`Let the jury consider their verdict,’ the King said, for about the twentieth time that day.

`No, no!’ said the Queen. `Sentence first–verdict afterwards.’

`Stuff and nonsense!’ said Alice loudly. `The idea of having the sentence first!’

`Hold your tongue!’ said the Queen, turning purple.

`I won’t!’ said Alice.

`Off with her head!’ the Queen shouted at the top of her voice.

— Lewis Carroll, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

Fast-track authority is being sought in the Senate this week for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), along with the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and any other such trade agreements coming down the pike in the next six years. The terms of the TPP and the TiSA are so secret that drafts of the negotiations are to remain classified for four years or five years, respectivelyafter the deals have been passed into law. How can laws be enforced against people and governments who are not allowed to know what was negotiated?

The TPP, TiSA and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP, which covers Europe) will collectively encompass three-fourths of the world’s GDP; and they ultimately seek to encompass nearly 90 percent of GDP. Despite this enormous global impact, fast-track authority would allow the President to sign the deals before their terms have been made public, and send implementing legislation to Congress that cannot be amended or filibustered and is not subject to the constitutional requirement of a two-thirds treaty vote.

While the deals are being negotiated, lawmakers can see their terms only under the strictest secrecy, and they can be subjected to criminal prosecution for revealing those terms. What we know of them comes only through WikiLeaks. The agreements are being treated as if they were a matter of grave national security, yet they are not about troop movements or military strategy. Something else is obviously going on.

The bizarre, unconstitutional, blatantly illegal nature of this enforced secrecy was highlighted in a May 15th article by Jon Rappoport, titled “What Law Says the Text of the TPP Must Remain Secret?” He wrote:

It seems like a case of mass hypnosis. . . .

Members of Congress are scuttling around like weasels, claiming they can’t disclose what’s in this far-reaching, 12-nation trade treaty.

They can go into a sealed room and read a draft, but they can’t copy pages, and they can’t tell the public what they just read.

Why not?

If there is a US law forbidding disclosure, name the law.

Can you recall anything in the Constitution that establishes secret treaties?

Is there a prior treaty that states the text of all treaties can be hidden from the people?

To Congressmen who say they cannot reveal what is in a treaty that will adversely affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, Rappoport says:

Wrong. You’re lying. You can reveal secret text. In fact, it’s your duty. Otherwise, you’re guilty of cooperating in a RICO criminal conspiracy.

A Corporate Coup d’État

What is going on was predicted by David Korten in his 1995 blockbuster, When Corporations Rule The World. Catherine Austin Fitts calls it a “corporate coup d’état.”

This corporate coup includes the privatization and offshoring of the judicial functiondelegated to the US court system in the Constitution, through Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions that strengthen existing ISDS  procedures.

As explained in The Economist, ISDS gives foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever the government passes a law to do things that hurt corporate profits — such things as discouraging smoking, protecting the environment or preventing a nuclear catastrophe. Arbitrators are paid $600-700 an hour, giving them little incentive to dismiss cases. The secretive nature of the arbitration process and the lack of any requirement to consider precedent give wide scope for creative judgments – the sort of arbitrary edicts satirized by Lewis Carroll in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

To date, the highest ISDS award has been for $2.3 billion to Occidental Oil Company against the government of Ecuador over its termination of an oil-concession contract, although the termination was apparently legal. Under the TPP, however, even larger and more unpredictable judgments can be anticipated, since the sort of “investment” it protects includes not just “the commitment of capital or other resources” but “the expectation of gain or profit.” That means the rights of corporations extend not merely to their factories and other “capital” but to the profits they expect to receive. Just the threat of a massive damage award for impairing “expected corporate profits” could be enough to discourage prospective legislation by lawmakers.

The Trade in Services Agreement adds additional barriers to proposed legislation.  TiSA involves 51 countries, including every advanced economy except the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). The deal would liberalize global trade in services covering close to 80% of the US economy, including financial services, healthcare, education, engineering, telecommunications, and many more. It would restrict how governments can manage their public laws, and it could dismantle and privatize state-owned enterprises, turning those services over to the private sector. It would also block the emerging trend to return privatized services to the public sector, by limiting or prohibiting governments from creating or reestablishing public utilities and other “uncompetitive” forms of service delivery.

It seems that the TPP, TTIP and TiSA are not about the sort of “free trade” that would free local businesses to sell abroad. They are about freeing international corporations from the government regulation necessary to protect the economy, the people, and the environment. They are about preserving privatized monopolies and preventing competition from the public sector. And they are about moving litigation offshore into private arbitrary tribunals – the sort of tribunal that might have lost Alice her head, if she had not awakened from her bizarre dream.

Urge your local representative to vote “no” on Fast Track. For more information, see —

Flush the TPP

The Citizens Trade Campaign

Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

Eyes on Trade

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. Her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her 300+ blog articles are at EllenBrown.com.

In March 2014, Israeli soldiers were ordered to use live ammunition to ambush three Palestinian teens in the southern region of the occupied West Bankaccording to an investigation by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem.

Yousef al-Shawamreh, 14, was fatally shot in the back and hip as he and two friends attempted to cross Israel’s wall inside the West Bank from their village of Deir al-Asal al-Fawqa on the morning of 19 March.

According to B’Tselem’s investigation, al-Shawamreh was shot and killed “in broad daylight, although he posed no danger.” The rights group obtained a partial copy of the investigation file and a video of the shooting from the Israeli military. The video, above, shows the soldiers methodically carrying out an ambush that resulted in the killing of a child.

Messages exchanged between the soldiers throughout the incident on the messaging service WhatsApp ”showed that at least some of the soldiers believed the three Palestinians to be minors,” B’Tselem states.

WhatsApp messages exchanged between soldiers, and shown in B’Tselem’s video, indicate that some knew they were about to ambush children.

In the place where al-Shawamreh was killed, as is the case in many parts of the West Bank, the Israeli-built wall is not situated on the boundary line between Deir al-Asal al-Fawqa and present-day Israel. Because the wall is located some 200 meters inside the West Bank, it severs local Palestinian farmers from their agricultural land, forcing many of them to risk their lives crossing the wall in order to make a living.

Accompanied by two other boys, al-Shawamreh was crossing the wall in order to access agricultural land, Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-Palestine) reported at the time.

Upon arriving at the wall, where a hole frequently used by local Palestinians had been sealed off, the boys cut the wire and continued into a “buffer zone” between the fence and the dissected agricultural lands. Israeli soldiers then emerged from hiding and ambushed them, shooting and killing al-Shawamreh.

The Israeli military subsequently opened an investigation into al-Shawamreh’s slaying, but it was closed four months later without indictments. There was “no suspicion that the open-fire regulations had been breached or that any military personnel were involved in criminal action,” Israeli military advocate Lieutenant-Colonel Ronen Hirsh wrote in a letter to B’Tselem.

Killed “in broad daylight”

According to the investigation file, the soldiers who ambushed the boys and killed al-Shawamreh were stationed in hiding in order to prevent any damage to the separation barrier. Yet, B’Tselem notes that “the [soldiers] waited until after the damage was done and only then revealed their presence and shot at the three [boys].”

The file also notes that Sergeant Major Ofir, who ordered the ambush, told military investigators they had sealed all the holes in the fence in order to be certain that anyone crossing the barrier was a “fence saboteur” and thus a legitimate target for live ammunition, according to his logic.

“Sergeant Major Ofir described how the marksman made sure when the ambush began that he had ‘a clean line of fire’ to the sealed gaps in the fence,” the B’Tselem report notes, citing the military investigation file.

B’Tselem dismissed the military investigation as choosing “to address the commanders’ responsibility superficially, if at all.”

“The decision to mount an ambush armed with live ammunition only, the planning of a line of fire at anyone crossing the fence, and the vague open-fire orders that the soldiers received – all these attest to command responsibility for the unlawful shooting of [al-Shawamreh],” the group concludes.

Impunity

Al-Shawamreh was just one of hundreds of Palestinian children killed by Israeli occupation forces or settlers in 2014. At least sixteen Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the deaths of 538 children during Israel’s 51-day assault on the Gaza Strip have been verified, according to DCI-Palestine.

The impunity enjoyed by the soldiers who killed al-Shawamreh is not rare, either. A September 2014 reportpublished by the Israeli rights group Yesh Din found that only 1.4 percent of complaints issued to Israeli military authorities between 2010 and 2013 resulted in an indictment. Of these, only a tiny fraction result in more than symbolic sanctions.

Most recently, the Israeli military exonerated itself over the slaying of four Palestinian children on a Gaza beach during the 51-day attack on the besieged territory. The boys – aged between 9 and 11 – had been playing football just before three Israeli shells took their lives.

In addition to frequently injuring children with weapons like rubber-coated steel bullets, at least 35 children were injured by live ammunition as of May, according to DCI-Palestine. Israeli forces have killed one Palestinian teen so far this year. Ali Abu Ghannam, 17, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in occupied East Jerusalem in April.

Israeli soldiers alleged that he attacked them with a knife, but his family dismissed the claims and insisted that Ghannam was killed “in cold blood.”

New study deconstructs hype around GM Bt cotton; shows widespread problems with the technology

An important new paper by respected researchers deconstructs the false hype around Bt insecticidal cotton in India. The study shows that:

* Bt cotton, introduced in 2002 to control bollworm and other pests, is grown on more than 90% of the cotton area

* By 2013 insecticide use was high – back to 2000 levels (before the introduction of Bt cotton)

* Yields have plateaued nationally, and farmer suicides have increased in some areas

* Pink bollworm causes damage in irrigated cotton, but not in rainfed cotton unless infested from irrigated fields. Therefore use of Bt cotton seed and insecticide in rainfed cotton is questionable

* Bt cotton may be economic in irrigated cotton, whereas costs of Bt seed and insecticide increase the risk of farmer bankruptcy in low-yield rainfed cotton

* Inability to use saved seed and inadequate agronomic information trap cotton farmers on biotechnology and insecticide treadmills

* Annual suicide rates in rainfed areas are inversely related to farm size and yield, and directly related to increases in Bt cotton adoption (i.e., costs)

* High-density short-season non-GM cottons could increase yields and reduce input costs in irrigated and rainfed cotton

* Policy makers need to conduct a holistic analysis before new technologies are implemented in agricultural development.

The lead researcher on the study, Andrew Paul Gutierrez, is a professor at UC Berkeley and an expert in agroecological systems as well as GM crops.

Deconstructing Indian cotton: weather, yields, and suicides

Andrew Paul Gutierrez, Luigi Ponti, Hans R Herren, Johann Baumgärtner and Peter E Kenmore
Environmental Sciences Europe (2015) 27:12
http://www.enveurope.com/content/27/1/12/abstract (open access)

Abstract

Background:

Cotton with coevolving pests has been grown in India more than 5000 years. Hybrid cotton was introduced in the 1970s with increases in fertilizer and in insecticide use against pink bollworm that caused outbreaks of bollworm. Hybrid Bt cotton, introduced in 2002 to control bollworm and other lepidopteran pests, is grown on more than 90% of the cotton area. Despite initial declines, year 2013 insecticide use is at 2000 levels, yields plateaued nationally, and farmer suicides increased in some areas. Biological modeling of the pre-1970s cotton/pink bollworm system was used to examine the need for Bt cotton, conditions for its economic viability, and linkage to farmer suicides.

Results:

Yields in rainfed cotton depend on timing, distribution, and quantity of monsoon rains. Pink bollworm causes damage in irrigated cotton, but not in rainfed cotton unless infested from irrigated fields. Use of Bt cotton seed and insecticide in rainfed cotton is questionable.

Conclusions:

Bt cotton may be economic in irrigated cotton, whereas costs of Bt seed and insecticide increase the risk of farmer bankruptcy in low-yield rainfed cotton. Inability to use saved seed and inadequate agronomic information trap cotton farmers on biotechnology and insecticide treadmills. Annual suicide rates in rainfed areas are inversely related to farm size and yield, and directly related to increases in Bt cotton adoption (i.e., costs). High-density short-season cottons could increase yields and reduce input costs in irrigated and rainfed cotton. Policy makers need holistic analysis before new technologies are implemented in agricultural development.

Over the past decade fundamental changes have taken place in Southern Europe, which have broken with previous political alignments, resulting in the virtual disappearance of traditional leftist ’parties, the decline of trade unions and the emergence of ‘middle class radicalism’.

 

New political movements, purportedly on the left, no longer are based on class conscious workers nor are they embedded in the class struggle.  Likewise on the right, greater attention is paid to escalating the repressive capacity of the state instead of state intervention in pursuit of economic markets.

Radicalization of the right, including massive cutbacks in social spending, has demolished welfare programs.  The dispossession of households has uprooted cohesive neighborhood-based social organizations.

In place of the class based traditional left, ‘non-leftist left’ movements have emerged.  Their leaders embrace ‘participatory democracy’ but engage in vertical political practice.

On the right, politics no longer revolve around conserving national economic privileges.  Rightwing leaders willingly subordinate their economies and society to imperial led crusades, which empty national sovereignty of any meaning while pillaging the national treasury.

This essay will proceed to discuss these complex changes and their meaning.

The ‘Non-Leftist Left’ in Southern Europe

The economic crisis, in particular the imposition of severe cuts in wages, pensions and other social welfare programs by rightwing and social democratic governments have led to widespread discontent, which the traditional workplace based leftist parties have been unable to address and mobilize the people.  Prolonged and deepening unemployment and the growth of temporary employment have affected over 50% of the labor force.

Union representation has declined precipitously, further weakening the presence of traditional leftist parties in factories.

Large-scale evictions, foreclosure of mortgages and accompanying job losses have led to neighborhood-based anti-eviction movements and struggles.  Millions of young workers now depend on their grandparents’ pensions and remain with two older generations in their parents’ home.  For the young workers, the degradation of everyday life, the loss of personal autonomy and the inability to live independently have led to revolts for ‘dignity’.

The traditional left parties and trade unions have failed (or not attempted) to organize the unemployed.  They have failed to attract the young and the downwardly mobile temporary workers in anything resembling class-based, class struggle-oriented movements.

Paradoxically despite the deepening crisis among most workers, the traditional left has declined.  Its workplace orientation and its language of class struggle do not resonate with those without jobs or prospects.  For the radicalized middle class the traditional left is too radical in seeking to overturn capitalism and too distant from power to realize changes.

The radicalized middle class includes public employees, professionals and self-employed private contractors who aspire to, and until recently, experienced upward mobility but have now found their path blocked by the austerity programs imposed by rightwing, as well as, social democratic parties.

Frustrated by the social democrats’ betrayal and facing downward mobility, the radicalized middle class are disoriented and fragmented. Many have joined amorphous street protests; some have even embraced, temporarily in most cases, the alternative traditional rightwing parties only to encounter even more brutal job cuts, insecurity and downward mobility.

The middle classes deeply resent being denied the opportunity for upward mobility for themselves and their children.  They resent their formerly ‘moderately progressive’Social Democratic leaders’ betrayal of their interests.  Their radicalism is directed toward restoring their past access to social advancement.  Their deep-seated hostility to the authorities is rooted in the loss of their previous status as a result of the crisis.

Middle class radicalism is tempered by nostalgia or the past.  This radicalism is rooted in the struggle to restore the European Union’s social subsidies and growth policies.   They remember a recent past of rising living standards and “social inclusion”, now denied their own children.  This vision guides the rhetoric that the progressive middle class had earned and enjoyed their rising incomes as a result of their own ‘merit’.

Today the radicalized middle class looks for practical, specifically defined and government-sponsored policies that can restore their past prosperity.  They do not aim to ‘level the playing field’ for everyone but to prevent their proletariazation.  They reject the politics of the traditional left parties because class struggle and worker-centered ideologies do not promote their own social aspirations.

For most radicalized middle class activists the culprits are ‘austerity’, the mega-bank swindlers and the political kleptocrats.  They seek parties that can reform or moralize capitalism and restore ‘individual dignity’.  They want to kick out corrupt officials.  They demand ‘participatory democracy’ rather than the traditional left’s goal of public ownership under worker control.

Under the specific conditions generated by the currentsocial crisis, a non-leftist left (NLL) has emerged throughout Europe. Spontaneous, amorphous, ‘anarchic’, extra-institutional and ‘street-centered’, the NLL has adopted an irreverent style. TheNLL, in its origins, rejected political parties, well-defined programs and disciplined cadres in favor of spontaneity and irreverence toward institutions.

As the appeal of the NLL grew, the unemployed, the temporary workers, the insecure and unprotected non-unionized workers and the radicalized middle class joined demonstrations and found safety in the crowds.  They were attracted by the appeals from ‘the street’ to oust the incumbent kleptocrats.

Emerging from this movement aimed at the downwardly mobile middle class’ anger, Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece and Five Stars in Italy have appealed to all the people disconnected from power, by promising a restoration of ‘dignity and respect.’  They made amorphous appeals to ‘end austerity’ with only a vague promise that they would create jobs.

The NLL leadership, however, is most clearly influenced by the non-radical resentments of the downwardly mobile middle class.

They never engaged in class struggles and have rejected class ideology.  For the NLL leaders, social polarization is mostly a vehicle for building an electoral base.  Their participation in small-scale local struggles was presented as ‘proof’ that the NLL leaders spoke to authentic popular aspirations.

The Non-Leftist Left’s Transition:  From Street to Public Office

From the street, the NLL moved swiftly to elections and from elections they proceeded to form coalitions with traditional parties.  Strategic decisions were taken by a small coterie of personalistic leaders:  They redefined ‘participatory democracy’ to refer only to local neighborhood activism and issues – not national issues, which were the realm of ‘experts’.

Syriza, the first NLL to reach power, reflected the immensegap between the radical posturing of its leaders in opposition and their cringing conformity before Established Power (the Troika: IMF, European Commission, Central Bank) once elected to government.

Syriza embodied middle class resentment toward the Euro-technocratic elite in Brussels whom they blamed for their loss of past prosperity and job security and for the ongoing degradation of everyday life. Syriza denounced the Troika while it remained under its tutelage. It excoriated the EU elite in the highest moral tones for doing what its elite class interests dictated, that is, defend the EU bankers, extract debt payments and threaten their underlings. In practice, Syriza never applied any class analysis to the Troika’s policy as it continued to refer to their ‘EU partners’. .even as they imposed brutall demands.

Once in power the Syriza leaders never mobilized a single mass protest and never even threatened a general strike in the face of EU colonial dictates.

Syriza’s personalist leader, Alexis Tsipra,s appointed right wingers from former regimes to key posts.  He negotiated with the Troika and caved on all strategic issues dealing with debt payments, austerity and privatizations.  Syriza never considered ‘going to the people’Syriza’smoral crusade’ against capital is mended by their embracing capitalism and the colonial Eurozone system.

Syriza’s lack of class analysis, class struggle and class mobilization and its total commitment to working within amoralized capitalism and the Eurozone to restore middle class status and security has resulted in the most abject conformity and surrender – punctuated by shameless buffoonery on the part of some leaders.

In the end, Syriza surrendered to the dictates of higher powers of the Troika ad their Eurozone acolytes, but not until it had emptied the Greek Treasury.  The leaders have combined the worst of all worlds: a bankrupt national economy, a ‘protesting’ but fundamentally colonial regime and a disenchanted electorate.

Where Syriza wildly succeeded was in marginalizing the traditional left (the Greek Communist Party).  It reaffirmed the historic pattern: free floating movements of the moment end up being run by personalistic leaders who presume to speak for “the people” while bending over to their overseas overlords.

NLL in Spain and Italy:  Podemos and Five Stars

Podemos in Spain and Five Stars in Italy are ready to follow Syriza’s path of colonial subservience.  They rejected and successfully marginalized the traditional left.  They have gained mass support, organized mass protests and loudly rejected austerity and the dictates of the Troika.

While Podemos leaders talk of ‘participatory democracy’, a handful of leaders make all policy pronouncements, decide which candidates to support in the elections and determine what kind of post-election coalition governments they will join.

What gives Podemos and Five Stars their radical appearance is their opposition to the governing parties, their rejection of ‘austerity’, their criticism of neoliberalism – and their support for ‘micro-politics’ of local grassroots direct-action.

At no time or place have they counterpoised an alternative to capitalism.  Nor have they repudiated illicit debts or supported the expropriation of the banks responsible for the pillage their economies.

Podemos and Five Stars deliberately obscure their politics:  They are whatever any of their affiliates’ claim to be…

The leaders raise populist demands and speak about ‘dignity’, employment and punishment of corrupt officials.  They call for an end to authoritarian measures, but avoid any real commitments to institutional change, especially of the repressive courts, police or armed forces.

Podemos and Five Stars criticize the EU’s austerity programs while staying in the EU as subordinate members of an organization dominated by German bankers.  They promote popular mobilizations which they have turned into vote-gathering machines for electing their members to office.

The NLLs contradictory politics of populist gestures and institutional commitments reflect the politics of a frustrated and blocked middle class demanding a restoration of its past status and security. Podemos and Five Stars leaders put on the grand show of thumbing their noses at the establishment to promote limited middle class demands.  On a much broader front, the leaders of theNLL have not organized any mass protests – let alone formed a mass movement which would seriously challenge the imperialist powers, NATO, the Middle East wars and US-EU sanctions against Russia.

Since most of their supporters are anti NATO, in favor of Palestinian independence and critical of the Kiev regime the popular base of the NLL will act on their own but will have no real impact on the current national leadership.

The reason for the disparity between leaders and followers is clear:  The NLL leaders intend to form post-electoral coalitions with the corrupt and reactionary ‘center left’ parties so despised and rejected by their own electorate.

Following the nationwide Spanish municipal and regional elections, Podemos allied with corrupt Socialist Party (PSOE). In the municipality of Madrid, Podemos supported the left-center coalition Ahora Madrid (Madrid Now), which in turn has allied with the center-right Socialists to elect the ‘progressive’ mayoral candidate, Manuela Carmena.

While the entire ‘progressive camp’ celebrates the defeat of the hard-right Popular Party candidate –little has been said about consequential changes in the municipal and regional budgets, structures of economic power and class relations.

Five Stars’,( Movimento Cinque Stelle or M5S), Italy’snon-leftist left is dominated by a single ‘anti-leader’, Beppe Grillo, he defines the party’s programs and affiliations.  He is known for making clownish, provocative gestures against the authorities, calling for a “Fuck the Parliament Day”.

It is Beppe who selects the candidates to run for Parliament.  While in opposition, M5S loudly opposed all NATO wars in the Middle East, US military interventions in Latin America and free trade agreements.  But now ensconced in the European Parliament, Beppe has aligned with the Libertarian Right.

Five Stars (M5S) central demands revolve around ‘direct democracy’ and ‘sustainable development’.  It has captured the electoral support of the majority of the lower middle class gaining 26% of the vote (9 million voters) in the 2013 general elections.

While Beppe and his colleagues engage in fist fights within the Parliament, make radical gestures and spout belligerent rhetoric, ‘M5S’ has not supported a workers general strike. It participates in each and every election, but has stayed away from factory struggles.

Radicalism, as grand ‘gesture politics’, is an entertaining, non-threatening response to capitalism since there is no concerted effort to form class alliances with workers engaged in workplace struggles.

M5S’, like Podemos and Syriza, expresses the disorganized radicalism of the young, frustrated lower middle class raging against their downward mobility, while refusing to break with the EU. They rail against the concentration of power in the hands of the banks, but refuse to pursue their nationalization. M5Smobilized 800,000 people in Rome recently but led them nowhere. ‘Five Stars’ convokes crowds to meet and cheer its leaders and to ridicule the power brokers.  Afterwards they all go home.

Conclusion

While the ‘NLL’ movements capture the support of the ‘indignant’, the mass of unemployed workers and the evicted householders, their leaders do not articulate a serious plan of action capable of challenging the economic power structures: they raise popular expectations via demands for ‘change’. However, these vague and deceptive slogans allow the NLL leaders to join in a medley of opportunist electoral coalitions and governmental alliances, with decidedly establishment personalities and parties.

In Greece, Italy and Spain the traditional left has either disappeared, or shrunk to a marginal force.  With little or no base outside of the workplace and trade unions, they barely secure five percent of the votes.

The NLL has deepened the isolation of the traditional left and has even attracted a part of its social base. NLL’s rejection of the traditional left’s tight organization and top down leadership and its pluralistic rhetoric appeals to the young.  Moreover, as the left trade unions have sought compromises with the bosses to save the jobs of employed workers and ignored the unemployed, the latter has looked to the ‘open and spontaneous’ NLL to express their opposition. In Spain’s municipal elections, the United Left, a Communist-led electoral formation, joined with Podemos to elect Manuela Carmena, the ‘insurgent mayor’ of Madrid.

While the Euro-US academic left has rightly celebrated the emergence of mass opposition to the rightist regimes in Southern Europe, they have failed to understand the internal dynamics within the NLL movements: the limitations of middle class radicalism and their conformists’ goals.

The example of Syriza in Greece is a warning of the fatal consequences of middle class leaders trying to realize radical changes, within the neo-liberal framework imposed by the EU.

Epilogue

Currently, the best example of the opportunism and bankruptcy of the NLL is found in the successful Mayor-elect of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, whose victory was hailed by Podemos as the ‘great victory for the people’ at recent celebration.

For her part, Mayor-elect Carmena has wasted no time repudiating all ‘five basic emergency reforms’ promised during the elections.  In a press conference, the so-called ‘progressive Mayor of Madrid’ announced (with a cynical grin) that ‘promise number one’ – a public bank – was no longer needed because she was satisfied to work with the private banking oligarchy.  She refused to pursue ‘promise number two’ – to provide subsidies for electricity, water and gas for poor families cut off from those services, claiming such support was too early and could wait until winter

Regarding Podemos ‘promise number three’ – a debt moratorium, Carmena insisted that “we will keep paying, for now”.  On ‘promise number four’ favoring public over private contractors for municipal contracts, Carmena reversed the position: “We can’t change right away”.

Carmena even repudiatedpromise number five’ – to immediately implement a summer meals program for poor children, insisting that she would rely on the inadequate programs of far right predecessor.

Moreover, Mayor-elect Carmena went even further, staffing her administration with far-right holdovers from the previous government to strategic policy-making positions.  For example, she appointed Carmen Roman, a former Director General of the far right Prime Minister Aznar, as Senior Executive of Madrid.  She defended these reactionary decisions claiming that she was looking for “technocrats who are the best professional administrations”.  Indeed, Carmen Roman had implemented mass firing of public workers and the dismantling of social programs in the ‘best professional’ manner possible!

Carmena further betrayed her Podemos electorate by insisting she looked forward to working with the hard right Prime Minister Rajoy and flatly rejected the idea of promoting a progressive alternative!

In less than one week, the euphoria over the victory of Podemos backed candidates has been dissipated by these acts of cynical opportunism: the non-leftist left has betrayed its electorate, from the very start!

Earlier concern about the activities of India’s pharmaceutical industry is now being directed to Western companies whose suppliers are polluting water in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Investors are increasingly concerned about the rising number of suspensions, investigations and warnings that pharmaceutical companies are receiving from the US and European authorities.

In 2009, the pollution control board of Andhra Pradesh asked SMS Pharmaceuticals Ltd to shut the Patancheru plant after protests by local activists. The shutdown followed the announcement by the  Prime Minister’s Office of a probe into the results of a Swedish study that found supposedly treated waste water in the area (right) contained a cocktail of 21 different active pharmaceutical ingredients. The extremely high levels of pharmaceuticals were found in the treated waste water at a plant where about 90 drug factories dump their residues in Patancheru.

The Times of India also reports that in 2012, in line with the Supreme Court’s order, the pollution control board of Andhra Pradesh had ordered the closure of 12 manufacturing units of different Indian pharma companies, including Aurobindo Pharma, around the city for allegedly violating pollution norms, but later rescinded this.

nordea logoToday, the Financial Times (UK) and Bloomberg report that Nordea Investment Management (headquarters in Sweden), a $240bn investment house which is operated by Nordea Financial Services, have accused large Western pharmaceutical companies of ignoring the “disturbing” environmental damage caused by the manufacturing they outsource to India. It is alleged that these drug manufacturers, supplying many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, are causing water pollution leading to skin diseases and killing fish.

Nordea made a field trip to the Indian states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in April, where it said it found “disturbing evidence of poor wastewater management related to pharmaceutical manufacturing and the effect this can have on the surrounding environment and community”.

The pollution control board of Andhra Pradesh did not respond to a request for comment.

Asset manager Nordea last week wrote to the world’s 25 largest drug companies to demand that they ensure their suppliers have adequate systems in place regarding “waste, wastewater or emissions associated with production of bulk drugs”. Noting that AstraZeneca and Pfizer and others are not aware of the seriousness of this pollution (Sasja Beslik, Nordea’s head of corporate governance),  Nordea wants feedback by August from other companies it has contacted, which include Sanofi, Novartis, AbbVie and Roche.

Helena Vines-Fiestas, head of sustainability research at the asset management arm of BNP Paribas, said: “Increasingly investors are concerned about the rising number of suspensions, investigations and warnings that pharmaceutical companies are receiving from the US and European authorities

unpri logoIn 2007, Nordea signed up to the Principles for Responsible Investment, a network of investors in partnership with UNEP Finance Initiative and UN Global Compact. PRI, which aims to promote responsible ownership practices, says that companies and their investors need to scrutinise these issues more carefully.

However – prompted by the worldwide outcry – international investors have begun to pay more attention to supply-chain risks after the collapse of the Bangladeshi garment factory, which supplied retailers such as Primark and Benetton, killing more than 1,100 people in 2013. Following media coverage of this event, corporate buyers began to re-examine the conditions under which merchandise is produced.

Sources:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b0121282-1679-11e5-b07f-00144feabdc0.html#ixzz3dfwTmAu6

http://offshorecorporatesource.com/indian-pharma-pollution-is-a-bitter-pill/

http://www.nordea.com/en/

http://www.unpri.org/

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/Andhra-Pradesh-Pollution-Control-Board-to-cock-a-snook-at-Supreme-Court-order/articleshow/17

http://www.livemint.com/Politics/ukoeMZyHf30AlbSBuzFlXK/Drug-pollution-Andhra-under-pressure-to-act.html

Global Research Editor’s Note

The following text by Arash Norouzi first published by the Mossadegh Project and Global Research in January 2007 confirms that the alleged “Wiped Off the Map” statement  by Iran’s president was never made.

The rumor was fabricated by the American media with a view to discrediting Iran’s head of state and providing a justification for waging an all out war on Iran. the article provides of media manipulation and “propaganda in action”.

Iran is blamed for refusing to abide by the “reasonable demands” of “the international community”.

Realities are twisted and turned upside down. Iran is being accused of wanting to start a war. Inherent in US military doctrine, the victims of war are heralded as the aggressor.

The threat to global security comes from the US-NATO-Israel military alliance, which is now threatening Iran with a pre-emptive attack with nuclear warheads. 

If Iran is attacked, we are potentially in a World War III scenario.

It is essential to dispel the fabrications of the Western media.

Iran does not constitute a threat to to Global Security.

Iran does not possess a nuclear weapons program. Iran does not constitute a threat to Israel.

Michel Chossudovsky, 25 September 2010

Wiped off  The Map: The Rumor of the Century

by Arash Norouzi

Global Research, January 20, 2007

The Mossadegh Project
Across the world, a dangerous rumor has spread that could have catastrophic implications. According to legend, Iran’s President has threatened to destroy Israel, or, to quote the misquote, “Israel must be wiped off the map”. Contrary to popular belief, this statement was never made, as the following article will prove.

   BACKGROUND:

On Tuesday, October 25th, 2005 at the Ministry of Interior conference hall in Tehran, newly elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivered a speech at a program, reportedly attended by thousands, titled “The World Without Zionism”. Large posters surrounding him displayed this title prominently in English, obviously for the benefit of the international press. Below the poster’s title was a slick graphic depicting an hour glass containing planet Earth at its top. Two small round orbs representing the United States and Israel are shown falling through the hour glass’ narrow neck and crashing to the bottom.

Before we get to the infamous remark, it’s important to note that the “quote” in question was itself a quote— they are the words of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Revolution. Although he quoted Khomeini to affirm his own position on Zionism, the actual words belong to Khomeini and not Ahmadinejad. Thus, Ahmadinejad has essentially been credited (or blamed) for a quote that is not only unoriginal, but represents a viewpoint already in place well before he ever took office.

     THE ACTUAL QUOTE:

So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in farsi:

  ”Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad.”

That passage will mean nothing to most people, but one word might ring a bell: rezhim-e. It is the word “Regime“, pronounced just like the English word with an extra “eh” sound at the end. Ahmadinejad did not refer to Israel the country or Israel the land mass, but the Israeli regime. This is a vastly significant distinction, as one cannot wipe a regime off the map. Ahmadinejad does not even refer to Israel by name, he instead uses the specific phrase ”rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods” (regime occupying Jerusalem).

So this raises the question.. what exactly did he want “wiped from the map”? The answer is: nothing. That’s because the word “map” was never used. The Persian word for map, “nagsheh“, is not contained anywhere in his original farsi quote, or, for that matter, anywhere in his entire speech. Nor was the western phrase “wipe out” ever said. Yet we are led to believe that Iran’s President threatened to “wipe Israel off the map”, despite never having uttered the words “map”, “wipe out” or even “Israel”.

 

     THE PROOF:

The full quote translated directly to English:

     “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”.

Word by word translation:

Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from).

Here is the full transcript of the speech in farsi, archived on Ahmadinejad’s web site
www.president.ir/farsi/ahmadinejad/speeches/1384/aban-84/840804sahyonizm.htm

 

     THE SPEECH AND CONTEXT:

While the false “wiped off the map” extract has been repeated infinitely without verification, Ahmadinejad’s actual speech itself has been almost entirely ignored. Given the importance placed on the “map” comment, it would be sensible to present his words in their full context to get a fuller understanding of his position. In fact, by looking at the entire speech, there is a clear, logical trajectory leading up to his call for a “world without Zionism”. One may disagree with his reasoning, but critical appraisals are infeasible without first knowing what that reasoning is.

In his speech, Ahmadinejad declares that Zionism is the West’s apparatus of political oppression against Muslims. He says the “Zionist regime” was imposed on the Islamic world as a strategic bridgehead to ensure domination of the region and its assets. Palestine, he insists, is the frontline of the Islamic world’s struggle with American hegemony, and its fate will have repercussions for the entire Middle East.
Ahmadinejad acknowledges that the removal of America’s powerful grip on the region via the Zionists may seem unimaginable to some, but reminds the audience that, as Khomeini predicted, other seemingly invincible empires have disappeared and now only exist in history books. He then proceeds to list three such regimes that have collapsed, crumbled or vanished, all within the last 30 years:

(1) The Shah of Iran- the U.S. installed monarch

(2) The Soviet Union

(3) Iran’s former arch-enemy, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein

In the first and third examples, Ahmadinejad prefaces their mention with Khomeini’s own words foretelling that individual regime’s demise. He concludes by referring to Khomeini’s unfulfilled wish: “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time. This statement is very wise”. This is the passage that has been isolated, twisted and distorted so famously. By measure of comparison, Ahmadinejad would seem to be calling for regime change, not war.

THE ORIGIN:

One may wonder: where did this false interpretation originate? Who is responsible for the translation that has sparked such worldwide controversy? The answer is surprising.

The inflammatory “wiped off the map” quote was first disseminated not by Iran’s enemies, but by Iran itself. The Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran’s official propaganda arm, used this phrasing in the English version of some of their news releases covering the World Without Zionism conference. International media including the BBC, Al Jazeera, Time magazine and countless others picked up the IRNA quote and made headlines out of it without verifying its accuracy, and rarely referring to the source. Iran’s Foreign Minister soon attempted to clarify the statement, but the quote had a life of its own. Though the IRNA wording was inaccurate and misleading, the media assumed it was true, and besides, it made great copy.
Amid heated wrangling over Iran’s nuclear program, and months of continuous, unfounded accusations against Iran in an attempt to rally support for preemptive strikes against the country, the imperialists had just been handed the perfect raison d’être to invade. To the war hawks, it was a gift from the skies.

It should be noted that in other references to the conference, the IRNA’s translation changed. For instance, ”map” was replaced with ”earth”. In some articles it was “The Qods occupier regime should be eliminated from the surface of earth”, or the similar ”The Qods occupying regime must be eliminated from the surface of earth”. The inconsistency of the IRNA’s translation should be evidence enough of the unreliability of the source, particularly when transcribing their news from Farsi into the English language.

    THE REACTION: 

The mistranslated ”wiped off the map” quote attributed to Iran’s President has been spread worldwide, repeated thousands of times in international media, and prompted the denouncements of numerous world leaders. Virtually every major and minor media outlet has published or broadcast this false statement to the masses. Big news agencies such as The Associated Press and Reuters refer to the misquote, literally, on an almost daily basis.

Following news of Iran’s remark, condemnation was swift. British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed “revulsion” and implied that it might be necessary to attack Iran. U.N. chief Kofi Annan cancelled his scheduled trip to Iran due to the controversy. Ariel Sharon demanded that Iran be expelled from the United Nations for calling for Israel’s destruction. Shimon Peres, more than once, threatened to wipe Iran off the map. More recently, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu, who has warned that Iran is “preparing another holocaust for the Jewish state” is calling for Ahmadinejad to be tried for war crimes for inciting genocide.

The artificial quote has also been subject to additional alterations. U.S. officials and media often take the liberty of dropping the “map” reference altogether, replacing it with the more acutely threatening phrase “wipe Israel off the face of the earth”. Newspaper and magazine articles dutifully report Ahmadinejad has “called for the destruction of Israel”, as do senior officials in the United States government.

President George W. Bush said the comments represented a ”specific threat” to destroy Israel. In a March 2006 speech in Cleveland, Bush vowed he would resort to war to protect Israel from Iran, because, “..the threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel.” Former Presidential advisor Richard Clarke told Australian TV that Iran “talks openly about destroying Israel”, and insists, “The President of Iran has said repeatedly that he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth”. In an October 2006 interview with Amy Goodman, former UN Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter referred to Ahmadinejad as “the idiot that comes out and says really stupid, vile things, such as, ‘It is the goal of Iran to wipe Israel off the face of the earth’ “. The consensus is clear.

Confusing matters further, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad pontificates rather than give a direct answer when questioned about the statement, such as in Lally Weymouth’s Washington Post interview in September 2006:

Are you really serious when you say that Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth?

We need to look at the scene in the Middle East — 60 years of war, 60 years of displacement, 60 years of conflict, not even a day of peace. Look at the war in Lebanon, the war in Gaza — what are the reasons for these conditions? We need to address and resolve the root problem.

Your suggestion is to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth?

Our suggestion is very clear:… Let the Palestinian people decide their fate in a free and fair referendum, and the result, whatever it is, should be accepted…. The people with no roots there are now ruling the land.

You’ve been quoted as saying that Israel should be wiped off the face of the Earth. Is that your belief?

What I have said has made my position clear. If we look at a map of the Middle East from 70 years ago…

So, the answer is yes, you do believe that it should be wiped off the face of the Earth?

Are you asking me yes or no? Is this a test? Do you respect the right to self-determination for the Palestinian nation? Yes or no? Is Palestine, as a nation, considered a nation with the right to live under humane conditions or not? Let’s allow those rights to be enforced for these 5 million displaced people.

The exchange is typical of Ahmadinejad’s interviews with the American media. Predictably, both Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes and CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked if he wants to “wipe Israel off the map”. As usual, the question is thrown back in the reporter’s face with his standard ”Don’t the Palestinians have rights?, etc.” retort (which is never directly answered either). Yet he never confirms the “map” comment to be true. This did not prevent Anderson Cooper from referring to earlier portions of his interview after a commercial break and lying, ”as he said earlier, he wants Israel wiped off the map”.

Even if every media outlet in the world were to retract the mistranslated quote tomorrow, the major damage has already been done, providing the groundwork for the next phase of disinformation: complete character demonization. Ahmadinejad, we are told, is the next Hitler, a grave threat to world peace who wants to bring about a new Holocaust. According to some detractors, he not only wants to destroy Israel, but after that, he will nuke America, and then Europe! An October 2006 memo titled Words of Hate: Iran’s Escalating Threats released by the powerful Israeli lobby group AIPAC opens with the warning, “Ahmadinejad and other top Iranian leaders are issuing increasingly belligerent statements threatening to destroy the United States, Europe and Israel.” These claims not only fabricate an unsubstantiated threat, but assume far more power than he actually possesses. Alarmists would be better off monitoring the statements of the ultra-conservative Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, who holds the most power in Iran.

As Iran’s U.N. Press Officer, M.A. Mohammadi, complained to The Washington Post in a June 2006 letter:

It is not amazing at all, the pick-and-choose approach of highlighting the misinterpreted remarks of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in October and ignoring this month’s remarks by Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that “We have no problem with the world. We are not a threat whatsoever to the world, and the world knows it. We will never start a war. We have no intention of going to war with any state.”

The Israeli government has milked every drop of the spurious quote to its supposed advantage. In her September 2006 address to the United Nations General Assembly, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni accused Iran of working to nuke Israel and bully the world. “They speak proudly and openly of their desire to ‘wipe Israel off the map.’ And now, by their actions, they pursue the weapons to achieve this objective to imperil the region and threaten the world.” Addressing the threat in December, a fervent Prime Minister Ehud Olmert inadvertently disclosed that his country already possesses nuclear weapons: “We have never threatened any nation with annihilation. Iran, openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel, Russia?”

    MEDIA IRRESPONSIBILITY: 

On December 13, 2006, more than a year after The World Without Zionism conference, two leading Israeli newspapers, The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, published reports of a renewed threat from Ahmadinejad. The Jerusalem Post’s headline was Ahmadinejad: Israel will be ‘wiped out’, while Haaretz posted the title Ahmadinejad at Holocaust conference: Israel will ‘soon be wiped out’.
Where did they get their information? It turns out that both papers, like most American and western media, rely heavily on write ups by news wire services such as the Associated Press and Reuters as a source for their articles. Sure enough, their sources are in fact December 12th articles by Reuter’s Paul Hughes [Iran president says Israel's days are numbered], and the AP’s Ali Akbar Dareini [Iran President: Israel Will be wiped out].
The first five paragraphs of the Haaretz article, credited to “Haaretz Service and Agencies”, are plagiarized almost 100% from the first five paragraphs of the Reuters piece. The only difference is that Haaretz changed “the Jewish state” to “Israel” in the second paragraph, otherwise they are identical.

The Jerusalem Post article by Herb Keinon pilfers from both the Reuters and AP stories. Like Haaretz, it uses the following Ahmadinejad quote without attribution: ["Just as the Soviet Union was wiped out and today does not exist, so will the Zionist regime soon be wiped out," he added]. Another passage apparently relies on an IRNA report:

“The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom,” Ahmadinejad said at Tuesday’s meeting with the conference participants in his offices, according to Iran’s official news agency, IRNA. 
 

He said elections should be held among “Jews, Christians and Muslims so the population of Palestine can select their government and destiny for themselves in a democratic manner.”

Once again, the first sentence above was wholly plagiarized from the AP article. The second sentence was also the same, except “He called for elections” became “He said elections should be held..”.

It gets more interesting.

The quote used in the original AP article and copied in The Jerusalem Post article supposedly derives from the IRNA. If true, this can easily be checked. Care to find out? Go to:
www.irna.ir/en/news/view/menu-234/0612134902101231.htm

There you will discover the actual IRNA quote was:

“As the Soviet Union disappeared, the Zionist regime will also vanish and humanity will be liberated”.

Compare this to the alleged IRNA quote reported by the Associated Press:

“The Zionist regime will be wiped out soon the same way the Soviet Union was, and humanity will achieve freedom”.

In the IRNA’s actual report, the Zionist regime will vanish just as the Soviet Union disappeared. Vanish. Disappear. In the dishonest AP version, the Zionist regime will be “wiped out”. And how will it be wiped out? “The same way the Soviet Union was”. Rather than imply a military threat or escalation in rhetoric, this reference to Russia actually validates the intended meaning of Ahmadinejad’s previous misinterpreted anti-Zionist statements.

What has just been demonstrated is irrefutable proof of media manipulation and propaganda in action. The AP deliberately alters an IRNA quote to sound more threatening. The Israeli media not only repeats the fake quote but also steals the original authors’ words. The unsuspecting public reads this, forms an opinion and supports unnecessary wars of aggression, presented as self defense, based on the misinformation.
This scenario mirrors the kind of false claims that led to the illegal U.S. invasion of Iraq, a war now widely viewed as a catastrophic mistake. And yet the Bush administration and the compliant corporate media continue to marinate in propaganda and speculation about attacking Iraq’s much larger and more formidable neighbor, Iran. Most of this rests on the unproven assumption that Iran is building nuclear weapons, and the lie that Iran has vowed to physically destroy Israel. Given its scope and potentially disastrous outcome, all this amounts to what is arguably the rumor of the century.

Iran’s President has written two rather philosophical letters to America. In his first letter, he pointed out that “History shows us that oppressive and cruel governments do not survive”. With this statement, Ahmadinejad has also projected the outcome of his own backwards regime, which will likewise “vanish from the page of time”.

 

Arash Norouzi is an artist and co-founder of The Mossadegh Project

Why Is NATO In Yugoslavia?

June 22nd, 2015 by Sean Gervasi

Editor’s Note

This paper was presented by the late Sean Gervasi at the Conference on the Enlargement of NATO in Eastern Europe and the Mediterrenean, Prague, 13-14 January 1996. It was published on Global Research when the Global Research website was launched on September 9, 2001.

The late Sean Gervasi had tremendous foresight. He understood the process of NATO enlargement several years before it actually unfolded into a formidable military force.  He had also predicted the breakup of Yugoslavia as part of a US-NATO project.

See also Sean Gervasi’s 1993 video interview

Introduction

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has recently sent a large task force into Yugoslavia, ostensibly to enforce a settlement of the Bosnian war arrived at in Dayton, Ohio at the end of 1995. This task force is said to consist of some 60,000 men, equipped with tanks, armor and artillery. It is backed by formidable air and naval forces. In fact, if one takes account of all the support forces involved, including forces deployed in nearby countries, it is clear that at least two hundred thousand troops are involved. This figure has been confirmed by U. S. defense sources. [ 1 ]

By any standards, the sending of a large Western military force into Central and lSastern Europe is a remarkable enterprise, even in the fluid situation created by the supposed end of the Cold War. The Ball:an task force represents not only the first major NATO military operation, but a major operation staged “out of area”, that is, outside the boundaries originally established for NATO military action.

However, the sending of NATO troops into the Balkans is the result of enormous pressure for the general extension of NATO eastwards.

If the Yugoslav enterprise is the first concrete step in the expansion of NATO, others are planned for the near future. Some Western powers want to bring the Visegrad countries into NATO as full members by the end of the century. There was resistance to the pressures for such extension among certain Western countries for some time. However, the recalcitrants have now been bludgeoned into accepting the alleged necessity of extending NATO.

The question is: why are the Western powers pressing for the expansion of NATO? Why is NATO being renewed and extended when the “Soviet threat” has disappeared? There is clearly much more to it than we have so far been told. The enforcement of a precarious peace in Bosnia is only the immediate reason for sending NATO forces into the Balkans.

There are deeper reasons for the dispatch of NATO forces to the Balkans, and especially for the extension of NATO to Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in the relatively near future. These have to do with an emerging strategy for securing the resources of the Caspian Sea region and for “stabilizing” the countries of Eastern Europe — ultimately for “stabilizing” Russia and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This is, to put it mildly, an extremely ambitious and potentially selfcontradictory policy. And it is important to pose some basic questions about the reasons being given for pursuing it.

For the idea of “stabilizing” the countries which formerly constituted the Socialist bloc in Europe does not simply mean ensuring political stability there, ensuring that the regimes which replaced Socialism remain in place. It also means ensuring that economic and social conditions remain unchanged. And, since the so-called transition to democracy in the countries affected has in fact led to an incipient deindustrialization and a collapse of living standards for the majority, the question arises whether it is really desirable.

The question is all the more pertinent since “stabilization”, in the sense in which it is used in the West, means reproducing in the former Socialist bloc countries economic and social conditions which are similar to the economic and social conditions currently prevailing in the West. The economies of the Western industrial nations are, in fact, in a state of semi-collapse, although the governments of those countires would never really acknowledge the fact. Nonetheless, any reasonably objective assessment of the economic situation in the West leads to this conclusion. And that conclusion is supported by official statistics and most analyses coming from mainstream economists.

It is also clear, as well, that the attempt to “stabilize” the former Socialist bloc countries is creating considerable tension with Russia, and potentially with other countries. Not a few commentators have made the point that Western actions in extending NATO even raise the risks of nuclear conflict. [2]

It is enough to raise these questions briefly to see that the extension of NATO which has, de facto, begun in Yugoslavia and is being proposed for other countries is to a large extent based on confused and even irrational reasoning. One is tempted to say that it results from the fear and willfulness of certain ruling groups. To put it most bluntly, why should the world see any benefit in the enforced extension to other countries of the economic and social chaos which prevails in the West, and why should it see any benefit in that when the very process itself increases the risks of nuclear war?

The purposes of this paper are to describe what lies behind the current efforts to extend NATO and to raise some basic questions about whether this makes any sense, in both the narrow and deeper meanings of the term.

NATO in Yugoslavia

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded in 1949 with the stated purpose of protecting Western Europe from possible military aggression by the Soviet Union and its allies.

With the dissolution of the Communist regimes in the former Socialist bloc in 1990 and 1991, there was no longer any possibility of such aggression, if there ever really had been. The changes in the former Communist countries made NATO redundant. Its raison d’etre had vanished. Yet certain groups within the NATO countries began almost immediately to press for a “renovation” of NATO and even for its extension into Central and Eastern Europe. They began to elaborate new rationales which would permit the continuation of business as usual.

The most important of these was the idea that, with the changes brought about by the end of the Cold War, the Western countries nonetheless faced new “security challenges” outside the traditional NATO area which justified the perpetuation of the organization. The spokesmen for this point of view argued that NATO had to find new missions to justify its existence.

The implicit premise was that NATO had to be preserved in order to ensure the leadership of the United States in European and world affairs. This was certainly one of the reasons behind the large-scale Western intervention — in which the participation of US NATO partners was relatively meagre — in Kuwait and Iraq in 1990 and 1991. The coalition which fought against Iraq was cobbled together with great difficulty. But it was seen by the United States government as necessary for the credibility of the US within the Western alliance as well as in world affairs.

The slogan put forward by the early supporters of NATO enlargement was “NATO: out of area or out of business”, which made the point, although not the argument, as plainly as it could be made. [3]

Yugoslavia has also been a test case, and obviously a much more important one. The Yugoslav crisis exploded on the edge of Europe, and the Western European nations had to do something about it. Germany and the United States, on the other hand, while seeming to support the idea of ending the civil wars in Yugoslavia, in fact did everything they could to prolong them, especially the war. in Bosnia. t41 Their actions perpetuated and steadily deepened the Yugoslav crisis.

It is important to recognize that, almost from the beginning of the Yugoslav crisis, NATO sought to involve itself. That involvement was obvious in 1993 when NATO begari to support UNPROFOR operations in Yugoslavia, especially in the matter of the blockade against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the enforcement of a no-fly zone in Bosnian airspace.

That involvement, however, had much smaller beginnings, and it must be remembered that NATO as an organization was involved in the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina at a very early stage. In 1992, NATO sent a group of about 100 personnel to Bosnia-Herzegovina, where they established a military headquarters at Kiseliak, a short distance from Sarajevo. Ostensibly, they were sent to help United Nations forces in Bosnia.

It was obvious, however, that there was another purpose. A NATO diplomat described the operation to INTELLIGENCE DIGEST in the following terms at the time:

This is a very cautious first step, and we are definitely not making much noise about it. But it could be the start of something bigger…You could argue that NATO now has a foot in the door. Whether we manage to open the door is not sure, but we have made a start. [4]

It seems clear that NATO commanders were already anticipating the possibility that resistance to US and German pressures would be overcome and that NATO’s role in Yugoslavia would be gradually expanded.

Thus NATO was working to create a major “out of area” mission almost from the time that the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina began. The recent dispatch of tens of thousands of troops to Bosnia, Austria, Hungary, Croatia and Serbia is thus simply the culmination of a process which began almost four years ago. It was not a question of proposals and conferences. It was a question of inventing operations which, with the backing of key countries, could eventually lead to NATO’s active engagement “out of area”, and thus to its own renovation.

The Eastward Expansion of NATO

NATO had never carried out a formal study on the enlargement of the alliance until quite recently, when the Working Group on NATO Enlargement issued its report. No doubt there were internal classified studies, but nothing is known of their content to outsiders.

Despite the lack of clear analysis, however, the engines for moving things forward were working hard from late 1991. At the end of that year, NATO created the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. NATO member nations then invited 9 Central and East European countries to join the NACC in order to begin fostering cooperation between the NATO powers and former members of the Warsaw Pact.

This was a fìrst effort to offer something to East European countries wishing to join NATO itself. The NACC, however, did not really satisfy the demands of those countries, and in the beginning of 1994 the US launched the idea of a Partnership for Peace. The PFP offered nations wishing to join NATO the possibility of co-operating in various NATO activities, including training exercises and peacekeeping. More than 20 countries, including Russia, are now participating in the PFP.

Many of these countries wish eventually to join NATO. Russia obviously will not. join. It believes that NATO should not be moving eastwards. According to the Center for Defense Infromation in Washington, a respected independent research center on military affairs, Russia is participating in the PFP “to avoid being shut out of the European security structure altogether.” [5]

The movement toward the enlargement of NATO has therefore been steadily gathering momentum. The creation of the North Atlantic Cooperation Council was more or less an expression of sympathy and openness toward those aspiring to NATO membership. But it did not carry things very far. The creation of the Partnership for Peace was more concrete. It actually involved former Warsaw Pact members in NATO itself. It also began a “two-track” policy toward Russia, in which Russia was given a more or less empty relationship with NATO simply to allay its concerns about NATO expanslon.

However, despite this continous development, the public rationale for this expansion has for the most part rested on fairly vague premises. And this leads to the question of what has been driving the expansion of NATQ during the last four years. The question must be posed for two areas: the Balkans and the countries of Central Europe. For there is an important struggle going on in the Balkans, a struggle for mastery of the southern Balkans in particular. And NATO is now involved in that struggle. There is also, of course, a new drift back to Cold-War policies on the part of certain Western countries. And that drift is carrying NATO into Central Europe.

The Struggle for Mastery in the Balkans

We have been witnessing, since 1990, a long and agonizing crisis in Yugoslavia. It has brought the deaths of tens of thousands, driven perhaps two million people from their homes and caused turmoil in the Balkan region. And in the West it is generally believed that this crisis, including the civil wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, was the result of internal Yugoslav conflicts, and specifically of conflicts between Croats, Serbs and Bosnian Muslims. This is far from the essence of the matter.

The main problem in Yugoslavia, from the first, was foreign intervention in the country’s internal affairs. Two Western powers, the United States and Germany, deliberately contrived to destabilize and then dismantle the country. The process was in full swing in the 1 980s and accelerated as the present decade began. These powers carefully planned, prepared and assisted the secessions which broke Yugoslavia apart. And they did almost everything in their power to expand and prolong the civil wars which began in Croatia and then continued in Bosnia-Herzegovina. They were involved behind the scenes at every stage of the crisis.

Foreign intervention was designed to create precisely the conflicts which the Western powers decried. For they also conveniently served as an excuse for overt intervention once civil wars were under way.

Such ideas are, of course, anathema in Western countries. That is only because the public in the West has been systematically misinformed by war propaganda. It accepted almost from the beginning the version of events promuligated by governments and disseminated through the mass media. It is nonetheless true that Germany and the US were the principal agents in dismantling Yugoslavia and sowing chaos there.

This is an ugly fact in the new age of realpolitik and geo-political struggles which has succeeded the Cold War order. Intelligence sources have begun recently to allude to this reality in a surprisingly open manner. In the summer of 1995, for instance, INTELLIGENCE DIGEST, a respected newsletter published in Great Britain, reported that:

The original US-German design for the former Yugoslavia [included] an independent Muslim-Croat dominated BosniaHerzegovina in alliance with an independent Croatian and alongside a greatly weakened Serbia. [6]

Every senior official in most Western governments knows this description to be absolutely accurate. And this means, of course, that the standard descriptions of “Serbian aggression” as the root cause of the problem, the descriptions of Croatia as a “new democracy”, etc. are not just untrue but actually designed to deceive.

But why? Why should the media seek to deceive the Western public? It was not simply that blatant and large-scale intervention in Yugoslav affairs had to be hidden from public view. It was also that people would ask questions about why Germany and the US deliberately created havoc in the Balkans. They wanted inevitably to know the reasons for such actions. And these had to be hidden even more carefully than the destructive actions of great powers.

At root, the problem was that the United States had an extremely ambitious plan for the whole of Europe. It is now stated quite openly that the US considers itself a “European power”. In the 1980s, this assertion could not be made so easily. That would have caused too much dissension among Western allies. But the US drive to establish its domination in Europe was nonetheless a fact. And the United States was already planning what is now openly talked about.

Quite recently, Richard Holbrooke, the Assistant Secretary of State for European affairs, made the official position clear. In a recent article in the influential journal FOREIGN AFFAIRS, he not only described the United States as a “European power” but also outlined his government’s ambitious plans for the whole of Europe. Referring to the system of collective security, including NATO, which the US and its allies created after the second world war, Mr. Holbrooke said:

This time, the United States must lead in the creation of a security architecture that includes and thereby stabilizes all of Europe — the West, the former Soviet satelIites of Central Europe and, most critically. Russia and the former republics of the Soviet Union. [7]

In short, it is now official policy to move towards the integration of all of Europe under a Western political and economic system, and to do so through the exercise of “American leadership”. This is simply a polite, and misleading, way of talking about the incorporation of the former Socialist countries into a vast new empire. [8]

It should not be surprising that the rest of Mr. Holbrooke’s article is about the necessity of expanding NATO, especially into Central Europe, in order to ensure the “stability” of the whole of Europe. Mr. Holbrooke states that the “expansion of NATO is an essential consequence of the raising of the Iron Curtain ” [9].

Thus, behind the repeated interventions in the Yugoslav crisis, there lay long-term strategic plans for the whole of Europe.

As part of this evolving scheme, Germany and the US originally determined to forge a new Balkan order, one based on the market organization of economies and parliamentary democracy. They wanted to put a definitive end to Socialism in the Balkans. [10] Ostensibly, they wanted to “foster democracy” by encouraging assertions of independence, as in Croatia. In reality, this was merely a ploy for breaking up the Balkans into small and vulnerable countries. Under the guise of “fostering democracy”, the way was being opened to the recolonization of the Balkans.

By 1990, most ofthe countries of Eastern Europe had yielded to Western pressures to establish what were misleadingly called “reforms”. Some had accepted all the Western conditions for aid and trade. Some, notably Bulgaria and Rumania, had only partically accepted them.

In Yugoslavia, however, there was resistance. The 1990 elections in Serbia and Monetenegro kept a socialist or social-democratic party in power. The Federal government thus remained in the hands of politicians who, although they yielded to pressures for “reforms” from time to time, were nevertheless opposed to the recolonization of the Balkans. And many of them were opposed to the fragmentation of Yugoslavia. Since the third Yugoslavia, formed in the spring of 1992, had an industrial base and a large army, that country had to be destroyed.

From the German point of view, this was nothing more than the continuation of a policy pursued by the Kaiser and then by the Nazis.

