soft Censorship”

September 5th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

The Land Destroyer Report maintained a Facebook page under the name Anthony Cartalucci. Since 2009 it was used to express my personal thoughts regarding the news of the day, as well as share relevant links with followers. Today, Facebook, without warning or opportunity to appeal, decided that the Facebook account must be changed over to a “page.” By doing so, all those following my account no longer would receive updates, because of Facebook’s “news feed” filters.

The premise behind news feed filters is that people have too many “friends” and are following too many accounts, so they can’t possibly manage all the content themselves. Therefore, Facebook will do it for them. We already know about the Facebook “experiment” where they intentionally manipulated the news feed of hundreds of thousands of Facebook users without their consent.

A report published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) titled, “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” stated in its abstract that:

We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.Not only are the findings troubling – illustrating that Facebook possesses the ability to influence the emotions of its users unwittingly through careful manipulation of their news feeds – but the invasive, unethical methods by which Facebook conducted the experiment are troubling as well.

Clearly manipulating users’ news feeds possesses powerful propaganda and mass-manipulative influence – surely influence those with the resources would be willing to pay for. And that is exactly what Facebook has arranged for with their new “reach” system. Facebook’s own explanation is as follows:

Rather than showing people all possible content, News Feed is designed to show each person on Facebook the content that’s most relevant to them. Of the 1,500+ stories a person might see whenever they log onto Facebook, News Feed displays approximately 300. To choose which stories to show, News Feed ranks each possible story (from more to less important) by looking at thousands of factors relative to each person.

Those involuntarily forced to switch from standard accounts over to “pages” will notice the “boost” feature below each post. This is where you are required to pay Facebook money to ensure people who voluntarily followed you to receive content from you, actually receive it. Obviously, this confers a major advantage to well-funded start-ups, established media outlets, and large, corporate-driven propaganda machines. For the independent or freelance journalist, analyst, or activist, Facebook has gone from an open platform to a cage of soft censorship.

Image: Taken from a paper outlining Facebook’s experiment where over half a million users were unwittingly manipulated via their news feed. Clearly Facebook possesses the ability to manipulate users, not only with what they see and don’t see, but how they perceive the world around them – a power they have now put up for sale, benefiting to no one’s surprise the very special interests that have worked with Facebook to reign in the Internet’s liberating power. 

 

Special interests will have no trouble reaching the maximum amount of people following their accounts on Facebook. Those opposed to these special interests, generally average citizens with limited resources who want to use the Internet to magnify their voice, will not be able to compete in this newly rigged system where a handful of their thousands of followers are ever “allowed” by Facebook to view content they voluntarily elected to see.

Facebook takes freedom from its users, considering them incapable of determining for themselves who to follow and what to read, as well as censors unique, alternative perspectives operating on the shores of corporate-financier cash flow and the mass media that floats upon it. It is a spectacular achievement in the field of censorship – with special interests never having to directly block, silence, or imprison dissidents, but rather simply rig the system so they cannot be heard. It is the birth of soft censorship.

What to Do? 

First, people must realize that now they may not be getting all the news and information they have subscribed to when using Facebook. They should investigate other services out there that do not filter feeds like RSS and Twitter.

Facebook’s prominence as a means of communication should be shifted to the periphery by users genuinely interested in news and receiving the information they have freely chosen to receive, while other, more dependable and transparent services take center stage. Also, people must realize that Facebook, Google, and other IT monopolies are literally controlling what they see – a modern day allegory of the cave, a Matrix-style virtual world where the perception of reality is defined by a handful of special interests without anyone really even being conscious of it – just as Facebook’s experiment proved. It is essential that people become aware of this, disconnect or distance themselves from it, and find alternative ways to communicate.

And just like when other overbearing, manipulative, and invasive social media services began overstepping their bounds and working against the best interests of users, Facebook has opened the door to alternatives that respond to what users want, rather than dictating to them how they will interact. MySpace, Hi5, and others have come and gone because of overbearing terms of services and for failing to meet the needs of users – Facebook should fare no differently.

Finally, telecommunications and the Internet in particular are still entirely too centralized and in the grip of large monopolies to be truly used in best interests of the majority. Telecommunications and information technology need to be decentralized at the local level, with people educating themselves in a wide variety of open source alternatives and ways of protecting infrastructure and the freedom it has granted us in balancing the equation between the people and corporate-financier special interests that seek to dominate them.

Follow LandDestroyer on Twitter where currently feeds are not manipulated or censored  @LandDestroyer or LocalOrg at @LocalOrgInfo. 

NATO, the Curtain of War Open on Two Fronts

September 5th, 2014 by Manlio Dinucci

Sept. 4 – The Summit of Heads of State and Government of the 28 states of NATO opens today in Newport Wales, where these leaders will take key decisions “to ensure NATO is prepared to address current and future security challenges,” they attribute to “military aggression of Russia against Ukraine” and “growth of extremism and sectarian conflict in the Middle East and North Africa.” In this “crucial” summit the United States, which retains the undisputed leadership in NATO, and its European allies will mobilize simultaneously on two war fronts. (Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s press conference)

Europe, in little more than six months, has leaped out of the “Détente” stage back to a situation in some ways more dangerous than that during the Cold War. How did this happen? To understand this, we must look back to the time when, in 1991, the demise of the USSR and its bloc of alliances in the European region created an entirely new geopolitical situation. The United States, the only superpower left standing, tried to take full advantage of this situation, launching a new strategy in which Washington declared it “of fundamental importance to preserve NATO as the primary instrument of Western defense and security, as well as the channel for U.S. influence and participation in European security affairs.” To this end it was necessary “to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements which would undermine NATO.” (Defense Planning Guidance)

At the same time, while using NATO to maintain U.S. leadership over Western Europe, the United States also used NATO to carry out the conquest of Eastern Europe. Having demolished Yugoslavia with war, NATO extended its reach eastward, including all the countries of the former Warsaw Pact, two from the former Yugoslavia and three from the former Soviet Union. Entering into NATO, the countries of Eastern Europe have come to depend more on Washington than Brussels.

But something disrupted Washington’s plans for conquest: contrary to what was foreseen, the Russian Federation began to respond to the crisis of the post-Cold War, tightening its growing economic relations with the European Union by providing the bulk of its natural gas and opening up new business opportunities with China and other Asian countries. These steps threatened the strategic interests of the United States.

It was at this point that the crisis broke out in Ukraine: After spending years of work to take control of key positions in the armed forces and training neo-Nazi groups, NATO promoted the Kiev coup of Feb. 22. This forced Moscow to move in defense of the ethnic Russians of Ukraine, which exposed Russia to sanctions. The sanctions policy is a double-edged sword: Russia’s counter-sanctions harm the European Union and expedite the plan for transatlantic partnership for trade and investment, through which Washington seeks to increase U.S. influence on the EU.

At the same time, under U.S. leadership, NATO has extended its strategic reach into North Africa and the Middle East, and beyond the Afghan mountains and into the Asia/Pacific region. The strategic objective remains that set out in the Defense Planning Guidance: “Our first objective is to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would be sufficient to generate global power.” Today, especially in Asia, where — In the wake of the Russian-Chinese agreements, frustrating the impact of Western sanctions against Russia by opening new outlets in the East – there looms the possibility of a Eurasian union to offset the U.S.-EU bloc.

The demolition of Libya by war, a similar operation launched in Syria (which has so far failed), the reprisal of the war against Iraq, the double-edged manipulation of Islamic formations (supported to bring down targeted governments, then used elsewhere to justify armed intervention) are all included in the U.S./NATO strategy.

