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August 8th, 2014 by Global Research News

Kiev’s Fake Picture Scam

August 8th, 2014 by Global Research News

by Unwashed Brain

Faking pictures can backfire badly if you’re caught. A government will only risk it when the stakes are high, the risks are low, and there’s no other evidence it can use.

The best example is the notorious ‘Russian Soldier’ image, which the Kiev government proudly presented to John Kerry as the long-sought evidence of Russian’s military involvement in Ukraine.

It inspired massive headlines in all the western media, and was only exposed as a fake when the central picture turned out to be stolen from the Instagram account of photographer Maxim Dondyuk – where it was clearly labelled ‘Slavyansk’ and not ‘Georgia’.

Ukraine fake Russian soldier picture

We may laugh now, but the hoax isn’t quite as stupid as it seems. Precautions had been taken against exposure, and those amateurish red and yellow rings served as cunning camouflage in any image search, where Google naturally interpreted them as an integral part of the picture. If it hadn’t been for a sophisticated image-identifier from Tineye, Kiev would probably have got away with it and NATO might have been in Ukraine before May.

Even exposure didn’t cost Kiev much. The western media protected them, the NYT’s ambiguous retraction was buried deep on page 9, and many people still believe the ‘little green men’ were definitely identified as Russian soldiers. Kiev lost little, gained much, and proved how effective such fakes could really be.

But there’s a different kind of fake washing round the internet at the moment – one where the stakes are low, the risks astronomically high, and where the effects on the supposed creator can only be damaging. You know the things – those simple unmarked pictures of Ukrainian atrocities which circulate for a couple of days before being triumphantly exposed by Kiev’s INFORESIST as ‘retreads’ from Syria, Bosnia or Palestine. Indeed, there are now so many that US government employee Julia Davis is show-casing them all in a long-running series entitled Russia’s Top 40/60/80 Lies on Ukraine.

JD sample

Because obviously they must be Russia’s lies. Who else? Only Russia wants to highlight the civilian cost of Kiev’s ATO, so only Russia would bother faking pictures to prove it.

Except that it doesn’t need to. Graphic material like this from Lugansk and Slavyansk contain countless powerful images to illustrate the horror of Kiev’s ATO, so why would they fake something they can already prove? I don’t want to be brutal about it, but why on earth would anyone illustrate street violence with a fake photograph like this:

PIC3

when they could link to a video of a man having his leg cut off on the streets of Odessa?

Why would they bother to fake this picture of a distressed child:

PIC4when they could share the story of five year old Arseny Danchenko, who died in Slavyansk with more than 309 shrapnel wounds in his head?

PIC5or show the funeral of 10-month old Igor Aleksandrov who was killed in the shelling of Lugansk?

PIC6Indeed, I’d ask why we’d need to ‘steal’ ANY other images of bombing victims, when nothing can match the heart-wrenching eloquence of this image of Inna Kudurudza, taken in the very last minutes of her life?

PIC7The truth is that those of us who care about Donbass people already have enough images of horror to keep us from sleep for the rest of our lives. WE DO NOT NEED TO FAKE ANY MORE.

Nor does it make any sense to do so, when Russia has everything to lose by circulating these fakes, and absolutely nothing to gain. If we stand back and look at this objectively, it’s obvious that the only winners in this fake game are those who wish to discredit Russia and the people of East Ukraine.

There’s nothing new in that idea. Plant a lie, wait for your opponent to repeat it in good faith – then call him out for being a liar. Doing it with pictures is an old game, and an example from the UK shows its benefits are very real. In September 2003 the country was shaken by revelations that British soldiers had been abusing Iraqi prisoners, and the public mood began to swing dangerously against both government and war. Outrage rose to a climax in January 2004 when the Daily Mirror published disgusting pictures to prove even more abuses – only to collapse a few days later when the anonymously-supplied pictures were revealed to be fake. The backlash was fierce, and in the subsequent publicity the public’s original concerns faded and died. No-one knows who planted those fake photographs at the Mirror, but there’s no doubt at all who benefited.

There’s no doubt in Ukraine either. The public are now so used to fake pictures that they ignore even the real ones – except to question their authenticity. I recently posted this picture to someone on Twitter who seemed to think the only people dying were ‘terrorists’, but her immediate response was simply ‘That picture is not in Ukraine’.

PIC8Well it is, actually. That’s the last picture of tragic six-year old Pollina Sladkaya, who was shelled in Slavyansk by the Ukrainian army and died in her father’s arms. It’s not a fake, it doesn’t appear on any debunking sites, but my correspondent didn’t even bother to check before trashing it. Somewhere in her head is the equation ‘Picture of Human Suffering in East Ukraine = Fake’, and until that’s dispelled she’ll never understand that the people being killed out there are not terrorists.

Which is, of course, precisely the desired result. There are even people on Twitter whose job is to encourage it, such as the ironically named @grasswirefacts who posts ridiculous lies like this one:

PIC9I can understand why he’d want to discredit this photo. It’s not only a heartbreaking image in its own right, but also has the added poignancy of being one of the last pictures taken by Italian photographer Andrea Rocchelli before he was killed by the Ukrainian army on May 25th. It’s also extremely easy to authenticate from his published portfolio, but @grasswirefacts wasn’t interested in truth so much as propaganda, and no fewer than 20 people retweeted the lie before he was forced to delete it.

Damaging enough, but the effects can be even wider than that. Fake pictures are like rotten apples, and just one in a collection is enough to damn the whole lot. Probably the most popular (and therefore most dangerous) fakes in circulation are these beautiful pictures of children, of which the first is a still from the Russian film ‘The Brest Fortress‘, and the second is a 2010 photograph of a grieving father in Crimea.

PIC10They’ve been around so long it would take months to trace them back to the first lethal ‘fakery’, but they’re both beautiful pictures and it’s hardly surprising so many people have used them in good faith since. The tragedy is that organizations like ‘Save Donbass People’ have now used them in videos and posters, with the terrible effect of contaminating their whole campaign. I was at a rally a few weeks ago where a woman had created a really wonderful photo-collage for a banner – but smack in the middle was that Brest Fortress child, and it rendered the whole lot useless. She was devastated when I told her, as most of us would be. What Kiev propagandists pretend not to realize is that the liars are the people who create the fakes in the first place – not those who subsequently employ them in all innocence.

But there’s another danger too, and these ‘plants’ are now being used to discredit more than casualties. On July 11th the ARES confirmed that Kiev was using cluster bombs against civilians, and published the photographs to prove it.

PIC11Devastating stuff, but the news was ignored in the media and met little response even on Twitter.

Because of this:

PIC12It’s an AP file photo of a cluster bomb in Lebanon taken back in 2006, which began to appear on Twitter as a Ukraine fake as early as May. It was ‘picked up’ immediately by the debunkers, and by the time the real photographs came along the public hardly even bothered to click on the links. ‘Cluster bombs? Seen that, it’s fake.’ That one planted picture is responsible for smothering direct, independent evidence of Ukraine’s breach of Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions – which is a war crime.

But can we really be sure it was a plant? The ‘cui bono?’ principle may make it the likeliest explanation, but isn’t it at least possible that these are genuine fakes, produced by a ‘pro-Russian’ activist so subhumanly unintelligent that he didn’t realize his chances of getting away with it were approximately nil?

The honest answer is that anything’s possible, but there are three other good indications that these are the work of someone hostile to the anti-Kiev cause. These are:

1. The Content

As the examples above show, most of these plants are so much milder than the real thing that it wouldn’t be worth anyone’s time to fake them. I don’t want to post too many disturbing pictures on this blog, but you can find a very grim selection of real images here from Odessa, for instance, or here on the July 2nd massacre at Stanichno and Kondraševka.

2. The obviousness

There’s no attempt to hide the origins of these pictures, no ‘marking’ like the rings on the ‘Fake Russian Soldier’. They aren’t even obscure images, but pictures so well known they’re likely to come up first on a Google search. Some even verge on the ridiculous, and seem almost to be screaming ‘FAKE’ in the viewer’s ear.

PIC13It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that whoever’s planting these images actually WANTS them to be exposed.

3. The mysteriousness of the source.

The ‘Fake Russian Soldier’ was presented openly by the Kiev government, but the origins of these are as murky as the hoax photos in the Daily Mirror. Some may be posted in good faith by recognized ‘pro-Russians’ on Twitter, but I’ve never known one actually start there, and they’re as hard to trace as rumours. The people ‘seeding’ these pictures may want them exposed as fakes – but they don’t want anyone to know who’s doing the faking.

And we don’t know – not for sure. We can only be certain that whoever’s planting these things is supportive of the US/Ukraine cause and doing all they can to discredit genuine evidence of Kiev’s crimes.

Those of us who care about truth will want to do all we can to prevent the spread of this disinformation, and there are a few precautions we can take. The first is to avoid ‘picking up’ these plants in the first place, which means watching out for where these things start and learning what to avoid. Most seem to start life on Instagram before being posted anonymously to veooz, LiveLeak, ‘breaking news’ sites or ‘pro-Russian’ discussion forums – anywhere anti-Kiev activists are most likely to visit.

Here’s one example:

PIC14The anonymous poster is so anxious to reach a wider audience that he offers his story in both English and Italian, and begs everyone who reads it to ‘share’ – but the image is from Syria, and the text contains a few clues that should give us pause.

PIC15

This sentence: This child was severely injured by a superdemocratic and supereuropean maidanite bomb. This is incredibly sophisticated word-play for a non-native English speaker, and quite incompatible with the poor spelling and awkward phrasing of ‘I reproduce here his words’. That combined with the double use of ‘kid’ makes me suspect the writer of actually being American.

But it isn’t always this easy, and one fake turned out to have its origins in the place we’d probably be least likely to suspect. It’s this little gem from the eagle-eyed Julia Davis, who denounces Russia for supporting its ‘lies’ with a picture of refugees from Kosovo.

PIC16Ms Davis’ source is clearly the debunk given here, but when I looked at the Russian article in the link I found there was no actual lie at all – the picture is simply captioned ‘Refugees’, in the same way editors include a generic picture of a gun above a story about a shooting.

PIC17To be fair, it’s still misleading, and it’s possible another version (since deleted) had been even more direct. I suspected RIA Novosti had fallen victim to a ‘plant’, and looked for anything published earlier than 5th June that might give us the source.

And found it. This one’s a lie all right, but what Julia Davis unaccountably failed to mention is that it’s not a ‘Russian lie’ but a Ukrainian lie. It’s linked to anINFORESIST story about refugees fleeing the dreadful Russian terrorists of Donbass, and is posted by the Queen Bee at the very heart of Kiev’s own propaganda machine – Euromaidan PR.

PIC18

No-one would have suspected that. The source is Kiev itself, and in picking it up to use elsewhere RIA Novosti’s only crime lies in its assumption that Kiev was telling the truth.

That’s how wide the rot has spread on this, and it would be a full-time job to try and trace every picture to its original source. All I can suggest is that we take care before we share anything, and follow these three very basic rules:

Check every picture before we use it. StopFake* has published an excellent guide right here.

Ask for sources. We mustn’t be afraid to do this even with people we trust and respect, since any one of us could have innocently ‘picked up something nasty’.

Delete any fake we’ve unwittingly posted ourselves – and POST A RETRACTION to warn off anyone else. Yes, it’s embarrassing to admit we made a mistake, but it’s the honest, decent thing to do, and makes clear to everyone that such things are not done deliberately.

I know it’s tedious and wastes time we could be using for other things, but it really couldn’t be more important. Kiev’s ‘fake picture scam’ may seem a harmless game to make the ‘Russians’ look foolish, but what it’s really doing is trivializing the suffering of innocent people and burying the evidence of crimes against humanity.

If you care about truth, then please – let’s make it STOP.

* Editor’s noteStopFake is a web site that must be read with caution. It says in its “about” section that it was  launched “by alumni and students of Mohyla School of Journalism“. The Kyiv-Mohyla Academy has been funded by the National Endowment for Democracy, a well-known CIA front.

Seven “Deadly Lies” about Gaza

August 8th, 2014 by Ahmad Chaker Jomaa

Once again an extraordinary display of human destruction and slaughter is taking place in the Gaza strip, courtesy of Israel. Israeli bombs have murdered almost 2000 civilians so far [updated, August 7],[1] with the number rapidly climbing every day. Those maimed and dismembered in the blasts number in the thousands, with over a third of them innocent children who can never again lead normal lives. Israel’s crimes against humanity need no analysis; they are barefaced and plain for all to see.

For over eight years, Gaza’s population of 1.8 million has been subjected to a cruel siege. In times of ‘peace’ basic necessities like wheat, grain and powdered milk for children have had to be smuggled in through tunnels. And in the-all-too-frequent surges of war, children, women and innocent civilians have been seen as legitimate targets by Israeli jets as hospitals, schools and apartment blocks are obliterated. More than a dozen health facilities have been deliberately targeted including al-Wafa hospital, forcing staff to relocate incapacitated patients to central Gaza.[2]

Yet as the world looks on in horror at this apparently limitless capacity for brutality and violence, Western media outlets continue to justify and rationalise Israeli barbarism. Zionist-backed media conglomerates paint a picture of an innocent, peace-loving nation surrounded by bestial Arabs who want nothing but blood. “Israel has the right to defend itself,” we are told time and time again, as politicians and newscasters dutifully recite from the same hymn sheet. Often the Palestinian resistance is labelled as illegitimate or even ‘terrorist’; the good-old-fashioned justification for so much death. In the very best cases, the conflict between Gaza and Israel is represented as a mutual struggle between two sides, both equally at fault. Well if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

Here are seven deadly lies about the Gaza conflict that tirelessly circulate in the media and the statements of political puppets, complemented with the inconvenient truths that are so often overlooked.

1 – Israel is the victim1 israel is the victim

Astute readers will notice that the lies circulated around the Palestine-Israeli conflict tend to follow general central themes or narratives. These narratives reflect how the state of Israel would like to be seen, and they are derived as part of a meticulous and emotional PR campaign, rather than having any factual basis. One of the key overarching themes which the world is expected to buy into, is that ‘Israel is the victim.’

Israel is consistently represented as the single enclave of democracy in the Middle East; a civilised nation surrounded in every direction by merciless enemies who hate freedom and rationality. In reality Israel is incredibly well supported. It receives billions of dollars in ‘aid’ from around the world, endless munitions and arms from the United States and others, not to mention the constant pandering and moral justifications for their crimes against humanity from global media and politicians. Meanwhile Palestinians in general enjoy very little genuine political support, and Gaza even less. In fact it is Gaza that is surrounded by besieging enemies which seek its destruction, with a suffocating siege enforced by Egypt and Israel preventing the bare human necessities from reaching its wounded and starving populous.

Israel is equipped with state-of-the-art small arms, tanks, artillery, bombers, fighters, drones, missiles, rockets, battleships and a nuclear arsenal. The majority of Palestinians are unarmed with the exception of resistance fighters in Gaza who are equipped with cold-war era AK47s and whatever weapons they can develop in their homes, smuggle through tunnels or seize from their oppressors.

Furthermore, Israel uses its laser-guided bombs and sophisticated artillery to intentionally target and destroy countless civilian installations, leaving children, women, hospitals and schools as smouldering ruins. Resistance fighters, on the other hand, engage military posts and personnel when targeting is an option, while their unguided, homemade missiles fly as desperate deterrents against the constant, inhuman bombardment of the Gaza strip.

Israel is not a victim. The conflict between Gaza and Israel is a David vs Goliath story, and in this metaphor, Israel is Goliath. It is the ‘strongest military force in the Middle-East,’[3] an invading entity, and it uses its weaponry to terrorise, bully and oppress.

2 – Palestinians want to kill all Jews

2 Palestinians want to

By reducing the grievances of Palestinians to irrational racial hatred, pro-Israeli media and politicians are able to disregard the rights of Palestinians, their legitimate claim to their land and even their right to defend themselves.

Prior to the existence of Israel, Jews in Europe had suffered persecution. However under Ottoman rule, Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together peacefully for several centuries.[4] Unlike the Jewish communities in Byzantine or Spain, Jews who lived amongst Muslims were able to govern themselves by their own laws.[5] During the Spanish conquest of Andalusia, the Ottoman Empire became a safe haven for Jews who fled persecution.[6]

In Europe anti-Semitism was rife and Jews were often ill-treated and demonised in the media, much as Palestinians and Muslims are today. In the late 19th century Theodor Herzl published ‘The Jewish State’ proposing the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine so that Jews could find shelter under the Ottoman Empire “far from the anti-Semitism of Europe.”[7] European hatred peaked with the events of the Holocaust and the killing of millions of Jews while Europe turned a blind eye. Today the guilt for those crimes has been deposited on the very people who once offered sanctuary for the Jews.

Even now after the establishment of the so-called ‘Jewish state’, the usurping of Palestinian land, and the oppression and ethnic cleansing of its people, Palestinians maintain that their military resistance to Israel is for the freedom and safety of their people, not an issue of racial hatred. Before his assassination at the age of 67, Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin rahimahu Allah said, “We only ask for our right, nothing more. We don’t hate Jews or fight the Jews because they are Jewish. Jews are people of religion and we are people of religion, and we love all people of religion… We love all people even the Jews and we wish the Jews well. The Jews lived with us for years and we never transgressed against their rights.”[8]

After Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in 2012, Hamas’ political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal reasserted Hamas’ readiness for a ‘long-term truce’ in spite of the destruction, provided that Israel ended its occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza—in other words, that it abided by international law.[9]  In his speech he confirmed that Hamas is “ready to resort to a peaceful way, apurely peaceful way without blood and weapons.” Even now Meshaal is prepared for an immediate truce with Israel if the siege on Gaza is lifted.[10]

In falsely accusing the Palestinian people of racial hatred, Israel and its supporting outlets draw attention away from their war crimes, ethnic cleansing and apartheid, all the while demeaning the integrity of the Palestinian cause.

3 – Gaza started it

3 Gaza started it

The underlying logic of the statement “Israel has the right to defend itself” is actually incredibly juvenile. Israel and its friends justify the flattening of apartment buildings and killing of children as acts of ‘self-defence’ provoked by Hamas rockets. Essentially they are saying ‘he started it.’ Putting aside the utter insanity and inhumanity of Israeli terrorism, let us address whether or not Gazan resistance fighters are indeed responsible for ‘starting it’ as is so often claimed.

Since 2006, the population of Gaza has been subjected to a crippling blockade, and three separate major military operations. In every case, the simple historical fact is that Israel began the hostilities mainly by assassinating Gazan leadership and civil servants (along with their families and other bystanders). The logic behind the blockade is straightforward enough: when the people of Gaza elected Hamas as their legitimate political representatives, the Israeli government decided to prevent all trade and transport of even the most basic, vital requirements in and out of Gaza. For almost a decade, the people of Gaza have slowly starved as their hospitals lose patient after patient due to the lack of medical supplies.

With regards to operation ‘Cast Lead’ of 2008, it was Israel which initiated the violence against a population it had under siege. During her election campaign, the war criminal Tzipi Livni promised in advance that she intended to ‘overthrow Hamas’. By the expiration of a six month cease fire, Israel had already amassed its troops and tanks outside of Gaza and wasted no time before beginning the brutal campaign killing over 1400 Palestinians.

In 2012 Israel killed 15 Gazan policemen, shot a disabled Palestinian to death with snipers, and killed a thirteen-year-old boy in a ground intrusion. In spite of this Hamas’ Ahmed al-Jabari persisted in peace negotiations with Israel, before Israel assassinated him, launching Operation Pillar of Cloud.[11] Israel made sure to boast the precision of their strike against al-Jabari before killing a further 100 or so civilians.

Media outlets often omit the fact that Hamas has been pushing for a substantial long-term peace agreement with Israel for several years.[12] Hamas have continuously offered a cessation of violence for a period of ten years[13] in which both sides can take time to discuss the future. However, Israel are only ever content with ceasefires which are attached to further restrictions on the Palestinian people, and when a fair, long-lasting peace is offered, Israel prefer the path of war.

And now, after Hamas’ denial of any involvement in the killing of three Israeli settlers,[14] Israel launched its latest offensive, operation ‘Protective Edge’ in which thousands of innocent Palestinians have now been maimed or murdered. However this wasn’t until after an Israeli lynch mob had burned a Palestinian child to death, and Israeli police beat another child black and blue.[15]

By simply looking at the chronological order of events we can see that every single time, Israel throws the first blow. We are told ‘Israel has a right to defend itself,’ but it is not ‘defence’ when time and time again Israel—an occupying force to begin with—is responsible for initiating every offensive against the men, women and children of Gaza.

4 – Hamas hide behind civilians using them as “human shields”

4 Hamas hide behind civilians

In 2002 Israel assassinated a Hamas leader with a one ton bomb, destroying several adjacent apartment blocks, killing 15 people and injuring 50. Among the dead were the Hamas leader’s nine children and his wife.[16] In 2009, two prominent Hamas leaders—along with of course the civilians in the neighbourhood—were assassinated by targeted Israeli attacks. Interior Minister Sa’id Siyam was killed through the obliteration of his entire neighbourhood,[17] and Sheikh Dr. Nizar Rayan was killed along with his family including 11 children.[18] When falling Israeli bombs kill hundreds of innocent women and children, we are promptly reminded that the blame for Israel’s murder falls on Hamas. The notion that any blame for Israel’s crimes can even be shifted onto anyone else is twisted to say the least; indeed it is Israel that must be held to account for these crimes.

However, are Hamas’ actions contributing to civilian deaths?

The Gaza strip is a relatively small plot of land. At 360 square kilometres it houses an incredibly cramped population of 1.8 million people, mostly refugees who were brutally expelled from their homes in Palestine. This means that, on average, any Hamas member walking through the street will be surrounded by over 5000 civilians within that square kilometre. Hamas is not only a military organisation, but it employs ministers, politicians, civil servants and police men, all of whom live and work amongst the population of Gaza. It is unrealistic to expect these individuals to live separately from the population they protect and serve, and targeting them with bombs is in reality targeting the civilians around them.

Israel is not concerned with collateral damage, and in fact it is clear that children are deliberately targeted. On the 16th of July Israel targeted and murdered 4 children playing football on a wide, open beach far from any Hamas members to use them as ‘human shields.’[19] Recorded footage time and time again shows that, even with a weapon as precise as a sniper rifle, through which a killer can see his victim clearly, Israel is perfectly ready to murder civilians.[20] The belligerence of Israel against the civilians of Gaza is irrational and inexplicable. Children in Gaza are not the unfortunate ‘collateral damage’ of tactical and strategic decisions Israel is forced to make; they are the targets for all intents and purposes.

5 – Hamas rocket fire is to blame

5 Hamas rocket fire is to blame

It is sad and perplexing to see critics of Israel and supporters of the Palestinian cause, buying into Israeli propaganda lines and blaming Hamas rockets for Israeli aggression. One does not need to be a supporter of the resistance movement to recognise Hamas’ right to self-defence on behalf of the people of Gaza.

Every wave of Israeli aggression against Gaza over the past several years has been erroneously attributed to Hamas’ launching of rockets. Media outlets and the usual Israeli mouthpieces such as Cameron, Obama, et al. tell the world that Israel is reacting defensively to Hamas missiles. The reality, however, is that Israel have been the instigators of every war. Love them or hate them, Hamas have never contravened a treaty with Israel. In fact, the 30th of June 2014 was the first time Hamas fired rockets into Israel since the agreement was signed, and this was only in response to an unprovoked Israeli airstrike.[21] It is Hamas that is acting in self-defence, as plain, unavoidable facts highlight that Israel doesn’t wait for rocket fire before bombing and killing.

Hamas is also condemned for launching these missiles near residential areas. As highlighted above, Gaza is one of the most crowded places on the planet. All resistance to the Israeli onslaught on the besieged strip takes place in the open air prison that is Gaza, inescapably near residential areas. Gaza does not have a sophisticated Iron Dome missile defence system. Hamas’ only stated deterrent against Israel’s overbearing air-strike capabilities, is the threat of missile launches. To keep that deterrent viable at all times Hamas sets launching sights throughout the Gaza strip. Some may indeed feel that this is an abhorrent military practice; however it is arguably strategically sound and is no different to the British government’s deployment of missile launchers throughout London’s sky line during the 2012 Olympics with the stated aim of deterrence.[22]

Regardless of one’s views on the tactical decisions made by Hamas, the simple truth is that before 2006 Hamas never even had missiles to launch in the first place. Israeli aggression came regardless of the military capabilities of Gaza’s resistance movement. It was under siege that these weapons were developed and it is under bombardment that they are launched.

6 – Israel Just wants peace

6 – Israel Just wants peace

Let’s see what Israel has to say about that. Eli Yishai, former Deputy Prime Minister, said: “We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages, destroying all the infrastructure including roads and water;”[23] while Avi Dichter, an Israeli minister of defence believes that Gaza should be “wiped clean with bombs.”[24]

As for innocent casualties in Gaza—Israel doesn’t seem to believe they exist. “There are no innocents in Gaza… mow them down!” says Michael Ben-Ari, a former member of the Knesset, “There are no righteous men [in Gaza], turn it into rubble! Paint it red!”[25] Knesset member Ayelet Shaked agrees, warning that Palestinian women, who of course give birth to ‘snakes’, should be killed and their homes should be destroyed, “Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”[26]

Yet in spite of Israelis efficient slaughtering, some feel that Israel still has a lot to learn about mass murder. According to Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, Israeli soldiers must “learn from the Syrians how to slaughter and crush the enemy.”[27] Gilad Sharon, the son of Ariel Sharon, feels that the Americans had the correct approach, writing in the Jerusalem Post,

“We need to flatten entire neighbourhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too. There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.”[28]

As the old adage goes ‘if you hope for peace prepare for war’ or as the head of Israeli’s National Defence College, Professor Arnon Sofer put it “If we want to remain alive, we will have to kill and kill and kill. All day, everyday.”[29] However, an alternative scholarly opinion held by Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, holds that peace for Israel can be achieved through the raping of Palestinian women.[30]

These statements were not made by the people on the fringes of Israeli society, they were made by high-ranking members of government, elected legislators from the Knesset, prominent Academics and Rabbis.

7 – Resistance achieves nothing

7- resistance

Those who stand by the Palestinian cause are few and governments even fewer. Out of all of the well-armed western nations on earth, many of whom claim to champion humanitarian intervention and human rights, none have stood up to the terror of Israel or taken any action to stop it. Britain and the US even refuse to stop giving weapons to Israel when they can clearly see that they are being used to kill and mutilate children.

The path of no resistance has been attempted by other Palestinian organisations and the results are clear. After endless talks and diplomatic discussions, nothing has been achieved while more of Palestine is wiped out everyday. Without resistance Palestinians become irrelevant and their land is simply absorbed at the rate at which illegal, apartheid settlements can be established and populated, as the international community looks on at Israel’s contempt for international law, doing nothing.

Meanwhile Hamas and the Palestinian resistance are the only deterrent on Earth which causes Israel to think twice before bombing, murdering and stealing. The threat of Palestinian armed resistance is the only physical obstacle between Israel and the complete extermination of Gaza. And unlike the PA, Hamas negotiates from a position of strength and ceasefire deals with Israel often bear fruit for the Palestinian cause.[31]

Conclusion

The crimes of Israel are many and plain for all to see. Thanks to citizen journalism and social media, the images of Israeli terror are reaching people around the world. In spite of all the money Israel spends on sickly sweet PR campaigns and chilling propaganda, Israel’s pristine image is suffering. No form of genuine resistance to Israel achieves ‘nothing’. Every Facebook post, retweet and public demonstration lets Israel know that more and more people of this world will not tolerate war crimes, apartheid and genocide any longer. Every action we take lets Israel and the governments which support it know: Gaza does not stand alone.

Notes:

[1] As of 25/07/2014 according to http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2014/07/gaza-death-toll-rises-amid-diplomatic-push-201472512324381298.html

 [2] http://www.voanews.com/content/gazas-hospitals-under-fire-in-israeli-operations/1961124.html

 [3] http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/176683#.U8szq0CPOko

 [4] Middleton-Edwards, Beverley (2011) Contemporary Politics in the Middle East, Third Edition, Polity Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom page 30

 [5] Smith, Charles D. (2007) Palestine and the Arab-Isreali Conflict: A History with Documents, Sixth Edition, Macmillan, Boston, United States page 8

 [6] Smith, Charles D. (2007) Palestine and the Arab-Isreali Conflict: A History with Documents, Sixth Edition, Macmillan, Boston, United States page 11

 [7] Lozowick, Yaacov (2003) Right to Exist, A moral defence of Israel’s wars, Doubleday, United States page 45[8] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvnXR_X-TX0

 [9] http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/12/20121215135432787820.html

 [10] http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.606934

 [11] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/massed-israeli-troops-poised-for-invasion-of-gaza-8316615.html

 [12] Scham and Abu-Irshadhttp://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/resources/Special%20Report%20224_Hamas.pdf page 11

 [13] Hinder, James and Frenkel, Sheera (2009) Ceasefire shaken as Israel sends in jets after soldier is killed by road-side bomb; Gaza, The Times, News, January 28, 2009 page 29

 [14] http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-denies-responsibility-for-teens-death-warns-against-israeli-strike/

 [15] http://news.yahoo.com/palestinian-teen-burned-death-autopsy-shows-133248791.html

 [16] State commission to examine civilian deaths in 2002 Shahade assassination, Haaretz, September 19 2007, available online via: http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/state-commission-to-examine-civilian-deaths-in-2002-shahade-assassination-1.229532

[17] http://www.btselem.org/statistics/fatalities/2008-12-27-till-2009-01-18/by-date-of-death/gaza/palestinians-killed-during-the-course-of-a-targeted-killing

 [18] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2009/01/20091218131371179.html

 [19] https://news.vice.com/article/israeli-shelling-kills-4-children-on-gaza-beach

 [20] http://www.newsweek.com/graphic-video-allegedly-shows-wounded-civilian-killed-israeli-sniper-260122

 [21] http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-fired-rockets-for-first-time-since-2012-israeli-officials-say/

 [22] http://www.theguardian.com/sport/video/2012/may/04/london-olympic-missile-blackheath

 [23] http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/145581/live-blog-day-4-operation-pillar-of-defense-updated-530pm-il.html

 [24] http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/heathcote-williams-young.html

 [25] http://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/22462

 [26] http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/why-im-on-the-brink-of-burning-my-israeli-passport-9600165.html

 [27] http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/idf-must-learn-syrians-how-slaughter-enemy-says-prominent-israeli-rabbi

 [28] http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-Ed-Contributors/A-decisive-conclusion-is-necessary

 [29] http://www.jpost.com/Features/I-didnt-suggest-we-kill-Palestinians

 [30] http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/israeli-professor-rape-hamas-militiants-mothers-sisters-deter-terrorist-attacks-1457836

 [31] http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/11/20121124151832736999.html


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Stephen Lendman: Back from the Abyss

August 8th, 2014 by Stephen Lendman

Global Research wishes all the best, prompt recovery and good health to Stephen Lendman

I’ve been ill and unable to do what I love best for 2 months. Yesterday,  August 6, I came home for the first time since hospitalized on June 4.

At the time, I posted a brief message on my blog site. I expected a few days of treatment. Then home to resume my writing and media work.

Things didn’t turn out that way. I owe my friends, colleagues and readers an explanation.

Multiple problems developed. One rather serious one. Thankfully they were resolved. But it took time – 2 weeks at Northwestern Memorial Hospital followed by 6 weeks at Warren Barr rehab facility.

The experience was life changing. I wondered at times if I’d ever be me again. I still have lots of recovery to go as an outpatient.

I worked very hard with good therapy people helping me daily. I’m deeply grateful to them for taking me from a very low point to going home yesterday.

It never felt so good to walk through my front door. I began emailing friends and colleagues to explain. More emailing coming.

Wonderful responses came. Means so much to this old guy – age 80 in mid-August. Still with so much I want to do – articles, media work and another book or 2 – maybe more as able.

I’ll slowly get back to what I love best. My health, of course, is top priority. Later this morning I have hours of treatment at Northwestern Mem. Hosp and weekly after that for 2 months followed by monthly treatment for a year.

I’m working with wonderful doctors. Some personal friends. They know what I do. They want me back in full swing. Will take time. I’m very patient.

Writing et al will come as able. Important not to overdue it. Yet what i love best is therapeutic – for the mind, soul and body. I’m fully committed to return to a much full health as possible – my top priority.

My great thanks to everyone now wishing me well. I was offline, unconnected with no email addresses so unable to communicate until now.

Physically for a good while I wasn’t in good shape enough to do it.

Now I’m back. My output won’t be my customary 2 articles a day. I’ll do what I can as health and strength permits.

Words can’t explain how wonderful it feels and how deeply grateful i am to be back from a very low point – mostly dependent on others to being near independent again now.

I can do things now we otherwise take for granted – my personal hygiene, cooking, laundry, all chores in my apartment, walk on the street with a walker, ride the bus, take a cab down, shop nearby and more.

Each day begins with an exercise regimen. It’s crucial to my recovery and ability to regain full health and vigor.

It gives me the energy to do my daily tasks. A day at a time I hope will make me fully me again – the me I largely took for granted. Never again.

While absent I couldn’t write on vital issues I’d have focused on daily – Israel’s genocidal, cold, calculated, premeditated aggression, mass murder and destruction of Gaza.

It was and remains one of history’s greatest crimes of war, against humanity, and genocide.

Israel remains unaccountable as always. Cairo talks will achieve nothing for the Palestinians. Israeli agreements when made aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.

They’re systematically and repeatedly violated. Expect nothing different this time.

The Gaza war was much more than against Hamas. It was against millions of Palestinian non-combatant men, women, children, infants, the elderly and infirm. It’s genocide writ large.

It’s supported by Washington with billions of dollars of annual aid, weapons, Security Council vetoes and more.

The international community yawns and lets Israel get away with unspeakable crimes with impunity.

The pattern repeated large and smaller scale since the 1947-48 war taking a horrific toll on the entire Palestinian population.

Expect more of the same ahead. Expect Palestine’s liberating struggle to continue with virtually no help from the international community.

Expect more Israeli initiated mass much and destruction. Expect multiple daily pre-dawn Israeli West Bank incursions, terrorizing Palestinian families.

Expect many more political prisoners in Israel’s gulag. Expect torture, targeted assassinations and land theft to continue unabated.

Expect justice systematically denied as always. Expect Palestinians largely on their own in their struggle for dignity and proper treatment never afforded.

Expect Israeli crimes of war, against humanity and slow-motion genocide to continue unabated.

Expect Hamas and other resistance groups to be unjustly blamed for repeated Israeli crimes – like premeditated shelling UN refuges, civilian neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, mosques, power and other vital infrastructure and more.

Israel is a lawless, rogue, racist, apartheid terror state – uncountable for horrific crimes repeatedly.

Palestinian suffering is beyond words to explain properly. When will it end? How? No time soon for sure.

How many more Palestinians will die unjustly? How many more will have Israeli shells, bombs and missiles dismember their bodies?

How many more families will lose loved ones? How many more communities will be destroyed? How many more orphaned Palestinian children will be on their own?

How many more parents will lose their offspring, homes and all their possessions?

How much longer will injustice prevail? When, if ever, will Israel be held accountable?

When, if ever, will US tax dollars stop funding Israel’s out-of-control killing machine?

Future articles will have much more to say – written as health permits.

And much to say about the war in Ukraine – the democratic freedom fighting struggle against lawless, illegitimate US installed fascism.

Much to say about these and other important issues ahead as health and strength permits.

It’s wonderful being back doing what I love best.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

Israel Gives Jews a Bad Name

August 8th, 2014 by Danny Schechter

When I was growing up in a Jewish community in New York in the late fifties, there was a predictable collective response to news events that expressed itself in one question:

“Is it good for the Jews?”

Many persecuted minorities made up largely of immigrants operate in an inward looking culture characterized by a fear of persecution, and a desire to keep a low profile for fear of stirring up anti-semitism or just “trouble.”

Jews who have been victimized throughout history tend to look at the world though the prism of that victimization, even when their own community  is being viewed by others as victimizers. Their fears are easily manipulated with appeals to a collective memory.

Back in my youth, every time some big crook’s picture was splashed in the tabloids, I was reassured by being told, at least he isn’t Jewish.’ Although later, I learned about Jewish gangsters like Meyer Lansky who practically ran the Mafia. If you want proof, rent one of those Godfather movies.

Later, I learned from YIVO, The Institute for Jewish Research, there had been as many Jewish criminals in our community as in others, Learning about this helped me contextualize what I came to see as a perversion of Jewish values into a dominant Zionist narrative that embraced or ignored crimes from the earliest days of the conquest of Palestine up through the current war on the people of Gaza.

Jewish writers have not downplayed this history, reports the YIVO Encyclopedia that even speaks of Jews from Latin America:

“Literary stereotypes, exemplified by the refined Jewish pimp in Sholem Aleichem’s short story “A mentsh fun Buenos-Ayres” (A Man from Buenos Aires; 1909) created the image of white slavery as a quintessentially Jewish occupation. Scholars remain divided as to the extent to which Jews were disproportionately represented in the trade. The association of Jews with international prostitution prompted energetic communal initiatives in Europe and in the Americas against gangs of Jewish procurers.”

Once Israel was established after a war of terror against the British, the new government began to eradicate all vestiges of Jewish institutions, replacing thousands of years of Yiddish –language culture—which they saw as a culture of weakness—with Hebrew and the cult of the macho sabra and military heroism.

This attitude infests the whole society despite formal equality for woman. In a recent interview, Joanne Zack-Pakes, director of Open Door Counseling Centers, the flagship project of the Israel Family Planning Association, speaks of an Israeli Culture “that is very sexual, but specifically a culture shaped by macho sexuality and male power.”

No wonder, soon, the Kibbutzim that relied on Jewish labor to avoid exploiting Arabs were gone. The Labor Movement was gone. The right became ascendant. The seeds of hatred and contempt towards Palestinians were planted and nurtured as their communities were displaced from the own lands by a settler-run almost colonial society. It based itself on occupied lands all in the name of a questionable biblical mythology. Noam Chomsky says it is not like South Africa’s apartheid. It’s worse.

Now, let’s fast-forward into the present, in the era of Wall Street with a disproportionate number of leading Jewish bankers and lawyers, including, until recently, Bernard Madoff who typified the hypocrisy of being a prominent philanthropist while at the same time, a skillful and serial financial gangster, not above ripping off Jewish charities and the rich and poor alike. He even took money from Eli Wiesel, the pro-Israeli author of prize-winning books on the holocaust and a backer of the Israeli firsters.

I cite all this not to feed the racist and fabricated conspiracy theorists that have been blaming “the Jews” for everything from time immoral, from the fraudulent “protocols of Zion” conspiracy through the ravings of Nazis then and now.

My concern is more internal. What has our community done to reinforce our own stereotypes, and actively, if not aggressively, cultivated a reputation for “toughness” as an antidote to the well known but misleading image of a people who passively went to the gas chambers?

In some circles, Jews blame themselves while vowing “Never Again” and supporting or rationalizing extreme militarism, and systematic human rights abuses. in the name of Israel and Jewish survival.

The extremist Jewish right-wing encourages us to be even tougher, to forget about standing up for justice and identifying with oppressed people. An article in leftist turned rightist, David Horowitz’s website, FrontPage, features a prominent U.S. PR expert, Ronn Torrossian, singing the praises of “the top Ten Living Tough Jews.”

“The list of the Top 10 Living Tough Jews it is not only about brute physical strength,” he writes, “ it is about a people who are smart, strong, resilient, rugged, bold and fearless,”

This is a reflection of good, tough Jews who are positive representations of the Jewish people, (no gangsters here) – don’t let a yarmulke fool you.”

And, yet, who tops his toughness list of role models, the people he wants us to emulate?

1.“Israel Defense Forces: All of the men and women of the Israel Defense Forces – the holy Jewish army are the toughest (and holiest) Jews one can ever imagine. They protect the people of Israel against tremendous odds, and with Israel’s survival threatened daily these Jews are consummate warriors, fighting not only for a country but for an important ideal.”

Weighing in at number 8 is none other the number one funder of America’s right-wing politicians, the man every GOP hopeful sucks up to:  Sheldon Adelson.

“The richest Jew in the world, Adelson, is famously resilient, stubborn and focused on winning. The son of Jewish immigrants, Adelson grew up lower-class, dropped out of the City College of New York – and has built one of the largest casino empires in the world?”

You get the idea. Be tough. Become a zillionaire. And run a country that now has the fourth largest military in the world (US funded of course) that can target an overcrowded ghetto like Gaza—not unlike those many Jews were once forced to live in—turning it into a shooting gallery for the most sophisticated weaponry, all justified as necessary for their country’s survival.

Writer and former New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges who reported from Gaza, calls Israel’s tough guy but very slick PR campaign, “the Big Lie.”

“The Big Lie makes it clear to the Palestinians that Israel will continue to wage a campaign of state terror and will never admit its atrocities or its intentions,“ he writes.

“The vast disparity between what Israel says and what Israel does tells the Palestinians that there is no hope. Israel will do and say whatever it wants. International law, like the truth, will always be irrelevant. There will never, the Palestinians understand from the Big Lie, be an acknowledgement of reality by the Israeli leadership.

Hedges adds,

“Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, in a Big Lie of his own, said last month at a conference of Christians United for Israel that the Israeli army should be given the “Nobel Peace Prize …  a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint…. The Big Lie destroys any possibility of history and therefore any hope for a dialogue between antagonistic parties that can be grounded in truth and reality.”

To Jewish Rabbis like Michael Lerner, it’s not just the truth that is being trashed. It is Judaism itself.

He writes on Salon:

“…it is the brutality of that assault which finally has broken me into tears and heartbreak. While claiming that it is only interested in uprooting tunnels that could be used to attack Israel, the IDF has engaged in the same criminal (emphasis mine) behavior that the world condemns in other struggles around the world: the intentional targeting of civilians (the same crime that Hamas has been engaged in over the years in its bombing of Sdeyrot and its current targeting of Israeli population centers, thankfully unsuccessfully, which correctly has earned it the label as a terrorist organization).

Using the excuse that Hamas is using civilians as “human shields” and placing its war material in civilian apartments, a claim that a UN human rights investigatory commission found groundless when it was used the last time Israel invaded Gaza in 2008-2009 and engaged in similar levels of killing civilians), Israel has managed to kill over 1,500 Palestinians and has wounded over 8,000 thousand more.”

On and on he goes, as someone who has backed Israel for years,  excoriating the way Israel’s needs and Zionist ideology as defined by  a harsh right-wing government, dominated by a military dominated “security cabinet, “has come to speak for and define the needs of Jews in the world.

He realizes that Israel. by use of military  power, political lobbying and media manipulation now defines the narrative of  what being Jewish is supposed to be.

Critics, especially Jews like myself, are dismissed,  and marginalized  if not attacked violently  in Israel and labeled as “self-haters”  for not embracing this redefinition of Judaism as militarism, idealism as authoritarianism, and a new fascism with a Hebrew face.