Once, Yugoslavia was dismantled and thrown into chaos, it was possible to begin reorganizing this central part of the Balkans. Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina were to be brought into a German sphere of interest. Germany acquired access to the sea on the Adriatic, and potentially, in the event that the Serbs could be overwhelmed, to the new :Rhine-Danube canal, a route which can now carry 3,000 ton ships from the North Sea into the Black Sea. The southem reaches of Yugoslavia were to fall into an American sphere of interest. Macedonia, which commands the only east-west and north-south passages across the Balkan Mountains, was to be the centerpiece of an American region. But the American sphere would also include Albania and, if those regions could be stripped away from Serbia, the Sanjak and Kosovo. Some American planners have even talked of the eventual emergence of a Greater Albania, under US and Turkish tutelage, which would comprise a chain of small Muslim States, possibly including BosniaHerzegovina, with access to the Adriatic.

Not surprisingly, Germany and the US, although they worked in concert to bring about the dismantlement of Yugoslavia, are now struggling for control of various parts of that coubtry, notably Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In fact, there is considerable jockeying for influence and commercial advantage throughout the Balkans. [11] Most of this competition is between Germany and the US, the partners who tore Yugoslavia apart. But important companies and banks from other European countries are also participating. The situation is similar to that which was created in Czechoslovakia by the Munich Agreement in 1938. Agreement was reached on a division of the spoils in order to avoid clashes which would lead immediately to war.

The New “Great Game” in the Caspian Sea

Yugoslavia is significant not just for its own position on the map, but also for the areas to which it allows access. And influential American analysts believe that it lies close to a zone of vital US interests, the Black Sea-Caspian Sea region.

This may be the real significance of the NATO task force in Yugoslavia.

The United States is now seeking to consolidate a new European-Middle Eastern bloc of nations. It is presenting itself as the leader of an informal grouping of Muslim countries stretching from the Persian Gulf into thje Batkans. This grouping includes Turkey, which is of pivotal importance in the emerging new bloc. Turkey is not just a part of the southern Balkans and an Aegean power. It also borders on Iraq, Iran and Syria. It thus connects southern Europe to the Middle East, where the US considers that it has vital interests.

The US hopes to expand this informal alliance with Muslim states in the Middle East and southern Europe to include some of the new nations on the southern rim of the former Soviet Union.

The reasons are not far to seek. The US now conceives of itself as being engaged in a new race for world resources. Oil is especially important in this race. With the war against Iraq, the US established itself in the Middle East more securely than ever. The almost simultaneous disintegration of the Soviet Union opened the possiblity of Western exploitation of the oil resources of the Caspian Sea region.

This region is extremely rich in oil and gas resources. Some Western analysts believe that it could become as important to the West as the Persian Gulf

Countries like Kazakhstan have enormous oil reserves, probably in excess of 9 billion barrels. Kazakhstan could probably pump 700,000 barrels a day. The problem, as in other countries of the region, at least from the perspective of Western countries, has been to get the oil and gas resources out of the region and to the West by safe routes. The movement of this oil and gas is not simply a technical problem. It is also political.

It is of crucial importance to the US and to other Western countries today to maintain friendly relations with countries like Kazakhstan. More importantly, it is important to know that that any rights acquired, to pump petroleum or to build pipelines to transport it, will be absolutely respected. For the amounts which are projected for investment in the region are very large.

What this means is that Western producers, banks, pipeline companies, etc. want to be assured of “political stability” in the region. They want to be assured that there will be no political changes which would threaten their new interests or potential ones.

An important article in THE NEW YORK TIMES recently described what has been called a new “grea’: game” in the region, drawing an analogy to the competition between Russia and Great Britain in the northwest frontier of the Indian subcontinent in the nineteenth century. The authors of the article wrote that,

Now, in the years after the cold war, the United States is again establishing suzerainty over the empire of a former foe. The disintegration of the Soviet Union has prompted the United States to expand its zone of military hegemony into Eastern Europe (through NATO) and into formerly neutral Yugoslavia. And — most important of all — the end of the cold war has permitted America to deepen its involvement in the Middle East. [12]

Obviously, there have been several reasons which prompted Western leaders to seek the expansion of NATO. One of these, and an important one, has clearly been a commercial one. This becomes more evident as one looks more closely at the parallel development of commercial exploitation in the Caspian Sea region and the movement of NATO into the Balkans.

On May 22, 1992, the North Atlantic Treay Organization issued a remarkable statement regarding the fighting then going on in Transcaucasia. This read in part as follows:

[The] Allies are profoundly disturbed by the continuing conflict and loss of life. There can be no solution to the problem of Nagomo-Karabakh or to the differences it has caused between Armenia and Azerbaijan by force. “Any action against Azerbaijan’s or any other state’s territorial integrity or to achieve political goals by force would represent a flagrant and unacceptable violation of the principles of international law. In particular we [NATO] could not accept that the recognized status of Nagorno-Karabakh or Nakhichevan can be changed unilaterally by force. [13]

This was a remarkable statement by any standards. For NATO was in fact issuing a veiled warning that it might have to take “steps” to prevent actions by govemments in the Caspian Sea region which it construed as threatening vital Westem interests.

Two days before NATO made this unusual declaration of interest in Transcaucasion affairs, an American oil Company, Chevron, had signed an agreement with the government of Kazakhstan for the development of the Tengiz and Korolev oil fields in the Westem part of the country. The negotiations for this agreement had been under way for two years prior to its being signed. And reliable sources have reported that they were in danger of breaking down at the time because of Chevron’s fears of political instability in the region. [14]

At the time that NATO made its declaration, of course, there would have been little possibility of backing up its warning. There was, first of all, no precedent at all for any large, out-of-area operation by NATO. NATO forces, furthermore, were far removed from Transcaucasia. It does not take a long look at a map of the Balkans, the Black Sea the Caspian Sea to realize that the situation is changing.

The Next Stage: “Stabilizing” the East

The current pressure for the enlargement of NATO to Central and Eastern Europe is part of an effort to create what is mistakenly called “the new world order”. It is the politico-military complement of the economic policies initiated by the major Western powers and designed to transform Central and East European society.

The United States, Germany and some of their allies are trying to build a truly global order around the North Atlantic Basin economy. There is actually nothing very new about the kind of order which they are trying to establish. It is to be founded on capitalist institutions. What is new is that they are trying to extend “the old order” to the vast territories which were thrown into chaos by the disintegration of Communism. They are also trying to incorporate into this “order” countries which were previously not fully a part of it.

In a word, they are trying to create a functioning capitalist system in countries which have lived under Socialism for decades, or in countries, such as Angola, which were seeking to break free of the capitalist system.

As they try to establish a “new world order”, the major Western powers must also think about how to preserve it. So, in the final analysis, they must think about extending their military power toward the new areas of Europe which they are trying to attach to the North Atlantic Basin. Hence the proposed role of NATO in the new European order.

The two principal architects of what might be a new, integrated and capitalist. Europe are the United States and Germany. They are working together especially closely on East European questions. In effect, they have formed a close alliance in which the US expects Germany to help manage not only West European but also East European affairs. Germany has become, as George Bush put it in Mainz in 1989, a “partner in leadership”.

This close relationship ties the US to Germany’s vision of what German and American analysts are now calling Central Europe. It is a vision which calls for: 1 ) the expansion of the European Union to the East; 2) German leadership in Europe; and 3) a new division of labor in Europe.

It is the idea of a new division of labor which is particularly important. In the German view, Europe will in the future be organized in concentric rings around a center, which will be Germany. The center will be the most developed region in every sense. It will be the most technically developed and the wealthiest. It will have the highest levels of wages, salaries and per capita income. And it will undertake only the most profitable economic activities, those which put it in command of the system. Thus Germany will take charge of industrial planning, design, the development of technology, etc., of all the activities which will shape and co-ordinate the activities of other regions.

As one moves away from the center, each concentric ring will have lower levels of development, wealth and income. The ring immediately surrounding Germany will include a great deal of profitable manufacturing and service activity. It is meant to comprise parts of Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and northern Italy. The general level of income would be high, but lower than in Germany. The next ring would include the poorer parts of Western Europe and parts of Eastern E:urope, with some manufacturing, processing and food production. Wage and salary levels would be significantly lower than at the center.

It goes without saying that, in this scheme of things, most areas of Eastern Europe will be in an outer ring. Eastern Europe will be a tributary of the center. It will produce some manufactured goods, but not primarily for its own consumption. Much of its manufacturing, along with raw materials, and even food, will be shipped abroad. Moreover, even manufacturing will pay low wages and salaries And the general level of wages and salaries, and therefore of incomes, will be lower than they have been in the past.

In short, most of Eastern Europe will be poorer in the new, integrated system than it would have been if East European countries could make their own economic decisions about what kind of development to pursue. The only development possible in societies exposed to the penetration of powerful foreign capital and hemmed in by the rules of the International Monetary Fund is dependent development.

This will also be true of Russia and the other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. They will also become tributaries of the center, and there will be no question of Russia pursuing an independent path of development. There will obviously be some manufacturing in Russia, but there will be no possibility of balanced industrial development. For the priorities of development will be increasingly dictated by outsiders. Western corporations are not interested in promoting industrial development in Russia, as the foreign investment figures show.

The primary Western interest in the Commonwealth of Independent States is in the exploitation of its resources. The breakup of the Soviet Union was thus a critical step in opening the possibility of such exploitation. For the former republics of the USSR became much more vulnerable once they became independent. Furthermore, Western corporations are not interested in developing CIS resources for local use. They are interested in exporting them to the West. This is especially true of gas and petroleum resources. Much of the benefit from the export of resources would therefore accrue to foreign countries. Large parts of the former Soviet Union are likely to find themsevles in a situation similar to that of Third World countries.

What Germany is seeking, then, with the support of the US, is a capitalist rationalization of the entire European economy around a powerful German core. Growth and high levels of wealth in the core are to be sustained by subordinate activities in the periphery. The periphery is to produce food and raw materials, and it is to manufacture exports for the core and for overseas markets. Compared to the (Western and Eastern) Europe of the 1980s, then, the future Europe is to be entirely restructured, with lower and lower levels of development as ones moves away from the German center.

Thus many parts of Eastern Europe, as well as much of the former Soviet Union, are meant to remain permanently underdeveloped areas, or relatively underdeveloped areas. Implementation of the new dvision of labor in Europe means that they must be locked into economic backwardness.

Thus, for Eastern Europe and the countries of the CIS, the creation of an “integrated” Europe within a capitalist framework will require a vast restructuring. This restructuring could be very profitable for Germany and the US. It will mean moving backwards in time for the parts of Europe being attached to the West.

The nature of the changes under way has already been prefigured in the effects of the “reforms” implemented in Russia from the early 1990s. It was said, of course, that these “reforms” would eventually bring prosperity. This was, however, a hollow claim from the beginning. For the “reforms” implemented at Western insistence were nothing more than the usual restructuring imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Third World countries. And they have had the same effects.

The most obvious is the precipitous fall in living standards. One third of the population of Russia is now trying to survive on income below the official poverty line. Production since 1991 has fallen by more than half. Inflation is running at an annual rate of 200 per cent. The life expectancy of a Russian male fell from 64.9 years in 1987 to 57.3 years in 1994. [15] These figures are similar to those for countries like Egypt and Bangladesh. And, in present circumstances, there is really no prospect of an improvement in economic and social conditions in Rússia. Standards of living are actually likely to continue falling.

Clearly, there is widespread, and justified, anger in Russia, and in other countries, about the collapse of living standards which has accompanied the early stages of restructuring. This has contributed to a growing political backlash inside Russia and other countries. The most obvious recent example may be found in the results of the December parliamentary elections in Russia. It is also clear that the continuing fall in living standards in the future will create further angry reactions.

Thus the extension of the old world order into Eastern Europe and the CIS is a precarious exercise, fraught with uncertainty and risks. The major Western powers are extremely anxious that it should succeed, to some extent because they see success, which would be defined in terms of the efficient exploitation of these new regions, as a partial solution to their own grave economic problems. There is an increasingly strong tendency in Western countries to displace their own problems, to see the present international competition for the exploitation of new territories as some kind óf solution to world economic stagnation.

Western analysts rightly suppose that the future will bring political instability. So, as Senator Bradley put it recently, “The question about Russia is whether reform is reversible”. [ 16] Military analysts draw the obvious implication: the greater the military power which can potentially be brought to bear on Russia, the less the likelihood of the “reforms” being,reversed. This is the meaning of the following extraordinary statement by the Working Group on NATO Enlargement:

The security task of NATO is no longer limited to maintaining a defensive military posture against an opposing force. There is no immediate military security threat to Western Europe. The political instability and insecurity in Central and Eastern Europe, however, greatly affect the security of the NATO area. NATO should help to fulfill the Central and Eastern European desires for security and integration into Western structures, thus serving the interests in stability of its members. [17]

This represents an entirely new position on the part of NATO. It is a position which some NATO countries thought imprudent not long ago. And it is alarming, because it does not confront the real reasons behind the present pressure for NATO’s extension. However evasive and sophistical the reasoning of the Working Group may be, it appears that the debate in many countries is now closed. It would, of course, be much better if the real issues could be debated publicly. But for the moment they cannot be, and the pressure for NATO enlargement is going to continue.

The Dangers of Extending NATO

The current proposal to expand NATO eastward creates many dangers.

It should be statedl that many leaders in Western countries oppose the expansion of NATO, and they have repeatedly explained the dangers of such expansion. It is important to recogruze, that despite the official position of NATO and the recent report of the Working Group, there is strong opposition to NATO’s moving eastward. Nonetheless, for the moment, those in favor of NATO expansion have won the day.

Four dangers of NATO expansion in particular require discussion here.

The first is that the expansion of NATO will bring new members under the NATO umbrella. This will mean, for instance, that the United States and other Western members are obliged to defend, say, Slovakia against an attack. Where will an attack come from? Is NATO really prepared to defend Slovakia in the event of a conflict with another East European country?

In a country like the United States, this would be very unpopular. As Senator Kassebaum put it in October of last year:

Are the American people prepared to pledge, in the words of the North Atlantic Treaty, that an armed attack against one or more of these potential new members will be considered an attack against all? [18]

The issue of extending the umbrella is a critical one. For the NATO powers are nuclear powers. The Working Group report stated that, in appropriate circumstances, the forces of NATO allies could be stationed on the territory of new members. And the Working Group did not rule out, as it should have, the stationing of nuclear wepons on the territory of new members. The failure to rule out such a possibility means that NATO is embarking on a dangerous path, a path which increases the risks of nuclear war.

The Working Group’s silence on this matter cannot fail to be taken as a threat by those who are not joining NATO. And, clearly, the most important of these is Russia, because it, too, posseses nuclear weapons — as do the Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

The second danger is that expansion will jeopardize relations between the United States and Russia, or even lead to a second Cold War. While NATO countries present the organization as a defensive alliance, Russia sees it quite differently. For more than forty years, the Soviet Union considered NATO as an offensive alliance aimed at all the members of the Warsaw pact. The general opinion in Russia is still that NATO is an offensive alliance. The former Foreign Minister, Mr. Kozyrev, made this quite clear to NATO members. How can Russia possibly see things differently in the future?

The expansion of NATO is inevitably perceived by Russia as encirclement. It is seen as assuming that Russia will inevitably again become an aggressive state. This, however, is much more likely to push Russia toward belligerence than to do anything else. It will certainly not calm its fears about the intentions of NATO in moving into Eastern Europe. Referring to the recent NATO decision on expansion, the Director of the Institute of USA and Canada Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, stated recently that:

Russia is still a military superpower with a huge area and a large population. It is a country with enormous economic capabilities which has extraordinary potential for good or ill. But now it is a humiliated country in search of identity and direction. To a certain extent, the West and its position on NATPO expansion will determine what direction Russia chooses. The future of European Security depends on this decision.” [19]

The third danger in extending NATO is that will undermine the implementation of the START I Treaty and the ratification of the START II Treaty, as well as other arms control and arms limitation treaties designed to increase European security. The Ruyssians, for instance, have made it clear that they will go ahead with the implementation of the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty “if the situation in Europe is stable”. The expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe, however, significantly changes the present equilibrium in Europe. So NATO countries are risking many of the achievements of the last 25 years in the field of disarmament. Some argue convincingly that NATO expansion will undermine the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Such consequences will hardly make Europe, or the globe, a safer place in the future.

The fourth principal danger in NATO expansion is that it will unsettle the situation in Eastern Europe. NATO claims that its expansion will help to ensure stability. But Eastern Europe, particularly after the changes of the last five years, is already an unstable place. The piecemeal expansion of NATO into Eastern Europe will increase tensions between new members and those left outside. It cannot fail to do so. Those left outside NATO are bound to feel more insecure when NATO has established itself in a neighboring country. This would place place them in a buffer zone between an expanding NATO and Russia. They are bound to react in a fearful, and even hostile manner. The piecemeal expansion of NATO could even trigger an arms race in Eastern Europe.

The Weakness of the Western Position

When closely considered, the proposal to extend NATO eastward is not just dangerous. It also seems something of a desperate act. It is obviously irrational, for it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. It can lead to a second Cold War between the NATO powers and Russia, and possibly to nuclear war. It must be assumed that no one really wants that.

Why, then, would the NATO countries propose such a course of action? Why would they be unable to weigh the dangers of their decision objectively?

Part of the answer is that those who have made this decision have looked at it in very narrow terms, without seeing the larger context in which NATO expansion would take place. When one does look at the larger context, the proposal to expand NATOis obviously irrational.

Consider the larger context. NATO proposes to admit certain countries in Central Europe as full members of the alliance in the near future. Other East European countries are being considered for later admission. This extension has two possible purposes. The fìrst is to prevent “the failure of Russian democracy”, that is, to ensure the continuation of the present regime, or something like it, in Russia. The second is to place NATO in a favorable position if a war should ever break out between Russia and the West.

In an age of nuclear weapons, pursuing the second purpose is perhaps even more dangerous than it was during the years of the Cold War, since there are now several countries with nuclear weapons which would potentially be ranged against NATO. The argument that NATO should be expanded eastward in order to ensure the West an advantage in the event of a nuclear war is not a very convincing one. And it would certainly not be convincing to Central European countries if it were openly spoke of. Those would be the countries most likely to suffer in the first stages of such a war. Their situation would be similar to that of Germany during the Cold War, as the German antiwar movement began to understand in the 1980s.

The main purpose of expanding NATO, as almost everyone has acknowledged, is to make sure that there is no reversal of the changes which have taken place in Russia during the last five years. That would end the dream of a three-part Europe united under the capitalist banner and close a very large new space for the operation of Western capital. A NATO presence in Central and Eastern Europe is simply a means of maintaining new pressure on those who would wish to attempt to change the present situation in Russia.

However, as has been seen, this also means locking Russia, and other countries of the CIS, into a state of underdevelopment and continuous economic and social crisis in which millions of people will suffer terribly, and in which there is no possibility of society seeking a path of economic and social development in which human needs determine economic priorities.

What is horribly ironic about this situation is the the Western countries are offering their model of economic organization as the solution to Russia’s problems. The realist analysts, of course, know perfectly well that it is no such thing. They are interested only in extending Western domination further eastward. And they offer their experience as a model for others only to beguile. But the idea that “the transition to democracy”, as the installation of market rules is often called, is important in the world battle for public opinion. It has helped to justify and sustain the policies which the West has been pursuing toward the countries of the CIS.

The Western countries themselves, however, are locked in an intractable economic crisis. Beginning in the early 1970s, profits fell, production faltered, long-term unemployment began to rise and standards of living began to fall. There were, of course, the ups and downs of the business cycle. But what was important was the trend. The trend of GDP growth in the major Western countries has been downward since the major recession of 1973-1975. In the United States, for instance, the rate of growth fell from about 4 per cent per year in the 1950s and the 1960s, to 2.9 per cent in the 1970s and then to about 2.4 per cent in the 1980s. Current projections for growth are even lower.

The situation was not very different in other Western countries. Growth was somewhat faster, but unemployment was significantly higher. The current rates of unemployment in Western Europe average about 11 per cent, and there is more unemployment hidden in the statistics as a result of various government pseudoemployment plans.

Both Western Europe and North America have experienced a prolonged economic stagnation. And capitalist economies cannot sustain employment and living standards without relatively rapid growth. In the 25 years after the second world war, most Western countries experienced rapid growth, on the order of 4 and 5 per cent per year. It was that growth which made it possible to maintain high levels of employment, the rise in wages and the advance of living standards. And there is no doubt that, in the postwar period, the Western countries made great advances. Large numbers of working class people were able to achieve decent living standards. The middle and upper classes prospered, indeed, many of them reached a standard of living which can only be called luxurious.

The postwar honeymoon, however, is clearly over. The great “capitalist revolution” touted by the Rockefellers is no more. “Humanized capitalism” is no more. Declining growth has now returned us to the age of “le capitalisme sauvage”. It has triggered economic and socil crisis in every Western country. It is undermining the principal achievements of the postwar period. In Europe, the Welfare state has been under attack for fifteen years by those who would shift the burden of crisis onto the shoulders of the less fortunate. In the United States, a relatively meagre “social net” to protect the poor is now being shredded by the aggressive and ignorant defenders of corporate interests, whò also want to be sure that those who can least afford it bear the brunt of the system’s crisis of stagnation.

The West, then, is itself locked in crisis. This is not a transient crisis or a “long cycle”, as academic apologists would have it. It is a systemic crisis. Thje market system can no longer produce anything like proesperity. The markets which drove the capitalist economy in the postwar period, automobiles, consumer durables, construction, etc. are all saturated, as sheaLs of government statistics in every country demonstrate. The system has not found new markets which could create an equivalent wave of prosperity. Moreover, the acceleration of technical progress in recent years has begun to eliminate jobs evetywhere at a staggering rate. There is no possible way of compensating for its effect, for creating new employment in sufficient quantity and at high wage levels.

Government and industry leaders in the West are fully aware of the situation in one sense. They know what the statistics are. They know what the problems are. But they are not able to see that the source of the problem is the fact that, having achieved very high levels of production, income and wealth, the present capitalist system has nowhere to go. Half-way solutions could be found, but Western leaders are unwilling to make the political concessions which they would require. In particular, the large concentrations of capital in Western countries are led by people who are constitutionally incapable of seeing that something fundamental is wrong. That would require them to agree to the curtailing of their power.

Therefore, the leaders of government and industry drive blindly on, not wishing to see, not prepared to accept policies that might set the present system on a path of transition to some more rational and more human way of organizing economic life. It is this blindness, grounded in confusion and fear, which has clouded the ability of Western leaders to think clearly about the risks of extending NATO into Eastern Europe. The Western system is experiencing a profound economic, social and political crisis. And Western leaders apparently see the exploitation of the East as the only large-scale project available which might stimulate growth, especially in Western Europe.

They are therefore prepared to risk a great deal for it. The question is: will the world accept the risks of East-West conflict and nuclear war in order to lock into one region economic arrangements which are already collapsing elsewhere?

Notes

  1. DEFENSE NEWS, 25 November 1995; see also Gary Wilson, “Anti-War Activists Demand: No More US Troops to the Balkans”, Workers World News Service, December 7, 1995.
  • See for instance: “NATO Expansion: Flirting with Disaster”, THE DEFENSE MONITOR, November/December 1995, Center for Defense Information, Washington, D.C.
  • Senatore Richard Lugar, “NATO: Out of Area or Out of Business”, Remarks Delivered to the Open Forum of the US State Department, August 2, 1993, Washington, D.C.
  • “Changing Nature of NATO”, INTELLIGENCE DIGEST, 16 October 1992.
  • THE DEFENSE MONITOR, loc. cit., page 2.
  • “Bonn’s Balkans-to-Teheran Policy”, INTELLIGENCE DIGEST, 11 – 25 August 1995.
  • Richard Holbrooke, “America, A European Power”, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, March/April l995, page 39.
  • The crucial point is that Eastern Europe and the countries of the former USSR are to adopt the institutions prevailing in Western Europe, i.e., capitalism and parliamentary democracy.
  • Holbrooke, loc. cit., page 43.
  • See National Security Decision Directive, “United States Policy toward Yugoslavia”, Secret Sensitive, (declassified), The White House, Washington D.C., March 14, 1984.
  • Joan Hoey,”The U.S.’Great Game’ in Bosnia”, THENATION, January 30, 1995.
  • Jacob Heilbrunn e Michael Lind, “The Third American Empire”, THE NEW YORK TIMES, January 2, 1996.
  • “The Commercial Factor Behind NATO’s Extended Remit”, INTELLIGENCE DIGEST, May 29, 1992.
  • Idem.
  • Senator Bill Bradley, “Eurasia Letter: A Misguided Russia Policy”, FOREIGN POLICY, Winter 1995-1996, page 89.
  • Ibid. page 93.
  • Draft Special Report of the Working Group on NATO Enlargement, May 1995.
  • Quoted in THE DEFENSE MONITOR, loc. cit., page 5.
  • Dr. Sergei Rogov, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of USA and Canada Studies, quoted in DEFENSE MONITOR, loc. cit. page 4

Grexit – Critical Times for Greece

June 21st, 2015 by Andreas C Chrysafis

Yesterday, supporters of Greece against IMF EU-Troika’s economic blackmailing tactics to break down the Greek spirit brought thousands of people out into the streets. It was a great success attracting masses of people of all nationalities to flood squares and streets right across the capitals of Europe as well as in other countries. Bravo and congratulation for the organizers and those people who dared to be counted and do what is right!

What happen here in Cyprus? Nothing as far as I am aware! I saw no mass rallies in Nicosia, Limassol or other places to shake the foundations of reasoning; unless they did take place and it’s me living in a cloud cuckoo land and saw and heard nothing! Was there a media blackout? Who knows!

It was certainly not covered in the mainstream media or was even mentioned in any political party agenda or in the plans of our petty-politicians’ initiative to show direct support for Greece and get off their behinds and trigger a spontaneous support for the Greek people. What happened to them all?

Where were Simmahia Politon, Edek, Deko, Evroko, Dusy, the Greens and others? Not a sound; except for the high-pitched sound of cicadas now ruling Cyprus! But do not despair we are in good hands; those are the same political parties and the same people that share aspirations to govern this island.

Are our minds so controlled by a system that we fail to even show support against Injustice and do what is right? If so, Cyprus deserves what it gets because it lost the spirit to stand up against bankers and a self-serving political system that are failing and abusing the basic principle of Democracy.

Greece will succeed and if necessary it will abandon the EU and so much the better but at least the people will decide and not politicians! It would be hard at the beginning but Greece would regain its dignity back and be free from the constraints of IMF EU-Troika economic colonization. As a nation it will again prosper beyond exactions and will prove to all those doomsayers wrong for choosing not to be supplicant to IMF EU-Troika any longer  - just like Iceland did.

As for Cyprus…well, what can I say!

Andreas C Chrysafis

Author – Writer – Artist

www.facebook.com/ACChrysafisAuthor

www.facebook.com/ACChrysafisArtGallery

We are here for our annual meeting in celebration of the 35th anniversary of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR). Our yearly dinner was a resounding success in April with hundreds in attendance under the theme of the need to link various struggles against racism, economic exploitation and for social justice and self-determination for the majority of people who live within this society and the world.

The topic this evening focuses is on the relationship between United States foreign and domestic policy. Why is the government constantly at war with one enemy or another abroad and at the same time failing to foster peace and stability here inside the country?

Today we witnessed the arrest of a suspect in the gruesome massacre of nine African Americans in one of the leading historic churches in the U.S. Even those within law-enforcement and the corporate media have characterized this incident as a hate crime.

Obviously this mass killing was politically motivated. The most prominent person killed in the massacre was Pastor Clementa Pinckney who is also a State Senator in South Carolina. He was in a prayer meeting and bible study at the church when a white 21-year-old male entered and stayed for some time before declaring that he was there to kill Black people.

Reports indicate that he had a criminal record for drugs and other offenses. His links to white supremacist organizations is being examined with each passing hour. He has been shown in a photograph wearing a jacket with the insignia of the former apartheid regime in South Africa and the previous settler-colony of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

Ongoing problems of racist violence and other hate crimes are consistently ignored or played down in the corporate media. The administration of President Barack Obama has been rightly criticized for not addressing the continuing, and many would say, escalating phenomenon of racist violence, hate speech and institutional racism.

History of Mother Emmanuel AME Church and Struggle Against National Oppression

This church where the shooting took place occupies a proud history in the legacy of African people in the U.S. The African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) was founded in Philadelphia by Richard Allen, Sara Allen, Absalom Jones and others in 1787 beginning as the Free Africa Society.

When the church was formed the United States was in its infancy as a nation. The country had inherited the institution of slavery as an economic system. Slavery existed in the Northeast as well as the South. Africans who had accepted Christianity were still subjected to racism and sought to set up their own independent places of worship.

In the Southeast during the later decades of the 18th Century an African Baptist Church was formed. Later in Philadelphia the AME Church went in the same direction. These places of worship did not just deal with the spiritual needs of the people but the desire for genuine freedom. The formation of the early African churches was in themselves acts of self-determination and defiance against slavery.

Perhaps the most famous co-founder of the Mother Emmanuel AME Church was Telemaque, better known as Denmark Vesey. He was born in the Denmark colony of St. Thomas in the Caribbean and later lived as a slave in Saint Domingo (Haiti). Reports of his life say that he was influenced by Africans in Haiti when the revolution erupted in 1791. He along with his master Vesey, had re-located to South Carolina by the late 1790s. He was able to win his freedom from slavery remaining in South Carolina and serving as a co-founder of the Mother Emmanuel AME Church in 1818.

In 1822 Denmark Vesey was the engineer of an elaborate plot to liberate his people from slavery. He had tried for many years to purchase the freedom of his wife and children yet the white slave masters would not free his spouse or children who were automatically placed in bondage following the rules of the system where the offspring would inherit the status of the mother.

Vesey was influenced by developments in Haiti. The Charleston County revolt was scheduled to take place on July 14, Bastille Day in France. However, a decision was made by Vesey and his comrades at the Church to move the date forward to June 16.

Demographically as a result of the slave system of agricultural production in Charleston, Africans far outnumbered whites in the area. Such a slave revolt would have sent shockwaves throughout the South and shaken the system to its core. Nonetheless, the plans for the revolt were leaked to the slave masters and Vesey along with many others were arrested, tried in a secret court and hung.

Many others were deported to Caribbean islands and other U.S. states. Morris Brown, another early leader of the AME Church was forced out of the state. I do not believe that it was a coincidence that this horrendous act of hate last evening took place just one day after the 193rd anniversary of the plans for the Charleston Rebellion.

Later in August 1831, Nat Turner in South Hampton County, Virginia led another revolt which was not uncovered until the actual day of the uprising. Turner was also motivated by the Bible and notions of the fulfillment of prophecy.

The Nat Turner Revolt led to the deaths of numerous slaveholders. Turner and other were eventually apprehended and brutally executed. Nonetheless, this rebellion created a reaction on the part of the slavocracy in the South resulting in the Abolitionist Movement being born. The 1850 Fugitive Slave Act was a desperate measure to maintain what even many slave masters knew was a dying system of exploitation.

When John Brown attacked Harper’s Ferry, Virginia in 1859, it represented the initial skirmishes of the Civil War which began in earnest in 1861 extending to 1865, breaking the back of the antebellum slave system and ushering in Reconstruction. The failure to build democracy in the aftermath of the dissolution of slavery and the defeat of the Confederacy is still with us today. It would take another century for the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act to be passed.

Nonetheless, today much of the turmoil inside the U.S. is related to the inability of the American system to eradicate institutional racism and national oppression.

Direct Relations of Domestic and Foreign Policy

How do these historical developments rooted in slavery provide insight into modern U.S. foreign policy? Is there a direct link between the ongoing racial oppression and the character of Washington’s relations to the former colonial, semi-colonial and socialist states?

All modern wars waged whether Cold or Hot have been directed against the states within the regions of the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and the former socialist countries of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe since the conclusion of World War II. Today we witness the re-emerge of another Cold War with the escalation of tensions between Washington and Moscow over Ukraine, Crimea, Syria, Yemen and other geo-political areas.

In Yemen today, the Saudi Arabian monarchy is bombing the country, the most underdeveloped in the region. The Saudi Arabian and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) alliance war against Yemen is in actuality a proxy war against the Islamic Republic of Iran, which had a popular revolution in 1979 in response to the U.S. support of a monarchy which repressed its people for decades. The nationalist government of Mohamed Mossadegh was overthrown by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1953 simply because he sought to take control of Iran’s oil resources.

In Palestine, the U.S. has supported the State of Israel which maintains its occupation after 67 years. The people of Gaza and the West Bank are daily subjected to the armed might of the Israeli Defense Forces and the police.

These wars in Yemen and Palestine are supported through direct U.S. tax dollars and weapons. The F-16 fighter planes now bombing Yemeni residential, communications, transport and port facilities are produced in the U.S. The same is true of the Dense Inert Metal Explosives (DIME), phosphorous bombs and other ordinances utilized by the IDF against the people of Gaza in Operation Protective Edge during 2014 right through additional attacks in recent weeks.

U.S. Imperialism Escalates Its Interference in North Africa

In North Africa the situation is growing more desperate every week. Many of us have followed the tragedy of mass migrations where thousands have died just this year off the coast of Libya in the Mediterranean in desperate attempts to reach Malta and Sicily.

The current situation in Libya is a direct result of the CIA-Pentagon and NATO war of regime-change in 2011. There were over 26,000 sorties flown over Libya in 2011 and some 10,000 bombs were dropped on the North African state, previously the most prosperous on the continent under the Gaddafi government.

In Libya today there are two contending regimes claiming legitimacy as the government. Human traffickers take advantage of the chaos to funnel migrants fleeing the impact of wars in Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Syria, and as far away as South Asia. The European Union and the U.S., which have initiated these wars, act now as if they have nothing to do with the current crisis. The EU response has been a military one which will only result in more deaths and displacement.

Also in the region, the militarized regime in Egypt is another case of failed U.S. foreign policy. Since the late 1970s, Washington and Wall Street have funded the Egyptian government under the former President Hosni Mubarak right through the present junta led by military-turned-civilian ruler Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. Thousands of Egyptians have been killed since the military coup in July 2013. The former elected President Mohamed Morsi has been sentenced to death by a court that makes a mockery of due process.

However, these failed policies continue unabated. In Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Sudan, the impact of U.S. foreign policy is still very much in evidence. Iraq is still at war and the administration of President Barack Obama is carrying out bombing operations against the Islamic State and re-deploying Pentagon forces ostensibly as advisers and trainers. This is the same president who ran for office in 2008 saying he would end the war in Iraq.

The U.S. support of the armed rebels in Syria led to the formation of the Islamic State which has spread into Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Despite the spending of hundreds of billions during the Iraq war by U.S. tax payers carrying out a campaign of regime-change that met popular opposition, the country is still in deep crisis.

The billions spent on weapons to arm the new Iraqi army which was crafted in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion, have mainly been wasted through the capturing of these guns, tanks and other equipment by the Islamic State. At present U.S. warplanes are bombing their own weapons sent into the theater based upon untruths and psychological warfare against both the people of Iraq and the U.S.

Which Way Forward in Domestic and U.S. Policy?

Therefore, we have much work to carry out in the upcoming year. Our organization faces the challenge of both addressing the need to cherish both lives here in the U.S. as well as throughout the world.

Since August 2014 with the unrest in Ferguson, the incomplete revolution in racial equality has been further exposed for the world to see. The reluctance of the Obama administration to discuss race and to develop policies that specifically address the continuing disparate class and social divide in the U.S. has borne an ever worsening situation.

Comments by Obama at the White House on events in Charleston seemed to focus more on the need for gun control. Although gun control is important, the underlying racial hatred and hostility is not fully explored.

At the same time there is almost no debate over the redeployment of military forces in Iraq. There is almost no information about the ongoing war in Syria. Most people in the U.S. who watch the news originating from inside the country are barely aware of the war in Yemen and the role of Washington in this genocidal process.

Consequently, we need to intensify our activism aimed at ending racism domestically and imperialist militarism around the world. These two imperatives merge when we look at the growing militarization of the police in the U.S. and the vast prison industrial complex.

Many of the same weapons and tactics utilized in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia and Palestine are being unleashed against African Americans and others inside this country. Police kill African Americans and Latinos at an alarming rate and in most cases the authorities go unpunished.

The massive impending evictions by Wayne County due to property tax foreclosures and the renewed water shut-offs of thousands in Detroit indicate clearly that the rebuilding of Detroit is taking place in contravention to the majority of people who live there. We must continue our vocal opposition to these crimes against humanity.

We look forward to our new members of the board of directors. This is a working board that seeks to make a difference in the broader movement for social change in the U.S. and internationally. Let us move forward into the coming year with the necessary vigor and vision that will ensure the fundamental change that is needed in the present period.

Note: This presentation was delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights (MCHR) which was held on Thurs. June 18, 2015 at the Our Lady of Fatima Church located in Oak Park, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. Azikiwe serves as an executive board member of the organization having previously occupied the positions of both chairperson of the board of directors and president during 2007-2014.

Also speaking at this event was Dr. Saaed Khan, a professor at Wayne State University and also a member of the MCHR Board of Directors.

The High Level International Military Group—a UN-commissioned group made up of 11 former chiefs of staff, generals, senior officers, and political leaders from the U.S., Germany, Spain, Holland, the U.K., Italy, Australia, and Colombia—dismissed all charges and allegations of Israel’s war crimes after investigating last summer’s attack on Gaza.

The report was issued on Saturday following the group’s five-day trip to the region in March. It ultimately claims that Israel acted responsibly and with much restraint when the IDF bombarded Gaza last summer during what is known as “Operation Protective Edge.” The report even refers to the attack as “legitimate.”

An excerpt from the report states the following:

“We were well aware of the allegations made by some governments, the United Nations, human rights groups and the media, that Israel acted outside the laws of armed conflict in Gaza. Some have suggested that the IDF lacked restraint or even deliberately targeted innocent civilians.”

Nevertheless, the investigators drew the following conclusion:

We examined the circumstances that led to the tragic conflict last summer and are in no doubt that this was not a war that Israel wanted. In reality Israel sought to avoid the conflict and exercised great restraint over a period of months before the war when its citizens were targeted by sporadic rocket attacks from Gaza. Once the war had begun, Israel made repeated efforts to terminate the fighting. The war that Israel was eventually compelled to fight against Hamas and other Gaza extremists was a legitimate war, necessary to defend its citizens and its territory against sustained attack from beyond its borders.

The report appears to be nothing close to the results of a “fact-finding mission,” as was claimed, but rather a written defense of the Israeli government.

It also claims:

“But none of us is aware of any army that takes such extensive measures as did the IDF last summer to protect the lives of the civilian population in such circumstances.”

Those extensive measures included killing 2,191 Palestinians, 519 of whom were children, injuring 11,231 Palestinians, damaging 61,800 Palestinian homes, displacing 108,000 Palestinians, damaging 220 Palestinian schools, 278 worship centers, and 62 hospitals, and overall costing a total of $7.8 million in damages.

The report gets worse:

“The measures taken were often far in excess of the requirements of the Geneva Conventions.”

If that is the case, then maybe we should revise the Geneva Conventions! But wait, they’re not finished yet:

“We understand that over 2,000 people died in Gaza during the conflict. In a population of approximately 1.8 million, over a 50-day period many would have died of causes unrelated to the fighting.”

This is tantamount to saying, “Eh, well, they would’ve died anyway. So who cares?

Furthermore, the report went on to say that that the members of the group are in agreement “on the record,”with U.S. Army General Martin Dempsey, who said last November that “Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties.”

By far, one of the most blatant statements that points out the biased nature of the report is the closing statement. It reads:

“The project was sponsored by the Friends of Israel Initiative.”

Overall, it is hard to find this report entirely “factual,” as it has been called by its commissioners. How can an investigation of a war that lasted 50 days be carried properly in a matter of only five days? Furthermore, how can they reduce the value of over 2,000 lives and treat those lives as if they were merely collateral damage, and that such a loss was to be expected anyhow? To say the least, this letter should be considered nothing more than a distastefully written doctrine of Israeli superiority and righteousness, bigotry toward Palestinians, and a testimony of utter disregard for human life. It is nothing short of appalling that it is being passed off as a formal, investigative report.

Part I, part II

Never during this time did Great Britain agree to peace negotiations. She steadily continued her shelling of German cities. She showed her resolve to fight until the end. The United Kingdom could be fought, and even defeated, but after examining his options, Adolf Hitler asked himself two questions. What price would this victory cost him? And most important – what was the point?

And then on May 10, 1941, Hitler’s closest ally, Rudolf Hess, flew to the UK, seemingly at his own initiative.[1] This was a desperate attempt to make peace between Germany and England. Although strictly speaking, Hess’s objective was not actually a secret:

“He [Hess] knew and was capable of understanding Hitler’s inner mind – his hatred of Soviet Russia, his lust to destroy Bolshevism, his admiration for Britain and earnest wish to be friends with the British Empire …”[2]

Little more than a month remained before the scheduled attack on the USSR. Hitler needed to decide whether or not to launch Operation Barbarossa. The plans for that invasion were not yet set in stone. The decision to attack the Soviet Union had still not been finalized as Hess was preparing for his flight. Hitler would never have begun a war on two fronts. So why did he end up doing exactly that? Because when he launched his offensive against the USSR he was convinced that there was no second front and never would be! That was the outcome of Hess’s flight.

It is important to understand that the big secret behind the mysterious flight to England by Hitler’s deputy leader had nothing to do with Hitler’s offer, but with the British response to it!

The British guaranteed their benevolent neutrality in the matter of Hitler’s future war with the USSR. And they promised to accept Germany’s long-standing offer of peace once Russia had been vanquished.

The infamous Hess was actually sent to England by the Nazis with the aim of persuading British politicians to join the collective crusade against the Soviet Union. But the Germans made a serious miscalculation. Despite Hess’s efforts, Britain and the US … were, on the contrary, in the same camp as the USSR against Nazi Germany,” stated Stalin from his besieged capital of Moscow.

Once Hitler decided to attack the Soviet Union, that meant England had given its blessing to the campaign. That’s the only explanation. Great Britain methodically pitted Nazi Germany against Russia, and eventually the British managed to force the Führer to attack the USSR. Hitler was duped by his own admiration for England. The leader of Germany behaved foolishly because the English had promised him they would remain neutral. The German air raids raging over Britain suddenly came to an end immediately after Hess’s visit, only to resume in January 1943.

In May 1941, Rudolf Hess brought a peace overture from the Führer to the British.  Great Britain authorized Hitler’s attack on Russia, promising its assistance, but had double-crossed the Germans by June 22, 1941.

In May 1941, Rudolf Hess brought a peace overture from the Führer to the British. Great Britain authorized Hitler’s attack on Russia, promising its assistance, but had double-crossed the Germans by June 22, 1941.

On Aug. 17, 1987, Rudolf Hess, the last of the living leaders of the Third Reich, was found hanged in Spandau Prison at age 93. He had been held for 46 years. All the others who had been sentenced to prison along with him at the Nuremberg Trials had left long ago. After 1966 he was the only remaining inmate at Spandau prison. The diplomat Konstantin von Neurath served eight years of his 15-year sentence before being released, officially due to ill health. Admiral Karl Dönitz and the head of the Hitler Youth, Baldur von Schirach, were also discharged from that prison, having served ten and twenty years respectively. But Rudolf Hess’s incarceration continued.

Why? Because, the reader will say, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. But … that is not quite right. The exact same life sentence did not stop Admiral Raeder from being freed after only ten years, or Walter Funk, the Reich Minister for Economic Affairs, who served for 12. They were released because they did not possess Hess’s terrible secret. The fact was that he alone knew what promises the British had made to Hitler and why the Führer believed them …

The circumstances surrounding his death are completely mysterious. Examinations of the body showed that Hess had been strangled and made to look like a suicide. But who would have committed such a heinous act? Hess’s son, Wolf Rüdiger, never doubted that his father had been murdered by the British. British diplomacy’s terrible secret, which spurred Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union, could never be revealed. And the unintentional cause of his death was … the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The fact is – some voices in the West had long been calling for Hess’s release. But the USSR had always been the staunchest opponent to freeing him, long convinced that Nazis had no place in the outside world. But with perestroika in full swing, Gorbachev told his Western friends that he was prepared to make a goodwill gesture by discharging Hess. Thus he signed Hess’s death sentence. The British had to act quickly to silence this undesirable witness.

All the material evidence of the causes of Rudolf Hess’s death: the summer house, electrical cord, furniture, and even Spandau prison itself – were destroyed immediately after his demise. The folders containing the documents on the Hess case have been classified by the British government until 2017. Will we ever learn the truth about Britain’s negotiations with Hess in May 1941? Only time will tell.

***

… When Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, he was cruelly deceived by the British on the very first day. On the evening of June 22, Churchill, speaking on the BBC, promised: “[W]e are resolved to destroy Hitler and every vestige of the Nazi regime …. It follows, therefore, that we shall give whatever help we can to Russia and the Russian people.”[3] But it is interesting that the Soviet Union never received aid from either the UK or the US during the times when it was really needed or in the needed quantities (for more details, please read WWII lend-lease: was the US aid that helpful?). The British were paying close attention to the crucial battles on the Eastern Front, waiting for the USSR’s defeat and the chance to deliver the deathblow to Hitler’s exhausted troops. Only when it became clear in 1944 that the Soviet Union was beating back Nazi Germany unaided, did Washington and London decide to open a second front so they could claim a share of the “victors’” laurels.

Meanwhile, the story of Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, the sources of the subsequent economic “miracle” in a Germany with the Nazi leader at her helm, his love for the United Kingdom, and his sympathy for English methods of managing subjugated nations, point clearly to the true culprit of the Second World War. That guilty party deserves to share the shameful laurels awarded to the murderer of millions of people, right alongside the Third Reich, which was so carefully and quickly erected amidst the German ashes of World War I.

Oriental Review has completed exclusive translations of the chapters from Nikolay Starikov’s documentary research ““Who Made Hitler Attack Stalin” (St.Petersburg, 2008). Mr. Starikov is Russian historian and civil activist. The original text was adapted and translated by ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Notes:

[1] The timing of Hess’s flight was carefully chosen. According to the plan drafted by the German General Staff, preparations for Operation Barbarossa needed to be complete by May 15, 1941.

[2] Winston Churchill. The Grand Alliance. Pg. 44.

[3] Christopher Catherwood. His finest hour. Pg. 154.

French and Belgian Russian asset freezes along with extending EU sanctions through January came (not coincidentally) on day one of the 19th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

It’s an impressive annual three-day event attracting thousands of participants – including world political and business leaders, journalists and others from dozens of countries worldwide.

The Forum’s web site states:

SPIEF gathers the leading decision-makers of the emerging economic powers to identify and deliberate the key challenges facing Russia, emerging markets, and the world at large, while engaging communities to find common purpose and establish frameworks to forge solutions which will drive the growth and stability agenda.

Vladimir Putin welcomed participants calling SPIEF “a platform for candid discussions to be held on a wide range of economic, financial and social issues, with long-term contracts and agreements being concluded on the sidelines.”

“The slogan for this year’s event, ‘Time to Act: Shared Paths to Stability and Growth’, reflects our strategy in the new realities of today’s global economy.”

“I firmly believe that the ideas and proposals formulated at this year’s Forum will go a long way towards improving economic cooperation and strengthening mutual trust.”

In response to EU nations extending sanctions, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia will respond based on the “principle of reciprocity” – indicating Moscow’s counter-sanctions will remain in force.

Neither side benefits. Russian Railways head Vladimir Yakunin called sanctions “economic masochism.” EU nations continue acting against their own interests by playing Washington’s dirty game – a futile attempt to marginalize, weaken, contain and isolate Russia.

In response, Moscow established closer ties with China and other nations unwilling to harm their own interests by supporting Washington’s.

France and Belgium acted irresponsibly by freezing Russian assets. French authorities targeted VTB, Russia’s second largest bank.

Diplomatic accounts were frozen, then unlocked. Rossiya Segodnya international news agency’s bank accounts were seized. The operation includes Sputnik News.

At the same time, Belgian authorities seized Russian assets – including its Embassy’s and  Permanent UN Mission accounts.

The action relates to contested Russian debt former Yukos Oil owners claim they’re owed. The company declared bankruptcy after Moscow demanded it pay back taxes evaded for years.

Former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky spent more than a decade in prison (2003 – 2013) for embezzlement and tax evasion. In the 1990s, he was Russia’s richest oligarch with close ties to Kremlin bureaucrats.

In 1995, he bought Yukos assets for $300 million – a tiny fraction of their worth. In 2003, their market value was $30 billion – a 100-fold ill-gotten gain.

In July 2014, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ordered $50 billion paid to former Yukos shareholders. It called the company “the object of a series of politically motivated attacks.”

Russia’s Justice Minister Aleksandr Konovalov said freezing Russian assets is “a blatant violation of international law.” Russia’s Foreign Ministry called Belgium’s actions “an unfriendly act…a blatant (international law) violation.” It indicated retaliatory measures may follow if what happened isn’t reversed.

Putin aide Andrey Belousov called actions by France and Belgium politicized. “Moscow hopes to avoid a new escalation in relations,” he said. At the same time, it’s “considering a number of measures to deal with” what happened if things aren’t resolved responsibly.

Last November, Moscow appealed PCA’s $50 billion Yukos decision – on grounds of lacking jurisdiction over internal Russian affairs. Without justification, the Court claimed Russia’s “primary objective…was not to collect taxes but rather to bankrupt Yukos and appropriate its valuable assets.”

Russian oligarch Khodorkovsky amassed great wealth the old-fashioned way. During an October 2008 Council to Combat Corruption session, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said:

“Corruption in our nation has not simply become wide-scale. It has become a common, everyday phenomenon which characterizes the very life of our society.”

“We are not simply talking about commonplace bribery. We are talking about a severe illness which is corroding the economy and corrupting all society.”

According to an earlier Russian Internal Affairs Ministry estimate, annual corruption ranges from $20 – $40 billion. Other assessments indicate much greater amounts of stolen wealth – involving business, government officials and bureaucrats.

French and Belgian moves had nothing to do with alleged Moscow law violations. They were entirely politically motivated – connected to Washington’s Russia bashing agenda pressuring EU nations to do much of its dirty work against their own self-interest.

The latest moves are tied to SPIEF’s opening,  nonexistent “Russian aggression” in Ukraine, its successful English and other foreign language media effectively countering Western propaganda, and America’s longstanding regime change objective.

What can’t go on forever, won’t. At least eight EU countries support lifting Russian sanctions – Austria, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, even France.

Heavy US pressure keeps them from acting in their own self-interest – for how long remains to be seen.

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 1PMCentral time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

 

A visit to the village of Berkeley in the UK will bring you to the home of Dr. Edward Jenner, the founder and venerated saint of vaccination.  On the property’s garden, there’s a small stone thatched hut where Jenner administered his smallpox vaccine to poor local residents.  He named the building The Temple of Vaccinia.  Today, the “shrine” carries a fanatical significance for followers of “evidence based medicine” and the most staunch pro-vaccine advocates with all of the trappings of a religious cult.  Yet history shows this was a man who launched a scientific engineered plaque upon the global community. In 2011, this sanctuary was reopened to the public by none other than the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.[1] So adored is Jenner by Bill Gates and his colleagues would forcefully vaccinate every man, woman and child around the world, if there were legends of Jenner walking on water or raising the dead, they would believe it blindly.

Jenner  managed to exert a charm among the British elite to secure large sums of patronage for his medical practice and experiments. This was no genius.  Prior to his invention of the smallpox vaccine, his only notable work was on the habits of the dodo bird.  In the 18th century an aspiring doctor wasn’t required to attend a medical school to learn the art of medicine. Instead if a person was wealthy enough or could procure the sufficient funds, a degree could be purchased, which is what Jenner did.

After observing that milk maids who contracted a minor illness known as cowpox seemingly didn’t contract the more serious smallpox—a more life-threatening disease during his day with a twenty percent death rate—Jenner began experiments by injecting pus from cowpox pustules into patients. It was his belief that this would protect them from smallpox. Jenner had no knowledge that the two poxes were ion fact dissimilar organisms.  He regarded them the same even though the degree of infectious severity was very dissimilar.

After many attempts to vaccinate volunteers, and many subsequent illnesses and deaths, he finally managed to immunize a single patient, a teenager named James Phipps.  Given Jenner’s lack of critical thought, this was his single successful eureka moment.  He then announced his vaccine as a universally applicable preventative measure against smallpox. Jenner also claimed that his vaccine provided lifelong immunity, which has since never been scientifically proven. Early opponents of inoculation were not convinced and even contributed Jenner’s vaccine to the rise in other diseases and medical conditions observed parallel to increased vaccination rates.

Being the opportunist he was, in his search for glory, fame and wealth, Jenner managed to convince the British House of Commons to mandate his vaccine to fight the smallpox scourge ravishing poor British communities.  Jenner was now an independently, wealthy man.[2]

Today, the smallpox vaccine is no longer administered to the American civilian population and has been phased out in most nations.  The medical establishment is unanimous that smallpox has been eradicated from the US.  Along with the poliovirus vaccine, the aggressive smallpox vaccination campaigns during the 19th and 20th centuries have become the two exemplars vaccine advocates repeatedly turn to as proof that mass vaccination crusades can eradicate infectious diseases. This fallacious claim makes an ignorant assumption that the possible success of one vaccine for one infectious disease universally applies to all vaccines.

Nevertheless, the smallpox vaccine is still administered to military personnel and employees within the Department of Defense and their families.  As we will point, there are serious concerns about the present vaccine, which one peer-reviewed article regards as the least safe vaccine today. [3]

The debate whether or not the vaccine contributed to the decline and eradication of smallpox infections is hotly debated between the pro-vaccine establishment and its opponents.  Although no longer administered in developed countries, the vaccine continues to be dispensed in poorer developing nations and continues to contribute to smallpox injuries and deaths.  For example, in the Philippines there was an increase in 112,000 smallpox infections and 61,000 deaths just two years after the vaccine was introduced.[4]  Historians of medical science regard smallpox infections as a disease of the poor and impoverished, where slum communities are fraught with unhealthy sanitation, contaminated water and food, and other life debilitating living conditions.[5]  On the other hand, because smallpox is easily transmitted through air, water and bodily fluids, the upper classes were infected as well and many famous members of the British and European royalty are known to have contracted the virus.

The famous story of a successful struggle to ward off a smallpox epidemic ravishing England in the 1880s is the case of town of Leicester.  The British government had already mandated a mass nationwide vaccination program to little effect. In the cities, towns and villages where the vaccine was most heavily introduced, severe infections from the vaccine virus and deaths rose.  The mayor and residents of Leicester decided to take matters into their own hands. Rather than comply with the government’s vaccine agenda, the town folks undertook a mammoth clean up crusade to improve the town’s sanitation, water supply, street drainage, public facilities and buildings, etc.  Residents suspected of acquiring smallpox were removed from the general population and quarantined in clean facilities in order to curtail transmission of the virus. The result was that the smallpox epidemic never infiltrated Leicester nor laid the town to waste as it had done to other villages.[6]

Smallpox, or orthopox variola, is classically transmitted via body fluids, air and water and shared public facilities. The vaccine contains a live attenuated vaccinia virus cultured on Vero cells (cells from adult African green monkey kidneys, also used as the medium for the poliovirus that gave rise to the transmission of the SV40 carcinogenic monkey virus in the American population) and human serum albumin (a blood plasma protein derived from the human liver).  The vaccinia virus, used in the vaccine, is not smallpox but another pox-type virus that is believed to immune recipients from smallpox infection.[7]

Dr. Charles Creighton (d. 1927) was a highly respected British physician, acknowledged as the founder of British epidemiology, and a harsh opponent of the medical establishment of his day, which he regarded as an Inquisition, He was also a critic of the germ theory as it was understood in the late 19th century.  His most important scholarly work was A History of Epidemics in Britain, published in 1891. He was an opponent of vaccinations, having published books on cowpox, vaccinal syphilis and Edward Jenner.   Creighton’s history of the smallpox vaccine is revealing to explain why smallpox cases increased with the rise in vaccination.  First, he noted that it was the upper classes of British society who were being vaccinated because they could afford the vaccine’s costly price tag. Yet much of the poorer population remained unvaccinated.  It would not be uncommon for only a fourth of a town or city to be vaccinated. Due to this social divide between the vaccinated and unvaccinated, the wealthy and privileged classes were transmitting the disease to the poorer unvaccinated residents and vice versa in cases where the vaccine failed to provide immunity.[8]

During the earlier half of the 20th century, smallpox infection was no longer the threat it had been in the 19th century. Infections were still high, however the virus increasingly appeared in a very mild form that was no posed serious health risks nor life-threatening.  Eventually the disease disappeared in the US, Britain and other countries and compulsory vaccination was discontinued.  The reasons why smallpox morphed into a minor infection remain unclear.  There is some suspicion that the virus is cyclic, not dissimilar to the black plaque that was especially epidemic and deadly during the 14th and 15th centuries then decreased rapidly.

A decade ago, only the US and Russia held stockpiles in the smallpox virus and it was believed that these would be destroyed thereby eradicating smallpox forever from the planet.  However, this was not to be the case.  The virus is still experimented with in US military biologic laboratories and President Bush’s war on terror brought the virus back into world consciousness.  In the early 2000s, the government launched vaccine clinical trials in preparation for a new national smallpox vaccination program.  Although the vaccine is still not administered to the civilian population, preparations for its widespread distribution are being made in the event of a foreign biologic attack.

In January 2004, the Democratic members of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security released a report on the biodefense failure of the smallpox initiative. The report anticipates a high rate of vaccine injuries. Among the failures, the program was unable to come up with an adequate compensation for vaccine injuries.   The program is also charged with having been grossly incompetent.  The report states that “serious adverse reactions to the vaccine can and do occur.”[9]

During the small vaccine trial, which never met its targeted number of volunteers, there were 49 serious adverse effects, which was above the CDC’s predictions.  The CDC has since removed its page on this issue although it is referenced in the Congressional report.[10]  On a separate CDC smallpox fact sheet, research on the current smallpox vaccine contributed to myocarditis, pericarditis and other serious heart conditions leading to angina and heart attacks.  The CDC recommends that anyone diagnosed with a heart condition either “with or without symptoms”, should avoid the smallpox vaccine.  The report recommends those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood sugar or a first degree relative with a heart condition before the age of 50 should also avoid the vaccine.[11]

Furthermore, the report states that “the vaccinated worker risks sickening others with whom he or she comes in contact (such as family members). [12]

Military personnel still receive the vaccine.  During our current War on Terror, between 2002 and 2014, 2.4 million military service personnel received smallpox

In addition to the above health risks, a review of the Pentagon’s Smallpox Vaccination Screening Form lists pregnancy or living with someone who is pregnant, a child under 1 year of age in a household, breastfeeding, eczema and a variety of ocular conditions as reasons for exemption.  If military personnel or the persons they live with take medications affecting the immune system, diabetes and a long list of cardiovascular-related conditions, the vaccine is also contraindicated.[13]

Transmission of the vaccine-containing virus to others is more common with smallpox than other infectious viruses.  Transmission can occur within only a few hours of two people meeting face to face and a vaccinated person can be infectious for thirty days or more.