Where does this lead? To other wars, to scenarios of increasingly dangerous confrontation between nuclear powers. To an acceleration of the arms race and, consequently, of military spending. One of the items on the agenda of the Summit is that NATO countries should “spend the right amount of money on deployable forces, training and modern equipment.”

What is likely, therefore, is an increase in military spending: Italy’s, according to official data of NATO, amounted to 56 million euro per day, plus the expenditure on military missions abroad and other extra-budgetary funds, which according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute brings current military spending in Italy to almost 70 million euro per day ($100 million)*.

Il Manifesto, Sept.4, 2014

Translation: John Catalinotto

[Translator’s note: The Summit was to discuss raising NATO spending alone $60 billion over 10 years; total military spending of NATO countries, according to SIPRI, is 70 percent of the more than $1.7 trillion total military spending worldwide. U.S. military spending is $640 billion, excluding certain expenditures that are military related, like costs of past wars—Catalinotto]

 

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said that he expects the EU to increase pressure on Serbia to introduce sanctions against Russia as the Ukrainian conflict grows more violent, adding that he believes that Serbia will build the same relationship of understanding and partnership with the new High EU Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini as with her predecessor Catherine Ashton.

The EU’s stance regarding Serbian decision not to impose sanctions on Russia will change based on the intensity of the Ukrainian conflict, that is, the growing conflict between the EU and Russia, Dacic told Belgrade-based daily Danas.

The position of the EU will depend on the developments in Ukraine, underlined Dacic.

He added that, in principle, he does not expect the appointment of a new High EU Representative to bring any changes to the approach that Catherine Ashton had to Serbia, Danas reports. “I expect mutual trust, understanding and partnership,” Serbia’s foreign minister said.

We bring to the attention of our readers the opening remarks of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Atlantic Council of the United States’ Future Leaders Summit in Newport, Wales.

Key concepts underlying “NATO’s Vision” are highlighted.

Comments by Michel Chossudovsky are inserted in [bold] with an indent.

Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the Atlantic Council of the United States’ Future Leaders Summit in Newport, Wales

  • Last updated: 04 Sep. 2014 12:21

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends, Kolinda,

Thank you very much indeed for that very kind, and also in a way a bit surprising, introduction. I didn’t know that we met at Alpe d’Huez. But surely I do remember climbing Alpe d’Huez : the 21 curves really represent a challenge. But I think for a Secretary General that’s really a quite good, or a future Secretary General, that is a quite good preparation, because it takes perseverance, also a bit of patience, to climb Alpe D’Huez but though it’s uphill, finally we succeed. And that is exactly how I see the work within NATO. It can be a challenge to get 28 nations to agree, but at the end of the day, there is a strong consensual spirit. And thanks to that spirit of solidarity, we succeed in making important decisions.

So, we are now starting one of the most important Summits in the history of our Alliance, and it is indeed a great pleasure to also welcome you to our NATO Summit here in Wales.

[It is important because it is seeking the acceptance of war plans directed against the Russian Federation by the 28 member states. What NATO wants is a "consensus" by the 28 member states, a "green light" not only to prepare but to carry out if required an all out war against the Russian Federation]

Let me also thank wholeheartedly the Atlantic Council for once again organizing the Future Leaders Summit. We really appreciate all your work to create the right framework for engaging the next generation in our important work and I attach great importance to involving you in our work to strengthen the transatlantic bond, and I would also, right from the outset, thank you warmly for your contributions, your input, earlier this year to strengthening our transatlantic bond. It has been a great inspiration for us in the preparations for our Summit.

Growing up in Denmark in the 1960’s, I came of age in a Europe that was divided and dangerous. When everything could end in the flash of a nuclear exchange. Your experience has been very different. You came of age after the fall of the Berlin Wall in a Europe where conflict had been contained. Where dividing lines were being erased. And where freedom, stability and prosperity appeared to be the natural state of affairs.

Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has been a wake-up call. It has reminded us, reminded all of us, that our freedom, security and prosperity cannot be taken for granted.

That some are trying to redraw dividing lines in Europe with force and in blood. So a Europe whole, free and at peace remains a work in progress.

NATO has stood firm in the face of this challenge. We have suspended our cooperation with Russia. We have boosted our cooperation with our partner Ukraine. We have strengthened our collective defence. And we have left no doubt that we will do whatever it takes to defend ourselves.

NATO propaganda posits “Russian aggression against Ukraine” using fake evidence,  false flags accusing Russia of downing  Malaysian airlines MH17. The US, the UK and NATO are supporting an illegal coalition government with Neo-Nazi elements and a National Guard which displays Nazi symbols.  

Obama confirmed on September 3 that  “Russian combat forces with Russian weapons in Russian tanks”  had been deployed in Eastern Ukraine.

That’s not only a Lie, it is Lie which could potentially precipitate humanity into a Third World War.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) “have registered no troops, ammunition or weapons crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border

NATO backed up Obama’s statements with “fake” satellite images (28 August 2014) that allegedly “show Russian combat forces engaged in military operations inside the sovereign territory of Ukraine”.  These statements are refuted by a detailed report of the OSCE monitoring mission stationed at the Russia-Ukraine border. The NATO reports including its satellite photos were based on fake evidence.]

But Russia’s aggressive behaviour is not the only challenge we face.

We see the greatest number of crises since the end of the Cold War, emerging at the same time in different places on our periphery. A climate of chaos beyond our borders which could have direct implications for us at home. From criminal regimes and violent extremists to crippling cyber attacks.

[This crisis of chaos is a direct result of US-NATO sponsored wars and covert operations extending over half a century]

It is for all these reasons that the Wales Summit is a critical Summit. At a critical time. And it is why today and tomorrow, we will forge a stronger NATO for a more complex and chaotic world.

We will adopt a Readiness Action Plan that will make our forces faster, fitter, and more flexible. Ready to address any challenges. Whenever they come. And from wherever they come.

We already have much of the equipment, capabilities and expertise that we need. But some changes to our force posture, positioning and infrastructure will be needed. In short: more visible presence in the East. And this will require continued investment in modern, deployable forces.

[What this means is that NATO intends to militarize Eastern Europe, deploy its forces on Russia's doorstep and threaten Russia with military action. These military deployments could lead the World into a World War III scenario which could in turn lead humanity into a nuclear war]

Our Summit will be a key opportunity to reverse the trend of declining defence budgets. And to share the responsibilities for security more fairly across the Alliance.

[What is proposed is to increase military budgets and boost the production of advanced weapons systems to the detriment of all other categories of expenditure including health, education, housing and social welfare.

This is a multibillion dollar bonanza for the "defense contractors", the security and mercenary companies.  What this means for Europe and North America is poverty and unemployment. "War is good for business".]

We will also use our Summit to strengthen our partnerships. To improve our ability to work with partners to tackle common challenges. And to help partners to develop their own capacity to spread stability in their regions.

Finally, our Summit will be an opportunity to enhance the transatlantic bond that is so essential to our security and our well-being. As I mentioned, a few months ago, several of you made valuable suggestions for strengthening that bond. And I want to thank you once again for that strong engagement. And for your innovative ideas.

[What this signifies is that the Pentagon will continue to play an overriding role in determining NATO military doctrine, largely to the detriment of the European Union]

Dear friends,

Here in Wales, NATO’s 28 Allies will demonstrate our commitment to our security. To our shared values. And to our vision for a better Europe. We will equip ourselves with new tools to defend that vision. And to turn it into reality.