Rabbi Lerner of Tikkun Magazine adds,

“I’m heartbroken to see the Judaism of love and compassion being dismissed as “unrealistic” by so many of my fellow Jews and rabbis. Wasn’t the central message of Torah that the world was ruled by a force that made possible the transformation from “that which is” to “that which can and should be”? And wasn’t our task to teach the world that nothing is fixed, that even the mountains can skip like young rams and the seas can flee before the triumph of God’s justice in the world?

Instead of preaching this hopeful message, too many rabbis and rabbinical institutions are preaching a Judaism that places more hope in the might of the Israeli army than in the capacity of human beings (including Palestinians) to transform their perception of “the other” and overcome their fears.”

So whatever Israel is “winning,” the Jewish People are loosing. The  key lesson of the holocaust was human rights of all peoples need protection.  That is not a lesson that the droning on robots of Israel’s Sparta-like Israeli PR Army has any use for.

The rest of the world is judging us.  Jews have to judge us well.

Let me close with the words of Ahmad Kathrada who spent 26 years in prison in South Africa alongside Nelson Mandela , and was considered his closest comrade, He recently visited Palestine and said it felt all too familiar. He wrote recently:

“What worries me is the sheer impunity with which Israel acts. It reminds me of the many years that apartheid was allowed to flourish in South Africa with little constructive action on the part of the major powers such as the US, France, Germany and the UK, including some of the leading Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

“While writing this, my thoughts go back to August-September of 1951, when I visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. I find myself asking: “Has apartheid Israel so quickly forgotten the millions of Jews, communists and gypsies who were exterminated by the Nazis, that they now commit the same crimes?”

Can his observation also be applied to Israel, and all the countries like our own, that fall over each other endorsing what Israel says and then ignoring what it does

Among the other more immediate crimes against Palestinians, international law and history, Israel gives Jews a bad name.

News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at newsdissector.net and edits mediachannel.org Comments to [email protected].

US, NATO Support the Ukrainian Army’s Bloody Offensive

August 8th, 2014 by Christoph Dreier

The brutal offensive by the Ukrainian army against the major cities in the east of the country threatens an all-out military confrontation with Russia. After NATO warned of a Russian invasion in east Ukraine on Wednesday, its secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen traveled to Kiev on Thursday to speak with President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk to offer the government support.

The discussions with the prime minister looked at ways in which planned NATO financial aid could be used to strengthen the Ukrainian military in the areas of command, communication, and cyber defence capabilities, the government declared on their website. “NATO stands ready to support Ukraine,” Rasmussen told a news conference.

Poroshenko awarded the NATO chief the highest award of the Ukrainian state for foreigners, the Order of Freedom:“Over the years you have been and now remain a friend of Ukraine, and we hope the development of our cooperation with NATO is the key to the success of our reforms, security and territorial integrity.”

US President Barack Obama said at a press conference that his administration would endeavor to support the Kiev regime, “We have a whole package of support ready for the Ukrainian government and its army.” He continued, “We will continue to work with them, week after week, day after day, evaluating what they need specifically so that they can protect their country.” He ruled out directly supplying weapons for the moment.

US Vice President Joe Biden also assured Poroshenko of support in a phone call, according to the Ukrainian presidency’s web site.

The US Navy has meanwhile announced that the missile cruiser Vella Gulf had entered the Black Sea on Thursday. “The cruiser’s mission is to improve operational cooperation in the work on the fulfillment of shared objectives, as well as holding the United States to the strengthening of the collective security of NATO allies and partners in the region,” it said. The ship is 173 meters long and houses a 400-member crew, and is equipped with, among other things, surface to air missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles.

In a phone call on Wednesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to use his influence on the pro-Russian separatists to get them to agree to a ceasefire. In the last week, the EU has agreed to harsh economic sanctions against Russia.

Russia has now responded with its own trade measures. Moscow has published a list of goods whose importation is now prohibited from countries against which sanctions have been imposed. These include beef, pork, fruit, vegetables, cheese and milk products.

On Thursday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev also announced an overflight ban for Ukrainian airlines. He also threatened to extend the ban to companies in the US and the EU, saying, “The Russian government is considering response measures [...] Including considering a ban on transit flights of European and American airlines to East Asia.”

The official representative of the European Commission in Germany, the Austrian Richard Kühnel, said in an interview with Deutsche Welle that Europe would “tighten the screws” if Russia does not change its policy. Given the possible closure of airspace, the EU could in turn impose further sanctions, according to the “eye for an eye” principle, Kühnel said.

At the same time, the Ukrainian army has continued its attacks on the separatist-controlled east Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Luhansk. On Thursday, the Donetsk City Council reported that a dental clinic was severely damaged by a mortar attack; one patient was killed and five others injured.

According to the city council, on Wednesday night three more civilians were killed in the shelling of residential areas in Donetsk. Previously, a hospital had been attacked in the city of Slovyansk; two employees were killed. Heavy fighting in the region has also been reported from other cities. According to the local authorities, in Gorlowka in the past few days, 33 civilians were killed and 129 were injured as a result of artillery fire.

Fighting has also been reported from the area in which the Malaysian passenger plane MH17 crashed under unexplained circumstances. The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Wednesday night that the rescue operations had to be interrupted at the crash site due to continued fighting. The Ukrainian government subsequently announced a ceasefire covering the crash site. Separatists expressed concerns that evidence of the circumstances of the accident will be destroyed in this way.

Amnesty International released a report on Wednesday concerning serious human rights violations in the areas re-conquered by the Ukrainian army. The parliamentarian and president of the Radical Party, Oleg Lyashko, is traveling throughout the country with paramilitary units, “detaining—in effect abducting—and ill-treating individuals,” said the organization. These abuses of opposition figures were recorded on video by Lyashko and displayed on his website.

Given the opposition to the government throughout the country, conflicts are growing within the Kiev regime. On Thursday, the secretary of the Council for National Security and Defence of Ukraine, Andriy Parubiy, announced his resignation, which was accepted immediately by Poroshenko.

Parubiy was co-founder of the fascist Social National Party of Ukraine, the forerunner of today’s Svoboda Party. He led the armed “self-defence forces” of the Maidan.

Parubiy gave no reasons for his resignation. But there have been speculation about conflicts between him and the president. The army is said to have suffered greater losses during fighting in eastern Ukraine than previously admitted.

At the same time, there were violent clashes between police and right-wing demonstrators on the Maidan in Kiev, as security forces tried to remove barricades erected by the demonstrators.

In February, the Maidan was the origin of the armed coup that brought down the elected President Viktor Yanukovych, bringing the new regime to power. A few hundred protesters have continued to occupy a tent camp on the square and also occupy some government buildings, demanding new elections and a clamp down on the separatists in the east.

With its action against the right-wing protesters, the government wants to consolidate the state apparatus and bring it to bear against massive popular opposition.

Among working people, opposition is growing against conscription for military service. Protests by mothers in many cities are accompanied by a growing boycott of the call up.

Newspapers report that in Lutsk, the capital of the district of Volhynia, only half of the men conscripted attended the call up. Postal delivery workers report that many citizens refuse to accept official letters.

Obama Authorises a New Air War in Iraq

August 8th, 2014 by Peter Symonds

In a statement signalling resumed US military operations in Iraq, President Obama announced yesterday evening in Washington that he had authorised American air strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militia in northern Iraq.

The immediate pretext for the renewed military intervention is the plight of thousands of members of the Yazidi minority who have fled ISIS military advances and are reportedly trapped in mountainous areas of the Sinjar region in north-western Iraq. The Pentagon announced that the US military planes have already made air drops of food and water in the area.

In comments steeped in hypocrisy, Obama declared that the US could not “turn a blind eye” when the Iraqi religious minorities were threatened with a massacre. For the past month, the Obama administration has fully supported the Israeli slaughter of Palestinian civilians and levelling of large areas of the Gaza Strip.

Once again, US imperialism is playing the humanitarian card to justify its predatory aims. Obama’s phony professions of concern about the fate of Iraq’s Yazidi, Christian and other minorities are no more than a convenient excuse to put into action military plans drawn up over the past two months to combat ISIS militia.

The US has intervened in response to new ISIS offensives to the east and west of the northern city of Mosul, which its Islamist forces captured in June. Over the past week, ISIS and its Sunni militia allies have seized a major strategic dam and a series of towns that have brought them within striking distance of the Kurdish Autonomous Region and the regional capital of Erbil.

The collapse of resistance by the Kurdish peshmerga militias produced a degree of panic in Washington, as well as in Erbil and Baghdad. Washington has long relied on the Kurdish region as a base of operations inside Iraq. Following the fall of Mosul, Obama ordered hundreds more US special forces and other military personnel into Iraq and established joint operation centres in Baghdad and Erbil. Obama invoked the protection of US diplomatic and military personnel in Erbil as a second justification for authorising air strikes.

Despite denials from the Pentagon, Kurdish and Iraqi officials reported that US air strikes have already begun in northern Iraq. Kurdish military spokesman Holgard Hekmat told Agence France Presse that US war planes hit two targets in northern Iraq. “F-16s first entered Iraqi airspace reconnaissance mission and are now targeting Daash (ISIS) in Gwer and the Sinjar region.” He claimed that US war planes struck a key bridge connecting Mosul to Gwer, which lies just 30 kilometres from the main checkpoint into the Kurdish region.

A New York Times article reported officials on Kurdish television as saying that US war planes hit ISIS targets in the towns of Gwer and Mahmour. It also cited a top Iraqi official, close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who said the US consulted the Iraqi government late last night about launching air strikes, received the go-ahead and began bombing. In its denial, the Pentagon suggested that Turkish or Iraqi warplanes could have carried out the attacks.

In his statement, Obama indicated that the US was seeking support from its allies. France has already joined the propaganda campaign about the plight of the Yazidis and pushed for an emergency session of the UN Security Council, which condemned ISIS and called for international support for the Iraqi government. In a statement issued after speaking to Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani, French President Francois Hollande declared that the persecution of religious minorities was “a very serious crime” and “confirmed France’s availability to bring support to the forces engaged in this combat.”

The propaganda campaign over Iraq’s minorities recalls the hue and cry in the international media in 2011 over the alleged threat to the population of Benghazi. This served as the pretext for imposing a no-fly zone over Libya as part of the regime-change operation to oust Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Now the tattered banner of humanitarianism is again being raised in Iraq to justify military operations to shore up vital imperialist interests in the Kurdish Autonomous Region and Iraq more broadly.

ISIS itself is a product of the criminal operations of US imperialism in the Middle East over the past two decades. Faced with mounting resistance to its illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, Washington deliberately inflamed sectarian Shiite-Sunni divisions. This played directly into the hands of Al Qaeda in Iraq, which transformed into ISIS. Its militia have been part of the US backed regime-change operation in neighbouring Syria, aimed at ousting President Bashir al-Assad, which is being funded and armed by US allies, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

While condemning the depredations of ISIS inside Iraq, the US remains silent about ISIS’s operations within Syria against the Assad regime. The Islamic extremists, who seek to establish a caliphate over the whole region, draw no such distinction. Their military offensives toward the Kurdish regions of Iraq coincide with an attempt that began last month to seize the largely Kurdish city of Ain al-Arab in Syria.

The Obama administration has, until now, held off providing military support to the Iraqi government against ISIS in a bid to force Maliki to abandon plans for a third term as prime minister. The US and allies such as Saudi Arabia regard Maliki as too closely aligned with Iran and have blamed him for alienating the country’s Sunni population. Obama’s authorisation of air strikes coincides not only with the ISIS threat to the Kurdish north, but with the deadline for anointing a replacement prime minister.

In launching a new air war in Iraq, Obama is acutely conscious of widespread anti-war sentiment in the US and internationally, generated in no small part by the brutal, US-led occupation of Iraq between 2003 and 2011. “I will not allow the United States to be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq,” he declared last night. However, the determination of US imperialism to maintain a dominant position in Iraq and the Middle East has a logic of its own—having despatched hundreds of US military advisers to Iraq and now unleashed US air power, the US is already enmeshed in an escalating conflict that not only involves Iraq and Syria but could draw in other regional powers.

Beware: Israel the Eager Provocateur

August 8th, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

With hostilities once again erupting between Israeli forces and Palestine, onlookers must keep in mind the greater agenda in which the current violence is playing out and the stated agenda of achieving hegemony over the Middle East in which Israel plays a pivotal role – as the “unilateral aggressor.”

FOB Israel 

Of course, Israel does nothing unilaterally. It is a stunted, militaristic faux-state that depends entirely on the West for its continued existence. From the funds it builds its military with, to the very hardware it buys and maintains, starting from the day the modern state of Israel was founded up to and including today, Israel is in reality a state-sized forward operating base (FOB). Wikipedia defines a FOB as follows:

“The base may be used for an extended period of time. FOBs are traditionally supported by Main Operating Bases that are required to provide backup support to them.[citation needed] An FOB also improves reaction time to local areas as opposed to having all troops on the main operating base.”

As such, Israel’s constant and otherwise irrational belligerence makes perfect sense. An FOB’s priorities are not prosperity and peace as would a nation’s, but rather to engage forward into enemy territory. The trick over the years has been to portray Israel as a nation, while propping up its constant belligerence and aggression as “self-defense.” To keep this illusion in motion, Israel and its regional and Western collaborators have even created full-time enemies, including Hamas itself – a creation of Israeli intelligence and to this day primarily propped up by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, both of which are defacto regional partners with the West and of course Israel itself.

The Wall Street Journal reported in their article, “How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas,” that (emphasis added):

“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with “Yassins,” primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.

This is in fact exactly what Hamas is still being used today for – to counter real opposition movements by dividing against each other different factions of Muslims and secular organizations alike, in confusion and armed combat, preventing a greater, unified front against Western expansion and exploitation throughout the region. Extremist groups closely aligned to Hamas, including Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood, would flood into Iraq during the US occupation to “serendipitously” disrupt united Sunni-Shia’a resistance, and create bloody infighting that broke the back of meaningful opposition against foreign occupation. The same method is being used again in Syria, and with the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) incursion into Iraq weeks ago, yet again against Baghdad.

Divided and in perpetual conflict, the Arab World across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has not been able to create strong, secular, nationalist nations to protect Arab socioeconomic and political interests. In the process, the West has been able to exploit, divide, and conquer regions of MENA over and over again. Israel’s role as the ultimate casus belli, instigator, and aggressor, has been instrumental in keeping this hegemonic enterprise alive and well with the region kept in a perpetual and crippling defensive posture.

Israel’s Role as “Unilateral Aggressor” is Stated US Policy

Logistically, it is obvious Israel does not exist without Western support, and therefore does not act without Western approval. The illusion of its unilateral aggression is designed specifically to lend the West plausible deniability for brutality and unprovoked aggression it believes it cannot afford to be associated with directly. This is stated across years of US policy papers, including the most definitive report on the subject, Brooking Institution’s 2009 report “Which Path to Persia?

The report itself conspires to use covert provocations to trigger a war with Iran, to undermine it politically through foreign-sponsored “protests” augmented by covert armed groups, the direct funding, arming, and use of listed terrorist organizations against the Iranian people, and specifically the use of Israel to attack Iran with covert Western backing to make it appear as if Tel Aviv took the steps unilaterally. It specifically states:

“An Israeli air campaign against Iran would have a number of very important differences from an American campaign. First, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has the problem of overflight transit from Israel to Iran. Israel has no aircraft carriers, so its planes must take off from Israeli air bases. It also does not possess long-range bombers like the B-1 or B-2, or huge fleets of refueling tankers, all of which means that unlike the United States, Israel cannot avoid flying through someone’s air space. The most direct route from Israel to Iran’s Natanz facility is roughly 1,750 kilometers across Jordan and Iraq. As the occupying power in Iraq, the United States is responsible for defending Iraqi airspace. “Which Path to Persia?-page 105 (.pdf)

“From the American perspective, this negates the whole point of the option—distancing the United States from culpability—and it could jeopardize American efforts in Iraq, thus making it a possible nonstarter for Washington. Finally, Israeli violation of Jordanian airspace would likely create political problems for King Abdullah of Jordan, one of America’s (and Israel’s) closest Arab friends in the region. Thus it is exceedingly unlikely that the United States would allow Israel to overfly Iraq, and because of the problems it would create for Washington and Amman, it is unlikely that Israel would try to fly over Jordan.” Which Path to Perisa?-page 106 (.pdf)

“An Israeli attack on Iran would directly affect key American strategic interests. If Israel were to overfly iraq, both the Iranians and the vast majority of people around the world would see the strike as abetted, if not authorized, by the United States. Even if Israel were to use another route, many Iranians would still see the attack as American supported or even American orchestrated. After all, the aircraft in any strike would be American produced, supplied, and funded F-15s and F-16s, and much of the ordnance would be American made. In fact, $3 billion dollars in U.S. assistance annually sustains the IDF’s conventional superiority in the region.” Which Path to Persia-page 106 (.pdf)

“…the Israelis may want to hold off until they have a peace deal with Syria in hand (assuming that Jerusalem believes that one is within reach), which would help them mitigate blowback from Hizballah and potentially Hamas. Consequently, they might want Washington to push hard in mediating between Jerusalem and Damascus.” -page 109 (.pdf) 

With the US fully withdrawn from Iraq and Damascus significantly weakened, many of these problems have been adequately addressed, and with the US’ perceived “failure” in and “withdrawal” from the region being eagerly reported by the Western press itself, the stage is set for the ultimate staged “unilateral” attack by Israel, not only against its own Hamas provocateurs, but through a series of dubious associations, Hezbollah, Damascus, and even Iran itself.

Of course, another possibility exists. As seen before, Israeli belligerence and intentional role as regional arch-villain has been used to undermine targets throughout the region as well as boost others up. That Hamas’ current and most public supporters are Israel’s own regional collaborators, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, a quick and humiliating stalemate for Israel would help boost the credibility of Riyadh and Doha across the region ahead of renewed pushes against both Damascus and Baghdad.

Whichever route Israel takes, it will be apparent soon enough. Should the conflict expand rapidly and involve Hezbollah, the final battle may be underway. If the conflict remains limited to Hamas, the possibility that the Israel is trying to lend Hamas’ public sponsors in Riyadh and Doha credibility and momentum throughout the region will be greater.

Israel: The Bottom Line

What Israel is doing across the region is both criminal and demands condemnation. However, it must be condemned in the context of a belligerent client regime acting not in the best interests of the Israeli people or toward peace, prosperity, and coexistence with its neighbors, but rather for foreign interests that see the nation instead as a massive forward operating base. Protesting Israel alone is not enough. Boycotting Israeli businesses and industries is also fruitless and even helps play into the engineered strategy of tension constructed by Israel’s sponsors. Israel does not fund its military might by local cottage or even national industry, it does so via immense foreign aid.

Instead, to protest and undermine Israel’s role as regional provocateur, target the corporate-financier interests that feed it billions of dollars annually. Separate, isolate, and protest Israel’s political leadership rather than Israel’s existence and population. Reach out to Israelis who oppose their government’s current posture of perpetual provocations, and those in the middle who may be swayed one way or another.

By throwing rocks at Israel as a whole, one plays into the besieged mentality the government invests immense resources in perpetuating among common Israelis. Those who might otherwise see their government as the villain will seek its protection against irrational external hatred directed at the entire nation rather than at those responsible for its criminal extraterritorial brutality – whether it is in the occupied territories of Palestine, or across the borders of its neighbors in Syria, Iraq, Iran, or beyond.

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

Ukrainians Stand Up against Kiev Junta

August 8th, 2014 by Daniel Patrick Welch

I was forwarded a video clip from a friend in Kharkov, and was compelled to write about it. It gives me goosebumps and brings me to tears. As the evil NATO project to destroy Ukraine and attack Russia begins to implode from its own insane overreach, there is no substitute for the simple eloquence of people defending their lives and those of their families.

The truth is beginning to dawn, as would-be cannon fodder kids throughout Ukraine are burning their military writs, their families blocking roads, young men escaping to the woods and even to Russia. No fascist lie can live forever, and while the future is far from clear, there is beginning to be some hope that the chickens may yet come home to roost in a major way.

This declaration is especially powerful in the original Russian, but is subtitled in English, and I have transcribed it here as well. It deserves the widest possible redistribution. The story and pictures [Her name was Christine] have already circulated widely. But this oath sends chills down my spine:

“Я не забуду это . И если я забуду о них, пусть Бог забудет обо мне.” (I will not forget this. And if I do forget about them, may God forget about me.)

A Russian friend recently expressed surprise and gratitude to see a western writer speak out with such passion and commitment. To my Russian friends, and to all my readers generally, I can only say that it is not with any false humility that I deflect any praise, and pass it along rightly to the heroes who are fighting for their lives and those they love—and, in a crucial way, fighting for us all. My response is instinctive and axiomatic, and is beautifully encapsulated in the above quote. If I forget about them, may God forget about me. If I do not speak out, I sever the bond that connects me to the rest of humanity, and lose my soul. This truth is like oxygen to me.

Every struggle produces its own eloquence, and spawns its own generation of Padraig Pearses and Robert Emmet. With these I am familiar because of my ancestry, and I *will* their words to seep into my soul to keep me honest: “To my people I say that they are holy, that they are august despite their chains—that they are greater than those that hold them, and stronger, and purer.” (Pearse) “…if it were possible to collect all the innocent blood that you have shed in your unhallowed ministry, in one great reservoir, your Lordship might swim in it.” (Emmet)

Words fail me, and even when they don’t, they pale in comparison to those of the heroes made eloquent every day by fighting on the right side of history.

“Look at this picture. This is what Kiev punitive forces did today in Gorlovka. Ukranian patriots. Euromaidaners. “Conscious” and “United Ukrainers.”

I, Dygovbrodsky, Dmitry Alexandrovich, a citizen of Ukraine and a Ukrainian by origin, a true son of the heroic Russian people, swear that I will not stand aside and I will not lay down arms until the last Ukrainian conscious fascist bastard on our land has been destroyed, for the burnt towns and villages, for Lugansk, Donetsk, and Slavyansk, for the residents of Odessa on 2nd May, for the death of our women and children, for the torture and humiliation of my people,

I, Dygovbrodsky, Dmitry Alexandrovich, a citizen of Ukraine and a Ukrainian by origin, swear, to revenge the Ukrainian nazis without mercy and without rest, blood for blood, death for death. I pledge to assist the Army of Novorossiya by all means at my disposal to kill the insane Ukrainian radicals, with my own life. I pledge to destroy the Ukrainian thugs wherever I go, every minute of my life, because this fascist country has no right to exist.

I, Dygovbrodsky, Dmitry Alexandrovich, a citizen of Ukraine and a Ukrainian by origin, swear, that I would rather die in a fierce fight with the enemy than to let myself, my family, my land and all the people of Novorossiya be enslaved by a fascist Banderite government.

This baby girl and this woman have been killed by the Kiev punitive forces in Gorlovka. I will not forget this. And if I do forget about them, may God forget about me.”

Christina, 24 and her 10-month-old daughter Kira killed in Horlivka on Sunday, July 27, 2014  as a result of cover shelling of the Ukrainian heavy mortars.

Image: Christina, 24 and her 10-month-old daughter Kira killed in Horlivka on Sunday, July 27, 2014 as a result of cover shelling of the Ukrainian heavy mortars.

As morally deplorable as Israel’s relentless attacks on Gaza are and despite a massive financial appropriation for war weapons to be used on a defenseless Palestinian population, the odds are good that the US will not go directly to war in that conflict.

The odds, however, favor a more-than-proxy role for the US military (aka NATO) with regard to Ukraine that begins with the required demonization of Russian President Vladimir Putin.   Just as the American government needed to thoroughly trash its history with Saddam Hussein and the name of Mummar Qaddafi in order to justify its attacks on their beleaguered nations, the first order of business for the US, prior to even a limited strike, is to make Putin an enemy of peace, a villain of democracy, a disreputable thug, a threat to the international order who needs to be permanently eliminated.   Of the utmost importance is to eliminate any recollection of Putin’s credit for stopping a US bombing campaign on Syria in August, 2013.

Alas, however, US and EU supporters of the Kiev government have to have been exceedingly frustrated that Putin has not taken the bait with the massacres in Odessa and Mariupol or the vicious attacks on the Donbas and Slavyansk or the ensuing humanitarian crisis with an estimated 40,000 refugees that have now crossed the border into Russia.  Putin’s reluctance to respond in kind with military force is rooted in the awareness that the US/NATO  forces were crouched, waiting for a slip, an opportunity to pounce, if Russia committed itself to what would be construed as an ‘invasion’ of the sovereign country of Ukraine.

Even as the rebel strongholds of east Ukraine continued to suffer with Luhansk, a city of 400,000 near the Russian border said to be completely surrounded by government forces, without electricity or running water and being shelled for more than the last week and as its link with Donetsk, a city of one million which has experienced heavy artillery shelling, has been broken, Putin continues to resist the provocation with measured statements and remains in the background.

What would it take, how hard would Putin need to be pushed to initiate a massive rescue of the Russian speaking population now under a vicious siege and respond with the Russian Army?  If the appalling violence on civilians throughout east Ukraine was not sufficient to move Putin, then another scenario must be connived  – preferably a hellacious deed where he could be universally reviled as the culprit.

And as the American mainstream media continues to inundate the public with a heightened barrage of repetitious anti-Putin vitriol since the downing of Malaysia 17 on July 17th  , media comments focus on a build up of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border but nary a mention of the carnage, suffering and critically deteriorating life – death conditions in Ukraine.

How the ground work is laid for creating public contempt against a leader who does not fall into the US orb can be found in the New York Times article of July 17th  (within hours on the day of the crash) entitled “Jetliner Explodes over Ukraine; Struck by Missile Officials Say” .  While the headline referred to ‘officials,’ the article actually quoted no such official while the “officials” in the headline remained anonymous throughout so the public not only does not know who the ‘officials’ were but whether, in truth, any such officials actually exists.  Why would such ‘officials,’ Ukrainian or American, need to remain anonymous?  If the proof is there, let’s have it and kudos to the officials who keep the public informed, right?

Here’s where it gets interesting – stay with me on this:   The Times, again within hours of the crash, reported that the jet had been “blown out of the sky at 33,000 feet by what Ukrainian and American officials described as a Russian-made anti-aircraft missile.”   Where did the unnamed Ukrainian official get his information that a Russian made missile was responsible?  Presumably since Ukraine has yet to enter the space age with its own satellite resources, the Ukrainian official received his information from an American official within hours of the crash, both of whom then unambiguously assured the NY Times that a Russian made missile was responsible.

The Times goes on to state that “American intelligence and military officials said the plane had been destroyed by a Russian SA-series missile, based on surveillance satellite data that showed the final trajectory and impact of the missile but not its point of origin.”   Aha! And so the Times informs us that here is the irrefutable evidence that hours after the crash and in an active war zone, there is confirmation that not only was a Russian made missile responsible but specifically that a Russian SA-series missile was responsible.   Perhaps the aforementioned surveillance satellite data is able to detail exactly what type of missile is airborne.

So the Times further informs that not only a “Russian SA-series missile” caused the crash but that information on the day of the crash was “based on surveillance satellite data’ and that the presumably irrefutable satellite data even ‘showed the final trajectory and impact of the missile.”  Double Aha!   This is not only significant that very specific, detailed satellite imagery exists but even somewhat earth-shattering news because to date, no ‘surveillance satellite data’ has ever been released by the US government.  And yet if the satellite data existed, why didn’t the Times publish the images?  Where is that surveillance satellite data and why has any further reference to that data disappeared from public discourse?

The significance here is that accusations against Putin continue from a wide assortment of US and international corporate media elites based on the erroneous, if not deceptive fabrications reported by the NY Times as fact.

Not only did the NY Times fail to fulfill its journalistic responsibility to print the facts but they obviously did not bother to confirm the source for their surveillance satellite data quote or request copies of that data for their own independent review.   They literally took the word of a government official whose identity the Times chose to withhold from the public that such data existed; inflammatory information which can only serve to directly escalate tensions in that already war-torn part of the world.   And what consequences, if any, lie ahead for a conveniently unnamed US  ‘official’ who spread totally irresponsible, unsubstantiated hogwash as fact?  Will any Congressional committee investigate before the launching of any missiles occur?

Now if those ‘officials’ actually had the goods on Russia, you can bet that the surveillance satellite data would have dominated prime time,  a front page story for days with great fanfare on MSNBC, maybe even a President Obama power point presentation out of the Oval Office.   Just imagine the hullabaloo but it’s not going to happen because it may be safe to assume that those satellite images do not prove what those anonymous US ‘officials’ claimed.

One noteworthy example of the west’s character assassination on Putin appeared in the July 26th edition of the well-respected British periodical The Economist in an (unsigned) editorial entitled A Web of Lies . While the date of the article was 9 days after the July 17th downing of MH 17, the article had to, given editorial and bureaucratic necessities, have been written at least several days prior to July 26th, less than a week after the crash and without adequate time to determine what had occurred, to conduct a fact-based research effort and to prepare a credible assortment of possible options  – but that would have been a journalism of critical thinking and required a commitment to unraveling government spin.

Instead the Economist initiated a hatchet job on Putin accusing the Russians of a ‘concocted propaganda about fascists running Kiev.” Seriously. Are Economist editorial writers so far out of the loop that they are unaware that neo-nazis hold high level positions like Deputy Prime minister and Secretary of National Security among others within the Kiev government?    With no mention of the February coup that ousted a democratically elected President, the Economist suggested that a ‘high court’s worth of circumstantial evidence points to the conclusion that pro-Russian separatists fired a surface-to-air missile’ thereby holding Putin responsible for the alleged actions of the ‘separatists’.   Apparently the periodical’s legal counsel failed to inform its editorial writers that circumstantial evidence is still circumstantial regardless of the court of jurisdiction.   Inflammatory comments like the Russian people are ‘intoxicated by his brand of anti-western propaganda’ and ‘Mr. Putin’s Russia is fundamentally antagonistic” failed to provide any specifics to support their allegation – appearing without any sense of responsibility that its editorial was provoking a situation which needs no further provocation.

If there was any thought that the prestigious Economist with a partial ownership by the Rothschild, Cadbury and Agnelli families was above stooping, consider its support for the Vietnam war, the Iraq invasion, military action in Afghanistan, Bill Clinton’s impeachment, free trade and globalization and as a neoliberal economic journal, a central bank to support the vagaries of an international financial industry.

While the article’s blueprint may be from a boilerplate file of insults and repudiations that might be applied to any demon the US/Uk/EU/NATO identify as worthy of assault, in its rush to judgment, the Economist implemented an unprofessional technique of name calling and personal attacks while The Times presented unsubstantiated fiction as fact, both  flagrant attempts to damage Putin’s public standing.   Both publications unabashedly used their prestige to assail one man’s reputation as more important than a respect for the integrity of its own publication and psyching its reader base to disproportionately alter previously held opinions or to so blatantly manipulate public opinion is what propaganda is all about.  The readership of both the Economist and The Times deserve a better quality of reporting than that of a gossip rag off the supermarket rack and, most importantly, reflects poorly on the democratic ideals that both publications purport to support.

By sending vast amounts of military aid to Israel, members of the US Congress, President George W. Bush, President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel have aided and abetted the commission of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials and commanders in Gaza.

An individual can be convicted of a war crime, genocide or a crime against humanity [PDF] in the ‘International Criminal Court (ICC) if he or she “aids, abets or otherwise assists” in the commission or attempted commission of the crime, “including providing the means for its commission.”

There is growing evidence that Israeli leaders and commanders have committed the following war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity as defined in the Rome Statute for the ICC. US military aid has aided, abetted and assisted the commission of these crimes by providing Israel with the military means to commit them.

During Operation Protective Edge, Israeli forces again used the Dahiye Doctrine, which, according to the UN Human Rights Council [Goldstone] Report [PDF], involves “the application of disproportionate force and causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations.”

A summary of Israeli leaders’ extensive crimes is presented below.

US military aid to Israel

According to the Congressional Research Service, in 2007, the Bush Administration agreed to provide Israel with $30 billion [PDF] in military assistance from 2009 to 2018, provided in annual increments of $3.1 billion. During his March 2013 visit to Israel, Obama pledged that the US would continue to provide Israel with multi-year commitments of military aid subject to the approval of Congress.

Since 2012, the US has sent $276 million worth of weapons and munitions to Israel, not including exports of military transport equipment and high technologies. From January to May 2014, the US transferred to Israel almost $27 million for rocket launchers, $9.3 million worth of parts of guided missiles and nearly $762,000 for bombs, grenades and munitions of war.

On July 20, 2014, Israel requested additional ammunition, including 140mm tank rounds and 40mm illumination grenades, and the Defense Department approved the sale three days later. It came from a $1 billion stockpile of ammunition the US military stores in Israel for that country’s use; it is called War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel. In early August 2014, both houses of Congress overwhelmingly passed, and Obama signed, an appropriation of $225 billion for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system, which has also been used in Gaza. The Senate vote was unanimous. With no debate, the House of Representatives voted 395 to 8 to approve the deal.

Here is a summary of the crimes, as defined in the Rome Statute, Israeli leaders have committed and US leaders have aided and abetted:

War crimes

(1) Willful killing: Israeli forces have killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians (more than 400 children and over 80% civilians). Israel used 155-millimeter artillery, which, according to Human Rights Watch, is “utterly inappropriate in a densely populated area, because this kind of artillery is considered accurate if it lands anyplace within a 50-meter radius.”

(2) Willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health: Nearly 10,000 people, 2,500 of them children, have been wounded. Naban Abu Shaar told the Daily Beast that the dead bodies from what appeared to be a “mass execution” in Khuza’a looked like they were “melted” and were piled on top of each other; assault rifle bullet casings found in the house were marked “IMI” (Israel Military Industries). UNICEF said the Israeli offensive has had a “catastrophic and tragic impact” on children in Gaza; about 373,000 children have had traumatic experiences and need psychological help. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said: “There’s a public health catastrophe going on. You know, most of the medical facilities in Gaza are non-operational.”

(3) Unlawful and wanton, extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity: Tens of thousands of Palestinians have lost their homes. More than 1,300 buildings were destroyed and 752 were severely damaged. Damage to sewer and water infrastructure has affected two-thirds of Gazans. On July 20, Israeli forces virtually flattened the small town of Khuza’a; one man counted 360 shell attacks in one hour. Reconstruction of Gaza is estimated to cost $6 billion. Israel shrunk Gaza’s habitable land mass by 44 percent, establishing a 3 km “no-go” zone for Palestinians; 147 square miles of land will be compressed into 82 square miles. Oxfam described the level of destruction as “outrageous … much worse than anything we have seen in previous [Israeli] military operations.”

(4) Willfully depriving a prisoner of war or a civilian the rights of fair and regular trial: Nearly 2,000 Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces during July 2014, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Center for Studies. Prisoners include 15 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, about 240 children, dozens of women, journalists, activists, academics and 62 former prisoners previously released in a prisoner exchange. Israeli forces executed many prisoners after arrest, either by directly firing on them, refusing to allow treatment or allowing them to bleed to death. More than 445 prisoners are being held without charge or trial under administrative detention.

(5) Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population, civilian objects, or humanitarian vehicles, installations and personnel: “The civilian population in the Gaza Strip is under direct attack,” reads a joint declaration of over 150 international law experts. Israeli forces violated the principle of “distinction,” which forbids deliberate attacks on civilians or civilian objects. Israeli forces bombed 142 schools (89 run by the UN), including six UN schools in which civilians were taking refuge. Israeli forces shot and killed fleeing civilians (warnings, which must effectively give civilians time to flee before bombing, do not relieve Israel from its legal obligations not to target civilians). Israeli forces repeatedly bombed Gaza’s only power plant and other infrastructure, which are “beyond repair.” Israeli forces bombed one-third of Gaza’s hospitals, 14 primary healthcare clinics and 29 ambulances. At least five medical staff were killed and tens of others were injured.

(6) Intentionally launching attacks with knowledge they will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or long-term severe damage to the natural environment, if they are clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage: The principle of “proportionality” forbids disproportionate and excessive civilian casualties compared to the claimed military advantage gained in the attack. The Dahiye Doctrine directly violates this principle. Responding to Hamas’ rockets with 155-millimeter artillery is disproportionate. Although nearly 2,000 Palestinians (over 80 percent civilians) have been killed, 67 Israelis (all but three of them soldiers) have been killed. The coordinates of all UN facilities were repeatedly communicated to the Israeli forces; they nevertheless bombed them multiple times. Civilians were attacked in Shuja’iyyah market.

(7) Attacking or bombarding undefended towns, villages, dwellings or buildings, or intentionally attacking religious, educational and medical buildings, which are not military objectives: On July 20, Israeli forces virtually flattened the small town of Khuza’a; one man counted 360 shell attacks in one hour. Israeli forces bombed 142 schools (89 run by the UN), one-third of Gaza’s hospitals, 14 primary healthcare clinics, and 29 ambulances. Israeli shelling completely destroyed 41 mosques and partially destroyed 120 mosques.

Genocide

(a) With the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group: Palestinians, including primarily civilians, and Palestinian infrastructure necessary to sustain life were deliberately targeted by Israeli forces.

(b) The commission of any of the following acts

(i) killing members of the group: Israeli forces killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians.
(ii) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group: Israeli forces wounded 10,000 Palestinians.
(iii) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its destruction in whole or in part: Israeli forces devastated Gaza’s infrastructure, knocking out Gaza’s only power plant, and destroying homes, schools, buildings, mosques and hospitals.

Crimes against humanity

(A) The commission of murder as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population: Israeli forces relentlessly bombed Gaza for one month, killing nearly 2,000 Palestinians, more than 80 percent of whom were civilians. Israeli forces intentionally destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure, knocking out Gaza’s only power plant, and destroying homes, schools, buildings, mosques and hospitals.

(B) Persecution against a group or collectivity based on its political, racial, national, ethnic or religious character, as part of a widespread or systematic attack against any civilian population: Israeli forces killed, wounded, summarily executed, and administratively detained Palestinians, Hamas forces and civilians alike. Israel forces intentionally destroyed the infrastructure of Gaza, populated by Palestinians. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: “the massive death and destruction in Gaza have shocked and shamed the world.” He added the repeated bombing of UN shelters facilities in Gaza was “outrageous, unacceptable and unjustifiable.”

(C) The crime of apartheid (inhumane acts committed in the context of an institutional regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another racial group, with the intent to maintain that regime): Ali Hayek, head of Gaza’s federation of industries representing 3,900 businesses that employ 35,000 people, said: “After 30 days of war, the economic situation has become, like, dead. It seems the occupation intentionally destroyed these vital factories that constitute the backbone of the society.” Israel maintains an illegal barrier wall that encroaches on Palestinian territory and builds illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian lands. Israel keeps Gazans caged in what many call “the world’s largest open air prison.” Israel controls all ingress and egress to Gaza, limits Gazans’ access to medicine, subjects Palestinians to arbitrary arrest, expropriates their property, maintains separate areas and roads, segregated housing, different legal and educational systems for Palestinians and Jews and prevents mixed marriages. Only Jews, not Palestinians, have the right to return to Israel-Palestine.

Collective punishment

Although the Rome Statute does not include the crime of collective punishment, it is considered a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which constitutes a war crime. Collective punishment means punishing a civilian for an offense he or she has not personally committed; it forbids reprisals against civilians and their property (civilian objects).

Ostensibly to rout out Hamas fighters, Israel has wreaked unprecedented devastation on the people of Gaza, killing nearly 2,000 people (more than 80 percent of them civilians) and destroying much of the infrastructure of Gaza. This constitutes collective punishment.

On August 5, 2014, veteran Israeli military advisor Giora Eiland advocated collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population, saying: “In order to guarantee our interests versus the other side’s demands, we must avoid the artificial, wrong and dangerous distinction between the Hamas people, who are ‘the bad guys,’ and Gaza’s residents, which are allegedly ‘the good guys.’” That is precisely the strategy Israel has employed during Operation Protective Edge.

Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands also constitutes collective punishment. Israel maintains effective control over Gaza’s land, airspace, seaport, electricity, water, telecommunications and population registry. Israel deprives Gazans of food, medicine, fuel and basic services.

Prospects for criminal accountability

Both Israel and the US have refused to ratify the Rome Statute. But if Palestine were a party to the statute, the ICC could exercise jurisdiction over crimes committed by Israelis and Americans in Palestinian territory. The ICC could also take jurisdiction if the UN Security Council refers the matter to the ICC, or if the ICC prosecutor initiates an investigation of the crime. The US would veto any Security Council referral to the ICC. And the ICC prosecutor has not initiated an investigation. So the question is whether Palestine can ratify the statute, thereby becoming a party to the ICC.

In 2009, the Palestinian National Authority filed a declaration [PDF] with the ICC accepting the court’s jurisdiction. In 2012, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state. During the present war, the Palestinian minister of justice and the deputy minister of justice both submitted documents to the ICC indicating that the 2009 declaration is still valid. On August 5, 2014, the Palestinian minister of foreign affairs met with officials from the ICC and inquired about the procedures for Palestine to become a party to the statute.

On July 25, 2014, a French lawyer filed a complaint with the ICC on behalf of the Palestinian justice minister. Citing Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian territories, Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and the ongoing military operations there, the complaint alleges that Israel committed war crimes and other crimes. The Palestinian government has not formally commented on this complaint.

On July 23, 2014, the UN Human Rights Council established a commission of inquiry into Israeli violations of international human rights and international humanitarian law. The resolution also called on parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to convene and respond to the alleged violations. That convention requires parties to prosecute violators. Countries can bring foreign nationals to justice for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity under the well-established doctrine of universal jurisdiction. Genocide charges could also be brought under the Genocide Convention, to which both Israel and the United States are parties. That convention also punishes complicity in genocide; US leaders’ provision of military aid would constitute complicity.

Although the Israeli and US governments continue to maintain that Israel has only acted in self-defense against Hamas’ terrorism, the weight of world opinion points in the opposite direction. There is overwhelming opposition to Israeli aggression in Gaza and calls for justice and accountability.

Both Israeli and US leaders must be criminally prosecuted for committing and aiding and abetting these crimes.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her next book, “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues,” will be published in September.

The US has pledged assistance for victims of and even possible “airstrikes” against terrorists who have surrounded and threaten to eradicate thousands of religious minorities in Iraq. However, the terrorists themselves are a product of US foreign policy in the Middle East and North Africa, and instrumental in achieving Western objectives across the region. Punitive strikes and aid to the victims of what is essentially a Western mercenary army is part of maintaining plausible deniability. 

The terror hordes originated from NATO territory and have inundated Syria, Iraq, and now Lebanon. The goal of this well funded, heavily armed, professionally organized mercenary force is clearly to supplant pro-Iranian political and military fronts across Tehran’s arc of influence – from Baghdad to Damascus, to Lebanon and Hezbollah along the Mediterranean. In the process, the heavily indoctrinated rank and file have committed horrific atrocities ranging from rape and torture to mass executions and sectarian genocide. While such war crimes have been taking place in Syria since 2011, it is becoming increasingly difficult to cover up similar crimes beyond Syria’s borders under narratives of “civil war” linked to the so-called “Arab Spring.”