One potentially severe adverse condition that has resulted from the smallpox vaccinaton is “progressive vaccinia” or “vaccine necrosum”.  This illness can be fatal and refers to the progressive necrosis of tissue at the site of inoculation.  According to the CDC’s Smallpox Vaccine Fact Sheet, the threat of progressive vaccinia may be greater today than in the past due to the large percentage of Americans with immune-compromised health conditions, especially low T-cell counts. Moreover, there is no known antiviral therapy for treating the disease.[14]

Besides cardiovascular threats, military personnel have also reported post-vaccinial encephalitis, which has a morbidity rate of 15-25%, and again there is no known therapy.[15]

In a paper published in the journal Clinical Medicine and Research, researchers at the Epidemiological Research Center at Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, conclude that the “smallpox vaccine is less safe than other vaccines routinely used today.”  Even mild post-vaccination illnesses can account for one third of recipients missing work or school.[16]

Federal health authorities instill fear people whenever an infectious outbreak occurs although people can be thousands of miles away.  Thus we witnessed the paranoia surrounding the Disneyland measles outbreak in 2014, and the pro-vaxxers frightening the citizens of Maine with measles incidences on the other side of the country. On occasion there are small incidences of the Yersinia pestis virus, responsible for the plague, in the American southwest.  But such case do not alarm health officials to force vaccinate the entire American population against the plaque.

Likewise, meningitis or a case of cholera in an isolated location never treated as a national emergency.  Since live-virus vaccination, such as smallpox, poliovirus, influenza, chickenpox and some measles vaccines, turn the recipient into a carrier and infectious agent to everyone he or she comes in contact, live vaccines are theoretically the most efficacious way to transmit and spread infectious illnesses, particularly to people with poor health and compromised immune systems.  The reemergence of the smallpox vaccine can potentially be the greatest health threat the nation will have faced in many decades. This would especially be true if it were made compulsory on the American public.

What does seem certain is that there is little credibility to the propaganda suggesting a future smallpox threat will originate with terrorists. Rather it will come from the terrorists in our own medical establishment who are eager to vaccinate everyone for everything.

Notes

[1]  The Jenner Museum. www.jennermuseum.com/the-garden.html.

[2] For an excellent history and background about Edward Jenner and the early smallpox vaccine, see, Humphries, S. and Bystrianyk, R.  Dissolving Illusions: Disaese, Vaccines and the Forgotten History. Self-published. 2013, pp 222-292

[3] Belobgia E and Naleway A. “Smallpox Vaccine: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”  Journal of Clinical Medicine and Research.  April 1(20) 2003, pp 87-92

[4] Piper-Terry, M.  “Smallpox, Infectious Disease and Vaccination Policy in the US” VaxTruth  December 12, 2014

[5]  Cartwright F, Disease and History. Rupert, Hart, Davis, London, 1972 p 124

[6]  Bystrianyk, R and Humphries S. “Vaccination: A Mythical History,” International Medical Council on Vaccination.  August 27, 2003

[7] Defense Health Agency. “Smallpox Vaccination Program Questions and Answers,” Department of Defense, July 8, 2014

[8] Bystrianyk R, op cit.

[9] “A Biodefense Failure: The National Smallpox Vaccination Program One Year Later”  January 2004 http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/blaw/bt/smallpox/Congress/040129_ABiodefenseFailureOneYearLater.pdf

[10] CDC. “Smallpox Vaccination Adverse Events Report,” http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/smallpox/vaccination/reactions-vacc-clinic.asp

[11] CDC. Smallpox Vaccine Adverse Effects Fact Sheet. http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/spadverse.htm

[12] Ibid.

[13] Department of Defense. “Smallpox Screening Form,” http://www.vaccines.mil/documents/1702_SmallpoxScreeningForm.pdf

[14] CDC Fact Sheet, op cit

[15] Ibid

[16] Belobgia E and Naleway A, op cit.

First published on January 1, 2015

Last month’s G20 Summit in Australia came and went without the protests and riots we’ve come to expect at the summit in recent years.

But as author and researcher Ellen Brown notes, the real fireworks happened behind closed doors, where the group rubber stamped new regulations that will make Cyprus style bank bail-ins a worldwide reality.

Rather than reining in the massive and risky derivatives casino, the new rules according to Ellen Brown:

prioritize the payment of banks’ derivatives obligations to each other, ahead of everyone else. That includes not only depositors, public and private, but the pension funds that are the target market for the latest bail-in play, called “bail-inable” bonds.

“Bail in” has been sold as avoiding future government bailouts and eliminating too big to fail (TBTF). But it actually institutionalizes TBTF, since the big banks are kept in business by expropriating the funds of their creditors.

It is a neat solution for bankers and politicians, who don’t want to have to deal with another messy banking crisis and are happy to see it disposed of by statute. But a bail-in could have worse consequences than a bailout for the public. If your taxes go up, you will probably still be able to pay the bills. If your bank account or pension gets wiped out, you could wind up in the street or sharing food with your pets.”

 

“We Are Greater” Than The Fracked Gas Lobby

June 21st, 2015 by Lee Stewart

The dome was encased in a rigid web of scaffolding as I rushed by. Looking up at it on my way to the corner of Independence Avenue and New Jersey Avenue SE, I saw a country trying to hide a fatal illness. It’s beyond repair, I mumbled to myself, thinking about the deep underlying rot I see everywhere I look.

Walking in the shadow of the Capitol Building in the day’s rising heat, my ears were still ringing. Made uneasy by the inadequate yet intensifying public scrutiny faced by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the captive government agency that receives its funding from the very industry it purports to regulate, the rule-makers there no longer allow its outspoken critics inside the room where monthly public meetings are held. Instead, we’re relegated to an overflow room where we have to watch the meeting’s proceedings on a screen. That’s where I’d just come from.

I wasn’t discouraged to be in the overflow room, though, because I already knew such meetings meant little anyway. Not only is public comment not allowed, but matters are decided on by the FERC commissioners in difficult to discern code. From the screen inside the overflow room, I heard the secretary read what would be voted on.

“E1, E2, E3, E4, E5, E6, E7….,” she droned on, only those with special insight able to follow.

The only sensical sound that could be heard at FERC that morning was the sound of three screeching whistles that Ted Glick, Steve Norris, and I sounded in protest as we walked through the lobby and out of the building, mischief managed, but change left as yet unmade.
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I thought about the fracking pipeline, compressor station, and export terminal permits that are rolling in like waves during a storm, all thanks, in part, to FERC’s rubber-stamp. What will it take to stop this onslaught, I wondered. Those at the levers of this crisis seem blind to reality.

Arriving at the corner of Independence and New Jersey, and joining almost two dozen others who were gathered with signs and banners directed at members of the House of Representatives, we learned the House was only an hour away from voting on a bill that would help corporate power grabs like the secretly negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pass through Congress. Known as Fast Track, this piece of legislation would make it so Congress could only vote such “free-trade laws” up or down with no amendments, no filibuster, and little time for debate.

“Vote no on fast track,” a friend shouted to a passing Representative on his way to the debate.

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Watching the Representatives walk back and forth from the Capitol Building and the House offices, it struck me how insulated they were, surrounded by donors and lobbyists, seeing little of the direct impacts of the decisions they made. What about communities that stood to be hurt by fracking? Why would their Representatives give corporate interests primacy over their own? Perhaps it’s because they’ve been blinded. That’s certainly the case with FERC and their blatant insulation from the public. The big question for me is how to break through those blinders?

Before the Fast Track vote came, five of us, all members of Beyond Extreme Energy (BXE), a coalition of citizens and allied community groups fighting to stop new fracked gas permits at FERC, headed over to the Rayburn House Office Building where we had signed up to attend the Natural Gas Roundtable Luncheon. Congressman Tom Reed (R- NY), Congressman Jim Costa (D- CA), Congressman Gene Greene (D- TX), and Congressman Glen Thompson (R- PA) were slated to speak, all co-chairs of the Congressional Natural Gas Caucus, the caucus focused on promoting fracked gas in the House and among members of the public. We were going to gather intelligence on what was being said on the inside, but also to speak out and make our opposition to fracked gas infrastructure known.

6-18 pic 2It was inside the banquet room, sitting at a table watching the lobbyist file in, that I received a text about Fast Track from someone following the votes outside. “In case you haven’t heard yet, we’re doomed,” it said. Fast Track was going to pass in the House. My heart dropped. I thought of the dome, the construction, the rot, and the whistles.

I glanced around the room, reading some of the name tags. A representative from FERC. Someone from Spectra Energy, the Fortune 500 Company that builds and operates gas pipelines and storage facilities all around the country. ANGA, American’s Natural Gas Alliance. And many others.

No wonder Fast Track was going to pass, I thought. This was the kind of world our so-called Representatives lived in. Just like FERC, these people were insulated from the outside, surrounded by the industry, and effectively held captive to it.

Congressman Green spoke first, and Ted Glick of BXE delivered his uninvited speech directly afterwards. Ted’s focus was the release of the Pope’s encyclical about the realities of human-induced climate change and the moral imperative to act on it. The room seemed uncomfortable but determined to brush off his words. Ted sat down and the luncheon continued.

Congressman Reed spoke second. He spoke of a farm family he knew in Pennsylvania. The farmer’s daughter was opposed to fracking, Reed said. The farmer decided to have a fracking well built on his property anyway. He did it, Reed explained, because he would be able to use the money he earned from fracking to pay for his daughter’s college education. It was a tragic story that highlighted a grave ignorance to the realities of the climate crisis, not to mention the other negative health impacts of fracking.

When Reed told the crowd that fracking helps future generations, I felt words involuntarily escape from my lips.

“Fracking kills future generations,” I shouted, much to the room’s displeasure.

Before I knew it, a police officer was by my side, pulling my arm to remove me from the room. Once again, the insulation of those at the levers of destruction was being protected. Knowing it wouldn’t do much good to walk out quietly, I let my body go limp and shouted to the room as three officers carried me out. At one point, I remember calling those in the room criminals, because that’s what I believe they are.

I was disappointed not to hear the hard-hitting questions asked of the speakers by fellow Beyond Extreme Energy members after my removal.  I later heard their questions about drought and climate change were not answered in a straightforward way.

As I sat in a holding cell an hour later and thoughts of the day raced through my mind, I was reminded that it’s going to take a whole lot more than a few individual disruptions to stop permits at FERC, or to stop corporate power grabs like the TPP, or to neutralize the power and influence of the fracked gas lobby on our supposed representatives. Such disruptions and appeals seem to do nothing when the system is set up to be non-responsive. Nor do I think any one of these endeavors, a few among many, can be achieved alone in isolated campaigns. Each one rests on a rotting system that if not dismantled and replaced as a whole, will leave us with a threatened existence.

If FERC stops issuing permits, for example, what of the power of the fracked gas lobby? And what good is delivering a message to Congress, however disruptive, if Congress is set up to operate in the interests of the industry? The same can be asked of FERC.

The time has come to rise up and displace the harmful machine that grinds on around us.  I can’t see how that can be done if a whole lot more of us aren’t willing to sacrifice our freedom in the process, and maybe even our lives. Perhaps the unresponsive institutions around us make us feel alone. Maybe if that illusion is cracked, more will be willing to take action.

Lee Stewart is an organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy and Popular Resistance.

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The proverbial doomsday clock is ticking away in Europe. You can hear it getting louder each day? Just this week the Air Force Secretary Deborah James stated the U.S. considers deploying a squadron of F-22 Raptor fighter jets to Europe, in response to what the “western alliance” perceives as being stepped-up “aggression” by Russia in the region. In her stark and candid view, Russia is the “biggest threat on my mind” (m.military.com)

Geopolitical game of “Chicken Hawk”, could destabilise entire region for decades to come

Not surprisingly the Russians have responded to NATO’s military activity in and round what it considers to be “their own” sphere of influence, (an area comprising Kaliningrad on the Baltic all the way down to the Crimean peninsula on the Black sea) by boosting the country’s nuclear tactical weapons capacity (bbc.com) Predictably NATO sees this as provocative gesture. “This nuclear sabre-rattling of Russia is unjustified, it’s destabilising and it’s dangerous,” said NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg this week in response to Moscow’s move. It’s classic “tit for tat”.

But who are the real aggressors in this stand off? Is it NATO-US, or Russia?

Is anyone in Brussels, Washington or Moscow for that matter asking themselves this question? It seems not. As tensions rise fingers on the nuclear bottom are getting fidgety.

Meanwhile, NATO appears to be hunkering down (stockpiling weaponry and sending infantry divisions, to its most eastern member states). Does this mean it’s digging in for the haul long, or a prolonged period of goading Russia on its doorstep (the Kaliningrad enclave)? In other words, is NATO breathing down the Russian bear’s back for the sake of strengthening an increasingly divided and disparate alliance? In my view that is the real reason for this entire anti-Russian hullabaloo. NATO is, despite the razzmatazz and “all for one for all” rhetoric is internally weak. And it needs an exterior foe to keep it untied.

Historically speaking, these military manoeuvres and geo-strategic counter measures might remind some of us of earlier cold war antics. The current dangerous posturing between two former superpowers brings us back to the 1980s.  Tensions between the US and Russia haven’t been this high since the “1983 Euro-Missile crisis”

(https://www.strategypage.com/on_point/20131105222327.aspx.).

Poland and the Baltic States are “Crying Wolf!

NATO’s newest member states in the Baltic and not so new (like Poland) are brazenly grandstanding, or drawing attention to their imaginary perilous plight , in the hope of creating a permanent garrison of foreign troops on their territory ( or a military re-occupation of sorts, only this time by the west). For its part, NATO’s expansionist project has soured overall relations. US-Russian bi-lateral ties are at their lowest ebb too,despite recent but rather lame attempts at reviving them. ( And another “reset” isn’t in the cards.

How bad is it?  One expert in the field writes: “It is unrealistic at the moment to expect a speedy improvement of U.S.-Russia relations. This is regrettable, but it is a fact: The relations between the two countries today may be even worse than during Soviet times — a really disturbing development”. washingtontimes.com. June 14, 2015

What does this mean geo-politically for Europe? More militarization of the continent and more instability too. But most worrisome of all, the  on-going stand off between Russia and the West, will makes those fingers on the nuclear bottom more fidgety. And the clock ticks faster in Europe.

Michael Werbowski, is a Vienna ( Austria)  based geopoltical and global affairs analyst and a graduate of post-communist studies ( Univerisity of Leeds, UK)

The sanctions imposed by the EU against Russia and Moscow’s retaliation would cost Europeans 100 billion euros in economic development and jeopardize up to 2.5 million jobs, a new study said.

The EU imposed the sanctions against Russia over the Ukrainian political crisis, targeting access to foreign credits and oil and gas industry. Moscow responded with countersanctions that hit European food producers. The toll the conflict takes on the EU economy is higher than Brussels initially anticipated, according to a new study by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO).

“Our hypothesis, from last autumn, of a worsening decline in exports has become a reality,” said Oliver Fritz, one of the authors of the study, the Tribune de Genève reported.

WIFO calculated that if the sanctions are continued for the next few years, Germany would lose 465,000 jobs due to reductions of exports to Russia. Italy would lose 215,000 jobs, Spain 160,000 jobs, France 145,000 jobs and the UK 110,000 jobs.

Switzerland, which is not part of the EU but followed Brussels’ lead on sanctions, would see 45,000 jobs lost, including 5,000 in the tourism sector, the study said.

The WIFO study was commissioned by newspapers in the Leading European Newspaper Alliance (LENA). Swiss Tribune de Genève, French Le Figaro, Spanish El Pais and German Die Welt were involved in reporting the findings.

Latvia and the other Baltic states are countries that have been most hit by the sanctions, Riga Mayor Nils Usakovs told Russian Dozhd TV.

“We are paying one of the highest prices for those sanctions which were imposed on Russia and its retaliatory embargo,” he said.

When the Russian ruble started dropping, it became “very difficult to sell anything to Russia,” said Usakovs, adding that Latvia “lost a significant number of tourists.”

The sanctions policy of the European Union was criticized on Friday by Giorgos Tsipras, who heads the Greek Foreign Ministry’s economic relations department.

“The whole politics of sanctions are unproductive, they’re counterproductive, and the new Greek government from the beginning had said that it does not agree with the continuance of the sanctions,”he told the Sputnik news agency.

“Sanctions are a new problem in the heart of Europe, the Ukrainian crisis is a very new problem of destabilization in the heart of Europe and this has to stop,” he added, speaking on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Greece and Russia have signed a memorandum on Greek participation in the Russian gas pipeline project, Turkish Stream, which is to replace the turbulent Ukrainian gas transit from Russia to Europe.

Other European countries like Austria and Hungary previously voiced their displeasure with the sanctions, complaining of their inefficiency and high cost for their national economies.

Earlier EU ambassadors agreed to prolong the sanctions for another six months without additional discussion. The decision is expected to be ratified by foreign ministers of member states Monday.

In 2009, after years of bloody insurrection in Congo, General Laurent Nkunda was ‘arrested’ with great fanfare in Rwanda.  Wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity, not a word about his situation has been reported for years.  Are the regimes in Rwanda and Uganda using Laurent Nkunda and comrades in a new thrust to destabilize eastern Congo?  The perpetual aggressors in this long, bloody saga of despair and death served on millions of innocent people in central Africa, Rwanda and Uganda protect the interests and insure the profits of their U.S., Canadian, European and Israeli patrons.  Meanwhile, with a new insurrection afoot in eastern Congo, the western media and its modern day intelligence mercenaries spin disinformation to project black African chaos and whitewash the corruptions of Empire.


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Image: FARDC troops from the 1st integrated brigade on operations in South Kivu. 
Photo c. keith harmon snow 2006.

In the twilight hours of 2 June 2015 residents of the city of Goma, in Congo’s eastern province of North Kivu, were awoken after midnight by gunshots, mortars and heavy artillery fire, and battle tanks.  The fighting lasted several hours.  At daybreak most government offices, schools and businesses remained closed.  The fighting resumed around 11:00 AM, and receded to the Rwanda border as Congolese tanks pressed the attackers back to Rwanda.

We are in great stress since last night.”  An official in Goma who asked not to be named reports that this is the work of the regimes in Rwanda and Uganda. From about 1:00 to 3:00 in the morning there was a lot of firing inside the town of Goma and on the border with Rwanda: Simple and heavy guns and even war tanks.  Officially, we have no precision, but it’s known that Kagame’s forces entered Congo this night.  Eight Congolese soldiers were killed; I saw one of them with my own eyes in the Virunga quarter of Goma.   The Governor and Congolese military officers are keeping quiet. [1]

Gunmen attacked the airport in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s largest city, Goma, in an overnight raid in which four government soldiers and three suspected assailants were killed, a local official and a witness said on Tuesday.”  The Reutersnews syndicate produced the only report that appeared in western media venues on 2 June 2015.  Reuters reported that North Kivu governor Julien Paluku referred to the attackers only as ‘bandits’. “A Congolese security official involved in the clashes and a Goma-based diplomat said the assailants were Mai-Mai fighters, members of one of the dozens of armed militias that control large parts of Congo’s mineral-rich eastern borderlands. [2]

Later in the day on 2 June 2015, Agence France Presse attributed the attack to a criminal gang and called the war-torn North Kivu a ‘restless province’, suggesting that the province itself is inherently prone to permanent unrest of the African variety.  ”At least one soldier and a gunman were killed overnight when a gang raided the Goma airport in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo during an apparent robbery, officials said Tuesday.  ’Bandits got inside the airport area to try to steal from depots (storing goods) waiting to be loaded on to cargo planes,’ the governor of the restless North Kivu province, Julien Paluku, toldAFP.” [3]

By 3 June 2015 the supposed culprits had been captured, and the western news syndicates were regurgitating claims by Congolese officials that the ‘bandit’ leader of the ‘gang’ was ‘a criminal from the distant city of Butembo’ who had recruited other criminals and organized an attack on Goma airport.  The reportage is confused: the attack is blamed on both ‘criminals’ and ‘ethnic Mai Mai militia’ and the Reuters correspondent ignores the contradictions.

Soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo have captured the man suspected of being behind a deadly attack this week on the largest airport in the east of the country, the government’s spokesperson said on Wednesday,” Reuters continued.  ”At least four soldiers and three suspected assailants were killed in the gun attack at Goma airport on Tuesday that military and diplomatic sources said was the work of ethnic Mai-Mai fighters. [4]

“The region has seen years of conflict involving dozens of armed militia such as the Mai-Mai that control large parts of the mineral-rich eastern borderlands, but attacks of this kind are rare.

Reuters falsely spins this as an uncharacteristic attack atypical of war-torn eastern Congo, where Ugandan and Rwandan militias under the command of presidents Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame have perpetrated war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide since at least 1994.

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Similarly, there is also no mention by Reuters of the vast tracts of mineral-rich land that have been acquired and cleared of Congolese people by western mining companies like Banro Gold Corporation [5], Metallurg [6], Casa Minerals [7], or Alphamin [8], the western mining firm that has captured massive concessions in North Kivu (see Map).

Government spokesperson Lambert Mende described the man captured as a ‘criminal’ from the town of Butembo, some 270 km north of Goma. [9]

This is bullshit!”  The (unnamed) Goma official is adamant.  ”How can a group of Mai Mai leave Butembo 290 km from Goma and come to attack the airport!  And for which purpose?  Everyone knows there is no food or weapons at the Goma airport.  The [DRC] government does not want to accuse Rwanda, but Congolese people are not stupid.[10]

The 3 June 2015 Reuters article also attributes the capture of the ‘criminals’ and ‘bandits’ to the friendly cooperative assistance of neighboring Rwanda.  ”The man was arrested in Goma thanks to information provided by three captured assailants and intelligence help from neighboring Rwanda, whose phone networks the attackers used, [DRC spokesman Lambert] Mende later told Reuters.” [11]

The assailants came from Rwanda and went back to Rwanda.” The unnamed DRC official in Goma is certain that the attack is part of the new Rwandan-Ugandan military thrust — the newly and euphemistically named Christian Movement for the Reconstruction of the Congo (MCRC) — in eastern Congo.  ”There were almost 20 Mai Mai being held [in advance] just to be accused in case the attack failed.  Congolese tanks fired in the direction of Rwanda and the retreating assailants.  These were Tutsi soldiers and they came from Rwanda.  We are afraid as we know the government is hiding the truth: people saw Rwanda troops coming into Congo.[12]

The Reuters story is further confused by the inclusion of a Associated Press photograph captioned: “Congolese soldiers visit territory retaken last week from M23 rebels near the Rwandan border Joseph Kay AP.”  The Rwandan/Ugandan backed M23 insurgency was named in recognition of the 23 March 2009 peace treaty that integrated the former Rwandan/Ugandan army, theNational Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP), into the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo(FARDC).  M23 soldiers claimed that the Congolese government failed to honor the terms of the agreement, and so they launched another war.  The recycled AP photograph by Joseph Kay originated in an AP story of 6 September 2013, but has been used over and over for various and diverse disinformation.[13a]

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Image: United Nations (MONUC) helicopter departing an eastern Congo airport. Photo c. 2007 keith harmon snow.

The real story is that Congo appears to be on the cusp of a new insurrection.  Like the RCD, CNDP and M23 occupations, this is yet another military thrust by Rwanda and Uganda to destabilize eastern Congo and seize absolute control.  The first objective: take control of Goma.

On 6 June 2015 the Rwandan ‘news’ venue Imirasire, one of the main propaganda/disinformation venues of the regime of Paul Kagame, run by the Directorate of Military Intelligence, published a very short clip claiming that the attack on Goma airport was perpetrated by “a new rebel group headed by a former politician.”  While naming the problem more accurately than Reuters or the Congolese government were willing to do, the Imirasire report is laughable in its pretensions about violence and minerals theft. [13b]

Some Mai Mai from the Cheka [armed] group infiltrated Goma from the bush,” says the unnamed official in Goma, “and soldiers came from Rwanda and both attacked in the night under heavy rain with hope to take the airport, but they failed because the FARDC they found there were Republican Guards, trained by the USA and Israel, the best soldiers we have in Congo.  The last noise from the fighting was in the area of ‘La grande barriere’ on the Rwanda border.  Workers at the Congolese border office and Republican Guards confirmed.  After they had failed, MCRC withdrew back to Rwanda.  Local authorities forbade TV stations to show the bodies of ‘bandits’ that were killed.[14]

THE WARLORD’S WARLORDS

For the past six years Rwandan General Laurent Nkunda has been hiding in Rwanda and Uganda, shielded from arrest or prosecution by Rwandan president Paul Kagame and Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni and their western backers.

Is General Laurent Nkunda now moving freely between Rwanda and Uganda, organizing a new insurrection in eastern Congo’s Kivu provinces, directing a new guerilla movement that has already perpetrated human rights atrocities and destabilized the eastern Congo?

Other known Rwandan war criminals with deep historical ties to General Laurent Nkunda are on the move.  One of these is Rwandan Major General Vincent Gatama, one of Nkunda’s former comrades, now in charge of Rwanda’s military operations in Congo.  On the night of 17 November 2012 then Colonel Vincent Gatama led a Rwandan Defense Forces (RDF) special forces unit in the 2012 attack on Goma.[15]  Soon after the Goma attack, Paul Kagame promoted Gatama from Colonel to Major General in support of war operations to infiltrate and occupy eastern Congo.

Another of these Nkunda-allied warlords is General Bwambale Kakolele, a former leader of one of the original Rwanda- and Uganda-backed ‘rebel’ armies from the 1998-2002 war, the Congolese Rally for Democracy, and later one of General Nkunda’s top commanders in the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP) insurrection.

Born in the Congo to the Nande tribe of Orientale Province, Bwambale Kakolele is a former Forces Armee Zairois (FAZ) soldier under the Mobutu regime who originally joined the Rwandan-Ugandan war of 1996-1997 to help oust long-time CIA-backed dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.  By late 2001 he was leading the RCD’s Movement for Liberation (RDC-ML) faction, and he was named by the United Nations for trafficking arms in violation of the wartime arms embargo.  After this Kakolele was part of theCongolese Revolutionary Movement (MRC), one of the scores of militias involved in the bloody Ituri conflicts of 2003-2008. General Nkunda and the CNDP joined forces with the MRC in 2006, and the MRC agreed to disarm in August 2007.

General Kakolele left the CNDP in 2008, and in 2011 was participating in DRC government activities that facilitated his being dispatched to north Kivu province.  The DRC government allegedly arrested him in 2013 in Beni, North Kivu, for blocking the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) process. [16][17]

Like his military allies, General Kakolele is an opportunist who has pursued any profitable enterprise in war-torn Congo, no matter how ruthless and lawless, including diamonds, and he allegedly has deep long-standing ties to the Ugandan ‘rebel’ Allied Democratic Forces (ADF).  Like the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda, the ADF is on the U.S. government list of terrorist organizations.  Kakolele gains protection through his ties to various guerrilla armies backed by Rwanda and Uganda.

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Image: RwandAir air waybill proving Rwandan government mineral shipments out of Bukuvu, DRC on RwandAir, a company tightly linked to the regime through Kagame business kingpin John Mirenge; the transport chain involves DHL International, SGS Laboratories, SwissAir and other international corporations. 

Third on the list of Nkunda allied over-achievers in Congo bloodletting is Ugandan Colonel Sultani Makenga, another warlord who was also involved in the 2012 invasion of Goma, and one of president Yoweri Museveni and his half-brother General Salim Saleh’s protégés in the region.  Makenga is said to be very sick with HIV, but, allegedly, he participated in May meetings in Uganda where the new insurrection was born.

Finally, there is the rogue warlord Mai Mai leader Ntabo Ntaberi, alias ‘Cheka’, who has been plundering and killing in the Walikale and Lubero districts of North Kivu.  In 2010 soldiers under Cheka’s command raped some 300 women in Walikale region.  In 2013, after the defeat of the Rwandan M23 army, the regime in Rwanda provided troop reinforcements and arms to Cheka.

Throughout 2013, 2014 and early 2015 the forces under Cheka have perpetrated massive human rights atrocities and crimes against humanity in a wide swath of North Kivu between Lubero and Walikale.  Cheka has been hunting civilians in their villages and fields, accusing them of being collaborators of FDLR and Congolese Mai Mai, and killing them.  Crimes include summary executions, rape, mass abductions, forced marches and other forced labor, and shooting of children.  Commander Cheka is one of the most ruthless and dangerous military commanders on Congolese soil and he runs his own militia namedNduma Defense of the Congo.[18]

Cheka rose out of the forests of North Kivu on a self-declared mission to gain justice for the Congolese people, and was originally allied with the FDLR rebels in Kivu.  Corrupted by power and private profit — plundering resources and waging brutal campaigns of forced taxation — Cheka has served Paul Kagame’s interests by hunting down and assassinating FDLR leaders in Congo.  In March 2015 Cheka’s forces attacked villages where the FDLR reside in the Lubero territory of North Kivu.[19]

“Kagame gave Cheka equipment and men,” says the official in Goma.  ”Cheka replaced Laurent Nkunda and Bosco Ntaganda of CNDP, and Makenga of M23.  Cheka operates in Walikale and Lubero, 200 to 300 kilometers from Goma.”

Even Human Rights Watch has called for the arrest of Ntabo Ntaberi Cheka.[20]  The HRW report of January 2015 documents the most brutal atrocities committed by Cheka and his troops, and their backing by Rwanda.

Former NDC fighters also told Human Rights Watch that Cheka received financial and other military support from Rwanda. They said that Cheka’s ethnic Tutsi wife travels regularly to Rwanda and acts as a liaison with Cheka’s contacts in the country. One former fighter said that ammunition was often sent into Congo from Rwanda via Goma and was delivered to Cheka on motorcycles in bags of beans.[21]

 

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Image: Alphamin Resources maintains a clean, organized, shiny, operations base, accessed by helicopter
– a parallel economy to that of Congolese people who suffer extreme depredations.
Photo: Alphamin Bisie NI 43-101 Report.

There are allegations that Mai Mai Cheka has colluded with Alphamin Resources Corporation to displace artisanal Congolese miners.[22]  Meanwhile, several of the concessions stolen from Congolese people by Alphamin remain under ‘Force Majeure’ — a formal declaration, agreed to by the Congolese government in Kinshasa, establishing that the mining operations cannot proceed due to unforeseen circumstances.

Alphamin Resources Corporation is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, and staffed with all white directors from North America, Europe and South Africa.  Alphamin controls vast tracts of North Kivu, mining concessions rich with tin, gold, coltan and copper, the largest of which is the Bisie Mine.[23]  The foreign control would not be possible without first neutralizing and/or eliminating the Congolese landowners.  Western mining companies achieve pacification and land control by any means necessary.

According to their own web site: “Alphamin, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Mining and Processing Congo Sprl (MPC), has full legal title (100 % ownership) over five exploration permits (No’s: PR 5270; PR 10346; PR 5266; PR 5267; and PR 4246) and an exploitation permit (PE 13155) in total covering 1,270 square kilometers in the North Kivu province. ” The Bisie Project falls on PE 13155.  Due to the current volatile security situation, three licenses (PR 5270, PR 5267 and PR 4246) are still under Force Majeure.

The Force Majeure was lifted at the Bisie Project in February 2012, and Alphamin Resources established a camp on the Bisie ridge and commenced exploration drilling in July 2012.

Bisie_Situation ALPHAMIN properties.jpg

Image: Concesions “100% owned by Alphamin” in North Kivu.

Thousands of Congolese artisanal miners have suffered loss of livelihood or life due to the occupation of large mining concessions by Alphamin, and the concomitant pacification of the communities through direct violence.  Artisanal miners have attacked Alphamin mining operations, and Cheka forces have attacked artisanal mining camps, and artisanal miners have attacked Alphamin operations after being themselves attacked by Cheka forces (that they believe to be aligned with Alphamin).[24]

Of course, many local miners have to leave their communities since those big companies come with papers and authorizations from Kinshasa.”  The unnamed Congolese official has visited many Kivu mining areas over the past 20 years.  ”In North Kivu it is Mining Processing of Congo, and just like with Banro Gold in Twangiza in South Kivu: they claim the right to receive ‘security’ assured by FARDC.[25]

Like their commanders-in-chief, Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, these Ugandan/Rwandan commanders have directed assassinations of political and military targets.

WAR CRIMES, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND GENOCIDE

In September 2005 the Congolese General Military Prosecutor issued international arrest warrants against General Nkunda and Rwandan Colonel Jules Mutebesi charging them with the creation of an insurrectional movement, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.  Even Human Rights Watch, the selective U.S.-based human rights organization that has been notoriously slanted in favor of team-U.S. interests in the Great Lakes region, in 2006 briefly outlined the history of Nkunda’s crimes, including “numerous war crimes and other serious human rights abuses during the past three years… summary executions, torture, and rape committed by soldiers under Nkunda’s command, in Bukavu in 2004 and in Kisangani in 2002.” [26]

Over the years Laurent Nkunda and his allied commanders have committed the most egregious war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, dictating the life and death of millions of people. Their crimes rival those of Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni, General James Kabarebe, General James Kazini, General Salim Saleh, and other high-level Tutsi-Hima commanders from Rwanda, Uganda and Congo.  They have established formal networks of organized crime premised on direct violence: criminal racketeering, looting, taxation, gunrunning and minerals plunder.  Their troops have committed massacres, mass rapes and extrajudicial executions of the most inhuman kinds.

This time they are calling their terrorist enterprise the Christian Movement for the Reconstruction of Congo (Mouvement Chretien pour la Reconstruction du Congo).

Their histories of atrocities are ugly, brutish and anything but short.

They have organized and run insurgency and counter-insurgency ‘programs’ to neutralize any ‘infrastructure’ and all opposition (and potential opposition) to their elite Tutsi-Hima agenda.  The word ‘infrastructure’ here refers to Congolese chiefs (mwamis), legitimate rulers, politicians, diplomats, soldiers, human rights defenders, civil society members, and ordinary people.  The euphemism ‘neutralize’ means to drive off, exile, make to defect to their (own) cause, capture, torture, maim, sexually mutilate, kill, disappear people.  Beheadings, amputations and butchering of corpses are common.  They have incinerated bodies, dead and alive.  There is no language that can make clear the extremes of their pathological behaviors.

They use networks of paid informers to spy and inform on anyone and everyone.  They infiltrate agents into social networks, political structures, government agencies, and military organizations.  They sow fear, mistrust, divisiveness and terror through psychological operations and propaganda.  Some of them have been trained, advised, schooled and indoctrinated by the leading institutions of terror in the west, and — through the regimes inn Rwanda and Uganda — they have relationships to AFRICOM, the Pentagon’s Africa Command.

None of this is much reported in the mass media and if reported at all the atrocities and crimes are blamed on the victims, some of which include armed resistance forces with legitimate rights, legitimate grievances and very real claims.

The agenda of the Kagame-Museveni axis is to depopulate the homes, villages and territories of the eastern Congo (as they did in Uganda 1980-1986 and Rwanda 1990-1995) of their rightful owners and repopulate them with outsiders; to create large, destitute, traumatized populations of refugees on the run for their lives or herded into death camps; to control the extractive (minerals, timber, agricultural commodities, petroleum, natural gas) industries; to control taxation at regional, national and international borders; to fill their pockets and bank accounts with cash; to militarize their private kingdoms; to terrorize and destabilize and manufacture perpetual war.  The documentation of these crimes is plentiful and irrefutable.

The commanders of the new MCRC guerrilla insurgency have done the ‘dirty work’ for Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame since the very beginning.  And, like their patron-dictators, no matter the documentation, no matter the evidence, no matter the eyewitnesses and proof of their crimes, most of them remain terrorists at large.  Under the secret programs of these Rwandan and Ugandan agents due process has been nonexistent, impunity the rule.  Millions and millions of lives have been destroyed, and it is happening again now.

They have been protected and/or supported by the U.S. administrations of William Jefferson Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barrack Obama.  AFRICOM supports Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni directly, and has military bases in Congo, Rwanda and Uganda.

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Image: General Laurent Nkunda in his ‘saviors’ costume for this AP photo c. Jerome Delay 2008.

And why is the MCRC’s first objective to take Goma?  The control of Goma would be used as leverage to manipulate the international community to recognize and accept the demands of the MCRC, and these are the objectives of the Kagame and Museveni regimes: to occupy, control and annex eastern Congo.  In this effort the Tutsi-controlled regime of alias Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa is complicit.  By controlling Goma, the former Rwandan and Ugandan ‘rebel’ soldiers that were integrated into the FARDC but remain loyal to Rwanda and Uganda would join the MCRC insurrection.  By controlling Goma, Kagame can openly (more openly than in recent years) send Rwandan Defense Forces into Congo without international intervention.

UGLY, BRUTISH AND NOT SHORT

First there was Museveni’s war in Uganda, 1980-1986, with Paul Kagame fighting for the National Resistance Army and Yoweri Museveni.  They committed massive war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, often blamed on the losers.  Then they invaded Rwanda, in 1990, and for the next four years they did the same thing, only more finely tuned, more sophisticated, and arguably much more brutal.[27]

The violence wreaked on Congo-Zaire by Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame was exported by perpetrators who first waged genocidal campaigns and coups-d’état that violated the most fundamental international covenants on state sovereignty first in Uganda, then Rwanda, then Zaire (Congo).  On 6 April 1994, they assassinated heads of state from Rwanda and Burundi, again the most fundamental and egregious violations of international law.  The U.S., U.K., Canada and Israel could not have been happier.

These first campaigns of Tutsi-Hima guerrilla warfare set the stage for unprecedented violence as the terror regimes of Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame tortured, slaughtered, raped, disappeared, assassinated, and terrorized millions of innocent non-combatant civilians from Uganda to Rwanda to Burundi to Congo (and in South Sudan). They had the backing of western intelligence and covert operations at the start. [28a]

Next came the covert operations in Zaire (Congo) by the special forces of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) from 1994 to 1996.  RPA hit squads were dispatched to the Kivu provinces in Zaire well in advance of the U.S.-backed invasion that formally arrived in September 1996.  From July 1994 to August 1996 RPA Special Forces employing hit-and-run terror tactics crossed the Zaire border to commit targeted acts of terrorism, including sabotage, bombings, psychological warfare, assassinations, massacres, disappearing.

One of their primary strategies has always been the sowing of terror through pseudo-operations: disguised as some ‘enemy’ faction (whether such faction has ever been involved in violence or not) the RPA (and UPDF) commit atrocities, generally under cover of night, which are then blamed on the enemy faction, and provide justification for RPA assaults, retaliation, and occupations. [28b]  Under this rubric, the victims are portrayed as the killers, and the killers are portrayed as the victims.

Then in August of 1996 came the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA) and Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) invasion of Zaire.  The establishment narrative portrays the 1996 invasion of Zaire as a purely Congolese affair led by Laurent Desire Kabila and the Alliance for the Democratic Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL-CZ).  Similarly, the ‘rebellions’ — bloody illegal guerrilla warfare insurgencies — in eastern Congo are typically portrayed as purely Congolese affairs, at least until the truth can no longer be denied, and then they become the subjects of propaganda campaigns that are duplicitous and expedient: damage control.

The United States military, intelligence apparatus, and diplomatic sector were 100% involved in the invasion of Zaire-Congo 1996-1998, providing logistics, weapons, aircraft, intelligence, satellite communications, and Special Operations Forces (U.S. Special Operations Command: SOCOM).  These were heavily armed and outfitted black- and brown-skinned U.S. troops, fluent in regional languages, on the ground in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo. [29]

Not only did the invading forces ruthlessly hunt and terminate every Rwandan Hutu man, women and child they could find, they also slaughtered tens or scores or hundreds of thousands of innocent Congolese Bantu people.   They used bulldozers and logging equipment to disappear the bodies. They dumped corpses into the vast Congo River and its vast tributaries.  They went back months later to the Congo forests and swamps to scavenge every skeleton they could find and disappear these once and for all. There are plenty of eyewitnesses who survived. [30][31]

Their campaigns of rape set the stage for the unprecedented sexual violence yet to come: sexual violence perpetrated by Rwandans and Ugandans but blamed on the Congolese.

Unable to control their proxy Laurent Desire Kabila, whom they chose to lead the Alliance for the Democratic Liberation of Congo-Zaire (AFDL-CZ), and who then became president of the Congo (until his assassination in 2001), Rwanda and Uganda next used the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) and Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC) to aggress the Congo in the manufactured ‘Congolese rebellion’ from 1998 to 2003.

After signing some peace treaties in 2003, Rwanda and Uganda next aggressed the Congo through an alphabet soup of warring guerrilla militias: RCD, RCD-Goma, RCD-K, RCD-ML, PFJC, MRC, FNI, FRPI…and many more.  From 2003 to 2006 some 26 militias operated in the Ituri sector of Orientale Province alone: Ituri became the bloodiest place on earth at that time.  Rwandan, Ugandan and Burundian militias rampaged in the provinces of Orientale, North and South Kivu, and Maniema, ripping apart the last vestiges of social fabric, ripping out the timber and the minerals, littering fields with skeletons and skulls, and mass graves everywhere.

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Image: Skulls & skeletons in Bogoro, Orientale Province, DRC. Photo: c. keith harmon snow 2007.

In 2006, Rwanda and Uganda took their aggression against Congo to new levels through General Laurent Nkunda’s new Congrès National pour la Défense du Peuple (CNDP) insurgency.

An arrest warrant was issued against Nkunda for war crimes, crimes against humanity and insurrection months ago but the police and army have done nothing about arresting him,” reported Alison Des Forges, senior advisor to the Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, in 2006.  ”So long as Nkunda is at large, the civilian population remains at grave risk.[32]

Similarly, from 2006 onward, Rwandan General Bosco Ntaganda was wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity in northeastern Congo in 2002 and 2003, including recruiting and using child soldiers, murder, rape and sexual slavery.  Ntaganda is also a former leader of the Rwanda-backed CNDP, and Ntaganda and his fighters were integrated into FARDC after the peace agreement of 23 March 2009.

The M23 guerrilla insurgency was more aggression by Rwanda and Uganda against Congo that began in March 2012 based on a FARDC mutiny led by Bosco Ntaganda and Sultani Makenga.  The rebellion took the name ‘M23′ in recognition of the 23 March 2009 neutralization of the Rwandan CNDP.

Rwandan M23 troops occupied Goma, the provincial capital of North Kivu, on 20 November 2012, and the FARDC and MONUSCO did nothing to stop them. General Vincent Gatama commanded RDF Special Forces allied with M23 and both armies were involved in massive atrocities.

In March 2013, after the Ntaganda and Mukenga factions of M23 came to blows, Ntaganda surrendered to the U.S. embassy in Rwanda and was flown to The Hague to be tried by the International Criminal Court.

The defeat of the M23 by November 2013 came as a victory for the 18-month military campaign against them by the FARDC the MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade, and supported by Congolese civil society and activists. The 3096 SADC Force Intervention Brigade forces (attached to MONUSCO) from Malawi, South Africa, and Tanzania quickly routed the Rwandan M23 troops. [33]

Rwandan commanders Paul Kagame, James Kabarebe, Laurent Nkunda, Bosco Ntaganda, Sultani Makenga, Vincent Gatama, Kakolele Bwambale and Hippolyte Kanambe (alias Joseph Kabila) all hold titles to this long sordid pedigree of armed warfare sponsored, spawned, supported, spread and prosecuted by Rwanda, Uganda and their western backers.

Here is another way that Rwanda and Uganda and their western backers have advanced the elite Tutsi-Hima agenda to pacify, occupy and balkanize the eastern Congo, and create a Rwandan-controlled Republic of the Volcanoes: Demobilization, Disarmament, and Reintegration.  Since the first DDR programs begun around 2003, thousands of Rwandan and Ugandan Tutsi soldiers have been integrated (sic) into the Armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC): it is meaningless to say that Rwandan Tutsi soldier can be re-integrated into a Congolese army.

Through the Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) programs funded by the World Bank and western donors, these hostile foreign soldiers have been infiltrated into the FARDC, creating a national army compromised by having thousands of enemy (Rwandaphone) soldiers within its ranks.  The DDR section of MONUSCO supports the Government of the DRC, which retains the primary responsibility for defining the DDR policies.

The FARDC has seen more than 29 top-level commanders drawn from the Rwandan / Ugandan forces in its command structure. Additionally, there are some 300 more or less Rwandan Tutsi Captains in the regular FARDC ranks.[34]

Under the leadership of President Hippolyte Kanambe (alias Joseph Kabila) every peace treaty and joint DRC government / U.N. demobilization effort since 2003 has involved infiltration of hostile Rwandan and Ugandan soldiers into the Congolese military, national police, security services, parliament, government, governors offices, and more

This process of co-opting the Congo at the deepest levels began in 2003, when the decision was made to integrate some of the top war criminals into the Congolese power structure as Vice-Presidents of the transitional government; these included AzariasRuberwa (RCD); Arthur Z’ahidi Ngoma (RCD); and Jean-Pierre Bemba (MLC).  The Sun City ‘peace’ agreements declared amnesty to RCD combatants.

The Congo’s national army, FARDC, cannot conduct responsible military operations that serve the interests of the Congolese people.  The command structure is full of Rwandans and Ugandans aligned with Museveni and Kagame, with thousands of Tutsi soldiers in the ranks.  The command structure is disorganized, and this is due to the conflicting agendas, and the subterfuge of the Rwanda/Ugandan agents within.  There are parallel command structures dictated by military commander’s involvement in the illegal mining and taxation.  Many FARDC commanders, whether of Congolese or Rwandan origin, only seek to enrich themselves.  Embezzlement, racketeering, conscription of labor, combined with the routine entropy of a poorly paid and poorly managed national army, have created a culture of deception, manipulation and personal profit.  Finally, there may be as many as 14,000 Rwandans in the FARDC; soldiers of Rwandan and Ugandan origin that have been infiltrated into the FARDC desert at will, taking their weapons with them and turning them against the Congo.

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Image: Troops of the first ‘integrated’ FARDC brigade in a training exercise led by the United Nations (MONUC)
in Bukavu, South Kivu, 2006. Photo: c. keith harmon snow 2006.

The government of Congo is also highly compromised by having many Tutsi politicians in in civilian ranks, not least of which is the president of the country.  President Hippolyte Kanambe (alias Joseph Kabila) is a Rwandan Tutsi who marched across Congo-Zaire under the guidance of his uncle, RPA general James Kabarebe, one of the top 40 RPA soldiers indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in 2009 by the International Court of Justice, Audiencia Nacionale, in Spain. Kanambe surreptitiously serves the interests of Rwanda and Uganda, and the United States, Canada, the U.K., Belgium and Israel.  Alias Joseph Kabila is not the son of Laurent Desire Kabila, and he never was.[35]

IMPUNITY FOR RWANDAN AND UGANDAN WARLORDS

One of Laurent Nkunda’s primary tasks with the AFDL-CZ was to ensure the assassination of the Hutu and Bantu customary chiefs in the collectives on the Congo-Rwanda border so that Rwandaphone agents could replace them.[36]

Nkunda was a senior officer in the Rwandan-backed Congolese Rally for Democracy-Goma (RCD-Goma).  In 2004 he was named general in a new national Congolese army created from troops of the dissident forces at the end (sic) of the war.   He refused the post and withdrew with hundreds of his troops to the forests of Masisi in North Kivu.  In August 2005, Nkunda announced a new ‘rebellion’: the National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP).

Rwanda’s Majar General Gatama worked with Nkunda during the aggression of the Rwandan rebel CNDP.  Gatama later worked with Rwandan warlords General Bosco Ntaganda and Colonel Sultani Makenga during the guerilla M23 Movement.  Gatama was on the front lines in Congo when M23 was defeated by the joint military operations of the Congolese army (FARDC) and the MONUSCO Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), sent by the South African Development Community (SADC).

Colonel Sultani Makenga is another Kagame henchman who was born in South Kivu (DRC) but joined the RPA invasion of Rwanda from Uganda in 1990.  Later sent back to Congo for the various rebel insurgencies manufactured by Kagame and Museveni, Makenga was always a very close collaborator with Laurent Nkunda.  When Nkunda was ‘arrested’ in Rwanda by Kagame, Colonel Makenga and General Bosco Ntaganda continued Rwanda’s dirty work in the M23 insurgency.

After Makenga and Ntaganda had a falling out in 2013, with Ntaganda evicted, Colonel Makenga became the de facto sole military leader of the victorious faction of M23.  After the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB) defeated M23, Makenga left his command headquarters at Bunagana, which was also Laurent Nkunda’s base, and fled North Kivu to Uganda.

Although he has no ICC arrest warrant hanging over his head,” reported the BBC in November 2013, “the UN Security Council imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on him last year, accusing him of being responsible for the ‘killing and maiming, sexual violence, abduction, and forced displacement’ — a reference to the fact that some 800,000 people fled their homes during the 19-month [M23] rebellion. [37]

Reports say Colonel Makenga and about 1,700 fighters have been disarmed and are being held in a secret location,” reported the BBC on 7 November 2013.  ”The BBC‘s Catherine Byaruhanga in Kampala says Col Makenga poses a tough diplomatic challenge for Uganda… A Ugandan government spokesperson told the BBC a decision on whether to hand him over would have to wait until a peace deal is signed between DR Congo and the M23 rebels, which is expected this weekend. [38]

International press reports after September 2013 described how Col Sultani Mukenga ‘surrendered’ to the Ugandan government and his possible imminent extradition to Congo: it seems the regime in Kampala had no intentions, ever, of surrendering Mukenga to Congo.  The BBC does not perform a public service in advancing such propaganda.  Indeed, the press widely raised disingenuous questions about Makenga’s fate, and the ‘tough diplomatic challenge’ faced by the government of Uganda.

By November 2013 the western mass media was reporting that the M23 ‘rebels’ had ‘surrendered in Uganda’ or ‘turned themselves in’ in Rwanda.  This is a stale ruse, since one does not ‘turn themselves in’ or ‘surrender’ to the people that they work with and to whom they swear eternal blood allegiance.

The arrest of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s notorious rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda removes a major impediment to peace in one of the world’s most war-torn countries,” cheered TIME Magazine on 23 January 2009.  ”The fact that he was arrested in Rwanda also helps the government of President Paul Kagame restore a reputation severely tarnished last month, when the U.N. accused it of arming and supplying men to Nkunda and using him as a proxy inside Congo. [39]

TIME magazine has played a pivotal role whitewashing all western military and western corporate mining plunder in Congo, and it hammers the tired and false establishment narrative about genocide in Rwanda.  According to this narrative, which legitimizes the ongoing genocide against Rwandan Hutu people, Kagame invaded the Congo (Zaire) in 1996 purely “to stamp out the Hutugenocidaires sheltering in Congo.” [40]  The false narrative turns Hutu victims into killers, and the mass murder of innocent Hutu people into what is supposed to be a just and necessary punishment. [41]

Rwandan troops, RCD, M23, Ugandan army, CNDP, they all work together: these names like M23 and MCRC are meaningless.”  Jean Paul Romeo Rugero is a Rwandan born Hutu in exile.  In July 1994, at the age of 15, he fled Rwanda with his family and he survived the Rwandan Patriotic Army genocide against hundreds of thousands of innocent non-combatant Hutu men, women and children in Congo.  ”The soldiers in these ‘rebel’ armies know no borders.  They have been in all these armies: NRA, UPDF, RPA, RCD, CNDP, M23.  They don’t see any borders, they don’t see any countries; they just see one big Tutsi-Hima land and that is what they are fighting for.

THE FARCE OF HOUSE ARREST

In January 2009 the western press was blanketed with stories describing how General Laurent Nkunda had been arrested in Gisenyi, Rwanda, and was placed under house arrest by the government of Rwanda.  The prevailing wisdom said that Nkunda had become too much of a political liability to his boss, Paul Kagame, who was loosing funding from international donors that were worried about Nkunda’s impact on western mining operations in Congo.

With Nkunda’s arrest in 2009, one story after another provided Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni with the international fanfare they needed to distance their regimes from what was then the latest bloody insurgency in eastern Congo, led by Rwandan and Ugandan forces under the name of the ‘Congolese Revolutionary Army’, more popularly known as ‘M23′.

“The arrest of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s notorious rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda removes a major impediment to peace in one of the world’s most war-torn countries,” wrote TIME Magazine in January 2009.

 ”The fact that he was arrested in Rwanda also helps the government of President Paul Kagame restore a reputation severely tarnished last month, when the U.N. accused it of arming and supplying men to Nkunda and using him as a proxy inside Congo.”

Attempts by the government of Congo to extradite Nkunda to Congo for trial after his arrest in Gisenyi, Rwanda were blocked by Kigali, who claimed that Nkunda was being held under house arrest, the propaganda line widely parroted by the international media.

Rwandan dissidents claimed that Nkunda was living comfortably in Rwanda.

A year after his supposed arrest Nkunda’s defense attorney, Canadian barrister Stephane Bourgon began claiming that Nkunda’s rights were being violated.  Bourgon claimed that Rwanda was keeping Nkunda illegally in ‘no-man’s land’ without charge and that the Rwandan government was blocking access to his client. [42]

Stephane Bourgon is also a Royal Canadian Military College graduate who served in the Canadian Forces for more than 20 years as logistics officer and military legal advisor. [43]  (Canadian General Romeo Dallaire supported the Rwandan Patriotic Army invasion of Rwanda 1993-1994.)

“Former Congolese warlord Laurent Nkunda is ready to face trial for alleged war crimes or go into exile to end his detention without charge in Rwanda,” Bourgon reported in an interview with Reuters news service in 2010. [44]

In 2012, stories about Rwandan warlord Bosco Ntaganda — Nkunda’s rival and successor warlord running M23 — briefly captured the international spotlight, and most of these routinely mentioned that General Laurent Nkunda was being held under house arrest in Rwanda.

Bosco CNDP-2.jpg

Image: Rwandan warlord Bosco Ntaganda with officers of CNDP/M23 in North Kivu. Photo: c. unknown.

In June 2012, Kagame responded to international criticism with threats to turn Nkunda loose on Congo.  Rwanda continued to refuse to hand Nkunda over to Congo to face charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and insurrection, with Kagame disingenuously claiming concerns that Nkunda would not get a fair trial and might simply be killed for his ethnicity.[45]

In July 2012, the US, Netherlands, Sweden and Germany withdrew or delayed disbursement of their budgetary support to Rwanda in protest of Rwanda’s alleged support for M23 Congolese rebels.

By late 2012 the subject of Laurent Nkunda has slipped off the international news scene.

ONWARD CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS

Beginning in mid-April 2015, hundreds of Uganda and Rwandan soldiers began infiltrating eastern Congo, crossing the border through the Virunga National Park and northern Lake Kivu region, to join the ranks of the latest Rwandan/Ugandan guerrilla occupation of eastern Congo.

On 22 April 2015, the Rwandan army crossed the border into North Kivu (DRC), wounding a Congolese soldier.[46]

Around the same time three United Nations officials reported that three mine-clearance workers were kidnapped at Kibumba, some 30 miles north of Goma, the provincial capital.  These were private agents working for a specialized private firm subcontracted by the UN anti-mine service, but name of the company that the three worked for was not mentioned in either the United Nations or the western press reports.  The men were identified as two Congolese and one foreigner, and they were kidnapped off a main road in Rutshuru, North Kivu, by what were believed to be Rwandans speaking Kinyarwanda.

“The three men disappeared as tension rose on the border with Rwanda, which sent troops into North Kivu in the same region near Kibumba, according to the DR Congo’s armed forces,” wrote AFP on 23 April 2015.  (The exact date of their kidnapping is unclear.) “One Congolese soldier was wounded in an exchange of fire on Wednesday, the army said.” [47]

The three landmine clearance personnel were working for the private South African de-mining firm MECHEM, a subsidiary of the South African aerospace and defense giant DENEL Land Systems.  DENEL MECHEM lists amongst its current clients the Pentagon private military firm RONCO Consulting Corporation, for which DENEL MECHEM has a contract at the Pentagon’s Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.[48]  MECHEM has also worked for its U.S. military client RONCO in Sudan.[49]

RONCO Corporation surfaced in the Great Lakes of Africa during the U.S. military invasions of Rwanda (1990-1994) and Zaire (1996-1998).  Billed as a corporation working in the ‘humanitarian’ sector, RONCO masquerades as a de-mining firm but employs ‘former’ U.S. Special Operations Forces.[50]  In 1994, ‘former’ Special Operations Forces working for RONCO Corporation provided military equipment and ferried RPA troops from Uganda to Rwanda during the western-backed coup d’etat led by Paul Kagame. [51]

Unidentified assailants believed to be soldiers from Rwanda or Uganda kidnapped three more civilians and four FARDC soldiers near Kibumba in North Kivu, DRC, in late April 2015.

Reports from Rwandan government opposition members claim that some 400 combatants of the Rwandan Defense Forces commanded by ‘Colonel Charles’ and ‘Colonel Mahire’ crossed the border through the Virunga National Park on the nights of 5 and 6 May 2015.[52]

On 5 May 2015, two Tanzanian peacekeepers with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO) special Force Intervention Brigade were killed and thirteen others were wounded in an attack that MONUSCO blamed on ‘suspected Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) Islamist rebels’. [53]

Another four MONUSCO ‘blue helmet’ soldiers from the United Republic of Tanzania were reported missing.  This was the second reported attack on MONUSCO forces in the eastern North Kivu region in 48 hours after unidentified combatants fired on helicopter carrying a senior commander.[54]

On 9 May 2015 AFP reported the discovery of seven bodies in North Kivu.  The head of a local civil society organization complained that authorities had been alerted about armed men circulating in the area but the reports had not been taken seriously.[55]

The AFP news service reported that “[t]he incident was the latest in a spate of unrest that has included a UN helicopter coming under fire, and at least 20 soldiers and rebels dying in clashes.”  In other AFP reports, the violence was attributed to anti-Ugandan ADF rebels: AFP credited a FARDC spokesman saying that FARDC troops recently killed 16 ADF rebels in two days of clashes in the region.

“The Muslim rebels of the ADF, who launched an insurgency in neighboring Uganda against President Yoweri Museveni in the mid-1990s, are accused of killing more than 260 civilians in and around Beni town between October and December last year. Most of the victims were hacked to death, in atrocities that prompted a joint operation by the Congolese army and UN troops to put down the jihadist fighters in December.”[56a]

The attribution of ALL violence in Congo to ‘Islamist rebels’ of the ADF or Rwandan genocidaires from the Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) is generally a propaganda tactic: the ADF and FDLR are routinely blamed for violence that is as often as not perpetrated by government forces from Uganda or Rwanda.  The ADF, FDLR, and Lord’s Resistance Army are the west’s go-to bogeymen, used to justify further military interventions, militarization and spying by the regimes in Rwandan and Uganda.

Also, MONUSCO is apparently blaming the killing of the Tanzanian ‘blue helmets’ on ADF so that MONUSCO will not have to contradict their own former statements that they did not notice any Ugandan or Rwandan troop movements coming across the border in April 2015.

“Re-emergence of Rwandan rebel group in eastern DRC raises risks of border fighting and attacks on UN,” reported Jane’s Intelligence Weekly on 11 May 2015.  Since August 2014, the UN mission in DRC has also alleged the M23 is rearming and regrouping, although M23 president Bertrand Bisimwa has dismissed the claims.  DRC officials report that in late April around 300 M23 armed members crossed into DRC’s Beni territory from Uganda, after at least 1000 M23 members in December 2014 fled a Ugandan barracks in Bihanga where they had been temporarily stationed.” [56b]

In early May at least 50 civilians were ‘kidnapped’ from Nyiragongo territory, near Goma.  As of late May there was no news of their whereabouts, and they may have been ‘disappeared’; there was no reporting in the international media.

According to a reliable source in eastern Congo, by early May 2015 General Laurent Nkunda was reported to be behind a military buildup in Masisi, North Kivu, with his soldiers based in Rutshuru, Masisi and Walikale.  By mid May 2015 there were reports of many hundreds of ‘unidentified’ guerrillas moving around Masisi territory in North Kivu.