[In practice, NATO's New Tool's to Defend "Our Vision for a Better Europe" will encroach upon the implementation of a "real European Project". It will re-enforce the clutch of neoliberalism and undermine European sovereignty. It will also contribute to the militarization of law enforcement and the curtailment of civil liberties.

Europe will be subordinate to US Hegemony. It will also create barriers in the conduct of European relations with other countries including Russia and China]

I look to you to play your part too. You believe in NATO. You are young leaders. And you can decide what your future will be.

So follow us closely over the next days. And then go back to your countries, your cities and your communities. Tell your family, your friends, and your colleagues what we did here in Wales.

Tell them that the unique bond between North America and Europe is the anchor of our freedom, our security and our prosperity.

[The transformation of the EU into a US proxy entity dominated by Wall Street and Washington]

Tell them that NATO is not a Cold War relic but a powerful tool for dealing with the threats of today and tomorrow.

[The only threat to the members states is US military hegemony and the complicity of the political leaders who are serving the interests of Washington]

Help make our vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace a reality.

[There is no peace with NATO]

Thank you very much.

Opening remarks of NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, copyright NATO, 2014

 

We bring to the consideration of  GR readers an important video interview.

Unnamed sources in the Kiev government have leaked the Junta’s intent to use chemical weapons against the people of Donbass.

The last time “Strelkov” warned about a similar occurrence, a few days later Kiev forces attacked a chemical plant.

Fortunately, the missiles and rockets which were fired by Kiev forces missed their target.

Had they succeeded, this would have resulted in countless deaths.

Interview with Alexander Ivanovich Zhilin, journalist and military expert on Abkhazian Network News Agency (ANNA News)’s program called “Actually”. The subtitles are in German.An English transcript is available below.

“If we do everything we can now to make this information widely known, then we will pull the rug from under the Kiev Junta”

Below is a translation (English) of this important ANNA News interview.

ANNA News host: Alexander Ivanovich, you have something to say to the people, we are giving you this opportunity.

Alexander Ivanovich: Thank you very much. I would like to ask journalists, politicians and the people a favor. Please defend Ukraine. I’m asking you to defend it like a territory in which it is still possible to live. Yesterday around 3 am Moscow time, we received confirmation from Kiev that a sinister provocation was in preparation. The United States of America are trying to use chemical weapons in Donbass with the help of fascists [Kiev forces]. They will try to use these weapons in the following manner ….

SCROLL DOWN FOR COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT (English)

TRANSCRIPT  (English)

ANNA News host: Alexander Ivanovich, you have something to say to the people, we are giving you this opportunity.

Alexander Ivanovich: Thank you very much. I would like to ask journalists, politicians and the people a favor. Please defend Ukraine. I’m asking you to defend it like a territory in which it is still possible to live. Yesterday around 3 am Moscow time, we received confirmation from Kiev that a sinister provocation was in preparation. The United States of America are trying to use chemical weapons in Donbass with the help of fascists [Kiev forces]. They will try to use these weapons in the following manner:

They will first strike Donetsk and Luhansk, then within a 40-50 minutes interval they will strike the ammonia reservoirs. Then, if the consequences are really dire, within 20 hours they will strike again, but this time with real military chemical weapons, you understand? This diversion is designed to have barbaric consequences and here is what is being done to make it happen.

Yesterday Mr. Biden, Vice-President of the United States led a cover-up operation on this information. It was officially determined what will be said, namely that Russia has fired missiles and heavy artillery on the Donbass territory. Why would they do this? What are these lies for? That is what is planned.

When the Americans together with the junta strike elements that are dangerous for the environment, they will also say that it was done by Russia, that the Russians overlooked this important material and accidentally destroyed it, that is how the Russians are portrayed.

Why am I saying all this? At first glance, the citizens will think: what can a lesser mortal like us do? Well if we do everything we can now to make this information widely known, then we will pull the rug from under the [Kiev Junta] Barbarians … They won’t be able to make these provocations throughout the world. That’s why I’m calling on journalists, regardless of the position you hold, whether it is for or against the junta and even on Poroshenko’s Channel 5, just let us defend Ukrainians.

End the war once and for all, people must live there! And if we allow such a catastrophe to occur, Ukraine will not support two catastrophes, one which happened in Chernobyl and another one in Donbass. The country will then be paralyzed for hundreds of years. Therefore, in order to save the people, the children, the elderly, let’s unite, stand back-to-back to not let this happen.

ANNA News host: Thank you Alexander Ivanovich, we will do our best to make this video available to the people. We are begging all of you who have seen this video to share it as much as you can on all social networks, and send it personally to all your family members and friends.

The Failure of Mainstream Media

September 4th, 2014 by Global Research

Dear Global Research Readers,

The U.S. is resuming its “humanitarian bombing” in Iraq and wishes to extend its operations into Syrian soil in order to fight the Islamic State, a group of extremists produced by U.S. foreign policy in the region. Meanwhile, on the Russian border, it is backing a neo-Nazi government in Ukraine, shelling its own citizens in order to suppress a popular uprising.

Many important questions and contradicting stories also remain regarding the tragic events of September 11, 2001. The mainstream and corporate media has failed to investigate the implausible official 9/11 narrative of the US federal government. It has failed as the watchdog of the public, leaving the job to alternative and non-corporate information media.

Global Research has worked hard to bring these critical issues to the attention of our valued readers and to the forefront of respectful debate. The destruction of the environment, the decline of civil liberties, the erosion of international law, the growing deficit of social justice, media disinformation, and so many other topics are all regularly focused on by Global Research.

In the face of mainstream media lies, Global Research has remained independent and continues to act as a vital information portal for the public, and we are grateful to all those involved in this process.

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The following report is a slap in the face to president Obama and his NATO partners meeting today in Newport Wales.  Obama confirmed on September 3 that  “Russian combat forces with Russian weapons in Russian tanks”  had been deployed in Eastern Ukraine.

That’s not only a Lie, it is Lie which could potentially precipitate humanity into a Third World War.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) “have registered no troops, ammunition or weapons crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border over the past two weeks” (Itar-Tass)

“Throughout the week, the Observer Teams noticed a net increase of young people (both men and women) wearing military-style dress crossing the border in both directions but did not observe any weapons among these groups,” the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission’s report covering a period from August 20 to September 3 said.

The observers said they had regular interactions with supporters of the self-proclaimed republics. “Some discussed openly with the OSCE while others expressed their total mistrust toward the OSCE. At both Border Crossing Points, some supporters of the self-proclaimed republics explained that they are not allowed to cross the border with weapons,” the report said.

The observers registered a decrease in helicopter sightings compared to last week but they were still observed at border crossing points flying at low altitude along the border.

“In either case, in as far as could be seen, the aircraft did not violate the Ukrainian airspace,” the report said. (Ibid)

The OSCE Observer Mission is deployed at the Russian Checkpoints of Gukovo and Donetsk at the request of Russia’s government. The decision was taken in a consensus agreement by all 57 OSCE participating States, many of which are represented at the NATO Summit in Wales.

The OSCE report contradicts the statements made by the Kiev regime and its US-NATO sponsors. It confirms that NATO accusations pertaining to the influx of Russian tanks are an outright fabrication.

NATO backed up Obama’s statements with “fake” satellite images (28 August 2014) that allegedly “show Russian combat forces engaged in military operations inside the sovereign territory of Ukraine”.  These statements are refuted by a detailed report of the OSCE monitoring mission stationed at the Russia-Ukraine border. The NATO reports including its satellite photos were based on fake evidence.

