If War Was Funded Like College Tuition

April 25th, 2014 by David Swanson

Are you as tired as I am of news stories about college tuition costs rising? I’ve been out of college for many years, and you’d have to pay me to go back, but this is ridiculous.

To see how ridiculous, try a little thought experiment. Imagine opening your newspaper and reading this:

“War and War Preparations Costs to U.S. Households Rose Again This Year

“Continuing a decades-long trend, the cost each U.S. resident pays for his or her wars and war preparations rose 5.3 percent this year.

“With all costs of the U.S. military, across numerous government departments, reaching $1.2 trillion annually, according to Chris Hellman of the National Priorities Project, and with a U.S. population of 314 million people, bills to those opting for war-making as their foreign policy choice this year came to $3,822 each — not counting room, board, and books.”

Of course, that bill is for anyone who supports the U.S. government’s spending priorities and anyone who doesn’t, and it’s a bill for every person, from disabled senior citizen to new-born infant.

It’s a bill that might strike some as a bit high.  So, here’s one way this imaginary news story might develop:

“In an expanding trend, thousands of Americans opted for a smaller military investment this year.  Choosing to pay their share of a military the size of China’s — $188 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute — some war consumers bought the $599 war plan this year.

“Others opted for the Russian model at a cost of $280.  But with polls showing that Americans believe Iran to be the greatest threat to peace, the Iranian-sized military has become this year’s most rapid climber in the rankings; of course, the $20 price tag doesn’t hurt.

“Buddy Beaverton of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, remarked at the post office as he mailed a check: ‘If we could have Canada’s annual supply of wars for $59 each, why should I have to pay $3,822? It’s bad enough they’ve got cheaper prescription drugs that we’re not allowed to buy!’”

Mr. Beaverton would have a point.  Some other nations that don’t invest in wars and war preparations the way the United States does also make college education free or affordable — and still have plenty of money to spare for frivolous luxuries like healthcare or energy systems that don’t render the planet unlivable.

What would our lives be like if college were as free and unquestionable as military spending is now, but military spending arrived as an optional bill?

Those who didn’t want it could choose not to pay.  Those who wanted a coast guard, a national guard, and some anti-aircraft weapons could chip in a few bucks.  Those who wanted a bit more than that could pay a bit more.

And those who wanted troops in 175 nations, aircraft carriers in every sea, enough nuclear weapons to destroy life on several planets, and fleets of drones with which to traumatize and antagonize several nations at once — well, they could pay their $3,822, plus of course another $3,822 for anybody opting out.

What a naive proposal! Left to individual choice, the commons would be destroyed, and our national defense would crumble!

Really?  People in the United States give over $300 billion to charity each year.  Nobody forces them to.  If they believed weapons and wars were the most important cause to donate their dollars to, they’d do it.  No nation on earth spends $300 billion or anywhere close to it on its military, other than the United States.

And with the government no longer funding the military in its socialistic manner, it might choose instead to fund many of the humanitarian causes to which private charity is now largely devoted. Private giving could take care of the Pentagon.

But if wisdom about the counter-productive results of militarism spread, if nonviolent alternatives were learned, if free college had a positive impact on our collective intellect, and if the fact that we could end global poverty or halt global warming for a fraction of current military spending leaked out, who knows? Maybe militarism would fail in the free market.

The leaked summary of the findings from the Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s report confirm previous reporting by Physicians for Human Rights (PHR): The CIA enlisted health professionals to use their skills to destroy the minds of prisoners, breaking with longstanding ethical and legal obligations of health professionals. The collaboration of high-level government officials, CIA leadership, and select health professionals enabled a culture of torture, which undermined the United States’ moral authority, destroyed public trust in medical ethics, helped recruit people who would use terrorism, and yielded little of value in protecting the nation.

“At a time in U.S. history when legitimate security needs demanded the highest levels of professional expertise and competence, the CIA instead rejected or ignored internal critiques of a patently unlawful, flawed interrogation program,” said PHR expert on torture, Dr. Scott Allen, professor of medicine and associate dean of academic affairs at the University of California, Riverside. “They placed a critical intelligence program in the hands of poorly qualified contract health professionals who were willing to violate professional ethics, scientific integrity, and the law.” In order to secure legal clearance for these individuals, the CIA misrepresented the known science documenting the harmful effects of the techniques and went to great lengths to obfuscate a program that would not and could not withstand legal, ethical, or scientific scrutiny.

“It is time for Congress, the White House, and intelligence agencies to declassify the entire record of the country’s clandestine and military culture of torture,” stated PHR advisor on psychological ethics, Steven Reisner, who is also president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. “In particular, the U.S. government’s use of health professionals to develop and employ programs that violated medical ethics and the law must be publicly accounted for.” To accomplish this, PHR is repeating its call for total transparency on the part of the U.S. government to make clear the extent to which the CIA, military, and government officials violated the UN Convention against Torture. Additionally, PHR is calling on the U.S. government to hold those officials accountable, with the aim of restoring the legal and ethical boundaries that keep the U.S. government’s actions consistent with its obligations under human rights law.

PHR calls on the U.S. Senate Select Intelligence and Armed Services Committees to hold public hearings to reveal the extent of the United States’ involvement in torture and ill-treatment and to work to reinstate laws aligned with existing international treaties. Donna McKay, PHR’s executive director stated, “We must guarantee that the United States no longer advocates for or practices torture in any form, including in the treatment of those detained by U.S. armed forces or intelligence agencies and those held in confinement.”

PHR has written extensively on the involvement of health professionals in the torture of detainees in practices directed by U.S. forces. Reports include: Break Them DownLeave No MarksBroken Laws, Broken LivesAiding Torture, and Experiments in Torture, among others.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

Defenders of an open, innovative and fair internet are up in arms Thursday after learning the Federal Communications Commission is about to issue new rule proposals that will kill the online principle known as “net neutrality.”

The death of net neutrality—which has governed the equal treatment of content since the internet was created—will create, say critics, a tiered internet that allows major internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon to cut special and lucrative deals with content providers who can afford to pay for special “fast lanes.” The result will be an internet that will incentivize slower traffic by ISPs and the creation of privatized, corporate-controlled “toll-roads” that will come to dominate a once fair and free environment.

“If it goes forward, this capitulation will represent Washington at its worst.” —Todd O’Boyle, Common Cause

As reported by various outlets, the  new rules have been circulated by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to the other members of the commission and will be officially announced on Thursday.

Image right: Free Press

“With this proposal, the FCC is aiding and abetting the largest ISPs in their efforts to destroy the open Internet,” said Craig Aaron, president of the media advocacy group Free Press. “Giving ISPs the green light to implement pay-for-priority schemes will be a disaster for startups, nonprofits and everyday Internet users who cannot afford these unnecessary tolls. These users will all be pushed onto the Internet dirt road, while deep pocketed Internet companies enjoy the benefits of the newly created fast lanes.”

Chairman Wheeler defended the new proposals and denied the rule changes were an attack on the open internet, but Aaron rejected those claims and said that trying to argue these new rules protect net neutrality is an insult.

“This is not Net Neutrality,” he stated. “It’s an insult to those who care about preserving the open Internet to pretend otherwise. The FCC had an opportunity to reverse its failures and pursue real Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband under the law. Instead, in a moment of political cowardice and extreme shortsightedness, it has chosen this convoluted path that won’t protect Internet users.”

“Everyday users will all be pushed onto the Internet dirt road, while deep pocketed Internet companies enjoy the benefits of the newly created fast lanes.” —Craig Aaron, Free Press

Those who have fought hardest to protect the idea of a free and equal digital playing field for all users, however, said Wheeler’s claims don’t pass the laugh test and rebuked the Chairman’s proposals in the strongest possible terms.

“If it goes forward, this capitulation will represent Washington at its worst,” Todd O’Boyle, program director of Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative, told the New York Times. “Americans were promised, and deserve, an Internet that is free of toll roads, fast lanes and censorship — corporate or governmental.”

And speaking with Time magazine, Lauren Weinsten, a veteran tech-policy expert and prominent Net-neutrality advocate, said: “This is a stake in the heart for Internet openness.”

She continued: “The nation’s largest Internet service providers have hit the ultimate jackpot. These companies keep secret all of the information needed to evaluate whether violations of Internet openness have occurred, and because the FCC moves so slowly, by the time it acts, a company that’s been victimized could be out of business.”

And Free Press’ Aaron put particular emphasis on the perverse incentives the new rules would create, explaining:

“This is a stake in the heart for Internet openness.” —Lauren Weinsten, tech expert

The FCC apparently doesn’t realize the dangerous incentives these rules would create. The routing of data on the Internet is a zero-sum game. Unless there is continual congestion, no website would pay for priority treatment. This means the FCC’s proposed rules will actually produce a strong incentive for ISPs to create congestion through artificial scarcity. Not only would this outcome run counter to the FCC’s broader goals, it actually undermines the so-called Section 706 legal basis for these rules.

This proposal is short-sighted and should be strenuously opposed by the broader Internet community — including millions of Americans who have urged Chairman Wheeler and his predecessors to safeguard the open Internet. The only parties cheering this idea on will be the largest ISPs who stand to profit from discrimination. We urge Chairman Wheeler’s colleagues not to support this item as currently drafted and demand nothing less than real Net Neutrality.

Both Common Cause and Free Press have already posted petitions on their sites where concerned citizens can voice their opposition and join the fight to oppose the FCC’s new rules.

The Free Press petition states, in part:

People everywhere understand that the Internet is a crucial driver of free speech, innovation, education, economic growth, creativity and so much more. They demand real Net Neutrality rules that protect Internet users from corporate abuse.

But the Federal Communications Commission is proposing rules that would kill — rather than protect — Net Neutrality and allow rampant discrimination online.

Under these rules, telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to pick winners and losers online and discriminate against online content and applications. And no one could do anything about it.

We must stop the FCC from moving forward with these rules, which would give the green light to ISPs eager to crush Net Neutrality.

The agency can preserve Net Neutrality only by designating broadband as a telecommunications service under the law. Anything else is an attack on our rights to connect and communicate.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

US Sends Apache Attack Helicopters to Egyptian Junta

April 25th, 2014 by Patrick Martin

The Obama administration has approved the shipment of Apache attack helicopters to the military junta that rules Egypt. The decision was communicated to the military regime April 22 by defense secretary Chuck Hagel in a phone call to the Egyptian minister of defense, General Sedki Sobhy.

Hagel also told his Egyptian counterpart that US Secretary of State John Kerry will soon certify to Congress that “Egypt is sustaining the strategic relationship and is meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty.” These certifications are required under US law to permit the continuation of US military aid.

The ten Apache helicopters are “in support of Egypt’s counterterrorism operations in the Sinai,” according to a Pentagon press release, but there is no restriction on their use once the weapons are in Egyptian hands. The murderous gunships can be redeployed from strafing restive Bedouin tribesmen along the border with Israel to massacring demonstrators in cities like Cairo, Alexandria and Suez.

The US will continue to withhold certain weapons, including F-16 fighter jets, M-1 tanks and Harpoon missiles, whose shipment has been suspended since the July 2013 coup that overthrew the elected president of Egypt, Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed that the US government had certified Egypt was cooperating with the US military and with the Israelis.

“Now that we’ve completed this look and we know that Egypt has been continuing the fight against terrorism in the Sinai, we believe that they need this additional equipment to continue that fight,” he said. “We continue to have very close dialogue with Egypt focused on counterterrorism.”

Other US government spokesmen discussed the political whitewash of the military regime made by the Pentagon and State Department, as part of the formal certification process required each year.

“We are not yet able to certify that Egypt is taking steps to support a democratic transition,” said Admiral John Kirby in a statement that urged “the Egyptian government to demonstrate progress on a more inclusive transition that respects the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Egyptians.”

US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called for a transition to democracy “as Egypt will be more secure and prosperous if it respects the universal rights of its citizens.”

These anodyne statements cover up the brutal reality of mass murder and repression in Egypt. The military slaughtered more than 2,000 people, most of them supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the first weeks after the coup. An estimated 21,000 people have been jailed, including many students and youth active in the revolutionary movement that brought down longtime military dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Three of the most prominent leaders of the 2011 protests in Tahrir Square, Ahmed Maher, Mohammed Adel and Ahmed Douma, have been convicted of violating a decree issued by the junta that bans all political gatherings and protests held without prior permission from the police. Earlier this month an appeals court upheld penalties of three years of hard labor and fines of $7,000 on each man.

The military is now imposing a far bloodier version of the Mubarak regime under the auspices of its current strongman, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who stepped down as chief of staff and defense minister last month in order to become the military’s favored candidate in presidential elections set for May 26-27.

The dictatorship has outlawed strikes, which continue to erupt nonetheless, particularly among textile and other industrial workers and among public employees. These include those who work on the Suez Canal, Egypt’s key strategic asset from the standpoint both of world trade and imperialist military operations in the region.

Even more savage repressive measures are likely once the presidential election is completed. Last month a court in the Nile delta city of Minya sentenced 529 Muslim Brotherhood supporters to death for the killing of a single policeman, after a hurried two-day proceeding in which most of the defendants were tried in absentia.

By comparison, during 30 years of the Mubarak dictatorship, a total of 90 Islamist militants were sentenced to death—mainly those involved in the assassination of Anwar Sadat and other attempted assassinations—of whom 68 were executed.

A separate trial of 683 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, including the group’s top leader, Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, began last month as well. The ousted president, Mohammed Mursi, is on trial on multiple trumped-up charges that could bring a death sentence.

The regime has proposed two new anti-terrorism laws that would expand on the existing ban on the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed late last year. Under these laws, holding a leadership position in the Muslim Brotherhood or other “terrorist” group would become punishable by death.

Terrorism would be defined so broadly that, according to Amnesty International, the law “criminalizes strikes and peaceful demonstrations in schools, universities and those emanating from mosques.” Joining any group so defined would become punishable by ten years in prison.

The shipment of the Apaches is in addition to $650 million in direct US aid to the Egyptian military set for the current fiscal year. That amount represents half the usual US subsidy, with the balance on hold while the Obama administration labors to find a legal way around the clear congressional ban on aiding a regime originating in a military coup.

The green light for sending Apaches to Egypt underscores the cynicism of the US government and media propaganda about US concern for democracy and human rights in countries ranging from Ukraine to Venezuela. A relative handful of people have been killed in the course of civil strife in those countries, but the US media presents the crisis in Ukraine as the justification for a US-NATO intervention that could provoke war between nuclear-armed powers.

But in Egypt, where the military has carried out a series of massacres, suppresses democratic rights, and is entrenching a ferocious dictatorship, the Obama administration is tacitly endorsing the repression and openly aiding the bloodstained rulers.

In this context, it is worth noting the speech this week by former British prime minister Tony Blair, which gave full-throated support to the Egyptian military’s suppression of the Muslim Brotherhood. Blair remains an unapologetic defender of the crimes committed by US president George W. Bush with his assistance, including the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Blair called for Western leaders to embrace a religious conception of the conflicts in the Middle East, in which radical Islam was understood as the main enemy. He argued that no significant distinction could be made between political movements like the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist organizations like al Qaeda.

He said that the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood was “dangerous and corrosive; and cannot and should not be treated as a conventional political debate between two opposing views of how society should be governed.”

While noting the death sentences to more than 500 people as one of the “things we strongly disagree with,” Blair concluded with an outright endorsement of al-Sisi, declaring, “The next president will face extraordinary challenges. It is massively in our interests that he succeeds. We should mobilise the international community in giving Egypt and its new president as much assistance as we can.”

Ukrainian Regime Launches Fascist-Led Crackdown

April 25th, 2014 by Alex Lantier

Image: Pro-Russian protesters in Slavyansk. 

The Western-backed regime in Kiev and fascist militias allied to it launched a bloody crackdown against pro-Russian protests across eastern Ukraine yesterday. With the Kremlin massing forces on Russia’s border with Ukraine, threatening to intervene defend ethnic Russians, the situation is on the brink of a war between Russia and Ukraine, which could escalate into a direct clash between Russia and NATO.

Deadly fighting broke out in the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, held by pro-Russian protesters. Ukrainian armored personnel carriers reportedly assaulted several checkpoints set up by pro-Russian forces, though protesters continued to hold the city. Five protesters were reported killed amid contradictory reports. Several Ukrainian armored vehicles were reportedly set afire in the fighting, and protesters rebuilt the checkpoints later in the day.

Thirty thugs armed with baseball bats from the fascist Right Sector militia, which led the February 22 putsch that installed the current regime in Kiev, stormed buildings held by protesters in the nearby port city of Mariupol.

Responsibility for this bloodshed lies above all with the United States and its European allies, who have pressed Kiev to launch these assaults in a policy calculated to provoke Moscow. A first attempt to organize a crackdown a week ago with Ukrainian regular troops came after CIA director John Brennan’s visit to Kiev. It quickly ground down, however, amid popular opposition and refusals by Ukraine troops to fire on the population.

This bloody crackdown underscores the filthy hypocrisy of the Western intervention in Ukraine. During the February putsch, Western governments and media denounced the pro-Russian regime’s attempts to crack down on the fascist groups leading the protests and denounced moves to mobilize the army. Now, after a visit to Kiev by US Vice President Joe Biden, the unelected, far-right puppet regime in Kiev is unleashing a new military crackdown with Western support. Aware of the lack of support more broadly in the army, it is relying directly on the fascists.

Russian media cited Kremlin estimates that the Kiev regime had mobilized 11,000 troops, 160 tanks, 230 infantry vehicles, and 150 artillery pieces for the crackdown.

Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh announced that he was moving to the eastern Ukrainian industrial city of Dnipropetrovsk and setting up a “Donbas” fighting squadron. “I moved my headquarters to Dnepropetrovsk,” he said. “The purpose is to prevent the spread of the Kremlin infection.”

Yarosh boasted that he was working directly with the regime in Kiev. “We coordinate all of our actions with the leadership of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the security services of Ukraine,” he said.

In an interview with Russia’s Gazeta, the leader of the pro-Russian forces in Slavyansk, Vyacheslav Ponomarev, said that the formation of a Right Sector-led battalion in the east “could lead to fratricidal war.”

The Kiev regime’s interior minister, Arsen Avakov, moved to stoke this civil war, announcing the creation of a special force of 12,000 volunteer fighters to crush the pro-Russian protests. It will reportedly include not only Yarosh’s “Donbass” squadron, but also a “Dnepr” fighting battalion under the control of business oligarch Igor Kolomoysky.

The Kiev regime is also imposing special pay cuts on eastern Ukrainian workers, ostensibly to pay for repairs to the city of Kiev after the February putsch. Some 2,000 coal miners working in mines in Krasnodon for Ukraine’s richest man, oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, are reportedly striking to protest the state-enforced pay cut.

These provocations come amid a large-scale military build-up throughout eastern Europe by the US and the NATO powers. US paratroopers landed in Poland today, part of a broader build-up that has seen US forces sent also to the Baltic States, Romania, and the Black Sea.

US President Barack Obama, speaking from Japan while on a tour of Asia, indicated that further economic sanctions were “teed up” and could rapidly be imposed on Russia.

After a meeting of Russia’s top military council, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced large-scale Russian military exercises, apparently to prepare an intervention in eastern Ukraine. Videos posted to YouTube showed Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers massing around Novoshakhtinsk and nearby cities along the Ukrainian-Russian border.

Shoigu also criticized the deployment of US troops throughout Eastern Europe and the decision of the Ukrainian regime to launch a crackdown.

“The starting gun on the use of weapons against their own civilians has already been fired,” he said. “If today this military machine is not stopped, it will lead to a large number of dead and wounded… Civilians are being attacked by national guard units as well as by battalions of extremists from Right Sector.”

The military standoff between Moscow and the Kiev regime and its NATO backers, which had led to the gravest danger of war between the major powers since World War II, is the product of the reckless decision of Washington and Berlin to support the fascist putsch in February. Having unleashed these forces and stoked broad popular opposition in more pro-Russian sections of eastern Ukraine, the imperialist powers are now escalating the bloodshed, apparently seeking to goad Moscow into an intervention with potentially disastrous consequences.

US Secretary of State John Kerry’s denunciation of Moscow yesterday evening was a political fraud. He attacked Moscow for not respecting the terms of the April 17 Geneva agreement on Ukraine, which called for all armed militias to stand down. Accusing Russia of “distraction, deception, and destabilization,” he said: “Not a single Russian official has publicly gone on television in Ukraine and called upon the separatists … to give up their weapons and get out of the Ukrainian buildings.”

In fact, the United States and its European allies negotiated this agreement in bad faith. Not only did they not call on their fascist allies to disarm, they are building fascist militias up in order to carry out a violent crackdown against the population in sections of the country more closely tied to Russia.

Russian officials made repeated statements indicating that the Western powers’ policies were jeopardizing vital Russian national security interests and might justify military intervention.

“If the Kiev regime started military action against the country’s population, this is without doubt a very serious crime,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a media forum.

Putin said that the eastern Ukraine crackdown justified Russia’s support for pro-Russian protesters in Crimea who declared independence from the Kiev regime, and ultimately rejoined Russia. “We would have seen there the same things which are now happening in the east of Ukraine or even worse. That’s one more proof to the fact we did it all correctly and in time,” Putin said.

In a statement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov concluded that aggressive moves by the Western powers in Ukraine were part of a broader campaign to isolate Russia and undermine its national security.

“Few doubt that we are talking not only about Ukraine’s fate,” Lavrov said. “They are trying to use Ukraine as a pawn in a geopolitical game. Our Western partners, first and foremost the United States, tried to behave as winners in the Cold War and pretend that one can ignore Russia in European affairs and undertake activities that directly damage Russian security interests.”

Criminal Investigation of the Nobel Peace Prize

April 25th, 2014 by Jan Oberg

The management of the Nobel Peace Prize has become a case for the Norwegian police, following a request for criminal investigation from 16 prominent Scandinavians, parliamentarians, lawyers, authors and peace activists, 10 Swedes and 6 Norwegians, to the authority on economic crime, the ØKOKRIM.

The move is based on the research of Norwegian lawyer Fredrik S. Heffermehl who in his books has called for respect for Alfred Nobel and the peace plan he wished to support.

- “In his last years Nobel joined the peace movement and wished to support financially its idea of co-operation on disarmament to replace military force and forces. The Norwegian Parliament appoints the five-member selection committee that must step down and be replaced by people who favor the idea of the prize,” says Heffermehl.

He claims that his demands through 6 years, and even an order in March 2012 from the Swedish Foundations Authority have not led the awarders to show any interest in Nobel and what he really wanted.

- “This is unlawful and criminal, and the requested police investigation comes as a last resort to secure justice for “the champions of peace” Nobel specified in his will.

The letter of accusation points in particular to Thorbjørn Jagland, the chair of the Nobel Committee and the incumbent Secretary General of the Council of Europe, and to Geir Lundestad, the powerful secretary of the committee.

- “The laws must be respected also by politicians, it is particularly worrisome that the Nobel awarders act as if they were above the law and seem to feel confident that society will not enforce the law against them,” says Sweden´s Tomas Magnusson, a former president of the International Peace Bureau.

- “Ignoring dissent and mowing down dissidents is a dangerous path to embark on. If we allow such norms to become political standard, how much democracy do we then have?”

Contacts for further comments:

Fredrik S. Heffermehl, Email: [email protected]
Phone: +47 917 44 783
Tomas Magnusson, Email: [email protected]
Phone: +46 708 29 31 97

Info

Background, Foundations Authority decision, books etc.here.

The 16 persons signing the request for criminal investigations are:

Anna-Lisa Björneberg, Sweden,

Chair of Fredsam (Gothenburg),

Nils Christie, Norway, professor, University of Oslo

Erik Dammann, Norway, founder “Future in our hands,” Oslo

Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Norway, professor, University of Oslo

Ståle Eskeland, Norway, professor of criminal law, University of Oslo

Erni Friholt, Sweden, Peace movement of Orust*

Ola Friholt, Sweden, Peace movement of Orust*

Gunnar Garbo, Norway, ex MP, leader of Venstre, the Liberal Party

Fredrik S. Heffermehl, Norway, lawyer and author on the Nobel Peace Prize

Lars-Gunnar Liljestrand, Sweden,
Chair of the Association of FiB lawyers

Tomas Magnusson, Sweden, ex President, International Peace Bureau

Birger Schlaug, Sweden, author, ex MP

Sören Sommelius, Sweden, author and culture journalist*

Maj-Britt Theorin, Sweden, ex President, International Peace Bureau*

Gunnar Westberg, Sweden, Professor, ex Co-President IPPNW (Nobel peace prize 1985)*

Jan Öberg,TFF, Sweden, Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research*

TFF provides research and public education related to the basic UN Charter norm that “peace shall be established by peaceful means”.

We are always happy to hear from you or try to answer your questions.

This text may be reprinted as it is with due credit and links to TFF but we shall appreciate you telling us. If shortened, please send the abridged version to obtain our permission.

Jan Oberg

TFF director, dr. hc.

Turkey Cooks the Books in Syria

April 25th, 2014 by Philip Giraldi

If you had been a reader of The American Conservative magazine back in December 2011, you might have learned from an article written by me that “Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons [to the Free Syrian Army] derived from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals…” Well, it seems that the rest of the media is beginning to catch up with the old news, supplemented with significant details by Sy Hersh in the latest issue of the London Review of Books in an article entitled “The Red Line and the Rat Line.”

The reality is that numerous former intelligence officials, like myself, have long known most of the story surrounding the on-again off-again intervention by the United States and others in Syria, but what was needed was a Sy Hersh, with his unmatched range of contacts deep in both the Pentagon as well as at CIA and State Department, to stitch it all together with corroboration from multiple sources. In a sense it was a secret that wasn’t really very well hidden but which the mainstream media wouldn’t touch with a barge pole because it revealed that the Obama Administration, just like the Bushies who preceded it, has been actively though clandestinely conspiring to overthrow yet another government in the Middle East. One might well conclude that the White House is like the Bourbon Kings of France in that it never forgets anything but never learns anything either.

The few media outlets that are willing to pick up the Syria story even now are gingerly treating it as something new, jumping in based on their own editorial biases, sometimes emphasizing the CIA and MI6 role in cooperating with the Turks to undermine Bashar al-Assad. But Hersh’s tale is only surprising if one had not been reading between the lines over the past three years, where the clandestine role of the British and American governments was evident and frequently reported on over the internet and, most particularly, in the local media in the Middle East. Far from being either rogue or deliberately deceptive, operations by the U.S. and UK intelligence services, the so-called “ratlines” feeding weapons into Syria, were fully vetted and approved by both the White House and Number 10 Downing Street. The more recent exposure of the Benghazi CIA base’s possible involvement in obtaining Libyan arms as part of the process of equipping the Syrian insurgents almost blew the lid off of the arrangement but somehow the media attention was diverted by a partisan attack on the Obama Administration over who said what and when to explain the security breakdown and the real story sank out of sight.

So this is what happened, roughly speaking: the United States had been seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria since at least 2003, joining with Saudi Arabia, which had been funding efforts to destabilize his regime even earlier. Why? Because from the Saudi viewpoint Syria was an ally of Iran and was also a heretical state led by a secular government dominated by Alawite Muslims, viewed as being uncomfortably close to Shi’ites in their apostasy. From the U.S. viewpoint, the ties to Iran and reports of Syrian interference in Lebanon were a sufficient casus belli coupled with a geostrategic assessment shared with the Saudis that Syria served as the essential land bridge connecting Hezbollah in Lebanon to Iran. The subsequent Congressional Syria Accountability Acts of 2004 and 2010, like similar legislation directed against Iran, have resulted in little accountability and have instead stifled diplomacy. They punished Syria with sanctions for supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon and for its links to Tehran, making any possible improvement in relations problematical. The 2010 Act even calls for steps to bring about regime change in Damascus.

The United States also engaged in a program eerily reminiscent of its recent moves to destabilize the government in Ukraine, i.e., sending in ambassadors and charges who deliberately provoked the Syrian government by meeting with opposition leaders and openly making demands for greater democracy. The last U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford spoke openly in support of the protesters while serving in Damascus in 2011. On one occasion he was pelted with tomatoes and was eventually removed over safety concerns.

Lost in translation is the fact that Washington’s growing support for radical insurgency in Syria would also inevitably destabilize all its neighbors, most notably including Iraq, which has indeed been the case, making a shambles of U.S. claims that it was seeking to introduce stable democracies into the region. Some also saw irony in the fact that a few years before Washington decided al-Assad was an enemy it had been sending victims of the CIA’s rendition program to Syria, suggesting that at least some short-term and long-term strategies were on a collision course from the start, if indeed the advocates of the two policies were actually communicating with each other at all.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, whose country shared a long border with Syria and who had legitimate security concerns relating to Kurdish separatists operating out of the border region, became the proxy in the secret war for Washington and its principal European allies, the British and French. When the U.S.-Saudi supported insurgency began to heat up and turn violent, Turkey became the key front line state in pushing for aggressive action against Damascus. Erdogan miscalculated, thinking that al-Assad was on his last legs, needing only a push to force him out, and Ankara saw itself as ultimately benefiting from a weak Syria with a Turkish-controlled buffer zone along the border to keep the Kurds in check.

Hersh reports how President Barack Obama had to back down from attacking Syria when the Anglo-American intelligence community informed him flatly and unambiguously that Damascus was not responsible for the poison gas attack that took place in Damascus on August 21, 2013 that was being exploited as a casus belli. The information supporting that assertion was known to many like myself who move around the fringes of the intelligence community, but the real revelation from Hersh is the depth of Turkish involvement in the incident in order to have the atrocity be exploitable as a pretext for American armed intervention, which, at that point, Erdogan strongly desired. As the use of weapons of mass destruction against civilians was one of the red lines that Obama had foolishly promoted regarding Syria Erdogan was eager to deliver just that to force the U.S.’s hand. Relying on unidentified senior U.S. intelligence sources, Hersh demonstrates how Turkey’s own preferred militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is generally regarded as an al-Qaeda affiliate, apparently used Turkish-provided chemicals and instructions to stage the attack.

Is it all true? Unless one has access to the same raw information as Sy Hersh it is difficult to say with any certainty, but I believe I know who some of the sources are and they both have good access to intelligence and are reliable. Plus, the whole narrative has an undeniable plausibility, particularly if one also considers other evidence of Erdogan’s willingness to take large risks coupled with a more general Turkish underhandedness relating to Syria. On March 23rd, one week before local elections in Turkey that Erdogan feared would go badly for him, a Turkish air force F-16 shot down a Syrian Mig-23, claiming that it had strayed half a mile into Turkish airspace. The pilot who bailed out, claimed that he was attacking insurgent targets at least four miles inside the border when he was shot down, an assertion borne out by physical evidence as the plane’s remains landed inside Syria. Was Erdogan demonstrating how tough he could be just before elections? Possibly.

And then there are the YouTube recordings. Three days before the election, a discussion not unlike the Victoria Nuland leak in Ukraine surfaced. A conversation between Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Hakan Fidan, the chief of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT), included Davutoglu saying that the “Prime Minister said that in the current conjuncture of time, this attack [on the Tomb of Suleiman Shah] must be seen as an opportunity for us.” Davutoglu was clearly referring to an attack on the tomb serving as a pretext for a Turkish incursion into Syria. Fidan then declared that “I will send four men from inside Syria, if that is what it will take. I will make up a reason for war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey. We can also prepare a direct attack on the Tomb of Suleiman Shah if necessary.” The recording reveals that Ankara was considering staging a false flag attack on the tomb of Suleiman Shah, the grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman dynasty. The tomb is in Syria but because of its historical importance has been regarded as sovereign Turkish territory, much like an Embassy, and is guarded by Turkish soldiers. So the suggestion is that Ankara was prepared to kill its own soldiers to create an incident that would have led to a broader war.

Critics of Hersh claim that the Turks would be incapable of carrying out such a grand subterfuge, but I would argue that putting together some technicians, chemicals, and a couple of trucks to carry the load are well within the capability of MIT, an organization that I have worked with and whose abilities I respect. And one must regard with dismay the “tangled webs we weave,” with due credit to Bobby Burns, for what has subsequently evolved in Syria. Allies like Turkey that are willing to cook the books to bring about military action are exploiting the uncertainty of a White House that continues to search for foreign policy successes while simultaneously being unable to define any genuine American interests. Syria is far from an innocent in the ensuing mayhem, but it has become the fall guy for a whole series of failed policies.

Turkey meanwhile has exploited the confusion to clamp down on dissent and to institutionalize Erdogan’s authoritarian inclinations. Ten years of American-licensed meddling combined with obliviousness to possible consequences has led to in excess of 100,000 dead Syrians and the introduction of large terrorist infrastructures into the Arab heartland, yet another foreign policy disaster in the making with no clear way out.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

For years, it was a term only used in connection with those big bad and sleazy Mafioso-type businessmen in Russia.

 Russia had Oligarchs; we didn’t.

That became a big difference between the official narrative of what separated our land of the free and the home of the brave from THEM, the snakes in the shades and private planes, in the post-Soviet period.

Actually, I first heard the term oligarchy when I was studying labor history at Cornell a half a lifetime ago. We were taught about something called the “Iron Law of Oligarchy.”

It was a concept coined by Robert Michels, a friend of sociology guru, Max Weber, way back in 1911. Here’s how it was defined in that relic of another age: The Encyclopedia Britannica:

“Michels came to the conclusion that the formal organization of bureaucracies inevitably leads to oligarchy, under which organizations originally idealistic and democratic eventually come to be dominated by asmall, self-serving group of people who achieved positions of power and responsibility.  This can occur in large organizations because it becomes physically impossible for everyone to get together every time a decision has to be made.”

So, oligarchies have been with us seemingly forever—it’s an “iron law,” says he– but in current usage the term references the small elite—the 1% of the 1% that dominates economic and political decision making.

 Every body on the liberal left is now discovering information spelled out in a number of studies that caught the attention of Bill Moyers and his writing colleague Michael Winship. They discuss the way governments become partial to oligarchs and insure that the rich rule:

“Inequality is what has turned Washington into a protection racket for the one percent. It buys all those goodies from government: Tax breaks. Tax havens (which allow corporations and the rich to park their money in a no-tax zone). Loopholes. Favors like carried interest. And so on. As Paul Krugman writes in his New York Review of Books essay on Thomas Piketty’sCapital in the Twenty-First Century, “We now know both that the United States has a much more unequal distribution of income than other advanced countries and that much of this difference in outcomes can be attributed directly to government action.”

 According to the AFL-CIO,” CEOs of major companies earn an average of 331 times more than their employees!” The NY Times reports America’s middle class is “no longer the world’s richest.”

Asking if democracy can “tame” plutocracy, Bob Borosage of the Campaign for America’s Future, cites another study:

“A recent exhaustive study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page found that elites got their way not often, but virtually all of the time  (emphasis mine!) I guess the answer to his question re the possibility of “taming” plutocrats is, in the current moment, is a thundering NO.”

Even the barons of business news admit that wealth is concentrated as almost never before, Here’s Bloomberg:

 ”Just today, the world’s 200 richest people made $13.9 billion. In one single day, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index… This is the Fed’s “wealth effect,” … It’s a construct that the Greenspan Fed conjured up out of thin air and presented to the incredulous American people as a valid economic theory. Bernanke then promoted it to the Fed’s stated raison d’être. His theory: if we immensely enrich during years of bailouts, money-printing, and interest rate repression the richest few thousand people in the world, everyone would be happy somehow.”

Adding critical fire power to this perspective, Eric Zuesse, cites the study to appear in the Fall 2014 issue of the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, that finds that “the U.S. is no democracy, but instead an oligarchy, meaning profoundly corrupt, so that the answer to the study’s opening question, “Who governs? Who really rules?” in this country, is:

 “Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts…

When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

To put it short: The United States is no democracy, but actually an oligarchy.”

The underlying research for this study drew on “a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.”

 Much of this involves what economist Simon Johnston calls the “capture” of the state by corporate interests. He explains in a recent post: “Before 1939, wages and profits in the financial sector in the United States amounted to less than 1% of GDP; now they stand at 7-8% of GDP. In recent decades, financial assets have expanded dramatically relative to any measure of economic activity, as life expectancy increased and the post-WWII baby boomers began to think about saving for retirement. Compared to the size of the US economy, individual banks are now much bigger than they were in the early 1990’s.”

Sounds pretty frightening—and depressing.

None of us should be shocked by these findings. Last year I did a TV documentary series,Who Rules America based, in part, on the writings of C. Wight Mills on The Power Elite years ago and the detailed research by sociologist William Domhoff who forecast these trends.

As the economy changes, so does internal politics, as Tom Lodge observes in the case of South Africa:

“the degenerative changes that are observed within the ANC … appear to reflect a global trend in which mass parties are being replaced by electoral machines that depend less and less upon militant activism” and more on transactional exchanges between the electorate and the political elite. Amid these electoral limitations, what becomes the source of agency for ordinary people to instruct change in governance?”

What indeed? It behooves us to lobby our media to start reporting on the world as it is, not what it was,when today’s senior editors grew up, believing in the myths of American pluralism.  And, now,disregarding who really has, and wields, power.

Knock, Knock!

News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at Newsdissector.net, and edits Mediachannel.org. His latest book is “When South Africa Called, We Answered, How Solidarity Helped Topple Apartheid. (2014). Comments to [email protected]

We reported in May 2011 that authorities knew – within days or weeks -  that all 3 active Fukushima nuclear reactors had melted down, but covered up that fact for months.

The next month, we reported that Fukushima’s reactors had actually suffered something much worse: nuclear melt-throughs, where the nuclear fuel melted through the containment vessels and into the ground.  At the time, this was described as:

The worst possibility in a nuclear accident.

But now, it turns out that some of the Fukushima reactors have suffered even a more extreme type of damage: melt-OUTS.

By way of background, we’ve noted periodically that scientists have no idea where the cores of the nuclear reactors are.

And that highly radioactive black “dirt” has been found all over Japan.

It turns out that the highly radioactive black substances are likely remnants of the core.

The Journals Environmental Science & Technology and Journal of Environmental Radioactivity both found (hat tip EneNews) that the highly radioactive black substances match fuel from the core of the Fukushima reactors.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission agrees.

Indeed, “hot particles” with extremely high levels of radiation - 7 billion, 40 billion , and even 40 billion billion Bq/kg – have been found all over the Fukushima region, and hundreds of miles away … in Tokyo.

Let’s put this in perspective.  The Atlantic notes:

Japanese regulations required nuclear waste with 100 or more bq/kg of Cesium to be monitored and disposed of in specialized containers.

***

The new government limit for material headed for landfills is 8000 bq/kg, 80 times the pre-Fukushima limit.

So the hottest hot particle found so far is 5 million billion times greater than the current government limits of what can be put in a landfill.

In other words, the core of at least one of the Fukushima reactors has finally been found … scattered all over Japan.

Nothing like this has ever before happened before.

Deadly clashes broke out as the unelected regime occupying Kiev attempted to restart what it is calling “anti-terror” operations in eastern Ukraine where anti-fascist protesters have begun rising up. Several have been killed during clashes in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk where Kiev has set armored vehicles and helicopter gunships upon its own population.

The Western media continues to refer to those opposing the unelected regime in Kiev as “pro-Russian,” and continues to insist that the uprising in the east is either backed by Moscow or in fact, being carried out directly by Russians operating in Ukrainian territory. However, the US and EU have failed categorically to prove such claims with evidence, and have since been caught circulating falsified images and news in attempts to bolster their claims.

Image: Kiev has unleashed heavy armor, warplanes, and gunships on its 
own population with substantial NATO backing in direct contradiction to 
the West’s policy over the last 3 years of alleged “responsibility to protect.”

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The current regime in Kiev came to power at the height of the so-called “Euromaidan” protests where admittedly armed Neo-Nazi militants seized power, ransacking the headquarters of their political opponents and driving out the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych. While the armed, violent seizure of power was initially covered up by the Western media, the BBC itself would later admit in a short video report that indeed armed Neo-Nazi militants spearheaded the coup.

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Image: Via the BBC, heavy attack helicopters were seen buzzing the Ukrainian people in the restive east in attempts to terrorize the population into submission. The use of heavy war weapons against protesters is disproportionate and has been regularly described as a “war crime” by the West where it claims it has been done in Libya, Syria, and Egypt. Such hypocrisy further undermines the West’s agenda not only in Ukraine, but elsewhere around the world where its credibility and influence are in irreversible decline. 

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The nature of the regime in Kiev is also being papered over by the Western media, covering up the fact that the two main opposition parties that seized power, Svoboda and “Fatherland,” are in fact led by a collection of Neo-Nazis, bigots, racists, and anti-Semites. In a desperate attempt to cover up this lack of legitimacy, the West has sent many high level officials including a leading US Senator and the US Vice President to Kiev to lend both political and material support.

The latest visit by Vice President Joseph Biden appears to have been timed specifically to help coordinate a renewed push into eastern Ukraine, after Ukrainian troops surrendered en masse last week – refusing to carry out operations against their fellow countrymen. Reports indicate that Kiev has now turned to fanatical ultra-right militant groups in an attempt to put down growing unrest against the unelected regime. The Voice of Russia reported in its article, “Ukrainian Right Sector says it will join crackdown on pro-federalization protesters,” that:

The ultranationalist Ukrainian Right Sector movement said Thursday members of organization will join paramilitary units currently being formed to crackdown on pro-federalization protests in eastern Ukraine. The movement said in a statement on its website that its members will join so-called “battalions of territorial defense” and military units.

Right Sector was an important force at the Euromaidan protests that began in November in Kiev. Its members were notorious for using clubs, Molotov cocktails, and firearms against Ukrainian police during the protests, and for wearing Nazi-inspired insignia.

Image: Ultra-right Neo-Nazi militants have been seen across Ukraine in 
possession of heavy weapons, including armored vehicles flying not the 
Ukrainian flag, but the Nazi-inspired red and black banners of groups like
“Fatherland” and “Right Sector.”

The use of fanatical, irregular forces, armored vehicles, and aircraft including warplanes and helicopter gunships, signifies an escalation of violence by Kiev against its own people through the use of clearly disproportionate force aimed at terrorizing the population. That the United States and European Union have spent the past 3 years engaged in what they called the “responsibility to protect” in both Libya and Syria, and are now backing a regime that is arraying military forces against its own people, marks a new low in both the impartial application of “international law” and the perceived legitimacy of the Western nations now increasingly involved in Ukraine’s political crisis.

West’s Hypocrisy: Libya vs. Ukraine

In March of 2011, US President Barack Obama said the following regarding America’s military intervention in Libya (emphasis added):

In the face of the world’s condemnation, Qaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off. Water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misurata was shut off. Cities and towns were shelled, mosques were destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assaults from the air.

Confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean. European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. The Libyan opposition and the Arab League appealed to the world to save lives in Libya. And so at my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass a historic resolution that authorized a no-fly zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.

Of course, years before the “Arab Spring” in 2011, regime change in Libya was a long-standing geopolitical goal of the West. The charges President Obama made in his speech regarding the situation in Libya were based on intentionally falsified evidence exposed by the very so-called “human rights” organization who fabricated them. Worse yet, those “innocent people” President Obama cited in his 2011 speech were later confirmed to be heavily armed militants from the US State Department designated terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) - Al Qaeda’s Libyan franchise who would later, with NATO backing, travel to fight in Syria as well.

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As heavy weapons are now being turned against the Ukrainian people by the unelected regime in Kiev – led by literal Neo-Nazis, bigots, racists, and anti-Semites – the US and EU through NATO have signaled their full unflinching support for Kiev, going as far as offering weapons, training, and the backing by NATO troops of Kiev’s so-called “anti-terror” operations now unfolding tentatively in eastern Ukraine. NATO troops have been deployed to nearby Poland while naval forces have been shifting into the Black and Baltic seas, all an attempt to pressure Russia.

Paradoxically, NATO is helping Kiev do in reality what it falsely accused Libya of doing in 2011 – before applying sanctions, a no-fly zone, and eventually full spectrum bombardment of Libya while it armed and funded proxy militant forces on the ground to overthrow the government. NATO’s overt contradiction undermines its perceived authority and endangers further its already strained legitimacy.

As NATO’s failure and deceit continues to come to light in Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan, its ability to project its power and execute its agenda across Eastern Europe is becoming increasingly tenuous. By pursing an already unpopular conflict in Ukraine, NATO and its individual member nations are only further diminishing their international influence – ensuring failure elsewhere and the further acceleration of an apparent, irreversible decline across the West.

The West Has Already Lost in Ukraine

Ukraine, like the rest of Eastern Europe, was meant to be peeled away from its traditional place within Russia’s sphere of cultural, historical, economic and strategic influence, and added to a growing collection of EU and NATO member states that are forming the basis of the West’s encirclement and containment of both Russia and China. With the people of Crimea choosing to rejoin Russia and with unrest spreading across eastern Ukraine, the notion of a “united” Ukraine shifting West is unlikely if not indefinitely impossible.

What is left for the West is to perpetually destabilize Ukraine, denying Russia a stable and beneficial relationship with its neighbor. However, this strategy hinges on keeping a useful and obedient regime in power in Kiev – a feat likewise unlikely if not impossible. The regime is sitting on a seat of power still warm after the departure of President Yanukovych, who despite being ousted from power, is playing a continuing role in countering the new regime’s occupation of the Ukrainian capital.

Additionally, the abhorrent nature of the new regime is exposed through its daily actions and as an increasingly astute global public dig into its past. This, coupled with a looming economic catastrophe that will be compounded by the regime’s very willing cooperation and capitation to IMF-proposed austerity measures, will ensure whatever little support it does have will quickly melt away.

Many see NATO and their client regime in Kiev’s actions in eastern Ukraine and along Russia’s borders elsewhere as an attempt to provoke Moscow into acting first – justifying a wider conflict. For Russia and the anti-fascists in eastern and southern Ukraine, patience to weather these provocations will eventually lead to the self-inflicted collapse of the regime in Kiev, and a reunited Ukraine standing stronger still with its eastern neighbors.

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

 

War Propaganda and the Western Media: Fabricated Images. Fake Videos

April 25th, 2014 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

The New York Times has now admitted it used fake images regarding an alleged involvement of Russian soldiers in Eastern Ukraine. 

Sorry, we made a mistake: The NYT’s retraction is presented as a technical error whereby the wrong pictures were mistakenly selected.

“A packet of American briefing materials that was prepared for the Geneva meeting asserts that the photograph was taken in Russia. The same men are also shown in photographs taken in Ukraine.

“Their appearance in both photographs was presented as evidence of Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine. The packet was later provided by American officials to The New York Times, which included that description of the group photograph in an article and caption that was published on Monday. … The dispute over the group photograph cast a cloud over one particularly vivid and highly publicized piece of evidence.”

What should be understood is that the use of fabricated images is a routine procedure of the Western media. Its ultimate intent is sustain the lie and mislead public opinion.

There are many instances of media manipulation.

The following article first published six years ago in the wake of the March 2008 Tibet riots shows how CNN used fake videos showing “Chinese cops” involved in the repression of Tibetan activists in Lhasa.

It turns out that the cops are not Chinese but Indian, and the protest movement is not in Lhasa, capital of Tibet but in India. 

CNN never retracted its “technical  error”. The report –which served to demonize the Chinese authorities– was not the object of controversy as in the case of the NYT’s coverage of the protest movement in Eastern Ukraine.

Michel Chossudovsky, April 25, 2014


Western Media Fabrications regarding the Tibet Riots

by Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, April 16, 2008

On the day of the Lhasa Riots (March 14, 2008), there is evidence of media fabrication by CNN.

The videotape presented by CNN in its News Report on the 14th of March (1.00pm EST) was manipulated.

VIDEO: Tibet monks protest against Chinese rulers (CNN, March 14, 2008)

The report presented by CNN’s Beijing Correspondent John Vause focussed on the Tibet protests in Gansu province and in the Tibetan capital Lhasa.

What was shown, however, was a videotape of the Tibet protest movement in India.

Viewers were led to believe that the protests were in China and that the Indian police shown in the videotape were Chinese cops.

At the outset of the report, a few still pictures were presented followed by a videotape showing police repressing and arresting demonstrators in what appeared to be a peaceful protest:
.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT

[CNN Vause reports on the protest movement in Gansu province. (starts at 1'.00)]

CNN received these photographs from Gansu province, where there is a large Tibetan population. [still photographs followed by video footage] According to Students for a Free Tibet, about 2,000 protestors took to the streets earlier today. They were there for about three hours. They flew the Tibetan flag and called for an independent Tibet. All of this comes after days of unrest in Tibet after monks, who were marking the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule.(CNN News, 1.00pm EST, March 14, 2008)

The voice over of John Vause then shifts into reporting on violence in Lhasa. The videotape however depicts the Tibetan protest in Himashal Pradesh, India.

[JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT]

And what could be worrying here to Beijing is that these demonstrations are being joined by ordinary Tibetan civilians, lay Tibetans. The targets here are ethnic Chinese. We’ve been told by one Chinese woman that she was attacked by Tibetan rioters. Her injuries sent her to hospital.

Also under fire here, Chinese-owned businesses, as well as government offices, and also the security forces.

According to U.S.-based human rights groups, the three main monasteries on the outskirts of Lhasa have now been surrounded by Chinese troops, and they’ve been sealed off.

We’ve also heard over the last couple of days, according to human rights groups, that more than a dozen monks have been rounded up and arrested. And there are reports, unconfirmed, that at least two people have been killed.

The video footage, which accompanied CNN’s John Vause’s report, had nothing to do with China. The police were not Chinese, but Indian cops in khaki uniforms from the Northeastern State of Himachal Pradesh, India.

Viewers were led to believe that demonstrations inside China were peaceful and that people were being arrested by Chinese cops.

Chinese Cops in Khaki Uniforms

1′.27-1′.44″ video footage of “Chinese cops” and demonstrators including Buddhist monks. Chinese cops are shown next to Tibetan monks

Are these Chinese Cops from Gansu Province or Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as suggested by CNN’s John Vause’s Report?

REPORT ON CHINA, MARCH 14


Alleged Chinese cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in China , CNN, March 14, 2008  1′.36”


Alleged Chinese cops in khaki uniforms repressing Tibet demonstrators in China, CNN, March 14, 2008  1’40″

Their khaki uniforms with berets seem to bear the imprint of the British colonial period.

Khaki colored uniforms were first introduced in the British cavalry in India in 1846.

Khaki means “dust” in Hindi and Persian.

Moreover, the cops with khaki uniforms and mustache do not look Chinese.

Look carefully.

They are Indian cops.

The videotape shown on March 14 by CNN is not from China (Gansu Province or Lhasa, Tibet’s Capital). The video was taken in the State of Himachal Pradesh, India. The videotape of the Tibet protest movement in India was used in the CNN report on the Tibet protest movement within China.

In a March 13 Report by CNN, demonstrators are being arrested by Indian police in khaki uniforms during a protest march at Dehra, about 50 km from Dharamsala in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh.

VIDEO; Tibet Protest movement in India, CNN, March 13, 2008

Indian police arrested around 100 Tibetans on Thursday, dragging them into waiting police vans, as they tried to march to the Chinese border to press claims for independence and protest the Beijing Olympics.” (REUTERS/Abhishek Madhukar (INDIA))

Below are images from the CNN’s report on March 13, on the protest movement in Himachal Pradesh, India:

Compare these images to those in the March 14 CNN report. Same cops, same uniforms, same Indian style mustache

CNN MARCH 13 REPORT ON INDIA


Indian cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in Himachal Pradesh, India CNN, March 13, 2008  0′.53″


Indian cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in Himachal Pradesh, India CNN, March 13, 2008  1′.02″


Indian cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in Himachal Pradesh, India CNN, March 13, 2008, 1′.18″


Indian cops repressing Tibet demonstrators in Himachal Pradesh, India CNN, March 13, 2008  2.04″

We invite our readers to examine these two reports as well as the Transcript of the March 14 CNN program.

The CNN’s March 14 report on the Tibet Protest movement in China shows Chinese cops in khaki uniforms, yellow lapels and berets. While the videotape is not identical to that of March 13, CNN’s coverage of the events in China on March 14 used a videotape taken from the coverage of the Tibet Protest movement in India, with Indian cops in khaki uniforms.

The protest movement in India on March 13 was “peaceful”. It was organised by the Dalai Lama’s “government in exile”. It took place within 50 km of the headquarters of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.

The Western media was invited in to film the event, and take pictures of Buddhist monks involved in a peaceful, nonviolent march. These are the pictures which circled the World.

So what has occurred is that CNN  has copied and pasted its own videotape of the Tibet Protest movement in India and has fabricated a Gansu Province/ Lhasa, China “peaceful” protest movement with Chinese cops in khaki British colonial style uniforms.

The Chinese never adopted the British style khaki uniform and beret.

These uniforms do not correspond to those used by the police in China. (See photograph below)


No khaki uniforms in China. These are the uniforms of China’s “Armed Police”.

Meanwhile, the images of the violent riots in Lhasa, in which a criminal mob set fire to shops, homes and schools, burning several people alive, and stabbing innocent civilians with knives were not shown on network TV in the US and Western Europe. Small segments of the riots in Lhasa were shown out of context and with a view to accusing the Chinese authorities of repressing a “peaceful protest”.(See our report on the events, see coverage of the Lhasa Riots by China’s CC-TV)

While the videotape used is not identical, both CNN reports, however, show the same cops in khaki uniforms and the same Tibetan demonstrators in India. The footage used in support of CNN’s March 14 coverage of the protext movement in China has nothing to do with China. it happened in India.

CNN has got its countries mixed up.

Sloppy journalism or media fraud?
VIDEO: Tibet monks protest against Chinese rulers (CNN, March 14, 2008)

VIDEO; Tibet Protest movement in India, (CNN, March 13, 2008)

COMPLETE TRANSCRIPT OF CNN NEWS COVERAGE ON TIBET (MARCH 14, 2008

CNN NEWSROOM 1:00 PM EST

March 14, 2008 Friday

 

[with Don Lemon and John Vause reporting from Beijing]

….

LEMON: All right. So this place, we know, should be known for peace. Right? But that is not what is happening here lately.

Buddhist monks demonstrating for independence from China. Ethnic Tibetans join in, and soon — soon streets are filled with screams, with gunfire, with rioting. And so far the Chinese government has refused to allow CNN to even enter Tibet.

Our John Vause brings us what he knows. He’s in Beijing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The latest information from our sources in Lhasa tell us that the streets are basically deserted, except for patrols by police cars and armored military vehicles.

We’re told fires are still burning and phone lines are still down, but electricity has been restored. And the situation there now is described as relatively calm. But these protests do appear to be spreading to the east of the country.

CNN received these photographs from Gansu province [still picture followed by live video of Indian protest], where there is a large Tibetan population. According to Students for a Free Tibet, about 2,000 protestors took to the streets earlier today. They were there for about three hours. They flew the Tibetan flag and called for an independent Tibet. All of this comes after days of unrest in Tibet after monks, who were marking the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

And what could be worrying here to Beijing is that these demonstrations are being joined by ordinary Tibetan civilians, lay Tibetans. The targets here are ethnic Chinese. We’ve been told by one Chinese woman that she was attacked by Tibetan rioters. Her injuries sent her to hospital.

Also under fire here, Chinese-owned businesses, as well as government offices, and also the security forces.

According to U.S.-based human rights groups, the three main monasteries on the outskirts of Lhasa have now been surrounded by Chinese troops, and they’ve been sealed off.

We’ve also heard over the last couple of days, according to human rights groups, that more than a dozen monks have been rounded up and arrested. And there are reports, unconfirmed, that at least two people have been killed.

Beijing has now moved to seal off Tibet, banning foreigners and journalists from traveling there. Flights and train services have also been canceled.

John Vause, CNN, Beijing.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

This is not the only example of media fabrication where video images and  photographs are manipulated.

What really happened.

Compare CNN’s report using a fake videotape to the coverage of the Lhasa riots on China State TV.

coverage of the Lhasa Riots by China State Television CC-TV

Who is Telling the Truth?

 

Michel Chossudovsky is Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is the author of several international best-sellers including The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Global Research, 2003 and America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research, 2005. He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.

Michel Chossudovsky is also the author of the first comprehensive study on the restoration of capitalism in China, published more than twenty years ago. Michel Chossudovsky, Towards Capitalist Restoration. Chinese Socialism after Mao, Macmillian, London, 1986. He has recently returned from a visit to China. He was in Shanghai and Beijing in March 2008.

Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research, Montreal 2005

Click to order

In this new and expanded edition of Michel Chossudovsky’s 2002 best seller, the author blows away the smokescreen put up by the mainstream media, that 9/11 was an attack on America by “Islamic terrorists”.  Through meticulous research, the author uncovers a military-intelligence ploy behind the September 11 attacks, and the cover-up and complicity of key members of the Bush Administration.

The expanded edition, which includes twelve new chapters focuses on the use of 9/11 as a pretext for the invasion and illegal occupation of Iraq, the militarisation of justice and law enforcement and the repeal of democracy.

According to Chossudovsky, the  “war on terrorism” is a complete fabrication based on the illusion that one man, Osama bin Laden, outwitted the $40 billion-a-year American intelligence apparatus. The “war on terrorism” is a war of conquest. Globalisation is the final march to the “New World Order”, dominated by Wall Street, the Anglo-American oil giants and the U.S. military-industrial complex.

September 11, 2001 provides a justification for waging a war without borders. Washington’s agenda consists in extending the frontiers of the American Empire to facilitate complete U.S. corporate control, while installing within America the institutions of the Homeland Security State.

Chossudovsky peels back layers of rhetoric to reveal a complex web of deceit aimed at luring the American people and the rest of the world into accepting a military solution which threatens the future of humanity.

The last chapter includes an analysis of the London  7/7 Bomb Attacks.

Governments and major corporations control or, at least, try to manipulate public opinion and discursive processes through mass media communication. They also wage information wars through the use of mass media communication. Like other geopolitical events, this is the case concerning the Ukrainian anti-government protests and the proceeding February 2014 coup in Kiev. This information war is a contest where the international news networks and major newspapers act as armies, the weapons being used are the media, and the frontline is the interactive space known as the public sphere. Radio frequencies, air waves, satellite feeds, social media, cellular or mobile phone uploads, communication networks, and the internet are all part of the war.

What is an Information War?

Different technologies and modes of communication are used to enforce certain themes in the conflict. Language, selective words, particular expressions, specific pictures, multimedia presentations, and communication are all the ammunition for the war.

The aims of information warfare are to use discourse to influence populations across the world and to establish a total monopoly on the flow of information, the perceptions of audiences, and the discursive processes shaping the modern world. At its basis power and relationships are being realized through mass media communication.

The messages and ideas that the mass media transmit through mass communication are constructed by those that control the media and, in succession, used by them to construct the perceptions of audiences. Since what the majority of people in most modern societies know is heavily shaped by the mass media, the mass media is used to lead audiences into forming certain opinions and to make their decisions on the bases of those opinions. This is done either subtly or overtly through the delivery of repetitive messages.

The messages, being delivered to audiences by the mainstream media and information networks, are generally a form of social action, because the delivery of information by these outlets takes the reactions of audiences into account before any information is disseminated. The reactions that are taken into consideration include physical reactions or material processes. This also includes considerations about the manifestation of protests as a reaction to the information delivered or economic considerations such as investor withdrawals, currency devaluation, and market shifts.

Monopolizing the narrative being delivered to the public and discrediting alternative or rival narratives, be they true or false, is an important aspect of the information war. Although this form of warfare is not new, it is becoming increasingly sophisticated and intensifying as it becomes an important tactic in the tool box of non-conventional warfare that is becoming increasingly characteristic of the current century.

The type of information management that both privately-owned and publicly-owned major news networks seek eventually creates what social scientists call a common sense assumption that informs the actions and reactions of the audiences towards particular subjects and situations. These common sense assumptions are not based on any real facts that exist in the real world, but are formed on the basis of what has repeatedly been presented as fact and conventional knowledge. In the reporting of international affairs the deeply politicized messages being delivered to audiences have led to common sense attitudes that believe that Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims are bitter blood enemies or that Hugo Chavez was a autocrat or that there is an irreversible deep seated hatred between Serbs and Croats. None of these assumptions are grounded in reality, but it has slowly trickled into the canon of false assumptions that inform a segment of international audiences about international issues. Moreover, in many cases these messages are delivered under the disguise of apolitical neutral objectivity, which prevents large portions of the audience from questioning the motives and implications of the messages being transmitted.

Ukraine is currently a front, just as Syria and Venezuela are, in a global information war, which is being reflected through a battle of the international media networks. The objectives of this media war are to secure and manage domestic and international public opinion in support or opposition of the coup that took place in Kiev and the new Ukrainian transitional government in Kiev.

International Media War: Move over BBC World and CNN International

The United States of America used to enjoy a near monopoly in the dissemination of information in the international media, but that has changed over the years as countries like Russia, Iran, China, and Venezuela respectively setup international news networks like Russia Today (RT), Press TV, Chinese Central Television (CCTV), and the pan-Latin American La Nueva Televisora del Sur (teleSUR) to challenge the international media networks of the US and its allies. These new anti-establishment international media networks — if they can be described thus — from Russia, Iran, China, Venezuela, and elsewhere collectively begun to challenge the status quo in the international media.

The prevailing narratives being presented by the dominant international news networks, particularly the Atlanta-based Cable News Network (CNN) and the state-owned British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which had a near monopoly on the international stage, were disrupted and slowly eroded. To borrow from the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin, while he was visiting the Moscow studios of RT in June 2013, the task of anti-establishmentarian international news networks like RT is to “try to break the Anglo-Saxon monopoly on the global information streams.”

The newer international news networks, like RT and Press TV, became so effective in challenging the discourse being propagated by major news networks like CNN, BBC, Fox News, and Sky News that American and British officials began to reconsider their media strategies and examine ways to challenge and cripple the international news networks challenging their control on the flow of information. The steps taken by the US and its allies included the blocking of the English-language Press TV, the Arabic-language Al-Alam, and other state-owned Iranian stations in Europe and elsewhere.

The near monopoly that the US and Britain enjoyed on the international stage was clearly broken by the time 2011 arrived as many viewers began to diversify their sources of information. Stations like CNN and BBC were heavily discredited about their coverage on the US-led NATO war against the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.

Hillary Clinton, while she was the sixty-seventh secretary of state of the US, was even forced to publicly outline the important role that international news networks and the mass media played in the success of US foreign policy. While speaking to a 2011 congressional committee dealing with foreign affairs in the US Congress, Clinton declared that Washington was losing the global information war. She told the committee she was testifying to that the US needed to revert to Cold War-style media transmissions and outreach methods while requesting increased funding for US state media operations as a means of waging an information war against foreign media networks that carry diverging messages. She denounced RT without naming it directly, describing it as the English-language channel of the Russians and saying “it is quite instructive.”

Secretary Clinton lamented that the US and the state-owned BBC were cutting back their international media operations and that Washington needed to reverse the cutbacks “to get America’s message out.” She, however, was wrong about the US and BBC cutbacks. Resources were not the issue; the decreasing number of audiences tuning in to stations like CNN International or BBC World was the real problem.