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Image: DRC President Kanambe’s alias Kabila’s elite Republican Guards.
Photo: keith harmon snow c. 2006

Working with local Congolese Mai Mai warlord Ntabo Ntaberi Cheka, General Nkunda and the MCRC had reportedly been targeting gold, cassiterite, coltan and tourmaline mines mainly in Masisi and Walikale.

Other sources in North Kivu could not confirm Nkunda’s presence, but they believe that Nkunda is the ‘big commander’ behind the new MCRC rebellion.

So, where is Laurent Nkunda?  And who is behind the Christian Movement for the Reconstruction of Congo (MCRC)?

From 2013 to the present day hundreds of thousands of non-combatant civilians have been displaced from their homes and villages in North Kivu province (alone).  Charged with numerous crimes documented over the past 20 years, Laurent Nkunda is allegedly allowed to freely roam back and forth between Rwanda and Uganda for high levels meetings where latest guerilla warfare campaign in eastern Congo was planned.

The MCRC insurgency flagged the attention of the U.S. propaganda Voice of America network, and the Rwanda regime’s propaganda network has issued one disinformation report about them.

“Authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo say armed men have crossed into the country from Uganda and set up bases in Beni territory,” reported Voice of America on 27 April 2015.  “A local community leader told VOA they may be Congolese rebels, part of the same movement reported to have crossed the Rwandan border into the DRC last week.” [57]

On 2 May 2015 the Kagame regime’s military intelligence newspaper Imirasire confirmed what Kigali wants to paint as a ‘new Congolese rebellion’ in eastern Congo.  The slant of the publication is intended to appeal to the Rwandan public to read between the lines and understand that the government of Rwanda supports the ‘rebellion’.

“News coming from North Kivu indicate[s] that a new rebel group composed of former M23 and CNDP fighters has been created, as the Governor of North Kivu declared to the press.  The Governor said that there has been a series of secret meetings to create the group, which by now has gone public and announced its leadership.  This has stirred up a new wave of insecurity in Eastern DRC.” [58]

Imirasire is a Kinyarwanda language publication run by the Kagame regime’s Directorate of Military Intelligence.  Operatives working for the Directorate of Military Intelligence are known for committing brutal massacres, assassinations, abductions and disappearing of dissidents, human rights defenders, journalists, persons not in favor with the regime, and innocent civilians.

The report in Imirasire appeared under a Kinyarwanda language headline that translates to: “DRC: MCRC rebel group has been made public and announced its leadership with General Laurent Nkunda as head of its military branch.” [59]

Speaking on MONUSCO’s Radio Okapi on 24 April 2015 and alerting the general population to the latest threat from Rwanda and Uganda, the governor of North Kivu, Julien Paluku, described the recent military incursions as an attempt by the former Rwandan/Ugandan guerrilla M23 insurgency to re-launch their armed movement under a new name, the Christian Movement for the Reconstruction of the Congo (MCRC).

In late April and early May 2015 Governor Paluku denounced ‘the meetings held in Uganda and Rwanda to destabilize Congo.’ Given the heightened insecurity the Governor announced that he had deployed the Congolese army to border posts to secure the country.  But by the time of the attack against Goma, on 2 June 2015, Governor Paluku is singing a different tune, likely ordered by the regime in Kinshasa to suppress the truth about the new Rwandan and Ugandan insurrection. [60]

The MCRC also has a Facebook page that appears to have been created in April 2015.  The page’s ‘description’ includes the statement “The reconstruction of our country long plundered by Congolese” and several very nondescript posts proclaim: “we are already among you.” [61]

CHRISTIANS FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF CONGO

According to various sources, General Laurent Nkunda and Sultani Makenga traveled to Uganda to attend an MCRC organizational meeting at the Bunyoni Overland Resort Hotel in Kabale, Uganda on 25 April 2015.  The participants at the meeting established the political and military structures of the MCRC guerilla insurgency, including the selection of president, pastor Kahitari Mumvaneza, who then chaired the meeting.

The MCRC’s political wing will be led by:

    • * Kahitari Mumvaneza: President;
    • * Bertrand Bisimwa: Vice-president;
    • * Benjamin Mbonimpa: Executive Secretary;
    • * Master Mutela Eli: Chief of Staff.

The MCRC’s military wing will be led by:

    • * Laurent Nkunda Mihigo: Chief of General Staff;
    • * Sultani Makenga: Chief of Military Operations;
    • * Mboneza Yusufu: Deputy Chief of Operations And Information;
    • * Ermain Bahame: Deputy Chief of Administration And Logistics;
    • * Innocent Kayina: Deputy Chief of Military Operations;
    • * Innocent Zimurinda-Katusi: Commander of Rwanda axis;
    • * Richard Bisamaza: Commander of Uganda axis;
    • * Secopere Mihigo: Chief of Military Intelligence.

MCRC leaders are reported to have ties to Canada, France, the U.S. and Rwanda and their links to Rwanda and Uganda are known.  For example, Lt. Col. Innocent Zimurinda was an officer in the CNDP who remains loyal to Bosco Ntaganda. Zimurinda was integrated into the FARDC as a Lieutenant Colonel, and in July 2009 Zimurinda was promoted to full Colonel and became FARDC sector commander in North Kivu.

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Image: Rwandan warlord Sultani Makenga. Photo: c. unknown.

“It is very clear that as long as Kagame and Museveni are in power this area of Congo will be ungovernable.”  Rwandan professor Jean-Marie Vianney Higiro points to the source of the violence.

 ”Uganda and Rwanda thrive on the illegal exploitation of minerals and illegal taxation.  They will keep fomenting rebellion and whenever the subject of illegal exploitation of minerals is raised at the United Nations they have the diplomatic cover [protection] of the United States and United Kingdom.” [62]

All these Rwandan and Ugandan terrorist militias, from the AFDL-CZ, RCD, CNDP to the M23, have attempted to camouflage their Rwandan and Ugandan identities by initially placing authentic Congolese leaders out in the spotlight: e.g. Laurent Desire Kabila (AFDL-CZ), Wamba dia Wamba (RCD), Emile Ilunga (RCD), Onusumba Yamba (RCD), Laurent Nkunda.

Also, ‘Banyamulenge’, the term for Congolese Tutsis, does not exist in the nomenclature of tribes and ethnic groups of the Congo.  Most of the Kinyarwanda speaking communities in eastern DRC and northern Rwanda originally had Hutu traditional leadership.  The category Banyamulenge comprises many Tutsis who fled Rwanda during the Rwandan Independence era (circa 1959-1965).

Until the aggression by Rwanda and Uganda in 1990 sparked conflict in neighboring Zaire (Congo), partly fanned by Zaire’s president Mobutu, the Kinyarwanda speaking communities (Banyamulenge) in eastern DRC were not known for the Tutsi-Hutu ethnic dichotomy that has devastated the Great Lakes region: this was stirred up by the Tutsi-Hima elites in Uganda and Rwanda.  Ethnic and tribal division, discord and destabilization were all part of a systematic and intentional plan to invade and conquer.

By early June 2015, the many hundreds of ‘unidentified’ Rwandan and Ugandan guerrillas, believed to be the new MCRC, were no more reported in Masisi territory.  The forces reportedly split in three parts.  One contingent part was sent to join Mai Mai Cheka in the remote forests of Walikale; the second joined Gen Kakolele in Rutshuru near the border with Uganda; and the third contingent is reportedly in Rwanda with General Laurent Nkunda.

MODERN DAY WHITE MERCENARIES

“People are killed every day, here and there,” says one Congolese human rights investigator in eastern Congo.

 ”U.S. intelligence agents and the organizations they work with produce disinformation favorable to Rwanda and Uganda.  These guys are on someone’s payroll and they have enough money to throw around to their own networks of informants in the Great Lakes region.”

The U.S. and its allies, primarily Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Germany, Holland and Israel, are all part of the networks of multinational interests plundering the natural resources of the Great Lakes countries.  The corporations involved in eastern Congo are never mentioned, and no pictures are ever shown of their networks of exploitation that exist in parallel and coincidence with the violence.

The corporations operating in eastern Congo protected by the media and western intelligence apparatus, but soaked in Congolese blood, include Banro Gold, Casa Mining, Mwana Africa, Loncor, Anglo-Gold Ashanti, Kilo Gold, Moku Gold, Randgold and Alphamin Resources.

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Image: BANRO GOLD Corporation runs a clean, shiny, well-organized mining operation in South Kivu, a parallel economy to the bloodshed, despair and death served on Congolese people. Photo: c. Banro Gold Corporation.

Israeli Dan Gertler – one of the Congo’s greatest current enemies — has bought up petroleum operations in the lakes regions on the Uganda-Congo frontier.  Gertler’s political allies in power in Israel have been making deals with Rwanda.  Another Israeli has been awarded oil-drilling rights in Virunga National Park just in the past two weeks after Canadian oil company SOCO International pulled out under public pressure.

Corporations like Alphamin promise to provide community development programs, with all kinds of publicity of their supposed largesse and generosity. Usually these are cheap exchanges, the equivalent of trinkets for land and minerals, the legacy of colonial occupation and theft.

On 10 June 2015, communities dispossessed of lands and livelihoods by Banro Gold in South Kivu began to confront Banro Gold for the substandard homes provided by Banro. “There is trouble in Luhwindja where Banro is exploiting,” reported one Congolese human rights investigator on 10 June 2015. “Banro did nothing to help the locals. The houses they [Banro] built are falling down because people had to abandon them. People are dying from pollution.”

The operations of the big mining companies present in eastern Congo are completely whitewashed by the western press and western mercenaries and intelligence front group organizations like the International Crises Group, International Rescue Committee, ENOUGH, Raise Hope For Congo, the U.S. Committee for Refugees and the Social Science Research Council.[63]

The reappearance on the ground in Congo of these Rwandan warlords illuminates the apparatus of impunity involving western governments, non-government front organizations, the United Nations, multinational corporations, think tanks, western academia, the genocide industry, and the industries that profit through the creation of careers and markets for the euphemistically named AID, charity, humanitarian relief, conflict-resolution, and development industries.   None of these latter industries would flourish without the market-based manufacture of suffering, despair, disease and deracination, or the market-based production of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

As it with the western human rights corpus “that keeps intact the hierarchical relationships between European and non-European populations,” [64] so it is with all these other industries.  Suffering is big business. ~

 Notes:

[1] Private Communication, June 2015.[2] Aaron Ross and Kenny Katombe, ”Gunmen attack airport in eastern Congo, seven dead, Reuters, 2 June 2015.http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/06/02/us-congodemocratic-fighting-idUSKBN0OI0U920150602[3] Gunmen launch deadly raid on airport depot in DR Congo, AFP, 2 June 2015, https://www.c4defence.com/en/afp-mail-drcongo-unrest-army-airport/ .[4] DRC arrests ‘leader’ of Goma airport attack, Reuters, 3 June 2015,http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/DRC-arrests-leader-of-Goma-airport-attack-20150603.[5] Keith Harmon Snow, “Ben Affleck, Rwanda, and Corporate Sustained Catastrophe,” Dissident Voice, 23 January 2009,http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/01/ben-affleck-rwanda-and-corporate-sustained-catastrophe/ .[6] David Barouski, “The Case of the Lueshe Mine, Z Communications, 27 July 2008, https://zcomm.org/zcommentary/the-case-of-the-lueshe-mine-by-david-barouski/.[7] Keith Harmon Snow, “More Congo Propaganda: M23 and the Unseen High-Tech Genocide,” Conscious Being Alliance, 8 November 2013, http://www.consciousbeingalliance.com/2013/11/m23-rebels-and-high-tech-genocide-in-congo/[8] http://alphaminresources.com/

[9] DRC arrests ‘leader’ of Goma airport attack, Reuters, 3 June 2015,http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/DRC-arrests-leader-of-Goma-airport-attack-20150603

[10] Private communication, June 2015.[11] DRC arrests ‘leader’ of Goma airport attack, Reuters, 3 June 2015,http://www.news24.com/Africa/News/DRC-arrests-leader-of-Goma-airport-attack-20150603[12] Private communication, June 2015.[13a] ”Military says lull in DRC fighting,” AP, 6 September 2013. [13b] Congolese Police arrests armed rebels who attacked Goma International Airport, Imirasire, 5 June 2015, http://eng.imirasire.com/news/all-around/in-rwanda/article/congolese-police-arrests-armed : Verbatim: <<<Congolese police on Thursday said they have arrested 32 people on charges of attacking the international airport in Goma, capital of north-eastern North Kivu province.Fighters belonging to a new rebel group headed by a former regional politician, Celestin Malonga, were pushed back on Monday by the army and members of the presidential guard who were based at the airport.However, one rebel and four members of the presidential guard were killed.Meanwhile, the reasons for the attack were not clear but officials and analysts said the rebels may have wanted to prevent guests from arriving for a regional economic forum or that they may simply have wanted to loot goods at the airport.Malonga, who was arrested near the Rwandan border, told newsmen that he was fighting the government of President Joseph Kabila, because it had lent a deaf ear to his demands.He did not give details on what the demands were.Malonga’s Union of Congolese Patriots for Peace (UCPC), said it has about 100 members, is just one among dozens of armed groups operating in eastern Congo.The region had been ravaged by violence since the 1996 to 2003 Congo wars.Report says many of the armed groups do not focus on ideological causes, but seek control over the region’s rich natural resources.>>> [14] Private communication, June 2015.[15] Steve Hege, Letter dated 26 November 2012 from the Coordinator of the Group of Experts on the DRC addressed to the Chairman, S/AC.43/2012/GE/OC.63, 26 November 2012.[16] Security Council Democratic Republic of Congo Sanctions Committee Updates Sanctions List, 6 February 2015, http://www.un.org/press/en/2015/sc11772.doc.htm[17] ”Nord-Kivu: arrestation d’un officier des FARDC à Beni,” Radio Okapi, 10 December 2013, http://radiookapi.net/actualite/2013/12/10/nord-kivu-arrestation-dun-officier-des-fardc-beni/

[18] ”Nord Kivu : Les éléments du Chef rebelle Tcheka saccagent la localité de Bunyatenge, enlèvent, violent et tuent des femmes et enfants,” GADHOP, 17 September 2014, http://www.gadhop.org/nord-kivu-les-elements-du-chef-rebelle-tcheka-saccagent-la-localite-de-bunyatenge-enlevent-violent-et-tuent-des-femmes-et-enfants/
[19] ”RDC: 3 morts dans les combats entre Maï-Maï Cheka et FDLR à Lubero,” Radio Okapi, 7 March 2015,http://radiookapi.net/actualite/2015/03/07/rdc-3-morts-dans-les-combats-entre-mai-mai-cheka-et-fdlr-a-lubero/
[20] HRW reporting on human rights is expedient.  Like Care, Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, and the International Crises Group and its ENOUGH Project, HRW operates in a political economy of human rights and genocide that centers around the protection and advancement of western profit-based interests, often whitewashing western mining and military operations.
[21] DR Congo: Wanted Rebel’s Troops Instill Fear, Human Rights Watch, 6 January 2015.
[22] See, e.g.: Olga Abilova et al, Mining for Gold, Mining for Peace: The role of gold mining in peace and development in eastern DRC, Center for International Conflict Resolution, Columbia University, October 2014, p. 56, http://www.cicr-columbia.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/DRC-Final-Report-Jan-28-2015.pdf .
[23] See, e.g.,: “Alphamin Receives Strong Support from the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to Develop Its Bisie Tin Prospect,” Marketwatch, 25 July 2014,http://www.marketwatch.com/story/alphamin-receives-strong-support-from-the-government-of-the-democratic-republic-of-congo-to-develop-its-bisie-tin-prospect-2014-07-25-111733419
[24] Jeremy C. Witley et al, Alphamin Resources Corporation Bisie Tin Project North Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo, MSA Group, NI 43-101 Technical Report, 10 May 2015, http://alphaminresources.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/J2878%20Alphamin%20Bisie%20Tin%20Project%20NI%2043-101%20MRE%2010-05-2015_Final%20V2.pdf
[25] Private communication, June 2015.
[26] Alison Des Forges, D.R. Congo: Arrest Laurent Nkunda For War Crimes: Military and U.N. Should Act to Protect Civilians, Human Rights Watch, 2 February 2006.
[27] Keith Harmon Snow, “Special Report: Exposing U.S. Agents of Low-Intensity Warfare in Africa,” Conscious Being Alliance, 13 August 2012.
[28a] Keith Harmon Snow, “Special Report: Exposing U.S. Agents of Low-Intensity Warfare in Africa,” Conscious Being Alliance, 13 August 2012. http://www.consciousbeingalliance.com/2012/08/us-agents-of-covert-war-in-africa/[28b] On ‘pseudo-operations’ see: Frank Kitson, Low Intensity Operations: Subversion, Insurgency & Peacekeeping, Faber & Faber, 1971.
[29] See, e.g., Keith Harmon Snow, “The Rwanda Genocide Fabrications,” Dissident Voice, 13 April 2009, http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/04/the-rwanda-genocide-fabrications/
[30] Personal investigations, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2004-2007.
[31] DRC: Mapping Human Rights Violations 1993-2003, United Nations,http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/RDCProjetMapping.aspx
[32] Alison Des Forges, D.R. Congo: Arrest Laurent Nkunda For War Crimes: Military and U.N. Should Act to Protect Civilians, Human Rights Watch, 2 February 2006.
[33] The United Nations Force Intervention Brigade is a military formation which forms part of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).  It was authorized by the United Nations Security Council on 28 March 2013 through United Nations Security Council Resolution 2098.  The FIB is the first United Nations peacekeeping formation specifically tasked to carry out targeted offensive operations to neutralize armed groups that threaten State authority and civilian security, with or without the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC), against armed groups that threaten peace in the eastern DRC. The brigade is based in North Kivu and is made up of a total of 3,069 peacekeepers.  The brigade consists of South African ArmyTanzanian Army, and Malawi Defence Force infantry battalions, Tanzanian artillery, and Special Forces (nationality unidentified).
[34] http://ikazeiwacu.fr/2013/06/29/les-generaux-rwandais-tutsi-qui-dirigent-fardc-larmee-congolaise/Les généraux rwandais tutsi qui dirigent FARDC, l’Armée Congolaise, 29 Juin 2013.
[35] Dr. Yaa-Lengi Ngemi, “Kagame’s Trojan Horse in Kinshasa,” OP-ED, New York Times, 29 November 2012,http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/11/29/stabilizing-the-democratic-republic-of-congo/kagames-trojan-horse-in-kinshasa . 
[36] David Baruoski, Laurent Nkundabatware, His Rwandan Allies, and the Ex-ANC Mutiny, 13 February 2007, http://nointervention.com/archive/Africa/DRCongo/LKandexANC.pdf
[37] Farouk Chothia, “Profile: Sultani Makenga, DR Congo’s M23 rebel leader,” BBC, 7 November 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-24849919
[38] Farouk Chothia, “Profile: Sultani Makenga, DR Congo’s M23 rebel leader,” BBC, 7 November 2013, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-24849919
[39] Alex Perry, “Behind Rwanda’s Arrest of Nkunda,” TIME, 23 January 2009, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1873613,00.html
[40] Alex Perry, “Behind Rwanda’s Arrest of Nkunda,” TIME, 23 January 2009, http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1873613,00.html
[41] Keith Harmon Snow, “White Slaughter in Black Africa: Genocide and Denialism,” Conscious Being Alliance, 11 May 2013, http://www.consciousbeingalliance.com/2013/05/white-slaughter-in-black-africa-the-politics-of-genocide-denialism/
[42] Hereward Holland, “Congo warlord Nkunda seeks trial or exile: lawyer,” Reuters, 15 January 2010.
[44] Hereward Holland, “Congo warlord Nkunda seeks trial or exile: lawyer,” Reuters, 15 January 2010.
[45] Gaaki Kigambo, “Congo war risk as Kagame threatens to release Nkunda,” The East African, 23 June 2012, http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/Congo-war-risk-as-Kagame-threatens-to-release-Nkunda/-/2558/1434030/-/item/0/-/vxk84nz/-/index.html
[46] Aaron Ross, “Rwandan troops cross into Congo, wound soldier – Congo government,” Reuters, 22 April 2015, http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/22/us-congodemocratic-rwanda-idUSKBN0ND2OD20150422
[47] ”Kidnapped trio in DR Congo are subcontractors to UN mission: UN,” AFP, 23 April 2015, http://news.yahoo.com/three-members-un-mission-kidnapped-eastern-dr-congo-201336937.html .
[48] ”Running Projects,” DENEL MECHEM web site, 5 June 2015, http://www.mechemdemining.com/projects/running-projects
[49] ”Track Record,” DENEL web site, 5 June 2015, http://www.mechemdemining.com/projects/track-record
[50] See, e.g.: Joseph M. Donahue, The U.S. Army’s Countermine Training Support Center and Humanitarian Demining Training Center, Survey Action Center, The Journal of ERW and Mine Action, Issue 5.1, April 2001, http://www.jmu.edu/cisr/journal/5.1/Focus/Joe_Donahue/donahue.html
[51] On Ronco Company shipping weapons into Rwanda: see testimony by Kathi Austin, Hearing of the House International Relations Committee, 16 July 1997.
[52] ”RDC: Une Autre Incursion de L’armee Rwandais; 400 soldats ont traverse la Frontiere,” Ikaze Iwaku, 6 Mai 2015,http://ikazeiwacu.fr/2015/05/06/rdc-une-autre-incursion-de-larmee-rwandaise-400-soldats-ont-traverse-la-frontiere/
[53] Unsigned, “Tanzanian UN peacekeepers killed in DR Congo near Beni,” BBC, 6 May 2015,http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-32605771
[54] ”UN deplores deadly attack on ‘blue helmets’ in DR Congo,” UN News Centre, 6 May 2015, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=50780#.VUymMtpVhBc
[55] AFP, “Seven Bodies Found in DR Congo’s Restive East,” Daily Mail, 9 May 2015, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-3074610/Seven-bodies-DR-Congos-restless-east.html
[56a] AFP, “UN Peacekeepers Killed in Ambush in Democratic Republic of Congo,” ABC News, 5 May 2015, http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-05-06/democratic-republic-of-congo-un-peacekeepers-killed-in-ambush/6448104[56b] Robert Besseling, “Re-emergence of Rwandan rebel group in eastern DRC raises risk of border fighting and attacks on UN,” IHS Jane’s Intelligence Weekly, 11 MAy 2015, http://www.janes.com/article/51348/re-emergence-of-rwandan-rebel-group-in-eastern-drc-raises-risk-of-border-fighting-and-attacks-on-un 
[57] Nick Long, “Armed Men from Uganda Reported in DRC,” Voice of America, 27 April 2015,http://www.voanews.com/content/armed-men-from-uganda-reported-in-drc/2736396.html .
[58] ”RDC: Umutwe wa MCRC wagiye ku mugaragaro utangaza n’ubuyobozi bwawo na Gen Laurent Nkunda nk’umukuru w’igisirikare cyawo” [translation: "DRC: MCRC rebel group has been made public and announced its leadership with Gen Laurent Nkunda as head of its military branch"], Imirasire, 2 May 2015, http://imirasire.com/amakuru-yose/amakuru-mashya/hanze-y-u-rwanda/article/muri-kongo-havutse-undi-mutwe-wa-gikirisitu-urwanya-leta-ya-kabila
[59] ”RDC: Umutwe wa MCRC wagiye ku mugaragaro utangaza n’ubuyobozi bwawo na Gen Laurent Nkunda nk’umukuru w’igisirikare cyawo” [translation: "DRC: MCRC rebel group has been made public and announced its leadership with Gen Laurent Nkunda as head of its military branch"], Imirasire, 2 May 2015, http://imirasire.com/amakuru-yose/amakuru-mashya/hanze-y-u-rwanda/article/muri-kongo-havutse-undi-mutwe-wa-gikirisitu-urwanya-leta-ya-kabila
[60] ”Nord-Kivu: les FARDC sont déployées pour sécuriser les frontières, annonce Julien Paluku avril 24, 2015,” Radio Okapi, 24 April 2015, http://radiookapi.net/actualite/2015/04/24/nord-kivu-les-fardc-seront-deployees-pour-securiser-les-frontieres-annonce-julien-paluku/
[62] Private communication, 5 May 2015.
[64] Makau Mutua, Human Rights: A Political and Cultural Critique, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002: p.7.

The Rush to a New Cold War

June 21st, 2015 by Dennis Bernstein

A new Cold War has taken shape between nuclear-armed Russia and the United States with very little public debate, just a return to hostile rhetoric and military moves and counter-moves over Ukraine, an issue that journalist Robert Parry has followed over the past year and a half.

Parry, a longtime Washington-based investigative reporter and editor of Consortiumnews.com, was interviewed about the crisis by Dennis J. Bernstein for Pacifica Radio’s Flashpoint program.

DB: It looks like the U.S., with Barack Obama leading the charge, has entered what you call “the second cold war.” What do you mean by the second cold war?

RP:  There has been a sharp increase in tension, obviously, between the United States and Russia. We’ve seen a very divergent way of looking at the problem. The United States and mainstream media have taken a very propagandist view of what occurred in Ukraine. The Russians have taken a very different view, which, perhaps to our amazement, is more accurate than what the United States is saying.

Because of these two divergent narratives, the countries have essentially plunged back into a cold war, where there’s a lot of hostility, threats of military escalations, with the U.S. sending military teams to essentially parade along the western border of Russia. Some of those countries are NATO allies, and others, like Ukraine, may want to become a NATO ally.

So these tensions are building up, that oddly don’t have much direct connection to U.S. national interests, but have become a kind of cause célèbre in Official Washington where everyone just wants to stand tough against the Russians and bash Putin. It’s become almost a self-perpetuating dynamic.

The Russians have taken a very different perspective, which is that the United States is encroaching on its borders and threatening them in a strategic manner. They also look at what happened in Ukraine very differently. They see a U.S.-backed coup d’état in February 2014 that ousted an elected president and put in a regime that is very supportive of free market, neo-liberal policies, but also includes very strong right-wing elements, including neo-Nazis and far-right nationalists. A crisis was created and tensions continue to spiral out of control.

DB: Let’s talk about the origins of this cold war rhetoric. First, we have Barack Obama leading the charge. He has become a real cold warrior, hasn’t he?

RP: He’s certainly allowed some of his underlings to use very aggressive rhetoric against the Russians, particularly Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who led the charge in supporting the coup in Ukraine in early 2014.

DB: When you say coup, most people don’t know that occurred. Was there a coup?

RP:  Of course there was. There was an armed uprising that involved some very far right neo-Nazi militias that had been organizing and penetrating into what became the Maidan protests against the decision by the elected President Yanukovych not to go ahead quickly with an association with the European Union. That became increasingly violent; including some mysterious sniper attacks killing police and demonstrators, and getting the two sides to go at each other.

There was a political effort on Feb. 21, 2014, where Yanukovych agreed to reduce his powers and have early elections so he could be elected out of office. It was signed by three European countries to guarantee it. The next day there was a coup. These right-wing groups surged forward, seizing buildings, and Yanukovych barely escaped with his life.

Very quickly, despite the very unconstitutional nature of this change of power, the United States and European Union recognized this as legitimate. But it was obviously something the ethnic Russians, especially those in the eastern and southern Ukraine, found objectionable. They were the bases of support for Yanukovych, so they began to rise up, and this coup d’état then merged into a civil war.

DB: You have previously said the U.S. played an active role in this “coup.”

RP: There’s no question. The U.S. was supporting, through the National Endowment for Democracy, scores of political organizations that were working to overthrow the elected government. There were other U.S. entities, like USAID, as well as members of the U.S. government. Sen. John McCain went to Kiev, spoke to this very right-wing group, and said the U.S. supports you and what you are doing.

Then there was the famous phone conversation that was intercepted between Assistant Secretary of State Nuland and Ambassador Jeffrey Pyatt where they discussed who was going to take over after the change of power. Nuland put forward that Yatsenyuk “is the guy,” who after the coup became the prime minister. There were all the markings of a coup d’état. More neutral observers, who have looked at this, including the head of the Stratfor think tank (George Friedman), have called it the most obvious coup he’s ever seen.

That was the reality, but the U.S. news media and U.S. government chose to present it in a very different way. The Yanukovych government just left the scene, or something, is how the New York Times presented it. That wasn’t real, but that’s how they sold it to the American people.

We have two very distinct ways of looking at this. One is the ethnic Russians of Ukraine who saw their president violently overthrown, and the other is the western Ukrainians, backed by the U.S., and in some degree the European Union, saying they got rid of a corrupt leader, through a revolution, if you will. That became the core problem between the U.S. and Russians. Instead of finding common factual points to agree on, there are these two distinctly different narratives about what went on there.

DB: In Germany, recently, Obama himself carried this forward.

RP: Obama has been all over the map on this. In May, he sent Secretary of State Kerry to meet with President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov in Sochi, Russia. Those meetings, by all accounts, went very well in that Kerry was looking for Russian help on a variety of international problems, including Syria, Libya, the Iranian nuclear talks, and so forth. These are areas where Putin has been very helpful in the past in terms of U.S. policy. There was a general meeting of the minds, it seemed.

But after Kerry returned, Obama seemed to swing back, to go more with his hard-liners. That was followed by the recent G7 Summit in Bavaria, at which Obama pushed for a continuation of economic sanctions against Russia. He continued to blame Russia for all the problems of Ukraine. He pretended that the Russians were the problem for why the Minsk 2 Peace Accord had not been going forward, even though the accord was essentially Putin’s idea that he sold to the Germans and the French. It’s really the Kiev regime that has tried to derail the Minsk 2 agreement from the very time it was signed.

Yet Obama took aggressive positions in Bavaria, including personal insults directed at Putin. Now we are back into this idea that we must have a confrontation with Russia. We’re seeing this play out not just at the government level, but now also at the media level. At the more popular level, the New York Times and other major news organizations essentially are acting as propaganda agents for the U.S. government, by simply conveying whatever the government says as fact, and not something to be checked out.

DB: You are saying this as somebody who is based outside the Beltway, correct?

RP: No, I’m actually inside the Beltway.

DB: Good, I feel better now that you’re in there. Where could this kind of policy lead? You’ve expressed concerns that we are dealing with two major nuclear powers. We have a man in Russia who will not be fooled with public relations, given that he was a master of it as head of the KGB. So where is this going?

RP: It has very dangerous possibilities. One hopes, of course, that cooler heads will prevail. But we see that when people paint themselves into corners, they sometimes don’t want to get into the embarrassment of getting themselves out. The more rhetoric and propaganda you throw into this, the harder it is for people to come to some common ground, reach an agreement and work things out.

There’s been this idea among the neoconservatives in Washington, for some time now, that the real goal here is to oust Putin. As Carl Gershman, president of the National Endowment for Democracy, said back in 2013, Ukraine is “the biggest prize.” But he made clear that it was simply a stepping-stone to removing Putin as the President of Russia, doing some sort of regime change in Moscow.

What the neo-cons often fail to understand, as we’ve seen very painfully in places like Iraq, is they think things are going to be easy, they can simply put in somebody like Chalabi in Baghdad and everything will work out fine. But that often isn’t the way it goes. In the case of Russia, the great danger is that if the U.S. could de-stabilize Russia, somehow create a political crisis there, it’s very possible that instead of an easily manipulated person like Yeltsin, there would be a super hard-line nationalist taking over, taking a harder line than Putin. Then you can get into a situation where a nuclear confrontation would become a very real possibility.

To deal with that kind of dangerous reality and be reasonable, the U.S. needs to realize that the ethnic Russians in Ukraine have a legitimate beef, and they are not simply part of a Russian invasion or aggression. Both sides have some argument here. All the truth does not rest in Washington DC and I would argue that less of it rests in Washington DC. If you don’t deal with people honestly and straightforwardly, and try to understand their concern, a manageable crisis can turn into one that spins out of control.

DB: I have always thought that to some degree that the New York Times and Washington Post, on foreign policy issues, particularly East and West, have often acted as a wing, an arm, a public relations division of the State Department. Is that getting worse?

RP:  Yes, it’s been a problem. In 2002 and 2003, the Washington Post and New York Times essentially led the drive for believing that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and the only answer was to invade Iraq. We’ve seen what that led to. The great irony here is that as much as the Washington press corps pretends it stands for truth and all these good things, there was virtually no accountability assessed upon people who misreported that story.

It’s true that there’s safety in numbers. All the important journalists got the story wrong and almost none of them were punished. They were allowed to go on, many in the same positions that they held then. Michael Gordon is still the Pentagon correspondent for the New York Times. He was one of the co-authors of the famous aluminum tube story, that these tubes being used for nuclear centrifuges, when they weren’t fit for that at all. Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor of the Washington Post, said as flat fact that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction back in 2002 and 2003. He’s still in the same job.

There’s a problem of no accountability, so many of these news organizations go from one catastrophic inability to report honestly about what is going on in the world, to the next. Now they’ve upped the ante to a possible confrontation between nuclear-armed Russia and nuclear-armed United States. We are now back into the cold war mentality. The New York Times had a piece this week essentially suggesting that anybody who doesn’t go along with the U.S. version of events must be working for Moscow.

We are starting to see McCarthyism rear its ugly head as well. Once you get into these kinds of propaganda wars, anyone who challenges or questions them has their patriotism questioned. We saw that somewhat in Iraq when people who questioned the WMD story early were called Saddam apologists. Now we’re seeing something similar happening. If you point out some of these inconvenient facts that don’t make the Kiev regime look too good, you’re accused of being a stooge of Moscow.

DB: I am concerned that this kind of policy is going to continue. And it’s not Saddam Hussein now, but Vladimir Putin, who has extreme experience, about how to play public relations games. And he has a nuclear arsenal, so it’s a whole different game here.

RP: The American propaganda barrage has not at all swayed the Russian people and government. Of course, the U.S. says they are all being propagandized by Russia Today and other Russian networks. Frankly, one can argue with some ways some things have been reported by RT or other Russian sources, but they have been doing a more accurate, on-the-ground job than the U.S. press corps has been.

You can point to a number of egregious major mistakes made by the major US news organizations. The New York Times went along with a bogus photograph from spring 2014 supposedly showing Russian troops in Ukraine. It turned out that some of the photographs were misrepresented and did not show what they were supposed to show. They [the Times writers] were forced to retract that.

You can point to factual errors on both sides, but it’s not something where the U.S., as the New York Times tries to present it, is perfect and hasn’t presented anything improperly, while the Russian media are all lies and propaganda. It’s not true. But it’s getting to the point where you cannot be a reasonable person, or look at things objectively, because you are pushed into taking sides.

That’s where journalism is a very dangerous thing – especially here. There was a lot of dangerous reporting during the cold war that in some cases pushed the two sides into dangerous confrontations.  That can happen again. We were lucky to escape the 60’s without a nuclear war. Now we are rushing ourselves back into something that William Polk, a writer and former diplomat of the Kennedy administration, has called a possible Cuban missile crisis in reverse. This time we’re the ones pushing our military forces onto the Russian border, rather than the Russians putting missiles onto a place like Cuba. We know how Americans reacted to that. Now the Russians are facing something very similar.

Dennis J. Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom.  You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net.

Eritrea, Human Rights, and Neocolonial Propaganda

June 21st, 2015 by Eric Draitser

The East African country of Eritrea is once again being demonized internationally as a systematic violator of human rights. The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has issued an allegedly damning report detailing what it claims are “systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations” taking place in Eritrea.Media coverage has similarly echoed those claims, presenting Eritrea to a western audience as a backward and “brutal dictatorship,” playing on the traditional stereotypes of totalitarianism from East Germany to Stalin’s Soviet Union.

However, a closer and more critical analysis of both the report, and the true agendas of the western institutions promoting its narrative, reveals a vastly different motivation to this report and the continued anti-Eritrean narrative. It could be called politically motivated propaganda, and that would be correct. It could be called a distorted and biased perspective rooted in fundamental misunderstandings of both politics and history, and that would also be correct. It could, quite simply, be called abject neo-colonialism of the worst sort, and that too would also be correct.

For while the UN and western media portray Eritrea – a country most westerners know nothing about, if they’ve ever even heard of the country at all – as little more than a “Third World dictatorship” because of its alleged violations of human rights, they conveniently ignore the actual human rights issues that Eritrea champions, making it a leader on the African continent, and a country that in many ways should be held up as a model of human development and adherence to true human rights.

Eritrea leads the way in Africa on issues ranging from the prevention and treatment of malaria, HIV/AIDS and other preventable diseases, to access to clean drinking water, literacy promotion, and countless other issues. But none of this is deemed worthy by the UN for inclusion in a report about “human rights.”

This is of course not to suggest that Eritrea, like every other country in the so called “developing” and “developed” worlds, is without problems, as that would be simply false. Rather, it is to note that a truly objective report that actually sought a substantive analysis of human rights in Eritrea, rather than a politically motivated propaganda campaign, would have revealed a country busy transforming itself and its people, leaving behind the decades of colonial oppression and subjugation, beating an independent path for itself.

But of course, this is the gravest sin of all in the eyes of the western ruling class and the institutions it controls. Abject poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, death from preventable diseases, and many other hallmarks of African underdevelopment – these are all fine in the eyes of the West, so long as you follow their IMF, World Bank, UN rules of the game; so long as you “respect opposition,” “respect democracy,” and act “inclusively.” But, when a country chooses to create its own system, and pursue its own national development (white neocolonial opinions be damned), it is immediately cast as the great villain. So too with Eritrea.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the facts.

The UN Report: A Critical Look

The UN OHCHR report presents a vision of Eritrea that is, in many ways, at odds with reality. While forms of political repression and non-conformity to western conceptions of democracy are highlighted and repeated ad nauseam, other critical aspects of human rights are entirely ignored. Moreover, the UN report was limited in its scope because of lack of access to the country, thereby forcing the report to rely exclusively on the testimony of expatriate Eritreans and those with an obvious political bias and grudge against the government of Isaias Afewerki. So, far from being objective, the report is, by its very nature, a one-sided portrayal of the situation in the country. The report notes:

The commission finds that systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Government of Eritrea and that there is no accountability for them…The enjoyment of rights and freedoms are severely curtailed in an overall context of a total lack of rule of law. The commission also finds that the violations in the areas of extrajudicial executions, torture (including sexual torture), national service and forced labour may constitute crimes against humanity. The commission emphasizes that its present findings should not be interpreted as a conclusion that international crimes have not been committed in other areas.

While of course there is a shock value associated with phrases like “extrajudicial killings,” “torture,” and “crimes against humanity,” these claims need to be interrogated carefully. It is impossible to say the extent to which these claims are either wholly true, complete fabrications, or partially true embellishments concocted by expatriates with an anti-government personal and political agenda; it is not unreasonable to assume that it is a combination of all three.

However, it is useful here to ask whether countries like the United States, for instance, would also be guilty of “extrajudicial killings” and “torture” were a similar investigation conducted into the seemingly endless, dare I say systematic, police murders of American citizens, especially people of color? Or what about the now universally accepted fact – publicly acknowledged even by President Obama who blithely declared “We tortured some folks” – that the United States systematically tortured prisoners throughout the so called “War on Terror”? Or that the US continues to hold countless inmates, again disproportionately people of color, in long term solitary confinement, a common US practice decried as torture by the UN Special Rapporteur on torture Juan E Méndez of the very same OHCHR?

But of course none of these uncomfortable truths are good for the narrative of “backwards African dictatorship,” and therefore, they are not part of the story. Nor does the report define exactly what it means by “national service.” However, those with knowledge of Eritrea’s domestic policies, which is almost no one in the West, understands that “national service” especially includes national military service, a practice used by many countries, including the US darling Israel, among many others.

Of course, it would be wise to here make the distinction that, unlike the apartheid state of Israel which uses its military for the purposes of oppression and occupation, Eritrea fought a protracted and bloody war against the former colonial masters in Ethiopia, having had ongoing military conflicts with their neighbor for nearly the entire, short existence of Eritrea as an independent nation. With a relatively small population and, proportionately speaking, a long and porous border with a hostile nation with a history of subjugation of Eritreans, it is not at all unreasonable to have a robust military apparatus fueled by mandatory military service.

One should also recall the way in which such reports, and brazen distortions, have been used by the UN and the OHCHR in the recent past. In perhaps its most shameful moment in recent history, the former High Commissioner Navi Pillay was instrumental in building the justification for the disastrous, illegal, and blatantly neocolonial, imperialist war against Libya. Pillay actually took the lead in disseminating anti-Gaddafi propaganda in the first weeks of the destabilization campaign, making her the leading edge of the propaganda assault, lending her reputation and position with the UN in order to bolster the anti-Gaddafi narrative. In late February 2011, Pillay stated:

More needs to be done. I encourage all international actors to take necessary measures to stop the bloodshed…thousands may have been killed or injured over the past week…Although reports are still patchy and hard to verify, one thing is painfully clear: in brazen and continuing breach of international law, the crackdown in Libya of peaceful demonstrations is escalating alarmingly with reported mass killings, arbitrary arrests, detention and torture of protestors…Tanks, helicopters and military aircraft have reportedly been used indiscriminately to attack the protestors…The Libyan leader must stop the violence now…  Libyan forces are firing at protestors and bystanders, sealing off neighbourhoods and shooting from rooftops. They also block ambulances so that the injured and dead are left on the streets.

The facts that have been gathered since the illegal aggression against Libya have all contradicted every assertion that Pillay and the OHCHR made in early 2011. As Dr. Alan Kuperman wrote in his report Lessons from Libya: How Not to Intervene, published by the prestigious Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University:

Contrary to Western media reports, Qaddafi did not initiate Libya’s violence by targeting peaceful protesters. The United Nations and Amnesty International have documented that in all four Libyan cities initially consumed by civil conflict in mid-February 2011—Benghazi, Al Bayda, Tripoli, and Misurata—violence was actually initiated by the protesters. The government responded to the rebels militarily but never intentionally targeted civilians or resorted to “indiscriminate” force, as Western media claimed. Early press accounts exaggerated the death toll by a factor of ten, citing “more than 2,000 deaths” in Benghazi during the initial days of the uprising, whereas Human Rights Watch (HRW) later documented only 233 deaths across all of Libya in that period.

Needless to say, the credibility of the OHCHR took a major hit in 2011 with that ghastly episode of outright lying, propaganda, and service to the foreign policy agenda of the West. So too should one be skeptical of their similar distortions on issues such as Eritrea, which in many ways are similar to Libya.

In fact, it is no coincidence that Eritrea’s closest ally in the world was Libya and Gaddafi. As the US Government-funded Center for Naval Analyses wrote in a 2010 report, “In the 1990s, Qadhafi made numerous attempts to mediate the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict, but Ethiopian leader Meles Zenawi was uninterested in separate negotiations…Qadhafi even went so far as to propose a Sahelian-Saharan peacekeeping force, to which Eritrea agreed and Ethiopia did not. Qaddafi subsequently helped finance Eritrea’s military campaign against Ethiopia.” It seems then that, far from being a coincidence, Eritrea is, in effect, getting the Libya treatment in terms of the propaganda and distortions.

But the real question is why? Why is Eritrea so reviled by the vaunted so called “international community”?

Eritrea’s Real Sins: Independence and Human Rights

0343423411All countries demonized by the West, attacked economically and politically, have done something to earn them the ire of the so called “liberal democracies” of the developed world. Of course, it is never the seemingly innocuous pretexts that institutions such as the UN OHCHR invoke.

First and foremost among Eritrea’s grave sins is its stubborn insistence on maintaining full independence and sovereignty in both political and economic spheres. This fact is perhaps best illustrated by Eritrean President Afewerki’s bold rejection of foreign aid of various sorts, stating repeatedly that Eritrea needs to “stand on its own two feet.” Afewerki’s pronouncements are in line with what pan-Africanist radicals, Marxists such as Walter Rodney, and many others have argued for decades, namely that, as Afewerkie put it in 2007 after rejecting a $200 million dollar “aid” package from the World Bank, “Fifty years and billions of dollars in post-colonial international aid have done little to lift Africa from chronic poverty… [African societies] are crippled societies…You can’t keep these people living on handouts because that doesn’t change their lives.

Naturally, such a radical departure from the tried and true cycle of financial aid and debt servitude, corruption and endemic poverty, is seen as a threat by the neocolonial establishment as manifested in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other financial institutions. But the real danger is not simply the ideology, but its success. As the LA Times noted in its profile of Eritrea in 2007:

The self-reliance program began a decade ago but accelerated sharply in 2005. Relying on its meager budget and the conscription of about 800,000 of the country’s citizens, the program so far has shown promising results. Measured on a variety of U.N. health indicators, including life expectancy, immunizations and malaria prevention, Eritrea scores as high, and often higher, than its neighbors, including Ethiopia and Kenya…It might be one of the most ambitious social and economic experiments underway in Africa.

In the eight years since 2007, Eritrea has made even greater strides, becoming the only African nation to reach its Millennium Development Goals in 2015. Eritrea now boasts a roughly 98% immunization rate, incredible reductions in malaria, diarrhea, HIV/AIDS, and other preventable diseases. Eritrea has reduced infant mortality by two thirds and maternal mortality by nearly 80% since independence. Literacy rates have increased dramatically, access to basic health care, clean drinking water, and many other essential human rights have all been greatly expanded, all while accepting no foreign aid.

Christine Umutoni, the UN Resident Coordinator in Eritrea, explained that “What we see as development partners, what is responsible for this success is community participation, the enabling environment, leadership, strong mechanisms for prevention, value for money and coordinated inter-sectoral approaches.” Umutomi also added that Eritrea has put a tremendous amount of energy into developing innovative alternatives to tackling difficult health and human issues including temporary maternal clinics and mobile medical units, as well as knowledge of migration patterns and remote areas.

In other words, Eritrea has managed to rapidly, and in earnest, embark on a process of economic and social transformation that the West is constantly advocating for African nations. However, Eritrea has done it on its own terms, without being enslaved by the financial institutions of global capitalism, and that is what makes it a target for demonization rather than praise. Why, one might ask, are the human rights of the rural poor, the unborn and infants, those living in grinding poverty, not taken into consideration in the so called OHCHR report? Are human rights only restricted to a small minority of political discontents whose grievances, even if justified, are relegated to the realm of politics and speech? This is not to diminish the importance of such issues, but rather to illustrate the sheer hypocrisy of the selective use of the term.

Of course, there are also other critical political and economic reasons for Eritrea’s pariah status in the eyes of the so called “developed world,” and especially the US. Perhaps the most obvious, and most unforgiveable from the perspective of Washington, is Eritrea’s stubborn refusal to have any cooperation, formal or informal, with AFRICOM or any other US military. While every other country in Africa with the exception of the equally demonized, and equally victimized, Zimbabwe has some military connections to US imperialism, Eritrea remains stubbornly defiant. I suppose Eritrea takes the notion of post-colonial independence seriously.

Eritrea also rejects the neocolonial notion that it, and Africa broadly speaking, should be little more than a cash cow of natural resources, especially mineral resources, for the developed world to exploit. Eritrea’s President Afewerki said in a recent interview:

Your location could be a comparative advantage. If you have a long coastline, then you develop fisheries, develop your services industry – shipping, transportation – air, land. Provide industry and manufacturing…Africa can produce its own food and grow more. Why aren’t we able to do that? You have to produce something. Emphasize sustainable sectors. Agriculture is a sustainable sector. You need to put in place agriculture infrastructure. It’s a strategy commodity for communities…You need to think least on mineral resources (for economic development)… Gold glitters but it blinds people…If you forgo agriculture because you have gold, you go into a trap. If you forgo comparative advantage that you have because you have gold, then you make a big mistake…Food sovereignty and local production, local manufacturing and development are more critical than depending on resource exploitation. You must have a balance, comprehensive program that takes stock of your comparative advantages in different sectors and local needs first…Local markets are everything.

Is it any wonder that Afewerki and his government are demonized by the West? What is the history of US and European behavior towards independent African leaders who advocated self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist ideology? The answer is self-evident. Such ideas as Afewerki expressed in the interview are seen by Washington, London, and Brussels as not only defiant, but dangerous; dangerous not only because of what they say, but dangerous because they’re actually working.

You do not see Eritrea depending on US and European NGOs, nor do you see the major western financial institutions enslaving the country with the unsustainable feedback loop of debt and aid. Instead, you see a country steadily emerging from decades of war and oppression, building a society from the ground up. Certainly there are problems, and changes of various kinds will need to be made as with all systems as they mature and evolve. But this is not what the US and its allies want: they need Eritrea to be brought to heel. And this simply cannot and will not be accepted by Eritrea, no matter the sanctions, no matter the demonization, no matter the demagogy.

Neocolonialism comes in many forms: political, economic, social, cultural, philosophical, psychological, etc. It is undeniably true that Africa, and indeed most of the Global South, continues to be enslaved by the neocolonialism of the former colonial masters. It is also true that the neocolonial status quo is not to be challenged. Eritrea is one of the few countries doing precisely that. And it is for this reason, that it is demonized and vilified.

And it is for precisely this reason, that it must be defended.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Recently, several journalists who worked in the mainstream media (MSM) exposed its corrupt nature, weighing in on the growing mistrust it inspires. We hope the following will inspire you to support independent media like Global Research!

Former chief political commentator of the Telegraph, Peter Oborne, resigned from the newspaper because it would not publish articles on HSBC for fear of losing advertising revenues. The bank is  known for money-laundering for the Mexican drug cartels as well as its involvement in tax evasion schemes.

In an opinion piece called “Why I resigned from the Telegraph” he wrote:

“The coverage of HSBC in Britain’s Telegraph is a fraud on its readers. If major newspapers allow corporations to influence their content for fear of losing advertising revenue, democracy itself is in peril…From the start of 2013 onwards stories critical of HSBC were discouraged. HSBC suspended its advertising with the Telegraph… HSBC, as one former Telegraph executive told me, is “the advertiser you literally cannot afford to offend” (Peter Oborne, Why I have resigned from the Telegraph, Open Democracy, February 17, 2015)

When it comes to powerful lobbies’ influence on media content, the Zionist lobby is very well known for accusing journalists and editors of anti-Semitism and imposing its own propaganda. Even so-called progressive newspapers such as The Guardian are subject to Zionist propaganda.  David Cronin writes:

I submitted an exposé of how the pro-Israel lobby operates in Brussels. While waiting to find out if the piece would be used, I phoned Matt Seaton, who had taken over as comment editor. We had a pleasant conversation but Seaton stressed that he regarded the subject as sensitive.

I, then, modified the piece to make its tone less polemical. Still, it was not published…

Cronin decided to write about his experience when he realized that The Guardian was much less reluctant to offer platforms to Israeli politicians and their Zionist propaganda:

“Daniel Taub, Israel’s ambassador to the UK … uses a quote attributed to Golda Meir, Israel’s prime minister from 1969 to 1974, to hit back at aid agencies who accuse Israel of impeding Gaza’s reconstruction: “We will only have peace when our enemies love their children more than they hate ours.” The inference that Palestinians hate Israelis more than they love their children is a racist caricature… In February, the paper gave Yair Lapid, until recently Israel’s finance minister, a platform to describe calls for a cultural boycott of Israel as “shallow and lacking in coherence. (David Cronin How The Guardian Told Me to Steer Clear of Palestine, Electronic Intifada, 11 March 2015)

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung‘s former editor Udo Ulfkotte recently published a book called “Bought Journalists. How Politicians, Secret Services and High Finance Control the Mass Media” (Gekaufte Journalisten), in which he explains how journalists manipulate the masses for powerful interests:

Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war. (Ralph Lopez, Editor of Major German Newspaper Says He Planted Stories for the CIA, Reader Supported News, February 04, 2015)

Another book stirred some controversy lately, Au service de la République, (Serving the Republic) Roger Auque’s memoirs published posthumously. Auque, a well-known journalist who worked for major French magazines as well as the French Canadian public network Radio-Canada, admitted: “I was paid by the Israeli secret services to lead operations in Syria, using reporting as a cover.” Le Figaro, one of France’s leading magazines for which he worked, writes that “he also offered his services to the DGSE, (the French CIA) before becoming an object of interest for the CIA.”

Contrary to Ulfkotte, who’s filled with remorse, the French reporter was “not at all ashamed of this revelation”.

These few examples show once again the importance of independent media and how the corporate mainstream media is nothing but a mouthpiece for powerful interests who do not want you to be informed but rather want to manufacture consent and keep you in the dark about important issues.

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The United States has pursued empire since early in its history, but it was the Soviet collapse in 1991 that enabled Washington to see the entire world as its oyster.

The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in the rise of the neoconservatives to power and influence in the US government. The neoconservatives have interpreted the Soviet collapse as History’s choice of “American democratic capitalism” as the New World Order.

Chosen by History as the exceptional and indispensable country, Washington claims the right and the responsibility to impose its hegemony on the world. Neoconservatives regard their agenda to be too important to be constrained by domestic and international law or by the interests of other countries. Indeed, as the Unipower, Washington is required by the neoconservative doctrine to prevent the rise of other countries that could constrain American power.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts (right)

Paul Wolfowitz, a leading neoconservative, penned the Wolfowitz Doctrine shortly after the Soviet collapse. This doctrine is the basis of US foreign and military policy.

The doctrine states:

Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.

Notice that Washington’s “first objective” is not peace, not prosperity, not human rights, not democracy, not justice. Washington’s “first objective” is world hegemony. Only the very confident so blatantly reveal their agenda.

Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and George W. Bush

As a former member of the Cold War Committee on the Present Danger, I can explain what Wolfowitz’s words mean. The “threat posed formerly by the Soviet Union” was the ability of the Soviet Union to block unilateral US action in some parts of the world. The Soviet Union was a constraint on US unilateral action, not everywhere but in some places. Any constraint on Washington is regarded as a threat.

A “hostile power” is a country with an independent foreign policy, such as the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) have proclaimed. Iran, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba, and North Korea also proclaim an independent foreign policy.

This is too much independence for Washington to stomach. As Russian President Vladimir Putin recently stated, “Washington doesn’t want partners. Washington wants vassals.”

The Wolfowitz doctrine requires Washington to dispense with or overthrow governments that do not acquiesce to Washington’s will. It is the “first objective.”

The collapse of the Soviet Union resulted in Boris Yeltsin becoming president of a dismembered Russia. Washington became accustomed to Yeltsin’s compliance and absorbed itself in its Middle Eastern wars, expecting Vladimir Putin to continue Russia’s vassalage.

However at the 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, Putin said: “I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world.”

Putin went on to say:

“We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law, and independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?”

When Putin issued this fundamental challenge to US unipower, Washington was preoccupied with its lack of success with its invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Mission was not accomplished.

By 2014 it had come to Washington’s attention that while Washington was blowing up weddings, funerals, village elders, and children’s soccer games in the Middle East, Russia had achieved independence from Washington’s control and presented itself as a formidable challenge to Washington’s uni-power. Putin blocked Obama’s planned invasion of Syria and bombing of Iran.

The unmistakable rise of Russia refocused Washington from the Middle East to Russia’s vulnerabilities.

Ukraine, long a constituent part of Russia and subsequently the Soviet Union, was split off from Russia in the wake of the Soviet collapse by Washington’s maneuvering. In 2004 Washington had tried to capture Ukraine in the Orange Revolution, which failed to deliver Ukraine into Washington’s hands. Consequently, according to neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, Washington spent $5 billion over the following decade developing Ukrainian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that could be called into the streets of Kiev and in developing Ukrainian political leaders willing to represent Washington’s interests.

Washington launched its coup in February 2014 with orchestrated demonstrations that, with the addition of violence, resulted in the overthrow and flight of the elected democratic government of Victor Yanukovych. In other words, Washington destroyed democracy in a new country with a coup before democracy could take root.

Ukrainian democracy meant nothing to Washington. Washington was intent on seizing Ukraine in order to present Russia with a security problem and also to justify sanctions against “Russian aggression” in order to break up Russia’s growing economic and political relationships with Europe. Washington feared that these relationships could undermine Washington’s hold on Europe.

Sanctions are contrary to Europe’s interests. Nevertheless European governments accommodated Washington’s agenda. The reason was explained to me several decades ago by my Ph.D. dissertation committee chairman who became Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs. I had the opportunity to ask him how Washington managed to have foreign governments act in Washington’s interest rather than in the interest of their own countries. He said, “money.” I said, “you mean foreign aide?” He said, “no, we give the politicians bags full of money. They belong to us. They answer to us.”

Recently, the German journalist Udo Ulfkotte wrote a book, Bought Journalists, in which he reported that every significant European journalist functions as a CIA asset.

This does not surprise me. The same is the situation in the US.

As Europe is an appendage of Washington, a collection of vassal states, Europe enables Washington’s pursuit of hegemony even to the extent of being driven into conflict with Russia over a “crisis” that is entirely a propaganda creation of Washington’s.

The media disguises the reality. During the Clinton regime, six mega-media companies were permitted to acquire 90% of the US print, TV, radio, and entertainment media, a concentration that destroyed diversity and independence. Today the media throughout the Western world serves as a Propaganda Ministry for Washington. The Western media is Washington’s Ministry of Truth. Gerald Celente, the trends forecaster, calls the Western media “presstitutes,” a combination of press prostitutes.

In the US Putin and Russia are demonized around the clock. Every broadcast alerts us to “the Russian threat.” Even Putin’s facial expressions are psychologically analyzed. Putin is the New Hitler. Putin has ambitions to recreate the Soviet empire. Putin invaded Ukraine. Putin is going to invade the Baltic states and Poland. Putin is a threat on the level of ebola and the Islamist State. US Russian experts, such as Stephen Cohen, who state the facts are dismissed as “Putin apologists.” Any and every one who takes exception to the anti-Putin, anti-Russian propaganda is branded a “Putin apologist,” just as 9/11 skeptics are dismissed as “conspiracy theorists.” In the Western world, the few truth-tellers are demonized along with Putin and Russia.

The world should take note that today, right now, Truth is the most unwelcome presence in the Western world. No one wants to hear it in Washington, London, Tokyo, or in any of the political capitals of Washington’s empire.

The majority of the American population has fallen for the anti-Russian propaganda, just as they fell for “Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction,” “Assad’s use of chemical weapons against his own people,” Iranian nukes,” the endless lies about Gaddafi, 9/11, shoe bombers, underwear bombers, shampoo and bottled water bombers. There is always a new lie to keep the fear factor working for Washington’s endless wars and police state measures that enrich the rich and impoverish the poor.

The gullibility of the public has enabled Washington to establish the foundation for a new Cold War or for a preemptive nuclear strike on Russia. Some neoconservatives prefer the latter. They believe nuclear war can be won, and they ask, “What is the purpose of nuclear weapons if they cannot be used?”

China is the other rising power that the Wolfowitz Doctrine requires to be constrained. Washington’s “pivot to Asia” creates new naval and air bases to control China and perpetuate Washington’s hegemony in the South China Sea.

We come to the bottom line. Washington’s position is not negotiable. Washington has no interest in compromising with Russia or China. Washington has no interest in any facts. Washington’s deal is this: “You can be part of our world order as our vassals, but not otherwise.”

European governments and, of course, the lapdog UK government, are complicit in this implicit declaration of war against Russia and China. If it comes to war, Europeans will pay the ultimate price for the treason of their leaders, such as Merkel, Cameron, and Hollande, as Europe will cease to exist.

War with Russia and China is beyond Washington’s capability. However, if the demonized “enemy” does not succumb to the pressure and accept Washington’s leadership, war can be inevitable. Washington has launched an attack. How does Washington back off? Don’t expect any American regime to say, “we made a mistake. Let’s work this out.” Every one of the announced candidates for the American presidency is committed to American hegemony and war.