It is worth noting that the OSCE carefully categorizes movements across the border, which largely consist of refugees:

Cross-border movements common to both Border Crossing Points

The profile of the people crossing the border remains unchanged and can be categorized as follows:

  1. Families on foot or by car with a lot of luggage;
  2. Elderly people with few bags;
  3. Adults (usually of younger age) with no luggage or empty cars;
  4. People wearing military-style clothes with or without backpacks.

While the number of entries/exits has remained stable at an average of 6,523 per day for both Border Crossing Points, the OM has observed a clear reversal in the flow of people crossing the border. Since August 26, the majority of border crossers have been going back into Ukraine with an average net flow of minus 429 per day for both Border Crossing Points in the last week and since that day 3,857 people have returned to Ukraine through both Border Crossing Points. The statistics also show that the Donetsk Border Crossing Point consistently experiences more traffic than the Gukovo Border Crossing Point. The cross-border movements registered at both Border Crossing Points account for 43 percent of all the Rostov Region’s entries/exits.

The OM continued to observe a general trend of very low cross-border traffic during the night hours. At sunrise the number of travellers slowly increases until late morning. Then, the traffic flow decreases but rises towards the late afternoon and evening. The majority of the vehicles crossing the border have number plates issued in the Luhansk region.

Common observations at the Border Crossing Points

In general, the situation at both Border Crossing Points is calm. People crossing the border talk to the Observer Teams (OTs) regularly and continue to describe the situation in the Luhansk region as dire. The OTs continued to receive numerous accounts of severe destruction caused by artillery fire which resulted in the interruption of water, gas and electricity supplies, the latter apparently unavailable for more than five weeks in some areas including Luhansk city itself.

Throughout the week, the OTs noticed a net increase of young people (both men and women) wearing military-style dress crossing the border in both directions but did not observe any weapons among these groups. OTs had regular interactions with supporters of the self-proclaimed republics. Some discussed openly with the OSCE while others expressed their total mistrust toward the OSCE. At both Border Crossing Points, some supporters of the self-proclaimed republics explained that they are not allowed to cross the border with weapons. However, on the other side, there are organized places where they receive weapons, ammunition and equipment and are dispatched to their assigned areas on the Ukrainian side. Upon return, they hand over weapons, ammunition and other military equipment and cross back into the Russian Federation. In the case of Gukovo, there is even a firing range to calibre the newly-received weapons before continuing to the frontlines. As described in previous reports, on a daily basis OTs hear such range-like shootings on Ukrainian territory at a short distance from the Gukovo Border Crossing Point.

The OTs observed more people wearing black t-shirts with the inscription “Novorossiya” (“new Russia”) or “Luhansk People’s Republic” with corresponding flags. In some instances, this flag was also observed on several civilian vehicles’ windshields and license plates.

Civilian people stopping to discuss with OTs often ask the OSCE to stop the conflict and to record and report their testimonies so that everybody can be aware of the situation.

Military movement

Throughout the week, day and night, the OTs heard the sound of propeller aircrafts in the vicinity of the Border Crossing Points. During daylight and when the weather conditions were favourable, the OTs observed the same small grey aircrafts identified as UAVs. The same flight patterns were observed at both Border Crossing Points. The UAVs were following a flight path assessed to be at the edge of the Ukrainian border on very regular schedules with intervals varying from 18 to 25 minutes. In several instances, up to two UAVs were observed in the same area at the same time.

There was a decrease in helicopter sightings compared to last week but they were still observed at both Border Crossing Points flying at low altitude along the border.

In either case, in as far as could be seen, the aircrafts did not violate the Ukrainian airspace in the vicinity of the Border Crossing Points.

Observation at the Gukovo Border Crossing Point

The traffic flow at Gukovo BCP has remained steady compared to last week, with a slight decrease in the past two days. A daily average of 2,940 entries and exits was recorded, which accounted for 19 percent of all entries/exits into the Rostov Region. The average number of people entering the Russian Federation has diminished consistently during the reporting period and the net flow has been negative since 26 August with a daily average of minus 262. This statistic clearly reflects a return movement into Ukraine. In the past week, close to 2,000 people have returned to Ukraine through the Gukovo Border Crossing Point each day.

Throughout the week, the OTs continued to hear gunfire on the Ukrainian side very close to the Border Crossing Point. As described earlier, these fire incidents were assessed as not combat-related, reportedly originating from a nearby improvised ‘shooting range’ under the control of supporters of the self-proclaimed republics.

Reports of people at the Gukovo Border Crossing Point

OTs received reports from people of Sverdlovsk (17 km west of Gukovo Border Crossing Point) about the town’s situation. They reported that the town had not experienced direct fights but five houses were destroyed. Although public transport and the only hospital were functioning, for the past two-and-a-half months, there was no water. According to them, pensions and social benefits were not paid and people could not access money. Prices for common goods had increased considerably and therefore people were going to the Russian Federation every three to four days to buy first necessity products and to obtain cash at ATMs or banks. People reported that the school year was planned to start on 1 September but they did not want their children to follow Ukrainian curricula.

Observation at the Donetsk Border Crossing Point

During the reporting period, the activity at the Donetsk Border Crossing Point has slightly increased compared to last week. The total number of border crossings at Donetsk Border Crossing Point consistently exceeds those of Gukovo Border Crossing Point. A daily average of 3,627 entries and exits was recorded, which accounted for 24 percent of all entries/exits into the Rostov Region. The average number of people entering the Russian Federation has diminished consistently during the reporting period and the net flow has been negative since 29 August with a daily average of minus 410. As for the Gukovo Border Crossing Point, this statistic clearly reflects a return movement into Ukraine. In the past week close to 1,900 people have returned to Ukraine through the Donetsk Border Crossing Point each day.

Throughout the week, shootings, blasts and artillery detonations were heard at various times of the day and night, and from different distances and directions around the Donetsk Border Crossing Point. Artillery detonations were especially intense during the weekend in the direction north of Krasnodon. Throughout the night of 30 to 31 August, dozens of very loud artillery detonations were heard and felt by an OT. The detonations were close by in a westerly/ north-westerly direction.

In the past weeks, artillery detonations and shootings had been heard only from western and northern directions; but throughout the week for the first time OTs reported light and heavy calibre shootings from the east and south-east areas which are also bordering Ukraine.

Throughout the week, OTs observed a net increase in activity of young people dressed in military style crossing back and forth at the Border Crossing Point. OTs also observed some of these people visibly wounded crossing back into the Russian Federation with white bandages and/or crutches. OTs also observed transfers of more seriously-wounded persons by ambulances. Some people dressed in military style were accompanying the wounded and were particularly well-equipped including holsters but without weapons.

In one instance, an OT observed eight young men dressed in military style carrying two heavy stretchers loaded with boxes. The stretchers were visibly heavy (more than a hundred kilograms) because the groups were stopping every 30 to 50 metres to recover. The OT observed Border Crossing Point officials checking the boxes with metal detectors. The OT asked Border Crossing Point officials about the content of the boxes and was told that it was food products.

Reports of people at the Donetsk Border Crossing Point

OTs received reports from people of Molodohvardeysk, Novosvetlovska (15 km south-east of Luhansk) and other places around Luhansk city. They all indicated heavy fighting and considerable damage to infrastructure and asked the OSCE to stop the fighting.

Russian humanitarian convoy

The OM does not have any confirmation that a second humanitarian convoy will go through the Donetsk Border Crossing Point. During the past week, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited the Donetsk Border Crossing Point and met with Russian and Ukrainian border guards and customs officers. To this day, Ukrainian border guards and customs officers are still staying next to the Donetsk Border Crossing Point. In addition, personnel of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry came to the Border Crossing Point to consult with the Russian Border Crossing Point authorities.  (source OSCE at http://www.osce.org/om/123151)

Pack of Lies

At his speech in Estonia on September 3, Obama states categorically:

And yet as we gather here today, we know that this vision [of a Europe that is whole and free and at peace] is threatened by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. It is a brazen assault on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, a sovereign and independent European nation. …This is what’s at stake in Ukraine. This is why we stand with the people of Ukraine today.