Clinton’s statements echoed the state-run Broadcasting Board of Governors US federal agency, which runs Radio Free Europe, Voice of America (VOA), Alhurra in Iraq, and all the state-run international broadcasting of the US. Walter Isaacson, its chairman, declared a few months earlier that the US was waging an information war and that “America cannot let itself be out communicated by its enemies.” Isaacson, who was formerly the CEO of CNN, also emphasized that “delivering the news top down needs to be complemented by a new approach that catalyzes social networks.” This is very important to keep in mind when considering the interface between anti-government protests, social media, and the mainstream media.

While addressing Secretary Clinton’s 2011 declaration about US involvement in a global information war, the coverage of the mainstream media in the US about her statements was selective and distorted to portray a friendly and innocent image of the US government simply working to communicate with the outside world. Instead of displaying any reflectivity or making any substantive analytical reports explaining that what was taking place on Capitol Hill was a discussion by US officials about sharpening the US government’s overseas propaganda and dominating the information available to the international public, US media outlets casually glossed over Secretary Clinton’s statements at the hearing or entirely overlooked it.

The Washington Post, for example, made no attempt in its reporting to analyze what Clinton and the US senators were discussing. For instance, when Senator Richard Lugar, a known war hawk and military expansionist, said that the international media operations of the Broadcasting Board of Governors are “still a great force of diplomacy, to get our message across,” The Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Joby Warrick did not even elaborate that what Lugar was talking about was the US government exerting its power over other nations by using the mass media to influence their governments through a US-tailored flow of information to their populations.

This passiveness of the mainstream media that the coverage on Clinton’s testimony demonstrated is usually justified on the basis of a false objectivity. This is very common when it comes to important issues involving governments, corporations, individuals, or entities that the mainstream media do not want to criticize or undermine. The claim is that the facts are simply being reported without bias or subjective interpretations.

The US mainstream media coverage of the event would have been much different if it were a Russian official speaking to a parliamentary committee in the Duma about using the Russian media to influence foreign countries. The same standards are not applied when these same outlets deal with rival entities. Instead assertive reporting that involves an active or assertive voice by the mainstream media about the news being covered is then applied to attack or undermine the decisions and actions of these rival entities in the name of investigative journalism and critical analysis.

Western Media  Lashes out at Iranian, Chinese, Russian Media on Failures in Syria

While there has been an ongoing information war, a very distinct media war began to become visible in 2011. The NATO war on Libya, where international media networks played an important role in the war effort, highlighted this. The new anti-establishment news networks had matured enough to challenge US propaganda and provide alternative narratives that challenged the legitimacy of the broadcasts from CNN and BBC, even hurting their credibility and reducing their international and domestic viewership. Libya, however, was merely the start whereas Syria displayed an open and intense conflict between these news networks being fought mainly in the English, Arabic, and Spanish languages. The effectiveness of the anti-establishmentarian media networks in challenging the discourse of networks like CNN, BBC, Fox News, and Al Jazeera about Syria demonstrated that the days of a US stranglehold on the flow of information where long gone.

The US and British media began to very distinctly condemn the Chinese, Iranian, and Russian international media networks for their narratives about Syria by the start of 2012. The BBC incorrectly claimed, as one of its titles illustrated, that the “Chinese, Iranian press alone back UN Syria veto” on February 6, 2012 while Robert Mackey of The New York Times opined that, as the title for his text illustrates, the “Crisis in Syria Looks Very Different on Satellite Channels Owned by Russia and Iran” a few days later, on February 10, 2012. Lashing out at the perspectives of the Chinese, Iranian, and Russian media, the US and British press overlooked the segments of the African, Arab, Asian, European, and Latin American media that shared the same views as the Iranian, Chinese, and Russian media in countries like Algeria, Argentina, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Namibia, Serbia, South Africa, Ukraine, and Venezuela. While trying to deliberately undermine and understate the support that Syria enjoyed from a segment of the international community to their audiences, the US and British media betrayed the frustration of the political agendas of the directorships controlling their discourse.

The media war is a reflection of rivalries between powerful actors in the real world. This is why it should come as no surprise that it was during the same juncture that Hillary Clinton began to publicly exhibit US frustration against the Russians and the Chinese. Secretary Clinton began lecturing her fellow foreign ministers from the other countries gathering at the international conferences that support regime change and military operations against Syria. She told the other foreign ministers that the Russians and Chinese had to “pay a price” for opposing Washington’s idea of “progress.”

It is worth revisiting Clinton’s statements from July 2012. She said as follows: “I don’t think Russia and China believe they are paying any price at all — nothing at all — for standing up on behalf of the Assad regime. The only way that will change is if every nation represented here [at the conference] directly and urgently makes it clear that Russia and China will pay a price because they are holding up progress — blockading it — that is no longer tolerable!” Clinton’s definition of progress in Syria, it should be mentioned, means regime change in Damascus and a military bombing campaign against the Syrians. She was expressing Washington’s rage, because she made the statement after Moscow and Beijing refused to allow the US, Britain, and France to get the United Nations Security Council to authorize a war against Syria.

After Washington displayed its infuriation at Russia for preventing regime change in Syria, the US began to seriously contemplate ways it could apply sanctions against the Russians and methods to target the international Russian media networks in the information and media war being waged between the two camps. Those considerations are now materializing or being activated with the crisis in Ukraine. The calls for sanctions against the Russians, however, are not merely the result of the crisis in Ukraine; they are part of an inclination that Washington already had and even consideration by US officials on how to undermine the mega oil-for-goods trade deal that the Russians and Iranians have been negotiating.

How the Western Media is Framing the Actors in the Ukrainian Crisis

The mainstream media selects which narratives and messages get out and dominant conversations. Certain voices are only allowed to be heard while others are excluded or utterly ignored from the conversation while circumstances that could challenge what the mainstream media is trying to frame for audiences are in many cases left out from narratives or trivialized and discredited.

A manipulated narrative that supports European Union and NATO expansion in Ukraine is being constructed where a distorted reality is being represented about what took place in Kiev. The vocabulary chain or series of related words setting the tempo of the discourse on the anti-government protests is very telling. President Viktor Yanukovych is constantly presented as corrupt, as the constant media focus on his wealth and mansion present, and pro-Russian whereas the protesters have been presented as activists and democrats with little delving into the backgrounds of the opposition leaders.

The words and phrases indicate or, to put it more bluntly, betray the political position of the media networks. These descriptions and messages are formulated on the basis of judgment calls that are conveying the position of the supposedly objective media sources. The en masse conveyance of these news networks starts turning more and more into psychological imposition as it gradually becomes accepted by audiences as they are constantly bombarded by the same view points and narratives about the anti-government protests in Ukraine.

The narrative being framed is that a corrupt pro-Russian regime has been ousted by a democratic revolution. This has no bearing to what has happened. The same media sources that have portrayed   Yanukovych as a greedy figure and corrupt autocrat fail to mention that the opposition figures that they present so favourable are also wealthy and have mansions, priceless art, pools, car collections, and vast wealth. They also fail to mention that the main opposition leaders were already in power before and lost popularity, because of their mismanagement and corruption. Nor is the fact that the opposition leaders took power through a coup mentioned. As for the allegations of Yanukovych being pro-Russian, any source that mentions this is either lying or utterly ignorant about Ukrainian politics; Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions caters mostly (but not only) to Russian-speakers and ethnic Russians in Ukraine (which do prefer Russia to the US and the EU), but his party is not pro-Russian at all and has even advanced cooperation with NATO and even disappointed its constituents by trying to bring Ukraine closer to the European Union, instead of Russia, after the most recent elections in Ukraine.

The vilifying language being used against Russia and Vladimir Putin in these reports is very telling too. This language illustrates or presents the attitudes or beliefs that these media outlets want to project about the Russian Federation and Putin. President Putin is being framed as an autocrat and militaristic brute. Putin’s ex-KGB background is frequently referred to as a means of demonizing him whereas the CIA background of George H. W. Bush Sr. was almost never referred to by the same outlets when the latter was president of the US; when the CIA background of George H. W. Bush Sr. was mentioned, it was done either in a passive or positive voice. The negative language that has been reserved for Putin about a Russian invasion of Crimea has never been used by networks like CNN or the BBC to describe any US president or British prime minister involved in the invasions and wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, or Libya either.

These attitudes framing the discourse on Russia and Putin are based on an adversarial stance towards Russia as an economic and geopolitical rival, which is structurally engrained in the power structure controlling the mass media in North America and the European Union. Journalists and media sector employees consciously or subconsciously work around its contours and either knowingly or unknowingly serve its objectives to vilify Russia and otherizing it as an adversary or alien.

Western Media Target RT and the Russian Media to Control the Narrative on Ukraine

During the start of the crises in Libya and Syria the US and its allies refused to admit that they were supporting militants with deviant and intolerant views that many have described as either Al-Qaeda forces or affiliates of Al-Qaeda. With time the US and its allies were slowly forced to admit that these intolerant deviant forces did exist in Libya and Syria. This acknowledgment by the US and its allies was the result of the successful information campaign being waged by the mass media of Syrian allies like Iran, China, and Russia. The Qatari-based Al Jazeera Network’s overbearing position in the Arab World was even marred as channels like Rusiya Al-Yaum, Al-Manar, and Al-Mayadeen challenged its coverage on the Syrian crisis.

The case with the Ukraine has been the same. The US and its allies have tried to deny the ultra-nationalist involvement and to frame the story that benefits their interests in Ukraine. The Russian media, however, has been a thorn in their side and challenging their discourse. So a campaign has been initiated against the Russian media by the US and its allies. Like the frustration that was expressed against the Russian international media networks over their coverage of Syria, the aim of the mainstream media in North America and the European Union is to present the Russian mainstream media as unobjective and untrustworthy; that is why the US state-run RFE’s Claire Bigg reported in a December 2013 article, as her opening line says, that “Russia’s state-run television channels are not known for their impartiality” and tries to paint a conspiratorial picture of the Russian media where they claim that the bad weather is linked to the protests in Ukraine by taking one Russian meteorologist’s comments out of context.

The campaign against the Russian media particularly targets its English-language segments and international arms, namely RT America and RT International, which have challenged the narrative that Washington and Brussels want to sell to public opinion about the coup in Ukraine. The comments of two RT employees and the issue of Crimean autonomy have been used in the attack against RT America and RT International. In the case of the latter point, it is worth noting that when it looked like there was a possibility that the coup against the Ukrainian government could fail (speculatively speaking, probably because they expected the coup to take place on February 20 after the snipers murdered protests), the Atlanticist media started reporting about how the western portion of Ukraine could breakaway without any traces of concern.

The Guardian reported the following about the situation on February 21, 2014: “While protests continue on the streets of central Kiev, the cities in the west of Ukraine are slipping towards autonomy with new parallel governments and security forces that have openly admitted they have deserted to the side of protesters.” Albeit it is important to note that the report fails to mention the role of ultra-nationalist militias in taking over the western cities and intimidating their politicians, the point is that the Crimean move towards independence in the Atlanticist media has been overtly treated under a totally different standard. The mainstream media in North America and the European Union had no problem with autonomy in the western half of Ukraine, but clearly do not apply the same standards to Crimea and oppose it. The same media ignores or downplays the agency of the Crimean people, instead framing the Crimean move towards independence as a decision taken by the Kremlin.

Repetitively RT has been blasted either subtly or overtly by the mainstream media in North America and the European Union as a propaganda arm of the Kremlin on the basis that it refuses to report “truthfully” about a Russian invasion of Crimea like the BBC, CNN, Fox News, Sky News, and France 24. Yet, it is CNN and these news networks and outlets that have a very well known track record of distorting the facts. They are now steadily demonizing the people of Crimea that are pro-Russian. The Telegraph in a March 11, 2014 report authored by Patrick Reevell and David Blair has even gone so far as to report that the voting in the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea has only two choices for the Crimean population: join Russia now or later. Stretching its interpretation of the question on the ballots, the British newspaper says that the referendum will ask the people of Crimea if they want to join the Russian Federation directly or through parliamentary means. Instead of directly saying that the referendum will ask the people of Crimea if they want to join Russia or remain a part of Ukraine under the 1994 Crimean Constitution, which could allow for the possibility of a parliamentary vote to join Russia, the British newspaper uses contorted language to confuse the matter as a means of discrediting the referendum.

Another example of this type of demonizing reporting is an article written by CNN’s Nick Paton Walsh, Laura Smith-Spark, and Ben Brumfield that near the start says, “If you come by train, expect to be searched by pro-Russian militia. If you want to rally in favor of Ukraine’s West-leaning interim government, expect to be surrounded by pushy pro-Russians.” In this narrative the people being repressed are those that support the unconstitutional post-coup government in Kiev while those that are pro-Russian are conveniently portrayed as aggressive, as the comment about being search by pro-Russian militias and being surrounded by “pushy pro-Russians” if you try to express yourself are intended to mean. Not only does the narrative being presented paint Russia and those in Crimea that want to join Russia negatively, it ignores the coup that took place in Kiev and the fact that the searches on the border are aimed at preventing any armed agents or ultra-nationalist individuals from destabilizing Crimea.

Both visual and verbal modes of communication have been used to discredit RT. For example the BBC claimed that RT was presenting the eastern and southern portions of Ukraine as a part of Russia in its reporting on the basis of a map that was taken out of context.  Other claims showed a map of Crimea out of context saying that RT had recognized it as a part of Russia. The individual or individuals at the BBC and elsewhere that decided to reproduce the de-contextualized visuals from RT are categorically dishonest and unprincipled. They intentionally misrepresented the meaning of the images by presenting footage or screen grabs that were taken out of context. They omitted the facts that the maps were presented as part of a report showing internal demographic breakups in Ukraine’s geography or the different possibilities that the Crimean people faced.

 

The BBC has a history of misrepresenting footage and images. The BBC has been caught red handed with these types of fabrications many times whereas there is no case of RT being involved in this type of reporting. Tibetan monks being beaten by Indian security forces were presented by the BBC as Tibetans being oppressed by the Chinese government in 2008. Another case is when Indians at a rally waving Indian flags were billed to audiences as Libyans celebrating the ouster of the Libyan government in 2011. More recently, the BBC was caught even doing voice overs in its coverage of the Syrian crisis in 2013. Former British diplomat Craig Murray is worth quoting about the BBC’s Syria fabrication:  “The disturbing thing is the footage of the doctor talking is precisely the same each time.  It is edited so as to give the impression the medic is talking in real time in her natural voice – there are none of the accepted devices used to indicate a voiceover translation.  But it must be true that in at least one, and possibly both, the clips she is not talking in real time in her own voice.”

What Simple Questions From the Mainstream Media Say

The role of journalists in the clash cannot be underemphasized either. For example, BuzzFeed reporter Rosie Gray presented Margarita Simonyan, the head of RT, the following questions:

(1)   Do you regularly have meetings at the Kremlin or with Russian government officials? Can you describe them, if so? How much direct influence does the Kremlin have over what RT reports?

(2)   Why is your office apparently located on a different floor than the newsroom, as one employee told me?

(3)   Also, was Anastasia Churkina hired because of who her father is? Why was she allowed to interview her own father on camera?

(4)   I’m told that RT Arabic is run by President Putin’s former translator — is that how that position was filled?

It is hard to tell if the questions are serious or an insult. No reporters in North America have dared asked how Mika Brzezinski got her job at MSNBC and if her father Zbigniew Brzezinski had anything to do with her employment. If questions like this are asked, they are much more subtle. Yet, North American media and its journalists do not apply the same standards when dealing with Russians or members of other societies.

Regardless of the seriousness of the inquiries, the questions are deeply flawed or designed to get specific outputs from the respondent. Firstly, the questions are leading, because they are designed to lead the answers in a certain direction to embarrass and discredit RT as a news network. Secondly the questions are loaded, because they include assumptions and try to limit the answers to serve the reporter’s agenda. A model example of a loaded question is as such: “Have you stopped beating your children?” The premise of the entire question is based on an incorrect assumption. In most cases, no matter what the responded says, they are put in an embarrassing situation and offer the question some legitimacy by merely answering it.

In response, Margarita Simonyan mocked Gray’s loaded questions. [1]

The Dangerous Abuses of Mass Media Communication in the Information Age

The divisions that exist between the US and Russia will harden as the situation in Ukraine continues to simmer. The ramifications of this crisis will be felt globally from Syria, the Korean Peninsula, and the United Nations to the negotiating table about the Iranian nuclear program between Tehran and the P5+1.

Ultimately, the waging of an information war between the US and Russia may sound appropriate for a juncture in history that has been dubbed the Information Age. Its role, however, is a gloomy one. The control and manipulation of information by the mass media prevents individuals from being authentically cognizant about the world around them and the social relationships that are behind the structures of their daily lives. Its power to inform decisions, socialize individuals, and shape popular culture is being misused.

The information war is not only waged between rival powers and economic blocs. The control and manipulation of information is used internally by governments and corporations against the lower echelons of society. It atomizes information as a means of creating a blinding closed system that ignores the social realities about privilege and the unequal distribution of wealth and power.

Even those behind the fabrications and false narratives can be overtaken as hostages to an inauthentic and de-humanizing view of the world. The propagandists can become hostages of that which their own hands have sown. The discourse about the might of the Pentagon makes policymakers in the US think that a confrontation between the United States and either the Russian Federation or China will have diminutive consequences and not entail the possibility of a nuclear war. Both Russia and China form a formidable alliance with a deadly arsenal of nuclear weapons and major military resources. A clash between the US and either Russia or China could have apocalyptic consequences for all life on this planet.

If information is not used properly during the Information Age we may return to the Stone Age as Albert Einstein once said.



NOTE

[1] The table’s could have been easily turned on Rosie Gray and BuzzFeed using the same tactic tying them to Thor Halvorssen Mendoza.  In response, Gray could have been asked if she supported the anti-government protests in Venezuela due to her connection to Thor Halvorssen who is the first cousin of Venezuelan opposition leader Leopolodo Lopez Mendoza.

Halvorssen has questionably presented his cousin at his Oslo Freedom Forum as a leader in human rights. Halvorssen and Lopez are members of the Venezuelan oligarchy that tried to remove Hugo Chavez by any means possible.

According to the journalist Max Blumenthal, Halvorssen not only comes from a family of CIA assets, but himself  is a former “campus activist who has leveraged his fortune to establish a political empire advancing a transparently neoconservative agenda behind the patina of human rights.” What Blumenthal is saying is that Halvorssen is hiding behind humans, which is something very common as was proved by the involvement of human rights organizations in enabling regime change in Libya through a NATO war.

Blumenthal also says that “Among Halvorssen’s main PR megaphones is Buzzfeed, whose correspondent Rosie Gray flew to Oslo in 2013 to write a fawning profile of him and his Oslo Freedom Forum. (Gray has not disclosed whether Halvorssen covered her travel expenses or provided her with resources like food and lodging).”

It is worth asking if Gray shares the same views about regime change that Halvorssen has. Halvorssen predominately seems to have get-togethers with the rich and power and/or dissidents targeting the governments of countries like Venezuela, Russia, Sudan, China, North Korea, and Belarus. One may ask why there appears to be an absence of dissidents that are opposed to the governments of the Philippines, Singapore, Columbia, Israel, South Korea, France, and the US around Halvorssen.


To read more on Ukraine and the topics surrounding NATO expansion, the Eastern Partnership and the Eurasian Union see: The Globalization of NATO by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya (order directly from Global Research).

Overthrowing Fascism: Portugal and “The Right to Rebellion”

April 25th, 2014 by Miguel Urbano Rodrigues

Forty years have passed since April 25, 1974.

Today throughout the country the Portuguese people will celebrate the anniversary of the overthrow of fascism.

The goal of the military coup that morning was to end the colonial war. But within a few hours the torrential participation of the people changed the direction and purpose of the movement. That the masses took to the streets pushed the captains of April to make a revolution in which the alliance between the people and the Armed Forces Movement played a decisive role.

It was a revolution unlike anything known about before that time. In 18 months, in the context of a class struggle that grew ever sharper, Portugal made greater historical advances than it had in the previous three centuries. Since the 1871 Paris Commune there had been nothing like the April Revolution in Western Europe for making such enormous social gains in such a brief period. No prior agrarian reform had ever been so ambitious.

How far would this revolution go?

The question became meaningless because the rupture of the People-AFM alliance, devised and caused by the Socialist Party and supported by the Social Democratic Party (and CDS, their appendix), opened the door to the victorious counterrevolution in November 1975.

It was not foreseen, however, that the destruction of the revolutionary heritage would be so rapid and profound.

Time Magazine, 11.8.1975: The “Lisbon Troika” was then formed by Otelo de Carvalho, Costa Gomes and Vasco GonçalvesFour decades later, the ruling class, which had been swept out, is again in the seat of power. The government that represents this class, headed by a politician with a neo-fascist bent, is imposing measures on the country that in some cases are so reactionary that not even the fascist leader António de Oliveira Salazar would have applied them.

How was it possible to change the correlation of forces which reversed the course of history, dramatically impoverished the country and made it regress decades?

Many years will pass before this question has a rigorous answer.

But it is bitterness born of rejection of the present and a repudiation of the current fascist government policy that will turn the gigantic demonstrations in Lisbon and Porto today into a massive protest of the Portuguese people.

Many of the military and civilians who had significant participation in the unforgettable days of April 1974 have already died. They could not have imagined that Portugal would project in the world today its current image, that of a surreal country, ruled by a bourgeois dictatorship with a democratic façade, whose government’s policy leads to a quagmire.

The gang that misgoverns the country has created a language that fits its devastating strategy. It’s a strange lexicon aimed at numbing the conscience of the victims. They call wage theft “sacrifice” and a brutal tax a “solidarity contribution.” The people’s indignation is hypocritically referred to as the “understanding of the Portuguese.”

In a submissive media, commentators resume and popularize this language. The majority criticizes the tool to defend “austerity” as a necessary evil. Some comply with the job of confusing the people with devotion and skill.

In the heterogeneous government of Passos and Portas, the contradictions are permanent, reflecting the incapacity of the pilot at the wheel, who behaves like a personal servant of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A difficult problem, by João Abel Manta, O Jornal, 11.7.1975

A rampant corruption has settled in the Ministries, at the summit of senior management and in the national bank. Scandalous favors and prizes to the epigones of power are the counterpart to “sacrifices” imposed on workers and pensioners.

The news was not surprising that Gaspar [Vitor Gaspar, former Finance Minister] will have a monthly salary of EUR 23 000 ($30,000) from the IMF. It is a reward for services rendered to big capital by the former finance minister. Imposing ever-larger inequality has indeed been almost an obsession for Passos and Portas. Today, the fortunes of the 46 richest Portuguese equal 10 percent of the national GDP (Correio da Manhã, April 4).

In evaluating the cabinet, I must admit that some ministers and secretaries of state had been ordinary citizens above suspicion before they entered the government. But today, with their participation and complicity in the criminal work in progress, there is not one that is worthy of respect. Words like hypocrisy, greed, lack of culture, ignorance, selfishness, cruelty, cowardice are inadequate to describe the actions and character of these people.

On the eve of the anniversary of the Revolution the parties that control the Assembly of the Republic are demonstrating clearly their reactionary ideology by opposing giving a voice to a representative of the captains of April to address the commemorative session.

One day, hopefully not too far away, it should become transparent that they collectively behaved as enemies of the Portuguese people.

Portrait of Captain Salgueiro Maia, one of the heroes of the Carnation Revolution, centerpiece of the muraldone by four artists of the Underdogs platform outside the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities (FCSH) of the New University of Lisbon

What is to be done?

The old Leninist question is relevant and very current in today’s Portugal, looted and humiliated, in which even the Armed Forces, the Police and the National Guard are already expressing their displeasure on the steps of the Assembly of the Republic.

I believe that the seeds of April are germinating after its long hibernation. The workers have not forgotten the prodigious achievements of the revolutionary generation, in the days when Álvaro Cunhal and Vasco Gonçalves — two of Portugal’s great twentieth-century political figures, made their fundamental contribution to the advancement of democratic and national revolution.

The tide of resistance floods in every week, despite the alienation of much of the population. These struggles, now permanent, daily, are amplified by the outstanding participation of the CGTP union confederation and Communists. Yet the popular protest is still inadequate. The response to intolerable social and economic oppression needs to reach a much greater amplitude.

The philosopher John Locke, in the seventeenth century, in his theory of the liberal state, had already defended the right of revolution when tyranny offends the human condition*.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 also opens the door to the rebellion of the people when the rights set out and guaranteed by it are violated.

This is what the Passos and Portas government does today, without punishment, even with defiant arrogance. But until when?

Vila Nova de Gaia, April 25, 2014

*Locke affirmed an explicit ‘right of revolution’ in his Two Treatises of Government: “whenever the Legislators endeavor to take away, and destroy the Property of the People, or to reduce them to Slavery under Arbitrary Power, they put themselves into a state of War with the People, who are thereupon absolved from any farther Obedience, and are left to the common Refuge, which God hath provided for all Men, against Force and Violence. Whensoever therefore the Legislative shall transgress this fundamental Rule of Society; and either by Ambition, Fear, Folly or Corruption, endeavor to grasp themselves, or put into the hands of any other an Absolute Power over the Lives, Liberties, and Estates of the People; By this breach of Trust they forfeit the Power, the People had put into their hands, for quite contrary ends, and it devolves to the People, who have a Right to resume their original Liberty.” (Second Treatise of Civil Government)  [Tlaxcala's Note]

Translation from John Catalinotto, Tlaxcala

“Doomsday Seed Vault” in the Arctic

April 24th, 2014 by F. William Engdahl

This article was first published in December 2007.

One thing Microsoft founder Bill Gates can’t be accused of is sloth. He was already programming at 14, founded Microsoft at age 20 while still a student at Harvard. By 1995 he had been listed by Forbes as the world’s richest man from being the largest shareholder in his Microsoft, a company which his relentless drive built into a de facto monopoly in software systems for personal computers.

In 2006 when most people in such a situation might think of retiring to a quiet Pacific island, Bill Gates decided to devote his energies to his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest ‘transparent’ private foundation as it says, with a whopping $34.6 billion endowment and a legal necessity to spend $1.5 billion a year on charitable projects around the world to maintain its tax free charitable status. A gift from friend and business associate, mega-investor Warren Buffett in 2006, of some $30 billion worth of shares in Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway put the Gates’ foundation into the league where it spends almost the amount of the entire annual budget of the United Nations’ World Health Organization.

So when Bill Gates decides through the Gates Foundation to invest some $30 million of their hard earned money in a project, it is worth looking at.

No project is more interesting at the moment than a curious project in one of the world’s most remote spots, Svalbard. Bill Gates is investing millions in a seed bank on the Barents Sea near the Arctic Ocean, some 1,100 kilometers from the North Pole. Svalbard is a barren piece of rock claimed by Norway and ceded in 1925 by international treaty (see map).

On this God-forsaken island Bill Gates is investing tens of his millions along with the Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto Corporation, Syngenta Foundation and the Government of Norway, among others, in what is called the ‘doomsday seed bank.’ Officially the project is named the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, part of the Svalbard island group.

The seed bank is being built inside a mountain on Spitsbergen Island near the small village of Longyearbyen. It’s almost ready for ‘business’ according to their releases. The bank will have dual blast-proof doors with motion sensors, two airlocks, and walls of steel-reinforced concrete one meter thick. It will contain up to three million different varieties of seeds from the entire world, ‘so that crop diversity can be conserved for the future,’ according to the Norwegian government. Seeds will be specially wrapped to exclude moisture. There will be no full-time staff, but the vault’s relative inaccessibility will facilitate monitoring any possible human activity.

Did we miss something here? Their press release stated, ‘so that crop diversity can be conserved for the future.’ What future do the seed bank’s sponsors foresee, that would threaten the global availability of current seeds, almost all of which are already well protected in designated seed banks around the world?

Anytime Bill Gates, the Rockefeller Foundation, Monsanto and Syngenta get together on a common project, it’s worth digging a bit deeper behind the rocks on Spitsbergen. When we do we find some fascinating things.

The first notable point is who is sponsoring the doomsday seed vault. Here joining the Norwegians are, as noted, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the US agribusiness giant DuPont/Pioneer Hi-Bred, one of the world’s largest owners of patented genetically-modified (GMO) plant seeds and related agrichemicals; Syngenta, the Swiss-based major GMO seed and agrichemicals company through its Syngenta Foundation; the Rockefeller Foundation, the private group who created the “gene revolution with over $100 million of seed money since the 1970’s; CGIAR, the global network created by the Rockefeller Foundation to promote its ideal of genetic purity through agriculture change.

CGIAR and ‘The Project’

As I detailled in the book, Seeds of Destruction1, in 1960 the Rockefeller Foundation, John D. Rockefeller III’s Agriculture Development Council and the Ford Foundation joined forces to create the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Los Baños, the Philippines. By 1971, the Rockefeller Foundation’s IRRI, along with their Mexico-based International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and two other Rockefeller and Ford Foundation-created international research centers, the IITA for tropical agriculture, Nigeria, and IRRI for rice, Philippines, combined to form a global Consultative Group on International Agriculture Research (CGIAR).

CGIAR was shaped at a series of private conferences held at the Rockefeller Foundation’s conference center in Bellagio, Italy. Key participants at the Bellagio talks were the Rockefeller Foundation’s George Harrar, Ford Foundation’s Forrest Hill, Robert McNamara of the World Bank and Maurice Strong, the Rockefeller family’s international environmental organizer, who, as a Rockefeller Foundation Trustee, organized the UN Earth Summit in Stockholm in 1972. It was part of the foundation’s decades long focus to turn science to the service of eugenics, a hideous version of racial purity, what has been called The Project.

To ensure maximum impact, CGIAR drew in the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Development Program and the World Bank. Thus, through a carefully-planned leverage of its initial funds, the Rockefeller Foundation by the beginning of the 1970’s was in a position to shape global agriculture policy. And shape it did.

Financed by generous Rockefeller and Ford Foundation study grants, CGIAR saw to it that leading Third World agriculture scientists and agronomists were brought to the US to ‘master’ the concepts of modern agribusiness production, in order to carry it back to their homeland. In the process they created an invaluable network of influence for US agribusiness promotion in those countries, most especially promotion of the GMO ‘Gene Revolution’ in developing countries, all in the name of science and efficient, free market agriculture.

Genetically engineering a master race?

Now the Svalbard Seed Bank begins to become interesting. But it gets better. ‘The Project’ I referred to is the project of the Rockefeller Foundation and powerful financial interests since the 1920’s to use eugenics, later renamed genetics, to justify creation of a genetically-engineered Master Race. Hitler and the Nazis called it the Ayran Master Race.

The eugenics of Hitler were financed to a major extent by the same Rockefeller Foundation which today is building a doomsday seed vault to preserve samples of every seed on our planet. Now this is getting really intriguing. The same Rockefeller Foundation created the pseudo-science discipline of molecular biology in their relentless pursuit of reducing human life down to the ‘defining gene sequence’ which, they hoped, could then be modified in order to change human traits at will. Hitler’s eugenics scientists, many of whom were quietly brought to the United States after the War to continue their biological eugenics research, laid much of the groundwork of genetic engineering of various life forms, much of it supported openly until well into the Third Reich by Rockefeller Foundation generous grants.2

The same Rockefeller Foundation created the so-called Green Revolution, out of a trip to Mexico in 1946 by Nelson Rockefeller and former New Deal Secretary of Agriculture and founder of the Pioneer Hi-Bred Seed Company, Henry Wallace.

The Green Revolution purported to solve the world hunger problem to a major degree in Mexico, India and other select countries where Rockefeller worked. Rockefeller Foundation agronomist, Norman Borlaug, won a Nobel Peace Prize for his work, hardly something to boast about with the likes of Henry Kissinger sharing the same.

In reality, as it years later emerged, the Green Revolution was a brilliant Rockefeller family scheme to develop a globalized agribusiness which they then could monopolize just as they had done in the world oil industry beginning a half century before. As Henry Kissinger declared in the 1970’s, ‘If you control the oil you control the country; if you control food, you control the population.’

Agribusiness and the Rockefeller Green Revolution went hand-in-hand. They were part of a grand strategy which included Rockefeller Foundation financing of research for the development of genetic engineering of plants and animals a few years later.

John H. Davis had been Assistant Agriculture Secretary under President Dwight Eisenhower in the early 1950’s. He left Washington in 1955 and went to the Harvard Graduate School of Business, an unusual place for an agriculture expert in those days. He had a clear strategy. In 1956, Davis wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review in which he declared that “the only way to solve the so-called farm problem once and for all, and avoid cumbersome government programs, is to progress from agriculture to agribusiness.” He knew precisely what he had in mind, though few others had a clue back then— a revolution in agriculture production that would concentrate control of the food chain in corporate multinational hands, away from the traditional family farmer. 3

A crucial aspect driving the interest of the Rockefeller Foundation and US agribusiness companies was the fact that the Green Revolution was based on proliferation of new hybrid seeds in developing markets. One vital aspect of hybrid seeds was their lack of reproductive capacity. Hybrids had a built in protection against multiplication. Unlike normal open pollinated species whose seed gave yields similar to its parents, the yield of the seed borne by hybrid plants was significantly lower than that of the first generation.

That declining yield characteristic of hybrids meant farmers must normally buy seed every year in order to obtain high yields. Moreover, the lower yield of the second generation eliminated the trade in seed that was often done by seed producers without the breeder’s authorization. It prevented the redistribution of the commercial crop seed by middlemen. If the large multinational seed

companies were able to control the parental seed lines in house, no competitor or farmer would be able to produce the hybrid. The global concentration of hybrid seed patents into a handful of giant seed companies, led by DuPont’s Pioneer Hi-Bred and Monsanto’s Dekalb laid the ground for the later GMO seed revolution. 4

In effect, the introduction of modern American agricultural technology, chemical fertilizers and commercial hybrid seeds all made local farmers in developing countries, particularly the larger more established ones, dependent on foreign, mostly US agribusiness and petro-chemical company inputs. It was a first step in what was to be a decades-long, carefully planned process.

Under the Green Revolution Agribusiness was making major inroads into markets which were previously of limited access to US exporters. The trend was later dubbed “market-oriented agriculture.” In reality it was agribusiness-controlled agriculture.

Through the Green Revolution, the Rockefeller Foundation and later Ford Foundation worked hand-in-hand shaping and supporting the foreign policy goals of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and of the CIA.

One major effect of the Green Revolution was to depopulate the countryside of peasants who were forced to flee into shantytown slums around the cities in desperate search for work. That was no accident; it was part of the plan to create cheap labor pools for forthcoming US multinational manufactures, the ‘globalization’ of recent years.

When the self-promotion around the Green Revolution died down, the results were quite different from what had been promised. Problems had arisen from indiscriminate use of the new chemical pesticides, often with serious health consequences. The mono-culture cultivation of new hybrid seed varieties decreased soil fertility and yields over time. The first results were impressive: double or even triple yields for some crops such as wheat and later corn in Mexico. That soon faded.

The Green Revolution was typically accompanied by large irrigation projects which often included World Bank loans to construct huge new dams, and flood previously settled areas and fertile farmland in the process. Also, super-wheat produced greater yields by saturating the soil with huge amounts of fertilizer per acre, the fertilizer being the product of nitrates and petroleum, commodities controlled by the Rockefeller-dominated Seven Sisters major oil companies.

Huge quantities of herbicides and pesticides were also used, creating additional markets for the oil and chemical giants. As one analyst put it, in effect, the Green Revolution was merely a chemical revolution. At no point could developing nations pay for the huge amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. They would get the credit courtesy of the World Bank and special loans by Chase Bank and other large New York banks, backed by US Government guarantees.

Applied in a large number of developing countries, those loans went mostly to the large landowners. For the smaller peasants the situation worked differently. Small peasant farmers could not afford the chemical and other modern inputs and had to borrow money.

Initially various government programs tried to provide some loans to farmers so that they could purchase seeds and fertilizers. Farmers who could not participate in this kind of program had to borrow from the private sector. Because of the exorbitant interest rates for informal loans, many small farmers did not even get the benefits of the initial higher yields. After harvest, they had to sell most if not all of their produce to pay off loans and interest. They became dependent on money-lenders and traders and often lost their land. Even with soft loans from government agencies, growing subsistence crops gave way to the production of cash crops.5

Since decades the same interests including the Rockefeller Foundation which backed the initial Green Revolution, have worked to promote a second ‘Gene Revolution’ as Rockefeller Foundation President Gordon Conway termed it several years ago, the spread of industrial agriculture and commercial inputs including GMO patented seeds.

Gates, Rockefeller and a Green Revolution in Africa
With the true background of the 1950’s Rockefeller Foundation Green Revolution clear in mind, it becomes especially curious that the same Rockefeller Foundation along with the Gates Foundation which are now investing millions of dollars in preserving every seed against a possible “doomsday” scenario are also investing millions in a project called The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

AGRA, as it calls itself, is an alliance again with the same Rockefeller Foundation which created the “Gene Revolution.” A look at the AGRA Board of Directors confirms this.

It includes none other than former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as chairman. In his acceptance speech in a World Economic Forum event in Cape Town South Africa in June 2007, Kofi Annan stated, ‘I accept this challenge with gratitude to the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and all others who support our African campaign.’

In addition the AGRA board numbers a South African, Strive Masiyiwa who is a Trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation. It includes Sylvia M. Mathews of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Mamphela Ramphele, former Managing Director of the World Bank (2000 – 2006); Rajiv J. Shah of the Gates Foundation; Nadya K. Shmavonian of the Rockefeller Foundation; Roy Steiner of the Gates Foundation. In addition, an Alliance for AGRA includes Gary Toenniessen the Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation and Akinwumi Adesina, Associate Director, Rockefeller Foundation.

To fill out the lineup, the Programmes for AGRA includes Peter Matlon, Managing Director, Rockefeller Foundation; Joseph De Vries, Director of the Programme for Africa’s Seed Systems and Associate Director, Rockefeller foundation; Akinwumi Adesina, Associate Director, Rockefeller Foundation. Like the old failed Green Revolution in India and Mexico, the new Africa Green Revolution is clearly a high priority of the Rockefeller Foundation.

While to date they are keeping a low profile, Monsanto and the major GMO agribusiness giants are believed at the heart of using Kofi Annan’s AGRA to spread their patented GMO seeds across Africa under the deceptive label, ‘bio-technology,’ the new euphemism for genetically engineered patented seeds. To date South Africa is the only African country permitting legal planting of GMO crops. In 2003 Burkina Faso authorized GMO trials. In 2005 Kofi Annan’s Ghana drafted bio-safety legislation and key officials expressed their intentions to pursue research into GMO crops.

Africa is the next target in the US-government campaign to spread GMO worldwide. Its rich soils make it an ideal candidate. Not surprisingly many African governments suspect the worst from the GMO sponsors as a multitude of genetic engineering and biosafety projects have been initiated in Africa, with the aim of introducing GMOs into Africa’s agricultural systems. These include sponsorships offered by the US government to train African scientists in genetic engineering in the US, biosafety projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Bank; GMO research involving African indigenous food crops.

The Rockefeller Foundation has been working for years to promote, largely without success, projects to introduce GMOs into the fields of Africa. They have backed research that supports the applicability of GMO cotton in the Makhathini Flats in South Africa.

Monsanto, who has a strong foothold in South Africa’s seed industry, both GMO and hybrid, has conceived of an ingenious smallholders’ programme known as the ‘Seeds of Hope’ Campaign, which is introducing a green revolution package to small scale poor farmers, followed, of course, by Monsanto’s patented GMO seeds. 6

Syngenta AG of Switzerland, one of the ‘Four Horsemen of the GMO Apocalypse’ is pouring millions of dollars into a new greenhouse facility in Nairobi, to develop GMO insect resistant maize. Syngenta is a part of CGIAR as well.7

Move on to Svalbard

Now is it simply philosophical sloppiness? What leads the Gates and Rockefeller foundations to at one and the same time to back proliferation of patented and soon-to-be Terminator patented seeds across Africa, a process which, as it has in every other place on earth, destroys the plant seed varieties as monoculture industrialized agribusiness is introduced? At the same time they invest tens of millions of dollars to preserve every seed variety known in a bomb-proof doomsday vault near the remote Arctic Circle ‘so that crop diversity can be conserved for the future’ to restate their official release?

It is no accident that the Rockefeller and Gates foundations are teaming up to push a GMO-style Green Revolution in Africa at the same time they are quietly financing the ‘doomsday seed vault’ on Svalbard. The GMO agribusiness giants are up to their ears in the Svalbard project.

Indeed, the entire Svalbard enterprise and the people involved call up the worst catastrophe images of the Michael Crichton bestseller, Andromeda Strain, a sci-fi thriller where a deadly disease of extraterrestrial origin causes rapid, fatal clotting of the blood threatening the entire human species. In Svalbard, the future world’s most secure seed repository will be guarded by the policemen of the GMO Green Revolution–the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations, Syngenta, DuPont and CGIAR.

The Svalbard project will be run by an organization called the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT). Who are they to hold such an awesome trust over the planet’s entire seed varieties? The GCDT was founded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Bioversity International (formerly the International Plant Genetic Research Institute), an offshoot of the CGIAR.

The Global Crop Diversity Trust is based in Rome. Its Board is chaired by Margaret Catley-Carlson a Canadian also on the advisory board of Group Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, one of the world’s largest private water companies. Catley-Carlson was also president until 1998 of the New York-based Population Council, John D. Rockefeller’s population reduction organization, set up in 1952 to advance the Rockefeller family’s eugenics program under the cover of promoting “family planning,” birth control devices, sterilization and “population control” in developing countries.

Other GCDT board members include former Bank of America executive presently head of the Hollywood DreamWorks Animation, Lewis Coleman. Coleman is also the lead Board Director of Northrup Grumman Corporation, one of America’s largest military industry Pentagon contractors.

Jorio Dauster (Brazil) is also Board Chairman of Brasil Ecodiesel. He is a former Ambassador of Brazil to the European Union, and Chief Negotiator of Brazil’s foreign debt for the Ministry of Finance. Dauster has also served as President of the Brazilian Coffee Institute and as Coordinator of the Project for the Modernization of Brazil’s Patent System, which involves legalizing patents on seeds which are genetically modified, something until recently forbidden by Brazil’s laws.

Cary Fowler is the Trust’s Executive Director. Fowler was Professor and Director of Research in the Department for International Environment & Development Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. He was also a Senior Advisor to the Director General of Bioversity International. There he represented the Future Harvest Centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in negotiations on the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources. In the 1990s, he headed the International Program on Plant Genetic Resources at the FAO. He drafted and supervised negotiations of FAO’s Global Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources, adopted by 150 countries in 1996. He is a past-member of the National Plant Genetic Resources Board of the US and the Board of Trustees of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico, another Rockefeller Foundation and CGIAR project.

GCDT board member Dr. Mangala Rai of India is the Secretary of India’s Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), and Director General of the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR). He is also a Board Member of the Rockefeller Foundation’s International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), which promoted the world’s first major GMO experiment, the much-hyped ‘Golden Rice’ which proved a failure. Rai has served as Board Member for CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center), and a Member of the Executive Council of the CGIAR.

Global Crop Diversity Trust Donors or financial angels include as well, in the words of the Humphrey Bogart Casablanca classic, ‘all the usual suspects.’ As well as the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations, the Donors include GMO giants DuPont-Pioneer Hi-Bred, Syngenta of Basle Switzerland, CGIAR and the State Department’s energetically pro-GMO agency for development aid, USAID. Indeed it seems we have the GMO and population reduction foxes guarding the hen-house of mankind, the global seed diversity store in Svalbard. 8

Why now Svalbard?

We can legitimately ask why Bill Gates and the Rockefeller Foundation along with the major genetic engineering agribusiness giants such as DuPont and Syngenta, along with CGIAR are building the Doomsday Seed Vault in the Arctic.

Who uses such a seed bank in the first place? Plant breeders and researchers are the major users of gene banks. Today’s largest plant breeders are Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and Dow Chemical, the global plant-patenting GMO giants. Since early in 2007 Monsanto holds world patent rights together with the United States Government for plant so-called ‘Terminator’ or Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT). Terminator is an ominous technology by which a patented commercial seed commits ‘suicide’ after one harvest. Control by private seed companies is total. Such control and power over the food chain has never before in the history of mankind existed.

This clever genetically engineered terminator trait forces farmers to return every year to Monsanto or other GMO seed suppliers to get new seeds for rice, soybeans, corn, wheat whatever major crops they need to feed their population. If broadly introduced around the world, it could within perhaps a decade or so make the world’s majority of food producers new feudal serfs in bondage to three or four giant seed companies such as Monsanto or DuPont or Dow Chemical.

That, of course, could also open the door to have those private companies, perhaps under orders from their host government, Washington, deny seeds to one or another developing country whose politics happened to go against Washington’s. Those who say ‘It can’t happen here’ should look more closely at current global events. The mere existence of that concentration of power in three or four private US-based agribusiness giants is grounds for legally banning all GMO crops even were their harvest gains real, which they manifestly are not.

These private companies, Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Chemical hardly have an unsullied record in terms of stewardship of human life. They developed and proliferated such innovations as dioxin, PCBs, Agent Orange. They covered up for decades clear evidence of carcinogenic and other severe human health consequences of use of the toxic chemicals. They have buried serious scientific reports that the world’s most widespread herbicide, glyphosate, the essential ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide that is tied to purchase of most Monsanto genetically engineered seeds, is toxic when it seeps into drinking water.9 Denmark banned glyphosate in 2003 when it confirmed it has contaminated the country’s groundwater.10

The diversity stored in seed gene banks is the raw material for plant breeding and for a great deal of basic biological research. Several hundred thousand samples are distributed annually for such purposes. The UN’s FAO lists some 1400 seed banks around the world, the largest being held by the United States Government. Other large banks are held by China, Russia, Japan, India, South Korea, Germany and Canada in descending order of size. In addition, CGIAR operates a chain of seed banks in select centers around the world.

CGIAR, set up in 1972 by the Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation to spread their Green Revolution agribusiness model, controls most of the private seed banks from the Philippines to Syria to Kenya. In all these present seed banks hold more than six and a half million seed varieties, almost two million of which are ‘distinct.’ Svalbard’s Doomsday Vault will have a capacity to house four and a half million different seeds.

GMO as a weapon of biowarfare?

Now we come to the heart of the danger and the potential for misuse inherent in the Svalbard project of Bill Gates and the Rockefeller foundation. Can the development of patented seeds for most of the world’s major sustenance crops such as rice, corn, wheat, and feed grains such as soybeans ultimately be used in a horrible form of biological warfare?

The explicit aim of the eugenics lobby funded by wealthy elite families such as Rockefeller, Carnegie, Harriman and others since the 1920’s, has embodied what they termed ‘negative eugenics,’ the systematic killing off of undesired bloodlines. Margaret Sanger, a rapid eugenicist, the founder of Planned Parenthood International and an intimate of the Rockefeller family, created something called The Negro Project in 1939, based in Harlem, which as she confided in a letter to a friend, was all about the fact that, as she put it, ‘we want to exterminate the Negro population.’ 11

A small California biotech company, Epicyte, in 2001 announced the development of genetically engineered corn which contained a spermicide which made the semen of men who ate it sterile. At the time Epicyte had a joint venture agreement to spread its technology with DuPont and Syngenta, two of the sponsors of the Svalbard Doomsday Seed Vault. Epicyte was since acquired by a North Carolina biotech company. Astonishing to learn was that Epicyte had developed its spermicidal GMO corn with research funds from the US Department of Agriculture, the same USDA which, despite worldwide opposition, continued to finance the development of Terminator technology, now held by Monsanto.

In the 1990’s the UN’s World Health Organization launched a campaign to vaccinate millions of women in Nicaragua, Mexico and the Philippines between the ages of 15 and 45, allegedly against Tentanus, a sickness arising from such things as stepping on a rusty nail. The vaccine was not given to men or boys, despite the fact they are presumably equally liable to step on rusty nails as women.

Because of that curious anomaly, Comite Pro Vida de Mexico, a Roman Catholic lay organization became suspicious and had vaccine samples tested. The tests revealed that the Tetanus vaccine being spread by the WHO only to women of child-bearing age contained human Chorionic Gonadotrophin or hCG, a natural hormone which when combined with a tetanus toxoid carrier stimulated antibodies rendering a woman incapable of maintaining a pregnancy. None of the women vaccinated were told.

It later came out that the Rockefeller Foundation along with the Rockefeller’s Population Council, the World Bank (home to CGIAR), and the United States’ National Institutes of Health had been involved in a 20-year-long project begun in 1972 to develop the concealed abortion vaccine with a tetanus carrier for WHO. In addition, the Government of Norway, the host to the Svalbard Doomsday Seed Vault, donated $41 million to develop the special abortive Tetanus vaccine. 12

Is it a coincidence that these same organizations, from Norway to the Rockefeller Foundation to the World Bank are also involved in the Svalbard seed bank project? According to Prof. Francis Boyle who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 enacted by the US Congress, the Pentagon is ‘now gearing up to fight and win biological warfare’ as part of two Bush national strategy directives adopted, he notes, ‘without public knowledge and review’ in 2002. Boyle adds that in 2001-2004 alone the US Federal Government spent $14.5 billion for civilian bio-warfare-related work, a staggering sum.

Rutgers University biologist Richard Ebright estimates that over 300 scientific institutions and some 12,000 individuals in the USA today have access to pathogens suitable for biowarfare. Alone there are 497 US Government NIH grants for research into infectious diseases with biowarfare potential. Of course this is being justified under the rubric of defending against possible terror attack as so much is today.

Many of the US Government dollars spent on biowarfare research involve genetic engineering. MIT biology professor Jonathan King says that the ‘growing bio-terror programs represent a significant emerging danger to our own population.’ King adds, ‘while such programs are always called defensive, with biological weapons, defensive and offensive programs overlap almost completely.’ 13

Time will tell whether, God Forbid, the Svalbard Doomsday Seed Bank of Bill Gates and the Rockefeller Foundation is part of another Final Solution, this involving the extinction of the Late, Great Planet Earth.

Notes

1 F. William Engdahl, Seeds of Destruction, Montreal, (Global Research, 2007).
2 Ibid, pp.72-90.
3 John H. Davis, Harvard Business Review, 1956, cited in Geoffrey Lawrence, Agribusiness, Capitalism and the Countryside, Pluto Press, Sydney, 1987. See also Harvard Business School, The Evolution of an Industry and a Seminar: Agribusiness Seminar, http://www.exed.hbs.edu/programs/agb/seminar.html.
4 Engdahl, op cit., p. 130.
5 Ibid. P. 123-30.
6 Myriam Mayet, The New Green Revolution in Africa: Trojan Horse for GMOs?, May, 2007, African Centre for Biosafety, www.biosafetyafrica.net.
7 ETC Group, Green Revolution 2.0 for Africa?, Communique Issue #94, March/April 2007.
8 Global Crop Diversity Trust website, in http://www.croptrust.org/main/donors.php.
9 Engdahl, op. cit., pp.227-236.
10 Anders Legarth Smith, Denmark Bans Glyphosates, the Active Ingredient in Roundup, Politiken, September 15, 2003, in organic.com.au/news/2003.09.15.
11 Tanya L. Green, The Negro Project: Margaret Sanger’s Genocide Project for Black American’s, in www.blackgenocide.org/negro.html.
12 Engdahl, op. cit., pp. 273-275; J.A. Miller, Are New Vaccines Laced With Birth-Control Drugs?, HLI Reports, Human Life International, Gaithersburg, Maryland; June/July 1995, Volume 13, Number 8.
13 Sherwood Ross, Bush Developing Illegal Bioterror Weapons for Offensive Use,’ December 20, 2006, in www.truthout.org.

Seit dem Sturz der Janukowitsch-Regierung in der Ukraine Ende Februar 2014 versuchen die Mainstreammedien, die wahre Natur der gegenwärtigen ukrainischen Regierung schönzufärben, sogar in einigen progressiven Publikationen und Webseiten, z.B. in einer zweiteiligen Serie in Rabble.ca.

Schon bald nach dem Putsch zeugte diese Regierung für die New York Times von einer neuen Demokratiewelle, und dieser Tonlage folgten die westlichen Medien. Auch wenn hier und da erwähnt wird, dass Swoboda als Teil der Regierung „einige quasi-faschistische Neigungen“ hat, mag man nicht deutlicher werden. Im Gegenteil, alles andere über Swoboda und den paramilitärischen „Rechten Sektor“ wurde erfolgreich und gut orwellianisch aus dem Gedächtnis gelöscht.

Nicht dass im Internet niemand die wahre Natur von Swoboda erwähnt hätte. Eine Anzahl qualifizierter Beobachter scheute sich nicht auszusprechen, dass Swoboda eine starke Neonazi-Basis hat, nicht nur „Neigungen“ zu solchen Überzeugungen. Siehe zum Beispiel Max Blumenthal, Professor Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Francis Boyle, Professor Michel Chossudovsky, Dr. Inna Rogatchi, David Speedie, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, Oleg Shynkarenko, Andrew Foxall und Oren Kessler.

Anstatt die tief faschistischen Überzeugungen in der Swoboda-Mitgliedschaft einfach zu ignorieren, hätte man wenigstens erwähnen können, dass das Europäische Parlament im Dezember 2012 eine Resolution über die unheilvolle Natur der Swoboda verabschiedet hat – ein ungewöhnlicher Schritt. Die Resolution vom 13. 12. 2012 stellt fest:

„[Das Europäische Parlament] ist über das Erstarken nationalistischer Ressentiments in der Ukraine besorgt, das sich im Zulauf zur Swobodapartei ausdrückt, die dadurch eine der beiden neuen Parteien des Werchowna Rada geworden ist. Es erinnert daran, dass rassistische, antisemitische und fremdenfeindliche Ansichten den fundamentalen Werten und Prinzipien der EU widersprechen und appelliert an die demokratischen Kräfte des Rada, nicht mit dieser Partei zusammenzuarbeiten, mit ihr zu koalieren oder sie zu billigen.“

Symbol der Wolfsangel

Swoboda wurde 1991 als Sozialnationale Partei der Ukraine gegründet – schon im Namen eine unmissverständliche Anspielung auf Hitlers Nationsozialistische Partei. Ausserdem benutzte sie das Nazi-Symbol der Wolfsangel mit unverkennbarer Nähe zum Hakenkreuz. Um das Image zu verbessern, benannte sie die Partei 2004 unter dem neuen Führer Oleh Tjahnybok in Swoboda um, behielt aber trotzdem den Nazi-Kern. Das Nazi-Logo wurde in einen stilisierten Dreifinger-Gruss verändert, ebenfalls um das Image weicher zu machen.

Von Anfang an huldigten die Sozialnationale Partei und dann Swoboda dem Nazikollaborateur Stepan Bandera, der die Organisation Ukrainischer Nationalisten OUN gegründet hatte und die ukrainische „galizische“ Waffen-SS-Division organisierte. Diese umfasste 82000 ukrainische Freiwillige, von denen 13000 militärisch von den Nazis zum Kampf ausgebildet wurden und die in den Kampf gegen die russische und ukrainische Sowjetarmee geschickt wurden. Die nur 3000 Überlebenden bildeten dann den Kern einer weiteren SS-Division, die später wiederum den Kern der ukrainischen Aufstandsarmee UPA bildete.

Banderas Kräfte kämpften nicht nur gegen die Rote Armee, sie beteiligten sich auch an Massakern an zehntausenden Polen und Juden und nahmen auch aktiv am Massaker von Babi Yar und am Holocaust generell teil. Auch wenn Bandera Meinungsverschiedenheiten mit den Nazis hatte und zeitweilig inhaftiert war, blieben er und seine Anhänger der Nazipolitik in der Ukraine treu, die schliesslich zur Ermordung von anderthalb Millionen ukrainischen Juden führte.

Bandera hatte die illusorische Idee, dass, wenn Ukraine den Nazis gegen die Rote Armee hilft und die Nazis den Krieg gewinnen und die UdSSR erobern, eine “Freie Ukraine” entstehen könnte, unabhängig von den Nazis. Dies war natürlich eine Trugvorstellung, vor allem wenn man Hitlers Idee des Lebensraums im Osten in Betracht zieht und die Tatsache, dass die Nazis alle Slawen als „Untermenschen“ betrachteten.

Ungeachtet all dessen ist Swobodas gegenwärtiger Führer Oleh Tjahnybok weit davon entfernt, sich von diesem Gedankengut zu distanzieren. Im Gegenteil: in einer Grabrede für einen Kommandeur der UPA 2004 forderte er die Ukrainer dazu auf, gegen die „moskowitisch-jüdische Mafia“ zu kämpfen und pries die Organisation der ukrainischen Nationalisten des 2. Weltkriegs dafür, dass sie „Moskowiter, Deutsche, Juden und anderen Abschaum, der unseren ukrainischen Staat vernichten will, bekämpfen“. Tjahnyboks Abgeordneter Juri Michalschischin, ein Swoboda-Ideologe, gründete eine nach Joseph Goebbels genannte Expertenkommission. Er übersetzte und veröffentlichte Artikel von NS-Klassikern und nannte den Holocaust eine „glänzende Epoche“ der europäischen Geschichte.

Erwähnenswert ist, dass Deutschland im Unterschied zu Banderas ukrainischen Nationalisten die Verantwortung für ihre Verbrechen übernommen hat. Man vergleiche dies mit Geschehnissen in Lviv, Ukraine, wo überlebende Mitglieder der galizischen Waffen-SS, begeisterte Teilnehmer am Völkermord, immer noch an Feiertagen Paraden abhalten und stolz ihre vom deutschen dritten Reich verliehenen Orden zeigen. Im Juli 2013 organisierte Swoboda ein Treffen zur Feier des siebzigsten Jahrestages der Gründung der vierzehnten Waffen-SS-Division. Und am 1. Januar 2014 marschierten rund 15000 Swobodaanhänger durch Kiew, um Banderas 105. Geburtstag zu begehen, einige in Uniformen der Waffen-SS.

Wegen dieser unbestreitbaren Tatsachen verabschiedete das Europäische Parlament in einem ungewöhnlichen Schritt eine Resolution, in der es vor Swoboda warnt, wie das amerikanische Mainstreamblatt Foreign Policy feststellte:

„Die unbequeme Wahrheit ist, dass ein grosser Teil von Kiews gegenwärtiger Regierung und der Demonstranten, die sie an die Macht brachten, wirklich Faschisten sind… Parteiführer Oleh Tjahnybok äusserte sich öffentlich, dass sein Land von einer „moskowitisch-jüdischen Mafia“ kontrolliert sei, während einer seiner Abgeordneten die ukrainischstämmige Filmschauspielerin Mila Kunis als schmutzige Jüdin beleidigte. In den Augen der Swoboda sind Schwule pervers und Farbige ungeeignet, das Land beim Eurovisionswettbewerb zu vertreten, damit die Zuschauer nicht auf die Idee kämen, die Ukraine läge irgendwo neben Uganda. Juri Syrotuk äusserte sich für Swoboda ähnlich rassistisch: „Millionen Zuschauer würden sehen, dass die Ukraine von jemand vertreten würde, der nicht zu unserer Rasse gehört.“

Die Mainstreammedien versäumen es nicht nur, sich mit dem grundlegend faschistischem Gedankengut der Swoboda zu befassen, sie dienen auch noch der Vertuschung, indem sie heuchlerisch betonen, es gebe ja schliesslich in mehreren europäischen Ländern rechte Parteien – alles nicht so schlimm. So vermeiden sie sorgsam, darauf hinzuweisen, dass in allen diesen Ländern die extremen rechten von Regierungsarbeit ganz ausgeschlossen sind, anders als offensichtlich jetzt in der Ukraine. Zum ersten Mal seit der Nazizeit hat eine echt faschistische Bewegung eine europäische Regierung gebildet und hält Schlüsselpositionen der Macht. Interessanterweise hat man noch nichts vom Europäischen Parlament darüber gehört, das doch vor nicht langer Zeit (s.o.) die ukrainische Rada davor gewarnt hat, „mit dieser Partei zusammenzuarbeiten, zu koalieren oder sie zu billigen.“

Dmitro Jarosch (Mitte), Führer des Rechten Sektors

Auch wenn viele Medien den Rechten Sektor als unbedeutend abtun, war er 2013 als Dachorganisation für verschiedene paramilitärische Gruppen gegründet, unter anderem der Ukrainischen Nationalversammlung UNA und der Ukrainische Nationale Selbstverteidigung UNA-UNSO, deren Mitglieder Uniformen nach dem Vorbild der Waffen-SS tragen und die schon in Tschetschenien gegen Russland gekämpft haben.

Am 22. März 2014 verbündeten sich alle diese Gruppen im Rechten Sektor und erklärten sich zu einer politischen Partei, mit Dmitro Jarosch als ihren Präsidentschaftskandidaten für die nächste Wahl. Zwischenzeitlich hat Russland ihn auf die internationale Fahndungsliste gesetzt und ihn der Förderung von Terrorismus bezichtigt, nachdem er den tschetschenischen Terroristenführer Doku Umarow aufgefordert hatte, Russland wegen des Ukrainekonfliktes anzugreifen. Jarosch drohte ausserdem, russische Pipelines auf ukrainischem Territorium zu zerstören.

Um das Gewicht und die Rolle von Swoboda und des Rechten Sektors herunterzuspielen, betonen die Medien gewöhnlich, dass Swoboda nur 8% der Sitze in der Rada hat und dass der Rechte Sektor keine gewählten Mitglieder dort hat. So wird der Eindruck erweckt, diese Bewegungen würden wenig bewirken. Dabei verschweigen sie die alarmierende Tatsache, dass Swoboda 7 Mitglieder (somit ein Drittel) im 21-köpfigen Regierungskabinett hat und die meisten Schlüsselpositionen besetzt. Ausserdem hat der Rechte Sektor sehr wohl eine Rolle in der Regierung: sein Führer Jarosch ist als stellvertretender Staatssekretär des Ministeriums für Nationale Sicherheit für Polizei zuständig.

So haben eigentlich diese zwei Neonaziparteien mit ihren Schlüsselpositionen die Kontrolle über Armee, Polizei und nationale Sicherheit. Obwohl von äusserster Wichtigkeit, findet diese Information keinen Weg in die Medien. Warum? Im Wesentlichen unterstützen die ein günstiges Propagandabild von der provisorischen Regierung in Kiew. Und wie immer in Propaganda ist das, was nicht gesagt wird, genau so wichtig wie das was verschwiegen wird. In diesem Fall ist diese Taktik aber mindestens Desinformation, wenn nicht schlimmeres.

Wegen der gewichtigen Rolle der Swoboda in der ukrainischen Regierung sei ein Blick auf die Kabinettsliste gestattet.

Oleksander Sych, stellvertretender Premier, ein Parlamentarier der Swoboda, deren Chefideologe und fanatischer Abtreibungsgegner.

