U.S. Busted Faking Satellite Photographs In Both Iraq Wars

U.S. government claims that satellite photographs prove that Russian separatists are responsible for the shootdown of the Malaysian airplane over Ukraine, and that Russia has fired artillery into Ukraine.

Russia claims that the photos are fake.

While we don’t have the necessary expertise to know who’s right, it’s worth noting that the U.S. government has repeatedly lied about satellite photos as a basis for war.

For example, in the run up to the Iraq war, the U.S. claimed that satellite images showed that Saddam possessed bunkers and trucks loaded with chemical weapons … but none were found.

And the same thing happened in the first Gulf War.  The Christian Science Monitor reported in 2002:

When George H. W. Bush ordered American forces to the Persian Gulf – to reverse Iraq’s August 1990 invasion of Kuwait – part of the administration case was that an Iraqi juggernaut was also threatening to roll into Saudi Arabia.

Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated in mid–September that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key US oil supplier.

But when the St. Petersburg Times in Florida acquired two commercial Soviet satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, no Iraqi troops were visible near the Saudi border – just empty desert.

“It was a pretty serious fib,” says Jean Heller, the Times journalist who broke the story.

***

Shortly before US strikes began in the Gulf War, for example, the St. Petersburg Times asked two experts to examine the satellite images of the Kuwait and Saudi Arabia border area taken in mid-September 1990, a month and a half after the Iraqi invasion. The experts, including a former Defense Intelligence Agency analyst who specialized in desert warfare, pointed out the US build-up – jet fighters standing wing-tip to wing-tip at Saudi bases – but were surprised to see almost no sign of the Iraqis.

“That [Iraqi buildup] was the whole justification for Bush sending troops in there, and it just didn’t exist,” Ms. Heller says. Three times Heller contacted the office of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney (now vice president) for evidence refuting the Times photos or analysis – offering to hold the story if proven wrong.

The official response: “Trust us.” To this day, the Pentagon’s photographs of the Iraqi troop buildup remain classified.

***

“This administration is capable of any lie … in order to advance its war goal in Iraq,” says a US government source in Washington with some two decades of experience in intelligence, who would not be further identified.

(And see this report from the Guardian.)

Indeed, U.S. intelligence agencies have REPEATEDLY lied as a way to justify war, and on other issues of vital national concern.

The Myth of Russian Aggression

August 3rd, 2014 by Tony Cartalucci

The term “Russian aggression” has been inundating headlines across the Western media and even graces the title of a US Senate bill introduce this year - S.2277 – Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014.

But what “aggression” is the West referring to? A cursory look at Russian history over the past 500 years compared to say, Britain, France, or even America and its “Manifest Destiny,” portrays Russia as a nation preoccupied within and along its borders, not in hegemonic, global expansion.

The idea of far-flung former colonies is one unique to the British, French, Dutch, and Spanish. Even today geopolitical, socioeconomic, and even outright military intervention in these former colonies is exclusively the pursuit of the United States and Europe.

The United States alone has hundreds of military bases around the world, has been permanently occupying Germany and Japan for a half century, Afghanistan for over a decade, and had invaded and occupied Iraq for nearly as long.

“Russian Aggression” is a Marketing Gimmick 

Canadian PM Stephan Harper’s “op-ed” in the Globe and Mail titled, “Our duty is to stand firm in the face of Russian aggression,” fallaciously states:

The world is saddened and rightfully outraged by images of the charred remnants of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, and by the loss of almost 300 people from 11 countries, strewn across fields in eastern Ukraine. While the grim work of identifying victims’ remains and tracking down the perpetrators of this appalling crime is just beginning, the world can be certain of one thing: There can be no weakening of our resolve to punish the Putin regime for threatening the peace and security of eastern and central Europe.

Harper’s disingenuous attempt to link Russia to the MH17 disaster reveals the truth behind “Russian aggression,” a marketing campaign implemented by the West to undermine an obstruction to its very real, very demonstrable global aggression. The fact that Harper presides over the nation of Canada, which is in no way threatened by “Russian aggression” real or imagined, further exposes the disingenuous nature of the narrative peddled by the West.

Aggressors Playing the Victim – From Hitler to NATO

From Libya, to Mali, to Syria, Egypt, Ukraine, and beyond – the West has engaged in direct and indirect geopolitical meddling and manipulation through various forms of force including covert military and intelligence operations to proxy terrorism, and even outright direct military intervention. As the West nears the boundaries of nations capable of defending themselves and a defense is in fact mounted, pundits and politicians have begun framing it as “aggression.” The impediment of Western expansion across Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America is framed as “aggression” just as Adolf Hitler did in regards to nations chaffing against expanding Nazism during the 1930′s.
Ultimately, legitimate claims of “aggression” and “expansionism” could easily be enumerated. A map for instance, of Europe over the past several decades showing the expansion of Russian territory would be such an indicator. However, such a map instead shows precisely the opposite – with NATO visibly encroaching upon Russia’s very borders behind the overt pretense of “a Europe whole and free.”

For pundits and politicians who respond that NATO’s expansion was not executed through “aggression,” but rather through the voluntary will and aspirations of the people within these new NATO members, the US itself admits this isn’t the case. So-called “color revolutions” from Serbia, to Georgia, to Ukraine itself have been engineered, funded, and executed by the US and other members of NATO to overthrow political orders and opposition fronts that oppose NATO, and to install political orders that embrace it – nothing less than what any empire throughout human history has done through viceroys and other forms of proxy imperial administration.

In fact, the Guardian would admit in its 2004 article, “US campaign behind the turmoil in Kiev,” that (emphasis added):

…while the gains of the orange-bedecked “chestnut revolution” are Ukraine’s, the campaign is an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in western branding and mass marketing that, in four countries in four years, has been used to try to salvage rigged elections and topple unsavoury regimes. 

Funded and organised by the US government, deploying US consultancies, pollsters, diplomats, the two big American parties and US non-government organisations, the campaign was first used in Europe in Belgrade in 2000 to beat Slobodan Milosevic at the ballot box. 

Richard Miles, the US ambassador in Belgrade, played a key role. And by last year, as US ambassador in Tbilisi, he repeated the trick in Georgia, coaching Mikhail Saakashvili in how to bring down Eduard Shevardnadze. 

Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko. 

That one failed. “There will be no Kostunica in Belarus,” the Belarus president declared, referring to the victory in Belgrade. 

But experience gained in Serbia, Georgia and Belarus has been invaluable in plotting to beat the regime of Leonid Kuchma in Kiev. 

The operation – engineering democracy through the ballot box and civil disobedience – is now so slick that the methods have matured into a template for winning other people’s elections.

In other words, from Belarus, to Georgia, to Ukraine, and Serbia, the US has been insidiously overthrowing governments not through outright military aggression, but through covert military, political, and intelligence operations aimed at manipulating elections and overrunning regimes that refuse to accept the subsequently skewed results. Surely, then, regimes resulting from such a practice are not then “voluntarily” joining NATO – and NATO is surely expanding itself through a campaign of insidious, violent, lawless subversion of sovereign nations, one at a time with Ukraine once again in its sights.

Nazis At the Gates (Again)   

The parallels between NATO and Nazi Germany are unfortunately more than merely academic. In Ukraine, the current regime in Kiev backed by NATO and the European Union are quite literally Nazis. From the “Fatherland Party” to the overtly Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party and their various militant wings including the now notorious Right Sector front, ultra-right fascism is once again the leading edge of expansionism into, not out of, Russian territory.

Current attempts by the West to portray Russia’s concern over Ukraine and the Nazi menace festering on their doorstep to Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s invasion of Poland aim to stir up anti-Communist, anti-Soviet fears and hysteria long programmed into the psyches of Western audiences – but incidentally provide a valuable historical parallel. While the invasion of Poland was a violation of Polish national sovereignty and an act of war – it was done to create a barrier between the Soviet Union and the rise of Nazi Germany under Adolf Hitler. Such a barrier was arguably one of several factors that allowed the Soviets to mobilize a counteroffensive to Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa – the invasion of Russia, a counteroffensive that ultimately turned the tide against Hitler and led to the downfall of fascism in Europe.

Besides cause and effect, there are few other similarities between Stalin’s invasion of Poland and the modern day Russian Federation’s political support of eastern Ukrainians who have been fighting the regime in Kiev for months with increasing success. Besides the same variety of dubious accounts the West fabricated against nations like Iraq, Libya, and Syria as a pretext for war, little in terms of evidence has been produced by Washington, London, or Brussels to affirm accusations that Russia is “invading” eastern Ukraine. Russia has instead chosen restraint despite multiple attempts by the West to bait it into overt military intervention in Ukraine - and in this restraint, has secured a growing global consensus long driven weary by the West’s attempts to dress up its own global aggression and expansionism as “democracy promotion” and “humanitarian interventions.”

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

Devils’ Dance on the Malaysian Plane Tragedy

August 2nd, 2014 by Arun Mohanty

It is interesting to watch that after a week of full-blown Russia-bashing following the Malaysian Boeing crash in Donbas sky that took 298 innocent lives, there is an intriguing lull in the international media in its campaign to malign Kremlin for the tragedy.

There were irresponsible and unfounded accusations by the US, Ukraine and international media that made Russia directly responsible and then targeted the pro-Russian rebels in the east of Ukraine for the Malaysian Boeing crash that took place on July 17, 2014.

The Ukraine Government used some bogus taped conversation between the pro-Russian rebels in the east of Ukraine and Russian intelligence agency representatives to prove Russian involvement in the shooting of the plane, which turned out to be absolutely fake. After that Kiev is maintaining stoic silence over the fabricated tape.

Then the Ukraine Government claimed that they have caught Russian military experts on the border; involved in firing the Buk missile to shoot down the Malaysian passenger plane, which was subsequently proved to be a blatant lie. Later there were accusations that the pro-Russian rebels were destroying evidence and deliberately delaying the collection of dead bodies and creating obstacles for the arrival of international experts at the crash site. But the truth is that the representatives of the self-proclaimed Donetsk Republic, who control the crash site, were asked by the OSCE represen-tatives not to collect the dead bodies till international experts arrive on the spot, and these OSCE representatives have testified that the accusation against the rebels destroying evidence was unfounded. The rebels were accused of handing over the flight black box to Moscow and tampering with the same. Malaysian experts, to whom the black boxes were handed over by the rebel representatives, have confirmed that the black boxes were absolutely intact, and those have been handed over to the Netherlands officials, who on their part have testified that the black boxes were not tampered with by any means.

The Netherlands handed over the black boxes for examination to a laboratory in Britain, a close ally of the US that looks increasingly to be behind the provocation. It is difficult to believe that Britain would withstand the pressure exerted on it by the US for the sake of manipulating the findings of the black boxes of the flight, although it may not be all that easy. In any case, Russian experts have raised their eyebrows over the fact that the Netherlands handed over the black boxes to Britain for decoding.

A new series of sectoral sanctions has been imposed on Russia as if its complicity in shooting down the Malaysian jet has been established even before the start of the international investigation. These sanctions—affecting energy, defence, banking sectors—would hit the Russian economy badly. There is a famous Russian proverb that says bez vini vinobat which means ‘to declare somebody a criminal without any crime’. Indeed Russia has been declared a criminal without its crime being proved so far in the Malaysian aircraft tragedy. It looks increasingly clear that the whole conspiracy to nail Russia and punish it for a crime that it has not committed. Some Russian experts strongly believe that the entire conspi-racy, of course not without US connivance, had the sole objective of holding Russia responsible for the tragedy by any means.

But unsurprisingly, the devils’ dance on this human tragedy through the orchestrated media hysteria against Russia has suddenly come to a halt, triggering suspicions about its motive. The media trial of Russia on the tragedy has abruptly ended, generating suspicious thoughts about a well-planned provocation. Moreover, ten days after the tragedy the US, which was earlier insisting that Ukraine had neither the possibility nor the motivation for shooting the Malaysian plane, has confirmed the authenticity of the satellite data presented in the special briefing by the Russian Defence Ministry on July 21 when it was revealed that the Ukraine Army’s anti-air defence system near Donetsk had four divisions of Buk-MI complex. White House spokesperson Josh Ernest in a statement has said that a rocket was fired from the rebel-controlled territory at a time when Ukraine’s anti-air defence system was not in operation. Thus the US has now indirectly admitted for the first time about the presence of Ukraine’s anti-air defence system on Donetsk territory, said a highly placed source in the Russian Defence Ministry.

In the meantime, Russia has raised a number of issues in connection with the Malaysian plane tragedy. Along with the presentation of ‘objective control’ data of its satellite monitoring, the Russian Defence Ministry has asked ten questions, while Rusavia, Russia’s official avi-ation body, has raised as many as 26 questions, which remain unanswered till date by both the US as well as Ukraine. The Russian Defence Ministry presentation has made it clear to the US as well as Ukraine that Moscow has certain evidence at its disposal about what had happened in the Donbas sky on that fateful day.

Russia has officially, with impeccable technical evidence, rebutted the US allegations about its complicity in the air tragedy. Interestingly, Washington has recently toned down its accusation of Russian complicity in the tragedy by stating that the US does not have any evidence of Russian complicity in the incident and about the direct evidence of Russian presence at the site of firing of the rocket that hit the Malaysian plane or that Russia helped the rebels to operate the Buk missiles. More than that, the US intelligence has recently admitted that it has no evidence of movement of Buk missile systems across the Russian-Ukrainian border to the Ukrainian side. How-ever, all pertinent questions raised by the Russian side remain unanswered till date.

The US State Department representative Merry Harf’s claim that they have “huge amount of evidence from open as well as secret sources about Russian complicity” in the air crash has fallen flat in the backdrop of the US failure to produce any evidence in that direction. As if US President Obama never accused Russia in the Malaysian plane tragedy.

However, if the US and Ukraine are thinking that they would get away by throwing dust in the eyes of the international community on the issue, that is not going to happen. The thief’s tactics of shouting ‘to hold the thief’, adopted by the US and Ukraine, is most likely going to be exposed in the coming days and weeks. Meanwhile, UN SC resolution No 2166 on the air crash, while condemning the incident, has demanded an independent comprehensive international investigation of the tragedy in accordance with the principles of international civil aviation; it has called for immediate ceasefire in the territory around the air crash in order to ensure security for facilitating inter-national investigation.

Apparently the Ukraine side has violated the resolution by intensifying flights in the territory as it is clear that the insurgents are just defen-ding their positions against the attacks launched by the Ukrainian forces. Latest reports suggest that the Ukrainian forces have succeeded in capturing part of the territory around the crash site. Heavy fighting around the crash site would no doubt hamper the work of the international inspectors.

This resolution, originally moved by Australia, is a result of compromise after Russia’s demand for involving the International Civil Aviation Committee for ensuring impartial investigation was incorporated into it. Russia’s Permanent Representative at the UNSC, Vitaly Churkin, in his address emphasised on the leading role of the International Civil Aviation Committee along with all those interested in establishing the truth. He demanded that all material evidence including the black boxes be kept under strict control of the international civil aviation organisation for promoting unbiased international investigation, and called for creating all necessary conditions to ensure full security that would facilitate the work of the international investigators at the crash site. Churkin has alleged that the shock emanating from the Malaysian plane tragedy is unfortunately being used by Ukraine for intensifying its punitive operations in the east of the country. Dozens of innocent people are being killed every day as a result of the use of heavy artillery and air strikes by the Ukrainian forces, notwithstanding the UNSC statement that Kiev would maintain ‘restraint’ in its military operations.

Vitaly Churkin, speaking in the UNSC, raised certain questions before Ukraine regarding the activities of its aviation dispatchers and reasons for the transfer of Ukrainian Buk missile battery in the region adjacent to the territory controlled by the rebels. Why did the battery leave the region immediately after the air-crash on July 17? Why did the Radio-Location System of Ukraine’s anti-air defence system work with maximum intensity on July 17? The Russian Defence Ministry has asked several more questions related to the issue to Ukraine on the basis of images received from its satellites. These questions include why did the Ukrainian dispatchers give the instruction for deviating from the designed air corridor and lower the altitude of the flight? What was the reason for relocation of the Ukrainian radio-location station 9C 18 “Kupol—MI“ of the Buk missile system on July 17 ? What was the objective of Ukraine’s SU-25 military aircraft flying close to the Malaysian passenger plane?

The Ukrainian authorities are absolutely silent on the issues, and have apparently imposed a ban on disclosing its dispatchers data. In the meantime, the man working as dispatcher in Kiev’s Borispol airport, who had revealed about SU-25 military aircraft flying next to the Malaysian flight have reportedly gone missing along with some dispatchers at Dnepropetrovsk ground service controlling the Malaysian flight.

One of the most intriguing questions is: why is the US silent about the images of its own satellite that was flying over Donetsk region on the fateful day. Russia has proof of the US satellite’s presence over the crash site. What is that the US is trying to hide from the international community, although the satellite images can definitely shed light on many crucial issues? The well-orchestrated vilification campaign against Russia on the shooting down of the Malaysian plane has done huge damage to Russia’s international prestige, and most importantly helped Washington in imposing new sanctions that would no doubt affect the Russian economy adversely.

In this backdrop, India has done well by opposing imposition of sanctions, calling them counter-productive. But this cannot be enough given the special and privileged nature of our strategic partnership. Some foreign policy experts and national dailies have advised that the Government of India should use its strategic partnership to exert pressure on Russia not to interfere in Ukraine.

These experts should not forget that the Soviet Union was the first country that had extended its support and solidarity to us when Sikim was merged with India. It was the Soviet Union which exercised its veto power in the UNSC time and again to defend India on the Kashmir issue. It is Moscow that had provided enormous assistance to India during the Bangladesh war in 1971 when India was absolutely isolated in the world in the backdrop of the emergence of the US-China-Pakistan axis designed against India and the presence of the US 7th fleet in the Bay of Bengal.

Again it is Russia alone which opposed the international sanctions imposed on India in the wake of the Pokhran II nuclear tests and went ahead in providing assistance for building the Kudankulam nuclear plant. It is time for India to repay the debt by extending more tangible support to Russia and President Putin who are now victims of a well-calculated and well-conceived vilification campaign. The Indian Government should take a clearer stand in defence of Russia, and the Indian public at large should raise their voice against the way Russia and President Putin are being demonised, discredited by the international media through a media campaign based on half-truths and blatant lies. Our policy-makers need to have a better understanding of the US game-plan in Ukraine which is nothing but the containment of Russia.

We should show sensitivity to the security concerns of our closest strategic partner, Russia, on the Ukrainian issue at the moment. This policy would pay us handsome dividends in the long run while strengthening our autonomy in the domain of foreign policy-making.

The author is the Chairperson, Centre for Russian and Central Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Argentina must not follow NY Court’s dictated path to ‘bankruptcy’

Why would Argentina default on debt that was settled more than 10 years ago? – Not to everybody’s content, for sure, but settlement all the same. Settlement agreements were reached with 93% of all creditors.

Why would a New York Court have jurisdiction over a sovereign country? – Basically declaring it bankrupt if it doesn’t pay up – pay up 100% of outstanding debt, when all other creditors agreed to an average 20% repayment – which Argentina is honoring and is planning to continue honoring.

 And why would Judge Griesa make his case in favor of NML Capital and similar Vulture funds? – Vulture is exactly what the term expresses – a merciless predator.

 Because Argentina does not align with US foreign policy? – Does not subscribe to Washington’s exceptionalism? – Does not submit to Obama’s illusions of supremacy? – So, Argentina must be punished. The White House’s ever so blinding short-sightedness of sanctions and punishment.

There is no bankruptcy law for sovereign nations. In fact the sovereignty of a country is untouchable, according to one of the key declarations of the League of Nations which later became the United Nations.

Washington’s arrogance is beyond bounds. It threatens not only Argentina, but the impact of this ruling might boomerang to the US’ own banks, Wall Street – and send ripples through globalized banks around the world. And this only, because the current corrupt western monetary system is still bound to the long defunct and over-indebted fiat dollar, under which all international transactions whether involving the US economy or not, whether dollar denominated or not – have to transit through a New York bank.

That’s where the jurisdiction comes from. That’s why criminally behaving Vulture funds can buy a judge in New York to rule the unrulable for them – to the detriment of all the other creditors, who agreed with Argentina’s goodwill settlement, but are now not allowed to be paid, unless the vulture is paid in full, i.e. at 100%! – Unbelievable, if it wouldn’t be coming from Washington, the capital of the only real rogue state in the world, the exceptional nation with the exceptional people, for whom no rule of international law and behavior applies.

The nation that can go on killing sprees with its armies and its financial instruments and send proxies for them to kill and start wars, wars with deadly artillery, war planes and bombs; and wars with deadly financial weapons, manipulated by the tail that wags the dog, the owners of Wall Street, of the Fed and of the Bank for International settlement (BIS) — the exceptional nation and the exceptional ‘tail’ that nobody dares to stop — because all are puppets. Foremost, the Europeans. Europe has ‘leaders’ (sic) with the pants down and some of them as naked as the emperor himself.

If this happens, if judge Griesa’s decision prevails – it may set a nasty precedent, one that not only may backfire on the US, but on the rest of the western economy. It would create chaos. Every debtor nation could reason, why should we honor a debt amortization agreement, if there is a US judge and US jurisdiction that can undo at will earlier agreements among sovereign nations?

 But there is hope. Russia and China are not playing along. They are not puppets. In fact, they are the last fortifications that the dying beast, headed by Obama is vying to defeat with all means possible to achieve world hegemony – the One World Order; with propaganda lies and falsehoods, slandering of true world leaders, and – of course – with ‘sanctions’, ridiculous self-defeating sanctions.

Rather sooner than later the world will seek an alternative monetary system, one completely delinked from the dollar; from Wall Street, from the US all-usurping dictate. It’s already happening. When another outrageous US court punished the French bank BNP Paribas with a salty US$ 9 billion-plus fine for dealing with Iran, the French Central Bank started negotiating with the Chinese Central Bank for Euro-Yuan swaps which would allow them in the future to transit directly through Beijing for international payments, sidelining the dollar and the New York banks.

Argentina must not obey judge Griesa, or any US ruling interfering in its sovereignty – in its handling of sovereign debt. Argentina may seek dollar-ruble and yuan swap arrangements with the central banks of Russia and China, and honor its debt amortization by moving debt payment transactions from New York to Beijing and Moscow.

Delinked from New York. Delinked from the dollar. End of story.

Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources, including widely in Latin America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, the Voice of Russia and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

In a video recording dated in 2012, Netanyahu can be seen speaking to what presumably are family members, women and children, completely unawares to the fact that his remarks are being recorded the entire time.

Netanyahu explains that, “The main thing, first of all, is to hit them [the Arabs].  Not just one blow, but blows that are so painful that the price will be too heavy to be borne,” a policy doctrine we are now seeing play out in Israel’s current assault on Gaza in which the ‘price’ that is intended to be ‘too heavy to be borne,’ is measured in the indiscriminate murder of innocent civilian lives- their homes, their playgrounds, their beaches, their schools, their mosques, their hospitals; Israel has shown in Protective Edge that no one and no place in Gaza, not even children’s playgrounds and hospitals in which no militants whatsoever are present, is immune from the all-powerful roar of the highly-tuned, well-oiled and technologically sophisticated multi-billion dollar US-made killing machine that it has now descended upon the mostly defenseless, economically strangled, and poverty-induced population of Gaza (a WikiLeaks cable quoted an Israeli official in 2008 telling the US that they would “keep Gaza’s economy on the brink of collapse,” to ensure that the economy was “functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis.”)

The UN reports as of 29 July that a total of 1,118 people have been killed in the now 23 day assault on Gaza, 827 (or 74%) of which are innocent civilians.  Updated figures for 30 July from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights put the current death toll at 1324, of which 1130 (or 85%) are innocent civilians, along with 5,924 wounded; Gaza’s Health Ministry has confirmed the death of at least 1,359; a number of 7,677 wounded has been confirmed by emergency service spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

These figures clearly tell us that only a very small amount of the targets are actually military targets, Hamas militants or resistance fighters, given that they account for only 20-25% of the deaths.  The vast majority of those killed have been innocent civilians, this despite the IDF’s sophisticated US-made and financed military technology capable of precision striking and advanced intelligence capabilities, including joint cooperation between Mossad and the NSA.

These figures make more sense however when you put them in the context of advice given to the IDF from Israeli lawyers and statements by top military and political officials.

Don’t Make Me Shoot You

Nafeez Ahmed reports that,

White highlights a Ha’aretz report from 2009 which revealed that “IDF officers were receiving legal advice that allowed for large numbers of civilian casualties and the targeting of government buildings.”

“The people who go into a house despite a warning do not have to be taken into account in terms of injury to civilians, because they are voluntary human shields,”

said one senior official of the international law division (ILD) of the Israeli Military Advocate General’s Office.

“From the legal point of view, I do not have to show consideration for them. In the case of people who return to their home in order to protect it, they are taking part in the fighting.” (emphasis added)

This statement presupposes that Israel has the right to order people out of their homes, without having to give a justification, without having to prove that it is a military outpost, just an arbitrary pronouncement by the military and either the civilians must flee or be murdered in cold blood by the IDF, in which case they will be referred to as ‘human shields’ and their extrajudicial slaughter justified in the eyes of the military machine and its legal aides; even if the civilian does flee, Israel presupposes the right to destroy their homes, property, and belongings- in other words, their property (and as well their lives) belong to us, because we say so.

According to U.S. Army Manuals terrorism is defined as, the

“calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear. It is intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies … [to attain] political, religious, or ideological goals.” [U.S. Army Field Manual No. FM 3-0, Chapter 9, 37 (14 June 2001).]

Israel’s actions are therefore the exact definition of terrorism according to the U.S. army, where even just the threat of violence to obtain political goals is terrorism; Israel is saying to the civilian population “leave your homes, or else,” while then presupposing that if their orders are not heeded they are thus absolved from the responsibility of the murder which they will then go about committing.  Even if they were just to threaten the use of violence to get people out of their homes it would be an extreme terroristic crime, let alone when they actually go through with the bombing, indiscriminate of who is inside.

What this amounts to is basically the military/war-time equivalent of holding a gun to someone’s head and saying “don’t make me shoot you,” and then demanding that they give you their wallet… or else.  When the person doesn’t comply with your terror demands and use of intimidation, you then shoot them dead and claim that it was their fault for not giving you the money, I wonder how well that defense would hold up in a US court of law?  Yet this is exactly what Israel is doing in Gaza, this is exactly what their lawyers and military generals are attempting to justify and codify into law.

Take Away Half the Land; Say the Dead Killed Themselves

Israel has used this terror tactic in order to take away 44% of Gaza’s land, drawing up a 3km buffer zone around the borders and then proceeding to hold the gun to the head of every innocent civilian living within that area and saying “don’t make us shoot you,” instructing them to leave their homes “immediately” or thus end up as ‘human shields,’ in which case, according to the IDF and their lawyers, their deaths will be their own fault.

Pepe Escobar thus points out,

“Translation: Israel, in one stroke, is creating OVER 400,000 REFUGEES. But refugees INSIDE the same cage/concentration camp/gulag – a major CRIME under international law. This huge area is now off-limits. All civilians staying behind will be deemed as “combatants”.”

Just as a 75-80% civilian death rate figure falsifies the claim that only military infrastructure and personnel are being targeted, so too does this 3km buffer zone falsify that claim as well; there is no justifiable military reason to annex almost half of Gaza’s land to military invasion and wholesale destruction, the whole ‘tunnel’ argument the least of which as it is pure nonsense coming from a military perspective, and one that has also been used previously,

“The pretext for the [November 4, 2008] raid was that Israel had detected a tunnel in Gaza that might have been intended for use to capture another Israeli soldier. The pretext is transparently absurd, as a number of commentators have noted. If such a tunnel existed, and reached the border, Israel could easily have barred it right there. But as usual, the ludicrous Israeli pretext was deemed credible.” (Noam Chomsky, Peace News, February 2009)

Murder Civilians; Put Pressure on Hamas

In an exchange between former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and former Isreali UN Ambassador and Isreali Labor Party Foreign Minister Abba Eban, published in the Israeli press in August of 1981, Mr. Eban wrote,

“The picture that emerges is of an Israel wantonly inflicting every possible measure of death and anguish on civilian populations in a mood reminiscent of regimes which neither Mr. Begin nor I would dare to mention by name.”(1) (emphases added)

Prominent and noted scholar Edward Herman analyzes further the exchange,

“Eban is harshly critical of Begin’s letter because of the support it gives to Arab propaganda; he does not contest the facts. He even defends the earlier Israeli attacks on civilians with the exact logic which orthodox analysts of terrorism attribute to-and use to condemn-retail terrorists: namely, that deliberate attacks may properly be made on innocent parties in order to achieve higher ends. Eban writes that, “there was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that afflicted populations [i.e., innocent civilians deliberately bombed] would exert pressure for the cessation of hostilities.

“Begin’s list is indeed “partial.” It is supplemented by former Chief of Staff Mordechai Gur, whom stated that “For 30 years, from the War of Independence until today, we have been fighting against a population that lives in villages and cities,” offering as examples the bombardments that cleared the Jordan valley of all inhabitants and that drove a million and a half civilians from the Suez canal area, in 1970, among others. The Israeli military analyst Zeev Schiff summarized General Gur’s comments as follows:

In South Lebanon we struck the civilian population consciously, because they deserved itthe importance of Gur’s remarks is the admission that the Israeli Army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously the Army, he said, has never distinguished civilian [from military] targets [but] purposely attacked civilian targets when Israeli settlements had not been struck.(2) (emphases added)

This history is particularly important, it gives a clear context to the recent historical findings which echo the exact same sentiments, and thus prove that the strategic military doctrine has not much changed throughout the years, and that these genocidal policies are instead longstanding and rooted in tradition.

An independent investigation into the IDF by the Jerusalem-based Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) in the wake of Operation Cast Lead states that, “The policy of protecting soldiers’ lives, even at the cost of harming uninvolved civilians, cannot by itself explain the large number of casualties,” and so too can this statement be ascribed to the current death toll figures.  The report explains this discrepancy however, “in the beginning of October 2008, the Commanding Officer of the IDF’s Northern Command, Maj. General Gadi Eisenkott, gave an interview to Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, in which he unveiled what he called the “Dahiye Doctrine”:

“What happened in the Dahiye Quarter of Beirut in 2006, will happen in every village from which shots are fired on Israel. We will use disproportionate force against it and we will cause immense damage and destruction. From our point of view these are not civilian villages but military bases.

“This is not a recommendation, this is the plan, and it has already been authorized.” (Yedioth Ahronoth (Hebrew), I have incredible power, I’ll have no excuse,, Saturday Supplement, October 3, 2008, by Alex Fishman and Ariela Ringel-Hoffman.)

According to the approach expressed in the Dahiye Doctrine,

“Israel has to employ tremendous force disproportionate to the magnitude of the enemy’s actions. The intent of this… is to harm the civilian population to such an extent that it will bring pressure to bear on the enemy combatants. Furthermore, this policy is intended to create deterrence regarding future attacks against Israel, through the damage and destruction of civilian and military infrastructures which necessitate long and expensive reconstruction actions which would crush the will of those who wish to act against Israel.” (emphasis added)

“…two months before Operation Cast Lead, the Institute for National Security Studies, a think-tank at the Tel Aviv University which reflects the mainstream of Israeli military thinking, published an article by Dr. Gabriel Siboni, a colonel in IDF reserves.  In the article Siboni expresses an identical approach to that of Eisenkott, which he relates in greater detail:

“With an outbreak of hostilities, the IDF will need to act immediately, decisively, and with force that is disproportionate to the enemy’s actions and the threat it poses. Such a response aims at inflicting damage and meting out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes. The strike must be carried out as quickly as possible, and must prioritize damaging assets over seeking out each and every launcher.  Punishment must be aimed at decision makers and the power elite… attacks should both aim at Hezbollah’s military capabilities and should target economic interests and the centers of civilian power that support the organization.”

After “What happened in the Dahiye Quarter of Beirut in 2006,” Israel’s then Army Chief of Staff Lt-Gen Dan Halutz threatened that his military would “turn back the clock on Lebanon by 20 years.”  A troubling statement given the next paragraph of the PCATI’s report, “Siboni makes it clear that: “This approach is applicable to the Gaza Strip as well.

Dan Halutz also made a previous appearance in a 2002 Hareetz article when he was asked to describe the emotions that are felt by a pilot that drops a bomb that kills civilians, one which perhaps gives more insight into this psychology, Dan replied,

“No. That is not a legitimate question and it is not asked. But if you nevertheless want to know what I feel when I release a bomb, I will tell you: I feel a light bump to the plane as a result of the bomb’s release. A second later it’s gone, and that’s all. That is what I feel.” (emphases added)

In the opening days of Operation Cast Lead of December ’08 – January ’09 the head of the Israeli army command in Gaza, Yoav Galant, echoed Lt-Gen Halutz’s statements when he confirmed that the attack was designed to “send Gaza decades into the past.”

With the recent headlines depicting the carnage and the slaughter currently plaguing Gaza today, one would be hard pressed to doubt the seriousness of these statements.

They Will Say We Are Defending

Understanding the civilian death toll in this context makes much more sense than listening to the Israeli governments pronouncements of using all necessary means to protect civilian life (a claim which is usually followed by some form of ‘under law’ or ‘all necessary lawful means,’ which given the above is equally as troubling.)  However all of this is predicated upon the fact that “Israel has a right to defend itself,” since “Hamas struck first,” but as respected scholar Nafeez Ahmed points out, “Then three Israeli boys were kidnapped in early June of this year. As an investigation by the Jewish Daily Forward found, Netanyahu’s government knew almost immediately that the boys had been killed, and who had killed them – but pretended to know neither to justify a brutal crackdown.

“It was clear from the beginning that the kidnappers weren’t acting on orders from Hamas leadership in Gaza or Damascus.”

Thus ensued an 18-day ‘search-and-rescue operation,’ involving soldiers entering “thousands of homes, arresting and interrogating hundreds of individuals.” To justify the operation, Netanyahu “maintained the fiction” that they hoped to find the boys alive “as a pretext to dismantle Hamas’ West Bank operations.”

In the process, the IDF killed more than half a dozen Palestinians – while a Palestinian teenager was burned to death by settlers.”

And these crimes were then followed by Israel’s unprovoked attacks on Gaza, as the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recounts,

“On 11 June, the Israeli Air Force targeted an alleged member of an armed group riding on a motorcycle together with a ten-year old child, in the Beit Lahiya area. The man died instantly and the child, who sustained serious injuries, died three days later; two civilian bystanders were also injured.

Following this incident and through the rest of the week, Palestinian armed groups launched a number of rockets at southern Israel.” (emphasis added)

As I noted here, despite all of these provocations and attacks, Hamas still did not fire any rockets and therefore had abided by the 2012 November ceasefire… until Israel struck them first.  After the month long military attack and raid of the West Bank, and the subsequent military aerial bombing raids in Gaza that provoked other Palestinian armed groups to retaliate, on June 29th an Israeli air strike killed 3 Hamas militants, after which Hamas launched its first rocket attack on Israel since 2012, in retaliation to Israel’s attack.  Hamas then immediately called for the institution of a ceasefire, their conditions: that the stipulations of the 2012 ceasefire be re-instated, the same one that Israel repeatedly broke.  Israel considered the proposal, but later refused, instead deciding to launch another air strike against Hamas on July 6th, Hamas responded the next day, and the day after Operation Protective Edge was launched.

It is within this context that the first round of Hamas rockets were unleashed, and it is through this that we must analyze the claims that Israel is acting defensively.

In the leaked recording of Netanyahu mentioned at the beginning of this report, the Prime Minister further clarifies the ‘pain’ he wished to inflict upon the Arabs, “A broad attack on the Palestinian Authority, to bring them to the point of being afraid that everything is collapsing.”  A women can then be heard asking the question, “Wait a moment, but then the world will say ‘how come you’re conquering again?’”

Netanyahu’s reply?

The world won’t say a thing.  The world will say we’re defending.”

Steven Chovanec is an independent geopolitical analyst based in Chicago, IL.  He is an undergraduate of International Studies at Roosevelt University and is a regular writer and blogger on geopolitics and important social matters.  His writings can be found at undergroundreports.blogspot.com, find him on Twitter @stevechovanec.

Notes:

1.)    Abba Eban, “Morality and warfare,” The Jerusalem Post, August 16, 1981 in cited in Edward Herman, The Real Terror Network, (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1982), p. 77.

2.)   Edward Herman, The Real Terror Network, (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1982), p. 77-78. For further discussion of what Edward Herman describes as “Israel’s Sacred Terrorism,” see p. 76-79.

[This article was made possible by the contributions and reporting of Eva Bartlett at http://ingaza.wordpress.com/, Twitter - @EvaBartlettGaza]

Obama Defends CIA Torturers

August 2nd, 2014 by Patrick Martin

President Barack Obama went before the television cameras Friday afternoon to defend CIA Director John Brennan and the agency itself, while admitting for the first time that the CIA tortured prisoners at secret “black site” prisons. “We tortured some folks,” Obama declared almost casually. He then proceeded to excuse and justify the torturers.

In the course of his White House press conference, Obama declared his “full confidence” in Brennan only one day after the release of a CIA inspector general’s report that exposed the CIA chief as a brazen liar. Brennan had denounced claims by the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, of illegal and unconstitutional CIA spying on the committee staff, which was investigating the CIA torture program carried out during the administration of George W. Bush. The inspector general’s report admitted that the spying had taken place.

The CIA’s surveillance of the Senate, which is legally mandated to oversee the agency, is a stark expression of the unchecked powers of the unelected spooks and generals who run the intelligence and military agencies. The fact that the top US spy agency can carry out secret torture programs, act to sabotage a congressional probe of this criminal activity, and then go scot-free reflects the disintegration of American democracy and the emergence, behind the formal trappings of elections, etc., of the framework of a police state.

Obama’s discussion of torture deserves to be considered in some detail, because his argument summarizes in a few sentences the sophistries and lies employed by official Washington to cover up its crimes against the world’s population.

He began: “In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.”

Torture was not a blemish on the otherwise pristine “values” of American imperialism, but an expression of its violent and reactionary character. The US government has killed many millions of people in imperialist wars over the past half-century, from Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to torturing prisoners directly, it has subcontracted out the dirty work to dozens of murderous regimes, from Pinochet in Chile to the Shah of Iran to the Saudi monarchs and Egyptian generals of today.

Obama continued: “I understand why it happened. I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent, and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this.”

The “pressure” on the CIA to engage in torture did not come from the “people,” however, but from top officials of the Bush administration, starting with President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Leading congressional Democrats were kept well informed of what was taking place at CIA “black sites” overseas, but the American people were deliberately kept in the dark by the US government so that it could conduct its repressive measures with a minimum of opposition.

Obama added: “It’s important for us to not feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. A lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots, but having said all that, we did some things that were wrong.”

This was aimed at reassuring the CIA that there would be no consequences arising from the release next week of a declassified version of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the torture program, known in agency jargon as Rendition/Detention/Interrogation (RDI).

The full 6,300-page report will remain classified, but a 400-page summary is to be released after heavy editing by CIA officials, including many of those directly responsible for the “black sites.” The New York Times reported last week that as many as 200 agents active in the torture program still work at the CIA, many of them now occupying senior positions.

Among them is Brennan himself, who, as a high-level official in the CIA during the Bush administration, helped oversee the torture program and publicly defended it. Obama had wanted to promote Brennan to the top post in the CIA at the beginning of his first term in 2009, but withdrew his nomination at the time because of Brennan’s association with Bush-era torture programs and concerns that he might fail to secure Senate ratification.

Instead, Obama made Brennan his top counter-terrorism adviser, where he oversaw the administration’s drone assassination program. Once reelected, Obama moved to place Brennan at the head of the main US spy agency. The Senate ratified the nomination by a comfortable margin, with the overwhelming support of Senate Democrats.

Obama’s admission that “we tortured some folks” has definite significance under the International Convention on Torture. If the US government declines to prosecute the torturers—as Obama has repeatedly indicated—this could trigger legal actions by other governments or international tribunals.

Obama concluded his remarks by claiming, in a particularly obscene comment, that “we have to, as a country, take responsibility.” This from the president who declared in 2009 that no one should be prosecuted for any of the crimes committed under the Bush administration—wars based on lies, torture, illegal surveillance—because his administration wanted to “look forward, not backward.”

Obama’s claim to have halted the torture of alleged terrorists is absurd and worthless under conditions where he not only acts to shield the torturers from criminal prosecution, or, indeed, any other form of accountability, but promotes them to head the US intelligence apparatus. His own words—following his admission of ordering the drone assassination of US citizens—brand him as a war criminal.

The American people are not responsible for torture by the CIA, or for drone missile assassinations, imperialist wars and other crimes committed by the US military-intelligence apparatus. The American people do not control the machinery of violence and repression headquartered in Washington. Proof of that lies in the fact, as the revelations of Edward Snowden have made clear, that the main target of US government surveillance efforts—and ultimately of US government violence—is the American population itself.

On July 10–11, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held a two-day conference on the South China Sea, from which they published a 22-page report entitled “Recent Trends in the South China Sea and US Policy.”

The CSIS has played a key role in the Obama administration’s ‘pivot’ to Asia. Their concrete recommendations for the provocative escalation of the US military encirclement and diplomatic isolation of China have been consistently carried out. A report on US policy in the South China Sea from the CSIS should be regarded as having semi-official status.

The report opens with a contrived history of the events of the past year in the South China Sea, at every turn blaming escalating regional tensions on the aggressiveness and intransigence of Beijing. The truth is that the drive to war in the region has been pushed at every turn by Washington, with the CSIS playing a leading role.

In the past six months there have been repeated armed standoffs in the South China Sea between Beijing and both Manila and Hanoi. Manila has filed a legal case—drawn up by Washington—disputing China’s claims to the sea before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). And Washington has signed a deal—the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)—with Manila, allowing for the basing of unlimited numbers of US forces anywhere in the country.

In the new report, the CSIS is laying out an even more aggressive agenda for Washington, with two basic thrusts: establishing the legal pretext for rejecting Beijing’s claim to the South China Sea, and escalating the US military presence in the region.

Since former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the ‘pivot’, Washington has always maintained that it was neutral with regards territorial claims in the South China Sea and only had an interest in securing “freedom of navigation.”

The filing of the ITLOS case by Manila represented the beginning of a drive by Washington to legally invalidate nearly the entirety of the Chinese territorial claim. Building on this, the CSIS called on the State Department to draw up a map of the regional disputes “based strictly upon the overlap of coastal EEZs [Exclusive Economic Zones]/continental shelves and the potential maritime entitlements of disputed islands.”

There is pointedly no reference in this to historic maritime claims, which are the basis of the so-called 9-dash map of the South China Sea used by China. A map drawn up as official US policy on the strict criteria laid out by the CSIS would invalidate over 90 percent of Beijing’s territorial claim.

The CSIS called for a freeze on construction activities in the disputed areas, presenting this as a measure to defuse tensions. It is nothing of the sort. Rather this is meant to shore up the legal case before ITLOS, which is based on the argument that Beijing’s claimed territory are simply rocks and not islands, and thus have no territorial baseline.

The concern of Washington and Manila is that Beijing’s constructions in the Spratly islands may expand these ‘rocks’ into ‘islands.’ At the same time, the report approvingly noted that both Taiwan and the Philippines are constructing airstrips on disputed land features. The report claimed that Secretary of State John Kerry will “undoubtedly raise this issue at the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF)” on August 10.

The CSIS is pushing to couple this aggressive legal drive with increased military moves to tighten the noose around China.

The report called for the re-examination of the ban on the sale of lethal weapons to Vietnam. This would assist Vietnam in becoming “a credible deterrent against Chinese aggression.”

Washington’s pretext for the ban on the sale of lethal weaponry to Hanoi is Vietnam’s human rights record. Washington, while carrying out bloody warfare, assassination, rendition and torture in every corner of the globe, trots out its concern for human rights whenever it wishes to enforce its political and economic dictates. To speak of a concern for human rights in Vietnam—a country whose experience of the United States was characterized by Agent Orange, napalm, and over a decade of imperialist war—is particularly hypocritical.

As it did with Burma last year, Washington is prepared to upgrade Vietnam’s human rights status in exchange for economic concessions. Obama’s nominee for ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Ossius, made this clear in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations committee on June 17. He called for upgrading Hanoi’s human rights status, declaring: “There’s really no better time than this year given the Vietnamese interest in a deepening partnership with us.” The proof he cited of Vietnamese interest was their willingness to work to join the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal.

Particularly provocative was the CSIS recommendation that the United States clarify that it would “consider itself obligated to respond under the terms of the Mutual Defense Treaty [MDT] with the Philippines if unprovoked Chinese actions in disputed areas led directly or injury of Philippine troops.” The terms of the MDT obligate the United States to go to war if the Philippines is attacked in the Pacific or in its islands. There has been much concern expressed by the Philippine bourgeoisie that the terms of the MDT do not apply to the South China Sea.

The CSIS is advocating extending this war-trigger treaty to the contested waters, where for the past two years Philippine forces have almost routinely been at armed standoff with Chinese.

The document calls for using EDCA to develop a base at Oyster Bay on the island of Palawan for the immediate deployment of US forces into the South China Sea.

Finally, the CSIS advocates the installation of additional signals intelligence facilities throughout the region in order to establish real-time surveillance of the entire sea. Negotiations with the Philippines have made clear that this would also include the use of aerial surveillance drones.

The CSIS report is a war-mongering document that clearly reflects the agenda of the Obama White House and all Washington to tighten the screws on China. This was made especially clear by a panel hosted during the conference which featured a former assistant secretary of state under Obama, an assistant secretary of National Intelligence under Bill Clinton, a special national security advisor to George W. Bush, and the former commander of the US Marine forces in the Pacific.

The panel staged a diplomatic simulation of war games in the South China Sea. In the simulation, Manila arrested 12 Chinese fishermen for poaching and Beijing responded by having its coast guard blockade eight Filipino Marines stationed on a derelict ship in the South China Sea. These events are pulled directly from the headlines of the past four months.

The panel stated that they needed to “impose a cost” on Beijing, and that the stranded Filipino Marines provided a humanitarian justification for intervention. They mobilized Littoral Combat Ships from Singapore, a portion of the US fleet from Okinawa, some of the Marines from Darwin in northern Australia and a battleship from the Subic Bay base in the Philippines to break up the Chinese blockade. The simulation concluded with the expectation that China would back down. There was applause.

Unlike the display of polite optimism among the warmongers of the CSIS, such a scenario would not end so neatly. It could quite easily escalate into global war.

While millions of people are deeply shocked by the brutal bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli army, politicians and media commentators in Germany have attacked opponents of the war. Isolated anti-Jewish slogans have been highlighted in order to brand demonstrations as anti-Semitic and condemn them.

After thousands demonstrated around the world against the war last weekend, the Israeli army intensified its attacks on Gaza on Monday night. Press reports were of a night of terror, with non-stop bombardments and artillery fire.

Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu warned the population on television the previous evening to prepare for a lengthy military operation, which would not be halted until Hamas had been fully disarmed.

The brutal air, sea and land war against Gaza is an outrageous war crime. For three weeks, the Israeli army has been bombarding densely populated Palestinian residential areas with highly modern technology. On Tuesday, the number of Palestinian deaths rose to 1,110, with many children included among the victims. This is the official figure, and no one knows how many dead lie buried under the rubble. The number of those injured was given as 6,000, including many seriously injured.

The German government fears that the Israeli government’s horrific crimes could provoke an anti-war movement not limited to criticising the Netanyahu government, but also directed against Berlin’s support for Israel and the return of German militarism. Therefore, they are building up the threat of anti-Semitism to suppress all opposition to war.

Midway through last week, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote, “After days of anti-Semitic propaganda at demonstrations against Israel’s military offensive, German President Joachim Gauck sent a strong signal.” Gauck had called upon all Germans to demonstrate against anti-Semitism and not the Israeli government.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière (Christian Democrats) said that Israel had the right to defend itself, which should not be called into question “under any circumstances.” State prosecutors, the police and the authorities had to take strong action against all forms of open or concealed anti-Semitism.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas (Social Democrats, SPD) declared that “anti-Jewish hate speech” was absolutely unacceptable and could not be justified by anything. Anti-Semitism could never be tolerated again in Germany. Freedom of speech did not justify any hatred of peoples and certainly no violence. The justice minister commented that anti-Jewish slogans had to result in criminal charges. Anyone taking on Judaism in this way was also taking on Germany’s constitutional order.

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) also warned jointly with his colleagues from France and Italy against anti-Jewish slogans in Europe. Nothing, including the Gaza conflict, justified the demonisation of Jews.

A glance at Ukraine shows how dishonest this campaign is. There, the German government is cooperating closely with anti-Semitic and fascist organisations. Svoboda, a party that praises Hitler and the Nazi regime, was the most significant political force in the Maidan protests, which assisted in toppling Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovitch early this year.

Last year, the World Jewish Congress demanded the banning of Svoboda. But this did not prevent Steinmeier or representatives of the European Union (EU) and US from cooperating closely with the party’s founder, Oleh Tyahnybok. On several occasions, Tyahnybok has noted his determination to destroy the “Russian-Jewish Mafia which controls Ukraine.” When he took over the chairmanship of Svoboda 10 years ago, he said in a speech to supporters, “Grab your guns, fight the Russian swines, the Germans, the Jewish swines and other sub-humans.”

Tyahnybok called John Demjanjuk, who was convicted for the murder of more than 30,000 mainly Jewish prisoners in the Sobibor concentration camp, a hero. His deputy, Yuri Michaltshisin, founded a think tank called the Josef Goebbels Political Research Centre.

Although all of these facts are known, important ministerial posts were reserved for Svoboda in exchange for it providing the shock troops for the coup in Ukraine. They are now playing a central role in the terrorisation of the population in eastern Ukraine.

When it serves German interests, the government does not have the slightest qualms about cooperating with anti-Semites and fascists. They are also doing so in Hungary, where the neo-fascist party Jobbik won 20 percent of the vote in April. Throughout Europe, right-wing parties are emerging as a direct response to the anti-social policies of the German government and EU.