NATO released new satellite images on Thursday, 28 August 2014, that allegedly

“show Russian combat forces engaged in military operations inside the sovereign territory of Ukraine. The images, captured in late August, depict Russian self-propelled artillery units moving in a convoy through the Ukrainian countryside and then preparing for action by establishing firing positions in the area of Krasnodon, Ukraine. …. “Over the past two weeks we have noted a significant escalation in both the level and sophistication of Russia’s military interference in Ukraine,” said Brigadier General Tak. “The satellite images released today provide additional evidence that Russian combat soldiers, equipped with sophisticated heavy weaponry, are operating inside Ukraine’s sovereign territory,” (NATO, Allied Command Operations, 28 August 2014)

While US-NATO is pushing for war with Russia,  the OSCE is overseeing the seven point peace plan proposal to be discussed in Minsk on September 5.

SAY NO TO WAR AND MEDIA PROPAGANDA

SAY NO TO US-NATO LIES

SAY YES TO PEACE

Has there ever been a nation more hooked on drugs than the United States?  And I am not just talking about illegal drugs – the truth is that the number of Americans addicted to legal drugs is far greater than the number of Americans addicted to illegal drugs.  As you will read about below, more than 30 million Americans are currently on antidepressants and doctors in the U.S. wrote more than 250 million prescriptions for painkillers last year.  Sadly, most people got hooked on these drugs very innocently.  They trusted that their doctors would never prescribe something for them that would be harmful, and they trusted that the federal government would never approve any drugs that were not safe.  And once the drug companies get you hooked, they often have you for life.  You see, the reality of the matter is that some of these “legal drugs” are actually some of the most addictive substances on the entire planet.  And when they start raising the prices on those drugs, there isn’t much that the addicts can do about it.  It is a brutally efficient business model, and the pharmaceutical industry guards their territory fiercely.  Very powerful people will often do some really crazy things when there are hundreds of billions of dollars at stake.  The following are 21 facts about America’s endless pharmaceutical nightmare that everyone should know…

#1 According to the New York Times, more than 30 million Americans are currently taking antidepressants.

#2 The rate of antidepressant use among middle aged women is far higher than for the population as a whole.  At this point, one out of every four women in their 40s and 50s is taking an antidepressant medication.

#3 Americans account for about five percent of the global population, but we buy more than 50 percent of the pharmaceutical drugs.

#4 Americans also consume a whopping 80 percent of all prescription painkillers.

#5 It is hard to believe, but doctors in the United States write 259 million prescriptions for painkillers each year.  Prescription painkillers are some of the most addictive legal drugs, and our doctors are serving as enablers for millions up0n millions of Americans that find themselves hooked on drugs that they cannot kick.

#6 Overall, pharmaceutical drug use in America is at an all-time high.  According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, nearly 70 percent of all Americans are on at least one prescription drug, and 20 percent of all Americans are on at least five prescription drugs.

#7 According to the CDC, approximately 9 out of every 10 Americans that are at least 60 years old say that they have taken at least one prescription drug within the last month.

#8 In 2010, the average teen in the United States was taking 1.2 central nervous system drugs.  Those are the kinds of drugs which treat conditions such as ADHD and depression.

#9 A very disturbing Government Accountability Office report found that approximately one-third of all foster children in the United States are on at least one psychiatric drug.

#10 An astounding 95 percent of the “experimental medicines” that the pharmaceutical industry produces are found not to be safe and are never approved.  Of the remaining 5 percent that are approved, we often do not find out that they are deadly to us until decades later.

#11 One study discovered that mothers that took antidepressants during pregnancy were four times more likely to have a baby that developed an autism spectrum disorder.

#12 It has been estimated that prescription drugs kill approximately 200,000 people in the United States every single year.

#13 An American dies from an unintentional prescription drug overdose every 19 minutes.  According to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, accidental prescription drug overdose is “the leading cause of acute preventable death for Americans”.

#14 In the United States today, prescription painkillers kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined.

#15 According to the CDC, approximately three quarters of a million people a year are rushed to emergency rooms in the United States because of adverse reactions to pharmaceutical drugs.

#16 The number of prescription drug overdose deaths in the United States is five times higher than it was back in 1980.

#17 A survey conducted for the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that more than 15 percent of all U.S. high school seniors abuse prescription drugs.

#18 More than 26 million women over the age of 25 say that they are “using prescription medications for unintended uses“.

#19 If all of these antidepressants are helping, then why are more Americans killing themselves?  The suicide rate for Americans between the ages of 35 and 64 increased by nearly 30 percent between 1999 and 2010.  The number of Americans that die by suicide is now greater than the number of Americans that die as a result of car accidents every year.

#20 Antidepressant use has been linked to mass shootings in America over and over and over again, and yet the mainstream media is eerily quiet about this. Is it because they don’t want to threaten one of their greatest sources of advertising revenue?

#21 The amount of money that the pharmaceutical industry is raking in is astronomical.  It has been reported that Americans spent more than 280 billion dollars on prescription drugs during 2013.

If many of these drugs were not so addictive, the pharmaceutical companies would make a lot less money.  And pharmaceutical drug addicts often don’t fit the profile of what we think a “drug addict” would look like.  For example, CNN shared the story of a 55-year-old grandmother named Cynthia Scudo that become addicted to prescription painkillers…

For Scudo, her addiction began — as they all do — innocently enough.

She sought relief from hip pain, possibly caused by scarring from cesarean sections she had delivering several of her children.

Her then-husband recommended a physician.

“There was no physical therapy offered,” she said of the doctor’s visit. “The first reaction was, let’s give you some drugs.”

He put her on OxyContin.

By the second week, she was physically addicted.

She was popping so much of the painkiller and other drugs such as anti-anxiety Valium that they equated to a dosage for three men.

There is lots and lots of money to be made from addiction.  In fact, if the U.S. health care system was a totally separate nation it would actually be the 6th largest economy on the entire globe.  We are talking about piles of money larger than most people would ever dare to imagine.

And with so much money floating around, it is quite easy for the pharmaceutical industry to buy the cooperation of our politicians and of the media.

Some time when you are watching television in the evening, consciously take note of how often a pharmaceutical commercial comes on.

It has gotten to the point where we are literally being inundated with these ads.

They are already making hundreds of billions of dollars, and they think that there is room for even more growth.

Will they ever be satisfied?

Russians at the Gate: The Barbarians Are Coming

September 4th, 2014 by Joshua Tartakovsky

If in the past, white European countries had looming fears of barbarians invading at twilight and sacking their cities, today Western governments and media portray Russia in a similar way in an intention to awaken pristine fears. As in other irrational sentiments, such fears are being evoked despite the lack of substantial evidence. The headline of Huffington Post a week ago titled “Panic: Russia Invades” based on the account that 9  Russian soldiers were found somewhere across the border reveals the degree to which the US media, even that professing to be an alternative one, is engaging in stirring hidden fears and anxieties with weak evidence or none at all.

Furthermore, it is precisely the lack of concrete evidence for a Russian invasion that is being used as testament to Russians’ inherent cunning abilities and subversive actions. Since Russians are being perceived with panic as barbarians, each action they allegedly take is deemed as if the barbarians have broken through the fortress.