Ihor Tenyukh, Verteidigungsminister, Mitglied von Swobodas Politikrat, früherer ukrainischer Marinekommandeur, der aber entlassen wurde, nachdem er versucht hatte, Georgien in seinem militärischen Abenteuer in Südossetien zu helfen, das von Russland schnell beendet wurde.

Andriy Parubiy, Minister für Nationale Sicherheit und Nationale Verteidigung (RNBOU), Mitbegründer der Sozialnationalen Partei der Ukraine resp. Swoboda. In dieser Schlüsselposition überblickt Parubiy das Verteidigungsministerium mit den bewaffneten Streitkräften, Justiz, Nationale Sicherheit und Geheimdienste. Das RNBOU ist von zentraler Entscheidungsgewalt. Formell steht der Präsident ihm vor, aber das Sekretariat führt die Geschäfte mit einem Stab von 180 Mitarbeitern inklusive Verteidigungs-, Geheimdienst- und Sicherheitsexperten. Parubiy war der „Kommandant“ der Rechte-Sektor-Kräfte auf dem Maidan und führte die Maskierten in ihren Strassenschlachten mit der Polizei.

Oleh Makhnitsky, Generalstaatsanwalt, MP für Swoboda. Mit dieser Besetzung wird Swoboda die Justiz kontrollieren.

Ihor Shvaika, Landwirtschaftsminister, ein Agro-Oligarch und ebenfalls Mitglied der Swoboda. Als einer der reichsten Männer des Landes müssen seine massiven Investitionen in die Landwirtschaft als ein Interessenskonflikt gesehen werden.

Andriy Moknyk, Umweltminister, Stellvertretender Vorsitzender der Swoboda, und Mitglied ihres Politikrates, war Swobodas Gesandter bei anderen europäischen rechtsextremen Parteien.

Serhiy Kvit, Erziehungsminister, Führungsmitglied der Swoboda, bekannt für seine Anstrengungen diejenigen zu glorifizieren, die Banderas Faschisten im zweiten Weltkrieg inspirierten.

Dmitro Jarosch, stellvertretender Leiter des Nationalen Sicherheitsrates, zuständig für die Polizei. Jarosch ist führendes Gründungsmitglied des paramilitärischen Rechten Sektors. Führte zusammen mit Parubiy die Demonstrationen auf dem Maidan. Früher kämpfte er zusammen mit tschetschenischen Islamisten und rühmt sich, persönlich viele russische Soldaten getötet zu haben.

Wenn also Swoboda auch nur 8 Prozent der Parlamentsmitglieder stellt, so stellt diese doch zusammen mit dem Rechten Sektor mehr als ein Drittel des Kabinetts und hat einige der wichtigsten Posten inne. Von daher gibt es ein eklatantes Ungleichgewicht in der Machtverteilung, was noch dadurch verstärkt wird, dass Swoboda keine gewählten Mitglieder des gesamten Südostens der Ukraine hat, die immerhin mehr als die Hälfte der ukrainischen Gesamtbevölkerung stellt. Ebenso wenig ist diese Bevölkerungsgruppe im Kabinett vertreten, was seine Legitimation noch weiter verringert.

Einen Eindruck davon, wie diese faschistisch inspirierte Regierung funktionieren würde, konnte man schon am Tage nach ihrer Machtergreifung bekommen: die erste Gesetzesinitiative war, das liberale ukrainische multikulturelle Sprachengesetz zu kassieren. Der Entwurf würde effektiv den amtlichen Gebrauch von Russisch, Ungarisch, Moldauisch und Rumänisch abschaffen. Ferner sollten russischsprachige Medien in der Ukraine verboten werden. Sofort danach verabschiedete das Europäische Parlament eine Resolution, in der das neue Regime in Kiew aufgefordert wurde, die Rechte und Sprachen der Minderheiten zu respektieren. Nach einem Aufschrei und allgemeiner Verurteilung legte Interimspräsident Turtschinow sein Veto ein und forderte eine Überarbeitung, damit es akzeptabel werde.

Aber das Porzellan war schon zerschlagen. Diese kleingeistige Aktion schreckte alle Minderheiten auf und führte ihnen vor Augen, was die Zukunft bringen könnte. Vor allem als Swoboda-Mitglieder drohten, die russische Sprache gleich ganz zu verbieten und sogar den russischsprechenden Ukrainern die Staatsbürgerschaft zu entziehen. Nicht genug damit, wurde eine weitere Gesetzesinitiative eingebracht, die das bestehende Verbot aufheben würden, „die Verbrechen des Faschismus zu leugnen oder zu entschuldigen.“

Stellen Sie sich vor, eine neue Regierung in Bern würde plötzlich Französisch als Amtssprache verbieten. Wie lang würde es wohl dauern, bis nach einem entsprechenden Referendum sich die Welschschweiz selbständig machen würde? Genau das ist aber auf der Krim geschehen, wo ein Grossteil der Menschen Russisch spricht. Sie machten ein Referendum, und mit einer Wahlbeteiligung von 80% stimmten 97% für die Loslösung von der Ukraine. Weil nur 58% der Bevölkerung russischstämmig sind, bedeutet das Ergebnis, dass auch ein grosser Teil der Tataren und Ukrainer für die Loslösung von der Ukraine gestimmt hat.

In der letzten Volkszählung bezeichneten sich 8,3 Millionen Ukrainer als russischstämmig, immerhin ein Fünftel der Bevölkerung. Russisch wird von 25 bis 40 Prozent der Bevölkerung gesprochen, besonders im südlichen und östlichen Teil des Landes. In Anbetracht dieses Gewichts des Russischen betont Dr. Vitaly Chernetsky, Professor für slawische Sprachen an der Universität von Kansas, dass an einem durchschnittlichen Zeitungsstand 90% der Publikationen russischsprachig sind, sogar in Gebieten, in denen überwiegend Ukrainisch gesprochen wird. „Die russische Sprache dominiert auch das Radio, während Ukrainisch eher in den nationalen Fernsehprogrammen vorherrscht“. Von daher ist eine drastische Beschränkung der russischen Medien und des Russischen ein fanatischer und bizarrer Kurs der neuen Regierung.

Es wird immer wieder der Eindruck erweckt wird, die Machtübernahme wäre irgendwie legitim gewesen, zum Beispiel indem betont wird, dass Janukowitsch mit 328 zu 0 Stimmen (oder 73% der Abgeordneten) des Amtes enthoben wurde. Was dabei unterschlagen wird, ist die Tatsache, dass die ukrainische Verfassung 75% der Mitglieder der Rada für die Amtsenthebung vorschreibt. Somit war die Amtsenthebung von Janukowitsch verfassungswidrig, eben ein Putsch. Zumal dieser Abstimmung Tumulte von bewaffneten Rechten-Sektor-Anhängern vorausgingen, die mehr als ein Viertel der Abgeordneten zur Flucht veranlassten – von daher auch die unzureichende Anzahl der Abgeordneten.

Selten erwähnt wird auch das von Deutschland, Frankreich und Polen vermittelte Übereinkommen vom 21. Februar zwischen Janukowitsch und den Demonstranten zur Beendigung der drei Monate währenden Konfrontationen. Das Übereinkommen war einerseits vom Präsidenten Janukowitsch, andererseits von den Oppositionsführern Arsenij Jazenjuk, Vitali Klitschko und Oleh Tjahnybok unterzeichnet und sah baldige Parlaments- und Präsidentenwahlen vor, die Wiederherstellung der Verfassung von 2004 und die Konstituierung einer Übergangsregierung der nationalen Einheit. Wenn bald Wahlen stattgefunden hätten, wäre die Janukowitsch-Regierung sicherlich unterlegen.

Als das Übereinkommen den Demonstranten verkündigt wurde, lehnten die Führer des bewaffneten Rechten Sektors sofort eine friedliche Regelung ab und zeigten ihre Entschlossenheit, den gewaltsamen Kampf fortzusetzen. Trotzdem ordnete die dilettantische Regierung unverständlicherweise an, dass die Polizei sich vom Schutz des Parlaments und anderer Regierungsgebäude zurückziehen solle, und Janukowitsch selber floh zu einem vorbereiteten Treffen in die Stadt Charkow. So währte der friedliche Kompromiss nicht einmal einen Tag, und am 22. Februar stürmte der bewaffnete Mob des Rechten Sektors die Regierungsgebäude und inszenierten den Putsch im Parlament.

Seltsam, in Deutschland, Frankreich und Polen gab es keine Proteste von Seiten der europäischen Gesandten, die die friedliche Übergabe der Macht in der Ukraine doch arrangiert hatten. Stattdessen wurde der offensichtliche Putsch als legal akzeptiert, und die Teilnahme von faschistischen Elementen in einer europäischen Regierung erstmals seit Hitler verursachte scheinbar keine Alarmstimmung. So viel zur Warnung des Europäischen Parlaments, nicht mit Swoboda zusammenzuarbeiten. Und es schien, dass sogar der Rechte Sektor irgendwie akzeptabel war.

Wie zu erwarten war, machten die Medien die offensichtliche Verstrickung der USA in die Demonstrationen und in den Putsch gegen einen zwar korrupten, aber dennoch demokratisch gewählten Präsidenten lächerlich. Wie Diana Johnstone in einem Artikel formulierte:

„Die stellvertretende Staatssekretärin für Europa und Eurasien, Victoria Nuland, rühmte die USA öffentlich, dass diese 5 Milliarden Dollar dafür ausgegeben hätten, in der Ukraine Einfluss auszuüben, oder besser gesagt, um Ukraine von Russland weg und die die Einflusszone des US-Militärs hineinzubewegen.“

In der Tat waren die Mainstreammedien so „effektiv“, dass sie schrieb:

„Die öffentliche Meinung scheint grossenteils zu akzeptieren, dass der Böse in dieser Geschichte der russische Präsident ist, schuldig der unprovozierten Aggression gegen die Krim, auch wenn er seinerseits auf eine der krassesten Provokationen der Geschichte antwortete.“

Zu Zeiten des Zerfalls der UdSSR versicherten die USA Gorbatschow, dass die NATO sich niemals in das Gebiet der Pufferstaaten rund um Russland erweitern würde. Dieses Versprechen wurde fast sofort gebrochen, und die NATO expandierte in alle benachbarten Länder ausser in die Ukraine.

Es wäre sehr naiv anzunehmen, dass die Orangene Revolution von 2004 und das gegenwärtige von Victoria Nuland geführte Gambitspiel nicht das Ziel hätten, die Ukraine und besonders die russische Marinebasis Sewastopol in die NATO-Sphäre zu bringen. Und das trotz Umfragen in der Ukraine, die besagen, dass ca. 70% der Bevölkerung gegen eine NATO-Mitgliedschaft sind. Der strategische Plan, in der Ukraine Raketen zu stationieren würde die USA zum hypothetischen nuklearen Erstschlag gegen Russland befähigen. Putin ist aber nicht dumm und zog aus dem überwältigenden Wunsch der Krim nach Sezession von der Ukraine seinen Vorteil.

Das Maidan-Scharfschützen-Thema wurde ebenfalls von den Medien heruntergespielt, mit der Ausnahme des Guardian und des RT-Fernsehkanals gab es keine Erwähnung des abgehörten Telefongesprächs zwischen dem estnischen Aussenminister und Madame Ashton von der EU. Der Este berichtete, dass er Informationen hätten, wonach die Scharfschützen für tote Polizisten und der protestierenden Zivilbevölkerung verantwortlich waren. Es wären eher Provokateure der Protestbewegung als Unterstützer von Janukowitsch gewesen. Dies ist doch von zentraler Wichtigkeit, aber dennoch wurde auch dieses komplett von den amerikanischen Medien ignoriert. Erst als Russland an die EU appellierte, zu untersuchen, wer denn nun für die Scharfschützenmorde verantwortlich wäre, wie gesagt an Polizisten und Protestierenden, bequemte sich die neue ukrainische Regierung sich dazu, eine Untersuchung in Aussicht zu stellen. Bisher kam noch nichts dabei heraus ausser der bekannten Unterstellung, Janukowitsch sei verantwortlich, oder die neueste These, es seien russische Agenten gewesen.

Da entsteht natürlich die Frage cui bono, wem nützt es? Die Morde geschahen am 21. Februar, gerade dem Tag, als die EU-Gesandten versuchten, mit einer friedlichen Resolution die monatelangen Proteste zu beenden. Warum würde Janukowitsch oder würden die Russen wohl die Chancen einer friedlichen Beilegung der Konflikte zunichte machen? Auf der anderen Seite war das letzte, das der schwerbewaffnete Kern des Rechten Sektors gebrauchten konnte, eine friedliche Lösung – sie forderten weiterhin den Sturz der Regierung. Zudem waren es diese Leute, die Angriffe mit Schusswaffen durchführten und es waren sie, die die meisten den Maidan umgebenden Gebäude besetzt hatten und kontrollierten, Gebäude, von denen aus die Schüsse abgefeuert wurden. Wie sollte es möglich sein, dass Janukowitschs Polizei oder russische Agenten unbemerkt durch die Massen auf die Gebäude gelangen, die von den Demonstranten besetzt worden waren?

Die Scharfschützenmorde veränderten sehr den Ton der Protestbewegung. Wenn die Proteste vorher schon gewalttätig waren, eskalierten sie nun noch weiter. An diesem Punkt verkündeten die parlamentarischen Führer dem wütenden Mob, dass die Demonstranten eine Einigung mit der Regierung mit baldigen Neuwahlen erreicht hätten, und dass die Proteste nun enden könnten. Sie wurden ausgebuht, und Dmitro Jarosch vom Rechten Sektor war dafür, weiterzukämpfen, bis die Regierung besiegt wäre. Am nächsten Tag, die Polizei hatte die Schauplatz schon verlassen, besetzte der Mob alle Regierungsgebäude und das Parlament. Und den Rest kennen wir, eine legale Regierung (egal, wie korrupt auch immer) wurde in einem Putsch gestürzt. Aber das Wort Putsch ist in den Medien tabu, mit einziger Ausnahme von RT.

Ironischerweise ist ausgerechnet Jarosch, Gründer und Führer des Rechten Sektors, nun als stellvertretender Minister für die Polizei zuständig, und damit für die Untersuchung der Scharfschützenmorde. Andriy Parubiy war der offizielle „Kommandant“ der Rechte-Sektor-Kräfte und damit betraut, alle grossen Regierungsgebäude um den Maidanplatz zu besetzen, jetzt ist er Chef der Nationalen Sicherheit und der Justiz. Da wird es gewiss eine gründliche Untersuchung der Morde geben!

Jetzt, da die Ukraine Europas erste Regierung mit Faschisten in hohen Schlüsselpositionen hat, kann man sich fragen, wie ihre Gegenwart die Arbeit der Regierung beeinflusst. Am Tag, nachdem diese Regierung Janukowitsch „des Amtes enthob“ (was ungültig war wie oben dargestellt), zeigt dieses  Video den Umgangston und die Beleidigungen im Parlament. Ein anderes Video zeigt Aufmachung und Verhalten der neuen Elemente in der Regierung. In einem ungenannten Provinzparlament kam ein Schläger vom Rechten Sektor mit einer Kalaschnikow und fragte die Abgeordneten „Wer will mir jetzt meine Maschinenpistole wegnehmen? Oder meine Pistole? Oder meine Messer?“ Die Szene wurde gefilmt und das Video machte mit mehr als 50000 Views in den ersten drei Tagen die Runde.

Ein anderes Video vom Rechten Sektor zeigt ein Mitglied, Olexandr Musitschko, wie er in das Büro eines Staatsanwaltes platzt und ihn bedroht, ganz in der Art von Hitlers Braunhemden vergangener Tage.

Gerade dieser prominente Musitschko hetzte öffentlich gegen Juden, Kommunisten und russischen Abschaum, so lange er lebte. Schliesslich stürmten am 18. März mehrere Swoboda-MPs, unter ihnen der stellvertretende Chef des Komitees für Redefreiheit (!!) das Büro des Präsidenten des Nationalen Fernsehens und zwangen ihn mit Gewalt zum Rücktritt. Sie waren erbost, dass die nationalen Fernsehkanäle den russischen Präsidenten Putin gezeigt hatte, wie der den Vertrag für Unabhängigkeit der Krim unterzeichnet. Das nannten sie Verrat. Das wäre etwa so, als würden kanadische MPs den Präsidenten von CBC zum Rücktritt zwingen. Anstatt gegen dieses faschistische Vorgehen zu protestieren besuchte Kanadas Premier Harper Kiew und bot Kanadas volle Unterstützung für ein Regime mit Neonazis an.

Es gibt noch vieles anderes, was von den Mainstreammedien ignoriert wird. Um diese Dinge besser einordnen zu können, folgt etwas Bemerkenswertes von Katrina vanden Heuvel, Herausgeberin der „Nation“

„Janukowitschs Entscheidung, das EU-Assoziierungsabkommen nicht zu unterzeichnen, war nicht irrational. Die Ukraine wäre gezwungen gewesen, zwischen der EU und Russland zu wählen und hätte Putins Vorschlag eines Dreierabkommens geradeheraus abgelehnt, das der Ukraine erlaubt hätte, seine Bindungen mit Russland fortzuführen. Auch ohne Putins Angebot zur finanziellen Unterstützung vom Dezember ist die Ukraine ökonomisch sehr von Russland abhängig, das Energie liefert zu Vorzugspreisen liefert(e) und überhaupt der grösste Handelspartner ist. Die EU und die USA können trotz alles rhetorischen Polterns diese tiefe Verbindung nicht mit westlicher Hilfe und westlichen Handelsbeziehungen ersetzen.

Auch wenn die Ukraine engere Bindungen an Europa sucht, kann sie sich die gänzliche Abkehr vom grossen Nachbarn im Osten nicht leisten. Für Einsteiger: mehr als die Hälfte seines Erdgases kommt aus Russland. Die EU könnte da auch nicht viel helfen, wenn Moskau den Gashahn einfach zudrehte. Das scheint auch nicht wahrscheinlich, da doch Russland das Gas in den Westen über Pipelines in der Ukraine liefert. Ebenso kann die EU nicht von heute auf morgen die 15 Milliarden Eisen, Stahl, Getreide und andere Produkte ersetzen, die die Ukraine pro Jahr an ihren grössten Handelspartner Russland verkauft. Trotz all der antirussischen Rhetorik die man in der letzten zeit hören konnte, sind die historischen und kulturellen Verbindungen zwischen beiden Ländern wirklich tief.

Nicht unwichtig anzumerken, dass einige der Minister der Übergangsregierung schon in der vorigen Regierung im Amt waren und dort politisch die gegenwärtige ökonomische Situation des Landes mitgestaltet haben. Nebenbei bemerkt haben sie auch in all diesen Jahren herzlich wenig gegen die krasse Korruption und ökonomische Ineffektivität unternommen. Die EU hat der Ukraine zusammen mit dem IWF schon seit 1991 mit 19,1 Milliarden in Bürgschaften und Krediten geholfen, alles in allem mit anderer Hilfe wohl über 39 Milliarden Dollar.

Und ungeachtet der gegenwärtigen feindlichen Rhetorik empfing das Land auch massive Hilfe von Seiten Russlands, vor allem in Form von verbilligtem Erdgas, seit 1991 total zwischen 200 und 300 Milliarden Dollar. Wo ist dieses Geld geblieben. „In die Taschen der unglaublich korrupten politischen Elite und Oligarchen” antwortet Emily Holland, eine Spezialistin für Energiepolitik beim European Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin. In all dem Tamtam über Korruption während der Proteste hat das neue Regime aber ausgerechnet einige der schlimmsten Oligarchen in wichtige Posten von Regionalregierungen im Osten des Landes gebracht. Wie sind also die Aussichten für diesen im Wesentlichen gescheiterten Staat?

Grundlegend für den andauernden politischen Aufruhr des Landes ist die Tatsachen, dass die Ukraine aus zwei ganz verschiedenen Regionen besteht – dem östlichen und dem westlichen Teil. Eine mögliche Lösung wäre die Schaffung einer lockeren Konföderation zweier autonomer Regionen sein. Jede wäre frei, sich mehr mit der EU oder mit Russland zu verbinden. Zusammen mit anderen Vorschlägen für eine solche Lösung wurde dies ironischerweise von Russlands Aussenminister Sergeij Lawrow ins Gespräch gebracht, z.B. am 20. März:

„…eine Verfassungsreform sollte stattfinden, so dass den Interessen aller ukrainischen Bürger gedient wäre. Dieses wäre die einzige Basis zur Schaffung legitimer Machtstrukturen, Legislative und Exekutive, zentral wie auch regional…Wir sind überzeugt, dass die Situation in der Ukraine nur durch die Schaffung föderaler Strukturen stabilisiert werden kann.“

Schliessen wir mit einem Kommentar von Katrina vanden Heuvel:

„Der (US-)Präsident wäre gut beraten, zu erkunden, wie die EU, Russland und die Vereinigten Staaten zusammenarbeiten könnten, um die territoriale Einheit der Ukraine zu retten, um freie Neuwahlen zu unterstützen, um der Ukraine zu erlauben, sowohl Teil Europas als auch der russischen Wirtschaftssphäre zu sein, und dabei das Versprechen zu erneuern, dass die NATO sich nicht bis in die Ukraine hinein ausdehnen wird. Es ist an der Zeit, Spannungen zu vermindern und neue Gelegenheiten zu schaffen, anstatt rhetorische Muskeln spielen zu lassen und Öl in die Feuer von Verrückten zu giessen.“

John Ryan, Ph.D., u.a. emeritierter Professor für Geographie. Spezialisiert in Ökonomie und politischer Geographie der UdSSR. Er lehrte über die UdSSR mehr als 30 Jahre lang an der Universität von Winnipeg. Erreichbar unter [email protected]

Übersetzung: Stefan Abels

Artikel auf Englisch: The Media’s Disinformation Campaign on Ukraine: “There are No neo-Nazis in the Interim Government”

In a keynote speech on 23 April 2014, Tony Blair blamed Islamic extremism for failures of western intervention in the Middle East. Here are ten things he neglected to mention about the extremism of his own political career.

1. Tony Blair has never shown a shred of remorse for the extremism of mass slaughter and destruction for which he was directly responsible, not least in Iraq.

2. Tony Blair is a supporter of extremism around the world, whether it be the dictators in Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan, the despots ruling the oil states Kuwait and Bahrain, or Israel’s apartheid regime that occupies Palestinian land in contravention of international law and countless UN resolutions. When prime minister, not content with waging illegal wars, he was up to his neck in CIA torture and kidnapping ’every step of the way’.

3. Tony Blair defends and applauds the military coup that overthrew the democratically elected government in Egypt, saying that it ‘was the absolutely necessary rescue of a nation’. He was a supporter of the Egyptian dictator Mubarak, calling him “immensely courageous and a force for good”,right up to the day he was overthrown in a popular revolution by the Egyptian people.

4. Tony Blair blindly ignores the catastrophes in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, as he endlessly promotes more western military intervention, whether it be in Syria, Iran or beyond.

5. Tony Blair has called repeatedly for western military intervention in the Syrian civil war. He believes it was a terrible error that the west did not launch an air attack on Syria in August 2013. He says the west should impose no-fly zones and arm directly the Syrian rebels. He believes Britain should have invaded Syria, whether the British public wanted it or not (all opinion polls show a majority of the British public opposes intervention).

6. Tony Blair’s lack of self awareness and remorse makes him a highly dangerous individual and totally unsuited to his role as envoy for peace in the Middle East. He supported Israel’s wars in Lebanon and Gaza. He never loses an opportunity to praise the Israeli apartheid state, one recent example being his sickening eulogy at the funeral of the mass murdering former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon, who he called “a giant of this land”.

7. Tony Blair is pathologically incapable of recognising that his actions have not lessened, but have hugely exacerbated, the threat of terrorism. When in office, his own foreign policy establishment concluded that his wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were a major driving force behind acts of jihadist violence in Britain and beyond.
8. When under fire for his disastrous record, Tony Blair’s answer is to blame the Muslims. He attacks Islam as a means of absolving his wars from any connection or responsibility for atrocities like the London bombings on 7 July 2005 and the killing in 2013 of UK soldier Lee Rigby. He accuses Muslims of imposing an ideology based on the belief that there is one proper religion and only one proper view of it. As he well knows, this is not the view of most Muslims in most countries. It is true however of his allies in Saudi Arabia.

9. Tony Blair is an ‘extremist’ when it comes to accumulating vast personal wealth - now calculated to be over £70 million - by exploiting the contacts he made when he was prime minister, committing war crimes that should have seen him behind bars. He sells his services to merchant bankers, oil companies and despotic regimes such as Kazakhstan, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi. He is one of the world’s highest paid public speakers, often earning over £250,000 for one speech. He flies around in a £30 million private chartered jet. On top of this, he takes £435,000 a year from the British taxpayers, who finance the prime minister’s pension of £70,000 which he still draws, the £250,000 cost of his security and £115,000 for his ‘political office’.

10. Such is the widespread revulsion towards Tony Blair’s extremism, that he cannot travel anywhere without fear of facing a citizen’s arrest for his war crimes. There have been five attempts so far. There is a bounty on his head for payment to anyone who gets close enough to apprehend him. See www.arrestlair.org for how you could pick up the reward.

Photograph published by the New York Times purportedly taken in Russia of Russian soldiers who later appeared in eastern Ukraine. However, the photographer has since stated that the photo was actually taken in Ukraine, and the U.S. State Department has acknowledged the error.

After starting a propaganda stampede – with a lead story about photos of Russian troops purportedly in Ukraine – the New York Times admits the pictures really don’t prove much, and one photo was labeled as snapped in Russia when it was really taken in Ukraine.

Two days after the New York Times led its editions with a one-sided article about photos supposedly proving that Russian special forces were behind the popular uprisings in eastern Ukraine, the Times published what you might call a modified, limited retraction.

Buried deep inside the Wednesday editions (page 9 in my paper), the article by Michael R. Gordon and Andrew E. Kramer – two of the three authors from the earlier story – has this curious beginning: “A collection of photographs that Ukraine says shows the presence of Russian forces in the eastern part of the country, and which the United States cited as evidence of Russian involvement, has come under scrutiny.”

Photograph published by the New York Times purportedly taken in Russia of Russian soldiers who later appeared in eastern Ukraine. However, the photographer has since stated that the photo was actually taken in Ukraine, and the U.S. State Department has acknowledged the error.

In the old days of journalism, we used to apply the scrutiny before we published a story on the front page or on any other page, especially if it had implications toward war or peace, whether people would live or die. However, in this case – fitting with the anti-Russian bias that has pervaded the mainstream U.S. press corps – the scrutiny was set aside long enough for this powerful propaganda theme to be put in play and to sweep across the media landscape.

Only now do we belatedly learn what should have been obvious: the blurry photographs provided by the coup regime in Kiev and endorsed by the Obama administration don’t really prove anything. There were obvious alternative explanations to the photos that were ignored by the Times, such as the possibility that these were military veterans who are no longer associated with the Russian military. Or that some photos are not of the same person.

And, one of the photos featured by the Times in its Monday lead article, purportedly showing some of the armed men in Russia, was actually shot in the Ukrainian town of Slovyansk, according to Maxim Dondyuk, the freelance photographer who took the picture and posted it on his Instagram account.

Here is the tortured way the Times treated that embarrassing lapse in its journalistic standards: “A packet of American briefing materials that was prepared for the Geneva meeting asserts that the photograph was taken in Russia. The same men are also shown in photographs taken in Ukraine.

“Their appearance in both photographs was presented as evidence of Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine. The packet was later provided by American officials to The New York Times, which included that description of the group photograph in an article and caption that was published on Monday. … The dispute over the group photograph cast a cloud over one particularly vivid and highly publicized piece of evidence.”

Then, after noting Dondyuk’s denial that the photo was snapped in Russia, the Times quoted State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki as acknowledging “that the assertion that the photograph in the American briefing materials had been taken in Russia was incorrect. But she said that the photograph was included in a ‘draft version’ of a briefing packet and that the information has since been corrected.”

But the misidentification of the photo’s location as Russia, not Ukraine, was not some minor mistake. If the photo was taken in Ukraine, then the whole premise of the claim that these same guys were operating in Russia and have since moved to Ukraine collapses.

Note how the Times framed this point in its Monday article: “Some of the men photographed in Ukraine have been identified in other photos clearly taken among Russian troops in other settings.” Then, the cutline below the photo read: “Soldiers in a group photo of a reconnaissance unit, which was taken in Russia, were later photographed operating in towns in eastern Ukraine.” There was no attribution. The location is stated as flat fact.

Still, the Obama administration is not going to let its sloppy mistake get in the way of a potent propaganda theme. According to the Times, Psaki insisted that there was plenty of other classified and unclassified evidence proving that the Russians are behind the eastern Ukrainian uprisings, but none of that supposed evidence was included in Wednesday’s story.

The problem for the Times, however, is different. Many of the flaws in the photographic evidence were there to see before Monday’s front-page article, but the newspaper was apparently blinded by its anti-Russian bias.

For instance, the article devoted much attention to the Russian skill at “masking” the presence of its troops, but that claim would seem to be contradicted by these allegedly secret warriors posing for public photos.

The Times also ignored the fact that the U.S. Special Forces – and indeed the special forces of many other nations – also seek to blend in with the populations by growing beards and wearing local clothing. This is not some unique tactic employed by the nefarious Russians.

[For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Another NYT-Michael Gordon Special?”]

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

A new study confirms the obvious: the will of the people carries no weight in the United States. Within the nation’s borders democracy is everywhere proclaimed but nowhere to be found. These truths we hold to be self-evident: “ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States.”

Too many Americans love to boast that the United States is a democracy. That idea is accepted uncritically and celebrated as proof of this country’s superiority. Every public activity and event is an opportunity for the false narrative to be repeated and indulged. Events as disparate as elections, holiday celebrations, advertisements, school commencements and religious worship are all used to propagandize and create false belief about the degree of power the average citizen has vis a vis their government.

Of course all evidence shows that this narrative is and always was a lie. Dictionaries define democracy as government representing the citizens through elected representatives, or as majority rule, or a society which provides equal rights to all. The history of this country has rarely lived up to any of those descriptions but in the recent past the notion that this country is a democracy has become openly farcical. We have nothing but meaningless trappings and any power exercised by the people is sadly in short supply.

This state of affairs has been obvious to anyone who has been paying close attention. Americans not only don’t get what they want from the political system, they actually get the opposite of what they want. The pace of the oligarchic state has quickened lately but the dynamic has been evident for quite some time.

Even elite academia is taking notice and has given official imprimatur to a conversation that had been ignored. Professors Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University are the authors of the study “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.” While their work does not as news stories suggest use the word oligarchy, the authors are quite clear about their findings. Professor Gilens gave this brief summary of their conclusions:

“I’d say that contrary to what decades of political science research might lead you to believe, ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States [italics mine]. And economic elites and interest groups, especially those representing business, have a substantial degree of influence. Government policy-making over the last few decades reflects the preferences of those groups – of economic elites and of organized interests.”

While this study has however briefly changed public discourse, it is important to note that the disregard of popular will is obvious for all to see. If this were not true, the minimum wage would be higher, there would be no cuts to entitlement programs, and Americans would have a single payer health care system. There would be no NAFTA or TPP free trade agreements which force a race to the bottom for workers, destroy entire eco-systems and violate national and popular sovereignty. If this country were truly democratic, the city of Detroit would not have filed for bankruptcy for the simple reason that voters in Detroit and in the state of Michigan voted to repeal the emergency manager law which brought bankruptcy into being.

Americans don’t want the increasingly frequent interventions abroad forced upon by them by president after president yet that is what they get. We want to address the problems created by human made climate change. We don’t want hydraulic fracturing, or the pollution or earthquakes that come with it, but that is what we have. We don’t want rich people to control the political process but the Supreme Court has said time and again that money equals speech and those decisions prove the point of the study. Simply put, money talks and those without money have no voice.

If that were not the case, American workers would not be poorer than their counterparts in the rest of the world. The so-called middle class workers in this country had the distinction of being better off than their peers around the world. That is no longer the case with stagnating wages and job loss and a country that does not practice income distribution that would keep people out of poverty. In a democratic country, Walmart and its low wages would not be the largest employer. The manufacturing that once dominated the economic landscape would still employ the bulk of the work force with its higher wages and other benefits that provide economic security.

In a democracy, the financial services industry that created the worldwide economic meltdown would not have been bailed out. Workers would be bailed out. Corporations wouldn’t get tax breaks and other government subsidies. Workers would get them. And if the average person had any say in the matter, the big time banksters would now be behind bars.

The myth of American democracy is just one of many that are cherished out of ignorance and suspension of disbelief but that is not a reason to continue the confusion and self-delusion. The only time we get any taste of democracy is when we proclaim that we don’t have it but assert plainly and loudly that we intend to get it.

The phony narrative wears thin as the quality of life diminishes. The United States of America is not a democratic nation if the only right that citizens have is to go to a polling place every few years. It is time to stop fetishizing what clearly does not work for the majority of people and start talking about something new. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. The only result we have to show is rule by the elites and if that is acceptable then the people have gone truly insane.

Margaret Kimberley‘s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as athttp://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

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April 24th, 2014 by Global Research

“Black folks have no rights that white majorities are bound to respect.” That’s the message from the U.S. Supreme Court, which declared diversity programs an option that white majorities can legally ban. The High Court also safeguards the right of the rich to dominate elections. This week’s ruling shows that the Roberts Court “knows how to serve both majorities of whites and Big Capital, too.”

White majorities have the constitutional right to create laws that selectively lock racial minorities into inferior status. So decreed the United States Supreme Court, in a 6 to 2 vote upholding Michigan’s prohibition against affirmative action in public higher education. Although race-conscious admissions polices remain legally permissible, voters may close the door to such remedies to historical discrimination, at will, as set forth in Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s controlling opinion: “There is no authority in the Constitution of the United States or in this court’s precedents for the judiciary to set aside Michigan laws that commit this policy determination to the voters.”

In plain English, Black folks have no rights that white majorities are bound to respect.

It’s “a racist decision,” the modern equivalent to the Supreme Court’s 1896 Plessy v Ferguson ruling sanctifying racial segregation, said Shanta Driver, lawyer for Detroit-based By Any Means Necessary, the losing party in the case. The decision “makes clear that this Court intends to do nothing to defend the right to equality in politics, opportunity, rights, hopes and aspirations of its Latina/o, black, Native American and other minority citizens” said Driver. “At the very moment that America is becoming a majority minority nation this Court is declaring its intention to uphold white privilege and to create a new Jim Crow legal system.”

The circling of black robes around the inviolability of the principle of one person-one vote is a supreme historical irony, given that the Constitution originally counted Black slaves as “three-fifths of all other Persons” for the purpose of apportioning the Congress. White majorities were slim or non-existent in the slave-intensive states, whose reconstruction to electoral “democracy” remains incomplete to the present. Yet, in the waning days of a national white majority, an era projected to end around the year 2043, majoritarian rule becomes a crude legal redoubt of white supremacy.

Back in 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that affirmative action at the University of Michigan served a compelling public interest in spreading “diversity” in the upper echelons of U.S. society. As I wrote in The Black Commentator at the time, the Court was not addressing Black historical grievances, which had already gone by the legal wayside. Rather, it ruled that the programmatic inclusion of non-whites at elite public universities created benefits for society as a whole. This week’s ruling sweepingly proclaims the right of white majorities (58 percent of “the voters” in a 2006 Michigan referendum) to forgo such benefits, at their pleasure, as have California, Florida, Texas, and Washington.

Affirmative action, as understood by President Lyndon Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is long dead. It is “diversity” as public policy that was mortally wounded by the Roberts court, this week. Diversity is now an option that can be outlawed by white voter fiat – which will no doubt occur at a quickening pace given that majorities of whites believe they are the main objects of discrimination in American life. A 2011 study by researchers at Harvard and Tufts Universities, titled “Whites See Racism as a Zero-Sum Game That They Are Now Losing,” showed whites “believe that anti-white bias is more prevalent than anti-Black bias” and that “Black progress is linked to a new inequality” – at white expense.

It is difficult to imagine a greater mass cognitive dissonance. The racism that has always been endemic to the U.S. drove whites crazy, and majorities of them remain nuts – dangerous people, capable of…anything. The High Court has given its benediction to the righteousness of their insanity.

The judicial system is, of course, even more consistent in building a body of legal precedent for the supremacy of money in electoral politics, than of the primacy of majorities – the two being antithetical in principle. In practice, however, the U.S. Supreme Court knows how to serve both majorities of whites and Big Capital, too. The post-Civil War Supreme Court elevated corporations to personhood, smoothing the way for the Gilded Age, and plunged Blacks into the depths of Constitutionally-sanctioned Jim Crow, simultaneously creating all-white electorates and one-party rule by the most backward elements of the bourgeoisie in Dixie.

In Michigan, where white majority opinions and prejudices are deemed sacred by the High Court and a racist referendum is dubbed a “Civil Rights Initiative,” more than half of Black voters have been effectively disenfranchised under the dictatorship of state-imposed emergency financial managers. In jurisdictions like Detroit, Flint and Benton Harbor, where Blacks are the bulk of the population, majorities mean less than nothing; they are dangerous, and must be politically neutered for the general public good, while Wall Street picks Detroit’s bones in a federal bankruptcy court.

Where racism is endemic, all kinds of things are possible – and constitutional.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected]

Today April 24th is considered Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day by Armenians throughout the world. Yesterday for the very first time in history on the eve of the 99th year anniversary of the Armenian genocide, the Turkish government abandoned its century long official wall of denial when  the Turkish Prime Minister Recap Tayyip Erdogan expressed his condolences to Armenians around the world who lost ancestors at the hands of Ottoman Turks. It was a historic gesture welcomed by many including a handful of prominent and outspoken Turkish historians who have been encouraging the government to change its longstanding policy of denying that Turks ever killed Armenians at all. After reading his conciliatory message before the Turkish parliament, Erdogan received a warm reception from his ministers and legislators.

Erdogan’s comments yesterday stopped short of delivering an official apology for his nation’s committing genocide against the Armenians living in Turkey a century earlier during the final years of both the Ottoman Empire and World War I. The Turkish leader’s conciliatory tone is seen as a first step in the right direction toward openly acknowledging the tragic events of a century before. And though very few survivors from the 1915-1917 genocide are still alive, many Armenians all over the world still feel angry with raw emotions unable to either forget or forgive the Turkish government’s hard line stance of rigid denial throughout the decades.

Erdogan’s statement was issued in seven languages and widely circulated in the Turkish media. The prime minister mentioned “shared pain” inflicted on not only Armenians but Turkish people as well, making it a point to include both religions and ethnicities as victims killed during the expulsions and brutalities during “the war to end all wars.” The prime minister remarked:

“The 24th of April carries a particular significance for our Armenian citizens and for all Armenians around the world, and provides a valuable opportunity to share opinions freely on a historical matter. It is indisputable that the last years of the Ottoman Empire were a difficult period, full of suffering for Turkish, Kurdish, Arab, Armenian and millions of other Ottoman citizens, regardless of their religion or ethnic origin.”Making a reference to no longer holding onto their “hierarchies of pain,” Erdogan diplomatically appealed to Armenians to refrain from holding the grudge that disputes their suffering was so much worse than the other aforementioned ethnicities along with Assyrians and Greeks who also suffered their own atrocities. This point only enflamed many Armenians like Aram Hamparian, the executive director of Armenian National Committee of America, who countered that the Turkish leader’s statement a mere “cold-hearted and cynical ploy” to minimize Armenians’ genocidal suffering. Hamparian added that Turkey is finding itself increasingly isolated internationally from other nations especially within its NATO alliance, and claims that Erdogan’s speech was designed as merely a “repackaging” of its genocide denials.

Less than a month ago Turkey was caught with its hand in the false flag jar. A leaked tape surfaced with the Turkish intelligence chief, a general and a deputy foreign minister discussing a plan to stage a false flag attack on Turkey in order to falsely blame Syrian government forces that would then justify a military air strike on Syria. It was believed to be recorded either late last year or early this year. This kind of international embarrassment explains why the Turkish government has so vociferously been clamping down on social media. Censorship has been a feeble attempt to prevent such humiliating disclosures from leaking out to the rest of the world exposing Turkey’s transparency toward military aggression against Syria at virtually all cost, of course with full stamp of approval from the American Empire.

Possessing a very rich and long history, Armenians are the first people to officially declare Christianity as their state religion in 301AD. Surrounded by Moslems, they are also the only ethnic group in the entire Middle East whose majority is Christian, with 97% identifying themselves as such. Thus over the centuries, they have historically been easy targets in the region.

It was also just last month that eyewitness accounts in Syria were reporting that mortar shells and gunfire were launched from the Turkish border toward the Armenian village of Kassab. Four weeks ago anti-Assad rebels began occupying the ancient Armenian town of 2500 residents. All but 30 of the Armenian occupants fled. A Syrian field commander in the area explained to journalists that al Qaeda insurgents initiated the attack “with clear support from the Turks.”

During the three year war anti-Assad rebels have vandalized ancient Armenian Christian churches in Syria. Armenian political science professor Ohannes Geukjian from Beirut’s American University stated, “Kassab is a symbol of Armenian history, language and continuity. It’s very symbolic. And so with the fall of Kassab, I consider it the defeat of Armenian identity in that area.” Even before the World War One-era massacres, Armenians had made a home in the nearby Syrian city of Aleppo dating back to the first century. Loss of this historical Armenian home to extremist Islamist rebels indicates a very uncertain future for these displaced Armenians.

As recently as three weeks ago there were loud protests from Armenians from across the Diaspora including such Armenian American celebrities as Kim Kardashian expressing grave concern over more Turkish efforts of ethnic cleansing. Both the Syrian opposition rebel forces and Turkey have denied violence toward the Armenians. With most of the Kassab residents temporarily relocated to the nearby town of Latakia thirty miles away, another thirty families have been reported to be refugees in the Lebanese city of Anjar. Since the anti-Assad rebels took over the town of Kassab, there has been little news coverage of the fate of both all the displaced Armenians as well as the thirty older Armenians too weak to leave the ancient Armenian community on the Mediterranean Sea.

A century ago a small portion of Armenian genocide survivors managed to stay alive despite their forced deportation across the desert from their homeland that is now Turkey to where they mostly resettled in the norther Syrian city of Aleppo. Though Armenian residents have called Aleppo their home since the first century, waves of genocide victims swelled the Armenian population in Aleppo by 1925 up to about 60,000 residents. There were 70,000 Armenians living in Aleppo and up to 100,000 in Syria at the start of the civil war three years ago. 9000 Armenians that fled from Syria during the war have sought refuge in their Diaspora homeland Armenia and have been immediately accepted as citizens of the Republic of Armenia. Due to the economic hardship of unemployment and difficulty finding adequate housing, many have since left and returned to Syria. Another 8000 refugees are reported to be living in Lebanon now.

Due to its volatile ancient history surrounded by a majority of Moslems nations, the small Christian ethnic group especially since the century ago genocide is currently spread across the globe. The estimated worldwide population of Armenians is eleven million. 3.5 million are currently living in the Republic of Armenia, including 130,000 in the disputed region of Nagorno-Korabakh that was a source of violent conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan in the early 1990’s. Another 5 million are
disbursed on every continent with anywhere between near a million to a million and a half residing in America, predominantly in Southern California.

The annual commemoration of the Armenian genocide every April 24th brings up deep emotional memories in Armenians throughout the world. As an ethnic group Armenians have tended to be historically traditional and proud of their ancient past and culture. Tough my centenarian father was still a toddler during his formative years when one third of all Armenians were being slaughtered, as a genocide survivor he grew up hearing and remembering some of the heinous crimes committed against his own family members back in the old country. And though he passed several months ago, his haunting stories of what occurred way back when still remain forever fresh in my mind. I recall a family relative who was a young adolescent girl at the time actually swallowing family jewelry to avoid the Turkish soldiers from confiscating her family’s heirlooms when they invaded and looted her home. Apparently the Turks engaged in a common practice of seeking and collecting every valuable possession belonging to Armenians. As part of the systematic killing, a Turkish soldier allegedly used his saber to cut open the girl’s stomach to ensure the acquisition of every last valuable.

Other stories corroborated with photographs taken at the time that have been frequently handed down from one generation to the next depicted starving Armenian victims being forced on a deportation march out of what is now eastern Turkey through the desert into Syria. Those who were too famished and weak to stay on their feet during the march as armed Turkish soldiers riding alongside on horseback prodded and pushed them, when the mostly women and children would fall to the ground, the Turks would regularly stab their victims and throw their bleeding bodies still alive to drown in the Euphrates River. Numerous accounts of the horrid scene spoke of the river running red.

The proclamation calling for extermination of all Armenians residing inside the Turkish borders issued on April 24th, 1915 proceeded in two organized phases. The first was launched on that April 24th date systematically rounded up, detained and executed the ablest-bodied Armenian males consisting of 250 patriarchal community leaders, the intellectuals, most accomplished artisans, prominent businessmen, clergymen from the Christian Armenian Orthodox church and professionals were targeted and slain. The premeditated genocide had been well thought out and organized, killing those deemed most capable of defending their people first mostly by firing squad. This earliest offensive to massacre the most able-bodied male leaders was the cunning and largely successful Turkish strategy designed to chop off the head of its victim in order to next easily dismember the body. Thus the wholesale slaughter of the male population through massacre and forced labor generally preceded the deportation of women, children and the elderly on the death marches to the Syrian desert. In a three year period upwards of a million and a half Armenians were brutally murdered.

Despite Turkey’s denial the Armenian genocide is accepted as the first modern genocide of the twentieth century, one that Adolf Hitler just two decades later would use as his blueprint model for his own Holocaust against six million Jews he killed during the Second World War. Hitler flippantly referred to the “already forgotten Armenian genocide” as his cue to proceed forth with the second genocide of the century.

Twenty-three nations have openly recognized the prolonged tragedy of the Armenian genocide, placing increasing pressure in recent years calling on the Turkish government to suspend its official “living a lie” policy of unequivocal genocide denial. Of course due to the crucially important geopolitical location of Turkey as a key NATO ally of the United States to reign supreme as the sole global superpower maintaining full dominance and hegemonic control of both the Middle East and eastern Europe right up to Russia’s doorstep, America will never be among those 23 nations applying any pressure on Turkey to do the right thing, not when the US military occupies two significant military installations in Turkey.

The US maintaining its global superpower status in the strategic chessboard game of one-upmanship in the most oil rich region on earth obviously holds court over any moral principle or ethics of what might have happened to a small forgotten ethnic minority a full century ago. Incirlik US Air Force Base is located close to the ancient city of Adana near the Syrian border where the US has a persistent vested interest in fighting its proxy war to defeat the Syrian Army and the second post is Izmir Airbase in western Turkey that is utilized more pivotally for military operations in Europe.

Yesterday’s conciliatory remarks by the Turkish Prime Minister mark an important footnote in Turkish-Armenian history, and perhaps at least opens a small window for further dialogue between the two nations and people. In a current world where tensions and conflicts appear to be on the rise with war looming over a number of regional hotspots, the Turkish leader’s words of condolence offer a glimmer of light and hope that a spirit of forgiveness and mutual acceptance may pave the way toward much needed healing. And by this first step forward, perhaps it can set the example for more nations and more people to embrace our shared humanness and commonalities that in turn facilitates increased understanding, cooperation and peace.

Joachim Hagopian is an Armenian American who also is a West Point graduate and former Army officer. His written manuscript based on his military experience examines leadership and national security issues and can be consulted at http://www.redredsea.net/westpointhagopian/. After the military, Joachim earned a masters degree in psychology and became a licensed therapist working in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now focuses on writing.

Anna-Marie Slaughter demonstrates that you need not scratch a “humanitarian interventionist” much to uncover the warmongering neoconservative just below the surface.

In an essay today, titled, “Stopping Russia Starts in Syria,” she argues that “the solution to the crisis in Ukraine lies in part in Syria.” President Obama must “demonstrate that he can order the offensive use of force in circumstances other than secret drone attacks or covert operations,” she writes.

Translation: to get Putin back for his supposed actions in Ukraine, Slaughter calls for President Obama to bomb Syria.

Slaughter recognizes the view of “Assad as the lesser evil compared to the Al Qaeda-affiliated members of the opposition” and admits that “the Syrian government does appear to be slowly giving up its chemical weapons, as it agreed last September to do.”

Nevertheless, she writes, ”it is time to change Putin’s calculations, and Syria is the place to do it.”

“It is impossible to strike Syria legally so long as Russia sits on the United Nations Security Council,” she writes, so her solution is simply to do it illegally. She suggests that the US should begin bombing Syria to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 2139, even though that is not a “Chapter VII” resolution authorizing force.

It is ironic and highlights the cruel depravity of Slaughter that she suggests the bombing of Syria to enforce UNSC 2139, which was drawn up to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian relief to the war-ravaged Syrian people.

Using a humanitarian relief UN resolution as a cover for the most anti-humanitarian of all acts — dropping bombs — reveals the true colors of the “humanitarian interventionist” and “responsibility to protect” crowd.

Anne-Marie Slaughter embodies the disturbing trend of US government operatives (she was Director of Policy Planning for the U.S. State Department from January 2009 until February 2011) which move into the “non-governmental” sector while directing public-private “non-profit” resources toward the promotion of US government foreign policy.

In her current position as president of the New America Foundation, she is in active partnership with the US government to develop new tools to help promote regime-change overseas. According to the New York Times, the New America Foundation has been awarded a three year contract by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop a kind of underground Internet system for Cuba.

Readers recall that USAID was recently embroiled in controversy when it covertly developed a “Cuban Twitter” platform whose purpose was to foment regime change in the Caribbean island nation.

Does anyone doubt that Slaughter’s New America Foundation is developing USAID’s “Cuban Internet” program for any reason other than to use it to further US regime change policy?

Anne-Marie Slaughter ends her preposterous “bomb Syria” essay with a phrase that could have been — and perhaps was — uttered by the likes of Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham:

Obama took office with the aim of ending wars, not starting them. But if the US meets bullets with words, tyrants will draw their own conclusions.

Bombs for peace. That is the neocon/humanitarian-interventionist war cry.

De-escalation in Ukraine as seen by Joe Biden

April 24th, 2014 by Nikolai Bobkin

According to the White House briefing, the Vice-President Joe Biden’s visit to Ukraine was to demonstrate the support of Ukraine by the United States. Washington realizes the interim government in Kiev is on the verge of collapse. Washington believes that its fall would be tantamount to a defeat suffered by the United States. Biden landed in Kiev to make the US save face and define the ways to retreat if need be. Under the pretext of global commitments, the White House is focused on the local-scale mission to maintain power in Ukraine in the hands of its puppets…The country is in disarray; the plan to convert it into an anti-Russian springboard has failed. Here is another US global failure and Biden had to cover it up by statements calling for «defense of Ukraine’s unity and independence and the restoration of its national honor and pride». But the results of the visit tell a different story.

First, nobody has any doubts now that the imposters in Kiev fully depend on Washington. The crisis in Ukraine is spreading around to encompass the whole nation. The situation needs urgent measures to be taken. The US administration makes another mistake trying to substitute the comprehensive settlement of the national crisis with the stated «de-escalation» in the East.

Second, it is becoming clear for Washington that the Kiev rulers cannot defend US interests in Ukraine as expected. The American influence spreads only on a limited number of individual Ukrainian politicians with rather low rating of popularity. The US frustration was demonstrated by the way the would-be election slated for May was discussed by the parties. No pre-election campaign is possible when central authorities are sending military regiments to repress people’s rebelion in the regions. The whole election process boiled down to a long list of candidates, but there is no one there the United States could rely on. How could a «democratic» victory be guaranteed when the majority of population has no wish to express its will at all? But Vice-President Biden told Kiev to go on with the mission.

Third, Biden should be remembered that he personally is responsible for the collapse of Ukraine’s statehood. By the end of January Biden urged Ukraine’s President Yanukovych to address the protesters’ legitimate concerns and protect democratic freedoms. Biden said back then that violence by any side is unacceptable but only Ukraine’s government can ensure an end to the crisis. The Vice-President also told Yanukovych that more violence would have consequences for Ukraine’s relationship with the U.S., which is considering sanctions. There is a face-about now. He urges the new Kiev rulers to use force in Eastern Ukraine. Back in January Biden was calling for meeting the demands of peaceful demonstrators stressing the importance of dialogue with the opposition and the need to find a way out of the crisis on the basis of compromise. Now he wants the meetings banned in the East. According to him, the expression of people’s will shake the «foundation of democratic society». Only very naïve people cannot see how brazenly hypocritical he is. 

Fourth, his remarks in the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) were unusually harsh. Again he stressed that the Russia’s meddling into the internal affairs of Ukraine was unacceptable. Just a few days before the Crimea referendum Kerry threatened it by saying that «diplomatic means of crisis management could be exhausted soon». The US warnings have failed to produce the expected results. According to Biden, it’s time for the US administration to re-set the approach towards Russia.

Joe Biden shared his vision of the Russia’s place on the international arena with the Wall Street Journal in an interview. According to him, the situation in the world is changing while Russia tries to stick to the shaky past risking to lose face and the imperial posture. Still he admitted that Washington was to act cautiously. He even cited his father who told him “never put another man in a corner where the only way out is over you..” He hit the nail right on the head. But Biden, Jr., is driving the United States into a dead end in Ukraine, the dead end that is far from leaving an opportunity to escape. There is nothing in concrete terms the Kiev’s curator could offer.

Fifth, speaking at a meeting with Ukrainian legislators, Mr. Biden said the United States supported Ukraine facing «humiliating threats». It’s evident he meant Russia. Still, many Ukrainian MPs who had no sympathy for Russia, found the economic aid offered by the United States to be embarrassing. The US is to provide an additional $50m for political and economic reforms in Ukraine, including $11m to help run the presidential election due on 25 May. And further $8m is being provided for non-lethal military assistance, such as bomb disposal equipment and radios. It’s nothing in comparison with what was allocated for the coup. Ukrainians are upset to be offered their share of crumbs from the master’s table. Kiev still remembers the total amount of economic aid it has received from Russia since the days of the Soviet Union’s collapse was around $250 billion.

Sixth, the visit showed that the United States is prone to discuss the fate of the country behind the scenes talking to illegal authorities. The blindness of Kiev is stunning. They look at the homeland through the prism of hostility towards Russia. The anti-Russia optics distorts the reality beyond recognition. The calls of the Vice-President to «stop talking and start acting» pursue the only goal – to make Ukraine finally collapse turning it into an America satellite threatening its neighbors. I mean not Russia alone, but all the neighbors.

America does not care about the opinion of European allies. It had not come into the Vice-President’s head to hold preliminary consultations with the European Union’s partners. Most likely he has never read the Geneva final statement on Ukraine signed by Europeans. Biden’s warning that Russia’s further “provocative behavior” would lead to “greater isolation” looks too archaic, like something that has no relation to the recent diplomatic endeavors on the Ukraine’s crisis management. Talking about the «de-escalation» Biden continues attempts to make Kiev start a war against its own people.

At least 35 people were reportedly killed over the weekend in Yemen, as a series of air strikes hit the country, including the biggest reported drone strike of the year so far.

Multiple sources including military officials and eyewitnesses described how a US drone attacked a truck that was carrying alleged members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and also hit a vehicle carrying civilians. At least 10 – and possibly as many as 21 – were reportedly killed in the attack, including at least three civilians. They were described as ‘construction workers‘ or ‘labourers’ by some reports.

This is the highest death toll of any confirmed drone strike in Yemen so far this year. The Bureau regards drone strikes as ‘confirmed’ if they are described as such by three independent sources, such as eyewitnesses, military officials and security sources.

Attacks continued on Sunday when air strikes – described by many reports as US drone strikes – targeted three suspected militant camps in the same province. Early reports suggested five people had been killed, but the reported death toll later rose. A tribal source told Reuters 25 bodies had been removed from the site, while other media reported a death toll in excess of 30.

But it remained unclear whether these attacks were indeed drone strikes – and indeed whether they were carried out by the US, or by the Yemeni air force. The Bureau currently classes these as ‘possible’ drone strikes.

In Pakistan, the hub of the covert drone campaign for the past decade, there has not been a drone strike since Christmas Day, as reportedly the attacks have been to allow peace negotiations between the Pakistan Taliban and the government to take place. Last year, for the first time, there were no confirmed reports of civilian casualties in Pakistan, despite 27 attacks taking place.

But reports of drone attacks – and civilian deaths – have continued in Yemen.

Last December, a drone attacked a wedding procession, again in al Bayda province, killing up to 12 reported civilians. Later investigations by organisations including Human Rights Watch raised concerns about multiple civilian deaths.

Unusually, soon after the wedding attack, US officials briefed reporters that the strike had been carried out by the US military. Both the CIA and special forces unit Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) have launched lethal operations in the country. The US does not routinely acknowledge the strikes, let alone indicate which force has carried out a particular strike.

The US has said it has investigated the claims but has found no evidence of civilian casualties. Yet earlier this month, New York Times reporter Mark Mazzetti, author of a book on drones, wrote that JSOC had been barred from carrying out drone strikes in the country because of ‘botched’ strikes.

‘Officials said that the ban, not previously reported, came after a military drone strike in December killed a number of civilians who were part of a wedding procession in a desolate region south of Yemen’s capital, Sana,’ Mazzetti reported.

If the New York Times report is accurate, this indicates that Saturday’s strike, which reportedly killed civilians, is likely to have been carried out by the CIA. The CIA declined to comment when contacted by the Bureau.

An unnamed source described as a ‘high-level Yemeni government official’ told CNN: ‘This was a joint U.S.-Yemeni operation. Intelligence on this was top-notch, and Intelligence gathering was going on for some time.’

The official added: ‘Unfortunately, a civilian truck was also hit.’

Yemeni state media agency Saba was quoted by Reuters as saying the dead men were ‘among the dangerous and leading elements of al Qaeda’. The attack was based on ‘confirmed intelligence’ that the men were ‘planning to target vital civil and military institutions’.

Salem al Kushn, who said he was in the vehicle in which civilians were killed, described the attack: ‘Our vehicle was 15 meters from the attacked pickup, and the shrapnel from the strike poured on our car. Minutes after the first attack a second attack took place killing three of my friends in process,’ al Kushn told CNN. ‘The drone then kept going in circles after the attack to ensure that none of the militants were able to escape.’

Less than a year ago, in May 2013, President Obama said in a major policy speech on targeted killings: ‘Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.’ He described this as ’the highest standard that we can set’.

Hina Shamsi of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has brought cases over US drone strikes in Yemen, told the Bureau: ‘President Obama’s ”near-certainty” standard appears to be as malleable as his administration’s novel definition of an ”imminent” threat, which doesn’t require evidence of an actual plot or threat that’s about to take place.

‘If the targets of the latest drone strike were lawful – and we don’t know that for sure – it’s hard to see why the strike couldn’t take place after a car full of civilians was out of danger.’

Yemeni journalist Nasser Arabyee said the attacks ‘confirmed the US [has] resumed its drone war’ on AQAP in Yemen.

There were multiple reported US/Yemeni operations between April 19-21. An overview of these operations can be seen here.

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The New York Times pushed fabricated evidence in the run up to the Iraq war.   A year later, the newspaper apologized for its inaccurate, one-sided coverage.

The U.S. and the New York Times pretended that Syria’s government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack … but that claim was debunked, and even the New York Times was forced to retract itseveral months later.  (The alternative media, including Pulitzer prize winning reporter Seymour Hersh, has also pointed out that it was the Syrians rebels – with the help of the Turkish government – did it).

Then the U.S. and the New York Times pretended that they had proof that Russian soldiers were the mysterious “masked men” seizing government buildings in Russia.  But a couple of days later, they were forced reporting from the alternative media – especially Robert Parry, winner of the George Polk Award for National Reporting – into retracting that claim, and admitting that their “proof” was almost as flimsy as proof of Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction”.

It seems like the alternative media is forcing the New York Times to retract half-baked, pro-war, propaganda claims more and more quickly.

Does Washington want War with Russia?

April 24th, 2014 by Bill Van Auken

Does Washington want a war with Russia? A review of recent US actions surrounding the crisis in Ukraine clearly poses what would have once seemed an unthinkable question. The Obama administration is playing a very dangerous game of Russian Roulette.

In the last 48 hours, the Pentagon has announced the deployment of US paratrooper units to Poland and the three former Baltic republics of the Soviet Union—Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania—bringing US troops to Russia’s very border. Another American warship has been dispatched to the Black Sea and more US forces are slated to deploy to Ukraine itself this summer under an exercise known as Operation Rapid Trident.

These military moves by Washington are unfolding in the context of an acute crisis within Ukraine that, thanks to the machinations of Washington and its puppets, threatens to erupt into full-blown civil war.

Less than one week after signing a joint statement with Russia, the US and the European Union in Geneva pledging to end all violence in Ukraine and disarm illegal groups, the US puppet regime in Kiev has ordered its military to carry out an “anti-terrorist” crackdown against the restive Russian-speaking population in the country’s industrial southeast. To that end it has dispatched not only troops, tanks and warplanes, but also armed thugs from the neo-fascist Right Sector.

The Putin government in Moscow, which has desperately searched for an accommodation with Washington, appears to be waking up to the deadly seriousness of the situation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned in an English-language interview with the state-run RT television channel Wednesday that his government would treat an attack on Russian citizens in Ukraine as an attack on Russia itself. He raised as a precedent the August 2008 offensive launched by the government of Georgia on Russians in South Ossetia, to which Russia responded by intervening militarily to repel Georgian forces.

The implication that the Russian government would carry out a similar intervention to stop Ukrainian troops from slaughtering Russian-speaking civilians in the Donbas region should be treated with the utmost seriousness.

In the interview, Lavrov also observed, referring to the actions of the government in Kiev, that “the Americans are running the show in a very close way.” This is indisputable. The regime itself is the product of a protracted American intervention in the country’s internal affairs, with some $5 billion in so-called “democracy promotion” funding pumped into Ukraine since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

These efforts culminated in the fomenting of a right-wing opposition movement to destabilize the Russian-aligned government of President Viktor Yanukovych by means of street violence. When a deal was brokered between the opposition and Yanukovych, Washington ensured that it was scuttled and the elected president overthrown by fascist paramilitary forces.

The prime minister of the regime brought to power by the February 22 fascist-led coup, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, was handpicked by US officials, who affectionately referred to him as “Yats.”

The point person for this operation has been US Undersecretary of State for Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, a former chief security adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney and the wife of Robert Kagan, the founding chairman of the Project for a New American Century. She has brought to Ukraine and to Russia itself the same policy of aggressive war that was implemented in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The way in which Washington calls the shots has been demonstrated in an even more sinister fashion with the launching of the first abortive “counterterrorist” operation in the Donbas in the immediate aftermath of a covert trip to Kiev by CIA Director John Brennan, and then its resumption in the immediate aftermath of this week’s visit by Vice President Joseph Biden.

From start to finish, the Ukraine crisis has been instigated by US imperialism. Every action Washington has taken has been directed at exacerbating and intensifying this crisis. The longer this crisis goes on, the clearer it becomes that US policy is directed not so much at Ukraine as at Russia itself. Ukraine, it would seem, is meant merely to provide the pretext for a war with Russia.