The current campaign over anti-Semitism thus has absolutely nothing to do with genuine concerns about the potential threat to Jewish citizens. Rather, it is aimed at criminalising protests against war and imperialist crimes, restricting the right to assembly and intensifying police state measures.

In the same cynical manner in which the call “never again Auschwitz!” was used in the 1990s to justify the intervention of the German army outside NATO territory, the supposed struggle against anti-Semitism is a pretext for the abolition of democratic rights and the build-up of the state.

At some of the demonstrations in recent days, thousands of police in uniform and in civilian clothes were on duty. In Berlin last weekend, the ratio of police to demonstrators was one to one. Prior to the start of the demonstration, the police assumed the right to review the banners and placards and then to decide if slogans were permissible or not.

According to a report in the Stuttgarter Zeitung, a state prosecutor and a translator were at the latest demonstration in Stuttgart, along with a large police presence, in order to be able to intervene immediately and take judicial measures.

If the dishonest campaign over anti-Semitism is put to one side, it is obvious that the attacks by politicians and the media are directed against the anti-war nature of the demonstrations. At the beginning of the year, Gauck, Steinmeier and Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen stated that the period of German military restraint was over, and that in the future Germany would once again intervene militarily in the world’s crisis regions independently and with self-confidence.

The support for the governments in Kiev and Jerusalem shows what this means. The German government is preparing comparable war crimes and intends to suppress all opposition from the outset.

The return of German militarism is not only directed against targets abroad but also at home—i.e., it is linked to the abolition of democratic rights. Already a century ago, prior to the First World War, opponents of war were imprisoned. In preparation for the Second World War, democratic structures were completely destroyed and a fascist dictatorship was established.

A key role in the campaign of lies over anti-Semitism and attacks on demonstrators is being played by the Left Party.

Immediately after the beginning of the bombardment of Gaza, the Left Party’s leading trio of Gregor Gysy, Katja Kipping and Berndt Riexinger warned of a one-sided critique. “The international community would be well advised not to falsely encourage either side with one-sided declarations of blame,” they stated. This was “nothing other than encouraging a refusal to make peace. No one is conducting a just war in this war.”

This call to abstain in a conflict between a heavily armed military and a virtually defenceless population, which has been starved, cut off from electricity and water, and bombarded continuously, signifies the toleration and support for war crimes.

The leader of the Left Party in Berlin, Klaus Lederer, went a step further last Friday. He demonstratively took part in a pro-Israel rally in Berlin. He claimed to decisively oppose the one-sided condemnation of Israel in the current conflict. The fact that calls to demonstrate against the current war made a one-sided condemnation of Israel resulted in all sorts of anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic organisations being drawn in, he declared. Regardless of what was said by the organisers, they were right-wing protests.

The support of the Left Party’s leader in Berlin for Israel’s war policy and reign of terror makes clear how right wing the Left Party is.

On Monday, the party’s organ Neues Deutschland published an interview about the demonstrations with the Israeli political scientist Rafael Seligmann. It had the headline, “This is pure hatred and scurrilous.”

The Left Party is using the current situation to signal its unconditional support for the government.

If Nuclear War Doesn’t Exterminate Us The Ebola Virus Might

August 2nd, 2014 by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

I just heard on National Public Radio two things that have totally destroyed what tiny bit of belief I still had in American leadership.  I have concluded that the term “intelligent American” is an oxymoron. 

American elites have decided that Americans are not sufficiently threatened by war and economic chaos, so they are bringing the ebola virus to America. National Public Radio reported that two people infected with the ebola virus, which cannot be cured and is usually deadly, are being brought to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.

 All it takes is one cough, one sneeze, one drop of saliva, and the virus is loose in one of the main transportation centers of the US.

 Pandemic anyone? Little doubt but that most of the world would emit a great sigh of relief to be rid of Washington.

Allegedly the ebola carriers will be quarantined in special rooms.  But we already know that American hospitals cannot even contain staph infections.  What happens to the utensils, plates, cups, and glasses with which the ebola infected persons eat and drink?  And who gets to clean the bed pans?  One slip-up by one person, one tear in a rubber glove, and the virus is loose.

 If we don’t die from ebola, we still have to dodge nuclear war.  I heard part of Obama’s press conference.  Obama accused Putin of doing everything that only Obama is doing.

If Obama believes what he told the press, he is utterly disinformed by his advisors.  If he doesn’t believe the crude propaganda that he speaks, he is consciously leading the drive to war with Russia which probably means war with China as well and the end of us all.

Keep in mind that after eight years the US military was unable to successfully occupy Iraq and that after 13 years the US is unable to defeat a few thousand lightly armed Taliban in Afghanistan.

 Russia and China are not Iraq, Libya, or Afghanistan.

War with Russia will be nuclear.  Washington has prepared for it. Washington has abandoned the ABM treaty, created what it thinks is an ABM shield, and changed its war doctrine to permit US nuclear first strike.  All of this is obviously directed at Russia, and the Russian government knows it.  How long will Russia sit there waiting for Washington’s first strike?

 Russia hasn’t done anything except get in the way, belatedly, of Washington’s lies that Washington uses to start wars.  Russia (and China) went along with Washington’s lies

about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.  Russia (and China) went along with Washington’s lies that Washington’s 13-year attempted conquest and occupation of Afghanistan had to do with finding Osama bin Laden.  Washington (and China) fell for Washington’s deception that a UN resolution establishing a no-fly zone over Libya was for the purpose of preventing Gaddafi’s air force from bombing his own people, only to discover that Washington misused the resolution to send the NATO air force to overthrow the Libyan government.

 When Washington drew a “red line” in the sand with regard to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against the outside forces that Washington had organized and sent into Syria to overthrow the government, all the while pretending that these Islamists mercenaries were the true spokesmen for democracy in Syria, most of the world knew that Washington was about to organize a chemical attack and blame Assad.  When the Washington orchestrated attack happened on schedule, this time Russia and China did not fall for it.  And neither did the British Parliament.  Washington was unable to produce any evidence for the charges that Washington made and hoped would bring in at least the British to support Washington’s military assault on Syria.  Russia, however, was able to produce evidence, and the evidence foiled Washington’s plot against Syria.

 Russia’s intervention angered Washington, as did Russia’s intervention that blocked

Washington’s plot to attack Iran.  Washington, devoid of all evidence and in contradiction to the reports from the International Atomic Energy Agency from inspectors on the ground in Iran that there was no diversion of uranium from the legal energy program to a weapons program, had Iran set up for attack.  Iran was surrounded by about 40 US military bases and two of Washington’s fleets off its coast.

 But in stepped Russia and worked out a deal, which Washington had to accept, that kept Iranian uranium enrichment at the low level used for energy, a level far below weapons requirements.

 Two black marks against Russia whose government prevented wars that Washington wanted. Russia (and China) were supposed to endorse Washington’s lies like the puppet states of Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan, countries that long ago gave up their sovereignty to Washington.

Unfortunately for Russia, Russia demonstrated that Russia had achieved sufficient power and influence to block Washington’s war plans and, thereby, brought into action against Russia the Wolfowitz Doctrine.  I have cited this doctrine in recent columns, but you can google it and read it for yourself.  The doctrine is the basis for Washington’s foreign policy and declares that the principle goal of Washington’s foreign policy is to prevent the rise of any country that could serve as a check on Washington’s hegemony over the world. (The doctrine explicitly mentions Russia but also applies to China.)

Washington is disturbed that Russia has twice foiled Washington’s war intentions and that the Parliament of the US Puppet State of Great Britain voted with the Russians.

Washington is also concerned with the growing economic and political relations between Washington’s EU puppet states and Russia.  EU countries, especially Germany, have numerous and profitable economic connections with Russia, and all of Europe is dependent on Russian supplied energy.

 

Washington concluded that Washington was in danger of losing its control over Europe.

While the Russian government was asleep at the switch enjoying the Olympics, Washington pulled off its coup in Kiev.

 

Neoconservative Victoria Nuland, appointed by Obama as Assistant Secretary of State,

announced at a press conference last December that Washington had spent $5 billion

purchasing fifth column Ukrainian NGOs that can be put into street demonstrations to destabilize a government and on grooming and purchasing Ukrainian politicians who will serve as Washington’s stooges. Nuland, of course, described Washington’s purchase of Ukraine as “furthering democracy” in Ukraine.

 

Washington’s coup against a democratically elected government brought to power extreme elements that proclaimed their hatred of Jews and Russians.  These elements destroyed Russian war memorials erected to remember Russia’s liberation of Ukraine from the Third Reich, passed legislation outlawing Russian as an official language, and engaged in violent physical attacks on the Russian speaking population.

 

Ukraine has always been an area of changing borders. As some have put it, “Ukraine is a country in search of borders.” When Ukraine was a Soviet province, Soviet leaders attached, for various reasons, traditional Russian provinces to the Ukraine Socialist Soviet Republic.  When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, pressure from Washington on a weak Russia resulted in the separation of Ukraine from Russia and this included Crimea, a part of Russia since the 1700s and Russia’s warm water port.

The Russian populations in the former Russian territories that Soviet leaders foolishly attached to Ukraine were alarmed by the extreme Russophobia of the government that Washington established in Kiev.  The former Russian territories voted to rejoin their mother country and to depart the Russophobic US puppet state established in Kiev.

The Russian government accepted the request from Crimea, but not the requests  from the other former Russian provinces in order to demonstrate to Europe that Russia was not provocative and not the source of the crisis.  Putin even had the Russian Duma rescind his power to intervene militarily in Ukraine in order to protect the secessionist provinces.

This restraint hurt rather than helped the Russian government’s position. Washington

used its propaganda machine to label self-determination by Crimeans as “invasion and annexation by Russia of Crimea.”

 

Russia’s restraint with regard to requests to rejoin Russia from the other former Russian  provinces resulted in a Washington encouraged military attack by its puppet government in Kiev against the separatist provinces that Russia refused to accept. Washington’s propaganda then succeeded in blaming Russia for the war that Washington launched on the separatist provinces.

Washington is not interested in the truth, and Russia cannot win a propaganda war with Washington which controls the world language, which is English, the language of Washington’s propaganda. The Western media consists of idiots who are enabling Washington’s drive toward war and the extermination of life on earth.

 

If the Russian government had accepted the separatist provinces request, there would be no war.  The Ukrainian government is demented and controlled by Washington, but it is not going to attack territories acknowledged by Russia as its territory.

By showing restraint, Russia has convinced Washington that Russia is weak, and Washington has increased the pressure. Russia has convinced Europe that there is

no cost from Russia to Europe’s complying with Washington’s sanctions.  By relying on good will, reasonableness, truth and evidence, Russia has misread Washington and its craven European puppets.

 What Obama meant in his White House Press Conference today (August 1) when he said that Putin should use diplomacy–which Putin has been using to no effect–is that Putin should hand Crimea, over the objection of Crimeans and the Russian people, to Washington’s puppet government in Kiev so that Washington can evict Russia from its warm weather port and access to the Mediterranean Sea, thus making redundant Russia’s naval base at Tartus, Syria.  Obama also wants Putin to send into the separatist areas of Ukraine, areas that traditionally were part of Russia, Russian military forces  to subdue the breakaway territories for Washington’s puppet government in Kiev.

 This is Washington’s “diplomatic” position.  Only a totally demented person could regard Obama’s position as realistic.

 As a person who is considered fair-minded by world media and who arrives at reasonable conclusions independently of Washington’s propaganda, I am often interviewed by foreign as well as US independent media organizations.  As of late, the Russian media has turned to me on a number of occasions.  What I have learned is that the Russian media is perplexed by Washington’s hostility to Russia.

Russia is not operating in the old Confederate South trying to turn the American South

against Washington for Washington’s rapine, murder, and destruction of the Southern culture, but Washington is operating in the Russian South trying to turn Ukraine, long a part of Russia, against Russia.

As Russians, except perhaps for the government, are unaware of the Wolfowitz Doctrine, they do not know that the main goal of Washington is to prevent the rise of all other powers that could limit Washington’s role as sole Unipower, Hegemon over Earth.

 Instead of realizing the real threat, Russian media organizations ask me if the Russian budget can stand responding to sanctions from Washington and the EU by cutting off the energy supply to Europe.

Each time I hear this question I am astonished.  Russia can shut down much of European industry and deprive the Europeans of heat in winter, and Russian media ask me if Russia can afford it?

Can Russia afford to be demonized by lies, to be driven into the ground by propagandistic sanctions that will hurt Europe and some US corporations, to convey the

image that Russia is so weak as to be helpless in the face of Western sanctions as to accept the sanctions without demonstrating the cost to Europe and the US?

 Does Washington even have Russians brainwashed?

I am concerned about the crisis that Washington has orchestrated, because I believe it is leading to war, which will be nuclear.  Are you ready to be destroyed over Washington’s lies about one Malaysian airliner?  I am convinced that Washington is behind the destruction of MH-17, because Washington’s propaganda show was already ready and was instantly in performance.  That Washington is responsible is the reason that Washington will not release its satellite photos of the area during the moment of the airliner’s destruction.  That Washington is responsible is the reason that Washington replies to Russian hard evidence with lies and propaganda. It is Obama and Obama’s stooges in Kiev that refuse to negotiate, not Russia.

 Russia has as many nuclear warheads as Washington, and Washington’s “ABM shield” is a farce.  If the insane American government drives a crisis, which Washington alone created, to war, we will all die, and for what?  The answer is: for a Washington LIE.

Do you want to die for a lie? Another Washington lie?

If you don’t, you had better let Washington know.

Russia cannot end this crisis unless it puts its foot down.  I have previously made the case that Russia should take its case to the UN.  Alternatively, the Russian government needs to engage Europe in two questions.  One is does Europe want its energy supplies from Russia cut off, energy that Washington, despite its lies, cannot replace for 3 or more years if at all..  The other is does Europe want war with Russia and does Europe think that those idiotic countries that host Washington’s missiles won’t be nuked and exterminated?

 The crisis in Ukraine will continue to Russia’s and all of humanity’s cost until Russia explains to the stupid, arrogant, hubris-filled West that the West’s criminal and aggressive actions against Russia bear a real cost, and that Russia is prepared to impose the cost.

The propagandized people in the West have no idea of the fate toward which their demented governments are driving them.  Russia needs to make it clear to the brainwashed propagandized peoples in the West that Russia is not going to be a puppet state of the West or to accept gratuitous aggression from the White House Fool.

 It would help to save life on Earth if China also made this clear.

The sooner the better.

Unless the world reins in the demented criminals in Washington, the world has signed its own death warrant.

We’ve seen these tricks before and the images they conjure for the unwary. 

Not only are these supposed “massive tunnel networks” they’re screaming about “secret and hidden”, but like stories about the big ogre we only hear about but never see, these fake “intelligence reports” can paint any illusory monster they want with their bombardment of misinformation and propaganda.

Where did we hear about this “tunnel” scheme before? Oh yeah, the massive underground bunkers in Afghanistan.

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With this and other false allegations they bombed the hell out of that innocent country in order to find the Osama bin Ogre. Of course he was hidden in his plush tunnel network from whence he masterminded and bamboozled, by cell phone no less, the entire western megalomilitary machine. And of course these massive, heavily armed, elaborate and sophisticated hideouts were never found, nor were any weapons of mass destruction found in Iraq. But who needs proof once you’ve got the excuse and the war is under way?

You don’t need to provide any evidence in today’s “mediotic” world, just a big enough microphone, as in the Zionist controlled mass-hysteria media. Just look at this nonsense propaganda being passed on as reliable information that clearly indicates and attempts to justify their “need” to bomb Gaza until it’s one massive crater to “really get the job done” in order to destroy this “massive tunnel system” located under every inch of “terrorist” Gaza.

bunker634x411

Found! With photo op! Part of Bin Laden’s massive labyrinth of evil, as publicized by the mainstream media after the 9/11 “retaliation”.

In the following excerpt by the Washington Times, the focus is on Hamas’ secret tunnels:

Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network

Israeli military intelligence is facing criticism for failing to comprehend the network of tunnels and other underground facilities built by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.

“We’ll see when the war was over,” Mr. Pollak said in an interview, “but it is clear that the underground tunnel complex was far more extensive than Israeli military intelligence understood.”

Information that Israel Defense Forces reportedly obtained from captured Hamas fighters revealed that the group was planning to use several Gaza tunnels that extend under Israeli territory for a major attack timed with the beginning of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, on Sept. 24.

The plan called for Hamas fighters to surface from the tunnels in Israel and kill as many people as possible. The plot was first reported by the Israeli newspaper Maariv.

Israel’s military operation against Hamas in Gaza has gone on longer than expected because of the discovery of the extensive tunnel network, which is estimated to have cost as much as $2 billion to construct. (Source)

So, You Wanna Go Looking in Caves and Tunnels, Do You?

The 9/11 hoax was perhaps the biggest open display of outright trauma based mind control ever perpetrated on humanity.

Aaron Russo, a true hero of our time, was laughingly told they’d be “looking in caves” for invented terrorists following 9/11 by a very well placed insider, a Rockefeller. Go to 3 minutes in if you’d like to cut to that point. The whole video is mindblowingly good.

They apparently like the caves and tunnels meme to hide their fake enemies in. After all, you’ll never see them, only imagine them. And that feeds the entrained program.

But Wait…There’s More!

“Let’s also get that suicide bomber thing out there, that always works, and massive secret troop reserves readying to conduct raids on poor innocent Israelis. It’s worked for decades, why not pile on the BS as long as we’re at it. After all, we’re ready to wipe Gaza right off the map, we might need it for PR and getting even more weapons and money from the US stooges…”

The following excerpt is from CNN:

Israeli Analyst: Hamas Has 3,000 Elite Soldiers Ready to Die in Suicide Attacks on Israel

An Israeli analyst told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Friday morning that he received information from reliable sources that 3,000 Hamas elite soldiers told their families goodbye and appear ready to carry out suicide attacks on Israel.

Middle East analyst Gershon Baskin said that all the fighters were equipped with suicide vests and that they had expected to die in terrorist attacks.

Baskin spoke just hours after a Hamas suicide attack, believed to have been conducted by the group’s militant wing Ezzedine al-Qassam brigade, killed two Israeli soldiers. During the surprise Hamas attack, which happened two hours into the 72-hour agreement for a cease fire, the militants captured an Israeli officer.

“You say these elite fighting forces they’re all prepared– they all go in with suicided*** vests ready to kill themselves in order to kill Israelis?” Blitzer asked as Baskin nodded.

“I was told by someone who had spoke to al-Qassam, the military wing of officer who said that before the ground operation began they were all instructed to go to their families and say goodbye to their families with the intent that they would not be returning alive from this battle,” Baskin told Blitzer in an news report airing live from Israel. “This is one of the very difficult things about fighting with an organization like Hamas, particularly these very dedicated soldiers, combatants who are not afraid to die.”

“We will do what needs to be done to protect our people,” Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Blitzer after Baskin’s interview. (Source)

After all, Zionist Wolf Blitzer echoed it on mainstain news, it must be true. Why would anyone make something like this up? And the horrific echo at the end: “We will do what needs to be done to protect our people.”

More Absolute Madness – Telegenics and “Human Shields”

That Netankillyoo would even consider saying the Palestinians are deliberately allowing themselves to be decimated to create a “telegenic” effect that “makes Israel look bad” is beyond belief. Yet the media carries this crap as if it deserves conscious attention.

Dead women, dead children, dead babies. Limbs missing, brains missing, guts spilled out on the floor. It’s impossible to put a positive spin on those kinds of images, unless you’re Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Two days ago, Bibi sought to explain why, in the space of a few hours, Israeli soldiers, under his orders, massacred 63 people, including 17 children, in the Shuja’iya neighborhood to the east of Gaza City. He said:

“We have to protect ourselves. We try to target the rocketeers, we do. And all civilian casualties are not intended by us but actually intended by Hamas who want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can because somebody said they use telegenically dead Palestinians for the cause. They want the more dead the better.”

Think about that for a moment, and while you do so, consider this image of a Palestinian girl in her father’s arms. Half of her head was blown off by Netanyahu’s soldiers in the Shuja’iya neighborhood two days ago.

What Netanyahu is saying is “the Palestinians are MAKING us kill them”. Many parallels could be drawn with this statement. The rapist who accuses his victim of ‘making him do it’ or ‘asking for it’; the psychologically deranged murderer who claims that he killed prostitutes ‘to save them’. When it raises its ugly head in civil society, this kind of twisted psychopathic thinking provokes revulsion and is universally condemned, yet when Netanyahu employs it in relation to the Israeli attack on Gaza, it’s accepted as a reasonable argument that absolves him and his shock troops of the mass murder of civilians. (Source)

That’s the mad world in which we’re living in a mad nutshell.

If that’s not bad enough, he claims the Palestinian resistance is using their own as “human shields”, when that is exactly what Israel has been documented doing time and again, which only adds fuel to their funeral pyre.

From the Israel Defense Force’s own website:

The IDF is currently engaged in Operation Protective Edge against Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip. Hamas places weapons and missile launchers in densely populated areas. They also send men, women and children to act as human shields for terrorists.

Innocent bystanders can be killed as a result of Hamas’ abuse of its own civilians. Instead of keeping its citizens out of harm’s way, Hamas encourages and even forces Gazans to join its violent resistance against Israel.

During Operation Protective Edge, evidence of Hamas’ and other terror organizations’ use of human shields has surfaced. (Source)

That crap is supposed to justify gratuitous mass murder anywhere they want to aim their genocidal weaponry. Is anybody even paying attention?

The irony is that this is exactly what Israel is perpetrating. Creating these very illusions of “telegenic” death while literally using Palestinians as human shields in every possible form.

Headscratching, or Heart Rending?

The entire premise with which this usurping Zionist machine is exerting itself is based on one huge lie. Every aspect of it, from the religiously privileged malarkey, the poor, persecuted minority propaganda, to the defense of a literally stolen homeland charade. That realization will take most people some time, the propaganda has been so thorough and for so long. They very cleverly entrenched this fabrication inside of embedded emotional responses and fear based social programming over time, best exemplified now by so-called “political correctness”, a mainstay of the modern propaganda machine.

I think anyone with a conscience can sense this massive, aggressive disinformation campaign can’t be real, but they buy into it anyway, feeling it’s the safe, comfortable and accepted way to think. After all, look at the consequences. The Zio-minions have even released street gangs just to up the ante of backlash if you dare to oppose this projected scheme, never mind the public humiliation of anyone who dares to speak up against these ongoing atrocities and their source.

They’re now (again) turning the natural human outrage of an obviously cold and calculated land grabbing genocide by Israel into a form of anti-semitism. As in post 9/11 American jingoism, anyone not pro-Israel is now considered sympathetic to the cleverly demonized Hamas, no doubt infiltrated and controlled as in the case of fabricated al Qaida. Same old game. Controlled opposition is perhaps fascism’s most powerful tool, along with propaganda. Create the problems as they suit your ends using any means necessary. Then enact “the solution”.

Rallying their propaganda troops to dismantle any protest as either racially biased or an outright crime becomes a walk in the park. Georgie Bush’s “You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists” comes quickly to mind. The post staged 9/11 false choice of ages.

Decimation Tells the Tale – Snap Out of It

Look where that pre-planned staged 9/11 campaign based on psyops and staged events led – the decimation of nation after nation which continues to this day. The Israeli’s are only following their own corrupt lying script and again campaigning on these worn out propaganda lies and distortions. It’s time people snapped out of this fear-based hypnosis and called a spade a spade.

This type of social steering is happening on so many fronts they’re hard to count. It’s all propaganda warfare first and foremost, and as stunned humanity swallows this barrage of words and false images it holds them at bay long enough to accomplish their desired results. The repercussions afterwards are a piece of cake to handle. History attests to this time and again.

They’re fucking with humanity, primarily in its mind, as spiritually based parasites do. These ongoing horrific atrocities we’re witnessing then follow their pre-determined lead as does permission and condoning on the part of complicit, cowering humanity.

Take Heart – The Wake Up Is Going Viral

Realizing these types of truths can be devastating and leave you feeling helpless and alone. Don’t let it. We are many, and our ranks are growing by the minute. Hungry sincere souls are watching anxiously and looking for resolution in some form to spare the dear people of Palestine. But most of all, hearts long for a virtual splitting of the veil, a massive awakening where we can all bask in the light of truth together as these dark machinations are exposed and thereby destroyed.

As I’ve said before, the battlefield of awakening is you. And me. Keep that close to your heart and know that that is where true empowerment and solutions are awaiting anybody and everybody. It happens one heart at a time, but this beautiful awakening of humanity is now reaching critical mass.

Don’t look for confirmation in the media. You’ll know it in your heart. It’s time to fully awaken and activate, and do the part we’re each called and compelled to do.

This is an opportunity of the ages. Let’s not miss it. Charge the breach – consciously.

This is a call for an immediate, thorough, and independent investigation of Tulane University researchers (see here and here) and their Fort Detrick associates in the US biowarfare research community, who have been operating in West Africa during the past several years.

What exactly have they been doing?

Exactly what diagnostic tests have they been performing on citizens of Sierra Leone?

Why do we have reports that the government of Sierra Leone has recently told Tulane researchers to stop this testing?

Have Tulane researchers and their associates attempted any experimental treatments (e.g., injecting monoclonal antibodies) using citizens of the region? If so, what adverse events have occurred?

The research program, occurring in Sierra Leone, the Republic of Guinea, and Liberia—said to be the epicenter of the 2014 Ebola outbreak—has the announced purpose, among others, of detecting the future use of fever-viruses as bioweapons.

Is this purely defensive research? Or as we have seen in the past, is this research being covertly used to develop offensive bioweapons?

For the last several years, researchers from Tulane University have been active in the African areas where Ebola is said to have broken out in 2014.

These researchers are working with other institutions, one of which is USAMRIID, the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, a well-known center for biowar research, located at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

In Sierra Leone, the Tulane group has been researching new diagnostic tests for hemorrhagic fevers.

Note: Lassa Fever, Ebola, and other labels are applied to a spectrum of illness that result in hemorrhaging.

Tulane researchers have also been investigating the use of monoclonal antibodies as a treatment for these fevers—but not on-site in Africa, according to Tulane press releases.

Here are excerpts from supporting documents.

Tulane University, Oct. 12, 2012, “Dean’s Update: Update on Lassa Fever Research” (.pdf here):

“In 2009, researchers received a five-year $7,073,538 grant from the National Institute of Health to fund the continued development of detection kits for Lassa viral hemorrhagic fever.

“Since that time, much has been done to study the disease. Dr. Robert Garry, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Dr. James Robinson, Professor of Pediatrics, have been involved in the research of Lassa fever. Together the two have recently been able to create what are called human monoclonal antibodies. After isolating the B-cells from patients that have survived the disease, they have utilized molecular cloning methods to isolate the antibodies and reproduce them in the laboratory. These antibodies have been tested on guinea pigs at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and shown to help prevent them from dying of Lassa fever…

“Most recently, a new Lassa fever ward is being constructed in Sierra Leone at the Kenema Government Hospital. When finished, it will be better equipped to assist patients affected by the disease and will hopefully help to end the spread of it.” [The Kenema Hospital is one of the centers of the Ebola outbreak.]

Here is another release from Tulane University, this one dated Oct. 18, 2007. “New Test Moves Forward to Detect Bioterrorism Threats.”

“The initial round of clinical testing has been completed for the first diagnostic test kits that will aid in bioterrorism defense against a deadly viral disease. Tulane University researchers are collaborating in the project.

“Robert Garry, professor of microbiology and immunology at Tulane University, is principal investigator in a federally funded study to develop new tests for viral hemorrhagic fevers.

“Corgenix Medical Corp., a worldwide developer and marketer of diagnostic test kits, announced that the first test kits for detection of hemorrhagic fever have competed initial clinical testing in West Africa.

“The kits, developed under a $3.8 million grant awarded by the National Institutes of Health, involve work by Corgenix in collaboration with Tulane University, the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, BioFactura Inc. and Autoimmune Technologies.

“Clinical reports from the studies in Sierra Leone continue to show amazing results,” says Robert Garry, professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane University School of Medicine and principal investigator of the grant.

“We believe this remarkable collaboration will result in detection products that will truly have a meaningful impact on the healthcare in West Africa, but will also fill a badly needed gap in the bioterrorism defense.

“…The clinical studies are being conducted at the Mano River Union Lassa Fever Network in Sierra Leone. Tulane, under contract with the World Health Organization, implements the program in the Mano River Union countries (Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea) to develop national and regional prevention and control strategies for Lassa fever and other important regional diseases.

“Clinical testing on the new recombinant technology demonstrates that our collaboration is working,” says Douglass Simpson, president of Corgenix. “We have combined the skills of different parties, resulting in development of some remarkable test kits in a surprisingly short period of time. As a group we intend to expand this program to address other important infectious agents with both clinical health issues and threat of bioterrorism such as ebola.”

The third document is found on the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation Facebook page (no login required), dated July 23 at 1:35pm. It lays out emergency measures to be taken. We find this curious statement: “Tulane University to stop Ebola testing during the current Ebola outbreak.”

Why? Are the tests issuing false results? Are they frightening the population? Have Tulane researchers done something to endanger public health?

In addition to an investigation of these matters, another probe needs to be launched into all vaccine campaigns in the Ebola Zone. For example. HPV vaccine programs have been ongoing. Vials of vaccine must be tested to discover ALL ingredients. Additionally, it’s well known that giving vaccines to people whose immune systems are already severely compromised is dangerous and deadly.

Thanks to birdflu666.wordpress.com for discovering hidden elements of the Ebola story.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com

World public attention is now fixed on the aftermath of the destruction of  Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 in Donbass in the midst of the Ukrainian civil war. This horrific event is doubtless an immense tragedy worthy of unequivocal condemnation. Before any serious investigation to ascertain direct culpability was established, though, the regime in Kiev and its Western puppet masters spared no time in cynically exploiting this tragedy to gain the maximum dividends to bolster their increasingly weakened position.

Unsurprisingly, and with great alacrity, the Kiev regime and the West made not tentative statements, but bold and often hysterical declarations blaming Russia and the militias of Donbass for the tragedy. At the same time, much of the Western and Kiev regime’s tenuous “social media” evidence is already discredited by discerning analysts. [1]

Regarding the tragedy of Flight MH17, context is not only instructive but indispensable. Overall, it is no exaggeration to say that at no historical junction since World War II has global political, geopolitical, diplomatic, and economic conditions converged in such a manner to produce conditions conducive to the outbreak of a general world war. With the world’s unabated transition from unipolarity to multipolarity, the diminishing of Anglo-American hegemony continues to drive the Empire towards increasingly exporting chaos and conflict to prop itself up. One need only look, inter alia, at East Asia’s militarization, Iraq, HondurasVenezuela on multiple fronts, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine itself—the state of which is the direct result of a US-NATO ‘regime change’ operation.

More specifically, the MH17 tragedy’s immediate response should be viewed as part of a long-term US project to geopolitically checkmate Russia—the only great power with the wherewithal and historical dynamism to consistently oppose Western hegemony. MH17 accelerates a strategy that acts through multiple vectors: encirclement through aggressive NATO expansion; subversion through “illegal instruments of soft-power; economic warfare through unilateral sanctions; and ultimately dismemberment via partition — the so-called “Brzezinski Plan.” This ambitious project to impose a Carthaginian peace on the Russian Federation was faltering when the MH17 tragedy struck.

As we shall see, the Kiev regime and its puppet masters in Washington faced defeat on all levels. Internationally, the recent Obama regime effort to “isolate” Russia into becoming a pariah state was an abject failure: Moscow continued its path of economic and strategic cooperation with a multitude of emerging and status quo states in the world’s transitioning multipolar framework. Notably, Russia solidified its strategic alliance with China through a colossal $400 billion dollar economic energy deal. Additionally—in what is a world historical watershed—Moscow helped to broker the BRICS multilateral development bank. This is the first challenge to the “economic hit men” of the Western dominated IMF-World Bank complex—a sinew of continued Western and Anglo-American hegemony. Additionally, Washington’s attempt to recruit Europe in its bid to “isolate” Russia was unsuccessful with the general European response being tepid at best.

On the ground in Donbass, the Ukrainian armed forces faced tremendous losses and encirclement. They also faced mounting international awareness of the wanton savagery and human rights violations of its punitive ethnic cleansing operation against the entire population of Donbass—which in Orwellian terms it calls an “Anti-Terrorist Operation.” Additionally, signs of a domestic backlash against the human cost of this so-called “ATO” and its forced conscription started to manifest. Meanwhile, the Ukraine’s economy continues a downward economic spiral with the effects of the Western demanded neoliberal austerity regime already being felt by the general populace – and only beginning.

The West and Kiev’s exploitation of the MH17 tragedy is intended to reverse these defeats. The tragedy is a boon to the NATO bloc on a number of levels: it provides justification for Russia’s US assigned bête noire status on the international level; increased US militarization of Eastern Europe, including a potential direct NATO troop presence in Ukraine; while also preparing US public opinion for increased confrontation with Russia; and it gives impetus to Europe adopting a more virulently anti-Russian position. For the Kiev regime the tragedy lends itself to its unmitigated vilification of all things Russian; it conceals their losses on the ground and notably attempts to legitimize their wanton slaughter of the population of Donbass. Through blaming the destruction of MH17—a terrorist-like attack eliciting deep emotional reactions—on Russia and the Donbass militias, it permits the Kiev regime to associate Donbass’s armed resistance against Kiev’s authority with outright terrorism. The Kiev regime’s contention that it is waging an “Anti-Terrorist Operation” in Donbass is thus given credence.

“Isolating” Russia

An omnipresent Western ambition for the expansion of their strategic ‘bridgehead’ into the Eurasian super-continent reached its apex with the onset of the Ukraine crisis. To begin with, the current regime in Kiev is the product of yet another Washington engineered ‘regime change’ operation to create a NATO state (official or de facto) with anti-Russian animus directly within Russia’s ‘soft-underbelly.’ As it continued its path of conducting independent foreign policy, Russia refused to accept NATO’s Ukraine ‘regime change’ scenario in toto—which, inter alia, would have rendered the Black Sea a NATO lake. This refusal was expressed through Russia’s reunification with Crimea. As a result, the US began a qualitative escalation in geopolitically checkmating Russia: “isolation.” US Secretary of State John Kerry warned of measures to “isolate Russia politically, diplomatically and economically” while the New York Times reported, the Obama regime preparing to “retrofit” a “containment” [2] of Russia by holding “together an international consensus against Russia, including even China.”

The US subsequently began an aggressive campaign to pursue this policy. “President Barack Obama gathered with world leaders in a day of delicate diplomacy, as he sought to rally the international community Monday around efforts to isolate Russia,” AP reported. Obama made stops in Asia for his far-fetched attempt to recruit China for this strategy, the London Guardian reported: “The White House has added meetings with the leaders of China and Japan to Barack Obama’s visit to Europe and Saudi Arabia next week, as it seeks to use the six-day trip to build an international coalition and isolate Russia.” Obama also visited close Moscow ally Kazakhstan as “part of ongoing effort to isolate Russia.”

This attempt to “isolate” Russia — territorially the largest nation-state in the world, with the 6th largest economy — and the limiting of its supposed “expansionist” designs (never mind the fact that a democratically elected leader was overthrown through Washington’s machinations) ended in abject failure. Moscow’s path of economic and strategic cooperation with emerging states and Europe continued apace.

In the MENA region Russia clinched an investment cooperation deal with US Gulf state ally Bahrain, to US consternation. Regarding this development, a State Department official noted “this is not the time for any country to conduct business as usual with Russia.” Russia also notably continued to cultivate its burgeoning rapprochement with Egypt under the administration Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, clinching a deal for a below market rate gas export deal. Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy had previously stated Egypt would “seek to nurture and leverage” ties to Moscow. Furthermore, there exists the prospect of increased military cooperation, akin to Moscow’s relationship with Egypt during the apex of Egypt’s influence in the era of Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Crucially, Russia solidified what is now in fact a strategic alliance against the US “Empire of Chaos” with China. This took form through a $400 billion energy deal in addition to economic development for Crimea and industrial cooperation in the field of aviation with China. This deal, called by one analyst the manifestation of a “new Eurasian century-in-the-making” included provisions whereby “the giant, state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom will agree to supply the giant state-controlled China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) with 3.75 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas a day for no less than 30 years, starting in 2018…the equivalent of a quarter of Russia’s massive gas exports to all of Europe.” Additionally, the major Chinese and Russian central banks clinched deals to begin making payments in their own domestic currencies. RT reported:

VTB, Russia’s second biggest lender, has signed a deal with Bank of China, which includes an agreement to pay each other in domestic currencies. ‘Under the agreement, the banks plan to develop their partnership in a number of areas, including cooperation on ruble and renminbi settlements, investment banking, inter-bank lending, trade finance and capital-markets transactions,’ says the official VTB statement.

Implicitly, the dollar, a sinew of US world supremacy, is excluded from this immense forthcoming deepening of Sino-Russian economic cooperation. That Russia and China committed to a colossal 30 year $400 billion deal signifies a long-term partnership between the two world powers that speaks of a strategic component.

At the Fourth Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures, China called for a new regional security pact including Russia and Iran. “We need to innovate our security cooperation (and) establish new regional security cooperation architecture,” Chinese President Xi Xinping remarked. Xi also issued a veiled warning against the US’s anti-Chinese militarization in East Asia, asserting “To beef up military alliances targeted at a third party is not conducive to maintaining common security in the region.” The facts speak of a Chinese recognition that the same vectors of subversion and encirclement arrayed against Russia are arrayed against it. Far from aiding in the “isolation” of Russia, or other quixotic American dream scenarios, China understands it must lean on Russia in a mutually beneficial relationship to check the “Empire of Chaos.” Indeed, it was US theoretician Zbigniew Brzezinksi, an eminence grise of Obama regime foreign policy, who once referred to a potential Russo-Chinese-Iranian alliance as the most “dangerous scenario” for US primacy on the Eurasian super-continent. [3]

Such a harrowing anti-US strategic framework is arguably beginning to take form, albeit still inchoate. In the wake of the US attempt to “isolate” Russia, signs of a Russo-Iranian rapprochement emerged. As the New York Times reported Russia began negotiating an $8 billion to $10 billion energy deal with Iran. The deal also included a provision for Moscow to export 500 megawatts of electricity and the construction of new hydroelectric and thermal generating plants with a transition network in Iran. Russo-Iranian relations have been mixed with disagreements over the Busheir nuclear reactor and the Moscow’s non-fulfillment of a contract for the shipment of Russia’s advanced S-300 SAM. The US’s increasingly aggressive posture against Russia increases Moscow’s willingness to adopt a position more beneficial to Iran in both cases.

Meanwhile, India—a stalwart Moscow ally—under the new administration of Prime Minister Narenda Modi expressed a desire to deepen its ties with Russia on a multitude of levels. After placing Russia as “our country’s greatest friend,” Modi indicated India was keen to deepen Russo-Indian cooperation including in the areas of defense, investment, trade, and nuclear energy. A prospective $40 billion major Russia-India energy pipeline is also in discussion, and the Indian Navy will have arrived in Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East for naval exercises. In another positive development, after years of mutual acrimony with Japan due to issues such as territorial disputes, rapprochement between the two neighbors continued with Japan already procuring 9.5 percent of its liquefied natural gas from Russia. Also worth noting is the signing of the treaty by Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan that brings into being the Eurasian Economic Union, pending the ratification of each country’s respective parliaments. This is Moscow’s answer to large economic blocs which increasingly come to dominate the international political landscape. This effectively nullifies the Obama regime’s Kazakhstan avenue of “isolation” against Russia.

Outside of the Eurasian super-continent Russian President Vladimir Putin also made successful inroads with a tour of Latin America. Putin began his Latin American tour by writing off 90% of Cuba’s debt, a figure of $32 billion. Putin also signed an agreement for oil exploration in Caribbean waters which contain most of the estimated 124 million barrels of Cuba’s crude.

Putin met with Uruguay’s President Pepe Mujixa to discuss the construction of a deep-water port. The Russian president made a stop in Nicaragua with an unannounced visit to President Daniel Ortega. The leaders discussed the deliveries of agricultural machinery, the placement of GLONASS land stations on the territories of Nicaragua, as well as interaction in other areas such as pharmacology. Putin met also with Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, and Bolivia’s Evo Morales among others.

In Argentina, Putin and President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner signed an agreement for peaceful nuclear energy with Russia helping to build its third nuclear reactor. Russia will aid in areas such as the design, operation, and decommissioning of old nuclear power plants. Russian atomic energy corporation Rosatom will also tender for the construction of two nuclear power plants. According to Reuters, Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom would offer “comfortable” financial terms to Argentina. In Brazil, Putin signed a memorandum of understanding with Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff regarding Rosatom and Brazil’s Camargo Correa, envisioning the construction of a nuclear power plant and a spent fuel storage facility in Brazil.

The BRICS Alternative

Perhaps, the most potentially threatening to the “Empire of Chaos”—yet auspicious for the developing world—was the establishment of the BRICS development bank as an alternative to the draconian and predatory IMF-World Bank complex. The US and the West have long been criticized of implementing policies of ‘neo-colonialism’ acting through these postwar Bretton Woods institutions. IMF/World Bank economic prescriptions for the ‘developing’ world, known as the ‘Washington consensus,’ have notoriously failed to facilitate economic development and have often been characterized as instruments of draconian economic exploitation.

For the developing world the establishment of the BRICS development bank represents the first significant systematic challenge or counterpoise to this US dollar and private central bank dominated arrangement. And, as Russian President Putin explained, it should become “a system of measures that would help prevent the harassment of countries that do not agree with some foreign policy decisions made by the United States and their allies.” A Nobel Prize winning economist described the BRICS bank as a “fundamental change in global economic and political power.” According to one analyst: “Way beyond economy and finance, this is essentially about geopolitics – as in emerging powers offering an alternative to the failed Washington consensus. Or, as consensus apologists say, the BRICS may be able to ‘alleviate challenges’ they face from the ‘international financial system.’ The strategy also happens to be one of the key nodes of the progressively solidified China-Russia alliance.” Taken in context, “For Russia, the creation of a $100 billion BRICS development bank and a reserve currency fund worth another $100 billion is a political coup. Just as the West freezes Russia out of its own economic system as punishment for its politics in Ukraine… Russia is tying itself into the financial superstructure of the next generation of economic heavyweights: India, Brazil, China and South Africa.” Overall, these developments pose an enormous challenge to the Western-dominated economic order since the end of World War II.

(To be continued)

Chris Macavel is an independent political analyst. He writes for the blog “The Nation-State” at thenationalstate.wordpress.com. He seeks to enlighten about the growing dangers of NATO imperialist ambitions and Wall Street domination in American political life. He is the author of the forthcoming book “The Myth of the “Arab Spring: How the Empire Guided the MENA Uprisings”.

 Notes

[1] For example see: “Key Piece of Video “Evidence” for Russian Responsibility for Malaysian Plane Shootdown Debunked,”  “Audio ‘Proof’ of Ukrainian Rebel Responsibility for Malaysian Flight Downing is Fake,” “US Admits Its MH17 ‘Evidence’ is Based on YouTube Clips & Social Media Posts: AP Journalist Challenges State Department Spokesperson on official narrative,” “Ukraine: No “Western” Interest In INvestigating MH17,” “The Most Pathetic Case of Backpedaling I have Seen in My Life,” “The Catastrophe of MH17: BBC in the Search of “BUK” — The Video Report Censored by BBC,” “The Russian Military Finally Speaks!” “Evidence Continues to Emerge MH17 Is a False Flag Operation,” “Multiple Reports: Ukrainian Fighter Jets Were With Malaysian Flight 17 When it Was Shot Down,”among others.

[2] It must be said that this is not a policy of “containment,” but encirclement. Despite the New York Times’s claim that the Obama regime pursues a retrofitting of George F. Kennan’s strategy of “containment,” Kennan – architect of  “containment”– was firmly against continuing NATO expansion against Russia. He argued this policy demonstrated profound ignorance of Russia. The Obama regime’s current policy can be understood as a militant and aggressive policy of NATO expansion against Russia in opposition to Kennan.

[3] See Zbigniew Brzezinski , The Grand Chessboard, pp., 55. “Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an “antihegemonic” coalition united not by ideology but by complimentary grievances…Averting this contingency, however remote it may be, will require a display of US geostrategic skill on the western, eastern, and southern perimeters of Eurasia simultaneously,” wrote Brzezinski.

 “Black Boxes Show Shrapnel Destroyed Malaysia Airlines Plane, Ukraine Says”

 That headline in the Wall Street Journal of July 28 creates the immediate false impression that there is new information: shrapnel destroyed plane! Before the headline is over, the WSJ begins backtracking – “Ukraine Says” ­– a reference that yellow-flags a less than credible source. As the story continues, it reveals that there’s no actual news here, starting with the sub-head: “Older Flight Recorders on Plane Likely to Provide Limited Data” – so is there reliable data or not? Then the story reverses direction again, with this riddle-filled lede:

 MOSCOW—Ukrainian authorities said Monday that data retrieved from the black boxes aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 showed the plane was destroyed by “massive explosive decompression” caused by shrapnel from a missile.

Moscow? Nothing about the story relates to Moscow, except perhaps the location of the reporter. He does not say where the “Ukrainian authorities” are, and identifies only one: “Col. Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.” The reporter says Lysenko “revealed” the evidence of a missile explosion, although there is little possibility Lysenko has any direct knowledge of the black box contents, since the black boxes have never been in the possession of Ukraine officials.

 The reporter admits he has no news, since the black boxes are in the United Kingdom and the investigators have not confirmed Lysenko’s claim. In a sentence as slippery as it is empty, the reporter repeats the official American story: “The U.S. has blamed Russia for providing the Buk missile system to the rebels, a claim that Moscow denies.” This is a dog whistle to those who say pro-Russians shot down the plane, but the actual accusation here is only that Russia gave the rebels a Buk missile system, which proves nothing. The possibility of an air-to-air missile goes unmentioned.

The reporter also does not mention that the Ukraine government has the same or equivalent air-to-ground missile systems, provided by Russia when the countries had warmer relations. The reporter stops short of embracing the blame-Russia scenario, but offers no alternative. As a whole, his story illustrates what he fails to say: that almost two weeks after the shoot-down, there is less certainty than ever as to who was responsible.

Lacking anything like solid evidence, U.S. media just wing it and pray

The same day (July 28), Time links to the WSJ story as if it was fact. Under the headline – “Ukraine: MH17 Downed by ‘Massive Explosive Decompression’” – the report begins:

 As U.N. human-rights chief suggests downing of the plane may be a “war crime” – Ukrainian authorities said Monday that black-box data from the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 revealed shrapnel from a missile caused “massive explosive decompression” onboard, as the U.N. human-rights chief said the aircraft’s shooting down “may amount to a war crime.”

[repetition in original]

Unlike the Journal, Time makes an effort to explain what a “massive explosive decompression” is – “Explosive decompression happens when the air inside an aircraft depressurizes at an extremely fast rate, with results similar to a bomb detonation.” Whatever happened, the plane and its 298 passengers came down in hundreds of pieces, from large to tiny, over a crash site of a dozen square miles or more.

Shrapnel, certainly, from any source, could create a condition leading very quickly to massive explosive decompression. So could 30 mm anti-tank weapons fire from a Ukrainian Su-25 jet fighter. This is the explanation for the downing of MH17 offered by a German pilot who examined a photo of the MH17 cockpit on the ground and determined that there were bullet holes, entry and exit, suggesting that MH17 was caught in a crossfire. The pilot’s argument is rational and straightforward, and subject to verification by an examination of the evidence. Circumstantially, his argument provides a credible motive for the apparent urgency of Ukrainian forces to secure the crash site before outside forensic investigators can get there.

German media have reported variations of this story, focusing on the one or two Su-25s flying near MH17. The evidence for an Su-25 close to MH17 comes from a July 21 briefing by the Russian military that was widely reported at the time, from the Wall Street Journal to Veterans Today. A week later Time, like the Journal, makes no mention of any Su-25 or of the potentially confirmatory satellite imagery still being withheld by the U.S.

Unlike the Journal, Time adds the gratuitous reference to “a war crime,” without meaningful context. Shooting down an airliner is pretty much, by definition, a war crime or a crime against humanity. Merely labeling it as such, as Time does, only repeats the obvious, with no indication of who might have committed the crime. Time allows for this thought only obliquely in a context that implicitly endorses the official story:

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said that “this violation of international law, given the prevailing circumstances, may amount to a war crime. It is imperative that a prompt, thorough, effective, independent and impartial investigation be conducted into this event.”

Time omits broad dimensions of Ukrainian crisis

While Time quotes accurately from and links to the UN human rights press release with this comment from Pillay, Time gives no hint that the subject of the release is a 65-page report from the Human Rights Commissioner’s office detailing the state of human rights in Ukraine as disastrous, with violations on all sides, but especially by “armed groups” who are among the separatists, but not identified as such:

A total breakdown of law and order and a reign of fear and terror have been inflicted by armed groups on the population of eastern Ukraine,  according to a new report issued today….

The report documents how these armed groups continue to abduct, detain, torture and execute people kept as hostages in order to intimidate and “to exercise their power over the population in raw and brutal ways.” Well organized and well equipped militarily, these armed groups have intensified their challenge to the Government of Ukraine, the report says. In response, there has been an acceleration of Government security operations during July in the areas still under the control of the armed groups, with heavy fighting located in and around population centres, resulting in loss of life, property and infrastructure and causing thousands to flee….

“Both sides must take great care to prevent more civilians from being killed or injured,” [Pillay] added. “Already increasing numbers of people are being killed with serious damage to civilian infrastructure, which – depending on circumstances – could amount to violations of international humanitarian law. The fighting must stop.”

According to the human rights report, more than 100,000 people have fled their homes in eastern Ukraine (86%) and Crimea (24%). These people are now internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are the responsibility of the Ukraine government that can ill afford to take care of them. That government started coming apart July 24, when the prime minister resigned, saying in part: “because laws have not been passed, we now have no means with which to pay soldiers, doctors, police, we have no fuel for armored vehicles, and no way of freeing ourselves from dependence on Russian gas.”