The capture of several Russian soldiers who could have come to the area by accident, was a sign for the White House that Russia has invaded and was subsequently “unwillingness to tell the truth” although Ukrainian soldiers numbering in hundreds crossed the border into Russia in the past. Whereas earlier, the White House has constantly struggled to provide evidence of a Russian invasion, this time the physical proof has been found. The mysterious black-and-white aerial photos of a convoy supposedly coming in via Russia, have been presented as the ultimate evidence for Russia’s invasion. NATO claims with confidence that “guns are pointed towards Ukrainian territory”.

All evidence and rational thinking suggest that Russia did not launch a ground invasion of Ukraine. It is hard to point to the capture of 9 soldiers as an indication that Russia, a country with an army of about 1,040,000 active soldiers, launched an invasion. Nor does the alleged transfer of weapons or vehicles via the border indicate Russia invaded. The United States, for example, has been providing arms to Syrian rebels and extensive military aid to Israel, yet this of course does not mean that the US has invaded either Syria or Israel, and most media sources would have probably never made such an accusation as hastily. Human Rights Watch was told by a journalist of “pro-Kiev forces in non-standard uniform” who “had a Grad rocket system” which they actually fired on rebels but NATO took no issue with this. However, obscure pictures of guns inside Russia pointed towards Ukraine is presented as evidence that Russia invaded. Rockets have been exchanged on the Syrian-Israeli border recently, yet this does mean that Israel invaded Syria or vice versa? In the case of Russia, the smallest sign of evidence is seen as a proof for a full invasion. Russians must be constantly cunning and need to be caught in the act.

The hysteria with which the mainstream media covers the supposed “invasion” of Ukraine cannot be decoupled from the way in which Russians have been portrayed at large. When one seeks to understand the mindset by which many in the Western media and governments view not only Russians in Russia but also ethnic Russians who are citizens of Ukraine, one may gain the impression they are being seen as nothing short of barbarians. Odessa residents who protested the arrest and imprisonment of pro-federalism protesters who were nearly burned alive in a fire in a trade union house in which tens of people perished while others who survived were beaten to death by pro-Kiev extremists, were termed as “mobs” who were “banging on a gate” by the New York Times. The very arrest of the survivors of a massacre was not seen as problematic. These survivors were subsequently presented as those who were “pumping their fists” with little reason to do so. In Slovyansk, the New York Times attributed to Donbass fighters “a legacy of violent thuggery and chaos” creating among readers a sense that not much else could be expected from Russians. Professor Timothy Snyder did not bother to present any evidence when he painted rebels as “local criminals”. The fact that they were associated with Russia was apparently proof enough.

When Russia sought to transfer to East Ukraine humanitarian convoys that were badly needed, this possibility was met with alarm by the West and deemed an “invasion”. Apparently, the possibility that Russians would engage in a humanitarian supply seemed too far-fetched. As “barbarians”, Russians cannot be trusted to have humanitarian wishes and must have sinister reasons lurking behind their actions. After all, what else can be expected from those who according to German President Angela Merkel practice “the law of the jungle” in the Crimea? The so-called “anti-terrorism operation” by the Kiev government against residents of East Ukraine that resulted in over 2,600 dead was not condemned by Merkel but Russia’s humanitarian aid was criticized as a “provocation“. The bloodless annexation of Crimea was seen as more of a savage act than the shelling of civilians by Kiev’s forces.

With the portrayal of Russians as savages and as people who do not cease to lie (note how frequently the US claims that Russia is “lying” as if this was a Russian trait and as if the quality of truth-telling is embraced by the US government despite the Edward Snowden episode), the elusiveness of the evidence for a Russian “invasion” paradoxically serves as proof that Russia has indeed invaded. With Russians already dehumanized and seen as irrational, dangerous and cunning, the black-and-white pictures produced by NATO of Russia’s “invasion”, seem more convincing than ever. They grant the viewer an opportunity to believe that he is “smarter” than the cunning Russians and in fact caught them in their action. While it is likely that individual Russian soldiers volunteered to fight for an East Ukrainian civilian population that has been shelled and cut off from supplies, one may wonder if this is any less objectionable than the fact that neo-Nazis from various European countries joined the Ukrainian Azov Battalion and are fighting civilians on the soil of East Ukraine.

It may therefore not be too far fetched to say that the supposed Russian military buildup across the border is being perceived by the Western media with a dreadful fear of barbarians entering fortress Europe from Asia while the existence of fascist military units on Ukrainian soil is being overlooked even though its members adhere to white supremacyUkraine is depicted as being European and Russia as part of Eurasia while the killing of civilians in East Ukraine by the current Kiev regime is apparently accepted as part of the normative order of things. Cultivating hysterical and irrational fears and reinforcing prejudice against Russians has little to do with evidence nor reason, and in this way the Western media has been erring twice. It has not only failed to provide a balanced account of the conflict, but has malignly stirred nascent fears regarding the looming barbarian invasion.

Joshua Tartakovsky is an Israeli-American independent journalist and a graduate of Brown University and LSE.

College students and graduates around the nation are buried in debt and trying to succeed in an extremely difficult and competitive economic environment. Many people are graduating only to find out that they are unable to get the jobs they want, whether it be due to the small amount of available jobs or (more usually) the problem of ‘experience,’ and thus are reduced to having to work menial jobs while paying back exorbitant loans.

So far very little legislation has been passed to aid students in paying back their loans and many are blaming politicians for this. However, the situation goes deeper and in part lies at the feet of a little known institution called the American Bankers Association.

The American Bankers Association, according to their website, is

“the voice of the nation’s $14 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $11 trillion in deposits and extend nearly $8 trillion in loans” and believes that “Laws and regulations should be tailored to correspond to a bank’s charter, business model, geography and risk profile.”

While it is quite obvious that the ABA is an organization that works in the interest of the bankers, they have an interesting history with regards to student loans and how they have actively fought against the interest of students.

The ABA’s war against students started in the mid-1960s with the rise of the Johnson administration. Johnson ordered the formation of a task force to examine the role of the federal government in higher education, specifically student aid, to be headed by John W. Gardener. In its report, the task forced noted that

 “Of the students who did not attend college and who had families who could contribute only $300 or less to their education, about 75 percent of the men and 55 percent of the women indicated that they would have attended college if they had had more money available.”

Johnson saw this as a loss of human capital and wanted to remedy this, ultimately signing the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 1965 into law. The law included many suggestions from the Gardner taskforce, such as that the government should aid students monetarily via grants and loans, as well as creating special programs for college-aspiring low-income students.

However, this was a major problem for the ABA. The organization was worried about government encroachment on their business, specifically loans and argued that “the federal government could not replicate the working relationships that locally-owned financial institutions had with state and private non-profit guarantee programs” and “the federal government would end up taking over the industry because there would be little incentive for the state and private non-profit agencies to establish their own programs.” In order to placate the bankers, the Johnson administration told them that the government would be the ultimate loan guarantor if no one else was available.

Yet, in the present-day, the ABA is without a doubt waging a quiet war on students by actively combating virtually any legislation that would ease their debt burden. With regards to being able to get rid of student loans in bankruptcy, the ABA stated in 2012 that, if allowed to go into effect, it “would tempt students to rack up big debt that they won’t repay [and that] ‘The bankruptcy system would be opened to abuse.’” This is rather ironic, accusing that students will engage in irresponsible lending, even though the banks themselves engaged in massive amounts of the exact same activity by giving mortgage loans to people they knew couldn’t repay the amount.