Short of that, it would be used to force a humiliating capitulation by Moscow that would only set the stage for redoubled aggression aimed at Russia’s dismemberment and transformation into a powerless semi-colony.

Presumably, those in the White House and the Pentagon believe that such a conflict would stop short of a nuclear war, but who knows?

The threat of a US war on Russia is also apparent in the flood of war propaganda being unleashed upon the public. Vladimir Putin is being subjected to the same kind of demonization previously reserved for Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi, while the State Department and its faithful scribes at the New York Times serve up “photographic evidence” of Russian troops in Ukraine that has all the authenticity of similar “proofs” of Iraq’s “weapons of mass destruction.”

What underlies the US war drive? In the run-up to the Ukraine crisis, Washington had grown increasingly incensed by Moscow’s role in blocking US war plans against both Syria and Iran, not to mention Putin’s granting of asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Earlier, there was the fiasco that Moscow dealt Washington in the US-backed 2008 war launched by Georgia against South Ossetia. The events in Ukraine suggest that US imperialism has embarked on a strategy to eliminate Russia as an obstacle to its drive to assert hegemony over the Middle East and, more broadly, the landmass of Eurasia.

There are also internal factors driving Washington to war. Social contradictions within the United States have reached a dangerous intensity. Masses of working people continue to bear the brunt of the capitalist economic crisis, even as Wall Street recoups its losses from the 2008 collapse and grows richer than ever. More and more fingers are pointing at the super-rich as the party responsible for unprecedented social inequality and misery in America.

As so often in the past, war provides an external outlet for internal social pressures and the danger of domestic unrest. Under conditions of overwhelming popular hostility to military intervention, one thing is certain: a war with Russia would rapidly lead to the shredding of the Constitution, the abrogation of democratic rights, the outlawing of political opposition and a massive escalation of police state measures.

The greatest danger would be to underestimate the threat of war. Even if it is averted or postponed in the immediate instance, the profound contradictions of the imperialist system make the catastrophe of a nuclear Third World War not just a danger, but an inevitability, outside of the working class mobilizing its strength internationally in a unified movement to put an end to capitalism.

 

US President Barack Obama has set the stage for formal talks today with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe by provocatively telling the Yomuiri Shimbun that the US is fully committed to supporting Japan in any military conflict with China over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea. Obama landed in Tokyo yesterday on the first leg of his Asian trip, which includes South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

In written answers to the Japanese newspaper, Obama declared: “The policy of the United States is clear—the Senkaku islands are administered by Japan and therefore fall within the scope of Article 5 of the US-Japan Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security. And we oppose any unilateral attempts to undermine Japan’s administration of these islands.”

While US officials have made similar statements previously, Obama’s unequivocal backing for Japan in any war with China will only further fuel the tense situation surrounding the islets, and harden Abe’s refusal to even concede that a territorial dispute exists. At the same time as he has deliberately stoked up a confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, Obama is giving the green light to the right-wing Abe government in Japan to take a more belligerent stance against China.

Obama’s comments to the Yomuiri Shimbun make clear that his “pivot to Asia” is broadly targeted against China. While paying lip service to “engagement with China,” he pointedly warned that “both our nations have to resist the danger of slipping into conflict.” He also reassured Tokyo that “our engagement with China does not and will not come at the expense of Japan or any other ally.”

Not surprisingly, the Chinese regime bluntly rejected Obama’s remarks. Foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang yesterday opposed the application of the US-Japan Security Treaty to the disputed islands, branding it as a Cold War alliance that “should not be used to damage China’s sovereignty and legitimate interest.” In conditions where Washington engineered a provocation against Moscow in the form of a fascist-led coup in Kiev, Beijing clearly fears that the tensions in the East China Sea could rapidly become the basis for threats of war against China.

Last November, the US recklessly challenged China’s declaration of an Air Defence Identification Zone in the East China Sea by flying nuclear-capable B-52 bombers into the zone unannounced—risking a confrontation or clash with Chinese aircraft.

The Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia”—aimed at containing China diplomatically, economically and militarily—has transformed the East China Sea into a dangerous flashpoint. The long dormant dispute over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands was deliberately stoked up in the aftermath of Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s resignation in June 2010. The US put pressure on Hatoyama to step down after a sharp disagreement over US bases on Okinawa. His efforts to improve Japan’s ties with China had cut across Obama’s confrontational “pivot.”

In September 2010, the Democrat government of Naoto Kan provoked a major diplomatic row with China by arresting a Chinese trawler captain in waters around the disputed islands—a confrontation that former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton inflamed by affirming support for Japan under the security treaty. Tensions again flared in September 2012, after the Japanese government “nationalised” the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands, leading to increasingly risky manoeuvres by Chinese and Japanese ships and aircraft in the area.

Obama’s “pivot” helped create the climate of fear that Abe and his Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) exploited to win the 2012 election and proceed with his plans to remilitarise Japan. In his Yomuiri Shimbun interview, Obama explicitly commended Abe “for his efforts to strengthen Japan’s defence forces and to deepen the coordination between our militaries, including by reviewing existing limits on the exercise of collective self defence. We believe it is in the interest of both our countries for Japanese Self Defence Forces to do more within the framework of our alliance.”

Under article 9 of the postwar constitution—drawn up by US occupying forces—Japan explicitly renounced “war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.” Post-war governments “reinterpreted” the clause to allow for the formation of so-called self defence forces. Under the banner of permitting “collective self-defence,” Abe is now moving to end the restraints on the Japanese military engaging in wars of aggression alongside the US, not only in Asia, but other parts of the world. Japan’s involvement in the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq was in a limited supportive role.

While not immediately on the agenda, the Abe government has also mooted a constitutional interpretation to allow for “pre-emptive self-defence”—in other words, Japanese acts of aggression in response to a threat, real or concocted. While currently aligned with the US in its “pivot” against China, Abe is seeking to rearm in order to prosecute the economic and strategic interests of Japanese imperialism, whether they coincide with those of the US or not.

Already there are frictions emerging in relations between the US and Japan. While not overtly critical, the Abe government was displeased that the US did not adopt a tougher stance towards China last year over its Air Defence Identification Zone. Unlike Japan, the US acknowledged that China had the right to declare such a zone. While US military aircraft would not abide by China’s new rules, Washington directed American civilian aircraft to do so.

Japan and the US have also reached an impasse in negotiations over the Trans Pacific Partnership (TTP)—an all-encompassing agreement involving 12 nations, through which the Obama administration is seeking to set the rules for trade and investment throughout the region. Agreement between the US and Japan is central to establishing such a deal, but the two countries remain locked in disagreement over tariffs on agriculture and vehicles.

Obama, who had hoped to announce an agreement during his visit, emphasised the TPP’s importance for removing “tariffs, barriers and practices throughout the region that limit trade and investment and which prevent our economies from reaching their full potential.” As the Abe government is only too well aware, Obama is seeking the removal of trade and investment barriers as a means of boosting the profits of American corporations at the expense of their rivals. An end to Japan’s agricultural tariffs would have a devastating impact in rural areas that form a significant political base for the ruling LDP.

Obama’s visit will undoubtedly be focused on the joint military build-up of the US and Japan against China. But the underlying differences underscore the divergent economic and strategic interests of the US and Japan, which during the second world war fought a bloody war in the Pacific for the domination of Asia. These differences could in the future fuel a new confrontation between the region’s two major imperialist powers.

Authorities in Louisiana are compiling a database of information on every citizen in order to identify people who are “a risk to the state,” as well as pinpointing future criminals in an effort to allow the state to “intervene in that person’s life”.

Details of the program were recently divulged by Chris Broadwater, Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from District 86, in the following YouTube video.

The Comprehensive Person Profile, developed by software company SAS, uses information from every agency of state government to compile personal data entries on Louisiana residents which are centralized on one database.

Originally set up to combat fraudulent workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance claims, the program was expanded to create a “centralized data warehouse” that allows “every agency within state government” to both submit and access data on every person within the state.

The purposes of the database, in the words of Broadwater, are to “detect fraud” and to identify people who are “a risk to the state down the road based upon the information we know about the individual,” enabling authorities to quickly identify “an individual who is going to be at risk of incarceration down the road,” a process that sounds an awful lot like ‘pre-crime’.

Broadwater remarks that the state having such a treasure trove of information about each individual will allow authorities to “intervene in that person’s life”.

The program is also being introduced under the guise of making the lives of Louisiana residents “better” by way of things like speeding up the process of renewing a drivers license. Broadwater notes that during this process, state workers would be able to access information about the applicant’s children and make recommendations about health insurance.

Very little information about how the state of Louisiana is actually using the program is in the public domain besides what Broadwater reveals in the video above.

Activist outfit The People, LLC is calling on citizens of Louisiana to support Rep. Schroder’s HB 1076 (data privacy) bill, which would go some way to nullifying that information that could be shared with the state database.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

U.S. State Terrorism: Boston vs Baghdad

April 24th, 2014 by Ralph Nader

Greater Boston and its citizens are the focus of media attention in recognition of the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings that took three innocent lives and injured over 264 people, some of them severely. City leaders praised the heroism of the first responders and the deepened community spirit (“Boston Strong”). Addressing 2,500 invited Bostonians, including the bereaved families, Vice President Biden said “You have become the face of America’s resolve, not unlike what happened in 9/11…for the whole world to see. People know all about you. They know your pride, they know your courage, they know your resolve, they know who you are.”

There followed a procession down Boylston Street with bagpipers playing.

Meanwhile six thousand miles away in Iraq, there are terror bombings of innocent civilians almost every day. A sample:

On April 9, 2014, the New York Times reported that “The Iraqi capital, Baghdad, experienced a series of violent attacks on Wednesday when eight car bombs and two mortar shells killed as many as 25 people.”

On March 27, 2014, the Times reported that “A series of bombings in Baghdad killed at least 33 people and wounded dozens.” A 7 year old boy told his dad that he “had heard so many explosions that he could distinguish the different kinds of bombs.”

On March 9, 2014, the Times reported that a suicide bomber killed at least 45 people and wounded more than 100. A college student in the hospital remarked “my legs were no longer there.”

On March 6, 2014, the Times reported on bombings taking the lives of at least 30 shoppers and workers at public markets.

Such civilian deaths totaled 9,571 last year, according to the reliable group Iraq Body Count.

All this carnage, following the destruction of Iraq by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and the aftermath, is occurring in a country less than one twenty-third the size of the United States with less than one ninth the population, and far fewer emergency and hospital facilities.

And this bloodshed is happening almost every day over much of their torn apart country. Iraqis know this will continue to happen in the coming days and weeks with no foreseeable end. There is no annual commemoration to mark their losses. Their memories of loved ones are blurred by constant fear of what was and what comes, day after day due to violence, hunger, poverty, disease-bearing contaminated water, the collapse of critical public services from electricity to health care to safety. This has resulted in the flight of more desperate people out of Iraq.

Flash back to March 2003, when the fabrications, secret cover-ups and propaganda of the Bush/Cheney regime led to the illegal, unconstitutional invasion of Iraq. Under the tottering dictatorship of Washington’s former ally, Saddam Hussein, who presided over a poorly equipped army, unwilling and unable to fight, and was surrounded by three far more powerful neighbors should Hussein have made a menacing regional move. Iraq was no threat to the U.S., had no weapons of mass destruction, and was the mortal enemy of al-Qaeda.

Nonetheless, George W. Bush – of the self-styled “kick-ass” Bush clan – dispatched “shock and awe” against a defenseless population and replaced the dictator, Hussein, with brutal warfare, death squads and sectarian conflict, which has resulted in over a million lives lost, and millions of refugees (many of them children), amounting to a sociocide in that ancient land.

When President Bush’s chief anti-terrorism adviser, Richard Clarke, left the White House in 2003, he wrote in his memoirs that Mr. Bush’s invasion of Iraq was exactly what Osama bin Laden wanted to happen. Al-Qaeda did not have any presence in Iraq before the invasion, but the group is now wreaking havoc there, along with other affiliates in other countries due to Bush’s blundering. The U.S.’s empire-building both attacks and alienates local civilian populations, produces U.S. and foreign casualties and drains immense U.S. tax dollars needed here to rebuild our country.

History is cause and effect. Continuation of an Empire’s proclivity to wage war and regularly use force as a foreign policy will produce more far-reaching blowbacks. Waging peace, preventing conflict through diplomacy driven by justice – that great instrument of peace – has become an afterthought in Washington, D.C.

“Boston Strong” can be more than looking back on a tragedy with a stiff upper lip. It can nourish, from the cradle of the American Revolution, a rising sensitivity that tyranny abroad is a Washington export that defies our constitution and the better instincts of the people who stand against foreign wars for oil and an aggressive Empire unrelated to legitimate national defense.

Our collective compassion is helped by the development of fact-based empathy. That horrible tragedy at the Boston Marathon last year can lead to a constructive rapport with the Iraqi people who have suffered at the hands of the Bush/Cheney government and the lethal forces which the vicious invasion put in motion.

War Makes Us Poor

April 24th, 2014 by Washington's Blog

Image courtesy of Steve Hess

Top Economists Say War Is Bad for the Economy

Preface: Many Americans – including influential economists and talking heads - still wrongly assume that war is good for the economy. Many congressmen assume that cutting pork-barrel military spending would hurt their constituents’ jobs.

As demonstrated below, it isn’t true.

Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that war is bad for the economy:

Stiglitz wrote in 2003:

War is widely thought to be linked to economic good times. The second world war is often said to have brought the world out of depression, and war has since enhanced its reputation as a spur to economic growth. Some even suggest that capitalism needs wars, that without them, recession would always lurk on the horizon. Today, we know that this is nonsense. The 1990s boom showed that peace is economically far better than war. The Gulf war of 1991 demonstrated that wars can actually be bad for an economy.

Stiglitz has also said that this decade’s Iraq war has been very bad for the economy. Seethisthis and this.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan also said in that war is bad for the economy.   In 1991, Greenspan said that a prolonged conflict in the Middle East would hurt the economy. And he made this point again in 1999:

Societies need to buy as much military insurance as they need, but to spend more than that is to squander money that could go toward improving the productivity of the economy as a whole: with more efficient transportation systems, a better educated citizenry, and so on. This is the point that retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) learned back in 1999 in a House Banking Committee hearing with then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Frank asked what factors were producing our then-strong economic performance. On Greenspan’s list: “The freeing up of resources previously employed to produce military products that was brought about by the end of the Cold War.” Are you saying, Frank asked, “that dollar for dollar, military products are there as insurance … and to the extent you could put those dollars into other areas, maybe education and job trainings, maybe into transportation … that is going to have a good economic effect?”Greenspan agreed.

Economist Dean Baker notes:

It is often believed that wars and military spending increases are good for the economy. In fact, most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment.

The Proof Is In the Pudding

Mike Lofgren notes:

Military spending may at one time have been a genuine job creator when weapons were compatible with converted civilian production lines, but the days of Rosie the Riveter are long gone. [Indeed, WWII was different from current wars in many ways, and so its economic effects are not comparable to those of today's wars.]  Most weapons projects now require relatively little touch labor. Instead, a disproportionate share is siphoned into high-cost R&D (from which the civilian economy benefits little), exorbitant management expenditures, high overhead, and out-and-out padding, including money that flows back into political campaigns. A dollar appropriated for highway construction, health care, or education will likely create more jobs than a dollar for Pentagon weapons procurement.

***

During the decade of the 2000s, DOD budgets, including funds spent on the war, doubled in our nation’s longest sustained post-World War II defense increase. Yet during the same decade, jobs were created at the slowest rate since the Hoover administrationIf defense helped the economy, it is not evident. And just the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan added over $1.4 trillion to deficits, according to the Congressional Research Service. Whether the wars were “worth it” or merely stirred up a hornet’s nest abroad is a policy discussion for another time; what is clear is that whether you are a Keynesian or a deficit hawk, war and associated military spending are no economic panacea.

The Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) shows that any boost from war is temporary at best. For example, while WWII provided a temporary bump in GDP, GDP then fell back to the baseline trend. After the Korean War, GDP fell below the baseline trend:

IEP notes:

By examining the state of the economy at each of the major conflict periods since World War II, it can be seen that the positive effects of increased military spending were outweighed by longer term unintended negative macroeconomic consequences. While the stimulatory effect of military outlays is evidently associated with boosts in economic growth, adverse effects show up either immediately or soon after, through higher inflation, budget deficits, high taxes and reductions in consumption or investment. Rectifying these effects has required subsequent painful adjustments which are neither efficient nor desirable. When an economy has excess capacity and unemployment, it is possible that increasing military spending can provide an important stimulus. However, if there are budget constraints, as there are in the U.S. currently, then excessive military spending can displace more productive non-military outlays in other areas such as investments in high-tech industries, education, or infrastructure. The crowding-out effects of disproportionate government spending on military functions can affect service delivery or infrastructure development, ultimately affecting long-term growth rates.

***

Analysis of the macroeconomic components of GDP during World War II and in subsequent conflicts show heightened military spending had several adverse macroeconomic effects. These occurred as a direct consequence of the funding requirements of increased military spending. The U.S. has paid for its wars either through debt (World War II, Cold War, Afghanistan/Iraq), taxation (Korean War) or inflation (Vietnam). In each case, taxpayers have been burdened, and private sector consumption and investment have been constrained as a result. Other negative effects include larger budget deficits, higher taxes, and growth above trend leading to inflation pressure. These effects can run concurrent with major conflict or via lagging effects into the future. Regardless of the way a war is financed, the overall macroeconomic effect on the economy tends to be negative. For each of the periods after World War II, we need to ask, what would have happened in economic terms if these wars did not happen? On the specific evidence provided, it can be reasonably said, it is likely taxes would have been lower, inflation would have been lower, there would have been higher consumption and investment and certainly lower budget deficits. Some wars are necessary to fight and the negative effects of not fighting these wars can far outweigh the costs of fighting. However if there are other options, then it is prudent to exhaust them first as once wars do start, the outcome, duration and economic consequences are difficult to predict.

We noted in 2011:

This is a no-brainer, if you think about it. We’ve been in Afghanistan for almost twice as long as World War II. We’ve been in Iraq for years longer than WWII. We’ve been involved in 7 or 8 wars in the last decade. And yet [the economy is still unstable]. If wars really helped the economy, don’t you think things would have improved by now? Indeed,the Iraq war alone could end up costing more than World War II. And given the other wars we’ve been involved in this decade, I believe that the total price tag for the so-called “War on Terror” will definitely support that of the “Greatest War”.

Let’s look at the adverse effects of war in more detail …

War Spending Diverts Stimulus Away from the Real Civilian Economy

IEP notes that – even though the government spending soared – consumption and investment were flatduring the Vietnam war:

The New Republic noted in 2009:

Conservative Harvard economist Robert Barro has argued that increased military spending during WWII actually depressed other parts of the economy.

(New Republic also points out that conservative economist Robert Higgs and liberal economists Larry Summers and Brad Delong have all shown that any stimulation to the economy from World War II has been greatly exaggerated.)

How could war actually hurt the economy, when so many say that it stimulates the economy?

Because of what economists call the “broken window fallacy”.

Specifically, if a window in a store is broken, it means that the window-maker gets paid to make a new window, and he, in turn, has money to pay others. However, economists long ago showed that – if the window hadn’t been broken – the shop-owner would have spent that money on other things, such as food, clothing, health care, consumer electronics or recreation, which would have helped the economy as much or more.

If the shop-owner hadn’t had to replace his window, he might have taken his family out to dinner, which would have circulated more money to the restaurant, and from there to other sectors of the economy. Similarly, the money spent on the war effort is money that cannot be spent on other sectors of the economy. Indeed, all of the military spending has just created military jobs, at the expense of the civilian economy.

As Austrian economist Ludwig Von Mises pointed out:

That is the essence of so-called war prosperity; it enriches some by what it takes from others. It is not rising wealth but a shifting of wealth and income.

We noted in 2010:

You know about America’s unemployment problem. You may have even heard that the U.S. may very well have suffered a permanent destruction of jobs.

But did you know that the defense employment sector is booming?

[P]ublic sector spending – and mainly defense spending – has accounted for virtually all of the new job creation in the past 10 years:

The U.S. has largely been financing job creation for ten years. Specifically, as the chief economist for BusinessWeek, Michael Mandel, points out, public spending has accounted for virtually all new job creation in the past 1o years:

Private sector job growth was almost non-existent over the past ten years. Take a look at this horrifying chart:

longjobs1 The Military Industrial Complex is Ruining the Economy

Between May 1999 and May 2009, employment in the private sector sector only rose by 1.1%, by far the lowest 10-year increase in the post-depression period.

It’s impossible to overstate how bad this is. Basically speaking, the private sector job machine has almost completely stalled over the past ten years. Take a look at this chart:

longjobs2 The Military Industrial Complex is Ruining the Economy

Over the past 10 years, the private sector has generated roughly 1.1 million additional jobs, or about 100K per year. The public sector created about 2.4 million jobs.

But even that gives the private sector too much credit. Remember that the private sector includes health care, social assistance, and education, all areas which receive a lot of government support.

***

Most of the industries which had positive job growth over the past ten years were in the HealthEdGov sector. In fact, financial job growth was nearly nonexistent once we take out the health insurers.

Let me finish with a final chart.

longjobs4 The Military Industrial Complex is Ruining the Economy

Without a decade of growing government support from rising health and education spending and soaring budget deficits, the labor market would have been flat on its back. [120]

***

So most of the job creation has been by the public sector. But because the job creation has been financed with loans from China and private banks, trillions in unnecessary interest charges have been incurred by the U.S.

And this shows military versus non-military durable goods shipments: us collapse 18 11 The Military Industrial Complex is Ruining the Economy[Click here to view full image.]

So we’re running up our debt (which will eventually decrease economic growth), but the only jobs we’re creating are military and other public sector jobs.

PhD economist Dean Baker points out that America’s massive military spending on unnecessary and unpopular wars lowers economic growth and increasesunemployment:

Defense spending means that the government is pulling away resources from the uses determined by the market and instead using them to buy weapons and supplies and to pay for soldiers and other military personnel. In standard economic models, defense spending is a direct drain on the economy, reducing efficiency, slowing growth and costing jobs.

A few years ago, the Center for Economic and Policy Research commissioned Global Insight, one of the leading economic modeling firms, to project the impact of a sustained increase in defense spending equal to 1.0 percentage point of GDP. This was roughly equal to the cost of the Iraq War.

Global Insight’s model projected that after 20 years the economy would be about 0.6 percentage points smaller as a result of the additional defense spending. Slower growth would imply a loss of almost 700,000 jobs compared to a situation in which defense spending had not been increased. Construction and manufacturing were especially big job losers in the projections, losing 210,000 and 90,000 jobs, respectively.

The scenario we asked Global Insight [recognized as the most consistentlyaccurate forecasting company in the world] to model turned out to have vastly underestimated the increase in defense spending associated with current policy. In the most recent quarter, defense spending was equal to 5.6 percent of GDP. By comparison, before the September 11th attacks, the Congressional Budget Office projected that defense spending in 2009 would be equal to just 2.4 percent of GDP. Our post-September 11th build-up was equal to 3.2 percentage points of GDP compared to the pre-attack baseline. This means that the Global Insight projections of job loss are far too low…

The projected job loss from this increase in defense spending would be close to 2 million. In other words, the standard economic models that project job loss from efforts to stem global warming also project that the increase in defense spending since 2000 will cost the economy close to 2 million jobs in the long run.

The Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst has also shown that non-military spending creates more jobs than military spending.

So we’re running up our debt – which will eventually decrease economic growth – and creating many fewer jobs than if we spent the money on non-military purposes.

High Military Spending Drains Innovation, Investment and Manufacturing Strength from the Civilian Economy

Chalmers Johnson notes that high military spending diverts innovation and manufacturing capacity from the economy:

By the 1960s it was becoming apparent that turning over the nation’s largest manufacturing enterprises to the Department of Defense and producing goods without any investment or consumption value was starting to crowd out civilian economic activities. The historian Thomas E Woods Jr observes that, during the 1950s and 1960s, between one-third and two-thirds of all US research talent was siphoned off into the military sector. It is, of course, impossible to know what innovations never appeared as a result of this diversion of resources and brainpower into the service of the military, but it was during the 1960s that we first began to notice Japan was outpacing us in the design and quality of a range of consumer goods, including household electronics and automobiles.

***

Woods writes: “According to the US Department of Defense, during the four decades from 1947 through 1987 it used (in 1982 dollars) $7.62 trillion in capital resources. In 1985, the Department of Commerce estimated the value of the nation’s plant and equipment, and infrastructure, at just over $7.29 trillion… The amount spent over that period could have doubled the American capital stock or modernized and replaced its existing stock”.

The fact that we did not modernise or replace our capital assets is one of the main reasons why, by the turn of the 21st century, our manufacturing base had all but evaporated. Machine tools, an industry on which Melman was an authority, are a particularly important symptom. In November 1968, a five-year inventory disclosed “that 64% of the metalworking machine tools used in US industry were 10 years old or older. The age of this industrial equipment (drills, lathes, etc.) marks the United States’ machine tool stock as the oldest among all major industrial nations, and it marks the continuation of a deterioration process that began with the end of the second world war. This deterioration at the base of the industrial system certifies to the continuousdebilitating and depleting effect that the military use of capital and research and development talent has had on American industry.”

Economist Robert Higgs makes the same pointabout World War II:

Yes, officially measured GDP soared during the war. Examination of that increased output shows, however, that it consisted entirely of military goods and services. Real civilian consumption and private investment both fell after 1941, and they did not recover fully until 1946. The privately owned capital stock actually shrank during the war. Some prosperity. (My article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Economic History, March 1992, presents many of the relevant details.)

It is high time that we come to appreciate the distinction between the government spending, especially the war spending, that bulks up official GDP figures and the kinds of production that create genuine economic prosperity. As Ludwig von Mises wrote in the aftermath of World War I, “war prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings.”

War Causes Inflation … Which Keynes and Bernanke Admit Taxes Consumers

As we noted in 2010, war causes inflation … which hurts consumers:

Liberal economist James Galbraith wrote in 2004:

Inflation applies the law of the jungle to war finance. Prices and profits rise, wages and their purchasing power fall. Thugs, profiteers and the well connected get rich. Working people and the poor make out as they can. Savings erode, through the unseen mechanism of the “inflation tax” — meaning that the government runs a big deficit in nominal terms, but a smaller one when inflation is factored in.

***

There is profiteering. Firms with monopoly power usually keep some in reserve. In wartime, if the climate is permissive, they bring it out and use it. Gas prices can go up when refining capacity becomes short — due partly to too many mergers. More generally, when sales to consumers are slow, businesses ought to cut prices — but many of them don’t. Instead, they raise prices to meet their income targets and hope that the market won’t collapse.

Ron Paul agreed in 2007:

Congress and the Federal Reserve Bank have a cozy, unspoken arrangement that makes war easier to finance. Congress has an insatiable appetite for new spending, but raising taxes is politically unpopular. The Federal Reserve, however, is happy to accommodate deficit spending by creating new money through the Treasury Department. In exchange, Congress leaves the Fed alone to operate free of pesky oversight and free of political scrutiny. Monetary policy is utterly ignored in Washington, even though the Federal Reserve system is a creation of Congress.

The result of this arrangement is inflation. And inflation finances war.

Blanchard Economic Research pointed out in 2001:

War has a profound effect on the economy, our government and its fiscal and monetary policies. These effects have consistently led to high inflation.

***

David Hackett Fischer is a Professor of History and Economic History at Brandeis. [H]is book, The Great Wave, Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History … finds that … periods of high inflation are caused by, and cause, a breakdown in order and a loss of faith in political institutions. He also finds that war is a triggering influence on inflation, political disorder, social conflict and economic disruption.

***

Other economists agree with Professor Fischer’s link between inflation and war.

James Grant, the respected editor of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer, supplies us with the most timely perspective on the effect of war on inflation in the September 14 issue of his newsletter:

“War is inflationary. It is always wasteful no matter how just the cause. It is cost without income, destruction financed (more often than not) by credit creation. It is the essence of inflation.”

Libertarian economics writer Lew Rockwell noted in 2008:

You can line up 100 professional war historians and political scientists to talk about the 20th century, and not one is likely to mention the role of the Fed in funding US militarism. And yet it is true: the Fed is the institution that has created the money to fund the wars. In this role, it has solved a major problem that the state has confronted for all of human history. A state without money or a state that must tax its citizens to raise money for its wars is necessarily limited in its imperial ambitions. Keep in mind that this is only a problem for the state. It is not a problem for the people. The inability of the state to fund its unlimited ambitions is worth more for the people than every kind of legal check and balance. It is more valuable than all the constitutions every devised.

***

Reflecting on the calamity of this war, Ludwig von Mises wrote in 1919

One can say without exaggeration that inflation is an indispensable means of militarism. Without it, the repercussions of war on welfare become obvious much more quickly and penetratingly; war weariness would set in much earlier.***

 

In the entire run-up to war, George Bush just assumed as a matter of policy that it was his decision alone whether to invade Iraq. The objections by Ron Paul and some other members of Congress and vast numbers of the American population were reduced to little more than white noise in the background. Imagine if he had to raise the money for the war through taxes. It never would have happened. But he didn’t have to. He knew the money would be there. So despite a $200 billion deficit, a $9 trillion debt, $5 trillion in outstanding debt instruments held by the public, a federal budget of $3 trillion, and falling tax receipts in 2001, Bush contemplated a war that has cost $525 billion dollars — or $4,681 per household. Imagine if he had gone to the American people to request that. What would have happened? I think we know the answer to that question. And those are government figures; the actual cost of this war will be far higher — perhaps $20,000 per household.

***

If the state has the power and is asked to choose between doing good and waging war, what will it choose? Certainly in the American context, the choice has always been for war.

And progressive economics writer Chris Martenson explains as part of his “Crash Course” on economics:

If we look at the entire sweep of history, we can make an utterly obvious claim: All wars are inflationary. Period. No exceptions.

***

So if anybody tries to tell you that you haven’t sacrificed for the war, let them know you sacrificed a large portion of your savings and your paycheck to the effort, thank you very much.

The bottom line is that war always causes inflation, at least when it is funded through money-printing instead of a pay-as-you-go system of taxes and/or bonds. It might be great for a handful of defense contractors, but war is bad for Main Street, stealing wealth from people by making their dollars worth less.

Given that John Maynard Keynes and former Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke both say thatinflation is a tax on the American people, war-induced inflation is a theft of our wealth.

IEP gives a graphic example – the Vietnam war helping to push inflation through the roof:

War Causes Runaway Debt

We noted in 2010:

All of the spending on unnecessary wars adds up.

The U.S. is adding trillions to its debt burden to finance its multiple wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, etc.

Indeed, IEP – commenting on the war in Afghanistan and Iraq – notes:

This was also the first time in U.S. history where taxes were cut during a war which then resulted in both wars completely financed by deficit spending. A loose monetary policy was also implemented while interest rates were kept low and banking regulations were relaxed to stimulate the economy. All of these factors have contributed to the U.S. having severe unsustainable structural imbalances in its government finances.

We also pointed out in 2010:

It is ironic that America’s huge military spending is what made us an empire … but our huge military is what is bankrupting us … thus destroying our status as an empire.

Economist Michel Chossudovsky told Washington’s Blog:

War always causes recession. Well, if it is a very short war, then it may stimulate the economy in the short-run. But if there is not a quick victory and it drags on, then wars always put the nation waging war into a recession and hurt its economy.

Indeed, we’ve known for 2,500 years that prolonged war bankrupts an economy (and remember Greenspan’s comment.)

It’s not just civilians saying this …

The former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Admiral Mullen – agrees:

The Pentagon needs to cut back on spending.

“We’re going to have to do that if it’s going to survive at all,” Mullen said, “and do it in a way that is predictable.”

Indeed, Mullen said:

For industry and adequate defense funding to survive … the two must work together. Otherwise, he added, “this wave of debt” will carry over from year to year, and eventually, the defense budget will be cut just to facilitate the debt.

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates agrees as well. As David Ignatius wrote in the Washington Post in 2010:

After a decade of war and financial crisis, America has run up debts that pose a national security problem, not just an economic one.

***

One of the strongest voices arguing for fiscal responsibility as a national security issue has been Defense Secretary Bob Gates. He gave a landmark speech in Kansas on May 8, invoking President Dwight Eisenhower’s warnings about the dangers of an imbalanced military-industrial state.

“Eisenhower was wary of seeing his beloved republic turn into a muscle-bound, garrison state — militarily strong, but economically stagnant and strategically insolvent,” Gates said. He warned that America was in a “parlous fiscal condition” and that the “gusher” of military spending that followed Sept. 11, 2001, must be capped. “We can’t have a strong military if we have a weak economy,” Gates told reporters who covered the Kansas speech.

On Thursday the defense secretary reiterated his pitch that Congress must stop shoveling money at the military, telling Pentagon reporters: “The defense budget process should no longer be characterized by ‘business as usual’ within this building — or outside of it.”

While war might make a handful in the military-industrial complex and big banks rich, America’s top military leaders and economists say that would be a very bad idea for the American people.

Indeed, military strategists have known for 2,500 years that prolonged wars are disastrous for the nation.

War Increases Terrorism … And Terrorism Hurts the Economy

Security experts – conservative hawks and liberal doves alike – agree that waging war in the Middle Eastweakens national security and increases terrorism. See thisthisthisthisthisthis and this.

Terrorism – in turn – terrorism is bad for the economy. Specifically, a study by Harvard and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) points out:

From an economic standpoint, terrorism has been described to have four main effects (see, e.g., US Congress, Joint Economic Committee, 2002). First, the capital stock (human and physical) of a country is reduced as a result of terrorist attacks. Second, the terrorist threat induces higher levels of uncertainty. Third, terrorism promotes increases in counter-terrorism expenditures, drawing resources from productive sectors for use in security. Fourth, terrorism is known to affect negatively specific industries such as tourism.

The Harvard/NBER concludes:

In accordance with the predictions of the model, higher levels of terrorist risks are associated with lower levels of net foreign direct investment positions, even after controlling for other types of country risks. On average, a standard deviation increase in the terrorist risk is associated with a fall in the net foreign direct investment position of about 5 percent of GDP.

So the more unnecessary wars American launches and the more innocent civilians we kill, the less foreign investment in America, the more destruction to our capital stock, the higher the level of uncertainty, the more counter-terrorism expenditures and the less expenditures in more productive sectors, and the greater the hit to tourism and some other industries. Moreover:

Terrorism has contributed to a decline in the global economy (for example, European Commission, 2001).

So military adventurism increases terrorism which hurts the world economy. And see this.

Postscript: Attacking a country which controls the flow of oil has special impacts on the economy. For example, well-known economist Nouriel Roubini says that attacking Iran would lead to global recession. The IMF says that Iran cutting off oil supplies could raise crude prices 30%.

The Criminal States of America

April 24th, 2014 by Global Research News

The CIA, Iran-Contra and the Narcotics Money Laundering Nexus

April 24th, 2014 by Global Research News

We bring to the attention of our readers the introduction of a 1997 statement by the late Michael C. Ruppert submitted to the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. 

Michael C. Ruppert was a former LAPD narcotics investigator and author.

Michael Ruppert committed suicide on April 14, 2014.  [M.Ch, GR editor, April 24, 2014]

This document appears exactly as I submitted it to the Select Intelligence Committees of both Houses. To date, it remains only a document submitted in advance of testimony and it has not been placed in the Congressional Record. Although I and Cele Castillo remain on potential witness lists, we have not been allowed to testify. The sheer volume of my exhibits and the disk space required to scan them makes it impossible to include these important documents here. To obtain my full statement, with all 32 pages of exhibits and photographs – CLICK HERE.

Mr. Chairman:

On November 15, 1996, I stood at a town hall meeting at Locke High School in Los Angeles and said to Director of Central Intelligence John Deutch,

“I am a former Los Angeles Police narcotics detective. I worked South Central Los Angeles and I can tell you, Director Deutch, emphatically and without equivocation, that the Agency has dealt drugs in this country for a long time.”

I then referred Director Deutch to three specific Agency operations known as Amadeus, Pegasus and Watchtower.

Most Americans have been led to believe that the purpose of these hearings is to ascertain whether or not there is any evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency dealt drugs during the Iran-Contra era. If these hearings were about evidence, then the most patriotic duty I could perform would be to quote Jack Blum who served as chief investigator for the Kerry Subcommittee on narcotics and terrorism ten years ago. He testified before this committee last year and said,

“We don’t have to investigate. We already know.”

We could save a lot of taxpayer money by just rereading the records of the Kerry hearings. There is more evidence in there than any court in the world would ever need to hand down indictments.

At best, I could just quote you one entry from Oliver North’s diary dated July 5, 1985, which said that $14 million to buy weapons for the Contras, “came from drugs.” I wouldn’t need to mention the two hundred and fifty other such entries in his diary, which refer to narcotics. Or I could quote Dennis Dayle a senior DEA supervisory agent who said,

“In my thirty year history in DEA, the major targets of my investigations almost invariably turned out to be working for the C.I.A.”

But these hearings are not about evidence. They are about corruption and cover-up. The CIA did not just deal drugs during the Iran-Contra era; it has done so for the full fifty years of its history. Today I will give you evidence which will show that the CIA, and many figures who became known during Iran-Contra such as Richard Secord, Ted Shackley, Tom Clines, Felix Rodriguez and George Herbert Walker Bush, who was DCI when I first became exposed to Agency drug dealing, have been selling drugs to Americans since the Vietnam era. I have been very careful to make sure that what I tell you today is admissible evidence in criminal proceedings.

In a court of law the testimony of an eyewitness is one of the most prized possessions of a prosecutor. It is direct evidence of a crime. I am an eyewitness. Another form of frequently used evidence is an exception to the hearsay rule in which admissions against the interest of a criminal participant or a material witness are admitted into evidence if given under oath by the person to whom the statements were made. I am under oath and I will provide you today with utterly damning admissions against interest made by people with direct knowledge of these events. There is also documentary and circumstantial evidence and I will present you with that as well.

My evidence will show conclusively that, as a matter of national policy, set at the National Security Council – the White House – elements of the C.I.A., in concert with elements of the military, and other federal agencies, have dealt drugs to Americans for at least three decades. Major defense contractors like E-Systems have also engaged in such traffic. I will not cover the outstanding work of scholars such as Alfred McCoy of the University of Wisconsin and Peter Dale Scott of the University of California at Berkeley who document this activity back to the forties.

Nor will I attempt to deliver the material which should be given to you directly by a great many other heroic witnesses including Celerino Castillo, Mike Levine, Dee Ferdinand, David Sabow, Brad Ayers, Tosh Plumley, Bo Abbott, Danny Sheehan, Gene Wheaton, John Mattes, Jack Terrell, Winfred Richardson (formerly of E-Systems), Michelle Cooper (formerly of E-Systems), Bill Tyree and Dois G. “Chip” Tatum. Also this committee should interview two former CIA employees on the subject. Their names are David MacMichael and Ralph McGehee.

The evidence will also show that the CIA has infiltrated and established illegal relationships with a number of police departments around the country. One of the purposes of this has been to protect CIA drug operations from law enforcement. I have personal knowledge of this activity in Los Angeles and New Orleans and have documented such a case in New York City.

All of the exhibits I will present today are among the two hundred and fifty plus pages of documents I provided to your investigators when they visited me in Los Angeles last year.

This is my testimony: http://www.fromthewilderness.com/ssci.shtml

 

During his two-day visit this week to Kiev, Ukraine, Vice President Joe Biden unfurled President Barack Obama’s “U.S. Crisis Support Package for Ukraine.”

A key part of the package involves promoting the deployment of hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) in Ukraine. Dean Neu, professor of accounting at York University in Toronto, describes this phenomenon in his book “Doing Missionary Work.” And in this case, it involves the U.S. acting as a modern-day missionary to spread the gospel of fracking to further its own interests.     

With the ongoing Russian occupation of Crimea serving as the backdrop for the trip, Biden made Vladimir Putin’s Russia and its dominance of the global gas market one of the centerpieces of a key speech he gave while in Kiev.

“And as you attempt to pursue energy security, there’s no reason why you cannot be energy secure. I mean there isn’t. It will take time. It takes some difficult decisions, but it’s collectively within your power and the power of Europe and the United States,” Biden said.

“And we stand ready to assist you in reaching that. Imagine where you’d be today if you were able to tell Russia: Keep your gas. It would be a very different world you’d be facing today.”

The U.S. oil and gas industry has long lobbied to “weaponize” its fracking prowess to fend off Russian global gas market dominance. It’s done so primarily in two ways.

One way: by transforming the U.S. State Department into a global promoter of fracking via its Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program (formerly the Global Shale Gas Initiative), which is a key, albeit less talked about, part of President Obama’s “Climate Action Plan.”

The other way: by exporting U.S. fracked gas to the global market, namely EU countries currently heavily dependent on Russia’s gas spigot.

In this sense, the crisis in Ukraine — as Naomi Klein pointed out in a recent article — has merely served as a “shock doctrine” excuse to push through plans that were already long in the making. In other words, it’s “old wine in a new bottle.”

Gas “Support Package” Details

Within the energy security section of the aid package, the White House promises in “the coming weeks, expert teams from several U.S. government agencies will travel to the region to help Ukraine meet immediate and longer term energy needs.”

That section contains three main things the U.S. will do to ensure U.S. oil and gas companies continue to profit during this geopolitical stand-off.

1) Help with pipelines and securing access to gas at the midstream level of production.

“Today, a U.S. interagency expert team arrived in Kyiv to help Ukraine secure reverse flows of natural gas from its European neighbors,” the White House fact sheet explains. “Reverse flows of natural gas will provide Ukraine with additional immediate sources of energy.”

2) Technical assistance to help boost conventional gas production in Ukraine. That is, gas obtained not from fracking and horizontal drilling, but via traditional vertical drilling.

As the White House explains, “U.S. technical experts will join with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and others in May to help Ukraine develop a public-private investment initiative to increase conventional gas production from existing fields to boost domestic energy supply.”

3) Shale gas missionary work.

“A technical team will also engage the government on measures that will help the Ukrainian government ensure swift and environmentally sustainable implementation of contracts signed in 2013 for shale gas development,” says the White House.

ExxonMobil Teaching Russia Fracking

Ironically, as the U.S. government teams up with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to teach Ukraine fracking in order to wean the country off of Russian gas, U.S.-based “private empire” ExxonMobil is doing the same work in Russia to help the country tap into its shale oil and gas bounty.

Among its myriad partnerships with the Russian oil and gas industry, ExxonMobil has signed a joint venture in December 2013 with state-owned company Rosneft to help it tap the massive Bazhenov Shale basin.

“The JV will implement a pilot work program in order to assess and determine the technical possibility of developing the…Bazhenov formation…in Western Siberia,” reads a Rosneft press release. “The plan is to perform the pilot work program within 2013-2015 timeframe.”

Forbes has reported the Bazhenov is roughly 80 times the size of the Bakken Shale, already the biggest field by a long shot in the U.S. and one visible from outer space.

Climate Change Taboo

Traditionally, missionaries do charity work in service to humanity. But the enormous climate impact of fracking — given the climate change math — calls those doing the Lord’s work in the shale gas sphere into question.

So in the case of the U.S. government and Ukraine, the concept of missionary work has been flipped on its head.

That is, the most profitable companies on the face of the planet — both in the U.S. and in Russia — are set to profit at the expense of everyone else, including the stability of earth’s climate system.

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: Tech. Sgt. Molly Dzitko / U.S. Army, Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway / U.S. Army)

International lawyers and activists converged at a conference titled The Iraq Commission, in Brussels, Belgium, April 16 and 17, with the primary aim of bringing to justice government officials who are guilty of war crimes in Iraq.

“Within a few days of this, a lawless atmosphere developed within my unit,” Ross Caputi, a former marine who took part in the brutal November 2004 siege of Fallujah told the Iraq Commission. “There was a lot of looting going on. I saw people searching the pockets of the dead resistance fighters for money. Some people were mutilating corpses.”

The conference represents the most powerful and most current organized attempt in the world to bring justice to those responsible for the catastrophe in Iraq, and included powerful international lawyers like International Court of Justice lawyer Curtis Doebbler and Louie Roberto Zamora Bolanos, a lawyer from Costa Rica who successfully sued the government of his country for supporting the war in Iraq.

Their goal for the conference was to begin taking concrete steps toward international lawsuits that will bring former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President George W. Bush, along with those responsible in their administrations, to justice for the myriad war crimes committed in Iraq.

“I was very misinformed and uninformed about the goals of our mission, about who our enemy was and about the danger that we posed to civilians,” Caputi said of the context for his actions. “My command told us that all civilians had left Fallujah and that the only people who remained in the city were combatants. This was not true, though. The Red Cross estimated that up to 50,000 civilians remained trapped in the city. But nobody in my unit knew that.”

“Now is a time for us to close the net on the war criminals,” Dirk Adriaensens, a long-time Iraq activist who cofounded the conference, told Truthout. “If we don’t do that, the fish will get away. But if this is only a legalistic thing, without the activism, it won’t work because people won’t know that it is happening.”

Adriaensens is aiming to generate one massive lawsuit that condemns former (and current) members of the US and UK governments for war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace for their roles in the Iraq invasion and occupation.

“The conclusions of such a court case would lead to reparations being paid to the state and people of Iraq,” added Adriaensens, who is also a member of the executive committee of the Brussels Tribunal. The tribunal is an international network of intellectuals, artists and activists who denounce and organize against the logic of permanent war promoted by the US government that is currently targeting the Middle East. “We’re here to condemn the original sin: the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and how we can bring the perpetrators to court.”

While several people’s tribunals, citizens arrests, and other forms of ongoing activism around Iraq have been helpful and necessary in the absence of the implementation of international law, they have not been enough, the conference organizers believe.

“Legal action is essential and can take many forms: universal jurisdiction, defending Iraqi victims in court, seeking arrest warrants when former US politicians want to travel outside the US,” Adriaensens said.

The “other measures” he references are reparations for the millions of Iraqis who have suffered from the invasion and occupation of their country, as well as former government officials like Bush and Blair spending the remainder of their lives in jail.

International Context

The conference was held at Vrijie University in Brussels, and coincided with the 18th Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), where hundreds of lawyers from more than 60 countries gathered in the same venue, with many attending the Iraq Commission.

2014 0418jamail2Dirk Adrieaensens, with the Brussels Tribunal, organized the conference, and has been an Iraq human rights activist for more than two decades. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

“March 20 marked the 11th anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, a brutal act of aggression that will be remembered as one of history’s worst crimes,” Sabah al-Mukhtar, chairman of the Iraq Commission and president of the Arab Lawyers Association said during his opening remarks for the conference. “The first decade of the 21st century will probably be viewed as the decade when rules of international law were brought into disrepute like no other time.”

Al-Mukhtar stated that the UN was used “illegally and unethically” to destroy Iraq, a country that was a founding member of the UN.

“Aside from the Abu Ghraib catastrophe; the gang rape and killing of the teenage girl Abeer al-Janabi and her family in Yusufiyah; aside from the targeted killings of academics, media professionals and ethnic or religious minorities, the legacy is more than 4 million Iraqi refugees, more than 3 million orphans and more than a million widows,” he stated to the audience.

While the United States is not a member of the International Criminal Court, former president George W. Bush, along with several members of his cabinet including Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, to name but a few, are guilty of war crimes for their roles in creating the conditions for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, according to lawyers at the conference.

“Lest current events cloud principles, and in order to restore focus on the rules of international rules, such as state responsibility, human rights, war crimes, crimes against humanity, there will be no justice for the victims of this crime against peace,” Al-Mukhtar stated, in concluding his opening remarks. “We will discuss practical approaches to ensure accountability and put an end to impunity.”

Tun Mahatir Muhammad, the fourth prime minister of Malaysia (and also the longest-serving prime minister of the country), backs the Kuala Lumpur Initiative to Criminalize War, which aims to make all acts of war illegal. Mahatir provided the conference a video message for the occasion.

“We must criminalize war because we consider the killing of one person by another as murder, and we are even prepared to punish him by taking his life,” Mohammed said. “But if you kill a million people in war, it is glorified, and the killers are given medals and statues and honored. There is a contradiction here, and it is time that killing be made a crime, whether it be in peace or in war. And if it is a crime, whoever starts an aggressive war should be considered a criminal and tried in a court of law. That is why our tribunal has tried Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair and found them both guilty as war criminals.”

Muhammad added that their tribunals in Malaysia that reached guilty verdicts on Bush and Blair are valid, because even during the Nuremburg trials, when the prosecutions were unable to find the offender, he was still tried en absentia.

Adrieaensens told Truthout that the war against Iraq “was not just immoral, it was properly illegal and fits the Nuremberg definition of a crime against peace. Such a war should have its legal consequences for the aggressors and rights for the victims under international law.”

2014 0418jamail1Sabah al-Mukhtar is the president of the Arab Lawyers Association and chair of the Iraq Commission. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

Nevertheless, to date, no government official from any country that were members of the so-called “coalition of the willing” have been brought to justice for war crimes, crimes against humanity or for waging a war of aggression, which is the supreme international crime.

“We have to change that equation,” Adrieaensens said. “All those who are responsible for the invasion of Iraq should be held accountable for the destruction of the country’s infrastructure, its economic and social structures, its historical past and its health and education. Reasonable legal experts should work towards the goal of making reparation with the Iraqi people who have been so deeply affected by this war and its aftermath, and they should bring the perpetrators to justice.”

His group, the Brussels Tribunal, brought together international legal experts to explore possibilities for legal actions against those responsible for the war against Iraq, in hopes that the conference might serve as a working meeting to generate concrete results for future prosecutions.

Michel Chossudovsky, a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa and an author and adviser to governments of developing countries, spoke of what he believes is a “world crisis” caused primarily by the United States’ “long war,” which “threatens the future of humanity.”

“This ‘war without borders’ is being carried out at the crossroads of the most serious economic crisis in world history, which has been conducive to the impoverishment of large sectors of the world population,” he said. “The Pentagon’s global military design is one of world conquest. The killing of civilians is part of that agenda. The US agenda in the Middle East is to change countries into territories, this is the basis of destabilizing country after country across the world, and instituting PAX Americana.”

Chossudovsky believes that US worldwide militarization is part of a global economic agenda, and the invasion of Iraq was but one component of this agenda.

Prior Attempts to Attain Justice

Several attempts have been made to bring the responsible parties to court. A few examples include:

• 2005: The Association of Humanitarian Lawyers filed a petition at Organization of American States (OAS) against the United States for attacks on hospitals and clinics in Fallujah.

• September 2005: German court declared that the Iraq war violated international law.

• November 2006: Center of Constitutional Rights (CCR) filed a war crimes complaint against Donald Rumsfeld in Germany.

• March 2007: Spanish judge called for the architects of the Iraq invasion to be tried for war crimes.

• October 2007: International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) and CCR have filed a lawsuit in France alleging that former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld allowed torture at US-run detention centers in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

• November 2011: In Kuala Lumpur, after two years of investigation by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Commission (KLWCC), a tribunal (the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal, or KLWCT), consisting of five judges with judicial and academic backgrounds, reached a unanimous verdict that found George W. Bush and Tony Blair guilty of crimes against peace, crimes against humanity and genocide as a result of their roles in the Iraq War.

While it is clear that the International Criminal Court is not being used appropriately to bring justice to those responsible for the disaster in Iraq, there have been several hopeful signs.

• The Chilcot Inquiry, an open inquiry investigating the government of Tony Blair for its role in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, should generate its conclusions, hopefully very soon.

• In January 2014 a devastating 250-page dossier, detailing allegations of beatings, electrocution, mock executions and sexual assault, was presented to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and could result in some of Britain’s leading defense figures facing prosecution for “systematic” war crimes. This formal complaint to the ICC is the culmination of several years’ work by Public Interest Lawyers (PIL) and the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR). It calls for an investigation into the alleged war crimes, under Article 15 of the Rome Statute.

• In 2013, American lawyer Inder Comar, who is representing Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi single mother who is now a refugee in Jordan, as plaintiff against officials in the former administration of former president George W. Bush, filed a class action lawsuit Saleh v. Bush.  The primary complaint revolves around the international precedent that all violent actions by sovereign nations must either be performed in self-defense or with approval of the United Nations Security Council, specifically “no act of aggression.”

“Justice has to prevail, for the sake of our children, for the Iraqi people and for the sake of the future of mankind,” Adrieaensens said. “No justice, no peace. During this commission we will not address the current situation in Iraq. We’re here to condemn the original sin: the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and how we can bring the perpetrators to court.”

Crimes Committed in Iraq Since 1991

The first session of the conference highlighted war crimes that have been committed in Iraq since the 1991 Gulf War, but also included the US occupation.

Ross Caputi spoke at length about the war crimes and atrocities he witnessed during the November 2004 US military siege of Fallujah.

2014 0418jamail3Ross Caputi served in the US military, from 2003 to 2006, and participated in the massive military siege of Fallujah in November 2004. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

He went on to explain that he and his fellow soldiers were not told that US military personnel, who were manning the checkpoints that surrounded Fallujah, were not allowing any “military-aged males” to flee the city, despite a lack of evidence proving they may have been resistance fighters.

“This contributed to the indiscriminate nature of the operation,” Caputi said, of the siege that, according to the Iraqi Fallujah-based human rights and environmental NGO Conservation Center of Environmental and Reserves in Fallujah, resulted in approximately 5,000 residents being killed, at least 60 percent of them civilians.

“We called in airstrikes and used tanks and bulldozers in residential neighborhoods,” Caputi told a silent audience populated by many Iraqis. “There could have been civilians trying to hide out in their homes, but we never took any precautions to make sure there wasn’t. We simply fired wherever we thought there were combatants.”

Caputi told of a tactic used called “reconnaissance by fire,” which is, as he explained, “when you fire somewhere, into a building for example, to see if any combatants are there. This tactic is obviously indiscriminate, but we never even considered the possibility that there might be civilians in these houses that we were firing into.”

“I even saw a unit bulldozing an entire neighborhood, one house after another without checking to see if anyone was inside,” Caputi, who has since founded theJustice for Fallujah project, added.

Caputi went on to tell of the use of the restricted weapon white phosphorous in civilian areas, as well as another incident: “When a 10-year-old boy was bunkered inside a house with two resistance fighters. We demolished the house on top of all three of them.”

He concluded his remarks by telling the audience his life since that time has been about “finding and facing the truth” and working to make amends to the people of Fallujah.

Eman Khamas, an Iraqi author, journalist, human rights activist, and director of the International Occupation Watch Center in Baghdad from 2003 to 2006, also provided eyewitness accounts about war crimes during the occupation, as well as the suffering witnessed during the US-backed sanctions between 1991 and 2003, where more than half a million children died from malnutrition and preventable disease.

She spoke of the US occupation and the lasting consequences of it, including the intentional US policy of “provoking and exploiting sectarian tensions,” which have led Iraq into the disaster that it is today.

Khamas spoke directly of war crimes she was eyewitness to, in addition to the “invisible crime” of killing the Iraqi’s identity by the fracturing of the country, mass detentions of Iraqis by US forces and rampant US air strikes in Iraqi cities resulting in large numbers of civilian casualties.

Ghazwan al-Mukhtar, a well-known Iraqi anti-sanctions activist and editor of theIraq Sources website, addressed the crimes of the sanctions period.

2014 0418jamail4Ghazwan al-Mukhtar spoke of the “genocidal” impact of the sanctions period upon the Iraqi people. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

Al-Mukhtar addressed the wide-spread starvation that occurred during the US-backed sanctions, the war crime of the US military destroying 90 percent of Iraq’s electrical generating capacity during the 1991 war, and the fact that, according to the Brooking’s Institute, well over half of all Iraqi doctors fled the country after the US-led invasion of 2003.

“My estimate, based on the fact that in five years 500,000 Iraqi children (100,000 per year) were killed by the sanctions, as Madeline Albright admitted, on national television, that since 1996, at that rate, another 900,000 have died, even if we estimate a lower rate of 50,000 per year, but no one takes an action against it.”

“We are a nation that has been tortured, splattered with human feces, exposed naked to the world, and we are a people who have been crucified,” al-Mukhtar concluded.

Legal Action

Dr. Curtis F. J. Doebbler is an international lawyer who, with other lawyers from the conference, is working toward finding a way to bring the war criminals to justice.

Dr. Doebbler practices law before the International Court of Justice, the African Commission and Court of Human and Peoples’ Rights, the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights, the United Nations Administrative Tribunal, and the United Nations Treaty bodies.

“International law provides an increasing number of means to redress serious violations of human rights, including those caused by armed conflict,” Doebbler said. “The US and allies’ illegal aggression against Iraq has resulted in the death of at least an estimated 1.5 million Iraqis. It is one of the most serious attacks on the human rights of a people in recent time and perhaps the most serious attack against a people since the adoption of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Doebbler explained that although UN Secretary General Kofi Anan said the invasion of Iraq had violated the UN Security Charter, states must consent to come to the International Criminal Court. And the US did not consent to come before the ICC.

While this doesn’t mean other states could not be brought before the ICC, it would require another country working toward justice to bring the United States before the court. Doebbler had spoken with members of the Iraqi government about bringing the United States before the ICC, but these efforts never got off the ground.


2014 0418jamail5Dr. Curtis F. J. Doebbler, an expert in international law who practices law before the International Court of Justice, believes avenues for prosecuting those responsible for the Iraq war and occupation remain open. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

One avenue to be pursued toward bringing obvious war criminals to justice is to zero in on instances where a state uses force that threatens someone’s right to life. “If you say the use of force is illegal, then the state should be bound by the restrictions imposed on a state to use force during peacetime, and the threshold [for prosecution] is much lower,” Doebbler explained.

Arbitrary detention of Iraqis, denial of health and education and their right to participate in their own government by overthrowing their government by a foreign intervention, all of these are human rights. Hence, according to Doebbler, “All of these in Iraq could be brought to an international lawyer to be used against states involved in the invasion and occupation of Iraq that led to these actions.”

“I met Nelson Mandela several times,” Doebbler said. “I witnessed discussions he had, and what always struck me was a comment he made regarding the strategies he used for his people’s revolution was that it was important to have a domestic political base. That it’s important to use all necessary means, including the use of force, to be able to achieve self-determination.”

Under international law, the use of force to achieve self-determination is legal.

Mandela also told Doebbler, “We would still be slaves to the white minority in South Africa if we’d been unable to bring our case in front of the international community.”

This [point that nothing has or will be changed to alleviate the suffering of the Iraqi people] is why it is important to continue to aim to bring the case of Iraq before the ICC, whether it be sooner or even later, Doebbler concluded.

Louie Roberto Zamora Bolanos, a lawyer from Costa Rica who is pursuing peace in his country as a constitutional right, has sued the government in Costa Rica and won a “right to peace” under the Costa Rican constitution. He has also sued his government for supporting the war on Iraq, and has ongoing lawsuits against it for production of nuclear fuel for reactors; for allowing the US military to perform duties in Costa Rica, which has no military; and for signing CAFTA, which includes weapons forbidden in Costa Rica.


2014 0418jamail6Costa Rican lawyer Louie Roberto Zamora Bolanos successfully caused the Supreme Court of his country to rule that Costa Rica’s support of the Iraq war was unconstitutional. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

His work caused the Costa Rican Supreme Court to rule that the country’s support of the Iraq war was “unconstitutional,” and ordered the US government to withdraw Costa Rica’s name from the so-called coalition of the willing.

Lindsey German, the convener of the British antiwar organization Stop the War Coalition, testified about the various legal cases, especially the most recent war crimes evidence from Public Interest Lawyers.

“The constant legal and political challenges to what has gone on in Iraq has helped us to keep the Iraq war in public awareness,” German testified. “There is evidence that the attorney general of the UK gave advice in 2002 and 2003 that the war would be illegal without a second UN resolution.”

She said it was well known to her group that Elizabeth Wilhurst resigned because of the illegality of the war, and this was borne out in the Chilcot Inquiry, whose findings should be reported in the first half of this year.

There have been several legal cases brought against high-ranking British officials, and there has been an ongoing campaign of citizen arrests of Tony Blair. Under British law, people have the right to try to arrest people for crimes, and so far five people have attempted to arrest Blair.

“There have now been three official British inquiries about the war, but we know that these tend to hide the truth rather than reveal it, so we’re not really holding out much hope,” German explained. “But the Chilcot is by far the most wide-ranging, and is investigating the legal advice Blair was given and giving about the decision to invade Iraq. Chilcot still hasn’t reported because Bush and Blair have thus far blocked it from doing so.”

She expects the Chilcot results, even if they are watered down by the time they are made public, will still serve as an indictment of Tony Blair.

Jose Antonio Martin Pallin, a well-known Spanish jurist, was a public prosecutor at the Spanish Supreme Court, and he is judge emeritus at the Supreme Court.

“In April 2003, Jose Couso, a Spanish cameraman, was shot dead by a US tank while he was working in Baghdad during the US invasion,” Pallin explained, of the legal process of Couso’s killing.

The Pentagon acknowledged its responsibility for the act as an act of self-defense. However, Pallin hopes that the complex judiciary process of this case, not closed today, will eventually show the possibilities of international indictment for the “criminals.”

2014 0418jamail7Spanish public prosecutor Jose Antonio Martin Pallin, a well-known Spanish jurist, is hoping for an international arrest warrant for the US military members who killed Spanish journalist Jose Couso in Baghdad during the US invasion of Iraq. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

“There’s an international arrest warrant against Thomas Gibson, Captain Philip Wolford and Lieutenant Philip de Camp, Couso”s assassins,” Pallin stated. “The judge in charge, Mr. Pedraz, accuses them of assassination and of a crime against the international community as the US military attacked journalists, all who stayed at the Palestine Hotel.”

On that day, US military attacks on journalists in Baghdad killed three, while wounding several others.

“The charges are murder and crime against the international community,” he added. “After different setbacks, a new indictment was filed in October 2011.”

Judge Pallín denounced “the extremely hard pressures from the US embossing in Spain that Judge Pedraz has been receiving from the very beginning of this investigation,” but he remains committed to his work despite “the almost complete abolition of universal jurisdiction.”

Couso’s case could set international precedent for future legal cases against individual members of the US military who committed murder and other crimes in Iraq.

Niloufer Bhagwat, professor of comparative constitutional law at the University of Mumbai and vice president of the Indian Lawyers Association in Mumbai, provided testimony at the end of the conference session on international law.

“The international legal system as it exists today has been created in the last 25 years, and it is in this period that the Nuremburg principles of justice have been set aside,” said Bhagwat, who also served as a judge with the Tokyo International Tribunal for War Crimes in Afghanistan. “We are in a similar situation as they were in the 1920′s and ’30′s. Successive wars of aggression, and a system that gives impunity to the real war criminals while lining up the usual suspects of certain African countries to be tried.”

She described the current international system as “victors’ justice” that supports western colonization and does not take into account the US ultimatum to Japan during World War II that led to the nuclear bombings. “This system is haunting us today,” she told the audience.