 The human rights report does not address estimates of as many as another 500,000 people from eastern Ukraine seeking shelter in Russia since April. Russia reported July 29 that it has given refugee status to 233,114 Ukrainians, including 34,503 children. Ukraine’s total population of more than 45 million has been declining for about two decades. (The BBC reports, without attribution: “The conflict has displaced more than 200,000 people, many of whom have fled east to neighbouring Russia.”)

As with Gaza, UN concern is with impunity for human rights crimes

The UN report is the fourth on human rights conditions in eastern Ukraine since mid-March, when the high commissioner deployed a 39-member Human Rights Monitoring Mission there. The mission had documented at least 1,129 killings, 3,442 woundings, and 812 abductions over a four month period ending July 15. The report points out that the armed groups in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions are able to commit human rights crimes with impunity, leading to “a collapse of the rule of law.” The report also includes allegations that the armed groups have forced detainees to dig trenches or fight on the front lines; and that there are cases of apparently illegal detention by the Ukrainian armed forces as well.

Elsewhere in Ukraine the UN mission found that most Ukrainians were relatively free, but saw worrisome trends:

 … the level of hate speech has escalated dramatically, especially on social media, but also in demonstrations and protests and even in Parliament….  the level of ‘anti-Russia’ rhetoric has increased along with the physical targeting of Russian-owned banks and businesses on the grounds that they are ‘financing terrorism.’

Harassment, intimidation, manipulation, abductions, detentions and enforced disappearances of journalists have continued to occur in the east, and at least five journalists have been killed since the fighting began in April.

Since the end of period of the report, fist fights have erupted in Parliament at least twice. After two political parties dropped out of the ruling coalition, the prime minister resigned. Nevertheless, he remains in office pending a parliamentary vote to accept his resignation. That would presumably lead to the election of a new parliament in the fall.

Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk voiced deep anger at the parliament for failing to pass laws that would address the country’s need for liberalization. He accused  members of betraying the goals and ideals of the Maidan that led to the overthrow of the elected government in March. President Petro Poroshenko welcomed the break-up of the ruling coalition, hoping it would lead to a purge of “Moscow agents” in parliament. The Poroshenko government routinely refers to separatists in the east as “terrorists,” reflecting the UN’s concern over hate speech.

Increased polarization may lead to deadly ethnic cleansing

Since July 15, the end of the UN reporting period, the Ukrainian armed forces have apparently made significant advances and may have the advantage over the “armed groups.” Reporting on this war is scant and unreliable. Claims of ethnic cleansing of pro-Russian Ukrainians are unverifiable. The fighting has been fierce and widespread enough in the region to prevent MH17 crash site investigators from reaching the crash site for days on end.

None of these developments bode well for the UN’s offer of a somewhat hopeful outlook, that its report:

… also discusses new legislation being introduced as part of the Government’s reform. It notes the recent signing of the trade agreement with the European Union that completes the Association process and the publication of the much anticipated new proposed amendments to the Constitution that provide for a degree of regional autonomy and the increased use of local languages. These latter two issues were at the centre of demands being made by the residents of eastern Ukraine and their not being addressed led to the current conflict….

The report notes that the Government “needs to address the wider systemic problems facing the country with respect to good governance, rule of law and human rights. This requires deep and badly needed reforms, especially as Ukraine seeks to fulfill its EU aspirations and establish a democratic and pluralistic society.”

The Time report mentioned earlier omits virtually all of this context (Time mentions the continuing fighting as if it was a deliberate tactic to “block outside authorities” from investigating the site). Time ends its short report with the last paragraph of Human Rights Commissioner’s press release out of context, as if it related only to MH17:

 “I would like to stress to all those involved in the conflict, including foreign fighters, that every effort will be made to ensure that anyone committing serious violations of international law including war crimes will be brought to justice, no matter who they are,” the High Commissioner added. “I urge all sides to bring to an end the rule of the gun and restore respect for the rule of law and human rights.”

Forensic investigators may finally get to crash site

As the Russian agency RT News put it July 29:

“Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko said Kiev is finally ready for a cease-fire at the MH17 crash site after Russia’s numerous calls. Kiev continued its military offensive even after the UNSC [Security Council] urged a halt to fighting in the area last week.”

According to RT, reporting on a Ukrainian press service, Petroshenko promised, in a phone call with the prime ministers of Australia and the Netherland, that he would declare a unilateral ceasefire for a crash site zone with a 20 km radius (about 24 square miles). RT reported no date for the cease-fire to begin, but that Petroshenko said on the phone that Kiev “is making every effort possible to accelerate the international experts’ access of to the crash site.”

On July 30, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) announced that its observers had begun working at border crossings between Ukraine and Russia. The same day, forensic investigators again failed to reach the crash site because fighting continued in the area. According to the Canadian CTV News:

 Even the rebels — who initially oversaw the collection of more than 200 of the 298 bodies in a disorganized, widely criticized effort — have stopped their work, saying attacks from the Ukrainian military have forced them to focus on defending themselves….

Recent offensives by the Ukrainian army have enabled it to take back swaths of territory from the rebels. But the fighting has edged ever closer to the crash zone.

The Ukrainian government is accusing the rebels of planting landmines around the crash site. The Ukrainians and the Russians continue to accuse each other of shelling each other’s territory

Whatever the U.S. is doing isn’t having noticeable effect

As for the United States, if there’s nothing useful the U.S. can do, then it’s succeeding admirably. Summing up what seems to be the official American attitude, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, recently said, “Putin can end this with one phone call.”

That assumes the crisis is all Putin’s fault. That assumes Putin has operational control over enough of the Ukraine rebels to make a difference. That assumes that both Ukraine and the U.S. would take “Yes” for an answer.

Based on the record to date, all those assumptions are false. Ukraine and the U.S. won’t even implement a cease-fire to collect the dead. The Ukraine rebels do not seem to be a coherent entity, or answerable to anyone. And Putin is hardly responsible for 20 years of the U.S. and Europe holding a NATO dagger to Russia’s throat.

And besides, “one phone call”? Who is Putin supposed to call? The answer to that question might reveal the essence of American policy, assuming there is one. Suppose Putin calls Obama, does anyone think Obama has more control over Kiev than the Russians have over the Ukraine rebels? Or suppose Putin calls Poroshenko, does anyone think he is free to make peace, over objections by hardline Ukrainians or Americans?

Whomever Putin might call, what does Pyatt expect him to say? Would Pyatt or his imaginary surrogate accept anything other than something like Putin saying, “OK, you’re right, I’m wrong, I give up, dasvidaniya.”

Pyatt’s “one phone call” comment is just a polite lie. That’s his job. He made another, more trenchant remark that was, unintentionally probably, an example of his doing exactly what he was complaining about: missing the chance to “take this crisis as an opportunity to put things back on a diplomatic track – instead what we have seen from the Kremlin is the pouring of gasoline on the fire.”

Until the United States shows some sign of being willing to back off from 20 years of creeping aggression along Russia’s western border, the likelihood of the confrontation resolving itself peacefully seems slim to nil.

When Putin has his back to the wall, what does the U.S. expect?

Without the Russians as a mitigating factor, the United States in the past few years might well have found itself launching a war against Syria, or a war against Iran, or both. That’s a weird thought, but it’s real enough. What is American foreign policy about, if anything? Is there a U.S. faction that’s mad at Russia now for interfering with another American war or two in the Middle East? Does the United States have any principle at stake, or even any Machiavellian goal in mind as it dithers around the world seeming to make pretty much everything worse?

 Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group of retired U.S. intelligence officers organized in 2003 in response to the abuse of intelligence to go to war on Iraq, see much the same manipulation and dishonesty happening now. On July 29, nine of these intelligence officers signed a lengthy letter to President Obama, responding directly to the administration’s mishandling of the MH17 shoot-down and explaining in detail why they are “troubled by the amateurish manner in which fuzzy and flimsy evidence has been served up – some of it via ‘social media.’”

 The crux of the intelligence officers’ critique is simple: either provide credible evidence for blaming the Russians, or stop spreading lies that only make the confrontation more dangerous:

 … your administration still has issued no coordinated intelligence assessment summarizing what evidence exists to determine who was responsible – much less to convincingly support repeated claims that the plane was downed by a Russian-supplied missile in the hands of Ukrainian separatists.

Your administration has not provided any satellite imagery showing that the separatists had such weaponry, and there are several other “dogs that have not barked.” Washington’s credibility, and your own, will continue to erode, should you be unwilling – or unable – to present more tangible evidence behind administration claims….

If the intelligence on the shoot-down is as weak as it appears judging from the fuzzy scraps that have been released, we strongly suggest you call off the propaganda war and await the findings of those charged with investigating the shoot-down. If, on the other hand, your administration has more concrete, probative intelligence, we strongly suggest that you consider approving it for release, even if there may be some risk of damage to “sources and methods.” Too often this consideration is used to prevent information from entering the public domain where, as in this case, it belongs.

We reiterate our recommendations of May 4, that you remove the seeds of this confrontation by publicly disavowing any wish to incorporate Ukraine into NATO and that you make it clear that you are prepared to meet personally with Russian President Putin without delay to discuss ways to defuse the crisis and recognize the legitimate interests of the various parties.  [emphasis added]

The president did not respond to the May 4 letter from these intelligence professionals, who requested the courtesy of a reply to this one. Somewhere in the middle of this one is a single sentence that gives perspective to all the other details, small or large:

 In our view, the strategic danger here dwarfs all other considerations.

Being intelligence professionals, they don’t spell out a strategic danger that is obvious to anyone who can conceive of a logical, worst-case scenario. Without addressing strategic danger, the president’s nominee for Ambassador to Russia, John Tefft, told a Senate hearing July 29 that the United States would “never accept” Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Apparently for this 40-year foreign service officer and hardliner, Crimea dwarfs the strategic danger. Forever?

At the Nation on July 30, the question is framed more directly: “Why is Washington Risking War With Russia”?

What You Need to Know …

Obama said today:

We tortured some folks ….

We did some things that were contrary to our values.

We applaud Obama admitting to this unsavory chapter in U.S. history. 

The government has denied for years that the U.S. tortures … even though we in the alternative media exposed the torture 10 years ago.

But there’s a lot that Obama didn’t say …

Initially, it wasn’t just “some folks” we tortured.  The torture was widespread and systemic.

And it wasn’t just bad guys who were tortured:

  • U.S. military files show that many Guantánamo prisoners were held on the flimsiest grounds such as wearing a Casio watch, being a  prisoner in a Taliban jail, driving cabs in certain geographic regions, or being Al Jazeera reporters

Torture INTERFERES With Our Ability to Fight Terrorism, Obtain Intelligence Information and Protect Our National Security

We’ve repeatedly noted that virtually all of the top interrogation experts – both conservatives and liberals (except for those trying to escape war crimes prosecution) – say that torture doesn’t work:

“Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.”

  • The C.I.A.’s 1963 interrogation manual stated:

Intense pain is quite likely to produce false confessions, concocted as a means of escaping from distress. A time-consuming delay results, while investigation is conducted and the admissions are proven untrue. During this respite the interrogatee can pull himself together. He may even use the time to think up new, more complex ‘admissions’ that take still longer to disprove.

  • According to the Washington Post, the CIA’s top spy – Michael Sulick, head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service – said that the spy agency has seen no fall-off in intelligence since waterboarding was banned by the Obama administration. “I don’t think we’ve suffered at all from an intelligence standpoint.”
  • A 30-year veteran of CIA’s operations directorate who rose to the most senior managerial ranks (Milton Bearden) says(as quoted by senior CIA agent and Presidential briefer Ray McGovern):

It is irresponsible for any administration not to tell a credible story that would convince critics at home and abroad that this torture has served some useful purpose.

***

The old hands overwhelmingly believe that torture doesn’t work ….

  • A former high-level CIA officer (Philip Giraldi) states:

Many governments that have routinely tortured to obtain information have abandoned the practice when they discovered that other approaches actually worked better for extracting information. Israel prohibited torturing Palestinian terrorist suspects in 1999. Even the German Gestapo stopped torturing French resistance captives when it determined that treating prisoners well actually produced more and better intelligence.

  • Another former high-level CIA official (Bob Baer) says:

And torture — I just don’t think it really works … you don’t get the truth. What happens when you torture people is, they figure out what you want to hear and they tell you.

  • Michael Scheuer, formerly a senior CIA official in the Counter-Terrorism Center, says:

“I personally think that any information gotten through extreme methods of torture would probably be pretty useless because it would be someone telling you what you wanted to hear.”

  • A retired C.I.A. officer who oversaw the interrogation of a high-level detainee in 2002 (Glenn L. Carle) says:

[Coercive techniques] didn’t provide useful, meaningful, trustworthy information…Everyone was deeply concerned and most felt it was un-American and did not work.”

  • A former top Air Force interrogator who led the team that tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has conducted hundreds of interrogations of high ranking Al Qaida members and supervising more than one thousand, and wrote a book called How to Break a Terrorist writes:

As the senior interrogator in Iraq for a task force charged with hunting down Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the former Al Qaida leader and mass murderer, I listened time and time again to captured foreign fighters cite the torture and abuse at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo as their main reason for coming to Iraq to fight. Consider that 90 percent of the suicide bombers in Iraq are these foreign fighters and you can easily conclude that we have lost hundreds, if not thousands, of American lives because of our policy of torture and abuse. But that’s only the past.Somewhere in the world there are other young Muslims who have joined Al Qaida because we tortured and abused prisoners. These men will certainly carry out future attacks against Americans, either in Iraq, Afghanistan, or possibly even here. And that’s not to mention numerous other Muslims who support Al Qaida, either financially or in other ways, because they are outraged that the United States tortured and abused Muslim prisoners.

In addition, torture and abuse has made us less safe because detainees are less likely to cooperate during interrogations if they don’t trust us. I know from having conducted hundreds of interrogations of high ranking Al Qaida members and supervising more than one thousand, that when a captured Al Qaida member sees us live up to our stated principles they are more willing to negotiate and cooperate with us. When we torture or abuse them, it hardens their resolve and reaffirms why they picked up arms.

He also says:

[Torture is] extremely ineffective, and it’s counter-productive to what we’re trying to accomplish.When we torture somebody, it hardens their resolve … The information that you get is unreliable. … And even if you do get reliable information, you’re able to stop a terrorist attack, al Qaeda’s then going to use the fact that we torture people to recruit new members.

And he repeats:

I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

And:

They don’t want to talk about the long term consequences that cost the lives of Americans…. The way the U.S. treated its prisoners “was al-Qaeda’s number-one recruiting tool and brought in thousands of foreign fighters who killed American soldiers.

  • The FBI interrogators who actually interviewed some of the 9/11 suspects say torture didn’t work
  • Another FBI interrogator of 9/11 suspects said:

I was in the middle of this, and it’s not true that these [aggressive] techniques were effective

  • The FBI warned military interrogators in 2003 that enhanced interrogation techniques are “of questionable effectiveness” and cited a “lack of evidence of [enhanced techniques’] success.
  • The Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously found that torture doesn’t work, stating:

The administration’s policies concerning [torture] and the resulting controversies damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority.

  • General Petraeus says that torture is unnecessary
  • Retired 4-star General Barry McCaffrey – who Schwarzkopf called he hero of Desert Storm – agrees
  • Former Navy Judge Advocate General Admiral John Hutson says:

Fundamentally, those kinds of techniques are ineffective. If the goal is to gain actionable intelligence, and it is, and if that’s important, and it is, then we have to use the techniques that are most effective. Torture is the technique of choice of the lazy, stupid and pseudo-tough.

He also says:

Another objection is that torture doesn’t work. All the literature and experts say that if we really want usable information, we should go exactly the opposite way and try to gain the trust and confidence of the prisoners.

  • Army Colonel Stuart Herrington – a military intelligence specialist who interrogated generals under the command of Saddam Hussein and evaluated US detention operations at Guantánamo – notes that the process of obtaining information is hampered, not helped, by practices such as “slapping someone in the face and stripping them naked”. Herrington and other former US military interrogators say:

We know from experience that it is very difficult to elicit information from a detainee who has been abused. The abuse often only strengthens their resolve and makes it that much harder for an interrogator to find a way to elicit useful information.

  • Major General Thomas Romig, former Army JAG, said:

If you torture somebody, they’ll tell you anything. I don’t know anybody that is good at interrogation, has done it a lot, that will say that that’s an effective means of getting information. … So I don’t think it’s effective.

  • The first head of the Department of Homeland Security – Tom Ridge – says we were wrong to torture
  • The former British intelligence chairman says that waterboarding didn’t stop terror plots
  • A spokesman for the National Security Council (Tommy Vietor) says:

The bottom line is this: If we had some kind of smoking-gun intelligence from waterboarding in 2003, we would have taken out Osama bin Laden in 2003.

In researching this article, I spoke to numerous counterterrorist officials from agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. Their conclusion is unanimous: not only have coercive methods failed to generate significant and actionable intelligence, they have also caused the squandering of resources on a massive scale through false leads, chimerical plots, and unnecessary safety alerts…Here, they say, far from exposing a deadly plot, all torture did was lead to more torture of his supposed accomplices while also providing some misleading “information” that boosted the administration’s argument for invading Iraq.

  • Neuroscientists have found that torture physically and chemically interferes with the prisoner’s ability to tell the truth
  • An Army psychologist – Major Paul Burney, Army’s Behavior Science Consulting Team psychologist – said (page 78 & 83):

was stressed to me time and time again that psychological investigations have proven that harsh interrogations do not work. At best it will get you information that a prisoner thinks you want to hear to make the interrogation stop, but that information is strongly likely to be false.***

Interrogation techniques that rely on physical or adverse consequences are likely to garner inaccurate information and create an increased level of resistance…There is no evidence that the level of fear or discomfort evoked by a given technique has any consistent correlation to the volume or quality of information obtained.

  • An expert on resisting torture – Terrence Russell, JPRA’s manager for research and development and a SERE specialist – said (page 209):

History has shown us that physical pressures are not effective for compelling an individual to give information or to do something’ and are not effective for gaining accurate, actionable intelligence.

Indeed, it has been known for hundreds of years that torture doesn’t work:

  • As a former CIA analyst notes:

During the Inquisition there were many confessed witches, and many others were named by those tortured as other witches. Unsurprisingly, when these new claimed witches were tortured, they also confessed. Confirmation of some statement made under torture, when that confirmation is extracted by another case of torture, is invalid information and cannot be trusted.

  • The head of Britain’s wartime interrogation center in London said:

“Violence is taboo. Not only does it produce answers to please, but it lowers the standard of information.”

  • The national security adviser to Vice President George H.W. Bush (Donald P. Gregg) wrote:

During wartime service with the CIA in Vietnam from 1970 to 1972, I was in charge of intelligence operations in the 10 provinces surrounding Saigon. One of my tasks was to prevent rocket attacks on Saigon’s port.Keeping Saigon safe required human intelligence, most often from captured prisoners. I had a running debate about how North Vietnamese prisoners should be treated with the South Vietnamese colonel who conducted interrogations. This colonel routinely tortured prisoners, producing a flood of information, much of it totally false. I argued for better treatment and pressed for key prisoners to be turned over to the CIA, where humane interrogation methods were the rule – and more accurate intelligence was the result.

The colonel finally relented and turned over a battered prisoner to me, saying, “This man knows a lot, but he will not talk to me.”

We treated the prisoner’s wounds, reunited him with his family, and allowed him to make his first visit to Saigon. Surprised by the city’s affluence, he said he would tell us anything we asked. The result was a flood of actionable intelligence that allowed us to disrupt planned operations, including rocket attacks against Saigon.

Admittedly, it would be hard to make a story from nearly 40 years ago into a definitive case study. But there is a useful reminder here. The key to successful interrogation is for the interrogator – even as he controls the situation – to recognize a prisoner’s humanity, to understand his culture, background and language. Torture makes this impossible.

There’s a sad twist here. Cheney forgets that the Bush administration followed this approach with some success. A high-value prisoner subjected to patient interrogation by an Arabic-speaking FBI agent yielded highly useful information, including the final word on Iraq’s weapons programs.

His name was Saddam Hussein.

  • Top interrogators got information from a high-level Al Qaeda suspects through building rapport, even if they hated the person they were interrogating by treating them as human

Senator John McCain explains, based upon his own years of torture:

I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence but often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear — true or false — if he believes it will relieve his suffering. Often, information provided to stop the torture is deliberately misleading.

According to the experts, torture is unnecessary even to prevent “ticking time bombs” from exploding (see this, this and this).   Indeed, a top expert says that torture would fail in a real ‘ticking time-bomb’ situation. (And, no … it did NOT help get Bin Laden).

In fact, torture reduces our national security:

  • The head of all U.S. intelligence said:

“The bottom line is these techniques have hurt our image around the world,” [Director of National Intelligence Dennis] Blair said in the statement. “The damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security.”

  • A top counter-terrorism expert says torture increases the risk of terrorism (and see this).
  • One of the top military interrogators said that torture by Americans of innocent Iraqis is the main reason that foreign fighters started fighting against Americans in Iraq in the first place (and see this).
  • Former counter-terrorism czar Richard A. Clarke says that America’s indefinite detention without trial and abuse of prisoners is a leading Al Qaeda recruiting tool
  • A 30-year veteran of CIA’s operations directorate who rose to the most senior managerial ranks, says:

Torture creates more terrorists and fosters more acts of terror than it could possibly neutralize.

Torture puts our troops in danger, torture makes our troops less safe, torture creates terrorists. It’s used so widely as a propaganda tool now in Afghanistan. All too often, detainees have pamphlets on them, depicting what happened at Guantanamo.

“The administration’s policies concerning [torture] and the resulting controversies … strengthened the hand of our enemies.”

  • General Petraeus said that torture hurts our national security
  • The reporter who broke Iran-Contra and other stories says that torture actually helped Al Qaeda, by giving false leads to the U.S. which diverted its military, intelligence and economic resources into wild goose chases
  • Raw Story says that torture might have resulted in false terror alerts
  • Hundreds of other experts have said the same things

U.S. Officials Launched a Systematic Program of Torture Using Specialized Techniques Which Produce False Confessions … to Justify the Iraq War

Not only did Bush, Cheney and other top government officials lie about us into the Iraq war by making a false linkage between Iraq and 9/11, but they carried out a systematic program of torture in order to intentionally create false evidence of that allegation.

Indeed, the entire purpose behind the U.S. torture program was to obtain false confessions.

And the torture techniques used were Communist techniques specifically designed to produce false confessions.

Senator Levin, in commenting on a Senate Armed Services Committee report on torture in 2009, dropped the following bombshell:

With last week’s release of the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinions, it is now widely known that Bush administration officials distorted Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape “SERE” training – a legitimate program used by the military to train our troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations – by authorizing abusive techniques from SERE for use in detainee interrogations. Those decisions conveyed the message that abusive treatment was appropriate for detainees in U.S. custody. They were also an affront to the values articulated by General Petraeus.

In SERE training, U.S. troops are briefly exposed, in a highly controlled setting, to abusive interrogation techniques used by enemies that refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions. The techniques are based on tactics used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War for the purpose of eliciting false confessions for propaganda purposes. Techniques used in SERE training include stripping trainees of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, subjecting them to face and body slaps, depriving them of sleep, throwing them up against a wall, confining them in a small box, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures. Until recently, the Navy SERE school also used waterboarding. The purpose of the SERE program is to provide U.S. troops who might be captured a taste of the treatment they might face so that they might have a better chance of surviving captivity and resisting abusive and coercive interrogations.

Senator Levin then documents that SERE techniques were deployed as part of an official policy on detainees, and that SERE instructors helped to implement the interrogation programs. He noted:

The senior Army SERE psychologist warned in 2002 against using SERE training techniques during interrogations in an email to personnel at Guantanamo Bay, because:

[T]he use of physical pressures brings with it a large number of potential negative side effects… When individuals are gradually exposed to increasing levels of discomfort, it is more common for them to resist harder… If individuals are put under enough discomfort, i.e. pain, they will eventually do whatever it takes to stop the pain. This will increase the amount of information they tell the interrogator, but it does not mean the information is accurate. In fact, it usually decreases the reliability of the information because the person will say whatever he believes will stop the pain… Bottom line: the likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the delivery of accurate information from a detainee is very low. The likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the level of resistance in a detainee is very high… (p. 53).

McClatchy filled in some of the details:

Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration…

For most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”

It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document…

When people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.”Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam . . .

A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.

“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”

“I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” [Senator] Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”

Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.

In other words, top Bush administration officials not only knowingly lied about a non-existent connection between Al Qaida and Iraq, but they pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions to attempt to create such a false linkage.

The Washington Post reported the same year:

Despite what you’ve seen on TV, torture is really only good at one thing: eliciting false confessions. Indeed, Bush-era torture techniques, we now know, were cold-bloodedly modeled after methods used by Chinese Communists to extract confessions from captured U.S. servicemen that they could then use for propaganda during the Korean War.

So as shocking as the latest revelation in a new Senate Armed Services Committee report may be, it actually makes sense — in a nauseating way. The White House started pushing the use of torture not when faced with a “ticking time bomb” scenario from terrorists, but when officials in 2002 were desperately casting about for ways to tie Iraq to the 9/11 attacks — in order to strengthen their public case for invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 at all.

***

Gordon Trowbridge writes for the Detroit News: “Senior Bush administration officials pushed for the use of abusive interrogations of terrorism detainees in part to seek evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq, according to newly declassified information discovered in a congressional probe.

Indeed, one of the two senior instructors from the Air Force team which taught U.S. servicemen how to resist torture by foreign governments when used to extract false confessions has blown the whistle on the true purpose behind the U.S. torture program.

As Truth Out reported:

Jessen’s notes were provided to Truthout by retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns, a “master” SERE instructor and decorated veteran who has previously held high-ranking positions within the Air Force Headquarters Staff and Department of Defense (DoD).

Kearns and his boss, Roger Aldrich, the head of the Air Force Intelligence’s Special Survial Training Program (SSTP), based out of Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane, Washington, hired Jessen in May 1989. Kearns, who was head of operations at SSTP and trained thousands of service members, said Jessen was brought into the program due to an increase in the number of new SERE courses being taught and “the fact that it required psychological expertise on hand in a full-time basis.”

Jessen, then the chief of Psychology Service at the US Air Force Survival School, immediately started to work directly with Kearns on “a new course for special mission units (SMUs), which had as its goal individual resistance to terrorist exploitation.”

The course, known as SV-91, was developed for the Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) branch of the US Air Force Intelligence Agency, which acted as the Executive Agent Action Office for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jessen’s notes formed the basis for one part of SV-91, “Psychological Aspects of Detention.”

***

Kearns was one of only two officers within DoD qualified to teach all three SERE-related courses within SSTP on a worldwide basis, according to a copy of a 1989 letter written Aldrich, who nominated him officer of the year.

***

The Jessen notes clearly state the totality of what was being reverse-engineered – not just ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ but an entire program of exploitation of prisoners using torture as a central pillar,” he said. “What I think is important to note, as an ex-SERE Resistance to Interrogation instructor, is the focus of Jessen’s instruction. It is exploitation, not specifically interrogation. And this is not a picayune issue, because if one were to ‘reverse-engineer’ a course on resistance to exploitation then what one would get is a plan to exploit prisoners, not interrogate them. The CIA/DoD torture program appears to have the same goals as the terrorist organizations or enemy governments for which SV-91 and other SERE courses were created to defend against: the full exploitation of the prisoner in his intelligence, propaganda, or other needs held by the detaining power, such as the recruitment of informers and double agents. Those aspects of the US detainee program have not generally been discussed as part of the torture story in the American press.”

***

Jessen wrote that cooperation is the “end goal” of the detainer, who wants the detainee “to see that [the detainer] has ‘total’ control of you because you are completely dependent on him, and thus you must comply with his wishes. Therefore, it is absolutely inevitable that you must cooperate with him in some way (propaganda, special favors, confession, etc.).”

***

Kearns said, based on what he has read in declassified government documents and news reports about the role SERE played in the Bush administration’s torture program, Jessen clearly “reverse-engineered” his lesson plan and used resistance methods to abuse “war on terror” detainees.

So we have the two main Air Force insiders concerning the genesis of the torture program confirming – with original notes – that the whole purpose of the torture program was to extract false confessions.

And false confessions were, in fact, extracted.

For example:

And the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on a third-hand account of what tortured detainees said, with two of the three parties in the communication being government employees. And the government went to great lengths to obstruct justice and hide unflattering facts from the Commission.

Torture Has Been Recognized As Terrorism for Thousands of Years

Moreover, torture has been recognize for thousands of years as a form of terrorism. Indeed, America’s newly-leaked criteria for putting people on the terror watchlist says torture is terror (page 47-48):

***

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-xzYmpoKRY0E/TeqaWZGn5CI/AAAAAAAAAOA/oG5Z7x3j81k/s1600/statue+of+liberty+crying.jpg

Torture Is a War Crime … Which Can STILL Be Prosecuted

Many argue that the statute of limitations on Bush and Cheney’s crimes of torture have all run … so it is too late to prosecute them.

However, the United States War Crimes Act of 1996, a federal statute set forth at 18 U.S.C. § 2441, makes it a federal crime for any U.S. national, whether military or civilian, to violate the Geneva Convention by engaging in murder, torture, or inhuman treatment.

The statute applies not only to those who carry out the acts, but also to those who ORDER IT, know about it, or fail to take steps to stop it. The statute applies to everyone, no matter how high and mighty.

18 U.S.C. § 2441 has no statute of limitations, which means that a war crimes complaint can be filed at any time.

The penalty may be life imprisonment or — if a single prisoner dies due to torture — death. Given that there are numerous, documented cases of prisoners being tortured to death by U.S. soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan, that means that the death penalty would be appropriate for anyone found guilty of carrying out, ordering, or sanctioning such conduct.

Here’s a brief round-up showing that prisoners were injured – and killed – due to U.S. torture:

Waterboarding IS Torture

Not Just Waterboarding

Children, Too

People Died While Being Tortured

The ACLU wrote in 2005:

The American Civil Liberties Union today made public an analysis of new and previously released autopsy and death reports of detainees held in U.S. facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, many of whom died while being interrogated.  The documents show that detainees were hooded, gagged, strangled, beaten with blunt objects, subjected to sleep deprivation and to hot and cold environmental conditions.

There is no question that U.S. interrogations have resulted in deaths,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU.  “High-ranking officials who knew about the torture and sat on their hands and those who created and endorsed these policies must be held accountable.

***

The documents released today include 44 autopsies and death reports as well as a summary of autopsy reports of individuals apprehended in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The documents show that detainees died during or after interrogations by Navy Seals, Military Intelligence and “OGA” (Other Governmental Agency) — a term, according to the ACLU, that is commonly used to refer to the CIA.

According to the documents, 21 of the 44 deaths were homicides.   Eight of the homicides appear to have resulted from abusive techniques used on detainees, in some instances, by the CIA, Navy Seals and Military Intelligence personnel.  The autopsy reports list deaths by “strangulation,” “asphyxiation” and “blunt force injuries.”  An overwhelming majority of the so-called “natural deaths” were attributed to “Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease.”

While newspapers have recently reported deaths of detainees in CIA custody, today’s documents show that the problem is pervasive, involving Navy Seals and Military Intelligence too.

Spiegel reported in 2009:

At least two men died during imprisonment. One of them, a 22-year-old taxi driver named Dilawar, was suspended by his hands from the ceiling for four days, during which US military personnel repeatedly beat his legs. Dilawar died on Dec. 10, 2002. In the autopsy report, a military doctor wrote that the tissue on his legs had basically been “pulpified.” As it happens, his interrogators had already known — and later testified — that there was no evidence against Dilawar …

And see this. And it is now clear that the CIA covered up murders at Guantanamo.

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 limited the applicability of the War Crimes Act, but still made the following unlawful:  torture, cruel or inhumane treatment, murder, mutilation or maiming, intentionally causing serious bodily harm, rape, sexual assault or abuse.

The Nuremberg Tribunal which convicted and sentenced Nazis leaders to death conceived of wars of aggression – i.e. wars not launched in self-defense – defined the following as “crimes against peace”, or war crimes:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i)

The Tribunal considered wars of aggression to be the ultimate war crime, which encompassed all other crimes:

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

Judgment of October 1, 1946, International Military Tribunal Judgment and Sentence, 22 IMTTRIALS, supra note 7, at 498, reprinted in 41 AM. J. INT’LL. 172, 186 (1947).

Given that Iraq had no connection with 9/11 and possessed no weapons of mass destruction, the Iraq war was a crime of aggression and – under the standards by which Nazi leaders were convicted by the Nuremberg Tribunal – the American leaders who lied us into that war are guilty of war crimes.

Benjamin Ferencz, a former chief prosecutor for the Nuremberg Trials, declared:

A prima facie case can be made that the United States is guilty of the supreme crime against humanity — that being an illegal war of aggression against a sovereign nation.

See this, this, and this.

The Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court – Luis Moreno-Ocampo – told the Sunday Telegraph in 2007:

That he would be willing to launch an inquiry and could envisage a scenario in which the Prime Minister and American President George W Bush could one day face charges at The Hague. Luis Moreno-Ocampo urged Arab countries, particularly Iraq, to sign up to the court to enable allegations against the West to be pursued.

As a Japan Times Op/Ed noted in 2009:

In January 2003, a group of American law professors warned President George W. Bush that he and senior officials of his government could be prosecuted for war crimes if their military tactics violated international humanitarian law.

Eminent legal scholars such as former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clarke and Dean of the Massachusetts School of Law and a professor of law Lawrence Velvel have since stated that high-level Bush administration officials did commit war crimes in relation to the Iraq war.

Torture is – of course – a violation of the Geneva Conventions, which make it illegal to inflict mental or physical torture or inhuman treatment. It is clearly-established that waterboarding is torture. The torture was, in fact, systematic, and included widespread sexual humiliation, murder and other unambiguous forms of torture.

Velvel and many other legal experts say that the torture which was carried out after 9/11 is a war crime.

Colin Powell’s former chief of staff stated that Dick Cheney is guilty of war crimes for overseeing torture policies.

Matthew Alexander – a former top Air Force interrogator who led the team that tracked down Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – notes that government officials knew they are vulnerable for war crime prosecution:

They have, from the beginning, been trying to prevent an investigation into war crimes.

A Malaysian war crimes commission also found Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and five administration attorneys guilty of war crimes (although but the commission has no power to enforce its judgment).

Postscript: Torture is also apparently continuing under Obama. See this and this.

The Ukraine Civil War: Latest Developments

August 2nd, 2014 by Global Research News

We bring to the attention of our readers information concerning the Ukraine civil war. 

We are not in a position to corroborate the statements contained in this report from Rebel HQ of the Ministry of  Defense of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

At night, 31st of July to 1st  of August, units of the 1st Reconnaissance Company (rebel) carried out an attack  on an enemy checkpoint near Andriivka, to South of Donetsk. The checkpoint s  destroyed. 1 tank and 2 BMPs blown up.

Around Shahtersk, Snezhne and  Torez fighting continues against the partly-encircled UA forces. Inside the  encirclement ended up a parts of the 25th Airmobile Brigade,of the ” More..Dniepr-1″ battalion and supply units. Currently the full  encirclement of the the enemy battlegroup from the north is nearing  completion.

South of Snezhne our forces continued to carry out artillery  strikes against enemy positions around Stepanovka, Saurovka, Amvrosiivka,  Blagodatnoe and around Saur-Mogila. The enemy was inflicted substantial losses  in equipment and manpower.

In the first half of the day there was an  exchange of bodies of those slain in the fighting around Stepanovka and  Latishevo. Ukrainian side handed the rebels bodies of 13 slain fighters. During  the inspection there was undeniable evidence that some of the dead were captured  when still alive, but were savagely finished off. Some of the bodies were tied  up like a “butterfly” and had multiple knife wounds on their bodies. At the same  time the three captured conscripts of the 25th Airmobile brigade were safely  delivered to Donetsk, where two of them, those that were injured received  qualified medical help.

Today, starting from 13:00, the enemy began an  offensive on the South-Western outskirts of Donetsk, from the side of Pobeda and  Karlovka settlements. Around 40 units of armor were deployed. Currently the  enemy was able to capture a checkpoint South-West of Maryinka. Also an enemy  attack is taking place against Krasnogorovka. Rebel units have retreated into  the above mentioned settlements. The battle continues.

At 13:00 near  Shahtersk an enemy UAV was shot down and captured.

Around Amvrosiivka an  enemy artillery positions were hit by rebel counter-battery fire. Up to 5  artillery systems and 2 munition stores were destroyed.

Saur-Mogila  remains in our hand. This height is held by forces of the “Vostok”  battalion.”

http://icorpus.ru/svodka-ot-shtaba-opolcheniya-mo-dnr-01-08-2014-1630-msk/

The UK’s parliamentary Defence Committee has demanded that Western military powers strengthen NATO to prepare for confrontation with Russia.

The report by the cross-party group of Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs complains that the “NATO alliance has not considered Russia as an adversary or a potential territorial threat to its Member States for twenty years” and has now only been “forced to do so as a result of Russia’s recent actions” in eastern Ukraine.

In the interim, NATO alliance has been weakened as member states have cut their defence budgets leaving it “ill-prepared” to face up to Russian “aggression” and potentially lacking the “collective political will to take concerted action…”

To remedy these supposed failings, the Defence Committee calls on September’s NATO summit in Wales to expand the “existing NATO rapid reaction force”, undertake the “pre-positioning of equipment in the Baltic States”, establish a “continuous (if not technically ‘permanent’) presence of NATO troops in the Baltics” and re-establish “large-scale military exercises including representatives from all NATO Member States.” It also advocates an increase in defence spending by all member states.

Most significant is the committee’s proposal that the alliance should broaden the terms of Articles 4 and 5 in its founding treaty, which trigger collective action in the event of an “armed attack” on a NATO ally.

The “criteria, doctrine and responses to calls under Article 4 for ‘collective security’ support against asymmetric attacks” must be re-examined, it states. In particular, it argues that the word “armed” should be removed from Article 5 so as to enable action in response to any form of attack. This should include Russia’s ability to “paralyse an opponent in the pursuit of its interests with a range of tools including psychological operations, information warfare and intimidation with massing of conventional forces,” even where such actions are not “attributable”.

The report gives the lie to Prime Minister David Cameron’s supposed reassurances that Britain is not “going to start World War Three” with Russia over Ukraine.

After comparing the crisis in Ukraine to the crises that triggered World War I and World War II, Cameron stated Wednesday: “We are not about to launch a European war, we are not about to send the fleet to the Black Sea, we are not looking for a military confrontation, but what we should do is use the economic power that we have.”

The Defence Committee’s report is part of an ever more frenzied propaganda campaign aimed at accelerating NATO’s long-standing geostrategic designs on the Russian Federation, including through military confrontation.

Contrary to the Defence Committee’s presentation of NATO standing on the sidelines of events, the alliance has pursued this strategy ever since the liquidation of the Soviet Union in 1991. Beginning that year, the Western powers—with the US and Germany in the lead—set about dismantling Yugoslavia by recognising the breakaway states of Slovenia, Croatia and then Bosnia, and culminating in the NATO bombardment of Serbia in 1999.

This was followed by the sponsoring of the “Rose Revolution” in Georgia in 2003, and the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine in 2004—both aimed at bringing to power pro-Western regimes. In August 2008, the US encouraged a Georgian assault on the breakaway South Ossetia province.

Pushed onto a back foot by the failure of the Georgian operation, as well as the disastrous outcomes of Western interventions against Afghanistan and Iraq, NATO ambitions were revived when Russia blocked its plans for direct military intervention against Syria last August.

Washington and the EU activated plans for regime change in Ukraine, after then President Viktor Yanukovych rejected proposals for closer EU ties that involved the imposition of draconian austerity measures against the population.

As Washington’s top US State Department official Victoria Nuland admitted in her infamous “fuck the EU” phone conversation, the US had spent $5 billion building up pro-Western “opposition” forces and seized the moment.

With the support of Germany, the US backed the so-called Maidan protests, relying on fascist thugs and provocateurs to violently engineer Yanukovych’s removal and install a government of extreme right-wingers and oligarchs.

Now, in the latest stage of this conspiracy, NATO and the EU have seized on the tragic crash of Malaysia MH17 in eastern Ukraine to further their criminal objectives.

Two weeks on, the Western powers have not produced a shred of substantive evidence to back their claims that pro-Russian separatists, backed by Moscow, were responsible for the deaths of the 298 people on board. In fact, satellite and intelligence evidence provided by Russia, coupled with the aggressive actions of the Ukrainian regime to prevent access to the crash site—including the systematic bombardment of towns and cities in the vicinity—point to the likelihood that forces aligned with Kiev were responsible for downing the aircraft.

Nonetheless, Washington and the EU have announced sweeping sanctions against Moscow in the wake of the crash.

The immediate aim of the financial sanctions announced in the last weeks is to encourage Russia’s oligarchs to depose President Vladimir Putin and install a more pro-Western regime.

But as the UK Defence Committee report makes clear, the US and the major European powers are not only prepared to wreck the Russian economy, with potentially grave consequences for the world economy as a whole. Nor are they restrained by the possibility that their actions will lead to civil war within Russia itself.

Their ultimate goal is the dismemberment of the Russian Federation and the seizure of its vital resources, even if their reckless gambit risks nuclear war.

General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s top commander in Europe, told a briefing in Naples last week that the alliance’s base in Szczecin, Poland is to be transformed into a staging post with “pre-positioned supplies, pre-positioned capabilities and a basing area ready to rapidly accept follow-on forces”.

The UK is playing a central role in these provocations. In October, NATO’s Exercise Black Eagle will begin in Poland, in what has been described as a “show of strength” against Russia.

The British government has announced it is sending a “battle-ready” unit to participate—comprising 1,350 troops and more than 350 armoured and other vehicles, its largest commitment in the region since the Georgian provocation in 2008.

Light infantry troops from the UK’s 1st Battalion, The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, are also participating later this month in the US-led Exercise Sabre Junction in Poland, involving 16 NATO and partner nations.

A report by the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) marks a significant escalation in the constitutional crisis over the systematic cover-up of the CIA’s widespread torture programs.

According to the Inspector General David Buckley, five CIA officials surreptitiously gained access to the computers used by Senate staff investigators while compiling a still-classified 6,300-page report on CIA torture. Two CIA attorneys and three CIA information technology employees created fake accounts in order to follow the movements of Senate staff as they worked.

The OIG weakly asserts that the employees were “acting in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding” brokered between the CIA and the Senate.

What is involved is not a breach of a “common understanding,” but a breach of laws and the Constitution. Not only did the spying violate the Fourth Amendment’s proscription of unreasonable searches and seizures and laws that prohibit domestic spying by the CIA, it also violated the basic constitutional principle of separation of powers—in this case, a clear intrusion by the executive branch on the investigatory powers of the legislature.

The gravity of the CIA’s actions is amplified by the fact that the Senate was investigating actions of the executive branch that already violated the Eighth Amendment’s proscription on cruel and unusual punishment.

The OIG report provides proof that the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, lied as part of the cover-up. When first faced with allegations of CIA spying, Brennan declared: “When the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.”

In fact, this is exactly what the CIA was doing, and there is every indication that it was done at the direction of Brennan himself.

Each individual layer of illegality implicates top officials in the “high crimes and misdemeanors” required for impeachment and criminal prosecution of high-ranking officials.

This includes the president himself. From the beginning, the Obama administration and the White House have functioned as an auxiliary agency of the intelligence agency. Not only has the Obama administration defended the CIA throughout the scandal, the White House itself withheld documents from the Senate investigation. After sitting on the Senate report for as long as it could, the White House has set up private sessions where the CIA is allowed to read through the evidence and redact the most incriminating sections.

Then, just two weeks ago, the US Department of Justice announced that it would not launch a criminal investigation into the CIA spying—an act that was no doubt taken with foreknowledge of the conclusions of the inspector general report. On Thursday, the White House again jumped to defend Brennan, with press secretary Josh Earnest saying that the report proved that Brennan had “done what is necessary to get to the bottom of what exactly happened,” and that he showed the kind of “proactive leadership that the president would expect.”

As for Congress, after Senator Dianne Feinstein revealed the illegal spying in a speech on the floor of the Senate in March—accusing the CIA of illegal and unconstitutional activities—the issue was completely dropped. The prostration of the legislative branch before the intelligence apparatus was expressed in Feinstein’s statement that the OIG report “corrects the record.” She praised Brennan for taking “positive first steps.”

The whole affair reveals a political system in which the trappings of democracy are a thin cover for a state that is controlled by a gigantic military-intelligence apparatus (including the CIA, NSA, Defense Department and associated agencies) that operates as a law unto itself.

Consider what has happened. In the midst of a series of illegal wars, the CIA under the direction of the Bush administration established an international network of secret prisons and torture centers. This network operated effectively as a separate organization within the government to which the law—both domestic and international—did not apply. Conscious that what they were doing was illegal, high-ranking CIA officials destroyed evidence (including video tapes) of the torture.

Many of the victims of torture were held indefinitely with no semblance of due process and without ever being charged with committing a crime. In those cases where the victim could not stand the pain, the torturers became executioners. Leaks made by those who have read the Senate report have described the methods as “brutal” for inducing “excruciating” pain at “sprawling” black site prisons.

None of those who ordered these illegal actions or carried them out have been prosecuted. The Obama administration, while nominally ending the torture program, continues it in different forms while vastly expanding the illegal drone assassination and domestic spying programs.

Then, after all of this, Senate investigators into the torture program were spied on and threatened, their computers hacked.

The CIA torture cover-up reveals the collapse of democratic forms in the United States, the consequence of unending war abroad and extreme levels of social inequality at home.

Under the auspices of the “war on terror,” practically every democratic right has been effectively repealed by a collection of scoundrels and political criminals. The state is overseen by a spying apparatus that seeks to monitor all communications and a president that declares the right to assassinate without due process. The entire political establishment is complicit in torture and other illegal activities, and there is not a hint of opposition from the corporate media. Policy is dictated by a cabal that lives in constant fear of the social explosions that will arise inevitably out of the policies that it has pursued.

The breakdown of democracy is one expression of the protracted crisis of American capitalism and a ruling class that, in its determination to defend its interests at home and abroad, is dispensing with all legality.

Eric London

Genocide against Palestinian has become of a “New Normal” according to an Op Ed article published by the Times of Israel. 

Under certain circumstances –according to the Times of Israel article–“Genocide is Permissible” because it is directed against Palestinians who are “terrorists” and who should be “obliterated”.

Implementing a policy of genocide against terrorists including innocent civilians is permissible to”achieve responsible goals” as determined by the Netanyahu government. “What other way then is there to deal with an enemy of this nature other than obliterate them completely?”

Excerpts from the article below (emphasis added):

We are at war with an enemy whose charter calls for the annihilation of our people. Nothing, then, can be considered disproportionate when we are fighting for our very right to live.
The sad reality is that Israel gets it, but its hands are being tied by world leaders who over the past six years have insisted they are such good friends with the Jewish state, that they know more regarding its interests than even they do. But there’s going to have to come a time where Israel feels threatened enough where it has no other choice but to defy international warnings – because this is life or death….

Most of the reports coming from Gazan officials and leaders since the start of this operation have been either largely exaggerated or patently false. The truth is, it’s not their fault, falsehood and deceit is part of the very fabric of who they are and that will never change….

History is there to teach us lessons and the lesson here is that when your enemy swears to destroy you – you take him seriously.

Hamas has stated forthrightly that it idealizes death as much as Israel celebrates life. What other way then is there to deal with an enemy of this nature other than obliterate them completely?

News anchors such as those from CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera have not missed an opportunity to point out the majority of innocent civilians who have lost their lives as a result of this war. But anyone who lives with rocket launchers installed or terror tunnels burrowed in or around the vicinity of their home cannot be considered an innocent civilian. If you’ll counter, that Hamas has been seen abusing civilians who have attempted to leave their homes in response to Israeli warnings to leave – well then, your beginning to come to terms with the nature of this enemy which should automatically cause the rules of standard warfare to be suspended.

Everyone agrees that Israel has the right to defend itself as well as the right to exercise that right. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has declared it, Obama and Kerry have clearly stated that no one could be expected to sit idle as thousands of rockets rain down on the heads of its citizens, placing them in clear and present danger. It seems then that the only point of contention is regarding the measure of punishment meted out in this situation.

I will conclude with a question for all the humanitarians out there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly stated at the outset of this incursion that his objective is to restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel. We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people. If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?

by Yochanan Gordon

https://archive.today/RPf3M#selection-586.1-619.15

Copyright Times of Israel 2014

The post was apparently removed and is not accessible on the Times of Israel’s website. It is accessible on the cache version.

For the record we are including the complete article in Annex below.


When Genocide is Permissible

by Yochanan Gordon

Times of Israel, August 1, 2014

Judging by the numbers of casualties on both sides in this almost one-month old war one would be led to the conclusion that Israel has resorted to disproportionate means in fighting a far less- capable enemy. That is as far as what meets the eye. But, it’s now obvious that the US and the UN are completely out of touch with the nature of this foe and are therefore not qualified to dictate or enforce the rules of this war – because when it comes to terror there is much more than meets the eye.

I wasn’t aware of this, but it seems that the nature of warfare has undergone a major shift over the years. Where wars were usually waged to defeat the opposing side, today it seems – and judging by the number of foul calls it would indicate – that today’s wars are fought to a draw. I mean, whoever heard of a timeout in war? An NBA Basketball game allows six timeouts for each team during the course of a game, but last I checked this is a war! We are at war with an enemy whose charter calls for the annihilation of our people. Nothing, then, can be considered disproportionate when we are fighting for our very right to live.

The sad reality is that Israel gets it, but its hands are being tied by world leaders who over the past six years have insisted they are such good friends with the Jewish state, that they know more regarding its interests than even they do. But there’s going to have to come a time where Israel feels threatened enough where it has no other choice but to defy international warnings – because this is life or death.