Image: ISIS began its invasion into Iraqi territory from NATO-member Turkey, through Syria and riding in Toyota Hilux trucks – identical to those provided to “moderates” by the US State Department as part of multi-million dollar “non-lethal” aid packages. ISIS did not take these trucks from “moderates,” the moderates never existed to begin with. From the beginning, it was the West’s plan to raise a mercenary army of sectarian extremists operating under the banner of Al Qaeda. 

Instead, various stories have been used by the West to explain the appearance of ISIS in Iraq, the unprecedented scale of its operations, its convoys of matching vehicles and now military trucks, artillery, and even tanks. While the world is meant to believe ISIS spontaneously rose from the desert and “stole” billions in cash, weapons, and gear, a much simpler and documented explanation exists – Western state sponsorship -and state sponsorship that continues even as the West denounces the monsters of their own creation.

ISIS Origins 

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

Image: ISIS corridors begin in Turkey and end in Baghdad.  

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

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

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

Hersh’s 9-page 2007 report, “The Redirection” states explicitly:

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

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

West’s Feigned Concern Vs. Genuine Drive to Divide and Destroy 

Now, as the US feigns concern for religious minorities being slaughtered in front of the eyes of the world, it should be remembered that this conflict was engineered, set in motion, and perpetuated intentionally by the West for at least the last 7 years. The West knew the sectarian genocide now unfolding in Syria, Iraq, and soon in Lebanon was the inevitable result of their efforts to raise this regional mercenary force.

Western concern for religious minorities and the minimal provisions being made to “assist” them, is to maintain an increasingly tenuous plausible deniability. The feigned dithering of the West in the face of their growing mercenary force is to allow it to overrun the Iraqi government if possible, create more havoc within Syria, and spread the chaos to Lebanon.

ISIS is a standing army that requires state sponsorship – billions in cash, gear, weapons, and logistical, intelligence, and political support. While the West claims it has been handing over hundreds of millions to “moderates” in Syria, it has offered no plausible explanation as to who is providing ISIS and other Al Qaeda affiliates with even more resources enabling the extremists to displace these “moderates.” There is no other explanation besides the fact that there were never any moderates to begin with and that the US, UK, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and even Israel, have from the beginning, intentionally created a mercenary army composed of Al Qaeda extremists of unprecedented dimensions and capabilities.

The direct war with Iran the West has for so long attempted to sell the world is now clearly being replaced with an immense proxy war. It will feign ignorance to the genesis of ISIS and the fact that no other explanation beyond state-sponsorship exists to explain its continued success on the battlefield. Token airdrops and even “airstrikes” against ISIS positions will admittedly do nothing to disrupt ISIS’ ongoing campaigns across the region.

Depending on ISIS’ ability to achieve the West’s goals by proxy will determine the level of direct intervention the West seeks across the region. “Buffer zones” and “humanitarian interventions” to “relieve” areas plagued by ISIS will conveniently leave terrorist safe havens extending far beyond their current boundaries in NATO-member Turkey, Jordan, and northwest Iraq.

 On 15 August, India will mark its 67th anniversary of independence from Britain. It may seem strange to some that a nation would publicly celebrate its independence while at the same time it less publicly cedes it to outsiders. The gleaming façade of flags and fly-pasts will belie the fact that national security and independence do not depend on military might and patriotic speeches. Eye-catching celebrations will take place in Delhi and much of the media will mouth platitudes about the strength of the nation and its independence. The reality is, however, an ongoing, concerted attempt to undermine and destroy the very foundation and security of the country.

The bedrock of any society is its agriculture. Without food there can be no life. Without food security, there can be no genuine independence. A recent report by the organisation GRAIN revealed that small farms produce most of the world’s food and are more productively efficient than large farms [1]. Facilitated by an appropriate policy framework, small farmers could easily feed the global population. But small farmers are currently squeezed onto less than a quarter of the world’s farmland and the world is fast losing farms and farmers through the concentration of land into the hands big agribusiness and the rich and powerful. If nothing is done to reverse this trend, the world will lose its capacity to feed itself.

By definition, peasant agriculture prioritises food production for local and national markets as well as for farmers’ own families. Corporations take over scarce fertile land and prioritise non-food commodities or export crops for profit and markets far away that cater for the needs of the affluent. This process impoverishes local communities and brings about food insecurity. GRAIN concludes that the concentration of fertile agricultural land in fewer and fewer hands is directly related to the increasing number of people going hungry every day. 

 The Oakland Institute in the US recently stated that the first years of the 21st century will be remembered for a global land rush of nearly unprecedented scale [2]. An estimated 500 million acres, an area eight times the size of Britain, was reported bought or leased across the developing world between 2000 and 2011, often at the expense of local food security and land rights. This trend could eventually result in the permanent shift of farm ownership from family businesses to institutional investors and other consolidated corporate operations.

Monsanto in India

In India, small farms account for 92 percent of farms and occupy around 40 percent of all agricultural land. They form the bedrock of food production. However, there is a concerted effort to remove farmers from the land. Hundreds of thousands of farmers have taken their lives since 1997 and many more are experiencing economic distress or have left farming as a result of debt, a shift to (GM) cash crops and economic liberalisation [3].

Monsanto already controls the cotton industry in India and is increasingly shaping agri-policy and the knowledge paradigm by funding agricultural research in public universities and institutes. Its practices and colonisation of institutions have led to it being called the ‘contemporary East India Company’ [4], and regulatory bodies are now severely compromised and riddled with conflicts of interest where decision-making over GMOs are concerned [5].

In the meantime, Monsanto and the GM biotech sector forward the myth that GM food is necessary to feed the world’s burgeoning population. They are not. Aside from the review by GRAIN, the World Bank-funded International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge and Science for Development Report stated that smallholder, traditional farming (not GMOs) can deliver food security in low-income countries through sustainable agri-ecological systems [5].

The Standing Committee on Agriculture in Parliament unequivocally concluded that GM seeds and foods are dangerous to human, animal and environmental health and directed the former Government of Manmohan Singh to ban GMOs [6]. Despite such evidence and the recommendations to put a hold on open field GM trials by the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee, the push is on within official circles to give such trials the green light.

 Monsanto cannot be trusted

The GM biotech sector cannot be trusted. As its largest player, Monsanto is responsible for knowingly damaging people’s health and polluting the environment and is guilty of a catalogue of decades-long deceptive, duplicitous and criminal practices [7]. It has shown time and again its contempt for human life and the environment and that profit overrides any notion of service to the public, yet it continues to propagate the lie that it has humanity’s best interests at heart because its so-called GMO ‘frontier technology’ can feed the hungry millions.

 The sector attempts to control the ‘science’ around its products by carrying out inadequate, secretive studies of its own, placing restrictions on any independent research into its products and censoring findings that indicate the deleterious impacts of its products [8]. It has also faked data [9] and engages in attacking scientists who reach conclusions not to its liking [10,11]. It cannot demonstrate that yields are better, nutritional values are improved, health is not damaged or that harm to the environment does not occur with the adoption of GMOs. Independent studies and evidence, not inadequate industry funded or back ones, have indicated yields are often worse and herbicide use has increased [12,13,14], health is negatively impacted [15,16], soil is damaged [17] and biodiversity is undermined [18], among other things.

GRAIN found that around 56 percent of Russia’s agricultural output comes from family farms which occupy less than 9 percent of arable land. Russia does not need or want GM crops, which the Russian Prime Minister has described as amounting to little more than a form of biological warfare weapon [19]. And here lies the real heart of the matter. Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said that if you control oil you control nations, but if you control food you control people. GMOs are not needed to feed the world. Science cannot justify their use. They are a weapon.

 In India, there is a drive to remove small/family farms, which are capable of ensuring the nation’s food security, and eventually replace them with larger biotech-controlled monoculture farms with GM crops for Western styled processed-food supermarkets and export [20]. It is no surprise that the likes of Syngenta, Monsanto and Walmart had a direct hand in drawing up the Knowledge Initiative on Agriculture, which was in turn linked to the US sanctioning the opening up of India’s nuclear power sector.

 Despite India not being a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, US corporations are now actively involved in helping India develop its civil nuclear capabilities. Payback appears to come in the form of handing over the control of India’s agricultural land and food system to the US via that country’s biotech companies.

 GMOs and the bigger picture

Russia is correct to conflate bio-terror and GMOs. The oil-rich Rockefeller family set out to control global agriculture via the petrochemical-dependent ‘green revolution’. The destruction of traditional farmer-controlled agriculture was actively supported by the US government and its Trojan horse agritech corporations under the agenda set out by Kissinger. GMOs now represent the ultimate stranglehold over food via ‘terminator’ seed technology, seed patenting and intellectual property rights.

 Moreover, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Gates Foundation – which have teamed up with Monsanto in Africa – have long-standing concerns about overpopulation in ‘third world’ countries and how they could develop and threaten resources that the West has used to enrich itself with [21]. In fact, Monsanto now own the Epicyte gene, which causes sterility. What will be the ‘final solution’ for the likes of 600 million in India or millions in Africa or elsewhere who are to be removed from agriculture [22]? The eugenicists are knocking at the door.

 Despite compliant politicians and officials in high places who seem hellbent on capitulating to Monsanto and the US, many recognise the dangers associated with GMOs and are working hard to resist their introduction. However, they are attacked and accused of slowing down growth because of their resistance to GMOs [23]. Certain activists and civil organisations are also accused of working against the national interest by colluding with foreign interests to undermine ‘development’. The hypocrisy is blindingly obvious: the state itself has for a long time been colluding with foreign interests to undermine the basis of traditional agriculture.

The political backing for GMOs by the US State Department, the strategic position of the US GM biotech sector in international trade agreements and the push to get GMOs into India and to contaminate agriculture via open-field trials with the compliance of key officials and official bodies does not bode well. Independence is much more than military might, patriotic slogans and a self-congratulatory media-induced frenzy on a designated day each year. In terms of GMOs, Russia is aware of this. It is actively committed to putting the GMO genie back in the bottle [24]. Why isn’t India?

“It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity… The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?… A new star rises, the star of freedom in the east, a new hope comes into being, a vision long cherished materialises. May the star never set and that hope never be betrayed!” Jawaharlal Nehru from his “tryst with destiny” speech at Parliament House in New Delhi in 1947.

Notes

[1]http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4929-hungry-for-land-small-farmers-feed-the-world-with-less-than-a-quarter-of-all-farmland

[2]http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/sites/oaklandinstitute.org/files/OI_Report_Down_on_the_Farm.pdf

[3]http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/new-evidence-of-suicide-epidemic-among-indias-marginalised-farmers

[4]http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/07/monsanto-a-contemporary-east-india-company-and-corporate-knowledge-in-india/

[5]http://www.countercurrents.org/rodrigues120813.htm

[6]http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/Voices.php/2014/03/13/leaving-a-scorched-india?tempskin=basic

[7]http://www.wakingtimes.com/2014/06/20/complete-history-monsanto-worlds-evil-corporation/

[8]http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-scandal-the-long-term-effects-of-genetically-modified-food-on-humans/14570

[9]http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/Monsanto+’faked’+data+for+approvals+claims+its+ex-chief/1/83093.html

[10http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/12715-seralini-vs-fellous-a-gmo-libel-case-over-independent-expertise-and-science

[11]http://www.globalresearch.ca/gmo-researchers-attacked-evidence-denied-and-a-population-at-risk/5305324

[12]http://naturalsociety.com/breaking-new-usda-report-proves-environmental-impact-gmo-questionable/

[13] http://www.alternet.org/food/why-monsanto-wrong-about-gm-crop-promises

[14] http://fieldquestions.com/2013/02/09/bt-cotton-is-failing-blame-the-farmers/

[15] http://www.globalresearch.ca/potential-health-hazards-of-genetically-engineered-foods/8148

[16] http://www.gmoseralini.org/republication-seralini-study-science-speaks/

[17] http://www.psrast.org/soilecolart.htm

[18] http://gmo-journal.com/2011/06/17/loss-of-biodiversity-and-genetically-modified-crops/

[19] http://bodhita.com/russia-labels-gmo-foods-as-biological-warfare-weapon/

[20] http://www.bhoomimagazine.org/article/cash-food-will-strike-very-foundation-economy

[21] http://farmwars.info/?p=11879

[22] http://reimagining.cepa.lk/index.php/en/development-news/item/229-corporate-power-women-and-resistance-in-india-today-an-interview-with-arundhati-roy

[23] http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ngos-stance-on-development-projects-to-hit-growth-ib/article6105289.ece

[24] http://rt.com/op-edge/159948-gmo-food-russia-law/

In a report by the Sydney Morning Herald titled, “Julie Bishop says ‘petulant’ Russian sanctions reflect its lack of acceptance for role in MH17 disaster,” it claims:

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says Russia’s “petulant” trade sanctions on Australian food imports is yet another example of Moscow trying to evade responsibility for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

However, Bishop fails to indicate why Russia should or would accept responsibility for downing an aircraft when no evidence whatsoever even suggests such culpability. Canberra, Washington, London, and Brussels are citing dubious YouTube videos, Facebook, and other forms of “social media,” while Russia has provided radar and satellite pictures and has repeatedly called for and supported a proper, independent, impartial investigation into the incident.

Since no such investigation has been concluded, Julie Bishop is not citing the conclusions of such a process, but merely repeating baseless accusations. These are the same variety of baseless, tenuous lies the West used to sell interventions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria that have devastated entire regions of the planet and left well over a million innocent human beings dead.

This latest from Canberra is the continued leveraging and exploitation of human tragedy to advance a political agenda, not ascertain the truth or seek true justice. Australia’s latest comments represent the greater truth behind the West’s international agenda – that it is global anarchy dressed up as global order – the rule of the jungle sporting the fig leaf of “rule of law.”

Julie Bishop demands Russia take “responsibility,” but will she take responsibility for leveling baseless accusations against an entire nation? Defamatory accusations would be grounds for resignation – at least in an administration guided by justice and truth. Each day now that Bishop retains her post is an indictment against the government of Australia’s utter lack of both.

In the past twenty plus years, a new criminal sanction has found its way into statutes in at least forty plus states: a life sentence without the possibility of parole (LWOP). Although life sentences have been common in all states, there had always been a mechanism for releasing prisoners when it was determined that they had served long enough.

Some have argued that LWOP serves as an “alternative” to the death penalty, and that the LWOP option has the effect of reducing the number of death sentences. Yet we have seen the populations on death row continue to skyrocket at the same time that more and more people are sentenced to LWOP. In other words, the death penalty often serves as a lightening rod for criminal justice reformers, who tend to see anything less than death as humane. However, life without the possibility of parole is used as a sanction not only for capital cases, but as a sanction for a wide variety of offenses. No Western European Country has such a penalty except Britain, which has twenty or so people serving life without parole, whereas California has five thousand plus prisoners with LWOP and nationwide we have fifty thousand plus prisoners with LWOP. The United States has 40 plus states with LWOP laws. LWOP is costing the country hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

Life without the possibility of parole makes no allowances for changed behavior, or for reconsideration of the gravity of an offense. It throws away the key without mercy. Like the death penalty, it is a clear signal that “our” criminal justice system has given up any goal or possibility of rehabilitation. Although prisoners have continued to appeal to courts for redress, the limitations that have been placed on habeas corpus drastically limit legal appeals for wrongful imprisonment. In my many years of work with other prisoners, I have seen people change, and I have seen first hand the extent to which peoples lives are wasted in prison – through enforced idleness, abuse, neglect, and societal attitudes of revenge. As a society, we need to find a more productive way to deal with our outrage at violent crimes. By giving in to the appetite for revenge, our death – penalty and life without the possibility of parole system encourages media, politicians, prosecutors, police, prison guards, victims right groups, and others to appeal to what is arguably the most primitive strain in humanity.

l have worked closely with many prisoners’ families, whose lives are deeply and often irrevocably affected. Many human and civil rights organizations have documented the many ways the court and law enforcement systems are highly discriminatory and disproportionately punish poor people and people of color. What would Jesus do?

Present criminal justice policy demonstrates that we as a society do not believe that offenders can repent, show remorse, and work toward healing themselves and their relationships. When the weakest or most impoverished among us does not experience the support or sustaining balance of a healthy society, we are not a just society. Just as when survivors of serious crime are unheard, marginalized, or exploited, when offenders suffer the unending isolation of our prisons We can hardly lay claim to justice. In fact, any ideology that demands the intentional increase in suffering rather than its diminution can hardly lay claim to justice.

We as a society have imprisoned more than two million of our brothers and sisters and put in place structures and institutions that continue to punish and torture them for the entirety of their lives. Our comfort with punishment, revenge and torture should alarm us and make us ask ourselves profound questions about who we are as a people. We have legalized our desire for revenge in our criminal code. If this makes us uncomfortable, it should. How far should the state go to satisfy some peoples’ craving for revenge? ls legal murder through the death penalty and ”the other death penalty”- Life without the possibility of parole the end point? Do we still really believe that revenge brings balance to our communities? What would Jesus do?

In conclusion, I recognize that there are people who are so dangerous that they need to be separated from society, but they do not number in the millions. They may not even number in the thousands. Secure, humane institutions should be established where these relatively few individuals can live their lives safely separated from society, but always with the potential for repentance and possible reintegration. They should have every opportunity to develop themselves and contribute to society; they should be separated, but not punished or tortured. Whatever you think about the death penalty, which also includes life without the possibility of parole (LWOP); a system that will take life must first give justice. In other words, you cannot do a wrong thing in a right way.

Our vengeance-soaked culture is in desperate need of being called to higher moral and spiritual ground. Survivors of murder victims need to be free to do their grieving in natural, human ways not skewed and distorted by sensationalist media, opportunistic politicians, and cynical prosecutors. They do not need decades of being subjected to the sifting tides of the judicial systems appellate process in the futile search for closure” via another premeditated killing, this time by the state. What would ]esus do?

And finally, I acknowledge the difficulty in moving beyond revenge, punishment and torture, as we currently live in a violence – and revenge ridden culture. But just as the first step toward healing comes with truth telling, the first step advocates of social change must take is to articulate a different reality.

In order for a true discussion of forgiveness/ restorative justice to take place, all of us – not just survivors of crime – must learn to see those who commit crime as human beings. It is easy not to forgive or restore when applying the assumption that the person who has caused harm is less than human, incapable of doing otherwise or of changing for the better. Only by re-humanizing those who commit crime is forgiveness / restorative justice (healing) possible. Life without the possibility (LWOP) is a living death, and is cruel and most unusual to say the least.

What better prisoner to have in these slave factories than prisoners with life without the possibility of parole as there is no turnover rates to worry about! You can literally work prisoners to death.

I believe that every person has the potential to respond to God’s initiative. As a society, which claims to be largely “Christian” and/ or religious – we must create conditions that foster and nurture such an understanding. Life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) is incompatible with this vision. It removes hope from the lives of prisoners and their families and assumes that people’s lives are irredeemable. It also precludes the possibility of the society as a whole changing in its punitive, revengeful stance toward offenders. What would Jesus do?

Life without the possibility of parole (LWOP – ”The Other Death Penalty”) is the ultimate form of injustice carried out in the name of justice and is an offense to human decency and is in fact a blatant human rights violation.

A test of morality is what a society does to its’ prisoners…

Nature of the Prison System

The prison system in California has become a larger and larger economic force; guard unions have also become a larger political force.

The California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) is the second largest contributor to California political campaigns and a powerful lobbyist for prison expansion. CCPOA and guards organization in most other states now fund a number of retributive crime-victims groups that join the guards in lobbying for longer sentences, harsher prison conditions i.e., super-max housing units – SHU an expansion of the death penalty i.e., Life Without the Possibility of Parole also known as “The Other Death Penalty” – (LWOP).

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states:

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

In other words, the United States has not abolished slavery; it simply transferred it into the prisons.

Prison slavery in the form of “Involuntary Labor” is real, every day inside California and America in general (public and private). Are we okay with this as a so-called democratic society?

Correspondence: Troy T. Thomas, I-Lo1001, FAB2-209U
CSP-LAC PO. Box 4430
Lancaster, California 93539

On Saturday, at 10.19 am (Gazan time), and following the massacre at Rafah on Friday 1 August (one of numerous massacres against inhumanely contained and defenceless civilians since 8 July 2014), I notified the International Criminal Court of its obligations within its Charter and international law to prevent continuing genocide and ethnic cleansing in Palestine, and as follows, and also included the relevant full text for the articles specified:

2 August 2014

Dear Sir/Madam

Please accept the following email as notification for a claim to prevent continuing genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and to investigate “incremental genocide” (Prof. Ilan Pappé’s term) since 1947-8 of Palestinians.

In issuing this notification, specific reference is made to Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 25, 28, 29 of the Rome Statute (set out below), and for which evidence will follow. Some details and evidence of the genocide and ethnic cleansing are already with the various international bodies, institutions and human rights groups, and have been for some time.

In issuing this notification, specific reference is made to the current genocide and multiple crimes against humanity taking place once again in Gaza and against these captive civilians with children making up 60% of the captive and besieged population.

Please acknowledge receipt of this notification.

Yours Sincerely

Dr Joanne Maria McNally

Lawyer

Senior Lecturer, Post-doctoral independent Scholar, former External Examiner for Universities

Former EU-budget manager  in own name for self-initiated project to develop Erasmus-Lingua link for higher education students and staff between Universities in England and former GDR (1991 onwards)

 

This notification has not yet been acknowledged by the ICC.

On Monday 4 August 2014, at 13.19pm (Gazan time), I submitted a 23-page Claim to the ICC, and also requested acknowledgment of its receipt. This was submitted under Article 15 of the ICC on behalf of victims, for which the Prosecutor also has jurisdiction to open an investigation on behalf of victims. I submitted the claim on behalf of a 4-month old baby and two children (aged 5 and 6) murdered in Rafah on 1 August 2014. I also submitted it on behalf of a family from Khan Younis: twenty-five members of the family were assassinated on 20 July 2014, nineteen were children aged between 5 months and 14, and three were pregnant women. In the preliminaries, to the claim I also make reference to the cold-bloodied murder of two 15-year old boys on 15 May 2014 in Beitunia, West Bank, for the beginning of this recent time-line of genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

The claim includes statistics and pertinent information as available at 11pm 2 August 2014. It also includes a press release from the Ministry of Health of 23 July 2014 which described the dire situation and set out a list of atrocities against the civilian population on just one day and in one place in Gaza  – most of which constitute prima facie war crimes.

The claim is framed within the pertinent preambles of the United Nations Charter and the Statute of Rome, and makes direct reference to Articles within the court’s jurisdiction. The claim is framed by the historical context, the Israeli government’s stated policies and successive plans since the 1940s (including Plan Dalet), and also the geo-political and geo-economic tug-of-war that has been taking place since 2007 in connection with Gaza-marina 1 and Gaza-marina 2 gasfields, with reserves estimated by British Gas to be worth 4 billion dollars in 2000. Following “Operation Cast Lead”, the Israeli government has tried to seize the Palestinian gas in derogation of international law.

Amman, 5 August 2014

Petitioner/Representative/Claimant:         Dr JM McNally, British Lawyer

(Campaigner for Truth and Justice for former prisoners of war, including Maoris and Palestinians, put to work in mines beneath Auschwitz; Senior Lecturer; former Post-doctoral Leverhulme Fellow for Strategic Ambivalence 1929-1949; former External Examiner for Universities; EU-budget manager in own name for self-initiated project to develop Erasmus-Lingua link for higher education students and staff between Universities in England and former GDR (1991 onwards), Inventor of Creative Misbehaviour Approach as an alternative creativity and thinking tool which plays with “cognitive and affective dissonance” and shows how knowledge is not as integrated as we are led to believe (McNally, Creative Misbehaviour, 2000, p. 78)). Author of The Harvesting of Palestine, 2014).

Last week, Paul Krugman said too big to fail is over:

There was indeed a large-bank funding advantage during and for some time after the crisis, but it has now been diminished or gone away — maybe even slightly reversed. That is, financial markets are now acting as if they believe that future bailouts won’t be as favorable to fat cats as the bailouts of 2008.

This news is part of broader evidence that Dodd-Frank has actually done considerable good, on fronts from consumer protection to bank capitalization ….

But as David Dayen notes, Krugman’s stretching the facts:

The report [that Krugman relies on for his claim that too big to fail] doesn’t really say that future bailouts won’t be as favorable to the fat cats, or even that market participants believe that: it does say that large financial institutions would likely continue to enjoy lower funding costs than their counterparts in times of high credit risk (see page 40). Furthermore, the report so completely second-guesses itself that it shouldn’t be taken as evidence of anything, as the report itself states in numerous spots. Presumably a Nobel Prize winner has come across reports with muted conclusions before and would know not to get too far out in front of the facts by amplifying them.

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The report did not say that the advantage has “essentially disappeared.” GAO ran 42 models to try and assess the subsidy. In 2013, 18 of those models effectively tested positive for the subsidy, 8 tested negative, and 16 showed nothing. That’s fairly inconclusive, and not at all as definitive as Krugman makes it.

***

Gretchen Morgenson reported on the same study in the news, and managed to get it right, contrawhat Krugman thought he could get away with on the op-ed page.

(GAO’s) methodology was convoluted and its conclusions hardly definitive. The report said that while the big banks had enjoyed a subsidy during the financial crisis, that benefit “may have declined or reversed in recent years.” [...]

The trouble with this mishmash is that big bankers and even policy makers will cite these figures as proof that the problem of too-big-to-fail institutions has been resolved. Mary J. Miller, the departing under secretary for domestic finance at the United States Treasury, wrote in a letter about the report: “We believe these results reflect increased market recognition of what should now be evident — Dodd-Frank ended ‘too big to fail’ as a matter of law.”

Not exactly. As the report noted, the value of the implied guarantee varies, skyrocketing with economic stress (such as in 2008) and settling back down in periods of calm.

In other words, were we to return to panic mode, the value of the implied taxpayer backing would rocket. The threat of high-cost taxpayer bailouts remains very much with us.

There’s more: Morgenson actually watched the hearing about the report, and found credible questioning of GAO’s methodology, in particular the narrow way in which they defined the subsidy as entirely about lower debt costs, instead of the lower cost of equity and benefits to stockholders. I’ve also heard that bond prices, with their focus on immediate-term risk, are simply an inaccurate indicator of short-term borrowing costs, particularly those in the securities lending markets.

And a few days after Krugman wrote his piece, the Washington Post reported:

Eleven of the biggest U.S. banks have no viable plan for unwinding their businesses without rattling the economy, federal regulators said Tuesday, ordering the firms to address their shortcomings by July 2015 or face tougher rules.

***

The Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. called the banks’ resolution plans, or “living wills,” “unrealistic or inadequately supported.” They said the plans “fail to make, or even to identify, the kinds of changes in firm structure and practices that would be necessary to enhance the prospects for” an orderly resolution.

***

“Each plan being discussed today is deficient and fails to convincingly demonstrate how, in failure, any one of these firms could overcome obstacles to entering bankruptcy without precipitating a financial crisis,” Thomas M. Hoenig, vice chairman of the FDIC, said in a statement Tuesday.

***

Regulators, especially Hoenig at the FDIC, worry that banks are generally larger, more complicated and more interconnected than they were before the meltdown.

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And the average notional value of derivatives for the three largest firms exceeded $60 trillion at the end of 2013, up 30 percent from the start of the crisis.

***

“There have been no fundamental changes in their reliance on wholesale funding markets, bank-like money-market funds, or repos [repurchase agreements], activities that have proven to be major sources of volatility.”

David Stockman – Ronald Reagan’s budget director – writes:

The giant regulatory diversion known as Dodd-Frank has actually permitted the TBTF banks to get even bigger and more dangerous. Indeed, JPM and BAC were taken to their present unmanageable size by regulators—ostensibly fighting the last outbreak of TBTF—who imposed or acquiesced to the shotgun mergers of late 2008.

So now these same regulators, who have spent four years stumbling around in the Dodd-Frank puzzle palace confecting thousands of pages of indecipherable regulations, slam their wards for not having sufficiently robust “living wills”. C’mon! This is just another Washington double-shuffle.

The very idea that $2 trillion global banking behemoths like JPMorgan or Bank of America could be entrusted to write-up standby plans for their own orderly and antiseptic bankruptcy is not only just plain stupid; it also drips with political cynicism and cowardice. If they are too big to fail, they are too big to exist. Period.

And Michael Winship notes:

In The New York Times, columnist Gretchen Morgenson writes, “Six years after the financial crisis, it’s clear that some institutions remain too complex and interconnected to be unwound quickly and efficiently if they get into trouble.“It is also clear that this status confers financial benefits on those institutions. Stated simply, there is an enormous value in a bank’s ability to tap the taxpayer for a bailout rather than being forced to go through bankruptcy.”

Morgenson adds, “Were we to return to panic mode, the value of the implied taxpayer backing would rocket. The threat of high-taxpayer bailouts remains very much with us.”

Financial professionals echo her concern. Camden Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America, notes in American Banker (not without self-interest) that while the size of big bank subsidies may have “diminished since the crisis … the larger point is that the biggest and riskiest financial firms still have a competitive advantage in the marketplace. They can still access subsidized funding more cheaply than smaller financial firms because creditors believe the government would bail them out in the event of a crisis. No matter how you cut it, a subsidy is a subsidy. And this subsidy is one that puts the American taxpayer on the hook. …

“Meanwhile, the largest financial institutions are only getting bigger. According to our analysis of call report data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., since the end of 2009, the assets of the six largest financial institutions have grown each year. Their total assets rose from $6.41 trillion in 2009 to $7.22 trillion in 2014 — a total increase of $800 billion. The top six banks are also responsible for more than half of the $2 trillion increase in total U.S. banking assets in the years since 2009.”

***

As Senators Brown and Vitter stated, “Today’s report confirms that in times of crisis, the largest megabanks receive an advantage over Main Street financial institutions. Wall Street lobbyists may try to spin that the advantage has lessened. But if the Army Corps of Engineers came out with a study that said a levee system works pretty well when it’s sunny — but couldn’t be trusted in a hurricane — we would take that as evidence we need to act.”

We’ve noted for years that, the Dodd-Frank financial “reform” bill is a joke which:

  • Was just a P.R. stunt which didn’t really change anything

In the light of recent developments pertaining to MH17 , it is important to focus on Tun Dr. Mahathir’s earlier statement  concerning the disappearance of flight MH370 as reported in the IBT in May 2014 

*     *     *

An influential figure in Malaysia’s ruling party has claimed crucial information about missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is being concealed by the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the former Malaysian prime minister, said the current search off the coast of western Australia is a waste of time and money.

“The plane is somewhere, maybe without MAS [Malaysia Airlines] markings,” he said. “It is a waste of time and money to look for debris or oil slick or to listen for pings from the black box.”

Dr Mahathir added that the plane’s disappearance on 8 March was “most likely not an ordinary crash after fuel was exhausted”.

Dr Mahathir, now aged 88, was prime minister for 22 years from 1981.

As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, he wrote in his personal blog that it was unlikely that the  ”pilots made a soft landing in rough seas and then quietly went down with the aircraft.”

“Someone is hiding something. It is not fair that MAS and Malaysia should take the blame,” he added.

Dr Mahathir suggested the CIA had knowledge of the Boeing 777′s disappearance but was not sharing it with Malaysia. He claimed that government agencies, along with Boeing, had the ability to remotely take control of commercial airliners.

“For some reason, the media will not print anything that involves Boeing or the CIA,” he said.

Dr Mahathir wrote that planes “don’t disappear” with the “powerful communications systems, radio and satellite tracking and filmless cameras which operate almost indefinitely, and possess huge storage capacities”.

“Can it not be that the pilots of MH370 lost control of their aircraft after someone directly or remotely activated the equipment for seizure of control of the aircraft?”

In a blog post last month, Dr Mahathir blamed Boeing for the crash, questioning whether the plane had ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean.

Critical of the West

During his time in power, Dr Mahathir was often critical of Western countries, including the US. He once suggested that the attacks on the World Trade Centre were staged as an excuse to mount attacks on the Muslim communities.

Although prime minister Najib Razak said last week that nobody knew what happened on board, or precisely where the plane was, Dr Mahathir’s speculations and comments about MH370 reflect deep suspicion of foreign involvement in the investigation and search.

The current Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak previously described the location by satellite of purported MH370 debris in the Indian Ocean as “hard to believe”.

1. Binyamin Netanyahu claims to speak for the majority of world Jewry although, in fact, he represents only a minority of Jewish Israelis and Americans – those who support his right-wing, Likud Party. To many others, particularly in Europe, he is considered a US-financed, Zionist rabble-rouser with an extremist political agenda that rejects any Palestinian state and requires the ‘transfer’ of all indigenous Arabs out of former Palestine.

2. Israeli policies such as the illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem (to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state); the 8 year blockade of essential supplies into Gaza; the mis-labelling of exported fruit and vegetables to Europe and the horrific killing of hundreds of defenceless women and children in Gaza – all have the effect of exacerbating antisemitism around the world. The agenda of the Israeli government against the indigenous Arab population being the primary driver of anti-Jewish feeling both in Europe and globally.

3. Netanyahu is well aware of this link and the detrimental effect of his policies on the security of Jewish communities worldwide, and on public opinion, but he also knows that the greater the increase in antisemitism the more French, British and other Jewish nationals will be forced to sell their homes and reluctantly leave the countries of their birth to seek sanctuary in Israel. This is a key principle of the Netanyahu government agenda that all American, European and diaspora Jews should be ‘persuaded’ to emigrate to the Israeli state – together with their assets.

4. However, this agenda is also partly supported by millions of evangelist, Christian Zionists in America, who believe in the literal word of the bible and whose goal is for all 14 million Jews in the world to be relocated to the Israeli state where they can be baptised and converted, en masse, into the Christian church! The Israeli government ministers smile knowingly behind their hands as they accept this support – without which their economy would collapse.

5. The Israel lobby in America comprises over a dozen organisations including AIPAC, the primary Zionist political pressure group with links into the White House that heavily influences US foreign policy around the world.

However, for many integrated European Jewish communities, Mr Netanyahu’s alleged war crimes in Gaza plus his violent, expansionist agenda with its consequent rise in antisemitism, are very bad news indeed.

The head of UNICEF said yesterday, that 392 children had been killed in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, and that about 370,000 children had been traumatised.

A boycott of academic and trading links with the state of Israel now seems to be inevitable consequence of the atrocities carried out in Gaza.

Veteran national-security reporter Bill Gertz, in major news at The Washington Free Beacon, headlines today that “Russian Strategic Bombers Conduct More Than 16 Incursions of U.S. Air Defense Zones,” and reports that “Russian strategic nuclear forces appear to be ‘trying to test our air defense reactions, or our command and control systems,’ said an official familiar with reports of the incursions.

‘These are not just training missions,’ the official added.” Furthermore, says Gertz, “Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, expressed concerns about the increase in Russian strategic nuclear activities during a speech in Washington June 18. Haney said Russian nuclear activities coincided with recent tensions over Ukraine and included the test launch of six air-launched cruise missiles in a show of force. … ‘Additionally, we have seen significant Russian strategic aircraft deployments in the vicinity of places like Japan, Korea, and even our West Coast,’ Haney said at a defense industry breakfast. ‘Russia continues to modernize its strategic capabilities across all legs of its triad, and open source [reporting] has recently cited the sea trials of its latest [missile submarine] testing of its newest air-launched cruise missile and modernization of its intercontinental ballistic force to include its mobile capability in that area,’ he said.”

On its own border, Russia is also preparing for war, according to BurkoNews, which reported on June 22nd that “From 27th of May to 5th of June the second command-staff exercises took place in the Western military district in Russia on the border with Ukraine. The nuclear-capable ISKANDER-M missile launchers were used during these exercises.”

Yesterday, Paul Craig Roberts argued that unless Russia soon fulfills on its thus-far merely verbal threat to stop supplying gas to Europe (now that the new Obama-controlled Ukraine is hostile to Russia and already owes Russia billions for the gas that has transited and continues to transit through Ukraine to Europe), there will be an increasingly likely if not already inevitable nuclear war. He closes: “If Putin does not put his foot down hard and make clear to the Europeans what the stakes are, Washington will succeed in its determination to drive the world to war, and ‘exceptional and indispensable’ Americans will die along with all the rest.” Roberts argues that to pull the plug on Europe’s economies right now will be far less damaging than a nuclear war between NATO and Russia would be, and that whereas Russia will suffer economic hardship from the loss of the European market, that’s nothing compared to the immense losses that Russia, like the West, will suffer from a nuclear war.

One might add here that whereas Europe’s losses then would be only for a year or two, while alternate energy-sources are coming on-stream to replace Russian gas, the losses from a nuclear war would be permanent, and would be virtually everywhere.

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

The following report was published by the News Straits Times,  Malaysia’s MSM newspaper, quoting previously published articles by Global Research pertaining to the downing of MH17.

This constitutes and important development.

It breaks the official consensus to the effect that Russia was behind the downing of the aircraft.  The Malaysian MSM has presented a viewpoint which goes against that upheld by the Obama Administration

Listed below are selected GR references pertaining to the downing of MH17 by a military aircraft, which were used as source material for the NST article.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research Editor, August 7, 2014


US Analysts conclude MH17 downed by aircraft

By Haris Hussain 

KUALA LUMPUR: INTELLIGENCE analysts in the United States had already concluded that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by an air-to-air missile, and that the Ukrainian government had had something to do with it.

This corroborates an emerging theory postulated by local investigators that the Boeing 777-200 was crippled by an air-to-air missile and finished off with cannon fire from a fighter that had been shadowing it as it plummeted to earth.

In a damning report dated Aug 3, headlined “Flight 17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts”, Associated Press reporter Robert Parry said “some US intelligence sources had concluded that the rebels and Russia were likely not at fault and that it appears Ukrainian government forces were to blame”.

This new revelation was posted on GlobalResearch, an independent research and media organisation.   (emphasis added)

In a statement released by the Ukrainian embassy on Tuesday, Kiev denied that its fighters were airborne during the time MH17 was shot down. This follows a statement released by the Russian Defence Ministry that its air traffic control had detected Ukrainian Air Force activity in the area on the same day.

They also denied all allegations made by the Russian government and said the country’s core interest was in ensuring an immediate, comprehensive, transparent and unbiased international investigation into the tragedy by establishing a state commission comprising experts from the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Eurocontrol.

“We have evidence that the plane was downed by Russian-backed terrorist with a BUK-M1 SAM system (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation reporting name SA-11) which, together with the crew, had been supplied from Russia. This was all confirmed by our intelligence, intercepted telephone conversations of the terrorists and satellite pictures.

“At the same time, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have never used any anti-aircraft missiles since the anti-terrorist operations started in early April,” the statement read.

Yesterday, the New Straits Times quoted experts who had said that photographs of the blast fragmentation patterns on the fuselage of the airliner showed two distinct shapes — the shredding pattern associated with a warhead packed with “flechettes”, and the more uniform, round-type penetration holes consistent with that of cannon rounds.

Parry’s conclusion also stemmed from the fact that despite assertions from the Obama administration, there has not been a shred of tangible evidence to support the conclusion that Russia supplied the rebels with the BUK-M1 anti-aircraft missile system that would be needed to hit a civilian jetliner flying at 33,000 feet.

Parry also cited a July 29 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation interview with Michael Bociurkiw, one of the first Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) investigators to arrive at the scene of the disaster, near Donetsk.

Bociurkiw is a Ukrainian-Canadian monitor with OSCE who, along with another colleague, were the first international monitors to reach the wreckage after flight MH17 was brought down over eastern Ukraine.

In the CBC interview, the reporter in the video preceded it with: “The wreckage was still smouldering when a small team from the OSCE got there. No other officials arrived for days”.

“There have been two or three pieces of fuselage that have been really pockmarked with what almost looks like machinegun fire; very, very strong machinegun fire,” Bociurkiw said in the interview.

Parry had said that Bociurkiw’s testimony is “as close to virgin, untouched evidence and testimony as we’ll ever get. Unlike a black-box interpretation-analysis long afterward by the Russian, British or Ukrainian governments, each of which has a horse in this race, this testimony from Bociurkiw is raw, independent and comes from one of the two earliest witnesses to the physical evidence.

“That’s powerfully authoritative testimony. Bociurkiw arrived there fast because he negotiated with the locals for the rest of the OSCE team, who were organising to come later,” Parry had said.

Retired Lufthansa pilot Peter Haisenko had also weighed in on the new shootdown theory with Parry and pointed to the entry and exit holes centred around the cockpit.

“You can see the entry and exit holes. The edge of a portion of the holes is bent inwards. These are the smaller holes, round and clean, showing the entry points most likely that of a 30mm caliber projectile.

“The edge of the other, the larger and slightly frayed exit holes, show shreds of metal pointing produced by the same caliber projectiles. Moreover, it is evident that these exit holes of the outer layer of the double aluminum reinforced structure are shredded or bent — outwardly.”

He deduced that in order to have some of those holes fraying inwardly, and the others fraying outwardly, there had to have been a second fighter firing into the cockpit from the airliner’s starboard side. This is critical, as no surface-fired missile (or shrapnel) hitting the airliner could possibly punch holes into the cockpit from both sides of the plane.

“It had to have been a hail of bullets from both sides that brought the plane down. This is Haisenko’s main discovery. You can’t have projectiles going in both directions — into the left-hand-side fuselage panel from both its left and right sides — unless they are coming at the panel from different directions.

“Nobody before Haisenko had noticed that the projectiles had ripped through that panel from both its left side and its right side. This is what rules out any ground-fired missile,” Parry had said.

 

The holes in the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 are believed to have come from 30mm cannon fire.

Copyright NST, 2014

Selected Global Research Articles on MH17

Mikhail Voskresenskiy

The Malaysian Boeing plane that crashed in eastern Ukraine in mid-July, could have been brought down by an air-to-air missile and a cannon of the Su-25 fighter that had been “shadowing it,” The New Straits Times reported on Wednesday citing experts.

Experts believe that MH17 flight was shot down by an air-to-air missile fired from the fighter that later finished it off with a burst of 30mm cannon fire, the newspaper has reported.

According to the experts, if this hypothesis is true, it would explain the bullet holes in some sections of MH17’s fuselage.

Malaysian Boeing crashes in Ukraine

Malaysian Boeing crashes in Ukraine

“Some showed blast patterns consistent with shrapnel from a proximity-fused weapon while some showed the more precise grouping consistent with that of cannon fire. We’re analyzing this,” said one of the sources, adding that a detailed analysis of the pieces of the jetliner is needed to corroborate this emerging theory.

Under this new version, the heat-seeker would have aimed at the hottest part of the aircraft’s engines. These claims rule out the previous version that the aircraft had been downed by the BUK missile system (NATO SA-11 ‘Gadfly’).

“A BUK-M1, with its 70 kg head, would have been enough bring down the airliner without the need to go in for a guns kill,” the sources said.

The Sukhoi Su-25 close-air support aircraft (NATO Frogfoot) has a maximum service ceiling of about 25,000 feet (7,620 meters). It has an internally mounted 30mm cannon for anti-armor work, the report said.

“The Su-25 would have been operating at the extreme corner of its performance envelope but it’s entirely possible,” the sources added.