The assumption that students would just borrow money and they declare bankruptcy is rather ridiculous as filing bankruptcy has severe negative effects such as “negatively affect your credit and future ability to use money” and can “prevent you from obtaining new lines of credit and may even cause problems when you apply for jobs.” Yet, due to the bankers and other groups fighting against being able to get rid of student loans in bankruptcy, the only other option is default, which works quite well for the banks. When a person defaults on their student loans, a number of effects:

  1. Your entire loan balance will be due in full, immediately.
  2. Collection fees can be added to your outstanding balance.
  3. Up to 15% of your paychecks can be taken.
  4. Your Social Security, disability income, and state and federal tax refunds can be seized.
  5. You will lose eligibility for federal aid, including Pell grants.
  6. You will lose deferment or forbearance options.
  7. Outstanding fees and unpaid interest can be capitalized (added) onto your principal balance. (emphasis added)

While numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7 are horrible for the borrower, they work quite well for the banks as it allows them to get their money back no matter the cost to you in the immediate aftermath or the future. So your entire economic future has pretty much been destroyed? Well, that’s just the cost of doing business.

The ABA has recently fought against efforts to not have the interest rate on student loans double from 3.4% to 6.8%. The bill in question was Senate Bill 2343, also known as the “Stop The Student Loan Interest Rate Hike of 2012.”

Democrats wanted to finance the bill by closing a tax loophole in which “wealthy individuals and large corporations [would] often file using ‘subchapter S’ companies to dodge paying employment taxes.” The ABA and other business groups such as the US Chamber of Commerce financing of the bill on the grounds that it “would make tax collection ‘less enforceable than current law and will do little to increase compliance.’” Republicans with some Democratic support effectively shut down the bill and thus student loan rates have now doubled.

While many have accused the ABA of having a major sway with Republicans, a report from the organization Campaign For America’s future entitled Moneychangers In The Senate noted that “six Democratic senators—Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.; Mark Warner, D-Va.; Tom Carper, D-Del.; Ben Nelson, D-Neb.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla., and Jim Webb, D-Va.—sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make him ‘aware of our concern’ about reform efforts [to aid students] and urging consideration of ‘potential alternative legislative proposals.’” Essentially Democrats who had been bought and paid for by lending companies were urging that Harry Reid abandon legislation that could aid students and instead look for supposed alternatives which would not harm the banks. Yet, what is interesting is that student loan companies all have close ties to each of these senators, such as Blanche Lincoln’s former chief of staff working as a lobbyist for the student loan industry and Ben Nelson’s former legislative director being a lobbyist for Nelnet, a major student lender.

It must be noted that this campaign against student loan reform has massive amounts of money on the line. From that previously cited report, it was stated that in 2009, Nelnet posted profits of $139 million and that in “In May 2008, the student lenders were bailed out by the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act (ECASLA), which gave the banks further federal subsidies. The bill allowed lenders like Sallie Mae to sell loans back to the Department o Education through a number of loan-purchase programs.” This allows lenders to make even more money. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the government would save over $68 billion over ten years if they switched over to direct lending, however, now that $68 billion will “subsidize private lenders like Sallie Mae to pay their executives exorbitant salaries and bonuses,” such as Sallie Mae chairman Albert Lord who raked in over $225 million during his tenure at Sallie Mae which ended in 2013.

The situation does not end there, however. The Senate has proposed the “Protecting Aid for Students Act for 2014” and its House counterpart is entitled the “Curbing Abusive Marketing Practices with University Student Debit Cards Act,” or the CAMPUS Debit Cards Act. Each of these bills is meant to “protect students from unfair banking practices involving campus-sponsored financial products, including debit cards.” More specifically, the bills would “remove conflicts of interest and end kickbacks between financial institutions and schools, give students control of their financial aid and banking products, and provide transparency over campus-sponsored financial product.”

Yet, this is a problem for the Ken Clayton, Chief Counsel of the ABA. He stated that this legislation “would limit financial choices for students and parents, and raise costs for everybody” and that “Attempts to vilify financial institutions and require free services will limit consumer choice, increase costs for students and universities, and stifle innovation that has helped modernize higher education financing.” Apparently eliminating conflicts of interests and kickbacks between colleges and banks as well as giving students control of their finances, is a problem.

While we cannot get rid of the American Bankers Association as an institution, we can actively fight against them by organizing ourselves and demanding that we be treated as human beings, not just an investment. Politicians and colleges will not have our backs, we must do this on our own, we must fight ourselves.

This article was originally published on Occupy.com
Devon Douglas-Bowers is a 22 year old independent writer and researcher. He was a BA in Political Science and is the Politics/Government Department Chair of the Hampton Institute. He can be contacted at devondb[at]mail[dot]com.

If Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas succeeds in his bid to take Israel to the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Gaza, investigators will doubtless visit Khuza’a, a village where 10,000 people lived, most of them from the Najjar and Qdeih families. At least 73 Palestinians were killed there in late July.

Khuza’a has been called the Ground Zero of the war. As you enter, the broken minaret of a destroyed mosque lies beside the road, facing the wreckage of a petrol station. The Israelis rolled over cars in their Merkava tanks. Some houses were crumpled by F-16 fighters, some gutted by tank shells, some blown up by ground troops.

On August 4th, Human Rights Watch (HRW) relayed reports that Israeli troops had opened fire on civilians in Khuza’a. In separate interviews, refugees gave consistent accounts of Israeli troops shelling civilian buildings, opening fire on and killing fleeing civilians and denying medical care to the wounded. The fact that Israel had earlier made general warnings that villagers should leave did not exonerate them, HRW said: “The failure of civilians to abide by warnings does not make them lawful targets of attack.”

A week after the ceasefire, some Khuza’a residents have returned to live in the ruins. They get three hours of electricity daily and fight to buy 20-litre jerry cans of water.

When the Israelis began shelling Khuza’a, Sousan Najjar (37), her husband and five children sought shelter with 80 neighbours in a large, ground- floor room, partly below street level. At dawn on July 25th, a tank shell crashed into the basement, killing two old men and wounding 15 people.

“There was panic. Everyone ran into the street,” she says. “The Israelis were shooting at us and bombs came from everywhere like rain. My husband was badly wounded in the head. He ran ahead of me, carrying Motassem. I saw Motassem’s head explode.”

Six-year-old Motassem had been asking who would take him to his first day of school.

Skinny, serious child

“We were buying clothes and books for him,” says Najjar. A relative shows me a photograph of Motassem at his kindergarten graduation, wearing a mortarboard, clutching a diploma. He is a skinny, serious child.

“When we were in the shelter, Motassem was worried about me. He kept wiping my face with a damp cloth,” Najjar continues.

“With five children it’s difficult to give each one enough attention. If I’d known Motassem was going to die I would have given more to him.”

In the chaos that morning, Najjar screamed: “I want my son. Bring my son with me.” Neighbours convinced her to save herself and her other children. She placed Motassem’s body on a metre-high stack of tiles beside a house and tried to cover him with sand. The villagers waved white clothes as they began the trek to Khan Younis.

“I thought of my son every night,” Najjar says. “I thought: ‘Are you lonely? Are you cold? Did the dogs come to eat you?’ I had feelings I cannot describe.”

Motassem lay decomposing for nine days. When they returned, “The smell was terrible. His body was full of maggots. We wrapped him in a blanket and didn’t let Sousan see him,” says a relative.

War wounds

Around the corner, Shehda Najjar (44) lies on a thin mattress on the floor, recovering from his war wounds. A tank shell exploded in his family’s kitchen and bathroom.

“The tank was in the street outside. They came in the house, shooting,” he says. “They said, ‘Take your clothes off and come out, one by one.”