Most of the reports coming from Gazan officials and leaders since the start of this operation have been either largely exaggerated or patently false. The truth is, it’s not their fault, falsehood and deceit is part of the very fabric of who they are and that will never change. Still however, despite their propensity to lie, when your enemy tells you that they are bent on your destruction you believe them. Similarly, when Khaled Meshal declares that no physical damage to Gaza will dampen their morale or weaken their resolve – they have to be believed. Our sage Gedalia the son of Achikam was given intelligence that Yishmael Ben Nesanyah was plotting to kill him. However, in his piety or rather naiveté Gedalia dismissed the report as a random act of gossip and paid no attention to it. To this day, the day following Rosh Hashana is commemorated as a fast day in the memory of Gedalia who was killed in cold blood on the second day of Rosh Hashana during the meal. They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes over and over. History is there to teach us lessons and the lesson here is that when your enemy swears to destroy you – you take him seriously.
Hamas has stated forthrightly that it idealizes death as much as Israel celebrates life.  What other way then is there to deal with an enemy of this nature other than obliterate them completely?

News anchors such as those from CNN, BBC and Al-Jazeera have not missed an opportunity to point out the majority of innocent civilians who have lost their lives as a result of this war. But anyone who lives with rocket launchers installed or terror tunnels burrowed in or around the vicinity of their home cannot be considered an innocent civilian. If you’ll counter, that Hamas has been seen abusing civilians who have attempted to leave their homes in response to Israeli warnings to leave – well then, your beginning to come to terms with the nature of this enemy which should automatically cause the rules of standard warfare to be suspended.

Everyone agrees that Israel has the right to defend itself as well as the right to exercise that right. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has declared it, Obama and Kerry have clearly stated that no one could be expected to sit idle as thousands of rockets rain down on the heads of its citizens, placing them in clear and present danger. It seems then that the only point of contention is regarding the measure of punishment meted out in this situation.

I will conclude with a question for all the humanitarians out there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly stated at the outset of this incursion that his objective is to restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel. We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people. If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals?

Copyright Times of Israel, 2014

Vanishing Aircraft

We have been told by much of Western MSM that Air Algerie flight 5017 (hereinafter AH 5017) and its 117 passengers (according to the airline) lost contact with the ground and subsequently crashed in Mali on 7/24due to heavy weather.

A simple, tidy story that; and for all one knows the MSM soporific might even be true.

And yet, true to the times, meaningful questions remain.

Via CNN on 7/24 we have:

“1:17 a.m. local time, Air Algerie Flight 5017 left Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso bound for Algiers. It was supposed to be a four-hour overnight flight but about 50 minutes of takeoff, it disappeared from radar over Mali close to a zone of ongoing conflict between Islamist rebels and the government.”

The Guardian chimed in on 7/29 with:

Radar recordings show the plane’s last contact at 1.47am local time. A witness reported seeing a ball of flame in the crash area at about 1.50am, suggesting the tragedy happened in minutes.

One witness said it was “as if a bomb had fallen” on the desert, and that the plane had hit the ground at a steep angle and at full speed, ruling out any attempt at an emergency landing.

Police investigators and gendarmes at the scene say the plane was “pulverised” and they have found no bodies. Even finding traces of the victims – who included one Briton and 54 French people, including entire families – is proving a challenge, with stifling heat alternating with torrential rain in a remote area.

The Guardian’s reportage that the plane was pulverized echoed Le Monde’s7/26 assertion that the wreckage was indicative of disintegration.

Matters are so compromised with respect to the status of bodily evidence that France now thinks it could take from three to five months for forensic processes to produce the first identifications.

And then we have the facts that it took hours for airline and government officials to make AH 5017’s disappearance public, there were 51 French passengers, and France, declaring victory, had very recently terminated Operation Serval (a counterterrorism adventure in Mali).

Finally, we have the pending performance on a France/Russia deal whereby Russia is to receive delivery of two Mistral warships.  Maybe certain elitist elements would rather see France breach the contract?

Might the demise of AH 5017 be attributable to an act of terror, and might there be additional links to the vanishing aircraft of MH 17, MH 370, and veryconceivably even Air France 447Newsweek on AH 5017:

“General Gilbert Diendere, head of Burkina Faso’s crisis cell, said radar data showed that the plane appeared to try to fly around the bad weather before reverting to its initial course, which took it back into the eye of the storm.

“Perhaps the pilot thought that he had completely avoided it and wanted to return to the original route,” Diendere said, according to the website of French radio RFI. “The accident took place while the plane performed this maneuver.”

Diendere said the last contact with the plane at its altitude of 10,000 meters was at 0147 GMT and the crash was reported by witnesses to have taken place at 0150.

“That means that (plane) fell from an altitude of 10,000 meters to zero in about three minutes, which is a steep fall given the size of the plane,” he added.”

10,000 meters is just about 33,000 feet, so, if the preceding sentence is true, AH 5017 lost altitude at an average of 11,000 feet per minute before being ostensibly destroyed.

The same thing happened to Air France 447.

A quick refresher on that flight from the Huffington Post:

“On the evening of May 31, 2009 [it was in the early hours of 6/1/2009 that the flight went missing], 216 passengers and 12 crew members boarded an Air France Airbus 330 at Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The flight, Air France 447, departed at 7.29 p.m. local time for a scheduled 11-hour trip to Paris. It never arrived. At 7 o’clock the next morning, when the aircraft failed to appear on the radar screens of air traffic controllers in Europe, Air France began to worry and contacted civil aviation authorities. By 11 a.m., they concluded that AF447 had gone missing somewhere over the vast emptiness of the South Atlantic.

How, in the age of satellite navigation and instantaneous global communication, could a state-of-the art airliner simply vanish? It was a mystery that lasted for two years.”

Air France 447, like MH 370, MH 17, and AH 5017 also “vanished without a word from the crew.” Perhaps, then, the official report regarding Air France 447, which explained the affair in terms of heavy weather, a high altitude stall, and pilot error also happens to more or less describe what occurred with AH 5017?

Then again, it was reported regarding Air France 447 that:

“Two pilots of an Air Comet flight from Lima to Lisbon saw a bright flash of light in the area where Flight 447 went down, the Madrid-based airline told CNN. The pilots have turned in their report to authorities.

“Suddenly, we saw in the distance a strong and intense flash of white light, which followed a descending and vertical trajectory and which broke up in six seconds,” the captain wrote in the report.

The flash of light contributes to the theory that an explosion is what brought down Flight 447, which was carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro to Paris.”

To be sure, these reports have gone down the memory hole.

Intrepid readers will have little difficulty locating other disturbing claims about Flight 447, but to be honest it’s difficult to decisively separate mere rumors from plausible alternative accounts.

Be that as it may, what follows may amount to nothing more than a mirage of coincidences (some of them possibly forced)—but it might also suggest something quite significant.

“Numerology”

An earlier contribution to Global Research on the subject of MH 17 stated:

Next, here are a few other curious tidbits.  The flight 17 crash shares an anniversary with the demise of TWA 800, which AT’s own Jack Cashill has compellingly argued was, in fact, brought down by a missile on July 17, 1996 and subsequently covered up by the US government.  And, the maiden flight of flight 17 occurred in 1997 on the date of, you guessed it, July 17.

[Moreover Russia's last ruling monarch of the Romanov family Tsar Nicholas II, together with his wife Tsarina Alexandra and their five children Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei were executed on 17 July 1918. Subliminal message to Putin? No doubt it's another "coincidence"]

So “17s” are everywhere.  To be sure, though, each of the items in the last paragraph is easily ranged under the heading “coincidence.”

With respect to AH 5017, we obviously encounter “17” again in the number of the flight.  And, we have the fact that the flight left at 1:17 AM.  Plus, some early reports indicated 117 passengers.

In a related vein, as previous quotes show, “7s” and “11s” seem to reverberate around facts pertaining to Air France 447 and AH 5017.  And, MH 370 was lost on 3/7/2014 at 17:20 UTC.

Of course, many other numerical facts connected with the three flights have nothing to do with 7s, 11s, or 17s.

It is unquestionably easy to get carried away with this sort of thing; one very serious problem is that in the absence of a consistently applied, rationally based rule for combining digits and assigning times, it is easy to mold phenomena so as to reach conspiratorial conclusions when nothing obtains other than coincidence (and perhaps not even that).

In short, we do not want to consume witches’ brews or magicians’ potions; instead, we should ask whether there might be scientifically sensible reasons as to why intelligence enterprises and their associates might want to play numerological games.

Rare events and events that are meaningfully singular in their description (such as the vanishing of MH 370) are next to impossible to predict statistically, especially if one is attempting to predict the precise time, date, and place of occurrence (almost by definition there’s not enough data to support valid statistical analyses).  It is just such “black swan” events, though, that often exert the greatest, and most reverberating, impacts on global dynamics.  Because such events are difficult to predict even with a great deal of information in hand, they are difficult to prevent—even with a tremendous amount of information.

With these thoughts in mind, consider that when singular, rare events such as plane vanishings that receive intensive coverage take place, the threshold geopolitical question is really whether the occurrence was accidental or in some way planned.  It is here that “numerological” factors may come into play.  It may be that the numerological properties of events can function as ways of indicating human agency, even though such agency will, of necessity, be invisible to algorithms and associated databases.  If human consciousness, on the basis of ironically non-quantifiable meaning, considers an event to be too significant to perfunctorily ascribe to an accident, it will react accordingly even if the “data” and surface authorities (such as certain visible bureaucrats and news anchors with far more proximate connections to the public) say otherwise.

If these ruminations are accurate, it may be that the degree of brazenness of “numerological” ties functions as a measure of the danger we confront.  Surface authority, in spite of its nearly universal mathematical illiteracy, has been successfully conditioned to believe that the only measures of scientific significance are those that can be quantified.  Therefore, it is blind to many potential indications of agency that could indicate covert conflict.

However, had a flight numbered 7077 crashed on 7/7/2014 after having disappeared from radar at 7:07 PM, even surface authorities might have been forced to acknowledge design—even if they were told in so many terms by deep authority that “Big Data” could not back it up.  Since even the dimwits of surface authority would be talking design, the risk of overt hot war would rise substantially.  It is for reasons such as these that the rather glaring 17s surrounding MH 17 are unsettling.

The Global Elite

Now consider these utterly bizarre remarks made by none other than IMF chief Christine Lagarde at a 1/15/2014 National Press Club speech:

“Now, I’m going to test your numerology skills by asking you to think about the magic seven, okay? Most of you will know that seven is quite a number in all sorts of themes, religions. And I’m sure that you can compress numbers as well. So if we think about 2014, all right, I’m just giving you 2014, you drop the zero, 14, two times 7. Okay,that’s just by way of example, and we’re going to carry on. (Laughter) So 2014 will be a milestone and hopefully a magic year in many respects. It will mark the hundredth anniversary of the First World War back in 1914. It will note the 70thanniversary, drop the zero, seven– of the Breton Woods conference that actually gave birth to the IMF. And it will be the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, 25th, okay. It will also mark the seventh anniversary of the financial market jitters that quickly turned into the greatest global economic calamity since the Great Depression. The crisis still lingers. Yet, optimism is in the air. We’ve left the deep freeze behind us and the horizon looks just a bit brighter. So my hope and my wish for 2014 is that after those seven miserable years, weak and fragile, we have seven strong years. I don’t know whether the G7 will have anything to do with it, or whether it will be the G20. I certainly hope that the IMF will have something to do with it.”

Can anyone recall the last time a global elitist of the stature of Lagarde made such bombastic reference to numerological notions during a speech, whether “jokingly” or not?  That someone like her would even speak in such terms is decidedly odd—conceivably even unprecedented—irrespective of the particulars.

Aside from the very audacity of even mentioning numerology, the key 1/15/2014 language may very well be the G7/G20 wording; Lagarde states the alternative pretty starkly in terms of either/or but not both—and the G20 does not include Russia.

Dr. Jason Kissner is Associate Professor of Criminology at California State University. Dr. Kissner’s research on gangs and self-control has appeared in academic journals.  His current empirical research interests include active shootings.   You can reach him at[email protected].

The latest Israeli massacres in Gaza have once again laid bare the genocidal policies of the Zionist regime and its imperial backers in the United States-led NATO alliance.

Since its violent colonial inception in 1948, known as the Nakba,  يوم النكبة catastrophe –  the historical event which thoroughly debunks the false perception of a peace-seeking Israeli state surrounded by “inhospitable Arabs” – the Zionist leadership has in fact had no intention of a “durable peace” with the Palestinians or their Arab neighbours. As over 66 years of ethnic cleansing, periodic mass murder, endless kidnappings and incarceration, land theft and wars of aggression have clearly shown — “peace”, let alone the possibility of genuine Palestinian autonomy within the Bantustans and ghettos the Israeli’s have created in historic Palestine, has never been on the Zionist or imperialist agenda.

Only a crude revisionist or devout partisan of the highest order is able to analyse the historical and present policies of Israel and its imperial backers and come to any other conclusion that the full expulsion and expropriation of the Palestinian people and their land is the desired end-goal. Indeed, over the years many an Israeli politician, militarist or policy planner have openly revealed as much, and such zealous policy is reflected in the views and ideology of the occupying Israeli population – evidenced once more in recent polls showing the overwhelming majority of Israelis support the massacres and wish for them to continue (1). This is to say nothing of the blatant xenophobia so pervasive within Israeli society and the widespread scenes of racist Israeli mobs cheering on the massacres from grandstands with popcorn or freely chanting “Death to the Arabs” and worse throughout the streets of Tel Aviv. Yet a common perspective still held in the west toward the latest slaughter in Gaza – even within so-called “Left” circles – is largely one of shock and disbelief, as if this most recent bout of imperial-sanctioned fascist brutality is the exception, and not the longstanding rule.

As Greg Shupak points out:

“describing such violence as aimless misses the underlying logic of Israel’s conduct throughout Operation Protective Edge and, indeed, for much of its history.

Driven by both its own settler-colonial agenda and by its function as an American partner in the geopolitical system, Israel strives to balance its desire to maximize the territory it controls against the imperative of minimizing the number of Palestinians living in the territories it seeks to use for its own purposes.

The result is that Palestinians are not merely subject to extreme violence. Rather, their capacity to live autonomously in historic Palestine is being attacked. … Not only does the current Israeli onslaught end the physical existence of specific Palestinian individuals, it aims to obliterate Palestinians as a people with the capacity to live independently in their homeland.” (2)

Yet despite this, the western liberal “Left” commentariat is by no means averse to the aforementioned reductionist strain of analysis. As an example, leading propagandist of the UK Labour Party Owen Jones has once again been kind enough to provide the Guardian’s white-western liberal readership with a typically opportunist variation on dissent. (3) Using his platform to build false equivalence and portray racist Israeli occupiers as victims, Jones informs that Israel’s premeditated mass murder is merely an “offensive” with a “rationale” that “must be understood”.

According to Jones, the “rationale” behind Israel’s colonial aggression must also be immediately understood not from the point of view of the oppressed Palestinians, but from the point of view of the oppressor. And what is this “rationale” one might ask? Well, of course it is the historical persecution of the Jews; the Holocaust, the pogroms of tsarist Russia etc, and more importantly the appropriated victimhood that follows. Apparently, “the moral corruption that comes with any occupation has fused with the collective trauma of the Jewish people”, says Jones, and there are indeed several liberal Zionists that back him up on this matter (evidently, there are never any Palestinians in Jones’ articles on the subject). But once again this is purely an attempt to mitigate and make excuses for Zionist colonialism by conflating the racist occupiers of today with the Jewish victims of yesterday. Jones crassly attempts to conflate the history of Jewish persecution with the Zionist regime and its zealous subjects in order to afford the latter with false moral legitimacy.

This false perception has proven to be a fundamental one in legitimizing the Zionist project since its very beginnings; promoted by the Zionist leadership and their cohorts to furnish what would otherwise be considered colonial genocidaires with a moral smokescreen to continue their murderous policies unabated. What Jones demands is that the Israeli regime, the violent racist settlers, and the twisted ideology they hold be afforded “understanding” due to the “collective trauma” inflicted upon Jews throughout history – it is to make Jews and Zionists one and the same. Not only does Jones attempt to propagate this revolting conflation of persecuted Jews with racist Zionists but he does it under the guise of feigned “Left” condemnation – purporting to be on a quest to understand it, he merely repeats the Israeli-line without offering an ounce of criticism.

Simply put, the desired effect of regurgitating the supremacist ideological basis for the “Jewish State” and asking for “understanding” is to depict racist settlers as Jewish victims, to whitewash and sanitize, to excuse, to empathise with the Zionists imperial-sanctioned systematic brutality and oppression in Palestine and validate their warped rationalizations. In reality, of course, the history of Jewish persecution has absolutely no relevance to Zionism other than when it is used to legitimise the fascistic policies and ideology of the latter.

The duplicity is taken a step further as Jones forwards the idea that Israeli colonialism can be compared with the British empire’s oppression and colonialism in Ireland. While there is indeed a correlation between the two forms of colonialism this anachronistic comparison detached from any wider context is nothing but an attempt to portray Israel as a legitimate state; as if the Israeli state existed before it usurped Palestine and may return to a post-colonial incarnation once the occupation has quietly ended – presumably to the borders of 1967. This point of view is further evidenced by Jones’ explicit wording regarding “an end to the occupation and the dismantling of every settlement” — how very two-state solution.  But Israel the state, its culture and ideology, born in 1948, are entirely a product of colonial occupation and would not exist in any form if that occupation and ongoing policy of colonisation were to be ended in full. Jones wants to portray Israel as merely a legitimate state occupying another, not an entirely illegitimate state built from the wholesale theft of another, and the oppression murder and expulsion of its people.

Such opportunism is further exposed by Jones’ positions toward Palestinian resistance group Hamas. Jones’ liberal Zionist source tells us that to Israelis “Gaza residents are homogenised as Hamas supporters – even though most were not of voting age when the group was elected in 2006 – justifying collective punishment.” But Jones fails to offer any clarification that this is a fundamentally wrongheaded way to think, he just leaves it floating for the reader to assume the justification is valid, in that collective punishment for the “crime” of supporting Hamas is a somewhat “understandable” position to take and should be empathized with, because after all Hamas are “terrorists” and Israelis are just poor victims.

This is of course not a position to be merely “understood”, or to be at all empathized with; it is a position intrinsic to an underlying racist ideology that is to be vehemently opposed. But Jones and Co. simply lack the backbone. In a revealing quote from an earlier piece Jones also tells us that “there is no defence for Hamas firing rockets into civilian areas”(4), thereby not only bolstering the Israeli regime’s lies that Hamas targets Israeli civilians – in fact they have gone to great lengths to target occupation forces while the occupation forces have mercilessly slaughtered women and children from planes and tanks – but also negating the Palestinians right, by International Law no less, to engage in armed resistance to occupation. What self-respecting “Leftist” denies Palestinians the right to resist a fascist military occupation? A social-chauvinist, social-imperialist “Leftist”, that’s who.

Citing Netanyahu’s use of the Holocaust to depict Israelis as threatened victims, Jones almost appears to “understand the rationale” but he is avoiding calling it by its real name: ideology. It is not simply a metaphysical “rationale” that engenders Israeli massacres in Gaza, it is a pervasive racist colonial ideology called Zionism, but Jones doesn’t want to name it because his interest is in hiding the full consequences of confronting that depraved ideology – moreover its specific material causes – behind liberal platitudes and empty condemnations.

There is of course no attempt whatsoever from the social imperialists at “understanding” the economic material causes that engender Zionist barbarity, and this is largely due to the fact that exposing such causes would make a mockery of the imperial-extricating bourgeois propaganda they sell. Zionism is, and has always been used in a strictly colonial sense, in that it forms the culture, ideology and state structure for the entire imperialist-sponsored Israeli project. Zionism is fascism, and to call-out the Israeli state as a fascist colonial manifestation that is reliant on western imperialism is simply too far a stretch for Oxford-educated Labour Party propagandists.

By no means the only western “Left” pundit to employ this conflation of Jewish persecution and Zionism, Jones’ liberal-imperialist propagandist-in-arms Laurie Penny decided to take up the baton in much the same way, but with far less subtlety. Employing the same perfidious conflation of Jews and Zionists under the guise of “Left” condemnation, Penny concocts a call for Jewish guilt, informing us that “Jews are better placed than anyone else to articulate a powerful call for ceasefire” (5). Thus, Penny bolsters the Zionist regimes’ propaganda and supremacist ideology by validating the perception that Israel represents Jews, and then demands that they take responsibility for Zionism. By associating Zionists with historically persecuted Jews Penny attempts to surreptitiously justify Zionist aggression and colonialism, and in turn bolster Israel’s false moral justification: its use of the “fear” of Jewish annihilation to obscure and mitigate its aggressive policies.

In what can only be seen as a massive oversight, Penny invokes the same false moralism as Jones in crudely positing that the “The moral basis for Israel’s persecution of the Palestinian people is eroding fast.” As if such a “moral basis” for Israeli persecution of Palestinians has ever existed outside the depraved mindset of Zionists and white supremacist imperialists, or two-state-solution enthusiasts, also known as liberal Zionists.

Jones and Co. seek “understanding” for this ideology and leave it at that, there is no real analysis of what this ideology is, where it stems from and why it has been employed by Zionist ruling classes and their imperial counterparts to produce the massacres and incremental genocide of the last 66 years. Zionism’s inherent racism and the effect it has on the occupying population is largely ignored; there is no understanding, just feeble pleas to the reader. Jones wants to whitewash it, furnish it with Jewish victimhood and then sweep it under the carpet. But not only does Jones the social chauvinist attempt to whitewash the true extent of this ideology and its vital relationship with western imperialism, but he totally ignores the material causes that bring it about.

Contrary to Jones’ apolitical non-materialist approach to Israeli “rationales”, there is a fundamental economic material cause that buttresses and sustains Israeli fascism, and that is western imperialism. The Israeli state has provided western capital with its most crucial foothold in the resource-rich Middle East since its inception. Initially used by the British as a bulwark against the rising tide of Arab nationalism and national liberation movements, and to uphold a position of military/strategic dominance over the region’s massive resources, then taken fully into the fold of American imperialism with the decline of the British empire to meet the same ends — the Zionist leadership have provided the west with a reliable client willing to go to great lengths in aiding western imperial hegemony in return for maintaining its sponsorship and support for its colonial agenda.

As Bashir Abu-Manneh explains of “imperialism-colonialism”:

“The United States has been determining major economic and political outcomes in the Middle East since at least 1967, with Israel continuing to play a crucial role in their realization. In Israel-Palestine, this has meant that force and colonial peace have alternated as main instruments of policy, with the main objective being a constant: Jewish supremacy in Palestine—as much land as possible, as few Palestinians as possible. The United States has exploited this Zionist imperative for its own interests in the region, and has fostered a militarized and fundamentalist Israel in the process.”

The dynamic of American Empire/Israeli colonialism is, therefore, circular: U.S. support reinforces Israeli colonialism and occupation, which bolsters Israeli militarization of state and society, which generates new ideological and political justifications and breeds new religious fanaticisms, leading to further indigenous resistance and to more U.S. interventions in the region. A cycle of violence if ever there was one, ultimately determined by U.S. imperialism. The United States thus becomes both a necessary and sufficient condition for Israel’s colonial expansionism. Without it, Israel would be a pariah state. Without it, conditions of peaceful coexistence in the region are much more likely. Without it, Israeli militarism and Jewish fundamentalism in Israel would be on the defensive; and the mobilization of internal domestic forces calling for the abandonment of the “national security” ethic and the rejection of living by the sword would have a real chance of gaining political ascendancy in Israel.”(6)

The results of such policies and the co-dependent “circular” relationship between US imperialism and Zionist colonialism are clear for all to see: an ever-diminishing Palestine and a constant Israeli attack on the Palestinians’ very means of existence. The latest bombardment yet again provides explicit evidence of this genocidal policy; from the intentional bombing of civilian infrastructure,  the wholesale destruction of urban zones, cultural and educational facilities, to the deliberate targeting of children – even when under the supposed safety of UN protection – are all colonial policies designed to prevent the survival of, or permanently expel the Palestinian population. The dependency on US imperialism is also as clear as day; without the US’ Orwellian diplomatic and media cover public outcry would be far greater within the west; the now largely defunct and thoroughly subordinated UN – which has always primarily provided the “Great Powers”, now mainly the US and its NATO lackeys, with a dominant position over the “lesser” nations – could have perhaps been more effective in countering Israeli colonialism if it weren’t for American security council vetoes. More importantly still, without US military and economic support Israel would certainly be far less able to sustain its dominant military posture, thereby its aggression and meddling toward its Arab neighbours, let alone pursue a genocidal policy of expansionism.

On the other side of the bargain, and providing the most crucial return in supporting Zionism for the western imperial class, is the furthering of regional chaos, antagonism, and conflict, thereby weakened subordinated Arab states and peoples that western capital seeks to repress – to force down the road of political reaction and to exploit. In one form or another Israel has provided western imperialism with its most reliable asset in the repression and exploitation of the Middle East. Until this colonial manifestation of western imperialism is abolished in full, and its racist ideological structure along with it, thereby freeing the Palestinians and Arabs from western imperialism and Zionist oppression, there will be no “durable peace”.

The western “Left”  liberals and social chauvinists seeking mere “understanding” of the oppressor and affording it false equivalence aim to mitigate and obscure both the inherently fascistic character of Zionism and the Israeli State, and its critical role in buttressing western imperial domination of the Middle East.

 Notes

1.) Over 90% of Israelis say Gaza Op justified. – Times of Israel.

2.) The Logic of Israeli Violence. – Greg Shupak

3.) How the occupation of Gaza corrupts the occupier. – Owen Jones.

4.) Israel is under renewed Hamas attack, says the BBC, more balance is needed. – Owen Jones.

5.) As Israel’s assault on Gaza intensifies, its not anti-semitic to say not in my name. – Laurie Penny.

6.) Israel in the US Empire. – Bashir Abu-Manneh

If there were an anti-war movement in the US, the Russian Aggression Prevention Act of 2014 (S.2277) which will cost American taxpayers $117 billion, might be at the top of the list for defeat as a totally provocative, irrational piece of legislation that can only be viewed as paving the road for a preemptive first strike on Russia.

But as the Obama foreign policy has crossed the threshold of madness in its prevarications of geopolitical crises into costly wars and escalations of US global domination; amazingly alas, there is no anti war movement. The most militarized, most blatantly pro-war country on the planet, perhaps in the history of the world, has not one prominent voice for peace – except the American people who, in every poll, are consistently opposed to more war.

In what is destined to be a lose-lose for world peace, 23 Senate Republicans have co-sponsored Sen. Bob Corker’s legislation that seeks to prevent “further Russian aggression toward Ukraine and other sovereign states in Europe and Eurasia.” If there is any reader who believes that Russia has been the aggressor in Ukraine or elsewhere, this graphic video of civilian atrocities committed by Ukraine’s neo nazi National Guard ought to be enough to shake even the most apathetic population out of their indifference.

To date, no Democrat has co-sponsored the bill but that is not to say that neither will they object to its intent. With Congressional recess tentatively scheduled for Labor Day weekend until after the midterm elections, the odds are that S.2277 may not be adopted any time soon.

But what its existence does do is to provide political cover for the Obama Administration which has already moved to adopt a number of its provisions as it follows the bill’s outline that sets the stage for a direct military conflict with Russia – with no Senate presence to object to the ominous rumblings that S 2277 evokes – not the liberal darling du jour Elizabeth Warren nor any other Senator with enough inner grit or integrity to dare challenge Obama’s narcissistic abuse of power.

Here are some disturbing reasons for concern:

* Directs the President to submit a plan to Congress for accelerating NATO and European missile defense efforts.

“Accelerating …missile defense efforts” confirms that additional anti-ballistic missiles (ABMs), already in Poland and the Czech Republic, will be deployed elsewhere in eastern Europe as a provision to block retaliation from Russia after a US first strike.

As if NATO needs any accelerating, on a recent European trip, the globe-trotting president assured Poland and other eastern European countries of an extra $1 billion to pay for an increased US military presence. It is no secret that eastern European leaders see Uncle Sam handouts as the gift that keeps on giving, a gravy train of empowerment – more jobs, more influence and greater prestige. While Obama softly chastised its members to “do its fair share” and “step up,” each NATO country is required to contribute 2% of its GDP to defense, most have reduced rather than increased their payment. The largesse of the US taxpayer carries 75% of the NATO budget load.

* Directs the President to impose significantly increased sanctions if Russian armed forces have not withdrawn from the eastern border of Ukraine, or if agents of the Russian Federation do not cease actions to destabilize the control of the government of Ukraine over eastern Ukraine, and if Russian armed forces have not withdrawn from Crimea – all within seven days after enactment.

Here we have a deliriously myopic cock-eyed view of reality that Russia is on the doorstep of NATO rather than NATO being the interloper. On that same European trip, the president threatened additional sanctions in an effort to weaken the ruble and destabilize the Russian economy, if Russia continued ‘actively destabilizing its neighbors” again predating Corker’s legislation.

The requirement that Russia withdraw from Crimea, a tenet of the Neanderthal School of Foreign Policy, reveals a pitiful ignorance of the 200 year history of the Crimea as part of Russia and that the Donbas in east Ukraine has been a dominant Russian-speaking industrial epicenter since the 1930’s. The US has informed the Putin government that it would not accept the legitimacy of the Crimea vote for secession to Russia with the time-honored concept of self-determination now verboten at the US State Department.

Speaking of efforts at destabilizing Ukraine, the currently-in-shambles Kiev government is doing a pretty good job of destabilizing itself with the resignation of prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the recent upheaval in the Ukraine parliament including a series of fistfights over its failure to agree on the war in east Ukraine and allowing western control of the country’s pipeline infrastructure.

* Directs the President to halt all redeployments of combat forces from Europe, and develop a plan to correct any deficiencies in the Armed Forces’ ability to respond to contingencies in Europe and Eurasia

* Directs DOD to assess the capabilities and needs of the Ukrainian armed forces and authorizes the President to provide military assistance to Ukraine.

* Provides non-NATO ally status for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova for purposes of the transfer of defense articles or services as well as to increase U.S. armed forces interactions with the armed forces of Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

In toto, the above three points all reflect the preliminary bureaucratic process necessary to prepare for war.

Once formal ‘ally’ status has been conferred, the US can then justify its own and NATO military action coming to the aid of an ‘ally’ under a specious attack from Russia. The addition of nine other countries for increased military assistance is a worrisome signal that the coming conflict is expected to be more widespread than just Ukraine.   On July 29, CNN reported that Ukraine military initiated firing short range ballistic missiles capable of carrying up to 1000 pound warheads; and yet if Russia retaliated, a momentous perhaps irreversible confrontation would be inevitable.

* Secretary of State shall increase efforts, directly or through nongovernmental organizations, to improve democratic governance, transparency, accountability, rule of law, and anti-corruption efforts in the Russian Federation; strengthen democratic institutions and political and civil society organizations in the Russian Federation; expand uncensored Internet access in Russia; and expand free and unfettered access to independent media of all kinds in Russia, including through increasing United States Government-supported broadcasting activities, and to assist with the protection of journalists and civil society activists who have been targeted for free speech activities.

All of the above would be hilarious if it were not so pathetically hypocritical. Every element of ‘improving democratic governance” is sorely needed in the US but then the American government excels at pointing the finger at others and laying blame when the US itself has been guilty of exactly what it accuses others of.

* Amends the Natural Gas Act for expedited application and approval process for export to World Trade Organization members as well as urge the U.S. Agency for International Development, the Trade and Development Agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction for “promotion of US private sector participation in energy development in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova” for exploitation of natural gas and oil reserves.

So herein lies the real nub of the matter: that is, in what the Pentagon calls ‘full spectrum dominance,” the US pursues ultimate control of the entire world’s supply of petroleum resources and production facilities.  It is intriguing to note that the Natural Gas Act section includes not just energy development in Ukraine but Georgia which has a mere 35 billion barrels of crude oil reserves ranking 81st on the list of countries with proved oil reserves and that Moldova has virtually no petroleum reserves, imports all of its energy from Russia and ranks 141 according to the CIA World Factbook.  The goal here, of course, is to eliminate any dependency on Russia’s export of oil as well as to draw Georgia and Moldova into the fight.

This June, 2014 video of Sergei Glazyev, economic assistant to Russian President Vladimir Putin, provides rare insight into Russia’s interpretation of current geopolitical realities in east Ukraine with an alarming prediction of the US response.

His view is that Ukraine should be considered a US ‘occupied’ state with significant CIA and military advisors in key positions as they direct the war and the likelihood that after the Donbass and its courageous rebellion has been totally extinguished, there will be an invasion of the Crimea. The equally alarming news that the US Star Wars (aka ABM’s designed to intercept ICBM’s but may also be used as an offensive weapon), was tested ten days ago and deployed to the Romanian Russian border is further indicative of President Obama’s apocalyptic plans.

But the truly mind-numbing possibility is that an inexperienced, ineffectual President will be easily swayed to believe that the US can prevail in a limited nuclear first strike.

Renee Parsons was a staffer in the U.S. House of Representatives and a lobbyist on nuclear energy issues with Friends of the Earth.  In 2005, she was elected to the Durango City Council and served as Councilor and Mayor.  Currently, she is a member of the Treasure Coast ACLU Board.

A rising wave of antiwar and anti-conscription protest is taking place in cities and towns across western Ukraine.

The protests are prompted by the announcement of Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko ten days ago that a “third” military mobilization is now required for the war that his governing regime began waging against the population of eastern Ukraine three months ago. Kyiv calls the war an “anti-terrorist operation.”

The protests are paralleled by a rise in Ukraine army desertions and refusals of men and women to heed conscription orders.

Antiwar protest in city of Mykolaiv (Nikolaev), Ukraine, July 25, 2014, blocking traffic bridge over Bug RiverPoroshenko’s mobilization proposal was approved by the Ukraine Rada on July 22. The measure means that more people will be conscripted into military service and that more reserve army units will be thrown into the battle theatre.

Since the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Kyiv has embarked on a frenzied military push into southeast Ukraine to try and defeat a pro-autonomy rebellion there. It is blocking access by investigators to the MH17 crash site and the forward line of its military push consists of intense and random bombardments of towns and cities amounting to war crimes on a massive scale.

This video of shelling of an apartment block in the city of Donetsk on July 29 is an example of what is occurring. Buzzfeed reports, “Tuesday’s attack was the first time that shelling hit central Donetsk, a hitherto tranquil rebel stronghold. It left three people dead and wounded 15. The nearby city of Horlivka declared three days of mourning after heavy fire killed 17 overnight and wounded several dozen others. At least four more people died in shelling in the Donetsk suburb of Yasynuvata.”

Kyiv is in a race to defeat the rebellion before the crippling cost of it all as well as rising antiwar protests and army desertions bring its offensive to a halt. It also has to worry about anticipated revolts by the Ukraine population as a whole once the harsh consequences of the economic association agreement that Kyiv signed with the European Union on June 30 bite deeper and deeper.

Protests on the rise

Although the propaganda websites of the Kyiv government boast of the successes of its now three-month long “anti-terrorist operation” in eastern Ukraine (which it dubs its “ATO”), the special mobilization measure approved last week shows its war is in trouble. More fighting units are needed, the national treasury is effectively bankrupted by it all and there are rising numbers of desertions from the army and growing protests by mothers, wives, friends and neighbours of conscript soldiers. ICTV reports that the advisor to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Anton Gerashenko, has announced that anyone in Ukraine who agitates on social media against the regime’s war will be arrested.

The expanding protests have multiple messages. Some oppose the war outright. Others are specifically addressing the harsh and dangerous conditions that soldiers are facing in the east.

One of the most dramatic of the many protests since the “third mobilization” measure was announced has been in the port and shipbuilding city of Mykolaiv (also spelled Nikolaev), on the Black Sea, east of Odessa. Mothers and wives of soldiers repeatedly blocked the Varvarovsky Bridge over the Bug River for three days beginning July 25. They demanded a return of their sons or husbands from lengthy tours of duty in the 79th Paratroop Regiment. The tours have been extended and the regiment has suffered intense combat.

The women went on foot to the bridge carrying placards reading “Save our boys!” and used a pedestrian crossing to block traffic. Tussles with police and militia took place. (See dramatic video footage here from July 25.)

On the first day of the protest, the women drafted a letter to President Poroshenko which the mayor of the city and regional governor agreed to deliver. The women said their action would not end until they received a satisfactory reply. They didn’t receive that. A police mobilization ended the blockade on July 27. Some protesters were arrested.

The websites Hronika.info and ZIK.ua report that in the town of Bohorodchany in Ivano-Frankivsk oblast (region) [1], in southwest Ukraine bordering the Carpathia region, angry people attacked the military registration office and the premises of other local organs of power on July 22. They burned conscription documents. (Ukraine language report here.)

It’s a rural region and protesters sounded a theme that is common to many of the anti-conscription protests: they say their menfolk lack proper training and equipment and therefore face “certain death” when sent to the east.

“Certain death” faced by soldiers is not a sign of a war going well. It also suggests that the most recent report of the Office United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reporting “at least” 1,129 killed by the war in Ukraine is seriously understated. It’s a fact that the report’s claim of “100,000″ people made refugee by the war is laughingly low — Russia says more than 500,000 refugees have crossed its border since the war began in April and Ukraine admits to nearly 100,000 internal refugees.

Russia has condemned this latest report by the OUNCHR, saying, “Its key message is that the government of Ukraine is permitted to legitimately use force to restore law and order in the east of the country.”

Also on July 22, residents of the village of Skobychivka linked arms and formed a human chain to block the road from Ivano-Frankivsk to Bohorodchany, causing a kilometre-long traffic jam. The protesters held placards reading: “No Afghanistan in Ukraine!” “Send call-up notices to the children of the higher-ups!” “Return our children to us,” and “Stop the bloodshed.” A common slogan in the protests is “Refuse!”

A separate report in Vesti quoted the relatives of soldiers saying their sons were being used as “cannon fodder.” The report said people were also protesting in Yaremcha, in the same region, and in Sambor, Lviv region.

Not far from that area, in Bukovina region, residents in seven villages blocked roads on July 28. That region is southwest Ukraine includes a significant population of Romanian descent.

A video published by 112.UA shows soldiers’ relatives blocking a road in Obukhivs’kyi district, near Kyiv on July 24 demanding a return of soldiers from lengthy duty.

Protesters in the Odessa region blocked the Black Sea coastal highway for hours on July 28.

Residents of six villages in Sokyryanskyi region (Chernivtsi oblast) — Bilousivka, Lomachyntsi, Mykhalkove, Serbychany, Korman and Romankivtsi — blocked the highway between Chernivtsi and Novodnistrovsk on the morning of July 25, demanding that their menfolk not be sent to war.

Protests have gripped the entire region of Chernivtsi in southwest Ukraine. A video recording showed people saying, “We don’t war — we want peace” and “We did not raise our children for war. We will not give them our children.”

This video (screen below) shows a group of people, mostly women, from Chernivtsi who gather to confront a local military recruitment officer. They are carrying their sons or husbands’ conscription orders.

“Go fight your own war,” they tell the conscription officer, who tells locals to “go to the Internet” if they want to find out why the new mobilization is happening. He is referring to the Kyiv regime’s intensely propagandistic websites devoted to all things “ATO.” But the protesters are having none of that. They gather dozens of blue-coloured conscription orders into a pile and burn them.

As they stand around watching the flames, they’re all voicing their opinions. One mother says, “[Kyiv authorities] are fleeing like rats from a sinking ship, but they come here to take our sons and send them to death. They made the mess and now they need us to clean it up.” The conscription officer stands by helplessly. What can he do? He is following orders.

In the settlement of Marshintsi in the Novoselytskyy region of Chernivtsi, protesters blocked the entry of soldiers and police. Residents brought tyres and barricaded the road leading into the village. Many wrote letters of refusal, describing the events in the south-east as a “slaughter”.

On July 20, the Kyiv-Chop highway was blocked by local residents, mainly women, in the vicinity of the village of Hamaliivka near Lviv. A protest last month also blocked the highway. The same highway was blocked on July 28, in the villages of Rakoshyno and Znyatsevo, near the border of Slovakia and Hungary.

Here is one of the latest videos to be published on YouTube, of a protest in the town of Town of Novoselytsya in Chernivtsi oblast on July 30.

Many protests are voicing a “No Afghanistan in Ukraine” demand. This harkens back to the ten-year war that the Soviet Union fought against the people of Afghanistan, beginning in 1980. Altogether, 14,500 soldiers of the Soviet Union’s army died, 54,000 were wounded and many, many more Afghans died. The war was a major factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union, which happened not long after it withdrew from Afghanistan in ignominious defeat in 1988.

Post-Soviet, independent Ukraine later joined the U.S.-led occupation and war in Afghanistan. A small force still participates.

The well-known Ukrainian television journalist and commentator Ostap Drozdov has called for a boycott of the latest mobilization decree. The website Russkaya Vesna reports him saying: “My program yesterday (on the regional television channel ZIK) can be considered the start of an informal campaign to boycott the mobilisation. I state my intention to give my utmost support to this initiative, which goes by the provisional name “Mobilisation Equals Genocide.’”

He said, “It is very important that people who speak out against the mobilisation of the civilian population should see that they are not isolated. There are a great many of them.”

Army in trouble

Exact numbers of army desertions are not known and are the subject of considerable debate and counter-debate. This website report, for example, publishes a purported Ukraine army report saying that close to 3,500 soldiers deserted in the third week of July and that 1,600 soldiers died and 4,700 were wounded in that same time. Sources in Russia say the documents it cites are not authentic.

Here is a brief news report in which several Ukraine soldiers speak of their decision to take asylum in Russia. (Many videos of the fighting in eastern Ukraine are posted here on the “Anti-Maidan YouTube Channel.”)

This video records a protest in Kyiv of relatives of the 72nd Army Brigade that suffered heavy losses from a rocket attack some days ago. The protesters chant “Help the heroes”. A poster reads: “Send [Rada] deputies and generals to the battlefield!” They pray, and sing the Ukraine national anthem.

The Brigade was caught in a grisly cauldron in southeast Ukraine with many killed and injured and some survivors taking refuge in Russia. In this video, soldiers of the brigade speak for 13 minutes of their difficult and disturbing combat experience.

The pro-Kyiv, Interfax news service reports on 18 Ukraine soldiers who took refuge in Russia and received medical treatment.

Russia Today reported several days ago of this group of 40 soldiers who entered Russia and requested asylum.

Recasted fascist introduces conscription bill

Andriy Parubiy introduced the “third” mobilization bill to the Rada. He is Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, a key advisory body to the President and the Parliament on military matters. He says the measure will mobilize 15 more army combat units and 44 combat support units.

Parabuiy is a renowned fascist in Ukraine who has modified his image in the past year and risen to prominence in the Kyiv regime that seized power in February of this year. Last year, he joined the Fatherland party of former Ukraine prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko and was elected to the Rada. Fatherland is a neo-conservative coalition/party.

U.S. journalist Robert Parry wrote of Paruiby earlier this year, “Parubiy is himself a well-known neo-Nazi, who founded the Social-National Party of Ukraine in 1991. The party blended radical Ukrainian nationalism with neo-Nazi symbols.

“Parubiy also formed a paramilitary spinoff, the Patriots of Ukraine, and defended the awarding [in 2007] of the title ‘Hero of Ukraine’ to World War Two Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, whose own paramilitary forces exterminated thousands of Jews and Poles in pursuit of a racially pure Ukraine.”

The United States is boosting its military aid and training to Ukraine. The announcement came from U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt on July 25. The U.S. already committed to $23 million in equipment; that will now rise to $33 million. It is also intervening in the countries it dominates in the region to boost the training and equipping of their armed forces, including Moldova and Romania on Ukraine’s southwest frontier and Poland on the northwest.

Kyiv’s ruthless shelling and bombing of towns and cities is running out of time due to the war’s huge financial cost. Describing Ukraine’s economy, the Washington Post wrote on July 26:

“The IMF forecasts that Ukraine’s annual GDP will drop by 6.5% this year, while the government deficit is projected at 10.1% of GDP. This week, the government announced that it would need at least 800 million dollars to continue its counterinsurgency operation and asked the parliament to further increase taxes and cut public spending. The deputies’ refusal to appropriate needed funds yesterday triggered Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s resignation as he recognized that soldiers would receive no pay next month. The reconstruction of Donbas is even more uncertain as the government promised to turn to foreign donors for funds in the coming fall.”

In a remarkable admission last week, Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Vadym Prystaiko, told the Globe and Mail, “We are pouring all the money in our budget… into the anti-terrorism campaign.”

The war is scandalously riding roughshod over the international investigation into the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Investigators were blocked from reaching the site on July 27 and in the days following by the relentless shellings and other bombings by the Ukraine army in the region.

As reported by international media, inspectors are lodged in hotels in Donetsk each night and the passed easily through self defense lines surrounding the city to get to the site. But as the days wore on, the international media reported the blockage as due to “fighting” and “clashes.”

On July 30, Kyiv propaganda began saying that rebel fighters had placed mines on the crash site and were shelling it. That story evaporated the following day when, in circumstances unexplained, inspectors finally reached the site.

The grim reality of Kyiv’s military campaign in eastern Ukraine has been airbrushed out of mainstream news reporting. Little or no visual presentation of bombardments or other war crimes is allowed to pass through editorial filters. The war and its consequences are explained away in the vacuous language of “fighting” or “clashes” taking place. The Toronto Star’s Tanya Talaga began a front-page article on July 30 with, “The European Union and western nations joined on [July 29] to try to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop his military aggression in Ukraine…” (Inside the same edition, the Star published a factual account of the bombardments of cities and towns.)

The European Union is matching the Ukraine army offensive by upping its economic sanctions on Russia. The sanctions are punishment for Russia’s refusal to obey U.S. and European demands that it police the pro-autonomy movements in eastern Ukraine and pressure them to surrender. They are also part of the long-standing drive by the member countries of the NATO military alliance to weaken and isolate Russia.

The rising antiwar movement in Ukraine has profound consequences for the future of the country. Will protests stop Kyiv’s war before southeast Ukraine is reduced to ruin? Will Ukrainian as well as international protests give pause to the military planners at NATO who are increasingly training their sites on Russia?

Ukraine’s economic elite has made a sharp turn to embrace austerity Europe. The kind of austerity consequences that have ravaged Greece and other countries of southern Europe await the Ukrainian people. How will the antiwar protesters and other ordinary Ukrainians react as the government deepens unpopular cuts to social programs and subsidies that reduce the cost of essential items?

Protests around the world are needed to stay the hands of the warmakers in southeast Ukraine. Solidarity actions can stop the killings. They can also help Ukrainians to chart a different path of economic and social development. That would be fitting because anti-austerity sentiment was at the heart of the rebellion in eastern Ukraine in the first place.

A new, 80-minute video compilation, Ukraine Crisis, has been produced that provides a powerful record of the war in eastern Ukraine during the past month. A warning, there are some scenes of death and destruction caused by the Kyiv government’s shelling that are disturbing, particularly in the four to six minute section, inclusively. The testimony of the woman who speaks for five minutes at the 1’17″30 mark is especially insightful and heartrending. She has lost her son to the war, not knowing since March if he is dead or alive. She asks, “What has become of this Ukraine nation?”

This article draws in part from a July 28, 2014 article from the Russian website Rabkor (“Worker Correspondent”) which was translated into English by Renfrey Clarke.

Notes:

[1] Ukraine is subdivided into 25 regions: 24 oblasts (regions, or provinces) and one city with special status, Kyiv. Two former oblasts — Donetsk and Luhansk — voted in May for autonomy. The ferocity of Kyiv’s war is driving those two regions to a de facto secession.

Gaza: “It’s not Really Violence, It’s a Massacre”

August 1st, 2014 by Norman Finkelstein

 Some people have suggested that instead of writing up my analyses I use video in order to convey what I think is going on in the current Israeli massacre in Gaza. And so this will be my first attempt, and we’ll see how successful it is. I’ll try each time I go on the web to focus on one particular issue, and today I would like to look at the proposals that Secretary of State Kerry has being putting forth, the various proposals for ending the current round of violence. (It’s not really violence, it’s a massacre.)

There have been many versions of this Kerry proposal that are circulating on the web, and it’s impossible to determine—for an outsider to determine—which is the accurate version of the proposal Kerry put to the Israeli cabinet.

But in fact it’s pretty much beside the point, because the bottom line of all the proposals is the same. The bottom line is the quid pro quo: in order for Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza, basically the Palestinians have been told they have to—the current language usage is—“address Israel’s security concerns,” which is just a euphemism for “the Palestinians have to disarm.” So I want to look first at the issue of the blockade, and then look at the issue of whether the Palestinians have to disarm.

On the question of the blockade, it’s pretty straightforward under international law. The blockade of Gaza constitutes a form of collective punishment, and therefore is illegal under international law. That seems to be the legal consensus (with the exception, of course of Israel and its apologists): the blockade is illegal, and so there can’t be any qualifications, any caveats, any ifs, ands or buts. The blockade, being a form of collective punishment, has to be lifted.

It’s important to keep in mind that in prior agreements—the ceasefire agreement in June 2008, the ceasefire agreement in November 2012—in both of the ceasefire agreements, it was never demanded of the Palestinians that they had to disarm in exchange for the end of the blockade. Each of the agreements did stipulate that the blockade of Gaza was supposed to end gradually. As it happens, in both cases, Israel reneged on that condition. But neither of the ceasefire agreements, either in June 2008 or in November 2012, neither of those agreements called on the Palestinians to disarm as a condition for ending the blockade.

So this condition that’s now been entered—“addressing all Israel’s security concerns,” which is separate from a ceasefire; “addressing all Israel’s security concerns,” which in effect means the Palestinians must disarm—that’s unprecedented and obviously has no basis in international law, because the blockade is illegal and the blockade has to be lifted regardless of Israel’s security concerns.

Let’s now turn to this issue of Israel’s security concerns. Does Israel have the right to demand of the Palestinians of Hamas, of the Palestinian militant groups, does Israel have the right to demand of them that they have to disarm?

The international law is perfectly clear at this point. Under international law, a people engaged in struggle for self-determination is not legally bound not to use force. Under international law, people struggling for self-determination—either the law is neutral on the subject, or it says that those struggling for self-determination have [the right] to use force. But what’s clear is that under international law it is not illegal for those struggling for self-determination to use force.