Washington believes Russia can be isolated from the West and that this isolation will motivate those secularized and westernized elements in Russia, who desire to be part of the West, into more active opposition against Putin. The Saker calls these Russians “Atlanticist integrationists.”

After two decades of Russia being infiltrated by Washington’s NGO Fifth Columns, the Russian government has finally taken action to regulate the hundreds of Western-financed NGOs inside Russia that comprise Washington’ subversion of the Russian government. However, Washington still hopes to use sanctions to cause enough disruption of economic life within Russia to be able to send protesters into the streets. Regime change, as in Ukraine, is one of Washington’s tools. In China the US organized the Hong Kong “student” riots, which Washington hopes will spread into China, and Washington supports the independence of the Muslim population in the Chinese province that borders Kazakhstan.

The problem with a government in the control of an ideology is that ideology and not reason drives the action of the government. As the majority of Western populations lack the interest to search for independent explanations, the populations impose no constraint on governments.

To understand Washington, go online and read the neoconservative documents and position papers. You will see an agenda unconstrained by law, by morality, by compassion, by common sense. You will see an agenda of evil.

Who is Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for the Ukrainian part of the world? It is the neoconservative Victoria Nuland who organized the Ukrainian coup, who put in office the new puppet government, who is married to the even more extreme neoconservative, Robert Kagan.

Who is Obama’s National Security advisor? It is Susan Rice, a neoconservative.

Who is Obama’s Ambassador to the UN? It is Samantha Power, a neoconservative.

Now we turn to material interests. The neoconservative agenda of world hegemony serves the powerful military/security complex whose one trillion dollar annual budget depends on war, hot or cold.

The agenda of American hegemony serves the interests of Wall Street and the mega-banks. As Washington’s power and influence spreads, so does American financial imperialism. So does the reach of American oil companies and American agribusiness corporations such as Monsanto.

Washington’s hegemony means that US corporations get to loot the rest of the world.

The danger of the neoconservative ideology is that it is in perfect harmony with powerful economic interests. In the US the left-wing has made itself impotent. It believes all the foundational government lies that have given America a police/warfare state incapable of producing alternative leadership. The American left, what little remains, for emotional reasons believes the government’s 9/11 story. The anti-religious left-wing believes the threat posed to free thought by a Christian Russia. The left-wing, convinced that Americans are racists, believes the government’s account of the assassinations of Martin Luther King.

The left-wing accepts the government’s transparent 9/11 fable, because it is emotionally important to the American left that oppressed peoples strike back. For the American left, it is emotionally satisfying that the Middle East, long oppressed and exploited by the French, British and Americans, struck back and humiliated the Unipower in the 9/11 attack.

This emotional need is so powerful for the left that it blinds the left-wing to the improbability of a few Saudi Arabians, who could not fly airplanes, outwitting not merely the FBI, CIA, and NSA, which spies on the entire world, but as well all 16 US intelligence agencies and the intelligence agencies of Washington’s NATO vassal states and Israel’s Mossad, which has infiltrated every terrorist organization, including those created by Washington itself.

Somehow these Saudis were able to also outwit NORAD, airport security, causing security to fail four times in one hour on the same day. They were able to prevent for the first time ever the US Air Force from intercepting the hijacked airliners. Air traffic control somehow lost the hijacked airliners on radar. Two airliners crashed, one into the Pennsylvania country side and one into the Pentagon without leaving any debris. The passport of the leader of the attack, Mohammed Atta was reported to be found as the only undamaged element in the debris of the World Trade Center towers. The story of the passport was so preposterous that it had to be changed.

This implausible account did not raise any eyebrows in the tame Western print and TV media.

The right-wing is obsessed with immigration of darker-skinned peoples, and 9/11 has become an argument against immigration. The left-wing awaits the oppressed to strike back against their oppressors. The 9/11 fable survives as it serves the interests of both left and right.

I can tell you for a fact that if American national security had so totally failed as it is represented to have failed by the official explanation of 9/11, the White House, the Congress, the media would have been screaming for an investigation. Heads would have rolled in agencies that permitted such massive failure of the national security state. The embarrassment of a Superpower being so easily attacked and humiliated by a handful of Arabs acting independently of any intelligence agency would have created an uproar demanding accountability.

Instead, the White House resisted any investigation for one year. Under pressure from the 9/11 families who lost family members in the World Trade Center Towers, the White House created a political commission consisting of politicians managed by the White House. The commission sat and listened to the government’s account and wrote it down. This is not an investigation.

In the United States the left-wing is focused on demonizing Ronald Reagan, who had nothing whatsoever to do with any of this. The left-wing hates Reagan because he had to use anti-communist rhetoric in order to keep his electoral basis while he strove to end the Cold War in the face of the powerful opposition of the military/security complex.

Is the left-wing more effective in Europe? Not that I can see. Look at Greece for example. The Greek people are driven into the ground by the EU, the IMF, the German and Dutch banks and the New York hedge funds. Yet, when presented with candidates who promise to resist the looting of Greece, the Greek voters give the candidates a mere 36% of the vote, enough to form a government, but not enough to have any clout with creditors.

Having hamstrung their government with such low electoral support, the Greek people further impose impotence on their government by demanding to remain in the EU. If leaving the EU is not a realistic threat, the Greek government has no negotiating power.

Obviously, the Greek population is so throughly brainwashed about the necessity of being part of the EU that the population is willing to be economically dispossessed rather than to leave the EU. Thus Greeks have forfeited their sovereignty and independence. A country without its own money is not, and cannot be, an independent country.

Once European intellectuals signed off on the EU, they committed nations to vassalage, both to the EU bureaucrats and to Washington. Consequently, European nations are not independent and cannot exercise an independent foreign policy.

Their impotence means that Washington can drive them to war. To fully understand the impotence of Europe look at France. The only leader in Europe worthy of the name is Marine Le Pen. Having said this, I am immediately denounced by the European left as a fascist, a racist, and so forth. This only shows the knee-jerk response of the European left.

It is not I who shares Le Pen’s views on immigration. It is the French people. Le Pen’s party won the recent EU elections. What Le Pen stands for is French independence from the EU. The majority of French see themselves as French and want to remain French with their own laws and customs. Only Le Pen among European politicians has stated the obvious: “The Americans are taking us to war!”

Despite the French desire for independence, the French will elect Le Pen’s party to the EU but will not give it the vote to be the government of France. The French deny themselves their independence, because they are heavily conditioned by brainwashing, much coming from the left, and are ashamed to be racists, fascists, and whatever epithets have been assigned to Le Pen’s political party, a party that stands for the independence of France.

The European left-wing, once a progressive force, even a revolutionary one, has become a reactionary force. It is the same in the US. I say this as one of CounterPunch’s popular contributors.

The inability even of intellectuals to recognize and accept reality means that restraints on neoconservatives are nowhere present except within Russia and China. The West is impotent to prevent Armageddon.

It is up to Russia and China, and as Washington has framed the dilemma, Armageddon can only be prevented by Russia and China accepting vassal status.

I don’t believe this is going to happen. Why would any self-respecting people submit to the corrupt West?

The hope is that Washington will cause its European vassals to rebel by pushing them too hard into conflict with Russia. The hope that European countries will be forced into an independent foreign policy also seems to be the basis of the Russian government’s strategy.

Perhaps intellectuals can help to bring this hope to fruition. If European politicians were to break from Washington’s hegemony and instead represent European interests, Washington would be deprived of cover for its war crimes. Washington’s aggressions would be constrained by an independent European foreign policy. The breakdown of the neoconservative unipower model would be apparent even to Washington, and the world would become a safer and better place.


Paul Craig Roberts, formerly Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy, Associate Editor, Wall Street Journal, Senior Research Fellow, Stanford University, William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

“The Saudi Cables lift the lid on an increasingly erratic and secretive dictatorship that has not only celebrated its 100thbeheading this year but which has also become a menace to its neighbours and itself.” Julian Assange, Press statement, Jun 19, 2015

It is fitting that a state such as Saudi Arabia, deeply influential and ultimately destabilising, should be the subject of the latest WikiLeaks exploits.  The transparency site is currently in the process of releasing upwards of 500,000 cables, the first batch of which were released on Friday.  At this writing, some 61,000 are available.The usual questions have been asked.  How were the documents obtained to begin with?

A floated suggestion is that they were gathered from a cyber attack on the Saudi Foreign Ministry initiated by the Yemen Cyber Army.   (Yemen has a genuine gripe here, being the subject of Saudi military attack and blockade.)

“As a matter of policy,” claimed WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson to the Associated Press, “we’re not going to discuss the source of the material.”The cables so far provide ample material on a range of media management tactics at work.  Saudi interests are protected by their heavy influencing of representations about the Kingdom’s policies.  Who, noted WikiLeaks, noticed that on Monday, the Kingdom was celebrating the beheading of its 100th prisoner this year?  “Even international media was relatively mute about this milestone compared to what it might have been if it had concerned a different country.  How does a story like this go unnoticed?” (WikiLeaks, Jun 19).[1]The reasons lie in a range of approaches dealing with monitoring and co-opting outlets in Arab media, cultivating other sources of influence.  Techniques of “neutralisation” and “containment” are employed, limiting the range and scope of coverage and encouraging outlets to either cover events in certain ways or refrain from them altogether.  “Containment” involves a more direct approach, one of conciliation towards Riyadh and hostility to perceived anti-Saudi interests.

An example of the neutralisation policy is evident in a cable taking note of the Saudi Kingdom’s concerns about attitudes in Morocco, where the paper in question, Today’s News of Morocco, notes how “a number of the Emirates of the Arabian Gulf do not look favourably on the experience of [that country’s] openness to the Arab Spring”.[2]

Another cable notes various items of payment to a range of publications in Indonesia, with amounts ranging from $US3,000 to $10,000.  There is talk about renewing the involvement of the Ministry of Culture and Information via massive subscriptions to newspapers such as Kompas and the Jakarta Post.[3]

The technique of purchasing subscriptions effectively makes the publication in question an annex, with Riyadh becoming a de facto investor expecting appropriate returns by way of favourable coverage.  As WikiLeaks notes, one document outlines subscriptions requiring renewal by January 1, 2010, covering publications in Damascus, Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Amman, Kuwait and Nouakchott.

“The Kingdom effectively buys reverse ‘shares’ in the media outlets, where cash ‘dividends’ flow the opposite way, from the shareholder to the media outlet.  In return Saudi Arabia gets political ‘dividends’ – an obliging press.”[4]

When an obliging press cannot be obtained, other, more forward techniques are adopted.  A Royal Decree of January 20, 2010 inspired the Saudi foreign minister to remove the Iranian Arabic service, Al-Alam, from Arabsat, the main Riyadh communications satellite operator.  On failing to do so, efforts were made to limit the reach of the signal.

In the broader policy realm, there are documents covering Sunni suspicions of Shiite ambitions – the long held, intemperate rivalry between Riyadh and Teheran gets coverage, notably on the issue of Iran’s nuclear ambitious.  Mistrust is bountiful.  A 2012 note from the Saudi Arabian embassy in Teheran speaks of “flirting American messages” carried to Iran via an anonymous Turkish mediator (AP, Jun 19).[5]

Lurking in the documents is the overwhelming sense of anxiety at anything that might challenge the kingdom’s near totalitarian primacy.  The regime churning events of the Arab Spring receive an unsurprising degree of concern, with a loss of authoritarian control, however briefly, in such states as Egypt.  Public opinion, for instance, is treated as something that should be driven by a regime, rather than formed by the public.  Strategies of funding were thereby hatched to combat such revolutionary tendencies in both Egypt and Tunisia.

For those trawling through the archives as they are, notes abound about regional power plays and a state terrified about prospects of reform from below.  A Kingdom notorious for its secrecy is revealed in its range of operations, clandestine, extensive and expansive.  The researcher and activist will no doubt be thrilled by this particular trove, even if its entire value will have to be appropriately assessed in due course.

Fittingly, the arrival of these documents comes a time when Julian Assange still remains in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. This period of detention, while legally perverse, has proven productive, and whatever might be said about the man, the material being provided continues to illuminate and startle.  The transparency movement, in other words, continues to flutter.

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

Notes

[1] https://wikileaks.org/saudi-cables/buying-silence

[2] https://www.wikileaks.org/saudi-cables/doc124688.html

[3] https://www.wikileaks.org/saudi-cables/doc118126.html

[4] https://wikileaks.org/saudi-cables/buying-silence

[5] http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/06/19/world/middleeast/ap-ml-wikileaks-saudi-cables.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0

The European Central Bank (ECB) intervened again Friday to prop up Greece’s banks, as savers, fearing their imminent collapse, withdrew record amounts of deposits.

Following the collapse of talks between Greece and its creditors—the European Union (EU), the ECB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—over the terms of a further spending cuts programme, billions of euros in deposits were withdrawn from Greek banks. This week alone €4.2 billion were withdrawn, including €1.2 billion on Friday.

To stave off financial collapse and a default on its overall debt of over €300 billion, Greece’s Syriza-led government requested that the ECB loan Greece’s Central Bank an additional €3.5 billion. The ECB, which loaned the Greek banks another €1.1 billion of “Emergency Liquidity Assistance” on Wednesday to reach a total of €84.1 billion, released additional money Friday, though it is unclear how much. According to some reports, it was just enough to tide Greece over until Monday.

Speculation mounted that Greece could even be forced to impose capital controls and limit deposit withdrawals as early as this weekend. The Financial Times commented that fear of Greek default on its €1.6 billion debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund at the end of June “is rapidly being overtaken by a separate—and possibly more dangerous—ticking time bomb: the solvency of Greece’s banks.”

The ECB’s strategy is to keep Greece faced with imminent collapse with the aim of ensuring that a deal is signed after Monday evening’s emergency summit of EU leaders, convened by President of the European Council Donald Tusk. It is an extraordinary and reckless example of brinksmanship—threatening not only the decimation of the Greek economy but a potential domino effect that could impact on the entire European economy.

It is a strategy that the dominant sections of the European bourgeoisie have all endorsed. The institutions will not tolerate any impediments to their strategy of continent-wide attacks on the working class, with Athens to be made an example of.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Syriza has already offered austerity measures in the order of €2.5 billion to be implemented over two years. The European Union is insisting on €3 billion in fiscal savings in this year alone, including savage pension cuts.

Syriza’s latest proposal, presented at Thursday’s meeting, was for the introduction of a “deficit brake”. This would automatically cut spending across the board if the Greek government’s budget went into deficit. This was bluntly dismissed by euro zone officials, however; IMF head Christine Lagarde declared that there was an urgent need for dialogue “with adults in the room.”

This is the severest indictment of Syriza’s claims that it could safeguard the livelihoods of Greek working people through an “honourable compromise” with the financial oligarchy.

The representatives of the world’s billionaires are demanding ever more brutal cuts in order to ensure that the entire gigantic cost of the 2008 global financial crash is paid for by the working class for decades to come.

In his latest blog, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis summed up some of the indices of the social catastrophe this has already produced in Greece. Since 2010, “Wages fell by 37 percent, pensions were reduced by up to 48 percent, state employment diminished by 30 percent,” and “Consumer spending was curtailed by 33 percent,” he wrote.

“Around 1 million families survive today on the meagre pension of a grandfather or a grandmother as the rest of the family members are unemployed in a country where only 9% of the unemployed receive any unemployment benefit. Cutting that one, solitary pension is tantamount to turning a family into the streets.”

The Financial Times, which has repeatedly solidarised with Syriza’s call for a slower imposition of austerity, editorialised Friday that “The time has come for Tsipras to accept the deal from Europe.”

It warned that the alternative was far worse. “Given Greek banks’ dependence on funding from the European Central Bank, default could then push Greece out of the Eurozone,” it wrote. “The destruction of Greece’s financial system would rip the life out of its economy and do unknowable damage to its political system.”

Syriza is not rejecting austerity, but seeking the most favourable political terms for it to be implemented. Tsipras and Varoufakis argue that if Greece is allowed to carry out less austerity now, it will be able to pay back more of its debts later based on an assumed recovery of the economy.

However, even were a last-minute accord reached on its terms, this would not fundamentally alter the attacks raining down on the working class. The Daily Telegraph recently pointed out that it would take Greece more than 40 years, to 2057, to pay back its astronomical debts.

A central plank of Tsipras’s pose of offering an alternative to years of austerity was that his government would function as more efficient tax collectors. But with fear of a Greek default ever more pronounced, the level of unpaid tax is rising with the resulting decline in state revenues fuelling Athens’ crisis. New figures revealed that unpaid taxes rose to €1 billion in May, bringing the total this year to more than €5 billion. Total outstanding unpaid tax stands at more than €77 billion.

In an attempt to strike a better deal with the EU, ECB and IMF, Tsiprasattempted to secure the support of Washington against the hard-line demands of the EU, to no avail. The failure of this strategy means that Tsipras is now relying on an attempt to play the “Russia card”.

Even as the ECB was in session, Tsipras was speaking before Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a guest of honour in Moscow. His speech followed the signing of an agreement to build an extension of a pipeline that would carry Russian gas to Europe via Greece. The possibility of Syriza receiving financing from Russia was also broached.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich told Russia Today, “If financial support is needed, we will consider this question.”

Syriza’s orientation to Moscow and China has major implications, as Greece is a longstanding member of NATO. Tsipras even visiting Moscow at such a time was viewed as an implicit threat. US magazine Foreign Policy wrote with concern, “So far, Russia has largely stayed out of the European financial crisis. But the Greek conundrum provides a tasty incentive to dive in. If Moscow does, it would transform a five-year economic crisis into a geopolitical one.”

Tsipras’s speech, speaking alongside Putin only days after the EU extended sanctions against Russia for six months, contained an implicit threat. “The economic centre of the planet has shifted. There are new economic forces that are playing a role,” he said. “Russia is one of the most important partners for us.”

Greece was strategically important and “still preserves the status of centre of stability in the region,” he added.

Tsipras seeks only to establish the best terms for the Greek bourgeoisie, and he remains committed to securing a deal with the EU. To this end, Tsipras is shoring up alliances domestically. On Tuesday, he met with Stavros Theodorakis, the leader of To Potami (The River) and Fofi Gennimata, the new leader of the social democratic PASOK. Together the latter control 30 deputies.

Tsipras is seeking a hedge against possible rebellion within his own party, if he reaches a deal on the institutions’ brutal terms. Theodorakis is on record that he will back any deal that is struck with the EU.

An open-access website called fotoforensics.com analyzes digital images to detect potential alteration. One of the techniques offered at the site is Error Level Analysis.

According to the site’s tutorial on ELA:

Error Level Analysis (ELA)permits identifying areas within an image that are at different compression levels. With JPEG images, the entire picture should be at roughly the same level. If a section of the image is at a significantly different error level, then it likely indicates a digital modification …

ELA highlights differences in the JPEG compression rate. Regions with uniform coloring, like a solid blue sky or a white wall, will likely have a lower ELA result (darker color) than high-contrast edges. The things to look for:

Edges. Similar edges should have similar brightness in the ELA result. All high-contrast edges should look similar to each other, and all low-contrast edges should look similar. With an original photo, low-contrast edges should be almost as bright as high-contrast edges.

Textures. Similar textures should have similar coloring under ELA. Areas with more surface detail, such as a close-up of a basketball, will likely have a higher ELA result than a smooth surface.

Surfaces. Regardless of the actual color of the surface, all flat surfaces should have about the same coloring under ELA.

Look around [a] picture and identify the different high-contrast edges, low-contrast edges, surfaces, and textures. Compare those areas with the ELA results. If there are significant differences, then it identifies suspicious areas that may have been digitally altered. (emphases added)

As the author emphasizes, “[s]imilar textures should have similar coloring under ELA,” and “all flat surfaces should have about the same coloring under ELA.” The fotoforensics.com webmaster further explains on his blog The Hacker Factor:

With ELA, you want to compare similar attributes with similar attributes. Each of these areas (surfaces, edges, and textures) may compress at different rates. But in general, all similar surfaces should compress at the same rate. Edges should compress at the same rate as similar edges, and textures should compress at the same rate as similar textures.

When a picture is edited, the modified areas are likely at a different compression level than the rest of the picture.

The following is a forensic image that resulted when employing ELA to the widely-circulated photo of South Carolina Church massacre gunman Dylann Storm Roof wearing his jacket with the historic patches denoting Africa’s colonial past:

Roof_Apartheid_Flags

Image Credit: Facebook

Roof_ELA_Analysis

http://fotoforensics.com/analysis.php?id=29642b707d52f525b2ef8748761418651465c582.87289&show=ela

ELA reveals areas where the patches appear that suggest a differing compression speed and thus possible manipulation. In other words, the Apartheid-era patches attributed to Roof may have been digitally inserted into the above image to accentuate the narrative of Roof’s racist motivations in the tragic slayings.

In an era of mass illusion where digital representations can be so easily and convincingly altered to accommodate or bolster a specific story line, the importance of such analysis cannot be understated. Like the Sandy Hook School shootings, the Charleston Church massacre represents an emotionally potent and divisive powder keg, especially because it is positioned to draw on conflicting sets of socio-cultural experience, identity, and history.

Yet through individual images such as the above perhaps a larger picture can be discerned. As with Sandy Hook, the June 17 event will be used as a rationale for a raft of government agendas long sought after with the express purpose of “keeping the public safe.” Such programs can be judiciously considered only after the tremendous government and media-fueled wave of fear and alarm has passed–indeed, only after the American public knows what really happened.

One week ago, we were stunned to learn just how low the political organization that is the mostly US-taxpayer funded IMF has stooped when, a day after its negotiators demonstratively stormed out of the Greek negotiations with “creditors”,  Hermes’ ambassador-at-large Christone Lagarde said that the IMF “could lend to Ukraine even if Ukraine determines it cannot service its debt.”

In other words, as Greece struggles to avoid a default to the IMF on debt which was incurred just so German banks can remain solvent and dump trillions in non-performing loans to US hedge funds and Greek exposure, and which would result in the collapse in the living standards of an entire nation (only for a few years before an Iceland-recovery takes place, one which Greece would already be enjoying had it defaulted in 2010 as we said it should), and as the “criminal” IMF does everything in its power to subjugate an entire nation, or else let it founder, the IMF told Soros’ BFFs over in Kiev, that no matter if they default to its private creditors (in fact please do since Russia is among them), the IMF would keep the debt spigot flowing.

Courtesy of the US taxpayer of course.

Fast forward one week when, with Greece one step closer to a full-blown financial collapse, the IMF comes out and tell Ukraine – which already passed a law allowing it to impose a debt moratorium at any moment – not to worry, that even in a default it will keep providing unlimited funds. From Reuters:

 Ukraine’s efforts to strike a debt restructuring deal with its creditors will allow the International Monetary Fund to continue to support the country even if the talks are not successful, the head of the IMF said on Friday.

I … welcome the government’s continued efforts to reach a collaborative agreement with all creditors,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement. “This is important since this means that the Fund will be able to continue to support Ukraine through its Lending-into-Arrears Policy even in the event that a negotiated agreement with creditors in line with the program cannot be reached in a timely manner.

We will pass comment on this latest grand IMF hypocrisy and ask if Greece would rather be in Kiev’s place which at the behest of “Western” leaders, it sold, liquidated, and otherwise “lost” all of its gold. Or, like Ukraine, Athens is willing to part with its $4 billion in gold just to appease the Troika as it sells all of its 112.5 tons of official gold to unknown buyers. A transaction which would buy Greece about 3-6 months of can kicking and a few stray smiles from Chrstine Lagarde.

Ron Paul: US Stock Market About to Collapse

June 20th, 2015 by Sputnik

With the stock market nearing all-time highs and the Federal Reserve hinting that it would not raise interest rates, former US Congressman Ron Paul warned that the Fed’s policies have put the market on the verge of a massive collapse.

“I look at the markets as being unstable, which means some days they go up a lot and some days they go down rapidly, but they don’t advance very far when you look at real growth,” Paul said on CNBC’s ‘Futures Now’ on Thursday.

“The [Federal Reserve] won’t allow this market to drop. This is why I’ve always leaned toward the assumption that the Fed is never going to raise interest rates deliberately. I think the market will raise interest rates.”

The Fed released a statement Wednesday indicating that it will hold off on raising interest rates for now, which led to a surge in the stock market on Thursday. The Nasdaq topped its intraday high from March 2000, while the S&P 500 closed less than 1% off its all-time high.

“I am utterly amazed at how the Federal Reserve can play havoc with the market,” said Paul, who has long been an outspoken critic of the Fed, calling for an audit of the financial institution.

The former Presidential candidate said it is not a question of if the crash will occur, but when this “day of reckoning” will arrive.

“You don’t know the timeline on this, it could be tomorrow, it could be a month, or it could be a couple years from now, because it all depends on a psychological acceptance of the system.”

He continued:

“I don’t think there’s any way to know what the time is, but after 35 years of a gigantic bull market in bonds, believe me they cannot reverse history and they cannot print money forever, seed the market forever. Eventually, the markets will rule. And of course that is only a question of when this will happen.”

Paul blamed “the fallacy of economic planning” for creating the “horrendous bubble” in the bond market.

“You cannot have it, it’s artificial, it has nothing to do with freedom and free markets and capitalism and sound money, but it’s all artificial, it’s all political and that is why we are so vulnerable,” he said.

When that bubble pops, he said, it will spark “stock market chaos.”

“So we’re all on the verge ‒ the country, the world is on the verge of looking more like Detroit and Greece than anything else. But [in] time that will happen ‒ it’s probably not going to happen tomorrow or next month, but it will happen because this is unsustainable.”

 

In a foreign-policy address today, Jeb Bush, potential candidate for the 2016 presidential elections, will try to convince people that he’s not his father or—probably more importantly—his brother. Literally, his prepared remarks have him saying:

I love my father and my brother. I admire their service to the nation and the difficult decisions they had to make.

But I am my own man — and my views are shaped by my own thinking and own experiences.

In light of that claim, it’s interesting to consider the foreign policy advisers with whom Jeb Bush has, as his own man, chosen to surround himself. Like Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, George W.’s two homeland security secretaries. And Porter Goss and Michael Hayden, two of George W.’s CIA directors. And Iraq War architects Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Hadley, and Meghan O’Sullivan. The list goes on.

The independence and his-own-man-ness doesn’t just ooze from every one of Jeb Bush’s pores, it crackles and pulses in the air around him like an aura of flames.

The Bangkok Post has recently featured an AFP report titled, “Suu Kyi dodges Rohingya issue again,” which claims:

 In rare comments on Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya Muslims, opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi urged caution on granting citizenship to minorities, saying the sensitive issue must be addressed “very, very carefully.”

The report then added:

But in an interview published online late Tuesday, Suu Kyi dodged a direct question on whether the Rohingya – who have triggered international outcry as they flee the country on rickety boats in their thousands – should be given citizenship.

“The protection of rights of minorities is an issue which should be addressed very, very carefully and as quickly and effectively as possible, and I’m not sure the government is doing enough about it,” she said.

“It is such a sensitive issue, and there are so many racial and religious groups, that whatever we do to one group may have an impact on other groups as well,” she stressed.”So this is an extremely complex situation, and not something that can be resolved overnight.”

If it appears Suu Kyi is attempting to argue against granting the Rohingya people citizenship, most of whom have lived in Myanmar for generations, that is because she is. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, darling of the Western press, and venerated saint of Western “democracy” is backed by the very sects persecuting, butchering, and driving the Rohingya people into the sea.

Indeed, the “saffron monks” that have regularly filled the streets on Suu Kyi’s behalf, have also carried out a number of demonstrations over the years advocating segregation, exile, and even genocide against the Rohingya people. They have also carried out regular armed raids on Rohingya neighborhoods – and then after driving them from their homes and businesses – attacked them in squalid refugee camps.

When troops operating under the command of the Myanmar government attempt to defend the Rohingya, the Western press and a network of Myanmar and Southeast Asian-based US State Department-funded NGOs regularly decry armed exchanges with Suu Kyi’s mobs as “violent crackdowns.” In reality, Myanmar troops are the only thing standing between the Rohingya and wholesale genocide.

The UN has regularly called on Myanmar to grant citizenship to the Rohingya, a process the government has indeed already attempted to push through, however it has met with fierce, even violent resistance by Suu Kyi’s “saffron” supporters.

As previously reported, the purpose of Suu Kyi’s violent mobs preventing the Rohingya from being granted citizenship, is to give Suu Kyi herself an edge in upcoming elections. Knowing that the Rohingya would also be granted voting rights along with their citizenship, and vote for virtually any party but that which includes the violent mobs used to torment them for decades, denying the Rohingya their right to vote has ironically become a priority of the “pro-democracy” Suu Kyi and her followers who are determined to seize power.

The absolute depravity of yet another of the West’s proxies should surprise no one, considering the West has also helped literal Al Qaeda affiliates violently overthrow the government of Libya in 2011, literal Nazis overthrow the elected government of Ukraine in 2013-2014’s “Euromaidan” crisis, and is currently allowing convoys of 100 trucks a day or more flow into Islamic State territory from NATO’s borders. That the West is also cultivating racist, bigoted, violent mobs for the purpose of skewing upcoming elections in Myanmar is simply par for the course.

Displaced Rohingya People in Rakhine State

The purpose of realigning Myanmar with Suu Kyi and her political party in control is a two-part strategy. It is the reassertion of Western dominance in a former Western colony (Myanmar being formally “Burma” under British control), and  part of a wider regional agenda to align all of Southeast Asia against China in a proxy conflict that has played out for years and is reaching its climax via a series of island disputes in the South China Sea.

Success in destabilizing Myanmar politically, or the prospect of installing a client regime led by Western-creation Suu Kyi would help revitalize the West’s agenda regionally, having suffered setbacks in Malaysia and Thailand with multiple proxies swept from power, incarcerated, or otherwise driven abroad. Exposing the true nature of Suu Kyi and her “saffron” mobs is essential for real change and progress in Myanmar and across the region, giving nefarious interests fewer noble causes to hide behind, and reclaiming concepts like representative governance, human rights, and freedom to truly serve the people, not foreign interests.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

The accelerated rate of New World Order events unfolding every single day is becoming mind boggling. The latest tragedy in South Carolina where a wacked out white man on Big Pharma killer drugs murdered nine African Americans in a Charleston church has triggered a litany of hot button issues that smack of false flag agenda to attack gun owners, foment a race war, and wag the dog for streamlining the fast track TPP in one fell swoop.

Last Wednesday night 21-year old Dylann Roof was taken in and welcomed by a black bible study group only to have the gunman turn on them an hour later pulling out his .45 caliber handgun and murdering nine victims in a diabolical scheme to start a race war. This latest incident comes on the heels of two months earlier with the Walter Scott shooting also in Charleston where another trigger happy white police officer shot in cold blood another African American in the back.Race tensions are already running high with the sting of the Baltimore riots still fresh a couple months ago. Combined with Jade Helm Special Forces operations already underway infiltrating civilian communities throughout the Southwestern states, the stage is set for a very long hot summer.

Of course mainstream media’s agenda is simply to enflame the tragic situation, reporting how the killer’s long been planning to be the incendiary device that initiates a full scale war between white Americans and black Americans. One of Roof’s friends recalled a drunken rant when Roof vowed a six-month plan “to do something crazy” to incite a race war. Meanwhile, several family members of the shooting victims belonging to the oldest African Methodist Episcopal Church in the South spoke out publicly forgiving the deranged young racist killer. It turns out that Roof had been taking a cocktail of prescription drugs prone to inducing violence, among them the drug Suboxone that’s replaced methadone for treating opiate addiction but is also known to cause both suicidal as well as homicidal impulses in patients.

A common undisputable pattern amongst all the highest profile perpetrators of mass killings in the US to the person is that they all have an extensive psychiatric history of taking notoriously dangerous destabilizing Big Pharma medication. Yet because of the immense power of the pharmaceutical manufacturers and active support from both the psychiatric profession and feds’ Food and Drug Administration, the drug companies are allowed to continue distributing their killer poisons that cause such grave harm to so many American families. Of course it’s no different from another chemical company Monsanto that kills untold numbers of humans, animals and plants around the world, and then manipulates Congress and Obama to pass and sign laws protecting Monsanto from all lawsuits.

As an example of how the media fans the flames of conflict,Salon.com on Twitter made the statement, “White America must answer for the Charleston Church massacre,” as if all Caucasian Americans pulled the trigger. This message is meant to instill guilt and shame in every white American, and its corollary appears intended to stir up justifiable payback revenge amongst a victimized black population. For media to willfully manipulate, falsely misinform and blatantly attempt to shape public opinion through such inflammatory, biased reporting explicitly instructing dumbed down, docile Americans on how they should think, feel and behave in response to this kind of tragedy classically illustrates a state-run, fascist, corporatized propaganda machine that’s operating within the current US totalitarian regime. And again, the thematically threaded agenda is to create even more mistrust and racial divide, risking yet more acts of racial violence.

Mainstream media virtually ignores racially motivated crimes committed against white victims by black offenders. Yet according to FBI records, the incidence of white criminals victimizing blacks occurs far less. We have a media today with an apparent agenda to intentionally distort the truth in favor of instigating conflict between the races. This age-old divide and conquer strategy by the ruling class is once again being played out while the combinational effect from these devastating lethal shooting sprees is purposely geared to turn Americans against each other along both racial and ideological (gun control vs. gun rights) lines.

Similarly, Obama keeps using these tragedies to feebly invigorate his longtime agenda (23 executive orders worth with now more on the way) to disarm the American citizenry. Right away Obama was calling for more gun control as part of his scheme to criminalize gun ownership timed with the commencement of the Jade Helm operation. The president in fact lied when he said mass killings only happen in America, also purposely misleading citizens into believing that gun violence is ever on the rise. When the per capita population for mass shooting fatalities is taken into account, from 2009-2013 America was not even in the top five at half the ratio. And those five countries Norway, Finland, Slovakia, Israel and Switzerland all have more restrictive gun policies than the US. Additionally, the mass shooting deaths in the US decreased from 93 in 2012 to 68 in 2013.

Regarding Obama’s other flawed assertion, the only gun violence ever on the rise in the US is police murdering hundreds of fellow Americans, 500 already observed so far this year alone. Amongst the rest of us, highly credible sources have consistently shown that violent crime has been dropping steadily in America in recent years, the lowest in nearly four decades. But then the truth is rarely factored in when it comes to either Obama or MSM’s agenda.

It’s rather telling that to Obama disarmament in America pertains strictly to its citizens, violating their Second Amendment rights by only disarming them while war profiteering arms dealers continue amassing the biggest global arms race buildup of weapons of mass destruction (including biological and chemical) in human history. World War III seems right around the corner. The marching orders from Obama’s globalist handlers are quite clear, in short order destroy the United States and eliminate Americans’ capacity to fight back when the US military is ordered to conduct house raids at gunpoint to confiscate privately owned guns while movement toward one world government tightens its death grip of absolute totalitarian control over the global masses.

The militarization of US law enforcement in recent years is part of the sinister plan to wage war against the American people, starting with those of color and extending toveterans, gun owners, Christians, Tea Partiers, constitutionalists, property rights activists, First Amendment protesters and all dissidents taking a stand against fascist governmental tyranny, branding all these groups together asdomestic terrorists and enemies of the state.

The exponentially soaring number of police murders of African Americans in particular in this country has the obvious effect to increase racial tensions between black Americans and largely white police. Police murders of blacks triggered widespread protests and violence in Baltimore as well as Ferguson, Missouri this last year. Authoritarian aggression perpetrated by an oppressive state against its citizens by design directly causes reactions leading to civil unrest, which in fact is the intended, planned agenda to ratchet up yet more authoritarian control and aggression. This escalating cycle of creating crises, then imposing a so called state solution that increases tyrannical control is simply the Hegelian Dialectic increasingly employed by modern tyrannical governments.

So this week another highly suspect chain of interrelated events have been unfolding at breakneck speed that feed into the oppressive federal agenda as a wag the dog, sleight of hand focus with the Charleston shooting taking center stage while the US House of Representatives in a 218 to 208 vote quietly sneaks through another critical piece of the most dangerous, most sneaky hidden agenda of them all, the globalist designed ultra-secret Trans Pacific Partnership agreement that grossly undermines United States sovereignty as an independent nation.

After Obama and his masters were denied the necessary House votes just days ago by his own party, another mass shooting tragedy suddenly obscures a retooled vote giving Obama presidential authority to negotiate secret trade deals, creating an giant step closer to the TPP becoming codified law. According toArticle 1, Section 8 of the Constitution only US Congress has the power to “regulate Commerce with foreign Nations.” Actually only five of the 29 TPP chapters that virtually no one has access to involve foreign trade. AfterWikiLeaks acquired parts of the TPP, its founder Julian Assange had this to say about the 24 TPP chapters not involving trade:

The others are about regulating the internet, and what information internet service providers  have to collect, they have to hand it over to companies under certain circumstances, the  regulation of labor conditions, regulating the way you can favor local industry, regulating the hospital, health care system, privatization of hospitals, so essentially every aspect of a modern  economy, even banking services are in the TPP. So that is erecting and embedding new ultramodern neoliberal structure over U.S. law and the laws of other countries. And putting it in treaty form.

Obama’s abominable open border policy will also be codified into law by one TPP chapter that deals exclusively withimmigration, calling for easing restrictions on visa entries. Hundreds of thousands of jobs once belonging to Americans have been outsourced in recent decades. That sober trend will only increase dramatically under TPP. As an example,250 Disney workers were laid off last October because the very same foreign workers that the Disney employees trained were then brought in to take over their jobs at lower pay. The exact same, all too familiar pattern has been taking place at many large US companies. As examples, Southern California Edison and Northeast Utilities terminated hundreds of jobs in the last two years.

Bottom line, humans and American humans in particular are becoming increasingly obsolete, replaced by either cheap labor or automation. Due to robotics, Oxford scientists predict that within just one generation nearly half of all jobs in the world will disappear. Increasingly we humans (upwards of 90% of us) are looked upon by the elite as mere “useless eaters” taking up needless space and squandering finite energy. Hence, enter their eugenics plan along with UN Agenda 21.

In short, more than ever Fortune 500 transnationals will rule completely over both the dozen nations that have signed on to TPP as well as all their millions of citizens. The twelve nations standing to lose in addition to the United States are Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, Canada, Mexico, Peru and Chile. Current US federal and state laws will be superseded by globalized big business.

As Obama strengthens his already dictatorial power, after the Senate already voted in favor of the earlier version that hit a wall in the House a week ago, its passing this latest standalone fast track package will next seal the deal in driving the final nail in the coffin of America as a once great nation. This largest economic treaty in history representing 40% of the world’s GDP is far more about global governance than global trade.  With passage of the TPP by the traitors in Washington, clearly the New World Order and its one world government enslaving what’s left of the soon-to-be diminishing global population looms ominously closer on our horizon.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and a syndicated columnist at Veterans Today.

The Mass Killing in Charleston, South Carolina

June 20th, 2015 by David Walsh

The mass killing of six women and three men at an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina Wednesday evening is a horrific event that speaks to a deeply dysfunctional and diseased society.

The alleged gunman, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, of Columbia, South Carolina, was apparently motivated by racist and right-wing nationalist sentiments. He reportedly told those he was about to shoot in cold blood, “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country, and you have to go.”

On his Facebook profile page, Roof included a photograph of himself wearing a jacket with badges representing the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia. According to the Anti-Defamation League, the 1928 South African flag in particular has been adopted around the world in right-wing circles “as a symbol of white supremacy.”

The response of the political establishment in general has been hypocritical and empty to an obscene extent. Whatever the immediate political or psychological driving forces behind Roof’s alleged action, such a killing emerges in a specific political and social context.

The most obvious hypocrisy came from leading political figures in South Carolina. Various individuals associated with the South Carolina Republican Party have been exposed as members of the blatantly racist Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), the descendant of the old White Citizens Council, the “respectable” version of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1950s and 1960s.

South Carolina’s Republican Governor Nikki Haley declared Thursday that the state’s “heart and soul…was broken” by the mass killing. In 2014 she defended the flying of the Confederate flag at the statehouse on the grounds that “not a single CEO” had complained to her.

In his statement, President Barack Obama expressed on Thursday his “deep sorrow over the senseless murders” in Charleston. Obama continued, “Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy.” The president suggested that “At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.”

Yes, but at which point exactly? Obama, like his predecessors George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, has had to make this sort of ceremonial appearance following a killing rampage on numerous occasions. If the president needs reminding about what has occurred during his administration alone, one could point to the April 2009 massacre of 13 people at a civic center for immigrants in Binghamton, New York; the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabby Giffords and the killing of six other people in Tucson, Arizona in January 2011; the mass killing at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater in July 2012; the murder of six people and wounding of four others at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August 2012 by a white supremacist; the killing of 26 people, including 20 children, in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012; and there are many more.

Following each killing, one portion of the media, looking to Scripture for its inspiration, asserts that the tragedy proves the existence of “evil” and presumably Man’s Fallen Nature; another, more officially liberal-minded, claims that gun control will somehow mysteriously solve everything; a third sighs over the “senselessness” of it all and collectively shrugs its shoulders. The cluelessness of the official punditry is one indication of the moral and political bankruptcy of the American social order.

There is, of course, an irrational element in each of these tragic episodes, including the most recent one. Roof apparently let one elderly woman live because, he told her, “I need someone to survive,” indicating that he planned to kill himself, “And you’ll be the only survivor.”

But the claim by the media that such mass killings are incomprehensible is a self-serving lie. The commentators, along with Obama and the political officialdom, cannot and will not “reckon with” the phenomenon because even to begin probing the various massacres would be to lift the lid on the reality of American life and, above all, the atmosphere of unrelenting violence and aggression that has been generated by two decades or more of almost nonstop war.

The alleged actions of Roof, who was obviously unbalanced and disoriented and came under the influence of pro-Confederate and white supremacist propaganda, have a racist coloring. But, changing what must be changed, is there much of a difference in terms of social type between the Charleston suspect and the young killers at Columbine High School in 1999; or Seung-Hui Cho, the South Korean immigrant, who murdered 32 people and wounded 17 others on the Virginia Tech campus in April 2007; or James Eagan Holmes, the Aurora, Colorado shooter, and the various others?

What psychological and sociological features do the various perpetrators share in common? A highly advanced state of social alienation, great bitterness at other human beings, self-hatred, isolation, general despondency and the recourse to extreme violence to solve their real or imagined problems.

These tendencies recur too often and too devastatingly to be mere personal failings; they clearly come from the broader society. They reflect a terrible malaise, the mentality of individuals living perpetually under a dark cloud, who have no hope for the future, who can only imagine that things will get worse. Only look at the Facebook photograph of Dylann Roof if you want some idea of this bleakness and despondency!

The generation to which Roof belongs, unlike any other in American history, has known nothing but the combination of war and the building up of immense social inequality. If one sets aside with contempt the media’s fantasy version of American life, in which things have never been better—and, after all, don’t young people have Facebook, Twitter and iPhones?—no generation in modern times has experienced such harsh and discouraging circumstances. Capitalism, the subordination of every aspect of life to the drive for profit and personal wealth by the corporate elite, is at the heart of the problem.

The American ruling elite would have us believe that endless war, belligerence, aggression and threats of new, more catastrophic wars, part of the drive for US global domination, have no consequences. Violence and killing on the part of the American military or intelligence apparatus is a daily occurrence. US officials and politicians, mafia-like, blandly discuss “killing” alleged terrorists or “eliminating threats” to “America’s national interests.” Murder, whether by drone or other efficient modern means, has become routinized, banal. The president, as we know, meets with his advisers every Tuesday, to go over “kill lists.”

Someone like Roof, if he turns out to be the culprit, has known nothing but this expanding and escalating violence all his life. And not only violence overseas. Police in the US have been given a green light to open fire and kill innocent civilians. Only two months ago, in North Charleston, South Carolina, less than 10 miles from the scene of Wednesday night’s mass killings, a local police officer murdered Walter Scott in cold blood with five bullets in the back.

The crisis of American society is reaching a breaking point. It cannot go on like this. Roof’s is the unhealthy, twisted response of an infinitesimal portion of his generation. Masses of young people and masses of working people will respond to the crisis in a rational, progressive manner, by turning against the criminals and liars in power and their rotten economic and social system.

America’s Secret Drone Bases in Africa and the Middle East

June 20th, 2015 by Global Research News

The most extensive media account seen, to date, has been a 2011 article in theWashington Post. Later, at the height of drone activity, the Sunday Times published this graphic, but little news of further covert building is in the public domain.

Reports of a base in Saudi Arabia (see BBC online and others), supported by public satellite images but officially denied, may be added to an earlier revelation by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who accidentally stated that the U.S. was flying its robotic aircraft from Pakistani soil. Google Earth’s archives [2006-2009] show Predator drones sitting on a runway not far from the Jacobabad Air Base in Pakistan.

And reports are coming in that the US government is now looking for ideas on how to build its very own ‘helicarrier’This, and other links, however, lead only to the notice on the left, on the website of  America’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA]. This agency is working on the conversion of existing aircraft into flying aircraft carriers, holding drones – which have a limited flying range – near to where they can be launched, retrieved and maintained. The Washington Post reports that companies, universities and other organizations interested in participating have been invited to submit “system-level conceptual designs,” including a feasibility analysis.

Drone-bases2

Using military documents, press accounts and other open source information, an in-depth analysis by AlterNet identified over 60 bases integral to U.S. military and CIA drone operations. AlterNet alleges that other bases are already under construction or in the planning stages.

In April, news of a joint investigation by the German news magazine Der Spiegel and The Intercept was published. A top secret U.S. intelligence document obtained by The Intercept, contained slides had been provided by a source with knowledge of the U.S. government’s drone program who declined to be identified, fearing retribution. These confirm – after years of official denial – that the U.S. military base in Ramstein, Germany, is the site of a satellite relay station that enables drone operators in the American Southwest to communicate with their remote aircraft in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan and other targeted countries. The top-secret slide deck provided the most detailed blueprint seen to date of the technical architecture used to conduct strikes with Predator and Reaper drones.

Amidst European criticism of America’s targeted killing program, U.S. and German government officials downplayed Ramstein’s role in lethal U.S. drone operations, but slides show that the facilities at Ramstein enable lethal drone strikes conducted by the CIA and the U.S. military in the Middle East, Afghanistan and Africa.

Faisal bin Ali Jaber, a relative of men killed in a drone strike in the Yemen, testified in a German court, alleging that Germany is violating a constitutionally enshrined duty to protect the right to life by allowing the United States to use Ramstein Air Base as part of its lethal drone operations. His case was dismissed at the end of may, but he has leave to appeal.

Is the tide turning? One key drone launching base in Syria closed – how many more to go?

In February the US decided to evacuate its remaining personnel from Yemen, including 100 Special Operations forces from a military base seen as key in the drone war against al-Qaeda.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the United States was also closing its Syrian embassy and World News quotes an account of its withdrawal of 100 Special Operations forces from a military base seen as key in the drone war against al-Qaeda by Iona Craig, a journalist who was based in Sana’a for four years as the Yemen correspondent for The Times of London.

Copyright Drone Warfare 2015

European Trade with Israel, Illegitimate

June 20th, 2015 by Anthony Bellchambers

‘The Treaty on the European Union states that any European country may apply for membership if it respects the democratic values of the EU and is committed to promoting them. Countries wishing to join need to have: stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities.’

Israel, of course, is not in the continent of Europe but is located in the Middle East. Furthermore, Israel patently does not guarantee democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights or the protection of minorities. On the contrary, it has operated a documented and illegal blockade of essential supplies to 1.8 million civilians in Gaza in a failed attempt at regime change, for now over seven years!

Contemporaneously, the Israeli government has conspired in the illegal settlement of over 380,000 of its own citizens in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank in direct violation of Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention on Human Rights (GCIV).

The above facts automatically disqualify Israel from any application to join the EU either now or at any future date. More importantly, it means that all current bilateral trade is illegitimate and the Association Agreement should be annulled by reason of Israel’s continued gross breach of its provisions.

For the EU to continue to trade with Israel in the full knowledge of these continuing violations is not only illegitimate but ultra vires and causes grave damage to the democratic institutions of Europe. Its continuance indicates a malign and corrupt influence from an unconfirmed source in the internal affairs of the European community. This is a very serious charge that requires an answer if the European Union is to continue as a viable political and trading entity and is not to disintegrate with enormous economic and political damage to the whole of Europe and the free world.

By comparison, the current difficulties with Greece, arguably pale into near insignificance and, of course, Greece is not only a valued member of NATO but is also a party to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel is neither.

http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/policy/conditions-membership/index_en.htm

Outrageous! A white supremacist motivated by racist venom enters Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, during a Bible study class. He sits down with people there for a while and then starts shooting them, murdering six Black women and three Black men. He calmly reloaded in the course of carrying out these foul murders, telling his victims that he had to do this “because you [meaning Black people] rape our women and are taking over our country”!

Mass murder carried out in a church—a place that is supposed to be a sanctuary in the face of injustice. This brings to mind the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963 which killed four little girls. And the wave of burnings of Black churches in more recent decades.

Mass murder carried out at this church, which has a history of being a place Black people gathered to organize themselves to stand up to the savage oppression this system has enforced on them for centuries. This history goes back to the church’s founding in 1816. Among its founders was Denmark Vesey who was hung in 1822, along with 35 other Black people, for planning a slave uprising.

QUESTION: WHY IS THAT SLAVEHOLDERS’ RAG STILL FLYING AT ALL ABOVE THE CAPITOL OF SOUTH CAROLINA?

And what does the fact that it is have to do with the atrocity carried out there this week?

For answers, go to:

»  Yes, this society was NOT designed to give Justice to Black and Latino people. But why is that so—And what must be done about it?

»  Communism and Jeffersonian Democracy, by Bob Avakian

»  The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need

If you are angry or hurt or agonizing over the atrocity in Charleston, if you burn for and dream of human emancipation and an END to all oppression and oppressive divisions… if you think about revolution and want to learn more… then be with us this weekend!

What kind of society IS this? How long must we put up with it? What can we do to end this madness and emancipate humanity? More

The time for healing is once the disease has been diagnosed and rooted out, not while it is still raging.More

What happened in Charleston is not about gun control or mental illness—it is about racism. And the violent insanity that marks this society flows from the genocidal, slavemaster roots of American capitalism and the predatory gangsterism that enforces U.S. imperialism around the world.More

The blood of the nine people murdered in Charleston is on the hands of the rulers of this country. Whether this guy acted alone or not, he was acting within a climate that has been deliberately whipped up. White supremacy has been ingrained in the fabric of America from its very beginning. This country was founded on theft of land from and genocide inflicted on the native inhabitants and the dragging of millions of Africans to these shores in slave chains. And white supremacy remains at the heart of this society right down to today.

What does it tell you about this country that George Zimmerman could murder Trayvon Martin as he walked home carrying Skittles and iced tea and walk away with no punishment. That cops could choke Eric Garner to death, ignoring his cries of “I can’t breathe,” and get off scot free. That a South Carolina cop could feel he could get away with shooting Walter Scott in the back as he ran away. That Black communities are built on toxic areas that poison people. That Black couples with good credit were steered to sub-prime loans that led to them disproportionately losing their homes in the 2007 economic meltdown. That 2+ million people are imprisoned in this country, vastly disproportionately Black and Latino. These and more amount to a genocidal program of suppression and deprivation targeting Black people. And they have contributed to a climate in which it is legitimate to view Black people as criminals and justified to murder them. In these and a thousand other ways a message is delivered that Black life doesn’t matter.

All this faces us all with an urgent question: Which side are you on? Are you on the side of the savage oppression and brutality this system enforces on Black people? Or do you stand against these kinds of horrors?

The crocodile tears being shed by those who preside over the brutality and murder this system inflicts on people are worse than useless. It will take revolution, nothing less, to uproot white supremacy and end the oppression of Black people and all the other horrors this system inflicts on humanity. If you want to see these horrors stopped, there is a movement you can get with, a movement for revolution that the Revolutionary Communist Party is building. To get information and to join in dealing with the questions and obstacles this revolution faces, go to the website: www.revcom.us.

Everyone should understand that there is no middle ground in this struggle where people can be neutral while this system grinds away, crushing the bodies and breaking the spirits of those on the bottom of society. If you have an ounce of humanity, you must add your voice to those demanding that horrors like these STOP! Right Now!

Carl Dix is the co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

“The citizens whose lives are split between business and private life, their private life between ostentation and intimacy, their intimacy between the sullen community of marriage and the bitter solace of being entirely alone, at odds with themselves and with everyone, are virtually already Nazis who are at once enthusiastic and fed up or the city dwellers of today who can imagine friendship only as a social contract between the inwardly connected.” The Dialectic of Enlightenment, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno (1944).

“The religious chimeras must be replaced by the utmost terrors. The people must be freed from the fear of a future Hell. Once that is destroyed they will abandon themselves to anything. But the chimerical law must be replaced by penal laws of enormous severity which apply of course only to the people since they alone cause unrest in the state….What do the rich care for the idea of a leash they will never feel themselves if this empty semblance gives them the right to grind down those living under its yoke?” Horkheimer and Adorno quoting from Juliette by the Marquis de Sade (1797).

The founders and practitioners of free-market ideology have finally succeeded in turning the individual intellect, and the collective that is Western civilization, into little more than value-objects. Now, all are witness to the reality that everything, everyone, every emotion and even every movement has a price and a cost. Western society and individual thought has, at long last, become totally materialistic; which is to say, completely economic according to practices decidedly informed by 18th and 19th Century philosophy (often misinformed).

All manner of life from the quanta of action to the intimacy of lovers is irretrievably locked into economic value functions. This has led to the ice cold calculus, and equally brutal callousness, now present in the minds of the rulers, and the ruled, which sees transgender and transracial issues; Greek financial woes; job liquidation and unemployment; private and public pension pillaging; cuts in social safety nets (austerity); head transplants; and; for example, US preparations for open war in/or with Syria, Iraq, Russia and China as natural and as expected as the sun’s presence during the day. No emotion of care or concern arises that would see even a finger lifted to change the system as it is as such.

What’s the Point?

The efforts of journalists and academics are nearly intellectually bankrupt save for the “effort” of trying to report on the world not as it appears, but as it is as designed and managed by a willful economic totalitarianism that provides for a “free” life in terms demanded by economic doctrine, even as it tortures that life daily, providing no escape from the daily routine. Even dreams are polluted.

The intellectual limits of the unenhanced human mind have now been reached. Is it any wonder that technological, bioengineering and chemical enhancements are rapidly being called for by all?

This is not a beyond-Capitalism. It is, rather, the emergence and acceptance of economic, social and cultural Sadism that has now been blessed, purchased and brought into the service of the market economy. The most puzzling forms of human behavior, and their most horrifying, are no longer repulsive or indignant, or hampered in their development, production and marketing. They are valuable in the sense that they are held by society to have monetary value either in the form of debt or credit. Such is the replacement for the concepts of right and wrong, moral and immoral. Boundaries and limits have been eliminated in every sphere of life.

In the era of transgender and transracial one can only expect that trans-life will be next.

Religion and family offer no refuge now having been shocked and awed into defeat by the necessities of the free-market imperative, and the practices and myths they offered which have decisively been ridiculed and defeated by the new religion of the free-market. Christ’s sacrifice no longer matters. Now the view is that Christ was a fool and the Father a nut to sacrifice his only Son. Besides, Paternalism, like all “Western Whiteness”, is not part of humanity’s historical process, but resident evil on Earth. Even here the industries of Diversity have been compromised by the sacraments of “buy and sell” as even they must earn their daily bread.

There is nothing current in 21st Century academia or journalism that addresses the Sadistic now which has become a perpetual moment-in-motion in which history is despised for its reality and the future lies someplace in the fantasy notions of a pre-history.  Perhaps humanity’s fate is a pre-history.

Robert Townsend’s Animal Kingdom

Who knew that goats and dogs were so important to the development of today’s economic practice?

“…Malthus and Darwin owed their inspiration to this source [Townsend’s goats and dogs, see below]. Malthus learned of it from Condorcet, Darwin from Malthus. Yet neither Darwin’s theory of natural selection nor Malthus’ population laws might have exerted any appreciable influence on modern society but for the maxims which Townsend deduced from his goats and dogs and wished to have applied to the reform of the poor law…Here was a new starting point for political science. By approaching human community from the animal side, Townsend bypassed the supposedly unavoidable question as to the foundation of government and in so doing introduced a new concept of law into human affairs–that of the laws of nature.” The Great Transformation, Karl Polanyi (1944).

In this excerpt from A Dissertation on the Poor Laws, by Robert Townsend (1786), the masses get their come-uppance. When reading the views of Townsend it is important to note, as Polanyi points out, that in the United Kingdom at the time, “poor” meant anyone who did not have the wealth to be leisurely 24/7. Just 15 percent of those in the United Kingdom were allowed to vote at the time.

“The poor know little of the motives which stimulate the higher ranks to action-pride, honor, and ambition. In general it is only hunger which can spur and goad them on to labor…Who is most worthy to suffer cold and hunger, the prodigal or the provident, the slothful or the diligent, the virtuous or the vicious? In the South Seas there is an island, which from the first discoverer is called Juan Fernandez. In this sequestered spot, John Fernando placed a colony of goats, consisting of one male, attended by his female. This happy couple finding pasture in abundance, could readily obey the first commandment, to increase and multiply, till in process of time they had replenished their little island. In advancing to this period they were strangers to misery and want, and seemed to glory in their numbers: but from this unhappy moment they began to suffer hunger; yet continuing for a time to increase their numbers, had they been endued with reason, they must have apprehended the extremity of famine. In this situation the weakest first gave way, and plenty was again restored…partial evil was universal good. When the Spaniards found that the English privateers resorted to this island for provisions, they resolved on the total extirpation of the goats, and for this purpose they put on shore a greyhound dog and bitch. These in their turn increased and multiplied, in proportion to the quantity of food they met with; but in consequence, as the Spaniards had foreseen, the breed of goats diminished. Had they been totally destroyed, the dogs likewise must have perished. But as many of the goats retired to the craggy rocks, where the dogs could never follow them, descending only for short intervals to feed with fear and circumspection in the rallies, few of these, besides the careless and the rash, became a prey; and none but the most watchful, strong, and active of the dogs could get a sufficiency of food. Thus a new kind of balance was established. The weakest of both species were among the first to pay the debt of nature; the most active and vigorous preserved their lives. It is the quantity of food which regulates the numbers of the human species…”

The Genius of the Marquis

“Individuals in having to fend for themselves develop the ego as the agency of reflective foresight and overview; over successive generations it expands and contracts with the individuals prospects of economic autonomy and productive ownership. Finally it passes from the expropriated citizens to the totalitarian trust-masters whose science has become the quintessence of the methods for the subjugation of the masses of society. Sade erected an early monument to their planning skills. The conspiracy of rulers against peoples implemented by relentless organization finds the enlightenment period no less compliant than the bourgeois republic. That spirt is hostile only to authority when authority lacks the strength to enforce obeisance and to violence only when violence is not an established fact. As long as one does not ask who is applying it, reason has no greater affinity with violence or mediation…it presents as peace or war, tolerance or repression as the given state of affairs…Reason as a purely formal entity is in the service of every natural interest. Becoming simply an organ, thinking reverts to nature. For the rulers, however, human beings become mere material as the whole of nature has become material for society.” (Horkheimer & Adorno)

John Stanton is a Virginia based writer. Reach him at [email protected]

On June 22 and June 25, members of Witness Against Torture (WAT) will defend themselves in two separate trials in Washington, D.C. Superior Court against charges stemming from their demand of accountability for torture and domestic police violence.