He was hit in the jaw and arm by exploding bullets. He says the Israelis used some 30 villagers, including him, as human shields for nine hours. “I was bleeding. I kept asking for an ambulance. They made me kneel on the ground and put my hands behind my head. Eventually an officer came and asked, ‘What’s wrong with this guy?’ The soldier said, ‘We shot him by mistake.’ An hour later an ambulance arrived.”

Twenty-two of the 30 human shields were taken to Israel for four days, Najjar says. Two old men who were freed were shot as they walked away. Four other men from Khuza’a were taken to Israel and have not been heard from since.

“When I was bleeding, I told the soldiers: ‘I worked in Israel for 26 years, building your buildings.’ A soldier said: ‘We asked you to leave and you didn’t leave.’ I didn’t receive any warning. We live 1.5km from the border and I thought it would just be a few days, like the wars before. This is the worst war in my life… I don’t hate anyone. I just want a solution.”

Since the banking bubble burst in 2007, the major Central Banks of the most industrialised countries lend massively to private banks at very low interest rates in order to avoid their failure, thus permitting the big banks that take the most advantage to save considerable amounts in interest payments.

The Fed purchases massive amounts of structured mortgage backed securities, although the ECB does not purchase these products, it allows banks to deposit them as guarantee (or collateral) against the loans they grant. The governments also bring their guarantees, and inject money, into banks in order to recapitalize them.

The systemically important banks are well aware that in case of problems they are protected by their size, they are “too big to fail” and know they can count on state aid to bail them out whenever necessary.

Governments borrow on financial markets by issuing sovereign debt bonds. They entrust the sale of these securities to large private banks. The banks also benefit from lower taxes on profits. In addition, within the eurozone, banks have the monopoly of credit to the public sector.

Since 2007 Governments and Central Banks of the most industrialized Western countries – hit by the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s – have given top priority to the rescue of private banks and the financial system (insurance companies, mutual funds, private pension funds, etc.) |1| The bank bailout is done at the expense of the overwhelming majority of the population. The governments have done their utmost to maintain private banks’ main privileges and to keep their power intact. The cost is enormous: explosion of public debt, loss of tax revenues, tight restrictions on loans to households and small businesses, further speculative and adventurous activities, which, in some cases, have required expensive new rescues.

Central Banks lend massively to the banking sector

Since the banking bubble burst in 2007, the major Central Banks of the most industrialized countries (ECB, Bank of England, Fed in the US, National Bank of Switzerland, Bank of Japan) have lent massively to banks in order to avoid failures. Without this source of unlimited credit, a great number of banks would find themselves in payment difficulties, as the usual funding sources declined, the interbank market had seized up (the banks lost confidence in each other), the sale of banks’ covered bonds became weak, and the money market funds became erratic. The sum total loaned by Central Banks to the private sector since 2007 is more than $20 trillion. As this has been made available at very low interest rates the big banks have been able to enormously reduce interest repayments.

What are Money Market Funds?

Money Market Funds (MMFs) are financial corporations in the United States and Europe, rarely controlled and little subject to regulations as they act without banking licences. They are closely akin to shadow banking. Supposedly the MMFs act with prudence but the reality is very different. This is cause for great concern given the vast quantities of money they handle, and the sharp drop in their profitability since 2008. In the United States, they managed $2.7 trillion in 2012, a significant drop from the $3.8 trillion in 2008. As investment funds the MMFs collect capital from investors (banks, pension funds, etc.) and use it to make short-term, often day to day, loans to banks and businesses. During the 2000s MMF financing has become an essential short-term source of liquidities for banks. The biggest are Prime Money Market Fund, Created by JP Morgan, the biggest bank in the United States, is worth $115 billion.

Wells Fargo the 4th largest bank in the United States has an MMF managing $24 billion. Goldman Sachs the 5th biggest bank controls an MMF worth $25 billion. US banks also operate MMFs in Europe; JP Morgan (€18 billion euros), BlackRock (€11.5 billion), Goldman Sachs (€10 billion), alongside European banks such as BNP Paribas (€7.4 billion), and Deutsche Bank (€11.3 billion). Some MMFs also operate in British pounds. Michel Barnier (European Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services) has announced that he would like regulations to be imposed on this activity, but this is most likely to remain nothing more than a statement of good intentions |2|.

The Obama administration is also said to be considering new regulations, to avoid having to bail out a bankrupt MMF with public money.Moody’s rating agency has worked out that during the 2007-2009 period 62 MMFs had to be bailed out by the banks and pension funds that had created them, 36 in the US and 26 in Europe for a total cost of $12,1 billion. Between 1980 and 2007 146 MMFs had to be saved by their sponsors. Again according to Moody’s, 20 MMFs were bailed out during 2010-2011 |3|. This shows up to what point they are a menace to the financial system.

Along with direct cash provisions Central Banks have other ways to assist private banks. Between 2008 and 2014 the Fed purchased very large quantities of Mortgage Backed Securities (MBS), totalling $1.5 trillion |4|. In 2012-2013 it bought up to $40 billion “worth” a month from banks and estate agents |5|. Towards the end of 2013 the Fed started to reduce its purchases, which were no more than $35 billion in March 2014. As of October 2014 the FED will hold $1.7 trillion worth of MBS, about 21% of the total value of this kind of toxic product. |6|

The ECB does not purchase these products but allows banks to deposit them as collateral, that is, as guarantees for the loans they grant. During the 2010-2013 period the “value” of Asset Backed Securities (ABS) on deposit at the ECB varied between €325 billion and €490 billion.

The ECB also purchased covered bonds, issued by private banks to finance their activities |7|. This is a very important assistance by the ECB to the private banks, which, as we have seen, had serious difficulty to find funding on the financial markets. This assistance has quite simply been ignored by the media. Since the beginning of the crisis the ECB has purchased €76 billion of covered bonds, €22 billion on the primary market and €54 billion on the secondary market, including bonds rated as bad as BBB-,which expresses lack of confidence in the issuers. On the 18 March 2014 the ECB held €52 billion “worth” of covered bonds. This is a very large proportion of the total amount of the covered bonds the banks have issued. In 2013 the amount was €166 billion, 50% down in two years |8|.

Notes

|1| In Japan the government and Central Bank did the same when their real estate bubble burst at the beginning of the 1990s . See Daniel Munevar, “Décennies perdues au Japon (lost decades in Japan)”, in Damien Millet and Eric Toussaint, La dette ou la vie (Life or debt), Aden-CADTM, 2011, chapter 15 (in French).

|2Financial Times, « EU shadow banking plan rapped », 26 mars 2012 ; « MMF lose worth in low interest rate world », 10 septembre 2012; « EU abandons reform on money market funds” » 10 mars 2014.

|3Financial Times, « 20 money market funds rescued », 21 octobre 2013.

|4| End January 2014 the volume of the Fed’s balance-sheet is over $4 trillion: $2.228 trillion in treasury bonds and $1.586 trillion Mortgage backed securities (MBS).

|5| Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Ginnie Mae.

|6| Since the beginning of the crisis the FED has bought back more than $2.4 trillion of US treasury bonds (in October 2013 the FED held US bonds worth $2.45 trillion) which is about 18% of all current US treasury bonds. The FED does not purchase them directly from US treasury. It purchases them on the open market from the banks who themselves had purchased them from the US treasury. See US legislation on the matter. The Bank of England has done the same.

|7| Natixis, which is, like other banks, favourable to these purchases has published an enthusiastic report on this question in 2005: http://cib.natixis.com/flushdoc.asp…

|8| See Financial Times, “Europe covered bond issues slump”», 27 November 2013.

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