Five days after the deadly crash, the Russian Defense Ministry said that the “shadowing” the MH17 was a Russian-manufactured Sukhoi Su-25 close-air support aircraft operated by the Ukrainian Air Force.

The presence of the Ukrainian combat jet can be confirmed by video shots made by the Rostov monitoring center, said Lt. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov, the head of the Main Operations Directorate of the HQ of Russia’s military forces.

The ministry’ s analysis of MH17 showed that the Russian air traffic control system picked up a deviation in the flight path of 14 kilometers north from the fixed corridor, well inside Ukrainian airspace, while following its assigned flight level of 33,000 feet.

This deviation in the flight path could have been performed only under the instruction of Ukraine’s air traffic controllers. Russian radar nets also picked up “activity” by the Ukrainian Air Force in the area at the time MH17 was airborne.

The air-to-ground transmission tapes between MH17 and Ukrainian air traffic controllers were seized by the Ukrainian Security Service on the day of the shootdown and have not been made available to investigators.

Media reports said earlier that the information provided by the black boxes from the Boeing plane, which have not been so far unveiled to public, said that the aircraft was damaged by multiple fragments of a missile.

The Enduring Myth of Hiroshima

August 7th, 2014 by John LaForge

The U.S. atomic destruction of 140,000 people at Hiroshima and 70,000 at Nagasaki was never “necessary” because Japan was already smashed, no land invasion was needed and Japan was suing for peace. The official myth that “the bombs saved lives” by hurrying Japan’s surrender can no longer be believed except by those who love to be fooled.

The long-standing fiction has been destroyed by the historical record kept in U.S., Soviet, Japanese and British archives — now mostly declassified — and detailed by Ward Wilson in his book Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).

The mushroom cloud from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945.

Image: The mushroom cloud from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, on Aug. 6, 1945.

Greg Mitchell’s Atomic Cover-Up (Sinclair Books, 2011) also helps explain the durability of the “saved lives” ruse. Wartime and occupation censors seized all films and still photos of the two atomic cities, and the U.S. government kept them hidden for decades. Even in 1968, newsreel footage from Hiroshima held in the National Archives was stamped, “SECRET, Not To Be Released Without the Approval of the DOD.” Photos of the atomized cities that did reach the public merely showed burned buildings or mushroom clouds — rarely human victims.

In Hiroshima in America: 50 Years of Denial, (Grosset/Putnam, 1995) Robert Lifton and Mitchell note that Gen. Leslie Groves, head of the Manhattan Project, “left nothing to chance.” Even before Hiroshima, he prohibited U.S. commanders from commenting on the atomic attacks without clearance from the War Department.

“We didn’t want MacArthur and others saying the war could have been won without the bomb,” Groves said.

In fact, MacArthur did not believe the bomb was needed to end the war, but he too established a censorship program as commander of the U.S. occupation of Japan. He banned reporters from visiting Hiroshima or Nagasaki, expelled reporters who defied the ban and later said that those who complained that censorship existed in Japan were engaged in “a maliciously false propaganda campaign.”

That most people in the United States still believe the “saved lives” rationale to be true is because of decades of this censorship and myth-making, begun by President Harry Truman, who said Aug. 6, 1945, “Sixteen hours ago an American airplane dropped one bomb on Hiroshima, an important Japanese Army base. … That was because we wished this first attack to avoid, insofar as possible, the killing of civilians.”

In fact, the city of 350,000 had practically no military value at all and the target was the city, not the base three kilometers away.

Taking President Truman at his word, the 140,000 civilians killed at Hiroshima are the minimum to be expected when exploding a small nuclear weapon on a “military base.” Today’s “small” Cruise missile warheads ¾ which are 12 times the power of Truman’s A-bomb ¾ could kill 1.68 million each.

Official censorship of what the two bombs did to people and the reasons for it has been so successful, that 25 years of debunking hasn’t managed to generally topple the official narrative.

In 1989, historian Gar Alperovitz reported, “American leaders knew well in advance that the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not required to bring about Japan’s surrender;” and later, in his 847-page The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb (Random House, 1995), “I think it can be proven that the bomb was not only unnecessary but known in advance not to be necessary.” The popular myth “didn’t just happen,” Alperovitz says, “it was created.”

Kept hidden for decades was the 1946 U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey’s conclusion that Japan almost certainly would have surrendered in 1945 without the atomic bombs, without a Soviet invasion and without a U.S. invasion. Not long after V-J Day in 1945, Brig. Gen. Bonnie Feller wrote, “Neither the atomic bombing nor the entry of the Soviet Union into the war forced Japan’s unconditional surrender. She was defeated before either of these events took place.”

President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general and the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, said in his memoirs he believed “that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary.”

Adm. William Leahy, the wartime Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in 1950, “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material success in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.”

Feller’s, Ike’s and Leahy’s opinions were conspicuously left out of or censored by the Smithsonian Institution’s 1995 display of the atomic B-29 bomber “Enola Gay.”

Admiral Leahy’s 1950 myth-busting and censor-busting about the Bomb could be an epitaph for the nuclear age: “I was not taught to make war in that fashion,” he said of Hiroshima’s incineration, “and wars cannot be won by destroying women and children.”

John LaForge writes for PeaceVoice, is co-director of Nukewatch—a nuclear watchdog and environmental justice group—and lives at the Plowshares Land Trust out of Luck, Wisconsin.

The US media campaign to smear National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden continues. On August 3, an article appeared in the Washington Post entitled, “As evidence mounts, it’s getting harder to defend Edward Snowden.” Authored by Stewart Baker, the article claims that Snowden’s disclosures aided Al Qaeda. Specifically, Baker writes that a study by a company called Recorded Future proves that “Snowden’s revelations about NSA’s capabilities were followed quickly by a burst of new, robust encryption tools from Al Qaeda and its affiliates.”

“This is hardly a surprise for those who live in the real world,” Baker continues. “But it was an affront to Snowden’s defenders, who’ve long insisted that journalists handled the NSA leaks so responsibly that no one can identify any damage that they have caused.”

The article goes on to denounce at length cyber security expert Bruce Schneier, who defended Snowden against the charge that his disclosures aided Al Qaeda. On June 11, 2013, Schneier wrote in the New York Times: “The argument that exposing these documents helps the terrorists doesn’t even pass the laugh test; there’s nothing here that changes anything any potential terrorist would do or not do.”

Baker’s “mounting evidence” that Snowden’s disclosures helped Al Qaeda consists of a single “study,” released in May of this year, by Recorded Future, a start-up company that produces online data-mining software that it calls “web intelligence.” The company advertises its “capabilities” in “cyber threat intelligence,” “corporate security,” “competitive intelligence” and “defense intelligence.”

The study itself, if it is accurate, simply indicates that in the period after Snowden’s disclosures, various Islamist groups, including Al Qaeda, apparently began using three types of encryption software that had not been previously used. Before Snowden’s disclosures, these groups had already implemented two types of encryption software.

“Of course, this could be random, but it seems unlikely,” wrote Christopher Ahlberg, CEO of Recorded Future, in an email to the New York Times. Despite its flimsy factual foundations, the allegation that Snowden’s disclosures have aided Al Qaeda continues to echo throughout the establishment media.

In any event, whether or not Snowden’s revelations of government crimes against the US Constitution and the American people tipped off Al Qaeda is beside the point. The clear implication of Baker’s argument, which is echoed by virtually all intelligence officials, politicians and media pundits who attack Snowden, is that, in the interests of a supposed “war on terror,” the Bill of Rights should be scrapped and some form of dictatorship established.

In his article, Baker conceals his own background and bias from his readers. What he does not tell his readers—but what one can learn by visiting Wikipedia—is that Baker is a former general counsel of the National Security Agency (1992–1994). He has held various other positions over the years within the military-intelligence apparatus, and was appointed by George W. Bush as assistant secretary to the newly formed Department of Homeland Security.

As far as his accusations that Snowden helped Al Qaeda are concerned, the word “hypocrisy” does not seem strong enough. Snowden is being denounced for aiding Al Qaeda on behalf of a political establishment that, in fact, has a long history of providing weapons, finances, and intelligence to Al Qaeda and its affiliates throughout the world.

In the Syrian civil war, stoked up by Washington, the CIA has operated training camps for Al Qaeda-linked fighters in Turkey and Jordan. Through these countries, the US has funneled weapons and finances to the Islamist fighters (see: ISIS: The jihadist movement stamped “Made in America”).

Thanks to the American “war on terror,” Al Qaeda offshoot ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has established its own sectarian state purporting to be a caliphate stretching across vast swathes of western Iraq and eastern Syria.

If supporting Al Qaeda is a crime, then it is necessary to prosecute not Snowden, but tens of thousands of personnel within the American military-corporate-intelligence complex, beginning with those who helped organize Al Qaeda in the 1980s during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, all the way through to those who built up Al Qaeda and its affiliated forces in Syria, Libya and elsewhere in recent years.

The “study” itself proves nothing. There is absolutely no evidence that Snowden directly or indirectly assisted Al Qaeda in any way. The study merely purports to show that a list of groups (not limited to Al Qaeda) began using different encryption methods in the time period after Snowden’s revelations.

The accusation that Snowden “aided Al Qaeda” mirrors the “aiding the enemy” charges against Bradley Manning (see: US government charges Manning with “aiding the enemy” in court martial). Baker’s article is evidence that this bogus theory would be invoked against Snowden, should he ever find himself in the clutches of the American judicial system.

The media campaign to confuse the issues surrounding Snowden’s disclosures is acquiring a note of hysteria and desperation. The claim that Snowden is growing “harder to defend” turns reality on its head. In fact, it is the US military and intelligence apparatus, caught in countless lies and violations of law, that is being exposed as a criminal operation. Snowden continues to enjoy broad support throughout the world.

The statement that Snowden is “harder to defend” comes on the heels of revelations, derived from documents disclosed by Snowden, concerning the close intelligence relationship between the United States and Israel (see: New Snowden leak highlights collaboration between NSA and Israeli intelligence). In addition, Glenn Greenwald reported this week that over 40 percent of the 680,000 people on the US government’s “Terrorist Screening Database” have “no recognized terrorist affiliation” (see: US terror list ensnares hundreds of thousands).

The online comments on Baker’s article are overwhelmingly hostile. One commenter observes that Baker’s article “is obviously just propaganda designed to defend his criminal gang that is still running the government today.”

Documents disclosed to journalists in May of last year by Edward Snowden exposed a massive conspiracy on the part of the National Security Agency against the US Constitution and against the world’s population. Snowden lifted the lid on unrestrained and illegal mass surveillance, caught president Obama and senior officials in lies, and exposed the so-called “war on terror” as a fraud. In doing so, he performed an invaluable service to working people in the US and around the world.

While the American political establishment and media claimed that its spying activities were limited to terrorist groups seeking to harm ordinary Americans, Snowden revealed that the NSA’s own “collection procedure” is: “Collect it All,” “Process it All,” “Exploit it All,” “Partner it All,” “Sniff it All,” and “Know it All.”

Snowden exposed as a lie Obama’s claim that “nobody is listening to your phone calls.” Snowden also revealed that Director of National Security James Clapper had committed perjury while testifying under oath before Congress. Clapper was asked, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” He replied, “No, sir.”

In the upside-down world of establishment America, it is Snowden (who became trapped in Russia when the US unilaterally revoked his passport) who is being hounded and threatened with prosecution. The actual criminals that Snowden exposed remain at large.

On August 5, a watchdog computer program that monitors the activity of the Internet addresses on Capitol Hill caught someone with an anonymous address in the US House of Representatives editing Wikipedia to smear Snowden. A Wikipedia article was edited to refer to Snowden as “the American traitor who defected to Russia.”

As hundreds of thousands flee to Russia to escape the bloody offensive of the Western-backed Ukrainian regime against pro-Russian forces in east Ukraine, the risk of an all-out war between Ukraine and Russia that could involve the Western powers is rapidly rising.

NATO accused Russia yesterday of preparing to invade east Ukraine to crush the Ukrainian offensive. “We’re not going to guess what’s on Russia’s mind, but we can see what Russia is doing on the ground—and that is of great concern. Russia has amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine’s eastern border,” NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu announced yesterday.

Moscow could use “the pretext of a humanitarian or peace-keeping mission as an excuse to send troops into Eastern Ukraine,” she added.

NATO’s remarks were echoed yesterday by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who told reporters at the US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany that the risk of a Russian invasion of Ukraine was “a reality, of course it is.”

Russian defense ministry spokesmen dismissed these accusations, pointing to similar unsubstantiated allegations from NATO that Russia was massing troops along the border with Ukraine earlier this year: “We’ve been hearing this for three months already.”

US officials demanded that Moscow cut off all aid to pro-Russian forces in east Ukraine, allowing the Western-backed, far-right regime that came to power in this February’s fascist-led putsch in Kiev to seize control of the entire country.

“When addressing the humanitarian situation, we cannot lose sight of one underlying fact: Russia can stop this. The surest way to end the violence is for Russia to stop the flow of fighters, weapons, and money from Russia into eastern Ukraine,” said US Deputy Ambassador to the UN Rosemary Di Carlo.

“Russia can end it all,” DiCarlo added. “The violence ends the day Russia suspends aid to the insurgents.”

DiCarlo’s remark indicates the political dynamic underlying the Western imperialist powers’ intervention in Ukraine. NATO is backing a violent, far-right regime waging war against the Ukrainian population, aiming to force Russia to publicly disavow pro-Russian sentiment in east Ukraine in a humiliating climbdown, or to invade east Ukraine and launch a major land war in Europe. This underscores the utterly reckless and reactionary policy of the Western powers, which are driving the crisis in Ukraine to the brink of world war.

The Ukrainian military is proceeding with enormous brutality against east Ukrainian areas held by separatist rebels. On Tuesday evening, the air force conducted bombing raids for the first time against the city of Donetsk with its one million inhabitants. The city is controlled by pro-Russian separatists. According to local residents, at least two civilians were killed, and the city administration reported heavy artillery shelling of houses.

Russian investigators have reported evidence for the use of phosphorus bombs by the Ukrainian military. “A soil sample showed that the army has used prohibited incendiary bullets near Slavyansk,” declared a spokesman for an investigating agency in Moscow. Phosphorus bombs are outlawed by the Geneva Convention of 1949.

At a meeting of the UN Security Council called by Russia, representatives of the country accused Ukraine of using cluster bombs against civilian targets. “It is real war,” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said. “Despite international agreements, Kiev is continuing its military operations. Residential areas are being shot at, and there is even the use of cluster bombs.”

The barbaric actions of the Ukrainian army are being accompanied by the fierce repression of opponents of the war throughout Ukraine. The fascist gangs of the Svoboda Party, which were represented in government up until the end of last month, and the paramilitary Right Sector, play a crucial role.

Already one month ago, President Petro Poroshenko ratified a law punishing supporters of the insurgency in the Donetsk Basin (Donbas) with prison sentences of between five to seven years. According to reports by opposition figures, this law is now being used against striking workers in the north and east of the country. Often, just a critical remark criticizing the government on Facebook is sufficient for prosecution proceedings.

According to the German daily Junge Welt, five police officers were dismissed last weekend after they sought to protect a pop concert against an assault by right-wing thugs in the port city of Odessa. In May, Odessa was the scene of a fascist massacre of opposition protesters. The right-wing thugs last weekend were allowed to operate without hindrance. The police refused to initiate any investigation against them.

Particularly vicious forms of cooperation are taking place between the state apparatus with fascist gangs in the territories reconquered by the Ukrainian armed forces.

The pro-Western Internet newspaper Pravda Ukrainskaya, has reported that units of the National Guard and the fascist Right Sector have abducted a large number of suspected collaborators. Mid-level officials often disappear for weeks in secret cellars. The National Guard announced on their website that its forces would shoot at all cars that do not stop at roadside controls.

The terror conducted against the population is part of a broad government campaign to stabilize the Kiev regime through dictatorial measures. On Friday, Poroshenko declared that he planned elections on October 12 after the fascist Svoboda and the pro-Western UDAR party quit the government on 24 July, leaving Premier Arseniy Yatsenyuk without a majority. If he is unable to assemble a new coalition by August 24 then, according to the constitution, Poroshenko can dissolve parliament and call new elections.

Poroschenko’s announcement of the dissolution of Parliament was accompanied by angry threats against his political opponents. “I don’t know how to work with parliament where the majority of people represent a ‘fifth column’ which is controlled from abroad, whole factions. And the danger of this is only rising,” he said. He cited the fact that half of the deputies refused to classify the rebels in the east as terrorists.

Although many deputies have already been forced to leave the country or have changed fraction, representatives of the Party of Regions remain in Parliament. The Party of Regions’ government led by former President Viktor Yanukovych was deposed by a fascist coup in February. Together with members of the Communist Party of Ukraine, they maintain an orientation towards Moscow and are critical of the new regime.

The designation of these deputies as a “fifth column” is equivalent to accusing them of collaboration with the insurgents in the east and opens them up to criminal proceedings. Already, opposition parties are being dismantled step by step.

Two weeks ago, a deputy of the Party of Regions, Nikolai Levchenko, was excluded from parliamentary sessions after he criticized the government’s actions in the Donbas. The head of the Communist Party, Petro Simonenko, was physically attacked in parliament by representatives of Svoboda.

In February, the central office of the Communist Party was occupied by fascist militias and then eventually burned down in April. Last month, the Communist Party was denied fraction status in parliament, and the Department of Justice submitted a petition to ban the party, which had received more than 13 percent of the vote in the last election.

Under these conditions, the elections in October are aimed at providing a false veneer of democratic legitimacy for war and deep social austerity. In his war against the Ukrainian people, Poroshenko is not only intent on pursuing his military offensive against the east but also enforcing the comprehensive attacks on social rights prepared following the coup in February by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Last week the parliament in Kiev passed a war tax of 1.5 percent on all taxable income together with a massive increase in general tax rates.

“War is no reason to delay reforms,” Poroshenko said in a television interview. A few weeks ago, the Treasury announced that it would cut subsidies to the country’s mines and an already agreed increase in the minimum wage (currently 45 cents per hour), was withdrawn, as was the proposed linking of pension rates to wages.

Paternalism is rarely a pretty thing. In many cases, it is fair to say it is a downside grotesque feature of human relations. One person, or entity, extends a hand that does not so much help the individual in trouble as slap the person in question across a grieving face. When it comes to international relations, the image gets even uglier. Here, states can assert the ultimate entitlement to assert control over a regime, or a state, which has fallen foul of appropriate conventions.  The modern dress code of the humanitarian interventionist is simple in its absurdity: the Responsibility to Protect.

Matthew Waxman[1], writing for CNN World, writes to the tune of lamentation.  “The 2011 international coalition intervention in Libya was supposed to be a step forward for the Responsibility to Protect doctrine – the notion that if a state fails to protect its citizens from mass atrocities, it becomes the international community’s responsibility to do so.”  Then, a description of the bloody mess that has become the Libya of 2014 (a bit of face slapping rather than hand helping here).  “Tragically, the current collapse of governance and bloody infighting among factional militias there will instead result in a step backwards for this important principle.”

It is good to see that Waxman is inhabiting a space of debate that is vaguely terrestrial by admitting that the 2011 attack on Libya by NATO-led forces did much to propel R2P to a grave. In a sense, it never left the morgue it was conceived in – the idea that humanitarian intervention had to be reshaped not as a case of violating sovereignty but undertaking an obligation to do good.  Terrible things are always done by those who claim a duty to do so, notably if such a mission is seen as a noble one.  It is particularly so when humanitarianism is jammed down the barrel of a gun, and unleashed with the full ferocity that only zeal commands.

Libya remains the true acid test of what went wrong, with the imperial sabre rattling that was only made to look good because of the philosophising treacle of French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy.  When a pampered philosopher mans the barricades with teenage lust, even from a distance, you know a cause is in trouble.  It becomes even uglier with vague UN Security Council Resolutions such as UNSCR 1973, which speak about such nominally vacuous terms as protecting civilians while attempting regime change in the process.  Civilians are the footnotes – the text lies in traditional power dynamics.  While the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 is still whitewashed by a few caring fanatics as the product of a genuine humanitarian impulse, the role by the US, France and the UK in 2011 hardly stands up.

In the wake of the overthrow of Qaddafi’s regime, the militias are rejoicing in their killing and policing of factional havens. An Islamic emirate has been declared in Benghazi.  While factional fighting was initially limited to Benghazi, it has well and truly spread to Tripoli.  According to Libya Body Count, an unfortunately grim choice of name, July this year saw 469 fatalities across the country.  The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL)[2] has gone so far as to claim that “mass crimes” have taken place in Tripoli and Benghazi.  There are mutterings in Algeria and Egypt about intervention for another round of good old fashioned policing.

As of this writing, the health sector of the country is heading for total collapse.  This is largely due to the terror that has seeped into the Filipino working population in the country.  The Philippines on July 31st began evacuating 13,000[3] of its nationals after one of its workers was kidnapped and beheaded.  As workers from the Philippines make up 60 per cent of the country’s hospital staff, with personnel from India coming in at 20 per cent, the situation is grave.

Dr. Naima al-Fitouri gave one truly dampening example.  “Al-Joumhouria Hospital’s maternity ward is now facing an acute shortage of medical staff, with only five doctors, instead of 12, working at the night shift given the bad conditions at the hospital and despite the increased number of patients.”  This is all the more severe for the fact that the hospital services much of eastern Libya.

Other countries have begun evacuating their citizens with urgency.  The ship is sinking fast, and they know it.  Given Libya’s rich history of using foreign labour in its industries, the situation is calamitous.  Some 50,000 Egyptians have left.  Tunisia has been getting busy trying to get its 60,000 or so nationals out of the country.  Added to all this the fact that a million Libyans have already found their residence in Tunisia since 2011, and we have the true handiwork of the intervention.  R2P, a crime by any other name.

Then comes the prize jewel – the country’s oil sector.  While ISIS runs amok in Iraq, and a brief lull takes place in the Gaza slaughter house, Libya has seen the destruction of Tripoli’s airport and some of the most vicious fighting since 2011.  Its oil production has not only petered out, but fallen, despite holding up in 2012 when it accounted for 10 per cent of oil exports to Europe’s Organisation for Economic Corporation and Development.  From January to April 2014, that value of that share had fallen to a mere 3 per cent.[1]  The number of barrels produced in 2014 will have declined by 400,000.

The onus has always been on advocates of such adventurist projects to show that knocking off a tyrant and railroading the development of an outlaw state has benefits that exceed that of internal solutions. The record is miserably bleak, and suggests that the R2P doctrine should be either scrapped, or stripped bare for what it really is: an attempt at good old invasion and intrusion in the affairs of another state.  Inside every humanitarian is a criminal waiting to get out.

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

Notes:

We are bringing to the attention of GR readers this important 2009 article by the late Michael Mandel, distinguished law professor, focusing on the legal dimensions. Under Nuremberg, “the aggressor cannot rely upon self-defence to justify violence against resistance to its own aggression.”

Did self-defence justify Israel’s war on Gaza? [reference to 2008-2009 war on Gaza]

Objections have been raised to this claim on grounds of a lack of both proportionality and necessity. To kill over 1000 Palestinians in 3 weeks, hundreds of them children, and wound thousands more, in order to deter a threat from rockets that did not kill or injure anybody in Israel for the six months the truce was declared by both sides, or even before Israel launched its attack on December 27, is so disproportionate as to be intolerable in any ethical system that holds Palestinian lives equal in value to Israeli lives. It is also so disproportionate as to defy belief that defence against these rockets was the real motive of the war. To ignore the many diplomatic avenues available to avoid even this threat, such as lifting the suffocating 18-month siege, suggests the same thing.

A more fundamental objection, however, is the self-evident legal and moral principle that an aggressor cannot rely upon self-defence to justify violence against resistance to its own aggression. You can find this principle in domestic law and in the judgments of the Nuremberg tribunals.

To quote one Nuremberg judge:

On of the most amazing phenomena of this case which does not lack in startling features is the manner in which the aggressive war conducted by Germany against Russia has been treated by the defense as if it were the other way around. …If it is assumed that some of the resistance units in Russia or members of the population did commit acts which were in themselves unlawful under the rules of war, it would still have to be shown that these acts were not in legitimate defense against wrongs perpetrated upon them by the invader. Under International Law, as in Domestic Law, there can be no reprisal against reprisal. The assassin who is being repulsed by his intended victim may not slay him and then, in turn, plead self defense. (Trial of Otto Ohlendorf and others, Military Tribunal II-A, April 8, 1948)

So who was the aggressor here?

There would have been no question as to who was the aggressor had this attack taken place before Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza strip in 2005. At that point Israel had been committing a continuous aggression against Gaza for 38 years, in its illegal and violent occupation of it, along with the rest of the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, after its conquest in 1967.

By 2005, the occupation had been condemned as illegal by the highest organs with jurisdiction over international law, most notably the International Court of Justice in its 2004 opinion on the separation barrier. A central illegality of the occupation for the International Court lay in Israel’s settlements, which violate the law against colonization, and which are central to the occupation. The fifteen judges of the International Court were unanimously of the opinion that the settlements were illegal and the wall itself was held by a majority of 13-2 to be illegal, partly because it was there to defend the settlements, and not Israel itself, and thus could not qualify as self-defence.

The rocket attacks from Gaza started in 2001 and took their first Israeli victim in 2004. Since then, there had been 14 Israeli victims prior to the current war. Tragic, indeed, but obviously paling in comparison to the 1700 Palestinians killed in Gaza during the same period. One death is indeed a tragedy, but many deaths are not just “a statistic”, as Stalin had it; they are the tragedy multiplied many times over. Given Israel’s illegal, aggressive and violent occupation, prior to the withdrawal, Gaza rockets could only be regarded as necessary and proportionate self-defence, or as reprisals against Israel’s aggression.

Did Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 change the situation?

It has been forcefully argued that the 18-month siege of Gaza, a major reason for Hamas’ refusal to extend the truce, was itself an act of aggression, giving rise to a right of self-defence.

But even more important, though usually ignored, is Israel’s continued illegal and aggressive occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem after the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005. Indeed, the withdrawal from Gaza was intended to strengthen the hold on the other territories and was accompanied by a greater increase in the number of settlers there than those removed from Gaza.

The occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem figured equally with Gaza in the condemnations of the World Court and the Security Council. Furthermore, in the Oslo Accords, Israel and the Palestinians agreed that “The two sides view the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as a single territorial unit, the integrity and status of which will be preserved during the interim period.” Indeed, when Hamas won the elections in 2006, elections declared impeccably fair and civil by all international observers, it won them for the whole of the Palestinian Authority, including the West Bank (it was not allowed by Israel to campaign in East Jerusalem). Many Hamas West Bank legislators remain in Israeli jails.

And the basic fact is that the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are one people, however separated they are by walls and fences and check-points. Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from one part of that people’s land cannot turn that people into aggressors when they resist the illegal occupation of the rest.

So self-defense cannot justify this attack, or the siege that preceded it. What can? That Hamas is a “terrorist organization”? But terrorism is about deliberately killing civilians for illegal political ends, and in that enterprise, Israel has topped Hamas by many multiples. That Hamas does not recognize Israel’s “right to exist”? But Hamas has offered many times to make a long-term truce with Israel on the basis of the legal international borders, something it is clearly entitled to insist upon. Israel says that’s not good enough, that Hamas first has to recognize Israel’s legitimacy, in other words, it has to concede the legitimacy of the Jewish state and all it has meant to the Palestinians. In other words, as one Israeli journalist ironized, Israel is insisting that Hamas embrace Zionism as a condition of even talking peace with it.

These are not justifications for violence on this or any scale. Indeed, they point to the most plausible reason Israel is fighting Hamas (and the PLO before it): self-defence, if you will, not against rockets and mortars, but against having to make peace with the Palestinians on the basis of the pre-1967 borders as required by international law.

The late Michael Mandel was Professor of Law at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University in Toronto, where he taught the Law of War. He is the author of How America Gets Away with Murder. He was powerful legal voice in the battle for World Peace. 

Egypt Complicit in Israeli Siege on Gaza

August 7th, 2014 by Sara Flounders

Some of the fiercest attacks on Gaza have been Israeli attacks on the Egyptian-Gaza border crossing at Rafah. More than 100 Palestinians were killed in Rafah between Aug. 1 and 3, including 10 children at a well-marked school.
Even U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has been supportive of Israel’s fraudulent claims of self-defense, was forced to denounce the latest Israeli attack on the school, which sheltered 3,000 civilians, as a “moral outrage” and a “criminal act.” Calling on those responsible for the “gross violation of international humanitarian law” to be held accountable, he noted that the “Israel Defense Forces have been repeatedly informed of the location of these sites.” (The Guardian, Aug. 3)

The military dictatorship of Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt is in every way complicit in the criminal Zionist war on Gaza and is heavily involved. Egypt’s alliance with Israel was a major calculation in the Zionists’ opening the war on Gaza. Israel assumed that because Hamas and all the resistance forces in Gaza had been politically isolated in the region, the elected Hamas government would collapse.

Egypt’s cooperation with Zionism, especially the military operations on the border at Rafah, thoroughly exposes the dictatorship’s unwillingness and inability to defend any form of Egyptian national sovereignty.

Egypt has aided Israel’s military offensive on Gaza since Israel began the attack on July 8, claiming that Israel’s military onslaught was to destroy tunnels. The Cairo coup government has poured troops into the Sinai Peninsula, and its security operation is openly involved in the destruction of the tunnels that are the lifeblood of Gaza. Through these tunnels food, essential supplies, fuel and weapons for the resistance are smuggled into the blockaded coastal enclave.

 On July 27 AFP reported, “Egypt’s army said [July 27] that it has destroyed 13 more tunnels connecting the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza Strip, taking to 1,639 the overall number it has laid waste to.”

 The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said 520,000 people have been displaced by the fighting — more than a quarter of Gaza’s population. Yet the Egyptian-controlled Rafah border has remained closed throughout the military operation, leaving the population of Gaza with its back to the sea.

Egypt has stopped several convoys carrying medical aid from entering Gaza, where the U.N. has warned that a severe humanitarian crisis is growing. Hospitals are struggling with more than 9,450 people injured by Israel’s assault. But Egypt has permitted only 11 injured Palestinians to exit Gaza for hospital treatment. (Middle East Eye, July 25)

 Six Israeli warships crossed the Suez Canal from Aug. 1 to 3, an Egyptian official in the Suez Canal Authority revealed. The warships were loaded with 19 tons of military equipment. (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com, Aug. 3)

Gaza means resistance

Through Egypt’s dictatorship and the absolute monarchies in the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia, the U.S. is working hand in hand with Israel because Gaza represents resistance. The survival of the heroic resistance in Gaza to national oppression, enormous poverty and outright theft of resources is considered a threat to the established order.

 The lockdown in Egypt today is in sharp contrast to the mass mood after the revolutionary overthrow of the Mubarak dictatorship in February 2011, when millions of people were in the streets.

 In September 2011, the Israeli ambassador to Cairo was forced out of Egypt after thousands of outraged Egyptian protesters attempted to storm the Israeli embassy headquarters following the killing of Egyptian soldiers at the border with Israel.

In November 2012, Egyptians held explosive mass rallies in cities across Egypt in the first days of another Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. Many activists were able to get into Gaza with emergency aid during the eight-day “Pillar of Defense” offensive. The offensive ended after Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was able to broker a truce between Israel and Palestinians.

 But now, under the Gen. Sisi military dictatorship, all demonstrations are stopped with live ammunition and heavy prison sentences.

 Coup crushed mass movement

On July 3, 2013, claiming that the Egyptian military was taking temporary action to restore order, Gen. Sisi overthrew the democratically elected Morsi government in a military coup and suspended the Egyptian constitution. The elected government, the cabinet, elected members of Parliament, and hundreds of officials and popular leaders were rounded up. Thousands were killed in the opening weeks of the crackdown.

Almost a year ago on Aug. 14, Egyptian security forces raided two encampments of thousands of protesters, primarily from the Muslim Brotherhood, who were opposed to the coup and were supporters of ousted President Morsi. In a surprise attack, the two encampments, one at al-Nahda Square and a larger one at Rabaa al-Adawiya Mosque, which had existed for six weeks, were raided and set on fire by the military.

Videos and photos from the encampments showed horrific scenes of tents and bodies in flames. The mosque was burned with hundreds trapped inside. More than 2,600 died in the heavy assault.

Many forces in Egypt who had their own grievances with the Morsi government initially applauded the coup. But the Egyptian military has been for decades since the Camp David Accords a thoroughly corrupt collaborator with U.S. imperialism and Israel. The military has no interest in any form of democracy.

 The Sisi dictatorship shut down all opposition. Since the coup, over 40,000 people have been arrested. All forms of protest are violently suppressed. More than 1,200 people have since been sentenced to death in fraudulent, speedy, mass trials.

The U.S. government knew beforehand of Gen. Sisi’s coup plans and approved of them. Afterward Washington continued military and economic aid, and the credits and loans since the coup are a signal of its approval and a way of strengthening the new regime. The absolute monarchies of the Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia, have also committed new funds to the coup government.

 The Morsi government had attempted at every juncture to stay within the narrow confines of the Egyptian state structure. It did not put forth a radical program. Why then were Washington and the Egyptian military so opposed to its very existence that they would take such a drastic step as a violent coup against the overwhelmingly popular elected government?

 The Muslim Brotherhood had deep roots among the poorest in Egypt, based on decades of providing basic social programs such as schools, food and health programs. More than 80 percent of the population lives in dire poverty.

With the overthrow of the Mubarak dictatorship and the opportunity to elect a democratic government, the expectations of the masses of people were aroused. Wall Street, the reactionary Saudi monarchy and the Egyptian military remained fearful that the mass support of the Brotherhood as a movement would always be a form of mass pressure on the government, pushing it in a progressive direction and away from accommodation with Wall Street’s demands for cuts in subsidies and improvements in social programs and away from accommodation with Israel and its war on the Palestinian people.

 Corporate power in the U.S. is suspicious of and fears any and every democratically elected government, whether in Latin America, Asia or Africa. This is not a calculation based on ideology. Again and again, the U.S. has aligned with the most corrupt absolute monarchies, such as in the Gulf States, and with thinly veiled military rule in Egypt or Colombia.

 Despite a much less favorable regional and international situation than in past Zionist offensives, the entire resistance movement in Gaza, although massively outgunned, remains confident of their ultimate victory.

Hamas’ bloc in the Palestinian parliament said in a statement that any unilateral pullout by Israel would mean that “it has failed to achieve any of its goals and would be a clear defeat for the occupation army and for its leaders. Gaza resisted, endured and will achieve victory.” (Mail & Guardian, Aug. 3)

Break the siege on Gaza!

If Palestinians Were Human Beings

August 7th, 2014 by Shourideh C. Molavi

Today the struggle for people of conscience appears to be less about convincing people that Israel is committing war crimes against Palestinians or grossly violating international law. Instead the struggle has become about convincing the world that Palestinians are human beings too. The ongoing televised genocidal attack of Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli army makes one wonder what the situation would have been like if global powers and mainstream voices saw Palestinians as human beings.

Palestinian children in bombed Shuja’iya district, 26 July 2014. [Photo: Middle East Eye:Mohammed Asad]

If Palestinians were human beings, they would not lay scattered in the hundreds on the grounds of a crowded marketplace in Shuja’iya after IDF shelling during a four-hour ceasefire declared by Israel.

If Palestinians were human beings, the corpses of those killed in Khuza’a, with skins melted from the intensity of U.S.-made Israeli bombs, would not have been found piled on top of one another in the corner of the bathroom of a house. Many of them have not been identified as their bodies were completely burnt.

If Palestinians were human beings, the medical crews would not have been denied access by Israeli tanks to the dozens of civilian casualties in Khuza’a. These victims of missiles fired from Israeli drones would have been buried instead of scattered in the streets and reportedly eaten by nearby animals.

If Palestinians were human beings, Israel would not have launched a massive campaign with artillery shelling in Rafah with explosions everywhere, cars flying up in flames, and a barrage of bombs killing entire families prevented from evacuating their villages, only to be literally crushed to death by their collapsing homes.

If Palestinians were human beings, they would not have been bombed to death by Israel while taking shelter in one of the seven UN schools attacked thus far, including in Beit Hanoun, in Jabaliya as families lay sleeping on the floor of a classroom, and most recently in Rafah as children queued for sweets and biscuits.

If Palestinians were human beings, then their cities, villages and towns, including Beit Lahiya, Beit Hanoun, Shuja’iya, Khuza’a, and Zanaa would not have been razed and flattened by the Israeli army, with buildings pulverized into sand and pieces of bodies visible beneath the rubble.

If Palestinians were human beings, whole portions of single families would not have been erased by targeted Israeli military strikes, while sitting together in their homes. There would not be a globally institutionalized disregard for their lives.

If Palestinian parents were human beings, they wouldn’t have to experience searching for, collecting, and carrying in plastic bags the remaining pieces of their children’s bodies blown up by Israeli shells.

If Palestinian children were human beings, they would not lose their entire families to Israeli bombs while suffering shrapnel wounds at 2-years old, or be prematurely born as orphans like Shaymaa al-Sheikh only to be buried next to her dead mother at a mere one week-old. If they were human beings Palestinian children would not be killed by airstrikes while playing on the beach, sleeping, eating, or even while undergoing surgery in a hospital. They would not be the main targets of Israel’s ‘precision war’.

If Palestinians were human beings, Israeli leaders and public figures would not publicly fantasize for years about their mass extermination and concentration camps, or to extinguish them en masse by having Gaza grazed, painted red, turned into rubble and flattened, reformatted and wiped clean, and sent back to the Middle Ages.

If Palestinians were human beings in the eyes of Israel and global powers, their killers in the IDF would be held accountable under international law. They would be allowed to flee a war zone contained by concrete walls where thousands of tons of Israeli bombs rain down on them, be protected in UN schools, and access clean water, electricity and basic medicine. They would be able to watch their children grow up in peace and live with dignity. We would know their names, what they did, what they liked and what they dreamed.

If Palestinians were seen as human beings, the world would follow in the footsteps of their extreme resilience, care and compassion, with which they refuse to give in to their utterly inhumane conditions. •

Shourideh C. Molavi is a Ph.D. student and writer based in Toronto, Canada. She is author of Stateless Citizenship: The Palestinian-Arab Citizens of Israel (Brill, 2013), which explores the dynamics of Israel’s multifaceted legal, political and structural system of control through the lens of citizenship. Thanks to Justin Podur and Fabian Voegeli for their comments.

Blasting Gaza into rubble has affected the average American in ways that U.S. politicians will learn to regret.  The result will be more than simply bleeding hearts for dead Palestinian children (430 at last count).  There is a deeper political effect happening, as young and old alike realize for the first time the cancerous lies coursing through the veins of the U.S. media and political system.  

The U.S. government’s support of Israel—which includes Obama and all 100 senators— further exposes the gigantic clash between the unpopular foreign policy of the U.S. versus the wishes of its residents.  The government will be further pushed by corporate interests to pursue these unpopular yet profitable overseas policies, which are teaching millions of people about the reality of their government, consequently undermining the future basis for an elite-driven foreign policy.

Merely glancing at the casualty statistics was enough for most Americans to know their T.V. was lying to them: 1900 Palestinians have died, 10,0000 have been injured— 80% of them civilians.  Meanwhile, 3 Israeli citizens have died, zero injured.  There is typically more damage from a Super Bowl victory party than Israel has suffered from Hamas’ fireworks.

Americans reacted in horror to Israel’s massively disproportionate violence— an obvious war crime as defined by the Geneva Convention.  And even more obvious war crimes were committed: the high profile Israeli missile attacks on Gaza hospitals, schools and UN bomb shelters.

During this carnage American viewers were endlessly told by ‘experts’ that “Israel has a right to defend itself”, a completely meaningless phrase when entire Gaza neighborhoods were obliterated while the U.S. media searched in vain for ANY damage caused by the “terrifying” Hamas rockets.

Obama’s disgraceful acting job throughout the conflict showcased another big lie for American viewers: he pretended that the enormous American influence over Israel didn’t exist, as if the $3 billion plus in annual U.S. aid wasn’t “leverage” that Obama could have used to stop Israel’s blitzkrieg.   The U.S. is literally the only strong ally of importance to Israel.  And the world’s sole super-power— however fading—pretended to be impotent in order for Israel to continue the killing.

Worse still was when millions of Americans watched Obama blather about a ceasefire while simultaneously re-supplying Israel with weapons in the middle of the conflict, which Jon Stewart mocked to his mostly-young viewing audience of millions.

The obscene U.S. media behavior was possible during past conflicts because there was nowhere else to go, but now the U.S. media monopoly stands busted, with truth leaking out from a thousand pores.  Millions of Americans get their news from Facebook or other social media outlets, which allows those passionate about an issue to share their perspective with hundreds or even thousands of their FB “friends”, who in turn “share” the news with their friends.

Furthermore, cable and internet providers now put Americans in direct contact with the new state-sponsored media outlets of other countries, who’ve copied the U.S. media’s flashy professionalism and now provide competing English speaking news with wildly clashing perspectives that often expose the U.S. media’s incompetence.   Some examples include Russian Television (RT), Press TV (Iranian), al-Jazeera (Qatari), and Venezuela recently created an English speaking news service from its Telesur network.

 The consequence of all the pro-Israeli propaganda is that millions of Americans are learning quite a lot, simply by comparing what they see on Facebook versus the garbage spewed on CNN or MSNBC.

 A pew research poll showed that younger Americans, aged 18-29, were more likely to blame Israel for the violence in Gaza than Hamas.  This is astonishing given the media spin onslaught, and proves that younger folks simply don’t believe CNN, Fox News, MSNBC or President Obama anymore.  The younger generation prefers truth.

 This distrust in media and government is more consequential than first appears. Realizing that your government and media are lying is a huge political step to take; especially when it’s the entire Congress who are voting to support Israel—including so-called “progressive” Democrats Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

 This radical skepticism removes a mental dam that allows new ideas to flow in, while spotting the stupid propaganda that previously went unnoticed.   This is how political consciousness is born, and thousands of people will remember the invasion of Gaza as ‘the moment’ they became politically aware, if not also the first protest they attended.   As Obama stands by his “close ally” Israel in the face of Nazi-like atrocities, his is giving birth to thousands of newly-conscious people every day, undermining the base of support for future military adventures abroad.

 And there can be no doubt that new U.S. military campaigns are on the horizon.   As Obama ignores Israel’s obvious war crimes he’d like us to pay particular attention to Russia, and China, or push us back onto the war path with Syria.

The snowballing unpopularity of U.S. foreign policy will not stop the corporate-influenced U.S. government in attempting to lie its way into a new war, since the ultra-rich rightfully fear their profits are threatened by the rising economic powers of China, Russia, and other countries.

As political consciousness rises among new layers of Americans they will become less susceptible to the lie that there is “ no money” for jobs, schools, health care, and social services in the U.S., since they are watching hundreds of billions of their tax dollars find expression in the Israeli demolishing of Gazan’s homes, with families buried under the debris.  This U.S. sponsored war—as well as future ones—are laying the foundation for the end of wars, based on the political awakening and consequent action of the next generation.

 Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action (www.workerscompass.org).  He can be reached at [email protected]  

On July 22nd, zerohedge bannered sarcastically, “Flight MH-17 Black Boxes To Be Analyzed In ‘Impartial’ London,” and reported that they would be analyzed by the U.S.-allied, anti-Russian, pro-Ukrainian, British Government.

A mere four days later, on the 26th, CBS News  headlined the results, “Black box findings consistent with missile blast,” but they declined to report who, or even what country’s government, had actually done the analysis. CBS reported merely: “Unreleased data from a black box retrieved from the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine show findings consistent with the plane’s fuselage being hit multiple times by shrapnel from a missile explosion. ‘It did what it was designed to do,’ a European air safety official told CBS News, ‘bring down airplanes.’ The official described the finding as ‘massive explosive decompression.’” That’s all. Nothing more.

However, this “explosive decompression” would have happened with bullets too, if the pressurized airliner were punctured by bullets instead of shrapnel. Why did that person (whomever it was) assume that the plane had been hit by a missile’s shrapnel, instead of by hails of bullets fired by machine-guns from a fighter-plane flying alongside it? Maybe because Britain is allied with the Obama-installed Ukrainian Government, against the anti-Government rebels who have no airplanes at all and thus cannot get gunmen 33,000 feet up into the air to shoot directly at the Malaysian airliner’s pilot, and that that’s what actually brought this plane down. We’ll show that the latter scenario is, indeed, correct.

Only idiots would trust Britain to interpret these black boxes to determine what and who brought down that plane. But, fortunately, the physical evidence lying on the ground at the site in Ukraine was photographed very quickly by locals there and uploaded to the Internet sometimes before any fighters and any governments were able to tamper with anything; and there happened to be one modest-looking item found at the site that tells a remarkably complete and entirely credible and convincing account of how this plane came down.

It tells that the Ukrainian Government itself did this airliner-downing, with bullets, not with shrapnel. You’ll see the evidence laid out before you here; you won’t need to rely upon the British Government to tell you how this event happened. The evidence will tell you that.

On July 30th, the retired Lufthansa pilot and published historian Peter Haisenko issued his “Shocking Analysis of the ‘Shooting Down’ of Malaysian MH17,” in which an extremely close-in photo of the most important piece of physical evidence regarding this event is shown — it’s the side-panel on the left-hand side of the cockpit directly where the downed plane’s pilot was seated — and this photo shocked me, too.

Here, first, is that side-panel shown inserted back onto its airliner, so that you can see precisely what and where this piece of the wreckage was on the plane. You will immediately notice the big gaping hole that had been shot through the side-panel where the pilot sits — in other words, targeting directly  at the plane’s pilot.

This is incredibly precise targeting, of a specific person, and not merely  of the far larger body of an airliner. A ground-based missile-shot fired from 33,000 feet below cannot achieve that gaping hole precisely where the pilot sits. A fighter jet plane that’s escorting the airliner into the conflict-zone can. This is how:

Here is that side-panel shown close-up, from Haisenko. Some of the projectiles that pierced it, as you can see, were inbound into the plane (or bent inward), and some of them were coming out of the plane (or bent outward). In other words, going back again to the full-cockpit photo, and if there were two fighter jets escorting this plane into the conflict-zone, and if one of them was below the pilot and cockpit to the left, and the other was below them to the right, and if both of those fighter-planes then suddenly fired machine-gun magazines directly into the pilot, so that the bullets that were coming from his right exited outward from this left-side cockpit-panel, while the bullets that were coming into the pilot from his left entered into and through this cockpit-panel and bent the panel inward to the cabin, then the evidence would be able to look exactly like what we see it as being here — but otherwise, probably not (and we’ll get to that in a moment).

Here is the entirety  of the side-panel piece that so struck Haisenko.

Haisenko further managed to post to the Web an astoundingly clear and detailed photo of this cockpit-panel, so that even individual screws and their deformations can be seen and examined now by the general public. Looking at that, some of the holes to the aluminum-layer on the plane’s outside are splayed outward as if the projectile were outbound, while the plastic layer toward the plane’s inside is obviously splayed inward, and this divergence there, between the inward-folding plastic layer and the outward-folding aluminum layer, can indicate that the aluminum layer was getting pulled back either by the wind on the descent downward to the ground, or else by the ground itself as the panel impacted with the ground — that aluminum outer-layer didn’t always have to be ripped into an outward-folding position by a projectile’s actually coming  outward. It could sometimes result instead from the wind-impact and/or the ground-impact. Moreover (and this is very important here), since a bullet has a sharp point going into an object, even an inbound bullet can peel outward  in a rush the relatively brittle aluminum outer layer, by the mere fact of its own impact, violently throwing that aluminum layer sideways  as the point pierces and forces that aluminum outward, while the more-yielding inner plastic layer simply yields into the direction that the bullet is traveling, and is pushed and then pulled by that bullet inward into the plane, as the bullet thence proceeds onward into the plane. A shrapnel projectile, by contrast, doesn’t have a bullet’s sharp front, and so would not produce such outward flares in the aluminum layer  while penetrating into the plane from the plane’s outside.

So, what is seen in this photo is 100% consistent with the projectiles going in both directions (inbound and outbound), and with the projectiles being bullets instead of  shrapnel.

Haisenko examined the many online photos of this wreckage, and he saw nothing like the concentration of projectiles that were focusing on that pilot, such as is displayed by this side-panel: it’s unique. His article says, “This aircraft was not hit by a missile in the central portion.” He’s a retired airline pilot, and so he knows how missile-shrapnel-punctures are splayed over a rather broad surface-area of a plane, and all of them are inbound into the plane; a shrapnel-spray onto a plane isn’t  bi-directional. Here is a photo of such a plane that was hit by missile-shrapnel in Iraq.

In my article on August 5th, I noted, regarding that photo:

As you can see there, a plane that’s hit by a ground-fired missile, instead of by bullets fired from an attack-plane only a few yards away, has the damage spread rather widely over its body, not concentrated into a tiny area, such as to where the plane’s pilot is seated. Certainly, the contrast between that photo and this one is enormous.

Furthermore, note also that the shrapnel damage to that plane comes from above it, which is where missiles usually hit a plane from, releasing their shrapnel from above, down onto the plane. By contrast, the hail of bullets to the Malaysian plane’s pilot came from below the plane, aiming upward at the cockpit, from both sides of the cockpit.

Furthermore, note also that all of the holes appear to be inbound into the plane, none outbound.

It’s radically different: what hit the Malaysian airliner wasn’t  missile-shrapnel.

What, then, could have been the military planes that actually did this?

On 17 July 2014 the pro-junta Kiev Post  headlined “Russian military plane shot down Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft in Ukraine,” and reported that, “The Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) has said that a Russian military aircraft launched a missile strike against a Su-25 aircraft of the Ukrainian Armed Forces over Ukrainian territory on Wednesday, July 16.” So, even the Ukrainian military admitted that they had Su-25 jets flying in the conflict-zone. But Su-25s are designed only for low-altitude combat and bombing; so, Su-25s would be the type of planes that the rebels would likeliest succeed at bringing down (and did on July 16th), as opposed to the higher-flying Su-27s, which are far less likely to be hit by the rebels’ ground-based fire. (There’s no independent confirmation that “Russian military aircraft” had actually been involved in the incident reported in the Kiev Post;  and there have been numerous instances when the Ukrainian Government charged that there was such direct Russian involvement and it was subsequently established that there hadn’t been any at all. Obama and the Ukrainian Government want a pretext to extend their war into Russia, but Russia has not  been cooperating with their desire. Thus, “(NSDC) has said that a Russian military aircraft launched a missile strike” there was probably reporting a lie.)

During the very late afternoon in Ukraine on July 17th — the same day as the headline “Russian military plane shot down Ukrainian Su-25 aircraft in Ukraine” — the Malaysian airliner, MH-17, went down. The most-thorough article on the plane’s flight-path and timeline was published by Twenty First Century Wire on July 25th here. Two of the fighter jets it notes to be in the Ukrainian Government’s air force are:

“Su-25 ‘Frogfoot’ fighter – Ceiling: 23,000 ft/ 7,000 m, or up to 32,800 ft/ 10,000 m(depending aircraft modifications)

Su-27 ‘Flanker’ fighter – Ceiling: 64,000 ft/ 19,000 m”

Su-25s could barely have escorted the Malaysian airliner into the conflict-zone at around 33,000 feet where it was hit, but Su-27s definitely could easily have done that job.

On July 21st, The Aviationist  bannered “All flights, including Malaysian B777, were being escorted by Ukrainian Su-27 Flanker jets over Eastern Ukraine” and (though in language that’s cumbersome to understand) reported that, “Six fully armed Flankers [or Su-27s] have always been in the sky especially when the other Ukrainian Air Force airplanes such as transporters and attackers like Fulcrums and Rooks were in the East of Ukraine,” and that, “Provided the Su-27s were really escorting or (more likely) watching from their CAP station,” the Malaysian airliner could have been hit by a Buk missile 33,000 feet below from the ground, just as the Ukrainian Government was saying, notwithstanding its “escorting or (more likely) watching from their CAP station.” The speculation continued on like that, stenographcally following the Ukrainian Government’s line (that ground-fired Buks did it, via rebels, not via the Government), by asserting that, “in the wake of the downing of the Su-25 [on July 16th], the operators inside the Buk [what Buk? – The Aviationist  was merely assuming this] may have mistaken the Boeing 777 shadowed by/near two Flankers for a high-value plane of the Ukrainian Air Force. On their radar screens, the sight of a large plane with two accompanying (or circling in CAP not too far away) fighter jets was completely new and may only mean the Ukrainians were escorting an important plane. And that would be the reason why they downed it.” If  ”they” downed it.

The Twenty First Century Wire article also noted that, “The BBC reported on July 17th:

‘Ukraine’s SBU security service has confiscated recordings of conversations between Ukrainian air traffic control officers and the crew of the doomed airliner, a source in Kiev has told Interfax news agency.’”

However, the BBC subsequently removed from their online article the statement that was quoted there, perhaps as part of their cleansing history of things that are subsequently determined by the managers to be inappropriate for readers to know. However, that quoted assertion does appear also in a web-search (quoted at other sites), where it is also attributed to the BBC. Perhaps, then, after the Snowden affair, more-ironclad means of whitewashing “history” will become established, so as to cleanse “history” of the sorts of things that aren’t supposed to be known by the wrong people (such as are you and I). It’s not just the Ukrainian Government that retrospectively removes what it wishes the public not to know (such as radar-records).

The Twenty First Century Wire article also mentioned that, “On June 4, 2014, Janes Defense reported that Kiev have recently returned to service two other higher performance fighters, including the Su-27 ‘Flanker’ and the MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ fighters.” Moreover: “According to IHS Jane’s World Air Forces data, Ukraine still possesses a fleet of 24 Su-24Ms, 36 Su-25s, 45 Su-27s, 20 An-26s and 140 MiG-29s,” but regarding the MIGs, “39 of these were captured” by Russia when Crimea broke away from Ukraine and rejoined Russia, of which it had been a part between 1783 and 1954. Obama and his regime demand that Crimea be returned to Ukraine, which the Crimeans never ever voted to become part of. He supports the Ukrainian Government’s promise to seize it by military means.

Some readers have objected that it’s difficult to bring down a plane by air-to-air fire. One person cited the shooter’s need to take into account the other plane’s evasive maneuvers, and to aim at where the target-plane will be when the bullets are expected to get there. This is a valid point, if the targeted plane is an enemy’s fighter-jet. That’s called a “dogfight in the air.” However, if the target-plane isn’t military, and if the pilot in the target-plane has been given to understand that the fighter jets that are accompanying him are friendly, he’s just a sitting duck for those “escorts,” and the targeters can align themselves exactly where they want to be, and coordinate when they will jointly commence firing at him. The result will be like this side-panel is.

There was another expert who happened to be shocked by this side-panel and who concluded from it what Haisenko does. As I have previously noted and explained in detail, the first member of the international investigating team to arrive on the scene in order to negotiate with the locals the safety of the entire team that was to come into this civil war area, was immediately struck by the fact that, “There have been two or three pieces of fuselage that have been really pockmarked with what almost looks like machine-gun fire, very very strong machine-gun fire.” However, he didn’t examine it then as closely as Haisenko has now done, to such a fine point as to have noticed that some of those bullet-holes came from the plane’s right, and some came from the plane’s left. That fact is even more remarkable than that the projectiles were probably bullets, because this fact confirms that they actually had to be.

I also made note in that article that:

The latest report from the intelligence community was headlined on August 3rd by Robert Parry, “Flight 17 Shoot-Down Scenario Shifts,” and he revealed there that, “Contrary to the Obama administration’s public claims blaming eastern Ukrainian rebels and Russia for the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, some U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded that the rebels and Russia were likely not at fault and that it appears Ukrainian government forces were to blame, according to a source briefed on these findings. This judgment — at odds with what President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have expressed publicly – is based largely on the absence of U.S. government evidence that Russia supplied the rebels with a Buk anti-aircraft missile system that would be needed to hit a civilian jetliner flying at 33,000 feet, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.”

It’s actually based on lots more than that; it’s based not on an absence of evidence, but on positive proof that the Ukrainian Government shot the plane down, and even proving how it was done.

Unlike what Parry’s source alleged, there does exist powerful and convincing evidence of how this plane was downed, and it’s that side-panel.

What, then, of the possibility that the inbound and outbound bullet-holes might have been produced by just a single Su-27? That scenario has been proposed, but it fails to account for the event, and here is why: The very moment when that gunman poured his hale of bullets into the pilot and thereby pulverized and blew open that huge gaping hole where the pilot was sitting, the plane’s pressurized air would have immediately rushed out that hole. It might have broken into pieces within seconds. As Haisenko said, due to the air-pressure-shock to the plane, “The largely intact fragments of the rear sections broke in mid air at the weaker points of contstruction [sp],” thereby producing “the widely scattered field of debris.”

I shall close with what I think is the most important fact of all:

No matter whom the trigger-pullers at the bottom of any power-and-authority hierarchy are who actually did this (gunmen or else missilemen), and regardless of whether they even did it intentionally at all, or else entirely by mistake, a far deeper and indisputable reality is that “Obama Definitely Caused the Malaysian Airliner to Be Downed.” That’s true in the same sense that Adolf Hitler definitely caused the Holocaust to happen: It wouldn’t have happened but for him and the decisions and choices that that person at the very top of the power-structure made, which were merely being carried out by his subordinates.

He is the one person who should be held accountable the most of all. Obama intends the ethnic-cleansing campaign that is occurring in southeastern Ukraine to get rid of the people who live in the areas that overwhelmingly elected as Ukraine’s President in 2010 the man whom Obama’s February 2014 coup in Ukraine overthrew. Without that ethnic-cleansing campaign and the consequent need of the residents there to shoot down the Government’s planes, even the Obama-team’s explanation — that the aircraft-downing was a case of the residents there firing upon what they thought to be a Government bomber — wouldn’t have existed at all, because there wouldn’t then have been the ethnic-cleansing campaign for them to be protecting themselves from. So: even if the downing of that airliner hadn’t  been done intentionally by the Ukrainian Government as a “false flag event” to blame the victims in order to get the EU to go along with stiffened sanctions against Russia for helping the rebels, those sanctions would still  be an outrage: morally, practically, and also violations of international law: aggression that’s based on lies. The fact that this was a false-flag event by Obama’s people only makes it, and the current U.S. President, an outrage squared:  an outrage upon an outrage.

There need to be EU sanctions now against the United States — my own country — or else the EU itself is as rotten as the U.S. has become. Instead, the EU has joined Obama’s sanctions against Russia. America under Clinton, Bush, and Obama, has performed fine for its aristocracy (which control them all), but abominably for everyone else. Is that the kind of model the EU wishes to copy? If so, it should end, because the EU’s leadership then seeks to go the way of the U.S., aristocratically controlled, against the public, a model that’s shameful — scandalous, in fact: something not to be perpetrated against anyone, neither the victims in Obama’s MH-17 downing, nor the victims in his ongoing ethnic-cleansing campaign against the residents in Ukraine’s southeast. Obama’s crimes are much bigger than just the downing of that single airliner.

There is a subordinate fact that extends from this central fact of Obama’s clear guilt — his guilt that would apply regardless of whether some Buk missile system had been fired by rebels to protect themselves and their families from being bombed by planes of the Kiev government: Even if that were the case, the rebels’ measure in that matter was purely defensive. Contrast that with the situation that has been described here: The situation that has been described here is that the Kiev government intentionally brought this airliner down. That’s not an innocent error; it is instead an enormous intentional war crime, planned as such. If the rebels made a tragic error, by falling for a trap in which the Kiev government had escorted the Malaysian airliner into the war-zone hoping that the rebels would make such an error, then who is the actual guilty party? Is it Obama and the Kiev regime that he installed in order to do this ethnic cleansing so that Ukraine in the future will have only anti-Russian Presidents? Or is it the victims of that ethnic cleansing?

No matter how one looks at this, the guilt is clear and damning against Barack Obama: first, by his installing this ethnic-cleansing regime into power in Ukraine; and then, by his continued support of those bloody psychopaths whom he had empowered there.

No matter what, Barack Obama has massive innocent blood on his hands. And the victims of the MH-17 disaster are only a relatively small part of that much bigger picture.

Thus far, the penalties have fallen on Russia and Vladimir Putin, not on the Ukrainian Government and Barack Obama.

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

More evidence, about which I hope to write at length, is piling up that Europe has acquiesced to Washington’s drive to war with Russia, a war that is likely to be the final war for humanity.  By Russia’s low key and unthreatening response to Washington’s aggression, thereby giving the West the mistaken signal that Russia is weak and fearful, the Russian government has encouraged Washington’s drive to war.

It appears that the Russians’ greatest weakness is that capitalism has raised enough Russians to a comfortable living standard that the war that Washington is bringing to them is scary, and they want to avoid it in order to continue living like decadent Western Europeans.

The same thing happened to the once fierce Vandals in North Africa in the 6th century when the Vandals were exterminated by a small force from the Eastern Roman Empire.The Vandals had lost the valor that had given them a rich chunk of the Roman Empire.

Russia needs to save the world from war, but the avoidance of war requires Russia to make the costs clear to Europeans.

Faced with economic sanctions, essentially illegal and warlike actions, applied to various Russian individuals and businesses by Washington and Washington’s EU puppets and by Switzerland, a country taught to be more fearful of Washington than of Moscow, Russian President Putin has asked the Russian government to come up with countermeasures to be implemented in response to the gratuitous sanctions imposed against Russia.

But, Putin says, Russia must hold back: “Obviously we need to do it cautiously in order to support domestic manufacturers, but not hurt consumers.”

In other words, Putin wants to impose sanctions that are not really sanctions, but something that looks like tit for tat.

The amazing thing about Russia finding herself on the defensive about sanctions is that Russia, not Washington or the impotent EU, holds all the cards.  Putin can bring down the economies of Europe and throw all of Europe into political and economic chaos simply by turning off the energy supply.

Putin would not have to turn off the energy supply for very long before Europe tells Washington good-bye and comes to terms with Russia. The longer Putin waits, the longer Europe has to prepare against Russia’s best weapon that can be used to peacefully resolve the conflict that Washington has orchestrated.

Washington’s aggressive moves against Russia will not stop until Putin realizes that he, not Washington, holds the cards, and plays them.

The world has had enough of Washington, its constant lies, its constant wars, and its bullying.  Putin would do well to spend a few hours with Belisarius, Justinian the Great’s great general.

“When I treat with my enemies,” Belisarius said, “I am more accustomed to give than to receive counsel; but I hold in one hand inevitable ruin, in the other peace and freedom.”

That is precisely the position that Vladimir Putin is in with regard to Europe.  In one hand he holds the ruin of Europe.  In the other peace and freedom in the relations between Russia and Europe.

He needs to call up the dumbshit European “leaders” and tell them.

If Putin does not put his foot down hard and make clear to the Europeans what the stakes are, Washington will succeed in its determination to drive the world to war, and “exceptional and indispensable” Americans will die along with all the rest.

Even before a short-lived ceasefire allowed journalists to enter the besieged southern Gaza strip town of Khuzaa on 1 August, desperate reports of an Israeli massacre — including execution-style shootings — had emerged from survivors who had escaped to nearby Khan Younis.

Once journalists were able to enter the choked-off village, they found slain bodies and the stench of decay. Journalist Jesse Rosenfeld described one scene, among several, that appeared to be the site of a summary execution:

Blood and blackened remnants are caked on the bathroom floor. The walls have been drenched in blood and they are pocked with scores of bullet holes that look as if they were fired from an automatic weapon at waist level. Some of the bullet holes are in line, as if the gun were sweeping across its targets. There is also soot staining the tiles, suggesting the bodies were burned or there had been a small blast. Several tiles have fallen away from the wall. The house is filled with casings from the bullets used in assault rifles. They are marked on the bottom as “IMI” (Israel Military Industries)

.

People recovering the last body from the room where villagers say
the mass execution has taken place. Lazar Simeonov for The Daily Beast ()

Fifty-one bodies were recovered on 1 August.

Deliberately firing on civilians

On Saturday, Ali Abunimah reported on a video apparently made by Israeli soldiers from the Givati brigade on 30 July, recording their dedication of the destruction of a mosque in Khuzaa to fallen Israeli soldiers.

Now, after conducting its own investigations into the events between 23 and 25 July, Human Rights Watch has accused the Israeli army of deliberately firing on and killing civilians in the southern Gaza town of Khuzaa, violating several laws of war.

After interviewing surviving witnesses in Khan Younis, Human Rights Watch was able to chronicle the war crimes committed by the Israeli army. Such crimes include firing on civilians carrying white flags in an attempt to flee the village; shooting at medical workers attending to a mortally wounded Red Crescent paramedic volunteer; denying medical care to Palestinians in Israeli custody; and shooting at civilians after they were ordered to exit their homes.

This is not the first time such crimes have been committed in Khuzaa. As both Human Rights Watch and the Goldstone Report documented, during Israel’s 2008-2009 offensive on Gaza Israeli soldiers shot at several Palestinians in Khuzaa carrying white flags, killing at least one and injuring more.

“Large craters”

Khuzaa has a population of around 10,000 and lies between Khan Younis and Gaza’s eastern boundary with Israel. Employees of Human Rights Watch have yet to be able to enter Khuzaa, saying that all four roads leading to the town have been replaced by “large bomb craters.”

For weeks, Khuzaa was completely isolated from ambulance services and much of the media as Israeli forces fired on its residents by air and ground assault.

The one exception was on 24 July, when the Israeli military allowed the Red Cross to enter Khuzaa for just one hour to retrieve the injured and collect dead bodies. The next day, on 25 July, Israeli forces granted a request submitted by the International Committee of the Red Cross to permit the Palestine Red Crescent Society to do the same.

But still, the Red Crescent was unable to reach many families. Furthermore, as reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Israel attacked a volunteer with the Red Crescent while he was attempted to treat the wounded. Paramedics tried to rush him to a hospital, but were also targeted by Israel. The volunteer died.

Unable to escape

Human Rights Watch reports that Israel gave advanced warnings to the residents of Khuzaa prior to 21 July, but notes that civilians’ failure to evacuate an area that has been given an advanced warning does not make them lawful targets.

Instead, as the investigation makes clear, Israel deliberately shot at Palestinians as they tried to flee their homes and village.

In one incident described by Human Rights Watch that took place on 25 July, an Israeli airstrike shelled a home that was sheltering 120 people in its basement, killing three civilians: five-year-old Motassem al-Najjar, 70-year-old Salim Qdeih, and 62-year-old Kamel al-Najjar. Fifteen were injured.

When the survivors of the strike tried to flee, carrying white flags over their heads, another Israeli missile struck the group, killing one man and injuring another.

While many towns located on the eastern border with Israel fled following Israel’s ground assault on 18 July, residents of Khuzaa were unable to escape. Speaking from Khan Younis, Akram al-Najjar, 15, told Human Rights Watch that Israel began shelling the village on 18 July, and his family ran “from house to house seeking shelter.”

Al-Najjar added that he and about 100 others had gathered in one house on 23 July. Once the Israelis found them and ordered them to leave, al-Najjar said: “The first one to walk out of the house was Shahid al-Najjar. He had his hands up, but the soldiers shot him. He was shot in the jaw and badly injured, but he survived.”

The army then ordered the rest of the men to take off their clothes before exiting the house. Everyone was then separated by age and gender; women and boys under 14 were ordered to leave the village by foot, while the men were shuffled between houses after putting on their clothes.

Palestinians walk past houses destroyed by Israeli airstrikes and shelling in Khuzaa, 3 August. (Ramadan El-Agha / APA images)

“He was shot”

Akram al-Najjar was put in a group with boys ages 14 to 19. He reported: “We had walked from the dunes and had reached the mosque. We got 50 meters past it, and soldiers started shooting at us. The shooting injured three of us. One of them died. He was shot in the stomach.”

According to Akram’s grandfather, 75-year-old Mohammad al-Najjar, Israel detained all the men between the ages of 16 and 50 and “let the rest of us go.” He believes that his three sons are still in Israeli custody, along with hundreds of others that have been detained in Gaza.

The full Human Rights Watch report documents several of the laws of war Israel violated in Khuzaa — yet still only a partial picture of what occurred in Khuzaa is illuminated.

In the report, Human Rights Watch urges the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to seek International Criminal Court jurisdiction over crimes committed on and from Palestinian territory as a means to achieve accountability and deter war crimes.

Charlotte Silver is an independent journalist in San Francisco, formerly based in the West Bank. She tweets @CharESilver

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The Ukrainian government has admitted redeploying Short-Range Ballistic Missile Tochka-U (NATO classification: SS-21 Scarab) units within firing range of Donetsk and Lugansk. There is already evidence of either this terrifying weapon or something very similar having been used in a Ukrainian strike on Shakhtyorsk.

The strike targeted civilians – no militiaman was anywhere close. Provided for you below is video evidence of the aftermath of this event and the scars it left behind.

Video: Village of Shakhtyorsk, August 4, 2014 Scherbakov Street
Translated by Valentina Lisitsa / Subtitles by Marcel Sardo

Slavyangrad.org

Why Won’t Obama Just Leave Ukraine Alone?

August 6th, 2014 by Rep. Ron Paul

President Obama announced last week that he was imposing yet another round of sanctions on Russia, this time targeting financial, arms, and energy sectors. The European Union, as it has done each time, quickly followed suit. 

These sanctions will not produce the results Washington demands, but they will hurt the economies of the US and EU, as well as Russia.

These sanctions are, according to the Obama administration, punishment for what it claims is Russia’s role in the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, and for what the president claims is Russia’s continued arming of separatists in eastern Ukraine. Neither of these reasons makes much sense because neither case has been proven.

The administration began blaming Russia for the downing of the plane just hours after the crash, before an investigation had even begun. The administration claimed it had evidence of Russia’s involvement but refused to show it. Later, the Obama administration arranged a briefing by “senior intelligence officials” who told the media that “we don’t know a name, we don’t know a rank and we’re not even 100 percent sure of a nationality,” of who brought down the aircraft.

So Obama then claimed Russian culpability because Russia’s “support” for the separatists in east Ukraine “created the conditions” for the shoot-down of the aircraft. That is a dangerous measure of culpability considering US support for separatist groups in Syria and elsewhere.

Similarly, the US government claimed that Russia is providing weapons, including heavy weapons, to the rebels in Ukraine and shooting across the border into Ukrainian territory. It may be true, but again the US refuses to provide any evidence and the Russian government denies the charge. It’s like Iraq’s WMDs all over again.

Obama has argued that the Ukrainians should solve this problem themselves and therefore Russia should butt out.

I agree with the president on this. Outside countries should leave Ukraine to resolve the conflict itself. However, even as the US demands that the Russians de-escalate, the United States is busy escalating!

In June, Washington sent a team of military advisors to help Ukraine fight the separatists in the eastern part of the country. Such teams of “advisors” often include special forces and are usually a slippery slope to direct US military involvement.

On Friday, President Obama requested Congressional approval to send US troops into Ukraine to train and equip its national guard. This even though in March, the president promised no US boots on the ground in Ukraine. The deployment will be funded with $19 million from a fund designated to fight global terrorism, signaling that the US considers the secessionists in Ukraine to be “terrorists.”

Are US drone strikes against these “terrorists” and the “associated forces” who support them that far off?

The US has already provided the Ukrainian military with $23 million for defense security, $5 million in body armor, $8 million to help secure Ukraine’s borders, several hundred thousand ready-to-eat meals as well as an array of communications equipment. Congress is urging the president to send lethal military aid and the administration is reportedly considering sending real-time intelligence to help target rebel positions.

But let’s not forget that this whole crisis started with the US-sponsored coup against Ukraine’s elected president back in February. The US escalates while it demands that Russia de-escalate. How about all sides de-escalate?

Even when the goals are clear, sanctions have a lousy track record. Sanctions are acts of war. These sanctions will most definitely have a negative effect on the US economy as well as the Russian economy. Why is “winning” Ukraine so important to Washington? Why are they risking a major war with Russia to deny people in Ukraine the right to self-determination? Let’s just leave Ukraine alone!

Press Release

Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine

The Ministry of Health Gaza insists that any ceasefire agreement must guarantee the human rights of our people, most importantly, the right to health.

We therefore stress that any agreement arising out of the talks in Cairo must be based on international law, not self-interest.

We emphasise that international law is something that is applied without fear or favour, not negotiated.

The right of our people to health is a right that is interdependent with, and indivisible from, every other universal human right, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and reasserted in the Vienna Declaration.

The devastation wreaked by the Israeli war criminals in Gaza, the widespread destruction of the most basic human needs such as water and shelter, the attacks on our hospitals, clinics and ambulances, the death and injury of scores of our health workers, the senseless annihilation of our electricity and sanitation infrastructure, our places of worship and our schools  leave us confronting the challenge of preventing ill-health, promoting well-being and providing health services in circumstances in which even the barest essentials are absent.

The right to health is indivisible from the right to housing, the right to employment, the right to freedom of movement, the right to freedom of political and religious belief, the right to self-determination – and most importantly, the right to freedom from occupation.

These are rights guaranteed under international law – they require only that the law be applied.

They are NOT NEGOTIABLE.

The Ministry of Health Gaza views with incredulity the statement from Ban Ki-moon and US Secretary of State John Kerry counting on “…a continued collaborative international effort to assist Egypt and the parties reach a durable ceasefire as soon as possible.”

The international community has had 47 years to “assist the parties to reach a durable ceasefire,” through implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.

 The international community has had four years since the siege of Gaza was declared illegal by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to “assist the parties to reach a durable ceasefire.”

 There is no absence of support in international law either for the conditions, or the legal basis, that would ensure a durable ceasefire.

 There is merely an absence of real commitment by both the United Nations and the United States to enforce one that is based on, and accords with, international law.

 The Ministry of Health Gaza considers that the process currently underway in Cairo is best served by considering the issues within the framework of legitimacy, rather than hypocritical platitudes about peace processes with no basis in either law or justice – peace processes that have, and will continue to, perpetuate abuses of, not promote, Palestinians’ enjoyment of human rights.

 Either the rule of law is applied without fear or favour, or the United Nations, its instruments and its organisations, risk becoming not only an irrelevance, but complicit in the abuses of the very rights they purport to uphold.

We ask – no, we demand – that the international community shoulder its responsibilities to the Palestinian people, in Gaza and elsewhere, and insist on the implementation of international law.

 We demand that 47 years of stalling, hedging, filibustering and prevaricating end, and end now.

 We demand the international community support our just demands for an end of the illegal Israeli occupation that breaches our right to our own territory and our right to self-determination, and an end to the illegal siege of Gaza  that breaches our right to freedom of movement and to development.

 We demand that any agreement coming out of Cairo guarantees Palestinians in Gaza – and everywhere – the enjoyment of our right to life and to health, rights which are indivisible from and interdependent with all human rights.

Anything less is not only a threat to a durable and just ceasefire in Gaza, but also a threat to the rights of all people, everywhere.

Contacts:

Dr Yousef AbuAlrish, Deputy  Minister of Health                                +972 597 918 339

Dr Medhat Abbas, Director General, Ministry of Health                     +972 599 403 547

After nearly a month of inflicting death and destruction on Gaza, the Israeli occupation forces withdrew on August 5, as part of 72-hour ceasefire agreement. Negotiations are now underway in Cairo over the terms of a more long-range truce. After subverting previous ceasefires, it is clear that Israeli leaders wanted the latest agreement.

Gaza, whose population of 1.8 million is 80% refugees from other parts of Palestine crowded into an area of just 139 square miles, has suffered more than 1,860 killed and over 9,600 wounded since the Israeli military assault began on July 8. The vast majority of the casualties on the Palestinian side were civilian victims of Israel’s indiscriminate bombing and shelling.

On the Israel side, 67 were killed, all but three soldiers. At least 640 Israel soldiers were wounded. Although the Palestinian losses were exponentially greater, the Israel losses were five times those in the last ground invasion of Gaza in 2008-9.

The U.S.-funded and armed Israeli military deployed a wide range of high-tech air, land and sea weaponry. The Palestinian side has no air force, navy, armored units or air defense system. Thousands of homes were destroyed, schools, hospitals, mosques and Gaza’s only power plant were repeatedly hit. Entire neighborhoods, like Shejaiya in Gaza City were turned into rubble. Most of Gaza has little or no electricity and there are acute shortages of water and other necessities.

The cost to rebuild Gaza is estimated at this point at $4-6 billion, three to four times Gaza’s annual gross domestic product.

While proclaiming their supposed “concern” about civilian casualties, there can be no doubt that Netanyahu and his generals waged a deliberate campaign of terror directed against the population of Gaza as a whole. The repeated bombing and shelling of UN-run facilities in which tens of thousands had taken refuge was neither accident nor mistake. Those attacks were meant to send the message that there was nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, that resistance to Israeli domination was futile and surrender the only option.

It was a campaign of terror carried out by a terrorist state.

It’s the same message that repeated Israeli massacres from Deir Yassin in 1948, to Sabra and Shatila in 1982, to Jenin in 2002, to Gaza in 2014 were meant to convey. But despite the indescribable suffering they have been subjected to over the past century at the hands of imperialism and Zionism, the Palestinians continue to resist.

Why a ceasefire now?

While the Israeli military has once again inflicted unspeakable death and destruction on Gaza, it did not achieve victory, as evidenced by the disarray today inside the Israeli political establishment over the announcement that Israel troops were being withdrawn. A military spokesperson announced that it had “achieved its objective” by destroying 32 military tunnels.

Extreme right wing politicians howled about “not finishing the job.” Typical was Uzi Landau, tourism minister from the Yisrael Beiteinu party, who said “the operation ended with no achievement that ensures quiet.”

The real objective – destroying the Palestinian resistance forces in Gaza – was clearly not achieved.

There were several factors that brought pressure on Israel to claim “success,” announce it was withdrawing its troops, and seek a ceasefire.

1)  Failure to achieve military victory, significant army casualties killed and wounded, and the prospects of a protracted and debilitating campaign.

2)  Intensifying clashes in the West Bank with at least 10 Palestinians killed and hundreds wounded in protests supporting Gaza. On Aug. 4, one Israeli was killed and soldier wounded in attacks in Jerusalem. The Israeli government feared that continuation of the assault on Gaza could lead to a new intifada or uprising in the West Bank, and possibly extending to the Palestinian population inside the 1948 borders of Israel.

3)  Israel’s rapidly deepening international isolation, with many governments condemning the Gaza operation and withdrawing ambassadors, and a worldwide protest movement that brought millions of people into the streets of countries around the world.

4)  Growing criticism by the U.S. government, Israel’s principal funder, armor and protector, of Israel’s blatant attacks on civilians. While the U.S. continued its political and military support – including an emergency re-supply of ammunition – the Obama administration was increasingly concerned about being so closely identified with the Israel’s terror campaign, and the prospect of new mass upheavals in the region. In an unusually strong criticism, on August 4 White House spokesperson Josh Earnest described the latest Israeli shelling of a UN school housing 3,000 refugees as “appalling” and “disgraceful,” labels usually reserved for enemy governments.

His thuggish “no one can tell us what to do” rhetoric aside, Netanyahu is no more immune to objective forces than any other political leader or regime. The combination of facts on the ground in Gaza, in Occupied Palestine as a whole, and in the world compelled the Israeli government to take a step back, at least for the time being.

There is no guarantee that a longer term ceasefire will be reached. All those who stand for justice for the Palestinian people must remain on alert, and continue the struggle to immediately end the blockade of Gaza and force the U.S. and Israel to provide reparations. In the long run, real self-determination demands the right of return for all Palestinian refugees, and an end to the Israeli apartheid system.

For most of the last five decades, it has been assumed that the Tonkin Gulf incident was a deception by Lyndon Johnson to justify war in Vietnam. But the U.S. bombing of North Vietnam on Aug. 4, 1964, in retaliation for an alleged naval attack that never happened — and the Tonkin Gulf Resolution that followed was not a move by LBJ to get the American people to support a U.S. war in Vietnam.

The real deception on that day was that Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara’s misled LBJ by withholding from him the information that the U.S. commander in the Gulf — who had initially reported an attack by North Vietnamese patrol boats on U.S. warships — had later expressed serious doubts about the initial report and was calling for a full investigation by daylight. That withholding of information from LBJ represented a brazen move to usurp the President’s constitutional power of decision on the use of military force.

Dean Rusk, Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert McNamara in Cabinet Room meeting February 1968. (Photo credit: Yoichi R. Okamoto, White House Press Office)

Image: Dean Rusk, Lyndon B. Johnson and Robert McNamara in Cabinet Room meeting February 1968. (Photo credit: Yoichi R. Okamoto, White House Press Office)

McNamara’s deception is documented in the declassified files on the Tonkin Gulf episode in the Lyndon Johnson library, which this writer used to piece together the untold story of the Tonkin Gulf episode in a 2005 book on the U.S. entry into war in Vietnam. It is a key element of a wider story of how the national security state, including both military and civilian officials, tried repeatedly to pressure LBJ to commit the United States to a wider  war in Vietnam.

Johnson had refused to retaliate two days earlier for a North Vietnamese attack on U.S. naval vessels carrying out electronic surveillance operations. But he accepted McNamara’s recommendation for retaliatory strikes on Aug. 4 based on reports of a second attack. But after that decision, the U.S. task force commander in the Gulf, Capt. John Herrick, began to send messages expressing doubt about the initial reports and suggested a “complete evaluation” before any action was taken in response.

McNamara had read Herrick’s message by mid-afternoon, and when he called the Pacific Commander, Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp Jr., he learned that Herrick had expressed further doubt about the incident based on conversations with the crew of the Maddox. Sharp specifically recommended that McNamara “hold this execute” of the U.S. airstrikes planned for the evening while he sought to confirm that the attack had taken place.

But McNamara told Sharp he preferred to “continue the execute order in effect” while he waited for “a definite fix” from Sharp about what had actually happened.

McNamara then proceeded to issue the strike execute order without consulting with LBJ about what he had learned from Sharp, thus depriving him of the choice of cancelling the retaliatory strike before an investigation could reveal the truth.

At the White House meeting that night, McNamara again asserted flatly that U.S. ships had been attacked in the Gulf.  When questioned about the evidence, McNamara said, “Only highly classified information nails down the incident.” But the NSA intercept of a North Vietnamese message that McNamara cited as confirmation could not possibly have been related to the Aug. 4 incident, as intelligence analysts quickly determined based from the time-date group of the message.

LBJ began to suspect that McNamara had kept vital information from him, and immediately ordered national security adviser McGeorge Bundy to find out whether the alleged attack had actually taken place and required McNamara’s office to submit a complete chronology of McNamara’s contacts with the military on Aug. 4 for the White House indicating what had transpired in each of them.

But that chronology shows that McNamara continued to hide the substance of the conversation with Admiral Sharp from LBJ. It omitted Sharp’s revelation that Capt. Herrick considered the “whole situation” to be “in doubt” and was calling for a “daylight recce [reconnaissance]” before any decision to retaliate, as well as Sharp’s agreement with Herrick’s recommendation. It also falsely portrayed McNamara as having agreed with Sharp that the execute order should be delayed until confirming evidence was found.

Contrary to the assumption that LBJ used the Tonkin Gulf incident to move U.S. policy firmly onto a track for military intervention, it actually widened the differences between Johnson and his national security advisers over Vietnam policy. Within days after the episode Johnson had learned enough to be convinced that the alleged attack had not occurred and he responded by halting both the CIA-managed commando raids on the North Vietnamese coast U.S. and the U.S. naval patrols near the coast.

In fact, McNamara’s deception on Aug. 4 was just one of 12 distinct episodes in which top U.S. national security officials attempted to press a reluctant LBJ to begin a bombing campaign against North Vietnam.

In September 1964, McNamara and other top officials tried to get LBJ to approve a deliberately provocative policy of naval patrols running much closer to the North Vietnamese coast and at the same time as the commando raids. They hoped for another incident that would justify a bombing program. But Johnson insisted that the naval patrols stay at least 20 miles away from the coast and stopped the commando operations.

Six weeks after the Tonkin Gulf bombing, on Sept. 18, 1964, McNamara and Secretary of State Dean Rusk claimed yet another North Vietnamese attack on a U.S. destroyer in Gulf and tried to get LBJ to approve another retaliatory strike. But a skeptical LBJ told McNamara, “You just came in a few weeks ago and said they’re launching an attack on us – they’re firing at us, and we got through with the firing and concluded maybe they hadn’t fired at all.”

After LBJ was elected in November 1964, he continued to resist a unanimous formal policy recommendation of his advisers that he should begin the systematic bombing of North Vietnam. He stubbornly argued for three more months that there was no point in bombing the North as long as the South was divided and unstable.

Johnson also refused to oppose the demoralized South Vietnamese government negotiating a neutralist agreement with the Communists, much to his advisers’ chagrin. McGeorge Bundy later recalled in an oral history interview that he concluded that Johnson was “coming to a decision … to lose” in South Vietnam.

LBJ only capitulated to the pressure from his advisers after McNamara and Bundy wrote a joint letter to him in late January 1965 making it clear that responsibility for U.S. “humiliation” in South Vietnam would rest squarely on his shoulders if he continued his policy of “passivity.” Fearing, with good reason, that his own top national security advisers would turn on him and blame him for the loss of South Vietnam, LBJ eventually began the bombing of North Vietnam.

He was then sucked into the maelstrom of the Vietnam War, which he defended publicly and privately, leading to the logical but mistaken conclusion that he had been the main force behind the push for war all along.

The deeper lesson of the Tonkin Gulf episode is how a group of senior national security officials can seek determinedly through hardball – and even illicit – tactics to advance a war agenda, even knowing that the President of the United States is resisting it.

Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan. His new book Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, was published Feb. 14.

There’s a wide and mysterious chasm between the stated intentions of the Israeli government as depicted by the U.S. media and what the Israeli government has been doing in Gaza, even as recounted in the U.S. media.