On January 12, 2015, eleven people were arrested in the US Senate Gallery after insisting that the Senate launch criminal investigations of US torture, as detailed in the Senate’s own report.  That same day, ten people were arrested in the US Capitol Visitor Center after unfurling banners with such slogans as “We Demand Accountability for Torture and Police Murder!”

The trials will take place at DC Superior Court, 500 Indiana Avenue, Washington, D.C., NW.  The Senate Gallery trial will begin at 9:30 am on Monday, June 22.  The Capital Visitor Center trial will begin at 2:00 pm on Thursday, June 25. Each trial is expected to last one to two days.

The protests in the Capitol followed the release of the Senate’s report on the CIA’s use of torture, including waterboarding, prolonged stress positions, and “rectal feeding.”  They also took place against the backdrop of grand juries’ refusal to indict police officers who killed young black men, and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The defendants will argue that the government itself is guilty of crimes and of failing to enforce its own laws.  They claim that they exercised their right of free speech in calling for justice.

The message of the gallery protest was “U.S. Torture: It’s official! Prosecute now!” “There has to be accountability for government misconduct,” contends Bob Cooke, a WAT member from Washington, D.C. arrested in the Gallery.  “It’s not enough for Congress to ban torture in the future.  Past crimes must be addressed as well.” “We are ordinary citizens who have for years pursued countless avenues in an attempt to get the proper authorities to prosecute those individuals who committed torture in our name,” says Ohio’s Josie Setzler, also arrested in the Gallery. “The Senate needed to hear from us.”

In the Capitol Visitor Center, the protesters drew parallels between the abuse of detainees overseas and state violence against people of color here at home.  “The CIA, US military, and political leaders get away with the torture of Muslim men, just like police get away with the killing of African American men,” says Beth Brockman, a WAT member from North Carolina arrested in the Visitor Center.  “Both reflect the racism of our system and must stop.”

The protests came the day after activists from around the country marked the 13th anniversary of the opening of the US detention facility at Guantánamo Bay with a demonstration in Washington.

Witness Against Torture was formed in 2005 with the goal of shutting down the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay and ending US torture.  It now addresses state violence more broadly, including the persecution of people of color by police and in US prisons and jails.

www.witnesstorture.org

Image: Extended Long Range Air Launch Target (E-LRALT) missile testing in 2012

On June 4 a portion of a report by Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, was declassified, in which he claims that Washington is considering deploying cruise missiles with nuclear warheads in Europe as a response to Russia’s alleged “violations” of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, which the United States and Soviet Union became party to back in 1987.

Four days later a similar statement was made by British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who announced London’s willingness to once again accept US nuclear missiles, which were removed from British bases in 2006. In so doing, the United Kingdom has joined those who are criticizing Moscow for an “offense” that the Russians have never committed at any time or in any place.

The fact is that the new Russian R-500 operational and tactical cruise missile, which is mentioned in the American military documents, does not fall under any of the categories listed in the INF. That treaty required the destruction of two classes of nuclear missiles: ground-based ballistic and cruise missiles of “intermediate- and shorter-range,” meaning able to travel 1,000-5,500 km. and 500-1,000 km., respectively. The new Russian cruise missile in question has a maximum range of less than 500 km. The Russians have not officially released any other information regarding its range. Nor have the Americans officially issued such information. In addition, the US delegation did not file any specific complaints about the missile during the special US-Russian consultations on arms control held last fall and this past spring. They just claimed that the Russians have tested “some kind of missile and they know what we are talking about…” But this is not a serious conversation. As Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov noted on June 9 of this year, “We are ready to examine any concrete evidence that gives the Americans reason to think that we have violated something.”

Russia’s next-generation intercontinental nuclear ballistic missile mentioned by the US (the RS-26 or Rubezh) has a range of over 5,500 kilometers and is also not subject to the INF’s restrictions, since that treaty does not apply to nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles with a range of over 5,500 km. The numbers of those missiles are to be reduced principally through other agreements, such as strategic offensive reductions treaties.

Washington launched an extensive propaganda campaign a few years ago to discredit Russia in response to some type of INF “violations,” but has not yet provided any evidence of such “violations” by the Russians. That was the situation in JanuaryJuly, and November of last year, when US officials made unfounded allegations in this regard against Moscow. And the same scenario is being played out again this year.

Martin Dempsey

Martin Dempsey

The question arises: why does Washington need to create a manifestly counterproductive drama around some pseudo INF violations by the Russians, and particularly by resorting to a range of threats that have never before been issued in such a bombastic way?

The main reason is that the US is trying to prevent Russia from developing two effective missile “antidotes” to the American system to intercept ballistic and cruise missiles – Moscow is developing a new cruise missile and a next-generation intercontinental nuclear ballistic missile capable of challenging the high-tech US missile-defense infrastructure. Washington wants to be able to deliver a first nuclear strike against Russia, China, Iran, and other states without fear of reprisal, with an eye toward creating a future world order. After all, the Pentagon is retaining its offensive doctrines unchanged that allow for a first preemptive or preventative nuclear strike.

The second compelling reason why Washington has decided to trot out this improbable accusation about Russia’s INF “violations” is that the US itself has already repeatedly violated and continues to violate that treaty, when it uses “shorter-, medium-, and intermediate-range” ballistic and cruise missiles as targets to test its missile-defense systems. In particular, target missiles are being used such as the Hera (with a range of 1,100-1,200 km.), the MRT-1 (with a range of 1,100 km.), and the LRALT (with a range of 2,000 km.). Another example of Washington’s violation of this treaty will be if they install land-based cruise missiles in the launchers of the American missile-defense systems in Romania and Poland (that will become operational in 2015 and 2018, respectively), which can be equipped with a total of 48 missiles (24 missiles each).

The Associated Press rightly notes that the potential return of American medium-range missiles to Europe, as mentioned by Army General Martin Dempsey, is reminiscent of the darkest days of the Cold War.

And that’s true if we take into account the fact that, as the AP points out, the White House is considering three options for its military response to Russia’s INF “violations”: developing defensive, i.e., anti-ballistic systems; launching a preemptive “counterforce strike” against any weapons that violate the treaty; and using “nuclear weapons to destroy military targets” on enemy territory, meaning inside Russia. But that would be a direct violation of that treaty by the United States itself.

How should Russia proceed, given the fact that the United States is actually in violation of the INF? Should she also decide to use “nuclear weapons to destroy military targets” on enemy territory?

How should Russia respond if Washington still maintains a significant strategic offensive nuclear arsenal in order to preserve its “breakout potential” and also includes Russia in the list of countries that may be subjected to a nuclear first strike?

What responsive measures is Russia entitled to employ if the US refuses to remove its tactical nuclear weapons from Europe or to dismantle their infrastructure, when it is the only country in the world that has been continuously deploying its tactical nuclear weapons in other states since the early 1950s?

What should Russia do in order to strengthen its own security and that of its allies, if the United States continues to enmesh the globe in a network of offensive weapons and the information- and intelligence-gathering tools of its missile-defense system by combining it with nuclear missiles and conventional weapons? How should Russia respond when the military potential ensconced in the European component of US missile defense is many times greater than what would be needed to neutralize any existing or potential missile threats to European countries? Since the creation of American missile defense violates the INF and New START (2010) treaties, naturally Russia has the right to respond by deploying new weapons that are able to neutralize the potential of the US missile-defense system.

How should Russia act if the US and its allies quash any initiative aimed at preventing the introduction of weapons into outer space?

The Russians could legitimately demand answers from Washington to many similar questions. They could easily amass at least another dozen or so bona fide grievances.

It is perfectly obvious that Moscow has to demonstrate its willingness to act in the event of an INF violation by the United States, as well as to promptly and appropriately respond to the Americans’ destructive approach to resolving many other arms-control issues.

At the same time Moscow has claimed that it is still willing to hold an honest dialog that is meaningful – not merely empty words – in order to allay any concerns related to arms control. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated at a press conference on June 9 that “Russia has no intention of breaking this treaty.”

Prof. Vladimir Kozin is the leading Russian expert on disarmament and strategic stability issues, exclusively for Oriental Review.

One of the main topics at the Bilderberg Group meeting held last week in Telfs-Buchen, Austria was the idea of promoting a cashless society.  It seems like governments in Africa think that a cashless society is a good idea, which is good news for the Bilderberg elite, but really bad news for the rest of us. The Independent, based in Uganda reported that John Karamuka, the head of payment systems at the National Bank of Rwanda is optimistic in creating a “cashless payment system” for ordinary Rwandan citizens. According to the report, Mr. Karamuka announced during the introduction of Airtel’s cashless payment system that “a lot of work remains to be done to build a solid cashless payment system in the country” he continued “Progress made towards creating a cashless economy is good, but is still far from the country’s vision”.

The National Bank of Rwanda has partnered with Airtel Rwanda, an affiliate owned by Bharti Airtel, a global telecommunications company with operations across Africa and Asia that would allow subscribers to pay bills from their mobile phones. Airtel Rwanda officials said that subscribers will be allowed to “pay electricity bills, television subscription and school fees through their mobile phones. The service will be expanded to include tax payment and water bills before the end of the year”.

Karamuka stated that “We need to move from simple money transfer to other financial services where one can pay for water through electronic channels; pay school fees, taxes and even [groceries] through merchant payment. This is when the country will be able to say it is moving towards a cashless payment society.” On October 29, 2014 the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) published an article praising Rwanda’s leadership for their transition to a cashless society:

Today the Government of Rwanda has moved to accelerate its plans to transform Rwanda into a cashless economy and achieve 80 percent financial inclusion by 2017

UNCDF has partnered with the ‘Better Than Cash Alliance’ which is funded by (no surprise) the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford FoundationMasterCard, Visa, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) among others. The article stated Rwanda’s main objective is when it comes to the use of electronic payments by the private sector including its citizens:

Rwanda’s commitment to using information and communications technology (ICT) for financial services was made as it officially joined the Better Than Cash Alliance, an initiative that works with governments, the development community, and the private sector to adopt the use of electronic payments

What is interesting about the UNCDF is that they claim cash prevents people from building assets, opening bank accounts or saving money for the future:

These efforts aim to help people who do not have access to formal financial services and frequently have no option but to subsist almost entirely in an informal, cash-only economy. Living in a cash economy makes it extremely difficult to access financial services like bank accounts, save for the future, build assets, or get credit

Claver Gatete, Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning said “We believe that partnering with the Better Than Cash Alliance will further our ambition to transform Rwanda into a cashless economy and ensure that every Rwandan is financially included.” Dr. Ruth Goodwin-Groen, the Managing Director of the Better than Cash Alliancesaid that “We welcome Rwanda as the newest member of the Better Than Cash Alliance and commend the Government’s leadership and commitment to continue transitioning away from cash”. Teddy Bhullar, Airtel Rwanda chief executive officer declared that “We are optimistic that we will create a new wave of accepting payments using mobile phone technology, thus bridging the gap between the traditional brick-and-mortar modes of payment”. In other words, using traditional methods such as cash is considered a primitive way of doing business. How times are rapidly changing. In 2013, CNBC published an interesting commentary by Scott A. Shay, Chairman of Signature Bank titled ‘Cashless society: A huge threat to our freedom’ and said the following:

There are certainly positive outcomes that can be obtained by going cashless. For example, banning sale transactions of cigarettes or sugary drinks or stopping cardholders from overeating, gambling, or whatever other vice is targeted, could lead to a decrease in these vices and their associated problems. A decrease in those problems could positively impact other areas, like, for example, our nation’s health-care system. A cashless society would probably also mean less street crime. Yet in return for these benefits, there is an incalculable cost to our humanity. We would lose our freedom to make decisions. It is easy to imagine a totalitarian regime using these tools to great harm. Given current U.S. government policies, it is also very easy to imagine even a liberal government such as our own, being sorely tempted to use the confluence of these technologies. And once used, because they are so very, very powerful, even liberal governments will be enticed into using them until there is pretty complete monitoring and control of every transaction

When a banker admits that a “cashless society” poses a danger to the human race, you know something is terribly wrong!

Meet the New Bush, Same as the Old Bush

June 20th, 2015 by Eric Draitser

Jeb Bush formally announced his candidacy for president of the United States. While he certainly has the name recognition, it is precisely his name, and the legacy that comes with it, that could be both one of his greatest assets and political obstacles.

Aside from being yet another Bush – a name that still evokes more groans and hisses than it does admiration – Jeb is attempting to present the appearance of a thoughtful and compassionate conservative as concerned about marginalized Americans as he is about fairness and justice. But beyond the rhetoric of empathy and equality, Bush has clearly and unequivocally demonstrated in both word and deed that he is, despite his public relations campaign to the contrary, simply more of the same.

Jeb’s nascent campaign has already struck a number of key low notes, including his ambiguous and utterly ridiculous mishandling of the question of support for his brother’s illegal war in Iraq. Jeb also recently made highly provocative statements about Russian President Vladimir Putin, calling him a“bully” as he set to distinguish his bellicosity from the perceived weakness of Obama when it comes to Russia. Moreover, Bush is raising money at a staggering rate from all the usual Beltway insider sources, including powerful Wall Street interests and lobbyists representing everyone from Saudi Arabia to Wal-Mart and Microsoft.

Indeed, far from being an independent man with his own ideas and politics, Jeb represents precisely the same tradition, and unquestionably the same potentially disastrous outcomes, that his name implies.

The more things change, the more they stay the same

One of the overriding themes of Jeb Bush’s announcement speech in Miami was the notion that Jeb would be able to bring substantive change to Washington, and would be a leader willing to challenge the political status quo. In his speech, Bush proudly proclaimed that he would “Take Washington — the static capital of this dynamic country — out of the business of causing problems… I know we can fix this… because I’ve done it.”

Perhaps the irony was lost on Bush and his crowd of supporters, but it certainly was not on millions around the country, and around the world, whose collective howls of laughter could almost be heard over the roar of the crowd when Jeb proclaimed that Washington is a “club [of] pampered elites.” It seems that the Bush campaign believes that by referring to their candidate simply as “Jeb” they can somehow shake the foul stench of two previous Bush presidencies and their destructive policies. But of course, that is merely public relations, a cheap marketing ploy designed to conceal the fact that Jeb is the epitome of “business as usual.”

While Jeb may wax poetic about cleaning up Washington, he is certainly no slouch as far as fundraising from wealthy elites goes. In fact, Bush seems to be openly flaunting his desire to be yet another corporate Yes-Man-in-Chief, one who will continue the domestic and foreign policies of his brother and father before him.

By March 2015, a full three months before he even announced his candidacy officially, Jeb Bush was already a superstar of the fundraising circuit, with projections reaching $100 million for the first quarter of 2015 alone. A close examination of some of the key donors reveals that Jeb, like his brother George W. and father George H.W., is a willing recipient of massive contributions from Wall Street, major corporations and foreign interests.

As The Intercept reported, Bush’s Super PAC, known as Right to Rise, has received significant contributions from a number of key donors including lobbyists for Saudi Arabia, as well as those for Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil and other major corporations. In addition, a major contributor has been Glenn Youngkin, managing director of the Carlyle Group, the firm which owns Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the world’s top defense contractors.

The Carlyle Group, a secretive investment group comprised of many powerful political and financial elites, has a longstanding relationship with the Bush family. As The Economist noted in 2003: “The Carlyle Group [is] a private equity firm that manages billions of dollars, including, at the time, some Bin Laden family wealth. It also employs Messrs [former President George H.W.] Bush and [former Bush administration Secretary of State James] Baker.”

So it seems that all the usual players are involved in bankrolling Jeb, including longtime Bush political machine apparatchiks from a variety of fields. Not to be forgotten are the Wall Street hedge fund titans, including Lewis Eisenberg and Henry Kravis, who hosted a posh fundraiser in New York where the Bush machine had previously held $100,000 per plate fundraisers. The Bush camp has also received major financial backing from influential tech world figures in Silicon Valley and other important corporate donors.

Taken in total then, far from being the one to transform the “club of pampered elites” in Washington, Jeb Bush is, in fact, catering to those very same elites, the ones who finance both sides of the presidential elections. For it should come as no surprise that Hillary Clinton is raising serious money from many of these same interests, with only slight differences of names and figures. So, anyone believing the rhetoric flowing like expensive wine at the Jeb celebrations must simply not be paying attention.

But corruption and corporate greed aside, a potential Bush presidency poses extreme dangers for the US, and indeed the world. Bush’s foreign policy, predicated on aggressiveness and “strength,” is likely to exacerbate already complex and tense situations around the world.

Bush’s foreign policy: the Usual Suspects

Even a cursory analysis of the foreign policy team assembled by Jeb Bush gives a clear indication of the policies that will be pursued. Coupled with his at times absurd, at times shockingly belligerent, rhetoric, a future Jeb presidency could spell disaster for the US and the world. Those interested in peace, and with clear memories of the painful period of George W. Bush’s presidency, are likely shuddering at the thought.

When one looks at the roster of powerful and influential figures on Bush’s foreign policy team, so many of the names are eerily and painfully familiar: Wolfowitz, Negroponte, Chertoff, Hadley, Baker, Shultz, Zoellick, Hayden, Dobriansky, and many others. Running through the list of war crimes and foreign policy missteps for which this rogue’s gallery is responsible would be like a laundry list of US imperialism in recent decades – both Iraq wars, support for death squads in Central America, the war in Afghanistan, the War on Terror, etc. If you consider the fact that Bush recently stated that “I love my father and my brother…but I am my own man,” perhaps having a foreign policy team in which 19 of the 21 members are from the three former Bush administrations is not the best way to demonstrate that.

And of course that raises very serious questions about how Jeb Bush would act in regard to some of the major challenges in the world today. His recent comments during his European trip certainly do not bode well. His assertion that “Putin is a bully” demonstrates yet again that he and his neocon ilk still have not grasped the fundamental point that US aggression is not going to solve any of the issues in Eastern Europe: the conflict in Ukraine, the continued aggressive expansion of NATO, the escalation of military materiel and forces in the region, US missiles being pointed at Russia, and many other issues.

The Russian position has always been and remains today that it would like to address any issues through dialogue, but only in a climate in which the interested parties sit at the table as equals, not one in which Washington dictates to other countries as if they were subordinates. This sort of arrogance and hubris is precisely the rhetoric that tinges nearly every public pronouncement about foreign policy from Jeb Bush and his team.

Speaking to reporters in Europe, Jeb Bush recently explained that: “There are things that we could do given the scale of our military to send a strong signal that we’re on the side of Poland, the Baltics and the countries that truly feel threatened by the ‘little green men,’ this new cyber warfare and these other tactics that Russia now is using… I think we ought to consider putting troops there for sure.”

Consider for a moment the absolute madness that Bush is describing: escalating with permanent troop presence in Eastern Europe, quite literally along Russia’s border. While Bush and the entire US political establishment attempts to portray Russia and President Putin as aggressors, their very own statements paint a different picture, one which raises the possibility of direct military confrontation with Russia, an outcome that could be disastrous for Europe and the world at large.

Bush has also hinted at escalation and yet another military occupation in Iraq, and possibly Syria. While attempting to distance himself from his brother’s initial 2003 invasion of Iraq, he lauded the troop “surge” of 2007, and blamed the problems in the region, including the development of Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) on Obama’s withdrawal of troops in late 2011. Bush outlined his position by saying:“[Iraq’s] security has been totally obliterated by the president’s pulling out too early, and now these voids are filled by this barbaric asymmetric threat that endangers the entire region and the entire world… The best way to lessen the chance of having American boots on the ground is to have a foreign policy that is strong and secure and consistent.”

Bush seems to be, quite paradoxically, suggesting that he would lessen the chance of having American boots on the ground by having American boots on the ground. It is not difficult to read into his statement that Bush is advocating for direct military intervention in Iraq and possibly Syria, ostensibly to combat Islamic State. The unpopularity of yet another Bush war in Iraq is what prevents him from making the statement directly, so instead he merely obliquely refers to it. But the danger and folly is no doubt apparent to all who have even a rudimentary understanding of the region and recent history.

One could point to many other ways in which a Jeb presidency would quite literally be merely a fourth and fifth Bush term. But the danger is not merely a repetition of those blunders and aggressive actions, for the implications would be truly global today. Russia and China have truly begun cementing a strategic partnership, Latin America is as unified today as it has ever been, and Eurasian integration is taking place at breakneck speed. Therefore, the sorts of belligerent policies for which neocons are known could have implications on a truly global scale.

Whether it is US actions vis-à-vis the Asia Pivot and the South China Sea, US backing for Ukraine and saber-rattling against Russia, US involvement in the Middle East, or a host of other issues, the stakes have never been higher. With Jeb Bush in the driver’s seat the potential for a head-on collision is frightening, to say the least.

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

You take my water, Burn my olive trees

Destroy my house,  Take my job

Steal my land,  Imprison my father

Kill my mother, Bomb my country

Starve us all, Humiliate us all

But …I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.”

(Placard first seen in Gaza, 2012. Courtesy of Felicity Arbuthnot)

 

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The territory known as the Gaza Strip, or Gaza lines the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Egypt to the southwest and Israel on the east and north.

In spite of the disengagement of Israeli forces nearly a decade ago, the United Nations, international human rights organizations and the majority of governments and legal commentators around the world consider the territory to be occupied.Israeli Defense forces maintains control over all airspace and territorial waters and all crossings in and out of Gaza. The situation fostered dependence on Israel for trade, water, sewage, electricity, currency communication networks, and issuing IDs and permits to enter and leave the terrirory. [1]

Tensions following the election of the Palestinian Islamic organization Hamas to power in Gaza provoked tensions with Israel leading to the 2008 war, and a blockade allowing only limited amounts of medical humanitarian aid through. [2]

Israel argues that the blockade is necessary in order to prevent Hamas, deemed a terrorist group by many Western countries, from re-arming and launching Palestinian rocket attacks. [3]

The restrictions on access to basic building construction materials, medical suppliesand food stuffs has depressed the economy and standard of life for Gazans, and prompted many to refer to the region as the world’s largest open air prison. [4]

Since 2008, a unique effort known as the Freedom Flotilla was conceived to try to break through the blockade and bring much needed assistance to the struggling Palestinian population there who urgently need it.

As Freedom Flotilla III is departing from an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean Sea to Gaza, this week’s Global Research News Hour focuses on activists abroad coming to the assistance of that region’s destitute population.

Robert Lovelace is a Continuing Adjunct Professor in the Department of Global Development Studies at Queens University and a member of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation. He is joining the Freedom Flotilla for the second time, and left Canada on June 15, 2015. Updates of his voyage can be found on his Decolonization Blog.

Richard Day is an Associate Professor of Global Development Studies at Queens University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He is functioning as a spokesperson for his colleague, Robert Lovelace who is travelling on board one of the Freedom Flotilla Ships toward Gaza.

David Heap is a Canadian activist and a steering committee member of the Canadian Boat to Gaza contingent of the Freedom Flotilla III. He is also a past participant in the Freedom Flotilla.

Dr. Benjamin Thomson is a physician working out of Toronto. He has worked in Gaza and is one of three physicians along with Dr. Tarek Loubani, and Dr. Dalal Dahrouj championing, EmpowerGaza an initiative geared toward providing reliable, renewable solar energy for hospitals in Gaza.

 

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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:

CFUV 101. 9 FM in Victoria. Airing Sundays from 7-8am PT.

CHLY 101.7 FM 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.

Notes:

1) https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Gaza_Strip#cite_note-occ-4

2) ibid

3) ibid

4) ibid

 

 

Palestine: Journey through a Fractured Landscape

June 20th, 2015 by Sandy Tolan

Image: Elementary school, Hebron. The children’s play area across from the school was closed in order to accommodate buses from nearby settlements. (Photo: Sandy Tolan)

The numbers tell a certain kind of grim story in the landscape of Palestine:

109,000: the number of West Bank settlers, excluding East Jerusalem, in September 1993, the time of the christening of the Oslo accords on the White House lawn.

350,000: the number of those settlers today — a tripling during something called the “peace process.”

40,000+: the population of Maale Adumim, well inside the West Bank, but considered a “suburb” of Jerusalem by Israel.

20,000: the number of settlers in Ariel, where the separation barrier snakes a third of the way inside Palestinian lands to make the settlement part of “greater Israel.”

18: The number of Israeli settlements directly encircling the hoped-for capital of the Palestinian state, East Jerusalem, cutting off the city from the rest of Palestine, but for a piece of land called E-1, which Israel plans to develop.

Roads 60, 443, and myriad other randomly-chosen numbers: smooth-as-glass highways slicing through West Bank Palestinian lands, but for long stretches reserved for almost exclusively for settlers.

Yet the numbers, telling as they may be, can’t begin to evoke the feeling of the transformed Palestinian landscape, nor the profound power imbalance that defines relations between Israel and the Palestinians.  Only a road trip through Palestine can do that.

We left Jerusalem on a hot dry morning, the precious yellow license plates of our Palestinian host, a resident of Jerusalem, ensuring access to the exclusive West Bank roads.  “For now,” said H., aware that because of his national origin, he could be banned from the road at any time. Our destination was the old city of Hebron, one of the most surreal tableaus of the entire tragedy of Palestine and Israel, where 500-600 Jewish settlers, many from the U.S., are protected by 1500 soldiers in a city of 170,000 Palestinians.

I looked out the open window to the east, feeling immediately the dramatic changes to the landscape in the two years I’d been away.  The red-roofed settlement of Efrat now stretched for nearly two miles – this, including the adjacent rows of white trailers, part of an “outpost” that Israel deems technically illegal, but which, by Israel’s design, will soon be absorbed into the settlement.  Israeli leaders call settlement expansion “natural growth”; this is how a Palestinian landscape is transformed into a Jewish one.  The official population of Efrat is about 10,000, though H. claims it is more than twice that.

In the distance, the 25-foot-high separation barrier marched south with us, and now, suddenly, it reached us at a narrow passage, transformed into a tastefully-etched boundary of beige and tan.  Settlers, H. told us, complained that the ugly gray slabs were a distasteful part of their commute to prayer in Jerusalem, or shopping and the beach in Tel Aviv; now, its offensive aspects eliminated for the privileged population, the separation of peoples carries the deceiving look of a simple sound barrier.

Presently the road opened up again, and for a lovely fleeting moment, the landscape of Palestine appeared, unimpeded by barriers, settlements, or checkpoints. Ancient terraced olive groves dotted the landscape, interspersed by vineyards of Hebron grapes, nearly ready. The cries of “Khalili ya anab,” H. told us, would soon ring out in the markets across Palestine: “The Hebron grapes are here!”

Few vendors were calling out 30 minutes later as we walked through the moribund Old City of Hebron, where urban settlement blocks stand brick to brick with Palestinian homes in a contorted geographical designation known as H-2.  This agreement was sanctioned by the international community in an agreement signed by the Palestinian Authority as part of the Oslo “peace process.” Israel had insisted that the few hundred settlers be allowed to stay in a neighborhood of tens of thousands of Palestinians, because of a long Jewish presence there. The current settlers say they are honoring the memory of Jews massacred in Hebron by Palestinians in 1929, during riots over Jewish immigration to Palestine. Yet the current settlers, among the most extreme of all Israelis, have little or no connection to the descendants of those massacred, some of whom have denounced the Hebron settlements, pointing out that other Palestinian families sheltered Jews during the massacre, and calling for the settlers’ removal.

Instead, today at least 1500 Israeli soldiers, more than twice the number of settlers they were sent to protect, spend much of their time escorting their charges from one part of the city to another.  When the armed escort squads push through the narrow alleys of Old Hebron, life on the Palestinian street freezes; such is the primacy of Israel’s settlement project. Steel screens above the old Arab casbah protect the Palestinian vendors against a stream of trash, bottles, plastic chairs and bags of feces the settlers hurl down from above. This is everyday life.

We walked toward Shuhada street, the once-bustling main street of Palestinian life here. H. stopped; as a Palestinian, he is not allowed to walk there. Now the street was nearly vacant. The doors on some of the shops were welded shut; access to some homes is now possible only by ladder, or, in one case, a rope to a window.

We came upon one of H-2’s 120 military checkpoints and other obstacles ensuring separation between Arab and Jew. As we paused, 50 meters away, a soldier’s voice called out from a loudspeaker, imitating the call to prayer.  “Allahu akbar,” he sang in accented Arabic.  His mocking laughter followed.

Image: A tiny mosque in Hebron. The concrete blocks behind blocked the path to the 92-year-old imam’s home just above. Now he must make a much longer journey to the mosque. (Photo: Sandy Tolan)

Around the bend we came to a tiny mosque, whose imam, H. told us, is in his nineties. He wants to retire, but if he does, he fears the settlers will take over the modest building. So he hangs on, despite increasing obstacles. The latest: 24 massive concrete blocks, each 16 feet high, cutting of the imam’s path from his home on the hill just above. Now the 92-year-old must walk a mile to reach the mosque. Others manage: As we spoke, two young men walked toward the concrete blocks; a moment later, when we looked again, they were atop them, having scaled the barrier like cats.

Nearby stood a Palestinian elementary school, its entire perimeter topped with looping razor wire [picture atop this story].  Many of the children must cross checkpoints to get to the school, walking past graffiti in English shouting “Gas the Arabs!” and sometimes enduring a gauntlet of flying stones and rotten vegetables, and attacks from settlers’ dogs. Across from the school lies a flat expanse of asphalt. Once this was a play area for the school.  The old soccer and volleyball grounds have been replaced by long parallel strips of paint. It’s now a parking lot for buses from the settlements.

It was from an adjacent settlement, Kiryat Arba, in 1994, that a settler from Brooklyn named Baruch Goldstein emerged, traveling with his Galil automatic rifle to the Ibrahimi Mosque, somehow getting through Israeli security and gunning down 29 Palestinians while they prayed.  Survivors beat him to death.  Today Goldstein remains revered among some settlers.  At his gravesite in Kiryat Arba, these words are inscribed:  “He gave his soul for the people of Israel, the Torah, and the Land.  His hands are clean and his heart good…”

We head to the Ibrahimi Mosque, also known as the Cave of the Patriarchs.  Near the entrance we pass through a pair of metal floor-to-ceiling turnstiles and submit ourselves for inspection by Israeli soldiers, as does every Palestinian who wishes to worship here.

From this mosque, H. tells us, the call to prayer is often banned by the Israeli authorities, who say it bothers the settlers.  In December, for example, the call was banned 52 times; in May, 49 times, or about one of every three prayers.  “Just a humiliation,” H. says.  “Showing their power.”  Sixty percent of the mosque has been taken over by Israel and is now a synagogue.

At the entrance we take off our shoes.  Just inside lies a mound of plastic throw rugs – seemingly redundant, as plush Turkish carpets cover the interior of the mosque. But they’re essential, H. tells us.  If a member of the Israeli government, or its legislative body, the Knesset, wishes to visit, he or she can enter the Muslim side with only a brief warning. Such visitors refuse to remove their shoes, so the faithful line their path with the replacement rugs, preserving the sanctity of their religious space.

Here, it is believed, lie the remains of Abraham (Ibrahim) and Sarah – central to both faiths. The tomb of Abraham/Ibrahim is visible to each segregated side. Peering past the tomb, I could see a woman on the synagogue side, peering back toward us.

We emerge again into the harsh midday light outside the mosque. Inside or out, the overriding feeling is about imbalance of power: That officials would refuse to remove their shoes in someone else’s holy place; that metal screens would be required to protect shopkeepers from debris hurled in hatred; that someone, somewhere, would actually decide to close a play area for Palestinian children in order to put in a parking lot for the buses of Jewish settlers.

From this place, surrounded by the actual facts on the ground, it is strange and oddly disconnecting to consider the protestations coming from Tel Aviv, certain American pro-Israeli circles, or Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Casino. Those, in other words, who charge that Israel’s critics, especially people who dare to use the “A-word” in connection with Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, are anti-Semitic.

Yet it is not only in Hebron where the Apartheid analogy however imperfect a match it is with South Africa’s version, is apt. As Israel continues to colonize the West Bank with settlers, and its army ensures their dominion over the lands they occupy, avoiding the A-word requires shielding one’s eyes, or, at a minimum, engaging in verbal gymnastics. What, after all, to call a system of legalized discrimination based on ethnicity and religion in which one group has full voting rights, and the other does not?  Where one people can travel freely on roads built specifically for them, whisking through checkpoints because of their religion and the color of their license plates, and the other must submit to inspection at military kiosks frequently manned by snipers?  Where one population in their hilltop enclaves is protected by troops and military surveillance towers, while the other is subjected to frequent night raids by those same troops – so much so that 40 percent of their adult male population has spent time in prison?  Where one group’s “civil administration” can declare the other group’s town a historic archeological site and evict all the villagers, who then move into tents nearby? Where, just this spring, in a public swimming pool, soldiers ordered the Palestinian bathers out, so that the Jewish settlers could have a swim, alone and unbothered by the darker-skinned native population?

Power here, as it does across the West Bank, lies most clearly in the hands of Israel; Palestinians are no match for Israel’s military might or its political influence with the world’s sole superpower.  Palestinian power lies instead in sumud, or steadfastness: A determination to persevere and to live for a better day, confronting Israel on moral grounds while hoping the world will one day bear greater witness to the facts on the ground.

As if to underscore this point, near the end of our trip to Hebron, H. gestures to a small neighborhood near the mosque, on the other side of yet another entrance controlled by soldiers and armed with metal detectors. Just beyond live six Palestinian families on a tiny island of territory amidst the patchwork jurisdictions of H-2. They live essentially surrounded by settlements and the military, and because of that proximity, any items that could be construed as weapons – including kitchen knives – have been banished from the home by Israeli authorities.  The Palestinian residents must have their meat cut in the market, brought back in pieces. “For how long are you able to live under these shitty conditions?” H. asks.  Israel, he says, wants to force the families out: “what we call slow transfer.”  But for now, the families’ sumud is intact. They remain steadfast. Existence, declares a popular Palestinian slogan, is resistance.

But the system in which they exist, in the long run, cannot stand.

And while some continue to decry the use of the A-word, to me it matters little what we call it. I am also fine with comparing these conditions, and others like them all over Palestine, to the legislated racism and ethnic violence known in America as Jim Crow.

Whatever we call it, it is separate and unequal.  And like Apartheid, like Jim Crow, it is destined for the dustbin of history.

Sandy Tolan is the author of the new book Children of the Stone: The Power of Music in a Hard Land. Learn more on his website Ramallah Cafe.

Ecuadorean Dark Forces Behind Attempted Coup Plot

June 19th, 2015 by Stephen Lendman

Washington’s dirty hands manipulate geopolitical events worldwide – notably in Latin America since the 19th century.

In September 2010, Washington’s attempted coup against Ecuadorean President Raphael Correa failed. A previous article asked is history repeating now?

Days of street protests continue over the phony pretext of inheritance and capital gains tax increases affecting only wealthy citizens – about 2% of the population.

At the same time, ordinary Ecuadoreans stand to benefit from announced progressive tax reform. Street protests reflect wealthy elites opposing progressive fairness – with Washington’s dirty hands manipulating things covertly like always.

In April at the Summit of the Americas in Panama, Correa denounced Washington’s sordid history of meddling lawlessly in the internal affairs of Ecuador and other Latin American countries.

“Illegal intervention still continues,” he said. “Our people will never accept the guardianship, interference or intervention (over what Washington calls the) democratization” of Latin American countries.

On Monday to restore calm, Correa delayed announced inheritance and capital gains tax increases to debate their implementation.

“We can wait,” he said. “This is not for our government. This is for future generations. Every excessive concentration of wealth is unjust.”

A national debate will show opposition forces what most Ecuadoreans support. If they can show proposed tax increases harm the nation’s poor, “I will personally ask for them to be withdrawn,” Correa said.

“Poor people are poor because of an extremely unjust society,” he stressed. On Monday, thousands of government supporters rallied en masse in Quito’s main square. They back Correa’s “Citizen Revolution.”

He said “members of the opposition want to achieve through force what they cannot achieve by the ballot box.” Beware of a coup attempt, he warned.

“We cannot forget that the violent ones, the aggressive ones, the abusive ones caused five deaths on September 30, 2010. We cannot let that happen again,” he stressed

He challenged opposition elements to try removing him by recall referendum – as constitutionally allowed. Holding one requires collecting verifiable signatures from 15% of the electorate.

Correa expressed optimism he’d win any recall election handily, if one is held. He’s too popular to be defeated legitimately.

Telesur explained right-wing Ecuadorean monied interests behind opposition street protests – with Washington’s covert involvement.

Banker, veteran hardline politician, former presidential candidate Guillermo Lasso is the main protest backer, said Telesur. In 2010, PAIS Alliance candidate Correa’s majority victory overwhelmed his minority CREO party support more than two to one (57% – 23%).

Lasso has dubious credentials. He’s linked to US monied interests. He was economy minister from 1998 – 2000 during an economic crisis caused by massive banking fraud with his fingerprints all over it.

Many Ecuadoreans lost their jobs, sources of income and savings. Many had to emigrate to survive. Despite Lasso’s involvement in what happened, he became President Lucio Gutierrez’s economic advisor and special ambassador until Gutierrez’s 2005 ouster.

Guayaquil Mayor Jaime Nebot/close ally of former Ecuadorean despot Leon Febres-Cordero is involved in wanting Correa ousted. He led a brief campaign to declare Guayaquil an independent state – getting scant public support.

Quito mayor/former presidential candidate Mauricio Rodas is another Correa opposition figure. He’s a former Febres-Cordero supporter.

Telesur calls Abdala Bucuram (nicknamed El Loco) “the most audacious” anti-Correa figure – another former Ecuadorean president (1996 – 97) until removed after the nation’s National Congress declared him mentally unfit to serve. He’s living in exile in Panama – wanted on corruption charges.

Parliamentarian Clever Jimenez supported ousting Correa in 2010. He’s at it again for a second try.

Ongoing Ecuadorean protests resemble US destabilizing Venezuelan ones – unsuccessful each time tried. Washington wants all independent government replaced by pro-Western ones subservient to powerful monied interests at the expense of popular ones.

Correa has been Ecuador’s president since 2007. Constitutionally, he can seek reelection as often as he wishes. No term limits exist.

If he runs in February 2017, he’s overwhelmingly favored to win. The only way hardliners can defeat him is extrajudicially. Expect them to keep trying – with full US support and encouragement.

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 1PMCentral time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

by Red Pill Times, 2015

In what can only be described as a shocking testimony, Greece’s former representative to the IMF, Panagiotis Roumeliotis, in front of the special parliamentary committee on the Greek debt, said that several Greek journalists were “trained” in Washington D.C. in order to support the positions of the IMF and the European Commission in Greek media.

Roumeliotis testified that…

“The IMF trained” greek journalists so that “Greek journalists can promote the positions of the IMF and the European Commission in Greek media.”

According to Roumeliotis, the seminars and training classes took place in Washington D.C., as well as various sessions taking place in Greece.

Roumeliotis refused to disclose the names of the journalists involved, in what can only be described as overt and excessive western propaganda, bordering on illegal actions undertaken by the IMF and European Commission given the state of Greece’s debt burden.

Parliament President and head of the committee, Zoe Konstantopoulou, noted that the committee investigating Greece’s debt would seek to discover the names of the journalists that took part in Washington’s training sessions.

Roumeliotis noted that when he was in Washington D.C. he accidentally met with Greek journalists who told him that they were invited to attend seminars on the function of the IMF. He said that the committee can ask the organization’s Director of Communications Department, Gerry Rice, for a list of journalists’ names who attended such seminars in D.C.

Konstantopoulou adopted the proposal and appointed a committee member to draft a formal request to the IMF…

“In Greece, certain individuals who work for the mass media were contracted to conceal the fact that the Greek debt was not sustainable.”

Roumeliotis further testified that IMF head…

“Christine Lagarde and other high officials at the IMF contacted me before my testimony before the committee to remind me that members of the IMF are immune from prosecution.”

Konstantopoulou named television journalist Yiannis Pretenteris as one of the journalists attending the IMF classes. According to Konstantopoulou, the popular Greek journalist admitted in his book that he attended the IMF seminars.

Roumeliotis noted that many journalists fell victim to the IMF’s misinformation campaign, and that the omission of the fact that the debt was not sustainable was detrimental to public interest.

Roumeliotis went on to say that several economists and university professors also attempted to convince the public that the debt was sustainable…adding that he puts them in the same category as the journalists.

Who is Panagiotis Roumeliotis: A Greek economist, academic, banker and politician who served as Minister of National Economy, Minister of Commerce, Member of the European Parliament for PASOK and as Greece’s representative at the International Monetary Fund.

References:

http://www.defencenet.gr/

Copyright Red Pill Times 2015

Last week Congressmen John Conyers and Soho’s stance against providing weapons to Ukrainian nazi battalions should have been lauded by Americans because they stood up for our American values. The Ukrainian reaction to the amendment they attached on the support bill denying money to neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine provides the most telling look into Ukrainian nationalist politics the west has seen so far.

Kiev is “cleaning up” a few of the neo-nazi punisher groups many journalists including myself have been writing about over the 1 ½ years. This small admission that the torture, rape, sodomy, and murder of innocent civilians is geared to show their “democratic values.” In true Ukrainian nationalist fashion, they still give medals to the most egregious perpetrators and make examples that give photo ops for the press service.

The truth is that the crimes have been lauded across the spectrum of the Ukrainian government and as over the top as some of the stories coming out of Donbas seemed; they only scratch the surface. Ukrainian nationalism demands that its followers act without thinking, and heroism is doing the unthinkable and unspeakable. A real Ukrainian hero doesn’t need to sacrifice himself. A true hero according to this ideology will sacrifice everybody or anybody around them first (You really can’t make this stuff up!).

said Rep. John Conyers. 

I am grateful that the House of Representatives unanimously passed my amendments last night to ensure that our military does not train members of the repulsive neo-Nazi Azov Battalion…

Responding to this Andrei Bilitsky, Ukrainian Senate MP and founder of Azov Battalion stated that American’s have no right to judge Ukrainian law enforcing structures.

He said this despite the fact that Ukraine is surviving on American handouts. Instead of building the democratic government it promised at the coup, Ukrainian nationalists have squandered the nation’s wealth trying to destroy part of its own population and infrastructure.

Biletsky couldn’t resist laying blame on Vladimir Putin by saying the amendment was the result of Russian lobbyists influence in Congress. With the anti-Russian sentiment on the Hill today, does this even sound plausible in his own ears?

Before going further, I ask; Does the US Congress have the obligation to question the morality, legality, and ethics of any party that wants American tax dollar support?

To be fair, the Americans defending the Azov Battalion and directing Ukraine’s Info War stated for the record:

Congressman, the Azov battalion uses symbology reminiscent of Neo-Nazis, but the Azov Battalion is neither full of Neo-Nazis nor do they engage in Neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic or Racially prejudiced behavior, and I have watched them, consistently, for close to 18 months.”

Quite clearly, Joel Harding knows Azov Battalion very well. If he’s correct then adding the amendment to the bill was wrong. That’s just a simple, logical, and unbiased assessment. Looking at the other side of the coin, with his credentials, if he’s covering up for Azov, then Congress needs to do a deep inspection on all parties supporting Ukraine.

Biletsky goes further and says America isn’t living up to the Budapest Memorandum which guaranteed the protection of Ukraine in the event Ukraine was attacked. Ukraine gave up its right to carry nuclear weapons based on this guarantee. After the Coup, the government of Ukraine announced it was a new state. It’s even gone as far to say it doesn’t owe the debts of the deposed government.

Did Russia Ever Attack Ukraine?

In a candid moment according to the person who developed their infowar and propaganda machine -

 Once Ukraine determined that the RF (Russian Federation) was not going to attack and Russia was not a credible threat, they launched their Anti-Terrorist Operations against the rebels (p 65).”

If Russia had at any point invaded Ukraine the United States was bound to respond militarily. Because it never happened, there could not be a real military response to an attack that exists only inside Ukrainian and American propaganda.

Experts like Ukrainian interim-president Torchynov, the SBU, and Ukraine’s own top generals have testified that no Russian invasion has ever happened on multiple occasions.

What does Andrei Biletsky really think about the Americans he wants to fund and equip Azov Battalion?

In the interview with Foreign Policy, the Azov commander Biletsky (now Ukrainian Senator) states:

“Unfortunately, among the Ukrainian people today there are a lot of ‘Russians’ (by their mentality, not their blood), ‘kikes,’ ‘Americans,’ ‘Europeans’ (of the democratic-liberal European Union), ‘Arabs,’ ‘Chinese’ and so forth, but there is not much specifically Ukrainian…It’s unclear how much time and effort will be needed to eradicate these dangerous viruses from our people.”

“At their base city of Mariupol just during the month of October 2014 the police department had to report over 200 rapes committed by Azov and the Ukrainian National Guard in a public meeting held at the city police department. According to local residents in Mariupol which is a city of over 500,000; people are constantly going missing.” (ibid OpedNews.com article)

Biletsky adheres to the political platform of the OUNb. Unfortunately, Biltesky doesn’t have an inkling yet how American’s feel about nazi scum looking for handouts to work genocide.

Both the American Congress and American people are viruses that need to be eradicated in his perfect world? Thanks to Congressmen Conyers and Soho, it may be a while before he gets an official handout.

Andrei Biletsky was Arseni Yatsenyuk’s choice for the Ukrainian Senate seat he now occupies. Out of every possible Ukrainian he could have chosen, Yatsenyuk laid his cards on the table with his choice. All of the politicians in Kiev are “integral nationalists” just like Adolf Hitler was. Being an integral nationalist means ultra-nationalism permeates through every aspect of your life. You are a Nazi. If you are part of the power structure in Kiev today or support it, you are a Ukrainian Nazi.

Ukraine’s Vision of American Values

By labeling Americans = Russian, Biletsky is defining Americans as a Soviet people. What does this mean? The word Soviet is a transliteration which can be defined as: many different peoples, nationalities, and customs, with equal rights, all belonging to one nation. It does not describe the politics of the nation. In America we use the term “melting pot.” America is a nation of many different peoples, customs, and nationalities with equal rights. Both terms have the same meaning.

The Ukrainian Nationalists like Biletsky, his sponsor Yatsenyuk, as well as president Poroshenko want to destroy every other tradition in Ukraine except OUNb Bandera. OUNb Bandera never existed in Ukraine except as invaders with the Nazi SS battalions, concentration camp guards, and mass murderers of Ukrainians. West Ukraine where the ideology came from was never under Soviet rule until near the end of WWII.

Compare it to the outrageous statements by Arsen Avakov. Ukraine’s interior ministry has the gall to say US Congressmen that stand for America’s values need to be investigated by US Intelligence Agencies.

Avakov, who is taking Aidar Battalion under his wing is demanding American Congressmen be investigated? Move over Congressman Alan Grayson, Congressmen Soho and Conyers are now at the top of the Ukraine Peacemaker project list.

“The camps will be filled not only by unreliable citizens of Ukraine who had the audacity to feel Russian, but also by the inhabitants of the rebellious republics of Donbass. If Ukraine cannot have a military solution to regain the rogue territories, it must create for them uninhabitable conditions,” said the former leader of the UNA-UNSO, Dmitry Korchinskiy, on TV channel “112 “.

“Our teachers of democracy: the Americans during World War II saved the democratic system, but created concentration camps for its citizens of Japanese descent, because of the war with Japan. They bombed residential neighborhoods in Germany in order to demoralize the German soldiers. On the frontline and in the occupied territories, we must act according to the American way. If we cannot return the territory, it must become uninhabitable. If we can’t have it, then nobody can. “

Since that’s the case, what party in Ukraine holds the same values as Americans do? Compare this video to the demands for more money and weapons to kill people in Donbass.

Which Groups Hold American Democratic Values?

 

Ukrainians in Kiev are protesting US funding of the war against the Ukrainian people outside the US Embassy in Kiev. Why isn’t it reported? They want US involvement to stop and for all Ukrainians to be safe.

The UN is studying Prizrak Battalion’s humanitarian aid method as the exemplary model of how aid can be delivered under wartime conditions. Kiev on the other hand, has prevented both food and medicine from entering Donbass from their side. Instead of ongoing talks which were agreed on, Kiev suspended human rights for the people in Donbass. Which of the two groups support our values?

If Supplying Weapons To Nazi’s is Against American Values, can American citizens do it on their own?

The answer is a clear and resounding no! Its against Federal Law and one group has been in violation of this law since beforeFebruary 8th, 2014 at Maidan. The DOJ set precedence early this year by invoking this law against American citizens.

In January 2015 the DOJ charged American citizens with conspiring to violate the Neutrality Act which states- Whoever, within the United States, knowingly begins or sets on foot or provides or prepares a means for or furnishes the money for, or takes part in,…against the territory or dominion of any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or people with whom the United States is at peace, shall be”…

In this most recent case addressed by Attorney General Eric Holder

 “These defendants stand accused of conspiring to carry out the violent overthrow of a foreign government, in violation of US law,…”

Holder was referring to 6 US citizens that tried to overthrow the government of Gambia, which incidentally unlike pre-Maidan Ukraine is recognized as having one of the worst human rights records in the world.

The bottom line at the DOJ- It is illegal for US citizens to start a war with a country the US is at peace with.

The absolute irony is that the Neutrality Act of 1794 was amended in the 1930′s by Senator Gerald Nye to keep American’s from supporting the rise of Hitler’s 3rd Reich or any of the other nazi countries or groups supporting him which would include Bandera’s Ukrainian Nationalist OUNb. Is it a coincidence that the UCCA and Ukrainian emigres in America were a focus of this as well as the “White Book” Nazi investigations held by HUACC from 1934-37?

Between 1940-42 Stepan Bandera and the Ukrainian OUNb attempted to assassinate sitting president Franklin Delano Roosevelt to answer to this insult.

Later the Ukrainian Nazi assassination attempt of Roosevelt would prove to be the main reason behind Stepan Bandera not becoming a US citizen after WW2 when US intelligence made the OUNb the darlings of the Cold War.

The UCCA and associated groups petitioned to allow the immigration of their mass murdering leader into the US until the 1950′s. Both Bandera and the UCCA gained considerable protection and prestige with the rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Maidan- The Violations of the Neutrality Act by American OUNb Ultra-Nationalists

Prior to February 22, 2014 was the United States at war with Ukraine? That is the benchmark question that needs to be answered. Ukraine didn’t have the human rights violations Gambia does. Even if it did, the prosecution of 6 US citizens for importing 30+ automatic weapons and conspiring to commit a coup has earned the perpetrators up to 25 years in prison for their trouble.

The whole country approach has been in use in Ukraine since the spring of 2014. If we step back to Maidan on February 8th 2014 we see the last objective statement about Ukraine. “…Russian websites outright accusing the US of supplying ammunition and other support to the rebels.  I asked a friend in a position within the US, that might know more about this, he claims it is a private initiative of US citizens.   This I like…” - Joel Harding

On February 8th, the Maidan protest was just that, only a protest. On the basis of this statement from someone “in the know” this admission needs to be investigated because it is a flagrant violation of the Neutrality Act that will yield the Gambian conspirators 25 years for a 6 man operation. Among the other charges the Gambian Americans face are moving weapons and ammo without a permit.

Why The Fallout is Staggering

If the ultra-nationalist American UCCA received permits to move the ammo then the proof is there that the still to come Feb 22nd 2014 coup against Yanukovych was common knowledge in the State Department. Officials will need to be investigated for violation of Federal law.

If the permits weren’t there, can US citizens allow for minority groups and lobbyists to jump start a new Cold War or worse without even responding to the fact that the actions starting the war are illegal to begin with?

Regardless of the Department of State’s knowledge or assent this is a clear violation of Federal law and must be investigated and prosecuted. The action has destabilized peace across the world.

The Federal Law against Aiding and Abetting Nazis Before, During, or After the Fact

This Federal Law is still in effect. Most of the useful information about the UCCA comes from declassified Nazi War Crimes files. If the UCCA never changed their ideology or direction, are they still “the original Nazis?” There is a world of difference between neo-nazis and Hitler’s SS. Historically they are a continuation of Bandera’s SS battalions. The mantle was passed down generationally in their communities.

This question is important given the fact that they have run the most effective lobby on Capitol Hill for the last 50+ years starting with the China Lobby. According to the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) which housed the Ukrainian government in exile the UCCA became the sole representative for Bandera OUNb in the world. “In 1980 the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America was taken over by the OUN(B)…”

When the UCCA’s (Ukrainian American) world body leadership (UWC) is looked at, until they passed away recently, the UWC was lead by former Ukrainian Waffen SS officers that served under Bandera. What kind of people do you think either entity represents? What does it lobby for? The UWC became the 3rd most potent political force in Canada because it represents the Ukrainian diaspora worldwide as a governing body.

Accordingly and in the UCCA’s own words the mass murderer and Nazi war criminal

 Stepan Bandera remains a symbol of strength and righteousness for his followers, and his political ideals, his loyalty to his nation and to the principles of freedom continue to inspire Ukrainians today.”

Bandera’s UCCA bring up their children to hold OUNb Nazi political ideals in America. Bandera himself is the patron saint to be worshiped inside this society, literally at the alter. Does this reflect the American values Representatives Conyer and Soho are trying to protect? Is there a difference between holding Adolf Hitler as a patron saint or Stepan Bandera?

UCCA and Emigre Violation of The Anti-Genocide Law of 1787

If you knowingly contribute to genocide anywhere in the world and are an American, you are in violation of this Federal Law. The bar is set at “did you know?” From the beginning of the coup and never ceasing the UCCA has been crowdfunding and taking donations for weapons of war to be used against the Ukrainian people in Donbass. If Biletsky’s definition of “Who is a Russian” is taken into account, it is against any person that is not a Ukrainian nationalist.

Where it gets worse is even a brief look through pro-Ukrainian social media pages shows how deeply embedded the violations of these Federal laws are within the community. Private US citizens ask for donations to buy military grade sniper rifles, scopes, and other weapons of war to be used on civilians. Many of the social posts even acknowledge this labeling the people of Donbas as “Separatist Scum.”

Congress is not exempt from these laws. American legislators can not break federal law to support constituents breaking federal laws. If the US Senate pushes through sending offensive weapons to Ukraine, this is what they are supporting.

For just one of the smaller neo nazi groups out of 100+ existing, the UCCA crowdfunded over $500,000 in 2014 and average $15-30K per month more. According to the recipient, the commander of Kiev Rus battalion the money is used for weapons.

With his men getting hammered by Russia, a desperate Ukrainian battalion commander has landed in New York City, where he’s rustling up money for weapons, helmets, and even toilet paper.”

Mainstream media is not exempt from these Federal Laws. This MSNBC video raising money for neo nazi weapons brings both the presenter and the media channel into violation of Federal Law. The interview on MSNBC was done on February 6th, following theFebruary 4th Foreign Policy article where purchasing weapons was made clear as a goal. The vetting process precludes MSNBC not knowing.

If America wants to retain its values, groups like the UCCA need to be disbanded and defunded. On their own public admission this OUNb relic is providing weapons against Federal Law. The officers need to be investigated and prosecuted (it is after all their own admission given of their own volition). Since Facebook pages are impossible to erase every American citizen collecting weapons, contributing, or purchasing weapons can and should be put under scrutiny because they are breaking both the Neutrality Act and the anti-Genocide laws.

These are not Ukrainian problems. These groups have made Ukrainian Nationalism  an American issue. Normal, well adjusted Americans need to weigh in against sending Nazis, neo- nazis, mass murders, torturers, or rapists heavy weapons that will be used for genocide.

The Pentagon’s Robotic Warfare Arsenal

June 19th, 2015 by Andrew Korybko

(Please read Part I before this article)

The Third Offset

The most significant aspect of Work’s speech lies in his explanation of what constitutes the Third Offset Strategy, the ongoing progressive trend of the entire US Armed Forces.  

Background:

To briefly establish some background context, he describes an offset as being “broad technological strategies” that essentially nullify an opponent’s existing military advantage. The first offset is identified as being the US’ “[reliance] upon tactical nuclear weapons as an offset for [Soviet conventional] numbers.” Then, “in the 1970s, when the Soviets achieved strategic nuclear parity with the United States and the threat of tactical nuclear warfare was too great, was no longer an effective deterrent, we changed sites and we went after what was then called conventional weapons with near-zero CEP, or conventional error probability — what everybody knows today as smart guided munitions.” Tactical nuclear weapons and precision-guided munitions thus represent the two offsets of the Cold War era, which brings the US to the cusp of the Third Offset Strategy that forms the basis of Work’s announcement on 8 April.

Step Three:

So what exactly is the Third Offset Strategy, anyhow? In Work’s own words:

The whole purpose of the Third Offset Strategy or Strategies is to identify the technologies, identify the operational and organizational constructs, the new operational concepts to fight our future adversaries.  Now, unquestionably, a big part of this is going to be identifying, developing and fielding breakthrough technologies, in addition to using the capabilities we have now in a different way… the real essence of the third offset strategy is to find multiple different attacks against opponents across all domains so they can’t adapt or they adjust to just one, and they died before they can adapt again.

Considering the previously mentioned challenges that the US must overcome in order to avoid fighting a “fair fight” against China, the Third Offset Strategy takes the following three forms in practice:

Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missiles:

The US grand strategic doctrine mandates that it must maintain full control over the world’s waterways, and accordingly, it cannot allow a rival navy to compete with it. In response to China’snaval buildup and potentially even that of Russia in the future (as well as the joint collaborationbetween the two strategic partners), the US has innovatively transformed its notorious Tomahawk stockpile into anti-ship precision-guided missiles. Work brags that:

Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work

Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work

We just demonstrated firing the Tomahawk land attack cruise missile against a ship, without changing its seeker-head, completely doing it by off-board sensing.  Well, now we have 2,000 potential thousand-mile range anti-ship missiles.

The strategy here is for the US to decimate whatever naval resistance is present in the A2/AD zone prior to beginning its physical intrusion into the area and facing bombardment from its land-based defensive component. Upon entering the salvo zone, the US plans to utilize the second manifestation of the Third Offset Strategy to protect itself from the precision-guided munitions that are expected to be unleashed against it.

The Electromagnetic Game Changer:

The deployment of electromagnetic rail guns is expected to completely revolutionize the field of missile defense, as not only does its immediate and precise firing mechanism allow for constant overhead defense, but it brings about the opportunity to achieve interception cost parity against the oncoming projectile. Work explains:

The electromagnetic railgun is going to provide us deep magazines and high volumes of shots.  It’s going to change the cost-imposing strategy on its head.  Right now, we’re firing $14 million missiles to go after a $50,000 missile.  It doesn’t make sense.  But when you have electromagnetic railguns and powder guns, using the same smart projectiles, now you can start to break the raid.