The reason the shift has been made in the international justice system, stated Bhagwat, was to support a financial system that, after the cold war, distorted the UN charter and began creating a new legal system that would work in favor of the “new liberal imperialism.”


2014 0418jamail8Niloufer Bhagwat, professor of comparative constitutional law, told the conference how international law has been manipulated by the United States and its allies so as to avoid international prosecution for crimes they have committed. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

Regarding Iraq, Bhagwat had this to say:

The entire regime of sanctions in Iraq was in gross violation of the right to life under Article six of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966; Article two of the European Covenant for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom 1950 and Article four of the African Charter on Human Rights.

She explained that special tribunals were selectively established by the UN Security Council in pursuit of the strategic and economic interests of “some of the permanent members, in violation of the basic norms of national and international criminal law; consequently special interests, via their governments, have waged successive wars nullifying all human progress through death and destruction.”

Bhagwat said a privatized form of intervention and warfare by hired mercenaries and fascistic special forces has also been used, and to restore civilization, it is necessary to try those responsible through a transparent process involving the people and countries who are victims insuring legal liability and deterrent sentences, either internationally, or within national legal jurisdictions of those accused of war crimes or the countries where those crimes were committed.

“As for Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki’s government,” she concluded. “Even Muqtada al-Sadr said the situation has been reduced to the dark ages, and there is no other solution but for everyone in Iraq to unite and remove the government of President Maliki.”

The final speaker of the first day of the conference was Professor Gurdial Singh Nijar, a senior practicing lawyer and lead prosecutor of the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunals on Iraq.

Nijar summarized the importance of the commission and of the work activists and lawyers have ahead of them, as they strive to bring justice to George W. Bush, Tony Blair and all other members of their cabinets who are responsible for the violations of international law that have occurred, and continue to occur, in Iraq.

“There has been a rollback of international law,” Nijar explained. “And this is why the role of the people’s tribunal now takes on an important role. Because the people alone are the motivating force in making world history.”

Copyright Truthout. Reprinted with permission.

In 2008, the IDF created a new weapon (Hebrew) in its arsenal and trained a new group of fighters to use it.  It was a remote-operated gun mounted on an IDF security tower along the Gaza border.  The guns are operated by female IDF soldiers trained, like drone jockeys, to monitor the border area by video feed and shoot to kill pretty much anything that moves there.

IDF remote control gun on Gaza border

While I’m not an expert in military weaponry, this strikes me as a new development in the lethality of the IDF.  Now, it doesn’t even need shooters on the ground to patrol the border and kill in face-to-face situations.  It can all be done by remote control.  It’s drone warfare transitioning to the ground.

This begs the question: how long will it be before Israel can delegate all its fighting to machines?  Then it can maintain the Occupation by remote control and even fight its wars against Hezbollah and Hamas from computer screens.  No, or hardly any soldiers need be killed at all.  It’s a perfect example of taking the fight to the enemy, while suffering no casualties yourself.

 

In 2010, the IDF released the above “promotional video” which can undoubtedly be used to sell the weapon to suitably dodgy clients like Rwanda, Uganda or Azerbaijan (all major Israeli weapons customers with suspect human rights records). It’s a bit queasy to use video of an actual human being killed with actual bullets to sell military products. But not above the IDF I’m sure. You won’t see video of the gun killing Gaza civilians (though this is a common phenomenon along this stretch of border). That wouldn’t provide the needed boost to Israeli morale or its export industry.

IDF remote control gunner

This Ynet story tells us that the IDF drone jockey who played such a key role in the ‘kill’ received a letter of commendation from President Shimon Peres himself.

The Haaretz article profiling the remote control weapon (linked above) notes the stress under which the women are placed who operate it, but says they’ve proven up to the task:

The psychic pressure is great, but the IDF claims that all the women chosen for the task have stood the test.

I tell you, it’s one of the measures of feminist liberation that Israel has brought to western civilization that now, not only men can kill by remote control, but women can too. Israel must be proud.

972 Magazine reports that a version of the weapon has been mounted on the Separation Wall in Bethlehem. This weapon will “only” fire toxic Skunk ooze and tear gas at protesters who frequent this portion of the Wall for demonstrations. The IDF reassures us that the gun will not fire live ammunition. To which I would add “yet.”

Israel’s drone gun atop Bethlehem Separation Wall

The reason the drone gun fires live ammunition in Gaza is because the human value of Gazan life is diminished. By choosing Islamists like Hamas to rule them, they’ve become persona non grata with western governments and so their lives may be forfeited with little cost. The West Bank is different since it’s ruled by the PA. Nor are there many terror attacks emanating from there. Lives in the West Bank have slightly more value and there is a somewhat greater cost to Israel for taking them. But it’s only a matter of time before Israel automates every aspect of the Occupation that it possibly can.

H/t to Max Blumenthal for noting the documentary, To See If I’m Smiling, which profiles the IDF’s women warriors, including those portrayed here.

This article was first published in August 2010.

For further details consult Michel Chossudovsky’s book, 

Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War 

available in hardcover or pdf from Global Research.

The stockpiling and deployment of advanced weapons systems directed against Iran started in the immediate wake of the 2003 bombing and invasion of Iraq. From the outset, these war plans were led by the US, in liaison with NATO and Israel.original

Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Bush administration identified Iran and Syria as the next stage of “the road map to war”. US military sources intimated that an aerial attack on Iran could involve a large scale deployment comparable to the US “shock and awe” bombing raids on Iraq in March 2003:

“American air strikes on Iran would vastly exceed the scope of the 1981 Israeli attack on the Osiraq nuclear center in Iraq, and would more resemble the opening days of the 2003 air campaign against Iraq.(See Globalsecurity )

“Theater Iran Near Term”

Code named by US military planners as TIRANNT, “Theater Iran Near Term”, simulations of an attack on Iran were initiated in May 2003 “when modelers and intelligence specialists pulled together the data needed for theater-level (meaning large-scale) scenario analysis for Iran.” ( (William Arkin, Washington Post, 16 April 2006).

The scenarios identified several thousand targets inside Iran as part of a “Shock and Awe” Blitzkrieg:

“The analysis, called TIRANNT, for “Theater Iran Near Term,” was coupled with a mock scenario for a Marine Corps invasion and a simulation of the Iranian missile force. U.S. and British planners conducted a Caspian Sea war game around the same time. And Bush directed the U.S. Strategic Command to draw up a global strike war plan for an attack against Iranian weapons of mass destruction. All of this will ultimately feed into a new war plan for “major combat operations” against Iran that military sources confirm now [April 2006] exists in draft form.

… Under TIRANNT, Army and U.S. Central Command planners have been examining both near-term and out-year scenarios for war with Iran, including all aspects of a major combat operation, from mobilization and deployment of forces through postwar stability operations after regime change.” (William Arkin, Washington Post, 16 April 2006)

Different “theater scenarios” for an all out attack on Iran had been contemplated:  “The US army, navy, air force and marines have all prepared battle plans and spent four years building bases and training for “Operation Iranian Freedom”. Admiral Fallon, the new head of US Central Command, has inherited computerized plans under the name TIRANNT (Theatre Iran Near Term).” (New Statesman, February 19, 2007)

In 2004, drawing upon the initial war scenarios under TIRANNT,  Vice President Dick Cheney instructed USSTRATCOM to draw up a “contingency plan” of a large scale military operation directed against Iran “to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States” on the presumption that the government in Tehran would be behind the terrorist plot. The plan included the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons against a non-nuclear state:

“The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.” (Philip Giraldi, Deep Background,The American Conservative  August 2005)

The Military Road Map: “First Iraq, then Iran”

The decision to target Iran under TIRANNT was part of the broader process of military planning and sequencing of military operations. Already under the Clinton administration, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had formulated  “in war theater plans” to invade first Iraq and then Iran. Access to Middle East oil was the stated strategic objective:

“The broad national security interests and objectives expressed in the President’s National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Chairman’s National Military Strategy (NMS) form the foundation of the United States Central Command’s theater strategy. The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own citizens. Dual containment is designed to maintain the balance of power in the region without depending on either Iraq or Iran. USCENTCOM’s theater strategy is interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of U.S. engagement, as espoused in the NSS, is to protect the United States’ vital interest in the region – uninterrupted, secure U.S./Allied access to Gulf oil.” (USCENTCOM, http://www.milnet.com/milnet/pentagon/centcom/chap1/stratgic.htm#USPolicy, link no longer active, archived at http://tinyurl.com/37gafu9)

The war on Iran was viewed as part of a succession of military operations.  According to (former) NATO Commander General Wesley Clark, the Pentagon’s military road-map consisted of a sequence of countries: “[The] Five-year campaign plan [includes]… a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.”  In “Winning Modern Wars” (page 130) General Clark states the following:

“As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan. (See Secret 2001 Pentagon Plan to Attack Lebanon, Global Research, July 23, 2006)

The Role of Israel

There has been much debate regarding the role of Israel in initiating an attack against Iran.

Israel is part of a military alliance. Tel Aviv is not a prime mover. It does not have a separate and distinct military agenda.

Israel is integrated into the “war plan for major combat operations” against Iran formulated in 2006 by US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). In the context of large scale military operations, an uncoordinated unilateral military action by one coalition partner, namely Israel, is from a military and strategic point almost an impossibility. Israel is a de facto member of NATO. Any action by Israel would require a “green light” from Washington.

An attack by Israel could, however, be used as “the trigger mechanism” which would unleash an all out war against Iran, as well retaliation by Iran directed against Israel.

In this regard, there are indications that Washington might envisage the option of an initial (US backed) attack by Israel  rather than an outright US-led military operation directed against Iran. The Israeli attack –although led in close liaison with the Pentagon and NATO– would be presented to public opinion as a unilateral decision by Tel Aviv. It would then be used by Washington to justify, in the eyes of World opinion, a military intervention of the US and NATO with a view to “defending Israel”, rather than attacking Iran. Under existing military cooperation agreements, both the US and NATO would be “obligated” to “defend Israel” against Iran and Syria.

It is worth noting, in this regard, that at the outset of Bush’s second term, (former) Vice President Dick Cheney hinted, in no uncertain terms, that Iran was “right at the top of the list” of the “rogue enemies” of America, and that Israel would, so to speak, “be doing the bombing for us”, without US military involvement and without us putting pressure on them “to do it” (See Michel Chossudovsky, Planned US-Israeli Attack on Iran, Global Research, May 1, 2005): According to Cheney:

“One of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked… Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards,” (Dick Cheney, quoted from an MSNBC Interview, January 2005)

Commenting the Vice President’s assertion, former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in an interview on PBS, confirmed with some apprehension, yes: Cheney wants Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to act on America’s behalf and “do it” for us:

“Iran I think is more ambiguous. And there the issue is certainly not tyranny; it’s nuclear weapons. And the vice president today in a kind of a strange parallel statement to this declaration of freedom hinted that the Israelis may do it and in fact used language which sounds like a justification or even an encouragement for the Israelis to do it.”

What we are dealing with is a joint US-NATO-Israel  military operation to bomb Iran, which has been in the active planning stage since 2004. Officials in the Defense Department, under Bush and Obama, have been working assiduously with their Israeli military and intelligence counterparts, carefully identifying targets inside Iran. In practical military terms, any action by Israel would have to be planned and coordinated at the highest levels of the US led coalition.

An attack by Israel would also require coordinated US-NATO logistical support, particularly with regard to Israel’s air defense system, which since January 2009 is fully integrated into that of the US and NATO. (See Michel Chossudovsky,  Unusually Large U.S. Weapons Shipment to Israel: Are the US and Israel Planning a Broader Middle East War?  Global Research, January 11,2009)

Israel’s X band radar system established in early 2009 with US technical support has “integrate[d] Israel’s missile defenses with the U.S. global missile [Space-based] detection network, WWIII Scenariowhich includes satellites, Aegis ships on the Mediterranean, Persian Gulf and Red Sea, and land-based Patriot radars and interceptors.” (Defense Talk.com, January 6, 2009,)

What this means is that Washington ultimately calls the shots. The US rather than Israel controls the air defense system: ”’This is and will remain a U.S. radar system,’ Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said. ‘So this is not something we are giving or selling to the Israelis and it is something that will likely require U.S. personnel on-site to operate.’” (Quoted in Israel National News, January 9, 2009).

The US military oversees Israel’s Air Defense system, which is integrated into the Pentagon’s global system. In other words, Israel cannot launch a war against Iran without Washington’s consent. Hence the importance of the so-called “Green Light” legislation in the US Congress sponsored by the Republican party under House Resolution 1553, which explicitly supports an Israeli attakc on Iran:

“The measure, introduced by Texas Republican Louie Gohmert and 46 of his colleagues, endorses Israel’s use of “all means necessary” against Iran “including the use of military force.” … “We’ve got to get this done. We need to show our support for Israel. We need to quit playing games with this critical ally in such a difficult area.”’ (See Webster Tarpley, Fidel Castro Warns of Imminent Nuclear War; Admiral Mullen Threatens Iran; US-Israel Vs. Iran-Hezbollah Confrontation Builds On, Global Research, August 10, 2010)

In practice, the proposed legislation is a “Green Light” to the White House and the Pentagon rather than to Israel. It constitutes a rubber stamp to a US sponsored war on Iran which uses Israel as a convenient military launch pad. It also serves as a justification to wage war with a view to defending Israel.

In this context, Israel could indeed provide the pretext to wage war, in response to alleged Hamas or Hezbollah attacks and/or the triggering of hostilities on the border of Israel with Lebanon. What is crucial to understand is that a minor ”incident” could be used as a pretext to spark off a major military operation against Iran.

Known to US military planners, Israel (rather than the USA) would be the first target of military retaliation by Iran. Broadly speaking, Israelis would be the victims of the machinations of both Washington and their own government. It is, in this regard, absolutely crucial that Israelis forcefully oppose any action by the Netanyahu government to attack Iran.

Global Warfare: The Role of US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM)

Global military operations are coordinated out of US Strategic Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM) at the Offutt Air Force base in Nebraska, in liaison with the regional commands of the unified combatant commands (e.g.. US Central Command  in Florida, which is responsible for the Middle East-Central Asian region, See map below)  as well as coalition command units in Israel, Turkey, the Persian Gulf and the Diego Garcia military base in the Indian Ocean.  Military planning and decision making at a country level by individual allies of US-NATO as well as “partner nations” is integrated into a global military design including the weaponization of space.

Under its new mandate, USSTRATCOM has a responsibility for “overseeing a global strike plan” consisting of both conventional and nuclear weapons. In military jargon, it is slated to play the role of “a global integrator charged with the missions of Space Operations; Information Operations; Integrated Missile Defense; Global Command & Control; Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance; Global Strike; and Strategic Deterrence…. ”

USSTRATCOM’s responsibilities include: “leading, planning, & executing strategic deterrence operations” at a global level, “synchronizing global missile defense plans and operations”, “synchronizing regional combat plans”, etc. USSTRATCOM is the lead agency in the coordination of modern warfare.

In January 2005, at the outset of the military deployment and build-up directed against Iran, USSTRATCOM was identified as “the lead Combatant Command for integration and synchronization of DoD-wide efforts in combating weapons of mass destruction.” (Michel Chossudovsky, Nuclear War against Iran, Global Research, January 3, 2006).

What this means is that the coordination of a large scale attack on Iran, including the various scenarios of escalation in and beyond the broader Middle East Central Asian region would be coordinated by USSTRATCOM.

Map: US Central Command’s Area of Jurisdiction

Tactical Nuclear Weapons directed against Iran

Confirmed by military documents as well as official statements, both the US and Israel contemplate the use of nuclear weapons directed against Iran. In 2006, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) announced it had achieved an operational capability for rapidly striking targets around the globe using nuclear or conventional weapons. This announcement was made after the conduct of military simulations pertaining to a US led nuclear attack against a fictional country. (David Ruppe, Preemptive Nuclear War in a State of Readiness: U.S. Command Declares Global Strike Capability, Global Security Newswire, December 2, 2005)

Continuity in relation to the Bush-Cheney era:  President Obama has largely endorsed the doctrine of pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons formulated by the previous administration. Under the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, the Obama administration confirmed  “that it is reserving the right to use nuclear weapons against Iran” for its non-compliance with US demands regarding its alleged (nonexistent) nuclear weapons program. (U.S. Nuclear Option on Iran Linked to Israeli Attack Threat – IPS ipsnews.net, April 23, 2010). The Obama administration has also intimated that it would use nukes in the case of an Iranian response to an Israeli attack on Iran. (Ibid). Israel  has also drawn up its own “secret plans” to bomb Iran with tactical nuclear weapons:

“Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may no longer be enough to annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment facilities. Several have been built beneath at least 70ft of concrete and rock. However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene, senior sources said.”(Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran – Times Online, January 7, 2007)

Obama’s statements on the use of nuclear weapons against Iran and North Korea are consistent with post 9/11 US nuclear weapons doctrine, which allows for the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the conventional war theater.

Through a propaganda campaign which has enlisted the support of “authoritative” nuclear scientists, mini-nukes are upheld as an instrument of peace, namely a means to combating “Islamic terrorism” and instating Western style “democracy” in Iran. The low-yield nukes have been cleared for “battlefield use”. They are slated to be used against Iran and Syria in the next stage of America’s “war on Terrorism” alongside conventional weapons.

“Administration officials argue that low-yield nuclear weapons are needed as a credible deterrent against rogue states. [Iran, Syria, North Korea] Their logic is that existing nuclear weapons are too destructive to be used except in a full-scale nuclear war. Potential enemies realize this, thus they do not consider the threat of nuclear retaliation to be credible. However, low-yield nuclear weapons are less destructive, thus might conceivably be used. That would make them more effective as a deterrent.” (Opponents Surprised By Elimination of Nuke Research Funds Defense News November 29, 2004)

The preferred nuclear weapon to be used against Iran are tactical nuclear weapons (Made in America), namely bunker buster bombs with nuclear warheads (e.g. B61.11), with an explosive capacity between one third to six times a Hiroshima bomb. The B61-11 is the “nuclear version” of the “conventional”  BLU 113. or Guided Bomb Unit GBU-28. It can be delivered in much same way as the conventional bunker buster bomb. (See Michel Chossudovsky, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO112C.html, see also http://www.thebulletin.org/article_nn.php?art_ofn=jf03norris) . While the US does not contemplate the use of strategic thermonuclear weapons against Iran, Israel’s nuclear arsenal is largely composed of thermonuclear bombs which are deployed and could be used in a war with Iran. Under Israel’s Jericho‐III missile system with a range between 4,800 km to 6,500 km, all Iran would be within reach.


Conventional bunker buster Guided Bomb Unit GBU-27


B61 bunker buster bomb

Radiactive Fallout

The issue of radioactive fallout and contamination, while casually dismissed  by US-NATO military analysts, would be devastating, potentially affecting a large area of  the broader Middle East (including Israel) and Central Asian region.

In an utterly twisted logic, nuclear weapons are presented as a means to building peace and preventing “collateral damage”.  Iran’s nonexistent nuclear weapons are a threat to global security, whereas those of the US  and Israel are instruments of peace” harmless to the surrounding civilian population“.

“The Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) Slated to be Used against Iran

Of military significance within the US conventional weapons arsenal is the 21,500-pound “monster weapon” nicknamed the “mother of all bombs” The GBU-43/B or Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) was categorized “as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed” with the the largest yield in the US conventional arsenal. The MOAB was tested in early March 2003 before being deployed to the Iraq war theater. According to US military sources, The Joint Chiefs of Staff  had advised the government of  Saddam Hussein prior to launching the 2003 that the “mother of all bombs” was to be used against Iraq. (There were unconfirmed reports that it had been used in Iraq).

The US Department of Defence has confirmed in October 2009 that it intends to use the “Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) against Iran. The MOAB is said to be  ”ideally suited to hit deeply buried nuclear facilities such as Natanz or Qom in Iran” (Jonathan Karl, Is the U.S. Preparing to Bomb Iran? ABC News, October 9, 2009). The truth of the matter is that the MOAB, given its explosive capacity, would result in extremely large civilian casualties. It is a conventional “killing machine” with a nuclear type mushroom cloud.

The procurement of four MOABs was commissioned in October 2009 at the hefty cost of $58.4 million, ($14.6 million for each bomb). This amount  includes the costs of development and testing as well as integration of the MOAB bombs onto B-2 stealth bombers.(Ibid). This procurement is directly linked to war preparations in relation to Iran. The notification was contained in a 93-page “reprogramming memo” which included the following instructions:

“The Department has an Urgent Operational Need (UON) for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high threat environments. The MOP [Mother of All Bombs] is the weapon of choice to meet the requirements of the UON [Urgent Operational Need].” It further states that the request is endorsed by Pacific Command (which has responsibility over North Korea) and Central Command (which has responsibility over Iran).” (ABC News,  op cit, emphasis added). To consult the reprogramming request (pdf) click here

The Pentagon is planning on a process of extensive destruction of Iran’s infrastructure and mass civilian casualties through the combined use of tactical nukes and monster conventional mushroom cloud bombs, including the MOAB and the larger GBU-57A/B or Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), which surpasses the MOAB in terms of explosive capacity.

The MOP is described as “a powerful new bomb aimed squarely at the underground nuclear facilities of Iran and North Korea. The gargantuan bomb—longer than 11 persons standing shoulder-to-shoulder [see image below] or more than 20 feet base to nose” (See Edwin Black, “Super Bunker-Buster Bombs Fast-Tracked for Possible Use Against Iran and North Korea Nuclear Programs”, Cutting Edge, September 21 2009)

These are WMDs in the true sense of the word. The not so hidden objective of the MOAB and MOP, including the American nickname used to casually describe the MOAB (“mother of all bombs’), is “mass destruction” and mass civilian casualties with a view to instilling fear and despair.


“Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB)

GBU-57A/B Mass Ordnance Penetrator (MOP)

MOAB: screen shots of test: explosion and mushroom cloud (right)

State of the Art Weaponry: “War Made Possible Through New Technologies”

The process of US military decision making in relation to Iran is supported by Star Wars, the militarization of outer space and the revolution in communications and information systems. Given the advances in military technology and the development of new weapons systems, an attack on Iran could be significantly different in terms of the mix of weapons systems, when compared to the March 2003 Blitzkrieg launched against Iraq. The Iran operation is slated to use the most advanced weapons systems in support of its aerial attacks. In all likelihood, new weapons systems will be tested.

The 2000 Project of the New American Century (PNAC) document entitled Rebuilding American Defenses, outlined the mandate of the US military in terms of large scale theater wars, to be waged simultaneously in different regions of the World:

“Fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars”. 

This formulation is tantamount to a global war of conquest by a single imperial superpower. The PNAC document also called for the transformation of  U.S. forces to exploit the “revolution in military affairs”, namely the implementation of  “war made possible through new technologies”. (See Project for a New American Century, Rebuilding Americas Defenses  Washington DC, September 2000, pdf).  The latter consists in developing and perfecting a state of the art global killing machine based on an arsenal of sophisticated new weaponry, which would eventually replace the existing paradigms.

“Thus, it can be foreseen that the process of transformation will in fact be a two-stage process: first of transition, then of more thoroughgoing transformation. The breakpoint will come when a preponderance of new weapons systems begins to enter service, perhaps when, for example, unmanned aerial vehicles begin to be as numerous as manned aircraft. In this regard, the Pentagon should be very wary of making large investments in new programs – tanks, planes, aircraft carriers, for example – that would commit U.S. forces to current paradigms of warfare for many decades to come. (Ibid, emphasis added)

The war on Iran could indeed mark this crucial breakpoint, with new space-based weapons systems being applied with a view to disabling an enemy which has significant conventional military capabilities including more than half a million ground forces.

Electromagnetic Weapons

Electromagnetic weapons could be used to destabilize Iran’s communications systems, disable electric power generation, undermine and destabilize command and control, government infrastructure, transportation, energy, etc.  Within the same family of weapons, environmental modifications techniques (ENMOD) (weather warfare) developed under the HAARP programme could also be applied. (See Michel Chossudovsky, “Owning the Weather” for Military Use, Global Research, September 27, 2004). These weapons systems are fully operational. In this context, te US Air Force document AF 2025 explicitly acknowledgedthe military applications of weather modification technologies:

“Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally… It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog, and storms on earth or to modify space weather, improve communications through ionospheric modification (the use of ionospheric mirrors), and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of technologies which can provide substantial increase in US, or degraded capability in an adversary, to achieve global awareness, reach, and power.” (Air Force 2025 Final Report, See also US Air Force: Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025, AF2025 v3c15-1 | Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning… | (Ch 1) at www.fas.org).

Electromagnetic radiation enabling “remote health impairment” might also be envisaged in the war theater. (See Mojmir Babacek, Electromagnetic and Informational Weapons:, Global Research, August 6, 2004). In turn, new uses of biological weapons by the US military might also be envisaged as suggested by the PNAC: “[A]dvanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.” (PNAC, op cit., p. 60).

Iran’s Military Capabilities: Medium and Long Range Missiles

Iran has advanced military capabilities, including medium and long range missiles capable of reaching targets in Israel and the Gulf States. Hence the emphasis by the US-NATO Israel alliance on the use of nuclear weapons, which are slated to be used either pr-emptively or in response to an Iranian retaliatory missile attack.


Range of Iran’s Shahab Missiles. Copyright Washington Post

In November 2006, Iran tests of surface missiles 2 were marked by precise planning in a carefully staged operation. According to a senior American missile expert (quoted by Debka),  “the Iranians demonstrated up-to-date missile-launching technology which the West had not known them to possess.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, Iran’s “Power of Deterrence”  Global Research, November 5, 2006) Israel acknowledged that “the Shehab-3, whose 2,000-km range brings Israel, the Middle East and Europe within reach” (Debka, November 5, 2006)

According to Uzi Rubin, former head of Israel’s anti-ballistic missile program, “the intensity of the military exercise was unprecedented… It was meant to make an impression — and it made an impression.” (www.cnsnews.com 3 November 2006)

The 2006 exercises, while  creating a political stir in the US and Israel, did not in any way modify US-NATO-Israeli resolve to wage on Iran.

Tehran has confirmed in several statements that it will respond if it is attacked. Israel would be the immediate object of Iranian missile attacks as confirmed by the Iranian government. The issue of Israel’s air defense system is therefore crucial. US and allied military facilities in the Gulf states, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq could also be targeted by Iran.

 

Iran’s Ground Forces

While Iran is encircled by US and allied military bases, the Islamic Republic has significant military capabilities. (See maps below) What is important to acknowledge is the sheer size of Iranian forces in terms of personnel (army, navy, air force) when compared to US and NATO forces serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Confronted with a well organized insurgency, coalition forces are already overstretched in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Would these forces be able to cope if Iranian ground forces were to enter the existing battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan? The potential of the Resistance movement to US and allied occupation would inevitably be affected.

Iranian ground forces are of the order of 700,000 of which 130,000 are professional soldiers, 220,000 are conscripts and 350,000 are reservists. (See  Islamic Republic of Iran Army – Wikipedia). There are 18,000 personnel in Iran’s Navy and 52,000 in the air force. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, “the Revolutionary Guards has an estimated 125,000 personnel in five branches: Its own Navy, Air Force, and Ground Forces; and the Quds Force (Special Forces).” According to the CISS, Iran’s Basij paramilitary volunteer force controlled by the Revolutionary Guards “has an estimated 90,000 active-duty full-time uniformed members, 300,000 reservists, and a total of 11 million men that can be mobilized if need be” (Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran – Wikipedia), In other words, Iran can mobilize up to half a million regular troops and several million militia. Its Quds special forces are already operating inside Iraq.


US Military and Allied Facilties Surrounding Iran

For several years now Iran has been conducting its own war drills and exercises. While its Air force has weaknesses, its intermediate and long-range missiles are fully operational. Iran’s military is in a state of readiness. Iranian troop concentrations are currently within a few kilometers of the Iraqi and Afghan borders, and within proximity of Kuwait. The Iranian Navy is deployed in the Persian Gulf within proximity of US and allied military facilities in the United Arab Emirates.

It is worth noting that in response to Iran’s military build-up, the US has been transferring large amounts of weapons to its non-NATO allies in the Persian Gulf including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

While Iran’s advanced weapons do not measure up to those of the US and NATO, Iranian forces would be in a position to inflict substantial losses to coalition forces in  a conventional war theater, on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. Iranian ground troops and tanks in December 2009 crossed the border into Iraq without being confronted or challenged by allied forces and occupied a disputed territory in the East Maysan oil field.

Even in the event of an effective Blitzkrieg, which targets Iran’s military facilities, its communications systems, etc. through massive aerial bombing, using cruise missiles, conventional bunker buster bombs and tactical nuclear weapons, a war with Iran, once initiated, could eventually lead into a ground war. This is something which US military planners have no doubt contemplated in their simulated war scenarios.

An operation of this nature would result in significant military and civilian casualties, particularly if nuclear weapons are used.

The expanded budget for the war in Afghanistan currently debated in the US Congress is also intended to be used in the eventuality of an attack on Iran.

Within a scenario of escalation, Iranian troops could cross the border into Iraq and Afghanistan.

In turn, military escalation using nuclear weapons could lead us into a World War III scenario, extending beyond the Middle East Central Asian region.

In a very real sense, this military project, which has been on the Pentagon’s drawing board for more than five years, threatens the future of humanity.

Our focus in this essay has been on war preparations. The fact that war preparations are in an advanced state of readiness does not imply that these war plans will be carried out.

The US-NATO-Israel alliance realizes that the enemy has significant capabilities to respond and retaliate. This factor in itself has been crucial over the last five years in the decision by the US and its allies to postpone an attack on Iran.

Another crucial factor is the structure of military alliances. Whereas NATO has become a formidable force, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which constitutes an alliance between Russia and China and a number of former Soviet republics has been significantly weakened.

The ongoing US military threats directed  against China and Russia are intended to weaken the SCO and discourage any form of military action on the part of Iran’s allies in the case of a US NATO Israeli attack.

What are the countervailing forces which might prevent this war from occurring? There are numerous ongoing forces at work within the US State apparatus, the US Congress, the Pentagon and NATO.

The central force in preventing a war from occurring ultimately comes from the base of society, requiring forceful antiwar action by hundred of millions of people across the land, nationally and internationally.

People must mobilize not only against this diabolical military agenda, the authority of the State and its officials must be also be challenged.

This war can be prevented if people forcefully confront their governments, pressure their elected representatives, organize at the local level in towns, villages and municipalities, spread the word, inform their fellow citizens as to the implications of a nuclear war, initiate debate and discussion within the armed forces. 

The holding of mass demonstrations and antiwar protests is not enough. What is required is the development of a broad and well organized grassroots antiwar network which challenges the structures of power and authority. 

What is required is a mass movement of people which forcefully challenges the legitimacy of war, a global people’s movement which criminalizes war.

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (Emeritus) at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal. He is the author of The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003) and America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005). He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. he can be reached at the globalresearch.ca website


Author’s note:
Dear Global Research Readers, kindly forward this text far and wide to friends and family, on internet forums, within the workplace, in your neighborhood, nationally and internationally, with a view to reversing the tide of war.  Spread the Word!  

To consult Part I of this essay click below

Preparing for World War III, Targeting Iran
Part I: Global Warfare 

- by Michel Chossudovsky – 2010-08-01


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Preparing for World War III, Targeting Iran
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Global Military Agenda: U.S. Expands Asian NATO To Contain And Confront China
- by Rick Rozoff – 2010-08-07

Israel’s Insane War on Iran Must Be Prevented

- by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach – 2010-07-31


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April 23rd, 2014 by Global Research

Sixteen of the world’s largest banks have been caught colluding to rig global interest rates.  Why are we doing business with a corrupt global banking cartel?

United States Attorney General Eric Holder has declared that the too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks are too big to prosecute.  But an outraged California jury might have different ideas. As noted in the California legal newspaper The Daily Journal:

California juries are not bashful – they have been known to render massive punitive damages awards that dwarf the award of compensatory (actual) damages. For example, in one securities fraud case jurors awarded $5.7 million in compensatory damages and $165 million in punitive damages. . . . And in a tobacco case with $5.5 million in compensatory damages, the jury awarded $3 billion in punitive damages . . . .

The question, then, is how to get Wall Street banks before a California jury. How about charging them with common law fraud and breach of contract?  That’s what the FDIC just did in its massive 24-count civil suit for damages for LIBOR manipulation, filed in March 2014 against sixteen of the world’s largest banks, including the three largest US banks – JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup.

LIBOR (the London Interbank Offering Rate) is the benchmark rate at which banks themselves can borrow. It is a crucial rate involved in over $400 trillion in derivatives called interest-rate swaps, and it is set by the sixteen private megabanks behind closed doors.

The biggest victims of interest-rate swaps have been local governments, universities, pension funds, and other public entities. The banks have made renegotiating these deals prohibitively expensive, and renegotiation itself is an inadequate remedy. It is the equivalent of the grocer giving you an extra potato when you catch him cheating on the scales. A legal action for fraud is a more fitting and effective remedy. Fraud is grounds both for rescission (calling off the deal) as well as restitution (damages), and in appropriate cases punitive damages.

Trapped in a Fraud

Nationally, municipalities and other large non-profits are thought to have as much as $300 billion in outstanding swap contracts based on LIBOR, deals in which they are trapped due to prohibitive termination fees. According to a 2010 report by the SEIU(Service Employees International Union):

The overall effect is staggering. Banks are estimated to have collected as much as $28 billion in termination fees alone from state and local governments over the past two years. This does not even begin to account for the outsized net payments that state and local governments are now making to the banks. . . .

While the press have reported numerous stories of cities like Detroit, caught with high termination payments, the reality is there are hundreds (maybe even thousands) more cities, counties, utility districts, school districts and state governments with swap agreements [that] are causing cash strapped local and city governments to pay millions of dollars in unneeded fees directly to Wall Street.

All of these entities could have damage claims for fraud, breach of contract and rescission; and that is true whether or not they negotiated directly with one of the LIBOR-rigging banks.

To understand why, it is necessary to understand how swaps work. As explained in my last article here, interest-rate swaps are sold to parties who have taken out loans at variable interest rates, as insurance against rising rates. The most common swap is one where counterparty A (a university, municipal government, etc.) pays a fixed rate to counterparty B (the bank), while receiving from B a floating rate indexed to a reference rate such as LIBOR. If interest rates go up, the municipality gets paid more on the swap contract, offsetting its rising borrowing costs. If interest rates go down, the municipality owes money to the bank on the swap, but that extra charge is offset by the falling interest rate on its variable rate loan. The result is to fix borrowing costs at the lower variable rate.

At least, that is how they are supposed to work. The catch is that the swap is a separate financial agreement – essentially an ongoing bet on interest rates. The borrower owes both the interest onits variable rate loan and what it must pay on its separate swap deal. And the benchmarks for the two rates don’t necessarily track each other. The rate owed on the debt is based on something called the SIFMA municipal bond index.  The rate owed by the bank is based on the privately-fixed LIBOR rate.

As noted by Stephen Gandel on CNNMoney, when the rate-setting banks started manipulating LIBOR, the two rates decoupled, sometimes radically. Public entities wound up paying substantially more than the fixed rate they had bargained for – a failure of consideration constituting breach of contract. Breach of contract is grounds for rescission and damages.

Pain and Suffering in California

The SEIU report noted that no one has yet completely categorized all the outstanding swap deals entered into by local and state governments.  But in a sampling of swaps within California, involving ten cities and counties (San Francisco, Corcoran, Los Angeles, Menlo Park, Oakland, Oxnard, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Riverside, and Sacramento), one community college district, one utility district, one transportation authority, and the state itself, the collective tab was $365 million in swap payments annually, with total termination fees exceeding $1 billion.

Omitted from the sample was the University of California system, which alone is reported to have lost tens of millions of dollars on interest-rate swaps. According to an article in the Orange County Register on February 24, 2014, the swaps now cost the university system an estimated $6 million a year. University accountants estimate that the 10-campus system will lose as much as $136 million over the next 34 years if it remains locked into the deals, losses that would be reduced only if interest rates started to rise. According to the article:

Already officials have been forced to unwind a contract at UC Davis, requiring the university to pay $9 million in termination fees and other costs to several banks. That sum would have covered the tuition and fees of 682 undergraduates for a year.

The university is facing the losses at a time when it is under tremendous financial stress. Administrators have tripled the cost of tuition and fees in the past 10 years, but still can’t cover escalating expenses. Class sizes have increased. Families have been angered by the rising price of attending the university, which has left students in deeper debt.

Peter Taylor, the university’s Chief Financial Officer, defended the swaps, saying he was confident that interest rates would rise in coming years, reversing what the deals have lost. But for that to be true, rates would have to rise by multiples that would drive interest on the soaring federal debt to prohibitive levels, something the Federal Reserve is not likely to allow.

The Revolving Door

The UC’s dilemma is explored in a report titled “Swapping Our Future: How Students and Taxpayers Are Funding Risky UC Borrowing and Wall Street Profits.” The authors, a group called Public Sociologists of Berkeley, say that two factors were responsible for the precipitous decline in interest rates that drove up UC’s relative borrowing costs. One was the move by the Federal Reserve to push interest rates to record lows in order to stabilize the largest banks. The other was the illegal effort by major banks to manipulate LIBOR, which indexes interest rates on most bonds issued by UC.

Why, asked the authors, has UC’s management not tried to renegotiate the deals? They pointed to the revolving door between management and Wall Street. Unlike in earlier years, current and former business and finance executives now play a prominent role on the UC Board of Regents.

They include Chief Financial Officer Taylor, who walked through the revolving door from Lehman Brothers, where he was a top banker in Lehman’s municipal finance business in 2007. That was when the bank sold the university a swap related to debt at UCLA that has now become the source of its biggest swap losses. The university hired Taylor for his $400,000-a-year position in 2009, and he has continued to sign contracts for swaps on its behalf since.

Investigative reporter Peter Byrne notes that the UC regent’s investment committee controls $53 billion in Wall Street investments, and that historically it has been plagued by self-dealing. Byrne writes:

Several very wealthy, politically powerful men are fixtures on the regent’s investment committee, including Richard C. Blum (Wall Streeter, war contractor, and husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein), and Paul Wachter (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s long-time business partner and financial advisor). The probability of conflicts of interest inside this committee—as it moves billions of dollars between public and private companies and investment banks—is enormous.

Blum’s firm Blum Capital is also an adviser to CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which also got caught in the LIBOR-rigging scandal. “Once again,” said CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Joseph Dear of the LIBOR-rigging, “the financial services industry demonstrated that it cannot be trusted to make decisions in the long-term interests of investors.” If the financial services industry cannot be trusted, it needs to be replaced with something that can be.

Remedies

The Public Sociologists of Berkeley recommend renegotiation of the onerous interest rate swaps, which could save up to $200 million for the UC system; and evaluation of the university’s legal options concerning the manipulation of LIBOR. As demonstrated in the new FDIC suit, those options include not just renegotiating on better terms but rescission and damages for fraud and breach of contract. These are remedies that could be sought by local governments and public entities across the state and the nation.

The larger question is why our state and local governments continue to do business with a corrupt global banking cartel. There is an alternative. They could set up their own publicly-owned banks, on the model of the state-owned Bank of North Dakota. Fraud could be avoided, profits could be recaptured, and interest could become a much-needed source of public revenue. Credit could become a public utility, dispensed as needed to benefit local residents and local economies.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, founder of the Public Banking Institute, and a candidate for California State Treasurer running on a state bank platform. She is the author of twelve books, including the best-selling Web of Debt and her latest book, The Public Bank Solution, which explores successful public banking models historically and globally.

New York Times Propaganda Photos on Ukraine Exposed

April 23rd, 2014 by Alex Lantier

A day after the New York Times published a front-page report purporting to show the involvement of Russian Special Forces in protests in east Ukraine, its report, titled “Photos Link Masked Men in East Ukraine to Russia,” has been exposed as a blatant fabrication.

The Times printed low-resolution pictures of fighters—allegedly wearing Russian insignia while in Georgia, and then later as protesters in east Ukraine—asserting they were the same men, thus proving the existence of an armed Russian intervention in Ukraine. It was based on a crude trick first noted by a commenter on a link posted on Reddit. The photos in the Times were down-sampled versions of higher-resolution images circulating online, which show that the men in the different pictures are in fact not the same.

Images from the New York Times with text and captions:

Original images posted on reddit:

It very rapidly became clear that the Times ’ claims to have proven that Russian soldiers were driving the east Ukraine protests against the pro-Western regime in Kiev were complete rubbish.

The BBC compared the high-resolution pictures of two bearded men theTimes falsely asserted were the same fighter. It concluded, “In the 2014 photos, the man’s greying beard appears to be black, while in Georgia six years ago, the slimmer-looking man shown has a reddish beard.”

It also noted that Russian Special Forces patches on the men’s uniforms, highlighted by the Times as proof that they are Russian troops, “can be bought on the Internet for less than $5.”

Asking whether the pictures “prove anything,” the BBC concluded: “It cannot be said for sure that they are actual Russian Special Forces, as the Ukrainians argue.”

In publishing the false allegations, the Times worked closely with the US government, which received the photos from the unelected pro-US regime in Kiev and “endorsed” them before passing them on. At a press briefing, however, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, whom the New York Times quoted in its article, indicated that the administration was well aware that the photos did not constitute proof of what was being claimed.

Pressed about whether she was certain the pictures showed individuals linked to Russia, Psaki replied: “What we see in these photos that have been, again, in international media, on Twitter, and publicly available, is that there are individuals who visibly appear to be tied to Russia. We’ve said that publicly a countless number of times. I will let you draw all the conclusions yourself as to whether these are individuals who look similar or not to other events.”

A journalist at the briefing objected to calling this “evidence,” and asked, “Do you think this is evidence that would stand up in a court of law?”

Psaki replied, “I don’t think it’s a legal—we’re not making a court-of-law case here. We’re just showing that this is photographic evidence that indicates the connection we’ve been talking about for weeks now.”

The journalist asked, “You think it is proof of connection, or it’s just—or you’re just alleging that it’s another sign of this?”

Psaki replied, “It’s another sign.”

In fact, the Times has worked to mislead its readers, uncritically presenting concocted photos delivered by its contacts in the State Department.

Washington, as it passed the pictures on to the Times, knew very well that they did not constitute evidence of anything, but were simply a new propaganda point supporting its as-yet unsubstantiated accusations of Russian involvement in Ukraine. The Obama administration relied on theTimes to publish the pictures, fanning the flames of the media campaign to denounce Russia, without doing any due diligence to check that its materials were accurate or that proved anything at all.

A decade ago, Times journalist Judith Miller was the conduit for broadcasting lies that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD), touching off a huge media campaign that set the stage for the US invasion of Iraq.

Today, the lies the Times is palming off as news could provoke a war with Russia, a nuclear-armed power. By fabricating evidence of Russian involvement in east Ukraine, the Times was providing political ammunition for calls in Ukraine and in the Western imperialist powers for a military crackdown against protests in east Ukraine, a region with a large Russian population. This could lead to a military intervention by Moscow in eastern Ukraine to break up the crackdown, and a clash between Russia and Ukraine drawing in the Western powers.

The Times ’ fabrications also served to obscure the fact that this conflict arose out of the decision of Washington and its European allies to topple Ukraine’s previous, Russian-aligned regime in a fascist-led putsch in February. The unelected pro-Western regime in Kiev has now encountered significant popular opposition in pro-Russian regions of eastern Ukraine. It is this aggressive policy of the Western powers that is driving the explosive standoff in eastern Ukraine.

The employees of the Times who were involved in producing this article, like Judith Miller before them, reflect the growing integration of the media and the state.

Henry Kissinger, the Secretary of State under President Richard Nixon, intervened personally four years ago to try to obtain a Chinese visa for the lead author of the Times article, Andrew Higgins. Higgins has been refused entry into China ever since 1991—when, after reporting on the Tiananmen Square massacre, he was found traveling with Chinese state documents in his briefcase and expelled from the country.

Higgins’ reporting on Ukraine in the current crisis has been largely oriented to downplaying the dangers posed by the fascist forces Washington and its European allies put in power in Kiev, and demonizing Russia. One particularly foul piece published on April 8, “Among Ukraine’s Jews, Bigger Worry is Putin, Not Pogroms,” attacked the idea that these groups posed any danger to Ukraine’s Jewish population.

The Right Sector militia and the fascist Svoboda party occupy key posts in the unelected Kiev regime and glorify World War II-era fascist forces, such as the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists of Stepan Bandera, who allied with the Nazis during the Ukrainian Holocaust. Yet, according to Higgins, such organizations are far less dangerous to the Ukrainian people that the Russian government.

“Even Right Sector, a coalition of ultranationalist and in some cases neo-Nazi organizations, has made an effort to distance itself from anti-Semitism,” Higgins wrote. “In late February, its leader, Dmytro Yarosh, pledged during a meeting with Israel’s ambassador in Kiev to fight all forms of racism.”

Higgins’ attempt to whitewash the right-wing character of the Kiev regime is of a piece with the current concocted denunciations of Russia by the Times, shamelessly supporting Western imperialism’s intervention in Ukraine.

Vice President Joseph Biden’s two-day visit to Ukraine has ended with a resumption of the Kiev regime’s military crackdown against its political opponents in the southeast of the country and a dangerous escalation of US threats against Russia.

Oleksandr Turchynov, who is both acting president and chairman of the parliament following the US-backed, fascist-led coup of February 22, announced Tuesday that he had ordered the country’s security forces to “carry out effective counterterrorist activities aimed at defending Ukrainian citizens living in the country’s east from terrorists.”

Troops have reportedly been massed in the town of Izyum, on the border between Ukraine’s Kharkov region and Donetsk, the country’s most industrialized region. Donetsk has been the center of protests against the US-backed ultranationalists who seized power in Kiev.

Government buildings and police stations have been seized in over a dozen cities and towns. Local councils that have been elected are demanding autonomy for the region and a federalized form of government. In Lugansk, a local popular assembly has announced it will hold a two-stage referendum on May 11 and May 18, asking voters whether the region should be autonomous in the first round and, in the second, whether it should be independent or seek annexation by Russia. Other areas are preparing similar votes.

Izyum is about 50 kilometers northeast of Slavyansk, a center of the protests in Donetsk. The troops that have been deployed there reportedly include National Guard units that are heavily populated by fascist thugs from the Right Sector.

The Kiev regime initially launched its “antiterrorist” offensive early last week, seizing control of a military airfield in Kramatorsk and sending an armored column rolling toward Slovyansk. Halted by a crowd of local people, however, the Ukrainian soldiers refused to take action against them, instead turning over their armored vehicles and weapons to anti-Kiev militiamen.

It was in the aftermath of this humiliating fiasco that the Ukrainian regime’s foreign minister joined his counterparts from the US, Russia and the European Union in drafting an agreement in Geneva to halt all violence and de-escalate tensions by disarming illegal groups, ending occupations of public buildings and spaces, freeing political prisoners and initiating a dialogue between the regions.

Shortly afterwards, the regime in Kiev added that it was observing an “Easter truce.” It was during this supposed truce that a column of four cars carrying Right Sector gunmen attacked a roadblock on the outskirts of Slovyansk on Easter Sunday, killing three local men.

It is now apparent that the Kiev regime and its patrons in Washington were only playing for time with the negotiations in Geneva. It hardly seems a coincidence that the first abortive “counterterrorist” offensive was launched after a secret visit to Kiev by CIA Director John Brennan, while the second attempt was initiated immediately after Vice President Biden’s trip to the country.

Turchynov claimed the resumption of the crackdown was triggered by the discovery in Slovyansk of the body of a local politician and member of his own right-wing Batkivshchyna, or “Fatherland,” party, who had been abducted earlier. Another body found in the town has yet to be identified. Turchynov charged that “these crimes are being committed with the full support and connivance” of Russia.

This is all merely a pretext for an aggressive operation planned and directed from Washington. This was made clear in an interview published by theWashington Post Tuesday with the Kiev regime’s minister of internal affairs, Arsen Avakov. Asked by the Post whether the regime was going “to fight the terrorists,” Avakov replied, “Tomorrow the holidays will be finished and the announced Easter truce will be finished… We will act… We will start liberating people from the terrorists.”

The US-backed crackdown against the population of southeastern Ukraine threatens to plunge the country into a bloody civil war. At the same time, the launching of such an operation within miles of the Russian border poses the immediate threat of a catastrophic conflict between a nuclear-armed Russia and the Western powers.

In tandem with the turn toward armed repression in Ukraine, Washington is escalating its reckless and provocative military actions in the region directed against Russia. The Pentagon announced Tuesday that a first contingent of US paratroopers will arrive in Poland today to begin months of joint infantry exercises with Polish troops. Similar company-sized units will be dispatched to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in the coming days in what the US military describes as “land force training activities in the Baltic region scheduled to take place this year and possibly into next year.”

“Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has renewed our resolve to strengthening NATO’s defense plans and capabilities, and to demonstrate our continued commitment to collective defense in reinforcing our NATO allies in Central and Eastern Europe,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said.

Also announced was the dispatch of another warship to the Black Sea in what is being described as a “reassurance mission.”

This supposed response only points to the real motivation behind the US-backed coup in Ukraine: to escalate the military encirclement of Russia, bringing NATO to its borders and eliminating Moscow as an impediment to US geostrategic hegemony over the Eurasian landmass.

Victoria Nuland, the US undersecretary of state for Eurasian affairs and the designated “point person” on operations in Ukraine, made clear the scale of the US investment in the drive to impose a US puppet regime in Kiev in an interview Monday on CNN news.

Nuland is a former chief of staff to Dick Cheney and the wife of Robert Kagan, the founding chairman of the Project for a New American Century, the rightwing think tank that was the leading advocate for wars for regime change in Iraq and elsewhere. She boasted to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Washington has “invested” $5 billion in promoting “democracy” in Ukraine. She followed this admission with the preposterous claim that no US aid had been funneled to the fascist-led violence in Kiev’s Maidan, which she described as “a spontaneous movement.”

Nuland concluded by issuing marching orders to the Kiev regime, insisting that it must “negotiate a deal with the IMF, where they would institute real reform,” i.e., austerity measures that will spell mass unemployment and a devastating decline in living standards for Ukrainian workers. She also affirmed Washington’s backing for elections being staged by the illegitimate regime in Kiev on May 25 and demanded that the regime “ensure that the country is peaceful enough for those elections to go forward.” This was a clear directive to launch bloody repression against those in southeastern Ukraine who have opposed the US-orchestrated coup.

Moscow responded to the latest US threats and provocations in a Tuesday telephone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of State John Kerry that had been initiated from Washington. Lavrov insisted that the US-backed Ukrainian regime had to take “urgent steps” to implement the April 17 agreement reached in Geneva. This meant reversing the order to send troops into southeastern Ukraine and freeing dissidents arrested there. He also demanded that the regime disarm neo-fascist groups such as the Right Sector.

What has become clear is that while Russia’s regime, representing the interests of the country’s capitalist oligarchs, hoped that Geneva could prove a path to peaceful accommodation with US imperialism, Washington saw the agreement as a means to an entirely different end. It used it to gain time to reorganize a military crackdown in Ukraine, while at the same time claiming that Russia was in violation of the deal because of the refusal of the opponents of the Kiev regime in southeastern Ukraine to halt their protests. This provides the pretext for intensified sanctions and stepped-up military provocations against Moscow.

As for disarming the Right Sector, neither Washington nor its puppets in Kiev had the intention of doing any such thing. They recognize the need to use these fascist elements as a battering ram against not only the anti-Kiev protests, but also against resistance from the working class as a whole to the drastic IMF-dictated social and economic attacks that are to come.

Photo: SANA

Western-backed “Holy Warriors” in Syria attacked an aid convoy of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in Salmiyeh city on Saturday, killing five civilian aid workers and injuring nine. Attacks against humanitarian aid convoys constitute one of the most serious war crimes.

The attack, as well as core NATO and GCC members’ use of aid convoys and ambulances for smuggling weapons and troops implicate core NATO and GCC member, arguably the NATO alliance itself in war crimes.

The Syrian news agency SANA quotes local sources in Salmiyeh as saying that the blast from a car bomb killed five civilians, including one of the Red Crescent (Miras) drivers, while nine were injured.

The so-called “rebels” blew up an explosive-laden vehicle as four Miras trucks were passing the bakery in the city of Salmiyeh in Hama.

 

Photo: SANA

The aid convoy transported food as well as medicine for people affected by the now more then three year long war against the country.

The terrorist attack is part of a recent series of similar attacks that have killed dozens and injured hundreds in cities such as Homs, Hama and Aleppo, reports the news agency, adding that the chain of attacks began after the defeat of the insurgents in the city of Qalamoun.

Core NATO States, GCC member States and NATO accountable for War Crimes.

Despite attempts by the USA, UK, France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to designate the conflict in Syria as civil war, their state sponsorship and de-facto use of mercenaries gives the conflict the status of an international war under international law and these countries are thus responsible for their actions as parties to the war.

 

Photo:SANA

Arguably, it is not only the individual NATO members, but the alliance itself, that could be held accountable for war crimes committed by mercenaries who are fighting on their behalf.

The war is also to be designated an international conflict on the basis of the Geneva Conventions.

The “Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977″ . The International Committee of the Red Cross states that:

Article 1 (4) provides that armed conflicts in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination, alien occupation or racist regimes are to be considered international conflicts.

The bombing of the Red Crescent convoy in Salmiyeh also falls under the provisions of the First and Second Geneva Conventions and the additional protocol because:

 

IHH Truck seized in Turkey was laden with weapons, headed for Al-Qaeda brigades in Syria.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) statesthat:

Part II (Articles 8-34) develops the rules of the First and Second Geneva Conventions on wounded, sick and shipwrecked. It extends the protection of the Conventions to civilian medical personnel, equipment and supplies and to civilian units and transports and contains detailed provisions on medical transportation.

The ICRC continues:

Part III and several chapters of Part IV (Articles 35-60) deal with the conduct of hostilities, i.e. questions which hitherto were regulated by the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and by customary international law. Their reaffirmation and development is important in view of the age of the Hague Conventions and of the new States which had no part in their elaboration. Article 43 and 44 give a new definition of armed forces and combatants. Among the most important Articles are those on the protection of the civilian population against the effects of hostilities. They contain a definition of military objectives and prohibitions of attack on civilian persons and objects. Further Articles (61-79) deal with the protection of civil defence organizations, relief actions and the treatment of persons in the power of a party to a conflict.

While the core NATO and GCC member States backed mercenaries implicate their state-sponsors in the violation of these international laws, they also implicate them further into war crimes by:

In a bitter irony, those who carry out “humanitarian warfare” in the name of “democracy” are committed to boycotting Syria’s presidential elections.

Both the Obama administration and the United Nations are fully aware that the June presidential elections in Syria will, in all likelihood, result in a landslide victory for President al-Assad and thus pave the way for a decisive end to the three-year long NATO-led genocidal war on Syria.

excerpt from:  Highlights of the noon briefing by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Monday, 21 April 2014

official website of the United Nations, 21 April 2014

Forthcoming Syria elections will damage political process – Top U.N. officials

In response to a question on the announcement of [presidential] elections to be held in Syria [on June 3], the Spokesman [for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon] said that the [UN] Secretary-General and the Joint Special Representative [of the UN and Arab League for Syria], Lakhdar Brahimi, have repeatedly warned that the holding of [presidential] elections in the current circumstances, amid the ongoing conflict and massive displacement, will damage the political process and hamper the prospects for a political solution that the country so urgently needs. [Spokesman Stephan] Dujarric added that such elections are incompatible with the letter and spirit of the Geneva Communiqué.

excerpts from:  Daily Press Briefing – April 21, 2014

daily press briefing by U.S. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, Washington D.C., 21 April 2014)
U.S. Department of State website, 21 April 2014

U.S. State Department:  All right. I have one additional item at the top. Presidential – on Syria, I should say – presidential elections – actually a referendum, not a real vote – in Syria planned by the Assad regime undermine the Geneva framework and are a parody of democracy. They have no credibility. Further, the Syrian regime under the Assads has never held a credible, free, and fair election, and has taken legal and administrative steps to ensure that this vote will not be fair. Calling for a de facto referendum rings especially hollow now, as the regime continues to massacre the very electorate it purports to represent. The regime’s violent suppression of the Syrian people’s calls for freedom and dignity is what sparked this brutal conflict. Staging elections under current conditions, including the effective disenfranchisement of millions of Syrians, neither addresses the aspirations of the Syrian people nor moves the country any closer to a negotiated political solution. [...]

Question:  Okay. On the Syrian election just for a second. In your view, there’s no way that – there’s no way for an election to actually – for a real election to actually take place because of the current conditions in Syria, or because of the fact that there are millions of people outside who would – outside of Syria, or both?

U.S. State Department:  Well, I think one of the major reasons, which you didn’t mention but is worth noting, is that this – the Syrian regime and the Assad family has a history of not holding free and fair elections. Also, clearly what’s happening on the ground and the fact that this brutality has happened at the hands of the very brutal dictator who is planning to announce elections we don’t think would be free and fair is really the greatest concern.

Question:  Can you also just explain, how does it undermine the Geneva framework?

U.S. State Department:  Well, as the London Eleven [Core Group of the Friends of the Syrian People] announced in its April 3rdstatement, any unilateral decision by the regime to hold presidential elections would be entirely inconsistent with the Geneva communique’s call for the establishment of a transitional governing body to oversee constitutional reforms leading to free and fair elections.

Question:  So – on the Geneva, so I can understand you correctly, it is the transitional aspect that is missing? You need something transitional – a transitional government – to oversee some sort of a fair and free election?

U.S. State Department:  Well, there are several aspects, Said.

Question:  Right.

U.S. State Department:  I think the first and foremost is the brutality of this very dictator who is planning to hold these elections, so – and the history of what’s happened over the last few years. But certainly, the Geneva communique calls for the creation of a transitional governing body.

Question:  So that’s the one I think that would legally – or stand in the face of a free and fair elections, correct? A transitional body of some sort.

U.S. State Department:  Well, there are also steps – laws that have been passed by the regime that preclude anyone who hasn’t lived in the country for 10 years from running for office that make it very difficult for other candidates to run in an election like this.

Question:  Okay. Do you still believe that Assad’s days are numbered?

U.S. State Department:  We do.

Question:  Okay.

U.S. State Department:  And we certainly – as you know, [U.S. Special Envoy for Syria] Daniel Rubinstein is back in the region.

Question:  Right.

U.S. State Department:  We continue to work with the opposition, we continue to work with our international partners, and we’ll continue to press for bringing an end to this regime.

Question:  Okay. So no amount of transparency could actually be – could be conceivable, correct, in this – in conducting this kind of election?

U.S. State Department:  I think –

Question:  Aside from the fact that maybe one-third of the population is dislocated?

U.S. State Department:  Well, the Assads have never held a credible, fair, or free election.

Related news:

SANA, 21 April 2014

People’s Assembly [of Syria] on Monday opened the door for candidacy to the Presidential elections in Syria.

Speaker of the Assembly Mohammad Jihad Lahham said that candidates for presidential elections will be able to submit applications to the Supreme Constitutional Court starting from Tuesday, April 22, 2014 until Thursday, 1 May, 2014.

During Parliament session which was attended by Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi, members of the government and representatives of local and Arab and foreign media outlets, al-Laham said that “from the People’s Assembly I tell the Syrian people that the time for the presidential elections has come.”

“We declare that presidential elections will be carried out on schedule with no delay, heedless of what some are saying from abroad in a bid to undermine our self-confidence and break down our political and democratic track.”

He stressed that no will is superior to the will of the Syrian people, adding that the legislative institution in Syria is steadfast and it works diligently and faithfully for fulfilling its duty despite the martyrdom of some colleagues, the kidnapping of others and all attempts of targeting other parliament members.

Al-Laham called upon the Syrians inside and outside the country to practice their right to vote and those who wish to run for presidency to do so. [...]

MPs [i.e. members of the Syrian parliament] said that the announcement of presidential elections’ date is a milestone in Syria’s history that proves that Syria has conquered terrorism.

They saw that the elections come at an important juncture in Syria’s history, indicating that Syria is at the threshold of important phase that places responsibility on every Syrian citizen to rise to the challenge and determine the future of their country.

This is urgent. An Internet censorship plan is being finalized in secret meetings right now. We need all hands on deck at this crucial moment. 

Here’s the situation: President Obama himself is in secretive meetings with key political figures and lobbyists in Asia to lock the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Internet censorship plan into place.

We know from leaked documents that this secretive plan will censor your use of the Internet and strip away your rights.[1] If finalized, this plan would force ISPs to act as “Internet Police” monitoring our Internet use, censoring content, and removing whole websites.[2]

It will give media conglomerates centralized control over what you can watch and share online.

We urgently need your help to fight back. Add your voice right now and we’ll project a Stop the Secrecy message on key buildings in Washington D.C. to ensure Obama, the media, and everyone else knows this censorship plan must be stopped.

This is huge: covering 40% of the global economy, the TPP is being called a legal “blueprint” for the rest of the world.[3] Once key leaders finalize TPP Internet censorship plans, those plans will be used to globalize censorship. You will be affected and this may be our only chance to stop it.

Our attention-grabbing message will shine a light on their secret plan and will make clear to Washington lobbyists that the Internet community will never accept the TPP’s secrecy or censorship. The more who speak out, the larger our projection will become, and the more people we can reach.

This is a decisive moment: we need to act right now. Join with hundreds of thousands of people all over the world to shine a light on the TPP’s job-killing Internet censorship plan. Let’s send decision-makers and the lobbyists pulling the strings a message they can’t ignore: “Stop the secrecy now.”

Thank you for being a part of history,

After signing the petition, please forward this message to your friends.

– The RootsAction.org team

RootsAction is an independent online force endorsed by Jim Hightower, Barbara Ehrenreich, Cornel West, Daniel Ellsberg, Glenn Greenwald, Naomi Klein, Bill Fletcher Jr., Laura Flanders, former U.S. Senator James Abourezk, Coleen Rowley, Frances Fox Piven, and many others.

Footnotes:

[1] WikiLeaks: Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement
[2] Electronic Frontier Foundation: TPP Creates Legal Incentives For ISPs To Police The Internet
[3] U.S. “Bullying” TPP Negotiators Amid Failure to Agree. Source: Inter Press Service News Agency.

Preparing Ukraine for a Proxy War with Russia

April 23rd, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

Joe Biden and Barack Obama

The BBC reported in their article, “Ukraine crisis: Biden to meet Kiev leaders in show of support,” that: 

US Vice-President Joe Biden is to meet Ukraine’s new leaders in a show of support for the pro-Western government.

Mr Biden is due to discuss the forthcoming elections with the country’s interim prime minister and president during his visit to Kiev.

A phone conversation between the US secretary of state and Russia’s foreign minister earlier led to both sides blaming the other over the crisis.