On the other side, under international law, a state that’s trying to suppress the struggle for self-determination, in this case Israel, a state trying to suppress a self-determination struggle, they’re not allowed to use force. So what you have here is exactly and precisely an inversion of international law. Those struggling for self-determination are in effect being told that as a condition for lifting the blockade they have to renounce force, but no such demand is being made on the power which is suppressing the struggle for self-determination.

In effect, this euphemism, “addressing all Israel’s security concerns,” what that’s actually saying is “Israel has the right to secure the occupation,” and that’s a contradiction in terms, literally. Because under international law the most fundamental characteristic, most fundamental trait of an occupation—when you open any textbook of international law, the first thing it says—is, an occupation is supposed to be temporary. In a word, an occupation is supposed to end. If the occupation does not end, it’s not an occupation, it’s an annexation, and annexation under international law is illegal. So when Israel talks about its right to have all its security concerns addressed, it’s not talking about the right to protect its country, it’s talking about its right to secure its occupation.

Now concretely, what does that mean? Let’s just look at the last round of negotiations that occurred just prior to the outbreak of the current hostilities—or the outbreak of Israel’s launching of its latest massacre. Let’s look at the negotiations. The record is not crystal-clear, but it’s pretty clear. The Palestinian side, the Palestinian Authority, was willing to concede all of Israel’s major demands. It was willing to concede to Israel the settlement blocks; it was willing to concede to Israel the nullification of the Palestinian right of return.

So in effect the Palestinians were offering Israel, not a settlement on the basis of international law, Palestinians were offering Israel a surrender—and the Israelis refused a Palestinian surrender, determined to maintain the occupation through eternity. That was obvious even from the statements of Secretary of State Kerry: when Secretary of State Kerry spoke before the congressional committee, he said, “Poof!” It was the Israelis who, in effect, ended the negotiations and made a settlement of the conflict impossible.

So one thing can be established I think with what one might call almost scientific certainty: under no circumstances will Israel end the occupation. So when Israel says it demands that all its security concerns be addressed, that means Israel’s demanding its right to maintain the occupation through eternity, and it’s demanding simultaneously that the Palestinians disarm themselves, and the Palestinians cease to resist the occupation, the Palestinians cease their struggle for self-determination.

That’s the real meaning when Israel says it wants all its security concerns addressed, because Israel conceives any expression of Palestinian struggling for self-determination, it conceives any expression of a self-determination struggle, it conceives that as threatening its security, or its “security concerns.” So, what’s in effect being said now is, Israel will lift the blockade of Gaza if and when the Palestinians cease struggling for self-determination, cease struggling for independence, cease struggling for statehood, and the Palestinians accept that the occupation will go on through eternity.

Leaving aside the moral issue, as a legal question it makes no sense. If Israel is demanding that all its security concerns be addressed, and that all its security concerns include any Palestinian manifestation of its struggle for self-determination, and if that means the occupation will go on through eternity, that means it’s not an occupation. It’s an annexation, and annexation is flagrantly, blatantly, incontrovertibly illegal under international law. It’s the most elementary principle of the UN Charter as it was expressed in UN Resolution 242: it’s inadmissible for a country to acquire territory by war. Israel acquired the West Bank and Gaza and East Jerusalem in a war; it has no title to that territory. If in effect it’s demanding its right to annex that territory, then it’s clearly, blatantly, and flagrantly violating international law.

Transcription by Michael Keefer. The video from which this transcription was made is available at http://normanfinkelstein.com, and also at http://rt.com/news/176372-israel-racist-chant-gaza/.

United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Pierre Krahenbuhl inspects the damage at an UNRWA school following an Israeli strike. (Photo: AFP-Mohammed Abed)

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) says it had sent 17 communiqués that included the coordinates of the Abu Hussein UN-run school in the Jabalia refugee camp to the Israelis to avoid bombing it. The last of these warnings was communicated a few hours before the massacre, according to UNRWA. The deadly Israeli air strike on the school prompted the UN agency to break its silence and challenge the Israeli account of what had happened.

Gaza – This the third time that UNRWA schools have been bombed during this war. The first attack did not lead to casualties, as the Israeli occupation army had sent warnings to the Maghazi School in the central Gaza Strip before shelling it.

The second attack turned into a massacre in Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, killing around 15 refugees. At the time, UNRWA was equivocal about the cause of the attack, and relied on the Israeli account that claimed there had been military activity there. But Wednesday’s massacre took place in a refugee camp that does not have enough room for even a single bullet to be fired. The shelling claimed the lives of 17 people and injured dozens, many critically.When the worshippers had finished their prayers at dawn in the mosques of the northern part of the Jabalia refugee camp, and made their way to the shelters at the elementary Abu Hussein School, they did not know they were about to become the victims of a horrific massacre.

In the beginning, the shells were not directed toward the school, but were random and hit houses in the surrounding area. Suddenly, the Israeli artillery decided to target the school directly, destroying the outer gate, two classrooms at the front and center of the school and adjacent toilets, in addition to three homes near the school. It was a bloodbath with body parts everywhere. Injured people, whose arms or legs were blown off, were paralyzed from shock and could not even scream. Even some animals that were near the gate were killed, and their corpses mingled with those of people.

Mohammed Awad, a journalist who lives in the area, rushed to document the incident. He said what he had seen was probably the “worst massacre” he encountered since the start of the war. He told Al-Akhbarthat he counted up to 15 shells that landed on the school and the street that separates it from surrounding homes, adding, “The strikes were sudden and random. People did not realize what was happening and they could not escape.”

Awad said that members from both the Najjar and Amoudi families were killed in the attack, in addition to the school’s janitor who was on UNRWA’s payroll, adding, “Eight people died in a single classroom.” The journalist also pointed out that fires broke out at the school as a result, and spread to a fuel tank and an electricity generator.

According to Awad, the majority of families that sought shelter in the school came from the farmlands in the north, “fleeing with their carts, horses, and donkeys, the source of their livelihoods.” Awad also stressed that there had been no prior warning issued to the school.

Mohammed Muhanna also witnessed the massacre. He said, “Those who know the area know that it is crowded, and that there is no room to fire rockets from it. The entire area is civilian and the occupation knows it.” Muhanna was among the first to arrive at the scene, and helped transport the injured. He also told Al-Akhbar that there were officials from UNRWA who were checking the schools and surrounding areas to verify whether there was any threat to people’s lives.

Fuad Abu Qleiq, who was sheltering in the school, said that he stayed behind to collect the body parts at the scene, and expressed his sorrow for the fate of the families that came seeking shelter under UNRWA’s roof. He said angrily, “UNRWA should have protected us, but it couldn’t, and Israel did not show any respect for it.”

Medical sources put the death toll at 17 and said 65 people were injured as a result of the massacre. The sources said that most injuries were critical, some requiring urgent surgery, including cases that cannot be treated in Gaza’s hospitals.

Faced with the third attack of its kind on its schools, UNRWA blamed Israel for killing women and children at the Abu Hussein School and called for holding Israel accountable, as an UNRWA delegation examined the scene and collected evidence. According to an UNRWA statement, the delegation analyzed shrapnel samples and examined craters from the shelling and other damage.

The UNRWA statement said, “Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents on the floor of a classroom in a UN designated shelter in Gaza. Children killed in their sleep; this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced.”

The statement continued, “We have visited the site and gathered evidence…Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school, in which 3,300 people had sought refuge…These are people who were instructed to leave their homes by the Israeli army.”

UNRWA stressed that the Israeli army had been notified of the exact location of the school and its coordinates, saying, “The precise location of the Jabalia Elementary Girls School and the fact that it was housing thousands of internally displaced people was communicated to the Israeli army seventeen times, to ensure its protection; the last being at ten to nine last night, just hours before the fatal shelling.”In the same vein, UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl said, “I condemn in the strongest possible terms this serious violation of international law by Israeli forces.” Krähenbühl added, “This is the sixth time that one of our schools has been struck. Our staff, the very people leading the humanitarian response are being killed. Our shelters are overflowing. Tens of thousands may soon be stranded in the streets of Gaza, without food, water and shelter if attacks on these areas continue.”

Krähenbühl concluded, “We have moved beyond the realm of humanitarian action alone. We are in the realm of accountability. I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage.”

Meanwhile, UNRWA spokesperson Adnan Abu Hasna said that the agency held an emergency meeting, and came out with several decisions including measures to assist the family of the slain janitor, who he said “was the responsibility of the agency.” Abu Hasna said that UNRWA would need to provide for his nine children and offer them support and compensation.

It should be noted that UNRWA had claimed during the current conflict that it had found weapons in one of its schools. UNRWA rushed to announce this in a statement without investigating the incident following protocol, which helped the Israeli side justify its attacks in front of public opinion. However, the massacre at Abu Hussein was clearly unprovoked and unjustified even by UNRWA and Israeli standards.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

In classical and historical view of international law, any form of aggression that affected assets or legitimate interests of a particular nation done by external parties is tantamount to an “act of war” or in its original Latin – casus belli.

After the world was ravaged by two world wars in the early 20th century, the creation of the United Nations has led to the establishment of a charter of international law on casus belli which is binding to all of its members.

Article 51 of UN Charter recognizes only three lawful justifications for waging war: self-defense, defense of an ally required by the terms of a treaty and an approval by UN itself.

But such charter despite of its effectiveness in curbing total war between nations have failed to curtail some geopolitical actors in circumventing it by using other forms and means that still can be regarded as an “act of war”.

The United States of America (US) is one such country that has continuously circumvented this law either by conducting their “Black Ops” under the guise of classified US Special Operations or Proxy Wars, famously fought across all continents during the Cold War era and still is today. Cuba, Afghanistan, Vietnam and many other nations became its battleground not only in ideological battles between liberal-democracy of US against the communism of Soviet Union, but also a real battleground fought with guns, tanks and Apache.

In fact US under the former administration of President George W Bush, this charter was disregarded by invading Iraq without ever formally declaring war.

The word “war” was pretty much muted in the run up to and throughout Operation Iraqi Freedom in the mouthpieces of American mainstream media. No matter what the justifications Washington and its allies had given, the international community still regard the invasion as a real “act of war” that was forged with the lies of Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) and in violatation of Article 51 as Washington went against the resolutions of the UN Security Council.

If we were to take along the pessimistic and aggressive tones as shown by Washington and its European NATO allies towards the Kremlin, we can clearly ascertain that the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 is definitely an “act of war” – a war which has nothing to do with Malaysia and its people but nonetheless a war fought between US through its proxy, the newly-installed Ukraine government against Russia and pro-Russian Ukrainian separatist.

Sadly, many geopolitical observers have dwarfed Malaysia’s position, the owner of the downed MH17 as a mere mishap war casualty that was caught in the crossfire.

Over the span of four months, Malaysian Airlines has been beset with two downed flights (including the yet-to-be found MH370) which carried and embodied Malaysia’s sovereignty in the international arena. Must we regard the downing of MH17 as simply a tragic incident that can be merely relegated to the level of “collateral damage” in a proxy war between US-NATO and Russia?

In geopolitical matters, tragedies or accidents could not be left as fated or mere chance. Given the fact we have seen numerous incidents in the past that suggested almost similar kind of events that can hardly be denied as “staged” or pretext for a more sinister goal. One of the glaring examples can be seen during the Vietnam War under the administration of former US President Lyndon B. Johnson.

The casus belli cited by the US against Communist-backed North Vietnam was the Gulf of Tonkin incident in which the US authorities claimed that the USS Maddox was attacked by two Vietnamese gunboats that were sunk by the US Navy.  Despite North Vietnam’s denial, the US pursued its cause of declaring a war against them without proving conclusively that North Vietnam was the guilty party. Recently declassified documents has proven that the casus belli was based on deception.

Compare this to what is currently happening in Ukraine, the US and NATO have been drumming the war beat through their own mainstream media in trying to frame the downing of MH17 as a casus belli for the US and NATO to push forward and closer to the Russian border of Eastern Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has been mulling since May this year on the option to invoke NATO’s Article 5, a mutual defense clause that is tied to UN Charter 51 against the escalating unrest in Eastern Ukraine in which he blamed Kremlin for continuously stoking the fire.

Not only that: Rasmussen has dished out a strong statement with regard to the crisis of Ukraine where he viewed it to be a “geo-political game changer” for NATO Allies. But NATO Council members especially Germany gave a lukewarm and cautionary response towards Rasmussen’s proposal.

But the downing of MH17 indeed has really become a game-changer for US and NATO as they have been issuing strong statements and rallying their allies in demanding greater responsibilities from Kremlin to sort out the mess in its own backyard of Eastern Ukraine.

The downing of MH17 can definitely not be viewed as a mere “friendly fire” or just a “collateral damage” as purported by US and NATO that have constantly alleged the pro-Russian separatists and Russia to be the guilty parties in shooting yet-to-be proven Buk missiles towards a civilian airplane that flew far above the combat zone.

Russian military officials have provided concrete amount of satellite data as an act of defense against accusations leveled by US and NATO. Even US senior officials who have been tasked to conduct assessment on the incident have backtracked their allegation and downplay the role of Russia and pro-Russian separatists on their capability and military means to down the MH17.

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak diplomatic coup over the Ukrainian separatist has drawn applaud from the international community but will Malaysia still be able to pursue what Najib has demanded earlier – a “swift justice” for the downing of MH17?

Such daring task will be highly dependent upon Malaysia’s strong political and diplomatic maneuver on the international stage. One of the ways is to establish a valid casus belli against both sides of warring parties of US/NATO-backed Ukraine and Russia and pro-Russian separatists of Eastern Ukraine. Through this move, Malaysia’s interest with respect to the downed MH17 shall no longer be dwarfed as a mere “collateral damage”.

Malaysia’s access to the crash sites is crucial in order to collect necessary evidence. Such move should not be regarded, interpreted and framed as an effort to further escalate the conflict in Ukraine but rather as a mean to accord proper recognition on the downed MH17, especially towards the grieving families of the innocent victims and as a mean to solicit more concrete supports and commitment from international communities to assist in this investigation so that no stones will be left unturned or being swept under the carpet of history.

Thus far only the Russian government has given a strong signal to cooperate with the investigation by providing necessary data. The US, NATO and its Ukraine ally have thus far failed to match Russia’s commitment in assisting with this investigation by providing more tangible data that can be evaluated and inspected by independent commissions and international bodies like International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and UN Security Council.

Malaysia being a small nation will surely need help and support from other superpowers especially among the members of UN Security Council, notably the Five-Veto Nations.

Prime Minister Najib has signaled that Malaysia should be regarded as a middle-power nation within ASEAN region and Malaysia’s position as chairman of ASEAN coming 2015 will be tested sooner than expected on how best Malaysia will persistently pursue a “swift justice” for the downing of MH17.

Wan Ahmad Fayhsal  is a fellow at Putra Business School, Malaysia.

Among those who cheer when a cease-fire ends and killing resumes are those who want more Palestinians slaughtered as a form of mass punishment for fictional offenses.  Also among those cheering are certain mainstream U.S. newspaper columnists.  In fact, at least one person is clearly in both of the above categories.

My local newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., printed a column on Friday from Thomas Sowell, distributed by Creators Syndicate but actually written for the right-wing Jewish World Review. Sowell writes:

“It is understandable that today many people in many lands just want the fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians to stop. Calls for a cease-fire are ringing out from the United Nations and from Washington, as well as from ordinary people in many places around the world. According to the New York Times, Secretary of State John Kerry is hoping for a cease-fire to ‘open the door to Israeli and Palestinian negotiations for a long-term solution.’ President Obama has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to have an ‘immediate, unconditional humanitarian cease-fire’ — again, with the idea of pursuing some long-lasting agreement.”

Here is where Sowell might logically object to Washington shipping Israel more weaponry in the midst of proposing cease-fires and mumbling quietly about the inappropriateness of particular bits of the mass-murder underway.  John Kerry doesn’t hope for a long-term solution any more than he knew Syria used chemical weapons or Putin shot down a plane or Iraq deserved to be destroyed before it didn’t but after it did.  John Kerry knows the U.S. provides the weaponry and the criminal immunity to a nation intent on completing the process of eliminating its native peoples, as Kerry’s own nation effectively did long ago.  There’s no solution possible in that context other than a Final Solution for Palestinians. But this is not what Sowell goes on to say.

“If this was the first outbreak of violence between the Palestinians and the Israelis, such hopes might make sense. But where have the U.N., Kerry and Obama been during all these decades of endlessly repeated Middle East carnage?”

Well, the same place all of their Republican and Democratic predecessors have been, supporting endless armaments for Israel and most of its neighbors, and vetoing any U.N. resolutions that would impose any consequences for Israel’s occupation, blockade, and Apartheid repression on the basis of religion and race.

“The Middle East must lead the world in cease-fires. If cease-fires were the road to peace, the Middle East would easily be the most peaceful place on the planet.”

Stop for a moment and appreciate the unfathomable stupidity of that remark.  One might as well say the Middle East must lead the world in U.S. weapons imports or the Middle East must lead the world in wars.  If these were paths to peace, the Middle East would easily be the most peaceful place on the planet.  One might also just as easily say the Middle East must lead the world in the brevity of its cease-fires, with cease-fires elsewhere lasting longer, and with as many broken agreements lying in the sand of the Middle East as anywhere since the last big batch of promises made to Native Americans.  One might even just as easily say the Middle East must lead the world in resumptions of fighting, rather than in halts to fighting. But that’s not where Sowell is headed.  He’s out to reverse Benjamin Franklin’s notion that there has never been a good war or a bad peace.

“‘Cease-fire’ and ‘negotiations’ are magic words to ‘the international community.’ But just what do cease-fires actually accomplish? In the short run, they save some lives. But in the long run they cost far more lives, by lowering the cost of aggression.”

Here it comes.  Just as the Jewish World Review wants to make poor people “self-sufficient” by denying them any assistance, Sowell wants to teach the people of Palestine a lesson for their own good.  Of course people dispossessed of their land, made refugees, entrapped and blockaded, and targeted with missiles that level their homes and explode in their schools and hospitals and shelters are unusual suspects to accuse of aggression.  And for those who shoot rockets, so ineffectively and counter-productively, into Israel, the lesson Sowell wants to teach through mass slaughter is demonstrably not taught.  Everyone in Gaza will tell you that Israeli violence increases support for Palestinian violence.  Not every Palestinian understands that the reverse is also true, that the rockets fuel Israeli attacks, but that hardly justifies their murder or creates a lesson where Sowell imagines Israeli missiles teaching one.

“At one time, launching a military attack on another nation risked not only retaliation but annihilation. When Carthage attacked Rome, that was the end of Carthage.”

Ah, the good old days, when any colony or challenger that stepped out of line could be wiped out, starved out, and cleansed from the earth.

“But when Hamas or some other terrorist group launches an attack on Israel, they know in advance that whatever Israel does in response will be limited by calls for a cease-fire, backed by political and economic pressures from the United States.”

The political pressure of Kerry groveling before Netanyahu? Of Susan Rice explaining to the world that Kerry never meant to negotiate and has always been 100% in Israel’s camp? Of Obama joining Sowell in blaming the victims? The economic pressure of the free weapons continuing to flow from the U.S. to Israel?  What sort of fantasy is this?

One possibility is that it’s a fantasy of racism or culturalism.  Americans are rational beings in this fantasy.  It would only make sense to apply obvious points of pressure for a cease-fire once you’ve proposed one.  Arming the Middle East for peace would be insanity.  So, Sowell perhaps fantasizes that sanity and rationality prevail.  Except in places like Palestine or Iran:

“Those who say that we can contain a nuclear Iran, as we contained a nuclear Soviet Union, are acting as if they are discussing abstract people in an abstract world. Whatever the Soviets were, they were not suicidal fanatics, ready to see their own cities destroyed in order to destroy ours. . . .  Even if the Israelis were all saints — and sainthood is not common in any branch of the human race — the cold fact is that they are far more advanced than their neighbors, and groups that cannot tolerate even subordinate Christian minorities can hardly be expected to tolerate an independent, and more advanced, Jewish state that is a daily rebuke to their egos.”

Since when does Iran not tolerate minorities? Since when is it populated by 76 million suicidal fanatics?

You see, not only do the Gazans want to die, in the view of Sowell and so many others we’ve been hearing from via our so-called public airwaves, because it makes good footage, because they have a culture of martyrdom — you’ve heard all the explanations for Gazans stubbornly remaining in their homes and hospitals rather than swimming to Cyprus as normal people would do — but the source of Gazans’ irrational aggression against the benevolent power that stole their land and starves their children and bans the importation of books is — wait for it — jealousy. It’s wounded egos.  Just as poor Americans are jealous of the success of those with the wisdom and fortitude to be born into the families of billionaires, so Palestinians resent the superiority, the Ubermenschness of the people who have been clever enough to get born into Pentagon subsidies.

As a contrasting view of the world to Sowell’s allow me to offer this new Willie Nelson video (http://youtu.be/MezGqmMCrwo):

Five Latin American Countries Withdraw Envoys from Israel

August 1st, 2014 by Global Research News

The decision of the Latin American countries to recall their ambassadors in Tel Aviv is a “deep disappointment”, says Israel.

El Salvador on Wednesday became the fifth Latin American country to withdraw its ambassador from Israel in protest at Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and Peru have already recalled their ambassadors.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said that the move encourages Hamas; “this decision encourages Hamas which has been recognized as a terrorist organization by several countries. The countries standing against terror must act responsibly and should not reward them. While Hamas has been responsible for hindering a ceasfire, El Salvador, Peru and Chile were expected to support international attitude for peace and demilitarization of Gaza”, the statement said.

Earlier Israel criticized Brazil over its decision to recall its ambassador in protest at Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

Brazil was one of 29 countries in the UN Human Rights Council that voted last Wednesday to investigate Israel over its military offensive in Gaza.

During a state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping on July 17, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said her country was “profoundly concerned by the dramatic events” in Gaza.

The Palestinian death toll from a devastating Israeli onslaught on the Gaza Strip rose to 1283, according to a Gaza Health Ministry spokesman.

According to the spokesman, at least 7170 Palestinians have also been injured in the ongoing Israeli attacks since July 7.

Syndicated from Anadolu Agency

Ebola 2: Here Come the “Global Pandemic” Promoters

August 1st, 2014 by Jon Rappoport

Now in the UK, the government has absurdly decided it wants to hunt for 30,000 people who might have “come in contact” with air traveler Patrick Sawyer, who is said to have died from Ebola.

At first, the search was going to be aimed at only several hundred, but now they’ve multiplied the hysteria factor.

Here is one predictable outcome: at clinics and hospitals, frightened people who arrive with what are labeled “early signs” of Ebola will be labeled as probable cases. What are those symptoms? Fever, chill, sore throat, cough, headache, joint pain. Sound familiar? Normally, this would just be called the flu.

What’s (intentionally) missing in all this an understanding of the immune system. Generally speaking, a germ doesn’t stand a chance of causing serious illness when the immune system is strong.

Of course, you won’t hear about that. Instead, news accounts will feature shock and awe: “perfectly healthy people” who suddenly succumbed to the “killer germ.”

The fact is, unless a serious, honest, and highly competent practitioner does a complete workup on a patient, he has no idea whether that person is healthy and has a strong immune system.

While researching my first book in 1987, AIDS Inc.: Scandal of the Century, I read published summaries of “the first AIDS cases,” all of whom had been patients at UCLA Hospital. To a man, these patients were labeled “formerly otherwise healthy.” That was sheer propaganda. Nothing could have been further from the truth. The lists of their prior medical drugs put the lie to that in short order.

In areas of the world where severe malnutrition, starvation, lack of basic sanitation, contaminated water, overcrowding, heavy pollution are present, people fall ill and die routinely.

These conditions destroy the immune system—and then any germ that sweeps through the area causes illness and death, because body’s defenses are shot. That’s the real problem.

Here’s another point you won’t see discussed on the mainstream news: the reliability of tests used to diagnose Ebola.

Two of those tests—antibody and PCR—are notoriously unreliable.

Antibody tests will register positive for disease because they ping on factors that have nothing to do with the disease being looked for. And even when cross-reaction ping doesn’t occur, a positive test merely shows that the patient came in contact with the germ in question. It says nothing about whether he’s ill or is going to become ill.

In fact, before 1984, when the science was turned on its head, antibody-positive status was taken to mean the patient’s immune system had successfully warded off the germ.

The PCR test is a sophisticated way of amplifying tiny, tiny bits of what are assumed to be viral material, so they can be observed. The problem here is this: if only tiny bits of material could be found in the patient’s body in the first place, there is no reason to suppose they’re enough to cause disease. Very, very large amounts of virus are necessary to begin to suspect the patient is ill or is going to become ill.

Bottom line: huge numbers of people on whom these tests are done are going to be falsely diagnosed with Ebola.

And in a pandemic scare, diagnostic tests are going to be ignored altogether. “Eyeball” assessment becomes the order of the day.

This is exactly what happened in the US, in the summer of 2009, when the Swine Flu scare was at its height.

The Centers for Disease Control, without informing the public, just stopped doing tests and stopped counting numbers of American Swine Flu cases. Yet, on the basis of zero evidence, they claimed the disease was an expanding nightmare.

Sharyl Attkisson, star investigative reporter for CBS at the time, broke this story—and her network shut her off. There was much more she could have exposed, but it didn’t happen.

Here’s what did happen. The CDC, shaken to its core by Attkisson’s revelations, doubled down, employing a time honored strategy: if a lie doesn’t work, tell a much bigger lie.

The CDC suddenly claimed that its (unverified) total of tens of thousands of Swine Flu cases in America were really “tens of millions of cases.”

As the days and weeks pass, you’re going to hear and see all manner of outrageous propaganda about Ebola. “People of interest” and “possible carriers” and “people who might have come in contact with someone who has Ebola” will morph into “suspected cases of Ebola” and “victims of Ebola.”

The psyop warriors and their dupes will scream “global pandemic” every fifteen seconds.

To exert control over the population and obtain compliance (stay indoors, don’t travel, avoid contact with people who might be ill, etc.), they’ll say anything.

Every so-called “pandemic” is a test: how well will the population follow orders?

That’s the whole point.

The World Health Organization and the CDC are the spear points of the operation. They float the lies and the lies about lies.

The World Health Organization is also in charge of doing damage to national economies. “Shut down the airports. No planes should take off or land. Keep the ships in the harbors.”

Disruption, fear, damage.

Chaos—then new Order imposed on the chaos.

In 1987, I warned that medical propaganda ops are, in the long run, the most dangerous. They appear to be neutral. They wave no political banners. They claim to be science. For these reasons, they can accomplish the goals of overt fascism without arousing suspicion.

The “pandemic” is a high-value strategy in the medical psyop playbook.

The doctor is a foot soldier. In most cases, he has no idea how he’s being used. He’s learned his lessons well in medical school, where he’s also learned how to be arrogant and immune to uncomfortable truths.

Jon Rappoport is the author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe.

As the Ebola outbreak continues to cause concern, President Barack Obama has signed an amendment to an executive order that would allow him to mandate the apprehension and detention of Americans who merely show signs of “respiratory illness.”

The executive order, titled Revised List of Quarantinable Communicable Diseases, amends executive order 13295, passed by George W. Bush in April 2003, which allows for the, “apprehension, detention, or conditional release of individuals to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of suspected communicable diseases.”

The amendment signed by Obama replaces subsection (b) of the original Bush executive order which referred only to SARS. Obama’s amendment allows for the detention of Americans who display,

“Severe acute respiratory syndromes, which are diseases that are associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, are capable of being transmitted from person to person, and that either are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic, or, upon infection, are highly likely to cause mortality or serious morbidity if not properly controlled.”

Although Ebola was listed on the original executive order signed by Bush, Obama’s amendment ensures that Americans who merely show signs of respiratory illness, with the exception of influenza, can be forcibly detained by medical authorities.

Although the quarantining of people suspected of being infected with the Ebola virus seems like a perfectly logical move, the actual preconditions for this to happen aren’t restricted to just those suffering from the disease.

As we highlighted earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has measures in place for dealing with an outbreak of a communicable disease which allow for the quarantine of “well persons” who “do not show symptoms” of the disease.

In addition, under the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, public health authorities and governors would be given expanded police powers to seize control of communications devices, public and private property, as well as a host of other draconian measures in the event of a public health emergency.

When the legislation was introduced, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons warned that it “could turn governors into dictators.”

Yesterday it was reported that Emory University Hospital in Atlanta was set to receive a patient infected with Ebola. A hospital in Germany also accepted an infected patient earlier this week. Some critics have raised concerns about the risk of deliberately importing infected individuals into the west.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor at large of Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com.

A number of Western/NATO politicians – Hillary Clinton foremost among them – and media people have recently introduced a new ethical principle in international affairs:

When A delivers weapons to B, A is responsible for what B does with these weapons. The former Secretary of State and perhaps future U.S. President presents this new ethical principle here on CNN 

This makes a lot of sense to me. Look at it this way:

Here is a young confused boy who has little to look forward to – and less to lose – because his country is falling apart in nasty civil war. He’s been told by some commander, or by his President, that he must hate the enemy; he gets paid for killing off as many as he can. And so he does.

He believes also in what he’s been promised: Fame as a hero upon return – that is, if he returns – and a comfortable life.

So he kills people, children and woman among them. He’s paid for it, not much but it’s better than earning nothing at all. And then that hope of a good life when it’s all over.

If these tragic figures survive, they return home – but not to fame but to traumas, nightmares, divorce, guilt feelings, isolation from family and friends, then alcohol and often suicide – or perhaps make a career as part of the mafia.

I’ve met quite a few such young men, for instance in the various parts of what was once Yugoslavia.

Roll back the war movie

Tell you what, I’ve never been able to understand why this type of war criminal is the only one who is prosecuted and punished.

Roll back the film: OK, he held the gun and of course he has resonsibility for what he does. He could choose not to pull the trigger.

But he was part of an organisation – army or rebel group, whatever – with commanders who gave orders; his country’s political leaders had lied to him and constructed an ideology of hate. The media promoted all kinds of war propaganda, lies and myths – and made him believe that what he did was right.

And how did that gun get into his hand? Well, there were researchers and engineers who developed it – actually the largest single group of researchers on earth.

There were industries who manufactured it and there were governments or middlemen or private arms traders who sold the weapon and ammunition – and there were transport companies which transported it to the war zone. There were people far away from the danger who made huge profits from somebody else’s killing.

That’s how!

Are all these other actors in this movie innocent?

Why on earth is this poor fellow the only one to be punished – while the multi-billionaire arms manufacturers, traders and transporters are at large and living the life he dreamt about?

OK, the world isn’t fair – and ethics is not in high demand in the field of politics. But somehow it should be pretty obvious that the soldier is far from the only culprit and that his finger on the trigger is only the end of a long movie.

Hillary Clinton’s ethics is a step forward

So Madam Clinton is saying something interesting, pointing in the direction of a new ethics which I actually find reasonable:

Putin is responsible – at least ”indirectly” as she says – for the shooting down of MH17 because he – or Russia or whatever else over there we don’t like – gave the Eastern Ukrainian rebels the missile with which they made the MH17 fall down from the sky. (Leave aside that we don’t have all the facts; it’s just an example, isn’t it?)

Conclusion: Arms developers, researchers, manufacturers, traders, profiteers, commanders, politicians, prime ministers and presidents – all those who caused our young fellow – and the millions like him – to pull the trigger should be brought to justice.

Off you go to the International Criminal Court – not because you killed but because you facilitated killing. Sometimes mass killing, genocide, crimes against humanity!

Bravo! But!

There is only one little problem: It applies only to Putin – as you may have guessed. Because look here: US supplies Israel with bombs amid Gaza blitz.

And the U.S. doesn’t do only that in the midst of mass murder of civilians – no it gives military ”aid” to Israel so Israel can more effectively destroy itself as state and the Palestinians as people: Some US $ 3 bn per year, year after year and provides the political support for the killing of innocent people, sleeping children in UN schools included.

So, dear Hillary Clinton… 

May I humbly suggest that you please shut up with your selective ethics or stand up and admit your country’s responsibility for wars around the world, the one in Gaza included.

The U.S. is the world’s largest arms producer, it’s largest arms exporter and arms consumer.

And could the free media – here CNN’s Fareed Zakaria – please begin to speak up and do what journalists are supposed to do: Ask questions to power?

Today’s Guardian includes an article that appears to be excusing Israel of responsibility for the massive death toll it has inflicted on Palestinian civilians. But, more significantly, it includes a lot of useful – and damning – information about just how “indiscriminate” Israel’s weapons really are. [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/31/gaza-civilian-death-toll-military-training-experts]

This interests me a great deal because I have been warning about problems with the interpretation of international law used by leading human rights groups on this very point since the 2006 Lebanon War.

At that time I got into a dispute with Human Rights Watch’s Middle East policy director, Sarah Leah Whitson. Her organisation argued that Hizbullah was committing war crimes by definition whenever it fired rockets at Israel, even if it hit military targets, because those rockets were primitive and inherently inaccurate.

By contrast, HRW claimed, Israel’s missiles were precise and therefore their use was not inherently inadmissible. Its view was that Israel did not commit war crimes by firing its missiles; the obligation was on observers to show that they had not been used within the rules of war – which is a much harder standard of proof. For more on this debate, see my articles here [http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2006-09-07/how-human-rights-watch-lost-its-way-in-lebanon/] and here [http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2006-09-25/human-rights-watch-still-missing-the-point/].

In practice, HRW’s argument was nonsense, as was clear even in 2006. During that war, Israel dropped millions of cluster munitions – little bomblets that serve effectively as land mines – all over southern Lebanon, endangering the whole civilian population of the area.

But Norman Finkelstein recently pointed out the more general problem with HRW’s argument:

“By this standard, only rich countries, or countries rich enough to purchase high-tech weapons, have a right to defend themselves against high-tech aerial assaults. It is a curious law that would negate the raison d’être of law: the substitution of might by right.”

It may not be entirely surprising that HRW and others interpret international law in a way that serves rich and powerful western states, however many civilians they kill, and criminalises developing states, however few civilians they kill.

The current fighting in Gaza illustrates this point in dramatic fashion. Some 95% of the 64 Israelis who have been killed during the current fighting are soldiers; some 75% of the nearly 1,500 Palestinians who have been killed are civilian.

But comments from experts in the Guardian article add another layer of insight into HRW’s dubious distinctions.

One should ignore the irritating framing used in the article, which seems to suggest that the high Palestinian death toll may be down to human or systems errors. Experts discount this theory in the article and also point out that Israel is often not checking whether its shooting is accurate. In other words, it gives every indication of not taking any precautions to ensure it is hitting only military targets (or rather targets it claims are military in nature). That recklessness makes it fully culpable.

But we also have experts cited here who make the point that much of Israel’s precise weaponry is not accurate at all.

Andrew Exum, a former US army officer and defence department special adviser on the Middle East, who has studied Israel’s military operations, says this:

“There are good strategic reasons to avoid using air power and artillery in these conflicts: they tend to be pretty indiscriminate in their effects and make it difficult for the population under fire to figure out what they’re supposed to do to be safe.”

“Pretty indiscriminate”! So doesn’t that mean Israel was committing war crimes by definition every time it made one of those thousands of air strikes that marked the start of Operation Protective Edge, and that continue to this day?

But it is not just strikes from the air that are the problem. There is more:

“However, military analysts and human rights observers say the IDF is still using unguided, indirect fire with high-explosive shells, which they argue is inappropriate for a densely populated area like Gaza …

“[Israel's 155m howitzer] shells have a lethal radius of 50 to 150 metres and causes injury up to 300 metres from its point of impact. Furthermore, such indirect-fire artillery (meaning it is fired out of direct sight of the target) has a margin of error of 200 to 300 metres.”

Read that again: a margin of error of up to 300 metres, plus a lethal radius of up to 150 metres and an injury radius of 300 metres. So that’s a killing and injury zone of close to half a kilometre from the intended “precise” site of impact – in a territory that is only a few kilometres wide and long. In short, one of the main shells Israel is using in Gaza is completely imprecise.

Set aside what Israel is trying to do in Gaza. Let us assume it is actually trying to hit military targets rather than being either reckless about hitting civilian targets or deliberately trying to hit civilians, as much of the evidence might suggest.

Even if we assume total good faith on Israel’s part that it is trying to hit only Hamas and other military sites, it is clear it cannot do so even with the advanced weaponry it has. The inherent imprecision of its arsenal is compounded many fold by the fact that it is using these weapons in densely built-up areas.

So when are we going to hear HRW or the United Nation’s Navi Pillay stop talking about proportionality or Israel’s potential war crimes, and admit Israel is committing war crimes by definition – right now, as you read this.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books).  His website is www.jonathan-cook.net.

This moment in history is a watershed moment for Humankind.  It has been triggered by the senseless and premeditated extermination of innocent and largely defenseless children, women and men in the largest open-air concentration camp on earth called Gaza by an overwhelming force for only one purpose: making life itself unbearable.

The response to and condemnation of what I have no name for is universal. It transcends all political, ideological, religious, national, continental, gender and age boundaries. It is unique as it is not based on gaining any advantages or fighting for or against anything. It simply is the outpouring of everything that is good within  human beings. It is the universal expression of what we really are. Sentient, loving, caring, compassionate creatures.

This outpouring is genuine and unique.

It shows that lies are not believed any longer, that no propaganda can distort our innate knowledge of right and wrong.

No event in history could accomplish what the unmasked menace, now staring Humankind in the face, could. Not the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not the fire bombings of Tokyo, Dresden and Hamburg, not the atrocities of WW I and II, not the catastrophes of Chernobyl, Fukushima or Deepwater Horizon.

What we are witnessing is the rise of the true human consciousness and universal spirit in all its glory. Truth, justice and compassion will prevail.

R. Teichmann is an activist living in West Cork / Ireland and an editor with news-beacon-ireland.info. He also blogs on War is a Crime.

Unlike previous centuries and epochs, modern warfare is not restricted solely to the battlefield. Rather, it extends into the information sphere where the dissemination of propaganda and the construction of narratives are of equal importance to weapons and soldiers. For today, the legitimacy of a war in the eyes of public opinion in many ways determines victory or defeat. It is here, in the realm of public opinion, that an organization such as Human Rights Watch (HRW) becomes indispensible to the Empire, not so much for the facts that it presents, but the narrative that it shapes.

Put another way, HRW serves as intermediary between the facts on the ground and the western public who rely on the organization (and similar NGOs such as Amnesty International) to accurately tell the story of a given conflict. It is precisely this position as an “information middleman” that makes HRW both relevant and dangerous for the simple fact that the manner in which it presents information, along with the critical facts it chooses to omit or otherwise distort, can have a tremendous impact on how the world views a conflict and, consequently, how the world responds.

By examining the way in which HRW documented, investigated, and presented findings from the conflicts in Israel/Palestine, Ukraine, Libya, Syria, and Venezuela, it becomes clear that the organization, though theoretically objective and “disinterested,” is in fact an integral part of the western imperial system. Though HRW has done some good work, and likely will in the future, this cannot be taken as evidence that the organization is somehow not a part of the Empire. On the contrary, without HRW and similar organizations, Washington and its allies would not be able to champion themselves as “defenders of human rights,” “beacons of democracy,” and “humanitarian powers.”

HRW on Israel/Palestine

In analyzing HRW’s findings and, perhaps most importantly, the way in which they are presented, one conclusion becomes inescapable: when the facts are damaging to the western powers, HRW dilutes the impact of its own conclusions, and when its findings advance the western agenda, HRW exaggerates them. What can one call such obvious service to power under the guise of truth-telling? Words like cynical, insidious, and treacherous certainly come to mind.

On the subject of Israel/Palestine, HRW has consistently placed itself in the “condemn both sides” camp. That is to say, it makes an equivalence between the violence and barbarism of Israel’s colonial-style occupation of Gaza and the West Bank on the one hand, and Palestinian armed resistance on the other. The cynicism is painfully obvious. By making such equivalence, HRW effectively reduces the scope and scale of Israeli crimes which are, objectively speaking, far more widespread, systematic, and devastating.

As renowned Palestinian journalist and Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani wrote in 2009:

In the years since 2000, HRW pursued a consistent — and consistently effective — formula: criticize Israel, but condemn the Palestinians. Challenge the legality of an Israeli aerial bombardment, preferably in polite, technical terms, and vociferously denounce the Palestinian suicide bomber in unambiguous language — especially when raising questions about the latest Israeli atrocity. In HRW publications, explicit condemnations and accusations of war crimes were almost wholly monopolized by Palestinians. With Israeli citizenship a seeming precondition for the right to self-defense, the right to resist was for all intents and purposes non-existent.

Rabbani here correctly points out not only the false equivalence between the violence perpetrated by Israel and the armed resistance of the Palestinians, but also the question of legitimacy and legality in regard to the latter. HRW portrays Palestinian resistance, in whatever form it takes, as illegitimate and a violation of international law, often referring to the rockets and, when it was still applicable the “suicide bombers,” as war crimes. In contrast, HRW very rarely, if ever, expressly uses the term “war crimes” to refer to any of the atrocities committed by Israel that undoubtedly are such.

Perhaps here it would be relevant to point out that, according to international law and UN precedent, all Israeli so-called “self-defense” (bombing civilian targets, laying siege to Gaza, etc.) constitutes war crimes. By contrast, the Palestinians have a legal right to resist their occupation by a foreign power by any means necessary. Indeed, this point has been reiterated countless times by the United Nations. One particularly relevant example comes from the 43rd resolution of the 37th UN General Assembly held in 1982 against the backdrop of Israel’s vicious war on Lebanon which, “Reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle.”

Though certainly not the only example of international law and UN precedent legitimizing the armed resistance of the Palestinian people, the above resolution makes it quite plain that the argument that “Hamas rockets constitute a war crime” is little more than a rhetorical flourish from those who attempt to make an equivalence between Israeli and Palestinian violence in order to justify the former by discrediting the latter. It goes almost without saying that such faulty reasoning must be rejected entirely.

But this issue of rhetoric and language is also crucial to understanding how HRW is able to criticize Israel without actually condemning its atrocities or exposing it to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In response to the most recent round of Israeli crimes, renowned scholar and activist Norman Finkelstein wrote:

In its first press release on 9 July 2014, Indiscriminate Palestinian Rocket Attacks; Israeli Airstrikes on Homes Appear to be Collective Punishment, HRW stated that “Israeli attacks targeting homes may amount to prohibited collective punishment.” In its second press release on 16 July, Unlawful Israeli Airstrikes Kill Civilians; Bombings of Civilian Structures Suggest Illegal Policy, HRW states that “Israeli air attacks in Gaza…have been targeting apparent civilian structures and killing civilians in violation of the laws of war. Israel should end the unlawful attacks that do not target military objectives and may be intended as collective punishment or broadly to destroy civilian property.” It then proceeded to legally define the meaning of war crimes, but artfully avoided accusing Israel of committing them…In these statements HRW doubly distanced itself from alleging Israeli war crimes: first, it qualified the weight of the incriminating evidence – “appear,” “may,” “apparent,” “may be,”; second, it recoiled from explicitly charging Israel with war crimes and instead settled for lesser or vaguer charges – “collective punishment,” “violation of the laws of war,” “unlawful attacks.”

As Finkelstein correctly notes, the language that HRW employs is, at least superficially, supposed to provide a veneer of objectivity by using qualifier words such as “may” and “apparent.” However the reality is that such language is deliberately designed to allow HRW to avoid correctly ascribing terms like “war crimes” and “crimes against humanity” to Israeli actions. In this way, HRW dilutes its own findings, pleasing the powerful corporate and political interests in the US that fund it.

Indeed, here it is important to reiterate how HRW creates a false equivalence between Israeli war crimes and Palestinian “war crimes.” HRW has gone on record saying that “Hamas rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians are unlawful and unjustifiable, and amount to war crimes… As the governing authority in Gaza, Hamas should publicly renounce rocket attacks on Israeli civilian centers and punish those responsible, including members of its own armed wing.”

So, let’s just be clear here. Israeli bombings of Palestinian civilian targets through systematic campaigns “may” constitute “collective punishment” (not war crimes according to HRW’s language), while Hamas rocket attacks “amount to war crimes.” The transparently hypocritical use of double-standards in terms of language exposes a deeply rooted bias in HRW against the justness of Palestinian resistance. Whether one agrees or disagrees with Hamas’s military (and political) tactics, the legal and moral righteousness of their resistance cannot be disputed by anyone objectively evaluating the conflict.

More to the point, HRW accusing Palestinians of war crimes implies yet another distortion perpetrated by the Empire and its media and NGO toadies: that the conflict in Gaza is a “war.” This is no war, it is a one-sided slaughter. One could point to the casualty figures, the absence of an army, navy, or air force on the Palestinian side, the complete lack of indigenous economic activity to support a “war economy” in Gaza, or any of the other myriad material reasons why this is not a war.

If one is being honest, then it is clear that it is the western media (which includes of course Israeli media) which distorts the reality of the situation, calling it a “war” so as to justify the horrific crimes being committed. Because, as is self-evident, only under conditions of war can Israeli actions be justified in the minds of westerners. This is willful self-deception of the highest order. Indeed, self-deception is one of the most potent weapons that Israel’s supporters, along with HRW, have at their disposal.

HRW on Ukraine

23423The armed conflict between the US-sponsored regime in Kiev and the anti-Kiev rebels in the East of the country has devolved into a bona fide civil war. However, it should be noted that, though the term “civil war” is used to describe the fighting, it should not be taken to mean that there is equivalent force on both sides. Rather, the Kiev regime has the full force of an organized military with air power, heavy weapons, tanks, artillery, and a host of other military materiel. In contrast, the anti-Kiev forces possess very few of these same weapons, with no air power whatsoever, despite the continued allegations of Russian support. And so, as with the so called “war” between Israel and Hamas, the conflict is far more one-sided than most media is willing to admit.

This point about unequal force is critical to understanding just how HRW, though seemingly condemning the use of rockets by the US-backed Ukrainian military, in fact provides an important service to the western narrative on Ukraine. Specifically, HRW presents a “condemn everyone equally” perspective which unjustifiably condemns the rebel forces with as much fervor as it does Kiev’s military. In so doing, HRW once again makes false equivalence, thereby distorting the true nature of the conflict in the eyes of western observers.

In its report Ukraine: Unguided Rockets Killing Civilians, HRW documents the use of “Grad” (Russian for “hail”) rockets by both sides in Ukraine. The report noted that “Unguided Grad rockets launched apparently by Ukrainian government forces and pro-government militias have killed at least 16 civilians and wounded many more in insurgent-controlled areas of Donetsk and its suburbs in at least four attacks between July 12 and 21, 2014.” In this initial assessment at the opening of the report, HRW is correct in pointing out that both sides of the conflict have been using such weapons, at least according to a number of independent reports from the region. However, again one must return to the question of equivalence between the two sides. In other words, are both sides equally accountable for the death and destruction wrought on the civilian population?

According to HRW and the language of the report, the answer is yes. Ole Solvang, senior emergencies researcher at HRW noted that, “Grad rockets are notoriously imprecise weapons that shouldn’t be used in populated areas. If insurgent and Ukrainian government forces are serious about limiting harm to civilians, they should both immediately stop using these weapons in populated areas.” Though of course one would agree that the use of such weapons by either side harms civilians, it presupposes that each side is equally responsible. Naturally, one should note that it is the Kiev regime’s military which is launching these rockets against a civilian population, while the rebels are using such rockets against military positions held by the Ukrainian army. This simple fact, conveniently left out of HRW’s report, should significantly alter how the issue is perceived. Rather than a war between two equally criminally responsible parties, there is undoubtedly an asymmetry in the violations of the rules of war.

To be fair, there are portions of the HRW report which do intimate, though perhaps stop short of explicitly stating, the fact that Kiev bears the majority of the blame. The report states, “Human Rights Watch called on all parties to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, particularly Ukrainian government forces, to stop using Grad rockets in or near populated areas because of the likelihood of killing and wounding civilians.” Indeed, the use of the phrase “particularly Ukrainian government forces” does suggest that Kiev is more culpable than the rebels. However, HRW quickly negates whatever value can be drawn from the above statement by following it with “Insurgent forces should minimize the risk to civilians under their control by avoiding deploying forces and weapons in densely populated areas.” Such a statement is patently absurd considering that the war is undeniably being fought in densely populated areas (Donetsk alone has about a million residents).

How can HRW genuinely tell rebels who are protecting their homes, their families, and their communities, not to fight in densely populated areas? The Ukrainian air force and military have been shelling civilian areas with far more than just the Grad rockets (artillery, aerial bombardment, and possibly white phosphorous bombs), and HRW expects the rebels to simply allow this? Again, the report presents an equivalence between the force employed by both sides, an utterly disingenuous argument. The report notes, “Human Rights Watch said that insurgent forces have failed to take all feasible precautions to avoid deploying in densely populated areas, thereby endangering civilians in violation of the laws of war.” In other words, though HRW condemned the use of the rockets by Kiev’s military forces, ultimate responsibility lies with the rebels who are “endangering civilians.”

This is backwards thinking. It is the equivalent of Israeli military spokesmen who argue that Hamas is responsible for Palestinian deaths because of where they place their rockets. The sort of mental gymnastics required to evaluate the situation in this way perhaps best illustrates what HRW is doing. Rather than assigning blame to Kiev where it is deserved, HRW condemns fervently the rebels for the actions of Kiev. In this way, HRW bolsters the western narrative that the “pro-Russian separatists” (as the western media is fond of calling them) are the ultimate cause of the conflict and the civilian deaths. This is not the first time that HRW has blamed the victims of aggression for the crimes of the aggressors.

Part 2 of this article will focus on HRW’s propaganda and service to the Empire in Libya, Syria, and Venezuela. It will appear on New Eastern Outlook in the coming days. 

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

Israel and the “G” Word: Gaza Genocide And Arab Fratricide

August 1st, 2014 by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

 Lets not mince words.   Israelis are committing genocide in Gaza.   But the United Nations is loath to use the “G” word and it us using the “C” (condemn) word instead.   Why?  Money talks.     The top financier of the United Nations is America with a whopping 22.00% in direct funds (followed by Japan 10.83%, Germany 7.14%, France 5.59%, and GB 5.18%),  if the United Nations called out the genocide in Gaza, its top financier would have to be punished for its complicity.