With the morgues full, Gazans are packing freezers with their dead children. Meanwhile, the worst images to be found in Israel depict fear, not death and suffering. Why the contrast? If the Israeli intent is defensive, why are 97% of the deaths Gazan, not Israeli? If the targets are fighters, why are whole families being slaughtered and their houses leveled? Why are schools and hospitals and children playing on the beach targeted? Why target water and electricity if the goal is not to attack an entire population?

The mystery melts away if you look at the stated intentions of the Israeli government as not depicted by the U.S. media but readily available in Israeli media and online. 

On August 1st, the Deputy Speaker of Israel’s Parliament posted on his FaceBook page a plan for the complete destruction of the people of Gaza using concentration camps.  He had laid out a somewhat similar plan in a July 15th column.

Another member of the Israeli Parliament, Ayelet Shaked, called for genocide in Gaza at the start of the current war, writing: “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Taking a slightly different approach, Middle East scholar Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University has been widely quoted in Israeli media saying, “The only thing that can deter [Gazans] is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped.”

The Times of Israel published a column on August 1st, and later unpublished it, with the headline “When Genocide Is Permissible.” The answer turned out to be: now.

On August 5th, Giora Eiland, former head of Israel’s National Security Council, published a column with the headline “In Gaza, There Is No Such Thing as ‘Innocent Civilians’.”  Eiland wrote:

“We should have declared war against the state of Gaza (rather than against the Hamas organization). . . . [T]he right thing to do is to shut down the crossings, prevent the entry of any goods, including food, and definitely prevent the supply of gas and electricity.”

It’s all part of putting Gaza “on a diet,” in the grotesque wording of an advisor to a former Israeli Prime Minister.

If it were common among members of the Iranian or Russian government to speak in favor of genocide, you’d better believe the U.S. media would notice. Why does this phenomenon go unremarked in the case of Israel? Noticing it is bound to get you called an anti-Semite, but that’s hardly a concern worthy of notice while children are being killed by the hundreds.

Another explanation is U.S. complicity. The weapons Israel is using are given to it, free-of-charge, by the U.S. government, which also leads efforts to provide Israel immunity for its crimes.  Check out this revealing map of which nations recognize the nation of Palestine.

A third explanation is that looking too closely at what Israel’s doing could lead to someone looking closely at what the U.S. has done and is doing. Roughly 97% of the deaths in the 2003-2011 war on Iraq were Iraqi.  Things U.S. soldiers and military leaders said about Iraqis were shameful and genocidal.

War is the biggest U.S. investment, and contemporary war is almost always a one-sided slaughter of civilians.  If seeing the horror of it in Israeli actions allow us to begin seeing the same in U.S. actions, an important step will have been taken toward war’s elimination.

Yes, how many times can a man turn his head
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

It is amazing how quickly Israel has learned the elements of colonial staying power.  It is even more amazing how the American media has taken up the cause of racism against the Palestinians.

We can start with how the Israelis, and their lobby headquartered in Washington, have managed to demonize Palestinians, with the result that Israel can undertake a massive slaughter and be barely criticized for it both by our media.   We can begin with Israel’s request to the US government a couple of decades ago to label Hamas as a “Terrorist Group,” which our government happily agreed to do.   Other people in other parts of the world have tried this tactic, with some success, but for the most part such rebels are labeled “insurgents.”

Demonization of those you occupy is an essential first step to allow a colonial power to do what it wishes with the people being occupied.  How else can one explain the lack of meaningful protests by Americans, who have furnished the money and the weapons to the maiming and the slaughter by Israel of thousands of Palestinians in the many wars its Army has conducted against the Palestinians.

It is useful to look back at our own colonial experience to understand what our government is doing to abet this slaughter of innocents.

Our government, back in the early days of our country, made it a point to come to the aid of settlers who wanted to steal land abourezkfrom American Indians.  The government would send soldiers to any area where Indians fought against the settlers.  In fact, the Wounded Knee massacre came about when President Harrison, in 1889, sent troops to South Dakota to “protect” white settlers from Ghost Dancing Indians.  The government assisted in the scare tactics that had already been used by certain merchants and others by sending more soldiers to our State to calm the fears of white settlers who believed ghost dancers were a major threat to them.   The Republican party was intent on electing two US Senators from South Dakota, so the fears of Indian massacres became an effective tool for the Republican Party to make that come about.

The extra soldiers then set about hunting down Indians who the army believed were ghost dancing and ultimately “threatening” the lives of white settlers.  The troops ordered to gather up Chief Big Foot’s band of Minneconjou Sioux, who were on a mission to Pine Ridge to offer help to the Oglalas based there.  A devastating mistake while trying to disarm the Indians resulted in a massacre of nearly all of Big Foot’s band at a small village called Wounded Knee, the last massacre of Indians in the state’s history.

Lewis Lapham, interviewed by Bloomberg News, said, in January of this year, that following the Wounded Knee Massacre, General Miles investigated the shooting.  In response to allegations that it was a massacre, soldiers came to the defense of the commander of the unit that had been in charge of guarding the Indians, Col. James Forsyth, saying “they couldn’t tell the men from the women since all were wearing blankets, and that in any case, “A Sioux squaw is as an enemy as a man.”

When the investigation report was sent to the Secretary of War, General John Schofield, who was commander of the Army, attached a note saying the troops had clearly bent over backwards to avoid killing women and children, while also denying that any troops had died in friendly fire.

The final report exonerated the US soldiers and blamed the massacre on the Sioux themselves, with many of the dead women and children supposedly killed by other Indians.

I have been watching Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s spokesman, tell lies for the last three weeks, saying Hamas is the culprit shelling the hospitals and civilians gathered at markets, buying food.

But the demonization of the Indians in general and ghost dancers in particular enabled the Army to do what they did, much as Israel is demonizing Palestinians today, seeking to characterize Hamas as the cause of the fighting, and the culprit in the destruction of institutions and of countless numbers of women and children.

The demonization has been so effective, assisted by our media, that no media person, and certainly no national politician, has hardly raised an eyebrow at the mass slaughter of Palestinians by Israel during the Gaza campaign.  At the time of this writing Israel has deliberately shelled and bombed Palestinian hospitals, UN shelters where Palestinians run to what they believe is a safe haven.  The photos we see of Gaza cities on television show nothing more than a huge pile of rubble.  It is not clear where those Palestinians will live after Israel has finished its dirty work and leaves Gaza.

It is all part of Israel’s strategy of bombing Gaza’s Palestinians into submission—to show them who is boss, and to prevent any Palestinian from raising his or her hand in protest of the eight year blockade of the strip.  Not even the most greedy and cruel Israelis believe they can kill all the Gazans, so they must satisfy themselves that it is necessary to control them.  There is no thought of ending the occupation.  That is the lesson the Israeli government has learned from other colonial powers around the world.  The other lesson, that of the Warsaw Ghetto, quite obviously has been forgotten, except for that part that has shown Israel how to control those they occupy.

We have to be doubly sad by watching our President, Barack Obama, who should know better, continue to send weapons, ammunition and money to Israel during this time of mass bloodshed on Israel’s part.

James Abourezk is a former US senator from South Dakota. He is the author of: Advise and Dissent: Memoirs of an ex-Senator.

Is David Cameron’s refusal to condemn what is apparently a prima facie war crime by the IDF, in Gaza, worrying evidence that the CFI, Conservative Friends of Israel, (AKA the British branch of the Israel lobby) has infiltrated government to the extent that it now influences UK foreign policy in the same way that AIPAC in America determines the US foreign policy agenda?

Yesterday’s resignation of a former Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, the talented, ex Minister of State at the Foreign Office, Baroness Warsi, would seem to indicate that such a situation does indeed pertain within the Cameron government to the obvious detriment of democracy; the adherence to international law and the Geneva Conventions and the sanctity of human life – in particular, that of the child.

It would appear that David Cameron has made a huge error in allowing an international lobby to cloud his judgement and compromise British values to the extent that not only is he is content to permit the indiscriminate killing of women, children and non-combatants, in times of war, but that he is willing to licence the export of (British) arms knowingly for that very purpose.

The British electorate will not to renew his mandate when it has now become clear that he is prepared to accede to demands from a lobby acting for a foreign state rather than to ensure compliance with international human rights.

An infirmity once characterizing the past century’s most severe totalitarian regimes has now taken root in Western public discourse and practice, a process akin to Orwellian “double think” acting as a form of de facto censorship preempting consideration of major issues and events. This mindset is obliquely shared by a majority of professional journalists, academics, and public office holders—in short, those who represent and lead public opinion. Their collective publicity of the unsaid preserves and perpetuates existing belief systems and power relations. To be sure, there are self-evident injunctions for those straying from such unspoken protocols, including expulsion from this professional class.

Once a state-endorsed narrative of a questionable event has been presented to and conveyed by the mainstream news media, it is almost invariably accepted without question by “Inner Party” members. Such silence is abetted by a mechanical allegiance to prevailing authority figures and institutional power. In possessing such a worldview one reflexively forfeits personal integrity to uphold the collective publicity of the unspeakable and an overarching faith in the given sociopolitical system’s artificial spontaneity. Alternative interpretations of such events by the laity can be dismissed out-of-hand as “conspiracy theories,” thereby further confirming the Party’s creed.

The publicity of the unspeakable ensures that, under penalty of de facto or formal censure, deference to official narratives will increasingly eclipse free inquiry and expression in the West.

The notion that one’s country is becoming a ruthless police state becomes clichéd, particularly with a lack of historical context. Extreme totalitarian regimes based on, for example, Marxist fundamentalism and unquestioning loyalty to the Party famously utilized internment and compulsory psychiatry to quell political dissidents and unorthodox speech. Yet in the US and elsewhere, objectively assessing the facts surrounding events such as the key political assassinations of the 1960s, the Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing, 9/11, or more recent mass-mediated terror events, is tantamount to political heresy and potential justification for state surveillance, interrogation, obligatory “medical” (psychiatric) treatment, and even a sort of asset confiscation in the form of reputational damage and job loss.

Such informal measures were brought against New Hampshire State Representative Stella Tremblay, who was compelled to resign from public office after she questioned the causes of the Boston Marathon bombing,[1] and similarly played out when this author questioned the official storyline of the Newtown Connecticut shooting in early 2013.[2]

The most recent example is New York state school teacher Adam Heller. Following the suspicious disclosure of his private instant messaging communications to another party where he raised questions regarding the Sandy Hook massacre and other dubious events vis-à-vis the legal purchase of two long guns, Heller was forced by local law enforcement, acting under probable direction of the FBI, to endure a 12-day inpatient psychiatric evaluation. Then, upon the conclusions of another assessment by a “forensic psychiatrist,” Mr. Heller was terminated from his tenured teaching position. The school teacher’s experience is an especially dangerous precedent; one in which the state, with the aid of psychiatry, has imposed forced institutionalization and severe monetary punishment for “thought crimes” in a fashion commonplace to Soviet Russia and similar police states.

“An individual in our country has basic civil rights, and [Heller’s] were fundamentally violated,” the former school teacher’s attorney, Michael Sussman observes. After being visited by the local police, Heller proceeded to the hospital and “thinks he’s getting some sort of physical checkup,” Mr. Sussman continues. After the checkup, hospital personnel direct Heller to the facility’s mental health unit. “For what purpose?” Heller responds. “You’re confused. You seem sick,” they advise.

Sussman maintains that Heller is neither confused nor sick.

This is Siberia in the United States! They keep him in the mental health unit for twelve days, and after twelve days they can find nothing wrong with him. He’s a cogent, bright, well-read, urbane young man. He’s in his mid-thirties. There’s nothing about him that’s peculiar—other than, as you’ll find out—perhaps from somebody’s point of view, some of his beliefs or explorations or considerations; the stuff that we hope people will engage in in their own intellectual curiosity.[3]

In a similar vein, on July 30, 2014 UK blogger Christopher Spivey was arrested on “suspicion of harassment” in a 2AM police raid on his Essex residence. A few days prior to his arrest Spivey posted an article on his site arguing that the May 2013 murder of British soldier Lee Rigby was a deception intended to incite anti-Islamic sentiment. Police refused to disclose what parties were subject to potential harassment. “Among Mr Spivey’s online supporters are David Icke, the former footballer and BBC Grandstand presenter who has become known for his conspiracy theories,” the Daily Mail reports.[4]

There are clear historical antecedents to such state extremism. In his treatise on psychiatry’s political deployment in the Soviet Union, for example, Russian author and political dissident Alexandr Podrabinek points to how a designation of mental illness was an especially effective means for the state to disallow nonconformist thoughts from the public realm while maintaining its own legitimacy. Those “who do not accept the lies and who are prepared to suffer for the sake of the truth … are few,” Podrabinek observes, “but the regime fears them more than all the thieves, murderers, rapists and other criminals combined, for they are armed with the truth. As Shakespeare wrote, ‘Thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel just.’”[5]

Because the truth about the USSR must be suppressed both within and without, and since “trials make too much noise, and execution without a trial is too scandalous,” an ideal “solution” is “declar[ing] political opponents mentally ill. Indeed, who would take a schizophrenic’s resistance seriously?” Not unlike most Western psychiatric practitioners, Soviet doctors generally “designate[d] what they deem[ed] abnormal according to their unprofessional pseudo-standards: ‘mania of justice seeking,’ ‘Marxismomania,’ and the like.”[6]

Dissenters guilty of “agitation or propaganda” aimed at “Soviet authority” or with a like intent to “commit particular, especially dangerous crimes against the state” were routinely diagnosed as criminally insane. State clinicians comprising a “psychiatric commission” then relieved the accused of responsibility for their purportedly illegal acts, historians Sidney Bloch and Peter Reddaway explain. “Almost without exception, the court accepts the recommendation of the commission and the trial becomes a mere formality.” The defendant’s counsel as a matter of course argues for his client’s sanity against the commission’s judgment and without the aid of potentially countervailing evidence and opinion.[7]

In the spirit of such pseudo-scientific procedure, contemporary social scientists are closely aligned with Western countries’ severe police state policies and protocols seeking to address aberrant thought and expression. Alongside Cass Sunstein’s well-known proposal to “cognitively infiltrate” research and social communities harboring non-official narratives on complex events, similar postulations have filtered into the literature that approach “conspiracy theories,”[8] even using terms such as “inoculation” and “metainoculation” against such views.[9]

“Despite the psychological comfort afforded by conspiracy theories,” one recent study asserts, “its attitudes are typically maladaptive. Conspiracies distract public attention from other more pragmatically important political issues and prevent constructive approaches to whatever issues they do address. Additionally,” the paper’s literature review notes, “conspiracy theories ‘can have detrimental consequences: undermining confidence in government, contributing to extreme cynicism about the business and corporate sectors, and fueling dangerous extremist movements’’”[10]

The political assumptions and implications evident in such a preamble are stunning. Most significantly, its authors assume that certain reportage and observations emerging apart from official pronouncements and corporate media reportage–many of which appear in prominent online foreign and alternative news media–are of limited merit and may even be detrimental to the body politic. Like their Soviet counterparts, such social scientists invariably become part and parcel to the enforcement of what the state authorizes as “permissible” thought and discourse.

The state’s resort to psychiatry suggests a desperate move as non-sanctioned reports and analyses receive greater consideration than ever before via the internet. Citing a recent scholarly paper focusing on the contestation of such perspectives, political analyst Kevin Barrett recently observed, “[T]he negative stereotype of the conspiracy theorist–a hostile fanatic wedded to the truth of his own fringe theory–accurately describes the people who defend the official account of 9/11, not those who dispute it.”[11]

Still, as the foundations of civil society further erode to elite prerogatives under state auspices, false narratives remain foregrounded through the publicity of fear and quiescence augmented by corporate media disinformation and scientific authority. When such fictions take up residence in popular consciousness and memory the broader society travels down one way historical trajectories not of its own choosing. The prospect of counterpublics applying reason to known facts and evidence is the Inner Party’s greatest fear–one now being met with police state measures and phony science to subdue.

Notes

[1] John Celock, “Stella Tremblay Resigns From New Hampshire Legislature,” Huffington Post, June 20, 2013.

[2] John Jaschik, “Reprimand for a Blog,” Inside Higher Ed, April 12, 2013.

[3] Michael Sussman interviewed by Jim Fetzer, The Real Deal, June 25, 2014; Jim Fetzer, “1984 Arrives 30 Years Late: Teacher Fired for Questioning Sandy Hook,” Veterans Today, June 26, 2014.

[4] Stephanie Linning,” Blogger Arrested in 2AM Raid on His Home After Claiming Lee Rigby’s Murder Was an Anti-Islam Hoax,” Daily Mail, July 31, 2014.

[5] Alexandr Podrabinek, Punitive Medicine, Ann Arbor MI: Karoma Publishers, 1980, 4.

[6] Ibid., 5.

[7] Sidney Bloch and Peter Reddaway, Russia’s Political Hospitals: The Abuse of Psychiatry in the Soviet Union, London: Victor Gollancz, 1977, 103.

[8] See, for example, Special Issue: The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories, the British Psychological Society’s Psychology Post-Graduate Affairs Group Quarterly, September 2013.

[9] John A. Banas and Gregory Miller, “Inducing Resistance to Conspiracy Theory Propaganda: Testing Inoculation and Metainoculation Strategies,” Human Communication Research 39 (2013): 184-207.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Kevin Barrett, “New Study: Conspiracy Theorists Sane; Government Dupes Crazy, Hostile,” PressTV, July 12, 2014.

An absolutely monumental shift is in process that most have not recognized yet. The truth, or at least some truth, is about to be shown to the American masses about 9/11. I say American masses because everywhere I’ve gone in the world outside of the US, with few exceptions, almost everyone knows that the US government conspiracy theory on 9/11 is for people with tinfoil hats that are either completely zombified or are under mass hypnosis. Most of the rest of the world looks on the US like “The Truman Show” and can’t believe how many people in the show don’t realize it’s not real.

Before we delve into what is about to happen let’s just take one last look at the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 by one of the great freedom-minded investigative journalists on the planet, James Corbett … because this theory is about to evaporate in front of our very eyes:

**

It’s hard to believe but there are still millions of people in the US who believe that is what happened!

Two Major Events in Progress

The first event is a 40-minute broadcast that went out on C-SPAN on August 1st with Richard Gage, founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. This is an absolute must-see interview for the reasons I will explain.

*

C-SPAN is operated by the National Cable Satellite Corporation, the board of directors of which consists primarily of representatives of the largest cable companies. While you can’t call it “mainstream media” per se, it is available in 100 million households in the US and therefore this is significant.

For 40 minutes the truth about 9/11 was represented as not being crazy… instead, it was the exact opposite. It was positioned as highly credible and six of the seven callers thanked both C-SPAN and Richard Gage for finally bringing countless issues with 9/11 forward to the large segment of the US populace, which still thinks something isn’t real unless it is on their television programming.

This is the first time 9/11 has been presented in this way on a US-based network with a significant reach. The only other time the truth about 9/11 has been presented on TV in the US in this light was by RT (formerly known as Russia Today), which is a Russian government propaganda channel (which mostly distributes the truth about the US but in a pro-Russian light) that is beamed into 644 million homes worldwide and about 85 million homes in the US when they broadcast the truth about 9/11 on September 8, 2013.

Getting back to the C-SPAN broadcast, on its own it might not be incredibly significant but when put into context of other events there is clearly something going on … and we will discuss what may be going on below.

At the same time as this very blunt, pro-truth 9/11 broadcast aired in the US, on the very same day, in fact, news broke that a “Former Senator Says Huge Breakthrough Is Coming With Classified 9/11 Information.”

Former Senator Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who co-chaired a congressional inquiry into 9/11 — separate from the 9/11 Commission — stated, as though now it was obvious, “None of the people leading this investigation think it is credible that 19 people — most who could not speak English and did not have previous experience in the United States — could carry out such a complicated task without external assistance.”

Now, Graham says, a breakthrough may finally be around the corner with the upcoming declassification of 28 pages of the “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.”

Remember, as well, that Vladimir Putin threatened in May of this year that he had evidence that 9/11 was an “inside job” and was going to release it after NATO and the US government staged a coup and false-flag attack in the Ukraine.

This struggle continues on to this day with what appears to be another false-flag attack by NATO and the US government in concert with their puppet regime in the Ukraine to down a Malaysian airliner and blame it on Russia (as evidenced here “Evidence Is Now Conclusive: Two Ukrainian Government Fighter-Jets Shot Down Malaysian Airlines MH17“).

So, what is really going on and why does there appear to be a sudden opening of the American public’s eyes to some new information on 9/11?

Theories

Of course, with this many things going on, so many covert operations, so much propaganda and misinformation and so many actors involved it is hard to say. But something definitely is going on.

These are the three theories that we consider the main possibilities with the most likely being the final one.

But, to start, here is the most optimistic.

The Most Optimistic Theory

I have stated since the advent of the Internet, circa 1993, that this would result in the end of all major wars on Earth. It took twenty years to begin to come into fruition – but, of course, most people really did not start utilizing the full modern capabilities of the Internet until the mid-2000s – but it is finally beginning.

As Arthur Ponsonby wrote in 1928, “When war is declared, truth is the first casualty.” But with the Internet the truth is not so easy to hide. With the global human populace becoming aware and having access to all human knowledge at their fingertips, John Kerry summed up the result, “This little thing called the Internet makes it much harder to govern”.

It is clear that never before in recorded history have humans been able to so quickly transfer information and it is reaching a point where it is going exponential. Quickly after most false-flag attacks, within hours, private investigative journalists from around the world are dissecting the info and exposing the lies. This could be seen with the false-flag attack in Syria where Turkey, a member of NATO, staged the gas attacks in Damascus in August, 2013 killing more than 1,300. The US quickly tried to pin the gas attacks on the Syrian government but within days the global populace was aware that this was likely not what they said it was and with a dearth of public opinion to retaliate, the US government could not attack Syria as per its plans laid out by General Wesley Clark shortly after 9/11.

And so, the most optimistic theory about what is going on right now with soon-to-be-revealed information on 9/11 is that humanity has awoken and the rise of this consciousness amongst a large part of the human populace is finally driving the truth out and shining the light on The Powers That Be (TPTB) and the momentum is too big for even TPTB to hold back now.

The Most Pessimistic Theory

The most pessimistic theory, or the closest we can think up, is that this is all part of a greater script in which certain truths about 9/11 will be revealed and then quickly a massive event will so engulf the world in chaos that it will be wiped down the memory hole, much like Donald Rumsfeld announcing that $2.3 trillion was missing from the US Department of Defense on September 10th, 2001.

The next day something blew up the accounting department of the Pentagon as well three towers in New York City and few spoke of it again.

This time? Who knows. All of a sudden Ebola is the scare of the day (as we discussed yesterday) … perhaps Agenda 21′s population reduction is about to swing into full effect.

Or, if you want to go down the most extreme road, maybe the rumored Project Blue Beam is about to be unleashed.

According to what some believe, the infamous NASA Blue Beam Project has four different steps in order to implement the new-age religion with the Antichrist at its head. We’ll save you the gory details but it results in a gigantic ‘space show’ with three-dimensional optical holograms and sounds, laser projection of multiple holographic images to different parts of the world, each receiving a different image according to predominating regional national religious faith. This new ‘god’s’ voice will be speaking in all languages and the supposed purpose is to scare the world into a new world order.

We doubt this one but, as we said, we tried to think up the most pessimistic theory and this is it … so if you see some new god talking to you from outer space in the coming days …

The Most Logical Theory

Russia 9/11 Memorial

Image: Russia gifted the US this 9/11 Memorial in 2005.

Given everything that is going on between Russia and the US today this could be a massive power struggle between the two governments in which Putin is threatening to expose certain aspects about 9/11 and the US is attempting to front-run them with a more suitable version of events. In this theory, which is the most likely, given evidence to date, it is a massive chess match.

The US and NATO begin to surround Russia with military bases. Check. Putin threatens to release information that 9/11 is an inside job shaking the very foundation of many Americans’ beliefs in their own government. Check. NATO and the US try to take over the Ukraine in a coup. Check. Putin fights back. Check. NATO and the US down a Malaysian airliner and try to blame it on Putin. Check. Putin doesn’t back down and world opinion sides with him and the US begins to release a version of 9/11 to discredit Putin’s information. Check.

If this is the case, then our theory on what Congress is about to release about 9/11 will show a mostly fake Saudi Arabia connection, with a few fall guys in the Bush administration, orchestrated as a semi-”inside job” that will so infuriate and obsess the US populace that any evidence Putin releases will be lost in the noise as the US begins to go on war footing against Saudi Arabia, creating another war and further distracting the public and furthering the tentacles of the US empire in the Middle East. Check.

What is the checkmate of this game? We’ll have to wait and see. With this many pieces on the board anything can happen.

Conclusion

Something big is about to happen. Perhaps not in days … maybe not weeks but almost certainly in months. Whether it is the most optimistic scenario, the most pessimistic, the most logical, something in between or something completely unexpected is unclear.

No matter what happens there is going to be a definite period of chaos and uncomfortableness … to put it lightly. Even in the most optimistic scenario there will be chaos, especially in the US, as the US empire collapses, the dollar collapses and the world begins to pick up the pieces while tens of millions of brainwashed slaves, full of mind-altering pharmaceuticals and completely dependent on the government for survival, roam the streets like zombies. In the most pessimistic, well, let’s not even go there.

And, in the most logical scenario we are looking at continued global turmoil and more war, which will further bankrupt the US government and destroy the US dollar. Shorting the dollar by going long precious metals and bitcoin would be the play.

Buckle up. Here we go.

I’m still alive.  I don’t know what this means, but I can say that most of the time I can still walk and do some work with people who need help.  It all depends on my luck.  And here, for people living in Gaza, luck means how close to you the bombs fall from Israel’s tanks, planes, or warships. Some hours it’s raining bombs.  Americans say “It’s raining cats and dogs.”  In the new Gaza idiom, we say “It’s raining bombs and shells.”

Today I started my day in the Red Crescent Society’s medical center.  The electricity has stopped, but the X-ray still functions, so we received many patients.  Let me share with you some of what I saw.

First is the story of an unnamed child we called “Number 6.” He was around three years and had identifying stickers on his arms saying “Unknown” and “Number 6.” I was shocked and immediately asked the nurses and ambulance drivers,  “What is his name?” I was told no one knew his name.  They found him in a mass of destroyed houses and he was the only survivor in his family.  He had a head injury and wounds on other parts of his body.  Immediately I asked, “Doesn’t anyone remember where the house was?” They said that in the area where they found him, all the buildings were destroyed and the rubble was mixed up with each other and sometimes the children’s bodies  were thrown from one area to another.  So they didn’t know where he had lived.

And then I realized he’s Number 6, and that means there were five other unknown children before him and many more children after him.

Second, there is the story of Reem Ahmad, six years old. Reem arrived in the X-ray unit also. She has a name and she used to have a family. She is the only survivor of her family. She lost her parents and brothers and sisters. She is injured in the head.

Third is the story of a fifty-two year old woman who arrived at our clinic with her son. Her son is a nurse and he was panicking. His mother had gone outside to her garden to take care of her plants.  Some shrapnel hit her head and her son was crying like crazy and he said in very few words “We are a simple family staying in our home. This shrapnel flew all around the garden and hit my mom. I want my mom to live.”  This woman is named Buthaina el-Izraia.

Fourth is the story of my colleague Afaf Jabar, a nurse on our team. Afaf lost her daughter Leena, who was also a nurse, her two grandchildren and her daughter’s husband when one bomb fell on their house in Bureij refugee camp.

We have gone through a lot in Gaza. But this is a new kind of war. Israel is committing new massacres every day.  In the Red Crescent clinic we receive at least 200 patients a day. And we are not an emergency clinic.  A lot of diseases are appearing in Gaza because of the Israeli destruction of the water systems, the electrical system and ongoing stress and fear from over three weeks of bombings. People are experiencing different illnesses: gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, breathing and skin problems, and most of the patients are the most vulnerable of all, children.

We have a real crisis now. Thanks to your donations, we managed to get some medicine for several clinics and hospitals in Gaza and to distribute hygiene kits, milk, and food to more than 1000 families.  But right now we are facing a lack of medicine.  I want people to know this and contribute and support us and help us get the proper medicines and supplies so we can treat these people who are suffering.  Please share my message about what I’ve seen in just this one day of the Israeli assault and also let your friends and family know how they can help us to buy more medicine.

This is what I can tell you about today and with luck, I will report more information to you tomorrow.

Dr. Mona El-Farra, Director of Gaza Projects, is a physician by training and a human rights and women’s rights activist by practice in the occupied Gaza Strip.

Hiroshima Day 2003: Secret Meeting on the Privatization of Nuclear War

August 6th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Remember Hiroshima, August 6, 2014

At no point since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, has humanity been closer to the unthinkable – a nuclear holocaust which could potentially spread in terms of radioactive fallout over a large part of the Middle East.

All the safeguards of the Cold War era, which categorized the nuclear bomb as “a weapon of last resort”, have been scrapped. “Offensive” military actions using nuclear warheads are now described as acts of “self-defense”.

The casualties from the direct effects of blast, radioactivity, and fires resulting from the massive use of nuclear weapons by the superpowers [of the Cold War era] would be so catastrophic that we avoided such a tragedy for the first four decades after the invention of nuclear weapons.1

During the Cold War, the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) prevailed, namely that the use of nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union would result in “the destruction of both the attacker and the defender”. In the post Cold war era, US nuclear doctrine was redefined.

The dangers of nuclear weapons have been obfuscated. Tactical weapons have been upheld as distinct, in terms of their impact, from the strategic thermonuclear bombs of the Cold War era. Tactical nuclear weapons are identical to the strategic nuclear bombs. The only things that differentiates these two categories of nuclear bombs are:

1) their delivery system;
2) their explosive yield (measured in mass of trinitrotoluene (TNT), in kilotons or megatons.

The tactical nuclear weapon or low yield mini-nuke is described as a small nuclear bomb, delivered in the same way as the earth penetrating bunker buster bombs. Tactical nuclear weapons, in terms of in-theater delivery systems are comparable to the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

The Pentagon’s 2001 Nuclear Posture Review envisaged so-called “contingency plans” for an offensive “first strike use” of nuclear weapons, not only against “axis of evil” countries (including Iran and North Korea) but also against Russia and China.2

The adoption of the NPR by the US Congress in late 2002 provided a green light for carrying out the Pentagon’s pre-emptive nuclear war doctrine, both in terms of military planning as well as defense procurement and production. Congress not only rolled back its prohibition on low yield nuclear weapons, it also provided funding “to pursue work on so-called mini-nukes”. The financing was allocated to bunker buster (earth penetrator) tactical nuclear weapons as well as to the development of new nuclear weapons.3

Hiroshima Day 2003: Secret Meeting at Strategic Command Headquarters

On August 6, 2003, on Hiroshima Day, commemorating when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima (August 6 1945), a secret meeting was held behind closed doors at Strategic Command Headquarters at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

Senior executives from the nuclear industry and the military industrial complex were in attendance. This mingling of defense contractors, scientists and policy-makers was not intended to commemorate Hiroshima. The meeting was intended to set the stage for the development of a new generation of “smaller”, “safer” and “more usable” nuclear weapons, to be used in the “in-theater nuclear wars” of the 21st Century.

In a cruel irony, the participants to this secret meeting, which excluded members of Congress, arrived on the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing and departed on the anniversary of the attack on Nagasaki. More than 150 military contractors, scientists from the weapons labs, and other government officials gathered at the headquarters of the US Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska to plot and plan for the possibility of “full-scale nuclear war”, calling for the production of a new generation of nuclear weapons – more “usable” so-called “mini-nukes” and earth penetrating “bunker busters” armed with atomic warheads.4

According to a leaked draft of the agenda, the secret meeting included discussions on “mini-nukes” and “bunker-buster” bombs with nuclear war heads “for possible use against rogue states”:

We need to change our nuclear strategy from the Cold War to one that can deal with emerging threats… The meeting will give some thought to how we guarantee the efficacy of the (nuclear) stockpile.5

The Privatization of Nuclear War: US Military Contractors Set the Stage

The post 9/11 nuclear weapons doctrine was in the making, with America’s major defense contractors directly involved in the decision-making process.

The Hiroshima Day 2003 meetings had set the stage for the “privatization of nuclear war”. Corporations not only reap multibillion-dollar profits from the production of nuclear bombs, they also have a direct voice in setting the agenda regarding the use and deployment of nuclear weapons.

The nuclear weapons industry, which includes the production of nuclear devices as well as the missile delivery systems, etc., is controlled by a handful of defense contractors with Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grunman, Raytheon and Boeing in the lead. It is worth noting that barely a week prior to the historic August 6, 2003 meeting, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) disbanded its advisory committee which provided an “independent oversight” on the US nuclear arsenal, including the testing and/or use of new nuclear devices.6

The above text is an excerpt from Michel Chossudovsky’s Towards a World War Three Scenario, The Dangers of Nuclear War.

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DETAILED TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE

A New War Theater in North Africa
Operation Odyssey Dawn
Nuclear Weapons against Libya? How Real is the Threat?
America’s Long War: The Global Military Agenda
How to Reverse the Tide of War
World War III Scenario
Acknowledgments

CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION

The Cult of Killing and Destruction
America’s Mini-nukes
War and the Economic Crisis
Real versus Fake Crises

CHAPTER II: THE DANGERS OF NUCLEAR WAR

Hiroshima Day 2003: Secret Meeting at Strategic Command Headquarters
The Privatization of Nuclear War: US Military Contractors Set the Stage
9/11 Military Doctrine: Nuclear Weapons and the “Global War on Terrorism”
Al Qaeda: “Upcoming Nuclear Power”
Obama’s Nuclear Doctrine: The 2010 Nuclear Posture Review
Post 9/11 Nuclear Doctrine
“Defensive” and “Offensive” Actions
“Integration” of Nuclear and Conventional Weapons Plans
Theater Nuclear Operations (TNO)
Planned Aerial Attacks on Iran
Global Warfare: The Role of US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM)
Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization
Israel’s Stockpiling of Conventional and Nuclear Weapons
The Role of Western Europe
Germany: De Facto Nuclear Power
Pre-emptive Nuclear War: NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept
The World is at a Critical Crossroads

CHAPTER III: AMERICA’S HOLY CRUSADE AND THE BATTLE FOR OIL

America’s Crusade in Central Asia and the Middle East
“Homegrown Terrorists”
The American Inquisition
Washington’s Extrajudicial Assassination Program
The Battle for Oil
The Oil Lies in Muslim Lands
Globalization and the Conquest of the World’s Energy Resources

CHAPTER IV: PREPARING FOR WORLD WAR THREE

Media Disinformation
A “Pre-emptive” Aerial Attack Directed Against Iran would Lead to Escalation
Global Warfare
US “Military Aid”
The Timetable of Military Stockpiling and Deployment
World War III Scenario
The United Nations Security Council
The American Inquisition: Building a Political Consensus for War

CHAPTER V: TARGETING IRAN WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Building a Pretext for a Pre-emptive Nuclear Attack
“Theater Iran Near Term”
The Military Road Map: “First Iraq, then Iran”
Simulated Scenarios of a Global War: The Vigilant Shield 07 War Games
The Role of Israel
Cheney: “Israel Might Do it Without Being Asked”
US Israel Military Coordination
Tactical Nuclear Weapons directed against Iran
Radioactive Fallout
“The Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) Slated to be Used Against Iran
Extensive Destruction of Iran’s Infrastructure
State of the Art Weaponry: “War Made Possible Through New Technologies”
Electromagnetic Weapons
Iran’s Military Capabilities: Medium and Long Range Missiles
Iran’s Ground Forces
US Military and Allied Facilities Surrounding Iran

CHAPTER VI: REVERSING THE TIDE OF WAR

Revealing the Lie
The Existing Anti-War Movement
Manufacturing Dissent
Jus ad Bellum: 9/11 and the Invasions of Yugoslavia and Afghanistan
Fake Antiwar Activism: Heralding Iran as a Nuclear Threat
The Road Ahead
The Antiwar Movement within the State Structure and the Military
Abandon the Battlefield: Refuse to Fight
The Broader Peace Process
What has to be Achieved

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August 6 and August 9 will mark the anniversaries of the US atomic-bomb attacks on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In Hiroshima, an estimated 80,000 people were killed in a split second. Some 13 square kilometres of the city was obliterated. By December, at least another 70,000 people had died from radiation and injuries.

Three days after Hiroshima’s destruction, the US drooped an A-bomb on Nagasaki, resulting in the deaths of at least 70,000 people before the year was out.

Since 1945, tens of thousands more residents of the two cities have continued to suffer and die from radiation-induced cancers, birth defects and still births.

A tiny group of US rulers met secretly in Washington and callously ordered this indiscriminate annihilation of civilian populations. They gave no explicit warnings. They rejected all alternatives, preferring to inflict the most extreme human carnage possible. They ordered and had carried out the two worst terror acts in human history.

The 60th anniversaries will inevitably be marked by countless mass media commentaries and speeches repeating the 60-year-old mantra that there was no other choice but to use A-bombs in order to avoid a bitter, prolonged invasion of Japan.

On July 21, the British New Scientist magazine undermined this chorus when it reported that two historians had uncovered evidence revealing that “the US decision to drop atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki … was meant to kick-start the Cold War [against the Soviet Union, Washington's war-time ally] rather than end the Second World War”. Peter Kuznick, director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at the American University in Washington stated that US President Harry Truman’s decision to blast the cities “was not just a war crime, it was a crime against humanity”.

With Mark Selden, a historian from Cornell University in New York, Kuznick studied the diplomatic archives of the US, Japan and the USSR. They found that three days before Hiroshima, Truman agreed at a meeting that Japan was “looking for peace”. His senior generals and political advisers told him there was no need to use the A-bomb. But the bombs were dropped anyway. “Impressing Russia was more important than ending the war”, Selden told the New Scientist.

While the capitalist media immediately dubbed the historians’ “theory” “controversial”, it accords with the testimony of many central US political and military players at the time, including General Dwight Eisenhower, who stated bluntly in a 1963 Newsweek interview that “the Japanese were ready to surrender and it wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing”.

Truman’s chief of staff, Admiral William Leahy, stated in his memoirs that “the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender.”

At the time though, Washington cold-bloodedly decided to obliterate the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children to show off the terrible power of its new super weapon and underline the US rulers’ ruthless preparedness to use it.

These terrible acts were intended to warn the leaders of the Soviet Union that their cities would suffer the same fate if the USSR attempted to stand in the way of Washington’s plans to create an “American Century” of US global domination. Nuclear scientist Leo Szilard recounted to his biographers how Truman’s secretary of state, James Byrnes, told him before the Hiroshima attack that “Russia might be more manageable if impressed by American military might and that a demonstration of the bomb may impress Russia”.

Drunk from the success of its nuclear bloodletting in Japan, Washington planned and threatened the use of nuclear weapons on at least 20 occasions in the 1950s and 1960s, only being restrained when the USSR developed enough nuclear-armed rockets to usher in the era of “mutually assured destruction”, and the US rulers’ fear that their use again of nuclear weapons would led to a massive anti-US political revolt by ordinary people around the world.

Washington’s policy of nuclear terror remains intact. The US refuses to rule out the first use of nuclear weapons in a conflict. Its latest Nuclear Posture Review envisages the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear “rogue states” and it is developing a new generation of ‘battlefield” nuclear weapons.

Fear of the political backlash that would be caused in the US and around the globe by the use of nuclear weapons remains the main restraint upon the atomaniacs in Washington. On this 60th anniversary year of history’s worst acts of terror, the most effective thing that peace-loving people around the world can do to keep that fear alive in the minds of the US rulers is to recommit ourselves to defeating Washington’s current “local” wars of terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.

From Green Left Weekly, August 3, 2005.

Australia’s Surveillance State

August 6th, 2014 by Binoy Kampmark

Even as an international drive against the data merchants is gathering force and voice (see, for instance, those “nature walks” by Germans from Griesheim to the Dagger Complex, stacked with spooks), the Australian side of the Five Eyes spy arrangement is being shored up.  If there is one place in the Western world that has shown conspicuously little administrative and policy reform on the subject of bulk surveillance and whistleblowing, Australia is it. 

The whistleblowing reform drive has been tardy at best, retarded at worst.  Edward Snowden is more than a nuisance ‘down under’.  He is a treasonous criminal in need of a good chastisement by State and country.  With individuals such as the Australian Attorney-General, George Brandis, you can see why.

Brandis presents the perfect paradox of reactionary conservatism.  A well versed conservative, as opposed to a rabble rousing reactionary one, is happy to consult the rule book and observe the limits of government intervention.  Habeas corpus is not merely a Latin affection.  Brandis is happy to cut back limits on government intervention and unleash the dogs of the surveillance state.  The hollow language of security is very much central to the project.  If a terrorist threat looms around the corner, even a corner that is ten thousand miles away, it must be worth considering.

Data retention might be the bug bear of the pro-Snowden movement, but it is very much the purring feline of the Brandis portfolio.  Ideas on a new data retention scheme have been floated in and around the cabinet, as much so as to stir trouble and cause genuine concern.  Previous suggestions included making telecommunications companies retain data for up to two years. But the Abbott government tends to be so secretive it stumbles over itself from time to time.  Ministers themselves have no one view about the ideas behind such retention, but the terrorist demon is well and truly stalking the tory mindset.

Brandis’ bugbear is that of returning jihadists who will find the peaceful dullness of Australian life poor to their political digestion.  Espionage and counter-terrorism agencies have been promised $600 million for the cause of fighting “home-grown” terrorism (Sydney Morning Herald, Aug 5), and there is a sense that the authorities are readying themselves for some grand show.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in support, has argued that, “We’ve stopped the illegal boats; we will ensure we stop the jihadis as well.”  This will include the granting of powers to authorities to detain and question those who have fought alongside “terrorists” in other theatres of combat.  In what can only be yet another example of premature, and amateurish adjudication, such directions by the authorities will presume, in advance, that if you do come from such countries as Syria and Iraq, you are bound to be a mad jihadi in search of heavenly deliverance.  For Abbott and Brandis, illegality is everywhere, be it those on the sea who dare venture to Australian land, or those who don weapons and ideology to fight in foreign lands.

Interestingly enough, no mention is made of situations where, for instance, a patriotic Australian Ukrainian, keen on bloodying his experience in the conflict with separatists, will be treated.  That is jihadism under a different banner and ideology, but no less relevant. Don’t ever accuse this government of holistic relevance.

Who, then, is pushing it?  The government has the perfect alibi: data mad officials in the intelligence business who have become bone lazy with bulk surveillance.  But it is by no means clear that the intelligence community is at one mind on this. Time and time again, governments have shown themselves willing to make the demands of intelligence communities the basis for their own myopia and spout of paranoia.  If it means netting votes, slanted information and misguided premises can prove invaluable allies.

The report by the joint parliamentary committee on intelligence and security (JPCIS), titled “Potential Reforms of Australia’s National Security Legislation” does push for an enlargement of powers.  But its members have told such publications as The Saturday Paper (Jul 5) that its recommended changes were not designed with the exclusive aim of targeting home bound jihadists.[1]  Other threats also featured, including those posed by the ever expanding capabilities of Chinese hackers. But as this government knows all too well, complex narratives are their greatest enemy.