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Biden’s visit is not the first time Western representatives have traveled to Kiev in direct support of the “Euromaidan” protests and the subsequent unelected regime that violently seized power. US Senator John McCain would literally take the stage with the ultra-right, Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party leaders as well as meet with “Fatherland Party” member and future “prime minister,” Arseniy Yatsenyuk 

In mid-April, CIA director John Brennan was confirmed to have travelled to Kiev. Forbes in their article, “Why CIA Director Brennan Visited Kiev: In Ukraine The Covert War Has Begun,” reported that: 

Over the weekend, CIA director John Brennan travelled to Kiev, nobody knows exactly why, but some speculate that he intends to open US intelligence resources to Ukrainian leaders about real-time Russian military maneuvers. The US has, thus far, refrained from sharing such knowledge because Moscow is believed to have penetrated much of Ukraine’s communications systems – and Washington isn’t about to hand over its surveillance secrets to the Russians.

Forbes would continue by suggesting arrangements were being made to prepare Ukraine for a possible proxy war with Russia – describing the shortcomings of Western backing during another proxy confrontation with Russia, the Georgia-Russia conflict in 2008 where Western equipped Georgian troops were humiliated after invading South Ossetia and incurring a counterattack by superior Russian forces.  

 US Roadshow to Cover for Kiev’s Nonexistent Legitimacy 

First McCain’s and now Biden’s trip to Kiev is meant to lend the “Euromaidan” derived regime international recognition and – Washington hopes – the illusion of legitimacy. However, the “Euromaidan” protests were led by a toxic mixture of Neo-Nazis, bigots, racists, and anti-Semites, many of whom were armed and conducted a campaign of violence to overthrow the elected government of President Viktor Yanukovych.

These included the Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party, the “Fatherland Party,” and the admittedly armed Neo-Nazi “Right Sector” movement. The BBC would even concede that armed Neo-Nazis spearheaded the violence that ultimately overthrew the Ukrainian government in a short video report titled, “Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine,” which showed Neo-Nazis occupying the vandalized, ransacked offices of the ultra-right’s political enemies.

That the current regime has afforded top ministry positions to Neo-Nazi parties like Svoboda is particularly troubling. The Daily Caller in an article titled, “Ukraine party accused of anti-Semitism receives top positions in new government,” would admit:

As the fires die down from the turmoil in Kiev, a political party that has been accused of promoting anti-Semitism and xenophobia is set to reap the benefits of the new government arrangement. 

The Svoboda Party will take control of not one, but three ministries in the interim government.

These posts include the deputy prime minister and the heads of the agriculture and environmental ministries. In addition to these positions, a Svoboda lawmaker was appointed the new prosecutor general in the interim government.

If the nature of Svoboda is widely known, having been reported on for years by both the Western media and Western human rights organizations, then surely the United States and the European Union are well aware of the true nature of the new regime in Kiev. McCain and Biden’s rush to lend support for the regime is an attempt not to bolster leadership in Ukraine that represents the alleged values of the West, but to cover up the fact that the regime in Kiev represents the very antithesis of these values.

And of course, the very fact that the regime came to power through a violent coup, and not “democratic elections” as the West has repeatedly claimed is the only way a legitimate government can come to power, further undermines both the legitimacy of the regime, and those that seek to now back it – particularly the United States government and the European Union.

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

“We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected round the world.”  (President Barack Obama, State of the Union address, 24th January 2012.)

As Easter was celebrated in the US and UK with, for believers, the message of hope, Fallujah, the region and much of the country is again under siege, not this time by US mass murderers, but by the US proxy government’s militias armed with US delivered weapons.

In 2003, a month into the invasion, Easter Day fell on the same day as this year, 20th April, as Iraqis of all denominations and none, died were incarcerated, tortured, found with their heads drilled, or no heads, thrown on garbage piles.

Easter Day the following year, 2004 fell on Sunday 11th April and was marked by Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt confirming again his total disregard for human life. In the words of former USCENTOCOM Commander General Tommy Franks who led the Iraq invasion in March 2003, “it is not productive to count Iraqi deaths”.

The carnage of the first siege of Fallujah was underway. At the daily press briefing (1) General Kimmitt assured the media:

“The Marines remain ready, willing and able at any time to provide any level of humanitarian assistance.

“Outside the city of Fallujah, I understand they’ve already set up facilities for any displaced persons that come out of the city that need assistance.

“That is something that the Marine Corps is expert in, the whole notion of assistance, rendering assistance to any town in the world at anytime.” Then as now, it is impossible to know whether to laugh or weep.

General Kimmitt. was then asked:

“From here, from this podium, you talk about a clean war in Fallujah. But the Iraqis have an image through television from what is happening in Fallujah (including) killing children. Is there a way that you could convince Iraqis by your point of view that you have (only) utilized force against terrorists? “

With his hallmark contempt for humanity, or anything to do with “rendering assistance”, he replied:

 “With regards to the solution on the images of Americans and coalition soldiers killing innocent civilians, my solution is quite simple: change the channel. Change the channel to a legitimate, authoritative, honest news station.

“The stations that are showing Americans intentionally killing women and children are not legitimate news sources. That is propaganda, and that is lies. So you want a solution? Change the channel.”

Jonathan Steel of the Guardian persisted:

“General Kimmitt, you talk about changing channels, but what is your reply to people like (politician) Adnan Pachachi, who have accused the coalition forces of using collective punishment on the city of Fallujah? Have you got a reply a little bit more nuanced and subtle than just to tell Mr. Pachachi to change channels?”

Without shame, the General responded to the situation in the town which has become known as “Iraq’s Guernica” with:

“In this case, we can disagree without being disagreeable, but it is not the practice of the coalition forces, any of the coalition nations, to exercise collective punishment or collective action on a city. That is just not done. It is not practiced. And it violates international law. And we don’t believe at this point that coalition can be shown any proof to suggest that it is in violation of international law or the laws of land warfare.”

The town was in fact, treated as a “free fire zone”, two hospitals were demolished including a recently built emergency centre and at the General Hospital, patients and doctors were initially handcuffed, the “liberators’ regarding it as  “a centre of propaganda”, since the staff talked, then as now, of the numbers of dead and wounded they were treating. The “non-American wounded were, in essence left to die”, as a result.

A comment from one as either deluded or unfamiliar with the truth as General Kimmitt, a Lt-Col Pete Newell, stated that US Forces wanted:

“ Fallujah to understand what democracy is all about.”

Colonel Ralph Peters, ever in pursuit of his vision of eternal war, said of this vision of democracy

“We must not be afraid to make an example of Fallujah. We need to demonstrate that the United States military cannot be deterred or defeated. If that means widespread destruction, we must accept the price . . . Even if Fallujah has to go the way of Carthage, reduced to shards, the price will be worth it.” (2)

Now it is known definitively what a pack of lies were Kimmitt’s assurances, with the General having confirmed his knowledge of violations of international law – even before the second decimation of Fallujah later in the year, perhaps someone should surely visit him and Colonel Peters with a view to including them in an upcoming historic class action law suit which has been filed in the US. (3)

Less than a month after Kimmitt’s channel changing advice, General Taguba released his Report on what “democracy was all about” at the hands of the US military at Abu Ghraib prison, a short distance from Fallujah. It still chills and should shame for all time. Just a few of his findings include:

“…that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:

*Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet.  *Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees

*Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing

*Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time

*Forcing naked male detainees to wear women’s underwear

*Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped

*Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them *Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture

*Writing “I am a Rapest” (sic) on the leg of a detainee alleged to have forcibly raped a 15-year old fellow detainee, and then photographing him naked

*Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee’s neck and having a female Soldier pose for a picture

*A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee

*Taking photographs of dead Iraqi detainees.

*Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees

*Threatening detainees with a charged 9mm pistol

*Pouring cold water on naked detainees

*Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair

*Threatening male detainees with rape

*Allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was    injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell

* Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick._h.

*Using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee. (4)

Did the General not know of what was happening at the hands of US troops throughout the region? His knowledge of Iraq, however, was such that in the press conference cited above, he referred to Baghdad, of which journalists, he thought, would be “familiar”, as a “town”, this ancientest city of seven million people.

Baghdad, formerly, as Kurt Nimmo writes, the most advanced city in the Middle East, has now been designated in a recent survey (5) the world’s worst city: “a dangerous ruin, stricken by sectarian and religious violence, corruption, crime, unemployment, pollution and numerous other problems.”

Mark Kimmitt is now retired and “is an advisor to US firms in the Middle East”(6) presumably profiting from US destabilization and industrial scale murder and destruction, ongoing in Iraq, after eleven years, at an average of one thousand souls a month.

It has to be wondered if, on the tenth anniversary of his massive Easter Day mistruths, he reflected on his words, Iraq’s ongoing carnage – and that when a journalist had asked him what he would say to Iraq’s children, traumatized by the noise of America’s war ‘planes and bombs, he replied: “Tell them it’s the sound of freedom.”

Notes

1.  http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0404/11/se.01.html

2. http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/anarchism/writers/anarcho/war/iraq/fallujah/attack.html

3. http://www.globalresearch.ca/crimes-against-peace-historic-class-action-law-suit-against-george-w-bush/5378507

4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taguba_Report

5. http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/?p=95369

6. http://www.mei.edu/profile/mark-kimmitt

Vladimir Putin: The Russian World is coming to Europe

April 23rd, 2014 by Global Research News

by Boris Mezhuev

President Putin’s Direct Line on April 17 offered a wonderful opportunity for reflecting on the present and the future of European civilization. The head of state sought to express his most fundamental ideas about the current geopolitical environment in Europe, and it was clear that his outlook on this issue is holistic and dynamic, yet inherently precise.

First of all, Putin made it plain that he still considers Europe to be a single integrated civilization stretching from Lisbon to Vladivostok. He sees no need to “carve out separate civilizations,” by delineating the boundaries of which lands look to Russia, vs. those that identify more with Europe.

But Russia cannot possibly accept the idea of NATO inching toward its borders. The problem with this treaty on collective security is that it ignores Russia’s interests – if NATO could only incorporate Russia, many of the problems would disappear.

Russia finds the external imposition of extremely liberal moral values to be inappropriate, and on this issue Russians have much in common with the more principled majority of the European public – but their opinions are not verbalized by the official policy makers because of the latter’s over-dependence on Washington and Brussels. The Russian president pointed to his beloved Germany, where he claims fears of American surveillance force the politicians into the hallways to confer in whispers. But Putin noted that the political elite cannot entirely disregard the majority position, and the fact that they are unable to do so must be counted as a victory for Viktor Orbán and his colleagues in Hungary, as well as the result of advances made by the European Right overall.

Vladimir Putin during Direct Line, Moscow, April 17, 2014

Putin hardly views Europe as an alien civilization, on the contrary, the continent represents a battleground between a liberal individualism that is truly alien to Russia vs. a European traditionalism, which – although still held captive by its Atlantic partnerships – is closer to Russia’s heart. The Russian world the president spoke about at the end of his show is a community of Russian speakers of varying nationalities who are scattered across the globe – a single people with its own, distinct genetic code, a people who do not fear death and who disdain mindless creature comforts – it is the world that is able to provide contemporary Europe with what it seems to lack – namely, the courage to defy culturally alien dictates imposed from the outside.

In his responses to the media Putin made it clear that he was well acquainted with the political leaders of Europe and had great respect for them, emphasizing that they are very admirable and deeply professional individuals, but that they are all bound by a certain, utterly spurious, ideological solidarity – one that is both anti-conservative and anti-Russian. They cannot support Russia’s position in the conflict with Ukraine, even when the outwardly pro-European forces at the helm there violate the law with anti-Semitic remarks in their pursuit of power.

But meanwhile, a keen ear can detect the howls of Europe’s true heartland – the people who simply cannot grasp why the EU, which is already bursting at its seams, should welcome in Ukraine, a country that is already depleted, poor, and unstable. That European public sees Putin as the most rational force on the continent anywhere from Lisbon to the Urals, a force that is free of American control and immune to pressure from any unsolicited allies in the East.

The Russian world is on its way to Europe in order to oblige the “official” Europe to listen to its own electorate, a group long forgotten by a European bureaucracy under the thumb of Washington. And for a long time we didn’t understand what was really going on in the silence of those European offices, until Edward Snowden broke the news to us and to the whole world.

And this was, in essence, the challenge that Putin put before the citizens of the West – a admonition to listen to the voice of the majority – in this case the majority of their own countries – and to stop resisting its opinion, with the added warning that if the West persists in this resistance, it should not be surprised if there is pushback. However, he pointedly refrained from any harsh rhetoric against the West. The Russian leader even found kind words for President Obama.

An interesting era of struggle for the identity of Europe has begun – an era to reclaim the entire continent, an era of a new abduction of Europe. Economic pragmatism still has its place, but it is no longer the highest priority – oil and gas are now the arguments in a much more substantial dispute. A dispute of minds. A dispute of ideas. If the Russian world wins this dispute, a place will be found at the table of European nations (perhaps seated at the head) for the new EuroRussia, with its vast, diverse population. But if victory crosses the Atlantic, then a civilization will ascend to the top that has been cribbed from a dystopia created by Aldous Huxley or Anthony Burgess - an spent world in thrall to a cult of hedonistic pleasure that has forgotten the words “Homeland,” “Family,” and “God.”

It turns out that in annexing the Crimea, Russia has not left Europe, but has finally returned to it after two decades of isolation and self-imposed exile from the continent’s fate. And while the Western public reviles the intellectuals and academics who for years went on about Russia’s “uniqueness,” blaming them for the current situation, Putin is celebrating the triumphant return of the Russian state to European civilization, not as an unwelcome guest, but as its imminent liberator.

FULL VIDEO OF DIRECT LINE WITH VLADIMIR PUTIN

Boris Mezhuev is a Russian journalist and philosopher.

Source in Russian: Izvestia Copyright Boris Mezhuev Izvestia, 2014

Translated and adapted by ORIENTAL REVIEW.

This article was published on GR on November 10, 2013

The investor-state dispute system, whereby foreign investors can sue the host-country government in an international tribunal, is one of the issues being negotiated in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

In the public debate surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), an issue that seems to stand out is the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system. It would enable foreign investors of TPPA countries to directly sue the host government in an international tribunal.

In most US free trade agreements (FTAs) with investor-state dispute provisions, the tribunal most mentioned is the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), an arbitration court hosted by the World Bank in Washington.

ISDS would be a powerful system for enforcing the rules of the TPPA, which is currently being negotiated by the US and 11 other Pacific Rim countries. Any foreign investor from TPPA countries can take up a case claiming that the government has not met its relevant TPPA obligations.

If the claim succeeds, the tribunal could award the investor financial compensation for the claimed losses. If the payment is not made, the award can potentially be enforced through the seizure of assets of the government that has been sued, or through tariffs raised on the country’s exports.

ISDS is related to relevant parts of the TPPA’s investment chapter. One of the provisions is a broad definition of “investment” which includes credit, contracts, intellectual property rights (IPRs), and expectations of future gains and profits. Investors can make claims on losses to these assets.

Under the “national treatment” provision, a foreign investor can claim to be discriminated against if the local is given preference or other advantage.

Under the clause on fair and equitable treatment, which is contained in many existing trade and investment treaties, investors have sued on the ground of non-renewal or change in the terms of a licence or contract and changes in policies or regulations that the investor claims will reduce its future profits.

Finally, investors can sue on the ground of “indirect expropriation”. Tribunals have ruled in favour of investors that claimed losses due to government policies or regulations, such as tighter health and environmental regulations.

The arbitration system has come under heavy criticism, including that the tribunal decisions are arbitrary and can contradict decisions of other tribunals in similar cases.

There is often a situation of conflict of interest. A few lawyers monopolize the international investment arbitration business; they act as lawyers in one case and as arbitrators in other cases. In a few cases, an arbitrator was on the board of directors of the parent company of the investor that took up the case.

There is a pro-investor bias in many cases, with decisions or arguments that are quite clearly unfair to the governments being sued. However, there is no appeal possible.

Another issue is the high awards and the strong enforcement, including seizure of assets. The claims have tended to be very high in recent years, running to billions of US dollars. Awards are usually lower, but recent ones can also be very high, such as the $2.3 billion award granted by ICSID to an American oil company against Ecuador.

The ability to enforce these awards through seizure of assets owned and located abroad by the government makes ISDS a very powerful instrument.

Other recent investor-state dispute cases include one taken against South Africa by a European mining company claiming losses from the government’s black empowerment programme, and a $2 billion claim against Indonesia by a UK-based oil company after its contract was cancelled because it was not in line with the law.

Australia has also been sued for billions of dollars by the tobacco company Philip Morris because of its regulation that cigarette boxes cannot promote the logo and brandnames. An American company Renco sued Peru for $800 million because its contract was not extended after the company’s operations caused massive environmental and health damage.

There are several implications of ISDS under the TPPA. Not conforming to TPPA rules can carry a heavy penalty, since the government can be sued in an international court, and thus governments will be constrained when formulating future policies or implementing existing ones.

It would be difficult for a government to make new policies, as it cannot predict whether certain policies it wishes to introduce or change are allowable, since it is uncertain or unpredictable how a tribunal will view this; the view of a particular tribunal can differ from that of another.

The country’s judicial sovereignty will be affected. Investors will choose to take up cases in the international tribunal where their chances of success and the payout are higher than in local courts.

The country will become vulnerable to multi-million-dollar and billion-dollar legal suits taken by foreign investors. Potentially this may cost the government a lot of financial resources.

The TPPA talks are still going on, and thus the ISDS component can still be negotiated. However, there is probably limited room for negotiation on the key aspects, since the US is unlikely to deviate from the main points in its existing FTAs.

If ISDS is deemed to pose too many problems, one option is to ask for an exception, i.e., that it does not apply to the country concerned, similar to what Australia has requested. It is, however, doubtful whether such a request will be granted by other TPPA countries.

Martin Khor is Executive Director of the South Centre, an intergovernmental policy think-tank of developing countries, and former Director of the Third World Network.

The political carnival that is the prelude to the Iowa caucuses has started over a year and a half early. At the center of it this time around: a game of political hot potato over the northern leg of TransCanada‘s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

American Petroleum Institute (API) deployed one of its paid consultants — former Obama Administration National Security Advisor General James “Jim” Jones — to deliver an Earth Day address in the home state of the presidential caucuses at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

James Jones used his time on the podium to promote the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which another James — retired NASA climatologist James Hansen — once called a “fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet.”

“General James Jones…will discuss the benefits of the pipeline initiative, including more jobs, less dependence on foreign oil, and cheaper energy costs for Americans,” explained an April 15 Drake University press release promoting the event.

Gen. James Jones; Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Days after the Obama Administration decided to delay making a decision on Keystone XL North until after the 2014 mid-term elections, API went on the offensive, with Jones acting as the group’s surrogate.

API is using one of its numerous front groups that could factor most prominently during election season: the Iowa Energy Forum, chief sponsor and organizer of the event titled, “The Pipeline to National Security Discussion.”

Iowa Energy Forum is part of API‘s broader astroturf campaign called “America’s Energy Forum,” the privacy policy on its website reveals. In tiny print at the bottom of the Iowa Energy Forum website, it also says, “Sponsored by American Petroleum Institute.”

API paid the powerful Des Moines-based public relations (PR) firm LS2group to help them promote the Earth Day event. 

An April 17 press release published in Des Moines’ Business Record lists Matt Bierl of LS2group as the contact person. And a glance at the guest list for the Facebook event page for Drake University event shows eight of the 22 attendees work at LS2group.

LS2group and the 2012 Elections

Mark Twain once quipped, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

In that vein, rewind back to 2012 and the activities by Iowa Energy Forum before the Iowa caucuses, with PR efforts overseen by LS2group.

Among other things, former Minnesota Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty — who ran for president in the 2012 GOP primaries — had two campaign advisers that wore two hats, Charles Larson Jr. and Karen Slifka. Both of them also worked for LS2group in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses, where they work full-time now.

Both Larson and Slifka denied they were coordinating Iowa Energy Forum’s agenda with the Pawlenty campaign in an interview with The Des Moines Register. But evidence suggests otherwise.

Pawlenty’s new ad features people wearing Iowa Energy Forum shirts even though the ad doesn’t even mention energy issues,” explained an August 2011 article published on The Iowa Republican. “The people featured in the Pawlenty ad are Jennifer Cantrick and Maddison Abboud, two summer interns that were hired to work for the Iowa Energy Forum by Larson and Slifka’s firm.”

Further, Iowa Energy Forum also made an appearance at the 2011 Iowa Straw Poll held in Ames, Iowa and did so in style. 

“An air-conditioned ‘igloo’ paid for by the Iowa Energy Forum will rise up from the straw poll campus in Ames next month, an attraction meant to woo Iowans’ affection with free treats, kids’ rides and displays about energy technology,” explained an article in The Des Moines Register. “The Republican Party of Iowa has received $100,000 from the organization.”

 Drake Students Protest Event

In response to Jones’ jaunt to campus, Drake University students held a protest outside of his speaking engagement.

“There is no Planet B, this project won’t create jobs, it will raise gas prices in the Midwest, and none of these other issues matter if catastrophic climate change destroys the ability of the Earth to sustain human, plant, and animal life,” Drake students Jade Suganuma and John Noble said in a statement provided to DeSmogBlog.

Activist group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement provided DeSmogBlog with some photos of the protest and The Des Moines Register produced a short video segment on it, too.

 Political Hot Potato Begins Anew

As with the 2012 campaign cycle, it appears Keystone XL will be tossed around in 2014 by those candidates on the take of Big Oil as a political hot potato in the aftermath of the Obama Administration’s election-year punt.

The Drake University event featuring Gen. James Jones, then, likely just portends far more to come. After all, campaign season has really only just begun.

Red Shirt Village, Oglala Lakota Nation (SOUTH DAKOTA) –  Organizations from throughout the United States held an Earth Day ceremony to launch a nation-wide campaign to clean up hazardous abandoned uranium mines (AUMs). Clean Up The Mines! calls for effective and complete eradication of the contamination caused by the estimated 10,000 abandoned uranium mines that are silently poisoning extensive areas of the U.S.

Clean Up The Mines! volunteers from across the country toured abandoned mines this week. They donned hazardous materials suits at Mount Rushmore and carried a large banner to raise awareness of the 169 AUMs in the Southwestern Black Hills near Edgemont. There are another 103 AUMS in the Northwest corner near Buffalo. The Northern Great Plains Region of Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota contains more than 3,000 AUMs.

In Riley Pass, one of the largest AUMs in South Dakota, the deadly effect of the mine was apparent. As the group approached the bluff, the tree line ended abruptly at the edge of the mine. At Ludlow, the group measured radioactivity with a Geiger counter at an elementary school playground that was 44 microrems/hour. This is the equivalent of more than 150 Counts Per Minute (CPM), over the 100 CPM threshold, which means it cannot be attributed to background radiation. During the tour, people from every community spoke of health problems related to uranium exposure and their high level of concern over the lack of information about the AUMs and action to remediate them.

Today, dozens from the community joined with members of organizations including Defenders of Black Hills, Clean Water Alliance, Dakota Rural Action, Peace Pagoda, Veterans for Peace, and Popular Resistance at the Cheyenne River Bridge. They posted signs stating “Warning, Radioactive River” to raise awareness of the radioactive contamination of the Cheyenne River caused by AUMs.

Afterwards, a rally was held in the nearby community of Red Shirt Village where residents cannot drink local water due to uranium and arsenic contamination. Robert Two Bulls, a local spiritual leader, initiated the campaign launch in prayer.

Charmaine White Face, a scientist and coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills, facilitated the event. “For the American public to be exposed to radioactive pollution and not be warned by federal and state governments is unconscionable,” stated White Face. “Shame on the American federal and state governments for allowing their citizens to be placed in such danger for more than 50 years and not stopping the source of the danger. It is a national travesty.” She noted that thyroid cancer rates are ten times higher than the national average in Western South Dakota. Uranium exposure also causes birth defects, kidney disease and numerous other serious health conditions.

“The mines are a silent health threat. Millions of people are at risk of breathing or ingesting radioactive particles that travel through the air and water and settle in soil where they enter our food system.” Margaret Flowers M.D., an organizer with Popular Resistance. “From speaking to community members and taking our own measurements, we find enough evidence to say there should be more investigation and serious efforts to protect the people. That’s why this campaign to clean up the mines is so important.”

Sandra Cuny Buffington, from the Red Shirt community, a rancher with cattle in the Bad Lands, lived at the river until it wasn’t possible anymore because of contamination. She spoke of high rates of cancer in the area. “We know we are contaminated but where are we going to go? I don’t know of any other life than the one that I have lived. As crazy as it sounds, you learn how to live with it.”

 “Abandoned uranium mines are devastating to the health of local populations,” explained Dr.  Jill Stein, former Green Party presidential candidate, “The mines threaten not only our health but our economies and ecosystems as well. We’re here to insist on cleaning up the mines and transitioning to a clean renewable energy system. This transition can put American back to work while vastly improving our health. The health savings alone will pay for the costs of this transition.”

“Desecration of the land, the water, the very air we breathe. We see lack of concern for living beings, placing profit before people, before the living earth,” said Tarak Kauff, Board of Directors, Veterans for Peace. “The radiation affects more than just the first nation people living in close proximity. The wind and water carry cancer-causing substances much further. It up to us, an awakened public, ordinary black, brown, white and red people working together to demand, to insure that these toxic highly radioactive abandoned mines be cleaned up – for us and for future generations.”

“From mining, in-situ leaching (similar to fracking), milling, processing, nuclear bomb and energy, depleted uranium weapons to the waste products that have no grave, the only safe place for uranium is in the ground. Uranium and other radioactive materials have been poisoning our environment in increasing amounts since the 1940s,” said Helen Jaccard, volunteer with Clean Up The Mines. “Exploitative corporations and negligent government agencies walked away from their responsibilities.”

“If we don’t defend our sacred water it will be the end of us all,” added Dennis Yellow Thunder, Natural Resources Technician for the Oglala Sioux Tribe Natural Resources Regulatory Resources Agency. “We must support this campaign to clean up the mines. We need to protect this land, our water and the sacred Black Hills. We need to do it from our heart.”

 White Face concluded,

“Currently no laws require clean up of these dangerous abandoned Uranium mines. We are letting Congress know: It is time to clean up the mines! We value persistence. We will employ a variety of tactics including legislative and judicial avenues to hold the government and corporations accountable for their negligence and community-based actions to raise awareness and clean up the mines.”

Clean Up The Mines (www.cleanupthemines.org) is a campaign to pass legislation through Congress to ensure clean up of hazardous abandoned uranium and other radioactive materials mines throughout the United States.

Defenders of the Black Hills (www.defendblackhills.org) is a group of volunteers without racial or tribal boundaries whose mission is to preserve, protect, and restore the environment in the Area of the 1851 and 1868 Treaties made between the United States and the Great Sioux Nation.–

Margaret Flowers M.D.

A couple of years ago I was the only person in Duluth’s Zinema theater watching Michael Ruppert’s powerful feature-length documentary film “Collapse”. At the time, the Zinema was still early in its history and very few people even showed up to watch the afternoon video versions of DemocracyNow! that were being screened for free every week day.

 “Collapse” can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeufX6S-Q_s,

It is essential viewing and study for anybody who would like to have de-mystified the world’s dysfunctional politics, economics, corporations, etc,

 In “Collapse”, Ruppert powerfully articulated the basic themes of his best-selling book “Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil” (including the powerful video “The Truth and Lies About 9/11/01” available at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQR2z4YCzDw.

The film powerfully asserted that there was an intimate connection between Peak Oil and the realities of 9/11/01. Ruppert’s indictment of the military/industrial/congressional complex at the time were unassailable, and those assertions have held up over the years and his predictions are right on target. “Collapse” affected me deeply, particularly when Ruppert, a hard-boiled ex-LAPD narcotics cop, broke down in tears ( at 61 minutes) over his concern about the future of the planet and his frustration about the lack of action by the criminally inactive and over-privileged powers-that-be in Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve Board and every sociopathic multinational corporation you can think of, none of whom have the political will to do the right thing for humanity that could, if they weren’t so greedy and short-sighted, stop the poisoning, exploitation, starvation, militarization and over-population of the planet.

I have had the utmost respect for Ruppert’s investigative journalism, warnings and calls to action ever since I saw “Collapse”.

Ruppert’s courageous whistle-blowing career – which evolved into an equally courageous investigative journalism career – started in Los Angeles as a narcotics officer with the LAPD and ended shortly thereafter when he uncovered and reported CIA drug-running (with complicity from his own police department). Ever since he has been a hated target of the CIA, FBI, Wall Street, the 1% and most of the leaders of US political parties, including all Republicans and the vast majority of Democrats.

One of the most important attributes about Ruppert was that he saw through 9/11/01 before most other skeptics.

Within a couple of months after 9/11, Ruppert published and  spoke out publicly against the White House’s provably false 9/11 conspiracy theories (ie, the theory that two jet planes and the subsequent low-heat office fires [impossibly] melted – and sectioned – scores of massive steel beams at multiple levels and simultaneously pulverized all the concrete and then, equally impossibly, caused the pan-caking, at free fall speeds, of three WTC towers 1, 2 and 7).

Ruppert was the publisher/editor of “From the Wilderness” (www.fromthewilderness.com), a newsletter that has been read in more than 50 countries. Its subscribers included 60-plus members of the US congress during the Bush era, professors at more than 40 universities and major business and economic leaders around the world.

Ruppert’s final radio show, the 4-13-14 edition of “The Lifeboat Hour”, was broadcast just hours before he killed himself with a handgun at a friend’s home in California, leaving behind a number of handwritten notes, including two suicide notes. Even though many whistleblowers of his stature have been victims of homicides that have been staged as suicides, friends have authenticated the notes as his. The last “lifeboat Hour” show can be heard at: http://www.maxkeiser.com/2014/04/mike-ruppert-rip/. His last utterance unaccountably promised that The Lifeboat Hour would be hosted by him in a week.

Michael Ruppert is as much a whistle-blowing American hero as was Tom Paine, Henry David Thoreau, Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, Dorothy Day, the Berrigan brothers, Daniel Ellsberg, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, Paul Wellstone, Reverend Kevin Annett, Richard Gage, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, and his messages have been as ignored, feared and viciously attacked as were the others. The mainstream media have pointedly – and disgracefully – failed to even report his death, not wanting to draw attention to his unwelcome truths.

Even though Ruppert feared that America’s and the planet’s collapse is inevitable, his urgent pleas deserve our attention now more than ever. Please take his message seriously before it’s too late – and challenge every corporation, every political candidate, every plutocrat and every clergyperson with that message.

Here is a eulogy from a friend of Michael Ruppert, Sander Hicks

“Mike Ruppert was a friend of mine.

“He was an American prophet, a social critic, and a 9/11 truther. He had his enemies and he had his demons. He confronted the enemies. Not sure he confronted the demons.

But we can’t judge that now.

 “His death this past weekend is a huge loss for the people. When I say ‘the people’ I mean anyone who cares about a political system out of control, blind to its own corruption, deluded by its sugar-free media.

 “Ruppert was a trained investigator who sought to expose the shadow elements of the US government involved in drug trafficking and fake terrorism. He had the financial perception to alert the American people to the imminent economic crash, two years before the meltdown of 2008. Mike Ruppert was one of the first to point out the gross anomalies and obtuse leaps of logic in the Bush/Cheney explanations for the 9/11 attacks. In an authoritative book, Ruppert even accused Vice President Dick Cheney as the chief executor of the 9/11 attacks.

“We met in 1999 in New York City. Ruppert came into my life like a sentinel from a different reality. I had just gone through a kind of gateway, and he was like Morpheus in the Matrix, welcoming me in.  My red pill had been the disruptive re-print of a certain controversial biography of then Governor George W. Bush. As an immediate result, an entire class of underground whistle-blowers popped up to welcome me into their world. Welcome to Zion. You are in. They introduced me to sets of facts and data that were verboten in the blue pill media. Ruppert was at the center of that gang.

“He explained that he had been an LAPD cop and narcotics detective. His Mom had been a Defense Intelligence Agency heavyweight in Moscow, so the CIA recruited him while he was at LAPD. He declined the offer. Why? He saw shit.  He began feeding the LA Times info on CIA heroin trafficking as far back as 1979.  LA Times sat on the story.

 “The drug war was phony. Which meant that both the local criminal justice system and the national intelligence/military apparatus had zero credibility. Wall Street, the White House, and everyone on down needed the drug war like a junkie wants heroin. The system was using. The system was an addict.

“’The entire economy, and the entire political system itself, is currently hooked and dependent upon drug money’ wrote Mike in 1999, on his main site, FromTheWilderness.com

“In the mid 90’s, when Ruppert’s friend Gary Webb broke a huge story in the San José Mercury News, it documented how the CIA and the Nicauraguan Contra network facilitated the crack cocaine epidemic in the 80’s. The CIA sent DCIA John Deutch to spin the story in a public auditorium. Ruppert confronted Deutch and named three specific operations that showed the US agencies were up to their elbows in black market cocaine and heroin. Deutch sputtered, told people to phone the LAPD, and was laughed out of the room. He was swiftly replaced at CIA.

“According to Ruppert, in October, 1999, investigators from the House Intelligence Committee came to Los Angeles, and made copies 6,000 pages of his records.

“That same year, Ruppert asked me for a $10,000 advance to do a book on the US and drugs. I didn’t have the money, and it’s just as well. Two years later 9/11 happened, and Ruppert had a lot more to say.

“It turns out the same parties who pulled off the cocaine sales funding the Contras were at it again. (Those parties being namely, the Bush Family, the GOP, the Democrats, the CIA and other shadowy quasi-government black factions too numerous to list here.)

“The book Ruppert eventually brought out in 2004, was “Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil” (New Society Publishers).

“A reviewer on Amazon called it ‘The single most important book written in the last fifty years…. The Patriot Act, Homeland Security and the lies about WMDs in Iraq have created a growing sense of unease in the collective unconscious. As a result, a growing number of intellectuals and every day citizens are beginning to see the Truth and more and more people are beginning to wake up every day. “Crossing the Rubicon” is at the forefront of this new awareness.’

“At the end of 2004, however, tragedy struck. Ruppert’s friend Gary Webb, who had followed in Ruppert’s footsteps by taking on CIA drug trafficking, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head.

 “Reading Ruppert’s heartfelt obituary for Webb today, I am struck:

“I would never have confronted John Deutch at Locke High had it not been for Gary Webb. 

I myself might have committed suicide in 1996 – broke, divorced and having given up all hope of making people listen — had it not been for Gary Webb. For some years now it has been the farthest thing from my mind.

“Ten years later, suicide wasn’t far away any more. Ruppert’s struggles with depression, [plus a variety of psychiatric drugs, in-patient psychiatric hospitalizations and nicotine addictions over the years – Ed. Note] alcohol, and isolation became insurmountable. He moved to Colorado. He did one final radio show last Saturday and then that was it. We are all so fragile.

 “Wherever men and women of honor gather together from now on, your name will be spoken with reverence, respect and gratitude. Ruppert wrote that for Webb ten years ago. The same goes for him.

  “I prayed hard today to understand why this happened now. What does God want us to know about why this happened? What can we learn? How can this man’s death and life give our lives a brighter, sharper focus?”

   “I look at Ruppert’s life, his hard struggle, his victories and his short-comings. I wish we were closer in his final couple of years. I loved him. I say the following with love. I say the following because I don’t want to know any more great truth-loving writers to die this way. If you have a drinking problem, hit a meeting. Reach out. It worked for me, to stop flailing about, running from city to country to city, always moving, thinking a big move is going to change things. Get centered. Pray and meditate. Be still.

“Something snapped in Ruppert sometime later in that decade, after the book. He moved to Venezuela, in rushed effort to seek political asylum from the Chavez government. Ruppert probably wasn’t anti-imperialist enough for their tastes, at least not in a leftist way. Oh, and the CIA/DIA family background probably didn’t help.

“I wept. I felt rage today. I was mad at you, Mike, going out this way. It was too similar to Gary Webb, to Jim Hatfield the Bush biographer. I don’t want this pattern. Tell me it’s not the fate for writers of deep truth, to die, alone, shooting their brains out, because they went deep and hard after the invisible forces, the slithering stag. The hunter became hunted by the dragon.

“No. Mike will be remembered for his discipline, his writing, his development of a critical paradigm. Our society is stronger for the deep analysis. In the same way that Ruppert investigated Gary Webb’s death, it’s up to us now to do the scientific and careful analysis of the crime scene. To pick up where he left off, and wake up to a new view of the matrix.”

by Antoine Roger Lokongo

Carla Del Ponte and Paul Kagame were increasingly at loggerheads.

Del Ponte, a former Chief Prosecutor of two United Nations international criminal law tribunals: the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) fell out with Kagame after she insisted that crimes committed by the Tutsi during the genocide should also be investigated.

Cameroon investigative journalist Charles Onana has published many books about the real culprits of the assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana who are still being shielded from accountability and they are not those who have been “officially accused” as perpetrators so far, according to him.

Pierre Péan, a renowned French investigative journalist and Keith Harmon Snow, an American Investigative journalist, all have factually point out that the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) and Paul Kagame were responsible for the assassination of Juvénal Habyarimana, and therefore of having sparked the inter-ethnic killings in 1994! The list is long!

In this special call for articles by Pambazuka about “Rwanda – 20 years on after the genocide”, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight, provide and share with Pambazuka readers the new facts about Rwanda and the Kagame regime that have emerged recently and which prove that the last 20 years have been years of wasted efforts by the Kagame and the Museveni regimes to try to cover up the truth, but in vain, about what happened in Rwanda in 1994!
They are helped in this endeavour by powerful friends in high places in the West, including, former US President Bill Clinton, Susan Rice, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bono, Howard Buffett, Evangelical Pastor Rick Warren, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Bill Gates, and so on (see, Judi Rever, “Paul Kagame’s trips to the West not worth the headache,” Digital Journal, Oct 17, 2013).
 
First of all, from a Congolese perspective, new facts have merged that in April 1994, immediately after the RPF came to power in Kigali, the DRC’s main opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi sent a telegram to Paul Kagane then Vice-President, congratulating him for “having overthrown Juvenal Habyarimana out of power” (See, “Lettre ouverte” envoyée par 13 Intellectuels du Grand Kasaï (R.D.Congo) à M. Etienne TSHISEKEDI wa MULUMBA, Président National de l’UDPS en prévision de l’échéance du 30 juin 2006).
For us Congolese, Etienne Tshisekedi, a popular Congolese politician who has visited Kigali many times at the invitation of President Kagame and who came second in the 2011 presidential elections, must have known what he was saying. He is not just a man of the street. He uncovered the truth, according to which, what happened in Rwanda was a civil war: a Tutsi rebel movement backed by Uganda and Anglo-Saxon powers overthrew a Hutu dominated regime, notwithstanding the waves of inter-ethnic killings that ensued, and which that overthrow unleashed!
 
Secondly, Kagame is now put under pressure by his Western powerful backers who have finally realized that when Kagame boasted in an interview granted to the Financial Times of London on 19 August 2010 that “Rwanda’s democracy is still the model for Africa”, that “model” does not square with human rights let alone with democracy itself!
They are now urging him to stop harassing, jailing and assassinating Rwandan opposition leaders, including Opposition leader Victoire Ingabire who was sentenced to 8 years in prison on 30 October 2012 for saying that “Hutu too were killed during the genocide”, but then her sentence was increased to 15 years in prison on 1 December 2013. Former Rwandan Intelligence chief Patrick Karegeya turned opposition figure was found dead in a South African hotel room, having been hanged or strangled by killers sent from Rwanda, four of whom were arrested in neighbouring Mozambique (see, Chimp Investigations Team, “Karegeya Murder Suspects ‘Arrested’ In  Mozambique,”  Chimpreports.com, 7 January 2014); as well as former Rwandan army chief Kayumba Nyamwasa, turned opposition figure who was shot by a lone gunman in South Africa; Kagame’s Western backers are also privately advising him to hold political dialogue with the FDLR, Hutu fighters roaming the hills of eastern Congo and who announced recently that they have laid down their arms and are ready to return to Rwanda provided the regime was open to political dialogue.
In fact, the British who back Kagame held peace talks with the IRA in Northern Ireland, the Afghan regime which is backed by the United States is encouraged to hold talks with the terrorist Talibans, Nelson Mandela held talks with White apartheid leaders, the Congolese government held talks with “Tutsi Congolese rebels” most of whom are Rwandans and Ugandans sent to the DRC to kill, rape and loot and Kinshasa will go so far as integrating them into the Congolese army (…). So why should the Kagame regime be an exception? Inter-Uganda dialogue including with the LRA, inter-Rwandan dialogue, including with the FDLR is the way forward for lasting peace in the region.
But Kagame does not want to hear that! So, the so-called “stability in Rwanda” has been achieved at the expense of Congo where Kagame continues and to stock the fire and “mucking” the Congo, as Tony Blair put it in a “supporting Kagame” article he co-authored with American billionaire Howard G. Buffett (Foreign Policy, 21 February 2013).
Recently Kagame threw a tantrum at his erstwhile Western backers, calling them “former colonial masters who do not stop lecturing Africans”. But recently Kagame was caught in his own trap when he boycotted the “Summit on Peace and Security in the African Continent” convened by the French President François Hollande in Paris on 6 December 2013. For Rwanda, it was no question of attending the summit.
“Those who feel they still need the protection of the former colonial master will go to this meeting. This is not our case,” a close associate of Paul Kagame told Jeune Afrique (see, Jean Mitari, “Sommet sur la paix et la sécurité à Paris : le Rwanda décline l’invitation, ” Jambonews.net, 19 juin 2013).
At the same time, Kigali favorably welcomed the invitation of U.S. President Barack Obama to attend a historic summit of leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa – the first of its kind – to be held in Washington in August 2014. The White House announced the invitation on 30 June 2013 (Stephen Collinson, “Obama to host summit of African leaders next year,” AFP, 30 June 2013).
Kagame was indeed caught in his own trap! Rwanda declined the invitation of the former French colonial master, but accepted that of Obama to all African Heads of State!
For Kagame, it is worth taking the orders coming from the White House than those coming from the Champs-Elysées! So what is the difference when you decline the invitation of one Western master and then you accept that of the other? That is because it is from the United States that Kagame is shielded from accountability after perpetrating genocide in Congo! After all, he is only playing the role of “an Anglo-American proxy” in Congo. That is the role he has played “so well” in the last 20 years!
Thirdly, in the last 20 years, Kagame and Museveni as well as their cronies and their foreign masters who arms them, have enriched themselves out of predatory wars for natural and mineral resources in Congo. The so-called “post-genocide economic progress in Rwanda” is based on such predatory wars!
But at the same time, Museveni and Kagame have enjoyed impunity, getting away with heinous crimes of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity both in Rwanda and in Congo, basically, trampling on international law or bending it in their favour when it suits their interests at home and abroad. When it comes to  extraditing  “Congolese Tutsi rebels”, including Laurent Nkunda, Mutebusi, Runiga and others who have found refuge in Rwanda to the DRC “their country of origin”, Paul Kagame evokes the Geneva Convention, allows himself to lecture the DRC, “which has not yet abolished the death penalty”, therefore he cannot extradite “Congolese Tutsi rebels” to “their country of origin only to be executed! If they are Congolese and Congo is their country of origin, why must they not be extradited there to face justice in their own country?
After the murder of Karegeya, President Kagame warned Rwandans who find themselves in the opposition camp that “There are consequences for betraying your country”. Why should there be no consequences for the “Tutsi Congolese rebels” who had betrayed their country then?
Recently, Joel Mutabazi, a former Rwandan officer (a former bodyguard of Kagame) accused of terrorism, formation of an armed group, murder and illegal possession of firearms, etc., and who sought political asylum in Uganda was unlawfully – that is to say, very much against the Geneva Convention – transferred to Rwanda from Uganda to face justice in his country! Among the other accused are several members of the opposition Rwandan National Congress (RNC) and eight students (see, “Paul Kagame ex-guard Joel Mutabazi rejects Rwanda trial,” BBC, 28 January 2014).
Mutabazi pleaded not guilty at his trial but he faces a death sentence as Patrick Karegeya did! Although the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has condemned Kampala’s decision to extradite him as a “clear violation of the asylum principle”, nevertheless, the United States and Britain remained silent in the face of such a flagrant violation of international law! Is Tony Blair, Kagame’s “special adviser” not a British lawyer who should defend international law in this case?
However, this makes the “cause” the Tutsi say they are fighting for, that is inclusion, in the Great Lakes Region of Africa unjust, unfair to other people in the region and a lost one because the Tutsi are the ones who are now “mucking” other people in the region, to quote Tony Blair again. One day, Museveni and Kagame will have to answer for all these crimes!
Short of inter-Rwandan dialogue, 20 years on after the genocide, Rwanda remains not only “an appeased expansionist bloody dictatorship”, but also “a powder keg, a time-ticking bomb waiting to explode”!
Copyright Antoine Roger Lokongo 2014

Boston Marathon Bombing Timeline: Revised and Expanded

April 23rd, 2014 by James F. Tracy

The following updated timeline of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing event provides a platform to better understand how the event was publicly presented by corporate and alternative news media. The chronological assemblage of coverage is not comprehensive of all reports published on the incident but is an ongoing project that also seeks to explain how the storyline was largely constructed by federal and state law enforcement, medical authorities and major media around the eventual theory that Dzokhar and Tamarlan Tsarnaev were the sole instigators of the bombing.

This scenario has become an established reality through the news media’s pronounced repetition of law enforcement’s narrative. This is underscored with the cultural tendency toward correlating non-Western and/or Muslim individuals with terrorism and related types of crime. This proposed scenario of deviant Muslim terrorists has also tended to obscure the possibility that the Tsarnaev brothers may have been tortured and Tamarlan murdered at the hands of federal and state law enforcement officers. Moreover, the April 18-19 search for Dzokhar Tsarnaev involved the removal of Constitutional protections against illegal searches and seizures throughout the Boston area and enactment of de facto martial law. Note: Times of occurrences referenced are Eastern Standard and in some instances signify time of publication rather than the specific incident cited. Time of publication does not always correlate with exact time of incident. Thus “n.t.” denotes “no time” of event or publication referenced in the given news article. An estimate of an approximate time is followed by “[estimate]”.

2008

Richard Serino, Director of Boston’s Emergency Medical Services, authors Marathons – A Tale of Two Cities and the Running of a Planned Mass Casualty Event (PDF). As the title suggests, the document provides a detailed and fully operationalized plan for carrying out a mass casualty drill around the Boston Marathon. The 39-frame slide presentation details how emergency personnel and resources are to be coordinated and deployed. It also emphasizes “Working with the media.” “Their mission is to get a story,” frame 11 instructs. “Building a longstanding relationship with journalists and reporters ensures that they get the right story and that they serve as a resource when needed.” Several maps of downtown Boston “based on consistent grid coordinates” and including “zone designations for incident reporting” (frame 26) delineate the Marathon route and finish line area on Boylston Street. Specific procedures for medical providers, including electronic patient tracking via barcodes (frame 31) further indicate the scope and precision of the mock event. James F. Tracy, “Obama’s FEMA Director Planned Boston Mass Casualty Event in 2008,” Memoryholeblog.com, May 21, 2013. This observation was established earlier by another researcher. See Stephanie Sledge, “333 Disarray: One Foot in Heaven and One in Hell,” The Government Rag, April 28, 2013.

2009

  • October 22

n.t. Richard Serino retires from his post at Boston EMS upon being appointed Deputy Administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Administration by President Obama. “First of all, people need to understand what FEMA is and isn’t,’’ Serino tells the Boston Globe. “It provides support to states and localities – it is not there to dictate how the local EMS and first responders operate.” Christie Coombs, “Serino ‘Retires’ to Top-Level FEMA Post,” Boston.com, October 22, 2009.

2011

  • March 30

President Obama signs Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness. The edict ”

is aimed at strengthening the security and resilience of the United States through systematic preparation for the threats that pose the greatest risk to the security of the Nation, including acts of terrorism, cyber attacks, pandemics, and catastrophic natural disasters … The Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism shall coordinate the interagency development of an implementation plan for completing the national preparedness goal and national preparedness system.

Barack H Obama, “Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness,” US Department of Homeland Security, March 30, 2011.

  • May 21

8:00AM-8:00PM [estimate] Operation Urban Shield Boston transpires throughout the city, the first major exercise to take place in Boston since 9/11. “The scenarios are fakes, but the response is real,” CBS’s Boston affiliate WBZ reports. “Terrorists hijack a boat in Winthrop. Firefighters search for victims in a Quincy building collapse. A bomb squad diffuses an explosive in Chelsea … A grant from the Department of Homeland Security makes the elaborate setups possible.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VkVS3NRXZk The drills bring together emergency response teams from the around region and even some as far as California. There are a variety of scenarios carried out. In one, SWAT teams storm a boat at Winthrop Public Landing with the notion that a group of terrorists attacked the ship and took hostages. Other simulations included a gunmen running loose at the Boston Copley Marriott Place, a terrorist seizure of a control room in Everett, and an explosive device at Quincy High School. The last scheduled event, from 5PM to 8PM, recreated the Mumbai terror attacks at the Boston Marine Industrial Park. Actors pose as terrorists and victims while special effects teams set off fake gunshots and explosions. Alana Gomez, “Boston Area Holds Large Terror Drills As Part of Urban Shiled Training Program,” WBZ / CBS Boston, May 21, 2011.

  • October 7

3:58PM The Obama administration continues with the implementation of Presidential Policy Directive 8 by announcing “the first-ever National Preparedness Goal.” According to the White House the goal intends “[t]o have a secure and resilient Nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk. There is emphasis on “stakeholder groups from around the nation.” The full 26 page document is available here. Craig Fugat, “PPD-8: Announcing the National Preparedness Goal,” The White House Blog, October 7, 2011. 2012 April 16 10:00AM Complete finish line video from 2012 Boston Marathon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_mXwnQJ8V0

  • October 31

n.t. Boston Mayor Thomas M. Merino announcers that Urban Shield: Boston will take place on November 3, 2012. Urban Shield is a US Department of Homeland Security-sponsored 24-hour training operation, and is part of the 2011 Presidential Policy Directive 8: National Preparedness and the National Preparedness Goal. The exercise that simulates large-scale public safety incidents scheduled to transpire in the metro-Boston area.  Urban Shield: Boston is to begin at 8AM November 3 and conclude at 8AM November 4. The wide-ranging operation is to include personnel from the following agencies:

  • the Boston Police Department;
  • the Brookline Police Department;
  • the Cambridge Police Department;
  • the Revere Police Department;
  • the Northeastern Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC);
  • the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Association (MBTA) Police Department;
  • the Massachusetts State Police;
  • the Middlesex County Police Department;
  • the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council;
  • the Manchester, NH Police Department 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYYKIM2AFO0 This exercise is intended to evaluate each agency’s ability to successfully respond to, and manage, public safety events and other emergencies occurring concurrently throughout the Boston area. Mayor Merino’s announcement emphasizes the following:

Urban Shield: Boston will run for a 24-hour period.  As a result residents in the area may hear simulated gunfire, observe officers responding to simulated emergencies, or see activity in the Boston Harbor.  Each scenario will be run multiple times, and organizers urge residents not to be alarmed. There is no danger to anyone in the area, and exercises will be done in cordoned-off areas away from the public.

“Training is vital for our first responders,” Mayor Merino says.

They are on the frontlines when an emergency occurs, and we want them trained in the best ways possible to handle any situation. Urban Shield: Boston displays the steps the metro-Boston region takes to prepare for all-hazards and sets a national example for cities around the country to create a coordinated full-scale training exercise.

Mayor Merino Announces Urban Shield: Boston Simulated 24-Hour Publc Safety Exercise,” City of Boston, October 31, 2012.

  • November 3

8:00AM The Department of Homeland Security-sponsored 24-hour emergency preparedness drill “Urban Shield,” incorporating police, firefighters and EMT’s from Boston and eight surrounding towns begins. Brookline Police Chief Daniel O’Leary says several simulated crisis events are to take place around the region simultaneously, including an emergency drill on the water. “The federal government has given us a lot of money to protect Boston Harbor, so we’re going to test the assets on different things,” O’Leary tells WBZ NewsRadio 1030. There will also be a mass casualty incident to test eight hospitals and simulated disasters on the subway to test Transit Police. Kim Tunnicliffe, “It’s Only a Drill: Simulated Emergencies in Boston Area,” CBS Boston, November 3, 2012.

  • December 24

n.t. A DHS whistle blower discusses the Obama administration’s plans to implement gun control with Doug Hagmann. “I can tell you to watch things this spring,” the insider tells Hagmann. “Watch the metals, when they dip. It will be a good indication that things are about to happen.” The Boston Marathon Bombing happened immediately upon the price of gold plunging $200, on Patriots Day and the first day of the week of the US Senate vote on gun control. Doug Hagmann “The Latest From DHS Insider Part II” Northeast Intelligence Network,” Northeast Intelligence Network, December 24, 2012. 2013

  • April 15

9:00AM

Mobility Impaired Division of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race at Hopkinton. 2013 Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, n.d.

9:17AM

Wheelchair Division of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race at Hopkinton. 2013 Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, n.d.

9:22AM

Handcycle Participant Division of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race at Hopkinton. 2013 Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, n.d.

9:32AM

Elite Women’s Division of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race at Hopkinton. 2013 Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, n.d.

10:00AM

Elite Men’s Division and Wave 1 of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race at Hopkinton. 2013 Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, n.d.

10:20AM

Wave 2 of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race at Hopkinton. 2013 Boston Marathon, Boston Athletic Association, n.d.

10:40AM

Wave 3 of 2013 Boston Marathon begins race.

2:49PM

Two bombs explode 550 feet apart on Boylston Street in the proximity of the Boston Marathon finish line, killing three people and injuring over 140. The scene is reportedly punctuated by broken glass and severed limbs. Onlookers fear that terrorists have struck America again. A White House official says the attack was being treated as an act of terrorism. “They just started bringing people in with no limbs,” runner Tim Davey of Richmond, Virginia tells the Associated Press. Jimmy Golen, “Boston Marathon Bombing Kills 3, Injures Over 140,” Associated Press, April 16, 2013.

2:50PM Carlos Arredondo, a Boston Marathon onlooker, quickly departs the finish line bleachers, runs across Boylston Street, vaults over security fencing and lands on a bloody sidewalk, the Washington Post reports. In front of him, two women are on the ground frozen. Another woman meanders about in the thick smoke, looking down at the fallen bodies. “Oh, my God,” Arredondo says she repeated, confused. “Oh, my God.” He carries a camera and a small American flag, drops the flag, takes four pictures, focusing specifically on a young man who lay on the sidewalk and had lost at least one leg as a result of the ordnance. Then Arredondo puts the camera away and asks the injured man his name. “Stay still,” he recalls saying. “The ambulance is here.” David A. Farenthold, “Boston Marathon Bystander Carlos Arredondo Says He Acted Instinctively,” Washington Post, April 16, 2013.

3:00PM [estimate]

Boston fireman Charles Buchanan Jr. comes upon the body of eight-year old Martin Richard and his sister whose leg is blown asunder. “We stopped an ambulance. The ambulance was full,” Buchanan tells CNN.

But we said, you have to take this girl. And they were great. They were Boston EMS. And this firefighter said, you know, she needs a tourniquet. We got a tourniquet small enough to — I mean her leg is as big as your arm. All right? So they put her inside the — the ambulance. But as you say, the only thing that I could see and see to this day are her little eyes looking up at me. That’s it. All right? And me thinking — thinking about my own grandson, Malachi. And my Malachi is the same age as this young girl who is six years old. Who is—first thing he did was give me a big hug when I went home.

Brooke Baldwin, “First Responder’s Emotional Story,” CNN, April 18, 2013.

3:00PM [estimate]

Iraq war veteran who also acts as a first responder Jim Assiante and an unidentified male first responder are on the scene administering first aid to bombing victims, CNN later reports. “We were triaging for at least half an hour, forty-five minutes, longer than I’m sure,” the unidentified man accompanying Assiante tells a CNN reporter. “I treated a double amputee, a young child, and I also treated a young woman [who] had a cardiac arrest … I personally touched 25 people, and there were at least twice that in hospitals.” Erin Burnett, “Boston First Responder: ‘It Was a Flashback to Iraq,’” CNN, April 15, 2013.

3:01PM

Boston graphic artist Aaron “Tango” Tang, whose second floor offices are located on Boylston Street about one half block from the first bomb detonation, sends out the second of several Tweets from the scene.

Boston bomb at marathon in front of my office #bostonmarathon http://t.co/SyIiGZOEFX — aaron tango tang (@hahatango) April 15, 2013

In the aftermath Tango will post dozens of photos he has taken in the immediate aftermath of the blast that collectively call into question the official narrative of the incident and are used selectively by major news media.

From the Sandy Hook Massacre Timeline: Two makeshift explosive devices detonate at the finish line of the famed Boston Marathon. The 2013 run is designed in honor of the 26 Sandy Hook Elementary School victims with its 26.2 mile course. It is also attended by several parents from Newtown participating in the event. Yet the six Sandy Hook families present are caught in a milieu of emergency vehicles and carnage. “It was all those same things, the police and fire and all of that. It’s severely traumatic,” says Lauren Nowacki, one of the Newtown parents in town for the April 15 marathon. “We thought things were finally getting to a good place from the first go-around, and now this.” Nowacki’s daughter was at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14 but was not injured. Nowacki says all of the Newtown marathoners completed the run before the bombs detonated that purportedly injure 170 people and kill three. “Boston really reached out to us,” Nowacki notes. “Even after the bombing, the communications director from the race called to make sure all the kids were all right.” The Newtown group will now attempt to reciprocate by honoring the victims of the Boston bombings with their own annual race, the Sandy Hook 5k Run. Colleen Curry, “Sandy Hook Families at Boston Marathon Traumatized Again,” ABC News, April 16, 2013.

3:30PM [estimate]

Following the 2:49PM bombings two or more unexploded bombs are found near the finish line of the Boston Marathon and disarmed, according to an anonymous senior U.S. intelligence official. Jimmy Golen, “Boston Marathon Bombing Kills 3, Injures Over 140,” Associated Press, April 16, 2013.

4:00PM [estimate]

An eyewitness tells WMUR Channel 9 that the second bomb originated in a trash can. The interview is broadcast on India’s ABP News. “I saw the first explosion happen,” the eyewitness recalls, “and there was some commotion. I saw fire and smoke, and I didn’t know what it was. And then from about me to where that gentleman is standing over there I saw a trash can explode and people started throwing down the barricades and running over each other and I just ran in the other direction as fast as I could.” “So the second explosion came from a garbage barrel?” the reporter asks to confirm. “Yes,” the man responds, “it came from a—I literally saw the garbage barrel explode.” “Boston Blasts: Eyewitness Accounts,” APB News, April 15, 2013.

4:03PM

Boston CBS affiliate WBZ News 4 interviews two female medical personnel who have attended to Maraton spectators injured and killed by the bombing.

Anchor Jack Williams: … Almost across the street from the explosion, ah, when it took place. Let’s go back now to near where the emergency tents are. Are they still bringing victims in, by the way?

Reporter Michael Rosenfield: Jack, I think they’ve slowed. There’s no more victims coming in at this point. In fact, I’m standing now with some of the personnel—some of the emergency personnel who have been evacuated out of the tent. They wanted to basically go through and clear the tent. And I guess the law enforcement wanted to give it a once over. Alice Is joining me. She is a nurse as well. What happened in there?

“Alice”: When we were in there we just heard two very loud rumbling sounds—big bangs, twice. We weren’t sure what they were. We originally thought maybe a speaker had blown [or] something like that.  But I think we all had that feeling that it was something more than just that. and we had—there was an announcement, “All medical personnel to the end of the tent, and then they started rus—rushing people in [immediately] with bleeding.

Reporter: And you saw the injured?

“Alice”: Yes. Some of them were very profound. One woman had lost her leg—lots of bleeding. Some children were involved as well. And, ah, we took care of the ones we could and got them into the ambulances as soon as possible.

Reporter: And we saw—I was standing right across the street from where it went off—and I saw these injuries—and I could swear that a couple of people, for sure, were not going to make that trip and—

“Alice”: That-that’s correct. There were a few that didn’t—uhm—unfortunately make it and we—we do have those people here in the tent … So— Reporter: What was your immediate reaction when you heard the blast and then you started to see some of these injuries. I mean you’re used to dealing with blisters and people with shortness of breath.

“Alice”: That’s true. I kind of just had to—just collect myself a bit and prepare myself for what I was going to see. And, as just a team we really tried to work together and hold our own so we could take care of the people coming in. And that’s what we did.

Reporter: Are you doing OK?

“Alice”: Yeah, we’re doing OK. Reporter: How about you. [Moves with microphone in hand toward woman standing to right of first interviewee.] Same story?

Maureen: Uhm, pretty much, uhm. I’m Maureen Korato [sp] and I’m a nurse practitioner. So I actually was, you know, helping a runner at the time, uhm, and, uhm, he became pretty nervous as to what actually was going on, so my first focus was to take care of him and to reassure him and then—but then once his wife came in and another nurse came I then went up to the scene because I have some, you know, trauma experience. So I—I did go up the street.

Reporter: I—I gotta say I’ve been doing this business a long time and I’ve seen a lot of horrible stuff. That-that goes right to the top of the list.

Maureen: Yeah, it pretty much does. Uh, I think what really surprised me was, ah, the number of people, and just the, ah, really the amount of blood [and] the amount of injuries. Uhm, but everybody was really just working together as a team, uhm, it was chaotic but it was organized chaos.

Reporter: Right. Maureen: Uhm, so, and then once things were stabilized up there I ran back here to the tent.

Reporter: You’re going to run back into the tent as soon as they give you the green light.

Maureen: Absolutely. Reporter: Thank you so much. Thank you for your help as well. Thank you for your service. I know now that we’re hearing that two are dead and nearly two dozen have been injured from these two blasts.

Special Report: Interview with Medical Tent Personnel,” WBZ CBSBoston.com, April 15, 2013.

4:19PM

CNN reports that two are dead and 119 injured. The cable news network’s anchor Erin Burnett conducts a live interview with eyewitness Cassidy Quinn Brettler. CNN fails to preface the interview by noting that Brettler is a self-described vlogger and professionally-trained freelance reporter and actor. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4TO4lC0FsY “Blood everywhere,” Brettler tells Burnett. “Body parts that should never look in the state they were looking [sic]. Just total—I mean [it was] disturbing.” Erin Burnett, “Eyewitness: ‘Blood Everywhere’ in Boston,” CNN, April 15, 2013.

4:30PM [estimate]

President Obama speaks from the White House and vows to bring those responsible for the blast to justice. “We will get to the bottom of this,” the president says. “We will find who did this, and we will find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.” John Eligon and Michael Cooper, “Blasts at Boston Marathon Kill 3 and Injure 100,” New York Times, April 16, 2013.