According to Article 3 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, persons committing genocide or complicity in genocide shall be punished “whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.”  The United States not only supports and funds the ongoing genocide in Gaza, replenishes Israel with more funds and weaponry, but it also uses its political clout to enable Israel to continue its ruthless crimes against humanity.

While many have not been shy about calling these crimes genocide,  they have  come under attack for using the “G” word.  Is genocide an appropriate term to use?   Well, it is if one has respect for international law and the rules of the genocide convention.   Article 2 of the Convention clearly spells out:

“In the present Convention, genocide means any [emphasis added]of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part [emphasis added], a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

•               (a) Killing members of the group;

•               (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

•               (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;

•               (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;

•               (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

There is little argument and ample evidence that Israel’s actions against the people of Gaza in particular, and Palestine as whole, constitute the term genocide.

 While the pro-Israel Western media has been unable to conceal the daily, indiscriminate killing of anything that breathes and moves in Gaza (Article 2a) and the terrorization of children, the young and the old (mental harm) with the constant bombardment, bulldozers, and drones (Article 2b), the media has been apt at hiding the horrific effects of the blockade – the deliberate infliction of condition of life calculated to bring about physical destruction in whole or in part (Article 2c).

In 2010, Amnesty International’s report Suffocating Gaza – the Israeli blockade’s effects on Palestinians detailed the reality of life in Gaza including restricting the entry of basic goods,  food and fuel. On January 28, 2014, the daily Haaretz ran an article entitled “In Gaza, water – and time – are running out; Experts say Gaza water shortage likely to bring about illness.”  The situation has only exasperated.

Yet, in spite of the evidence, the United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon, ignoring all other atrocities, calls an attack on a UN school which killed innocent civilians “outrageous”.   Perhaps he ought to be reminded of, and heed his predecessor, Kofi Annan who acknowledged responsibility for not having done more to prevent or stop the Rwanda genocide.   In his July 2004 address to the Commission on Human Rights, Mr. Annan said:

            “If we are serious about preventing or stopping genocide in future, we must not be held back by legalistic arguments about whether a particular atrocity meets the definition of genocide or not.  By the time we are certain, it may often be too late to act.  We must recognize the signs of approaching or possible genocide, so that we can act in time to avert it.”

 Ban ki-Moon must have missed the speech and the memo; although in July 2012, he did appoint Adam Dieng of Senegal as his Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide –  only to refrain from the “G” word it would seem.

The American government is not alone in its complicity in genocide or in its incitement.   Mainstream media networks and commentators who paint a picture of an Israel “self-defense” to give room to the continued genocide are complicit and must be punished.  But in the opinion of this writer, the vilest partners in this crime are the Egyptian and Saudi leaders committing fratricide.

Egypt’s military coup leader and the illegitimate president of Egypt, al-Sisi, whom the Israel ambassador called a ‘hero for all Jews’ , has trapped the Gazans so that Israel can eliminate them all.   Genocide will prove to be lucrative business for the Egyptians.   Piping Israeli gas (stolen from Gaza) to liquefaction plants in Egypt to beconverted into LNG and exported across the world.

In 2009, David Wurmser writing for the Jewish policy Center opined “Israel and its neighbor now sit atop roughly two years’ worth of European consumption”.  He further suggests “even modest amounts of Israeli gas exports can carry significant strategic leverage”. Citing Europe’s gas vulnerability, Wurmser wrote “Europe’s grim reality could represent a unique window of opportunity for Israel to nail down long-term agreements and align export policy with a broader effort to reset Israeli-European relations.”

The MH 17 was brought down four hours after Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza.  Europeans reluctant to enforce further sanctions on Russia was no longer so reluctant. END SIDE BAR.]

Israel’s interest in Egypt and its opposition to the elected president of the Egyptian people, Mohammad Morsi, went beyond a gas transit and the Palestinians.    On May 30, 2013, The Times of Israel reported that the construction on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (on the Blue Nile) had sparked a major diplomatic crisis with Egypt – a concern shared with Saudi Arabia and its plans to divert water from the Nile.  In 2012, it was reported that Saudi Arabia had claimed a stake in the Nile.

The Saudi regime showered the coup government with aid after the overthrow of Morsi.  In January, Egypt received a further $4 billion to Egypt, and in May, Saudi Arabia showered the Egyptians with another $3billion while Egypt trapped Gazans to be slaughtered by Israel.

Never has the world witnessed so much impunity.    The United Nations refuses to acknowledge genocide and takes no part in preventing or punishing it.   The silence of those guarding our rights and our laws makes them  the silent partners in this crime against humanity.  As Jonathan Swift said: ““I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed.”

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the influence of lobby groups. 

Israel Commits War Crimes In Gaza

We previously noted:

Israel is currently bombing Gaza back to the stone age ….

And:

Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai said:

We must blow Gaza back to the Middle Ages destroying all the infrastructure including roads & water.

Or as Haaretz puts it:

Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Israel’s operation in Gaza: “The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages ….”

Destroying civilian infrastructure is – of course – a war crime under the Geneva Convention.

The following are also war crimes under the Geneva Convention:

  • The indiscriminate or disproportionate use of force
  • Collective punishment for the acts of a few
  • Targeting civilians

***

Indeed, the UN has repeatedly found Israeli’s actions in Gaza to be a war crime. See this, this and this.

The same year, Gilad Sharon – the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon – wrote an Op-Ed in the Jerusalem Post saying:

We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

“There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing.”

Many observers allege that Israel is intentionally targeting essential infrastructure such as water supplies.

Israel has now bombed Gaza’s only power plant -  knocking out power for a year – and so Gazans are being urged to ration water as pumps grind to a halt.

Israel has also repeatedly bombed UN shelters for civilians … killing scores of women and children.

And as AntiWar reports:

Earlier today, the Israeli military announced a four-hour “humanitarian lull in the Gaza Strip, giving civilians in the strip a chance to go out and try to find food at the marketplaces, or so they thought.

Instead, Israel let hundreds of civilians pour into the Shejaiya marketplace and then attacked it long before the truce expired, killing at least 17 civilians and wounding 160 others.

It was one of several Israeli attacks reported during the four-hour “lull,” almost entirely focusing on civilian targets, and by all accounts so far killing exclusively civilians.

Daily Beast writes, in an article entitled, “Israel’s Campaign to Send Gaza Back to the Stone Age“:

The already brittle civilian infrastructure lay in shards. The Gaza City port had been bombed and the finance ministry was flattened. Tens of thousands more people had fled their homes as Israeli flares lit up the night sky, and shells and rockets pounded residences, businesses and government buildings.

***

Few in Gaza will see a campaign that has now targeted civilian infrastructure as anything less than collective punishment for having a leadership that fights back.

***

The power plant is a loss with particularly far-reaching consequences. According to Hayat abu Salah, spokesperson for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), it will need major repairs before it can be put back on line. “This will affect the provision of water and sanitation services,” she said. “It will impact the operation of health facilities.”

With more wounded pouring into Gaza hospitals every day, they are already stretched. The emergency room of Gaza City’s Al Shifa Hospital is running out of supplies and was already coping with massive complications created by power cuts. The maternity ward has lost premature babies because it was unable to keep the incubators running.

***
This is not the first time Israel has knocked out Gaza’s power plant and targeted essential infrastructure. Indeed, this is almost part of a standard playbook. Following Hamas’ kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2006, Israel plunged Gaza into darkness with a retaliatory strike on the power plant. The bombing and escalation in Gaza set off a series of events that led to a full-on war in Lebanon as well as Gaza.
Over a year ago I published an essay entitled ‘The Linchpin Lie: How Global Collapse Will Be Sold To The Masses’. This essay addressed efforts by the ever malicious Rand Corporation to create a false narrative surrounding the possibility of global collapse. Linchpin Theory, as it was named by it’s originator and Rand Corp. employee, John Casti, is I believe the very future of propaganda.
Every engineered crisis needs a clever cover story, and in Linchpin Theory, we are told that all human catastrophe is a mere natural product of the “overcomplexity” within various systems. Yes, there is no accounting of false flag geopolitics or elitist conspiracy, no acknowledgment of deliberately initiated chaos; such things do not exist in the world of “linchpins”. Rather, the Rand Corporation would have us believe that the world is a massive game of Jenga, and the supporting pieces just remove themselves from the teetering structure by magical and coincidental causality.

Today, the linchpin lie is now being carefully inserted into the mainstream narrative. I can’t say I was shocked to hear Alan Greenspan use its basic premise when he recently stated that:

I have come to the conclusion that bubbles…are a function of human nature. We don’t have enough observations, but my tentative hypothesis to what we’re dealing with is that both a necessary and sufficient condition for the emergence of a bubble is a protracted period of stable economic activity at low inflation. So it is a very difficult policy problem. I do believe that central banks that believe they can quell bubbles are living in a state of unrealism.

It is important that we understand what Greenspan is actually doing here. The former Fed chairman is asserting that economic bubbles like the derivatives bubble of 2008 are a “natural function”, like the seasons, and are out of the control of central bankers. The truth is that central bankers have never tried to “quell” economic bubbles, they have been deliberately creating them in order to position the global economy into a crisis which they can then exploit. Greenspan is not only diverting blame for all the past and future economic crashes central banks have engineered, he is also setting the propaganda stage for a great change in the dynamic of the central banking concept – what the IMF’s Christine Lagarde calls the “global economic reset”.

The current central banking structure gives the illusion of separation and sovereignty. Most people who have not researched the nature of the international banking cartel believe that the Federal Reserve, for instance, is a separate national entity from the Central Bank of Russia, or the Central Bank of China. They believe that these institutions act of their own accord rather than in concert with each other. The reality is, there is no Federal Reserve. There is no Central Bank of Russia. There are no separate entities. There are no Western banks and there are no BRICS. All of these banking edifices are merely front organizations for global financiers, as Council on Foreign Relations insider (and friend to the Rockefellers) Carroll Quigley made clear in his book, Tragedy And Hope:

It must not be felt that the heads of the world’s chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world finance. They were not. Rather they were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up, and who were perfectly capable of throwing them down. The substantive financial powers of the world were in the hands of these investment bankers who remained largely behind the scenes in their own unincorporated private banks. These formed a system of international cooperation and national dominance which was more private, more powerful, and more secret than that of their agents in the central banks.

A “global economic reset”, I suspect, will consist of a grand shift away from covert cooperation between central banks to an OPENLY centralized one world banking system, predicated on the concepts put forward by the IMF and led by the Bank for International Settlements, which has always been behind the sceneshanding down commandments to the seemingly separate central banks of nations.

In order for this “reset” to be achieved, however, the establishment needs a historically monumental distraction. A distraction so confounding and terrifying that by the time the public has a chance to examine the situation rationally, the elites have already tightened the noose.

I have been warning ever since the beginning of the derivatives/debt collapse of 2007/2008 that the international financiers and globalists who created the artificially low interest rates and fiat lending bonanza would one day be required to fashion a considerably dangerous event in order to trigger the final collapse of the dollar based monetary system and replace it with a new currency (or basket of currencies), along with a new centralized financial authority.

This distracting event would have to rely on three very important strategies in order to succeed -

1) The use of what I call the “scattershot effect”; a swarm of smaller crises growing exponentially until it blurs together to create one dynamic calamity.

2) The use of multiple false paradigms in order to confuse the masses and pit them against one another in an absurd fight over fake and meaningless causes.

3) The use of deceptive benevolence on the part of the financial elite as they tap dance in to act as global “mediators”, ready to save the public from itself.

The end result would be a new brand of “world war” rather unique to history.

When most people imagine WWIII, they immediately envision images of nuclear bombs and mushroom clouds; however, I believe that when world war erupts, it may progress far differently from our cinematic assumptions. Regional conflicts are very likely, there is no doubt, but if one places himself in the shoes of the elites, one realizes that all out mechanized nuclear Armageddon is not really necessary to achieve the desired result of global governance.

Economic warfare alone could be extremely effective in initiating full spectrum fiscal implosion as well as mass starvation, mass panic, and mass desperation. All the signs lead me to believe that financial combat and 4th generation warfare will be used in the place of large armies and missiles.

The Scattershot Effect

Consider the sheer scope and number of crisis situations that have reached explosive proportions just in the past six months.

Syria continues to destabilize due to ISIS insurgents supported by the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel; it is a horrifying storm which is now bleeding into other nations such as Iraq.

Iraq is on the verge of complete disintegration as the same western organized ISIS moves towards the outskirts of Baghdad. 

Libya has imploded, with the American embassy evacuated, as well as the French and British, as various militias battle for supremacy.

The Ukraine crisis is nearing mutation into another beast entirely after the attack on Malaysian flight MH17. In just the past week, the EU has instituted sanctions against Russia, fighting has become even more fierce around Donetsk, Russia has been accused of firing artillery into Ukraine, and the U.S. now claims that Russia has violated the terms of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty.

In the meantime, the Federal Reserve continues to taper QE3 while ignoring the unprecedented equities bubble they have birthed in the stock market, as well as refusing to answer the question as to who will actually buy U.S. Treasury debt if they do not? Our secret friend from Belgium? And what if this secret friend is, as I suspect, actually the IMF/BIS global loan shark duo? What then? Do we become yet another third world African-style debtor owing our very infrastructure to a financial bureaucracy on the other side of the world?

And what about the Baltic Dry Index, one of the few measures of global shipping demand that cannot be manipulated by outside money interests? Well, the BDI is back down to historic lows,falling 65% since January, signaling that the so-called “economic recovery” is not at all what it is cracked up to be.

Add to this the deluge of illegal immigration on the southern border, aided by the Obama Administration, as well as possible presidential impeachment and lawsuit proceedings, and you have a recipe for total chaos of the fiscal variety.

If the first six to seven months of 2014 have been this frenetic, how bad will the next six months be?

False Paradigms

We are all aware of the prevalence of the false Left/Right paradigm in American politics. Hopefully most people in the Liberty Movement understand, for example, that any impeachment or lawsuit proceedings against Barack Obama will be nothing more than a crafted circus designed to accomplish nothing – a con game to placate conservatives with useless top-down solutions while the country burns around their ears.

There are other false paradigms that are not so clear to some, though…

The false Israel/Hamas paradigm has certainly duped a particular subsection of Americans and even a few patriots, even though it is historical fact that the creation of Hamas itself was funded and supported by the Israeli government. Why do Israeli politicians put money and arms at the disposal of Muslim extremist groups like Hamas and ISIS, only to enter into brutal conflict with them later? Could it be that the Israeli government does not have the best interests of the Israeli people at heart? Could it be that Israel is being used by internationalists as a catalyst for chaos? It is vital that we question the intentions behind such contrary actions in the Middle East.

Why has the U.S. government (Democrats and Republicans), Saudi Arabia, and Israel put support behind the ISIS caliphate in Iraq after spending decades of time, billions in resources, and thousands of lives, attempting to overrun and dominate the region? Why are these governments creating enemies that will later try to harm us?

It is all about false paradigms; dividing the masses into numerous conflicting sides and pitting them against each other when they should be fighting against the elites.

The false East/West paradigm is perhaps the most dangerous lie facing free men today. It is a lie that may very well define our generation if not our century. I have outlined in multiple articles the substantial evidence that proves beyond a doubt that Russia and China are members of the globalist agenda, and that the tensions between our two hemispheres are completely fabricated.

The latest announcement of a BRICS bank to rival the IMF is yet another scheme to perpetuate the illusion that the elites of these nations are at odds. In fact, the BRICS conference mission statement makes it clear that developing nations have no intention of breaking from the IMF (and certainly not the BIS). Instead, the BRICS bank is meant to provide “leverage” to “force” the IMF to become more inclusive, and hand over more power and participation. Vladimir Putin had this to sayat the latest summit:

In the BRICS case we see a whole set of coinciding strategic interests. First of all, this is the common intention to reform the international monetary and financial system. In the present form it is unjust to the BRICS countries and to new economies in general. We should take a more active part in the IMF and the World Bank’s decision-making system. The international monetary system itself depends a lot on the US dollar, or, to be precise, on the monetary and financial policy of the US authorities. The BRICS countries want to change this.

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff insisted that the BRICS were not seeking to distance themselves from the Washington-based International Monetary Fund:

On the contrary, we wish to democratize it and make it as representative as possible…

Putin and the BRICS commonly rail against the “unipolar” financial system revolving around the U.S. dollar, but in the end they are only controlled opposition, and their solution is to place even more power into the hands of the IMF (a supposedly U.S. government controlled institution), creating a truly unipolar world order.  If the U.S. loses its IMF veto status this year due to lack of allocated funds, and the BRICS dump the dollar as world reserve, this may very well happen.

As sanctions between Russia and the U.S. snowball, a perfect rationalization for a dollar decoupling will be created that very few people would have believed possible only a few years ago.  It is only a matter of time before fiscal warfare escalates to destructive levels. Russia will inevitably cut off gas exports to the EU, and the BRICS will inevitably drop the U.S. dollar as a world reserve standard.

The U.S. relationship to the EU is also currently being presented as dubious, and this is not by accident. Failing relations between America and Germany are yet more theater for the masses to chew on. Western allies have been spying on each other for decades, but somehow the exposure of CIA activities in Germany is shocking news? The NY Fed suddenly attacks Deutsche Bank, seeking expanded monitoring and regulation? Germany’s business interests are highly damaged by U.S. sanctions against Russia? It would seem as though someone is trying to create an artificial divide between elements of the EU and the U.S.

I believe that the narrative is being prepared for a faked financial breakup between the U.S. and many of its former allies, isolating the U.S., and destroying the dollar, but to what end? To answer that question, we must ask WHO ultimately benefits from these actions?

The Rise Of The Hero Bankers

In June of last year, the Bank for International Settlements, the central bank of central banks whose history began with the financial support of the Third Reich, released a statement warning that “easy money” from central banks was creating a dangerous bubble in stock markets around the world.

The IMF, too, has been pushing warnings of stock bubble collapse into the mainstream.

In June of this year, the BIS, a normally obscure and secretive organization, released another statementpronouncing that government had been led into a “false sense of security” by easy monetary policy and low interest rates, making the world economy perpetually unstable.

For an organization so covert and occult, the BIS sure has become rather candid lately. Frankly, I agree with everything they have said. However, I do not agree with the hypocrisy of the BIS, which dominates the decisions of all of its member banks, publicly criticizing policies which it most likely scripted itself. Why would the BIS suddenly denounce fiscal methods it used to promote? Because the BIS is setting itself up as the great prognosticator of a collapse that IT HELPED ENGINEER.

After the great financial war has subsided, and the people are suitably poverty stricken and desperate, it will be institutions like the BIS and IMF that swoop in to “save the day”. Their offer will be to consolidate economic control into the hands of an elite group of bankers “not affiliated” with any particular nation state, thereby insulating them from “political concerns”. The argument will be that national sovereignty is a bane on the back of humanity. They will claim that the catastrophe will continue until we “simplify” and streamline our economic and political systems. They will present themselves as the heroes of the age; the ones who predicted the crisis would occur, and the ones who had a solution ready to save the day (after sufficient death and destruction, of course).

As long as people remain obsessed with false paradigms and faux enemies, the establishment’s goal of complete centralized dominance will be predictably attainable. If we change our focus to the internationalists as the true danger instead of playing their game by their rules, then things will become far more interesting… 

You can contact Brandon Smith at: [email protected]Alt-Market, where this article first appeared, is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense. Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better.

Ukraine and Crimea’s Vanishing Gold

August 1st, 2014 by John Goss

Since a United States-sponsored coup d’état removed Ukraine’s legitimately elected government and installed an ultra right-wing regime with Arseniy Yatsenyuk as the Prime Minister, Ukraine has been brought to its knees by a needless civil war and faith in the myth that ownership of dollars will make it a rich western country. Mr. Yatsenyuk and his entire cabinet resigned on July 24, 2014 because, ostensibly, they could not push for harsher austerity measures against civilians who are already suffering. Ukraine has become another Greece while Yatsenyuk waits on the sideline for the Ukrainian parliament to collapse.

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Both the US and Ukraine economies are fueled by dollar mythology and are on the brink of financial collapse. While Russia and several other countries have been increasing their gold reserves in preparation for a worldwide economic crash, the US has been digging itself deeper into dollar debt. For the time being, faith in the myth that those with dollars are rich keeps the dollar afloat. Most trade in the world is still done in dollars, and since many other countries are also up to their necks in dollar debt, if the dollar fails, so will they. The US, of course, knows this. This is why it promised Ukraine loans of $17 billion in paper money through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, described the loan as being risky, but the IMF does not take risks any more than any other lender. Financial loans companies are obliged to know what collateral will guarantee a loan.

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Gold is the collateral that Yatsenyuk had to offer from a country that was tearing apart at the seams. Gold is what all countries fall back on as a reserve to support the confetti in your wallet. In economic terms, gold is worth much more than paper money, because there is a finite quantity of gold, and you cannot print more of it at whim. As collateral, gold does, however, pose a problem in unstable economies and war-torn zones. Other groups might take power, for example, as happened to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich. How can the IMF be sure it will be repaid with interest, if the gold collateral to back up the loan remains in Ukraine? One way around this dilemma would be for the US to look after Ukraine’s gold reserve. This is what probably happened.

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On March 7, 2014, about two weeks after the removal of Yanukovich, a small newspaper called Iskra (Spark) — formerly based in Zaporozhye in Eastern Ukraine and now apparently shut down — published an article that was picked up by many online sites concerned with general news and the metals market. The Iskra story alleges that a reliable source from Ukraine’s former ministry of finance said that Arseniy Yatsenyuk had ordered 40 boxes of gold to be loaded onto an unmarked plane at Borispol airport, in Kiev. Witnesses who reported seeing the heavy sealed boxes being loaded at 2 a.m. by 15 men in black combat gear and masks, some with machine guns, and a “mysterious” man (or men) entering the plane, were told by airport supervisors not to meddle in other people’s affairs. Since Ukraine’s gold reserves amount to about 36 tons, each box would have contained about one ton of gold.

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One day before the mysterious flight, the US Congress had approved President Barack Obama’s request for a $1 billion loan to Ukraine. Considering how finance works in a corrupt global corporate world, it is unlikely that these two events would be unrelated. Though it might be argued that the US is merely holding the gold on Ukraine’s behalf, it is a fact that what was once Ukraine’s gold is now with the country that funded regime change in Ukraine. Germany, which had kept its gold reserves in the US to prevent them from falling into Russian hands, failed in a recent campaign to get its 3,386-ton gold reserve repatriated and, in a face-saving statement, reported that it now believes that the US federal reserve is an honest broker.

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Another tale of gold involving Ukraine relates to Scythian gold artifacts that were on loan from four museums in Crimea and on display in Amsterdam until August 2014, during an unprecedented European tour of these treasures. A March 30, 2014 Wall Street Journal article questioned whether these gold artifacts still belong to Crimea, since it had been part of Ukraine when the treasures were loaned out. Clearly the mainstream mouthpiece of US financial markets was prompting its readership to speculate that the Scythian gold belonged to Ukraine rather than Crimea. This suggests that the US, having already got the bulk of Ukraine’s gold, is encouraging Kiev to steal gold that belongs to Crimean museums and is more valuable for its antiquity than its weight.

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Although we will probably never know the exact circumstances that brought about the July 17 downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), with its mostly Dutch casualties, it is clear that this disaster has offered an occasion to accuse Russia and Russian separatists of perpetrating such a reprehensible act that Europe might more enthusiastically support sanctions against Russia. To the new sanctions package would be added the notion that the Crimean gold and other antiquities on display in Amsterdam should be returned to Ukraine instead of Crimea. So far, several supposed pieces of video evidence from Kiev have turned out to be manufactured.

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The week of Yatsenyuk’s departure saw the worst fall in Ukrainian bonds since he came to power in servility to the US. The Ukrainian economy is on its knees and far worse off than under former President Viktor Yanukovich. There is concern that salaries will not be paid in August 2014, including military salaries. Nothing has been so punitive against Ukraine’s civilians since World War II as President Petro Poroshenko’s civil war against the people of Donbass. This too is unlikely to improve the failing economy.

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News Junkie Editor’s Notes: Photographs two, seven and nine by Sasha Maksymenko; three and five by Choo Yut Shing; one (cartoon) by Frits Ahlefeldt Laurvig; four by Bill Brooks; six by Mary Harrsch; and eight by Peter Kudlacz.

 

The lies that the Obama regime and Western presstitute media are hurling at President Putin are even more blatantly false that the lies Washington used against Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad, the Taliban, and Iran, and the lies are far more reckless.

On a number of occasions recently I have made the point that the psychopaths in control of Washington are driving the West to war with Russia. The lies that the Obama regime and Western presstitute media are hurling at President Putin are even more blatantly false that the lies Washington used against Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, Assad, the Taliban, and Iran, and the lies are far more reckless.

Russia has a nuclear arsenal as large as Washington’s, and Russia is very much aware that for 13 years Washington’s lies and demonizations of countries are the preludes to launching military attacks on the countries.

It is completely obvious that no one in Washington has enough sense to be in government. In Washington power is in demonic and idiotic hands. Washington consists of the largest collection of criminal fools in human history.

You have read what I have had to say. Now you can read it from Chris Martenson. Tyler Durden has posted Martenson’s analysis on Zero Hedge or you can read it on Peak Prosperity.

The threat to life on earth has never been as great as it is at this time. The crazed fools in Washington and the reckless scum that comprise the Western media are brewing Armageddon.

Dr. Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan Administration. He was associate editor and columnist with the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week and the Scripps Howard News Service. He is a contributing editor to Gerald Celente’s Trends Journal. He has had numerous university appointments. His book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is available here. His latest book,  How America Was Lost, has just been released and can be ordered here.

In view of the public debate they have raised in Germany, Matterhorn Asset Management is extremely pleased to feature the below written interview Lars Schall did, on our behalf, with Marc Friedrich and Matthias Weik this past week. German economists Friedrich and Weik co-authored two books which unfortunately are still only available in German. In their latest publication, “Der Crash ist die Lösung”, the economists explain from a German and International perspective, in easy to understand language, why “The Crash is the solution” and why this crash will be more catastrophic than the previous one. They describe based on solid economic fundamentals why a ‘final financial collapse’ is on our doorstep.

Lars Schall: What are the most crucial weak spots in our financial system? And why is it that the financial sector is so powerful vis-à-vis politics?

Marc Friedrich: The most crucial weak spots in our financial system are:

  • Japan’s gigantic debt;
  • China’s shadow banking system;
  • The completely opaque derivatives market;
  • The immense and rapidly growing global debt;
  • The global banking sector as a whole.

Marc-MatthiasThe financial sector is so powerful vis-à-vis politics because a very unhealthy one-sided relationship exists between the political system and the financial industry. Let’s take a closer look: How does a government fund itself? It collects taxes, and it sells government bonds. Who buys these government bonds for the most part? Banks and insurance companies! So who holds the reins here? It’s the creditor, of course, who gives the commands and who says which laws can and cannot be passed against him. This is also the reason why nothing has changed since the crisis in 2008. The hand that gives is always above the hand that takes. Moreover, the financial industry has succeeded in establishing structures outside of the law and saturating itself with cheap money from the central banks. This has made them even bigger, more powerful and, most importantly, more systemically important, which has only increased their ability to coerce governments and citizens when the next crisis comes.

LS: Why do you think the financial system won’t survive?

M&M: The financial system won’t survive for several reasons: We’ve had a fiat money system in place since 1971 based on interest and compound interest. In other words, it grows exponentially. But exponential growth is mathematically impossible on our planet with limited resources and thus destined to fail. We have a monetary system based on debt, so our system constantly needs new debt in order to grow, i.e. new money is generated only through the issuance of credit. This means our financial system has a mathematically finite lifespan–and it expired in 2008. Added to this is bank money created from nothing. This enables all banks to create money out of nothing by lending money.

Let me explain this madness: Central banks and commercial banks can create nearly unlimited amounts of bank money from “nothing”. This completely perverse system works this way every time a loan is granted by a bank. By creating money out of nothing, banks do something that is not only incredible but also makes every banker’s heart beat faster with delight–it’s what we call the 8th wonder of the world, in addition to the effect of compounding: Banks lend money that they themselves can create from “nothing”. Since January 18, 2012, banks in Europe are only required to deposit a one percent minimum reserve of central bank money at the ECB as collateral. This means that for every euro deposited at the ECB, the bank can create 100 euros and lend this with interest and compound interest. The banks lend money created from “nothing” and charge interest for something that actually does not exist. It’s brilliant! Banks make money without directly having to do anything for it. The interest that the customer has to pay ultimately means that more money is paid back than previously existed and was lent. In turn, the banks take this additional money and grant new loans. This automatically leads to more and more debt, which the banks must create out of nothing again, ad infinitum. This creates an unending circle, which, mathematically speaking, must eventually collapse.

The only way to keep the present financial system alive is to ban math and thus overturn the laws of nature.

LS: In order to understand your thesis that the crash will be the solution, one needs to understand the following, namely that the same people who caused the ongoing financial crisis are the real winners of it. Please elaborate on this, and please explain why you consider a crash as a chance?

M&M: As perverse as it may sound, the people causing the crisis are the ones who stand to gain the most from it. We explain this in our book “The Crash Is the Solution” based on an overwhelming number of facts and sources.

Financial sector profits are back at record levels, stock markets are hitting all-time highs thanks to the flood of cheap money and huge bonuses are being paid out again. Yet, ever since the onset of the crisis, the political establishment, central banks and financial industry have only bought time at a very high price and, in doing so, more than anything else, have accelerated the process of maximizing economic damage at the expense of us citizens. No lessons were learned from the crisis and nothing has changed. What happened to all the big promises that were announced? What about Basel III, the financial transaction tax, reining in the banks, etc.? The financial lobby succeeded in axing, massively watering down or pushing all this off into the far-distant future.

Banks have swelled up again with cheap money from central banks so that they are now even bigger, more powerful and therefore more “systemically important” than before. But that’s not all. They’ve also achieved something truly incredible: It is the only industry that is above the law and seems to always land softly despite constant systematic fraud, lies and manipulation.

Furthermore, there is no åsolution within the existing system. If there was one, the protagonists would have proudly announced it long ago. The profiteers of the system from the political and economic elite will do anything to preserve the status quo and let the masses pay for it. Aside from 90 percent of the population, the biggest loser is democracy.

LS: Is the crisis we’re seeing really a crisis of capitalism?

M&M: What is capitalism? In capitalism, you would have let the forces do their work and the market would have taken care of itself. But this was not permitted. We no longer live in the age of capitalism: Banks are bailed out with taxpayers’ money or even nationalized; central banks intervene in the markets and shareholders are expropriated. The real “capitalism” in place now uses means of communism to save itself. Just like in communism, only a small elite group benefits from this system. No crisis has been solved to date by printing money. What we are witnessing in Europe right now is neither in Europe’s interest nor does it correspond to our understanding of democracy. Laws and treaties are broken at the highest level, and an already failed currency is desperately being clung to–at the expense of the people, and especially at the expense of Europe’s youth. Money that needs to be rescued like the euro is not money at all. In our book we point out that the FED had intervened in the markets on 85 percent of all trading days since 2008. This is sick and often leads to the formation of bubbles, and ultimately to crises. With their disastrous policies, central banks create one bubble after another that often have to be absorbed by new, even larger bubbles. That’s why the solution will be the final collapse.

What we currently have is a mixture of planned economy, statism, socialism and other nonsense. Everything but capitalism.

LS: Is the crisis caused partially because of the way money gets created?

M&M: Yes, absolutely! This is the underlying problem together with the unhealthy relationship between our elites in politics and the financial industry.

LS: Do you think in the future the process of how money gets created needs to be taught in schools and universities?

M&M: Yes definitely, we also call for this in our latest book “The Crash Is the Solution– Why the Final Collapse Will Come and How to Save Your Assets.

” If people understood how our monetary and financial system works, then many people would likely not be so easily robbed of their savings by the financial industry. We all deal with money on a daily basis, but hardly anyone knows how our monetary system works. This needs to change. We need empowered citizens and responsible investors. Money, saving for retirement, and investments–these are all topics that must be taught as a subject in schools. This is also essential to break up the financial industry’s current monopoly and to ensure more democracy and justice.

LS: What do you see as possible triggers for a crash?

M&M: There are any number of variables in the system that could cause it to collapse. Start with Japan’s disastrous kamikaze policy and its horrendous debt, the extremely bloated shadow banking system in China or the credit bubble there; drastic political turmoil in the Middle East; the Ukraine conflict; a flash crash on the stock exchanges; a major bank that fails; the crash of the dollar or euro; the sovereign default of Greece, Italy or Spain; a bursting government bond bubble, or the real estate bubble popping in the UK. We are all so interconnected through globalization that if a bank, a country or a currency collapses it could create a disastrous domino effect that no one can escape. The fact is: It isn’t a question of whether the crash will come, but when.

LS: Is your advice to get out of paper securities and go into tangible assets?

M&M: We have been experiencing epochal change since 2008, and we are very clear in our advice: Get out of paper assets and into tangible assets! These have always done better in the past than paper assets, and they have the unbeatable advantage that they can never become completely worthless. Paper assets have the disadvantage that they are more or less transparent, are only on paper and can only serve you indirectly. In addition, many different parties (banks, brokers, insurance companies, the government, etc.) take their own share. Tangible assets on the other hand prevent this in part, and serve you directly and immediately.

Broad diversification of investments is essential. No more than a third of total assets should be invested in an asset class. For example, a third in real estate, a third in gold and a third in (cash) money. We recommend much broader diversification however, spread over ten or more different investments. This makes your asset situation much more stable, even if one of your main assets should fail. And they will fall, be taxed or at worst even be expropriated.

LS: What do you think about gold and silver in that regard?

M&M: In uncertain times like these, physically possessing the two classic “money metals” gold and silver is essential as “life insurance” to protect your assets against crises, economic and social turmoil, and inflation. This gives you two time-tested and globally accepted tangible assets to protect your wealth. With silver you can also protect yourself against a possible prohibition on gold, which, for instance, has been practiced in the past in the United States, Russia and China. And due to the lower purchase price of silver coins, silver is more suitable than gold in an emergency to meet daily needs such as purchasing food and household items.

As a general rule: Always rely on the “old” precious metals–gold and silver. In physical form, that is. But it’s important here to buy in several installments! You can still take your wealth out of the system completely legally and anonymously with gold and silver. This is something that should be done and taken advantage of.

Gold and silver have survived all crises and have never become worthless for thousands of years. What did Jesus get as a gift from the three kings to honor his birth? Myrrh, frankincense, and… U.S. government bonds! No, of course not. It was gold.

We do not recommend other precious metals such as palladium, etc. The risks and uncertainties are much greater here. It remains to be seen how the price of gold and silver will continue to develop. We currently are not seeing real prices, especially in the case of gold where the political establishment has deliberately manipulated and depressed prices in the past. Gold of all things was not allowed to be too expensive!
Avoid debt, and definitely do not buy what is often totally overpriced real estate with borrowed money.

In view of the current situation, having a certain amount of cash on hand is not a bad idea. Whether you hide it under the mattress or keep it in a safe deposit box is your decision.

Ever since the bank accounts of depositors in Cyprus got a major shave to bail out the banks there, we know: Money belongs everywhere, just not in an account. Something essential that everyone should know: The money in your bank account doesn’t belong to you, but the bank! It’s not yours until you physically withdraw it. By depositing money at the bank, which is up to the roof in debt, you are providing a loan at extremely favorable conditions to the bank with no real underlying security. On the other hand, when the bank gives you a loan to purchase a home for example, it puts a lien on the property to secure the loan.

LS: You perceive a crash as an opportunity. Why so?

M&M: There is an opportunity in every crisis. We currently have the biggest economic crisis in modern times, so we also have the biggest opportunity. If we succeed in seizing this opportunity, we can enter into a golden age of humanity. However, in order to do this we must solve the problem of “elite” and fundamentally change many things–both socially and economically, the human factor being the more important one. We deal with this in our book, which is extremely unusual for nonfiction. We talk about humility, respect, love, trust and other catchwords.

It is said that people learn from failure. Apparently the crash of 2008, whose aftershocks we are still feeling today, was not big enough. The facts, unfortunately, tell us that nothing has changed. The past, unfortunately, also shows us that the protagonists won’t be forced to make the necessary changes until after a catastrophic event. It’s always been like this, and so it will probably be the same this time, too. But the collateral damage will be enormous. One dramatic example of this is the “energy transition” in Germany–whether it is good or bad is beside the point. Nevertheless, it took a catastrophe in Japan to happen before the energy transition was possible in Germany. Apparently, our financial system will need to collapse first before people realize that we must implement a new financial system that serves all people and not just a small percentage of the population.

LS: Would you agree that we would need a competition of different forms of money in order to overcome the monoculture that we are witnessing in the monetary sphere?

M&M: This could be a sensible approach, but the currencies should be secured and not unsecured like our current money. Only time will tell whether different forms of money in order to overcome the monoculture is on the right path. The fact is: We definitely need a different and new monetary system!

LS: Who will be the winners and the losers of a crash?

M&M: There will only be losers, because we will all lose something. However, those who hold paper assets will lose substantially more than those who own property. Owners of government bonds, annuities, life insurance policies and accounts will be the big losers in the event of a crash–this was always the case in the past, and will also be so in the future. It’s only a matter of time until the mother of all bubbles–the government bond bubble–bursts, because we cannot pay off debt with debt forever. This is why we are very clear in our advice: Get out of paper and into tangible assets.

LS: Marc and Matthias. Much appreciate your time for this interview.

Marc Friedrich studied international business administration and has focused intensely on the economy and financial markets. During a job assignment in Argentina, he witnessed a sovereign default first hand in 2001 and its devastating consequences. Marc Friedrich gained valuable work experience in the UK, Switzerland and the US.
Matthias Weik studied international business in Australia where he completed his degree. He has dealt with the global economy and its financial markets for over a decade. Matthias Weik earned his MBA as part of a work-study program while working for a German corporation. On professional and academic stays in South America, Asia and Australia, Matthias Weik gained deep insight into the world of international finance and economics.
Together with Matthias Weik, Marc Friedrich holds seminars and lectures for companies, associations, foundations, at conferences, trade shows and at universities and colleges. Together with the economist Matthias Weik he co-authored two bestselling books “Der grösste Raubzug der Geschichte” (“The Greatest Heist of All Time”) and “Der Crash ist die Lösung” (“The Crash Is the Solution”). Their first book was also translated into Chinese Taiwan. Translations into Chinese mandarin and Korean are in preparation.

http://friedrich-weik.de

For our German readers the two publications are available from Amazon:
1. Der größte Raubzug der Geschichte
2. Der Crash ist die Lösung

Here is a recent panel interview they gave on German Television:

Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine

 August 01, 2014

Urgent call for international assistance to evacuate civilians

The Ministry of Health Gaza calls for immediate international assistance to evacuate thousands of civilians trapped under heavy Israeli bombardment in Rafah, in which at least 40 have already been killed and over 150 injured.

 Some five kilometres between Salah Al-Eddin street and Al Najjar Hospital is under intense and indiscriminate artillery fire, ambulances are unable to reach the wounded, and thousands of civilians are trapped in their homes.

We cannot reach the civilians to evacuate them, the wounded to provide medical care, or the dead to retrieve their bodies.

Israel has informed the United Nations that there is no truce.

We have officially notified the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva of the critical situation, which has all the makings of the biggest Israeli massacre in living memory.

 Gaza needs immediate help to evacuate civilians from this area.

The Ministry of Health Gaza calls on the ICRC, The United Nations, international NGOS and people of good conscience everywhere to act immediately to:

1.       Provide immediate assistance to evacuate civilians;

2.       Provide immediate assistance to enable the retrieval of the dead and injured;

3.       Exert sufficient international pressure to bring an immediate end to the Israeli massacre of Gaza civilians.

Contacts:

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

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

President Vladimir Putin. Press Conference

Putin points to a breakdown of international relations, focussing on the impacts of US policies on the institutions of sovereign countries.

US-Russia relations are in a stalemate which makes it very difficult to establish a meaningful dialogue.

The president reaffirms Russia’s commitment to resolving the Ukraine crisis through dialogue and negotiation. He points to the devastating economic implications.

The US in imposing sanctions on Russia is harming major Western companies which are involved in trade and investment activities with Russian partners.

“They are harming their energy companies”, said president Putin. [M.Ch. Global Research Editor]

Emblem of the Azov Battalion of the National Guard

According to reports neo-Nazis from Sweden, Bulgaria and Hungary are travelling to Ukraine to join it’s fight against its own citizens in the East:

“They are fighting with the Azov Battalion, a Ukrainian squad which flies a flag with Nazi symbols and which one Swedish soldier says fights for ‘a white Ukraine.’

Far right volunteers have joined the pro-Kiev forces from Hungary and Bulgaria as well as Sweden.” (M. E. Synon, Neo-Nazis Travelling to Fight in Ukraine, Breitbart, July 31, 2014)

The Swedish news outlet The Local reports that four Swedes have joined the battalion:

“Azov is a special force of about 300 soldiers, including multiple volunteer soldiers from across Europe. The force was established by the Ukrainian government, but does not fight alongside the national army and is instead steered by ultra-nationalists.

Four Swedes are in the group. Neo-Nazi Mikael Skillt is one of them.

‘They are not fighting for a democratic Ukraine,’ Anton Shekhotsov, a Ukrainian political scientist who researches right extremist movements in Europe, told Sveriges Radio (SR).  ’Their vision of Ukraine is a fascist dictatorship.’” (Swedish neo-Nazis join fight in Ukraine, The Local, July 30, 2014)

This confirms what the Western mainstream media fails to recognize since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine: the presence of neo-Nazi elements both within the U.S-backed Kiev government as well as within the National Guard and the Armed Forces. Global Research  has published numerous articles on the issue.

Greg Rose reported in March:

“The ultra-right Svoboda Party has scored six major cabinet ministries in the government of Arseniy Yatsenyuk approved by the Ukrainian parliament on Thursday. Svoboda is the Neo-Nazi, ultra-right, anti-Semitic, Russophobic party with its base of support in the Western Ukraine.

The most important post was claimed by a co-founder of Svoboda, Andriy Parubiy. He was named Secretary of the Security and National Defense Committee, which supervises the defense ministry and the armed forces.” (Greg Rose, Ukraine Transition Government: Neo-Nazis in Control of Armed Forces, National Security, Economy, Justice and Education, People’s World, March 2, 2014)

In June, Michel Chossudovsky exposed the Azov Battalion:

“The Azov Battalion -which displays the Nazi SS emblem– (below left) is described by the Kiev regime as “a volunteer battalion of territorial defense”. It’s a National Guard battalion under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.  Officially based in Berdyank on the Sea of Azov, it was formed by the regime to fight the opposition insurgency in Eastern and Southern Ukraine. It is also financed by the US administration.” (Michel Chossudovsky, Ukraine’s Kiev Regime is not “Officially” A Neo-Nazi Government, June 1, 2014)

The Local states that the Swedish neo-Nazi Mikael Skillt has been in Ukraine since February, confirming once again that neo-Nazis were an integral part of the Maidan protests that brought down an elected government and replaced it with several non-elected neo-Nazi figures. Among them, Andrij Belitskij, the Commander of the Azov Battalion, who promotes the end of “contact between races”:

The battalion’s commander, Andrij Belitskij, is also the leaer of the Social-National Assembly (SNA), which lists among its goals the end of “sexual perversions and contact between races“.

Skillt, a member of the neo-Nazi Party of the Swedes (Svenskarnas parti), seems to agree.

“My goal is a white Ukraine,” Skillt told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet (SVD) last week. “I am a nationalist and I want there to still be white Europeans in Europe.”

The Swede is originally from Sundsvall, and has been in Ukraine since February. Skillt has confirmed on social media as well as for Swedish media that he fights in the Azov battalion – and that he does so in Swedish uniform.

The Ukrainian government, however, denied that any foreigners fight in their units.

Swedish national police have also confirmed their presence.

“We do not know exactly how many Swedes are fighting in Ukraine, but we know there are several,” police superintendent Sören Clerton told SVD.

Shekhotsov warned that the battalion may not be satisfied simply by separatist defeat.

He reported that the SNA has been behind multiple attacks against sexual and ethnic minorities in Kiev. He also expressed concern that, although Azov may not successfully instate dictatorship, the force may still block the construction of a democratic Ukraine.

His fears seemed confirmed by Swedish soldier Skillt, who called the struggle in Ukraine a war based on race. (The Local, op. cit., emphasis added.)

According to Breitbart:

Skillt said: “We’re finding and grabbing people who collaborated with the separatists.”

Asked how he communicated with the locals, he replied: “I often have an interpreter. I understand some Russian, but I do not speak the language itself. I can only say commands like ‘stay,’ ‘down on your knees,’ ‘hands behind your head.’”

Skillt also thinks that Ukraine’s large Jewish minority should leave the country because he does not count it as white.

Global mining giant Rio Tinto markets itself as a ‘sustainable company’. But serious failures in its reporting, and its attempt to hold an Australian indigenous group to ransom, reveal a very different truth: the company is driven by a reckless pursuit of profit at any cost.

Rio Tinto uses its sustainability reporting to bolster the argument that it is a responsible company and therefore entitled to a license to operate.

Now, a global campaign is demanding that Rio Tinto live up to its sustainability claims.

Rio Tinto subsidiary, Energy Resources of Australia (ERA), has threatened the Mirarr people that if it is not allowed to expand its Ranger uranium mining operations underground, it may be unable to fully fund rehabilitation of the open pit mine.

The Ranger mine is located in the traditional lands of the Mirarr, the world heritage-listed Kakadu national park in Australia’s Northern Territory.

If ERA does not complete rehabilitation of the site, which suffered a radioactive spill last year, the water, air quality and soil in the area could be scarred with toxic radiation for generations.

‘It’s not our problem’

When a shareholder confronted Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh about this at the company’s April annual meeting, Walsh flatly refused to commit to full rehabilitation or take responsibility for the mess.

Walsh said it is a problem for ERA, not Rio Tinto: “We are clearly shareholders [of ERA], but it’s a matter for all shareholders and a matter for the ERA board.”

What he did not mention is that Rio Tinto is the controlling shareholder of ERA, and that five out of six ERA board members are current or former Rio Tinto employees.

What’s more, in its latest sustainable development report, Rio Tinto unequivocally states that “ERA will make sure that when its operations come to an end, the Ranger Project Area will be safely closed and rehabilitated … “.

RT: sustainability ‘supporting our license to operate’

Rio Tinto is keen on sustainability reports. It produces them both at the global level and for many of its individual sites.

The reason why is neatly summed up in the title of its 2013 sustainable development report: “Supporting our license to operate”. In effect, Rio Tinto uses its sustainability reporting to bolster the argument that it is a responsible company and therefore entitled to a license to operate.

This tacit license is distinct from the authorisation it needs to operate each individual mine, such as land, water and air permits. However, it is just as important.

Unless it is seen as trustworthy, decision-makers will be reticent to grant mining rights to Rio Tinto. Without these rights, the company will have no way to make profits.

Fiction not fact – only 60% of sustainability claims are true

Much of the information that Rio Tinto reports on its website is subject to strict accuracy requirements. It mirrors the information it provides to securities regulators where Rio Tinto’s shares are traded.

But the company’s sustainability reporting is not subject to such controls. Rio Tinto states that its sustainable development reporting is in line with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines, a voluntary set of rules used by 6,000 companies around the world.

However, when examining the sustainability reporting of leading Australian companies that apply the GRI guidelines, Catalyst Australia came to a different conclusion.

It found that only 60% of Rio Tinto’s sustainability claims are accurate compared with information the company reports. Rio Tinto scored second worst out of the 16 companies that Catalyst examined.

The ugly truth

IndustriALL Global Union recently analysed Rio Tinto’s reporting and performance in the four categories the company uses for sustainability reporting: social, governance, economic, environment.

The resulting study, ‘Unsustainable: the ugly truth about Rio Tinto‘, also reveals that Rio Tinto’s sustainability reporting contrasts sharply with the company’s actual performance in all four categories.

It shows how Rio Tinto’s reckless pursuit of profit at any cost has caused disputes with numerous unions as well as environmental, indigenous and community groups. Most of the disputes covered in the report are ongoing.

Rio Tinto has continued to provoke disputes in the three months since the report was released:

  • with South African regulators by illegally operating a coal mine for a decade;
  • with injured Australian workers by systematically targeting them in a layoff;
  • with leaders in Zimbabwe by reportedly reneging on a pledge to support community development programs;
  • and with the people of Papua New Guinea by rejecting calls for an investigation into the company’s role in a bloody civil war.

Rio Tinto will go on provoking disputes and operating in an unsustainable manner unless it believes that doing so could threaten its license to operate.

To reform Rio Tinto, first we must threaten its ‘license to operate’

IndustriALL in collaboration with our affiliated unions and civil society organizations is running a campaign aimed at getting Rio Tinto to operate in a sustainable way.

We have organized actions at high profile company events in Australia, South Africa and the UK. We have reached out to politicians and community leaders in places where Rio Tinto operates, and hopes to operate.

We are organizing more workers at Rio Tinto workplaces. We are producing research, sharing information through our networks, and getting coverage in the media. We are organizing a global day of action targeting Rio Tinto for 7 October this year.

Through these activities, we are getting our message out to key stakeholders: Rio Tinto has not yet earned the mantle of sustainable company.

The more effectively we get this message out, the more the company will see the campaign as a threat to its ‘license to operate’. Our goal is for Rio Tinto to decide it is in its best interest to live up to its own sustainability claims.

Achieving that goal will not be easy. It will require collaborative efforts of a diverse and global coalition over an extended period. We are interested in working with others to continue to build this campaign and coalition.

Kemal Özkan is Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, which represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sectors.

Please contact us to discuss how you can be involved in our effort.

The report: ’Unsustainable: the ugly truth about Rio Tinto‘.

An unintended outcome is almost certainly an increased use of pesticides. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Brazilian farmers say their GMO corn is no longer resistant to pests, Reuters reported Monday.