Brandis’ proposed laws make it clear that the whistleblower, and anyone with information relating to “special intelligence operations”, will be punished for anywhere up to five years.  This sort of material is buried in the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014.[2] A closer reading of some of the sections such as the communication of information “acquired or prepared by or on behalf of ONA [Office of National Assessments]” to inappropriate channels comes in at a hefty 10 years. The laws, in their present draft form, also target the making, removal or retention of records of such information across a range of agencies. Speak about it, and be damned.

Even as some countries, however tortuously, attempt to move towards reining in their intelligence services and bringing them within the legal family, the Australian spy and security services are being increasingly placed outside it. This may, in part, be intended to make Australia “fool proof” against the challenges posed by legal advocates, while making it attractive as an espionage outsourcer for Washington.  No gaps, no chances, which is exactly the mindset of any tyrant keen to make good his word.  All the way with the set US president of the day remains holy, and nigh immutable writ for the Canberra establishment.

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

Scotland is on the verge of one of the most critical periods in its ancient history as the referendum on independence approaches in September. Scotland has been part of a union with the Kingdom of England since 1707 and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland since 1801, and next month the people of Scotland will vote on whether to remain part of the UK or break away independently.

Switzerland is the model for an independent Scotland as the Swiss style of government combines a constitutional republic with elements of direct democracy. This is not to say everything the Swiss do is perfect, but many aspects of their style of government should be emulated. Scotland should be a republic ruled by a legal constitution and a bill of individual rights which is voted on by the people, enshrined with innate liberties that are the essential foundation for a free country to be built upon. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to privacy (online or otherwise) and a right to a fair legal trial should all be included, in addition to other basic human rights.

 Referendums are a hallmark of the Swiss system as any change to the law that affects the constitution is required to go to a referendum before being ratified. The Swiss people are legitimately able to directly affect the political decisions of their country, as opposed to allowing aristocratic politicians to make decisions on their behalf. If a petition acquires 50,000 signatures on any subject – out of a population of 8 million – a national referendum is called. Imagine if this was written into the British legal system at the time of the Iraq war, do you think a war crime would have been averted in 2003?

 Switzerland is a very unique country on the European continent as it is not a member of the European Union (EU) or the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), a path that Scotland should follow. Swiss foreign policy has been underpinned for over 500 years by ideas of neutrality, which was crystallised by popular Saint Nicholas of Flue in the 15th century when he advised: “don’t get involved in other people’s affairs”. Instead of bleeding the taxpayer dry with nonsensical wars abroad, Switzerland concentrates on improving the life of its citizens at home resulting in it having one of the highest standards of living in the world, coming 7th in an IMF study on the richest countries in the world (measured on a GDP Per Capita basis), along with having the 8th highest life expectancy at birth.

 An independent Scotland should be open to trade with the EU but not be within the bureaucratic institution. The malign troika – composed of the 3 technocratic institutions; the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) – have been ravaging Southern Europe for years and are not accountable to the people of any nation. A republic of Scotland should foster closer ties with Norway, Switzerland and potentially Iceland to create a prosperous zone of autonomous nations who trade and cooperate with each other outside of the EU. One of the main reasons for independence is having our own government closer to home and having more accountability in government. But to join the EU would give a large proportion of power to Brussels, surrendering our sovereignty to the EU as oppose to the UK.

 Despite the continuous pro-EU propaganda emanating from the European establishment surrounding the benefits of the union, the reality is often quite different. The Euro has been a disaster since its creation and the economic crisis of 2008 has plunged many EU citizens into a state of pauperism and poverty in recent years, with high levels of unemployment a major epidemic across the continent. Spanish and Greek unemployment sits at 26% this year, with the average rate of people out of work for the entire 28-nation bloc at 10.6% in 2014.

Compared to non-EU member Switzerland’s rate of unemployment – which is at 2.9% in July – it is clear that small autonomous nations can prosper and thrive outside of the EU despite what the popular perception within Europe is. One of Scotland’s main domestic policy goals should be full employment, with wages rising ahead of the rate of inflation each year.  An objective and free press is also a prerequisite for an educated, well-informed public, so a free internet which encourages diversity and competition in media should be celebrated.

 The EU’s Attack on Sovereignty

In today’s Europe, sovereignty is under relentless attack by prominent members of the monolithic EU who oppose any nation who exercises its right to self-government. If Scotland was to remove itself from the EU and become a truly independent country, the people must understand it will come under incessant attack by the EU for its autonomy. A democratic decision in Switzerland to curb mass immigration sparked outrage by many members of the union in April. A new initiative was adopted by the Swiss government which restricts immigration ‘by means of quantitative limits and quotas’, a move which clashes with the free movement of people agreement previously reached with the EU. German President Joachim Gauck denounced the step and attacked the Swiss people’s style of self-government, stating it is “dangerous when citizens vote on highly complex issues”.

 We Must Revoke our NATO Membership

 Control over our own foreign policy is one of the most attractive ideas of an independent country to many Scots. For too long Scotland has been complicit in war crimes conducted by the government in Westminster and supportive of imperious UK allies. End these immoral foreign wars and proxy wars which destabilise nations, ruin homes, and cost the taxpayer a fortune, as well as displacing millions of people who are now looking for safety in other countries due to our foreign policy objectives. Immigration is the pressing issue of today largely due to the belligerent policies of the west which have displaced millions people from their homes. In Syria, the United Nations has estimated that 2.5 million people have been forced from their country due to the attempt by the west to topple Bashar al-Assad. The onslaught is set to continue with the US planning another 500 million dollars to the Syrian mercenaries at the start of this month, in a policy that Britain and France have been supporting for years.

 Whether it is Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan or any of the other nations that are on the hit-list of NATO, an independent Scotland should be neutral on the international stage and revoke its NATO membership immediately. As opposed to funnelling millions into wars which only benefit multi-national corporations and the neo-imperial cabal, Scotland should concentrate on developing our own country into an island of freedom, liberty, creativity, morality and prosperity.

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of The Analyst Report, who has had articles featured on numerous news sites including Global Research, Truthstream Media, and The Palestine Chronicle.

69 years ago an all-Christian bomber crew dropped “Fat Man”, a plutonium bomb, on Nagasaki, Japan, instantly annihilating tens of thousands of innocent civilians, a disproportionate number of them Japanese Christians, and permanently or mortally wounding uncountable numbers of others.

In 1945, the US was the most Christian nation in the world (that is, if you can label as Christian a nation whose churches overwhelmingly fail to sincerely teach or adhere to the ethics of Jesus as taught in the Sermon on the Mount).

Prior to the bomb exploding over St. Mary’s Urakami Cathedral on 11:02 AM, Nagasaki was the most Christian city in Japan. The Nagasaki cathedral was the largest Christian cathedral in the Orient.

Those baptized and confirmed Christian airmen, following their wartime orders to the letter, did their job efficiently, and they accomplished the mission with military pride, albeit with any number of near-fatal glitches. Most of us Americans in 1945 would have done exactly the same if they had been in the shoes of the Bock’s Car crew, and there would have been very little mental anguish later if we had also been treated as heroes.

Nevertheless, the use of that monstrous weapon of mass destruction to destroy a mainly civilian city like Nagasaki was, as defined later by the Nuremberg Tribunal, an international war crime and a crime against humanity.

Of course, there was no way that the crew members could have known that at the time. Some of the crew did admit that they had had some doubts about what they had participated in when the bomb actually detonated. Of course, none of them actually saw the horrific suffering of the victims up close and personal. “Orders are orders” and, in wartime, disobedience can be, and has been, legally punishable by summary execution of the soldier who might have had a conscience strong enough to convince him that killing another human, especially an unarmed one, was morally wrong.

Making it Hard for Japan to Surrender

It had been only 3 days since the August 6th bomb had decimated Hiroshima. The August 9 bombing occurred amidst massive chaos and confusion in Tokyo, where the fascist military government, who knew – for months already- that they had lost the war, and therefore had been searching for ways to honorably surrender and end the war.

The only obstacle to surrender had been the Allied insistence on unconditional surrender, which meant that the Emperor Hirohito, whom the Japanese regarded as a deity, would be removed from his figurehead position in Japan and possible subjected to war crimes trials. That was a deal-breaker, an intolerable demand for the Japanese that prolonged the war and prevented Japan from giving up months earlier.

The Russian army had declared war against Japan on August 8, hoping to regain territories lost to Japan in the humiliating (for Russia) Russo-Japanese war 40 years earlier, and Stalin’s army was advancing across Manchuria. Russia’s entry into the war represented a powerful incentive for Japan to end the war quickly since they much preferred surrendering to the US rather than to Russia. And, of course, the US did not want to divide any of the spoils of war with Russia, and it wanted to send an early cold war message to Russia that the US was the new planetary superpower.

Aiming at August 1, 1945 as the earliest deployment date for the first bomb, the Target Committee in Washington, D.C.  developed a list of relatively un-damaged Japanese cities that were to be excluded from the conventional USAAF fire-bombing campaigns (that, during the first half of 1945, burned to the ground 60+ major, mostly defenseless Japanese cities).

The list of protected cities included Hiroshima, Niigata, Kokura, Kyoto and Nagasaki. Those five relatively undamaged cities were to be off-limits to the terror bombings. They were to be preserved as potential targets for the new “gimmick” weapon that had been researched and developed all across America during the two years of the Manhattan Project. Ironically, prior to August 6 and 9, the residents of those cities considered themselves lucky for not having been bombed as much as other cities. Little did they know why they were being spared from the carnage.

The Trinity Test

The first and only field test of an atomic bomb had been blasphemously code-named “Trinity” (a distinctly Christian term). It had occurred 3 weeks earlier at Alamogordo, New Mexico, on July 16, 1945. The results were impressive, but the blast had just killed off a few hapless coyotes, rabbits, snakes and other desert varmints; had totally destroyed a bunch of cactuses and sagebrush and had obliterated a family of manikins that had been planted in homes that had been hastily built for the photographic portion of the experiment.

The Trinity test also unexpectedly produced huge amounts of a new test  mineral that was later called “Trinitite”, which was a molten lava rock that had been created from the intense heat (twice the temperature of the sun) of the above ground bomb blast.

At 3 am on the morning of August 9, 1945, a B-29 Superfortress (that had been “christened” Bock’s Car) took off from Tinian Island in the South Pacific, with the prayers and blessings of its Lutheran and Catholic chaplains. Barely making it off the runway before the plane went into the drink (because of the 10,000 bomb in its hold), it headed north for Kokura, the primary target. Bock’s Car’s plutonium bomb was code-named “Fat Man,” after Winston Churchill. Little Boy, first called Thin Man (after President Roosevelt) was the bomb that had incinerated Hiroshima three days earlier.

Bomb Two was Being Delivered While Japan’s War Council was Meeting to Discuss Surrender

The reality of what had happened at Hiroshima was not understood by Japan’s Supreme War Council in Tokyo. So there was no way for Japan’s Supreme War Council to make rational decisions about the issue of surrendering.

But it was already too late, because by the time the War Council was meeting, Bock’s Car – flying under radio silence – was already approaching the southern islands of Japan, hoping to beat the typhoons and clouds that would have caused the mission to be delayed for another week.

The Bock’s Car crew had instructions to drop the bomb only with visual sighting. But Kokura was clouded over. So after making three failed bomb runs over the clouded-over city all the while running dangerously low on fuel, the plane headed for its secondary target, Nagasaki.

The History of Nagasaki Christianity

Nagasaki is famous in the history of Japanese Christianity. Nagasaki had the largest concentration of Christians in all of Japan. The Urakami Cathedral was the megachurch of its time, with 12,000 baptized members.

Nagasaki was where the legendary Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier, established a mission church in 1549. The Catholic community at Nagasaki grew and eventually prospered over the next several generations. However it eventually became clear to the Japanese rulers that the Portuguese and Spanish commercial interests were exploiting Japan; and soon all Europeans – and their foreign religion – were expelled from the country.

From 1600 until 1850, being a Christian was a capital crime in Japan. In the early 1600s, those Japanese Christians who refused to recant of their new faith were subject to unspeakable tortures – including crucifixion. After the reign of terror was over, it appeared to all observers that Japanese Christianity was extinct.

However, 250 years later, after the gunboat diplomacy of Commodore Matthew Perry forced open an offshore island for American trade purposes, it was discovered that there were thousands of baptized Christians in Nagasaki, living their faith in a catacomb existence, completely unknown to the government.

With this humiliating revelation, the Japanese government started another purge; but because of international pressure, the persecutions were stopped, and Nagasaki Christianity came up from the underground. And by 1917, with no help from the government, the re-vitalized Christian community had built the massive St. Mary’s Cathedral, in the Urakami River district of Nagasaki.

So it was the height of irony that the massive Cathedral – one of only two Nagasaki landmarks that could be positively identified from 31,000 feet up (the other one was the Mitsubishi armaments factory complex) became Ground Zero for the infamous bomb. The Bock’s Car bombardier identified the landmarks through a break in the clouds and ordered the drop.

At 11:02 am, during Thursday morning mass, hundreds of Nagasaki Christians were boiled, evaporated, carbonized or otherwise disappeared in a scorching, radioactive fireball that exploded 500 meters above the cathedral. The black rain that soon came down from the mushroom cloud surely contained the mingled remains of many Nagasaki Shintoists, Buddhists and Christians. The theological implications of Nagasaki’s Black Rain surely should boggle the minds of theologians of all denominations.

The Nagasaki Christian Death Count

Most Nagasaki Christians did not survive the blast. 6,000 of them died instantly, including all who were at confession. Of the 12,000 church members, 8,500 of them eventually died as a result of the bomb. Many of the others were seriously sickened.

Three orders of nuns and a Christian girl’s school disappeared into black smoke or became chunks of charcoal. Tens of thousands of non-combatant Shinto and Buddhist Japanese also died instantly, and many more were mortally wounded or incurably damaged. Some of the victim’s progeny are still in the process of dying from the trans-generational malignancies and immune deficiencies caused by the deadly plutonium and other radioactive isotopes produced by the bomb..

And here is one of the important points of this article: What the Japanese Imperial government could not do in over 200 years of persecution (destroy Japanese Christianity) American Christians did in 9 seconds.

Even after a slow revival of Christianity over the decades since WWII, membership in Japanese churches still represent a small fraction of 1% of the general population, and the average attendance at Christian worship services has been reported to be only 30. Surely the decimation of Nagasaki at the end of the war crippled what at one time was a vibrant church.

It is important to know the hidden history of Nagasaki Christianity and the attempted annihilation of it by American Christians. The Bock’s Car bomber crew, as are most soldier grunts in any war, was at the bottom of a long complex anonymous chain of command. They had only “pulled the trigger” of the weapon which was manufactured by corporations, but which was put in their hands by others, none of whom claimed sole responsibility for doing the satanic deed. As in all wars, the WWII grunts and trigger-pullers – and chaplains – at the bottom of the chain of command didn’t know exactly who they were killing – or even why.

George Zabelka, the Catholic Chaplain for the 509th Composite Group

Father George Zabelka was the Catholic chaplain for the 509th Composite Group (the 1500 man United States Army Air Force group whose only mission was to successfully deliver the atomic bombs to their targets). Zabelka was one of the few Christian leaders who eventually came to recognize the contradictions between what his modern church had taught him about war and what the early pacifist church had taught about homicidal violence.

Several decades after Zabelka was discharged from the military chaplaincy, he finally concluded that both he and his church had made serious ethical and theological errors in religiously legitimating the organized mass slaughter that is modern war. He had eventually come to understand that, as he articulated it, the enemies of his nation were not, according to New Testament ethics, the enemies of God, but were rather fellow children of God who were loved by God and who therefore were not to be killed by God’s followers.

Father Zabelka’s conversion away from the standardized violence-tolerant Christianity turned his Detroit, Michigan ministry around 180 degrees. His absolute commitment to the truth of gospel nonviolence – just like Martin Luther King – inspired him to devote the remaining decades of his life to speaking out against violence in all its forms, including the violence of militarism, racism and economic exploitation. Zabelka even travelled to Nagasaki on the 50th anniversary of the bombing, tearfully repenting and asking for forgiveness for the part he had played in the crime.

Likewise, the Lutheran chaplain for the 509th, Pastor William Downey (formerly of Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, MN), in his counseling of soldiers who had become troubled by their participation in making murder for the state, later denounced all killing, whether by a single bullet or by weapons of mass destruction.

Why Should Combat Veterans Embrace a Religion that Blessed the Wars that Ruined Their Souls?

In Daniel Hallock’s important book, Hell, Healing and Resistance, the author talks about a 1997 Buddhist retreat led by the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. That retreat attempted to deal with the hellish post-war existence of combat-traumatized Vietnam War veterans. Hallock wrote, “Clearly, Buddhism offers something that cannot be found in institutional Christianity. But then why should veterans embrace a religion that has blessed the wars that ruined their souls? It is no wonder they turn to a gentle Buddhist monk to hear what are, in large part, the truths of Christ.”

The truth of Hallock’s comment should be a sobering wake-up call to Christian leaders who seem to regard as equally important both the recruitment of new members and the retention of old ones. The fact that the US is a highly militarized nation makes the truths of gospel nonviolence difficult to teach and preach, especially to military veterans and their patriotic families (particularly the impoverished and homeless ones) who may have lost their faith because of past events on the battlefield.

I am a retired physician who has dealt with hundreds of psychologically traumatized patients (especially combat-traumatized war veterans), and I know that violence, in all its forms, can irretrievably damage the mind, body, brain, and spirit; but the fact that the combat-traumatized type is totally preventable – as well as, for the most serious cases, virtually impossible to cure – makes prevention work so important. And that is where Christian churches should and could be instrumental. An ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure.

These traumas are deadly and sometimes even contagious. I have seen violence, neglect, abuse and the resultant traumatic illnesses spread through families – even involving the 3rd and 4th generations after the initial victimization or perpetration, similar to the experience of the progeny of the atomic bomb victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the warrior-perpetrator/victims who trained for and experienced the acts of killing in any war, not just WWII.

What Should be the Christian Church’s Role in the Mass Slaughter of War?

Years ago I saw an unpublished Veteran’s Administration study that showed that, whereas most Vietnam War-era soldiers were active members of Christian churches, if they came home with PTSD, the percentage returning to the faith community approached zero. Daniel Hallock’s sobering message noted above explains why that is so.

Therefore the church seems to be promoting (perhaps inadvertently and/or by its silence on the topic of violence) anti-gospel homicidal violence by failing to teach what the primitive church understood about the ministry of Jesus, who said, in effect, that “violence is forbidden for those who wish to follow me”. Therefore, by refraining from warning their adolescent members about the satanic realities of war (and the faith-destroying combat-induced PTSD) the church is directly undermining the “retention” strategies in which all churches engage.

Hopefully this essay will promote discussions in this so-called “Christian” nation about the ethics of making murder for the state (and its corporations) while simultaneously – and illogically – professing allegiance to the teachings of the nonviolent Jesus.

The early church leaders who knew the teachings of Jesus best rejected the nationalist, racist and militarist agendas of all national security agencies, the military-industrial complex, the war-profiteering corporations and the pre-Christian eye-for-an-eye retaliation doctrines that have, over the past 1700 years, enabled Christians to willingly kill other Christians in the name of Christ.

By the end of the 19th Century, it was recognized by those concerned with human rights that the nation-state was a destructive anachronism. It was an entity that seemed addicted to periodic spasms of mass violence, particularly in the form of war carried out with little or no regard for non-combatants or other restraining factors.

As a consequence, efforts began aimed at creating instruments of international law – treaties, conventions and other agreements – to modify state behavior in such areas as the treatment of prisoners and the victimization of civilian populations.

Progress was spotty until the very end of World War II, when various human rights charters came into existence as a part of the United Nations. Through that institution, provision was made — albeit in very narrowly defined circumstances — for the fielding of UN military forces (the famous Blue Helmets) to try to enforce peace and protect civilian populations. Other institutions, such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), were also eventually brought into existence.

The post-war move to expand international law to cover human rights and provide enforcement measures was all for the good, and in the future it will hopefully prove a powerful precedent that can be built upon. But this period of progress did not last long. It soon gave way to a hypocritical selective application of humanitarian law.

The truth is that today only those nations which are relatively weak and have no great power patronage are in any danger of being called to task for gross violations of human rights. If you are the leader of some small African or Balkan state and you go on some ethnically or religiously inspired rampage, you run a real risk of being charged with crimes against humanity and hauled before the ICC, while the UN Security Council votes to send military forces into your country.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Oct. 1, 2013. (UN Photo by Evan Schneider)

Image: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Oct. 1, 2013. (UN Photo by Evan Schneider)

On the other hand, if you are a great power or the close ally of one, you can pretty much do what you want, where you want. Great powers hold the concept of their own sovereignty sacrosanct and the us-versus-them mindset that goes along with hubristic nationalism remains unchallenged. That goes for their allies as well who, under the protection of their patron, often commit with impunity the same crimes that land smaller, unprotected powers in deep trouble.

Israel and the U.S. Undermine the Law

The most blatant contemporary example of this disregard for international law as it pertains to human rights can be seen in the actions of Israel. The Zionist state’s present blitzkrieg in Gaza may be the worst of that nation’s ongoing series of violations of International humanitarian law. I would refer the reader to the Center for Constitutional Rights fact sheet outlining Israel’s violation of humanitarian-law statutes.

It is not an exaggeration to say that Israel’s acclaimed “Defense Forces” have become expert in violating human rights: murder and ethnic cleansing, illegal confiscation of occupied land, destruction of civilian housing, destruction of civilian infrastructure (water, electricity, sanitation, etc.), attacking of medical facilities, torture both of adults and children, the use of banned weaponry, the mistreatment of prisoners and more. And they have done it all quite openly.

Official complaints about Israeli behavior come before the UN several times a year but to no avail. Each time Israel is called to task in the UN Security Council for violating international law, the U.S. vetoes the resolution and therefore Israel suffers no consequences. Obviously this only emboldens Israeli leaders to continue acting in a criminal manner.

But the impact goes beyond Israel and its victims, because each time the U.S. casts its veto, international law designed to protect human rights suffers degradation.

The reason for this U.S. behavior has to do with the inflated role of special interests, or lobbies (in this case the infamous Zionist lobby) in the governing structure of democratic societies. For a more detailed discussion of this phenomenon the reader can go to my essay on lobbies (Lobby, Lobbification, Lobbified, April 16, 2011) and how they operate in Washington.

Under the present circumstances in most democratic states, if a special interest has sufficient resources and organization it can, quite legally, manipulate policy so that the very definition of national interest is warped into an expression of the interest of the lobby. This is what the Zionist lobby in Washington has done in the case of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

This regrettable state of affairs has effectively brought to a halt any progress to expand enforcement of international human rights laws. Indeed, international law in general has fallen so far out of favor that, in the case of the United States, many citizens think that this form of law as well as organizations such as the UN are elements of shadowy conspiracies attempting to take over their nation.

Resurgent Tribalism 

What does this tell us about ourselves and our politics? It suggests that at some deep level we are still tribal. The concept of us-versus-them appears deeply ingrained in our psyches and thus influences our actions. If the “us” could get bigger and bigger to the point where it encompasses all of humanity, that would be real progress. But short of an alien invasion that seems unlikely.

In fact, the theory of natural localism — the notion that we all live our lives in localized spatial and temporal environments — suggests that tribalism in its various forms is the social organization most compatible with human nature. Those interested in the notion of natural localism should see the first part of my book Foreign Policy Inc.

The promotion of international humanitarian law, which undermines tribalism by universalizing the application of law, may be felt as a threat by those whose self-concept is tied to the nation-state (or worse, an ethnically or religiously exclusive state) and therefore wrapped up with an us-versus-them worldview. This is certainly the case when it comes to the Israelis and their Zionist supporters.

So, Israeli behavior and U.S. protection of that behavior is a somber message that we have a way to go to overcome our propensity for murder and mayhem.

We have managed to establish standards of humanitarian behavior and even embody them in international humanitarian law. We have managed to create an albeit imperfect prototype for enforcement through the UN. But we have yet to overcome the problem of selective application of that law. This may be a fatal roadblock. If anyone can figure out how to overcome it, he or she will be a truly deserving candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.

Says Failure to Recognize Hamas Is the Core Problem

Jimmy Carter spent a lot of effort brokering peace in the Middle East. Some of his efforts succeeded. Since retiring from the White House, he has worked to try to broker  peace.    So he knows something about the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

President Carter wrote yesterday:

This tragedy results from the deliberate obstruction of a promising move toward peace in the region, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April. This was a major concession by Hamas, in opening Gaza to joint control under a technocratic government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic principles demanded by the Middle East Quartet comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia: nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements. Tragically, Israel rejected this opportunity for peace and has succeeded in preventing the new government’s deployment in Gaza.

Carter says that Israel has committed war crimes:

There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe.

There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict. These are war crimes. This is true for both sides. Hamas’s indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians is equally unacceptable. However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians, including more than 330 children. The need for international judicial proceedings to investigate and end these violations of international law should be taken very seriously.

Carter also argues that failure to recognize Hamas is the core problem:

First, there must be at least a partial lifting of the 7-year-old sanctions and blockade that isolate the 1.8 million people in Gaza. There must also be an opportunity for the teachers, police, and welfare and health workers on the Hamas payroll to be paid. These necessary requirements for a human standard of living continue to be denied. Instead, Israel blocked Qatar’s offer to provide funds to pay civil servants’ salaries, and access to and from Gaza has been further tightened by Egypt and Israel.

NBC ‘witchhunts’ reporters who don’t convey the “official line”

An anonymous NBC producer described “a top-down intimidation campaign aimed at presenting an Israeli-centric view of the attack on the Gaza Strip,”AlterNet journalist Max Blumenthal reported on July 22.

“The NBC producer told me that MSNBC President Phil Griffin and NBC executives are micromanaging coverage of the crisis, closely monitoring contributors’ social media accounts and engaging in a ‘witch hunt’ against anyone who strays from the official line.”

This follows MSNBC’s dropping its sole Palestinian contributor, Rula Jebreal, after she called the network’s coverage “disgustingly biased” on MSNCB’s “Ronan Farrow Daily” show July 21. She also hit CNN for interviewing “17 Israeli public officials versus one Palestinian.”

NBC ordered veteran reporter Ayman Mohyeldin to leave Gaza after his July 17 story on the Israeli shelling deaths of four Palestinian children playing soccer on a beach, which “NBC Nightly News” did not air. Mohyeldin was reinstated after social media outrage.

NBC is not alone in making sure that all reports toe the line. The corporate media in the U.S. have downplayed or disregarded Israel’s violations of human rights and international law and instead promoted Tel Aviv and Washington’s view that Israel is “defending itself” and that Hamas and Palestinian “terrorism” are the problem.

The real relationship of forces — repeated, unprovoked Israeli aggres­sion versus Palestinian  self-defense measures — if reported at all, is quickly dropped by all the corporate media for a revision of history favoring the Israeli regime and vilifying the Palestinians. This revision is repeated again and again, at all levels of the media.

NBC’s owners sell arms to Israel

Why aren’t the Palestinian people getting fair coverage?

Some say it is because Jewish people or the Israeli lobby “control” or “unduly influence” U.S. media outlets. But this is not the case.

The real force behind this biased reporting is the huge aggregate of U.S. corporations that pull in mind-boggling profits from exploiting Middle East resources, including the media monopolies themselves.

Take the powerful media conglomerate NBC, for example. Why would NBC be so biased? Because NBC is owned by arms manufacturer General Electric, which profits from the war on Gaza.

GE Aviation makes the propulsion systems in the U.S. aircraft sold to Israel, including the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-4 Phantom, the “Apache” attack helicopter and the Black Hawk utility helicopter, as well as the Israeli-made Kfir fighter plane. GE also makes parts for Hellfire II laser-guided missiles as well as T-700 and 701C jet engines used by the Israeli military.

NBC executives don’t mention that their salaries are paid by a company that makes a mint providing the very weapons that Israel uses. NBC doesn’t make a cent from exposing the murder of four Palestinian children playing on a Gaza beach.

Media’s ‘job’: fool the public

The major media are welded to a corporate network in what has become a military-industrial-media complex. The media’s “job” is to keep the U.S. public from seeing that a few individuals and corporations reap billions of dollars by exploiting the people of the Middle East and bombing and blockading Gaza. These super-rich hate and fear the national liberation struggles, especially the Palestinian struggle, because the Israeli state, which ousted and replaced Palestine, serves U.S. finance capital so well.

The corporate media have a profit motive, too. They get ads and financial sponsorship from giant corporations. They have interlocking directorates with oil, arms and other companies that profit from Middle East occupations and wars. They use their vast conglomerates of newspapers, magazines, books, networks and entertainment companies to promote a political climate that favors profit taking while censoring news that interferes with it. The big media eagerly self-censor if it furthers their burning cause: making more money.

In 2008, ExxonMobil made $1,300 in profits every second. For the military-industrial-media complex, this trumps the truth about Palestine.

ABC: ‘making money our only objective’

“We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective.”

When Michael Eisner wrote these candid words in what he thought would remain an internal memo, he was CEO of the Walt Disney Co. The quote appears in the documentary “Mickey Mouse Monopoly: Disney, Childhood & Corporate Power.”  The Disney Co. is the second-largest media giant and owns ABC, but it brings in the largest revenue of any media conglomerate in the world.

Only five giant companies — Time Warner (CNN, AOL), Disney (ABC), Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation (FOX), Bertelsmann of Germany (the world’s biggest publisher of English-language books) and Viacom (formerly CBS) — control most of the television, radio, magazines, newspapers, books, movies, videos, music, photo agencies and wire services that people in this country rely on. GE’s NBC is a close sixth. (“The New Media Monopoly” by Ben Bagdikian, Beacon Press, 2004)

The extent of this monopolization is well hidden. But, says Bagdikian, the truth is that “a shrinking number of large media corporations now regard monopoly, oligopoly and historic levels of profit as not only normal, but as their earned right.”

Interlocking directorates with big oil, military

The media monopolies have interlocking directors with Big Oil. GE (NBC) interlocks with Mobil, CNN with Chevron, Knight-Ridder with Phillips Petroleum, the New York Times with Texaco (whose parent company is Chevron). And some “public” television news shows are connected to Big Oil through ad revenues. Chevron is a key funder of the most influential show on PBS, the nightly “News Hour with Jim Lehrer.” (FAIR, Dec. 19, 2007)

This is why the corporate media are not merely reporting on the war against Gaza; they are part of it. Their job is to wage the propaganda war.

Next: The dirty truth behind the “free press” lie.

Some information in this article is excerpted from the book “Gaza; Symbol of Resistance,” which can be ordered at gazaresistancebook.com

“We must expel Arabs and take their place.”– David Ben-Gurion, October 5 1937, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 41, No. 2 (Winter 2012), University of California Press, pp. 245-250.*

-

1980’s

For 30 years, from the War of Independence until today [1981], we [Israel] have been fighting against a population that lives in villages and cities.(1) In South Lebanon we struck the civilian population consciously, because they deserved it… the Israeli Army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously … the Army… has never distinguished civilian [from military] targets … [but] purposely attacked civilian targets when Israeli settlements had not been struck.(2)

There were retaliatory actions against civilian Arab populations; the air force operated against them; the damage was directed against such structures as the canal, bridges and transport.(3)  The picture that emerges is of an Israel wantonly inflicting every possible measure of death and anguish on civilian populations in a mood reminiscent of regimes which neither Mr. (Prime Minister) Begin nor I would dare to mention by name.(4) There was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that afflicted populations [i.e., innocent civilians deliberately bombed] would exert pressure for the cessation of hostilities.(5)

We don’t have a solution, and you [Palestinians] will continue living like dogs, and whoever wants to go will go, and will see how this procedure will work out.(23)

2000’s

[After Israel won the Six Day War in June 1967] We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities. Passionately desiring to keep the occupied territories, we developed two judicial systems: one ‑ progressive, liberal ‑ in Israel; and the other ‑ cruel, injurious ‑ in the occupied territories. In effect, we established an apartheid regime in the occupied territories immediately following their capture.

That oppressive regime exists to this day [2002.](6)

Israel is an occupying power that for 40 years has been oppressing an indigenous people, which is entitled to a sovereign and independent existence while living in peace with us. We should remember that we too used very violent terror against foreign rule because we wanted our own state. And the list of victims of terror is quite long and extensive.

We do limit ourselves to denying the [Palestinian] people human rights. We not onlyrob of them of their freedom, land and water. We apply collective punishment to millions of people and even, in revenge‑driven frenzy, destroy the electricity supply for one and half million civilians. Let them “sit in the darkness” and“starve.”

 Through its army, the government of Israel practices a brutal form of Apartheidin the territory it occupies. Its army has turned every Palestinian village and town into a fenced‑in, or blocked‑in, detention camp. All this is done in order to keep an eye on the population’s movements and to make its life difficult. Israel even imposes a total curfew whenever the settlers, who have illegally usurped the Palestinians’ land, celebrate their holidays or conduct their parades.(7)

 The main thing is, first and foremost, to hit them hard. Not just one hit… but many painful [hits], so that the price will be unbearable. The price is not unbearable, now. A total assault on the Palestinian Authority. To bring them to a state of panic that everything is collapsing … fear that everything will collapse… this is what we’ll bring them to…(16)

The troops will be preceded by a ferocious pillar of fire. After the shooting, the warnings, anyone remaining in the area, in one of the most densely populated urban sites in the world is either a terrorist or knows the price to pay.(8)

The commanders and soldiers who were sent to Gaza need to know that they are safe from various tribunals.(21)

The first time we went in, we were given orders to target our machine guns at every suspicious point that could be used to fire upon us. And we shot at anything that moved. The civilians in the area had already been told that we were coming in, so I don’t feel bad for anyone hurt there. If they remained there, they must have been Hamas.(22)

I want aggressiveness – if there’s someone suspicious on the upper floor of a house,we’ll shell it. If we have suspicions about a house, we’ll take it down… There will be no hesitation… Nobody will deliberate – let the mistakes be over their lives, not ours.(20)

The commanders and soldiers who were sent to Gaza need to know that they are safe from various tribunals.(21)

What happened in the Dahiye Quarter of Beirut in 2006, will happen in every village from which shots are fired on IsraelWe will use disproportionate force against it and we will cause immense damage and destruction. From our point of view these are not civilian villages but military bases. This is not a recommendation, this is the plan, and it has already been authorized.(9)

With an outbreak of hostilities, the IDF will need to act immediately, decisively, and with force that is disproportionate to the enemy’s actions and the threat it poses. Such a response aims at inflicting damage and meting out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes. The strike must be carried out as quickly as possible, and must prioritize damaging assets over seeking out each and every launcher. Punishment must be aimed at decision makers and the power elite… attacks should both aim at Hezbollah’s military capabilities and should target economic interests and the centers of civilian power that support the organization.

This approach is applicable to the Gaza Strip as well.(10)

I’m telling them to stop it. We are stronger; there will be more blood there. We have power, enormous power; we can do things that are devastating.(11)

Our response will be disproportionate. We won’t go back to the rules that the terrorist organisations tried to dictate.(12)

Such a war will lead to the elimination of the Lebanese military, the destruction of the national infrastructure, and intense suffering among the population. There will be no recurrence of the situation where Beirut residents (not including the Dahiye quarter) go to the beach and cafes while Haifa residents sit in bomb shelters. Serious damage to the Republic of Lebanon, the destruction of homes and infrastructure, and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people are consequences that can influence Hezbollah’s behavior more than anything else.(13)

This approach is applicable to the Gaza Strip as well.(10)

The people who go into a house despite a warning do not have to be taken into account in terms of injury to civilians, because they are voluntary human shields. From the legal point of view, I do not have to show consideration for them. In the case of people who return to their home in order to protect it, they are taking part in the fighting.(14)

Israel demonstrated real hooliganism during the course of the recent operation [Cast Lead], which I demanded.(15)

2010’s

We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages destroying all the infrastructure including roads & water.(17)

Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people

They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise,more little snakes will be raised there.(18)

Attack the entire ‘target bank’ throughout Gaza with the IDF’s maximum force (and not a tiny fraction of it) with all the conventional means at its disposal. All the military and infrastructural targets will be attacked with no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’. It is enough that we are hitting exact targets and that we gave them advance warning.

Parallel to the above, a total siege on Gaza. Nothing will enter the area…

After the IDF completes the “softening” of the targets with its fire-power, the IDF willconquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations.

Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever… Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel.(19)

(our emphasis)

If these quotes are at all shocking or hard to believe, perhaps consider what former Knesset member and Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery had to say in regards to Israeli reaction to the Goldstone Report, which documented Israel’s war crimes during Operation Cast Lead of 2008-09,

“The instinctive reaction in such a situation is denial. It’s just not true. It never happened. It’s all a pack of lies.

By itself, that is a natural reaction. When a human being is faced with a situation which he cannot handle, denial is the first refuge. If things did not happen, there is no need to cope. Basically, there is no difference between the deniers of the Armenian genocide, the deniers of the annihilation of the Native Americans and the deniers of the atrocities of all wars.

From this point of view, it can be said that denial is almost “normal”. But with us it has been developed into an art form.” (“Those Dastardly Anti‑Semites,” by Uri Avnery, Information Clearing House, September 19, 2009.)

I also want to make it clear that NONE of the above was in an way my own words, none of it was my own analysis of the situation, it was all words of the highest decision making bodies in Israel, save the few words I inserted here and there for continuity.

When people call you a liar, an anti-Semite, a conspiracy theorist, or any of the other names and intimidations they use to vilify you for speaking out about these truths, just remember that these are not your words, but instead the words of the Israeli Prime Ministers, the Major Generals of the IDF, the IDF Colonels, Company Commanders, Foreign Ministers, Knesset members, UN Ambassadors, lawmakers, military analysts, etc., etc.

-Critics of this article will perhaps say, ‘well what about the statements made by Hamas that bear a resemblance to these?’ and to that I have this to say:

These statements I have quoted reflect not only the ideology of Israel’s top officials and military personnel, they as well reflect the policies, behaviors, and approved methods that were used as far back as the 1980’s and that continue to be used to this very day, in Operation Protective Edge.  Similar statements made by Hamas or others can in no way justify, or excuse the Israeli leadership from authorizing and utilizing these policies of brute force that ‘wantonly inflict every possible measure of death and anguish on civilian populations,’ that is inexcusable, and individuals who find themselves attempting to justify and apologize for these methods, I would suggest you take a look at the recent death toll figures, I would suggest that you follow the teenagers on Twitter that are recounting their stories, do your best to expose yourself to the reality being inflicted on them there, and question just what exactly it is that you are justifying and apologizing for.

Let me remind that these findings in this report are not just mere words that some kid researched and found, they are actual bombs being dropped on civilians, they are policies designed specifically to inflict ‘intense suffering among the population,’ to bring about the ‘destruction of homes and infrastructure, and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people,’ and whose goal is ‘inflicting damage and meting out punishment.’ These are not just words, they are the 7 year old children who know nothing but war- although it is really not a war that they know, of two armies opposing each other in battle, it is actually just ‘a total siege on Gaza,’ designed to ‘send Gaza back to the Middle Ages,’ of which they admit that their ‘response will be disproportionate,’ it will be ‘disproportionate to the enemy’s actions and the threat it poses,’ and where there will be taken ‘no consideration for human shields or environmental damage.’

They are the murder of innocent women, children, teenagers and fathers who ‘do not have to be taken into account in terms of injury to civilians, because they are voluntary human shields,’ it is a policy of doing ‘things that are devastating,’ ‘against civilian Arab populations,’ their families destroyed, ravaged, the survivors and ‘anyone remaining in the area, in one of the most densely populated urban sites in the world’ having their murders and deaths be justified by the reasoning that they ‘[are] either a terrorist,’  or that they knew ‘the price to pay.’

These are atrocities that are inflicted, codified into law, ideologically and religiously justified, apologized for and encouraged, encouraged by the diplomatic, military and economic support of the world’s largest defense spender and only truly global superpower this planet has known; they are the reality that culminates with Israeli’s setting up lawn-chairs on their roofs and hills, celebrating as we would the 4th of July the exploding orchestra that for their enjoyment lights up the night sky, all the while just a few kilometers away the wholesale extermination of an entire group of people is playing out before their eyes, and the eyes of the world… a reality of which most simply fall silent.

Statements made by Hamas have to be understood within their historical context, within the framework of the realities of the original expulsion, ethnic cleansing, and extermination of the indigenous population, and of the subsequent brutal and harsh military occupation that followed and that ‘exists to this day.’  They have to be understood alongside the fact that on top of all of this, as I have documented, Israel has been calling for their destruction and systematically has carried out attacks and terror against their civilian population.  Also important to note is the reality that Hamas has long been calling for a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus and the US and Israel have been constantly blocking it for decades.  (By Netanyahu’s own statements he only paid lip service to the Oslo Accords, and immediately went on to disrupt the peace agreements and aggress further on the Palestinians with a view to destroying their leadership and to inflict pain and punishment.)

Given that, they are wrong, they shouldn’t call for the destruction of Israel and they shouldn’t praise the death of Israeli citizens, but if they shouldn’t, then why should it be any different for Israel?  How come it is that basically everyone seems to instinctively accept Israel’s right to do so given that they have a much weaker case?  They are, in fact, the military occupiers, they are not subject to an extremely brutal and murderous military occupation, one which continuously assaults them with an overpowering military force that openly targets their civilians and commits extreme crimes against them with impunity, nay with diplomatic, military, economic, and propagandistic support from the world’s leading superpower; they are not imprisoned by land, air, and sea- on the contrary, none of this is happening to Israel and still they call for the destruction of Palestine and the murder of its innocent civilian population.  Surely that is much worse then the victims of occupation and subjugation calling for the same- lets just imagine for a moment that the reverse were true, imagine if Palestine and the Arabs subjected Israel and all its civilians to a brutal and harsh military occupation, that they continuously annexed Israeli land for themselves, forced Israeli’s out of their homes, kept their economy on the brink of near collapse, counted their caloric intake, put them on a diet, made them ‘live like dogs,’ and imprisoned them in such a way that the best estimates predict their homes will be unlivable by 2020.  Would Israel not call for retaliation?  Would Israel not in such a situation refer to its oppressor as a terrorist and call for their destruction?  Nay, the opposite is true, in absence of all of this and in addition to the fact that they are the perpetrators, that they continually refer to the Palestinians as terrorists, dehumanize and demonize their entire population, and call for their destruction and much worse implement that destruction, the death and slaughter of innocent Palestinian civilians, with their superior force then vilify their victims when they in turn call for the same.

Neither should be doing this, but honestly why is it that everyone accepts it when Israel does it given that ‘Israel is an occupying power that for 40 years has been oppressing an indigenous people, which is entitled to a sovereign and independent existence while living in peace with us?’  Why is it that no one bats an eye when an oppressor calls for the destruction of its oppressed?