Not only is this game-changing technology expected to be deployed amongst the naval units that are likely to lead the charge in “breaking into the theater”, but there are pivotal plans for a land-based mobile application as well:

Right now, every Paladin that the Army owns might be a very effective counter-swarm weapon by combining the smart projectiles with our hyper-velocity guns, our electromagnetic railguns, using the exact same rounds, and advance computing.  All of the modeling right now is telling us that every single Army artillery piece using powder guns, using these advanced guided munitions, will be able to knock down heavy missile raids… And what Paladin will provide the Joint Force is a mobile raid-breaking capability.  We’ve already demonstrated this on the Navy’s five-inch guns.  This summer, we’re going to demonstrate it on the Paladins.  It’s something the Army needs to think about.  The Army, with its THAAD and its PAC-3s and potentially Paladins in the future will be the mobile raid-breaker for the Joint Force.

article-1338112-0C7909D1000005DC-90_634x684Electromagnetic rail gun-outfitted Paladin tanks could accompany the invasion force into battle upon landing in order to become a land-based extension of the naval missile defense shield that nullified the target’s defensive deterrent capability in the first place, thereby creating the possibility of theoretically limitless and unconstrained protection from precision-guided munitions for the aggressor’s entire ground assault force. This would absolutely and irrevocably alter the strategic balance against Russia and China towards the US’ definite favor, and when buffeted with theglobal missile defense shield that Washington is unveiling all throughout the world, it would make Moscow and Beijing vulnerable to the Pentagon’s blackmail. Additionally, if the US proliferates electromagnetic rail gun technology to its Israeli and Arab NATO allies, then this would abrogate Iran’s retaliatory missile deterrence and in turn open up Tehran to a devastating first-strike potential by Tel Aviv and Riyadh (or even a joint attack by both).

In sum, electromagnetic rail guns radically change the global strategic calculation and represent a ‘defensive’ super weapon that would embolden US aggression against Russia, China, and Iran with no conventional retaliatory consequences. In fact, if the technology can be tried and tested in ICBM interception, then it would also eliminate or grossly undercut those states’ nuclear reactions as well, meaning that the only hope that remains for a credible deterrence would be asymmetrical responses such as space-based launchings or some yet-to-be-determined strategy. Still, these might be alarmingly vulnerable to being undercut by a pre-emptive “informationalized” attack by the US.

The Terminator Doctrine:

The most evolutionary form of the Third Offset Strategy is the creation of hybrid man-machine soldiers and the seamless combat integration between man and machine. Work recalls an anecdote in attempting to justify this disturbing post-modern leap:

Tyler Cowen wrote a book called “Average is Over.”  He’s an avid chess player.  What he said was, “It used to be a matter of faith that a machine would never beat a human,” because a machine would not have the intuitive cognition.  You know, it just wouldn’t be able to have the intuitive spark to think through an interactive dual like chess.  That proved to be wrong.  Now machines consistently beat grandmasters.  And what he found out in a thing called three-play chess is the combination of a man and a machine always beats the machine and always beats the man.

He then continues by prophesizing that:

I believe that what the Third Offset Strategy will revolve around will be three-play combat in each dimension.  And three-play combat will be much different in each dimension, and it will be up for the people who live and fight in that dimension to figure out the rules. We will have autonomy at rest, our smart systems, being able to go through big data to help at the campaign level and to be able to go through big data at the tactical level.  So autonomy at rest and autonomy in motion.

Before leaving office, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel got a look at high-tech projects being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Before leaving office, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel got a look at high-tech projects being developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

What he’s saying here is that man-machine hybrids, perhaps created via the augmentation implants that were forecasted by the Directorate of National Intelligence’s Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds report from 2012, will be capable of besting any ‘purebred’ man or machine offensive or defensive unit in one-on-one competition, even indirectly via the cyber and electronic realms. He also suggests that forward-operating assault squads in the future will be “disaggregated” into smaller, more fluid formations that would require “overmatch by providing support in fires, intelligence and logistics”, something which man-machine collaboration can solve. He goes on to propose that:

If we combine them (the squad) into well-trained, cohesive combat teams with new advances in robotics and autonomy and unmanned systems, three-play combat at the squad level, we can create super-empowered squads, super-empowered small units with enhanced situational awareness and lethality. DARPA’s Squad X program, among others, is working on a number of ideas right now to increase human and machine collaboration at the lowest tactical level, including ground robots, small micro-drones, and trying to figure out how to push the squad situational awareness and lethality out to a large, large battlespace area.

He predicts that “much of this technology is going to come from the commercial sector”, and also lists some of the examples currently in development:

This is not as far away as you might think.  The Army is — right now is kind of leading the way in manned and unmanned teaming with the Apache in the shadows, which is going on in the Army’s Aviation Restructure Initiative, which we think is exciting and kind of a leading indicator of where we need to go. Automated driving seemed like the work of fiction not long ago, but there’s a race going on between big-tech companies and some of the larger auto makers who are looking to develop self-driving cars.  So, in the not-too-distant future, squads are going to operate with robotic support, sapper robots, counter-mine robots, counter-sniper robots.

The autonomous robot support units take on a heightened raid-breaking significance when one considers Work’s earlier prognosis that:

“We’re not too far away from a sensor-fused weapon, and instead of going after tanks, we’ll go after the biometric signature of human beings.”

This should be interpreted as meaning that one of the weapon classes of the future will directly target human beings inside of their protective structures (be they tanks, planes, buildings, etc.), inferring that the only guaranteed defense against such an armament would be the deployment of non-human autonomous units that would destroy these weapons prior to actual human or hybrid introduction to the field.

pix3_120514Altogether, everything that Work has described vis-à-vis robotic warfare systems amounts to a clear “Terminator Doctrine” in rolling out hybrid man-machine soldiers and autonomous robot support units, perhaps even in the form of Paladin anti-missile electromagnetic rail gun tanks that would provide the necessary cover for the aforementioned blitzkrieg force (be it man, man-machine hybrid, or purely autonomous). Robotic and man-machine hybrid warfare is evidently what the US is planning to develop in order to win Air Land Battle 2.0 and guaranteeing the success of the Third Offset Strategy against Russia, China, and Iran.

Concluding Thoughts

Robert Wolf’s announcement of the Third Offset Strategy and his detailed description of the trajectory that the US plans to take in actualizing it present the greatest declaration of strategic destabilization in modern history. The US is essentially proclaiming its intent to acquire the full-spectrum technology to initiate a first strike against the Eurasian Great Powers of Russia, China, and Iran, which in turn will likely spur them to partake in their own Third Offset buildup to create breakthrough defensive means in safeguarding against this impending vulnerability. If they’re not able to achieve this, then the US will more than likely place each of them in a position of military blackmail in dictating its geopolitical and economic demands, which would of course mitigate the global movement towards multipolarity.

Out of the three Resistant & Defiant states mentioned, the US may most likely attempt to use this technology against Iran first as a means of perfecting it prior to utilization against the others. This is because Tehran currently doesn’t have the nuclear deterrent necessary to make the US second-guess using the country as a testing ground, nor does it have as much of a relative ability as Russia or China in escalating any potential crisis to the level of brinksmanship that may be needed to make the US back down (e.g. the nuclear triad and potentially space-based weapon deployments). It should be clear at this point that the US is dedicated to militarily institutionalizing its unipolar hegemony for the indefinite future (the real “velocity of instability”), and that the Eurasian Great Powers must take similar technological measures in defending against the Third Offset Strategy and/or succeed in pulling off a major asymmetrical counter-move such as de-dollarization that would ‘offset’ the US’ grand strategy before it’s too late.

Andrew Korybko is the political analyst and journalist for Sputnik who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

The “occupation” of medical journals by pro-Israel professionals without any “preoccupation” about health issues

I am the author, with 23 other health and science professionals, of an Open Letter for the People in Gaza (1) published in The Lancet on 22 July 2014. The letter prompted friends of Israel in the medical profession to demand the dismissal of the magazine’s editor, Dr Richard Horton and the withdrawal of the publication; there was also a defamation campaign against the authors.

Neither of the first two demands succeeded, but a smear campaign against the letter’s signatories continues. A recent letter by a group of doctors led by Dr M Pepys (2) unleashed again the defamatory accusation against myself and my fellow signatories as well as Dr Horton. An invited comment by J Yudkin and J Leaning (3) in the British Medical Journal supported the decision by The Lancet to publish and was followed by a number of smear letters in the BMJ against us (referenced as responses in 4), taking advantage of the duty for the journal to publish responses.

Here I will write about facts and the lack of facts, and the absence of intellectual, moral and professional adequacy. First, though, some context behind the original letter.

My main concern in asking colleagues to co-author the open letter, after the first 10 days of Israel’s attacks on Gaza last summer, was to draw attention to what was the predictable great loss of civilians lives and damage to health in the already fragile situation that the Palestinians in Gaza find themselves in.

We acknowledged that the fragility was a consequence of the Israeli-led blockade of the Strip; the main keys to the doors of Gaza are not in the hands of any of the Palestinian players, but with the Israeli government. We noted endless public declarations in the media by Israel’s political and governing elite over the past 10 years which are unanimous in their conviction that Gaza has to be silenced; the debate, if there was one, was about how to keep Gaza quiet, not necessarily only by political means. We also registered the menacing reaction of Israel’s prime minister to the attempts at political and factional reconciliation made by the Palestinians, indicating that an autonomous Palestinian government, let alone a state, is not regarded by him as an option.

This point notwithstanding, our opinion about Middle East politics was not the motivation for writing the letter to a major medical journal; nor was that the core message.

Our shared main motivation to send the letter was to address the concern for that fragile, almost collapsing, health sector meant to cater for 1.8 million people effectively “caged” in the Gaza Strip. We wanted to share our knowledge of the accumulating scientific and clinical evidence of the effects that war and post-war environmental conditions pose on people’s physical and mental health, while very few in-depth studies or remedies have been developed. We felt a responsibility to “avoid further damage” and illustrated the situation as we knew it to be, to encourage attention for studies, professional support and for remedies, even if we knew that we could not immediately stop the war.

My colleagues and I, and the linked medical journals, were then attacked because we wrote about Gaza and not Syria or any of the other dire situations around the world. Why Gaza? From our perspective is was the obvious choice because we all had direct experience of the situation there; in modesty and professional truth, therefore, we could speak about what we knew and the consequences we could predict in our areas of competence and knowledge.

So there was no conspiracy; it was simply the fact that we knew the situation on the ground which inspired us to write the letter and gave the editorial team at The Lancet the confidence to publish it. I believe that if medical or other professionals have equal knowledge about the situation in, say, Syria or Yemen, and submit an article or letter for publication, it too would be published in the same journal.

For the time being, I guess that we who sent the letter and the editor who published it will have to accept the attacks against us merely for publicising the truth about the situation in the Gaza Strip. We hope, however, that we may have a role in encouraging positive steps for health preservation and care, each through our own independent work and activities. I can only express the utmost gratitude for the medical journals that care enough to provide a space for contributions about the relationships between health and occupation, and health and wars, wherever and whoever they come from. The editorial staff fulfil their duty to free speech by keeping that space open, while we authors fulfil ours by sticking to what we know.

Let me emphasise here that none of the hundreds of letters sent by our detractors, all of whom appear to be health professionals, raised any health-related issues. Their contribution to medicine and related matters in this case was negligible, and so their motivation in writing at length about what we said has to be questioned. It is interesting, too, that few demonstrated any in-depth knowledge of the local issues in question. Accusing a medical journal of not giving coverage to all wars around the world as a means to attack a specific published item – in this case our letter – is neither a medical nor a scientific point of value.

The final sentence from Tony Demonthe in the Christmas 2014 editorial in the BMJ (5) expresses well what we aimed at as signatories of the open letter: “I think future generations will judge the journal harshly if we avert our gaze from the medical consequences of what is happening to the occupants of the Palestinian territories and to the Israelis next door.” This applies to journals as well as to individual professionals.

Our decision to send this letter to The Lancet and not to the mainstream media was motivated in part by the hope that medical journals will host an open debate on the issue, and that this would be achieved by signalling the ongoing damages and their potential consequences of such professional attention. More specifically, we hoped that this audience would contribute to the opening of medical and scientific investigations and generate help for the health sector which we knew was dire from the very first acts in the war

It turns out that we were correct in our expectations about the dire nature of the consequences, and even modest in our anticipation of the amount and severity of the damage caused. And the extent of the damage to health is wide despite the claims of the Israeli NGO Amuta or Israel’s Terrorism and Intelligence Information Centre (6, 7) about “bias” by the sources of the numeric data of victims reported by UN organisations. To put the record straight, these Israeli sources used the same database as the UN agencies but lowered their published number of civilian victims by reducing the age of majority to 15 years old; male victims were also excluded from the list of civilian victims on the basis of imprecise and secret information about them.

What has happened after the Israeli offensive?

Following the ceasefire in August 2014, reduced access due to Israel’s ban on almost anyone entering the Gaza Strip, hindered both independent and institutional investigations, including those looking at the health sector. The official UN commission of inquiry has not been allowed to travel to Gaza, nor has the UN rapporteur. Nonetheless, those few who managed to skip the blockade were reliable for first views and interviews of a cohort of victims and situations, verifying a number of registered accidents and their modalities (8-18). Their reports illustrate different angles taken of the events and their conclusions about Israel’s responsibility under international laws and conventions will not be disclaimed easily in a fair analysis, but they are not directed specifically at the health sector.

Thus, it remains true, once again, that every independent fact-finding investigation was obstructed by the Israeli government, including that of the “UN special enquiry commission” (19) by refusing permission to enter the enclave. Similarly, most EU political representatives were stopped from visiting Gaza, and there has since August 2014 been even greater difficulties for anybody trying to be a direct witness to the damage caused by Israel, including that within the health sector. There is no doubt that Israel created serious hindrances to fact-finding and support in health by denying entry permits.

The issue that we presented in our letter last July was what could be done “to avoid harm”. The issue for medical journals has never been pro-this or anti-that – especially not anti-Semitism – among individual contributors or editors. The journal did not present the case of Palestine and not of Syria for the sake of it; the professional issue at hand was, “What can be done to limit and then heal the damage?” This is the sort of issue to be debated in medical journals by anyone and everyone who has pronounced the Hippocratic Oath or sticks to the ethics of scientific research.

As an issue, “What can be done to limit and then heal the damage done?” is rooted in the Gaza situation, both for the physical and mental damage, as well as the long-term consequences of the war. There aren’t the same numbers of physically damaged civilians in Israel and there may be a lot fewer mental health issues among Israeli civilians as a result of the war. I guess that they would be proportionate to the stress and number of people involved in or affected directly by the conflict.

Turning then to the real issue, professionals and medical journals are required to document, assess, discuss and produce support for those who would like to work in the healing and reduction of damage, working with those who can help the structures still active in the health sector to provide care and support to those who are permanently disabled (of which there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, including many women and children), the traumatised and the children.

In the Gaza Strip, the consequences of the war for the health sector are even worse than we predicted. Gaza and its people remain unhealed, and the possibilities for receiving help are limited, while the worst environmental conditions persist.

The severe limitations put in place by Israel to reduce both access and the effective working capabilities of professionals in the health and science fields, while the needs have actually increased since the war, have not diminished. Such professionals could provide support and training in Gaza, and Palestinian professionals could leave the enclave for training abroad (and many have fellowships to do just that) but this is not being allowed. Even travel by patients seeking expert help overseas has been restricted by the Israeli blockade.

The presence of thousands of newly-handicapped people, young and old alike; of traumatised children and adults; of conditions potentially inductive of long-term effects on fertility, reproductive health and diseases at large (20); and of the difficulties to cope with chronic illness for lack of medicines and instruments, continue to persist. Indeed, all are in a much worse situation than before the war.

It has not been possible to reduce this toll, due to the blockade which prevents professionals and medical supplies from entering Gaza. Under Israel’s restrictions and control, much-needed health and professional support is largely inaccessible.

Thus Gaza is, to this day, experiencing the destruction of infrastructure; food and medicine insecurity; mental problems among thousands of homeless civilians and families which have experienced loss, and children; the scarcity of energy and water; and a broken sewage system that flows untreated into the sea and pollutes the wells. Potentially toxic powders still fly in the air; its hospital and clinic facilities are reduced in effectiveness due to destruction; and medical supplies are always limited and erratic in delivery. All of these are health issues that should and could be dealt with, but all are impossible to resolve because of the blockade by Israel.

Considering the impossibility of people escaping all of this, assuming that they would want to, of course, the issue is something that should be debated, discussed, evaluated and reported on in medical journals. What is the impact on people’s health of Israel’s policies and what can be done to overcome the limitations facing the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip? This is what the medical media should be engaged with instead of the racist, ethnic or religious discrimination that we have seen for the past 11 months. Such “exercises of free speech” can and should be hosted elsewhere.

The seriously worrying aspect of the endless accusations of “anti-Semitism” hurled at us represents a “determination to abuse a medical tribune” for a sectarian “witch hunt”, without entering into discussion of the relevant medical points. It is a waste of energy in the context of medical care.

Furthermore, this emphasis also confirms how racism, ethnicity and confessional divides, as handled by the medical professionals who have made it their job to attack us, are indeed a main political determinant of Gaza’s health. I am afraid that the professionals responsible for the smears have, in a personal capacity, forgotten their medical oaths and scientific ethics.

I submit that there are possibilities other than the present debate on Semitism and anti-Semitism which need to occupy the space about Palestine in medical journals. The current state of the health sector there should be the subject for discussion in a medical journal, within the framework of the medical profession’s mission to define how we can “not collaborate to do harm, and heal when possible”, without fear or favour in terms of race, creed, age or gender.

So let us ask Dr Pepys and the others if they intend to continue diverting attention from the health sector crisis in Gaza. If the answer is no, then let them act by encouraging Israel to lift the ban for health professionals from abroad to travel and collaborate with our Palestinian colleagues in Gaza; and for Israel to let Gaza’s medical and science professionals – men and women of any age – to travel abroad for training. Let our critics ask their Israeli contacts to allow medical supplies, drugs, instruments, prosthetics, surgical necessities and other items to get into Gaza; and allow the hospitals and clinics destroyed by Israel’s bombs to be rebuilt, instruments and machines to be replaced, and ambulances to be repaired. Such pressure on the authorities is the responsibility of medical professionals everywhere.

Will they, according to their professional standards, lobby for the blockade on health care and professional work to be lifted; for patients, trainees and local professionals to travel out of Gaza; and for international professionals to have free access to Gaza? Will our critics submit research papers if they feel that Israel is under-represented in journals? This seems to be a burning issue for them, though it is unclear how it can be requested simply on a nationalistic basis for debatable reasons. Or will they simply rewrite their defamatory pamphlet? Will doctors and scientists in general, as authors in medical and science journals, carry out research and studies on the impacts of war on health and submit the results for peer review?

I labour this point because it is worrying that for the 11 months that the pro-Israel “lobby” has been engaged in what I believe is “defaming” the authors of the Open Letter for the People of Gaza and the editor of The Lancet, our detractors appear to be completely oblivious to the health consequences of Israel’s attacks on Gaza. I take it as sign of their personal and professional inadequacy that they have only attempted to deflect the responsibility for maiming, destroying and killing their own civilians onto the Palestinians in Gaza, as if they staged some form of collective suicide.

Although our “detractor colleagues” have missed all of the facts that motivated our warning in July 2014, the same is not true of 20,000 others who co-signed the letter on line within a week. They did so in order for us not to be the only ones taking the pro-Israel flak. I believe, therefore, that we achieved what we set out to do; we raised awareness of the real problems facing the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip among an audience who may be able to do something to help in the field.

Eleven months down the line, though, and the detractors – along with that Israeli NGO – still ignore the health-related topics in their comments. It’s time to say enough is enough and push them to explain how they mean to fulfil the terms of their professional oath and square up to the breach of the requirement to “do no harm” and “possibly heal”. Everyone in the medical profession should ask themselves this question before taking sides.

The context of the facts is not a unilateral whim, nor is there only one narrative being masticated for months while insults are thrown at us. Acceptance of a broad narrative does not depend on force or intimidation, nor by the repetition of wrongs. Frankly, the discourse of the detractors who have dedicated themselves to harassing my colleagues and The Lanceteditor for almost a year reveals a particularly nasty mindset; it is not intended to change anyone by appealing to hearts and minds. How can it when respect for the facts and truth is completely absent?

I am not so naïve as to think that the narrative promoted on behalf of the more vulnerable members of society, in this case the Palestinians, is ever likely to win in the short-term; the pro-Israel lobby is too well organised and influential for that, even when what it promotes is not factually accurate. Yet, we will have to see to it that the narrative which takes into account the facts and the people’s health wins in the end over that of any other party whose aim is to hide reality underneath a barrage of insults.

In conclusion, and hopefully to put an end to speculation about my personal position, I believe that I am innocent of the charge of anti-Semitism. I am appalled that within a European culture of freedom of information and expression I can be attacked so viciously for sharing information already in the public domain, albeit being unpalatable. That I can be labelled, without any evidence, as an “anti-Semite” and “white supremacist” for publishing facts in a well-respected medical journal is a disgrace in a continent which professes freedom of speech.

I am a scientist, and a woman, and I have struggled for freedom of information, opinion, differences and debate which we still (temporarily) enjoy in Europe. Should I exercise self-censorship and refrain from sharing information to any of my contacts? Should I not let my peers, friends and students form their own opinion and then discuss the issue? Who are my detractors to attack me and hang me out to dry, and threaten me?. Europe cast off the shackles of fascism decades ago; the pro-Israel lobby should not be allowed to bring them back.

Since this article was written on 15 June, the Israel government has published its own report on the attack on Gaza, acknowledging as a source the data quoted here. It has also refused entry in Gaza for the second time to Makarim Wibisono, the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, who is supposed to report to the UN Human Rights Council on 29th June.

Statement of interests

I am a Geneticist and experimental biologist, with a curriculum in molecular, cell and development biology in mammals. I retired in 2014 from the position of Professor in Genetics in the University of Genoa, Italy. I have worked in Gaza since 2010 and I also work in Italy. In both places I am an unpaid volunteer professional doing research on determinants of reproductive health. To have transparency in the position of investigator and access to donations and their utilisation for research expenses, I am a member of the volunteer association for research, NWRG.

In Gaza, I have learnt about the good aspects and shortcomings of the hospital and health provision, and about the needs of the patients, the rise in infertility and the difficulties in treating serious chronic diseases; the impact of the blockade on the specialisation of doctors and nurses; and about obtaining suitable medical instruments. Being a simple person, I also learnt in Gaza about the cost and availability of food and other market products, the cost of living, the ongoing reduction in the availability of supplies, electricity cuts and poor water quality; and about the limited assistance available for the needy, the multiple shifts in schools, and so on. In doing so I have observed how the Palestinians overcome all such difficulties, educate their children and work, even when wages are cut.

From my colleagues I learnt how they do their best to help their patients with the meagre means at their disposal; how they struggle for a permit to send a child for treatment abroad; how they wait in frustration for the missing drugs for their patients; and how they desire to develop their professional competencies.

Being a scientist, I usually learn from all of the sources that I can possibly find, or are presented to me, which report facts and/or interpretations. I discuss them with my peers often, before I formulate a judgement or hypothesis; only then do I act on this and take the next research step.

The same rules apply to the task of understanding the social and political determinants of health. I am not infallible, but I can say with all humility that what I understood is nearer to the truth than my detractors are; I do not lie for convenience or personal benefit.

Notes

1-Manduca P, Chalmers I, Summerfield D, Gilbert M, Ang S, Hay A, Rose S, Rose H, Stefanini A, Balduzzi A, Cigliano B, Pecoraro C, Di Maria E, Camandona F, Veronese G, Ramenghi L, Rui M, DelCarlo P, D’agostino S, Russo S, Luisi V, Papa S, Agnoletto V, Agnoletto M (2014a). An open letter for the people in Gaza. Lancet 384:397-8.http://www.thelancet.com/gaza-letter-2014

2- Pepys M (2015). Complaint to Reed Elsevier. Email sent to 58 Israeli recipients. 24 February. https://handsoffthelancet.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/pepys-24-feb-2015.pdf

3- John S. Yudkin and Jennifer Leaning, “Politics, medical journals, the medical profession and the Israel lobby,” The British Medical Journal,http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h2377,May 12, 2015,

4- “Politics, medical journals, the medical profession and the Israel lobby,” The British Medical Journal rapid responses http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h2377/rapid-responses

5 -Tony Delamothe. Don’t look away now, 2014. http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g7622

6- Issues Related to UNOCHA’s “Protection Cluster” Regarding Gaza- Written statement* submitted by the Amuta for NGO Responsibility, a non-governmental organisation in special consultative status, august 25, 2014.

7- Meir Amit Terrorism & Intelligence Information Centre, “Preliminary, partial examination of the names of Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge and analysis of the ratio between terrorist operatives and non-involved civilians killed in error,” http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/20715July">http://www.terrorisminfo.org.il/Data/articles/Art_20687/E_124_14_1121292827.pdfhttp://www.terrorism-info.org.il/en/article/20715July 28, 2014,

“Based on the examination of the lack of appropriate methodologies and independent verifiability regarding the claims of the three key NGOs, the civilian casualty statistics and claims produced by the OCHA are unreliable”… When the names of alleged civilian casualties were examined by the Terror Information Centre in Israel, many were shown to be members of terrorist groups. UNOCHA, however, has failed to respond to the analysis published by this Israeli NGO, magnifying Protection Cluster framework must be considered unreliable.”

8-https://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_sitrep_19_07_2014.pdf

Situation Report (as of 18 July 2014, 1500 hrs): ”The impact of hostilities on Palestinian children has been particularly devastating: 59 killed (11 in the past 24 hours) and 637 injured since 8 July… 48,000 persons hosted at UNRWA shelters and another 700 displaced families hosted by relatives, are in need of emergency food and other assistance… The vast majority of households receive electricity only four hours a day, due to damage to ten feeder lines; water supply has been further undermined”

9-http://www.emro.who.int/images/stories/palestine/documents/WHO_Situation_Report_3_-_July_21.pdf?ua=1&ua=1

“As of 20 July (16:00), a total of 425 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza (112 children, 41 women and 25 elderly over 60 years) and a total of 3008 Palestinians have been injured (904 children, 533 women and 119 elderly over 60 years). The ongoing ground incursion, begun July 18, has greatly accelerated the casualty rate over the past two days, as well as the numbers of displaced families… during 12 days of escalated violence in Gaza (July 7-19), 2 medical staff, 3 paramedics and 15 emergency medical services staff and volunteers were injured in attacks. A pharmacist was killed in his home. 17 health-related facilities have been damaged by that hit the structure directly or in the area of the facilities (2 MoH hospitals, 1 NGO hospital; 4 MoH clinics, 5 UNRWA clinics, 3 NGO clinics; 2 NGO nursing care centers; 1 NGO emergency medical services centre). Four Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances have been damaged. There are critical concerns with hospital supplies, as both medicines and medical disposables are in serious shortages, both in MoH and NGO hospitals due to the large number of casualties and serious shortages even before the escalation of violence.”

10- UN OCHA opt, 2014. “Fragmented lives. Humanitarian overview 2014. March 2015.http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/annual_humanitarian_overview_2014_english_final.pdf

11- Defence for Children International – Palestine. Operation Protective Edge: A War Waged on Gaza’s Children. http://issuu.com/dcips/docs/ope.awarwagedonchildren.160415?e=0April 2015.

12- Bachmann J, Baldwin-Ragaven L, Hougen HP, Leaning J, Kelly K, Özkalipci O, Reynolds L, Vacas L (2014). Gaza, 2014.Findings of an independent medical fact-finding mission. Physicians for Human Rights Israel.https://gazahealthattack.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/gazareport_eng.pdf

13- B’Tselem. Black Flag: The legal and moral implications of the policy of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, Summer, 2014. January 2015. http://www.btselem.org/gaza_strip/2015_black_flag

14- Amnesty International. Families Under The Rubble. Sept 2014.https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/8000/mde150322014en.pdf

15- https://aoav.org.uk/2015/new-report-shows-changes-in-israels-use-of-artillery-raises-risks-to-civilians/

16- Breaking the Silence http://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/pdf/ProtectiveEdge.pdf , May 2015

17- Drone footage shows how entire neighbourhoods in Gaza were razed to the ground by Israel’s bombardment last summer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZ54x5x9CuQ

18- Satellite recognition http://www.unitar.org/unosat/maps/PSE

19- Netanyahu: UN inquiry commission’s report on 2014 Gaza war is “waste of time”http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.661066, June 14, 2015

20- P.Manduca http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g5106/rr/763475

 

The author is a professor of genetics at the University of Genoa, Italy.

“The reason why we have made this decision is because we have a very strong view: if you’ve left this country to join a terrorist army in the Middle East, we don’t want you.”[1]  These were Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s words in response to the Cabinet dissent that has characterised the debate about stripping Australian citizenship from those believed (though not necessarily known) to be terrorists.
 
The proposal was always going to be riddled with problems. For one, it flies in the face of citizenship conventions internationally.  To strip citizenship is to eviscerate a legal being, casting the individual into judicial purgatory.  It assumes that an individual engaged in foreign pursuits – in this case, serving the next army that may be regarded as “terrorist” – will lose his or her Australian citizenship.  It says nothing about those serving in state-based armies that are acknowledged as either allies, or states who are bonded by that uncomfortable reality that they are fighting the same threat from different sides of the aisle.

Flimsy, scatterbrained and dangerous, the proposed legislation also vests power in a minister to initiate the final, cancelling act.  In what has been the greatest of legal deceptions, those defending the supremacy of parliament in the English constitutional system have argued that such figures exercise Solomon’s wisdom.  Someone like the current immigration minister Peter Dutton distinctly does not possess such qualities.  Few cabinet members do, and it would be unjust to expect them to.

The bill has been doing the rounds through the security channels, perused by the National Security Committee of cabinet on June 18.  In the words of the finance minister, Mathias Cormann, “The Cabinet, as a matter of course delegates to the National Security Committee of Cabinet and so clearly this is now a matter for the National Security Committee to deal with before the matter, no doubt, will be considered by the party room again.”[2]

In the meantime, communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has been shooting various barbs at the proposed legislation, attempting to obtain a satisfactory response from the prime minister.  The constitution, he keeps saying, cannot be compromised.  Notwithstanding his portfolio, Turnbull remains one of the most seasoned of legal advocates, though his proposals to ameliorate the deficient bill have not been spectacular – taking advice, for instance, from the Solicitor General’s office.

Much of this has issued from an interpretation placed on advice from the former Independent National Security Legislation Monitor, Bret Walker SC. According to government sources, Walker had let the door open on the subject of granting the minister discretion in cancelling citizenship of terrorists.

In the words of the report, “Taking into account Australia’s international obligations, and the national security and counter-terrorism risks posed by Australians engaging in acts prejudicial to Australia’s security, the INSLM supports the introduction of a power for the Minister for Immigration to revoke the citizenship of Australians, where to do so would not render them stateless, where the Minister is satisfied that the person has engaged in acts prejudicial to Australia’s security and it is not in Australia’s interests for the person to remain in Australia.”[3]

His response, however, has been more than a touch different, eschewing the suggestions that a minister be given such quasi-judicial powers.  It would rather be a matter for the minister to have the discretion once the person in question had been convicted as to how to treat the issue.  This would include allowing a convicted terrorist to retain citizenship in certain cases, including instances where disruption of terrorist attacks or networks had taken place (Sydney Morning Herald, Jun 17).

Others within the Cabinet have also expressed reservations, a point that was leaked to the press three weeks ago.  The foreign minister, Julie Bishop, wondered if the bill might be the subject of a High Court challenge – after all, a person’s citizenship removed in the absence of a conviction is a very smelly proposition indeed.  The tyrannical mandate was not sitting well with the legal eagles.  Turnbull could only observe in that regard that the process had been “botched”.

Abbott has also had to fend off Labor’s stance on the issue, which has undergone its usual self-torturous process of doubt and approval.  On national security matters, the opposition has tended to be hamstrung and impotent.  Its legal affairs spokesman, Mark Dreyfus, after some doubts, has argued that individuals accused of terrorism be brought back to face trial and conviction.  Such comments have their own problems, but Abbott insists on giving it a decidedly peculiar spin: to make those accused of being terrorists face trial in such circumstances would be “rolling out the red carpet” for them (The Australian, Jun 19).

Abbott is all about being the hard man of Australian politics, punching, not so much above his weight as above the law when it comes to such matters.  But in so doing, he has demonstrated his persistent ignorance of both law and practice.  After eight hundred years, we can still see the reasons why Magna Carta has proven so utterly meaningless in the face of such stomping moves.  The tyrannical mandate continues to thrive.

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

Notes

[1] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/terror/tony-abbott-heads-off-citizenship-terror-law-dissent/story-fnpdbcmu-1227404933385

[2] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-18/reports-pm-will-not-show-revised-citizenship-laws-to-cabinet/6555258

[3] http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/malcolm-turnbull-breaks-ranks-on-citizenship-declaring-constitution-cannot-be-compromised-20150616-ghpkl0.html

Now that Jeb Bush has officially announced his intention to run for president in 2016, the most corporate-funded presidential election in history is set to begin, headed by two prospective frontrunners with eerily familiar names. It’s Bush versus Clinton—again! With third party candidates certain to be relegated to back alleys, we see, yet again, two of the prized families of the great American oligarchy being trotted out as namesake party spokesmen and women. Their purpose: to create manufactured consent for a failed two-party system while furthering a pre-scripted, nationalist, and corporatist narrative.

Are there some differences between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush? Absolutely. Women’s rights are up there on the list, as Jeb Bush has an appalling history in that realm. While we are sensitive to the reality of Supreme Court nominees and the politics of personal identity, there can be no delusion that the most toxic dangers to our country are large sweeping economic and geopolitical doctrines that consolidate wealth into the hands of the rich elite, who promulgate wars abroad. Even on issues like the environment, while Clinton has a better record than Jeb, her support of corporations and trade agreements that derail environmental progress completely cancels out her hollow sound bytes about renewable energy.

The two candidates are almost identical on the major issues poisoning our republic.

1. They both have blatantly corrupt corporate ties

Like virtually all mainstream politicians in Congress, both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are beholden to corporations. This goes beyond simply receiving campaign funds from super PACs. We’re talking the marriage of corporate interests with the government’s foreign and domestic policies, from the military industrial complex to Big Pharma and “too big to fail” financial institutions. As we work our way down the list, corrupt corporate ties will resurface, but for now, let’s simply list these two politicians’ major corporate ties.

Jeb Bush has actually consulted 15 companies, seven of them for-profits: InnoVida Holdings, for which Bush was a board member and consultant, paid him $15,000 a month before collapsing into fraud and bankruptcy (the company’s CEO, Claudio Osorio, is serving 12½ years in prison); five of the companies for which Bush served on the board (or as adviser) have faced class action lawsuits. Some of these cases are ongoing and involve fraud or environmental damage.

Hillary Clinton’s corporate ties include her six-year stint as director of Wal-Mart, during which time the company aggressively fought to destroy union activity. In more recent times, Hillary showed her colors most spectacularly by hiring a former Monsanto lobbyist to run her campaign. She is also exceedingly cozy with some of the more corrupt Wall Street entities, which we’ll get into later. For now, suffice it to note that the Clinton Foundation has received donations of anywhere from $250,000 to $5 million from Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America.

2. They are both major war hawks

In today’s America, anyone elected president who doesn’t want to go the way of John F. Kennedy has to serve the interests of the military-industrial complex. Even ostensibly non-hawkish presidents like Barack Obama (who won a Nobel Peace Prize shortly before authorizing military drone strikes that have killed almost 2,500 people) must keep the war machine going.

Hillary Clinton doesn’t even try to disguise her support for on-going war. Her complete embrace of what The Nation calls “destructive nationalist myths” has earned her the label of a “war hawk”. The moniker is well-deserved. She was a vocal supporter of the second Iraq War in 2003, despite the lack of clear evidence that military action was necessary (and, of course, we now know that the entire justification was a completely manufactured web of lies bent on taking advantage of the fear people felt after  9/11). She also supported military strikes on Afghanistan. These two wars took the lives of 174,000 civilians.

Despite finally admitting her vote for war was a mistake, Hillary has not lessened her push for war. As Secretary of State, she was instrumental in facilitating the use of U.S. airpower to decimate Libya. She then did virtually the same thing in Syria. “The results have been anarchy, sectarian conflict and opportunities for Islamist extremists that have destabilized the entire region,”  The Nation observed.

Jeb Bush, of course, supported all of the aforementioned wars and military actions with extreme bravado, then had the extra audacity to claim everything had gone decently in Iraq until Obama ebbed the surge. Hisrevisionism and whitewashing over the decimation of Arab nations post-9/11 is nothing short of pathological.

3. They both support the Patriot Act and NSA mass surveillance

Both Clinton and Bush supported the Patriot Act from the day it was secretly drafted, only days after 9/11. They both voted for its reauthorization in 2006.

This unconstitutional bill granted the government unprecedented powers of civilian detainment, as well as access to private data. When the FISA laws were updated by the Patriot Act, programs like PRISM enabled the NSA to collect millions of phone records from Americans with no suspected ties to terrorism.

Hillary Clinton has expressed concern over privacy issues, but when she has had the chance to take a real stand on  them, she has consistently avoided doing so. Meanwhile, Jeb Bush applauded President Obama’s expansion of NSA surveillance, proclaiming: “I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced.”

Fret no more, cynics of the American political system. When it comes to the erosion of civil liberties, bipartisanship is still possible.

4. They both support fracking

This one may strike some as surprising considering  Hillary Clinton has a fairly good record (maybe a C+) on environmental issues. Unfortunately, the fact is that both candidates support hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” a practice used by oil and energy companies to extract gas and oil from shale rock by directing a high pressure stream of water, sand, and chemicals underground. The practice wastes incredible amounts of water and may contaminate groundwater with carcinogenic chemicals. Recent studies have also shown that fracking causes earthquakes in normally stable regions.

During a keynote speech at the National Clean Energy Summit, Clinton made it clear she wanted strong regulations on fracking, but as Secretary of State, she was responsible for promoting the practice in countries like Bulgaria, which are unlikely to enforce regulations. As it is, fracking is barely regulated in the United States.

5. They both support the Drug War

Hillary Clinton has been very vague—even evasive—about her stance on the Drug War. She supports the use of medical marijuana in some cases but has consistently spoken out against the decriminalization of marijuana, particularly in the lead-up to the 2008 election. She also made a mind-numbingly strange remark in regard to the black market trade, saying drugs couldn’t be legalized because “there’s too much money in it.

Jeb Bush has virtually the same history and position: support for marijuana use in extreme medical cases but absolutely no support for decriminalization. When push came to shove on an actual ballot initiative, Bush lent his support to opponents of a legalization bill.

Meanwhile, $3.6 billion is spent each year busting and prosecuting people for pot possession, ruining lives and families over a natural herb that has never caused a death. With black people four times as likely to be arrested over marijuana, the issue is a socio-political travesty.

6. They both aggressively support big banks and bailing them out

Unfortunately, despite the fact that their reckless derivatives trading nearly caused a complete global economic collapse, big banks and financial institutions have the complete support of both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.

Interestingly, if you remember Bill Clinton’s presidency, you may consider that it was his move to dismantle the Glass-Steagall Act, undoing the regulation of derivatives. His henchman on the repeal was former Goldman Sachs CEO Robert Rubin. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hillary Clinton has repeatedly signaled she will not change course on financial regulation. In fact, in 2013, Goldman Sachs paid her $400,000 for a speech in which she said that progressives and their anti-Wall Street rhetoric are “foolish.”

Meanwhile, the Bush family has a long and sickening history of colluding with big banks, starting with George H.W. Bush running a deregulation task force with a former Merrill Lynch CEO. The lax policy of bailing out banks has continued unabated. Jeb Bush is on record as a huge supporter of bailouts for the Big Six banks that collectively rig our economic system.

Any disagreement between Hillary and Jeb over this issue during the debates will be for show only—they are both puppets on strings when it comes to the banks.

7. They both support Monsanto and GMOs

This one is fairly obvious, seeing as Clinton hired a Monsanto lobbyist to run her campaign. She’s also a supporter of GMOs, which some evidence shows could be harmful to humans yet are found in the vast majority of the American food supply. Jeb Bush is also a GMO supporter and even opposes GMO labeling. Clinton has been unclear on her position on labeling but supports the idea of selling the whole idea to the public in a different context. During a speech, she openly brainstormed ways to use different kinds of propagandistic rhetoric—such as “drought-resistant” instead of “genetically modified.”

The support both candidates lend to Monsanto is deeply troubling as the multinational agrochemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation has monopolized the seed and food supply across the world withherbicidal and pesticidal toxins. They also use heavy-handed legal tactics and litigation to force local farmers to comply, even to the detriment to their communities.

8. They will both spend billions on the upcoming election

Hillary Clinton has openly stated her goal of raising $2.5 billion for her upcoming presidential campaign. To put that in perspective, in 2012, Obama and Romney combined spent over $2 billion, which is bad enough.

Jeb Bush and the GOP will, of course, match or surpass this number, which means the 2016 presidential election could cost $5 billion dollars. Meanwhile, most Americans are in debt and 14.5% of the nation—45.3 million people—live in poverty.

With super PACs and Citizens United allowing for a virtually unrestricted flow of corporate money into our elections, we are now seeing the full effects of a corporatocracy running our “representative democracy.”

9. They both support the secretive and dangerous TPP agreement

Though initially voicing her support for the ominous trade deal at least 45 times while Secretary of State, Hillary has backed off of her support for the TPP now that it’s become politically advantageous. Basically, she is still politically flip-flopping and will likely continue to do so a through the election.

Given that Clinton was a gung-ho supporter of NAFTA (an agreement that is almost universally agreed upon as being responsible for millions of jobs lost and higher income inequality), it is highly unlikely she will take a stand against TPP. If passed, it would essentially allow corporations to decide trade laws in private tribunals and strip down both worker’s rights and environmental protections. To her credit, Hillary has voiced concerns—and if she reverses course, I will be the first to gladly eat my own words.

Meanwhile, Jeb Bush openly supports the agreement, which, one shouldn’t forget, is so pernicious it was kept secret for years. We only know about it because of a WikiLeaks cable. Bush once said, “We must push privatization [of government] in every area where privatization is possible.” TPP would accomplish that with extreme measures.

10. They both support the death penalty

This one may be surprising as well. Not for Jeb Bush, as he is a proud executioner. This was especially true in his earlier days, before he leaned back to the center of political posturing. He once clearly stated his plans on the death penalty: “I want to accelerate, not slow down, the enforcement of the death penalty in Florida.

In her earlier years as a constitutional lawyer, Clinton fought against the death penalty and the corrupt criminal justice system. In more recent years, she has lent it her “unenthusiastic support.” We will see if she hedges on this in the primaries, where she will face staunch death penalty opponent, Bernie Sanders.

On June 17th, U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed NATO’s and America’s General Ben Hodges, who is the Commanding General of the U.S. Army in Europe, which is “NATO’s most senior land forces command.” He said (after 4:54 in the audio):

This notion that somehow, Russia, you know, has no choice but to respond or that the West is being provocative, really, I don’t think rings true at all. … We’re building up on NATO’s borders. These are NATO countries, these are allies of ours, that are concerned based on what Russia is doing on their borders, and they’ve asked for assurance that their allies are there.

The interviewer asked, “President Putin said that only an insane person could imagine that Russia would suddenly attack NATO. I mean, is NATO insane for worrying about a Russian attack?” Hodges replied (6:41):

I think that’s an irresponsible question. It is completely unimaginable to me that Russia would ever invade Crimea. I mean, this was the day after the Sochi Olympics, after the Russians had spent millions and millions of dollars, and then threw away whatever goodwill they had earned the following day by invading Crimea.

That’s so many lies in such a short span, so that unpacking all of them will produce a long article; but, those lies are the mainstream view in America’s news media, so, here goes the reality that demolishes them:

His Basic ‘History’ Is False

Everything he says about what preceded Crimea’s switching back to Russia (of which it had always been a part until 1954) is false.

The Sochi Olympics ended on 23 February 2014. Contrary to what Ben Hodges says, there was no Russian invasion of Crimea the next day (nor actually ever, but we’ll get to that later). According to wikipedia, which is edited by the CIA (and so it must be right, if not far-right — like Hodges is), the “2014 Ukrainian Revolution” started on 18 February 2014. This overthrow of a government was occurring in the one nation, Ukraine, that Zbigniew Brzezinski and others have said is the most crucial nation of all that must be turned hostile toward Russia in order for America to win against Russia. (Ending communism and the Soviet Union doesn’t slake the sheer bloodthirst of people such as Brzezinski and Hodges — and Obama: Russia must simply be crushed; the communist-v.-capitalist thing was just an excuse for these psychopaths; and the only reason why Obama in 2012 denied Romney’s “our number one geopolitical foe” remark about Russia, was in order to fool the electorate about Obama himself.)

Thus, grabbing Ukraine is more important to them (and their billionaire sponsors) than getting any of the twelve former Warsaw Pact nations that the U.S. had already brought into NATO. It’s not for what’s in Ukraine; it’s for what’s in Russia. (The Warsaw Pact itself had ended when the Soviet Union itself did, in 1991. The GHW Bush Administration promised Gorbachev that NATO would move “not one inch eastward,” but the U.S. constantly violates that promise, and then blames Russia for responding to its brazenness, as Russia must do for its own defense. If Obama and the U.S. Congress continue this, there will be a nuclear war.)

What happened five days before February 23rd, on 18 February 2018? Here is video of it; and, as is obvious there, Putin must have been fully informed of these rabidly anti-Russian riots in next-door Ukraine, even while he was at the Sochi Olympics. This video is from Hromadske TV. Hromadske TV was financed by three entities as shown in their 2014 Financial Report, a snippet of which is seen here, but the totality of which Financial Report was then removed from the Web because this information didn’t fit the West’s propaganda-line. I had read that Financial Report before it was taken down. This snippet published there is accurate. It shows that “Total cash inflows” during the second half of 2013 were $2,576,596, of which “Individual contributions” (by Ukrainian oligarchs) were $1,135,997; “The Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands” was $793,089; “The Embassy of the United States of America” was $399,650; and George Soros’s “International Renaissance Fund” was $247,860. Consequently, that ’news’ report on Hromadske favored the people who were rioting against Ukraine’s democratically elected President, Viktor Yanukovych; and this Hromadske report said: “New wave of riots tonight in Ukraine…. and the president of Ukraine does nothing about it.” It blamed Yanukovych, for those riots against Yanukovych.

Here is more from Hromadske TV about the riots on that day,February 18th.

And here is the bloodshed on 20 February 2014, BBC Newsnight’s telecast about the violence.

Here is more of that bloodshed 20 February 2014, film-footage which was never telecast by BBC, their cut-outs.

Here is an independent video that was uploaded to the Web on 20 February 2014, showing a sniper reloading his rifle.

And here is Rupert Murdoch’s Sky News, simply assuming that the snipers on 20 February 2014 are “Police Snipers,”not U.S.-paid mercenaries who were merely dressed as if they were police.

But here is a video presenting evidence that U.S.-paid mercenaries is what they actually were.

And here is the shock that the EU’s foreign-affairs chief experienced when her own investigator told her that this was a coup, and not actually a revolution at all. (And yet, the EU went along with Obama’s sanctions.)

Well, what happened, then, on the day after the Sochi Olympics ended — the day that Hodges says that Russia “threw away whatever goodwill they had earned the following day by invading Crimea.”? Here is from the Guardian, reporting on Monday, February 24th:

As a new regime consolidated its grip over power in Kiev on Sunday, calls for secession in the pro-Russian south of Ukraine were growing louder.
At a protest attended by thousands in the port city of Sevastopol on Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, the crowd voted to establish a parallel administration and civil defence squads.

Demonstrators waved Russian flags – there was not a Ukrainian flag to be seen – and chanted “Russia, Russia, Russia” during the gathering.
“Sevastopol is a Russian town and will always be a Russian town. … we will never surrender to those fascists in Kiev,” said Anatoly, who was handing out Russian flags and declined to give his surname. “The struggle is only just beginning.”

There was plenty of reason for Crimeans to be terribly afraid. On the night of 20-21 February 2014, there was “The Pogrum of Korsun” in which, as the Ukrainian Human Rights Organization itself documented, a Ukrainian nazi gang (specifically, of Right Sector thugs) that had been involved in the Maidan violence to overthrow Yanukovych, attacked a busload of Crimeans who were fleeing from Kiev back to Crimea, brutally beating the occupants and burning the bus. Obama’s people (Right Sector were essential to his operation in Ukraine) weren’t exactly trying to make nice to Crimeans, who had voted overwhelmingly for the man Obama was overthrowing.

Here is some of the bloodshed from the prior month, leading up to all that, on January 21st, then January 22nd, then January 25th. As you can see, there’s plenty of violence in it all. And it was directed against both Yanukovych and Russia. Crimeans, who had voted overwhelmingly for Yanukovych, and who overwhelmingly preferred Russia both to this new Ukraine, and to the U.S.A. itself, very reasonably felt threatened by these new, U.S.-imposed, rulers in Ukraine.

And here it is from even earlier, 2 December 2013.

And here it is from much earlier, 3 October 2013 — which was well before wikipedia’s article on “Timeline of the Euromaidan” even says that the demonstrations to bring down Yanukovych had so much as begun.

Who organized all of this violence for the U.S. — violence that the U.S. and EU subsequently blamed on Yanukovych, and then on Putin; and, for which Obama established and the EU accepted the economic sanctions against Russia?

Here, then, is the man, Andriy Parubiy, who had planned and led that violence; he was referred to, even by wikipedia, in this way: “From December 2013 to February 2014 Parubiy was a commandant of Euromaidan.[16] He was coordinator of the volunteer security corps [i.e.: of the mercenaries] for the mainstream protesters.[17].” In addition, there were paid ‘protesters,’ to add mere bodies and voices to the crowds. And, “Parubiy co-led the Orange Revolution in 2004.” That was a straightforward CIA operation. So, Parubiy was an expert at organizing a coup for Washington; in late 2013 and early 2014, he was doing it, yet again, now far better than before. And he wasn’t commanding “the police,” like Rupert Murdoch’s ‘news’ charged as having been the malefactors. Parubiy’s forces were shooting at, and were throwing firebombs into, first, the crowds of demonstrators, and, then, at the state security forces, sometimes killing the police.

This wikipedia article also mentions the following about Parubiy’s background, prior to his being hired by the CIA in 2004:

In 1991 he founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine together with Oleh Tyahnybok;[8] the party combined radical nationalism and some neo-Nazi features (by its name and the “Wolfsangel”-like sign).[5][9][10] In 1998–2004 Parubiy led the paramilitary organization of SNPU, the Patriot of Ukraine.[10] Parubiy left these organizations in 2004.[9]

2004 was when the U.S. started its subversion of Ukraine. Parubiy finally had a sponsor that could devote big bucks to the fascistification of Ukraine — Parubiy’s lifelong cause. George W. Bush was the U.S. President then. Obama was picking up from where GWB left off.

The Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine was built upon the basis of the extensive political movement in Ukraine during World War II that passionately supported the National Socialist Party of Germany, and that joined in the extermination of Jews and Poles, and that adopted much of the Hitler operation’s symbolism, and held a very similar ideology, except that they wanted to kill all Russians, even more than they hated Jews and Poles; whereas Hitler’s party wanted to kill all Jews, above all else. So, this was a superb ideological background for a CIA that was out for American conquest of, specifically, Russia — not merely an ideological war to end communism (which turned out to have been basically just a ruse: the CIA is actually a fascist operation).

The great independent investigative historian Brandon Turbeville revealed at activistpost on 9 April 2015 the deeper history of this Ukrainian coup, going all the way back to U.S. President Bill Clinton’s Administration. But this coup was shown there to have already started in the Spring of 2013 (months before the official ‘histories’ in the West say it started), with this announcement from the U.S. Embassy in Kiev:

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv in partnership with Microsoft Ukraine hosted TechCamp Kyiv 2.0 on March 1, 2013 at the Microsoft Ukraine Headquarters. TechCamps support the U.S. State Department’s Civil Society 2.0 initiative that builds the technological and digital capacity of civil society organizations around the world.

During the full day interactive workshop, the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv paired leaders in the technology community with civil society organizations to provide in-depth exposure to low-cost and easy to implement technologies. More than 60 civil society leaders from throughout Ukraine came together to get hands-on training in a variety of areas ranging from fundraising using crowdsourcing, citizen journalism, PR tools for NGOs, Microsoft software and programs for NGOs, and more. These civil society organizations will be poised to use new technologies to grow their networks, communicate more efficiently, and keep pace with the changing world.

To date, State Department sponsored TechCamps in Ukraine have trained more than 200 civil society organizers from throughout the country and Belarus.

So: Parubiy had lots of backing. However, he actually delegated the management of the coup to Dmitriy Yarosh, who headed Ukraine’s other nazi party, the “Right Sector.” The reason for this is that whereas the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine did not have its own force of highly trained paramilitaries, Right Sector did — and Yarosh had trained them all: he had always led them.

Here is a conversation that Yarosh — the actual muscle-man of “Maidan” — had on 25 February 2014, in which Yarosh was speaking privately with Oleg Tyagnibok, who was the co-founder (with Parubiy) of the Social Nationalist Party of Ukraine, now called the “Svoboda” or “Freedom,” party (at the CIA’s suggestion). He was very open there about his intense nazi racism, because he was speaking there with a fellow nazi, only from the other nazi party in Ukraine. (Only Ukraine has two nazi parties.) Ben Hodges is on their side. He represents President Barack Obama. Don’t be surprised that a Black can also be a racist fascist; in Israel, there are plenty of racist-fascist — i.e., ideologically nazi — Jews. It’s the ideology that won in the United States, imposed upon it by the American aristocrtacy, who finance almost all major national politicians. The U.S. Government has been take over by them, not by the U.S. public — it’s no longer a democracy.

When this coup — which the founder of the “private CIA” firm Stratfor once referred to as “the most blatant coup in history” — was over, the new regime was planning to kick Russia’s navy out of Russia’s main naval base ever since 1783, which was in Crimea, which had always been part of Russia until the Soviet dictator in 1954 simply transferred Crimea to Ukraine, despite the wishes of the Crimeans.

Russia Did Not Invade Crimea

Obama himself phrased the entire ‘justification’ for his economic sanctions against Russia, on the basis of “the annexation of Crimea,” via a “conquest of land.”  So, Ben Hodges is merely repeating Obama, using a clearer phrase (“invade Crimea”), in order to ‘justify’ American responses that are even more aggressive: military, not just economic, against Russia. However, just as I had headlined in that article, “The Entire Case for Sanctions Against Russia Is Pure Lies.” The reality is: “The International War-Criminal Is Obama, Not Putin.”

If that doesn’t sound correct to you, please click on the links here wherever you question what’s being said, and on the linked sources within those linked articles, and try to find a way to reconstruct from that evidence the viewpoint that the West’s newsmedia present of these matters. People shouldn’t wait until a nuclear war before they start to check what the actual facts are. If they do that, then they will simply die with their illusions (and, because those illusions have fooled so many other people). But those illusions have been imposed upon them by extremely bad people (they are manufactured illusions), and then taken upon those people’s followers by their not caring enough to investigate things on their own — not investigating in order to identify whom the world’s mega-criminals actually are. What’s involved here is not merely justice, but even survival. Of the world, as we know it.

Concluding Note

Among the news media to which have been submitted for publication every article I have written, and so all of which are well aware of the facts that have been documented here and in the articles that are linked-to here, are: ABC New, CBS News, NBC News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, PBS, The New York Times, the Washington PostWall Street Journal,Guardian, IndependentThe AtlanticHarper’sThe Nation,ProgressiveMother JonesAmerican ProspectForeign PolicyNational ReviewForbesBusinessWeekNew York Review of BooksRolling Stone, Alternet, Common Dreams, Truthout, Salon, Huffington Post, Slate, and many others. If you had not previously known the facts and documentation that has been presented here, it’s not because those news media haven’t had it presented to them; it’s because they have turned it down. If you want to find out why they don’t publish this information, then you might want to write to them and ask why they are keeping this information and documentation secret from their readers, viewers, and listeners. Are the companies’ owners, and/or big advertisers, making that decision, so that their ‘journalists’ are largely just PR-spreaders, or stenographers to power?

Is this America’s ‘free press’? Is this America’s ‘democracy’? But in fact, the U.S. was recently discovered to be, and long to have been, a dictatorship, in which the people who are not in the richest 10% have no impact whatsoever on the nation’s policies. A brief video accurately summarized that study (by Gilens and Page) and explained why its findings are that way. It’s most likely the people in the top 0.01%, even above that the billionaires, who are actually being served by this dictatorship. But, anyway, the objectives of the bottom 90% don’t at all affect federal policymaking. That’s clear from the data.

People such as Ben Hodges are placed where they are, because they serve the top 0.01%, or maybe even less. This is why they can lie to the public with total impunity.

A couple of years ago, a story emerged about scientists working on “Smart Dust” - nanoparticles that could be employed as sensor networks for a range of security and environmental applications. This was followed by the more literal version of Smart Dust, which was designed to open pathways to establish a human brain-computer interface.

The brain system was labeled “Neural Dust” and was intended to “monitor the brain from the inside.” Inventors speculated that a network of nanoparticles injected into the brain could measure electrical activity in neurons, then use ultrasound to form a two-way transfer of data. This theoretically would lead to the reading, generation, or alteration of information – i.e., mind control. Most disturbingly, at the time, is that their theories had entered the testing phase and showed some success, albeit on a beetle.

New research released by Florida International University indicates that this area of testing has now advanced to mice. Their conclusions and statements about what they have found and where they believe all of this is headed is even less comforting than previous discoveries.

I have posted the full FIU press release below, with emphasis and my comments added. Naturally, their press release highlights only the potential benefits of this technology. One can’t outright deny those possibilities, but we also must put it into perspective knowing what we do about DARPA’s mission to apply this militarily.  For key background into that research please read “7 Future Methods of Mind Control” and the explosive details that came to Activist Post from an Arizona State University whistleblower about what led him to reveal his intense concerns, “Secret DARPA Mind Control Project Revealed: Leaked Document.”

Press release

A Florida International University professor and his team this month published news of a scientific breakthrough that could lead to the noninvasive treatment of Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Researchers remotely manipulated the electric waves that naturally exist in the brains of mice, a feat that has far-reaching implications for medicine.
The journal Nanomedicine is featuring the paper by Sakhrat Khizroev, a professor with dual appointments in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and the College of Engineering & Computing.

Using a previously reported FIU-patented technology, researchers began by intravenously administering magneto-electric nanoparticles, or MENs, in mice. With a magnet placed over the head (also read about the “God Helmet” - N.W.) of each subject animal, the particles were pulled through the blood-brain barrier, where they “coupled” the externally created magnetic field with the brain’s intrinsic electric field. This enabled researchers to wirelessly connect their computers and electronics to neurons deep within the brain.

The researchers then sent signals via computer to the MENs, which responded by modulating (or changing from low to high and back again) the frequency of the brain’s naturally occurring electric waves. The resulting pulses created “deep-brain stimulation” that has implications for treating Parkinson’s and other disorders. It stands in contrast to the existing method of deep-brain stimulation, which involves invasive surgery to implant an electrode in the brain and a battery-operated medical device elsewhere in the body.

Worth noting, while the modulation was taking place, researchers had a view of the electrical activity within the brain. This feedback was sent from the MENs to a computer, allowing the researchers to confirm what was taking place.

In a nod to the increasingly personalized nature of medicine, Khizroev believes that MENs could one day be programmed to accomplish any number of medically related procedures to treat various disorders, among them Alzheimer’s and autism. When properly targeted, the particles could, for example, be used to repair cells or destroy plaques. Khizroev also believes that MENs could potentially remain in place within the brain for extended periods to release drugs on a set schedule.

“This study is a critical stepping stone to opening a pathway to understanding the brain and treating many neurodenerative disorders,” Khizroev says. “With this connection, we could see and repair, when necessary, all the electric circuitry deep in the brain.”