The Association of Soybean and Corn Producers of the Mato Grosso region said farmers first noticed in March that their genetically modified (GMO) corn crops were less resistant to the destructive caterpillars that “Bt corn”—which has been genetically modified to produce a toxin that repels certain pests—is supposed to protect against. In turn, farmers have been forced to apply extra coats of insecticides, racking up additional environmental and financial costs.

The association, which goes by the name Aprosoja-MT, is calling on Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta and Dow companies to offer solutions as well as compensate the farmers for their losses. In a release posted to the Aprosoja-MT website, spokesman Ricardo Tomcyzk said farmers spent the equivalent of $54 per hectare to spray extra pesticides, and that the biotech companies promised something they didn’t deliver, “i.e. deceptive advertising.” (via Google Translate)

But Monsanto, et al are unlikely to accommodate the farmers. According to Reuters, “seed companies say they warned Brazilian farmers to plant part of their corn fields with conventional seeds to prevent bugs from mutating and developing resistance to GMO seeds.”

Earlier this year, a similar problem arose in the U.S., when scientists confirmed that corn-destroying rootworms had evolved to be resistant to the GMO corn engineered to kill them.

The industry response to such loss of efficacy is not to encourage biodiversity, but to further modify the organisms, according to the nonprofit GM Watch.

The case of Brazil is an example for an overall trend showing that nearly twenty years after the start of commercialization of Bt crops, there are problems in several countries growing this kind of genetically engineered crop. Industry tries to tackle this issue by commercialization of so called “stacked events” that produce several different Bt toxins. The best known example is Monsanto’s SmartStax maize that produces six different Bt toxins.

Another unintended outcome is almost certainly an increased use of pesticides, as has already happened in Mato Grosso.

A cholera outbreak has killed 8,500 Haitians since 2010 and UN forces are responsible, the author argues. Not only that, but the UN helped consolidate Gérard Latortue’s post-coup regime.

Since 2010 the UN has been dodging responsibility for a cholera outbreak that has killed 8,500 Haitians and sickened more than 700,000. Nepalese soldiers with the UN “peacekeeping” forces caused the outbreak by allowing their sewage to leak into Haiti’s largest river. According to the UN itself, cholera could kill 2,000 more people in 2014.

The UN now faces a lawsuit in U.S. courts that was brought by some of the victims. The Obama administration is trying to have the suit dismissed but, this May, Amicus Briefs filed by prominent international law experts refuted the U.S. government’s arguments for dismissal. Scientific evidence of the UN’s guilt is so conclusive that Bill Clinton, a UN special envoy to Haiti, acknowledged in 2012 that UN soldiers brought cholera to Haiti, but he made the UN’s demented excuse that “what really caused it is that you don’t have a sanitation system, you don’t have a comprehensive water system.”

By this logic, if I kill a gravely ill person by knocking them off their hospital bed, my defense should be that a healthy person would have survived the fall. In a civilized legal setting, where the victim cannot be dismissed as irrelevant, making such a repulsive argument might provoke a judge to hand down the harshest sentence allowable. Unfortunately, international law has always been the plaything of the most powerful, and Haitians have long endured the consequences of that fact. Criminal negligence is one of many crimes in Haiti for which UN officials should answer.

On Feb. 29, 2004 – at about 6:15 a.m. – U.S. troops flew Haiti’s democratically elected president, Jean Bertrand Aristide, out of Haiti. In fact, they flew him out of the Western Hemisphere – all the way to the Central Africa Republic.  According to the Bush administration’s comically implausible story, Aristide simply asked the U.S. to save him from a small group of insurgents led by a convicted death-squad leader, Jodel Chamblain. The public face of the insurgents was a crooked ex-police chief named Guy Philippe who had long standing ties with local elites and the U.S..  Chamblain was responsible for thousands of murders and rapes under a military junta that ruled Haiti from 1991 to 1994, after the first coup that ousted Aristide. It made sense to put the far younger Guy Philippe in front of cameras, but nobody with any knowledge of the 1991 coup had any excuse for failing to see what was coming in 2004.

The insurgents had been launching hit and run attacks into Haiti for years (since 2000) from the safe haven offered by the Dominican Republic, a U.S. client. Jeb Sprague’s book Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti documents how key players among Aristides’ “peaceful opponents” in Haiti, along with military and government officials from the Dominican Republic, closely supported the insurgents who killed dozens of people while the international press (and the human rights industry) ignored it and depicted some of the financiers as victims of a “crackdown on dissent”.  The “crackdown” was one of the excuses the Bush administration used to starve the Aristide government of funds for years with the help of the OAS. U.S.-led sanctions, among other things, blocked funds for projects to improve Haiti’s water supply to protect against the spread of diseases like cholera. At the same time, tens of millions of U.S. government dollars flowed to Aristide’s political rivals.

Sprague’s book reveals that, after Aristide was overthrown in 2004, hundreds of former rightist paramilitaries were incorporated into Haiti’s police force under the UN and U.S. Embassy’s close supervision.  Anyone familiar with the 1991 coup will find this as unsurprising as it is disgusting. When the Clinton Administration ordered the Cédras military junta to stand down in 1994 (and permit Aristide to serve out what little was left of his first term in office), it did so only after guaranteeing impunity for the junta’s leaders and arranging for some of its henchmen to remain within Haiti’s security forces. Aristide, to some extent, countered those maneuvers by disbanding the Haitian army over strong U.S. objections. The re-constructed Haitian police remained infiltrated by officers close to the U.S. and local right-wing forces. Nevertheless, the U.S. and its allies were forced to a play a far more direct role in the 2004 coup because Haiti lacked its own army, the force traditionally used by the U.S. to bring down governments it dislikes.

A few months after the 2004 coup, UN troops (known by the French acronym MINUSTAH) took over the task of consolidating Gérard Latortue’s post-coup dictatorship.  Roughly 4,000 of Aristide’s supporters were murdered under Latortue according to a scientific survey published in the Lancet medical journal [1].  Hundreds more, by conservative estimates, became political prisoners. Most of the killing was done by the police and death squads allied with them. MINUSTAH generally provided tactical support but also perpetrated its own atrocities. On July 5, 2005, MINUSTAH went on a shooting spree in the shanty town of Cité Soleil that was so murderous (and so well documented) that a MINUSTAH spokesman felt obliged to promptly state that it “deeply regrets any injuries or loss of life during its operation”.  In 2012, MINUSTAH found some of its troops guilty of rape and sexual abuse. The actual perpetrators, to say nothing their commanding officers, have evaded serious consequences even when found guilty. Over a hundred MINUSTAH troops have been sent out of Haiti to “face justice” at home for sex crimes. Little wonder that abusers have been undeterred.

Thanks to Wikileaks, we need not speculate about exactly what the U.S. government wanted to get out of MINUSTAH in Haiti. In a 2008 cable, the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti predicted that the “security dividend the U.S. reaps from this hemispheric cooperation not only benefits the immediate Caribbean, but also is developing habits of security cooperation in the hemisphere…” She identified “resurgent populist and anti-market economy political forces” in Haiti as a threat to the entire hemisphere. She highlighted the importance of having other countries contribute towards neutralizing the threat:

“This regionally-coordinated Latin American commitment to Haiti would not be possible without the UN umbrella. That same umbrella helps other major donors — led by Canada and followed up by the EU, France, Spain, Japan and others — justify their bilateral assistance domestically.”

It won’t do for allies to explain to their own people that they are doing the USA’s dirty work in Haiti – helping it contain the political threat posed by “populist and anti-market forces” or, in other words, sacrificing Haiti as a pawn on a regional chessboard imagined by U.S. officials.

After two years of terrorizing Aristide’s supporters – murdering, imprisoning and driving them into exile -the U.S. and its allies allowed Haitians to elect a government to replace Latortue’s dictatorship. The presidency was won by René Préval – a former president and Aristide protégé who had played no role at all in the 2004 coup.  It was a stunning refutation of the propaganda used to justify the coup. Préval won the election in the first round despite barely being able to campaign. Candidates who had been prominent leaders of the coup (Charles Baker, Guy Philippe) received single digit percentages of the vote.

The cables procured by Wikileaks show that Préval worried about being given the Aristide treatment while in office and treaded very carefully around U.S. officials.  Former Brazilian diplomat, Ricardo Seitenfus, says that in 2010 MINUSTAH chief Edmond Mulet explicitly threatened Préval with a coup and exile for opposing U.S. interference in Haitian elections. Préval supposedly responded to Mulet’s threat by saying: “I am not Aristide. I am Salvador Allende”.  Préval and Colin Granderson, head of the CARICOM-OAS Electoral Mission in Haiti in 2010-2011, have backed up the claim that Préval had been “asked” to step down.

Seitenfus has also strongly denounced the corruption and hypocrisy of the key governments that sustain MINUSTAH – in particular the infamous “core group”: the USA, Canada, France, Spain, and Brazil. Commenting on the impact of the 2010 earthquake that may have killed 200,000 people, Seitenfus remarked: “Traditionally in Haiti, the ‘goods’ such as hospitals, schools, and humanitarian aid are delivered by the private sector, while the ‘bads’ — that is, police enforcement — is the state’s responsibility. The earthquake further deepened this terrible dichotomy.”

An “aid” sector made up of foreign NGOs that are not accountable to the vast majority of Haitians breeds corruption and inefficiency, as former CARE employee Timothy Schwartz has also pointed out. It gives many NGOs, with some honorable exceptions, a strong incentive to thwart the development of democratic institutions in Haiti that would hold them accountable and take over many of their functions.

Brazil stepped up to play a leading role in MINUSTAH. Today, despite various MINUSTAH related scandals, Brazil continues to supply the largest contingent of troops. Uruguay supplies the second largest contingent though President Mujica has pledged to withdraw them. Bolivia and Ecuador also supply troops. Venezuela’s Chavista governments, on the other hand, always recognized the 2004 coup for what it was and never took part in MINUSTAH.

Thankfully, the backlash from Latin American governments was fierce when the USA and Canada maneuvered at the OAS to weaken a strong regional response against the 2009 coup in Honduras. Sanderson’s dream of “hemispheric cooperation” with the U.S. to defeat “populist and anti-market economy political forces” quickly became more of a fantasy. Edward Snowden’s revelations of extensive U.S. spying on the Brazilian government also poured cold water on the USA’s imperial dreamers. This year’s upper-class revolt in Venezuela – an undisguised attempt at “regime change” – was strongly opposed by the OAS, much to the Obama Administration’s dismay.

Rejecting coups and coup attempts is very important step in the right direction. However, Latin American governments should move beyond that. They should call for the prosecution of MINUSTAH officials like Edmond Mulet. Eventually, the prosecution of his bosses in Washington, Ottawa, and Paris might become a realistic option.

This article was first published by Telesur.

Notes

[1] Athena R. Kolbe and Royce A. Hutson, “Human rights abuse and other criminal violations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti: a random survey of households,” The Lancet, Vol. 368, No. 9538, September 2, 2006.

Boycott from Within has sent the following letter to the United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide. We encourage others to do the same at http://www.un.org/en/preventgenocide/adviser/contactform.asp?address=1. You may use this letter.

Dear Madame/Sir,

We are citizens of Israel who oppose our government’s policies of colonialism, occupation and apartheid against the Palestinian people and its actions which may amount to genocide. We write to you following thirteen days of an ongoing massacre, which is being perpetrated by Israel in the besieged Gaza Strip. As the death toll is rising, it now stands at 400 casualties and 3100 injured. The UN has declared, via UNICEF, that over a third of the victims are children. As you well know, this massacre was preceded by a month of massive Israeli violence and political persecution in the occupied West Bank, including the arrest of hundreds of so-called “Hamas-affiliated” men and boys. Meanwhile, Israeli mobs run wild in the streets of our cities, shouting the chilling “Death to the Arabs” chants (as well as “Death to the Leftists”).

You cannot ignore the fact, especially during this UN-declared “year of solidarity with the Palestinian people”, that two similar massacres have already been perpetrated by Israel in the short span of six years; that Gaza suffocates under Israel’s hermetic siege; that Israel has been perpetrating an ongoing ethnic cleansing against the indigenous people of Palestine since 1948 and up to this day; and that Israel believes it may exterminate hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza every two years and do so with full impunity.

The UN states that “Where genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity do occur, the International Criminal Court, which is separate and independent from the UN, is empowered to investigate and prosecute those most responsible if a state is unwilling or unable to exercise jurisdiction over alleged perpetrators.” Israel is well beyond the point of prevention and we, its privileged citizens, are hereby charging it with genocide.

We demand that your office will do everything in its power to halt Israeli genocide as it is taking place. We demand that you take immediate action to prevent Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people. We will be following your conduct on this matter.

Sincerely,
BOYCOTT! Supporting the Palestinian BDS Call from Within

Why is this war happening?

The conventional answer tells us that the June abduction and murders of three Israeli teenagers is the answer. This crime was carried out by Hamas, Israeli officials claim, and it led to a brutal crackdown on Hamas officials in the West Bank. Hundreds were detained, and several Palestinians died in clashes with Israeli security forces. Rocket fire from Gaza then intensified, forcing the Israelis to launch the current military assault.

But did Hamas actually kill Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar? And if there’s no evidence that they did, shouldn’t more journalists be pressing Israeli officials about their claims?

There seems to be agreement on the timeline. As the Washington Post(7/22/14) put it:

Israel accused Hamas of orchestrating the killing. Israeli troops cracked down hard on the militant group in the West Bank; Hamas responded by escalating rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.

Time magazine’s Joe Klein (7/24/14) wrote that Hamas “was in an existential jam this spring,” and their best option was simple: “Provoke Israel.” He writes:

The initial provocation, the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers, was indefensible, as was a retaliatory murder of a Palestinian teen. In a moment of moral clarity, Hamas lauded its kidnappers, while a furious Netanyahu called the retaliation “reprehensible.”

It is true that Hamas lauded the kidnappings, most likely as one way to strike a prisoner swap with Israel. The group did not claim responsibility for that action, though–which is precisely what one would have expected them to do.

So what is the evidence–other than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s word–that Hamas carried out these murders? A CNN report (6/15/14) noted:

A Hamas spokesman in Gaza told CNN that Netanyahu’s comments attributing blame were “stupid and baseless.”

“The arrest campaign made by the Israeli occupation in the West Bank is targeted to break the backbone of Hamas and bring it down, but the Israelis will not succeed in achieving their goal,” Sami Abu Zuhri said.

Howard Kurtz (cc photo: David Shankbone)

Fox News’ Howard Kurtz said Hamas killed the Israeli youth–then said his point was that Hamas praised their killing. Both claims were dubious. (cc photo: David Shankbone)

Fox News host Howard Kurtz (7/27/14) was, like Klein, sure about what happened: “There is no question that Hamas started the latest round of Mideast violence, first with the killing of three Israeli teenagers, and then by firing rockets indiscriminately at the Jewish state.” When it was noted onTwitter that there were still no evidence that Hamas was responsible (Mediaite,7/27/14), Kurtz tweeted: “My point on the three slain Israeli teenagers is that Hamas praised killings as a heroic act.” Which is, of course, not the same point at all.

(The Al-Jazeera interview in which Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal heralded the abduction of the teenagers as “a heroic act”–in the Times of Israel‘s paraphrase, 6/24/14–took place on June 23, a week before the discovery of the youth’s bodies, so it’s also inaccurate to say that Hamas praised the “killings.”)

Controversy over who carried out the murders kicked into high gear recently when two reporters tweeted that Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeldhad admitted that they could not pin the crimes on Hamas. First from BBCreporter Jon Donnison:

And then Buzzfeed‘s Sheera Frankel:

Those posts garnered some attention–most specifically via a New Yorkmagazine post (7/25/14) that was originally headlined, “It Turns Out Hamas Didn’t Kidnap and Kill the Three Israeli Teens After All.” Then came some pushback in the form of a Daily Beast report (7/27/14) by Eli Lake, who got a denial from the Israeli source:

Rosenfeld said that he had told Donnison what the Israeli government had been saying all along. “The kidnapping and murder of the teens was carried out by Hamas terrorists from the Hebron area,” he told the Daily Beast. “The security organizations are continuing to search for the murderers.”

Donnison on Saturday said he stood by his earlier tweets.

Lake’s piece does not substantiate the Israeli claims that Hamas bears responsibility. “Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay,” Netanyahu famously declared after the victims’ bodies were found (Washington Post,6/30/14). While the controversy over Rosenfeld’s statement and subsequent walkback is interesting, it does not change the fact that linking the crime to Hamas has always been a stretch (FAIR Blog7/2/14), since the suspects were not considered to be part of any formal Hamas cells.

As Shlomi Eldar (Al-Monitor6/29/14) wrote, the suspects belong to a clan that “has a well-earned reputation as troublemakers. Not only does it tend to ignore the movement’s leaders. It even acts counter to the policies being advocated by the movement.”

Journalism about the current violence is bound to focus on the death and destruction in Gaza. But there remains ample space to ask whether the war was launched to punish Hamas for something it had nothing to do with.

Smoke from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City on 29 July. (Ashraf Amra / APA images)

Hours after Israel shelled yet another UN school sheltering internally displaced families and a marketplace in Gaza, killing dozens of people, an unnamed defense department officialrevealed to CNN that the US had approved an Israeli request to tap into the one billion dollar weapons stockpile the US keeps in Israel.

The last time Israel dipped into the special stockpile was in 2006, during its assault on Lebanon.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby confirmed to the The Electronic Intifada over email that the US Department of Defense authorized a transfer of munitions to Israel on 23 July in response to a request from the Israeli defense ministry for “a normal Foreign Military Sales delivery of ammunition.”

Two of the munitions Israel demanded—120mm mortar rounds and 40mm grenades—happened to be available in the stockpile, so the US delivered them to the Israeli army from there.

“Issuing munitions from the War Reserve Stockpile Ammunition-Israel (WRSA-I) was strictly a sourcing decision,” explained Kirby.

Arming Israel to stop violence?

Israel’s call for more arms was fullfilled on the sixteenth day of Israel’s assault on the besieged Gaza Strip. By then Israel had already killed at least 661 Palestinians, including 132 children.

Asked whether the defense department — the Pentagon — is concerned that its weapons might be used to harm innocent Palestinians given that the overwhelmingly majority of those killed in Gaza have been civilians, Kirby replied that the US is troubled by civilian casualties and is actively pushing for a ceasefire.

“We have consistently voiced our concerns over the rising number of civilian casualties in this conflict. We need to bring the violence and civilian casualties to an end, which is why the US government is focused on instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement,” said Kirby, adding, “We are also concerned that continued fighting could further destabilize the West Bank.”

The spokesman also issued an unprompted reaffirmation of support for “Israel’s right to defend itself,” and praised the Israeli army’s supposed moral superiority, saying “Unlike Hamas, which is firing rockets from populated areas and indiscriminately targeting civilians in Israel, the IDF [Israeli army] takes measures to limit civilian casualties.”

Kirby continued: “But the fact is, despite Israel’s efforts, the Palestinian civilian suffering in Gaza — including the deaths and injuries of children — is great and growing every day.”

“The high civilian death toll makes clear that Israel can and must do more to meet its own high standards for protecting civilians from being killed. This underscores the urgency of getting an unconditional, immediate humanitarian cease-fire.”

“High standards”

Today Israel has killed over 1,300 Palestinians in Gaza since 7 July, including more than 300 children. Almost 80 percent of those killed have been civilians.

In stark contrast, actions by armed Palestinian resistance groups, mainly Hamas, killed 56 soldiers and three Israeli civilians, one of whom was a West Bank settler killed while voluntarily delivering treats to Israeli soldiers stationed at the Gaza border prior to the ground invasion.

Hamas rockets, which do little damage, lack precision guidance systems and are therefore indiscriminate by default, although Hamas has said on occasion that rockets it has fired were intended for military targets.

Conversely, Israel, with a high-powered US-financed precision-guided arsenal at its disposal, has deliberately bombed civilian targets including private homes, hospitals and mosques, as well as schools, UN shelters, playgrounds, ambulances, media buildings, water treatment facilities and Gaza’s only power plant.

Based on the evidence, it seems Israel’s “high standards for protecting civilians” are no match for the ethical calculations of the side being demonized as “terrorists.”

July 30 saw back-to-back atrocities in Gaza that made it clear to anyone with eyes to see that Israel is carrying out a war of terror against civilians. Its aim is to break the will of the Palestinian people through the murder of children, the destruction of homes, and the driving of an entire population back to Stone Age conditions.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) struck first at a UN-run school in the Jabaliya refugee camp, where some 3,000 people driven from their homes had sought shelter, killing at least 16 and wounding over 125 more. Then, in the middle of an IDF-announced cease-fire, shells were rained down on a crowded market place in Shejaiya, killing 17 and wounding over 200.

As the horrific images of these massacres emerged from Gaza, newspapers carried the report that the Obama administration had agreed with the European Union to impose sweeping sanctions—not against Israel, but against Russia.

The punitive actions by the US and the EU are being carried out in the context of a provocative global propaganda campaign blaming Moscow and President Vladimir Putin personally for the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine and the deaths of its 298 passengers and crew.

While indicting Putin and the anti-Kiev militias in eastern Ukraine as mass murderers, Washington and its allies have kept a stony silence on the killing of over 1,000 civilians in the region, as the Ukrainian regime they installed through a fascist-led coup last February continues to unleash artillery and rocket fire on residential neighborhoods.

Despite the Western sanctions and denunciations, Washington has presented not one shred of evidence that Flight MH17 was brought down by a missile either fired by the anti-Kiev forces or supplied by Moscow. Instead, it has pointed to videos and audio recordings posted on YouTube by the Ukrainian intelligence agency, which is notorious for fabricating false charges against Russia. The vast US intelligence apparatus has produced no satellite photos, communications intercepts or anything else to back the allegations against the Putin government.

The Russian military, on the other hand, has released radar and other intelligence data raising significant questions about the Western narrative. They show that the pro-Kiev forces had at least three anti-aircraft batteries in the area on the day of the crash, and that a Ukrainian warplane armed with air-to-air missiles had flown to within striking distance of the Malaysian airliner shortly before the crash. This hard evidence—and Russia’s call for an impartial investigation—have gone largely unreported in the Western press or dismissed as “propaganda” and “conspiracy theories.”

While the precise circumstances of the Boeing 777’s crash have yet to be proven, two things are clear. First, the area over which it flew was turned into a war zone thanks to the intervention of the US and Germany to bring down Ukraine’s elected government. And second, while neither Moscow nor the so-called separatists had anything to gain from this tragedy, it has provided the means for Washington and its puppets in Kiev to rally the previously reluctant Western European powers to the provocative and highly dangerous campaign against Russia.

Whatever doubts there are about the events in eastern Ukraine, there exist none as to the responsibility for the carnage in Gaza, where the number of dead children alone has surpassed that of all the victims of MH17. Israel’s Zionist leadership, having failed to suppress the heroic Palestinian resistance, has reacted with demoralized rage, demolishing entire neighborhoods, bombing schools and hospitals, and killing some 1,400 people, 90 percent of them civilians.

Yet in this case, the Obama administration insists that no one can be held responsible, save the Palestinians for refusing to capitulate. While Obama cynically laments the deaths in Gaza, Washington is moving rapidly to approve hundreds of millions of dollars more in emergency arms aid to Israel to ensure that the killing can continue without interruption.

It is significant that one of the key architects of this criminally duplicitous policy is Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the United Nations. She oversaw the casting by Washington of the sole vote opposing the formation of a UN commission to investigate Israeli actions in Gaza. She has worked tirelessly to block the Security Council’s passage of any binding resolution imposing a ceasefire. And she has warned other council members that even in non-binding statements on Gaza, any attribution of blame on Israel is a “red line” for Washington.

Ms. Power, it should be recalled, is the same individual who became the leading advocate within the Obama administration of the so-called policy of R2P (responsibility to protect civilians) as the foundation for “humanitarian” interventions. Waving the flag of “human rights,” the most hypocritical of all justifications for imperialist war, Power was a leading advocate of the US-NATO war for regime-change in Libya, which toppled and murdered Muammar Gaddafi, leaving the country awash in violence and chaos three years later.

She has likewise been a key promoter of the US proxy war for regime-change in Syria, helping to foment a sectarian civil war that has killed over 100,000 people, and then using this catastrophe created by imperialism as justification for more direct intervention. Last February, she invoked images of “dead and dying children” in Syria to support her demand that the Security Council pass a resolution with “meaningful consequences on the ground,” i.e., one that provided a pseudo-legal fig leaf for direct US aggression.

Images of “dead and dying children” in Gaza, however, evoke no such response, proving once again that all morality is class morality, and that the tear ducts of imperialist operatives like Samantha Power are activated only to justify aggression and plunder and advance the interests of the US financial oligarchy.

Given its track record, today’s human rights imperialism makes the old “white man’s burden” of colonialism’s heyday seem like a noble cause by comparison. Nothing has been more rapidly discredited. When Washington tries to peddle it, people all over the world recognize it for the garbage that it is.

However, this has not stopped an entire pseudo-left layer from jumping on the blood-soaked R2P bandwagon. There is less than one degree of separation between elements like Power and groups like the International Socialist Organization or academics like University of Michigan’s Professor Juan Cole, who have helped sell US aggression as a defense of “human rights” and portrayed civil wars waged by CIA-backed Islamists in Libya and Syria as well as the fascist-spearheaded coup in Ukraine as “revolutions.”

The struggle against war, which the events in both Gaza and Ukraine pose with ever greater urgency, can be waged only in a struggle for the political independence of the working class against the influence of these forces, whose politics reflect an upper-middle class layer whose privileges are bound up with the interests of imperialism.

The US-backed Ukrainian government and its armed forces blocked access to the Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) crash site amid heavy fighting in towns in east Ukraine targeted by the far-right US- and European-backed regime in Kiev.

The military operation hit many towns in eastern Ukraine and involved an artillery strike on Horlivka that killed at least 13 civilians. In Donetsk at least three people died in shelling, and civilian casualties were also reported in Luhansk.

Ukrainian troops and tanks entered the town of Shakhtarsk, 10 miles west of the site of the Boeing 777 crash, and fighting was reported in the towns of Snizhne and Torez, the mid-sized towns nearest to the crash site.

There were reports of a mass exodus from Donetsk and an additional 4,600 people moving to temporary camps in Russia Sunday, pushing the total number of refugees in such camps above 31,000, including 11,000 children, and the total of all refugees in Russia to over 142,000.

Military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said that though the Ukrainian army would “soon” oust pro-Russian separatist rebels from the area, investigators would still not be able to visit the site until mines that he claimed have been laid by rebels were cleared. There is no evidence whatsoever of the existence of any mines surrounding the site, however.

With Ukrainian security officials claiming that they needed control over the crash site to prevent pro-Russia separatists from destroying evidence, a military cordon was placed around the area preventing investigators from reaching it. The road leading from the provincial capital, Donetsk, to the crash site northeast of Shakhtyorsk was blocked by armoured vehicles as the civilian body count started to climb.

On Tuesday, the Dutch Justice Ministry had complained that, for a third day, “The group of Dutch and Australian experts did not leave Donetsk for the crash site in east Ukraine. There is currently too much fighting on and around the road to the crash site.”

Underscoring that the aim of the operation was not to “liberate” the crash site, the New York Times wrote Monday that, “reporters who visited [the crash site] earlier Sunday said insurgents were nowhere to be seen.” It quoted a “separatist commander at a checkpoint outside Shakhtyorsk, about 10 miles from the crash site,” who said, “The attempts to clear militia from the crash site irrefutably show Kiev is trying to destroy evidence.”

With the MH17 crash site sealed off, on Monday Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott denounced the “shambolic” situation, blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin. Turning reality on its head, he asserted, “There’s no doubt that at the moment the site is under the control of the Russian-backed rebels and given the almost certain culpability of the Russian-backed rebels in the downing of the aircraft having those people in control of the site is a little like leaving criminals in control of a crime scene.”

In effect refuting Abbott’s rhetoric, that same day Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop indicated at a press briefing that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe had secured access to the wreckage site in negotiations with pro-Russia rebels prior to the Ukrainian offensive.

The bloody offensive of the Kiev regime, and not the movement of pro-Russian militias, is emerging as the main obstacle within Ukraine to an investigation of the crash.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called Poroshenko to ask Ukrainian forces to stop fighting near the crash site. A spokesman said, “Rutte expressed his concern about the fact it appeared the investigators may today yet again not reach the site. This is important because we want to get to the crash site as quickly as possible to get the victims and bring them home.”

The Netherlands is home to most of the crash victims. As many as 71 bodies still remain unrecovered.

The New York Times Tuesday, amid the usual obligatory criticisms of Russia, made clear that Russian-backed separatists had in fact been “driven from part, but not all, of the site” with only “a half-dozen glum-looking and exhausted gunmen hunkered down in trenches on the western edge.”

“One of the fighters in a roadside trench, who gave only his nickname, Trojan, said Ukrainian forces now controlled the village of Grabovo, the site of a field where the main landing gear, the wings and the rear cone of the Boeing 777-200’s fuselage hit. Behind him lay a cargo pallet from the flight. ‘The plane isn’t relevant now,’ he said. ‘We’re being attacked.’”

In addition, the article noted that in Petropavlovka, “the overhead luggage bins from the plane’s business-class section landed in a tree, along with much other debris…”

Local resident Maria Nikolayeva asked, “Why isn’t anybody coming here to pick up the pieces?”

The media is, of course, largely silent on the politically criminal offensive in east Ukraine, along with Washington, London, Berlin and Paris.

The same holds true for the extraordinary delay in issuing any findings from the black boxes handed over by the rebels on July 20 and sent for investigation by an international team of experts in the UK on July 22. The BBC reported that the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch ”investigators are confident that, depending on the extent of the damage, they can retrieve information from the boxes within 24 hours.”

Since then there has been no official report—a situation made all the more extraordinary given that prior to the handover, the media was filled with screaming headlines speculating that “vital information” was being either destroyed or had been shipped to Russia.

Instead, on Monday Ukrainian authorities issued claims that data from the black boxes had pointed to “massive explosive decompression” from missile shrapnel. Andriy Lysenko, the spokesman for Ukraine’s Security Council, told a news conference in Kiev that the information came from experts analysing the recorders from the plane.

Though barely reported elsewhere, Dutch Safety Board (DSB) spokeswoman Sara Vernooij told The Independent that Lysenko’s information did not come from them, and that “Bringing out fragmented pieces of information is not on behalf of the investigation,” which would not report its initial findings until August 1.

Citing the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 as impetus, US President Barack Obama announced stronger sanctions against Russia leveled by both the US and EU. This comes after previous sanctions implemented before the downing of MH17 failed to garner support across Europe, leaving the US measures politically and economically impotent. In the wake of American sanctions, pundits, politicians, and corporate-lobbyists decried Europe’s desire to continue doing business with Russia, claiming US sanctions alone would only hurt US corporations leaving a void gladly filled by Europe and others. 

MH17 – The Convenient Impetus

With the “serendipitous” downing of MH17, this geopolitical calculus changed abruptly, and US President Barack Obama, even while admitting investigations were ongoing, invoked the tragedy to justify both the pressure put on Europe to finally impose stronger sanctions against Russia, but also as a means to sell the decision to a public targeted by weeks of baseless anti-Russian propaganda.

Clearly MH17 is being exploited, and especially so since investigations are still under way and no conclusions – or even preliminary results – have been announced. At face value, the West exposes itself as shameless opportunists leveraging human misery to advance their geopolitical ambitions. But Washington, London, and Brussels’ actions also raise serious suspicion over their possible role in the downing of the aircraft. While evidence is forthcoming, a motive for the West to have shot the aircraft down and blame Russia has been demonstrably established.

Despite the “convenience” of the MH17 tragedy and the expediency with which the West has exploited it, this latest attempt to ram through ineffectual sanctions indicate increased desperation from Washington, London, and Brussels, not a renewed initiative in Ukraine, or against Russia as a whole.

Sanctions Don’t Work

Sanctions haven’t worked against nations many times smaller and economically weaker than Russia, and they won’t work against Russia. In fact, the sanctions will instead motivate Moscow to build stronger ties elsewhere, as well as become stronger internally. Many of the sanctions will not even bite for years to come – if ever. Europe was initially reluctant to level sanctions against Russia, not because of any particular affinity for Moscow, but because they would suffer economically as a result of implementing them. Western think-tanks bemoaned Europe’s insistence that the “pain” be shared equally – pain the sanctions were surely to cause all those who agreed to them.

It took the shameless political exploitation of a tragedy to twist Europe’s collective arms into agreeing to the measures now being taken, measures that will immediately begin effecting European nations dependent on long-standing economic ties with Russia and ties that cannot be easily replaced.

Japan likewise, citing nothing other than a desire to “cooperate with G7,” issued new sanctions against Russia – Japan also being a nation that cannot afford narrowing prospects for its declining economy.

ITAR-TASS News Agency in an article titled, “Japan prepares to impose new sanctions on Russia,” stated:

“Japanese government is preparing to impose new sanctions on Russia, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference on Wednesday.

“We are preparing to take additional measures, including freezing of bank accounts. We intend to give a proper response with an emphasis on co-operation with G7 partners,” Suga said.

Russia responded by pointing out Japan’s inability to establish independent foreign policy of its own and instead pursue self-destructive edicts dictated by Washington. Indeed, what the West is doing is isolating itself from a growing mulipolar world that refuses to recognize or remain beholden to a waning unipolar international order centered around Wall Street and London. While the US, EU, and Japan constitute immense economies, technology and progress elsewhere has led to emerging economies that have the potential to eclipse them all. In China alone, Russia has been looking to hedge economic risk by developing ties with the growing nation.

Despite attempts to disrupt growing Russian-Chinese relations through terrorism and political subversion, sanctions against Russia and continued belligerence as part of the West’s “pivot to Asia” serve only to drive these two emerging powers closer together.

The Myth of Ukrainian Self-Determination

In addition to citing MH17 as grounds for leveling new sanctions, Obama also claimed that Ukraine had a right to determine its own destiny and therefore continued interference from Russia could not be tolerated. This betrays the true genesis of the current Ukrainian conflict. The current regime occupying Kiev was installed by NATO to serve EU interests – with US Senator John McCain whose National Endowment for Democracy (NED) subsidiary, the International Republican Institute (IRI) funded the various fronts that led and supported the 2013-2014 “Euromaidan” mobs, literally taking to the stage during the protests to offer support for the Neo-Nazi Svoboda Party in Kiev.

What the US means to say is Russia’s interference with NATO’s plans to subvert, overthrow, and replace political orders along Russia’s borders with belligerent NATO proxies will not be tolerated – a similar scenario that played out along Russia’s borders when Adolf Hitler’s Nazis likewise carried out a regional campaign of covert and outright military aggression ultimately aimed at Moscow itself.

Rush to War? 

Provocations against Russia are increasing, as is the rhetoric to attempt to sell some sort of wider confrontation between NATO and Russia. Unfortunately for the West, sanctions, grisly disasters they “serendipitously” stood to benefit from but can’t, and even attempting to wind up their respective populations for a military confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia appear only as “bad, worse, and the worst” of all possible options. Analysts fear growing desperation from the West who can neither move forward, nor retreat, will resort to increasingly desperate and destructive tactics to change the tide in Ukraine, and against Russia and the growing multipolar order it represents. But when sanctions and what appears to have been a false flag attack have failed utterly, what is left besides war?  However, even war is an untenable prospect for the West - that while feasible and likely to catch most off guard as an opinion not considered to be on the table – it is a prospect that could initially succeed but ultimately backfire just as Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union did during World War II.

But when it’s not the money or the blood of the special interests driving this confrontation with Russia being spent, what does the West have to lose by trying?  Russia will have to continue being smart, patient, prudent, and let the West’s ill-intents destroy itself. No matter how weak or desperate the West may appear throughout was appears to be irreversible decline, the one mistake to be made would be underestimating what Washington, London, and Brussels could do in their death throes. From theaters along Russia’s immediate peripheries, to interests across the Middle East and North Africa – Syria included – maximum vigilance is required to guard against the vindictive spite of an antiquated, dying international order.

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

Kiev Deploys WMDs Against Eastern Ukraine

July 31st, 2014 by Ulson Gunnar

 Ukraine’s Kiev-based regime has deployed OTR-21 Tochka ballistic missiles also known as SS-21 “Scarabs,” against the people of eastern Ukraine. The missiles measure 6.4 meters in length and carry warheads of up to 454 kg, making them without a doubt a weapon of mass destruction (WMD). Their use was revealed by a CNN report released just as US President Barack Obama announced that the US and EU would be issuing more sanctions against Russia. CNN revealed that,“there were reports that Ukraine’s government in the past 48 hours used short-range ballistic missiles against the rebels, three U.S. officials told CNN. The weapons have a range of about 50 miles (80 kilometers) and pack up to 1,000-pound (454-kilogram) warheads.”  1406651044_110

CNN would also claim, “another of the U.S. officials said using the missiles is “an escalation, but Ukraine has a right to defend itself.”

In a separate CNN video report, retired Major General James A. Marks also asserted that Ukraine had the right to defend itself, before admitting that the ballistic missiles were not “precise weapon systems” and are generally used for offensive, not defensive maneuvers. In the same report it was admitted that the US had knowledge of where the missiles were being fired but would not disclose the information publicly out of fear it would undermine the image of the regime in Kiev.

Certainly the US has nothing to gain by disclosing the details of Kiev’s use of WMDs against its own people. It was similar allegations the United States used itself as a pretext to invade and occupy Iraq for nearly a decade, and attempted to do so again in Syria. In Libya, merely using warplanes against militants was deemed a crime against humanity by NATO paving way for a devastating air campaign coupled with heavily armed militants backed by NATO cash and logistics on the ground. Regime change in each case was the primary objective.

With the pro-Western regime in Kiev turning tanks, artillery, warplanes, and now imprecise but devastating ballistic missiles on its own people, it would again be incumbent upon NATO to likewise intervene under its own contrived pretense (and with multiple precedents) of responsibility to protect to stop Kiev’s assault on the people of eastern Ukraine. That NATO has elected to turn a blind eye to Kiev’s tactics is an explicit indicator of the absolute lack of legitimacy or consistency behind both Western values and the international institutions, laws, and “norms” supposedly built upon them.

By CNN and the military officials it interviewed’s own admissions, the US is not only waging a full-spectrum propaganda war against Russia and eastern Ukrainians as well as providing material support for the regime in Kiev, but now actively covering up crimes against humanity the regime is committing on Ukrainian soil and may commit beyond its borders as the conflict continues to escalate. While Kiev’s forces are for the time being firing ballistic missiles at their own people, with a range of between 75-185 km depending on the missiles Kiev has in its possession, in a bid to draw Russia into the conflict and provoke a more robust NATO response, these weapons of mass destruction may end up targeting populated areas beyond Ukrainian borders.

With the US openly covering up evidence of the weapons’ use, the truth behind any future incident is sure to be similarly obstructed, spun, and otherwise manipulated.

Systematic Punitive Annihilation

The conflict in eastern Ukraine is not taking place on an open battlefield but within the populated areas the resistance lives and had worked before the conflict began. By resorting to ballistic missiles with half-ton warheads launched imprecisely at populated centers in eastern Ukraine, Kiev has unofficially announced its intentions to pursue a campaign of systematic, punitive annihilation. The weapons are hardly likely to hit legitimate military targets, and instead, like Nazi V2 rockets during World War 2, are deployed to shock entire populations causing psychological trauma as much as indiscriminate physical devastation.

The use of ballistic missiles comes after similar tactics of strafing cities with warplanes, shelling populated centers with artillery, and driving tanks into villages, towns, and cities to “tank shock” the population have been tried and have apparently failed. Without a large number of professional, properly equipped (or even properly fed) soldiers to draw from, the regime in Kiev is left to compensate with increasingly brutal and inhumane tactics leaning disproportionately on the use of heavy weapons and the terror they induce.

Kiev pursues its strategy in direct violation of all the international laws and “norms” the West itself has defined and posed as unilateral international enforcers of. The West’s silence over Kiev’s current conduct introduces a dangerous double standard. While the West attempts to gain control over Ukraine by punishing militarily those that resist Kiev, and undermining economically those in Russia who voice opposition over the treatment of eastern Ukrainians, what the West has lost is anything resembling a moral imperative.

And despite what would have long ago given NATO and the UN the green light to proceed with a “humanitarian intervention” in any other nation opposing Western interests, Russia has shown maximum restraint in the face of yet another provocation carried out at the expense of the eastern Ukrainian people. While Russia is framed as the aggressor in Ukraine, it is clear that those conducting themselves outside of international law and at the cost of lives and the stability of Ukraine, are Kiev and NATO themselves.

Ulson Gunnar, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Press Release

Gaza Ministry of Health, Palestine

 July 31, 2014                                                                                                                   

Gaza hospitals are operating under impossible conditions, with surgery now being performed in corridors and on the floor due to the sheer numbers of wounded from massacres such as Shati park, UNRWA school and Shujeiyah market.

Lack of theatre space sees two persons being operated on at a time in the same theatre, while others receive surgical interventions in the corridors.

Even beds are in such short supply that surgeons are forced to undertake complicated procedures while their patients lie on stretchers on the floor.

There is nowhere to send the patients post-operatively, with Shifa ICU full, and no vacant beds in surgical wards. Some surgical cases have been sent to maternity and internal medicine hospitals, and to other hospitals outside Shifa medical complex.

Despite 30 patients being ready for discharge, they literally have nowhere to go. These 30 beds are desperately needed.

Wards are full to overflowing, with patients lying on mattresses in the corridors. It has deteriorated to the extent that patients have even been sharing beds, and others are being discharged prematurely.

In many cases no patient notes are being recorded contemporaneously or files created because the staff just cannot take the time away from treating the high volume of patients. Some details are being recorded afterwards, but this is less than ideal.

These conditions are a recipe for disaster.

Infection control is well-nigh impossible, and post-operative complications including death will be inevitable.

Deaths are already occurring from a lack of timely treatment, as the numbers of patients far exceed the capacity of the staff. We estimate that we have a 50% shortfall in staff numbers to deal with the case loads presenting for treatment, resulting in some patients receiving suboptimal care and others receiving none at all.

Current staff are as overburdened as the facilities they serve, working without pay for 24 hours on a day-on, day-off roster. All surgeons and surgical staff have been recalled, to cope with the sheer numbers. They are suffering enormous stress, not only from lack of rest, the horrendous injuries they are dealing with and the under-resourced conditions under which they work, but also due to constant fear for their families, and fear of attack as hospitals have increasingly become targets of Israeli fire.

 The Ministry of Health Gaza calls for:

1.       The UN, ICRC and other international NGOs to provide as a matter of urgency safe and hygienic shelters for the discharge of displaced patients to free up desperately-needed hospital beds;

2.       the borders to be opened immediately to enable the entry of urgently-required medical teams and equipment to alleviate the workloads; and

3.       the international community to take immediate and concrete action to reign in the unfettered Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

Contacts:

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

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

Original: IAC Cassad – M.V. Litvinov

Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov

Military Offensive in Late July

As could have been expected, the last weekend of July was marked by yet another offensive gamble by the Kiev regime.

More precisely, there were, in fact, two such offensive gambles. At the same time, it must be noted that the second one, to which observers paid less attention, was in no way less dangerous to the Militia than the one that occupied the primary spot in the propaganda efforts of the informational support specialists of the “punitive corps”.

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Map: Military Deployments, 24-30 July

Both operations were gambles for the simple reason that they were constructed solely on the basis of the punitive forces’ firm belief in their operational-tactical superiority over the Militia and in reliance on their absolute certainty in the Militia’s inability to render in any way stubborn resistance.

It must further be noted that throughout the entire month of July, the command of the punitive forces failed to achieve any operational-tactical successes that went beyond capitalizing on the inevitable consequence arising from the withdrawal of the Militia from the Slavyansk-Kramatorsk defence area. Simply speaking, the punitive forces were able to occupy only that, which they were simply obligated to take control of after Slavyansk was abandoned.

In view of their numerical and technical superiority, the Ukrainian military formations have a plethora of advantages in a transition from positional to maneuverable warfare. However, the most interesting outcome of the latest July escalation in the operational situation is perhaps the fact that the talentless operations of the Ukrainian military formations once again created the preconditions for the emergence of a positional front. Only time will tell whether or not the command of the Militia will manage to take full advantage of the developing circumstances.

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The Kiev Junta’s Offensive Against the Donetsk People’s Republic

The first direction of the punitive forces’ offensive became the advance in the Shakhtersk-Torez area from the north and from the south, the aim of which was to cut off the main lines of communication between Donetsk and Lugansk and the Russian border. This operation became perfectly obvious immediately following the withdrawal from Slavyansk, and it is then when attention was drawn to the reality of the checkpoints of the punitive forces being established in this region. It was also noted then that this operation is quite feasible, in contrast to the ambitions plans involving a breakthrough around Lugansk or the assaults on Atratsit or Snezhnoye. One can wonder why this operation began on July 27th, rather than on July 8th.

The growing threat in this direction was obvious. Already on June 21st the command of the DPR Militia reacted quite nervously to the information about the appearance of the tanks of the punitive forces in Debaltsevo (as nervously as it previously reacted to the attacks by crime bosses on Artemovsk). And this reaction undoubtedly was noticed by the command of the punitive corps. At the headquarters of the punitive forces, a new hope was born that a breakthrough in the Debaltsevo-Shakhtersk direction will lead to the Militia’s withdrawal from Donetsk, just like it happened in Slavyansk. From this moment on the command of the punitive forces began to concentrate all available troops for a new offensive. These plans were constantly frustrated by the unexpected for the punitive forces actions of the Severodonetsk Commandant’s Office, by the LPR counterattack in Lisichansk and by the decisive actions of the Slavyansk Brigade in the area of the “Marinovka Corridor”, resulting in it being completely closed on June 26th.

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Despite all these difficulties, the punitive forces placed their main bet on a breakthrough in the Debaltsevo-Shakhtersk direction. And, on July 23rd, they commenced battles for the staging areas of this offensive – Debaltsevo and Blagodatnoye. On July 24th, they managed finally to secure control over Blagodatnoye; however, the battles for Debaltsevo did not give the desired effect – they continued failing to oust from the village the staunchly defending Militia units.

Faced with this situation, the command of the punitive corps decided to repeat the approach that previously brought it success in Artyomovsk, and in the night of July 26th-27th bypassed Debaltsevo with the tactical battalion group of the 95th Aeromobile Brigade and assaulted Shakhtersk. As far as can be told, the DPR Militia, absorbed in the fighting for the Marinovka Corridor and for Debaltsevo, did not expect this move. The maneuver was a complete success. The reason for this success is that the DPR Militia, insofar as it seeks to maintain a continuing line of front, does not have the ability to garrison key settlements located beyond the line of defence with forces sufficient for successful defence.

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The Militia had no more than one company in Shakhtersk; moreover, these troops were not concentrated in a fist, but instead were dispersed throughout checkpoints. At the same time, it is necessary to have least 200-300 fighters to repel an attack on a settlement by a tactical battalion group. And, in general, the minimum necessary garrison for such a settlement is 500 fighters.The main forces of the 2nd and the 3rd Battalions of the Slavyansk Brigade were located to the south of the Torez-Shakhters-Zugres-Kharzysk line.

As a result, meeting practically no resistance, the punitive forces established company strongpoints in the areas of Gornoye and Olchovchik, thereby cutting off the shortest routes from Donetsk to Snezhnoye. The forces of the Militia at that moment were fettered by attacks coming from the front in the area of Stepano-Krynka. And although the attacks of the punitive forces in this area were repulsed, the punitive troops in Shakhters merged with the main forces of the Amvrosievka grouping of the Ukrainian armed formations that came up from the side of Blagodatnoye.

The DPR Militia ended up in a very difficult situation. Its forces were split apart. Communications to the north, of course, were maintained, and to cut them off the punitive forces would have needed at least three free battalions, which the Ukrainian armed formations did not have available. However, that was not the problem. The withdrawal from Slavyansk placed a heavy psychological burden on the shoulders of the DPR Militia. “The enemy is too strong; it is too well armed.” And it is this mental attitude that became the main obstacle to the transition of the confrontation again to the positional phase. The Militia needed to make a stand somewhere; it needed to win a psychological victory over the punitive forces and to break the enemy’s will to attack. It seemed that there would again be a retreat, and that a decisive battle would come later.

But then the talentless command of the punitive corps did a favour for the DPR Militia. Rather than being satisfied with their success, pulling up artillery and digging into the ground at the newly acquired positions, it decided to finish DPR once and for all. And on July 28th it commenced a new offensive. Bypassing Torez, the punitive forces rushed from Gornoye through Manuylovka and Petrovskoye into the rear of Saur-Mogila. From Semenovskaya and Tarany, their armoured columns rushed toward Stepanovka and Marinovka. Their most battle-worthy units located in the Southern Cauldron attempted a breakout from Djakovo in the direction of Dibrovka and, from there, toward Dmitrovka and Chervonnaya Zarya. All the artillery was aimed at Saur-Mogila in an attempt to suppress the Militia’s artillery battery.

But the DPR Militia, and, first and foremost, its Slavyansk Brigade, managed to withstand this assault, in the process retaining all the key settlements. The successes of the punitive forces were limited to yet another occupation of the village of Saurovka, which the Kiev propagandists quickly renamed Saur-Mogila, and the displacement of the Militia from Dmitrovka. The punitive forces were even unable to forge a corridor to the south of Marinovka. But the main thing was that the Militia withstood the strike of the 250-vehicle armoured armada of the Ukrainian regular army. In the course of these battles, the Militia has proven, first and foremost to itself and its command, that it is capable of withstanding an assault of such magnitude.

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The command of the punitive forces was unable to transfer reserves from the north. Bogged down in the fighting on the approaches to Gorlovka and in Debaltsevo, and fettered by a counterstrike in Popasnoye and, on the part of the LPR Militia, an assault near Depreradovka, aimed at the rear of the Debaltsevo grouping, it had no available troops. The final effort of the punitive corps on July 29th allowed them to enter Stepanovka, but, on the very same day, the DPR Militia punched a corridor in Shakhtersk through to Torez.