Sources:

*This Ben-Gurion quote (mentioned at the beginning of this article) is the subject of debate.  Self-appointed media watchdog CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) questioned the veracity of the Journal of Palestine Studies (JPS) original quotation of Ben-Gurion, the quotation I have used was the corrected quotation JPS gave after further investigation following CAMERA’s initial questioning.  JPS’ official response to CAMERA’s call for accuracy in which they produced the corrected quotation that I have used can be found at the link I have given, also linked here.  Following JPS’ response, CAMERA responded again by questioning the corrected JPS quotation, their response can be found here.

(A good number of quotations here I originally found in this great article from DissidentVoice.org, “Israeli Criticism of Zionism and the Treatment of Palestinians: The Politicians” by Edward C. Corrigan, July 30, 2010 – much thanks to Mr. Corrigan and I highly recommend reading his entire piece.

(Also the findings of the November 2009 independent non-profit Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) report which investigated Operation Cast Lead were extensively helpful and contributed a lot to my research, as well as did Amnesty International’s report “Israel/Gaza, Operation ‘Cast Lead’: 22 Days of Death and Destruction.”)

Notes

1.)    Quotation of Israel’s Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur circa 1981 – Edward Herman, The Real Terror Network, (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1982), p. 77-78.

2.)   Quotation of Israeli military analyst Zeev Schiff, summarizing General Gur’s comments circa 1981 – Ibid.

3.)   Israel’s Prime Minister Menachm Begin in 1981 – Menahem Begin, letter, Haaretz, August, 4, 1981; translated in Israleft News Service,191, August 20, 1981, cited in Edward Herman, The Real Terror Network, (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1982), p. 77.

4.)   Quotation of Israel’s UN Ambassador and Labor Party Foreign Minister Abba Eban in 1981 – Abba Eban, “Morality and warfare,” The Jerusalem Post, August 16, 1981 in cited in Edward Herman, The Real Terror Network, (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1982), p. 77.

5.)   Quotation of Abba Eban in 1981 – Edward Herman, The Real Terror Network, (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1982), p. 77-78. 

6.)   Quotation of Israel’s Attorney General from 1993-96 Michael Ben-Yair in 2002 – “The Six Day War’s Seventh Day,” by Michael Ben‑Yair, Haaretz, March 3rd, 2002. This article is also reproduced in The Other Israel, Voices of Refusal and Dissent, Foreword by Tom Segev and Introduction by Anthony Lewis, edited by Roane Carey and Jonathan Shainin. (New York: New Press, 2002), p.13-15.

7.)   Quotation of Knesset member Shulamit Aloni in 2006  – “Indeed there is Apartheid in Israel,” by Shulamit Aloni, Yediot Acharonot, May 1, 2006. The article is was published in Israel’s largest circulating newspaper in the Hebrew edition but not in the English‑language YNetNews. It was translated by Sol Salbe, an Israeli-Australian editor and translator, and distributed through the Australian based Middle East News Service sponsored by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society. The Hebrew original is here.

8.)   Israeli Channel 10 news report of March 16, 2009 about how the IDF’s rules of engagement policy were outlined to the Knesset Committee for Foreign and Security Affairs during the time of war – Israel Channel 10 News, Friday with Drucker and Shelach, Two months after Operation Cast Lead the real stories begin to emerge, March 20, 2009:http://news.nana10.co.il/Section/?SectionID=2176&pagenum=1 (Originally sourced from PCATI’s report here.)

9.)  Quotation of Commanding Officer of the IDF’s Northern Command, Major General Gadi Eisenkott in 2008 – Yedioth Ahronoth (Hebrew), I have incredible power, I’ll have no excuse, Saturday Supplement, October 3, 2008, by Alex Fishman and Ariela Ringel-Hoffman.

10.) Quotation of Dr. Gabriel Siboni, Colonel in the IDF reserves, in 2008 – INSS Insight No. 74, Disproportionate Force: Israel’s Concept of Response in Light of the Second Lebanon War, Gabriel Siboni, October 2, 2008: http://www.inss.org.il/publications.php?cat=21&incat=&read=2222 (Originally sourced from PCATI’s report here.)

11.) Quotation of then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in 2008 – Israel Channel 10 News, The Central Edition, December 25, 2008:http://news.nana10.co.il/Section/?SectionID=2174&pagenum=99, accessed on September 28, 2009. (Originally sourced from PCATI’s report here.)

12.) Again, quotation from then PM Ehud Olmert, this time in 2009 – Israel Channel 2 news, February 1, 2009. Available at:http://www.mako.co.il/news-military/security/Article-34a141791e03f11004.htm .

13.) Quotation of Major General Giora Eiland in 2008 – INSS Strategic Assessment, Volume 11, No. 2, The Third Lebanon War: Target Lebanon, Giora Eiland, p. 16, November 2008:http://www.inss.org.il/upload/%28FILE%291226472866.pdf . (Originally sourced from PCATI’s report here.)

14.) Quotation of a senior official off the international law division (ILD) of the Israeli Military Advocate General’s Office, made in 2009 – Haaretz, Consent and advise, January 29, 2009: http://www.haaretz.com/consent-and-advise-1.269127.

15.) Quotation of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, responsible for decision making during Operation Cast Lead, statement made in 2009 – Israel Channel 10 news, Livni warns Hamas, January 19, 2009:http://news.nana10.co.il/Section/?SectionID=2174&pagenum=89 , accessed September 28, 2009. (Originally sourced from PCATI’s reporthere.)

16.) Quotation from Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu in 2001, caught on video speaking with what presumably are family members, unawares to the fact that he is being recorded at the time – Redress Information & Analysis, Netanyahu: I deceived US to destroy Oslo accords, July 24, 2012, by Jonathan Cook: http://www.redressonline.com/2010/07/from-the-archives-netanyahu-i-deceived-us-to-destroy-oslo-accords/#trans .

17.)Quotation of Eliyahu “Eli” Yishai, then Israel’s Minister of Internal Affairs, now member of the Knesset, said in 2012 – The Yeshiva World News, LIVE BLOG DAY 4: Operation Pillar of Defense, November 17, 2012:http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/headlines-breaking-stories/145581/live-blog-day-4-operation-pillar-of-defense-updated-530pm-il.html

18.) Quotation of Ayelet Shaked, Israeli lawmaker and senior figure in the Habeyit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party, part of Israel’s ruling coalition, posted on her Facebook page in July 2014, preceded by this statement, “This is an article by the late Uri Elitzur, which was written 12 years ago, but remained unpublished.  It is as relevant today as it was at the time.” – The Electronic Intifada, Israeli lawmaker’s call for genocide of Palestinians gets thousands of Facebook likes, by Ali Abunhimah, July 7, 2014:http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-lawmakers-call-genocide-palestinians-gets-thousands-facebook-likes .

19.)Quotation of Moshe Feiglin, member of the Knesset and member of Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party, written as a policy recommendation for Operation Protective Edge published in an op-ed piece for Arutz Sheva 7 IsraelNationalNews.com, on July 2014 – Arutz Sheva 7, Op-Ed: My Outline for a Solution in Gaza, by Moshe Feiglin, July 15, 2014:http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/15326.

20.)Quotation from an Israeli company commander in a security briefing to soldiers during Operation “Cast Lead,” in 2009 – Israeli Channel 10 TV, 21 March 2009: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072811.html

21.)Quotation of Ehud Olmert, then Prime Minister of Israel, said in 2009:http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1058509.html

22.)Quotation from Ofer, a fighter in the Golani Brigade (an elite combat unit of the Israeli army) who was in the first wave of the ground offensive – 3 The Jewish Chronicle, 5 March 2009: http://www.thejc.com/articles/gaza-soldiers-speak-out .

Israel Speaks (Cont.): “Blow Gaza Back to the Middle Ages… With No Other Considerations”

Steven Chovanec is an independent geopolitical analyst based in Chicago, IL.  He is an undergraduate of International Studies at Roosevelt University and is a regular writer and blogger on geopolitics and important social matters.

Following its reporting of the latest events in the Gaza Strip on Friday, including available details about an IDF soldier captured by Hamas soldiers early in the day, the New York Times was contacted by Israel’s military censor and told that future reporting related to the capture would need to be run through its office before publication.

The Times updated their original story by adding:

“…the military’s censor informed The New York Times that further information related to the soldier would have to be submitted for prior review. Journalists for foreign news organizations must agree in writing to the military censorship system to work in Israel. This was the first censorship notification The Times had received in more than two years.

Israel’s policy of placing ‘gag rules’ over foreign correspondents is well known to reporters who have worked in the country, but rarely acknowledged by U.S. outlets.

In response to the notice given to the Times on Friday, the Freedom of the Press Foundation—which advocates on behalf of journalistic freedoms—tweeted its advice to the newspaper:

Writing on his Pressing Issues blog, freelance journalist and media critic Greg Mitchell notes, “that the Times has been criticized in the past for agreeing to what they call ‘gag orders,’ including by its public editor, when it revealed that it had buckled under to Israeli censorship in the past.  Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren defended that when it was exposed.  “The Times is ‘indeed, bound by gag orders,’ Ms. Rudoren said. She said that the situation is analogous to abiding by traffic rules or any other laws of the land.”

Noting that he had not seen an Israeli objection mentioned by other large outlets that reported on the captured soldier—including an Associated Press article published within a similar time frame—Mitchell wondered:  “Was NYT singled out for this (despite very favorable coverage from Jerusalem bureau in past?) because of its importance?  Or did compliant Times reporters just mention it as explanation to the Israelis that this story had already appeared before the censorship demand?”

The episode comes amid increased criticism of how many U.S.-based news outlets—including outlets like MSNBC and the Times which are often categorized as “liberal” by many—skew and bend their coverage in order to offer a narrative more friendly towards Israeli government and military policy.

In a pointed essay on the Guardian, written by correspondent Chris McGreal on Friday, the veteran journalists asks “if evolving conversations on the ground” in Gaza demand probing questions for U.S. television news audiences, “Why does [American] TV news look like a Netanyahu ad?”

Amongst all the news of the carnage and wreckage in Gaza created by the latest Israeli onslaught, Crimes, Victims and Witnesses is a sadly reflective book.  Mats Svensson has combined stunning and compelling photography with short, quick, sad and often cryptic anecdotes about his experiences as a Swedish UN diplomat in Israel/Palestine. 

The theme is obvious, that of apartheid, and its main barrier is the wall being built by Israel that is slowly twisting and turning through Palestinian land, separating families from families, farmers from their land, capturing the water, the fertile ground, the protected hilltops – separating the people from their freedom and hopes to carry out a normal life.  The other main barrier of course is Gaza itself, the enforced isolation of a small portion of Palestinian land, completely under Israeli control and effectively separated from the West Bank both politically and geographically.

In the forward, Dr. Essop G. Pahad writes,

When South Africans visit Palestine most are shocked at how much worse apartheid is there than that of the old South Africa.  And they comment that it cannot be called anything other than apartheid.

At the end of the work Svensson writes,

Apartheid in South Africa had three starting points.  The first was to divide the population into groups based on race, giving the white race preference in terms of rights, services and privileges.  The second starting point was the division of the country into geographically segregated areas and transferring population into these based on race.  In addition, a person from one area could not access another area.  The third prerequisite was a combination of security laws and rules created to oppress and suppress any resistance, which also strengthened a system of domination based on race.

The authors of the report [UN special rapporteur Prof. John Dugard] consider that the Palestinian people live under a similar system.

In between these basic points, the reality is emphasized with the stories of the everyday people of Palestine.  Of wanting to see a red and white bird one last time, of walking through sewage tunnels not wanting to be photographed – to save one’s dignity.  Knowing the loss of freedom to have a house, a garden, freshwater, olive trees.  The children suffering, not understanding but learning, watching, families being blocked from their dreams by the wall – small dreams – to see the ocean, a bird, a family member, a sunset over a hill.

A smaller theme enters the work from the author’s own line of work as a diplomat.  “Imagine all this knowledge.  Knowledge that is only a click away.  And just think about all this silence while the Westbank burns.”  As a diplomat he acknowledges that everyday the knowledge is there, nothing is done, the powers that be are simply too powerful and, although not stated directly, the feeling is that the diplomats are simply playing a game, unable to truly help.

The photos tell the same story, vibrantly, both revealing the despair and the hope, witness to the steadfastness of a people with nowhere to go.  The pictures of house destruction, with tenants removing all that they can before the jackhammers of Hyundai and Caterpillar destroy their houses.  The village of Lifta haunts a hillside, grand houses crumbling with neglect, the verdant green of the hillside village gradually overcoming the walkways and terraces of a particularly beautiful place, with decaying walls and fruit trees blossoming without care.

Svensson’s work serves as a witness to the crime of apartheid under the colonial-settler mentality of the Israeli state.  Crimes, Victims and Witnesses presents an evocative tale in sad, sometimes enigmatic terms, accompanied by photos that are all too real about the destruction and beauty of Palestinian land and culture.

It is written for the global citizen, and as such should be read by everyone.  In particular it needs to be viewed by the diplomats and politicians who pretend to lead the citizens of the world.  Walls eventually crumble.  Apartheid is a social construct, maintained by geography, force, and human laws – it too needs to crumble.

The Ukrainian state continues its slow-motion collapse, this time with Poroshenko seeking to deal a death blow to the last remnants of the Rada. He has accused “half of the Verkhovna Rada” of being “a ‘fifth column’ which is controlled from abroad, whole factions” after they did not pass a bill labelling Lugansk and Donetsk’s governments as terrorist organizations.

Such an action would have granted pseudo-legitimacy to the US in doing the same, with the ultimate intent of connecting supposed Russian support of these entities with “state sponsor of terrorism” status. By his threatening words, Poroshenko is purposely trying to rile up nationalist voters and intimidate any remaining pragmatic politicians in his quest for near-total control over the state, just as an oligarch holds absolute power of his company. Concurrent with this, the West is wholeheartedly supporting Ukraine’s military, although that institution is on the brink of self-implosion as well. The unstable result of these two trends is the dystopian descent of Ukraine towards military dictatorship, all with the enthusiastic backing of the West in its latest anti-Russian crusade.

Fifth Columns and Filthy Politics

Poroshenko is playing a filthy political game by accusing half of the Rada of being a “fifth column” under Russian influence. In reality, most of the Ukrainian government is a fifth column, albeit of the West, but that’s not the topic at hand here. Poroshenko’s objective is to intimidate the politicians who voted against the “anti-terrorist” bill into thinking that they may suffer the same fate as the recently banned Communist Party, which itself was persecuted because of its supposed “pro-Russian” stance. Not only that, but post-coup Ukraine has an extensive history of human rights abuses and political oppression, so there’s already a discernable track record for what can happen to those who disagree with the regime.

Another of Poroshenko’s pursuits is to split society from the Rada and stoke nationalism ahead of early elections, with the hope that voters will go through the motions of democracy in removing his political adversaries under the guise of ‘patriotism’. Although this deepens the political tumult in the country, it conveniently takes the focus away from the impending IMF crisis (for which the Rada collapsed in the first place) and misleadingly blames the country’s problems on internal enemies. Poroshenko is engaging in a calculated risky move to centralize control over the state in the same way that an oligarch does a company, but he is dangerously faced with a Catch-22. He wants to increase his power on the backs of nationalists, but their power and ambitions only grow along with his and they can likely turn on him in the future and make him their puppet (if they even allow him to stay in power, that is). The West knows this, hence why it is hedging its bets by supporting the military as a fail-safe measure of retaining influence in Ukraine in case this occurs.

Plan B: The Rag-Tag Military

In order to plan for the contingency of Poroshenko losing power against the wish of the West, it has thrown its complete support behind Ukraine’s military. Of course, this is also done for the purpose of crushing the pro-Federalists in the east, but the dual purpose of this support must be examined further. The US has already given nearly $53 million ($5 million and $48 million, respectively) to Ukraine’s military, and if the ‘American Aggression Enabling Act’ passes, the country will become a major non-NATO ally. Even if it doesn’t, the US still plans on going forward with using the California National Guard to train Ukraine’s National Guard next year and will be sending military advisors into the country later this month.

The EU has taken an about-face and unexpectedly lifted its arms ban on Ukraine, opening the door for a tidal wave of weaponry to flood into the conflict-stricken country. The supreme irony is that the EU originally imposed the ban on the Yanukovich government in February to prevent “internal repression”, but the current coup-imposed government has killed over 1000 people and counting during its recent “anti-terrorist” operation. The pro-coup Kyiv Post admits that 90 people died in the run-up to Yanukovich’s overthrow, meaning that the current authorities have been rewarded for killing 10x as many people by gaining access to the latest weaponry that Europe has to offer.

Relatives of Ukrainian soldiers are blocking roads in Western Ukraine in protest against "anti-terrorist operation" in Novorossia claiming thousands of lifes.

Relatives of Ukrainian soldiers are blocking roads in Western Ukraine in protest against “anti-terrorist operation” in Novorossia claiming thousands of lifes.

The logic behind this support is that it is needed to safeguard Ukraine’s economic and political integration with the West via the EU Association Agreement. If Poroshenko is ousted, the military could conceivably run Ukraine and keep Western integration on track, or so the thinking goes. The strategic flaw here is that the military is crumbing almost as fast as the state is, meaning that it is not a reliable proxy ally in any case. Desertions, poor conditions, inadequate supplies and rations, and protests against mobilization all indicate that the military is very unstable at this point. Providing weapons to such an entity risks them falling into the hands of extremists if the armed forces suddenly collapse, per the Libyan scenario, and even worse, these actors would be trained by the US military in how to use them for maximum lethality. The prospect of Neo-Nazi terrorists using American and European weapons to slaughter immigrants and Muslims in Paris or Berlin, for example, suddenly becomes a disturbing reality.

From ‘Democracy’ to Dictatorship

Ukraine’s post-coup nominal ‘democracy’ (as recognized by the West) is rapidly turning into a militarized state centered around a wannabe G.I. Joe. The last remnants of the Rada are being torn apart on purpose by Poroshenko in his perilous pursuit of power. The path from phantom democracy to incontestable dictatorship has four main highlighted attributes:

Political:

Poroshenko wants to permanently cripple the already handicapped Rada and turn it into a nationalist puppet institution. This is fraught with nothing but risks, but in the quest for absolute power, it is ridiculously seen as a gamble to be taken.

Military:

The military is to be strengthened via the ‘Reverse Saakashvili’. The renegade Georgian increased his country’s military spending by 24.5x in a mere four-year period prior to launching a war, but Poroshenko wants to emulate this during and after the actual war, using the ‘Russian threat’ to receive copious Western assistance with this project. However, the West won’t foot the entire bill, hence why scientific funding had to be cut and a new 1.5% military tax imposed.

Militarization is slated to occur on the upper level with the official armed forces and on the lower civil level with Pravy Sektor threats, intimidation, and radical nationalism. The population is to be kept in a siege mentality, with the government playing up the threat of internal enemies (“fifth columns”), “terrorists”, and the ‘Russian threat’ and ‘Crimean occupation’.

British journalist Graham Phillips, 35 was kidnapped on July 23, 2014 by the Ukrainian security service, tortured and expelled from Ukraine for working at the "enemy" RT Channel.

British journalist Graham Phillips, 35 was kidnapped on July 23, 2014 by the Ukrainian security service, tortured and expelled from Ukraine for working at the “enemy” RT Channel.

Information:

The war on journalism will continue unabated, with the country being the most dangerous in the world for this profession so far this year. Journalists that do not toe the official government line will be persecuted and kicked out of the country, much as the examples of Graham Phillips, Alina Eprimian, the LifeNews crew, and others illustrate. The banning of select Russian media has also become a hallmark in a country endeavouring to join the pro-‘Freedom of Speech’ EU.

Normative:

Bringing everything together, Poroshenko wants to maintain external protection (Shadow NATO) and a seal of approval (European ‘legitimacy’ and the EU Association Agreement) to institutionalize his power grab. Thus far, the West is enthusiastically supporting him every step of the way.

Winning the war in the east is not as important to Poroshenko as solidifying internal political gains for him and his clique. One must always remember that he is first and foremost an oligarch and old habits die hard, as the saying goes. The biggest threat here is that Poroshenko will be overthrown by the same nationalist forces that he envisions as helping him deepen his power, and the military may be powerless to stop this (if it isn’t co-opted by the nationalists by that time). What makes the slide into military dictatorship and nationalist destabilization all the more dystopian, however, is that ‘Western values’, which always promote themselves as being holier-than-thou, are firmly behind bringing this nightmare into the heart of the European continent.

Andrew Korybko is the American political correspondent of Voice of Russia who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Yesterday marked the 100th anniversary of Britain’s declaration of war against Germany, which completed the entry of all the European imperialist powers into World War I.

The British declaration of war was issued on the pretext that the neutrality of Belgium, which it was committed to protect, had been violated by Germany’s declaration of war against France on August 3 and its deployment of troops on Belgian soil.

Germany’s war declaration had been carefully orchestrated to ensure that it took place after the troop mobilisation by France’s ally, Russia. The Russian mobilisation, in turn, had been prompted by Austria’s declaration of war on Serbia on July 28, which Russia pledged to defend in accordance with its expansionist aims in south-eastern Europe.

Over the next four years, the propaganda machines of the imperialist powers were to be honed and developed in order to cover up their real war aims.

Britain, it was claimed, had intervened to counter the atrocities of the “Hun” and defend the “rights of small nations”—notwithstanding the fact that “little Belgium” was an imperialist power in its own right, with considerable colonial holdings in Africa.

France, its political leaders insisted, was fighting the war to uphold the ideals of liberty and democracy against Prussian militarism, despite the fact that it was in alliance with the autocratic and blood-soaked tsarist regime in Russia, supplying it with huge loans that helped sustain the military and the repressive apparatus of the state.

Germany maintained it had been forced into war by the actions of the other European powers and was fighting against Russian barbarism in defence of European culture, as it sought to dominate Europe and achieve its “place in the sun” as a global power.

In fact, the war was not waged for “democracy,” the rights of small nations, or to defeat authoritarianism, but for markets, profits, colonies and spheres of influence. In a rare moment of candour, Winston Churchill, at that time first lord of the admiralty, explained that Britain had an empire, acquired by violence and maintained by force, which others sought to obtain.

While the political superstructure of Europe was very different than what exists today—there was a German kaiser, a Russian tsar and an Austrian emperor—the driving forces of the war were rooted in the capitalist economy.

As Leon Trotsky explained, in words that resonate so powerfully in today’s era of globalised production, the vast economic expansion that had taken place over the preceding 40 years meant that the world—the land, the sea, the interior (and today we could add outer space)—had become a single economic workshop. World economy as a whole had replaced the nation-state as the centre of economic development. But the world remained divided by the nation-state system, dominated by the imperialist powers.

In short, the development of mankind’s productive forces—the basis for the economic advancement of the world’s people—had come into conflict with the nation-state framework in which the capitalist profit system is rooted.

Imperialism, Trotsky wrote, proposed to resolve this contradiction through a bloody struggle of each against all to determine which of the capitalist great powers would become a hegemonic power. War was the method by which capitalism, at the climax of its development, sought to resolve this insoluble contradiction.

The only progressive solution was not the victory of one or another imperialist power, but the overthrow of the capitalist system—the source of the eruption of imperialist violence and destruction. The program of world socialist revolution had become the order of the day.

But if the war laid bare an historic crisis of the capitalist system, it no less powerfully revealed a deep crisis in the workers’ movement. On August 4, 1914, as the guns started to fire, the French and Germany socialist parties—the French Section of the Workers International (SFIO) and the German Social Democratic Party (SPD)—voted to support their own governments.

The Second International, of which they were the two major sections, had pointed to the danger of war over the preceding period. At its congress in Basel in 1912, it had voted to commit its sections to a struggle against war, and, if it proved impossible to prevent, to utilise the crisis created by war to hasten the overthrow of capitalism. That commitment had been torn to shreds. The Second International was dead for the purposes of socialism.

The most far-reaching conclusions were drawn by the then relatively little known Marxist leader Vladimir Lenin. The answer to the question as to why the Second International had betrayed, he explained, was not to be found simply in the political biographies of the individual leaders, important as it was to examine them. It signified, above all, the end of a whole epoch—the peaceful, organic development of capitalism, in which the Second International had been founded and grown—and the dawning of a new one: an epoch of wars and revolutions.

The overriding question for Lenin was not the development of tactical slogans for the mass movement that he was sure would develop against the war, but the question of a perspective to guide it. It was necessary to grasp that the socialist revolution was not some distant event that would one day arrive, but rather a historical process that had to be actively prepared and consciously directed. That was the meaning of his call to “turn the imperialist war into a civil war.”

Furthermore, it was necessary, without waiting for a mass movement to emerge, to found the Third International as the international revolutionary leadership of the working class. That was the essential pre-condition for the taking of political power by the working class when the masses were driven into struggle against the capitalist barbarism of the war.

The building of the Third International, Lenin insisted, took place through the most relentless struggle against all forms of opportunism—not only against the right wing in the Second International that had overtly carried out the betrayal, but against those “lefts” who covered up for them.

It was on this perspective that, under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky, the Bolshevik Party carried through the Russian Revolution in October 1917 as the first shot in the world socialist revolution.

Lenin played a unique role, because his whole struggle to build the Bolshevik Party had been based on an unrelenting struggle against opportunism. What had appeared to his opponents as “sectarianism,” “doctrinarism,” and “tendentious hair-splitting” had a world-historic significance. It was the essential precondition for building a revolutionary party capable of meeting the tasks of the new epoch.

On the centenary of the outbreak of World War I, these lessons acquire a burning actuality, as the imperialist powers threaten to plunge humanity into a third world war. Not only are wars spreading in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and beyond, which threaten to produce a clash with nuclear-armed powers such as Russia and China, but these wars have been embraced by the pseudo-left parties in the imperialist countries. As these wars spread, moreover, tensions grow between the imperialist powers themselves.

The role of building the necessary revolutionary leadership of the international working class in the struggle against capitalism falls to the Fourth International under the leadership of the International Committee, for which its protracted struggle against all forms of national opportunism, stretching back more than six decades, has been the decisive preparation.

Obama Hosts Africa Summit Amid Deepening Global Crises

August 5th, 2014 by Bill Van Auken

The “US Africa Leaders Summit” convened in Washington Monday amid the deepening crises in Gaza, Ukraine and Iraq. The Obama administration has invited some 50 African heads of state and government to the US capital as part of an increasingly desperate bid to compete, particularly with the rising power of China, in the scramble for African markets and resources.

China’s two-way trade with Africa last year stood at $170 billion. It outstripped the US five years ago and now boasts a volume of trade that is more than double that of the US, which has been in decline in recent years. For the first quarter of 2014, total trade between the US and sub-Saharan Africa totaled $11.9 billion, a 27 percent decline from the same period in 2013.

China’s trade with Africa has increased 17-fold from just $10 billion in 2000. The European Union, including the continent’s old colonial powers such as France, Britain and Belgium, remains Africa’s largest trading partner, with a total two-way trade of $200 billion in 2013.

Fully 80 percent of China’s trade with Africa has been in raw materials as the country seeks to lock up supplies of energy and other strategic materials.

With a 5.8 percent growth rate—based in large measure on the rise in commodity prices—Africa’s overall economy is growing faster than that of Latin America, while it includes six of the ten fastest growing national economies.

During his first significant trip to Africa, organized only last year, Obama said, “Our goal is not to counter China; our goal is not to contain China.” In recent weeks US officials have also heatedly denied that the summit in Washington has anything to do with the US attempting to compete with Chinese influence in Africa. The fact is, however, that China has held five such summits since the first one convened in Beijing in 2000.

Beijing’s strategic interest in the continent found expression last year when, shortly after his inauguration, President Xi Jinping made a multi-stop tour of Africa his first overseas trip. Since then, China has disbursed some $10 billion in loans to Africa, half of the $20 billion pledged by 2015. According to the Chinese government, the loans are financing the development of infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture, with only 20 percent going to the energy sector, which along with other extractive industries have been seen as Beijing’s main interest.

The Obama administration is not expected to compete with such outlays. US officials have warned that there will be little in the way of “deliverables” coming out of the summit, which is focused more on organizing meetings between African officials and US corporate executives from companies ranging from General Electric to WalMart. There are reports that some African leaders have taken offense that Obama will not meet with any of them individually.

The Pretoria News, for example, reported

“critics have made other unfavourable comparisons between the US summit and China’s Forum for China-Africa Co-operation. (Focac). One of these criticisms is that Obama evidently has no intention of making a big declaration with the African leaders at the end of the summit, including announcements of large dollops of US money into African projects. The other significant difference with the Chinese model that has been underlined is that Obama has not scheduled any one-on-one meetings with individual African leaders as Beijing does. This has evidently offended some African leaders.”

In advance of the summit, the US administration has highlighted plans to announce a paltry $1 billion in business deals for the continent, a boost in funding for peacekeeping operations and enhanced aid programs involving food and power that are tied to US agricultural and energy interests.

Also high on the agenda is Obama’s pledge to push for Congressional approval of a renewal of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), a trade pact that offers most African countries duty-free access to US markets but mainly benefits US companies. It is set to expire at the end of September.

Washington clearly hopes to offset China’s growing economic power in Africa by military means. Seven years after launching its African Command (AFRICOM), the US military now deploys approximately 5,000 troops in some 38 countries across the continent at any one time and is involved in multiple interventions, military training missions and exercises.

In its 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), the Pentagon makes clear that Africa is an area of strategic concern, declaring that its “potential for rapidly developing threats, particularly in fragile states, including violent public protests and terrorist attacks, could pose acute challenges to US interests.”

Much of these supposed threats are themselves the product of previous US military interventions, particularly in Libya, where the overthrow of the Gaddafi government plunged both that country and neighboring Mali into chaos and sent stockpiles of arms to Islamist insurgents as far south as Nigeria.

Similarly, the US orchestration and backing of an Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in 2006 led to the growth of the Islamist al-Shabaab movement and the spread of Islamist unrest into neighboring Kenya.

Meanwhile, US Special Forces troops have been sent into highly promoted operations such as the hunt for the Central African warlord Joseph Kony and the search for the schoolgirls abducted by the Boko Haram group in Nigeria.

Even in this area, however, China is beginning to take unprecedented moves in asserting its military influence. Beijing sent 170 armed troops from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Mali recently, dispensing with its previous policy of “no troops on foreign soil.” It has also provided military assistance to African Union peacekeeping forces.

Three African countries—Eritrea, Sudan and Zimbabwe—were not invited to the summit because, US State Department officials said, they were not in “good standing” with Washington.

While the shunning of these three governments was portrayed as a US stand in defense of “human rights,” the reality is that Washington invited a number of leaders who, while carrying out systematic repression, are more closely aligned with US foreign policy and interests on the continent.

These include Equatorial Guinea’s president Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the longest-ruling non-monarch in the world, who is notorious for the jailing and torturing of political opponents.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is expected to attend, in the wake of pushing through legislation known as the “kill the gays” law, which first called for the death penalty for homosexuals, later changed to life in prison. Museveni, whose regime is a close military partner in US interventions in Africa, backed the law—which has been temporarily blocked by the Ugandan high court—in open defiance of pleas from the Obama White House. The Ugandan regime has also shot down scores of anti-government demonstrators.

Human rights groups have noted that the three-day conference has scheduled no session on human rights, though a whole host of other topics are being dealt with, all with the evident aim of promoting US economic interests on the continent. US national security adviser Susan Rice, who forged close ties to Museveni and several other of the continent’s more repressive regimes during her tenure as senior director for African affairs under the Clinton administration, dismissed these concerns.

“You can speak very plainly and very compellingly about things like corruption and female genital mutilation and mistreatment of women without being finger-wagging or condescending or offensive,” Rice said.

The Palestine Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) held an emergency one-day meeting at the ministerial level in Tehran on Monday during which the participating diplomats discussed how to end Israeli atrocities in the Gaza strip.

At the end of the meeting, the NAM Committee on Palestine issued a declaration and strongly condemned the lethal, indiscriminate and excessive use of force by Israel.

The full text of the draft declaration is as follows:

The Ministers of the Committee on Palestine of the Non-Aligned Movement met in Tehran on 4 August 2014 to address the crisis situation being faced by the Palestinian people, particularly brutally military aggression committed by Israel in July and August 2014 against the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, which resulted in the killing of more than 1857 Palestinians including hundreds of children and women, and the injury of more than 8500 Palestinians and the wanton destruction of thousands of Palestinians homes; business properties, vital civilian infrastructure; mosques; schools, hospitals, public institutions, farms; and several UN facilities. In this regard, the Ministers paid tribute and expressed their support to the heroic steadfastness and unity of the Palestinian people in the face of this brutal aggression.

The Ministers expressed their appreciations to the people and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for their warm hospitality and timely action in convening the NAM Committee on Palestine. They also commended H.E. Dr. Hassan Rouhani, the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran for his important statement delivered in the meeting.

The Ministers strongly condemned the lethal, indiscriminate and excessive use of force by Israel, the occupying Power, against Palestinian civilians and vital civilian infrastructure, including water and sanitation networks, electrical power plants and numerous hospitals and medical centers, as well as against humanitarian and emergency personnel and journalists.  They deplored the relentless military assaults carried out deliberately and wantonly by the Israeli occupying forces, which have led to the killing and injury of thousands of the defenseless Palestinians, a great majority of them being children and women, in blatant and systematic violation of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights laws.

 

The Ministers demanded the immediate and unconditional cessation of this Israeli military aggression against and collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza as well as throughout the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. They called for exertion of serious, collective efforts to ensure an immediate ceasefire, based on the Egyptian initiative on the basis of November 2012 ceasefire in close coordination with the State of Palestine.

 

The Ministers fully endorsed the unified the legitimate demands of the delegation of State of Palestine and in this context demanded also the immediate and full lifting of the Israeli blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, which constitutes the massive collective punishment of its inhabitants in grave contravention of international humanitarian and human laws and has led to acute shortages of basic necessities and dire humanitarian and healthcare situation in Gaza. They stressed the Israeli responsibility as the occupying power, and therefore the urgency of efforts to immediately and unconditionally open all border crossing points into and from Gaza with a view to allowing the entry of emergency humanitarian assistance and the access of medical and relief workers to those in need. They further stressed the need for an end to all illegal Israeli policies and practices that deprive the Palestinian people of their land, properties and natural resources and have caused widespread distress and deteriorating socio-economic conditions.

 

The Ministers requested all members of the international community, the United Nations and other international organizations and non-governmental organizations to help provide the victims of the Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip with humanitarian assistance on an urgent basis.  They recognized the vital role of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Gaza, including in addressing emergency needs during this period of crisis, and urged the international community to provide the necessary support to the Agency as well as to other United Nations agencies delivering humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people at this time of need, including the more than 180,000 Palestinians displaced in the recent period.

 

The Ministers called upon the Security Council to uphold its Charter duties and live up to the expectation of the international community to act forthwith to address this crisis situation in Occupied Palestine, which clearly constitutes a threat to regional and international peace and security.  They called on the Security Council to adopt measures to compel Israel, the occupying power, to cease its military aggression against the Palestinian people and to comply forthwith with all of its obligations under international law, particularly the 4th Geneva Convention and the relevant United Nations resolutions. They stressed the urgency of serious and credible action by the Security Council toward bringing an end to the impunity Israel has unduly enjoyed, stressing the need to act collectively to hold it accountable for all its breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights violations.

 

The Ministers expressed support to the Algerian initiative to convene an emergency meeting of the UN General Assembly to address the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and mobilize the international community in this regard.

 

The Ministers requested the International Criminal Court to uphold its mandate to address the war crimes and crimes against humanity that are being committed against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.  They emphasized the centrality of justice in bringing an end to such crimes and impunity.

 

The Ministers expressed their support to the Lebanese initiatives to communicate information to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and demanded that NAM countries parties to the Rome Statute seize the jurisdiction of the Court on war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Palestinian people.

 

The Ministers also expressed grave concern over the plight of the more than 6,000 Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including administrative detainees, held captive by Israel, the occupying Power.  They condemned the abuse and physical and psychological mistreatment, including torture, of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including children, women and elected officials, among them members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, including more than 800 people detained since 13 June 2014 demanded their immediate and unconditional release;

 

The Ministers further condemned the continuing colonization of the Palestinian land by Israel, the occupying Power.  They demanded a halt of the confiscation of Palestinian property and the construction and expansion of Israeli settlements and the Wall, in grave breach of international humanitarian law and in flagrant disrespect of the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice.  They also expressed grave concern over the frequent acts of violence, terror and incitement against Palestinian civilians and the destruction of the Palestinian properties by Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and called for action to hold the perpetrators accountable for these crimes. They expressed deep concern also in this regard about the provocation and incitement by Jewish extremists against Muslim and Christian holy sites, especially in Occupied East Jerusalem and at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, and warned of the dangerous consequences of such continued provocations and aggressions.

 

The Ministers welcomed the decision by the Human Rights Council to launch an official international, independent inquiry into all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law resulting from the recent Israeli military aggression against the besieged Gaza Strip. They stressed the need to fully investigate all violations by Israel, the occupying Power, of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, towards establishing accountability and justice for the victims of these crimes.

 

The Ministers also supported the request by the State of Palestine for the rapid convening of a Conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to examine measures, in accordance with common article 1, to ensure respect and enforce the Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.  They called on Switzerland, in its capacity as Depositary, to undertake the necessary efforts for the timely convening of such an important Conference, with a view to addressing the grave breaches of international humanitarian law being perpetrated by Israel, the occupying Power, and to ensuring protection to the Palestinian people.  Further in this regard, the Ministers supported the call by President Abbas to the Secretary-General Ban K-moon for the United Nations to take all effective measures at its disposal to ensure the protection of the Palestinian civilian population under Israel’s occupation.

 

The Ministers stressed the need to continue meeting and consulting within the NAM Committee on Palestine, as well as within the larger Coordinating Bureau of the Movement, with a view, inter alia, to drafting a plan of action for the NAM in order to follow up on all of these critical issues at the United Nations and in all other appropriate political, legal and judicial forums.  They underscored in this regard the need to compel the necessary international action to resolve the root causes of the conflict and address the question of Palestine in all its aspects according to international law and the relevant United Nations resolutions.  They also called for continued efforts in support of the achievement of the full recognition and membership of the State of Palestine at the United Nations.

 

The Ministers welcomed all initiatives undertaken by several countries to boycott Israeli products and withdraw their ambassadors from Israel, including by many Latin American countries, and encouraged all other member States of the NAM to do so.

 

The Ministers reaffirmed their unwavering support for the just cause of Palestine and solidarity with the Palestinian people. They reaffirmed their principled and longstanding support for the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the achievement of their legitimate national aspirations, including for freedom, independence, justice, peace and dignity in their homeland.

 

An important scientific journal article published today finds that 66% of Earth’s land area must be maintained as natural and agro-ecological ecosystems to sustain a livable environment. Yet about 50% have already been lost, threatening global biosphere collapse. In describing the paper, author Dr. Glen Barry suggests the Ebola epidemic, California drought, and Middle East revolutions indicate planetary boundaries have been exceeded.

New science finds that two-thirds of Earth’s land-based ecosystems must be protected to sustain the biosphere long-term. Yet about one-half of Earth’s natural ecosystems have already been lost. The scientific review article by Dr. Glen Barry – entitled “Terrestrial ecosystem loss and biosphere collapse” – was published today in the international journal “Management of Environmental Quality”.

The paper proposes terrestrial ecosystem loss as the tenth ecological planetary boundary (along with climate change, biodiversity loss, and nitrogen deposition which have already been exceeded, and six others nearing the limit). It is proposed that 66% of Earth’s land – 44% as intact natural ecosystems and 22% as agro-ecological buffers – must remain intact to sustain the biosphere. This would require ending industrial primary forest logging and restoring old-growth forests to reconnect fragmented landscapes and bioregions. It is necessary to remain within planetary boundaries to ensure humanity continues to be surrounded by a healthy natural environment adequate to sustain the biosphere as well as local livelihoods and well-being.

“The emerging Ebola epidemic, California drought, and Middle East civil strife are all indicative of what occurs when planetary ecological boundaries remain unrecognized and are surpassed. It is my hope this paper illustrates the absolute necessity of protecting and restoring large, connected old-growth forests and other natural ecosystems, buffered by agro-ecological ecosystems, to ensure Earth remains habitable,” states Dr. Barry.

“For the future of the human family and all life, all necessary actions must be taken to protect natural ecosystems and eliminate fossil fuel emissions, in order to avert biosphere collapse and achieve global ecological sustainability.”

Dr. Barry is an internationally recognized political ecologist, data scientist, and writer living in Madison, and near Green Bay, Wisconsin. He is well-known within the environmental community as a leading global ecological visionary, public intellectual, and environmental policy critic. The abstract can be found, and the paper purchased here:http://www.emeraldinsight.com/fwd.htm?id=aob&ini=aob&doi=10.1108/MEQ-06-2013-0069 (the media can email the author for a copy to report upon).

The paper proposes the first measureable and spatially explicit terrestrial ecosystem loss threshold as part of planetary boundary science. What ecological science knows about biodiversity and old-growth forest loss, abrupt climate change, and ecosystem collapse is reviewed. It is suggested patterns of habitat fragmentation identified in ecosystems and landscapes – that ecological systems “percolate” to a new simplified state and often collapse when ~40% are lost, and noting the critical role of habitat connectivity – also hold true for the biosphere (the sum total of global ecosystems).

Building upon the planetary boundary scientific tradition, the scientific purpose of the journal article “is to propose a measurable terrestrial ecosystem boundary to answer the question: what extent of landscapes, bioregions, continents, and the global Earth System must remain as connected and intact core ecological areas and agro-ecological buffers to sustain local and regional ecosystem services as well as the biosphere commons?”

Dr. Barry proposes a new planetary boundary threshold: “…that across scales 60 percent of terrestrial ecosystems must remain, setting the boundary at 66 percent as a precaution, to maintain key biogeochemical processes that sustain the biosphere and for ecosystems to remain the context for human endeavors. Strict protection is proposed for 44 percent of global land, 22 percent as agro-ecological buffers, and 33 percent as zones of sustainable human use.”

Excerpts of the paper’s conclusion include:

“It is prudent not to dismiss the possibility that the Earth System – the biosphere – could die if critical thresholds are crossed… Humanity’s well-being depends upon complex ecosystems that support life on our planet, yet we are consuming the biophysical foundation of civilization… Scientists need to take greater latitude in proposing solutions that lie outside the current political paradigms and sovereign powers… By not considering revolutionary change, we dismiss all options outside the dominant growth-based oligarchies”. Dr. Barry goes on to propose a revolutionary global carbon tax to “establish and protect large and connected core ecological areas, buffers, and agro-ecological transition zones throughout all of Earth’s bioregions.”

[1] Rockstrom et al (2009a), “A safe operating space for humanity”, Nature, Vol. 461 No. 7263.

For more information and how to support Dr. Glen Barry’s pioneering work in political ecology please visit: http://EcoInternet.org/

August 5, 2014

Contact for Interviews: Dr. Glen Barry, 608 770 0782, [email protected]

Citation: Barry, G. (2014), “Terrestrial ecosystem loss and biosphere collapse”, Management of Environmental Quality, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 542-563. Abstract

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Copyright Dr. G Barry, EcoInternet, 2014