*** End of press release

The remote analysis and manipulation of the human brain clearly opens the door for remote mind control, as one man’s treatment of a legitimate disorder becomes another’s tool for simply changing perception. And even if it doesn’t reach that level, this technology also seems to be a boon for Big Pharma as they work in tandem with the medical establishment to ensure that everyone has some sort of disorder in need of revision. For a full explanation on that topic, Jon Rappoport’s article “Obamacare: watch out, here comes ‘predictive modeling’” is a must-read. Also see transhumanist and a Director of Engineering at Google, Ray Kurzweil’s hope for Human Body 2.0 with roving nanobots to repair us from the inside out.

Perhaps most telling, though, is that once again the ethical framework is completely missing. With all of the ways that we have seen humans abuse one another to achieve dominance and control, are we still willing to let these experiments continue without question? Once we reach the nanoscale with full wireless integration, do we really expect that “opting out” will be a future possibility?

Nicholas West writes for Activist Post and TechSwarm.  

The statement that Israel has the right to defend itself against Palestine is similar to the statement that if, say, the US annexed, occupied, and started building illegal settlements in Cuba (the parts the US isn’t already illegally occupying and using as a torture camp, Guantanamo), then the US would have the right to “defend” itself against Cubans acting in retaliation to US aggression.

Everyone aside from blind fundamentalists and/or the hopelessly corrupt would laugh at the notion that in such a situation, US action against resistant Cubans would be “defense”.  Likewise, the world laughs at the idea that Israel can “defend” itself against the vastly more outgunned Palestinians resisting Israeli aggression.

International law reflects the common sense dynamics of this situation, which any child could easily understand and naturally grasp.
Georgetown International Law professor Noura Erakat explains the relevant rules:

…where an occupation already is in place, the right to initiate militarized force in response to an armed attack, as opposed to police force to restore order, is not a remedy available to the occupying state.

the right of self-defense in international law is, by definition since 1967, not available to Israel with respect to its dealings with real or perceived threats emanating from the West Bank and Gaza Strip population.

An occupying power cannot justify military force as self-defense in territory for which it is responsible as the occupant.

However, people-groups exploiting weaker groups try to deny elementary common sense and rewrite rules to defend what they are doing, and/or make themselves feel better about their awful acts.  For example, the Spanish inquisition made little rules for itself regarding its torture subjects, such as that they were not supposed to bleed.  Thus, the Inquisition, instead of say using thumbscrews (a Euro favorite), would burn people alive, as this, they ludicrously argued, did not make people bleed and thus made the Inquisition perpetrators moral and law-abiding, at least in their warped and self-serving minds.  (Also, they would make people bleed through various torture methods, anyway, and just ignore their own rules.)

Naturally, this is what Israel, the US, and all corrupt, nasty power-centers do.  Erakat explains how Israel plays these games with International Law:

[Israel tries to get around International Law by saying it does] not occupy [the Palestinian territories] within the meaning of international law. The UN Security Council, the International Court of Justice, the UN General Assembly, as well as the Israeli High Court of Justice have roundly rejected the Israeli government’s position. 

In its 2012 session, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination described current conditions following decades of occupation and attendant repression as tantamount to Apartheid.

[The International Court of Justice rules that “Article 51 of the Charter [the right to self defense] has no relevance” to Israel’s assaults and massacres against the territories it illegally occupies and colonizes.]

…Israel is distorting/reinterpreting international law to justify its use of militarized force in order to protect its colonial authority…

In doing this, Israel:

…forces the people of the Gaza Strip to face one of the most powerful militaries in the world without the benefit either of its own military, or of any realistic means to acquire the means todefend itself.

If Israel were concerned about small matters like honor, it would help or allow Gazans to acquire guided weapons for self-defense.  However, the Israeli state prefers to use its civilian population as a human shield (a tactic constantly used by Israel) to absorb the few unguided rockets that make it into populated Israeli areas, rather than have guided rockets hit designated Israeli military installations, which are enmeshed throughout Israeli civilian society.

Erakat concludes that, since the Israeli state’s behavior is an “affront to the international humanitarian legal order”, “the onus to resist this shift and to preserve protection for civilians rests upon the shoulders of citizens, organizations, and mass movements who can influence their governments enforce international law. There is no alternative to political mobilization to shape state behavior.”

… 

The next question is whether the Palestinians have the right to use arms to resist illegal Israeli occupation, annexation, settlement, and aggression.

If we return to our US-occupying-Cuba metaphor, the common sense/fairness answer is obviously yes, of course.  And again, the only reason many US citizens do not answer yes immediately to the question of whether Palestinians are allowed to use force to defend themselves against Israel’s armed aggression is that US citizens utterly lack exposure to information representative of common sense and world opinion.  What they are exposed to represents opinion and “reporting” heavily biased in favor of the US-backed aggressors, in ways that range from obvious to subtle and subconscious, from natural ethnocentrism to intentional insidiousness.

But again, international law, when we look at it, represents the common-sense interpretation of the situation at which any child would arrive.

Middle East scholars LeVine and Hajjar explain that Palestinians are not prohibited:

…from taking up arms to resist occupation.

Additional Protocol I established people’s right to use armed force to resist foreign occupation as well as colonial domination and to fight against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination. This Protocol was promulgated for the purpose of injecting IHL standards into asymmetric wars (between states and non-state groups).

Israel has refused to sign this Protocol (as has the US) and does not recognise the right of non-state groups to fight for those specified causes, even if they were to abide by the laws of war. Nevertheless, the lawfulness of the use of armed force is not contingent on the status of the adversaries but rather on whether those who fight do so in accordance with the principles of IHL (International Humanitarian Law) enumerated above [and, as Dr. Norman Finkelstein and others note, on whether a group under attack has the option or ability to retaliate within the technical bounds of IHL – ie, do Palestinians have guided, and thus legal, projectiles to use as a deterrent?  They do not.  Do they therefore lack the right to retaliate in the most effective ways they can?].

Further, as I have noted, the mostly symbolic and ineffective Palestinian projectile attacks – which have killed about 30 people in their entire history – are not only launched under illegal Israeli occupation, but also mainly “in retaliation for prior indiscriminate Israeli killings of Gazan civilians“, doubling both the illegality of Israeli action and the right to self defense of the Palestinians.

Examples of Israeli double-war crimes (occupation combined with further military assault/aggression) that have elicited defensive retaliation from Palestine include:

…the November 5 [2012] killing of a 23-year-old mentally disabled man who strayed too close to the border fence, and at least one boy killed while playing football five days later. Two other Palestinians who rushed to the latter scene to help the victims were themselves immediately killed by three more shells fired by Israeli forces [in 2012, and similar attacks by the Israeli occupier in 2014 that spurred retaliatory rocket firing, as Israel concedes.]

[In 2012, for example, Israeli] attacks prompted a retaliatory strike by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which launched an anti-tank missile at an army jeep near the border, wounding four soldiers. That attack by a group not under the operational control of Hamas in turn triggered the targeting of Jabari and the all-out assault on Gaza by Israel.

The second factor that undercuts the self-defence rationale is that Jabari was involved in negotiating an Egyptian-brokered comprehensive, long-term cease-fire with Israel when he was assassinated. In a November 17 New York Times op-ed, Israeli academic Gershon Baskin (who was a mediator in these negotiations) declared that Jabari had been given a near-final version of the agreement hours before he was killed.

the immediate causes of the most violent wave of rocket fire were precisely the indiscriminate killings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces and the assassination of the official who was engaged in negotiations to permanently curtail such rocket attacks. Moreover, Israeli officials had to know and anticipate that killing Jabari would precipitate a violent Palestinian response, raising serious questions about their moral and political responsibility for the ensuing violence.

The circumstances noted above are exactly similar to Israel’s 2014 massacre in Israeli-occupied Gaza, which began with Israeli killings of Gazans, including killing children on video, against the background of an imminent agreement between Hamas and the West Bank leadership, with US and EU approval.  This enraged Israel due to the prospect of another “Palestinian peace offensive”, which might mitigate Israel’s ability to continue illegally colonizing territory outside its legal and internationally recognized borders.

Indeed, Israel’s assaults on occupied refugee camps such as Gaza, “must be judged against a reality which, although vehemently rejected by Israeli officials … enjoys an overwhelming international consensus: Namely, that the entirety of the territories captured by Israel in 1967 remain occupied according to international law.”

The professors sum up:

Put simply, an occupying state has no legal right to wage a full-scale military war against an occupied population. Rather, the occupying state is legally obligated to protect the rights and prioritise the interests of this population, something Israel has manifestly not done in any part of the Occupied Territories.

The occupying power has rights, too, including the right to maintain order and to take steps to ensure for its own security. But in a context of occupation, these options are limited to police actions and at most use of small arms to address an immediate threat, not full-scale war.

Israel practices “continual deployment of large-scale, indiscriminate force against people and space of Gaza – and, equally important, the West Bank as well…”

These acts constitute “not merely the context for war crimes but for crimes against humanity and, because of their clearly aggressive nature, a crime against peace.”

Like all aggressive criminal actors, Israel would prefer to meet no resistance, and thus naturally insists that the Palestinians do not have “any right to use force, even in self-defence”.  Such desperate claims give “important insight into how Israel interprets the law to project the legality of policies and practices it wishes to pursue.”

Recognized as the most important and authoritative moral voice on the issue of resistance to tyranny, Mahatma Gandhi spoke specifically on the issue of Israeli tyranny against Palestine, and said,

[Israelis] can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs … nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.

Robert Barsocchini focuses on international force dynamics and writes professionally for the film industry. @_DirtyTruths

Also see: The Hateful Likud [Israeli ruling organization] Charter Calls for the Destruction of Any Palestine State

Does anyone want to make the world a better place? Do you know anyone who does? Have you known of anyone who has? Think carefully about these questions, because things are not always as they seem.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued an Executive Order as a wartime measure freeing the slaves in the ten states that were in rebellion. It freed about three quarters of the four million slaves in the United States at the time. The remainder were not freed until the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1865. The order did not outlaw slavery and did not confer citizenship on those freed. It was merely a strategic measure, not a humanitarian gesture. Nevertheless, Lincoln has become known in American history as the Great Emancipator.

The war during which the order was issued resulted in the deaths of approximately three quarters of a million people, and the freedmen, as the former slaves were called, were left to fend for themselves. Many joined the army and after the war were sent West to fulfill America’s Manifest Destiny by killing Indians. What a magnificent event the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation was. Men were freed from slavery so they could become Indian slayers. What a great contribution to the improvement of the human condition that was!

Yet in 1861, two years before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, Tsar Alexander II, a brutal Russian Autocrat, abolished serfdom in Russia by merely signing a document. Lincoln’s order freed about three million slaves; the Tsar’s edict freed 23 million without firing a single shot, without killing a single person or causing a single person to have to fend for himself. How dastardly! What a barbarian! You would think that he could have killed at least half a million. After all, he was the Tsar! He was a brutal Russian, not a benevolent American!

Really? Who was the greater humanitarian? The Great Emancipator or the Tsar? Did either make the world a better place? Were people any better off after the edicts were issued than before? Did being freed sate any person’s hunger?

Lincoln was elected president of “a house divided.” He went to war to preserve the house, to preserve the union. He succeed marvelously. The house has been divided ever since! Was the world made any better by the war? Was the world any better after the war than it was before? Judge for yourselves. Were America’s Blacks any better off? Are they better off today? These questions are not easy to answer.

In 1889, Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany enacted the world’s first old-age social insurance program which was designed by Germany’s arch-conservative Chancellor, Otto von Bismarck. In a letter to the German Reichstag. Wilhelm wrote: “. . . those who are disabled from work by age and invalidity have a well-grounded claim to care from the state.” How reactionary! Imagine a Kaiser caring about the well-being of workers? What in the world can we make of that?

A short time later—well, quite a bit later in 1935—Franklin Delano Roosevelt basically copied the German program and induced the Congress to enact it. Roosevelt may have been a man of the people, although he was not quick to come to that position, but he was no original thinker. Yet he has an endearing place in the hearts of Americans. German Kaisers do not! Humanitarianism just oozes out of the hearts of America’s political leaders, doesn’t it? Did Roosevelt make the world a better place? If so, did the autocratic Kaiser make it a better place too?

Between 1939 and 1941 New Zealand created the first universal health care system. Other nations soon followed: The United Kingdom in 1948, Sweden in 1955, Iceland and Norway in 1956, Denmark in 1961, Finland in 1964, Japan in 1961, Canada between 1968 and 1972, the Soviet Union in 1969, Australia in 1974 and 1984, Italy in 1978, Portugal in 1979, Greece in 1983, Spain in 1986, South Korea in 1989, Taiwan in 1995, Israel in 1995, the Netherlands in 1986 and 2006, and Switzerland in 1996. From the 1970s to the 1990s, the Western European countries of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, and Luxembourg expanded their social health insurance systems to provide universal coverage. The United States of America? Well, not yet. Maybe someday. Perhaps never. Obama believes his reform of private health insurance has rendered universal healthcare unnecessary. America’s leading from behind—way behind—does not extend to improving the human condition, and America does not boast of belonging to this international sommunity.

These examples provide evidence for the assertion often inaccurately attributed to Winston Churchill that “Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing after they have exhausted all other possibilities.” But things are really much worse than that. When Americans do set out to do the right thing, they often do it so badly and so ineffectively that the pathos of the human condition is hardly improved at all. Healthcare in America is so poorly distributed that many people lack access to it under any conditions and every physical ailment is not covered by medical insurance. Many communities lack even one primary care physician; others boast of scores, and vision, hearing, and dental problems are not covered by most medical insurance plans, not even Medicare! But of course not! Why do people, especially the elderly, need to see, hear, or chew? Making the world a better place is not an American forte. Nor is it a forte in many other countries.

In trying to judge the value of something, the Romans often asked, “Cui bono?” Who benefits? is an important question. So is the question, Who suffers? For instance, when an elderly person whose hearing is impaired is denied a hearing aid, who benefits? Anyone at all? When an unemployed person is denied unemployment compensation, who benefits? Anyone? When a family with little or no income is denied nutritional assistance, who benefits? When an ill person is denied medical care, who benefits? And who benefits when a homeless family is denied a domicile? Who benefits when a school child is denied a lunch? Does anyone benefit? Yet who suffers is obvious, isn’t it? Helping no one and making many suffer is merely cruel, and being cruel is a moral fault. America and many other nations are not people-countries; they do not exist for the welfare of people. Making the world a better place is not something human beings do easily.

When people are denied these benefits, the deniers are engaged in simple cruelty. No, gratuitous cruelty inflicted gratuitously! The Earth is awash in it, and most of it is inflicted by human beings, many of whom are content to do nothing in the face of it. The American Congress has traditionally been know as a “do nothing” institution. And Edmund Burke, a very conservative political philosopher said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” When the American Congress or any political institution anywhere is content to do nothing to alleviate human suffering, it follows that the institution is aiding and abetting “the triumph of evil.” But something else follows as well. Those who do nothing are not good people! That, above all, needs to be made obvious. Bad people do nothing and aid and abet the triumph of evil in the world. So much for making the world a better place!

I asked above whether the American Civil War made the world a better place. Now the world is in a continuous war. The Western world is at war with most of the nations in the Middle East, North Africa, and is promoting war in Ukraine. The Sunnis are now are even being encouraged to kill other Sunnis. How can it possible end well? When the Kurds, who are being encouraged to kill Sunnis too and who live in Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, want to form a nation of their own, Kurdistan, and Turkey objects, who is the West going to support? The Kurds or a NATO partner?

Will there be no end to this killing? Is any human being’s life anywhere made better by all this killing? Was the life of any American bettered when Osama bin Laden was assassinated? Did that assassination sate any child’s hunger? Did the American economy suddenly awaken from the doldrums? Can’t you just see how much better off everyone is because of the killing frenzy? Apparently no one but the world’s leaders can.

Abba Eban, an Israeli diplomat, said in June 1967 at the United Nations that “The question is whether there is any reason to believe that . . . a new era may yet come to pass. If I am sanguine on this point, it is because of a conviction that men and nations do behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives. Surely the other alternatives of war and belligerency have now been exhausted.”

How “hope springs eternal” even in the hearts of those who blankly stare into the abyss. The West, following America’s lead has proven that the alternatives of war and belligerency have not yet been exhausted. So let peoples everywhere be warned: if you are willing to follow America to the gates of Hell, be prepared to enter it. Those gates swing in only one direction!

The world will not become a better place until human beings want it to. Those who deny benefits to needy people and promote orgies of killing do not want it to. They want to protect the status quo. But denying benefits to the needy and promoting continuous war define the status quo. At least since Alexander the Great, war has been the instrument of what is now called foreign policy. They also comprise domestic policy in most nations. States can just as easily wage war against their own citizens as foreigners. Is this cruelty the essence of human nature? Will it ever be different?

Not until the questions, “Who benefits?” and “Who doesn’t?” are being answered, “The needy!” and “Nobody!”. The goal of human endeavor must become the welfare of human beings. Nothing good comes of doing otherwise.

John Kozy is a retired professor of philosophy and logic who writes on social, political, and economic issues. After serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, he spent 20 years as a university professor and another 20 years working as a writer. He has published a textbook in formal logic commercially, in academic journals and a small number of commercial magazines, and has written a number of guest editorials for newspapers. His on-line pieces can be found on http://www.jkozy.com/ and he can be emailed from that site’s homepage.

The six-month extension of European Union (EU) economic sanctions against Russia, agreed Wednesday in Brussels by ambassadors from all 28 EU members states, marks a milestone in the war drive waged by the imperialist powers of NATO against Russia.

These sanctions, first imposed amid the crisis over the still-unresolved shoot-down last July of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 in Ukraine, targeted exports of equipment to Russia’s oil industry and cut off Russian access to credit from European banks. As the EU is Russia’s largest trade and investment partner, the sanctions played a key role in the Russian ruble’s collapse last year.

Now, EU officials pointed to ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine, after the February peace accords negotiated in Minsk between the NATO-backed Kiev regime’s forces and pro-Russian separatists, to justify maintaining the sanctions. EU sources said, “The idea is to extend [sanctions] to end-January to give time to review progress on the Minsk accord before having to take a new decision.”

“EU foreign ministers will finalize the decision in Luxembourg on Monday,” Poland’s permanent representative to the EU said on Twitter.

Russian officials replied by accusing the Kiev regime of provoking recent fighting in east Ukraine to provide a pretext for their decision.

“It’s obvious there are forces in the world and in Ukraine, which are interested in the deterioration of the situation on the ground in the run-up to major international events, including EU summits, in order to urge the international community to extend sanctions and impose new ones,”

said Deputy Foreign Minister Alexey Meshkov.

Nevertheless, Meshkov neither condemned the sanctions nor called on the EU to stop them. He said Russian officials are “realists, we carefully analyze what our Western partners say,” adding: “Russia did not impose sanctions, we are not asking anyone to lift them.”

The latest EU sanctions are part of a broad drive by US and European finance capital to isolate Russia, threatening it with bankruptcy and war, in order to reduce it to semi-colonial status and establish the hegemony of the NATO powers, led by Washington, over all of Eurasia. This politically criminal policy, which NATO launched last year by backing a right-wing putsch against a pro-Russian regime in Ukraine, threatens to lead to all-out war with Russia, a nuclear-armed power.

In February, US officials discussed directly arming Ukrainian forces fighting Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, and earlier this month, Pentagon officials testified before the US Congress that Washington is preparing missiles strikes on Russia.

The EU sanctions are the most powerful weapon in the financial arsenal NATO is deploying to wage economic war on Russia. During the ruble crisis last year, financial analysts calculated that cutting off Russian access to credit from Europe could bankrupt much of the Russian economy in as little as two years. This policy appears to be aimed at convincing the capitalist oligarchs who control Russia’s post-Soviet economy to topple Russian President Vladimir Putin and install a regime that will obey all the dictates of Washington and the EU powers.

The pursuit of such an aggressive policy has vast and potentially unforeseeable implications. When the sanctions were first imposed last year, Russian officials attacked them as a campaign for regime change. “Western leaders publicly state that the sanctions must hurt [Russia’s] economy and stir up public protests. The West doesn’t want to change Russia’s policies. They want regime change,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Given that previous targets of NATO campaigns for regime change—from Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi of Libya—all died in custody of NATO-backed forces, Russian officials are doubtless preparing policies as fraught as those of Washington.

The decision to maintain EU sanctions testifies to the recklessness and anti-democratic character of EU foreign policy. A recent Pew poll found mass popular opposition in Europe to a policy of stoking war with Russia. The European powers are proceeding with a confrontation that has the potential to escalate into full-scale war.

The only force that can oppose the drive to war is the mobilization of the working class internationally in a revolutionary struggle against imperialism and capitalism. Neither Russia’s bankrupt capitalist regime nor critics of EU sanctions policy within the European ruling class can halt the war drive launched by the most powerful imperialist countries.

Significantly, the EU is adopting its sanctions even after significant sections of the European bourgeoisie criticized them as self-destructive and dangerous. Last year, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attacked the sanctions as “shooting oneself in the foot,” while former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi said they amounted to “collective suicide.”

“I do not support basing policy on worst-case outcomes, I think sanctions must stop,” French President François Hollande declared in January. He added,

“Mr Putin does not want to annex east Ukraine, I am sure of it. … What Mr Putin wants is to prevent Ukraine from joining the camp of NATO. The idea for Mr Putin is to avoid having a hostile military presence on his borders.”

Many argue that the EU sanctions are dangerous, because cutting off economic ties between Europe and Russia encourages Moscow to turn to an alliance with China against NATO.

After the announcement of EU sanctions last year, Chinese officials indicated that they could extend credit to Russia to keep it from going bankrupt. This year, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) chief Kirill Dmitriev said China was investing tens of billions of dollars in Russia, adding: “Within 2-3 years the investment inflow from China may be equal to that from Europe in recent years.”

One critic of EU sanctions against Russia, former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, declared:

“My concern is that Russia could turn to the East by strengthening their cooperation with China and playing a greater role in Asia and deciding that Europe is irrelevant. This is my concern and yet another argument to say that this policy is against European interests.”

Nonetheless, on Wednesday, representatives of these governments all toed the line advanced by the United States, Germany and Britain, who have pressed for an aggressive stance against Russia.

Indeed, Italian and French officials criticizing EU sanctions are participating in the same imperialist scramble to grab resources and markets as their US, German and British counterparts.

During the past several months as a slew of draconian vaccine bills have been aggressively pushed upon state legislators to legally enforce vaccination against Americans freedom of choice, I have had the opportunity to debate publicly pro-vaccine advocates on a number of occasions. When faced with a barrage of peer-reviewed scientific facts confirming vaccine failures, and its lack of efficacy and safety, representatives of the vaccine establishment will inevitably raise the issue of the eradication of polio and smallpox from the US as case examples of two vaccine miracles.  Yet neither case, has their been scientifically sound confirmation that the demise of these two infectious diseases were the result of mass population vaccine campaigns.

Furthermore, this horribly simplistic belief that polio and smallpox are exemplary models for all other vaccines is both naïve and dangerous.  Vaccinology does not follow a one-size-fits-all theory as the pro-vaccine industry propagates to the public. For any coherent public debate, it is necessary for each vaccine to be critically discerned upon its own terms with respect to its rate of efficacy, the properties of viral infection and immune response, vaccine adverse effects, and the long term risks that may not present symptoms until years after inoculation.

This article is the first part of a two part series to deconstruct the false claims of polio and smallpox as modern medical success stories and put each in its historical and scientific perspective.  In this first part, the legacy of the polio vaccine and its ongoing track record of failure, particularly in developing nations, will be presented.

It is a very dangerous assumption to believe that any new vaccine or drug to fight an infectious disease or life-threatening disease will be safe once released upon an uninformed public. The history of pharmaceutical science is largely a story of failures as well as successes. Numerous drugs over the decades have been approved and found more dangerous than the condition being targeted, but only after hundreds of thousands of people were turned into guinea pigs by the medical establishment.  In the case of vaccines, both the first human papilloma vaccine (Gardasil) and Paul Offit’s vaccine for rotavirus (Rotateq) were disasters. Both were fast tracked through the FDA and both failed to live up to their promises.

This scenario of fast tracking unsafe and poorly researched vaccines was certainly the case for one of the first polio vaccines in 1955. In fact the polio vaccine received FDA approval and licensure after two hours of review – the fastest approved drug in the FDA’s history. Known as the Cutter Incident, because the vaccine was manufactured by Cutter Laboratories, within days of vaccination, 40,000 children were left with polio, 200 with severe paralysis and ten deaths.  Shortly thereafter the vaccine was quickly withdrawn from circulation and abandoned.[1]

The CDC’s website still promulgates a blatant untruth that the Salk vaccine was a modern medical success. To the contrary, officials at the National Institutes of Health were convinced that the vaccine was contributing to a rise in polio and paralysis cases in the 1950s.  In 1957 Edward McBean documented in his book The Poisoned Needle that government officials stated the vaccine was “worthless as a preventive and dangerous to take.”  Some states such as Idaho where several people died after receiving the Salk vaccine, wanted to hold the vaccine makers legally liable.  Dr. Salk himself testified in 1976 that his live virus vaccine, which continued to be distributed in the US until 2000, was the “principal if not sole cause” of all polio cases in the US since 1961.  However, after much lobbying and political leveraging, private industry seduced the US Public Health Service to proclaim the vaccine safe.[2]  Although this occurred in the 1950s, this same private industry game plan to coerce and buy off government health agencies has become epidemic with practically every vaccine brought to market during the past 50 years.

Today, US authorities proudly claim the nation is polio-free. Medical authorities and advocates of mass vaccination raise the polio vaccine as an example of a vaccine that eradicated a virus and proof of the unfounded “herd immune theory”.  Dr. Suzanne Humphries, a nephrologist and one of today’s most outspoken medical critics against vaccines has documented thoroughly that polio’s disappearance was actually a game of smoke and mirrors.[3]  By 1961, the polio vaccine should have been ruled a dismal failure and abandoned since more people were being paralyzed from the vaccines than wild poliovirus infection.

The 1950s mark a decade of remarkable medical achievement; it also marked a period of high scientific naiveté and enthusiastic idealism.  Paralysis was not only associated with polio infections, but also a wide variety of other biologic and toxic agents:  aseptic meningitis, Coxsackie and Echo viruses, arsenic, DDT and other industrial chemical toxins indiscriminately released upon millions of Americans.  In addition, paralytic conditions were given a variety of names in an attempt to distinguish them, although some, such paralysis due to polio, aseptic meningitis and Coxsackie, were indistinguishable.  One of the more devious names was Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP), a class of paralyses indistinguishable from the paralysis occurring in thousands within the vaccinated population. It was therefore incumbent upon health authorities to transfer polio vaccine-related injuries to non-poliovirus causation in order to salvage vaccination campaigns and relieve public fears.  Dr. Humphries and her colleagues have noted a direct relationship between the increase in AFP through 2011 and government claims of declining polio infectious rates parallel with increased vaccination. [4]

One of the largest and most devious medical scandals in the history of American medicine also concerns the polio vaccine.  In an excellent history about the polio vaccine, Neil Miller shares the story of Dr. Bernice Eddy, a scientist at the NIH who in 1959 “discovered that the polio vaccines being administered throughout the world contained an infectious agent capable of causing cancer.”  As the story is told, her attempts to warn federal officials resulted in the removal of her laboratory and being demoted at the agency.[5]  It was only later that one of the nation’s most famous vaccine developers, Maurice Hilleman at Merck identified the agent as a cancer causing monkey virus, SV40, common in almost all rhesus monkeys being used to culture the polio virus for the vaccine.  This contaminant virus was found in all samples of the Sabin oral polio vaccine tested.  The virus was also being found in Salk’s killed polio injectable vaccine as well.  No one knows for certain how many American’s received SV40 contaminated vaccines, but some estimates put the figure as high as 100 million people.  That was greater than half the US population in 1963 when the vaccine was removed from the market.

Many Americans today, and even more around the world, continue to be threatened and suffer from the legacy of this lethal vaccine. Among some of the more alarming discoveries since the discovery of the SV40 in Salk’s and Sabin’s vaccines and its carcinogenic footprint in millions of Americans today are:

  • Loyola University Medical Center identified SV40 in 38% of bone cancer cases [6]
  • 58% of mesothelioma cases, a life threatening lung cancer, had SV40 present
  • A later analysis of a large national cancer database found mesotheliomas were 178% higher among those who received the polio vaccines
  • A study published in Cancer Research found SV40 in 23 percent of blood samples taken and 45% of semen samples studied, thereby confirming that the monkey virus can be sexually transmitted.[7]
  • Osteosarcomas are 10 times higher in states where the polio vaccine contaminated with SV40 was most used, particularly throughout the Northeastern states [8]
  • Two 1988 studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that SV40 can be passed on to infants whose mother’s received the SV40 tainted vaccines. Those children later had a 13 times greater rate of brain tumors compared to children whose mothers did not receive the polio vaccines. This would also explain why these childrens’ tumors contained the SV40 virus present, even though the children themselves did not receive the vaccine. [9]

There is a very large body of scientific literature detailing the catastrophic consequences of SV40 virus infection. As of 2001, Neil Miller counted 62 peer-reviewed studies confirming the presence of SV40 in a variety of human tissues and different carcinomas.  Although the killed polio vaccines administered in developed countries no longer contain the SV40 virus, the oral vaccine continues to be the vaccine of choice in poor developing countries because its cost-effectiveness to manufacture.  Safety is clearly not a priority of the drug companies, health agencies and bureaucratic organizations that push the vaccine on impoverished children.

After almost sixty years of silence and a federally sanctioned cover up, the CDC finally admitted several years ago that the Salk and Sabin vaccines indeed were contaminated with the carcinogenic SV40 monkey virus. [10]

However, SV40 is not the only contaminate parents should be worried about. As with other vaccines, such as measles, mumps, influenza, smallpox and others, the viral component of the vaccine continues to be cultured in animal cell medium. This medium can contain monkey kidney cells, newborn calf serum, bovine extract and more recently clostridium tetani, the causative agent for tetanus infection. All animal tissue mediums can carry known and unknown pathogenic viruses, bacterial genetic residues, and foreign DNA fragments that pose countless potential health risks.  Based upon transcripts of CDC meetings on biological safety, the late medical investigative reporter, Janine Roberts, noted that vaccine makers and government health officials admit they have no way to prevent dangerous carcinogenic and autoimmune causative genetic material from being injected into an infant. Among the unwanted genetic material that might be found in vaccines today are:  cancer-causing oncogenes, bird leukemia virus, equine arthritic virus, prions (a protein responsible for Mad Cow Disease and other life threatening illnesses), enzyme reverse transcriptase (a biological marker associated with HIV infection), and a multitude of extraneous DNA fragments and contaminates that escape filtration during vaccine preparation. [11]

The CDC acknowledges that it is impossible to remove all foreign genetic and viral material from vaccines.  As Janine Roberts noted, the science behind the manufacture of vaccines is extraordinarily primitive.  Therefore, the CDC sets limits for how much genetic contamination by weight is permitted in a vaccine, and the agency over the years continues to increase the threshold.[12]

Amidst the polio vaccine debacle and mounds of scientific literature confirming the vaccines’ i failure, US health agencies and the most ardent proponents of vaccines, such as Paul Offit and Bill Gates, retreat into the protected cloisters of medical denialism and continue to spew folktales of polio vaccines’ success.

The polio vaccines on the market have not improved very much during the past 60 years.  They continue to rely upon primitive manufacturing technology and animal tissue culturing.  In recent years Bill Gates’ polio eradication campaigns in India have been dismal failures.  Touted as one of the “most expensive public health campaigns in history” according to Bloomberg Business, as many as 15 doses of oral polio vaccine failed to immunize the poorest of Indian children.  Severe gastrointestinal damage due to contaminated water and wretched sanitation conditions have made the vaccine ineffective.  Similar cases have been reported with the rotavirus and cholera vaccine failures in Brazil, Peru and Bangladesh.   According to epidemiologist Nicholas Grassly at Imperial College London, “ There is increasing evidence that oral polio failure is the result of exposure to other gut infections.” [13]

There is another even more frightening consequence of Gates’ vaccine boondoggle launched upon rural India in 2011.  This particular polio vaccine contains an increased dosage of the polio virus. In the April-June 2012 issue of the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, a paper reported the incidence of 47,500 new cases of what is being termed “non-polio acute flaccid paralysis”, or NPAFP, following Gates polio campaign.[14]  The following year, there were over 53,500 reported cases. NPAFP is clinically indistinguishable from wild polio paralysis as well as polio vaccine-induced paralysis.  The primary difference is that NPAFP is far more fatal.[15]

Physicians at New Delhi’s St. Stephens Hospital analyzed national polio surveillance data and found direct links between the increased dosages of the polio vaccine and rise in NPAFP.  Coincidentally, the two states with the highest number of cases, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, are also the two states with the worst water contamination, poverty and highest rates of gastrointestinal diseases reported by Bloomberg.  As early as 1948, during a particularly terrible polio outbreak in the US, Dr Benjamin Sandler at Oteen Veterans’ Hospital observed the relationship between polio infection, malnutrition and poor diets relying heavily on starches. [16]  According to nutrition data, white rice, the primary daily food staple among poorer Indians, has the highest starch content among all foods.[17]

Despite this crisis, in January 2014, Bill Gates, the WHO and the Indian government announced India is today a polio-free nation. [18] Another sleight of hand performance of the polio vaccine’s magical act.

The case of India, and subsequent cases in other developing nations, scientifically supports a claim vaccine opponents have stated for decades; that is, improving sanitation, providing clean water, healthy food, and the means for better hygiene practices are the safest and most efficacious measures for fighting infectious disease.  According to statistics compiled by Neil Miller, Director of ThinkTwice Global Vaccine Institute, the polio death rate had declined by 47% from 1923 to when the vaccine was introduced in 1953.  In the UK, the rate declined 55% and similar rates were observed in other European countries.[19]  Many historians of science, such as Robert Johnson at the University of Illinois, agree that the decrease in polio and other infectious diseases during the first half of the twentieth century were largely the result of concerted national public health efforts to improve sanitation and public water systems, crowded factory conditions, better hygienic food processing, and new advances in medicine and health care.  Relying upon the unfounded myth that vaccines are a magic bullet to protect a population suffering from extreme conditions of poverty, while failing to improve these populations’ living standards, is a no-win scenario.  Vaccines will continue to fail and further endanger the millions of children’s health with severely impaired immune systems with high levels of vaccines’ infectious agents and other toxic ingredients.

A further question that has arisen in recent years is whether or not a new more deadly polio virus has begun to merge as a result of over-vaccination.  Last year, researchers at the University of Bonn isolated a new strain of polio virus that evades vaccine protection. During a 2010 polio outbreak in a vaccinated region of the Congo, there were 445 cases of polio paralysis and 209 deaths. [20] This is only the most recent report of polio virus strains’ mutation that calls the entire medical edifice of the vaccine’s efficacy into question.   One of the first discoveries of the vaccine contributing to the rise of new polio strains was reported by the Institut Pasteur in 1993. Dr. Crainic at the Institut proved that if you vaccine a person with 3 strains of poliovirus, a fourth strain will emerge and therefore the vaccine itself is contributing to recombinant activity between strains.

Moreover, since the poliovirus is excreted through a persons GI system, it is commonly present in sewage and then water sources.  In 200, Japanese scientists discovered a new infectious polio strain in rivers and sewage near Tokyo.  After genetic sequencing, the novel mutation was able to be traced back to the polio vaccine.  Additional vaccine-derived polio strains have also been identified in Egypt, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.[21]

Therefore, the emergence of new polio strains due to over-vaccination is predictable. Similar developments are being discovered with a new pertussis strain that evades the current DPT vaccines.  For this reason, there has been an increase in whooping cough outbreaks among fully vaccinated children.  Influenza viruses regularly mutate and evade current flu vaccines.  The measles vaccine is becoming less and less effective, and again measles outbreaks are occurring among some of the most highly vaccinated populations.

As with the failure of antibiotics because of their over-reliance to fight infections, researchers are now more readily willing to entertain the likelihood that massive vaccination campaigns are contributing to the emergence of new, more deadly viral strains impervious to current vaccines.

Currently, federal agencies review the vaccine science, reinterpret the evidence as it sees fit, and are not held accountable for its misinformation and blatant denialism that threatens the health of countless children at the cost of tens of billions of dollars. Vaccine policies are driven by committees that govern vaccine scheduling and everyone is biased with deep conflict of interests with the private vaccine makers. Even if a person were to make the wild assumption that polio vaccines were responsible for the eradication of polio infection in the US, what has been the trade off?  According to the American Cancer Society, in 2013 over 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer. Twenty-four million Americans have autoimmune diseases.  How many of these may be related to the polio and other vaccines?  As we have detailed, In the case of the polio vaccine the evidence is extremely high that an infectious disease, believe to have been eliminated from the US, continues ravage the lives of polio vaccine recipients. Nevertheless it can no longer be disputed that the polio vaccine’s devastating aftermath raises a serious question that American health officials and vaccine companies are fearful to have answered.

Right now they “right” the papers, interpret them and are not held accountable if they are wrong.  Policies driven by committees governing sheculding and all biased with conflict of interst.

Notes

[1] Miller, N.  “The polio vaccine: a critical assessment of its arcane history, efficacy, and long-term health-related consequences” Medical Veritas. Vol. 1 239-251, 2004

[2] McBean E. The Poisoned Needle. Mokelumne Hill, California: Health Research,1957

[3]  Humphries, S.  “Smoke, Mirrors and the Disappearance of Polio,” International Medical Council on Vaccination. November 17, 2011

[4]  Humphries, S. and Bystrianyk, R.  Dissolving Illusions: Disaese, Vaccines and the Forgotten History. Self-published. 2013, pp 222-292

[5]  Miller, N.  op cit.

[6]  Carbone, M., et al. “SV-40 Like Sequences in Human Bone Tumors,” Oncogene, 13 (3), 1996, pp. 527–35

[7]  Miller, N. op cit.

[8]  Lancet, March 9, 2002

[9]  Miller, N. op cit.

[10] Mihalovic, D.  “CDC Admits 98 Million Americans Received Polio Vaccine in an 8 Year Span When It Was Contaminated with Cancer Virus.”  Prevent Disease, July 17, 2013

[11]  Gale, R. and Null, G. “Vaccines’ Dark Inferno: What Is Not on Insert Labels.”  GlobalResearch. September 29, 2009.

[12]  Gale and Null, Ibid.

[13]  Narayan, A.  “Extra Food Means Nothing to Stunted Kids with Bad Water Health,” Bloomberg Business. June 12, 2013

[14] Vashisht, N. and Puliyel J. “Polio Program: Let Us Declare Victory and Move On,” Indian Journal of Medical Ethics. April-June 9:2, 2012  pp 114-117

[15]  “53,000 Paralysis Cases in India from Polio Vaccine in a Year”  Child Health Safety. December 1, 2014

[16] Miller, N. op cit.

[17]  Chandra RK. “Reduced secretory antibody response to live attenuated measles and poliovirus vaccines in malnourished children,” British Medical Journal 2, 1975, 583–5

[18]  Krishnan, V.  “India to get polio-free status amid rise in acute flaccid paralysis cases,”  Live Mint (India), January 13, 2014.

[19] Miller, N. op cit.

[20]  Malory, M.  “Mutant poliovirus caused Republic of Congo outbreak in 2010,”  Medical Xpress. August 19, 2014

[21] Miller, N. op cit.

On April 19, Julian Assange, founder and editor, of WikiLeaks has been a refugee in the Ecuadoream embassy in London for three years. The key issue in his extraordinary incarceration is justice. He has been charged with no crime.

The first Swedish prosecutor dismissed the misconduct allegations regarding two women in Stockholm in 2010.

The second Swedish prosecutor’s actions were and are demonstrably political. Until recently, she refused to come to London to interview Assange – then she said she was coming; then she cancelled her appointment. 

It is a farce, but one with grim consequences for Assange should he dare step outside the Ecuadorean embassy. The US criminal investigation against him and WikiLeaks – for the “crime” of exercising a right enshrined in the US constitution, to tell unpalatable truths– is “unprecedented in scale and nature”, according to US documents. For this, he faces much of a lifetime in the hellhole of a US supermax should he leave the protection of Ecuador in London.

The Swedish allegations are no more than a sideshow to this – the SMS messages between the women involved, read by lawyers, alone would exonerate him. They refer to the accusations as “made up” by the police. In the police report one of the women says she was “railroaded” by the Swedish police. What a disgrace this is for Sweden’s justice system.

Julian Assange is a refugee under international law and he should be given right of passage by the British government out of the UK, to Ecuador. The nonsense about him “jumping bail” is just that — nonsense. If his extradition case went through the British courts today, the European Arrest Warrant would be thrown out and he would be a free man. So what is the British government trying to prove by its absurd police cordon around an embassy whose refuge Assange has no intention of giving up? Why don’t they let him go?

Why is a man charged with no crime having to spend three years in one room, without light, in the heart of London? The Assange case amplifies many truths, and one is the growing, global totalitarianism of Washington, regardless of who is elected president. I am often asked if I think Assange has been “forgotten”. It’s my experience that countless people all over the world, especially in Australia, his homeland, understand perfectly well the injustice being meted out to Julian Assange.  They credit him and WikiLeaks with having performed an epic public service by informing millions about what the powerful plan for them behind their backs, the lies governments and their vested interests tell, the violence they initiate. The powerful and the corrupt loathe this, because it is true democracy in action.

Laws governing the use of force by police in every state in the US, as well as the federal government, do not comply with international human rights agreements, Amnesty International said Thursday.

The human rights group’s report, entitled “Deadly Force: Police Use of Lethal Force In The United States” is a devastating indictment of a government that uses the defense of human rights as a pretense for invading, bombing and destabilizing countries throughout the world.

Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA, said in a statement that international law dictates that “Police have a fundamental obligation to protect human life,” and that “deadly force must be reserved as a method of absolute last resort.”

“The fact that absolutely no state laws conform to this standard is deeply disturbing and raises serious human rights concerns,” he added.

Hawkins said in a separate interview with the Guardian that “while law enforcement in the United States is given the authority to use lethal force, there is no equal obligation to respect and preserve human life. It’s shocking that while we give law enforcement this extraordinary power, so many states either have no regulation on their books or nothing that complies with international standards.”

The Amnesty International report found, “No state limits the use of lethal force to only those situations where there is an imminent threat to life or serious injury to the officer or to others.”

Nine states and Washington, DC do not have any state laws governing the use of force by police whatsoever. It also found that thirteen states have laws on their books related to police use of force that are out of keeping with federal law as defined by the Supreme Court, rendering them in effect unconstitutional. But even federal rules for the use of force fall below international standards, the report said.

Extremely permissive state laws governing the use of force likely contribute to the extremely low rates at which police are convicted for murder and manslaughter. Despite as many as ten thousand or more deaths at the hands of police over the past decade, only 58 officers have been charged for any of these cases, and only 13 have been convicted of a crime.

Not a single police officer has been convicted for the high-profile police murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York; Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio and countless others.

The UN Human Rights Committee has declared that “The deprivation of life by the authorities of the State is a matter of the utmost gravity” and that states must “take measures to prevent arbitrary killing by their own security forces.” The United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials declares, “In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.”

In contrast to international law, the report wrote,

“None of the laws establish the requirement that lethal force may only be used as a last resort with non-violent means and less harmful means to be tried first. The vast majority of laws do not require officers to give a warning of their intent to use firearms.”

In addition, nine states allow the use of deadly force to suppress a riot or “mutiny.” Twenty-two allow officers to kill someone who is attempting to escape from jail or prison. Only eight states require that warning be given (when feasible) before lethal force is used; “however no state meets the requirement for a warning under international standards.”

The report adds that none of the states’ use-of-force laws “include accountability mechanisms, including for example the requirement of obligatory reporting for the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officers.”

The Amnesty International report notes the parallel between the failure of states to mandate that officers seek to preserve life in deciding whether to use deadly force and the routine practice by police of shooting their victims far more times than necessary to incapacitate them.

The report notes,

“Michael Brown, for instance, was shot six times, and Kajieme Powell [who was killed the same month in St. Louis] was shot nine times. The firing of so many shots in an urban environment would often be reckless and puts bystanders at risk, and indicates an intentional lethal use of a firearm which under international law and standards may only ever be employed when strictly unavoidable to protect life.”

In addition to shootings, police regularly take lives by beating and tasing their victims to death. The report noted, “For example, at least 540 people in the United States died after being shocked with Tasers from 2001 through 2012.”

Despite repeated calls by Amnesty International and other human rights organizations for more federal oversight of police killings, the Obama administration has staunchly refused to implement a national database of police killings or federal requirements that police report deaths at their hands.

As a result, the only reliable lists of police deaths are those compiled by third parties, such as killedbypolice.net, the Washington Post and the Guardian. According to killedbypolice.net, officers killed 1,100 people last year, and are on track to kill just as many this year.

Even the extremely limited state laws that are on the books are routinely disregarded through internal and judicial review processes that are deliberately manipulated by police and prosecutors to protect killer cops.

The report states, “The officer’s own police agency usually conducts the investigation” following a police killing. It notes that prosecutors usually have close ties to the police, undermining their pretenses to impartiality. This has led to the highly manipulated grand jury proceedings that produced the exoneration of Darren Wilson, who killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Daniel Pantaleo, the killer of Eric Garner in Staten Island.

This week the New York Times gave a glimpse of the extent to which the US “justice system” is rigged in favor of the police. It noted that during the secret grand jury proceeding that exonerated Pantaleo, prosecutors coached witnesses to toe the police line, instructing them not to say that the victim was choked.

“A prosecutor also interjected when she told jurors how Mr. Garner was taken to the ground. ‘I said they put him in a chokehold,’ one witness recalled saying. ‘Well you can’t say they put him in a chokehold,’ she said a prosecutor responded.”

The ongoing wave of police killings, and the legal impunity given to killer cops, stands as a devastating indictment of American capitalism.

Biotech company Oxitec has released genetically engineered (GE) diamondback moths at Cornell’s agricultural experiment station in Geneva, New York as part of an outdoor trial, and New Yorkers are more than just miffed.

Organic farmers, environmental groups, and New York citizens have sent a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball along with Cornell University President David Skorton and Agricultural School Associate Dean Susan Brown demanding that field trials stop and to provide information to the public about the release of these GM moths.

Oxitec proposed field trials of their GE diamondback moth in September of 2014 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is more than likely the first time you are hearing of it.

While Oxitec claims they have had a genetic engineering breakthrough with their GM moth, since the diamondback is indeed a huge agricultural nuisance which damages thousands of acres annually, costing farmers more than $1 billion, they have no idea if their GM moths will cause even more damage.

This Isn’t the First Oxitec Disaster

As Natural Society previously reported, GM moths look to be no better than the GM mosquitoes that are planned for release in the Florida Keys. Oxitec has ties to Syngenta, so it is likely that they aren’t trying to breed out a nuisance moth, but create a super-pest that will make it easier to sell even more pesticides and herbicides.

Furthermore, are we trust the premise for the GM moth’s creation? When Oxitec wanted to release GM mosquitoes I Panama and Florida it was supposedly to control dengue which is spread by the Aedes mosquitoes, but the US hasn’t seen but a handful of dengue fever cases in the past several decades. Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes have a genetic ‘kill switch’ but no one is sure if it will work on just the GM variety or also on the bugs that interbreed with the GM ‘test’ insects. This is likely what we can expect with their GM moths.

Speaking to a Key Haven, Florida resident recently, it became apparent that Oxitec didn’t listen to neighborhood surveys that overwhelmingly were against the release of GM mosquitoes, so it is unlikely that the biotech company will listen to a letter. But what other recourse does a New York resident have? Certainly Florida residents didn’t sign up to be inundated with millions of GM mosquitoes carrying kill switch genes, which not only affect their ecosystem, but likely human health.

In fact, Oxitec and the FDA seem to be working together to deny citizen’s rights altogether. The concerned Key Haven resident I spoke with, Beth Eliot, said that in the last Florida Keys Mosquito Control District Board Meeting which she attended, public comments which were allowed at the meeting were against the release of these GM bugs. However, the District reports support of the release, even when door to door surveys conducted by FKMCD have painted a very different picture.

The Public is Repeatedly Ignored

It seems the decision to release these GM moths in New York is no different. Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch says:

“This release of genetically engineered autocidal moths is the first of its kind in the United States and it sets a very poor precedent that they were released with minimal environmental review and transparency. The USDA’s irresponsible management of this genetically engineered insect is putting the environment and agriculture at risk.”

It may be the first release of its kind regarding GM moths, but Oxitec has already set precedence for working with the FDA to ignore public opinion and go ahead with its master plan. There has been no press release, and no forum for public discourse on the subject – though it is largely assumed, that just as with the GM mosquitoes, no one is looking for more genetically modified pests to be let loose in their neighborhoods.

Similarly to the release of Oxitec’s first round of GM insects, the USDA did not contact the organizations who opposed this release to address their many concerns, and months later, the groups only found out about the impending release through unrelated correspondence with the USDA that the GE moth permit had been quietly approved.

Why the Secrecy?

The big question here is why the secrecy? If these GM insects are so harmless, then why not simply inform the public? When comments were open for the USDA to take preventative measures, the overwhelming outrage was simply ignored.

Jaydee Hanson, Senior Policy Analyst at Center for Food Safety says:

“The first use of GE insects in an agricultural setting should have required public consultations with potentially affected parties, as well as, trials in physically enclosed spaces before even considering open field trials. This violates one of the basic principles of biosafety for genetically engineered organisms—that they should be physically constrained in trials, not openly released.”

Oxitec’s Methods Have Already Failed

As Collective Evolution points out:

“Oxitec has already released a large number of GM olive flies that were used to kill off wild pests that damage crops. In the Cayman Islands, 3 million GM mosquitoes were released, and in this case over 90 percent of the original natural native mosquito population was suppressed. The same results were also seen in Brazil. (source)

Supporters of the GM insects, like Oxitec, claim that those who oppose the idea are simply fear mongering. This is currently the same response from the big biotech giants to opposers of genetically modified foods.”

I have one phrase for Oxitec and the USDA. Karma’s a B@#ch.

To read the letter sent in opposition of the New York GM moth release, look here: fwwat.ch/1FIVQid

Additional Sources:

Featured image sourced from: Oxitec

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United Nations security guards ejected independent media from a public meeting at UN headquarters yesterday afternoon, in an apparent retaliation against recent investigative reporting.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was scheduled to address a meeting of top UN peacekeeping personnel. UN Peacekeeping, run by Herve Ladsous, has been embroiled in one scandal after another, most recently for its failure to prevent – or report on – the alleged sexual abuse of children by French soldiers in the Central African Republic, and for sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers themselves in Haiti and elsewhere.

Inner City Press has reported in detail on these scandals and on Ladsous’ role in the cover up (for example, here)

The UN’s response to our reporting has been cartoonish at best.

Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Ladsous’ colleague ordered ICP’s reporter, Matthew Russell Lee, to put away his camera…at a photo op held just before the meeting of peacekeepers. Tweeted photo here.

Then, Ban Ki-moon’s own security detail ordered Lee to leave the meeting on peacekeeping. Lee, who’d been accompanied in by a UN Media Accreditation staffer and was standing at the back of the room broadcasting the proceedings via Periscope, protested that the meeting was listed as open to the press. The guards replied that the meeting’s organizer – Ladsous – had ordered them to eject him. They also threatened to use force (“throw you down to the ground”) if necessary, see video hereaudio here.

It’s tough not to see this as retaliatory. Inner City Press is known for its sharp, no-nonsense reporting on the UN’s failings. Recently, ICP has covered not only the peacekeeping scandals, but the scandals and real estate dealings in Ban Ki-moon’s own family circle (for example, here).

This may explain why Ban just stood by, saying nothing, when his guards threw out Inner City Press’ reporter. But it is ironic: Ban’s security stood by earlier in the week when Ban met in the UN’s Palais de Nations in Geneva with a person on the US’ Al Qaeda sanctions list, see Inner City Press story with photo, here.

Inner City Press’ Lee, who co-founded the Free UN Coalition for Access to try to make the UN more open including in how it selects Ban’s replacement, said after the exclusion, “This is called censorship. And it happened right in front of Ban Ki-moon. With UN Peacekeeping increasingly embroiled in scandals, it should become more rather than less open. But this is today’s UN, UNtransparent, descended to censorship.”

The Free UN Coalition for Access believes UN does plenty of good work around the world. And the world body pays a lot of lip service to the idea of a free press. So it’s especially troubling to see UN territory run like a fiefdom, where journalists have to depend on the whims of those in charge.

Inner City Press, and the Free United Nations Coalition for Access, will stay on this story.

FUNCA has also this month raised to the UN the plight of journalists forced to flee Burundi amid the president’s drive to run for a third term in office. At first the UN would not even confirm receiving the journalists’ petition. Now the UN admits getting it – but what will the UN do? FUNCA will stay on all of these issues, while continuing to press for a freedom of information act at the UN.

Censored and heavily redacted emails[PDF] from U.S. government scientists and officials reveal that there were major concerns among American policymakers shortly after the devastating Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in March 2011 that there would be widespread radiological contamination and spikes in thyroid cancer rates.

“I would like to raise another issue which now merits expeditious, near term action. There is a short time window… during which it will remain possible to… measure any I-131 that members of the public may have ingested,” said an email sent to John Holdren, senior adviser to Pres. Obama on science and technology, Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, DOE/NRC officials, and others whose names were redacted on March 23, 2011, 12 days after the disaster on March 11, according to a recently released trove of email documents, per a Freedom of Information Act request.

“Collecting this data… would be very valuable,” said the email.

Nuclear science experts were clearly concerned that radioactive fallout from the disaster would not merely spread to the U.S. West Coast but cause a spike in thyroid cancer rates there, as well – though none of those concerns were publicized by reports or expressed publicly by the Obama Administration at the time.

Emails revealing, though heavily redacted – why?

“Many cases of thyroid cancer, and other health problems, may end up being attributed to exposures from the Fukushima accident… on the U.S. west coast,” said the email.

“It is possible that we will find that some people have received doses of I-131 and other radionuclides that could exceed [emphasis added] the levels… Protective Action Guidelines are designed to prevent. This could provide a basis for immediate action to change PAG’s,” it added.

“There are very strong reasons to gather data, but it must be done in a way that is broadly viewed as being in the interest of the public and the individuals involved,” the email said.

As Natural News reported in late May, an oversight committee looking at the health of people living within the Fukushima Prefecture of Japan near the stricken power facility found that the thyroid cancer rate in young people has leapt by an incredible 6,000 percent throughout the region since the disaster first occurred back in 2011.

Further, reports indicate that, since January of this year, 16 new cases of thyroid cancer have emerged, bringing the total number of young people diagnosed with the disease to 103. Correspondingly, as many as 127 people have been diagnosed with or are suspected of having thyroid cancer, according to Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

Mainstream media downplaying real cause of thyroid cancer near Fukushima

The mainstream media, however, is downplaying the dramatic increase, pretending as though bumps in thyroid cancer rates, especially among children living in the area, might actually have been caused by something else.

Here is a typical example, from a Japan-centered blog in the online version of The Wall Street Journal August 2014:

A study by researchers in Fukushima prefecture found 57 minors in the prefecture have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer so far and another 46 are showing symptoms that suggest they may also have the disease.

Thyroid cancer can be caused by exposure to radiation, but it’s unclear whether the number is linked to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in March 2011 because the rate of thyroid cancer in the general population isn’t fully known. [emphases added]

Japan is an ultra-modern society, just like America; if the U.S. knows what its overall cancer rates are, you can bet Japan does as well. But seriously – what else, realistically, would have caused the dramatic increase in thyroid cancer rates?

“There is a possibility that early-stage cancer and small tumors were discovered because experienced doctors conducted thorough checkups using the newest machinery,” said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga at a news conference at the time, furthering the denial.

We will keep you informed about this evolving story.

Sources:

http://pbadupws.nrc.gov[PDF]

http://blogs.wsj.com

http://www.naturalnews.com

http://www.radiologyinfo.org

A historic ruling on Wednesday may allow post-9/11 torture victims in the U.S. to seek damages from high-level Bush administration officials. (Photo: Simone Ramella/flickr/cc)

Victims of post-9/11 racial profiling, illegal detention, and abuse in the U.S. may have the chance to sue high-level Bush administration officials, including former Attorney General John Ashcroft, a U.S. federal court ruled on Wednesday in what the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) called an “exceedingly rare” decision.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday found that Ashcroft, former FBI director Robert Mueller, and former Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) Commissioner James Ziglar, who are all defendants in the case of Turkmen v. Ashcroft,“exceeded the bounds of the [U.S.] Constitution in the wake of 9/11″ by profiling, detaining, abusing, and deporting numerous Arab, Muslim, and South Asian men based on nothing more than their race or religion.

“[T]here is no legitimate governmental purpose in holding someone as if he were a terrorist simply because he happens to be, or appears to be, Arab or Muslim,” the three-judge panel wrote in its decision (pdf). “[W]e simply cannot conclude at this stage that concern for the safety of our nation justified the violation of the constitutional rights on which this nation was built.”

CCR, which brought the case in 2002, said the ruling was historic and served as a reminder that “the rule of law and the rights of human beings, whether citizens or not, must not be sacrificed in the face of national security hysteria.”

The eight plaintiffs, along with hundreds of other men who were arrested following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, were held as “suspected terrorists” and placed in solitary confinement at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn for months on end, despite their only charges being civil immigration violations such as overstaying a visa or working without authorization. While in custody, the men were abused by guards, including through sleep deprivation, beatings, denial of religious rights, and by having “their faces smashed into a wall where guards had pinned a t-shirt with a picture of an American flag and the words, ‘These colors don’t run.’” They were then deported.

“Holding individuals in solitary confinement 23 hours a day with regular strip-searches because their perceived faith or race placed them in the group targeted for recruitment by Al Qaeda violated the detainees’ constitutional rights,” Judges Rosemary S. Pooler and Richard C. Wesley wrote in their decision.

Following the ruling, CCR senior staff attorney Rachel Meeropol said, “Punishing low-level perpetrators is necessary, but hardly sufficient to prevent future abuse. Orders came from officials at the highest levels of government. Now we have the chance to ensure that they are held accountable and not treated as if they are above the law.”

Pooler and Wesley concluded their 109-page decision with what CCR called an “unusual” section, named “Final Thoughts.” The section reads:

If there is one guiding principle to our nation it is the rule of law. It protects the unpopular view, it restrains fear‐based responses in times of trouble, and it sanctifies individual liberty regardless of wealth, faith, or color. The Constitution defines the limits of the Defendants’ authority; detaining individuals as if they were terrorists, in the most restrictive conditions of confinement available, simply because these individuals were, or appeared to be, Arab or Muslim exceeds those limits. It might well be that national security concerns motivated the Defendants to take action, but that is of little solace to those who felt the brunt of that decision. The suffering endured by those who were imprisoned merely because they were caught up in the hysteria of the days immediately following 9/11 is not without a remedy.

One of the plaintiffs, Benamar Benatta, said he was “very delighted” by Wednesday’s ruling.

“It has been a long and stressful process that has taken a tremendous toll on my life, however, it is this kind of bold decision that restores my faith in the U.S. judicial system and gives me hope that justice will be served at the end,” Benatta continued. “It is time for those officials at the highest levels of government to stop hiding behind excuses and answer for their arbitrary and discriminatory decisions that affected, and in some cases ruined, innocent people’s lives.”

The Justice Department said it was reviewing the court’s decision. As CCR pointed out on Wednesday, it is rare for claims against high-level government officials to proceed.