The July offensive of the punitive corps on the territory of the DPR has petered out. Despite the fact that the situation remains exceedingly difficult, due primarily to the numerical and technical superiority of the punitive forces, and despite the regular terroristic shelling of the DPR cities, the DPR Militia has been able to create the preconditions for a transition to positional fighting in the sections of the front selected by the Militia.

The Kiev Junta’s Offensive Against the Lugansk People’s Republic 

The situation in the Lugansk area was developing in a less dramatic fashion, even if the danger to the Militia that it carried was no less significant. The key point in the LPR defence is the settlement of Novosvetlovka to the south-east of Lugansk. The settlement itself is not large, but all the roads leading to Izvarino pass through it. Its loss would cut off not only Krasnodon, but also the main highway to the Russian border. Certainly, its loss would not result in a catastrophe, but it would significantly complicate the situation in Lugansk.

Starting on July 27th, the command of the punitive corps undertook several attempts to break through to this settlement from the side of the Lugansk airport, as well as from the area of Lutugino, through Pervozvanovka and Krasnoye. Airstrikes were conducted on Novosvetlovka. However, in the end, the LPR Militia utterly defeated the 24th Territorial Defence Battalion Aidar, along with the supporting units of the 1st Separate Tank Brigade [“OTBR”] and the 30th Separate Mechanized Brigade [“OMBR”]. The punitive forces sustained significant losses not only in terms of killed and wounded, but also captured soldiers.

The reason why the success achieved by the Militia here did not entail such dramatic twists and turns as the one near Donetsk is that the LPR defence is built on proactively taking control with sufficient forces even of key settlements that are not subjected to direct threat, often to the detriment of control over connectedness and continuity of communications. What enable the command of the LPR Militia to adhere to such a tactic is its advantageous position with respect to the Russian border.

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On the same day, July 27th, the command of the LPR Militia continued to apply pressure to the isolated garrisons of the punitive forces in the area of Krasnodon, where the remnants of the units of the 51st OMBR are being finished off, and in the are of the Dolzhanskiy border crossing checkpoint, where the liquidation of the Ukrainian Border Guard Service [“GPSU”] garrison is being completed.

On the following day, July 28th, the command of the LPR Militia enhanced its positions, continuing to extend its success – it took control of the key strategic height near Georgievka and extended its proactive maneuvers to the west, in the direction of the settlement of Cheluskinets. Accordingly, in the Lugansk area the Militia was able to maintain its key positions and to prevent the Lugansk airport from being de-blockaded. This course of events signifies that also in this region the necessary preconditions for the transitioning of the hostilities to a positional phase have developed.

At this moment, the least stable situation continues to persist in the Pervomaisk-Stakhanov-Bryanka-Alchevsk-Krasniy Luch strip. Here the outcome of hostilities has not been determined, and significant changes to the positions of the warring sides remain possible. Likewise, changes of any kind cannot be excluded in the area of the crash of the Malaysian Boeing.

Author: M.V. Litvinov

Es will kein Licht ins Dunkel um das Unglück der Malaysian MH 017 kommen. Die Flugschreiber sind in England und werden ausgewertet. Was kann dabei herauskommen? Möglicherweise mehr, als man annehmen möchte. Vor allem der Voicerecorder dürfte interessant sein, wenn man das Bild eines Cockpit-Fragments betrachtet. Als Fachmann für Luftfahrt habe ich mir die Bilder der Wrackteile vorgenommen, die im Internet kursieren.

Als erstes war ich erstaunt, wie wenige Fotos von den Wrackteilen mit Google zu finden sind. Alle sind in niedriger Auflösung, bis auf eines: Das Fragment des Cockpits unterhalb des Fensters auf der Kapitänsseite. Dieses Bild ist allerdings schockierend. In Washington hört man mittlerweile Stimmen, die bezüglich MH 017 von einem „möglicherweise tragischen Irrtum/Unfall“ sprechen. Angesichts dieses Bilds wundert mich das nicht.

Ein- und Austrittslöcher von Geschossen im Cockpit-Bereich

Quelle für alle Bilder: Internet

Ich empfehle, das kleine Bild rechts anzuklicken. Sie können dieses Foto als PDF in guter Auflösung herunterladen. Das ist notwendig, denn nur so ist zu verstehen, was ich hier beschreibe. Ich rede nicht von Spekulationen, sondern von eindeutigen Fakten: Das Cockpit zeigt Spuren von Beschuss. Man kann Ein- und Austrittslöcher sehen. Der Rand eines Teils der Löcher ist nach ! innen ! gebogen. Das sind die kleineren Löcher, rund und sauber, etwa Kaliber 30 Millimeter. Der Rand der anderen, der größeren und etwas ausgefransten Austrittslöcher ist nach ! außen ! gebogen. Zudem ist erkennbar, dass an diesen Austrittslöchern teilweise die äußere Schicht des doppelten Aluminiums weggefetzt oder verbogen ist – nach außen! Weiterhin sind kleinere Schnitte zu erkennen, alle nach außen gebogen, die darauf hinweisen, dass Splitter die Außenhaut vom Inneren des Cockpits her durchschlagen haben. Die offenen Nieten sind nach außen aufgebogen.

Bei Sichtung der verfügbaren Bilder fällt eines auf: Alle Wrackteile der Sektionen hinter dem Cockpit sind weitgehend unversehrt, wenn man davon absieht, dass es sich um Fragmente eines Ganzen handelt. Nur der Cockpit-Teil ist wüst zerstört. Daraus lässt sich eines bereits schließen: Dieses Flugzeug wurde nicht von einer Rakete in der Mitte getroffen. Die Zerstörung beschränkt sich auf den Cockpit-Bereich. Nun muss man wissen, dass dieser Teil aus besonders verstärktem Material gebaut ist. Schließlich muss der Bug des Flugzeugs auch den Aufprall eines großen Vogels bei hoher Geschwindigkeit einigermaßen schadlos überstehen können. Man sieht auf dem Foto, dass in diesem Bereich deutlich stärkeres Aluminium verbaut worden ist als am Rest der Außenhaut. Man erinnere sich an den Absturz der Pan Am über Lockerbie. Das einzige weitgehend unbeschädigte Teil war ein großes Cockpit-Segment. Hier hat zweifelsfrei eine Explosion innerhalb des Flugzeugs stattgefunden.

Panzerbrechender Munitionsmix

Was kann also passiert sein? Russland hat Radaraufzeichnungen veröffentlicht, die mindestens eine ukrainische SU 25 in der nächsten Nähe der MH 017 zeigen. Das korrespondiert mit der Aussage des verschollenen spanischen Controllers, der zwei ukrainische Kampfflugzeuge in der direkten Nähe der MH 017 gesehen hat. Betrachten wir dazu die Bewaffnung der SU 25: Sie ist ausgerüstet mit einer zweiläufigen 30-mm-Kanone, Typ GSch-302 /AO-17A, Kampfsatz: 250 Schuss Panzerbrand- bzw. Splitter-Spreng-Geschosse, die in einer definierten Reihenfolge in einem Gliederzerfallgurt befestigt sind. Das Cockpit der MH 017 ist von zwei Seiten beschossen worden: Ein- und Austrittslöcher auf derselben Seite.

Einschusslöcher an der Außenhaut

Nun stelle man sich vor was passiert, wenn eine Abfolge von Panzerbrand- und Splitter-Spreng-Geschossen das Cockpit trifft, die immerhin so ausgelegt sind, dass sie einen Panzer zerstören können. Die Panzerbrandgeschosse werden teilweise quer durch das Cockpit aus der anderen Seite leicht deformiert wieder austreten. Schließlich ist ihre Durchschlagskraft für eine solide Panzerung ausgelegt. Die Splitter-Spreng-Geschosse aber werden im Cockpit selbst explodieren, so sind sie ausgelegt. Bei der rapiden Feuerfolge der GSch-302 Kanone gibt es folglich in kürzester Zeit eine schnelle Abfolge von Explosionen innerhalb des Cockpit-Bereichs, von denen jede einzelne ausreicht, einen Panzer zu zerstören.

Welcher „Irrtum“ wurde wirklich begangen – und von wem?

Streifschuss an der Tragfläche

Weil der Innenraum eines Verkehrsflugzeugs ein luftdicht verschlossener Raum ist, wird durch diese Explosionen der Druck im Innern des Flugzeugs in Sekundenbruchteilen extrem ansteigen. Dafür ist das Flugzeug nicht gerüstet. Es wird zerplatzen wie ein Luftballon. Mit dieser Erklärung ergibt sich ein schlüssiges Bild. Die weitgehend intakten Fragmente der hinteren Sektionen sind an den Stellen zerbrochen, die aufgrund der Bauart bei extremem Überdruck am ehesten auseinanderbrechen werden. Das Bild des weit zerstreuten Trümmerfelds und das brutal beschädigte Cockpit-Segment passen dazu. Weiterhin zeigt ein Flügelsegment Spuren eines Streifschusses, der in Verlängerung direkt zum Cockpit führt. Interessanterweise musste ich feststellen, dass sowohl das hochaufgelöste Foto des Cockpit-Segments als auch das vom Streifschuss am Flügel mittlerweile aus Google-Images entfernt worden sind. Man findet praktisch überhaupt keine Bilder mehr von den Wrackteilen, außer rauchenden Trümmern.

Folgt man den Stimmen aus Washington, die von einem „möglicherweise tragischen Irrtum/Unfall“ sprechen, bleibt nur noch die Frage, welcher „Irrtum“ hier begangen worden sein könnte. Ich begebe mich jetzt nicht in den Bereich der Spekulationen, gebe aber folgendes zu bedenken: Die MH 017 ist in ihrer Lackierung verwechselbar mit der des russischen Präsidenten. Beide tragen die Farben der russischen Trikolore. Die Maschine mit Putin an Bord befand sich zur selben Zeit in der Nähe der MH 017, wenn man „Nähe“ mit Fliegeraugen betrachtet: etwa 200 bis 300 Kilometer. Dazu nehmen wir noch die Aussage der Frau Timoschenko, sie wolle Putin am liebsten mit einer Kalaschnikow erschießen. Aber das ist pure Spekulation. Der Beschuss des Cockpits der MH 017 nicht.

Acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk recently announced his resignation from the government amidst parliamentary infighting in the Rada, supposedly over none of the factions wanting to take the fall for the upcoming suicidal IMF stipulations. (His desire to leave off the hook ahead of the coming economic and social collapse of Ukraine has apparently come into collision with the interests of Western power groups seeking to establish control over the Ukrainian gas trasportation system first – OR).

The withdraw of the nationalist party Svoboda and Klitschko’s (German) project Udar continues the chain reaction of institutional collapse that began in late-November with the EuroMaidan Color Revolution. If a new Rada isn’t formed within 30 days, elections will have to take place. It has already been forecasted that this is nothing more than a ploy to solidify Poroshenko’s power base (Udar is a close ally) and expand the reach of the Svoboda nationalists. These risky and Machiavellian calculations will likely have far-reaching implications, continuing to push Ukraine ever further towards full-scale collapse and spreading the black hole of chaos that has begun to emerge in the country.

Nearing the Precipice

A routine fight in the Ukrainian parliament (photo taken on July 24, 2014)

A routine fight in the Ukrainian parliament (photo taken on July 24, 2014)

In the run-up to the most recent stage of institutional collapse, Kiev had found itself in a conundrum. After revving up the population for so-called Western integration and signing the EU Association Agreement and receiving IMF loans, the Rada realized that none of its members wanted to be responsible for implementing the brutal economic ‘tweaks’ that both of them necessitate. This is the immediate cause of the current Rada crisis – everyone wanted to ‘join the West’, but no one wanted to take electoral responsible for what that truly means.

Concurrent to this, Ukraine also banned one of its consistently largest political parties, the Communist Party, which polled 15% at the last legitimate election in 2012. For a country trying to ingratiate itself with ‘Western values’, it is contradictory that it would carry out such a policy, however, it cannot be said to be unexpected. After all, there had been loud calls for lustration ever since the February coup against legitimate president Yanukovich. This policy of political (and therefore, social) exclusion has been aided by the nationalist and fascist forces that have swept to power and influence in Ukraine in recent months.

All of this is to say nothing of the enormous humanitarian catastrophe ongoing in the Donbass region, where the UN officially estimates that at least 1,000 people have been killed and over 3,500 injured since the start of punitive operations against Federalist supporters in mid-April. 500,000 refugees have fled to Russia since then, with over 34,000 of them currently being housed by the state.

The Real Reason for the Void

The aforementioned explanations for the current governing void all owe their genesis to events that started earlier than the coup itself. First and foremost, Ukraine has been a geopolitical chess piece for the US since its independence in 1991. Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote about its role as a pivot of America’s Eurasian influence in his 1997 work “The Grand Chessboard”, quipping that “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire”. This strategic advice was certainly heeded at the State Department, since Victoria Nuland admitted that the US had spent $5 billion for “democracy promotion” in Ukraine since 1991. This investment wasn’t for “democracy” but rather for regime change by mobocracy, as can be seen by the Maidan mobs that ravaged Kiev before the coup. The drawn-out urban warfare of EuroMaidan, coupled with an intense Western propaganda campaign of state demonization, inevitably led to the shredding of the state’s structure right after the coup. This is something which did not even happen after the 2004 Orange Revolution, when the governing apparatus still relatively functioned in comparison to today.

Had it not been for the US’ geostrategic goals in enacting regime change in Ukraine and attacking Russia via proxy, there would be no crisis in the country. Refugees would not be streaming eastwards and Ukraine would not be split along civilizational fault lines. The growing black hole of chaos is completely attributable to the efforts of the US to follow through on its threats to disrupt Russia’s Eurasian Union integration goals, of which Ukraine was a possible candidate for membership prior to the destabilization’s commencement.

Ukraine Before the Storm

Events have been so dramatic and have moved so fast since November that it may be easy to forget what the country was like one year ago. In summer 2013, the government was corrupt but workable, with no large-scale violence and relative macro stability. All political parties were welcome in the inclusive government and the country had profitable dealings with the US, EU, and Russia. Importantly, energy supplies were secured and no downstream partners were in danger of a winter shortage.

Flash forward to the present day. The ‘government’ is dysfunctional and cripplingly corrupt, resembling Italy during the Cold War (one could even provocatively say today). Wide-scale violence has already claimed over 1,000 lives and destroyed the infrastructure in of one of Ukraine’s most formerly prosperous regions, destabilizing the entire Donbass. Lustration has made the Rada an exclusive club of those in alliance with the oligarchs, and extreme fringe movements hold disproportionate influence over the country. Although nominally moving towards Europe economically, Ukraine is now shackled in debt and is on the cusp of losing all bilateral trade with Russia, on which its economy is dependent. Failed political maneuvering by Kiev forced Russia to shut off the gas tap, raising fears of a cold winter and almost certainly guaranteeing another future crisis at the end of the year.

Over the Edge and Into the Unknown

In hindsight, the EuroMaidan coup may very well be seen as the fatal outside blow that wrecked Ukrainian statehood once and for all. The country is experiencing a painful and extended collapse before the eyes of the world, with the current political void being but the latest iteration of its downward spiral. Ukraine has gone over the edge and into unknown territory, with the only blueprint being the Yugoslavian scenario. The black hole of chaos inside of Ukraine is only growing, with the country now certainly exhibiting the symptoms of failed state status. There was an outside-engineered coup in a geopolitically convenient area, a proxy government, a merry-go-round parliament, a civil war that could possibly involve an intervention by its neighbor (Russia), and rabid nationalists scheming for power.

Being a country of 45 million and located smack dab in the middle of Eastern Europe, Ukraine may be ‘too big to fail’ for its foreign backers. In the past, it could never sustain itself on its own, being previously dependent on Russia since independence. Now that Russia has been violently pushed away, Ukraine is making itself a burden on the West and the EU, neither of which now wants to properly deal with it. The Western integration of Ukraine was a slogan used by both Ukrainian and Western politicians alike, none of whom wanted to take on the responsibilities associated with it, thereby putting the country in an untenable position and leading to the destitution of its masses.

Any entity demonstrating Ukraine’s failed-state characteristics should be something that other states’ militaries steer clear away from at all costs, but the US and NATO have unreasonably been moving even closer to this sick man since its symptoms began to show. The absorption of Ukraine into Shadow NATO under these circumstances is tantamount to directly involving the alliance in Ukraine’s hurricane-like spiral of chaos. Granting the country major non-NATO ally status is dangerous and irresponsible, especially when occurring during a government collapse and the increasingly dictatorial tendencies of its leader. The situation in Afghanistan, the most recent major non-NATO ally, has at least been semi-stable and predictable due to the forcible NATO occupation there (set to expire at the end of the year, however), but such a situation does not (yet) exist in Ukraine. It may be, however, that the West finds its Ukrainian operation ‘too big to fail’, and as the country experiences slow-motion economic, military, and political collapse, it may desperately think that NATO integration can plug these processes and reverse the inevitable.

Andrew Korybko is the American political correspondent of Voice of Russia who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Historically, the Levant is the birthplace of Christianity and the oldest Christian communities have lived in it and the entire Fertile Crescent since the start of Christian history. Early Christians called themselves followers or people of «the Way» before they adopted the term Christian; in Arabic their antiquated name would be «Ahl Al-Deen». [1] Traces of this original name are also available in the New Testament of the Bible and can be read in John 14:5-7, Acts 9:1-2, Acts 24:4 and 14. From the Fertile Crescent these Christian communities spread across Africa, Asia, and Europe. Since that time the ancient communities of Christians, many of which still use the Syriac dialects of Aramaic in their churches, have been an integral and important part of the social fabrics of the pluralistic societies of Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, and Iran. Nevertheless, the Christians of the Levant and Iraq are now in the cross-hairs.

Deceit and mischief has been at play. It is no coincidence that Egyptian Christians were attacked at the same time as the South Sudan Referendum, which was supposed to signal a split between the Muslims in Khartoum and the Christians and animists in Juba. Nor is it an accident that Iraq’s Christians, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, began to face a modern exodus, leaving their homes and ancestral homeland in Iraq in 2003. Mysterious groups targeted both them and Palestinian refugees…

Coinciding with the exodus of Iraqi Christians, which occurred under the watchful eyes of US and British military forces, the neighborhoods in Baghdad became sectarian as Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims were forced by violence and death squads to form sectarian enclaves. This is all tied to a US and Israeli project of redrawing the map.

The Christian communities of the Levant and Iraq have long distrusted the US government for its support of Israel, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and fanatical militants with anti-Christian leanings. Lebanon’s Christians have also been weary of US support for Israeli expansion and ideas about resettling Palestinians into Lebanon. There is also a widely held belief that the US and Israel have been involved in a policy to remove or «purge» the Christians from Iraq and the Levant in some type of Zionist-linked resettlement plan. Since the US-supported anti-government fighters started targeting Christian Syrians, there has been renewed talk about a Christian exodus in the Middle East centering on Washington’s war on Syria.

Silencing the Ancient Church Bells of Sham and Shinar

Christian Arabs and both the Assyrian and Armenian ethnic communities, which are overwhelming composed of Christians, inside Lebanon and Syria have been in the crosshairs. From Homs and Maaloula to Kessab, Syria’s Christians have been under siege. Various ecclesiastic councils or synods have expressed concerns as have Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I, the Vatican or Holy See, Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow Cyril (Kirill) I, Armenian Apostolic Catholicos Aram I, the Maronite Greek Catholic Patriarchate in Lebanon, Jerusalemite Greek Orthodox Archbishop Theodosios (Attallah) Hanna of Sebastia, the Anglican See of Canterbury, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, Lebanese President Michel Suleiman, the Free Patriotic Movement of Lebanon’s Michel Aoun, the World Council of Churches, and various interfaith bodies. Even US celebrities Cherilyn Sarkisian (Cher) and Kimberly Kardashian joined the chorus and voiced their concerns about Syria’s Christians after the Turkish government perfidiously helped Al-Nusra overrun the predominately Armenian town of Kessab in Lattakia Governate on March 24, 2014. [2]

Inside Syria, Maronite Greek Catholic Archbishop of Damascus Samir Nassar, Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III Laham, Antiochian Greek Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius IV, and Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas have all condemned the violence. The leaders of Syria’s other faiths, Druze Sheikh Al-Aql Hamoud Hennawi, Sunni Grand Mufti Ahmed Badreddin, and Ashari Imam Mohammed Said Ramadan, have joined the Christian leaders in their calls for peace and condemnations of Washington’s war on Syria. These leaders have risked their lives and the lives of their loved ones by taking these positions. Sheikh Ramadan, who was also an ethnic Kurd, was murdered while he was teaching in a mosque for his backing of the Syrian government on March 21, 2013. Patriarch Ignatius IV had his brother kidnapped in Aleppo whereas Grand Mufti Hassoun had his twenty-two year-old son murdered on his way to university in Idlib. Despite the threats, all these figures have spoken against the insurgency as a cancerous threat to coexistence in Syrian society and the broader region. Melkite Patriarch Gregory III Laham has very vocally said that his country is being attacked by bandits and terrorists under the fiction of a revolution that seek to destroy the Christians and all Syria. [3]

The Christian communities of Syria, which constitute at least 10% of the Syrian population, have been systematically targeted; their churches have been attached and desecrated; their priests, monks, and nuns murdered; and generally discriminated against by the anti-government forces that the US, UK, France, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and their allies support. The objectives of establishing this exodus are reflected by the anti-government chants: «Alawites to the ground and Christians to Lebanon!» What this chant means is that Syria is no longer a place where either Alawis or Christians can live.

America’s Foot Soldiers and the Rape of Christians in Syria and Iraq

Fides News Agency, the official news agency of the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church, has reported that the so-called religious leaders of the anti-government fighters declared it lawful for the anti-government fighters to rape «any non-Sunni Syrian woman» that they desired; the declarations of these corrupt pastors have been used to justify the rape, humiliation, torture, and murder of women and girls in towns and territory captured by groups like the so-called Free Syrian Army, Jabhat Al-Nusra, and the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant/Al-Dawlah Al-Islamiyah fi Al-Iraq wa Al-Sham (ISIL/DAISH). [4]

Here is the account given to the Fides News Agency by two priests about what was done to one fifteen year-old Syrian Christian girl in Homs Governate after the anti-government fighters took control of it:

The commander of the battalion «Jabhat al-Nusra» in Qusair took Mariam, married and raped her. Then he repudiated her. The next day the young woman was forced to marry another Islamic militant. He also raped her and then repudiated her. The same trend was repeated for 15 days, and Mariam was raped by 15 different men. This psychologically destabilized her and made her insane. Mariam, became mentally unstable and was eventually killed. These atrocities are not told by any «International Commission» say to Fides two Greek-Catholic priests, Fr. Issam and Fr. Elias who have just returned to town. [5]

These same US-supported multinational insurgent groups have begun to do this to Iraqi Christians too. «On June 12, [2014,] only two day after capturing Mosul and other territories in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria issued a decree ordering the people to send their unmarried women to ‘jihad by sex’» and made a decree ordering that unmarried women sexually be offered to their fighters for fornication. [6] The following account, which was confirmed by the Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights and reported by the Assyrian International News Agency, deals with Mosul after its takeover by the insurrectionary forces entering Iraq from Syria on June 25, 2014:

A Christian father who watched his wife and daughter get brutally raped by members of the militant group, Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) because he couldn’t pay them a poll tax in Mosul, Iraq, killed himself under the weight of the trauma this past weekend. [7]

The molestation and rape of Christian women and girls as sex objects has not been limited to Christians alone. Syrian women and girls, regardless of their faiths, that have been captured by the anti-government forces are being raped and molested. Muslims, Christians, and Druze are all equally at risk. These perverted acts are being encouraged by corrupt clerics issuing legal opinions and decrees (fatwas) that support rape and womanizing.

These twisted legal opinions and decrees being issued include calls for foreign women to become concubines to the anti-government fighters in Syria in what is disgracefully called a «sexual holy struggle» (jihad al-nikah). The Tunisian government was even prompted to react in mid-2013 to these calls for sexual offering, because they were exploiting young Tunisian girls. [8] Tunisian Minister of Religious Affairs Noureddine Al-Khadimi condemned the corrupt and ignorant clerics and individuals behind the calls, insisting that they had nothing to do with Muslim teachings:

The minister’s statements came after the spread of an anonymous «sexual jihad» fatwa on the Internet calling on young women to support opposition fighters in Syria by providing sexual services. According to media reports and mujahideen who returned to Tunisia after participating in jihad in Syria, 13 Tunisian girls headed to the battlefield in response to the «sexual jihad» fatwa. [9]

«After the sexual liaisons they have [in Syria] in the name of ‘jihad al-nikah’ — (sexual holy war, in Arabic) — [these girls] come home pregnant», Tunisian Interior Minister Lotfi bin Jeddou testified to Tunisian legislators months after Al-Khadimi’s condemnations, explaining that the misguided girls could have over a hundred partners. [10]

Targeting Bishops, Priests, Monks, and Nuns: Besieging the People of «The Way»

Since the start of the fighting, Christian spiritual figures have been targeted in one way or another. There are the cases of Greek Orthodox Archbishop Sayedna Paul (Boulos) Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan Mar Gregorios John Abraham (Yohanna Ibrahim), which were kidnapped near the Turkish border, on April 22, 2013. Their driver, a Christian priest himself, was killed instantly for protecting the two Christian metropolitans by refusing to let them leave their car. A fourth person in the car, Fouad Eliya, managed to remain free (and explain what happened). [11]

The Turkish government is directly involved in the kidnapping of the two Orthodox Christian bishops. The Turkish newswire Dogan News Agency (Dogan Haber Ajansı) reported on July 23, 2013 that the murders or, using the report’s words, «assassins» of the two Syrian bishops were arrested in Konya. [12] The arrest happened to be of anti-Russian fighters from the North Caucasus, which corresponded to Foud Eliya’s account that Boulos Yazigi and Yohanna Ibrahim were taken by North Caucasian militants dressed like Taliban fighters from Afghanistan. [13]

Grand Mufti Hassoun revealed that Turkish-trained Chechen fighters were dispatched by Ankara to kidnap Sayedna Boulos Yazigi and Mar Gregorios, because of two important reasons. According to Sheikh Hassoun, the first reason is that Metropolitan Gregorios was asked by Syriac Orthodox Patriarch Ignatius Zakka I Iwas to head a church committee to begin the process of reclaiming the vast holdings of the Syriac Orthodox Church that the Turkish government had confiscated during its persecution of Syriac Orthodox Christians. [14]

In a meeting between Prime Minister Erdogan and Mar Gregorios, the Turkish government asked that the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch establish a eparchy (an ecclesiastical province or administrative division of the church with a metropolitan) in Turkey and to even relocate its patriarchate from Damascus to Hatay (Antioch), but Gregorios Yohanna Ibrahim refused and said that the patriarchate of the Syriac Orthodox Church will never change locations, that Syriac Orthodox Christians recognized the Levant as one unified land, and that a bishop would be assigned to Turkey when the Syriac Orthodox Church’s properties were returned by the Turkish government, which angered Turkish officials. [15] The other reason that the Orthodox Christian cleric was targeted was that he was reconciling anti-government fighters peacefully with the Syrian government in Aleppo Governate, which upset Turkey and its allies. [16]

Other cases include those of: Father (Abouna) Fadi Jamal Haddad, a Antiochian Greek Orthodox priest acting as a mediator in Qatana during the fighting, who was tortured and shot in the head after he tried to mediate the release of a doctor that was being ransomed for money; Father (Abouna) Francois Al-Mourad, a Catholic priest of the Franciscan Order, who was shot for preventing fellow Christians and Syrians from being hurt by the anti-government fighters; and Father Frans van der Lugt, a Dutch priest of the Jesuit Order working in Homs. When Abouna Fadi went to pay the insurgents for the doctor they had abducted, they kidnapped him too; they would later kill the Christian priests and leave him on the side of the highway, «horribly tortured and [with] his eyes gouged out», where his body would be found on September 25, 2012. [17]

According to the Franciscan Order’s representatives in Syria, the insurgents «broke into the convent, looted it and destroyed everything. When Fr. Franҫois tried to defend the nuns and other people, the gunmen shot him dead» on June 23, 2013. [18]

The insurgents murdered Father Frans van der Lugt on April 7, 2014.This an account of the circumstances behind his murder:

Wael Salibi, 26, recalled how when the Christian area in Homs was taken over by rebels, 66,000 of the faithful «left their home, and just few of them stayed there. He was the only priest, he stayed in his church.»

«Just months before he died, he said ‘I can’t leave my people, I can’t leave my church, I am director of this church, how can I leave them?’» Salibi told CNA on April 11.

Salibi, who hails from the now-ravished city of Homs, grew up as a close friend and pupil of Fr. Frans, who was brutally killed on April 7. Days before his 76th birthday, an unknown gunman entered his church, beat him and shot him in the head. [19]

In Hasakah (Hasce) many of the Christian Syrians fled, but almost 30,000 stayed as internal refugees. The Syrian Christians who belonged to the Chaldean Catholic Church, Syriac Orthodox Church, Syriac Catholic Church, Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church, and the Armenian Catholic Church collectively asked the world for help and to put an end to the fighting, in an appeal that went unheard, in late-2012; they have suffered from persecution, lawlessness, kidnappings, ransoms, and murder. One Christian from the area told Fides News Agency that Al-Nusra was targeting «all young people who were born between 1990 and 1992. They look for them, accuse them of being soldiers for the national service and kill them cold-bloodedly. They want to terrorize young people to prevent them from enlisting.» [20]

Another example of the assault on the Christian community is Al-Nusra’s assault on the town of Maaloula. Maaloula is one of a few villages maintaining an old dialect of Aramaic, known as the language of Jesus of Nazareth. Many Christian structures and historic sites fill the Syrian town, but the Melkite Greek Catholic Saint Sergius (Mar Sarkis) Monastery and Antiochian Greek Orthodox Saint Thecla (Mar Taqla) Monastery standout. The town became the scene of fighting between Al-Nusra and the Syrian Arab Army and switched hands between the insurgents and Syrian government four times between late-2013 and mid-2014.

Many of Maaloula’s residents, both Christian and Muslim alike, became trapped in their homes and local buildings, including forty Greek Orthodox Christian nuns and the orphans they were looking after, which sparked panic in the Christian populations of Syria and Lebanon. Hence the strong backing of Bashar Al-Assad’s government by all of Syria’s minorities and the expression of these type of sentiments were nearly universal among Christian Syrians: «‘They’re coming after us,’ [said] Odette Abu Zakham, a 65-year-old woman in the congregation who lives in the nearby historic Christian district of Bab Touma. ‘All they do is massacre people, all they know is killing.’» [21] Not only were the nuns held hostage by Al-Nusra, but the anti-government fighters desecrated absolutely all of Maaloula’s shrines and Christian buildings, stole its historic artifacts to sell in the black market, and scattered the partially Aramaic-speaking population of the town. Eyewitnesses who escaped Maaloula give this account below:

[The insurgents] tried to change the religious and architectural-historical look of the ancient Christian town entirely: completely destroying some churches, the militants brought down all bells from other ones. The fate of two other world-famous monuments of Ma’loula was no less tragic: extremists blew up the statue of Christ the Savior, which had stood at the entrance of St. Thecla Convent, as well as the statue of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, which had stood close to the Safir hotel, the latter of which served as the main shelter for Takfirists for many months. [22]

Easter, in 2014 was a special time for Maaloula. Around Easter, the Syrian government regained the town. Maaloula was finally secured and residents were returning. «The display of hatred was clear — the houses are totally destroyed, the whole village was destroyed. I can’t describe the amount of damage to the village», a returning resident by the name of Lorain told the press about what the insurgents did. [23] President Al-Assad visited too. Al-Assad himself came to visit it as a sign of the Syrian government’s commitment to its entire population regardless of their faith or ethnicity. Both the Western rite and Eastern rite Christian celebrations of Easter, respectively using the Gregorian and Julian calendars, fell on the same date too: April 20, 2014.

(To be continued in part two; to read part two please click here)

NOTES

[1] The term Christian is akin to the term Mohammedian, which was once used to describe Muslims. It was a name originally used as a derogatory term by non-Christians to identify the followers of Jesus of Nazareth and «the Way» by them, but would eventually be accepted and adopted by many of the Christians; the Arabic word «deen» means «way» and not religion as it is commonly substituted for.
[2] Pinar Tremblay, «Armenian-Americans blame Turkey for Kassab invasion, Al-Monitor, April 3, 2014.
[3] «Syria has been reduced to banditry and anarchy, says Gregory III Laham», Vatican Insider, May 4, 2012.
[4] «13 Syrian Christian Women Raped and Killed by Islamists» Pravoslavie, April 5, 2013; «Rape and atrocities on a young Christian in Qusair», Fides News Agency, July 2, 2013; Stoyan Zaimov, «Syrian Christian Mother Reveals Stories of Rape, Church Attacks in Streets of Damascus», Christian Post, October 17, 2013; Jamie Dettmer, «Syria’s Christians Flee Kidnappings, Rape, Executions», Daily Beast, November 19, 2013.
[5] «Rape and atrocities», Fides, op. cit.
[6] «ISIS in Mosul Orders Unmarried Women to ‘Jihad By Sex,’» Assyrian International News Agency, June 21, 2014.
[7] Leonardo Blair, «Christian Father Commits Suicide After ISIS Members Rape Wife and Daughter in Front of Him Because He Couldn’t Pay Poll Tax», Christian Post, June 25, 2014.
[8] Mohammed Yassin Al-Jalassi, «Tunisians Raise Alarm on Fatwa Encouraging ‘Sexual Jihad,’» Al-Monitor, March 27, 2013.
[9] Ibid.
[10] «Sex Jihad raging in Syria, claims minister», Agence France-Presse, September 20, 2013.
[11] Dikran Ego, «Turkey’s Role in the Kidnapping of the Syrian Bishops», Assyrian International News Agency, February 1, 2012.
[12] Ismail Akkaya, «Suriyeli metropolitlerin katil zanlıları Konya’da yakalandı» [«Syrian metropolitan’s alleged assassins were caught in Konya»], Dogan Haber Ajansı, July 23, 2013.
[13] Dikran Ego, «Turkey’s Role in Kidnapping», AINA, op. cit.
[14] Grand Mufti Hassoun explains this in a video released by the Stockholm-based Syriac Foundation on May 4, 2014.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Ibid.
[17] «Fr. Fadi Jamil Haddad: Priest, Trusted By All, Martyred in Syria», Pravmir.com, October 28, 2012: .
[18] «Custos of the Holy Land: Fr Franҫois Mourad killed by Islamist insurgents in al-Ghassaniyah», AsiaNews.it, June 25, 2013: .
[19] Elise Harris, «‘I can’t leave my people’: Priest killed in Syria hailed as martyr», Catholic News Agency, April 15, 2014.
[20] «Appeal from the people of Mesopotamia, left to themselves», Fides News Agency, January 17, 2013.
[21] Lee Keath, «Seizure of nuns stokes Syrian Christian fears», Associated Press, December 8, 2013.
[22] «All Shrines of Ma’loula Either Destroyed or Desecrated», Pravoslavie, January 13, 2014.
[23] Firas Makdesi, «Syria’s Assad pays Easter visit to recaptured Christian town», Reuters, April 20, 2014.

Jon Snow, the lead journalist on C4 News, returned from Gaza a few days ago.  It was clear from this blog  and in the one written as he flew back to Britain that he had been deeply affected by the deliberate injury and killing of children in Gaza.  This was evident too in his colleague Jonathan Miller, and in Lyse Doucet of the BBC.

Last night he tried to elicit truth from Michael Oren aka Michael Scott Bornstein, on C4 News.  Oren was ‘Israeli’ ambassador to a surrogate US until last year.  He is described as an historian and in the Wikipedia profile as being one of the ten most powerful Jews in the US.  There is no hint as to how that is measured.

Mr Snow was unable to tease out any humanity from the Tel Aviv spokesperson about the carnage and ‘infra-destruction’ within the Gaza ghetto, even though the occupier is bound in international law to safeguard the welfare of its 1.8 million humans.

He was interviewing a robot.  He did say that ‘Israel’ tries not to kill and hurt civilians, as with the four boys on the beach by the little fishing port.  But pull the other one Oren.

Furthermore, he inferred they were warned by the ‘tap on the roof’ (a fine euphemism) or by air dropped leaflets to flee wherever from more of the massive quantities of ‘ordnance’ aimed at their homes.  These rockets, bombs, shells and bullets are supplied in the main by the surrogate eg thermobaric Hellfire missiles, but the apocalyptic bombardment is aided by many NATO countries.  Britain has supplied the head-up cockpit display kits for those US F16s, and now or previously the bomb release mechanisms (EDO – Brighton).

After he attempted to deliver a lecture to this eloquent, senior journalist, he got round to saying that Hamas was a ‘vicious, medieval, racist, genocidal organisation’.  This was said with a grim determination and with the intention that it would enter the minds of the gullible like the shrapnel cut through the spinal cord of dear Maha in Jon Snow’s blog above.  The automaton did not see the great irony or the brass neck in his description of Hamas.

He will not recognise that Hamas candidates were in a majority of those elected fairly in 2006 when the turn out in Gaza was 74.6%–76.0%, nor that it sacked a deeply corrupt Fatah crew in a pre-emptive coup in 2007 after three large consignments of US weapons had been trucked in from Egypt for Fatah.  He would not know that Hamas got guns off the streets, the children educated in spite of having three shifts in some schools and that they had done their best with what passes for infrastructure although completely hamstrung by a most brutal siege since ’07.  Frequent homicidal and utterly lawless convulsions from the people that robbed their land required its superhuman efforts

Is Oren deluded or is he simply parroting a script uploaded from hell to IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) command?

What in the black mind of the Jewish state allows it to lay wide waste to lives, homes, schools, and hospitals on the pretext of revealing ‘terror’ tunnels and the launch sites of cottage industry rockets?  Although the material destruction is enormous, the physical injury of thousands will crystalise in tears and the mental injury to thousands upon thousands will defy counselling and all the rest.  The very high rate of bedwetting in adolescents following previous bombardments and invasions will be heightened as one instance of severe mental trauma.

What moral indications are there in contemporary Jewish teaching and leadership that might dissuade Oren, the high command,  and the 90% of the Israeli Jewish population who support the present ‘military’ operations from such evil?

At the focus of modern Jewish memory, Yad Vashem, we read what the chairman Avner Shalev has to say.

Every visitor leaves Yad Vashem with a personal impression of an event that has universal dimensions. The new museum complex reinforces the commitment of Jewish visitors to their people and their ethical brotherhood with other nations. Non-Jewish visitors will empathize with the fate of the Jewish people, and will be inspired to join the drive to a more humane future for humanity as a whole.

 “  …and will be inspired to join the drive to a more humane future for humanity as a whole.”

Holocaust Memorial Day is largely state funded in the UK.  I have written on this and concluded with the wise advice of Howard Zinn.  These words are from the ceremony held in British schools to remember the ‘Holocaust’ and other genocides.  The holocausts of holocausts, Hiroshima and Nagasaki do not figure.

On this day we can honour the survivors of these regimes of hatred and challenge ourselves to use the lessons of their experience to help create a safer, better future.

Though anodyne in force these words speak against the terror and the harm being done to a captive, native people down the coast.  And what of the Ten Commandments as recorded twice in the Jewish Bible, the Torah.  The two most outrageous crimes committed against the ‘ten’ are theft of land, and murder.

It is likely, is it not, that Oren and the psychopaths who rev the Machaver war machine have the Talmud in their minds, just as Ayelet Shaked, Netanyahu and many others do.  The former saw the “entire Palestinian people as the enemy,” and the latter wound the racial hatred up as fast as he could.

This is the crux.  The Babylonian Talmud and its morbid decrees run entirely counter to the laws of war and common humanity.  Women and children are spared in the wars of men.  Professor Geoffrey Alderman, whom I have met on a TV panel, is quoted here from the Guardian.

The Halachah is crystal clear. It is entirely legitimate to kill a rodef – that is to say, one who endangers the life of another – and this is true, incidentally, even if the rodef has not yet actually taken another life. So the Judaism that I practise permits what is generally referred to as “pre-emptive” military action.

In this particular case, the ruling power, Hamas, has advertised (in its charter) that its mission is to kill Jewish people. Therefore every member and supporter of Hamas may be considered a rodef.

What precise kind of pre-emptive military action might one take? A great deal has been said about “proportionality”. This may be a Christian idea, but thankfully it is certainly not a Jewish one.

For some the most violent prescriptions of a distant tribe from very long ago have meaning.

In this month Oren argued against a ceasefire and for the continuation of the ‘conflict’, a euphemism

if ever there was one.  He called on the international community to leave Israel alone to defang and deprive Hamas of its heavy arms and make it pay a “prohibitive cost.”

I say these words to Oren.  They are adapted from surgical practice.

‘Do your best to heal and not to harm.’  And to agree with me that ‘no mother and child should be in the least harmed anywhere in our still beautiful world.’

“… To be committed to justice we must believe that ethics matter, that it is vital to have a system of shared morality.” – Bell Hooks

Out of nowhere many soldiers jumped out and ambushed Samir. They shot him first in the leg, yet he managed to run away towards the village. But how far can an injured child run? Twenty, maybe 30, meters? They could have easily arrested him, especially when he was injured, but instead they shot him in the back with live ammunition… To me this is premeditated murder.”– Malek Murrar, 16, interviewed on 20 September 2013 at the site where he had witnessed his friend Samir Awad being murdered by Israeli security forces.

The West’s claim to moral superiority by championing universal human rights and the rule of law is a grotesque lie.”

Palestinian life is cheap – something Samir already understood from his short 16 years of living under occupation. For the friends and family of Samir and the thousands of other Samirs murdered by the Israeli military and settlers over the last four decades, Palestinian life will still be cheap when the shooting stops, the Israeli military withdraws its ground forces from Gaza, and daily life under occupation returns to the norm of low-intensity systematic state terror.

The killings, breaking of bones, firing of tear gas canisters into enclosed spaces, and the daily humiliation of checkpoints, separate roads and separating walls will continue to be daily reminders to Palestinians that they are different; lesser; expendable.

From these experiences, Palestinians understand – like many of us on the receiving end of the Western world’s “civilizing mission” – that the West’s claim to moral superiority by championing universal human rights and the rule of law is a grotesque lie.

Over the years, Palestinians have seen how they can be murdered in the hundreds and thousands with impunity and in the full glare of the mass media. And while most of the non-Western world is stunned by the indiscriminate viciousness of the Israeli attack, headlines in Western media outlets proclaim “Hamas lays siege on Israel” and “Hamas terrorizes Israel” – as though the over one thousand lives of murdered Palestinians are completely irrelevant and devoid of value.

The devaluing of Palestinian life is in stark contrast to the concern for the dignity of the remains of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight M17, recently shot down over Ukraine. It is also reflected in the arguments of the Israeli propagandists, who imply that Western news media should stop covering the deaths of Palestinian civilians because it satisfies the strategic objective of the “Hamas terrorists.”

The scenes of carnage – Palestinian bodies littering the streets of Shujaiya; whole families packed into cars, desperately trying to flee the onslaught of Israeli rockets and naval bombardments; and a vicious scorched-earth ground operation in which whole communities are free-fire zones for Israelis, have still not been enough to generate much empathy for the lives of Palestinians for many in the U.S. A recent Gallop poll of opinion in the U.S. suggests that 71% of the respondents who claim to follow the Israeli-Palestinian conflict closely say that Israeli actions in Gaza are justified. ii

The scenes of carnage have still not been enough to generate much empathy for the lives of Palestinians for many in the U.S.”

And in Western capitals, the defenders of “universal” human rights proudly proclaim their unwavering support for Israel’s right of “defense” against a captured and largely defenseless people who are supposed to have special protections under international law.

The moral positions taken by many people in the West, especially in the U.S., confirms the existence of an ethical double-standard – one in which the actions of the Israeli state are framed as legitimate, reasonable and deserving of support, and one in which all acts of resistance on the part of the captured and oppressed Palestinians are seen as criminal, immoral and terroristic. iii

The ethical double-standards for non-Europeans versus Europeans – or those who are associated with white power and European civilization, like the Israeli state – are grounded in a generalized acceptance of the civilizational superiority of the West and the division of humanity between those “like us” and “others” who have different standards of human behavior.

This division has always been a fundamental component of white supremacist thought that justified the conquest, pillage and exploitation of most of the non-Western world. The violence of slavery, genocide of Native Americans and colonialism found its defenders among liberals and within the contradictory framework of Eurocentric, male-centered liberalism that divided humanity between those eligible for the full enjoyment of human rights – European male, capitalist property owners and eventually most people categorized as “white” irrespective of class and gender – and everyone else.

The “white man’s burden” “manifest destiny,” the “doctrine of discovery,” “American exceptionalism” – and their 21st century expression in humanitarian intervention and the responsibility to protect – these are all expressions of the arrogant pathology of the white supremacist worldview.

It is this sublimated framework that Israeli propagandists skillfully appeal to, in order to generate the continued moral and political support for their policies with large segments of the populations of Europe and especially within the white supremacist settler-state of the U.S.

Constructed as an uncivilized, barbarous, terrorist organization, Hamas has been effectively de-humanized – along with all of the Palestinian people of Gaza, since they voted for Hamas in the elections of 2006. In contrast, Israel is juxtaposed as innocent, civilized and humane.

Projecting itself as a superior civilization, Israel attempts to immunize itself from human rights charges, since as a “civilized” (read “Western”), humane and rational society, Israel by definition cannot be accused of engaging in massive human rights violations?

Instead it is the actions of the Palestinian resistance fighters that are highlighted, because that resistance provides a convenient weapon in the narrative created by Israel of Palestinian “otherness” where their legitimate resistance is instead twisted into being further evidence of their sub-human status.

Hamas has been effectively de-humanized – along with all of the Palestinian people of Gaza.”

According to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natahuyu, the value of human life is different for Palestinians and their leadership who want more dead Palestinians so that they can use “telegenically dead Palestinians”iv for their cause. The logical corollary to this position is that it is perfectly understandable and justifiable that Israel is forced to kill hundreds of “them” in order to ensure Israeli security from these “barbarous” people who have a natural propensity towards violence, if they are not contained and periodically terrorized into submission.

For activists in solidarity with Palestinian desires for national self-determination, undermining the hegemony of the “innocent settler” narrative is imperative in order to counter the propaganda that justifies Israeli state and settler violence. To do so means centering colonialism and white supremacy as the grounding analytical categories and conceptual framework.

This is not necessarily a new argument or one that has not been embraced by some, but for various reasons, including bogus charges of anti-Semitism, many in the U.S. progressive and radical communities have eschewed this approach over the years.

The other challenge is that the “white supremacist” term has been domesticated and reduced to a crude and relatively simple notion of “racism.” In this context, white supremacists and white supremacy is represented by easy targets like Donald Sterling and Tea Party members, while racialized imperialism is overlooked.

In order to re-position Israel in the public imagination, activists must overcome both of these issues if movements for solidarity and justice such as the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement have any chance of being effective solidarity mechanisms.

Liberated from the racist bias of the colonial/imperialist lens that casts Israelis as victims, Israeli state actions and policies in Gaza are then stripped of the obfuscating claims of self-defense and concerns for Palestinian civilians. And ending ethical double standards by applying one standard informed by the principles of human equality and the rejection of all forms of dehumanizing oppression would clearly identify the real victims in the ongoing drama of the Israel/Palestinian conflict – and it would not be the state of Israel.

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. His latest publications include contributions to two recently published books: Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA and Claim No Easy Victories: The Legacy of Amilcar Cabral. He can be reached at [email protected] and www.AjamuBaraka.com.

Notes

i Malek Murrar, 16, interviewed on 20 September 2013 at the site where he had witnessed his friend Samir Awad being murdered by Israeli security forces, see Trigger-Happy: Israel’s use of Excessive force in the West Bank” http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE15/002/2014/en/349188ef-e14a-418f-ac20-6c9e5c8d9f88/mde150022014en.pdf

ii http://www.vox.com/2014/7/24/5934837/gallup-israel-gaza-americans

iii The analysis here and what follows was greatly influence by the work of Cyra A. Choudhury, see “Comprehending “our” Violence: Reflections on the Liberal Universalist Tradition, National Identity and the War in Iraq,” Muslim World Journal of Human Rights, volume 3,Issue 1, 2006.

iv http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israelgaza-conflict-the-myth-of-hamass-human-shield-9619810.html

6th UN Shelter Bombed by Israel

Many Gazans have been ordered by the Israeli military to leave their homes.

The Gaza strip was already very small and overcrowded – and Israel has just taken away 44% of it – and so many civilians have crowded into UN shelters … which they assumed were safe.

By way of background, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) runs a number of shelters in Gaza.

Israel has bombed numerous UNRWA shelters in the last week.  Pierre Krähenbühl – Drector of Operations at the International Committee of the Red Cross – tweets today:

This is 6th time one of our @UNRWA schools has been struck. Our staff leading int’l response are being killed. This is a breaking point.

BBC reports today:

Israel attacked a UN-run school housing refugees in Gaza despite warnings that civilians were there, the UN has said.

UN spokesman Chris Gunness said “the world stands disgraced” by the attack, in which 15 died and dozens were hurt.

***

Mr Gunness, from the UN Relief and Works Agency (Unrwa), told the BBC that Israel had been told 17 times that the school in the Jabaliya refugee camp was housing the displaced.

He said there had been “multiple deaths” including women and children, adding that the attack caused “universal shame“.

Bob Turner, Unrwa’s Gaza director, said the UN was “confident” Israel was responsible.

He said UN workers had collected fragments of projectiles that suggested they were artillery shells fired from Israeli positions to the north-east of the school.

***

“The last time was hours before the fatal attack,” he said. “Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school.”

Israel previously attacked different UN shelters, killing civilians. For example, Antiwar reported last week (citing coverage in the New York Times):

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was “shocked and appalled” today with the news that Israeli forces attacked a UN school backed full of refugees in the Gaza Strip. At least 16 civilians were confirmed killed in the attack, and around 200 wounded.

The school was one of several designated UN shelters in the Gaza Strip, and the UNRWA says they sent “precise coordinates” of all the shelters to the Israeli military, and not just so they could target them.

Reports state that that particular UN school – 1 of 6 hit – was bombed three separate times.