7:00PM [estimate]

A procession of mourners carrying candles and flowers gather overnight and through the early morning hours of April 16, leaving bouquets, balloons, and stuffed animals on the front porch of eight-year-old decedent Martin Richard’s family. Over one thousand congregate with candles at a Dorchester playground in the evening, with many more gathering via the Internet. Richard’s mother and sister are reported as ­severely injured. A photograph of Martin Richard holding a hand-lettered sign “goes viral.” The boy’s father, Bill Richard endures the bombing with shrapnel injuries to his legs. “My dear son Martin has died from injuries sustained in the attack on Boston,” Bill Richard remarks in a written statement. “My wife and daughter are both recovering from serious injuries.” Evan Allen and Jenna Russell, “Photo of Victim Martin Richard Now a Symbol,” Boston Globe, April 16, 2013.

8:00PM [estimate]

Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says the bombing’s death toll had risen to three. CNN tells its viewers:

Scores were injured at the scene. One of the dead was an 8-year-old boy, according to a state law enforcement source. Hospitals reported at least 144 people are being treated, with at least 17 of them in critical condition and 25 in serious condition. At least eight of the patients are children. At least 10 people injured had limbs amputated, according to a terrorism expert briefed on the investigation. Several of the patients treated at Massachusetts General Hospital suffered injuries to lower limbs that will require “serial operations” in the coming days, trauma surgeon Peter Fagenholz said Monday night. Some injuries were so severe amputations were necessary, Fagenholz adds.

Josh Levs and Monti Plott, “Boy, 8, One of Three Killed in Bombings at Boston Marathon,” CNN.com, April 18, 2013.

8:16PM

CNN reports three dead, including an eight year old boy, and more than 144 injured from the bombing. Erin Burnett, “Boston First Responder: ‘It Was a Flashback to Iraq,’” CNN, April 15, 2013.

8:55PM

Dan Bidondi, a freelance reporter working for alternative news outlet Infowars.com, gains admittance to a press conference featuring federal, state, and local officials, asking,

Was there any prior knowledge though? Because according to Boston Globe dot com [law enforcement authorities] said they were doing drills this morning for the same exact thing to happen? Now was youz guyz given any prior warning ahead of time of this taking place?

Bidondi then asks, “Well, sir, why were loudspeakers telling people in the audience to be calm moments before the bomb[s] went off? Is this another false flag staged attack to take our civil liberties and put more Homeland Security sticking their hands down our pants on the streets?” After Bidondi persists, officials appear perturbed and apprehensive, apparently cutting the press conference short to avoid further queries on the nature of the event and its broader implications for civil liberties. Rob Dew, “Inside Boston Marathon Bombing Press Conferences,” Infowars Nightly News, April 16, 2013.

n.t.

Alternative news outlets including NaturalNews.com point out that a “controlled explosion” was underway in Boston on April 15, the same day as the marathon explosion. The Boston Globe tweeted on April 15, “Officials: There will be a controlled explosion opposite the library within one minute as part of bomb squad activities.” Some observers think one of the explosions might have been part of the demolition of another bomb. It seems unlikely, however, that a bomb at the library, one mile away, could be so quickly located and rigged to be exploded by the bomb squad in less than one hour following the initial explosions at the marathon. Furthermore, according to Local15TV.com, a University of Mobile’s Cross Country Coach attests how there were bomb-sniffing dogs at both the start and finish lines, long before any explosions went off. He said: “They kept making announcements on the loud speaker that it was just a drill and there was nothing to worry about. It seemed like there was some sort of threat, but they kept telling us it was just a drill.” Mike Adams, “Boston Marathon Bombing on Same Day as ‘Controlled Explosion Drill’ by Boston Bomb Squad,” NaturalNews.com, April 15, 2013.

n.t.

The 2:49PM bombing was at a time when the race had more or less concluded, with only amateurs making their way toward the finish line, according to a timeline put together for Marathon spectators in 2003 by ESPN columnist and comedy writer Bill Simmons.

“1:45 – This is my favorite group … the fifth tier. For the next 30 minutes, expect to see a variety of athletes running by, including the following groups: A. Average runners like my buddy Nez, who hope to finish around the four-hour mark but don’t mind stopping for a second to chat. B. Older guys chugging along nicely, even though they look like they could drop dead at any moment … 2:15 — Now we’ve entered the “freak” portion of the race: People trying to finish in four hours or less, running alongside college kids carrying fraternity flags, transvestites, people dressed in Viking garb and wackos wearing Larry Bird jerseys or multi-colored afros. There are some seriously strange people out there. This usually lasts for about 20-25 minutes. After that, you’ve seen enough and you’re probably buzzed enough to call it a day.

Bill Simmons, “Idiot’s Guide to the Boston [Marathon],” ESPN.com, April 18, 2003.

  • April 16

5:00AM The New York Times carries graphic front page accounts and disturbing images of the Boston Marathon bombing’s aftermath under the April 16 headline, “BLASTS AT BOSTON MARATHON KILL 3 AND INJURE 100.” “These runners just finished and they don’t have legs now,” Roupen Bastajian, 35, a Rhode Island state trooper and former Marine tells the Times. “So many of them. there are so many people without legs. It’s all blood. There’s blood everywhere. You got bones, fragments. It’s disgusting … We put tourniquets on,” Mr. Bastajian said. “I tied at least five, six legs with tourniquets.” Another eyewitness, Deidre Hatfield, 27, claims to have been steps away from the finish line when she heard a blast. She sees bodies flying out into the street and a couple of children who appeared lifeless. She sees people without legs. “When the bodies landed around me I thought: Am I burning? Maybe I’m burning and I don’t feel it,” Ms. Hatfield says … She looked inside a Starbucks to her left, where she thought a blast might have occurred. “What was so eerie, you looked in you knew there had to be 100 people in there, but there was no sign of movement.” Tim Rohan, “War Zone at Mile 26; ‘So Many People Without Legs,’” New York Times, April 16, 2013.

9:38AM Cassidy Quinn Brettler is again interviewed on CNN, this time by reporter Chris Quomo. “What is the look through your lens? What kinds of things did you see?” Cuomo asks. “As I was walking and taking video,” Quinn Brettler recalls,

I walked past a restaurant on Newbury Street that I thought was giving out pitchers to water to people. So I looked down and there was actually a person bleeding on the street there, right off the sidewalk, just laying down and luckily the restaurant was helping them. It was great to actually see people teaming up together to help people in need. Everyone around me, no one knew what to do. That’s basically what I captured on video was this utter chaos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4bWz2UIZ4JkPress Conference From Boston Regarding the Recent Bombings,” CNN, April 16, 2013. n.t. Federal authorities say the bombs were probably simple devices made from ordinary kitchen pressure cookers, only they were designed to shoot shrapnel consisting of nails and ball bearings into anyone within reach of their blast and maim them severely. Officials say the “pressure cooker bombs” were set off by “kitchen-type” egg timers. According to the New York Times, “The resulting explosions sent metal tearing through skin and muscle, destroying the lower limbs of some victims who had only shreds of tissue holding parts of their legs together when they arrived at the emergency room of Massachusetts General Hospital, doctors there said.” Law enforcement authorities surmise the devices were concealed inside dark nylon duffel bags or backpacks and left on the street or sidewalk close to the finish line. Forensic experts say that the design and components of the homemade devices were generic but that the marking “6L,” indicating a six-liter container, could help identify a brand and manufacturer and possibly provide details about the buyer. Katharine Q. Stellye, Eric Schmitt and Scott Shane, “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Main,” New York Times, April 16, 2013.

n.t.

President Obama announces that the F.B.I. is investigating the attack as “an act of terrorism,” and plans to travel to Boston on April 18 for an interfaith service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross. “The range of suspects and motives remains wide open,” the FBI’s Richard DesLauriers says. And, he adds, no one has claimed responsibility. “Someone knows who did this,” he says. “Cooperation from the community will play a crucial role.” Officials claims to have received over 2,000 tips from around the world. As marathoners left through Logan Airport on April 16, security personnel remind them to share relevant pictures with the FBI. Counterterrorism experts say authorities plan to use facial recognition software against numerous databases for visas, passports and drivers licenses. “It’s our intention to go through every frame of every video that we have to determine exactly who was in the area,” Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis tells journalists at a news briefing. “This was probably one of the most well-photographed areas in the country yesterday.” Katharine Q. Stellye, Eric Schmitt and Scott Shane, “Boston Bombs Were Loaded to Main,” New York Times, April 16, 2013.

n.t.

Law enforcement officials from Israel are reportedly sent to the United States to take part in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation, Israel papers report on April 15 and 16. Israel Police Chief Yohanan Danino says he dispatched officials to Boston where they will meet with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and other authorities, according to the Times of Israel. An earlier report in the newspaper Maariv indicates that Danino sent police officers to participate in discussions that “will center on the Boston Marathon bombings and deepening professional cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of both countries.” Maariv notes that Israeli law enforcement made plans for the trip before the Marathon bombings, and the talks will now address how help from abroad can broaden the investigation. “Israeli Police Head to US to Aid in Boston Marathon Bombing Investigation,” RT.com, April 17, 2013.

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Harvard faculty members and students give eyewitness accounts of what they experienced on or around the Boston Marathon finish line when the explosions occurred. There were “lots of emergency responders,” one student recalls,

and I mean instantly hundreds and hundreds of ambulances and state police officers and things were headed in the direction of the finish line. But none of us—not myself or the folks around me—had any idea of what was going on. We’re all sort of—we’re in panic and shock and didn’t really know what to do. We were being told to sit against the wall and just sit there and wait for further instructions … [There was] no data service on my cellphone. No voice service. I could get limited text messages and I was getting lots of broken texts from my family.

Boston Marathon Bombing: Harvard Eyewitness Accounts,” The Harvard Crimson, April 16, 2013.

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Dr. George Velmahos of Boston General Hospital tells reporters that the bombs used in the April 15 bombing were created out of pressure cookers and packed with shrapnel consisting of metal, nails and ball bearings. “We removed pellets and nails,” Velmahos says. “[The injuries] are numerous, numerous, They have ten-twenty-thirty-forty of them in their body … or more.” “Doctors: Boston Victims Had Nails, Pellets,” Associated Press, April 16, 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QtGuDHGbdck

  • April 17

5:28AM Less than 48 hours after her death, family members of Boston Marathon bombing victim Krystle Campbell speak on camera to reporters. “She was the best,” Campbell’s mother, Patty, tells reporters. “You couldn’t ask for a better daughter.” The family is heartbroken and still in shock, Patty Campbell says, reading a statement on the family’s porch. “She had a heart of gold. She was always smiling,” Patty Campbell said as her son, Billy, clutched her with his right arm. Krystle’s grandmother observes that the 29-year-old was a special kind of person who nurtured deep friendships. “Oh, she was a beautiful girl,” Lillian Campbell tells CNN’s Jake Tapper. “She was very happy, outgoing, a hard worker.” Lillian Campbell said her granddaughter even lived with her for a year and a half and was “great with me.” Her granddaughter was always willing to help someone in need, she says. “And she was, she was just beautiful. She was a fun-loving girl.” Steve Almasy, “Boston Marathon Bombing Victims: Promising Lives Lost,” CNN, April 17, 2013.

9:29AM

Susan L. Abbott, the attorney for James Gallagher, CEO and General Counsel of John Hancock, the US division of the Canadian-based Manufacturers Life Insurance Company, and Michael Sheehan, CEO of advertising firm Hill Holliday, file legal paperwork with the Massachusetts Secretary of State to establish The One Fund Boston, an anticipated 501c3 nonprofit to oversee fundraising activities on behalf of Marathon bombing victims. John Hancock and Hill Holliday are the primary corporate sponsors of the 2013 Boston Marathon. “Articles of Organization,” The One Fund Boston, n.d. Accessed January 16, 2014.

1:09PM

Alternative news outlet Infowars.com publishes numerous photos of the Boston bombing scene appearing on the 4chan.org website that showing images of questionable individuals donning large backpacks at the scene prior to the bombings. Three of the male figures look to be Arab or Middle Eastern in appearance, while another two of the individuals are white. The images show the persons looking away from the marathon runners, speaking on cellphones and absconding from the scene immediately after the blast. Paul Joseph Watson, “Potential Boston Bombing Culprits and Person of Interest Identified?Infowars.com, April 17, 2013.

12:30PM [estimate]

Boston news media report that authorities have identified the image of a possible suspect through surveillance video, suggesting a potential turning point in a case where investigators are closely analyzing audio visual evidence from the scene. “Lord & Taylor Video Leads to Identification of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect,” WCVB.com, April 18, 2013.

3:26PM

The FBI cancels a press conference as Special Agent Greg Comcowich of the FBI’s Boston division scolds news media for relying on “unofficial sources” and reporting earlier in the afternoon that an arrest had been made in the Boston Marathon bombing, says in a statement. “[T]hese stories often have unintended consequences. Contrary to widespread reporting,” Comcowich continues, “no arrest has been made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack.” “FBI Warns of Unintended Consequences From False Media Reports,” The Daily Caller, April 17, 2013.

8:09PM

A source inside CNN asserts that the cable news channel’s staff sense humiliation and remorse after their dubious reportage earlier in the day that an arrest was made in  the Boston Marathon bombings case. The source reveals that the network was first to report that a suspect had been identified. Anchor John King transmitted a report that a source “briefed” on the investigation had told King a positive identification had been made. CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist approves that report, according to the source. Brett Logiurato, “CNN Source: Everyone Went Silent for Fifteen Minutes After We Screwed Up the Boston Marathon Report,” Business Insider, April 17, 2013. 11:52PM Authorities identify a potential suspect Wednesday in the Boston Marathon bombings, CBS New York reports, noting that surveillance video may furnish a vital clue in apprehending the attacker. A newly released photo appears to show a bag that may contain an explosive device, behind a fence at the second explosion site. “Authorities Identify Potential Suspect In Boston Marathon Bombings,” CBS New York, April 17, 2013. 11:52PM CBS New York reports that earlier in the day that a suspect was in custody in relation to the Boston bombings. This conclusion was attributed to an unidentified law enforcement official speaking to the Associated Press. Yet the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston said that no arrests had been made. An official news briefing, originally scheduled for 5 p.m. and later for 8 p.m., was postponed. “Contrary to widespread reporting, there have been no arrests made in connection with the Boston Marathon attack,” the FBI said in a statement. “Authorities Identify Potential Suspect In Boston Marathon Bombings,” CBS New York, April 17, 2013. n.t. Independent journalist Anthony Gucciardi interviews key Boston Marathon eyewitness Alastair Stevenson. A veteran of marathons and track coach at the University of Mobile in Alabama, Steveonson confirms that drills were taking place the morning of the Boston Marathon that included bomb squads and rooftop snipers. “At the start at the event, at the Athlete’s Village, there were people on the roof looking down onto the Village at the start,” Stevenson recollects. “There were dogs with their handlers going around sniffing for explosives, and we were told on a loud announcement that we shouldn’t be concerned and that it was just a drill. And maybe it was just a drill, but I’ve never seen anything like that — not at any marathon that I’ve ever been to. You know, that just concerned me that that’s the only race that I’ve seen in my life where they had dogs sniffing for explosions, and that’s the only place where there had been explosions.” Anthony Gucciardi, “Interview With Boston Eyewitness Confirms Bomb Squad Drill,” Infowars.com, April 17, 2013. n.t. Dr. Peter Burke, Boston Medical Center’s Chief of Trauma Services, appears at a news conference to explain the care given to victims of the bombing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOqAtCFDHeI

Of the 19 patients that were admitted 16 received emergen[cy] operations within the first 18 hours and remain hospitalized at this time. Ah, 19 patients were–ah–remain hospitalized for the next 24 hours. At that point we considered ten of them critical, three serious and six were considered in fair condition. We operated on five of those patients yesterday, and, ah, they continue to improve. As of the 19 patients in the hospital, two are considered critical, ten are serious and seven are fair. We plan on operating on about eight of these patients today. We are looking to discharge one or two of these patients as well today. So things are moving along as expected and the patients are doing well.

Burke also tells reporters that some patients have been informed their limbs must be amputated, and he remarks on how the medical staff has “taken out large quantities of pieces of things” from the victims.” “Boston Doctor: Bomb Victims Had Much Shrapnel,” Associated Press, April 17, 2013.

  • April 18

5:00PM FBI Special Agent in charge of the Boston division Richard DesLauriers releases images and video captured from closed-circuit surveillance cameras that show Tamarlan and Dhzokhar Tsarnaev on the sidewalk in the proximity of the Boston Marathon finish line. “Today, we are enlisting the public’s help to identify the two suspects,” DesLauriers announces. “After a very detailed analysis of photo, video, and other evidence, we are releasing photos of the two suspects. They are identified as Suspect 1 and Suspect 2. They appear to be associated.” DesLauriers then warns against considering other photographic or video evidence. “For clarity, these images should be the only ones—the only ones—that the public should view to assist us. Other photos should not be deemed credible and unnecessarily divert the public’s attention in the wrong direction and create undue work for vital law enforcement resources.” Greg Comcowich, “Remarks of Special Agent in Charge Rick DeLauriers at Press Conference on Bombing Investigation,” FBI Boston, April 18, 2013.

7:00PM

26-yearl-old Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev calls his uncle, initiating a five-minute conversation and asking for forgiveness, the uncle asserts. Alvi Tsarnaev tells The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News that his nephew calls for the first time in roughly two years. “He said, ‘I love you and forgive me.’” Alvi Tsarnaev resides in Montgomery Village, Md. “We were not talking for a long time because there were some problems,” he remarks. “We were not happy with each other.” They spoke about family and spiritual matters. “I told him I was praying to Allah, not drinking, not smoking, and he told me he was happy,” Alvi Tsarnaev says. “He was asking, ‘Did you pay your mortgage?’ I told him I was trying to pay. I asked him what he was doing. He said, ‘I fix cars, I got married, got a baby.’ ” Natalie DiBlasio and Shawn Cohen, “Tamarlan Tsarnaev Called, Asked for Forgiveness,” USA Today, April 19, 2013.

8:45PM

Three friends of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Robel Phillipos, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Azamat Tazhayakov, visit Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, gathering after seeing photos of one of the suspects that resembled their classmate. According to a US government criminal complaint against the three filed in federal court in Boston, Tsarnaev, was not present and his roommate let the men in. While proceeding to watch a movie, they noticed a backpack containing fireworks emptied of powder. Dias Kadyrbayev, “knew when he saw the empty fireworks that Tsarnaev was involved in the marathon bombing,” FBI Special Agent Scott Cieplik says in a criminal complaint. Hours earlier the FBI had released images of the Tsarnaev brothers at the scene of the April 15 bombing. According to the complaint Asamat Tazhayakov “started to freak out” when they realized from news reports that Tsarnaev was implicated in the bombing. Eric Larson, David McLaughlin, and Janelle Lawrence, “Friends Land in Jail After Dumping Bomb Suspect Backpack,” Bloomberg News, May 2, 2013.

8:47PM [estimate]

Visiting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s dorm room, Dias Kadyrbayev sends Tsarnaev a text message remarking that he looks like one of the suspects whose photos are in the news. Tsarnaev responded, “lol”, according to a criminal complaint against Robel Phillipos, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Azamat Tazhayakov filed by FBI Special Agent Scott Cieplik on May 1. In the messages Tsarnaev tells Kadyrbayev “you better not text me” and suggests his friend “come to my room and take whatever you want,” which the friend at first interprets as a joke. Kadyrbayev decides to remove the backpack “in order to help his friend Tsarnaev avoid trouble,” Agent Cieplik writes in the US complaint. He takes the laptop as well, “because he did not want Tsarnaev’s roommate to think he was stealing or behaving suspiciously by just taking the backpack,” according to the complaint. Eric Larson, David McLaughlin, and Janelle Lawrence, “Friends Land in Jail After Dumping Bomb Suspect Backpack,” Bloomberg News, May 2, 2013.

10:00PM

Carrying Tsarnaev’s backpack containing remnants of consumer fireworks and the laptop, Robel Phillipos, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Azamat return to the apartment near campus shared by Kadyrbayev and Tazhayakov and continue viewing news reports on the bombing. Then together they decide to throw the backpack and fireworks cartridges in the trash, the U.S. says in its complaint, citing Kadyrbayev’s version of events. Kadyrbayev places the backpack in a black plastic bag and put it in a Dumpster near the apartment building, the complaint reads. While the two other men didn’t assist in the disposal, they knew it was happening, according to the US officials’ allegations. Eric Larson, David McLaughlin, and Janelle Lawrence, “Friends Land in Jail After Dumping Bomb Suspect Backpack,” Bloomberg News, May 2, 2013.

10:27PM

Lingzi Lu, a Chinese graduate student pursuing mathematics at Boston University, is announced as one of the Boston Marathon bombing victims by the president of BU in an open letter published on the school’s website, also confirming that Lu’s friend was wounded. “Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family and friends of both victims,” writes college President Robert Brown. The university initially declined to release Lu’s name at her family’s request, but the school received permission from a family representative, according to BU spokesman Colin Riley. The university establishes the Lingzi Lu Scholarship Fund in her honor. The Chinese consulate in New York issues a statement of condolence. A wave of sympathy is generated on social media sites in China. By April 17, more than 17,000 comments are added to the victim’s last post on Weibo where she commented on her breakfast. Ben Brumfield and Steven Jiang, “Chinese Student Killed in Bombings Had Followed Her Passion to Boston,” CNN, April 18, 2013.

10:31PM

MIT Police officer Sean Collier is reported shot at 10:48PM near the Stata Center on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus and is transported to Massachusetts General Hospital where he is pronounced dead at 12:15AM April 19. At around 10:25PM a postdoctoral student working on campus contacts MIT Police to report loud noises that may be gunshots. At 10:31PM Collier is discovered and tended to by another MIT officer. Greg Steinbrecher, “MIT Officer Killed, Marathon Bombers Responsible,” The Tech, April 19, 2013.

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A Saudi “person of interest” is to be deported on “national security grounds” after President Obama has impromptu meeting with Saudi official. A terrorism expert notes that the move is “very unusual,” particularly in light of an unscheduled meeting yesterday between Obama and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, the Saudi national with suspected involvement was put under armed guard in the hospital after the bombing, visited by Saudi diplomat Azzam bin Abdel Karim, and later had his apartment raided by federal and state law enforcement agents. Congressman Jeff Duncan asks DHS chief Janet Napolitano about the Saudi linked to the Boston bombings being deported for “national security” reasons. Napolitano denied any knowledge of the man being deported. Paul Joseph Watson, “Obama Covering Up Saudi Link to the Boston Bombing?Infowars.com, April 18, 2013.

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Jeff Bauman is interviewed by the FBI in his hospital bed. Despite being in intensive care after having lost both legs and under heavy sedation, Bauman informs the FBI that he encountered Tamerlan Tsarnaev and looked in his eyes as Tsarnaev planted the bomb, thereafter identifying him in a photograph the FBI produced. “He woke up under so much drugs [sic],” Bauman’s brother Chris tells reporters, “asked for a paper and pen and wrote, ‘bag, saw the guy, looked right at me’.” Chris Bauman attests that the account is emphatic and convincing. “I’ve had many times alone with him, and yes, he told me every single detail.” The FBI thus narrowed its inquiries down to two suspects who were related from tens of thousands of people pictured in the area before the attacks. Damien McElroy, “Boston Marathon Victim Jeff Bauman Helped Identify Bombers,” UK Telegraph, April 19, 2013.

  • April 19

12:10AM [estimate] Police encounter Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the streets of Watertown, and Dzhokhar reportedly tosses bombs at officers as he drives out of their closing cordon, leaving the elder Tamarlan dying in the wake. Police are heard shouting over the police scanner, “Loud explosion, loud explosion, loud explosion, shots fired, shots fired.” One police officer was severely wounded in the confrontation. Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger, a member of the House intelligence committee, remarks, “They clearly amassed a small arsenal of explosives.” Police report carrying out one or more controlled explosions on Norfolk Street, in Cambridge, not far from where the bombers apparently share a home. Ray Sanchez, “Boston Bombs: The ‘Small Arsenal’ of Weapons Suspects ‘Used Against’ Police,” UK Telegraph, April 20, 2013.

12:20AM

Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Emergency room physician Dr. David Schoenfeld, while catching up on paperwork at his Watertown residence, hears police sirens, then gunfire and explosions. He telephones the emergency room and tells staff to prepare for trauma patients. Schoenfeld arrives at the hospital at about 1:10AM. Fifteen minutes later an ambulance carrying Tamerlan Tsarnaev pulls up. According to Dr. Schoenfeld, Tsarnaev is handcuffed, unconscious, and in cardiac arrest. As a throng of police officers observe, Dr. Schoenfeld and a team of other trauma doctors and nurses began to perform CPR. “There was talk before the patient arrived about whether or not it was a suspect,” Dr. Schoenfeld recalls. “But ultimately it doesn’t matter who it is, because we’re going to work as hard as we can for any patient who comes through our door and then sort it out after. Because you’re never going to know until the dust settles who it is.” The trauma team puts a breathing tube in Tsarnaev’s throat, according to Dr. Schoenfeld, then cuts open his chest to check if blood or other fluid is collecting around his heart. His handcuffs are removed at some point during the resuscitation attempt, Schoenfeld says, because “when the patient is in cardiac arrest and we’re doing all these procedures, we need to be able to move their arms around.” The team’s attempts to resuscitate Tsarnaev are unsuccessful, and he is pronounced dead at 1:35AM. Only as they begin to turn the body over to the police does Schoenfeld recognize Tsarnaev as resembling one of the suspects whose pictures were released by the FBI hours earlier. “We all obviously had some suspicion given the really large police presence,” he says, “but we didn’t have a clear identification from the police.” Dr. Schoenfeld’s emergency room also treated a number of people injured in the bombings on Monday. “I can’t say what I’ll be feeling as I reflect on this later on,” he remarks in an interview before Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured. “But right now I’m more concerned with everybody who’s still out there and still in harm’s way … I worry about everybody in the city, that everyone’s going to be O.K.” Katharine Q. Steelye, William R. Rashbaum, and Michael Cooper, “2nd Bombing Suspect Caught After Frenzied Hunt Paralyzes Boston,” New York Times, April 19, 2013.

6:00AM

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Robel Phillipos, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Azamat Tazhayakov see news reports identifying Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the bombers and stating that Tamarlan was killed during a shootout with police. Eric Larson, David McLaughlin, and Janelle Lawrence, “Friends Land in Jail After Dumping Bomb Suspect Backpack,” Bloomberg News, May 2, 2013.

7:00AM

Upon Zhokhar Tsarnaev escaping a substantial police gauntlet while hurling bombs out the window of a stolen SUV, his at-large status and authorities’ fears that he may possess additional explosives prompts an intense manhunt. SWAT teams and Humvees roll through residential streets with military helicopters hovering overhead and bomb squads ushered to several locations. Boston is effectively in lockdown. Transit service is suspended. Classes at Harvard, MIT, Boston University and other nearby colleges are canceled. Amtrak halts service into Boston. The Red Sox game and a concert at Symphony Hall are postponed. Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts directs residents to stay behind locked doors all day, finally lifting the order shortly after 6PM as transit service resumes. Katharine Q. Steelye, William R. Rashbaum, and Michael Cooper, “2nd Bombing Suspect Caught After Frenzied Hunt Paralyzes Boston,” New York Times, April 19, 2013.

10:24AM

New Hampshire state representative Stella Tremblay posts on Facebook that the Boston Marathon bombing was “Top Down, Bottom UP.” “The Boston Marathon was a Black Ops ‘terrorist’ attack,” Tremblay write in a message to conservative commentator Glenn Beck. “One suspect killed, the other one will be too before they even have a chance to speak. Drones and now ‘terrorist’ attacks by our own Government. Sad day, but a ‘wake up’ to all of us. First there was a ‘suspect’ then there wasn’t.” Tremblay also posted a link to a video hosted on YouTube, titled “PROOF! Boston Marathon Bombing is Staged Terror Attack.” A news media frenzy ensues around the legislator. House Minority Leader Gene Chandler writes that Tremblay’s comments are “highly offensive, egregious, and irrational.” Jim Haddadin, “N.H. Rep Thinks Boston Marathon Bombing Was Done By the Government,” Foster’s Daily Democrat, April 23, 2013.

1:52PM

Tamarlan and Dhozhar Tsarnaev’s mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva states her younger son is innocent and, similar to many of the brothers’ acquaintances, claims they were polite youths and model students – especially the younger 19-year-old Dzhokhar. Upset and saddened, Zubeidat expresses her shock at the allegations, pointing to how Dzhokar was an honors student and regarded fondly by many of his friends and teachers. Along these lines older brother Tamerlan was a star athlete and student, who dreamed of becoming a member of the US Olympic wrestling team. “’They Were Set Up: FBI Followed Them for Years’—Tsarnaev’s Mother to RT,” RT.com, April 19, 2013.

1:52PM

Tamarlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva remarks on the perpetual FBI surveillance she said her family was subjected to over the years. She finds it especially unusual that after such extensive surveillance the FBI had no idea the sons were supposedly planning a terrorist act. “They used to come [to our] home, they used to talk to me…they were telling me that he [the older, 26-y/o Tamerlan] was really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremist sites… they were controlling him, they were controlling his every step…and now they say that this is a terrorist act! Never ever is this true, my sons are innocent!” When asked if maybe she didn’t know about some of her sons’ more secret aspirations and dark secrets, she said “That’s impossible. My sons would never keep a secret.” Finally, she says that if she could speak to her youngest – Dzhokhar, she would tell him, “Save your life and tell the truth, that you haven’t done anything, that this is a set up!” The brothers’ father Anzor Tsarnaev also believes that they are innocent and somebody might have set them up. “I’m sure about my children, in their purity. I don’t know what happened and who did this.  God knows and he will punish them,” he tells the Russian Zvezda channel. “Somebody might have set them up. I don’t know who and because of their cowardice killed the boy.” The father says he is unable to contact his sons or other relatives as communications to the US have been inoperable. “’They Were Set Up: FBI Followed Them for Years’—Tsarnaev’s Mother to RT,” RT.com, April 19, 2013.

1:52PM

Russian ‘Alpha’ Special Forces team-veteran and vice-president of the division’s International Association, Aleksey Filatov, thinks there is more to the case than meets the eye. He underscores, firstly, that the national origin and religious beliefs of the suspect, along with the specifics of the bombing, have all been carefully pre-meditated and planned by someone within the United States in order to distract the public from the true identity and long-term aims of the actual planners. “Putting a young Chechen in those shoes was top-notch professionalism in distracting everyone from the true identity and motives of the planner,” he explains to RT. “The executors were chosen to confuse the American public and simultaneously untie the White House’s hands in a way that would justify a departure from the rhetoric of non-involvement in military action on foreign territories.” “’They Were Set Up: FBI Followed Them for Years’—Tsarnaev’s Mother to RT,” RT.com, April 19, 2013.

6:44PM

CBS News reports that the FBI admits to having interviewed now-deceased Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011. The FBI interviewed the elder Tsarnaev at the request of a foreign government to see if he had any extremist ties, but failed to find any linkages. CBS News correspondent John Miller observes it is likely Russia asked to have the elder Tsarnaev vetted because of suspected ties to Chechen extremists. The FBI probably conducted a background check, running Tsarnaev’s name through all relevant databases, including those of other agencies, checking on his communications and all overseas travel, surmises Miller. Miller further reports that this culminated in a sit-down interview where they probably asked him a lot of questions about his life, his contacts, his surroundings. This was then likely written up and directed to the requesting government. “FBI Interviewed Dead Boston Bombing Suspect Years Ago,” CBS News, April 19, 2013.

6:30PM [estimate]

Dave Henneberry, the Watertown Massachusetts resident who owns the boat where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took refuge to dodge a daylong dragnet, describes in an interview with a local television outlet how he discovered the bombing suspect, which he claims developed differently than has been reported. “I know people say there was blood on the boat — he saw blood and went in,” he says. “Not true.” When on April 19 Watertown residents were advised they could exit their homes, Henneberry went out to his boat, climbed three steps up the ladder, and when he could see into the boat, he looked on the floor and saw “a good amount of blood.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixTkyI_Hpbg “And I said, wow, did I cut myself last time I was in the boat a couple of weeks ago and forget?” he said. “No, no.” Mr. Henneberry then saw the body — but not a face. “Oh my God,” is what went through his head, Mr. Henneberry recounted in his distinct Boston brogue. He jumped off the ladder, he said, and called 911. Mr. Henneberry refers to himself an “incidental hero,” explaining: “I wasn’t out on the prowl. I was out to see my boat.” An online fundraiser to replace the bullet-ridden ship has raised more than $10,000. “Boat Owner Calls Himself ‘Incidental Hero’ in Ending Terror,” WCVBtv 5 April 23, 2013.

8:41PM

Heavily armed police conclude a 22-hour manhunt for the surviving Boston bombing suspect, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is captured alive after being surrounded. Tsarnaev emerges from a boat in the backyard of a home in Watertown, Massachusetts, a small town near Boston. For roughly two hours Tsarnaev is surrounded by SWAT teams and hundreds of other police, surviving a barrage of gunfire and incendiary “flash” grenades. Authorities say Tsarnaev was injured in a shootout with police on April 18 and hence had significant blood loss. Police report he is in a serious condition in hospital. Boston mayor Thomas Menino says, “We got him.” A large crowd gathering close to the location of Tsarnaev’s arrest start clapping and shouting “Thank you” as a police ambulance carrying the suspect cruises by. Massachusetts police superintendent Colonel Tim Alben says, “We are so grateful to bring justice and closure to this case. We are grateful for the outcome here tonight. We’re exhausted, folks, but we have a victory here tonight.” Ed Pilkington, Adam Gabbatt, and Miriam Elder, “Boston Suspect Captured Alive After Dramatic Finish to Day-Long Manhunt,” UK Guardian, April 20, 2013.

n.t.

FBI investigators interview Asamat Tazhayakov, who says he became friends with Tsarnaev in 2011 and that the two became closer in 2012 when Tsarnaev began spending more time at their apartment. On April 18 at 4:00PM Tsarnaev had dropped Tazhayakov off at the apartment after they attended classes together. Eric Larson, David McLaughlin, and Janelle Lawrence, “Friends Land in Jail After Dumping Bomb Suspect Backpack,” Bloomberg News, May 2, 2013.

  • April 20

9:00AM Former United States Assistant Attorney General and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick appears on NBC’s Meet the Press to provide his perspectives on the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath. In his observations Patrick reveals he has not been allowed to view the closed-circuit video that federal authorities used to designate Tamarlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the principal suspects. “Well, the videotape is not something I’ve seen but it’s been described to me in my briefings.” Patrick explains. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhwUvaZzZU8 at 2:47

But it does seem to be pretty clear that, uh, that ah, [sic] this suspect took the backpack, uh, off, put it down, uhm, did not react when the first explosion went off and then, ah, moved away from the backpack for the time for the second, uh, explosion. So pretty, uh, pretty clear, uhm, about his, ah, involvement and pretty chilling, frankly, as it was described to me.

Deval Patrick, National Security Experts Give Latest Update on Boston Bombing,” Meet the Press with David Gregory, NBC News, April 20, 2013.

n.t.

Investigators report that they are now turning to what motivated the Tsarnaev brothers to carry out the attacks on the Boston Marathon. Federal investigators are reviewing a visit that one of the suspected bombers made to Chechnya and Dagestan, mainly Muslim republics in the north Caucasus region of Russia. Both have active militant separatist movements. Members of Congress expressed concern about the FBI’s handling of one request from Russian authorities before the trip to examine the man’s possible links to extremist groups in the region. Tamerlan Tsarnaev spent six months in Dagestan in 2012, and analysts think the trip may have been decisive in his alleged path toward the bombings. Eric Schmitt, Micahel S. Schmidt, and Ellen Barry, “Boston Marathon Inquiry Turns to Motive and Russian Trip,” New York Times, April 20, 2013.

  • April 21

6:47PM FBI Special Agent Daniel R. Genck files a request for a criminal complaint in United States District Court against Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev for his alleged role in bombing the Boston Marathon on April 15. The complaint accuses Tsarnaev of using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death. Agent Genck relies largely on analysis of video and photographic evidence depicting the April 15 scene at the Boylston Street Marathon finish line and testimony from law enforcement involved in the apprehension of Tsarnaev to develop his conclusions. Judge Marianne B. Bowler, United States of America versus Dzokhar A. Tsarnaev, Case No. 13-2106 MBB, United States District Court for the State of Massachusetts, April 21, 2013. n.t. A somewhat nervous-sounding woman identifying herself as Linda calls in to a talk show on WE97.3FM and describes the scene on Dexter Street in Watertown where Tamarlan Tsarnaev was killed. She claims to have seen the first suspect run over “by a police SUV, and then after he was hit [by the vehicle he was] shot multiple times. Minutes later an ambulance arrived. [They] put the suspect into the ambulance and then off [they went].” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sjmjZjssnk The caller asserts that she didn’t believe the suspect was holding a pipe bomb or suicide vest. “Eyewitness: Suspect Run Over By Police: No Bombs,” Liveleak.com, April 21, 2013.

  • April 22

1:19PM Doctors announce that all of the over 180 people reportedly injured in the Boston Marathon blasts one week ago who made it to a hospital are likely to survive. This includes numerous people that arrived with legs attached by just a little skin, a 3-year-old boy with a head injury and bleeding on the brain, and a little girl wounded with nails. Even a transit system police officer whose heart had stopped and was close to bleeding to death after a shootout with the bombing suspects now appears headed for recovery. “All I feel is joy,” says Dr. George Velmahos, chief of trauma surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, referring to that hospital’s 31 blast patients. “Whoever came in alive, stayed alive.” Marilynn Marchione, “Doctors: All Boston Bomb Patients Likely to Live,” NBC News/Associated Press, April 22, 2013. n.t. The New York Times reports that Boston Marathon bombing victims will face major financial burdens in addition to their physical injuries, and that there will be challenges to distributing the beneficiary funds collected. The monetary toll will likely be high for many because of trauma care, prosthetic limbs, drawn-out rehabilitation and future equipment to deal with everyday life with severe injuries and loss of limbs. Attorney Kenneth R. Feinberg, who has overseen compensation funds for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the shootings at Virginia Tech and other disasters, will arrive in Boston on April 22 to determine who will be eligible for payouts from a new benefit fund, the One Fund Boston, and how much individuals wounded in the bombings and family of the deceased will be allotted. The One Boston Fund has already raised more than $10 million for victims and victims’ families. Individual victims have also set up donation pages on social media sites such as Facebook. Over 170 bystanders were wounded in the blasts, and presently more than 50 remain in hospital. Abby Goodnough, “For Wounded, Daunting Cost; for Aid Fund, Tough Decision,” New York Times, April 22, 2013.

  • April 23

2:41PM

Federal prosecutors experience difficulties attempting to put together a solid case that Tamarlan and Dzokhar Tsarnaev were motivated to carry out the Boston Marathon bombing because of radical Islamist or Chechen separatist beliefs. Tamerlan Tsarnaev is now the focal point of an international FBI investigation into whether an organised group or broader conspiracy lay behind the bombings. The 26-year-old Tamarlan is believed to have been the mastermind of the event. There is also no known link to any nationalist or Islamist group in the Caucasus region that the brothers regarded as their homeland. Such an association would suggest they were recruited as foot soldiers and given operational instructions to strike the Boston Marathon. US law enforcement and counter-terrorism experts increasingly think the brothers acted independently and that Tamarlan Tsarnaev was a “lone wolf,” mostly receiving personal motivation and training via the internet. Ed Pilkington, “Tamarlan Tsarnaev: Experts Puzzled as Hunt for Terror Links Yields Little,” UK Guardian, April 23, 2013.

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Defense attorneys ruminate on Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev’s fate, saying Tsarnaev might entirely avoid a trial and win a modicum of mercy. “We know he’s 19 years old, we don’t think he has a criminal record or been in trouble before. There are a lot of people out there that seem to have warm, positive things about him,” says Tamar Birckhead, whose client, Richard Reid, tried to blow an airliner out of the sky but received a life sentence through a plea bargain. “To predict he’ll get a life sentence is not unreasonable.” Stephen Jones, whose client was Oklahoma City bomber client Timothy McVeigh, notes how McVeigh received the death penalty, but he said he believes the baby-faced Tsarnaev may be able to seek mercy as an impressionable youth. “If the younger brother can shed any light on the circumstances of the older brother’s alleged involvement,” according to Jones, “that’s valuable information that the government would want.” Geoffrey Fieger, whose clients include assisted-suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian, says, “Nothing about the outcome is assured.” Fieger and the other major defense attorneys state the government’s case has many weak spots that a shrewd defense attorney can exploit, beginning with the possibility that federal officials failed to immediately Mirandize Tsarnaev. Chris Cassidy, “Experts: Feds Case vs. Dzokhar Tsarnaev Has Holes,” Boston Herald, April 23,2013.

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New Hampshire newspaper Foster’s Daily Democrat contacts state representative Stella Tremblay, who maintains that she questions the explanation of the bombings offered by police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Tremblay says she started questioning the official story shortly after the bombing transpired.

I was with, it was one of my constituents that sent me an email, and it went to a site where a, I think it was a major retired marine was speaking, and then he said, “Please go to Infowars,” and they had pictures of, what is it, black ops? With black backpacks. They show them at the scene, so they knew something was going on, because there wouldn’t have been that many of them.

The lawmaker also notes how a Saudi Arabian man at the bombing site received burn wounds. Tremblay notes how the man was questioned for nine hours, and the FBI created an “event file” about him. Thereafter, she says, when authorities went to search his apartment, Secretary of State John Kerry met with the Saudi Arabian ambassador behind closed doors. “There’s just too many things going on that, to me, doesn’t make any sense.” Jim Haddadin, “N.H. Rep Thinks Boston Marathon Bombing Was Done By the Government,” Foster’s Daily Democrat, April 23, 2013.

  • April 24

10:00PM A video cameraman and anchorperson Melissa Bagg from WPTV News Channel 5 accosts Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy following his evening class. Tracy wrote an April 22 blog post questioning many aspects of what happened on Boylston Street the day of the bombings. “We have the official narrative that this was carried out by two individuals, two Chechen immigrants, but it could be more complex than that,” Tracy tells NewsChannel 5. “The government was carrying out drills on that day. We don’t know exactly what was taking place, what the dynamics were.” Marissa Bagg, “James Tracy, Boston Bombing Hoax? FAU Professor Defends Questioning if Boston Bombs Were Staged,” WPTV News Channel 5, April 24, 2013.

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Federal law enforcement authorities now admit that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was unarmed when he sustained a substantial barrage of police gunfire that repeatedly struck the boat where he was hiding, Police previously feared that Tsarnaev was heavily armed. The FBI declined to discuss what prompted the gunfire. Sari Horwitz and Peter Finn, “Officials: Boston Suspect Had No Firearms When Barrage of Bullets Hit Hiding Place,Washington Post, April 24, 2013.

  • April 25

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The New York Police Department and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announces that Tamarlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were poised to travel to New York City to detonate their remaining explosives in Times Square. CBS New York reports that when New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly began heightening security measures after the Boston Marathon bombing it was more than mere precaution. “New York was next on the list of targets,” Bloomberg says. “The two brothers had at their disposal six improvised explosive devices,” Kelly similarly observes, “One was a pressure cooker bomb, similar to the two that had exploded at the marathon. The other five were pipe bombs.” Bloomberg: New York Was Next Target for Boston Bombing Suspects,” CBS New York, April 25, 2013.

  • April 26

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Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is transported from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to the Federal Medical Center at Fort Devens in Ft. Devens, Mass., U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Drew Wade tells Fox News. The FMC Devens is a federal prisons facility for male inmates who necessitate specialized or long-term medical or mental health care, according to the facility’s website. “Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Moved to Federal Medical Center,” FoxNews.com, April 26, 2013.

  • May 1

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Robel Phillipos, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Azamat Tazhayakov are charged by the US government with obstruction of justice and false statements. They all agree to voluntary detention. If convicted, they face as long as five years in prison for obstruction and eight years for false statements. Robert Stahl, a lawyer for Kadyrbayev, and Tazhayakov’s attorney, Harlan Protass, say their clients will plead not guilty. “As we’ve said from the very beginning, he assisted the FBI in this investigation,” Stahl says of Kadyrbayev outside the courtroom yesterday. “He was just as shocked by the violence in Boston as everyone else. He did not know this individual was involved with the bombing.” Eric Larson, David McLaughlin, and Janelle Lawrence, “Friends Land in Jail After Dumping Bomb Suspect Backpack,” Bloomberg News, May 2, 2013. See also “Lawyers on Charges Facing Bombing Suspect’s Friends” (video), Bloomberg News, May 1, 2013.

  • May 6

12:05AM [estimate]

Ibragim Todashev, 27, a Chechen man with ties to Boston bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev, is shot seven times by a Boston-based Federal Bureau of Investigation agent at his home in Orlando, Florida. The killing takes place during an interrogation by the FBI and two Massachusetts State Police officers regarding his ties to the Boston marathon bombing suspects and his role in a related 2011 triple murder in Massachusetts allegedly turns violent. Todashev purportedly wields a knife against the officers. The FBI releases a statement that the agent had acted on an “imminent threat” and shot the interview subject. The man being questioned was killed and the FBI agent was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The FBI later releases a statement that does not specify which of the law enforcers fired the fatal shot killing Todashev. “FBI Shoots Chechen Dead in Florida, Man Questioned in Links to Boston Bombers,” RT.com, May 6, 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTC9J9qcI5k

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In excess of $1.2 million is raised for families of about two dozen victims of the Boston bombings on GiveForward. The donation website collects the assistances through credit and debit cards, then passes these on to the beneficiaries after deducting a 7 percent processing fee. Of the $1.2 million, over $700,000 is raised for a young couple, Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, who were both critically wounded and went to different hospitals. Some of the Web sites, and accompanying Facebook and Twitter accounts, provide an avenue into the lives and challenges that lie ahead for many of the victims. “Victims in Boston Marathon Bombing Turn to Crowdfunding for Support,” New York Times The Lede, May 6, 2013.

  • May 7

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Eyewitness accounts support the probability that MBTA Transit Police Officer Richard H. Donohue Jr. was shot and almost killed by a fellow officer in Watertown on April 19 in the midst of a barrage of gunfire directed at Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Donohue was felled in the early-morning hours as a dozen police ­officers or more from four departments exchanged up to 300 rounds of gunfire with Dzhokhar’s older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Jane Dyson, who lives 140 feet from where Donohue was shot on Dexter Avenue, says she saw the police officer collapse and fall to the ground near the end of the gunfight as 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev sped away. She says the officer ­appeared to be a victim of “friendly fire.” Sean P. Murphy and Todd Wallack, “Witnesses Suggest Friendly Fire Felled MBTA Officer,” Boston Globe, May 7, 2013.

  • May 8

Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis testifies before the US House Committee on Homeland Security regarding the Boston Marathon bombings and funding for homeland security preparedness. In his remarks Davis discloses how Boston area law enforcement and emergency response personnel benefitted greatly in preparation for terror attacks through its collaboration with Israeli law enforcement and military personnel.

Representative Eric Swalwell: And you mentioned that you were able to work with international law enforcement agencies. Were you able to work with forces from Israel and antiterror departments from Israel? Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis: Yes, the Israeli military and police services have been very helpful to us in sending people over to train us. As a matter of fact, the tactic that Sargent Conley used in opening the bags up—the cut and tag tactic—was taught to us by the Israelis.

Swalwell and Boston Police Commissioner Praise Alameda County Training Program,” Congressman Eric Swalwell, May 9, 2013.

  • May 16

7:06AM

CBS News reports that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrote a note in the boat he was hiding in as he bled from gunshot wounds sustained in the April 19 shootout between himself, brother Tamarlan and police. The note is scrawled with a marker on the interior wall of the cabin, saying the bombings were retribution for U.S. military action in Afghanistan and Iraq. It called the Boston victims “collateral damage” in the same way Muslims have been in the American-led wars. “When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims,” said Tsarnaev. “Boston Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Left Note in Boat He Hid In, Sources Say,” CBS News, May 16, 2013.

  • May 17

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Special Agents Christopher Lorek and Stephen Shaw, members of the FBI’s elite counterterrorism unit, perish while practicing how to rapidly drop from a helicopter to a ship using a rope. The FBI announces the deaths on May 20 in a statement that was vague, other than to say the helicopter encountered unspecified difficulties and the agents fell a “significant distance.” The counterterrorism unit was involved in the arrest of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. A law enforcement source says the incident happened about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The official blamed bad weather for the incident. Scott Daugherty, “FBI: Agents Died in Fall From Helicopter Off VA Coast,” PilotOnline.com, May 20, 2013.

  • June 3

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The Boston Fire Department announces on its Twitter account that Boston Fire Chief Steve Abraira submitted his letter of resignation following deputy chiefs’ criticism of Abraira’s handling of the Boston Marathon bombing aftermath. In an April 26 letter to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, 13 deputy fire chiefs asserted no confidence in Abraira, arguing that he failed to assume command responsibility or show any leadership at the scene. “At a time when the city of Boston needed every first responder to take decisive action, Chief Abraira failed to get involved in operational decision-making or show any leadership,” the letter read. In the letter, the deputies describe an e-mail Abraira sent to all department members, noting that when he arrived at the scene, “it was clear that our Command Officer had the incident well in hand and that our department was fully active in a support role with our law enforcement partners.” The deputies call Abraira’s argument “illogical” and “mere rationalization to justify his behavior,” pointing out that when Abraira arrived, the Boston Fire Department was “still heavily involved in the incident” because of the possibility of “second explosions,” “additional suspicious packages” and “structural stability concern of buildings,” among other issues. Stephanie Gallman and Kristina Sgueglia, “Boston Fire Chief Resigns After Criticism of Bombing Response,” CNN, June 4, 2013.

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After 50 days Erika Brannock, hospitalized after bombs at the Boston Marathon wreak havoc with her legs, is the last of over 250 victims to be released from hospital. Monday was a long time coming — 50 days in fact. “I leave here today — after 11 surgeries, some pretty dark moments, and 50 days in this hospital — with nothing but admiration for this great city,” Brannock says upon leaving Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. On April 15 she, her sister and brother-in-law attended watch Brannock’s mother runThey were standing near the finish line when the bombs detonated. “I fell backwards, and I could see oranges and yellows,” Brannock tells CNN. “I could hear the sirens and people crying and screaming. But I never heard the actual boom.” “I had a conversation with God in my head, and I told him I wasn’t ready to go.” Just then a woman crawled over to Brannock and grabbed her hand, using her belt as a tourniquet on Brannock’s leg. “She had heard me screaming for help and she said, ‘My name is Joan from California, and I’m not going to let you go.’ And she stayed with me the whole time.” Brannock began having nightmares after she learned that surviving bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was at the same hospital as her, and dreamed he was going to blow up Beth Israel. Randi Kaye, Dana Puente, and Dana Ford, “’Ready to Go Home:’ Last Boston Bombing Victim Leaves the Hospital,” CNN, June 4, 2013.

  • June 8

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The Boston Globe reports that the entire April 15 Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath played out in almost identical fashion to a Department of Homeland Security-sponsored terrorist drill scheduled for June. The drill scenario had been painstakingly planned: A terrorist group intending to injure scores of people around Boston leave backpacks filled with explosives at Faneuil Hall, the Seaport District, and in other towns, spreading waves of panic and fear. Detectives pursue and catch the culprits. “Operation Urban Shield” was developed to train dozens of detectives in the Greater Boston area to work together to thwart a terrorist threat. The hypothetical terrorist group was even given a name: Free America Citizens, a home-grown cadre of militiamen whose logo would be a metal skull wearing an Uncle Sam hat and a furious expression, according to a copy of the plans obtained by the Boston Globe. “The real thing happened before we were able to execute,” says a law enforcement official intimately aware of the planned exercise. “We’ve already been tested.” This would have been the third year for Urban Shield, a 24-hour federally funded training exercise meant to test the response of law enforcement and other public safety personnel in a major emergency. The training is funded by a $200,000 Homeland Security grant and will probably be rescheduled to early next year, Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, whose agency was slated to participate. The basic plot was this: Half a dozen members of Free America Citizens wanted to gauge police response to a bomb scare. They would plant hoax devices, then stay on the scene to watch and record the bomb squad and detectives as they responded, as a dry run to a larger attack. Yet the participating detectives would not have known they were being watched, only that they were responding to an urgent terrorist threat. The goal of the training was for them to figure out the motives of Free America Citizens as they investigated the case, the official said. The planned exercise has eerie similarities to the police investigation that led to the capture of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose images were caught on video cameras and who were captured after a car chase and shoot-out with police. Officials intend to repeat the drill at a future date. A police spokeswoman, declined to say what a new training might look like. “We can’t talk about what we’re doing for emergency preparedness,” she says. “The people who participate in this don’t know what the scenario is.” Maria Cramer, “Police Response Training Planned, But Bombs Hit First,” Boston Globe, June 8, 2013.

  • June 19

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John Hancock Financial and the Boston Athletic Association announce that the 2013 Boston Marathon champion, Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia, will give his championship medal to the City of Boston  to honor the victims and families affected by the April 15, 2013 bombing. Desisa is scheduled to present his medal to Mayor Thomas M. Menino on June 23, 2013, at 10:00AM on the Boston Common. Desisa will make the tribute after competing in the Boston Athletic Association 10K, which begins at 8 a.m. In a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Ethiopia last month, Desisa announced his intention of returning to Boston to gift his medal to the City. “Tribute to Be Held on the Boston Common on June 23, 2013, at 10:00AM,” Boston Athletic Association, June 19, 2013.

  • June 24

7:00PM

During Game 6 of the Stanley Cup series at Boston’s TD Garden Boston bombing victim Jeff Bauman is wheeled out onto the ice with the help of his friend Carlos Arredondo, and stands up using two prosthetic legs, waving to the crowd. Arredondo gained national attention after the well-known photo of him running alongside Bauman following the April 15 attack. The duo were picked to be banner captains and raise a “Boston Strong” flag before the  game. Steve Annear, “Boston Victim Jeff Bauman Stands Up During Flag Ceremony at Bruins Game,” Boston Magazine, June 24, 2013.

  • July 10

9:00AM

Supporters of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev gather at the federal courthouse in Boston where Tsarnaev is to appear for his arraignment on charges of his direct involvement in bombing the Boston Marathon. Participants of the Freejahar movement contend that the suspect is innocent of all such charges. Pamela Engel, “Fans of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Show Up At Court to Support Boston Bombing Suspect–And One of Them is Wearing This Shirt,” Business Insider, July 10, 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uvoSpQrlUY

11:00AM [estimate]

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev appears in federal court in Boston and pleads not guilty to a broad terrorism indictment that may result in him receiving the death penalty. 30 bombing victims are in attendance, with some wearing the Boston Marathon gear. Tsarnaev articulated “not guilty” pleas in a thick accent seven times to assemblages of charges that include using a weapon of mass destruction. US Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler orders Tsarnaev to answer himself when his attorney attempts to intercede. The judge also gave victims an opportunity to speak at the brief hearing, but no one did. Tsarnaev wears an orange prison jumpsuit with the top unbuttoned, and a black T-shirt underneath. His hair is shaggy and his face appears distorted at times as he fidgets in his seat. There was a visible scar beneath his throat and he wears what appears to be a cast on his left arm. Eric Moskowitz, David Abel, Milton J. Valencia, and John R. Ellement, “Marathon Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Pleads Not Guilty to 30 Terror Charges at Arrainment in Federal Court in Boston,” Boston.com, July 10, 2013.

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Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, the mother of Tamarlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, tells ABC News that those who are angry with her son are only angry because they do not know he is innocent. One supporter of Tsarnaev’s said before the hearing that he believed Tsarnaev was framed. Tsarnaeva says that she and her husband will be monitoring the trial from their home in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, in southern Russia. Michael McFee, John Haskell, and Kirit Radia, “Accused Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Smiles in Court, Pleads Not Guilty,” ABC News, July 10, 2013.

  • July 17

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation orders a Florida medical examiner’s office not suppress the autopsy of Ibragim Todashev, a 27-year-old Chechen man killed by an FBI agent during an interrogation in May concerning his ties to suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The interrogation which took place in his apartment on May 22 was set for release on July 8. Yet the FBI contends that an internal probe into Todashev’s death is ongoing. “The FBI has informed this office that the case is still under active investigation and thus not to release the document,” according to a public statement by Tony Miranda, forensic records coordinator for Orange and Osceola counties in Orlando. The forensic report is expected to clarify the circumstances of Todashev’s death. The Bureau’s statement issued on the day of the incident only says that the person being interviewed was killed when a “violent confrontation was initiated by the individual.” “FBI Withholds Autopsy of Tsarnaev’s Associate ‘Shot in Head’ During Questioning,” RT, July 17, 2013.

  • July 18

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With accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s being featured on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone magazine, a wave of harsh criticism is initiated in social media and boardrooms around the country. “THE BOMBER,” the cover reads. “How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster.” The condemnation erupted on platforms including Twitter and Facebook and from political leaders in Boston. Still, some defended Rolling Stone‘s decision, arguing that the cover draws attention to the story of a young man who appeared as an unlikely terrorist. Julie Cannold, Mayra Cuevas, and Joe Sterling, “Rolling Stone Cover of Bombing Suspect Called ‘Slap’ to Boston,” CNN, July 18, 2013.

  • July 26

12:46PM

Sgt. Sean Murphy, regarded as heroic for leaking images of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capture to offset what many see as a positive cover photo of the Boston bombing suspect, stays on the State Police force with a reassignment to administrative duties. “We have confidence that the State Police will do the right thing,” Murphy’s attorney Leonard Kesten says. “Yes, [Murphy] broke some rules. But he acted to ease the pain of victims and the outpouring of support has been palpable.” Michael Muskal, “Officer Who Leaked Boston Bombing Suspect Photos Now On Limited Duty,” Los Angeles Times, July 26, 2013.

  • July 31

9:00AM

Six law enforcement agents from the Joint Terrorism Task Force surround Long Island resident Michele Catalano’s family. The call is prompted by Catalano’s web searches for pressure cookers, her husband’s online quest for backpacks and her “news junkie” son’s desire for information on the Boston bombings, all of which coalesced in the internet ether to create a “perfect storm of terrorism profiling”. Catalano is away at work and says the raid is due to shopping for such a cooker to prepare vegetables. The authorities eventually explained how the investigation was prompted by online searches a family member had made for pressure cooker bombs and backpacks made at Mr. Catalano’s previous workplace. The former employer judged the searches suspicious and contacted police. Adam Gabbatt, “New York Woman Visited By Police After Researching Pressure Cookers Online,” UK Guardian, August 1, 2013.

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US Representative William Keating sends a letter to newly-inducted FBI Director James Comey, requesting information to determine whether there were security shortcomings in the events leading up to the Boston Marathon bombings. Martin Finucane, “Keating Calls for Answers From FBI on Marathon Bombings,” Boston Globe, August 1, 2013.

  • August 2

3:10PM

Andrea Gause, 26, is arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on charges of receiving almost half a million dollars from One Fund Boston, the nonprofit fund established for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. Gause was arrested on July 19 in her hometown of Troy, New York, on a Massachusetts fugitive warrant, according to a statement from Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. Gause is formally charged with larceny over $250, to which she pleads not guilty. Judge Thomas C. Horgan set her bail at $200,000 cash. The nonprofit — The One Fund Boston — began distributing nearly $61 million to 232 eligible claimants starting June 30. Gause was awarded $480,000 from the fund after claiming that as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing she suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting in long-term memory loss, impaired speech and loss of some motor function that would require future surgery. Elizabeth Landers, “N.Y. Woman Arraigned in One Fund Boston Scam,” CNN, August 2, 2013.

  • August 6

Abdulbaki Todashev, the father of 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev, the Chechen man fatally shot by a Boston FBI agent, arrives in the United States with the intent to file a lawsuit against the agency and investigate the mysterious death of his son. Todashev, who lived in Orlando, Florida at the time of the interrogation, had been friends with the suspected bomber when they both lived in Massachusetts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgXuSvyRgOQ After several hours of questioning, Todashev was shot dead by the FBI in a case that remains obscure and the FBI has sought to withhold information on. Abdulbaki Todashev, who lives in Chechnya, described the incident as an execution-style murder. “Killed Chechen’s Father Arrives in US to Sue the FBI,” RT, August 6, 2013.

  • August 8

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A federal grand jury indicts Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, both 19 and from Kazakhstan, with conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstructing justice with the intent to impede the bombing investigation. If convicted, they each face up to 25 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, as well as deportation. According to the FBI complaint the two allegedly went to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s room at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on the evening of April 18 and at Tsarnaev’s suggestion removed his laptop computer and a backpack containing fireworks, a jar of Vaseline, a thumb drive and other items. Richard A. Serrano, “Tsarnaev Friends Indicted in Boston Marathon Bombing Case,” Los Angeles Times, August 8, 2013.

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The Boston Globe and other mainstream media report that Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamarlan Tsarnaev befriended a “conspiracy theorist” while Tsarnaev was his early 20s. Donald Larking, an elderly, invalid man and lifelong Catholic recently converted to Islam after attending a Cambridge mosque and meeting the elder Tsarnaev. “Tamerlan Tsarnaev was my friend and we talked about everything from politics to religion,” says Larking. “He was very, very religious. He believed that the Koran was the one true word and he loved it.” Major news media report Larking as a confidant of Tsarnaev. In 2012 he gave Tsarnaev a subscription to The American Free Press. Sally Jacobs, “Tsarnaev Friend Tells of Beliefs in Conspiracies,” Boston Globe, August 8, 2013.

  • August 9

Reporters and national counterterrorism correspondents from the Boston Globe and National Public Radio participate in a panel discussion to discuss “One of the worst domestic terrorism cases in years and how journalists covered it” at the annual conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication in Washington DC. “Analysis of Media Coverage of the Boston Bombing,” CSPAN, August 9, 2013.

  • August 14

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The father of one Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s college friends asserts that the US federal government is unfairly targeting his son because he is a foreign-born Muslim. Amir Ismagulov spoke after his incarcerated son pleaded not guilty to charges of interfering with a federal probe into the April 15 attack. “The entire family feels that the government is scapegoating them because they are Muslims and foreign students,” he says. “Dad of Accused Bombers Pal Says Son a Scapegoat,” Boston Herald, August 14, 2013,

  • August 15

7:31AM

Organizers of a celebration of India’s independence in Boston have canceled 2013′s event due to security measures put in place after the Boston Marathon bombings have made it prohibitively expensive. The annual event that draws as many as 20,000 people was scheduled for August 18. In a letter posted on the India Association of Greater Boston’s website, organizers say it’s been canceled until a new location can be found. The letter says the association would lose $20,000, “inappropriate for a nonprofit organization.” New security measures include bag checks at entrances and more police, meaning tens of thousands of dollars in overtime. “Boston’s India Day Canceled in Wake of Marathon Bombings,” MyFoxBoston.com, August 15, 2013.

11:04AM

Sgt. Sean Murphy, the Massachusetts state trooper who leaked arrest photos of the Boston Marathon bombing suspect is back on the job after serving a short suspension and then desk duty in July. Murphy leaked the photos in response to what many perceived as a laudatory photo of Tsarnaev on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Massachusetts State Police spokesman David Procopio, says Murphy’s assignment began last week and that investigation is ongoing.”Trooper Who Leaked Boston Bombing Suspect Photos Back on Patrol,” Newsmax/Associated Press, August 15, 2013.

3:15PM

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s task force that reviewed the actions of the university following notification that accused Boston Marathon bomber Dhozhar Tsarnaev was a student at the school releases its findings in a report. The university handled most of the aftermath properly, the task force concluded, and recommends additional actions to be taken to strengthen the university in the future. Convened on May 20 by UMass Dartmouth’s Chancellor Divina Grossman, the committee includes Waded Cruzado, president of Montana State University; James Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation in Washington, D.C., and Susan Herbst, president of the University of Connecticut, and was asked to review three specific issues:

  • Emergency planning related to public safety and business continuity.
  • Academic and financial policies and procedures related to maintaining “student in good standing” status.
  • Policies and procedures related to international student immigration.

Marathon Bombing Task Force Report Offers Praise, Suggestions UMass Dartmouth’s Improvement,” Herald News, August 15, 2013.

8:14PM

The family of Jane Richard, 7, and the late 8-year-old Martin Richard say Jane is already dancing on her prosthetic leg she received after losing part of her leg in the Boston Marathon bombings. She “struts around on it with great pride,” a statement from the family reads. “While we have made progress with our physical injuries, the emotional pain seems every bit as new as it was four months ago” “Boston Bomb Survivor, 7, Dances on New Prosthetic Leg,” Associated Press/USA Today, August 15, 2013.

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The Forum restaurant closest to the second bomb that detonated at the Boston Marathon reopens exactly four months after the incident. Forum Restaurant is the last business to reopen its doors following damages from the April 15 explosions . On Thursday, Forum will host a charity event to celebrate their inaugural meal and on Friday, the upscale bar and restaurant will open up to the general public. On June 3 Euz Azevedo told the Boston Globe in June that he wanted to reopen but, “when this thing blew up, it blew shrapnel everywhere — all these little fragments went into the walls, all the wood, the floors and the ceiling.” Forum employees helped victims during the turmoil, two of whom were injured. “Restaurant at Epicenter of Boston Marathon Bombings Reopens,” NBC News, August 15, 2013.

  • August 19

Court documents are released showing the severe injuries that alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev suffered before his capture, which include a skull fracture. Dr. Stephen Ray Odom, a trauma surgeon who treated Tsarnaev at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, describes the accused terrorist’s injuries during a court proceeding at the hospital in April, three days after his arrest. “He has multiple gunshot wounds, the most severe of which appears to have entered through the left side inside of his mouth and exited the left face, lower face,” Odom said, according to the transcript. “This was a high-powered injury that has resulted in skull-base fracture, with injuries to the middle ear, the skull base, the lateral portion of his C1 vertebrae, with a significant soft-tissue injury, as well as injury to the pharynx, the mouth, and a small vascular injury that’s been treated,” he noted. Tsarnaev also suffered “multiple gunshot wounds to the extremities” according to the documents. Travis Andersen, “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Injuries Detailed in Documents,” Boston Globe, August 20, 2013.

  • August 22

Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier who authorities say was shot and killed by Tamarlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is sworn in posthumously as a Somerville police officer. Police from Somerville, MIT, Wilmington and other area departments, in addition to U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, Attorney General Martha Coakley and other legislators are in attendance at the ceremony at city hall. “In death,” Somerville Police Chief Thomas Pasquarello tells the crowd, “Sean achieved his dream.” “Being appointed after death doesn’t usually happen,” Collier’s brother Andrew remarks in a brief speech at the ceremony. “But Sean was not a normal officer. He was one of the best.” Dan Atkinson, “Posthumous Honor for MIT Policeman Slain by Marathon Bombers,” EnterpriseNews.com, August 23, 2013.

Amar Ibrahim, 27, discards a bottle of chocolate milk under a Boston municipal bus in Brigham Circle, causing a bomb squad investigation. His attorney subsequently argues that authorities, the bus driver, and passengers overreacted to Ibrahim, who wasn’t on board the Route 66 bus but was wearing a thobe, common garb for men in the Middle East, and a head covering. Ibrahim is released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty to interfering with public transportation, disorderly conduct, and littering. Jasper Craven, “Man Who Discarded Bottle Under MBTA Bus Pleads Not Guilty,” Boston Globe, August 23, 2013.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center CIO John Halamka states at a conference presentation at United Summit in Boston that the hospital was able to keep patient records safe in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. This was done partly by drawing on lessons learned from a previous data breach related to a stolen laptop. Halamka explains in his addresss how Israel Deaconess ensured that its IT systems stayed online and kept the medical records of bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev from being leaked or hacked. Neal Ungerleider, “Data Triage for the Boston Bombing,” Fast Company, August 23, 2013.

  • August 28

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Additional photos are released by Boston Magazine originally taken by state police officer Sean Murphy showing Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev climbing out of a boat as heavily-armed officers wait for him to drop to the ground in surrender. Some images were published in July but the magazine has decided to release more. The newly-released images include more shots of Dzokhar coming out of the boat, his head bloody and a red laser from a policeman’s gun trained on his head. They also show him falling to the ground, where officers and medical crews rushed to treat him. Majid Mohamed, “Leaked Images Reveal Inside Story of Dramatic Capture of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,” The Independent, August 28, 2013.

  • August 29

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Chicago Marathon organizers announced increased security measures. Race officials say  runners will have to show identification when they pick up their bibs for the October 13 marathon. The race’s 45,000 runners also will be required to use clear bags for personal belongings and enter the race through designated gateways. The city is anticipating more than 1 million spectators. “Chicago Marathon Organizers Detail Increased Security Measures After Boston Marathon Bombing,” Associated Press / Washington Post, August 29, 2013.

  • September 2

Federal prosecutors argue in an indictment that, Robel Phillipos, a friend of the surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect, is a liar who misled terrorism investigators. Phillipos’ lawyers say after his indictment that it would be eventually clear that authorities should not have charged him. Phillipos faces up to 16 years in prison in connection with two federal counts of lying to authorities investigating the deadly April attack. “Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect’s Friend Indicted,” Moscow Times / Associate Press, September 2, 2013.

  • September 5

Connecticut law enforcement authorities say that an unattended package that forced them to seal off a section of Seaside Park and evacuate buildings at the University of Bridgeport was a pressure cooker that appeared to be empty. The state police bomb squad detonated the pot. It had been discovered at about 11 a.m. along the shore in the eastern section of the park. “Any time we receive a report of a suspicious package, we respond with an abundance of caution,” Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. says. “Today’s incident was no different. Obviously, considering the incident in Boston, we treated this as a credible threat, followed our protocols and requested the assistance of the state police.” “Package that Shut Part of Bridgeport Park Was Pressure Cooker,” Hartford Courant, September 5, 2013.

  • September 12

One Fund Boston takes in a $10 million wave of new donations and thus considers keeping itself open indefinitely for claimants. This prospect comes after compensation czar Kenneth Feinberg recommended in June that the fund be closed down after the first wave of payment distributions. The fund has already disbursed $61 million to 237 bombing victims, many of whom have complained of hearing loss or post traumatic stress disorder. One Fund Boston’s president is James Gallagher, executive vice president of financial services at John Hancock Financial Services, a principle sponsor of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Richard Weir, “One Fund’s Second Act ‘Uncharted Territory,’” Boston Herald, September 13, 2013.

  • September 12

The widow of Ibragim Todashev, Reni Todashev says that the FBI and the U.S. government have stonewalled the Todashev family’s attempts to find out what happened to her husband on May 22 of this year. On that date Todashev was killed in execution style by FBI agents while being interrogated at his Orlando Florida residence. Kurt Nimmo, “Wife of Man Executed by FBI Demands Justice,” Infowars.com, September 13, 2013.

  • September 13

Three friends of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev plead not guilty  to charges they hindered the investigation into the deadly attack.  Authorities allege that the friends went to Tsarnaev’s dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth three days after the bombings, soon after the FBI posted photographs of Tsarnaev and his older brother. The friends are accused in an indictment of removing several items from the room. Lawyers for Robel Phillipos, 19, declined to comment after the brief arraignment in U.S. District Court but said in a statement that Phillipos “had nothing to do whatsoever with the Boston Marathon bombing or destroying any evidence.” “Friends of Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect Plead Not Guilty to Hindering Investigation,” Washington Post / Associated Press, September 13, 2013.

  • September 16

New Boston FBI chief Vincent Lisi tells the Associated Press that the Boston Marathon bombings investigation remains a top priority. “We won’t rest until we are confident that anybody that had anything to do with that is brought to justice,” Lisi tells The Associated Press. Lisi was involved in the investigation into anthrax letters sent to Congressional leaders in 2001. He succeeds Richard DesLauriers, who retired in July after 26 years with the FBI. “New Boston FBI Head Says Marathon Investigation Still Active,” The Republic / Associated Press, September 16, 2013.

  • September 20

An internal review of what US intelligence agencies knew about the alleged Boston Marathon bombers before April 15, 2013 is being extended indefinitely. An September 20 joint letter from four inspectors general addressed to congressional committees overseeing national security says their final report on what intel agencies knew about Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev won’t be finished this month, as anticipated. “Information relevant to the review is still being provided to the review teams,” the letter reads. The investigation inside the Obama administration is being led by I. Charles McCullough III, the Intelligence Community Inspector General, working with the IGs from the CIA, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice. James Gordon Meek, “Intelligence Report on Boston Marathon Bombing Delayed Indefinitely,” ABC News, September 20, 2013.

Authorities arrest Ashurmamad Miraliev, a friend of Ibragim Todashev, the Chechen man shot to death by FBI agents on May 22 in his Orlando apartment during an eight-hour investigation. Miraliev is charged with tampering with a witness or informant. A sheriff’s spokeswoman says Miraliev’s arrest is unrelated to the Boston bombing probe or the FBI. The 20-year-old Miraliev was living in the same Orlando apartment where Todashev was fatally shot last May. “Friend of Man Killed by Boston Bombing Probe Arrested,” Seattle Times/Associated Press, September 20, 2013.

  • September 25

Head of the National Security Agency Gen. Keith Alexander steadfastly defends the agency’s collection of Americans’ phone records for counterterrorism purposes, proclaiming that the program is helpful in investigations of the Boston Marathon bombing and recent suspected plots against U.S. diplomatic outposts. “It provides us the speed and agility in crises, like the Boston Marathon tragedy in April and the threats this summer,” Gen. Alexander says. Ellen Nakashima, “NSA Chief Defends Collecting Americans’ Data,” Washington Post, September 25, 2013.

  • September 27

In a brief filed Friday with the U.S. District Court in Boston, attorneys for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev ask a federal judge for more time to prepare arguments that their client shouldn’t be subject to the death penalty. Tsarnaev’s lawyers say the current Oct. 24 deadline doesn’t allow a “reasonable opportunity” to make a case. Bob Salsberg, “Tsarnaev Lawyers Want More Time to Prepare,” Associated Press / NECM, September 27, 2013.

  • September 28

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office distributes surveys to charities and fundraisers who have raised money following the attack in an effort to ensure donations raised after the Boston Marathon bombing are being spent appropriately. The surveys will ask the groups how much money they raised, how they raised the money, and how the funds have been used. Coakley’s office intends to publish a report on the responses to the survey to maintain public accountability of the process. Coakley’s office has charged three individuals with attempting to defraud One Fund Boston. “Mass AG Coakley Seeking Information From Charities that Raised Money After Marathon Bombing,” Associated Press / The Republic, September 28, 2013.

  • October 1

Tatiana Gruzdeva, the former live-in girlfriend of Ibragim Todashev, is seized by federal agents and deported back to her native Moldova in eastern Europe. She had been granted a work visa with a year’s extension, but is taken from immigration offices by FBI officials during a standard meeting. Gruzdeva, 20, spent several months in detention in the immediate aftermath of Todashev’s killing, having been detained on suspicion of an expired work visa on May 30 of this year. During that time, she was repeatedly threatened and intimidated by FBI officials, including several days of solitary confinement. Representatives from the Council of American-Islamic Relations, a civil rights group, later say Gruzdeva had been deported because of an interview she had given to a Boston-based web magazine last month. “They told her ‘You have been talking to the reporters…and you have been saying that Ibragim was a good guy,’ ” says CAIR spokespeople. Gruzdeva had been denied access to a lawyer while in custody. Nick Barrickman, “Family of Boston Marathon Bombing Witness Killed by FBI Denounces Federal Harassment,” World Socialist Website, October 18, 2013.

  • October 10
Chicago police work behind the scenes to make the forthcoming Chicago Marathon the most closely monitored race in the city’s history. Police are increasing ostensible and undercover security as 45,000 runners get cheered on by more than a million spectators along a 26.2-mile route through the city’s neighbourhoods. Over a thousand uniformed and undercover officers, along with far more bomb-sniffing dogs than in years past, are expected to mix with the crowd. Inside a command post, officers will be monitoring images coming in from helicopters and some of the city’s 22,000 cameras, the most extensive surveillance system in the nation. “We are going to have eyes on the ground on just about every foot of the marathon route,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said. Officers will also be making more random searches of spectators’ bags than they have in the past. “Bomb-Sniffing Dogs Expected at Chicago Marathon,” Associated Press / Toronto CP24, October 10, 2013. City police and organizers of the October 12 Baltimore Running Festival increase security as a result of the Boston Marathon bombing event, joining other recent running events that have placed restrictions around the finish line. Officials say they are attempting to ensure public safety without detracting from the celebratory atmosphere that marks such events. Justin Fentin and Nayana Davis, “Baltimore Marathon Security to See Increased Security After Boston Attacks,” Baltimore Sun, October 10, 2013.

  • October 26

An study by IBM Research Labs in Delhi, India finds that of the millions of tweets sent out in the week following the bombing 29 percent of the top 20 tweets were “fake content” and inaccurate rumors. Further, 51% of marathon-related tweets were “generic opinions and comments,” while a mere 20% contained factual information. “Due to misinformation distributed by the thousands of inaccurate tweets, the researchers recommend an algorithm that can ‘solve and detect such content in real-time,’” BuzzFeed reports, “and said they are working on such a technology.” Rachel Zarrell, “Most of the Tweets During Boston Marathon Were Inaccurate,” BuzzFeed, October 26, 2013.

  • October 28

The New York City Marathon is scheduled to take place on November 3 with increased security measures.  There will be more barricades, bag screenings, and bomb-sniffing dogs. Runners  will wear special orange wristbands. The whole field will sport yellow and blue ribbons for the Boston victims. Race organizer New York Road Runners seek to recapture the innocence of marathons past. “We hope the day can be one that honors, remembers those hurt and still suffering, and we can provide for the city and for Boston and for people everywhere a back-to-basics celebrating the triumph of the human spirit,” NYRR President Mary Wittenberg says. “NYC Marathon Returns After Boston Attack,” Associated Press / Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2013.

  • October 31

A woman becomes the target of internet vigilantism when she dresses as a bloody Boston Marathon bombing victim for Halloween. Alicia Ann Lynch, 22, posts a photo of herself wearing the macabre Halloween costume on her Twitter account. The criticism was intense and she was later fired by her employer for the incident. Doyle Murphy, “Michigan Woman’s Boston Marathon Bombing Costume Sparks Outrage, Threats,” New York Daily News, November 3, 2013.

  • November 11

US prosecutors prosecutors say they are in the process of completing their written proposal to U.S. Attorney Eric Holder, who will make the decision on whether to seek the death penalty against the 20-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tsarnaev’s lawyers complain that prosecutors are withholding evidence they need to defend him against the death penalty, including information on a 2011 triple slaying in Waltham in which Tsarnaev’s brother, Tamerlan, is a suspect. “Feds to Advise on Death Penalty in Marathon Attack,” Associated Press, WPVI / ABC Action 6 News, November 12, 2013.

  • November 15

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino chimes in on criticism of comedian Bill Maher, host of HBO’s provocative “Real Time” talk show, for comments he made about the Boston Marathon bombings. “It was, again, a bad day. Three people died — that’s terrible. More were maimed — that’s horrible, but unfortunately that happens every day in car accidents and everything else,” Maher said during last Friday’s show. “I mean, your city was not leveled by Godzilla.” “It’s very irresponsible,” Menino tells WBZ-TV in Boston. “I think he should be taken to task for that.” “Boston Mayor Slams Bill Maher For Outrageous Boston Marathon Bombing Comments,” The Blaze, November 15, 2013.

  • November 21

Associated press reports that a portrait of Boston Marathon bombing victim and former University of Massachusetts-Boston student Krystle Campbell is unveiled on the campus where she was a student from 2005 to 2007. The unveiling ceremony transpired last week Campbell’s father, William Campbell, tearfully called the portrait “beautiful.” “Portrait of Marathon Bombing Victim Krystle Campbell Unveiled,” Associated Press / WWLP.com, November 21, 2013.

  • December 6

Southwestern Illinois teenager Thomas Lee Stanton is sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison for possessing explosive devices just two days after the Boston marathon bombing, timing his father has said was poor for his son. Stanton pleaded guilty in August to a charge of unlawfully possessing destructive devices, also was ordered to spend three years on post-prison supervised release. Stanton’s father, Dan Stanton says he thinks law enforcement are making an example his son because of the Boston marathon bombings. “Teen Gets More Than 2 Years Prison on Bomb Charges,” SFGate.com, December 6, 2013.

  • December 13

Investigators in Florida say they will require more time to investigate the death of Boston Marathon bombing suspect’s associate Ibragim Todashev. Officials originally said the Chechen man lunged at an agent with a knife. They later said it was not clear what had happened. Florida state attorney Jeffrey Ashton remarks the investigation would likely conclude and be made public in early 2014. Todashev’s family, as well as the ACLU, have asked for an independent investigation into his death.”Todashev Death Investigation to Go Into 2014,” MyFoxBoston.com, December 13, 2013.

  • December 27

The Boston Marathon bombing is selected the US sports story of the year in an annual vote conducted by The Associated Press. Ninety-six ballots are submitted from US editors and news directors. Voters were asked to rank the top 10 sports stories of the year, with the first-place story receiving 10 points, the second-place story nine points and so on. The marathon attack receives 761 points and 67 first-place votes. It is also second in AP’s national/international story of the year poll. Nick Zaccardi, “Boston Marathon Bombing Voted AP Sports Story of the Year,”  NBCSports.com / Associated Press, December 27, 2013. 2014

  • January 3

One Fund, the Boston Marathon bombing victims’ fund, announces preparations for a second distribution of donations expected to take place in July. In has already distributed almost $61 million collected in the first three months after the April 15 explosions at the marathon finish line. There have been over 230 beneficiaries. Since then, more than $12 million more has been collected. Fund administrators anticipate a surge in donations as the anniversary of the bombings nears. “One Fund to Distribute More Donations,” MyFoxBoston.com / Associated Press, January 3, 2014.

  • January 13

The U.S. Department of Justice Department announces an $8.4 million grant to groups helping victims and first responders involved in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing event. Funding will go to organizations working with the 264 people apparently injured in the incident, in addition to witnesses, emergency responders and others affected by the blasts that authorities say killed three people. “US to Pay $8.4 Million to Victims, Responders at Boston Bombing,” Reuters, January 13, 2014.

  • January 27

Former federal prosecutors believe that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will likely face a capital punishment for the crimes he is accused of. The decision rests with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who must sign off on any attempt to seek execution for a federal capital crime. Holder is almost certain to seek death for the 20-year-old former college student, given the “heinous nature of the crime,” says Michael Kendall, previously a federal prosecutor in Boston and now a defense lawyer. “There won’t be a defense that he didn’t plant the bomb; the only thing there can be a real fight about is the death penalty.”Erik Larson, “Marathon Bombing Puts Death Decision in Holder’s Hands,” Business Week, January 27, 2014.

The White House announces that Boston Marathon bombing survivors Carlos Arredondo and Jeff Bauman are among the guests invited to sit with first lady Michelle Obama during Tuesday’s State of the Union address. Jaime Fuller, “Boston Bombing and Jason Collins Will Sit in First Lady’s Box at State of the Union,” Washington Post, January 27, 2014.

  • January 30
The Justice Department announces that it will seek the death penalty against Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, who is accused of killing and disfiguring people with homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15, 2013. The decision is the highest profile federal death penalty case since that of Timothy McVeigh, accused of carrying out the truck bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev targeted the Boston Marathon, an iconic event that draws large crowds of men, women, and children to its final stretch, making it especially susceptible to the act and effects of terrorism” prosecutors wrote in an eight-page document filed in federal court in Boston. Prosecutors further said that Tsarnaev displayed no remorse for the act. Matt Apuzzo, “U.S. Is Seeking Death Penalty in Boston Case,” New York Times, January 31, 2014.
  • February 12

District Court of Massachusetts Judge George O’Toole rules early Wednesday that the trial of accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will commence begin November 3, 2014, disregarding requests from defense attorneys to postpone proceedings until at least 2015. “Boston Marathon Bombing Trial to Begin This November,” RT.com, February 12, 2014.

  • February 19

Runners and those supporting loved ones at the Little Rock Marathon will see heightened security this year in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing.”You’ll see a larger presence of Little Rock Fire Department and Police Department,” says Gina Pharis, Marathon Executive Director. “Our start line will be more secure this year; our finish line remains the same. You can still sit from the bleachers and watch your loved ones come through. If you carry in any sort of bag be prepared.” “Little Rock Marathon to Tighten Security,” WTHV CBS, February 18, 2014.

  • February 26

The Boston Athletic Association announces the 2014 Boston Marathon will have a “no bags” policy as part of stepped-up security following last year’s deadly bombing. Marathon runners are typically are allowed to bring bags or backpacks with personal items. This year, runners will not be allowed to bring backpacks or bags, which will also not be allowed in certain areas near the start or finish line, or along the 26.2-mile course.”Boston Marathon Ups Security By Banning Bags,” Associated Press / Sports Illustrated, February 26, 2014.

  • March 10

Tighter security measures for this year’s Boston Marathons are intended to help reduce the risk to runners and spectators, police said. “In this world, you never eliminate risk. You never bring it down to zero. But we are working very hard at reducing the risk,” Massachusetts State Police Colonel Timothy Alben said Monday. “Tighter Restrictions Announced for 2014 Boston Marathon,” UPI, March 10, 2014.

  • March 11

The New York Post lost a bid to throw out a defamation lawsuit by two men whose photo and the headline “BAG MEN” appeared on the paper’s front page last year during the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers. Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Judith Fabricant in Boston yesterday rejected the Post’s argument that the paper’s coverage constituted a “fair report.” Janelle Lawrence, “N.Y. Post Ordered to Face Suit Over Bombing Story Photo,” Bloomberg.com, March 11, 2014.

  • March 13

A congressional panel cancels plans to meet with Boston marathon bombing victims and local emergency responders in Massachusetts. The hearing scheduled for Boston this spring is being rescheduled for Washington DC. Congressional officials say Boston’s newly elected mayor, Martin Walsh, raised concerns that the hearing might politicize the attack. “The committee is moving forward with the hearing in Washington DC,” says Charlotte Sellmyer, the spokeswoman for the panel, which had been coordinating the Boston hearing with the mayor’s office. “For many reasons, we decided to have the hearing in DC.” “Congress Moves Boston Marathon Bombing Meeting to Washington DC,” Associated Press / UK Guardian, March 13, 2014.

  • March 15

The Boston Globe reports that former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has been diagnosed with an advanced form of an unknown cancer. The newspaper says in a story on its website that doctors found “an advanced cancer of unknown origin” that had metastasized from an unknown source. The cancer was discovered in February by Menino’s primary physician. Boston’s longest serving mayor, Menino retired from office in 2013. “Thomas Menino Has Advanced Cancer,” Associated Press / Politoco.com, March 16, 2014.

  • March 22

The F.B.I. agent who fatally shot Ibragim Todashev is cleared of wrongdoing by a Florida prosecutor and an F.B.I. internal review. An almost-completed Justice Department review is also expected to conclude that the agent followed proper guidelines when he killed Todashev, according to the officials. Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo, “F.B.I. Agent is Cleared in Fatal Shooting of Man Tied to Boston Suspects,” New York Times, March 22, 2014.

  • March 28
The legal defense team of accused Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev say the FBI approached his brother Tamerlan about becoming an informant on the Chechen and Muslim community. In court filings lawyers for Dzhokhar demanded all information about alleged FBI contacts be made available for the court. “We seek this information based on our belief that these contacts were among the precipitating events for Tamerlan’s actions during the week of April 15, 2014, and thus material to the defence case in mitigation,” the filings say. “FBI Wanted Boston Bombing Suspect to Be Informant,” News Channel Africa, March 29, 2014.
  • April 3

A Harvard University report states that the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects culminated in a chaotic gunfight that placed police and the public in danger because it lacked co-ordination and restraint, according to an otherwise largely positive report released Thursday by Harvard University on the emergency response to the event. “Control over fields of fire and authorization to fire is another critical micro-command issue in any rapidly-evolving, high-stress event, and it is dramatically more complicated in a sudden team of people from multiple agencies where there is no shared history and where, as a consequence, command is likely to be more tenuous,” the report said. “Report Finds Gunfight to Apprehend Boston Bombers Endangered Public,” Associated Press / UK Guardian, April 3, 2014.

  • April 10

An almost 12 month review by an inspector general of information the US intelligence community possessed prior to the Boston Marathon bombing finds that government agencies did not overlook any key details that could have prevented the incident. Rather, the report shifts blame to Russia, stating that the country’s government withheld vital information from the US. “Boston Marathon Bombing Review Says Russia Withheld Information,” Associated Press / UK Guardian, April 10, 2014.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts files a lawsuit in US District Court in Boston against the FBI and the US Attorney in Boston for failing to provide documents about a joint terrorism unit involved in the Boston Marathon bombing investigation including a man purportedly linked to one of the bombers. “Rights Group Sues for Boston Marathon Bombing Docs,” First Post, April 11, 2014.

Boston Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a dancer who claims to have lost part of one of her legs in the April 15 bombing, asserts she walked off the set of NBC’s Meet the Press in tears after a panel participant referred to one of the alleged Boston bombers by name.  Shuan Ganley, “Marathon Bombing Survivor Walks Off Set of Meet the Press,” WCVB, April 11, 2014.

Saudi and French intelligence authorities are reportedly working on a plan to disrupt forthcoming presidential election in Syria, which may award President Bashar al-Assad a new term in office.

Informed sources, speaking on the condition of anonymity, stated that the plan is being devised by agents from Saudi and French intelligence services in a border region between Syria and Jordan, Lebanon’s al-Manar television network reported.

The sources further stated that the massive operations being conducted by Syrian Army troops to purge the central city of Homs of foreign-sponsored militants fighting against the Damascus government have caused concern among officials in Riyadh and Paris.

Saudi intelligence authorities, meanwhile, have ordered commanders of foreign-sponsored militant groups operating inside Homs, located 162 kilometers (101 miles) north of the capital Damascus, not to lose ground in battles against Syrian government forces, and threatened them with death should they are defeated.

Foreign-backed militants have also been directed to conduct fresh attacks in different parts of Syria in case Syrian army regain full control over Homs.

France’s external intelligence agency, the General Directorate for External Security, is also planning to supply Syrian militants with anti-aircraft missiles despite the European Union’s warnings against arming Takfiri militants in Syria.

Syria announced it will hold a presidential election on June 3. Speaker Mohammad al-Lahham announced the date in parliament, saying Syrians living outside the country would vote on May 28 and candidates would be able to register from Tuesday until May 1.

The United Nations condemned the announcement, warning it would torpedo a political resolution of the conflict. Syria’s foreign-backed opposition also rejected the election as nothing more than a “farce.”

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. Over 150,000 people have reportedly been killed and millions displaced due to the violence fueled by Western-backed militants.

According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies — especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

Dear Mr. President !

In your speech to the State Duma you asked for understanding from the Germans.

We are German citizens who have experienced the post-war majority in the western half of Germany. When the Cold War ended in 1990 and our country was re-united, a sigh of relief went through the world, because the ever- looming danger of a nuclear military conflict which would have engulfed the entire globe seemed to have been avoided. Germany would have been wiped out.

The Soviet Union made unparalleled sacrifices in its decisive contribution to the liberation of Europe from Nazism. Nevertheless, in 1990 it was ready to support German reunification in 1991, to dissolve the Warsaw Pact and accept NATO membership of the reunified Germany. This was not honored by the West. The then US Ambassador in Moscow (1987 to 1991), Jack Matlock, confirmed a few days ago in the Washington Post that President Bush had agreed not to take advantage of the generosity of President Gorbachev. The expansion of NATO into former Soviet republics, the establishment of military bases in former Warsaw Pact states and the establishment of a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe with a unilateral termination of the ABM Treaty by the United States are not only blatant breaches of good faith. These measures are understood by us as a Western claim to power directed against the Russian state and the economic consolidation of your country after you took office in 2000. Moreover, Keir A Lieber and Daryl G Press in their 2006 Foreign Affairs article “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy” convincingly showed that the purpose of the missile defense shield is to facilitate a first strike nuclear neutralization of Russia.

This history, in concise form, reflects the background against which we judge the events in Ukraine since November 2013. It is now well documented that the U.S. has exploited the legitimate protests of the Ukrainian people for their own purposes. The pattern is evident form other countries: Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine in 2004, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Venezuela ……

Within twelve hours of the negotiated agreement with the European Union and OSCE, announced by the foreign ministers of the Weimar Triangle and involving a peaceful transition of power, it was summararily abrogated with the help of fascist forces. Those behind the current coup government in Kiev are shown on the website of the Open Ukraine Foundation of the incumbent Prime Minister.

The intra – and international – legal issues surrounding secession of the Crimea are a separate issue. We do not address the legal, but purely political events here. Against the background of developments in Europe since 1990, the deployment of some 1,000 U.S. military bases around the world, the control of the Straits by the U.S. and the re-focussing of the perpetrators of the Maidan threat to the Russian Black Sea fleet, we see the secession of the Crimea as a defensive measure with a simultaneous message: this far and no further! The crucial difference with Kosovo’s independence declaration is that the latter was only made possible by illegal NATO bombing, unfortunately with the participation of Germany, which created the conditions for independence.

Dear Mr. President, you have called for an economic community from Lisbon to Vladivostok for almost four years. It would be the economic basis for the“common European home”. Ukraine could make a perfect bridge for future cooperation between your intended Eurasian Union and the European Union, not least in cultural terms. We are persuaded the the purpose of the massive influence of the USA is to prevent the Ukraine from becoming such a bridge. The forces which have prevailed in the European Commission are supporting the policy of the United States against Russia. The speech of the Executive Secretary General of the European External Action Service, Pierre Vimont, on 14 March this year is so far unique (EurActiv, “EU shunned from US-Russia meeting on Ukraine”).

Dear Mr. President, we trust that your historic speech in 2001 will continue to form the basis for your actions against the EU and Germany in the German Bundestag. The latest polls show that the majority of Germans do not want any confrontation with the Russian Federation and understand Russia’s reaction to the events in Ukraine. We do not underestimate the difficulties faced by the Federal Republic of Germany as a member of the EU and NATO concerning Russia, these are also known to you. However, at least we expect the Federal Government to operate the old Roman legal principle audiatur et altera pars (“hear the other side too”). This was however omitted in connection with the neighborhood policy of the EU in the case of Ukraine.

Even during the Cold War Russia has not made use of the argument that 27 millions of its citizens died during WWII for political gain against Germany. This figure alone gives a special quality in the relations between our countries. The people of Germany have a keen sense of to this: when “The Group of Soviet forces in Germany” in 1994 takes leave of Germany with a performance of its music corps on the square before the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, there were moving scenes between the numerous spectators and musicians.

In this context, when we see the present news reporting and commentaries in the German media we can only say that we find them disgusting.

Dear Mr. President, with our modest means as simple citizens, we will help to ensure that the intended division of Europe does not succeed, but the ideas of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz be brought back to life. We are convinced that if the states and peoples of the Eurasian continent regulate their affairs peacefully with each other, respectfully, cooperatively, on the basis of law and without outside interference, this will also radiate to the rest of the world. We see you in this sense as an ally.

For your present, and hopefully next term, we wish you strength, stamina, intelligence and skill.

With utmost respect,

Signed by 300+ people (for full list see here)

Original version in German here.

On Friday, April 18, President Obama voiced his righteous indignation over anti-Semitic fliers pasted on synagogue walls in the pro-Russian eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.  The fliers, calling on all Jews to register or face expulsion, had appeared the day before and were instantly denounced by Donetsk leaders as a gross provocation and a forgery.

The next day, however, Obama “expressed his disgust quite bluntly”.  At least, that is what his hawkish national security advisor, Susan Rice, told the public. “I think we all found word of those pamphlets to be utterly sickening, and they have no place in the 21st century,” she declared.

This presidential reaction occurred 24 hours after the pamphlet in question had been thoroughly denounced as a fake, not only by the Donetsk leader, Denis Pushilin, who said his signature on the document had been forged, but by local Jewish community leaders and even byThe New Republic, which cannot be accused of indifference to anti-Semitism.

Scarcely had the fake document been glued to a wall than Secretary of State John Kerry mounted his habitual high horse to declare resoundingly that:

“In the year 2014, after all of the miles travelled and all of the journey of history, this is not just intolerable, it’s grotesque. It is beyond unacceptable.”

(It is an essential part of the Imperial rhetoric to assert on every such occasion what is or is not acceptable in “the second American century”.)

Now let’s be logical. When John Kerry denounces this document before the ink is dry, when President Obama and Susan Rice publicly endorse this forgery after it has been amply exposed in world media as disinformation, we must logically conclude that this propaganda morsel was a deliberate part of the US strategy to destabilize Ukraine by slandering pro-Russian anti-fascists as anti-Semitic. The purpose is clearly to drown out news of the pro-Nazi sympathies of the Svoboda party and the Right Sector that the US has chosen as anti-Russian allies.  How can top US leaders be perfectly aware of what is written in Ukrainian on a piece of paper glued to a synagogue in Donetsk, and not know what was written in Haaretz and The New Republic?  These endorsements are strong evidence of complicity in the forgery, since it is not credible that Kerry, Rice and Obama were too innocent to suspect a forgery.

I call this the smoking pop-gun.

And meanwhile, while the US neocons try to smear the Eastern Ukrainian anti-fascists as anti-Semites, Benyamin Netanyahu is trying to cozy up to Putin.  The Israeli leader is clever enough to bow out of a losing game.  All those US leaders who constantly pledge their allegiance to Israel are outraged at such disloyalty.

Never before have U.S. leaders been quite so reckless in asserting falsehoods as in this Ukrainian operation.  They have a scenario and they are carrying it out, despite revelations that Victoria Nuland personally selected the new Ukrainian prime minister, Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk, that the Kiev snipers who facilitated the putsch that put Yats in office were hired by the pro-Western rebels, that their “freedom fighters” this time are Hitler fans and that about half the population of Ukraine identifies with Russia.

Never mind, the show must go on.  They are counting on the vast, bottomless ignorance of the American masses concerning the rest of the world to allow them to get away with anything. The public doesn’t need to know anything about Ukraine, all they need is to be persuaded that it is Goldylocks being threatened by a big bad bear.

But the whole world is not that ignorant.

Notably not the Germans.

All Is Not Quiet on the Eastern Front

German media, who, like other NATO satellites, have been largely following the anti-Putin Russophobe line laid down by Washington, are being besieged by complaints from readers and television spectators.  The German public seems to know where Ukraine is located and what is happening.

Just as John Kerry was reminding the world of US moral leadership in the 21st century, three hundred German intellectuals addressed a respectful and supportive letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Directly answering Putin’s request for understanding from the German people, the letter recalled that “the Soviet Union had made the decisive contribution to freeing Europe from National Socialism, at an incomparable loss of life,” and was ready in 1990 “to support German reunification, to dissolve the Warsaw Pact in 1991 and to accept united Germany’s membership in NATO”. But the West had failed to honor its agreement, and had rewarded Gorbachev’s generosity by aggressively expanding NATO right up to Russia’s doorstep.

It is fully documented, the letter notes, that “the United States has taken advantage of the justified protests of the Ukrainian population for its own aims”, along the model of other countries such as Serbia, Libya, etc.

Under these circumstances, with some thousand US military bases worldwide and US control of straits and the resulting danger to the Russian Black Sea fleet, the German signatories see the secession of Crimea as “a defensive measure with a clear message: up to here and no farther! The decisive difference with the declaration of independence of Kosovo is that for the latter the precondition was an illegal bombing campaign by NATO – unfortunately with German participation.”

The U.S. Purpose

The German letter recalls that Putin has called for economic cooperation in a “Common European House” from Lisbon to Vladivostok, in which Ukraine could act as an “ideal bridge” for future cooperation between the European Union and a Eurasian Union.

“We are convinced that the purpose of the United States’ massive seizure of influence is to make this bridge function impossible.”

Observing that recent polls show that a majority of Germans understand the Russian reaction to Ukraine events and reject any confrontation with the Russian Federation, the signatories promise, despite the foreseeable difficulties, to do what they can to prevent the splitting of Europe.  They close with personal wishes to Putin for strength, perseverance, wisdom and good luck.

We are certainly not there yet, but it would be some sort of poetic justice if the final historic outcome of the land-grabbing caper by Victoria Nuland, John Kerry, Susan Rice and Samantha Power were to gain control of a divided, quarrelsome and bankrupt Ukraine… and lose control of Germany.

Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. She can be reached at [email protected]

The Syrian Civil War has devastated entire cities and towns as fighting between the rebels and Syrian Army spreads from neighborhood to neighborhood [Xinhua]

An examination of texts published by Father Frans van der Lugt in 2011 and 2012 shows that the late Dutch Jesuit priest had a dim view of the Syrian rebellion, which he held to be the work of a violent minority, and favored a process of political reform in Syria to be implemented by the current government under President Bashar Al-Assad.

Father Frans was murdered under still unclarified circumstances in the embattled Syrian city of Homs earlier this month.

Opposition sources have blamed the Syrian government for his death. But it is widely believed that Father Frans was killed by hard-line Islamist members of one of the rebel factions that have taken control of his Bustan al-Diwan neighborhood in Homs.

The texts of Father Frans, who had lived in Syria since 1966, provide an eyewitness account of the origins of the anti-Assad rebellion and the gradual hardening of the front between opposing rebel and government forces in Homs.

In many respects, the Father’s observations contrast sharply with what has become the standard view of the rebellion in Western media.

Perhaps most notably, whereas the rebellion is typically held to have been sparked by the violent repression of peaceful protests, according to Father Frans, the “protest movement” contained an armed and violent element “from the start” and the violent opposition quickly gained the ascendancy over the peaceful opposition.

Thus, in a letter published in January 2012 on the Dutch-Flemish Mediawerkgroep Syriëwebsite, Father Frans wrote:

From the start, the protest movements were not purely peaceful. From the start I saw armed demonstrators marching along in the protests, who began to shoot at the police first. Very often the violence of the security forces has been a reaction to the brutal violence of the armed rebels.

In the same letter, Father Frans insisted that what was occurring in Syria could not be described as a “popular uprising,” since the majority of Syrians do not support the opposition and “certainly not” its armed component.

Already in September 2011, Father Frans had made similar observations in a guest post on a Belgian blog, going so far as to accuse armed opposition groups of blaming the regime for their own acts of violence.

Having noted the splintering of the opposition among Islamists, “liberals and democrats”, communists and so on, Father Frans continued:

Moreover, from the start there has been the problem of the armed groups, which are also part of the opposition….The opposition of the street is much stronger than any other opposition. And this opposition is armed and frequently employs brutality and violence, only in order then to blame the government. Many representatives of the government [regeringsmensen – Father Frans might also be referring to supporters of the government] have been tortured and shot dead by them.

“Personally,” Father Frans concluded, “I expect little good to come from the opposition, which, moreover, has been instigated and paid by foreign interests.”

Favoring political reform

The Syrian Army was the only force preventing an all-out civil war between Sunnis and Alawites in Homs, says Father Frans [Xinhua]

Faced with a choice between an opposition as so described and the current Syrian government, Father Frans clearly favored a process of political reform undertaken by the latter and not the “regime change” that has been favored by the West.

“Personally,” he wrote in September 2011, “I think this government has to stay, despite all difficulties, and proceed along the path of reforms.”

In his January 2012 letter, he outlined a similar course of action, noting that the current government is “perhaps more democratic than possible replacements.”

In particular, he regarded the current regime as the best guarantee against the spread of sectarian violence in Syria.

Whereas Western press reports have emphasized his efforts to promote understanding among Christians and Muslims, Father Frans identified the main sectarian fault-line in Syria as that running between two Muslim communities: Sunnis, who make up the majority of the population, and the Alawite minority, which is not only associated with the current regime but whose members are regarded as apostates by radical Sunni currents.

In January 2012, Father Frans warned that the Syrian army was the only thing standing in the way of a full-fledged civil war between Sunnis and Alawites in Homs.

In the same letter, he noted that most Christian leaders in Syria support Assad, “because they are convinced that they would be worse off with another solution.”

In his critical observations on the Syrian crisis, Father Frans did not spare the Western media, which he accused of distortion and bias.

In September 2011 he wrote that he was disturbed by Western coverage of the Syrian crisis because there was “never a good word” published about the current government.

He said that Western media blamed the Syrian government “for things that it had not done”. He went on:

Our experience with the government has not been so negative. In my case, they always helped my projects and supported my idea of being of service to Sunnis and Alawites. They wanted an ever greater separation of church and state and were enthusiastic about projects that were non-denominational.

According to the Dutch daily de Volkskrant, the help provided by the Syrian government to Father Frans included a grant of over 100 acres of land for the Father’s agricultural projects.

Lords and masters

Father Frans said that the rebels (seen here in the city of Idlib) were better equipped and organized by March 2012 [Xinhua]

Ironically, by March 2012, Father Frans found himself living under siege by the forces of the very Syrian government he supported. In the meanwhile, rebel forces, which had briefly taken control of Bustan al-Diwan in September 2011, were back again and this time they were there for the long-term.

Now, as Father Frans noted in an eyewitness report for the Flemish monthlyStreven, the rebel forces were “much better organized” and “called themselves ‘the Free Syrian Army.’”

“They had an abundance of food,” he continued, “and they also distributed it to poor people. They are financially and militarily supported by foreign interests.”

“For now,” Father Frans concluded, referring to both the Bustan al-Diwan and Hamidiyeh neighborhoods of Homs, “the Free [Syrian] Army is lord and master of our Christian neighborhoods….”

In late March, Father Frans’s own car was destroyed by a missile or mortar fired into Bustan al-Diwan by the Syrian army. “The army was aiming for a restaurant not far from us where the FSA has its headquarters,” he explained to the Swiss Catholic new agency APIC.

“There is a Greek Orthodox church right next door, which was also damaged.”

Father Frans told APIC that ninety percent of the Christian population of Homs had already fled the city, because of the fighting.

“They were not chased out by the Sunni militias,” Father Frans took care to add, “This needs to be emphasized! The Syrian army was first driven from the neighborhood by the FSA and now it’s the FSA that is being bombed.”

In his contribution to Streven, Father Frans wrote about the futility of the army’s bombing campaign and its disastrous effects upon the remaining Christian population:

…[T]he only result is that many Christian homes and also churches…have been bombed and partially or wholly destroyed, while the soldiers of the Free [Syrian] Army remain unharmed. The latter hide in the cellars of the Christian homes to protect themselves from the bombing.

Nonetheless, Father Frans remained clear about where he believed the ultimate responsibility for the disaster lay. “There is no excusing the fact,” he wrote, “that the Free Syrian Army has taken the Christian neighborhoods in order to use them as a battlefield for combating the government army.”

But not even the experience of siege and bombardment by government forces could shake Father Frans’s conviction that distorted, one-sided coverage of the Syrian crisis in the media was itself a major obstacle to peace.

Reflecting on the way forward in the conclusion to his contribution to Streven, Father Frans warned:

In the first place, it has to be said that it is very difficult to provide a nuanced and objective account of what is happening. Many journalists fall into describing matters in black and white. For them, good and evil are not interwoven, but are clearly separated. They demonize the one side and glorify the other. Thus, for example, it is not true that our [the Syrian] government has only bad sides and the opposition only good ones. But because the US, Europe and certain Arab countries support the opposition, they endeavor, whether consciously or unconsciously, to idealize it as much as possible, without engaging in any careful analysis of the real situation. Certain interests are obscuring our view of the real situation and contaminating the description of it.

The author of this article John Rosenthal is a European-based journalist and political analyst who writes on European politics and transatlantic issues. His articles have appeared in such publications as Al-Monitor, World Affairs, The Wall Street Journal Europe, Les Temps Modernes, and Die Weltwoche. He is the author of the recent book The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion. You can follow his work at www.trans-int.com or on Facebook.

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April 22nd, 2014 by Global Research

MoneyGram, Western Union and the African Money Transfer Scam

April 22nd, 2014 by Pratap Chatterjee

Dahabshiil, a Somali money transfer company, has won a temporary reprieve from Barclays, the last major bank to allow remittances to Somalia. The agreement comes just as a new report estimates that African expatriates lose $1.8 billion a year in transfer fees to companies like Moneygram and Western Union.

Expatriate workers globally send some $436 billion across borders to their families in other countries. Many of the transfers are relatively small amounts – of the order of $200 – which can incur relatively high fees. Cheap services like Xoom.com allow those with access to the internet to send larger sums to countries like India for fees of about two percent; major banks charge closer to five percent for account holders; but the most expensive are walk up services like Moneygram and Western that accept cash in local shops.

Lost in Intermediation: How Excessive Charges Undermine the Benefits of Remittances for Africa” – a new report published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), a UK think tank – estimates that Africans are charged an average of 12 percent to use such money transfer services, twice as much as people from other countries.

“There is no justification for the high charges incurred by African migrants,” write Kevin Watkins and Maria Quattri, the authors of the new report. “In effect, Africans are paying a remittance ‘super tax’.” They note that the $1.8 billion in estimated excessive costs could pay for improved sanitation for 8 million people; the education of 14 million primary school age children; or clean water for 21 million.

Oddly enough, one of the few African countries with lower costs is Somalia, despite having no functional government or banking system. This is partly due to Dahabshiil, a 44 year old company founded by Mohamed Said Duale, which handles much of the billion dollars or more sent to the country by expatriates.

However, Dahabshiil has had its own share of troubles – rumors have often circulated that Dahabshiil has acted as a conduit for terrorist financing. Such charges have appeared in mainstream newspapers like the Independent in the UK and the Washington Post, causing Western banks to be wary of the company.

Dahabshiil was dealt a major blow after HSBC was accused of laundering drug money in Mexico and fined $1.9 billion by the U.S. government last year. The news spooked HSBC as well as others like the Royal Bank of Scotland who decided to cancel their business with Dahabshiil, leaving Barclays of the UK as the only major bank providing services to Somalia.

In May 2013 Barclays informed Dahabshiil that they would stop doing business in Somalia.

Barclay’s decision created an uproar in the Somali community as well as among aid organizations like the African Development Trust and Oxfam, who rely on Dahabshiil. Over100,000 people signed a peition on Change.org to ask the UK government to intervene.

“Cutting this lifeline would be a disaster for millions. The small sums sent home by British Somalis each week enable family members to buy food, medicines and other life essentials,” Mo Farah, the Olympic gold winning athelete who was born in Somalia but has since acquired UK citizenship, said in a statement. “Everyone following the issue understands that Barclays has a bank to run, but this decision could mean life or death to millions of Somalis.”

“It’s not easy for me to describe the impact with just a few words, as the magnitude of this issue will be visible to every Somali,” Mohamed Odowa, a reporter in Mogadishu, told Vice magazine. “It will mean a total disaster for many lives here in my country.”

In October Dahabshiil took Barclays to court and won an injunction against the bank last November. Last week Barclays came to an agreement to provide a temporary reprieve until Dahabshiil finds an alternative way to handle the remittances.

“The Somali money transfer industry is continuing to work closely with the UK Government and other stakeholders to develop the “Somali Safer Corridor” which will enable vital remittance monies to continue to be sent from the UK to those in Africa a safe and regulated environment,” said Duale, the founder of Dahabshiil in a statement. “We must prioritize solutions that help Africa and help those who rely on remittances as a genuine lifeline.”

Barclays is not apologetic about its decision to cut ties to Somalia. “The risk of financial crime is an important regulatory concern and we take our responsibilities in relation to this very seriously,” Barclays said in a statement.

Tax activists have poured scorn on the Barclay claim. “I’ll be blunt. I don’t believe them. If they were worried about money laundering Barclays would pull out of Cayman, the (British Virgin Islands), Jersey and other locations where tax evasion and high level avoidance is rampant,” writes Richard Murphy at Tax Research UK. “Barclays is pulling out of a sector where the average transaction is a few hundred pounds at most and people are literally dependent for their economic survival on such payments being made. This stinks of pure hypocrisy and utter indifference on Barclays’ part – and they deserve to be more than roundly condemned for it. The world needs to hold them to account for the suffering they will cause.”

Meanwhile other African countries are even worse off. ODI estimates that Mozambicans pay 20 percent to send money home from abroad. The non profit called on the UK Financial Conduct Authority to investigate MoneyGram and Western Union for overcharging.

Both companies denied singling out Africans. “We don’t recognise those numbers at all. There is no Africa premium,” Moneygram told the Guardian in a statement. Western Union was more cautious in a response delivered to the media: “Our pricing varies between countries depending on a number of factors such as consumer protection costs, local remittance taxes, market distribution, regulatory structure, volume, currency volatility, and other market efficiencies. These factors can impact the fees and foreign exchange rates offered.”

It looks like QE is going to end with a whimper instead of a bang.

The bigwigs in the G-20 have put the kibosh on Japan’s money printing extravaganza. While most analysts expect the Bank of Japan (BoJ) to announce more “easing” in the days ahead to counter weakening economic data and droopy stock prices; it’s not going to happen. Why? Because the big boys have told the BoJ to knock it the hell off, that’s why? Here’s the scoop from the Japan Times:

“Despite lingering market pressure on the Bank of Japan to take further easing steps, its Group of 20 counterparts might not welcome the central bank’s next move.

With concern mounting about how the BOJ’s unprecedented purchases of government bonds and risky assets will impact global markets, the G-20 finance chiefs might pressure the BOJ in the near future to clarify how it will phase out the deflation-busting measures…

Japan Bank for International Cooperation Gov. Hiroshi Watanabe said additional BOJ easing measures would not be supported by the United States, which is gradually reducing its own bond purchasing program.

“I’m not sure whether it is good for the United States and Japan to look in much different directions,” Watanabe, a former vice finance minister for international affairs, said in a meeting with reporters earlier this month. “I don’t think the United States will support” further BOJ easing.” (“Experts urge BOJ to draft exit strategy“, Japan Times)

Repeat: “additional BOJ easing measures would not be supported by the United States.”

In other words, ‘Stop what you are doing…NOW”.

Of course, the BoJ could resist and defend its independence, but how likely is that? That would suggest that the BoJ doesn’t get its marching orders from Washington, which it does, just like everyone else in the western banking cartel. So what’s probably going to happen is this: BoJ chief Haruhiko Kuroda will come up with a number of goofball excuses for winding down the policy to conceal the real power-dynamic behind the decision. But the truth is obvious, Washington has ordered the BoJ to stop printing, and dad-gum-it, Japan is going to fall in line…or else. That’s how things work in this-here empire.

But why the sudden turnaround, after all, Abenomics has been around for more than a year and none of the bigshots at the Fed or the G-20 ever spoke up against it. Everyone seemed to think that QE was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Now Watanabe and Co. want to slam on the brakes and return to more conventional policies. Why? Let’s take another look at the article in the Japan Times and see what they say:

“In light of the side effects of the radical program, which could also take a toll on the global economy, the BOJ must map out an exit strategy from what it calls “quantitative and qualitative monetary easing,” pundits said.

Some central banks have created a framework for avoiding the adverse impact of such policies, former BOJ Deputy Gov. Kazumasa Iwata said in a recent interview. “The BOJ also ought to set certain conditions and mechanisms toward the normalization of its current policy.” (Japan Times)

Hold on there, partner. What’s all this talk about “adverse impact” “radical program”, and QE “could take a toll on the global economy.” This is the first time any of the so called experts have whispered a word about adverse effects from QE. Up to now its all been rosy projections, green shoots, and silver linings. You mean there could be unintended consequences from printing up more than $10 trillion in funny money and shoving it into financial systems around the globe?? Is that what this is all about? Here’s more:

“If the current large-scale monetary easing policy were to be protracted or such policy strengthened by additional measures, the associated side effects would instead outweigh the positive effects, and this would undermine economic stability in the long run,” BOJ Policy Board member Takahide Kiuchi said last month…” (Japan Times)

So the toffs think QE is actually dangerous. Well why didn’t someone think of that five years ago when the Fed first launched this bonehead program? You mean, central banks have been flying by the seat of their pants with absolutely no freaking idea the impact their wacko policies could have on the global financial system? Doesn’t that seem a tad reckless to you, dear reader, or am I just overreacting? Here’s more:

“Some experts have expressed caution that the BOJ may draw international criticism if it takes additional credit easing measures that could have strong side effects without preparing an exit strategy…

On Tuesday, after the BOJ decided to leave its aggressive monetary easing policy in place, Kuroda said further easing was not on his mind. “We are not currently thinking about additional easing” because the economy is steadily on course to attain the 2 percent inflation target by spring 2015, he said.” (Japan Times)

Kuroda is the biggest loonybin on the planet. Take my word for it. The man deserves a place of honor next to Greenspan in the Pantheon of Crackpot Bankers. The man knows absolutely nothing about economics. Seriously. Under Kuroda, Japan’s GDP has shrunk to the size of an acorn, wages have dropped for 21 months straight, consumer confidence is in the toilet, 2 percent inflation is nowhere in sight, and Japan debt has ballooned to the size of a small galaxy. Still, they keep this loser at the helm because stock traders love his sorry ass. It’s pathetic. Only now, the Fed and Co. are planning to shut down Kuroda’s little counterfeiting operation leaving him with nothing to do except dodge brickbats from angry reporters. Good riddance.

Keep in mind that reducing asset purchases by the Fed (“tapering”) has already wreaked holy hell on the emerging markets which are still experiencing capital outflows and (potential) currency crises. And, the funny thing is, the Fed hasn’t even started trimming its $4 trillion asset pile yet, let alone raised rates! So, just imagine, for a minute, what’s going to happen when the BoJ stops printing at the same time the Fed starts to pare-down its balance sheet. That’s the nightmare scenario, because the supply of financial assets is going to skyrocket and send stock prices off a cliff. Did someone say “1929″?

Uh huh. As it happens, there have been a few experts who have spoken out against QE. The MSM has simply made damn-sure they don’t get the airtime they need to voice their skepticism. Take, for example, William White, the former chief economist of the Bank for International Settlements, which is considered the central bank of central banks. Here’s how White slammed QE in a recent interview:

“The honest truth is no one has ever seen anything like this. Not even during the Great Depression in the Thirties has monetary policy been this loose. And if you look at the details of what these central banks are doing, it’s all very experimental. They are making it up as they go along. I am very worried about any kind of policies that have that nature…

Today, the Fed still acts as if it was in crisis management. But we’re six years past that. They are essentially doing more than what they did right in the beginning. There is something fundamentally wrong with that. Plus, the Fed has moved to a completely different motivation. From the attempt to get the markets going again, they suddenly and explicitly started to inflate asset prices again. The aim is to make people feel richer, make them spend more, and have it all trickle down to get the economy going again. Frankly, I don’t think it works, and I think this is extremely dangerous…

The fundamental problem we are still facing is excessive debt. Not excessive public debt, mind you, but excessive debt in the private and public sectors. To resolve that, you need restructurings and write-offs. That’s government policy, not central bank policy. Central banks can’t rescue insolvent institutions. All around the western world, and I include Japan, governments have resolutely failed to see that they bear the responsibility to deal with the underlying problems. With the ultraloose monetary policy, governments have no incentive to act. But if we don’t deal with this now, we will be in worse shape than before…” (“Chief Economist Of Central Banks’ Central Bank: “It’s Extremely Dangerous… I See Speculative Bubbles Like In 2007“, zero hedge)

This is really brilliant analysis and it covers QE’s main flaws, so let’s summarize. White says:

1–QE is entirely “experimental” and that central banks are “making it up as they go along.”

Check.

2–There’s no longer any need for “crisis management”. (after 6 freaking years!) The Fed is merely “inflating asset prices”. (aka–Bubblemaking)

Check, again.

3–Most important: The essential problem has NOT been fixed. Government policy still supports the zombie banks and other financial institutions which have not been nationalized, not been restructured, and are still sucking the life out of the real economy. These lumbering mastodons need to be euthanized so their debt-pile can be eliminated, their books cleared, and the economy reset. QE has merely perpetuated the problem by providing the means by which these institutions can continue to roll over their debts at zero cost to themselves creating the illusion of solvency. The US is following the same path as Japan into deflation and severe economic stagnation.

Check, check, and more check.

That sums it up perfectly. The only thing he left out was that QE has been the biggest wealth shifting scam in history. The sooner they give this program the ax, the better.

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

War Lies Sold Again By the Same Old Liars …

Intelligence regarding Syria is arguably being manipulated even more blatantly than intelligence on Saddam and Iraq.

Media coverage of Syria and Ukraine is as bad as it was of the Iraq war … or worse.

Indeed, it is largely the same knuckleheads in government and in media who are pushing the lies.

 

http://cdn4.iheardin.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Anthony-Freda-War-Box.jpg

Painting by Anthony Freda: www.AnthonyFreda.com

Former Associated Press and Newsweek reporter Robert Parry notes today that some of the core Iraq war lies, Syria lies and lies about Ukraine were all penned by New York Times reporter Michael Gordon:

There is now a pattern to New York Times “investigative” stories that seek to pin the blame on some nefarious foreign enemy, as in the 2002 article on Iraq buying aluminum tubes for nuclear centrifuges; the 2013 “vector analysis” tracing sarin-laden rockets to a Syrian military base; and now a photographic analysis proving that Russian soldiers are behind unrest in eastern Ukraine.

All these stories draw hard conclusions from very murky evidence while ignoring or brushing aside alternative explanations. They also pile up supportive acclamations for their conclusions from self-interested sources while treating any doubters as rubes. And, these three articles all involved reporter Michael R. Gordon.

The infamous aluminum tube story of Sept. 8, 2002, which Gordon co-wrote with Judith Miller, relied on U.S. intelligence sources and Iraqi defectors to frighten Americans with images of “mushroom clouds” if they didn’t support President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. The timing played perfectly into the administration’s advertising “rollout” for the Iraq War.

Of course, the story turned out to be false and to have unfairly downplayed skeptics of the nuclear-centrifuge scenario. The aluminum tubes actually were meant for artillery, not for centrifuges. But the article provided a great impetus toward the Iraq War, which ended up killing nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

Gordon’s co-author, Judith Miller, became the only U.S. journalist known to have lost a job over the reckless and shoddy reporting that contributed to the Iraq disaster. For his part, Gordon continued serving as a respected Pentagon correspondent.

Gordon’s name also showed up in a supporting role on the Times’ botched “vector analysis” of Sept. 17, 2013, which nearly helped get the United States into another Mideast war, with Syria. That story traced the flight paths of two rockets, recovered in suburbs of Damascus after the Aug. 21 sarin gas attack, back to a Syrian military base 9.5 kilometers away.

The article became the “slam-dunk” evidence that the Syrian government was lying when it denied launching the sarin attack that killed several hundred people.

However, like the aluminum tube story, the Times’ ”vector analysis” also ignored contrary evidence …. [Background]

Now, the New York Times has led its Monday editions with an article supposedly proving that Russian military special forces are secretly directing the popular uprisings in eastern Ukraine…

The Times based its story on grainy photographs provided by the Kiev regime supposedly showing the same armed “green men” involved in actions with the Russian military earlier and now with the pro-Russian protesters who have seized government buildings in towns in eastern Ukraine.

The Times reported, “Now, photographs and descriptions from eastern Ukraine endorsed by the Obama administration on Sunday suggest that many of the green men are indeed Russian military and intelligence forces — equipped in the same fashion as Russian special operations troops involved in annexing the Crimea region in February. Some of the men photographed in Ukraine have been identified in other photos clearly taken among Russian troops in other settings.”

The Times apparently accepts the photos as legitimate in terms of where and when they were taken, but that requires first trusting the source, the post-coup regime in Kiev which has a strong motive for making this argument as a prelude to violently crushing the eastern Ukrainian protests.

Secondly, one has to believe that the fuzzy photographs of the circled faces are the same individuals. They may be, but it is difficult to be sure from what is displayed. The principal figure shown is a man with a long beard and a cap sometimes pulled down over his forehead. He could be a Russian special forces soldier or a character from “Duck Dynasty.

And the resemblance of some uniforms to those worn by Russian soldiers is also circumstantial, since military gear often looks similar or it could have been sold to civilians, or the men could be veterans who kept their old uniforms after leaving the military. The fact that these men are adept at handling weapons also could mean that they have prior military experience, not that they are still active.

For the Times to cite the Obama administration’s endorsement of the Kiev regime’s claims as some kind of verification is also silly. Anyone who has followed the Ukraine crisis knows that the U.S. government is wholeheartedly on the side of the post-coup regime, trumpeting its propaganda and dismissing any counterclaims from the Yanukovych camp or from Moscow.

There’s other silliness in the Times article, such as the notion that the Russians are unusual in “masking” their special forces when U.S. military and intelligence services have been doing the same for decades.

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Is it possible that the Times’ reporters, including Pentagon correspondent Gordon, don’t know that U.S. Special Forces and CIA officers routinely grow beards and wear local garb to blend in when they are operating in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Central America, etc.?

When I was covering Central America policy in the 1980s, I knew American mercenaries, including former U.S. Special Forces soldiers, who provided training and other assistance to the region’s security forces. Sometimes, these veterans coordinated their actions with the U.S. government and sometimes they were simply making money.

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Plus, you have to wonder how skillful the Russians really are at “masking” if they have their special forces troops wear uniforms that can be so easily traced back to Russia.

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The Times should have learned from its previous blunders and taken care to include alternative scenarios or point to evidentiary holes in what the Kiev regime claimed. Instead, the Times has again acted like a prosecutor determined to make a case, not a fair-minded judge weighing the evidence.

It is also an indictment of the Times’ professionalism that this newspaper of record can’t seem to detect neo-Nazis in the post-coup regime, when some have open histories of pro-Nazi behavior, while it goes to dubious lengths to discredit the eastern Ukrainians who are resisting the imposition of authority from an unelected administration in Kiev.

Just like the “aluminum tube” story that justified killing so many Iraqis and the “vector analysis” that almost unleashed a devastating U.S. bombing campaign on Syria, the Times’ “green men” piece may be the prelude to a bloodbath in eastern Ukraine.

The powers-that-be are desperate for a war to distract the population.

And the mainstream media (and large “alternative” media outlets) are always pro-war, and happy to beat the war drums as loudly as they can.

So they will push lie after lie …